Survery of Literary Criticism

Friday, October 29, 2004

Friedrich von Schiller

My individual presentation was on Schiller. Here are my notes:

English 300 Individual Critic Presentation
October 28, 2004
Katy Sparks

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

Scene: Choir room, choir director in front with robe on

“All right choir, let’s get to work, we have a concert coming up!”

Ok, now I think that we all deserve a little bit of culture besides eating French fries for lunch, so…. We will be performing the European anthem. Does anyone know what the European anthem is?

Didn’t think so. Well, the anthem goes something like this…….. (play song on the keyboard)

Now anybody recognize the tune?

That’s right – Ode to Joy. The music is from Beethoveen’s 9th Symphony, but it was originally based on a poem by Friedrich von Schiller. Schiller wrote it with the idea that "beggars become the brothers of princes." It was adopted as the European anthem in 1972, but in 2003 the European Union decided to use just the music and not the German lyrics. Can anyone tell me another work by Schiller that was set to music?

The William Tell Overture by Rossini is based on a drama by Schiller about a Swiss man who was traveling with his son and they passed the dictator’s hat on a pole and did not properly bow. So the dictator gave the man a choice, either execution on the spot, or shoot an apple off his son’s head with a cross bow. The man cleanly shot the apple off his son’s head and when the dictator asked what he would have done had he harmed his son, the man replied that he would have shot an arrow at the dictator and not missed. This man is a hero in Switzerland and the story is credited with the beginning of Swiss revolution for freedom. In fact, the image of Tell's crossbow is stamped on every item of export that passes Switzerland's borders, as proof that it is truly made in Switzerland.

How’s that for a story? Keep in mind that Schiller was German and even a military man in his younger years before he became a prominent dramatist, poet and literary critic. Schiller's work was a turning up point for German literature, because "there was even serious debate about whether the German language was a fit vehicle for literary expression" prior to Schiller's entrance upon the writing scene.

Schiller was good buddies with Goethe; both are major figures in German literature's Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) period. As you can see from his William Tell play, both physical and spiritual freedom were huge issues to Schiller. He was writing in the aftermath of the French revolution, where random executions were happening. in his work.

Let me leave you with a final quote from Schiller – but don’t think it can be used as an excuse for not knowing the music next period!!Against stupidity the very godsThemselves contend in vain. The Maid of Orleans. Act iii. Sc. 6.

And here are the actual (translated from German) words to Ode to Joy:

ODE TO JOY (Friedrich von Schiller) BARITONE, QUARTET, AND CHORUS Joy, beautiful spark of the gods, Daughter of Elysium, We enter fire imbibed, Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Thy magic reunites those Whom stern custom has parted; All men will become brothers Under thy gentle wing.
May he who has had the fortune To gain a true friend And he who has won a noble wifeJ oin in our jubilation!Yes, even if he calls but one soul His own in all the world.
But he who has failed in this Must steal away alone and in tears.
All the world's creatures Draw joy from nature's breast; Both the good and the evil Follow her rose-strewn path.
She gave us kisses and wine And a friend loyal unto death; She gave lust for life to the lowliest, And the Cherub stands before God.
TENOR SOLO AND CHORUS Joyously, as his suns speed Through Heaven's glorious order, Hasten, Brothers, on your way, Exulting as a knight in victory.
CHORUS Joy, beautiful spark of the gods, Daughter of Elysium, We enter fire imbibed, Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Be embraced, Millions! This kiss for all the world! Brothers!, above the starry canopy A loving father must dwell.
Can you sense the Creator, world? Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell. Be embraced, Millions! This kiss for all the world! Brothers!, above the starry canopy A loving father must dwell.
Can you sense the Creator, world? Seek him above the starry canopy. Above the stars He must dwell.
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods, Daughter of Elysium, We enter fire imbibed, Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Be embraced, Millions! This kiss for all the world! Brothers!, above the starry canopy A loving father must dwell. Can you sense the Creator, world? Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell. Be embraced, Millions! This kiss for all the world! Brothers!, above the starry canopy A loving father must dwell.
Can you sense the Creator, world? Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell. Joy, daughter of Elysium Thy magic reunites those Whom stern custom has parted; All men will become brothers Under thy gentle wing.
Be embraced, Millions! This kiss for all the world! Brothers!, above the starry canopy A loving father must dwell. Joy, beautiful spark of Gods!, Daughter of Elysium, Joy, beatiful spark of Gods!.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

