The Sheepish Overview of Literary Theory

(Sheepish in both senses of the word)

The Langage Book Shop opens at 9:00 and sheep head straight to the Romantic Genre section. The lambs and sheep follow as they want to be in the world that the author created, but one of the sheep, de Saussure, shouts doing his best Gary Larson impression; ‘Wait, we don’t all have to be sheep! Wouldn’t it be interesting to find about the Genesis of this bookshop and these books?’ and wants us to regress back to our childhood/babyhood the day we learned about the birth of the word ‘bah’, why we say it, and its syntax. Although the French sheep may say ‘maah’ and that would have to be followed too, but let’s just look at the English sheep to try to avoid complications.

Even though the author was a shepherd, he must have been a sheep too! The author read enough books to make him want to be a shepherd, but as a sheep, he/she is too heavily influenced by predecessors; as the Barthes sheep now asks in ‘The Death of the Author’, ‘what bits of this book are original? (the signifiers) This isn’t true authorship. All of these books are signifiers.’ The Formalist sheep, Vladimir Propp, props up his head and says; ‘Barthes is right, I have read the whole folklore section and have noticed a specific topology in the beginning, middle and end’; as does Svetlan Todorov who has just read through the Detective Fiction section. Both of these sheep also notice the same type of characters appearing in each of the books they’ve read. (If this all makes sense, you’re doing very well, if not, I’m sounding like de Saussure, I couldn’t make sense of it either).

Foucault then states that there must be an history to the author, that it must be a function of discourse, he/she must have started somewhere and asks the questions; ‘what is a work? Is this not what the author has written? We need to find what the work is and where the author began. They, the authors, may have followed the syntaxes and topologies of previous stories; and so follows the genre after reading some early anonymous romantic novels and adds his/her own values/methodologies.’ (It is possible that the author merely wants to be the shepherd and guide his/her flock of readers into a story; possibly where the author also wants to be. Some people may use the parole of ‘a history’, but the correct syntax I believe is ‘an history’).

The author sheep follows the Proppian topography of the Romantic Genre to come up with their ‘bah’, who will hopefully influence other sheep to become authors. A new lineage could be created such as the Joycean realism; ‘Beahhhhhrrrrrr’ to the Russian Formalist ‘nonsense’ mad cow words of ‘Moo’ thanks to Jakobson, Shklovsky, Eichenbaum et al. With these last two examples, though a new language may be formed and the de Saussurean sheep would force us out of the door of the bookshop again back to our lambitudity. (That word will never catch on, if it does, I want all copyrights acknowledged so the next de Saussurean sheep won’t want to confuse us all yet again).

Finally, the Wilde sheep comes to the forefront through Gilbert and says;

Gilbert: History, schmistory. This type of literature isn’t even a true form of art, it constrains individual expression.
Ernest: Why so Gilbert?
Gilbert: All these authors copy one another. There is no true mystery about this type of literature. It isn’t a true art, as it doesn’t come from the heart. There’s only one true form of literature that does come from the heart, my dear fellow, that’s criticism. Criticism is more creative than creation. What you’ve read in this article isn’t it. To add my voice of criticism, the above wasn’t good at all, and that is from my heart.
Author: Bah humbug.

(That’s if he is a true author, as most of the above is copied badly or otherwise from other sources)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s