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A Journal of Comparative and General Literary Studies
Number 22 Autumn 1996
A Feminine Difference?
New Comparison is published twice yearly (Spring and Autumn) by the BRITISH COMPARATIVE LITERATURE ASSOCIATION. Members of the BCLA receive New Comparison as part of their membership of the Association (see last page for details). The Journal is also available by subscription: Individuals: £ 14.00 p.a.; UK Institutions: £ 27.00 p.a.
EDITORS Leon Burnett
(Department of Literature, University of Essex)
(Department of German, University of Edinburgh)
(Department of English and American Literature, University of Salzburg)
(Department of Italian Studies, University of Lancaster)
Editorial Assistant Mary Mills (Department of Literature, University of Essex)
EDITORIAL BOARD Susan Bassnett, (Comparative Cultural Studies, Warwick) Theo Hermans (Dutch, University College, London) Philip Mosley (Comparative Literature, Pennsylvania State) Robert Pynsent (Slavonic and East European Studies, London) Brigitte Schultze (Slavonic Studies, Mainz) Alison Sharrock (Classics, Keele) Christopher Smith (Mod. Lang. and European History, East Anglia) Arthur Terry (Literature, Essex) Shirley Vinall (Italian, Reading) Peter Zima (Comparative Literature, Klagenfurt)
ADDRESSES FOR CORRESPONDENCE
Editorial and Administrative: Dr Leon Burnett, Department of Literature, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK. Email Burne@essex.ac.uk Diary: Mr Maurice Slawinski, Department of Italian Studies, Lonsdale College, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YN, UK. Email M.Slawinski@lancaster.ac.uk Production: Dr Howard Gaskill, Department of German, University of Edinburgh, David Hume Tower, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JX, UK. Email H.Gaskill@ed.ac.uk Reviews: Prof. Holger Klein, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Salzburg, Akademiestrasse 24, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria. Email Kleinhol@at.sbg.eduz
Copyright: the authors
Printed at the University of Essex
The British Comparative Literature Association:
A Journal of Comparative and General Literary Studies
Number 22: Autumn 1996
“A Feminine Difference” Edited by ELAINE JORDAN
ELAINE JORDAN Introduction: A Feminine Difference? ROBERT IGNATIUS LETELLIER Prophetic and Realistic Voices in the Writings of Margaret Cavendish and Madame de Lafayette M. A. SEABRA FERREIRA Alejandra Pizarnikís “Acerca de la Condesa Sangrienta” and Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love”: Transgression and the Politics of Victimization FRANCESCA COUNIHAN Shifting Sands: Gender and Identity in the Writing of Marguerite Yourcenar GINA WISKER Aboriginal Women’s Writing: Charting the Dreamtime
p. Hermetic Fictions. M. Literary Orientalism and Romanticism 95 122 139 Reviews DORIS DOHMEN. 157. K. p. Contributors to New COMPARISON 22 Diary Forthcoming BCLA Activities BCLA Publications Other Events of Interest to Comparatists 166 167 170 . PHILIP MOSLEY. E. Seecret Gardens R. D. ed. The Theater of Healing (Kenneth Payne). Das deutsche Irlandbild: Imagologische Untersuchungen zur Darstellung Irlands und der Iren in der deutschsprachigen Literatur (Heinz Kosok). p. Alchemy and Irony in the Modern Novel (Natalya Todd). KARAMPETSOS. WETHERILL Fantasy Cities. Georges Rodenbach: Critical Essays (Clive Scott). 159. DAVID MEAKIN. 161.. 163. BRITTON Civilization and Barbarism: A Reassessment of the Political and Cultural Debate in Modern Spanish American Thought and Literature ABDULLA AL-DABBAGH Orientalism. p.Articles P.
Elaine Jordan INTRODUCTION: A feminine difference? In what sense do women write as women. or in popularising scientific work. Italo Calvino. Jack Zipes. but also by the relative disappearance of significant women writers (apart from George Sand. in translating. for example in pious writing. but women’s work as singers of songs and tellers of tales has been richly recognised in editing. “The Storyteller”. or the novels of Austen. for example. We should not forget the significance of women in passing on culture orally. which thinks only of the seafarer and artisan. and how far particular circumstances determined the emergence of women as writers. Consideration of when. for example Lady Murasaki’s Tale of Genji in Heian Japan (794-1186). or George Eliot in nineteenth-century England. not only by the use of the terms ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ in psychoanalytic writing. or merely within the terms of patriarchy. and as writing in particular ways. and does that make a difference? My plan was to devote a whole issue of this journal to writing by women. as in eighteenth-century Europe. Particular roles have been significant. who was so exciting to English women poets and novelists) in nineteenth- . Marina Warner. in the 1970s. anthologies and scholarly work by. the Brontes . to consider the different cultural and historical conditions in which it has become significant. Angela Carter. how far was that affected. about the possibility of an ‘écriture feminine’ and claimed that women had hitherto written as men. or writing about social problems. When Hélene Cixous first wrote. Their role as tellers of folk and fairy tales was sadly forgotten by Walter Benjamin in his essay in Illuminations. Some writing by women has become central to a literary canon. where and how women have emerged as significant writers is a necessary kind of comparative study if we are to address the question of whether there is a specific femininity in writing (and if so would it be exclusive to women?).
(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. though fewer and less wide-ranging than I might have wished. when she claimed that hitherto women had written “as men”? Colette wanting to be richly and perversely feminine in a way men (and women) would find warm and stimulating. or what character and quality in the writing. and Anglophone “modern” contexts. 4 Jordan: A Feminine Difference? century France? 1 As George Eliot noted. ed. 1:2 (Autumn 1976). What of Catholic women scholars and writers.. in discussing the different pleas made on behalf of men and of women condemned for homicide. 1968). recalled the earlier tales of Marguerite of Navarre. 320-325 “Women in France: Madam de Sablé”. in La Princesse de Cleves (1678). and Mme de Lafayette. pp. with some emphasis on black women writers of the US. 7:1 (Autumn 1981). NATALIE ZEMON DAVIS uses Marguerite’s tales for comparison. Brazilian. in the pre-modern and New Worlds. in Essays of George Eliot. ed. and the lack of any common understanding of what I was asking for: an exploration of what conditions. 2 1 .New Comparison 22: p. made certain women “figure” as writers. 2 Eliot clearly thought the cultural balance between English and French women writers was quite other than it now appears: writing by French women didn’t become nationally and internationally important again until the odd couple of Colette and Simone de Beauvoir in the twentieth century. translated in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. but putting herself and other women second: one seductive. and “Castration or Decapitation”. Persian. but from a comparative and larger perspective are over-studied at the expense of other work – so it appears to me. 1987). The reference to Marguerite of Navarre is in Part 2 of La Princesse de Cleves. 52-81. in different places. in Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales in Sixteenth-Century France (Stanford University Press. Selections from both in Feminist Theory: A Reader. women had been important in French literature from the seventeenth century at least. Protestant. They deserve study. Indian. at different times. will draw more answers to New See HÉLENE CIXOUS. from Hildegard von Bingen to Sor Juana de la Cruz? And what of other cultures than those with which my education has made me most familiar? I hoped to use Arab. Thomas Pinney. My hope is that the articles I have been able to bring together in this section. during the dauphine’s conversation with the princess about Anne Boleyn. and comparatively. And elsewhere. in Signs. but was disappointed in the range of work I received (as well as what did not arrive!). “The Laugh of the Medusa”. and many more examples here. what? Women writing in Northern European. pp. are possibly the most studied cases. Beauvoir wanting a position in the line of critical and truth-telling philosophes. and countries such as the US. 1996). Mary Eagleton (Oxford: Blackwell. 2nd ed. Maybe Cixous was merely responding to the different qualities and limitations of Colette and Beauvoir. It would be interesting to know more about other instances and situations. in their own right. one rivalrous? The situation was rather different in England.
the qualities and the politics? What do we mean when we speak of the feminine and the masculine. and not just European or North American. their mixing or transcendence. Italian Women’s Writing 1860-1994 (1995). Undoubtedly Mary Wollstonecraft. Australia. range for comparative thinking and understanding. but I wanted to set up this issue or section in order to be better informed. Meiji (1868-1912). more diverse. on Jewish women writers. Forthcoming are Swedish Women’s Writing 1850-1995 by Helena Forsas-Scott. French Women’s Writing 1848-1994 (1996). and modernist poets such as T. A. 3 But this is European and modern in emphasis (“from the beginnings of the major struggle for emancipation until the present day”. All published from London by the Athlone Press. and Portugal. and the resistance from classicists to her work in “introducing free verse to Arabic poetry” (influenced by English Romantics. 1992).(or early) modern. Yuko Hamamoto. Ireland. but the currently interesting comparisons must be pre. 5 For this introduction I have also drawn on work by an MA student. and Kuwait) – suggests further possibilities in comparative and cross-cultural study. as well as modern. because of translation difficulties. England and France who range from the more to the less privileged. the psyches. on Native American and Chicana women in the US. How far back can we go? Or forward? How different are the conditions.Jordan: A Feminine Difference? New Comparison 22: p. and appreciated? In this section we have contributors from England. were important for feminist writing. corrective and antagonistic argument also. DIANA HOLMES. and Ibsen’s Nora. and to have a richer.H. France. in writing? Are they all outdated categories? How differently have they been. and volumes on Spanish writing by Catherine Davies and on German writing by Chris Weedon and Franziska Meyer. while teaching in Baghdad. 5 Comparison – maybe critical. 4 These are samples of how rich this set of questions can be for comparative studies. and Farzaneh Milani discusses “the emerging voices of Iranian women writers” in Veils and Words. or “the queer”. Veils and words (Syracuse University Press. and Taisho (1912Already in print are JANET GARTON’S own Norwegian Women’s Writing 18501990 (1993). SHARON WOOD. as well as in Europe. but the topic of this article – the experimental modernist poetry of Nazik Al-Malaikah. thinking and practice from Turkey to Japan . I was unable to include an article from Dr Elham Al Bassam in Kuwait. as the advertising material announces).S. 4 5 3 FARZETH MILANI. 1985) . Al Mhana (Kuwait: Shareekt Al-Rabaeeain Lil-Nashr Wal-Tawzeea. ed.Eliot. or is in progress. Much work exists. inflected. can they be. Basra. The interest of the topic is indicated by Janet Garton’s “Women in Context” series. on Japanese women writers of the Heian (794-1186). discussing writers from Argentina. Nazik Al-Malaikah.
by Izumi Shikubu. often resistant to imperialism. no female solidarity there! Similarly. in ways not entirely official. Tuttle and Co. 1981). along with more directly political writing. she lacked that régime.. Ono no Komachi. IVAN MORRIS. This appreciative hybrid or pastiche uses some characteristics and circumstances of Heian writing to explore modern women’s desire. and The Tale of Genji (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. or Sino-Japanese. diaries and poetry of great interest and recognised distinction: by Murasaki Shikubu. and perhaps to its overt eroticism. and also more bourgeois and popular cultural forms. and Sei Shonagon. was mocked for errors in Greek translation which would not have been made by a grammar school boy. distinct from the Chinese.. The Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature (Princeton University Press. Japanese Poetic Diaries (Berkeley: University of California Press. joining the classically poetic with the pornography so prevalent in modern For translations and studies in English see EARL MINER. Its pretence of being an edited translation convinced the acceptance committee for the Booker Prize: they refused it. The encouragement to women to show their skills and sophistication within the gendered sexual politics of the court. 6 Murasaki and Sei Shonagon also read and wrote Chinese (prefiguring nineteenth-century Englishwomen who sought the scholarly credentials denied them by lack of grammar school. 6 . produced narrative fictions. The Gossamer Years (Tokyo: Charles E. being privately tutored. the customs of the Japanese court in marital and other sexual relations positively encouraged writing by women. An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry (Stanford University Press. Sugawara Takasue no Musume. 1987). as a translation not an original work of fiction. priests and officials. a feminine writing which preserved the native spoken language. lack of self-esteem.. who translated Aeschylus. In the Heian period of aristocratic culture. 1969). of scholars. 1911-16). Japanese readers may well object to its anachronistic fictionality. in a ‘woman’s hand’ . The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagan (Oxford University Press. 1968). by Fujiwara Michitsuna no Haha (her “Gossamer Diary” was one of the earliest in this form). public school. and rivalry.New Comparison 22: p. such as Hiratsuka Raicho’s magazine Seito (‘Bluestockings’. their intimate passion was revived by Yosano Akiko in the Meiji era. Classical Heian writing has produced modern imitations such as the Scottish writer Alison Fell’s The Pillow Boy of the Lady Onogoro (1994). trans. 1967). in association with various groups and movements. and university education). EDWARD SEIDENSTICKER. trans. 6 Jordan: A Feminine Difference? 1926) periods. Although this wave of Japanese women writers was later overwhelmed by more warlike. 1985). Murasaki was acid about Sei Shonagon presumptuously scattering abroad her imperfect writing in Chinese. Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
in this war. 1994). goes on to speak of the brother’s expected succession to the family business: war is not his business. Mother. which had been prevalent in the Edo period (1603-1868). This time had her son called up… 8 The first essay in this section on feminine difference in writing is on the work of Margaret Cavendish and Madame de Lafayette. For a translation of YOSANI AKIKO. quoted in Yuko Hamamoto’s translation. Midaregami (“Tangled Hair”. Have they raised you to tell you that For a good twenty-four years? This loving and indignant poem. fighting in the Russo-Japanese war. like the Japanese women. and studies two writers who are vastly different in the character of their writing (Cavendish exuberantly 7 ALISON FELL. 1987). 1901) passionately and skilfully articulates her desires and disappointments. 7 Is its “in-between” character postmodern or feminist? Or feminine? Or an improper appropriation? Yosano Akiko’s work in Meiji Japan resisted the role of women as passive objects and entertainments for men. in ‘Descendants of the Sun Goddess: The Literary Roots of Japanese Feminism’ (University of Essex: MA dissertation. do not die! Born youngest. Midaregami see Tangled Hair. also resonates with later feminist protests against imperial and military dominance: I am crying for you you. Dr Letellier contrasts the political and cultural contexts in England and France in 1660-1685.32. Her 1904 poem to her younger brother. Indeed he had promised peace to the grey-haired mother: Oh brother. in this time of mourning. Tuttle and Co.Jordan: A Feminine Difference? New Comparison 22: p. p.. 8 . Sanford Goldstein and Shinoda Seishi (Rutland.Vermont and Tokyo: Charles E. You. do not die! Last autumn saw our father’s death. Her first collection of poems. trans. New translation by YUKO HAMAMOTO. The Pillow Boy of the Lady Onogoro ( London: Serpent’s Tail. 7 Japan. 1996). Most loved by parents – With a sword in your hand To kill people and die. they are writing from and for an aristocratic or high bourgeois society. nor is the Emperor’s engagement in this war a personal activity.
in ways of thinking and writing. at times posthumously (Damaris Cudworth. con-artists like the “German Princess” Mary Carleton. who plays a central role in French literary history and thought. in a way which prefigures the work of Virginia Woolf on sexed identities and their transcendence. prophets like Anna Trapnel. Lack of education and writing skills was important to prophets who inveighed against corrupt university learning: they were empty vessels through which the voice of God could speak. Lady Masham. or feminist.New Comparison 22: p.. in these writings – sometimes dictated to. and sometimes even more adventurous. as well as writers of Protestant confessions. This anthology puts Cavendish’s writing in relation to writing by lower middle-class. Nevertheless he shows how both are concerned with asserting intellectual freedom. what they said was “The Cry of a Stone”. in comparison to Margaret Her Own Life: Autobiographical Writings by Seventeenth-Century Englishwomen. The Rise of the Novel. and with enabling women. ed. p. . she wrote. Lafayette working within the chaste limitations of neoclassicism) and in the esteem in which they are held in their national cultures. Chatto and Windus: 1957). The introduction to the anthology interestingly discusses what is feminine. 1989). or context-and-discourse-bound. ed. or. in the evocative title of one of Anna Trapnel’s works. in La Princesse de Cleves and other works. Elaine Hobby and Helen Wilcox (London and NY: Routledge. it seemed that the qualification for a lady writer was to be dead). and suggestive about gendered styles. This critical anthology reprints Cavendish’s “True Relation of My Life”. 10 9 IAN WATT. discussing the fertile and the barren. ministers. 9 There has been more critical and theoretical interest in Dr Letellier’s other author. 8 Jordan: A Feminine Difference? demanding. not included here. (London. while deploying the currently understandable conventions. Hilary Hinds. which was printed with Nature’s Pictures (1656) but withdrawn from the second edition in 1671. Miller has argued that La Princesse de Cleves is a protest against the existing stories that can be told about women. Nancy K. Elspeth Graham et al. This is a poignantly simple correlative to her more fantastic and scientific work. 10 From a feminist perspective. women: Quaker missionaries. and military ordering. 30. Elspeth Graham. and both Joan DeJean and Anne Green have discussed how Lafayette played the contemporary game of anonymous and questionable authorship. did not want to publish because. His references for Cavendish could be supplemented by the discussion of her life and work in Her Own Life: Autobiographical Writings by Seventeenth-Century Englishwomen. Madame de Lafayette. The style distinctive to Madame de Lafayette is knowing and ironically discreet. and managed by. but was exiled from Ian Watt’s account of the “rise of the novel” for being “too stylish to be authentic”.
ANNE GREEN.98-99 . second wife to the Lord Marquis of Newcastle. that ‘tis no purpose to the readers but it is to the authoress. why hath this lady writ her own life? Since none cares to know whose daughter she was. Likely Stories (University of Essex: Working Papers of the Centre for Theoretical Studies I. both men and women. Madame de Lafayette’s most famous novel or récit calls in question the stories that can be told about women. the way its argument moves. falls. rises. not theirs.. which rewrote Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre from the perspective of the rejected Creole wife. neither did I intend this piece for to delight. It would be a mistake to think of it as historical rather than literary in its import and interest. 87-97. But I verily believe some censuring readers will scornfully say. and I know no reason I may not do it as well as they. suffering and affectionate mother. I might easily have been mistaken. 12 The final paragraph of the Duchess of Newcastle’s “True Relation of my Birth. 1981. Baudelaire and Colette. 884-902. against familiar stories and images. not to please the fancy. Miller argued. or how she was bred. ed. Lest after-ages should mistake. 339-360. and. and famous literary figures from Shakespeare and Defoe to Poe. PMLA 99:5. are Angela Carter’s rewritings of folk and fairy stories. Margaret Cavendish also eulogises her heroic. 9 Cavendish’s extravagant utopianism. Virago: 1986). 11 But I hope my readers will not think me vain for writing my life. cit. Elaine Showalter (London. and also reject the world. but to divulge. as Caesar. 1990). “Emphasis Added: Plots and Plausibilities”. in The Body and the Text. Helen Wilcox et al. with Jansenist religion: do what is socio-politically necessary for the glory of our family. This “revisionary writing” can be connected to more modern or “postmodern” writing: a famous example is Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). 12 11 Her Own Life. 1984 pp. See also Joan DeJean’s “Lafayette’s Ellipses: The Privileges of Anonymity”. Ovid and many more. my lord having had two wives.Jordan: A Feminine Difference? New Comparison 22: p. quite contrarily. reprinted in The New Feminist Criticism. June 1994). MILLER. ed. pp. Breeding and Life” is equal to the finest moments of literature. in its affirmation and its poignancy. since there have been many that have done the like. ELAINE JORDAN. at the time of the English Civil War or Revolution. Other examples of this beginningagain. “Ambiguous Anonymity”. both naively local and universalisable. or whose wife she is. or how she lived. but effectively raises the question of authorial power. but to tell the truth. especially if I should die and my lord marry again. for. because I write it for my own sake. PMLA 96. pp. (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. whereas the guidance given to the fictional Princess of Cleves by her mother is utterly complicit with court politics. in not knowing I was daughter to one Master Lucas of St John’s near Colchester in Essex. As Nancy K. in The Bloody Chamber (1979) and NANCY K. or what humour or disposition she was of? I answer that it is true. pp. or what fortunes she had.
discussed here by Dr Seabra Ferreira in comparison to the work of the Argentinian writer Alejandra Pizarnik. perverse or monstrous may offer subversions of the existing orders of gender and sexuality. and the positive or negative sense of new possibilities. but nevertheless captivating – which is exposed. but how they are read.New Comparison 22: p. among other things. 13 . capable of human life and love). in recent films and fiction (for example the professional woman as atavistically desirous and dangerous. and alternatives. and feminist identities of her co-heroines. Janet. the cyclist who innocently sucked her blood seemed to be free of it all. (depending on whether you take her as scriptural or US) first emerges in Part II. The Female Man (NY: Bantam Books. are discussed by Dr Seabra Ferreira in relation to the emergence of the horrific. whereas Carter wants to redeem her image of the “femme fatale” from ancestrally-imposed lust (her death proves her mortal. to represent a really frightening female. feminine. p. In her experimental fiction the vampire lady got free of having to figure as the femme fatale by dying. or monstrously grotesque. dogmatically or sentimentally ideologised. and both choose the bloodlust of the aristocratic female vampire. 19. 95. Is it written entirely in blood? No. in Carter’s story – he didn’t become a vampire. 10 Jordan: A Feminine Difference? Black Venus (1985). however sadly.However. or mass-murderess. and what interests they JOANNA RUSS. or J. Jeannine and Joanna. I. as in Fatal Attraction). only he redeemed the young lady from having to be one and then went on to become a victim of the black rose he couldn’t bear to throw away. therefore. 1975. but not quite. Pizarnick’s story seems closer to the ambitions of the feminist science fiction writer Joanna Russ. see also Part II. or perverse. a monster not a victim: This book is written in blood. and in the end challenges the female. London: Women’s Press: 1985). some of it is written in tears. but is probably included in Jael. L.. Judith could be another name to bring to bear from the Hebrew and European tradition. One of these is “The Lady of the House of Love” (1979). in the writing of Pizarnik and Carter. I disagree with her about the young Briton on the bicycle. woman. As so often in Carter’s writing. p. The steel-clawed female ghoul Jael. Are the blood and tears all mine? 13 Unease in relation to traditional and modern cultures (which can be placed in too simple an opposition). as the topic of their stories.Pizarnick and Carter were both strongly influenced by the surrealist movement in France. it is the cultural captivation serving imperial and totalising political power – excessively rationalised. the bloody blossom of a European culture which combined militarism and romanticism. The grotesque. writing her story about monsters and victims a decade earlier. who wanted.
the Aga-Saga characteristically presents a mild outbreak by the wife and mother. as well as more conservative positions. discussed in Francesca Counihan’s essay.Jordan: A Feminine Difference? New Comparison 22: p. including Marguerite Yourcenar. pp. she explained why she did not make women her central characters by saying that their lives had been too limited to cope with a full range of Recent fascination with vampires in lesbian and queer theory and criticism is exemplified in SUE-ELLEN CASE. which Dr Seabra Ferreira mentions. 11 are made to serve. unlike Mills and Boon or Harlequin romances. “Tracking the Vampire”. given the modern English success of Joanna Trollope and the “Aga-Saga” novel: a bit more classy than women’s romance. of lesbian feminism. Considered worthy of literary review. 15 Francesca Counihan acknowledges Yourcenar (1903-87) as wanting to belong to the writers who. 1989). The film of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Brite. Yourcenar’s female characters are as stereotyped as those produced by male writers: her perfect woman is “passive out of wisdom and not out of weakness”. in their writing at least. 14 There have been many women writers who did not want to be perceived as writers who were specifically women. though unlike Beauvoir and Stead – who preferred eating and entertaining in restaurants. any more than an object. 48-54. can differ. See also the fiction of Pat Califia and Poppy Z. For the construction of women as writers and readers in England between 1690 and 1760 (through a distinct invitation of “readers’ letters”. we thought they were boring.” It’s easy to understand that attitude. and gay or queer theory. said “Of course we didn’t want to be with the women. Angela Carter for one preferred to “walk on the wild side”. Other examples from the early to mid-twentieth century include Simone de Beauvoir and the Australian Christina Stead (a great writer still insufficiently recognised). it is even a bit misogynist. On another tack. In an unrecorded conversation a year before her death the Marxist literary critic and scholar. unthinking and violent woman “can’t be persuaded. pp. Margot Heinemann. for example from the perspectives of feminist but heterosexual desire. and living in hotels – she could cook and didn’t mind giving her recipe for potato soup – which she didn’t think so very different from trying to say how you wrote your sort of story. a cooking and heating system. who then returns to be better appreciated.1-20. The Aga-Saga is discussed by Deborah Philips in Women: A Cultural Review 7:1 (Spring 1996). from much the same generation. a tool or a weapon could be persuaded”. 15 14 . and contributions which have led on to “Women’s Pages” in modern newspapers) see KATHRYN SHEVELOW. transcend their particular embodiment and socialisation as women. Women and Print Culture: the construction of femininity in the early periodical (London and NY: Routledge. The Aga is a kind of oven. which is an object of envy in glossy magazines about fashion and homes. We wanted to be with the boys. her instinctual. in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 3:2 (1991). is however more homophilically gay than feminist. the ones who were really writing and thinking and doing things.
show “feminine” characteristics. 12 Jordan: A Feminine Difference? activities. or masculine. Counihan argues that. and boys have been known to read women’s magazines. 16 See KATE FLINT. the address to male or female readers. whether or not it derives from a feminine psyche.Paradoxically. she was uneasy at being asked what contemporary women writers she read. but said that she enjoyed reading Yourcenar. Counihan suggests that Yourcenar’s way of writing is doubtful about subjective identity. B. or else heroically or badly immune to rational argument. may be evidenced in Yourcenar’s identification with men. Yourcenar’s writing. practice. Indeed the distinction between reading for girls and boys. writing. and waves – the subject explicated as a resistance to the unified individual of Enlightened Western thought. Counihan notes the widely divergent positions of Yourcenar and of the influential French feminist theorist Luce Irigaray. whereas Cixous’ tendency may be more therapeutic (more addressed to writing out the violence and oppresion women encounter. The Woman Reader 1837-1914 (Oxford University Press. may have been created. and felt herself to be a special case (as did George Eliot and E. nevertheless.She relates this to feminist theories about women having less sense of a separate autonomous individuality than men. or at least as “his” failure – has been claimed as the feminist writing position. Men can transcend their human embodiment. All these assertions can be found in Counihan’s account of Yourcenar’s writings and interviews. with whom (the emperor Hadrian in particular) she identifies. Curiously enough. postmodernist. and they may be passive because they are wise or because they are inexperienced in significant areas such as politics and war. . Browning). But it has also been claimed for modernist. 1993).New Comparison 22: p. this quality. by publishers at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries). and especially her male characters. specifically as women).1990). I’m sure we need to go on thinking (comparatively) about how they influence previous writing.This raises the whole question of what a feminine. and violently imposed power. especially the problem pages. women can rarely do so. Women are wise. or lack. Many women enjoy “boy’s stories”. 16 Whether or not we want to go on thinking and writing in these terms. lesbian. when Luce Irigaray was asked (in an unrecorded conversation c. The fragmented subject on shifting sands. black. in detective fiction the honours are about equal. in England. I took this to mean that she liked writing by a woman that assumed knowledge and power. or cowboy stories. She attached herself more to her father’s gender than she did to her mother’s. but also notes some convergence. or subjectivity might be – as a matter of the writing and reading subject rather than the obvious generic oppositions of women’s romances and spy thrillers. their gender. and that this doubt is represented in her male characters. and distancing of herself from women.
Women: A Cultural Review 7:1 (1996). and how writing from these may be received. and can it be claimed for an exclusively feminist politics. sums up the dilemma [. 66-77. This could seem ungrateful and contradictory. first and foremost. pp. 17 This. quite generally. 13 gay.. A comparable case is that of Asian women writers in Britain. “Contemporary British Asian Women’s Writing: Social Movement or Literary Tradition?”. considered alongside manifest disadvantaging of women and femininity. or feminine cultural practice? Margaret Cavendish wrote her “True Relation” (1656) to affirm her own particular existence. places. creatively or to a formula. Mid. as writers. So is it a “feminine” subjectivity. There are certainly differences in the way women have come to reading and writing. she replied. June Jordan. and histories.. queer. A workshop was funded by the Greater London Council. and postcolonial cultural practice. look now? In MIRIAM TICKTIN. returns us to the question of what we are looking for when we read and criticise and judge. A successful writer thus enabled. but when another member of this collective was asked if she thought British Asian women writers would ever be looked at. or not to one generally recognised in the 1990s.]: “when we get the monsters off our backs all of us may want to run in very different directions”. which also discusses the difficulty of finding writing by those who do not belong to a central tradition. and produced an anthology in 1988. Leena Dhingra. they will always be looked at as Asian or as women first’. This is the topic of Gina Wisker’s essay on writing by women of aboriginal Australian origin. together with Gina Wisker’s essay. and these are complicatedly mixed with masculinity in psyches. while caught within the conventions of her time and class.to late-twentieth century writers of “new literatures” (or “post” colonial literatures) are more explicitly caughtup in the politics of individual and community identities. later expressed her bitterness at having to be labelled “Asian woman”. What are the relations between what is recognised as distinguished in a literary way. a black American poet and essayist. and what we are trying to do when we write.Jordan: A Feminine Difference? New Comparison 22: p. or committed more to community culture than to any individual achievement? And how does the question of a particular feminine difference. ‘not in my lifetime. This is true as long as their works remain focused explicitly on negotiating ethnic [or sexed/gendered?] identity. 17 . and writing whose interest may be primarily socio-historical.
2 Both events were to usher in periods of consolidation and brilliance in their respective countries. King Charles II (London: Longman. H. Louis XIV (London: Victor Gollancz. rev. 3 After A sympathetic vindication of Charles II is provided by Sir ARTHUR BRYANT. marking the end of twenty years of interregnum when Parliament.Robert Ignatius Letellier PROPHETIC AND REALISTIC VOICES IN THE WRITINGS OF MARGARET CAVENDISH AND MADAME DE LAFAYETTE The period 1660-1685 was one of extraordinary stimulus and excitement in the histories of England and France.. The Historical Association. Cardinal Mazarin. "Charles II". trans. 1806). Written by Himself and Addressed to His Son. Green & Co. D. who had run France during Louis's minor years. marking a highpoint in the history of European culture. ed. Memoirs of Lewis the Fourteenth. 1970) and JOHN B. Louis XIV (1965. See also K. Eng. On 25 May 1660 Charles Stuart reclaimed the Crown of England.. For an understanding of the psychology of LOUIS XIV.. periods in which a new sense of national identity would stimulate fresh artistic impulses in a resurgence of social and cultural dynamism. trans. There are many French editions of this work. These assumptions of royal power were to mean radically different things in both countries. See PHILIPPE ERLANGER.. Lords and Church in the Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell. the young Louis XIV assumed full control of his Kingdom in France following the death of his great minister. 1968). 1 Less than a year later. General Series 63 (1966). on 10 March 1661. 2 vols. nothing can surpass his own Mémoires (Eng. vanquishing the alliance of nobles and the Paris Parlement during the years of the Fronde (1648-1653). WOLF. 1955). London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. HADLEY. Puritanism and republicanism had consolidated their victory over Crown. In England the restoration of the Stuart family did not mean the resumption of full royal prerogative: the short-lived hegemony of Parliament had nontheless meant the effective curtailment of royal power. and in spite of the challenge 3 2 1 .
humiliation. or object against any other person any name or names. liberty of conscience and equitable settlement of land disputes. with Versailles as its enduring symbol. In France it was different: Louis's assumption of power was the King's personal triumph over Paris. Anyone who “shall presume maliciously to call or allege. legislation placed strict limits on the press and public assembly. 1970). 1603-1714 (Folkestone: Dawson. France found a new sense of identity in the person of the young king: the poverty. the unconditional nature of the settlement that eventually took shape between 1660 and 1662 owed little to Charles's intervention. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 became the tragic expression of the negative effects of such power: France as a consequence lost some of its most valuable citizens in a calamitous corruption of power which would find its logical demise in 1789. was irresistibly set in motion. the nobility and the common people. However. His own concept of a dictatorship by divine right was his original perception leading to the consolidation of Absolutism. 1980).] be put to utter oblivion”. He was bound by the concessions his father had made in 1640 and 1641. 1979). London came to life again in the glitter and wit of the Restoration stage and the music of Purcell. 5 4 . which would be consolidated in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette New Comparison 22: p. Seventeenth-Century Britain.. The King's independence was subjected to irksome limitations. cold and hunger of Louis' youth were transfigured in the splendour of the Sun King's court where Racine. 15 the dark days of Puritan repression of the theatre. 4 The role of the arts in this brilliant age is a sign of contradiction in many ways since it represented a voice of freedom which was not expressed in the politics of either country. and throughout his reign the House of Commons was to thwart the more generous impulses of his religious policy. Charles II saw himself as a liberator. A popularized but well-researched treatment of Le Grand Siècle is provided by PIERRE GOUBERT. Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen (London: Allen Lane. the process of constitutionalism. Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. or other words of reproach tending to revive the memory of the late differences or the occasions thereof” would be punished by fines.. and in many ways certainly was. and the 1662 Act of Uniformity created controls over education. Molière and Lully held artistic sway. and the Parliament elected in 1661 was determined on an uncompromising Anglican and Royal settlement. After the political severity of Mazarin's rule. and ANTONIA FRASER. His efforts to extend religious toleration to his Non-Conformist and Roman Catholic subjects were sharply rebuffed in 1663. 5 But in spite of the euphoria of the new liberty. Already in April 1660 Charles had issued his Declaration of Breda in which he expressed his personal desire for a general amnesty. See JOHN MORRILL. As usual in government of James II after Charles II's death in 1685. The Act of Indemnity and Oblivion attempted to force a political unity so that “all names and terms of distinction may [. Indeed it ironically seemed as though freedom itself had become the target of enforcement.
1689). See G. For a survey of the wider effects of Louis's policies in regional France. ceasing after 1680 when the increasing austerity of Louis's religious outlook and growing financial restraints made life less brilliant. VII. Absolutism and Society in Seventeenth-Century France: State Power and Provincial Aristocracy in Languedoc (Cambridge University Press. a stringent police censorship. 134 and E. LAVISSE . This system of privilege. 1988). 4th ed. 1. La Monarchie d'ancien règime en France (Paris: Librairie Armand Colin. The tone was established by Charles himself who declared that “God will never damn a man for allowing himself a little pleasure”. PAGÈS. coupled with the restriction on the number of printers. Histoire de l'imprimerie et de la librairie (Paris: Jean de la Caille. for which the Court of Versailles set the See NIGEL SMITH.). Soon after he assumed power. Colbert proposed that the King should grant pensions to a number of men of letters. Finally he was able to conclude his reign in the kind of tranquil prosperity he always sought. that contributed more to the stability of his reign than was lost by his shifty insincerity and its effects on society. Censorship under Louis XIV. of course. 9 vols (Paris: Librairie Hachette. In the end though it was his relaxed tolerance. p. MACPHERSON. D. This was. as a whole new world of pleasure. intrigue and licence was opened to the public. P. especially in religious matters. 1640-1660 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press. the legislation did not work.New Comparison 22: p. 1946. p. he claimed his share and produced fourteen illegitimate children for a string of mistresses. 7 These annual awards continued for about twenty years and coincided therefore with the period of Louis's greatest political and artistic prestige. and curbs on the importation of foreign publications. 1866). Louis' accession to power had important consequences for personal liberty. which were relentlessly sustained. the first being made in 1662. In France. Histoire de France depuis les origines jusqu'à la Révolution. part of his general policy for the establishment of order and for unifying France under himself as absolute monarch. Librairies Éditeurs. partly because it was rarely enforced. CLÉMENT. bear an obvious relation to the spread of a desire for freedom of thought. La Police sous Louis XIV (Paris: Didier et Cie. DE LA CAILLE. 1903). See J. see William Beik. vol. 16 Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette attempts to regulate language. 1929). p. pp. Literature and Revolution in England. 8 7 6 . 6. and H. 6 Only on the stages of the newly restored playhouses would there be an expression of new freedom from restraint. Attempts by the Church and Government to control public opinion.i. 1661-1715 (New York. made it more difficult to get books published. 1994). and most especially for writers. 267-274. and writers were naturally careful to avoid saying anything which would jeopardize their possibility of publication. 8 Greater political stability and the enjoyment of social life. still the recognized authority on French and international matters of the period of Louis XIV.
pamphlets. Generic interaction became the literary counterpart of social and political difference. NY: Cornell UP. or an information revolution. 11 Whereas in France censorship. the Lords. romance) perfectly mirrored the great themes of the Civil War and the Commonwealth – liberty. 6. Genre has the capacity for transformation as well as representation. More generally. so intellectual obedience became more and more burdensome. however.had all been called into question and had crumbled in a seething exchange and clash of ideas. and the means for comprehending that change. as a direct consequence of the 1640's with its attendant political upheaval. Catholicism was accepted as the established and socially approved religion. Never before had the active potential of a text been more evident in its capacity to affect a reader. broadsheets. Both James I and Charles I had attempted to control or stifle the expansion of communications in the 1620-1630's. So how did these political situations influence the particular literary backgrounds of the period 1660-1680 in England and France? The consequences of the Civil War and Commonwealth were to have deeply significant effects on the literature of England. 16491689 (Ithaca. The very established structures of the external world . NIGEL SMITH. 1993). ZWICKER. 10 Genres and forms (letters. As the regime grew stricter. the Church . In the mid-17th century literature underwent a series of revolutions in genre and form. Louis's policy for the control of literature may have contributed to this sense of social unity and the discouragement of dispute. authority. or literature played such an important role in public affairs. consult STEVEN N. But the network of communications had provided an incentive to moral and political debates. helped to turn minds away from controversy.Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette New Comparison 22: p. The possibilities of literary production went right down the social scale. but not in the long-term. 9 The everpresent control. and helped to define the parameters of public debate. especially if this involved criticism of the regime. resulted in even Religious speculation. 17 example. the nature of change. so that even the poorest suddenly had the possibility of authorship. Literature itself was at the heart of this crisis: never before had so much been written or published. was best left alone. had other far-reaching results which quite offset any immediate benefits to Louis and the Church: it encouraged ill-feeling against authority and would eventually lead to direct rebellion. epic. and tight control of the import of literature. deliverance – giving them an intellectual role in the social process. leading only to dispute. Lines of Authority: Politics and English Literary Culture. restrictions on publishing. satire. freedom.the Crown. tyranny. lyrics. and had posited a fight over communications and authority which would be disputed until the end of the century. The English Revolution in fact extended the possession of words even more thoroughly than it redistributed property. p. sermons. even stimulating action or resulting in social transformation. Literature and Revolution cit. salvation. 11 10 9 . It was a war of words.
Richardson. Changes were not so evident in the structures of society as in modes of thought. was confined to a small number of persons. 38-54. MALO. less complex in the role played by genres and forms in the emergence of social change. 1990). 18 Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette more oppressive attempts at limiting literary freedom. 1948).New Comparison 22: p. Between 1640 and 1740 instability in social categories had its repercussions in generic instability which ultimately resulted in the rise of the novel in consolidation of growing middle-class economic pre-eminence. for example. ridicule of the Christian articles of faith were characteristic. shared by groups centred. Instability. This restiveness under restraint. a general restiveness of the mind. p. H. 14 The mental milieu in which these new ideas took shape and were communicated were loosely known as libertinage. to defy the laws of the Church. and to become intellectually and morally a law unto his. profession of epicurianism and fatalism. This type of dissent found expression in new ideas. in the 17th century libertinage meant primarily a desire to be free from authority. As the King's control became more and more strict. La pensée religieuse française de Charron à Pascal (Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Libertinage could mean the refusal of obedience to political and social as well as religious laws. Politically the situation was the converse of England's: far from moving into new forms and expressions of constitutionalism. 1660-1668 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 13 and the salons held by the members of the Mancini family. BUSSON. 15 It was fundamentally an indocilité. and as moral standards declined. Vrins. pp. Cf. Les Salons littéraires et la société française 1610-1789 (New York: Brentano's. in England large scale social transformation had a dynamic literary consequence. the situation was less dramatic. were becoming separated in men's thoughts. this desire for revolt. confined as See IAN WATT. 20. Where religious belief was not ridiculed. 1976). The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe. While this might have taken on particular doctrinal forms in different centuries. the constraints of absolutism were becoming ever more manifest and oppressive. PICARD.or herself. 12 In France during the first 25 years of Louis XIV's reign. It did not imply the holding or rejection of any particular doctrines. Nenon de Lenclos. The Origins of the English Novel (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Faith and reason. R. Fielding (London: Chatto & Windus. around the Court of the Prince de Condé at Chantilly. belief and conduct. also M ICHAEL MCKEON. particularly religious authority. Cf. although open profession or revolt against religious beliefs and the moral restraints which go with it. 13 14 12 Cf. H. 1957. Mme Deshoulières and the Société du Temple. 1943). it was often very shallow and held in conjunction with incompatible philosophical and scientific opinions. so demands for freedom of thought became more consistent. a libertin was thus someone anxious to throw off the yoke of religion. and was not exclusively defined in relation to Christian orthodoxy. Le Grand Condé (Paris: 1937). 15 . in intellectual non-conformity. 1922) and La Religion des classiques.
and died within a year of each other. especially in their uniquely feminine perspectives. 1988). An Anthology of Seventeenth Century Fiction (Oxford University Press. help us to understand the very different natures of their respective milieux. the search for intellectual freedom remained a dominant concern. GRANT. It has significance for the history of ideas because it set minds against moral authority. NANCY MITFORD (1950). Often irrational and extravagant and limited as a literary movement. DÉDÉYAN. MENDELSON in The Mental World of Stuart Women: Three Studies (Amherst: Univ. called the Blazing World in 1666. 1925). reprinted in Penguin Classics. CAVE (Oxford: World's Classics. Modern English translations are by A. TANCOCK (1978). Books on Margaret Cavendish include a condensed biography by S. 1992. even if the libertinism of the Restoration stage and the libertinage of the Parisian salons were rather different ways of addressing the search for liberty. but deeply rooted. T. JONES. Madame de Lafayette (Paris: Société d'Édition de l'Enseignement Supérieure. Les Libertins en France au 17e siècle (Paris: Léon Chailley. and MarieMadeleine. 1991) and KATE LILLEY (London: Pickering & Chatto. F. Margaret Cavendish. both would produce their respective masterpieces within eleven years of each other. 1896). Harmondsworth. 1957) and K. again in 1688. Margaret the First (London: Rupert Hart-Davies. 1988).Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette New Comparison 22: p. PERRENS. Madame de Lafayette (Paris: Fayard. of Massachusetts Press. 16 The social and intellectual contexts in England and France were therefore essentially different and moving in opposite directions in the respective processes of constitutionalism and absolutism. 17 They were born within eleven years of each other. and ROBIN BUSS (1992) (the last three for Penguin Classics). Margaret Cavendish The Description of a New World. Studies of Mme de Lafayette. it was. 18 and Mme de Lafayette La Princesse de Clèves in 1678. important for the attack which it made on the non-rational. the latter in 1693 and the former in 1694. and two full-length studies: D. Mme de La Fayette: sa vie et ses oeuvres (Cambridge University Press. was later to play an important part in the movement of ideas when it came into the open and found brilliant defenders – like Rousseau and Voltaire. C. Comtesse de Lafayette. 1955) and R. rev. respectively by PAUL SALZMAN. 1994). 19 The latter was translated into English immediately in 1679. 19 18 17 16 . 1987). 1992). Two modern editions of this work have appeared recently. and T. with many other editions following Cf. ASHTON (1925). In both. L. who both in their own ways. ASHTON. Margaret Lucas in 1623. Out of this context emerge two of the most interesting literary figures of the age. The Life of Margaret Cavendish (London: Bloomsbury. causes of men's belief. DUCHÊNE . include H. H. however. Duchess of Newcastle. 19 it was in its open expression to few people. however. ed. Marie-Madeleine de la Vergne in 1634.
New Comparison 22: p. 20
Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette
until 1777. Both ladies came from comfortable circumstances, Margaret from a rich Essex family, Marie-Madeleine from a Parisian background, her father being a mathematician and scientist in government service. Both were closely associated with members of their royal families, Margaret being a maid of honour to Queen Henrietta Maria, following her into exile in Paris in 1644; Marie-Madeleine became the close confidante of Henrietta of England, daughter of Charles I and wife of Louis XIV's brother, Philippe d'Orleans. Both were to be decisively influenced by the deaths of their respective fathers, Margaret's dying when she was two, Marie-Madeleine's when she was fifteen. In both instances the effects would be of enduring psychological significance: Margaret was to learn an early and continuing example of female independence from her mother; Marie-Madeleine was to experience grief and betrayal of confidence in the loss of her father and her mother's sudden remarriage to the man destined for her own hand, RenéRenaud de Sévigné. She was never to trust anyone blindly again, and was resolved to remain completely independent. 20 The marriages of both once more have similarities. In 1644, while exiled in Paris, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, the widowed Marquis, later Duke, of Newcastle, thirty years her senior, commander of Charles I's forces in the north, and well-known as a patron of arts and letters. This marriage was socially and intellectually advantageous, and committed her to a life governed by the fortunes of the Royalists. In 1655 Marie-Madeleine met and married Jean-François Mortier, Comte de Lafayette, eighteen years her senior, a marriage which gave her a name, security and two sons. The couple were never very close, but seemed to understand each other in their mutually modest expectations from marriage; he gave her equal rights in the disposal of her possessions, and was nearly always absent in the Auvergne, leaving her free to pursue her social and literary ambitions in Paris. Margaret Cavendish launched her career during her exile in Antwerp between 1651 and 1653: she was to write and publish copiously for the rest of her life, which in quality and variety was unprecedented among earlier English women writers. 21 In all of this she was supported by her husband's active encouragement and financial backing. On their return to England after the Restoration, Cavendish self-consciously portrayed herself as a
This is the opinion of Roger Duchêne in his recent biography. See note 17
above. See PATRICIA CRAWFORD, "Women's Published Writings 1600-1700" in M. Prior (ed.), Women in English Society, 1500-1800 (London: Methuen, 1985). For women's writing in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, see E. V. BEILIN, Redeeming Eve: Women Writers of the English Renaissance (Princeton University Press, 1987).
Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette
New Comparison 22: p. 21
singular, somewhat fantastical woman, dressing idiosyncratically in a combination of masculine and feminine elements, and occasionally making highly theatrical public appearances. Pepys, who thought she was mad, observed of her that “the whole story of this Lady is a romance, and all she doth is romantic” (Diary, 11 April 1667). Enjoying her own financial independence, Mme de Lafayette did not have her husband's active support for her writing, but found masculine guidance and encouragement from her stepfather, René-Renaud de Sévigné, who introduced her into literary circles and to the world of political intrigue, from the poet and scholar Gilles Ménage, and from the nobleman and aphorist François, Duc de Rochefoucauld. But her public role in the world of literature was centred principally on her famous salon which she established in Paris in 1658 on her return from Vichy, 22 and which became a meeting point for the literary movement known as the précieuses, 23 and one of the centres of intellectual libertinage. Situated in the Faubourg de Vaugirard, it attracted writers as well as friends; Racine and Bossuet met her at Madame's court at the Palais-Royal, to which she belonged until the Queen Mother's death in 1670. Boileau expressed his approval of her ability, and La Fontaine sent her some verses as a mark of his friendship. Ménage, Bishop Huet of Avranches and Segrais were also in her circle. 24 Her own literary output, compared with that of Margaret Cavendish, was small, her few novels appearing at long intervals: La Princesse de Montpensier (anonymously, 1662), Zayde (under the name of Jean de Segrais, 1669), La Princesse de Clèves (1678). The lives of the two women show many similarities as well as distinct differences, but are one in their presentation of a highly intelligent woman caught up and hampered by the social and political circumstances of the times. Margaret Cavendish, especially, was directly involved in the vicissitudes of the Civil War and influenced by her husband's leading role as a member of the landed establishment. Cavendish's own reactions to her effective exclusion from political power and citizenship helped to form the basis of her feminine critique. Even her social position was challenged by her exile and her sense of woman's unrecognized potential. Indeed, her whole relationship to the sources of power and authority was ambivalent: she was the socially inferior wife of a defeated and displaced Royalist leader; her education was minimal; she was lady-in-waiting to a deposed
See PICARD, Les Salons cit., p. 116.
The précieuses, typified by Mme de Scudéry, were concerned with the minute analysis of the psychology of love, rules for social behaviour and the niceties of language.
Cf. A. VIOLLIS, La vraie Mme de La Fayette (Paris: Bloud & Gay, n.d.), pp.
