Sunday, May 15, 2016


The High School Curriculum

Gilbert Highet (1906-1978), "The American Student as I See Him," American Scholar 10.4 (Autumn, 1941) 416-427 (at 422):
I went to a perfectly ordinary school in Scotland, P.S. 93 as it were. In my last three years (ages 15-18) we were forced to read and understand Hamlet, Macbeth, Henry IV, Chaucer's Prologue and Knight's Tale, Polyeucte, Le Cid, Le Misanthrope, Eugénie Grandet, Seven Against Thebes, The Persians, Iliad XVI and XVIII, Aeneid II, IV, and VI, Livy IX and several other books. And we read them. (Dickens and Scott and Thackeray and so on, we had read long before.) We had to, under that stringent discipline. We could write a character of Macduff or Célimène, we could reproduce the various explanations and emendations of the "dram of eale" in Hamlet, we could compare the shields of Achilles and Aeneas, we could write little essays on Balzac's idea of realism. They were not very good; but they proved that we had read the books.
Highet attended Hillhead High School in Glasgow.

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