No Fancy Name
Saturday, December 17, 2005
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 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!


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