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Thread: How did Harold Bloom rise to such a level of eminence?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Anyways, why an author race is relevant? Since race is a socio-cultura construct, his race will be in the perspective of his creation. It will be everywhere.
    Yes, potentially, but I think it has more to do with the personal experience of individual authors within the context of their ethnicity (or sexuality or whatever) rather than constructed social identities. I'm not saying that societies don't try to create such limitations, but one can be free even in a cage (and how much better not to step into one in the first place).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I may be wrong, but High Schoolers should know already basic reading and writting skills?
    Not in the land of do as you please. I am, let's face it, approaching a certain age now, so please forgive me for sounding like an old man. But when I went to grammar school, we put on a production of Macbeth in sixth grade and began learning French in third. We did three Gilbert and Sullivans in what was then called Junior High School; we understood the Victorian English and got the jokes. There were plenty of Korean immigrants among us, and their parents made damn sure their English was better than ours before the first day of school. The Jewish kids studied Hebrew while the rest of us watched the Flintstones. Those days, obviously, are gone. American public education has become tax-supported supplementary day care at best and woke indoctrination camps at worst. It is still, I think, fair to say that a student who cannot read Shakespeare in tenth grade (much less master reading and writing skills) has no business entering a non-technological English-speaking college. And yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I think most must work with creating conditions for ideal development of literary culture, but this should be done beyond the school class by all of us.
    Well, communities could help in principle--but communities have mostly degenerated into online Twitter mobs. Unfortunately the only solution I can see (I'm speaking for the United States only) is private education. That's unfortunate because it only contributes to the cultural divide that is already ripping us apart. Oh well, my migraine is almost gone now. Think I'll go read some Shakespeare.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 05-20-2019 at 11:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Yes, potentially, but I think it has more to do with the personal experience of individual authors within the context of their ethnicity (or sexuality or whatever) rather than constructed social identities. I'm not saying that societies don't try to create such limitations, but one can be free even in a cage (and how much better not to step into one in the first place).
    I don't see this as a disagreement. Race is relevant (as representant of socio-cultural background), even if we study Dante or Shakespeare, which individual skill is unique, etc. Race may be not the most important, but to say (as Ecurd suggested) that there is no important it is too much), even to works which tematic is not cultural differences. I think we believe too much in the propaganda that has hyperbolic nature (death to author! dead white guys) and less in real pratice.

    Not in the land of do as you please. I am, let's face it, approaching a certain age now, so please forgive me for sounding like an old man. But when I went to grammar school, we put on a production of Macbeth in sixth grade and began learning French in third. We did three Gilbert and Sullivans in what was then called Junior High School; we understood the Victorian English and got the jokes. There were plenty of Korean immigrants among us, and their parents made damn sure their English was better than ours before the first day of school. The Jewish kids studied Hebrew while the rest of us watched the Flintstones. Those days, obviously, are gone. American public education has become tax-supported supplementary day care at best and woke indoctrination camps at worst. It is still, I think, fair to say that a student who cannot read Shakespeare in tenth grade (much less master reading and writing skills) has no business entering a non-technological English-speaking college. And yet.
    Yes, but I do not think the degradation of humanities is because the canon's "corruption" (being exagerated here) that Bloom see. The do as you please has more to do with include Harry Potter because literatura has too be fun (and unrelated to Pip, which I understand is teaching something more advanced) and promote love of literature than include Toni Morrison instead of Philip Roth or Harlan Ellison over Cormac McCarthy (no idea if those are realistic examples).

    Unrelated, but canonical reavaluation is good for the canon, not bad. I keep wondering which will be the momment stuff like Lord of the Rings will be accepted as Dickens is accepted. That would probally help to reduce its popularity



    Well, communities could help in principle--but communities have mostly degenerated into online Twitter mobs. Unfortunately the only solution I can see (I'm speaking for the United States only) is private education. That's unfortunate because it only contributes to the cultural divide that is already ripping us apart. Oh well, my migraine is almost gone now. Think I'll go read some Shakespeare.
    Communities for me are liberaries, bookshops, family, etc. I think the burden of creating a literary culture falling only on school created a bit of this generation that see literature as a step towards somewhere that you abandon in the way addult life. Online communities sure, but I have no seen anywhere, anything that can replaced good old libraries and book shops with selected books and professionals who actually can help your way there (even if you do not need) and not suggest you to go to the videogaming area.
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    I am not sure, but Pip can set me right on it, that his thematic choice for his course, was in the line of what today is called "cultural studies". I am never sure about "cultural studies", but it seems to me that instead putting period or esthetics or even the quality of certain authors in the foreground, they focus on certain themes. For example, if one wants to discuss the theme of slavery in US Literature one can put together in a course Hucklebery Finn, Gone with the Wind, Light in August, Invisible Man, Donīt Kill the Mockingbird etc. and make these texts converse among them.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Cultural_studies
    It was a pre-uni course on literary themes. Quebec pre-uni college students are required to take three English courses as part of their diploma: literary genres, literary themes, and program specific (like journalistic writing, or technical writing). The first set includes courses like: Shakespeare, American Literature, Romantic poetry etc. The second set would include courses like the one I had designed.

    In relation to your question, my approach to literature often foregrounds historical/material criticism grounded in some of the approaches of critical theory which inform cultural studies as a medium. Although, I wouldn't consider the class to have been a cultural studies one because I still pay attention to matters of form, affect, and presentation over critical theory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I don't see this as a disagreement. Race is relevant (as representant of socio-cultural background), even if we study Dante or Shakespeare, which individual skill is unique, etc. Race may be not the most important, but to say (as Ecurd suggested) that there is no important it is too much), even to works which tematic is not cultural differences.
    There is some overlap. The experience of ethnicity in an author's life may be a significant part of what he or she brings to a novel. Information about "socio-cultural background" (as you put it) can be helpful in understanding an author when little else is known (Shakespeare may have been a crypto-Catholic because...). But that is not same (and I'm not saying you're doing this) as constructing genetically identified victim groups "swapped out" in an perpetual power struggle between master and marginalized. That's Marxism with race or sex or sexuality (in any case, victimhood) swapped out for class struggle. We've seen this movie before. It doesn't end well.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I think we believe too much in the propaganda that has hyperbolic nature (death to author! dead white guys) and less in real pratice.
    I'd rather not take the chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Communities for me are liberaries, bookshops, family, etc. I think the burden of creating a literary culture falling only on school created a bit of this generation that see literature as a step towards somewhere that you abandon in the way addult life. Online communities sure, but I have no seen anywhere, anything that can replaced good old libraries and book shops with selected books and professionals who actually can help your way there (even if you do not need) and not suggest you to go to the videogaming area.
    I couldn't agree more (about the abandonment of the life of learning, I mean). But the kind of community you describe has been dead up here for some time. The life of the mind is becoming a solitary pursuit. The young intellectuals are all about AI or intersectionality. I'm retired, so it's easy enough for me to take the Benedictine option. I just hope I'm dead before the robots come for me. ;-)
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 05-21-2019 at 06:25 AM.

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    Affirmative action is morally reprehensible. It tyrannizes those it discriminates against and degrades those it purports to help. We shall overcome.
    Are you opposed to all forms of reparations? Weren't former slaves given an acre of land and a mule? Isn't that an example of affirmative action?

    I'll agree that some forms of affirmative action degrade beneficiaries, but may also benefit society. What were the freed slaves expected to do without the acre and mule?
    Last edited by Ecurb; 05-20-2019 at 05:00 PM.

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    Affirmative action can't go on forever but clearly when certain groups were obviously hindered for whatever reason it is not enough to just take the obstacles away and the shackles off. I had a crutch the year before last. I chucked it away after a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    Are you opposed to all forms of reparations? Weren't former slaves given an acre of land and a mule? Isn't that an example of affirmative action?