First round of reincarnates

Today was the beginning of our individual presentations and my fellow classmates did an excellent job. Here are my notes, excluding by own presentation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (a.k.a Brian)

"Wisdom from Waldo" workshop in search of the Great American Poet
man hopes, genius creates, and each age writes its own books
the soul and the mind can only be fused in nature
Ralph's painful secret: man is only half himself, the other half is expression
Poets are liberating gods
Parting quote: "Doubt not o poet, but persist...."

Paul DeMann (a.k.a Becky)

Conflicting forces within text itself, destroys meaning
there are stable and unstable texts. If a student reads a text, he/she becomes unstable
rhetoric - Aristotle - art of discovering....
METAPHORS - read behind lines of a text
example - Archie Bunker's shoes tied inside or out?
grammar is important
poetry is most advanced and refined deconstructionism
History is a text itself

Freidrich von Schiller

In error only is there truth.

Tsvetan Todorov (a.k.a. Ben)

elements we refer to is the plot
clauses are extremely important
clause is a subject, verb, and some adjectives
3 kinds - ______, successive, spatial
example - X violates a law or commits a crime, then Y must punish X, but X wants to avoid punishment,
so Y violates a law trying to punish X and therefore should not punish X, so X avoids punishment
syntax - study of re-writing clauses in a sequence
Theme - sutdy of patterns in a sequence
rhetoric - study of verbs

Mary Wollstonecraft (a.k.a Francoise)

She makes a darn fine Victorian man and don't get in the way of her stick!!
Mary was a feminist
"Vindication on the Rights of Woman"
handout about Mary and Victorian society
plight of women in Victorian age and women in present day Afghanistan are similar? Both supposed to keep
covered, say little, and remain near household

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Deconstructionizingists (wow, that's a mouthful!)

Paul DeMann (also known as Becky) gave us a definition of deconstructionists today. And we learned of Dr. Sexson's secret passion - Northrup Frye! (**gasp!**)

So what' so great about Northrup Frye? Apparently Dr. Sexson believes that he includes all the elements of literary criticism, especially idenitifying archtypes (or as Kate says: the universal models). While the detective story may be the greatest genre according to Aristotle, Frye identifies many other archetypes.

Frye uses the seasons as a model for his archtypes. This is an interesting analogy for me, considering that I am also in Mythologies currently, and we've been discussing how our ancestors couldn't explain why wonders of the world happened (like the four seasons), expect through elaborate stories and making up myths.

It makes a person wonder - is everything based in circular tradition? And there's that word - tradition. If we were to classify the fads of the last century, wouldn't we find, that like the seasons, clothing goes in circles? Some fad is born, like platform shoes, and appear to be very cool in the spring of its reign, then it hits a peak (in the summer), slowly fades into fall, and eventually dies a cruel death (winter - when anyone who still admits to owning a pair of platform shoes is flogged). But, what's this? It's twenty years later and guess what the new fad is? PLATFORM SHOES! scary, huh?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Here are the answers for "Quiz 1": (answers are in bold, please let me know if anything's wrong!!)

1. Reproduce Chart
Element Approach Time Frame
Work Objective Modern
Artist Expressive Romantic
Universe Mimetic Ancient
Audience Pragmatic Neo-classical

2. In terms of the criticism chart and our discussion, Sir Philip Sidney would best be classified as a PRAGMATIC critic.

3. Aristotle's definition of tragedy (in English): An IMITATION of an ACTION that is SERIOUS, COMPLETE, and of a certain magnitude.

