Friday, January 25, 2008

Professors, behold!

Start-of-the-weekend-post. With numerous different ways of addressing The Infamous Bard. Friday evening: as usual, getting a bit carried away with frustration regarding current situation. Having finished "The Odyssey" (!) already; probably broke some (personal) record by completing my reading in two days; which were indeed long and tiring - and that's being modest. No, it wasn't extremely exciting, but far better than expected. I now want to go on and read "The Illiad" too, even. They (meaning the epics) belong to this category of so-called masterpieces that I know I should (have) read, and consequently feel some pressure that I really ought to be both excited about and very familiar with; being a literature student and all. Truth is, though, I'd much rather get into the works of Haruki Murakami and the likes, hope I spelled his name correctly, these new and positively brilliant authors that'll hopefully make up the new classics people will occupy themselves with in a hundred years or so. The workds which depict and define the world of the 20th century and up until today. Ian McEwan, J.M. Coetzee, Don de Lillo, Val McDermid (yes, you intellectual bastards, she's that great!), Johan Harstad, Karl Ove Knausgård, gotta mention some Norwegians too, Khaled Hosseini, J.K. Rowling (and I'm not even a fan of HP), all the rest of them; these excellent writers who are so overlooked on my course reading. I love the obligatory stuff I've been ordered to read, don't get me wrong, it's an absolute pleasure to "do my homework" these days, seeing that I have no actual homework, I just do a little more of what I'd want to do anyway. But I do wish we could get on to something new and more interesting than bloody Shakespeare. Ok, admittedly, love all my course reading EXCEPT for Shakespeare. Why does that man have to constantly follow me around, wherever I go to study? English, Norwegian, literature, phonetics, he's not that incredibly important. (Or, maybe he is.) I'll probably get him for my exam this time as well, if I'm not awfully mistaken. I swear, I like his sonnets, but his plays are absolutely dull and that's all they want us to dig into - never the poetry. Couldn't we at least get the chance to choose among the various works of the various authors? Still, I think there will be more contemporary prose and novels of current interest next semester, when we advance to a whole new level of the same kind of courses. Looking forward to that. A lot. They can't possibly argue that Shapescare is modern, can they? I just find that there is so much grand literature out there that's yet to be discovrered and given the credit it deserves, considered classic, and the above-mentioned writers are clearly folks I'd like to see more of on the University curriculums. Sometime we have to deal with the daily issues as well, not always delve into the past. Isn't solely a good idea, making a habit out of escaping to the bygone times. Everything wasn't so much better then. I hear the living conditions were awful during Sharespeak's era for instance. Much rather focus on the leading technological community that is Murakami's Japan. The long nights in Tokyo, the subways, the bars and the LOVE. In many different respects. Or Johan Harstad's gloomy, but well-functioning Scandinavia. More or less. Long roads to nowhere and rainy bus stops near Thórshavn. Also, we've agreed the downslope-to-doom atmosphere existed only inside Albert Åberg's head - right? Thing is, I want the lecturers to acknowledge and, simply, notice these ingenius creators of the most adorable pieces. I want them to be given more attention. For I am well aware that among the true intellectuals, it is my academic counterparts (see; I didn't write enemies!), the ones who form the reputable bastion of leadership at the faculty of arts, who remain the ones in charge of pointing out what's good and what's waste; they are the ones the other and also quite powerful intellectuals in the country listen to when it comes to naming the important works that will be influential on students in the coming years. They write reviews, they take part in all the debates; the public usually respect academics more than they should and value their opinions far more than necessary. But that's just my thought. Fact is, these guys have such infinite power, and I would want for them to use it wisely. Hence I only disagree with them so heavily, and so often, because I recognize the amount of knowledge and the peculiar positions they clearly behold. (Yeah, right. Coughs.) In many ways, seeing that many students are both slightly naïve when it comes to the matters they have to study, the questions of what they're being told, and in general very much susceptible to preaching, sorry teaching -and why shouldn't they be? - there need be a discussion as to what they (the lectors) shall in fact teach. And I, for one, will always involve myself in this debate, since it is so very essential to the condition of the students and to the significant literary canon we keep in this country. Currently, my wish is that there should be more topical literature at the Uni, and thus more topics to dicuss in class; but the tragedy is, we discuss so little. The teachers do, in reality, spend most of their time delivering monologues. They don't give lectures, they provide informative text retelling, same thing we get on the handouts, and then they leave. It's sufficient, but nothing more. And it's certainly not very hellraising. And now, I'm slightly sick of that. I want blazing Hell, not only through interpreting Dante's view on the Universes.