New Comparison 22: p. 22
Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette
queen; the youngest of a large family; her circumstances were financially straitened and her health damaged by the Civil War. For twenty years she lived in exile in France and Holland. 25 Although she visited the male preserve of the Royal Society in London, 26 she was never able to achieve a full sense of membership, whether politically, socially or literarily. With Mme de Lafayette, the situation was similar: she had money and status, but through marriage. Both society and marriage imposed roles that affect men and women differently and unfairly. Her literary ambition contributed virtually nothing to her standing in society. Indeed, she not only consequently denied authorship of her novels, but had to bear her authorship being ascribed to others – Ménage for La Princesse de Montpensier and La Rochefaucould for La Princesse de Clèves. The latter was even thought to be a group product, the English translation of 1679 being advertised as “the most famed Romance written in French by the greatest Wits of France”. Through her social position and financial independence, her literary salon and her relations with the Court, she possessed an extraordinary degree of influence and power for a woman of her time – but always through men rather than in her own right. The question now remains as to how these authors came to transpose their feminine critique into an aesthetic medium. What narrative strategies did each call into play? Margaret Cavendish's elaborately produced books were published under her own name and at considerable expense, this in itself being a most radical and deliberate challenge to, even infringement of, contemporary proprieties. Added to this was the overtly secular nature of her writing, its polemical tone and experimental nature. She was fascinated with modes, forms and genres. And if what Nigel Smith says is accurate (“You are your genres, in so far as genre is a refraction of identity and a means through literary structures of exploring potentials and acknowledging limitations in relation to the world”) 27 then it means that the forms chosen by both authors posit a vital aspect of their world view. Cavendish's preoccupation with form is part of the general degree of generic inventiveness and eclecticism among women writers between 1640 and 1700: they were discovering for themselves the voices of authorship. Her works include orations, letters, scientific speculation, utopian fiction, biography, poetry and closet drama. In Nature's Pictures drawn by Fancy's Pencil to the Life (1656), she includes stories “comical, tragical, tragi-comical, poetical,
See KATE LILLEY, Introduction to The Blazing World and Other Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1994), p. xv. See S. I. M INTZ, "The Duchess of Newcastle's Visit to the Royal Society", Journal of English and Germanic Philology (1952), pp. 168-76.
27 26 25
SMITH, Literature and Revolution cit., p. 5.
p.Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette New Comparison 22: p. abducted by a foreign merchant. magical rise of a woman to absolute power. The story is fantastical. 29 All contributes to an amplification of the characters' and readers' general situation. Introduction to The Princesse de Clèves (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. 15. Even those structural features which suggest proliferation or generic extension. the moral universe. 29 28 Ibid. . 14. The basic outline of the narrative is in fact reiteratedly enriched in the See ROBIN BUSS. like the three interpolated episodes in La Princesse de Clèves. It is further the opinion of Robin Buss that her other novels suggest comparison with drama rather than earlier prose fiction: he sees the characters. 1992). philosophical and fantastical” elements (as she describes them in her prefatory “To the Reader”). The Description of a New World Called the Blazing World (1666) combines elements of romance and utopia. The effect is a hybridization. In the exploration of fresh ideas and expanding boundaries of speculation typical of the newly found liberty and openness of the Restoration. the Emperor of this realm makes her his wife and gives her complete power to rule. the stories of Mme Tournon and Anne Boleyn (Book 2). passes beyond the pole to a new unknown world where. A young woman. but it opens an interesting perspective on genre in the preface by Pierre-Daniel Huet who sought to invest the novel with greater respectability by tracing its origins back to classical epic poetry. For Mme de Lafayette the situation was more controlled.. There is no moral but an underlying message about the perils of sexual love. philosophical and historical” (so advertised on the title page) in both prose and verse. the unity of action and especially language as recognizably of the same cultural milieu as the tragedies of Racine and Corneille. It is in fact about the liberty of the female soul in the context of the infinite possibilities of utopian speculation. How then is this this generic purposefulness put to use? The Blazing World. written in imitation of Lucian's “philosophical voyage”. depicts the effortless. and the story of the Vidame de Chartres (Books 2 and 3). a promiscuous mixture of “romancical. the imaginary voyage is linked to a romance plot of abduction and sexual assault. honoured for her innate and enterprising merit. all work together towards a single wider significance: Mme de Chartres's story of the Duchess of Valentinois (Book 1). each enrich the narrative in historical background and provide a pertinent point about the relationships between men and women. 28 The clarity and immediacy of her chosen form relate directly to the simplicity of her central theme. and by its nature in the mode of wish-fulfilment. 23 romancical. she tried to express original thoughts in new perceptions of form. Her novel Zayde was an attempt at conventional romance. speculative.
legal advocate. 30 The state of knowledge is similarly surveyed and appropriated. For Mme de Lafayette the situation is very different. she presents a precise. xxvi. a reparation or restoration at various levels: aesthetic. economic. as if the text were infused with a sense of loss or denial which is restored and made good in luxurious imagination. and out of honour tells her husband of her passion. consort and courtier in the rigid social systems of court and society. What occurs is a prophetic rapture. and the concept of love being inseparable from anguish. Even though the Princess is now technically free. The Court of King Henri II is conjured up not for its own sake. but ironically as the circumstance of bitter conflict and the foil for tragic destinies. she must either succumb to illicit secrecy and deception. identified as Cavendish herself and called “Margaret the First”.New Comparison 22: p. It is as though there is an overwhelming desire for consumption. both parties feel betrayed by the other. 24 Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette extravagant text which self-consciously presents every kind of opulence. which. when her would-be lover declares his passion. or liberate herself by a gesture of total independence. while it never finds physical expression. heir. almost science-fictional speculation. sexual. with disturbing insights like the danger associated with sexual love. She decides on the latter action. so asserting her personal liberty and freedom to choose. materials. chastened world of historical evocation and personal sobriety. The Empress's rise to power is authorized by men. or for national prestige. She concentrates on a single problem. novelty and variety in a rhetoric of description and recounting. ideological and epistemological. viceregent. Far from a world of extravagant. p. The Princesse de Clèves is contentedly married and has a dutiful respect for her husband. general.. but her transfiguration or blazoning by the female narrator. and the Prince dies unhappily. is a description and demonstration of the Empress's total control over her male subjects. All things are made excitingly new in the infinite possibilities of a world freshly restored. but becomes involved in a mutual passion for the Duc de Nemours. . but at the same moment turns away from it. ornament. a moment of adventure within an apparently happy and successful partnership. but suffer 30 See LILLEY. has all the torrential power of sexual obsession. “son”). she acknowledges a reciprocity. an empowering by disguise or assumption. Because of the constraints of her position as wife. Each stage of the Empress's progress is characterized by an itemization of costume. Men and women are equally subject to passion. colours and the accoutrements of power. allowing a woman to excel in a masculine role (emperor. Since he does not keep the secret to himself. This upright intent is turned to her ruin because unknown to husband and wife Nemours is by chance outside the window and overhears all. Introduction cit. The novel is full of psychological analysis and interior voices.
is embraced as the only path that allows her to keep control of her fate. With a smile “which is bought at the price of a terrible lucidity. Margaret Cavendish and Mme de Lafayette thus both present two distinctly different aspects of the same period. to seek out a suitable match for her daughter in order to protect her from the pitfalls of love. Both. sharing so much in common in their lives and artistic insights. Their views of society and the disadvantage to women inherent in the very fabric of their civilization. Mme de Chartres. renunciation. but remains an existential decision of personal choice freely embraced. For her mother the only way for a woman to survive in society is to love her husband.Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette New Comparison 22: p. Erotic love is at the same time accepted and rejected in the interests of personal freedom. and the mistake that led the heroine's mother. Conventional virtue which people proclaim is seen to be not necessarily beneficial to individuals and society: the dictates of absolute morality are repeatedly shown to be uncertain guides in the real world where the best of virtues may lead to the worst of outcomes – as in the death of the Prince de Clèves following on his wife's honesty to him about her feelings. over her own misery. Introduction. or perish. It is not morality nor sincerity. born of romantic love. but a balanced separation between public and private being that enables a woman to achieve an ideal state of self-containment or tranquillity – what the novel calls repos. 31 . or even basic notions of right and wrong. is profoundly antiromantic and concedes that passion can bring only pain. Such insights and perception of freedom of action identify the author as a true libertin spirit. colour and imaginative licence of the English Restoration. 31 The insight. over her social role. For the Princesse de Clèves. the latter in terms of the lucid neo-classicism of the early brilliant years of Louis XIV's reign. the [female] victim triumphs over the man who is pursuing her. 1993). 8. especially because of the roles that society and marriage impose on them. remain of enduring value and of increased interest to an age which has See ROBIN BUSS. Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of this astonishing act of independence is that it has nothing to do with conventional Christian morality. La Princesse de Clèves (Harmondworth: Penguin Books. over her fate”. living so close to one another. 25 unequally from the effects. She achieves this only through an abnegation which is mortal in its effects and consequences. It is the daughter's insight that a woman must either preserve the divide between her public face and private thoughts. provide a fascinating example of two of the earliest modern women authors. which in its negative consequences is a form of death. Mme de Lafayette attests to the feelings which her heroine must renounce. p. because of her lucid and realistic insights that these feelings cannot endure in the unfair social circumstances in which a woman must act. the former in terms of the extravagance.
which is transformed into a blazing world of hope and new vision. and speak to us now perhaps more powerfully than ever before in the last 300 years. . to provide her heroine with the courage and strength of self-empowerment to independence and freedom of soul. which in its serene indifference to orthodox Christianity. 26 Letellier: Cavendish and Lafayette begun a sustained study of women and their writing as never before. and sees the triumph of women through. The fact that the Princesse de Clèves chooses her freedom above and beyond the call of virtue and religion is a critique of the most radical kind. but is as determined. She shows herself deeply responsive to the intellectual drama of her age in which thinkers sought for their freedom in the very face of an evermore repressive absolutism. Margaret Cavendish presents a rhapsodic and fanciful dream which is a type of apotheosis of the feminine critique. gives her an isolated poignancy and freedom of thought that is nothing short of revolutionary. in spite of and over a masculine world. even more ruthlessly than Margaret Cavendish. even if this must mean renunciation and death. Mme de Lafayette remains with her feet firmly rooted in the realities of history.New Comparison 22: p. society and cultural convention. Both writers shared in a ministry of prophecy and realism.
by the Argentine Surrealist writer Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-72). Argentina and England. Both writers experienced a similar attraction for the same historical figure. while Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love” appeared in 1979. transl. there has been. 1979). 1993).M. the sixteenth-century Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory. a proliferation of horror fiction written by women. Chris Baldick (Oxford University Press. 2 Both “Acerca de la condesa sangrienta” and “The Lady of the House of Love” can be related to the same historical character. 2 1 . This trend extends to film as well. ed. A. for the last two or three decades. was first published in Spanish in 1968. “The Lady of the House of Love”. Seabra Ferreira ALEJANDRA PIZARNIK’S “ACERCA DE LA CONDESA SANGRIENTA” AND ANGELA CARTER’S “THE LADY OF THE HOUSE OF LOVE”: TRANSGRESSION AND THE POLITICS OF VICTIMIZATION Although literature and mythology have always been crowded with images of feminine evil. 466-477. domineering women who often reverse expected sex roles. in The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales. ANGELA CARTER. in The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. and both composed works inspired by her. the cinematographic industry having lately produced an impressive array of films which feature powerful. a mass-murderess accused of torturing and killing over six hundred virgin girls and of bathing in their blood. This essay is concerned with the examination and comparison of two short stories by women who come from very different countries and backgrounds. “Acerca de la condesa sangrienta” 1 . pp. Alberto Manguel. a sixteenth century Transylvanian Countess who became famous for her criminal acts. in the conviction that ALEJANDRA PIZARNIK. “The Bloody Countess”. but who address surprisingly similar issues: Alejandra Pizarnik and Angela Carter.
they called her the Sanguinary Countess. p. I number the Countess Elizabeth Ba’thory. “The Lady of the House of Love”. This renewed attention to crime and monstrosity associated with woman is of course symptomatic of a changing society and of new patterns of thought and behaviour which are constantly emerging and being represented in artistic mediums. sadism. whose work teems with women characters often drawn from mythology or fairy tales. Comparative Literary Studies: An Introduction (London: Duckworth. 6. SUSAN BASSNETT. redefined or reconfigured to express different messages from the original. Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell. Bassnett further suggests that: Reconsideration and re-evaluation of female archetypes from the Hellenic tradition.” 4 This is indeed the case of Alejandra Pizarnik and Angela Carter. p. ch. Both tales touch on vampirism. in Come Unto These Yellow Sands (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe Books. the Virgin Mary etc. . she believed these lustrations would keep old age at bay”. violence. developed from the radio play “Vampirella” (1976). 5 The “literary representation of named personages” Prawer refers to is one of the five distinct subjects of investigation he distinguishes in a chapter of his Comparative Literary Studies devoted to “themes and prefigurations”. As the Countess says in “Vampirella”: “Among my terrible forebears. themes which have experienced a resurgence of interest and which have been analysed afresh.) from folktales and from fairy tales is more noticeably part of feminist artistic practice than part of feminist critical practice. She used to bathe in the blood of girls to refresh her beauty. 117 5 6 4 3 Ibid. 6 Bassnett remarks that Prawer insists “upon the significance of thematic study as a means of showing not only how a theme might appear and disappear across cultures as part of a study of literary history. sexuality and death. where emphasis has tended to be placed on literary archetypes and Prawer’s “named personages”. but also as a ANGELA CARTER. 101. makes explicit the connections of the vampire Countess with the Countess Bathory. 118 SIEGBERT PRAWER. from Christian tradition (Mary Magdalene. Susan Bassnett points out that it is “significant that a great many women writers and artists are concerned with exploring archetypes. 1985). 1973). to bring out distinct angles and perspectives. 1993). which at times is also simply amplified and elaborated on. 3 . “Vampirella”. p.New Comparison 22: p. 28 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter virginal blood would grant her eternal life and youth. and with rewriting the story of some of the most prominent archetypal figures in western cultural history.
abandoning domestic confinement to unfurl their awesome capacity for self-creation. concentrates itself into a myth of transfiguration that glorified the women it seemed to suppress. especially Carter’s. Excess and Modernity. Once we restore the integrity of these types. the Crone. 116. teems with such grotesque characters. 9 . Mass. grotesque figures arouse fear through their very difference and strangeness. The concern of Mary Russo and Susan Bassnett with rewriting archetypes is echoed by Nina Auerbach. class. old maid and fallen woman. embodying thus a particularly disturbing mixture of otherness which includes sexuality. 1994. The very rigidity of the categories of victim and queen. 14. Auerbach maintains. p. and particularly in the short stories under investigation here. Woman and the Demon: the Life of a Victorian Myth. we see that they intensify power rather than limiting it.” 7 Drawing on a certain iconography of the monstrous woman as vampire and hysteric. the Female Impersonator. Monstrous. these interdependent and mutually sustaining character types infuse restrictive social categories with the energy of the uncanny. NINA AUERBACH.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p.” As she goes on to affirm: Seen together. The Female Grotesque: Risk. the Dwarf. exemplified in the tales under consideration by the Bloody Countess and the vampire of “The Lady of the House of Love”.(Cambridge. the Hottentot Venus.: Harvard University Press. the Unruly Woman. domestic angel and demonic outcast. who analyses the “central female paradigms that presided over the Victorian imagination and structured its apprehensions. the Starving Woman.. “the taboos that encased the Victorian woman contained buried tributes to her disruptive power. 8 Both writers’ work. 29 means of attempting to unravel why that process might have taken place. the Tattooed Woman. the Vampire. amongst their 7 8 BASSNETT. Comparative Literature. 8-9. the Bearded Woman. the Hysteric. Thus. MARY RUSSO. gender and race. 1982).” 9 It is some of these taboos that Pizarnik and Carter powerfully illustrate in their work. New York and London: Routledge. of female sexual deviance and transgression. Mary Russo notes precisely this aspect when she argues: Naming represents a particularly vivid way of recalling the persistence of those constrained codings of the body in Western culture which are associated with the grotesque: the Medusa. the Siamese Twin. the Fat Lady. cit. pp. Pizarnik and Carter are recovering a long-standing tradition of these archetypal figures of grotesque and fear-inspiring women.
perceived as threatening and wreaking havoc with established institutions. The confrontation with what one is not. 30 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter more salient characteristics. Monsters are especially disruptive and provoking because they are situated still within the limits of the human. The deregulation of behavioural norms can thus lead to a being characterized by his/her excesses. deformities. confronted with new challenges. a sense of extended possibilities that by their very distorted perversity hint at forbidden regions of the human psyche. they appear as both anthropomorphic and animalesque. volatile. the artificial signposts that engulf us constitute a menace to one’s sense of identity. The proliferation of monsters at this turn of the century can be considered symptomatic of an acute feeling of unease that permeates contemporary societies. convoluted areas of the unconscious. at any time. of increasingly tolerating the Other with his/her idiosyncrasies. The connection between the lust for blood and the bestial. at untapped. What makes these tales specially disquieting is the fact that both protagonists are women. perversity and criminal behaviour. but at the very boundary. . uncertain of their own humanity. Both Pizarnik’s “The Bloody Countess” and Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love” deal with the monstrous feminine and perverse sexual impulses in a disturbing fashion. namely. The study of teratology has thus come to assume a fundamental importance for contemporary critics.New Comparison 22: p. are made quite apparent in the two tales. this very multiplication of monstrous creatures could be read as a greater willingness to accept difference into the conventional mainstream. thus representing paradigmatic and to a certain extent unusual images of female evil. The question of whether there is a feminine difference as far as the perpetration and artistic representation of feminine evil seems pertinent here. in order to accept the Other. at the same time as they provoke unease and curiosity. which can easily appear to us fragmentary and under siege. On the other hand. forces one to rethink who and what we are. liable to come to the surface unbidden. In a sense. perversions. the problematic of monstrosity forces one to face and define the Same. The forces of the abject that place monstrous creatures at the outer limits of the human clearly differentiate them from the others who abide by societal rules. transgressions. Indeed. since what Baudrillard so aptly described as the hyperreality that submerges us on all sides endangers the stability of one’s traditional reference points. the characters of the two Countesses are constructed as particularly disturbing and perplexing due to the confusion and apparent lack of welldefined frontiers between human and animal. the ambiguity of sex roles and the gradual empowering of women. I would argue that although the rich mythological and iconographic corpus of fearsome female creatures may appear to attest to the contrary.
Thinking Through the Body (New York: Columbia University Press. patriarchal sphere. however. The pervert – child molester. she wants to step out of her predetermined role and find love in the world of sunlight and conventional society. have been predominantly associated with men.] is a thorny problem for feminism [. 1988). however. As Bram Dijkstra emphasizes. JANE GALLOP. fetishist. like most of the late nineteenth-century’s crop of female vampires. 10 This vexed issue has persistently concerned thinkers in various spheres of knowledge. Carmilla. the gruesome and endless potboiling nastiness of Varney the Vampire. for she is forced to follow in her ancestors’ footsteps and to commit horrendous. overtakes and punishes them in the the end. As a creature of moonlight. 107. she. rapist. p. of a female vampire in modern fiction. center stage.] large sectors of the feminist movement stand in violent opposition to perversion which is understood to be male. 341. she moves nevertheless within a phallocratic. in many ways like Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott. in Sheridan Le Fanu’s eponymous tale: Carmilla marks one of the first appearances. male sexuality that is inherently perverted and a primary enemy of feminism. On the other hand. Rather than being the evil woman of tradition and legend.. 11 10 . which she hates and wants to disentangle herself from. BRAM DIJKSTRA. thus reversing this traditional scenario and becoming a paradigmatic femme fatale. such as Polidori’s The Vampyre. Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-deSiècle Culture (Oxford University Press. although Carter’s vampire woman only sucks the blood of young men. had all still featured male predators. is not permitted any direct vampire power over men. voyeur.. imprisoned by the curse patriarchy has inflicted on her in her tower of shadows.. sadist. porno fan.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. one of the first female vampires in literature was Carmilla. etc. and even Gautier’s Clarimonde had to be satisfied with playing second fiddle to the schizophrenia of her living lover Romuald. exhibitionist. was born right on schedule among the daughters of the household nun.. masochist. As Jane Gallop sustains: Perversion [. both Carmilla and Pizarnik’s Countess victimize only women. 1988). 11 Indeed. p. 31 particularly of a sexual nature. vampiric crimes. thus staying outside the Symbolic Order of the Phallus which. Previous vampire narratives. – is seen as symptom of an aggressive. Maturin’s near-vampire Melmoth The Wanderer.
Idols of Perversity. She also came to represent the equally sterile lust for gold of woman as the eternal polyandrous prostitute. representations of women. she does not shrink from the most atrocious crimes.New Comparison 22: p. puts forward in 1870 when he writes: The temperament of woman exposes her to the most singular inconveniences and inconsistencies. Capable of the most heroic actions.” 14 Thus. 79. Lesbian and queer theorists and 15 . Angus Davidson (Oxford University Press. Extreme in good. She passes from love to hate with prodigious facility. Vent. which found explicit externalization in a strong reaction against the forces of evil embodied in the monstrous woman. transl. 15 NICHOLAS FRANCIS COOKE. she “will” and she “won’t. 13 Mario Praz. 12 Cooke concludes that. who. 32 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter A particularly conspicuous phenomenon at the end of the XIX century consisted precisely in the dualism between the Angel in the House and the femme fatale. It is this prejudiced vision that a contemporary commentator. ownership. Across continents we find women writers repeatedly engaging with this theme. and money. She is full of contradictions and mysteries. Cincinnati: C. 13 14 12 BRAM DIJKSTRA.” She is easily disgusted with that which she has pursued with the greatest ardor. 1988). p. women ”are more merciless.. F. As Bram Dijkstra By 1900 the vampire had come to represent woman as the personification of everything negative that linked sex. bloodthirsty than men”. both Pizarnik and Carter draw on and expand on this tradition of the female vampire as cruel lover. she is also extreme in evil. 1876). Significant examples are Anne Rice’s vampire books Interview with the Vampire (1977) and The Vampire L’Estat (1985). protagonists of the tales embody those prejudiced emphatically states: indeed. instinctually polyandrous--even if still virginal--child-woman. cit. pp. like Carmilla. The Romantic Agony. more a perception which perfectly fits the female we are going to examine. a fact which is in many ways indicative of a new. “by a Physician”. 351. She symbolized the sterile hunger for seed of the brainless. in The Romantic Agony. similarly stresses the fact that “in the second half of the nineteenth century the vampire becomes a woman” while “in the first part of the century the fatal cruel lover is invariably a man. MARIO PRAZ. more active and transgressive kind of sexuality which is erupting in literature and other art forms in a significantly numerous array of distinct manifestations. p. 280-81. She is inconstant and changeable. Nicholas Francis Cooke. Satan in Society (1870.
Indeed. The Condesa “lived deep within an exclusively female world” and “there were only authors have taken up the figure of the vampire as an instance of the loosening of rigid boundaries of sexuality. meanwhile. In the case of this particular story. her homo-sexuality and her torturing of women are deeply disturbing. the bad archaic mother and the monstrous womb. both Pizarnik’s Countess and Carter’s are punished in the end at the hands of patriarchal powers. mentions such films as Sex and the Vampire and Shadow of the Werewolf. the possessed monster. In the case of Pizarnik’s Countess. New Literary History 25 (1994). Pizarnik’s Gothic and Surrealist tale. like all the stories in The Bloody Chamber. Feminism. but only after they have been penetrated by another vampire. p. which thus reestablish the androcentric regulations that keep “unruly” women within “proper” boundaries. The Monstrous-Feminine: Film. ANDREW TUDOR. the vampire woman. subverts male and traditional fantasies and myths. dramatizes what I would call. 64-65. Monsters and Mad Scientists: A Cultural History of the Horror Movie (Oxford: Basil Blackwell. “the monstrous-feminine”. 697. 1993). 1. themes which were also profusely explored in films of the 70s. 16 Both Countesses. indeed. 18 represented by such images as the witch. set out to effectively deconstruct with their sexuality the traditional opposition between man and woman. Carter’s Countess is also simultaneously a passive victim of a male myth. she does not imitate her in her extreme perversion and unimaginable crimes against women. 33 Both Pizarnik’s and Carter’s tales share a substantial convergence of subject-matter and imagery. subvert patriarchal norms of sexual behaviour. in a clear inversion of androcentric rules. Indeed. They conduct a profound reflexion about the relationship between sexuality. As Catherine Belsey sustains: “both male and female vampires penetrate their victims. 1989). pp. while the passive victims of Carter’s female vampire are always men. “The Lady of the House of Love”. it is the passive victim who provides the vital fluid.” 17 Both Countesses. on the other hand. Thus. while the Countess is descended from the Bloody Countess. both tales are dominated by monstrously repugnant women characters. like Carter’s. after Barbara Creed. CATHERINE BELSEY. Psycho-analysis ( London and New York: Routledge. Elizabeth Bathory. 18 17 16 . pp. Nevertheless. theirs being represented as a non-reproductive but sociable sexuality. violence and death. mainly through the character of the female vampire. p. as vampire women. However. suggesting the possibility of a relationship between the women’s liberation movement and a generalized fear of a more aggressive expression of feminine sexuality. BARBARA CREED. it is the male fantasy of the femme fatale that is subverted. “Postmodern Love: Questioning the Metaphysics of Desire”.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. 683-705. who was explicitly associated with a voracious sexual desire and an exacerbated aggressiveness.
malodorous. 128). When the young English officer. 474) The universe of Carter’s tale is also predominantly feminine: “An old mute looks after her. to love them for their own sake. 466-677). a deformity. Pizarnik’s Countess is extremely beautiful: “the sinister beauty of nocturnal creatures is summed up in this silent lady of legendary paleness. she looked . however.] her mother’s wedding dress” (p. to a great vulnerability: With her stark white face. irons. her lovely death’s head surrounded by long dark hair that fell down as straight as if it were soaking wet. 472). to make sure she never sees the sun.New Comparison 22: p. always surrounded by black cats. she taught her to look upon death.e. She initiated her to even crueller games. mad eyes. needles. her beauty is an abnormality. these two old women are themselves the instruments of a possession”. the Countess Elizabeth Bathory] fascination: within the Countess’s eyes the witch found a new version of the evil powers buried in the poisons of the forest and in the coldness of the moon. “is so beautiful she is unnatural. similarly. The Condesa waits for the girls in the torture chamber “dressed in white upon her throne” (p. and later bury them. 127). Darvulia. The physical appearance of both women is strikingly similar. to perform all the functions of the servants of vampires” (p.. grotesque creatures “escaped from a painting by Goya. first sees the lady of the House of Love. she is helped by nasty old crones to perpetrate her horrendous acts: “Her old and horrible maids are wordless figures that bring in fire. In addition. 125) In addition. 477).” (p. they both wear white dresses with blood stains. The Bloody Countess is also aided by a witch. without fear. knives. while Carter’s Countess lies in her coffin all day “in her négligé of blood-stained lace [. enticed to her castle by one of her maids. they torture the girls. 466) Carter’s female vampire. a dress which later is said to turn red (p. to keep mirrors and all reflective surfaces away from her – in short. the dirty. allied. and the meaning of looking upon death. that all day she stays in her coffin. as well as their attire. 468). Very old. for none of her features exhibit any of those touching imperfections that reconcile us to the imperfection of the human condition. Darvulia’s black magic wrought itself in the Countess’s black silence.” (p. She incited her to seek death and blood in a literal sense: that is. Darvulia fully responded to Erzebet’s [i. who corresponds with precision to the representation of such creatures in the popular imagination: Darvulia was exactly like the woodland witch who frightens us in children’s tales.. and hair the sumptuous colour of ravens. irascible. incredibly ugly and perverse Dorko and Jo Ilona” (pp. 34 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter women during her nights of crime” (p. (p. With their iron and knives. he feels profoundly touched by her beauty.
Any crime. a morbid mouth. full. order.. 21 a point also stressed by JULIA KRISTEVA. p. cit. rules. a debtor who sells you up. is abject. the ambiguity of the human and animal states. putrefying flesh and other bodily wastes. a friend who stabs you. 1982). An Essay on Abjection. As Barbara Creed explains: “The witch is defined as an abject figure in that she is represented within patriarchal discourses as an implacable enemy of the symbolic order”. Kristeva’s definition of the abject in Powers of Horror sheds considerable light on and fitly applies to the story of the Hungarian Countess and Carter’s female vampire. the shameless rapist. while at the same time partaking of the categories of the vampire and the werewolf. hypocritical revenge are even more so because they heighten the display of such fragility. (p. 76. by her extraordinarily fleshy mouth. and shady: a terror that dissembles. Abjection . The in-between..Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. like vomit. The witch and the vampire.. is immoral. p. sinister. Leon S. the liar. Kristeva points out that it is not lack of cleanliness or health that causes abjection but what disturbs identity. a mouth with wide. because it draws attention to the fragility of the law. are also “ancient figures of abjection”. lost look.. 35 like a shipwrecked bride. the killer who claims he is a saviour . Thus.. which is a crucial aspect pertaining to the abject. What does not respect borders. as Barbara Creed notes. Powers of Horror.. The traitor. 134) This metaphor of the dreaded vagina-dentata associated with the vampire woman will recur at several stages of the tale. pointing to the threatening sexuality attributed to women in general and female vampires in particular. scheming. The Monstrous-Feminine. 10. but premeditated crime. Her huge dark eyes almost broke his heart with their waiflike. the ambiguous. Mutilated and putrefying bodies litter the cellars and vaults of the bloody Countess’s castle. trans. Ibid.. which can be described as powerful illustrations of the workings of abjection. system. Julia Kristeva’s theory of the abject seems particularly pertinent to analyse Pizarnik’s and Carter’s tales. saliva. sweat. almost repelled. blood. the composite. the criminal with a good conscience. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press. tears.. 20 as are werecreatures who signal the undifferentiation of borders. The bloody Countess.. can herself be described as one. yet he was disturbed. 19 Both tales swarm with images of abjection: corpses. 20 21 19 CREED. cunning murder. a hatred that smiles. 4. .. positions. prominent lips of a vibrant purplish-crimson. p. a passion that uses the body for barter instead of inflaming it. surrounded by witches.
bats. cit. potions and even cannibalism. a key concept in the theory of abjection. they have no proper place.. p. 1987). tomblike world. Vampires have a material existence and they bring about material effects. points out that it is partially based on the story of the Countess Bathory. The female vampire. brews. The lesbian vampire is monstrous for another reason. capable of drawing on her evil powers to wreak destruction on the community. 36 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter Catherine Clément in her essay “The Guilty One”.. .” 23 Pizarnik’s Countess shares some characteristics of the vampire: she moves permanently in an isolated. . p. whose definition sidesteps conventional models of behaviour. 22 It is this trespassing of boundaries which makes of the two Countesses morbid and perverse characters. In her stimulating analysis of Tony Scott’s film “The Hunger” (1983). the lesbian vampire also causes woman’s CATHERINE CLÉMENT and HÉLÈNE CIXOUS.New Comparison 22: p.] The witch is also associated with a range of abject things: filth. indeed. Creed goes on to assert that the witch is thought to be dangerous and wily. this transgressing of borders. radically crosses boundaries closely bound up with tradition and embodies the main forces of abjection linked with blood. one which is directly related to her sexuality and which offers a threat of a more abject nature. is an especially sinister figure of abjection. The witch sets out to unsettle boundaries between the rational and the irrational. As Catherine Belsey maintains: Vampires are the un-dead. “Postmodern Love”. spiders. 67-72. 697. symbolic and imaginary [. darkened. The Monstrous-Feminine. The Newly Born Woman. relates primordially to the exploding of the thin boundaries between human and werecreature. 23 24 22 BELSEY. . trans. The lesbian vampire. CREED. cit. they do not belong with the living. but at the same time they cast no shadow and are not reflected in mirrors: they exceed the alternatives of presence and absence. . the aging process and bodily decay. Betsy Wing (Manchester University Press. life and death as well as the breaching of sexual taboos. 76. and particularly the homosexual one. they spend their days in their coffins and inhabit the night. In the Countess’s case. 24 aspects which also apply to the “Lady of the House of Love”. cobwebs. pp.. As Barbara Creed points out: the female vampire is abject because she disrupts identity and order . They do not belong anywhere in traditional societal structures. Like the male. decay. dominated by the search for her victims and the shedding of blood: bodily wounds and transgression of societal rules.
addressed here and still related to blood. she catches the scent of her prey. with blood smeared on her cheeks. bloodletting alone constitutes a prime case of abjection.. she was like a fox and contented herself entirely with baby rabbits that squeaked piteously as she bit into their necks with a nauseated 25 Ibid. 469). “During her erotic seizures”. however. can be seen as erotic in the context of vampire imagery. the Countess would go to the garden: When the back door opens. she gorges. 470). . the Countess “would hurl blasphemous insults at her victims. releases the blood of another woman”. four-footed speed. she washes her face with the wincing. and lustful” (p. which inevitably includes biting and penetration. the Countess will sniff the air and howl. All claws and teeth. The animality of the two Countesses. in a passion. Given the abject status of woman’s blood within religious and cultural discourses. Furthermore. . which makes them once more doubly subversive and transgressors of the patriarchal order. now that the Countesss has grown up. 25 These characteristics are conspicuous in the two tales under examination. is doubly abject because woman. fearless. the gloomy rooms” (p. is stressed in several stages of the narratives. . 127) However. quivering. she is no longer satisfied just with animals: “The Countess wants fresh meat. Blood. p. The coat-of-arms of the family of Pizarnik’s Condesa “displayed the teeth of a wolf. and particularly blood drinking. on all fours. already more abject than man. fastidious gestures of a cat. During her predatory nocturnal adventures. When she was a little girl. because the Bathory were cruel. their disinclination to procreate. (p. partly human. 61. She pours water from the ewer in her bedroom into the bowl. Delicious crunch of the fragile bones of rabbits and small. consists in the barrenness of the two Countesses. she strikes. furry things she pursues with fleet. is the blurring of frontiers between human and animal.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. Another aspect mentioned by Kristeva as a paradigmatic example of abjection and which is exemplified in the two tales. whimpering. She drops. Lesbian vampirism. she will creep home. Blasphemous insults and cries like the baying of a shewolf were her means of expression as she stalked. another prominent issue. Carter’s Countess also exhibits all the characteristics of a creature who is partly animal. their kinship with wolves. The eyes of this nocturnal creature enlarge and glow. Crouching. . 37 blood to flow. now.
. one of the key distinctions between the two Countesses is that Pizarnik’s character does not evince the slightest sign of repentance or humanity. while Carter’s dreams of becoming human. instead of being awakened to everlasting happiness by Prince Charming. The ambivalent.. 126-27). 38 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter voluptuousness [. she would have liked to take the rabbits home with her. sleeping and waking. 132) . 126). The tradition that forces her to carry out the crimes she abhors will only be broken when a virgin English soldier is lured into her castle: in his youth and strength and blond beauty. 128) Indeed. She is also a Sleeping Beauty figure who. And it is the same with the shepherd boys and gipsy lads [. she hovers in a no-man’s land between life and death. behind the hedge of spiked flowers. as from the mouth of a grave. This is then an ironic and profoundly subversive version of the Sleeping Beauty story. 138). pet them and make them a nest in her red-and-black chinoiserie escritoire. to which she is bound by her family tradition: “her claws and teeth have been sharpened on centuries of corpses. the young man stepped over the threshold of Nosferatu’s castle and did not shiver in the blast of cold air. On the other hand. she will drop the deflated skin from which she has extracted all the nourishment with a small cry of both pain and disgust.” (p. transforms him into a vampire. that emanated from the lightless. but hunger always overcomes her. She sinks her teeth into the neck where an artery throbs with fear. she must have men” (p.] But now she is a woman. of leaving behind for ever her nocturnal life as a vampire... causing him to drink her blood. 128). (p. cavernous interior. In spite of the multiple echoes and resonances that crisscross both stories. The beastly forebears on the walls condemn her to a perpetual repetition of her passions. Nosferatu’s sanguinary rosebud. in the shape of a young British officer. feed them on lettuce. dies because of his supposedly lifegiving kiss which. even unackowledged pentacle of his virginity. Carter’s Countess “would like to be human” and feels a “horrible reluctance for the role” of vampire (pp. she is the last bud of the poison tree that sprang from the loins of Vlad the Impaler who picnicked on corpses in the forests of Transylvania” (p.] A certain desolate stillness of her eyes indicates she is inconsolable. She loathes the food she eats. This is one of the fundamental differences between the two Countesses. (p. uncertain state of Carter’s Countess is further stressed in the tale: “She has the mysterious solitude of ambiguous states. however. in the invisible. She would like to caress their lean brown cheeks and stroke their ragged hair.New Comparison 22: p.
(pp. signalling his death in combat.” (p. 141). In a further subversion of the roles allotted to a vampire. in himself. The whole predetermined logic of her life is then upset and the impossible happens. their corrupt. mundane noise of breaking glass breaks the wicked spell in the room. the handsome bicyclist brings the innocent remedies of the nursery. She gapes blindly down at the splinters and ineffectively smears the tears across her face with her fist. He will kiss it better for her. for a moment. where he is summoned after leaving the Countess’s castle. already in her room with the handsome soldier. the heavy fragrance of Count Nosferatu’s roses drifted down the stone corridor of the barracks to greet him. 143) The symbolism of the rose that the soldier takes with him to the war in France soon becomes apparent. . his regiment embarked for France. had she lived. When she cuts herself in the splinters of glass. which “exercises upon her an awed fascination” (p. What is she to do now?” (p. On a grave. in another sombre twist in the tale. I thought. and his spartan quarters brimmed with the reeling odour of a glowing. 141). perhaps. she inadvertently drops her glasses while trying to take off her mother’s wedding dress: “and this unexpected. she sees her own blood for the first time. It was a “dark. And so he puts his mouth to the wound. 39 The climactic scene that follows had already been announced when for the first time the Countess dealt the card called “Les Amoureux” from her Tarot pack: “it seemed to me you had stepped off the card into my darkness and. fanged rose” which the Countess “plucked from between [my] thighs. monstrous flower whose petals had regained all their former bloom and elasticity. entirely. while the soldier wakes up in the morning alive and well. by his presence. a feeling compounded with even more complex thoughts when the young soldier drinks her blood. the Countess dies. Indeed. but still it spurts out. 140). in a complete inversion of the primitive scenario: Into this vile and murderous room. 143-144). you might irradiate it” (p.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. He gently takes her hand away from her and dabs the blood with his own handkerchief. the Countess’s well-rehearsed and often repeated performance is disrupted when. brilliant. Next day. baleful splendour. velvet. 137). like a flower laid on a grave. However. the Countess’s influence will pursue him in the shape of a rose which he takes with him to the trenches. as her mother. he is an exorcism. would have done (p. The vampire Countess’s demise could not go unavenged: When he returned from the mess that evening. in France.
109-123. His own death in the war. Critical Survey 3:1 (1991).New Comparison 22: p. and she herself dies. The presence of blood and the work of birth links her. In/Out? In the PostModern Nexus”. the reader may draw this inference. with its connotations of a deep sensuality. for England as well as for the Continent. the charged symbolism of the rose garden that leads up to the Countess’s castle. or. at least. recurring symbol in “The Lady of the House of Love”. pp. not in. “SLIP PAGE: Angela Carter. . The black rose asserts the tale’s historicity. silence and eternal youthfulness. The fruit of that War. . ed. death. humanness offers freedom from gothic timelessness. Past the Last Post: Theorizing Post-Colonialism and Post-Modernism. 40 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter The influence of the vampire woman appears impossible to avoid. loneliness. but careless. but her narrative also implies the more massive. deaths that occurred in the War. is also indicative of the dangers that its ambiguous sexuality carries: MELINDA G FOWL. To the Countess. unsatisfied hunger. its recognition of the bleak forwardness of human temporality. The vampire kills passing shepherds and lustful. As Melinda G. “Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber revisited”. on the other emanations from a grave. p. As Robert Rawdon Wilson suggests: One may infer that the narrative is about death in a wider sense than seems evident at first. ROBERT RAWDON WILSON. ultimately.1993). Ian Adam and Helen Tiffin (New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. may represent the much larger national catastrophe. young men who wander through the deserted village. 27 In related fashion. pp. implicit in the conclusion. to the human community she was exiled from as a vampire--the community of women. The black rose which the Countess plucks from her thighs is overdetermined with ambivalent symbolism: on the one hand it spells out sexuality. which the soldier will meet in the War. the Countess experienced her life as a victim of the cycle she perpetuated--itself. pp 71-79. She ceases to exist as a vampire when blood flows out. . 119. and the more significant. 27 26 . of victimisation. a cycle of victimisation. she dies as a vampire. Before the soldier arrived at the chateau. Fowl maintains: When the Countess dies. even beyond her death. was the decimation of an entire generation and a social class. its repetition of oppressive patterns. he becomes the new vampire. perfect beauty. 26 The rose is a powerful. The very class to which the young Englishman belongs was wiped nearly out. When the soldier releases her from this cycle. 77-78.
like a flower laid on a grave” (p. Too many roses. The thorny roses. and only one. a black hole which threatens to swallow them up and cut them into pieces. their whorled. with their suggestive whorls. 127). 29 Another aspect mentioned by Creed which seems tailor-made for Carter’s tale consists in the association established between the fairy-tale “Sleeping Beauty” or “Briar Rose” and the symbol of the vagina dentata. to fell him. . thickets bristling with thorns. p. 41 A great.. 138). p. intoxicated surge of the heavy scent of red roses blew into his face as soon as they left the village.. 106. 131) The implications insinuated by the roses are those of imminent danger connected by men with feminine sexuality. Too many roses bloomed on enormous thickets that lined the path. cit. so powerfully illustrated in Carter’s tale.. 136). The Monstrous-Feminine. 105. which “bears a strong resemblance to a burial ground and all the roses her dead mother planted have grown up into a incarcerates her in the castle of her inheritance” (p. 30 See CREED. The mansion emerged grudgingly out of this jungle. and WOLFGANG LEDERER. 1968). p. The vampire woman’s garden is described as “an exceedingly sombre place”. The Fear of Women (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. tightly budded cores outrageous in their implications.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. represented by the briar roses which bar the way of the young Prince to the sleeping Princess. cit. 28 As Barbara Creed pertinently comments: The myth about woman as castrator clearly points to male fears and phantasies about the female genitals as a trap. As the narratorial voice reminds us: “One kiss. p. and the flowers themselves were almost too luxuriant. The dread caused in men by the supposedly castrating effect of the sight of the female genitals spans the most diverse cultures. pp. a blast of rich. Ibid. 143. woke up the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood” (p.. however. The Monstrous-Feminine. a connotation made particularly explicit when the rose the Countess leaves for the soldier is said to have been plucked “from between [my] thighs. inducing a sensuous vertigo. their huge congregations of plush petals somehow obscene in their excess. cp. The vagina dentata is the mouth of hell--a terrifying symbol of woman as the “devil’s gateway” [. (p. 29 30 28 CREED. faintly corrupt sweetness strong enough almost. are strongly reminiscent of Freud’s description of the vagina dentata. who promises paradise in order to ensnare her victims. 44-47. crenellations and thorns/teeth.] The vagina dentata also points to the duplicitous nature of woman. 107..
(pp. Fear of Women. it may be a door that quickly opens and closes of its own accord. and which. through which the Argonauts had to pass. 131-32) The connection established between the entrance to the Countess’s castle and. and the Countess’s mouth. 31 A similar kind of symbolism is also at work in “Acerca de la condesa sangrienta”.136].. cit. significantly. points to the repeatedly suggested web of associations between the entrance of Nosferatu’s castle. it may be guarded by dangerous animals. even unacknowledged pentacle of his virginity. or again. he knew it was too late to turn back and brusquely reminded himself he was no child.. p. as from the mouth of a grave. standing before the door of time-eroded oak while she selected a huge iron key from the clanking ringful at her waist. in the invisible. drove together and crushed it.. the young man stepped over the threshold of Nosferatu’s castle and did not shiver in the blast of cold air. The old lady unlocked the door.. the Symplegades. but now. The Countess Bathory’s crimes are carried out in the seclusion and secrecy of her isolated castle. He felt a certain involuntary sinking of the heart to see his beautiful two-wheeled symbol of rationality vanish into the dark entrails of the mansion [. the symbolism may be that of gigantic bivalves which crush whoever may get caught within them. in for a pound – in his youth and strength and blond beauty. The barriers placed between the young English soldier and the Countess are manifold and difficult to transpose: He could almost have regretted accepting the crone’s unspoken invitation. an inner world of criminal passions and depravity. Wolfgang Lederer comments specifically about these interrelated issues that: the door of the girl’s house may kill all those who enter. reminiscent of the innards of the earth and of a mortal womb: 31 LEDERER. comparable to the terrifying rocks. the mouth of a grave.] But. that emanated from the lightless.New Comparison 22: p.. in for a penny. and the chamber within her medieval castle” (p. 466). cavernous interior. which swung back on melodramatcally creaking hinges. 42 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter The theme of the dangerous pathway and entrance to Sleeping Beauty’s castle is powerfully dramatized in “The Lady of the House of Love”. which is also the mouth of a grave. 47. or her dangerous vagina [p. and fussily took charge of his bicycle. now. in her “underground kingdom [. in spite of his protests.] within the walls of her torture chamber. whenever a ship attempted to pass between them. . to be frightened of his own fancies.
and the cellars reeked of dead bodies. the pits [. Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West (Boston: Beacon Press. 43 The Countess’s room. MARGARET R. The monstrous nature of the womb as the place where a criminal individual commits her or his infamies is highlighted in Pizarnik’s tale in uncannily graphic detail. “a lurid and rotten uterus” where sinners would be tortured as a punishment for their crimes. Had she wanted to. 1976). hellish.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. as a vital element. while Margaret Miles notes how in Christian art the womb was frequently associated with hell. on the other it still implicitly retains its potential symbolic association with the shedding of blood in killing. where the uterus was often represented with horns to stress its presumed links with the devil. bloody nature of the womblike vaults in the Countess’s castle evoke primordially the latter connotation while by analogy hinting at the cruel absence of the former. cit. the archetypical hell of our fears. crypts. the connections between the womb and hell go back to Classical art. Creed describes these sites of horror as “intra-uterine settings [which] consist of dark. tunnels. fertility. 32 The connotations of blood in Pizarnik’s tale are paradoxical. in his analysis of the Sadeian oeuvre. If.. MILES. ROLAND BARTHES. The barren.. 475). on the one hand. Sade/Fourier/Loyola. woman’s blood can represent fertility and birth. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang. 16-17). takes on the ‘animal’ seme of the previous opposition and inherits the propensity for murder of which man must cleanse himself. winding passages leading to a central room. and the assurance of fecundation. 147. the viscous. p. trans. 32 . indicating the impure. but she was fascinated by the gloom of her dungeon. In this connection Kristeva comments: Blood. also notices the particular setting where the libertines’ orgies are carried out: “these are usually deep cellars. The gloom which matched so keenly her terrible eroticism of stone. 1989). Referring to horror films.. But blood. It thus becomes a fascinating CREED. This description is eerily similar to the configuration of the womb and of the symbolic fears it frequently embodies in horror fiction and films. 53. also refers to women. cellar or other symbolic place of birth”. the gardens. an interior labyrinth which corresponds closely to the subterranean architectural maze of the Countess’s castle. She loved her maze-shaped dungeon. As Barbara Creed points out. excavations located deep within the châteaux. reeked of blood. narrow. cold and badly lit by a lamp of jasmine oil. insecure space where we are unprotected and can get lost (p. The Monstrous-Feminine.] the solitary place is a rip into the bowels of the earth” (pp. pp. snow and walls. she could have carried out her work in broad daylight and murdered the girls under the sun. 43.
the propitious place for abjection.] evokes the cave – the grotto-esque. referring to the word “grotesque”: The word itself [. cessation of life and vitality all come together. winged chimeras--blood-lusting vampires all. The Monstrous-Feminine.. 33 Barbara Creed similarly mentions the “deadly nature of woman’s womb”: “Woman’s womb is a site of terror because it bleeds. pp. visceral. especially the earth. half-human sphinxes. Powers of Horror. The hunger of the beast was in her loins.. 334-335. cit. and the archaic grotesque have suggested a positive and powerful figuration of culture and womanhood to many male and female writers and artists [.New Comparison 22: p. and the vampire and posits a natural connection between the female body (itself naturalized) and the “primal” elements. cit. material.. It is an easy and perilous slide from these archaic tropes to the misogyny which identifies this hidden inner space with the visceral. CREED. but they sum up a widespread conviction that there was something threatening about the womb. earthly. All these images are strongly reminiscent of the negative and macabre view associated with noble ladies and their castles. where death and femininity. material. p. the crone. her tendency to atavistic reversion. brought out the beast in man. murder and procreation. These associations of the female with the earthly.. Low.” 34 Bram Dijkstra addresses the same problem when he writes that for men of the second half of the nineteenth-century: the womb of woman was the insatiable soil into whose bottomless crevasses man must pour the essence of his intellect in payment for her lewd enticements. immanent. the witch. and the hunger of the beast was for blood. The conjoining of bestial woman with the remnant of the beast in man could only spawn human animals.. 96. cit. hidden. Woman’s bestial couplings. 35 These remarks might well be exaggerated. Idols of Perversity. DIJKSTRA. . the grotesque cave tends to look like (and in the most gross metaphorical sense be identified with) the cavernous anatomical female body..] This view valorizes traditional images of the earth mother. They entirely correspond to the grotesque figures of monstrous women that peopled men’s imagination. dark. As bodily metaphor. 44 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter semantic crossroads. Mary Russo points out. evil creatures from the distant past coming back to haunt civilization: hungry.. 33 34 35 KRISTEVA. 66. p. it is the blood which flows from the inside to the outside of woman’s body that is viewed as abject.
one associated with the dread of the generative mother seen only as the abyss.] as a negative figure. but can be extended through narrative analogy to Pizarnik’s tale.. pp. .. dark vaults. Creed notes how the mythological figure of woman is represented “within patriarchal signifying practices [. ed. a place removed from the outside world by several protective barriers. The Countess can be read as representing an avatar of the fearful archaic. pp. 20. worm-eaten staircases. The observation relates to the discussion of the signs of the archaic mother in the Dracula variant of the vampire film. who stands defiantly outside the scope of morality and the law. pp.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. phallic mother. who on the one hand partially deflates the fears inspired by the archetypical figure of the archaic mother. which are all found in the description of the Countess’s castle: “the small. enclosed village. however. Now. 37 In her provocative analysis of Sade’s oeuvre. an interpretation corroborated and strengthened by Creed’s list of the signs of the archaic mother. excrement – all the detritus of the body that is separated out and placed with terror and revulsion (predominantly. cit. they have not acquired these tastes in the process of maturing. James Donald (London: BFI. vomit. 45 Blood. spider webs. tears. cit. 39-61. pp. In an insight which can profitably be applied to the Countess Bathory. Paradoxically. they remember them again. the murderous passions.. As she observes: Even the pursuit of the vilest of all passions. Angela Carter similarly suggests that some of the infamous practices carried out by the Sadeian libertine can be read in the light of a regression to infancy and to the protection of the womb. in ROGER DADOUN. the Countess is a barren figure. The Female Grotesque. The Monstrous-Feminine.. 1-2. “Fetishism in the horror film” Fantasy and the Cinema. who is perceived as non-woman and therefore dangerous. 1989). the central place of enclosure with its winding stairways. CREED. “It may be assumed that the impulse of cruelty arises from the instinct for mastery 36 37 RUSSO. though not exclusively) on the side of the feminine--are down there in the cave of abjection. the allincorporating black hole which threatens to reabsorb what it once birthed”. 36 Another aspect which pertains to characteristic representations of the womb consists in the fact that its enclosed space can be said to offer extra protection and secrecy to the criminal mind. They had only forgotten them. dust and damp earth”. freed from all adult restraint. lead them back to the cradle in the end. 27. but simultaneously calls attention to another character invoked in popular iconography as equally “monstrous”: the infertile woman. 53-57. the pathway through the forest that leads like an umbilical cord to the castle.