4. Which level of Dante's scheme would likely to be termed "mystical" ANAGOGICAL

5. Which of the folowing would be most likely to censor literature which conflicted with the values of the state? a) PLATO

6. Who actually used the term "art for art's sake" in the selection from the anthology having to do with making the most of our moments as they pass? WALTER PATER

7. "Sweetness and Light" and "The Best that has been thought and known in the world" are terms associated with which critic? MATTHEW ARNOLD

8. Said that poets were the "unacknowledged legislators of the world"? PERCY SHELLEY

9. Who, according to your instructor, is the first "formalist" critic? ARISTOTLE

10. Who said, "I am vast. I contain multitudes. I have room to contradict myself?" WALT WHITMAN

11. What work would Aristotle cite as the exemplary tradegy? OEDIPUS REX

12. Johnson's difference from Aristotle is that his notion of the "general" is a statistical rather than a philosophical category. TRUE

13. Complete this throught from Sidney: The poet doesn't lie because__ THE POET DOESN'T AFFIRM.

14. Plato thought that petry was (1) bad for you, (2) __USELESS__, and (3) __UNTRUE__.

15. What is the first level of Dante's four levels of criticism? LITERAL

16. So much depends upon: A RED WHEELBARROW

17. The term "touchstones" is most often associated with the literary criticism of: MATTHEW ARNOLD

18. The word "organic" (especially when it suggests the processes of nature) when applied to poetry suggests the criticism of which critic? SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE

19. Of Abram's four cardinal points, which one fits best with the formal critic? WORK

20. In "The Idea of Order at Key West", the sea, "whatever self it had" became what? ....became the self That was her song, for she was the maker.

21. Briefly what is the essential difference between comedy and tragedy according to Aristotle? A comedy deals with people less than us and a tragedy deals with people better than us.

22. Which school of critics is most likely to argue for the God-like powers of the artist? (b) EXPRESSIVE

23. Two critics expressed the notion that th epoet was superior to the historian because the historian was tied to the particular while the poet dealt with the universal. Name the critics: SIDNEY and ARISTOTLE

24. What is the first book on the MSU Top 100 bookmark? "The Collected Works of William Shakespeare"

25. What issue was under discussion when we discussed the "Flaying of Marsyas" by Titian? How can we get pleasure out looking at something so painful

26. What do Stephen Gosson and Thomas Love Peacock have in common? They both detested poetry.

27. What, in a short sentence, was Plate/Socrates' view of Writing in "the Phaedrus"? Plato felt that writing was bad because it would make us lose our memories and oral traditions.

28. At the conclusion of Sidney's Defence of Poetry, he says we need the poet for what final reason or purpose? We need poets to help us be remembered; they write our epitaphs.

29. What children's story is relevant to Aristotle's Poetics and explain why. Goldilocks is relevant because Aristotle says epic petry is too long, lyrical poetry is too short, but a gradegy is just right - much like Goldilocks sampling the bears' beds, chairs, and porridge.

30. This is the answer: "And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall. And I'd discuss the holdy books with the learned men, several hours every day. That would be the sweetest thing of all." Now: what is the question? What does Tevye, a character in The Fiddler on the Roof, say he would do if he were a rich man and had all the money in the world?

31. memorizings: Reproduce Coleridge's definition of the imagination from the Biographia Literaria beginning with the words "a repetition" and ending with "I AM". "...a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM."

32. Insert a word which best fits the description below.
a. Privileges speech over writing ___ PHONOCENTRISM
b. Aristotle's "tragic flaw" ___HAMARTIA
c. A contrivance in a literary work which artificially allows a character to escape from a predicament__DEUS EX MACHINA
d. A bard or singer of poetry, criticized by Plato___RHAPSODE
e. A word which means "at or on the edge", in the spaces between ___LIMINAL
f. The Greek for "theme" in Aristotle's Plot, Character, and Theme ___ DIANOIA
g. A misreading of a text Bloom says is inevitable ___MISPRISION
h. The second level of Dante's scheme, often associated with parable___ALLEGORICAL
i. The God within___ENTHEOS
j. Exaltation beyond words, what interested Longinus most__SUBLIME
k. The cleansing of the system of pity and terror, in Aristotle __CATHARSIS
l. Total recollection __ANAMNESIS - a recollection of spiritual truths through genuine living wisdom
m. Recognition in Aristotle's Poetics___ANAGNORISIS
n. Greek for story___MYTHOS
o. The Big Dog Dante sent a letter to ___CAN GRANDE
p. The Greek for "Character" in Aristotle's Plot, Character, Theme ___ETHOS

