Academic Illusions in the Field of Letters and the Arts: A Survey, a Criticism, a New Approach, and a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Study of Letters and Arts

By Martin Schütze | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
SOME TYPICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE PRIN
CIPLES OF INTEGRAL VARIABLES--Continued

"Scholar" versus "man" of letters. Absence of crucial tests. What is "history of literature?" "Objectivity" and similar terms. The personalities of teachers of letters and arts. Progressive misselection.


"SCHOLAR" VERSUS "LITERARY MAN"

"Universities do not desire literary men but scholars," is a characteristic conviction among the philologians of letters. The orthodox meaning of "scholar" is a man trained in the traditional methods of formulating generalizations; of "literary man," a person supposedly incompetent for research on the ground that, while he may have somehow an indisputable understanding of poetry and art, he has no orthodox "scientific" method. The meaning of this verdict is, that he has not been through the pseudo-scientific process in which the integral variables which constitute the essence of literary knowledge, have been disintegrated and washed off, until only the constants which are non-essential to poetry, art, and the humanities proper, have remained. This dead sediment is the official substance of research and of the approved "contributions to knowledge."

If one should ask innocently whether a department of mathematics would reject a candidate because he was a mathematician instead of a person trained to accumulate extensive facts concerning mathematics and mathematicians, those bulky conglomerations of secondary

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