Richard Jeffrey Newman's Miscellany


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My bewilderment and rebellion before American education were enhanced by looking back to Chinese models. Confucian education never required the study of anything but poetry, and it approached that mostly by being a poet. All scholars were poets. There was no division between the critical and the creative. None but the poets were scholars and none but poets attempted to write on poetry. It did not make for Aristotelian analysis, but it vitalized the whole field of knowledge to the creatively minded. This was the way I wanted to approach Western knowledge. And found it would not work, for there was no tradition like that in American education. I was distressed at the lack of unifying principles. I could build no bridge from one classroom to another, just as I could build no bridge from the New Hotel into the mental Utopia.

–Younghill Kang, East Goes West: The Making of an Oriental Yankee