Category Archives: General Literature

On Literary Criticism

Dan Green writes:

I’d have to say that the discipline of literary study has become more than unmoored and confused. I’m afraid that “the overt hostility to aesthetic questions in certain quarters,” as Jonathan puts it, has become the mainstream attitude among academic literary critics. Some writers might still be valued because they can be used to shore up ideological positions, but “literature” as the record and register of literary art is held in contempt, at best the avocation of amateur readers (including bloggers), at worst a fancy instrument of oppression wielded by hyperliterate elites. If the only way works of literature can usefully be brought into the classroom or the pages of academic journals is to examine them for their “social constructions”, or to expressly belittle mere aesthetic questions, in my opinion, as I’ve said here before, the best thing for literature would be to remove it from academic curricula altogether. (links in original)

I agree too. This reminds me of a radio program I just heard with Marcus Miller talking about jazz and playing the bass. He was just wonderful. He talked about jazz, his experience with Miles Davis, and life the way I wished people would get back to talking about literary art (and literary hypertext and hypermedia).

Let’s make it fresh and alive in the spirit of Marcus Miller. Not kill it.


Congratulations go to Susan Gibb who’s been promoted to Director of the writing arts at the Fine Arts Connection of Thomaston, Connecticut. In this position she’ll be able to promote her interests in traditional and digital arts from the ground up, where, I believe, swells need to occur and are most valuable.

The technical nature of the digital arts isn’t really the problem or the solution. It’s the promotion of fine work of whatever form and of whatever flavor and by whomever wishes to engage them. In hypertext, for example, we shouldn’t bother so much with the tech but, rather, with simple questions: should storytelling, which serves the needs of the community, take priority over snappy graphics, which can either get in the way or weigh too much in the favor of candy over substance? We always should argue for a balance: excellent telling, excellent art, excellent whatever.

Susan is the perfect pick: her energy, knowledge, and persistence can enflame.

Good luck and congrats.

British Literature II and Facebook

Dan Ruby has created a Facebook group for the British Literature course. A few items have been added to the group. It may be an interesting way of keeping in contact. I even posted a forum item on potential exam questions.

Thanks to Dan for his efforts.

Students may join at will. In the effort to stay connected, students may also created study groups.

This post also appears here.


Dan Green poses interesting questions on the recent news over Vladamir Nabakov. Some context:

In the Nabokov case, a manuscript the author felt should not be available will either be destroyed or be published against the author’s wishes. Whereas Carver agreed to the publication of the impure versions of his work (thus effectively claiming them as his own), here the author wanted the impure version of his work-in-progress (impure because not completed) to be withheld from publication. If we are finally able to read The Original of Laura, we would be reading something the author had not yet claimed as his own (worthy of being attributed to “Vladimir Nabokov” on the cover), something that, to Nabokov’s way of thinking, did not yet constitute a text that could be read at all in any meaningful sense. It was the finished work that Nabokov would share with his audience; the work done on the way to that finished form should not concern them.

I don’t think the manuscript should be published. It could be housed in a library and studied as a draft perhaps, if the author’s wishes go ignored. What complicates this is that there’s no draft comparison, no flow to show decision-making. Can we measure the loss of the manuscript if it is destroyed? I’d say no.

If Nabokov wanted the daft destroyed it should be put into a fireplace.

Same with Kafka. If Kafka had wanted his novels destroyed, Brod should’ve destroyed the manuscripts. If the argument back is “but then would we wouldn’t have The Trial” then my answer is “You’re right.” Can you lose something you never had?

But what were Kafka’s “interests” after his death?

Should I follow an instruction given by a deceased relative? What if this request goes against my interests?

Sally Terrell Travels

forkeeps.jpgCongratulations to Sally Terrell, our wonderful talent, for her inclusion in For Keeps, a collection of memoir edited by Victoria Zackheim. Over the course of the next few days, Sally will be reading from her work. She’ll be at Community Book Store in Brooklyn tonight at 7:30 PM, December 8th at Bluestockings in Manhattan at 7 PM, and East Haddam’s Burgundy Books on Sunday at 12:30 PM.

Sally’s work is yet another effort in the creative production going on at Tunxis. We’re proud to have her among our numbers.

From the book:

In FOR KEEPS: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older, and Acceptance, twenty-seven gifted authors write personal essays about how body image has colored, changed or enriched their lives…or how life’s events have changed their body image. Many of these authors have experienced some transformative moment when they thought Aha! and life was never the same. Whether the focus is illness, depression, our mothers, or growing older, the writing is profound, sometimes hilarious, and always engaging. What better than humor and the naked truth to celebrate and flaunt our bodies…and our attitudes toward them? Whoever we are, the way we feel about our bodies profoundly affects the way we live our lives.