Contemporary Critical Theories.

A Reader

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1. FORM AND STRUCTURE

1.1

FORMALISM

1.1.1

Victor Shklovsky: from ‘Art as Technique’

‘Art is thinking in images.’ This maxim, which even high-school students parrot, is nevertheless the starting point for the erudite philologist who is beginning to put together some kind of systematic literary theory. The idea, originated in part by Potebnya, has spread. ‘Without imagery there is no art, and in particular no poetry’, Potebnya writes. And elsewhere, ‘Poetry, as well as prose, is first and foremost a special way of thinking and knowing’.1[...] Potebnya’s conclusion, which can be formulated ‘poetry equals imagery’, gave rise to the whole theory that ‘imagery equals symbolism’, that the image may serve as the invariable predicate of various subjects. [...] The conclusion stems partly from the fact that Potebnya did not distinguish between the language of poetry and the language of prose. Consequently, he ignored the fact that there are two aspects of imagery: imagery as a practical means of thinking, as a means of placing objects within categories; and imagery as poetic, as a means of reinforcing an impression. I shall clarify with an example. I want to attract the attention of a young child who is eating bread and butter and getting the butter on her fingers. I call, ‘Hey, butterfingers!’ This is a figure of speech, a clearly prosaic trope. Now a different example. The child is playing with my glasses and drops them. I call, ‘Hey, butterfingers!’ This figure of speech is a poetic trope. (In the first example, ‘butterfingers’ is metonymic; in the second, metaphoric - but this is not what I want to stress.)
1 Alexander Potebnya ([ed.] nineteenth-century Russian philologist and theorist), Iz zapisok po teorii slovesnosti [Notes on the Theory of Language] (Kharkov, 1905), pp. 83, 97.

Poetic imagery is a means of creating the strongest possible impression. As a method it is, depending upon its purpose, neither more nor less effective than other poetic techniques; it is neither more nor less effective than ordinary or negative parallelism, comparison, repetition, balanced structure, hyperbole, the commonly accepted rhetorical figures, and all those methods which emphasize the emotional effect of an expression (including words or even articulated sounds). [...] Poetic imagery is but one of the devices of poetic language. If we start to examine the general laws of perception, we see that as perception becomes habitual, it becomes automatic. Thus, for example, all of our habits retreat into the area of the unconsciously automatic; if one remembers the sensations of holding a pen or of speaking in a foreign language for the first time and compares that with his feeling at performing the action for the ten thousandth time, he will agree with us. [...] y^f04[...] Habitualization devours works, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war. [...] And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important. [...] After we see an object several times, we begin to recognize it. The object is in front of us and we know about it, but we do not see it - hence we cannot say anything significant about it. Art removes objects from the automatism of perception in several ways. Here I want to illustrate a way used repeatedly by Leo Tolstoy, that writer who [...] seems to present things as if he himself saw them, saw them in their entirety, and did not alter them. Tolstoy makes the familiar seem strange by not naming the familiar object. He describes an object as if he were seeing it for the first time, an event as if it were happening for the first time. In describing something

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he avoids the accepted names of its parts and instead names corresponding parts of other objects. For example, in ‘Shame’, Tolstoy ‘defamiliarizes’ the idea of flogging in this way: ‘to strip people who have broken the law, to hurl them to the floor, and to wrap on their bottoms with switches’, and, after a few lines, ‘to lash about on the naked buttocks’. Then he remarks: Just why precisely this stupid, savage means of causing pain and not any other - why not prick the shoulders or any part of the body with needles, squeeze the hands or the feet in a vise, or anything like that? I apologize for this harsh example, but it is typical for Tolstoy’s way of pricking the conscience. The familiar act of flogging is made unfamiliar both by the description and by the proposal to change its form without changing its nature. Tolstoy uses this technique of ‘defamiliarization’ constantly. [...] Now, having explained the nature of this technique, let us try to determine the approximate limits of its application. I personally feel that defamiliarization is found almost everywhere form is found. In other words, the difference between Potebnya’s point of view and ours is this: An image is not a permanent referent for those mutable complexities of life which are revealed through it; its purpose is not to make us perceive meaning, but to create a special perception of the object - it creates a ‘vision’ of the object instead of serving as a means for knowing it. [...] Quite often in literature the sexual act itself is defamiliarized; for example, the Decameron refers to ‘scraping out a barrel’, ‘catching nightingales’, ‘gay wool-beating work’, (the last is not developed in the plot). Defamiliarization is often used in describing the sexual organs. A whole series of plots is based on such a lack of recognition; for example, in Afanasyev’s Intimate Tales the entire story of ‘The Shy Mistress’ is based on the fact that an object is not called by its proper name - or, in other words, on a game of nonrecognition. So too in Onchukov’s ‘Spotted Petticoats’, tale no. 525, and also in ‘The Bare and the Hare’ from Intimate Tales, in which the bear and the hare make a ‘wound’. Such constructions as ‘the pestle and the mortar’, or ‘Old Nick and the infernal regions’ (Decameron), are also examples of the techniques of defamiliarization in psychological parallelism. Here, then, I repeat that the perception of disharmony in a harmonious context is important in parallelism. The purpose of parallelism, like the general purpose of imagery, is to transfer the usual perception of an object into the sphere of a new perception - that is, to make a unique semantic modification. In studying poetic speech in its phonetic and lexical structure as well as in its characteristic distribution of words and in the characteristic thought structures compounded from the words, we find everywhere the artistic trademark - that is, we find material obviously created to remove the automatism of perception; the author’s purpose is to create the vision which results from that deautomatised perception. A work is created ‘artistically’ so that its perception is impeded and the greatest possible effect is produced through the slowness of the perception. As a result of this lingering, the object is perceived not in its extension in space, but, so to speak, in its continuity. Thus ‘poetic language’ gives satisfaction.

1.1.2 Vladimir Propp: from Morphology of the Folktale

Let us first of all attempt to formulate our task. As already stated in the foreword, this work is dedicated to the study of fairy tales. The existence of fairy tales as a special class is assumed as an essential working hypothesis. By 'fairy tales' are meant at present those tales classified by Aarne under numbers 300 to 749. This definition is artificial, but the occasion will subsequently arise to give a more precise determination on the basis of resultant conclusions. We are undertaking a comparison of the themes of these tales. For the sake of comparison we shall separate the component parts of fairy tales by special methods; and then, we shall
Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale (University of Texas Press, Austin, 1968), pp. 19-22.

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make a comparison of tales according to their components. The result will be a morphology (i.e., a description of the tale according to its component parts and the relationship of these components to each other and to the whole). What method can achieve an accurate description of the tale? Let us compare the following events: 1. A tsar gives an eagle to a hero. The eagle carries the hero away to another kingdom. 2. An old man gives Suenko a horse. The horse carries Suenko away to another kingdom. 3. A sorcerer gives Ivan a little boat. The boat takes Ivan to another kingdom. 4. A princess gives Ivan a ring. Young men appearing from out of the ring carry Ivan away into another kingdom, and so forth. Both constants and variables are present in the preceding instances. The names of the dramatis personae change (as well as the attributes of each), but neither their actions nor functions change. From this we can draw the influence that a tale often attribute identical actions to various personages. This makes possible the study of the tale according to the functions of its dramatis personae. [...] The observations cited may be briefly formulated in the following manner: 1. Functions of characters serve as stable, constant elements in a tale, independent of how and by whom they are fulfilled. They constitute the fundamental components of a tale. 2. The number of functions known to the fairy tale is limited. If functions are delineated, a second question arises: in what classification and in what sequence are these functions encountered? [...] The sequence of events has its own laws. The short story too has similar laws, as do organic formations. Theft cannot take place before the door is forced. Insofar as the tale is concerned, it has its own entirely particular and specific laws. The sequence of elements, as we shall see later on, is strictly uniform. Freedom within this sequence is restricted by very narrow limits which can be exactly formulated. We thus obtain the third basic thesis of this work, subject to further development and verification:
The sequence of functions is always identical.

1.1.3 Mikhail Bakhtin: from ‘The Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse’

I [...] Five different stylistic approaches to novelistic discourse may be observed: (1) the author’s portions alone in the novel are analyzed, that is, only direct words of the author more or less correctly isolated - an analysis constructed in terms of the usual, direct poetic methods of representation and expression (metaphors, comparisons, lexical register, etc.); (2) instead of a stylistic analysis of the novel as an artistic whole, there is a neutral linguistic description of the novelist’s language;2 (3) in a given novelist’s language, elements characteristic of his particular literary tendency are isolated (be it Romanticism, Naturalism, Impressionism, etc.);3 (4) what is sought in the language of the novel is examined as an expression of the individual personality, that is, language is analyzed as the individual style of the given novelist;4 (5) the novel is viewed as a rhetorical genre, and its devices are analyzed from the point of view of their effectiveness as rhetoric.5
2 Such, for example, is L. Sainean’s book, La Langue de Rabelais (Paris, vol. 1, 1922; vol. 2, 1923). 3 Such, for example, is G. Loesch’s book, Die impressionistische Syntax der Goncourts (Nuremberg, 1919). 4 Of such a type are works of by the Vosslerians devoted to style: we should mention as especially worthwhile the works of Leo Spitzer on the stylistic of Charles-Louis Philippe, Charles Péguy and Marcel Proust, brought together in his book Stilstudien (vol. 2, Stilsprachen, 1928). 5 V. V. Vinogradov’s book On Artistic Prose [O xudozestvennoj proze] (Moscow-Leningrad, 1930) assumes this position.

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All these types of stylistic analysis to a greater or lesser degree are remote from those peculiarities that define the novel as a genre, and they are also remote from the specifis conditions under which the word lives in the novel. They all take a novelist’s language and style not as the language and style of a novel but merely as the expression of a specific individual artistic personality, or as the style of a particular literary school or finally as a phenomenon common to poetic language in general. The individual artistic personality of the author, the literary school, the general characteristics of poetic language or of the literary language of a particular era all serve to conceal from us the genre itself, with the specific demands it makes upon language and the specific possibilities it opens up for it. As a result, in the majority of these works on the novel, relatively minor stylistic variations - whether individual or characteristic of a particular school - have the effect of completely covering up the major stylistic lines determined by the development of the novel as a unique genre. And all the while discourse in the novel has been living a life that is distinctly its own, a life that is impossible to understand from the point of view of stylistic categories formed on the basis of poetic genres in the narrow sense of that term. The differences between the novel (and certain forms close to it) and all other genres - poetic genres in the narrow sense - are so fundamental, so categorical, that all attempts to impose on the novel the concepts and norms of poetic imagery are doomed to fail. Although the novel does contain poetic imagery in the narrow sense (primarily in the author’s direct discourse), it is of secondary importance for the novel. What is more, this direct imagery often acquires in the novel quite special functions that are not direct. Here, for example, is how Pushkin characterizes Lensky’s poetry [Evgenij Onegin, 2. 10, 1-4]: He sang love, he was obedient to love, And his song was as clear As the thoughts of a simple maid, As an infant’s dream, as the moon[...].6 (a development of the final comparison follows). The poetic images (specifically the metaphoric comparisons) representing Lensky’s ‘song’ do not here have any direct poetic significance at all. They cannot be understood as the direct poetic images of Pushkin himself (although formally, of course, the characterization is that of the author). Here Lensky’s ‘song’ is characterizing itself, in its own language, in its own poetic manner. Pushkin’s direct characterization of Lensky’s ‘song’ - which we find as well in the novel - sounds completely different [6. 23, 1]: Thus he wrote gloomily and languidly [...] . In the four lines cited by us above it is Lensky’s song itself, his voice, his poetic style that sounds, but it is permeated with the parodic and ironic accents of the author; that is the reason why it need not be distinguished from authorial speech by compositional or grammatical means. What we have before us is in fact an image of Lensky’s song, but not an image in the narrow sense; it is rather a novelistic image: the image of another’s language, in the given instance the image of another’s poetic style (sentimental and romantic). The poetic metaphors in these lines (‘as an infant’s dream’, ‘as the moon’ and others) no way function here as the primary means of representation (as they would function in a direct, ‘serious’ song written by Lensky himself); rather they themselves have here become the object of representation, or more precisely of a representation that is parodied and stylized. This novelistic image of another’s style (with the direct metaphors that it incorporates) must be
6 These lines and the following citations from Eugene Onegin are taken from Walter Arndt’s translation (New York: Dutton, 1963), slightly modified in places to correspond with Bakhtin’s remarks about particular words used. [Tr.] (Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, first published in Russia in 1831, is ‘a novel in verse’. The fact that it is written in verse does not, however, make it a poem rather than a novel in Bakhtin’s terms.)

