Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Quoth the Professor:

Brooks writes: “If you go through college without reading Thucydides, Herodotus and Gibbon, you’ll have been cheated out of a great repertoire of comparisons.”

I took a BA in History from PSU over a dozen years ago. While I *did* read all three of the above, it wasn't because we studied them in class, nor did they appear on any syllabus of any class I took for credit. I had to seek them out and read them on my own hook, usually in between all the busy-work rubbish which clutters up the modern undergraduate experience.

I got more out of my proximity to the library stacks & the bookstores in town than I ever did from in-class assignments. Penn State in the early Nineties had simply assembled the elements for a first-class auto-didactic experience. Whether you did anything with it was your own look-out.

There's a quote from Carlyle carved into the facade of Pattee Library on campus: "The true university is a collection of books". At times I think the faculty took that sentiment a hair too seriously.

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