This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
(1988-), Vol. 41, No. 4 (Winter, 1997), pp. 110-126 Published by: The MIT Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1146663 Accessed: 28/06/2009 13:54
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=mitpress. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MIT Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to TDR (1988-).
The mystic believed that through oral language she might be able to evoke the Word's being. and censored her monologues. Copyright ? 1997 New York University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. questions the meaning of "text" and "genre. When she whispered. I colloqui the divinity and a "blessed soul. her convent sisters. 1566-I607). the relationship between authorship and readership/audience. the transcriptionsof the mystical monologues of ity. finally. both dominates and asks us to respond fully to His request for existence. it is that which gives and subtracts sense from our own existence (I98I:2I). screamed. she did not even want this book to be written. as Emmanuel Levinas writes. I colloqui Saint Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi (Florence. I colloqui was not written by Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi. Second. that nonbeing that. Maria Maddalena was not addressing her audience." Maria Maddalena did not intend to communicate/teach us anything. Her sisters of the Carmelite convent Santa Maria degli Angeli (Saint Mary of the Angels) in Florence transcribed. She spoke exclusively because the Word wanted her to summon His being/voice. corrected.we may say. and." spoke with a male voice in the person of the Father and/or the Word. Maria Maddalena's mystic performances had a specific goal: the expression of the Word. Three brief passages from the mystic's monologues summarize this fundamental point: The Drama Review 41. the nuns took pen and paper and jotted down as much as they could of her spoken words. II0 ." the word's intrinsic performativity.Performing/Annihil the Word in theVisions Body As Erasure of a Florentine Mystic Armando Maggi The object of this study is a unique case in the history of Western spiritual(The Dialogues). Indeed. performed a solo "mystery play. to approach I colloqui correctly. I colloqui. I colloqui reports the mystic's reiterated attempt to fulfill her task. edited. is a work in progress. Unlike any other mystical is not the diegetic reportage of the ecstatic encounters between book. Winter 1997. trembled. As soon as the mystic entered a rapture. the connection between gendered/sexual presence and discourse. In the mystic's monologues the Word is the Other. not only did she not care for any form of audience or readership. two essential elements must be kept in mind: First. 4 (Tis6).
The Word proceedthe mother superior. HowYouridea. acquiringdiverse and conis an amalgamof debris of "texts. the good Word. I will pronounce the good word. and even to the Pope. (I96o-I966a." By this term I tradictoryidentities. Maria Maddalena's letters were destroyed or censored. the text itself-act out their own annihilation. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi was canonized in I669. her female body. Maria Maddalenaendeavored to communicate her theological insights by writing to bishops. silences. the secondary "presences" summoned by the performer (for instance. the Word proceeding from the Word communicates us the Word and unites Him with us [. the Word... her letters almost never left the yourgoodness. Let us startby analyzingthe text/book. (I:I52)2 In her performances. the Father. the actants present in I colloqui-the transcribers/audience.4 I colloqui (altogethermore than 700 pages) revolves around the visions of a young Carmelite nun who was born on 2 April I566 into the noble Florentine family de' Pazzi. It constantlymodifies itself. the mystic lived in a "silenced" condition. As will be clear later. Maria Maddalena never played a major role within the convent of Saint Maria degli Angeli. other female mystics such as Catherine of Genoa. taking the veil the following year. the Magdalen."during which the Word let Satantempt the mystic's soul and body.As a result. In fact. your might. I colloqui mean literary"fields"characterized The two-volume by a given performativity. Vangelista del Giocondo. She joined the convent SantaMariadegli Angeli when she was I6 (August 1582). and her mystical performances were kept secret from the external world. is a ever.. A few months later.].. everything convent..3 Maria Maddalena's visions/monologues/plays are both manifestations of the body/ word and erasures of the body/word itself. I colloqui cannot be categorizedaccording to any specific genre. she startedto perceive the Word's voice. But the voice ofJesus is eternal. the mother (1:345) unites Him with us [." On the one hand. everything is a language in the Word's God [. this paper will analyze the "fructile chaos. the Virgin). yourmight. By focusing on the mystic's most complex vision (chapter 48).. the performer.Florentine Mystic I I [Y]our idea. cardinals. Between I590 and 1607. However. On the other. her attempts to communicate with the higher ranks of the Catholic Church were frustrated.].]. I colloqui .. When she was still a child. She died in 1607. after a five-year "probation. the Jesuits introduced her to their meditation techniques and to some of their basic writings. In June I590. after a long "trial" where more than 50 nuns were asked to testify. my Jesus. her visions came to an end.5 She was baptized Caterina but took the name of Maria Maddalena when she became a nun. your goodness. I mean. Although her raptureshad a totally private nature. and then it vanishes. the mystic attempts to "belch forth" the Word by means of language. 1:345) [T]he voice of the creaturesis nothing but a little sound that one hears.]. had an ambiguous attitude theWord communicates us theWord and toward Maria Maddalena's "experi- ingfrom ences. since I hold you in my heart. devils. I colloquicontains Maria Maddalena's raptures from Christmas of 1584 to 4 is not the mere transcriptionof some discourses June 1585.. who involved her in intense and often excruciatingdialogues. both her confessor and 7 languagein the Words God [. (1:I72-73)' I will belch forth. gestures.. superiorwished to have a "blessedsoul" in her convent. she was not sure about the characterof Maria Maddalena'sraptures. so that Truth is God's being and His voice [. Saint John. angels. [the] fertile nothingness" of the mystic's liminal performances (I990:I2).
