The Vocation of a Teacher:nRhetorical Occasions, 1967-1988nby Wayne C. BoothnChicago: University of Chicago Press;n353 pp., $24.95nThe treason of the teacher of English:nthat is the principal subjectnof Professor Booth’s discourses over twonturbulent decades in the academy. Dr.nBooth, a temperate rhetorician, doesnnot call this dereliction of duty “treason.”nYet he makes it clear that a greatnmany college professors of English literaturenhave cast aside the venerablendiscipline of rhetoric, the art of persuasion—preferablynbeautiful and just persuasion.nRussell Kirk lives in Mecosta,nMichigan.n24/CHRONICLESnOPINIONSnThe Ethics of EngHshnby Russell Kirkn’When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy,nit ceases to be a subject of interest.”n— William HazlittnI find the most moving of his “Occasions”nthe fourth one, “To WarringnFactions in an Up-to-Date ‘English Department,'”na talk given at SyracusenUniversity in 1987. Mr. Booth hopesnthat some beliefs are shared by mostninstructors of English literature:nFirst, what we label with thencatchall term ‘English’ is thenmost important of all collegensubjects. Some of us think it isnmost important because in ournculture it is the major heir of anonce-glorious liberal artsntradition. Call us the Ancients.nOthers of us think it is the mostnimportant because in ournculture it is the standard-bearernof some new vision that is tonreplace the outward purposesnand fixed canons of the past.nCall us the Mods. Both groupsnnnare aware that because of thenbasic requirements and electivensystems in most colleges andnuniversities, our elementaryncourses are the only ones thatnall students will be touchednby—if they are touched at all.nIf students are ever to obtain anneducation that will help themnbecome the kind of persons wenhope they’ll be (note my highlyngeneral language: all the termsnsuch as “liberal,” “humane,”n”free,” “creative,” are suspect),nif students are not to becomensimply shallow, self-satisfied,nintellectually lifeless dogs in thengreat money-and-powernmachines offered by too muchnof the rest of the worid, thentransformation will occur in onenof our courses.n