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Why do literature professors obsess about...
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Why do literature professors obsess about guessing what the "author meant"?

Like with lord of the rings, tolkien had to go around telling people that "no, it wasn't meant to be a war allegory, please stop saying that".

What purpose does it serve? Without the author confirming it, there is no way to 100% tell whether one view is correct or not and even if you are right, you win no prizes. It has about as much effect as guessing which sports team is going to win the upcoming match.
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It's just for the students to do something instead of it being a class where you read a book every week.
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They need to justify shit.
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They don't. Not since Roland Barthes' "Death of the Author" at least. Seriously, how can people read literature and not have previously heard of Barthes’ ideas before. God, /lit/ has gone to complete shit!
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authorial intent is a red herring
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>>7685013
but my literature professor was obsessed about author meaning
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>>7684982
>Why do literature professors obsess about guessing what the "author meant"?
Sounds like some Anglo shit, there on the continent we just say the author is dead and make up our own theories regardless of him.
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>>7684982
Because undergraduates are retarded and currently couldn't come up with interpretations if they had a gun against their head.

STEM has infected minds and crippled people's ability to make creative connections. You are lucky if your students even understand how symbolism works and that used to just be the entry point into literary analysis.

Seriously the only way to get people to sink their teeth in is to give them history, social issues, and other "tangible" things so they can google half-assed research and turn in some standard biographical reading of the author's life and times. It's safer to just play into this because otherwise you don't get any papers turned in except by people dead set on pursuing literature and you might as well teach people how to write if you can't trust them to read.

People believe in right answers and it's foolish but you can only watch your students squirm for so long before you feel pity and decide to focus on your honors and graduate students.
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>>7685047
>STEM has infected minds and crippled people's ability to make creative connections.
s-sorry, but i tried
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>>7685047
Mate, telling the truth kills threads. You need to go with the memeflow, you failed to use the following words in your post:
patrician
pleb
SJW
Leftist
Women

A repost could save your bacon though, else people here are going to realise you are an adult and then the thread is dead, mah secret club doesn't operate well when its not mah secret club.
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>>7685047
STEM achieves results.

literary analysis doesnt. Name a single job except "literature professor" or "journalist that occasionally writes an article for a bestseller" where you have to do literary analysis.

Actually the latter doesnt even use literary analysis most of the time.
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>>7685047
>hating on STEM
sorry about your gayness, son.
Leibniz, Wittgenstein, Borges, Kant. Just a few examples of people with STEM leanings that were extremely creative
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>>7685060
The result is being able to read for meaning, predict counterarguments, combine logic and prose, and argue your brainchild while sometimes getting a good whiff of ideas and the way they impact the world and your person.

On the other hand if your definition of "results" is a job then STEM has good company with McDonalds and Burger King. As a matter of fact, college STEM courses aren't much different than fry cook training on a massive scale.

There's a way to interface with the world while thinking about personal enrichment. But I'm sure you're comfortable in 500 person lecture halls where you get to browse the web and take a nappy nap instead of wasting your time with literature.
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>>7685060
worth of a study as defined by its 'usefulness' in obtaining a job in a capitalist environment. bravo you ideological swine.
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>>7685060
>muh utility
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>>7685061
They lived in a time before current conceptions of STEM. When it was balanced by abstract courses like Latin, Greek, and Theology without question.
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Sometimes "I think the author meant that" in fact means "my interpretation of the text is that"
Replace it in your mind and save yourself from triggersome experiences regarding authorial intent
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>>7685074
Wow I was born in le wrong generation then
How about Pynchon?
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>>7685065
>The result is being able to read for meaning, predict counterarguments, combine logic and prose, and argue your brainchild while sometimes getting a good whiff of ideas and the way they impact the world and your person.

Except that most HR recruiters don't believe that and believe that a literature degree holds no value.

Most literature grads struggle to get anythig more than a supermarket level job and this is a degree that they might have paid $100k or more for dependng on the university.

