A Cynical Ideal

''I'm a cynical idealist.' He paused and wondered if that meant anything' – F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Where to begin? Scanning around Google, it seems that a lot of blogs are devoted to pictures of disgruntled animals, diary entries from corporate enterprises fashioned to look like trendy human beings, and entire galleries on soon-to-be-digested food – sometimes all at once.

As the writer of a blog that focuses primarily on academic interpretations of literary works, it therefor begs the question: why bother? Why not get swept up in the same deluge of Kim Kardashian quotes as everyone else?

I see this blog as something of a pathway – a link between where I currently am, and where I want to be in a few years’ time, which is to have a career in (you’ve guessed it) academia.

Whilst this journey builds on some of the work from studying as a university undergraduate, the intention is to – slowly, but surely – go about creating more original literary criticism to add to this site.

Despite what my magpie-like compulsion for hoarding books might suggest, it’s felt as if I haven’t properly read a book since leaving my undergraduate degree five years ago – and by “read”, I mean “to take something out of its box and tinker madly around with it for hours on end”.

To me, reading for the sake of reading – whilst enjoyable – can still feel somewhat flat: the author has imparted their wisdom, now what do you do with it?

Really, I want to return to that habit of getting lost in different times, places and cultures, gathering traces of human nature, and hunting down subtext. A quote from Harper Lee really summarises what I hope will be the ethos here:

‘”You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”‘

So if in stumbling upon my mad jottings I encourage you to view a text from a completely different perspective, then I’ll consider that a valuable step on the way towards my career goals.

At the same time, I don’t expect in posting these articles that they should remain a flat clump of data either. The beauty of the internet for my own writing on this site is that Barthe’s theory on “death of the author” is largely redundant… unless, of course, I do actually die (or forget my password) in the meantime.

This means then that I actively welcome any comments or ideas that you, the reader, may have regarding my interpretations of the texts featured here. There will never be an end to a debate when discussing literature.

Furthermore, any suggestions on more books for me to read would be greatly appreciated – it’s always good to be taken out of one’s familiar comfort zone (Shakespeare and Welsh literature in this instance).

So with all of that said, I hope you enjoy the content on this site, my documented journey from one “place” to another. Hopefully, it may even make a small contribution towards your own “destination” in life – wherever that may be.

– Jon Edwards