Tuesday, March 20, 2007

From Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled (Commonplace Book)

The way poetry was taught in school reminded W.H. Auden of a Punch cartoon composed, legend has it, by the poet A.E. Housman. Two English teachers are walking in the woods in springtime. The first, on hearing birdsong, is moved to quote William Wordsworth:

Teacher 1:
Oh, cuckoo, shall I call thee bird
Or but a wandering voice

Teacher 2:
State the alternative preferred
With reasons for you choice.


Voice Of The Eagle said...

Geoff, I thought you might appreciate this. I was trying to write a reponse on Tristam Shandy and "the politics of midwifery" when something just snapped and I wrote this:

On that note, one may be forced to conclude Bonnie Blackwell is grasping at straws at bit in reading Shandy as a gynecological text. If the eightieth century novel is indistinguishable from the eightieth century medical text, then colleges and publishing companies should cease and desist from producing works like Shandy and focus entirely on reproducing obscure medical texts from the entire history of Europe. Cultural studies departments will likely find a banquet of dueling ideologies of English imperialism, colonial discourse, class conflicts and marginalization (Where we may ask are the tracts authored by woman? By dispossessed Africans? Cleary there is a process of systemized marginalization and oppression in the “western” medical system). We may call into question the proliferation of an “Western Canon” of accepted medical procedures and how the presence of such a canon unconsciously supports white male power structures. We may question how the concept of “health” is created by such power structures and is irrelevant to the academic study of medicine. After all, treating a particular procedure such as open heart surgery as especially important or helpful is taking it out of the political and cultural forces that created it and therefore making a fetish out of it.
Much is of the above is a gross exaggeration, but it seems less of one every day. Literary studies are being consumed by a larger entity entitled “Cultural Studies” where the reading of literary texts is less important that the conforming to the most cutting-edge theory, and offering no aide to the marginalized at all.

Geoff Klock said...

I need to get buttons made so that all the people on my team can be identified. When I do, you will get one VoE. Keep up the good fight. Thanks