Great Books Conversation Reminder

Hi, everybody.

Just a last minute reminder that Kamran and I will be hosting a Great Books discussion for any and all interested parties tomorrow at 11am in room 1046.

Tomorrow’s topic is Emerson’s “The American Scholar” and if you have extra time you might consider reading his essay on Self Reliance (or listen to it), or his essay on History (or listen to it), or a speech by Adrienne Rich called “Claiming Your Education.”

All you really need, though, is a willingness to show up and listen and contribute to a conversation about Learning, Teaching, Great Ideas, and your life.

Hope to see you there!

2 thoughts on “Great Books Conversation Reminder

  1. It was worth every minute. I got to read Emerson who I have never read, find a new class reading, and talk big ideas. I love the Great Books Conversation! Thanks!

  2. Maybe Dewey Finn’s “the Man” (TKP 9-24-11) and Emerson’s “One Man” form a rough analogue?

    I’ll reply about Morretti here (“Distant Reading” 9-7-11) if you don’t mind. Emerson would have a fit about Morretti’s experiment. Emerson knew that reading is about what the reader supplies to make the text come alive with significance. What a writer means to communicate cannot ever be spelled out completely on the page: the symbols (or “signs”) must reference some script(ure) or ideas already contained in the reader. Otherwise, no exegesis is possible.

    The alternative is brute literacy, which is why Emerson reminds colleges not to “drill” but “to create” lest they become unimportant to the public though “they grow richer every year.”

    Setting aside fears of the effete bookworm, one can see that Emerson champions a civic-minded, academic (spiritual?) kind of literacy. Anything less might prepare a student for work as a farmer or blacksmith, say, but their lives and careers might be forever limited if they are unable to “read creatively.” (A fair number of critics currently argue this. Take a look at those AFT mags they send to us.)

    “Our corporate overlords” also would have a fit if they learned of Morretti’s experiment – and I think they should. Talk about excess.

    Let’s come back to Morretti down the road somewhere. I think it would be productive to articulate more fully the reasons behind the failure of his experiment.

    I hope to make the next analog version of the Great Books Discussion.

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