Yes, Virginia, there can be a point to MLA.
Lately I often find myself saying “I cut Lady Mary Wroth from my syllabus because the poems are terrible.”
A student and a reader recently asked me: why is essentialism bad? Uhg, I thought, how do you answer that? But it is a fair and reasonable and nagging question, and I will give it a try.
In a talk at Stanford that I listened to here, Gayatri Spivak warned that literature departments were turning into opera.
Arcadians, I have a (maybe tedious) request for help with basic research.
So the funny thing about Shakespeare, you will have noticed, is that there are a lot of editions of his plays. A lot. A LOT.
David Pogue, who miraculously manages to remain both an enthusiast for all things technological while, at the same time, starting a small insurrection against cell phone companies, has now convinced me not to worry about which edition of Shakespeare my students use.
Who says close reading is only for English professors? How improbable is it that I would write an update to my slog about “Total Eclipse of the Heart”? Apparently, not very improbable at all. Criticism, it seems, can be interesting and useful and not boring. My friend VW stopped reading Greek long enough to send me “Total Eclipse Of the Heart” made into a flow chart.
Raymond Chandler is making me depressed this afternoon. Not because Chandler has a knack for hitting a nerve (“On the way out I had another look at the face in the mirror. I looked as if I had made up my mind to drive off a cliff”). I’m depressed because I am currently rereading The Little Sister in The Library of America edition.
One of those little lies you tell undergraduates is that Romanticism-its obsession with unique inner feeling, its obsession with nature-emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
Christopher Warley teaches Renaissance literature and Critical Theory at the University of Toronto.