Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where I'm At

I'm lost and confused, but am also beginning to think that I'm getting a handle on this whole thesis thing. The whole idea is that cinema influenced modernist literature, but a lot of authors are claiming I have it backwards. Or some claim that the techniques of cinema evolved in a "parallel history" as modernist literature.

I think this notion is nonsense, and this is what comforts me. My adviser claims that I am entering a conversation and that I need to add my own view to this conversation. The conversation I am entering is about how modernist literature and techniques in cinema converged. In this manner, I have centered about two techniques that I am sure of, and one that I am a little shaky on.

Clearly slapstick plays heavily into literary modernism. Many authors, including Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, viewed Charlie Chaplin as a huge influence. Slapstick is an absurd way of highlighting social disorder and unrest in modern society. Chaplin new how to highlight the unease all too well. Modernist authors picked up on this.

The second is montage, which is argued about furiously. Many authors aren't sure where the montage appeared first--cinema of literature. Montage can be classified as the editing of two images together to define an artificial space or connection, which the viewer creates. To me, this almost certainly had to evolve out of cinema, though Ulysses and The Wasteland both employ montage, and do so before most films do.

Here's my thought on the montage issue--and it leads into my next technique. Montage is a natural evolution from the dynamic realism of cinema. Cinema created a new art that had no judgment in its image--the camera could only show what appeared. While pictures have the non-judgmental quality as well, the moving of a image created a hyper-realism that was uncomfortably close in its exterior genuineness . Artists had to create an artificial space interior emotion and montage, which creates a sense of interior emotion, was born. Whoever wins the horse race of who developed the montage, the roots are firmly grounded in cinema.

My last "technique" is not as much of a technique as it is a style, and it is demonstrated in Eliot, Joyce and Stein. It's called automatism, and it is a social anxiety of the trend of modernism in the society. Cinema had a perfect venue for showing automatism, demonstrating repetition, fashion, design and style in a moving, cinematic way. Literary artists had to replicate this style. McCabe says at this point the grammar was taken out of literature. Instead of a "and, then, but" cinema has a "then, then, then" quality of image showing. Literature replicated this quality in forms such as stream of consciousness. I'm also thinking of the Gerty McDowell Nausicaa section of Ulysses as a great example of this point. It's not a fully fleshed out idea though.

I think I have a good thesis though. The parallel history of the development of cinematic techniques is nonsense. Cinematic techniques clearly evolved from the moving image, which has a huge impact on the way people saw themselves. That's what I think I need to develop.

My distraction from my thesis over the weekend: Mets downturn, Yankees/Red Sox, Drinking too much at our Jack and Jill.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thesis Exercise 1

As I indicated, pages of my thesis will not appear here. However, exercises for my thesis will. I'm currently doing the equivalent of Thesis crunches. My thesis abs are worse than Britney Spears actual ones. Let's begin:

I am studying classic cinema's influences on modernism.
Good start, very bold. Try again.

I am studying classic cinemas' influences on modernist literature because I am trying to find cinematic techniques that modernist writers incorporated into their narratives.
Better. They say the "because" part is a tough step. I like mine. Apparently the next part is the tough one though.

I am studying classic cinemas' influence on modernist texts because I interested in finding out the cinematic devices that modernist writers implement in their narratives in order to help my reader understand how early cinema impacted the unique aesthetic style of modernist novels.

Barely Back

The reboot of my blog is at hand. I have dressed it up a bit, making it a bit more (ahem) literary. My thesis stuff will not appear here. I know how upset you are. My reactions to my thesis will appear. The advantage-- far more expletives. Let's do this thing...

So what am I doing right now? Wasting my time sitting here and writing a blog so I don't have to do any work today? Actually, my advisor tells me it's good to keep a blog daily so that I can keep my brain sharp. I'm not sure if he's ever actually read a blog.

Anyways, he is terrified right now. My broad topic is freaking him out. I don't have an argument, just a topic with questions. The sky is falling.

It's cool...I promise I'll be good.

Today's distraction from my thesis: Nintendo DS