Intelligent Smattering

by Zoe Pollock

In honor of British literary critic Frank Kermode who died this week, a classic quote from 2006:

One of the great benefits of seriously reading English is you're forced to read a lot of other things. You may not have a very deep acquaintance with Hegel but you need to know something about Hegel. Or Hobbes, or Aristotle, or Roland Barthes. We're all smatterers in a way, I suppose. But a certain amount of civilisation depends on intelligent smattering.