or. provoking the rage of her confessor (de' Pazzi I96o-1966b. inserting only a few utterances of the visionary within their moralizing narration.You know that I said that when I was on the cross. I:3233). As will be apparent in my analysis of vision 48. In these first sections. Her utterances may be either parts of a solo mystery play. the mystic's orality is given progressively more space within the nuns' manuscripts. They make the divinity speak through a patchwork of biblical quotations: My dear daughter. Their "explanations" can be either a few words placed into brackets. my creature. They simply enjoy the "show. Finally.and the other [sentence]: Et everything to me: Omnia traham delitiemee essecumfilijshominum. Thus.(I:55)7 However. they also insert the mystic's silences and exclamations in the attempt to recreate the orality of her discourses. paradoxically. of her walking through the convent. the nuns invert the sequence of the utterances themselves. In order to give the Word a body. Maria Maddalena believed that the written page betrayed her effort to "belch forth" the Word. the nuns also feel free to make up dialogues between the "blessed soul" and the Savior. the mystic's words often do not have a particularaddressee. I would draw ad me ipsum.II2 Armando Maggi or performances. toward me [ad me ipsum]. I want to spend time enjoyably with you [. now I want to draw you. These first chapters are rather brief. they often merge several visions together and report only those utterances that the nuns still remember at the moment of their writing. the mystic considers the Word a voice.. Its performativity is random and multifaceted. and also their (the nuns') subsequent interpretations of almost every part of the mystic's performances. or short paragraphs. long sections of those very monologues along with the mystic's silences and exclamations. recount a series of mystical events as if the occurrences were both live (and thus not-yet-interpreted by the Inquisition) and past (and thus already approved by the Church). I colloqui thus defies any classification.or even entire pages. Left alone with some of the nuns' books. The Word can only be uttered through oral language. (approximately from vision I to vision I8) resemble but they do not coincide with it because they. brief summaries of those parts of the mystic's monologues that they have missed.] given that today is that day in which I decided to shed so much Blood for my creatures'sake. private musings. expressions of sheer physical suffering. The length of the transcribers' intrusions varies dramatically. she burnt them. she must . in order to "clarify" the visionary's discourse. even though they knew that the genre traditionally dealt with deceased and often canonized religious figures. The nuns/authors originally meant to compose something like a Catholic hagiography.who perceive only one side of the dialogue)." As a consequence. since the mystic's performances often include long silences. The nuns attempted to follow the hagiographic genre (the description of the inspired life of a "blessed soul"). in most cases the nuns' reportages are a mixture of hagiographic narrations. primarily if we consider that the mystic abhors her sisters' work. the first chapters/visions of I colloqui a Medieval hagiography. Even its authorship is questionable. Her sisters cannot help noting the "great and beautiful way she speaks" and her imposing gestures (2:336). of her running up and down the stairs toward the kitchen garden or the chapel. The nuns are so overwhelmed by the mystic's performances that sometimes they forget to write down her words and to describe her movements. responses to the Word's questions (unheard by the transcribers. when the mystic's discourse has been particularlycryptic to them.. finally. descriptions of the mystic's gestures.6 Moreover. As the quotation at the beginning of this article demonstrates.
I colloqui sharesinteresting aspects with specific forms of contemporary performance art. For the moment it will suffice to say that I colloquiis the performance not only of the mystic. the transcribersthemselves.. a "visionary" work that has striking similarities to the Florentine nun's discourses. and space."8 After analyzing Maria Maddalena's visionary performances." as Herbert Blau defines the postmodern physicality. This is a crucial moment in Maria Maddalena'smystical experience. in its being performed. that is. The nuns connect the mystic's silent gestures to a topos of Medieval hagiography. which itself decontextualizes the flux of the mystic's decontextualized orality (Erickson 1992:5I). In I colloquithe three terms of the aesthetic triad interact with each other in a rather complex manner. but also of the nuns who "are there" when the "thing" happens and who "make the thing happen" by writing down the "happening of the thing. in the vision 48 Maria Maddalena is allowed by the divinity to participate in the Word's funeral. it is essential to understandthat Maria Maddalena'sperformances have "a nondiegetic structuringof time and space. I colloqui as a body is not only "dismembered. in vision 39 the mystic mimes the act of receiving a nuptial ring from the Word. the mystic's monologues question any form of structure. As Louis Marin reminds us. First of all. which concludes with her mystical marriage to the Word. I 13 "The Word" is an index that points to a void and that obliges the erased main performer. . we might say that the written I colloquiis a text/ performance rejected by its main performer in the very act of performing it.the most disturbing vision in the entire book. including narrativity.Some sections of her performancesare "decontextualized. but they also question the denial of structure. Thus. every text possesses both a body and a space. as Richard Schechner writes about Happenings. The text is thus "the most powerful revenant of its own body" (1971:386). the space of the text being that of the text's body as it is dismembered or articulated in its existence. According to her sisters' manuscript.. it is denied/annihilated in its actualization (1991:83).] The thing-done is no longer any more important than those who do it and those who witness it" (I995a:217). For that matter. Her performances occur as a linguistic flux which both accepts and denies any structuring. since each performance is a mere attempt to give the Word a body/voice. to hold a diegetic discourse on His nonbeing. i."nondiegetic." In fact.Florentine Mystic articulate His voice. In the previous visions the mystic has gone through a severe process of internal purification. they "deal with all three terms of the perception triad. the mystic. I will compare I colloquiwith Linda Montano's monologue Mitchell'sDeath (1978). time. heir to the so-called "Happenings.. A second crucial element of Maria Maddalena's rapturesis that. [. Both the mystic's orality and the nuns' transcriptionsmake the "message" dependent upon both the performer's body/voice and the audience. Since she has completed her purification. and thus make the transcribers feel compelled to insert their exegesis. Other fascinating elements come to the fore if we examine chapter 48 of I colloqui. the narration of Saint Catherine's spiritual marriage to Jesus." I colloqui thus results from a double performance. a performance within and after a performance.e.
