Friday, December 10, 2004

"Second Thoughts" paper for Lit Crit. 300 Dr.Sexson

"Second Thoughts”
The aspect of reading literature, of any kind, and how it affects your life, can sum up literary criticism and a well-lived life. In our class for 300 Dr. Sexson asked a question about a text that had influenced our lives and I thought about it and the interesting thing is that I remembered a book that my grandmother gave to read when I was twelve; the book was Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. This book made such an impact on me that thirty-two years later I came back to it as a source for the sublime.
One definition of sublime is to elevate or exalt especially in dignity and honor and this is what Jonathon does in the story, he gives back with dignity and honor. In addition, with this perception of Jonathon I came to the realization that this dignity and honor can be related to the spiritual ideal of “The Character of Wisdom and Grace. I believe this is why the story of Jonathon made such an impact on me. However, at the age of twelve I could not understand or process this impact and this is why thirty-two years later that I was reminded of this story, which I would call a parable.
“Wisdom Literature is a term applied to the Old Testament canonical books of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and sometimes to the Song of Solomon ( I believe that these books can be viewed as parables about life and how one should live their life. “The Character of Wisdom” is a concept of life. Basically, it is the worldview that God is Creator both of his people and the physical world, everything arises from this conviction. As Creator God has imbedded truth in all of creation; creation reflects the wisdom, nature, and character of its creator, and therefore all of creation is a way to learn about God and his purposes for the world. Therefore, being wise is a way to search for and maintain the order of God in the world to live well. The “way of wisdom” is an ethical system for humanity.
"... thousands and thousands of gulls. I know." Sullivan shook his head. "The only answer I can see, Jonathan, is that you are pretty well a one-in-a-million bird. Most of us came along ever so slowly. We went from one world into another that was almost exactly like it, forgetting right away where we had come from, not caring where we headed, living for the moment. Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock? A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand! And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose of living is to find that perfection and show it forth. The same rule holds for us now, of course: we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome”
In Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, we the reader, see Jonathan explore and embrace his dreams in the face of all adversity, which is the “established wisdom of the flock”. The flock is the order of the elders who establish the accepted behavior for the rest of the flock. However, Jonathan’s dream to be able to fly higher and better forces him out of the flock. A wise entity comes to Jonathon and helps him move to higher planes of wisdom and thought, which enable him to become better at flying and raise his spirit to another level. Once Jonathan reaches a certain level of ability he is asked to move on, but Jonathan wants to go back to the flock and teach others what he has learned. Because Jonathan has revealed his true desire at this level of ‘wisdom” he is granted his wish to return to his flock.
Jonathan must experience many things in life before he can move forward, and he is so exceptional that he is granted his wish, which is the desire to go back and help others in order to bring about change for the better. Jonathan’s wish does come, but does not come about easily as he is met with resistance from the elder flock.
The character of Jonathan embodies many of the characteristics of the “The Character of Wisdom”. We, the reader, do not know who Jonathan’s god is, however that is not the point. People can have the qualities of “The Character of Wisdom” and apply it to their life in any or every aspect according to how they, themselves, live their lives in accordance with this wisdom. Honor and dignity are something one gains by living a life within the ethical system of humanity, and this leads to Grace.
The definition of Grace is not one that I feel applies to everyone, therefore I do not believe that Grace can be easily defined for all of us. However, I feel that the idea of Grace is one that, we, as human beings have the ability to grasp in some manner, which may be different for everyone. I do not mean Grace as a way a person holds himself or herself or as a characteristic that describes manners. I do mean Grace as a spiritual influence that one feels and basis their treatment of others on and how they choose to live their lives.
To me, this is what the parable of Jonathan Livingston Seagull is all about. Therefore, I think this explains why as a young person I could not process what or why the book impacted me, but I do think this is why I came back to this book thirty-two years later. “The Character of Wisdom” and Grace I feel are profoundly represented in this book, and I believe that this book has many lessons to be realized. Therefore, I would recommended this book to everyone and I believe it will definitely make an impact on your life and the way you, as a person, choose to look at life and the people in it in the future.
Without question, literature is something that brings quality and realization to people lives and has the ability to intensely affect their lives. I believe that when we, as readers, have the choice to read and learn that we cannot help but be affected by what we have read. With the knowledge of Literary Criticism and the ability to learn how to decipher what the texts are saying and trying to point out, we as readers, have the ability necessary to learn and enjoy what literature has to offer.

Monday, December 06, 2004

This is inappropriate for a Literary Crit. class- perhaps Zak should take his crusade to a different planet where someone cares!!!!

