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February 5, 2007

Pah, Why Should We Do Research? ;)

Keesey, Ch 1 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

“This historical criticism dealt in facts and required “research,” like any solid academic discipline. It investigated the causes of things – something else that marked it as a legitimate field of study” (11).

While I am glad at the turn of the 20th century scholars began to take my field of study seriously in terms of academic merit (otherwise where would I be now?) this idea of trying to make the study of literature more objective concerns me. I think the fact that it is so open to interpretation the best thing about it. Unlike other academic disciplines it is impossible not to learn something new even after studying the same material over and over. It allows for more intellectual growth than the “solid” or “concrete” subjects because it is so abstract…it involves a completely different way of looking at things than math or science. To understand literary concepts is, in my obviously biased opinion, much more challenging and enlightening than anything I could try to understand in other subjects. It involves more of an understanding of yourself and others, which I think is one of the most difficult things a person could try to understand.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 5, 2007 9:57 PM


Lorin and her personal blogs.
HAHA. =)

I think that since the scholars became serious that it enlightened the English majors out there in the world to show their passion for this subject.
Your analysis about English versus other academic subjects is true. English literature is very abstract and wants the students of this major to look deep into theirselves to find out who they are and why they think a certain way about a piece of literature and life.

Posted by: Denamarie at February 5, 2007 10:10 PM

I agree that the range of possible interpretations of literature makes the field interesting. I also think that it makes the field very, very invalid. As I stated in length on Karissa's blog, to be wrong is to be wrong. You may have spent exhausting hour after exhausting hour researching and formulating a brilliant criticism, but, if it misinterprets the text's true meaning, than it is nothing more than an opinion . . . and we all know what opinions are like.

Valid fields of study begin with opinion and end with facts, not the other way around.

Posted by: Dave Moio at February 6, 2007 11:05 PM

I don't know how anyone can truly be wrong unless the author themselves told you so. Reading is fun because even if you don't get the point the author was trying to get acroos, you can still get something from it. I applaud English for allowing this broad range of interpretation and not closing us into either being right or wrong as other subjects do.

Posted by: Mitchell Steele at February 8, 2007 4:17 PM

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