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March 29, 2007

We Have Centers, Signifiers, and Psychoanalysis, but what makes that Poststructural?

Wright, ''The New Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

In the historical Amsa Delano's narrative, Cereno's disposition is in a different context, caught up in the issue of certain financial matters between the two captains. It turns out that this Delano, though generous ( like his fictional counterpart), has considerable difficulty in getting proper compensation for his pains from the apparently not-so-noble Cereno...Melville has extracted only Cereno's deposition from the narrative but has been criticized for unduly lengthening his tale with a document hardly differing from its counterpart" (395).

I'm a little confused as to why this essay is considered poststructural. This text seems to incorporate a medly of other criticism - historical and intertextual in the above example, and certainly it falls under psychoanalytic as well. But, there are plenty of instances in which Wright refers to signs and the center, which are key things Derrida mentioned in his essay, and there are references to structure...but the structure of what exactly I am still having trouble grasping, and I am having an equally hard time grasping the concepts of the "center" and the "signifiers" mentioned in both Wright's and Derrida's essays. I just really feel like I am struggling with what are the defining characteristics of poststructuralism.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 4:24 PM | Comments (1)

A Late Encounter With the Enemy - Sally's Nostalgia

O'Connor (Choose One of Three) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"In those times, she said, everything was normal but nothing had been normal since she was sixteen, and for the past twenty summers, when she should have been resting, she had had to take a trunk in the burning heat to the state teachers' college; and though when she returned in the fall, she always taught in the exact way she had been taught not to teach, this was a mild revenge that didn't satisfy her sense of justice" (154).

Something that came to my attention after reading Jennifer's Blog about how General Sash doesn't care about the past, nor does he even remember most of it, is how much he contrasts with his granddaughter in that sense. Sally seems so obsessed with the past, so nostalgic. She clearly resents change and wants her grandfather to be on the stage at her graduation just so that everyone else will also feel the same nostalgia for "the good ol' days." I also find it interesting that she wants her grandfather to live long enough to see her graduate, yet she seems to value the education so little. It only matters that he is on the stage so everyone can see him in his uniform. I almost hope she feels bad when she realizes that he is dead and that he was dead before she went up to received her diploma because she is so stubborn and selfish about the whole silly thing.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 10:02 AM | Comments (1)

Yeah it is Weird, But I Like It

Berger, Postmortem for a Postmodernist -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

A lot of you seem to be enjoying this reading very little. I have to say though, that I actually do quite like it. Sure, as Vanessa said in her blog, the story really doesn’t have great literary value, but I still have to give the guy props for trying. I mean, who else would try to use a novel to explain a concept which, I think most of us who tried to understand Derrida's essay know, is incredibly difficult to grasp. So I am finding this novel to be, refreshing, entertaining, and full of good information about postmodernism that I really had trouble getting out of the critical texts - no matter how awkwardly the information might be given (because what kind of woman rants on about postmodernism of all things when her husband was just murdered?! I think she did it! But, I admit I am far from done reading it at this point.)

"think of the way young children use remote-control devices to cruise the various television networks, creating their own programs out of bits and pieces of the programs they watch, making a postmodern media pastiche. In a modern society, on the other hand, such as you Americans had in the 1950s or so, people would watch a program - such as a sitcom like I Love Lucy - from beginning to end" (26).

I think this is a fascinating analogy and a much more fun way of differentiating the two theories [modernism and postmodernism] without reading one of those stuffy, contradictory "the-center-is-not-the-center" essays that give us a headache.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 1:11 AM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2007

Desmond Gives Grandmother too Much Credit

Desmond, ''Flannery O'Connor's Misfit and the Mystery of Evil.'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"O'Connor explains nothing of what happens in the grandmother's mind and heart to bring her to this touch of kinship with the criminal, except to say that 'her head cleared for an instant.' The gap is mysterious, perhaps supernatural, yet also exactly right in the human sense" (134).

