Welcome to Senior Seminar, Spring 2012

Our class blog is titled writing the political,  a topic we will begin exploring as we read Don DeLillo’s novel, Falling Man. I look forward to reading your reflections on this piece and the others we will read this semester.  Just as an example of how to add an image into your post, I will include one here of the cover of DeLillo’s novel.  

Adding links is also quite simple, and here is a generic one that compiles comments from DeLillo on Writing.

Here are two other quotations to get you thinking about DeLillo’s ideas about writing the political:

“The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail.”

Don DeLillo, from the 1988 interview with Ann Arensberg. From DiPietro, Thomas, ed. Conversations with Don DeLillo. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2005. Print.

“I do think we can connect novelists and terrorists here. In a repressive society, a writer can be deeply influential, but in a society that’s filled with glut and repetition and endless consumption, the act of terror may be the only meaningful act. People who are in power make their arrangements in secret, largely as a way of maintaining and furthering that power. People who are powerless make an open theater of violence. True terror is a language and a vision. There is a deep narrative structure to terrorist acts, and they infiltrate and alter consciousness in ways that writers used to aspire to.”

Passaro, Vince. “Don DeLillo and the Twin Towers.” Before and After: Stories from New York. Ed. Thomas Beller. New York: Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood Books, 2002. 68-70. Print.

These two quotations illuminate DeLillo’s characterization of novelist Bill Gray in Mao II, as he struggles with what he perceives as the loss of the novel’s cultural capital as a result of the rise of terror as a greater cultural force.  But keep these comments in mind as we begin to discuss Falling Man as a novel that also responds to “the structure of terrorist acts.”

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About mccormic

I am an English professor and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at SUNY Oswego. I am mostly an administrator these days, but when I can, I teach courses in contemporary literature and women writers, and publish on contemporary multi-ethnic poetry.

One thought on “Welcome to Senior Seminar, Spring 2012

  1. Among the three assigned packets of reading, Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, was the most intriguing. Unlike the other two authors, I was unable to stop myself from reading on and on about what she had to share. The connections from her own life and writing, to the people of her native land, and to authors everywhere caught my entire attention.
    One of the first connections made to history was the connection between the execution of Drouin and Numa to the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise. This is a conversation which has recently been brought up in my Author course, Chaucer, here at SUNY Fredonia. If Adam and Eve had never tasted the forbidden fruit and went against God’s order they would have never been able to make it to heaven.
    The words of a writer are buried deep in the readers memory, preserved for their own use when the time is right. Danticat brought it to our attention how often history repeats itself. The words of a writer are able to be translated to any language and any time period.
    Like Adam and Eve, the people of Haiti knew there would be consequences. But they chose to live dangerously. In both of these instances these consequences were in their favor. Without living dangerously, through a writers dangerous creation, there is no way to change circumstances.

    Citation

    Danticat, Edwidge. “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work.” New York: Vintage 2010: 1-20. print

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