PDA

View Full Version : Pounding my head against a wall (Need Scholarly Criticism of Dracula!)



Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 01:05 PM
My professor insists that in my literary analysis of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" & Matt Reeve's "Let Me In," it's absolutely necesary that I read criticisms of both. I feel somewhat stupid looking for other people to tell me what to think about these, especially when I just want to draw conclusion about the primary sources (novels and screenplays are easy to get, yaknow?).

Regardless, she's speaking as if there is a vast sea of criticism about Dracula out there. I spent ten hours in the library today and came across one, ONE 1993 article that's abstract reads like a genuine criticism of the novel. It's in an issue of "The Spectator," and the snippet I can read actually seems like the author is flat-out trashing Dracula. I've love to read it, but our library databases don't store things past 1996.

Aside from this, all I can find are articles where people have chosen to analyize Dracula through the lenses of various psychological or social theories. That's interesting, I guess, but worthless to me.

I've had it pounded into me by my professor that Dracula isn't a great or deep book; that it's not "High Gothic," and she seems to think this is a common opinion--but I'm drawing blanks.

Google has nothing. Library databases have nothing. Does anyone know of an article or book ANYWHERE that's heavily critical of Dracula? I'm desperate at this point, because I'm locked into my thesis.

=(

Terie
12-07-2011, 01:18 PM
Seriously? You can't find any literary criticism of Dracula? I googled 'literary criticism dracula' and got bazillions of hits. A university library must have tons. Since Let Me In is a much more recent book, I imagine it would be a bit harder to find literary criticism on it. But Dracula?

The Lonely One
12-07-2011, 01:22 PM
My professor insists that in my literary analysis of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" & Matt Reeve's "Let Me In," it's absolutely necesary that I read criticisms of both. I feel somewhat stupid looking for other people to tell me what to think about these, especially when I just want to draw conclusion about the primary sources (novels and screenplays are easy to get, yaknow?).

Regardless, she's speaking as if there is a vast sea of criticism about Dracula out there. I spent ten hours in the library today and came across one, ONE 1993 article that's abstract reads like a genuine criticism of the novel. It's in an issue of "The Spectator," and the snippet I can read actually seems like the author is flat-out trashing Dracula. I've love to read it, but our library databases don't store things past 1996.

Aside from this, all I can find are articles where people have chosen to analyize Dracula through the lenses of various psychological or social theories. That's interesting, I guess, but worthless to me.

I've had it pounded into me by my professor that Dracula isn't a good book; that it's note "High Gothic," and she seems to think this is a common opinion--but I'm drawing blanks.

Google has nothing. Library databases have nothing. Does anyone know of an article or book ANYWHERE that's heavily critical of Dracula? I'm desperate at this point, because I'm locked into my thesis.

=(

A professor shouldn't be making judgement calls like that, in my opinion; I certainly don't think Dracula wasn't a "good book" whatever the f@k that is.

I'm not even sure what "high gothic" literature is, but I don't think it precludes Dracula from being either good or bad.

That aside, why don't you try an online search through something like JSTOR? If you are at a university their library might give you access to online databases like this through their website.

From JSTOR I got 125 pages (3111 articles) of results on Dracula, and there are a ton of other databases out there especially for literature analysis.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 01:25 PM
Let Me In is a film, actually.

And I've exhausted that specific set of keywords. It was my first or second search. Those millions and millions of hits have absolutely nothing to do with literary criticism. Lots of them are about subjects like "the extent to which Stoker was influenced by the historical figure of Vlad the Impaler in the creation of his famous Count" or "the nineteenth-century lunar influenced, fanged-vampire exploits age-old links between serpents, female sexuality and menstruation."

That's the sort of thing I just can't use.

I'm trying to find articles that specifically say Dracula isn't good literature and then defend their position. I don't really care if someone thinks the book is marxist or if the Victorians were prudes. (It isn't. They were.)

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 01:30 PM
A professor shouldn't be making judgement calls like that, in my opinion; I certainly don't think Dracula wasn't a "good book" whatever the f@k that is.

I'm not even sure what "high gothic" literature is, but I don't think it precludes Dracula from being either good or bad.

That aside, why don't you try an online search through something like JSTOR? If you are at a university their library might give you access to online databases like this through their website.

From JSTOR I got 125 pages (3111 articles) of results on Dracula, and there are a ton of other databases out there especially for literature analysis.

JSTOR is my least favorite, just because of how old the articles it has tend to be, but I still dragged my net through it.

I know how to use databases; my problems is that none of them are yielding articles I can use.

I'm maybe looking for new ideas on search terms, or less conventional places to look, or the names of specific books or articles that people remember reading.

Thanks!