[silence] come [silence] your Only Begotten and his Mother that nourished and nursed him. interrupting her silences with deep sighs and scalding tears. the excerpts from the mystic's monologues and the nuns' exegesis of those very excerpts. It is the longest vision/text of the entire book. Yes. As we will see later. and lasts 40 hours. The tomb equals the Father's bosom. and underground?And I'll follow you with admiration. yes [silence] one can really call it the day of the Lord. the audience. The first words of the mystic's longest monologue are indeed a response to the Word's (unheard)request: as long as you were underground. the nuns transcribea second introductory excerpt from the mystic's words: And it will be fulfilled the time of forty hours [silence] so that at the dawn of your happy day of Sunday I'll be there. which takes up 70 pages in I colloqui. as if the Father were pregnant with the dead Word. Her sisters also point out that she comes out of her rapture "sometimes to take care of her physical needs. a Friday evening. The above passage constitutes the leitmotif of vision 48. even though they. the mystic's performancesrepeatedly blur the limits of sexual subjectivity.114 Armando Maggi The vision startson 17 May 1585. The Word Himself warns Maria Maddalena of the arduous task she is going to face.. Unigenitum Filium tuum pro redentione humana. The writers assume that she must be looking at the corpse of the Word lying on the ground. and during that time you were in limbo in the Father'sbosom. (2:287)9 The actual vision thus starts with an act of identification. After reporting the mystic's first words. during this time the mystery of the Trinity will be fulfilled. Maria Maddalena enters this vision at "the 2Ist hour. yes." According to the nuns. 'cause it'll be two nights and one day [. The mystic is at the same time the Virgin and herself as she acts the role of the Virgin. (2:286) As the passage clearly shows.. the transcribersstate that she kept quiet for a long while." whereas the Word has been/is buried at "the 24th hour.The words themselves are repeated and varied throughout both portions of the text. cannot hear Him. and that she pronounces the following words in the person of the Virgin Mary: Offero tibi Pater per omnem creaturamSanguinem quem effundit ipsum Oh Father. Her . reenacting the death of the Word by constantly shifting temporal categories. Maria Maddalena is going to perform a solo mystery play.]. sure! [silence] Oh yes. She reminds the Word of the fact that now he was not in the sepulchre yet. until Sunday morning. so long? [silence] forty hours I mean. The Word asksher to follow Him into His sepulchre. (2:286) The nuns stress that these words are in fact a dialogue between the mystic and the Word." After inserting their a posteriori interpretations of the dynamics of the forthcoming/past vision. in the sepulchre. Oh eternal Word. I'll get there myself later. At "the 22nd hour" the mystic kneels down on the floor with hands crossed and head downcast. you were not in the sepulchre at this time. A third passage concludes this sort of proem: Oh yes. (2:285) The entire vision thus "takes place" in the Word's tomb and is a meditation on the Word's corpse and on the act of dying.
come take it" [2:290]). She actsherself as a bodyin pain: exclusively Oh Word.. she is erased in the act of performing.""2 This constant transformationof performed identities is a basic trait of Maria Maddalena's text." or "I. whose name "Mary"is clearly stated on the page. Moreover. Maria Maddalena articulatesher sorrow by referring to the Word both as "my Son and my Groom" (2:287). The nuns are adamant about this. she first talks in the person of the Mother ("Come. I will pronouncethe good Indeed. Maria Maddalena has no identity by herself. choir in the chapel.she must articulate/summon a dead word. This is one important aspect of the liminal performances of the Florentine visionary." Otherwise. After having meditated upon the Word's corpse.."and finally the "Father. the mystic enters a diegetic performance. the Word. The Word is a reminder. Maria Maddalena does not exist within the performance. The mystic's performative identity is given to her by the anonymous writer(s) who see(s) her vision as a form of "translation"of a pictorial image onto a body performance. the mystic herself has no name. she walks to the word. They state that the mystic's movements remind them of some Pieta--the cliched image of the Word's deposition from the cross. The editor(s)/transcriber(s)/narrator(s) ther as "one. The main performer of the vision acts "in-between identities. This essential anonymity/liminality of the text primarily involves the divinity. I will belchforth.. myJesus. While she kisses the floor as if. Angels.I mean.] please. with his mother and the other pious women bent over his body ("she seemed as if she had before her one of those images of Jesus when he is removed from the cross. the nuns point out. one must remember. then she is a virgin. by becoming/identifying with/playing the role of the Virgin. what are we going to do without our Love? [si- . you. However. at the most she is called "the blessed soul. the Spouse of the Word: "I prided myself on having an immortal Groom and now I see them bury you [. no more offenses [silence] no more offenses [silence] where are Oh Word. after contemplating the sinceI holdyou in my corpse of the Word. take and bury my Son and your Creator [. goodJesus? [silence] (2:3 I)" Therefore. is the description of an occurred absence. The mystic takes up several (fictional) identities. a sense of guilt for the mystic. she is a physicality that allows the performance to perform itself at random. she seems to be cleaning the Word's corpse of his clogged blood and of the spit of the Roman soldiers. Her identity is the diegetic flux of the performance itself." Her name "MariaMaddalena"is totallyabsentfrom I colloqui.Florentine Mystic I15 gestures express despair. heart."? I colloqui is thus a text performed in complete anorefer to herself/themselves einymity. later the "Magdalen. so much pain [silence] Oh goodJesus. The choir beh comes the sepulchre of the Word. We must keep in mind that the meaning of her gestures is the result of an interpretation. later she discards her identification with the Mother." or "we. performing is a paradigm of liminality" (Schechner 1985:295). the mystic addresses the Magdalen: "Oh Magdalen. Her performanceis a paradox. Expressing her despair before that dead body. in this sense. thegoodWord. (1:12) She mimes the act of deposing a body on the floor and says: "The head will be here" (2:290). as one sees in some Pieta" [2:287]). starting from the Virgin." although we have no clue who this "I" is. the nuns write.]. the Word is a non-Word. The entire text.. is a nonexistent presence. she were kissing that corpse.
