April 10, 2007

Finally, something I think I semi-understand

Reading this introduction was like breathing the fresh, clean, warm air of spring. (Too bad mother nature won't cooperate outside.) All semester I have been struggling with concepts in this class and history is a concept that I can do - I think anyway. I found this introduction particularly interesting because Keesey pretty much says that historicism is evident in some shape and form in all the concepts we have studied and vice versa. However, he does put in a disclaimer:

Quite consistently, therefore, cultural critics have joined other poststurcturalist historians in stressing the inquirer's need for self-awareness. As we atempt to investigate cultural phenomena across geographical, temporal, and class boundaries, we need to know what cultural baggage we carry with us and how we acquired it.

This is a good warning to have when entering into a historical reading of a work in my opinion.

Why? Well because our present day views of Shakespeare's time are much more knowing than say what Shakespeare knew. We can look at Google or Wikipedia and get an idea of what the upper-class and lower-class of that time were thinking, but Shakespeare couldn't read minds. In my (humble) opinion, he wrote his plays more to put food on his table than to make any actual statement. We have so much access to information these days, that we tend to forget sometimes (or at least I do) that authors we read lived in very different time periods and in very different places. I like to think that some day we can time travel back to the time of our authors, but for now all we can do is rely on the knowledge that we have to get us through. However when relying on that knowledge we have to keep in mind our own biases as well. Good Job Keesey.

Keesey, Ch 7 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at April 10, 2007 2:07 AM | TrackBack

Very true! We tend to want to use today's cultural views to make judgement on stories of the past eras and it blurs our vision. This type of historical criticism encourages us to keep in mind the time era that was actually occuring before we try to throw in our modern interpretations.

Posted by: Erin at April 10, 2007 12:29 PM
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