New year, new term

Aside from beginning my TA duties today (the onerous task of attending one lecture and picking a tutorial time), today I *really* begin studying for my “Discourse and Text Analysis” field exam. The exam reading list asks you to pick two out of five subcategory reading lists. I picked “Semiotics” and “Narrative.” Other possibilities included “Discourse Analysis,” “The Politics of Discourse,” and “Discourse and Gender.”

This means that all the things I’ve been wanting to read, even if they’re sorta kinda related to the reading list, will be put on hold. This includes a neat book I saw in Chapters or Indigo a few weeks back, when I was there buying Christmas presents: The Exegesis of Philip K Dick. I only flipped through it, but the passage I actually saw was talking about (and attempting to diagram!) the Word or Logos and its relation to other words. I thought that was interesting, especially when one considers the book’s title—we use more and more words (i.e., exegesis) in our attempt to access the Word, and of course that sort of helps, but then again it also doesn’t. That’s probably why Dick’s book clocks in at, like, 900 pages or something. (And the book is really only a selection of Dick’s notes on what he referred to as the “exegesis.”) The book reminded me of a great line from J. Hillis Miller. In a deconstructive reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s The Wreck of the Deutschland, Miller says that what Hopkins discovers in the poem is that “there is no word for the Word.” Instead, all you get are more and more words. Words words words—Exegesis if you’re Dick, and Différance if you’re Derrida, I guess.

Well, now I’m just making myself want to read Dick’s book, and I’m not even that familiar with his work (though Blade Runner is one of my favourite movies—does that count?). It’s just that while browsing through Dick’s book in Indigo/Chapters, I saw Dick’s scribbles and his visual attempts to represent different metaphysical concepts in really ugly scribbles and doodles and I immediately identified with him. And, and, and…

—anyways, if I can get through J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words today, I’ll be pleased. (He said performatively.)