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Author Topic: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method  (Read 9842 times)

Offline Tony_

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2012, 09:41:38 AM »

So, a good reader should have free will, but that has an inherent disadvantage—unless a good reader also possesses sensitivity and solid literary reference points, the act of reading will be diminished.

Is that about it?  :)

 Well, ya gotta start somewhere, right?

IMO, before expanding out, there ought to be some reasonable foundation.  I did say, with development of skills.....it gets better.  The free will part, though, was not from me.  Willing, has a slightly different sense.  Free will implies no constraint.  Willing, as in a book assigned in a class, would have a different meaning.
 More to the point, I prefer some fundamentals, before the rocket takes off into literary theories, many of which can be exercises in splashing around.  Which can be fun and productive of better swimming skills.  But there does, it seems to me, need to be a beach from which to set out.

Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2012, 01:51:46 AM »

So, a good reader should have free will, but that has an inherent disadvantage—unless a good reader also possesses sensitivity and solid literary reference points, the act of reading will be diminished.

Is that about it?  :)
Well, ya gotta start somewhere, right?
I agree.

Quote from: Tony_
IMO, before expanding out, there ought to be some reasonable foundation.  I did say, with development of skills.....it gets better.  The free will part, though, was not from me.  Willing, has a slightly different sense.  Free will implies no constraint. 
I thought that a reader who “can do whatever he darn well pleases” exercises free will.
Or have I misunderstood?

Quote from: Tony_
Willing, as in a book assigned in a class, would have a different meaning.
 More to the point, I prefer some fundamentals, before the rocket takes off into literary theories, many of which can be exercises in splashing around.  Which can be fun and productive of better swimming skills.  But there does, it seems to me, need to be a beach from which to set out.
I listed four On The Beach fundamentals earlier.  :)


A separate thought:
It’s interesting that N didn’t mention “intelligence” in his list of ten attributes for his students, but I suppose that’d be covered by imagination/memory/artistic sense?

...there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain...

Offline Tony_

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2012, 05:32:53 PM »
  Literary threads are bound to be slow, but they could be informative.  I was thinking of trying to give a summary of the more well known theories, off of Wikipedia and other places on the internet.  Just as a reference point.  For me, as well as other slowbies.  Am afraid to include semiotics, which used to be all the rage, but was probably of only tangential value.

 Have also considered, if this thread allows, the roaming around as to what other writers influence an author, and then maybe someone could go to BbM.  For instance, roughly at the same time, Dickens in England, Nicolai Leskov in Russia, and Mark Twain, in the U.S., greatly expanded the use of dialogue from characters with regional dialects.  Something AP certainly did.  But of course by her time, this innovation was so accepted as to seemingly have no origins at all.
  Have also mentioned how Hemingway was in France, and very near to Russian writers, when he adopted Babel's brief, rugged prose, which, again, by AP's time, was not so new. There is, of course, the opposite.  Have been reading Thomas Hardy, and it seems to me, he was influenced by the plot structures and characters of Dickens, but made sure to run away from the fleshing out, and also the happy endings.  Hardy, IMO, was influenced to avoid Dickens, at all costs. And I think what I've read, by Hardy, so far, is utter crap, and possibly because of Dickens-phobia, on his part.
 Would that be under the mantle of literary criticism? Or even of any value?  I could hope for some guidance from Paul.  Gary doth not lately seem to be willing or interested. But, again, when I have time, I will try to get some rudimentary summaries for a reference.  Even if they just sit there, at least they would be at hand.

Offline AZ.bbm

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2012, 06:16:25 PM »
Over the past couple of years I've often wondered whether there is such a thing as 'literary fundamentalism'...

For instance, say that a passage in the SS does not include a literal piece of information (such as, what happened after Ennis and Jack rolled down into the dirt), some posters will extrapolate freely around the missing piece, others will fall silent about it, and still others -- the strict 'literalists' -- will take refuge in the claim that the piece of information "cannot be known."


I, myself, tend to favor the "extrapolate freely" contingent., as I see the SS as a framework of 'long bones' needing a little more flesh...

The strict literalist contingent seems to want to deny ideas or notions that are 'extra-story.' Hence, if an event is not contained in the confines of the SS or the film, then it never occurred.

Too, I notice that the 'literary fundamentalists' are very selective in adhering to their own dogma, when and where it suits their purposes, particularly when the literary fundamentalist is hit with a thought or approach that he doesn't care for, yet it clearly has undeniable merit.



"'Democracy' is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch... 'Liberty' is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.'' -Benjamin Franklin

Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2012, 11:16:44 PM »
 Literary threads are bound to be slow, but they could be informative.  I was thinking of trying to give a summary of the more well known theories, off of Wikipedia and other places on the internet.  Just as a reference point.  For me, as well as other slowbies.  Am afraid to include semiotics, which used to be all the rage, but was probably of only tangential value.

