Thursday, February 19, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
He is in a way the British parallel to Henry Roth in the US, in terms of early promise, not writing for many years for ideological reasons, and then resuming very late in life.
I always liked the fact that he was named "Upward" and wrote a book called The Spiral Ascent.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Several people in my current class have reported that they were not able to get the assigned textbooks on time through the bookstore, and I pointed out that all the early stories were in the public domain and easily available as e-texts (I provided several links), often with helpful and useful commentary. But they are not reading these e-texts, they are waiting for the book to arrive, and so falling behind their colleagues. My students do not seem acclimated to reading e-texts (I noticed this in my Greek drama course in fall 2008 as well where often I would post e-texts of alternate translations, vital for understanding the idea of literature in translation--David Grene's, Richmomd Lattimore's, David Slavitt's Sophocles all being so different, and all three different from Victorian translations). Nor do they appear particularly interested in the video clips and images I go to great lengths to post. I also post scholarly articles; these I do not expect most of them to look at, but they are also a possibility afforded by the Web that they seem reluctant to embrace. I wonder if I should make an assignment involving these mandatory, or make it mandatory that they read the e-texts? I wonder if from now on I should not just assign any print books of anything available as an e-text?
In short, their viewpoint is very text-centered. They do very well within that compass, but the online environment offers such a more multimedia experience, such a chance to be at home in the Internet rather than simply use it as a venue for a prepackaged course. I feel a lot of the potential innovation and creativity of the Internet is being left by the wayside. Perhaps a longer course time would address this issue, make it more possible to use more modes. Or perhaps I just need to incorporate the multimedia structure within my assignment frame and apparatus.
Part of the problem may be that my institution uses Blackboard and not a Facebook-like software such as DruPal, but I am not sure a change in platform alone would reshape the underlying syndrome.
part of my puzzlement is that I look at YouTube for fun, and basically read scholarly articles for fun, and I mean by adding them to the course to create fun extras; my students, though, seem to perceive them as supernumerary add-ons, and even burdens. Perhaps it is I who need the readjustment.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I reread the ever-vexatious 'Parmenides'...my view of it is basically now this: that the dialogue ends up saying yes, There is a One, but it cannot be a predicable One, it is relational and built on the possibility of similitude rather than any palpable monad or similitude between monads, but there is somehow a One subtending everything...in other words, Plato agrees with Parmenides more than Zeno. This would be the obvious conclusion without the craziness of the second half, but I read that in a literary or dramatic way. Parmenides is old, has achieved fame, and Socrates is saying, Parmenides, why do you not restate your well-known ideas. Ina sense, Parmenides feels challenged, feels like he has to 'show he still has it', and therefore works the subject into the ground, proving his eristic virtuosity, not really refuting himself but saying to Socrates, "OK, you wanted the old guy to prove himself here I am"--also there is a Zen or puzzling sense of the old thinker asking himself riddles, realizing the provisional nature of even his own heartfelt assumptions, nut not abandoning them, I do not read this though as an abandonment of the one, an endorsement of Zeno, or an auto-deconstruction in the part of Parmenides.