Intertextual Representation: On Mimesis as Interpretive Discourse Author(s): Michael Riffaterre Source: Critical Inquiry, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Sep., 1984), pp.

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Intertextual Representation: On Mimesis as Interpretive Discourse

Michael Riffaterre

If we try to arrive at the simplest and most universally valid definition of the representation of reality in literature, we may dispense with grammatical features such as verisimilitude or with genres such as realism, since these are not universal categories. Their applicability depends on historical circumstances or authorial intent. The most economic and general definition, however, must at least include the following two features. First, any representation presupposes the existence of its object outside of the text and preexistent to it. Readers feel, and critics pronounce, that the text's significance depends on this objective exteriority, even though this significance may entail destroying the commonplace acceptance of the object; indeed, negating something still presupposes that something. Second, the reader's response to the mimesis consists in a rationalization tending to verify and complete the mimesis and to expand on it in sensory terms (through visualizations, for instance). The metalanguage of criticism accordingly prolongs and continues the text's mimetic discourse, and critics evaluate representation in terms of its precision and suggestive power. Both processes-presupposition and rationalization alike-assume that referentiality is the basic semantic mechanism of the literary mimesis. There are, however, literary representations almost devoid of descriptive content, or so vague and so skimpy that their object cannot be analyzed or rationalized in sensory terms. Criticism is hard put to explain why readers feel compelled to evaluate them. And yet these texts not only lend themselves to interpretation but they are especially apt to trigger and control the reader's hermeneutic behavior. In short, the
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represented object eschews referentiality yet refuses to vanish altogether, becoming instead the verbal vehicle of an interpretive activity that ends up by making the object subservient to the subject.' Critics fail to explain this paradox because they stick to referentiality as the only law governing representation and assume that the reference on which the mimesis is based is from words to things, from the verbal to the nonverbal domain. I propose that reference in such cases is from words to words, or rather from texts to texts, and that intertextuality is the agent both of the mimesis and of the hermeneutic constructions on that mimesis.

Intertextvs. Intertextuality
Let me first anticipate and so avoid possible confusion in my terms. Some scholars glibly mistake the intertext for sources and seem to think that intertextuality is just a newfangled name for influence or imitation. We must be clear that intertext does not signify a collection of literary works that may have influenced the text or that the text may have imitated. Similarly, it is neither a context that may explain the text or its effect on readers, nor one that may be used as a basis of comparison to point out the author's originality. An intertext is a corpus of texts, textual fragments, or textlike segments of the sociolect that shares a lexicon and, to a lesser extent, a syntax with the text we are reading (directly or indirectly) in the form of synonyms or, even conversely, in the form of antonyms.2 In addition, each member of this corpus is a structural homologue of the text: the depiction of a stormy night may serve as an intertext for a tableau of a peaceful day; crossing the trackless sands of the desert may be the intertext of furrowing the briny deep. In contrast, intertextuality is not just a perception of homologues or the cultivated reader's apprehension of sameness or difference. Intertextuality is not a felicitous surplus, the privilege of a good memory or a classical education. The term indeed refers to an operation of the reader's mind, but it is an obligatory one, necessary to any textual decoding. Intertextuality necessarily complements our experience of textuality. It is the perception that our reading of the text cannot be complete or satisfactory without going through the intertext, that the text does not

Michael Riffaterre, University Professor at Columbia University, is the editor of Romantic Review. He is presently working on a book about Anthony Trollope (forthcoming in 1985). His previous contribution to Critical Inquiry, "Syllepsis," appeared in the Summer 1980 issue.

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signify unless as a function of a complementary or contradictory intertextual homologue. In a given poem, under certain verbal conditions, a peaceful as the contrary of a stormy day will make sense-literary sense-only in opposition to countless depictions where day and peace are night, represented without eliciting such a dual perception, and without our feeling a need for it.3

Mimetic Displacement
This detour through an intertext is a widespread phenomenon affecting genres as well as individual works. It even presides over the formation of conventional literary language in those periods of literature when aesthetic fashions demand that the mimetic lexicon differ from that of everyday language. To represent cannons firing, or volcanoes erupting, or, if one prefers Neptunian examples, water gurgling from ornamental figurehead spouts, it would not do in English literature of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (or, for that matter, in French literature till the end of the nineteenth century) to speak plainly. Literary language chose instead a verb that propriety excluded from everyday language, and the connotations of which would seem a fortiori to exclude it from lofty ornamental discourse: in literature, cannons vomit fire, volcanoes vomit lava and ashes, and with the overdetermining factor of mythic animation, gargoyles and fountain lions vomit water. Artifice, of course, is the generating agent of this practice. The choice of the Latinate form is a function of artifice (although at a secondary stage, as a variant of "vomit,"we find in literature guns belchingup fiery clouds, and smokestacks, fuliginous ones).4 But the basic selection depends on the opposition principle of intertextuality; an image is chosen that will simultaneously be accurate and eschew a prudishness of talk that makes a mere burp unacceptable at the denotative level-an image which ignores the connotative stigma of any literal or figurative eructation. Representation is thus the stronger because it is out of the ordinary and because it demands of the reader special tolerance of impropriety that only the extraordinary legitimates and that we significantly call poetic license. That vomit of all things should have been singled out to become a literary stereotype manifests intertextuality in its utmost power. The intertext it conjures up belongs to the realm of the disgusting (Ekel) that Kant finds so overwhelmingly unbearable as to exclude any aesthetically acceptable representation.5 Intertextual mimesis assumes one of two types according to whether the text represents reality by resorting to an intertext incompatible with that reality, or whether the text represents reality by negating an intertext compatible with that reality.

