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One percent

The decolonisation of English literature

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By the way this is how white people are starting to be treated when they are in the majority and have most of the power. For a glimpse into the future for when whites are in the minority have a look at Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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It is fine.   It is an English class.

Put the other authors on, then apply the same critical appraisal as is applied to all texts.  They can all discuss the finer points and weaknesses as they go.  If it is crap they can all discuss the crapness, if good, discuss the goodness.

But IMO it would be worth pointing out that it is an English course, and despite the prevalence of English in the Internet world, it wasn't that widely spoken more than 100 years ago outside of GB and the USA, so there won't be that many texts* to choose from the classical literature.

[*Actually, I'm ignorant and don't know this -- do people study translations of foreign language texts in English courses?  This would seem to me to be studying the translator, not the author, but WDIK]

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5 minutes ago, dgul said:

It is fine.   It is an English class.

Put the other authors on, then apply the same critical appraisal as is applied to all texts.  They can all discuss the finer points and weaknesses as they go.  If it is crap they can all discuss the crapness, if good, discuss the goodness.

But IMO it would be worth pointing out that it is an English course, and despite the prevalence of English in the Internet world, it wasn't that widely spoken more than 100 years ago outside of GB and the USA, so there won't be that many texts* to choose from the classical literature.

[*Actually, I'm ignorant and don't know this -- do people study translations of foreign language texts in English courses?  This would seem to me to be studying the translator, not the author, but WDIK]

It does seem rather strange doesn't it that the title of study is English literature. Then there are complaints when it doesn't represent people from other nations and other nationalities. I'm not convinced that American literature should be studied under the banner of English literature. 

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I partly agree with this; e.g.:

Quote

They included several practical proposals, such as an introductory lecture that would 'offer perspectives on the global contexts and history of English literature'.

And people on here have said how little they like the books that are held up as "classics"; so it's good to take a step back, look at the global sweep of published English literature, see why certain books become set texts and examine whether they deserve to be or are other books more deserving.

But equally if a book is average it does not then become worthy of study purely because it was written by somebody who wasn't a ninenteenth century white man.

 

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Bugger - I thought this was going to be a pedant thread about the humble colon:

First they came for the colon, and I did nothing as I am an elipsis;

The they came for the semi-colon and again I did nothing etc...

Disappointed.

 

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5 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

Bugger - I thought this was going to be a pedant thread about the humble colon:

First they came for the colon, and I did nothing as I am an elipsis;

The they came for the semi-colon and again I did nothing etc...

Disappointed.

 

Lucky you. I assumed it was about removing scatalogical references wherever they might be found...

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27 minutes ago, ThePiltdownMan said:

Spend 50K on an even more useless degree, fine by me

I'd have thought that English literature would be a very enjoyable and worthwhile degree to do; though as it's fairly irrelevant in career terms I wouldn't be looking at spending £50k on doing it.   I'd hoik a syllabus off the internet and use that.

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.

Quote

 

But campaigners have argued that the English courses focus too much on white men and exclude female authors and those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

Why don't they just start a BME and Female literature course if that's what they want to study.

Then it would likely have the added advantage of extra make work.

Edited by twocents

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7 minutes ago, twocents said:

.

 

Why don't they just start a BME and Female literature course if that's what they want to study.

Then it would likely have the added advantage of extra make work.

I'm trying not to head down the SJW rabbit hole here but I think it highly likely that the authors that would become successful in an Empire that was primarily controlled by upper class middle aged men would be be favouring books written by upper class men; so you had women authors like the Brontes pretending to be male to publishers.  There were the specific chick lit books like Jane Austen but generally those publishing and buying the books would be upper class men.

Now, as I fall within that category (well, middle rather than upper class) those would be the books appealing to me but I accept that they don't represent an objective selection of books on the basis of their intrinsic quality (however difficult that is to assess objectively).  So it does (to me) make sense to include more books by women and from around the Empire because their very authorship would have mitigated against their being successful in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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52 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I'm trying not to head down the SJW rabbit hole here but I think it highly likely that the authors that would become successful in an Empire that was primarily controlled by upper class middle aged men would be be favouring books written by upper class men; so you had women authors like the Brontes pretending to be male to publishers.  There were the specific chick lit books like Jane Austen but generally those publishing and buying the books would be upper class men.

Now, as I fall within that category (well, middle rather than upper class) those would be the books appealing to me but I accept that they don't represent an objective selection of books on the basis of their intrinsic quality (however difficult that is to assess objectively).  So it does (to me) make sense to include more books by women and from around the Empire because their very authorship would have mitigated against their being successful in the 18th and 19th centuries.

If it can be accurately described as English Literature for an English Literature course then if it has the required quality then it might make sense and I'm sure they consider possible additions to their list as time goes along - however like so much else these days the proposal for more BME and Female etc books just sounds like a proposal for Affirmative Action Literature which to me is just the usual SJW baloney.  For sure there will be good BME and Female literature to the required standard but they don't provide a list and do the ones they want to introduce come under the specific heading of English Literature. 

Bearing in mind also that if you apply for an English Literature course at a top University that pretty much implies and predefines the type of books you're going to be studying or at least it has done and as far as I know those tend in the main to come from a traditional list.

I do think it might warrant a separate course maybe with some overlap of classes.

Edited by twocents

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The principle of her argument as I understand it seems reasonable, i.e. course content should not exclude work of merit from BME authors writing in English.

Where the problem comes is the linking of that point with European colonisation, much of it by an English-speaking nation.

If eighteenth and nineteenth century BME writers of merit were repressed or not enabled to flourish as a result of colonialism then by definition they are not being ignored or omitted from any course of study, they are unknown!

Acknowledging that is not cavalier, careless or dismissive of BME writers, colonialism was a fact; it can’t be undone.

Implying there is a continuation of colonial attitudes preventing BME writers from being studied is an easy points-scoring opportunity but without a list of authors, poets or playwrights to consider then it’s just intellectual click bait.  

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For most British people since about 1550 to the end of the 19th Century English literature essentially consisted of just a handful of books.

The Bible

The Book of Common Prayer

Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Most of what makes up the rest of the canon of English literature had a very limited readership before the 20th century with a few notable exceptions such as Dickens. In fact most of the stuff on Eng Lit courses does not have much of a readership now apart from students studying that subject.

BTW Conrad managed to succeed as an English language author despite not being British by birth.

It should perhaps also be pointed out that without colonialism most authors from the former colonies would not be writing in English at all.

Edited by Virgil Caine

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4 hours ago, One percent said:

My daughter has one and has a pretty good job for a publisher :)

Maybe in that directly related field ... soon to be automated?

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