[Milton-L] Great Adaptations

Carol Barton cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Wed Jan 23 15:27:40 EST 2008


Amen, Boyd (and Beth).

About 15 years ago, I had a rather eccentric neighbor--retired military--who subscribed to all sorts of conspiracy theories, most of them outrageous. But one thing he said made a terrible kind of sense: our enemies weren't going to take us down by means of atomic bombs or germ warfare--they were infiltrating our schools with "educators" trained to dummy down the curriculum, and that would be enough to destroy us by itself.

Who ever said the acquisition of knowledge had to be an easy process? At the elementary and middle school level, maybe; but an individual worthy of the title "college student" ought to be willing to invest enough time and energy in his or her intellectual heritage to deal with Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton (at minimum)--and Beowulf in translation if necessary--not some watered-down version of the real thing.

I will never forget the transfer student from Hofstra (a decent school) who had no idea that the _Canterbury Tales_ had been written in poetry . . . because the version they'd used was "translated" into prose!

All of us struggled with "Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote . . ."--but I think most of us would agree that it was well worth wrestling with the angel.

Best to all,

Carol Barton

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