Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Road (2006 by Cormac McCarthy) and The Road (2009 by John Hillcoat) - script for movie seeing

Please post your answers for next class (May 2)

- How does the change of point of view and person of narration alter the reader's perception of the narrated events?

- Compare the openings of both films.

- Is there any scene in the movie that helps you best visualize an event in the novel? Which and why?

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming" (1919)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Blake, "Nebuchadnezar" in The Marraige of Heaven and Hell

Monday, 18 April 2016

Teresa Alves meets Saul Bellow - April 26

Dear students,

I will be away at the biannual conference of the European Association of American Studies, but on the 26th April we will have a very special class, with Teresa F. A. Alves, my longtime mentor and one of the driving forces behind American Studies at the University of Lisbon (along with her "younger sister", Teresa Cid). Teresa Alves will be speaking about the subject of her PhD thesis, the Nobel Prize Saul Bellow, and about the short story "A Father-to-be" by Saul Bellow (anthology, p. 22)
This is an unmissable event and I hope you all will profit from it.
While you read the short story, please think (or comment below) about:
- character(s) depiction: what is shown and what is told
- mechanisms of irony / humour
- symbolism (settings, characters' names, objects, etc)

Meanwhile, because we will shortly celebrate the 25 the of April, here is a video about one of the most discrete figures of mentor Teresa Alves (as a "Woman of the Revolution" - please don't tell her I posted this):
and below a photo of dear Saul Bellow

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Claudia Rankine in Citizen (2014)

Certain moments send adrenaline to the heart, dry out the tongue, and clog the lungs. Like thunder they drown you in sound, no, like lightning they strike you across the larynx. Cough. After it happened I was at a loss for words. Haven't you said this yourself? Haven't you said this to a close friend who early in your friendship, when distracted, would call you by the name of her black housekeeper? You assumed you two were the only black people in her life. Eventually she stopped doing this, though she never acknowledged her slippage. And you never called her on it (why not?) and yet, you don't forget. If this were a domestic tragedy, and it might well be, this would be your fatal flaw—your memory, vessel of your feelings. Do you feel hurt because it's the "all black people look the same" moment, or because you are being confused with another after being so close to this other?

Monday, 4 April 2016

HW 12th April - quotation for commentary practice

"We'll work with anybody, anywhere, at any time, who is genuinely interested in tackling the probem head on, nonviolenty as long as the enemy is nonviolent, but violent when the enemy gets violent. We'll work with you on the voter-registation drive, we'll work with you on rent strikes, we'll work with you on school boycotts — I don't believe in any kind of integration; I'm not even worried about it because I know you're not going to get it anyway. (... ) But we'll work with you on the school boycotts because we are against any segregated school system."
- Malcolm X, "The Ballot or the Bullet" (1964)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

How to write a comparative essay in literature (and with other arts)

Here is the best link I could find to help you with your writing for your final essay:

I have 3 additions to make, though:

1) focus on grounds of comparison/contrast: don't forget this is a literature class.  As such try to substantiate at least one of your grounds for comparison with a "reading" of a short excerpt or image detail. Close, careful and critical reading is essential in order for you to develop nuanced readings and interpretations, to bring out similarities and differences between the texts (even if visual or musical texts) you are comparing, and to demonstrate your awareness of the forms, patterns, textures, resonances and ideological purposes of language. This might not be easy to do at length in a short essay as this, and you will have higher-order elements to analyse (e. g. plot, character, context) but try just once: for example: does a movie add or omit lines to a crucial dialogue? in which way does this change tone, register, rhetoric strategies?

2) writing methodology: as this is a short essay (1500 words max) you may use either the alternating or block method for comparison

3) your essay should be presented double-spaced, size-12 letter, and your name should be clearly identified, along with title of essay, class and teacher, in compliance with the more detailed formal instructions that you are going to receive by email, and where it is very important to play heed on how to reference bibliography.