Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Group Presentations, Day #1

I wanted to comment on the first round of group presentations, first by congratulating everyone on successfully instructing and entertaining the class! Secondly, I was impresses by the amount of references to class discussions, concepts and ideas the groups were able to include into the presentation. I am personally relieved that my group was first to go and I have to compliment my fellow group members for a minute: I think we did a nice job of setting an example of how to combine a relevant topics while still being funny! I mean who could pull of Linda better than Andrea, and Zach as a Frenchman was just over the top! Well done guys!! We chose the topic of the canon because as we realized, it is not an issue that only concerns Dr. Sexson's literary criticism class but also many of the great thinkers have brought up this topic as well. Since our last and final chore for this semester will be to address the MSU top 100 bookmark, our presentation provided just one representation of how the literary canon is viewed by a diverse group of critics.

I thought the second group's presentation was clever and they put a nice spin on the two fallacies given to us by Wimsatt. I also like how each of the 'actors' made references to many of the critic we have in our class this semester. I think one of the most interesting topics in lit crit is the issue of interpretation. Who's meaning is the most important and relevant? The author, director, actors, audience? It is a big question! Nice job with this one guys.

Group three gets two thumbs up in the entertain department. You guys really know how to keep an audience hooked, I liked all the scene changes. Very creative in combining a Christmas story and the ghosts of critics past, nice pun! I also how you chose to review Sexon's piece on the Matrix, clever! I liked how Brian summed up what the critic was saying to him at the end of each of their visits. It helped the audience reaffirm how things were being connected. Y'all rock!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Beginning to ponder the final paper topic, "Literary Criticism and the Well-Lived Life

Now that we are on to final home stretch of fall semester we tend to wrap things up, bring everything full circle and hopefully sit back and look at what we have learned over the last three months. Our teacher has asked us to perform this in the form of a final paper. Dr. Sexson has given us the broad topic of "Literary Criticism and the Well Lived Life." He is obviously asking us to reflect back on our personal experience from this semester and come to some kind of conclusion about what we learned. What I enjoy about this type of assignment is the freedom for individual expression to come out. Everyone in the class is bound to gain something different and unique. We covered a lot of critics this semester and explored a number of theories and ways of thinking about the world. Each and every one of us will have their own conception of how the two terms lit. crit, and the well-lived life are related. My favorite part about the end of the semester is that we have added to our layers of understanding, learning other ways to perceive reality. By expanding out perceptions we are able to come to every experience with an enlarged acceptance of our world and the other human beings in it. To me, the well-lived life is shaping into something that resembles walter Paters definition of criticism, giving to each passing moment our best and greatest possible value

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Lets stop this abortion talk!

What does our personal beliefs on the highly charged topic of abortion have to do with literary criticism? Is it human nature to push and prod human beings until the buttons that spark conflict are found? Zach,I think you found your niche. You have successfully pushed some buttons in the class and sparks are flying! Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that people are speaking their minds on e-journals, and by all means, be passionate about what you believe in! I do feel this topic is un-necessarily drawing us of topic from our discussions and course content. There is a limit to the level of usefulness of this type of discourse. Zach I have a suspicion from the responses you have received on this issue that you will not change the minds of your fellow classmates on this topic. Your argument is presented well. You are articulate and it is clear that you have carefully arranged your case in a way that appears to be seamless, in order to avoid a hole or weak spot. I really appreciate hearing your opinion on the matter, but man I feel like you are beating a dead horse with your lengthy defenses of your stance. You are making these bold statements with the intention of inviting people like myself to try and find a hole in your argument just so you can rip the opposition apart. Think about it, we will never be able to convince you that abortion should be legal right, well likewise for us, no matter how you choose to argue your points, it is unlikely that you will change anybodies strong, emotionally charged feelings on abortion. I am merely suggesting that you take a less defensive tone in your response to this ongoing discussion. Now that we know where you stand, try accepting other people's opinions without tearing them apart. Treat topics like these as ongoing forums for expression in which people are free to believe what they want. In this context I would like to say that a woman should have to right to choose to have an abortion. To say that there is never an instance in which an abortion should be an option is to simplify life into two categories of black and white. Besides, if we cant trust a woman with a choice, how can we trust her with a child? And better yet, why dont we move on folks. Lets pick up a discusion on the well lived life and LITERARY CRITICISM.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The last round of critics

Judith Butler (Debbie)
*re-defining feminism and gender
*breaking down binaries of feminine and masculine
*gender is more than a social construction, it is also a costume we wear, a performance we put on
*we shouldn't pigeon-hole people into gender and sexual identities

Cleanth Brooks (Merl)
*wrote "The Well Wrought Urn"
*if poetry is worth teaching at all, teach it as poetry and look at the text itself rather than the outside influences on the text
*New-Critic, concerned with the text itself

Stanley Fish (Brian)
*Reader-response critic
*opposite from Brooks
*poetry is what we make of it, what we read into the text
*how do we recognize a poem when we see one

Steven Greenblatt (Susan)
*wrote "Learning to Curse"
*New-Historicism (prefers the title of theory, poetics of culture
*literary version of cultural anthropology
*text is history, history is textual

John Dryden (Daniel)
*poet, dramatist, translator, critic
*paved the way for Ben Johnson who compared Dryden's work to the glory of the Roman empire

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Summary of my presentation as Homi

Homi K. Bhabha (still alive) originally from Bombay India:
I have a strong background in theory, I am very well read and educated with a dual doctorate in English Literature and philosophy. Sometimes my use of language is criticized for being indecipherable and illusive in my book "Location of Culture." I am a major player in the area of post-colonial theory and am heavily influenced by deconstructionist theory.

