Tuesday, July 22, 2014

English Teacher Humor: Summing Up Literary Theory

For any of you who've ever suffered through a course on literary theory,  Kate Hattemer's description thereof from The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy:

(found on page 139)

".... [L]iterary theory is akin to the square root of negative one: we're just pretending it exists."

As someone who once pulled an A in a theory class by writing a 4700-word paper applying Judith Butler's take on the Hegelian dialectic tradition she claimed was in Sophocles' Antigone to the Fundamentalist LDS polygamous clans in Utah, I can assure you that Hattemer is spot-on in her description.
(PS If you are a normal person who has never attempted literary theory, don't even try to piece out my last sentence.  Just don't.)


  1. I get the square root of negative one reference, but other than that I'm lost :)

    1. "Lost" is pretty much how I felt through that whole literary theory course. :)