Tim Hits The Books

I had a very productive month! Brad challenged me to work on narrowing down what secondary sources I will incorporate into my thesis. He placed particular emphasis on narrowing what definitions of the lyric I will lean on.

With this in mind lets dive into the sources I wrote about this month: Jackson and Nietzsche.

  • Virginia Jackson: Lyric, Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

    I wrote about Jackson’s entry because it provides a clear and concise picture of how our current conception of lyric came to be. Her piece contains powerful truths which I believe culminate in her assertion that the definition of the lyric is “frozen” by critics.

  • Virginia Jackson, Dickinson’s Misery: A Theory of Lyric Reading

    Part of my interfacing with Jackson saw me bring in her dominant view of the lyric–that it is the product of “lyricization”–through the importation of her study on Dickinson. I hammered this section down to a little more than a page. This is a suitable length for addressing this complicated work as anything longer would have given me the spins.

  • Friedrich Nietszche, The Birth of Tragedy

    Nietzsche examines lyric poetry in the Birth of Tragedy through a sonic framework. He contends that lyric poetry is the “imitative effulgence of music in images and concepts.” From this assertion he gets into an interesting vision of how he looks at poetry. An important point made in this work is the highly individualistic conception of the lyric. “The ‘lyric poet,” according to Nietzsche, “always says ‘I’ and sings us through the full chromatic scale of his passions and desires.” This got me to thinking about Holst Katsma’s piece on Loudness that I discussed a few months ago. Nietzsche’s contentions give me the go ahead to pursue a feature space that partly incorporates the loudness, melody, etc. of a given text.

This month I also seriously read Ralph Freedman’s study on Lyrical Novels. It was weird and dissatisfying, in a way. I will be looking at it more closely next month as I write up a piece on it. To be brief, Freedman relies on imagery when he characterizes the lyrical novel. There are a couple papers floating around that tackle the quantification of imagery so I will be addressing those, too, as I continue to build out my feature space.