Teachers and books, was: Re: Thomas Hardy

Britta Koch bkoch at rz.uni-osnabrueck.de
Wed Jan 5 08:02:29 EST 2000

>You know, this is a funny thing.  I started thinking about my public school
>experience after this and I realized something interesting.  I learned to
>read really young--like before I was three or something--apparently in some
>spontaneous fashion.  So as far as I'm concerned, I've been reading all my
>life and (this is the important part) been PRAISED for my reading all my
>life.  I took my first literary criticism class when I was twelve, taught by
>an excellent teacher who NEVER told us what any of our books meant.  I
>didn't realize how good this was till much later.

In my English course, we only read one book, and loads of excerpts. The good 
thing about this was that I would read the whole book if I liked the excerpt, the bad thing was
that I never got to discuss the books with anyone (one reason I like this list ;)
I'd actually have liked someone to ask me questions that might lead me to an interpretation...

>(Looking back, I'm almost embarrassed at how utterly arrogant I was in

I don't always think it's arrogance - in my case, it was not treating teachers as someone to look
up to, but as someone to talk to about interesting things (still, most people in my class thought 
I was sucking up).

I'm really thankful to the English teacher who fed me books when I had been learning English for 3 years
 - it paved the way to me reading "The Lord of the Rings" 4 years later and then deciding I could read everything.
I loved "Daddy Longlegs", because it gave me a list of other books to read...that's what I keep doing, reading 
classics and children's books because I want to understand "the foundations" of the English / Amercian culture 
(and I want to get every obscure reference to those books - that's what's depressing me when I read D. L. Sayers).



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