Immured in the impunity granted her by her aristocratic name. It is marginally about the power of a feudal ANGELA CARTER. She creates her own order within the Symbolic Order which she to some extent mimics. Powers of Horror.New Comparison 22: p. as if it were an extraordinary talisman” (p. perverse order. the Countess can be seen as creating her own. with its implicit connotations of fear and domination. but relationships of subordination and subservience. since the abject. defiantly flaunting that impunity to commit the most horrendous crimes and instituting her own ritualistic. considering herself immune to men’s rules. The shamelessness and violence of the libertines is that of little children who are easily cruel because they have not learned the capacity for pity which the libertines dismiss as “childish” because the libertines themselves have not yet grown up enough to acknowledge the presence of others in their solipsistic world.. p. The perverse ambiguity that according to Kristeva pertains to the abject. The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History (London: Virago. 38 This is also the sphere in which the Countess moves. is the fact that both Pizarnik’s and Carter’s narratives are primordially about the exercise of power and its prerogatives. order”. in which she establishes her own rules irrespective of the outside world. finds a sinister illustration in the Countess’s deeds. a microcosm at the margins of society. her eroticism coupled with sadism. outside the phallocentric one. cit.” suggests Freud. enisled. profoundly isolated. Carter’s narrative concerns power. 470). perverse rules in a feminine world. . an “illustrious one from the very early days of the Hungarian Empire” and “in the power of which Erzebet believed. while at the same time carrying out a profoundly corrupt and barbaric subversion of it – doubly so since the Countess is a woman and a criminal. one might observe. freeing her to carry out her atrocities without being penalized. 4. by taking the place of the Father/Phallus in the patriarchal law. 39 Closely related to the fear suggested by a potentially ambiguous and transgressive feminine sexuality. 1992). p. 39 38 KRISTEVA. 148. As Robert Rawdon Wilson remarks of “The Lady of the House of Love”: the castle of vampires itself. By incorporating the abject. contains not merely decay. as Kristeva stresses. system. so closely associated with the feminine and placed in opposition to the Symbolic Order. “disturbs identity. The Countess’s transgressive and perverse sexuality. 46 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter and appears at a period of sexual life at which the genitals have not yet taken over their later role. radically subvert the traditional view of women and balance of power. the Condesa moves beyond the Law.
published in Paris in 1962. Indeed. ed. 47 class over peasants and servants. 42 CRISTINA PIÑA. 1991). “SLIP PAGE”. As Arnold Heumakers remarks. He adds that “the narrative shows that it is about more than the sad fate of vampires. with whom Pizarnik had “[una] honda relación de afecto y coincidencia intelectual” and of Lautréamont. her main affinities lie with Surrealist or protoSurrealist writers such as Lautréamont or Bataille.” 40 The same can be said about Pizarnik’s “Condesa sangrienta” and her aristocratic domination over her feudal world. the Bloody Countess leads a double life.. Cortázar also wrote a book based on the story of the infamous Hungarian Countess: 62. during the time Pizarnik spent in that city. which she left to return to Buenos Aires 40 41 ROBERT RAWDON WILSON. Erzsébet Báthory. pp. diverting suspicion away. and subterranean vaults for their most uninhibited orgies”. pp. Cristina Piña also notes the prominent influence of Julio Cortázar.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p.. pp. 119. exerted by the various manifestations of the abject on the Surrealists.. It is made quite clear that the relationship of the castle to the village is a feudal one. 41 The ambivalent fascination which both repels and attracts. ARNOLD HEUMAKERS. “De Sade. a pessimistic libertine”. 109. It is also about the fate of women in a patriarchal world. part of a French tradition which has in the Marquis de Sade one of its more important representatives and theorists. y aquel que se inscribe en su poesía hasta el poema que se supone fue el último escrito por ella y anotado en su pizarrón de trabajo.] Not for nothing do libertines choose remote estates. 1991). while the tale carries out a profoundly disturbing meditation on the nature of perversity and of sexual difference as far as the Countess’s homosexual proclivities are concerned.” 42 Significantly. inaccessible castles. From Sappho to de Sade: Moments in the History of Sexuality. p. more even than the sad fate of empires and armies. 108Developed out of the 62nd chapter of Cortázar’s novel Rayuela (1963). 43 itself influenced by a work by the French Surrealist writer Valentine Penrose. cit. 476). “it is of course absolutely necessary to look respectable in order to be able to commit crimes with impunity [. la comtesse sanglante. Alejandra Pizarnik (Buenos Aires: Planeta. Modelo para armar (1968). 118. “quien sería uno de los poetas más importantes para la configuración de la estética de Alejandra. Jan Bremer (London and New York: Routledge. occupying herself during the day “with all the little details that rule the profane order of our lives” (p. 121. 43 . links Pizarnik’s work with theirs. Like many other doubles in fiction such as Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. 108-122.
SUSAN SONTAG. “The Pornographic Imagination”. Only works dealing with that specific and sharpest inflection of the themes of lust. 48 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter in 1964. the nature of her horrific crimes. and to which Pizarnik draws our attention right at the beginning of her own version of the Countess’s story. a highly questionable phenomenon. of death.New Comparison 22: p. as she followed him around the Paris streets. It’s toward the gratification of death. A Susan Sontag Reader. a literary friend of Pizarnik. 224-25. as de Sade was imprisoned in the Bastille). Pizarnick believed that she and Bataille exchanged knowing glances.. 171. p. 46 45 44 . 46 The attraction exerted on the Surrealists and on Pizarnik by the Hungarian Countess. in connection with Bataille. Alejandra Pizarnik. shared her fascination for the character of the Countess. Lautréamont and Bataille have hinted at. when she stresses. as Susan Sontag maintains. Moreover. p. 1982). that every truly obscene quest tends”. is easily explained by the disquieting elements that make up her story and which find such powerful echoes in the Surrealist oeuvre: her transgression and utter circumvention of all moral codes. either overtly or covertly. succeeding and surpassing those of eros. 44 Death is a keyword in Pizarnik’s poetics. the ‘obscene’. but it is in “Acerca de la condesa sangrienta” that the articulation between sexuality and death first becomes apparent. at least potentially. is that the obscene is a primal notion of human consciousness. ultimately. cit. Pizarnik’s intense attraction to the character of the Transylvanian noblewoman signals her fascination with the contiguity between sexuality and death. an insight that seems tailor-made for Pizarnik’s tale. Ibid. remembers the recurrence in their conversations around 1966 of the figure of the Countess Bathory. her almost complete impunity with respect to the law (however. isn’t sex but death”. 45 that he “understood more clearly than any other writer I know of that what pornography is really about. Lautréamont and Bataille. having managed to acquire for his personal library all the existing materials about her. the noblewoman is also caught and punished through incarceration in her castle. She goes on to point out that not “every pornographic work speaks. quite apart from Christian repressions. 178-179. and belongs. In her essay “The Pornographic Imagination”. Bataille shares with Sade “the same ultimate identification of sex and death”. He was a real expert on the Transylvanian noblewoman. something much more profound than the backwash of a sick society’s aversion to the body. ed. Human sexuality is. Elizabeth Hardwick (Harmondsworth: Penguin. Luis Gregorich. See CRISTINA PIÑA. As Sontag points out. a theme with permeates her tale as well as the work of Sade. Another friend. what authors like Sade. Juan Esteban Fassio. Susan Sontag refers explicitly to this aspect. this female de Sade. do. her lack of any sense of moral judgement.
which range from the impulse to commit sudden arbitrary violence upon another person to the voluptuous yearning for the extinction of one’s consciousness. Georges Bataille declared that eroticism was inseparable from the idea of transgression. 49 among the extreme rather than the ordinary experiences of humanity. who accentuates the erotic violence by making the characters who enact them “worthy” members of society. Bataille believed that desire could only be truly fulfilled by breaking taboos whether religious... the “insane”.. blasphemy and the release of violent emotion. CAROLINE RAMAZANOGLU. p. with its stress on the examination of the workings of the forces of abjection. Nadia Choucha explains some of the most important tenets of the Surrealist philosophy: The surrealists [. 229. sexuality remains one of the demonic forces in human consciousness – pushing us at intervals close to taboo and dangerous desires. Selffashioning is to be undertaken without any of the customary preconstraints. 48 Indeed. as Caroline Ramazanoglu points out.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. perversion and power. pp. 1993). for death itself. is less a classical “liberal” posture than a demand for liberation from all restrictions on pleasure and power. economic or social. going back to Sade. DEBORAH CAMERON and ELIZABETH FRAZER. the women and children. It is thus a subversive force. engaging with Foucault’s work on sexuality and power: Foucault joined Bataille in celebrating Sade as reviving the possibility of happiness in evil [. 49 . is issued to man – after God died – to retrieve the power to shape the self. no less than Sade’s. Up Against Foucault: Explorations of some tensions between Foucault and Feminism (London and New York: Routledge. Thus Foucault’s support for the “criminal”. Thus eroticism is 47 48 Ibid. The call is radical. 221-22. the breaking of taboos.. and especially nuns and priests.] with both divorced from moral contexts and diverted to the aims of pure self-fashioning. Foucault’s challenge.. Tamed as it may be. Ed. 47 Pizarnik’s tale finds its place squarely in the tradition mentioned above. dealing at length with the works of the Marquis de Sade.. Lust to Kill: A Feminist Investigation of Sexual Murder (Cambridge University Press.] believed that unbridled eroticism leads to excess. This may have been derived from de Sade. 1987) situate the starting point of a series of conceptualizations of murder at about the time of the French Revolution. 49 The Surrealists’ – and particularly Bataille’s – influence on Pizarnik are indeed decisive in shaping her work. while referring in passing to the Gothic tradition. for it can transform the individual and consequently society.
He maintains that “The transgression does not deny the taboo but transcends it and completes it”. There is always another side to the matter. 50 In this respect. cit.] The best way of enlarging and multiplying one’s desires is to try to limit 50 NADIA CHOUCHA. Susannah Radstone (London: Lawrence & Wishart. It is always a temptation to knock down a barrier. RICHAR DYER. ed. according to Pierre Klossowski. just as though the taboo were never anything but the means of cursing gloriously what it forbids.. 54. adapting Freudian ideas.. for the curse is the condition of his achievement.” 51 Indeed. The bloodiest of murderers cannot ignore the curse upon him. writes de Sade. a statement pertinent to the acts of the Bloody Countess. Homosexuality as Vampirism”. “that can set bounds to licentiousness [. yet covert. cit. with respect to vampires and werewolves in films: “Robin Wood. “There is nothing”. Jane Gallop sustains that “Perversion must be denied as deviation from a norm. Surrealism and the Occult (Oxford: Mandrake.. thinks perversion to be already implicit in all the normal instruments of society. Sweet Dreams: Sexuality. Bataille suggests. 1991). the forbidden action takes on a significance it lacks before fear widens the gap between us and it and invests it with an aura of excitement. Thinking Through the Body. have suggested. and a number of other writers on the horror film.. 47-71.. that all ‘monsters’ in some measure represent the hideous and terrifying form that sexual energies take when they ‘return’ from being socially and culturally repressed. Powers of Horror. 52 51 KRISTEVA. Transgression piled upon transgression will never abolish the taboo. . In the foregoing proposition there is a basic truth: taboos founded on terror are not only there to be obeyed.New Comparison 22: p. Gender and Popular Fiction.. 15. but Sade. p. Sade’s deviation is his explicitness: he creates a scandal by exposing what is universal. 50 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter not simply creative and positive but potentially destructive and negative [. 5. p. Kristeva aptly establishes the explicit connection between these two concepts in Powers of Horror. Bataille emphatically sustains: Once the obstacle is overthrown what outlasts the transgression is a flouted taboo. GALLOP.” As Richard Dyer similarly stresses. Pizarnik’s “condesa sangrienta” represents the acme of everything that is abject and perverse. p. whose life consists in breaking taboos and the perpetration of subversive deeds. p. In relation to this issue. 1988). pp.] It is the negative and anti-social qualities that enhance the pleasure of the sexual act. 52 Bataille himself wrote profusely about transgression and taboo. “Children of the Night: Vampirism as Homosexuality. 83.
Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. “The Alchemy of the Word”. 1990). two books by Ado Kyrou. 57 In 1978.” Using words that could serve as epigraph to almost all her books. Lorna Sage (London: Virago. p. in its purest state. 48. which she decided not to see because it was not “blasphemous”. Carter was here referring specifically to Martin Scorsese’s film “The Last Temptation of Christ”. pp. 62. p. is clearly inspired by the Surrealist movement. she adds: “It GEORGES BATAILLE. 55 issues which are dramatized with particular vehemence in Pizarnik’s tale and in Angela Carter’s work. cit. but more than that. she explained. it is precisely by and through its transgression that the force of a prohibition becomes fully realized. As Susan Rubin Suleiman stresses. Nadia Choucha notes that “in surrealism the theme of blasphemy has a dual function: to celebrate unleashed desire and the dominance of the pleasure principle. 57 . Boston Globe. is the prerogative of children and madmen. indeed. 83. Her novel The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972). where she clarifies her ideas about the movement founded: “Surrealism celebrated wonder. generally speaking. pp. See RUBIN SULEIMAN. Nothing can set bounds to licentiousness [. Massachussetts: Harvard University Press.” 54 Similarly. were close. written in Japan. Subversive Poetics. alluding to Bataille: “The experience of transgression is indissociable from the consciousness of the constraint or prohibition it violates. Surrealism and the Occult. there is nothing that can conquer violence. Carter wrote a profoundly polemic. Mary Dalwood (London and New York: Marion Boyars. CHOUCHA. 51 them”. Eroticism. During her stay in Japan. cit. 242 n 64. 1994). See SUSAN RUBIN SULEIMAN. Flesh and the Mirror: Essays on the Art of Angela Carter.. Subversive Poetics: Gender. as Susan Rubin Suleiman shows. 1994). p. Interview with John Engstrom. 63. trans. Politics and the Avant-Garde (Cambridge.] or rather.. 54 55 56 53 RUBIN SULEIMAN. p. Carter discovered. “The Fate of the Surrealist Imagination in the Society of the Spectacle”. Carter herself wrote an essay on Surrealism. you know!” . the capacity for seeing the world as if for the first time which. where she lived between 1969 and 1972. 28 October 1988. and to criticize the dogmas and hypocrisy of religion”. this is 1988. it celebrated wonder itself as an essential means of perception. “I mean. 98-99. blasphemous and provocative piece for television entitled “The Holy Family Album”. pp. 53 These words illuminate in many ways the macabre acts of Pizarnik’s Countess. 75. like Pizarnik’s. 98-116.. ed. which decisively influenced her: Surréalisme et cinéma (1953) and Amour-érotisme et cinéma (1957). around 1970. who provocatively wrote with respect to this issue: “If it’s not blasphemous. Shortly before she died. why bother to make it?” 56 Angela Carter’s links with the Surrealists.
Such power they ascribed to words and images. of the armies. in other words. pp. Expletives Deleted: Selected Writings (London: Vintage.” Although she felt disappointed with.. So does the struggle continue? Why not. all men and they told me that I was the source of all mystery. of the prisons. Carter nevertheless reiterates her faith in the Surrealist ideals. . 1994). disarticulation and rearticulation. of perpetual outrage and scandal. Susan Bassnett suggests: “Just as the Marquis de Sade became a Surrealist hero. “Speaking with many voices: The poems of Alejandra Pizarnik”. A poem is a wound.” “The Alchemy of the Word”. with its endless potential for manipulation.” 58 Susan Rubin Suleiman comments: A woman Surrealist. S. That is why. 59 In related vein. p. a poem is a weapon. 45. although I thought they were wonderful. pp. too. however paradoxically in view of its depiction of the horrific details of the tortures and death the Countess In spite of her admiration for the Surrealists. 67-73. Bassnett (London and New Jersey: Zed Books Ltd. SUSAN BASSNETT. beauty. yet as empowering as that image is. Subversive Poetics. 1990). p. They were. 73). cit. I had to give them up in the end. because I was a woman – and I knew that was not true.. and otherness. Even if the struggle has changed its terms. she has to invent her own position as subject and elaborate her own set of images – different from the image of the exposed female body. 52 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter was also a way of life.. which she still finds worth fighting for. 36-51. In order to innovate. of living on the edge of the senses. cannot simply assume a subject position and take over a stock of images elaborated by the male imaginary.” 60 Pizarnik’s tale is indeed. and to a certain extent excluded from. I got bored with it and wandered away. Carter expressed certain reservations: “The surrealists were not good with women. for her male colleagues. p. Knives and Angels: Women Writers in Latin America. 59 60 58 RUBIN SELEIMAN. and their actions challenge every established social rule known to mankind. with a few patronised exceptions. I knew I wanted my fair share of the imagination.. ed. of the brothels. Surrealism for being a woman. so the Countess Bathory is a Surrealist heroine: not because of any approval of their crimes.New Comparison 22: p. As she remarks in “The Alchemy of the Word”: When I realised that surrealist art did not recognise I had my own rights to liberty and love and vision as an autonomous being. but rather because they represent the ultimate subversion. Give me one good reason. the destruction of the churches. not as a projected image. 26. fantasizing and projection.
thus dramatizes in an exemplary way Carter’s stress on the violently inhumane side of the Sadeian erotic search for solipsistic pleasure at the margins of the law: “Sexuality. in an infernal cycle only broken by the eventual visitation of the Law. 228. Carnal knowledge is the infernal knowledge of the flesh as meat” 62 Reflecting on the aesthetics of murder as predominantly a male act. one has the possibility of becoming a totally free individual. by Deborah Cameron and Elizabeth Frazer. 225. while at the same time. However. is not in any way humane.141 JOSEPHINE MCDONAGH. and imposing one’s will so that it has direct and unmediated effect. Josephine McDonagh. “Do or die: problems of agency and gendering the aesthetics of murder”. p. The Countess’s infringement of the rules that regulate society. like Angela Carter. Josephine McDonagh notes that some feminist writers. p. flouting the law. in the light of Kristeva’s theory of abjection. that Pizarnik’s tale daringly carries out a confrontation with many of the forces that make up the abject. in New Feminist Discourses. her devilish practices in which only the self exists. her cannibalistic and perverse sexuality. a cautionary tale against absolute freedom and the total refusal of any restraints advocated by the Surrealists. it is nothing but pure cruelty. Sadeian extremes. Finally. ed. 477). pp. existing outside and unhindered by the realm of culture”. referring to the book Lust to Kill. the narrative suggests that to a certain extent the fractured and deeply frightening boundaries between the human JOSEPHINE MCDONAGH. The Sadeian Woman (London: Virago.. Sade’s work encapsulates a radical transgression of values which suggests the possibilities for women to transcend the oppression that is deeply embedded in patriarchal social and cultural practices. have re-read Sade to reclaim for women the potential liberation of his transgressive moment. 62 63 61 ANGELA CARTER. 1979). by means of that very exploration. I would like to suggest. 1992). like that of the Sadeian libertines. for Angela Carter. New Feminist Discourses: Critical Essays on Theories and Texts. are taken to diabolical. 53 inflicted on hundreds of women. 61 a perception which Pizarnik’s tale to a great extent confronts and contests. thereby laying themselves open to the claims of radical feminists that they glory in and thus perpetuate patriarchal violence. cit. . her tyrannical domination over her victims and her imposition of her own depravities on her unsuspecting prey. Her life. As Pizarnik writes at the end of “The Bloody Countess” about the Countess Bathory: ”She is yet another proof that the absolute freedom of the human creature is horrible” (p. 222-237.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. notes that “through murder. Isobel Armstrong (London and New York: Routledge. 63 a point of view which I fully endorse. p. stripped of the idea of free exchange.
Thus the Countess. We are bound to reject something that would end in the ruin of all our works. or on individual or collective groups that in theory could and should be suppressed – in short. the main site and conflation of the powers of evil and an incarnation of abject forces. TIMO AIRAKSINEN. the proliferation of works and films dealing with the monstrous feminine and with the relaxing of all sorts of borders. . of their macabre and transgressive side which held such appeal for the Surrealists. call it reason. utility or order. Would it be possible wholly to avoid the denial of humanity implicit in these instincts? May this denial perhaps depend on external factors. Timo Airaksinen. while the borders by which society is regulated are reestablished. forcefully stated by Kristeva and Bataille. is finally destroyed. But there remains this question.New Comparison 22: p. witches and werecreatures. The Philosophy of the Marquis de Sade. is in a way “doomed” to perversity. a sickness not essential to man’s nature that could be cured. Eroticism. no one would suggest that the cruelty of the heroes of Justine and Juliette should not be wholeheartedly abominable. (London and New York: Routledge. 54 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter and non-human are made whole again through the intervention of the Law. However. pp. 1995). like Carter’s. on elements that could be cut out of human kind? Or does man bear within himself the stubborn and persistent denial of the quality. It is a denial of the principles on which humanity is founded. reflecting on the meaning of perversion. which chastises the Countess for her boundless perversion. argues that “a pervert is either sick or incapable. Pizarnik’s tale never loses sight of this aspect. If instinct urges us to destroy the very thing we are building we must condemn those instincts and defend ourselves from them. for example. Bataille helps us look for a possible “explanation” of the reprehensible and unjustifiable acts of Pizarnik’s Countess and Carter’s vampire woman. which both repels and attracts.. and accordingly he [sic] suffers from a condition he cannot prevent or deflect. 28. p. 64 65 BATAILLE. attests to the eternal fascination with the duality of woman as angel and demon and those in-between states embodied in such characters as vampires. and for both Pizarnik and Carter: Short of a paradoxical capacity to defend the indefensible. while simultaneously always already unavoidably there. 183-84. This trend points to the profound ambiguity of the abject in itself. upon which humanity is based? Is our being ineluctably the negation as well as the affirmation of its own principle? 64 These vexed questions probe deeply into the nature of the problems raised by Pizarnik’s and Carter’s tales.” 65 We can thus say that Pizarnik’s Countess. cit. needing to be expelled in order to keep the unity of the subject. due to the blood that runs in her veins.
and now the mechanism was inexorably running down and would leave her lifeless. 68 a strategy which is barred to the Countess. she is a closed circuit. 11-17. (p. This idea that she might be an automaton. p. chained to the laws of her ancestors. to be human. Review of Contemporary Fiction. when she was born. Ibid. never quite deserted him. she is a system of repetitions. 184. performing a role she hates and wants to discard. she wishes to recover her reflection in the mirror. p. becoming human for her means dying. While Pizarnik’s aristocrat sadistically enjoys the atrocities she guiltlessly commits. we might as well stop now. asks herself the question. however. made of white velvet and black fur.. 124). one line of investigation that could be pursued here is the failure of narcissism in both tales. significant differences between the two Countesses. “there is no narcissism without a person’s self-image on a reflecting surface.” 67 In Carter’s tale. where the question “Can a bird sing only the song it knows or can it learn a new song?” (p. p. instead of developing her own personality. in a word. which is very good. pp.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. The Philosophy of the Marquis de Sade.. the woman. because of the blood that runs through her veins. like a great. As Timo Airaksinen maintains. or. Furthermore. Carter’s is a victim of her lineage. instead of building her own self: “she is herself a cave full of echoes. 175. who is a very passive person and is very much in distress. that could not move of its own accord. 55 Indeed. . 136) 66 There are.. or can it learn a new song?’ Have we got the capacity at all of singing new songs? It’s very important that if we haven’t. ingenious piece of clockwork. the Countess. And in the movie. It is part of a person’s attempt to retain his own individuality by refusing to receive a definition from the outside”. In ANNA KATSAVOS. 16. 124-125) Airaksinen argues that “narcissism is an understandable personal project. 125). cit. the vampire woman in “The Lady of the House of Love” is perceived by the British officer as : a doll [. For she seemed inadequately powered by some slow energy of which she was not in control. referring specifically to the imprisoned vampire woman. the only mirror is “a cracked mirror suspended from a wall [which] does not reflect a presence” (p. “An Interview with Angela Carter”. 14:3 (1994). Indeed.” (pp. 67 68 66 AIRAKSINEN.] a ventriloquist’s doll. is forced to repeat the acts of her ancestors. ‘Can a bird sing only the song it knows. free-will and the development of a well integrated personality: questions which only apply to Carter’s Countess in the sense that. forced against her will to perpetuate her ancestors’ crimes.. as if she had been wound up years ago. Carter explains that “The Lady of the House of Love” partly “derives from a movie version that I saw of a story by Dostoyevsky. She wants love. raises the vexed question of freedom from society’s conventions. more. Can the marionette in that story behave in a way that she’s not programmed to behave? Is it possible?” The issues brought up here by Carter are powerfully dramatized in “The Lady of the House of Love”.
. Yet only in their admiring faces could I see the wonderful results of my magic baths for my piercing eye had broken every mirror in the castle..] but an icon of unholiness. I was a great lady and my portrait shows me crusted almot entirely in gold. The young girls who became me when they washed me with my awful sponges were as much my victims as those whom I immolated. with reference to de Sade. as Airaksinen points out. the only kind available to her. after all. 56 Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter Interestingly. 70 On the other hand. I would have ceased immediately to be beautiful. is specifically given a voice. If they had ceased to be afraid of me. referring to the portrait of Elizabeth Bathory: “She looks rather like [. which expresses a thwarted narcissism. they were in such deep complicity with her they urged her to renewed infamies as though her beauty and wickedness were properties of themselves and the more beautiful and wicked she became. She is peering and peering in the mirror for her face but she will never find it. parodic register of the tale. When I looked at them. 187. pp. 102. the oscillation of the narratorial voice from third person to first person. in the satirical.. cit. and is at the mercy of tyrannical will. The Philosophy of the Marquis de Sade. since no mirror could project her image. 106. were enhanced. but. . an exacerbated wish to stay young and she 69 70 CARTER.. of course. I saw how wonderful I was. AIRAKSINEN. lacks perfectly defined boundaries. It shows her looking in a mirror. So she kept her wrinkles at bay. The Sanguinary Countess laved her white. the Countess Bathory herself is allowed to express herself: ELIZABETH BA’THORY. an autonomous will that. p. 69 Unlike the Lady of the House of Love. The Sanguinary Countess of Pizarnik’s story similarly evinced a great deal of vanity. is beyond narcissism. “Vampirella”. might also indicate an ego which. in spite of torture. in the Countess’s speech. and how terrifying. do you see. in “Vampirella” the Countess Elizabeth Bathory.” Later in the tale. Her servants never betrayed her. exquisite body in the blood she tapped from the gross veins of peasant girls who had too much blood for their own requirements. a forebear of the present Lady.] an icon [. never. Elizabeth Bathory appears to have an unmistakable and swollen ego. As the Countess explains. she knew how much the preservation of her fabled beauty was worth. the more they. too. cit.New Comparison 22: p.. she couldn’t see her own reflection..
for blood. 472) This is therefore no common mirror. Carter’s Countess.. . the cellars flooded with human blood.. 57 would spend her days in front of her large mirror. while still incarnating the fantasy of the femme fatale. he/she may look. as Airaksinen says of the Sadean person. thus rewriting the myth of the vampire woman in a provocatively transgressive way. or everywhere beyond human thought and motivation. the room to which the British soldier is taken has “a handsome portrait of Gilles de Rais over the fireplace [. the person walks right through the looking-glass in order to find a new indescribable world.” (p.Seabra Ferreira: Pizarnik and Carter New Comparison 22: p. . pp. 186-88. subverts it by means of her unappeased longing to be made whole by human feelings. and Gilles de Rais in his crimes. they soon move beyond narcissism for “they would never agree [..] Are the whole damn clan related to every vampire that ever lived!” (CARTER. . on the other hand. 72 moving beyond all definitions of a moral being as she embodies the myth of the monstrous woman so prevalent throughout the centuries and spanning all cultures.” 71 As Pizarnik comments at the end of her tale: “Like Sade in his writings. a famous mirror she had designed herself.” Indeed. We can suppose that while believing she had designed a mirror. could spark something resembling life in her perfect face.. And now we can understand why only . Erzebet had in fact designed the plans for her lair. and for ferocious sexuality than the creatures who inhabit cold mirrors. to start with. 104). Sade “offers a view to nowhere through the mirror. . Because no one has more thirst for earth. . In “Vampirella”. 477). (p. 71 72 Ibid. p. “like the supreme narcissists”. however. .” As he further explains: “In Sade’s case. nor is the Bloody Countess a narcissist in the usual sense of the word. Come Unto These Yellow Sands. Although..] that they are moral winners and fit to be loved. cit.. the Countess Bathory reached beyond all limits the uttermost pit of unfettered passions.
the members of the Académie chose the woman writer who was perhaps least likely to disrupt certain conservative ideas. both within and outside France) consists of what may loosely be called “historical novels”. following on the women's movements of the 1970's. as she had always written. The main texts to which I shall refer here are: Memoirs of Hadrian.1987) became the first woman ever to be elected to the Académie Française. pp. Zeno. Women’s Studies Centre Review (University College Galway. women writers in France were concentrating on giving a voice to women's experience and to women's points of view. in a somewhat traditional and distinctly un-feminist mode. As this is the highest official honour available to French writers. who falls foul of the Inquisition because of his An earlier version of this article appeared in the U. her election was hailed by many as a victory for her sex. that.G. The bulk of her work (and certainly the work for which she is best known. particularly in relation to women themselves. closer examination of the literary work for which this signal honour was awarded leads one to suspect that. in fact. the life of a fictional sixteenth-century philosopher and alchemist.C. Yourcenar wrote. Marguerite Yourcenar (1903 . Vol. in that the action is usually set in a historical period. the establishment was allowing its presuppositions to be challenged less than would initially appear to be the case. The Abyss. 2. This is particularly true in terms of the way in which women characters are represented in Yourcenar's work. and on creating a specific medium of expression for this "woman-centred" content. 1 . in choosing this particular candidate. which is presented as the “autobiography” of the second-century Roman emperor Hadrian.111-124). and as evidence that the literary establishment was finally beginning to acknowledge the worth of women writers. At a time when.Francesca Counihan SHIFTING SANDS: GENDER AND IDENTITY IN THE WRITING OF MARGUERITE YOURCENAR 1 In 1981. However. the details of which have been very carefully researched. 1993.
Entretiens avec Marguerite Yourcenar (Paris: Mercure de France. Yourcenar herself explains this dearth of female central figures in her work in terms of a conscious choice : Why not make her [Plotina in Memoirs of Hadrian] the central character of a book ? Quite simply because the lives of women.Counihan: Shifting Sands New Comparison 22: p. 3 MARGUERITE YOURCENAR. 1982). A Coin in Nine Hands. 1939). set mainly in seventeenth-century Holland and centring on the life of Nathanaël. set in the Fascist Italy of the 1930's. The Abyss. Grace Frick (Harmondsworth: Penguin. whose low social status and various professions allow him to observe the society of his time with detachment and a dream-like indifference. In contrast. the “obscure man” of the title. Fires. 1968).. despite everything. lacking the depth and complexity that would allow them to be convincing to the reader. 2 In most of these works. trans. the story of an ill-fated relationship between a White Russian officer. Walter Kaiser (London: Harvill. until his solitary death. alternate with short lyrical prose poems. have been too limited in their manifestations. p. trans. are portrayed in very limited and stereotypical terms. 59 unorthodox views on science and religion. and even when they do. whom he rejects. soror. original edition L’Oeuvre au Noir (Paris: Gallimard. and the events of the narrative are seen from his point of view. including the stories of Achilles. trans. complex individuals who are distinguished by the lucidity with which they perceive and analyse their situation. an unusual work where re-tellings of Greek myths. trans. women rarely appear as central characters in Yourcenar's work. the story focuses on a male central character. Grace Frick (London: Harvill. These male characters are generally strong.. revised edition Gallimard. and Antigone. we would. 1959). Dori Katz (London: Black Swan. PATRICK DE ROSBO. and many others [. and his friend's sister Sophie. some intensely personal in tone. find ourselves in the restricted. 1952). the direct experience of the corridors of power.] With Plotina. and centring on an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Mussolini. 1992). An Obscure Man. and An Obscure Man. trans. To take Plotina as heroine and as narrator would have meant leaving out the direct experience of war.”. 1936). 1976).. Grace Frick (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux. 3 2 . A Coin in Nine Hands. 1992). Coup de Grâce. in this as in every other period. trans. Memoirs of Hadrian. 1959). Clytemnestra. and “A Lovely Morning”).88 (my translation). 1934. 1984). original edition Le Coup de Grâce (Paris: Gallimard. and Fires. I shall also draw on several less well-known texts: Coup de Grâce.. 1972). 1982). closed female sphere […] where most women have lived. as in those not mentioned here. original edition Mémoires d’Hadrien (Paris: Plon. original edition Un homme obscur (Paris: Gallimard. original edition Feux (Paris: Gallimard. (with “Anna. original edition Denier du rêve (Paris: Grasset. Dori Katz (Henley-on-Thames: Aidan Ellis.
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Counihan: Shifting Sands
It seems that part of what Yourcenar is doing here is claiming the right to intervene in spheres other than those traditionally reserved for the female author; such a claim can be seen in a positive light, in that it refuses to accept that a writer's subject matter can or should be limited by their gender. 4 Such a choice may enable the author to broaden the scope of her writing and to explore areas otherwise inaccessible to her. 5 It may also be part of a strategy aimed at reinforcing an authority, which, in common with many women writers, the author feels to be fragile or inadequate. 6 However, there remains the matter of how the female characters are dealt with when they do occur. And here, one begins to suspect that Yourcenar's reasons for eschewing female central characters may be more (or other) than she cares to admit; that a key factor in this omission may be the way in which she herself perceives women. If we examine the representation of women in her work, we find that most of her female characters appear in minor roles, and are seen through the eyes of men. They are generally sketchily portrayed, lacking the complexity that would make them interesting to the reader, and, in marked contrast to the male protagonists, seem mostly devoid of self-awareness and of the capacity to analyse their situation. Furthermore, as regards characterisation, they appear as a series of stereotypes, in that they either embody a particular (female) characteristic or represent a natural element (favourites being
Simone de Beauvoir relates a similar experience: “When I started to write, many women authors refused to be classed in precisely that category. The critics at the time often used the title ‘Ladies’ work’ for the columns where they dealt with our books, which annoyed us. They wanted to enclose us within the narrow limits of a world reserved for our sex: house, home, children, with occasional openings towards Nature or the cult of Love. We rejected the idea of ‘women’s writing’ because we wanted to speak on equal terms with the men of the entire world”, cited in ANNE OPHIR, Regards féminins (Paris: Denoël-Gonthier, 1976), Introduction, p. 11 (my translation). The French term “ouvrages de dames” contains a play on words which is difficult to reproduce in English, as “ouvrages” in this phrase can refer both to “embroidery, needlework”, (specifically ladies’ “ouvrages”) and “literary works” (the broader sense of the term). CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON, Scandal in the Ink: Male and Female Homosexualities in French Literature (London: Cassell, 1995), pp.226-32, suggests for example that Yourcenar’s particular use of male central characters allows her to explore male homosexual experience, and the possibility of a male-based androgyny. I have dealt more fully with this aspect of Yourcenar’s writing in COUNIHAN, “Marguerite Yourcenar et l’autorité littéraire”, Ecriture et féminisme, Actes du Colloque International de Saragosse (13-18 november 1995), (University of Saragoza, forthcoming). For a more general discussion of this aspect of women’s writing, see SANDRA GILBERT and SUSAN GUBAR, The Madwoman in the Attic (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), Chapters 1 & 2, pp.3-104 ; SUSAN LANSER, Fictions of Authority: Women Writers and Narrative Voice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), Chapter 1, pp.3-24; CHRISTINE PLANTÉ, La petite soeur de Balzac: essai sur la femme-auteur (Paris: Seuil, 1989).
6 5 4
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New Comparison 22: p. 61
Earth and Water, the traditionally “female” elements). Thus women characters are variously portrayed as personifying wisdom and detachment, like the Plotina of Memoirs of Hadrian, or Donna Valentina in Anna, soror...; as creatures of passion, capable only of feeling, never of reason, like Sophie, in Coup de Grâce, whose defection to the enemy is motivated by her disgust with the story's hero, Eric, and Catherine in The Abyss (who kills her master out of unrequited passion for Zeno, the novel's hero, who recoils in disgust); or as being impelled, inspired by a force beyond them (but still incapable of reason) like Marcella in A Coin in Nine Hands, whose doomed attempt to assassinate Mussolini leads to her death. Other female characters are shown to be defined and condemned by a single negative characteristic, like Angiola , the film star of A Coin in Nine Hands, who is vanity incarnate, or Martha, Zeno's half-sister in The Abyss, who is damned by her love of money, which ultimately prevents her from rescuing her brother from the Inquisition. “Natural” stereotypes occur both in interviews where Yourcenar comments on her work, and within the novels themselves. The writer describes several women characters as incarnations of natural elements: for example, all the women in A Coin in Nine Hands, apart from the frivolous Angiola, are “essentially earthy”, 7 Marcella is seen by another (male) character as “the earth, the powerful Italian earth that survived the chaos of whatever regime”; 8 Dida the old flower-seller is “the earth in its roughest, most rugged form” 9 and her great age is conveyed by saying that, whereas in youth, she “had looked like a flower, now she looked like a tree trunk”. 10 The Sophie of Coup de Grâce similarly achieves elemental status: she represents the earth itself, having “the richness of a wellspring”, and possesses “the generosity and greatness of an almost elemental being”. 11 A corollary of this elemental nature seems to be the absence, on the part of such women characters, of any ability to think clearly about their situation. Marcella is a good example of this: as she prepares for her desperate attempt to assassinate Mussolini, it is not she, but the men around her, who are seen to reflect on the folly of her action, on its value and its probable chance of success, while no such reasoned thought comes from her. She rushes headlong towards her goal, undeterred by the efforts of her male companion to dissuade her; he gives up when he realises that “she couldn't be persuaded, any more than an object, a tool or a weapon
7 8 9 10 11
DE ROSBO, Entretiens, cit., p.90 YOURCENAR, Coin in Nine Hands, cit. p.58 DE ROSBO, Entretiens, cit., p.90 YOURCENAR, A Coin in Nine Hands, cit., p.101 DE ROSBO, Entretiens, cit., p.89
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could be persuaded.” 12 This instinctual and unthinking mode is fully in keeping with Yourcenar's view of women, as indicated by her further comments:
Finally and most importantly, women have very rarely been, or, which amounts to the same thing, have very rarely shown themselves to be, capable of thinking what they are or what they do. 13
This is an opinion frequently attributed by Yourcenar to her male characters (for example Hadrian, or Georges in “Le premier soir”); 14 that she reiterates it here in the context of an interview shows to what extent it corresponds to her own view. Perhaps the most sobering aspect of these representations of women in Yourcenar's work is that they are generally intended as positive; for example, she describes the character of Valentina, (in Anna, soror...) as “an initial sketch of the perfect woman I have often dreamed of - at once loving and detached, passive out of wisdom and not out of weakness”. 15 This is the same Valentina of whom the story's narrator says: “When her children realized that she was dead, there was no surprise mingled with their sadness. Donna Valentina had been the sort of person one was surprised to see existing” 16 (which seems to be taking passivity, wise or otherwise, a little far). Thus, women in Yourcenar's work are defined in terms of passivity, irrationality, passion, earthiness, and purity: the list would hardly be surprising, coming from a French male writer of the time. However, coming from a woman, and particularly from a woman who herself showed such personal and intellectual independence and such rational and analytic powers as did Marguerite Yourcenar, this list is, to say the least, surprising. Furthermore, on reading the interviews where she talks about her work, one has the distinct impression of a hiatus between herself and the general category of “women” as perceived by her. It is as if this category of “women” refers to someone other than herself; she can look at it from the outside, judge it, describe it, all as if it were something quite distinct
12 13 14
YOURCENAR, A Coin in Nine Hands,, p. 76 DE ROSBO, Entretiens, cit., p. 89 (italics in the text).
See YOURCENAR, Memoirs of Hadrian, cit., p.63: “my fair loves seemed to glory in thinking only as women; the mind, or perhaps the soul, that I searched for was never more than a perfume”; and ID., Le premier soir, cit., p.26, where Georges scrutinizes his young bride, Jeanne: “He wondered what she was thinking. Was she thinking about that ? Or, to put it better, was she thinking ? So many women don’t think about anything” (my translation).
YOURCENAR, Anna, Soror..., cit., p. 235 (Postface). Ibid,, p.170.
When questioned in an interview about the lack of strong female characters in her work. far from identifying herself as a woman writer. 261-77.11. Yourcenar's writing is very far indeed from being “woman-centred”. 17 insisting on her perception of “women” as beings other than herself. wishes rather to identify with the “male power” of the characters she represents (most notably Hadrian). “Flight from Privilege” (review of How Many Years) The Independent on Sunday (Review section). while even in the first volume. For a more detailed analysis of Dear Departed. the central thesis of this article is interesting: that despite her denials. 227. Hadrian says of this: “A man who is writing or calculating no longer belongs to his sex.37. 1979). 63 and removed from her. Studies in Twentieth Century Literature 9 (1985). Lazarus). p. “We are in History”. it is nevertheless striking that in all her work male characters dominate both the action and the focalisation of the narratives. While inaccurate in detail and perhaps overstated in its conclusions. concerned with her maternal family. pp. in terms of characterisation at least. “That may be true. Indeed. 19 The last two volumes concentrate overwhelmingly on Yourcenar’s father. certain critics have suggested that Yourcenar. indeed the opposite may be said to be the case. 272. so that the term “autobiography” hardly seems appropriate. she replies. p. p. Les yeux ouverts. see LINDA STILLMAN.. Scandal in the Ink.131. and of the mother-daughter relationship in Yourcenar. I use this term advisedly. although frequently used to describe these works (see for example P AUL BINDING. with some justification. but one swallow doesn't make a spring”. Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/ Critical Texts. as these volumes deal mostly with the history of Yourcenar’s maternal and paternal families (in Dear Departed and How Many Years respectively). To the interviewer's rejoinder: “But you are an example of the contrary”. 20 19 . “Marguerite Yourcenar and the Phallacy of Indifference”. ERIC BENTLEY. Stambolian and E. her mother.1995. 18 While this interpretation does not seem entirely justified (it does not for example explain the shift in the later fiction away from overtly powerful characters towards such “obscure” figures as Nathanael and his son.. He even transcends humanity.” This is much rarer [. ed. 20 It is apparent from the above that. cit. with her 17 18 YOURCENAR.Counihan: Shifting Sands New Comparison 22: p. G. Yourcenar’s work was in fact influenced by her mother’s premature death. This is true even in the memoirs where Yourcenar retraces the history of her family. she replies: there is sometimes.. only the last quarter of the book focusses on a female character.122-140. given rise to vigorous criticism. and very little with the author’s own life-story. quoted in ROBINSON.. cit.] even in the most eminent of women. in very great men. a tendency toward total impersonality. p. This aspect of Yourcenar’s work has. 25. pp. Marks (Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
NANCY CHODOROW. One of the key points in this regard is the concept of identity. Journal of Narrative Technique. 21 It cannot be denied that Yourcenar’s work does indeed contain some quite misogynistic elements. It has been suggested by recent psychoanalytical theory (for example by Nancy Chodorow) that women and men differ in their sense of personal identity. 210-220. Marguerite Yourcenar: A Readers’ Guide (Lanham: University Press of America. and that aspects of her femininity become apparent not so much through the material she presents as through the way in which it is presented. Chapter 8. in her treatment of her male characters. part of the interest of this work lies in the fact that these aspects coexist with elements of an apparently quite different nature. their experience of self contains more flexible or permeable ego boundaries. See also GEORGIA H. 22 Chodorow is not alone in reaching this conclusion. women have a less distinct sense of self and experience themselves as more “connected to the world” to use Chodorow's phrase. 20 (1990). “Mothers and Daughters”. pp. for woman the delimited. she describes male and female identity formation in the following terms: growing girls come to define and experience themselves as continuous with others. “Marguerite Yourcenar” cit. “Getting away with Murd(h)er: Athor’s Preface and Narrator’s Text: Reading Marguerite Yourcenar’s Coup de Grace after Auschwitz”. pp. p. In her book The Reproduction of Mothering. 200222. as we have seen. the basic masculine sense of self is separate. 169. What I would like to suggest here is that. Signs (Autumn 1981). with a greater sense of rigid ego boundaries and differentiation.New Comparison 22: p. p. individuated self does not exist. whereas men experience themselves as strongly defined and individuated beings. separated. 64 Counihan: Shifting Sands writing being denounced in one case for its “racism. classism and sexism”. S TILLMAN. the autonomous. 23 ELAINE MARKS. MARIANNE HIRSCH. 211. 23 22 21 . pp. they intersect where female identity is concerned. The basic feminine sense of self is connected to the world. SHURR.89-107. However. 1978). Boys come to define themselves as more separate and distinct. as Marianne Hirsch points out in her review of feminist writings on the subject: It is interesting that although American psychoanalysis is essentially based on ego psychology and French psychoanalysis insists on the explosion of the unified ego. 1987). p. Yourcenar is in fact writing as a woman. The Reproduction of Mothering (Berkley: University of California Press. and that her portrayal of women characters tends to reinforce existing stereotypes. 211.
