Sunday, 21 November 2010

Bakhtin and Mavis Staples

I was reading a piece in the Guardian about the Coalition closing libraries and am aware of the cut in teaching grants for the humanities. It seems to me that obviously the Government is short-sighted enough not to realise that all the scientists, engineers, doctors, they want and are throwing funds at, all need to learn how to read and write. They need access to books and people to write them. They need people to remember our heritage which can be added to by numerous people within Humanities. I could go on but unfortunately it would achieve nothing. This Magritte is how I envisage this current Coalition - something I did not vote for - raining on our parade, taking away our choices and leaving the fat cat bankers still as gloating fat cat bankers.

I have been reading an essay by Bakhtin entitled 'Discourse in the Novel' in which he talks about heteroglossia meaning that language has multiple layers. I was thinking about this in relation to my PhD and realised that the words I use within the thesis cannot help but be influenced by who I am and my cultural experiences. I come at it as an academic, a writer, a female and a mother. Not just a mother though a mother who experienced some fairly difficult times with her sons when they were teenagers which cannot help but influence my writing both academically and creatively. I then thought about the reader. When you a purchase a book you are likely to have no in depth knowledge of the author. It is the cover and the potential that makes you buy probably. However, if someone reads the work of someone they know they must come at it from an informed position. They are going to know and understand some of the layers involved. But this goes further in that I think they will understand what is being said but what is not necessarily on the page. They have insight. Does this make the reading more interesting? I can't decide.

I worked late last night on my PhD (I have a date for submission - 1st April!) consequently my brain was buzzing and wouldn't shut down. I found on the television there was a repeat of Jools Holland's programme. I let the music wrap a blanket round me and soothe my buzzing head. In particular, Mavis Staples, I was introduced to her recently by a good friend who gave me a copy of her CD, which I love. It was the panacea I needed.I am writing this on Sunday but will post it on Monday from the office as that is where I can add music as I would like you to share Mavis's song you are not alone.

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