UPDATE: [Rhetoric-Composition] Gertrude Stein and Composition

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Adam Katz
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Adam Katz
Quinnipiac University

40th Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association
Feb. 26-March 1, 2009
Hyatt Regency - Boston, Massachusetts

Gertrude Stein, in “Poetry and Grammar” makes an argument for a
particular way of composing sentences, analyzing the various features of
grammar, privileging some, dismissing others. The particulars of her
argument (in favor of long adverbial clauses, against nouns, etc.) are
important, of course, as an extraordinarily subtle and powerful
subversion of traditional metaphysics from within language itself. But
for the writing pedagogue it is the very possibility of arguing about the
form of sentences (and series of sentences, paragraphs, and so on) that
is revelatory. This panel will take a discussion of Stein’s “grammar” to
suggest a mode of reading innovative writing, or writing deliberately
situated within the argumentative space she opens; and we will consider
the possibility of making the visibility of texts situated within that
space central to composition pedagogy and studies. The panel will
thereby develop the kind of student-centered, assignment driven, labor-
intensive reading classroom associated with David Bartholomae in
particular, in which the classroom is constructed so as to make student
writing genuinely constitutive of value and meaning. In that case, the
separation of “mechanics” and “error” from the work of generating
discourse becomes unacceptable: the construction of a space for editing
at the level of the sentence is best carried out in conjunction with a
study of texts that place conventional discourse in question. The panel,
then, seeks out papers that articulate arguments over grammar with
experimentation at the level of grammar in innovative composition

Deadline: September 15, 2008

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Received on Sat Jun 07 2008 - 20:51:18 EDT

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