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Summer Reading List (for Incoming Fall Ph.D. Students)


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The ending WAS very melodramatic, but, for some reason, that is what I LOVED about it. I think it's because I just spent the past term writing my senior thesis about whether or not the novel is "dead," and then there's this amazing novel that uses the 19th-century novel form and brilliantly transposes it onto the twenty-first century. I don't know, it was just kind of refreshing for me, in the way that Victorian novels can be refreshing. And in the way that, at least formalistically, it's not trying to DO anything other than be a novel (unlike something like Eugenides's The Marriage Plot). I haven't read The Corrections yet, but I'd be interested to do so now!

Ya gotta read The Corrections. It is top notch stuff.

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To say nothing of The Waste Land.  If ever there were a more appropriate quote for the application season than "April is the cruelest month," I've yet to find it.

Ha! But seriously, "wrestle" might best describe the experience. Pro tip: it will be more enjoyable if you don't expect to win the wrestling match.

I'm reading the books on my Postcolonialisms syllabus, and the texts for the comp TAs, to get a head start on the semester. I'm also working on Latin, Welsh, and Old Norse Icelandic, reading several titles in Arthuriana, and working on two articles I'm submitting in July and August, respectively. And teaching full time, 6 classes a day.

Never a dull moment! :)

Jesus. I don't do anything, and I barely feel like I have time to read.

But hey, I'll be at Leeds!

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Sure is.

Aha! That's it.

To help put this thread back on the rails: I'm not an incoming Ph.D. student, of course, but I've been trying to read more straight-up philosophy--Nietzsche, Kant, Heidegger, Deleuze, Hegel, Husserl, Gadamer-- in anticipation of an independent study designed to create a decent grad school writing sample. I should note that I'm woefully behind in my summer reading: notwithstanding a few novels, I've only read Nietzsche so far. And the summer's half finished. :wacko:

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Y'all are crazy with all this theory-for-pleasure stuff! It makes me realize how traditional my program is (/I am)...

My generals list has a good amount of epics/thick novels on it that I think I'll be rushed to work through during the year, so I'm going to do Paradise Lost, Great Expectations, Middlemarch, Portrait of a Lady, Ulysses.

For fun I did Infinite Jest and Ada, or Ardor in May and June.

And then there's mountains of foreign language study but thankfully and finally no 9-5...

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As much as I'd love to devote my summer to reading for pleasure, now that I've got my reading list for fall, I'm trying to tackle as much as humanly possible before September.

Re-reading: The Mill on the Floss, Our Mutual Friend, Mrs. Dalloway

Plan to Read: The Satanic Verses

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hazelbite - I HATE theory. I do literature. But lately it is really hard to publish without a recognizably theoretical framework for your argument. Ergo, I am doing enough theory to publish my thinking. I think a lot of us are in that particular boat...

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hazelbite - I HATE theory. I do literature. But lately it is really hard to publish without a recognizably theoretical framework for your argument. Ergo, I am doing enough theory to publish my thinking. I think a lot of us are in that particular boat...

Hmm, I disagree with one or two points here, although I recognize that you're speaking casually. Theory is literature, especially once some time has gone by and we can reflect on it. Further, there's no way of talking about literature that isn't in relationship to a pre-existing theoretical model, unless you consider certain traditional philological practices as defaults.

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I am spending what I consider my last summer of freedom watching horrible TV and reading breezy summer books and things I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm reading. I have the next 5+ years to read brain-splitting stuff.

P.S. I do want to clarify that the books I am embarrassed to admit I'm reading do NOT include the 50 shades books. *shudders*

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Y'all are crazy with all this theory-for-pleasure stuff! It makes me realize how traditional my program is (/I am)...

My generals list has a good amount of epics/thick novels on it that I think I'll be rushed to work through during the year, so I'm going to do Paradise Lost, Great Expectations, Middlemarch, Portrait of a Lady, Ulysses.

For fun I did Infinite Jest and Ada, or Ardor in May and June.

And then there's mountains of foreign language study but thankfully and finally no 9-5...

I only read literature to help me clarify theory. Ok not really but sort of. Theory is beautiful and poetic to me. I remember reading Althusser's essay on Marxism and Humanism and not understanding a word of it but loving every minute. Then later something clicks and it makes sense and it's like the end of the usual suspects and you drop your coffee mug and it cracks slowly on the ground. Then, after countless weekends of drinking, you forget it again. Right? Am I right people? Eh?

