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February 5, 2007

Keesey Ch. 1 Intro: Looking at the pretty horsey instead of the dead guy on top of him

"The historians' tendency to treat the poem like any other kind of document, their failure to conceive of poetry as a special use of language deflects attention to nonessential un-poetic factors (13).

This reminds me of our discussion last week when we talked about flowery things (horses, kitties) that distract us from the dead body in the background. We can sit and wonder if E.E. Cummings liked to ride his bicycle, but it won't always help us understand his poems. I think while it may be nice to know that we can relate to the author on some base levels, we really only have the work itself to go by and we may want to look at the words of the poem before we ponder the author's personal life.

Posted by ErinWaite at February 5, 2007 12:40 PM


I can agree to some degree Erin. I think that you are right that we should look at the text and the words first, but when something as disturbing as "The Yellow Wallpaper" comes into play, that we need to look at "why" or "how" the dead body is there, instead of just acknowledging that the dead body is there. The authorial intent is an important part of literature, especially in the case of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Gilman suffered from depression, escaped two marriages, and committed suicide. If we are not supposed to find some important information from the author's background and relate it to the text, then I am just becoming as crazy as her character is. I know that the words are important, but what's behind it is where we find just as much meaning in the literature.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at February 8, 2007 10:58 AM

Thanks, Jason. I read about her history and it's very interesting and how's so many parralels to her work that I realize you are right. I couldn't value her work as much without her background.

Posted by: Erin at February 8, 2007 12:36 PM

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