10 March 2004

Success!—but next . . .

Maus came off really well in class; I think my students were actively engaging with the text and seemed genuinely interested in interpreting Spiegelman’s work. I suspect that it was a hit partly because we are living in what I’ve heard called a “post-literate” society. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I think it signifies that the dominant cultural currency is the image. The printed word is not as powerful as it used to be. Am I proclaiming the death of print? Definitely not—the book is far from dead, and people still read articles, essays, and stories. It seems to be more of a cultural shift than anything; and my experience with Maus, I think, lends credence to the anecdotal evidence. Welcome to the “new medievalism”! (Maybe this will mean that I’ll have an easier time getting a job once I’m working on the dreaded dissertation. . . . One can hope!)

In other news, next week we begin the daunting culmination to my class: we’re reading Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. I love this novel, so I believe I can teach it with enthusiasm. But how to teach it? As the “bad” Hamlet puts it, “Ay, there’s the rub.”

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