Literary Theory: Historicism

I'm sorry professor uh but I still don't understand what is wrong with Twilight again there's nothing wrong with it per se so long as you do not attempt to call it literature or tell me that what you are doing with it is something important like reading it's a good story even this claim is highly suspect but let us focus on the first there is some redeeming value in the markings on the LCD screen of your Kindle e-reader we must begin with the concept that not all writing is an equal quality and if it is not all of equal quality it follows that not all writing is of equal merit well everyone has their own opinion each s his or her own opinion true but not all opinions are equal nor to all deserve equal to merit if my opinion is that I should spit on all students who pass my exams and then I should pee upon those who do not would you agree well no of course not that wouldn't make sense therefore you agree that there is something called sense or reasoning which renders some opinions less worthy I guess so but literature is all equal people just have different tastes in art we're all entitled to our own opinions you know no you are not or rather you're not entitled to announce an opinion you do not plan to defend using reason without the reason opposition women might still be equal to cattle the u.s. might still have slaves and we might still believe the world was flat but I'm allowed to believe what I want yes and the rest of the world is allowed to label you a fool for your failure to defend an opinion they are allowed to dismiss you from their classrooms and jobs because you do not learn well there is no such thing as impunity what's impunity mean look it up I'm here to promote your intellectual curiosity but you must first prove to me that you have some you're mean no I am serious and what we are about is serious and what we read will be serious and what we say about it will be high seriousness and there is little that may be said with seriousness about the writings of Stephanie Meyer stephen king george RR martin or that song stylist named jewel you were saying that literature must contain an idea of value to be considered literature more than that i said that the important ideas of civilization the highest ideas of our culture are carried through our great literature imperfect or flawed art of which examples abound carried no such ideal well twilight has great ideas like choice and betrayal those are not ideas or themes but merely topics what is said about these topics what is the startling and powerful epiphany that we discover from them and that the choices we make are hard and they have consequences this is it it took four large novels of vampire fantasy romance to determine this well no there's other stuff too oh please include that last sentence in your essay on the subject why are you so mean about it why are you so determined to carry your preteen fantasies into your adult studies call Twilight personal entertainment a pastime a distraction or worse our catch is called a habit if you wish but there is nothing enduring about a vapid protagonist who is physically enamored with the undead but Oscar Wilde's picture of dorian gray is about the supernatural – actually it is not and here my students is a key difference between what makes a great work of literature and what is little more than pulp or smut in literature the plotting of the story is merely to carriage the tool through which the deeper conflicts and themes emerge in Pulp in reading diversions like what you described the plot the events are the primary focus in this sense your Twilight is by definition superficial I'm getting tired of you bashing my favorite books and I tire of your acquaintance your personal feelings with an academic study of art literature is not about what you as a reader feel it is not about what you like but it is a more thoughtful appreciation of the great ideas that art provokes in wilds work for instance we explore James vanes role as conscience the opium dens and yellow book as abandonments of nature and the homoeroticism of Plato or Michelangelo as statements of the superficiality of society Dorian abandons everything that composes one's character for his own narcissism and vices anything supernatural or religious in the plot is merely an echo of the level of consequence of which Dorian is blind but basil sees more clearly what do we owe him an ax T and ourselves apart from the threat of Hell itself what holds us morally accountable in Twilight dear the entire saga wallows in the very superficiality that Wilde condemns in a mere 80 pages and that Stephenie Meyer does not even seem aware of it for Meyer if it sparkles it is good but Twilight is loved by millions and the movies are popular popularity is not a measure of art though it may be a measure of our education about literature and art peanut butter sandwiches are popular but they are not art and don't get me started on Lady gaga but I'm a mother I'll read these books to my kids they're just too cool I can only imagine how your teen obsessions will be received by your children years later but at least you have touched upon a primary test about literature that is literature demonstrates its power by surviving the test of time the great books foundation suggests that an author must be dead for 50 years and if his works are still respected they may be considered literature I believe this measure to be somewhat arbitrary but the concept is sound books and poems which fade from appreciation quickly cannot be considered art think for instance about the music of Boy George or Dave Matthews or