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stefanieduckwitz
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Joined: 07 Mar 2004
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Location: West Bend

PostPosted: 03.12.2004 10:45 pm    Post subject: Favorite Subject? Reply with quote

Hm.. hard one. Probably biology.
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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 03.13.2004 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

English, history, Latin, French and chemistry are my favourites.

I try to stay away from maths.
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 03.13.2004 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In high school I preferred social studies. I took every single social studies class offered by the school, and fully intended to study history in college. Once I began college, however, I realized that I missed the artistic study and personal analysis of literature, and made the switch to English--especially since I realized that English allows you to study history simultaneously. (All texts must be considered in light of their historical context, and of course their topics are often based in history. This might also explain my intense interest in the history of cinema.)

Like Mr. Lime, I always dreaded math courses. I performed fine, but I had to work at those. I rejoiced in college when I finally completed my last math class ever. What's weird, though, is that I began to enjoy numbers after college. In fact, a few years ago I even taught a semester of algebra and thought it was fun.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 03.13.2004 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally, I prefer English--only this year, unfortunately, my terrible teaher almost makes me prefer math more.
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the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 03.13.2004 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In high school my favorite subject was lunch.

Actually, I loved art. My teacher was pretty indulgent, and allowed us to interpret the assignments liberally. I took a few art classes in college, but chafed under the stricter demands of the instructors I encountered there.

Since I?m mildly dyslexic, math was always a major frustration for me.
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schalla
Key Grip


Joined: 10 Mar 2004
Posts: 33
Location: West Bend

PostPosted: 03.14.2004 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol, i'd have to say Biology too. But sometimes math can be fun. its hard to say. depends on what you do in class. sometimes class can be a snooze fest and other times its exciting and fun to be in. but i really dont have a favorite. i enjoy all my classes from time to time.

Jenni
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Tooky Cat
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Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: 03.15.2004 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If, by subject, you mean general area of study as opposed to a specific class, I'm gonna have to go with....Literature, broadly speaking. I realize that writing is greatly influenced by the time period in which it is written and it is oftentimes very helpful to know a bit about the author, but I'd much rather read a good book without having to overanalyze every aspect of it. That's why I dislike most reading material I'm given at school. Sometimes (not all the time), a story loses value to me and becomes uninteresting when every minute detail is supposed to be significant. A good piece can be interpreted a variety of ways, depending on the reader. I'm so sick of teachers telling me what I'm supposed to get out of books!

My other favorite school-related thing to do would be to write. I like expressing myself at the expense of everyone else's time.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.15.2004 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always said that I'd rather read a good book than a great novel. That's not to say, however, that a great novel can't be a good book.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.16.2004 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But if we're willing to dig deeper, the experience can intensify and become more complete. Since literature is infinitely more than merely plot, we have an obligation to at least notice what an artist is trying to achieve--anything less does a disservice to the writer, to the work, and to ourselves. To some degree, anything less is a rationalization for laziness. It isn't fair to judge a work if we haven't attempted to fully grasp its artistic achievements.

For me, great literature IS great entertainment. There's room for simple pleasures, of course--I'll read the occasional Grisham--but what sticks to my gut are the ones that are great literature. I'll take Shakespeare and Hardy over Crichton and King every time, as entertainment. It's the great literature that becomes a part of who you are.

And Matt, when I was in high school I felt the same way about "overanalyzing" literature. (I don't know about you, but I absolutely loathed poetry.) It wasn't until later that I realized it was my teachers' job to remind me how to read, how to notice literary art, how to develop better eyes as a reader. I'll grant that occasionally means "sacrificing" some of the "pleasure" now--growing as a reader is work--but hopefully it pays off, leading to richer experiences later, as you read on your own at a more sophisticated level. If we must "sacrifice" Red Badge of Courage now in order to develop a few lifelong skills, well, that's an acceptable trade-off.

And these days I love poetry. Thank goodness I had some college profs who turned me around. My mistake was assuming, as a high school senior, that I was done learning how to appreciate literature. I realize now I was just getting started.

Eric
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.16.2004 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I've always said that I'd rather read a good book than a great novel.


I can understand this, but I tend to favor the opposite. I'd rather assimilate a great novel--and revel in its artistic intricacies--than down another merely "good" book. I'd say that most great novels are inherently good books, at least for readers willing to accept their challenges. While some so-called "great" novels are daunting, intellectual, and difficult, I'd argue that tackling difficulties can itself be a form of entertainment. Good readers, I think, have curiosity about what qualifies as entertainment.

