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Wrong Mark Edmundson?

Prof. Mark Edmundson W.

Professor of English

University of Virginia

Direct Phone: (434) ***-****       

Email: m***@***.edu

University of Virginia

580 Massie Road

Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

United States

Company Description

The University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. The cornerstone of the University's first building was laid in 1817, with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe in attendance. The first class entered the university in 1825, ... more

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Background Information

Affiliations

Guggenheim Fellow
Institute for Shipboard Education

Education


Higher Education

BA

Bennington College

Ph.D
English
Yale University

Ph.D.

University of Virginia

Web References (199 Total References)


"I think that's conceding too quickly," ...

launchphase2.com [cached]

"I think that's conceding too quickly," said Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia.


Booknotes :: Watch

www.book-notes.org [cached]

Mark Edmundson | Why Read? | Edmundson, Mark | Why Read? Booknotes :: Watch

Booknotes Advanced Search Author Index Category Index About Us Booknotes@GMU Mark Edmundson
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Mark Edmundson
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Edmundson encourages educators to teach students to read in a way that can change their lives for the better rather than just training and entertaining. He argues that questions about the uses of literatureâ€"what would it mean to live out of this book, to see it as a guide to lifeâ€"are the central questions to ask in a literary education. Right now they are being ignored, even shunned.
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BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Mark Edmundson, why read?
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MARK EDMUNDSON, AUTHOR, "WHY READ?": Why read?
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EDMUNDSON: I started reading -- I started being read to, actually, by my father.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, it`s not all that long and he knew it by heart, so he thought that I should, too.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, the way I like to put it is this, that we all get socialized one time around by parents and teachers and schools and priests and ministers, and what have you.
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EDMUNDSON: Oh, all the time. All the time.
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EDMUNDSON: I read Updike`s most recent novel, right? I guess what I disagree with in there -- though Updike is a wonderful verbal artist, spectacular technique, wonderful language. But I disagree with the kind of suburban nihilism that underwrites the thing, this sense that, you know, all the characters are pawns, they`re all small, they`re all tiny, and in the end, they`re to be patronized and condescended to, rather than looked at in, you know, somewhat more optimistic and Emersonian terms. LAMB: What`s a nihilist? EDMUNDSON: A nihilist is somebody who doesn`t believe in anything, right?
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EDMUNDSON: I assume it comes from the Latin word, nihil, which means "nothing," right?
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EDMUNDSON: This was in 1977, and we were at a place called the Woodstock Country School in Woodstock, Vermont.
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EDMUNDSON: Absolutely.
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EDMUNDSON: I did.
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EDMUNDSON: I was a young teacher. I was 24 to 27 years old. LAMB: What years? EDMUNDSON: That was from 1977 to about 1980.
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EDMUNDSON: I had a BA from Bennington College, and whatever degree they should have given at the cab-driving garage that I drove out of in New York City. (LAUGHTER)
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EDMUNDSON: Eventually, I did. After I did my three years at Woodstock, I went to Yale University and did a Ph.D. there in English. LAMB: And then what? EDMUNDSON: And then, having had -- you know, there`s a great line in Saul Bellow`s "Adventures of Augie March," where he says, “various jobs, the Rosetta stone of my life.� Up until that time, I had about 40 jobs, and since that time, I`ve had one.
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EDMUNDSON: It varies a great deal, but the heart and soul of my teaching is the romantic poets, English and American.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, Proust is maybe the greatest stylist in the 20th century.
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EDMUNDSON: I have. LAMB: How many times? EDMUNDSON: I don`t go through it in the consecutive way that Shelby Foote does.
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EDMUNDSON: Yes. Proust has that wonderful line where he talks about how readers will come to understand themselves by seeing the world through his eyes. And some of what he has to say will resonate with them, and that`ll be marvelous, but some of it won`t. And then he says, “But you shouldn`t criticize me if it doesn`t.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, to me, the two greatest authors in English are Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Shakespeare.
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EDMUNDSON: He`s right on the head there, when he`s -- especially when he talks about the individual. Emerson speaks to the individual and tells the individual to treasure his own thoughts, his own perceptions and his own projects, even when the hue and cry is against them.
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EDMUNDSON: I was born in Malden, Massachusetts.
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EDMUNDSON: Right.
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EDMUNDSON: I first started reading Emerson, actually, when I entered graduate school.
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EDMUNDSON: Thoreau is a tough, brutal critic of one central tenet -- one central tendency in American life, and that is consumerism, all right? Simplify, simplify, simplify. There`s no writer who knows more about the perils of consumerism. He talks about how people are out there working hard, laying up -- making themselves sick, laying up money for the day that they fall sick, you know?
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EDMUNDSON: I would open up Thoreau`s "Walden," and if I were pressed for time, I would just read the chapter called "Economy." LAMB: What about Emerson? EDMUNDSON: In Emerson, I would look at the great essay, "Self-Reliance," and then all of the other essays in the first series.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, I ask them questions that sometimes raise the roof a little bit. LAMB: Like? EDMUNDSON: Well, we`re reading "1984," and I say, Hey, if you woke up tomorrow morning and "1984" Big Brother world had taken hold, how would you behave?
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EDMUNDSON: Sure.
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EDMUNDSON: I think it`s rarely true.
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EDMUNDSON: I picked him out because to me, he stands for a tendency in American thought that`s moving to simplicity and anger and fear and self-righteousness.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, the inevitable reaction of liberals who don`t like where their kids are going to school is to send them to private schools immediately.
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EDMUNDSON: That`s beautifully put.
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EDMUNDSON: Yes.
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EDMUNDSON: He was a little bit annoyed, but Emerson was a good sport on some level, and he was also simply thrilled about this volume of poetry. So basically, he let it go.
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EDMUNDSON: I tend to read lying down.
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EDMUNDSON: It really varies, but you know, I try to take home a new book that I`ve never read every weekend and go through that, all kinds of different books -- novels, histories, poems, plays, what have you -- and then probably a couple of others during the week, and lots of magazines and newspapers and stuff.
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EDMUNDSON: I do.
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EDMUNDSON: My older son is 15 and my younger son is 12.
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EDMUNDSON: My older boy was obsessed by reading and being read to when he was very young. When he was about 8 years old, we went through the totality of "Don Quixote.
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EDMUNDSON: I do, only because I had that sense of kind of being out of place, of dislocation that a lot of future obsessed readers get.
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EDMUNDSON: My mother is still alive.
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EDMUNDSON: My father died in 1984, when he was in his mid-50s.
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EDMUNDSON: He didn`t, though he did come and visit me one day at Yale, and we took the tour of the campus and we walked around.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, McCourt`s got his finger on it.
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EDMUNDSON: Absolutely. Yes. Yes.
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EDMUNDSON: I learned a whole new way, for instance, of looking at "Portrait of a Lady," you know? I...
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EDMUNDSON: Which was that...
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EDMUNDSON: Which is that Henry James has created this marvelous character, Isabel Archer, who`s beautiful and free and young and just arriving in Europe and being courted by one rich old-world potentate after the next, and she`s full of high spirits and American good will and goodness.
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EDMUNDSON: I teach every level, from first-year to ending graduate students. EDMUNDSON: How often do you get -- this is going to sound unfair to the student -- a blank slate, someone who walks in and it`s the first time they`ve ever thought about being serious about reading? EDMUNDSON: All of the students at the University of Virginia are accomplished students.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, I`m continually, of course, finding parents who say to their sons and daughters, Stay out of the English department.
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EDMUNDSON: True enough. True enough. Some distinctions worth making.
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EDMUNDSON: Sure. Teach it all the time.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, the students who know the Bible best often tend to come from a fundamentalist or a resolutely Christian background.
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EDMUNDSON: Well, I grew up Roman Catholic, was part of the church until I was 11 or 12 years old, and then came to the conclusion - two things - that, you know, as a young, scientific empiricist.
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EDMUNDSON: No. Not at all. LAMB: What about the students? EDMUNDSON: The students are very mixed.
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EDMUNDSON: It`s a complex question.
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EDMUNDSON: All the time.
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EDMUNDSON: My father was a remote, difficult, highly intelligent p