24 Yourcenar here deliberately contrasts “a hero's existence” with Hadrian's questioning view of his own life and identity.31-32. birth. although he is a “man of action”. his features are blurred. he is shown here as doubting the very concept of identity and personhood. face) by which the individual's identity is normally defined: Non habet nomen proprium: he was one of those men who are perpetually surprised at being in possession of a name. in passing before a mirror. and that it should be precisely the face that it is.. YOURCENAR.] My life has contours less firm [. things. Yourcenar seems to be saying that even in the “male” world of action and events. rather than commencing in classic autobiographical fashion with family... I am appalled to find it a shapeless mass. like mountainous regions. p. this image is again used to suggest an uncertain or fragmented identity.. . cit. at possessing a face. clearly identifiable face. The Abyss. like an arrow [. Hadrian's sense of self is much less clearly defined than that of the typical heroic male figure. 65 These theories throw light on an intriguing aspect of Yourcenar's work. both she and her characters repeatedly question the concept of identity as something fixed and clearly defined.Counihan: Shifting Sands New Comparison 22: p. but his form seems nearly always to be shaped by the pressure of circumstances. like a face reflected in water . are not as clear-cut as they seem. childhood. Memoirs of Hadrian. the character sees not a single. is simple. This is most obvious in the case of Hadrian: at the start of the Memoirs. cit. such as is described to us. A hero's existence. Despite his outward achievements and his obvious self-assurance. pp. and of ever knowing what in fact this “self” is: When I consider my life. given the difficulty both of knowing oneself. just as one marvels.] The landscape of my days appears to be composed. I perceive in this diversity and disorder the presence of a person. The Abyss.] To be sure. etc. glimpsing his reflection in a multi-facetted Florentine mirror.. but a series of multiple and fragmented images: 24 25 YOURCENAR.. but much more complex and ill-defined. it goes straight to the mark. 165. of varied materials heaped up pell-mell [. In Yourcenar's next major work.. 25 Elsewhere in the book. and particularly people... he instead expresses his doubts as to the feasibility of the whole enterprise of telling one's life story. the alchemist Zeno also questions the outward signs (name.
145. cit. in its own way. he saw them once more . with gleaming eyes which were themselves mirrors. this self is singularly absent from his recollections. p. 1981). Ibid. the Nathanaël of An Obscure Man. to begin with. as. . 26 This suggests strongly that Zeno's experience of his own identity is. because In the first place. 26 27 28 29 Ibid. but that of the people and things he had encountered along the way. a trait common to Yourcenar's main male protagonists. pp. ever-changing self. the last and perhaps most intriguing of Yourcenar's male central characters. the character sees his life in terms of others and of the world around him. twenty images of a man in a fur bonnet. rather than in terms of an individual self. indeed. he failed to see himself. despite their differences in other ways. as unstable as that of Hadrian. Discours de réception à l’Académie Française (Paris: Gallimard. This uncertainty as to their own identity is then. of a fixed and separate “self” that each individual possesses as something inalienable. we also find it in Yourcenar's rare references to herself. 115-116. of haggard and sallow complexion. p. this entity whose existence I have myself contested and which I feel to be really defined only by the few works it has been my lot to write. p. Not only is this uncertainty ascribed to fictional characters. 66 Counihan: Shifting Sands twenty figures compressed and reduced by the laws of optics. where she refers to herself as This uncertain. YOURCENAR. YOURCENAR. but finds it impossible to do so. it wasn't really his past. for example. 11.. Yourcenar expresses in her own name her doubts as to the concept of “self-hood”. who was this person he considered himself to be ? Where did he come from ? 28 questions to which he can find no obvious answer.New Comparison 22: p. in her speech of acceptance at the Académie Française. 27 Here. 116. An Obscure Man. or at least some of them. also tries to look back over his life and to “evaluate his past”. Like Hadrian. which leads him to directly question its existence: But. 29 Here.
Counihan: Shifting Sands
New Comparison 22: p. 67
Again, when she comes to tell the story of her own life and that of her parents (in Dear Departed), the doubts she expresses about the possibility of telling this story are similar to those of her characters. The text begins:
The being I refer to as me came into the world on Monday, June 8, 1903, at about eight in the morning [...] That this child is in fact myself I can hardly doubt without doubting everything. Still, to overcome in part the feeling of unreality that this identification gives me, I am forced just as if I were trying to recreate some historical personage – to seize on stray recollections gleaned secondhand or even tenth-hand. 30
It is apparent from this that for Yourcenar, the “self”, the entity which supposedly defines her being, is something as unreal as for any of her fictional characters. Furthermore, it is also apparent that this feeling of unreality is not for her a source of anxiety or concern. She does not present it as in any sense a deficiency or a problem, but as part of the human experience which she wishes to evoke as authentically as possible. It is significant that her desire for lucidity and accuracy should lead her to discover, not greater clarity and transparency, but rather something blurred and unclear, yet ultimately closer to real experience. It would thus appear that Yourcenar's experience of identity, 31 and certainly her way of describing that experience, are closer to a feminine than to a masculine model; both she and the characters she depicts seem to experience themselves as continuous with the world about them, rather than as separate and distinct entities, as in process rather than fixed. On examining other aspects of her work, we find other instances where this same desire for authenticity leads her again away from what is fixed and clearly defined towards what is fluid and blurred. Just as she rejects the “self” as a separate and distinct entity, she questions in other ways the limits by which categories of things and people are distinguished from one another, and thus, defined. In several instances in her work, and particularly in descriptive passages, boundaries and limits are blurred, one category merges into the next, so that reality (or at least, the character's experience of that reality) is fluid and continuous rather than structured and compartmentalised.
YOURCENAR, Dear Departed, trans. Maria Louise Ascher (New York: Noonday Press, 191), pp. 3-4; original edition Souvenirs Pieux (Paris: Gallimard, 1989). For a different perspective on the question of identity in Yourcenar, see COLETTE GAUDIN, “Préfaces: Genèse de la fiction et effacement du ‘moi”, Marguerite Yourcenar: Une écriture de la mémoire, special unumbered issue of Sud (May 1990) pp. 17-30; also published as “Marguerite Yourcenar’s Prefaces: Genesis as SelfEffacement”, Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, 10:1 (1985), pp. 31-35.
New Comparison 22: p. 68
Counihan: Shifting Sands
For example, in one of the key scenes in The Abyss, Zeno walks on the seashore, and seeing water merge into sand, sea merge into shore, comes to see the distinction between life and death as equally fluid and equally unimportant:
One step more on this frontier between fluid substance and sheer liquid, between the sand and the sea, and the power of some wave stronger than the others would make him lose his footing; an agony so brief and without witness would be slightly less a death. 32
The moment of death becomes another blurred and uncertain boundary, life and death are as little separate as the sea and the sand. On returning to the shore, Zeno finds that his human presence has similarly been merged with the elements, all trace of his individual passage erased :
He turned back again toward his clothes, which he had some difficulty in finding, covered as they were already with a light layer of sand [...] His footprints on the wet shore had been promptly absorbed by the oozing flood, while on the dry sand the wind was effacing every mark. 33
It is this awareness of the fluidity of all things, rather than any conscious decision, that decides the further course of Zeno's life. Similar descriptive passages occur in several of the stories that comprise Fires. For example, in the tale “Patroclus”, as Achilles mourns the death of his friend, the distinctions between life and death, love and hate, friend and enemy become blurred; it seems to him
as though, alive, Patroclus had only been the rough sketch for his corpse. The unavowed hatred sleeping in the bottom of love predisposed Achilles to the sculptor's task 34
and Patroclus is described as “this companion who deserved to be an enemy”. As if to emphasise this crumbling of distinctions, the whole scene takes place on a battlefield which is described as sodden, marshy ground, slipping from under the feet of those who walk on it:
A treacherous dampness rose from the bare ground; the footsteps of armies on the move shook the tent ; its stakes wobbled in the shaky
32 33 34
YOURCENAR, The Abyss, pp. 269-270 Ibid., p. 270 YOURCENAR, Fires, cit., p.29
Counihan: Shifting Sands
New Comparison 22: p. 69
ground. Reconciled, the two sides struggled with the river of death: Achilles, pale, entered this Apocalyptic night. 35
Here, the mingling of earth and water into shifting, marshy soil echoes the confusion both of Achilles' feelings and of the immediate outside world, as he watches it collapse in turmoil. The tale ends with his killing of Penthesilea, and with his assimilating her to Patroclus:
Achilles was sobbing, holding up the head of this victim worthy of being a friend. She was the only creature in the world who looked like Patroclus. 36
This finale stresses the theme of indifferentiation: the Amazon is both enemy and friend, both woman and man, both Penthesilea and Patroclus. 37 Similarly, although less graphically, the Nathanaël of An Obscure Man perceives as artificial the distinctions by which living things are defined as different from one another:
He didn't feel himself to be, as so many people do, a man as opposed to beasts and trees; rather, a brother of one and a distant cousin of the other. Nor did he particularly consider himself male in contrast with the gentle order of women [...] Ages, sexes or even species seemed to him closer one to another than each generally assumed about the other: child or old man, man or woman, animal or biped who speaks and works with his hands, all come together in the misery and sweetness of existence. 38
When Nathanaël's health fails and he feels himself close to death, he prefers to lie in the open, in a small valley where his decaying body will mingle with its natural surroundings:
Finally, he arrived at the hollow he had been looking for [...] It was comfortable here. Cautiously, he lay down in the short dune grass near a grove of arbutuses which sheltered him from the bit of wind. He could sleep a little before going back, if his heart told him to. He was thinking, though, that if by chance he were to die there, he would be spared all the usual human formalities [...] What one would find when
Ibid. Yourcenar chooses here to substitute shifting, marshy ground for the river of Greek legend, thus replacing a simple substance (water) with an ambivalent blend whose constituents cannot be distinguished.
For a more detailed analysis of this aspect of Feux (Fires), see FRANCESCA COUNIHAN, “‘Le mélange et la combinaison des corps’: l’union des contraires dans Feux de Marguerite Yourcenar”, L’Universalité dans l’oeuvre de Marguerite Yourcenar (Tours: Societé Internationale des Études Yourcenariennes, 1994), Vol.` 1, pp. 225-37.
YOURCENAR, An Obscure Man, cit., pp. 116-17.
cit. their schemas. never solidifying. pure/impure. free ourselves from their categories. 123 YOURCENAR. definitive sea. and while the two writers occupy widely divergent positions (not least on the question of women and feminism) there is nevertheless a certain resemblance in the way they are written.. and both express this directly through the way in which they write. “hardness” isn't necessary. continuous. 39 This merging together of body and earth again conveys an impression of reality as something fluid and continuous.] These rivers flow into no single. It is rather as if her 39 40 41 Ibid. Yourcenar makes no such statement. Irigaray asserts the need for a specifically female form of expression.. What will make that current flow into words? [. this body without fixed boundaries. 41 While these extracts from Yourcenar and Irigaray concern quite different matters. This Sex Which Is Not One. rather than differentiated and compartmentalised. rid ourselves of their names? 40 She goes on (addressing a woman. Both present an alternative to the logically-structured "masculine" view of the world. the former is fluid. Ibid. Whether this is in fact an exclusively feminine perception of reality is of course uncertain. however. when contrasting the female experience of reality with the male norm. all the same. In This Sex which is not One. never congealing. stress that whereas the latter is based on rigidly structured binary oppositions..214-215 . an alternative which stresses fluidity. openness and continuum. Both Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray. which will render directly this feminine experience of self and world: How can we speak so as to escape from their compartments..212.. These streams are without fixed banks. 70 Counihan: Shifting Sands spring came and the poachers who stole eggs from the nests arrived wouldn't even be worth burying.. The difference lies in the fact that whereas Irigaray clearly presents this as the feminine alternative. p.. We know the contours of our bodies well enough to love fluidity.] How can we shake off the chain of these terms. their distinctions and oppositions: virginal/deflowered.New Comparison 22: p. This unceasing mobility [. Speak. as throughout this piece) : How can I say “you” when you are always other? How can I speak to you? You remain in flux. p. and endlessly open. innocent/ experienced [. p.. what can be said is that it corresponds surprisingly closely to views expressed by some French feminist writers.] All this remains very strange to anyone claiming to stand on solid ground. Between us.
It would be overstating the case to suggest that this current is the dominant one in Yourcenar's work. MIEKE TAAT. where reality is closer to a continuum than to a set of separate and fixed categories. its presence can be felt. Nysenholc and P. 1986). another current is present. 1988: 3-4. has led her to the feminine almost despite herself. women are specifically excluded both from central roles and from such positively valued qualities as lucidity and reason. G. within this work. For other perspectives on feminine elements in Yourcenar’s work. see the readings of Italian feminist collective GRUPPO LA LUNA. this remains at odds with the limited way in which she chooses to portray women. “Mer mythologique. 5. Pavia. Indeed. 71 search for authenticity. and to suggest instead a world of fluid forms and merging shapes. 59-67. to dissolve the solid building blocks on which it rests. pp. ed. a minor one. however. ELENA REAL. Revue de l’Université de Bruxelles. ed. leading the reader to discover in this work hidden aspects which invite further exploration. mer mythique. however. “La mer mêlée au soleil”. In a body of work dominated by strong male characters. Il Confronto Letterario.Counihan: Shifting Sands New Comparison 22: p. And yet. in “Marguerite Yourcenar”. Letture di Marguerite Yourcenar (Torino: Rosenberg & Sellier. Giorgi. Aron. it is apparent from a study of representations of women in Yourcenar's work that their place is. the individual's experience of reality as fluid rather than fixed) indicate a strongly feminine quality in her writing. 42 We may conclude from this that certain aspects of Yourcenar's work (the question of identity. “Giornata Internazionale di Studio sull’opera di Marguerite Yourcenar”. mer mystique”. for a faithful rendering of reality. pp. which seems to question the accepted basis of reason itself.81-87. to say the least. 42 . A. 1986: supplement to n.
They sang life in its vastness. Our people know it is a fact. something we are used to and can talk about. they sang the rivers and streams. by whiteman or his restrictive ways. Whiteman called our dreamtime a myth. and our desires to render comprehensible the kinds of narrative and poetry we find. Wherever we look when seeking Aboriginal women’s writing. Aboriginal women remain one of the most hidden. silent and marginalised groups of Black women writers. We become like the whiteman Ruby Langford criticises. . and the song had a beginning. we find that our own reading assumptions. They are also very diverse people.Gina Wisker ABORIGINAL WOMEN’S WRITING: CHARTING THE DREAMTIME Our ancient tribal people sat down and sang the spirits into this land giving it its physical form. get in the way. and about the nature of discourses of interpretation. they sang the valleys. and there will never be an ending until justice is returned to the singers of songs. For those of us interested in reading and studying the wide variety of writing available by Black. “Singing the Land”. 36. It raises some interesting issues about writing and reading practices. not a novel. our ancient tribal people! 1 The stories of Aboriginal people are from time immemorial but the writing of Aboriginal women has only recently started to emerge. all round. they sang the mountains. and the spirit lives still. Hecate 17:2 (1991) p. Asian and Australasian women. it was before creationtime! they sang the trees. Even the definition which links such writers into a group is an indicator of our difficulty. an autobiography. and as difficult to 1 RUBY LANGFORD. never has it been silenced. all round. into this brown land. Black women writers in Australia are geograph-ically spread in a way which staggers anyone trying to discover their work and say something about it. calling what we find something else: a myth.
“Aboriginal Women’s Narratives”. And so. And so it’s very difficult for them to come to terms with Aboriginal people. Maureen Walker. The works of Aboriginal women writers are neither easily classifiable. or Aboriginal history. alongside their ignorance: I just don’t think white people have come to terms with themselves. be a reason for not doing so. However.. they’ll present only the traditional culture. Carole Ferrier (Brisbane: University of Queensland Press. the stories of the Dreamtime. As an emergent group of women writers they engage us with their records of personal and coommunity history and their revivifying of heritage. 5 . in conversation with Bronwen Levy details the history of genocide. 200219. 3 4 2 Ibid. 189. although potentially fraught with misconceptions. slaughter. 137. or teach them anything about Aboriginal culture. 5 which contains GAYATRI SPIVAK and SNEJA GUNEW “Questions of Multiculturalism”. 4 Carole Ferrier has acknowledged some of the difficulties of incorporating Aboriginal women’s writing into the literary establishment in her book on Australian women’s writing. is a rewarding experience for readers. Politics and Fiction. p. And when we start to discuss their work we need to tackle issues of cultural context: The problems of speaking about people who are “other” cannot. individually. 73 locate. Or. MAUREEN WALKER in conversation with Bronwen Levy. 1985). CAROLE FERRIER. and the younger generation’s guilt about racism.] But whites can never speak for Blacks. Hecate 12:1/2 (1986). Hecate 17: 2 (1991).. 2 Gayatri Spivak offers a speaking position for white readers in this situation: Why not develop a certain degree of rage against the history that has written such an abject script for you that you are silenced? 3 Ignorance is destructive. discovery and interpretation. as they are formally. Gender Culture and Politics. pp. they choose not to do it. p. however. The argument that it’s just too difficult can easily become a new form of silencing by default [. technically and critically.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. and it’s very difficult for them then to try and pass onto their children. and their history here in this land yet. nor easy to find. rape. Gender. gold sovereigns offered for Aboriginal scalps. ed.
First visitors and settlers redescribed and misunderstood the roles of women’s relationships. 7 The style is realistic. There are largely autobiographical records produced through the partnership of a white Australian and an Aboriginal woman in which oral storytelling was recorded by the white man or woman acting as a cultural translator. you can start to recognise difference. Many Aboriginal women have been and are creative but. can be disempowerment: by rendering the point of view and the story in a form which we can understand we remove its real meaning and power for its producers and community. thus changing the form of the expression and inevitably some of the emphasis as well. There is also the more formally developed poetry of Kath Walker. Bobbi Sykes’s more revolutionary poetry is polemical and shows a very clear sisterly relation to that of Afra-American women such as June Jordan and Sonia Sanchez. and which when transformed into something recognisably publishable. usually had to be filtered through a white writing partner.New Comparison 22: p. or Glenyse Ward’s Wandering Girl. 74 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing a chapter on Aboriginal women’s writing. 6 their creativity has usually taken ephemeral forms. and customs of friendship. From this and my own searching I discovered that the categories of novel. are only just beginning to be recorded. drama and poetry were misleading descriptions for creative works which spring from an oral literature. One of the side effects of translation. and political. My Place (Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press. and in this they resemble the griottes of East and West Africa. But naming. however wellmeaning. an intensely autobiographical record of the lives of her family and her people. their redescriptions giving them in their own minds the license to import European ways and hierarchies. 1988). GLENYSE WARD. What I found when I looked for writing by Aboriginal women were several different popular forms. Women were also oral storytellers. and recognition enables speech and power. 1984). an activist and teacher who uses metaphor and myth. It speaks out critically against racism and silencing. a testimony. Once you know how to name. a scale in which ALICE WALKER. 7 6 . is a form of translation. Latterly these have been succeeded by works by Aboriginal women writing without the translator. of course. Wandering Girl (Broome: Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation. Defining and categorising these works is necessary if we wish to talk about them. The stories of Aboriginal women. unlike those of more Westernised African women. and the history of Aboriginal women is one rife with translation. In Search of Our Mothers Gardens (London: The Women’s Press. SALLY MORGAN. as Alice Walker has shown in writing about Afro-American women. 1987). historical engagement. everyday. such as Sally Morgan’s My Place.
equally as significant as the solicitations of a Covent Garden strumpet. I’ve never seen one. But when they are. 204-205. what would I say. 8 This is a shocking but telling piece. p. “Voyage to New South Wales”. and if I did. mirroring the anger among Black feminists in the UK at their marginalisation in a homogeneous soup of womanhood. timorous as a maid on her wedding night. of being mispresented in any transaction which offers them and their works some wider dissemination. For Black feminists’ reactions to white feminism see Feminist Review 17: special issue. as they think. 9 8 . they holler and chatter to you. Aboriginal women writers themselves are well aware of the dangers of appropriation. LISA BELLEAR NOONUCCAL. a middle-class white heterosexual feminist assumption: I don’t even know if I’m capable of understanding Aborigines. 29 Jan 1788. cited in Karen Jennings and David Hollinsworth. “Many Voices One Chant. absence and marginalisation are other alternatives which many are forced to put up with and which others choose. Silence. however. Black Feminist Perspectives” (1984). damned me if I’m going to feel guilty. Hecate 17:2 (1991) pp. 75 notoriously all non-European or darker skinned peoples always end up relegated to the lowest point: If they ever deign to come near you to take a present they appear as coy. this quotation reminds us acutely how as readers and students we have to avoid intentional or unintentional imperialism. out of your reach. and frisk and flirt and play a hundred wanton pranks. The relationships between white Australian (or non-Australian) feminists and Aboriginal women. 113-33. colonialism and appropriation. newly discovered lands with the opportunity for exportation of excess sexual energies and the destructively naive “finders keepers” attitudes underlying imperialist and colonialist expanision. have been far from easy. “Shy Maids and Wanton Strumpets”. Bradley’s crass misreadings – the playfulness is certainly not “equally significant” here at all – are evidence of what we have come to recognise as an imperialist equation of the indigenous with the sexually available. 9 WILLIAM BRADLEY.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p.129. whether in a daily arena or one of the academy. Hecate 13:2 (1987-88). pp. shy. As a simple piece of evidence in a cautionary tale. in Victoria? Aboriginal women here.
self-loathing was projected onto the women who were called animals. The Aboriginal population was reduced in Queensland from 120. disease. Sam Holt? Aboriginal women in Queensland History”. On farms women were used to both provide sexual services and carry out domestic chores. Capturing women is “mustering”. lapsing into treating Black women with a mixture of desire and guilt. selfishness. 10 .000 in the 1820s to less than 20. transferring to them their own repressive guilt and blaming the women for the sexual activity into which they forced them. a trick which dehumanises its objects. and infant mortality by exposure. raping is “gin busting”. By doing so they dispel some of the myths about Aboriginal peoples – that they are always lazy and drunk – and tell truths about racism and sexism. They write of the difficulties RAYMOND EVANS. In considering the history of racist abuse and suffering. 76 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing Lisa Bellear Noonuccal. an Aboriginal woman poet. to be repeatedly raped. while the women themselves were “stud gins” or “black velvet”. “Don’t you remember Black Alice. labelling and translation are important here too. and removes any sense of identification and guilt from the one who maps and labels in order to define and control. to expose ignorance.New Comparison 22: p. as were homestead girls when older or pregnant.” 10 Typically among imperialist or colonialist male exports. especially in relation to mistranslation and misrepresentation. and the lives of relatives and friends. and discarded. Prostitutes were usually paid in bad drink and opium. takes on a middle-class white feminist’s voice in “Women’s Liberation”.000 by the 1920s. of what do Aboriginal women write? There is a need to write of their lives. “Black women were viewed by white males as being founts of insatiable libidinal desire. Hecate 8:2 (1982) pp. The results of all this were a fall in birthrate. the lot of Aboriginal women must be particularly foregrounded. to describe and so pass on the tenor of the everyday in these very different contexts. white repression turning into a projection-rejection response. White male settlers misunderstood established modes of relationships and sharing. and parallelling the seizure and use of the land. aggressively dehumanising. and keepers of Aboriginal women are “gin shepherds” and “combos”. so venereal disease spread and kin alienation was a real problem. and later a little misdirected magnanimity. starvation. Language describing the sexual control of these girls is animal oriented. There are numerous tales of running down black girls who were called “gins” and keeping them with shearing teams. then releasing them at the end of the season. Issues of identification. 6-21. Representation and writing Set against this history of disempowerment and translation.
by Mudrooroo Narogin (also known as Colin Johnson) and the second is Monica Clare’s Karobran. while Aboriginal tale-telling was largely a tribal camp fire activity – about the community. the imaginative lives of women. 11 . explaining mythically. Don’t Take Your Love to Town (Ringwood: Penguin 1988). Narogin comments: MUDROOROO NAROGIN. exploring heritage. they are imaginative escapees recording that escape from prejudice and often servitude. The question arises as to who is giving and who is being given the voice.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. The women whose work is available to us are a minority who have sought and found wider public recognition. These works find new audiences among those interested in myth. It is an individualised story and the concerns of the Aboriginal community are of secondary importance. not the one. funded. Narogin argues. 1978). Morgan’s work. Many have set themselves to record the beauty and the difficulties of the lives of those of their community. Whether they write their own work or work with a transcriber.167. and Ruby Langford’s Don’t take your Love to Town. for those who realise that they are part Black. RUBY LANGFORD. Karobran: The Story of An Aboriginal Girl (Sydney: APCOL. fantasy. and for what reasons. The absence of great Aboriginal women writers and university teachers or literary critics can in part be explained by the relatively recent recognition of the importance of ensuring that Aboriginal culture is preserved. Probably the first Aboriginal “novel” is Wild Cat Falling. gifted and not very black. Others concentrate more on re-telling the old tales of the dreamtime. even intermixed in many instances as it is with White Australian culture now. Writing From the Fringe (Melbourne: Hyland House 1990). M UDROOROO NAROGIN. of which Narogin notes that: it marks a stage when it is OK to be Aboriginal as long as you are young. 11 A great problem about writing and perhaps colluding not only with the formats of white established writing but also the controls of the publishers sets up a confrontational situation seen in looking at Black women’s writing from other contexts. 77 within familes who have intermarried or interbred. MONICA CLARE. when the movement to embrace this Blackness politically is relatively new in Australia. 1965). not typically Aboriginal because they describe an individual battling towards success. Wild Cat Falling (Sydney: Angus and Robertson. A milestone in the development of the Aboriginal woman’s autobiography/novel is Sally Morgan’s already mentioned My Place. enabled. p. others remain with oraliterature and do not seek publication or publicity.
as well as to the white audience. the Aboriginal allowed to say what she or he wants to say and in the language she or he wishes it to be said. An Aboriginal Mother Tells of the Old and The New (Ringwood: Penguin 1984). and will be of interest. It remains comprehensible to her fellow Mornington Islanders. Reclaiming and writing in mothertongue. p.Despite the changes to the text. of which the male. the use of the Aboriginal form of resistance by withholding information. as it does with Caribbean women writers. as it also does in Labumore’s (Elsie Roughsey’s) An Aboriginal Mother (1984). 15 14 FERRIER. 158. and Narogin argues that it seriously affects the themes and forms used in Clare’s Karobran. Ingelba and the Five Black Matriarchs (Sydney: Allen and Unwin 1990). the “wandering around and around”. 14 This desire to organise and render the language and form more “logical” springs. must affect the writing and treatment of issues. MARGARET SOMERVILLE and PATSY COHENS. and MARGARET SOMERVILLE. the part-Maori writer. Somerville tells us of Patsy’s resistance both to putting down her oral language and to the oraliterature form. male or female.... Carole Ferrier identifies several: the use of wry humour and irony to critique. 200-19 .New Comparison 22: p. “Life (H)istory Writing: The Relationship Between Talk and Text”.. or deliberately telling. 15 There 12 13 Ibid. “Aboriginal Women’s Narratives” cit. in The Bone People. we feel that we have preserved the flavour and flow of Elsie’s work. to many Aboriginal readers. scripting as near as possible the oraliterature form. non-Aboriginal. non-linear narrative form. and the editing of Black women’s writing by white collaborators. and the spiral. PAUL MEMNOTT and ROBIN HORSMAN. editors said at the time: it became apparent that some editing would be required in order for it to be acceptable for commercial publication and accessible to the average white Australian reader. no doubt.. 12 Dual authoring. largely from a negative attitude towards mothertongue which has developed because of racism and hierarchies related to language and expression. 13 In the later case of Margaret Somerville and Patsy Cogens’ Ingelba and the Five Black Matriarchs. Hecate 17:1 (1991). 78 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing It is only in the last few years that black literary texts have been allowed to speak for themselves: that is. Preface to ELSIE ROUGHSEY. which is also used by Keri Hulme. because she wanted it to take the form of written autobiography. pp 95-109. p. is a move many writers come to recognise as a way of claiming roots and identity. Forms of writing can indicate forms of cultural resistance. special issue: “Women/Australia/Theory”.
both individually and in terms of the community. 16 And Carole Ferrier argues that in the work of Aboriginal writers there is a “dialectic between speech and silence in working simultaneously with and against history”. of self. Dark Side of the Dream ((Sydney: Allen and Unwin 1992). to speak and to create. with the mixture of speech and storytelling found in African narratives which emphasise immediacy and the oraliterary form . history. and there is an emerging number of Aboriginal women writers.. We need to continue to develop our critical awareness of how to read their work. find out from them how they construct their own articulations of visions and records. which lay a claim for “truth”: Aboriginal realist texts are always structured by an underlying abstract text which is a primary means of encoding Aboriginal meanings and the metameaning of Aboriginality itself. Bob Hodge and Vijay Mishra comment on the realist elements of Aboriginal narratives. Aboriginal women writers who seek to explore and express their identity. It is an emerging form. publishable forms. For those who wish to begin to read Aboriginal women’s writing. But we as readers will need to come half way as well. a good starting point is with the accessible (in terms of ordering books rather than just appreciation) Sally Morgan and Kath Walker. p. Starting to read – location and introductions. We also need to find it in the first place. 17 For the Aboriginal writer claiming identity it is an awkward critical moment. The Penguin Book of Australian Women’s Writing – though women appear less frequently than men and Aboriginal women hardly at all in the general BOB HODGE and VIJAY MISHRA. 215. . i. Anthologies of Australian writing are available in England. Australian Poetry in the Twentieth Century. just at a time when the Aboriginal writers and others who have been marginalised wish and need to claim identity and subjecthood and to dispel the established patterns of relations in which the central focus of meaning has been those in power. “Aboriginal Women’s Narratives” cit.e. 79 are similarities here with the kind of patterning and recurrences found in some African narratives: with the telling of one’s story in order to claim identity found in slave narratives.passing on stories as with an oral form. will to some extent have to collude with the established. and discover how to read their work.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. Post -structuralism focusses on the problematic status of the subject. reality. 17 16 FERRIER. The Faber Book of Modern Australian Verse.
and many of the works we might read are life stories. CLAIRE BUCK (London: Bloomsbury 1992). Ngitji Ngitji (Mona Tur). and Ruby Langford’s Don’t Take Your Love to Town (1989). Wacvie (Adelaide: Rigby 1977). Glenyse Ward’s Wandering Girl (1988). as Mudrooroo Narogin noted: The Faber Book of Australian Verse. wrote Mumshirl: An Autobiography (1981). The Bloomsbury Guide to Women’s Literature. Then followed Marnie Kennedy’s Born a Half Caste (1985). and Monica Clare’s Karobran. and Bobbi Sykes whose Love Poems and Other Revolutionary Actions was published in 1979. and Sally Morgan’s My Place (1987). ed Dale Spender (Victoria: Penguin 1988). Ruby Langford. Evonne ! On the Move (Sydney: Dutton 1973). 18 Good bookshops can order Glenyse Ward. and others by Margaret Tucker. Nyra Rankin. Valda Naburula Shannon. ed. an Anthology of Black Australian Writing (1990). ed. Mumshirl (Richmond. 19 Autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works are in a long tradition of Aboriginal creative response. (1978). The very first novels. Vincent Buckley (London: Faber 1991). ed. are Faith Bandler’s Wacvie (1977). Several of these women also publish short stories and dramas. Love Poems and Other Revolutionary Actions. SMITH and BOBBI SYKES. Kilamopa Wura Kaani: The Galah and the Frill Neck Lizard (1978) and Daisy Utemorrah. Australian poetry in the Twentieth Century. Visions of the Mowanjum: Aboriginal Writings from the Kimberley (1980). SHIRLEY C. The first published work by an Aboriginal woman was Ursula McConnel’s Myths of the Munkan in 1957. Theresa Clemens and Shirley C. Robert Gray and Geoffrey Lehmann (Australia: Heinemann 1991). E VONNE GOOLAGONG. NSW: The Saturday Centre 1979). FAITH BANDLER. Smith who with the assistance of Bobbi Sykes. (Cammeray. Autobiographies include those by Evonne Goolagong. Fuller lists are available from Claire Buck’s Bloomsbury Guide to Women’s Literature (1992) and Paperbark. BOBBI SYKES. Faith Bandler. The Penguin Book of Australian Women’s Writing.New Comparison 22: p. among others. Karen Nangaa Foster. Pansy Rose Napalijarri. Hyllus Maris. JACK DAVIS et al. Maureen Watson and Aileen Corpus. Paperbark: A Collection of Black Australian Writings. then came Sylvia Cairns’ Uncle Willie Mackenzie’s Legends of the Goundins (1967). Born a Half Caste (Canberra: AIS 1985). 19 18 . ed. The tradition is an oral one. (Brisbane: University of Queensland Press 1990). Other Aboriginal women are starting to publish in journals such as Hecate and Identity: they include Vicky Davey. Evonne! On the Move (1975). Victoria: Heinemann 1981). 80 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing anthologies. Poets include Kath Walker. Daisy Utemorrah. which have a great deal of autobiographical content. Mary Duroux. MARNIE KENNEDY. followed by Elsie Jones.
If we insisted that we came from Australia. but what about ya parents. Her colour.. resurges. Hodge (Canberra: AIAS 1985). Are we Aussies. 38. frog.] It may have been so. My Place. and this begins to be confusing. where do we come from ?” “I mean. p. which seems exotic to Sally. Goanna. Mum?” 21 Her nan grunts and leaves. the kids at school want to know what country we come from.] It remains to be seen if this tradition was used to detail the lives of ordinary people [.. ed. up until then I’d thought we were the same as them. One day I tackled mum about it as she washed the dishes.. 56. Sally does not actually know of her Aboriginal origins. indigenous to Australia. p. “Yeah. The continuing theme is her growing speculation about her origins. 22 MUDROOROO NAROGIN. 81 The widespread use of biography and autobiography by Aboriginal writers can be linked to a cultural tradition in which verse or song would detail the lives of dreaming ancestors [. tadpoles. Her nan becomes a strong influence especially after the death of her father. cit.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. powerful tale My Place is just such contemporary testimony. 2. They reckon we’re not Aussies. gilgie and insects all had to be returned alive and well to their natural habitat. “What do you mean. Davis and B.. based on the questions fired at her at school. her mother says to say they are Indian. 20 Fictionalised Autobiographies – Sally Morgan. they’d reply. The kids at school had also begun asking us what country we came from. like other deliberately integrated Aboriginal children. and the book focusses on these issues of identity throughout. p. Sally Morgan retells her own story and locates herself and her family as Aboriginal people with their own history and lifestyles. what country. ironically is seen as a mark of difference and foreignness by her white school mates. This puzzled me because. there is a rule about returning the wild animals: The only pets we weren’t allowed to keep were wild ones. 21 22 20 MORGAN.. The problem. bringing unlabelled Aboriginal values about life and the land into the home. momentarily solved. J. many of whom were actually adopted out of Black families. . Ibid.. cited in Aboriginal Writing Today. Glenyse Ward and Faith Bandler Sally Morgan’s personal. Although they keep many pets. bet they didn’t come from Australia”.
she too is tricked by Australian notions of unity and worth which have actually cut her out like devalued coins. protects animals and draws traditional representations in the dust of the yard. you want a bloody white grandmother.New Comparison 22: p. the book circles around revelations about nan and other family members. I don’t know. . Arthur. Aboriginal. inherited way of representation. black. But the day Sally comes to realise her nan is Black and Aboriginal is poignant and painful.” Sally tries to work this all out but her sister acknowledges hostility: “Don’t Abos feel close to the earth and all that stuff?î “God. Sally Morgan’s nan. When Sally ingests a set of cultural values which denies her artistic heritage and burns the artwork in shame. actually a product of a different. 98. with meaning becoming clearer as incidents are recalled or recur. but wishes to retain the values and beliefs and is a mainstay in the family. all I know is none of my friends like them. but she decides to discover more about her origins. “You bloody kids don’t want me. she begins a searching study into her family history and that of Aboriginal people in Western Australia. Some of her seeming friends reject her. Her personal currency is devalued. the misplaced trust in old currency and the ignored trust in old ways parallels the terrible devaluation Sally experiences at the hands of her seeming friends when she acknowledges that her nan is Black. during which work she uncovers a heritage of white Australian violence and shame. I’m black. 82 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing Sally raises a deserted baby mudlark. and plays in the swamps. 97. She lifted up her arm and thumped her clenched fist hard on the kitchen table. I’m black. Piecing together stories from her nan’s brother. 23 Ibid. In the chapter “A Black Grandmother” as nan collects coins about be devalued.. Her nan is the link with the hidden past and she communicates with the gum trees and other growing things. All of this is gradually recalled and pieced together to form a picture of a strong woman who knows she needs to keep silent about her Aboriginal origins. Do you hear. The first revelation comes about when her art teacher has ridiculed her treasured artwork. pp. nan is furious and bursts out: Nan punched. Using the form of oraliture. black!. Sally finds racial prejudice entirely based on colour and preconceptions about behaviour and difference.” 23 On openly acknowledging her Aboriginal origins. Arthur’s story forms part of the second half of the book along with that of Daisy.
Unna You Fullas are more recent autobiographical works which deliberately set out to speak for other Aboriginal women in the community. Glenyse Ward’s books record her own personal example of common phenomena in the GLENYSE WARD. 83 The book is a lively. “I felt shame”. 24 She records her experience at Wandering Mission and later as a servant to white farmers in the 1960s. 26. As Jackie Huggins points out: “Murrie humour” (Murrie is an Aboriginal term for Aboriginals) “is an integral and warm concept of Aboriginal society. The different stories of Sally’s family provide a circling and layering. “In Search of the Authentic Voice” (review). (the irony is confused with naivete at the recipient’s peril).8. If we just read this as an autobiography.. 26 27 25 24 WARD. from her point of view. but it is one daily reinforced in a society which sees Aborigines as less than human beings. 25 So she notes straightforwardly for example that the carpet is “stained terrible”. Black humour is often so delicate that it is hard to locate”. Wandering Girl. ironic humour and simple language make the narrative both credible and moving [. They have also internalsed a sense of inferiority. establishing identity and Aboriginal legacy. p 167. pp. with Sally central. cit. KATHY WILLETTS. building up a sense of the way the community and family have responded to and understood events. who have experienced the racist oppression and denial which Glenyse suffered. Wandering Girl (Broome: Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation 1988). Hecate 13:2 (1987/98). revivifying of a lost past hidden because of the fear of prejudice. but understandable. and Unna You Fellas (Broome: Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation 1991). p. “Firing on the Mind: Aboriginal Women Domestic Servants in the Inter-War Years”. Hecate 16:1/2 (1990). Glenyse Ward’s style is a mixture of straightforward truth telling. inquisitive. however. 27. The maintenance of a lie about origin is tragic. we are missing the very kind of Aboriginal expression which Sally discovers is ironed out and denied in her own art at school. Glenyse Ward’s Wandering Girl and her second work... The subject matter is poignant. and the cream cake “went down real well”.] The authentic voice of the author has not been suppressed by editorial influence”. 27 Where Sally Morgan’s book looks at family life. testimony to the family’s recognition that it is their Aboriginal origins which will make them vulnerable in racist society. and discoveries. pp. Personal and funny. building into a pattern of quests. 26 Humour allows relief against the racism.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. it links memories by themes and incidents. JACKIE HUGGINS. with joy and pride. Kathy Willetts comments “The author’s use of understatement. and a wryly humorous rendition of some of the experiences. . 56. 5-13.
28 They had little leisure time. p. p. refused a cup to drink 28 29 Ibid. and simultaneously transcending and cutting across cultural boundaries. from the proprietor or manager to the stockman. though less harsh perhaps than it could have been in an earlier period. ARCHIBALD MESTON. no holiday and it was necessary to seek a permit in order to visit their families. rouseabout and jackaroo. founded on a notion of white superiority. Most European children in the North were reared by Aboriginal women and suckled. Glenyse Ward was at least spared the kind of sexual harassment of which Archibald Meston wrote: The Aboriginal women are usually at the mercy of anybody.. Working for Mrs Bigelow. Queensland State Archives col/140). values and lifestyle”. and the separation of women from their communities was an attempt to eradicate Aboriginal cultural behaviours and beliefs. 29 Jackie Huggins’ work on Aboriginal women in service mentions the developing form of personal testimony without dependence on a white writing partner. “The Black woman’s entire day seemingly revolved around catering for the white family’s needs. Aboriginal children grow up then as now. often cared for primarily by the grandparents within the warm atmosphere of the wider family and whole community which shares the responsibility. 84 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing everyday lives of Aboriginal girls and women who were removed from their families.New Comparison 22: p. “Firing on the Mind” cit. The removal of children into adoption or service. “They fed the dogs better than they fed the blacks out there!” reports Ruby De Sage of one station and in the home. Some women had warm relationships but most report brutality and poor diets. Frequently the women do all the housework and are locked up at night.. Her entry into life as a servant is full of rude awakenings and racism. In their own communities. 30 Glenyse’s testimony is poignant and filled with wry humour. 13. . “First Report on Western Aborigines” (16 June 1897. 30 HUGGINS. cook. Domestic and stockyard work was no idyllic lifestyle. she is treated as less than human. Hers is in many ways a typical story. brought up in missions and sent out into either domestic service or to work on farms and sheep shearing stations. 22. and Glenyse Ward’s book is a good example of this: A new phenomenon of contemporary Aboriginal writing is emerging whereby women writers have the double advantage of relating their history in literally black and white terms.
too. 85 from. 1. 33 It is an episodic tale. WARD. with a personal register and chronological sequence. alone. forced to abide by the European way”. and humane treatment with the bigotry and bullying of her employer. such as the local shopkeeper. to identify with the author’s Aboriginality. dignity. Glenyse eats bacon and fresh fruit on bone china. and responses to an imposed subservience. As Mudrooroo Narogin writes: Aboriginal writers without exception are committed writers. Wandering Girl. to dissassociate themselves from the insensitivity and domination of the callously “charitable” Mrs Bigelow.. They are in no sense “closet writers”. White readers. in the active process of decoding. cit..they have no desire to isolate themselves from their kith and kin. 32 but the tone is also unstoppably lively. supposed to eat beans on toast when they eat balanced meals. “Guerilla Poetry: Lionel Fogarty’s Response to Language Genocide” in Ulli Beier. Isolation and alienation contrast with friendships. claiming her status as a woman with dignity. This is a personal story which also speaks for the community. ed..Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. celebrating life and self preservation. Glenyse Ward’s first statement about identity comes when she confronts a living room full of Mrs Bigelow’s guests (much like Maya Angelou in I 31 32 33 WILLETTS. 31 Glenyse Ward highlights the experience of the Aboriginal as victim: “we lost our identity through being put into a mission. Aboriginal Art and Literature”. Food provides contrast too . a memoir. Contrasts are emphasised between the freedom of Xmas time and parties at the Mission.. .the beans and tin mug give way when. no 34 (August 1968) pp 72-81. and the constraints of everyday life there and at Mrs Bigelow’s. MUDROOROO NAROGIN. p. and a sound sense of development of the narrator’s self image. Ward sets up a series of binary oppposites whereby white bigotry and oppression are contrasted with Black consciousness. The language is stark and simple and it: sets up a series of readily decodable signs which offer a preferred reading of the text in support of Aboriginal claims for redress of violently oppressive conditions imposed on them as late as the 1960’s. are invited by the careful structuring of signs in the text. review cit. There is much joy. “Long Water. in Aspect. friendship and celebration in the children’s lives in the Mission and among friends she makes outside Mrs Bigelow’s home. These binary opposites enable the Aboriginal reader. intelligence and final decision to take control of her own destiny. p 167.
While clearly sponsorship and positive action lie behind much collaboration. published by an Aboriginal collective. texts which have been modified by the co-authorship. “Oh dear. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (London: Virago. is this your little dark servant?” I just stood there smiling. she is aware of the sniggers and jeers. and by the regulatory procedures of publishing contexts. cited in Aboriginal Writing Today.New Comparison 22: p. Wandering Girl. Glenyse naively hopes she will be welcomed. then it is not Aboriginal. All of a sudden some poshed-up voice. showing up the bigotry of the guest. The whole merges into an ironic. Bruce McGuiness makes a political statement about the importance of authenticity : We maintain that unless Aboriginal people control the funding. Glenyse Ward’s are fully Aboriginal documents committed to selfidentity. and frustrating. This makes her work like Robert Bropho’s “Fringedweller”. and unless they control the content. 35 This whole issue of white co-authorship and editorship is a sensitive one. ed. the cleaner-upper of a text who too often wipes away the purity of a man’s or woman’s personal style or lore so that we end up with sterile. 86 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. but for those seeking an outlet for expresion of an authentic voice. of course. p. cf. MAYA ANGELOU. cit. the publishing. I didn’t think you had a name”. I thought it was wonderful that at last people were taking notice of me. what emerges is a hybrid. There were sniggers and jeers from everywhere. Davis and B. perceptive response. the ultimate presentation of the article. This is a familiar feature of all published writing. 24. I turned to the lady who did all the talking and said “My name is Glenyse”. 34 We have here faithfully recorded a mixture of perspectives. 1988). it is oppressive. P. “Tracy dear. of whose voice Narogin writes that it is: an Authentic Aboriginal voice perhaps speaking for the first time without the intrusion of an editor. She was quite startled and said. with a plum in her mouth came out of a crowd. devoid of non-Aboriginal interference. Hodge (Canberra: AIAS 1985). It is in danger of being a form of translation which mistranslates. 3. J. 35 34 . that it ceases to be Aboriginal WARD. You could hear a pin drop as all eyes were on me. and she retains her dignity. when she drops a tray to point out how it matters to be called by her own name): Soon as I opened the door all the chatter and laughter stopped. NAROGIN. neatly written paragraphs in standard English.
