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Archive for October, 2011

[AN: All notes are taken verbatim from the book. I claim no rights to them.]

Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our College & Universities by Mark C. Taylor

Chapter 1: Reprogramming the Future

* The growing number of college and university faculty members focused on their research and publishing careers had led to a conflict between preoccupations of professors and the needs of the students (4)

*Many of our best and brightest spend 8-10 years chasing unfulfillable dreams (5)

*Academic criticism [of NYT article]: critical and hostile; Students, Parents, and Drop-Outs [reviews of the NYT article]: 98% positive (7)

*Schools are producing too much literature, saying too little, very little synthesis of ideas (8, quote from Rita Sophie Braguili)

*So much of what they do in colleges today is completely irrelevant; it’s not just that it’s impractical but so much of it has little or nothing to do with the real world (11, quote from Harvey, a former student)

*It is going to become more necessary for students to be less reliant on teachers and mentors and to assume more responsibility for their own education (15)

*[Regarding evolution of higher education]: its basic structure remained unchanged through the end of WWII (16)

*If the government can afford to bail out large corporations, big banks and financial institutions, it can afford to assist struggling college and universities (23)

Chapter 2: Beginning of the End

  • A curriculum made up of works largely written by white men taught by tenured professors who were almost exclusively white men no longer seemed adequate (32)
  • With jobs scarce, students themselves began delaying the completion of their graduate work

Chapter 3: Back to the Future

*Knowledge exists for knowledge’s sake and should not be judged by its usefulness (48)

*When the source of funding shifted from church to state, the purpose of education changed…in return for dependable funding, they would provide an educated workforce to fill positions in rapidly expanding administrative bureaucracies (51)

*Tenure was instituted supposedly to protect academic freedom (55)

*As a result of the principles Kant defined, the work done by faculty members can be judged only by other “experts” in the same field…thereby isolating departments from one another (56)

*Efforts to work across fields and to communicate beyond the confines of the university are regarded as unprofessional and thus discouraged (56)

*It is possible to pursue art for art’s sake only if someone else is paying the bills (63)

Chapter 4: Emerging Network Culture

(No notes)

Chapter 5: Education Bubble

*Networks become more volatile as they become more complex (96)

*You cannot borrow your way out of debt (99)

Chapter 6: Networking Knowledge

*Too many courses represent what the profession wants to teach rather than what students need to learn (115)

Chapter 7: Walls to Webs

  • Intellectual innovation…results from crossing different disciplines (140)

Chapter 8: New Skills for a Changing Workforce

*Many graduate programs still convey a system of values that privileges research and publication at the expense of teaching (181)

*In research universities and even many colleges, status is measured not only by how much a person publishes but by how little one teaches (181)

*Many publish little or nothing after receiving tenure (182)

*It makes absolutely no sense for a college or university to make lifetime commitments to faculty members whose performance can be neither predicted nor modified (209)

Chapter 9: Class of 2020

(No notes)

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Summary:

Mr. Taylor is known for his controversial views on how to change and upgrade the American educational system. He calls to ending tenure to keep colleges and universities from becoming too stagnant. The use of an evaluation system that occurs every seven years so professors stay “on the ball” and not get lazy. Also, he proposes a pay reduction system for every year a professor refuses to retire. There are other points made in this book, but these were the three that stood out.

Opinion:

This book is the scariest thing I’ve ever read. Stephen King has nothing on Taylor. At least with Stephen King, you can say to yourself, “This is fiction. It’s not real.” You can’t do that with this book. If this book is portraying an accurate picture of the educational system in this country, then America is doomed. Colleges and universities are stuck in such a rut and cannot seem or refuse to try to pull themselves out it. Harvard is used as one of the main examples. No one ever thought we would have to bail out Chevy and GM, but we did. And from the way things are going, we may be bailing out Harvard within the next decade.

© Cori Endicott October 2011

 

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Summary:

Ms. Starbird continues her research into the history and mythology of Mary Magdalene. Main topics include the Sacred Union, the Apostle to the Apostles, Holy Grail, Daughter of Zion, Knights Templar, the Roman Catholic Church, and many more interesting and thought-provoking topics. The book does become repetitive. She does have a gentle way of contradicting the male views. She also brings in other myths for comparison.

Opinion:

I found this book very thought-provoking and an enlightening read. Despite being Catholic, I find the while idea of Jesus being married and having children probable. The book comes with a CD containing and hour long lecture. During the retelling of the Orpheus myth, Ms. Starbird mixes up the names of the Greek and Roman gods. Nick-picky, maybe. But it bothered me. Very nice presentation. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the topic.

