“…A fantastic combination of solid scholarship and genuinely arresting narrative. It's a great book and is the heir to the best kind of scholarly writing, i.e. Trilling, that was once
appreciated by a literate, general public, as opposed to the indecipherable, navel-gazing garbage that hack Ph.D.'s churn out by the ton these days.” ~ Thomas Vinciguerra, NY Times
"A splendid book! Original, controversial, academic, readable, serious, light-hearted, sensible, charming..." - Hazel Holt, Literary Executor of the Barbara Pym Estate, author of Barbara Pym’s biography, A Lot to Ask: A Life of Barbara Pym and editor (with Hilary Pym) of Barbara Pym’s unpublished work, Civil to Strangers and Other Writings; leading crime novelist.
"It should be mandatory reading for all undergraduate students of English Literature; no American students of English Literature should be allowed to set foot upon campus without having proved that they have read it..." - Peter Miles, Emeritus Fellow of the English Association.
American writer Harrison Solow has been honoured with multiple awards for her literary fiction, nonfiction, cross-genre writing, poetry and professional writing, most notably winning a Pushcart Prize for Literature in 2008. Harrison Solow is one of the two best-selling University of California Press authors of all time (at time of publication), a Notable Alumna of Mills College where she earned an MFA, and holds the rare distinction of a British PhD in English (Letters) with a critical and creative dissertation “Accepted as Submitted: No Changes” from Trinity Saint David, 2011.
Learning literature - as opposed to learning about it, like the learning of any art, requires discernment. Without that crucial quality, a young and/or impressionable student might simply accept anything that any professor says about it. While I am not a believer in the democracy of all opinions, in which the views of the uninformed, ignorant and/or inexperienced hold as much weight (or even any weight at times) as someone who has studied, reflected, lived a great deal of life in the pursuit knowledge and in the company of other experts/authorities on this/her subject, it is patently clear that the sensibilities of many people are limited or obscured by self-interest and this includes those who teach literature. This is not to denigrate the profession - on the contrary - it is to elevate it. Mallory believes in Felicity's perceptivity, and urges her to use it in choosing to whom to listen and from whom to take direction.
Felicity & Barbara Pym
I think you know the answer to that question. I do value universities, I do value scholars, I do value intellectuals, I do value literary analysts and I do value some academics. In fact, I cherish all of these in principle (and at times in reality) deeply ― much more than you could possibly know. That is why I detest the mean, petty, inadequate and phony versions of all of these things. I don’t want you to be in awe of the wrong people, listen too closely to the wrong voices and learn the wrong lessons. I don’t want you to waste your young life unlearning what has harmed you. I want you to study everything you can with a protective shield called ‘perspective’ and this is what you will acquire by self-education. Learnaboutliterature from every professor you have. But learn what it means from yourself. And the only way you can do this is