Friday, 25 March 2005

The Bounds of My Shame Knows No Bounds The Little Professor and the good people over at the Refuge for the Literate have disclosed their horrifying intellectual inadequacies. I refuse to be bested so lightly, so I present to you some books A. Cephalous has never read: Hawthorne's The Marble Faun: One of the few books I abandoned while in the middle of the penultimate chapter. I trudged through 454 pages and emerged with first-degree purplings over 91% of my body: "You have an advantage over me! I am no true creature of the woods; while you are a real Faun, I do believe. When your curls shook, just now, methought I had a peep at the pointed ears!" However, having read Megan Marshall's article on Hawthorne's treatment of Elizabeth Peabody in this week's New Yorker, I'm more than willing to hike the well-manicured gently gradient path to the moral high ground occupied by Cornell West, John Carlos Rowe, Eric Cheyfitz, etc. and declare my disapproval of Hawthorne's behavior reason enough to avoid reading anything he wrote ever again. Frank Harris' The Bomb: Atop the stack of books I must read on pain of painful death stares Harris' fictional account of the Haymarket riots. Necessary to my dissertation? Certainly. Riddled with so many egregious typographical errors as to make some of my students' hasty "efforts" look carefully edited ? Absolutely. Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff: I teach literary journalism. I teach the research skills necessary to write the interior monologues for which Wolfe is so famous. But I haven't read anything he's written since 1979 except The Bonfire of the Vanities and a couple of chapters of I am Charlotte Simmons. Am I a fraud? Because I feel like a fraud... I'm stopping here. Any further and those gnawing doubts would feast on my insecurities...before asking the waiter to doggy-bag what's left.

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