November 2007 Archives

Your presubmission report should be about three pages long. The more work you put into this, the more helpful I can be. The idea is that I am asking you to show me all the ingredients you plan to put into your paper. While I do want to see a fully fleshed-out thesis paragraph, I'm not asking for all the transitions and connective material -- just the bare ideas and the quotes from your sources (primary and secondary) that you plan to use in order to develop your argument.

As your paper develops, feel free to add, remove, or completely change any of the elements you have included in this presubmission report.
Respond in detail to an academic article that has helped you research your topic for Paper 2. Your half-page reflection paper should include full bibliographical information.
Choose a peer-reviewed article that is related to Maus and/or the literature/art of the Holocaust. Your written half-page reflection should include full bibliographic information.
Finish the article.
Writing in 1949, German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote "writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric."  For a generation after the war, artistic representations of any sort were almost taboo, since all media distort and exaggerate and simplify and constrain their subject matter.

I should point out that Adorno later changed his mind, but the taboo persists -- some Holocaust experts have never done more than glance at Maus because the medium does not appeal to them, and the U.S. Holocaust museum publishes a document that contains a warning against the use of simulations and games in the teaching of the Holocaust. Adorno was making a comment about how recent events changed the medium of poetry, and the museum presented its "no games or simulations" warning in order to prevent teachers from dividing kids up into guards and prisoners, both statements have been applied to warn artists away from using a particular artistic medium to represent a human experience, referred to in Hebrew as Shoah ("disaster; upheaval").

This article quotes Spiegelman as saying, "As they say, there's no business like Shoah business."
A magazine article that laments the shrinking coverage of books and literary culture in the pages of national newspapers.

This article is the length of a sizable book chapter, so for Tuesday we are reading pages 1-15 (up to the subheading "News That Stays News").

Goodbye to All That: The decline of the coverage of books isn't new, benign, or necessary

The predicament facing newspaper book reviews is best understood against the backdrop of several overlapping and contending crises: the first is the general challenge confronting America's newspapers of adapting to the new digital and electronic technologies that are increasingly absorbing advertising dollars, wooing readers away from newspapers, and undercutting profit margins; the second is the profound structural transformation roiling the entire book-publishing and book-selling industry in an age of conglomeration and digitization; and the third and most troubling crisis is the sea change in the culture of literacy itself, the degree to which our overwhelmingly fast and visually furious culture renders serious reading increasingly irrelevant, hollowing out the habits of attention indispensable for absorbing long-form narrative and the following of sustained argument.

These crises, taken together, have profound implications, not least for the effort to create an informed citizenry so necessary for a thriving democracy. It would be hard to overestimate the importance in these matters of how books are reported upon and discussed. The moral and cultural imperative is plain, but there may also be a much-overlooked commercial opportunity for newspapers waiting to be seized.

Assigned Text:

Maus II

Assigned Text:

Maus I

While you needn't post a full summary of the article, I do suggest that at the very least you post your whole half-page reflection, and that you consider writing a longer, deeper posting that demonstrates your ability to analyze and make use of your chosen article.

You may choose an offline article, or a book chapter, if you like.

I encourage you to think of this as advance work for Paper 2, but you needn't lock yourself into this topic.
Mezei, Kathy. "'And It Kept Its Secret': Narration, Memory, and Madness in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 27.4 (1987)

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