Archive for January, 2018

We’ll be discussing the importance of the electric guitar later in the semester.

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The experience, you will notice, the elements which enter the presence of the transforming catalyst, are of two kinds: emotions and feelings. The effect of a work of art upon the person who enjoys it is an experience different in kind from any experience not of art.

–T. S. Eliot

I wonder what anyone will make of these recordings, from the 1970s, of the very famous Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, author of the famous essay “Let’s Ban Applause!” (1962). The YouTube comments are total nonsense, of course. But perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from watching people make idiots of themselves by failing epically in their attempts to praise or blame. The same appalling spectacle can also be seen regularly over on Amazon.com, and I invite you all to have a look, when you get a chance, at customer reviews there. Horrifying, but instructive, and indicative of just how important it us for us to have decent critics in our culture. But enough of general issues. What’s actually going on in these specific videos? What would the author of our current readings have to say about these performances? What do you imaging Gould is trying to achieve here? Is he succeeding wonderfully, or is he yet another epic failure? Why? How?

Orlando Gibbons
“Lord Salisbury’s Pavan and Galliard”

William Byrd
Galliard No.6

But why in the world would Gould ever want to ban applause? And what might that have to do with arguments put forth in the critical writings of T. S. Eliot? Will the following piece of music offer any assistance as we attempt to answer that question?

The difference is not a simple difference of degree between poets. It is something which had happened to the mind of England between the time of Donne or Lord Herbert of Cherbury and the time of Tennyson and Browning; it is the difference between the intellectual poet and the reflective poet. Tennyson and Browning are poets, and they think; but they do not feel their thought as immediately as the odour of a rose. A thought to Donne was an experience; it modified his sensibility. . . . In the seventeenth century a dissociation of sensibility set in, from which we have never recovered; and this dissociation, as is natural, was aggravated by the influence of the two most powerful poets of the century, Milton and Dryden. Each of these men performed certain poetic functions so magnificently well that the magnitude of the effect concealed the absence of others. . . . But while the language became more refined, the feeling became more crude.

–T. S. Eliot, “The Metaphysical Poets”

Some music for your consideration and enjoyment. Feel free to respond to any or all of this. Have you heard similar music before? Why is this relevant to Eliot’s argument about art and poetry? What exactly happened, as far as Eliot is concerned, to the English mind in the transition from the 16th to the 17th century, and why is it so significant?


“fidelity to thought and feeling”

Thomas Tallis
(1505 – 1583)

“If You Love Me”
“A New Commandment”
“Out From The Deep”




byrd

William Byrd
(1543 – 1623)

“Prevent Us, O Lord”
“O Make Thy Servant Elizabeth”




gibbons

Orlando Gibbons
(1585 – 1625)

“See, See, The Word Is Incarnate”
“O God, The King of Glory”



Surprisingly, or not, Eliot would have considered the following music a serious step downward. Where is this suggested in his essays, and why would he have thought that?

“a dissociation of sensibility . . .
from which we have never recovered”

dif·fi·dent
ˈdifəd(ə)nt
adjective
modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence.

Written when he was 22 years old.

Wondrous Natural Spectacle

Posted: January 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

Readings for Week of January 22rd

Posted: January 17, 2018 in Readings

Since the question has been raised:

Los Angeles Review of Books
“Catherine Malabou on the Brain and Other Topics”
April 2012

Catherine Malabou, a French philosopher who teaches at Kingston University in England, is the author of ‘The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage,’ ‘What Should We Do With Our Brain?‘ ‘Changing Difference,’ ‘The Future of Hegel,’ and other books. She speaks here with LARB Philosophy/Critical Theory Editor Arne De Boever.


“Wolf’s Prolegomena has long been recognized as one of the most important books in the history of classical studies. . . . This English translation, with a detailed historical introduction, makes it fully accessible to the modern reader. . . . The analytical and unitarian interpretations of Homer have, indeed, been argued over ever since. It is gratifying that the work which started this famous controversy is available once again.” —H. B. Nisbet, Times Higher Education Supplement

“This is the first English translation of Wolf’s Prolegomena ad Homerum, a seminal work for classical scholarship. An introduction places Wolf in the cultural setting of eighteenth-century Germany, especially with regard to Homeric studies, showing how he was influenced by contemporary textual criticism of the Old Testament, and how Wolf’s work was originally received.”–Choice

Twenty-three poems that transformed English poetry

Wordsworth and Coleridge composed this powerful selection of poetry during their youthful and intimate friendship. Reproducing the first edition of 1798, this edition of Lyrical Ballads allows modern readers to recapture the book’s original impact. In these poems—including Wordsworth’s “Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere”—the two poets exercised new energies and opened up new themes.

In semesters past I have assigned these materials. I will not do so now. But I do want to make key selections of English Romantic verse available for curious and motivated students. Please feel free to read and discuss these poems, if you like; but, technically, they are not on the syllabus.

If you find you loathe this stuff, please note that these pieces contrast markedly with almost everything else we will be reading this semester.

p.s. Look for the print button on the upper-right corner of the web pages hosting each poem. This may make your life easier. Also, notice that the Wordsworth poems are the longest and (by our standards) most ponderous. Things will get much briefer and lighter as you move on to the other Romantic poets.

Readings for January 10

Posted: January 8, 2018 in Readings

Hi! This is the first set of readings for the semester. I plan to begin discussing William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge during our next class. What we don’t finish the first day we will continue to address in subsequent meetings. I will also include texts by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in this post, but only to give the more adventurous something to explore. Wordsworth and Coleridge may be difficult read. Do the best you can with them. I have no expectations that anyone will understand these materials perfectly on the first reading. At least some parts of them will be too challenging for that, though there is certainly fun and adventure to be had in accepting challenges. Good luck, and see you soon!

(c) The Wordsworth Trust; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

William Wordsworth
(1770 – 1850)
Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800)

portrait
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772 – 1834)
Biographia Literaria (1817)
“Of The Imagination, or Esemplastic Power”

Syllabus!

Posted: January 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

Here it is!

This Is The Place!

Posted: January 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

This Is The Place

This is the place where I will post our readings this semester. You can also use the blog to keep in touch with me, and ask questions and comment on assigned texts. WordPress is easy and fun to use. I know many of you will take right to it, whereas it will be new and intimidating for others. The more you follow and utilize this form, the better you will get to know my ways of thinking and my expectations regarding your work, the more help and guidance you will receive, and the more you will learn.

To follow KUBERNESIS just click the option above and to the left in the transparent toolbar.

I have used blogs with great success in variety of courses over the last seven years. It has been an tremendous resource for both my students and me. You will be amazed at how much you will learn – from me, your peers, and yourself – if you will check this site regularly and treat it not just as a task but as an expressive artistic medium, a vehicle through which to think in new and exciting ways.

Please, don’t allow yourself to become anxious about writing here. I’ve designed this as a place to diffuse anxieties and to get to know my expectations gradually, long before it’s time to write a paper. Using WordPress really is not very hard at all, and becomes increasingly fun and instructive once you get that hang of it.