Maybe it is just me, but I think the exact opposite about the grandmother's reaching out to touch the Misfit. Actually the whole last section is just bizarre. I would not have the urge to reach out and touch this armed murderer who just had my entire family killed, no matter how bad I might feel for him. And the expression about him being one of her children also doesn't really make sense to me. And saying "you're one of my babies" doesn't seems to equate him with the rest of humanity as far as I am concerned. To me that equates him directly with her - it seems more like a desperate attempt to make him spare her life, and that seems much more in character for the grandmother. Maybe I am not being very sympathetic here, but I really don't think that the grandmother has the potential to undergo a major recognition and reversal of her ways (as she has already proven to lie and do things to serve her own random whims). She doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with it, and she doesn't do things that usually make sense in terms of natural human behavior either. So why would she start now that she is ina desperate, very atypical situation for most people? I do think Desmond makes a lot of really good points, but this particular one I don't agree with.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 12:42 AM | Comments (2)

March 27, 2007

So…Postructuralism is the Structure of the Posts that are used to Structify Postism?

Derrida, ''Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"For the signification 'sign' has always been comprehended and determined, in its sense, sign-of, signifier referring to a signified, signifier different from its signified" (355).

I wonder if Derrida knows how to write a sentence without using several forms of the same word within it - especially when the sentence is supposed to provide a definition for the word used in multiple forms. He is massively confusing very much as a result of this and I think this was one of the hardest essays to read. Also, each major concept presented seemed to be a contradiction. ("The center is not the center" (354) being the easiest example to understand and then there is that structuralism is all about deconstruction...agh! Where will the contradictions end?) So, basically, I feel as if postructuralism is an attempt to define the indefinable and it acknowledges that there is no single way to try to define it, and that we use signs and other stuff that has to do with the historical context of the language and the structure of the language to analyze it. Also, postructuralism seems to have a lot to do with things other than literature - instead with the world in general and how it is set up and where the systems of signs come from. It is weird and complex, but has the potential to be interesting and enlightening although at this point I am not sure my brain can handle it.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2007

Language Lies (Just like Flannery O'Connor's short story characters)

Keesey, Ch 6 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"The poem, by frankly announcing itself as a rhetorical or metaphorical structure, rather than trying to conceal this condition as "nonpoetic" language does, becomes the only truly honest language. This seems to be the deconstructivists' version of the old idea that poets never lie because they never affirm. In this version, the poet's language affirms only that it lies - which at least puts it one up on everybody else's language" (349).

Does anyone else find it fascinating that we are personifying language in this context in order to explain how the language works and claim that it is rhetorical and metaphorical? I certainly do.

Anyway, I would like to address something that is confusing me. Is deconstruction the same thing or a type of poststructuralism? And what is the relation to postmodernism to poststructuralism? Or is that something I will discover as I read Postmortem for a Postmodernist? I think that Jay is correct in saying that it seems that they just want to confuse us as much as possible. I will admit, the way this structuralism seems to work hurts my brain as I read about it in the introduction because it deals with such complex and abstract concepts, like poetry being the only truthful literature because it admits to being a liar and the difficulty of finding the origin of the systems that language is made up of that we need to exist in order to understand anything at all in language. Which does make sense, but the idea of discovering where it all began is just mind-boggling. But, as one of my residents actually very wisely says: "It makes sense if you don't think about it"

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 8:07 PM | Comments (1)

The Study of Language

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

"diachronic: A term used in linguistics to refer to historical linguists' study of the evolution of a language or family of languages over time" (106)

Cool, I didn't realize there was a word for this study of evolution of language. How language develops and changes is really interesting to me, but it would be really difficult, too. It really makes things complicated that the thing being studied is the thing needed to do the studying.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 6:31 PM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2007

Some of You Might Want to Tape My Mouth Shut After You Read This

Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"Most of us can't remember a time before we learned to punctuate. We perhaps remember learning to read and spell, but not the moment when we found out that adding a symbol '!' to a sentence somehow changed the tone of voice it was read in" (134-135).

This is an excellent point. I remember, at least vaguely, learning both formally and informally how to read and write, but how on earth did I learn to use punctuation properly? So, how did we learn how it affects our writing? I think the idea of a question came pretty easily to us when we were young since kids are naturally curious and often ask a lot of questions, so they easily learn to recognize the types of sentences that need one of these "?" at the end. And we all just knew a period went at the end of any normal statement probably from seeing them in books that were read to us. I suppose exclamation mark usage was probably picked up in very much the same way as we noticed our parents raising their voice anytime they read a sentence with an exclamation point at the end (at least in those lucky enough to experience the pleasure of our parents reading to them when they were little).
Interestingly I do not remember learning punctuation rules formally until high school (I know I must have at some point) but I really can't remember learning punctuation rules in the same way I formally learned to read and write. I wonder if we stop teaching/emphasizing that sort of thing too early. No wonder we all still have trouble using punctuation properly. Honestly! Obviously the world is having a little bit of trouble with it (or Tuss would not have written this delightful little tribute to the sticklers out there).

