Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lit- dead, still

See what I mean? Here is yet another essay on why literature departments and theory are both dead. It's been about a week.

Alas, it is touching though...

"Literary criticism no longer aims to appreciate aesthetics — to study how human beings respond to art. Do you get dizzy when you look at a Turner painting of a storm at sea? Do certain buildings make you feel insignificant while others make you feel just the right size? Without understanding that intensely physical reaction, scholarship about the arts can no longer enlarge the soul."

Indeed! The Romantics were right- society shrinks the soul, and art, approaching a force of nature, enlarges it!

"Theory is too devoted to challenging meaning. It is nihilistic. It robs us of ever finding out what an author or text is saying. But it was not the theorists who declared war on art, with their philosophy and their left-wing politics. It was the literary critics who put in their place a no-nonsense business, a legalistic parsing of meaning that masks a deep contempt for what a text is or might be to us."

How about this: the last place that should be worried about 'the bottom line' is a humanities department. Where is Walter Pater when we need him?

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