Hugh Nicoll's Blog

patterns, poetics, polytexts

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digging the lit links

March 23rd, 2006 · No Comments

Followed a link from ReadySteadyBook to an essay on Nancy Armstrong’s How Novels Think by Miriam Burstein. Ms. Burstein’s study of the history of the novel, specifically in relation to identity, consciousness, and literacy, resonates in a thousand directions and can serve as a touchstone for at least hundreds of potential studies encompassing the teaching of literature, access to education, autonomous learning, the history and traditions of self-study, empowerment in social, cultural, economic, and political contexts, and on and on.

A most interesting link in Burstein’s essay is to The Classics in the Slums by Jonathan Rose. Rose’s piece is an exploration of the history of working class auto-didacts, mostly in the British tradition, and of the irrelevancy of the lit-crit/MLA perspectives on literature for a boot-strap theory and practice of intellectual self-improvement. Curious about City Journal, a site I’ve just encountered for the first time, I decided to explore a bit.

A quote from Peggy Noonan proclaiming City Journal “the best magazine in America” led me to dig a little deeper, and according to the Daily Telegraph, it is celebrated as “the Bible of the new urbanism.” Hmmm… I wondered, and scrolling down a bit revealed William J. Bennett at the head of the Publication Committee. Hmmm… I’ll keep reading, but will mind the gaps and the agendas.

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