New Staff Book: Literature and Truth

Richard Lansdown’s latest book has been published. In Literature and Truth he continues a discussion concerning the truth-bearing status of imaginative literature that pre-dates Plato. The book opens with a general survey of contemporary approaches in philosophical aesthetics, and a discussion of the contribution to the question made by British philosopher R. G. Collingwood in particular, in his Speculum Mentis. It then offers six case-studies from the Romantic era to the contemporary one as to how imaginative authors have variously dealt with bodies of discursive thought such as Stoicism, Christianity, evolution, humanism, and socialism. It concludes with a reading going in the other direction, in which the diary of Bronislaw Malinowski is seen in terms of the anthropologist’s reading habits during his legendary Trobriander fieldwork.

Studying and Reading Aloud

A recent paper suggests that the best way to remember the information that you’re reading is to read it aloud. This fits with the findings of previous research. Merely reading is the least effective method of studying material you wish to remember.

In discussing these results, the researchers used the term “the production effect”. This describes the memory advantage one obtains if you say things aloud instead of just hearing the information. The production effect is likely caused through the combined advantage of three factors. First, reading things aloud involves motor processing, making it a more active process. Second, when students read words, it requires an element of visual processing, which may lead to deeper learning rather than just listening. Third, reading aloud is self-referential (i.e. “I said it”), which can make the information more salient.

from https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/11/30/why-youre-more-likely-to-remember-something-that-you-read-to-yourself-out-loud/

A New Odyssey

During the age when The Odyssey took form, near the end of the eighth century b.c., the Greeks were voyaging into the world once again after a period of dark decline. They were setting up colonies and resuming the trade that had been interrupted by whatever cataclysmic forces—invasions, rebellions, pestilence, natural disasters—brought down the Bronze Age civilizations of Minoa and Mycenae. Yet the spirit of the second Homeric epic is wary. Unlike The Iliad, which sings of the glorious feats of godlike warriors in a legendary heroic age, The Odyssey tells of a weary man’s fight for survival in the face of threatening Others who can never share his view of the world or take his interests to heart. This besieged sense of a realm seething with social hostilities and deep divisions, in which the very possibility of dialogue seems out of reach, may well strike a chord.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/the-odyssey-and-the-other/544110/

Julius Caesar + music in Groningen

In deze muzikale Shakespeare delen vijf topacteurs van Orkater het podium met vijf koperblazers van K.O.Brass!, bekend van Kyteman Orchestra. ‘Julius Caesar’ is een tragedie die zich afspeelt in het Romeinse rijk [note: I think that ‘rijk’ isn’t really accurate], waar het politieke spel op het scherp van de snede wordt gespeeld. Wanneer de Romeinse heerser de absolute macht in handen dreigt te krijgen, wordt Brutus op de proef gesteld. Wat weegt zwaarder: zijn vriendschap met Caesar of het voortbestaan van de democratie? Regisseur Michiel de Regt laat muziek, taal en beeld samensmelten in een voorstelling die haarfijn blootlegt hoe kleine mensen in staat zijn tot daden met grote gevolgen.

25 November 2017

More details here.

Attending Shakespeare Lectures May be Traumatic

File:"Titus Andronicus" foto de Paula Nogueira.jpg

Image: Paula Nogueira

While no Groningen student has been stressed by their lectures on Shakespeare, things are different elsewhere. Some day Shakespeare may even be bard from university syllabuses.

Shakespeare contains gore and violence that might “upset” you, Cambridge University students have been warned. The “trigger warnings” – red triangles with an exclamation mark – appeared on their English lecture timetables. Lectures including Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus contain “discussion of sexual violence, sexual assault”. BBC

See full article here.