Books - our dark materials

Who these days can honestly say they don't know about the crisis in the humanities? Most people, I suppose. But not those who read the New York Times on June 22 2013. Verlyn Klinkenborg sees the falling numbers and attempts an apology:

STUDYING the humanities should be like standing among colleagues and students on the open deck of a ship moving along the endless coastline of human experience. Instead, now it feels as though people have retreated to tiny cabins in the bowels of the ship, from which they peep out on a small fragment of what may be a coastline or a fog bank or the back of a spouting whale.

But he also has the most wonderful defence:

Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.

I know computer scientists, doctors, and physicists.I know mathematics graduates and many, many software engineers but I can't imagine anyone but a student of writing and literature writing the words 'rational grace'.