While I do remember doing grammar lessons in high school, but I know I was always confused about how to use the semicolons and colons and properly and so I think perhaps more time needs to be spent on that in school. At least it needs to be something worked on more consistently, so that students get enough practice. I remember doing grammar exercises in 9th and 11th grade once in a while, but that is all. (And I had the same teacher for those years - one of my favorites actually.) So there was a whole year in between when I wasn't doing anything like that and I think it would have been helpful if I had. Of course, I also think it would be helpful for students to go to school year-round, so maybe I am just off my hinges and everyone will want to tape my mouth shut once I actually do go into education.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 3:18 AM | Comments (1)

The Ultimate Question

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

"Eschatology: Concern with the "ultimate" questions, last things - that is, what happens after humans die, or the end of the world and life as we know it. Christian eschatology includes such concepts as heaven and hell..." (143).

While I wouldn't consider this weeks readings to really be eschatological works, I thought this term was somewhat relevant since there is that section of "The Uncanny" in which Freud talks about not really knowing is death is unavoidable or if we have, in fact, just not figured out how to avoid it. He talks about how the spirit living on after physical death is one way governments "maintain moral order" and how religion plays the largest role in answering these "ultimate" questions. (In case you don't remember this part in Freud's essay it begins on page 395 I believe.) Anyway, I hope someone at least found this interesting.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 2:00 AM | Comments (0)

Another use of the uncanny?

Freud, ''The Uncanny'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"in the realm of fiction many things are not uncanny which would be so if they happened in real life" (404).

This is something that I thought about the whole time I read the section on literature and even something that came to mind prior to that part: do we only care about the uncanny reponse in the reader/audience (or in terms of real life the actual person having the uncanny experience) or can we apply Freud's theories on the origins of uncanny feelings to the actual characters in the works we read and watch (as is the case with Blade Runner)? Is that useful for the purposes of criticism? I certainly think so, but I am curious to what the rest of the class thinks.

I'm not really sure why Disney films came to mind - perhaps because Freud began talking about fairy tales, although I think I thought about them before I got to that point in the essay. Anyway, one thing I thought about what how uncanny situations are created in Disney films in order to triumph over evil or the bad guy. The strongest examples that came to mind (for the first time as I read page 400 about inanimate objects coming to life) were Toy Story and Beauty and the Beat. In both of these films the inanimate objects play a large role in defeating "the bad guys" simply because they are inanimate objects that come to life in the presence of the bad guys thus evoking uncanny feelings in them (at least we might assume so if we imagine ourselves in their position, but as the audience we know the inanimate objects are "good" so it does not evoke uncanny feelings in us).

In Toy Story, Andy's toys scare Sid, the toy mutilator kid that lives next door, at the end by coming to life and talking to him to tell him that he should "play nice." In Beauty and the Beast, the enchanted castle's servants that have been transformed into a variety of inanimate objects come alive when Gaston and the townsmen come to kill the Beast in order to defend the castle. I'm sure those townsmen were pretty freaked out when they were getting beat up and then dressed as drag queens by a talking, moving wardrobe and scalded by an animate tea pot and her teacup child. I'm sure uncanny is a good word for how they were feeling at the time. But, once again, the audience does not feel uncanny as a result - on the contrary they feel as sense of triumph along with the castle's inhabitants.

So the uncanny is still used in literature/films/the arts even when it is not used to give the audience those sorts of feelings, but is instead used as a device for the good characters to triumph over the evil ones.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 1:31 AM | Comments (1)

More Eyes, Human or Replicant, and...Jesus? = The Uncanny for sure

Scott, dir. Blade Runner (Director's Cut) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

