Carol Schaal '91 M.A. | Mar. 18, 2014 | Notre Dame Magazine
Terry Eagleton is one of those scary-smart people, world-renowned as a literary critic and theorist. When the visiting professor arrived from Northern Ireland to give an open lecture at Notre Dame in October, called, amusingly enough, “The Body as Language, or Do Badgers Have Souls?” I was in the audience, planning to write a blog on his talk.
About five minutes into his speech I realized that the (drumroll) Excellence in English Distinguished Visitor, University of Notre Dame, and the Distinguished Professor of English Literature, University of Lancaster, UK, had pitched his talk for graduate-level English lit students. I was once one of those and could follow some of what he was saying, but what I really understood was that a general-interest blog of his speech was a nonstarter.
But Terry Eagleton doesn’t always speak in the higher realms of esoteric literary criticism. Sometimes he speaks to general readers, inviting them to enter the world of literary criticism and discover, as he says in his preface to How to Read Literature, “that critical analysis can be fun.”