We read one of Vincent Van Gogh’s letters today. It was to his sister, Wilhelmina, dated 16, November 1888. When reading this letter I had two general thoughts. One involves communication and technology. The letter itself made me consider what it must have been like to live during a time without the electronic technology we have today that fills our life and consumes our use of time. I sometime long for the silence and a pace not dictated by contemporary communicative obligations. I can’t imagine sitting at a table writing a letter, posting it and waiting for a response. I’m not in favor of giving up my contemporary modes of communication, but it is interesting to compare the different paradigms.
The other thought involves hermeneutics, the study of texts. I’m a fan of the notion of multiple literacies so I think of the reading of Van Gogh’s letter and his descriptions of reading poems of color, saying things through music.referring to dreams and reality – all are texts than can be “read” and used to communicate. Reading and communication become narratives. This reminds me of what I hope you get out of this course. I hope you become able to read multiple narratives through multiple texts and begin to see art, literature and ideas as a wonderful collection of players and narratives.