There are professors and then there are professors! Here is an interesting LITERATURE professor in France who admits of never having read the books that he lectures on 🙂 and he says it is not important in literature to read.. the entire book.. LITERALLY!
Not only does Bayard tell readers how to fake literary orgasm, but he admits to giving lectures on books he hasn’t bothered to read. I’m sure Bayard’s book will be met with outrage from many academics on this side of the Atlantic who lack the French national penchant for public display and intellectual pretension. Obviously, there is something seriously reprehensible about Bayard’s know-nothing chutzpah (or whatever the French word for that is).
Well.. you might think Bayard is off his mind.. well.. maybe not!
Most teachers can tell you that in any given class, there’s a bell curve of compliance in reading. The professor says hopefully, "I’m sure you all remember the chapter in which. … " My working and charitable assumption is that half the class has read half the work. I even semi-seriously thought it might make sense to teach a course in the fall called "The First Half of Long Novels," followed by the spring course "The Second Half of Long Novels." The reality is that if you are a teacher, you will have to teach to the half-readers as well as to the ones who’ve finished every word. That students will read everything you assign is devoutly to be wished for but unlikely to happen.
So, there is a decreasing returns to reading a book after a point! Use the 80-20 rule.. heck!
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