April 23, 2007
Tag-teaming Lit. Critics--oh my!
Dock, '''But One Expects That': Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and the Shifting Light of Scholarship'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
"Once battles for recognition have been won, however, critical notions that have served as rallying cries need to shift." (480).
Each writer has a cause or motive they are rallying for and the authors show the various reviews that depict the intention of the author vs. the reactions from the audience. The norms shaped reactions and meanings were twisted and fluffed, but in the end, it's all up to the author.
Show, don't tell
"Instead of having meaning, statements should be seen as performative of meaning; not as possessing some portable and "universal" content..." (445)
I really liked David's presentation because Bono's lyrics don't just tell, but rather show. For instance, he may not talk directly about Christ, but he gives us a striking metaphor. To truly understand the metaphor it has to be apart of our culture and if not, we have to find a way to make it so. While I know this reading was on Shakespeare, it's message seems the same in that works are based on "natural language of the age." (445)
It's all an allusion...or is it?
"Illusion--the ordinary ideological experience of men--is the material on which the writer goes to work; but in working on it he transforms it into something different, lends it a shape and structure." (425)
I love that we get the chance to act as potter's at the wheel and take material we already have and put a new spin to it. It gives so much more hope than just settling for ideologies smushed into literature. We are tired of Gerber and want some real sustenance? Sure, so we re-vamp the old and while it's not always concrete images or a tasty treat, we get a chance to use the culture we already have to expand.
Garson goes for the girly (-ies or the maidens)
Garson, 'Bodily Harm" Keats's Figures in the 'Ode on a Grecian Urn''' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
"A foster child , she is to be seen and not heard; a virginal bride, she is a metaphorical female body, complete, circular, intact." (457).
This seems to be more about rhetoric anf feminism then culture at first but I really enjoyed how Garson used the lines to suggest some type of "archaic sexual sense" within the poem. I wouldn't have thought about gang rape and the various parts of a woman, but at the same time, it is very steamy and for the time period that those on the urn lived, this would be rather brazen. I think that while she seems to jump on the tampon train with this one, I like the way she presented her argument and I think it relates to the time period on the urn rather than perh to Keat's own culture at the time. Do you agree or disagree?
Where's my prize?
"An awareness of culture as a complex whole can help us to recover that sense by leading us to reconstruct the boundaries upon whose existence the works were predicated." (437)
We are always tempted to apply our own motives and morals to interpreting a work and Greenblatt explains the importance of understanding the culture first, so that we know the limits and the norms of the culture. I liked the examples of "cool silence" and "glittering prizes" as the "disciplinarian techniques" of a culture. We determine what's acceptable or not just by making a certain gesture. In other cultures, that may not be understood or respected. Dane Cook once asked, who came up with the idea that the middle finger meant exploitave/deleted, did they try saying "suck my back" and realize it wasn't as cool? (something like that don't hold me to it) Thus, in cultural criticisms, we will be less inclined to really give the work a fighting chance when it is completely culturally obscure, but if we're good critics, we'll use Greensblatt's 6 questions and perhaps refrain from chucking the book from a moving car.
April 18, 2007
Le Blog Formal: Component Academic
Term Project -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
*I am going to have people watch the video, do a worksheet and then look at the lyrics to see how quickly we pick up on intertextuality as a whole, so most of this will only make sense after the class.
According to Northop Frye’s reading of The Tempest, “If the adult completely loses this childlike response (to literature), he loses something very central to the dramatic experience.” (Keesey 299). Frye certainly inspired my ideas of intertextuality. I wanted us to realize that while intertextuality can be taught, it is something already ingrained in our brains. If we watch the “The Simpsons,” we may realize that Itchy and Scratchy are really just like Tom and Jerry or that in an episode called “The Shining,” when Homer watches Monty Burns’ house and realizes there is no T.V. or beer, “his rage is played out to parody the Stephen King novel and Stanley Kubrick film "The Shining.”(Horowitz 2). Even if you didn’t already know this, you knew that you’d seen something else in the media similar to what you are watching or reading somewhere before.
You can call this déjà vu, but what you really must come to terms with is acknowledging like a recovering alcoholic that “Yes, I’ve seen this before,” and “Yes, I know what it means.” If you are not just a couch potato, but a literary critic, you are already asking the right question: What did it all stem from?
