The Brain and the Book - Session 6


  • February 13. What Is Style? We each have personal styles of writing and reading--what does that tell us about us? Notes for this session are now online
    1. Style
      1. Ohmann, "Generative Grammars and . . . Literary Style." Handout
      2. Ohmann, "Linguistic Appraisal of Victorian Style." Handout
      3. Holland, "Prose and Minds." Handout
    2. Toward next week:
      1. Bownds, Biology of Mind, chs. 6-7, pp. 119-176


    1. Style
      1. Ohmann, "Generative Grammars and . . . Literary Style." Handout
      2. Ohmann, "Linguistic Appraisal of Victorian Style." Handout
      3. Holland, "Prose and Minds." Handout
    2. Toward next week:
      1. Bownds, Biology of Mind, chs. 6-7, pp. 119-176

    1. Style: Linguistics and Personality. Note the story in yesterday's Times about Giulani and his language.
      1. Concept of style: what elements? Sentence structure (James in Ohmann paper). Choice of words ("diction"). Rhythm (Vachel Lindsay)? Plot? Characters?
      2. Parody based on style.
      3. Donald Foster and Shaxicon (WS, Primary Colors, Night Before Xmas). Computers make it possible to quantify, cover large bodies of material. Uses items 10, 11, 12 in Ohmann's list.

    2. Ohmann, "Generative Grammars and . . . Literary Style"
        This is an abandoned branch of criticism.
      1. Early Chomsky--1964: kernel sentences & transform'ns
      2. Oral version of this paper: transforming Faulkner into Hemingway by undoing and inserting transformations.
      3. A question for New Critics: does grammatical transformation change "meaning" or "content"? (Reader-response critic: but if we locate those in interaction betw reader and txt?)
      4. Faulkner: 3 xformations: relative; conjunction; comparative.

    3. Ohmann, "Linguistic Appraisal of Victorian Style"
      1. 438.4 "driving insistence": problem of reader-response. For this purpose, observables rather than feelings.
        1. use of naming, categories
        2. distinction
        3. NP + Be + NP
      2. "cognitive orientation". A distinction we will come back to over and over again.
        1. seen from outside
        2. seen from inside
      3. His last parg.
        1. Does anyone do this nowadays, in today's culture? Who would you pick? Limbaugh? Tom Wolfe? Too many voices??
        2. Who will peo read 100y from now? Mencken?

    4. From Style to Personality.
      1. Marxist Ohmann speaks of it (Victorian paper, fn. 19) as "cognitive orientation," not psychoanalytic, ucs, etc.
      2. NNH's papers on style.
        1. Online: "Barge" paper; Sh's Personality book; Huston; Reagan (not online)

    5. Holland, "Prose and Minds." A "true" reading.
      1. Also 1968--lots of diff'ces from now.
      2. Gendered language. Millett 1968.
      3. 320.2. This describes my Dynamics model. The reason I changed.
      4. 321.3-4. Reader-response: "we."

    6. Bownds, Biology of Mind, chs. 6 and 7, pp. 119-176
      1. Plastic Mind. In general, everyone is now very enthusiastic about cortical plasticity, a recent discovery.
        124.6, 127.5. Brain development. This is one of the roots of psychoanalysis. 126.4, 169.8. Note relation to Edelman: defines Darwinian process as generating possibles (within the nervous system) and then selecting among them. 135.7: Note that this is the case of Iiro. His hand module would change after the operation, but not his identity theme.
        140.1-5: Important: two kinds of memory; different names in use. Both kinds IMPORTANT for reading.
        143.1: observers agree that a shaped personality appears about three. Before that, temperament.
        143.7 - 144.2: Parallel distributed processing. Note relation to Schore.
        144.1: the idea of these categories is important for how we read. Are certain intellectual acts built in or are we totally free? Finnegan's Wake or even more extreme fractionings of language?

      2. Minds and Selves
        156.1-6: important summary
        157:1: Grandson Henry does not understand that parents were once children.
        162.2: psychoanalysis and literary absorption: the story is happening in me
        164.2: old (pre-1950s?) experiments confirming psychoanalytic ucs.
        166.8: identity from the inside
        167.1-6: "transactional" was in fact a simplified psas
        167.7-9: false!!!
        169.9: 2 steps to gene expression IMPORTANT to understand.


      3. February 20. Session 7. Who Are You? How Did You Become You (1)? We will be considering a psychoanalytic concept of personal identity and its relation to how you read and write.
        1. Theme-and-variations identity; identity from outside.
          1. The I, pp. 1-79. Online
          2. The Growing and Ungrowing Brain; brain identity.
            1. Begley, "Your Child's Brain." Handout
            2. Holland, Brain of Robert Frost, pp. 6-8. Handout
          3. Autopoeisis; identity and the death instinct
            1. Schore, "Comment on `Emotions: Neuro-Psychoanalytic Views'" Handout
            2. Nahum, Review of Schore book. Neuro-Psychoanalysis, 1.2 (1999): 258-263. Handout
            3. Donald, Origins of the Modern Mind, pp. 142-3. Handout
            4. Holland, "Again-ness." Online. Draft--comments, critique, even proofreading appreciated.
              The first part of this longish essay is directed to psychoanalysts. if you're interested . . . I think you need to skim it to get the argument, but you don't need to know about, for example, multiple function.
          BOOK SUMMARIES DUE MONDAY, FEB. 25