An Essay on the Decline of English Departments

I was looking to see what google had to say about the books that every English major must read and I found this article.  It expresses some of the angst that came up in the discussion last class about being an English major in the world around us.  The essay talks about a decline in the studies of humanities, why this is happening, and how departments of English should react (though, it seems, they have not been reacting in the right ways).  It raises questions about where the study of literature is going and if a core exists in this scholarly pursuit.  It’s a pretty good read so, if you have the time, check it out.

Here is the url:



One thought on “An Essay on the Decline of English Departments

  1. I agree with the article in some ways. I feel that most people in the education system, before college, are programmed to want to go to school. The sentiment that one goes to college for a job, not an education has become appallingly clear. I believe the reason that English as a major is falling is becuase of the rigorous nature of research, reading, and thoughtfully writing is too much for people who just want to breeze through, live a collge-party life, or want a degree that will give them a ‘good-job’. Being an English major is being a scholar. The other programs like the sciences, Bio, Chem, Physics and others are very intensive, but focus insanely in one area. What the sciences find out, is when they are not employed, thier degree does little for them. I knew a woman who had two Ph.D.’s becuase she just kept going to school becuase she could never get hired. She was too focused in her field, so she just kept taking classes to widen her field…then she became overqualified. English majors do a ton of work in thier program, but do not have that focus in a field to offer them ‘that dream job’, since the jobs out there are so many for English majors that it is staggering….but one must do what an English major does…research, interview, and connect.
    College is a business. No longer is it purely a bastion for higher education, or else there would not be record attendances, nor would it be marketed to the young like cigarettes and achohol are (i.e. Movies, and other common media).
    Since college is a business, it aims to make as much money as possible and pump out as many degrees as possible. This creates a forces of people with an education, but severly lacking since they were literally pushed through. At least at Fredonia, I feel that my professors have a soul (In the Humanities departments at least), and care about the integrity of thier profession, but I also feel that the student body does not take it seriously enough, and treats college like a business transaction as well. Both ways, whether it is the collge cheapening the degrees or the students, it is a problem. Grad school is already becoming the new ‘next level’. I wonder when there will be party-movies about grad school? Probably pretty soon.

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