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old favorites and sagging canon

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  • John D Rateliff
    Two articles in yesterday s Seattle Post-Intelligencer seem apropos to our recent discussion, so I m posting the links here. The first is on how nostalgia by
    Message 1 of 18 , Dec 22, 2006
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      Two articles in yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer seem apropos
      to our recent discussion, so I'm posting the links here.

      The first is on how nostalgia by parents creates demand for books
      they loved when growing up to share with their own kids.
      Mostly aimed at a somewhat younger audience than we've been talking
      about. Pretty good piece, though I wonder at the reporter's thinking
      "Jabberwocky" is some obscure, half-forgotten work.
      <>---------------------------------------------------------------

      Favorite children's books span generations
      Your kid's favorite books were likely yours. The reason: It
      helps you remember your childhood.

      * Read the full article at:
      http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296502_kidbooks21.html

      <>---------------------------------------------------------------

      The second is a typical lament about how the younger generation is
      Letting The Side Down, this time by not having read all thirty of
      what Wm Bennett, George Will, and Harold Bloom consider essential
      books before they graduate high school. Leaving aside the fact that I
      wouldn't trust Bennett or Will to pick my brand of toothpaste, much
      less arbitrate culture, since I didn't read a number of these until
      college, and still haven't read some, it doesn't sound like the last
      trump of doom to me.

      <>---------------------------------------------------------------

      Time takes its toll on the classics -- among students
      COLONIE, N.Y. -- The literary canon may not be dead across
      America's college campuses, but its heartbeat has grown weak and
      erratic.

      * Read the full article at:
      http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296145_classics18.html

      <>---------------------------------------------------------------

      Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
      criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving high school.

      1. The Works of Shakespeare

      2. The Declaration of Independence

      3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn

      4. The poems of Emily Dickinson

      5. The poems of Robert Frost

      6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter

      7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby

      8. Orwell, George, 1984

      9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad

      10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities

      11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales

      12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye

      13. The Bible

      14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden

      15. Sophocles, Oedipus

      16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath

      17. Ralph Waldo Emerson�s essays and poems

      18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice

      19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass

      20. The novels of William Faulkner

      21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick

      22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost

      23. Vergil, Aeneid

      24. Plato, The Republic

      25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto

      26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince

      27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America

      28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment

      29. Aristotle, Politics

      30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace


      --JDR

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • jane Bigelow
      Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the younger generation now and then myself, but that book list is completely unreasonable. How many
      Message 2 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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        Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the younger
        generation now and then myself, but that book list is completely
        unreasonable. How many people are ready to read *and understand*
        most of those titles before the age of eighteen? Also, I'm all for
        classical scholarship, but I do think we should have some contact
        with modern writers such as, say Tolkien. ;-) As a librarian I
        respect reading tremendously, but people may need to get up and do
        something else now and then, too.

        Jane


        At 07:32 PM 12/22/2006, you wrote:
        >Two articles in yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer seem apropos
        >to our recent discussion, so I'm posting the links here.
        >
        > The first is on how nostalgia by parents creates demand for books
        >they loved when growing up to share with their own kids.
        >Mostly aimed at a somewhat younger audience than we've been talking
        >about. Pretty good piece, though I wonder at the reporter's thinking
        >"Jabberwocky" is some obscure, half-forgotten work.
        ><>---------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        >Favorite children's books span generations
        >Your kid's favorite books were likely yours. The reason: It
        >helps you remember your childhood.
        >
        >* Read the full article at:
        >http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296502_kidbooks21.html
        >
        ><>---------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        > The second is a typical lament about how the younger generation is
        >Letting The Side Down, this time by not having read all thirty of
        >what Wm Bennett, George Will, and Harold Bloom consider essential
        >books before they graduate high school. Leaving aside the fact that I
        >wouldn't trust Bennett or Will to pick my brand of toothpaste, much
        >less arbitrate culture, since I didn't read a number of these until
        >college, and still haven't read some, it doesn't sound like the last
        >trump of doom to me.
        >
        ><>---------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        >Time takes its toll on the classics -- among students
        >COLONIE, N.Y. -- The literary canon may not be dead across
        >America's college campuses, but its heartbeat has grown weak and
        >erratic.
        >
        >* Read the full article at:
        >http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296145_classics18.html
        >
        ><>---------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        >Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
        >criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving high school.
        >
        >1. The Works of Shakespeare
        >
        >2. The Declaration of Independence
        >
        >3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
        >
        >4. The poems of Emily Dickinson
        >
        >5. The poems of Robert Frost
        >
        >6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter
        >
        >7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
        >
        >8. Orwell, George, 1984
        >
        >9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad
        >
        >10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities
        >
        >11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales
        >
        >12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
        >
        >13. The Bible
        >
        >14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
        >
        >15. Sophocles, Oedipus
        >
        >16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
        >
        >17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems
        >
        >18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice
        >
        >19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
        >
        >20. The novels of William Faulkner
        >
        >21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick
        >
        >22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
        >
        >23. Vergil, Aeneid
        >
        >24. Plato, The Republic
        >
        >25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto
        >
        >26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince
        >
        >27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America
        >
        >28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
        >
        >29. Aristotle, Politics
        >
        >30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
        >
        >
        >--JDR
        >
        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • Walter Padgett
        Good point. But I read several of the books on this list in high school. And my teachers recognized my interests and went to work on me to get me reading
        Message 3 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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          Good point. But I read several of the books on this list in high
          school. And my teachers recognized my interests and went to work on
          me to get me reading some of these classics as soon as they could.

          An English teacher and a History teacher, between them, had me reading
          Dante's Inferno, and though they didn't ask me to read most of the
          other works on this list, they did talk about and introduce me to most
          of the other works on this list.

          I wrote a paper on Machiavelli's Prince, and another on "Man's Visions
          of the Afterlife" as a Senior at Coshocton High School in Coshocton
          Ohio (1986). Much of that paper referenced the classics, Plato among
          them.

          As my teachers suggested, I ended up entering a piece of my writing on
          the issue of what could be done about World Hunger in a contest at
          Bowling Green State University (Ohio). The Philosophy department
          there gave several students awards for their efforts at a (very
          impressive, and memorable) dinner reception and awards ceremony. At
          least a hundred students were honored at that ceremony with
          certificates (I still have mine, framed) recognizing their ability and
          the merit of their writing.