    I'll agree that some forms of affirmative action degrade beneficiaries, but may also benefit society. What were the freed slaves expected to do without the acre and mule?
    Actually it was 40 acres and a mule, which wasn't a discriminatory hiring practice, so no, it doesn't affect my view of affirmative action.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 05-20-2019 at 06:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ennison View Post
    Affirmative action can't go on forever but clearly when certain groups were obviously hindered for whatever reason it is not enough to just take the obstacles away and the shackles off. I had a crutch the year before last. I chucked it away after a bit.
    Hey, Ennison. Long time, man. Glad to hear the crutch is gone. You be well, eh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    It was a pre-uni course on literary themes. Quebec pre-uni college students are required to take three English courses as part of their diploma: literary genres, literary themes, and program specific (like journalistic writing, or technical writing). The first set includes courses like: Shakespeare, American Literature, Romantic poetry etc. The second set would include courses like the one I had designed.

    In relation to your question, my approach to literature often foregrounds historical/material criticism grounded in some of the approaches of critical theory which inform cultural studies as a medium. Although, I wouldn't consider the class to have been a cultural studies one because I still pay attention to matters of form, affect, and presentation over critical theory.
    Yes, you would certainly pay attention to the specific aspects of the literary texts. My objection to cultural studies is when they focus only on the content forgetting these specifities.
    What astonishes me is that it was a pre-uni course. Are those Literary Courses you referred to taught to aspirants to the University?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    Yes, you would certainly pay attention to the specific aspects of the literary texts. My objection to cultural studies is when they focus only on the content forgetting these specifities.
    What astonishes me is that it was a pre-uni course. Are those Literary Courses you referred to taught to aspirants to the University?
    Quebec's education system is structured after European models.

    k-6 primary school
    7-11 secondary school
    2 years pre-uni college or 3 year vocational college
    3-4 year bachelor degrees
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 05-21-2019 at 11:36 AM.
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    I see. What interests me, Pip:
    How does one reach de pre-uni college and the uni level? The students probably have to pass an examination or a contest to become accepted at the university.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    Quebec's education system is structured after European models.
    So much for decolonization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    I see. What interests me, Pip:
    How does one reach de pre-uni college and the uni level? The students probably have to pass an examination or a contest to become accepted at the university.
    There's no entrance exams, students in Quebec colleges receive what is called an R-Score which is a relative grading model where your score is higher based on how much better you do than the average of your class and in relation to the class's average grades on government high school leaving exams. Entrance requirements for McGill, where I did my undergrad are typically in the 30+ R-score range, which is the top 15% of students roughly.

    http://www.bemarianopolis.ca/choose-us/r-score/
    https://www.mcgill.ca/applying/requirements/qc

    My R score in college was 33, I went to Marianopolis which is a private college, but most students attend public pre-uni colleges that are essentially free and admit everyone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Actually it was 40 acres and a mule, which wasn't a discriminatory hiring practice, so no, it doesn't affect my view of affirmative action.
    I was wondering how far one acre would go toward supporting a family.... OK, that policy was a discriminatory economic advantage practice instead of a "hiring practice". That seems like a distinction without a difference.

    All competitive hiring practices are "discriminatory" (as I'm sure Pompey is well aware). The question is: what are reasonable bases for discrimination? Would it be reasonable (to use just one obvious example) to hire only black actors to play Martin Luther King in a movie?

