Reader's Comments

Subject: Re: Critical Approaches NOT for Undergraduates, AE Extra June 2000

Just confirms what I've found at UCLA: my undergraduates are some of the
brightest and most sensible young people I've encountered in 30 years of
teaching. They aren't necessarily very well educated, but in many ways
that's great: they get very excited when they are exposed to ideas and
texts. A student in my history of literary criticism class this spring got
so excited by references to Homer that he read both the Iliad and the
Odyssey during the quarter (and his work in the course didn't suffer). I
had to send him off to our almost non-existent classics department for the
information he wanted.

The problems seem to set in graduate school, and I think I know why: the
doctrinaire oppression that rules in the academy. It's at that stage when
Mr. Larsen's comments have their relevance. Even with the possibilities of
new teaching jobs opening up, the American university system won't save
itself until it rids itself of the nonsense this bright undergraduate has
spotted and identified. And that will take several generations, at best.

Jack Kolb
Dept. of English, UCLA