Policy Review Publishes Book Review by Professor Berkowitz
Professor Peter Berkowitz is a contributor to the February/March issue of Hoover Institution's Policy Review, which contains his review of Theory's Empire: An Anthology of Dissent, edited by Daphne Patai and Will H. Corral (Columbia University Press).
Literature in Theory, Policy Review, February 1, 2006. By Peter Berkowitz.
"Whether university literature departments can become sources for the inspiration and cultivation of the love of literature is of concern on more than narrow educational grounds. To be sure, most students will have at most only a few courses over four short college years to study the literary treasures of the West and beyond. Their literature professors should not be permitted to rob them of this golden opportunity to read and revel in novels, plays, and poetry by force-feeding them instead indigestible abstractions, formulaic denunciations, and pretentious proclamations. But also, paradoxical as it may sound, literature taught for its own sake serves a vital public interest in a liberal democracy. In our busy and distracted age, this may be even more true. Literature transports students to other times and places. It acquaints them with people and immerses them in circumstances remote from their own lives. It brings to life the variety of ways of being human. And it exhibits the common humanity in the glorious variety. In short, the study of literature for its own sake helps prepare citizens for the challenges of freedom."