Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

3

Formalism was essentially the application of linguistics to the study of literature [...] content was merely the 'motivation' of form, an occasion or convenience for a particular kind of formal exercise. Don Quixote is not 'about' the character of that name: the character is just a device for holding together different kinds of narrative technique. Animal Farm for the Formalists would not be an allegory of Stalinism; on the contrary, Stalinism would simply provide a useful opportunity for the construction of an allegory. [...]

The Formalists started out by seeing the literary work as a more or less arbitrary assemblages of 'devices', and only later came to see these devices as interrelated elements or 'functions' within a total textual system. 'Devices' included sound, imagery, rhythm, syntax, metre, rhyme, narrative techniques, in fact the whole stock of formal literary elements; and what all of these elements had in common was their 'estranging' or 'defamiliarizing' effect. [...]

Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Formalism was essentially the application of linguistics to the study of literature [...] content was merely the 'motivation' of form, an occasion or convenience for a particular kind of formal exercise. Don Quixote is not 'about' the character of that name: the character is just a device for holding together different kinds of narrative technique. Animal Farm for the Formalists would not be an allegory of Stalinism; on the contrary, Stalinism would simply provide a useful opportunity for the construction of an allegory. [...]

The Formalists started out by seeing the literary work as a more or less arbitrary assemblages of 'devices', and only later came to see these devices as interrelated elements or 'functions' within a total textual system. 'Devices' included sound, imagery, rhythm, syntax, metre, rhyme, narrative techniques, in fact the whole stock of formal literary elements; and what all of these elements had in common was their 'estranging' or 'defamiliarizing' effect. [...]

—p.3 Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
5

[...] The idea that there is a single 'normal' language, a common currency shared equally by all members of society, is an illusion. Any actual language consists of a highly complex range of discourses, differentiated according to class, region, gender, status and so on. which can by no means be neatly unified into a single homogeneous linguistic community. [...] Even the most 'prosaic' text of the fifteenth century may sound 'poetic' to us today because of its archaism. If we were to stumble across an isolated scrap of writing from some long-vanished civilization, we could not tell whether it was 'poetry' or not merely by inspecting it, since we might have no access to that society's 'ordinary' discourses; [...] We would not be able to tell just by looking at it that it was not a piece of 'realist' literature, without much more information about the way it actually functioned as a piece of writing within the society in question.

Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] The idea that there is a single 'normal' language, a common currency shared equally by all members of society, is an illusion. Any actual language consists of a highly complex range of discourses, differentiated according to class, region, gender, status and so on. which can by no means be neatly unified into a single homogeneous linguistic community. [...] Even the most 'prosaic' text of the fifteenth century may sound 'poetic' to us today because of its archaism. If we were to stumble across an isolated scrap of writing from some long-vanished civilization, we could not tell whether it was 'poetry' or not merely by inspecting it, since we might have no access to that society's 'ordinary' discourses; [...] We would not be able to tell just by looking at it that it was not a piece of 'realist' literature, without much more information about the way it actually functioned as a piece of writing within the society in question.

—p.5 Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
9

[...] There is no 'essence' of literature whatsoever. Any bit of writing may be read 'non-programmatically', if that is what reading a text as literature means, just as any writing may be read 'poetically'. If I pore over the railway timetable not to discover a train connection but to stimulate in myself general reflections on the speed and complexity of modern existence, then I might be said to be reading it as literature. [...] 'Literature' is in this sense a purely formal, empty sort of definition. [...]

Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] There is no 'essence' of literature whatsoever. Any bit of writing may be read 'non-programmatically', if that is what reading a text as literature means, just as any writing may be read 'poetically'. If I pore over the railway timetable not to discover a train connection but to stimulate in myself general reflections on the speed and complexity of modern existence, then I might be said to be reading it as literature. [...] 'Literature' is in this sense a purely formal, empty sort of definition. [...]

—p.9 Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
12

[...] All literary works, in other words, are 'rewritten', if only unconsciously, by the societies which read them; indeed there is no reading of a work which is not also a 're-writing'. No work, and no current evaluation of it, can simply be extended to new groups of people without being changed, perhaps almost unrecognizably, in the process; and this is one reason why what counts as literature is a notably unstable affair.

Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] All literary works, in other words, are 'rewritten', if only unconsciously, by the societies which read them; indeed there is no reading of a work which is not also a 're-writing'. No work, and no current evaluation of it, can simply be extended to new groups of people without being changed, perhaps almost unrecognizably, in the process; and this is one reason why what counts as literature is a notably unstable affair.

