[ilds] Autodidact

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 16 17:20:18 PDT 2007

I'm surprised no one has picked up on Richard Pine's interesting suggestion that the fact Lawrence Durrell was an autodidact has, possibly, important implications.  One of my old teachers was fond of saying that the only people with truly interesting ideas were the ones who weren't too educated.  That was why he enjoyed teaching undergraduates and was suspicious of his graduate students.  Of course, he had a Ph.D. from Harvard, but Alain being who he was would probably, unflinchingly, have included himself in that class.

Now, the class of those who were largely autodidacts is impressive:  Shakespeare, Blake, Keats, and many more.  Is Durrell's strange diction and vocabulary the result of finding words on his own and not having some teacher tell him to stop overwriting?  Is his great erudition similarly the benefit of self-enterprise?  Do people learn things better on their own without being told what's good and not?  Should creative people following their own inclinations and not have them stifled by the system of higher education?  Is Durrell's tendency to plagiarize the result of not being inoculated against such when a university student?  I wonder.


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