 Have also considered, if this thread allows, the roaming around as to what other writers influence an author, and then maybe someone could go to BbM.  For instance, roughly at the same time, Dickens in England, Nicolai Leskov in Russia, and Mark Twain, in the U.S., greatly expanded the use of dialogue from characters with regional dialects.  Something AP certainly did.  But of course by her time, this innovation was so accepted as to seemingly have no origins at all.
  Have also mentioned how Hemingway was in France, and very near to Russian writers, when he adopted Babel's brief, rugged prose, which, again, by AP's time, was not so new. There is, of course, the opposite.  Have been reading Thomas Hardy, and it seems to me, he was influenced by the plot structures and characters of Dickens, but made sure to run away from the fleshing out, and also the happy endings.  Hardy, IMO, was influenced to avoid Dickens, at all costs. And I think what I've read, by Hardy, so far, is utter crap, and possibly because of Dickens-phobia, on his part.
 Would that be under the mantle of literary criticism? Or even of any value?  I could hope for some guidance from Paul.
Sounds fine to me, Tony.

Quote from: Tony_
Gary doth not lately seem to be willing or interested.
If so, it’s a pity...  :'(
I thought his helpful post at http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=28284.msg2215034#msg2215034 was very interesting, and worthy of further discussion.

Quote from: Tony_
But, again, when I have time, I will try to get some rudimentary summaries for a reference.  Even if they just sit there, at least they would be at hand.
Agreed.
...there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain...

Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2012, 12:16:26 AM »
Over the past couple of years I've often wondered whether there is such a thing as 'literary fundamentalism'...

For instance, say that a passage in the SS does not include a literal piece of information (such as, what happened after Ennis and Jack rolled down into the dirt), some posters will extrapolate freely around the missing piece, others will fall silent about it, and still others -- the strict 'literalists' -- will take refuge in the claim that the piece of information "cannot be known."
Isn’t that what you said, a little while back?  ???

Quote from: AZ.bbm
I, myself, tend to favor the "extrapolate freely" contingent., as I see the SS as a framework of 'long bones' needing a little more flesh...
In fear of drifting (briefly) back into GD#2, Stan, I wonder “What would be the point?”
It seems rather contrary to extrapolate something from what the author thought wasn’t worth mentioning.

While we’re told directly what Jack and Ennis were doing before they rolled down in the dirt, the Narrator pulls back from describing what happens after that.
A similar thing happens regarding Jack’s death.
It occurs “offstage,” so we don’t experience it directly, but we are told (by the Narrator), that his death was accidental (which is later verified by Lureen).

The story also includes the information that the time between Jack’s DE memory and the time Ennis received the “deceased” postcard was a period of “months.”
This is similar to the time period of “a day or two later,” between the two men rolling in the dirt and then being packed and ready to leave the parking lot.

The similarity is that in both instances we’re told by the Narrator that something happened in the “missing” bits:

     a) After Jack and Ennis rolled down into the dirt a day or two passed before they’d loaded their horses into the trailer, and were ready to leave, Ennis to Signal, Jack to LF; and
     b) After the parking lot confrontation and Jack remembering the DE, months passed before Ennis received a returned postcard saying that Jack was not only dead but his death was acccidental.

Basically, Ennis and Jack are each “offstage” for those two time periods.
And, as they are, there’s nothing to discuss, because all that we need to know is presented by the Narrator.

Quote from: AZ.bbm
The strict literalist contingent seems to want to deny ideas or notions that are 'extra-story.' Hence, if an event is not contained in the confines of the SS or the film, then it never occurred.
That seems to be an extreme position. It ignores what we’re told.

Quote from: AZ.bbm
Too, I notice that the 'literary fundamentalists' are very selective in adhering to their own dogma, when and where it suits their purposes, particularly when the literary fundamentalist is hit with a thought or approach that he doesn't care for, yet it clearly has undeniable merit.
a) To "quote" Maggie Thatcher, “Who are these people? Name them.”   :D

b) Who determines that the “thought or approach” has clearly “undeniable merit?”

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Offline AZ.bbm

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2012, 02:35:45 PM »
Basically, Ennis and Jack are each “offstage” for those two time periods.
And, as they are, there’s nothing to discuss, because all that we need to know is presented by the Narrator.
We were just discussing "what didn't happen" a couple of days ago, if you'll recall...(?)

