In my graduate program, which was quite rigorous, there were people more advanced than I who knew older languages and older professors, and who said the unusual breadth combined with depth of this program, which made it so long, was Alain Renoir’s fault. This Renoir was the son of the filmmaker and the grandson of the painter; he was an English professor. Apparently, he had designed our program and when people made suggestions that would make it shorter he resisted in the name of quality.
Much was Renoir’s fault and still is. “I could relax much more and put more energy toward my own work if I made this course less challenging,” I was thinking during class tonight. It is being taught at the level I think it should be, but it is far above the level of the actual students. I could get away with much less, and perhaps even get more from the students by doing this, but I would not feel quite right about it. That is Renoir’s fault.
Every faculty member who has ever visited an advanced or graduate class by me has said the same thing: “It is amazing how much depth you can give, in so many areas, and to students without a great deal of background.” That, too, must be Renoir’s fault.
After class I asked a trusty student whether it were too difficult, especially considering the background and skill level of this particular group. He said no: it was a challenge but the material was important and unforgettable, we should forge on. This, still, is apparently Renoir’s fault.