Today in the library I assisted a young teacher (who seemed quite bright and pleasant), working on a Master's–a Master's–degree at a local university. For one of his classes he had to compile a bibliography of fiction and non-fiction sources for high school students on the causes and pursuit of war. After I showed him where to browse for non-fiction titles and introduced him to our periodical databases, we started on fiction. The Red Badge of Courage? Unfamiliar to him. All Quiet on the Western Front and Catch-22 likewise. What about the Iliad? He'd never heard of it, but it sounded interesting. Homer who? I swear this is true. It happened today.
This experience, perhaps more than any other similar ones in recent years, brought home to me how the bottom is falling out of our culture. Let us not go gentle into that good night.