          I asked both of my High School teachers to go to that ceremony with
          me, and they couldn't. Neither of my parents could go either, so I
          went by myself.
          It was kind of scary, and I didn't really know the way there. It was
          a long drive, and I was amazed at every step of the journey. It seems
          like one of those teachers or one of my parents should have
          accompanied me. It seemed that way then, and it still seems so, to
          me.

          Anyway, I certainly recognize all the works on this list, and it seems
          a worthy suggestion on the part of Wm Bennett, George Will, and Harold
          Bloom that people who want to be, or profess to be "educated" should
          read them.

          Why not read everything of transcendent or excellent quality? Why
          shouldn't Bennett, Will and Bloom suggest that everyone read the
          entire "Great Books of the Western World" series? Of course, there's
          too much to read and not enough time to read it all, increasingly so
          in today's busily changing world. At some point, you have to make a
          limited selection of the best of the best, and you've got to have
          something like a topic or an argument to help guide your selection.

          The reading of Tolkien, of course, can only be a richer experience for
          having the background of knowledge gleaned from studying the 30 works
          on this list.

          Thanks, Walter.



          On 12/23/06, jane Bigelow <jbigelow@...> wrote:
          >
          > Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the younger
          > generation now and then myself, but that book list is completely
          > unreasonable. How many people are ready to read *and understand*
          > most of those titles before the age of eighteen? Also, I'm all for
          > classical scholarship, but I do think we should have some contact
          > with modern writers such as, say Tolkien. ;-) As a librarian I
          > respect reading tremendously, but people may need to get up and do
          > something else now and then, too.
          >
          > Jane
          >
          >
          > At 07:32 PM 12/22/2006, you wrote:
          > >Two articles in yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer seem apropos
          > >to our recent discussion, so I'm posting the links here.
          > >
          > > The first . . .
          -------------------------------------------------------
          > >
          > > The second is a typical lament about how the younger generation is
          > >Letting The Side Down, this time by not having read all thirty of
          > >what Wm Bennett, George Will, and Harold Bloom consider essential
          > >books before they graduate high school. Leaving aside the fact that I
          > >wouldn't trust Bennett or Will to pick my brand of toothpaste, much
          > >less arbitrate culture, since I didn't read a number of these until
          > >college, and still haven't read some, it doesn't sound like the last
          > >trump of doom to me.
          > >
          > ><>----------------------------------------------------------
          > >
          > >Time takes its toll on the classics -- among students
          > >COLONIE, N.Y. -- The literary canon may not be dead across
          > >America's college campuses, but its heartbeat has grown weak and
          > >erratic.
          > >
          > >* Read the full article at:
          > >http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296145_classics18.html
          > >
          > ><>----------------------------------------------------------
          > >
          > >Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
          > >criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving high school.
          > >
          > >1. The Works of Shakespeare
          > >
          > >2. The Declaration of Independence
          > >
          > >3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
          > >
          > >4. The poems of Emily Dickinson
          > >
          > >5. The poems of Robert Frost
          > >
          > >6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter
          > >
          > >7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
          > >
          > >8. Orwell, George, 1984
          > >
          > >9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad
          > >
          > >10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities
          > >
          > >11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales
          > >
          > >12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
          > >
          > >13. The Bible
          > >
          > >14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
          > >
          > >15. Sophocles, Oedipus
          > >
          > >16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
          > >
          > >17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems
          > >
          > >18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice
          > >
          > >19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
          > >
          > >20. The novels of William Faulkner
          > >
          > >21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick
          > >
          > >22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
          > >
          > >23. Vergil, Aeneid
          > >
          > >24. Plato, The Republic
          > >
          > >25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto
          > >
          > >26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince
          > >
          > >27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America
          > >
          > >28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
          > >
          > >29. Aristotle, Politics
          > >
          > >30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
          > >
          > >
          > >--JDR
        • Ginger McElwee
          _____ ... I have no objection to students or adults reading the books on this list. I do, however, think it is a strange mixture of excellent, enduring works
          Message 4 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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            _____

            Jane wrote:

            >Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the younger
            >generation now and then myself, but that book list is completely
            >unreasonable. How many people are ready to read *and understand*
            >most of those titles before the age of eighteen? Also, I'm all for
            >classical scholarship, but I do think we should have some contact
            >with modern writers such as, say Tolkien. ;-) As a librarian I
            >respect reading tremendously, but people may need to get up and do
            >something else now and then, too.



            I have no objection to students or adults reading the books on this list. I
            do, however, think it is a strange mixture of excellent, enduring works and
            pieces of American culture that may have little universal value or endurance
            as literature. I happen to like The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye,
            but do they belong on the same list with Homer? Maybe they do, but when the
            list is so short, I think there might be other equal or more important
            selections. (Of course, I would add The Lord of the Rings.) This looks like
            the same list I would have been given in high school, a list reflecting the
            understanding of contemporary literature that was current in the 1960's and
            1970's.

            As best as I can separate what I read in high school and what I read as an
            undergraduate, I think I had read about 23 of these by the time I entered
            college just before my 18th birthday. I think many high school students can
            and should read such selections. My experience teaching freshmen in
            college, however, is that most of them don't read these books or any others.
            I think it has always been the unusual student, the person in love with
            words and ideas and stories who has read. I don't think this generation is
            much different from my own.

            Ginger McElwee


            >Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
            >criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving high school.
            >
            >1. The Works of Shakespeare
            >
            >2. The Declaration of Independence
            >
            >3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
            >
            >4. The poems of Emily Dickinson
            >
            >5. The poems of Robert Frost
            >
            >6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter
            >
            >7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
            >
            >8. Orwell, George, 1984
            >
            >9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad
            >
            >10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities
            >
            >11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales
            >
            >12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
            >
            >13. The Bible
            >
            >14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
            >
            >15. Sophocles, Oedipus
            >
            >16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
            >
            >17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems
            >
            >18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice
            >
            >19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
            >
            >20. The novels of William Faulkner
            >
            >21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick
            >
            >22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
            >
            >23. Vergil, Aeneid
            >
            >24. Plato, The Republic
            >
            >25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto
            >
            >26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince
            >
            >27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America
            >
            >28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
            >
            >29. Aristotle, Politics
            >
            >30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
            >
            >





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Merlin DeTardo
            Around the time I graduated high school in 1990, I remember encountering a similar but longer list of books based on a poll of English professors, who were
            Message 5 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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              Around the time I graduated high school in 1990, I remember
              encountering a similar but longer list of books based on a poll of
              English professors, who were asked what they wanted incoming
              freshman to have read.

