English Professors Defend “The List”

Even if you’re not an English major, you have to admit that you’ve come across a book that has added to your life and maybe even changed you. That’s just the topic that was discussed Thursday in Founders, where three professors were given the chance to defend one of their favorite books. The professors were defending books that they had chosen for The List, which is a list of books chosen by English faculty that they believe should be read before the end of one’s college career. Completing 20 of these books earns you a mug; 35 earns you your own copy of a work of your choice, and 50 gives you the chance to add your own book to the list.

The night began with pizza and the introduction of the three professors: Hinson, Davis and Incorvati. Each defense began with a slew of horrible Amazon reviews the book in question had received, bringing laughs from the audience and disapproving looks from professors. The professors respectfully took their turns in the order of their assigned seats on stage, and provided very convincing arguments.

The first professor to speak was Hinson, who came to the defense of The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. The Amazon reviews were not great, with one stating “This book is like a marathon–wonderful because you actually finish–nothing else.” Hinson argued that although the book may not seem pleasing at first, it is actually very intriguing. He stated that it perfectly reflects Faulkner’s style, especially with it being the fourth attempt at his novel, and is consequently a favorite of Faulkner’s as well. Hinson also informed the audience that the book was actually set apart from the writing of its time, giving it a unique factor. 

After a short microphone troubleshooting intermission, it was Davis’ turn. Davis defended My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglas. With very compelling Amazon reviews, such as “This book was weird. . . it was just gross,” Davis had his work cut out for him. Davis was very passionate about this work, claiming that it allows one to view the world from a new perspective. He also emphasized the literary style of this work and how it shows how easy it is to forget common privileges of today such as reading, writing and other fundamental actions. Davis then shared his own personal sentiment, telling the audience of the time he attended a slave reenactment and how it affected him.

The last professor to share was Incorvati, who defended Angels in America by Tony Kushner. The Amazon reviews didn’t disappoint here either, with one being “Just to clarify, I’m giving this book one star because I hated it.” Incorvati began by admitting that the book was very broad and confusing, but insisted that it does not affect the message it brings. He stressed that the author made sure to include all social classes, along with representation for the LGTBQ+ community. Incorvati wanted to ensure that one thing was heard: the message of hope that this book provides. Incorvati ended by reading aloud from the last page of the book (without spoiling anything, of course).

The night ended with a question: Who plans on attempting The List? Will it be you?

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