I’ve been listening to course lectures from a Theory of Literature course by Paul Fry of Yale University available through Apple’s iTunesU. If nothing else I hope that by carefully working through these lectures I can work through my inadequacy in discussing some aspects of literature. But I also hope that the course will help me organize what I’ve found in my “Sunday Lit Crit Sermon” series.
The course is fascinating and entertaining (at least to me)–I wish I had somehow managed to cover this material years ago. It has led me to ponder a bit about where Mormons are in terms of literary theory. We’ve explored the ideas of Mormon criticism and Mormon theory of literature here on AMV a little, but I’m not sure that, outside of the idea of Wm’s “radical middle,” we’ve come up with anything particularly unusual–although we’ve certainly argued, as Mormons tend to do, about the details of things like the role of evil in literature and the presence or absence of sex, profanity and violence in literature. We certainly haven’t outlined any theory of literature or even discussed what structure such a theory would need. I’m not even sure yet if anyone has talked much about literary theory from a Mormon viewpoint[1. I haven’t done a literature search yet. Has any Mormon author explored anything along these lines anywhere? (other than as a short side piece or introduction in another work?). I’d love to know what BYU Studies or Dialogue or AML articles to read.].
Continue reading “What Would Make a Mormon Theory of Literature Different?”
The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series is calling for abstracts on the subject of Ender’s Game and Philosophy. Deadline for abstracts is March 19, 2012.
Wm: Kent Larsen passes this on to me for posting. Some of you may be interested in responding…
Call for Abstracts
Ender’s Game and Philosophy
Edited by Kevin S. Decker
The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series
Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader.
Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.
Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following: “A Childhood Deferred?”: the ethics of hyper-specialized training for the very young; “The Military and their Monitors”: issues of privacy and civil rights during wartime; “All-Out War”: just war theory and the ethics of total mobilization of Earth society against the buggers; “We Know What You Think”: how and why monitors could be used to keep track of individuals’ inmost thoughts and desires; “They Aren’t Normal; They Act Like–History”: Hegel and the cunning of reason in history and future wars; “The Hook and the Raft”: does the I.F. “System” colonize the human and bugger “Lifeworlds”?; “The Giant’s Drink”; Ender’s training is a simulation, but are we living in one?; “Know Your Enemy”: the strategic philosophies of Sun-Tzu and Ender Wiggin; “Ender’s Game and the problem of Dirty Hands”; “Constructing Subjects in Space”; Foucault and Ender’s military leaders; “Bugger All!”: when cultural incommensurability turns into conflict; “Wiggin’ the Dog”: ethical and political dimensions of stage-managed wars; “Down with the Warsaw Pact!”: the epistemology of blogging; “Locke and Demosthenes”: “˜virtual’ politics with false personas; “Of Bachelard and Battlerooms”: philosophy of bodies in space; “Peter’s in the Mirror Again”: virtual simulations and artificial intelligence; “Valentine’s Day”; philosophy of emotion in Ender’s Game; “Like a Gun”: is Ender responsible for the terrible consequences of his actions, or has he been a pawn for the I.F.?
Wm interjects: please note that in later editions OSC changed the name of the alien race from buggers to Formics.
1. Submission deadline for abstracts (100-500 words) and CV(s): March 19, 2012.
2. Submission deadline for drafts of accepted papers: June 18, 2012.
Kindly submit by e-mail (with or without Word attachment) to: Kevin S. Decker at email@example.com
Check out the series website: http://andphilosophy.com/
My local library system just happens to have acquired Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality (Amazon). Based on the table of contents, it would appear the all the Mormonism-related content is found in Marc E. Shaw’s contribution “For the Strength of Bella? Meyer, Vampires and Mormonsim” (pages 227-236). Here is my brief report on that chapter (please note that I haven’t read any of the other chapters and that I’m well aware that these pop culture meets philosophy anthologies are quite popular and are intended for a specific audience to serve a specific purpose [and, of course, to profit from and fan the flames of fandom]):
Establishing of credentials (Shaw went to BYU too!). For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet reference. Eternal marriage. Meyer “plays Heavenly Mother to her fictional daughter, Bella”. Agency. Nod at Augustine. Edward-as-savior. Edward “means what he says” ~~ binds himself to Bella with his words. Utterance — words mean action. Nod at Austin. Sealing/union of body and spirit. Plato and love. Way liberal — LDS still man and woman, BUT! :: Meyer’s The Host. Somehow leads to a Big Love reference. Erotics of abstinence. Chastity. Deseret Book controversy ~~ sexy too sexy; shelves to special order. “Vampire family values!” Feminist film theory and the gaze :: Bella returns the gaze (Edward)! Is Twilight Mormon? All the before shows that “nice Mormon girls” can write about “sexy vampires.”
Well, I’m convinced.