Archive for June, 2010


Jun 10 2010

Hello again

by at 5:50 pm

Hello, blog. I know I have been careless and forgotten about you during my thesis-writing days. I’ve come to make amends. It’s the summer, I’m sitting in Tryst Cafe after having met with Dana about the introduction to my thesis, and I come groveling back to you.

I’m sorry. Really, I am. I promised I would keep up with you, but I didn’t. Now that those apologies are out of the way, let’s get down to business:

My meeting with Dana was super helpful and I’d like to include some of the key points from our conversation because it’s pretty critical to the way my thesis is shaping up. Dana has a magical way of being, “So this is what your thesis is about,” as I nod my head and scribble frantically to get it all down. Yes. Now that you mention it, that is what it’s about.

So here are the important points from my Thursday, 6-10-2010 meeting:

1. My thesis is really just an expanded meditation on the notin of epxerimentation–specifically on scientific experimentation (ie: scientific method, etc.) versus literary experimentation, and then quite larger how this all connects to the volatile experimentation of the United States a political experimentation. This is where the atmosphere and electricity and such come into play. Yes. So that’s what it’s about. For now. At least.

2. In my chapter on Charles Brockden Brown, I’m not going to say which Brown critic is right or wrong or whatever. That’s not what I’m trying to do. Instead, my point is to look at the politics of experimentation and show that that is why we’ve been so confused about Brown’s politics. He experimental form and process is what has perplexed Brown scholars and what creates competing readings of him.

3. In my introduction I talk about the “Third Culture,” but it’s not a question of the “Third Culture” but really Culutre. So Snow’s binary of Two Cultures and then there being a Third Culture is actually inaccurate. It’s all just Culture.

4. Critics in for CBB chapter: Paul Witherington looks at Brown’s stylistic experimentation in Edgar Huntly. These are aesthetics stakes and not political as such, but the act of being experimental has inherent political implications. Bernard Rosenthal and Peter Swirski: bring these two theorists in, in conjunction with Witherington, to join the literary with the scientific. They talk about literary experimentation, but join together to show how CBB is both scientifically AND literarily experimental. Jared Gardner and race too.

4. Temporality of the Literary Experiment:  Writing itself is the experiment, as opposed to the experiment in which you perform it and then write it up. So there’s this dea of the novel as an unfinished experiment that we’re cowriting with CBB as we read his novel in the 21st century.

5. The footnote: Think about postmodern footnotes in Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Complete and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. In Dias, we have mock ethnographic footnotes. Footnotes in books are shocking to 20th century readers but not to 21st century readers, however, Brown is doing different things with the footnote in Wieland than what postmodern footnotes are doing. Brown’s footnotes are scientific with a really straight face, but in the postmoden novel it’s tounge-in-cheek. It’s the footnote in parody. For Diaz, it’s the performance of the containment of information. So I’ll need to include a presentist paragraph or two on postmodern contemporary fiction.

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