Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst 1234
Results 46 to 48 of 48

Thread: Harold Bloom

  1. #46
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    2,331
    What do so many Litnet members have against literary theory? I admit to knowing next to nothing about it. I read Claude Levi-Strauss when I studied anthropology, and I've read a fair amount of literary criticism, but not much literary theory. However, I was looking at the free Yale University English Lit. courses today, and they have one called "Introduction to Literary Theory". I was thinking of reading it. Here's a link:

    http://oyc.yale.edu/english

    By the way, I read the course on Modern Poetry a few years back, and I thought it was excellent. I think all the courses are introductory courses, so they may be old hat to those who were Literature majors or grad students, but the rest of us can probably learn something from them. I know I did when I read the Modern Poetry course (you can read transcripts of the lectures along with the assignments, or you can look at and listen to the video. I chose the former.)

  2. #47
    Registered User Poetaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Northeast England
    Posts
    466
    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    What do so many Litnet members have against literary theory? I admit to knowing next to nothing about it. I read Claude Levi-Strauss when I studied anthropology, and I've read a fair amount of literary criticism, but not much literary theory. However, I was looking at the free Yale University English Lit. courses today, and they have one called "Introduction to Literary Theory". I was thinking of reading it. Here's a link:

    http://oyc.yale.edu/english

    By the way, I read the course on Modern Poetry a few years back, and I thought it was excellent. I think all the courses are introductory courses, so they may be old hat to those who were Literature majors or grad students, but the rest of us can probably learn something from them. I know I did when I read the Modern Poetry course (you can read transcripts of the lectures along with the assignments, or you can look at and listen to the video. I chose the former.)
    Speaking only for myself, I find Theory a bit ... postering, and putting on airs.

    Yale does some amazing online courses, their courses on Dante and Milton, and Modern Poetry, especially the YouTube lectures I have found utterly invaluable.
    'So - this is where we stand. Win all, lose all,
    we have come to this: the crisis of our lives'

  3. #48
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    2,331
    I just read the first lecture in Paul Fry's "Introduction to theory in literature" course. I found it fascinating (being a literary theory neophyte). Fry speaks directly about the hostility to literary theory that I sometimes see at Litnet:

    During the same period when I was first teaching this course, a veritable six-foot shelf of diatribes against literary theory was being written in the public sphere. You can take or leave literary theory, fine, but the idea that there would be such an incredible outcry against it was one of the most fascinating results of it. That is to say for many, many, many people literary theory had something to do with the end of civilization as we know it. That's one of the things that seems rather strange to us today from an historical perspective: that the undermining of foundational knowledge which seemed to be part and parcel of so much that went on in literary theory was seen as the central crucial threat to rationality emanating from the academy and was attacked in those terms in, as I say, at least six feet of lively polemics. All of that is the legacy of literary theory, and as I say, it arises in part from the element of skepticism that I thought it best to emphasize today.
    Many Litnet posters seem hostile to literary theory in much the same way: it seems a threat to the canon of which they are so enamored (witness the endless lists of "greatest" books). Perhaps others see a familiarity with theory as a threat to their own status as well-educated and discriminating readers. I'm not sure.

    I'm going to go ahead with the course -- and perhaps start a new thread based on it (although the first text -- "Tony the Tow Truck" -- is unavailable online, and it may be a hassle reading the homework).

    Another intriguing bit in the first lecture is:

    I think the sort of skepticism I mean arises from what one might call and what often is called modernity--not to be confused with Modernism, an early twentieth-century phenomenon, but the history of modern thought as it usually derives from the generation of Descartes, Shakespeare, and Cervantes. Notice something about all of those figures: Shakespeare is preoccupied with figures who may or may not be crazy. Cervantes is preoccupied with a figure who is crazy--we're pretty sure of that, but he certainly isn't. He takes it for granted that he is the most rational and systematic of all thinkers and raises questions about--since we all take ourselves to be rational too--raises questions about just how we know ourselves not to be paranoid delusives like Don Quixote. So that can be unsettling when we think of this as happening at a certain contemporaneous moment in the history of thought.

    Now Descartes, you remember, in his Meditations begins by asking a series of questions about how we can know anything, and one of the skeptical questions he asks is, "Well, might I not be crazy?"
    It appears that Literary Theory is, in part, interested in the relationship between language and consciousness and language and thought. I guess I'll find out as I continue with the course. If other Litnet members are interested, I'll start a thread about the course. Here's the link to the text version of the first lecture:

    http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/451/engl-300

Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst 1234

Similar Threads

  1. What languages does harold bloom know?
    By Max Ernst in forum General Literature
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 07-22-2015, 12:39 AM
  2. Help on a Harold Bloom quote!!
    By Ser Nevarc in forum Who Said That?
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-08-2013, 07:55 AM
  3. HAROLD BLOOM and ME
    By Ron Price in forum Religious Texts
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-25-2012, 02:44 AM
  4. Any Harold Bloom Recommendations?
    By LitNetIsGreat in forum General Literature
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 07-29-2011, 05:07 PM
  5. Harold Bloom's Visionary Company
    By IWilKikU in forum Poems, Poets, and Poetry
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-09-2005, 11:45 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •