Words and Pain: two poems by Miroslav Holub

This post is modified from the original on Peachleaves. When I was teaching an introductory literature course organized around the concepts of comedy and tragedy, one of my toughest sells was that it is possible--desirable, sometimes--to take apart a joke to see what makes it funny. Thinking critically about humor really brought home the overarching… Continue reading Words and Pain: two poems by Miroslav Holub

How Not To Be: Peer Review

This post is modified from the original, which appeared in 2012 on Peachleaves. Back in my hoop-jumping early years of grad school, I sent an abstract of a seminar paper to three editors of a proposed volume. The road to revision never did run smooth, but the process for this volume was more painful than it… Continue reading How Not To Be: Peer Review

The Flight of the English Major

A recent NYT opinion piece gave some pretty surprising statistics on English majors: "In 1991, 165 students graduated from Yale with a B.A. in English literature. By 2012, that number was 62. In 1991, the top two majors at Yale were history and English. In 2013, they were economics and political science. At Pomona this… Continue reading The Flight of the English Major

Whoa whoa whoa!

This post was previously published at Peachleaves blog. Slow day at work, so I finished reading Louis Menand’s The Marketplace of Ideas.  In the final chapter, my leisurely read-while-at-work pace was jarred when I reached this paragraph: What the surveys suggest is that if doctoral education in English were a cartoon character, then about thirty… Continue reading Whoa whoa whoa!

Maybe we teach it to them

This post was originally published at Peachleaves blog This article has been making the rounds of my Facebook peer group.  It’s a thoughtful piece that puts a lot of effort into describing the conditions and causes of the current graduate school dilemma.  I don’t think I agree with his conclusions (though I certainly haven’t any… Continue reading Maybe we teach it to them