Humanities 'self-harm' a case of awful timing 1

The attack on humanities research by Clive Bloom, emeritus professor of English and American studies at Middlesex University, is another curious act of self-harm by the university and very poorly timed ("Money for antique rope", 13 May).

It comes just as Middlesex has decided to close its philosophy programme, its highest-rated research subject. This decision has been passionately opposed by academics across Europe and the US, including Noam Chomsky.

The value of the humanities must be strongly defended as the coalition government's education policy begins to take shape.

Bloom would have poured out the hemlock, handed it to Socrates and watched him drink. He does not have to act as gravedigger as well.

Simon Newton, York.

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