What I like about Frye’s idea is that if we assume we already know who the killer is or what will happen since Santa Claus isn’t real (supposedly) , we lose the whole effect of our literary experience. For instance, if while reading The Tempest, we just said “magic doesn’t exist” and “punishing people by using horse piss is bullocks” then we would pull a David Moio (sorry, but you’ve said book-throwing is one of your hidden talents) and not even bother reading. Similarly, to understand “Lazy Sunday” is very simple, but if we were to sit back and say that this is just a song about people going to see a movie about centaurs, we might not see the real depth in it. As we read The Tempest along with Frye, he says that it’s “almost a comic parody of a revenge tragedy.” While “Lazy Sunday” may not be a direct parody, it uses many parts of our culture to make it so heavy with intertextuality that I’ll have you watch the video and see if you can pick up on all of the references to music, movies, actors, and even popular baked goods are made. These references are what give us the chance to be child-like and have a chuckle or make us question what kind of reader we are. Discussion question: What kind of reader are you and do you think the song lyrics can contribute to the definition of intertextuality or does it just mock the way we are as a society? Professor Daniel Chandler of the University of Wales explains this much better than I could. He says that “the semiotic notion of intertextuality introduced by Julia Kristeva is associated primarily with poststructuralist theorists. Kristeva referred to texts in terms of two axes: a horizontal axis connecting the author and reader of a text, and a vertical axis, which connects the text to other texts (Kristeva 1980, 69). Uniting these two axes are shared codes: every text and every reading depends on prior codes. Kristeva declared that 'every text is from the outset under the jurisdiction of other discourses which impose a universe on it'.” (Chandler 1). While my interpreting the lyrics that reference “dropping Hamiltons” loving cupcakes like “McAdams loves Gosling,” may not be as earth-shattering or intelligent, it allows us to see that how all of our text are interrelated. From Matt Groening using “The Raven” in “The Simpsons” to Frye doing an intertextual reading of The Tempest, we as readers are almost required to apply other forms of criticism to even find the jokes remotely funny. Discussion question: What other types of criticism do you think would have been helpful for you to pick up all the intertextual references of “Lazy Sunday?”
Overall, “Lazy Sunday” and The Tempest come from two very different time eras, but each require some degree of a suspension of disbelief, a knowledge or pop culture, but even more so, a willingness to look at any text with multiple lenses to interpret it. While I may not be a critic, I’ve realized some of the different criticisms that could be applied to “Lazy Sunday.” Here are some just for fun.
Historical- You need to know who Hamilton is to laugh.
Cultural- Google and Map quest can help with driving directions
Reader-Response- How you feel about The Chronicles of Narnia may affect your response to the lyrics
Post structural- As a class we will be breaking down the lyrics and putting them back together to see what they may mean as a whole.
I could go one forever, but to further compare my “Lazy Sunday” reading with Frye’s reading of The Tempest or to get a discussion going, check out one of my first Frye blogs or feel free to give me links to your blogs that you might feel helpful. As a class I think we’ve really all come to the conclusion: While it’s fun to incorporate our own lives to the text, it’s important to keep our opinions separate and look at the work as a whole before we past judgment, but what makes intertextuality so damn appealing is that we encouraged to apply our own experiences and that gives a more personal relationship with the text. Do you agree or disagree?
April 17, 2007
Le Blog Informal: My Presentation Idea
If you are true SNL fans, you've probably heard of Chris Parnell and/orAndy Samberg. They recently did a funny skit called "Lazy Sunday" in which they rap about going to the movies to see The Chronicles of Narnia. It's a short and sweet video that you can watch on Youtube if you haven't already seen it, but I was hoping you'd wait for me to show it to you in class, which will be part of the fun. The lyrics are funny and include many references to history, movies, other rap songs, etc. I thought it would make a perfect example of intertextuality. I was thinking of discussion questions, perhaps listing the examples of intertextuality, and seeing how my definition relates to Keesey's. Because there are cupcakes mentioned in the song, there's some food involved for you too. Are there any suggestions as to how I can cover my topic? I'd love to hear them and I'll have the lyrics available for easy reading.
* If you've seen "Lazy Sunday," already, check out Andy and Justin Timberlake in a romantic song about a special gift for a special lady and have fun kids! I'm curious about what you'll think of that one ;)
April 12, 2007
Blog Port II: Three is Where I want to be!
