Witch week

Roger Burton West roger at firedrake.org
Mon Nov 10 04:12:51 EST 2003

On Sun, Nov 09, 2003 at 07:56:17PM -0500, deborah wrote:

>Though the Pooh Perplex is troubling in other ways.  The implication of
>PP and its recent sequel is that trying to find deep meanings in
>children's lit is silly.  Which we all agree, it isn't.

I disagree somewhat; I think that the PP is pointing out that, if you
believe strongly enough in Critical Theory X, you _will_ be able to find
that any given book shows signs of what Critical Theory X says you
should find. As Jim Macdonald put it, it's curious that when a critic
finds a "hidden meaning" in something it always happens to be one that
matches the critic's hobby-horse.

I'm rather old-fashioned and prefer that criticism say something about
the book rather than about itself. See also Brian Vickers in 
_Appropriating Shakespeare_, who puts all this much better than I 
could, but in essence points out that since the result of feeding any 
piece of literature to certain critical processes is in fact 
_independent of_ the piece of literature (apart from the examples chosen
to illustrate the critic's point), one might just as well not pretend
that it is anything other than a polemic.

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