April 2, 2007

The Culture of Lit

Oooo look who is being all proactive and posting really really early? Oh yeah...ok, now onto the blog:

"...the urge to collapse distinctions between high and popular culture, between canonical and noncanonical literature, between one field of study and another, is motivated not only by skepticism about the ontological status of these distinctions but perhaps more by the belief that such distinctions serve to maintain the existing power relations in society" (Keesey 413).

If I wasn't an English person, I'd be a sociological person. I love learning about how cultures impact and fit in with our society and...now with literature. This new historicism, or post historicism, or what have you, is all about the culture. But not just in relation to literature though, but with all forms of society and how it interacts and relates- how one thing influences and fits into another.

It's more than just culture, however. Sure, it's there in literature, but the question is more of a why. Why are these distinctions made between different forms of culture in our society, or between the high and low forms of literature? As mentioned in the second paragraph of 413 in Keesey's Introduction, who is it that decides what goes into the canon, who decides what it "literature" and what is not, or how we should read a certain piece? Where are all these people hiding? Looking at it from this post/new historicism perspective, maybe we'll never know who these people are, but we can know the why. What seperates us also holds us together- high and low brow literature creates the distinctions between each we crave and play into society's tendency to want to break people into groups like social classes- those who read the high brow and those who do not, those who believe one form of criticism and those who believe another. We and, in turn, our literature is defined by this culture and the distinctions within it. Um...I may have gotten off topic here.

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

Posted by VanessaKolberg at April 2, 2007 7:40 PM | TrackBack

Do you think our culture effects how and what we read?

Posted by: Erin at April 6, 2007 11:57 AM

I think culture has a huge effect on how we read. If we view something as wrong in this culture, and another one views it as right, it puts a whole different spin on the piece of literature. We will always be hindered by having to view a work through our own culture and not being able to (fully) explore it through another.

Posted by: Nessa at April 6, 2007 3:48 PM
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