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taken in intonational quotation marks within the system of direct authorial speech (postulated by us here), that is, taken as if the image were parodic and ironic. Were we to discard intonational question marks and take the use of metaphors here as the direct means by which the author represents himself, we would in so doing destroy the novelistic image [obraz] of another’s style, that is, destroy precisely that image that Pushkin, as novelist, constructs here. Lensky’s represented poetic speech is very distant from the direct word of the author himself as we have postulated it: Lensky’s language functions merely as an object of representation (almost as a material thing); the author himself is almost completely outside Lensky’s language (it is only his parodic and ironic accents that penetrate this ‘language of another’). [...] The image of another’s language and outlook on the world, simultaneously represented and representing, is extremely typical of the novel; the greatest novelistic images (for example, the figure of Don Quixote) belong precisely to this type. These descriptive and expressive means that are direct and poetic (in the narrow sense) retain their direct significance when they are incorporated into such a figure, but at the same time they are ‘qualified’ and ‘externalized’, shown as something historically relative, delimited and incomplete - in the novel they, so to speak, criticize themselves. [...] The author represents this language, carries on a conversation with it, and the conversation penetrates into the interior of this language-image and dialogizes it from within. And all essential novelistic images share this quality: they are internally dialogized images - of the languages, styles, world views of another (all of which are inseparable from their concrete linguistic and stylistic embodiment). The reigning theories of poetic imagery are completely powerless to analyze these complex internally dialogized images of whole languages. [...] The stylistic structure of Evgenij Onegin is typical of all authentic novels. To a greater or lesser extent, every novel is a dialogized system made up of the images of ‘langauges’, styles and consciousnesses that are concrete and inseparable from language. Language in the novel not only represents, but itself serves as the object of representation. Novelistic discourse is always criticizing itself. In this consists the categorical distinction between the novel and all straight-forward genres - the epic poem, the lyric and the drama (strictly conceived). All directly descriptive and expressive means at the disposal of these genres, as well as the genres themselves, become upon entering the novel an object of representation within it. Under conditions of the novel every direct word - epic, lyric, strictly dramatic - is to a greater or lesser degree made into an object, the word itself becomes a bounded [ogranicennij] image, one that quite often appears ridiculous in this framed condition. The basic tasks for a stylistics in the novel are, therefore: the study of specific images of languages and styles; the organization of these images; their typology (for they are extremely diverse); the combination of images of languages within the novelistic whole; the transfers and switchings of languages and voices; their dialogical interrelationships. The stylistics of direct genres, of the direct poetic word, offer us almost no help in resolving these problems. We speak of a special novelistic discourse because it is only in the novel that discourse can reveal all its specific potential and achieve its true depth. But the novel is comparatively recent genre. Indirect discourse, however, the representation of another’s word, another’s language in intonational quotation marks, was known in the most ancient times; we encounter it in the earliest stages of verbal culture. What is more, long before the appearance of the novel we find a rich world of diverse forms that transmit, mimic and represent from various vantage points another’s word, another’s speech and language, including also the languages of the direct genres. These diverse forms prepared the ground for the novel long before its actual appearance. Novelistic discourse has a lengthy prehistory, going back centuries, even thousands of years. It was formed and matured in the genres of familiar speech found in conversational folk language (genres that are as yet little studied) and also in certain folkloric and low literary genres. During its germination and early development, the novelistic word reflected a primordial struggle between tribes,

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peoples, cultures and languages - it is still full of echoes of this ancient struggle. In essence this discourse always developed on the boundary line between cultures and languages. The prehistory of novelistic discourse is of great interest and not without its own special drama. In the prehistory of novelistic discourse one may observe many extremely heterogeneous facts at work. From our point of view, however, two of these factors prove to be of decisive importance: on of these is laughter, the other polyglossia [mnogojazycie]. The most ancient forms for representing language were organized by laughter - these were originally nothing more than the ridiculing of another’s language and another’s direct discourse. Polyglossia and the interanimation of languages associated with it elevated these forms to a new artistic and ideological level, which made possible the genre of the novel. These two factors in the prehistory of novelistic discourse are the subject of the present article. II One of the most ancient and widespread forms for representing the direct word of another is parody. What is distinctive about parody as a form? Take, for example, the parodic sonnets with which Don Quixote begins. Although they are impeccably structured as sonnets, we could never possibly assign them to the sonnet genre. In Don Quixote they appear as part of a novel - but even the isolated parodic sonnet (outside the novel) could not be classified generically as a sonnet. In a parodied sonnet, the sonnet form is not a genre at all; that is, it is not the form of a whole but is rather the object of representation: the sonnet here is the hero of the parody. In a parody on the sonnet, we must first of all recognize a sonnet, recognize its form, its specific style, its manner of seeing, its manner of selecting from and evaluating the world - the world view of the sonnet, as it were. A parody may represent and ridicule these distinctive features of the sonnet well or badly, profoundly or superficially. But in any case, what results is not a sonnet, but rather the image of a sonnet. For the same reasons one could not under any circumstances assign to the genres of ‘epic poem’ the parodic epic ‘War between the Mice and the Frogs’ 7. This is an image of the Homeric style. It is precisely style that is the true hero of the work. We would have to say the same of Scarron’s Virgil travesti8. One could likewise not include the fifteenth-century sermons joyeux9, in the genre of the sermon, or parodic ‘Pater nosters’ or ‘Ave Marias’ in the genre of the prayer and so forth. All these parodies on genres and generic styles (‘languages’) enter the great and diverse world of verbal forms that ridicule the straightforward, serious word in all its generic guises. This world is very rich, considerably richer than we are accustomed to believe. The nature and methods available for ridiculing something are highly varied, and not exhausted by parodying and travestying in a strict sense. These methods for making fun of the straightforward word have as yet received little scholarly attention. Our general conceptions of parody and travesty in literature were formed as a scholarly discipline solely by studying very late forms of literary parody, forms of the type represented by Scarron’s Enéide travestie, or Platen’s ‘Verhängnisvolle Gabel’10, that is, the
7 The Batrachomyomachia, a still extant parody of Homer thought to have been written about 500 BC, but with many later interpolations. It is how usually ascribed to Pigres of Halicarnassus (brother-in-law of Mausoleus, whose tomb was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world). The Margites (cf. note aa) has also been ascribed to Pigres. [Tr.] 8 This work, comprising, comprising seven books (1638-1653), was considered the masterpiece of Paul Scarron (1610-1660) in his day. Scarron is now best remembered for his picaresque novel, Le Roman comique (2 vol., 1651-1657, unfinished, 3rd vol. by other hands, 1659). [Tr.] 9 These were mock sermons originally given in the churches of medieval France as part of the Fête des fous; later they were expelled from the church and became a secular genre in their own right, satires in verse form, often directed against women. The humour consisted in pious passages intermingled with ribaldry.

10 ‘Die verhängnisvolle Gabel' (1826), a parody of Romantic ‘fate tragedies’ by August, Graf von Platen-Hallermünde (1796-1835), who was concerned to re-establish classical norms in the face of what he saw

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impoverished and limited conceptions of the nature of the parodying and travestying word were then retroactively applied to the supremely rich and varied world of parody and travesty in previous ages. The importance of parodic-travestying forms in world literature is enormous. Several examples follow that bear witness to their wealth and special significance. Let us first take up the ancient period. The ‘literature of erudition’ of late antiquity - Aulus Gellius11, Plutarch12 (in his Moralia), Macrobius13 and, in particular, Athenaeus14 - provide sufficiently rich data for judging the scope and special character of the parodying and travestying literature of ancient times. The commentaries, citations, references and allusions made by these ‘erudites’ add substantially to the fragmented and random material on the ancient world’s literature of laughter that has survived. The works of such literary scholars as Dietrich 15, Reich16, Cornford17 and others have prepared us for more correct assessment of the role and significance of parodic-travestying forms in the verbal culture of ancient times. It is our conviction that there never was a single strictly straightforward genre, no single type of direct discourse - artistic, rhetorical, philosophical, religious, ordinary everyday - that did not have its own parodying and travestying double, its own comic-ironic contre-partie. What is more, these parodic doubles and laughing reflections of the direct word were, in some cases, just as sanctioned by tradition and just as canonized as their elevated models. I will deal only very briefly with the problem of the so-called ‘fourth drama’, that is, the satyr play18. In most instances this drama, which follows upon the tragic trilogy, developed the same narrative and mythological motifs as had the trilogy that preceded it. It was, therefore, a peculiar type of parodic-travestying contre-partie to the myth that had just received a tragic treatment on the stage; it showed the myth in a different aspect. These parodic-travestying counter-presentations of lofty national myths were just as sanctioned and canonical as their straightforward tragic manifestations. All the tragedians - Phrynicous19, Sophocles, Euripides 15 A. Dietrich, author of Pulcinella: Pompeyanische Wandbilder und Romische Satyrspiele (Leipzig, 1897), a book that played a major role in shaping some of Bakhtin’s early ideas about the role of fools in history. [Tr.] 16 Hermann Reich, author of Der Mimus (Berlin, 1903), a theoretical attempt to reconstruct the reasons for the mime’s importance in ancient Greece. [Tr.] 17 F. M. Cranford (1874-1943), from whose many works Bakhtin here has in mind The Origin of Greek Comedy (London, 1914). [Tr.] 18 In ancient Greece, the tragic dramas were normally written and performed in groups of three (e.g., Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone). The satyr play was a ribald comedy with a chorus of satyrs, performed immediately after the tragic trilogy. 19 Phrynicous, one of the originators of Greek tragedy. He was first to introduce the feminine mask, and was greatly admired by Aristophanes. His first

as the excesses of the Stürmer und Dränger (see his Venetian sonnets [1825]). [Tr.]
11 Aulus Gellius (c. 130-c. 180 AD), author of the Noctes Atticae in twenty books, a collection of small chapters dealing with a great variety of topics: literary criticism, the law, grammar, history, etc. His Latin is remarkable for its mixture of classical purity and affected archaism. [Tr.] 12 The Moralia of Plutarch (translated in fourteen volumes by F. C. Babbit et al. [1927-1959] are essays and dialogues on a wide variety of literary, historical and ethical topics, with long sections of quotations from the ancient dramatists. [Tr.] 13 Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius (a figure variously identified with several Macrobii), author of the Saturnalia, a symposium presented in the form of a dialogue in seven books, drawing heavily on Aulus Gellius (cf. note f). [Tr.] 14 Athenaeus (fl. 200 AD), author of Deipnosophistai (Doctors at Dinner, or as it is sometimes translated, Experts on Dining). This is a work of fifteen books filled with all kinds of miscellaneous information on medicine, literature, the law, etc., intermingled with anecdotes and quotations from a large number of other authors, many of whose works are otherwise lost or unknown. [Tr.]