It's not an investment that can be justified unless you are a multi-millionaire.
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>>7685068
being able to put food on the table happens to be a serious real world concern for many people.
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>>7685095
irrelevant
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>>7685091
Stop talking about money and wildly missing the point. It's people like you that need to read more essays and learn to parse what you're arguing against without a coordinate grid.
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>>7684982
Sure, maybe the author didn't intend for certain interpretations to be made, but that doesn't mean they aren't valid, they're just not, as you say, "what the author meant"
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>>7685021
I've never understood why the green circle encompasses most of the red circle but almost none of the blue circle.
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>>7685105
What's the point then? Why should someone put a log of money into something that doesn't have any worth in the material world?
You like literature? Read books.
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>>7685116
Venn diagrams have nothing to do with surface tho
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this is the argument of who "owns" a work of art- not physically obviously, but which is more important, the artists intent or the audience's perception? Look at the bible, most of it is bronze age nonsense that has been changed through eons of reprinting and analyzing, much of the original authors' intent likely shared little in common to modern or popular interpretations.
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>>7685120
So in this graph, blue has as much in common with light green as it does with orange and green?
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>>7685124
These diagrams are empty so to speak. Imagine that every circle is a characteristic or a logical proposition
The object in the centre will be the one that has all the properties, or the one where everything is true
p AND q AND r AND s
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>>7684982
>Why do literature professors obsess about guessing what the "author meant"?
because they are paid for it
because it is now accepted to be paid to speak the truth (it was not a before)
because they have no idea what to do with their life
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>>7685118
>that doesn't have any worth in the material world
the very point at which you reveal your strong staunch ridiculous ideological bias. begone capitalist pig
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do they though?
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>>7685060
name a single job except scientist or engineer where STEM is of any relevance

>purposely excluding answers to seem like you're right

that's what literary analysis does -- allows you to see through dumb bullshit like you just tried to pull
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>>7685178
so you're asking why maths is relevant?
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>>7685200
only if you're asking why literacy is relevant
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>>7685200
>>7685178
both stem and not-stem are endlessly fascinating, pls stop
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>>7685205
i'm not saying it isn't. i was saying the argument itself was bad rather than the position from which it was argued
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>>7684982
>literature professors

Look friend, you should question the value of literature in society. If not for abstracting information from the literature we subject ourselves to, literature would have no other function than to occupy the readers time as some sort of escape from reality. People are the sum of their experiences and analyzing literature helps reveal the intuitions we've accumulated over time.

Obsessing over the meaning of a work can be thought of as an exercise in critical thinking and that's the goal of undergraduate English courses. Beyond undergraduate I have no idea. I can see how shifting perspective on life through creativity is useful to advance human endeavors. 1984 brings to conscious issues with an overextending government, etc. . .

As far as the obsessing, you've got these older fucks who spent all their time studying literature in the same system everyone else goes through so they think things like the meme you shared. Over time people become narrow minded and it's safe to assume that whatever beliefs they have at their core will go on to influence how they perceive literature and when they obsess over the meaning, they are solidifying the intuitions from their past experiences.

>experience
>memory
>increase in associated memories as time goes on
>intuitions formed
>lense for perception created
>continuous perception from these intuitions solidifies the idea
>ideology formed

I apologize for the lack of coherence. 1in x 3in box makes it hard to see previous statements and coherence lacks where working memory loses information to work with.
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>>7685204
okay, maths is essential within the fields of science and engineering first of all, but also in and of itself for statistics, one notable practical example being predictive policing

it's not really hard to answer such a question
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>>7685212
>not answering in numbers