© Cori Endicott October 2011

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[AN: All notes are taken verbatim from the book. I claim no rights to them.]

Introduction to Librarianship by Jean Key Gates

  1. Thus, although a library is a building or institution for the custody, circulation, and administration of a collection of books (and other materials), there are definitely established kinds of libraries. (pg 1)
  2. To most laymen a librarian is a librarian. (pg 3)
  3. Librarianship may not be the only profession in which the professional title is not reserved wholly for the professionals. (pg 3)
  4. Since the church was the empire’s most important institution, in its early days, bishops, monks, and priests were more prominent than secular scholars and writers. Church buildings multiplied and, as a consequence of the requirement that each bishop have a library, ecclesiastical libraries and monastic collections were established widely. (pg 23)
  5. The Arabs were indeed great conquerors, but it was in the role of “adapters, preservers, and spreaders of civilization” that they contributed to the story of libraries, and it was largely through them that mathematical and scientific knowledge was transmitted toEurope. (pg 25)
  6. In 597 the monk Augustine landed atKent, where he founded the church atCanterbury. (pg 31)
  7. Charles the Great = Charlemagne, 768-814 (pg 32)
  8. From the viewpoint of the student of librarianship, the most significant result of the Crusades was that twelfth-centuryEuropewas brought into touch with the highly developed civilization of the East and exposed to new ideas, new knowledge, and new literature. (pg 38)
  9. The universities ofBologna,Paris, andOxfordare examples of permanent institutions of higher education which grew out of the wanderings of students and the instruction of individual teachers. The first universities in Italy, France, and England were followed by the establishment of institutions of higher learning in Spain and other countries of Western Europe, and thus by the close of the Middle Ages there were about eighty universities in Europe. (pg 39-40)
  10. One of the most important academic libraries was the one given by Robert de Sorbon to the college which he founded inParisin the thirteenth century for students of theology and which eventually became part of theUniversityofParis. (pg 40)
  11. Eventually, every college in a university had its own library. The more important books were chained to the desks, but in some libraries the chains were lengths so that the student could take his book to a nearby table while he studied. (pg 40)
  12. Francebecame the center of this vernacular literary activity, producing the chansons de geste, the Fabliaux, and the poetry of the troubadours and the trouveres. Other examples of vernacular literature are the English epic poem, Beowulf, the Eddas of Iceland, the German Nibelungenlied, and Spain’s El Cid. Medieval literature reached its height in Italy in the Commedia (Divine Comedy) of Dante, whoh wrote in Latin but also in Italian, thus establishing the vernacular Italian as a language suitable for literary expression. (pg 40-41)
  13. During this period [the Middle Ages], only royalty, nobility, the church, and the universities could afford books. (pg 42)
  14. Philobiblon, one of the fist books about books, tells of his [Richard de Bury] extravagant love of books and reveals some of the methods he used in collecting them. (pg 43)
  15. Petrarch gave his library to St. Mark’s inVenice, but his wish that it be maintained by the Venetian government was never fulfilled. (pg 43)
  16. “It was an age of accumulation, of uncritical and indiscriminate enthusiasm. Manuscripts were worshipped…The good, the bad, and the indifferent received an almost equal homage. Criticism had not yet begun. (pg 45)
  17. The full-page woodcut, printed from a wooden block on which the text and illustrations had been carved, was the next step in printing, and by A.D. 868 the Chinese had produced a complete book, The Diamond Sutra, in this manner. Woodcut printing inEurope, however, was delayed until the fourteenth century. (pg 47)
  18. Movable types, made first of clay and then of tin, also originated inChinabut were never used extensively by the Chinese. (pg 47)