    The problem with so-called "reverse racism" (of which a subset is affirmative action) is that it is prejudiced and overly generalized. I think many people would agree that it would be reasonable to admit a black kid from the inner city to Harvard who scored 1300 on his SATs over a white kid from Choate school who scored 1400 (other qualifications being equal). There are several reasons:

    1) The inner city kid would probably have scored higher than the Choate kid, had he the same training and advantages. He's probably smarter, if not as well trained for the standardized tests.
    2) We can guess (I don't know, but studies have probably been done) that the Choate kid would, after 4 years at Harvard, score 1400 on his GREs (the standardized tests for entering Grad school equivalent to the SATs). I'll bet the inner city kid would score 1360 or some such. His score might still be lower, but whom has the Harvard education benefited more? Shouldn't Harvard (among other things) want to provide the greatest possible benefits by educating their students?
    3) If the student body at Harvard comprised 95% Choate grad, the students would not have that diverse group of friends and colleagues which might further their educational experience. Harvard probably has admissions policies, for example, that favor geographical diversity (which is a form of "affirmative action").
    4) There are doubtless a number of other reasons we could suggest.

    The problem with affirmative action programs based on race is that many black applicants might have gone to Choate, and had parents who were M.D.s. So they might benefit unfairly from programs designed to help the first kid. "Race" (which is a culturally constituted category,not a biologically constituted one) is a lazy shortcut.

    Nonetheless, whining about "reverse racism" is pathetic. OK. You didn't get into Harvard. Go to Dartmouth. "We shall overcome" what? Our many advantages? (I'm not saying you're whining, Pompey, but your "we shall overcome" slogan could be interpreted that way, although I would never make such an interpretation because it would be uncharitable.)

    Not in the land of do as you please. I am, let's face it, approaching a certain age now, so please forgive me for sounding like an old man. But when I went to grammar school, we put on a production of Macbeth in sixth grade and began learning French in third. We did three Gilbert and Sullivans in what was then called Junior High School; we understood the Victorian English and got the jokes. There were plenty of Korean immigrants among us, and their parents made damn sure their English was better than ours before the first day of school. The Jewish kids studied Hebrew while the rest of us watched the Flintstones. Those days, obviously, are gone. American public education has become tax-supported supplementary day care at best and woke indoctrination camps at worst. It is still, I think, fair to say that a student who cannot read Shakespeare in tenth grade (much less master reading and writing skills) has no business entering a non-technological English-speaking college. And yet.
    Thank God I didn't have to attend Pompey's sixth grade play! It's great that your education was so fabulous, Pompey, but perhaps you shouldn't trash the education of others. I think my son got a perfectly good education in public school in Eugene, Oregon. At any rate, it was good enough for him to go to a top university and become a successful writer. I'm not an educator, but I think you are unfairly insulting many teachers with your comments. Your diatribe is also ageist. A modern 15-year-old who has difficulty with Shakespeare might be great at other languages - like computer programming. His skill with language suggests that he might BENEFIT from a non-technological English-speaking college, and we all might benefit by helping to educate him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post

    Anyways, why an author race is relevant? Since race is a socio-cultura construct, his race will be in the perspective of his creation. It will be everywhere. There will be always perspectives lost because humankind is not that good with that. Take the novel for example, the inclusion of the novels in the canon has to do with social changes. Their style, themes, etc has to do with a lot with the social class that favored them. I am not sure if other cultures (those with literary culture) will not offer quality works, take for example, the day Brazil became a world wide leader and all, they will review the canon to include brazilian writers. They will find writers that are as good as Poe, Byron, Faulkner, Tolstoy, etc. It will not be Paulo Coelho.
    .
    To quote Pompey, "how dumb do you think I am?" Of course an author's cultural background affects what he writes and how he writes about it. For example, if an author is a native English-speaker, he may very well write in English.

    But if the writer's culture affects how he writes, isn't it reasonable to focus on his writing, instead of the biographical details of his (or her) life? Surely the goal is to promote interest in a diverse set of literary styles, subjects, and points of view? By focusing on biographical details we may accomplish a similar goal, but we risk the kind of discrimination against which Pompey is inveighing.

    If we focus on authors' biographies, wouldn't a course in English (language) literature exclude Conrad and Nabokov?

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