H. M. Bradford

H. M. Bradford

Musician, writer, geek. Originally from Colorado, currently pursuing a BA in Linguistics and English at Haverford College.

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    H. M. Bradford

    What a terrific article! Thanks so much for this thorough reading. I read Wieland twice; once for a class in post-structuralist analysis, once for a class in early American literature. Until I appreciated Brown’s intentionality with the double and triple layers of thematic ‘voices’ in commentary, I found the book deeply awful, and your article’s socio-political perspective helps me appreciate it all the more. Down to minutiae in the hugely overbearing way that Clara functions (or doesn’t) as a narrator, the book seems to be about personal deferral of control and responsibility in the face of “influence.” The novel’s attempt to pass as epistolary is so absurd that I almost expect Brown meant to call his own reliability into question — this way the book is practically a ventriloquist’s dummy. Clara, on the other hand, needs no help being doubtable. At any rate, thanks again!

    Wieland: Autonomy and The American Gothic
    H. M. Bradford

    As a linguist myself, I couldn’t agree more! The naturalism of his conlang work is mind-boggling, especially in his feel for meaningful subtleties in philology translated from his academic work. All the way down to the featural representation in Tengwar (multiple forms, no less, not to mention Cirth), it’s a linguistic project that’s likely never going to be equaled. Many have imitated and surely will still imitate Tolkien, but you’re so right that the heart of his work lies in the languages; that’s something irreplicable.

    The Making of Middle Earth and its Mythos: Subcreation vs Allegory
    H. M. Bradford

    Love your article! Tolkien’s deep-seated drive for creation is (in my opinion, anyway) the most remarkable quality of his work, and one that too often goes unremarked compared to his thematic influence on later fantasy. When I was reading his letters and the Carpenter biography, the extent of his care in fine-tuning his world all the way down to the minutiae struck me most. I went to a great lecture by Michael Drout a few weeks ago that discussed formal and thematic textual crossovers between Tolkien’s work and Beowulf, like how Tolkien built in already-lost cultural allusions, mimicking the ones that would have even been lost on the scribe of our oldest Beowulf manuscript. Thanks for exploring the deeper reaches of Tolkien — I’m so glad to see this out there!

    The Making of Middle Earth and its Mythos: Subcreation vs Allegory
    H. M. Bradford

    Having read the trilogy (plus Hannibal Rising), it’s impossible to treat Thomas Harris’ incredible characters with anything but the appropriate level of stark horrific behavior! From the getgo, Lecter is a winning character, and he wouldn’t be half as complex and fascinating if his sociopathy and cannibalism didn’t simultaneously force you to question why you liked him so much. Harris’ work is all about the freakish dualities of charisma and horror, — the outwardly “sane” world and its outskirts — so I appreciate the show’s unabashed attention to physically frightening things. Great article!

    In Defense of Hannibal and Its Use of Gore
    H. M. Bradford

    “Readerly xenophobia” is apt, especially in light of Ivory Tower judgments, as you say.
    Wikipedia is unique in this discussion because of its multiple valences — not only does it present a fluid, communally-told (and regulated, supposedly) set of narratives for history, society, and culture, but it has hypertextual capability. Beyond the allusive power of an in-text reference or quote, Wikipedia literally links entire narratives together into what I suppose you could call a “collaborative encyclopedic discourse.”

    Each textual page may represent the work of one author or a thousand, but Wikipedia at large is a fluctuating macro-text that by definition strives for internal consistency. Name-dropping an authorial canon invokes an ostensibly consistent narrative centering on an individual; name-dropping a print encyclopedia invokes one institution’s temporarily consistent narrative with all its values and limitations; invoking Wikipedia is something in media we’ve not conceived of yet except perhaps in Foucault’s Heterotopia. Even then, because Wikipedia is a living document, Heterotopia may even be too static. As much as the writing is certainly communal again, the medium carries too much of an unexplored message for me to be comfortable calling it a comeback.

    Rowling, Tolkien, and Foucault: What is it to Hear the Author Speak?
    H. M. Bradford

    I couldn’t agree more. Hearing authors read is pretty uniquely captivating, isn’t it? Robert Frost was also a huge proponent of reading aloud as the only way to experience poetry, I’ve heard, which makes sense considering his fine-tuned sound and rhythm.

    Rowling, Tolkien, and Foucault: What is it to Hear the Author Speak?
    H. M. Bradford

    I’m pleased to be stimulating thought with this, and it means a lot that you say so especially — I loved your article on Rowling!

    Rowling, Tolkien, and Foucault: What is it to Hear the Author Speak?
    H. M. Bradford

    This show is and always has been so important to me as a representation of what kids do. The imaginative possibilities of playgrounds, where the smallest places and decisions can have the grandest fantastic scale, defined my childhood. I hope kids still have communities like this.

    Top 10 Episodes of the Nostalgic Disney Children's Show 'Recess'