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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sponge

We've all had the graduate student who is a sponge. The last thing he or she has read has to go into the dissertation, relevance aside. It's hard with this kind of spongy student because the attention tends to wander a bit. The absorptive impulse isn't bad in and of itself, but sometimes it becomes too associational (this reminds me of that) and lacks depth.

I'm a little like that too. When I'm working on a project, everything else I read just happens to bear a relation to it. Now, I happen to be teaching a novel by Unamuno and working on a section of an article where Unamuno comes up. Naturally, I turn to that novel and to another by Atxaga I just happened to have taught just now in my other course. Maybe I assigned these novels subconsciously knowing I would need them?

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