Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sisyphean By Trade


T Fool has a graduate degree in literature, yet has seen performed only 14 of Shakespeare's plays, has only just recently 'read' Joyce's Ulysses (by listening to Jim Norton's performance of it on Naxos), has intended to take on Proust's Recherche, etc, but hasn't, has no intention of tackling Don Quixote despite its being brought up time and again.

Indeed, if key works (let alone major subsidiary works, still less the intensively-researched 'small' ones) of the Western world (not even getting to the Eastern) were scribbled onto sheets of long paper, T Fool's check marks would be far and few between.

This is not to denigrate either his education or his ambition toward one.

This is to note how difficult it is to get beyond 'small specialty' even when one's aim is humanistic, even when one tries to encompass much, even when one preaches 'breadth' and 'range' and 'depth' to classrooms of college faces which betoken intelligent minds beyond the mp3 earbuds, slouchy clothing, and other contemporary camouflage.

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