Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

More bad news from Down Under

By Aussiegirl

I'm surprised that it took this long for the virus of "ideological criticism", as Bloom calls it, to infest the Aussie halls of academe.

Elite girls' school 'kills the study of literature' The Nation The Australian

ONE of the world's leading authorities on Shakespeare's work, Harold Bloom, and the nation's pre-eminent poet, Les Murray, have declared literary study in Australia dead after learning that a prestigious Sydney school asked students to interpret Othello from Marxist, feminist and racial perspectives.
"I find the question sublimely stupid," Professor Bloom, an internationally renowned literary critic, the Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale and Berg Professor of English at New York University, said yesterday.

"It is another indication that literary study has died in Australia."

[...] Bloom is a renowned defender of the Romantic poets and a critic of Marxist and post-modern approaches to literary criticism, among others. His 1994 work, The Western Canon, attacked the rise of ideologically based criticism.

Murray, who has just published his latest volume of poetry, The Biplane Houses, described the question as horrifying and said Australian literary study was "worse than dead".

He said literature should be removed from school curriculums, which, in the words of US poet Billy Collins, teach students to strap poetry to a chair and beat meaning out of it with a hose.

"Students are being taught to translate (poetry and literature) into some kind of dreary, rebarbative, reductive prose for the purpose of getting high marks," Murray said.

"They're being taught to overcome it, not to appreciate it, not to value it, not to be changed or challenged by it but to get mastery over it."


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