University Diaries

University Diaries

A professor of English describes American university life.

March 23, 2009 - 8:55am
Go wrapYour head in the snowy riversOf the Brooks Range. And that's what Nicholas Hughes did. His father, Ted Hughes, in his bitter poem, "The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother," advised his children to "leave her," leave Plath to the literary beasts feeding off her myth, and escape into their own lives.
March 16, 2009 - 12:48pm
Bernard d'Espagnat, a French physicist/philosopher, has won this year's one million dollar Templeton Prize, given to thinkers who attempt to reconcile religious belief and science. d'Espagnat's ideas are intriguing enough that UD would like to feature them in a series of posts today, especially his claim that
February 24, 2009 - 5:01pm
Rule One: Never make your reader laugh when she's not supposed to.SUNY Binghamton got blasted in the New York Times for running a typically scummy Division I basketball team. Big deal. Tell it to Auburn. SUNY should have ignored it. No one cares.
February 3, 2009 - 9:22pm
Bernard Madoff is a classic Mafia-style gangster. He comes from gangsters - his mother was a crook. Investigators are looking into his father-in-law. A lot of his friends and investors are crooks. He was born a crook, has always been a crook.
January 16, 2009 - 2:07pm
The poet W.D. Snodgrass has died. Here's a poem of his written in the spring but just as right for the beginning of the year. UD interrupts each stanza with a little interpretation. Go here for the poem unmolested. April Inventory
January 1, 2009 - 5:36pm
With the new year, we tell ourselves the story of a year. The story of last year. The story of the year to come. The storyteller, Doris Lessing says in her Nobel speech, "will [always] be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us – for good and for ill. It is our stories, the storyteller, that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed."
November 16, 2008 - 5:17pm
Norman Maclean, an Aristotelian, learned deeply what Aristotle taught: tragic art is cathartic. Toward the end of his life, he wrote a small American tragedy, A River Runs Through It, and in writing it released himself from decades of grief and confusion over his murdered brother.
November 13, 2008 - 7:53pm
UD has stepped in the same river twice, and reread, after twenty years, Norman Maclean's story, A River Runs Through It. She hasn't seen the film again, but she remembers admiring it. Maclean was an English professor at the University of Chicago when UD was a graduate student there. He must have been retired, or almost retired.
October 26, 2008 - 10:44am
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and UD's gazing at twelve white roses in a twelve-cup teapot. That's her foreground. Her background is the Atlantic Ocean. She's on sabbatical from her university and living at the beach, where quiet autumn days and an exhilarating setting create the perfect conditions for thought and for writing.
October 9, 2008 - 1:32pm
Start here: The more highly corporatized the university, the more corporate in their attitudes the faculty. Especially faculty imports from the corporate world -- people who aren't really professors, but who, usually for reasons of vanity, play them on campus. I mean, if you want to understand the origin of catastrophes like Emory University's Charles Nemeroff, you need to understand his mental world.

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