              I think most of the books on the new list are read by some high
              school students, but probably no high school student reads all of
              them. From the list, I remember encountering these in my (public)
              high school:

              1. Some of The Works of Shakespeare: Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth,
              Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of
              the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, various sonnets.
              2. The Declaration of Independence.
              3. Excerpts from Mark Twain's work but no complete novel.
              4. Some Dickinson poems.
              5. Some Frost poems.
              6. Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
              7. Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
              8. Orwell, but Animal Farm not 1984.
              9. No Homer.
              10. Dickens's Great Expectations but not A Tale of Two Cities.
              11. No Chaucer.
              12. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.
              13. Nothing from the Bible.
              14. Excerpts from Thoreau's Walden.
              15. Sophocles's Oedipus.
              16. Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
              17. Some Emerson poems.
              18. No Austen.
              19. Some Whitman poems.
              20. Faulkner's As I Lay Dying but nothing else.
              21. Excerpts from Melville.
              22. No Milton.
              23. No Vergil.
              24. Excerpts from Plato.
              25. Excerpts from Marx.
              26. Excerpts from Machiavelli.
              27. Excerpts from Tocqueville.
              28. No Dostoevski.
              29. No Aristotle.
              30. No Tolstoy.

              The foreign language works were in English translation, of course.

              I expect others here officially read about as many as I did, though
              titles will vary between us. By comparision, I wonder: what would
              Tolkien have read at King Edward's? Obviously many of these works
              are too new. Is there a curriculum in Carpenter's biography, or
              perhaps in Hammond and Scull's new book?

              -Merlin DeTardo


              >>---jane Bigelow <jbigelow@...> wrote:
              >> Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the
              younger generation now and then myself, but that book list is
              completely unreasonable. How many people are ready to read *and
              understand* most of those titles before the age of eighteen? Also,
              I'm all for classical scholarship, but I do think we should have
              some contact with modern writers such as, say Tolkien. ;-) As a
              librarian I respect reading tremendously, but people may need to get
              up and do something else now and then, too.
            • Hugh Davis
              I teach literature in an independent high school, and I am always interested in these lists. Assuming that those producing this list were not truly intending
              Message 6 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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                I teach literature in an independent high school, and I am always interested
                in these lists. Assuming that those producing this list were not truly
                intending for a college freshman to have already read all of the works in
                some of these (all of Shakespeare, Dickinson, Faulkner), I thought my school
                was covering the (admittedly western) canon fairly well.

                1. The Works of Shakespeare�at my school, Shakespeare gets good coverage
                with Othello (once Julius Caesar) in 10th and Macbeth and Midsummer for all
                12th this year, with honors and AP reading Hamlet as well (and I had my
                seniors read The Tempest as well when I was teaching Brit Lit).
                2. The Declaration of Independence�covered in both American Lit and
                American History
                3. Huckleberry Finn�read by 11th graders
                4. The poems of Emily Dickinson�we all teach Miss Dickinson in 11th
                5. The poems of Robert Frost�also covered in 11th
                6. Scarlet Letter�again, American lit (junior year) staple
                7. The Great Gatsby�also part of the junior lit experience
                8. 1984�the first title on the list we do not cover; it would fit in the
                curriculum for 12th (British), but many schools teach this in 9th grade
                9. Homer�s Epics, The Odyssey and The Iliad�covered through a summer and
                then in 10th grade
                10. One of two by Dickens, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities�not
                covered; like 1984, these are titles often taught in a freshman course (or
                even in 8th grade), but they fit the material for 12th grade
                11. The Canterbury Tales�covered in 12th; the GP is always taught, then a
                sampling of the tales
                12. Catcher in the Rye�not taught at this time, although I understand it
                was taught in 9th grade before our current model, so it has been part of the
                curriculum
                13. The Bible�While we no longer offer a course of Bib Lit , we still cover
                parts of the OT in 9th Summer Reading and then selections from the NT in
                10th grade; certainly much of Western Lit and much of our canon requires a
                solid knowledge of scriptural texts
                14. Walden�read (in excerpt) with juniors
                15. Oedipus�studied in 10th
                16. The Grapes of Wrath�not currently taught, although many of our juniors
                did read it as part of an assignment for US History
                17. Emerson�s Essays & Poems�studied in 11th
                18. Pride and Prejudice�taught in 12th
                19. Leaves of Grass�read (in selections) in 11th
                20. The novels of William Faulkner�the AP 11 reads The Sound and the Fury;
                Honors 11 reads As I Lay Dying
                21. Moby Dick�not currently covered in any course
                22. Paradise Lost�taught in 12th grade
                23. Aeneid�taught (in excerpt) in 10th grade
                24. The Republic�while all of Plato is not read, �The Allegory of the Cave�
                is the opening to Western Studies in 10th grade
                25. Communist Manifesto�taught in 10th as part of Western Studies
                26. The Prince�also taught in 10th as part of Western Studies
                27. Democracy in America by de Tocqueville�read (in excerpt) in American
                history; I used one selection from it in my honors lit this year (as a look
                at the American Dream)
                28. Crime and Punishment�taught in honors 10th
                29. Aristotle, Politics�not covered at this time
                30. War and Peace�not covered at this time (although some short stories by
                Tolstoy are)

                Of these 30 items, only five are not covered in some aspect by our
                department, and those fit a �once upon a time we did teach�� sort of answer.

