The Use and Abuse of Literature (2020)

The Use and Abuse of Literature As defining as Christopher Lasch s The Culture of Narcissism Allan Bloom s The Closing of the American Mind and Dinesh D Souza s Illiberal Education were to the s s and s respectively
  • Title: The Use and Abuse of Literature
  • Author: Marjorie Garber
  • ISBN: 9780375424342
  • Page: 107
  • Format: Hardcover
  • As defining as Christopher Lasch s The Culture of Narcissism, Allan Bloom s The Closing of the American Mind, and Dinesh D Souza s Illiberal Education were to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, respectively, Marjorie Garber s The Use and Abuse of Literature is to our times Even as the decline of the reading of literature, as argued by the National Endowment for the Arts, proceeAs defining as Christopher Lasch s The Culture of Narcissism, Allan Bloom s The Closing of the American Mind, and Dinesh D Souza s Illiberal Education were to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, respectively, Marjorie Garber s The Use and Abuse of Literature is to our times Even as the decline of the reading of literature, as argued by the National Endowment for the Arts, proceeds in our culture, Garber One of the most powerful women in the academic world The New York Times gives us a deep and engaging meditation on the usefulness and uselessness of literature in the digital age What is literature, anyway How has it been understood over time, and what is its relevance for us today Who are its gatekeepers Is its canonicity fixed Why has literature been on the defensive since Plato Does it have any use at all, or does it merely serve as an aristocratic or bourgeois accoutrement attesting to worldly sophistication and refinement of spirit Is it, as most of us assume, good to read literature, much less study it and what does either mean The Use and Abuse of Literature is a tour de force about our culture in crisis that is extraordinary for its brio, panache, and erudition and appreciation of popular culture lightly carried Garber s winning aim is to reclaim literature from the margins of our personal, educational, and professional lives and restore it to the center, as a fierce, radical way of thinking.
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    One Reply to “The Use and Abuse of Literature”

    1. The central conceit of a much contemporary criticism has been to raise the critic s musings on literature to the same level as the literature these folks intensely scrutinize This seems a ploy to have literary critics form a new priesthood, an authoritative to be sought out no less than that of the poet, the novelist, the playwright, even the philosopher Marjorie Garber is fairly typical of the academic who feels the need to produce a tract, composed almost entirely of weathered , rusty post mod [...]

    2. Marjorie Garber, justifiably celebrated for both her erudition and accessibility, has written a kind of meandering history of the idea and practice of literature and the literary While not as innately pleasurable to read as her most famous book, Shakespeare After All, The Use and Abuse of Literature is, nonetheless, informative and oddly captivating I say oddly because there is a distinctively disjointed, discursive quality to the writing itself too, her arguments, such as they are, are elusive [...]

    3. An intelligent and chatty re examination of the basics, predicated on the idea that a canon of Western literature both exists and is necessary while avoiding the cranky horribleness of someone like Harold Bloom Yes, canon gets its own chapter, but just look at the writers and works that appear over and over as examples Encourages conversation, calm disagreement, exploration, discussing things like a rational person, etc.Accessible, enjoyable, useful and a surprisingly good beach read

    4. As students in a very small school, my class had the misfortune of following a particular English teacher through her seven long years of advancement from elementary to junior high and high school assignments Although her requirements were exacting and her aspirations grand, she was I ll be charitable and say inconsistent One year she d love you, the next year she d hate you One year she d make perfect sense, explaining the intricacies of sentence diagrams, and the next year she d go off on a ta [...]

    5. Pardon me, but I am going to take my review of How to Read Novels Like a Professor and plug in the title of this book and create my review of this book It rarely happens but this book made me feel exactly like HTRNLP, so I have simply duplicated and slightly revised this review for UAL I love books You know that about me But what probably you don t know is that there are some books that I don t like, some books I actually hate Yes, it s true I hate textbooks I loathe textbooks I hate the pompous [...]

