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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Literary Theory 101

A lot of my Lorca project is just Literary Theory 101. An author is an "author-function" (Foucault) not a biographical subject with a set of fixed "intentions." The speaker of the poem is not the biographical subject.

We construct a literary tradition retrospectively; it isn't handed to us as a given (Borges). The problem of translation is co-substantial with the problem of literature itself (Borges). Hermeneutics is historical and takes into account the linguisticality of language (Gadamer). Language is not an unproblematical mirror for representing reality (every literary theorist ever).

Gay identity is not fixed or essential, but constructed (every theorist since Foucault and Sedgwick).

These are things I have almost always known (or so it seems). Lorca studies is too often innocent of these basic principles. I can make a contribution simply by being competent in my understanding of these ideas, and just a little bit creative in seeing the implications that ensue.


Here is a free idea for you: explain the literary theory of Borges using the terms of Gadamerian hermeneutics. You can use "Kafka and His Precursors," "The Homeric Versions," and "Pierre Menard." You can take this idea free of charge and write your own essay. Just credit me with the original idea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As usual, I'll take the idea to create a class.

On the question of academia 101: I've long been frustrated by getting academia 101 as the answer to non 101 questions, and also wondered why so many people get so far without learning these answers sooner, but these things having been said, 101 does always apply and it is always useful to remember the 101 answers (or remember that they are still true).