                Hugh



                >From: "Merlin DeTardo" <emptyD@...>
                >Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: [mythsoc] Re: old favorites and sagging canon
                >Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 19:14:44 -0000
                >
                >Around the time I graduated high school in 1990, I remember
                >encountering a similar but longer list of books based on a poll of
                >English professors, who were asked what they wanted incoming
                >freshman to have read.
                >
                >I think most of the books on the new list are read by some high
                >school students, but probably no high school student reads all of
                >them. From the list, I remember encountering these in my (public)
                >high school:
                >
                >1. Some of The Works of Shakespeare: Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth,
                >Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of
                >the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, various sonnets.
                >2. The Declaration of Independence.
                >3. Excerpts from Mark Twain's work but no complete novel.
                >4. Some Dickinson poems.
                >5. Some Frost poems.
                >6. Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
                >7. Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
                >8. Orwell, but Animal Farm not 1984.
                >9. No Homer.
                >10. Dickens's Great Expectations but not A Tale of Two Cities.
                >11. No Chaucer.
                >12. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.
                >13. Nothing from the Bible.
                >14. Excerpts from Thoreau's Walden.
                >15. Sophocles's Oedipus.
                >16. Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
                >17. Some Emerson poems.
                >18. No Austen.
                >19. Some Whitman poems.
                >20. Faulkner's As I Lay Dying but nothing else.
                >21. Excerpts from Melville.
                >22. No Milton.
                >23. No Vergil.
                >24. Excerpts from Plato.
                >25. Excerpts from Marx.
                >26. Excerpts from Machiavelli.
                >27. Excerpts from Tocqueville.
                >28. No Dostoevski.
                >29. No Aristotle.
                >30. No Tolstoy.
                >
                >The foreign language works were in English translation, of course.
                >
                >I expect others here officially read about as many as I did, though
                >titles will vary between us. By comparision, I wonder: what would
                >Tolkien have read at King Edward's? Obviously many of these works
                >are too new. Is there a curriculum in Carpenter's biography, or
                >perhaps in Hammond and Scull's new book?
                >
                >-Merlin DeTardo
                >
                >
                > >>---jane Bigelow <jbigelow@...> wrote:
                > >> Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the
                >younger generation now and then myself, but that book list is
                >completely unreasonable. How many people are ready to read *and
                >understand* most of those titles before the age of eighteen? Also,
                >I'm all for classical scholarship, but I do think we should have
                >some contact with modern writers such as, say Tolkien. ;-) As a
                >librarian I respect reading tremendously, but people may need to get
                >up and do something else now and then, too.
                >

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              • jane Bigelow
                Walter, Certainly, some students will read and appreciate some of these works. Many, possibly most, people on this list probably did. Congratulations for
                Message 7 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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                  Walter,

                  Certainly, some students will read and appreciate some of these
                  works. Many, possibly most, people on this list probably
                  did. Congratulations for having the wit to do so early, and the luck
                  to have teachers who encouraged you! My objection is to the idea
                  that a beginning college student should have read all of them,
                  especially in those cases where there's just an author listing. All
                  of Dickens? All of Shakespeare?

                  This is being referred to as the canon. Even in the case of
                  Shakespeare, there are some plays that are now done only by groups
                  determined to do the entire canon of his works--and if you attend
                  one, you can usually see why they're done so seldom!

                  The lack of diversity in the list bothers me, also. Is there only
                  one woman worthy of inclusion? No scholars from the Arab
                  world? I'll agree to leave out a lot of the rest of the world, if
                  we're looking only at literature and cultures that influenced ours
                  early and directly.

                  Jane


                  At 10:50 AM 12/23/2006, you wrote:

                  >Good point. But I read several of the books on this list in high
                  >school. And my teachers recognized my interests and went to work on
                  >me to get me reading some of these classics as soon as they could.
                  >
                  >An English teacher and a History teacher, between them, had me reading
                  >Dante's Inferno, and though they didn't ask me to read most of the
                  >other works on this list, they did talk about and introduce me to most
                  >of the other works on this list.
                  >
                  >I wrote a paper on Machiavelli's Prince, and another on "Man's Visions
                  >of the Afterlife" as a Senior at Coshocton High School in Coshocton
                  >Ohio (1986). Much of that paper referenced the classics, Plato among
                  >them.
                  >
                  >As my teachers suggested, I ended up entering a piece of my writing on
                  >the issue of what could be done about World Hunger in a contest at
                  >Bowling Green State University (Ohio). The Philosophy department
                  >there gave several students awards for their efforts at a (very
                  >impressive, and memorable) dinner reception and awards ceremony. At
                  >least a hundred students were honored at that ceremony with
                  >certificates (I still have mine, framed) recognizing their ability and
                  >the merit of their writing.
                  >
                  >I asked both of my High School teachers to go to that ceremony with
                  >me, and they couldn't. Neither of my parents could go either, so I
                  >went by myself.
                  >It was kind of scary, and I didn't really know the way there. It was
                  >a long drive, and I was amazed at every step of the journey. It seems
                  >like one of those teachers or one of my parents should have
                  >accompanied me. It seemed that way then, and it still seems so, to
                  >me.
                  >
                  >Anyway, I certainly recognize all the works on this list, and it seems
                  >a worthy suggestion on the part of Wm Bennett, George Will, and Harold
                  >Bloom that people who want to be, or profess to be "educated" should
                  >read them.
                  >
                  >Why not read everything of transcendent or excellent quality? Why
                  >shouldn't Bennett, Will and Bloom suggest that everyone read the
                  >entire "Great Books of the Western World" series? Of course, there's
                  >too much to read and not enough time to read it all, increasingly so
                  >in today's busily changing world. At some point, you have to make a
                  >limited selection of the best of the best, and you've got to have
                  >something like a topic or an argument to help guide your selection.
                  >
                  >The reading of Tolkien, of course, can only be a richer experience for
                  >having the background of knowledge gleaned from studying the 30 works
                  >on this list.
                  >
                  >Thanks, Walter.
                  >
                  >On 12/23/06, jane Bigelow
                  ><<mailto:jbigelow%40pcisys.net>jbigelow@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the younger
                  > > generation now and then myself, but that book list is completely
                  > > unreasonable. How many people are ready to read *and understand*
                  > > most of those titles before the age of eighteen? Also, I'm all for
                  > > classical scholarship, but I do think we should have some contact
                  > > with modern writers such as, say Tolkien. ;-) As a librarian I
                  > > respect reading tremendously, but people may need to get up and do
                  > > something else now and then, too.
                  > >
                  > > Jane
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > At 07:32 PM 12/22/2006, you wrote:
                  > > >Two articles in yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer seem apropos
                  > > >to our recent discussion, so I'm posting the links here.
                  > > >
                  > > > The first . . .
                  >-------------------------------------------------------
                  > > >
                  > > > The second is a typical lament about how the younger generation is
                  > > >Letting The Side Down, this time by not having read all thirty of
                  > > >what Wm Bennett, George Will, and Harold Bloom consider essential
                  > > >books before they graduate high school. Leaving aside the fact that I
                  > > >wouldn't trust Bennett or Will to pick my brand of toothpaste, much
                  > > >less arbitrate culture, since I didn't read a number of these until
                  > > >college, and still haven't read some, it doesn't sound like the last
                  > > >trump of doom to me.
                  > > >
                  > > ><>----------------------------------------------------------
                  > > >
                  > > >Time takes its toll on the classics -- among students
                  > > >COLONIE, N.Y. -- The literary canon may not be dead across
                  > > >America's college campuses, but its heartbeat has grown weak and
                  > > >erratic.
                  > > >
                  > > >* Read the full article at:
                  > > ><http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296145_classics18.html>http:
                  > //seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296145_classics18.html
                  > > >
                  > > ><>----------------------------------------------------------
                  > > >
                  > > >Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
                  > > >criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving high school.
                  > > >
                  > > >1. The Works of Shakespeare
                  > > >
                  > > >2. The Declaration of Independence
                  > > >
                  > > >3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
                  > > >
                  > > >4. The poems of Emily Dickinson
                  > > >
                  > > >5. The poems of Robert Frost
                  > > >
                  > > >6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter
                  > > >
                  > > >7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
                  > > >
                  > > >8. Orwell, George, 1984
                  > > >
                  > > >9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad
                  > > >
                  > > >10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities
                  > > >
                  > > >11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales
                  > > >
                  > > >12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
                  > > >
                  > > >13. The Bible
                  > > >
                  > > >14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
                  > > >
                  > > >15. Sophocles, Oedipus
                  > > >
                  > > >16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
                  > > >
                  > > >17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems
                  > > >
                  > > >18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice
                  > > >
                  > > >19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
                  > > >
                  > > >20. The novels of William Faulkner
                  > > >
                  > > >21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick
                  > > >
                  > > >22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
                  > > >
                  > > >23. Vergil, Aeneid
                  > > >
                  > > >24. Plato, The Republic
                  > > >
                  > > >25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto
                  > > >
                  > > >26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince
                  > > >
                  > > >27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America
                  > > >
                  > > >28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
                  > > >
                  > > >29. Aristotle, Politics
                  > > >
                  > > >30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >--JDR
                  >

