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ERIC Number: EJ1097827
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
On Teaching Transgressive Literature
Neeper, Layne
CEA Forum, v37 n2 Sum-Fall 2008
The carnivalization of American culture has become ubiquitous as we advance into the 21st century, but what happens when the transgressive text is introduced into the more intimate space of the college classroom, when the outrageous "outside" is brought "inside?" More specifically still, what processes and responses typically arise as transgressive novels appear on more and more syllabi? Instructors who choose to include Kathy Acker's "Blood and Guts in High School," Dennis Cooper's "Try," or even those old war horses of the contemporary seminar "Lolita" or "Naked Lunch," often find that when such works are to be taught and discussed in frank and serious-minded ways, there is, on the one hand, typically a surprising resistance, even outrage, on the part of many students who, outside the classroom, are otherwise ardent consumers--as are we all--of whatever the popular culture disgorges for our leisure. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, the "moral laxity" said to afflict students often hardens into something less tolerant, less pliant, when they confront the written word in the public sphere of the classroom. The aim of this article is to show that it is often the case that the instructor, too, is transformed by such texts' inclusions in ways that might surprise us. This article demonstrates that the manner in which the transgressive itself is reconfigured once it becomes an institutionalized object of analysis and interpretation is perhaps most instructive in describing our relation to the "deviant Other," which is repressed even as it is introduced into the literature classroom.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A