The Lonely One
12-07-2011, 01:33 PM
NP. Google scholar netted a blurb for one article that suggests Dracula received "little negative criticism" and that this criticism was based on "artistic grounds not moral ones." Not sure if you already knew that or if it could help your search terms.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 01:38 PM
It might help. I'd prefer artistic criticism, anyway. =)

I found one that suggests that the book is actually dealing with a deeply seated male repulsion of menstruation... sigh. Sometimes, a blood stain is just a blood stain!

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 01:46 PM
A professor shouldn't be making judgement calls like that, in my opinion; I certainly don't think Dracula wasn't a "good book" whatever the f@k that is.


In my rush to get to my point, I'm afraid I may have misrepresented her point. I think she very specifically believes the characters are too shallow, especially compared to other Gothic Novels, such as Jane Eyre.

Give me Dracula any day. =)

CACTUSWENDY
12-07-2011, 01:53 PM
And searching just the authors name does not bring up even comparisons against his other works?

Good luck with this. Wish I could have helped you out.

ETA:


[U]www.enotes.com › Literature › Dracula Study Guide

www.enotes.com › Literature › Dracula Study Guide

[COLOR="Blue"]www.bookrags.com/criticisms/Dracula

www.amazon.com › Books › Literature & Fiction › British

www.scribd.com › School Work › Essays & Theses

www.glyndwr.ac.uk/rdover/other/dracula_.htm

www.openlettersmonthly.com › Fiction



I found these....not sure they are of any help.

Terie
12-07-2011, 02:27 PM
Is this for your master's thesis? If so, don't you need to do a literature review? That's where you're going to find your literary criticism. Honestly, I think you're misinterpreting what your professor is asking. I think you need to sit down with her and get clarification.

Also? The film Let Me In is based on the novel Let the Right One In. It seems strange to me that you're comparing the novel Dracula to the film Let Me In with no apparent reference to the novel on which the film was based.

shaldna
12-07-2011, 02:33 PM
Let Me In is a film, actually.


Let me in a remake of the Swedish film 'Let the Right one In' which was based on the book of the same name. Actually.

gothicangel
12-07-2011, 03:46 PM
JSTOR is my least favorite, just because of how old the articles it has tend to be, but I still dragged my net through it.

I know how to use databases; my problems is that none of them are yielding articles I can use.

I'm maybe looking for new ideas on search terms, or less conventional places to look, or the names of specific books or articles that people remember reading.

Thanks!

If this academic work, then you'll have to get used to online journals. You have no choice but to suck it up.

A good book called Gothic by Glennis Byron [my old Gothic Lit lecturer] and David Punter. Even try putting Glennis' name in the search engine - she's a world authority.

Not sure about 'high Gothic', but you would probably have more success with terms such as '20th century Gothic' or 'fin-de-siecle.'

gothicangel
12-07-2011, 03:57 PM
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7uYr43DALHUC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=glennis+byron+Dracula&source=bl&ots=3DegtVjMzy&sig=IkBVfL8D_koLKSAS-GEgUyTvS5E&hl=en&ei=y1LfTt7zAsWXhQfPy_CgAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CGQQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=glennis%20byron%20Dracula&f=false

Here's one that I found, quite quickly.

And this is a link to The University of Stirling's Gothic Imagination blog [one of only six universities in the world to offer an MA programme.]

http://www.gothic.stir.ac.uk/category/blog/

willietheshakes
12-07-2011, 05:23 PM
It's been a while since I did academic work, but it sounds to me like the thousands of articles you're dismissing ARE criticism, and that you're not too likely to find an academic essay structured around the point "Dracula IS good, neener neener".

JimmyB27
12-07-2011, 06:07 PM
I'm trying to find articles that specifically say Dracula isn't good literature and then defend their position. I don't really care if someone thinks the book is marxist or if the Victorians were prudes. (It isn't. They were.)
Does it have to be a good criticism? Does it have to make any sense? If not, then you're quite welcome to use this one I've just made up:

Dracula sucks, because it is just a rip off of Twilight.

:tongue

sknipper
12-07-2011, 06:18 PM
Have you checked Project Muse? I've had success with them. I agree, the articles on JSTOR are a little outdated.

quicklime
12-07-2011, 06:45 PM
as mentioned, let me in was a book first.

also as mentioned, dracula has been very, very highly analyzed....if you haven't found anything you need to sharpen your searching skills.

kuwisdelu
12-07-2011, 06:48 PM
It's been a while since I did academic work, but it sounds to me like the thousands of articles you're dismissing ARE criticism, and that you're not too likely to find an academic essay structured around the point "Dracula IS good, neener neener".

Err, this.

Literary criticism isn't what you think it is. No one in academia is going to waste their time arguing over whether or not a particular work is "good" or not. That's just an opinion. Literary criticism discusses the kinds of things you're dismissing, what kinds of issues it raises and how it addresses them, using what kinds of techniques and with what passages, how it relates to other works in the canon, and the society in which it was written, etc.

And as others have stated, Let Me In is based on the Swedish novel Let the Right One In, and if you make a comparison, it should be based on that.