                  ----------



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • William Cloud Hicklin
                  Come on-- Catcher in the Rye? Emily Dickinson? Robert Frost? (Formerly) overrated, and hardly essential. Once upon a time James Russell Lowell and O.H.
                  Message 8 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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                    Come on-- Catcher in the Rye? Emily Dickinson? Robert
                    Frost? (Formerly) overrated, and hardly essential. Once upon
                    a time James Russell Lowell and O.H. Holmes Sr. were
                    considered canon, for much the same flimsy reasons. Where's T.
                    S. Eliot? And *all* of Shakespeare's plays? Titus
                    Andronicus? Two Gentlemen of Verona? Time would be much
                    better spent reading the best of Marlowe or Jonson. Trade one
                    Dickens for a Hardy. Replace W&P with Karenina. Cut the Bible
                    down -nobody reads Numbers or Deuteronomy, and Chronicles just
                    rehashes Kings. Also (speaking as a philosophy major) few
                    teenagers are ready for The Republic until they've digested
                    (at a minimum) Phaedo and Meno.



                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Two articles in yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer seem
                    apropos
                    > to our recent discussion, so I'm posting the links here.
                    >
                    > The first is on how nostalgia by parents creates demand
                    for books
                    > they loved when growing up to share with their own kids.
                    > Mostly aimed at a somewhat younger audience than we've been
                    talking
                    > about. Pretty good piece, though I wonder at the reporter's
                    thinking
                    > "Jabberwocky" is some obscure, half-forgotten work.
                    > <>-----------------------------------------------------------
                    ----
                    >
                    > Favorite children's books span generations
                    > Your kid's favorite books were likely yours. The reason: It
                    > helps you remember your childhood.
                    >
                    > * Read the full article at:
                    > http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296502_kidbooks21.html
                    >
                    > <>-----------------------------------------------------------
                    ----
                    >
                    > The second is a typical lament about how the younger
                    generation is
                    > Letting The Side Down, this time by not having read all
                    thirty of
                    > what Wm Bennett, George Will, and Harold Bloom consider
                    essential
                    > books before they graduate high school. Leaving aside the
                    fact that I
                    > wouldn't trust Bennett or Will to pick my brand of
                    toothpaste, much
                    > less arbitrate culture, since I didn't read a number of
                    these until
                    > college, and still haven't read some, it doesn't sound like
                    the last
                    > trump of doom to me.
                    >
                    > <>-----------------------------------------------------------
                    ----
                    >
                    > Time takes its toll on the classics -- among students
                    > COLONIE, N.Y. -- The literary canon may not be dead across
                    > America's college campuses, but its heartbeat has grown weak
                    and
                    > erratic.
                    >
                    > * Read the full article at:
                    > http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/296145_classics18.html
                    >
                    > <>-----------------------------------------------------------
                    ----
                    >
                    > Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
                    > criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving
                    high school.
                    >
                    > 1. The Works of Shakespeare
                    >
                    > 2. The Declaration of Independence
                    >
                    > 3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
                    >
                    > 4. The poems of Emily Dickinson
                    >
                    > 5. The poems of Robert Frost
                    >
                    > 6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter
                    >
                    > 7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
                    >
                    > 8. Orwell, George, 1984
                    >
                    > 9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad
                    >
                    > 10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two
                    Cities
                    >
                    > 11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales
                    >
                    > 12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
                    >
                    > 13. The Bible
                    >
                    > 14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
                    >
                    > 15. Sophocles, Oedipus
                    >
                    > 16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
                    >
                    > 17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems
                    >
                    > 18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice
                    >
                    > 19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
                    >
                    > 20. The novels of William Faulkner
                    >
                    > 21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick
                    >
                    > 22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
                    >
                    > 23. Vergil, Aeneid
                    >
                    > 24. Plato, The Republic
                    >
                    > 25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto
                    >
                    > 26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince
                    >
                    > 27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America
                    >
                    > 28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
                    >
                    > 29. Aristotle, Politics
                    >
                    > 30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
                    >
                    >
                    > --JDR
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • William Cloud Hicklin
                    ... Mostly the Greek and Latin authors- and mostly not in translation. Also Shakespeare. Perhaps Milton. Certainly nothing written after 1700. The old
                    Message 9 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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                      > By comparision, I wonder: what would
                      > Tolkien have read at King Edward's?

