criticism gone awry

Nat Case hedberg at
Fri Aug 13 12:08:28 EDT 1999

I had similar problems with English lit in high school. I love structure and
how it carries meaning (ask me about symmetry in "Rime of the Ancient
Mariner" some time), and hate books where the Big Idea is what you're
supposed to get. It takes all the subtlety of a story, how meaning can be
carried so many ways, and makes it into a big picket sign, saying "Love is
good except when it's stupid," or "Be reverent to your elders and try to be
have or you will come to a Bad End." Unfortunately, Themes seem to be where
most of basic lit crit starts. I loved half of my English classes in high
school and college, and hated the other ones.

I'm also an impatient reader (I just gave up on a read-through of Tolkien
because I got so frustrated with part 2 of The Two Towers... "Mordor was
bad. Really bad. It smelled bad, It made you feel sick, and was just
generally bad bad bad. All the creatures within it were bad too. Frodo sat
down wearily and said to Sam 'You know, this place really stinks'..."), so I
never finished a lot of the assigned reading (I think I read about the first
10 pages of "Faerie Queene" before I gave up. I wrote a pretty decent paper
about those first 10 pages though...It think it compared the Red Cross
Knoght with Gawain in the "Green Knight").

Speaking of which, can anyone recommend a good READING translation of Don
Quixote? Modern English preferred.  You should probably contact me
 ( hedberg at )

Nat Case
Hedberg Maps, Inc.

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