[Milton-L] Re: Cynthia's list (and Carol's additions)

gilliaca at jmu.edu gilliaca at jmu.edu
Tue Aug 8 07:10:09 EDT 2006


>   Not to wax melodramatic, but as a graduate student,
>   I have to choose every day what I will and will not
>   read (I'm sure this problem is a familiar one to
>   most list members). 

Ah well. When I came through grad school in the late 60s 
early 70s, the University of Michigan required one to pass 
comprehensive exams before beginning the dissertation. These 
exams were closed book timed essays, administered during a 
week set aside in August. The areas were specified, and there 
was some choice. Those whose studies were philological could 
drop one literature category to take the exam in liguistics 
and the history of the English language. The rest of us could 
drop one of the literary categories. That doesn't seem quite 
symetrical - I think I've forgotten/repressed some detail. 

At any rate, to prepare for the lit comps, we were given a 50 
page single spaced typed list of works that were fair game to 
be covered. Mine would have been dated 1968, I think.  I 
spent a solid summer reading through the list.

I wish I had it now, because it was 'the canon' for U of Mich 
then. I remember few women, no writers of color, nothing 
published after WWII or so. 

But I don't have it. Once I passed, I fed it to a charcoal 
fire, one page at a time!

C
Cynthia A. Gilliatt
English Department, JMU
JMU Safe Zones participant
"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate." Fr. John Weston


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