87 when it is interfered with. their family might take over.It’s no good for Aboriginal people to be writing what publishing companies. Glenyse Ward and Sally Morgan are all providing semifictionalised biography and autobiography. Marani In Australia (Adelaide: Rigby/Opal BANDLER. 40-50.. an Aboriginal rights activist and writer from Murwimballah NSW. 36 A significant feature of much Aboriginal writing. forms which spring out of oral history and forms such as diaries and letters.49. is in BRUCE MCGUINESS. in common with work by other Black writers. Like Afra-American slave narratives.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. ed. 38 Faith Bandler. 37 Faith Bandler traces her father’s capture from his beautiful home island Ambrym in the new Hebrides. daughter of a Pacific islander who was brought to work in Queensland canefields by slave traders in the 1880s. p. by Faith Bandler.. Jack Davis and Bob Hodge. Wacvie. In Wacvie (1977) and Marani in Australia (1980 with Len Fox). Returning to her father’s island she is greeted as family and everyone attempts to trace her ancestry: I came home determined that my father’s story should be told. 38 . to work in Queensland from which he escaped in 1897. Those who were enslaved did not have the opportunity to tell their story. and through insisting on being named. If it’s going to be legitimate Aboriginal literature. what government agencies decree that they ought to write. as with the early biographical novel Wacvie. pp. The slave trade of Australia had never been included in school curricula. recognise and express a sense of self. The autobiographical form. oraliterature and testimony from the lives of women and communities to whom the written word is both a new development (with illiteracy rates high) and a form of translation and loss. although offering an opportunity to seek. is the claiming of identity through tracing personal history. 37 36 FAITH BANDLER and LEN FOX. The story has only been told by historians with a detachment from the thoughts and feelings of the people concerned. cit. what governments. “The Politics of Aboriginal Literature” in Aboriginal Writing Today. cit. and if the person to testify is dead. There were other reasons why the book had to be written. however. settling in Tumbulgum in New South Wales. testifying is a characteristic of recovered Aboriginal slave narratives. then it must come from Aboriginal people and their communities without any restrictions placed upon them. 1980).. when it is tampered with by non -Aboriginal people. I found that most Australians do not believe that slave labour was used to develop the sugar cane industry.
its spiral not linear chronology. so that Aboriginal women can claim their different identity and heritage. as Foucault does. As Nancy Harstock argues. 39 What can be lost in the written recording of oral history or oral literature is a “different voice”: Its rhythms. p. individual or representative. how do you draw the line with these racist white fellas? 41 Poetry NANCY HARSTOCK “Foucault on Power: A Theory for Women?”. which both Faith Bandler and Glenyse Ward stress when they argue that their slave or domestic narratives are “typical” and speak for a group’s experiences. and its witholding of information. this speaking out in your own voice is a move to re-empower silenced people: Rather than getting rid of subjectivity. I think that you have to have a really strong Black person not to apologise for who you are and what you do. 171. Many of these things will be untranslatable to the printed page.. speak. its moods of non-verbal communication.. 135. in Joyce Nicholson (New York: Routledge 1990) pp 1634. 40 41 39 FERRIER. Jackie Huggins notes. 147.. its humour.. Feminism/Postmodernism.New Comparison 22: p. “Aboriginal Women’s Narratives” cit. an interview with Jackie Huggins and Isabel Tarrago”. we need to engage in the historical. our notions of the subject. Hecate 16:1/2 (1990).. .. and substituting his notion of the individual as an effect of power relations. 88 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing danger of being misread by academic postmodernist critics and decreed to be conforming to bourgeois individualism.. p.to develop an account of the world which treats our perspectives not as subjugated or disruptive knowledge but as primary and constitutive of a different world. ed. to let the subject. when it comes to being torn between white peoples expectations of us and Community expectations. p.. This denies the community orientation of the self. But also. in conversation: We’re caught in between like meat in a sandwich... 40 Many Aboriginal writers also comment on the difficulties of having to be seen as so representative of their communities when they wish to escape the stigma and stereotyping of being “typical”. JACKIE HUGGINS “Questions of Collaboration. political and theoretical process of constituting ourselves as subjects as well as objects of history. It is important that there be the opportunity to recognise the subject.
was published with encouragement from both Judith Wright and the Commonwealth Literary Fund . London: Marion Boyars 1992). Kath served as Queensland State Secretary in relation to Aboriginal rights. the Housing Commitee and tribal Council. Malcolm Williamson. and My People in 1970. showing with the authentic Aborginal voice and ways of seeing the world how her people have been disinherited and denied.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. In 1989 her poetry was set to music by a fellow Australian. Her main concerns interweave the mythic and the contemporary community. German. Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal) is the best known Aboriginal woman poet and her The Dawn is at Hand is available in the UK. There is a sense of loss. We Are Going. In 1964 her first volume of poetry. 42 Kath Walker’s poetry reclaims identity. Stradbroke Dreamtime (Sydney: Angus and Robertson 1992). lectured on the Aboriginal condition and became Managing Director of the Noonuccal-Nughie Cultural Centre and a remedial school teacher. served on the Aboriginal Arts Board. 30km East of Brisbane. but also with celebration. and in many of the poems there is a mixture of lively humour. 89 As well as writing oriented towards autobiography and testimony. a recognition of confusion about why the estbalished customs and beliefs were considered fit victims for the European steamroller which oddly and inappropriately called itself progress. In the 1960s years of freedom rides. We Are Going (Brisbane: Jacaranda Press 1964). While Japanese. British and others are “not interested in brumby runs” or KATH WALKER. lobbied for reforms. The Dawn is at Hand came out in 1966. the only party which eschewed the White Australia Policy. 42 . history and context for Aborigonal people. My People: A Kath Walker Collection (Brisbane: Jacaranda Press 1970). served in the Australian women’s army service in the war. with illustrations. She went into domestic service. when it merely meant dehumanisation and difference. Her cadences are filled with loss. The Dawn is at Hand (Brisbane: Jacaranda Press 1970. and joined the Communist Party. the first by any Aborigine. a compilation of stories of her childhood. ironising western values. In “All One Race” she suggests a tolerant multiculturalism. there is a wealth of poetry produced by Aboriginal women writers. She was born in November 1920 on Stradbroke Island. She travelled extensively on scholarships and visits and also established a “sitting down place” in the Stradbroke island area of her ancestors and welcomed travellers to her caravan. strikes and struggle for the vote she was prominent and persuasive for Aboriginal Rights (as was her father). had two sons. with a reverence towards nature and community and a hopeful projection to a time of new unity and identity. and commemorates the myths of Stradbroke island in Stradbroke Dreamtime (1972).
p. 44 “An Appeal”. Writers. Persistently there is no reckoning.No!”. p. p. old William Mackenzie. “Let us not be bitter” and “Unhappy Race” . . He died in 1968 and spent his last days displaced in a Salvation Army Home. Here his valour and his language iare relived and preserved: I ask and you let me hear The soft vowelly tongue to be heard now 43 44 45 46 WALKER. the Press and white well wishers to right the wrongs of inequality and oppression. and “United We Win”. Churches. not colour gibes. on stations. the old ways. last surviving member of the Darwarbada tribe of the Caboolture district is recalled. ibid.New Comparison 22: p. p. 20. In “Last of His Tribe” a victim of “Change is the law”. with “mateship” uppermost. in the same politicised. 90 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing kangaroos. a “maggot in the mind”. In “Dark Unmarried Mothers” she considers the legitimated assaults on Aboriginal women in jobs. 45 With a more specific and social orientation. ibid. “Dark Unmarried Mothers” . 19.. 43 In “Let us not be bitter” she suggests a new time is coming. “The future comes like dawn after the dark/ bringing fulfilment”. Kath Walker looks at the fate of Aboriginal people who have come into close relations with whites and their lack of values. “All One Race”. In a similar tone but different form (even shorter lines rhyming) in “United we win” the “fringe dweller” Black man knows that he has lost a great deal but has white men as friends and a new dawn of equality is hoped for. So “The Unhappy Race” speaks to white man’s losses. 39. Unions. in town and city. 109. p. rousing verse form as Auden’s “A Communist to Others” pleads for statesmen. and bitterness is regressive.. ibid. when “a world of workers form shore to shore as equals live at last”. There are many other poems whose generosity and debate about how to live in unity and racial tolerance establish KathWalker as a politically outspoken voice of her people. subjugated. “An Appeal”. the Aborigines do not wish to take the homes or activities of those other nationalities either: I’m for all humankind. Dawn. cit. 21. and never mind tribes. I’m international. p. and its companion piece “Integration-yes!” set up a sound argument about learning in harmony rather than being forced to deny difference and become secondary. 46 Her poems also register and mourn the siginificant elders. “Assimilation . 27.. and those who might bring the rapists to order “Turn the blind eye/ wash the hands like Pilate”. ousted by new ways.
for Elsie Lewis is still an Aboriginal woman “lubra” and rewards the hungry black faces who show surprise at the presentation of the kitchen on the station Cookalingee.” 48 So the “white man tucker” is handed out in tin plates to everyone. 30. and “Ballad of the Totems” amongst others recalls old rights and beliefs. remembering the old days. you who have used Boomerang and Spear. Hears the age-old racial call: “What we have belongs to all. reviving a lived version of the Aboriginal ways and beliefs. and. “Bora” with rites of passage. p. Knows the tribal laws of old: Share with others what you hold. You singer of ancient tribal songs. . You leader once in the corroboree. ibid. “Cookalingee”. away from their natural existence. Now it half covers the traces of the old bora ring. “Daisy Bondi” celebrates a legendary Aboriginal woman of the recent past who. “Cookalingee”. organized her clan to challenge slavery and insist on wages. Other poems of loss fill the pages. For me You enact old scenes. but ensures her people are fed.. ibid. 47 48 “Last of His Tribe”. they cannot say their thoughts: “we are as strangers here now. 47 In the same collection “Tribal Justice” deals with a boastful adulterous bully. 105. exactly what has been destroyed and lost. Changes are also recorded as are the difficulties of living between two cultures when the community has been disenfranchised by white Australian ways. in Aboriginal cadences and expression. Notice of estate agent reads: “Rubbish may be tipped here”. she feels lonely. the community spirit of the repeated “we” establishing an identity and land claim for an area whose religious sigificance has been replaced with rubbish tips. able to muster and carry out the stockwork like a man. 91 No more for ever. is torn between the two cultures. p.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing New Comparison 22: p. and detail from an Aboriginal point of view. One who has ostensibly adapted. working as a cook. They sit and are confused. old ways. lubra still Spite of white-man station drill.
in fact misguided.. the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place. 107 ibid. she acknowledges. And we are going. and their land rights. The new knowledge has been useful. disenfranchisement. Kath Walker wryly berates the white man for his blind drive towards a dehumanising “progress”. however. the corroboree is gone.108. it focusses on all the central issues about translation and voice which run through the poetry and prose of Aboriginal women writers. have a great deal to learn from the values of those whom their progress denies. p. The Dreamtime. White people. intellectually referenced phrasing. incorporating the Aboriginal reference and phrase with the more western literary expression. but they are forced into the dark and shadows. ibid.. who believes himself to be more civilised. The history of the arrival of the white man is one of marvel to: We who came late to civilization.” 49 There is power in this poem as the people equate themselves with natural forces. the poem quoted above. Positive and powerful. encarceration. Missing a gap of centuries but: 49 50 “We are going”. is my personal favourite. their identity. Money.. ownership. “Civilization”.New Comparison 22: p. Many of her poems contain a manifesto for equality. In more complex. The bora ring is gone. 50 Loss is not all Kath Walker records. the hunting and the animals have all left: The eagle is gone. those who price everything and label everything. are all imposed on a people who previously had no need for the regulators and categorisers. blinkered ways of the white peoples who have misunderstood and misjudged and denied the Aboriginal community. Issues about translation and misappropriation are woven into the text as she show how subtly the values of the Aboriginal peoples are relabelled and revalued by the white man. she shows. . a recognition of difference that does not sacrifice Aboriginal ways to the ostensibly progressive. repressive. p. 92 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing but the white tribe are the strangers. but the tones of irony and loss register her sound sense that much too much of more essential value has been lost in the process.
Before we were ratepayers. Their autobiographical. Hecate 17:2 (1991). 116. like any other literature. and documents the arrogance of ordinary whitefolk in everyday behaviours who. Ibid. and the reader is similarly perplexed: We could not understand Your strange cult of uniformity. ibid. believe they are naturally superior.Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing we were people before we were citizens. This is all fraught with potential bias. and the partial information which seems to be available can skew our reading and attempts first to understand. and acquire some contextual underpinning. In looking at issues around the recording and publication of autobiography and biography. Carole Ferrier advocates the enabling of a variety of voices to speak through the biography because of the disruption 51 52 53 54 “Civilization”. white man. 54 we need to think about the implications of our reading and our response.. If we recall Lisa Bellear’s poem “Women’s Liberation”. ibid. and therefore have some right to deny those rights of others. 53 Aboriginal women writers write of their lives. LISA BELLEAR NOONUCCAL. 93 Power and obedience to rule perplexes them. 204-5.4. and recognition. fed on a sense of the value of white economic civilized progress. you too. then let the texts speak for themselves.. 116. fictional and poetic work gives a voice to the enslaved of the past. . p. their ancestors. timetables. 51 New Comparison 22: p. 117. surely. myths. It will necessarily also be some form of appropriation and translation. that “we have benefitted” sounds both honest and ironic. Any critical piece on an emerging literature will be a tentative step towards understanding. and the conclusion expresses the simplicity and warmth of the kind of life which white-dominated economic values have entirely denied: But remember. p. In order to understand new literatures. quoted here on p. if life is for happiness. have much to change. pp. tribal ways.. we have to relate them to our previous reading. and the hideous dehumanisation of racism. 52 The assertion in “Civilisation”. This mass obedience to clocks. p.
recommend. articulate. or feeling too guilty to speak about it. 56 Ignoring Aboriginal women’s writing. p. might not be read. speak about. but she warns against the problem of “alternative” texts . might be disregarded and marginalised: So when you choose your alternative. Unless we recognise.New Comparison 22: p. 138. are both sides of a response which concentrates on how we are feeling about our own racial construction rather than about what we can learn from and enjoy in the writing of this powerful. p.which. history and myth. and absence has been with us too long .. we too have become disempowered. 137. their context. their modes of expression. if we just remain silent in an awe of difference tinged with guilt. Silence is no answer.these texts need space to be produced and read as far as possible with our understanding of their aims. cit.. SPIVAK and GUNEW “Questions of Multiculturalism”. perhaps previously-silenced subject. in not following an established format. to publishing in formats which readers will recognise. and everyone loses. Recalling the arguments of Spivak and Gunew. we cannot comment and try to understand. 94 Wisker: Aboriginal Women’s Writing to an authoritative version. 55 56 FERRIER. “Aboriginal Women’s Narratives” cit. emerging group of talented women. you need to employ a range of strategies to engage with the complex ways in which power and authority circulate 55 This is pertinent to the recording of biography/autobiography. strong in their sense of the value of community and creativity. It is also true of critical response. pass responses on. .
2 The linkage of different kinds of discourse (Stierle’s “readability of the city”) is equally loose.Hauser . . for example. 1994). (Berkeley: University of California Press. to avoid. Wetherill FANTASY CITIES. 3 So in a kind of thematic drift. (München: C. Of necessity. gardens. 12-15 July 1995. 1995). for it ignores the specific and distinctive ways in which language works. Edinburgh. I sense the need not to be too clear-cut. SECRET GARDENS 1 This is a descriptive exploration. memory-laden perception. “Cities. the areas of sensibility and preoccupation of those periods.-H. public and private. country. M. FERGUSON.P. smooth metaphors like P. I shall also be looking at the ways in which the resulting literal and symbolic configuration disintegrates. P. It starts from the premise that the confrontation of themes in art from similar or consecutive periods offers a concrete vision of the mentality. Der Mythos von Paris. with no hidden thesis. P. Gardens. STIERLE. places of A version of this paper was read to the BCLA’s VII International Conference. Wildernesses”. for all cities. I indicate lines of investigation rather than making exhaustive statements. I shall move between different kinds of reality and different kinds of fiction – which is at one and the same time a way of ducking the problem whilst being closer to the strong subjectivity of real experience. are essentially objects and creatures of individual fantasy. parks. Paris as Revolution. Ferguson’s admittedly attractive idea of Paris as the all-embracing place for any kind of revolution you care to think of. My preoccupations will turn essentially on the relation between urban “reality” and its artistic expression as well as their subjective. P. 3 2 1 K. reforms and even re-emerges in the wider recurrent motifs and obsessions offered by the juncture with opposing spaces: city. like the gardens they contain. of ways in which elements which exist in natural opposition define and structure crucial experience. In all this.
5 So we cannot really separate the “real” city from the fictional one. 8 . of course. 62. The city as a work of art. 6 7 FERGUSON. pp. p. in the process whereby nineteenth-century “Paris ceases to appear knowable [. were able to speak See W. Gesammelte Schriften 1974). conflicting ways – contaminating and upsetting Realism’s “belle assurance” we for too long took for granted and perhaps adding grist to Prendergast’s suggestion that pastoral and urban cannot be mixed 8 .. 542-43. p. is that. 7. So there is little doubt that the process is anchored in history: but it is a history in which the dreaming which the city implies and stimulates in the early part of the century. 1986). secret gardens memory. What can be asserted. pivotal moment. See CHRISTOPHER PRENDERGAST. HONORE DE BALZAC. 6 the mental configuration of the city alters radically in its relation to what is not the city. Whether this is true. Such moves are well represented in the curve which takes us from Stendhal to Proust. J. (New Haven: Yale University Press. Paris. writer and reader all experience in their personal. Uncanny looming figures inhabit them. Paris. in its multiple reflections. there is constant circulation and fusion. out of their depth as usual. See D. 4 and in the nineteenth century.] by the end of the century”. pp. OLSEN. is a dazzling world of divergent architecture and discourse. increasingly public. where “les différences ont disparu et il n’y a plus que les nuances” (the differences have vanished. 1992). with its changing fashion. Mythos. respectively unstable precursor and shifting inheritor in the momentum of a process which has no fixed point or clear cut-off – although Haussmann’s transformation of Paris is a clear. The city develops and encourages the growth of fantasy in the spatial gaps and meaningful uncertainties which this onward process throws up and which spectator. the pre-Haussmann city as a source of inspiration. I:2. adding to the opposition of city to country (which. 5 4 (Frankfurt am Main: Rowohlt. and there is nothing left except the nuances) 7 give way to Haussmann’s creation which is rather the product of fantasy. offer new dimensions – and journalists. 96 Wetherill: Fantasy cities. subsists) that which sets city against the gardens which go increasingly to make up its patchwork. Paris and the Nineteenth century (Oxford: Blackwell.. At the level of expression and perception. The spaces created. of cities of a more distant preRevolutionary past is not the subject of this paper. in some shape.. 353-54.New Comparison 22: p. quoted in STIERLE. however. where the individual creates his own fantasies. Our incomplete and imperfect readings are none the less (or precisely for that reason) “inspiring”. cit. BENJAMIN. character. 306.. in the drift and wander which is both physical and mental flânerie. p. Traité de la vie élégante. cit.
34. hinges on the dreams of his incarnation in the city where he spent years of his youth and maturity and which is so significantly present in the early pages of La Chartreuse de Parme. C. Verdet. WALTER BENJAMIN. twenty years in age between them but making their great contributions simultaneously. JANZLIN. for it is both present and absent.. 97 nostalgically of the ways in which and the days when the comparatively narrow “[rues] Vivienne [.. The town has special status however. 11 And of course the lighting on which the space of fantasy depends is not flickering early gaslight but the “torrents de lumière” which Zola made so much play with both in the luxury world of the inner boulevards (Nana) and the working class thoroughfares of L’Assommoir. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p.”. p. 458 (my italics).. Indeed his fantasy about his own identity. in Paris Guide (1867).Empire bei Baudelaire”. changes. is both visited and barely seen. in Walter Benjamin et Paris. p. in the second part of Le Rouge et le Noir.. I:2. Indeed. ed. the overlaps and the double vision themselves were far from being stereotyped – which is what makes them especially interesting and credible. (Paris: Maspéro. “Henri Beyle milanese”. cit. Thus Stendhal and Balzac. just as Paris. in the case of the younger author. See R. in der die Phantasmagorie des Flâneurs sich zusammenfaßt”(the street as an interior in which the phantasmagoria of the flâneur is concentrated). La Découverte. 552. If Benjamin is right to point out that “das erste Gaslicht brannte in den Passagen” (the first gaslight was burning in the passageway) and to speak of the “Straße als Interieur.. for the shift from arcades to Boulevard is a significant one which ushers in a new dimension.. 9 Evidently. There is no clear break or cut-off in the way these phenomena develop. offer strongly contrasting views of a pre-Haussmann world which may still be strongly bucolic and pastoral (even when the scene is Paris or Parma) or. 10 the space of fantasy confronts us after Haussmann with what Marx saw (or so we are told ) as the “images trompeuses que la société bourgeoise se fabrique” (deceptive images which bourgeois society constructs for itself). 1986). ABOUT. This is not to exclude urban fantasies even in Stendhal. 12 11 10 9 Hence perhaps his total absence from S TIERLE’ S monumental Mythos. “Das Paris des 2. “L’expérience mythique. ed. P.. A...] Saint-Martin [. p.] faisaient pousser des cris d’admiration à nos pères” (made our fathers utter cries of admiration).Wetherill: Fantasy cities. biased towards an urban vision dominated by the reference to Paris even when as in Eugénie Grandet or Le lys dans la vallée. the space of the flâneur (an overworked stereotype of whom we are perhaps beginning to tire). 1983).] Richelieu [. Wisman (Paris: Cerf. . 12 and hardly a point of contrast with the doings E.] Saint-Denis [.. Gesammelte Schriften. the capital seems far distant.
il affecta de se promener longtemps dans la jardin. Mlle de la Môle n’y parut pas. Further page reference. in themselves an obsessive recreation of the city. après le dîner. his: Chambre humide et obscure où le soleil ne donnait jamais. The hidden scheme hatches beneath the “voûte formée par les tilleuls fort bien taillés” (the vault formed by the well-clipped lime trees – p. 538) See STENDHAL . the location of his own precise self in the distant past of space and time: ever present streets. ed. It is a resurrection. to which he seeks constantly to give substance in Brulard by detailed line drawings. with X marking the spot. Martineau (Paris: Plèïade. Nous n’avions pas de fenêtre sur le jardin Lamoureux seulement un jour de souffrance (les villes de parlement sont remplies de mots de droit) qui donnait une brillante lumère à l’escalier ombragé par un beau tilleul. in La vie d’Henri Brulard’s seamless continuity of “life” and “art”. 531) in a garden which is a place both of communication. 15 notably those. as ever in fact or fiction.. (assize towns are full of legal terms) which shone a brilliant light on the stairs shaded by a fine lime tree. 68. dark chamber where the sun never shone. Thus. via an aptly named “jour de souffrance”.) These motifs of enclosure and unseen brilliance will resurface in Proust. Vie de Henri Brulard. gardens and the dark rooms of persecution. 1956). Le Rouge et le Noir. . Also. pp. given in the text. 98 Wetherill: Fantasy cities. 13 (Damp.. 14 15 13 Ibid. 1955). in which Stendhal. the garden where Julien embarks upon his seduction of Mathilde de la Môle.” (pp. secret gardens in Verrières. p. ed. 105. are to this edition. city and garden.. Page reference. 14 These factual trees recur in Le Rouge et le Noir. frustration and dissimulation: “En vain. are to this edition. We had no [proper] window overlooking the Lamoureux garden only a . explores the problem of authentic personal identity. STENDHAL . Martineau (Paris: Gallimard. Stendhal dreams up a far from idyllic past which is both bucolic and urban. discouragingly cropped at first in that place of fantasy. 536-537) “Enfin il alla se placer dans un coin obscur du jardin. 67. given in the text.New Comparison 22: p.” (p. A further motif is introduced here: that of the lime trees which are a constant mentioned motif of childhood – at one and the same time geographically normal and emphatically mentioned in the Rue des Vieux Jésuites and of course the Place de Tilleuls of Stendhal’s childhood at Grenoble.
hedged in and held in check. de Rênal dans le commerce du fer [. with its “petit chemin sablé qui circulerait dans le verger et sous les grands noyers”(little sandy track meandering through the orchard and under the great walnut trees – p.. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. splendide etc.. de Rênal’s acumen in the iron business . 265) Behind the language – not necessarily ironic – of romantic banality (délicieux. did he endeavour to stroll a long while in the garden. even when he goes to Vergy. for they make up the “Cours de la fidélité”: les diverses parties de ce magnifique jardin [..] En FrancheComté. 262). the more one’s estate is raised up out of stones piled one upon the other. de Rênal’s gardens. An unrestrained place.. 263).. bristling with walls. then.) This city garden.”(We got into the habit of passing the evenings under a vast lime tree close by the house. with its “gémissements du vent dans l’épais feuillage du tilleul. Although barely described. Notably “On prit l’habitude de passer les soirées sous un immense tilleul à quelque pas de la maison. 262) – in other words Paris – and set out a garden which boasts “force bordures de buis et allées de marronniers bien taillés”(an abundance of box hedges and avenues of well-clipped chestnuts – p. the more one acquires title to the respect of one’s neighbours. plus on bâtit de murs. The contrast with Verrières is more than antithesis: it is rather a straining (of loyalty and lust) in more than one direction. .. stands both parallel and in contrast to those which had witnessed dramatic doings elsewhere.. plus on acquiert de droits aux respects de ses voisins. This is perhaps a “cours fantastique. In the end. the more one builds walls... Anticipating Emma Bovary’s meaningful transformations.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. M. 221) (the various parts of this magnificent garden . plus on hérisse sa propriété de pierres rangées les unes sur les autres.) Rênal. severely cut back. 99 (In vain. it is for Julien to sabotage Rênal’s efforts by suggesting to Mme de Rênal the transformation which turns the garden into a very different and supple thing. L’obscurité y était profonde. for Rênal there is not a lime tree in sight.. (p.. in a Paris which we hardly perceive. The darkness there was very deep – p. In Franche-Comté. this is the place of adultery.”(moans of the wind through the dense foliage of the lime tree – p. were also the reward of M.] sont aussi la récompense de la science de M. after dinner.). Miss de la Môle made no appearence. quite different from the city trees and gardens at Verrières. he went and positioned himself in a dark corner of the garden. remplis de murs. does not seek nature but is “attentif à copier les habitudes des gens de cour”(careful to copy the manners of court people – p.. the earlier garden at Vergy holds key signs. Les jardins de M de Rênal. 268).
. a city without gardens.a home already degraded in Avignon where the Gagnons settled: Ville de Provence où venaient les orangers [. This is natural both in life and the novel.. Quel pays de délices.. pensais-je. 1956). There. offers a “solitude aériennne”(aerial solitude – p. are to this edition. in the vast silence which reigned at this height – p. ed.. Martineau (Paris: Plèïade. Hence an associated theme: that of the orange trees. ghostly route to infidelity). the Gagnon family were once the Guadagni and that his true home.New Comparison 22: p. 16 For Brulard. This is the transposition of those trees with their Italian roots which we have seen in STENDHAL . both place and lesson. given in the text. 101) . is transformed into the disguised and artificial garden of his affair with Clélia Conti: Clélia already possesses “dans de jolies cages une grande quantité d’oiseaux de toutes sortes” (a large number of birds of all kinds in pretty cages – p. La Chartreuse de Parme. which we find both in Brulard and La Chartreuse de Parme. Mme de Rênal dies “en embrassant ses enfants” (pressing her children to her)... 263). This space with its view of the distant Alps (with perhaps the sensed presence of Milan). 100 Wetherill: Fantasy cities.) Hence. 101) (A city in Provence where orange trees flourished [. in a typical shift from fictional life to lived fiction. An earthly paradise.] which as spring came were placed with much ceremony in the vicinity of the splendid chestnut-lined avenue. 313). Fabrice’s prison. the contrary of a garden or a city.”(We came from a country where orange trees grow in the fields. (p. Page reference. 16 . constantly go the family way. The family context will remain.] lesquels à l’approche de l’été.] that’s to say sixty or eighty potted orange trees [.. offering perhaps the prospect that Mme de Rênal will suffer the fate of the butterflies Julien and the children pursue so mercilessly: “On les piquait sans pitié dans un grand carton arrangé aussi par Julien”(We pinned them pitylessly onto a large sheet of cardboard Julien had prepared for the purpose – p. witness his paternal obsessions. 312). like the heights above Vergy. for. and a “sensation pleine de nouveauté et de plaisir” in “ce vaste silence qui régnait à cette hauteur” (rich feeling of novelty and pleasure. the tour Farnese. in the final course of her “lapse”. 310)” – and she adds a few potted orange trees to complete the illusion. étaient placés en grande pompe dans les environs de la magnifique allée de Marronniers. for Stendhal’s fantasies. the orange trees are the proof that the maternal line. I thought – p. secret gardens fantasmatique de l’infidélité” (phantastical. one motif in La Chartreuse de Parme.] c’étaient soixante ou quatre-vingts orangers en caisse [. the sign and symbol of his origins is Italy: “Nous étions venus d’un pays où les orangers croissent en pleine terre.
a modest replacement of the “petit bois d’orangers en pleine terre” (thicket of free-growing orange trees – Stendhal’s emphasis is significant – whose perfume Clélia “respirait avec délices” ( breathed in with pleasure) a little while earlier and which fills her.) Thus. In fact. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. la seule qui ait de l’ombre. I could have seen some pretty orange trees.. sous ma petite fenêtre du palais de la forteresse. placed under the window of my bird cage. tels que ceuxci. too well known to need much emphasis here... but it is also that of an ideal creation. If the gardens of Combray are already sensed in this scheme. placés sous les fenêtres de ma volière. which Charles represents. degraded and degrading spaces. with Balzac. The difference lies in the fact that. Stendhal’s apparent and essential point of contrast. A garden of memory and dreaming not totally different from Proust’s. (pp. for the younger author’s earlier garden themes. she told herself. of an ideal self and an ideal other. the city. the only one which had a little shade. In like manner. the Galeries de Bois are a place of all possible prostitutions offering metaphors of vegetation which promise not ecstasy but revulsion: Là donc se trouvait un espace de deux ou trois pieds où végétaient les produits les plus bizarres d’une botanique inconnue à la science [.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. en sorte que les fleurs de rhétorique étaient . this is not always and everywhere the case. under my little window in the fortified palace. playful authorial memory. already half aware of Fabrice. mes idées seraient moins tristes [. include the garden where Eugénie Grandet and Charles meet and where she later remembers.] je pourrais acheter quelques orangers qui. cannot be excluded – the reference is elsewhere.] Une maculature coiffait un rosier.. my thoughts would be less sad [. like these. 101 Avignon. dream. inventing her past and deluding herself about her future. just as the organised space in the Grandet house sets up oppositions and barriers which imply Eugénie’s inevitable failure. childhood and present fantasy (which is also the fantasy of a chronicled Italian past) mix and mingle. would prevent me from seeing the great wall of the Farnese Tower.. with the need to transplant it: Si au moins se disait-elle. The garden is that of personal. In total contrast to La Chartreuse. Balzac’s garden visions in the urban novels may be of constraining. j’avais la vue de jolis orangers. it seems at least to be very different from Balzac.] I could buy some orange trees which. 276-277) (If at least. m’empêcheraient de voir ce gros mur de la tour Farnèse..
vol. 339. If there are distant views. ed. Butteron (Paris: Plèïde. present. changes in mentality lead some observers to emphasise historical continuity. p. 18 (No district was more deeply altered by the recent building works which have transformed Paris than the Latin quarter. HONORE DE BALZAC.. 341. yet none has better preserved its peculiar physiognomy. pp. linking the present with the past and seeing the present as the future past. Thus Banville. 375-76. 17 (There then lay a space of two or three feet where the strangest vegetables grew. cit..] blight spots capped a rose bush in such a way that the flowers of rhetoric were perfumed by the aborted flowers of this ill-kept. Balzac’s city is not Parma – it is a city without space. after Haussmann’s transformations. unknown to botanical science [. writing in 1867 about one of Paris’s most phantasmatic quarters: Nul quartier plus que [le Quartier latin] n’a été profondément modifié par les récents travaux qui ont transformé Paris. 102 Wetherill: Fantasy cities. devoid of detail. historical readability 19 .) Typically. This makes for the kind of easy fantasy which allows the disasters of Ferragus to take place. 20 Ibid. misty and schematic. as is apparent in the tone of writing about change and continuity. 103. for it is a world where fragments of a former world still loom above the present landscape 20 – and where the street lighting in places is weak enough to encourage all kinds of fancies. Cfr Paris as the “centre of an open historical world”. Characters are rooted in the unmistakably historical process of the city and in the intertwine of its everyday... mais fétidement arrosé.IV p. p. they are. cit.New Comparison 22: p. the “focal point of an historical experience”: STIERLE. Mythos. Les Illusions perdues. nul pourtant n’a mieux gardé sa physionomie propre. but fetidly irrigated garden. 690-91. secret gardens embaumées par les fleurs avortées de ce jardin mal soigné. 18 19 17 Paris Guide. this shift does not easily exclude fantasy. like the one in which Rastignac contemplates his future battleground. Of course. 1952). .) At the same time. * * * All this is powerfully different from the later period.
Montsouris. cit. Thus. cit. the city becomes a place of control and segregation – with the fantasies about other people such restrictions may encourage: 22 flats with functional spaces for dining and sleeping. with their identical trappings and furniture – for here.. Colbert. Salammbô.. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. whose development.figures like Balzac and Stendhal. also standardised.. for my real target at this stage is Flaubert.and post. new streets . 21 in their evolving work. the essential mode of a ruling class as yet too unsure of itself to invent a style of As distinct from pre. if Paris was. It is a world of pastiche. During the period when Madame Bovary. 103 At the same time. would seem to show – shifting perhaps from phantasmagoria to fantasy. not merely as far as the city’s streets and buildings are concerned but also its gardens. Although some claimed the contrary: cfr Paul de Kock. p. precise streets visibly going somewhere. 23 And the change is great. there is now just one Paris). All this in the manner of another kind of transition (writing necessarily follows the patterns of history).. Grammont) give way to the vast public spaces. before and after Haussmann.. 76. has been strangely neglected – but we can point to the fact that his mature works.] aux constructions modernes. aux voix nouvelles . lines of demarcation. Buttes Chaumont. the balance between public and private is overturned: the great eighteenth-century properties of the city centre (Richelieu. once he reaches thirty. and in which she lived. It is almost as if the controlling walls of the gardens at Verrières were some sort of pre-Haussmannian manifestation. “Grâce aux démolitions de ces vieilles ruelles [. where the “little old ladies” can dream and where the bourgeoisie can define its new fantasies.. and located elsewhere: Bois de Boulogne. new or vastly reformed. Zola and Maupassant. Madame Bovary gains irony if one thinks that Emma’s dreams are of a Paris which was disappearing before the author’s eyes – and this is in itself a strong difference from the urban and horticultural climate in which his predecessors wrote. as transitional figures like Baudelaire and Flaubert. modern buildings. p. in the new.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. all written during and after Haussmann’s changes.. even surface of things. See OLSEN.. il n’y a plus qu’un Paris” (thanks to the destruction of those old alleys . and L’Education sentimentale were written. the new city changes the nature of the sport. The City.. if there is continuity. the rich west of the Hôtel du Louvre and north to the rue Saint-Lazare and the poor beyond these boundaries. 23 22 21 . from the swirling fog of Les sept vieillards(1859) to the new precise contours (at once architectural and formal) of Le Cygne(1860).. in Paris Guide. the established place of drifting dream and exploration. Champs Elysées. Monceau. stand in curiously ambivalent relation to those changes. 148.
30 As the capital is thus reconfigured. 23. HERBERT. 89. p. new lakes and look-out points hide the ancient public tip and execution ground beneath. Vera Cruz). 225. 199. 32 31 30 29 . 26 Redistribution and redefinition forges a new relationship to the town. 67-68. 1986). See WALTER BENJAMIN. 27 in which not only the street and public spaces generally take on increasing significance. 80-81. nature into art. and promenades take on the names of a fragile new colonial glory (México. 1979). 29 The city. p. “Bonding and breaking in Baudelaire”. Great exhibitions inspire the vision of fantastic homes and stimulate the response: “Je suis en France” (I am in France). Gallimard 1995). secret gardens its own 24 . Monet. whilst on the Buttes Chaumont. The Making of the modern Family (New York: Basic Books. see also p. pp. The City. separate elements lose their integrity.1 . Impressionism (New Haven: Yale University Press. See J. See R. See L. a much greater sense of social dislocation appears in which the averted gaze of Degas’s L’Absinthe and the glazed stare of Manet’s La prune contradict all pretence at sociability. the Bois de Boulogne becomes the dream of an English garden. 25 142. BURTON. At the same time. V. cit. p. The city is thus redefined in the image of a new class. p. HOUSE. Greek temples. p. “Das Passangenwerk”. p. Champion. p.. in the Guide Joanne of 1885. Paris la ville (Paris. 88 (1993). p.. 1975). the crowd and the objects which fill it become more anonymous. rates three already. STUDENY. p. 104 Wetherill: Fantasy cities. Monceau fills with stalactites. 31 The period breed strong conflicts of perception. The invasion of an invented countryside is made more fantastic still by the explosion of pleasure places which needed this new space to exist. châlets. the great fantasy world of the department stores explodes and Montmartre. Exotic vegetation is specially imported. 28 but also the opposition between public reality and private world becomes more acute. worth only one page in 1881. soon to be lost from memory. between 1852 and 1870. Puebla. cit. (New Haven: Yale University Press. 231-32. 25 Fixed fantasmata. See EDWARD SHORTER. artificial rivers and cascades and cliffs. Modern Language Review. 1988). 225 in OLSEN. L’Invention de la vitesse (Paris. 1977). Paris Guide. Gesammelte Schriften. cited in C. See J. as one can see from the way in which the complaints of some contemporaries (“they have killed the imagination [fantaisie]”) 32 and their clash with views which notably stress speed and space and the fantastic potential of certain changes: 24 See L’Art en France sous le second Empire (Paris: Musées Nationaux. ALFRED DELVAU. GAILLARD. 26 27 28 290. 75.New Comparison 22: p.
. in your hand. que le temps s’efface par la rapiditité avec laquelle on va du Nord au Midi [. Dumesnil. ships. p. More significantly still. in Gesammelte Schriften. L’Invention. 5. 231. Thibaudet and R. ils apercevaient tout à coup quelque cité splendide avec des dômes. ed. I:2. dont les clochers aigus portaient des nids de cigogne. perhaps.. des navires. 37 36 35 34 33 . cited in C. des ponts. creates another. p. (Paris: Gallimard. p. L’Invention. (p. cit. des forêts de citronniers et des cathédrales de marbre blanc. so to speak. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. 358. 33 Ne semble-t-il pas que l’espace soit supprimé par des moyens plus prompts à le traverser. C. at a time when the new Paris is beginning clearly to appear. Emma’s fantasy’s of elopement with Rodolphe: 37 du haut d’une montagne. vol. chaque objet vient pour ainsi dire se ranger sous votre main. ses fonctions et sa vie dans la seconde moitié du xixe siècle (Paris: Hachette.] Les chemins s’abrègent en se multipliant.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. 201) (from the top of some hill. as if time has disappeared by virtue of the speed with which one moves from North to South . cited in C. Paris ses organes. STUDENY. the Flaubert of Madame Bovary. Thus. 34 (All trouble is spared and. just like in fairy stories. p. 1951-52): page reference in brackets after the text refer to this edition.. nourished by more private and varied (and outdated) dreams.. 215.. Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire. See WALTER BENJAMIN. forests of lemon trees and cathedrals of white marble on whose pointed bell towers storks’ nests sat. bridges. Oeuvres. A. STUDENY. 2 vols. every object places itself. they would see at a glance some splendid city with domes. I. All quotations from Madame Bovary are taken from GUSTAVE FLAUBERT.) MAXIME DU CAMP.. DELATTRE.) The implosion of space and time. Voyages en France. 1869-75). different fantasy world which behind the straight façades lurks in the arcades and the narrow streets. like the intense new gas lighting 35 it goes with. Does it not seem as if space has been suppressed by more rapid means of crossing it. See Zola’s insistent reference to “torrents de lumière” and the “nappe de vive clarté” in the early pages of Nana and those of L’Assommoir. 1848. 36 Le Cygne brings out this double vision. Routes become shorter even as they multiply. 105 Toute peine est épargnée et comme dans les féeries. proposes a variety of divergent urban and parkland fancies. cit.
Comme si nous n’avions pas assez de notre passé nous remâchons celui de l’humanité entière et nous nous délectons de cette amertume voluptueuse.. the Near-East and Greece. 1973-). une tristesse immense m’envahit en songeant à cet âge de beauté magnifique et charmante passé sans retour [... vol.] Que ne donnerais-je pour voir un triomphe... the “ronflement de ses fonderies” (rumble of its founderies) and the drabness of the “arbres des boulevards sans feuilles” (leafless trees of the boulevards) – opposing city keynotes for Emma’s two affairs. . p. it announces not only Emma’s Rouen but also Flaubert’s own Carthage.. avec les prêtres de Cybèle vagabondant! [. (Paris: Gallimard.] as-tu éprouvé cela quelquefois. As a further stage. directeur de quelque troupe de comédiens ambulants.New Comparison 22: p. have you not felt it sometimes.. ed. the thrill of history?) More precisely still A mesure que j’épelle l’antiquité. More importantly for what I am wanting to say here about the intermingling of direct experience and written fantasy. conflicts with her later view of a “real” Rouen (pp.. Correspondance. 152-153. à Louise Colet. J. pp. 106 Wetherill: Fantasy cities.. le frisson historique? 38 (Why did I not live in the days of Nero! How I would have talked with the Greek rhetoricians! How I would have travelled on great chariots through the streets of Rome. Bruneau. with its “cheminées d’usines” (factory chimneys). 39 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT. These spring from personal fancies: Que ne vivais-je du temps de Néron! Comme j’aurais causé avec les Rhéteurs grecs! Comme j’aurais voyagé dans des grands chariots sur les voies romaines. 1.2. que ne vendrais-je pas pour entrer un soir dans Suburre quand les flambeaux brûlaient aux portes des lupanars et que les tambourins tonnaient dans les tavernes. 437. which collapses when Rodolphe jilts her. 4 septembre 1852. et couché le soir dans des hôtelleries.. and slept in the same hostelries as the wondering priests of Cybele! . and no doubt Jerusalem seen from Machaerous in Hérodias.. Emma’s Mediterranean dream city grows out of Romantic literature and is a variant of Flaubert’s own. secret gardens Emma’s vision. half-satisfied fantasies before and after the journey to Egypt. une of those comedians who went to Sicily to buy women to turn into actressess’.] Je suis sûr d’avoir été sous l’empire romain.. 268-269). un de ces drôles qui allaient en Sicile acheter des femmes pour en faire des comédiennes [. vol. I am sure that under the Roman empire I was the manager of some troupe of itinerant players. 39 38 Ibid. à Louise Colet. début février 1847.
As if we did not have enough past of our own. 114.] Les rues désertes s’allongeaient.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. Les toits coniques des temples heptagones. right at the bottom. is an explicit. in the cypress wood. Il s’exhale pour moi de ce Parnasse où tu me convies plus de miasmes que de vertiges. les terrasses. as we see when we set it and the letters I have quoted against the letter Flaubert wrote to Du Camp in June 1852: C’est là qu’est le souffle de vie.. les remparts. Correspondance. 41 40 FLAUBERT.) And such fantasies become just as precise as Emma’s when Flaubert in Salammbô creates the extensive. the horses of Eschemoun.. fantasy rejection of Paris. covenons-en.. en parlant de Paris.” 41 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT. 1951). Right above the Acropolis. 26 juin 1852. vol.] Tout en haut de l’Acropole. the terraces. Thibaut (Paris: Gallimard. the canals of Megara began to etch the green of the gardens with their sinuous white lines. ed. les chevaux d’Eschmoûn. as I dream of this age of magnificent beauty which is gone and beyond recall . les canaux de Mégara commençaient à rayer de leurs sinuosités blanches les verdures des jardins. I. les escaliers.” 40 (To the left. p.. The conical roofs of the heptagonal temples. detailed text of the gardens of Hamilcar and the (garden-)city of Carthage beyond as it emerges in the dawn: A gauche. 107 (The more I spell out antiquity.. Salammbô. ton souffle de vie. les palmiers. . Je trouve qu’il sent souvent l’odeur des dents gâtées... the palm trees.. 756-757. vol. the ramparts gradually emerged out of the paleness of dawn .. the stairways. çà et là sortant des murs. me dis-tu. posaient leurs sabots sur le parapet de marbre et hennissaient du côté du soleil. cit. what would I not sell to go one night into the Suburra.. p. dans le bois de cyprès. peu à peu. peering over the walls here and there. the more an immense sadness comes over me. when the torches burned of an evening outside the brothels and the tambourines rang out in the taverns..) This description obsessively repeated throughout the novel. What would I not give to see a triumph.. Les lauriers qu’on s’y arrache sont un peu couverts de merde. se découpaient sur la pâleur de l’aube [. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. we ruminate over that of the whole of mankind and delight in its delectable bitterness. did not move: the full cisterns seemed like silver shields lost in the courtyards . 2. rested their hooves on the marble parapet and whinnied towards the sun. sentant venir la lumière. tout en bas. ne bougeaient pas: les citernes remplies avaient l’air de boucliers d’argent perdus dans les cours [. The deserted streets stretched out. sensing the coming of daylight.
(p. my italics)... la forêt d’Argueil). let’s admit it. (What were they doing now? In the city. sa vie était froide comme un grenier dont la lucarne est au nord. 52. speaking of Paris. we should remember that Emma herself is a figure of urban fantasy. avec le bruit des rues. le bourdonnement des théâtres et les clartés du bal. it slips through our fingers when we try to give it a precise site. and against the distant sound of some late-night cab driving down the boulevards. d’aller voir au théâtre les acteurs de Paris. I find that it often smells of rotten teeth. The laurels one gathers there are a little covered in shit. obsessed by a Paris she never sees. 46. elles avaient des existences où le cœur se dilate. if Yonville is surrounded by real places and features (l’Andelle. and more immediately a stimulus to her speculations. to go to the theatre to see the actors from Paris – p.New Comparison 22: p.. setting her own cold confinement against the precise. if we follow Flaubert’s careful directions in the opening lines of part II. the buzz of the theatres and the bright lights of balls. Flaubert has led us up the garden path. So Emma’s Rouennais or Parisian fantasies start from a problematic location which the reader is fooled into believing in. for.) This explicit rejection of Emma’s Parisian dreams also clarifies his view of Frédéric Moreau. où les sens s’épanouissent. This is clear to anyone who tries to locate Yonville on Michelin map n. Shuttling (on Thursdays) between home and Rouen. 42) whereas the mysterious space of the city is already evocatively and provocatively present in Emma’s early.] passaient devant elle les uns après les autres dans le silence du dortoir et au bruit lointain de quelque fiacre attardé qui roulait sur le boulevards. your breath of life. secret gardens (It’s there that the breath of life is. in Yonville. Emma’s fantasies are frustrated by Charles’s’ attitude. (p. Especially. le pays de Bray.. she moves from the real world of Tostes to live. with the sounds of the streets. for the rest of her life. 108 Wetherill: Fantasy cities.. pendant qu’il habitait Rouen. maintenant? À la ville. imagined expansive life of her school friends in the city: Que faisaient-elles. they lived lives in which the . For me what issues from that Parnassus where you invite me is more ill odour than the thrill of heights. filed past her one after the other in the silence of the dormitory. when he lived in Ruoen.. Mais elle.. you told me. which is an invented and unreal space. 40) (all these images of the world . He: “n’avait jamais été curieux .”(had never been curious. we find that.. created and lost by the text.) Shades of Emma’s erotic ride with Léon. schoolgirl dreamings: tous ces tableaux du monde [. la Boissière.
Whereas she. Thus Léon. pp.. à Louise Colet. 66. dans vos soupers fins. que l’on dansait le soir sous des lustres éclairés.”(airs that they played elsewhere on the stage. 42 Ibid. entre les mots soupers fins et celui de sablez. her life was as cold as a granary whose skylights looked north. At the same time. danced to in the evening. par exemple.) Emma’s celebrated evocation of Paris – upon which I do not need to dwell – is therefore part of whole social. for example. those between the words parties and uncork: with actresses! And to say that I was getting the good man excited.. échos du monde qui arrivaient jusqu’à Emma. Thus the barber at Tostes. you young men of Paris. but impinges directly on the “real” world of (male) fantasy in general – close for example to that of the real-life curé from Trouville who inspired Homais’ dreamings and whom Flaubert quotes: ‘Allons donc. ce brave homme.”(dreaming of some shop in a big city.]’ Et comme il y avait des sous-entendus.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. 124-25) This does not stand apart from other forms of discourse on the city. 354-55. dreaming of high life and distant voyages: “rêvant quelque boutique dans une grande ville. 67. on the harbour. like Rouen. and no doubt stimulated by the shabby but undoubtedly exotic organ grinder who plays: “des airs qu’on jouait ailleurs sur les théâtres. my italics). the senses blossomed.. factual pattern of lustful speculation which circulates between the discourse of invented and reported experience. Emma like Léon attempts to put this specifically urban dreaming and speculation into practice..) But the fantasy city is not Emma’s personal monopoly. 109 heart swelled. . the novel develops a whole mythology of the city. my italics). in the light of the chandeliers – p. or Homais. that they sang in the salons.” 42 (‘Come on then. sur le port. ceux-ci: avec des actrices! Et dire que je l’excitais. their world also articulates the public and private spaces Haussmann is at that time making so free with. que l’on chantait dans les salons. comme à Rouen. 121). near the theatre – p. at your after-theatre supper parties. uncork the champagne’ . sablez le champagne [.. speaking of students in Paris. who “se meubla dans sa tête un appartement”(furnished an apartment in his head – p. As a recurrent dream with many characters. clearly a Balzac reader and much more given to sexual fantasy than is normally thought: “Il y a même des dames du Faubourg Saint-Germain qui en deviennent amoureuses [des étudiants]” (there are even ladies from the Faubourg Saint-Germain become students’ lovers – p. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. vous autres jeunes gens de Paris qui. 14 juin1853. près du théâtre. and what innuendos. fictional.
And this is where they make love – with Léon ejected from the garden: Il l’entraînait sans parler jusqu’au fond du jardin C’était sous la tonnelle.) GUSTAVE FLAUBERT.. sur ce même banc de bâtons pourris où autrefois Léon la regardait si amoureusement. in front of the house that of the Pharmacist who has a bigger garden. are present quite early.New Comparison 22: p.] gardening flowers in common – [Leon] brings her back flowers cactuses from Rouen. secret gardens The scénarios show Flaubert’s preoccupation with the contrastive patterns of city and garden – with.. 110 Wetherill: Fantasy cities.. It was under the bower. in oh so Freudian cracks in the trees.. 173) (He drew her without speaking to the bottom of the garden. présentation. plus cultivé et plus fleuriste que celui de Mme Bovary [. he goes into his garden – she comes into the pharmacist’s garden. 9 (fº12.. 191). She hardly thought of him now. “qu’elle accusait d’être trop courtes”.] jardinage fleurs en commun – [Léon] lui rapporte des *fleurs* plantes grasses de Rouen 43 (some serious visits. 43 . mingled references to the two in the growing relationship between Emma and Léon: des visites sérieuses.. In this edition asterisks denote a word erased by Flaubert himself.. 1995). the central motif is delayed until Emma’s decidedly rustic affair with Rodolphe. more elaborate and flowery than Mme Bovary’s [. first consummated in the woods then pursued in the Bovarys’ garden – letters are left there. all their resentment melted away – p. and this is where reconciliations take place: “Quand Rodolphe le soir arriva dans le jardin [. il va dans son jardin – elle vient dans le jardin du pharmacien. Plans et Scénarios de “Madame Bovary”. pp.. These motifs disappear so that Flaubert can set up the contrast between a garden motif associated with Rodolphe and a city theme associated with Léon. 8. of a summer evening.] en face de la maison.. (p. Although gardens.. durant les soirs d’été. Elle ne pensait guère à lui maintenant.. Mme Bovary donne un chic anglais au jardin [...”(When Rodolphe cmae into the garden in the evening . celle du Pharmacien qui a un jardin plus grand. on the same bench of rotten sticks where on earlier occasions Léon had gazed on her so lovingly.. initially. with their crumbling furniture. fº10). transcription et notes par Yvan Leclerc (Paris:CNRS/Zulma..] toute leur rancune se fondit. Mme Bovary gives an English elegance to the garden ..
