Why Teach?: In Defense of a Real Educationby Mark Edmundson
A renowned professor of English at the University of Virginia, Edmundson has felt firsthand the pressure on colleges to
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Mark Edmundson's essays reclaim college not as the province of high-priced tuition, career training, and interactive online courses, but as the place where serious people go to broaden their minds and learn to live the rest of their lives.
A renowned professor of English at the University of Virginia, Edmundson has felt firsthand the pressure on colleges to churn out a productive, high-caliber workforce for the future. Yet in these essays, many of which have run in places such as Harper's and the New York Times, he reminds us that there is more to education than greater productivity. With prose exacting yet expansive, tough-minded yet optimistic, Edmundson argues forcefully that the liberal arts are more important today than ever, and a necessary remedy for our troubled times. Why Teach? is brimming with the wisdom and inspiration that make learning possible.
“Mark Edmundson's lively account of the way we educate now offers enjoyment and enlightenment.” Harold Bloom
“A heartfelt, beautifully written, profound, and often hilarious appeal to rage against the machinery of modern education.” Booklist (starred review)
“Edmundson's accessible prose will motivate both students and teachers. Highly recommended for all involved in higher education; an enjoyable and inspiring read.” Library Journal
“[A] deeply felt collection of explorations and reflections on an education in the liberal arts.” Kirkus Reviews
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Meet the Author
Mark Edmundson teaches at the University of Virginia, where he is University Professor. A prizewinning scholar, he is also the author of Why Read?, Teacher, The Death of Sigmund Freud, and The Fine Wisdom and Perfect Teachings of the Kings of Rock and Roll. His writing has appeared in such publications as the New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, the Nation, and Harper's. He lives in Batesville, Virginia, with his wife, the writer Elizabeth Denton.
Mark Edmundson teaches at the University of Virginia, where he is university professor. A prizewinning scholar, he is also the author of Why Teach?, Why Read?, Teacher, The Death of Sigmund Freud, and The Fine Wisdom and Perfect Teachings of the Kings of Rock and Roll. His writing has appeared in such publications as the New Republic,the New York Times Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Nation, the American Scholar, Raritan, andHarper's. He lives in Batesville, Virginia.
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Marc Edmundson's Why Teach? is an impassioned defense of the spiritual values ("soulmaking") of immersion in literature, and it rewards the educated reader with many literary allusions and echoes of great writers. But it lacks an index to help readers relocate references to quoted authors, and, surprisingly for a tenured professor of English literature, it contains many errors of writing and proofreading, sometimes two in the same paragraph. Examples: "assent" for "ascent"; "picked" for "picket"; the verb "submit" for "subordinate"; the redundancy of "a mutual friend of both of them"; "chrons" for "chronos"; numerous split infinitives. And then there is the unnecessary resort to vernacular idioms: e.g., "piss off" for "annoy." Elegance would seem a far preferable accompaniment to the author's eloquence.