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ENGL 324 (22)
Lecture

Crime Fiction 18

4 Pages
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Department
English (Arts)
Course Code
ENGL 324
Professor
Thomas Heise

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March 15 - some people wanted to ban American Psycho - symptomatic; exemplifies what's wrong with the culture - handout on Mazlish - Quinn and his relationships between identity and language - who's speaking, who's our character - Quinn obtains a sense of himself through the text and the city itself - NY is understood partly through experience but largely through literature - movement through the streets is heavily mediated by literary discourse - there are codes of conduct modeled in texts and you want to be like them or not - how do characters understand who they are through literary discourse? - though literature isn't real, it provides guidelines for behavior - Quinn is an intertextual illusion: we're supposed to understand him as a person (until the end) - "discrete" > doesn't give a lot away, cautious with information - we are bounded individuals - we are insistent that we are separate from each other and independent; we own ourselves - this is what we're talking about; bourgeois, middle-class, liberal assessment of the individual - we have human rights - Quinn is much more open - he's a point in space and time where all these allusions to other things happen > he's less real - Foucault: discourses about gender, race etc. (these are all kinds of identity) - put together, all these things make you you - identity is a social construction > they're skeptical about individualities - he's a composition of literary allusions, and a receptor for info from the city (almost like a radio transmitter or a sponge, he absorbs the city) - to think of Quinn like this raises the issue of language and the city, which is a textual object (they're not really separate, they're linguistically constructed) - Stillman Sr's book with two separate stories > the fall and the tower of Babel - made up a historical character (Henry Dark, Milton's secretary) - he prophesizes a second tower of Babel in the states, where men will recover the original language of innocence - pg. 47: turning to the babel story (second half) "paradise could not be far behind" - "laying foundation" < Boston - powerful symbol in US political culture - writing back to the days of Milton, though there is still no Boston yet - 1960 = new Babel < history reverses itself - forty days and forty nights > a new man emerges - once the continent is filled, everyone will climb into this tower and learn God's language - God struck down the tower in
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