) After Rodolphe leaves her. Now we see “le sable des allées sous les feuillles mortes”(the sand of the footpaths beneath the dead leaves – p.] Des massifs d’ombre çà-et-là. Il discourait sur la vanité des choses terrestres. il levait au ciel des regards de malédiction. lifted his eyes up to heaven to curse.very different from the clichés of harmony when Rodolphe was there with Emma. suspiciously idyllic – perhaps too idyllic to be true (except for the fact that it contains distinctly ironical anticipations of Frédéric’s “conquest” of Mme Dambreuse in l’Education sentimentale): Les étoiles brillaient à travers les branches du jasmin. after Emma’s suicide. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. They heard the river flowing behind them . 222-224). 173) (The stars shone between the jasmine branches. it later becomes the place where. 222) (At the beginning of spring. malgré les observations de Bovary. The cold of the night made them embrace all the more tightly. 203) is disquietingly.) The change is radical.. she destroys the place: Elle fit au commencement du printemps bouleverser le jardin d’un bout à l’autre. mais pas une feuille seulement ne bougea.. 111 This may be the “éternelle monotonie de la passion” (never-ending monotony of passion) – a doubly ironical phrase for Emma’s reading of things is wrong and so is Rodolphe’s – but the natural description which accompanies these moments (pp.”(a turn about the garden. is quite out of tune with human feelings: “il grinçait des dents. 335) .. and the garden becomes a place of idle and pointless chatter (pp. despite Bovary’s remonstrations.and the stresses of a world which. As a site of converging ironies. 215) Emma first refuses to sit on the garden seat.. Ils entendaient derrière eux la rivière qui coulait [. but not a leaf stirred – p.] Le froid de la nuit les faisait s’étreindre davantage.. and once she has recovered. for now it is Bournisien who comes to sit there. (p. 335) . Yet he was happy to see her at last manifest some sort of will. Il fut heureux. she had the garden turned inside out... Bournisien forces Charles to enact the clichés of “un tour de promenade dans le jardin. a variant of Emma’s and everybody else’s empty words... (p. . He held forth on the vanity of things earthly – p. as always in Flaubert. 173. Thickets of shadows swelled in the darkness here and there .” (he gritted his teeth. the garden mirrors Emma’ state. cependant. se bombaient dans l’obscurité [. de lui voir enfin manifester une volonté quelconque. from one end to the other..Wetherill: Fantasy cities.
188) . avec un balcon . brief. enclosed by other houses. (Fig trees sorrounded the kitchens. other vegetation. laden with grape. montaient dans le branchage des pins. the site is roofed over: by a tree. secret gardens Finally. trente pieds de terrain. which may not be the same as that used by Emma and Rodolphe since Emma has changed everything in the garden – but the words are the same. however. the “souffle pur” and the “petits oiseaux” (lilacs . chargées de grappes. hoped-for idyll. c’était une manière de châlet suisse peint en rouge. Flaubert’s urban world changes radically – like Hausmann’s Paris: the rural space within the town... little birds). enclos par des maisons. which plays a crucial. So it is not surprising that Salammbô. où des grenades resplendissaient parmi les touffes blanches des cotonniers. Charles dies “sur le banc dans la tonnelle”(on the bench in the bower – p. d’un seul côté. 743).. un bois de sycomores se prolongeaient jusqu’à des masses de verdure. Especially.. In L’Education sentimentale. or some artificial parasol: un chèvrefeuille énorme. It is full of down-to-earth banality with its “pelle à feu” (coal shovel) and its “tas de sable dans l’allée” (pile of sand on the garden path) – clearly marked out as the failed site of a sad. vineyards.. it happens elsewhere. All is offset and contradicted by the “bruit lointain que faisait la forge d’un carrossier” (distant noise made by a coach builder’s forge – p. embellished with shrubs in the corners and a flower-bed in the middle – p.New Comparison 22: p.” (thirty feet of ground. couvrant. pure breeze . limbed up the branches of pine trees. Through all the changes. is quite different from L’Education’s more modest gardens.”(p. That of Frédéric’s house in the rue Rumford which Frédéric shows to Mme Arnoux is mediocre in its dimensions: “.and of course this is no tryst. 188).) This is not completely different from the idyll at Yonville. When the idyll does come. ornés d’arbustes dans les angles et d’une plate-bande au milieu. unrecognised role in Madame Bovary. des vignes. 112 Wetherill: Fantasy cities.. Flaubert’s next novel begins with the precise detailed obsession of an exotic garden at Cartage: Des figuiers entouraient les cuisines. 256). les planches du toit. cancelling out the offered rose in the “premiers jours d’avril” (first days of April) with the “lilas”. like Frédéric’s walks in Nogent – in a setting is not unlike that of Julien Sorel’s conquest at Vergy. a sycamore wood extended as far as a thicket of green where where pomegranates luxuriated amidstr the white fluff of a cotton field. discursive identity fixes the garden and its trappings as a place of constantly conflicting preoccupation. for Mme Arnoux has been sent by her husband to get money from Frédéric. textual congruence and ironies where “reality” may diverge.
even when the contours are clear perspective is heavily and ambiguously distorted. Le Dantec. there is a lack of focus: “Sequences of colour and tones which no special focus on one element at the expense of another”.) This situation has its added ironies. in opposition to Paris.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. including the reference to Switzerland. As Manet’s Bar des folies Bergère demonstrates.. three old chestnut trees and in the middle. Essentially. their real mental world. 271) (a vast honeysuckle which covered on one side only the planks of the roof.. 80-81. pp. with its attendant kitsch and the echo of the Arnoux’ destination when Frédéric first met them. 1961). . Such instability is visible in the fragility of both the natural and the urban world and the constant movement between – further proof that. 46. ed. Ibid.-G. although Flaubert makes no mention of it. Œuvres complètes (Paris: Gallimard. the new fragility of urban relationships is clearly sensed. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. p.. Montet. on a mound. cit. and surviving perhaps into the contemporaneous world of Madame Bovary . of course. 46 There is a little accentuation or priority in the representation of the city. 113 extérieur [. So. is that which Haussmann was creating at the time L’Education was being written.. the direct expression of a world of fragmented plot and constant of motion and the ephemeral beauty or ugliness of modern life which Baudelaire seeks out in Constantin Guys 44 – a fleeting contact with things very different from the solid unthreatened social groups present especially in Balzac and Stendhal. p.”(p. sur un tertre. it was a kind of swiss chalet. even if his characters live in the physical world of the 1840’s. with a balcony outside . Y. Monet’s series of paintings of the Gare Saint-Lazare point to the convergence of views and common sensibility in this period. The idyll takes place outside Paris. un parasol en chaume que soutenait un tronc d’arbre. See CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. disappear and shift their allegiances without warning. determined by that of their creator.] trois vieux marronniers et au milieu.. the relationship comes to grief as soon as Frédéric and Mme Arnoux return to the city. 45 46 44 HOUSE. 45 The relationships are those of “colour and surface pattern replacing the perspectival structure and sharp tonal contrasts”. 1192. even in the late passages which bring characters “up to date”. as if Paris could not contain an event characterised especially by impermanence – and indeed. a straw parasol held up by a tree trunk.. It is a constant theme in a novel where individuals appear. painted red.
disjointed natural insertions. 1877. houses that look the same . in Herbert. Impressionism. like the boulevard Montmartre and the théâtre des Variétés. 114 Wetherill: Fantasy cities.. 198. (Identical avenues. They have no place in a city which. So the fantasies this new world stimulates are born of movement and incompleteness.. 39).] la répétition du même dessin comme sur les papiers à tenture à bon marché. but also in Degas’s truncated figures and the haste of Manet’s representations. to my mind. incorporate. in the author’s sensibility at least (if not that of his characters) has become with its wide pavements and straight avenues. 15. pp. the perpetual repetition of mechanically produced objects to a uniform model .. in the 1860’s. well attested in the manuscripts.. secret gardens Such devices are close to Flaubert’s fragmented.. 49 but perhaps an explanation for Monet’s. This conflicts with the crisp representations of a fashionable painter like Béraud. 48 even the individual’s insertion into the town becomes problematical – a different representation from Renoir’s clear views of human groups painted ten years later. STUDENY. the overall similarity of things are belied by those who do not have similar reading problems and who without creating the fantasy cities of Illuminations. pp. 50 The apparent lack of these qualities. L’ 47 48 49 Ibid.) and conclude that Paris “a perdu le pittoresque. disastrous elimination of the human figure and humanity in general after 1880. even about locations which. la variété. variety. See Rue de Paris. like Flaubert. 1867. 199. an area both of fast communication and problem solving – and mass movement – “la masse noire” alluded to at the beginning of Nana (Folio p. .. Even in crowd scenes. maisons semblables [. as I have mentioned. 7.] répétition perpétuelle d’objets faits à la mécanique sur un type uniforme [. 47 Frédéric’s Moreau’s jealous fascination with couples in the crowd. which nevertheless shows the Right Bank of the new Paris. It conflicts too with the opinion of contemporaries who in 1867 speak of: Boulevards identiques. cit. l’imprévu” (has lost what was picturesque. suggestion replaces delineation and contour. the repetition of the same pattern like on cheap wallpapers.. L’ Invention. As in Caillebotte. They are present not merely in Flaubert. 17-18. 65). whose scenes repress anything other than narrative speculation. cit. quoted in C. p.. are more or less simultaneously explored by Zola (in Nana). or like Zola in many works (La Curée.. 50 Fournel and Karr. the new mentality into the old city. disappears significantly from the novel’s final form (Garnier p.New Comparison 22: p. unpredictability).. See his Pont des Arts. unstable representation of the city and its fleeting..
disruptive vision is part of a new world which includes Zola’s gardens in La Faute de l’abbé Mouret and especially for my purpose. but which is in strong opposition to it: C’était alors. spilled over their sides long green intertwined ropes. 115 Œuvre). full of teeming. extensive and delirious examples we find in Zola. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. ruination. 53 51 52 53 EMILE ZOLA. flooding). 52 (Madame Bovary. like overfull serpents’ nests. bristling with hairs raised their pyramid shapes beneath hanging pots which. on the water’s surface. comme un corsage de vierge. laissaient retomber de leurs bords de longs cordons verts entrelacés. La Curée: A leurs pieds. it points rather to a rejection of the city and its replacement not by a natural refuge (in town or country) but by a prurient exotic dream world which may exist within the city of La Curée. 55-56) (One went for a stroll in the hothouse where where strange plants. and the tangled tournelias hung down. GUSTAVE FLAUBERT. 55-56. Garnier. This disrupted. déroute. in a place which will long continue to feed Emma’s fantasies.) This garden of corruption. invasion. inondation” (overflowing. present an explosive world whose characteristic explosive vocabulary. envahissement. jostling. débandade. ZOLA. 487. . It is some considerable distance from the sordid garden of the Galeries de bois. débâcle.) Strangely. à fleur d’eau. p. et que les Tournélia laissaient pendre leurs broussailles. hérissées de poils s’érigeaient en pyramides sous des vases suspendus qui. bousculade. le bassin fumait. while the red rose of the water lilies opened out. d’un enlacement de racines. tangled roots. plein d’un grouillement. Like the more celebrated. 51 (At their feet. rout. p. 1960). La Curée (Paris: Plèïade. the pool issued smoke. des cauchemars dans lesquels ils assistaient longuement aux amours des Palmiers et des Fougères.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. pareils à des nids de serpents trop pleins. as we see in L’Œuvre. au milieu de la lueur pâle. que des visions les hébétaient. 486. these are prefigured by a brief episode at La Vaubyessard: on s’alla promener dans la serre chaude où des plantes bizarres. p. like a virgin’s bodice. pp. growth. Madame Bovary (Paris: Garnier. is: “débordement. is a further indication of Flaubert’s anticipation of the new mentality. I. La Curie. crue. 1971). tandis que l’étoile rose des Nymphéas s’ouvrait.
alongside the dream city Emma constructs from maps and newspaper articles – and alongside the city Frédéric lives in. I. 1954-) ed. in La recherche. et il avait devant lui une lande où rêvait Geneviève qui portait une ceinture bleue” (it was only the wing of a castle. becomes dominant – but it is not offset here by Mémoires d’un touriste or Promenades dans Rome. once again. physical and social context of Haussmann’s world. with its precise values and reflexes. Marcel drifts into and out of less clearly delineated gardens of reality and imagination. my final stage. is filtered through an intensely subjective focus which hides Paris behind the closed curtains of morning. vol. MARCEL PROUST. setting off: See for example the sordid beginning of the second part of L’Education sentimentale. the completed. in the gardens of Salammbô. Rather. Clarac. but does not see. A la recherche du temps perdu (Paris: Gallimard. 13-14). potentially. 55 54 . Stendhal’s emphasis.New Comparison 22: p. suppressing it as the spectacular topographical entity which. the assumed fantasies of persecution which the early story of Geneviève de Brabant displays: “Ce n’était qu’un pan de château. unless otherwise indicated. But this. investing material Stendhal kept much nearer to home in La vie d’Henri Brulard. a white girdle around her waist) 55 – leading to other family tales told or enacted in the garden in Combray – with the by now familiar motif of the overarching tree: “les soirs où assis devant la maison sous le grand marronnier”(in the evenings sitting in fronte of the house under the great chestnut – pp. p. Thus. but into it Swann brings the fears and evocations from an unknown world. 9. * * * With Proust. perhaps more than any other. interest is displaced to the world of Combray or to Paris as fantastic garden.) Such visions are present. I find a work which contains. that visions confused him. Page references in the text are to this edition. amidst their pallour. we can explore in Illusions perdues or L’Education sentimentale. 116 Wetherill: Fantasy cities. for he too excludes perceived reality 54 . Most significantly. although more traditional motifs remain (Swann searches for Odette on the Boulevard des Italiens and the same Swann lives on the clearly situated wrong side of town). in Madame Bovary. secret gardens (It was then. map in hand. nightmeres in which he witnessed at length the loves of palm trees and ferns. The garden at Combray is a refuge from Paris. and before him stretched a plain where Geneviève dreamed.
suivi de ma grand’mère..] mais le double tintement timide. 9) of the horse of Geneviève’s persecutor. Marcel should be driven from the garden and consigned to his room. 14) (not the profuse.) Associations arise in a space where the conflicts of fantasy and the apparently real are played out. and whom one recognized by his voice – p.. 11) directly and ironically echoes the step (“au pas saccadé de son cheval”– the jerky step of his horse – p. complicated by its autobiographical resonance..Wetherill: Fantasy cities. as we know. 28) (Once in my room. @?@ its rusty. And yet. the grandmother’s “petit pas enthousiaste et saccadé”(small.. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. to whom he is linked.. its closed space and its deathly echoes: Une fois dans ma chambre. who quite lacked the feeling for nature – p.] pour ne pas attirer les moustiques”(we kept the least light possible on . en défaisant mes couvertures. in itself. et qu’on reconnaissait à la voix. in this world where familiar faces herald the terrors of the night. put on again the shroud of my night shirt) An illogical outcome. creuser mon propre tombeau. fermer les volets. close the shutters... inextinguishable. enthousiastic. whose ordinary torments (“viens donc empêcher ton mari de boire du cognac!” – come and stop your husband from drinking brandy): “me causaient une telle horreur que j’aurais aimé battre ma . icy noise . a place of torture. We have already seen at Verrières how such gardens which appear to reduce fantasy to very little and to destroy the terrors of the night. gilded double tinkle of the front door bell. 13). oval et doré de la clochette des étrangers (p. jerky steps – p. it is logical that. 19) – every bit as ominous and mythic as Golo. it was necessary to block all the exits. for night is never kept at bay: “nous gardions le moins de lumière possible [. revêtir le suaire de ma chemise de nuit (p.. but the timid. dig my own tomb. both for Marcel and his grandmother. shrill bell which . not to attract the mosquitoes – p. and yet is restrained by: “les allées trop symétriquement alignées à son gré par le nouveau jardinier dépourvu du sentiment de la nature”(the paths all-too-symmetrically aligned to his liking by the new gardner. for the garden is. The grandmother walks freely in the rain (“enfin on respire”). followed by my grandmother. fantasy is rarely far away. 117 non pas le grelot profus et criard qui arrosait au passage de son bruit ferrugineux.. sur un fond de ténèbres. And Swann looms up as: “l’obscur et incertain personnage qui se détachait.”(the obscure and incertain figure who issued out of a background of darkness. il fallut boucher toutes les issues. intarrissable et glacé [. pulling back the bed covers. So. 14). rounded. for..
. And my thoughts. were they not like another haven . and from which Marcel flees into further realms of fantasy: je montais sangloter tout en haut de la maison ..) These fragmenting conflicts (echoing Flaubert’s fragmented world?) are resolved only much later... la rêverie. served for all those activities which demanded an inviolable solitude: reading... 11). les larmes et la volupté. (dans) cette pièce . in that room which had long served as my refuge . (qui) servit longtemps de refuge pour moi . dreaming. sous le marronnier.”(p. crying. 118 Wetherill: Fantasy cities.”(provoked such horror in me that I wanted to hit my grandmother – p. The garden becomes the perverse paradise – a contradictory place both of torment and maternal warmth – from which he is expelled. all this city and gardens came out of my cup of tea... (p. (the old grey house superimposed itself like a stage set over the small pavillion overlooking the garden . 47 ... in a little straw and canvas hut at the bottom of which I sat.my italics). tout cela est sorti ville et jardins de ma tasse de thé. secret gardens grand’tante. when the Madeleine brings to the mature Marcel the world of Combray in the synthesis and the prodigality of art and memory: la vieille maison grise sur la rue vint comme un décor de théâtre s’appliquer au petit pavillon donnant sur le jardin . 11) (I climbed off to cry up at the very top of the house . dans une petite guérite en sparterie et en toile au fond de laquelle j’étais assis et me croyais caché aux yeux des personnes qui pourraient venir faire visite à mes parents.New Comparison 22: p. à toutes celles de mes occupations qui réclamaient une inviolable solitude: la lecture.. under the chestnut. in which I remained immersed even as I looked out to see what was happening beyond.. toutes les fleurs de notre jardin et celles du parc de M.) This fusion also combines many dimensions: j’allais du moins [continuer ma lecture] au jardin. all the flowers in our garden and M. pleasure. Et ma pensée n’était-elle pas comme une autre crèche au fond de laquelle je sentais que je restais enfoncé même pour regarder ce qui se passait au dehors....) .... thinking miself hidden from the sight of anybody who might come to visit my parents.Swann .. 83-84) (at least I was going to continue my reading in the garden. (p.. Swann’s grounds .
. through whom we come to a personal reconfiguration of Paris. towards discovering truth) and by “les émotions que me donnait l’action à laquelle je prenais part. They breed fantasies about the districts one does not know. secret gardens New Comparison 22: p. sumptuous apartment she possessed). Marcel’s particular vision is distinct that of from others in La recherche. At its extreme limit (and significantly. in La recherche. 119 The rest of the page would need to be quoted. 986. Swann devenu son mari avait dû quitter son joli quartier. Upon becoming her husband Swann had to leave his charming rooms. this is a unique garden world more secret than Brulard’s private maps and even than Emma Bovary’s adulterous space. où les arpèges du violon font Esquisse lxxxiv. ceux qui devaient venir des jardins situés à l’autre bout de la ville”(the most distant noises. to show how from the intimacy of his hiding place. 17). p. I. a newly configured space. move into the vulgar. “[Odette] lui avait dit qu’elle était enceinte. bringing Swann and Marcel together) it is an extension of the Vinteuil sonata. habiter le vilain appartement somptueux qu’elle détenait” (Odette had told him she was pregnant. But especially for my purpose. 713-714). Notably. . Tadiè. cette Sonate de Vinteuil. closer to the mysteries of the Bois de Boulogne. me dit Swann. Cut off now from the “bruits les plus éloignés. 33). vol. a place quite different from the garden at Combray. 56 This is one of those constantly renewed “dispositions nouvelles du kaléidoscope [social]”(new arrangements of the social kaleidoscope –p. vers la découverte de la vérité”(incessant movements from inside outwards. his old mansion. in an ironic rerun of Ferragus. whom I always tried to avoid – ibid. As a manuscript draft puts it. 3 vols (Paris: Gallimard. pp. ed. 1987). this reconfiguration brings Swann. Le moment où il fait nuit sous les arbres. bcecuase those afternoons were more packed with action than is often the case for a whole life). and. although significantly we do not even know with what degree of irony we should read the failed artist’s words: N’est-ce pas que c’est beau. and at his heels Marcel. In the shift and change. Swann. car ces après-midi-là étaient plus remplis d’action que ne l’est souvent toute une vie”(the emotions which the event in which I took part aroused in me. which make up the experience of Paris. they even launch Marcel in libidinous pursuit of a woman who turns out to be “la vieille Mme Verdurin que j’évitais partout”(old Mme Verdurin. it conflicts with the experience of Marcel’s lapsed double. Marcel in his reading. and those following. 56 . those which must have come from the gardens located at the other end of town – p.Wetherill: Fantasy cities. is invaded by “d’incessants mouvements du dedans au dehors. son vieil hôtel. the transformation and fluidity which are at the heart of Proust’s text.
) This is a complex world of proliferating associations. l’allée des Acacias était fréquentée par les Beautés célèbres” (planted for them with trees of a single scent. a sovereign entrance. p. References to Balzac. 419) – and it is in this regal space that. I. (Vol. 419). a true sign of the past and a sign of her profession (Vol. . such as subsequently no real queen ould impress upon me – Vol.. With its “petits mondes divers et clos” (different closed little worlds). the Bois de Boulogne fallen into catalepsy. weave associations of sensation and event. The richness of the garden is also in its varied aesthetic and artistic status. much more mysteriously. with. p. Virgil... p.New Comparison 22: p. 533) (Is it not beautiful. secret gardens tomber la fraîcheur [. That’s what this little phrase depicts so well. 120 Wetherill: Fantasy cities. With its Virgilian reference to the great abandoned lovers of antiquity. ibid.. Vinteuil. when the arpeggios of the violin bringing in the cool air . p. in reality or speculation: those of the Champs Elysées (see Vol. “aux lèvres un sourire ambigu où je ne voyais que la bienveillance d’une Majesté et où il y avait surtout la provocation de la cocotte”(an ambiguous smile on her lips. Constantin Guys (and behind him. giving greater complexity still to the other gardens where Marcel’s emotive life is spent. 57 It is transformed into a vast conceit 58 . It is one to which the Porte Dauphine gives the “image pour moi d’un prestige royal. p. 421) and. and where there was above all the provocation of a flirt – Vol. and a far cry in this from the purely factual description the early versions of this passage contain. pp. Ibid. 592 et seq). p. were I saw nothing but the benevolence of majesty. I. and Odette’s “jardin d’hiver” (winter garden).. of course. “Plantée pour elles d’arbres d’une seule essence. vol. The moment when night falls under the trees. a female zoological space where “l’on voit rassemblés des flores diverses et des paysages opposés” (one see gathered together different floras and contrasting views – p.I. d’une arrivée souveraine.I. 394-416) where he saw Gilberte. Odette appears. Baudelaire).] C’est cela qui est si bien peint dans cette petite phrase. telle qu’aucune reine véritable n’a pu m’en donner l’impression par la suite” (image to me of a royal distinction. p. for the adolescent Marcel’s confusion. a descent into hell and torment. 417). the avenue of Acacias was frequented by the most celebrated beauties – 418). c’est le Bois de Boulogne tombé en catalepsie. vol. the site of Odette’s famous appearances. I. Swann told me. the Bois de Boulogne is a “Jardin des femmes”. for it is also the place of the aging Marcel’s regrets for a lost society (vol. it is a place of mythology. I.. 57 58 For example in Esquisse lxxxvi. I. 988 et seq. this sonata by Vinteuil. 417 et seq. I.
Wetherill: Fantasy cities, secret gardens
New Comparison 22: p. 121
Here is the essential process, so different from Stendhal, for here everything is subjected to cross-referencing of increasing complexity. Paris is Venice is Delft - and the city is a garden:
Je ne dis pas Venise au hasard. C’est à ses quartiers pauvres que font penser certains quartiers pauvres de Paris, le matin avec leurs hautes cheminées évasées auxquelles le soleil donne les roses les plus vifs, les rouges les plus clairs; c’est tout un jardin qui fleurit au-dessus des maisons, et qui fleurit en nuances si variées qu’on dirait, planté sur la ville, le jardin d’un amateur de tulipes de Delft ou de Haarlem. (vol. II, p. 572 - see also Vol. III p. 650)
(I did not say Venice by hance. It is its poor districts that certain poor districts of Paris recall, in the morning with their tall wide-mouthed chimneys which the sun tinges with the rosiest of hues, the brightest reds; a veritable garden blooming below the houses, blooming with such a variety of hues as if the garden of of some tulip lover from Delft or from Harlem ad been planted over the city.)
My talk of thematic drift at the beginning of this paper would seem to be justified by what we find at last in Proust. Certainly, no clear-cut theoretical formula could account for his increasingly secret and fragmented world or for the shifting motifs, from Stendhal’s orange trees to the fantastic garden of the mind Paris had become by the end of the nineteenth century. In both Stendhal and Proust, the writer’s involvement fuses biography and creation and questions the distinction between urban experience and experience elsewhere. Haussmann’s reconfiguration of the city, sensed in Flaubert, repeatedly detailed in Zola, is a convenient divider for the phenomena I have explored. At the same time, points of continuity throughout the whole period show the mental set to this crucial area of modern experience to be working at a variety of levels, rhythms and speeds.
R. K. Britton
CIVILIZATION AND BARBARISM: A Reassessment of the Political and Cultural Debate in Modern Spanish American Thought and Literature 1
In 1845, the writer and politician Domingo Faustino Sarmiento launched at the Spanish American world a book which was destined to have a significant impact upon it. Entitled Facundo, it was ostensibly a journalistic account of the career of Juan Facundo Quiroga, a provincial caudillo and leader of an army of gaucho irregulars, who controlled large parts of Northern Argentina during the civil wars between the Federalists and Unitarians. Facundo Quiroga had been murdered in an ambush in 1835, and Sarmiento’s prime motive was now to attack the Federalist dictator of Argentina, Juan Manuel Rosas, whom Quiroga had previously served, for basing his regime on the same barbaric and arbitrary principles which Quiroga had represented. The sub-title of the first edition of the book, published in Chile where Sarmiento had been exiled in 1840 for his opposition to Rosas, was Civilización y barbarie, and though this was removed from the revised version of 1851, it was to encapsulate the conflicting opposites of what would become a cultural, political and historical debate of continental proportions. Before the end of the century, the precise meanings of “civilisation” and “barbarism” as Sarmiento used them were not only questioned but, in some cases, refuted. Nevertheless, they became polarities around which a complex web of issues involving cultural identity, autochthony, and political, social and economic advance were to be discussed throughout Spanish America. That this was possible is due to the shifting nature of what, at any particular historical moment, these opposing terms were thought to signify. Indeed, what some writers conceived as representing
A version of this paper was read to the BCLA’s VII International Conference, “Cities, Gardens, Wildernesses”, Edinburgh, 12-15 July 1995.
Britton: Civilization and Barbarism
New Comparison 22: p. 123
“civilisation,” other contemporaries construed as precisely the opposite. This article sets out, therefore, to trace the lineaments of this debate, its mutating definitions, the transformations it has undergone as reflected in the different literary forms in which it has been taken up. It suggests, furthermore, that an understanding of the development of Spanish American literature and ideas over the past 150 years which fails to take it into account is likely to be seriously deficient. The origins of the debate are, however, of greater antiquity. Beneath the apparent diversity of late nineteenth and early twentieth century ideas lies a unifying dialectic whose roots go back to the earliest years of the discovery and conquest of America, and whose first exponents were the contemporary chroniclers of those events. They were, on the one hand, men like Fernández de Oviedo and Francisco López de Gómara, the foremost official historians of the Spanish Empire, and on the other those such as Bartolomé de las Casas and El Inca Garcilaso, who wrote from the point of view of the defeated and enslaved indigenous peoples. Although these first manifestations did not turn specifically upon stated notions of “civilisation” and “barbarism,” they were implicit within and fundamental to it. Embedded in the official historiography of the conquest is a sophisticated justification of Spain’s enterprise in the New World, which seeks to demonstrate its providential nature and civilising mission under the power of the modern nation state and the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church. 2 As a churchman himself, Bartolomé de las Casas did not reject this argument out of hand, but nevertheless made of his history a passionate appeal to the King of Spain to protect his new indian subjects from the excessive cruelties and depredations of the conquistadors and their followers which exceeded anything justifiable in law or religion. 3 Neither was El Inca Garcilaso unambiguous in his position. He was, after all, one of the first mestizos, his mother being an Inca princess, and his father, Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega, a Spanish nobleman and soldier who was appointed chief justice for the Cuzco area in the Spanish ViceRoyalty of Peru. Like the histories of Bartolomé de las Casas, El Inca Garcilaso’s chronicles, Los comentarios reales and La historia general del Peru (The Royal Commentaries and the History of Peru) oppose the official
Early official histories were concerned with obeying the wish of the Spanish Crown not to concede control over the vast mainland territories of the New World to Columbus and his heirs. See MARCEL BATAILLON, “Historiografía oficial de Colón, de Pedro Mártir a Oviedo y Gómara,” Imago Mundi (Buenos Aires, 1954) Yr 1, No. 5, pp. 23-39. This is also quoted by ROBERTO GONZÁLEZ ECHEVARRÍA, Myth and Archive: A theory of Latin American narrative (Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 61. BARTOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS, Brevíssima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (Sevilla, 1552); modern edition edited by Lewis Hawke and Manuel Gimènez Fernández (Santiago: Fondo histórico y bibliografico, José Toribio Medina, 1954).
] is to some degree confirmatory of that culture’s identity inasmuch as it is expressive of the set of beliefs or practices which impart a sense of closure to that cultural experience. contrasting it with the story of the Inca empire which the Spaniards had obliterated. H. Even so. monarchical state sanctioned and mediated by the spiritually and culturally unifying power of the Spanish Church. It is therefore scarcely remarkable that the idea of civilization exported in the sixteenth century to the New World from the Old should have been one which measured it very much in terms of urbanisation.. 1966). no great leap from that set of ideas to one which introduced racial and ethnic considerations into the definition. It is the first great literary work to reflect the crisis of cultural identity resulting from the meeting and mingling of Europeans and native Americans in the New World within the process of enforced colonisation.New Comparison 22: p. transl. especially where these also coincided with religious differences. The Spanish American Regional Novel: Modernity and autochthony (Cambridge University Press. undeveloped and untouched by higher sensibilities. Primera parte de los comentarios reales de los Incas (Lisboa. 4 But it also does something much more significant in terms of the debate we are examining. and the bureaucratic control of a centralised. in sixteenth-century Spain. It was.. 5 4 . Livermore. 1-18. but those living outside the pax romana were regarded as barbarians for whom civilisation by conquest was always justifiable. 124 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism record. See also The Royal Commentaries of the Incas and the History of Peru (Austin:University of Texas Press. and betrayal which marked the early history of colonial Peru. and cultural and moral progress – which justify man’s existence. urban community could foster those qualities – stability. 1617). furthermore. the acquisition of territory and the conversion of its non-christian inhabitants was not without serious moral and religious GARCILASO DE LA VEGA (El Inca). 5 The concept of “civilisation” held by Renaissance Europe was essentially a graeco-roman one based on the assumption that only social life which was organised and protected within a large. greed. it is constantly perceived to be under threat from historical change.” Because such a view of culture is paradigmatic. 2 vols. and provide a vital point of counter-reference which reveals the violence. 1990) pp. Culture as a concept thus exists in a state of permanent crisis. 5-6) that “All discourse produced by a culture [. Here Alonso observes (pp. Segunda parte de los comentarios reales de los Incas: Historia general del Perú (Córdoba. See CARLOS J. ALONSO. 1609). crude. material well-being. Not only was life outside those controlling confines regarded as rough. a crisis which imperial authority and criollo society suppressed until the end of the eighteenth century.
the European concept of civilisation received a severe jolt when faced with the physical realities of the American mainland. the Requerimiento. These demanded not only the forced labour and systematic destruction of the native indians. whose organisation and feats of building and engineering filled the Europeans with amazement. which called upon the native people of America to submit peacefully to the Spanish Crown and receive the catholic faith. See J. Papal doctrine widely disputed at that time allowed that infidels might retain control of their lands only by the favour of the Church. In 1510. Allison Peers Lectures. 1987) p. 125 objections which had to be reconciled before the imperial undertaking could be justified. H. the social. See CARLOS FUENTES. when the early nineteenth century saw a revolt of “progressive” criollos against the restrictions of direct Spanish rule. Thus. Their attempts to come to terms with what they encountered therefore often lapse into invention and fantasy. which could appoint christian rulers over them. and whose inhabitants ranged from the “noble savages” of the Antilles to the rulers of extensive mainland empires. the Council of Castile therefore drew up a document. 6. or even their being in. PARRY. many of whose plants and animals had no place in Aristotelian natural history. European experience was barely capable of dealing with this vast new continent. occurs in many other fantastic chroniclers of the invention of America: but even the more sober. 7 The tensions between urban and rural life already present in European ideas of civilisation and barbarism were greatly magnified by the sheer scale of the Americas. 2 (Liverpool University Press. reinforced by the papal bull Inter caetera (1493) which granted Spain all the lands discovered in the New World except any held by christian princes. because it is imagined and desired. Recalling the fabulous things in America described by Magellan’s navigator Antonio Pigafetta. This long and complicated legal text was to be read out to the indians on all occasions before military action was taken against them. 6 However. 7. and the organisation of a successful independence movement. but also reinforced by the methods of agricultural production and exploitation of natural resources on which the colonial economy was built. economic and racial structures of the colonial system Officially the Spanish Crown based its right to rule the Indies upon prior discovery and just conquest. Indeed. Carlos Fuentes has remarked: This discovery of the marvellous. the New World. had to invent in order to justify their discovery of. one feels. The Spanish Seaborne Empire (London: Hutchinson. but also the importation of slaves from West Africa to work the plantations. 1966).” E. “Gabriel García Márquez and the Invention of Latin America. the culture-shock suffered by the Spaniards as a result of their first contacts with it are only now beginning to be fully understood through revaluations of the writings of the early explorers.Britton: Civilization and Barbarism New Comparison 22: p. 7 6 . Ch.
the essay and journalism. not only have literary and political roles seemed. 126 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism remained largely in place. genocide and slavery which colonisation entailed – as an inevitable price to be paid for the higher aim of bringing administrative order. 8 .New Comparison 22: p. 1985). the novel. politically charged antinomies. and the overlapping and merging of forms such as historiography. books that are ostensibly histories become biographies. interchangeable. imperial Spain had been obliged to justify what it could not control – namely. cultural and national identity and autochthony overflowed into the immediate political debate. Novels and short stories employ narrative and rhetorical techniques to rewrite the historical record. GONZÁLEZ ECHEVARRÍA. but this same mutability has blurred the distinctions between the different forms of writing which authors have chosen to use. Similarly. Ultimately. 8 Hence. Indeed. autobiographies and political polemics combined. the corruption. In different forms. Journalism and the Development of Spanish American Narrative (Cambridge University Press. it had been posed three centuries before in terms that reflected all the contradictions of the colonial process. these forms becoming as hybrid as they are eclectic. and were taken up in a number of literary forms. Similarly. expose injustices and abuses. unknown part of the world to which they had previously been denied. ANÍBAL GONZÁLEZ. A number of important critical studies have focussed upon the extent to which prose narrative in Latin America has been mediated by other discourses. the Spanish language. a surprising number of Spanish America’s political and public figures have also been men of letters. reflecting the universality of a debate which rejects compartmentalisation. and The Voice of the Masters: writing and authority in modern Latin American literature (Austin: University of Texas Press. or to explore questions of culture and identity. 1993). Spanish American writers have traditionally be conspicuous for their deep involvement in the political life of their countries and continent. the Catholic faith. In this unsettled context. and European trade and technology to a huge. It is therefore evident that the civilization versus barbarism question was not one which suddenly and unexpectedly faced the Spanish American republics in the first half of the nineteenth century. Myth and Arcihive. cit.. and without being simplified into those precise. The civil strife and inter-republican wars which engulfed virtually all the emergent republics of Spanish America during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also saw periods of progressive liberalism alternate with decades of authoritarian dictatorship. among the more recent. questions of social and economic development. essays on political or social issues become studies of metaphysical or spiritual questions couched in the language of poetry. for example. preventing any consistent or rapid modernisation. at times. These different discourses therefore often exist in as confusing and promiscuous a relationship as that which applies to the forms of writing. See.
esta desemejanza trae un reato de la mayor transcendencia. different in origin and blood are strangers. nor North American. These dissimilarities link us in the most transcendent of ways. y descargó su poderosa herrajería. Nuestra América (La Revista Ilustrada denueva York. that Spain’s treatment of the native Americans and the destruction of their cultures was an act universal vandalism: those peoples whose world the valorous conquistadors slyly and subtly entered. no más que pueblos en bulbo eran aquellos en que con maña sutil de viejos vividores se entró el conquistador valiente. in his message to the Congress of Angostura he said: Let us remember that our people are not European. this civilising mission was nothing more than a pretext on which to take other peoples’ land by force.A. Furthermore. Yet it had also been present from the beginning of the struggle against Spanish rule. to discharge against them their powerful steel weaponry represented budding cultures in their infancy. The result was a historical disaster and a crime against nature [. January.”). introduced into the agenda for independence by Bolívar the Liberator in 1819.Britton: Civilization and Barbarism New Comparison 22: p. Roberto Fernández de Retamar (México: Siglo Veinteuno Editores S. The greater part of the indigenous population has been destroyed. to which human family we belong. 36 (“No más que pueblos en ciernes.. 1977). when. who died fighting in the second war of Cuban independence in 1894. 127 But for Spanish American writers such as José Martí. 10 9 . La mayor parte del indígena se ha aniquilado. published in Mexico in 1891... and these with both Indians and Europeans.. with all the guile and experience of the Old World. Nacidos todos del seno de una misma Madre. Europeans have mixed with Americans. with skins of visibly different colours. el Europeo se ha mezclado con el Americano y con el Africano.] The conquistadors tore a page out of the book of the Universe! 9 The second half of the nineteenth century thus saw the question of “la raza” (the race) enter the political and cultural debate in Spanish America. ed. now in Política de Nuestra América. y todos diferencian visiblemente en el epidermis. 1990). “Discurso de Angostura. y éste se ha mezclado con el Indio y con el Europeo. and Africans.. where it was destined to remain for nearly a hundred years. Born all of one mother. p. 10 JOSÉ MARTÍ.It is impossible to say. p.. 103 (“Es imposible asignar con propiedad a qué familia humana pertenecemos. Martí states in his seminal essay Nuestra América (Our America). nuestros Padres diferentes en origen y sangre son extranjeros.] ¡Robaron los conquistadores una página al Universo!” SIMÓN BOLÍVAR. lo cual fue una desdicha histórica y un crimen natural [. our fathers. 1891). properly speaking.” Escritos políticos (Madrid: Alianza Editorial.
La cautiva y El matador (Buenos Aires: Sopena. like his descriptions of the gauchos. His intuitive belief in his own actions marks him as a leader. a means to an end. in Sarmiento’s view. and suppressed ideas and learning. 1980) pp. the character of the gaucho. 128 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism These words may well be seen as the origin of the idea that Spanish America’s future lay in cultural as well as ethnic mestizaje (mixing). Argentine geography. irrational and violent. 11 . Yet Sarmiento’s portrait of Facundo. with no understanding of how to govern what he conquers other than by intimidation. (Berkeley: University of California Press. 3-21. 7 th ed. Seymour Menton. could be established and sustained by force which respected neither the individual nor the law. 11 The somewhat obvious symbolism by which Rosas’ bloody dictatorship is compared to a slaughterhouse. He is natural man misdirected. the vitality of the anonymous crowd dialogues. and the author’s barbed anticlericalism. in Facundo. ignorance and harshness of the life of the gaucho. do not detract from the impact of the sharp. and the personality and military campaigns of Quiroga are written with this purpose in mind. and the details it provides of life on the pampas. Sarmiento’s passionate concern is the political situation in Argentina in the 1830’s and early 1840’s. or the revulsion felt at the narration of the brief central event. as passionately rejected by some as it was espoused by others. The means which Quiroga embodied owed its existence to the isolation. instinctive. But we have to turn to a writer of fiction to grasp the extent of this disaster. This takes place against the background of the killing of a new batch of cattle which is brought into the Buenos Aires yards after a long interval when the city has had no fresh meat . the instrument through which the arbitrary rule of one man. Facundo Quiroga was. The story is also known through John Incledon’s English translation in The Spanish American Short Story: A critical anthology. Like the people from whom he comes. But he is also cruel. 1962). and the outcome of his success is disastrous. It should be remembered that. ed. with an abundance of physical courage. Juan Manuel Rosas. Let us now return to Sarmiento’s Facundo to explore the ideas behind the first formulation of those terms. Quiroga has a practical intelligence. forming a focal point around which both sets of adversaries argued different versions of the civilisation and barbarism duality. skill and resourcefulness. The book is primarily a political polemic. for whom urban living and social organisation were completely alien. until the 1930’s. probaly written in 1838 but not published until 1871. It was to become a doctrine which was. which is illustrated in Esteban Echevarría’s short story El matadero (The Slaughterhouse).New Comparison 22: p. at times almost obscene detail. The event is watched by a large mob of scavengers and See ESTEBAN ECHEVARRÍA. is not entirely one-sided.
129 the curious from among the poor of the city.diffused through such popularising movements as Darwinism. whether mestizo or mulatto. becomes. STABB. the slaughterhouse workers.Britton: Civilization and Barbarism New Comparison 22: p. a sadistic murder as the man is beaten to death on a table in the Slaughterhouse office for being a “Unitarian savage. the moral and temperamental failings which accounted for the state of political. In Quest of Identity: Patterns in the Spanish American essay of ideas. an important aspect of this ostensibly scientific approach to man and society was a strong interest in race and racial theories: The biological thought of the nineteenth century . In Quest of Identity. Civilization constitutes life in urban centres which preserves freedom of thought and expression. many Spanish American thinkers set out to diagnose what they saw as the “sickness” of the new republics. were held to See MARTIN S.provided abundant material on which the racial theoriser could draw. 12 In the influential works of men like the Argentinians Carlos O. within half an hour. Stabb has pointed out. As the slaughter. when. must therefore be understood in relation to the context of Argentina in the early years of Rosas’s regime. 12 .” Sarmiento’s conception of civilisation and barbarism. taking their lead from French positivism. 1890-1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 12. Moreover. suddenly turn upon an aristocratic looking young man who happens to be riding by and who is not wearing the red ribbon which proclaims that he is a Federalist. Essentially this view can be seen as a cosmopolitan and elitist one. all Rosas supporters many of whom are also members of his gangs of paid assassins. as reflected in Facundo. Sarmiento was a patriot but not a cultural nationalist. social organicism and the relatively new discipline of physical anthropology . maintains constitutional liberties under the rule of law. skinning and fighting for offal and remains comes to an end. and Americans of mixed race. and the Peruvian Francisco García Calderón. 1967) p. encourages the arts and sciences and promotes trade and prosperity. As Martin S. the fact that Spanish America had a population of great ethnic complexity naturally led her thinkers to consider race in assessing the continent’s problems. in his survey of the Latin American essay of ideas. It is a position for which there was much support from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the second decade of the twentieth. What begins as a violent game aimed at humiliation and intimidation. Bunge and Alcides Arguedas. and saw part of the tragedy of Argentina as its failure to emulate the models offered by Europe and North America. who subscribed to the Comtian system and popular scientism. social and economic life in Spanish America were attributed to various racial types.
Geography and climate were also regarded as important determining factor of racial – and therefore moral and intellectual – characteristics. but at their centre was a search for identity which was based upon the autochthonous realities of their countries. No hay batalla entre la civilización y la barbarie. who had not only returned to Argentina following the fall of Rosas. The native mestizo has overcome the exotic creole. Turning again to Nuestra América. the passing of old-style dictators such as Francia. sino entre la fals erudición y la naturaleza. sometimes bordering on the metaphysical. 130 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism represent the worst characteristics of the races from which they were descended. El espíritu del gobierno ha de ser del país. The social and political ills which such essayists identified could therefore often be ascribed to racial – and racist – first causes. Their reaction was a complex mixture of ideas and attempts to revalue the historical and cultural experience of the Southern American continent which were essentially teleological.New Comparison 22: p.”). in Política de Nuestra América cit. Los hombres naturales han vencido al criollo exótico. Rosas and Porfirio Díaz no doubt giving him cause for optimisim on the question of purgation! As for Sarmiento. p. For this reason. journalist and cultural and political thinker. but between false knowledge and nature. El gobierno no es más que el equilibrio de los elementos naturales del país. has been purged by having to suffer tyrannical regimes. Here again. La forma del gobierno ha de avenirse a la constitución propia del país. 13 Martí thus takes direct issue with the now ageing Sarmiento. Natural men have replaced the artificially educated.. we see Martí as the passionate advocate of a united vision among all Spanish Americans which would seek the answer to the continent’s problems not from outside. one of his last works (1883) had been entitled Conflicto y armonía de las razas en América (Conflict and Harmony among the Races of America) in which he showed See JOSÉ MARTÍ. The form of government must reflect the way the country is constituted.. but from within: Government must be born of the country.. Por eso el libro importado ha sido vencido en América por el hombre natural. and the leading architect of Cuban independence.. Other Spanish American intellectuals staged a simultaneous revolt against this kind of deterministic scientism.. to derive a form of government from them and govern by that form.. 39 (“El gobierno ha de nacer del país. 13 . Nuestra America. in America. natural man has superceded the imported book. a leading force in the Modernista movement. José Martí is a central figure in his roles as poet. but also served for a short period as the country’s president. The struggle is not between civilization and barbarism. Government is no more nor less than the achievement of an equilibrium between the natural elements of the country.The failure of the American republics to distinguish their true characters. The spirit of government has to be that of the country.
reinforced by territorial possession and a common historical experience.” 14 Martí’s strong identification with the autochthonous America be seen as a key point of departure both from the view that civilization in Spanish America was an urban phenomenon built on European and North American democratic models. and the policy of unstated genocide which had. which saw the works of thinkers such as the Mexicans José Vasconcelos and Alfonso Reyes. among them Haya de la Torre. In a similar essay entitled Eurindia (The Euroindies). pp. In essays such as Vasconcelos’s La raza cósmica (The Cosmic Race). the Argentinian Ricardo Rojas maintained that race had nothing to do with ethnicity. ensured that the continent was not left in the hands of “savages who are incapable of progress.Britton: Civilization and Barbarism New Comparison 22: p.” Hispania. 50. To Martí also must be attributed the first systematic critique of the USA and its political and economic intentions towards its southern hemisphere neighbours. 72:2 (1989). “Civilización y barbarie. 256-263.. translated a deep understanding of the Andean indian communities into a left-wing political movement built around the APRA party. and the land of which they were a part. . José Carlos Mariátegui and Antenor Orrego. both in Argentina and the USA. published in 1924. and which would realise the utopian dream which the Old World had always sought to find in the New. had. From Martí also comes the repudiation of ideas about the inherent inferiority of the non-European races. In Peru. It was part of a radical reversal of the positivist school of thought. it was argued that Spanish America’s future lay in creating a new. 131 that over 40 years since the appearance of Facundo. 1972). the vitality of the common people. meanwhile. The differences between Sarmiento and Martí on what constituted civilisation and barbarism in the Latin American context are also discussed inter alia by Carlos Alonso. This is revealed in the course of the many Escenas norteamericanos (North American Scenes) which he wrote over several 14 Sarmiento’s phrase “salvajes incapaces de progreso” is also quoted by ROBERTO FERNÁNDEZ DE RETAMAR in his essay Calibán: Apuntes sobre la cultura en nuestra América (México: Editorial Diogones S. and Indología (Indology) which appeared in 1925 and 1926 respectively. mixed race which drew upon the cultural strengths of all the different elements which it comprised. but was a product of the collective consciousness of a people. the rural and the natural. and that barbarism was to be equated with the indigenous. and found no difficulty in justifying the Spanish colonisation of America. he had grafted neopositivist racial theories onto his earlier pro-Europeanism. a younger generation of González Prada’s disciples. by 1928. p. and the Peruvian Manuel González Prada give the impetus to a metaphysical and philosophical attempt to seek the “spirit” or “essence” of America through its indigenous past and present.A.
