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March 27, 2007

Liz Wright: I went to high school with gal by that name...there isn't a snowball's chance in Hell she would ever write something like this.

Sorry, my titles have become more biting and sarcastic as I delve deeper into the long night.

"The term 'structuration' suggests that the text can be caught in the act of producing itself, whereas the term 'structure' suggests a closed, unified, stable artifact."

Once again, as the previous post states - the tiredness is getting to what I type, so...bear with me. I do think Wright poses an interesting perspective on the battle of structure v. Structuration - and doing so in a structuralist way, by discussing the language difference. Structuration, it seems, is capable of recreating itself and growing/developing almost entirely on its own - free verse poetry, I would say is an example of structuration. For the free verse poet, they aren't necessarily following any set of rules or guides, as "structure" would dictate, but instead they set their own rules or throw out the rules enitrely.

She also defines structure as being "closed, unified, stable," which, once again, I can agree with. Yep...alright. Too tired. Just nodded off for a few and so forth. Perhaps I'll revisit this post in the next few days, but for now, I'm sleeping

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 1:03 AM | Comments (0)

Derrida: I'm not going to BS you guys...this just made me fall over and spin in a circle, kind of like the Stooges

"The concept of the sign is determined by this opposition: through and throughout the totality of its history and by its system. But we cannot do without the concept of the sign, we cannot give up this metaphysical complicity without also giving up the critique we are directing against this complicity, without the risk of erasing differences [altogether] in the self-identity of a signified reducing into itself its signifier, or, what amounts to the same thing, simply expelling it outside itself."

Seriously, is it just me or do these words not work with one another. Maybe I'm just tired. Well, I know I'm tired, but can that be the sole cause of my confusion. My droopy eyes are signifying that I need sleep and the opposition to that is the totality of blogging. Sleep is just a theoretical idea that is instilled in people early on so that we are all controlled for a portion of the day. The metaphysical belief is that sleep is totally unnecessary and is nothing more than a man-made construct of control. Human biological need of sleep has been conditionally self-imposed.

The sign is the rambling and overtly satiric tone. The signified is my need to stop blogging and sleep. The opposition is the need to get a decent grade and the totality of not wanting to fail.

Oh. I think I get it, now. The theory is reductivist in that whole "we're all part of the circle of life, Simba" way - the signified becomes the signifier and projects inexorably outward until it can expand no longer, in which point it collapses in on itself and the cycle begins.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 12:44 AM | Comments (1)

Don Keesey: Poststructuralism...criticism...and other isms. Ism.

"It is very difficult to examine the lens you see with, to look at the instrument you are looking through."

As per usual, I find myself liking Keesey and his strange introductions. I don't want to say that this quote stuck out like a sore thumb, because that provides a negative connotation; rather, this quote resonated with me, at least a little, insofar that it describes the feeling of discomfort I have with lit crit.

As Dr. Jerz made perfectly clear in Newswriting and in this course, it is imperative to state one's biases in a subject-matter, but the problem is knowing one possesses a bias to begin with and then not only acknowledging it, but attempting to work around it.

The same goes for lit crit, or so I've found. As the semester moves along, too, each different theory blends more and more with the others until reading a work is no longer enjoyable because so much time is spent attempting to identify what lenses we are reading a text with and if that criticism is valid. Keesey makes the point that it is extremely difficult to really identify what lenses we use, and then to examine them as an outsider is even more difficult.

The poststructuralists, it would seem, focus on the language of a work and what things "mean," or imply or signify. I remember back at Penn State I had a film class and we dissected "A Streetcar Named Desire" through semiotic criticism and since that day MS Word and Open Office give me a hard time because "semiotic" isn't a word they acknowledge (and no, Dr. Jerz, I honestly don't remember much of the discussion so don't look in my direction for this one).

Like our biases, though, I think Keesey touched on a very important issue - it is very difficult for us to acknowledge our tendencies to analyze in a certain way (as some of us pointed out we were "X" type of critic or "Y" type of critic) and then it becomes even more difficult to explore the criticism, or any others, for that matter, and as such, we should look to signs and symbols and signifiers in the language and the structure itself.

Wow. That totally rambled on forever and I don't even know if I made a valid point.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 12:19 AM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2007

Culler: Structure, Literature (sorry, I'm too ill to come up with original titles)

"Critics are accustomed to think of their taks as that of producing new and subtler interpretations of literary works, and to ask them to attend to what must be taken for granted by experienced readers of literature cannot but seem an impoverishment of the critical enterprise."

This was Culler's first "obstacle" for critics. I found it humorous that he used a structure such as "First, this obstacle. Next, this obstacle..." when writing on structure.

I also enjoyed his discussion on the William Carlos Williams poem and how it is the notion of poetic convention which makes us all tilt our heads like dogs hearing an ice-cream van rumbling down the road. I also couldn't help but think (here's that intertextuality), when he began his discussion of binary dimenion by addressing the variables of X, Y, A, and B (like a videogame controller), of the classic scene from The Dead Poets Society when Robin Williams has the student reading the intro to their text that has boiled poetry down to linear equations and plot points on a graph. Just an observation. That's all.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 5:07 PM | Comments (0)

Intertexuality...sounds kida sexy, doesn't it?

So, I was hangin' with my boy Don Keesey over the weekend, right? He rolled out this theory on me about this "intertextuality" thing going on with literature. I was having a hard time following what he was saying until he said

"if we hold to this conception - and most critics do - then the inclination of intertextual criticism to dissolve the particular work into and aggregate of conventions opens the approach to the change of reductivis."

It all started clicking then. That was something I was having an issue with. How can we look at a work and say "well, X's poem is like Y's poem in this regard" or "Because X follows this scheme, it fits into Y" and then not realize we're accepting the notion that no work can ever be original again. Most unfortunately, though, I think anytime we see something new, that doesn't fit the mold of something that's already been created, well, we then evaluate it as "bad" or "trying too hard," and we shouldn't do that.

No matter what, texts will reference other texts, either in style or form or subject. But just because someone write another, say, 52 stanza transcendental/naturalistic poem, it doesn't make their text any less worthwhile than Whitman's because it followed his pattern.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 4:00 PM | Comments (0)

Tricksy Russians, yes.

Oh ho ho. Those pesky Russians. Always with the words and the trickery.

When I found out were were reading Nabokov this term I got a little giddy. I'd never read anything from him before. I even overheard someone in class (name withheld to save embarrassment) say "oh, wow, this is only 40 pages of poem, the rest is all commentary and criticism."

I had a hard time believing that the text would have been set-up the way it was without there being some sort of joke. I read the back cover to see if perhaps I missed anything. It was talking about Shade, the famous American...

That's when my eyes lit up a little. I thought "wait, this sounds terribly fishy..." and went about my business. It took me about 4 pages of the foreword until I went "Ohhhh, You sneaky (expletive deleted)."

It is funny, though, because I had to do a similar-type assignment back in high school. We were required to write a one-act Shakespearean play and write our own foreword and criticism, but from the perspective of an outsider, doing as best we could to masque the face that we were writing it.

Oh, Vlad...you trickster, you.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 8, 2007

When on Spring Break and horribly sick you spend a lot of time sitting at a computer sipping tea and wanting to die.


What the Hell, right? Go, man, go.


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If any of y'all manage to score decently on this I'd be shocked.

That is all.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 3:02 PM | Comments (0)