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First Type:Activating the Intertext
In the first type, the text offers a representation, the literariness of which results from a conflict between the textual mimesis of the object and an intertextual mimesis of the same object that voids or contradicts one or more basic semantic features of the textual one. Such is the case with William Carlos Williams'celebrated wheelbarrow: so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens The poem requires that we take aesthetic pleasure in its unadorned description of the plainest and most pedestrian of farming or gardening tools. The index or deixis of aesthetic experience is clearly proposed. It is so emphatically worded ("so much depends / upon") and so violently at odds with any reader's expectations of what might be found beautiful or simply worth describing that one almost suspects a parody or hoax. Be this as it may, the heavily laden first verse contrasts as well with the nakedness of representation where no fancy adjective, no elaborate descriptive imagery, relieves the stark simplicity or even the objectivity of the object. Nothing apart from the initial deixis suggests to the reader that he is expected to find pleasure and truth in the intrinsic qualities of the thing depicted; or, more paradoxically yet, that the thing itselfand a lowly one it is-deserves to be looked at. Its very thingness need only be shown in order that the wheelbarrow attain the announced status of an art object. The critics' consensus on the poem is that it achieves its aims-it fulfills the poet's intent by sheer emphasis on the visual properties of the object and by the unusual focus that gives each detail such a separate perceptibility that the object's existence acquires something like an absolute quality. According to Winifred Nowottny, for instance, "the poem attempts to make words do what a painting can do: to make us see not a vaguelygeneralized barrow in vaguely-generalized rain but redness and wheel and glaze and rain and water."6She believes this is accomplished through Williams' emphasis on spatial and color relations. For example, the fact that "upon"fills out a line and precedes a break between stanzas highlights its spatial suggestiveness, whereas it should be a mere grammatical link

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that remains faithful to its grammatical function and is meaningless except in relation to meaningful objects. Another instance is in the way the lines cut off normal subordination and restore individuality to the visual and spatial properties of things. Nowottny criticizes this abstraction, but this is because she yields to the common temptation to equate success in description with sensory richness: "A particularly unfortunate result of this technique is that the word "red"and the word "white" are not given qualitative immediacy; they remain almost as inert and general as in ordinary contexts."7 Geoffrey Hartman certainly does not fall into this trap, but he, too, focuses on the cuts, effected by the peculiar lineation, that place things "beside" each other, avoiding plot or temporal climax. The cutting edge of the caesuras, moreover, here turned inward, suggests an outward-turned force that excludes or could exclude all but its own presence. There is meaning, there is an object focussed on, but there is also something cleaner than both: the very edge of the pen/knife that cuts or delineates these lines.... The red wheelbarrow moves us into the forgetfulness of pure perception.8 I do not deny the power of line cuts, nor am I downplaying the impact of cuts not just on syntagms but even on the morphemic integrity of compound words. Such cuts restore independent, full-fledged lexical value to the components of "wheelbarrow" and "rainwater." But this reading is vulnerable: it ceases to work if one hears the poem read aloud without seeing the text. The cuts are too frequent to create perceptible rhythmic anomalies.9 The real agent of the poem's efficacy, it seems to me, and one that no accident of the reading process can alter, is the word "glazed." "Glazed" presupposes an artistic object with the finish of fragile, delicate china. "Glazed" conjures up a vast intertext of artifacts made with aesthetic intent.'1 The representations it evokes are everything that a wheelbarrow emphatically is not. To be sure, the barrow is an artifact, but a utilitarian one-sturdy, rustic, of the lowest rank in a farmer's of tools. It never enjoys the occasional literary sheen of a assortment spade or an axe, nor does it play a symbolic role in proverbs as a cart or a plowshare may. Of all the knickknacks that may end up on a petty bourgeois mantelpiece, the only barrow ever to be literally glazed, a miniature china one holding a flower or greenery, will be the extreme of kitsch. Our perception of the wheelbarrow is determined by the intertext rather than by the fact that the poem's construction gives us the elemental unmotivated reality. The pressure of an intertext thing-unattached, constituted by a discourse of the kind attributable to an artist makes thingness just as absolute. But it does so by showing the barrow not as an object but as the painting of an object, as the centerpiece of a still

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life. Here the objects, which are artfully assembled to suggest everyday, natural happenstance, are selected from a dictionary-like definition of the tool. This definition lists its separate parts and a metonym, the farmyard, for its context. The whole picture is of a picture of reality, rather than being reality itself. "Glazed" in fact changes the nature of "beside" and makes the latter the spatial index of an artful setup for a painting: we are indeed presented with the wheelbarrow, but not as the object in itself; rather, as a painter's rendition of it, like the wheelbarrow in Francois Millet's Angelus or in Salvador Dali's parodies of Millet. This function of "glazed"is not unlike that of "gilding"in Shakespeare's picture of the sun "Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy" (sonnet 33), or of the use of house-painter terminology in a Virginia Woolf landscape, where dawn touches up facades and actually paints into being the houses that night had obliterated.1 If anything, "glazed"is more powerful in our poem than the metaphors I am comparing it to. Indeed, "glazed" is not just a metaphor. Its impact is due not only to the otherness invoked to represent the wheelbarrow; it stems first of all from the fact that it excludes a fundamental seme of the "wheelbarrow" sememe. The poem represents nature in its truth through an implicit reference to its opposite, through an intertext of art and technique. Nor should one think I read too much into "glazed," for this is not an isolated instance of an intertext of artifact being called upon to undergird a description of exemplary nature. Williams repeatedly describes nature by the detour of ostentatious artifice: The Easter stars are shining . . .. . . .. . . .. .. .. . . ... * o Nobody to say itNobody to say: pinholes stars of tinsel from the great end of a cornucopia of glass'2

or, But the stars are round cardboard with a tin edge [P. 58]13 But none is more striking than the poet's description of a rose:

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... The edge cuts without cutting
. . . . . . o* ? *....?

Sharper, neater, more cutting figured in majolicathe broken plate glazed with a rose [P. 32] Even though the model used by Williams may have been an artifact, a china plate with a rose pattern, the subject of his poem is an actual rosenot just a flower, therefore, but the queen of them all, a paragon of natural beauty. But this masterpiece of nature is represented in terms of the artifact. Artifice being, as it were, the code conventionally used to represent its opposite, the natural rose is depicted by the detour of its intertextual counterpart, the glazed image of a rose.'4 Such is the power of this complementarity, or of this change of an opposition into an equivalency, that an equally exemplary synecdoche of the rose (the fine edge of its petal-the embodiment of the word "rose['s]" most typical semantic features: the flower's utmost delicacy of shape and its frailty) calls forth its imagery from an intertext of metal edges: Somewhere the sense makes copper roses steel rosesIt is at the edge of the petal that love waits
...

plucked, moist, half-raised cold, precise, touching
. . . . . . . . . . . * * * * .

fragile

From the petal's edge a line starts that being of steel infinitely fine, infinitely rigid penetrates the Milky Way The fragility of the flower unbruised penetrates space [P. 33]