    6. The message of this book is read books, it s good for you.I am not going to argue with that Anyone who doesn t read books is never going to find this out because they don t read books and this is a book This leaves me confused as to the target audience Readers already read Non readers don t read This books sits in a vortex between these two groups never able to be happy in either camp.I have read it and I already read It did make me think that my reading was worthwhile rather than the constant a [...]

    7. Always impressed and tickled by Professor Garber s insight into literature, culture, and the pursuit of the analytical life Garber is super adept at examining some concept, whether it be literature, poetry, the memoir, and examines the history and concept conceits behind the rhetoric surrounding those concepts now At the end of the book in a spirited critique on the overreach of Lakoff and Johnson metaphor theory, Garber reinforces the primacy of literary thought as opposed to literary thought a [...]

    8. Marjorie Garber, who teaches Shakespeare among other things at Harvard, writes about literature what it is, how it s used and abused The chapters in this book can be read as self contained essays, in the original sense of an assay, or test, of a subject Don t read this book if you re looking for definitive answers For example, on the subject of the criticism wars, she seems to find value in the most conservative interpretation and the wildest post modern theory The chapter on What Isn t Literatu [...]

    9. Notes of Oct 2015 2nd readI must have read this book from a lending library copy last year Finding a new copy on the shelf, I could not recall that I had actually read it and jotted down notes see Feb 2014 notes I wonder how little memory I had retained except this author s name and the solid impression of her scholarship This time I am humbled by how little I actually know about literature Last year s reading added nearly nothing to make up the gap of un read books I am now content to re read t [...]

    10. This is one of those instances when I had the eerie feeling that there were two books out there masquerading as one I read some of the vociferous reviews of it and doubt we could have read the same book It seemed to me a good basic introduction to some of the central controversies in the study of literature canonicity, what qualifies as literature, etc She says nothing new to me but then having come from a doctoral program in English, I ve read and discussed a lot of these issues before I also s [...]

    11. The future importance of literary studies and, if we care about such things, its intellectual and cultural prestige both among the other disciplines and in the world will come from taking risks, not from playing it safe In The Use and Abuse of Literature, Harvard professor Marjorie Garber outlines the current state of literature how it is used and misused and why She covers everything from how to define literature, to whether the role of the reader is important than that of the writer, to what [...]

    12. After reading a description for this book in my local book store, I thought this book was written for me Upon cracking it open and slowly VERY slowly pulling my way through the text I found myself wondering why I wasted my time reading this, when instead I have should have been reading the texts and authors Garber mentions in her book Without exception, the most fascinating things are passages in quotations, lifted from other works, like the scholarship of Virgina Woolf.Perhaps this is a problem [...]

    13. Garber explores our 21st century approach to reading It isn t so much a critique about the frenetic pace of our lives, or the way in which we approach arts is to consume rather it s about if we see a common root to our family tree in ways of documenting culture, learning to read, and being a cultured individual While these are probably regular concerns for people in literary circles, I was fascinated by the nuanced arguments about cultural studies, Biblical literary studies, questionable biograp [...]

    14. It seems as if Ms Garber wanted to write several books and settled for one as such, the resulting volume is a little unfocused There is a reasonably good overview of the critical waves of the twentieth century, and some food for thought when it comes to the difference between fiction and non fiction Other sections fall a little flat of course we are always reading a book in the present, of course closure is different from an ending.Ms Garber makes the curious choice, at one point, to explore her [...]

    15. This is not a book for non academics To me, this book largely felt like a drawn out essay to a select group of academics and professors, not a discussion of literature in modern culture for the layman It s peppered with somewhat obscure references, raises a lot of questions like what is literature what does use really mean , and overall seems to lack a cohesive controlling idea or motive or thought to transition you from one chapter to the other For me, a student of literature who s just underta [...]

    16. As the author points out, many do not appreciate the relevance of the study of literature At a cordial meeting with academic deans at Harvard University, English professor Marjorie Garber and other professors in the humanities were asked what questions their respective disciplines answered Garber responded that the value of literary study comes from asking questions, not finding answers She says the rich possibility of interpretation the happy resistance of the text to ever by fully known and ma [...]

