October 31, 2007

Jury duty!

Sitting in Justice Center Tower waiting to see if I get called for state jury duty (group 47 is the best, pick us!). What could be better than jury duty on Halloween? Freddy v. Jason?! Frankenstein v. Wolfman?!? This better not let me down...

posted by sstrader at 7:19 AM in Personal | permalink | comments (0)

October 30, 2007

Currying in JavaScript and Groovy

In the Groovy User Guide, the section "Fixing Closure Arguments to Constant Values Via Currying" gives a quick example of currying using Groovy closures:
def c = { arg1, arg2-> println "${arg1} ${arg2}" }
def d = c.curry("foo")
d("bar")
Basically, you bind one argument to a function taking multiple arguments but don't call the function until the remaining arguments are passed in.
Currying in JavaScript is a do-it-yourself affair. For references see these blog entries (in no particular order): "Curried JavaScript functions", "currying in javascript", "JavaScript currying". These are somewhat verbose and invasive.
The best option is to use prototype 1.6.0's curry function added to Function.prototype:
function sum(a, b) {
    return a + b;
}

sum(10, 5) // 15
var addTen = sum.curry(10);
addTen(5)  // 15
If you don't want to adopt prototype, you can use the following implementation:
function curry(f, args) {

    var thisF = f;
    var thisArgs = Array.prototype.slice.apply(args);

    return function(args) {
        thisArgs = thisArgs.concat(args);
        if (thisF.length <= thisArgs.length) {
            return thisF.apply(thisF, thisArgs);
        } else {
            return this;
        }
    }

}
With the canonical summation test:
function sum(a, b, c) {
    return a + b + c;
}

function test() {

    sum(1, 2, 3); // 6
    x = curry(sum, [1]);
    x([2]);
    x([3]); // 6
    x = curry(sum, [1]);
    x([2, 3]); // 6
			
}
This has not been put through a lot of testing, so YMMV. After looking at the other examples provided in the blogs above, I was astounded how little code it took me to write. As I test more and across multiple browsers, I'm sure it will start bloating...

[ updated 17 Jun 2009 ]

Cleaner implementation from #Javascript on IRC:

Function.prototype.curry = function() {
  var func = this, a = Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments, 0);
  return function() {
    return func.apply(this, a.concat(Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments, 0)));
  }
};
posted by sstrader at 11:07 AM in Programming | permalink | comments (0)

October 29, 2007

Lanier

Arguments I've heard:

  • Georgia owns the lake, so the other states can suck it.
  • So much water was released for mussels that they were at flood level while Atlanta suffered restrictions.
  • We should be helping people, not mussels. Damn Endangered Species Act.

From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

The lake's original and authorized purposes were to provide hydroelectricity and flood control. Since the lake's construction, metro Atlanta has been taking water from the lake to use for municipal drinking water, which was only authorized by Congress as an incidental use secondary to hydroelectricity.

Since the 90's, the Corps of Engineers, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama have all been fighting for use of the water held in Lake Lanier. Law mandates that when a river flows between two or more states, each state has a right to an equal share of the water. Additionally, other laws such as the Endangered Species Act require that water be available for threatened or endangered species that live in or around Chattahoochee River and Apalachicola Bay.

In June 2006 the USACE revealed that the new lake gauge at the dam, replaced in December 2005, was not properly calibrated, yielding a lake level reading nearly two feet (over half a meter) higher than the actual level. Because of this, nearly twenty-two billion U.S gallons (over eighty-two billion liters) of excess water was released over and above the already planned excess releases to support both the successful spawning of gulf sturgeon in the Apalachicola River and to protect several species of mussels in Apalachicola Bay from excessive saltwater intrusion.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said that the Corps had created a "manmade drought", because most of the state is already experiencing dry conditions. This came at a time when outdoor water-use restrictions were already being put in place by local governments, because of enormous water use on the many lawns which have replaced the forests in newer suburban areas. Mainly because of this incident at the lake, the state then declared a drought and enacted a ban on outdoor water use from 10AM to 4PM, in addition to the permanent weekly odd/even address system. Other local counties have imposed further restrictions or even total bans, based on each water system's conditions.