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I have underscored the exemplary nature of this detour of literariness. I should underscore as well that the text tends to refine the exemplary. The systematic metonymic or synecdochic exploration of all aspects of the given object becomes an ascending scale of value judgments and for the reader serves as an ordered sequence of invitations to admire further, or to share the pleasure proposed at the narrative level and exemplified at the descriptive level. The narrator of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, for example, buys a branch of apple blossoms to reminisce about the apple trees that gave him so much pleasure during his country walks at Combray. As his memories become stronger and more sensuous, the description of these fresh, natural flowers switches from a straight text about their appearance to an intertext of artificiality: "How often in Paris, during the May of the following year, was I to bring home a branch of apple-blossom from the florist, and to stay all night long before its flowers." This is the setup for our sharing in the narrator's admiration, the generic index pointing both to the representation and to the register we must adopt in interpreting and evaluating it. Proust then writes, "flowers between whose snowy cups it seemed almost as thoughit had been the salesman who had, in his generosity towards myself, out of his wealth of invention too and as an effective contrast, added on eitherside the supplement of a becomingcrimsonbud."'5 The climax of a praise of natural flowers is reached through an intertext about artificial flowers. It is clear that the sentence generated by "salesman" has the same effect as "glazed" in Williams. It does not matter that the former is a syntagm and the latter a lexeme: both are signs which have the primary function, at the level of significance, of telling the reader there is a latent intertext at work. These connectors work by triggering presuppositions, by compelling the reader to recognize that the text makes sense only by reference to meanings found neither within the verbal context nor within the author's idiolect but within an intertext. The reader's assumption-though he need not make it by a fully conscious process-is that the difficulty he experiences in deciphering the ungrammaticality of a given sign must be pointing to a grammaticality elsewhere, among the semiotic systems of the sociolect and/or among other literary texts. Besides the connectors, certain words may invite and facilitate the reader's simultaneous perception of text and intertext. These are dual signs, equally grammatical (although with different acceptations) on both sides. In the example above, these signs are first the ghost word that would embody the phonetic kinship of "petal" and "metal,"and the two meanings of "edge"-as a blade's and as a fine line, suggestive of delicate design-a syllepsis that the poem actualizes in an apparent adynaton: "the edge / cuts without cutting."'6

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Second Type: Negating the Intertext
The second type of intertextual representation is exactly the reverse of the first. In the first, the text cannot represent reality without using an intertext that cancels or challenges the very nature of the represented object. In the second, conversely, the text owes its descriptive power to an intertext that it negates while compelling the reader to remain fully aware of that intertext. My first example is Wordsworth's much-admired sonnet on London at dawn, "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802": Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the -very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still! 7 The title and the date indicate beyond a doubt that the poem is descriptive and that the poet intended it to be the reflection of an actual contemplative experience. But the tableau presented in the poem itself utterly lacks the linear precision and notation of details we are thus led to expect. This raises two questions: What is the real function of the title? and How does a representation so bare as this represent? The title does point to a content, but more importantly it suggests that this content is meant to be interpreted. At the level of meaning, the title is a topographical index pointing to a place and identifying the reality the text purports to imitate. At the level of significance, the title is not topical but generic: it indicates a genre or subgenre, the ethos of which is, as we saw before, that it defines the object as something to be admired and directs the reader toward decoding rules. The painter has left the studio, where he has been doing nature from memory, with curtains drawn (or some curtains drawn-he may need a north light), with the aid of intermediaries: other painted landscapes, his own sketches or those of the masters before him. The painter now comes out into the open field and plants his easel facing his subject.

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Early Romanticism offers many examples: Shelley gazing from the Euganean hills, Wordsworth writing fresh from the Simplon Pass, titles like his "Effusion in the Pleasure-ground on the Banks of the Bran, Near Dunkeld," or Victor Hugo's "Dictated in the Presence [his veryphrase] of a Mountain Glacier" ("Dicte en presence du glacier du Rh6ne"), and so forth. Localization transforms (indeed, subverts) the meaning of "composed." Standing alone, this verb denotes studied art, calculated art, thought-out writing. Once modified by a statement of place, however, "composed" connotes simultaneity of impression and recording. It implies immediacy, hence spontaneous inspiration on the spur of the moment, or on the spur of the experience. Whereas at the meaning level it still designates a point in space, at the significance level it now gives a point in time-the flash of perception, and a remarkable one, worthy of recording.18 Consequently, it also implies two reactions in rapid succession: first, surprise at a spectacle (this is something more than expected, or something other than commonly believed); and second, the drawing of a lesson from this spectacle, the perception of a truth now first revealed, later on relived over and over again in the writing down and then the reading of its description. The lesson we are supposed to learn is that London has beauty, a beauty equal to nature's-indeed an obvious lesson, unanimously agreed upon by readers and critics alike. Its semiotic mechanism, however, has not been understood. This praise of the city, so persuasive and so noble, has much puzzled commentators because of its nakedness. As I stated at the beginning, a description is first of all, and sometimes only, a statement of intent and an invitation to the reader to vie with the text and to make the sensory experience his own by developing and building on the written given. For this reason, critics could not resist the temptation to add details to the poem: "He caps the London profile with Westminster Bridge. Soon the very houses will seem to jabber; the sweet will of the Thames will be soured and harnessed." Another writes: "The buildings lie open to the field and sky as if they were ruins of their usual selves. ... The poet looks at London and sees it as a sort of corpse and admires it as such, welcomes a death which is the death of what the city has come to stand for in his symbolic world."Again, a friend of Wordsworth objected in 1836 to the paradox of a city clothed in bareness, a paradox only because the mimesis encourages visualization.'9 Cleanth Brooks remarks that mimetic effectiveness is achieved through means that should by rights be ineffective: The attempt to make a case for the poem in terms of the brilliance of its images ... quickly breaks down: ... We get a blurred impression-points of roofs and pinnacles along the skyline, all twinkling in the morning light. More than that, the sonnet as a whole contains some very flat writing and some well-worn comparisons.20