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I've been reading a huge random mess of theory since the start of the summer. Nothing of particular coherence, though a number of the texts speak to each other:

Already Read:

  • Queer Phenomenology - Sara Ahmed
  • A user’s guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia - Brian Massumi
  • When Species Meet - Donna Haraway
  • Of Grammatology [excerpts] - Jacques Derrida
  • Gender Trouble - Judith Butler
  • Dialectic of Enlightenment - Max Horkheimer and Theodore W. Adorno
  • Anti-Oedipus [excerpts] - Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
  • The Genealogy of Morality - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Beyond Good and Evil - Nietzsche
  • Black Skin, White Masks - Frantz Fanon
  • Assuming a Body - Gayle Salamon
  • The Sublime Object of Ideology - Slavoj Zizek
  • The Politics of Aesthetics - Jacques Rancière
  • Orientalism [in process] - Edward Said

    Next to Read:

    • Empire - Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
    • Marxism and Literature - Raymond Williams
    • Bodies that Matter - Judith Butler
    • …and a shelf of used Amazon books more.
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I am spending what I consider my last summer of freedom watching horrible TV and reading breezy summer books and things I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm reading. I have the next 5+ years to read brain-splitting stuff.

P.S. I do want to clarify that the books I am embarrassed to admit I'm reading do NOT include the 50 shades books. *shudders*

:lol: I had been going along at a pretty good clip with my summer reading and other stuff, but this last week has been tough. I've been wanting to watch a lot more TV.

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that's do awesome. most of the texts you listed are on my 20th-C list already - my 21-c list is looking at the most current and cutting edge poco theory and literature and it's going to be exciting!

Have you hit on Belinda Edmondson or Celia Britton? Both heavily influenced my thesis.

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:lol: I had been going along at a pretty good clip with my summer reading and other stuff, but this last week has been tough. I've been wanting to watch a lot more TV.

I hear ya. My summer reading is all pleasure, but since I'm reapplying I figure that is fine. My boyfriend is attending a program in the fall. He asked his advisor what he recommends he should start reading prior to coming in to get ahead of the game. His advisor told him to read as much pleasure as possible because he doesn't want him to burn out before he starts lol. I figured he would finally read something like Hunger Games, nope! His pleasure reading is theory texts anyways. Makes me laugh. Meanwhile I'm re-reading The Historian, and super excited about Shadow of Night being released. Maybe this is why I was rejected???? Priorities!

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After Theory (Eagleton) and a bunch of novels for me: Bellow, Ellison, Kerouac, Plath, and more.

Also, since I'm applying this fall, I'm reading lots of recent articles by prospective profs/advisors.

I'm in the middle of Eagleton's book at the moment. Particularly enjoyed this little quip earlier today:

"The earlier generation of thinkers had been post-Marxist in the sense of both distancing and drawing upon it; the new generation was post-Marxist in the sense that David Bowie is post-Darwinist."

I really do think Eagleton's work is worth reading on the strength of the periodic popular-culture analogies alone

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Ulysses by James Joyce.

Anyone have advice on approaching/ reading/ tackling/ wrestling with Ulysses?

Ha!

But seriously, "wrestle" might best describe the experience. Pro tip: it will be more enjoyable if you don't expect to win the wrestling match.

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Ulysses by James Joyce.

Anyone have advice on approaching/ reading/ tackling/ wrestling with Ulysses?

There's an audio lecture series by James Heffernan that's very good and quite accessible for context and interpretation. I'd also recommend a good audio book version (avoid the free online ones, as they tend to be lifeless) to help you track the nuances of when the various voices shift. Joyce doesn't really use punctuation per se, so it can be tricky to follow the characters' thought processes as they tend to bounce all over the place, oftentimes relating to different parts of the text. You might also want to take a look some of the fantastic online annotations such as Columbia's: http://www.columbia.edu/~fms5/ulys.htm -- as they can help you discern the points when the voices shift.

Also, watch out for episode 3 (Proteus) as that tends to frustrate and capsize a lot of readers (it's one of the hardest chapters to read because it's the first time you really get blasted with the indirect discourse stuff. If you feel like you're sinking when trying to trudge through Stephen's mind in that episode, it's wise to remember that the scene is, after all, set on wet sand ;) Those are the kind of tricks Joyce is playing throughout the book.

For criticism, there's a fair amount out there -- but not as much as you might expect. Clive Hart is sort of the standard for interpretive analysis, and it's probably wise to read up on the schemas so you can get a sense of how they function within the work. Oh, and if you haven't read the Odyssey for a while, you might want to brush up on that (although Heffernan provides good summaraies of how the source is getting reworked).

It's a wonderful, wonderful book; so incredibly full of life. Don't expect to wrestle and "get it" as it's just not that kind of art. If you can plough through it and just get a taste of what he accomplished, you'll realize that it's not something you simply read and set aside, but instead something that you re-read and return to -- or at least think about in various ways -- for the rest of your life. It's hard work, but there's nothing else like it.

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