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The Quotation and References Team consists of

These folks have primary responsibility for finding relevant quotations and references, and for making sure that they are properly cited in the final essay. However, anyone is welcome to add quotations and references to this page to be considered for inclusion in the essay.

Use Add > Comment on this page to suggest quotations from or references to works on the syllabus that could be used as evidence in an essay that explains what English majors study. The essay should contain a combination of quotations from, and references to, primary works — such as the poetry, drama, and fiction that we read — and secondary works, such as the essays by Frye, Sontag, Benjamin, and others. The secondary works can be useful both for what they say about the study of texts and for how they model what someone studying literature critically actually does.

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  1. Unknown User (ser13)

    "English means, in the first place, the mother tonque. As that, it's the most practical subject in the world: you can't understand anything or take any part in your society without it."
    -Frye's "The Educated Imagination" page 14

    1. Unknown User (za3)

      "Learn your language well and command it well, and you will have the first component to life."
      -- Edward Roscoe Murrow (1908-1965), American news broadcaster

      When I stumbled upon this quote, it immediately reminded me of the Frye quote that you have selected. The Educated Imagination was first published in 1963;  therefore, Murrow either read his book in the last 2 years of his life, or he had the same idea that without the English language, one can not succeed to their fullest potential in their lives.

  2. Unknown User (lmg19)

    "You develop the insight of an artist, the analytical precision of a scientist, and the persuasiveness of a lawyer."

    -Professor Maureen Moran, Brunel University, 

    MLA Format:

    Moran, Maureen. Why Study English?. The Higher Education Academy, 2011. Web. 26 November 2012.

    1. Unknown User (kv2)

      I think this quote greatly engulfs what it is to be an english major and how important it is compared to other occupations.

      1. Unknown User (lmg19)

        Thanks! Coincidentally it seems to back up the discussion in the blog on how English is a compliment to science and art.

  3. Unknown User (lmg19)

    "In my humdrum, pedestrian map of the subject, English includes three central activities. It is, humbly, a three-legged stool if you like, and, in order to support any weight, all three legs are essential. In no hierarchical order, there is, first, the cultural aspect, in which students and teachers engage primarily with literary texts (though engagement with other sorts of text is possible and, I think, desirable) in order to enable discussion of issues and values. Second, there is the functional or instrumental aspect in which students and teachers acquire and understand modes of communication and how to operate them successfully. Finally, there is the creative aspect. This is of increasing importance and includes not only ‘creative writing’, but also the broad appreciation of intellectual and aesthetic creativity and originality. This third aspect is a relatively late development in the evolution of the subject, and is likely to be a growth area in the future. In its pedagogy it highlights the necessity of understanding through doing – but that, I think, is characteristic in different ways of all three aspects."

    - Rick Rylance, former Professor of English at the University of Exeter and now Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council

    I don't suggest we quote this entire paragraph obviously. I think quoting the three-legged stool section would be fine and then summarizing these three "legs" could possibly be a good quote in the case of suggesting that the study of English evolves with our society. Of course, all majors seem to change in their curriculum when new discoveries are made, but I think English evolves differently, not in the logical sense like science or math but more in experimenting the boundaries of our mind, flirting with the impossible.

    MLA Format:

    Rylance, Rick. “But…Why Study English Literature?” Why Study English? The Higher Education Academy, 2011. Web. 26 November 2012.

    1. Unknown User (ncs3)

      Yeah I just went through this page and was going to post this also. I think we should use the three "legs" also because English does revolve around our society. And everyonen has their own ways to understand the text in the ways indicated in the first ‘cultural’ aspect like ethics or matters of personal development, but questions of cultural and aesthetic quality and importance.

  4. Unknown User (ncs3)

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

    -Albert Einstein

  5. Unknown User (ncs3)

    "Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs."

    -- Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-Swiss-American mathematical physicist, famous for his theories of relativity.

  6. Unknown User (lo3)

    Okay. So this whole article i'll leave the link for is pretty good. It basically lists/describes careers you can have with an English major. I know that's not exactly our focus, but it does bring about the relevance of the major. I especially like this part about English majors: "They learn how language has developed into the way we use words today and how it may change in the future."

    1. Unknown User (lmg19)

      I think informing the readers of what we can do with our major will definitely add to the strength of our arguement. I agree that this source can be utilized because from personal experience whenever I say I am majoring in English most people respond, "So you want to be a teacher," or "Do you want to teach?" I'm not saying that teaching isn't a possible choice but there are so many other ample opportunities that people don't realize we can do with our English degrees.