So, here and now, take my small advice: we want more literature that we could be genuinely enthusiastic about and that concerns us, more directly, literature that we could relate to more properly. Be it bad, controversial, chick-lit-like, difficult, boring or overly sophisticated. I want a broader spectre. A more exciting mix. As of the moment, we'll spend every week going through the safer stuff that is Vergil, Homer, Spearsheake, Kafka, Conrad, Woolf, etc. They're absolutely wonderful, please don't miscomprehend my true meaning here, but to be honest they are getting a bit old. And, perhaps, boring? Too safe. Too good. We need something to brighten up our day and go WHAT?! At least I rekcon I do. And - speaking of which - I don't need for people to tell me what to think. I need for people to ask me why I think so. And challenge the way I'm thinking. I need further influences, not plain information. After all, our consent should not be taken for granted. If we do not ask, maybe it's because we have no answers to anticipate? If teaching is based on the prepossessed common agreement and absolute general verity, there will be nothing to question. Whatsoever. Ever. I fear that this, and just this, may be their intention. Furthermore; we learn from ancient philosophers like Aristotle who prized fellow thinkers (unless they were women, in which case they were completely useless), old ones like Gadamer and more recent ones like Georg Johannesen (Norwegian professor of rhetoric, great man). No doubt, they're wise. No doubt we're in need of a critical overview of their wisdom. Problem is, there's no such aspect as being allowed to criticise at the University these days. You write assignment, they get assessed. You arrive, you learn, you leave. That's how student life works. Someday, I wish there's be room for dialogue. And outside references. Unconventional thinking that these leaders surely would not appreciate, not only, but which they'd - I'm sure - manage to tackle. I think we need more fighting. And I think more voices need to be heard at Uni Campus. This is how I let my own resound. Thanks for listening!


Randi said...

Og jeg håper de rette leser bloggen din fordi det fortjener du - den reflekterte poet du er...bare fortsett å reflektere du, og jeg er helt sikker på at du når frem - det fortjener du...

Anonymous said...

Jeg tror at du har rett i noe av dette, det finnes en tendens for hva som er "riktig" innenfor litteraturvitenskapen; disse filosfene skal du hente ditt teoretiske stoff fra og slik skal du tenke, hilsen professorklubben. Hyll Adorno, Derrida, Georg Johannesen. Det må utfordres, det norske litterære offentligheten trenger noen som ikke er littvit-hjernevasket.

Men, jeg er uenig i at de gamle verkene er avleggs, de trengs, denne bakgrunnen er nødvendig før man kan begynne å diskutere samtidslitteraturen, det handler om å se linjene, eller hva? Alt som skrives i dag baserer seg på det som allerede har blitt skrevet. Dessuten, tradisjonen er jo at verkene ikke blir tatt opp i akademia før det har gått en tid; at man ikke kan bedømme sin samtid, den diskusjonen hører hjemme i offentligheten og ikke i akademia. Dette kan selvsagt diskuteres, men det er mer eller mindre rådende praksis.
Og: fagene på 100-nivå dreier seg for det meste om innprenting, læring, dannelse, alt dette som skal inn før du får lov til å være mer selvstendig, tenke selv, behandle teori på egenhånd. Det blir bedre etterhvert.

Når det gjelder diskusjon, vel, norsk skole hadde hatt godt av mer diskusjon helt fra grunnen av, bedre opplæring i bare det å ta ordet; jeg er sikker på at foreleserne ville applaudere en vettig diskusjon om den bare kom på bordet, for ikke å snakke om i kollokviene, det er jo derfor de finnes. Jeg tror altså at det like mye er studentene som foreleserne som svikter på denne fronten.