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class summary 3/25/10

spleenfiend's picture

We started the class by listening to Jefferson Airplane's "Go Ask Alice" and signing up for movie discussion groups.  Anne discussed articles she has found online that could be interesting paper topics.  Then we read responses some of us had written online about the differences (or similarities?) between reading a physical book, reading a book online, and listening to an audiobook.  Rachelr and skindeep considered whether reading or watching/listening is a more imaginative activity, since watching or hearing something makes us do "less work."  Aseidman questioned whether it's necessary to do more work.  Anne suggested we might not necessarily work more but contribute more (in terms of interpretation and imagination) when we are only reading a text.

We then discussed what we will be doing in the future of this course.  Anne believes it is important that we read two graphic novels so that we can fully understand the "kind" that is a graphic novel.  Teal posted that she is "syllaphobic," but Anne described herself as being "syllaphilic" because she loves dreaming of syllabi.  We also considered whether we should watch House and Startdust or read Persepolis and 1001 Nights.  Anne wasn't sure if we should read Dante's Inferno and A Man in a High Castle due to length issues, since taking excepts only could diminish the whole experience of reading a novel.  Anne announced that we will probably be watching the movie version of Persepolis in addition to reading the graphic novel and reading some of 1001 Nights.  We had a brief discussion about graphic novels vs. movie versions vs. text...that will be continued when we actually read graphic novels.

Anne gave us "talking instructions" and for our movie discussion groups.  She said she was most interested in the question of how time differs when you watch a book or read a movie.  Then we split into small groups.  My group mostly discussed movie adaptations vs. book adaptations.  We got back together as a large group and Anne asked us if we ever live simultaneously in two time periods. We discussed how people's minds often wander to past or future times instead of only focusing on the present.  Do we travel through time when we read a book? 

We asked, has time ever reversed as it does for the White Queen?  Maybe it happens backwards if we think about a future time before it comes.  Can a film do more with time?  In Neco Z Alenky, someone said, time loops.  Skindeep didn't think either movie she watched dealt with time as well as some movies like The Butterfly Effect.  Aseidman says Tim Burton creates a disconnect of time related to how the Mad Hatter actually became mad: did he become mad because of a fire, even though he was already mad ten years ago when Alice first met him?

Anne asked whether any of the movies did anything Lewis Carroll couldn't do.  Shayna S suggested that a book can't create the claustrophobia of being trapped in a room.  Also, you can't be disturbed by an image if you don't imagine it well. 

We discussed the issue of movies not replicating the images we get in our heads when we read the book.  Anne asked, why does a movie have to replicate a book?   Should we resist the film and think our imaginative response should be the only one?  Anne brought up the idea of "decay" in translation theory.  The question we seemed to end on was "can there be a parody of a parody?"
 

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