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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 22 September 17, 1969

Eng. Lit

Eng. Lit.

I Would like to express my admiration for Mr. Ian Rush's zeal (Salient 16) apparent in his readiness to study bad hooks so that he will be able to distinguish them from good ones, and for his heroic patriotism manifested in his willingness to read a number of books simply because they were written in this country. I am also filled with awe by that strength of Faith which could declare that set-texts "must be pearls of literature because the department says so".

But I also feel Impelled to make a plea for toleration on behalf of those lesser mortals who. like myself, feel that such acts of supererogation are beyond their capacities and who simply want to read literature which is personally meaningful to them, and on behalf of those (doubtlessly mistaken) souls who find more in the literature of bygone ages than mere nostalgia and who cannot always find the relevance to life in this century which Mr. Rush insists is present in recent science-fiction writing.

Though I had not intended this to be a confession of personal inadequacy. I must admit that Iam a little puzzled by the charge that students are not taught what are literary values; it had seemed to me that any intelligent analysis of a work of literature involved the consideration of this question at its most fundamental level and that consequently the process of teaching literary values was going on all the time.

I am also a little bewildered by the statement that "any literary criticism taught is pedantic and not transferable". The meaning of pedanic is clear enough even if Mr. Rush's admirable idealism leads him to a generalisation which others, just possibly, might feel does not warrant such universay status; however, after studying my train-ticket at some length. I must confess that I am still at a loss to know quite what Mr. Rush meant by "not transferable".

Anyway, it's time I stopped writing and got back to my hooks; I'm re-reading Hamlet at the moment and although, of course, it has no relevance to life in this century, just think of all that lovely nostalgia.

P. Gerard.