Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jonathan Culler at play

Today I went to a doctoral dissertation or whatever the English term is - an oral dissertation for the doctoral degree, at the University of Oslo, Norway in this case. It was my brilliant teacher in short prose and prose poems who defended her written doctoral dissertation in order to become a Ph. D. in comparative literature.

While the content of her dissertation was&is highly interesting, the first opponent, Jonathan Culler (professor at Cornell University, US) spent most of his time babbling away about his own reflections on literature as a whole, and posed only three questions at the doctoree (again: whatever you call it in English). Three questions during an hour and a half's worth of speaking, this might give you a clear view of just how much Mr. Culler enjoyed listening to his own voice.

As he himself proclaimed, this was his first ever time as first opponent in this kind of environment, but that does not explain why he spent most of the time elaborating his own views of literature and quoting French authors in loud, well-articulated French (my guess is that he wanted to show off his good knowledge and practice of the language).

I am shocked!
I had hoped that one of the celebrities within literary studies would prove more interesting, and more sharp than this.
Not too brilliant, I have to say.

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