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September 21, 2018



I agree that it's hard to generalize reliably about trends based on local experience. We don't have a "Victorian Literature" class where I teach but my two 19th-century fiction classes are among our most reliable for robust enrollment, though 19thc poetry (like most of our poetry courses) tends to have smaller numbers. It is popular here too to talk about "thematic" courses as if that will fix the general drop in student numbers in English, but there's a limit to how far my own expertise would support that, as I am trained primarily as a 19thC British specialist. I worry about committing ourselves to a curriculum of dabblers!


Perhaps English studies should return to the traditional (legendary?) Oxford University syllabus, which featured lots of Old and Middle English and ended in 1830 on the grounds that everything written since then was contemporary and so not suitable for academic study, and students would read it anyway.


I miss the old curriculum.

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