In the past year or two, in meetings with English graduate faculty members and students at would-be top programs similar to ours, I’ve had innumerable conversations with otherwise rational but anxious people who consider those involved in the renaissance of comp-rhet or digital publication as dullards not good enough to read poetry, as lowbrow opportunists, or—worse—as saintly philanthropists who "should be appreciated for their love of teaching first-year writing."Say what? I have heard about these mythical creatures--let's call them the harrumphing literary old duffer--for twenty years, and, while I don't doubt they exist, I've never seen one. This may be a testament to my general cluelessness (likely) and to the collegial quality of the departments I've been fortunate enough to be associated with (very likely), which have valued both sides of the Great Divide.
You can't teach several dozen writing courses over the years and not value the contributions that rhet/comp has made. On the other hand, there's value in literary studies, too.
Can you talk about literature without talking about rhetorical principles? Don't the two complement each other?
Aren't the humanities in enough trouble without picking a fight about who gets the remaining deck chairs?