Saturday, April 16, 2016


The First Faculty Position of a Newly-Minted Ph.D.

Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924), "University Work in America and Classical Philology," Princeton Review 55 (1879) 511-536 (at 516-517), rpt. in his Essays and Studies, Educational and Literary (Baltimore: N. Murray, 1890), pp. 87-123 (at 94-95):
In the meagrely furnished library he misses his favorite books, or rather books which by frequent citation he seems to know; in the reading-room he cannot find the journals so familiar to eye and ear. He has no one who will suffer him to talk about the themes of his personal research or even the absorbing topic of his doctor-dissertation, because there is no one who has a like attention to exact of him in turn. His duties are eminently distasteful. Instead of following the history of a construction, chasing an etymon through a score of languages, getting at the sources of an historian, analyzing the style of an orator, he has to listen to translations of Xenophon's Anabasis, to correct exercises in which Darius and Parysatis continue to have two sons in all the moods and tenses, and, what is worst of all, he is often waked up out of his learned dreams to find that the irregular Greek verbs, which he once fancied he knew well enough, are to be an object of steady contemplation for the rest of his natural life, and that with all his gettings he has still no end of work to do in the mechanical mastery, so to speak, of the language to which he has devoted himself. The situation is grim, and there is little help from without. Sometimes he is utterly alone. Sometimes the traditions of the college or university do not favor easy intercourse between the principal and the subordinate teachers. But even when the older colleague is accessible and has gone through the same experience, even when counsel and sympathy are not far to seek, still the younger generation is naturally prone to consider their case one of especial hardship, and so they prefer to nurse their own bitterness...

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?