The blogger prepares for her first official conference that will take place in two weeks–making a crucial decision over whether or not to display nude bodies on her Powerpoint slide. She swears that there is a point to be gained by it (and it’s part of the text, so what’s the problem!), but relents because others may shudder…or associate her religion with the ways of a true libertine.
Oh, the woes of representation in modern society! Be gone! She thinks to herself.
The blogger ponders on her conference paper, and the fact that she hasn’t started writing it yet. In her despair, the blogger swoons dramatically on a chaise longue. And, after a sudden awakening, the blogger falls yet into a second swoon upon finding her MA reading list beside her.
Old & Middle English:
Prose poems: “The Wanderer”, “The Seafarer,”
“The Dream of the Rood,” “The Wife’s Lament,” “The Battle of Maldon,” “Deor”
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Pier’s Plowman(B text)
Sir Orfeoand Sir Launfal
Gower’s Confessio Amantis
The Book of Margery Kempe
Drama: Abraham and Isaac, Second Shepherd’s Play and Crucifixion
Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur
Jonathan Edward’s Personal Narrative
Benjamin Franklin Autobiography
Brockden Brown’s Wieland
Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poetry
Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
Melville’s Moby Dick
Harriet Jacob’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” “Song of Myself” “Crossing Brookling Ferry” “Out of the Cradle” and “When Lilacs Last”
Emily Dickinson’s poetry
Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Twain’s Huckleberry Finn
Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady
Wharton’s House of Mirth
Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Faulkner’s Sound and the Fury and Absalom Absalom!
Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Forster’s A Passage to India
Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Henry James’ The Ambassadors
Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
G. B. Shaw’s Major Barbara
Hellman’s The Children’s Hour
Poetry of Auden, Hart Crane, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and W.B. Yeats
Aristotle’s Poetics and Longinus
Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads
Shelley’s “A Defence of Poetry”
Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps and Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History
Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble
Gloria Anzaldua’s “La consciencia de la mestiza” Toward a New Consciousness”
Edward Said’s Orientalism
Gayatri Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
Wayne Booth’s The Rhetoric of Fiction
Mikhail Bakhtin’s “Discourse in the Novel”
Susan Lanser “Intro. to Fictions of Authority”
The second black-out takes the blogger into a dream of the nightmare-ish kind. She dreams about Dooms Day; that is, the day of her MA exam. While she waits for her committee to settle, she worries about her veneration for old white Eurocentric male writers–the problematic Conrad-Melville-Hemingway-Faulkner kind. The dreaming blogger suddenly remembers Zora Neale Hurston, relieving her of her predisposition and guilt. Yes!, she isn’t a conditioned literary-racist-misogynist after all! She remembers the amount of work she has done on Mules and Men and Their Eyes Were Watching God and begins to feel better about her condition. She reminds herself that she loves Tony Morrison and Langston Hughes!
The blogger dreams that she is sitting in a dark room with a spotlight onto her pale face when the interrogation begins. What theories have you encountered, Ms. M____, that you find helpful in taking a postcolonial approach to Hemingway? Or, what critical pieces would make an interesting read from a disabilities studies perspective to Le Morte D’Arthur? The blogger silently curses the fact that she spent too much time watching the Food Network instead of reading theory.
Realizing that she hadn’t thought about the possibility of these questions, the blogger suddenly falls at the feet of her Literary Masters and begs them to have mercy on her. “I, I, I…!” She stutters between sobs. Her committee, quite pleased at her Pamela-style performance, reward her Virtue with a standing ovation.
In confusion, the dreaming blogger swoons (with elegance–as all true heroines do) and awakens from her stupor only to find herself drooling among Hemingway criticism, Craig Thompson’s Blankets and a bump on her head.