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Author Topic: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method  (Read 9007 times)

Offline Ellen (tellyouwhat)

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2012, 08:44:55 AM »

At the start of the thread Ellen stated that we should discuss “works of literary criticism, preferably (but not limited to) criticism and analysis by authoritative voices in arts and letters...”
I don’t think I’m an authoritative voice, despite your mentioning earlier elsewhere that I was, but I would hope that my opinions, in discussing “works of literature” (and, perhaps peripherally, “arts”, unless we drift significantly OT) were understood to be my personal thoughts, and nobody is obliged to agree with them.

If my thoughts wandered a bit I apologise...



I give everyone here credit for understanding the topic of this thread, and that we don't need to split hairs and explain that clearly our own opinions are part of the discussion.

I give everyone here credit for understanding that this thread is not a re-hash of "were they gay" or "elements and themes of BBM" or "Character Analysis of Ennis del Mar."

Carry on.


Quote
Engaging in “critical appraisal” of a work (to determine its merit/s) surely involves analysis of only what was presented, and the creator’s decision about that should be respected.
Otherwise “The centre cannot hold...”  ::)


I agree that a critic or analyst has only the piece as it's presented -- in literature-- to work with.  (and I agree a film is meant to be taken as presented too.)  I presume the author presented what s/he wanted me to see and know.  

Especially the prose in literary short stories should be tight and no word should be there that the author hasn't considered leaving in or taking out.  I believe that is the case with BBM which is why I trust the intention of the author so much.

Regarding the passage about the mountains and the krumholz in BBM (or however she spelled it) that is a bit of dramatic pacing (in addition to being beautifully descriptive of Wyoming).  The pacing (slowing down) of the story is relevant because of how much happens in the beginning of the story.  In reading the story, by the time Ennis and Alma were divorced I was reeling with all the action in just a few pages (sex on the mountain! Ennis and Jack say goodbye! Ennis has the dry heaves!  Four years and no sign of life!  A postcard from Jack!  The Reunion!  The Motel!) and so forth.  And even the Thanksgiving scene where Ennis nearly mops the floor with Alma.

So then the author slows things down a bit to show us a close-up of interaction between Ennis and Jack, (get beaver fever doin' that) and the scenery, which is part of all the stories, and it leads up to --- late and unexpected for the reader -- the confrontation (wish I knew how to quit you).

Which I thought, when I read it first, was the climax.

But it's not.  The climax of the short story is the discovery of the shirts.

So regarding the mountain scenery passage, my explanation is that it is dramatic pacing.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 09:02:58 AM by Ellen (tellyouwhat) »
sometimes I think life is just a rodeo the trick is to ride and make it 'til the bell --john fogerty

Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2012, 05:53:10 AM »
I give everyone here credit for understanding the topic of this thread, and that we don't need to split hairs and explain that clearly our own opinions are part of the discussion.
Well, I wasn’t sure, so—thank you.  :)

Quote from: Ellen (tellyouwhat)
I give everyone here credit for understanding that this thread is not a re-hash of "were they gay" or "elements and themes of BBM" or "Character Analysis of Ennis del Mar."
That’s a relief.  :D

Quote from: Ellen (tellyouwhat)
I agree that a critic or analyst has only the piece as it's presented -- in literature-- to work with.  (and I agree a film is meant to be taken as presented too.)  I presume the author presented what s/he wanted me to see and know.  

Especially the prose in literary short stories should be tight and no word should be there that the author hasn't considered leaving in or taking out.  ~ snip ~
I concur.

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

Offline AZ.bbm

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2012, 07:42:10 AM »

*I meant that while film exists (in celluloid), and occurs in time, as does music, and reading a book, a film and a book are "fixed" permanently—whereas performance of music isn't, unless we consider the printed score.
Does that make sense?


Thanks for the discussion, Paul.
I thought we were discussing the creative process, not the creative product.


Also, I was referring to the process that authors and producers use to determine what to leave out (edit), rather than any imputed deficiencies.


"'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 AZ.bbm

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2012, 11:00:18 AM »
I have another question to which I've not yet received a satisfying answer.

I don't know on which thread it should be posted, but it is in regard to the boys' wordless sex, specifically the use of the expletive, "goddamned," by the narrator, in the phrase "not a goddamned word"..

Where on the forum would this phrase be discussed?
"'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 garyd

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2012, 01:52:00 PM »
I have another question to which I've not yet received a satisfying answer.

 it is in regard to the boys' wordless sex, specifically the use of the expletive, "goddamned," by the narrator, in the phrase "not a goddamned word"..



Verfremdungseffekt

let the satisfaction begin.

Offline Sandy

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #50 on: February 21, 2012, 01:19:17 PM »
The recent New Yorker Magazine includes an essay on Edith Wharton on the occasion of her 150th birthday. He claims that she is not a person with whom one would ordinarily sympathize, and that that makes her big novels (Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, Custom of the Country) hard to sympathize with. Then he goes on to say why we should sympathize with the novels.

His evidence that we shouldn't sympathize with her is that she came from a privileged background. It looks like a literary critical set-up to me. Unlike what we had been discussing earlier, Frantzen, the author of the article, encourages readers to identify with characters.

Any thoughts?

Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2012, 12:15:41 AM »
The recent New Yorker Magazine includes an essay on Edith Wharton on the occasion of her 150th birthday. He claims that she is not a person with whom one would ordinarily sympathize, and that that makes her big novels (Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, Custom of the Country) hard to sympathize with. Then he goes on to say why we should sympathize with the novels.
Does it have a link, Sandy?
I've read only The House of Mirth (love that title  :D), but it'd be interesting to read the essay.

