Academically infused amateur literary-critical exercises, indulgences, and explorations. I have a PhD in English from Cornell, am currently teaching English at the high school level, having briefly given it the old college try–the blog is written in the belief that criticism need not, ought not even, take the shape and length and language of academic articles, monographs or talks; that criticism is, regardless of audience, worth pursuing in itself, as a matter of gaining a better understanding of that harmonizing and harmonious thing, literature, of how it works and the forces at work within it; that criticism is–as R.P. Blackmur would often say–a provisional matter, liable to change and to undergo revision, but nonetheless worth trying to set straight in a proper and finished form, on the off-chance that it persists, even against the odds of the cloud in which this is kept; that it is worth, when faced with as compelling a device for sanity as good literature often seems to be, to prod and assess, better understanding one’s own intuitions, inklings, and proclivities towards it, so as to feel more confident in the confidence it has won. The sense beneath it all is that criticism is worth pursuing, in whatever guise, because in brining into sharper focus what is valuable in literature, it often follows that what is valuable in other parts of life are brought into sharper focus too.
Literature: language tuning and attuning the imagination. [To what? can’t be said beforehand. My imagination? An imagination? The imagination?]
Criticism: I need this to happen, to me, or simply to happen, at all ; how is it happening, and should it be happening?