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David Gilmour

David Gilmour’s approach to teaching literature

An interview with author and University of Toronto teacher David Gilmour ’68 has generated a fair bit of controversy over his comments that he doesn’t teach books written by women or Canadians because he doesn’t truly love them.

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Upper Canada College English teacher Rachel Metalin was asked by The Huffington Post Canada to write a column in response to what Gilmour had to say. She came up with a well-written and thought-out critique that illustrated her belief that “literature affords us the opportunity to move outside our own experience and embrace another.”

This led us to think that we’d like to see what others in the UCC community have to say about Gilmour’s views, and two UCC students chipped in.

“As an English professor, it’s Mr. Gilmour’s duty to provide his students with a variety of literary styles, allowing them to form their own opinions and judgments,” says IB2 student Matt McKinlay. “By imposing his own seemingly rather close-minded view of the literary world, he’s limiting his students’ ability to shape their own unique identity as English students.”

IB2 student Sam Hodgkins-Sumner says: “Mr. Gilmour’s comments on teaching literature do not bode well for his students … As a student here, I’ve been exposed to material from Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber to Dante’s Inferno. This has allowed me to explore contexts outside my own, to empathize with others and share in human experience.”

We invite you to read both the Gilmour article and Metalin’s column, and then let us know your thoughts by commenting on the UCC Facebook page.