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It is true that there are no graphic details, and that the writing is abstract, if not actually flat, and that all the images are stereotyped. But this does not mean that they are worn out, only that they pack, in unchanging traditional formulas, time-tested devices for eliciting and controlling reader reaction. The writing is abstract in that most of the praise comes out of mere marking. What turns this nondescript description into an encomium of London is not a sequence of full-fledged signifiers but a series of positive markers. These are devoid of mimetic power; they have in fact almost no semantic content save that every one is qualified with a plus sign. Archaic morphemes like "doth ... wear" (1. 4) and "glideth" (1. 12) are mere indices of poetic discourse. In this context, along with eulogies like "more fair" (1. 1), they act as praise-boosters (not hyperboles, since they do not directly affect the actual extolment lexicon). So does the word "garment" (1. 4), which really does not aim at making us see how beauty clothes an object but is merely a praise-implying way of connecting the object and the quality it is endowed with. "Garment" is not an image but the shadow of an image, an indirect allusion to the possibility of an allegorical representation of nature, or the city, or whatever, as a personage clothed in particular quality. To put it otherwise, "garment" is the homologue in clothes code of "majesty" in physical behavior or deportment code. And in the pseudomimetic attire paradigm, "garment" has the plus sign, as opposed to cloak, with its minus sign. What about the stereotypes? We have two descriptive periphrases: the cliche enumeration for city-"Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples"; and for nature-"valley, rock, or hill." Far from being neutral, all-purpose gap-fillers, these periphrases are instances of the poetic sign's exemplariness. As mimesis, "valley, rock, or hill" throws together what seems a random sampling of paraphernalia of nature scenery. But only the loose syntagm makes it desultory: the lexicon is strongly and significantly organized. The three nouns conceal two pairs of descriptive polar opposites: first, the valley and its counterpart, the heights; second, within the representational frame of high ground, two possible contraries-easy, rolling hills or craggy steeps. The three nouns thus summarize an entire landscape and operate together as a multiple, syntagmatic, compound sign for "nature." Not surprisingly, the polarity "city vs. nature" is emphasized by a symmetrical transformation: an abstract phrase, "the entire city,"is transcoded into the figurative line 6. We know the whole line is also a cliche from innumerable variants, running from as far back as Spenser's "High towers, faire temples, goodly theaters," to Shelley's Venetian "Column, tower, and dome, and spire," to Browning's "domes and towers and The "ships"in line 6 have been added, an adjustment rendered palaces."21 necessary by the river: William Blake and Woolf, faced with the same descriptive problem, make exactly the same adjustment.22 We have no reason to suspect that these masters of the written word all alike yielded

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to the temptation to pad their work the easy way. Here once more, exemplariness motivates the stereotype: it sums up not only the complex city mimesis but the mimesis of a meliorative city-the city as a majestic panorama-by implying the multitudinous varieties of shape and structure. This implication requires mention of only the extreme opposite components of synonym paradigms, and these extremes, recognizable as linked by polarity, inevitably presuppose the entire gamut of intermediate terms in the paradigm. The whole skyline is contained between rounded highrise and pointed highrise buildings ("domes" vs. pinnacles or spires or even pyramids, where the city is phantasmal, as in Shelley); and the whole architectural parade of public buildings is encompassed within the space between "theatres" and "temples," between the profane and the sacred. Proof that such is indeed the sign structure, and that the secret of its power lies in polarization, is that the terms may be interchangeable but must always be polar opposites (the theatre, for instance, becomes the Temple of Melpomene, borrowing through metaphor the very language of its contrary-that is, activating and actualizing its intertextual homologue). The symmetrical emphasis by the same means of two opposite poles does much more than underscore certain representations: it tells the reader how to interpret the poem. Since both opposite poles are given positive markers, London appears to have taken on descriptive features characteristic only of Nature herself. This is the surprise the genre demands. Its expression accords, in any event, with Wordsworth's abiding aesthetic tenet set forth in his "Preface to the Second Edition of LyricalBallads": "Ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect."23 Though I have, I hope, demonstrated how Wordsworth composedhow he arranged to cancel a major, basic opposition that molds and structures, within the sociolect, any concept we may have of city or natureI still have to make clear why this cancellation retains its powerful hold upon the reader's imagination and does not wear out. It remains strong, and goes on working so well, through the agency of intertextuality. For the cancelled opposition has not been destroyed; the negated intertext survives everywhere (that is, it stays in the language) except in the idiolect of this particular sonnet. And the sonnet can never be read without the reader perceiving it as the reverse image of what the sociolect tells him the real city is like. London and its river are described as if they were indistinguishable from nature, but the description does not pick out a random assortment of normal, so-called natural features. Only those features which our linguistic competence tells us are the reverse of the real London are selected: the city is said to be silent as nature, but this silence remains complementary to the bustle and the turmoil and the uproar of the city in the sociolectic intertext. The title had announced a reality only for the text to expel it, to push it back from front stage into the wings. As soon as London is alluded to, it recedes into the

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background so that it can be described as what it is not (contrariwise, the wheelbarrow had been represented but only to be beautified by the implication that it was an objetd'art). But this repression or displacement of London is no suppression. There is no void, no lack. The objective image of the city must be deciphered between the lines at the same time as the idealized picture is decoded. There is a connector that forces upon the reader's consciousness the inseparability or the mutual complementarity (like an obverse and a reverse) of the bright and glittering skyline and of the soot and grime drifting down and blackening the cityscape of the sociolect. This connector, this trace left by the intertext at the surface of the text displacing it, is "smokeless" (1. 8). The adjective owes its role and its power of controlling the reader's interpretation to its shape. The word is one of a kind: it sticks out in context both morphologically (it is the only compound) and semantically (there is something technical about its specificity as opposed to the vagueness or generality of all the other adjectives). This singularity vividly focuses on the one verbal borrowing, a hostage from the sociolect, as it were, the one word foreign to the text's idealization, the one word through which the latent intertext surfaces into the text: "smoke." We are not given just any fragment of that intertext; Wordsworth chooses the most powerfully representative of all the metonyms of London in common parlance. In all allusions to the modern Babylon, "smoke" summarizes every stereotype about urban pollution that arose from the conflicting ideologies of the sublime in nature and of the realism born of the industrial revolution. "Smokeless" literally quotes from the intertext, in accordance with this law that we cannot negate anything in language without naming it. Another connector might be the unusual colloquialism, the river's "own sweet will" (1. 12), suddenly freed of its irony and returned to the tenderness, almost, of its literal meaning. Once again, this is the exact reverse of the nineteenth-century Thames stereotype: the harnessed river par excellence, slave to the boats that exploit it. No matter how the poem may try to rationalize this moment of peace-with the dawning day, with sleep-it flies in the face of the Thames image we accept as realistic (what we get, for instance, at the beginning of Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend). We are affected by whatever the poem says because at every step of the way, we are being forced to fight against habit, to resist the pressure of usage and a vast corpus of texts attesting to the contrary of what Wordsworth wants us to see. The complementarity of sonnet and sociolect resembles the correspondence between a photograph and the negative it has been developed from: developing requires a reversal of tones, an exchange of black for white. Thus the semiosis consists in a reverse mimesis: an object is offered for our identification through the mimesis of what it is not. We are able to discover the equivalence through a sustained correspondence, term

