Reflective Engagement 2

If  Tuesday’s readings were all more clearly defenses of reading, of imagination, in a particularly literary sense, the  readings for today seem much more abstract and philosophical. They are not narrow defenses of the literary, but much more fundamental explorations about how we make meaning–and how we determine what is meaningful–using distinctly, and  at times opposed, tendencies: poetics and narrative. 

We will begin by unpacking those literary tendencies and how they shape and color the world we live in. Which arguments about the power or dangers of narrative did you find most compelling? How do you see them reflected in your own life? Do modes of either narrative or poetic being seem to inform your world more fully for better or worse? Where do you see the most potential and possibility?

Second, I am curious how this conversation about poetics vs. narrative maps on to the excerpts we read from Lost in Thought. Is Hitz’s work driven by narrative or poetic imagination? Is she critiquing the more instrumental narrative foundations of our self-understanding (the stories society tells about what it means to be happy or successful), or is she simply reaching for a new story that might meet our “real human needs” (25). Is the “intrinsic value of learning” obscured by narrative modes of being? Are narratives merely “instrumental” (28) ways of thinking? Or does Hitz’s emphasis on the “final end” simply create a more pervasive grand narrative that overrides more instrumental approaches?

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