Zak,What the .... are you trying to do? Save the world? My God, this is horrible and your right if people are affended- don‘t look, however I came across it on accident and it is really aweful, and horrific, and this must be a baby that has been aborted during the third trimester. People do need to be appropriate and I wonder what the appropriateness of you posting this picture is about. Not all abortions take place in the third trimester, in fact it is hard to find a clinic that will do this or that kind of abortion. Most abortions are done in the first 8-12 weeks. I know this personally, as I have had an abortion and it was not easy. However, you have to take into consideration the reasons for these type of 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions. Yes, some women or girls are messed up and use this type of abortion as birth control, this I too, believe is wrong. However, there are certain conditions that are appropriate for 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions.Have you interveiwed a abortion Doctor, or a woman who has had an abortion in any of the stages, do you know someone personally that has had an abortion. I wonder if your efforts could not be better used and suited to actually doing something about abortion if you feel it is so wrong? Like, for instance working for a group or something that makes this their sole purpose. I have to wonder if your on line journal for lit crit 300 fall semester 2004 is the appropriate place to exercise your opinion and not only your opinion, but actually putting these type of pictures on your website.I do believe in freedom of speech and that everyone has the right to this, you and I. On the other hand,I wonder if a different format would not better suit your purpose.This is outragous behavior and you are so young and do not really have the life experience to know exactly how you feel. You are young and immature, and I since stumbling across this stuff on your website I just really wonder what the hell you are doing. I am extremely upset and think that this type of debate would be much better suited in a different format.your opinion is yours, everyone has one, you know the old saying,everyone has an opinion and there just like assholes. You are an asshole! Plesae respond to my post, I would really truly like to know what you expect to gain with this presented on a online journal for a lit crit. class. Cindy Kasner
Written by: Cindy Kasner at 2004/12/07 - 01:44
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Presentations in Crit.Lit

This has been such an interesting class. I have learned so much, but I have especially appreciated the group presentations. Each group has either enlightened me more about thier critic or about different schools of criticism. These presentations have definitely given me a piece of this course that was missing. I was like "God, why do we need to do these presentations!?" and now, Dr. Sexson, I know. Each presentation has given me some extra added new preception of each critic. It has solidified things greatly. Everyone did an excellent job!
Our group was fun and we did the Judge Jenny and the Canon skit, it was not as long as others and it was longer than some, that is not what matters. It was the experience of working with my peers and learning how to interpret different theories and genres in order to bring about further knowledge other that just a lecture that was truly beneficial for me.
Mandy's group did the video and presented the Survivors and Dating Game themes and her Edgar Alan Poe was such a hoot. That was really creative and funny.
Jamie and her partner did an excellent job at presentating thier personal feelings while educating and entertaining the class, good job!
This has been a demanding semester for most of us, and having 2 classes with Sexson has pushed me to my limits, but it has been wonderful. Thanx for great presentations that were creative, interesting, humerous, and fun.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Some definitions for the test that might be helpful

polysemous= having mutiple meanings

exegesis= an explanation or critical interpretation of a text

trope= a figure of speech

rhectorical= of relating to or concerned with rhetoric

rhectoric= the art of speaking or writing effectively

autonomous= having the right or power of self-government

seminal= creative or original

erudtion= extensive knowledge aquired chiefly from books, profound understanding

hegemony= preponderant influence or authority over others

pedagogy= the art, science, or profession of teaching - especially education

transcendentalism= the philosophy that asserts the promacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material and empirical

didactic= designed or intended to teach

pharmacon= drug, poison, remedy

Binary= something made on or based on two parts

archetype= always there- universal

stereotype= social and political-cultural social sphere

Monday, November 15, 2004

Presentation in Lit Crit of Theorists

I have been studying today for our test in Lit Crit. I have been going over each critic and I have to say that as I took notes on each of them I began thinking about the presentations and how excellent they were. Everyone did such a outstanding job. Each one had something unique and different to offer, which has helped me to remember the critic. I did not want to get up in front of the class and do mine, but once I got mine over and before it was my turn, I really enjoyed them. I have had some difficulty putting everything together in this class and I think the presentations by each of us has really helped me to know the critics. Remember:
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Benjamin Franklin

REsponding to Matt

I read your post about William Carlos Williams and I wondered if you know that he is a modernist poet and was a peditrician? He wrote the poem about the red wheel barrow apon visiting a dying little girl, after reading your analysis of the poem it is interesting to note your perception. And you are right on, or at least Dr. Beehler would say so, and probably Kimberly Myers as well. Good job, it is nice to see someone interpret poetry and I was just wondering if you had studied modernism poetry?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Jaques Derrida-The Importance

To understand Derrida it is best to have some understanding of Hermeneutics, which is the branch of philosophy concerned with human understanding and the interpretation of written texts. The understanding of such texts will reveal something about the social context in which they were formed, but, also-most importantly-provide the reader with a means to share the experiences of the author. Derrida was a French philosopher who introduced the idea of decontructionism, which can be applied to many structures such as linguistics, literature, philosophy, and architecture. Decontructionism basically consists of realizing that when something is created, no matter what, that something is left out, therefore, leading to exclusion. Once something has been excluded, this can lead to repression. Repression is a result of something being repressed, and this comes with consequences; what is repressed (left out-excluded) doesn't disappear, but comes back to unsettle every construction that comes next. Decontructionism is defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary as: "a method of literary criticism that assumes language refers to only itself rather than to an extratextual reality, that asserts multiple conflicting interpretations of a text, and that bases such interpretations on the philosophical, political, or social implications of the use of language in the text rather than on the author's intention." If you have read Poe's "The Purloined Letter",which says that the one who holds the letter in the story is the one with the power, therefore, language is power, maybe able to grasp the opposite of this which is: that what is said with language is not as important as the interpretation of the text, which can have mutliple interpretations. This is why Derrida was so important, he gave the reader many ways to decipher or interpret meanings of texts, which lead to a vast understanding of many layers to the text when deconstructionism is applied.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Literary Canon

1. What is the "canon"
The American Heritage Dictionary has eleven separate definitions of the term canon, the most relevant of which is "an authoritative list, as of the works of an author" and "a basis for judgment; standard; criterion." Canon is also defined as "the books of the Bible officially recognized by the Church," and the idea of a literary canon also implies some such official status. To enter the canon, or more properly, to be entered into the canon is to gain certain obvious privileges. The gatekeepers of the fortress of high culture include influential critics, museum directors and their boards of trustees, and far more lowly scholars and teachers. Indeed, a chief enforcer of the canon appears in middlebrow anthologies, those hangers on of high culture that in the Victorian period took the form of pop anthologies like Golden Treasury and today that of major college anthologies in America. To appear in the Norton or Oxford anthology is to have achieved, not exactly greatness but what is more important, certainly -- status and accessibility to a reading public. And that is why, of course, it matters that so few women writers have managed to gain entrance to such anthologies.

What does this mean?

As an effort to overcome the problems associated with tokenism and supplementation, some feminists have compiled anthologies of women writers. The most striking example is the recently-published The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Tradition in English (New York, NY: Norton, 1985), edited by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar. This anthology, with formatting identical to the other Nortons, consists solely of women writers and so, presumably, is not offered as an alternative to The Norton Anthology proper. Indeed, in their preface, the editors state their intent: "Complementing and supplementing the standard Norton anthologies of English and American literature, NALW should help readers for the first time to appreciate fully the female literary tradition which, for several centuries, has coexisted with, revised, and influenced male literary models. Designed to serve as a "core-curriculum" text for the many courses in literature by women that have been developed over the past ten years, this collection includes examples of women's work in every genre and period; it thus carries on the tradition of a "course in a book" pioneered by the other Norton anthologies of British and American literature which have proved so consistently useful." The editors here seem anxious not to cause any upset with their supplemental anthology, going to lengths as they do to suggest continuity ("carries on the tradition") with the other by now well-established Norton products ("which have proved so consistently useful").
As much as this anthology makes available much literature by women of all kinds -- "the black, the regional, the lesbian, the working-class, and the native-American traditions," as the editors explain -- and as much as it has been praised by feminists for this contribution, this anthology seems to some feminists supplementation writ large. Offering itself as separate but equal, it appears to some a ghetto for women's writing, excusing the "standard" anthologies for their neglect of women authors instead of challenging the assumptions that make the standard anthologies standard. More importantly, perhaps, the creation of a new set of accepted and acceptable texts results, and the bases for canonization remain unclear.

