One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Is Ivy Necessary?" by Hentry Steele Commager

Ok, I found the quote because I was reviewing quotation mark usage. I uncovered a bit of the author, Henry Steele Commager. Then I got interested in the context of the quote. Here's a little bit of that (the part quoted in an early post is highlighted):

     What is the explanation of what must be called the mucker pose in so much of higher education in America--of its anti-academic and anti-intellectual character? It is twofold. First is the widespread illusion that education is something that goes on in the classroom, something that comes by way of a "course" that a professor "gives" and a student "takes." This leads to the natural conclusion that when the classroom is closed, the process of education is over, and that the professor might as well go home and tend to his garden, the student might as well go to the Union and watch television. It is no exaggeration to say that if all lectures were abandoned, Oxford and Cambridge would go on much as they have been going on for centuries; perhaps the time is coming when we, too, will have to abandon "courses" as a kind of desperate gesture to prove that education consists in more than taking notes and accumulating credits. An educational system centered on the lecture course will, inevitably, disparage and neglect those other and more significant aspects of the educational enterprise, and this is particularly true of urban universities, where all the material circumstances encourage such disparagement and neglect.

[The entire article is online at:]

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