Irony abounds in a story from The Chronicle of Higher Education about Jonathan Gottschall, the pioneering figure of Literary Darwinism, who has taken to MMA fighting since his career as an academic foundered. Gottschall made a splash in literary circles with a dogmatic assertion that the lens of evolutionary biology can and should supercede all other modes of literary analysis; the reaction was polarizing and the fallout, it seems, is ongoing....more
Posts Tagged: The Chronicle of Higher Education
(adj.); intended to teach; related to teaching or education
“How did it come to be … that ‘those of us for whom English is a line of work are also called upon to love literature and ensue that others do so, too’?”
–Dora Zhang, “Love, Loot, and Lit.”
“We don’t expect,” writes Dora Zhang, “a molecular biologist to love bacteria in the way we expect an English professor to love Jane Austen.” It’s a valid point: when we talk about literature, it’s usually with undertones of awe, adoration and admiration for the craft of the writing, the words themselves....more
There is, in fact, a widespread view that humor abandons its true purpose when it ceases to punch upward from below, when it ceases to play David to the great Goliath of state or society, and instead punches down, targeting the weak and the downtrodden, the suckers and the yokels.
(adj.); inscribed only on one side; c. 1870-75
“As literary quarrels go, [Boisrobert’s denunciation of Homer] was a particularly good one, because it wasn’t really about technique but about the quality of ideas, about the relationship between knowledge and innovation, and not least about the value of originality.”
—Arthur Krystal, “What We Lose if We Lose the Canon”
Every writer knows that a published work never exists in a vacuum: the moment it reaches the reading public, it becomes apart of a cultural fabric, the author’s words at the mercy of his readers’ interpretation....more
Neuroscientists are examining metaphors and finding that they’re essential to language. Modern brain scanning has allowed scientists to look at brain activity as the brain employs metaphors from language. What has been found is that the brain interprets metaphors literally. For instance, metaphors based on actions involving the body activate areas of the brain that normally activate when the body is in motion....more
This week, Chronicle of Higher Education advice-columnist “Ms. Mentor” counsels a recent MFA graduate on her career options.
The recent grad is considering a gig as an adjunct professor teaching composition, but the academic scene Ms. Mentor sketches is pretty grim:
…some 70 percent of college courses offered are now taught by adjuncts—part-timers who are paid a pittance and have no job security…Few have on-campus parking.
How does a non-native English speaker figure out the proper usage and placement of “like”? Is the “like tic” nothing more than a meaningless flaw?
“Had the non-native inquirer delved further, he would have found “like” analyzed as communicating something about the speaker’s relationship to his or her statement; as a “hedge”; as more common (surprisingly!) among males than among females; as an aspect of “sluicing” or elided speech; as a presentation of dramatized dialogue; as a useful point of departure for the study of the interactions of components of grammar....more
A special issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, “An Era in Ideas,” goes under the surface of words like “death” and “terrorism” that have entered the public imagination since the September 11th attacks. The collection of essays reflects on the evolving significance of these ideas over the past decade....more