So, Georgia doesn't have 100% rights on the lake, the flood release was bad calibration and not excessive species protection, and our whining is based on vanity lawns and not actual need. Everyone's screaming gloom and doom and that somehow we're sacrificing people for mussels. Bullshit. They also like to ignore the nuclear reactor that's downstream. Here's a suggestion: stop wasting so much fucking water, Atlanta. There, problem solved.

posted by sstrader at 12:19 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (2)

October 27, 2007

pobeB yobwoC

So I decided to give Cowboy Bebop a chance. I'm hooked on the GitS series and am getting itchy for more Anime. weird. Anyway, first up on the TiVo season pass is an episode called "The Real Folk Blues (Part 2)". It ends very dramatically, and I think the main character dies?! Next up, "Asteroid Blues," episode 1. Yes, I accidentally caught the series in a loop, and I now know how it ends. Oh well.

posted by sstrader at 2:08 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (0)

Shot in the head

This, not from an internet kook but from Naomi Wolf:

I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war — in The New York Times; three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers’ money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq — taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S. soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks — and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country.

Yet I get eyes rolled at me if I even bring up such things.

posted by sstrader at 11:38 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

October 23, 2007

Sweet

Digging through old New Yorkers for reading while I stairmaster. Last article was "The Search for Sweet" by Burkhard Bilger in the 22 May 2006 issue (abstract available online). Much of note.

One item that seemed important was the scientists' amazement when three of the five taste receptors were pinpointed. One didn't expect them to be found until the year 3000. People too often point out the over-ambition of futurists (one of my favorite recent finds, Paleo-Future, digs up artefacts of such pop and science predictions). Seldom are the over-cautious expectations examined. Others' hubris is more entertaining and self-satisfying than humility.

Another scary/interesting fact: Senomyx laboratories has a patent on the use of the sweet receptor, one of the three discovered 1000 years ahead of time. The remaining two are pending by the same company.

posted by sstrader at 11:48 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

Innocence

Excellent interview with Richard Halpern about his book Norman Rockwell: The Underside of Innocence. His question: America's always been involved in horrendous transgressions so why are we continually shocked when they come to light? My simple answer: some are shocked by the evil of the action and not necessarily by the actor, while others less historically informed are understandably shocked by the actor. This isn't the stuff that 6th grade Social Studies classes should be composed of, and not everyone goes to college or digs deeper into American history. However, the information is (generally) there for those who want to know.

It still doesn't make the evil of America's actions against Maher Arar and continued actions to ignore responsibility any more palatable. Nor does it make the FBI's threats to torture a man's family and their subsequent disappearing of the evidence easy pills to swallow.

America can be as evil as any other country, and as a sole superpower we're simply honing our skills. And, c'mon, wouldn't it be boring if our only national shames were Native American genocide and slavery?

posted by sstrader at 10:41 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

October 21, 2007

Configuring ZoneAlarm and ShoutCAST

ZoneAlarm doesn't play well with SHOUTcast. The only way around getting these two to work together is to configure ZoneAlarm in "Program Control" > Main > "Program Control" and select Med[ium] (High is the default). This may not be the best security choice for your setup, but it will allow clients to get in to your SHOUTcast server.

I had recently had a couple of minor crashes and lost my ZoneAlarm settings, so I had to re-learn this configuration. All the while kicking myself for not having it stored in my brain from years ago. The following links made me realize that few others have solved (and published) this: RANDOM: Shoutcast and Zone Alarm, WINAMP.COM | Forums - cannot see your station (diffrent), IORSN - SHOUTcast Network Configuration - Test 1.

posted by sstrader at 7:16 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink | comments (0)

October 20, 2007

Water and sun

Two tough questions came up in the breakroom on Friday:

  1. What percent of the water sent out from reservoirs is returned and reused via water treatment plants?
  2. What percent of the energy it takes to create a solar panel is returned by that solar panel?

Either of these would probably be worth a book-full of research just to get close to the truth. I, however, have only a bored hour-or-so of surfing to offer.

On the first question, I had guessed that 60-70% of water was recycled. A coworker was much more optimistic at 95-98%. The only usable link I could find was for Australian treatment plants where the recycled water use of six cities in 2001-2002 averaged ~5%. Yipes. Not a lot to go on, but still not good numbers. The question is probably more complex: recycled water is maybe never used for drinking, and so it's uses are limited.