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were writers of satyr plays as well, and Aeschylus, the most serious and pious of them all, an initiate into the highest Eleusinian Mysteries, was considered by the Greeks to be the greatest master of the satyr play. From fragments of Aeschylus’ satyr play The Bone-Gatherers’ 20 we see that this drama gave a parodic, travestying picture of the events and heroes of the Trojan War, and particularly the episode involving Odysseus’ quarrel with Achilles and Diomedes, where a stinking chamber pot is thrown at Odysseus’ head. It should be added that the figure of ‘comic Odysseus’, a parodic travesty of his high epic and tragic image, was one of the most popular figures of satyr plays, of ancient Doric farce and pre-Aristophanic comedy, as well as of a whole series of minor comic epics, parodic speeches and disputes in which the comedy of ancient times was so rich (especially in southern Italy and Sicily). Characteristic here is that special role that the motif of madness played in the figure of ‘comic Odysseus’ : Odysseus, as is well known, donned a clown’s fool’s cap (pileus) and harnessed his horse and ox to a plow, pretending to be mad in order to avoid participation in the war. It was the motif of madness that switched the figure of Odysseus from the high and straightforward plane to the comic plane of parody and travesty.21 But the most popular figure of the satyr play and other forms of the parodic travestying word was the figure of the ‘comic Hercules’. Hercules, the powerful and simple servant to the cowardly, weak and false king Euristheus; Hercules, who had conquered death in battle and had descended into the nether world; Hercules the monstrous glutton, the playboy, the drunk and scrapper, but especially Hercules the madman such were the motifs that lent a comic aspect to his image. In this comic aspect, heroism and strength are retained, but they are combined with
victory was in 511 BC. Some of his titles are Pleuroniae, Aegyptii, Alcestis, Acteon; he wrote several other plays as well. [Tr.] 20 The Ostologoi may have been part of a tetralogy with Penelope, deriving its title from the hungry beggars in the palace at Ithaca who collected bones hurled at them by the suitors. [Tr.] 21 Cf. J. Schmidt, Ulixes comicus.

laughter and with images from the material life of the body. The figure of the comic Hercules was extremely popular, not only in Greece but also in Rome, and later in Byzantium (where it became one of the central figures in the marionette theatre). Until quite recently this figure lived on in the Turkish game of ‘shadow puppets’. The comic Hercules is one of the most profound folk images for a cheerful and simple heroism, and had an enormous influence on all of world literature. When taken together with such figures as the ‘comic Odysseus’ and the ‘comic Hercules’, the ‘fourth drama’, which was an indispensable conclusion to the tragic trilogy, indicates that the literary consciousness of the Greeks did not view the parodic-travestying reworkings of national myth as any particular profanation or blasphemy. It is characteristic that the Greeks were not at all embarrassed to attribute the authorship of the parodic work ‘War between the Mice and the Frogs’ to Homer himself. Homer is also credited with a comic work (a long poem) about the fool Margit. For any and every straightforward genre, any and every direct discourse - epic, tragic, lyric, philosophical - may and indeed must itself become the object of representation, the object of a parodic travestying ‘mimicry’. It is as if such mimicry rips the word away from its object, disunifies the two, shows that a given straightforward generic word - epic or tragic - is one-sided, bounded, incapable of exhausting the object; the process of parodying forces us to experience those sides of the object that are not otherwise included in a given genre or a given style. Parodic-travestying literature introduces the permanent corrective of laughter, of a critique on the one-sided seriousness of the lofty direct word, the corrective of reality that is always richer, more fundamental and most importantly too contradictory and heteroglot to be fitted into a high and straightforward genre. The high genres are monotonic, while the ‘fourth drama’ and genres akin to it retain the ancient binary tone of the word. Ancient parody was free of any nihilistic denial. It was not, after all, the heroes who were parodied, nor the Trojan War and its participants; what was parodied was only its epic heroization; not Hercules and its exploits but their tragic heroization. The genre itself, the style, the language are all put in cheerfully irreverent quotation marks, and they are

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perceived against a backdrop of a contradictory reality that cannot be confined within their narrow frames. The direct and serious word was revealed, in all its limitations and insufficiency, only after it had become the laughing image of that word - but it was by no means discredited in the process. Thus it did not bother the Greeks to think that Homer himself wrote a parody of Homeric style. [...] These parodic-travestying forms prepared the ground for the novel in one very important, in fact decisive, respect. They liberated the object from the power of language in which it had become entangled as if in a net; they destroyed the homogenizing power of myth over language; they freed consciousness from the power of the direct word, destroyed the thick walls that had imprisoned consciousness within its own discourse, within its own language. A distance arose between language and reality that was to prove and indispensable condition for authentically realistic forms of discourse. Linguistic consciousness - parodying the direct word, direct style, exploring its limits, its absurd sides, the face specific to an era constituted itself outside this direct word and outside all its graphic and expressive means of representation. A new mode developed for working creatively with language: the creating artist began to look at language from the outside, with another’s eyes, from the point of view of a potentially different language and style. It is, after all, precisely in the light of another potential language or style that a given straightforward style is parodied, travestied, ridiculed. The creating consciousness stands, as it were, on the boundary line between languages and styles. This is, for the creating consciousness, a highly peculiar position to find itself in with regard to language. The aedile or rhapsode experienced himself in his own language, in his own discourse, in an utterly different way from the creator of ‘War between the Mice and the Frogs’, or the creators of Margites. One who creates a direct word - whether epic, tragic or lyric - deals only with the subject whose praises he sings, or represents, or expresses, and he does so in his own language that is perceived as the sole and fully adequate tool for realizing the word’s direct, objectivized meaning. [...] In his book on Plato, Wilamowitz-Moellendorff writes: ‘Only knowledge of a language that possesses another mode of conceiving the world can lead to the appropriate knowledge of one’s own language[...].’ 22 I do not continue the quotation, for it primarily concerns the problem of understanding one’s own language in purely cognitive linguistic terms, an understanding that is realized only in the light of a different language, one not one’s own; but this situation is no less pervasive where the literary imagination is conceiving language in actual artistic practice. Moreover, in the process of literary creation, languages interanimate each other and objectify precisely that side of one’s own (and of the other’ s) language that pertains to its world view, its inner form, the axiologically accentuated system inherent in it. For the creating literary consciousness, existing in a field illuminated by another’s language, it is not the phonetic system of its own language that stands out, nor is it the distinctive features of its own morphology nor its own abstract lexicon - what stands out is precisely that which makes language concrete and which makes its world view ultimately untranslatable, that is, precisely the style of the languages as a totality. [...] Closely connected with the problem of polyglossia and inseparable from it is the problem of heteroglossia within a language, that is, the problem of internal differentiation, the stratification characteristic of any national language. This problem is of primary importance for understanding the style and historical destinies of the modern European novel, that is, the novel since the seventeenth century. This latecomer reflects, in its stylistic structure, the struggle between two tendencies in the languages of European peoples: one a centralizing (unifying) tendency, the other a decentralizing tendency (that is, one that stratifies languages). The novel senses itself on the border between the completed, dominant literary language and the extraliterary languages that know heteroglossia; the novel either serves to further the centralizing tendencies of a new literary language in the process of taking shape (with its grammatical, stylistic and ideological norms), or - on the contrary - the novel fights for the renovation of an antiquated literary language, in the interests of those strata of the national language that have remained (to a greater or lesser
22 U. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Platon, vol. 1 (Berlin, 1920), p. 290.

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degree) outside the centralizing and unifying influence of the artistic and ideological norm established by the dominant literary language. The literary-artistic consciousness of the modern novel, sensing itself on the border between two languages, one literary, the other extraliterary, each of which now knows heteroglossia, also senses itself on the border of time: it is extraordinarily sensitive to time in language, it senses time’s shifts, the aging and renewing of language, the past and the future - and all in language. [...] It is when he comes to criticism - to a job like the present - that he can be so pernicious, because he follows the method of a true scholar without having his equipment. He classes books before he has understood or read them.; that is his first crime. Classification by chronology. Books written before 1847, books written after it, books written after or before 1848. The novel in the reign of Queen Anne, the pre-novel, the ur-novel, the novel of the future. Classification by subject matter - sillier still. The literature of Inns, beginning with Tom Jones; the literature of Women’s Movement, beginning with Shirley; the literature of Desert Islands, from Robinson Crusoe to The Blue Lagoon; the literature of Rogues - dreariest of all, though the Open Road runs it pretty close; the literature of Sussex (perhaps the most devoted of the Home Counties); improper books - a serious though dreadful branch of inquiry, only to be pursued by pseudoscholars of riper years; novels relatig to industrialism, aviation, chiropody, the weather. Literature is written by geniuses. Novelists are geniuses. There we are; now let us classify them. Which he does. Everything he says may be accurate but all is useless because he is moving round books instead of through them, he either has not read them or cannot read them properly. If the novel develops, it is not likely to develop on different lines from the British Constitution, or even the Women’s Movement? I say ‘even the Women’s Movement’ because there happened to be a close association between fiction in England and that movement during the nineteenth century - a connexion so close that it has misled some critics into thinking it an organic connexion. As women bettered their position the novel, they asserted, became better too. Quite wrong. A mirror does not develop because a historical pageant passes in front of it. It only develops when it gets a fresh coat of quiksilver - in other words, when it acquires new sensitiveness; and the novel’s success lies in its own sensitiveness, not in the success of its subject matter. They have entered a common state which it is convenient to call inspiration, and, having regard to that state, we may say that History develops, Art stands still.

1.1.4 E.M. Forster: from Aspects of the Novel

1. INTRODUCTORY This idea of a period of a development in time, with its consequent emphasis on influences and schools, happens to be exactly what I am hoping to avoid during our brief survey, and I believe that the author of Gazpacho will be lenient. Time, all the way through, is to be our enemy. We are to visualize the English novelists not as floating down the stream which bears all its sons away unless they are careful, but as seated together in a room, a circular room, a sort of British Museum reading-room - all writing their novels simultaneously. They do not, as they sit there, think ‘I live under Queen Victoria, I under Anne, I carry on the tradition of Troloppe, I am reacting against Aldous Huxley’. The fact that their pens are in their hands is far more vivid to them. They are half mesmerized, their sorrows and joys are pouring out through the ink, they are approximated by the act of creation, and when Professor Oliver Elton says, as he does, that ‘after 1847 the novel of passion was never to be the same again’, none of them understands what he means. That is to be our vision of them - an imperfect vision, but it is suited to our powers, it will preserve us from a serious danger, the danger of pseudo - scholarship. Pseudo-scholarship is, on its good side, the homage paid by ignorance to learning.

