Saturday, April 23, 2011

For Credit: Candide Goes to Eldorado

As I announced in class on Friday, for Monday you should read up to the end of Chapter 19.  Feel free to respond to any of the following questions, just specify which you're responding to and cite some text to support your claims.

1.  Even in a novelistic world filled with brutal acts of violence, the old lady's loss of a buttock (which is mentioned several times) seems like a particularly strange data-point.  What's up with that?

2.  Which characters in this novel seem fully developed with rounded and psychologically complex identities?  Which characters are little more than the narratives of of the misfortune they've endured?

3.  It's a comic novel.  What moments, episodes, events, remarks strike you as particularly funny--and why?

4.  Among the many objects of satire in this novel are (a) the novel and (b) travel narratives.  How and where specifically do you see those literary forms coming under attack?

5.  At every point in the novel there are circumstances that could provoke Candide to reject Pangloss's teaching.  What are we to make of the fact that it is only the events of Chapter 19 that finally "plunged him into a black melancholy" and led him to the conclusion that "if all is going well, it's happending in Eldorado and not in the rest of the world" (p. 486-7)?

Deadline: Monday (4/25), start of class (whether your post counts for Week 13 or Week 14 depends on whether it appears before or after midnght on 4/23).

For Credit: Third Paper (BUMPED)

The assignment for the third paper is over there in the sidebar, in case you missed it in class. Please feel free to post here with any confusion, questions, or difficulty that you're having--or just to compare notes with your classmates.

Deadline: open, but posts only count for Week 13 up to Saturday midnight; after that it's Week 14.'

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not at all for credit; in fact, entirely irrelevant to this course, but...

a friend has moved to the area from the East Coast and is desperately in need of buffalo wings.  I have strong opinions about many food-related matters, but I'm not a big fan of wings so I have not been able to guide her.  Any suggestions about where to get good wings around here?  (Preferably non-chain...)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

For Credit: Candide!

What strikes you as baffling/confusing/strange about this novel?

What questions do you have about it?

Have you had to read it before? What did you take away from your previous study of it?

What do you look forward to discussing with regard to it?

Deadline: Friday (4/22), start of class.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

For Credit: Behn-A-Go-Go

Oof! We touched on a lot of stuff today: the historiography of women writers, the slave trade, racism, the C18 abolition movement, feminist-critiques-of-Behn, intersexuality, the queer Enlightenment era, and the sexual politics of consent (sort of).

Feel free to respond to any of it in response to this post. What would you have liked to say in class but didn't get the opportunity to? What further thoughts have you had on these readings? What questions or confusion do you have?

Deadline: Friday (4/22), start of class.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For Credit: The Disappointment

Tomorrow we'll be following up our discussion of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko with a discussion of her poem, "The Disappointment," a response to Rochester's "The Imperfect Enjoyment" which we looked at briefly in class last week. You should bring both the handout with the Behn poems AND the Longman anthology to class tomorrow.

What remaining questions do you have about Oroonoko?

What differences do you see in how Behn and Rochester depict an unfulfilling sexual encounter?

What strikes you as particularly significant or noteworthy about Behn's poem?

Deadline: Wednesday (4/20), start of class.

Monday, April 18, 2011

For Credit: Oroonoko, the first American novel?

As I mentioned in class, many critics regard Oroonoko as the first American novel: the first novel to be set in the Americas, framed by issues of relevance to colonial life, with characters drawn from the colonial world. I had meant to raise the question in class, but we ran out of time, so I raise it here. 

What do you think?  Feel free to comment with your own thoughts, pro or con, or a thoughtful response to a classmate's reflections.

Deadline: Friday (4/22), start of class.

Chag Sameach!

A happy Passover to all who observe the holiday.

(The image depicts Portuguese Jews in the C18 celebrating a seder; it comes from multivolume French work written by Bernard Picart between 1733 and 1739, titled Ceremonies and Religious Customs of the Various Nations of the Known World.)