Monday, January 19, 2009

Lecture 2: Borges and Introduction to Structuralism

Welcome to Lecture 2!

The first group activity we did:

You have ten minutes to comment on TWO blog responses (NOT your own) and:
pose a question in response to your colleague's thinking
note the similarities between your response and theirs

Some background notes on Pierre Menard and Quixote

  • Protagonist aims to write his own version of Don Quixote in the 20th C (originally published 1605)
  • Cervantes known to have a style that can “flower too abundantly in a way that can be a trial for the reader”
  • Originally written as 2 volumes but before vol. 2 was published Avellaneda made a pirated copy!
  • Revenge: Cervantes included pirated version within his story
  • Wants to recreate identical text therefore MUST live identical life to Miguel de Cervantes
Becomes an act of translation
Translation (and reading) always marks the text with the signs of the translator/reader
These “marks” can be decoded
“We know now that text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the message of the author god) but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture."

Partner Activity
  • Choose ONE partner
  • Share your response to Pierre Menard with your partner
  • Discuss with each other the following:
  • What was the most important word in the story? Why?
  • If we see Pierre Menard as an act of translation, is anything “lost” or “gained” in the 20th C version?

Reading for next week:

Barthes – “Death of the Author,” define: “reality effect” - Paul and Tom
Barthes – “An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives,” Image/Music/Text, define: “vraisemblance” - Amanda and Mandy
Jorge Luis Castillo – “Pierre Menard and the School of the Skeptics,” Hispanic Review, Vol. 71, No. 3 (Summer, 2003), pp. 415-428 - Kieren, Andy and Max


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