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LIT 382 Class Notes

by: Alexandra Hill

LIT 382 Class Notes LIT 382

Alexandra Hill
GPA 3.0
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These are the notes from the first week of class when we discussed literature as a whole: how we define it, the different types of literature, and how we make a human connection with it.
Contemporary Latin American Literature
Professor Rafael Hernandez
Class Notes
Literature, Reading




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandra Hill on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LIT 382 at Southern Connecticut State University taught by Professor Rafael Hernandez in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Contemporary Latin American Literature in Literature at Southern Connecticut State University.


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Date Created: 09/02/16
Week 1 8/30/16 LIT 382­01 Contemporary Latin American Literature  The style and format of text will be discussed: how is the work done? How is the book  distributed? What is the structure of the book? Seeing how the text is presented to us is  important.   What is literature? (some ideas discussed in class)  o A form of expression with the intention to show one’s beliefs.   o Communication using the written word.  o An art form using words to last and have value with a deeper meaning to teach  one a moral.  o Words that carry their own meaning with the author’s intentional ambiguity.  o Words that are reproduced and aimed at a non­specific audience with intention  that takes on life, creating a moment in time.  o Timeless art made by the written word with ambiguity because people relate to  experiences now from when someone wrote it hundreds of years ago.   Literature has to be intentional, but it does not need to be beyond everyday life. It aspires  to be something artistic.  The idea of art isn’t just an imitation or the idea of “pretty”. The intention of creating art  challenges what most people think of as art and how we see/understand/think of everyday life.  Just expressing one’s feelings isn’t enough to create literature or used entirely to make it  artistic (i.e. crying after a breakup). It’s months later in remembering the emotions one  goes through from what happened that creates the literature. An artist must decide to  make something artistic, mostly derived from their experiences.  9/1/16  Oral vs. written literature: there is a flexibility in the idea of art. Any object can transform into art. Example used in class: photograph titled “Piss Christ”—looks beautiful in its  red­orange glow, yet having the knowledge of how the art is created puts different  perspectives in mind from the original ideas: in this case the photograph is encased in a  jar of urine.  Literature is a fixated art.  Literature is a conversation between the text the author created and the reader of the text.  It is the only tool we have to completely put ourselves in the place of the other, to have  the reader understand who’s in the text.   Literature allows us to pretend to be the other and understand the other perspective; it’s  fiction, so it doesn’t need to be faithful to reality—we use our reality to relate to it.   There’s more transcendental truths to gain in understanding people and environments  from reading fiction vs. reading hard facts of non­fiction.   Literature critic Tzvetan Todorov wrote The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a  Literary Genre, which discusses the dynamics of literature and the supernatural. He  explains there are two kinds of literature:  o Literature, writing that breaks the rules from a common pattern, something  original. A text of artistic aspiration that is original and creates its own rules/tries  to create something new.  o Popular literature (or mass literature) follows the literature formula whether it’s a  common character, setting, etc. Example used in class: Dracula is literature, as he  was the original vampire, and vampire stories written after that follows the same  formula (i.e. vampires have no reflection, need a wooden stake through the heart  to die, cannot smell or ingest garlic, etc.).  How do we decide what to read? We can look to see if something is “canon” or  canonical, meaning “what is in”, and in this case of literature we’re looking at character  types/settings/ideas/places etc. based on our interests. Using Dracula as an example  again, most vampire stories are canon with Dracula as the original vampire. Some  examples of canonical ideas what a vampire is are drinking blood, shapeshifting into bats, running at incredible speed, are seducers/seductresses, will perish by sunlight, etc. Most  if not all ideas of how we define the vampire in our own minds today are derived from  what Bram Stoker brought to life in Dracula.   The word “canon” in this case derives from when Constantine brought Catholicism to  Rome. He ordered all the bishops of the different church branches to stay in one room  until they agreed on which of their stories of Jesus were true/right so they could place  them in one whole collection for the Catholic Church. The books about Jesus they all  agreed on was canonized and written as the Catholic Bible.   This is how the definition of canon came to how we use it today: places, characters,  events, etc. written in literature that are “all in” derived from the original story/idea is  known as canon.


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