Phaeal
12-07-2011, 07:29 PM
What willietheshakes and kuwisdelu said: The articles you're dismissing ARE literary criticism. For views less pedantic and from fellow practitioners of the art of the weird, you might check out:

Stephen King, Danse Macabre.
H. P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature.

I'm also curious about why you're comparing Stoker's novel to a screenplay rather than to Lindqvist's excellent novel.

Filigree
12-07-2011, 07:31 PM
Another hand raised, in support of Kuwi's and Willie's take. 'Literary criticisms' are mostly going to delve into contrasts and comparisons, how the work mirrors some aspects of the culture that spawned it, and how the researcher's bias slants their perception of the work. They usually don't mean the latter, but look at reviews published for the same book many decades apart, and you'll see bias in action.

I took a quick look around (cursing at JSTOR and abandoning it like I always do.) There are hundreds of literary reviews and analysis papers on DRACULA. You don't need to do a deep research binge on this -- just pick out points that create a resonance with the Swedish novel, which seems more the focus of your paper.

Not to sound like an old lady, but when I had go through something similar in college, I had no internet. It was all library loan, and days searching through two uni archives, before I even had the fodder to start writing.

Sounds like the prof has a thing against spec fiction, though, so learn to speak her dialect and you'll be fine.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 07:36 PM
Is this for your master's thesis? If so, don't you need to do a literature review? That's where you're going to find your literary criticism. Honestly, I think you're misinterpreting what your professor is asking. I think you need to sit down with her and get clarification.

Also? The film Let Me In is based on the novel Let the Right One In. It seems strange to me that you're comparing the novel Dracula to the film Let Me In with no apparent reference to the novel on which the film was based.


Let me in a remake of the Swedish film 'Let the Right one In' which was based on the book of the same name. Actually.

I'm aware. I have a giant caveat in my second paragraph about the missing plotline.

Amadan
12-07-2011, 07:38 PM
It sounds like you are discovering that literary criticism is hard and doesn't involve answers that can be found with a Google search, and now you want help with your homework.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 07:53 PM
What willietheshakes and kuwisdelu said: The articles you're dismissing ARE literary criticism. For views less pedantic and from fellow practitioners of the art of the weird, you might check out:

Stephen King, Danse Macabre.
H. P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature.

I'm also curious about why you're comparing Stoker's novel to a screenplay rather than to Lindqvist's excellent novel.

Thanks! I don't think I would have realized that.

I just feel massively ingenious if I read a 35-page article about the sexual repression of the Victorians so I can make a three-sentence point. >_< So I'd much prefer to find an article that jibes better with the whole of my thesis.

Part of comparing Dracula to the screenplay is that everyone in my class has read it. =) I talk about all three versions of Let Me In, but am focusing on the Matt Reeves' version because I feel it's the one that will bring the novel to wider attention, and because it's an excellent product on its own that deserves some good attention, especially since there's a cult of people writing about how terrible it is against the incredibly lack-luster Swedish version of the film. (Which isn't bad, by any means, but doesn't have the production quality the story deserves, and doesn't deal with the gender sub-plot well at all. Kudos to Reeves on recognizing that he couldn't do it and just cutting it, frankly.)


Another hand raised, in support of Kuwi's and Willie's take. 'Literary criticisms' are mostly going to delve into contrasts and comparisons, how the work mirrors some aspects of the culture that spawned it, and how the researcher's bias slants their perception of the work. They usually don't mean the latter, but look at reviews published for the same book many decades apart, and you'll see bias in action.

I took a quick look around (cursing at JSTOR and abandoning it like I always do.) There are hundreds of literary reviews and analysis papers on DRACULA. You don't need to do a deep research binge on this -- just pick out points that create a resonance with the Swedish novel, which seems more the focus of your paper.

Not to sound like an old lady, but when I had go through something similar in college, I had no internet. It was all library loan, and days searching through two uni archives, before I even had the fodder to start writing.

Sounds like the prof has a thing against spec fiction, though, so learn to speak her dialect and you'll be fine.

Oh, I'm being all kinds of horrible, beyond whinging about not finding exactly what I want from databases that instantly sort electronic copies of material by content, title, author, abstract, tone, year, or any number of other things. You should see the deadline!

I also have, you know, physical books that I've checked out from the library--some of which I found and sent for the old-fashioned way. I just need more than what they're giving me. (And even if they gave me everything I need, I have a minimum source requirement.)

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 07:55 PM
It sounds like you are discovering that literary criticism is hard and doesn't involve answers that can be found with a Google search, and now you want help with your homework.

When I discover I'm bad at sometime, I typically look for help from wiser people. I find it serves me well.

Amadan
12-07-2011, 07:57 PM
Thanks! I don't think I would have realized that.

You are doing lit-crit and didn't realize that the movie you're talking about was based on a book?