16 The great enemy of this ideal. In his critical introduction to this selection of Martí’s political writings and correspondence. Espasa Calpe. and emphasises the care with which both he and the editor of the paper had to choose their words to escape official reaction (ibid. sino de las superiores maneras de pensar y de sentir que dentro de ellas son posibles. the profound misgivings he felt about the effects of capitalism upon North American society. whose essay Ariel first appeared in 1900. See JOSE ENRIQUE RODO. Rodó was not an anti-Comtian. namely the disinterested pursuit of knowledge and the creation of beauty and harmony. Ariel (Madrid: Editores Austral. is the example of the United States where. 1991). 92 (“La civilización de un pueblo adquiere su caracter. Rodó’s point is that if civilisation is to be measured in terms of social. Ariel also re-engages with the civilisation versus barbarism debate in a number of ways. more specifically. The book exercised as widespread an influence in the Spanish-speaking world – including Spain itself – as Facundo had done. and its followers formed themselves into “arielist” groups in most American republics. not from manifestations of prosperity or material grandeur. life has become a vicious circle in the pursuit of material well-being for its own sake. in Política de Nuestra América cit. pp. while we must admire the sheer energy and achievement of its population. p. he drew considerably upon the ideas of both Comte and. Rénan in formulating his main arguments. However. Rodó argues. the Uruguayan philosopher. p. 16 15 .”). 15 These fascinating pieces of descriptive and analytical reportage reveal. these were that Spanish America must seek its own future through the characteristic spiritual and aesthetic qualities of its people. leaving the impression of a society with a vacuum at its centre. Indeed. but that The civilization of a people acquires its character from those superior ways of thinking and feeling that lie within it. the chief voice raised to urge that Spanish America distance itself from the example of the USA has been traditionally regarded as that of José Enrique Rodó. This did not mean that the practical and the material could be ignored. Primarily. and the moral and religious strenth that has enabled a free society to be created in the New World. 132 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism years for the Buenos Aires daily La Nación (The Nation). and that its educated elites should aspire to the ideal at the core of Greek culture. ROBERTO FERNÁNDEZ RETAMAR summarises Martí’s position on the intentions of the USA with reference also to his Escenas Norteamericanos which Martí wrote for La Nación. 30-31).. Nuestra America. indirectly and subtly. 17-20. then barbarism is characterised by the failure to achieve them and the slide towards vulgarity See JOSÉ MARTÍ. Although Ariel is nowadays seen as opposing the positivist thinkers of the time in Spanish America.New Comparison 22: p. intellectual and artistic progress. no de las manifestaciones de su prosperidad o de su grandeza material.
and between both novels and Sarmiento’s Facundo. “Doña Bárbara y el fantasma de Sarmiento. Both lead directly back to Facundo and Sarmiento’s definitions of barbarism and civilization as they applied in that book. learning the life and work of a gaucho under the tutelage of Don See ALONSO. “Civilización y barbarie en Facundo y Doña Bárbara. and it is to this process of investigation that I would now like to turn. 4 and 5. The nineteen twenties saw the emergence of a body of narrative by Spanish American writers from many countries which moved away from the traditions of nineteenth century literary realism – essentially urban and bourgeois in its aims and preoccupations – and began to apply the methods and principles of Zola to rural life in the Americas. 133 and mediocrity. cit.” Hispania 39 (1956). with its manufacturing cities and instrumental approach to education. 19-35. there are interesting points of comparison between Don Segundo Sombra and Doña Bárbara. Alonso points out that the theme of civilization and barbarism in Facundo and Doña Bárbara has been examined and well documented. JOHNSON Jnr. as found in the USA and Europe. MARIANO MORÍNIGO. In general terms. two important strands of the civilisation versus barbarism debate remain to be dealt with.” and have long recognised the contribution it has made to the search for autochthony and cultural identity. Foremost among the novels of this kind. 17 Güiraldes’s novel is strongly based upon his own life. 93117. and central to the ongoing conduct of the debate were Doña Bárbara (1927) by the Venezuelan writer and politician Rómulo Gallegos. when men like the Argentinian Ezequiel Martínez Estrada attacked the denaturing of modern man within the city. Alonso has pointed out. and La vorágine (The Vortex) (1924) by the Colombian writer José Eustasio Rivera. pp. pp. NELSON OSORIO. and achieving a balance between man and the natural environment. pp. 456-61.Britton: Civilization and Barbarism New Comparison 22: p. JOSÉ ANTONIO GALAOS. 17 .” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos. However. 79-144. “Rómulo Gallegos o el duelo entre civilización y barbarie. both have been investigated mainly by novelists. As Carlos J. Among specific studies to which he refers are ERNEST A. 165 (1969) pp.” Escritura No 8:15 (1983).. Chapters 3. Significantly. In Don Segundo Sombra the narrator is a boy who grows into a man.” Revista Nacional de Cultura 26 (1963). The argument which emerges from this is that modern industrial society. Don Segundo Sombra (1926) by the Argentinian Ricardo Güiraldes. promotes precisely the kind of barbarism that must be avoided. “The Meaning of `civilizatión’ and `barbarie’ in Doña Bárbara. Critics usually refer to this category of writing – now almost regarded as a genre in itself – as “the regionalist novel” or “the novel of the land. The Spanish American Regional Novel. they can be summarised as the exploration of political dictatorship and the curtailment of freedoms of thought and action which it entails. 299-309. This theme was to be taken up by other Spanish American thinkers and writers in the nineteen thirties and forties. pp.
He discovers that Doña Bárbara. sensuous and dominating. and is attempting. dying Barquero and Marisela. many-layered Doña Bárbara are informative. but also controls the local military governor and magistrate. to which is added willingness to accept a role which is unexpectedly offered. and that her . have been thrown out to exist in a primitive hut in some unwanted swampland. Instead of selling it. Beautiful. Santos is brought to Caracas at the age of fourteen. the Altamira ranch. Yet this is partly explained by the brutality of her own upbringing as an orphan among river pirates. Here we enter the similar world of the Venezuelan llanero through the story of Santos Luzardo. work. When she is fifteen. Finally they fall in love and agree to marry. the whole purpose of the narrative is to demonstrate how the possession of the ranch has also been earned by gaining the necessary knowledge and experience through work and hardship. if not reactionary. By observing the law and using his knowledge of it against her. On his mother’s death. Doña Bárbara has become a corrupted and evil force of nature. Lorenzo Barquero now controls the adjoining ranch of El Miedo. with which he has to establish a balance that is mutually sustaining. by false legal means. She is finally saved by an old indian who teaches her magic. and she believes this herself) she is driven to seek power and money for no clear reason. and takes Bárbara’s abandoned daughter Marisela under his protection and educates her. just as the final round of the saga of family rivalry is about to be played out. The parallels between this story and the more complex. the wife of his elder cousin. he inherits what is left of the family property. experience and example to succeed in his new life.) Many critics have pointed out that Don Segundo Sombra upholds the interests of the landowning classes. Taken away by his mother from the ranch where he was born to avoid the horrors of a family feud. his daughter by Doña Bárbara. rustling and intimidation to take over the Altamira property also. and Doña Bárbara herself not only rules a gang of dangerous peons and drifters at El Miedo. Sensing that the spirits have deserted her. a decision which severs his links with the old gaucho from whom he has acquired the knowledge. 134 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism Segundo Sombra. then graduates as a lawyer. Santos Luzardo gradually wins the struggle for the land. When he suddenly learns that he has inherited a ranch. However. and being willing to back this with force if necessary. he decides to return to the llano to manage it. The drunken. He goes to school. Instinctive and superstitious (she is thought to be a witch who is helped by spirits. (And. The discipline of work also brings the narrator into contact and harmony with the natural environment of the pampas. the gang murder the first man she falls in love with and then rape her. to write the book which is the account of that life. and is therefore a somewhat traditional.New Comparison 22: p. incidentally. he gives up the gaucho’s life to take over the responsibility for running it.
as it has destroyed Lorenzo Barquero. The self-evident symbolism relating to the civilization and barbarism debate permeates the book. or “civilisation” upon it. progresses.Britton: Civilization and Barbarism New Comparison 22: p. who flees Bogotá in questionable circumstances with a young woman . articulate. The natural world is is neither good nor bad. This reconciliation process requires the kind of synthesis which concepts like autochthony. Here the aristocratic young soldier and poet. It can be persuasively argued that La vorágine is the story of a poet who dies in a self-inflicted confrontation with nature. herself in love with Santos Luzardo but unable to kill Marisela as she intends because in her she recognises herself as a girl. brought by Santos Luzardo. however. this purpose is somewhat overshadowed by another which becomes increasingly apparent as the book. urbanised narrator or protagonist finds himself obliged to come to terms with life outside the city. 135 empire is crumbling. obliterates urban man’s attempts to impose any kind of order. similar novelsadopt in pursuit of a reconciliation of the civilisation versus barbarism polarities which arise from the cultural and psychological divisions between “the country” and “the city” are both significant. and the characters – as in Don Segundo Sombra – come to terms with their environment through skill. fortitude and the discipline of work. This balance is. represented by Marisela. nature will destroy them and their dreams. The patterns which these and other. narrated by Cova in the first person. leaving the ranches and the divided family to be once more united. Doña Bárbara disappears down the river from which she came. a fragile one.Alicia. and human beings have to establish a balance with it. authenticity and cultural identity all presuppose. instinctiveness of nature. Without strength and discipline on the part of human beings. and is an admission of defeat – civilization in one of its main forms. gradually perishes in the terrible conditions to which he is reduced extracting wild rubber. The immensity of the llano dominates the story. and the fresh. fails to come to terms with the jungle. A similar balance is struck between urban legality and social order. and symbolic in a revealing and important sense. namely high literary culture. The life of the Argentine pampas and Venezuelan llano is not the same as that of the rubber tappers and traders who work the jungles of the Amazon Basin. Though ostensibly written to expose the inhumanities and exploitation suffered by the rubber workers at the hands of the traders who employed them. and Rivera’s novel La vorágine illustrates the reverse aspect of the situation presented in the other two novels. The “barbarism” which untamed or uncontrolled nature constitutes in its more extreme forms. But in the narrative the polarities are reconciled. This inevitably involves . and the model through which it is sought is invariably one in where a selfconscious. seeking a haven in the wilderness beyond the reach of their respective families. Arturo Cova.
the yankees remove the sea from around the coasts of the Patriarch’s country in payment for defaulted debts! García Márquez catalogued the horrendous effects of this kind of political barbarism in his speech of acceptance for the Nobel Prize for Literature in Stokholm in 1982. 136 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism the recognition and acceptance – in part or in whole – of the ways and values of the rural population. have all been anatomised in these works. We have never had a moment of serenity. This political phenomenon results from the fragility of the internal democratic process of many republics. The role of the United States in supporting such regimes has also come under scrutiny. accomplished the first genocide in Latin America in our time. in Autumn of the Patriarch. A Promethean president embattled in a palace of flames died fighting single-handed against an army. Nearly one hundred and twenty thousand have disappeared . dictatorship has led to disastrous results. is that of political tyranny and its destructive consequences. and irrespective of their social and ethnic origins. In the last eighty years over a hundred novels. in whatever situation they live. and Rao Bastos’s Yo el Supremo (I The Supreme) are perhaps the most notable. many of them neither good nor memorable. particularly since the 1960’s. witnessed the perversion of history. and the lies and self-deception on which all such regimes have come to rely. circumstances which were never clarified. never more savagely or hilariously attacked than by García Márquez when. García Márquez’s Otoño del patriarca (Autumn of the Patriarch). which is more than all those born in Europe since 1970. together with the separation of power and responsibility from the vast majority of the people. The stagnation and political stasis which has prevented progress. There have been five wars and seventeen coups d’états and the rise of a devilish dictator who.New Comparison 22: p. has coincided with the attention such novels have received across the world. Meanwhile. The international reputation enjoyed by Spanish American writers. twenty million Latin American children have died before their second birthday. in the name of God. For all these authors. Alejo Carpentier’s Discurso del metodo (Reasons of State). and the past willingness of the USA to favour the most vicious of regimes so long as they provide a bulwark against socialism and safeguard its trade and financial interests. and locked the republics of Spanish America into periods of cultural isolation. One major area of the civilization versus barbarism debate which continues to have currency today in ways similar to those in which Sarmiento first formulated it. cut off the life of another of generous nature and that of a democratic soldier who had restored the dignity of his nation. Names and titles like Miguel Angél Asturrias’s El Señor Presidente (The President). and two air disasters which occurred under suspicious circumstances. have been published which focus upon the figure of the dictator.
that is ten per cent of the population. since 1979. have acquired a continental relevance which has extended to questions of race. still. cultural identity. social and cultural progress. no one knew where all the inhabitants of Uppsala were. it can be argued that modern Spanish Americans have tended to see the historical and political forces shaping their countries as being essentially oppositional. Thus. the relevance of European models. where and who their children are is not known. the shadow of the United States. 1987). “barbarism” as stagnation. we have seen an uneasy end to the hostilities in Central America. within a continuum of changing and inter-relating forms. has lost one in five of its citizens into exile. a tiny nation of two and half million inhabitants. the city versus the country and the struggle to achieve freedom and justice in the face of This quotation is taken from Richard Cardwell’s translation of GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ’s 1982 Nobel Adress entitled “The Solitude of Latin America” published in Gabriel García Márquez: New Readings. repression and loss of identity. either they were passed on into secret adoption or interned in orphanages by the military authorities. 207-11. The definitions which these terms have embodied. political systems. 137 as a consequence of repression. 18 . The ramifications of the various ideas and judgements which the resulting dialectic has embraced reach back to the earliest contacts between the Old and New Worlds. Were this to happen in the United States. A country created from all these Latin Americans in exile or enforced emigration would have a larger population than Norway. which is as if. ed. Uruguay. Many women arrested during pregnancy gave birth in Argentinian prisons but. the diversity and challenge of the physical environment. a country noted for its tradition of hospitality. The civil war in El Salvador has created. a nation which considered itself one of the most civilised countries of the continent. and have reappeared in different guises throughout the independence and post-independence periods. A million people have fled from Chile. the proportional ratio would be one million six hundred violent deaths in four years. wilful countries in Central America: Nicaragua. Bernard McGuirk and Richard Cardwell (Cambridge University Press. virtually one refugee every twenty minutes. intertia. and more than one hundred thousand in three tiny. So that things should not continue thus. today.Britton: Civilization and Barbarism New Comparison 22: p. pp. two thousand men and women have given up their lives across the continent. El Salvador and Guatemala. 18 Since García Márquez pronounced this terrible litany. though initially specific to the vision of one man as applied to one country. “Civilisation” has been equated by thinkers and writers of these republics as implying moral. and the military dictatorships in Chile and Argentina have been removed amid a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation in what must surely be one of the most inspiring proofs of the spirit of “civilisation” yet witnessed.
perhaps. For a century and a half. on precisely which factors within Spanish American reality should be placed on one side of the scales or the other. Except. it has seemed as if each generation has differed. 138 Britton: Civilization and Barbarism repressive regimes. often violently. When agreement is reached. This may prove to be the task the next generation of writers. for the exorcism of ghosts. the debate in which Spanish America has engaged as part of its effort to enter the modern world on its own rather than other nations’ borrowed or second-hand terms.New Comparison 22: p. may well be over. and that may already have happened. .
3 1 Ibid.. Therefore. in practice. “Orientalism and Literary Orientalism”. became widely used only in the nineteenth century. March 19-22. . p. 8. as a term. “The Oriental Dimension of European Romanticism: The Cases of Scott and Goethe” was delivered at the international conference on “European Romanticism and Scotland” held at the Centre for Romantic Studies. N. of the now defunct annual journal. West-East: Inseparable Twain (Moscow: Central Department of Oriental Literature. The first was published in volume 4. and it continues with no radical change in its tasks. February 1990. until the end of the Middle ages. 1967). July 1991. Orientalism. philological studies entered a new stage which consisted of the Parts of this paper have appeared in two earlier and revised versions: one. to Antiquity. 14-24. 2 In other words. the other. which was interested primarily in research into ancient writings. For this reason. it goes back. 3 again both in the East and in the West. LITERARY ORIENTALISM AND ROMANTICISM 1 The Origins of Orientalism Many researchers explain the term “orientalism” in its general and scientific sense. I. in spite of the fact that orientalism. K ONRAD . 17-24. With the advent of the Renaissance. 1989. 1990. in particular. pp. however widened in scope. 2 See. of the same journal. they take the term to cover all oriental studies and not any particular tendency within them. The second was published in the fifth and last volume.Abdulla Al-Dabbagh ORIENTALISM. appeared both in the West (where they corresponded to the Hellenistic period) and in the East (where they corresponded to the time of the Han Empire). was accepted at the Fifth Triennial International Congress of the British Comparative Literature Association. held at the University Leicester. These researchers believe that philological studies. they trace the origins of orientalism back to traditional philology. University of Glasgow. which consisted of the collection of ancient writings and in the establishment and interpretation of the true texts. and not in its ideological and specific sense. July 3-6.
the replacement of exegesis by the intellectual analysis of the content of the ancient texts. such as the Classical era or the Renaissance or the Enlightenment. And here – in this Golden Age of Orientalism – appeared cases. 10. 140 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism substitution of criticism for hermeneutics. 4 Although there is no doubt that the modern epoch in orientalism. a continuation and a development of the studies of the nineteenth century. regardless of the inevitable specificities of environment and economic. the last hundred years or so. expansion. Three Views of Orientation The main conceptual foundations of the view of orientalism described in the previous section are the abscence of an absolute seperation between East and West. imperialist character. these studies were only partly a continuation of Renaissance philology. There is a second view of orientalism that stems from a standpoint that is totally different from that of the first view.. finally. humanist philosophy of the Renaissance.e. it is not fair to the genuine researchers in oriental studies to attribute their efforts solely to the requirements of this expansion. And although the humanist spirit of the Renaissance remained. As for the modern times.New Comparison 22: p. intellectual trend) and oriental studies in the general. i. and later imperialist. amounting at times to veneration. . i. but their origins go back to earlier times. This entails a more comprehensive analysis of literary systems and the attempt to discover in them general trends and phenomena. coincided with a wide colonialist. between orientalism (as a western. which now began to be offered in the light of the new. Ibid. as world epochs not confined solely to the East or to the West. between oriental studies and the linguistic. of genuinely disinterested desire in knowledge and of true respect for the peoples of the East. in essence. social and cultural conditions. the genuinely scientific side of it remains. This claims that there is 4 5 Ibid. the fundamentals of this spirit changed with the adoption of the rationalist philosophy that has become the principal guide in all spheres of knowledge since the Enlightenment. p.. oriental studies achieved their final form in the beginning of the ninettenth century. Thus. in accordance with the ancient formula of ex oriente lux. among the orientalists. p. 10.e. comprehensive sense and. These conceptual foundations also include a regard for historical stages and the stages of the development of human thought. 5 And although large segments of twentieth century orientalism acquired a clear. literary and cultural studies to which they must belong in their assumptions and methodology..
and the westerners in particular. and that oriental studies do not belong to any general frame. 6 the essential spirituality of the East and the absence of a Renaissance or an Enlightenment movement or a rationalist philosophy in the East (i. but must draw their concepts and methods of analysis from the absolute specificities of the East.e. to be new to a certain extent. Edward Said’s Theory One of the richest and most controversial works on this subject and on East-West cultural relations is Edward Said’s Orientalism. initially. Orientalism (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. the inability of the East to accomplish an industrial revolution). write about the East) are false and unacceptable principally because of their origin. secularized. 1978). and re-formed by such disciplines as philology”. 1957). whether these be historical or philosophic. and laicized substitutes for (or versions of ) christian supernaturalism”. oriental despotism (i. the non-eastern researchers) provide the only basis for understanding the East because the oriental is incapable of scientific study (he does not understand himself and has to be understood through others). modernized. and they do not contain anything except deliberate distortion intended to insult and to antagonize.e.Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p. for example. From all this. we find that Said’s view seems.e. 7 6 EDWARD W. and it also claims that oriental studies must draw their ideas and conclusions from the absolute historical and intellectual specificities of the East. 141 a radical and absolute separation between East and West. SAID. It also believes in the radical and absolute separation between East and West. these in turn become “naturalized. devising for that purpose a series of terms and concepts. Said claims that the main aspects of orientalism must not be regarded as scientific investigations. Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power (New Haven: Yale University Press. W ITTFOGEL. redisposed. The third view of the Orient and of orientalism has the same standpoint as the second view. . religious or national. it reaches a conclusion which is the exact opposite of the first view and which claims that the works of the orientalists (i. but draws diametrically opposite conclusions. some of the most famous of which are: the oriental or the Asiatic mode of production (i. 7 If we leave aside the various sharp observations and the numerous pieces of interesting information that the book abounds in and concentrate our attention on its conceptual foundations. and See. A.e. latent in Kipling’s “never the twain shall meet”. K. the inability of the oriental to think logically). the inability of the East to achieve democracy). The studies of the orientalists (and this means what the foreigners. but “as a set of structures inherited from the past.
The ignorance that stems from fear has been. The orientalist movement in its deforming. however. And although the weakness of Said’s theory appears most glaringly in his treatment of the European writers and thinkers who were truly sympathetic to the East. hostile and devoted to serving the aims of imperialism in a wider and stronger form than before. as Edward Said rightly says. Ibid. in essence. in the final analysis. and one of its deepest and most recurring images of the other”. 9 Said’s theory. do not represent for Said.New Comparison 22: p. p. the second view of orientalism described in the previous section. as orientalism entered its declining phase. the other rests on scientific foundations and aims at discarding all distortions by inheriting and developing the best that the earlier orientalists had achieved. in spite of the new colouring provided by the terminology derived from structuralism and existential psychology resembles. 1. ahistorical viewpoint which regards the orient as an abstract category and cannot distinguish between the different orientalists or the various stages of orientalism. the basis of the European view of the East. anything but a distorting image of the East that extended linearly from the Crusades to modern times.. p. Said’s is an absolutist. then. derived from such contemporary French thinkers as Foucault and Lacan when he describes orientalism in his introductory chapter as “a way of coming to terms with the Orient that is based on the Orient’s special place in European Western experience” since the Orient is Europe’s “cultural contestant. As for the twentieth century. modern sense that is closely linked to the colonialist movement did not begin until the last decades of the last century. All these different stages and tendencies. 122. . inevitably. Said adds a psychological dimension. antagonistic. a distortion. especially in the romantic movement and in the first half of the nineteenth century generally. it is necessary to divide it into two principal channels: one is distorting. the root of its falsehood is its lack of the historical dimension that is necessary for the understanding of orientalism as an extensive cultural movement.. 142 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism orientalism and oriental studies are no more than the new texts and ideas through which “the East was accomodated to these structures”. What Said does not recognize is that this basis is really the first stage in the growth of the orientaalist movement and of the view towards the East which develops during the Renaissance and passes through the Enlightenment reaching its peak in the first half of the nineteenth century. 8 To this “structuralist” understanding of orientalism. from the Crusades and during the Middle Ages. This is because it comes to regard the whole of orientalism as. 8 9 Ibid.
. B. cit. 10 these studies are still at a rudimentary stage of research. Islam and Romantic Orientalism (London: I. l926). Hayy Bin Yaqzan and Robinson Crusoe (Baghdad. The Matter of Araby in Medieval England (New Haven: Yale University Press. . MARTHA P. l977). DOROTHEA METILITZKI. Islam and the Divine Comedy (London: Murray. all the stages of English literature from Chaucer to modern times. p. archaeologists and students of religious and social structures. 1980). CONANT. These include Kyd. “the Arabian Nights was the fairy godmother of the English novel”. 1965). A SIN. The field is truly wide and perhaps the bulk of the available information will not be collected for some time. The Oriental Tale in English in the Eighteenth Century (1908) (New York: Octagon Books. is of continuous interest to researchers as evidenced by such recent works as RANA KABBANI. Othello is one of the masterpieces of literary orientalism. Europe’s Myths of Orient (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. The Crescent and the Rose: Islam and England during the Renaissance (New York: Octagon Books. together with Antony and Cleopatra. 1972). for some time. The Orient in American Transcendentalism (New York: Octagon Books. The Oriental Tale. ARTHUR CHRISTY. and no doubt it is not difficult to discover similar influences in other western literatures. Marlowe. MARIE DE MEESTER. however. M. The area. Scheherazade in England: A Study of the l9th Century English Criticism of the Arabian Nights (New York: Three Continents Press. Fletcher and. As Martha Conant says. 1986). Tauris. CARACCIOLO. had studies on the reflections of the East in western literature. Webster. for example. ed. with the theoretical and intellectual dimensions of the topic still awaiting a new comprehensive formulation. The oriental tale had a decisive impact on the rise of the English novel in the eighteenth century. 143 Literary Orientalism One of the positive aspects of Said’s book is his interest in literary orientalism and his treatment of the writers who portrayed the East and the orientals as part of the orientalist movement along with philologists. BYRON PORTER SMITH. It covers.1988) and MOHAMMAD SHARAFUDDIN. 243. MUHSIN JASSIM ALI. The Arabian Nights in English Literature: Studies in the Reception of the Thousand and One Nights into British Culture (London: Macmillan. PETER L. a big role in creating the model for the general tendency of similar works in western literature. and it played. SAMUEL CHEW. see P. Islam in English Literature (1939) (New York: Caravan Books. of course. l98l) and NAWAL MUHAMMAD HASSAN. Shakespeare. And although we have. 11 The truth of this statement becomes clear also from the Of the few studies available in English. 1913). 1967).Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p. Oriental Influences in the English Literature of the 19th Century (Heidelberg. 1977). in a seminal study which we shall return. l994). 11 10 CONANT. A number of the great Elizabethan dramatists wrote plays dealing with the East.
. who did not read the Arabian Nights and who was not influenced by it. 12 One of the works of this period. p. author of the famous oriental poem. This oriental influence was also apparent in the numerous fictional attempts of the eighteenth century. Walter Scott’s The Talisman. the real age of the flowering of the novel. We shall argue later on. 61. the development of studies of literary orientalism in the field of fiction will modify the prevailing view of the rise of the European novel and of the art of the novel as an international form. Orientalism. rightly adding that historians of fiction have not fully recognized the role of the oriental tale in providing the element of plot to the European novel. Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature. Johnson. 144 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism fact that we can hardly find any of the great novelists of the next century. which deals with the Crusades. the cultures and literatures of the East – becomes one of this movement’s essential tasks. the age of the rise of the European novel. is one of the great achievements of the orientalist novel and one that provided a valuable model in this field. 12 . Walter Scott and Byron. Gogol. on the rise of the novel and on subsequent intellectual development (particularly on Defoe’s Robsinson Crusoe and on the whole Rousseauist concept of the Noble Savage). Ibn Tufail’s Hayy Bin Yaqdhan had a similar influence. the most celebrated of which were Backford’s Vathek.New Comparison 22: p. The third great period in English literature which came under a strong. Hugo. The clear influence of the easteren setting on the works of the great writers of the eighteenth century. inseparable part of the romantic movement. From another direction. M. in this era. The oriental tale and the influence of the translations of the Arabian Nights may be regarded as factors that paved the way to romanticism. The Oriental Tale and the European Novel Martha Conant says that “the Arabian Nights [. Byron expressed this tendency best in his advice to Thomas Moore. Pushkin. if not so far-reaching. to “stick to the East. 20 (1971). that orientalism is a fundamental. like Voltaire. Goldsmith and others. Lalla Rookh. the oracle Stael told me it was the only poetical policy”. and that the extension of the literary map beyond the limits of Graeco-Roman civilization – to absorb. oriental influence was no doubt the romantic period. such as Goethe. In English romanticism.] is a treasure-house of stories perhaps unsurpassed in literature”. becomes a literary phenomenon clearly seen in the works of a number of its greatest writers. WICKENS. principally. Johnson’s Resselas and Goldsmith’s A Citizen of the World. “Lalla Rookh and the romantic tradition of Islamic literature in English”. Doubtless. Montesquieu.. is firm proof of G.
the European critic of manners and thoughts in the guise of an Oriental had become a conventional type in the oriental tale”. 134. Even writers most representative of neo-classicism like Addison or Pope did not escape the oriental influence. and Pope. 13 CONANT. Goldsmith. in my opinion. The Oriental Tale. Although superficially correct. Meredith and others. this influence continued to be clear and acknowledged by Dickens. which may. Again as Martha Conant says. But this is contradicted by the numerous examples given in her own book. One of the best ways of dealing with this issue may be through scrutinizing the contradiction that Martha Conant herself falls into. . Beckford. because they use eastern characters and settings for their own purposes that may have little to do with the East. reveals her belief that orientalism. force us to re-appraise the very concepts of Neo-classicism and Enlightenment themselves. Voltaire or Montesquieu in any way hindered their orientalizing tendency. Her insistence that this orientalizing tendency is a part of the romantic movement and that the history of the oriental tale in the eigteenth century might be considered as an episode in the development of English romanticism. an essential aspect of this oriental tendency in eighteenth-century writers and thinkers during the age of Neo-classicism and Enlightenment in Europe. according to conventional wisdom.known and significant influence of Beckford’s Vathek on the early works of Byron and the spell cast by the Arabian Nights on Scott and Wordsworth early in their childhood. p. had contemplated writing what he called “a wild Eastern tale”. There is no evidence that the classical and Enlightenment ideals of Johnson. Thackery.Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p. and in citing as evidence the well. From the romantics to the great realist novelists. 13 Critics call these works tales with an eastern frame or tales of pseudoorientalism. but in France. not in England. with Graeco-Roman civilization. At the same time. does not suit the spirit of Classicism and Enlightenment rationalism which were exclusively linked. it is clear that Conant feels somewhat embarassed by the orientalist phenomenon. cit. when fully investigated . just as Johnson and Goldsmith were later to do. the true homeland of the ideals and principles of Classicism in that age. 145 the importance of the oriental dimension in the formation of this new art. She is quite right in saying that the “orientalism and pseudo-orienalism of the eighteenth century” paved the way for the use of oriental material by the romantics. “by the time Zadig appeared. as Conant herself acknowledges. and by way of Scott’s historical novels. There is also the additional fact that these tales first achieved popularity . this observation ignores. in essence.
p. Thirty years later. the view of the eighteenth century as totally self-enclosed and exclusively tied to Graeco-Roman culture is false. Orientalism. In general. In the process. It seems to me a more accurate explanation to say that those writers and thinkers had assimilated the oriental dimension and could portray it in their tales and philosophic writings in a way that harmonized well with their literary and intellectual outlooks. who sympathized and identified with the East and contributed greatly to its understanding. 146 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism Therefore. Only from this perspective can we regard the products of that time. Orientalism and Romanticism In 1800. like the oriental tale. 14 It is surprising that this oriental dimension of romanticism has not been given the attention it deserves. One of the greatest objections to Edward Said’s Orientalism is that he regards romantic orientalism as just another rung in the ladder of western distortion and misunderstanding of the East. Said emphasizes the negative aspects of romantic orientalism so that he can fit it within his frame of hostile. it is not correct to say that the oriental tale.. even though orientalism is a basic element of romanticism and not merely an external aspect of it that can be set alongside the yearning for the Middle Ages or the search for the exotic. 51. It is also incorrect to say that the writers of that age – all men of the Enlightenment and of Classicism – were somehow rejecting their ideas or suppressing their true beliefs in writing those tales. Victor Hugo summarized this great turning towards the East by saying: “Au siècle de Louis XIV on était hellensite. as a prelude to romanticism which was truly the epoch of the great flowering of literary orientalism. then what needs to be reconsidered is our own explanations for the spirit of that age and for the concepts of Classicism and Enlightenment. are thrown overboard. western 14 SAID. maintenant on est orientaliste”. Frederich Schlegel declared that the highest forms of romanticism were to be looked for in the East. which predates romanticism by more than a hundred years. And if we feel any disharmony here. In other words. great imaginative writers like Scott and Goethe and great thinkers like Schlegel and Marx. the period which marks the end of romanticism in European literature. and the rationalist foundations set up in that age enabled the writers and thinkers to understand and portray many “strange” or “unusual” experiences including the field of the Orient and of Eastern literatures.These foundations gave rise to the works of orientalist scholarship and translation that appeared in such profusion in precisely this epoch. cit. all the way from Aeschylus to Bernard Lewis. .New Comparison 22: p. was an expression of the romantic spirit.
Gogol and Tolstoy. 260. The Orient. 15 The Oriental Renaissance In reality. hating ideas – like Orientalism. Said reduces orientalism to an abstract category or “a set of structures inherited from the past”. and power which trifles with time and space”. when there was a break in the development of orientalism between the early and middle nineteenth century (the Golden Age of orientalism) and the modern orientalist movement (antagonistic and colonialist in essence) that began in its final decades. and the great advance along the way of the scientific investigation of the East. and insists on not distinguishing between different orientalists and different stages of orientalism. it also covers the late romantic literatures like Russian (Pushkin). especially in the works of great writers like Shakespeare and Goethe. light he never saw. We have already quoted Hugo’s thesis on Hellenism and Orientalism. has the same centripetence” and that. has roots in the previous epochs. French (Hugo) and American (Emerson and Thoreau). SCHWAB. intellectual movement that Raymond Schwab has called the Oriental Renaissance gives it new dimensions and deeper meanings. the Text and the Critic (London: Faber and Faber. For Said’s views see “Raymond Schawb and the Romance of Ideas” in E DWARD SAID. Gobineau or Bernard Lewis. La Renaissance Orientale (Paris: Payot.Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p. For once there is thunder he never heard. R. This turning to the East appears not only in the early romantic literatures like German or English. but extended over the whole of the nineteenth century in something resembling an intellectual renaissance. . 1983).. self-conceited English life made up of fictions. And here Edward Said’s role in drawing attention to this oreintalist and his major work. On the contrary. 1. that astonishes and disconcerts English decorum. pp. must be pointed out. Edward Said’s sympathetic identification with the East.in spite of their totally opposed conclusions. The World. As we said earlier. this great turning to the East covered not only the romantic movement. pp. 248-67. Romantic orientalism did not pave the way to hostile orientalists like Renan. 1950). 16 15 16 Cited in CHRISTY. La Reniassance Orientale. as he expresses it in his Foucaultean terms. which is the essential element of romantic orientalism. “there is no remedy for musty. cit. Looking at romanticism within the perspective of this wide. it was the culmination of all the previous positive trends from the Renaissance until the end of the eighteenth century. of East and West. but we must not forget that it was Emerson who said that “all philosophy. just as it extends to the works of post-romantic writers like George Eliot and Flaubert. 147 orientalism.
leading generally to division and opposition instead of the previous sympathetic identification. After that. According to Schwab. and with the social and cultural relations of which these influences were a part. The theme of La Renaissance Orientale is no less than “the reeducation of one continent by another” (and this re-education includes the areas of religion. 20 17 18 19 20 Ibid. humanist outlook and because Schawb regards the Orient. deposited the whole world before him”. philosphy. unlike “the classical Renaissance [that] immersed European man within the confines of a selfsufficient Graeco-Latin terrain. as complementary to the West and vice versa. 259. however strange and unfamiliar it may at first seem. Hugo. Ibid. Ibid. p. p. because it is built on a comprehensive. Leconte de Lisle. p. 18 The book then deals with “case histories” and personal testaments of more than forty different thinkers and writers who were influenced by the East.a man more interested in a generous awareness than in detached classification”. makes his work a unique. Gobineau (author of the doctrine of the inequality of races) and German and Russian writers. art. primarily.. Ibid. 260. institutional and imaginative structures” to the positive changes that this new knowledge of the East brought about. archaeology. Baudelaire and others. This is what qualifies him to study this unique phenomenon that he calls the second Renaissance which. Michelet.. orientalist effort. 17 Edward Said describes La Renaissance Orientale as the peak of Schwab’s literary research. 250. The book also deals with those writers in whose works the East had different reflections. science and literature).. Vigny. 262. discussing in detail the influence of the Orient on the works of great French writers like Lamartine. 19 In spite of Schwab’s relative reglect of the economic and political factors in the orientalist movement. the book in turn becomes a part of those great works that “arrange and re-arrange a particular culture’s sense of its own identity”.. gave the former its complex dimension and led it to the reformulation of human limits”. p. In its stimulating and comprehensive treatment of this wide topic.New Comparison 22: p. his elucidation of it as an intellectual movement. the book leaves the area of scientific institutions and social salons for the field of imaginative writing and literary orientalism. and these include. He calls it an encyclopedic works that begins from the study of the phenomenon of European awareness of the Orient “and the movement of integration by which Europe received the Orient into the body of its scientific. “the coincidence of the advent of Romanticism and Orientalism in the West. linguistics. 148 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism Said describes Schwab as an “orienteur rather than an orientaliste. .
which opposed all that had preceded it in restoring historical truth and presenting a sympathetic. 1976. The portrayal of this Islamic leader had been. however. Salahadine al-Ayubi had previously appeared in English literature. from its first appearance in the fourteenth-century poem entitled Richard. which treats. which appeared in high literary form in works like Othello and Antony and Cleopatra and. the previously distorted and hostile picture. 2. historical events that revolve around a principal character who. 21 Thus Salahadine continued to symbolise the Islamic enemy in all ages. acquires a concrete. The change. 142-47 (in Arabic). the Lionheart.Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p. distorted and hostile. we will not go into the details of this novel (familiar to readers and cinema-goers alike). that portrayed Salahadine as a hateful coward and extremely ugly-looking. was regarded by the European West as a great symbol of the hostile East. cruelty and tyranny. The Talisman. which corrected. hostile image. in the minds of ordinary people and intellectuals. Afak Arabiya. the leader of the largest European Crusader. remained distorted. in the new style of literary realism. “Salahadine al-Ayubi and the English Writers”. it performed a great service both to the East and to historical actuality. But the great. indeed glorifying. What we want to point to is the reversal of the previous. Of the writers who followed the same path were John Lydgate and Joshua Sylvester who accused Salahadine of treachery. Here. in the oriental tale of the eighteenth century and in the works of the romantic poets and thinkers. 149 The Talisman and A Passage to India One of the great works of literary orientalism is Walter Scott’s historical novel. and English writers continued to be influenced by religious bigotry and Crusader sentiments until the appearance of Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 21 . and the great success that the novel achieved in its total and objective representation of Salahadine and the Muslims. image of Salahadine. See DHIYA AL -JUBOURY. historical dimension in this novel. as expected. The Talisman. the Lionheart. The sympathetic identification with what is supposed to be hostile. for many centuries. particularly because of his relationship with Richard. literary portrayal of Salahadine and his historical confrontation with the Crusaders is Walter Scott’s novel. Thus. which occupies a prominent place in the romantic movement and in the development of the European novel. pp. a positive side to his character gradually emerged after the sixteenth century in the writings of Painter and Greene. But although English writers were particularly hostile to Salahadine. later.
150 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism E. in the tradition of the greatest literary works from Shakespeare to Tolstoy. and that Scott. Herder and Hegel. colonialist rule in India. and perhaps in any European language. Gibbon. The Listener. it is. at such a time. Robertson – to a nineteenth-century philosophy of history – the philosophy of Macauly. “Sir Walter Scott and History”. 22 Technically. thus. was courageous. The novel. and advanced. that presents an accurate picture of those renowned episodes from the Crusades. M. It has a tight plot that succeeds very well in combining dramatically HUGH TREVOR-ROPER. and that the novel as a whole is a potent condemnation of the British. first of all. occupies a prominent place among the modern works of literary orientalism. The Talisman is one of the best-constructed of Scott’s works. Antony and Cleopatra and The Talisman in its sympathetic identification with the East and its resistance to hostile – and misleading – concepts and portrayals. 86:19 (August l971). one may say bourgeoishumanist viewpoint. dealing as it does with the years immediately following the First World War. and far removed from modern distortions and falsifications. Romantic Orientalism: The Cases of Scott and Goethe The talisman is. who stressed that Scott’s novels “made a revolution not only in literature but in the study of history”. Hugh Trevor-Roper. “more than any other writer.New Comparison 22: p. in that respect. Preceded only by Gibbon’s treatment in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Carlyle. The novel is the first work in English. And it was a historian. Ranke”. the achievement of the Enlightenment in this field. creates a contemporary political framework within which colonialism and racism are confronted directly and in an artistically effective manner. the historical and outwardly antagonistic figure of Salahaddine continues. Scott’s unprejudiced understanding of and sympathetic identification with. And although written from a liberal. that Scott was a “historic innovator” in much the same manner that figures like Montesquieu. Forster’s novel. in literary terms. the model already established by Shakespeare in Othello. Voltaire. There is no doubt that Forster’s position. a great testimony to Scott’s thoroughgoing research and his uncompromising respect for historical truth. forced the transition from eighteenthcentury philosophy of history – the philosophy of Hume. One of the novel’s strong points is that Forster recognizes the importance of this viewpoint in its historical context and. It continues along the same lines as such great literary works as Othello. 22 . the Talisman is also a good example of how romantic orientalism built upon. 226. p. not a literary critic. understands at the same time its modern limitations. A Passage to India.
Moore’s Lalla Rookh. in Scott’s own words. continues to say that he finally settled on a particular period during the Crusades – an era to which he returned from time to time throughout his literary life – because it offered a particular contrast that. virtually single-handed. Scott.@?@. 24 It is clear. possessing peculiar interest”. in his view. its moving and truthful recreation of a hitherto alien and “hostile” world through the sheer effort of what might be called imaginative sympathy. In creating the historical novel. and Saladin. 151 the political theme with the romantic love story. This contrast. 23 the greatest achievement of the work still seems to me to lie in its content. however pioneering we know Scott to have been in the creation of this kind of historical realism. Ibid. dated 15th July l832. 2. a work which was to become. Scott conveys his full awareness of the key works of romantic orientalism produced by his contemporaries and mentions by name Southey’s Thalaba. of course. but was really blazing a new trail. The Talisman. That much is beyond dispute and is generally agreed to be Scott’s singular achievement. 25 This central role-reversal. Yet. however. . The main characters are all subtly drawn. What I want to underline here is Scott’s precise reason for deciding to write this particular novel. is indeed the key to the See. Scott offered his own pioneering contribution to the Romantic Movement. 24 25 23 WALTER SCOTT.Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p. in that same introduction. The achievement of such prominent contemporaries. set beside his own lack of acquaintance and experience of the East as manifested in Tales of the Crusades (1825). so reminiscent of Shakespeare’s dramatic strategy in Othello and Antony and Cleopatra.e. i. in addition to Thomas Hope’s Anastasius (1819) and James Justinian Morier’s Haji Baba of Isphahan (1824). In a significant “introduction”. the chapter on Scott in George Lukacs’s The Historical Novel (l937) for the best description of this achievement. the scenes are full of action and chivalric heroism carries the day. and Byron’s Eastern poems. of which this new literary form was such a characteristic product. displayed the deep policy and prudence of a European sovereign”. “the Christian and English monarch showed all the cruelty and violence of an Eastern Sultan. that I was diffident of making the attempt”. on the other hand. led Scott to put on the mask of modesty and conclude that “the Eastern themes had been already so successfully handled by those who were acknowledged to be masters of their craft. one of the masterpieces of literary orientalism. between Richard I and Saladin (Salahadine) was one in which. p. that Scott was also fully aware that he was not competing with the romantic poets. in my view. promised to contain “materials for a work of fiction.
This may also explain why Goethe’s 26 27 SAID. it is the world of the oriental Cleopatra (and her maids) that is characterized by heroic self-sacrifice. to a very similar sort of reversal. Orientalism. the recourse to the Orient as a refuge. the idealist dream of regenerating a sickly West through oriental injection. Said would argue: what is at issue in not really the Orient so much as the Orient’s use to a modern. for the purpose of creating a sympathetic identification with the East. it seems that most of Edward Said’s strictures against romantic orientalism apply – the spiritual alienation. furthermore. lies at the heart of all these works. always had more concrete and tangible shapes to them. 113-15 and 167-68. .New Comparison 22: p. and the British romantics generally. possessed all the qualities usually attributed to the stereotyped black characters in Elizabethan drama.. pp. Here.. created by this double reversal. but this time. According to Said. 27 This is not an Orient that is to be tangibly and directly experienced. 152 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism novel. were much more airy and philosophical. the Orient. the French and the German romantics. Goethe’s orientalism. representing the permanently alien and perverse. by means of the peculiarly poeticized and mystical romantic discourse. Here. and the use of this effect. whose visions of the Orient . to borrow a term from the Russian Formalists. it could be argued. Similarly. cit. However steeped in learning. while Antony. it is. particularly the latter. Unlike Scott. the Black. even drowning. does not spring from knowledge progressively obtained through positive reasoning. who. Ibid. Europe. Scott is giving historical reality. Goethe’s orientalism presents an antithetically contrasting case to that of Scott. The deviation effect. in it. Shakespeare had turned the seemingly antagonistic (i.e. deceit and treachery. one might add. 115. something approaching a total surrender. 26 Goethe’s case is one of clear infatuation that involves an almost Wertherlike loss of identity. Its real impulse lies in a state of alienation from the West that has led to an almost mindless abandonment to the East and a consequent immersion. is a major characteristic of romantic orientalism In appearance. There is no actual contact with any real Orient. no doubt due to stronger and older political involvement in the region. Augustus and indeed all the major Roman figures are entangled in a web of intrigue. and so on. in a different context. it is one only to be written about and idealized. in fact. is here warded off again. p. oriental Othello) into the recipient of our sympathy and identification and made the white Iago the villain of the piece. in fictional form. What we are witnessing is much more than sympathetic identification. but sick.
more importantly. vol. it is true that the alienation crisis that he experienced following Napoleon’s downfall led him to write his orientalist Diwan as a kind of spiritual pelgrimage to the East – in fact. (Cambridge University Press. however. remained until the end. he was fully acquainted with 18th century orientalist scholarship which provided him with at least one favourite book of poetry. in spite of a certain affection. both secretly and openly. The idealistic and subjective elements are very clear in Geothe’s own description of his state: I had a strong feeling of necessity for escape from the real world that is full of dangers threatening it from every side.Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p. particularly poetry. Herder advised him to study Indian and Persian literatures. Goethe had also read Lessing’s Nathan der Weise (1779). and attempted to translate parts of it himself. had certainly left their imprint on Goethe. do not bear this out. which quotes Goethe’s judgement of Scott: “I would always be amused by him. then. 29 . by all measures a kindred spirit. 153 attitude towards Scott. from a very early age. which he did. I have time only for the most excellent”. But Goethe’s first turning to the East goes back much earlier and the force behind it was Herder. He also studied the Classical odes of Arabic poetry in Jones’s Latin translation and translated passages from them. but could never learn anything from him. p. l944). who had already become young Goether’s mentor in 1770 – another clear indication of the links between romantic orientalism and the Enlightenment. See ABDUL-RAHMAN BADAWI’s introduction to his Arabic translation of Goethe’s West-Oslicher Diwan (Cairo. cool and derogatory. 28 All this may be said to be the case against Goethe. retaining particularly strong feelings for the latter all his life. is based on a careful and diligent study of the oriental scholarship available at the time. Later. Hammer-Purgstall’s translation of the Diwan of Hafiz. A History of Modern Criticism. After Goethe’s return from Italy in 1791. p. But. as part of a total rejection of romantic orientalism along the lines argued by Edward Said. in Latin translation. he also studied the Koran. Goethe studied Hebrew from the age of thirteen and began translating from the Bible shortly afterwards. a Hagire or permanent migration from the West. 4. and an immersion in Eastern literature. 28 See R ENE W ELLEK . with its plea for religious tolerance and its wise and noble portrait of Salahadine. l981). Certainly there are mystical elements in Goethe’s orientalism which are very much part and parcel of German romantic orientalism. Ideas of the East as the mystical origin and as a power for spiritual regeneration introduced by Frederich Schlegel. 1. 29 Goethe’s vision of the East. 225. To turn now to the second objection to Goethe’s orientalism. The actual facts.
