The David Gilmour “Outrage”

Recently, Canadian writer and sometime literature professor David Gilmour said that he didn’t teach any novels by women in his courses. Naturally, he was immediately attacked from all sides. In this piece, however, University of Ottawa English professor Janice Fiamengo offers some intelligent observations.

I particularly like this paragraph:

The study of literature — which was, let it be said right away, largely the study of literature by white male authors — once saw itself as part of the search for universal truths through reflection on the masterworks of great authors. Though undoubtedly at times stuffy and hidebound, it was also serious and intellectually substantial, attracting great thinkers such as Lionel Trilling, F.R. Leavis, William Empson, Edmund Wilson, and University of Toronto’s Northrop Frye himself. Today’s academics seem, in comparison, of vastly diminished moral and mental stature, fussing in chorus about “diversity” as if it were the only possible value to be gained from reading, and exhibiting in their own remarks no significant diversity at all. It is remarkable that not a single one of these academics, despite the protection of tenure, came forward to defend Gilmour or at least to rebut his more hysterical detractors. Is there not one with courage and common sense?

Read the whole thing.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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