[Milton-L] Memorization and Naomi Wolf

James Rovira jrovira at drew.edu
Wed Feb 25 10:15:41 EST 2004

I think I never am going to live down the Carroll/Carol mistake, but 
given how long I've been on this list, I probably shouldn't.

Anyway, I appreciate Ms. -Barton's- response.  I think we need to 
distinguish between two things in the article:

1. The facts/nature of Woolf's abuse.
2. The environment at Yale.

Regarding the second, I think the article, to the extent that it's 
accurate, does describe a  genuinely dysfuncational environment, at 
least in relationship to this issue.  So the article does the Yale 
student body and the academic community at large a good service by 
exposing it.   If the article was at all accurate on this point, it 
needed to be written.

Regarding the first, I think the responses below are pretty valid (I 
don't recall those specific details but I didn't read the entire article 
either).  I'd also like to add that a person who is "destroyed" (was Ms. 
Woolf really "destroyed"?) by someone putting a hand on her thigh is a 
pretty fragile human being.   I'm not saying this was appropriate or 
acceptable behavior on Bloom's part (it wasn't), but that some sense of 
proportion is in order.  I would say she was humiliated at the moment.  
I would say she may have questioned how seriously Bloom took her as a 
student and scholar.  I can see it affecting her attitude about the 
environment at Yale, but if she took no action, and if no other male 
professor treated her this way, then I'm not sure if even this is justified.

I think what's going on is that Woolf kept quiet about it at the time to 
advance her career, and now she's speaking out about it to advance her 

The prinicple behind the issue is, in both instances, moot.  At least 
for Ms. Woolf.


Carol Barton wrote:

>I read the Wolf piece, John. At least, I skimmed it. I was frankly sickened
>by the whole thing.
>I am not a big fan of Harold Bloom, but since you raised the issue:
>1. I think an undergraduate female who invites her male professor to a
>candlelit dinner, and asks her roommates to disappear, delighted when they
>do, has more on her mind than reading some poetry. Why didn't she invite him
>to lunch, by sunlight, al fresco?
>2. Did poor, outraged (physically sickened) Ms. Wolf drop Prof. Bloom's
>class, and never take another with him, after his horrible act?
>3. Why did it take a woman who was so devastated by this outrageous
>violation of her body twenty years to speak up, especially one who is so vocal and unafraid to be in the spotlight?

More information about the Milton-L mailing list