imagination

Literary warm-up exercise for stretching imaginative muscles / un exercice d’échauffement littéraire : l’imagination au pouvoir

Margins and marginality are wonderful, as are their transgression and subversion and any play with them. But, as all wearers of glasses know, frames can be fun too.

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This is a piece about frames and framing. Updates seem to be turning it into an illustrated prosimetrical short story about liminality and its horrors. Which was unexpected and is weird. Blame the uncanny conjunction of borders and walls in the news, UBC, bande dessinée, Guy de Maupassant, and Marguerite Porete. (more…)

On reading, writing, & commentary

PROLOGUE

The original title of this piece is “Criticism & commentary,” but it’s really about reading and writing as harmoniously-integrated activities within the larger whole that is a literary continuum and polyphonic collective; uniting all participants in a living textual network.

Premises and provisos: It views commentary as one of the core and ancient literary/communicative forms, along with story-telling and translation; with story-telling as the living beating heart of this human trinity of curiosity, criticism, and creativity.

It uses literature in its broad sense to extend to “any object that can be read, seen, interpreted” and reading in the broad / Barthes sense to include perception by any of the senses, with “making sense of” as its purpose, and an interpretation translated into expression via any of the senses.  This piece sees literature as synonymous with communicative expression. Not as one kind of communication, but the other way around:  what passes in other (non-literary) fields as “communication” is a more or less appropriately human, or humanly-appropriate, kind of literature. All writing has a right, duty, and responsibility to be beautiful, imaginative and innovative, and critical and creative. All writing can and should be literature. 

What follows below is the current version, for students who are reading and writing, from MDVL 301A : European Literature of the 5th to the 14th centuries – “The Liberal Arts”Its base was the version used in MDVL 302: European Literature of the 14th to the 16th centuries – “Criticism” (UBC, Faculty of Arts, Medieval Studies Programme, AY 2011-12 Winter session term 2) + a couple of upates (ex. on plagiarism and style guides). It’s one of the oldest pieces on this present blog; its most ancient archaeological layer (writing resources) is from a now-deceased previous site, “The Rose of the Romance” (2003).

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“The tree of life”
Gua Tewet, Borneo
(c. 10,000 years ago)

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Of field-work & marriage

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Medievalising Modern French & hope


An admission: I don’t really like exams, and I really don’t enjoy having to invigilate them as that means watching people suffer. Here at UBC, in lower-level undergraduate courses we are stuck with obligatory final exams worth at least a certain percentage of the final grade (and another percentage for work done under controlled conditions, be that as exams or in class). I’d rather that exams, like much else, were more like the image above. And less black-and-white; more green, with birdsong… (more…)

Work in progress: rereading / #medievaltwitter #seriousacademic kindness

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It may be a symptom of midlife crisis. Perhaps I should worry. On the other hand, there’s already plenty to worry about without adding any artificial worries to one’s burden.

I’ve been thinking about the past.  (more…)