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« Hyphen | Main | This Week's Acquisitions »

December 07, 2005


Scott Eric Kaufman

Would it be considered terribly heretical of me to say that I dislike teaching James Joyce's "Araby"?

Yes. I could venture a serious response which includes material about how nothing tops Dubliners for teaching students about ambiguity and the necessity of paying attention to detail, but I'll refrain and instead just say "Yes."

(But I will note, in passing, that there's no way we could know that was a home for reformed prostitutes, that it wasn't dirt, that he was gay or why they exchanged money without delving into the historical record and contextualizing the material. That's an impluse I want to imbue in my students.)

Andre Mayer

The trouble with Silas Marner was that students found it unbearably dull -- such that it became the subject of a very high percentage of the tips offered to English teachers on how to engage student interest.

I will quote (from fading memory) the lyrics of the Count Basie standard, "Subdeb Blues":

When you're a subdeb, boys can't take you out/When you're a subdeb, boys can't take you out/You've got to read Silas Marner/And 'splain what it's all about

[I realize that I have attributed this to a (male) bandleader and not to the subdeb who actually wrote it, but I can't recall her name. I think Helen Humes was the vocalist.]


I don't have a trust fund, and I never buy lottery tickets, so, I must have masochistic tendencies. Hurrah!

John Thomas McGuire

I agree that George Eliot's "Silas Marner" is pretty boring. How about showing the film version (with Ben Kingsley, if I'm not mistaken?).:)

In addition, I can say that going for a Ph.D. is not (usually) masochistic, but given the job market, somewhat futile!


Heh. 1 and 2 summarize my frustration in my last Victorian lit survey.

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