Readings Since July 2011

In order to qualify for a post-baccalaureate degree in English, one has to be read in certain, specific areas of literature. After grueling over these for the past six months, I thought it was nearly insane when, standing in front of a committee, they asked me questions like, “What’s your view on socio-economics?” Questions about texts were hardly asked, but if they had been, I would’ve been ready! 

British
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales: “General Prologue” and Prologue/Tales told by the Wife of Bath, the Pardoner, the Nun’s Priest
Shakespeare: Othello, Merchant of Venice
Spenser: Book I of The Fairie Queene
Milton: Books 1, 2, and 9 from Paradise Lost
Swift: Gulliver’s Travels, Book 4: “Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms”
Pope: Epistle I from “An Essay on Man”
Austen: Emma
Blake: “The Lamb,” “The Tyger,” “The Little Vagabond,” “Holy Thursday,” “The Chimney Sweeper” (from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience).
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
Keats: “Ode on a Grecian Urn” & “On Sitting Down to Read King Lear”
Wordsworth: “Tintern Abbey” & “Preface to Lyrical Ballads”
Shelley: “Ode to the West Wind” & “Defense of Poetry”
Browning: “Andrea Del Sarto” Rossetti: “In an Artist’s Studio” & “Winter my Secret”
Hardy: Jude the Obscure
G. M. Hopkins: “God’s Grandeur” & “Pied Beauty”
Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse
James Joyce: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

American
Anne Bradstreet: “The Prologue To Her Book,” “Here Follows Some Verses Upon the Burning of our House,” “The Flesh and the Spirit,” “The Author to Her Book”
Phyllis Wheatley: “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” “To his Excellency G. Washington,” “On Imagination”
Dickinson: selections (numbers as listed in Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of ED):
49, 106, 165, 173, 178, 181, 216, 255, 258, 371, 426, 974, 985, 994, 84, 106, 175, 184, 185, 193, 204, 216, 280, 299, 1036, 1071, 1056, 1116, 70, 124, 185, 186, 230, 252, 284, 302, 319, 521, 1184, 1219
Whitman: Leaves of Grass
Thoreau: Walden, “Resistance to Civil Government”
Hawthorne: “Young Goodman Brown,” “Rappacini’s Daughter,” “The Birth-mark”
Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Melville: The Piazza Tales
Roth: Call It Sleep
Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!
Ellison: Invisible Man

Modernist Poetry:
Wm. C. Williams: “Spring and All” entire work, parts I-XXVIII; “Young Sycamore,” “Paterson: the Falls” & “The Dance”
Ezra Pound: “Ballad of the Goodly Fere,” “Canto I,” “Canto XIV,” “In a Station of the Metro,” “Sestina: Altaforte”
T.S. Eliot: “The Four Quartets,” “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
H.D. : “’Sea Rose,” “Chance Meeting,” “White World,’ “Phaedra,” “The Shepherd,” “A Dead Priestess Speaks”
Gertrude Stein: Tender Buttons
Mina Loy: “Lunar Baedeker” & “Moreover, the Moon”

Contemporary Poetry:
Lyn Hejinian: My Life
John Ashbery: “Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror”
Robert Creeley: “Something,” “Words,” “The Finger,” “The Act of Love,” “The Pattern,” “The Language,” “Distance”
George Oppen: “The Forms of Love,” “Boy’s Room,” “Of Being Numerous”
Alice Notley: from The Descent of Alette: [“a car” “awash with blood,”] [“I stood waiting”], [“I walked into”], [“Presently”], [“The water, of the river”] & “At Night the States”
Yusef Komunyakaa: “Facing It,” “My Father’s Love Letters,” “Believing in Iron”

Literary criticism
Saussure: “The Object of Study”
Jakobson: “Linguistics and Poetics”
Lacan: “The Insistence of the Letter in the Unconscious”
Woolf: A Room of One’s Own, Chapter One & Two
Derrida: “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”
J. Hillis Miller: “The Critic as Host”
P. Schwieckart: “Reading Ourselves: Toward a Feminist Theory of Reading”
Greenblatt: “The Circulation of Social Energy”
Geoffrey Hartman: “The Interpreter’s Freud”
Julia Kristeva: “The Ethics of Linguistics”
Raymond Williams: The Country and the City, “Country and City, and A Problem of Perspective”
Stuart Hall: “New Ethnicities”
Edward Said: Orientalism, “Crisis”
Meyda Yegenoglu: “The Battle of the Veil: Woman between Orientalism and Nationalism”
Judith Butler: “Critically Queer”

In addition to the list, for other classes:
Italo Calvino: If on a winter’s night a traveler
MM Bakhtin: Speech Genres
Fae Myenne Ng: Bone
Octavia Butler: Kindred
MH Kingston: The Woman Warrior
Gary Soto: Living Up the Street

In addition to all these, my personal readings:
R.L. Stevenson: Treasure Island
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
Kai Bird & Martin J. Sherwin: American Prometheus The Oppenheimer Story

The past six months have been busy.

Poem of note (aside from the many others): “Lunar Baedeker” by Mina Loy — the vocabulary is spectacular:

A silver Lucifer
serves
cocaine in cornucopia

To some somnambulists
of adolescent thighs
draped
in satirical draperies

Peris in livery
prepare
Lethe
for posthumous parvenues

Delirious Avenues
lit
with the chandelier souls
of infusoria
from Pharoah’s tombstones

lead
to mercurial doomsdays
Odious oasis
in furrowed phosphorous

the eye-white sky-light
white-light district
of lunar lusts

Stellectric signs
“Wing shows on Starway”
“Zodiac carrousel”

Cyclones
of ecstatic dust
and ashes whirl
crusaders
from hallucinatory citadels
of shattered glass
into evacuate craters

A flock of dreams
browse on Necropolis

From the shores
of oval oceans
in the oxidized Orient

Onyx-eyed Odalisques
and ornithologists
observe
the flight
of Eros obsolete

And “Immortality”
mildews …
in the museums of the moon

“Nocturnal cyclops”
“Crystal concubine”

Pocked with personification
the fossil virgin of the skies
waxes and wanes

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2 Responses to Readings Since July 2011

  1. bibliopirate says:

    they certainly kept you busy, but that had to have been a fun.

  2. LK says:

    The best part actually came when I found youtube videos to help me study and review, such as:

    Jacques Lacan in one minute http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwlirZQLAAg

    Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure in 5 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1OIgAbe1Hk

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