It occurred to me as I was dozing a bit this afternoon that it would be
fun to pass on a bit of gossip from the past: Austin Warren on
I think it was in the spring of 1957, and after class I was strolling
back from Angel Hall to Haven Hall with Warren. I just happened to
mention George L Kittredge -- & the results were utterly explosive.
Warren was a most genial man, & this was the only time I ever saw him
really express anger.
It seems that in his estimation Kittredge was worthless and beneath
contempt as a person, a scholar, a teacher, a critic. He had a whole
series of anecdotes, mostly focusing on K's arrogance or his laziness.
Warren claimed that K would seize on any excuse not to teach a class --
paint smell from another room, a student's failure to answer a question
are two I remember. I think the specific story on the latter was that
some student couldn't give the etymology of some term, so K sent the
whole class home with instructions not to come back until they had
looked up the etymologies of a whole string of words. He said K once
knocked the hat off a student's head with his cane.