UNIT 2: Literature, Philosophy, Essay

FEBRUARY 22: 

First read this:

ZADIE SMITH 

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http://jonimitchell.com/library/originals/jmOriginal_2543.pdf

Then listen to this: (or listen while reading)

JONI MITCHELL

Optional:

Seneca, “On the Shortness of Life”

http://www.forumromanum.org/literature/seneca_younger/brev_e.html

ASSIGNMENT OPTION #1 (Due March 8)

Zadie Smith writes about her Joni Mitchell epiphany. Have you had a similar experience with an artwork or artist? In 500 words (on your blog), describe your “conversion” experience. Be precise – like Smith: set the scene. Imagine who you were before and after you had your epiphany (or was it an epiphany? Did it happen like lightning or did you learn to love – or hate – this art over a long period of time?). Dig deep into the reasons behind your change of heart and mind. Do you believe, along with Smith, that human lives are fundamentally discontinuous?

MARCH 1:

POETRY 

Tintern abbey

READ: William Wordsworth, Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye on a Tour. July 13, 1798

http://www.rc.umd.edu/rchs/reader/tabbey.html

READ: Allen Ginsberg, “Wales Visitation”

http://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2010/01/allen-ginsbergs-wales-visitation.html

WATCH: Ginsberg on Firing Line with William Buckley

ASSIGNMENT OPTION #2 (Due March 8):

Both Wordsworth and Ginsberg write about Tintern Abbey, the ancient Welsh monastery. Tennyson wrote a famous poem there, as well, and myriad artists have painted it. Write a long(ish) poem, à la Wordsworth or Ginsberg, about your visit to an important site, preferably one with some history. You should begin writing at the site itself; go to the place and record your observations. Notice particularities, as Ginsberg admonishes. What parts of the place reverberate (echo, resonate) with you? A 33 year old Zadie Smith found herself humming a song she detested, longing for a sausage roll, while prowling the precincts of Tintern Abbey. Who are you in the place that you’ve chosen? What have you been, and where are you going? Remember: this should be a poem, not an essay or a statement of purpose. Even Ginsberg, tripping on LSD as he apparently was, is formal in his poem. Experiment with word choices, with line breaks, and with the spaces between stanzas. Perfect the cadence of your words (a poem should have musical qualities – read it aloud before submitting; if it doesn’t sing, it’s not working). Rhyme if you must. Be formal.

MARCH 8:

760px-The_Sacrifice_of_Isaac_by_Caravaggio

PHILOSOPHY

READ: Soren Kierkegaard, “Introduction” & “Exordium (Preparation)” from Fear & Trembling (1843):

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