Questioning the academic enterprise. . .

Here’s Robertson Davies from an interview in Conversations with Robertson Davies:

There are a lot of things in that book [by Elspeth Buitenhuis; the work in question is not named, though it discusses Davies] that I never said and don’t agree with but she must say what she thinks. There’s a lady at McGill who teaches Fifth Business in a course on Canadian literature and she says that the stone which Ramsay carried all his life and which Boy Staunton had in his mouth when he died is the stone of judgment out of the Talmud. I have never read the Talmud. I don’t know anything about the stone of judgment, but when you fall into the hands of academics you’re a gone goose. They will interpret and say what they think and there’s nothing you can do about it. It doesn’t really very much matter unless we take it too seriously.

Sometimes I’ve wanted to pull the stunt Woody Allen does in Annie Hall:

If what literary academics are doing “doesn’t really very much matter,” the question becomes, what then are we doing?

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