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January 28, 2007

EL312: Howdy, Montage

I've heard this word before, looked it up, and forgotten what it meant the next time I heard it. (I know a couple people who are really fond of this word, too, and use it frequently, but perhaps in a different context? I'll have to judge that...)

According to my recently acquired literary-maven-in-a-book, the Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms (hereafter "the Bedford"), a montage is "a composite of several different and typically unrelated elements that are juxtaposed and arranged to create or elicit a particular mood, meaning or perception" (273-4).

Lucky for me, montages are also popular in the art world--the modernists used it to break away from conventions of art, ushering in Dadaism. Famous examples of literary montages include T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" and James Joyce's "Ulysses." These works, the Bedford says, "suggest both the fragmentation of modern life and the possibilities for reconnection and renewal..." (276).

Oh, and a photomontage? Yeah, look for one of those in your high school yearbook. It's there, I promise.

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by KarissaKilgore at January 28, 2007 7:18 PM


Oh the dreaded montage....

So thats what it is. I can't stand that in the beginning pages of the yearbook. I assume that something like that was discovered by accident. Back when yearbooks were in their infancy, a publisher scrambled random pictures and the yearbook staff said "We're going to have to go with it.." Little did they know.

Posted by: Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton at January 28, 2007 11:00 PM

LOL, Kevin... Thanks for that laugh. At least the yearbook reference is one I can remember. That'll help me the next time I claim to have forgotten the meaning of "montage."

Posted by: Karissa at January 28, 2007 11:14 PM

So, for example, when Katie Couric left the today show, they showed flashbacks of all the different topics that she covered and the silly skits that she did while working...

Is that a montage?

Posted by: Gina at January 29, 2007 10:20 AM

There was a really funny "movie montage" in The Sweetest Thing with Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate. They go in this costume shop and dress up the characters from Grease and Dumb and Dumber, I know, this is dumb too, but I had to mention it.

Posted by: Erin at January 29, 2007 1:39 PM

Gina, I think that's probably a good definition of a video montage. Sounds interesting... little clips and such.

And Erin? I never saw that movie, but perhaps the montage scene would be worth it, eh? :)

Posted by: Karissa at January 29, 2007 6:32 PM

You guys would not believe this, but I was watching "High School Musical" over break (yes, I admit it. Remember I have a 16 y/o brother at home.) and they did several montages in the show. Well the version of the movie that I happened to watch was a "pop-up" version where the producers went back and gave behind the scene type deals and one of those "pop-ups" happened to be the defintion of a video montage.

Getting back to the literary references behind montages, couldn't one argue that a flashback of several memories is a montage. Say (for those of you in the Adv. Lit. class) the constant movement of memories that Benjy is feeling?

Posted by: Tiffany at January 31, 2007 9:22 PM

Tiff, if we are actually able to differentiate the memories that Benjy experiences perhaps it would be a montage. Since we know that they are different memories but they cannot be chopped apart into separate discernible parts, I would have to say that Benjy's memories remain simple stream-of-consciousness. Putting them into a montage would require them to be more separated, I think... then again, I could be wrong. Interesting point, though.

Posted by: Karissa at January 31, 2007 10:24 PM

That's a great connection, Karissa. At the very end of that chapter, Benjy does refer to "when Caddy says I have been dreaming" (or something like that... I don't have the book in front of me). That's the only point where Benjy shows an awareness of an external point of view, a possibility that his impressions of the world are not all there is to the world. Faulkner very carefully placed this one moment, which expresses, in perfect, painful clarity, Benjy's attachment to his absent sister. (Compare the flood of Benjy's ever-present with Quentin's blackouts and his obsession with time.)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 1, 2007 12:52 AM

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