Re: Freewriting

Tue, 23 Jul 1996 22:57:14 -0500

Nick, Bingo, ... you are right. It's Lanham, who did the subtitle
Anti-Text.... And it's Scholes, Comley, Ulmer who have written not
Anti-Text (book) but .)>= generic *Text Book.* Which is anything but
generic. In secions 4 and 5, Ulmer introduces the Fragments and Signatures
and then the genre (hybrids) of Mystory.



On Tue, 23 Jul 1996, Nick Carbone wrote:

> Was it Lanham who wrote, _Style: An Anti-Textbook_? It's miles away in
> my office or I'd know at a glance. Beth's work, which seeks an
> alternative to the essay seems a step in similar direction, though it
> seems to less an argument against the essay and more an argument for
> emergent forms. Victor's observation that writing is political and the
> conundrum of validating what one is against is important.
> Victor writes:
> I just want to write. Yes, there is a pun there. Writing, for me,
> be not just an ethical act but a political one. And so, I am
> with the problem of not writing in such a way that will be
> That's what is at stake for me everytime I set out to write. How do
> I not recapitulate the very thing that I want to change? Repeat the
> 'mistakes' of the past in the classroom!? Instead, how would I improve
> on my "teaching"? Let's say that it's something like ... 'teaching
> writing'! Which is a political act. Writing this post is a political
> act, right?
> What to do, how to act. Why write? How to write? But more to the point,
> which political acts have political consequences? Which acts lead to
> change and is that change good? I know we can't break to many molds too
> quickly. Britton's metaphor of templates in _Language and Learning_
> describes the idea of starting with what someone knows and building on
> that or away from that, but at any rate changing the template, expanding
> upon it. It seems to me the anti- urge is rooted in this. We start by
> defining an issue or problem in such a way as to build an implicit
> argument for the need for change. Then after defining, we describe and
> explore soem alternative, that may in many respects be not all that
> different. And this becomes the anti, which is really a catchy way of
> saying proffered new paradigmatic preference, which given time will be as
> dogmatic as anything else.
> Except now we're all post-modern chic, fully aware of the incipient irony
> and wary of offending the very sensibility that lead to our critique of
> the current situation. So we become more bewildered than Hamlet, awash
> in the slings and arrows of outrageous kluges. At least in our
> discussions. In our classrooms we have to act. We're paid to act and no
> amount of postmodern irony will suffice to replace what we're paid to do,
> what we've taken out loans and other indentures against to do. So our
> radical angst gets tempered and put to some less idealistic use.
> Especially since we're stuck coming up with an ideal we can name, because
> once named and defined, someone'll deconstruct it on us.
> So maybe this is a good beginning, a good place to begin. How do we
> act? How do we balance our politics and ethos? What do we teach when we
> teach writing?
> Nick Carbone, Writing Instructor
> Marlboro College
> Marlboro, VT 05344