Only invisible presences are allowed to be called by their names (Magdalen. please come in!"). It is crucial at this point to discuss the absence of the name of the third performer. Then. "Jesus. a first name says nothingand everything of its object (25). Peter. "The dead. all-erasing saying.the mystic. "Jesus"is the annihilation of any diegetic performance. in a similar when she performsthe absence of the manner. I colloqui. "Jesus"is not a first name of someone whose first name is "Jesus. You know." or "good Jesus" all signify a despair that imposes itself as an absolute. In other words. come here."However. the performer(the mystic) is there Word. my daughter" (2:292).. both presencesand silenced bodies. every first name is a Peirciean index-a sign that refersto an object in a "dynamicway" since it refers both to the object itself and to the memory of that object (like a hole in a wall might be a reminder of a bullet)-we may infer that a first name is similar to a gesture that at the same time signifies and shows its object. Therefore. he has forgiven Magdalen." Whereas during the diegetic sections of the vision-the mystery play concerning the burial of the Son of God-the mystic addresses the second person of the Trinity as "the Word" (thus summoning His nonpresence. his being as a "rotten" corpse). John. Maria Maddalena enters the nuns' scriptorium. Peter. Magdalen. However.. I colloqui transcribers who perform their own biography by withdrawing from the performer'sperformance.""Jesus"is the name of someone else's disquiet. "the subject. come in. The text is grounded on an absence. even if this object is absent (I97I:24). and Joseph step into her room. The transcribers by quoting the other and by appropriating reveal themselves by exposing the performerto her performance. he is benign. The performer without a name performs/utters an absent word/Word. better yet."or "my Jesus. "Jesus"and "the Word" thus indicate two different "objects. As Marin states. That the deceased Word in vision 48 possesses no given identity is evident by the way the mystic uses His two "first" names.. At least in the first section of vision 48. rotten body is this thing that no longer has any name in any language [. although you have betrayed my Word. when she embodies her self in her expressions of sheer pain she pronounces the term "Jesus. the Word Himself. Jacob. this text is the biography of a performer (the mystic) who performs the biograis also the auto-biographyof the phy of a void (the Word). in the scriptorium the deceased is commemorated by his family and his friends. which in her "mystery play" becomes the Virgin's house. Here she meets with her Son/Groom's disciples (2:293). and he will forgive you as well" (2:293-94). the mystic. as Marin underscores.'3 The act of performing one's self and being performed through one's own performance is one of the major aspects of Linda Montano's video Mitchell's . "Jesus"is not an index. is the biography of a void. John. The burial has already taken place in the chapel. and in particularvision 48. Peter. The vision/narration in fact revolves around a silent/silenced corpse. the 'I' constitutes itself the other" (1981:46). John ("Oh John.I 6 Armando Maggi lence]Be hopeful. and Joseph pay a respectful visit to the Mother/ Spouse of their dead friend. This is a crucial element of MariaMaddalena's performance.as. the Word enacts the mystic's guilt for being unable to summon His being. Peter arrives first: "Come in. come.] and the unnamed God has vanished together with this unnameable thing" (Nancy 1994:18). Then. etc. who makes the mystic perceive His presence as guilt." "The Word" exists as an absent actor of a mystery play. "the Word" and "Jesus.). to hold a diegetic discourseon His nonbeing. and the nuns are both performersand performed. If. its diegesis acts out the Word's erasure. the Word. Maria Maddalena mimes the act of accompanying the invisible Peter to a chair. Jacob. walking as if she were participating in a funeral. or. and if he has forgiven you I forgive you myself.Is "the Word" a first name? "The Word" is an index that points to a void and that obliges the erasedmain performer.
Mitchell's death is embodied in a breath: "Don't be afraidMitchell it's ok pups go on don't be scared surrenderwhatever fearsyou are experiencing are only illusions go on and don't fear don't worry no more worry [. She is merely a voice among other voices. which is secondary to the act of "giving life" to silence itself. Through an electronic device Montano's voice echoes as if she were a member of a chorus. the subject memorializes the Word's absence by reproducing that absence in the physicality of his/her voice. in heaven. More than remembering the Word.) mourning over his occurred absence. Indeed. Montano's voice has a repetitious in(2:311-12) tonation.. She speaks as if she were reciting the rosary in a Catholic church. Montano's monotonous recitation does not have a specific addressee. We have seen that Maria Maddalena is aware of the fact that. in addition to those rhythmical pauses present at the end I'm on earthor way. In fact. The "mysteries"repeated throughout the rosary revolve around a death-the Word's withdrawal from the world-and the "others"' (his mother's. Like Maria Maddalena's discourse. The speakerbreathesin and out the "stations"of her narrated void (Montano's calling up her friends to tell them about Mitchell's death.]. her moments of sudden despairand fatigue. Both Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi and Linda Montano perform a death (the Word. she studied to become a nun (Shank I979:44). Silence does have a "story. A fore in the bodyand thenin thesoul. etc. a monologue recounting the moments after her husband's suicide or accidental death. Similarly. [. Montano's husband) and are performed through their "silencing" voices. her words are often blurred.Florentine Mystic I 17 Death. do not follow a narrative/ rhetoricalpattern... his disciples'.." a plot. Montano reads a text into a microphone without looking at her audience." to appropriate that very void. although she is compelled to speak. Montano gazes at her husband's corpse: I can't believe what I'm seeing his face bloated a bit certainly distorted a hole the size of a silver dollar on his right cheek his face intact but so changed a pink putty fills the hole little pieces of it in his hair his eyebrows ruffled not neat toJobthat Oh. Montano speaksan absence to an absence. The event narratedis a void articulatedby a voice that aims to "absorb. her speaking will not give a body to the Word.] MyJesus. like the Florentine mystic. Montano knows the rhythm and the cadence of the rosary.it is through breathing that the void is narrated. Maria Maddalena participates in the Word's funeral. Montano's brief silences. like Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi.[silence] I don'tknowwhether of each "mystery" of the rosary.. the Magdalen's. her driving to KansasCity to attend his funeral). Montano's words are a litany. it will happento me whathappened everything impassive not mowasproved first in his thingsand thenin himself bile like sleep but too still for [siare I Mitchell sleep you asleep in the neighbors and thenin myselfbelence] before touch his arm [. Montano repeats her words with no actual pathos. Both of them speak in order to originate silence. her narration will not summon her husband's presence. (1987) Reading this passagecould be misI don'tknowif you wantthe bodytofinish in this leading.]" (1987). indistinct. The comparison between Montano's monologue and Maria Maddalena'silluminates some fundamental elements of both performers' "philosophy of language." In the act of reciting the rosary. moreover. . in hell or in the abyss. litany is a speech with no silences that only articulatessilence.. the subject does not focus on the content of his/her saying.
