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Discussion of literary texts published in Britain between 1780 and 1815.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Charlotte Smith is always writing about how bad things are in her life. I her Elegaic Sonnets it is more of the same. In her sonnets there is a recurring trend to present a problem and then relate in to her life. Many believe that her poems contain tremendous egotism and I do agree, however I also feel that much of her work was a cry for help. I think that she wanted someone to think, "Hey her life must be bad what could I do"
I think that the sonnet in a good form to write an idea. One has a problem followed by a solution and then a moral. However, it does seem that trying to put an idea into this form would cause a loss in the meaning. During a class discussion the idea that the sonnet itself may be a form of inspiration even generating ideas was presented. I had never though of that possibility, but I do think that it is possible. I am just not use to that type of reasoning.
When studying the preface to Lyrical Ballads I was in intrigued by one passage in particular, "For the human mind is capable of being excited without the application of gross and violent stimulants...and who does not further know that one being is elevated above another, in proportion as he possesses this capability" (Wordswoth 395). After writing a paper and much class discussion I think I understand this passage much better. Wordsworth is conveying his belief that human elevation does not come from birth, but rather from being able to see the importance in something simple. As touched upon in class , How sensitive can a person be determines a beings elevation over another, according to Wordsworth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Our discussion about allegory and symbolism was challenging to me. I was disappointed that Wordsworth used allegory to disclaim his political views later in life. I can see how allegory and symbolism would really further the enlightenment creedo of thinking for yourself. I enjoy looking at symbols and trying to decode them because of that energy I get when I finally figure something out. Does anyone else feel this same excitement, or am I just strange??

Sunday, November 09, 2003

This is in response to the sonnet assignment we just finished. I found it to be extremely interesting and also fun to do. I have never studied sonnets in any of my prior classes and therefore never realized how the different stresses effect the way one reads the sonnet. It definitely gave me a greater appreciation of this particular type of writing.

Friday, October 31, 2003

That's really interesting. Communication studies usually are.

I'm posting because I'm not sure if I was the only one who didn't understand the difference between the two theories we discussed on Thursday. I guess the more modern theory, is the one where the idea exists nebulously, and as writers we search for the correct words to convey them. That's sort of the one where, using the paper example, we have a sentence that doesn't say what we want, and through trial and error we arrive at one that is what we meant to say.
In that one, what changes are the words, searching to say what we want.

The one that the Romantics held, (or at least that's how I understood it) is that instead of changing the words to fit what we're saying, we change ourselves to fit the words. So the person who writes the final sentence isn't the same person who wrote the last one.

Which makes the poetry sound less elitist, or hypocritical, at least in my mind. If everyone else got it, I'm sorry for expanding, I just figured that it might be of some help.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Katherine, in reguard to your comment about re-thinking our associations for mental health, I totally agree. I have personally done a series by a Buddhist, Marsha Linehan, that does just that. Linehan has you become conscious of what you are thinking. Our class discussions also remind me of the mass communication theories of Marshall McLuhan, who says that "cool" mediums are mediums that require interaction on the part of the partaker. "Hot" mediums are mediums that don't require interaction, such as a TV sitcom. We don't really have to think to put it together, its all laid out for us. I find all of this stuff pretty interesting!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Something that struck me during class on tuesday was the similarity between modern psychological theory, and the stated purpose of the Lyrical Ballads. I'm not entirely sure what paradigm my parents subscribe to, but I remember discussing with them the manner in which therapists and clinical psychologists attempt to help people with emotional trauma.

One of the main things we talked about was how, in order to become healthy, you have to give up your "judgements". This reminded me of the lecture, about pre-judged associations, and the thought that Wordsworth was acting as a Romantic Psychologist hit me.

I just wanted to get ideas from the class on what you guys think. Can parallels be drawn between the idea that to acheive mental health we have to examine and heal our prejudices and unhealthy assocations and the stated purpose of the ballads?
During last weeks discussion of The Young Philosopher, there were some interesting ideas presented about marriage. On page 62 Miss Goldthorp conveys an attraction to Mr Delmont, "Suppose it were true that I should be such a naughty girl as to like Mr. Delmont rather than my own pretty little coz, what then?" It is clear by the reaction of her uncle that liking a philosopher during this time period was not acceptable to the upper class, and certainly marriage would not be acceptable. Her uncle stated, "...on a man -of good family indeed, but for aught I can learn, with little or no fortune-a man too without a profession, and who takes upon him to cavil and comment..."

Monday, October 13, 2003

And that affects our understanding of the text because...?

I think you're right, that focusing on Burke's position is important, but I think it's important because of the contrast between the ideologies presented in his published works, and the premise of Smith's The Young Philosopher

I think the section you quoted is more pertinent, not from its use of the word “natural” but rather from the insinuation that change is a corrupt or perverse thing. Which, as I understand it, is a major premise of the counter-revolutionary writers. The whole idea behind monarchies was that those in power were there because they had the divine right to be in control, (I know everyone already knows this...it's for the benefit of anyone not in the class who happens to have mistakenly stumbled on the blog) and so they could rule as cruelly as they wanted. Thus the premise of the French Revolution. The "natural and divine" order said that one class would always succeed by standing on the shoulders of a class they subjugate. It's the exact argument used by American Slaveholders around the same period, their comfort, their tradition, their holding slaves was just continuing the natural order of things. It's almost nietzschean actually, the strong will always subjugate the weak. Those with the power will say whatever they need to to keep the power.

Which is what I think this book is really about. Didn't it say somewhere in Lyrical Ballads that it was the philosophers who were leading the people astray and feeding them lies in order to continue the old order? I mean, if you think about it, philsophy is only something that the rich can partake of, and wouldn't the rich be interested in keeping their wealth? I think the book is trying to present an idea of PHILOSOPHER (yes that was a platonic form) that doesn't look to personal gain, but rather to what is most beneficial for society.


Just my opinion, what do you think?

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