Letter: In his push to renovate and expand, has Levin forgotten something?

I have just read President Levin’s impressive report to the alumni on the state of Yale: a new campus for science and collections; renovation in schools of drama, architecture, art; a new management building; new residential colleges and libraries; study abroad; investment in New Haven buildings.

Everything but the liberal arts. Where is HGS (literature, philosophy and history) in all this planning for the future? Are Yalies merely going to be computer geeks, scientists and economists who go to theater and travel abroad?

What about the beauty of thinking? Writing? Speaking?

Will there be no more Harold Blooms?

Paul Keane

Yale Divinity school ’80


  • George Patsourakos

    Unfortunately, the emphasis in college expansion today is on practicality, not the liberal arts. In other words, the main objective of college courses today is to prepare students for a career in a specific field. The feeling of most college administrators is that liberal arts courses -- such as English, history, philosophy, foreign languages etc. -- might make a more well-rounded individual, but such courses are mostly intangible in the workforce. On the other hand, courses in computer science, business, engineering, the physical sciences, etc. provide preparation for a specific career -- and one where there is a greater demand for college graduates. Sad but true!

  • The Ivy League

    I expect more from Yale. It is not a job bazaar or a training ground for Microsoft.

  • Answer

    Answer:There will be no more Harold Blooms, just Bill Gateses.

  • Hieronymus

    Even Harold Bloom knows there will be no more Harold Blooms; and it's not Yale's fault.

    Further, I would suggest that your letter is a bit disingenuous: the most destructive areas of study--to Yale's claim on "serious" study--have been on those areas you did not mention (and, indeed, to which you belong, e.g., DIV).

    The humanities of language, literature, classics, philosophy and, most of all, divinity, have long since left the building. Further, those areas that have taken up the mantle are economics ("Freakonomics," anyone?), nanotechnology, biotechnology and, for the great questions, cosmology (to include the other end of the spectrum, e.g., particle physics).

    At Yale, DIV (a misnomer if ever I saw one), sociology, REM, and anything derivative of Foucault and Marx have gotten, this round, exactly what they deserve: nothing.

    Huzzah for the sciences! Huzzah for Levin! Huzzah for Yale!