Questionnaire

By Charles Bernstein b. 1950 Charles Bernstein
Directions: For each pair of sentences, circle the letter, a or b, that best
expresses your viewpoint. Make a selection from each pair. Do not omit
any items.

1.a) The body and the material things of the world are the key to any   
       knowledge we can possess.
   b) Knowledge is only possible by means of the mind or psyche.

2.a) My life is largely controlled by luck and chance.
   b) I can determine the basic course of my life.

3.a) Nature is indifferent to human needs.
   b) Nature has some purpose, even if obscure.

4.a) I can understand the world to a sufficient extent.
   b) The world is basically baffling.

5.a) Love is the greatest happiness.
   b) Love is illusionary and its pleasures transient.

6.a) Political and social action can improve the state of the world.
   b) Political and social action are fundamentally futile.

7.a) I cannot fully express my most private feelings.
   b) I have no feelings I cannot fully express.

8.a) Virtue is its own reward.
   b) Virtue is not a matter of rewards.

9.a) It is possible to tell if someone is trustworthy.
   b) People turn on you in unpredictable ways.

10.a) Ideally, it would be most desirable to live in a rural area.
    b) Ideally, it would be most desirable to live in an urban area.

11.a) Economic and social inequality is the greatest social evil.
    b) Totalitarianism is the greatest social evil.

12.a) Overall, technology has been beneficial to human beings.
    b) Overall, technology has been harmful to human beings.

13.a) Work is the potential source of the greatest human fulfillment.
    b) Liberation from work should be the goal of any movement for   
       social improvement.

14.a) Art is at heart political in that it can change our perception of   
       reality.
    b) Art is at heart not political because it can change only
       consciousness and not events.

Charles Bernstein, "Questionnaire" from Girly Man (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Source: Girly Man (The University of Chicago Press, 2007)

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Poet Charles Bernstein b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Money & Economics, Life Choices, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Charles  Bernstein

Biography

Poet, essayist, theorist, and scholar Charles Bernstein was born in New York City in 1950. He is a foundational member and leading practitioner of Language poetry.  Bernstein was educated at the Bronx High School of Science and at Harvard University, where he studied philosophy with Stanley Cavell and wrote his final thesis on Gertrude Stein and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the mid-1970s Bernstein became active in the experimental . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Money & Economics, Life Choices, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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