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February 21, 2007

EL312: Step right up and take a chance on the Wheel 'o Litcrit!

There I am--standing, arms akimbo, shouting to all who pass. The Wheel 'o Litcrit is a great gamble. I've seen it all, though. Grammas with Bingo money to blow, kids still wet behind the ears bringing their lunch money, the haves and have-nots and the never-will-haves--everyone takes their chance.

After all, everyone's a critic.

Since I've start dissecting a class discussion to see what kinds of literary criticism we're applying, I know it has hold of me. It's still difficult to explain to my friends and family that don't have a strong literary background what we're doing with said criticism. If I try to talk about reader-response theory, someone's bound to say, "Oh yeah, well my reader-response was to throw the book across the room." And if it's author intent, well... let's not go there.

It's been fun throwing this carnival--thanks to all that have joined! I'm thrilled that there's been such energy and interest in the topics, and I'm anxious to see what all of you come up with. I'll update this as I find your links. Emailing, trackbacking, or posting a link--just let me know when it's done!

Read below for the complete Carnival 'o Litcrit!

It has been fun for me to go around reading what everyone found interesting and influential about the essays we've read so far. The fact that a number of us chose Wolfgang Iser as the most influential critic we've read so far makes me think that we're probably much more in-tune to readers since that's all we do in college and, therefore, we know how we respond... so why not think about how someone else would? Or maybe Iser's essay was better to get through than some of the others...

Regardless, I present to you the Carnival 'o Litcrit. Thanks to all who participated! (Special thanks to those who tried to incorporate our super fun theme of carnival food and rides... why not be literal, right? Haha.)

Tiffany says that the essay that had the biggest effect on her was Yachnin's "Gonzalo and the Tempest." She says that she recognizes that Ariel is included in the "merry go-round of obeying" in the play. From what she explains, it seems that Prospero has the upper-hand on everyone and uses each character to his advantage (if he can).

Diana writes that Wolfgang Iser's essay about many types of readers was her favorite. "What I liked is that Iser doesn't seem bothered by this fact, because his labels aren't intended to cover the real-life, sit-down-with-book-in-hand readers," she says. "That is one of the reasons his text is so effective - it puts on the labels without the worry of actually labeling anything real." Thanks for breaking that down for us, Diana. (I tend to agree--this was an excellent essay to reflect on what I think should be called readers response, since none of us is the same reader.)

Mitchell presents a fascinating perspective on the readings we do each week: "You read these critics and even if you positively disagree with them at first, by the time your done reading, and writing about that idea you can find a little bit of in agreeing with the critic." (Couldn't have said it better myself, Mitchell!) He goes on to say that Hirsch (as explained by Austin, haha) was most influential to him.

Vanessa announces that she did not choose the essay on irony (haha), but, instead, chose Diana. Choosing Iser over Brooks gave Vanessa an opportunity to explore who she is as a reader: "Iser's outline of the different types of readers when analyzing literature made me question what type of reader I am and why there needs to be so many distinctions between them in general." However, Vanessa is careful to point out that she doesn't agree with everything Iser presents--she questions the idea of placing too much value on any one kind of reader (critical, ideal, typical, etc.).

Erin says she relates best to the formalist approach to lit. crit so far. McDonald's essay reached her on this level. Erin hands us a corndog to chew on as she explains, "As readers we should be able to combine all the types of criticism into one big old carnival of sight, taste, and sound. McDonald appeals to me because he seems to encourage all of that." Delicious, Erin. Thanks!

Denamarie, like Tiffany, found Yachnin's essay about Gonzalo most stimulating. She says that even though she doesn't always connect history with pieces of literature, Yachnin's argument was solid and provided points that clarified many questions she had about the play.

And Jay (as I anticipated) wrote about reader response theory and its significance to all readers--meaning everyone who reads at all. Jay gives insight into how to him reader response is at the core of our lit. crit. course: "This entire class is based because of reader-response criticisms, because we have our own thoughts and responses, which lead us to make judgments and assumptions about the poem, the literature, the author, the history, or the semiotics behind the literature. It is all because of the reader-response criticism."

Posted by KarissaKilgore at February 21, 2007 7:20 PM


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