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You're already a double-major

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 10:56am

In that, beyond whatever disciplinary road you choose, you are already an adherent of your native language and will continue to study its literature. Nice meditation on reading that actually applies to everyone from the other Chronicle, The Ideal English Major:

Real reading is reincarnation. There is no other way to put it. It is being born again into a higher form of consciousness than we ourselves possess. When we walk the streets of Manhattan with Walt Whitman or contemplate our hopes for eternity with Emily Dickinson, we are reborn into more ample and generous minds. "Life piled on life / Were all too little," says Tennyson's "Ulysses," and he is right. Given the ragged magnificence of the world, who would wish to live only once? The English major lives many times through the astounding transportive magic of words and the welcoming power of his receptive imagination. The economics major? In all probability he lives but once. If the English major has enough energy and openness of heart, he lives not once but hundreds of times. Not all books are worth being reincarnated into, to be sure—but those that are win Keats's sweet phrase: "a joy forever."

While they may be essentially equivalent, instead of everyone majoring in English as the author suggests, I propose the implicit double-major.

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