English Lit grad student at NC State

Junior Contributor I

  • Lurker
  • ?
  • Articles
  • Featured
  • Comments
  • Ext. Comments
  • Processed
  • Revisions
  • Topics
  • Topics Taken
  • Notes
  • Topics Proc.
  • Topics Rev.
  • Points
  • Rank
  • Score
    Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.

    Latest Topics

    Write this topic

    What's Next: Literary/Artistic/Cultural Movements

    Victorian, Georgian, Modernism, Postmodernism… What now? A lot of time is spent, especially in academics, understanding the movements and patterns of art and culture. Thanks to an English Lit education, my best understanding of these eras springs from literary history, and from what I’ve heard and felt in class and even online, we are entering a new phase, a new movement in art.

    The past half decade or so, since the end of WWII, has been a period scholars call Postmodernism. Built from the aesthetics of Modernism, the Postmodernists have mixed "high" and "low" culture (that is, what is considered serious art and what the masses seem to enjoy) to create a playful environment in the face of larger oppression: nuclear war, surveillance, genocide, eugenics, you get the idea. There was still an ongoing search for self and place despite all these things though.

    As we go deeper into the 21st century, we separate ourselves from the last 50 years of the 20th, from the Cold War and cultural climates as variant as the 50s, 60s, 70s… you see what I mean. What are we experiencing now? What kind of art and literature is post-Postmodernism, what sort of culture do we get to create in?

    So far this century, we’ve seen an expanding global culture, multiple wars on foreign soil, the looming threat of terrorism, economic devastation and reconstruction, and most recently a wave of progressivism: new civil rights movements, marriage equality, healthcare reform, etc. Are these influences in art and literature? My favorite works published in the last 10 years have been pieces of historical fiction (Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, Max Brooks’s World War Z) and the culminating episodes of fantasy cycles begun before the 21st century (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final Dark Tower novel and even its expansion piece The Wind Through the Keyhole). These fantasy works certainly employ a sense of history as well. Musically, I see a sense of history in my favorites as well, whether personal (Sufjan Stevens’s Carrie & Lowell) or national (Titus Andronicus’s The Monitor).
    Maybe I’m biased and just want to believe my own theory. But it looks like this newer phase of culture is very aware of what has come before and is learning or reconstructing for its own sense of place.

      Sorry, no tides are available. Please update the filter.

      Latest Comments


      It’s clear you know quite a bit about Lovecraft, so keep adding to this material and give more details about the stories and the Gothic Horror essay! It is interesting that a writer not known for a significant prose style would still be so well known, and I think it’s because of those ideas you talk about. They give his stories a draw, a readability (I sat down and read “The Call of Cthulu” straight through). So what do the expansion works focus on? What else in his essay can we find in his creative work? Really interesting topic!

      Lovecraft: Why His Ideas Survive

      And herein lies the usefulness of Hollywood stereotypes… It’s refreshing to read about such stock characters in a positive light. This is a great in-depth look at character construction through both visual and narrative storytelling – though I think we can just pause for a second and revel in how enjoyable BTTF is as a movie. It’s classic Hollywood popcorn entertainment, and your article is a reminder that it isn’t always a cash-grab. As much as terms like “stock characters” and “prototypes” are derided, it’s clear that they can be useful and, when dealing with a complex story involving time travel and two sets of characters, the stereotypes actually strengthen the story.
      Now I just want to go re-watch the entire series again. SWEET.

      Back to The Future: The Function of Supporting Characters

      Yeah, the amount of discussion over even one aspect of the show is what makes Thrones such a juggernaut. Here we are entering season six and, despite some detractors, the series keeps on growing in both its fan base and story arcs beyond the books.
      And, what’s more, we’re both clearly getting something different out of the show.

      Game of Thrones: Don't Judge a Boob by its Cover

      I think some of the gratuitous nudity is meant to be tasteless in order to bring Westeros to life. The show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, have said during interview how closely they work with George R.R. Martin in bringing GOT to the screen, and I think Martin has striven to create this male-dominated world at the expense of women. It is objectifying and, I agree, it sometimes feels unnecessary, but this throws the artistically inclined nudity into sharp relief. Jaime and Brienne’s bath scene, Cersei’s walk through King’s Landing… Martin, Benioff, and Weiss make those scenes so powerful by showing women rising above the social oppression of a male-dominated world and making a statement beyond objectification (even if, in Cersei’s case, her ulterior motives are unknown to the crowds of commoners flinging those insults at her). I find it one of the elements that makes Thrones so interesting when considered on the whole.

      Game of Thrones: Don't Judge a Boob by its Cover

      Pretty interesting stuff here. It’s important that we bring this sort of material down to earth, I think, and put it in layman’s terms so that everyone can come to grips with their discomforts and darker sides. I mean, your writing experiment is a good stab at that; and I think identifying shadow material as a resource for creative writing is the worth of this entire post. We can take this conversation out of the realm of the mystics (Jung, Campbell, etc.) and into an accessible sphere of psychology and fiction (certainly King, but I see echoes of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Erikson’s identity formation in this chatter as well).

      Working with The Shadow: A Writer's Guide

      As both an individual and writer, the HP series had a huge impact on my thinking. I started reading HP when I was around 10 or 11 and grew up with it. Must’ve been around 15 when the seventh book was released and 18 when the final movie came out. My first attempts at writing were with HP in mind (identity formation alongside a book… who knew, right?). And now to go back with this sort of thinking (which is a great analysis alongside Erikson) and examine the series brings back all the joy that I remember when first reading it. Now a graduate lit student at NC State, and I can say that I’ve definitely written about HP for class assignments.

      Harry Potter and the Journey of Identity Formation

      But this is all taking Lucas’s prequels at face value. Look, very well written article and an excellent command of Star Wars knowledge. But whenever approaching the prequels, the Clone Wars, any of the novelizations (anything outside the original trilogy), we have to do so with a grain of salt. It’s not revolutionary to say that the prequels are inferior, and this includes their narrative. The logic within the narrative is baffling, and so we have to look outside of that narrative. Why did the Council allow Obi-Wan to keep training Anakin? Because George Lucas needed two more movies. Why did they never suspect Palpatine was a Sith despite the overwhelming evidence?* Because the film series had to go on.
      This analysis isn’t without merit but the source material (the prequels) is majorly flawed. The Jedi weren’t so much lost as Lucas didn’t know how else to tie up his story.
      *The argument of whether they should have seen the Sith uprising is another discussion, but if anyone has doubts then watch this informative video:

      The Lost Path of the Jedi