I just feel massively ingenious if I read a 35-page article about the sexual repression of the Victorians so I can make a three-sentence point. >_<

Welcome to academia.


So I'd much prefer to find an article that jibes better with the whole of my thesis.

No, "I will only read articles that agree with my thesis" is not how it's done.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 08:01 PM
It's been a while since I did academic work, but it sounds to me like the thousands of articles you're dismissing ARE criticism, and that you're not too likely to find an academic essay structured around the point "Dracula IS good, neener neener".

The way my class on this topic has been structured, I honestly would never have guessed this. =| There's been a distinct line drawn between "High Gothic" and "Gothic," and I just assumed there was some way that people had determined which was which.

I've also never written a paper like this before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

quicklime
12-07-2011, 08:02 PM
When I discover I'm bad at sometime, I typically look for help from wiser people. I find it serves me well.


probably not so much in a graduate school setting though.

i was nicer before, but found Amadan's thoughts to be the first ones through my head....that coupled with "he must not be searching very hard".

As for the bit about not wanting to read 35 pages for three useable sentences, guess what--that is exactly what research is. Look at any journal article with citations--4 pages of writing followed by 210 citations--surely you didn't think they were taking all cites in whole, and these just happened to be vastly smaller works of 2-4 sentences? You read a hell of a lot more than you get to use directly; that is the nature of the beast. Sorry, but it is. My thesis had something like 260 articles cited, most for the first couple pages of background. That's the way it works--guess what? I even had to read them.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 08:02 PM
You are doing lit-crit and didn't realize that the movie you're talking about was based on a book?

No idea where you got this. I'm glad you think I'm an idiot; you're part of a large and prestigious crowd. Please join them on the left.

quicklime
12-07-2011, 08:05 PM
No idea where you got this. I'm glad you think I'm an idiot; you're part of a large and prestigious crowd. Please join them on the left.


assuming you are actually SOLICITING advice and assistance here, is this your idea of the best way to do so?

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 08:05 PM
probably not so much in a graduate school setting though.

i was nicer before, but found Amadan's thoughts to be the first ones through my head....that coupled with "he must not be searching very hard".

As for the bit about not wanting to read 35 pages for three useable sentences, guess what--that is exactly what research is. Look at any journal article with citations--4 pages of writing followed by 210 citations--surely you didn't think they were taking all cites in whole, and these just happened to be vastly smaller works of 2-4 sentences? You read a hell of a lot more than you get to use directly; that is the nature of the beast. Sorry, but it is. My thesis had something like 260 articles cited, most for the first couple pages of background. That's the way it works--guess what? I even had to read them.

I'm just being too picky, then. Thanks. =) Now that I understand this, I can get this done a lot more easily.

Also, I'm not sure why people are assuming this is a master's thesis. It's just a paper in a 500 level class, and the first one like it I've ever written. I'm majoring in creative writing.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 08:07 PM
assuming you are actually SOLICITING advice and assistance here, is this your idea of the best way to do so?

You're right. I'm clearly out of line. Fortunately, I have to go to work, now.

Have a great day, everyone, and thanks for all the help!

quicklime
12-07-2011, 08:09 PM
bart,

for the paper, are you supposed to cite source material?

that alone should be a good clue, but in any case, yes--a 500-level class is deep enough to expect you gotta roll up your sleeves and do some deep-diving. Including reading whole chapters or articles that you distill into a sentence or two.

Terie
12-07-2011, 08:19 PM
Also, I'm not sure why people are assuming this is a master's thesis.

Probably from this sentence in your original post:


I'm desperate at this point, because I'm locked into my thesis.

Since it's not typical to get 'locked into' a thesis statement in a paper, that sounds like the sort of thing a grad student who really is pretty much locked into their thesis topic would say.

Seriously, it shouldn't be possible to get 'locked into' a thesis statement in a paper. What if your research were to disprove your thesis or change your mind about it? You wouldn't be able to complete the paper????

From what I can tell from all your posts, you are approaching this the wrong way. You've developed a thesis statement and are looking solely for sources to back it up.

That's not the way good research papers are written. You go into the paper with an idea, yes, but then you research the topic from all angles. This process might lead to a different, even opposite, thesis statement from what you started with.

amergina
12-07-2011, 08:47 PM
I agree with Terie...

If you have a thesis statement for a paper and you do the research and discover that the thesis statement is unsupportable... you change the thesis statement. (And tell your professor that you've discovered that the thesis statement was unsupportable, based on your research.)

JSDR
12-07-2011, 09:04 PM
Err, this.

Literary criticism isn't what you think it is. No one in academia is going to waste their time arguing over whether or not a particular work is "good" or not. That's just an opinion. Literary criticism discusses the kinds of things you're dismissing, what kinds of issues it raises and how it addresses them, using what kinds of techniques and with what passages, how it relates to other works in the canon, and the society in which it was written, etc.



