Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Next Dorothy Parker (or, why the heck I'm in college)

So. I have a shiny job offer with benefits. I start in two months from today! I walked in graduation. My major was French.

If this ain't a recipe for senioritis, I don't know what is. I love analyzing literature, though. Maybe if they didn't throw the word theory in there, I would have taken such a class long ago. My favorite literary critic is Dorothy Parker. Her review of A. A. Milne's play Give Me Yesterday might be the funniest thing I have ever read. (For all you New Yorker subscribers, here's the link. For others, it's anthologized. READ IT NOW.) She was herself an accomplished short story writer and poet, and I think her critical eye for anything mawkish or that rang false started a virtuous cycle that reinforced her own writing. Now, I don't know if the bonne vivante-author/critic/screenwriter model even exists anymore, but the pretest and the text have shown me that I could warrant some humility about the study of literature as a toolbox. Being a French major, so much of our literature classes focus on diction and theme: what is going on here?! Reading well-written introductions to books, or even translations (Francis Steegmuller is my homeboy), has opened my eyes to why literary criticism matters. Control-F for Milne. Tell me that you didn't laugh. That's my goal for the class. I like large, sweeping, global goals. I want to write like that.

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