Letter: Our Debt to English Teachers

To the Editor:

As a recovering grouch myself, I was much comforted to read Philip Glouchevitch’s lovely little post-Marxist rant over Willem Lange’s “self-indulgent, elitist drivel” describing the latter’s demanding boarding-school English teacher (“The Grammar Was Proper, But ...,” April 11). However, I’m tempted to think that the pot is calling the kettle black when Glouchevitch comes out with “... however tedious this refrain may be.” No matter; it’s a nice turn of phrase, even if there’s a whiff of elitist language about it, too. I’ll store it up for possible use during my next relapse.

But who knows, perhaps Glouchevitch is playing agent provocateur and is actually a demanding boarding school English teacher himself, and I’ve simply taken the bait. If so, there’s nothing we can do but blunder on and say that perhaps we should be sending a prayer of thanks to Lange’s English teacher for having helped him to bring to us what he does — and to English teachers everywhere, though, Lord knows, mine have cost me any amount of time spent reading when I could have been doing something useful.

Jack Barrett



Letter: The Grammar Was Proper, But ...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To the Editor: I don’t necessarily mind Willem Lange’s lament that proper grammar and usage are in decline, however tedious this refrain may be. But could he at least spare us the self-indulgent, elitist drivel about the demanding English teacher at his boarding school back in the day? Philip Glouchevitch Hanover …

Willem Lange: A Painful Apprenticeship in Mastering a Powerful Instrument

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

East Montpelier Woolley, Scott and Tressler. The names were synonymous with pain, oppression and tyranny. They appeared on the cover of the handbook of English that we were required to obtain for our studies at Mount Hermon School. It would have done no good to point out to our teachers that Edwin Woolley was a bit superannuated — he had …