Can An Online Course Revive Interest In The Classics?

It’s 3 a.m. and the emails are coming in fast and furious. My iPhone is pinging like a Vegas slot machine that’s come up all cherries. What’s the emergency? I had just joined a discussion thread for a popular online poetry class—ModPo—and Emily Dickinson’s "Volcanoes Be in Sicily" is the subject of hot debate. Within 24 hours, there are over a hundred posts about this poem alone: "Why the archaic use of 'be'?" "What of the perplexing 'lava steps'?" One participant lapses into German and has started a discussion group in Switzerland. Another gushes, "ModPo=cyber peyote."

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