15-16 January 2014 – Discussing Nabokov, Perrine & Agassiz (maybe intro to F451)

Hey all, so we’ll talk about the essays, and after first hour today I realize it may take us a bit longer than one day. Okay by me! My main goal is for us to emerge from reading these books with a clear sense of the different skills these writers are advocating.

Also, today we’ll talk about something painful and challenging in English 10H: we use a New Critical approach to texts. It’s been true all year, but Perrine does such a good job of laying out the basic tenets of New Criticism that it’s time to show my cards.

Essentially, the USLH curriculum demands that you have a solid foundation in close reading of a text via New Criticism. Withhout that skill very well developed, it’s very difficult to move on to reading with the different lenses (literary schools) and movements (literary-historical).

So I use a New Critical approach in class. And that’s scarier than your typical English class in 9th grade or middle school where interpretation is a bit more loosey-goosey. It means that there are interpretations OUTSIDE the flashlight and I’ll be clear with you about it. I do try to make space for us to say the other things on our minds, but to land firmly within the text using only the text for evidence–it can feel squished in there!

You’ve probably noticed this without having the language for it, but I hope the language will help.

I adore you and want you all to be successful. 🙂

If time permits on Friday, we’ll launch into some of the intro-to-F451 Stuff that I’d like to do, but if not, we’ll do this stuff on Tuesday.

  • Talking about the title (do a pre-write in yoru journal of just a few sentences about the F451 title. We’ll go back to it as we encounter the other (section) titles in the book (The Hearth & the Salamander, The Sieve & the Sand, and Burning Bright)
  • Listening to the Dan Goia Interview with Bradbury about why/how he wrote F451 from NEA’s The Big Read (pardon the cheesy music)
  • Watching a short Vlogbrothers video introducing Part I of F451
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2 thoughts on “15-16 January 2014 – Discussing Nabokov, Perrine & Agassiz (maybe intro to F451)

  1. Hi Mrs. B, Id like to make a contribution to our discussion today.
    At the beginning of his piece, Nabokov quotes Flaubert saying, “what a scholar one might be if one knew well only some half a dozen books.” I think Nabokov is trying to say that one doesn’t have to read everything to be a good reader. Its not the quantity of what we read that matters so much as it is the quality. Nabokov goes on to talk about “fondling the details” it is very important to read and reread texts to get as much benefit as one can out of them.

  2. When Nabokov said things about rereading to be a good reader, I agreed with him because at first, people look for the main components of pattern or symbols. The next time you read, the main components are gone and that allows for a more detailed or close reading. On page 3, he says that the authentic instrument used by readers is the impersonal imagination and artistic delight. That is true because most people think literature as a piece of art. To get the most out of a book, you have to use your impersonal imagination to understand the art into what you would like then using your artistic delight to enjoy and fully comprehend what you just imagined. Of course, just reading with artistic delight is how to get pleasure out of reading a book. In class, we talked about the mind, heart, and spine model. You can’t just read for fun or you won’t learn from the book or just read for structure because it would become boring and unenjoyable. This supports in class that reading with the spine is more efficient because if you read because you like it while reading for a little structure, it provides more efficiency because people work better doing things they like to do.

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