I was at first disappointed in the ending, especially since I didn't see the last 15-20 minutes until tonight because I had to leave for my staff meeting Sunday night before the movie finished. So I had a whole day to anticipate exactly how it was going to end. I also read "The Uncanny" in between viewings and I found the movie very intriguing in those terms because I was able to find examples of almost all of Freud's major points regarding what sorts of things can be defined as uncanny. As both Tiffany and Dena have pointed out, the eye thing Freud mentions in his psycho-anaylsis certainly evoked uncanny feelings in us. The height of that particular source of uncanny feeling occured as we watched the genetic engineer work on the eyes and the leader replicant Roy poke out Tyrell's eyes (gross, I know). Also, there is a definite "uncertainty whether a particular figure in the story is a human being or an automation" (Freud 378) theme in the movie. Deckard’s whole job depends on his ability to be able to tell the difference between replicants and real people. And Roy stabbing himself in the hand with that HUGE nail (EWWWW) and then a few minutes later saving Harrison Ford from falling to his death, where have we heard that story before? I don't know about all of you, that reminded me of Jesus dying on the cross to save the human soul - and if that isn't a perfect example of something familiar that I gives you the chills every time you think about it or see a representation of it I don't know what will. So, basically I don't think we could have watched a better film that would illustrate as many of Freud's points as Blade Runner.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 12:53 AM | Comments (2)

March 17, 2007

Read This Intelligent and Informative and Interesting Blog Entry (especially if you want a good hint about when NOT to use commas)

Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"You use a comma where an and would be appropriate - where the modifying words are all modifying the same thing to the same degree:

It was a dark, stormy night.
(The night was dark and stormy)

Bur you do NOT use a comma for:

It was an endangered white rhino.
The grand old Duke of York had ten thousand men.

This is because in each of these cases, the adjectives do their jobs in joyful combination; they are not intended as a list...The wedding wasn't big fat and Greek" (86-87).

I never really thought about this before. I knew not to put commas in those places but at the same time I didn't think of that as an exception to the rule about modifiers. I also think Tuss explains it brilliantly with the last example. If you didn't get it prior to that example you really get it once you hear it. So I guess the people that market movies and such at least sometimes know what they are doing. Imagine how much less effective the title would have been if they called it My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding. (And I have complete confidence that the movie would have been a total flop, despite all cleverness, if it some idiot had decided to call it My Big and Fat and Greek Wedding).

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2007

YAY for Punctuation!

Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"Ho hum," you say, or, if you're American, "Big deal." Very Well. You're entitled to your ignorance, but pause a moment, dear reader, and imagine this page of deathless prose, the one you're reading, without punctuation" (xii).

I feel totally lame for already having a quotation selected and I'm only on the second page of the foreword. But, I could not resist because it reminds me (naturally, as I have just read it this semester) of the wonderful world of Faulkner and his very famous novel The Sound and the Fury. (Yes, the title does seem familiar because it is, unsurprisingly, from good old Billy Shakespeare.) So, as a future teacher, I have decided that if any of my students ever try to argue that punctuation and grammar doesn't matter, I will be making them read a section like the following one out of Faulkner’s novel:

Father said Uncle Maury was too poor a classicist to risk the
blind immortal boy in person he should have chosen Jason
because Jason would have made only the same kind of blunder
Uncle Maury himself would have made not one to get him a
black eye the Patterson boy was smaller than Jason too they
sold kites for a nickel a piece until the trouble over finances
Jason got a new partner still smaller one small enough anyway
because T.P. said Jason still treasurer but Father said why
should Uncle Maury work if he Father could support five or six
niggers that did nothing at all but sit with their feet in the oven
he certainly could board and lodge Uncle Maury now and then
and lend him a little money who kept his Father's belief if the
celestial derivation of his own species at such a fine heat then
Mother would cry and say that Father believed that his people
were better than hers and he was ridiculing Uncle Maury to
teach us the same thing (175)

And if didn't have some trouble with that passage, trust me, that is an easy one. It becomes much worse. So, there I rest my case and hopefully serve to enhance the author's point (in case anyone isn't already convinced).

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 6:34 PM | Comments (3)

March 12, 2007

So Should I Cry Now? Or Later? How about both?