Example. In college I tackled Faulkner's "Sound and the Fury," was utterly baffled, and nearly gave up. However, by book's end I was convinced Faulkner had achieved something of value--he altered my view of what literature could accomplish as art, and I found that experience inherently entertaining. I may have also enjoyed the quick pleasure of Grisham's "The Chamber," but between Faulkner and Grisham, I know which one has stuck to my ribs, and which one I'd sooner revisit.

Eric
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Lil' Jon
Grip


Joined: 16 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: 03.16.2004 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
the night watchman wrote:
I've always said that I'd rather read a good book than a great novel.


I can understand this, but I tend to favor the opposite. I'd rather assimilate a great novel--and revel in its artistic intricacies--than down another merely "good" book. I'd say that most great novels are inherently good books, at least for readers willing to accept their challenges. While some so-called "great" novels are daunting, intellectual, and difficult, I'd argue that tackling difficulties can itself be a form of entertainment. Good readers, I think, have curiosity about what qualifies as entertainment.

Example. In college I tackled Faulkner's "Sound and the Fury," was utterly baffled, and nearly gave up. However, by book's end I was convinced Faulkner had achieved something of value--he altered my view of what literature could accomplish as art, and I found that experience inherently entertaining. I may have also enjoyed the quick pleasure of Grisham's "The Chamber," but between Faulkner and Grisham, I know which one has stuck to my ribs, and which one I'd sooner revisit.

Eric


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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.16.2004 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
the night watchman wrote:
I've always said that I'd rather read a good book than a great novel.


I can understand this, but I tend to favor the opposite. I'd rather assimilate a great novel--and revel in its artistic intricacies--than down another merely "good" book.


Well, I think what I meant was that a good book draws you in to its layers, and back for second and third readings, while still retaining the quality of a story. That's why I added that a great novel can be a good book. The Sound and the Fury (or any of Faulkner's stuff) is a good example. It's challenging, but it never stops being a story, if you understand my meaning. Some novels I've read seem to exist solely to be deconstructed and picked a part, like Miller Jr's A Canticle for Leibowitz or much of Pynchon's work. They're the exact opposite of Grisham (whose books I've never been able to finish); all-subtext to his all-surface. I think an author's job, first and foremost, is to tell a story. Yet the art of storytelling seems to always be the last consideration, if it's even considered at all, for scholars, who are, naturally, the ones who decide what counts as great literature. An instructor in a creative writing class I took once asked the class to tell him what was the most import part of fiction. The class answered "character;" "structure;" "subtext." "You're all English majors," he said. "Plot is the most important thing." I tend to agree. A novel that is nothing but an intellectual exercise is a game, not a story.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.16.2004 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That said, I agree that there are pleasures to be gained by becoming a more "sophisticated" reader. Since I've started writing fiction I've also begun to read it differently; I'm more sensitive to elements like structure and tone and word use, how a character is introduced, and how a scene is set. At first, the change pulled me out of a story, and everything I read seemed flat; contrived, almost. But now I get as much satisfaction observing what the author is doing and how he crafts his fiction, as a do involving myself in the story itself.
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"If you're talking about censorship, and what things should be shown and what things shouldn't be shown, I've said that as an artist you have no social responsibility whatsoever."

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Last edited by the night watchman on 03.16.2004 4:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.16.2004 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I think an author's job, first and foremost, is to tell a story.


I'd say that's a rather limited view of what literature can do as an art form. To me, that's like saying David Lynch, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock, or Stan Brakhage are merely gamesmen, simply because story isn't their first concern as an artist. I certainly agree that story is an important aspect of some kinds of fiction, but we should be open to other kinds as well. I wouldn't say that novels that are less concerned with story are automatically "intellectual exercises," or that intellectual exercises are automatically "games."

the night watchman wrote:
Yet the art of storytelling seems to always be the last consideration, if it's even considered at all, for scholars


I'd agree that some scholars wrongly ignore the virtues of storytelling as an art form. But I'm suspicious of any claim that lumps all scholars into one big boat.

the night watchman wrote:
An instructor in a creative writing class I took once asked the class to tell him what was the most import part of fiction. The class answered "character;" "structure;" "subtext." "You're all English majors," he said. "Plot is the most important thing." I tend to agree. A novel that is nothing but an intellectual exercise is a game, not a story.


Again, I'd argue that's a very limited view of the art form. I don't believe that all novels must rely on story to be worthwhile, entertaining, or significant. Some artists choose to focus on plot, and some choose to focus on other, equally valid approaches. We ought to be open to all of them, closed off to none. Why should the written word, as an art form, be tied off at the wrists?

Eric


Last edited by beltmann on 03.16.2004 4:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.16.2004 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
But now I get as much satisfaction observing what the author is doing and how he crafts his fiction, as a do involving myself in the story itself.


That's how I feel. It's a doubling of pleasure, not a reduction.

Eric
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