  7. Unknown User (lo3)

    "Many English majors are also required to also take a theory or criticism course. Depending on the focus, it might be a literary criticism class or a composition criticism class. These courses look at different ways of interpreting works and are important for developing critical thinking skills." Perhaps we could go somewhere in the direction of where else critical thinking skills are applied/why they are important? The draft group could also use the "different ways of interpreting" bit and discuss who English majors are forced to develop skills pertaining to perspectives and the difference in other perspectives.

    1. If you go this route, you might find it helpful to take a look at the Easter, 1916 page right here in the Practicing Criticism space. It offers one example of what it might look like to take different "perspectives" on a literary work that aren't simply personal reflections but instead exemplify criticism as a practice. (smile)

  8. Unknown User (lo3)

     "The discipline does, however, have some ground rules which affect how people who are trained in it will respond to literature." I think this is fantastic for showing there are "rules" or guidelines to follow in the English major, more specifically criticism from this article, It shows that we do not just read books and talk about them. This is actually from the intro to practical criticism we read on the first day of class. The article also says, "Practical criticism today is more usually treated as an ancillary skill rather than the foundation of a critical method. It is a part of many examinations in literature at almost all levels..." I love the wording of this; it implies we are examining literature instead of simply reading books.

  9. Unknown User (lo3)

    These last few lines of "Against Interpretation," by Sontag are another example of  how concrete the study of lit/art can be: "The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means." Neither Sontag nor Lamron are concerned about meanings of literature/art. I think we could use her stance to show lit isn't always about hidden meanings and interpretation.

  10. Unknown User (lmg19)

    In case we expand on the aspect that the English major evolves I am listing the time periods listed in M.H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham's book, A Glossary of Literary Terms:

    450-1066      Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) Period

    1066-1500    Middle English Period

    1500-1660    The Renaissance (or Early Modern)

                          1558-1603     Elizabethan Age

                         1603-1625     Jacobean Age

                         1625-1649     Caroline Age

                         1649-1660     Commonwealth Period (or Puritan Interregnum)

    1600-1785    The Neoclassical Period

                         1660-1700     The Restoration

                         1700-1745     The Augustan Age

                         1745-1785     The Age of Sensibility (or Age of Johnson)

    1785-1832    The Romantic Period

    1832-1901    The Victorian Period

                          1848-1860     The Pre-Raphaelites

                          1860-1901     Aestheticism and Decadence

    1901-1914    The Edwardian Period

    1910-1936    The Georgian Period

    1914-            The Modern Period

    1945-            Postmodernism

    In-text citation: (Abrams 279)

    MLA Format:

    Abrams, M.H. and Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Boston, Massachussetts: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.


    1. Unknown User (lmg19)

      Oh and I have this book so if anyone drafting would like to borrow it they are more than welcome to! It breaks down each time period into separate paragraphs.

  11. Unknown User (lo3)

    The following questions from Northrup Frye are exactly what we should be looking for and thinking about: "What good is the study of literature? Does it help us to think more clearly, or feel more sensitively, or live a better life than we could without it? What is the function of the teacher and scholar, or of the person who calls himself, as I do, a literary critic? What difference does the study of literature make in our social or political or religious attitude?" Possible point from Frye: "The kind of problem that literature raises is not the kind that you ever 'solve'" Maybe this has an impact on why Lamron thinks the English major is useless/irrelevant. We don't actually solve anything, really.

    "English means, in the first place, the mother tongue. As that, it's the most practical subject in the world: you can't understand anything or take any part in your society without it." Frye later asks, "What is the relation of English as the mother tongue, to English as a literature?"

    Frye's 3 reasons for using words: ordinary conversation, social participation, and literary language of poems/prose, which is imagination. Might be handy to have.

    "Literature's world is a concrete human world of immediate experience. The poet uses images and objects and sensations much more than he uses abstract ideas..."

    "The world of literature is human in shape, a world where the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, over the edge of a flat earth in 3 dimensions, where the primary realities are not atoms or electrons but bodies, and the primary forces not energy or gravitation but love and death and passion and joy."

