Re: [mythsoc] The canon and my lousy education
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
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.
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.