DON’T FORGET: FIVE PAGE DRAFTS DUE MONDAY
1. When Lady Catherine reveals her investment in marrying her daughter to Darcy she assumes a perhaps surprising likeness to Mrs. Bennet; are there other ways in which the two characters are analogs? what might Austen’s point be in drawing similarities between these two?
2. “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?” (237). How are we supposed to view this remark of Mr. Bennet’s?
3. Comment on how Darcy’s discovery of Elizabeth’s love for him is narrated: “Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she might have seen how well the expression of heart-felt delight, diffused over his face, became him…” (239).
4. To the question of when he originally fell for Elizabeth Darcy says, “I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” Then Elizabeth herself steps in to explain: “I interested you because I was so unlike them [i.e. the “women who were always looking for your approbation” and who “disgusted” you]” (248). Is this a picture of two of the key aspects of love we’ve been discussing, that it’s compulsive and perverse?
5. Zizek says that the true nature of the two characters is determined precisely by how they negotiate their illusions about one another (67); in Nietzschean terms, absent those illusions, they could not have become who they are. Explain how truth could be a function of illusion.
6. To the question of when she fell for Darcy Elizabeth emphatically jokes that “I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley” (244); does this joke cut too close to the bone?
1. Why is the “modernist esthetic…incompatible with a moral point of view” (153)?
2. Why does Vermeule claim, in spite of this, that “human psychology is inevitably moral psychology,” that “even self-recognition means facing the pressure of someone’s claims on you” and that such “moral anxiety” is “a version of the sublime” (153-4)?
3. What difference does it make to think of God “not as a legislator or exemplar” but as “‘full access’ social agent especially interested in moral questions” (162)?
Odes are traditionally addresses to the gods of some kind, sung in praise, supplication and/or beseeching. Keats’s odes are addressed to an electic set of god-like things. The order in which they were written is a matter of some controversy but according to one chronology the odes are addressed:
- [To a mood (indolence) (which we’re not reading)]
- To a goddess (psyche)
- To a nightingale
- To an urn
- To an emotion (melancholy)
- To a season (autumn)
1. In his letter on the “Vale of Soul-Making” Keats argues that salvation requires “the medium of a world like this;” in other words, the soul isn’t otherworldly but strictly a function of worldly existence. A great way to think about Keats’s odes is as worldly media of soul making: aesthetic experiences through which something like soul gets generated. The most tangibly worldly of the entities to which Keats’s odes are addressed are the nightingale and the urn, whereas the one that is most recognizably ode-like and concerned with salvation is the Ode to Psyche. So a good general question to ask is what do the odes to psyche, nightingale and Grecian urn do differently? All present an image of immortality in one way or another; but do the various images of immortality have different implications?
2. In light of Keats’s critique of Christianity in his letter on soul-making, is his talk of worship in Psyche to be taken literally? is he proposing a kind of religious practice here? what could it mean to worship in a church of the mind? wouldn’t this be at odds with Keats’s insistence that the soul is rather worldly rather just spiritual?
3. A large section of Psyche is repeated; what is the significance and function of this repetition? does this give it a ritualistic form?
- what does Shelley mean when he says: “We want the creative faculty to imagine that which we know; we want the generous impulse to act that which we imagine; we want the poetry of life: our calculations have outrun conception; we have eaten more than we can digest” (1195)?
- What exactly does he mean by calling poets “the unacknowledged legislators of the world;” what do they legislate and how? Why aren’t they acknowledged? Do you agree with Shelley that “reason is to imagination as the instrument to the agent, as the body to the spirit, as the shadow to the substance” (1185)?
- Why does Shelley say that “in the infancy of society every author is necessarily a poet, because language itself is poetry” (1186); and “poetry is never more to be desired than in periods when, from an excess of the selfish and calculating principle, the accumulation of the materials of external life exceed the quantity of the power of assimilating them to the internal laws of human nature.” (1195)?
- Explain this passage: “The great secret of morals is love, or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of this species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination; and poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the cause” (1191).