    *There is much more info in the Frye piece of work, I just ran out of time before my next class, I will definitely be posting more quotations from Frye*

  12. Unknown User (lmg19)

    I realized we didn't actually put quotes from the article we are arguing against. Here are just a few I thought we could work with but there may be some more in the article that I missed:

     “To be more accurate, however, I simply group those majoring in English along with the rest of those still trying to determine what they want to do with their lives. To put it bluntly, an English major is a glorified undecided student.”


    “In fact, the requirements for being an English major, in the general sense, are the same requirements for any other major. All people studying at this college are learning how to comprehend, apply and communicate the world around them. The only difference is that an anthropologist learns anthropology, a biochemist learns biology and chemistry, an economist learns economics and an English major learns … well that's the problem.”


    “The content that an English major studies is merely the techniques and concepts of literature and to a lesser degree the ideas presented within literature.”


    “But what an English major doesn't learn is what everyone else does: marketable skills and knowledge.”


    “At this rate, English majors are paying about $20,000 to learn the same thing as everyone else with the exception of any real marketable skill. Let's just take the concept of majoring in English, roll the most important parts into the general education requirement as well as teach it in high school where it will really make a difference and give the English major back its real title: undecided.”

     MLA Format:

    Yager, Nick. “The Faceoff: Legitimacy of the English major questioned”. The Lamron. 27 October 2011. Web. 27 November 2012.

    1. Unknown User (sl21)

      I've just found this quote, and realized that the vagueness or comprehensiveness of studying English literature can be 'rewarding', not 'lacking/unclear' as the article claims.


      “Literature offers the thrill of minds of great clarity wrestling with the endless problems and delights of being human.

      To engage with them is to engage with oneself, and the lasting rewards are not confined to specific career paths.”

      ― Jonathan Stroud

    2. Unknown User (snl4)

      I want to address the third quote: "The content that an English major studies is merely the techniques and concepts of literature and to a lesser degree the ideas presented within literature."  I think you could directly contradict this using quotes from Frye which very specifically address what these "techniques and concepts" are.  The biggest problem that the writer of the Lamron article seems to have is that he doesn't understand the depth and complexity of these "techniques and concepts" or what their value is.  I don't have the Frye piece on hand, but there are certainly quotes in there that address the writer's concern.

      1. Unknown User (lmg19)

        Sorry it took me so long to see your comment! I really like how you are saying that since the writer, in fact, is not an English major it is hard for him to grasp what we study in full depth.

  13. Unknown User (ncs3)

    Why study English Literature?

    The program in English literature introduces students to one of the world's key literary traditions as well as to contemporary global English-language literary culture. Undertaking the formal study of English literature from its beginnings to the present day is to be introduced to a vast intellectual and cultural history--one that records the almost infinitely different ways in which men and women, from a great variety of different times and places, have lived, thought, argued, felt and imagined. Many of the novels, poems, plays and non-fictional works students encounter in this program rank amongst the greatest products of the human mind. The major also introduces students to some influential ways of thinking about literature.

    This website below tells us why to become an English major. It hooks on more with the history of art and literature, just some facts.


  14. Unknown User (sl21)

    “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

      ― F. Scott Fitzgerald


  15. Unknown User (sl21)

    “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it.

    It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect,

    it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”

    ― C. S. Lewis

  16. Unknown User (sl21)

    “The struggle of literature is in fact a struggle to escape from the confines of language;

    it stretches out from the utmost limits of what can be said; what stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary.”

    ― Italo Calyino

  17. Unknown User (sl21)

    “Literature is the safe and traditional vehicle through which we learn about the world and pass on values from on generation to the next. Books save lives.”

    ― Laurie Anderson

  18. Unknown User (sl21)

    “Literature was not promulgated by a pale and emasculated critical priesthood singing their litanies in empty churches - nor is it a game for the cloistered elect, the tinhorn mendicants of low calorie despair.

    Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed.

    The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species.

    -- John Steinbeck, speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1962”


  19. Unknown User (sl21)

    "It is a curious and prevalent opinion that literature, like all art, is a mere play of imagination, pleasing enough, like a new novel, but without any serious or practical importance. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Literature preserves the ideals of a people; and ideals--love, faith, duty, friendship, freedom, reverence--are the part of human life most worthy of preservation.(...) It was simply the ideals of the Greeks and Hebrews and Romans, preserved in their literature, which made them what they were, and which determined their value to future generations.(...) All our arts, our sciences, even our inventions are founded squarely upon ideals; for under every invention is still the dream of Beowulf, that man may overcome the forces of nature; and the foundation of all our sciences and discoveries is the immortal dream that men "shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." In a word, our whole civilization, our freedom, our progress, our homes, our religion, rest solidly upon ideals for their foundation. Nothing but an ideal ever endures upon earth. It is therefore impossible to overestimate the practical importance of literature, which preserves these ideals from fathers to sons, while men, cities, governments, civilizations, vanish from the face of the earth."


