* I graduated from Clark University in the not-too-distant past, though back then we read by candlelight and there was no department blog. The blog issue being resolved—as the preceding link demonstrates—also helps kill what a common enough conception that a poster at Rate Your Students summarized:
Unfortunately, the business world stereotypes English profs as probably the least useful among all academics: tweed-clad, bookish anachronisms who, if they’re interesting at all, drive 1960’s English sports cars (but can’t find the gas cap) and make witty chit-chat at parties (but are flummoxed by modern fads like telephones, ball-point pens, and air travel).
Not at Clark! But witty chit-chat is still vogue. Whether this former student’s blog is a testament to the department or a mark of shame has yet to be decided.
* In other news, The New York Times published “Eureka! It Really Takes Years of Hard Work,” about the nature of sudden realizations and creativity:
Epiphany has little to do with either creativity or innovation. Instead, innovation is a slow process of accretion, building small insight upon interesting fact upon tried-and-true process. Just as an oyster wraps layer upon layer of nacre atop an offending piece of sand, ultimately yielding a pearl, innovation percolates within hard work over time.
The same is true of literature and criticism: the great novel always comes after long reading and effort, and the great insight about the great novel doesn’t usually come from the first reading, even if the germ of it can.
* Finally, in still other New York Times news, an essay discusses—yet again—the supposed divide between highbrow / lowbrow literature. My dream? That one day we can just discuss what’s good and bad, rather than what section of Barnes & Noble a book appears in.