On the second question, the website green econometrics got completely on my shit list. Here's the deal: they had the only useful page I could find, unfortunately it discussed the consumer's economic cost for using solar compared to coal, oil, and gas. In that regard, solar costs more per KWH because you have to pay more for solar panels that produce the equivalent energy. E.g. solar costs $0.38/KWH, where coal costs $0.006/KWH, oil $0.05/KWH, and gas $0.03/KWH.

The problem is that this doesn't tell us society's energy cost to produce a KWH of each. The fuel to produce and maintain digging equipment could be greater than the fuel to produce and maintain solar panel factories. Or it could be less. So, I posted a quick comment with my question in the section below the article with the friendly imperative: "Leave a comment." Within an hour, my comment was deleted. So much for the dynamism of web 2.0 sites.

I'll still pick around for the answer. My search fu could be a little weak, so maybe I missed an obvious article or encyclopedia entry. Until then, item 2 remains a mystery...

posted by sstrader at 9:02 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (5)

IMSLP v. corporate lawyers

Anyone care to guess who won? Yesterday, the IMSLP project leader voluntarily took down the site, probably for good. This site was one of the best things to happen to the internets and music. Discussion in the IMSLP forums revealed that it was being used by schools around the world (and more importantly by me!). Very unfortunate. The only hope is that libraries and schools step up and support the tremendous effort that IMSLP went through to be absolutely within the law. Corporate fucks.

[ updated 21 Oct 2007 ]

Finally getting a little more attention:

And the IMSLP forums are getting really hot. Sadly, the story's not showing up on any of the music bloggers I read. (Emailing ...)

[ updated 21 Oct 2007, again ]

And yet more

Commentary across the web is mostly supportive. The few accusations of the site admin "giving up" are generally squelched when they realize that it's a lone college student supporting the site with their spare time and money. Slashdot comments were at times the most judgemental ("just write an IP filtering script, duh!!"). Maybe Boing Boing's attentions will bring further legal support and expertise.

[ updated 22 Oct 2007 ]

More music blog attention:

Tim Rutherford-Johnson at The Rambler provides a good summation: IMSLP took its copyright responsibilities seriously. ... The IMSLP was not some wild west web hub for mass copyright infringement. It provided a service that was valued by performers, libraries, universities and musicologists: people and institutions who contribute to musical activity, rather than simply consume it.

[ updated 23 Oct 2007 ]

Feldmahler posted this in the IMSLP forums' admin thread yesterday afternoon:

Basically, negotiations are planned between an organization and me regarding the continuation of IMSLP. Another IMSLP contributor has already had contact with the organization regarding this matter, but I have yet to speak with the organization in person (this is scheduled to happen during the next week). I also have a few other routes and offers for help, and will try to combine them so that we have something good Smile

But no, IMSLP is not dead, and it will not be dead if I can help it.

Much more optimistic than their original post. Also, this was their hope from the start (of the end). From their message on the 20th:

The most important thing at the moment, and for which I would be very grateful for help, is to interest larger organizations in continuing or supporting IMSLP. Monetary concerns are minimal; however, support from large organizations is essential. Here I would like to thank the large amount of libraries and educational institutions who have offered support; I will respond as soon as possible.

[ updated 25 Oct 2007 ]

Tentatively awesome news via Scott Spiegelberg: Project Gutenberg is offering to host the IMSLP catalog! Original story from /.. Scott has also provided many good links to still unthreatened sheet music sites. Nice. Now, go donate half of your spare change to PG and the other half to Wikimedia's current fund drive.

posted by sstrader at 11:21 AM in Music | permalink | comments (4)

October 19, 2007

Dodd v. Tyrants

Fuck yeah, bitch. Let's hope for the best. He's still not my candidate, but he's at least doing what he was elected for.

posted by sstrader at 8:54 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

Funny responses to the "nothing to hide" argument

Via Why, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, Government Surveillance Threatens Your Freedom > University Law School Professor Daniel J. Solove's essay:

  • Do you have curtains?
  • Can I see your credit card bills for the last year?
  • I don't need to justify my position. You need to justify yours. Come back with a warrant.
  • I don't have anything to hide. But I don't have anything I feel like showing you, either.
  • If you have nothing to hide, then you don't have a life.
  • It's not about having anything to hide, it's about things not being anyone else's business.
  • Bottom line, Joe Stalin would have loved it. Why should anyone have to say more?
posted by sstrader at 3:56 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

October 18, 2007

Tools

Dems suck at returning our rights to us, although they're really good at colluding with tyrants. Work to your strengths, I guess. Ultimately, the barrier-to-entry on cases challenging this has been raised, so I suspect that it still could be struck down. A commenter in the /. thread discussing this points to this Wikipedia entry stating that Ex post facto laws are prohibited in federal law by Article I, section 9 of the U.S. Constitution and in state law by section 10. But with a majority of the Republican candidates vowing such craziness as war with Iran (and getting cheered), is there really much hope for sane solutions to our gov't's current power imbalance?

