Rachel Carey’s choice of William Stoner as an example of an academic who might not survive in academia today (“An examined life”, Opinion, 30 April) is unfortunate, because he was a failure in nearly all aspects of his life.
He made a disastrous marriage, allowed his daughter to be taken from him, let down the true love of his life, was a whining patsy at work, and was only a mediocre teacher.
His redeeming feature was supposed to be his deep dedication to literature. But if literature is supposed to enrich life, and to help one to understand it, that didn’t seem to work in his case. For Stoner, it was a selfish pursuit that helped him avoid life.
Of course he wouldn’t survive today – he lacked impact.
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