Duke University Alumni Magazine

"We feel responsible to provide equally for men and women. This puts us much further along in gender equity."

-- Athletics director Tom Butters, in the News & Observer, on plans to add women's varsity crew next fall and possibly softball by 2000 to comply with Title IX, after a Women's Law Center study showed that only 24 percent of Duke's athletic scholarship money went to women, who comprise 34 percent of its athletes

"I am proud that we are one of a few universities that have taken a concrete stand on unfair labor practices."

-- Jim Wilkerson, director of Duke Stores operations and licensing, in Duke Dialogue, on establishing a policy with Collegiate Licensing Company, at the urging of a student group, that ensures merchandise using the Duke name will not be produced in "sweatshops"

"The Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life is outraged at this blatant censoring of free speech at an institution ostensibly designed to further it. We demand an immediate accounting of actions taken by university officials in this matter. Until otherwise informed, we will view this whitewashing as a hate crime perpetrated against all students, staff, and faculty members who identify as or support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning persons at Duke."

-- an official statement by John Howard, director of Duke's LGBT center, in response to maintenance personnel's painting over of portions of the East Campus bridge, including the name of the student group Gothic Queers, who had painted the area pink and written catch phrases in celebration of National Coming Out Week activities on campus

"The removal of these statements was an error in judgment that cannot be condoned. The exercise of free speech may make us uncomfortable at times, but the principles of free speech and open inquiry are at the very foundation of Duke University."

-- Executive vice president Tallman Trask, from an official statement in response to the East Campus bridge incident

With the controversial release of a so-called "Reader's Edition" of James Joyce's Ulysses, the promise of a new edition by Joyce scholar John Kidd, and the lapse of the U.S. copyright on December 31, how likely is it that we'll see an authoritative Ulysses?

     The Kidd edition will be seen as "definitive" when it comes out next year. On the other hand, given the state of Joyce's supervision of the original edition, there will never be any such thing as a perfectly error-free Ulysses. It is a work, after all, of more than a quarter of a million words. The book was produced by French typesetters at a considerable distance from where Joyce was living in Paris. And on the typeset proofs, Joyce massively added and rewrote in his own handwriting, to the point where he enlarged the text by about one-third. Beyond that, Joyce's eyesight

     progressively deteriorated, so his ability to supervise proofs was seriously compromised. The first edition, then, was a nightmare of production.

      I'm of the school that says that all changes in a work of art are momentous changes. In a lyric poem, a word change or two would tend to heavily influence our understanding of the text. Generally speaking, the idea of aesthetic perfection, when it is used as a standard for a text of epic length, is a false standard. There are exceptions: A legendary blooper was made by

     F.O. Matthiessen in his book American Renaissance. When he wrote about Moby Dick--a book almost as big as Ulysses--he put a lot of weight on the oxymoronic phrase "soiled fish of the sea." Actually, the manuscript shows that Melville was a lot less clever: It reads "coiled fish of the sea."

      The real issue is whether the errors cleared up by Kidd will alter the main lines of our understanding of Ulysses. And I will venture a guess that they will not.

--Frank Lentricchia, professor of literature, who teaches Ulysses

We asked 15 undergraduates:
Should proficiency in a foreign language be a requirement in Duke's curriculum?
Yes: 8
No: 7

     In his annual "State of Arts and Sciences" address to the Arts and Sciences Council, Dean William H. Chafe discussed the possibility of moving "toward a simpler, more coherent, and more rigorous curriculum." Chafe wants a faculty committee to consider either having a foreign language requirement or a foreign language proficiency requirement.

      While most students agree that knowing a foreign language is beneficial to an individual, opinions are split as to whether a language should be required. Over half the students polled said knowledge of another language is a necessity in an increasingly global society. "I think that Americans are disabled in a world economy because we only speak English and we expect other people to speak our language. Students from other countries learn many languages in school and are therefore more prepared to work in a multicultural society," says first-year student Mia Fram.

[Continued Top of Column]

      However, those who disagree with a language requirement say students should not be forced to take classes that are not interesting to them. According to junior Audrey Kim, "If being proficient in a foreign language does not play a big role on personal lifestyle--if there is no necessity for it--then people should be allowed to use a limited number of classes to really explore what excites them and what they think they will use in life." Senior Natalie Lamarque says the Duke curriculum has "enough requirements for a liberal arts school. It is moving away from liberal, and more toward strict guidelines."

      Junior Drew Welter cites another reason for not requiring a foreign language. "There is no other language you can learn that is as universal as English."

      But senior Kanika Blue disagrees. "When we get out and leave here, we're not in a closed country. It is very open; there are lots of opportunities abroad, and the U.S. is becoming more diverse," she says. "A part of a basic liberal arts curriculum is being able to appreciate different cultures. An indicator of that is being able to speak, or at least being exposed to a foreign language."

[Back to Top]

Share your comments

Have an account?

Sign in to comment

No Account?

Email the editor