Today I attended the English course that I’m taking, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Strangely enough, this rush of pleasure left me feeling a bit sad after the class was over. (Omne aminal triste post coitum?) Even though I’m required to do the same amount of work that I’m required to do in my other classes, there’s something about my English courses that feel like a welcome vacation. I sometimes regret my decision not to go into English as my field of study—although I certainly try to bring in literature in my work—but I know that I probably would have been merely indulging myself. Even after I received a PhD, what then? Studying English has its merits, but I’m afraid that the field is simply flooded with mediocre talents that have lessened the worth of it in many people’s eyes–people who matter. I’m quite convinced that everyone needs a sound background in important literature, but I also believe that something needs to be done about the huge number of English majors. Too many people are stuck in English because they don’t know what they want to do in school. This too has proved to be incalculably detrimental. And then, this perhaps being the gravamen, literature simply isn’t as popular as it used to be. It is for these reasons and others that I decided to forgo any academic program in English, but, as I said, I somewhat regret it. In many ways, it’s what I’m best at. What does this mean? Am I condemned to spend the rest of my life in my field, which is, so to speak, only my second love? Perhaps, like Tolkien and some other academics, I’ll try to reach a compromise between composing fiction and writing my more “practical” research papers and books.


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