36. Who said the following? (NOTE: Some quotes have been shortened to protect my innocent typing wrists)

1. "Nature only gives us a bass world: it is th epoet who makes it golden." ___ SIR PHILIP SIDNEY
2. "The business of a to examine, not the individual, but the species...." ___ SAMUEL JOHNSON
3. "Now do you suppose that is a person were able to make the original as well as the image, he would seriously devote himself to the image making branch" ___PLATO
4. "And of ourselves and of our origins In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds"___WALLACE STEVENS
5. "People see fogs not because there are fogs but because poets and painters have taught them the mysterious loveliness of such effects" ___OSCAR WILDE
6. Petry turns all things to loveliness; it exalts bequty of that which ismost beautiful, and it adds beauty to that which is most strips the veil of familiarity from the world, and lays bare the naked and sleeping beqauty which is the spirit of its forms" ___PERCY SHELLEY
7. "What is poetry? is so nearly the same question with, what is a poet?..." ____ARISTOTLE

Extra Credit: Reproduce "The Idea of Order at Key West" by Wallace Stevens.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I'll take it, even if I don't deserve it!

Tests were handed back and I was very pleasantly surprised to receive a high grade. I will post the answers to the test in a separate journal entry.

Next week we will have individual critic presentation and I will be going on Thursday, better get cracking on it!

We spent quite a bit of time on T.S. Eliot today and his thoughts about tradition.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sifting through the refuge...

Whew! The test turned out all right for me, and hopefully as well for other people. We corrected the exams in class and collectively, as a class, chose 10 points to get rid of. Some of the ones we threw out I was disappointed to have thrown out - the Oscar Wilde quote and the organic question for STC, but hopefully other students benefitted from their expunging.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"Quiz 1"

Today was what Dr. Sexson affectionately terms "Quiz 1", but what in reality was a difficult mid-term. I think that it went pretty well, but I know that I had not a clue on some answers and could only make educated guesses on other questions.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Preparing for battle

Today we breezed through Johnson, who was a pragmatic Neo-classicalist, touched on Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Shelley, in order to get to the really important part of the class period - test review!!

Dr. Sexson's advice: know the chart, study your own notes, and study Nikole's notes. So I guess if you haven't been taking notes, you're up the creek without a battle.

I'm a little concerned, all right, a LOT concerned about this test. I don't really know where I'm at in the class or what kind of exams Dr. Sexson gives, so my plan is to study a lot this weekend!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004



This will take you to my second blog, which includes links to all sorts of things.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

It was a gallant try.....

Dr. Sexton put forth quite an effort to make Sidney interesting at 8 a.m., but I'm not sure that I believe it's my problem the guy can't write.

I think the question really becomes what the Sidney was trying to accomplish with his writing. If he was trying to make a best seller out of "An Apology for Poetry", then he probably missed his mark by a long ways. But if he was only writing for his personal satisfaction of using a pen and paper, then maybe he did all right.

My goals for writing must be wildly different than his. I try to make every paper or assignment into something that is easy to read for the grader. Hopefully it makes the grading process a little less painful, but also it makes my proofreading it less painful. That means my style is usually alternating lengths of sentences that contain a few adjectives, but basically get to the point.

Sidney and I definitely don't write for the same reasons. Take this example,
..."And yet I must say that , as I have just cause to make a pitiful defence of poor poetry, which from almost the highest estimation of learning is fallen to be the laughing-stock of children, so have I need to bring some more available proofs, sith the former is by no man barred of his deserved credit, the silly latter hath had even the names of philsophers used to the defacing of it, with great danger of civil war among the Muses."

OK, Mr. Sidney. In elementary school we learned about run-on sentences, as well as about not putting two completely different ideas in the same sentence. Apparently you missed those days!!! But it's not so bad when I just look at this sentence. But when there are oodles of sentences like this, my attention starts to wane and I tend to nod off. Which, as long as your goal wasn't to keep the reader on the edge of her seat, probably doesn't matter to you.