There’s another controversy afoot. (As if there isn’t always, right?) This one concerns some comments made by some Lit professor in Toronto. You can read the story at the link, and you can read some other stuff over at Comment Home, which is where I read about it. Mostly, I don’t care. The professor in question (one David Gilmore, but not THAT David Gilmore) is basically teaching the stuff he likes, which is mostly stuff written by straight men. In this I don’t see any difference between him and the various [Blank] Studies departments that have sprung up all over academia in recent decades.
But one comment he made had me asking a “What if?” First, here’s a comment of Gilmore’s to give a little context:
I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories. But once again, when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women.
He went on:
What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.
I read this and thought,
What if Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov could be asked for their opinions about this? Assume that they understood the English language and modern North American vernaculars. Would they appreciate being described as not merely guys, or guy-guys, but as real guy-guys. Personally, I’m thinking Chekhov probably reaches for that rifle hanging on the wall….