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for term, between the semes defining the meaning of the object and the semes of its counterpart, of the "nonobject." This correspondence is what links the two faces of a coin, or pairs of antonyms like "pure/impure," "clean/unclean," "natural/unnatural." The sonnet is powerful not because it substitutes an unexpected code for the one expected in the description of a city but because it substitutes a positive structure for its negative homologue. Everything is so simple, so beautifully mechanical, so close to automatic writing that narrative motivation would actually weaken the effect. Dickens provides an example in Martin Chuzzlewitwhen this view of Liverpool is gilded and transmogrified by the joy of two exiles who have finally returned home: Bright as the scene was; fresh, and full of motion; airy, free, and sparkling; it was nothing to the life and exultation in the breasts of the two travellers, at sight of the old churches, roofs, and darkened chimney stacks of Home. The distant roar, that swelled up hoarsely from the busy streets, was music in their ears; . . . the canopyof smoke that overhung the town was brighterand more beautifulto them than if the richest silks of Persia had been waving in the air..... The water going on its glistening track, turned, ever and again, aside to dance and sparkle round great ships, and heave them up; and leaped from off the blades of oars, a shower of diving diamonds; and wantoned with the idle boats, and swiftly passed, in many a sportive chase, through obdurate old iron rings, set deep into the stonework of the quays.... A year had passed, since those same spires and roofs had faded from their eyes.24 Dickens makes us see something that is in the eye of the beholder, but only because it is the novel's aim to depict the tribulations of two young men. We are free not to share their naive enthusiasm. Poetry's aim is different: while the sonnet, spoken in the first person, relates an individual experience, it is one that must be generalized. The beholder's "I"is but the grammatical tool of the semiosis itself. The spectacle therefore is born not of a spectator's delusion but of a cancellation of sociolectic conventions: this is enough to make it a coded sign, the self-sufficient icon of a truth deeper than conventional representation. From Descriptive to Narrative Let us now observe how the same poetic description beautifying London, the same transformation of a negative model to a positive one, functions in a fictional context and how its hermeneutic system undergoes successive transformations to fit the changing needs of the narrative. This modified version of an idealized big city mimesis is found, surprisingly, in Bleak House. Surprisingly, because the novel draws most of its symbols

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from the most sordid scenes in London. From the overture picturing the Chancery mired in mud and fog, to the squalor of the slums, to the touching story of the crossing sweeper, to the final chase through lanes ending in the Thames, Dickens evokes a veritable apocalypse of pollution. The ugliness of the city is a Dickensian obsession: witness the ruinous hovels of Little Dorrit, or the ever expanding suburban blight in Dombey and Son, or the epic of garbage recycling in Our Mutual Friend. But it is in Bleak House that realism seems to be built exclusively on the representation of squalor. The pressure of this ideological bias, of this overwhelming aesthetic and ethical constant, makes for quite a dramatic, almost operatic contrast, when London is transfigured into a midsummer night's dream-a moonlit sublimation of the object: He looks up casually, thinking what a fine night, what a bright large moon, what multitudes of stars! A quiet night, too. A very quiet night. When the moon shines very brilliantly, a solitude and stillness seem to proceed from her, that influence even crowded places full of life. Not only is it a still night on dusty high roads and on hill-summits, whence a wide expanse of country may be seen in repose, quieter and quieter as it spreads away into a fringe of trees against the sky, with the grey ghost of a bloom upon them; not only is it a still night in gardens and in woods, and on the river where the water-meadows are fresh and green, and the stream sparkles on among pleasant islands, murmuring weirs, and whispering rushes; not only does the stillness attend it as it flows where houses cluster thick, where many bridges are reflected in it, where wharves and shipping make it black and awful, where it winds away from these disfigurements through marshes whose grim beacons stand like skeletons washed ashore, where it expands through the bolder region of rising grounds, rich in corn-field, wind-mill and steeple, and where it mingles with the ever-heaving sea; not only is it a still night on the deep, and on the shore where the watcher stands to see the ship with her spread wings cross the path of light that appears to be presented to only him; but even on this stranger's wilderness of London there is some rest. Its steeples and towers, and its one great dome, grow more ethereal; its smoky house-tops lose their grossness, in the pale effulgence; the noises that arise from the streets are fewer and are softened, and the footsteps on the pavements pass more tranquilly away. In these fields of Mr. Tulkinghorn's inhabiting, where the shepherds play on Chancery pipes that have no stop, and keep their sheep in the fold by hook and by crook until they have shorn them exceeding close, every noise is merged, this moonlight night, into a distant ringing hum, as if the city were a vast glass, vibrating. What's that? Who fired a gun or pistol? Where was it?25 To be sure, the still night, the muted harmony is here only to prepare the coup de theatreof Mr. Tulkinghorn's assassination. The still night only

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sets the stage for the pistol shot that will reverberate through nineteen more chapters. But Dickens' motives do not affect the intertextual descriptive mechanism, which is quite like that of Wordsworth's poem. Just as in Wordsworth, the sublimation of London is effected through a simplified version of a cityscape-the abstract skyline ("steeples," "towers," "dome")that is less a representation than a representation of representation, a geometry symbolic of the mimesis, a sign referring to a spectacle rather than the spectacle itself. This spectacle, in any case, is already reduced to the presuppositions that an observer's contemplative stance implies. Again as in Wordsworth, silence does not just stand for nature. It is a specialized. descriptive sign countervailing noise pollution, one of the metonyms for the metropolis in the London intertext. So essential was this stillness in Wordsworth that it triggered a repetition-another codified, well-established sign for emotion: "Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep" (a very oral one, hence more emotional, since the pronoun is not repeated). Similarly in Dickens, repetition coincides with this symbolic climax of significance. A novel, however, has to stay closer to everyday reality than poetry does. Fictional verisimilitude makes it unlikely that London should lie absolutely still. Since silence remains a structural requirement of the hermeneutic system, the conflict is solved by translation of silence from no sound to mystical, that is, almost inaudible, ethereal sound: "Everynoise is merged, this moonlight night, into a distant ringing hum, as if the city were a vast glass, vibrating." We recognize an allusion to the Glasharmonika inherited from German Romanticism, the continental equivalent of Coleridge's aeolian harp-in short, a sublimation of noise within a sublimation of the city. As for the connector "smokeless," it is indeed present, with the difference that predication (theverbal sign for interpretation) is syntagmatic instead of being morphological. Instead of a compound of noun plus suffix, we have the clause, "its smoky house-tops lose their grossness." The historical present neatly separates this clause from the surrounding narrative, thus setting apart a textual segment and tagging it as a descriptive and interpretive aside. The relative anomaly of "smokeless"in the context of the sonnet is, we remember, a device to focus on the connector. A similar peculiarity controls our decoding in the case of "grossness," an abstract word, with moral connotations, unusual in its reference to the negative concreteness of "house-tops." The two passages are thus clearly two variants of the same descriptive structure. But they are not put to the same use. Wordsworth's description is a self-sufficient piece, a poetic moment; his subjective truth colors the object's reality. Dickens, on the other hand, chronicles a society: he must not allow the idyllic vision of countrified London to hide the evil lurking in the still of the night. If moonlight is a garment here, as sunlight is in Wordsworth, it is also a deceptive cloak that must be lifted. These contrary postulations of poetry and realism find expression in both the narrative

