8.6.11

What will they teach at the NCH?

Gabriel Egan on the 'curiously familiar' modules of the New College
A. C. Grayling, pictured on the homepage of the New College of the Humanities
While browsing the courses on offer at the New College of the Humanities, scholar Gabriel Egan noticed that one of the modules on the syllabus was his own. Egan wonders whether the module, written while he was an inexperienced postgraduate in the 1990s, meets the standards of an £18,000 a year tuition fee (link via Cardiff Shakespeare):
The college’s website helpfully lists the courses to be taken, and I noticed that something called Renaissance Comedy: Shakespeare and Jonson is a required component. Coincidence? No: the 200-word course description, the prescribed reading, the “topics for special consideration” were all mine. Or rather not mine, as I’d sold them to the University of London (via Goldsmiths) nearly two decades ago.

Students at the New College of the Humanities will take the University of London External BA exams, so for English literature they’ll get the teaching materials written in the 1990s at Goldsmiths. Apparently my fresh-from-a-BA reflections on early modern drama strike the New College professoriate as suitable promotional material for their £18,000-a-year degree. I was just happy to get them past the gatekeepers at Goldsmiths.

The New College of the Humanities degree is said to be about “great literature” (mentioned twice) and to impart “skills” and “competence”. English at Goldsmiths in the 1990s was sceptical about claims for literary greatness and students became skilled and competent without anyone mentioning it: arguing about writing was all. [Read More]

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