Monday, March 24, 2014

Consolatory bleakness …

… The tragi-comedy of A. E. Housman by Anthony Daniels —The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Though academically brilliant, he failed to graduate (in Classics) because he had devoted far too much time and attention to authors who were not on the syllabus. But this part of the story had a triumphant ending. After leaving Oxford without a degree, he went to work for ten years as a clerk in the Patent Office, devoting his evenings to classical researches. He then published academic studies of such quality that, at the age of thirty-three, without a degree or any experience whatever of university teaching, he was appointed Professor of Latin at University College, London, later moving to Cambridge. He was acknowledged to be one of the finest classical scholars of his time. One stands in admiration of an academic system that was flexible and honest enough to value scholarly worth over the possession of diplomas and qualifications.

1 comment:

  1. Compare to now: "teachers" are put into university classrooms on the basis of degrees and publications and tenure but without any training in pedagogy (e.g., testing design, classroom behavior management, learning theories, public speaking, etc.). So-called "teachers" learn on-the-job. Or, more accurately, they do not learn but simply plug along with the erroneous notion that a degree confers ability.