QFE. At least, that's what I did in skool. One of my theses was the portrayal of literacy/illiteracy and how it reflected society's view on educating women circa Brontes.

I might have been in the wrong classes....

ETA:
Ok, thought about this thread for a bit, trying to get my head around stuff.
Bart - is this a grad school thesis? Or just a normal paper in which you have to have a thesis?
And this is a class on literary criticism?

I've written several normal papers with theses in them, but not a grad school thesis paper (which I'm comparing to my sister's PhD program paper at this point). Literature was my undergrad major.

Now, if I understand what you are looking for, and what your prof is asking for correctly, she's suggesting you read articles on Literary Criticism in the literary sense, not Amazon review/ movie review, three thumbs up sense.
The articles won't judge the "goodness" or "badness" of a book. What you'll probably want to look for are:
themes explored by the writer
characterizations and what they mean in terms of their respective society - a doctor's post hasn't always been held in high esteem
how the writer uses the themes to highlight/educate/reprimand/criticize his/her contemporary society

So, articles which psychoanalyze characters would be useful.

I had to do these theses back in the day when we couldn't cite internet sources so I'd have to read through about a dozen tomes to get the citations I needed. IDK if things have changed. Maybe what I said is no longer what profs look for...

Anyway, if I can be of more help, please pm me.
Good luck, and keep chugging.

Filigree
12-07-2011, 09:22 PM
This is one of the sadistic joys of research -- it leads you in so many different directions, some of which are guaranteed to blow your original hypothesis out of the water. I didn't take your comment to be 'asking for help with homework', but as genuine puzzlement over the assignment.

The cold, hard reality is that you may, if you survive the experience, discover 500-level classes to be more useful in your creative writing than your creative writing classes. The former will make you stretch intellectually, formulate positions, back them up with cited data, and let you see deeper than the surface of the research topic.

Use what you have. I'm not going to ask when the deadline is, or how long you've had for the project. Deadlines are never too far away. With professional non-fic writing, it's usually a case of 'Don't get it right, get it written.'

Good luck.

gothicangel
12-07-2011, 09:37 PM
It sounds like you are discovering that literary criticism is hard and doesn't involve answers that can be found with a Google search, and now you want help with your homework.

Yep, this is why I switched from English Lit to Roman History for my MA. ;)

amergina
12-07-2011, 09:42 PM
It also occurs to me that perhaps your professor was asking you to read more literary criticism because literary analysis and criticism is a very different thing than literary reviewing and they were trying to point you in the right direction.



I've had it pounded into me by my professor that Dracula isn't a great or deep book; that it's not "High Gothic," and she seems to think this is a common opinion--but I'm drawing blanks.

Perhaps a good place to start would be examining what makes High Gothic literature High Gothic? And why does or doesn't Dracula fall into that genre?

Anyway, the questions you're having are the kind that are probably worth asking during the prof's office hours. Make sure you're on the right path with this assignment.

And hopefully, it's not due in a day or two.

gothicangel
12-07-2011, 09:45 PM
The way my class on this topic has been structured, I honestly would never have guessed this. =| There's been a distinct line drawn between "High Gothic" and "Gothic," and I just assumed there was some way that people had determined which was which.


I don't understand this.

I studied Gothic in my English Lit BA, was a member of the department's Gothic Reading Group and was taught by an academic world authority on Gothic. I have never heard the term 'high Gothic.'

I do think I know what you are talking about. I studied a module in Modern Gothic. It's the difference between Gothic being written in the 'classic period' [17th-early 20th century] and modern writers such as Stephen King [which some academics sneer at.]

The Lonely One
12-07-2011, 09:57 PM
Have you checked Project Muse? I've had success with them. I agree, the articles on JSTOR are a little outdated.

Good one! I forgot about ol' Project Muse. A few of my professors swear by it.

The Lonely One
12-07-2011, 10:14 PM
The way my class on this topic has been structured, I honestly would never have guessed this. =| There's been a distinct line drawn between "High Gothic" and "Gothic," and I just assumed there was some way that people had determined which was which.

I've also never written a paper like this before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

It honestly sounds like a term your professor invented to represent some distinction between literary and genre writing, then mask her preference.

I could be off-base here, though.

My issue is the terms "good" and "bad" as applied broadly to certain genres, which we all know is just never ever quantifiable.

Literary/artistic does not equal good and entertainment/serialized/whatever does not equal bad.

I get the shallow characters thing, it isn't the best writing out there, but almost no one on the face of the planet is unfamiliar with his 'bad' novel.
Now, I just read a fantasy story in F&SF that I highly disliked (unthoughtful writing, unbelievable dialogue, REALLY easy to figure out plot-arc). But it got published in F&SF. Not only that but the woman (who has passed) published a number of books and stories. So who am I to use words like good and bad?

Or does your professor mean at the time it was written it was considered lesser quality of writing? I think in the context of a lecture (hopefully) these distinctions would make more sense.

If the thesis is "Dracula wasn't very good," it might be hard to make concrete assertions to this end, IMO.

Bartholomew
12-07-2011, 11:30 PM
From what I can tell from all your posts, you are approaching this the wrong way. You've developed a thesis statement and are looking solely for sources to back it up.



This is one of the sadistic joys of research -- it leads you in so many different directions, some of which are guaranteed to blow your original hypothesis out of the water. I didn't take your comment to be 'asking for help with homework', but as genuine puzzlement over the assignment.

The cold, hard reality is that you may, if you survive the experience, discover 500-level classes to be more useful in your creative writing than your creative writing classes. The former will make you stretch intellectually, formulate positions, back them up with cited data, and let you see deeper than the surface of the research topic.

Use what you have. I'm not going to ask when the deadline is, or how long you've had for the project. Deadlines are never too far away. With professional non-fic writing, it's usually a case of 'Don't get it right, get it written.'

Good luck.

Epiphany. Library after work. Thanks guys!

Also, professor suggested I expand my search to include "aesthetics."

I also griped at her that I had no working definition of High Gothic, so she said she'd dig one out for me. I'll be sure to share.

xoxo

B

gothicangel
12-08-2011, 12:04 AM
Interesting. I googled 'high Gothic literature' and couldn't find anything. I did find a wiki page on High Victorian Gothic - which is architecture!

I think I agree with TLO. I think your lecturer has made this one up. I think I might even email Glennis about this one.

HarryHoskins
12-08-2011, 12:14 AM
Interesting. I googled 'high Gothic literature' and couldn't find anything. I did find a wiki page on High Victorian Gothic - which is architecture!

I think I agree with TLO. I think your lecturer has made this one up. I think I might even email Glennis about this one.



In the dim recesses of my booze addled mind which was hazily present at degree level English Lit classes, I seem to recall High Gothic being Gothic lit made within the Victorian era.

This would chime with the architecture in being a distinction of time period. The high denoting the revival -- therefore knowing and arch -- of the Gothic resurgence of that era.

I have been wrong before though. :)

kuwisdelu
12-08-2011, 01:02 AM
I just feel massively ingenious if I read a 35-page article about the sexual repression of the Victorians so I can make a three-sentence point. >_< So I'd much prefer to find an article that jibes better with the whole of my thesis.

Welcome to grad school. This is what we do.

And that happens to be exactly what I did in my last grad-level English course writing about the role of the blurring sexual and gender roles in Byron's Don Juan. Over and over and over again.

fadeaccompli
12-08-2011, 02:49 AM
Sheesh, I remember the last major research paper I did; I would've been overjoyed to get three whole sentences of material out of a lot of the papers I read.

One useful thing to recall is that you're not looking for what people have already written on the exact same thesis as what you're writing; in that case, why bother writing it yourself, if it's already been said? You're looking for what people have said about all the things around the edges that touch on your core point, so that you can bring in the overlapping bits and use them as support for what you're writing yourself. It's less like finding another painting to imitate, and more like building a frame around the one you're painting yourself.

Bartholomew
12-08-2011, 05:21 AM
I think my core problem is that I approached this paper assuming that there was a body of literature out there that tore "Dracula" apart and explained exactly why it wasn't worth reading compared to some other piece of art. I leapt into this paper assuming I had to defend Dracula and everything that it inspired. I'm both relieved and frustrated to find that, apparently, I'm wrong.

Since that isn't there, I just won't write about it. It actually makes my life easier and lets me give more space to my other sources.

I just need my thesis to not be a defense of "Let Me In" as High Gothic Literature.

Near as I can tell, High Gothic in this class may actually refer to romantic plotlines. Jane Eyre--High Gothic. Wuthering Heights--High Gothic. Dracula? Low Gothic. (or I guess the opposite would be Vulgar Gothic?) But there's absolutely no oomph behind my point if it's merely that Dracula and Let Me In (Or the Swedish versions) also have romantic plotlines, and that Let Me In has a more central one. That's a bit like pointing at red and saying "red!"

So I guess my thesis needs to change to a defense of Let Me In as a well-crafted piece of literature on its own, using the many, many parallels between it and Dracula as a starting point.

Because while there aren't any really large bodies of material that I can find that accuse Dracula of being unreadable dreck, a number of movie critics have claimed that Let Me In was completely unnecessary, since the Swedish version was already well made.

Again, though, I feel like I'd be standing on crackers.

So I guess I'm just going to draw a comparison between the two works and argue that Let Me In is primarily a Dracula retelling, and thus an echo of every Gothic Novel that's come since the Castle of Otranto.

Thanks for being a soundboard, everyone. =)

Amadan
12-08-2011, 05:36 AM
Near as I can tell, High Gothic in this class may actually refer to romantic plotlines. Jane Eyre--High Gothic. Wuthering Heights--High Gothic. Dracula? Low Gothic. (or I guess the opposite would be Vulgar Gothic?) But there's absolutely no oomph behind my point if it's merely that Dracula and Let Me In (Or the Swedish versions) also have romantic plotlines, and that Let Me In has a more central one. That's a bit like pointing at red and saying "red!"


Dracula is as romantic as anything by the Brontes (and I'd argue that their male MCs are no less dreadful...)

This "High Gothic/Low Gothic" business sounds like a fancy way of saying "Literary novels your teacher respects" and "Genre novels which she thinks are crap but have to be studied for historical reasons."

Summonere
12-08-2011, 06:34 AM
I think before you go stomping off into the literary wilderness in search of evidence to support a theory, you need to figure out what you're looking for, first.

That would be your thesis, which seems ill-defined throughout the tread.

What' you've written here...


So I guess I'm just going to draw a comparison between the two works and argue that Let Me In is primarily a Dracula retelling, and thus an echo of every Gothic Novel that's come since the Castle of Otranto.

...is a start, but it's only half a thesis statement. What it needs to answer is the “So what?” question. What's the point of retelling this, the vampire, story? Or what's the point of retelling it in this way?

Those questions make me think that archetypal criticism may be an interesting direction to go, in which you might explore the meta-story behind stories like Dracula and Let Me In, or how the image of the vampire has changed over time (if it has), or why it remains fundamentally the same (if it does), and what cultural or psychological need the myth serves.

The “and” is important.

Remember that a good thesis is both complex and controversial. Controversial means that people will want to read it. Complex means that you're assured of having something to talk about.

It's not good enough to point out how the two (or more) works are alike or different. You have to tell your readers why such things are important.

When you get this part figured out, it'll make finding useful articles all the easier.

Bartholomew
12-08-2011, 06:59 AM
Dracula is as romantic as anything by the Brontes (and I'd argue that their male MCs are no less dreadful...)

This "High Gothic/Low Gothic" business sounds like a fancy way of saying "Literary novels your teacher respects" and "Genre novels which she thinks are crap but have to be studied for historical reasons."

Basically. So unless she actually comes up with this definition, I'm throwing it out. (10 hours on one definition is more than enough, given that progress isn't happening.)


I think before you go stomping off into the literary wilderness in search of evidence to support a theory, you need to figure out what you're looking for, first.

That would be your thesis, which seems ill-defined throughout the tread.

What' you've written here...



...is a start, but it's only half a thesis statement. What it needs to answer is the “So what?” question. What's the point of retelling this, the vampire, story? Or what's the point of retelling it in this way?

Those questions make me think that archetypal criticism may be an interesting direction to go, in which you might explore the meta-story behind stories like Dracula and Let Me In, or how the image of the vampire has changed over time (if it has), or why it remains fundamentally the same (if it does), and what cultural or psychological need the myth serves.

The “and” is important.

Remember that a good thesis is both complex and controversial. Controversial means that people will want to read it. Complex means that you're assured of having something to talk about.

It's not good enough to point out how the two (or more) works are alike or different. You have to tell your readers why such things are important.

When you get this part figured out, it'll make finding useful articles all the easier.

I have about 50 articles that ticked my "maybe" button when I saw them. When I'm done stomping through those, I think I'll be able to come up with something. I want to talk about the material, so it's only a matter of time before why I want to talk about them surfaces.


Those questions make me think that archetypal criticism may be an interesting direction to go, in which you might explore the meta-story behind stories like Dracula and Let Me In,

There's definitely something there. Eli/Abby is a mere inversion of Dracula. She's a female child, he's a male adult--while both are centuries old. He forcefully preys on women, she lures men with her helplessness. He brings Renfield food, she forces her Renfield-like slave to bring her food. The comparison part is stupidly easy.

#

There are so many articles saying that Dracula is effective because of the sexual horrors he must have played on a conversvative Victorian mind, that it makes me question the validity of ALL such arguments when the sexual element is completely removed in "Let Me In," (and made non-Heteronormative in the Swedish versions) and the film(s +book) still manage to be terrifying.

kuwisdelu
12-08-2011, 07:14 AM
There's definitely something there. Eli/Abby is a mere inversion of Dracula. She's a female child, he's a male adult--while both are centuries old. He forcefully preys on women, she lures men with her helplessness. He brings Renfield food, she forces her Renfield-like slave to bring her food. The comparison part is stupidly easy.

Good. The next step is to figure out what this accomplishes, or why it was done, or what effect it has, etc.


There are so many articles saying that Dracula is effective because of the sexual horrors he must have played on a conversvative Victorian mind, that it makes me question the validity of ALL such arguments when the sexual element is completely removed in "Let Me In," (and made non-Heteronormative in the Swedish versions) and the film(s +book) still manage to be terrifying.

