The Romantics: So What? (Part 2)

Yesterday we looked deeper into the ideas of literary aesthetics, and I hope it was beneficial–I wore my brain out on it, so I hope it was! Just in case you missed it (or it’s too dense) let’s recap:

  • Problem: The study of literature is being bombarded by those who feel pressured to produce some sort of new idea all the time; Delbanco calls this the “professionalization” of literature. Professionalization sucks the life out of literature, according to Delbanco.
  • Solution 1: Aesthetic reading brings back joy to literature. Kendall Walton suggests that when reading literature, readers should build their ideas out of the literature instead of bringing ideas and planting them in the literature
  • Counterpoint: Louise Rosenblatt argues that a new poem is created whenever a reader approaches as text; a reader cannot help but bring in his or her previous ideas
  • Solution 2: Aesthetic reading must be an active idea, one done open-mindedly; if this is accomplished, the poem that is created will be one that is fair to the text, reader, and author and will more fitly accomplish the goals of the author

9 Posts, 21 Comments, and 394 Views later, here we are at the end of the first process of this blog. What you may or may not have known is that this blog was an experiment in the Digital Humanities. I wanted to examine the effectiveness of the blog, to see if its attractiveness as a digital resource would garner interest and participation. Of course, the factors that played into this are probably infinitely manifold. So, instead of trying to guess a few and leave a lot out, I will go over the successes and failures of this blog in hopes that it can continue to grow and change.

Successes and Failures

I was going to separate the two, but success and failure are a strange couple, and with this blog, they have decided to mingle.

As far as interest goes in Romantic poets of 18th century England goes, 394 reads in a couple month period isn’t so bad. I believe that the use of advertising on Facebook helped increase this–and my pestering of some of you to read. I believe that an involvement in Twitter and other social media would have increased hits, and that will probably be something I look into in the future.

Getting the blog to be a “living one” was tough since I couldn’t force any of you to read AND comment. Eventually, I dropped the prompt because it wasn’t actually prompting anyone to write after a while. I tried my best to be interesting, relevant, and cultured, but I understand that some of you were still bored with the Romantics. Don’t worry; it’s okay! So, while I had a few casual and a few committed commenting people, the whole symbiosis didn’t really work. In a school setting where participation would be required, I believe this format has the potential to be very successful in terms of interesting and effective learning. Not only would it develop critical thinking skills in students, but participation in a blog would increase computer and internet literacy, which will be more and more important as our culture moves more quickly toward being more internet-based.

Oh, yeah! I learned a lot and had a good excuse to read the Romantics and learn about aesthetic criticism. If this blog was just directly attached to my brain as I read and thought, I’m sure the posts would be much more interesting and substantial. Getting this blog up and took quite a bit of effort and getting used to the WordPress platform, but the effort–and frustration–paid off.

Thanks for reading, participating, and letting me know what you thought. I will return after a while to start up a less scholarly but possibly–hopefully–more interesting look into the Romantics, their poetry, and their thoughts.

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