A Half Millennium of Academic Tenure

The ambitious teacher can only rise in the academic bureaucracy by writing at complicated length about writing that has already been much written about. The result of all this book-chat cannot interest anyone who knows literature while those who would like to learn something about books can only be mystified and discouraged by these commentaries. Certainly it is no accident that the number of students taking English courses has been in decline for some years. But that is beside the point. What matters is that the efforts of the teachers now under review add up to at least a half millennium of academic tenure.

Gore Vidal, Times Literary Supplement, February 20, 1976

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