First Person

Blacklisted

Can books have a moral influence on our lives? I have long thought so, though it’s an opinion that nowadays I tend to keep to myself. Confess it to any of the multitudinous practitioners of contemporary crit-theory-speak who have hijacked the humanities and you’ll be laughed to scorn. “Bravo! Matthew Arnold, I presume?”—“Oh, come on! This is the twenty-first century, not the nineteenth. You can’t still believe that old liberal humanist crap?”—“Use your eyes, man. Are you seriously suggesting that reading literature has made us any better than anyone else? You must be joking.” The scoffers have a point, of…

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