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2. THE STORY Yes - oh dear yes - the novel tells a story. That is the fundamental aspect without which it could not exist. That is the highest factor common to all novels, and I wish that it was not so, that it could be something different melody, or perception of the truth, not this low atavistic form. We are all like Scheherazade’s husband, in that we want to know what happens next. That is universal and that is why the backbone of a novel has to be a story. Some of us want to know nothing else - there is nothing in us but primeval curiosity, and consequently our other literary judgements are ludicrous. And now the story can be defined. It is a narrative of events arranged in their time sequence - dinner coming after breakfast, Tuesday after Monday, decay after death, and so on. Qua story, it can only have one merit: that of making the audience want to know what happens next. And conversely it can only have one fault: that of making the audience not want to know what happens next. These are the only two criticisms that can be made on the story that is a story. It is the lowest and simplest of literary organisms. Yet it is the highest factor common to all the very complicated organisms known as novels. 4. PEOPLE (continued) We now turn from transplantation to acclimatization. We have discussed whether people could be taken out of life and put into a book, and conversely whether they could come out of books and sit down in this room. The answer suggested was in the negative and led to a more vital question: can we, in daily life, understand each other? Today our problems are more academic. We are concerned with the characters in their relation to other aspects of the novel; to a plot, a moral, their fellow characters, atmosphere, etc. They will have to adapt themselves to other requirements of their creator. It follows that we shall no longer expect them to coincide as a whole with daily life, only to parallel it. We may divide characters into flat and round. Flat characters were called ‘humorous’ in the seventeenth century, and are sometimes called types, and sometimes caricatures. In their purest form, they are constructed round a single idea or quality: when there is more than one factor in them, we get the beginning of the curve towards the round. The really flat character can be expressed in one sentence such as ‘I never will desert Mr Micawber.’ One great advantage of flat characters is that they are easily recognized whenever they come in - recognized by the reader’s emotional eye, not by the visual eye which merely notes the recurrence of a proper name. A second advantage is that they are easily remembered by the reader afterwards. They remain in his mind as unalterable for the reason that they were not changed by circumstances; they moved through circumstances, which gives them in retrospect a comforting quality, and preserves them when the book that produced them may decay. For we must admit that flat people are not in themselves as big achievements as round ones, and also that they are best when they are comic. A serious or tragic flat character is apt to be a bore. Each time he enters crying ‘Revenge!’ or ‘ My heart bleeds for humanity!’ or whatever his formula is, our hearts sink. The test of a round character is whether it is capable of surprising in a convincing way. If it never surprises, it is flat. If it does not convince, it is a flat pretending to be round. It has the incalculability of life about it life within the pages of a book. And by using it sometimes alone, more often in combination with the other kind, the novelist achieves his task of acclimatization, and harmonizes the human race with the other aspects of his work. Now for the second device: the point of view from which the story may be told. To some critics this is the fundamental device. The whole intricate question of method, in the craft of fiction [says Mr Percy Lubbock], I take to be governed by the question of the point of view – the question of the relation in which the narrator stands to the

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story. And his book The Craft of Fiction examines various points of view with genius and insight. The novelist, he says, can either describe the characters from outside, as an impartial or partial onlooker; or he can assume omniscience and describe them from within; or he can place himself in the position of one of them and affect to be in the dark as to the motives of the rest; or there are certain intermediate attitudes. Those who follow him will lay a sure foundation which I cannot for a moment promise. This is a ramshackly survey and for me the whole intricate question of method resolves itself not into formulae but into the power of the writer to bounce the reader into accepting what he says - a power which Mr Lubbock admits and admires, but locates at the edge of the problem instead of at the centre. I should put it plumb in the centre. Look how Dickens bounces us in Bleak House. Chapter 1 of Bleak House is omniscient. Dickens takes us into the Court of Chancery and rapidly explains all the people there. In Chapter 2 he is partially omniscient. We still use his eyes, but for some unexplained reason they begin to grow weak: he can explain Sir Leicester Dedlock to us, part of Lady Dedlock but not all, and nothing of Mr Tulkinghorn. In Chapter 3 he is even more reprehensible: he goes straight across into the dramatic method and inhabits a young lady, Esther Summerson, ‘I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write my portion of these pages, for I know I am not clever,’ pipes up Esther, and continues in this strain with consistency and competence, so long as she is allowed to hold the pen. At any moment the author of her being may snatch it from her, and run about taking notes himself, leaving her seated goodness knows where, and employed we do not care how. Logically, Bleak House is all to pieces, but Dickens bounces us, so that we do not mind the shiftings of the view - point. Critics are more apt to object than readers. Zealous for the novel’s eminence they are a little too apt to look out for the problems that shall be peculiar to it, and differentiate it from the drama; they feel it ought to have its own technical troubles before it can be accepted as an independent art; and since the problem of a point of view certainly is peculiar to the novel they have rather over-stressed it. I do not myself think it is so important as a proper mixture of characters - a problem which the dramatist is up against also. And the novelist must bounce us; that is imperative.

1.1.5 Wayne C. Booth: from The Rhetoric of Fiction 23

Why is it that an episode 'told' by Fielding can strike us more fully realized than many of the scenes scrupulously 'shown' by imitators of James or Hemingway ? Why does some authorial commentary ruin the work in which it occurs, while the prolonged commentary of Tristram Shandy can still enthral us ? What, after all, does an author do when he 'intrudes' to tell us something about his story ? Such questions force us to consider closely what happens when an author engages a reader fully with a work of fiction; they lead us to a view of fictional technique which necessarily goes far beyond the reductions that we have sometimes accepted under the concept of 'point of view'. [...] One cannot restore telling to critical respect simply by jumping to its defense - not on this field of battle. Its opponents would have most of the effective ammunition. Many novels are seriously flawed by careless intrusions. What is more, it is easy to prove that an episode shown is more effective than the same episode told, so long as we must choose between two and only two technical extrems. And, finally, the novelists and critics who have deplored telling have won for fiction the kind of standing as a major art form which, before Flaubert, was generally denied to it, and they have often shown a seriousness and devotion to their art that in itself carries conviction about their doctrines. Nothing is gained indeed, everything is lost - if we say to James and Flaubert that we admire their experiments in artistic seriousness, but that we prefer now to
23 Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago University Press, Chicago,

1961), pp. 28-9, 64, 70-1, 73-5.

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relax our standards a little and encourage the novelist to go back to concocting what James called 'great fluid puddings'. There may be room, in the house of fiction, even for formless puddings - to be read, presumably, in one's slack hours or declining years. But I should not like to find myself defending them as art and on the ground that they are formless. But are we faced with such a simple and disconcerting choice as the champions of showing have sometimes claimed? Does it, after all, make sense to set up two ways of conveying a story, one all good, the other all bad; one all art and form, the other all clumsiness and irrelevancy; one all showing and rendering and drama and objectivity, the other all telling and subjectivity and preaching and inertness? Allen Tate seems to think that it does. 'The action,' he says of a passage from Madame Bovary - and it is an excellent passage - 'the action is not stated from the point of view of the author; it is rendered in terms of situation and scene. To have made this the viable property of the art of fiction was to have virtually made the art of fiction.' 'It has been through Flaubert that the novel has at last caught up with poetry.' This is dramatic, challenging - perhaps it is even the sort of inspiriting program which might yield to a young novelist enough conviction about the importance of what he is doing to get it done. But is it true? I cannot prove that it is not - given Tate's definition of 'art' and 'poetry.' But I hope to show that it has been at best misleading, and that the distinction on which it is based is inadequate, not only in dealing with early fiction like the Decameron but also in dealing with yesterday's succès d'estime. It will be useful first to look at some of the reason for the widespread acceptance of the distinction. If we are to conclude that there was after all an art of fiction before Flaubert, and that the art even in the most impersonal fiction does not reside exclusively in the moments of vivid dramatic rendering, why has there been such widespread suspicion of everything but the rendered scene? [...] At this point in the mid-twentieth century we can see, after all, how easy it is to write a story that tells itself, freed of all authorial intrusion, shown with a consistent treatment of point of view. Even untalentend writers can be taught to observe this fourth 'unity.' But we also know by now that in the process they have not necessarily learned to write good fiction. If they know only this, they know how to write fiction that will look modern perhaps more 'early modern' than late, but still modern. What they have yet to learn, if they know only this, is the art of choosing what to dramatize fully and what to curtail, what to summarize and what to heighten. And like any art, this one cannot be learned from abstract rules. [...] As he writes, he [the author] creates not simply an ideal, impersonal 'man in general' but an implied version of 'himself’ that is different from the implied authors we meet in other men's works. To some novelists it has seemed, indeed, that they were discovering or creating themselves as they wrote. As Jessamyn West says, it is sometimes 'only by writing the story that the novelist can discover - not his story - but its writer, the official scribe, so to speak, for that narrative.' Whether we call this implied author an 'official scribe,' or adopt the term recently revived by Kathleen Tillotson - the author's 'second self' - it is clear that the picture the reader gets of this presence is one of the author's most important effects. However impersonal he may try to be, his reader will inevitably construct a picture of the official scribe who writes in this manner - and of course that official scribe will never be neutral toward all values. Our reactions to his various commitments, secret or overt, will help to determine our response to the work. The reader's role in this relantionship I must save for chapter V. Our present problem is the intricate relationship of the so-called real author with his various official versions of himself. We must say various versions, for regardless of how sincere an author may try to be, his different works will imply different versions, different ideal combinations of norms. Just as one's personal letters imply different versions of oneself, depending on the differing relationships with each correspondent and the purpose of each letter, so the writer sets himself out with a different air depending on the needs of particular works. [...] It is a curious fact that we have no terms either for this created 'second self ' or for our relationship with him. None of our terms for various

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aspects of the narrator is quite accurate, 'Persona,' 'mask,' and 'narrator' are sometimes used, but they more commonly refer to the speaker in the work who is after all only one of the elements created by the implied author and who may be separated from him by large ironies. 'Narrator' is usually taken to mean the 'I' of a work, but the 'I' is seldom if ever identical with the implied image if the artist. 'Theme,' 'meaning,' 'symbolic significance,' 'theology,' or even 'ontology' - all these have been used to described the norms which the reader must apprehend in each work if is to grasp it adequately. Such terms are useful for some purposes, but they can be misleading because they almost inevitably come to seem like purposes for which the works exist. [...] Our sense of the implied author includes not only the extractable meanings but also the moral and emotional content of each bit of action and suffering of all the characters. It includes, in short, the intuitive apprehension of a completed artistic whole; the chief value to which this implid author is committed, regardless of what party his creator belongs to in real life, is that which is expressed by the total form. Three other terms are sometimes used to name the core of norms and choice which I am calling the implied author. 'Style' is sometimes broadly used to cover whatever it is that gives us a sense, from word to word and line to line, that the author sees more deeply and judges more profoundly than his presented characters. But, though style is one of our main sources of insight into the author's norms, in carrying such strong overtones of the merely verbal the word style excludes our sense of the authors's skill in his choice of character and episode and scene and idea. 'Tone' is similarly used to refer to the implicit evaluation which the author manages to convery behind his explicit presentation, but it almost inevitably suggests again something limited to the merely verbal; some aspects of the implied author may be inferred through tonal variations, but his major qualities will depend also on the hard facts of action and character in the tale that is told. Similarly, 'technique' has at times been expanded to cover all discernible signs of the author's artistry. If everyone used 'technique' as Mark Schorer does, covering with it almost the entire range of choice made by the author, then it might very well serve our purpose. But it is usually taken for a much narrower matter, and consequently it will not do. We can be satisfied only with a term that is as broad as the work itself but still capable of calling attention to that work as the product of a choosing, evaluating person rather than as a self-existing thing. The 'implied author' chooses, consciously or unconsciously, what we read; we infer him as an ideal, literary, created version of the real man; he is the sum of his own choices. It is only by distinguishing between the author and his implied image that we can avoid pointless and unverifiable talk about such qualities as 'sincerity' or ' seriousness' in the author. Because Ford Madox Ford thinks of Fielding and Defoe and Thackeray as the unmediated authors of their novels, he must end by condemning them as insincere, since there is every reason to believe that they write 'passages of virtuous aspirations that were in no way any aspirations of theirs.' Presumably he is relying on external evidences of Fielding's lack of virtuous aspirations. But we have only the work as evidence for the only kind of sincerity that concerns us: Is the implied author in harmony with himself - that is, are his other choices in harmony with his explicit narrative character? If a narrator who by every trustworthy sign is presentend to us as a reliable spokesman for the author professes to believe in values which are never realized in the structure as a whole, we can then talk of an insincere work. A great work establishes the 'sincerity' of its implied author, regardless of how grossly the man who created that author may belie in his other forms of conduct the values embodied in his work. For all we know, the only sincere moments of his life may have been lived as he wrote his novel. [...]

