I also finished the “Teacher in America” book and loaned it to Charles last night. Herbert, Charles and I had lunch last week and I mentioned the book to them. Herbert knew of Barzun, said he had read several of his books on music and the arts. Apparently the current director of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), described by Herbert as “a Reagan goon,” is trying to cut back on funding for various programs, as well as institute “testing” of some kind to measure the results of artists’ interaction with children. Barzun has a wonderful chapter about that sort of thing: the American obsession with “facts,” as opposed to ideas, and with tangible, measurable “results.” He has plenty to abominate about the “educationists” (not his term, but I think he would approve of it) and the regimen of “testing” that they have perpetrated on the schools.
I’m thinking of picking up a book we have. It’s entitled “Mark Twain: God’s Fool” by Hamlin Hill. Have you heard of it? Here’s a pertinent quote from my little writer’s book: “On the trail of another man, the biographer must put up with finding himself at every turn: any biography uneasily shelters an autobiography within it.” (Paul Murray Kendall)
Here’s another one I like: “Why do people always expect authors to answer questions? I am an author because I want to ask questions. If I had answers I’d be a politician.” (Eugene Ionesco)
I’m sorry you had to postpone your play. Isn’t it sad that gymnasiums replaced auditoriums in our great rural vastnesses? How is Hubbard’s library? I remember your bitterness over the lack of one when growing up. You describe Groesbeck as progressive. I’d love to see it. Hope you tap into some of the other play groups.
[Correspondence, 1987, Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]