The Literary Salon

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Books, Books Everywhere...

Several readers of this blog are no doubt curious about my quotidian activities. Therefore, I have at last decided to reproduce my list of readings for my two upcoming minor Comprehensive exams ("comps"), also known as Qualifying exams (Quals).

Tonight I am concluding the reading for my first comp, which is a minor in Theory. The following represents only those texts I read during the past six weeks. Not included are any secondary sources I consulted or previously read works that I merely reviewed (I have ignored MLA citation to make things easier. "" refers to an essay or chapter, otherwise a book is indicated.

Karl Marx, Essential Writings.
George Lukacs, (preface) Studies in European Realism
Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (selections)
Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World (Intro) and Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics (Ch.1)
Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses"
Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations
Aram Veeser (ed), The NEw Historicism (selected essays)
Edward Said, Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism
Gayatri Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?"
Homi K Bhabha, Location of Culture (selected essays)
Ahmad Aijaz, In Theory (selected chapters)

Freidrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals
Sigmund Freud, "The Uncanny" and bits of Interpretation of Dreams
Jacques Lacan, "The Mirror Stage"
Jacques Derrida, "Cogito and the History of Madness, "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," "Differance," Of Grammatology.
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization, "Nietzsche, History and Genealogy, "What is an Author?"
Roland Barthes, Mythologies, S/Z (ch.1), Pleasure of the Text, "Death of the Author."
Harold Bloom, Anxiety of Influence
JF Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition and "Universal History and Cultural Difference."
Frederic Jameson, "Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
Jean Baudrillard, Simulations
Julia Kristeva, "Semiotic and the Symbolic" (as much of it as I could stand, which is about half).
Deleuze and Guttari, "Rhizome"

Stanley Fish, Is There a Text in This Class? (most of the essays therein).
Hayden White, Metahistory (Intro)
Claude Levi-Strauss, "Structural Analysis in Linguistics and Anthropology"
Boris Eikhenbaum, "The Theory of the Formal Method"
Victor Shklovsky, "Art as Technique"
Vladimiar Propp, Morphology of the Folktale (chs. 1-3)
Northop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (re-read the preface)
Cleanth Brooks, The Well Wrought Urn (Intro)
F.R. Leavis, The Great Tradition (Intro)
Matthew Arnold, "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time" (reread)
Aristotle, Poetics

The actual list is longer, but in some cases I did not read the remaining books because doing so would be unnecessary or superfluous if not impractical (I did not, for example, more than glance at Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks because the volume would have made unreasonable demands on my already limited time).

Tomorrow I begin reading for my second minor comp: 19th Century British Lit. The literature lists we are given are somewhat vague. That is, they only indicate the names of authors, and we are expected to know or determine precisely which works by these authors we must read. I will not bore you with the list of works I have decided on, but will include only the names of those authors whom I have deemed necessary to read. For the purposes of comparison, assume that every name listed hereunder involves reading one novel or at least several hundred lines of verse. Because this is my minor and not my major exam, I will not be expected to know as much about these authors. Not included in the list are names I, with the approval of a professor in the field, have deemed insignificant.

Jane Austen
William Blake
Anna Barbauld
Robert Burns
Lord Byron
ST Coleridge
Thomas De Quincey
William Hazlitt
James Hogg
John Keats
Hanna More
Thomas Paine
Walter Scott
Mary & Percy Shelley
Charlotte Smith
Mary Wollestonecraft
William Wordsworth
Maria Edgeworth

Matthew Arnold
E.B. Browning
Robert Browning
Charlotte and Emily Bronte
Thomas Carlyle
Wilkie Collins
Charles Darwin
George Eliot
Elizabeth Gaskell
George Gissing
Thomas Hardy
Gerard Manley Hopkins
George Meredith
J.S. Mill
John Henry Newman
Walter PAter
Dante and Christina Rosetti
John Ruskin
R.L. Stevenson
Algernon Swinburne
Alfred Tennyson
W.M. Thackeray
Anthony Trollope
Oscar Wilde
G.B. Shaw (not on the list but I have added him).

Fortunately, I have already read a good chunk of these authors, especially the Romantics (the first half), and in some cases, such as Walter Pater or Algernon Swinburne, the reading is very little. Things get far more serious next term when I write my major. On that exam, I will be expected to know virtually everything about 18th century British lit.

I can't help but feel I should be doing something else right now, like reading!


Anonymous zelda said...

holy crap!

8:58 p.m.  
Blogger Ancient Clown said...

Too Many

Too many Words has he used
Too many strokes of his brush
To paint the visions in his head.

Too many details included
Too many lines drawn
To hear what he has said

Too many rules broken
Too many parameters stretched
It can not be contested

Too many rhythms bouncing
Too many pictures flashing
This man should be arrested

For his too many words
For his too many strokes
For his visions of grand design

For his utter contempt
For his complete disregard
He should be asked to resign

So crumple his words and throw them away
For there's too many words to judge this day.

your humble servant,
ancient clown

9:46 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
(And what he brings what needs he elsewhere seek?)
Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
Deep-versed in books and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys
And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge,
As children gathering pebbles on the shore.


11:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Lina Lopopollous said...

2:09 p.m.  
Blogger Dr J said...

Theory list looks a little short to me, though certainly no more sufferable for it. As ever, the emphasis is on the favoured schools of the 20th century to the detriment of a broader historical sense; no Sidney, no Dryden, no Wordsworth, Coleridge or Johnson; no Plato, Longinus (!), nor Augustine; no Kant, no Burke, no Hegel; no Pope, no Blake, no Hopkins, no Poe; no Bradley, James, Leavis, Lawrence, Richards, Empson, Eliot or Pound; in other words, it's the usual suspects, gathered in formation. Only surprised they didn't shove Raymond Williams, Linda Hutcheon, Terence Hawkes, Umberto Eco and Elaine Showalter down your throat. And no Eagleton? There's a blessing in disguise if there ever was one.

8:51 a.m.  
Blogger Dr J said...

Oops-- didn't see the Leavis.

8:53 a.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...


because it's a minor (one of two), we choose 3 out of 5 theory areas. That's why you don't see any feminism/queer stuff or Heidegger. There were a lot more names on the list, but they expect you to be soemwhat selective.

I didn't include Richards, Plato, Aristotle, Sidney, Eliot, etc, because I've already read them. Raymond Williams was on the list, but I couldn't be bothered.

Yes, I was kinda surprised I didn't have to read Eagleton, though no one hears me complaining.
As for the other traditional names such as Pope, Burke, etc, I will definitely have to know them for my major, so it evens out in the end.

10:00 a.m.  

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