The study of literature at American universities is in trouble. And it's not only because of declining enrollments in degree programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education published a rather lengthy series of essays about what’s been happening, and it starts by saying that the academic study of literature is no longer on the verge of collapse – the collapse is already well underway. The catastrophe is happening before our eyes. Read “Endgame: Can literary studies survive?”
Sir Roger Scruton dies this past week. The prolific writer, essayist, novelist was called the last conservative intellectual in Great Britain. He also got himself arrested by the Czechoslovak communist regime back in the 1960s. At The Imaginative Conservative, Paul Krause wrote a memorial of the man. And the publication posted a transcript of his last speech, “A Thing Called Civilization.”
In the last few months, I’ve been following a blog called “A London Inheritance.” The unnamed author focuses on a particular area or feature of London and then takes a deep, often historical, dive. This past week, for example, the focus was the Hungerford stairs on the Thames, and comparing what it looked like in 1985 with 2020. Then the author took a winter walk along the Thames from Tower Bridge to Westminster. I’ve done that walk along the South Bank many times.
More Good Reads
Writing and Literature
Do writers really need to do *all the things* for a successful career? – Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach.
Rupi Kaur is the Writer of the Decade – Rumaan Alam at The New Republic.
Is this the most powerful word in the English language? – Helene Schumacher at BBC.
Flannery O'Connor: Prophet in Her Own Land – Sean Johnson at Forma Journal.
Vive Maigret! – Adam Kirsch at Airmail Weekly,
New Year, New Fears – Eleazar Maduka.
Significant Lights – Rebecca Martin at The Rabbit Room.
Life and Culture
No, George Will, Individual Freedom Is Bigger Than Market Choice – Josh Hawley at The Federalist.
Education and Men without Work – Nicholas Eberstadt at National Affairs.
Marxism Died in the East Because It Realized Itself in the West – Augusto Del Noce at Church Life Journal (Notre Dame).
A Walk Through Dickens’ London – Spitalfields Life.
Norther – Daniel Leach at The Chained Muse.
An American in Rome: Five Sonnets – Peter Bridges at Society of Classical Poets.
Desk Clerk – R.S. Gwynn at E-Verse Radio.
Art and Architecture
Details of the Spire, St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Oratory – Chris Naffziger at St. Louis Patina.
Mondrian Before Abstraction – Tim Keane at Hyperallergic.
A Portrait of John Cuppy – Gabriel Neville at Emerging Revolutionary War Era.
Life of the Civil War Soldier in the Army – Sharon Denmark at American Battlefield Trust.
Be a Mr. Jensen – Clint Pulver
Painting: Woman reading a book, oil on canvas by William Oliver (1884).