you lose
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>>7685217
011011110110101101100001011110010010110000100000011011010110000101110100011010000111001100100000011010010111001100100000011001010111001101110011011001010110111001110100011010010110000101101100001000000111011101101001011101000110100001101001011011100010000001110100011010000110010100100000011001100110100101100101011011000110010001110011001000000110111101100110001000000111001101100011011010010110010101101110011000110110010100100000011000010110111001100100001000000110010101101110011001110110100101101110011001010110010101110010011010010110111001100111001000000110011001101001011100100111001101110100001000000110111101100110001000000110000101101100011011000010110000100000011000100111010101110100001000000110000101101100011100110110111100100000011010010110111000100000011000010110111001100100001000000110111101100110001000000110100101110100011100110110010101101100011001100010000001100110011011110111001000100000011100110111010001100001011101000110100101110011011101000110100101100011011100110010110000100000011011110110111001100101001000000110111001101111011101000110000101100010011011000110010100100000011100000111001001100001011000110111010001101001011000110110000101101100001000000110010101111000011000010110110101110000011011000110010100100000011000100110010101101001011011100110011100100000011100000111001001100101011001000110100101100011011101000110100101110110011001010010000001110000011011110110110001101001011000110110100101101110011001110000110100001010000011010000101001101001011101000010011101110011001000000110111001101111011101000010000001110010011001010110000101101100011011000111100100100000011010000110000101110010011001000010000001110100011011110010000001100001011011100111001101110111011001010111001000100000011100110111010101100011011010000010000001100001001000000111000101110101011001010111001101110100011010010110111101101110
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>>7685013
New criticism predates Barthes's essay by at least 20 years (probably more like 30). Barthes seems to be making a different point--that the author is simply another reader of his work, and his interpretation or analysis is as valid as anyone else's. OP seems to be describing intentional fallacy, which has been identified and dealt with by Wimsatt and Beardsley.
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>>7685116
Because your English teacher is presenting points much more in line with 'disciplinary critique' than whatever sly or even subconscious meanings the author assigned.

>>7684982
Where are you, Zimbabwe? As has been pointed out, obsessing over authorial intent at the university is a dead game.
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>>7685221
i assume you've given up on your point
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>>7685234
i didn't have a point to begin with, besides arguing against "maths is useless", to which i haven't gotten a counter-argument

>>7685200
this was my first post in the thread
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>>7685238
i wasn't arguing 'maths is useless'
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>>7685105
i'm sure your opinion would change very fast if you were a broke graduate who can't get a job because a literature degree is worthless
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>>7685238
it's true>>7685243
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>>7685243
>name a single job except scientist or engineer where STEM is of any relevance
if you exclude science and engineering from STEM, all you are left with is mathematics
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>>7685245
can you stop shitting up the thread with your combination ad hom / red herring?
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>>7685245
IN THE IDEOLOGICAL WORLD OF THE CAPITALISTS

STOP PARROTING THIS LINE YOU SLAVE
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>>7685247
you're missing the forest for the trees. the point of the comment was to parody the comment it responded to, which argued that literary analysis has no application and therefore no use except a professional (career-related) one

i think we can all agree literary analysis and mathematics have intrinsic value
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>>7685257
ooh yeah i see now, sorry
i just jumped right in on that one comment, i didn't see what it was a reply to
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>>7685091
a degree is more than a simple monetary investment. this is lost on you because you see the world in terms of price and currency
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>>7685249
>real life problems
>red herring
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no form of art has a 'meaning'

whatever you take out of a piece, no matter how much creativity is on your end, is by the power of the piece

if you create (having never read or heard of it) the odyssey out of staring at a brick the brick deserves credit because it is the brick that evoked it
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>>7685327
>real
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>>7685348
how does one 'create' in the act of staring?
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>>7685369
he's being facetious
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>>7685348
Praise the brick! The brick that evokes meaning.
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>>7685348
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most lit professors don't care what the author has meant, one of the first lectures i got of 'lit101' was about the intentional fallacy and to stop caring about what the author meant

see also: barthes, foucault
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>>7685415
thinking that most lit professors subscribe to a minority view of post-structuralist garbage is pretty stupid. maybe you should try lit 202. readings are grounded in expository writings by the author, textual analysis, historical context, influences on the author. these are all excavations on determining what the author meant.
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>>7684982
>Why do literature professors obsess about guessing what the "author meant"?
Honestly, I've looked at three posts on the front page, and every single one of them looks like it's written by someone who has never even been near the subject matter.

I've had several literature professors in random courses I took, and all of them said there is no way of knowing, and it is not even that important to ''find out''. You just look at the text, see what's in it, state your opinion, have it criticized, and you either correct, rebuttal, or move on.

