Sontag v. Top-down Frames

The title of Sontag's "Against Interpretation" is misleading, and regularly confuses readers who believe her "erotics of art" precludes interpretive dot-connecting and inference. This is not the case: the piece is more accurately titled "Against Allegorization," or "Against Ideological Readings" — those hermeneutic approaches that set out to find "encoded" and symbolic meanings in a work… Continue reading Sontag v. Top-down Frames

Schematic Disruption

Cognitive poetics is one of the most exciting literary-theoretic subfields I've stumbled upon. So far as I can tell, Peter Stockwell, whose paper on resonance I've cited previously, is one of cognitive poetics' primary authorities, and has written an introduction to the discipline (Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction, 2002). Stockwell summarizes "schema theory," a composite of different theorists'… Continue reading Schematic Disruption

Notes to “Oscillation / Fashion,” pt. 2

Second set of notes to “Oscillation / Fashion.” First set here. 1. Fashion trends are marked by continuity, changing incrementally but continuously year to year. 2. They can be cyclical, with trends come back into fashion or establishing themselves as perennially in (i.e. “classic”). 3. Bandwagon effects occur when a pile-on of adherence or support follows… Continue reading Notes to “Oscillation / Fashion,” pt. 2

Vibe Vectors

Sianne Ngai and Haley Thurston have done much, I think, for aesthetics by formalizing certain descriptive terms previously used informally: the zany, cute, and merely interesting (Ngai); the baroque, whimsy, and cheesy (Thurston). I want to continue that project here. In a separate project from this blog, I've sketched out what a “vibe” might look like if factored in terms more amenable to… Continue reading Vibe Vectors

The Resonant

Sianne Ngai and Haley Thurston have done much, I think, for aesthetics by formalizing certain descriptive terms previously used informally: the zany, cute, and merely interesting (Ngai); the baroque, whimsy, and cheesy (Thurston). I want to continue that project here. "Resonance" is a term used primarily by non-scholarly readers, as Peter Stockwell notes in "The Cognitive Poetics of Resonance," and the vagueness… Continue reading The Resonant

The Merely Epic

Sianne Ngai and Haley Thurston have done much, I think, for aesthetics by formalizing certain descriptive terms previously used informally: the zany, cute, and merely interesting (Ngai); the baroque, whimsy, and cheesy (Thurston). I want to continue that project here. In narrative the epic refers to works of great length, whose diegetic time spans years and… Continue reading The Merely Epic

Corpus as Concept: Poetic Sensibilities in Literary-Theoretic Discourse

There are two parts to an argument I want to make but lack the qualifications: 1) showing poetry, and poets in large, express, across their corpus, a worldview or way of seeing; 2) showing that literary-theoretic discourse actively leverages poets as concept handles in meta-level discourse (discourse about discourse; that is, to talk about how… Continue reading Corpus as Concept: Poetic Sensibilities in Literary-Theoretic Discourse