    You can find the whole page here, and I especially like the idea that literature preserves through generations while other things change or vanish into the history.

    That is such a unique feature of literature which makes it different from other studies.

  20. Unknown User (ncs3)

    “Nobody is capable of of free speech unless he knows how to use language, and such knowledge is not a gift: it has to learned and worked at. [p.93]” 
    ― Northrop FryeThe educated imagination

    Their is a few more quotes from Frye on this site.

  21. Unknown User (lo3)

    Just found the best thing ever!!!!!! Bruce Byfield is an online journalist and former project manager. He explains that English majors do not even realize the skills they graduate with. Lamron says, "...and an English major learns … well that's the problem." Bruce Byfield to the rescue: "Contrary to the conventional wisdom, English major do graduate with employable skills – in fact, ones that will help them if they ever become managers or team leaders among the creatives. The only problem is, they don’t realize everything they’ve learned, so they don’t express it." The reading fluency and ability to summarize with ease are things that become second nature to a graduate with an English major; so much so that I think we forget that these are skills and not everyone can do them, at least as well/easily as we can. The basis of our essay could be taken from here; it's mostly about what we graduate with that others do not.

  22. Unknown User (lmg19)

    These quotes specifically relate to Brendan's idea of human experience:

    "The humanities can be described as the study of the myriad ways in which people, from every period of history and from every corner of the globe, process and document the human experience."

    • Stanford University Humanities department

    MLA Format:

    “What are the humanities?” The Human Experience. Stanford University, n.d. Web. 28 November 2012.


    "English Studies thus provide the basis for a dynamic and vibrant engagement with the community. Communication is the heart of our discipline, and it's the most sought-after skill in the world today."

    • University of Adelaide

    MLA Format:

    “Why Study English?” Discipline of English and Creative Writing. The University of Adelaide, 2012. Web. 28 November 2012.

  23. Unknown User (lmg19)

    This is another quote from Frye that directly connects to the human experience:

    "Literature's world is a concrete human world of immediate experience. The poet uses images and objects and sensations much more than he uses abstract ideas..." (Frye 27-28).


    MLA Format:

    Frye, Northrop. The Educated Imagination.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964. Print.

  24. Unknown User (ser13)

    I'm not sure if anybody already quoted this, but I figured I'd put it up, just in case nobody did. This is from our very first reading assignment- the online, University of Cambridge discussion of practicing criticism.

    "For Richards this form of close analysis of anonymous poems was ultimately intended to have psychological benefits for the students: by responding to all the currents of emotion and meaning in the poems and passages of prose which they read the students were to achieve what Richards called an 'organised response'. This meant that they would clarify the various currents of thought in the poem and achieve a corresponding clarification of their own emotions."

  25. Unknown User (lmg19)

    Sarah posted this article on the Brainstorming page and pitched the idea of the real-world setting. I think she stumbled onto a great idea where we could explain that an English major could be useful for those who are majoring in the math and sciences. By double majoring with English, they are enhancing their communication and writing skills which can help them stand out in an interview. Therefore, I am posting quotes from the article because I don't want this idea to be lost in that ever-growing Brainstorming page and I think they will be very useful.

    "English is not only useful within an academic setting, but can help a person to broaden their social understanding of life and the world as a whole."

    "A degree in Physics or Mathematics will get you an interview. The skills developed by studying English will get you through that interview successfully."


    MLA Format:

    “A Value of Studying English”. Tutor Hunt. N.p., 25 February 2012. Web. 28 November 2012.

  26. Unknown User (kv2)

    "I do not mean to object to a thorough knowledge of the famous works we read.  I object only to the interminable comments and bewildering criticisms that teach but one thing: there are so many opinions as there are men"

    Helen Keller

    Objecting to read famous work and not understanding the works themselves makes the reading fruitless. Being an english major is like stopping to smell the flowers while everyone is just whizzing past the words on the paper.  There is so much on those lines that we must find out.

  27. Unknown User (kv2)

    "I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense"

    Robert Frost

    Comparing music and literature is a great way to show how there is something being learned in an english major.  Thats the words on the page make music to english majors and gain great understanding.  

