Features of Postmodernism

Featherstone wisely notes the danger of “simply relabelling experiences as postmodern which were formerly granted little significance,” and laments that many definitions of postmodernism are too loose and vague to be useful. Yet, even if contemporary thinkers are simply re-packaging . . . . Continue Reading »

Modernism and Postmodernism in Art

The Modernday Dictionary of Deceived Ideas offers this definition of postmodernism “This word has no meaning. Use it as often as possible.” Mike Featherstone, who quotes this dictionary, offers a more serious discussion of what postmodernism means when applied to artistic movemements. . . . . Continue Reading »

Proverbs 13:1-6

INTRODUCTION Waltke proposes the following structure for chapter 13. 13:1 is an introductory verse that picks up on the exhortations of the prologue to listen to the father’s instruction. There is a multiple inclusion around the chapter. The “discipline” of v. 1 is taken up in v. . . . . Continue Reading »

Hamlet, 3.4

This scene, like the scene that opens Act 3, shows Hamlet encountering a woman who in his mind has betrayed him. Again, he has been sent for, and probably suspects that it is another setup like the one with Ophelia. He has just come from the play, ready to drink hot blood and to kill, and he is . . . . Continue Reading »

Pierre and Hamlet

FO Matthiessen described Melville’s Pierre as “an American Hamlet,” a novel that attempts to “translate” Shakespeare into 19th-century American life. In part, this is a matter of Melville matching characters and plots: “Lucy’s pale innocence fails Pierre as . . . . Continue Reading »

Metaphysics of presence

Derrida, famously, challenges what he calls the metaphysics of presence. What is challenging is not the reality of presence as such, but the notion that we can arrive at some pure presence of a thing, a moment, a self that is unmixed with anything other than itself. A pure instant of time that is . . . . Continue Reading »

How Deconstruction Works

Culler offers an example from Nietzsche that provides an excellent example of the ju-jitsu of deconstruction. Nietzsche argues that causality is not something given, but is the product of a rhetorical operation, a chronological reversal ( chronologische Umdrehung ). I feel a pain, and go searching . . . . Continue Reading »

New Criticism and theory

At the beginning of his book on Deconstruction , Jonathan Culler notes that critical theory, seen “as an attempt to establish the validity or invalidity of particular interpretive procedures,” is profoundly indebted to New Criticism: This movement “not only instilled the . . . . Continue Reading »

Thoughts on Beowulf

All page numbers are from the Heany translation. The central focus of the first two fights is Heorot, the mead-hall of Hrothgar. The mead-hall is the focus of a complex of imagery. (The last fight has a similar origin, as Beowulf’s hall is destroyed by the dragon. The house is a place where . . . . Continue Reading »

Christianization of Germanic Lit

Beowulf reflects the tensions between the Christian culture spreading throughout Northern Europe and the pagan cultures into which it came into conflict. The poem has its place within this clash of civilizations in the first 500 years AD. It is a product of the history of missions. The Germanic . . . . Continue Reading »