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"A subtraction from the sum of human knowledge"

Posted by Lewis on July 18, 2003

In Reply to: "A transgressive challenge..." posted by ESC on July 17, 2003

: : Or simply dreadful writing?

: : Here's a link to an amusing but sad commentary on crimes against language by "literary scholars".

: Good article. I sent it to my son, an English major. A professor from his school was mentioned. My two favorite quotes:

: Is it now mandatory to write badly?"

: Northrop Frye used to say that if you don't care about being educated, a little animal cunning will get you a degree...

That piece is superb!
Unfortunately, I failed in the animal cunning department and paraded my opinions about most criticism being "complete self-conscious bollocks" before completing A-level English "Literature". Having been happy at O-level success, I was entirely unprepared for the utter crap that one was expected to regurgitate for A-level. Regurgitating requires that one "swallows" it to start with and, as a headstrong 17 year-old, I was not savvy enough to bluff my way through and dared to have opinions.
OK they were the opinions of a 17 year-old and without much empirical background, but they were analytical and based upon the text and context.
I have spent over 20 years resenting the bulemic nature of A-level English Literature, but thank God it didn't take away my love of good writing.

If only the obsurantist constructionists/deconstructionists/poseurs would read and digest - they might develop a more healthy demeanour.