Done with /lit/. Cya.
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CONTEXT CLUES
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>>7685507
"textual analysis" is a pretty broad catchall that sounds a lot like new criticism to me. also, new historicism isn't a real lens of interpretation
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>>7685552
>talking about things without doing them
>talking about books without reading them
remember you're on /lit/, it's to be expected
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>>7685552
>le smug femanon

pls
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>>7685170
BOOM!
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>>7686623
textual analysis involves looking at other copies of a text, drafts, and edits. all these are used to create some semblance of the authorial intention. new historicism is as much a lens as new criticism.
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>>7685090
Pynchon has a BA in English?
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>>7685120
people use venns for shared quantity plenty, though
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Because you can't read a book without some kind of interpretation of it.
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>>7685552
they are all bait. seems to be the work of one man, a man versed in subtly.

don't leave we have to withstand his onslaught
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>>7685507
But a lot of that just building along the lines of Foucault's idea of an author function, and not actually concerned with the specific thoughts the author had.
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>>7685507

intentional fallacy is new criticism, not post-structuralist

don't pretend to understand things you clearly have no idea about
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>>7687237

to expand on this slightly:

>readings are grounded in expository writings by the author, textual analysis, historical context, influences on the author.

is not the same as 'the author meant x', post-structuralist are very fond of using all of those things - but generally put it into a different framework than 'the author meant x'

you would understand this if you'd actually bother to read anything by a post-structuralist, beyond a wikipedia summary or if you were feeling extra intellectual stanford's online philosophy pages on foucault, derrida etc

Your criticism do generally apply more to that of New Criticism, whose principles are not diametrically opposed to a lot of post-structuralist thought but tend to exclude what you pointed out, whereas postructuralism includes history, and many other influences outside the source text - as 'there is nothing outside the text', Derrida means to include all social, historical etc factors into the text (as an example).
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>>7684982
Literature is not a real trade so they have to do something to justify their getting a salary on the tax payer's bill for not doing anything productive and this shit surely can fill a sheet of paper with ink.
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>>7684982

The Breaking Bad showrunners actually did design their scenes like your picture.
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It's jew shit tbqh. If Hitler had succeeded we would waz sbace embire now.
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Idgi how young and/or American are ppl on this board
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>>7685108
What is the point of doing that though.

You may as well say that you think red is blue. Thats just like, your opinion man.
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It's merely an attempt by teachers to get their students to read critically instead of just for plot. The teachers who insist an author meant something specific generally either have read contextual literature about the work or they've been teaching it so long they think their interpretation is right.

It's just an exercise, OP.
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>>7685178
>STEM
Which includes technology, which includes a shitload of jobs, like the entire IT industry. Depending on how you interpret it, maths may also include stuff like accounting.

You have a IT degree, you can get a ton of jobs anywhere. Meanwhile almost every literature graduate ends up having to use a second degree to get a job or broke and struggling to pay the bills. The fundamental problem is that a literature degree teaches you "Soft" skills but no actual "hard" skills. Knowing how to analysis a book is not going to help you balance the accounts, code a program or design a marketing proposal based on industry reports, which are all skills that recruiters look for and which are supposed to be taught by a university. Most employers are not thrilled by the prospect of having to train someone to do basic stuff taught in year 1 courses or even understand basic concepts and terminology.

It is literally worse than the "law school scam" where you have people enroll in prestigious law schools only to find out that less than 1% of graduates can work in the law field after graduation because there are almost no openings available. Then they end up working at the supermarket and the law schools fake their statistics by claiming that most of their graduates can get a job within X months...without mentioning that most of those jobs are stuff like supermarket cashier.

It is hilarious that people on /lit/ are pretended to be super cultured gentlemen just because they spent money on a lit degree when I have spoken to recruiters from many employers like the big 4 firms and nobody wants a literature graduate unless they have another degree backing it up.
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>>7685228
that was a professor at the university of auckland.
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>>7685228
It really depends on what you're reading. Basically none of this applies to shitty YA and genrefic books where what you see is what you get.
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>>7685170
>pays for a worthless piece of paper
>calls someone else a capitalist pig
ayy lmao
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>>7687804
What's hilarious is that you think employability is a measure of "culture". Even if you're making 100k a year the real upper crust old money types wouldn't consider you anything more than a trained monkey who makes them richer.
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>>7684982
>Why do literature professors obsess about guessing what the "author meant"?