This time around, I'm keeping it short and sweet. My blogs have improved greatly in context and in depth. I really got alot of great discussions going and learned alot from my peers. Karissa, Vanessa, Jason, and Tiffany have remained faithful, but I've gotten even more of a variety in response this time. I had more fun this time and used my blogging voice to the max. I am so overwhelmed with everything else, so when we hit Portfolio Three and finally done for the semester, I'll be extremely happy.
Comment Primo I am the first to comment on all of Vanessa and Denamarie's blogs this week!
Comment Grande Tiffany and Kevin got a quite a few words from me!
Wildcard Drowning in the Forest
Blog Carnival/Link Gracious: I linked to Kevin's blog for the carnival and my link gracious to commend him for getting ahead of the game!
Kevin made an Awesome Carnival, If I could ever have a break, I'd go!
Go have some hotdogs and meet the Tres Amigo's at Kevin's Carnival! I shall join for Portfolio 3, if that's cool with the Carnie!
Word Up to Murfin and Ray: Frusturated
I have too many assignments to be worried about looking up a word in the dictionary. I wish I could post a picture of myself banging my head against the wall. That would define frusturated and that's not in Murfin and Ray and I don't give a shit :)
Drowning in the Forest
I'm drowning in a sea of works cited/is this MLA style/ Did I fall asleep in my sandwich at 3 a.m. again/can't find my flip flops/overwhelmed with the assignments that seem to try to outweigh all of the others. In other words I'm drowning in a sea of paper. How many trees do we need to kill to prove that we can think clearly and function as citizens in this country where you can push a broom or wear an orange vest and make more money than what we're making as college students and even as grads. Oh, Lord, I've slipped into self pity and venting as I always do when every professor decides to assign a 10-20 page paper with bibliographies we won't even use. Do they really want us to write half-assed papers at the last minute? I didn't think so, so why pile it on now? If they want us to succeed, how about thinking of a more modern assignment than writing a paper. I am going nuts, so there's my wildcard whining blog!
April 6, 2007
Prospero is the gooey center
Miko, ''Tempest'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
“We seem to be put repeatedly in the position of trying to decide what the magic means before we can say what it is. And that meaning, or those meanings, are all extensions of Prospero.” (377)
Another fan of the outlines, Miko does a good job of breaking it all down. What I mostly got out of this was that while we are wondering forever what the tempest and the magic of it is doing to the islanders, really we need to focus on why it’s all happening. Prospero wants to keep his daughter innocent, he wants to keep his slaves in captivity, and he wants a suitable young man to take care of everything once he’s gone (if he ever is). To do this, he has incorporated magic all through out the play. I think what makes it so unique is that Miko uses this to explain why Prospero really is the main sign to interpret.Yet, at the end of the day, there are so many branches that all we can do is crack open a beer and leave it up to Archie Bunker. By the way, what was up with the “horse piss” line? There were no horses on the island Miko said. Was that just for extra punishment pizzazz or what? What does the sign of horse piss mean…ooh that’s deep.
This calls for an intervention!
Keesey, Ch 7 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
“Almost always that intervention is in oppostion to existing power structures and designed to empower groups historically disadvantaged.” (412)
I’m still not even sure I know what’s this means, but “intervention” got my eye. Literature gets so heavily criticized, that once in awhile an intervention is needed. We get so hung up on what the words and plot should be meaning, that we often overlook the “realism” in the situation according to Keesey. Benito Cereno could be a fine example of this quote, I suppose. The slaves appear to be at a disadvantage, but really Captain Happy and all of the other ignorant people aboard the ships are the ones that need to worry. We are either angry at a text for being so realistic that we are offended by it or so deep in fantasy land with the unicorns that we say “No black/white person would say that!” Who are we to judge? New historical critics seem a little too ballsy for me. As I’ve said before, we can’t change history, but we can change the stereotype. Before we know it, we’ll all just be one big Carlos Mencia joke and I’m fine with that.
What's the big idea?
