Gilmore and His Interview: A Transcript Is Always a Useful Thing To Read

Via Dear Author Thursday News, I am really loving the links I found in the comments:

 

First, if you haven't read the Gilmore interview kerfuffle (he's a Canadian novelist, teaches lit at University of Toronto), this will get you up to date and allow you to read the entire interview transcript:

 

The Gilmore Transcript

Hazlitt Staff, September 25, 2013
 
Here's the section that's made a lot of teachers/lit profs roll their eyes:
 
"Gilmour: Yeah, it really is. I got this job six or seven years ago, now. Uh, when The Film Club came out. And they said they’d try me out for a semester because they wanted [inaudible]. Normally you have to have a doctorate to teach here, but they asked if I was interested in teaching a course, and I said I would. It worked out. I’m a natural teacher, I have a natural aptitude [inaudible]. I was also trained in television for many years. So I knew how to talk to a camera, therefore I know how to talk to a room full of students. It’s the same thing."
 

and

 

"Gilmour: I’m not interested in teaching books by women. I’ve never found—Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one short story from Virginia Woolf. But once again, when I was given this job I said I would teach only the people that I truly, truly love. And, unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women. Um. Except for Virginia Woolf. And when I try Virginia Woolf, I find she actually doesn’t work. She’s too sophisticated. She’s too sophisticated for even a third-year class. So you’re quite right, and usually at the beginning of the semester someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I’m good at is guys."

 

 

Here's a great essay from a lit prof:

 

The Loneliness of the Old White Male
By Holger Syme On 25/09/2013
 
"...And of course, Gilmour won’t teach women authors, because he just doesn’t love women authors enough. Except for Virginia Woolf, whom he loves so much he can’t teach her, because his students, even in third year (he teaches third-year classes?) aren’t smart enough for Woolf.
 
Here’s the thing: I’m glad David Gilmour isn’t teaching Virginia Woolf. I’m sorry he’s teaching Chekhov, and Tolstoy, and Fitzgerald. I don’t really care about Roth or Henry Miller: he can teach them to death as far as I’m concerned. There must be other authors who need the kind of pseudo-biographical rubbish Gilmour heaps on Chekhov, who apparently was “the coolest guy in literature.” (Christopher Marlowe called to complain: What makes Chekhov so cool? Whom did Chekhov ever kill? Did Chekhov ever catch a knife in the eye? Or get done for coining? Fuck that milktoast Chekhov.) Chekhov also laughed loudly. And he made everyone around him a better person. Man, that Chekhov. What a guy. What a guy-guy.

 

...The exact opposite of Gilmour’s point is true: good teaching requires empathy — an effort to understand things, ideas, and people totally unlike you. Some of those people are your students. Some of those things are of the past. Some of those ideas are the ideas of authors from different cultures than yours, and yes, shockingly, even of a different gender. Engaging with those people, things, and ideas is not just what research means, and why research is necessary, it’s what reading is."