1.1.6 Wayne C. Booth: from ‘Emotions, Beliefs, and the Reader’s Objectivity’

Every literary work of any power - whether or not its author composed it with his audience in mind - is in fact an elaborate system of controls over the reader’s involvement and detachment along various lines of

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interest. The author is limited only by the range of human interests. [...] The values which interest us, and which are thus available for technical manipulation in fiction, may be roughly divided into three kinds. (1) Intellectual or cognitive: We have, or can be made to have, strong intellectual curiosity about ‘the facts’, the true interpretation, the true reasons, the true origins, the true motives, or the true about life itself. (2) Qualitative: We have, or can be made to have, a strong desire to see any pattern or form completed, or to experience a further development of qualities of any kind. We might call this kind ‘aesthetic’, if to do so did not suggest that a literary form using this interest was necessarily of more artistic value than one based on other interests. (3) Practical: We have, or can be made to have, a strong desire for the success or failure of those we love or hate, admire or detest; or we can be made to hope for or fear a change in the quality of a character. We might call this kind ‘human’, if to do so did not imply that 1 and 2 were somehow less than human. [...] With this broadened spectrum of interests in mind, we should now be in a somewhat more favorable position to consider the question of the author’s and reader’s beliefs. ‘Most contemporary students of literature would agree that a writer’s ideas have as little to do with his artistic talent as his personal morals. [...] Not many people would agree with the views of man held by Homer, Dante, Baron Corvo, or Ezra Pound; but whether or not we agree with them should have little to do with whether or not we accept or reject their art.’ So writes Maurice Beebe, editor of Modern Fiction Studies,24 expressing once more a position that has been repeated again and again since the famous claim by I.A.Richards that ‘we need no beliefs, and indeed we must have none, if we are to read King Lear’.25 On the other hand, the editor of a recent symposium on belief in literature finds common ground among all the participants in the conviction that literature ‘involves assumptions and beliefs and sympathies with which a large measure of concurrence is another thing.26 The seeming disagreement here is striking. But it is partly dissolved when we remember the distinction we have made between the real author and the implied author, the second self created in the work. The ‘views of man’ of Faulkner and E.M.Foster, as they go about making their Stockholm addresses or writing their essays, are indeed of only peripheral value to me as I read their novels. But the implied author of each novel is someone with whose beliefs on all subjects I must largely agree if I am to enjoy his work. Of course, the same distinction must be made between myself as reader and the often very different self who goes about paying bills, repairing leaky faucets, and failing in generosity and wisdom. It is only as I read that I become the self whose beliefs must coincide with the author’s. Regardless of my real beliefs and practices, I must subordinate my mind and heart to the book if I am to enjoy it to the full. The author creates, in short, an image of himself and another image of his reader; he makes his reader, as he makes his second self, and the most successful reading is one in which the created selves, author and reader, can find complete agreement. [...] This does not mean, of course, that Catholics cannot enjoy Paradise Lost more than they might a second-rate Catholic epic, or that Protestants cannot enjoy ‘The Habit of Perfection’ more than they might a secondrate Protestant hymn. It means simply that differences of belief, even in the sense of abstract, speculative systems, are always to some extent relevant, often seriously hampering, and sometimes fatal. Imagine a beautifully written tragedy with a convinced Nazi SS man as hero, his tragic error consisting of a temporary, and fatal, toying with bourgeois democratic ideals. Is there any one of us, regardless of our commitment to objectivity, who could seriously claim that agreement or disagreement with the author’s ideas in such a work would have nothing to do with our accepting or rejecting his art? It is true that some great works seem to rise above differences of 26 Literature and Belief: English Institute Essay, 1957, ed. M. H. Abrams (New York, 1958), p. x.

24 Summer, 1958, p. 182. 25 ‘Poetry and Beliefs’, Science and Poetry (1926), as reprinted in R. W. Stallman

(ed.), Critiques and Essays (New York, 1949), pp. 329-33.

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speculative system and to win readers of all camps. Shakespeare is the preeminent example. [...] But this is far from saying that great literature is compatible with all beliefs. Though Shakespeare seems, when looked at superficially, to ‘have no beliefs’, though it is indeed impossible to extract from the plays any one coherent philosophical or religious or political formulation that will satisfy all readers, it is not difficult to list innumerable norms which we must accept if we are to comprehend particular plays, and some of these do run throughout his works. It is true that these beliefs are for the most part self-evident, even commonplace but that is precisely because they are acceptable to most of us. [...] We seldom talk in these terms about great literature only because we take them for granted or because they seem old-fashioned. Only a maniac, presumably, would side with Goneril and Regan against Lear. It is only when a work seems explicitly doctrinaire, or when reasonable men can be in serious disagreement about its values, that the question of belief arises for discussion. Even when it does arise, it is often misleading if we think of beliefs in terms of speculative theories. The great ‘Catholic’ pr ‘Protestant’ works are not, in their essentials, Catholic or Protestant at all. Even though a Catholic may be presumed to derive additional pleasures and insights not available to the non-Catholic in reading Mauriac’s Knot of Vipers, the picture it gives of a man made miserable through his spiritual confusion depends for its effect on values common to the most views of man’s fate. [...] The problem for the reader is thus really that of discovering which values are in abeyance and which are genuinely, though in modern works often surreptitiously, at work. To pass judgement where the author intends neutrality is to misread. But to be neutral or objective where the author requires commitment is equally to misread, though the effect is likely to be less obvious and may even be overlooked except as a feeling of boredom. At the beginning of the modern period, no doubt the danger of dogmatic overjudgement was the greater one. But for at least two decades now, I am convinced far more misreading has resulted from what I can only call dogmatic neutrality.
1.2 THE NEW CRITICISM

1.2.1 Cleanth Brooks: from ‘The Formalist Critic ‘27

Here are some articles of faith I could subscribe to: That literary criticism is a description and an evaluation of its object. That the primary concern of criticism is with the problem of unity - the kind of whole which the literary work forms or fails to form, and the relation of the various parts with each other in building up this whole. That the formal relations in a work of literature may include, but certainly exceed, those of logic. That in a successful work, form and content cannot be separated. That form is meaning. That literature is ultimately metaphorical and symbolic. That the general and the universal are not seized upon by abstractions, but got at through the concrete and the particular. That literature is not a surrogate for religion. That, as Allen Tate says, ‘specific moral problems’ are the subject matter of literature, but that the purpose of literature is not to point a moral. That the principles of criticism define the area relevant to literary criticism; they do not constitute a method for carrying out literary criticism. Such statements as these would not, even though carefully elaborated, serve any useful purpose here. The interested reader already knows the general nature of the critical position adumbrated - or, if he does not, he can find it set forth in writings of mine or of other critics of like sympathy. Moreover, a condensed restatement of the position here would probably beget as many misunderstandings as have past attempts to set it forth. It seems much more profitable to use the present occasion for dealing with some persistent misunderstandings and objections.
27 Reprinted from the Kenyon Review, 13 (1951), pp. 72-81

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In the first place, to make the poem or the novel the central concern of criticism has appeared to mean cutting it loose from its author and from his life as a man, with his own particular hopes, fears, interests, conflicts, etc. A criticism so limited may seem bloodless and hollow... In the second place, to emphasize the work seems to involve severing it from those who actually read it, and this severance may seem drastic and therefore disastrous. After all, literature is written to be read. Wordsworth's poet was a man speaking to men[...] Moreover, if we neglect the audience which reads the work, including that for which it was presumably written, the literary historian is prompt to point out that the kind of audience that Pope had did condition the kind of poetry that he wrote. The poem has its roots in history, past and present. Its place in the historical context simply cannot be ignored. I have stated these objections as sharply as I can because I am sympathetic with the state of mind which is prone to voice them. Man's experience is indeed a seamless garment, no part of which can be separated from the rest. Yet if we urge this fact of inseparability against the drawing of distinctions, then there is no point in talking about criticism at all. I am assuming that distinctions are necessary and useful and indeed inevitable. The formalist critic knows as well as anyone that poems and plays and novels are written by men - that they do not somehow happen - and that they are written as expressions of particular personalities and are written for all sorts of motives - for money, from a desire to express oneself, for the sake of a cause, etc. Moreover, the formalist critic knows as well as anyone that literary works are merely potential until they are read - that is, that they are recreated in the minds of actual readers, who vary enormously in their capabilities, their interests, their prejudices, their ideas. But the formalist critic is primarily concerned with the work itself. Speculation on the mental processes of the author takes the critic away from the work into biography and psychology. There is no reason, of course, why he shouldn't turn away into biography and psychology. Such explorations are very much worth making. But they should not be confused with an account of the work. Such studies describe the process of composition, not the structure of the thing composed, and they may be performed quite as validly for the poor work as for the good one. They may be validly performed for any kind of expression - non-literary as well as literary. On the other hand, explorations of the various readings which the work has received also takes the critic away from the work into psychology and the history of taste. The various imports of a given work may well be worth studying[...]But such work, valuably and necessary as it may be, is to be distinguished from a criticism of the work itself. The formalist critic, because he wants to criticize the work itself, makes two assumptions: (1) he assumes that the relevant part of the author's intention is what he actually got into his work; that is, he assumes that the author's intention as realized is the ‘intention’ that counts, not necessarily what he was conscious of trying to do, or what he now remembers he was then trying to do. And (2) the formalist critic assumes an ideal reader: that is, instead of focusing on the varying spectrum of possible readings, he attempts to find a central point of reference from which he can focus upon the structure of the poem itself. But there is no ideal reader, someone is prompt to point out, and he will probably point out that it is sheer arrogance that allows the critic, with his own blindsides and prejudices, to put himself in the position of that ideal reader. There is no ideal reader, of course, and I suppose that the practising critic can never be too often reminded of the gap between his reading and the reading of the poem. But for the purpose of focusing upon the poem rather than upon his own reactions, it is defensible strategy. Finally, of course, it is the strategy that all critics of whatever persuasion are forced to adopt. (The alternatives are desperate: either we say that one person's reading is as good as another's and equate those readings on a basis of absolute equality and thus deny the possibility of any standard reading. Or else we take a lowest common denominator of the various readings that have been made; that is, we frankly move from literary criticism into socio-psychology. To propose taking a consensus of the opinions of ‘qualified’ readers is simply to split the ideal reader into a group of ideal readers). As consequences of the distinction just referred to, the formalist critic rejects two popular tests for literary value. The first

