FROM: "Reflections on a Lost Cause", a 1958 lecture by Lionel Trilling, as published in "Speaking of Literature and Society", Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY, 1980 - page #357.

"...I suppose it has the political disadvantage, in a nation whose ethnic origins are so various, of seeming to suggest that one ethnic group, by reason of our special interest in the culture associated with it, is superior to all others. And of course the secondary school situation is far more complex and difficult than it used to be. Yet the New York high school I attended drew its students chiefly from the sons of immigrant families, and to these boys those genteel teachers of ours taught Burke's Speech on Conciliation, and Hazlitt, Lamb, De Quincey, and Macaulay, and As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Hamlet, A Tale of Two Cities, and a great deal more. They taught with authority - Mr. Walter Johnson's lessons in Milton's minor poems are the basis of everything I may know about poetry - and they would have said that exactly because the texts were beyond the experience of the boys it was necessary for the boys to master them. I look back at the experience as being of the the very essence of democracy.

"...As for the World Literature courses, in their implied rejection of the special value of the cultures that lie nearest to us and that are traditional with us, in their affirmation of the equal value of all cultures, there is an implied denial of the actuality, of the force and value, of any culture..."

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