Nabokov, Pale Fire -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Ok so I began reading this darn book before the semester even started and I can't find my notes so yeah, I pretty much don't even care anymore. And I would love to know how the heck I am supposed to use intertextuality to analyze this novel when I have certain never read anything else by Vladimir Nabokov and I have never read anything thing else that uses a fake persona to write a foreword and commentary on another fake persona's literary works. At first I thought it was interesting and I thought the commentary was going to be enlightening but it really just seems very random and full of anecdotes about Kinbote and his experiences with Shade than about the poem he is supposed to be commenting on. I have no idea where to even begin except to say that Nabokov was very creative and ambitious to create the entire life story of a character through a poem and then to write a novel that includes the poem as if the fake character wrote it and then to create another character to be his friend to comment on it and make sure that it was published after he died.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 11:30 PM | Comments (3)

Morally and Intellectually Enlightening

Swann, ''Whodunnit? Or, Who Did What? 'Benito Cereno' and the Politics of Narrative Structure'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"The point is - or should be - simple: slavery damages your moral health - whether you are a slaveowner or a slave" (324).

I found the moral ideas brought up in this text just as intriguing as the intertexual approach it was taking with regards to "Benito Cereno" in terms of literary criticism. I think this essay could have fit nicely into the race unit in Thinking and Writing that we all took freshman year.

Anyway, I think Swann made a some enlightening points through the use of Melville's other works as well as Delano's Narrative of Voyages and Travels and other mystery stories by Poe and others. I definitely think there is merit in looking at other texts as a means of making discoveries about the works studied. The only concern I have is the same as many formalists probably have - which is focusing too much on outside sources making us forget the work in question. But, if used properly, as I believe Swann has, intertextuality can be a very helpful tool in studying literary works.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 9:09 AM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2007

Conventions Imitate Life Before Imitating Literary Works

Frye, ''Shakespeare's The Tempest'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Prospero renounces his magic at the end of the play: this ws conventional, for while magic was a great attraction as dramatic entertainment, it was highly suspicious operation in real life; hence all dramatic magicians were well advised to renounce their powers when the play drew to a close" (304).

Once again, this just re-establishes my belief in mimetic criticism (and cultural crit as well I suppose, but that makes sense since they can easily be interrelated). Obviously, Frye's mention of this convention regarding the magical personas in dramatic works is even explained right within his argument as a result of an external influence of the culture and life during the time in which the work was create, or at least when the convention was established. This supports my blog on Keesey's introduction where I claim that conventions in themselves are mimetic of life.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 2:04 PM | Comments (1)

Questioning Mimesis

Culler, ''Structuralism and Literature'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"We do not believe that there is a real correlation between perfect or blemished complexions and perfect or blemished moral character, but certain genres permit inferences of this kind" (293).

I thinnk Culler provided a very sound argument for his case. This is the first thing I have read that makes me question the validity of mimetic criticism. It would obviously be willful ignorance that would allow a person to truly believe that a person's character can be determined by the number of zits on their face, yet this detail of appearance would indeed be used in literature to signify someone of a lesser moral character. In the same way the pure-hearted princesses in fairy tales are always beautiful, the evil sisters and mothers incredibly ugly, and the handsome princes are always brave and daring. Perhaps there is some merit to looking at works in terms of their conventions...although I still think that those conventions must somehow arise out of some aspect of reality.

I suppose if nothing else perhaps the appearance convention of fairly tales with beauty=goodness and ugliness=evilness could come out of some subconscious desire to be able to define people that way so easily. How much easier life would be if you could tell if someone is a good person or not just by looking at them. Then no one would be hurt by other people and all the "good" people in the world would be happy and the "bad" people miserable. But, then at the same time there is this part of me that conflicts greatly with this ideal because I believe that there is good in every person and so that would make the whole judging by appearance thing counterproductive. So yeah I guess that leaves me back at where I started with my questioning of literature being based in reality.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 1:44 PM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2007

Beware the Bathos

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

"Bathos: Decent into mundane or sentimental language by a writer who is striving for the noble and elevated. Bathos is a stylistic anticlimax, the unintended (and therefore ridiculous) result of an unsuccessful attempt to achieve pathos or the sublime."

When I read the word "bathetic" in Culter's essay I was sure it was a misprint...it sounded so odd. But, now I am glad that I looked it up because I want to be able to avoid my work being bathetic. Actually, a friend and I wrote a poem in middle school that I am pretty sure could be considered bathetic. We had to write a narrative poem in 8th grade about an event from American history so we wrote a poem about the Boston Massacre, and I'm pretty sure it could be accused of "descent into mundane or sentimental language." It also had a cutesy rhyme scheme it was very inappropriate for the subject matter. But, we didn't really know any better at the time and we were still under the misconception that poetry had to rhyme. Thinking back on it now makes me realize how terrible of a poem it is, yet I also remember it being selected to be published in an anthology of student work for our school district. So now I have to say the joke is on them for they were the ones silly enough to publish such a poem!