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proves the value of the work from the author's ‘sincerity’ (or the intensity of the author's feelings as he composed it)[...] Ernest Hemingway's statement in a recent issue of Time magazine that he counts his last novel his best is of interest for Hemingway's biography, but most readers of Across the River and Into the Trees would agree that it proves nothing at all about the value of the novel - that in this case the judgement is simply pathetically inept. We discount also such tests for poetry as that proposed by A. E. Housman - the bristling of his beard at the reading of a good poem. The intensity of his reaction has critical significance only in proportion as we have already learned to trust him as a reader. Even so, what it tells us is something about Housman - nothing decisive about the poem. It is unfortunate that this playing down of such responses seems to deny humanity to either writer or reader. The critic may enjoy certain works very much and may be indeed intensely moved by them. I am, and I have no embarrassment in admitting the fact: but a detailed description of my emotional state on reading certain works has little to do with indicating to an interested reader what the work is and how the parts of it are related. Should all criticism, then, be self-effacing and analytic? I hope that the answer is implicit in what I have already written, but I shall go on to spell it out. Of course not. That will depend upon the occasion and the audience[...] I have assigned the critic a modest, though I think an important, role. With reference to the help which the critic can give to the practising artist, the role is even more modest. As a critic, he can give only negative help. Literature is not written by formula: he can have no formula to offer. Perhaps he can do little more than indicate whether in his opinion the work has succeeded or failed. Healthy criticism and healthy creation do tend to go hand in hand. Everything else being equal, the creative artist is better off for being in touch with a vigorous criticism. But the other considerations are never equal, the case is always special, and in a given case the proper advice could be: quit reading criticism all together, or read political science or history or philosophy - or join the army, or join the church[...] A literary work is a document and as a document can be analyzed in terms of the forces that have produced it, or it may be manipulated as a force in its own right. It mirrors the past, it may influence the future. These facts it would be futile to deny, and I know of no critic who does deny them. But the reduction of a work of literature to its causes does not constitute literary criticism; nor does an estimate of its effects. Good literature is more than effective rhetoric applied to true ideas - even if we could agree upon a philosophical yardstick for measuring the truth of ideas and even of we could find some way that transcended nosecounting for determining the effectiveness of the rhetoric.

1.2.3 W. K. Wimsatt and M. Beardsley: from ‘The Intentional Fallacy’ 28

''Intention,’ as we shall use the term, corresponds to what he intended in a formula which more or less explicitly has had wide acceptance. ‘In order to judge the poet's performance, we must know what he intended.’ Intention is design or plan in the author's mind. Intention has obvious affinities for the author's attitude toward his work, the way he felt, what made him write. We begin our discussion with a series of propositions summarized and abstracted to a degree where they seem to us axiomatic. 1. A poem does not come into existence by accident. The words of a poem, as Professor Stoll has remarked, come out of a head, not out of a hat. Yet to insist on the designing intellect as a cause of a poem is not to grant the design or intention as a standard by which the critic is to judge the worth of the poet's performance. 2. One must ask how a critic expects to get an answer to the question about intention. How is he to find out what the poet tried to do? If the 28 Published in: W. K. Wimsatt, The Verbal Icon (Methuen, London, 1970), pp.4-5, 17-18).

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poet succeded in doing it, then the poem itself shows what he was trying to do. And if the poet did no succeed, then the poem is not adequate evidence, and the critic must go outside the poem - for evidence of an intention that did not become effective in the poem. ‘Only one caveat must be borne in mind,’ says an eminent intentionalist in a moment when his theory repudiates itself, ‘the poet's aim must be judged at the moment of the creative act, that is to say, by the art of the poem itself.’ 3. Judging a poem is like judging a pudding or a machine. One demands that it work. It is only because an artifact works that we infer the intention of an artificer: ‘A poem should not mean but be.’ A poem can be only through its meaning - since its medium is words - yet it is, simply is, in the sense that we have no excuse for inquiring what part is intended or meant. Poetry is a feat of style by which a complex of meaning is handled all at once. Poetry succeeds because all or most of what is said or implied is relevant; what is irrevelant has been excluded, like lumps from pudding and 'bugs' from machinery. In this respect poetry differs from practical messages, which are successful if and only if we correctly infer the intention. They are more abstract than poetry. 4. The meaning of a poem may certainly be a personal one, in the sense that a poem expresses a personality or state of soul rather than a physical object like an apple. But even a short lyric poem is dramatic, the response of a speaker (no matter how abstractly conceived) to a situation (no matter how universalized). We ought to impute the thoughts and attitude of the poem immediately to the dramatic speaker, and if to the author at all, only by an act of biographical inference. 5. There is a sense in which an author, by revision, may better achieve his original intention. But it is a very abstract sense. He intended to write a better work, or a better work of a certain kind, and now has done it. But it follows that his former concrete intention was not his intention. ‘He's the man we were in search of, that's true,’ says Hardy's rustic constable, ‘and yet he's not the man we were in search of. For the man we were in search of was not the man we wanted.’ Allusiveness in poetry is one of several critical issues by which we have illustrated the more abstract issue of intentionalism, but it may be for today the most important illustration. As a poetic practice allusiveness would appear to be in some recent poems an extreme corollary of the romantic intentionalist assumption, and as a critical issue it challenges and brings to light in a special way the basic premise of intentionalism. The following instance from the poetry of Eliot may serve to epitomize the practical implications of what we have been saying. In Eliot's ‘Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,’ toward the end, occurs the line: ‘I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each,’ and this bears a certain resemblance to a line in a Song by John Donne, ‘Teach me to heare Mermaides singing’, so that for the reader acquainted to a certain degree with Donne's poetry, the critical question arises: Is Eliot's line an allusion to Donne's? Is Prufrock thinking about Donne? Is Eliot thinking about Donne? We suggest that there are two radically different ways of looking for an answer to this question. There is (1) the way of poetic analysis and exegesis, which inquires whether it makes any sense if Eliot-Prufrock is thinking about Donne. In an earlier part of the poem, when Prufrock asks, ‘Would it have been worth while, ... To have squeezed the universe into a ball,’ his words take half their sadness and irony from certain energetic and passionate lines of Marvel ‘To His Coy Mistress.’ But the exegetical inquirer may wonder whether mermaids considered as ‘strange sights’ (to hear them is in Donne's poem analogous to getting with child a mandrake root) have much to do with Prufrock's mermaids, which seem to be symbols of romance and dynamism, and which incidentally have literary authentication, if they need it, in a line of a sonnet by Gérard de Nerval. This method of inquiry may lead to the conclusion that the given resemblance between Eliot and Donne is without significance and is better not thought of, or the method may have the disadvantage of providing no certain conclusion. Nevertheless, we submit that this is the true and objective way of criticism, as contrasted to what the very uncertainty of exegesis might tempt a second kind of critic to undertake: (2) the way of biographical or genetic inquiry, in which, taking advantage of the fact that Eliot is still alive, and in the spirit of a man who would settle a bet, the critic writes to Eliot and asks what he meant, or if he had Donne in mind. We shall not here weigh the probabilities whether Eliot

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would answer that he meant nothing at all, had nothing at all in mind - a sufficiently good andwer to such a question - or in an unguarded moment might furnish a clear and, within its limit, irrefutable answer. Our point is that such an answer to such an inquiry would have nothing to do with the poem ‘Prufrock’ ; it would not be a critical inquiry. Critical inquiries, unlike bets, are not settled in this way. Critical inquiries are not settled by consulting the oracle. kind of emotive ‘meaning’ which is ‘conditional to the cognitive suggestiveness of a sign’, the main drift of his argument is that ‘emotive’ meaning is something noncorrelative to and independent of descriptive (or cognitive) meaning. Thus, emotive ‘meaning’ is said to survive sharp changes in descriptive meaning. And words with the same descriptive meaning are said to have quite different emotive ‘meanings’. ‘Licence’ and ‘liberty’, for example, Stevenson believes to have in some contexts the same descriptive meaning, but opposite emotive ‘meanings’. [...] Or one may cite the word series in Bentham’s classic ‘Catalogue of Motives’ : ‘humanity, goodwill, partiality’, ‘frugality, pecuniary interest, avarice’. Or the other standard examples of emotive insinuation: ‘Animals sweat, men perspire, women glow.’ ‘I am firm, thou art obstinate, he is pigheaded.’ Or the sentence ‘There should be a revolution every twenty years’, to which the experimenter in emotive responses attaches now the name of Karl Marx and arouses suspicion), now that of Thomas Jefferson (and provokes applause). [...] Plato’s feeding and watering of passions29was an early example of affective theory, and Aristotle’s countertheory of catharsis was another (with modern intentionalistic analogues in theories of ‘relief’ and ‘sublimation’). There was also the ‘transport’ of the audience in the Peri Hypsous (matching the great soul of the poet), and this had echoes of passion or enthusiasm among eighteenth-century Longinians. We have had more recently the infection theory of Tolstoy (with its intentionalistic analogue in the emotive expressionism of Veron), the Einfühlung or empathy of Lipps and related pleasure theories, either more or less tending to the ‘objectification’ of Santayana:’ Beauty is pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing.’ An affinity for these theories is seen in certain theories of the comic during the same era, the relaxation theory of Penjon, the laughter theory of Max Eastman. In their Foundations of
29 Strictly, a theory not of poetry but of morals, as, to take a curious modern instance, Lucie Guillet’s La Poéticothérapie, Efficacités du Fluide Poétique (Paris, 1946) is a theory not of poetry, but of healing. Aristotle’s catharsis is a true theory of poetry, that is, part of a definition of poetry.

1.2.4 W. K. Wimsatt and M. Beardsley: from ‘The Affective Fallacy’

As the title of this essay invites comparison with that of our first, it may be relevant ot assert at this point that we believe ourselves to be exploring two roads which have seemed to offer convenient detours around the acknowledged and usually feared obstacles to objective criticism, both of which, however, have actually led away from criticism and from poetry. The Intentional Fallacy is a confusion between the poem and its origins, a special case of what is known to philosophers as the Genetic Fallacy. It begins by trying to derive the standard of criticism from the psychological causes of the poem and ends in biography and relativism. The Affective Fallacy is a confusion between the poem and its results (what it is and what it does), a special case of epistemological scepticism, though usually advanced as if it had stronger claims than the overall forms of scepticism. It begins by trying to derive the standard of criticism from the psychological effects of the poem and ends in impressionism and relativism. The outcome of either Fallacy, the Intentional ot the Affective, is that the poem itself, as an object of specifically critical judgement, tends to disappear. [...] One of the most emphatic points in Stevenson’s system is the distinction between what a word means and what it suggests. [...] Although the term ‘quasi-dependent emotive meaning’ is recommended by Stevenson for a

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Aesthetics Ogden, Richards, and Woods listed sixteen types of aesthetic theory, of which at least seven may be described as affective. Among these the theory of Synaesthesis (Beauty is what produces an equilibrium of appetencies) was the one they themselves espoused. This was developed at length by Richards in his Principles of Literary Criticism. [...] An even more advanced grade of affective theory, that of hallucination, would seem to have played some part in the neo-classic conviction about the unities of time and place, was given a modified continuation of existence in phrases of Coleridge about a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ and a ‘temporary half faith’, and may be found today in some textbooks. The hypnotic hypothesis of E. D. Snyder might doubtless be invoked in its support. At this form of affective theory is the least theoretical in detail, has the least content, and makes the least claim on critical intelligence, so, it is in its most concrete instances not a theory but a fiction or a fact - of no critical significance. In the eighteenth century Fielding conveys a right view of the hallucinative power of drama in his comic description of Partridge seeing Garrick act the ghost scene in Hamlet [in Tom Jones]. ‘O la! Sir....If I was frightened, I am not the only person....You may call me coward if you will; but if that little man there upon the stage is not frightened, I never saw any man frightened in my life.’ Partridge is today found perhaps less often among the sophisticates at the theatre than among the myriad audience of movie and radio. It is said, and no doubt reliably, that during World War II Stefan Schnabel played Nazi roles in radio dramas so convincingly that he received numerous letters of complaint, and in particular one from a lady who said she had reported him to General MacArthur. [...] If animals could read poetry, the affective critic might make discoveries analogous to those of W. B. Cannon about Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage - the increased liberation of sugar from the liver, the secretion of adrenalin from the adrenal gland. The affective critic is today actually able, if he wishes, to measure the ‘psychogalvanic reflex’
New Yorker, XIX (11 December 1943), 28.