  28. Unknown User (lmg19)

    (1) "All forms of art are alike in expressing an experience of order; all differ in the medium through which they express it. Painting uses color; musc, notes; sculpture, stone; literature, words" (Murphy 16).

    I think this demonstrates a few things. The first sentence could work with the fact that the author of the article in the Lamron is not an English major; therefore he really doesn't understand what we learn because he doesn't experience it. Correct me if I'm wrong but he is a Biology major which demonstrates that he dives into a whole different medium (or study) than us. The second sentence begins up how we all have different tools within our medium. The study of literature has words, sure its not microscopes, but it is still our most important tool. The entire quote is great in my mind because I think it defends our essay nicely and promotes the English major.

    (2) "The writer shares his medium with all who use the language" (Murphy 16).

    I think this quote would do nicely with how we are tying every other major with the English major because we affect everything they write more or less.

    (3) "The writer simply makes ordinary words behave in extraordinary ways" (Murphy 16).

    This could go with what we actually do as English majors, one of the reasons we are English majors.

    (4) "We justify the study of literature on the grounds that the effects it can produce are valuable: that it is good for students to have the kind of ordered experience, the kind of knowledge of human conduct, the kind of moral effects, and the kind of understanding of culture we have described" (Murphy 31).

    This quote is just another person's belief on why we study literature. I find it interesting to consider.


    Source in MLA format:

    Murphy, Geraldine. The Study of Literature in High School. Waltham, Massachusetts: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1968. Print.

    1. Unknown User (lo3)

      I really like the last quote. I think it'd be good for the intro/conclusion since it contains alot of what we'd discuss throughout the whole paper! (wink)

      1. Unknown User (mka4)

        I agree, that should definitely be included!

        1. Unknown User (lmg19)

          Thanks Laura and Mary!  I think he sums up what we do as English majors in all of them and hopefully it would strengthen our paper. The only thing I am worried about is that I found this in a book about English in high schools...but do you think that matters?

  29. Unknown User (lmg19)

    This is just a reminder to all of the quoters that we should add our MLA citationsto the quotes we have contributed to far! It will make it a lot easier for the drafters!

  30. Unknown User (kv2)

    "I'm an old english major from way back, so i fo have fun tearing apart texts and trying to find the hidden secrets and the subtexts in there' -Cynthia Nixon

    This quote shows the joys of being an english major and the excitement of picking up a good book and falling in depth into the world that it engulfs you in.

  31. Unknown User (kv2)

    This is a random mash up of things english majors due.  I think it should be used more as a reference then a quote and possibly figure out some parallel thoughts that we can binge from these thoughts from our fellow english majors.

    You Know You're An English Major When...

  32. Unknown User (snl4)

    Just wanted to let this group know that they should feel completely free to draw from the Google Survey I put up (and emailed to everyone - if you didn't get it, let me know).  I'm already seeing some great responses just from within our group.  If you fill it out yourself, don't forget to stick your name on it so this group can correctly reference your words.  I'm not sure how to share the link here, but you should be able to access it through the email.  Thanks a lot!

    1. Unknown User (lmg19)

      How do we look at the responses?

      1. Unknown User (snl4)

        Sorry, I didn't realize that you couldn't until just now.  I just shared the document with the Google group.  Hopefully that worked.  Thanks for pointing it out!

  33. Unknown User (ncs3)

    “What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” 
    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), English poet, critic, lexicographer, creator of first English dictionary.

    “Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.” 
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-Swiss-American mathematical physicist, famous for his theories of relativity.

    “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.”
    Dr. David M. Burns

    “The more you read, the more you know. 

    The more you know, the smarter you grow. 
    The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, 
    when speaking your mind or making your choice.”
    Seen at Sebastopol library


  34. Unknown User (kv2)

    "you are not the same as you were before.  You were much more, muchier. You lost your muchness" Mad Hatter (Burton, 38:00)

    quotes like these are such where you can substitute muchness for anything. Muchness can be the loss of culture, or the view of losing the importance of english in societies eyes.

  35. Unknown User (kv2)

    "the most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book" -Frye

  36. Unknown User (kv2)

    "just as a new scientific discovery manifests something that was already latent in the order of nature, and at the same time is logically related to the total structure of the existing science, so the new poem  manifests something that was already latent in order of words" Frye 

    I think this quotes helps describe with the they say argument.  That we are stil learning the same bases of education with reading and writing but the skills we come out of it are different.  we are all taking the same measures to get where we are going but all end up in different places.

