Author: Erin Herbst

Recurrence of “Vesper”

In my rereading of Jazz, I was intrigued on page 30 when Morrison begins a paragraph with, “They met in Vesper County, Virginia, under a walnut tree.” I knew that Vespers was a type of prayer, and so immediately I marked it in my text, knowing that at least it had somewhat of a (potentially superficial) connection to religion, and therefore potentially Dante.

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Dante, Morrison, and the prevalence of “violence”

**I’ll just start with saying that this is definitely going to be one out of a few blog posts I write in the next few days. I’m seeing a lot of connections between the two texts and have just some other thoughts on this whole process/project and I think that my ideas are best understood if they’re separated into different posts, rather than one giant one. So, bear with me if my name pops up here a ton.**

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“Love” in Jazz

In my last post, I was thinking about the three categories of love that Dante splits Purgatory into: Misdirected Love, Deficient Love, and Excessive Love. I’ve been trying to compare this to how Morrison uses love in Jazz. So last night I became the human “control + F” and scanned through Jazz, trying to find every use of “love.” What I found was that the word love often was described with an adjective; and (get this!) in a book supposedly about “couple love,” according to Morrison’s forward, the word itself was used WAY more in the beginning of the novel. I haven’t quite figured out where I’d place that in terms of connections to how Dante uses love, but I figured I’d share the ways in which Morrison uses the word here:

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Jazz (take two) thoughts

I figured I’d post this after finishing Jazz now for the second time. Literally like right after. I think I put the book down three minutes ago. There’s a feeling that comes after finishing a novel and if you don’t act on it, it goes away. So I figured maybe I’d try to capture it in a post. (This might be long) Read more

When Harlem Was In Vogue chapter 1 thoughts

I may as well start with the disclaimer that I read this chapter mainly for content, seeing some connections to Jazz and Purgatorio; I think it’s safe to say that mentions of the Great Migrations naturally make my brain think to the concept of movement in both Dante and Morrison’s works. Besides that, however, I can’t say that I have any concrete connections– then again it’s only chapter 1. Read more

Parable of the Talents

I know that the semester is over, but I figured this would be an easy way to share this–

I started reading Parable of the Talents today, the sequel to Parable of the Sower, and most of the action is set in 2032. I found this on page 20, and was shocked to find a “catchphrase” that all of us have been exposed to in the media lately:

“Help us to make America great again.” It comes up at least once more in the novel too.

So I just wanted you all to remember what we individually said we could do after taking this class. I think we’ve got to commit to doing them, and this seems evidence enough to me. (PS the book is good! Sorry to make this a weird post– Happy summer!)

 

Irrelevant?

This will just be a quick post I promise…

I keep contemplating what Beth means when she talks about her goal every semester is to become irrelevant in class. I understand her point and agree that it is great that we are able to continue discussions on the blog and weave together so many strands of the course on our own. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate how helpful I believe the blog is. This course is one that makes us think about so many important aspects of our society and meanings, many of these thoughts happen outside of class and instead of having to remember them for class we have this space to share them.

However, my issue is that Beth cannot become irrelevant, and that doesn’t only stem from my high respect for her as a professor and a person. In a class that focuses so heavily on origins, we know that it is irresponsible to forget about the past. While Beth may not need to actively contribute as often in class discussions/ on the blog, I feel that she really can’t be considered irrelevant in a class. Thanks to her syllabus, text selections, and class structures, we have been able to create a product out of this class. She could not fully prepare for where all our thoughts would go, but of course her influence was there at the start of the semester and even now!  We didn’t autochthonously (I may have just made that word up, oops) come up with these thoughts and ideas. I can’t immediately think of a better word that Beth could use, but I just figured I would share those thoughts.

ENGL 439 Musings after a weekend on LI

I always hate missing this class, but I had to on Friday, so first I’d like to say thanks for everyone who has been writing blog posts! I was happy that I got to see some threads of conversation that I missed (especially because I absolutely loved Dominion).

Even though I went back home this weekend, I was still thinking about this class. Going back to Long Island made me loop back to Emma’s post about Levittown and its history. I researched it a bit, and found this article. I found it really interesting how the creation of this suburb is spoken about in business-like terms, which brings me back to the idea of using financial language as we read the texts in this class.

Also on my plane ride home, I thought about a link that Beth shared with us on the syllabus. It shows some housing projects that were not completed in Florida and we briefly spoke about what those housing projects had, noting the geographic patterns and often their close proximity to water.

I took this picture soon after we took off Thursday night. I have no idea where this was (and I’m guessing most of these houses are occupied) but I found it interesting that it shared many of the characteristics we noticed in class. It reminds me of a both/and concept in that the housing market in the country is both similar in its setup, and yet it differs due to the specific places that were hit harder during the 2008 housing crisis.