of persons subjected to a given moving picture. But, as Herbert J. Muller in his Science and Criticism points out: ‘Students have sincerely reported an ‘emotion’ at the mention of the word ‘mother’, although a galvanometer indicated no bodily change whatever. They have also reported no emotions at the mention of ‘prostitute’, although the galvanometer gave a definite kick.’ Thomas Mann and a friend came out of a movie weeping copiously - but Mann narrates the incident in support of his view that movies are not Art. ‘Art is a cold sphere.’ The gap between between various levels of psychological experience and the recognition of value remains wide, in the laboratory or out. [...] Tennyson’s ‘Tears, idle tears’, as it deals with an emotion which the speaker at first seems not to understand, might be thought to be a specially emotive poem. ‘The last stanza,’ says Brooks in his recent analysis, ‘evokes an intense emotional response from the reader.’ But this statement is not really a part of Brooks’ criticism of the poem - rather a witness of his fondness for it. ‘The second stanza’ - Brooks might have said at an earlier point in his analysis - ‘gives us a momentary vivid realization of past happy experiences, then makes us sad at their loss.’ But he says actually’ : ‘The conjuction of the qualities of sadness and freshness is reinforced by the fact that the same basic symbol - the light on the sails of a ship hull down - has been employed to suggest both qualities.’ The distinction between these formulations may seem slight, and in the first example which we furnished may be practically unimportant. Yet, the difference between translatable emotive formulas and more psychological and psychologically vague ones - cognitively untranslatable - is theoretically of greatest importance. The distinction even when it is a faint one is at the dividing point between paths which led to polar opposites in criticism, to classical objectivity and to romantic reader psychology. The critic whose formulations lean to the emotive and the critic whose formulations lean to the cognitive will in the long run produce a vastly different sort of criticism.
‘Ueber den Film’, in Die Forderung des Tages (Berlin, 1930), 387.

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The more specific the account of the emotion induced by a poem, the more nearly it will be an account of the reasons for emotion, the poem itself, and the more reliable it will be as an account of what the poem is likely to induce in other - sufficiently informed - readers. It will in fact supply the kind of information which will enable readers to respond to the poem. [...] [...] Poetry is characteristically a discorse about both emotions and objects, or about the emotive quality of objects. The emotions correlative to the objects of poetry become a part of the matter dealt with - not communicated to the reader like an infection or disease, not inflicted mechanically like a bullet or knife wound, not administered like a poison, not simply expressed as by expletives or grimaces or rhythms, but presented in their objects and contemplated as a pattern of knowledge. Poetry is a way of fixing emotions or making them more permanently perceptible when objects have undergone a functional change from culture to culture, or when as simple facts of history they have lost emotive value with the loss of immediacy. Though the reasons for emotion in poetry may not be so simple as Ruskin’s ‘noble grounds for the noble emotions’, yet a great deal of constancy for poetic objects of emotion - if we look for constancy - may be traced through the drift of human history. The murder of Duncan by Macbeth, whether as history of the eleventh century or a chronicle of the sixteenth, has not tended to become the subject of a Christmas carol. In Shakespeare’s play it is an act difficult to duplicate in all its immediate adjuncts of treachery, deliberation, and horror of conscience. Set in its galaxy of symbols - the hoarse raven, the thickening light, and the crow making wing, the babe plucked from the breast, the dagger in the air, the ghost, the bloody hands - this ancient murder has become an object of strongly fixed emotive value. The corpse of Polyneices, a far more ancient object and partially concealed from us by the difficulties of the Greek, shows a similar persistency in remaining among the understandable motives of higher duty. Funeral customs have changed, but not the intelligibility of the web of issues, religious, political, and private, woven about the corpse ‘unburied, unhonored, all unhallowed’. Again, certain objects partly obscured in one age wax into appreciation in another, and partly through the efforts of the poet. It is not true that they suddenly arrive out of nothing. The pathos of Shylock, for example, is not a creation of our time, though a smugly modern humanitarianism, because it has slogans, may suppose that this was not felt by by Shakespeare or Southampton - and may not perceive its own debt to Shakespeare. ‘Poets,’ says Shelley, ‘are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ And it may be granted at least that poets have been leading expositors of the laws of feeling.30 [...] The field worker among the Zunis or the Navahos finds no informant so informative as the poet or the member of the tribe who can quote its myths.31 In short, though cultures have changed, poems remain and explain.

1.3

STRUCTURALISM

1.3.1 Roman Jakobson: from ‘Linguistics and Poetics’

I have been asked for summary remarks about poetics in its relation to linguistics. Poetics deals primarily with the question , What makes a verbal message a work of art? Because the main subject of poetics is the differentia specifica [specific differences] of verbal art in relation to other arts and in relation to other kinds of verbal behaviour, poetics is entitled to the leading place in literary studies. Poetics deals with problems of verbal structure, just as the analysis of painting is concerned with pictorial structure. Since linguistics is the
30 Cf. Pauhlan, The Laws of Feeling, 105, 110. 31 ‘The anthropologist’, says Bronislaw Malinovski, ‘has the myth-maker at his

elbow’, Myth in Primitive Psychology (New York, 1926), 17.

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global science of verbal structure, poetics may be regarded as an integral part of linguistics. [...] Unfortunately the terminological confusion of ‘literary studies’ with ‘criticism’ tempts the student of literature to replace the description of the intrinsic values of a literary work by a subjective, censorious verdict. The label ‘literary critic’ applied to an investigator of literature is as erroneous as ‘grammatical (or lexical) critic’ would be applied to a linguist. Syntactic and morphologic research cannot be supplanted by a normative grammar, and likewise no manifesto, foisting a critic’s own tastes and opinions on creative literature, may act as substitute for an objective scholarly analysis of verbal art. This statement is not to be mistaken for the quietist principle of laissez faire; any verbal culture involves programmatic, planning, normative endeavours. Yet what is a clear-cut discrimination made between pure and applied linguistics or between phonetics and orthoëpy 32 but not between literary studies and criticism. [...] Language must be investigated in all the variety of its functions. Before discussing the poetic function we must define its place among the other functions of language. An outline of these functions demands a concise survey of the constitutive factors in any speech event, in any act of verbal communication. The ADDRESSER sends a MESSAGE to the ADDRESSEE. To be operative the message requires a CONTEXT referred to (‘referent’ in another, somewhat ambiguous, nomenclature), seizable by the addressee, and either verbal or capable of being verbalized; a CODE fully, or at least partially, common to the addresser and addressee (or in other words, to the encoder and decoder of the message); and, finally, a CONTACT, a physical channel and psychological connection between the addresser and the addressee, enabling both of them to enter and stay in communication. All these factors inalienably involved in verbal communication may be schematized as follows: CONTEXT ADDRESSER MESSAGE ADDRESSEE CONTACT
32 That part of grammar which deals with pronunciation.

CODE Each of these factors determines a different function of language. Although we distinguish six basic aspects of language, we could, however, hardly find verbal messages that would fulfil only one function. The diversity lies not in a monopoly of some one of these several functions but in a different hierarchical order of functions. The verbal structure of a message depends primarily on the predominant function. But even though a set (Einstellung) toward the referent, an orientation toward the CONTEXT - briefly the so-called REFERENTIAL, ‘denotative’, ‘cognitive’ function - is the leading task of numerous messages, the accessory participation of the other functions in such messages must be taken into account by the observant linguist. The so-called EMOTIVE or ‘expressive’ function, focused on the ADDRESSER, aims a direct expression of the speaker’s attitude toward what he is speaking about. It tends to produce an impression of a certain emotion whether true or feigned; therefore, the term ‘emotive’, launched and advocated by Marty (30) has proved to be preferable to ‘emotional’. The purely emotive stratum in language is presented by the interjections. They differ from the means of referential language both by their sound pattern (peculiar sound sequences or even sounds elsewhere unusual) and by their syntactic role (they are not components but equivalents of sentences). ‘Tut! Tut! said McGinty’ : the complete utterance of Conan Doyle’s character consists in two suction clicks. The emotive function, laid bare in the interjections, flavors to some extent all our utterances, on their phonic, grammatical and lexical level. If we analyze language from the standpoint of the information it carries, we cannot restrict the notion of information to the cognitive aspect of language. A man, using expressive features to indicate his angry or ironic attitude, conveys ostensible information, and evidently this verbal behaviour cannot be likened to such nonsemiotic, nutritive activities as ‘eating grapefruit’ (despite Chatman’s bold simile). [...] A former actor of Stanislavskij’s Moscow Theater told me how at his audition he was asked by the famous director to make forty different

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messages from the phrase Segodnja vecerom (‘This evening’), by diversifying its expressive tint. He made a list of some forty emotional situations, then emitted the given phrase in accordance with each of these situations, which his audience had to recognize only from the changes in the sound shape of the same to words. [...] Orientation toward the ADDRESSEE, the CONATIVE function, finds its purest grammatical expression in the vocative and imperative, which syntactically, morphologically and often phonemically deviate from other nominal and verbal categories. The imperative sentences cardinally differ from the declarative sentences: the latter are and the former are not liable to a truth test. When in O’Neill’s play The Fountain, Nano, ‘(in a fierce tone of command),’ says ‘Drink!’ - the imperative cannot be challenged by the question ‘is it true or not?’ which may be, however, perfectly well asked after such sentences as ‘one drank,’ ‘one will drink’, ‘one would drink’. In contradiction to the imperative sentences, the declarative sentences are convertible into interrogative sentences: ‘did one drink?’, ‘will one drink?’, ‘would one drink?’ The traditional model of language as elucidated particularly by Bühler (4) was confined to these three functions - emotive, conative and referential - and the three apexes of this model - the first person or the addresser, the second person or the addressee, and the ‘third person’ properly - someone or something spoken of. Certain additional verbal functions can be easily inferred from this triadic model. Thus the magic, incantatory function is chiefly some kind of conversion of an absent or inanimate ‘third person’ into an addressee of a conative message. ‘May this sty dry up, tfu, tfu, tfu, tfu’ (Lithuanian spell: 28, p. 69). ‘Water, queen river, daybreak! Send grief beyond the blue sea, to the sea-bottom, like a grey stone never to rise from the sea-bottom, may grief never come to burden the light heart of God’s servant, may grief be removed and sink away.’ (North Russian incantation: 39, p. 217 f.). ‘Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Aj-a-lon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed[...]’ (Josh. 10.12). We observe, however, three further constitutive factors of verbal communication and three corresponding functions of language. There are messages primarily serving to establish, to prolong, or to discontinue communication, to check whether the channel works (‘Hello, do you hear me?’), to attract the attention of the interlocutor or to confirm his continued attention (‘Are you listening?’ or in Shakespearian diction, ‘Lend me your ears!’ - and on the other end of the wire ‘Um-hum!’). This set for CONTACT, or in Malinowski’s terms PHATIC function (26), may be displayed by a profuse exchange of ritualized formulas, by entire dialogues with the mere purport of prolonging communication. Dorothy Parker33 caught eloquent examples: ‘‘Well, here we are,’ he said. ‘Here we are,’ she said, ‘Aren’t we?’ ‘I should say we were,’ he said, ‘Eeyop! Here we are.’ ‘Well!’ she said. ‘Well!’ he said, ‘well.’ ‘ The endeavour to start and sustain communication is typical of talking birds; thus the phatic function of language is the only one they share with human beings. It is also the first verbal function acquired by infants; they are prone to communicate before being able to send or receive informative communication. A distinction has been made in modern logic between two levels of language, ‘object language’ speaking of objects and ‘metalanguage’ speaking of language. But metalanguage is not only a necessary scientific tool utilized by logicians and linguists; it plays also an important role in our everyday language. Like Molière’s Jourdain who used prose without knowing it, we practice metalanguage without realizing the metalingual character of our operations. Whenever the addresser and/or the addressee need to check up whether they use the same code, speech is focused on the CODE: it performs a METALINGUAL (i.e., glossing) function. ‘I don’t follow you - what do you mean?’ asks the addressee, or in Shakespearean diction, ‘What is’t thou say’st?’ And the addresser in anticipation of such recapturing questions inquires: Do you know what I mean?’ Imagine such an exasperating dialogue: ‘The sophomore was plucked.’ ‘But what is plucked?’ ‘Plucked means the same as flunked.’ ‘And flunked? ‘To be flunked is to fail in an exam.’ ‘And what is
33 American humorist (1893-1967) and one of The New Yorker’s most

celebrated contributors.

