Curtis White, The Middle Mind (UK edition 2004)

10 Jul

This is rather relevant to the previous entry. You may find the essays that underlie this book on Context, for example Requiem for a Dead White Male.

The continuing debate over the canon within departments of English in North American universities is so conspicuously fraught with failures of thought on both sides that its determination to see itself out seems not so much like something intellectually intended as like some sort of natural disaster, like waiting for a hurricane to reach shore, something everyone wishes weren’t going to happen but everyone understands that it’s going to happen anyway. What I propose to do is not so much engage the debate on its own terms as develop a line of thinking parallel to it. So I’ll be surfing in the waves the hurricane creates but some miles safely to the north…

Lots of people pan this book, it seems. I am looking forward to giving it a hearing at least. For a very detailed review, read The Middle Mind by Curtis White by Dan Schnieder, and then go to Ophelia Benson on Butterflies and Wheels.

I’ll let you know what I think later. His introduction to this British edition is actually rather good, but I am beginning to see some of the flaws the two reviewers point to.

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1 Comment

Posted by on July 10, 2006 in Cultural and other, Education, Reading



One response to “Curtis White, The Middle Mind (UK edition 2004)

  1. AV

    July 10, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    White and Guillory ask some valuable questions. But I have to admit to getting a little tired of this “Dead White Males” furphy–the notion that dispensing with the notion of a traditional canon (i.e. as an index for what to include and what not to include on an English or Literature syllabus) means that we’re no longer allowed to teach Shakespeare. (Or, as Donnelly would put it, “They teach Tim Winton in high schools, now . . .”)

    As you yourself have pointed out, Ninglun, this is bullshit. (That Shakespeare is no longer taught, I mean, not that Tim Winton is taught.)

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