What does literature do? Adam Gopnik weighs in, skeptically…

Nor do humanities specialists, let alone English majors, seem to be particularly humane or thoughtful or open-minded people, as the alternative better-people defense insists. No one was better read than the English upper classes who, a hundred years ago, blundered into the catastrophe of the Great War. (They wrote good poetry about it, the ones who survived anyway.) Victorian factory owners read Dickens, but it didn’t make Victorian factories nicer. (What made them nicer was people who read Dickens and Mill and then petitioned Parliament.)

via Why Teach and Study English? : The New Yorker.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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