they don't, or at least didn't in my english program about 3 years ago

if we had to argue about a book, the basic procedure was to pick some moods, tones and themes you thought the book had and then show how the author built them up

noone gave that many shits about "meaning"s or whatevers

like if you're writing music critique, instead of talking about "what did the composer want the listener to feel", you focused on the intervals, chords, timbres, melodies, time signatures etc. and how they built up a whole thing that may or may not be interpreted in a certain way
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>>7687822
They are literally buying ideology
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>>7684982
When have you ever actually had a literature professor like this? When has anyone? I don't understand any of this pointless wankery.
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My question is why would you NOT care what the author meant? You're reading shit they THEY wrote, should you not be concerned a little about the message they wanted to get across?
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>>7688219
>should you not be concerned a little about the message they wanted to get across?

not really, no. it's not that relevant except in shit-tier "fiction" that's nothing but ideological advertisement(see works of orwell and ayn rand for examples)
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>>7688219
meme faggots will tell you that it doesn't matter, that to write a book and to randomly generate it is the same shit
But in reality it does matter and affects our interpretation of the texts. That is a fact. Trying to objectively judge or interpret a book is not wrong, but I would say that it is near impossible once you know its context
Read Pierre Menard by Borges
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>>7684982
You have to consider what the purpose of literature is to answer that. For some reason there's a group of people who think the purpose is to glean 'themes' and 'perspectives' and other things like this. They think it's valuable to look at hypothetical examples of how certain aspects of life work I suppose. Others do it in a sense of analyzing society itself, using the literature as a textual example of social structures.

I find these people are usually the same type who find reading to be work, and when they can read 'for pleasure', they read absolute garbage, sometimes masquerading as literature, often blatantly worthless.
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>>7688226
Why? What you're saying makes zero sense. You're saying that the meaning behind a sentence someone says doesn't matter? Is that not how language and communication works?
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>>7688252
nigga you don't get it and you lack the capacity to get it so I don't bother with attempted explanations
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The author is dead, y'all bunch of plebs
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>>7688280
>implying authorship doesn't grant immortality
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>>7688279
>wow I'm so damn right, damn am I smart
>explain
>lwl u r 2 pl3b u newb xD

ok
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>>7688285
>not getting the Barthes' reference
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>>7688298
>giving two shits about pomofags
Shigy
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>>7688298
>Implying I care about authors.
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>>7688318
Why read anything then?
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>>7685095
Not if you want to truly live the literary life style
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>>7685060
HR involves reading cover letters and resumés and trying to find good candidates for highly specific jobs from one or two pages of point-form lists of jobs and experiences and a couple of paragraphs of an unemployed person lying about why they want the job.
Anything involving law.
Anything involving religion.
Anything involving public relations and/or social media.
Anything involving reading at all -- all of business, all of education, some healthcare, management, administration, etc.
Not that an English degree is required for all of these jobs, but it's required for some, and it helps for plenty.

Also, if learning how to do literary analysis is all you got out of even an introductory English course, you either failed or you took a shit course. Upholding literary analysis as the sole skill to be gleaned from an English degree is like stating that linear algebra is the only skill to be gained from a mathematics course. You spend a lot of time doing it; it's challenging; it's super interesting; it's the sole skill required of exactly zero jobs; but it's applicable to dozens of fields.

STEMlords could afford some basic writing instruction and reading comprehension skill-building. Judging by how illiterate a lot of the engineering graduate students my STEMlord sister has to deal with. I mean, actually illiterate. Not *"hurr, Enders Game is the best book ever"*-illiterate, but *actually have trouble with spelling and reading*-illiterate. Like, *there's a calculable risk that they'll misspell their own names*-illiterate. It's heartbreaking, actually.

Look, I don't really agree with the anon you're replying to, but judging the value of a degree by its ability to get you a job is a relatively new and fundamentally fallacious idea. If you want the best job for minimal effort and risk, drop out of high school and become a welder.
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>>7688384
if someone is genuinely brilliant in STEM, barring shit like autism, they'll find mastering shades and nuances of language very easy, even natural, and you don't need a fucking normal degree to master it
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