April 23, 2007

Lit Crit is Not For the Innocent

"Texts are certainly not available for innocent, unhistorical readings. Any reading must be made from a particular position, but is not reducible to that position (not least because texts are not infinitely malleable or interpretable, but offer certain constraints and resistances to readings made of them)" (Barker 444).

According to Barker et all in "Nymphs and Reapers Heavily Vanish...", if you're going to read a text, you'd better do it right. None of this "innocent" stuff- real literary critics get their hands dirty and uncover more than what is on the surface.

This seems to be a bit of a circle of criticism, to me. We read with a position in mind, one that we will explore and develop through our readings and ventures into the "not innocent" historicism, but we should never box the readings into these specific positions either. Sometimes our interpretations will be plausible, sometimes they won't, but either way the text is not to be labeled as right or wrong in either instance. And while apparently some hard-core historical readings can offer up numerous insights into the work, they are not the end of the story. As Lorin quoted Dr. Jerz in her blog, "...if there is nothing for us to talk about anymore then we are 'intellectually dead' as Dr. Jerz put it".

Barker and Hulme, ''Nymphs and Reapers Heavily Vanish'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by VanessaKolberg at April 23, 2007 3:13 PM | TrackBack

Ooo, you've pinned down the circle I was fighting with last night. I used your quote as part of mine.

Interesting, though, that we're not supposed to be innocent in that we must walk in with a viewpoint but yet, as we've learned, we can't lock ourselves to any one reading of a text. So is non-innocent reading fruitful whatsoever? Wouldn't I be strapping on that blindfold once more (or eye patch, as the case may be)? Haha... lit. crit. eye patches... hilarious. We should all be pirates instead of intellectually dead. I'd rather be a pirate than dead.

Posted by: Karissa at April 23, 2007 4:55 PM

I already have the tooth issue, so you two are in charge of eye patches, LoL. It is funny that we can't be innocent and idiotic, but we're never right, so it's hard to get dirty. Then again, if we are struggling and asking good questions we aren't six feet under yet!

Posted by: Erin at April 23, 2007 9:36 PM
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