In Heart of Darkness on the NAS Blog, David Clemens, a literature professor, wonders why each year more students complain the same readings — Hawthorne, Melville, Conrad, Kafka, Sophocles, Phillip Larkin, Tobias Wolff, and J.G. Ballard — are too dark.
. . . If such authors do anything, they force us to face existential questions. Once, students went to college to experience just this sort of perennial questioning. Today, questioning is a nonstarter having been replaced by what Phillip Rieff called “the triumph of the therapeutic” and, as he predicted, by students preoccupied only with themselves and with attaining a “durable sense of well-being.” This ends any interest in reading about what Victor Davis Hanson calls “the tragic limitations of human existence and how to meet them and endure them with dignity.”
The “Facebook and Twitter crowd” think medicine will postpone their senescence indefinitely, Clemens writes. “With death no longer inevitable, they find that a literature based on the tragedy of mortality is both archaic and irrelevant.”
BTW: Library Examiner has literary vampire links.