Authorial Intent and Validity in Interpretation

Here’s a set of notes taken on E.D. Hirsch, Jr.’s Validity in Interpretation, typed up over several weeks, combined into one post. I have two volumes of critical theory, and an excerpt that appears in both of them is a selection from E.D. Hirsch, Jr.’s Validy in Interpretation. I just got the full book, because … Read more

Rorty’s Pragmatism for Writers

rorty pragmatism

Today I’d like to talk about Richard Rorty. He was an American philosopher that became famous in the late 70’s and 80’s for advocating a new form of pragmatism. I thought this might be a good topic because, as writers, we tend to ignore important philosophical ideas we can incorporate into our stories. I tend … Read more

Nicholson Baker’s Case Against Algebra II

baker against algebra

The debate over standards in high school math has been going on for a very long time, but things seemed to come to a pretty nasty head last year when the New York Times ran the article Is Algebra Necessary? Background Material Bloggers and educators were outraged on both sides and started throwing mud. In … Read more

Room 237 and Some Postmodern Problems

room 237 postmodern

I think everyone involved in academia should see the movie Room 237 but for some strange reasons. The movie is a fascinating look at some people who, to put it mildly, are obsessed with Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining. Watching Room 237 They’ve developed all sorts of theories about hidden messages in the film: Is … Read more

The Passion Narrative in Mark and Luke

passion narrative

The passion narrative as presented in Mark and Luke provides a great source for literary criticism and textual analysis. These are skills any great writer should have at their disposal. This is one of my favorite topics to read about, but I’ve always had a policy of keeping my posts as non-controversial as possible. I … Read more

The Literature of Exhaustion and Originality

literature of exhaustion

I thought I’d share an argument that I first learned from the essay “The Literature of Exhaustion” by John Barth. It is in his The Friday Book. It’s something that used to come up all the time when I was an undergraduate music major, and it usually comes up now in the form of literature. … Read more