Eagleton, ''Literature and History'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
“…Literature is nothing but ideology in a certain artistic form—that works of literature are just expression of the ideologies of their time.” (425)
I always pictured Marxists as guys in jumpsuits bitching about the economy…boy was I wrong! It’s amazing that society has gotten to the point when much of what we see in movies is based on what we had for breakfast. Watching “period films” I think of how much we’ve changed as a society, but yet we still have the same problems and hang-ups as they did, but perhaps on a smaller scale than Marie Antoinette. Whatever a writer is going through usually triggers their writing, but we’ve already learned that in other criticisms, so where does that leave us? Mr. Marxist Eagleton let’s us know not to get too deep it seems, for he has explained that everything we do is just a reflection of the ideas of our time era. That makes me feel rather recycled and boring, but a smidge hopeful. If writers in other time eras faltered maybe we can use their mistakes and build bigger, better ideologies and see how that helps/hinders society. Maybe we’ll just stick with what time hands us. Do you think literature really is just ideology?
Red tape or yellow wall-paper: You gotta work through it
Feldstein, ''Reader, Text, and Ambiguous Referentiality in 'The Yellow Wallpaper''' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
“Stated another way, ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper” is more a writerly than a readerly text, which Gilman designed to challenge her readers to produce, not merely consume.” (407)
I didn’t even know “writerly” was a word—sweet! Feldstein took the wall-paper to a whole different level as he explained the history of it. I didn’t realize that the hyphen in wall-paper made everything so different as well as the protagonist’s name. Feldstein at first seemed to be playing “good critic” by using historical and formalist methods, but then…zing-pow! He busted out the wallpaper as a sign of not only her madness but a more Freudian/mirror meaning. When we discuss this in class, it’s almost a sore subject because everyone gets such passionate opinions about what the “real meaning” of the story is. While we may talk about whether or not she killed herself, Feldstein dug deeper and asked the question of whether it is supernatural or uncanny (hiya, Freud). We don’t know if it’s about her doubles (the ghosts within the wallpaper who are other suppressed women) or a reflection of herself. It’s all very confusing. That hyphen is killing Feldstein just as it kills us. While he says it’s all “inconclusive,” at least we know someone out there is feeling our pain.
Guetti’s got guts
Guetti, ''Resisting the Aesthetic'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
“And I would argue that what gives the urn its special status for Keats is precisely this problem: that the urn matters to Keats because of his ignorance about it.” (386).
Guetti terrors apart De Man with gusto than graciously (or with gile) uses his words to back up her own points. She’s got balls more so than guts, but I was trying to go along with the alliteration thing. I must say I skimmed through a lot on this one, but her argument on Keats I found brilliant enough that I ignored everything else (I know, bad form!). She is right in that it’s become a “sacred cow” in every class I’ve ever been in (with the exception of math, but wait, we may have discussed dimensions) at Seton Hill we have beat this cow to death. What is so lovely about this is that Guetti explains quite vividly that we are all sucked in because we are ignorant. We pull all of our tools out of our heavy lit-crit toolbelt only to find that someone is going to have a totally different opinion that reminds us that we have no idea what we are talking about. This is the whole point of rhetoric, I suppose: trying to break through our ignorance by interpreting signs that are better left to the imagination, but still necessary to become less ignorant along the way.
We de Man a Sign!
de Man, ''Semilogy and Rhetoric'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)
“The sign is to be interpreted if we are to understand the idea it is to convey, and this is so because the sign is not the thing but a meaning derived from the thing by a process here called representation that is simply not generative, i. e. dependent on a univocal origin.” (367)
Well, now, in lit. study we’d call that a sentence without breath. You bet your Uncle Joe (everyone seems to have one of those) that the green underline popped up when I typed this on my ghetto computer at home. I must say, I’m loving de Man just a little. He starts off with calling formalism the “prison house of language” and just keeps spouting off clever little one-liners that actually make sense. He discussed the way French critics are in comparison to us and by the time he hit Archie Bunker talk, I was laughing. What really made this reading for me, was that he gave a much clearer definition of rhetoric through a variety of examples rather than just quoting lengthy passages of Benito Cereno and saying “Looky-here Jim-Bob, this is semiotics.” He actually gave me the impression that perhaps rhetoric is just like a series of those Russian dolls (you know, the one big one that you open and a bunch of little ones are inside…kinda creepy). One question opens up a series of more narrow ones until you get to the very origin. You ask someone a question and they answer you back and while you think they are being a smart-ass, they are just opening your mind up for more discussion and you are sent on a treasure hunt to find the “sign” it originated from. We may never get there, but we may find new ways of criticism along the way, thus further breaking away from our number one prison-bitch, good ol’ formalism. At least he’s reliable, and to tell you the truth, we don’t have to interpret the signs as much with him. He’s more of an action man.