I went into my files to look for some of my grad school paper from the 1980s (when I was in grad school). I found the one on Flann O'Brien, the one on Menard, one on O'Hara, one on Koch, another on Barthes, and an essay on translation. A paper about WCW's "The Jungle." These are 40 years old, in some cases.
I remember these papers pretty well, and don't think they are bad at all. I skewered naive readings of "Pierre Menard" by big names in the field, for example. Rodríguez Monegal. I am not uniformly impressed, and don't want to read every word of what I wrote either. I was not a bad writer, but would not write in quite the same way now, either. That probably doesn't matter, too much. It is strangely moving to find this material, sometimes with professors' notes scrawled on them.
I guess the take away from this is that I had a perspective on things, my own way of seeing things, and was arguing points. For example, many people had written that William Carlos Williams presented static images, and I was arguing that he had a rhetorical perspective, that he was trying to get people to look at things in a certain way, exhorting them, as it were. Thus the images were dynamic and not static.
Now, whether you think this is an important point or not, I am clearly correct in this. The same when I argue that O'Hara was writing elegies rather than "casual" poems about every day life, or that Borges was not presenting some facile point in "Pierre Menard." I think I am correct in arguing that Flann had an ambivalent attitude toward Joycean modernism.
You taught me a ton about WCW and O'Hara.
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