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About johnnyleston

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    English Literature
  1. if i am talking to someone who actually is listening, i give them the stock existentialist/humanist perspective. we are the meaning-creating animals, the realm of the symbolic is our unique territory, it is what makes us who we are, so we as a species have a serious and, well, existential responsibility to come to terms with that realm. of course, it is more complicated than that. my justification for me studying literature is separate from my justification for the study of literature qua literature. i study literature for a very complicated combination of contrariness, arrogance and sublimated oedipal issues. i study literature as a writer to steal from the best. i study literature because i don't want to be complicit with a society which i find to be corrupt to the core. if someone is really interested in my motivations, i'd have them watch a prison production of waiting for godot, and ask them to think about why prisoners get such an out-there play so profoundly. i think if you can answer that question, you can understand why to study literature.
  2. i just got my last reject, and i thought i would share with you some words that have helped me weather a fruitless application season:: thanks for all your help and encouragement, everybody. see you after the bender.
  3. i was griping to my good friend in my undergraduate department yesterday about my application woes, and she pointed out that it could be worse. she recollected a story of a student similar to myself, someone passionate about theory and a certain weird little slice of 20th century literature, who was unanimously rejected her first attempt, but was widely accepted her second round. but by that point, the student had a child with a person who owned a house, and they were not in any position to travel to take advantage of the great opportunities that the student was receiving. fortunately, UNC was so enamored with the student that they held a place for her in the next cohort, so the anecdote has a happy ending. during this conversation, my friend in the department referred to the situation as 'family blackmail.' my friend's earlier student was not able to follow her dreams and aspirations because of the emotional ties and pressures that come with having a child and a family. this got me to thinking. is there what's good for the family, and what's good for the various family members? is there an objective good for the group which transcends the good of each of the individuals? is there a family good which is in some way different and separate from the aggregate good of the various members of the family? there are two sides to this, as i see it. you can look at it as a traditional existentialist, such that the individuals are radically independent. in which case, the student should have packed off to UNC come what may, because that was the culmination of her dreams and aspirations up to that point. or, you can look at this like an idealist, such that there are greater goods than the good of a single individual, and the truly moral act is one which takes that greater (essentially social) good into consideration, sometimes against the good of the individual. in that case, the student should have never followed such a idiosyncratic and unique set of interests to their culmination in graduate study, but rather should have put themselves to work doing something "useful." i think you can see to what side my sympathies lie. but i am interested in your perspective. have you come across family blackmail? how do you reconcile these competing moral imperatives, the imperative to be yourself and the imperative to those you love?
  4. could be by time period, could be that we are applying to buffalo's strenghts so they have more to go through in our respective piles. or it could be all the faculty have been on an extended bender, getting wasted at one of zizek's epic parties. who the hell knows. but i am ready to be done jumping every time the mail comes through the door.
  5. which means that we are past the first round and being strongly considered. at least, i hope so, because i got my reject from cornell today, the only other school besides buffalo i haven't yet heard from. maybe they are progressing by field. i am a modernist looking at film noir and poetics through heidegger. what are you intending to study?
  6. my mood has led me to post world war 2 literature of guilt and complicity. i just finished arthur koestler's _darkness at noon_ and wolfgang borchert's _the man outside_. i will probably re-read _slaughterhouse 5_ to stay within this genre. then i am open to suggestions. anybody else have a taste for dark as night midcentury political prose?
  7. i have heard that before. it is all true. i am a writer who happens to have a social conscience, and i would be very happy being a prosecuter or a public defender. or engaging in nuisance lawsuits against school districts in an attempt to destroy the failed experiment of mass public education. i hear what you are saying, and it is good advice. i happen to have a wide variety of things i can do that will give me sustaining happiness.
  8. anybody else with me? william carlos williams was a doctor, wallace stevens was an insurance lawyer. they didn't need grad school, and neither do i. /bitter rant.
  9. i just had a brief IM conversation with graduate admissions at SUNY Buffalo. they assured me that they are still reviewing applications. so i expect to see some more acceptances, maybe even my own, sometime soon. fingers crossed.
  10. i talked to her on the phone early on in the process. she was very nice. sigh.
  11. i feel your pain. who did you write to at buffalo? the department, or graduate admissions?
  12. still no word here. waiting to hear back from rutgers, buffalo, & cornell.
  13. anyone have any thoughts on the fact that i still have a 'no decision' on my application status? i feel like a competitive applicant, 3.5 ug gpa, 690v, 770q, 660 subject, focusing on the modern/postmodern transition in poetry and film. this limbo is driving me nuts. i really would appreciate a reject if that is how it has to be. dangling on the hook is just pure hell. for all the new brunswick haters, trust me, you will love it. vibrant music and arts scene, great location to get to anything you could ever want to do.
  14. check out Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism, Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces, Roland Barthes' Mythologies, and Martin Heidegger's article "The Origin of the Work of Art." also, look for a critical edition of a piece of literature that you already resonate with. i found the norton critical edition of Dubliners to be helpful in giving a bunch of different critical perspectives on a text that i was already somewhat familiar with. i have the norton critical edition to Paradise Lost and A Turn of the Screw, and i am sure there are plenty of others available.
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