Sunday, February 14, 2010

being “literary”

David Mikics’ new A New Handbook of Literary Terms doesn’t have an entry for ‘literary’ or ‘literature,’ so the entire “territory” (p. vii) is The Literary.

I trust a man who, on the one hand, claims to have consulted extensively with Harold Bloom (and many others) for the development of his “expansive and opinionated” pointillism; and, on the other hand, whose most recent earlier book is Who Was Jacques Derrida? Also, Mikics wrote The Romance of Individualism in Emerson and Nietzsche. Nietzsche read Emerson extensively!

Anyway, A New Handbook is decorous with allusion. Look at ‘green world’: “A pastoral haven away from the city,” like your estate: “a refuge from tyrannical urban business and the obsessive, controlled behavior that occupies life in the metropolis. The green world lives by its own rules which oppose themselves to uptight workaday regulations: highjinks based on mistaken identity are strongly encouraged, as are amorous foolishness and careless lounging in the embowered space of the locus amoenus (or ‘pleasant place’),” beloved by Shakespeare.