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ENG250Y1 - B. Franklin & W. Irving - Lecture Notes.docx

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Tony Fong

ENG250Y1 – LECTURE NOTES September 30, 2013: Reflection Questions: 1. Does Franklin's Autobiography prescribe moral "perfection"?  not necessarily, she prescribes self-improvement ultimately 2. Franklin is an iconic figure of the Enlightenment and a symbol of rationality. Does the Autobiography privilege the mind at the cost of the body? 3. Is there a villain in Irving's "Rip Van Winkle"?  the wife might be considered one if we look at the fantastical aspect Benjamin Franklin’s “Autobiography”  = self-life writing  was read for leisure at the time  Philip Legune brought this genre into academic  says there's a formula: author = protagonist = narrator  knew people could falsify facts, but argues that the notion of a proper name gives the genre legitimacy; autobiographical pact = ensures fidel reading between the reader and the character/author; when you put your name on a book, it should be truthful  Paul Demane, constructionist; argued that names enable prosopeia = giving a voice/face to something that has no voice/face, turning abstract into concrete; the proper name of the autobiography is pointed to the absence of the author, but words just represent the actual person, it’s just the idea; there's not presence of the author before you in an autobiography; name represents death, author no longer there  you can't write always till your death; Demane wanted to get rid of the death  equation/formula just points to the lack of presence, a lack of connection of facts and flesh Benjamin Franklin and his background:  one of the founding fathers of America  in part one, he writes to his son William, illegitimate  William was 40 when the letter was written, did William really need a model to look up to?  William was a tory, loyal to Britain  William could represent those who question the legitimacy of the revolution  franklin grounds his idea of the revolution through the inclinations and needs of the body, via bodily experiences  enlightenment period focused on mind rather than body  René Descartes; Cartesian split = "because on the one hand I have a clear and distinct idea of myself, insofar ...without it"; minds can exist without the body;  theorists saw a split between mind and body  franklin focuses on the ideas (mind) and body Moral perfection:  D.H. Lawrence: the perfectibility of man! Ah heaven, what a dreary theme! The perfectibility of the ford car! ... I am not a mechanical contrivance" = you cannot perfect man, but you can perfect machine; talks about the conscious; was said during the time of Freud (superego, ego and id were in conflict with each other); hard to perfect and dangerous; if you try to perfect yourself, the three layers are drifted apart even more, but you need a balance  "it’s a queer thing ....why the soul of man is a vast forest ... garden scheme of things" = can't really perfect what's vast and unknown  franklin acknowledges that you can't perfect yourself, but you must portray yourself as such to the public by seeming to be virtuous  pg 248-49: "having emerg'd .... imitated" = franklin should be imitated because he's had fortune happen to him; presenting a formula of rags and riche
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