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Literature: Its Own History

Frye, ''The Critical Path'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Instead of fitting literature into a prefabricated scheme of history, the critic should see literature as a coherent structure, historically conditioned but shaping its own history, responding to but not determined in its form by an external historical process" (284).

I do see the logic in this part of Frye's argument and yet I struggle with the ideas at the same time. Can you really separate literary history and cultural/social history? Aren't they interrelated more than Frye admits? I just can't really explain how literature can be considered as "responding to...an external historical process" without being "determined" by that same process at least to some extent. Wouldn't responding to it be a way in which literature is determined by it? You have to have the "external historical process" for the literature to respond to - so it does determine it at least in content (which I think is what Frye is saying). But, he says that "in form" literature is separate and is only relational to its own history in terms of the conventions that it employs with regard to genre, style etc. So that does make sense to me, but it also seems to argue that the form of literature is the only thing that critics should be concerned with - that content doesn't matter, an idea with which I disagree strongly.

Ok, that whole paragraph is me just thinking out loud so hopefully it made sense and you all get something out of it that makes sense to you.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 7:39 PM | Comments (4)

Expand Your Mind

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (226-246) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"Editors also indent blank verse lines that are shared between two or more speakers and number them as one line, to show that the dialogue reflects a close meeting of the character's minds" (239).

From what I have been studying this semester I have come to the conclusion that I should pay more attention to little details like this because things are not as they are by accident. Everything has a reason - even if we can't find it, even if we can't understand it, even if it was unintentional or subconscious. And the great thing about these details is that while the book gives us insight to the possible and even the probable meanings of these details they are just one answer that is not absolute and therefore merits further thought and gives us something new to look at as we read poetry and literature. It really makes us expand our thinking and use the examples to takes things one step beyond what is given to us in order to come up with our own ideas and conclusions and a means for explaining those ideas and conclusions to others.

One question I do have though is whether it is just the editors that organize things this way or of they were organized that way by the original authors. If they weren't I might worry that it alters or influencing the meaning making it less authentic.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

The World of Poetry is Within the "World of Experience" Not Seperate

Keesey, Ch 5 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"...poetry's claim to mimetic accuracy, to "truth-revealing" powers, seems to many critics to offer the only stable ground for poetic value. Yet the intertextual critic, by arguing that poems imitate other poems and not the world of experience, appears to surrender that claim at the outset" (273).

In defense of mimetic criticism, I don't think it makes sense to trying to create a little isolated world that is poetry. You can't claim that "poems imitate other poems and not the world of experience" because poems are a part of "the world of experience." Why do critics insists on isolating the two? This approach seems much less useful to me in comparison to the mimetic criticism we studied last week, although it is a step above the formal criticism in that at least it acknowledges the influence of something else (other poetry) instead of just the poem in isolation from everything else.

Also, in terms of the conventions that intertextual critics claim that literature has I would argue that the so called "conventions" of literature that poets use to make their work worth studying are only conventional because they are mimetic, because they imitate life. That is where the conventions come from, so it is still more appropriate to view literature in terms of its mimetic qualities.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 8:28 AM | Comments (2)

March 1, 2007

Simple is Sweeter

Anonymous, ''Everyman'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Well, I am a dork and totally forgot we were supposed to blog on "Everyman" but, that's ok. Here I go now instead.

So the play was amazing, I thought. Of course, I always enjoy musicals so that probably helped. Before seeing it though, I was worried because as someone who has read the play several times as well as used it in a paper in the past, I knew I had a strong idea of what I thought the play should be like. Sometimes that makes it harder for me to enjoy a production unless it was portrayed the way I want it to be. But, I thought they did a great job and it really was not at all the way I saw it being enacted in my mind, I really enjoyed it. I liked how they chose to split the lines of Everyman up in order to have multiple actors play that character - i thought this was an effective way of showing how Everyman really represents every man. I also liked how there was never anyone backstage - all the actors and cast witnessed the play as it happened even if their character wasn't in the scene. It was simple, yet extremely effective. A play like this is so much better if kept simple as it was done.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)