(in which Richard shows what a crap poker player he would have made)
An important lesson for students: it is OK to disagree with a critical view – in fact OK to disagree with ME and my ideas. As long as you can argue your opposition to a stance or point of view. I’m about to take issue with Germaine Greer …
Mistrust might be too strong a word, but there was always a youthful rebellious streak in me (Catholic-educated in what was at the time a pretty Catholic town), pushing against what I increasingly viewed as the bastard child of The Party in Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four and a medieval Ponzi scheme. The Catholic hierarchy increasingly personified notions of hypocritical middle-men, ‘eternal life’ assurance brokers, gatekeepers against the hereafter who would feed on the poor, vulnerable and frightened, whilst actually allowing anyone through, if the price was right.
Finally, I officially ‘fell out’ with God in a completely predictable spat – over bureacracy, not the Bible; red tape, not redemption; compliance, not communion …
Actually, INTERTEXTUALITY is king in English Lit …
Think of this familiar toy as Jan Kott‘s Great Mechanism of History.
With one small difference: imagine that once the cute penguins reach the top – kingship – the next step is not an exhilarating slide but more of a plunge onto the razor-sharp rocks of tragedy. They are immediately replaced by the next penguin (King Penguin? Emperor Penguin?) on his or her own journey to bloody immolation and little more than the proverbial footnote in the history book, if they’re lucky …
‘It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’ [a]
This article was written for a forthcoming in-house newsletter/magazine. First, hopefully, in a series of articles (Cultural Capital) about influential, dare I say essential works that our students need to get under their belts. I set myself a STRICT word-count of 750, including quotations but excluding titles and references, tried to avoid being too professorial, and I’ve prioritised other texts related to what I’ll be teaching as part of the OCR A Level Engish Literature course. If I’m spared 😉
Inferno is a valuablesource of AO1 and AO3, people. This won’t replace you reading the original, but it might at least persuade you to give it a go.
Next up? James I‘s Daemonologie, Machiavelli‘s The Prince or The Book of Genesis: open to suggestions …
[…] Midway on our path in life,
I came around and found myself searching
Through a wood, the right way blurred and lost.
I know the feeling. More importantly, so begins Dante’s Inferno, the sexiest-titled poem no-one’s read.Perhaps only at a certain age do you start asking Really Big Questions:‘What am I doing with my life?What’s the point?What’s left?’Tennyson’s like a dog with a bone on this.Ponytail Shakespeare readers – you’re fed up of hearing this sort of thing from me.
The most important question, though, is surely ‘what’s next?’