[Milton-L] Why teachers retire early if they can afford it

Curt LaFond clafond at capnhq.gov
Wed Jun 11 16:22:15 EDT 2008

Jim Rovira and others have said we need to figure out better ways to sell
English as a subject to students who aren¹t immediately excited about it. I
don¹t necessarily disagree, but it seems that those who do not see intrinsic
value in literature are always asking someone to defend the Book.

It might be reassuring to you professors that general readers like yours
truly still exist, and we enjoy authors like Milton enough to lurk on this
list and follow the discussion as best we can. I don¹t mean to sound
condescending, but students who are openly hostile to literature have
something against learning to begin with; they aren¹t very good ³students²
in the first place. But I don¹t envy your challenge.

At any rate, I wonder what the list members think of what Fish has been
saying in his NY Times blog:

³To the question Œof what use are the humanities?¹, the only honest answer
is none whatsoever. And it is an answer that brings honor to its subject.
Justification, after all, confers value on an activity from a perspective
outside its performance. An activity that cannot be justified is an activity
that refuses to regard itself as instrumental to some larger good. The
humanities are their own good. There is nothing more to say, and anything
that is said... diminishes the object of its supposed praise.²


In other words, is it art for art¹s sake? And if literature tries to defend
itself on utilitarian grounds, will it always lose as Fish suggests?

Returning to my status as a quiet lurker....

Curt LaFond
(with a simple B.A. in English from nowhere special)

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