language

Visualizing Literature 1: Languages Spoken and Learned

One of the insights I took away from the recent MLA conference was the sheer difficulty both of communicating complicated information in a short amount of time when I went to panels, as well as the impossibility of absorbing such an overwhelming volume of information. A key tool that I felt was underutilized during the conference are graphics that could concisely communicate information relevant to literary study.

A Language Emergency

Marjorie Perloff has written an insightful essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education about a "curious insularity" that she sees having appeared in the United States as a reaction to the decade of anxiety over 9/11. She wonders whether it is now time to "look outward," as events remind us that this country is neither alone among world powers nor self-sufficient. I would go further than Perloff. We face a language emergency.

The Hermeneutics of Babies

Babies are usually the stuff of private life, clichés, and endearing memories that we check out as we set foot on campus grounds. Yet babies are the greatest--and arguably the cutest--hermeneutic subjects.

Sensual Poetics

Pornographic literature is dismissed as an oxymoron by many scholars because we expect ‘literature’ to imply form, while the endless repetition of unproblematic sex acts denies us the comforting format of beginning, middle, and end.

simplistic linguistics versus the simplicity of language

Dictation implies a separation between “me” and the writing itself. I had to re-imagine what the writing life would look like. Suddenly I was speaking my text to someone. I was externalizing a step of the process that had been so far silently kept within. We were now two in the room, and at the beginning there was no obvious agreement on what should be typed on the screen.