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

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?

Saturday, October 11, 2003

This is for last weeks discussion of uses of the word nature with respect to Edmund Burke. On handout page 4 Burke is writing of socio-economic classes. He writes, "The levellers therefore only change and pervert the NATURAL order of things." He is conveying that he believes some people are just meant to be in a lower class and that system of class division is really natural according to his perspective.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I think that the picture plates colored the readings, even if they didn't illustrate them. Like on plates twenty-two and three the text on plate twenty two talks about how Urizen begins to loathe the creatures that he creates and realizes that nothing created will be able to live under his laws. The corresponding picture shows Urizen pressing the sun to the earth, warding off a creature, and twenty three shows him pressing against the world, or so it seems. Just seeing the pictures, which I looked at first, colored my reading of the text. The words themselves, though they can stand alone aren't nearly as powerful without the added pathos from the pictures.

I can definitely see how people can claim that ambiguity is inherent in his work. He utilizes so many symbols, that themselves have so many possible interpretations, that you can mold Blake to say anything that you want him to. For example, plate seven, the one with the three upside down serpents, everyone in class immediately went to the Christian meaning for a snake symbol. But personally, my mind went first to the Grecian meaning, of Healing. Which made sense to me, because though they(Los and urizen) were being rent apart, they were still healed, and it was the only way that imagination could be freed. And I can't remember exactly what the biblical passage was, but the one that lists God's wrath as a whirlwind, and tells the faithful to live within the center. I'll have to ask someone with more biblical knowledge than I have, but I just found it interesting to see the correlation between YHWH and Urizen.

I'm rambling. What I really wanted to say is that I find it interesting that though you would expect Blake to be ambiguous, at least with Urizen, because of his wording, the "Lyrical Ballads" seem like they shouldn't be ambiguous at all, because of their wording, and yet they are.

Monday, October 06, 2003

I know this is a bit late, but I wanted to comment on the class period when we discussed Blake's Urizon with respect to the illustrations he created. Maybe it's because I'm an Art History major, but I found it very interesting to see how he coincided the two art forms to reflect one another.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

After reading Urizen the first time I was really confused , but after Tuesday class I was really interested in the correlation between the art and the actual poetry. The comment that the art was used as part of the interpretation and not just as an enhancement really changed the way that I looked at Urizen. It is a very complex and interesting work. Blake seems to make a point that man made things and some laws and rules confine us.

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