Sin Boldly! Dr. Dave's Guide to Writing the College Paper

By David R. Williams | Go to book overview

10
Literary Games

The "Deep Inner Meaning" Debate

Once upon a time, when the world was young, literature teachers lectured on the biographical details of the lives of the great authors and discussed in broad, general terms how their ideals furthered the values and visions of the nation. After the literary rebellions of the early 1900s, new tools became available to help us understand ourselves. When Freudian psychotherapy became a fad in the roaring 1920s, literary critics started to see phallic symbols everywhere. In the 1930s, with the onset of the Great Depression, intellectuals turned from sex to economics to find out what really pulls our strings. During that era, Marxism replaced Freudianism as the theoretical lens through which literature was read. In the 1940s and 1950s, a group of scholars, wearied to tears by all that pompous "literary history" of the previous century and the trendy fads of the previous two decades, began to insist that close readings of the text alone ought to be the subject of scholarly concern. These "New Critics," as they were called, judged the texts under their scrutiny for internal thematic organization, which they called "unity," and for internal paradoxes, subtle allusions, and verbal nuance, full of classical, mythological, and religious significance. Rejecting earlier approaches, they took up the battle cry that a text was a text and only the text itself mattered, that the reader should not care if a poem were written in China before Christ or yesterday in the Bronx.

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Sin Boldly! Dr. Dave's Guide to Writing the College Paper
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Appreciation iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction What It's All About xi
  • 1 - Some Really Crude Basics 1
  • 2 - Choosing a Topic and Telling Your Story 9
  • 3 - In the Beginning . . . Pulling Your Creation out of the Void 25
  • 4 - Choosing a Voice 35
  • 5 - Plain-Style American Populism 49
  • 6 - Choosing Words 61
  • 7 - Arguing Your Case 77
  • 8 - How to Lose Your Case 91
  • 9 - For Instance: Two Examples 101
  • 10 - Literary Games 115
  • 11 - The Social Sciences 141
  • 12 - Grammatical Horrors 155
  • 13 - Some Common Stupid Mistakes 163
  • 14 - Punct'Uation!?! 177
  • 15 - Citing Sources Successfully 187
  • 16 - A Sample Quiz- Just for Fun! 195
  • 17 - Concluding Sermon 199
  • The Author's Rap Sheet 202
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