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former hoot | further hoot

Oooh, pretty stuff!

Are you shocked that I'm updating? I am! I was going on tumblr prior to working on my thesis proposal, and I had the fleeting thought that I should update my livejournal. And then I actually opened a new tab and went to livejournal. Very weird.

My thesis proposal: I want to write on Wordsworth's later verse, and the progression in that from iconcolastic and liberal thought to more conservative and religious thought. Much has been written on this, and I will be reading several major critics and biographers, but a lot of the criticism focuses on The Prelude, or how everything else fits in with The Prelude, largely treating it as Wordsworth's only important work. Yes, he wrote it when he was 29, but there was another 50 years of thinking that he did after he wrote it. (Don't worry, I am writing this all smart-sounding in my proposal!)

I suppose I resent the impression that these critics dismiss his later poetry because it is religious, whereas I am not bothered by the religious question in my criticism, except in so far as, can we make sense of what this person is saying in the scope of all their own work. Having to defend or attack the presence of religious belief is not what literary criticism is meant to do. If literature seeks to help us understand the human psyche, and religion is part of that psyche (major philosophers, from Rousseau to Alain de Botton, have said that religious values are important for social cohesion, and that much can be gained from religious traditions by secular or atheist parties), then, for literary critics, it is the approach to religion within the text that is important, not the critic's view of the religion. If a critic dismisses a text because it is sympathetic to religion, then she is not being as objective as she can in interpreting the text.

Well, that is enough theorising about criticism for now. I must away to my proposal. [Exeunt]

latest month

December 2015

all owls should ponder

Emily Dickinson
Isobelle Carmody
Simone Weil
Betty Smith
Seamus Heaney
Isobelle Carmody
Ursula le Guin
Alice Walker
David Malouf
Michelle Cooper
Dorothy L Sayers
Charles Williams
JK Rowling
CS Lewis
Simone de Beauvoir
Dorothy Parker
Pearl S Buck
Maya Angelou
Henry Lawson
Mikhail Bulgakov
Edna St Vincent-Millay
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