Literary Criticism

This site contains my work during the course of English 300 at Montana State University-Bozeman in the Autumn of 2004.


I am a senior at Montana State University working for a degree in history with a teaching option and also a minor in English. Currently I am working with the students at Bridger Alternative here in town and I am loving every minute of it. I can't wait to get out into the field and teach.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Second Seven Days of Class

September 23, 2004

  • Today we started off with some brief definitions, as we were discussing the Sublime as written by Longinus. We went over:
  • Misprision: made a mistake, to read something in a wrong way
  • Sublime: lofty, noble, reverence, elevation, transport, goes beyond the beautiful, awe (I already have a journal entry on what I think is sublime if you would like to read it below.)
  • Liminal: on the periphery of existence
  • Ecstasy: ec=outside stas=stand together they mean "stand outside yourself"
  • awful: full of awe (funny how terms change for what they mean...)
  • The FIVE POINTS OF THE SUBLIME ARE: noble feeling and a lofty mind (which are interior) and figures of speech, diction, and word study (which are exterior)
  • Plato had anxiety of influence-he hated Homer because he loved Homer while Aristotle liked literature representative of human nature that is "just right". Aristotle's tragedy was Oedipus because the play was done cleanly, efficiently, and organically and is very serious, it doesn't have any loose ends.
  • Aristotle also suggests that Oedipus is universal: a story of the human resource and yet a perfection of a work of art
  • Oedipus can be likened to Luke Skywalker and Superman
  • To have time lapses destroys three things: unity of action, unity of time and unity of effect

September 28, 2004

  • Stories and Poetry may discuss horrific events, the reader should check for historical accuracy because the events may truly have happened and the author wants the public to know what happened. (This is why I love being a history major!)
  • Classical Tragedy will make an imprint on your mind. (This is true, has anybody seen Ladder 49 yet?
  • Plato would want scenes like Oedipus gouging out his eyes censored because it is a bad influence on society while Aristotle saw it as a Catharsis; it is absolutly essential for us to see them so that we may be educated by them.
  • "We are not moved by someone who only has a few inches to fall but rather those that have a long way to fall." -Dr. M. Sexson
  • Again, referring to the above, it illustrates what happens in Ladder 49.
  • Things are censored because the censors feel that the material has no contribution to social construction.
  • The job of the poet is to not represent the particular but the universal, (they say the particulars are up to us historians and philosophers.)
  • Plato likes the book to end happily (just like me!) while Aristotle likes the worst possible situation for the true tragedy to end. (Oedipus).
  • The artist understands that every part of the text is important though tragic (no happy endings :P) because Tragedy is a supreme work of art because crying and fear cleanse a person (Catharsis).
  • DEUS EX MACHIUS: the main characters are in situations they cannot get out of but a miraculous means of solving the problem comes about. (Kind of like MacGyver episodes, somehow a rubberband and a banana peel could solve any problem...just kidding.)
  • Four Levels of reading according to Dante: 1.) literal interpretation 2.) allegorical 3.)moral 4.) anagogical

September 30, 2004

Today I had a migraine and could not make it to class, but I'm sure other students have their notes posted to check theirs. Soon I will figure out how to create links to allow access to the other students websites.

October 05, 2004

Today we discussed mostly out of our anthology and so I don't have as many notes except for important page numbers with authors by them and consequently I don't have my book with me, so for now listing page numbers will have to do until I can come back and correct this matter.

  • Sir Phillip Sidney pgs. 362, 330 (dresses nature up-poet idealizes the world) pgs. 333, and 334-35 (historians and philosophers are boring) I think I might take this as a personal offence... and p. 348 (the poet never affirms anything)
  • Samuel Johnson p. 466 (poetry is the highest learning) p. 467 (general truth)
  • Romantics-beauty is all you need to appreciate the world. p. 676 Coleridge

October 07, 2004

Today we reviewed material that would be found on the test, but since I'm writing this after we've taken the test, I have already thrown out that material, much apologies for this.

October 12, 2004

Test taking day!

October 14, 2004

Today we had a brief discussion about our tests and how we thought they were too difficult, Dr. Sexson allowed us to remove ten questions that most of us missed and we also graded them in this process. It wasn't pretty. Other than that we did discuss:

  • Plato saw Sophists around him-those that could debate with him over issues.
  • "Sweetness and Light" by Matthew Arnold
  • The candidates for the National Book Award this year are all female!


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