Making Scholarship Matter
Edited By Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin and Cynthia Reyes
Chapter Five: When a Public Intellectual Speaks Out But No One Hears Her, Does She Exist?
When a Public Intellectual Speaks Out But No One Hears Her, Does She Exist?
← 54 | 55 → I just ordered a nifty T-shirt from the Academy of American Poets that features a line from Wallace Stevens’s “Le Monocle de Mon Oncle” on the back—“I wish that I might be a thinking stone.” And a scansion of that line across the front: ~/~/~/~/~/. Someone at the Academy of American Poets online store felt compelled to offer instruction, declaiming that there is “in fact room for disagreement about the scansion of this line.” Prospective buyers of the T-shirt are told that although Stevens “probably heard it as five iambic feet…an alternative scansion is one iamb followed by a pyrrhic foot (two weak stresses) followed by two strong stresses (a spondee), followed by two iambs. It is also possible that all feet in the line are iambs except the third foot, though the word might most likely would have been italicized if that were the case.”
Ohmigod. As Freud would have said, sometimes a T-shirt is just a T-shirt. Not wishing to be rude here, but I think this T-shirt scansion issue just might get to the core of my problem with the notion of “Public Intellectual in Education”: Much educationese is neither intellectual nor anywhere near the public. I worry that such a concept even comes perilously close to being an oxymoron. I’m...
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