The difficulty of reading Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish" suspiciously

Scholes, Nicola (2012) The difficulty of reading Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish" suspiciously. M/C Journal, 15 1: .

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Author Scholes, Nicola
Title The difficulty of reading Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish" suspiciously
Journal name M/C Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1441-2616
Publication date 2012-03
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 15
Issue 1
Total pages 10
Editor Carody Culver
Amy Vuleta
Jane Stadler
Place of publication Kelvin Grove, Qld., Australia
Publisher Queensland University of Technology
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract The difficulty of reading Allen Ginsberg’s poetry is a recurring theme in criticism of his work and that of other post-WWII “Beat Generation” writers. “Even when a concerted effort is made to illuminate [Beat] literature,” laments Nancy M. Grace, “doing so is difficult: the romance of the Beat life threatens to subsume the project” (812). Of course, the Beat life is romantic to the extent that it is romantically regaled. Continual romantic portrayals, such as that of Ginsberg in the recent movie Howl (2010), rekindle the Beat romance for new audiences with chicken-and-egg circularity. I explore this difficulty of reading Ginsberg that Grace and other critics identify by articulating it with respect to "Kaddish"—“Ginsberg’s most highly praised and his least typical poem” (Perloff 213)—as a difficulty of interpreting Ginsberg suspiciously. Philosopher Paul Ricoeur’s theories of interpretation—or “hermeneutics”—provide the theoretical foundation here. Ricoeur distinguishes between a romantic or “restorative” mode of interpretation, where meaning is reverently reconciled to a text assumed to be trustworthy, and a “suspicious” approach, where meaning is aggressively extrapolated from a text held as unreliable. In order to bring these theories to bear on "Kaddish" and its criticism, I draw on Rita Felski’s pioneering work in relating Ricoeur’s concept of “suspicious reading” to the field of literature. Is it possible to read "Kaddish" suspiciously? Or is there nothing left for suspicious readers to expose in texts such as "Kaddish" that are already self-exposing?
Keyword Allen Ginsberg
Kaddish
Poetry
Suspicion
Beats
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Issue title: Suspicion

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Communication and Arts Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 12:38:00 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts