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Birol
01-09-2007, 01:53 PM
I know I should give Chris the honor of starting the first non-Welcome to the room thread, but I'm just too excited.

I was first introducted to litcrit while working on that BA-thingie, but I became a true addict my first semester back for the Master's degree, in a class that gave a quick overview of several different theories. This semester, I'm taking a class that focuses on Lacan and Psychoanalytical theory.

My personal faves, though, are Marxism and Feminist theory.

What's everyone else's faves or experiences with litcrit?

giftedrhonda
01-09-2007, 05:21 PM
Same here - Master's degree in English (just graduated back in May). I love literary criticism and critical analysis. I loved studying Foucault (especially his theories about prison and self-governing), as well as feminist theory. Queer theory was interesting, too... :D

ColoradoGuy
01-09-2007, 07:14 PM
I'm more of an interested observer, although I first met Foucault and friends (via Birth of the Clinic) while beavering away at my MA in history of medicine. You should have seen the apoplectic looks on my thesis advisor's face at the notion of a post-modernist (or whatever Foucault was) loose in the halls of medical history.

Even though I think post-modernists and their deconstructionist cousins can be more than a little loony, they do make us think of language in newly creative ways. For myself, after meeting them I no longer think of language as a passive tool of the writer; at times the words seem like active agents, burrowing into our brains like little Aliens.

Medievalist
01-09-2007, 08:12 PM
I'm a victim of critical theory. Back in the dark ages, when I started grad school, first Reader Response (in various political flavors) , and then, Deconstruction, were the One True Path.

Since I'm exceedingly dyslexic and sort of take it on faith that text looks pretty much the same all the time to people, deconstruction was a little unsettling.

I fled the halls of English Lit for philology, where text is text, and a morpheme is a morpheme.

I'm still one of those who favors explication de texte, and if Marxism, or Reader Response or Feminism work to explicate a text, I'm gonna run with it. I'm even in favor of throwing all of 'em up there at once.

Whatever works for the text.

MacAllister
01-09-2007, 11:36 PM
I'm an unrepentant Heisenbergian. I think the act of reading affects meaning in ways we don't even always recognize or realize--but a good reader strives to engage and understand the text while altering it as little as possible, thereby learning more about the writer's words, mind, and world.

ColoradoGuy
01-09-2007, 11:43 PM
I'm an unrepentant Heisenbergian. I think the act of reading affects meaning in ways we don't even always recognize or realize--but a good reader strives to engage and understand the text while altering it as little as possible, thereby learning more about the writer's words, mind, and world.
And, to continue your analogy, the reader's response is impossible to measure because it has already been changed through the act of apprehending it.

MacAllister
01-09-2007, 11:47 PM
Precisely so. :) That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, though...

sunandshadow
01-10-2007, 12:34 AM
I'm a structuralist (or post-structuralist, whatever). Yay Levi-Strauss, Valdimir Propp, and Noam Chomsky. Plot as the grammar of the story, plot as a thematic argument, characters as thematic vectors embodying sides of the argument, initial incident creating imbalance in the story world, the climax returning the story world to balance, and causality and teleology are some of the phrases you will hear from me. ;) I've been working on a how-to-write book for some time, perhaps I'll post bits here for critique if prople are interested?

ColoradoGuy
01-10-2007, 12:41 AM
I've been working on a how-to-write book for some time, perhaps I'll post bits here for critique if prople are interested?
I'm new at this moderating thing, but I think it's best to post samples of your work over in the "Share Your Work" forum. You could then post a brief something in this forum telling folks that it's over there if they're interested.

sunandshadow
01-10-2007, 12:55 AM
I'm new at this moderating thing, but I think it's best to post samples of your work over in the "Share Your Work" forum. You could then post a brief something in this forum telling folks that it's over there if they're interested.
Except, they're actually on-topic to this forum, being about various lit-crit topics. It would be like posting a blog excerpt to start a discussion, I'm not looking for editing, (critique was the wrong word x_X) just interested what objections people will make to my theories and what other people think about the subject. I'd prefer to post them here, but if you would still prefer I post them over there I will, and maybe just have an annouce/index thread here with links to the individual threads over there?

ColoradoGuy
01-10-2007, 01:15 AM
I think posting particular ideas as thread openers would be great. Anybody interested could then critique the ideas. I just don't want sample chapters posted here; that stuff goes in Share Your Work.

sunandshadow
01-10-2007, 01:35 AM
I think posting particular ideas as thread openers would be great. Anybody interested could then critique the ideas. I just don't want sample chapters posted here; that stuff goes in Share Your Work.

Cool, and I agree, I had no intention of posting whole chapters - nobody wants to read that much anyway, lol. Just a few paragraphs explaining some point of theory, or a list of examples like in the climaxes thread I made, or if it's a technique then an exercise showing how to use the technique. :)

katiemac
01-10-2007, 02:39 AM
I take in a lot of Feminist and Foucault theory (esp. when combined) in my personal life, so I guess it's safe to say that they're somewhat apparent in my writing style.

In fact, my trunk novel that I put away nearly a year ago has been re-inspired by Foucault. I only discovered him a few months ago, yet that first novel is a pretty fair example of his theories at work.

robeiae
01-11-2007, 09:03 PM
::groan::

This forum will be the death of me... :)

No, no--just kidding. Actually, I'm looking forward to reading all that transpires, here.

Personally, I enjoy Foucault and company a great deal. But when it comes to the philosophy of language, I'm very much given to Wittgenstein's ideas, such as they are.

ColoradoGuy
01-11-2007, 09:27 PM
I'm very much given to Wittgenstein's ideas, such as they are.
Okay you tease, what are they? Unfortunately my Phil 101 gallop through the usual suspects hit Wittgenstein in late spring, always a deadly time when a young man's thoughts turn to other things.

Foucault is interesting unless taken too seriously, and in too large doses.

robeiae
01-11-2007, 09:59 PM
Read this (http://www.amazon.com/Wittgensteins-Poker-Ten-Minute-Argument-Philosophers/dp/0066212448). Seriously, it's an excellent tale and well worth reading.

For Wittgenstein, arguments over meanings in language were just puzzles. For him, any statement or thought can be broken down into core ideas, based on the language chosen, that correspond to facts of reality. Thus, the statement would have a meaning that is logically precise. If a statement can't be broken down in this way, then it's meaningless to speak about. Many traditional problems of philosophy he saw as merely problems of language.

sunandshadow
01-11-2007, 10:47 PM
For Wittgenstein, arguments over meanings in language were just puzzles. For him, any statement or thought can be broken down into core ideas, based on the language chosen, that correspond to facts of reality. Thus, the statement would have a meaning that is logically precise. If a statement can't be broken down in this way, then it's meaningless to speak about. Many traditional problems of philosophy he saw as merely problems of language.

How interesting. A project I was working on, brainstorming how to make a good fiction generation engine, came to the conclusion that it would be necessary to redefine most words in terms of core concepts, for which the suggested source was thesauraus head words.

Summonere
01-15-2007, 04:24 AM
Archetypal criticism
Reader response criticism
Structuralism / New Structuralism
Historical criticism / New Historicism

Semiology, as defined by Eco – “The study of that which can be used to tell a lie.”

Robeiae: So I gather you’re more of a “Tractatus” Wittgensteinian than a “Philosophical Investigations” one?

ColoradoGuy
01-15-2007, 04:27 AM
Archetypal criticism
Reader response criticism
Structuralism / New Structuralism
Historical criticism / New Historicism

I don't understand your point.

Summonere
01-15-2007, 04:35 AM
That may be because I don’t have one. But...

In theory, I was answering Birol’s question about favorite sorts of literary criticism. Perhaps the point deconstructed with the post.

ColoradoGuy
01-15-2007, 04:40 AM
That may be because I don’t have one. But...

In theory, I was answering Birol’s question about favorite sorts of literary criticism. Perhaps the point deconstructed with the post.
That would be appropriate, I suppose. Still, you're pretty catholic in your critical tastes. Any thoughts on why you might prefer one over another?

robeiae
01-15-2007, 05:10 AM
Robeiae: So I gather you’re more of a “Tractatus” Wittgensteinian than a “Philosophical Investigations” one?All good empiricists are. :D

But no, not really. In terms of applicability to this forum and my usual point of view, then maybe.

Summonere
01-15-2007, 05:57 AM
ColoradoGuy:

I’m not convinced I prefer one over another, actually, but I gravitated immediately to archetypal criticism because it interested me and structuralism because it made sense to me.

As for the rest, they seemed to make the most sense to my reading and writing interests, as well as the kinds of questions I had about writing and why certain things were done certain ways. (I left out Psychoanalytic criticism, by the way.)

After doodling around in various kinds of literary criticism, though, I paid less and less attention to any one school of thought because all of them seemed merely tools in the kit of particular scrutiny. A unified / synthesized approach seemed more useful. Another way of putting that might be that I simply preferred a more general approach, yet one in which any of the particular tools might be applied as needed. After all, the tool one selects for critical examination depends upon the purpose of the examination.

My purpose, aside from initial curiosity in the various schools of thought themselves, pushed me toward things that I thought were useful for the development of my own scribbling.

Naturally, I can always use all the help I can get...

Summonere
01-15-2007, 06:01 AM
All good empiricists are. :D

But no, not really. In terms of applicability to this forum and my usual point of view, then maybe.

Do you have a cake, and are you eating it, too?http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gif

robeiae
01-15-2007, 06:17 AM
Always.

It's a tough place to call home, but it has its benefits...

ColoradoGuy
01-15-2007, 06:37 AM
I left out Psychoanalytic criticism, by the way.
A Freudian slip?

because all of them seemed merely tools in the kit of particular scrutiny. A unified / synthesized approach seemed more useful. Another way of putting that might be that I simply preferred a more general approach, yet one in which any of the particular tools might be applied as needed. After all, the tool one selects for critical examination depends upon the purpose of the examination.
Agreed, which is why I brought up the Father of the Tools, where it all began--Aristotle. Of course he didn't have tenure committees to impress, so he could just do what made sense to him.

Summonere
01-15-2007, 07:02 AM
No Freudian slip, intentional laziness.

Higgins
01-18-2007, 07:47 PM
I know I should give Chris the honor of starting the first non-Welcome to the room thread, but I'm just too excited.

I was first introducted to litcrit while working on that BA-thingie, but I became a true addict my first semester back for the Master's degree, in a class that gave a quick overview of several different theories. This semester, I'm taking a class that focuses on Lacan and Psychoanalytical theory.

My personal faves, though, are Marxism and Feminist theory.

What's everyone else's faves or experiences with litcrit?

I worked through all the usual 1970s and 1980s litcrit stuff, but, by the time of the Sokal Hoax (for which I subsequently named 80% of my online identities) I was moving toward History of Science as the true Master Discipline in terms of narrative sophistication. (see for example:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/15864.ctl

and such things as:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/757.ctl

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/13281.ctl

And this (all about reading and secret identities):

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/14098.ctl (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/14098.ctl)

and one of my favorite books of all time:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/2071.ctl

a review of it:

Removed for badness ....looking for a new review)


However, I still find Freud and Lacan very useful in discovering what lies behind things in my fictional narrative...ie for me they enforce the honest admission that in dealing with one's self, dishonesty is perhaps not only the only workable policy, but ultimately the most revealing.