My point (which I didn't make too overtly) is this: In order to have a logical understanding of the events in the story we have to have at a minimum: A) an idea of the totality of their 'universe'; B) a notion of 'Plan' in the context of neurolinguistics/NLP;  C) a set of rational assumptions surrounding a particular event, e.g., the act of rolling down into the dirt being intended to lead to something (-not nothing), perhaps 'foreplay' - a prelude to carnal activity of some sort.

BTW, who says what it is we should know, and defines just who it is that has a "need to know" ..? -- If everything we needed to know was contained in the SS 'scriptures' whole threads of this forum would never have been started.



Quote
Quote from: AZ.bbm
The strict literalist contingent seems to want to deny ideas or notions that are 'extra-story.' Hence, if an event is not contained in the confines of the SS or the film, then [as far as they are concerned the event] never occurred.
That seems to be an extreme position. It ignores what we’re told.
-Yes, exactly; +  it's altogether 'taliban-ish'... I want to think of it as, "BBM fundamentalism."


Quote
a)  “Who are these people? Name them.”   :D
>:D  -Would that really be necessary??  

Quote
b) Who determines that the “thought or approach” has clearly “undeniable merit?”
-I'd say, rational people who process thoughts and approaches reasonably, prudently and efficiently...

(Well,  you asked, didn't ya..?!  :D )



ETA 'clarity'

« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 05:38:02 PM by AZ.bbm »
"'Democracy' is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch... 'Liberty' is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.'' -Benjamin Franklin

Offline Sandy

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2012, 02:50:19 PM »
My point (which I didn't make too overtly) is this: In order to have a logical understanding of the events in the story we have to have ~snip~ B) a notion of 'Plan' in the context of neurolinguistics/NLP  ~snip~

What exactly, Stan, do you mean by this?

Offline AZ.bbm

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2012, 05:16:43 PM »
Sandy,
Plan recognition ("plan") is one of many structured methods the mind uses in reasoning about its environment, and how external events (e.g., hearing a story) fit into it...


E.g., http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~cfs/472_html/Planning/PlanRecog.html

-Stan

"'Democracy' is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch... 'Liberty' is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.'' -Benjamin Franklin

Offline Tony_

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2012, 06:17:54 PM »
 Cool !

Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2012, 03:20:36 AM »
Basically, Ennis and Jack are each “offstage” for those two time periods.
And, as they are, there’s nothing to discuss, because all that we need to know is presented by the Narrator.
We were just discussing "what didn't happen" a couple of days ago, if you'll recall...(?)
I think you’ve misconstrued what I was saying elsewhere.
In reference to something “happening” (i.e. physical action/s), I stand by the above comment.

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Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2012, 03:26:34 AM »
My point (which I didn't make too overtly) is this: In order to have a logical understanding of the events in the story we have to have at a minimum: A) an idea of the totality of their 'universe'; B) a notion of 'Plan' in the context of neurolinguistics/NLP;  C) a set of rational assumptions surrounding a particular event, e.g., the act of rolling down into the dirt being intended to lead to something (-not nothing), perhaps 'foreplay' - a prelude to carnal activity of some sort.
Serious response:

• I disagree that a reader requires an understanding of the totality of the 'universe’ of fictional characters, on the grounds of unacceptable discrimination.
While I understand that you’re referring to a specific text (Proulx’s SS), such an understanding would favour readers whose experiences, emotions, sexuality, gender, nationality and time period echoed those of all fictional characters in literature; anything less would result in a significantly reduced understanding.

• Please clarify your point B.

• Your third point refers to rationality, and I ask whether it is irrational to realise that when a Narrator departs from describing the actions of his/her fictional characters in order to provide the reader with his/her omniscient point of view he/she does so because of the overriding importance of that point of view, in contrast to the unimportance of the presentation of physical action?

I refer again to my earlier comment/s, that the characters are offstage, and that whatever it is that they do is unimportant.  

Semi-serious response:



No Plan C), I notice.  ;D

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Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2012, 03:27:13 AM »
BTW, who says what it is we should know, and defines just who it is that has a "need to know" ..? -- If everything we needed to know was contained in the SS 'scriptures' whole threads of this forum would never have been started.
What has this to do with the thread topic?

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Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2012, 03:28:40 AM »
That seems to be an extreme position. It ignores what we’re told.

-Yes, exactly; +  it's altogether 'taliban-ish'... I want to think of it as, "BBM fundamentalism."
What on earth do you mean?   ???

« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 03:46:32 AM by Paul029 »
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Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2012, 03:31:52 AM »
a) ... “Who are these people? Name them.”   :D
>:D  -Would that really be necessary??
Well, if you’re going to use generalisations, I think you should support your claims with evidence.  ::)

The interviewer, in the case of the Thatcher example I used, was unable to identify who "the people in the street" were.

So, he was bested.  ;D


...there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain...