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University of Toronto Professor responds

To the guy who called himself a U of T professor (wrongly) and said he can't teach women or queer or Chinese authors.


Some hilarious tidbits from Holger Symes' post, The Loneliness of the Old White Man:

David Gilmour isn’t actually a colleague of mine, despite what you might have read. Gilmour is emphatically not a “University of Toronto literature professor.” He is a novelist and a broadcaster; he teaches a few classes at Victoria College; and he makes extremely blinkered statements about literature. He’s not a member of the English Department, or of any other department of literature at U of T. His title of “Professor,” as listed on the Victoria College website, is an honorific, as far as I can tell.

Here’s the thing: I’m glad David Gilmour isn’t teaching Virginia Woolf. I’m sorry he’s teaching Chekhov, and Tolstoy, and Fitzgerald. I don’t really care about Roth or Henry Miller: he can teach them to death as far as I’m concerned. There must be other authors who need the kind of pseudo-biographical rubbish Gilmour heaps on Chekhov, who apparently was “the coolest guy in literature.” .... Chekhov also laughed loudly. And he made everyone around him a better person. Man, that Chekhov. What a guy. What a guy-guy.

Is passion about your subject matter important in teaching? Absolutely. Is the passion required in teaching typically stirred because the teacher identifies with the author or the text she teaches? I seriously hope not. I can only speak for myself, but I can categorically say that I have never identified with Shakespeare. ... I don’t believe I have a reputation for lacking passion for my subject, though. But what do I know. From what I can observe in my colleagues, I don’t think too many of them only teach authors in whose works they see mirror-images of themselves. English Departments would otherwise be rife with psychopaths, morbidly jealous types, would-be kings and queens, and wealthy socialites. And people who ride around on donkeys. (They’re not?) I don’t even want to think about how dangerous a work environment history departments would be.


The whole thing is worth a read. Makes me want to live close enough to audit one of this guy's classes.

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