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Although entertaining, this merry jaunt through criticism neither focuses on literature as a way of reading criticism, nor does it say much about authorship. It does have its moments, but is probably too fast or introductory a lecture series to engage with either.
The lectures talk much more about Christianity than they do literature or authors.
One last thing: the final three lectures suffer from the wrong-headed 'deconstructive' mistake of using Deconstruction as a verb or a gesture. You will hear, as the lecturer talks, no actual gesture, analytical procedure in play, and this is the key to Deconstruction. It is always already differed, at play inside all texts and ideologies. We do not do anything to the texts. We do not 'deconstruct' anything. Sadly, this mistake will grow in the minds of students and become a verb, synonymous with 'take apart' or 'analyse.'
Unless you were an English Literature major, you probably never considered poetry or fictional prose in this way. Perhaps you've heard of critical theory but weren't sure what it was. Maybe you've encountered it in the context of philosophy, political science, or linguistics, but these contexts are spin-offs of the original, which is poetical literature.
Does poetry matter to society? Can a poetical work be sublime and timeless, or is it always a mere transient expression of a social niche? To what extent do poems reflect the author's original thinking rather than the social influences on the author? Do critics of poetical literature add value for readers?
The professor knows these are unfamiliar questions to anyone who did not major in literature, and he is excited to convey them to.a lay audience. His voice is always clear, animated, and easy to listen to.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Professor Markos is a passionate teacher on the history of poetry. I was a little disappointed that he was only covering poetry when I started the course, but quickly got engrossed in his lectures because he has organized the course very well and so some of the more difficult concepts of that emerge in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries were very well explained.
However, when Prof. Markos gets to the 20th century, it becomes very clear just how disenchanted he is with even modernity, not to mention post-modernity. His derision is obvious and unhelpful. Primarily because, for instance, people like Derrida are some of the hardest philosophers to understand when it comes to literature. I could have used less derision and more information.
16 of 19 people found this review helpful