                      Mostly the Greek and Latin authors- and mostly not in
                      translation. Also Shakespeare. Perhaps Milton. Certainly
                      nothing written after 1700. The old ideal of a "classical
                      education" regarded the Novel as mass entertainment, a thing of
                      little worth.
                      >
                      >
                      > >>---jane Bigelow <jbigelow@> wrote:
                      > >> Egad. I indulge in a bit of lamenting the ignorance of the
                      > younger generation now and then myself, but that book list is
                      > completely unreasonable. How many people are ready to read
                      *and
                      > understand* most of those titles before the age of eighteen?
                      Also,
                      > I'm all for classical scholarship, but I do think we should
                      have
                      > some contact with modern writers such as, say Tolkien. ;-) As
                      a
                      > librarian I respect reading tremendously, but people may need
                      to get
                      > up and do something else now and then, too.
                      >
                    • William Cloud Hicklin
                      ... You mean like the Necronomicon :)
                      Message 10 of 18 , Dec 23, 2006
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                        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, jane Bigelow <jbigelow@...>
                        wrote:
                        >....No scholars from the Arab
                        > world?

                        You mean like the Necronomicon :)
                      • Bill West
                        Most of the list appears every summer on the various summer reading lists I see at the bookstore, although the more challenging works usually are assigned by
                        Message 11 of 18 , Dec 24, 2006
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                          Most of the list appears every summer on the various summer
                          reading lists I see at the bookstore, although the more challenging
                          works usually are assigned by the Catholic schools. I can tell by
                          what books the parent or student asks for the high school the
                          child is attending . Seamus Heaney's " Beowulf" for example
                          usually means the customer's list is from Boston College High
                          School. Recently a split developed on Homer. Some of the
                          schools prefer the Fitzgerald translation to the new Fagles.

                          The biggest problem, IMHO, to a student reading all of the list
                          is the education system itself. It's not the individual teacher's fault
                          but they can only teach or assign so much in one year. How many of
                          us who took US History in high school ever got up to present day,
                          for example? And now at least in Mass. they spend time preparing
                          and reviewing for the MCAS exams. I'm all for improving test
                          scores but what about education?

                          Ah well. I plan to spend some time reading the older Butler prose
                          translations of Homer and Vergil I picked up for half price at the
                          store. Not as beautiful as the verse versions but it's nostalgia for
                          me. I read The Odyssey back in the 3rd or 4th grade.
                        • Jonathan Michael Reiter
                          I think we re talking about real time Arab Scholars. Abdul Al-Hazred is a fictional character of a H.P. Lovecraft s... As is The Necronomicon, another
                          Message 12 of 18 , Dec 24, 2006
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                            I think we're talking about real time Arab Scholars. Abdul Al-Hazred is a fictional character of a H.P. Lovecraft's...
                            As is The Necronomicon, another fictional character in the Cthulhu Mythos of Lovecraft's imagining, as well as being a fictional artifact...
                            Jonathan Michael Reiter
                            jmr
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: William Cloud Hicklin
                            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2006 10:50 PM
                            Subject: [mythsoc] Re: old favorites and sagging canon


                            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, jane Bigelow <jbigelow@...>
                            wrote:
                            >....No scholars from the Arab
                            > world?

                            You mean like the Necronomicon :)






                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • David Bratman
                            ... And to have them force-fed. Tom Stoppard recently wrote a play featuring some famous 19th century Russian intellectuals as characters, and was surprised
                            Message 13 of 18 , Dec 24, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              >At 08:45 PM 12/23/2006 -0700, jane Bigelow wrote:

                              >My objection is to the idea
                              >that a beginning college student should have read all of them,
                              >especially in those cases where there's just an author listing. All
                              >of Dickens? All of Shakespeare?

                              And to have them force-fed. Tom Stoppard recently wrote a play featuring
                              some famous 19th century Russian intellectuals as characters, and was
                              surprised by a lack of interest in staging it in Russia. It turned out
                              that the Russians had had these guys stuffed down their throats in high
                              school, and were sick of them.

                              >This is being referred to as the canon. Even in the case of
                              >Shakespeare, there are some plays that are now done only by groups
                              >determined to do the entire canon of his works--and if you attend
                              >one, you can usually see why they're done so seldom!

                              Some, yes, but even bad Shakespeare is better than a lot of other people,
                              and there are some hidden gems, especially if they're performed well. The
                              Henry VI plays are dynamite on stage, especially Part III, which introduces
                              the evil Richard of Gloucester and is actually a much better play than its
                              better-known successor with his name on it. I also like Coriolanus, the
                              tragedy of an exasperated man surrounded by a sea of cluelessness. Somehow
                              I empathize.

                              David Bratman
                            • jane Bigelow
                              Ah yes, standardized tests. It s the CSAP here in Colorado, and it eats weeks of time. An Arizona cousin of mine has quite teaching grade school because she
                              Message 14 of 18 , Dec 24, 2006
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                                Ah yes, standardized tests. It's the CSAP here in Colorado, and it
                                eats weeks of time. An Arizona cousin of mine has quite teaching
                                grade school because she can no longer try to give her students what
                                they need because of the time pressure from their version of the monster.

                                Sorry, I think I may be getting off topic there. Drilling people for
                                test scores does make it hard to pass along great ideas.

