Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reading Questions, 4 (Nationalism)

Here are questions to guide your reading (and to answer for your one-page paper):

1. What do Larra, Arnim and Brentano, and Mickiewicz, see as the relationship between literature and political or social life? (If answering this for your short paper, choose one of these three.)

2. How do these writers imagine the relationship between the individual writer and "the people"? What are the people supposed to do for literature, and what is literature supposed to do for the people? Where does that leave the writer?

3. How does Wagner's assault on the ability of Jews to produce culture relate to the views of the earlier German thinkers on nationalism (Fichte and Arnim and Brentano)?

4. What does Renan mean when he writes, " a crucial factor in the creation of a nation" (p. 45)?

5. After listing what a nation is not, Renan offers a theory of what a nation is. What is this argument? Does it fit with your experience or feeling on the matter?

6. Compare Renan and Pearson. Can you identify one or two key ideas that help explain their different views?

7. Paying attention to the dates of these texts, do you notice any change over time? If so, what characterizes that change?

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