a movie like Disney's Hercules or any movie with the word anaconda in the title we can only hope and predict that our children will never know of them you know I really hate that music called dubstep what is important about art literature and music is that they have captured and crafted such powerful ideas essential to our humanity to our understanding of ourselves that their enduring sustains our very civilization I very much doubt that dubstep will fulfill these criteria or Twilight huh be a fan if you wish dance to Snoop Dogg or snoop lion and line up for remix of 100 Swartz nigger movies be a Doctor Who groupie or even a brony just don't expect popular culture to reach a level of literature and this is what we study here we read Abbott and Ellison and Shakespeare because their work speaks importance okay so those writers will endure and Twilight will vanish like beavis and butt-head I get it but you said that their ideas sustained civilizations earlier though you were saying that we need to consider the historical times of the literature we read how can it be both I mean how can we say we should study literature according to its historical meanings but also say that those meanings go beyond its history ah yes you have discovered historicism great paradox I'm afraid that my answer will not satisfy you but I will proceed nonetheless can you do it with an example of course it is appropriate for instance that when we study Abbott's flatland that we considered the various historical conditions which affected his meanings attacking the novel for its mathematical failings for instance is absurd yes we understand dimensionality now better than he did even so we recognize that the ideas behind those mathematics remains sound should our faith in God or our values proceed upon the word of authority or upon our own reason moreover we might consider that Abbot was writing perhaps directly about the tract Arian controversy of his day is discussed with the Catholic doctrine of credulity surely this motivated his reading and his use of a pen named for the work but the mathematics like wilds painting or opium dens are merely props literary techniques for moving the larger idea forward so if we understand that why read him now the tract Aryan thing is like history no ah and that is where Abbott's work proves its greatness on the one hand we can suspend our present-day judgments against it and even better understand its message by studying its history but also we must recognize that the fundamental themes of the work and its artful construction of those things endure where do we accept ideas based upon a politician's word or upon a story read on the Internet where today do we suspect our reason and even our experience in order to believe a false idea more what price are we willing to pay in the face of ignorance and as individuals can we sustained our own reasoned beliefs without the corroboration of others or is reason the great religious mystery that haunts our dreams you are losing me there have you finished the novel but for now it is enough to save this of our paradox both parts are true even if they contradict each other first literature is a product of history and we understand it better for knowing that history second literature moves beyond its history to speak to us across time so I could say that it is important to understand the Twilight was written during a time when Barnes & Noble carries a wall of books called teen supernatural romance so she's cashing in on a trend that many other writers did on the other hand her powerful theme of undead love will you can't finish that sentence can you look once we have read the plot of Twilight or Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or even Stephen King and Dan Brown and John Green and Robert Ludlum all of its mysteries are solved there's nothing more to be discovered these kinds of books are nothing more than roller coasters on the good ones we may wish to ride again but the experience is the same each time it can reveal nothing new to us that is important through careless readers might have missed some foreshadowing but that is because they are poor readers not because the novel is important literature offers us new and refined ideas with each new experience we reread flatland or The Bluest Eye or a midsummer night's dream because we find a new subtlety of idea that we may consider anew what about Lord of the Rings or Peter Pan then they have endured I leave that for you to debate for now but what we must understand is that good literature is worthy of serious study and we as reader deserve to learn its ideas the other readers aris aziz triangles blindly following the latest cool gadget to pop culture tricks perhaps never fully realizing their own humanity stay with us study seriously it will be worth it what are you reading their Hunger Games graphic novel hey I just got to a new level on flappy bird

6 thoughts on “Literary Theory: Historicism

  1. Obviously a fake illustration. How come the professor is still talking without anyone bashing him for "hate speech."

    It's 2018, duhhhh

  2. wow american students can do whatever they want and aren't afraid of their professors unlike filipino students have the lack of self-confidence because of their professor. My director was mad at my classmate because of reciting while he was asking and explaining to us.

  3. I use a program called MovieStorm for the basic set-up of scenes, characters, and cameras.  It allows you to drop in voice actor recordings and add your own images and animations, as well.  

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