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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