" Her broken discourse begins as follows: Oh. Good Jesus. she speaks as the Father (2:314).. my Beloved. she lowers the tone of her voice to a barely audible mumbling (2:299). [silence] Oh good Jesus. good Jesus [silence] I perceive neither you yes. to the . [silence] Oh good if I ascend to heaven you'll be there. "as if she were dismembering herself inside. exclaiming: "Yes.. in the soul. By recognizing the other's/the Word's nonexistence. "one must fulfill three conditions. you know it. Whereas so far the vision has focused on the Word's corpse. in "colloquio" 48. she shivers and whispers. All of a sudden. before in the body and then in the soul. you want it. the mystic stands up and opens the window. "My Spouse. The devils expose the mystic to "the vortices in which the body that lets loose its hold on the levels of the world [.] I'm a nothingness [. in hell or in the abyss. and blood. and in the blood" (2:313).. if Jesus. the Body. Communion equals physicality. She is no longer the Mother/Spouse. her tongue. [silence] nor myself. her mystical performance acquires a drastic shift. [silence] are you coming? [silence] Oh good Jesus. and the Word's blood. why are you waiting so long?" When she takes Communion. The mystic startscommenting on the nature of "the Soul.. and the Blood. She defends herself by throwing the "bad angels" out of the window down into the courtyard: Go [silence] and he sublimatedour yell. [. (2:300) Her fight with the devils introduces the most dramatic passage of the text." all of a sudden Maria Maddalena has acquired a male voice.] gets drawn" (Lingis 1994:23). Indeed.. my Lover. it's clear to me. The Father is entitled to specify the modalities of the soul's purification. the mystic's body "becomes the double of the other. [silence] I don't know whether I'm on earth or in heaven. yes.].] My Jesus.I 8 ArmandoMaggi Maria Maddalena considered silence a crucial element of her performances. now it relates the word of the Father. the visionary is being attacked by a horde of devils. it will happen to me what happened to Job that was proved first in his things and then in himself [silence] before in the neighbors and then in myself. her mouth. Maria Maddalena'sbody startsshaking and wriggling. If I am in you. [.." putting itself "wholly in the place of the death that gapes open for the other" (Lingis I994:18I).. The nuns write that "one could understandwhat she was seeing better through her gestures and movements than through the words she was saying" (2:299-300). [silence] Who has ever seen such a speed?" According to the nuns. The sepulchre (the choir in the chapel) contains nothing but a mute body.14 The transcribers are astounded by the fact that. [silence] Oh You that walk tell if me someone has ever suffered good Jesus. tell me. I don't know if you want the body to finish in this way. [silence] by like me. The mystic is "enlightened" by the devils.. In order to "be ready. (2:311-12) Still engrossed in her vision. you you purity. blood. after having met with her Son's/Groom's disciples. The mystic "lends" her female body. in the body. The devils have instilled in the mystic's mind the awareness of the Word's irrevocable death. confused before but now in everything [silence]and he placed them in hell. [silence] My Jesus. [silence] Oh goodJesus [silence] Oh good are all Love but are all Oh Word. scream as much as you want [silence] humanity with their confusion [silence] nothing more is known. after speaking of "soul. Throughout the celebration. Maria Maddalena participates in the night Mass. [silence] Oh good Jesus. yes [silence] I descend to hell there you are. when Jesus." the mystic says. body." For Maria Maddalena.
A "clausio. His discourse is intersected by two different kinds of aside discourses: the mystic's (female) voice. courtesyof Armaindo MaeOi) Father who states His Law. He divides it into several sections (divisions). death.'s However. and then He amplifies them in specific subchapters (distinctions). Following the structure of the so-called sermon practiced/theorized by the German mystic and preacher "9thematic" Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300--I36I). the extremely long and convoluted sermon is performed by a body deprived of a fixed identity/sexuality." a sort of summary of both divisions and distinctions. and the "acts" that the dead Word "operated"/"operates" in His. who often asks herself/the (male) preacher to repeat and to clarify his sentences because they are too "hard"for . After having announced the theme of his sermon. the Word's.Florentine Mystic I9 de' I The youngCatarina Pazzi was the daughter of Father's~Florentine before ~~~~~~~~~~~clusively. the nobility shejoined the convent SantaMariadegliAngeli as MariaMaddalena in (Photo 1582. the Father makes use of two basic rhetorical devices: dilation and amplification. The mystic performs a male preacher who delivers a well-articulated speech concerning two major themes: the procedures necessary to attain an interior purity. bosom during the three days of His. will lead to a brief closing prayer (see Schmidt I985). From now on the text is essentially. the Father's sermon. but not ex clusively. the Father's.
