Cultural Vandalism

It's bad enough to stop teaching Chaucer; it's worse to replace him with something positively harmful, which these critical studies on race and gender happen to be.

The University of Leicester will stop teaching the great English medieval poet and author Geoffrey Chaucer in favour of modules on race and sexuality, according to new proposals. Management told the English department that courses on canonical works would be dropped in favour of modules that "students expect" as part of plans now under consultation.

Wasn't the idea that the students were the ones who had something to learn? That was why they were coming to the University?

Foundational texts such as The Canterbury Tales and the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf would no longer be taught, under proposals to scrap medieval literature. Instead, the English faculty will be refocused to drop centuries of the literary canon and deliver a "decolonised" curriculum devoted to diversity.... 

They would end all teaching on texts central to the development of the English language, including the Dark Age epic poem Beowulf, as well as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, the Viking sagas, and all works written earlier than 1500 would also be removed from the syllabus.

They are actually cutting out the very best parts of British literature, in my opinion; even if you prefer 20th century authors like Tolkien and Lewis and Chesterton, all of them are rooted in these earlier works. Indeed, one of the great joys of studying those works as a fan of Tolkien is finding signpost after signpost plainly labeled, "J.R.R. was here." 

If you had something superior to replace it with, perhaps it might be one thing; but all they've got for a replacement is corrosive poison. 


Assistant Village Idiot said...

You have seen it at my site, but I will put up the reminder here:

"The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them."

Tom said...

Isn't "colonialism" when a group of people move to someone else's land, take over, and begin messing with the culture of the native people? So ... Who moved to England and started messing with English culture again?

Add "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means" meme here.

Grim said...

Who moved to England and started messing with English culture again?

The Normans, of course; although the Angles and the Saxons had done a job on the Britons who had survived the Romans doing the same thing, and the Danes came along after and did it again.

Chaucer was after all that. The closest thing to colonialism he engaged in was being a public official during one of the parts of the Hundred Years War; but those weren't colonies in any usual sense of the word. They were fighting over who was the rightful government there, and all had a plausible claim.

Tom said...

Well, yes, but I was thinking of today. These Cynical Theory types are the colonizers of today's England, I would say. And the US, etc.

And let's not forget the French, 1066 and all that.