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Old 05-31-2016   #11
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

One of these days, white males are going to catch a break and start running stuff in this world, and then we'll finally have the peaceful, enlightened, egalitarian utopia we've all been waiting for.

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Old 06-01-2016   #12
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

nil

Last edited by symbolique; 09-06-2017 at 01:59 AM..
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Old 06-01-2016   #13
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
Is McCarthy gay or bisexual? I admit I've barely read any interviews with him.
I am not sure, but there is Allen Ginsberg on the list if one seeks to make the circle rounder.

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Liam Barden View Post
[I]Read poems, novels and short stories OF YOUR CHOICE, outside academia.

You can teach yourself everything you need to know about literature simply by READING FOR PLEASURE.
I don't think so, at least not ipso facto. I personally have, indeed, learned more about the field of literature on my own time than in formal instruction, but this is probably due to my preference of reading literary fiction and the occasional literary criticism. A person who reads only popular bestsellers probably not learn "everything you need to know about literature" than someone who prefers to read the former. Otherwise, I agree; Pope's essay still holds weight today, and I wonder if Harold Bloom ever ponders on sleepless nights: "One of my heroes has deeply insulted me a good two centuries before I was born..."

Connecting your sentiments with the initial topic, I generally prefer to read the Canon of the Weird, the Surrealists, and the Obscure more so than that of the Bourgeois, the Realists, and the Popular. But, inevitably, my preferred canons are on some level influenced by the canons of the status quo: no Lovecraft without Poe without Byron without Shakespeare without Chaucer without Dante without Ovid without Homer.

Literature, to me, operates like a phylogenetic tree; as biologists can determine the common ancestry of an organism through fossils and molecular evidence, so a reader, critic, or historian can determine a work's literary ancestry. The transitional forms were likely authored by somebody with odious views from an odious time, but they were a necessary step to produce the present work.
The question these petitions raise is "Should we judge the work based on certain beliefs and actions of the author?" It is a relevant question and I have heard this one in art and music as well. My answer is a resounding NO. To me, a work speaks for its author, and it is the work that inspires. Was someone inspired by Lovecraft's railings against foreigners so much they pick up their pen? Maybe Newton's occult studies influence many physicists? Of course not (most of the time).

On literature heroes and Harold Bloom......why should Bloom take an insult personally? The persons are dead, the malice into dust, these words reflect a mind long gone.

To me, literary heroes don't exist. My favorite authors were all one time or another either a hermit, depressive, involved in a fascist organization, looking down on women, macho, sadist, etc...The list goes on. I am always disappointed by how human they were.

"Tell me how you want to die, and I'll tell you who you are. In other words, how do you fill out an empty life? With women, books, or worldly ambitions? No matter what you do, the starting point is boredom, and the end self-destruction. The emblem of our fate: the sky teeming with worms. Baudelaire taught me that life is the ecstasy of worms in the sun, and happiness the dance of worms."
---Tears and Saints, E. M. Cioran
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Old 06-01-2016   #14
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

The sort of politically correct awfulness that would have seemed purely to exist in the realm of right-wing paranoia as soon as three years ago is now starting to stifle the arts and the discussion of ideas. Troubling times.

I strongly disagree with practically all of my favourite writers' political opinions. Robert Aickman's opinions on social class and socialism were as far away from mine as it is possible to get. Doesn't change my opinion of his works one iota. Reading ideas you disagree with, as nasty as they can be, is healthy for the brain.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 06-01-2016   #15
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
My favorite authors were all one time or another either a hermit, depressive, involved in a fascist organization, looking down on women, macho, sadist, etc...The list goes on. I am always disappointed by how human they were.
Are you really disappointed about them being hermits or depressive?

I don't think it's unusual to feel insulted by their views. Sometimes you form a connection that feels like a friendship that could have been. I've certainly been disappointed or felt a little threatened that someone I respect has bad things to say about my values.

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Old 06-01-2016   #16
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

Quote Originally Posted by T.E. Grau View Post
One of these days, white males are going to catch a break and start running stuff in this world, and then we'll finally have the peaceful, enlightened, egalitarian utopia we've all been waiting for.
Indeed.
Maybe one day they'll found a nation that other people will find marginally tolerable to inhabit.


The Atlantic

Oh.

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Old 06-01-2016   #17
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

English literature is a bit of a disgrace anyway. I mean, let's be honest, before about 1900 (1870 if we're generous) there's not a lot to save. Beowulf? That Green Knight thing?Not exactly high art. Lots of wannabe Sagas and medieval poncing about.The vast Latin and Chinese civilizations produced much more sophisticated work.

