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King Lear and A Thousand Acres

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1 King Lear and A Thousand Acres

2 The Anxiety of Influence
A critical work by Harold Bloom published in 1973. His central thesis proposed that writers are often troubled by the extent to which their work is influenced by other writers. To be a writer of true longevity, one’s work must original. Bloom studied writers from the past whom he felt were truly original to see how they dealt with this “anxiety of influence” in their work.

3 The Anxiety of Influence
Clinamen - A "swerve" away from the precursor; a corrective movement in a later work, with all the implication that the precursor was correct up to a point, and the new text carries on with the corrections. Tessera - "completion and antithesis.” The making of a new text from a small fragment of the original. The four other anxieties: Kenosis, Daemonization, Askesis, and Aprophrades

4 King Lear 1605 A.D. Set in 8th century B.C.
Tragedy centering on downfall of a dysfunctional family Echoes of a morality play – stock figures who represent both “good” and “evil” Foils in Gloucester and Lear as father figures

5 King Lear King Lear dramatizes the tragic discovery that the traditional structures of society—marked by codes of deference—cannot hold the social group together, either at the level of the family or at the level of the state. The plot of the play depends on competition: the competition set up by Lear’s love contest the competition of the illegitimate son with the legitimate.

6 King Lear Motifs Imagery Seeing -- Insults Judging
Flattery “the worst” “unaccomodated man” Patience nothing Imagery -- Insults --Foul fiend, madness --Swearing by Gods --Astrology

7 King Lear – Theme Topics
Parent/child relationship Flattery Madness Judgment Appearance vs. reality Christian Humanist vs. Machiavellian

8 A Brief Look at Postmodernism
Rejection of Western values and beliefs as only a small part of the human experience. Suspicion of being "profound" because such ideas are based on one particular value systems. Preference for the exterior image and avoidance drawing conclusions or suggesting underlying meanings. Sees human experience as unstable, internally contradictory, ambiguous, inconclusive, indeterminate, unfinished, fragmented, discontinuous, "jagged," with no one specific reality possible.  Creates an "open" work in which the reader must supply his own connections, work out alternative meanings, and provide his own (unguided) interpretation. Feminism, ecocriticism, queer studies, multi-cultural studies

9 Postmodernism

10 Postmodernism

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