Monday, July 13, 2009

Can You Hear the Difference Between K and G?

The oddest thing about the passage of time and the accumulation of experience is not what is forgotten but what is remembered. For some unknown reason, this morning I started thinking about Professor Alfons Fritz who taught my course on 19th and early 20th Century European theater. Besides reading every play of Shaw that semester, we also studied and read all the major Scandinavian playwrights of that era who were, fortunately, less prolific. I think we covered Chekov during one intense two week block in February.

Professor Fritz was fond of quoting some of his worst student essays in his 45 years of teaching. One of his favorites was a junior musing on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats: "Cats, cats. They is cats everywhere."

His all time favorite was when he gave an impromptu assignment, verbally asking the class to write a 300 word reflection on the contributions of Henrik Ibsen to literature. A student wrote: "Not only does Henry Gibson manage to play a great straight man on Laugh In, he is also one of the most accomplished poets of the late 20th century."

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At 11:37 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

And, just 'cause ya' gotta:

Ibsen's nurse wandered into his room one morning, after he had been suffering from a long illness. She heartily threw open the curtains and remarked that he must be feeling much better.

"Tvertimod! (On the contrary!)" he replied, and said nothing further, dying later that afternoon.

A classic in the canon of last words.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - Didn't Henry Gibson write a poem about that?

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

I must say I enjoy the colloquial brevity of the Eliot review.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Gregg Biggs said...

Salty - It certainly beats having to sit through three hours of Andrew Lloyd Weber.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Bryce Digdug said...

Rich- Queen Christina warned Descartes not to visit in winter. He did and died of pneumonia. If you check the Wikipedia painting carefully you will see they are the same person.

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Hedda Gabler. No man could ever measure up to Quirt Manly...

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