It’s a great luxury for a society to take it’s 18 to 21 year olds and to let them develop as thinkers.
I think that what we’re doing right in the contemporary academy is a very traditional thing. We are instructing the young. And the value of instructing the young, persons between 18 and 21, is not to be underestimated. It’s a great luxury for a society to take it’s 18 to 21 year olds and to let them develop as thinkers. But it’s a luxury that will make us a more humane, thoughtful, as well as informed society.
Elisa "Lisa" New is Professor of English at Harvard University. Her areas of study include American poetry, 19th century American literature, religious literature, and Jewish literature. Her books include The Line's Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight (1999), The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry (1993) and Jacob's Cane: A Jewish Family's Journey from the Four lands of Lithuania to the Ports of Baltimore and London (2009).