Lecture BM1, Summer 2009: Round up

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Sabine Gebken writes:

I hope I am not too late to ask some questions for tomorrow’s session. There are four questions that came to my mind while I summed up the lecture.

The first question concerns the eighth lecture on Drama 1: Shakespeare. On the last slide is said: “Be aware of the problematic aspects in the construction of the Elizabethan period”. I couldn’t remember to have heard anything of problems like that. So what are these problems like?

  • (Maybe not all of these points were made explicitly in the original lecture, but:) Many of the received characteristics associated with the period were only put into connection with it much later, and they are part of a larger story told in retrospect, they do not necessarily reflect the perspective of the time (e.g. the Elizabethan world picture is a retrospective construction; the influence of the queen on her age may have been overestimated; Shakespeare was not seen as a central author of the time, but as a successful writer for the theatre.) Olaf Simons 11:35, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

The second question is on the second part of the drama topic. There is a slide that carries the headline “Contextualising the Country Wife”. The first four points repeat the development of theatre and the fifth says that the “Country Wife” responds to that position. For me it was not clear to what point of the development the “Country Wife” responds. And at least I did not really get how this “crazy” comedy responds to the conservative positions.

  • If you want, it is a typical "Restoration Comedy" - fitting into the political context of the new court life Charles II established in London after his return in 1660. --Olaf Simons 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

The next question concerns the same lecture and the slide with the title “The Early 18th century audience”. There is one point that says that there sat “Orange Wenches” in the audience. I couldn’t find anywhere what “Orange Wenches” are.

  • Prostitution involved prostitutes ("strumpets", "whores"...) and "bawds", women who offered their services to lead you to prostitutes. Wench is (antiquated) derogatory for woman, "orange wench" a contemporary term referring to the women of whom you saw two on Hogarth's picture. They went through the theatre, sold fruits and asked young gallants whether they needed further services, contacts to prostitutes they could procure. If you stumble over such a word you have to check the OED (http://dictionary.oed.com/), accessible among the services the university offers. -Olaf Simons 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

And my last question is again on the same lecture where is said that the 19th century sensational Naturalism had a tendency towards cinematic realism. This statement really confused me! I couldn’t get the connection between Naturalism. I understand the connection between Naturalism and Realism but what has it to do with cinema?

  • They staged spectacular things like the accidents on board of a passenger ship on stage. You'd rather do that on screen in a movie, than on a stage. You can step from these performances into the age of movies. Theatre went a different way in the 1920s looking for what you would rather do on a stage than in a movie. - Olaf Simons 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Daniel Sip added the following:

Could you recapitulate the Approaches of Structuralism and Post Structuralism?

  • refer to the handout and the lecture and try to ask your question more specifically.

Is Formalism an author-orientated approach or context-orientated?!

  • Typical formalist analysis has dealt with fairy tales and the different constellations and stages such a tale can involve (father bequeaths his heritage to three sons, the last one gets least but manages to do most with his gifts. The individual situations and tests reoccur in numerous variations in several fairy tales. Formalists schematised and labelled the different stages and options to analyse and describe. --Olaf Simons 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
  • it is neither; those who distinguish approaches by such categories would call it "text-oriented". --Anton Kirchhofer 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

On the "History of Literature" session: Why did Olaf Simons show us 18th century Literary Journals - was it just to show that such journals are different today?

  • it was to show (1) that the things that were considered as literature are quite different from those that "we" consider as literature", and (2) that nevertheless, there is a long tradition in discussing literature (whatever it happened to be) --Anton Kirchhofer 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

One of the slides read: "The International market of the belles lettres with fiction being part of the production of histories has been deconceptualized" What is meant with that and why did this "deconceptualisation" happen?

  • There was a big market of belles lettres, elegant publications, histories were seen as part of that market (if elegant and written in modern languages). Fiction again was seen as part of the market of histories. Our 20th/21st-century vocabulary does not allow us to speak of texts in these contexts. We have "de-conceptualised" the words. Literature is a new context we have built and we tend to consider that this context always existed, i.e. that we always had national literatures consisting of play, fiction and poetry.

What is the difference between the "Belles Lettres", "Fiction" and "Literature"? How can I prove that the a text is part of the "Belles Lettres" or "Literature". What is meant with the statement that there is but one global concept of the "Belles Lettres"?

  • One and the same text can be put into all three categories. Question is: when do you use which of these categories. If you want to discuss a novel you will speak about its literary merits, not about its belletristic merits. We speak of different national literatures if we want to speak of different national traditions. The belles lettres are seen as a single market of international entertaining texts, there is not even a plural to speak of English versus French belles lettres (as we do with the "literatures" Britain and France).

On "The early modern novel": The conflict between novels and romances - does it just mean that the English novel was a reaction on the French romance? The presentation seemed to prove that such a view is problematic...

  • There are two rises of the novel, an 17th century rise and one constructed by Ian Watt, they refer to different texts and different developments. --Olaf Simons 12:01, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

How does the publishing history and the reception of Robinson Crusoe fit in this conflict. Robinson Crusoe was not the typical English novel of this period, it rather showed aspects of a romance. Was this shown to prove a mistake in the Ian Watt thesis?

  • Indeed Crusoe is a novel that will only fit into Watt's view, not into the early 18th century view. --Olaf Simons 12:01, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

On the "English Novel in the 19th century" session: Could we take another look at the questions given there?

What was meant with "Seriousness" and "Popularity" in this lecture?