Also, newsy go-to gal Lara Logan points out that the situation in Iraq still sucks [ via Digg which has some additional/related links ]. But to the commenter who said that Everyone knows things are going bad over there. Everyone: apparently, you're not around some of the people that I am. I sortof envy you.

Finally, a good re-post from Reddit of "A Layman's Guide to the United States Supreme Court Decision in Bush v. Gore" written by an attorney right after the decision. Amazingly, the author (now a journalist) posted the first comment on it with interesting additional info. Good to know that his article is taught in law shools now. Re-read and relive your despair like I got to!

posted by sstrader at 2:24 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

Vote-o-meter

I had taken this candidate test before and gotten Kucinich (the Pocket Master!) and just took this one from USA Today [ via a comment at thisisby.us ] and got the same. For what it's worth...

posted by sstrader at 1:49 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

October 17, 2007

Where was I?

Dinner at my brother's Friday night to celebrate Sarah and Jack's birthdays. Also saw their painfully cute new dog, Roxy. She had as much sass as her name.

Ivy and Jason's wedding on Saturday at the Galleria with: the start of the LSU game at Jocks and Jills beforehand, my first Jewish wedding (Eric later enlightening me that a Saturday wedding is kosher as long as it's after sunset), the rest of the LSU game at a bar afterwards (3 overtimes with not-the-best outcome), cocktail hour, a great dinner, some unfortunate dancing by me, and finally back to the hotel room.

Sunday we weren't feeling socian so it was brunch at Garrison's in Vinings. The ride home we spotted a DORCUS license plate (why?!?). After we caught up on TiVo, it was a walk through Piedmont Park (crowded with the final day of the 3-day breast cancer walk), then drinks at Einstein's (next to a couple who made out the whole time, only to take a "break" for 15-minutes in the bathroom I shit-you-not).

Monday was a surprise visit from Debbie and Kevin with dinner at Baraonda. And finally, last night was the first blogger get-together in months (years?) at Fox Bros. BBBQ.

posted by sstrader at 7:10 PM in Where was I? | permalink | comments (0)

October 13, 2007

Host backstory

Remember those opening scenes in The Host where the ridiculously caricatured and evil Americans poured expired formaldehyde down a drain (can that stuff even expire?!?) and ultimately spawned the giant lizard/monster? Well, apparently it was based on an actual event. Filmwad's recent list of movie monsters pointed me to an article at Asia Times telling the story of the McFarland incident where:

In February of 2000, civilian mortician Albert McFarland, employed by the US Forces in Korea (USFK), ordered his staff to dispose of about 120 liters of embalming fluid down a drain in the mortuary at the US Army base at Yongsan in the center of Seoul.
posted by sstrader at 11:34 AM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

October 12, 2007

REBILDN

Seen in traffic on a Louisiana license plate:

REBILDN
posted by sstrader at 1:47 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Warning

Arctic sea ice loss more dramatic than scientific models (and, need I say, much more dramatic than what the deniers say), also discussed on Reddit. Al Gore's NPP has pushed the story out of any mainstream outlets (as far as I could tell, and to put an optimistic spin on its absence). The author puts it better than I could: The "skeptics" implied there are only two possibilities: either the scientific consensus is right, or global warming is not as bad as the scientists think.

I will again point to RealClimate and its tireless contributors, along with the New Scientist article "Climate change: A guide for the perplexed." Good Q&A.

Deniers have moved primary arguments from "it's not happening" to "it'll cost too much" (trying to forget that they were dead wrong on the previous argument). Soon, realizing they were dead wrong again, they'll be moving to "it's too late." At that point, I'm sure they'll crow over their prescient wisdom.

posted by sstrader at 9:49 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

October 10, 2007

Ron Rand

Reddit provides us with a hearteningly pessimistic discussion on the slash-and-burn philosophy of Ron Paul.

posted by sstrader at 3:39 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

October 9, 2007

Portal for performance notes and analysis

(originally posted in the IMSLPForums under this thread.)