Montana State University Communications Services
Shakespeare, Bible top MSU's 100 Best Books List
by Carol Schmidt
04/18/00 BOZEMAN - -Shakespeare made MSU’s cut. So did Aeschylus, Proust, Salinger and Grimm. In fact, Montana State University’s list of the 100 best books ever written is an ambitious compendium of volumes -- some familiar, some obscure to the American mainstream -- that is sure to spark controversy and a good deal of late night reading.
Michael Sexson, the MSU English professor who commissioned his English 300 class to develop the MSU Top 100, would have it no other way.
"I’m quite sure the list will be debated," he said. "And that is fruitful because it opens up discussions on such things as quality and canon."
The MSU 100 was inspired by the Modern Library’s listing of the 100 best American novels of the century, Sexson said. That list, criticized because it reflected a bias of the older white males that were polled to compile it, has spawned several other "Best Lists." However, few tackled world literature, and Sexson thought it would be interesting to assemble a list unrestricted by time or cultural boundary. His charge to his fall semester English 300 class, composed mostly of upper level English majors, was to draw up a list of the books that intelligent and curious people should read. It was a difficult task, particularly because the students chose from 3,000 years of literature. But the students finished the course having contributred to something lasting.
Gwen Squyres, a senior majoring in English from Lancaster, Calif. who aspires to become an English professor, said researching the list was a great education. The class of 45 students broke up into five groups. Each group researched, presented and defended their choices first to their group and then to the class. The surviving choices were tabulated and combined. Squyres, who argued for Dostoevsky’s "Brother Karamazov," number nine, said students came to believe passionately about the books they nominated.
"The process gave voice to even the quiet people in the class, the ones who rarely said anything," Squyres said. "You’d see them arguing vocally for books they believed in."
It is, as Squyres and Sexson point out, a riotous salad of selections. Familiar books such as Shakespeare and The Bible top the list but also included are books that may be new to Montanans, such as "Kathasaritsagara" by Somadeva (Indian), the Polish author Jan Potaki’s "Manuscript found at Saragossa," and Claude Levi Straus’ "Tristes Tropiques." There’s poetry and allegory, fairy tables, philosophy as well as traditional novels.
Does the list reflect Sexson’s influence and literary taste?
"Of course," Sexson says with a Puckish smile. "Clearly, these are my students and I’m bound to have an influence. Although it is not the list I would make all by myself."
And if the list sparks controversy, even heated debate, so much the better, he said. It will inspire strengthening of the list.
So far, the list has done nothing but enhance the sales of literature at the MSU Bookstore, which has a display of books on the MSU 100.
Scott McLeod, trade book manager at the MSU Bookstore, says that several books that had been collecting dust in other corners of the bookstore have sold out and restocked -- some several times -- since regrouped with the "MSU’s 100" display.
"We’ve been going through these books like wildfire," McLeod said. And the only criticism he has heard has been his own.
"I’ve told Mike you gotta’ put ‘The Count of Monte Cristo" on there," he says.
To which Sexson smiles. "I’ll give that feedback to the class next fall. I expect to do it again..."
MSU’s Top 100 Books List follows. It is also posted at:

MSU’s Top 100 Books
1. The Collected Works of Shakespeare
2. The Bible
3. Don Quixote-Cervantes
4. Homer's Iliad/Odyssey
5. Ovid's Metamorphoses
6. Finnegans Wake-James Joyce
7. Oresteia of Aeschylus
8. Tao Te Ching-Lao Tzu
9. The Brothers Karamazov--Dostoevsky
10. Alice in Wonderland-Lewis Carroll
11. To the Lighthouse-Virginia Woolf
12. 100 Years of Solitude----Garcia Marquez
13. Pale Fire--Nabokov
14. Divine Comedy--Dante
15. Poems of Wallace Stevens
16. Arabian Nights
17. War and Peace--Tolstoy
18. Beloved-Toni Morrison
19. Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges
20 Heart of Darkness--Conrad
21. Anecdotes of Destiny-Isak Dinesen
22. Oedipus Trilogy--Sophocles
23. Marriage of Cadmus & Harmony-Roberto Calasso
24. Katasaratsagura (Oceans of Story) Somadeva
25. Chekhov's Short Stories
26. Bhagavad Gita
27. Ulysses James Joyce
28. Grimm's Fairy Tales
29. Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
30. Absalom Absalom Wm Faulkner
31 Women in Love DH Lawrence
32. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
33. Plato: Dialogues
34. Remembrance of Things Past Marcel Proust
35. The Tin Drum- Gunter Grass
36. Flannery O'Connor: Short Stories
37. Great Expectations-Charles Dickens
38. Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable Samuel Beckett
39. Interpretation of Dreams- Freud
40. Canterbury Tales-Chaucer
41. Four Quartets-TS Eliot
42. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
43. Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie
44. Tristram Shandy Lawrence Sterne
45. Yeats: Collected Poems
46. Golden Bough James Frazer
47. Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
48. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
49. The Black Prince Iris Murdoch
50. Manuscript found at Saragossa Jan Potaki
51. Bacchae Euripides
52. Vanity Fair Wm Thackery
53. Metamorphosis: Kafka
54. Aeneid-Virgil
55. Tristan & Iseult
56. Collected Poems of William Blake
57. Golden Ass of Apuleius
58. Waiting for Godot/Endgame Samuel Beckett
59. Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson
60. Moby Dick Herman Melville
61. Speak, Memory Vladimir Nabokov
62. Phaedre- Jean Racine
63. Poetics of Aristotle
64. Fathers and Sons Ivan Turgenev
65. Lysistrata (Aristophanes)
66. A Doll's House Henrik Ibsen
67. Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde
68. Farewell to Arms-Ernest Hemingway
69. Charlotte's Web EB White
70. Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
71. Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman
72. If On a Winter's Night Italo Calvino
73. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
74. Storyteller Maria Vargos Llosa
75. Heraclitus-Fragments
76. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
77. Epic of Gilgamesh
78. The Idiot of Dostoevsky
79. Tess of the Durbervilles Thomas Hardy
80. Tale of Genji--Lady Murisaki
81. Montaigne's Essays
82. Walden Henry David Thoreau
83. Native Son- Richard Wright
84. On Nature-Emerson
85. Dr. Faustus Christopher Marlowe
86. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
87. Gargantua and Pantagruel Rabelais
88. Paradise Lost John Milton
89. Tom Jones Henry Fielding
90. Native Son, Richard Wright
91. The Art of Memory-Frances Yates
92. Middlemarch-George Eliot
93. At Play in the Fields of the Lord- Peter Matthiessen
94. All the Pretty Horses Cormac McCarthy
95. Candide-Voltaire
96. Genealogy of Morals- Fredrich Nietzsche
97. Passage to India-EM Forster
98. The Sea the Sea-iris Murdoch
99. Tristes Tropiques-Claude Levi-Strauss
100. Their Eyes were Watching God---Zora Neale Hurston
Send questions or comments to Carol, Or you can send letters to Carol Schmidt, MSU Communications Services, 416 Culbertson Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717.
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Literary critic, Jane Tompkins targets the "male-dominated scholarly tradition that controls both the canon of American literature - and the critical perspective that interprets the canon for society" (502), in her exploration of the canonical exclusion of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, written in 1899, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 1892 short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper." Tompkins further notes that "the tradition of Perry Miller, F.O. Matthiessen, Harry Levin, Richard Chase, R.W.B. Lewis, Yvor Winters, and Henry Nash Smith has prevented even committed feminists from recognizing and asserting the value of a powerful and specifically female novelistic tradition" (502-3). Tompkins' criticism of the scholarly tradition not only asserts the existence of a male-dominated literary paradigm and exclusivity but, with this literary 'gate keeping', also questions how tradition becomes imprinted upon us so as to color our judgment.
Tradition becomes the constant, the thing we write, read, rebel against and, interestingly, the thing we supplant with a new tradition once we are excluded from the established boys' club. But how does a so staunchly established tradition, which determines the inclusion and exclusion of literary works, come to be?

After a little research I find it extremely interesting how the "canon" comes to be. How do the texts get selected? Who does the selecting? How do you qualify to be a selector/choser? Who decides who does what? Who is in charge? Can I be in the selector/choser circle? How do I get to even be in the running for this sort of thing? Are they all men? How come they can't be all women? Does anybody else wonder about this?

