[Milton-L] keep your pronoun to yourself, please

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Apr 16 22:27:17 EDT 2007


A bit of ancient gossip. Perhaps relevant to this topic, whatever this
topic is.

On a cold March day in 1956 I was standing between Angel & Haven Hall
talking to Professor Austin Warren -- a truly wonderful and most
generous man. I happened to mention (I forget in what context) G.L.
Kittridge, the famous Shakespeare scholar at Harvard. It was as though I
had mentioned Stalin to Trotsky's widow -- the only time in my
acquaintance with Austin Warren when I heard him express real rage. It
seemed that Kittridge was a complete failure as a scholar, a teacher, as
a human being. He went on at some length on the subject, in considerable
detail!

And another tidbit from "those days" in which all is said to have been
so wonderful. A grad school friend had taken an incomplete in a course,
and went to the professor (who was also the department's director of
graduate studies) to discuss making it up. The professor told him it was
against grad school regulations to make up incompletes after a year. The
student argued. The professor called the grad school office, carried on
a conversation, informed my friend that it was indeed against grad
school regulations. A week later my friend happened to be in the grad
school office, and mentioned in passing the incident. It turned out that
this professor had held his finger on the cradle of the phone during the
"conversation" and had faked the whole of it.

All periods are highly varied. Hence the error of most nostalgia. Who
would want to go back to the days when it was impossible to get a
prohibition of lynching through the u.s. senate? And there never was nor
is there now any 'Chinese Wall' between the academy and the world
outside it.

Carrol



More information about the Milton-L mailing list