dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #114

Philip.Belben at pgen.com Philip.Belben at pgen.com
Tue Jan 11 08:13:59 EST 2000

>> I seem to remember Jennifer saying that only one student had a happy story.
>> What was it?  I am fed up with all this gloom about lit. cri. classes (which
>> have never had to attend, thankfully)! ;-)
> Unfortunately, the "happy story" is not a great one. In fact, it's
> kind of like the other stories, except the student's ego is
> intact. Basically, the student said that he was so brilliant that he never
> had a teacher tell him there was anything wrong with any of his
> interpretations. The problem with this is that, rather than demonstrating

Ouch!  A student with an ego as big as some of those awful teachers people have
been discussing!

> Hey! What do you mean "thankfully" you never had to attend a lit crit
> class? (grrrr) :-)   (Seriously, I really enjoyed the opportunity to get
> paid to spend a term chewing over the question of what makes a
> "good" interpretation, if anything, and what a "bad" interpretation
> is, not to mention "good" literature vs. "bad" literature. For those who
> are familiar with Connie Willis, you might be interested that some of the
> best conversations in our class came from reading "Even the Queen.")

Well, I studied eng. lit. at school till I was 16, but we didn't have to do any
criticism (probably a pity), merely analysis.

But I was thinking along the lines of: teaching such as some of that described
on this list might have put me off books and things for good.  Unlikely, but
history lessons at school put me off history so badly that it is only in the
last few years that I've started being interested.  Also, studying "Under the
Greenwood Tree" put me off Thomas Hardy - but recent exchanges on this list mean
that I will (yes, honest!) really make an effort to read "Tess of the
d'Urbervilles" or however it's spelt.

(A Thought: I've just re-read Hexwood and almost all of what you all said about
Tess applies also to Mordion)


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