I asked Dr. Sexson for some info and he said (of course) google it, so I did:
The Western canon is a canon Canon can mean:
A rule adopted by an ecumenical council of the Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. From the Greek kanon, for rule or measure. See canon law.
A list of books accepted by an ecclessiastic communion as authoritative or divinely inspired. The term was originally Christian, referring to books declared divinely inspired by the canons of Church councils. The term has however come to be extended to other religions as well with compound scriptures, thus one can speak for instance of the Pali canon in Buddhism. See Biblical canon for a discussion of the Jewish and Christian canons.
..... Click the link for more information. of books A book is a collection of leaves of paper, parchment or other material, bound together along one edge within covers. A book is also a literary work or a main division of such a work. A book produced in electronic format is known as an e-book.
In library and information science, a book is called a monograph to distinguish it from serial publications such as magazines, journals or newspapers...... Click the link for more information. and art
Although today the word art usually refers to the visual arts, the concept of what art is has continuously changed over centuries. Perhaps the most concise definition is its broadest—art refers to all creative human endeavors, excluding actions directly related to survival and reproduction. From a wide perspective, art is simply a generic term for the creative impulse, out of which sprang all other human pursuits such as science via alchemy, and religion via shamanism...... Click the link for more information. , and specifically a set with very loose boundaries of books and other art that, have allegedly been highly influential in shaping Western culture For an article on the East, see Eastern culture
Western Culture refers to the culture that has developed in the Western world. This culture is arguably the dominant cultural form in the modern world; it can also be said that elements of this culture have come to play a more influential role on more diverse cultures world-wide than any other culture has done. It is, however, an ill-defined and disputed term. There is a traditional foundation of Western culture. It existed until the French revolution that brought in other currents or unleashed new ideas. The French revolution is the boundary point between the two basic definitions of Western culture...... Click the link for more information. . The selection of a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism Perennialists believe that one should teach the things of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. They believe that the most important topics develop a person. Since details of fact change constantly, these cannot be the most important. Therefore, one should teach principles, not facts. Since people are human, one should teach first about humans, not machines or techniques. Since people are people first, and workers second if at all, one should teach liberal topics first, not vocational topics...... Click the link for more information. .
The process of listmaking—defining the boundaries of the canon—is endless. One of the notable attempts in the English The English language is a West Germanic language, originating from England. It is the third most common "first" language (native speakers), with around 402 million people in 2002. English has lingua franca status in many parts of the world, due to the military, economic, scientific, political and cultural influence of the United Kingdom and later the United States. Where possible, virtually all students worldwide are required to learn some English, and knowledge of English is virtually a prerequisite for working in many fields and occupations. Higher academic institutions, for example, require a working command of English...... Click the link for more information. -speaking world was the Great Books of the Western World The Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in 1952 in an attempt to present the western canon in a single package of 54 volumes.
The project got its start at the University of Chicago. University president Robert Hutchins collaborated with Mortimer Adler to develop a course, generally aimed at businessmen, for the purpose of filling in gaps in education, making one more well-rounded and familiar with the "Great Books" and ideas of the past three millenia. Among the original students was William Benton, future US Senator and currently CEO of the ..... Click the link for more information. program. This program, developed in the middle third of the 20th century (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries)
Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901-2000. Colloquially, this is often known as the nineteen hundreds (1900s), referring to the years 1900 to 1999.
The twentieth century..... Click the link for more information. , grew out of the curriculum at the University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is one of the foremost research universities in the world. Barely a century old, the departments of Physics, Economics, Sociology, Linguistics, Political Science (Committee on Social Thought), International Studies (Committee on International Relations) as well as the schools of Jurisprudence and Business are considered among the best in the country. Scholars affiliated with the University have obtained a total of seventy-five Nobel Prizes (the most by any institution in the world except Cambridge University)...... Click the link for more information. . University president Robert Hutchins Robert Maynard Hutchins (January 17, 1899, Brooklyn, New York - May 17, 1977, Santa Barbara, California) was a philosopher.
Although both his father and grandfather were Presbyterian ministers, Robert M. Hutchins went on to become a renowned educational philosopher. Hutchins is now considered by many to be one of the most influential men from the school of Secular Perennialism. After completing..... Click the link for more information. and his collaborator Mortimer Adler Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 - June 28, 2001) was an American philosopher and author.
Adler was born in New York City. After dropping out of high school at age 14, he worked as a copy boy for the New York Sun. Wanting to become a journalist, he took writing classes at night where he discovered the works of men he would come to call heroes: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and others. He went on to study philosophy at Columbia University. Though he failed to complete the necessary physical education requirements for a bachelor's degree, he stayed at the university and eventually was given a teaching position and was awarded a doctorate in philosophy...... Click the link for more information. developed a program that offered reading lists, books, and organizational strategies for reading clubs to the general public.
There has been an ongoing, intensely political debate over the nature and status of the canon since at least the 1960s Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s - 1960s - 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Years: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Events and trends
The 1960s was a turbulent decade of change around the world. Many of the trends of the 1960s were due to the demographic changes brought about by the baby boom generation and the dissolution of European colonial empires. (See The Sixties.)..... Click the link for more information. . In the USA
United States of America(U.S. Flag) (U.S. Great Seal)National Mottos(1776 - ): E Pluribus Unum(Latin: "Out of many, one")(1956 - ): In God We TrustOfficial language None at Federal Level,Some States SpecifyEnglish; de facto, Spanish spoken by growing minority, especially in the West..... Click the link for more information. , in particular, it has been attacked as a compendium of books written mainly by "dead white European males", that thus do not represent the viewpoints of other people (i.e., most people in the world). Others, notably Allan Bloom Allan David Bloom (September 14, 1930 - October 7, 1992) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, an only child to social worker parents. His mother was particularly well educated and ambitious, earning her degree at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Bloom entered university at the age of fifteen, as part of the University of Chicago's early admission program for gifted students. In the Preface to Giants and Dwarfs, a collection of his essays published between 1960-1990, he states his education "began with Freud and ended with Plato". The theme of that education was self-knowledge, or self-discovery; a subject Bloom later remarked seemed impossible to conceive of as Midwestern American boy. Bloom credits Leo Strauss as the teacher which made this endeavour possible for him...... Click the link for more information. in his 1987 1987 is a common year starting on Thursday.