and thus cannot help interrupting her (male) monologue with expressions of despair. . man is entitled to "read" the signs that his (the Father's. etc. "Her [Bornstein's] monologs traded among shifting. In other words. witches. It is crucial to remember that the Father's "violation" of the female body has occurred when the mystic suffered from intense physical pains and then came into contact (through Communion) with the divinity's flesh. For that matter. It is also important to remember that in the Renaissance a shifting sexuality." In another case of possession.. Second. I find a stunning similitude between the Florentine mystic's sexual ambiguity and "the postmodern dissociation of presence and discourse." is a field upon which masculinity performs itself. "possession [became] a kind of hypermasculine caricature" (I994:I9I).. The mystic "lends" her female body. In both cases the female sexual identity becomes a caricature of the masculine one when a "superior. a suspicious entity whose actual nature and destiny are defined by the male addressee of the woman's performance itself (the judges of the Inquisition. coarse. her mouth. heavy. swearing and whoring. In fact." and the other "strange. masculine snuffling and rasping. Roper underscores that the "witch" "display[ed] all the emblems of the classic male vices-drinking.] The possessed woman had two voices. a "constructed identity. both "blessed" and "damned." male presence enters her body. and the mystic's (female) expressions directed to the Word's corpse. gender. the mystic's confessor. liminal presence the woman. layered on a body that has experienced all of these constructions" (1989:66). In this sort of transsexual. possessed souls). [. one her normal voice. the Devil spoke through her "with a coarse and almost masculine voice. the Devil's) "writing" has marked on the woman's physical self. Recounting the trial of a possessed woman in Germany at the end of the I6th century." as Jill Dolan says about the performances of the male-to-female transsexual Kate Bornstein. the mystic also is/performs the (female) soul who at moments feels lost because of "her Word"'s absence." as Dolan says.). First. and the Word's relation to the (female) soul." [. to the Father who states His Law. the deceased Groom of the (male) Father's (female) audience.] The success of the exorcism was proven when the woman resumed her feminine persona. The similarities between Maria Maddalena's performances and that of the possessed are undeniable. feminine and virginal.I20 Armando Maggi her. "natural.. who imposes His discourse/narration on/of the Word.small.. she is herself a female disciple/daughter who listens to the Father. unnatural. constructed identities. The woman becomes a hybrid. her tongue. was usually seen as the mark of a demonic body (devils. the possessed woman reversed her gender: Instead of using [the woman's] female voice and comportment. in this final section of her vision the mystic performs two double performances at the same time. The Father thus enters her body in order to impose His discourse about physicality. now it relates the word of the Father. As Lyndal Roper points out. hunting." (Roper 1994:176) Whereas so far the vision has focused on the Word's corpse.
MALE VOICE: Oh my daughter and Spouse of my Only Begotten. his sacrificialobject. gazing at me it was clarified with an immense clarification [. and what kind of contemplation do you. The preacher says that the soul of the dead Word "operated his operations" by contemplating Him. to the grave. guardian of the phallus. The Father's the Wordas a manifestation gaze performs of the Law. Father. through the Word's contemplation. the Word is the Word's soul. and the contemplations" performed by the dead Son in His bosom. body who "operates"in the male bosom during its own death) belongsto the Father. The mystic/preacher stresses that. Let us compare two brief passages from the last section of the vision.do in him? How does he contemplate?Please.]. The only form of unexpected improvisation present within the text/sermon is. As Helene Cixous reminds us. In his Father's speech. In a similar way. body as resurrectionof/from the body. (2:337) The core of the Father's sermon is the long description of the effects of the Word's contemplation and of the Father's gaze upon the Word's soul. "the soul must keep its frailty" (2:3I6). He will amplify each section in specific subsections (2:317). He is going to examine the "acts. the Father.. oblivion and silence. Without embracing its fragility. [. The second topic of the Father's speech is indeed the "operations" of the (dead) Word's soul in the Father'sbosom. the Word is not the incarnate Word. Moreover. dead and "active" in his Father'sbosom. As a consequence. These two sources nourish both . And what kind of contemplationdoes the Word do in you. the asylum. a dissected corpse any longer. After stating the theme of his forthcoming sermon. what is this infusion. insofar as He first annihilates the woman by violating her "voice" and then denies the Word his diegetic status of (dead) body.. the preacher holds that. incomprehensible and unfathomable to you. the discourse about the body (body as corpse. The "soul" asks the Father to clarify a point that she has not understood: FEMALEVOICE: Oh eternal Father. thus. the words. And when his Soul entered my bosom.. The mystic's panic breaks the discourse of the Father and thus the performance of His Law. which is His being itself.A female "voice" cannot pronounce the sermon of the body. tell me. performs a corpse's performance. the preacher divides it into four sections. and by being contemplated by the Father. Let us summarize this pivotal point: An erased/female body performs the male Law that is allowed.I]t is always necessary for a woman to die in order for the play to begin. Indeed. Interestingly enough the mystic is addressed by herself/the male preacher as "the soul"."one of blood and one of milk. please pay attention if you want to understand what I am going to tell you now. the Father creates two "springs. Only when she is disappearedcan the curtain go up. to obtain a flawless purity. female expression of disquiet for the Word's death. (1984:546) The first theme of the Father's sermon revolves around the acquisition of a perfect purity. My Word does a contemplation that is an immense contemplation. the soul cannot earn the Father's purity. the advices. her erased identity becomes even more impalpable. in which no disruptive improvisation We may say that the Father erases both the female and the male physicality. without its frailty the soul has no being. tell me please. she is relegated to repression. the sudden.. theatre has always asked the woman to perform her own annihilation: [The woman] is always the Father's daughter.Florentine Mystic I21 In Maria Maddalena's visionary performance.
The Father has conceived of his speech as a sermon. The mystic does say that she is seeing the resurrectedJesus ("Oh my Word and Spouse. The text has become opaque. the (female) soul suddenly remembers that. In other words.. you narrated your operations. It is also important to note that the mystic's gestures have disappearedfrom the text. The negated body of the performer is in fact the negated spatiality of the text itself. the body/subject "is not exactly a point but a place. [silence]Yes. However. as the mystic herself states. the male discourse rejects any form of improvisation. and then to limbo [silence]and I don't know.]. The vision concludes with the resurrection of the Savior. the mystic may "speak" the Savior's victory over death. The Father speaks in the name of the Institution. come back to glorify the body in the sepulchre [. The Virgin.. he "narrates"it to His Mother: "Oh. but she also stresses that the Word "is visiting" his Mother and that the "soul" (the mystic's soul? whose soul?) must follow the Father's instructions if she wants to be visited by the Word (2:369). The negated body of the performeris in fact the negated spatiality of the text itself. even the devils appear on the "stage" for a final salute to the performer/audience. The absence of improvisation (for instance.. the Father has molded the mystic's discourse. As we have pointed out. yes. the structure/ ideology of the speech itself is male-gendered. As Gilles Deleuze states. Once she has embodied the Father's discourse." The mystic is both the soul who has already married the Word and the soul who wishes to be al- . After 15 pages of an uninterrupted (male) speech. while she is listening to this sermon. the Word/Jesus does not perform His resurrection in the mystic. the mystic's sudden exclamations. [.. a site. or ratherwhat remainsof the point of view" (I994:19). a position. Since she has incorporated the Father's Law. [silence]Oh lack of time [silence]Oh Soul of the Word. John. Improvisationdisturbsthe structureof the male sermon. (2:353) A final change occurs in the text at this point. her miming the battle with the devils) negates the creation within the text of "a symbolic interpretive space" (Smith I995:42). the mystic is allowed to go back to her diegetic performance.A] subject will be what comes to the point of view.122 Armando Maggi the "soul" and the Church. The male voice disappears. oh my soul. The other invisible characters also come back. the Word is still in the tomb: FEMALE VOICE: But. the style of the mystic's monologue becomes eloquent and solemn. Even though the transcribersfail to mark the gender of the speaker. they will generate admiration and love in us" (2:368). the Soul must go to the sepulchre to glorify the body. her bodily performances. her moving from one room to another. The vision thus ends as the Father's sermon was supposed to end: by reminding the audience of the procedures necessary to attain a perfect internal purity. The conclusion of the sermon is performed by a female "voice" that develops the themes initiated by the Father. and now you narrate your operations to Mary. His Law/springs "sprinkles"the Church and makes it "fructify" (2:352). remember that he is in the sepulchre. the mystic herself carries on the male discourse. The nuns do not report her movements anymore. you love the Word so much. Magdalen. which equals a perfect internal "fragility. how beautiful you are!").
B."I refer to Victor Turner'snotion of an intermediaryfield that spansacrosstwo or more areasof performativity." With the word "liminal. Pozzi (I984).." Io. made visible.using varioustypes of signs and media organizedaround the action of human performersin a homogeneous and thematically unified way. for every creature the blood that your Only Begotten shed for the human redemption.(I987: 65.and was publishedin Florence in 1609. of play. I do not translatesentences that the mystic pronounces in Latin. the text is the instability of the performer's identity."Although Worthen astutely interpretsBarthes'snotion of text as "the field of the signifier. Her being as spatiality is made of remnants. One more time. of textuality. The nuns openly recognize their intrusionin the mystic's discoursein I colloqui (1:320). I . in MariaMaddalena"eructare" primarily means"give linguisticexpression" to the Word. Notes will indicate the volume and page number. one of her confessors. when the soul is full with God's grace. images of previous performances/performers/ narrations. Here I refer to Richard Schechner's response to W. "Eructare" is a synonymfor "speaking.elite. The expression"to belch forth the good word" has a totally differentmeaningin Saint Bernard'sOn the Songof Songs.into a solo monologue/ performancethat denies any audience. In the Old Testament "God's invisible presence is asserted. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi is and is not herself.] As in the translationof literarytexts. Furthercitations for I colloqui 2. I colloquiperforms the ungrounded foundations of any performance. i966b). national. and a nondiegetic structuring of time and space. As Darko Suvin writes: Happeningsare a genre of theatrespectacle. [. 4. Father.. or international). of production" (I995:I5). . For my translationI use the sole edition of the mystic'svisions: Tuttele Opere(196o-I966). 69) Maria Maddalena"translates" the deposition. Secondin (I974).artistic. Worthen's "Discipline of the Text/Site of Performance.In sermon 67. immigrant. (I995 [I97o]:294-95) 9. debris. The mystic attempts to "utter" the Word by summoning identities." provides one example of contradictory/ambiguous/self-denying performativity. in the perceivable alterationsHe bringsabout in the human body" (ScarryI985:I83). memories. "spaces"that have the consistency of"pure" emptiness."He holds that. both a cliched painting and a group performance (the Catholic theatricalprocessionsof Good Friday). thus limiting the infinite which transcendthe theatricalstaging. she "belchesforth" the Word. 3. 5. 6. 8. 3-5. public. Joan Erdmanreminds us that Shankar: translatedthe dance from its informal presentation in the royal household and temple sanctuariesinto productions constructed in a Western format. I. I colloqui range of textual "performances. The first biography of the Saint was a brief report written by one of her sistersnine years before the Saint's death. Refer to Omniatraham ad me ipsum(John I2:32) and Et delitiemeeessecumfilijshominum (Proverbs8:3 ). The translations of I colloqui used in this paper are from my forthcoming Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi: Selected Revelations. I borrow these basic biographical elements from the following texts: Catena (i966a. The differencebetween MariaMaddalena's interpretation and SaintBernard's is apparent: whereasin SaintBernardthe act of belching out the Word signifiesthat the soul is content with His grace.Florentine Mystic 123 lowed to marry the Word.scholarly. Speaking of the Indian dancer-choreographer Uday Shankar. 7. The first actual biography was composed by Vincenzo Puccini. a translationof performanceis for a particular time (one's own) and audience (whether literary. he equals "text" with "play on stage" (Schechner I995b:37). Saint Bernardactuallyinterpretsthe verb "eructare" as "to belch forth. In the first part of this excerpt Maria Maddalenasays: "I will offer you. physicalities.
in 1985. Following the gnostic tradition. thrown into absolute solitude. Minneapolis: 1994 University of Minnesota Press. Grotowski's "theater"revisions. Translatedby Tom Conley. Erickson. both Grotowski and Maria Maddalenaare in search for the "direct experience." (1995:4o-42) Ziiek refers to Lacan's"Subversionof the Subject and Dialecti of Desire" (1977:317). Gilles The Fold: Leibnizand the Baroque. On Tauler's presence in Italy. like MariaMaddalena's "is not easy to verbalize" (IO5). which guaranteesthe subject's access to reality: in the experience of the death of God.] My personal experience of being abandoned by God thus overlapswith the despairof Christ himself at being abandonedby the divine Father."as he started calling his work when he moved to Pontedera.Rome: Edizioni del Carmelo. Jill 1989 "In Defense of the Discourse.. Erdman." Carmelus 13:21-95. Cixous.As one of Grotowski'sperformers writes in his privatediary: Saturday. I examine the crucial role played by the term "blood" in the mystic's raptures in "Blood as Languagein the Visions of Saint MariaMaddalenade' Pazzi" (I995). Thus. According to Zbigniew Osinski. I 1987 (Ti I3):64-88. He told me to see if I could perceive any type of spirit in the yurt. Indeed. MI: 1980 CistercianPublications. abandonedby the Father. 13. Kalamazoo. 4:546-48. see Walz (1961)." TDR 35. we are dealing with the suspension of the big Other. Helene "Allera la mer. "Performance as Translation: Uday Shankar in the West. I can identify with Christ on the Cross. Kennedy (1980:190-92). Herbert "The Surpassing 1991 Body. May 5: During a heavy dance-song sequence Jerzy extracted me from the group and asked me to sit in the yurt.124 Armando Maggi 12. [. Italy. 15. we stumble upon the fact that "the big Other does not exist. his work sponds to "a special calling" (I99I:99). SantaMariaMaddalena de' Pazzi carmelitana.Jon 1992 "The Spectacle of the Anti-Spectacle:Happeningsand the SituationistInternational..] In Lacanianterms.] He said that both he and another member had seen something. A certainmysticalcharacter is certainlypresentin Grotowski'sperformances." TDR 33. Carmelo C. some sort of spirit. Blau. orientamenti ed ambiente in I966b spirituali cui visse."Discourse 14. [." TDR 31.. 145) 14.Joan L.. . 2:36-58. we may say that MariaMaddalenaindirectly performsone more identificationwith the Word himself. "Ambiente del monastero di Santa Maria degli Angeli ai tempi di Santa 1966a MariaMaddalenade' Pazzi. Translated by Irene Edmonds. Dolan. 3 (TI23):58-71. 1984 Deleuze.. References Bernardof Clairvaux On the Song of Songs. when I am driven to despair. Catena. (Winterbottom 1991:142." Modern Drama27. and Murphy (1974:269-355). 2 (TI30):74-98." the sudden contact with a nonhumanpresence. [. As Slavoj Zizek remindsus.. Interesting similarities can be found between Maria Maddalena's visions and Jerzy Grotowski's "ritual performances.
1-34." In Happenings and Other Acts. Shank. Bruno Visentin.2 vols.Translatedby Alphonso Lingis.Florentine Mystic Kennedy." In Thinking Zakarin.Chapel Hill: University of North CarolinaPress. Jean Luc 1994 Bodies. Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and SecularTraditionfrom Ancientto Modern I980 Times. New York: PaulistPress.Aubier Montaigne:Editions du Cerf. Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress. Lingis. MariaMaddalenade' I96o-I966a I colloqui. Lyndal and theDevil.CA: StanfordUniversity Press. Louis de la Passion. Videorecording. Bruno Visentin. Paris:editions galilee." 1995 Rivistadi letterature moderne e comparate 3:219-35.Translatedby 1977 Alan Sheridan.Jacques "Subversion of the Subject and Dialecti of Desire.216-I8." In Ecrits. Alphonso Bodies.Josef "Introduction.2 vols. de' Pazzi: Selected Revelations. In Bad Attitude. London: Routledge. Levinas. edited by Mariellen R. New York: Video Data 1987 Bank.James in theMiddleAges. 1985 by John Tauler.New York: W. Florence: Curiae Archip. 1971 Semiotique La voix excommuniee. Stanford. Esperienzae dottrina. Giovanni Leparoledell'estasi. 1994 Oedipus Scarry. I995a "Happenings. Sandford. Murphy.Tutte le opere. Pozzi.London: Routledge. Secondin. I (TI45):36-38. 1984 Roper.edited by Juliet Flower MacCannel and Laura "Corpus. Tutte le opere. Bruno de' Pazzi. Giulio Agresti.Rome: Edizioni del Santa MariaMaddalena 1974 Carmelo. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Armando "Blood as Language in the Visions of Saint Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi. 1985 Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.W. Linda Mitchell'sDeath. 1979 125 . Edited by Bruno Nardini. George A. New York: PaulistPress."TDR 23. 1981 Montano. Norton & Co. Carlo Catena. I960-I966b Carlo Catena. 1991 Pazzi. The I98I Hague: MartinusNijhoff.Elaine The BodyIn Pain. Milan: Adelphi. 1985 Schechner. Giulio Agresti. Lacan. Edited by Bruno Nardini. Schmidt. Florence:Curiae Archip. I (T8I):43-48. Probatione. forthcoming MariaMaddalena Marin. 1994 Foreign Maggi. New York: Routledge.17-3 I. Zbigniew "GrotowskiBlazes the Trails. Rhetoric 1974 Nancy. Richard BetweenTheaterand Anthropology." TDR 35 I (TI29):95-III."In Sermons.Emmanuel Otherwise than Being or BeyondEssence. Osinski." TDR 39. I995b "Response. Theodore "LindaMontano's AutobiographicalPerformance.
A."TDR 35. W. ein Deutscher 371-95. 3 (TI47):4I-55. I (TI29):140-54. New York: CambridgeUniversity Press. "Two Yearsbefore the Master. London: Routledge."TDR 39. Gedenkschriftzum 600. Walz. Suvin." TDR 39." In Johannes Tauler. Essen:n. .126 Armando Maggi Smith. He is currentlystudying Renaissance performancesof exorcism. I1 fermo fluire delse.Jr. I (TI45):13-28. 8-I8. Turner. Renaissance neoplatonism. Darko 1995 [I970] "Reflections On Happenings. Armando Maggi is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published several articles on female mysticism. 1995 of Enjoyment. Winterbottom.M. edited by MariellenR.B. His volume. Victor "Are There Universalsof Performancein Myth. 1991 Worthen. 1961 "Tauler im italienischen Sprachraum. will be published in 1998 by Longo. and romancephilology. Ritual. a study of Renaissance emblematic literature.a. and Drama?"In By 1990 Meansof Performance. Sandford. Luso-Brazilian poetry. edited by Richard Schechner and Willa Appel. Christopher "A Sense of the Possible: Miles Davis and the Semiotics of Improvised Per1995 formance. Slavoj TheMetastases London: Verso. Philip." In Happeningsand Other Acts. Zizek. Todestag. 1995 "Discipline of the Text/Site of Performance.289-309. Mystiker.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.