    17. The uses of literature themselves grow and change as cultures and technologies grow and change How we read changes, too witness the development of the e book, and the electronic reader Here is another paradox although literature is properly useless, the experience of reading it produces essential, and irreplaceable, cultural effectsWe do literature a real disservice if we reduce it to knowledge or to use, to a problem to be solved If literature solves problems, it does so by its own inexhaustabi [...]

    18. I liked the beginnings of this discussion my conclusion of perusal is to return it to the library and free some space to appreciate other writings, since that is the whole point of this book Appreciation of writing Garber reminded me of why I write and call what I create literature.The reason I truncate my reading is economic in nature I did not read this cover to cover, but with the index, I winnowed enjoyment from everything after page 88.If I had an endless amount of time to dedicate to this [...]

    19. IN A TIME when reading has devolved into a means for the efficient conveyance of information, and sustained reading is in decline even as the techniques for distributing text multiply by the hour, lovers of literature insist, or pray, that their stock in trade not be dehydrated, shrink wrapped, freeze dried, shaken down, translated, or otherwise reduced to shadows of grander somethings ideologies, deep structures of consciousness, hard wired linguistic capacities, or some other fundamentals If l [...]

    20. 07 26 2011 I finished this book and thought that it is a very interesting account of why is literature important and necessary It is really an eye opener on how we should care for our literary ambitions and pursues It is definitely worth a reading.07 02 2011 Literature for what why do we read literature Why fiction Even worse why poetry Is there any use or practicality in reading that stuff These questions are very interestingly answered in this book I am reading now by the second chapter and I [...]

    21. Garber s tautly discursive exploration of the concept of literature and what to expect from it is a good survey course for the non English major who aspires to have literature That s an old fashioned term for being acquainted with letters and books Garber preaches, convincingly and with some effort not to be preachy, that literature is not useful It isn t uplifting It does not provide moral lessons I enjoyed her analyses and she added to my reading list The memoirist will be particularly interes [...]

    22. There are some nice nuggets in here, and Garber comes off as a well read and intelligent scholar But it s kind of buried in the dense citing of other texts and the tone of a weird elite defensiveness which self consciously manifests in the deconstruction ofelite defensiveness of literature I m confused just thinking about it And yet, I d love to have a copy in my personal library to thumb through and brandish at those who snigger at my majoring in English.

    23. Word to the wise, have a dictonary handy when reading this one Althought I liked the premise, the idea that the value of literature is in the questions it asks and the thinking in requires, I felt she wandered around quite a bit I found that she expected a basis of knowledge that many a lay person would not have I just wish spoke to her intended audience, the lay reader, in a less formal, academic way.

    24. Garber takes an interesting and compelling premise the role that literature can and does or does not play in the 21st century and turns it into a very dry, academic read The book comes across as textbook than possible source for discussion and argument David Ulin s Lost Art of Reading does a much better job in getting one to think about the role reading can and should play in our lives.

    25. A discourse on the use and the uselessness of literature in the electronic age A very erudite discussion of what makes literature, literature I particularly enjoyed her observations on the book within the book literature providing questions rather than answers, and the lack of closure in literature This is for the serious student of the book as literature.

    26. Ms Garner believes in reading, along with writing, and criticism She knows all the lit crit theories, and seems to have read most of the canon While a bit detailed for general readers, those who read books will find a teacher who loves to read and knows her stuff.

    27. A string affirmation for book lovers and English teachers Also an overwhelming source of information on the movement of literature through time Garber s encyclopedic knowledge makes one want to attempt to catch up with her intellectual prowess by reading, well, EVERYTHING

    28. After several readathons, I finally finished The best chapters were in the end, of course, and touched on endings, truth in literature and if it is necessary , and how literature is always contemporary or not

    29. Now when I shelve it as read I admit it was a skim I read parts of this exploration of literature what it means, it s revelance in the past, present and future It was interesting and I especially enjoyed the essays on graphic novels and biographies.

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