Saturday, June 19, 2004


Babbitt's College Education

Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt (1922)

From Chapter 6:
"Course I'd never admit it publicly -- fellow like myself, a State. U. graduate, it's only decent and patriotic for him to blow his horn and boost the Alma Mater -- but smatter of fact, there's a whole lot of valuable time lost even at the U., studying poetry and French and subjects that never brought in anybody a cent."
From Chapter 9:
"Now, ladies and gentlemen, shall we ask the guide to put us into communication with the spirit of some great one passed over?"

Mrs. Orville Jones begged, "Oh, let's talk to Dante! We studied him at the reading circle. You know who he was, Orvy."

"Certainly I know who he was! The Wop poet. Where do you think I was raised?" from her insulted husband.

"Sure -- the fellow that took the Cook's Tour to Hell. I've never waded through his po'try, but we learned about him at the U.," said Babbitt.
Nowadays you could get all the way through the U. without studying poetry or French or learning about Dante. Babbitt was an educated man compared to many of today's graduates.

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