Monday, January 31, 2011

Prompts for Friday's Blog Post (Marcuse & Whitman)

Reminder:  If you don't like the assigned prompts, and want to do something else, you need to present that idea to me, in person or in email, at least three days before the assignment is due.  Don't do an alternative prompt unless I agree to it!  Hopefully, I will add a third option after class on Tuesday.

Option 1:  Pick one numbered section from Leaves of Grass.  Analyze that section, or some part of that section, making use of Marcuse.  What section or concept you use from Marcuse is entirely up to you; passages concerning literature or poetic language from either last week's reading (any part of Chapter 3 would work, for instance) might be easiest, but are by no means required.  You might use a concept from Marcuse to help explain what Whitman is doing; you might end up turning the tables, and essentially challenging Marcuse's understanding of art or poetry (maybe by finding it inadequate to deal with Whitman).  In any case, you should have a clear argument which makes use of both texts, including cited passages from them.

Option 2:  Look upon the original text from one of Marcuse's footnotes.  Some of these are easy to find, and some aren't.  In many cases, if our library doesn't have the exact edition, you'll be able to find the relevant material using Google Books.  Analyze his analysis of the cited passage.  How does he use it?  Is his reading correct?  Could his reading be challenged, altered, or expanded?  In other words, you should frame an argument which concerns Marcuse's use of one of his sources.

Option 3:  (Added Wednesday)  Go to the library, either physically or virtually.  You need to find a scholarly article on Whitman, which *must* be from the Pitt library.  I strongly suggest that you use the MLA Database.  I'm going to give you a link - you may need to log in if you're off campus, and the link may be different on campus, etc.  If you have trouble, you can ask me for help, but it might be easier to deal with a librarian - it's up to you.


Once you have picked and read an article, you need to do two things.

1)  Summarize one of its arguments, making use of citations and possibly quotes from it.
2)  Apply it to our class discussion - either extend or critique something we/I had to say about the poem, using this scholarly article.

Examples:  Starting out by looking for essays on Whitman and animals, Whitman and photography (thanks, Eric), or Whitman and sexuality would be productive.

FOR THIS OPTION ONLY, you may take until 4 p.m. on Saturday (that deadline is firm).  If you're doing so, just email me to let me know IN ADVANCE.

Also, you must cite your article, using whatever citation method you know.  If you don't know any, google either the MLA method of citation, or the Chicago style, and use one or the other.

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