Blog Archives

Writing Selves: Understanding Autobiography ~ Journal [65%, 2007]

Image of the feedback sheet returned to Chris Larham, critiquing the journal [65%, 2007] submitted as part of the 'Writing Selves: Understanding Autobiography' module.

The texts which I will be discussing in this journal are Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ‘Confessions’, Primo Levi’s ‘If This is a Man’, J. G. Ballard’s ‘Empire of the Sun’, Lorna Sage’s ‘Bad Blood’, and Albert Camus’ ‘The First Man’.[…]

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Posted in English Degree [Bachelor of Arts]

Ambivalent Intimacies – Essay One [64%, 2007]

Image of the feedback sheet critiquing Chris Larham's essay discussing Anthony Giddens' quotation on the nature of subjectivity [64%, 2007].

This essay will ultimately contest Anthony Giddens’ statement that our sense of self, our identity, is not derived from our ‘subjectivity’ – “determined by one’s own mind or consciousness” – but instead comes about through ‘inter-subjectivity’, our relationships “between, among” others. In order to discuss Giddens’ aforementioned quote, I will make reference to the concept of the ‘mirror stage’ formulated by Jacques Lacan, a concept which stipulates that our “sense of self, then, comes from something external.” Following Lacan’s lead, I will provide examples from Sarah Waters’ ‘Affinity’ and Helen Simpson’s ‘Hey yeah right get’ a life that appear to provide support for the notion that it is our relationships among others which provides the basis for our sense of self. Closely examining Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ‘Confessions’ and Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Beyond Good and Evil’, I will then proceed to deconstruct Giddens’ statement, showing how ‘inter-subjectivity’ cannot be the guarantor of one’s sense of self. The final step of this deconstruction will be to demonstrate that ‘subjectivity’ and ‘inter-subjectivity’ are not even categorically distinct concepts, and I shall highlight the inextricable interplay between the two terms, inherent in their definition, with an example from Jim Crace’s ‘Being Dead’.

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Posted in English Degree [Bachelor of Arts]

5. ‘I am inclined to think that love springs from animal instinct, and therefore is, in a measure, divine’ (Kate Chopin) [68%, 2008]

An image of the tutor's feedback sheet critiquing Chris Larham's 2,900 word essay responding to Kate Chopin's quote [68%, 2008].

Before discussing Kate Chopin’s statement with reference to four texts studied on the module, I intend to employ Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive methodology with a view to teasing out the implications of this quotation.[…]

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Posted in English Degree [Bachelor of Arts]

Writing Selves: Understanding Autobiography ~2,500-3,000 Word Essay [70%, 2007]

An image of the feedback sheet critiquing Chris Larham's essay on the interplay between 'autobiography' and 'fiction' [70%, 2007].

In this essay I will ultimately confirm Thomas Wolfe’s statement, concluding that all serious work in literature is a product of ‘fictional’ and ‘autobiographical’ elements. In order to arrive at this conclusion, I will firstly establish a provisional opposition in the form ‘autobiography’/’fiction’ that corresponds to the distinction between the ‘truth’/’untruth’ of the textual substance of serious literary works. Having thus distinguished the terms ‘autobiography’ and ‘fiction’, I will show that aspects of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ‘Confessions’ are undeniably rooted in reality, and highlight components of the narrative related in Philip K. Dick’s ‘Valis’ that are founded purely on imagination – thus offering evidence that apparently refutes Wolfe’s statement. From a post-structuralist perspective, I will deconstruct the argument that these two texts are uncorrupted representatives of ‘two’ literary genres by highlighting the ‘fictional’ elements of the Confessions with reference to Paul de Man, and shedding light on the ‘autobiographical’ basis of ‘Valis’. A further deconstruction of the terms ‘fiction’ and ‘autobiography’ will demonstrate that these terms cannot guarantee the (un-/)truthfulness of a literary text, as they are contaminated by one another at the etymological level. I will illustrate the ‘fictional’ technique of verisimilitude that further blurs the boundaries between ‘truth’/’untruth’, before using a scene from the film ‘V For Vendetta’ to exemplify Paul de Man’s belief that ‘autobiography’ is not a distinct literary genre, but, rather, a figure of reading or understanding literary texts, and that, therefore, all texts are at once both ‘autobiographical’ and ‘fictional’.

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Posted in English Degree [Bachelor of Arts]