Another Way I Will I "Loosen Up"
Posted by Barbara Leavy on Feb 22 2011, 10:58 AM
  (Steve Widom Likes this Posting)

Very simply, I will allow myself more subjectivity, more use of the word "I."  As a graduate student, and later as a writer for academic journals and university presses, I indulged in many circumlocutions to make a subjective argument appear more objective. I made use of words like "probable" and "perhaps" to indicate my awareness that in interpreting a literary text, I was not and could not act as if I were adding two plus two and arriving at four.

I will still be committed to a strong argument in favor of one interpretation over another, but my less formal tone will allow me to balance subjective views and objective arguments with more ease.  With more openness and a greater willingness to use the first person "I" without abandoning objectivity, I will be more relaxed about narrowing a possible gap between the subjective and the objective.

My posting about why I favor THE BLOOD DOCTOR among Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine's prolific outpouring of novels supplies a good example of the subjective vs. the objective.  This novel is a tightly woven fabric consisting of many themes.  They are among my favorite themes (click on A Sample Paper if you wish to see my discussion), philosophical questions that have always intrigued me.  They may not be everyone's.  And so this novel ranks high with me where it might not with someone else.  At the same time, I can objectively point out that these are the themes that have dominated literary works for centuries.  In fact, I add to my posting on THE BLOOD DOCTOR an argument--actually a speculation-- I wish I could have included in my book on Ruth Rendell's fiction, but did not think of until I actually stopped to argue for my choice of this book  as a favorite in my online conversations with members of Yahoo's Ruth Rendell discussion group.   I now contend that one way of reading THE BLOOD DOCTOR is to recognize that it can join centuries of prose fiction, drama, and opera on the Faust legend, about the man who sells his soul to the devil for knowledge that he perhaps should not pursue. 

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