The acquisition of knowledge is not progression from point A to point B. There in fact, is no point B. The Colossus crawls ever westward, overlapping its own footprints, making new impressions in the Earth.
“The practice of close reading is tacitly viewed by many literary scholars as the mark of their tribe- as what sets them apart, in the last instance, from their like-minded colleagues in sociology or history.” “Being enthralled by a film, by contrast, is associated with more homespun and vernacular forms of aesthetic response driven by the dream worlds of mass culture”
There’s an episode of Futurama where alternate versions of the characters are brought over from a parallel universe. Dr. Zoidberg and his other self take turns sitting on an overturned garbage can, worshipping one another as gods. When Rita Felski discusses Enthrallment as an aspect of literature, she presents the resistance to concept in a way that makes literary scholars seem a lot like they spend much of their time in an alley using a discarded cup as a crown. Close reading and analysis are seen not just as ways to look at and understand a text, but as a mark of elevation above their colleagues and above society as a whole. Hard-lined analysis is seen as caviar whereas losing oneself in enjoyment of literature is viewed as more akin to bologna or a can of vienna sausages. This distinction has the added effect of not only snubbing any links literature may have to subjects and culture beyond the confines of theory and analysis, but also of making literary scholars seem like cold, pompous asses who refuse to enjoy anything and look down on those who don’t do the same. The reason, I believe, that people, especially those in the field of literary study, feel embarrassed by the books they read is twofold. First off, these books may not be in the literary canon. They may be newer works, which are either ignored because they aren’t classics or because they’re best sellers and represent the bologna of mass culture. The second reason of course, is that although these books are not looked on as priceless jewels of literature, we feel embarrassed because we’ve enjoyed them. We feel the need to apologize for allowing human emotion to touch the pristine deity of literature because we’ve been trained to ignore and seek to transcend feelings of enjoyment in favor of mechanical analysis when the beauty of literature lies in its ability to be both cerebral and enchanting. Literature does not exist in or for one particular section of humanity but for the world at large.
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