This is a request for suggestions on a community web site that I wish existed. Apologies if this has already been asked and thanks if it already exists and you have a link.

I was recently working on a Chopin Mazurka when I came across a phrase whose fingering initially stumped me. I eventually found something workable for me but was curious about others' solutions. Basically, I missed the days of music classes with practice rooms filled with immediately available opinions and piano teachers on hand for more seasoned direction. Google searches produced nothing.

With an abundance of scores now immediately available on IMSLP, such an online forum is easier to achieve. However, are there other musicians out there who would either want such a forum or want to contribute to it?

The first and simplest option would be to use the discussion pages for each piece here on IMSLP with headings and subheadings to break down the movements, sections, or pages depending on the work. Another option would be to create a separate wiki in order to allow greater structure. This would allow choices such as 1 wiki page/manuscript page, thematic discussions separated from the performances notes, pages on theory, etc.

Am I offering a solution to a problem that doesn't exist? What interest is out there? I'm a software engineer who loves interesting side projects if there's a need.

posted by sstrader at 5:48 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

Cursed contraptions!

The dryer that gives money so freely has been dying for the past few months. Shuts off automatically every few minutes and rarely makes it through an entire cycle. Alas, we missed the no-tax-appliance day! Yesterday, the iron died unexpectedly (although it had been dropped on the floor several times...). And last night Lisa's car threatened to not "beep" with the security fob, thus restricting its use to anything but starting the engine. This morning, it carried through on the threat.

If you have a pacemaker, avoid us at all cost.

posted by sstrader at 2:59 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (1)

October 6, 2007

Quote from GitS:SAC

People entrust their memories to external devices because they want to set down solid physical proof that can distinguish them as unique individuals.
posted by sstrader at 8:37 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

DWR

I can't heap enough praise on the JavaScript library DWR (direct web remoting). It came to my attention a few months back, but I've only now been able to really dive in an use it. DWR dynamically generates JavaScript classes from the Java classes of your choice. Any calls beyond simple set/get are implemented as Ajax calls back to the server. DWR allows you to leverage your existing Java code without reimplementing in JavaScript.

Given the Java class Users that manages system users with the User class, we could have the following simplified script in a page:

<script type="text/javascript">
    // Ajax call to server with JavaScript callback
    Users.findActive(showActiveUsers);

    // Callback passed collection of User objects, populate page as needed
    function showActiveUsers(users) {
        $A(users).each(function(user) {
            new Insertion.Bottom(
                "myDiv",
                "<p>" + user.name + ": " + user.id + "</p>);
        })
    }
</script>

Voila. JavaScript code becomes an extension of your Java code (with a little help from the equally invaluable Prototype library).

posted by sstrader at 12:35 PM in Programming | permalink | comments (0)

Dryer money!

Sign you're going to have a good day: 10 Dryer Bucks appear in your last batch of laundry!

posted by sstrader at 12:14 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (0)

October 5, 2007

Scaffolding

Understand that "predictions" of the future are usually "warnings" of the future. Orwell probably never believed that 1984 was a prediction. He was saying: let's play with the idea and take it to its extended possibilities. Art is generally a riff on potentials, not a science of predictions. Art as prediction says more about the artists' current world-views than the future. Assuming this, viewing current events as realizations of prescient art is, at best, unfair. Predictive art is philosophy, not fortune-telling.

posted by sstrader at 11:31 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

October 4, 2007

Self-evident

In an offline comment (albeit second-hand) on the concept of heroism, someone equated it with domination. Even worse, they tried to act like non-physical domination was somehow more noble or heroic than physical. That's kinda scary.

In one of those iconic books of my life, Boorstin's The Image, he discusses how heroes have been replaced by celebrities. Those who have accomplished noble feats that help others have been superseded by those who are famous for being famous. There's a lot in those statements to debate, and I hope I'm quoting him correctly enough, but have we devolved into a point where hero equals bully?

In my recent archaeological digs through my old comics, I found a large format Conan the Barbarian from February 1989 (actually: The Savage Sword of Conan!). In it, he was a thief that was slightly less thieving than his companion thieves (whom he eventually had to hunt down and kill). This is what we grow up with.

