Author Daniel Cottom to give lecture at UGA April 17

ATHENS, Ga. – Author Daniel Cottom will give a talk titled “Why You Don’t Love Literature” on Thursday, April 17, at 4 p.m. in room 265 of Park Hall. The event is part of the University of Georgia English department’s Lanier Speakers Series and is free and open to the public.

Cottom holds the David A. Burr Chair of Letters at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of several books including Why Education is Useless (2003); Cannibals and Philosophers: Bodies of Enlightenment (2001); Ravishing Tradition: Cultural Forces and Literary History (1996); Abyss of Reason: Cultural Movements, Revelations, and Betrayals (1991); Text and Culture: The Politics of Interpretation (1989); Social Figures: George Eliot, Social History and Literary Representation (1987); and Civilized Imagination: A Study of Ann Radcliffe, Jane Austen, and Sir Walter Scott (1985). Cottom’s essays have appeared in such journals as ELH, Novel, Critical Inquiry and SubStance.

Cottom’s most recent book, Why Education is Useless, “brings materials from literature, philosophy, art, film, and other fields, and proceeds from the assumption that hostility to education is a complex phenomenon, both historically and in contemporary American life,” according to University of Pennsylvania Press. “The book focuses on topics such as the nature of humanity, love, beauty, and identity as well as academic scandals, identity politics, multiculturalism, and the corporatization of academe. . . . Facing head on the conception of utility articulated in the nineteenth century by John Stuart Mill, and directly opposing the hostile conceptions of inutility that have been popularized in recent decades by such ideologues as Allan Bloom, Harold Bloom, and John Ellis, Cottom contends that education must indeed be ‘useless’ if it is to be worthy of its name.”

Author Michael Berube calls the book “A tour de force, implicitly summarizing and commenting on more than two millennia of arguments about the function of education . . . craftily written and thoroughly enjoyable.”