What Was Your English Class Like?

3418685_orig When I was studying literature, in High School and at the University, we had a very clear line between was constituted classic confirmed quality literature and what was, as one of my professors called it, entertainments (his quote was “Moby Dick is a novel, the rest are entertainments”). I recall my junior and senior High School English classes have a California State Board required ciriculum and at the same time extensive lists of more entertaining but still acceptable works.

So as a Junior I read Moby Dick, but I also read Lord of the Flies for extra-credit. As a Senior I read Hamlet and Oedipus and The Vicar of Wakefield, but also Battle Cry and Tom Jones and The Prize. It might be characteristic of the college English classes I selected but I never had time allotted by the teachers to read entertainments (those were for school breaks and summers on the beach).

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Galt and God

Ayn Rand

Back when I left home and entered the university I saw a notice on a bulletin board (the real cork kind) about what I believe then was called the New Romanticism. Since I was intending to concentrate on studying the Romantic poets (especially John Keats) I was ready for my first meeting of the New Romantics. Unfortunately I soon discovered that this was all a front for what Ayn Rand called Objectivism. It didn’t take too long to realize that the crap being handed out by the followers of Any Rand was directed towards the gullible and stupid people who were the precursors of the ME-ME-ME generation.

I read a portion of Rand’s works—Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead—and was appalled at how poorly written they were and how obvious their silliness was to anyone with any critical thinking skills. I dumped Any Rand immediately.

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