  37. Unknown User (mka4)

    To subvert is not the aim of literature, its value lies in discovering and revealing what is rarely known, little known, thought to be known but in fact not very well known of the truth of the human world. It would seem that truth is the unassailable and most basic quality of literature.

    GAO XINGJIAN, Nobel Lecture, 2000


  38. Unknown User (mka4)

    The things that are said in literature are always the same. What is important is the way they are said JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1967


    We could argue against this quote


  39. Unknown User (mka4)

    "The word 'poetry', then, no longer refers simply to a technical mode of writing: it has deep social,political and philosophical implications, and at the sound of it the ruling class might quite literally reach for its gun."

    We could use this to explain how deeply the idea of literature runs through all aspects of life

    Citation:  Eagleton, Terry. Rise of English. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1983. Print.

  40. Unknown User (ebw1)

    [T]he more that the results of science are frankly accepted, the more that poetry and eloquence come to be received and studied as what in truth they really are,—the criticism of life by gifted men, alive and active with extraordinary power.
    Matthew Arnold


  41. Unknown User (ebw1)

    For the reference team: This is a great lecture given by scientist/novelist C.P. Snow. He talks about the call-and-response tennis match the sciences and the humanities play with one another. Thought it might help.

    Here's are a couple of more contemporary responses:


  42. Unknown User (mka4)

    Thank you for that direction, Eric!

    Snow, C. P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. New York: Cambridge UP, 1959. Print.

    “Literature changes more slowly than science.  It hasn’t the same automatic corrective, and so its misguided periods are longer.” Page 9

    We could use this quote to explain the intensity in the split between science and English, and the difficulties faced by those who commit their lives to studying English, a much more abstract topic than science.

    “The non-scientists have a rooted impression that the scientists are shallowly optimistic, unaware of man’s condition.  On the other hand, the scientists believe that the literary intellectuals are totally lacking in foresight, peculiarly unconcerned with their brother men, in a deep sense anti-intellectual, anxious to restrict both art and thought to the existential movement.” Page 6

    Although this quote does not exactly capture the feelings of the writer of the Lamron article, it does address many central issues of the science-art tension.


  43. Unknown User (mka4)

    "The whole edifice of the liberal humanities is built on a monstrous fraud."

    -Ian McEwan in the video above

    Could we use this as a starting point from which to argue that there is a definite practice and substance to the study of English?

    1. Unknown User (lmg19)

      I think this quote has the same goal as the writer in the Lamron: to degrade the study of English. But this quote goes even further and attacks the entire liberal humanities. I think this could definitley be a possible choice if we are looking for another source to argue against. McEwan seems to have the same ignorance about the English major as the article.

      1. Unknown User (mka4)

        Yes, I think that this statement in particular can be used for a point of view to take a stand against.

  44. Unknown User (mka4)

    “Scholar and critic emerge as antithetical terms, and the gulf further widens between fact and value, investigation and appreciation, scientific specialization and general culture.”

    -Gerald Graff

    This is another quote that can be a part of discussion of the science-English rift.

  45. Unknown User (mka4)

    “There are several (causes for the decline of the English Major) but at the root is the failure of departments of English across the country to champion, with passion, the books they teach and to make a strong case to undergraduates that the knowledge of those books and the tradition in which they exist is a human good in and of itself.”

    This quote takes the idea that English majors just read books and expands upon it to state all of the implications of the study of English, which are much more universal than they seem at first glance.

    “Studying English taught us how to write and think better, and to make articulate many of the inchoate impulses and confusions of our post-adolescent minds. We began to see, as we had not before, how such books could shape and refine our thinking. We began to understand why generations of people coming before us had kept them in libraries and bookstores and in classes such as ours. There was, we got to know, a tradition, a historical culture, that had been assembled around these books.”

    This quote describes one English Major's long-term experience with his studies and addresses the broadness of the topic.  

    “In the face of one skeptical and disenchanted critique after another, no one has come forward in years to assert that the study of English (or comparative literature or similar undertakings in other languages) iscoherent, does have self-limiting boundaries, and can be described as this but notthat.”

    Another quote about the vagueness of the major and the importance, in proving the worth of the English major, of also clearly defining it.

