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Re: [mythsoc] Re: old favorites and sagging canon

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  • 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 1 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 2 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


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      • 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 3 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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        • 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 4 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 5 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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