More than you ever wanted to know (was Re: answers from Diana)

Rosie Burroughs rosieburroughs at
Mon May 28 17:23:27 EDT 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at>
To: <dwj at>
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:14 PM
Subject: Re: More than you ever wanted to know (was Re: answers from Diana)

> Yeah.  What she said.  Doubled.  I was thinking about this in the car just
> minute ago, and realized that English teachers usually aren't hired on the
> basis of how much they love books.  So it's possible to get a teacher who
> only knows the rote answers and teaches those as if they were what lit
> is all about.  This makes me seriously annoyed.  All I need now for steam
> start coming out my ears is for Elise to repeat the story about the
> who thought Thomas Hardy hated Tess.  <grrr>
> And you, Ania, being intelligent, figured out the flaw in the way you were
> taught: It is pointless.  It doesn't have any relevance to anything.  It
> certainly doesn't bear any relevance to the reason any of us read in the
> first place, which is to enjoy what we're reading.

Thank God. I thought I must just be thick for always wanting to say that I
wanted to read books and enjoy them and say what I thought about them, not
what someone else thought I ought to think about them.

The strange thing is that at least one of my English teachers did love
books, and we had some really good chats about books that I wasn't supposed
to be studying for A-level.

I thought I might get to break the jinx last summer when I was writing my
dissertation on Christianity in children's lit, i.e. combining two of my
favourite topics. Unfortunately the children's librarianship tutor, who was
lovely and very encouraging (she also taught management and actually got me
to understand a little of it), was away on maternity leave that term, so I
got lumbered with the head of department, a formidable woman who knew very
little and cared less about children's lit and thought her duty was to
encourage me to read more adult novels. (She did like some of my favourite
"adult" lit, though - but we didn't get on to DWJ!)


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