Monday, January 22, 2007

Lectures this week

Tuesday's lecture we will finish our look at Cranford, and get a summary statement about the nature of the chick-lit genre. (See the earlier post here on the Mlynowski and Jacobs text.)

Thursday we will begin studying Stalky & Co. and the complementary lad-lit genre.

Actually, this reminds me to emphasise a point made in opening lecture about the purview of our course of study: to wit, two literary genres. Obviously, chick-lit & lad-lit say something worthwhile about the culture which creates, markets and reads the books in the respective genres. And the books hopefully stimulate interest in, as another genre writer put it, Life, the Universe, & Everything. However, our discipline -- university English -- is properly limited in on literary texts as its empirical and theoretical domain, and with the Print culture more widely. And the object of the course of study -- like any academic practice -- is understanding. Any moral judgement beyind this on the texts or surrounding print culture is, of definition, a purely personal matter: the place for moral judgement, praise or denunication is called Church.

A reminder here that if you are interested in the state of the current theoretical and literary-cultural engagement with chick-lit, please pick up our recommended course text, Ferriss & Young's Chick-Lit: The New woman's Fiction. Positions from this helpful text will be elaborated, now a basic foundation is laid, as the term progresses.

Update: there is a sequence of academic practice -- call it "Ogden's Ladder" -- which goes like this:

  1. Data collection.
  2. Information sorting.
  3. Contextualisation.
  4. Comparison.
  5. Analysis.
  6. Description.
  7. Evaluation.
  8. Understanding.

I came up with Ogden's Ladder some years ago in response to an encounter, which seemed to have wider relevancy, with a scholar who was intensely frustrating an interlocutor by, as I realised on reflection, actually beginning the academic practice with judgement, and then doing every other related aspect (including, as it happens, even data collection) from pure prejudice: in its strictest etymological sense, "pre-judice."

I'll phrase this list into specifically literary terms as our term progresses.

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