What I Learned At University

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Recently, I came across a carefully preserved and strongboxed collection of my course papers from college and graduate school. As a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow and university instructor of English and Classics, I found them relevant, well written with vigor mentis, and worthy of being shared. They were written during the heyday of New Criticism, when I studied under John Crowe Ransom and listened raptly to the visiting Robert Frost recite some of his poems. Indeed, they helped me win a first-year fellowship and a second-year subvention from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Two pervasive themes emerge: free will, and the identification of religious faith and inspiration with literary creativity and criticism. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, the teachings of the masters of the subtle schools are not only controversial and polymath but also anagogic and polysemous.