Log in

No account? Create an account

End of Week 2

About Reflections on Literature, Life and the Imagination

Previous Entry End of Week 2 Jul. 30th, 2006 @ 03:20 pm Next Entry
Hi all. The semester is now well under way: guest lecturers arriving, all LiveJournalers sailing on the high seas complete with their URLs.... hope you can all use this LiveJournal space to generate a really passionate relationship with your writing life. We all want to hear what you are reading what you are thinking and we love to see you developing your network of friends across all the Literature students. We especially love to see you discovering new and exciting ways of expressing your creativity through LiveJournal... so go for it... check out what others are doing and help each other to make MAX use of the technology. Megan H's visit on Monday should set us all on fire with a sense of new possibilities. Check out the following interviews with Megan: http://www.storycenter.org/diner/pages/mh1.html http://www.realtimearts.net/rt49/heyward.html
Lectures and tuts this week were a feast for all. In Australian Literature we explored some contemporary poetry dealing with relationships; in the lecture we started to look at Plains of Promise as a prelude to the role-play discussion that is about to descend upon us all. In Twentieth Century Literature we explored Joseph Conrad, both his novella Heart of Darkness and his Preface to the novel The Nigger of Narcissus. We tried to understand what Conrad was saying about the special role of the artist in the modern world- how his way of seeing was an antidote to all the mechanistic, consumeristic, politilicalistic and scientific ways of hiding meaning that human beings love to engage in! We also explored the way Conrad's actual writing -in true modernist style- tried to stand back from easy definitions of truth.... "unnameable" is one of Conrad's favourite words because truth for him is mysterious, unfathomable, a challenge to our limited human intellects. Along with this we explored the way that so many great Twentieth Century thinkers and artists challenged us to experience the limitations of human reason: Freud, Jung, Frazer, Eliot, Yeats....
This theme was certainly deepened for me at least in the teaching of the third year unit The Visionary Imagination: William Blake. Blake is of course a forerunner for so much of what was "new" in Twentieth Century thinking and artistic practice. Blake challenges our rational thinking deeply through his emphasis on the importance of Poetic Vision: a way of knowing that relies less on intellect, more on intuition, feeling and creativie imagination... we have begun to explore this in Blake's early poems, letters and some of his prophetic writings eg "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"... and oh boy... we have a whole semester on this.....!!!!!
Incidentally if you want to see a highly creative, if somewhat subversive response to the first part of this unit then please visit the Live Journal of creative maestro Jordan T: http://jordifier.livejournal.com/ he gives away some secrets about how he produced his amazing effects if you track through his responses to questions... don't tell him I told you this!!!!
Now for a grand finale... I found a few photos on my phonecam from my few days in Los Angeles (on the way to Chicago)... I thought I would share with you my indulgence but also my first impressions of life on the beach front in LA....

Now look what I saw in front of me marching down to the beach front... and I could not resist following... (lucky I did not get locked up!) - and check out those hair-"cuts"!!!!!... PS click on the image thrice for a real close up of skull caps! and check out that gaggle of street signs... you get the impression that LA is a place of peace and freedom where you can go where you want and do what you want to do.... (wasn't there a song about that somewhere... that must have been back in the sixties... when I was a wee lad!)

This by the way is Venice Beach... the hub of LA holiday land... it is of course mid summer here...

I was struck by the extent of poverty in the place and the efforts the local kids made to find ways of amusing themselves through graffiti art...
Can't resist this last image... taken just before I left for the US: here my youngest grandson Josh (just turned 1) powering himself along in the basket I use for carrying equipment between classes... nicely etched against a Persian Prayer rug... a "masterful composition" don't you think?...

always did fancy myself as a photo-artist
Leave a comment
Date:August 23rd, 2006 11:09 am (UTC)

1 year old Josh

I am Josh's great aunt in London - this is the first time I have seen him, isn't he cute. I am a retired lecturer in English. My special interest is post-colonial literature. I enjoyed reading this blog,it will inspire me to read more Blake.
Best wishes to MG and his students,
Pat Bays
Date:August 23rd, 2006 09:18 pm (UTC)

Re: 1 year old Josh

Hello Pat- that is amazing: the world is definately getting flatter! ("The World is Flat" -Thomas Friedman)... but Josh is your nephew, not our great nephew- as Rosie pointed out to me. Post-colonial literature is also one of my interests. I am just about to launch into "Things Fall Apart" with my Twentieth Century Literature students. Blake was also a savage critic of colonialism: we are exploring "Visions of the Daughters of Albion" in which America -despite its veneer of freedom, democracy etc... gets a real trouncing.... good to hear from you
(Leave a comment)
Top of Page Powered by LiveJournal.com