March 26, 2007

Creating the Text

"But are unity and coherence really features of the poem, or are they simply fuctions of the critics' own rage for order?" (Keesey 343)

Initially, I just chose this quote because Keesey uses "rage" to describe literary critics. They're a ruthless bunch. However, the more I thought about it, the quote does more than poke fun at the ferocity of the literary world. With literary criticism, we (the reader) are often forced into a way of examining a text, all depending on what the literary critic thinks is "right". "Benito Cereno" just must be read with historical criticism because the critics say it should, right? It was put in this nice little box and categorized without looking at all parts of the text.

Again Keesey has annoyed me by contradicting his previous thoughts on criticism in favour of a new one. Each time I read an Introduction, I swear up and down that this new criticism is the be-all-end-all...until the next chapter. In this one, the language and the structure is important...everything else is flawed and objective. And our previously thought idea of "text"? Out the window. The "text" is not just limited to the work itself now, but applies to the linguistic cultural forms of expression and thought. "Text" is becoming something larger than the work itself. Sometimes I feel we are no closer to getting the meaning of a text than anyone else...

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

Posted by VanessaKolberg at March 26, 2007 7:21 PM | TrackBack
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