Reading: Feeding the Mind and Soul

Imagine a room full of fresh-faced humanities graduate students tasked with answering this timeless question: “Why read literature?” These eager youths race to the white board, markers in hand, scribbling their answers before a timer beeps the exercise complete. You Are What You Read, by Robert DiYanni, is like the product of that exercise, replete … Continue reading “Reading: Feeding the Mind and Soul”


Did You Know? Disrupt Texts Is the Latest Attack on the Western Canon

Penguin Classics is partnering with Disrupt Texts to replace Shakespeare and Homer with Ibram X. Kendi. What is Disrupt Texts? For the uninitiated, it is a new radical movement in classrooms which seeks to disrupt the “hegemony of English” and the Western canon by replacing them. According to its own website, Disrupt Texts is a “crowdsourced, grassroots effort by … Continue reading “Did You Know? Disrupt Texts Is the Latest Attack on the Western Canon”


They’ve Got to Get Rid of Western Civ—They Have To 

For ten years I served on the GRE Literature Exam committee. The exam is one of the special subject matter exams separate from the regular GRE (with math, verbal, analytical sections), and several English departments require that applicants take it. Each year five of us would meet for several days at Educational Testing Service’s campus … Continue reading “They’ve Got to Get Rid of Western Civ—They Have To “


Did You Know? The Disappearance of Civic Education at Elite Colleges

Modern universities are ignoring their civic duty to teach their students how to become engaged citizens. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni released a report in 2018 that showed only 18 percent of universities required students to take a history course before graduation. This number is indicative of a growing historical ignorance among students. … Continue reading “Did You Know? The Disappearance of Civic Education at Elite Colleges”


A Professor’s Tough Examination—Of Our Higher Education System

There are lots of people in our higher education system who claim that it is “the envy of the world” and just needs more money to graduate more young Americans with the degrees that are supposedly in great demand. One naysayer who disputes that rosy picture is Professor Warren Treadgold, who teaches history at Saint … Continue reading “A Professor’s Tough Examination—Of Our Higher Education System”


Why Literary Scholarship Matters

A recent book by Thomas L. Martin and Duke Pesta, The Renaissance and the Postmodern: A Study in Comparative Critical Values represents something of a critical cat among the contemporary theoretical pigeons. Martin and Pesta, associate professors of English at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, respectively, set out to judge the … Continue reading “Why Literary Scholarship Matters”


Teaching Freshman English: It’s a Battlefield

So you think you might like teaching college English. You love the language and its great works. Lots of people are like that, including me. Good, but beware. Teaching college English, especially freshman comp, is not for the faint-hearted. If you are drawn to the profession by the joys you experienced in grad school reading … Continue reading “Teaching Freshman English: It’s a Battlefield”