the PVC | Princeton Varsity Club | Page 4

princetonvarsityclub.org [cached]

Jake McCandless '51 PVC Speaker Series presents: Mark Edmundson

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Jake McCandless '51 PVC Speaker Series presents: Mark Edmundson - photos posted!
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On Tuesday, December 11th, the PVC welcomed UVA professor Mark Edmundson to campus for the latest edition of the Jake McCandless '51 PVC Speaker Series. Edmundson discussed the potential positive and negative effects of sports on the character of athletes.
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On Tuesday, December 11th, the PVC is proud to present University of Virginia Professor of English, Mark Edmundson, to campus. His presentation will examine the character building, and potentially character destroying, aspects of football and of sports in general. Mark Edmundson is a University Professor in the English Department at the University of Virginia. His lecture is titled "Terrible Beauty: Football in ... Read More >


teaching | Scott Rettberg

retts.net [cached]

Via Eric Rasmussen, I encoutered this wonderful essay by Mark Edmundson, "All Entertainment, All the Time.

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Edmundson, who teaches English at the University of Virginia, recounts his disappointment with student evaluations that described his course, blandly, as enjoyable: Enjoyable: I... Read more


Mark ...

uvamagazine.org [cached]

Mark Edmundson

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Mark Edmundson is a professor in the UVA English department. His book Why Teach? is forthcoming from Bloomsbury this fall.

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