Tag Archives: English teachers

Fish’s Claim that Lit is of No Use

Stanley Fish    Last week I was talking to my colleague in philosophy Alan Paskow about a Stanley Fish New York Times column. (Cancer update: Alan had one of the five tumors in his lungs removed two weeks ago through cyberknife surgery.) Although an old post—last January—it had stuck with us because it contradicts so […]

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Through Novels We Practice Being Human

    My friend Rachel Kranz and I have been talking and e-mailing about the value of novel reading, always a useful topic to revisit.  Rachel is as thoughtful as anyone I know on the subject—she is a novelist as well as a novel reader so she has a double perspective.  Leaps of Faith (Farrar […]

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Why Didn’t Poetry Save Neil from Suicide?

Yesterday I wrote about how Dead Poets Society, despite its support for poetry, still doesn’t give poetry enough credit and that Keating is the coin side of J. Evans Pritchard.  Whereas Pritchard wants to graph literary excellence on a Cartesian plane, Keating (at least in the scenes we see, which are all we have to […]

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Dead Poets Changing Lives

  I seem to be returning to my childhood in recent posts, what with all my references to Sewanee, Tennessee.  In my last entry I showed literary scholar Robert Scholes blaming Allen Tate, a poet and critic with close ties to Sewanee, for the abysmal state of American literature instruction.  To balance Tate out, my launching […]

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Saving Poetry from English Teachers

Poetry used to play a much larger role in our culture than it does today.  That, at any rate, is the opinion of literary scholar Robert Scholes in his wonderfully provocative The Crafty Reader (Yale, 2001).  Scholes’ book is provocative in part because of where he puts the blame:  “I would like to suggest that […]

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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