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  • Writer's pictureYessenia♡❀

Reading for Academia: It’s tough, but boy is it beneficial.

~ Reflections on reading Literary Scholarship

The wonderful age of internet has made it easy for us to access infinite answers over any topic. However as I came to learn for myself, there’s a big difference in reading literary content on the web vs reading from the complex world of scholarly academic journals.

Back when I was a high school student, I vaguely remembered being introduced to literary scholarly articles, but even then I never considered how important and heavily ingrained these articles or academic articles from other fields would become in my college journey, as well as my prospective future. In this blog post, I will reflect on own my experiences reading scholarship articles by focusing primarily on the scholarly articles read this week in my English class.


Every week, I read and evaluate around 4-5 scholarly articles. 2 for my Cognitive Psychology class, 2 to 3 for my Neuroscience class. Although literary scholarly journals focus primarily on literature compare to experiments and theories like my other classes, they are similar in their presentation of a claim that is backed or challenged by evidence. Of course they are also very difficult to read and comprehend.


Although I am well aware that reading articles might commonly feel like this-





























Let me attempt to ease your mind with some advice. Though you might also experience a struggle reading these papers, sometimes it really just takes time to truly appreciate them -or better yet challenge them. These articles present substantial research, an argument, an idea, a process, and a challenge for students. They are written by people who were once undergraduate students that have now obtained further experience in their fields to write down their ideas/claims. "To what audience and what for you might ask ? Surely, not written just for fun." Believe it or not, these complicated and detailed papers are actually written for us- scholars, so that we can evaluate their argument, their evidence, and to approve/disapprove the paper by evaluating their paper as a whole. All these scholarship articles really are written for the purpose of research and broadening our understanding of these subjects. It’s similar to googling answers, except now there's extensive well-known professionals providing their own findings not for you to take for granted, but to put their work to the test and evaluate the strength of their own literary research.


In other words. We are testing how worthy their research claim is.


In this past week all the articles given were evaluated by the strength of the claims. Additionally we also got background information to help understand the context of the writers to form our own scholarship article. For example Emily Dickinson biography author page in Emily Dickinson | Poetry Foundation isn’t a scholarly journal article, however it is written to aide those doing research on Emily Dickinson. Details of Emily Dickinson life give a basis and understanding to how her life might influence her own writing. Once again these scholarship articles demonstrate that their audience is the researching scholars.


On the other hand The Likeness of Modernism in Marilynne Robinson’s Fiction (2018) and Apocalyptic Imagery in Marilynne Robinson's HOUSEKEEPING (2017) were scholarly journal/review articles. They had both an argument, evidence, and interpretation relating to Marilynne Robinson's work. Both arguments in these articles are unique and present interesting interpretation of Marilynne Robinson's fiction. Based on their evidence I would agree with their claims. The article done by Robin Vogelzang made a claim that the metaphor usage in Marilynne work demonstrated a “likeness” to modernism while also juxtaposing the beauty and failure of the metaphors themselves. Though a challenge to read, the evidence provided by Robin Vogelzang strengthened the support of the claim and established an innovative idea. On Apocalyptic Imagery in Marilynne Robinson's HOUSEKEEPING (2017) the authors took another perspective that was equally supported by literary evidence, but now focusing on a biblical apocalyptic approach to woman freedom. Two different scholarly articles support one another by contributing more analysis of Marilynne Robinson work, but additionally they are uniquely diverging interpretations.


With these example it becomes evident that these articles might be complicated, but they nonetheless helpful to broaden our understanding, analysis, and interpretation. However , one “nerdy” fun fact that I gleaned from reading these literary articles is how different and similar they can be to other scholarly journals. In fact pieces of psychology and neuroscience were even present on some of the literary scholarships we read this week. It just goes to show that there can be harmony between overlapping fields of study. For me this is fantastic because as someone who enjoys literature , psychology, and neuroscience, it gives me a sense of joy to see the subjects crossover. All these articles are so different in their own way, and yet structurally so similar.


Isn’t it amazing when worlds collide?


References

Swathi Krishna S & Srirupa Chatterjee (2017) Apocalyptic Imagery in Marilynne Robinson's HOUSEKEEPING, The Explicator, 75:4, 234-238, DOI: 10.1080/00144940.2017.1379464


Vogelzang, R. (2018). The Likeness of Modernism in Marilynne Robinson's Fiction. English Studies, 99(7), 744-754. doi:10.1080/0013838x.2018.1510625


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