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and the descriptive. In the narrative, the dramatic contrast between a stagey stillness and the gunshot that rends it; in the descriptive, the humorous rewrite of London as parodic pastoral: In these fields of Mr. Tulkinghorn's inhabiting, where the shepherds play on Chancery pipes that have no stop, and keep their sheep in the fold by hook and by crook until they have shorn them exceeding close, every noise is merged, this moonlight night, into a distant ringing hum, as if the city were a vast glass, vibrating. Parody does not disturb the peace, which is diffused by the moon in equal measure on London and the countryside. In fact, it is the descriptive sameness of the open fields and the city that now motivates the otherwise farfetched extended metaphor of the lawyers masquerading as bad shepherds. The reader may still demur at the first pun (on "stop"), but the successive secondary metaphors appear more and more convincing as they build toward the acceptability that is the law of the descriptive. This growing acceptability stems from intertextuality replacing, as it were, the as if structure that would otherwise make the simile legitimate. The unfolding of descriptive parody can be divided into three stages. In the first, referentiality still prevails. The moon's magic wand embellishing the landscape is familiar stuff. Applied to London, the image-trope or vision-does no more than hyperbolize an already conventional representation. In a second stage, the need for realism and the intertext of London's image according to the sociolect combine together to suggest that it is unnatural to paint a bucolic London. This is all that is needed for generating a pastoral, since the pastoral in Dickens' times has already become an egregious example of the contrived in literature. There is no question that the passage refers to the literary genre, thus to a sign system, rather than to an actual, direct mimesis of reality. The shepherds are not portrayed as full-fledged characters; they appear only in the guise of metonyms, and these metonyms themselves are conventional symbols rather than real things. Consider, for example, the use of "crook" for a shepherd's staff. It is true that this staff does have a hooklike handle, but the noun "crook" is not shepherd talk. The same is true of "pipes" and "stop": shepherds do play pipes, of course, but the noun is as literary as the Elizabethan "oaten straws." So is "stop,"the conventional synecdoche for the whole syrinx. In a third stage, the parody is finally fully activated by the proximity of "shepherds" in the pastoral text and "fleecing" in the intertext-that is, in the sociolectic stereotypes about sharp practices in the law business. This proximity facilitates the semiotic transference, or exchange, between text and intertext. Thus representation is finally verified, but at the imagistic level and not at the referential one. The puns and wordplays are no

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longer lexical games but the signs of equivalencies between codes, between the bucolic convention and the satirical one. The transition from moonlit idyll to social satire is easy since shepherds, good and bad, are accepted conventions in both. The hermeneutic function of representation has taken over and eliminated any actual mimesis. When details are given, they are not based on referents but instead are significance-induced. A case in point is the pun on "no stop." Like any pun, it is an intertextual phenomenon: in context, the word designates the holes of the flute, but since there are no stops, these flutes lack a component basic to the dictionary definition of all musical woods and winds. Their representation is ungrammatical, and the way in which the idea of a nonfunctional flute blocks meaning forces us to an intertext where "no stop" is grammatical, an intertext consisting of the multiple instances of a motif that recurs throughout the novel, and that always boils down to the defining behavior of the Chancery shepherds: the tune they play is endless litigation. Even in such cases, however, the lure of the referential fallacy-that is, linguistic habit-remains so powerful that critics persist in seeking referents accessible to the senses. Even though the pun does not escape his attention, a perfectly sensible editor still tries to get some sound out of this patently fictitious flute and to find a literal side to this metaphor: "the Chancery lawyers' pipes, having no stop, would produce a monotonous serenade."26 The whole passage quoted above is articulated by a verisimilitude system we expect to find steeped in referentiality (or a presumption of it). But a closer examination of the system's components shows that their hold on reality is as flimsy as the imaginary flute's. Notations such as the "fringe of trees against the sky, with the grey ghost of a bloom upon them," the "stream[s] sparkl[ing]," and the "murmuring weirs" are mere positive markings on a par with the ones we observed in Wordsworth. Conversely, the details about the darker side of the Thames when it flows across the industrial zone are negative markings ("thick,""black,""awful," "disfigurements,""grim,"and so forth). Topographical pointers and spatial distribution are just a grammatical structure, a syntactic frame which outlines an ideal setting made up of interchangeable landscape stereotypes, the sole purpose of which seems to be to provide space for the unfolding of paradigms of adjectives stating successively the good and the bad. When representations get more complex and therefore more sensory, like the navigational beacons that "stand like skeletons washed ashore," they would hardly convince us if we really tried to visualize them; in effect, they confirm and corroborate the marking constant with a simile that is already conventional and already value oriented. Even the one striking experience of the real toward the end-the optical illusion that makes moonshine on the sea look as if it shone only for the observeris more like a mystical moment that balances the gloom of the surroundings symbolically and sets up a contrast with the coming pastoral parody. We

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have to conclude that the verisimilitude system itself, and particularly those descriptive details whose definiteness seems to invite the reader's sensory participation, actually are hermeneutic devices.

