Recap: 'Terra Nova' - 'Instinct'

Back in college, I took every course I could on literary theory. Not only did I want more techniques to employ when reading various texts, but I also liked the idea that there was more than one way to approach a particular problem. That desire pretty much sums up anyone who majors in the humanities, since it eschews a "right" answer in favor of precise, singular solutions. Some of these literary theories seemed too antiquated for proper deployment (Aristotle’s "Poetics"), and some of these theories were too esoteric for anyone not on a series dose of happy pills (hello, Derrida and your cursed deconstruction). Weirdly enough, the one I rejected most at the time is one I return to when dealing with shows such as "Terra Nova": New Criticism.

New Criticism emerged in the early part of the 20th century and championed a close reading of the text as the singular, most important act one could perform upon it. Indeed, the text is central and all-encompassing in New Criticism, and pushes anything external (including the author of said text) to the side in order to derive meaning. The college-aged version of myself hated this idea, because it felt too simplistic. "Surely a text is the sum parts of the authorial, cultural, and historical forces that produce it," once said a version of me that still had hair upon his head, "We can’t just look at the text and derive meaning!" Read More...


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