  46. Unknown User (mka4)

    Here's the citation for the above article

    Chace, William M. "The Decline of the English Department." The American Scholar. Phi Beta Kappa, 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <>.

  47. Unknown User (mka4)

    "(Humanities) don’t do anything, if by 'do' is meant bring about effects in the world. And if they don’t bring about effects in the world they cannot be justified except in relation to the pleasure they give to those who enjoy them. To the question 'of what use are the humanities?', the only honest answer is none whatsoever."

    -Stanley Fish


    1. Unknown User (lmg19)

      Personally, I think this quote specifically calls into question what do English majors actually do, or rather, what is their use. These kind of quotes are exactly why I think we should make a small reference in the conclusion and say "Yes, we will be useful in the future." Of course that isn't the main thesis of the essay so I don't think this quote will be chosen in the actual essay. Like Professor Schacht said, we need to focus on one issue so our point isn't lost. But this quote certainly motivates us to prove the English major's worth through what we study.

  48. Unknown User (mka4)

    "What is needed for the humanities in our view is neither an uncritical surrender to the market nor a disdainful refusal to be sullied by it, but what we might call a critical vocationalism, an attitude that is receptive to taking advantage of opportunities in the private and public sectors for humanities graduates that enable those graduates to apply their training in meaningful and satisfying ways."

    This quote suggests that the shift in role of the English major is something that requires a shift in the things that English majors expect from their degree.

    Jay, Paul, and Gerald Graff. "Fear of Being Useful." Essay on New Approach to Defend the Value of the Humanities | Inside Higher Ed. Inside Higher Ed, 5 Feb. 2010. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <>.

  49. Unknown User (sl21)

    “We human being build houses because we`re alive but we write books because we` re mortal.

    We live in groups because we`re sociable but we read because we know we`re alone.

    Reading offers a kind of companionship that takes no one`s place but that no one can replace either.

    It offers no definitive explanation of our destiny but links us inextricably to life.

    Its tiny secret links remind us of how paradoxically happy we are to be alive while illuminating how tragically absurd life is.”

    ― Daniel Pennac

  50. Unknown User (kv2)

    "I am always writing a story in my head" -Unknown

    "Dont hate what you dont understand"-Unknown 

    i think this is something everyone in the english major can understand.  That in the shower, during a walk, in the middle of class something sparks a million and one thoughts about something that you are ready to write down.  It happens to all of us.  This is why we do it.  We make stories heard and express ourselves in ways other majors are not able to do.  Writing an essay and writing a book are different.  An education in higher education is an education at the end of the day.  Many do not understand what we do and some of us do not even know.  What we do know is that we are doing something that we love and are good at most of the time.  Being in higher education is all about growing in the specific field you choose.  

  51. Unknown User (mka4)

    “Everyone who has seriously studied literature knows that the mental process involved is as coherent and progressive as the study of science. A precisely similar
    training of the mind takes place, and a similar sense of the unity of the subject is built up” 

    Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism

  52. Unknown User (mka4)

    “Literary texts supplement the real rather than claim to represent it, and they rustle just enough to engage our students in . . . critical thought” (508).

    Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism

  53. Unknown User (mka4)

    “Literature as a whole is not an aggregate of exhibits with red and blue ribbons attached to them, like a cat-show, but the range of articulate human imagination as it extends from the height of imaginative heaven to the depth of imaginative hell.” 
    ― Northrop FryeThe Educated Imagination

    This could be used to explain the difficulties faced when trying to categorize exactly what an Enlgish Major studies, and also speaks to the value of the creativity employed in the practice of English

  54. Unknown User (mka4)

    “I don't see how the study of language and literature can be separated from the question of free speech, which we all know is fundamental to our society. [p.92]” 
    ― Northrop FryeThe Educated Imagination

    This quote may draw a rather far-fetched conclusion, but it does create a connection between one part of what an English major studies and a right which is a cornerstone of our country's ideals.

  55. Unknown User (mka4)

    “We have to look at the figures of speech a writer uses, his images and symbols, to realize that underneath all the complexity of human life that uneasy stare at an alien nature is still haunting us, and the problem of surmounting it still with us. Above all, we have to look at the total design of a writer's work, the title he gives to it, and the his main theme, which means his point in writing it, to understand that literature is still doing the same job that mythology did earlier, but filling in its huge cloudy shapes with sharper lights and deeper shadows.”(32) 
    ― Northrop FryeThe Educated Imagination