classics

Pleasure Island

The kids! The boys! They’re all donkeys! – Jiminy Cricket Beloit College recently released its annual “Mindset List,” the findings of a yearly survey which attempts to take stock of the cultural touchstones that each generation of college freshman is, or is not, familiar with. Most of the observations are benign: “They can’t picture people […]

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What Fiction Do English Professors Assign?

The influential website Campusbooks displays a roster of “Popular Classics Textbooks” in fiction. The list offers an aperture into the minds of University English departments: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Animal Farm by George Orwell The Rum Diary by Hunter S.Thompson Lord of the Flies by William Golding To […]

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How Much Is Western Civ Valued on Campus?

Not far into an important book published recently is a table displaying results for one question on the North American Academic Study Survey, a poll of professors, administrators, and students administered in 1999.  The survey is the basis for The Still Divided Academy by the late-Stanley Rothman, April Kelly-Roessner, and Matthew Roessner, which reviews the results and draws balanced conclusions.  […]

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Will Graduate Work in Literary Studies Have to Cut Back or Shut Down?

The National Science Foundation has just issued an Info Brief on trends in the awarding of doctorates in different fields for the year 2009. (See here) The report contains data going back to 2009 and breaks the numbers down by Science, Engineering, and “Non-science and engineering,” the latter including Education, Health, Humanities, and Professional Fields. […]

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An Omen for the Humanities Everywhere?

The news circulating among humanities professors across the country is the decision by SUNY-Albany to close programs in Classics, French, Italian, Russian, and Theatre. (Judaic Studies, too, has been virtually eliminated and journalism will be cut in half.) The general dismay is palpable, but faculty members should prepare for more of the same in the […]

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A Fishy Proposal for Albany

George Philip deserves a prominent place in any 2010 academic hall of shame. The SUNY Albany president recently terminated the university’s French, Russian, Italian, Classics, and Theater departments, citing financial concerns. That Albany purports to be a quality university (and is, in fact, one of SUNY’s better branches) makes Philip’s move all the more unjustifiable. […]

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You Don’t Have To Be A Professor

Given that it’s been 30 years since I left graduate studies in English Lit, I don’t spend much time reading up on the field. Still, when I saw the provocative headline, “The Big Lie About the ‘Life of the Mind,’” on a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education I knew immediately that this […]

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Great Books In Texas

Matthew Levinton, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote us with some encouraging news about a new book club at that school, which he currently serves as President. Read his account: Last fall at the University of Texas at Austin, a new great books program began its mission to realize Thomas Jefferson’s […]

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