Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grading

Blogging about books, and even replying to complaints about my “literary tunnel vision,” have had to be put on hold while I finish grading my spring classes. In the Nabokov seminar, the students were assigned a narrative account of their developing semester-long response to—understanding of—the magician. Some confused this for an invitation to name their favorite books on the reading list or to testify (with repetition) to their dislike for Nabokov. A few, though, caught hold of a single thread, which enabled them to unravel at least the hem of Nabokov’s garment.

As one student said early in the semester, “Nabokov mucks with your mind.” The best students in the course submitted to the mucking, and adjusted their thinking accordingly. In the Wall Street Journal today, Peter Berkowitz argues that the “true aim of the humanities is to prepare citizens for exercising their freedom responsibly.” At the moment I can’t think of a better example than Nabokov of liberal learning, as demonstrated by a handful of students who accepted his challenge to equate freedom with the unique stamp of individual expression.

6 comments:

R. T. said...

I suspect that you as the professor also "mucked" quite effectively upon the minds of your students. Why not share your pedagogical "mucking" secrets on your blog so that others can learn how to be more effective "muckers" in the classroom.

Denver Bibliophile said...

Did you record your lectures so that you could post them on Youtube?

D. G. Myers said...

No way! YouTube would be flooded with complaints.

Denver Bibliophile said...

What about your fans?

John said...

hmmm..."mucking"....interesting word substitution Myers...

Josh Vagabond said...

"Muck you" Myers for censoring the words of others.

I hope sarcasm can be trasmitted in a short blog comment post.



Josh