  19. “Printing as it appeared inEurope, was an independent outgrowth of the time.” (pg 47)
  20. This event of incalculable significance in the cultural history of mankind occurred between 1440 and 1450 in the vicinity ofMainz,Germany. (pg 47)
  21. Printed books which can be dated before the year 1501 are called incunabula. (pg 48)
  22. The Reformation exhibits in the realm of religious thought and national politics what the Renaissance displays in the sphere of culture, art, and science—the recovered energy and freedom of the reason. (pg. 50)
  23. It has been said thatGermanyin the sixteenth century “was saturated with books.” (pg 51)
  24. Some of the great national libraries were founded during the seventeenth century: the Prussian State Library inBerlin(1659), the Kongelige Blibliotek inCopenhagen(1661), and the National Library of Scotland (1682). (pg. 53)
  25. In the last quarter of the century, the Revolution of the American Colonies focused attention on the democratic concept of the worth and dignity of the individual and the French Revolution proclaimed the importance of the common man. (pg 55)
  26. The Sloan and Harleian collections and that of Sir Robert Cotton, together with the Royal Library which had existed from the reign of Henry VII, formed the foundation of theBritishMuseum, which was incorporated in 1753. (pg 56)
  27. But to meet all the new demands for books from people who were unable to buy them, a new kind of library was developed: the lending or circulating library, begun by booksellers who loaned books on payment of a small fee. (pg 57)
  28. In 1850 the English Parliament passed the first Public Libraries Act, allowing local councils to organize libraries and support them by taxation but limiting the amount that could be spent for that purpose. The first public library was established atManchesterwith Edward Edwards as librarian. Edwards, who had been influential in securing the passage of the Public Libraries Act, set forth some general principles of library service which have been followed ever since: Library service must be given freely to any citizen who wants to use it; library service is a local responsibility and the cost is borne collectively by all who pay taxes whether they use it or not; books of all kinds and on all aspects of a question should be included in the collection. (pg 58)
  29. These libraries were of three kinds: (1) parochial, for the sole use of the minister; (2) provincial, for the use of all types of readers; and (3) layman’s containing books to be “lent or given at the discretion of the Minister.” (pg 64)
  30. Circulating libraries—or lending libraries, as they were also called—originated in Scotland in the eighteenth century, became numerous there, and then spread to England and the Continent.
  31. Since the colleges of the period emphasized textbook teaching and discouraged wide reading, their libraries were open chiefly for the occasional loan of a book to a professor or a student or for the perusal of recent periodicals. Upperclassmen could use the library under certain conditions, but, in general, freshmen and sophomores were not permitted to use it at all. (pg 84)
  32. At this meeting, the American Library Association was organized “to promote the library interests of the country.” (pg 88)
  33. The first formal library school program was opened atColumbiaCollegeby Melvil Dewey in 1887, and before the close of the century, four other programs for the training of librarians were established. (pg 88)
  34. The need to preserve government documents is as old as ancient Sumer, where such preservation began, and as current as today’s Congressional Record. (pg 89)
  35. The use of the library to support religious and moral instruction, of particular importance to the ancient Egyptians and the people ofIsraelandJudah, was characteristic of all early civilizations because libraries generally were connected both physically and administratively to the temples. (pg 89-90)
  36. One should remember, however, that as early as the first century B.C. Julius Caesar proposed the establishment of public libraries to educate the people for intelligent participation in the affairs of state, and his proposal, carried out after his death, resulted in the eventual establishment of some twenty-nine public libraries in Rome. (pg 91)

