Autobiography and Theories without Data

Autobiographical explanations of theoretical frameworks can provide the false assurance of affective verification.  This is particularly true in creative writing pedagogy, where many articulation a of “how one should teach” are supported with autobiographical (i.e. anecdotal) evidence rather than research data.  This is exactly what James D. Williams criticized in works by Lisa Ede and…

James D. Williams – “Counterstatement: Autobiography in Composition Scholarship”

Williams, James D.  “Counterstatement: Autobiography in Composition Scholarship.”  Rev. of Situating Composition: Composition Studies and the Politics of Location, by Lisa Ede; Self-Development and College Writing, by Nick Tingle; and The End of Composition Studies, by David W. Smit.  College English 68.2 (2005).  209-225.  JSTOR.  8 April 2014. Williams here is very, very critical of…

J.C. Hallman on reading in the context of ourselves

J.C. Hallman writes that “We never read outside the context of ourselves” (qtd. in Kellman B15).  And this, I think, seems pretty obvious – why even state it, really?  Except that most theories of knowledge appear to posit knowing as tied to an external phenomenon.  There must be an external something that one is to know about.…

Roland Barthes – “The Death of the Author”

Barthes, Roland.  “The Death of the Author.”  Trans. Richard Howard.  Tomorrow Book Project.  Web.  19 Oct. 2014. Clearly a seminal essay in literary theory, and a key contribution in understanding New Criticism.  My take is that Barthes is arguing not for the critical “death” of the author, but rather to build on the agency of…