Then the 19th century chocolate box parade with the death of Little Nell and much more besides. Hey, read any GEORGE MEREDITH recently? No? Could I interest you in a side order of JOHN GALSWORTHY?

Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight an upper middle-class family in full plumage. But whosoever of these favoured persons has possessed the gift of psychological analysis (a talent without monetary value and properly ignored by the Forsytes), has witnessed a spectacle, not only delightful in itself, but illustrative of an obscure human problem. In plainer words, he has gleaned from a gathering of this family no branch of which had a liking for the other, between no three members of whom existed anything worthy of the name of sympathy evidence of that mysterious concrete tenacity which renders a family so formidable a unit of society, so clear a reproduction of society in miniature. He has been admitted to a vision of the dim roads of social progress, has understood something of patriarchal life, of the swarmings of savage hordes, of the rise and fall of nations. He is like one who, having watched a tree grow from its planting a paragon of tenacity, insulation, and success, amidst the deaths of a hundred other plants less fibrous, sappy, and persistent one day will see it flourishing with bland, full foliage, in an almost repugnant prosperity, at the summit of its efflorescence.

Nice efflorescence bro!!!!!!

The military success of the British Empire and its impact on history should not be taken as an automatic inflation of literature produced in this language. The best of English literature remains to be written...
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Old 06-01-2016   #18
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

"Found" being the operative word.

Quote Originally Posted by Fenris Technique View Post
Quote Originally Posted by T.E. Grau View Post
One of these days, white males are going to catch a break and start running stuff in this world, and then we'll finally have the peaceful, enlightened, egalitarian utopia we've all been waiting for.
Indeed.
Maybe one day they'll found a nation that other people will find marginally tolerable to inhabit.


The Atlantic

Oh.


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Old 06-01-2016   #19
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
The question these petitions raise is "Should we judge the work based on certain beliefs and actions of the author?" It is a relevant question and I have heard this one in art and music as well. My answer is a resounding NO. To me, a work speaks for its author, and it is the work that inspires. Was someone inspired by Lovecraft's railings against foreigners so much they pick up their pen? Maybe Newton's occult studies influence many physicists? Of course not (most of the time).
I agree.
Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
On literature heroes and Harold Bloom......why should Bloom take an insult personally? The persons are dead, the malice into dust, these words reflect a mind long gone.
I meant that to be a joke. As for literary heroes, Robert and I have similar views.

Quote Originally Posted by Prince James Zaleski View Post
The sort of politically correct awfulness that would have seemed purely to exist in the realm of right-wing paranoia as soon as three years ago is now starting to stifle the arts and the discussion of ideas. Troubling times.

I strongly disagree with practically all of my favourite writers' political opinions. Robert Aickman's opinions on social class and socialism were as far away from mine as it is possible to get. Doesn't change my opinion of his works one iota. Reading ideas you disagree with, as nasty as they can be, is healthy for the brain.
I don't see how this petition, this article, or similar petitions and articles are stifling discourse.

I agree with the Slate article that English Majors are going to be inevitably coerced into reading poets and prose writers of a largely racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialist, capitalist elite class that was the result of the culture and the time-period and that other demographics of that time will of course be underrepresented or not represented at all; the authors of the petition will probably see their grievance die on the faculty floor. However, they have asked a very legitimate question worthy of discussion and is generating discussion (evident by the article, Yale's process of amending the curriculum, and this very thread): Are there authors from that time period of comparable merit as the canonized elite; and, if so, why are we not being exposed to them?

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
English literature is a bit of a disgrace anyway. I mean, let's be honest, before about 1900 (1870 if we're generous) there's not a lot to save. Beowulf? That Green Knight thing? Not exactly high art. Lots of wannabe Sagas and medieval poncing about. The vast Latin and Chinese civilizations produced much more sophisticated work.
There were noble fossils among the English coal seams.

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
The military success of the British Empire and its impact on history should not be taken as an automatic inflation of literature produced in this language. The best of English literature remains to be written..
Indeed.
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Old 06-01-2016   #20
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Re: Slate.com on Social Justice and the English Literary Canon

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
I don't see how this petition, this article, or similar petitions and articles are stifling discourse.
Sorry I was unclear. I was replying more to the general thread of conversation at the time of my posting rather than the initial source of conversation.

If I were to list my favourite thirty writers, the vast majority of them would be white men (though I now rank Elizabeth Bowen up there with Robert Aickman and Walter de la Mare in my top three ghostly writers). This is due to imperialist history and laziness on my part. We should all make an effort to read more widely. For our own enjoyment and search for beauty, rather than due to political correctness.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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