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Literary Criticism

Saturday, June 12, 2004

10:26PM - Newcomer

Hey human beings! I don't know if this community is still active... it seems to have slowed or perhaps faded. Regardless, I am a recent college graduate with a BA in History who has recently found a very exciting world of critical theory. So, if there are people still involved here, I am ready and willing to chat it up. My strength is bringing a fairly good grasp of the theories of Rene Girard to the table. I don't know if anyone knows who he is, but I have found resonance with his line of thinking. Right now I'm working on a Girardian view of Beowulf, and coming along nicely. We'll see if it keeps up.


Current mood: contemplative

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

1:20PM - Stanley Fish

I sent an Email to Stanley Fish a while ago asking him how he deals with the linguistics of Anselm's ontological argument. Oddly, he said he was not familiar enough with the o.a. to give an educated response. Does that surprise anybody else?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

2:55PM - My Opinion on the Word Problem

My Opinion of the Word Problem by Biran Zimmerman

Well, this is it. Ultimately, the anti-art of Marcel Duchamp has become the anti-word, anti-language stance I have now come to embrace. And, really, this isn't nihilism. In fact, I feel kind of satisfied, content, happy to be giving up this useless endeavour of literature.
Initially, I was always fascinated by the absurdist language of Beckett, the irrational poems and blurring of lit. and life by dada. All of this lead me to believe in existentialism to come to an awareness of its fundamental principles. I fully embraced the works of Camus, Nietzsche, but Sartre supplied me with ultiamte conclusions in his seminal works like the Age of Reason or Being and Nothingness. Eventually, I came to view life as completely devoid of meaning, one's only task in life then being to live within this meaningless world free of inauthentic choices not reflecting that base meaninglessness. Oddly, this quote from William Barret's Irrational Man kept ringing through me, singing me, bringing me out to dry; I obsessed over this small point which seemed to be to be a Baudrillard statement of reality without truth and what we "should" do in this debased state: "[most people] Sartre says, have chosen as themselves their public stance or role, and thus really exist not as free beings for themselves but as beings in the eyes of others."
The authentic life was a choice. It, itself was a bias. Nature didn't care about what you choose, whether or not you chose authenticity or inauthenticity in life: it didn't matter! This is incongruous or so I thought to everything we were always told and even what the existentialist taught. There was no point and no difference. There’s not even a fundamental difference between authentic life and inauthentic life. It was a choice.
Suddenly, something rather odd began to happen, I stopped questioning myself. Living in this reality, this consciousness which Sartre places language as fundamental; I began to just stop asking myself what I should do. Soon I was roaming the streets in what the french radicals call "derives" or drifitng in which one can literally and in a primal state of action, do anything. This adrenaline was so different from anything Camus had talked about in his Stranger, I felt the mindlessness of action but never did I feel the joyless indifference of that stranger to the world. In fact, the only time I ever felt that indifference was, indeed, when I thought, when I wrote, when I allowed the rules and questions of reality to debase me.
This new feeling, this new thoughtlessness where one risks all in order to do some absurd physical exergtion, e.g., jumping over a fence, pretending to be a dinosaur in front of middleclass restaurant goers with their kids, etc. This was something beyond the words and descriptions, the formulations the existentialist could ever bring out about action and choice. Spontaneity had taken over my life and shit upon my mind and existentialism, and my soul, something they could never touch, soured. This was art taken to the street, this was 'poetic madness' taken to its logical and dada extreme; this was all artistic freedom and in life.

There is a point where freedom becomes its own limitation, and I've experienced this limitation and everyone who has ever read one word by an existentialist knows this limit. You honestly don't have all the answers, you will never have the right words and there will not be a rejoinder to the Bible, or a Great American Novel, or the masterpiece of our century or the word of God given to and existent in Borders. There is no such thing as perfection without these answers and when you try to answer them the only thing that becomes false is your soul and your emotional world. I say, abandon words, abandon logic and don't do so to satisfy dada, or to quench Mr. Derrida. Do this because when you stop thinking and reciting, you're world is filled with a joy no philosophy or theory or word could ever bring it. Let go of all logic all transcription and all separation because in nature you never possessed these things and when you thought you did you lost your very natural step outside, living you were plagued by the words of lesser men.
Letting go, words aren’t separate from your existence, poetry is the world and no philosophy or theory can take that feeling and calm resignation away. No one can talk away the feeling when you stop attaching importance, and let everything make a significance of its own accord.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004


Hey. I'm new to this community, I stumbled across it by accident and thought it might be fun. I Love literature and I love hearing other peoples oppinions on it. I happen to be currently directing a play called "No Exit" by John Paul Sartre. The play doesn't consist of an exicting plot line as it is an existentialist piece. THe beauty of the work comes from it's intricate characters and their absolute believabity as well as the philosophical aspects of the play.If anyone has read it and has any interesting thoughts or interpretations on it I would love to hear them.

Friday, December 19, 2003


Those of you in this dormant community might be interested in knowing that the recently formed (by me) literary_theory is brimming with 80-some-odd members. Better chance for discussion there, although even with all those members, not many people are posting. In any case, come join us, and bring along that Saussure question--that's the kind of stuff I'm looking for.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003


Hey haven't posted in a loooong time. I was lost in my studies and barely have any time for my own thoughts. What are everyone's thoughts on Saussure?

Current mood: lethargic

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

2:12PM - Deconstruction

Deconstruction!!!! One of my personal favorites. I remember spending quite a bit of time studying the Structuralists such as Saussure and Levi-Strauss (ick!) There are definitely some interesting things brought up by Structuralism, but as for the art and creativity of literature/language, they really limited themeselves by focusing on structure, instead of the ways in which the stucture is confused or broken, which is what Derrida brings to light. continued...Collapse )

Current mood: amused

Tuesday, August 5, 2003


I think this is a great community and I would love to discuss more literary philosophy. I am actually both an English and Lit major, but I study more modern philosophy. My school doesn't invest much time in discussing people like Bahktin, Derrida, Cixous, and philosophers alike. I hope this works out well because I could definitely use some help with this topic of critical theory.

Current mood: anxious

Sunday, August 3, 2003

12:00PM - Welcome

I would like to welcome you to this community--the first one of its kind, I believe. After searching for a community through which I could learn more about literary criticism, I decided that creating one for that explicite purpose would be the most practical step. If you have questions, comments, or recomendations, please post them here. As long as everyone is respectful and appreciative of each others' contributions, this could become a great resource. Again, I welcome you.