Conan could be considered an updated (and equivalent) Heracles.

posted by sstrader at 8:56 AM in | permalink | comments (0)

October 2, 2007

Iran

Trying to absorb the sad sad state of public discourse on Iran.

  • Four Myths Government and Media Use to Scare Us About 'Dictators' - Overview of the bait-and-switch (or maybe strawman?) that warmongers use to demonize Iran in general and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular
  • Real Time with Bill Maher: Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel and panel discuss how to end the war - Maher's comments comparing the rhetoric of Ahmadinejad to that of US politicians was pithy. Rahm had a strong start but really fell apart when he tried to defend his vote for more weapons but not for withdrawal.
  • Iran's president at Columbia University - a transcript - Bollinger, truly, was an ass. Ahmadinejad was magnanimous in his response to the insults but then quickly moved to dubious interpretations of religious quotes that support the pursuit of science. Odd. And he says the etymology of the (Farsi) word science is "illumination" or "brightness" (as opposed to "knowledge" or "to separate" with English). I'll need to email Language Log and see if they have an opinion. The rest of the speech was otherwise a very reasoned comparison against Iran and the West. Most accusations leveled by Bollinger were easily paralleled by examples of US misconduct. Iran is not innocent, but they're certainly not evil.
posted by sstrader at 7:02 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

October 1, 2007

Heroes

Hearing an excerpt from The Who's Tommy last week, I wondered if there were any stories that transformed the hero myth for female heros. I'm sure feminist studies has tackled this many times over, but it's new to me. I suspected that the whole framework would need to change (and not just replace Mr's with Ms's), but I couldn't imagine how that change would be manifest. From A Historical Overview Of Heroes In Contemporary Works Of Fantasy Literature:

Although Joseph Campbell's book and many other works of mainstream literature have assumed that the hero is almost always male and that women play a part in heroism as either the goddess or the temptress archetype,9 the development of "heroic fantasy" in Weird Tales (and other pulp magazines) challenged many of those out-dated notions. In fact, C. L. Moore introduced the first female hero less than two years after Conan with "Jirel of Joiry," in a 1934 issue of Weird Tales. Six other highly colorful, romantic tales followed, firmly establishing the archetype of the female hero. Today, many other women writers, like Ursula Le Guin, Katherine Kurtz, Jane Gaskell, Janet Morris, Tanith Lee, and C.J. Cherryh, have been attracted to heroic fiction, and have created heroines that easily rival their male counterparts. Jean Auel's Ayla from Clan of the Cave Bear (1980) and Sharon Green's Jalav (1985) represent two of the more popular characters, while Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon is memorable for its revisionist portraits of the women of Camelot.

Somewhat of a narrow overview.

The Wikipedia entry for Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces echoes the accusation of sexism: Pearson and Pope (1981) claim that Campbell's model discounts the possibility of female heroes: "The great works on the hero--such as Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces...all begin with the assumption that the hero is male" (p. vii). The Pearson and Pope referenced are Carol Pearson and Katherine Pope in their book The Female Hero in American and British Literature. That seems to hit the nail on the head with this description: A female-oriented version of Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces which chronicles the archetypal patterns of the female quest in literature; references to an immense variety of canonical and non-canonical texts -- very rich and enjoyable. And this lone review from Amazon: Thought provoking study of personal growth potential using female literary protagonists as examples. Similar to style of heroic studies by Joseph Campbell. Bit academic, but well worth effort to read and digest. Was used as a text in local college lit. class at my suggestion. Interesting as a very personal read OR as study of contemporary literature, provoking lively discussion.

The introduction to a book called The Sound of a Silver Horn, by Dr. Kathleen Noble, is available online, ending with this somewhat declamatory quote: I am convinced we need a female hero myth that teaches us to claim, not suppress, the power of our femininity and to perceive ourselves as the heroes of our own lives and the authors of our own stories. The difference here is that Dr. Noble views the female hero as an example of expansion of self but not so much an expansion of society. This is described by Campbell as a return to the ordinary world after the hero has transcended himself, and a subsequent bestowing of new knowledge to society. Another quote from here: [E]ach quester who wins her way through to the portal of transformation must discard some part of herself in order to create a larger self and give birth to her own possibilities.

posted by sstrader at 4:23 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)