Quote
His evidence that we shouldn't sympathize with her is that she came from a privileged background. It looks like a literary critical set-up to me. Unlike what we had been discussing earlier, Frantzen, the author of the article, encourages readers to identify with characters.

Any thoughts?
Which ones, I wonder?

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

Offline Sandy

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2012, 07:55:12 AM »
Sorry, I don't have a link. I read the essay in a physical copy of the magazine. Yes, "House of Mirth" is a great title; it's taken from a Biblical phrase. I imagine Frantzen wanted folks to identify with Lily Bart and the other heroines of the major novels.

Offline Ellen (tellyouwhat)

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2012, 09:53:44 AM »
Does it have a link, Sandy?
I've read only The House of Mirth (love that title  :D), but it'd be interesting to read the essay.
Which ones, I wonder?



There's a New Yorker website, you might be able to google it, but they might ask you to register.  I subscribe so I'm registered, I don't know how hard it is to see their content.

I'm going to look up this article, although I'm eternally behind on my New Yorker reading.
sometimes I think life is just a rodeo the trick is to ride and make it 'til the bell --john fogerty

Offline Sandy

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #54 on: February 22, 2012, 11:00:20 AM »
I picked up the magazine over the weekend at Barnes & Noble, so I assume it is a recent issue.

Offline Ellen (tellyouwhat)

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #55 on: February 22, 2012, 06:07:24 PM »
The recent New Yorker Magazine includes an essay on Edith Wharton on the occasion of her 150th birthday. He claims that she is not a person with whom one would ordinarily sympathize, and that that makes her big novels (Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, Custom of the Country) hard to sympathize with. Then he goes on to say why we should sympathize with the novels.

His evidence that we shouldn't sympathize with her is that she came from a privileged background. It looks like a literary critical set-up to me. Unlike what we had been discussing earlier, Frantzen, the author of the article, encourages readers to identify with characters.

Any thoughts?


Sandy, I read the article and I have to say I thought it seemed a bit contrived to me.  It leaves me wondering whether Jonathan Franzen really felt committed to this view, or whether he was merely writing about Edith Wharton on the occasion of her 150th birthday.

Oh well, giving him the benefit of the doubt-- after all Franzen is one of my favorite novelists and usually his essays in New Yorker are fabulous reads --

I would say that identifying with fictional characters in the way we usually think of it, outside the forum, is probably necessary.  But usually we aren't talking about the need to absolutely find a parallel in your own life.  As a woman I empathize with Ennis and Jack as human beings who are experiencing gut-wrenching physical and emotional love and heartache-- and I was induced into Brokeback fever upon my first reading of the story, feeling so sad that Jack died. 

I think good fiction needs to tie into something universal for readers.
sometimes I think life is just a rodeo the trick is to ride and make it 'til the bell --john fogerty

Offline gb-dc

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #56 on: September 03, 2014, 06:06:45 AM »
I haven't been here in ages and see that a lot of discussion regarding Brokeback themes, etc. has been archived. So, I thought I would post this here as it seems to be the most appropriate place.

I am in the process of applying to grad school for an MA in English Literature, which requires that I submit a writing sample. Without a doubt, I knew it had to be something about Brokeback. In doing some online research about AP, I came across an article, (Like Two Skins, One Inside the Other": Dual Unity in Brokeback Mountain By Willbern, David| PSYART, January 1, 2008), that brought up an intriguing point. Wilbern, at one point, focuses on Twist, Sr.'s statement about Jack being buried in the family plot. He purports that "family plot" is a double entendre, the meanings of which are 1) the geographic site where the Twist ancestors are buried, and 2) a scheme devised by Twist, Sr. to squelch potential scandal, were it to become public, of Jack's "boyfriend" scattering Jack's ashes on Brokeback to commemorate where they "fell in love."

Just wondering what other people might have to say on this.

(Also, sorry if this has been discussed somewhere before. Like I said, I haven't kept up with the Forum. If it has already been discussed, can someone point me to the thread?)
The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scales.  ~Aesop

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #57 on: September 03, 2014, 06:19:49 AM »
Hello Joe, glad to see you stopped by.

:)

I don't recall this theme being discussed anywhere on the forum.  The place where it would get the most replies would probably be the "At The Twist House" thread in the Scene-By-Scene section of the forum

Here's a link, if you would like to cut and paste there.

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=1207.0

Good luck with grad school!!!!

Offline Sara B

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #58 on: September 03, 2014, 06:34:10 AM »
It's appropriate for Symbolism too.
There were only the two of them on the mountain flying in the euphoric, bitter air, looking down on the hawk's back and the crawling lights of vehicles on the plain below, suspended above ordinary affairs....

Offline Paul029

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Re: Literary Criticism: Purpose and Method
« Reply #59 on: September 03, 2014, 07:53:15 AM »
... He purports that "family plot" is a double entendre, the meanings of which are 1) the geographic site where the Twist ancestors are buried, and 2) a scheme devised by Twist, Sr. to squelch potential scandal, were it to become public, of Jack's "boyfriend" scattering Jack's ashes on Brokeback to commemorate where they "fell in love."

A superb point. It reminded me of Hitchcock's last film, which I thought was a cunning choice (not his, but the studio's, apparently).

The title of the movie is a pun: "family plot" can refer to an area in a cemetery that has been bought by one family for the burial of its various relatives; in [the fiilm's] case it also means a dramatic plot line involving various family members.

Good luck with your MA, Joe.  :)

PS Must have inadvertently left my "Notifications" on.   ;D


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