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[AN: All notes are taken verbatim from the book. I claim no rights to them.]

 Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World

By Claire Harman

  1. The use of Austen’s name knows no generic boundaries. Who else is cited with equal approval by feminists and misogynists…(pg. xvi)
  2. If P&P is the representative Austen title, its opening sentence is one of the most frequently abused quotes in the language, second only to “to be or not to be.” (pg xvi)
  3. To many people, P&P, and even “Jane Austen,” simply evoke the actor Colin Firth in a wet shirt…(pg xvii)
  4. In 2007 P&P was voted “the book theUKcan’t do without”; the Bible was sixth (pg xvii)
  5. The Web-connected world allows full indulgence of readers’ identification with the author and her works (pg xviii)
  6. There have been several revolutions of taste during the last century and a quarter of English Literature, and through them all perhaps only two reputations have never been affected by the shifts of fashion: Shakespeare’s and Jane Austen’s (pg xix)
  7. “All the reading world is now at Miss Austen’s feet” Thomas E. Kebbel (pg xii)
  8. “From an early age,” the critic Isobel Grundy has noted, “she read like a potential author.”
  9. Austen’s taste in reading was eclectic and guided purely by the pleasure principle [as is my own].
  10. A copy of Emma sold in 1995 for £16,000. (pg 54)
  11. Two manuscript chapters of Persuasion, the only such drafts of any part of any Austen novel to have survived, have given scholars fascinating insight into Austen’s working methods. (pg 57)
  12. Oh! subjects rebellious! Oh Venta depraved; When once we are buried you think we are gone; But behold me immortal! By vice you’ve enslaved; You have sinned and must suffer, then farther he said…” (pg 59)
  13. The two previous underlined lines were presumably underlined by Cassandra at a later date, seemed prophetic, for these unexceptional comic verses were the last thing Jane Austen ever wrote. Two days after composing them, she was dead. (pg 60)
  14. “She became an authoress entirely from taste and inclination,” Henry Austen. (pg 67)
  15. [In reference to James Fenimore Cooper’s Precaution] George Hastings went further than this and made a detailed comparison of Precaution and the Austen novel nearest in date (and title) to Cooper’s, Persuasion, which makes a convincing case for Austen being the copied novelist but not the loathed one. Both books begin with a baronet renting one property and retiring to another; both baronets have three daughters and a favorite among them. Both books have heroines who are not the father’s favorite; the heroines both have an older female mentor and an admiring brother-in-law, and both are courted unsuccessfully by a cousin. And so on… the similarities are “so numerous that one has difficulty in believing them all to be accidental,” and Cooper’s book, though twice as long as Persuasion and much more elaborate, “repeats almost every detail of situation, setting, character and plot used by Jane Austen.” (pg 76)
  16. During her life time, Austen’s most successful book (in terms of sales) had been Murray’s first edition of Emma, which sold 1,250 copies in its first year. He had printed around 2,000 in 1815, and still had 565 copies unsold in 1818. Two years later, hardly any of these had shifted, and he remaindered the last 535 copies for two shillings a set. The initial price had been 21 shillings. A single copy of this edition sold in 1999 for £8,500. (pg 77)
  17. “Shakespeare has neither equal nor second. But among the writers who, in the point which we have noticed, have approached nearest to the manner of the great master, we have no hesitation in placing Jane Austen.” (pg 84)
  18. “After all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said of one’s happiness depending entirely on any particular person, it is not meant—it is not fit—it is not possible that is should be so.” Sense and Sensibility (pg 86)
  19. Cassandra was the person who exercised ultimate control over Jane’s posterity and who, a few years before her own death in 1845, destroyed a large quantity of her papers, leaving the life record famously scanty and unrevealing. (pg 87)
  20. a critic’s novelist—highly spoken of and little read (pg 94)
  21. Jane Austen is now considered to be one of the most difficult and challenging of biographical subjects, second only to Shakespeare in terms of how little of the life is knowable and of what interest it is.
  22. Whatever she produced was a genuine home-made article (pg 114)
  23. [paraphrased] She became everyone’s Aunt Jane (117)
  24. 1860 was the last time such ignorance would be excusable (pg 122)
  25. In 1900, every man of intellectual pretensions either likes to read her books or thinks it necessary to apologize if he does not (122)
  26. She was public property and on her way to becoming a national treasure (122)
  27. 1883 at Harvard, was the first time the author has been studied in the academy (pg 124)
  28. “In the case of the note very numerous authors who are the objects of the personal affection, it brings a curious consequence with it. There is much more difference as to their best work than in the case of those others who are loved ‘by allowance,’ by convention, and because it is felt to be the right and proper thing to love them. And in the sect—fairly large and yet unusually choice—of Austenians or Janites, there would probably be found partisans of the claim to primacy of almost every one of the novels.” Saintsbury (128)
  29. “The story of P&P has of late years become known to a constantly, almost rapidly, increasing cult, as it must be called, for the readers of Jane Austen are hardly ever less than her adorers: she is a passion and a creed, if not quite a religion.” W.D. Howells (pg 128)
  30. “those who do appreciate her novels will think no praise too high for them, while those who do not, will marvel at the infatuation of her admirers; for no one ever care moderately for Jane Austen’s works.” Sarah Fanny Malden (134)
  31. Part of the appeal of Janeism was its ingrained Englishness, which for cultural and linguistic reasons slowed the dissemination of her works in the non-anglophone world (139)
  32. Politically and ideologically, Austen was unattractive to the Anglophobic Danes and the Eastern European nations, and the French were inclined to think of her as a “puritan.” (139)
  33. Nowadays, there are whole sections ofUKtravel guides devoted to “Jane Austen Country” (151)
  34. A feeble poem by Kipling entitled “Jane’s Marriage”…places Austen in the company of Shakespeare and the world’s other great storytellers: Jane went to Paradise: that was only fair. Good Sir Walter followed her And armed her up the stair. Henry and Tobias and Miguel of Spain stood with Shakespeare at the top To welcome Jane. (163)
  35. The true connection between Austen and Shakespeare lay in their popularity, accessibility, and impact on readers’ affections. (163)
  36. “The truth is that every true admirer of the novels cherishes the happy thought that he alone—reading between the line—has become the secret friend of their author,” Katherine Mansfield (165)
  37. The “bonnet” picture by Cassandra, now acknowledged as the only unequivocally authentic picture of Jane Austen…it remains in the possession of the Austen descendants to this day. (169)
  38. A strange satiric novel of 1938, The Impregnable Women, by Eric Linklater, not only predicted the coming European war and London being “annihilated” by airborne bombs, but depicted the prime minister of this near-future England retreating after an international conference for a period of solitude in the company of Jane Austen: “When he woke up he refused to see anyone till six o’clock, because he was reading P&P” Something oddly similar happened in real life in 1943 when Winston Churchill, then minister of defense, arrived in Tunisia in early December on his way to the conference at which he, FDR, and Stalin were going to plan their final strategy against Hitler and set dates for Operation Overlord. The minister was already voiceless and feverish and soon developed pneumonia. By the end of the month, he was confined to bed in great discomfort, as he recalled in his memoir: Fever flickered in and out. I lived on my theme of the war, and it was like being transported out of oneself. The doctors tried to keep the work away from my bedside, but I defied them. They kept on saying, “Don’t work, don’t worry”; to such an extent that I decided to read a novel. I had long ago read Jane Austen’s S&S, and now I thought I would have P&P. Sarah read it to me beautifully from the foot of the bed. I had always thought that it would be better than its rival. What calm lives they had, those people! No worries about the French Revolution, or the crashing struggle of the Napoleonic wars. Only manners, controlling natural passion so far as they could, together with cultured explanations of any mischances. (175-6)
  39. The Morgan Library inNew York[contains] the most valuable Austen archive in the world (180)
  40. [In reference toAmericabecoming Jane Austen obsessed] The country [England] wasn’t used to feeling the sharp end of cultural colonization, being the looted rather than the lootee. (182)
  41. “The silliest of all criticisms of Jane Austen is the one which blames her for not writing about the battle ofWaterlooand the French Revolution. She wrote about what she understood and no artist can do more” (185)
  42. “There are those who do not like her; as there are those who do not like sunshine or unshelfishness. But the very nervous defiance with which they shout their dissatisfaction shows that they are a despised minority. All discriminating critics admire her books, most educated readers enjoy them; her fame, of all English novelists, is the most secure.” Lord David Cecil (186)
  43. Claudia Johnson has written amusingly of how badly Austen scholars do at JASNA quizzes (“We rarely recollect the colour of this character’s dress or that servant’s name”) (194)
  44. Nowadays, a glance along the “A” shelf of any good bookshop, will reveal a dizzying array of books on Jane Austen: study guides, biographies, sourcebooks, companions, books on Jane Austen and the theater, Jane Austen and food, and religion, and money, and the romantic poets…(195)
  45. There is a whole book about the famous first sentence of P&P—which of course reaches no conclusion about its meaning. (195)
  46. A genuinely popular author as well as a great one, she has come to exist,  more obviously than any other English writer, in several mutually exclusive spheres at once. (197)
  47. Austen didn’t seems like an obvious candidate for mass popularity in the late nineteenth century or the late twentieth, before the public was whipped into a frenzy by Austen-Leigh’s Memoir in the fist instance and, in the second, a man in a wet shirt. (197)
  48. They (we!) love Austen—the idea as much as the books—because she comes from our own ranks and rocks no boats. With Austen, we know that we are never going to be taken to extremes. (199)
  49. Jane Austen is the acknowledged mother of the [romance] genre (200)
  50. In a permissive age, the restraint and decorousness of her love scenes seems in themselves erotic, and the idea of the heroines attracting so much male attention by making so few sexual concessions becomes, for the modern woman, an unattainable fantasy of female empowerment. (201)
  51. During the screening of the series, the actor playing Darcy, Colin Firth, became the nation’s number one heartthrob, a position he—or rather, he-as-the-character—retains virtually unchallenged to this day. (207)
  52. [the wet shirt scene] …now considered one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history (207)
  53. And with numerous WWW sited devoted to her glory, she even holds her own with Internet pinup Brad Pitt. Not bad for a British broad who’s been dead for 178 years. (209)
  54. Northanger Abbey is the least filmed of all the titles
  55. “I think Jane Austen didn’t leave a big enough body of work…You read them again and again. But after reading them fifteen times, you just begin to want more. Anything that will evoke the work of Jane Austen becomes very appealing,” Deb Werksman (217)
  56. She also knew that pinning her works to a particular time would date them; she had to “unpin” them….(224)
  57. The irony is that she has comes to represent her period. “Jane Austen’s Regency World” could as well have an equals sign instead of an apostrophe. She stopped the clock and now is her time. (224)

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