Key points

*My main interest is the study of a hybridity within a culture. I see hybridity emerging from resistance of the dominant culture, creating a third space.
*The term hybridity is interchangeable with the term liminalty.
*My goal in exploring this school of thought is to locate a space of empowerment and resistance for the "other" and explore how to articulate liminality.
*The national narrative created by Western modernity has created a fixed-horizontal nation-space that does not take into account the cultures and identities formed on the faultlines of a liminal, hybrid culture. This has to change!

On the canon

*It is the critic who determines the canon
*The critic is inevitably within the Eurocentic archives of an imperialistic west
*The otherness looses its power to signify, to negate, and to initiate its historic desire to establish its own institutional and oppositional discourse.
*There is a lot at stake to name critical theory Western and model if after the traditional eurocentric model.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

key concept from our critics continued

Nietzsche (Jamie)
*truth does not exist in reality or literature/truth is dependent on language and concepts of society
*Sprachkrise-German for inadequacy of language
*truth as a mobile army of metaphors

Terry Eagleton (Nikole)
*marxist critic
*concerned with literature as class oriented, as an outgrowth of nationalism, and used to reinforce the dominant social order

Horace (J.R.)
*concerned with the craft of poetry, must be practiced in order to be mastered
*the purpose of poetry is to instruct and entertain
*decorum- the unity of the piece is the most important thing

Simone DeBeauvoir (Jennifer)
*feminist critic, wrote the book "Second Sex"
*women are defined by men, women reflect men
*wants to change the way society views women, "one is not born but becomes a women."

*formalist, new-critic/concerned with finding the meaning in the organic structure of text
*autotellic-text is independent of all outside sources, meaning of text has nothing to do with the readers response
*intentional fallacy-true meaning of text is not what the author intended the meaning to be when he/she wrote the text

Gilbert-Gubar (Yoshie)
*feminist critic, wrote "The Mad Women in the Attic."
*concerned with anxiety of authorship in male author, always in competition with precursor
*literature is patriarchal, male author is afraid to create anything feminine in a text

Henry Lewis Gates (Opai)
*concerned with future of black race
*goal to preserve and resurrect black texts
*"race is a text."

Foucault (Andrea)
*concerned with discourse, writing about writing
*believes the author is dead, social constructions allow authors to have one style only
*the author is no longer the center of the universe

Walter Benjamin
*The aura of art is not timeless, it changes with modernity
*film is the only art form that changes with time, it moves with modernity, painting looses quality
*society views art and culture differently with the production of technology

Thomas Love Peacock (Ed)
*reading modern poetry is useless and a waste of time
*poetry used to be good in its golden age, language was perfected and everything has been said
*modernity has experienced a digression because we are still reading poetry when science has taken over

Fredrick Schleiremacher (Lindsey)
*theory of hermenutics- understanding a text through systematic procedure
*to understand one part of the context of a text, the reader must understand the whole
*allegory and symbolism lead to a misunderstanding of the text

Hugh of St. Victor
*reading is the most important part of criticism
*a close reading of the text reveals wisdom, wisdom is what we strive for
*we all have a hiding place in our hearts where we store wisdom from a text, the more wisdom we receive, the more radiant we become

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Summary of critics continued

Carl Jung
*Collective unconscious is where the archetype comes from, the universal models for human behavior
*gender archetypes: anima-female unconscious in men; animos-male unconscious in women
*syzygy-closest humans come to collective unconscious, primal force within all humans

*A poet is one who possesses a great knowledge of human nature
*Nature inspires the poet
*Poetry should be written in everyday language that reflects reality since it is about everyday life, the flowery language associated with poetry is contradictory

Edgar Alan Poe
*"The Raven" is an example of a poem that is just right, it posses all the necessary parts that a great poem must have in the correct order
*A poet must follow a form when writing a great poem, starting with the outcome of the poem in mind first.

Jane Tompkins
*Take of your straight jacket
*write from your heart, don't be afraid to lay your emotions out on the page for your reader,connect with your audience, that's what makes a good text
*The personal contact between the author and their audience has become a rare thing, we need to re-introduce emotion into the text

Laura Mulvey
*feminist film critic interested in the representation of the female body in various art forms
* coined the term "male gaze" an obsession with the visual pleasures of the female body
*Confronts us with the theory that all humans are bisexual

Julia Kristeva
*interested in the intertextuality of literature, says that the meaning of a text relies on existing texts in order to decode the authors intended meaning
*feminist theorist

Roland Barthes
*embodiment of language, "do not look at me, I don't exits"
*language is dead, the author killed language when they wrote it down
*neurosis-why we gain pleasure from text

Mikehl Bakhtin
*poetry is impractical because written words cannot capture the essential dialect of language
*only the novel can illuminate the true essence of dialogue
*diological imagination-a genre within itself

John Batisto Vico
*argues that there is a universality of history
*Three ages: Gods, Hero's, Men
*each age signifies a period in history: Gods=oral tradition, Hero's=symbols and images, Men=words

Monday, November 01, 2004

On the eve of elections

I would like to make a political statement on the behalf of my alter ego, Mr. Homi K Bhabha....

"I am convinced that in the language of international diplomacy, there is a sharp growth in a new Anglo-American nationalism which increasingly articulates its economic and military power in political disregard for the independence and autonomy of peoples and places in the Third world."

Obviously, from the statement we can tell who I am going to vote for, and its not G.W.B is it? I can agree whole heartedly with my critic on this one ladies and gentlemen. I chose this statement to represent my(and Homi's) political preference, if anyone cares to know. I could have Bush bashed for a paragraph instead, but at least with this comment I can sound like an intellectual! I like having an alter ego!