The judges have spoken, and I am declared a clear winner. “Don’t worry, Mom,” as victors by knockout used to say on the old Gillette Friday-night-fight broadcasts, “I’ll be home early.” The judges in this instance are the students in a Henry James course I taught for the first time to undergraduates at Northwestern University this past spring, and their judgments come in the form of student evaluations. I have just been presented with a packet of these evaluations. To switch from boxing to poker, read ’em and leap, which my heart did, at least briefly, in appreciation for finding my own pedagogical efforts so warmly received. Allow me to quote from a few of these evaluations, partly to give some rough notion of what students who study literature are up against these days and partly out of sheer pathetic vanity:


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