  • Much the same as today. "Seriousness" refers to the fact that critics take some fictions seriously enough to interpret them as important statements, e.g. on the condition of contemporary society, or on the larger human questions in general etc. - "Popularity" means that fictions are mainly 'consumed' as entertainment. --Anton Kirchhofer 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Is there a relationship between the "circulating library" and the "rise of the novel"?

  • circulating libraries only become widespread in the ninetenth century, i.e., a good deal after the period in which the various "rise of the novel" scenarios are set --Anton Kirchhofer 11:25, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Friederike Tiemerding writes:

I have questions concerning the legitimate and illegitimate theatres under the Walpole's government. I thought that after the Licensing Act all plays had to undergo the censorship of Lord Chamberlain's so that just non-offending, legitimate plays did pass the censorship. Weren't those plays the only ones performed? So what exactly was the difference between those two types of theatres and what did illegitimate theatres show? Where their plays public or was it forbidden and therefore secret? What kind of audience attended these illegitimate theatres? Was there kind of a membership like with the Club Theatres alter on?

  • The strict licensing applied to serious plays performed by the companies licensed to perform such plays. A second market existed for other kinds of (predominately) musical entertainment including melodramatic performances and a growing production of commercial entertainments. --Olaf Simons 13:49, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Anne-Sophie Sauer asked Anton Kirchhofer

ich habe eine Frage bezüglich des Tests und würde mich sehr freuen, wenn Sie mir die Frage beantworten können / dürfen. Ich interessiere mich für das Thema "the rise of the novel" und wollte mich vergewissern, ob man die verschiedenen Ansichten über die Entstehung des novels vom 17. bis zum 19. Jahrhundert bei der Question 2 untersuchen könnte oder ob der Zeitraum zu groß gewählt wäre. Sollte man sich nur auf ein Jahrhundert oder einen kleinen Zeitraum beziehen?

  • In Question 2 sollen Sie sich mit verschiedenen Aspekten eines Zeitraums beschäftigen. "The rise of the novel" in seiner verschiedenen Varianten, ist nur ein solcher Aspekt (Sie bräuchten dann noch 2 andere Aspekte, die vorzugsweise aus anderen Vorlesungen stammen sollten.) Zur Länge des Zeitraums kann ich nur sagen, dass die konventionellen und vergleichsweise sicheren Varianten 1. ein Jahrhundert oder 2. eine Epoche sein werden. Alle anderen Zeiträume sind auch möglich, aber Sie müssen halt sagen können, was an dem Zeitraum und den 3 ihn betreffenden Aspekten literaturwissenscaftlich interesant sein könnte. --Anton Kirchhofer 14:32, 18 June 2009 (UTC) (E-mail Kontakt)

Cornelia Wanger schrieb:

Ich möchte nur kurz anmerken, dass ich mir Sorgen um die Zeit mache und zwar, weil es bedeutet, dass wir für 6 Abschnitte jeweils nur 10 Minuten Zeit haben. Ich frage mich, ob es wirklich möglich ist in der kurzen Zeit einen guten Text zu formulieren, der auch "perspectives" und "consequences" beinhaltet. Mit dieser Sorge bin ich auch nicht allein.

Liebe Frau Wanger, Sie sollen nicht sechs Abschnitte bearbeiten. Sie sollen (Frage 1) ein Thema und (Frage 2) einen Zeitraum mit Erkenntnissen ansprechen. Sie zeigen dabei, dass Sie Informationen in Zusammenhänge bringen können. Wie wollen Sie denn über ein Thema oder über eine Zeit schreiben, ohne Fakten anzubieten? --Olaf Simons 13:56, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Ich meinte es so: Wir sollen uns ein Thema und einen Zeitraum suchen und dazu je "three distinct areas of factual knowledge" präsentieren (zu diesen sollen wir auch die "insights", "perspectives", "consequences" etc. formulieren). Deswegen hatte ich es 6 "Abschnitte" genannt. Zudem sollen wir auch noch "academically relevant reasons for choosing [the topic/ time period]" geben, was dann sogar quasi 8 "Abschnitte" macht. Deshalb mache ich mir Sorgen um die Zeit.
  • Keep it simple! Wir müssen/sollten ja nur 2 Seiten pro Aufgabe schreiben, man kann und muss sich dementsprechend auf das Wesentliche konzentrieren und hoffen, dass das, was man als wesentlich ansieht, auch richtig, wichtig, schlüssig und passend ist. Man hat ja meist schon eine Idee dahinter, wenn man sich für ein Thema bzw. die Aspekte entscheidet. Und dann eben noch die perspective(s). Keine Panik, alles machbar. --Silke Haneborger 08:46, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep it simple klingt gut. Nur leider kann ich mir nicht vorstellen wie man 100 Punkte auf/in 60 Minuten Bearbeitungszeit schaffen / bewerten soll. Bin auch leider keine Schreibmaschine :-(
  • Mach dich nicht so verrückt ;) ... Sind ja auch keine 100 Punkte, sondern 3 Aspekte pro Aufgabe und jeweils eine Begründung, warum du die gewählt hast und eine Perspektive. :) ... Das schaffste schon, auch ohne Schreibmaschinenfähigkeiten *hehe* ... einfach auf das Wesentliche konzentrieren und den Rest weg lassen. Wenn schon 60 Minuten (und 2 Seiten) vorgegeben werden, wird von uns wohl kaum erwartet, da jetzt das Rad neu zu erfinden. Und du sollst ja auch Perspektiven/Denkanstöße oder Denkrichtungen angeben und nicht eine ausführliche, wissenschaftliche Diskussion anfangen. Also: "K.I.S.S" - Keep It Simple (and Stupid) :D haha