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Topics as of Nov 28

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 8 months ago

Class Today


NinaI'm translating a short story by the French writer, Christian Bobin. It will likely be one called "The Equilibrist" but I'm still researching which of his works have already been translated.
AriI'm thinking to work on the performative aspects of Xhosa Praise Poetry and Judeo-Spanish Folk Ballads. The Judeo-Spanish Folk Ballads part of this is subject to change, as that part of the topic has already changed like 10 times. But I think that there are some interesting comparative axes within these two subjects, involving the social nature of spoken poetry, the poetics of performance, and the technologizing of the spoken word.
OmerI am trying to answer (or look at different approaches to answering) the question of whether creating literature is a morally good action and (if so) whether there are limitations on creating morally good literature. I am going to be looking at Theodor Adorno, who argues that, after the Holocaust, we no longer have a moral justification for creating literature and that attempting to answer moral questions (of whether something is moral) are not valuable. I will then examine different responses to these claims (both literary and philosphical), in which my comparative angle is the generation from which the response originates. (Scholars in Holocaust studies distinguish between groups partly by whether they were in the generation that experienced the Holocaust [the 1st generation] or in the following generation [the 2nd generation].) I think that 1st generation responses (by people like Martin Buber, Primo Levi, and Hannah Arendt) will be different than 2nd generation responses (by people like Michael Chabon and Martha Nussbaum).
NathanMy thesis topic is a comparative analysis between the Vulgate Bible (the ‘Latin’ bible, translated from Greek by St. Jerome in the 4th century) and a medieval crucifixion play (the "York Crucifixion") through a Derridean, Saussurian theoretical lens. It’s a kind of ‘bible as literature’ project that questions some of the many religious exegeses that accompany the text.

I’m arguing that a misconception may accompany the prominent understanding of Christ’s crucifixion: while Christian sects frequently emphasize his suffering in order to elicit an understanding or feeling of reverence for his martyrdom, the human mind is in fact, not equipped to comprehend Jesus’ torture experience.

According to Elaine Scarry in her work, The Body in Pain, the pain of torture is a sensation that is inherently linked to the collapse of its victim’s perception of the world; agony is due to dissolution of the sufferer’s sense of reality. (This torture theory piece will likely be one that I choose for our class reading.)

I’m arguing that Christ has an understanding of the world different from other humans; that he perceives the world through his Father’s eyes and is therefore exempt from the constructed, postlapsarian understanding that belongs to all other people. (There is a healthy amount of writing that claims one of the many paradisiacal aspects of Eden that Eve and Adam lose post-banishment is a perfect language: one that does not include a gap between signifiers and signifieds. In a postlapsarian state – where the members of CO310 apparently reside – we use a flawed language that does not express truth or divinity [thus the taboo of uttering God’s name in many religious circles]. When “Verbum caro factum est/the Word was made flesh” [John 1:14], he saw the world with something of a prelapsarian understanding in contrast to other people.)

I am applying this hypothesis to Elaine Scarry’s torture theory and exploring rarely discussed and (what I think to be) important questions: based on textual evidence in the bible and the crucifixion play leading up to his death, did Christ feel pain during his crucifixion? Is the human mind outfitted to empathize with Jesus?

BriI think I want to work with contemporary Italian poetry written by women, specifically Maria Luisa Spaziani, but maybe more. I would like to look at these works through the philosophy of Benedetto Croce (who supports humanism and the supremacy of rhetorical/poetic language over logical language) and connect the philosophy/poetry relationship to themes of feminism and gender roles in Italy. Analysis of dichotomies like male/female, philosophy/poetry and sun/moon (lunacy) may be included, as would "sex" or "sesso" in its relationship to love, marriage and independence. Hopefully an argument will come out of this nonsense, something about the nature of duality in Spaziani, the "irrational" or "emotional" labeling of women who are not taken seriously or seen as sex objects, and how the conceptual evolution of sex and marriage has shifted feminine consciousness and creativity beyond their traditional place in society.
ZachMy topic concerns the French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud and the role of language in poetry as it pertains to sensory experience. At least at this point it does. Rimbaud is famed for his self-willed dereglement des senses and the linguistic capacity it afforded the poetic act.

I also hope to explore themes of the self and self-hood at work (and play) in his works, as well as the influence his biographical legend has held over modernist literature.

I am bold to say I have no comparative axis at this point. Possibly William S. Burroughs.

BalinMy thesis topic is the intersection of Dante's Inferno and Mexican author Juan Rulfo's Pedro Paramo.

More specifically, I am interested in the narrative structure of each and their respective depiction(s) of women.

WillI'm translating poems by Leopoldo Maria Panero. He's a Spanish poet, still living but crazy. I hope to translate a lot of poems, maybe even a short book (it’s really short) its called, Asi Se Fundo Carnaby Street. He loves pop culture, (hes even got a poem called "homage to Bonnie and Clyde" and the great thing is that the very next poem is "homage to Eliot." This guy is so great.

I will write a theoretical supplement, and possibly an essay comparing Panero with Ezra Pound.

KathrynMy topic will focus on Kurt Vonnegut, with an examination of either Mother Night or Slaughterhouse-Five and how the inhumane/tragic events of World War II affect the protagonists and how each protagonist utilizes a first person narration to rid themselves of their ghosts, demons, and/or guilt. I'll probably end up comparing these themes to Fernando Vallejo's novel, Lady of Our Asassins, which through a first person narration discusses the cultural and social deterioration of Columbia as well as the many plagues that afflict modern society and his interpretation of these changes within Columbia.
VenesaMy thesis topic is on the unification of past and present. I am comparing Dominican Republic author Julia Alvarez’s En el nombre de Salomé and Mexican author,Carlos Fuentes’ Death of Artemio Cruz. My primary focus is to analyze how identity is formed through the intertwining of characters' lives.
RachelI'm a total math nut, and I really like the Negritude poets, so I thought I would do something with the mathematics of neologism in the poetry of Aime Cesaire (I don't know how to do accent aigus in email), which sounds like it makes no sense but actually does, I promise. I've spent some time researching the evolution of language, so I was thinking of throwing all that together, maybe with some scientific theory (linguistic and evolutionary (and particularly pertaining to social evolution and the role of language in culture and consciousness)).

Then, Poetics entered my life (represent!) and I did my final project on Jack Spicer, who is ridiculously interesting, sort of undiscovered in academia (with the exception, apparently, of a couple of dissertations in Ottawa), and who has poetic theories of dictation that resonate with those held by Andre Breton (Aime Cesaire's right-hand man). That could be an interesting point of comparison, especially because Breton is well known and critically acclaimed as a Surrealist, while Spicer belongs to a less respected (critically) circle of Bay Area poets and hasn't generated much criticism, although his work actually contains a surrealist aesthetic.


If I got anything wrong (assuming anybody reads this), tell me, and it will be fixed!

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