—p.12 Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
13

[...] Statements of facts are after all statements, which presumes a number of questionable judgements: that those statements are worth making, perhaps more worth making than certain others, that I am the sort of person entitled to make them and perhaps able to guarantee their truth, that you are the kind of person worth making them to, that something useful is accomplished by making them, and so on. [...]

as an example, he contrasts so-called descriptive statements like "this cathedral was built in 1612" with value judgements like "this cathedral is magnificent" only to say that the difference between the two is a matter of degree

Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] Statements of facts are after all statements, which presumes a number of questionable judgements: that those statements are worth making, perhaps more worth making than certain others, that I am the sort of person entitled to make them and perhaps able to guarantee their truth, that you are the kind of person worth making them to, that something useful is accomplished by making them, and so on. [...]

as an example, he contrasts so-called descriptive statements like "this cathedral was built in 1612" with value judgements like "this cathedral is magnificent" only to say that the difference between the two is a matter of degree

—p.13 Introduction: What is Literature? (1) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
34

[...] it is also possible to point out to students that advertisements and the popular press only exist in their present form because of the profit motive. 'Mass' culture is not the inevitable product of 'industrial' society, but the offspring of a particular form of industrialism which organizes production for profit rather than for use, which concerns itself with what will sell rather than with what is valuable. There is no reason to assume that such a social order is unchangeable; but the changes necessary would go far beyond the sensitive reading of King Lear. [...]

on the value of literary education (in a passage criticising the project advanced by Q. D. Leavis et al, which, according to critic, proposed that close readings could avert the decline of the West)

The Rise of English (17) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] it is also possible to point out to students that advertisements and the popular press only exist in their present form because of the profit motive. 'Mass' culture is not the inevitable product of 'industrial' society, but the offspring of a particular form of industrialism which organizes production for profit rather than for use, which concerns itself with what will sell rather than with what is valuable. There is no reason to assume that such a social order is unchangeable; but the changes necessary would go far beyond the sensitive reading of King Lear. [...]

on the value of literary education (in a passage criticising the project advanced by Q. D. Leavis et al, which, according to critic, proposed that close readings could avert the decline of the West)

—p.34 The Rise of English (17) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
44

[...] like 'practical criticism' it meant detailed analytic interpretation, providing a valuable antidote to aestheticist chit-chat [...] To call for close reading, in fact, is to do more than insist on due attentiveness to the text. It inescapably suggests an attention to this rather than to something else: to the 'words on the page' rather than to the contexts which produced and surround them. It implies a limiting as well as a focussing of concern [...] it encouraged the illusion that any piece of language, 'literary' or not, can be adequately studied or even understood in isolation. It was the beginnings of a 'reification' of the literary work, the treatment of it as an object in itself, which was to be triumphantly consummated in the American New Criticism.

The Rise of English (17) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] like 'practical criticism' it meant detailed analytic interpretation, providing a valuable antidote to aestheticist chit-chat [...] To call for close reading, in fact, is to do more than insist on due attentiveness to the text. It inescapably suggests an attention to this rather than to something else: to the 'words on the page' rather than to the contexts which produced and surround them. It implies a limiting as well as a focussing of concern [...] it encouraged the illusion that any piece of language, 'literary' or not, can be adequately studied or even understood in isolation. It was the beginnings of a 'reification' of the literary work, the treatment of it as an object in itself, which was to be triumphantly consummated in the American New Criticism.

—p.44 The Rise of English (17) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
48

The New Critics broke boldly with the Great Man theory of literature, insisting that the author's intentions in writing, even if they could be recovered, were of no relevance to the interpretation of his or her text. Neither were the emotional responses of particular readers to be confused with the poem's meaning: the poem meant what it meant, regardless of the poet's intentions or the subjective feelings the reader derived from it. Meaning was public and objective, inscribed in the very language of the literary text, not a question of some putative ghostly impulse in a long-dead author's head, or the arbitrary private significances a reader might attach to his words. [...] Rescuing the text from author and reader went hand in hand with disentangling it from any social or historical context. One needed, to be sure, to know what the poem's words would have meant to their original readers, but this fairly technical sort of historical knowledge was the only kind permitted. Literature was a solution to social problems, not part of them; the poem must be plucked free of the wreckage of history and hoisted into a sublime space above it.

