phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

"A subtraction from the sum of human knowledge"

Posted by Peter on July 26, 2003

In Reply to: "A subtraction from the sum of human knowledge" posted by Lewis on July 18, 2003

: : : Or simply dreadful writing?

: : : Here's a link to an amusing but sad commentary on crimes against language by "literary scholars".

: : Good article. I sent it to my son, an English major. A professor from his school was mentioned. My two favorite quotes:

: : Is it now mandatory to write badly?"

: : Northrop Frye used to say that if you don't care about being educated, a little animal cunning will get you a degree...

: That piece is superb!
: Unfortunately, I failed in the animal cunning department and paraded my opinions about most criticism being "complete self-conscious bollocks" before completing A-level English "Literature". Having been happy at O-level success, I was entirely unprepared for the utter crap that one was expected to regurgitate for A-level. Regurgitating requires that one "swallows" it to start with and, as a headstrong 17 year-old, I was not savvy enough to bluff my way through and dared to have opinions.
: OK they were the opinions of a 17 year-old and without much empirical background, but they were analytical and based upon the text and context.
: I have spent over 20 years resenting the bulemic nature of A-level English Literature, but thank God it didn't take away my love of good writing.

: If only the obsurantist constructionists/deconstructionists/poseurs would read and digest - they might develop a more healthy demeanour.

'Dutton quotes Paul H. Fry, professor of English at Yale. He finds this in Fry's A Defense of Poetry: "It is the moment of non-construction, disclosing the absentation of actuality from the concept in part through its invitation to emphasize, in reading, the helplessness -- rather than the will to power -- of its fall into conceptuality."'
I suspect both Denis Dutton and Robert Fulford are missing the point. Here Paul H Fry (not to be confused with Northrop Frye) is obviously writing modern poetry.