In our recent cultural history, poetry has had as many ups and downs as the stock market. Prominent urban newspapers, like The Los Angeles Times and The Houston Post no longer review books of poems. Joseph Epstein, editor of The American Scholar, a [...]
Most of us in the academic world were brought up to believe that originality was the supreme virtue. We looked on plagiarism as the primal sin, as little short of a fall from grace. Proof of plagiarism used to end professorial careers and warrant [...]
In 1674, the the last year of his life, John Milton translated from the Latin what might be described today as a press release by a foreign power, Poland. It announced the election of John Sobieski as the country's new king. The document did not c [...]
Summer session is one of the smaller academic territories. It used to be limited to a handful of obsessive or otherwise needy students and professors, most driven by some imperative never to let any period go unproductive of credit or cash. On the [...]
We concentrate as a nation, more than ever these days, on our formal education, in school, college, and university. Yet in a lifetime we probably learn more on our own, outside the system, large and little things, from matters of taste, in our recr [...]
The City College of New York (CCNY), now the City University of New York (CUNY), for decades has been put forward by proponents of free higher education in this country as a golden center of learning. "The poor man's Harvard," it was considered. Th [...]
For several years now I've been reading fewer books, from start to finish, that is. Not that my reading has diminished. If anything, I'm reading more now, more words certainly, every day, every week, daily and Sunday newspapers, weeklies, fortnightli [...]
In introducing his less than admiring review of Ernest Hemingway's Across the River and Into the Trees, in The New York Times Book Review, John O'Hara referred to him as the greatest writer since Shakespeare. O'Hara wasn't simply being contrarian; I' [...]
Booknotes: Life Stories, Notable Biographers an the People Who Shaped America. Interviews by Brian Lamb. Times Books.$27.50 cloth, $17.00 paper.
For decades now, as Hollywood films and commercial television have come to dominate our non-athleti [...]
The Rise and Fall of English. By Robert Scholes. Yale. $25. 00 cloth, $10.95 paper.
It is tempting to say at once that this small treasure of a book should be read by every past, present, and future professor of English and by every college and un [...]
We commonly think of the essay as inferior to drama, fiction, or poetry. True, traditional anthologies of American and English literature put a "great" author's essays with his poems, as with Dryden or Eliot, or, if he is known only for his essays, l [...]
Charlie Van Doren, the hero-villain of the movie Quiz Show and for a good while a national icon of television fans in the 50's, and I were in Miss Marjorie Nicolson's seminar on 17th-century English literature at Columbia University in postwar New [...]