Tea, Shortbread, and 3 Things Worth Knowing

By Shawkat M. Toorawa, The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Then I saw the crystal poet / Leaning on the old sea-rail; / In his *** lay death, the lover, / In his head, the nightingale."

I cited those lines in an introductory course I taught last year, one that attracts potential Near Eastern-studies majors from the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University and students from other disciplines: pre-meds, engineers, "hotelies," and others searching for a literature class, looking for a break from requirements, seeking an elective, or simply trying to find a way to broaden their knowledge of culture. I didn't wonder that none of the 24 students immediately got the reference, but when I told them the lines were about John Keats (death is his tuberculosis, the nightingale his splendid ode), I was truly surprised that several of them had no idea who he was. Ah, bitter chill it was.

Read the article.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

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