. p. this case. and South disintegrate Thrones burst. Orientalism. which can certainly be argued to some extent. it might be useful to go back to the terms “orientalism” and “literary orientalism”. The orientalist initially meant the person who loved the East and sympathized with it. it acquired the meaning of the antagonist to the East. It is true. Goethe chooses the following verses from the Koran to express it: God is the Orient! God is the Occident! Northern and Southern lands Repose in the peace of his hands. West. as the famous opening lines of the Diwan express it. working in the service of its colonizers. as the title of his Diwan is clearly meant to indicate. But the real search is for a new unity of East and West and for a spiritual regeneration of humanity through transcending the petty differences and antagonisms in achieving it. seems to me to entail a trivialization that does not do justice to Goethe. Again.New Comparison 22: p. even if only in the mind: North. Then the word began to mean the one who studied the East. cit. The first two lines are clearly taken from the Koran (Surat al-Baqara. having no relationship with any real world and serving only the purposes of providing a means of escape. there is the intention of a remedial journey to the East. 31 Conclusions In the end. Both passages are in SAID’ S translation. around which this essay has revolved. any other place and any other idea could have served just as well. for. . 167. 30 And it certainly could be argued that it was a matter of chance that this refuge was the East. 30 31 Ibid. 154 Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism in order to live in an imaginary world where I can enjoy refuge and dreams to the extent that my strengths can withstand it. Finally. 7. and in the pure East Taste the Patriarch’s air. p. and investigated the areas connected with it. The essence of Goethe’s literary orientalism lies in his concept of world literature (Weltliteratur) and in his dream of a unity of East and West in universal brotherhood. verse 109). empires tremble Fly away.
a truer picture of the East. . the search for the exotic. As far as literary orientalism is concerned. 155 There have been various – and divergent – reactions to orientalism and the orientalist: they include the acknowledgment of a sympathetic. namely. translation and research. as well as a (sometimes unwarranted) rejection. paved the way to the second key aspect of literary orientalism. literatures. and the implicit advance of the contrary hypothesis based on an essential. makes it the reverse of what is popularly understood to be romanticism and. It is also. mystification. the East. of course. underlying unity of East and West. of course. for its own sake. that is to say. its rejection of an existential and ineradicable distinction between East and West. with the necessary theorization. an openminded investigation of the opinions of hostile orientalists. and hostility towards. The comprehensive study. The essence of romantic orientalism is to present. a (sometimes excessive) respect for scholars and researchers. as can be clearly seen in the cases of Scott and Goethe. by extension. romantic orientalism. opposed to Said’s dismissal of it as yet another manifiestation of western misunderstanding of. there is no disagreement on the meaning of the term. but what awaits study and investigation is the wide area which it covers. literary orientalism. through the act of imagniative sympathy. in a process that began in the Renaissance and advanced during the Enlightenment. even the deviant. The crucial advance in understanding brought about by the imaginative sympathy of the creative artist. is the great challenge that awaits researchers. This is a huge step towards a clearer understanding of the Orient. This. the celebration of the unfamiliar. and empty speculation. Even preliminary studies and the gathering of information are in the early stages. in addition to American and Russian literatures. idealist schemes of regeneration. of the image of the East and of the influence of the Orient on all the major European. and an appreciative recognition of the efforts of others in the fields of editing.Al-Dabbagh: Orientalism New Comparison 22: p.
politics and history. 90-5183-753-4 (CIP). with a strong emphasis on German travel literature. but it is here analysed with reference to specific categories of Imagology such as 'otherness'. excluding periodicals and newspapers). Dohmen attempts to survey the presentation of Ireland in German literature (i. she paraphrases or summarizes a number of individual works. such as race. have influenced the views of Ireland presented in these books. ISBN No. but predictably such claims have soon to be reduced in favour of representative selections. She surveys her material in five chronological chapters of which the last. 35) or that a favourable attitude to England is bound to (zwangsläufig) lead to an image of Irish barbarism (p. although it seems to be a simplification to claim that an author's conviction of the superiority of Protestantism inevitably (notwendig) results in a negative image of Ireland (p.REVIEWS DORIS DOHMEN. as developed by Hugo Dyserinck and refined. climate. by Joseph Th. Most of the material for this study had already been surveyed in Patrick O'Neill's exemplary and much more comprehensive study Ireland and Germany: A Study in Literary Relations (1985). 13). Leerssen. 6). The present study is firmly rooted in the critical concept of Imagology. after a summary introduction. . on the twentieth century. GA: Rodopi. initially claiming completeness for her approach (p. books. Das deutsche Irlandbild: Imagologische Untersuchungen zur Darstellung Irlands und der Iren in der deutschsprachigen Literatur (Studia Imagologica. with reference to Ireland. Amsterdam and Atlanta. is by far the most detailed. Imagology has contributed considerably to our understanding of the way we see others and ourselves by identifying our heterostereotypical and autostereotypical images. Although if taken to its extremes it tends either to the banal or the obscure. Within each chapter.e. religion. 1994. Dohmen shows that the impressions of a journey are frequently instrumental in confirming preconceived ideas and that a number of repetitive determinants. and that they are frequently linked to a pro-English or anti-English stance. She demonstrates convincingly that they have been strongly coloured by the authors' Protestant or Catholic convictions. 33). 254 pp.
and those who stress the religious traditions of the country succumb to an 'insula sacra image'. 32).T. Leerssen. those who have encountered poverty and distress perpetuate an image of barbarism. those writers who have found tranquillity and peace in Ireland are simply subject to an 'Ossianic image'.appearance of arrogance towards those poor benighted travellers who went to Ireland too early to profit from the . 159. It is.Reviews New Comparison 22: p. the reference to the Stage Irishman (p. 191) indicates a rather limited awareness of the post-1945 German reception of Irish literature. and to single out Flann O'Brien. from which their development cannot be totally separated either. It gives the book the probably unintended . 155). 64). endorsed here on p. but certainly not exclusively (allein) as a criticism of England. 94). According to Dohmen. the twelfth-century Norman landing in Ireland can hardly be called an 'English invasion' (p. 187). and the term 'Paddyimage' she employs throughout remains extremely vague. its refusal to recognise the role of factual reality in the formation of images. surely one of their causes of origin has to be seen in factual reality. 14). Quite often Dohmen discounts personal evidence in favour of a stereotypical reaction. of all people. of course. of course. 46). in a phrase by J. 157 Some details in Dohmen's study require modification. It remains undecided how such an approach can be squared with Dohmen's declared intention to analyse images of Ireland as to their 'causes of origin and tendencies of development' (p. as stated only a few lines apart (p. the term 'English government' is somewhat irritating when applied to the nineteenth or twentieth-century situation. "the imagologist need not be concerned with the referential claim of a given image". an unwarranted euphemism to speak of Irish 'parliamentary independence' in 1782 (p. 174. 37) indicates that Dohmen is not familiar with this persistent theatrical stereotype. it is misleading to refer to the 'classical' view of Ireland (pp. there is a persistent thread of subtextual assessment running through the whole study. it comes as a surprise to find the Irish referred to as 'dreaded pirates' in early times (p. Freiligrath's description of Ireland may have served primarily (vorrangig). as an example of a "Renaissance" (?) of Irish literature in Germany (pp. she does not credit the authors with having written from their individual experience but postulates an adherence to traditional images instead and consequently forgoes the opportunity to distinguish between observed reality and stereotypical prejudice. 12. it is doubtful whether the view of Ireland that Pückler-Muskau encountered in Irish Big Houses was still influenced by an Anglo-Norman image (p. One wonders whether the term 'Volk' can in any sense be applied to the Celts (p. One further problem is that of evaluation. 34). Although ostensibly Dohmen pursues a purely descriptive approach and avoids all evaluation of the books under scrutiny here. The crucial problem of Imagology is.
Instead of anthropomorphic gods. in the process. vii + 137 pp . and social) grown to superhuman proportions and.New Comparison 22: p. was a common faith in the liberating potential of “new myths and rituals appropriate to the needs of their audience”. whose call for a “poetic vision of a metaphysical theatre capable of healing the existential problems of his time helped provoke a revolution in Western drama. in its selection of obscure and out-dated studies. This impression is intensified by Dohmen's implied assertion that she writes from a 'supranational' position (pp. conveys a scandalously distorted picture of the work of German scholars on Irish literature. 189). KARAMPETSOS. New York: Peter Lang. Karampetsos outlines the social and cultural characteristics of ritual and myth. underlines their importance to the growth of the Western theatre. hopes and fears”. out of control. “the gods and heroes of classical myth have been replaced by a more contemporary vision of the forces which govern our lives. Karampetsos argues. Artaud. D. Genet. they bring to the stage images of man-made forces (economic. He focusses on Yeats. In an introductory chapter. Karampetsos sketches the philosophical backdrop and the parameters to his analysis. and Ionesco as the vanguard in this revolution – men who “found ways to present the abstract forces of modern society in a form which permits the spectator to contemplate and find ways to master them”. What linked their drama. political. and is the first to do so. Brecht. 1995. ISBN 0-8204-2651-2. Playwrights were inspired to write plays about the audience. University of Wuppertal HEINZ KOSOK E. In the opening lines of his book. and notes the major developments in the inception of a new form of modern drama which incorporated elements of . Unfortunately some sections are less satisfactory than others. technological. The book concludes with an impressive 55-page bibliography which lists a considerable number of German books about Ireland. turning their power on their makers”. in The Birth of Tragedy. 158 Reviews blessings of Imagology and therefore do not come up to the standards the author has set up. about its problems. especially the brief section on German literary criticism (pp. The Theater of Healing. 244-246) which lists probably less than five per cent of the material available and. 13. It was Nietzsche.
sham and illusion against the authentic being behind the mask. Karampetsos draws on the work of R. Karampetsos presents the modern playwright as the shaman in search of “the archetypal elements of a theatrical language”. D. recasts the “essential patterns of human behavior”. to “make sensible and comprehensible the absurdity of an existence controlled by the neurotic fear of death. and resolves around “self versus other. in Ionesco. the mythical vision of “the forces which define modern man” was largely Marx’s. Genet. and at the heart of whose plays is “the conflict between life and death. Karampetsos believes. in the impact of myth and ritual on the literary imagination. Yeats and Artaud took up and developed this tradition by reminding playwrights that the theatre “contains elements of the sacred. it was not necessary to turn to ancient myth and legends. Laing to illuminate what he sees as the mythical and ritual nature of Genet’s mask-destroying plays. With Brecht. 159 both. Mallarmé and Jarry loom particularly large as early shapers. and . the ability to give concrete expression to our metaphysical thoughts. I can recommend The Theater of Healing as a clear and persuasive text. According to this reading. the author presents a cogent and accessible survey of the work of Brecht. As Karampetsos puts it. political and racial structures leading to the oppression of one group of people by another”. dramatists who “realized that to create metaphysical theater. relevant to anyone interested in the history of the twentieth century stage. “Tyranny: A Laboratory for the Theater of Healing”. of course. the ability to create new myth and rituals for our time”. and Ionesco as playwrights who exploited elements of myth and ritual in order to create a metaphysical theatre capable of dramatising the contemporary human condition and of influencing the spectatorial consciousness. and Karampetsos shows how Brecht utilized epic technique and the A-effect in an attempt (not always successful) to create tendentious ritual. universal human reality beneath the surface reality of everyday life and to bring that to the stage”. In four central chapters. to compel a liberating encounter with it”. One of the best things in the book is Chapter IV. Skourtis.” Genet’s particular contribution was to deconstruct modern myths. in which the author puts his concept to the test of. with a sure sense of their place in the wider theatrical trends. eros and thanatos”. he draws on his first-hand experiences in 1973 to document the story of the Athenian theatre under the Colonels’ junta. It was enough to perceive the abstract. Genet’s “healing vision”. Karampetsos looks at the plays of Kampanelis. and in the development of a ‘political’ theatre. Karampetsos offers critiques of a large number of the major plays. Ionesco’s “elemental” protagonists are out to “make the world less menacing and alienating”. Finally. Rialdi. to expose how they support “social.Reviews New Comparison 22: p.
the fluid and the petrified.New Comparison 22: p. should be the subject of only one article.] from the obsessions of their contemporaries”. But this very welcome collection rightly publicizes itself as "the first book in English on Georges Rodenbach" (11). ISBN 0-8386-3588-1 It is not surprising. Joyce Lowrie's "Ophelia becomes Medusa: Reversals and Ambiguity in Bruges-la-Morte" absorbingly tracks the dialectical dynamics of the masculine and feminine. by Robert Ziegler. which in itself creates a problem of strategy: how to combine the scholarship of the contributing experts with the business of promotion. The bulk of this task of reconciliation falls to the editor. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. places. There follow two closely related studies of Le Carillonneur. that of Patrick Laude. all of whom “create ritual and myth [. who derives two versions of poetry. enabling it to traffic with other contemporary writers. given the relative frequency of editions and translations. and investigates the novel's chiastic rhetoric and structural mises en abyme. time-honoured creation facilitates the transcendence of time. hothouse and diving bell. The first. But it is a pity that Rodenbach's poetry.] . Kuwait University KENNETH PAYNE Georges Rodenbach: Critical Essays. some dozen collections of which punctuate his writing career from its beginning (1877) to its end (1898). whose opening essay on Bruges-la-Morte weaves a suggestive thematic tracery around the novel. of identifying and contextualising. 206pp. the semiotic and symbolic. Karampetsos leaves the reader with an upbeat sense of the enduring validity of his metaphysical “theater of healing” and its potential to “transform our hearts and minds”. 1996. painters.... musicians. 160 Reviews Karras. Philip Mosley. from a comparison of Maeterlinck's and Rodenbach's preoccupation with the enclosed spaces of aquarium.. edited by Philip Mosley. and its cinematic and operatic adaptations. while Paul Gorceix concentrates on the transformation of the bell from object to "bicephalous symbol [. that Bruges-laMorte should attract the lion's share of attention in this collection of critical essays. and whose “abstract characters and situations are expressions of recurring elements in the history of the Greek nation which the military dictatorship only served to accentuate”. proposes that the submergence of artistic identity in the unison of a collective.
the bibliography is of immense aid to the reader first coming to Rodenbach.Bachelard's description of Bruges-la-Morte as the "ophélisation d'une ville entière" is cited in four of the essays. The critical apparatus is especially useful: of two appendices supplied by the editor. but there are sufficient narratological and thematic links to justify the comparison. plot-lines are repeated . 161 generating sexual fantasies and immorality" and yet remaining "a genuine mark of purity and moral elevation" (96). Hammershoi. the first expands the filmography of Bruges-la-Morte (including both 'lost' and unrealized versions) and pursues other filmic echoes. Finally. and the generous footnotes throughout provide plenty of leads to pursue. Munch. incidentally). in a prose sometimes overwritten. which deftly extracts common denominators from a wide variety of styles and media. Peter Barta compares Rodenbach's Bruges with Bely's Petersburg as fictional protagonists. Although this collection is not edited for continuity . University of East Anglia CLIVE SCOTT . and particularly in Korngold's Die tote Stadt. Van de Velde. Redon.it can profitably be through-read. Osbert. alongside Moreau. Gallé. Hellens and Lemonnier (and Khnopff. in Dorothy Kosinski's headlong tour of the Symbolist psychological landscape. Séon. thanks to the many imbrications of its essays and an analytical index which gives the reader valuable help in linking together textually separated insights. finding in Bruges "a dead crystallized idea" far removed from the monster Petersburg's commitment to devour its own children. while the second explores Rodenbach in music. Brugge-die-Stille (1981). Le Mirage (1901). based on Rodenbach's own dramatization of Bruges-la-Morte. "narcoticized disincarnation") and infernal ("the spleenscape of transfixed pain") aspects of the dead city in Rodenbach. but always heady. Khnopff appears again. Donald Friedman explores the paradisal ("the suavity of the faded and superannuated". Michèle Langford uses Truffaut's La Chambre verte (1978) to draw out the underlying preoccupations in Roland Verhavert's film adaptation of the novel.Reviews New Comparison 22: p.
Hermetic Fictions is no less so in the breadth of its scholarship. since its origins – possibly dating as far back as 3000 BC – in Egypt (referred to by the Arab world as “Al Khem”. Given the cerebral bravura of the opening chapters. 162 Reviews DAVID MEAKIN. despite Meakin’s assurances that they will be. that Meakin accomplishes a series of agile and spectacular mental leaps. Meakin’s argumentation is both sound and charismatic. Proust. The Alchemical Model. as Meakin unearths alchemical reference after alchemical reference in the 150 or so novels under his gaze. mystics and writers alike. but it is in his analysis of the playful. pacing through an impressive catalogue of hermetic writers. Thomas Mann. and Writing about Alchemy/Writing as Alchemy. with irony attempting to straddle the gap with the irretrievably past world of the epic. Of course. and their changing functions. and duly acknowledges previous explorers of the terrain. Gustav Meyrink’s The Angel of the Western Window and Lindsay Clarke’s The Chymical Wedding in a refreshingly broad-minded approach. but chooses to include ‘two works of lesser status’. in which Meakin establishes and elaborates on his theoretical foundations (for which he also draws on the writings of Jung. and the development and constitution of the modern novel. mediating. is. Alchemy and Irony in the Modern Novel. Not only does Meakin embrace an impressive time-span. right up to Michel Butor. ironic – properties traditionally attributed to the alchemists’ god Hermes. (as in . the mysteries of which. and featuring the big names of modern fiction Joyce. It is with the last group that Meakin is particularly concerned. Eliade and Bachelard). Nevertheless. as he traces the development of the integration of alchemical models in the “modern novel”. the following discussions of individual authors can at times seem a little plodding. Hermetic Fictions. Keele: Keele University Press. 1995. in Lukács’ terms of a reflection of humanity’s ‘transcendental homelessness’. to name a few. psychoanalysts. syncretic – in other words. from Goethe to Umberto Eco. conveying to the reader as he does so a genuine sense of archaeological excitement and wonder. 221 pp.New Comparison 22: p. David Meakin’s stimulating study focuses on the ancient “science” of alchemy. and in this case Lukács’ theories are not altogether convincingly complemented. by Bakhtin’s definition of the genre in terms of polyglossia. as Meakin does. a coniunctio worthy of the alchemists themselves. hence the etymology of the word) have never ceased to inspire scientists. to present just one side of the story. Impressive in its scale. To define the ‘modern’ novel. ISBN 1-85331150-2. Meakin is not the first to look at many of his chosen authors from an alchemical perspective. of course.
1426-1514). In his choice of topics and frames of comparative reference. the novelist and essayist Maurice Gilliams (19001982) and the militant poet Henri Marsman (1899-1940). undoubtedly the weakest).Reviews New Comparison 22: p. shortly after the launch of Versus. The studies of Gilliams and Van Deyssell offer patient and . austere. the poet and scholar Willem Bilderdijk (1756-1831). and as one waits for the various intellectual elements to be syncretised into a powerful mix. University of Edinburgh NATALYA TODD MARTIN J. Hermetic Fictions is a magnum opus. 163 the short chapter on Hesse’s Glass Bead Game. Mulisch and Vonnegut. but not exclusive. focus. In most of the essays. the essay on Eco includes an extract from an interview given in 1971. de Jong privileges writers dedicated to “la poésie pure”. and will undoubtedly inspire further research in this field. Essais de littérature comparée. anything but hermetic. the biographer and proto-theorist Lodewijk van Deyssel (1864-1952). Martin De Jong has assembled fourteen articles in his volume Le présent du passé. Le présent du passé. These studies explore a large family of texts in order to demonstrate how reading for comparisons elucidates our understanding of writing’s internal and external systems of signification and communication. 1994. Namur : Presses universitaires de Namur. His authors are shown to be highly self-conscious practitioners of writing. There are also studies of Mishima and Dazai. At the same time this volume has a particular. 496 pp.G. Membership of De Jong’s family of letters is therefore chronologically open. There are essays which are organised around the poetess and hermit Bertken of Utrecht (c. the aim of the essays is to make up for literary criticism’s neglect of literature in Dutch by placing selected authors in an international context or by giving them prime position in individual essays. DE JONG. ISBN 2-87037-195-0 Writing now with the experience of forty years’ research and teaching. This is left for the reader to do: Meakin furnishes his adept with an infinitely fascinating materia prima and initiates him into the mysteries of the art. Eco and Paz. romantic and often experimental. The range of material on which De Jong writes carefully and critically is rewarding and impressive.
Le présent du passé situates selected Dutch and Flemish writers in a European. Rilke and Robbe-Grillet which help to situate the ideas of the Dutch authors. Claudel and Juan Ramon Jiménez. American and Japanese context. De Jong is sometimes forced to simplify and does not have enough space to negotiate the critical contexts of the authors offered for comparison. An engaging portrait of Osamu Dazai can be found in the first essay. The title of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose is discussed in the context of the novel’s eroticism and fragility. which endeavours through synaesthesia to find in the material world a transfiguration of personal angst.New Comparison 22: p. The chapter which discusses Octavio Paz’s interest in Tantrism also mentions Bilderdijk. Eco’s portrait of Borges in the character of the librarian Jorge da Burgos is considered somewhat distasteful. As a reader De Jong has in mind “l’immense richesse de la tradition” (p. arguing that for Dazai the figure of the mask remains an ironic shield for the personal and aesthetic lack in his own work. the potential for musical structure in modern writing. De Jong shows that Bilderdijk’s feelings for Katharina Wilhelmina Scheickhardt led him to produce an uncharacteristically distracted and moving translation of one of Fénelon’s Méditations. A comparative literary history. based on Bach’s The Art of Fugue. respond unconsciously and indirectly to previous literature. University of Edinburgh NIGEL SAINT . Lucebert. Citing Goethe. While he reconstructs the theories of Gilliams and Van Deyssel. 164 Reviews clear expositions of their aesthetic interests: for the former. 381). not all of the essays fit into this general description of the volume. humanely promoting the cause of his special interest in literature in Dutch. To make the comparisons work. The enthusiastic promotion of connections by De Jong as reader reflects his theory of intertextuality. De Jong argues that writers. which compares and contrasts him with Mishima. but in these essays he does not explore the tensions of tradition and does not go as far as some readers will wish n his discussion of the theoretical problems of locating and classifying internal structures in texts. Gently mocking the nationalistic idolization of Bilderdijk by certain Dutch critics. However. for the latter. This collection of essays presents De Jong as a reader with the subtle and generous sensibility of an old master. De Jong provides brief comparisons with Proust. the formal consistency and logic of “le sensitivisme”. as readers. readers will note the humour in De Jong’s selection from his 1971 interview with Eco. Gide and Valery. Perhaps the most successful essay uses biographical information about Willem Bilderdijk to explain how a poem from 1796 stages the fracture experienced by the poetic voice. Interesting and potentially useful surveys of literary history are offered to the reader.
Proust et Dostoïevski. preferring to move to a wider analysis of the novelists’ aesthetic practices and theories. such as the episode in which the narrator feels he is guilty. and the devices used by both authors to structure their novels. She begins by establishing and evaluating the context in which Proust read Dostoevsky – which texts were available in translation and how they were received critically in France. L’Illusion qui nous frappe rather leaves this puzzle behind. through the concepts of symmetry. L’Illusion qui nous frappe. Gallimard. HaddadWotling analyses these references and readings. inevitably.-Y. According to the amoral law of textual production. This. although why it was voiced as dialogue rather than absorbed into the more authoritative consciousness of the Proustian “I” is less easily answered. if sometimes too detailed and over-affirmative dialogue . 165 KAREN HADDAD-WOTLING. ed. 78) – but also directly guilty of translating it into art. repetition and the visual arts. “Le côté Dostoïevski de Mme de Sévigné”. namely his relations with Albertine. his reading was drawn into the fabric of À la cecherche.Reviews New Comparison 22: p. ISBN 2-85203-474-3. HaddadWotling also compares character portrayal. L’Illusion qui nous frappe establishes a fruitful. is where the projected essay ended up. sets an aesthetic agenda – it points up a parity between artists who represent the world as we perceive rather than intellectually process it – and such is the agenda followed by this study. Gide’s Dostoïevski. L’illusion qui nous frappe provided an illuminating commentary on these two authors. plot. Articles et causeries (published in 1923) being the most influential. 1987-89]. il me semblait que ma vie était souillée d’un double assassinat que seule la lâcheté du monde pouvait me pardonner” (À la cecherche du temps perdu. one senses. alongside Baudelaire. J. vol. Such are the connections made possible by reading through the notions of crime and punishment. IV. 581 pp. yet. For a Proustian and someone who should know more about Dostoevsky. Thisviewing of À la recherche through a Dostoevskian lens allows fascinating and provocative readings of less well-known passages. Une esthétique romanesque comparée. Karen Haddad-Wotling’s project is staunchly comparative. Geneva : Éditions Slatkine. as a formative influence for Proust. Bibliothèque de la Pléïade. 1995. allows us to reconsider Marcel’s later claim that he is not only responsible indirectly for Albertine’s death – “rapprochant la mort de ma grand-mère et celle d’Albertine. most striking of which is the episode in La prisonnière where the narrator lectures Albertine on Dostoevsky. Proust too had intended to publish an essay on Dostoevsky. death directly facilitates the writing of À la cecherche. p. the skilful marshalling of her study developing from the material to the theoretical. persuasively establishing Dostoevsky. Proust’s own striking formula. Tadié [Paris.
pp. Proust and Dostoevsky share the label “The Psychologists” in her comparative sketch (as. opening out the Proust/Dostoevsky comparison in this way risks lapsing into Zeitgeist. Yet what Marcel articulates in his conversation with Albertine might be viewed not just as an exclusive conversation between two literary greats. but as part of a more widespread chatter about Dostoevsky – a feverish European gossip. depend on a symbolic opposition between East and West. the socialized mind. chose to group writers. Oxford NICOLA LUCKHURST . 166 Reviews between the two authors. but also provides a firm foundation which can only help towards a wider understanding of the relation between Dostoevsky and his modernist readers. insane. but according to their style.New Comparison 22: p. “fantastics”. one suspects. 93-145). clearly. not dissimilar from that drawn by Proust between the Russian and Mme de Sévigné. Virginia Woolf i n her essay “Phases of Fiction (in Granite and Rainbow [New York: Harcourt Brace. for it is a recognition which collapses the East/West opposition. So much so that one almost forgets that Dostoevsky inspired what might loosely be termed “modernist” writers as diverse as Kafka and Rebecca West. The terms of Woolf’s paradox. first published in The Bookman (in 1929). somewhat questionably. as “satyrists”. Her simultaneous fear and excitement at the recognition of a project common to both Proust and Dostoevsky – that of tracking the movement of the mind – is understandable. violent. whereby the East. Somerville College. not according to period or nationality. however. abject. does Woolf herself). But Woolf’s essay is a sketch only and. or at least means it has to be internalised – perhaps as the opposition between conscious and unconscious. and the West civilization. Haddad-Wotling’s comprehensive and sensitive study will be of interest to scholars of Proust and Dostoevsky. represents the primitive. the intellect. The Dostoevsky/Proust comparison drawn by Woolf is initially presented as a paradox. “poets” and so on. 1958].
P.CONTRIBUTORS TO NEW COMPARISON 22 ABDULLA AL-DABBAGH is Associate Professor of English. M. K. Co. R. MARIA ALINE SEABRA FERREIRA teaches in the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of Aveiro. ELAINE JORDAN is Reader in Literature at the University of Essex. FRANCESCA COUNIHAN teaches in the Department of French at Maynooth Univerity College. Barnsley. University of Jordan. WETHERILL is Professor of French in the Victoria University of Manchester. Eire. ROBERT IGNATIUS LETELLIER is a member of the Salzburg Centre for Research in Early English Literature. GINA WISKER is Principal Lecturer at Anglia Polytechnic University. . Portugal. Kildare. BRITTON teaches at the Northern College for Residential Adult Education.
ac. For further details about this Conference. Conference coordinator. Luton Bedfordshire LUG 3AJ .DIARY The BCLA diary aims to provide information concerning forthcoming BCLA and ICLA activities. Communications for the diary (including notices and short accounts of non-BCLA events which may be of interest to comparatists) should be sent to Maurice Slawinski. not later than 28 February (for inclusion in the Spring issue) and 31 August (for inclusion in the Autumn issue). Email Barbara. Department of Modern Languages. University of Luton. contact Dr Barbara Heins.Heins@luton. and any other issue of interest to students of comparative literature. 75 Castle Street.uk. England. It also serves as a forum for discussion concerning the activities of the Association. the articles published in its journal. Lancaster LA1 4YN. or Sara Manzoor. Forthcoming BCLA events Workshop Conference “COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND THE NEW MEDIA” University of Luton: Putteridge Bury Conference Centre 11-12 April 1997 Speakers include: DUNCAN CHRISTELOW (Chadwick Healey Ltd) MARYLIN DEEGAN (De Montfort) TRACY MCKENNA (Glasgow) MIKE FRAZER (Oxford) THEODORE SCALTSAS (Edinburgh) ALEXIS WEEDON (Luton) CTI (Oxford) will be providing demonstrations. and registration forms. Lancaster University.
Maurice Slawinski. “Feasts”. 01524 843934. under the guest editorship of Dr Harish Trivedi. fax. There will also be an “open” section.Slawinski@lancaster. Dept of Italian Studies. Lancaster University. Department of English.Diary New Comparison 20: p. Lancaster LA1 4YN.uk. containing articles dealing with any . Email M. 01524 593001. tel.ac. University of Delhi. 169 VIII BCLA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE University of Lancaster 15-18 July 1998 LEGENDA Reading and Writing Myth CALL FOR PAPERS Key Words: Apocalypses — Bestiaries — Codes Ciphers Conspiracies— Desire — Epiphanies — Eros and Thanatos — Fins de Siècle — First and Last Words — Ghosts Ghouls Goblins — Hearts of Darkness — Innocence and Experience — Imagined Worlds — Jouissance — Kaos — Limits — Metamorphosis/Apotheosis — Millennia — Nightmares — Origins — Palimpsests –– Quests — Ritual and Romance — Revolutions — Romantic agonies — Sailing to Byzantium — Telling tales/tellers of tales — Theophanies — Urban myths/myths of urbanity — Visions and Prophecies — Writing children/writing for children — Xanadu – Xenia to Xenophobes Requests for information and offers of papers (provisional titles and 100-200 word abstract) to the conference organiser. NC 24 (Autumn 1997) will include papers from the 1996 Workshop conference. Details of conference fees and accommodation will be available in early June 1997 BCLA Publications New COMPARISON NC 23 (Spring 1997) will be devoted to Comparative Literature in India.
Please submit type-script/print-out in three copies. all submissions should be addressed to Dr Leon Burnett. and the winning entries of the 1994 BCLA Translation Competition. FURTHER CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS ARE STILL WELCOME. but once accepted definitive versions of articles must be on disk (preferred formats WORD FOR WINDOWS 6) and conform to NC conventions. for which CONTRIBUTIONS ARE INVITED. Department of Literature. a brief abstract will also be required. COMPARATIVE CRITICISM Comparative Criticism is published annually for the BCLA by Cambridge University Press. Ireland. 170 Diary topic of interest to comparatists. Gardens and Wildernesses” includes the plenary lectures of the BCLA’s 1995 Edinburgh conference. University of Essex. Please send proposals for articles to Maurice Slawinski. Colchester CO4 3SQ. Wales and England”. under the editorship of Dr Elinor Shaffer. Lancaster LA1 4YN. . Comparative Criticism 19 (1997) will be dedicated to “Literary Devolution: Writing Now in Scotland. Do not send submissions in machine-readable form (floppy disk). Except where otherwise specified. The New Comparison style sheet is reproduced immediately after this Diary. NC 25 (Spring 1998) will also contain a substantial “open” section. Lancaster University. All articles submitted for publication should be in English. Dept of Italian Studies. Comparative Criticism 20 (1998) will deal with “Literary and Philosophical Dialogue”. NC 26 (Autumn 1998) will be devoted to the theme “Classicism/Baroque/PostModern”. Comparative Criticism 18 (1996) “Spaces: Cities.New Comparison 20: p. with prose translations of quotations in foreign languages incorporated into the main text (not the footnotes).
and for new translations into English of philosophical dialogues. results will be announced in Autumn 1997. In both cases the target language is English.Diary New Comparison 20: p. of different francophone or anglophone countries). England BCLA DISSERTATIONS IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE The BCLA invites proposals and submissions from recent doctoral candidates for this series. to be awarded as the judges see fit. University of East Anglia. should be sent to: Philosophical Dialogues Competition. and may include work on regional literatures and the comparison of same-language traditions (e. a COMPETITION FOR NEW PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUES. the European Humanities Research Centre.g. The competition carries with it £5000 in prizes. publication. is being sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Skill. Please contact Dr Elinor Shaffer. and the British Comparative Literature Association. Dissertations should be of comparative interest. The literary form of the dialogue is at the centre of the current concern with the role of literary genres. Readings and performances at the Royal Dramatic Theatre Stockholm will be held in connection with the prizegiving in Stockholm. Entries may be submitted in either of two categories: new dialogues and translations of dialogues. Oxford University. Norwich NR4 7TJ. The importance for the Enlightenment of philosophical dialogues such as Diderot’s can scarcely be overstated. and the prospect of performance. past or present. in literature. Dryden’s Essay of Dramatick Poesy. There is a “purse” of £5000. . 47 Wellington Square. original and testing kind since Plato. The winning entries in the Competition will be published in Comparative Criticism 20 The philosophical dialogue has been an important vehicle for European thought of the most adventurous. 171 In connection with this issue. rhetorical practices. The deadline for submission is 15 February 1997. In Britain as in other countries the genre attracted distinguished practitioners who powerfully influenced European thought – for example. in philosophy. Oxford OX1 2JF. Shaftesbury’s The Moralists and Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion. European Humanities Research Centre. accompanied by the entrance fee of £5. and metaphor in the development of philosophical ideas. Enquiries and entries (up to 30 pages). School of Modern Languages and European History.
ac. and on the relationship connecting those entertainments with similar musical events in Savoy. 2. Senate House. The . and further details may obtained from the Administrator. London WC1E 7HU. Malet St.uk) 1. University College. languages: the interstice. Senate House. What are the methodological and theoretical consequences of working on and in the space of inter-relation? Does the increasing importance of this space entail the redundancy of previous conceptual apparatuses? This conference aims to explore these questions via a series of presentations of work either recently completed or in progress among current postgraduates. texts. “After Theory”. London. 172 Diary Other Events of Interest to Comparatists University of London INSTITUTE OF ROMANCE STUDIES Forthcoming Events (Unless otherwise stated. INTERSTICES: A POSTGRADUATE CONFERENCE 27 February 1997 Following the successful 1996 conference. France and other European countries. email irsa@sas. the relations between disciplines. Organiser: DR PATRICK FFRENCH. MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENTS AND THEIR LIBRETTI Friday 28 February 1997 This conference will focus on courtly musical entertainments of Early Baroque Italy (including opera). all Institute of Romance Studies conferences and symposia are held at the Institute. this second postgraduate conference will focus on the space between. University of London. Institute of Romance Studies.New Comparison 20: p.
history and the history of ideas. spanning from plain imitation to a freer use of it. Chambéry). Speakers include: Prof. 173 contributions will relate to aspects regarding the literary text. Dr JÉRÔME DE LA GORCE (Théâtre Baroque de France. POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURE AND NATIONAL IDENTITY IN LUSOPHONE AFRICA Friday 14 March 1997 The postcolonial literature of Angola.Diary New Comparison 20: p. Brazilian and Black/African literature. 3. Paris). GuineaBissau and Cape Verde. Oxford). PATRICK BOYDE (St John’s College. Dr MARIE-CLAUDE CANOVA GREEN (Goldsmiths’ College. The aim of this conference is to provide a framework within which to locate. Papers will focus on literature. São Tome é Principe. Authors discussed will include Pepetela. Dr FRANCESCA CHIARELLI (Royal Holloway College. Mozambique. Cambridge). their origins in historical context and their links with metropolitan Portuguese. Ms SARAH COLVIN (St John’s College. José Craveirinha and Mia Couto. the music and the staging of such entertainments. . MARIE-THÉRÈSE BOUQUET-BOYER (CRNS. THE SELF AND THE OTHER: EUROPEAN OVERSEAS EXPANSION IN RENAISSANCE LITERATURE Friday 7 March 1997 This international conference will examine the European perceptions of alien cultures in the aftermath of the Renaissance overseas expansion and the complementary perception of the European as alien by other peoples and cultures. Luandino Vieira. London). 4. Prof. on one side the practical and cultural requirements made by the Italian audience. and on the other side how this Italian model was received abroad. London).
. ANGIOLA FERRARIS (Bari). BLACK SKIN WHITE MASK: FANON IN CONTEXT Saturday 22 March 1997 To mark the completion of “Black Skin White Mask. London). EUROPEAN FANTASY LITERATURE Friday 21 March 1997 “Science Fiction – an obsession with the Future? Fantasy – a nostalgia for the past?” This conference will explore these generalisations. EMMANUELLE GENEVOIS (Sorbonne Nouvelle). Cambridge). “Peau noire masques blancs. RICCIARDA RICORDA (Venice). KADIATU KANNEH (University of Birmingham). ADALGISA GIORGIO (Bath). SHARON WOOD (Strathclyde). this symposium brings together scholars working in the UK on Fanon to look again at his seminal text. Speakers include DAVID MACEY. ELISABETTA RASY. FRANCESCA SANVITALE. PAOLO PUPPA (Venice) . London).. University of Reading CENTRE FOR ITALIAN WOMEN’S STUDIES WOMEN AND WRITING IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY ITALY Reading/London 21-22 February 1997 GIULIANA MORANDINI. 6. LUCIENNE KROHA (McGill).New Comparison 20: p. DAVID MARRIOTT (Queen Maru and Westfield College. Isaac Julien’s feature-length film on Frantz Fanon. first published in 1952. FRANCOISE VERGÈS (University of Sussex). 174 Diary 5. ANN HALLAMORE CAESAR (Corpus Christi College. EMMANUELA TANDELLO (University College.
or Alison Smith. ROSEMARY STOTT on film in the GDR. Email J. SCOTT LASH.ac. SLAVOJ ZIZEK. Tel. Further information and registration: June Rye. ALPHONSO LINGIS. Keele University DEPARTMENT OF MODERN LANGUAGES ENTERTAINING IDEOLOGIES A Century of European Cinema Keele Conference Centre.Diary New Comparison 20: p.ac. Or consult web site: http://www. 19 April 1997 Speakers include RICHARD DYER on Italian cinema.ac. ERNESTO LACLAU. ANNETTE KUHN. Staffs ST5 5BG). MICHEL MAFFESOLI. CARRIE TARR on post-colonialist film.uk (surface mail address: Department of Modern Languages. University of Lancaster CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF CULTURAL VALUES TIME AND VALUE Lancaster 10-13 April 1997 Time. CHANTAL MOUFFE. Email mla28@keele. 01524 592497. SARAH FRANKLIN. MICK DILLON.keele.ac. Italian Department. For further details contact Diana Holmes. London WC1E 6BT. Email mla22@keele. JOHN MILBANK. PEGGY PHELAN. RICHARD ROBERTS. Fax. 175 Details: The Secretary.uk. Bowland College. 01524 594238.uk/ depts/mlf/rsch/enditol. WENDY EVERETT on European Cinema. UCL. GowerStreet. Lancaster University. ARJUN APPADURAI. JULIA DOBSON on Hollywood remakes of French films.Rye@lancaster.uk. Centre for the Study of Cultural Values. STEVE CANON & ELAINE MEYER on Godard. Keele University. Consciousness and the Body – Narrative and Memory – Time and the Political – Tempo and Technology – Nature and Kairos Speakers will include: BARBARA ADAM. JOHN URRY. Lancaster LA1 4YT.htm . NIKLAS LUHMANN. DEIRDRE BODE. ELIZABETH ERMARTH.
2-4 May 1997 Speakers include: STEPAHNE MICHAUD (Paris III). Université Jean Monnet. SAINT-ETIENNE Colloque International de Littérature Comparée FIGURES DE L’EXCLU Saint-Etienne. NORMAN DAVID THAU (Lyon III). ARLETTE CHEMAIN (Nice). PHILIPPE ZARD (Artois).P. GERT PINKERNELLE (Wuppertal). ANNE-CLAIRE JACCARD (Bourgogne). VERONIQUE LÉONARD (Saint-Etienne). CRMEN CORLOTEANU & CRISTINA GRIGORI (Roumanie). J. J. FLORENCE VINAS (Montpellier). UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON An International Conference: TIME AND THE IMAGE Institut Francais/Tate Gallery/University College London 28-31 May 1997 Speakers include: PARVEEN DAMS (Brunel University). MARIE-F. DÉBORAH LEVY-BERTHERAT (Paris VII). 77 42 16 44). HANS HARTJE (Paris VII). EVELYNE LLOZE (Saint-Etienne). fax.New Comparison 20: p. MICHAL MROZOWICKI (Gdansk. 176 Diary UNIVERSITÉ JEAN MONNET. BARBARA AGNESE (Vienna). GEORGES ZARAGOZA (Bourgogne). 33. ALEKSANDER ABLAMOWICZ (Silesia). MARTA GINÉ-JANER (Lleida). CEP. MIEKE BAL (Cornell University). A. BLAISE (Montpellier III). GARCÍA LARRAÑAGA (Saragossa). MRASH. CRYSTEL PINÇONNAT (Bretagne). RAYMOND BELLOUR . AMELIA SANZ (Complutense. AUREL SCOROBETE (Saint-Etienne). PICOT (Montpellier). GRASSIN (Limoges). JEAN-BERNARD VRAY (Saint-Etienne). ARIELLE THAUVINCHAPOT (Limoges). Madrid). Saint Etienne cedex 2 (tel. 77 42 16 66. M. STEPEHN BANN (University of Kent at Canterbury).-M. CAROLE KSIAZENICER-MATHERON (Orléans). rue du OnzeNovembre. AMÉLIE DJOURAKMOVITH-SCHWEIGER (Rouen). GABRIEL SAAD (Paris IV). Further details/registration.
LAURA MULVEY (British Film Institute). FICTIONS TODAY. 177 (CNRS).ac. MARY ANN DOANE (Brown University). DAVID WOOD (Vanderbilt University).uk. 0171 624 09060. tel. Michael McLoughlin: mcm@aber. THIERRY DE DUVE (University of Pennsylvania). Aberystwyth.ac. MARIE-CLAIRE ROPARS (University of Paris VII).ac. ALEXANDER GARCIA DUTTMAN (Monash University). of European Languages. JOAN COPJEC (Cornell University). fax. University of Wales Aberystwyth FICTIONS TODAY Aberystwyth 2-4 July 1997 Postmodernism – Aids – Parody – Pastiche – Women’s Writing – Neo-decadentism – Graphic Novel – Cyberpunk – E-texts – Post-colonial Writing – Fantapolitica – Narrative Theory – New Literary Movements – Multimedia – Fin-de-siècle – Poststructuralism – New Europe – Translations – Genre Fiction – New Writers Enquiries and offers of papers to The Organizers. Berkeley). Dept. HAL FOSTER (University of California. MOLLY NESBIT (Vassar College). JEFF WALL. Wales SY23 3DY. MARK WIGLEY (Princeton University). JOHN SALLIS (Penn State University). BRIONY FER (University College London). RICHARD SENNETT (New York University). Ms E Cervato: emc@aber. JONATHAN DRONSFIELD (University of Warwick). PAUL DAVIES (University of Sussex). University of Wales. SUSAN SULEIMAN (Harvard University). EDUARDO CADAVA (Princeton University). MARTIN JAY (University of California Los Angeles).uk. Enquiries to Carolyn Gill. HOWARD CAYGILL (Goldsmiths College London). MICHAEL NEWMAN (University College London). REBECCA COMAY (University of Toronto). TIMOTHY MATHEWS (University College London). 0171 624 9217. PETER WOLLEN (University of California Los Angeles). PATRICK FFRENCH (University College London). ANDREW BENJAMIN (University of Warwick). Dr Keith Scott: firstname.lastname@example.org.Diary New Comparison 20: p. . GEOFFREY BENNINGTON (University of Sussex). or Email Dr. SIMON CRITCHLEY (University of Essex.
01524 843087.hull.Wheeler@lancaster. translators. 178 Diary University of Lancaster THE RUSKIN PROGRAMME NINETEENTH CENTURY RELIGION Lancaster.Holdstock@drama. Enquiries and offers of papers (with abstracts) to Paula Holdstock. STEPHEN PRICKETT. Conference Organiser. agents. The Ruskin Programme. . Fax. University of Hull DEPARTMENT OF DRAMA TRUE TO FORM: ON STAGE TRANSLATION Hull. HU6 7RX. 17-19 July 1997 Speakers will include: STEPHEN TOULMIN.ac.uk. Tel/Fax 01482 466210. University of Hull. Email P. 12-14 September 1997 Integrity of the Text Cultural and Political Identities Dynamics of Performance Contemporary Practice This major international conference on translating for the theatre will include contributions from established practitioners. Department of Drama. as well as academics. Tel. 01524 592450. NICHOLAS LASH. Email M. Further information from Mrs Sarah Emslie. and publishers. Lancaster University LA1 4YT.uk.New Comparison 20: p.ac.J. JOHN MILBANK.
English Department. Box CP 9515.O. . email Dhaen@Rullet.nl. Leiden University.Diary New Comparison 20: p. Netherlands. 179 INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE LITERATURE ASSOCIATION XVTH CONGRESS: LITERATURE AS CULTURAL MEMORY Leiden 16-22 August 1997 Plenary Speakers: ANDRE BRINK (Cape Town) LINDA HUTCHEON (Toronto) JULIA KRISTEVA (Paris) Further information from the Congress general organizer. fax. 31 71 5272615.LeidenUniv. 31 71 5272144. tel. NL-2300 RA Leiden. Teo D’haen. P.
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Ibsen and Catiline. PETER BARTA –Re-Figuring the Revolutionary: Blok. Paradise Refused: the Flight from Eden in Modern Literature – KEN IRELAND. Visions of Paradise in German Symbolism and Early Expressionism – ANTONIO RIBEIRO. PETER FRANCE – From Russian Tale to English Children’s Story: The Case of Arthur Ransome PENNY BROWN – “Candidates for my Friendship”: Madame de Genlis and Mary. PHILLIP JOHANSEN – Inventing the Other: The Mirror of Technology in Kleist’s “Marionettentheater”.. MIKE ROGERS – Emil and the Gestapo. Recreating “The First Age of the World”: Edenic Speculation. CORNELIA VISMANN – Landscape in the First World War: On Benjamin’s Critique of Ernst Jünger. NORBERT BOLZ – Benjamin in the Postmodern. KATHLEEN SHIELDS – Three Irish Translations of Rimbaud’s “Bateau ivre”. KAREN SEAGO – Sleeping Beauty. NEW COMPARISON 20 (Autumn 1995) “Once upon a time. Shklovsky and Rozanov. BELINDA COOKE – Lowell’s Notebook and the “Ghost” of Mandelstam. DAVID STEEL – Hector Malot. Sans Famille and the Sense of Adventure. Davidson and Heidegger. ULRICH RÜFFER – Notes on de Man’s Reading of Benjamin. Religion and Family Values in English Children’s Versions of the William Tell Story. Literature. Gardens. Wildernesses”: DIANA KUPREL. Mapping Centre and Periphery in Segalen – SUSAN INGRAM. From Flânerie to Dérive – PATRICK BRIDGWATER.. SUSAN TEBBUTT – New Directions in Socially Critical German Jugendliteratur. ANN LAWSON LUCAS – The Archetypal Adventures of Salgari: a Panorama of his Universe and Cultural Connections. WERNER VON KOPPENFELS – Miroirs flottants: Reflections of Nature in the Baroque Poetry of England and France. The Opium Landscape in Translation: Baudelaire’s and De Quincey – YVAN TARDY. Chekhov’s Ivanov. FUAD ABDUL MUTTALEB – Shakespeare’s Hamlet. PAMELA KNIGHTS – Refashioning Girlhood? Little Women in Lowry and Alcott. ANDREW BOWIE – Truth. RALF ROGOWSKI – The Paradox of Law and Violence. National Landscape Imagery in the Making of Finland – BART KEUNEN – The City Image as a Social Strategy of Literary Subcultures. GEORGE HYDE – Phallic Deconstructions: Lawrence. Versions of Paradise: the Uses and Abuses of Heavenly Clichés – CHARLES FORSDICK. IVAN SOLL – Mechanical Reproducibility and the Reconceptualisation of Art: Thoughts in the Wake of Walter Benjamin.NEW COMPARISON 18 (Autumn 1994) Walter Benjamin in the Postmodern: TONY PINKNEY – Introduction. HANI AL-RAHEB – The Satanic Verses: Fantasy for Religious Satire. LITSA TRAYIANNOUDI – Prometheanism: A (Romantic) Discourse of Negation. CHRISTOPHER THORNHILL – Benjamin and Kraus: The Construction of Negative Language. SIV JANNSON – Ambivalence and the Construction of a “True Chalet School Girl” in BrentDyer’s Chalet School Books.”: Cross-currents in Children’s Literature: PENNY BROWN – Introduction. . STEVE GILES – Sociological Aesthetics as a Challenge to Literary Theory: Reappraising Mukaøovský. Metamorphoses of the Flâneur: from “Ringstrasse” to “Rua dos Douradores” – ELIZABETH MASLEN. Language and Art: Benjamin. or the Acculturation of a Tale. HELGA GEYER-RYAN – Justice. NEW COMPARISON 19 (Spring 1995) Special Section: Eastern Europe: IMOGEN FORSTER –Prisoner in the House of Fiction? Albanian Writer Ismail Kadare. Spectacle and Specularity in Marivaux – EMILY SALINES. Beyond the Boundary of the Exotic. UWE STEINER – Elective Affinity: Notes on Benjamin and Heine. The Garden Within: Locating Hoffman’s Lost in Translation – EFRAIM SICHER. MICHAEL LÖWY – Walter Benjamin and Romanticism. Deconstruction. Rococo paradise: Watteau’s Cythera in Sahgal and Banville – MAUNO HÄYRYNEN. JULIAN ROBERTS – Benjamin and Common Law Notions of Precedent. Articles: NICOLA VULPE – Gilgamesh as Political Tragedy. BRIGITTE SCHULTZE – Wyspiañski’s Wesele in English Translation (1990). PETER HUNT – “Children’s Literature”: an Historical/Political/Theoretical Overview. DAVID BLAMIRES – Politics. NEW COMPARISON 21 (Spring 1996) “Cities.
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