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December 19, 2015



I think your last pt, about how the media misrepresented what was going on re that controversy, is well taken.

As for the underlying issues, I guess I would lean toward choosing/teaching texts mostly for reasons other than what they say about sex. However,a syllabus of the sort you describe that starts w Clarissa and is chosen for its 'sexual' content might be ok if the pt were not to convey messages about present adult attitudes but to look at past attitudes to these issues as conveyed in literature. I cd see it as an elective in a gender studies or English dept. As for possible awkwardnesses in discussion sections, I don't know that that's quite as big a problem as you suggest. There are prob. ways to deal w/ it.

The way things are taught is of course not static but changes w/ scholarly fashions and preoccupations and w/ the broader society. For ex, when I read the Iliad in high school, there was, afaicr, little discussion of the jealousies of the gods and their frequently sexual character, no discussion of the relationship betw Achilles and Patroclus, etc. Presumably that would be different today (at least in college if not high school).

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