J-Re scholars: I guess it might be possible to “appraise” a work of art to some extent, but I’m not sure about the value of such an “appraisal”. Take the Parker on your website. Should we care about literary technique when reading it?
M- I think some works are easier to access when approached form a structural perspective. I think in the case of Shakespear that would always be the wisest way forward. In the case of the Parker poem I think it's easy enough to understand what she is saying, so the logical thing is to then ask what does she mean by it....A structure analysis would reveal short sharp shock lines. I feel it as mainly comic, ironic and very cruel but witty and light, almost Cole Porter like lyrics.
J- Yet, I like literary criticism (I guess that’s what we’ve been doing this week), even when I completely disagree (e.g., John Updike’s review of the latest Houellebecq at The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/articles/060522crbo_books). I guess because it’s not merely about books we’re talking about.
M-If only I could read the Updike crit! It's not accessable anymore.
J-Re the Parker: It makes me think of irony and emotional restrain in 20th century literature and art in general. It may be only a literary device, but sometimes it looks like we’re ashamed of sensitivity. It is not precisely anti-Romanticism, but it seems authors have to make clear that they’re aware that sentimentality is the worst sin they may commit.
M-I totally agree with you there, I suppose it's a natural reaction to the Romantic sensibilities. Art seems to work on an Action-Reaction basis or dynamic.
J-An indirectly related topic: happiness and art. A suggestion for a future post: your desert-island, all-time, top five favourite happy endings, or simply furiously optimistic works (poems, music...), in “scholar’s culture” (i.e., Pretty Woman or The Sound of Music do not qualify). It might not be that easy.
M-REAL Art and Happiness are as compatible as Vanity and Happiness. It depends on what time in the artists life the work relates too. But I will follow this entry with my Top 5 list of Happy Endings.
J-The “Not I” above the photo refers to the poems as well? Is it another turn on Parker’s irony?
M-Not I is the title of a Play by Samule Beckett. See here