Looks like we now have fewer (proportionately) English majors in higher education than ever before. Not to worry you may say, we are going to have more computer and information sciences majors than ever before! Well, that may be what’s really worrying me.
Not that there is anything wrong with such a career choice, but I would also like to know that they can read and write well. Could be an old-fashioned notion on my part, but I think it is terribly important. If we reduce everything to tweeting and blogging and rapid reading of same, we are missing out on the world of literature and its contributions, positive and negative, to our respective cultures. Some things have to be expressed in more expansive formats that engage us more deeply, shaping what may be our current and future perspectives on our own lives. Many of our theatrical representations of literary classics in cinema, stage, radio, and now on the Internet, may offer us similar opportunities, but I believe reading will always take us further.
I understand there is an obvious irony in writing this blog about the importance of reading good literature. My only hope is that higher education will continue to support the importance of good literary skills in all areas of study.