Conclusion
The following factors seem to be constant in the literary representation of reality: (1) The mimesis proper refers not to referents but to elementary representations of these. The mimetic text is not composed of words referring to things but of words referring to systems of signs that are ready-made textual units. (2) The presence of lexical connectors makes the perception of intertextual references compulsory and inescapable. Formal similarities or semiotic homologies facilitate their dual relevancy astraddle text and intertext.27 (3) Most paradoxically, it is in and through intertextual mimesis that literature challenges representation most and most undermines its readers' views about the world. The more faithfully a text is supposed to reflect the manifold aspects of reality, or the more it proclaims itself a mirror, the more total the subordination of the mimetic multiplicity to a single message, to a semiotic oneness. Interpretation takes over at the very point where the text would seem closest to an objective recording. The literary representation of reality, then, for all its objectifying stance, is essentially an interpretive discourse. It is indeed predicated on objects that seem to be outside the text and are presumed to exist independently of textual significance, or of the writer's intent. But the mimesis remains little more than a grammatical symbol of referentiality. Within the frame of presuppositions that such a grammar allows, the mimetic lexicon is weighted so as to dictate value judgments to the reader and to lead him inescapably to specific conclusions. In some instances, as in lyrical poetry or poetry of the self, a special index may be present that engages the reader and involves him in interpretation: the first-person pronoun in Wordsworth's sonnet is such an index, since in uttering it the reader does much more than a passive decoding. By taking on the pronoun himself, he necessarily adopts the text as if it were his own expression and becomes responsible for its significance. Even if he does not sympathize with the message, he still performs a praxis of interpretation. For this to occur, the index need not be explicit: it is enough that it be implied, as in Williams' poem. Better still, the index's deixis is really superfluous; or, rather, it is simply a feature characterizing a particular genre. The mere superim-

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position or parallelism of text and intertext suffices to make representation into an interpretation. This is true, first, because intertextuality at least compares and usually opposes two viewpoints, or rather two coding systems for the same "thing," the sociolectic and the idiolectic; second, because the slightest predicative manipulation of the sociolectic given must be decoded as assimilation or rejection or parody; and third, because a negative representation necessarily amounts to a conflict of two interpretations. In sum, intertextuality cannot avoid being hermeneutic.

1. See Roland Barthes et al., Littrature et realite (Paris, 1982), esp. my paper, pp. 81118, on the referential fallacy. 2. "Sociolect," in semiotic terminology, is language viewed not just as grammar and lexicon but as the repository of society's myths. These are represented by themes, commonplace phrases, and descriptive systems (stereotyped networks of metonyms around any given lexical nucleus). Sociolect is opposed to "idiolect,"an individual's specific semiotic activity, and in the case of literature, the lexicon and grammar specific to a text and whose rules and verbal equivalencies are valid only within its limits. 3. See Jonathan Culler, The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics,Literature,Deconstruction (Ithaca, N.Y., 1981); Paul de Man, "Hypogram and Inscription: Michael Riffaterre's Poetics of Reading," Diacritics 11 (Winter 1981): 17-35; and my "Syllepsis,"CriticalInquiry6 (Summer 1980): 625-38. 4. This commonplace practice stems from Latin in which vomere used figuratively is already a literary cliche. It is so well established that it sprouts parodies (e.g., "Three hundred cannon threw up their emetic" [Lord Byron, Don Juan, The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron (Oxford, 1917), canto 8, st. 12]). It is figurative and therefore distinct from the literal (albeit symbolic) vomit of Errour in which Edmund Spenser wallows so graphically in The Faerie Queene (see 1. 1. 20) and which he then develops figuratively (see 1. 1. 21). 5. See Immanuel Kant, CritiqueofJudgement,trans. J. H. Bernard, 2d ed. rev. (London, 1931), par. 48, pp. 193-96. Kant remarks (after Aristotle) that the literary representation of an ugly or horrible object (a snake, a dragon, the infernal Furies, etc.) is deemed beautiful qua mimesis. But he excepts those words that excite sensations as if their object were present, unmediated by any sign, i.e., repulsive terms such as the image I am discussing: There is only one kind of ugliness [Hdsslichkeit]which cannot be represented in accordance with nature, without destroying all aesthetical satisfaction [asthetische Wohlgefallen]and consequently artificial beauty; viz. that which excites disgust [Ekel]. For in this peculiar sensation, which rests on mere imagination, the object is represented as it were obtruding itself for our enjoyment while we strive against it with all our might. And the artistic representation of the object is no longer distinguished from the nature of the object itself in our sensation, and thus it is impossible that it can be regarded as beautiful. [P. 195] 6. Winifred Nowottny, The Language Poets Use (London, 1962), p. 120. 7. Ibid. 8. Geoffrey H. Hartman, Criticismin the Wilderness:The Study of LiteratureToday (New Haven, Conn., 1980), pp. 120, 121. 9. Precisely because the enjambment affects compounds, the reader's lifelong habits, the whole weight of his linguistic competence, prevents him from expecting, let alone perceiving, the cuts. John Hollander, whose argument is similar to Hartman's (although it leads him to a different interpretation), sees William Carlos Williams' device as culminating an English tradition in the practice of enjambment, but the examples he cites all differ