which of course resulted in fetishisation of the poem

The Rise of English (17) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The New Critics broke boldly with the Great Man theory of literature, insisting that the author's intentions in writing, even if they could be recovered, were of no relevance to the interpretation of his or her text. Neither were the emotional responses of particular readers to be confused with the poem's meaning: the poem meant what it meant, regardless of the poet's intentions or the subjective feelings the reader derived from it. Meaning was public and objective, inscribed in the very language of the literary text, not a question of some putative ghostly impulse in a long-dead author's head, or the arbitrary private significances a reader might attach to his words. [...] Rescuing the text from author and reader went hand in hand with disentangling it from any social or historical context. One needed, to be sure, to know what the poem's words would have meant to their original readers, but this fairly technical sort of historical knowledge was the only kind permitted. Literature was a solution to social problems, not part of them; the poem must be plucked free of the wreckage of history and hoisted into a sublime space above it.

which of course resulted in fetishisation of the poem

—p.48 The Rise of English (17) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
59

Phenomenological criticism is an attempt to apply the phenomenological method to literary works. As with Husserl's 'bracketing' of the real object, the actual historical context of the literary work, its author, conditions of production and readership are ignored; phenomenological criticism aims instead of a wholly 'immanent' reading of the text, totally unaffected by anything outside it. The text itself is reduced to a pure embodiment of the author's consciousness: all of its stylistic and semantic aspects are grasped as organic parts of a complex totality, of which the unifying essence is the author's mind. To know this mind, we must not refer to anything we actually know of the author--biographical criticism is banned--but only to those aspects of his or her consciousness which manifest themselves in the work itself. Moreover, we are concerned with the 'deep structures' of this mind, which can be found in recurrent themes and patterns of imagery; and in grasping these we are grasping the way the writer 'lived' his world, the phenomenological relations between himself as subject and the world as object. The 'world' of a literary work is not a objective reality, but what in German is called Lebenswelt, reality as actually organized and experienced by an individual subject. [...]

thus the process is a "passive reception" of the text, an attempt to understand the author's mind through the words on the page

Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Reception Theory (54) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Phenomenological criticism is an attempt to apply the phenomenological method to literary works. As with Husserl's 'bracketing' of the real object, the actual historical context of the literary work, its author, conditions of production and readership are ignored; phenomenological criticism aims instead of a wholly 'immanent' reading of the text, totally unaffected by anything outside it. The text itself is reduced to a pure embodiment of the author's consciousness: all of its stylistic and semantic aspects are grasped as organic parts of a complex totality, of which the unifying essence is the author's mind. To know this mind, we must not refer to anything we actually know of the author--biographical criticism is banned--but only to those aspects of his or her consciousness which manifest themselves in the work itself. Moreover, we are concerned with the 'deep structures' of this mind, which can be found in recurrent themes and patterns of imagery; and in grasping these we are grasping the way the writer 'lived' his world, the phenomenological relations between himself as subject and the world as object. The 'world' of a literary work is not a objective reality, but what in German is called Lebenswelt, reality as actually organized and experienced by an individual subject. [...]

thus the process is a "passive reception" of the text, an attempt to understand the author's mind through the words on the page

—p.59 Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Reception Theory (54) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
60

The hallmark of the 'linguistic revolution' of the twentieth century, from Saussure and Wittgenstein to contemporary literary theory, is the recognition that meaning is not simply something 'expressed' or 'reflected' in language: it is actually produced by it. It is not as though we have meanings, or experiences, which we then proceed to cloak with words; we can only have the meanings and experiences in the first place because we have a language to have them in. What this suggests, moreover, is that our experience as individuals is social to its roots; for there can be no such thing as a private language, and to imagine a language is to imagine a whole form of social life. [...]

Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Reception Theory (54) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The hallmark of the 'linguistic revolution' of the twentieth century, from Saussure and Wittgenstein to contemporary literary theory, is the recognition that meaning is not simply something 'expressed' or 'reflected' in language: it is actually produced by it. It is not as though we have meanings, or experiences, which we then proceed to cloak with words; we can only have the meanings and experiences in the first place because we have a language to have them in. What this suggests, moreover, is that our experience as individuals is social to its roots; for there can be no such thing as a private language, and to imagine a language is to imagine a whole form of social life. [...]

—p.60 Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Reception Theory (54) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago