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So You Think You Have A Lot of Exams to Grade?

- May 20, 2009

bq. It was because Hopkins’s superiors in England had so little use for him…that they encouraged him to take a position as Professor of Greek and Examiner in Classics at the Royal University of Ireland, in Dublin. This prestigious-sounding post actually involved teaching elementary Latin and grading a truly staggering number of tests: six examinations times seven hundred and fifty students, according to Hopkins, for a total of forty-five hundred papers every year.

Such was the life of Gerard Manley Hopkins, who fortuntely was able to write a little poetry amidst all that grading. His lament about this predicament has its own poetic quality:

bq. From the college, he issues a series of increasingly desperate cries for help. “The melancholy I have all my life been subject to has become in late years not indeed more intense in its fits but rather more distributed, constant, and crippling.”

From this _New Yorker_ book review.

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