Education: A Sad, Solemn Sweetness

The white-haired, sunken-eyed professor wandered slowly around his Columbia University classroom leafing through a copy of James Joyce's Dubliners. "He lived at a little distance from his body," Lionel Trilling read aloud from the book. Then, as if discovering Joyce afresh, he fairly glowed with joy: "Marvelous phrase. Isn't that the essence of alienation?" Still wandering, he went on to observe that a character in the Dubliners kept a rotting apple in his desk, which reminded him that the only way Schiller could compose poetry was with an apple giving off fumes in...

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