                                Jane

                                At 01:44 AM 12/24/2006, you wrote:

                                >Most of the list appears every summer on the various summer
                                >reading lists I see at the bookstore, although the more challenging
                                >works usually are assigned by the Catholic schools. I can tell by
                                >what books the parent or student asks for the high school the
                                >child is attending . Seamus Heaney's " Beowulf" for example
                                >usually means the customer's list is from Boston College High
                                >School. Recently a split developed on Homer. Some of the
                                >schools prefer the Fitzgerald translation to the new Fagles.
                                >
                                >The biggest problem, IMHO, to a student reading all of the list
                                >is the education system itself. It's not the individual teacher's fault
                                >but they can only teach or assign so much in one year. How many of
                                >us who took US History in high school ever got up to present day,
                                >for example? And now at least in Mass. they spend time preparing
                                >and reviewing for the MCAS exams. I'm all for improving test
                                >scores but what about education?
                                >
                                >Ah well. I plan to spend some time reading the older Butler prose
                                >translations of Homer and Vergil I picked up for half price at the
                                >store. Not as beautiful as the verse versions but it's nostalgia for
                                >me. I read The Odyssey back in the 3rd or 4th grade.
                                >
                                >
                              • Katie Glick
                                Okay, I have to play. I only graduated high school 13 years ago so I m guessing the outlook isn t as bleak as the people who wrote the article might think,
                                Message 15 of 18 , Dec 24, 2006
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                                  Okay, I have to play. I only graduated high school 13 years ago so I'm
                                  guessing the outlook isn't as bleak as the people who wrote the article
                                  might think, unless things have drastically declined in the past decade.
                                  I'll also say that I read many more things in high school in addition to the
                                  selections from the list that were read, and most were just as worthy of
                                  being included--like previously mentioned Thomas Hardy and TS Eliot, Richard
                                  Wright, a great deal of "world literature" that I think was much more
                                  interesting than "War and Peace", short stories and poems of different
                                  literary periods, and much more. In fact, I could conceive of a high school
                                  curriculum that contains NONE of the things on the list and still provides a
                                  great and well-rounded education. So there.

                                  1. The Works of Shakespeare (read Romeo & Juliet in 9th grade, Macbeth &
                                  Othello and several sonnets in 12th grade for English classes, and was a
                                  "drama geek" so I had read several others in high school on my own, mostly
                                  comedies and a few tragedies. Read all works by sophomore year in college as
                                  I had to take three Shakespeare classes in freshman and sophomore year.)

                                  2. The Declaration of Independence (Yes, we read this in 11th grade history
                                  class)

                                  3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn (11th grade English)

                                  4. The poems of Emily Dickinson (read several in 11th grade English, was
                                  given "The Complete Poems" by my aunt, so I read them all by the time I was
                                  18)

                                  5. The poems of Robert Frost (we read a few in 11th grade English, not my
                                  favorite so I haven't read anymore)

                                  6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter (11th grade English)

                                  7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby (11th grade English)

                                  8. Orwell, George, 1984 (In 12th grade government class we had to do
                                  independent book reports on one fictional and one nonfiction book having to
                                  do with government. I chose 1984 and All the President's Men. 1984 scared
                                  the crap out of me, and still does.)

                                  9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad (We read these in 10th grade English)

                                  10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities (read
                                  Great Expectations in 9th grade English and again in 12th grade drama class
                                  and then again in my college literature survey. Still have not read a Tale
                                  of Two Cities, but did read Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers, Bleak House,
                                  and David Copperfield before I was 18. I had an inexplicable love for
                                  Dickens and my parents had the complete works at home)

                                  11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales (read in 12th grade English and
                                  in college)

                                  12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye (11th grade English--I do think this
                                  is an important part of the high school canon because it's one of the few
                                  things you'll read in a literature class where you are able, as a teenager,
                                  to relate to the main character (at least for ME it was, others may vary).
                                  It definitely stands out for me as being something that immediately took
                                  hold of me, because it was the first thing I read for school that seemed to
                                  speak to my immediate situation. Up until that point, for me, reading
                                  "literary" books had been difficult, and I thought only the kind of juvenile
                                  literature that I read for pleasure could be relatable. This book changed
                                  everything for me. I realized there was real literature out there that could
                                  speak directly to my own experience of life.)

                                  13. The Bible (read in 10th grade English [as a piece of "world
                                  literature."])

                                  14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden (11th grade English)

                                  15. Sophocles, Oedipus (Did not read for class, but read on my own [drama
                                  geek again], read again in college in history of theatre class)

                                  16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath (11th grade English)

                                  17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems (11th grade English, not all, but
                                  some essays. I was sure he was on drugs.)

                                  18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (12th grade English, I also read all
                                  other Jane Austen on my own that year, because I loved it so much. Read
                                  again in college.)

                                  19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass (11th grade English)

                                  20. The novels of William Faulkner (Read "As I Lay Dying" in 11th grade
                                  English. Or rather--attempted to read it. I hated it. But still remember to
                                  this day the chapter that simply read: "My mother is a fish.")

                                  21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick (We also attempted to read Billy Budd in
                                  11th grade. It was hopeless. I tried to get through chapter one three times,
                                  then threw the book across the room. Our teacher gave up and gave us a 10
                                  question multiple choice test that "could be answered if you read the Cliff
                                  Notes." I'm sure it's a great book, but not for me at 16.)

                                  22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost (12th grade English. Did not have to read in
                                  college, although many English majors took a whole class on him in first or
                                  second year, which I was exempt from.)

                                  23. Vergil, Aeneid (did not read, read on my own while in college)

                                  24. Plato, The Republic (did not read. Read in college philosophy class)

                                  25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto (did not read. Read in college
                                  philosophy class-"Psychological (Freudian) Marxism." I don't recommend this
                                  branch of philosophy.)

                                  26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince (did not read. Read in college class on
                                  the Italian Renaissance)

                                  27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America (have never read this)

                                  28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment (did not read. Read in college
                                  Russian Literature class)

                                  29. Aristotle, Politics (did not read. Read in college philosophy class)

                                  30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace (attempted to read on my own in high school.
                                  Got bored and watched the movie instead).

                                  So I did read most of these, and I read almost all by the time I was 20.
                                  Although I will say that I was a big reader of things on my own, and I was
                                  in honors English classes, which required extra reading that regular classes
                                  did not do. Also I was an English major in college so whatever I missed, I
                                  picked up soon thereafter.

                                  HOWEVER. I don't think it's necessary for everyone to enjoy reading or to
                                  have read these books in order to be a respectable person. If you're a
                                  "humanities" person, it's a good idea to have read a lot of them, but I
                                  wouldn't ask anyone to trudge through them if they don't like them, or if
                                  they would rather spend their time painting or cooking or fixing a car or
                                  writing a computer program or whatever. There are all kinds of experiences
                                  to be had in life, and although I love to learn and read, I don't think
                                  reading any certain books is necessarily important for everyone. I think
                                  what's important is that you spend a lot of time learning about subjects
                                  that interest you, rather than forcing yourself to learn about subjects that
                                  don't because someone says you should. And I certainly don't think it makes
                                  me better or smarter than anyone else to have read these particular books.