Years:1984 1985 1986 - 1987 - 1988 1989 1990Decades:1950s 1960s 1970s - 1980s - 1990s 2000s 2010sCenturies:19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1987 in aviation1987 in film1987 in literature1987 in music1987 in sports1987 in television..... Click the link for more information. book The Closing of the American Mind, have fought back vigorously. Authors such as Yale
This article is about a university. For other uses of "Yale", see Yale (disambiguation).
Yale University is a private university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, Yale is the third oldest American collegiate institution and one of the most prestigious and well-known in the world. The University has graduated numerous Nobel prize winners and U.S. Presidents. Its $11 billion academic endowment is the second largest of any university in the world, after Harvard University. Yale has the largest undergraduate endowment in the world...... Click the link for more information. Professor of Humanities Harold Bloom Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930) is an American literary critic, best known as an opponent of Marxist, New Historicist, Post-Colonial, Feminist and Multi-Cultural trends in academic literary criticism.
BiographyThe son of William and Paula (Lev) Bloom, Harold Bloom was born in New York City and lived in the East Bronx at 1410 Grand Concourse until he entered Cornell University..... Click the link for more information. have also spoken strongly in favor of the canon, and in general the canon remains as a represented idea in most institutions, though its implications continue to be debated heavily. Even when ignoring the political issues, the selection of the canon betrays either a bias against or ignorance of non-Western traditions, in addition to ignorance of Western literature's less publicized aspects.
One of the main objections to a canon of literature is the question of authority In politics, authority generally refers to the ability to make laws, independent of the power to enforce them. People obey authority out of respect, while they obey power out of fear. For example, "the congress has the authority to pass laws" vs "the police have the power to arrest law-breakers".
Questions as to who has what authority often lie at the heart of political debates, and answers to those questions normally stem from practical and moral considerations, from prior practices and from theories of criminal justice or of the just war...... Click the link for more information. —who should enjoy the power to determine what works are worth reading and teaching?
Works which are commonly included in the canon include works of fiction Fiction is the term used to describe works of information created from the imagination. This is in contrast to non-fiction, which makes factual claims about reality. Fictional works—books, pictures, stories, fairy tales, fables, films, comics, interactive fiction—may be partly based on factual occurrences but always contain some imaginary content.
Fiction is largely perceived..... Click the link for more information. such as epic poems
In mathematics, see epic morphism.
The epic is a broadly defined genre of poetry, which retells in a continuous narrative the life and works of a heroic or mythological person or group of persons. In the West, the Iliad, Odyssey and Nibelungenlied; and in the East, the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Shahnama are often cited as examples of the epic genre...... Click the link for more information. , poetry Poetry is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. It consists largely of oral or literary works in which language is used in a manner that is felt by its user and audience to differ from ordinary prose. It may use condensed or compressed form to convey emotion or ideas to the reader's or listener's..... Click the link for more information. , music The definition of the word "music" is hotly contested, not least because the word has strong connotations and use beyond the subject itself.
Music as sound: One common definition of music is to label it as "organized sound" or more ornately, "the artful organization of sound and silence". This definition is widely held to from the late 19th century forward, which began to scientifically analyze the relationship between sound and perception...... Click the link for more information. , drama
This article refers to the art form. For the town, see Drama, Greece.
Drama is a term generally used to refer to an art form involving performances by actors, either real or computer-generated. These performances can be in a variety of media: live performance, film, television, and so forth.
The problem with the term
There are many forms of drama. It may be helpful to imagine drama as an umbrella, with all of its subforms underneath it...... Click the link for more information. , novels A novel is a long or extended work of fiction written in prose, usually in the form of a story. It is longer and more complex than a short story or novella (ie. 40,000+ words), and it is not bound by the restrictions of plays and poetry.
The word "novel" is from the Italian word novella which means "new".
Qualities of the novelMost novels have the following qualities, but in each case there are exceptions:
..... Click the link for more information. , and other assorted forms of literature
Literature is literally "an acquaintance with letters" as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary; the term has, however, generally come to identify a collection of texts.
The word "literature" spelled with a lower-case "l" can refer to any form of writing, such as essays; while "Literature" spelled with an upper-case "L" may refer to a whole body of literary work, world-wide or relating to a specific culture...... Click the link for more information. from the many, diverse Western (and more recently non-Western) cultures For other uses of culture see Culture (disambiguation).
The word culture comes from the Latin root colere, (to inhabit, to cultivate, or to honor). In general it refers to human activity; different definitions of culture reflect different theories for understanding, or criteria for valuing, human activity. In 1952 Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of over 200 different definitions of culture in their book, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...... Click the link for more information. . Many non-fiction works are also listed, primarily from the areas of religion Religion is commonly defined as the belief in the divine, as dealing with the supernatural, or sacred that results in worship; that worship itself; the institutional or culturally-bound expression of that worship; or some combination of these.
Approaches to distinguishing "religion" from "non-religion"
Religion is subject to much discussion in the fields of theology, psychology,..... Click the link for more information. , science
For the journal named Science, see Science (journal).
Science is both a process of gaining knowledge, and the organized body of knowledge gained by this process. The scientific process is the systematic acquisition of new knowledge about a system. This systematic acquisition is generally the scientific method, and the system is generally nature. Science is also the scientific knowledge that has been systematically acquired by this scientific process...... Click the link for more information. , philosophy Philosophy is a study of the reality, causes, and principles underlying being and thinking. It often refers to the collective works of major philosophers; it can mean the academic exploration of various questions raised by philosophers; it can also mean a certain critical, creative way of thinking. None of these meanings can be considered distinctly. Philosophy, in brief, has several connotations in common speech, but this article will focus on philosophy as a field of study...... Click the link for more information. , economics Economics is the social science studying the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. It describes them in terms of the tradeoffs between competing alternatives as observed through measurable quantities such as input, price and output.
Economists study human behavior and welfare as a relationship between scarce means (which have other uses) and socially required ends. (Lionel Robbins, 1935) The field comprises a number of (potentially irreconcilable) theories about systems of production and distribution. Aspects receiving particular attention in economics are resource allocation, production, distribution or trade, and competition...... Click the link for more information. , politics, and history.
Works which directly address the canon (both for and against):
The History of Western Literature by Otto Maria Carpeaux
Shakespeare by Harold Bloom
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages by Harold Bloom
The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme
See also
seminal work

