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ENGLISH 400 (Spring 2003)
“ Critical Theory & Technology”
Lussier & Matsunaga
As discussed in class, the midterm examination has three parts, ranging from the most objective (Matching) to the most subjective (Essay). This examination was constructed to fit ‘comfortably’ within a 75-minute time-frame, and once you complete it, the exam should be saved as a “WORD” document and submitted electronically to Mark’s e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Wednesday at 6:00 PM. We wish you the best of luck with the examination.
I. Matching (30 points): the goal for this portion of the examination is to find the best match from the items listed below with its appropriate match above. Once you make the connection, simply place the letter in the space provided.
_____ 1. “transcendental dialectic”
_____ 2. enframing
_____ 3. ‘linked bits of information’
_____ 4. “Spirit”
_____ 5. enthousiasmós
_____ 6. Karl Marx
_____ 7. Primary Imagination
_____ 8. Immanuel Kant
_____ 9. “illusion”
_____ 10. John Keats
A. hypertext; B. G. W. F. Hegel; C. The German Ideology; D. “the animating principle of the mind”; E. “the veil of Maya”; F. “a calling forth”; G. Negative Capability; H. Critique of Pure Reason; I. “inspiration”; J. “prime Agent of all human Perception”
II. Identification (30 points): the goal for this portion of the examination is to identify the quoted passage by author, work, speaker (if applicable), the immediate context, and the overall significance of the passage for the work as a whole. You should only identify six (6) of the offered passages.
A. “Poetry acts in another and diviner manner . . . Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar; it reproduces all that it represents, and the impersonations clothed in its Elysian light stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them, as memorials of that gentle and exalted content which extends itself over all thoughts and actions with which it coexists.”
B. “Not only does the bond between man and man come to be forged once more by the magic of the Dionysiac rite, but nature itself, long alienated or subjugated, rises again to celebrate the reconciliation with her prodigal son, man.”
C. “For such a recognition and reversal will evoke pity and fear, and we have defined tragedy as an imitation of actions of this type; and furthermore, happiness and misery will appear in circumstances of this type.”
D. “In other words, the digital word reconfigures education, continuing the process begun with the invention first of writing and then printing, and frees the student from the need to be in the physical presence of the teacher.”
E. “Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature [.]”
F. “The mental powers, therefore, whose union (in a certain relation) constitutes genius are imagination and understanding. In the employment of the imagination for cognition, it submits to the constraint of the understanding and is subject to the limitation of being conformable to the concept of the latter.”
G. “The enduring significance of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel does not rest on our ability to locate their claims definitively but on the works having opened up new territory for thought.”
H. “Poets would either delight or enlighten the reader/Or say what is both amusing and really worth using./But when you instruct, be brief, so the mind can clearly/Perceive and firmly retain.”
I. “I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility: the emotion is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.”
J. “The psychological novel in general no doubt owes its special nature to the inclination of the modern writer to split up his ego, by self-observation, into many part-egos and, in consequence, to personify the conflicting currents of his own mental life in several heroes.”
K. “Just so the Muse. She first makes men inspired, and then through these inspired ones others share in the enthusiasm, and a chain is formed, for epic poets, all the good ones, have their excellence, not from art, but are inspired, possessed, and thus they utter all these admirable poems.”
III. Essay (40 points): the third portion of the examination is a 500-word/5 paragraph essay upon one (1) of the following topics. Your essay should articulate a thesis (to prove) or a problem (to analyze), should offer your best formal writing (proper mechanics and grammar) and critical prose (analytic use of evidence), and should draw upon read texts for support of your thesis or problem. Our goal was to provide some concreteness but also some critical space for your musings.
A. The classical tradition defined by Plato, Aristotle, and Horace establishes mimesis or imitation as the creative core of artistic production, yet they take such imitation in different directions. Analyze Sidney’s Defense of Poesy and Shelley’s Defense of Poetry in light of the type/s of mimesis discussed within the classical tradition.
B. Kant’s Critique of Judgment explores the psychological conditions of aesthetic response through the dialectic of the beautiful and the sublime, and the mechanism, a dialectical approach to the emergence of art in history, seems subsequently to influence Hegel’s philosophy of art and Nietzsche’s analysis of the birth of tragedy. How does Kant’s rigorous critique of judgment become manifest in the subsequent thinking of Hegel and Nietzsche?
C. According to Richter, the mimetic and rhetorical traditions are eclipsed, during the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, by more expressive approaches to poetics. Drawing upon the critical prose of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley, map the critical terrain of this mode of expressivity.