                                  -kt


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • WendellWag@aol.com
                                  You know, I hate to think how I would have been judged if a college had decided whether to accept me or not based on how much of this list I had read when I
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Dec 24, 2006
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                                    You know, I hate to think how I would have been judged if a college had decided whether to accept me or not based on how much of this list I had read when I graduated from high school. I think I had read a cut version of a couple of Shakespeare's plays in our lousy literature textbooks. I'd read the Declaration of Independence, I think. I'd read 1984 on my own. I'd read some short selections from Homer in our literature books. I'd read a cut version of a Dickens novel in our textbooks. I'd read large parts of the Bible. And that's it. Depite this, I was easily the biggest reader in my high school class

                                    The same thing was true in other academic areas. I entered college not only planning to study math but hoping to get a Ph.D. in it. Yes, my education was lousy at that point. I recovered from it. And if a college looked at my SAT's (719 V, 772 M), they could tell that I would do well. I shudder to think what they would have done if they had judged my ability by how much I had learned up to that point. Yes, it would be nice for students to be well educated in high school, but the fact is that some students come to college poorly educated and still do well in college.

                                    Wendell Wagner

                                    >Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
                                    >criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving high school.
                                    >
                                    >1. The Works of Shakespeare
                                    >
                                    >2. The Declaration of Independence
                                    >
                                    >3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
                                    >
                                    >4. The poems of Emily Dickinson
                                    >
                                    >5. The poems of Robert Frost
                                    >
                                    >6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter
                                    >
                                    >7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
                                    >
                                    >8. Orwell, George, 1984
                                    >
                                    >9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad
                                    >
                                    >10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities
                                    >
                                    >11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales
                                    >
                                    >12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
                                    >
                                    >13. The Bible
                                    >
                                    >14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
                                    >
                                    >15. Sophocles, Oedipus
                                    >
                                    >16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
                                    >
                                    >17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems
                                    >
                                    >18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice
                                    >
                                    >19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
                                    >
                                    >20. The novels of William Faulkner
                                    >
                                    >21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick
                                    >
                                    >22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
                                    >
                                    >23. Vergil, Aeneid
                                    >
                                    >24. Plato, The Republic
                                    >
                                    >25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto
                                    >
                                    >26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince
                                    >
                                    >27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America
                                    >
                                    >28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
                                    >
                                    >29. Aristotle, Politics
                                    >
                                    >30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
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                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • William Cloud Hicklin
                                    ... Al-Hazred is a fictional character of a H.P. Lovecraft s... ... Cthulhu Mythos of Lovecraft s imagining, as well as being a fictional artifact... No!
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Dec 24, 2006
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                                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Jonathan Michael Reiter
                                      <jmrmpd@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > I think we're talking about real time Arab Scholars. Abdul
                                      Al-Hazred is a fictional character of a H.P. Lovecraft's...
                                      > As is The Necronomicon, another fictional character in the
                                      Cthulhu Mythos of Lovecraft's imagining, as well as being a
                                      fictional artifact...


                                      No! Really?? </heavy sarcasm>


                                      > Jonathan Michael Reiter
                                      > jmr
                                      > ----- Original Message -----
                                      > From: William Cloud Hicklin
                                      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                      > Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2006 10:50 PM
                                      > Subject: [mythsoc] Re: old favorites and sagging canon
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, jane Bigelow <jbigelow@>
                                      > wrote:
                                      > >....No scholars from the Arab
                                      > > world?
                                      >
                                      > You mean like the Necronomicon :)
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      >
                                    • jane Bigelow
                                      Wendell, I would ve been denied college admission myself if reading even most of the items on that list were a prerequisite. Many were not required by my high
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Dec 25, 2006
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                                        Wendell,

                                        I would've been denied college admission myself if reading even most
                                        of the items on that list were a prerequisite. Many were not
                                        required by my high school Way Back Then, so the decline of
                                        civilization must date back quite awhile. Since I now have my MLS
                                        and have published nonfiction, short stories and a novel, I guess I
                                        also recovered!

                                        It's been decades since I graduated from high school, so I no longer
                                        recall what I read then and what much later. Can remember thinking
                                        Jane Austen was a total bore, though I loved the Brontes, which I
                                        believe I read on my own. It's probably lucky for me that I didn't
                                        encounter anyone remotely like Heathcliff in my Kansas City, MO neighborhood.

                                        We did briefly encounter Greek tragedy in my senior year. We weren't
                                        supposed to look in the back of the book where some of the comedies
                                        were, but some of us did. Lysistrata was quite a revelation! It did
                                        keep me from ever thinking of the classics as dusty or dull.

                                        I do think it's a good idea to be exposed to some things that you
                                        don't think you'll like. Sometimes you're surprised, as I was when
                                        my husband dragged me to a talk on medieval civil engineering. I
                                        just think that a list of such length and complexity is too much to
                                        expect as a baseline. At the same time, it leaves out too much that
                                        would help to establish a shared core of (not necessarily accepted)ideas.

                                        Jane


                                        At 06:44 PM 12/24/2006, you wrote:

                                        >You know, I hate to think how I would have been judged if a college
                                        >had decided whether to accept me or not based on how much of this
                                        >list I had read when I graduated from high school. I think I had
                                        >read a cut version of a couple of Shakespeare's plays in our lousy
                                        >literature textbooks. I'd read the Declaration of Independence, I
                                        >think. I'd read 1984 on my own. I'd read some short selections from
                                        >Homer in our literature books. I'd read a cut version of a Dickens
                                        >novel in our textbooks. I'd read large parts of the Bible. And
                                        >that's it. Depite this, I was easily the biggest reader in my high school class
                                        >
                                        >The same thing was true in other academic areas. I entered college
                                        >not only planning to study math but hoping to get a Ph.D. in it.
                                        >Yes, my education was lousy at that point. I recovered from it. And
                                        >if a college looked at my SAT's (719 V, 772 M), they could tell that
                                        >I would do well. I shudder to think what they would have done if
                                        >they had judged my ability by how much I had learned up to that
                                        >point. Yes, it would be nice for students to be well educated in
                                        >high school, but the fact is that some students come to college
                                        >poorly educated and still do well in college.
                                        >
                                        >Wendell Wagner
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