Lecturer, B.A. Wellesley College, M.A.T. Harvard University, Ph.D. Stanford University
For twenty-five years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I taught courses in Renaissance literature, poetry, and classical literature in translation (both poetry and philosophy). With a wonderful colleague, Prof. Larry Goldberg, I taught a four-semester sequence on "The Elements of Politics."
For the profession, I wrote on Renaissance prose, Spenser, Sidney, and some theoretical question about the study of Renaissance literature (chiefly, the question, "Is there such a thing as too much history?") Then, for personal reasons, I left UNC and found myself in the happy position of having plenty of leisure for what I love best--dwelling with great thinking in great books.
My goal as a teacher of literature is to analyze a poem's structure of feeling and to judge its success in answering the emotional difficulties it raises. My goal as a teacher of literature treated philosophically is to discover the fundamental difficulties in the human condition that the author is wrestling with. I agree with Marianne Moore that the greatest of life's vitalities is "the zest for perfection as it communicates its excitement to others." My courses at Penn have been Shakespeare; Poetry and Philosophy in Ancient Greece; Old Bonds, New Contracts and the Problem of Money; The Tide and Seaweed of History; The Bible as Literature; Belief in the Age of the Educated Cosmopolite.