Denotatively, Technically, Literally
The Literary and Its Outsides
Tuesday, April 1, 5–7:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
Townsend Center for the Humanities
Margaret Cohen (Stanford University)
Ian Duncan (UC Berkeley)
Elaine Freedgood (New York University)
Cannon Schmitt (University of Toronto)
Stephen Best (UC Berkeley)
Kent Puckett (UC Berkeley)
Four contributors to the current special issue of Representations (No. 125, Winter 2014), co-edited by Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt, will offer reflections on language–denotative, technical, literal–conventionally excluded from critical reading and, thus, from “literature.” Discussants include Stephen Best (editorial board, Representations, co-editor of the special issue “Surface Reading,” No. 108, 2009) and Kent Puckett (co-chair, editorial board, Representations).
The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, UCB
The Nineteenth Century and Beyond Working Group, UCB
The Florence Green Bixby Chair in English, UCB
For literary readers, the categories of the denotative, literal, and technical do not, cannot, or should not exist. No language can be denotative or literal for us, since language, above all literary language, never means what it says, pace recent attempts to declare otherwise. A purely technical language would be the opposite of the language of the literary text: operational in precisely the way the literary text is not. We do not use Heart of Darkness as a sailing manual or a handbook for the extraction of natural resources from colonized places, and we have no doubt that those who treat Thomas Hardy’s novels as travel guides to southwestern England are missing the point (although a large tourist industry does thus operationalize them, and quite successfully)….
–Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt
Continue reading this introduction to Representations 125, the special issue Denotatively, Technically, Literally, here.
Jan von Brevern on resemblance in photography, Anders Engberg-Pedersen on military metaphor in Tristam Shandy, Laura Tunbridge on British reception of German-language song between the wars, Maia McAleavey on the plot of bigamous return in nineteenth-century fiction, and Eitan Bar-Yosef on Zionism and blackface.
Coming in August 2013.
Vol. 122, No. 1, Spring 2013 (Read here)
Apostrophe and the Rhetoric of Renaissance Lyric
Am I Normal? American Vernacular Psychology and the Tomboy Body, 1900-1940
Emily A. Beeny
Christ and the Angels: Manet, the Morgue, and the Death of History Painting?
The Index and the Interface
“Throw That Junk!”: The Art of the Movie in Citizen Kane