January 2007 Archives

EL312: What is literature?

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After reading this article I found it interesting that some things are considered as literature and others aren't. What bugged me the most is that Madame de Sevigne's letters to her daughter are considered as literature but a note to a friend is not. Why not? Just like her letters were taken from the past and treasured why couldn't something I wrote to a friend be taken and treasured (in the future of course)? I mean really, what's the difference. In one quote "jokes, football chants, and slogans, newspaper headlines, advertisements, are not classified as literature" If this is true, why is it that letters from the past are considered literature? Is it because they were written by someone important? Would that mean if we found the letters of a peasant from long long ago it wouldn't be considered as literature? What confuses me is that in another quote later in the article, "Anything can be literature". If this is true than why aren't football chants considered as literature? Not that I think it is but it just seems like there really isn't any clear cut line defining literature, I don't think anyone could ever define it because everyone is always going to have a difference of opinion.

Well, I finished Benito Cereno awhile ago but just couldn't think of anything to write. I felt pressured to write something critical. I wasn't sure if I should just write my thoughts. Well, here are my thoughts regardless. I think it's quite interesting how Melville keeps the reader guessing. I was really starting to believe that Benito Cereno was a Pirate, I mean there was definately something shady going on, but what? On the critical side, highly critical, there was way to much description. I mean I like pictureing things in my mind and all but leave something to the imagination. Also, this story is supposed to be a short story yet it's so long. What's up with that? Sometimes I have to wonder if authors miss the point when someone tells them to write a SHORT story. I'm not sure if I'm even heading in the right direction with my thoughts but I figured that it's good that I at least tried.

EL 312: Aesthetics

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I will admit that there are times when I don't understand what something means. There is one word that I have been seeing a lot of lately. If you couldn't already tell, it's Aesthetics. When I don't know something I like to find out as much as I can, whether it's took look in a book or online, I try to find my answers. I never knew that there are two important things about aesthetics. One is that on a philosophical approcah, it poses questions relating to the nature or definition of beauty. The other is that one a psychological side, it examins the perception, origins, and the effects of beauty.
Now that I know what this word really means, I can have a better understanding of what I read.

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an excape from personality."

This quote intriges me. I have always been lead to believe that poetry is always about emotion. If a person is expressing their feelings through poetry, how are they escaping from their emotions. Is it because they are finally setting their emotions free? I can understand how personality may not play a part in any kind of work. A person who comes off as being rough and tough could write the most beautiful poetry or story. This person would be losing their rough self (escaping their personality?) to write about something gentle or something about love.
I have just always thought that poetry has always had something to do with expressing oneself and putting oneself out there so that the world can see.

Keesey had a lot of interesting things to say but a couple remarkes caught my eye within his introduction. At one point he says "many theories of interpretation are based on the belief that we must look either to the author or the audience if we are to understand the meaning of the literary text." A few sentences later he says "other forms of critisim pursue the line in the opposite direction and fucus on the works effects rather than on its causes" and "meaning of literature results from the interaction of audience and work"

Is there really a right way to right way to look at literature in a critical fashion? How should we find the the true meaning of a literary piece?

In my own experiences I always like to get a better understanding of the author and where he or she might be coming from. I would think that his or her own experiences would effect a piece of writing.

I guess this work has me a little confused. If we aren't supposed to look to either the author or the audience where do we look?

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