Friday, February 25, 2011

Avoiding ruts ...

... Flannery O’Connor on the Banning of Books in High Schools. (Hat tip, Cynthia Haven.)

The real problem, she says, is not that the schools are assigning “dirty” books, but that they are assigning a preponderance of modern books, and that there seems to be no clear purpose behind the teaching of literature in most middle and high schools other than to try to capture the “interest” of the adolescent mind. This principle—the idea that it is the school’s duty to excite or gratify the unformed tastes of teenagers—she calls “the devil of Educationism…the kind that can be cast out only by prayer and fasting,” and she notes with bemusement that mid-20th century America seems to be “the first age in history which has asked the child what he would tolerate learning.”

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