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February 16th, 2011 cmcurr11

Firstly, I am still bouncing up and down after my Toronto acceptance. Now I’m just waiting for Oxford. Come on, Brits!

One of the requirements to graduate in the English Honors Program is to take a metacritical course. Although my paleography tutorial at Oxford would have counted, I decided to take Professor Mulrooney’s Contemporary Literary Theory course because…well…he once advised me to take a course in Literary Theory if I ever wanted to go to graduate school. Well, I listened to him, and I’m glad that I did. Don’t get me wrong – Literary Theory is tough stuff. It’s basically the application of philosophy to literature – what is a text? What, exactly, is writing? How do the constructs of language affect our writing? It’s all just in a day’s work for this class. But as tough as it is, I’m glad that I’m taking the course, especially as a second semester senior since this course explains how the English department here teaches literature and why. I ran into this a bit when I was abroad last year – even some of my American friends from other universities approached literature very differently from the Holy Cross kids. We’re taught from day one in CRAW Poetry (wow, that’s a blast from the past. Haven’t heard me say that in a while, have you?) to analyze just what’s on the page – the author, time period, etc., shouldn’t affect our interpretation. We’re also not looking for a meaning from a poem; instead, we’re taught to see what imaginative work the poem asks us to do. Now, when you’re a freshman (I’m not speaking from personal experience…at all…hum dee doo deee dumm….), you think that you know everything that there is to know about poetry, and this approach seems…well, silly. For the most part, metacritical studies simply aren’t a part of the English major, compared to some other universities. For instance, one of my American friends last year could tell you everything about any literary “movement” (sorry, I just read Derrida so he’s affecting my interpretation of those words a bit), but if you asked her to analyze a poem, she was lost. So, during my freshman year, I didn’t understand the value of the type of training that Holy Cross endorses. But now that I look back, I’m glad that I learned how to first analyze poetry and then find my own literary movement affiliation rather than reading every piece of literature through one lens. Especially with graduate school next year (EEEEEEEEEPPPP It still hasn’t hit me that I’ve been accepted), I’m glad that I have some sense of  Literary Theory, though.

Aaaaaaand if you’re not an English major/even remotely interested in the Humanities, tune in tomorrow for a non-English major related post! Wait. I can’t guarantee that.

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