ENGLISH 4030            FALL 2005          MIDTERM EXAM QUESTIONS


At Wednesday’s exam you will be asked to explain four of the following excerpts, all but the last of which are drawn from this semester’s reading.  You should try to describe what each statement means in the context from which it is drawn, and the way in which it exemplifies or is connected to the chief concerns of the writer.


1. Literary history (and, with that, the historicity of literature) is a fiction. (Kolodny, “Dancing Through the Minefield”)


2. To put it another way, the field-coverage model solved the problem of theory. (Graff, “Taking Cover in Coverage”)


3. Thus the “anxiety of influence” that a male poet experiences is felt by a female poet as an even more primary “anxiety of authorship”—a radical fear that she cannot create, that because she can never become a “precursor” the act of writing will isolate or destroy her.  (Gilbert and Gubar, from The Madwoman in the Attic)


4. We have introduced a new class of psychical material  between the manifest content of dreams and the conclusions of our enquiry: namely, their latent content, or (as we say) the “dream-thoughts,’ arrived at by means of our procedure. (Freud, from The Interpretation of Dreams)


5. Few myths have been more advantageous to the ruling caste than the myth of woman: it justifies all privileges and even authorizes their abuse. (De Beauvoir, from The Second Sex)


6. Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence. (Althusser, from Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses)


7. “Woman” is not each one of us, but the political and ideological formation which negates “women” (the product of a relation of exploitation).  (Wittig, “One Is Not Born a Woman”)


8. I would like to suggest that the question of judgment is the wrong question to raise in the context of canon-formation.  The selection of texts for preservation certainly does presuppose acts of judgment, which are indeed complex psychic and social events; but these acts are necessary rather than sufficient to constitute a process of canon-formation. (Guillory, “Canon”)


9. Androcentricity is a sufficient condition for the process of immasculation. (Schweickart, “Reading Ourselves: Toward a Feminist Theory of Reading”)


10. …the individual is interpellated as a (free) subject in order that he shall submit freely to the commandments of the Subject, i.e. in order that he shall (freely) accept his subjection, i.e. in order that he shall make the gestures and actions of his subjection “all by himself.” (Althusser, from Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses)


11. Here, then, literature serves as the unconscious for psychoanalysis, representing mythically, through its plot and characters, that which is repressed in conscious life. (Meltzer, “Unconscious”)

12.. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. (Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)