i have conquered literary theory
Ok sure, not ALL
of it. Just this particular class. I just got my paper in today's mail (yes, the one I handed in on Monday...gold star for grading goes to ProfK!) and it had a nice fat A on it. Only comments were related to transitions between things, which I completely agree with and knew were a wee bit troublesome when I handed it in. The assignment was to roll three previous essays (particular critical analyses) into one large essay while also adding a fourth analysis. I gave it a shot and then had Mel
look at it after she swore in blood that she wouldn't make fun of anything I said or call me an idiot. She just pointed out a few things for tweaking and that was pretty much it. So, thanks Mel—it all worked!
I really wanted to do a good job not only for the standard reasons related to learning and getting a good grade, but also because it was a theory class that made me hate grad school the first time around, and I wanted to kick its ass. I think my class at UK was just a crappy class at a weird time to take theory for the first time ever (1992). If I recall correctly (and I think I do), the readings started with Hélène Cixous
. Cixous is all well and good, but I didn't have the foggiest idea what the hell any of it was all about.
My SJSU class was much different. It was a nice, linear walk through it all, with theory essays and application essays, and a really wise old professor. This is the book we used: Contexts for Criticism
. I recommend that book for anyone teaching intro to theory classes. ProfK is the editor of the book, and wrote really lovely transitional/introductory essays for each chapter and also selected (in my opinion) a good cross-section of critical pieces to learn from/use as models.
We also read all the essays in Falling into Theory
and I just have to say that it's a little odd to discuss an essay by Michael Bérubé in class when you're the only one there who also
reads his blog
. We're talking about something in his essay "Aesthetics and the Literal Imagination" and I'm thinking about the guy who digs around in the trash for his kid's retainer
. Things like that make me chuckle!