ENGL 2740 Lecture Notes - Intertextuality, Orgasm, Nonsense Verse

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22 Nov 2011
ENGL*2740 11.1 prezi notes M Nov 21/11
child-adult, young/old, play/work, innocence/experience,
nonsense/sense? (not exactly opposite)
Making sense of "nonsense"
Roland Barthes on reading pleasures: plaisir (comfortable, soothing,
familiar) vs. jouissance (bliss, sexual orgasm- disruptive and explosive
form of pleasure- throws us out of our usual path of understanding
Edward Lear's Victorian "nonsense": our example is "The Owl and the
Pussycat" (1871)
*what forms of reading pleasure does this text offer?
Plasir: Animal characters, take comfort because this is familiar within
the literary frameworks
comfortable rhythm
romance plot
very little conflict
escapism, characters running away, escape for the reader as well
Jouissance: tensions under the surface- owl and cat- natural enemies
no gender, assume cat is female and owl male: but its the cat thats
steering the boat and suggests marriage, disrupts our idea of the
romance story
nonsense: animals can talk, allows hyperbolic nutty tales that we can
accept as true. Allows for a playful use of language- invent language
(runcible spoon)
*is there a form of "sense" underlying this nonsense poem?
Yes, ie: romance plot- we understand it in relation to other stories
idea of marriage
trade, commerce, a capitalist economy
so much baggage, built on very dense ideological structures that give
meaning to the text and allows us to enjoy the nonsensical elements
Does nonsense matter? Does it serve a function?
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