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Re: [mythsoc] Re: J. Chance / Tolkien Encyclopedia

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  • Larry Swain
    Hi Walter, ... Hmm, I m not sure I would, while she is applying theory to medieval and Tolkien texts, I m not sure its pomo theory necessarily....I wouldn t
    Message 1 of 57 , Dec 1, 2006
      Hi Walter,

      > But... Well...
      > I guess I should say that I think of Dr. J. Chance as a Post-modernist.

      Hmm, I'm not sure I would, while she is applying theory to medieval and Tolkien texts, I'm not sure its pomo theory necessarily....I wouldn't include most feminist criticism as "post-modern" except in the general sense.

      > The word "breeder" is a little out of line, I agree. But I was
      > probably unconsciously connoting her son, a scholar, himself.

      Sure, but you may or may not be aware that the term has rather negative connotations in feminist critical circles, and so while you meant nothing derogatory by it, it might easily be taken that way.

      She is
      > an educator, and that is enough to restate what I meant. I don't seek
      > to defend her, in any way. She has inspired me, and that is all.
      > Personally, I think she is great: end of comment on her.

      And that's good! It wasn't the fact that she inspired you and is one of your intellectual heroes to which I responded, but rather the implicit comparison of Chance to all other Tolkien scholars and that she was "beyond our reckoning". So I suppose one could say it was a reaction to the degree.

      > I say she is a bit beyond our reckoning because I haven't read her own
      > scholarship closely or cited it specifically in my thesis. I haven't
      > seen any real criticism of her scholarly writing on this list, either.

      No, there has been little of that, and others have called for specifics too. Perhaps the best thing to do rather than ask on the list is to read as many book reviews of her actual Tolkien works (Tolkien's Art for example) and see what reviewers have said in journals. That's not always a tell tale sign, but is a good place to begin.

      > We may bring her critical scholarly writings into our reckoning, but
      > I think it would take a real post-modern treatment, something like
      > Brian Rosebury's approach.

      It depends on the writing, and of course I'm not sure I need a critical stance to read a critical stance on a text: I. E. That I need to don pomo spectacles to read a feminist critical take on Beowulf, Old English lit, or Tolkien and understand it. I fear that I am old fashioned, and my disagreement with Chance and others such as Clare Lees and Gill Overing and their feminist readings of Old English literature is that too often their readings too often respond to something outside the actual text, or they change what the text really says in order to make the critical point. For example from the less emotionally charged Lees and Overing, their take on Hild from Book IV of Bede has Bede denigrating women, defining Hild only by the male bishops she "births", and essentially being a misogynist--which of course changes what Bede says about Hild completely, so completely that for me the two texts are utterly unrecognizable: Lees and Overing's Bede is not the Bede of the Historia Ecclesiastica. It seems to me that Chance often does the same thing to the texts she studies. Now in their defense I have to say that this is in fact what a good deal of "pomo" criticism does and is at heart my beef with Foucault and Derrida and the like: they play fast and loose with the texts in order to make a critical point. Like I said, I'm old-fashioned that way.

      > The record of "offense" on this list is quite sparse. I am sorry for
      > any such interpretations of my comments. They were quite unintended,
      > as I am sure you will agree.

      Oh yes, I realized that.

      All the best today, Walter, good luck!

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    • Diane Joy Baker
      Well said; I ve little love for PoMo. Off topic, anyway, and I prefer to discuss lit crit and literature I *like.* ---djb ... From: Jason Fisher To:
      Message 57 of 57 , Dec 4, 2006
        Well said; I've little love for PoMo. Off topic, anyway, and I prefer to discuss lit crit and literature I *like.* ---djb

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Jason Fisher
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, December 01, 2006 11:57 AM
        Subject: [mythsoc] Re: J. Chance / Tolkien Encyclopedia

        --- William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
        > The basic procedure for PoMo critical analysis:
        > Step 1) Find something in the text which might be vaguely
        > political
        > Step 2) Construct thereon a "political viewpoint" for the work
        > Step 3) Attack the author's politics
        > Extra credit if the politics marginalize a recognized victim
        > group.
        > Double extra credit if the "political viewpoint" is wildly
        > anachronistic.

        LOL, nicely done. I smell a new Foucault/Derrida drinking game in the offing. :)

        (This is verging on going off-topic, if it hasn't already, but I had to comment.)

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