I definitely wouldn't say that the sexual element is removed at all. Far from it. It's certainly toned down in the American movie, but there is absolutely a pervasive sexual undertone throughout much of the story. In many ways, the sexual issues it raises are just as challenging today as the sexual issues Dracula might have raised in its day. I mean, the main character constantly wets himself, we have Eli's backstory and gender issues, the Renfield is a pedophile, etc. Hell, the sexual nature of vampires is made utterly and painfully explicit when the pedophile, after transforming into a vampire, despite his thirst for blood, when he has the secondary male character cornered, does not seek out his blood but is rather reduced to his carnal urges and instead tries to rape him.

I'd say the "sexual horrors" are a primary common element between the two stories, and despite the inversions on many other levels, is what really gives them their power and ties them most together as commentary on not only on society, but also on the nature of the vampire mythos itself. The apprehension in portraying that particular side of the horror is the primary flaw of the movies, but I would say that that is certainly one area that the Swedish version does it better, I think, and potentially why many fans of the book prefer it to the American version.

JSDR
12-08-2011, 08:47 AM
I thought they were both about revolution. That's probably just me and my sugar high...

Glad to see you've found your footing. :)

ETA: I found the Swedish film version of Let the right one in to highlight sexuality by not mentioning it explicitly, but constructing scenes that allude to it. Been a while since I saw the movie, but I think I remember a moment where she asks the boy if he would still feel the same way about her if she wasn't a girl.
The same kind of thing that happens when you tell someone *not* to think about sex.

shaldna
12-08-2011, 01:56 PM
Seriously, it shouldn't be possible to get 'locked into' a thesis statement in a paper. What if your research were to disprove your thesis or change your mind about it? You wouldn't be able to complete the paper????

From my experience getting a result that disproves your initial thesis hypothesis is almost better than getting one that agrees with you. It shows that you were impartial to the information presented and were able to analyse it without trying to bend it to your own agenda.

Probably about two thirds of the thesis that I have read in my time have disproven the initial hypothesis.




From what I can tell from all your posts, you are approaching this the wrong way. You've developed a thesis statement and are looking solely for sources to back it up.

That's not the way good research papers are written. You go into the paper with an idea, yes, but then you research the topic from all angles. This process might lead to a different, even opposite, thesis statement from what you started with.

I'll agree with this, mainly for the points I made above.

The way to research a paper, thesis or not, is to look at BOTH arguments, and be open to the idea that your pov may be challenged.

Thesis here have two hypothesis usually, a hypothesis (the basis of your paper) and a null hypothesis (which is where your original thought was wrong) and the conclusion will explain which was right, if either.

Literary critisism is slightly harder in that it's mainly opinions, and not hard fact. So you need to try and work on a fact angle, and not a wooly opinion based topic.

Alitriona
12-08-2011, 10:14 PM
ETA: I found the Swedish film version of Let the right one in to highlight sexuality by not mentioning it explicitly, but constructing scenes that allude to it. Been a while since I saw the movie, but I think I remember a moment where she asks the boy if he would still feel the same way about her if she wasn't a girl.
The same kind of thing that happens when you tell someone *not* to think about sex.

****SPOILER****SPOILER*****SPOILER****

Wasn't that because she wasn't a girl? In the movie it seems like she's admitting to being a Vampire but in the book she was actually a boy, as far as I recall.

Bartholomew
12-09-2011, 03:17 AM
****SPOILER****SPOILER*****SPOILER****

Wasn't that because she wasn't a girl? In the movie it seems like she's admitting to being a Vampire but in the book she was actually a boy, as far as I recall.

In the book, she's castrated by the vampire that turns her. It's quite gruesome.

Bartholomew
12-09-2011, 03:20 AM
Good. The next step is to figure out what this accomplishes, or why it was done, or what effect it has, etc.



I definitely wouldn't say that the sexual element is removed at all. Far from it. It's certainly toned down in the American movie, but there is absolutely a pervasive sexual undertone throughout much of the story. In many ways, the sexual issues it raises are just as challenging today as the sexual issues Dracula might have raised in its day. I mean, the main character constantly wets himself, we have Eli's backstory and gender issues, the Renfield is a pedophile, etc. Hell, the sexual nature of vampires is made utterly and painfully explicit when the pedophile, after transforming into a vampire, despite his thirst for blood, when he has the secondary male character cornered, does not seek out his blood but is rather reduced to his carnal urges and instead tries to rape him.

I'd say the "sexual horrors" are a primary common element between the two stories, and despite the inversions on many other levels, is what really gives them their power and ties them most together as commentary on not only on society, but also on the nature of the vampire mythos itself. The apprehension in portraying that particular side of the horror is the primary flaw of the movies, but I would say that that is certainly one area that the Swedish version does it better, I think, and potentially why many fans of the book prefer it to the American version.

I started writing an argument against this post, and ended up with my paper instead. So thanks! =)