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Paul Fussell
From Doing Battle
(Little, Brown, 1996)

From Chapter Six

For those of us returning to colleges after strenuous or boring or horrible combat years, English studies leading to careers as professors of English seemed much more attractive than at other times. Former soldiers like John Ciardi, Louis Simpson, James Dickey, Karl Shapiro, and Richard Wilbur filled the graduate schools, aiming at the teaching of English literature to a generation unbrutalized by war. We all hoped, secretly if not openly, that our efforts would help restore subtlety, civility and decency after their wartime disappearance. This seemed almost a religious act, demanding from its devotees their complete emotional and spiritual commitment. The world was now to be saved from its folly, brutality, and coarseness of conscience by the techniques of close reading and disciplined explication. And if some wisdom could be gathered on the way, that would be useful too.

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  • "Back to School" (1:29):
    RA 28.8, RA 14.4

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    Copyright © 1996 by Paul Fussell. All rights reserved.