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from those of Williams in that they exhibit devices that make the cut perceptible whether the reader sees or hears. Either a rhythmic pattern is identified, one with which the sentence pattern does not fit (e.g., his Thomas Campion, Ben Jonson, and Andrew Marvell examples), or the cut coincides with a recognizable rhyme sequence, the rhyming word occurring at the wrong place in the sentence (e.g., his Robert Herrick and Robert Frost examples, and his second Marvell passage) (see Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form [New York, 1975], pp. 107-11). 10. See Wallace Stevens, "Extracts from Addresses to the Academy of Fine Ideas," The CollectedPoems of Wallace Stevens (New York, 1969), p. 253. For Stevens, "glazed" alone suffices to epitomize the sterile, impoverishing aspects of aestheticism when the glaze is a cover-up for the bad and the good of real life ("The evilly compounded, vital I" ["The Poems of Our Climate," p. 253]): Let the secretary for Porcelain observe That evil made magic, as in catastrophe, If neatly glazed, becomes the same as the fruit Of an emperor, the egg-plant of a prince. The good is evil's last invention. Thus The maker of catastrophe invents the eye And through the eye equates ten thousand deaths With a single well-tempered apricot, or, say, An egg-plant of good air. [P. 253] "Glazed"functions here as the hyperbolic equivalent of "porcelain,"and "porcelain" as that of the objet d'art, in itself less a thing than the symbol of an attitude. Cf. Harold Bloom, Agon: Towardsa Theoryof Revisionism (New York, 1982), pp. 247-51. 11. See Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway(New York, 1925), pp. 34-35: "things ... huddled together in the darkness; reft of the relief which dawn brings when, washing the walls all is once more decked out to the eye." white and gray, spotting each windowpane,... 12. Williams, Spring and All (Columbus, Ohio, 1970), p. 18; all further references to this work will be included parenthetically in the text. It is not unusual to compare the starry canopy to a sable pavillion with light filtering through holes in it-a simile so stylized as to hardly require visualization. The almost pedestrian specificity of "pinholes," on the contrary, gives visual immediacy to the image. I omit from the quotation a first metaphor, "coronal of the black," since, as a rhetorical commentary on the realistic picture, it remains marginal to it and belongs to a different type of discourse. Indeed, "pinholes" and "coronal" are both figurative, but not equally so: "pinhole" is not perceived as such, whereas "coronal" is, because "pinhole" is everyday matter-of-fact parlance, while "coronal" belongs in the specialized beautifying discourse of literary convention. The first is closer to "tinsel," the second to "cornucopia." Note, however, that even Williams' borrowings from conventional rhetoric end up generating phrases that deflate the convention, thus approximating literalness: "great end" and "glass"bring the cornucopia close to being a utensil. Similarly, the following appositives develop "coronal," first, in the discourse of traditional allegory ("a crown for her head with / castles upon it"-the corona muralis of ancient goddesses) and then in the discourse of an American child's candy factory fantasy ("skyscrapers / filled with nutchocolates"), debunking the former. In short, the representation of the natural in terms of artifacts is a consistent feature. 13. Even though this appears four poems after the previous quotation, the representation presupposes the "coronal" discussed in n. 12. By making it the tin and cardboard crown of a child on Twelfth Night, the lowly material again de-conventionalizes the image and leaves only the artificiality of the artifact. A mock artifact is even farther from nature than an ordinary one. 14. This perception of the poem's meaning has no connection with what we might see if we knew the genesis of the poem (see Bram Dijkstra, TheHieroglyphics a New Speech: of Cubism,Stieglitz, and the Early Poetry of William Carlos Williams [Princeton, N.J., 1969], pp. 174-76). Williams' model is a collage by Juan Gris entitled Roses (1914), or rather a blackand-white photograph of it. The collage includes pictures of crockery, the proximity of

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which causes us to see a broken plate in a circumference. It also includes pictures of roses presumably from a gardener's catalog, some of them cut to fit the plate's edge, some with their petals extending beyond it. Readers, however, do not know this; only philologists do. In any case, my point is that outside sources only, not the text itself, can impart this knowledge, which therefore cannot and should not play any role in a natural reading of the poem. The verbal description of a pictorial collage is not necessarily perceived as a verbal collage unless there is a statement identifying it as such, since mentions of the materials used in the pictorial model tend to be understood as metaphors. An interpretation exclusively based on a natural reading-a reading recognizing the text's self-sufficiencywill have only two sets of represented objects to build with: a vegetable sequence ("rose" and its metonyms or synecdoches) and an artificial sequence used as an oxymoron to repeat, depict, and amplify the first. 15. Marcel Proust, Remembranceof Things Past, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff, 2 vols. (New York, 1934), 1:536; my emphasis. Cf. Edward S. Casey, "Literary Description and Phenomenological Method," Yale French Studies 61 (1981): 176-201. 16. That is, a word understood in two different ways at once; and by extension, a word understood in two different ways in the text in which it appears and in that text's intertext. 17. William Wordsworth, "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802," Poetical Works,ed. Thomas Hutchinson, rev. Ernest de Selincourt (Oxford, 1969), p. 214. 18. For the same words in a literary text, I distinguish between "meaning," when these words are decoded successively and separately and interpreted according to context and sociolect through their one-to-one relationship with their referents; and "significance," when these words are interpreted in accordance with the constants of the text as a whole, perceived globally and retroactively, through their relationship with structural invariants. 19. Carl Woodring (in an otherwise thoroughly convincing analysis), Wordsworth (Boston, 1965), p. 167; David Ferry, "Some Characteristics of Wordsworth's Style," in Wordsworth, ed. M. H. Abrams (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1972), pp. 43-44; and for the friend, see Woodring, Wordsworth, 166. p. 20. Cleanth Brooks, The Well WroughtUrn: Studies in the Structureof Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 5. 21. Spenser, "Ruines of Time," The Poetical Worksof Edmund Spenser, vol. 1, Spenser's Minor Poems (Oxford, 1910), p. 130, 1. 92; Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Lines Written among the Poetical Works PercyByssheShelley,ed. Hutchinson (London, Euganean Hills," The Complete of 1961), p. 554; and Robert Browning, "Luria,"The Poems and Plays of RobertBrowning, ed. Ernest Rhys, 2 vols. (1906; New York, 1911), vol. 2, 1844-1864, p. 166. 22. See William Blake, King Edward the Third, The CompleteWritings of William Blake, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (London, 1966), sc. 2, 11. 10-12, p. 19: "his golden London, / And her silver Thames, throng'd with shining spires / And corded ships"; and Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway: "he tripped through London, towards Westminster, observing" "looming houses, high houses, domed houses, churches, parliaments, and the hoot of a steamer on the river, a hollow misty cry" (pp. 249, 250). 23. Wordsworth, "Preface to the Second Edition of... LyricalBallads,"Poetical Works, p. 734. 24. Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit,ed. P. N. Furbank (Harmondsworth, 1968), bk. 13, chap. 35, p. 620; my emphasis. 25. Dickens, Bleak House, ed. George Ford and Sylvere Monod (New York, 1977), bk. 15, chap. 48, pp. 718-19. 26. Ford and Monod, eds., Bleak House, by Dickens, p. 584 n.6. 27. To recapitulate: words that can be both affirmed and negated ("edge," "smoke" in "smokeless")or simultaneously figurative and literal ("shepherds").These syllepses function somewhat like Sigmund Freud's Bahnung. Even if his concept remains unsubstantiated, we may use it as a metaphor here: Freud's word refers to the effect of repeated stimuli that, in the end, lessen the resistance to their being transmitted from one neuron to another (see, e.g., Beyondthe Pleasure Principle, The StandardEdition of the Complete PsychologicalWorks of Sigmund Freud, ed. and trans. James Strachey, 24 vols. [London, 1953-74], 18:26). Here, the fact that in usage some words are identified as equally apt in opposite and mutually exclusive contexts opens the way to an interchange between them.

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