Nealon and Giroux’s “Subjectivity” will help you to understand Belsey’s “Constructing the Subject, Deconstructing the Text.” Both of these essays believe that art and culture are indispensable to subject-formation. Who we are and how we relate are, in part, a function of signification. The language of literature and film is the language of ideology. Ideology, Althusser and others argue, constitutes the foundation of the “self.”
Eagleton’s “What is a Novel?” also focuses on realism. By learning about the realist novel, what Belsey calls “the classic realist text,” we’ll gain a better understanding of the gothic. One issue here is a traditional opposition between the novel and the romance. Another is the political aspects of literature. Note Eagleton’s arguments about the rise of the novel and its political function. Long before the common folk (you and I) were permitted to assert our presence in political matters– before, at any rate, universal sufferage– the novel attended closely to the thoughts and desires of ordinary people. This legacy is part of the novel’s profound radicalism.
For Thursday, read as much as you can of the assignments. We’re going to link it all up.