I will add more as I find out the answers to some of the questions I posted. Peace Out

Saturday, October 02, 2004

4 levels of Dante vs.4 levels of Thompson

The text that I can relate the fours levels of Dante would be Imaginary Landscapes by William Irwin Thompson. Thompson writes about the fairytale Rapunzel and takes the it through each of Dante's level, however, Thompson has his own levels that correspond to Dante's and these are: literal, structural, anthropogical, and cosmological. The idea that Thompson explores is really out there but it is worth taking a look at because it really defines the levels of interpretation.

In addition, the other pieces of work that I would relate Dante's four levels to the "Will" sonnets of Shakespeare. These sonnets get really into the different levels of the meaning of Will and what Shakespeare wants to do with his will. If you have studied him at all you will know that these sonnets are about his own will, his penis, and himself as Will (William). Take a look at some of these mainly #CXXXV and you will(no pun intended) see what I mean. Peace Out

Sublime, the truth of knowledge and believing-faith

"We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly"!

"Life is the unknown and the unknowable, except that we are put into this world to eat, to stay alive as long as we possibly can."

"...but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all".

"The only difference, the very only one, is that they have begun to understand what they really are and have begun to practice it."

These are beautiful and inspirational statements that I felt were worth printing so that others might enjoy them and learn from them, and perhaps feel as inspired as I do upon reading them. However, would it surprise you to know that they came from a seagull? These quotes are from the story Jonathon Livingston Seagull, and this is my idea of the sublime. WhenI read this story I am reminded of the faith or religion (depending ow how you interpret it) of Buddhism. But, also of believing in one self to the point that you will not let anything or any adversity stand in your way.

"What he had once hoped for the flock, he now gained for himself alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had paid. Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed". Indeed, Jonathan went to a higher level of being and learned much more. Infact, this story may be literally about a seagull, but it is a metaphor about life that relates to humans and that if we do not break free from restraints, what ever they may be, we cannot soar. In fact, reading this book really relates to how I feel as a person. Jonathon learns much at different levels of reality and we can relate that to our lives as students and realize that knowledge truly is the oxygen to the soul.

"For inspite of his lonely past, Jonathan Seagull was born to be an instructor, and his own way of demonstrating love was to give something of the truth that he had seen to a gull who asked only a chance to see truth for himself".

"The same rule holds for us now, of course; we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead wieghts to overcome".

"Instead of being enfeebled by age, the Elder had been empowered by it; he could outfly any gull in the Flock, and he had learned skills that the others were only gradually coming to know".

"...till you can fly the past and the future. and then you will be ready to gegin the most difficult, the most powerful, themost fun of all. You will be ready to begin to fly up and know the meaning of kindness and of love".

jonathan did learn how powerful love and kindness are and the flew higher. This is a tremendous book about so many things that are important about life, knowledge, and love. This story is my definition of the sublime. Peace Out