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sophomore?’ persist the interrogator innocent of school vocabulary. ‘A sophomore is (or means) a second year student.’ All these equational sentences convey information merely about the lexical code of English; their function is strictly metalingual. Any process of language learning, in particular child acquisition of the mother tongue, makes wide use of such metalingual operations; and aphasia may often be defined as a loss of ability for metalingual operations. We have brought up the six factors involved in verbal communication except the message itself. The set (Einstellung) toward the MESSAGE as such, focus on the message for its own sake, is the POETIC function of language. This function cannot be productively studied out of touch with the general problems of language, and, on the other hand, the scrutiny of language requires a thorough consideration of its poetic function. Any attempt to reduce the sphere of poetic function to poetry or to confine poetry to poetic function would be a delusive oversimplification. Poetic function is not the sole function of verbal art but only its dominant, determining function, whereas in all other verbal activities it acts as a subsidiary, accessory constituent. This function, by promoting the palpability of sings, deepens the fundamental dichotomy of signs and objects. Hence, when dealing with poetic function, linguistics cannot limit itself to the field of poetry. ‘Why do you always say Joan and Margery, yet never Margery and Joan? Do you prefer Joan to her twin sister?’ ‘Not at all, it just sounds smoother.’ In a sequence of two coordinate names, as far as no rank problems interfere, the precedence of the shorter name suits the speaker, unaccountably for him, as a well-ordered shape of the message. A girl used to talk about ‘the horrible Harry.’ ‘Why horrible?’ ‘Because I hate him.’ ‘But why not dreadful, terrible, frightful, disgusting?’ ‘I don’t know why, but horrible fits him better.’ Without realizing it, she clung to the poetic device of paronomasia34. The political slogan ‘I like Ike’35 /ay layk ayk/, succinctly structured,
34 The term in traditional rhetoric for playing on words with similar sounds. 35 ‘Ike’ was a familiar name for General Dwight David Eisenhower, President

consists of three monosyllables and counts three diphthongs /ay/, each of them symmetrically followed by one consonantal phoneme, /.. l .. k .. k/. The make-up of the three words presents a variation: no consonantal phonemes in the first word, two around the diphthong in the second, and one final consonant in the third. A similar dominant nucleus /ay/ was noticed by Hymes in some of the sonnets of Keats. Both cola of the trisyllabic formula ‘I like/ Ike’ rhyme with each other, and the second of the two rhyming words is fully included in the first one (echo rhyme), /layk/-/ayk/, a paronomastic image of a feeling which totally envelops its object. Both cola alliterate with each other, and the first of the two alliterating words is included in the second: /ay/-/ayk/, a paronomastic image of the loving subject enveloped by the beloved object. The secondary, poetic function of this electional catch phrase reinforces its impressiveness and efficacy. As we said, the linguistic study of the poetic function must overstep the limits of poetry, and, on the other hand, the linguistic scrutiny of poetry cannot limit itself to the poetic function. The particularities of diverse poetic genres imply a differently ranked participation of the other verbal functions along with the dominant poetic function. Epic poetry, focused on the third person, strongly involves the referential function of language; the lyric, oriented toward the first person, is intimately linked with the emotive function; poetry of the second person is imbued with the conative function and is either supplicatory or exhortative, depending on whether the first person is subordinated to the second one or the second to the first. Now that our cursory description of the six basic functions of verbal communication is more or less complete, we may complement our scheme of the fundamental factors by a corresponding scheme of the functions: REFERENTIAL EMOTIVE POETIC CONATIVE

of the United States 1956-61. ‘I like Ike’ was a political campaign slogan.

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PHATIC METALINGUAL What is the empirical linguistic criterion of the poetic function? In particular, what is the indispensable feature inherent in any piece of poetry? To answer this question we must recall the two basic modes of arrangement used in verbal behaviour, selection and combination. If ‘child’ is the topic of the message, the speaker selects one among the extant, more or less similar, nouns like child, kid, youngster, tot, all of them equivalent in a certain respect, and then, to comment on this topic, he may select one of the semantically cognate verbs - sleeps, dozes, nods, naps. Both chosen words combine in speech chain. The selection is produced on the base of equivalence, similarity and dissimilarity, synonymity and antonymity, while the combination, the build up of the sequence, is based on contiguity. The poetic function projects the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into the axis of combination. Equivalence is promoted to the constitutive device of the sequence. In poetry one syllable is equalized with any other syllable of the same sequence; word stress is assumed to equal word stress, as unstress equals unstress; prosodic long is matched with long, and short with short; word boundary equals word boundary, no boundary equals no boundary; syntactic pause equals syntactic pause, no pause equals no pause. Syllables are converted into units of measure, and so are morae or stresses. [...] Without its two dactylic words the combination ‘innocent bystander’ would hardly have become a hackneyed phrase. The symmetry of the three disyllabic verbs with an identical initial consonant and identical final vowel added splendor to the laconic victory message of Caesar: ‘Veni, vidi, vici.’ [‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’ ] [...] The reiterative ‘figure of sound’, which Hopkins saw to be the constitutive principle of verse, can be further specified. Such a figure always utilizes at least one (or more than one) binary contrast of a relatively high and relatively low prominence effected by the different sections of the phonemic sequence. Within a syllable the more prominent, nuclear, syllabic part, constituting the peak of the syllable, is opposed to the less prominent, marginal, nonsyllabic phonemes. Any syllable contains a syllabic phoneme, and the interval between two successive syllabics is in some languages always in others overwhelmingly carried out by marginal, nonsyllabic phonemes. In the so called syllabic versification the number of syllabics in a metrically delimited chain (time series) is a constant, whereas the presence of nonsyllabic phoneme or cluster between every two syllabics of the metrical chain is a constant only in languages with an indispensable occurrence of nonsyllabics between syllabics and, furthermore, in those verse systems where hiatus is prohibited. Another manifestation of a tendency toward a uniform syllabic model is the avoidance of closed syllables at the end of the line, observable, for instance, in Serbian epic songs. The Italian syllabic verse shows a tendency to treat a sequence of vowels unseparated by consonantal phonemes as one single metrical syllable (cf. 21, secs. VIII-IX). In some patterns of versification the syllable is the only constant unit of verse measure, and a grammatical limit is the only constant line of demarcation between measured sequences, whereas in other patterns syllables in turn are dichotomized into more and less prominent, and/or two levels of grammatical limits are distinguished in their metrical function, word boundaries and syntactic pauses. Except the varieties of the so-called ‘vers libre’ that are based on conjugate intonations and pauses only, any meter uses the syllable as a unit of measure at least in certain sections of the verse. Thus in the purely accentual verse (‘sprung rhythm’ in Hopkins’ vocabulary), the number of syllables in the upbeat (called ‘slack’ by Hopkins) may vary, but the downbeat (ictus) constantly contains one single syllable. In any accentual verse the contrast between higher and lower prominence is achieved by syllables under stress versus unstressed syllables. Most accentual patterns operate primarily with the contrast of syllables with and without word stress, but some varieties of accentual verse deal with syntactic, phrasal stresses, those which Wimsatt and Beardsley cite as ‘the major stresses of the major words’ and which are opposed as prominent to syllables without such major, syntactic stress. In the quantitative (‘chronemic’) verse, long and short syllables are

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mutually opposed as more and less prominent. This contrast is usually carried out by syllable nuclei, phonemically long and short. But in metrical patterns like Ancient Greek and Arabic, which equalize length ‘by position’ with length ‘by nature’, the minimal syllables consisting of a consonantal phoneme and one mora vowel are opposed to syllables with a surplus (a second mora or a closing consonant) as simpler and less prominent syllables opposed to those that are more complex and prominent. The question still remains open whether, besides the accentual and the chronemic verse, there exists a ‘tonemic’ type of versification in languages where differences of syllabic intonations are used to distinguish word meanings (15). In classical Chinese poetry (3), syllables with modulations (in Chinese tsé, ‘deflected tones’) are opposed to the nonmodulated syllables (p’ ing, ‘level tones’), but apparently a chronemic principle underlies this opposition, as was suspected by Polivanov (34) and keenly interpreted by Wang Li (46); in the Chinese metrical tradition the level tones prove to be opposed to the deflected tones as long tonal peaks of syllables to short ones, so that verse is based on the opposition of length and shortness. Joseph Greenberg brought to my attention another variety of tonemic versification - the verse of Efik riddles based on the level feature. In the sample cited by Simmons (42, p. 228), the query and the response form two octosyllables with an alike distribution of h(igh) - and l(ow)-tone syllabics; in each hemistich, moreover, the last three of the four syllables present an identical tonemic pattern: lhhl/hhhl/lhhl/hhhl//. Whereas Chinese versification appears as a peculiar variety of the quantitative verse, the verse of the Efic riddles is linked with the usual accentual verse by an opposition of the two degrees of prominence (strength or height) of the vocal tone. Thus a metrical system of versification can be based only on the opposition of syllabic peaks and slopes (syllabic verse), on the relative level of the peaks (accentual verse), and on the relative length of the syllabic peaks or entire syllables (quantitative verse). [...] The verse design is embodied in verse instances. Usually the free variation of these instances is denoted by the somewhat equivocal label ‘rhythm’. A variation of verse instances within a given poem must be strictly distinguished from the variable delivery instances. The intention ‘ to describe the verse line as it is actually performed’ is of lesser use for the synchronic and historical analysis of poetry than it is for the study of its recitation in the present and the past. Meanwhile the truth is simple and clear: ‘There are many performances of the same poem - differing among themselves in many ways. A performance is an event, but the poem itself, if there is any poem, must be some kind of enduring object.’ This sage memento of Wimsatt and Beardsley belongs indeed to the essentials of modern metrics. [...] No doubt, verse is primarily a recurrent ‘figure of sound’. Primarily, always, but never uniquely. Any attempts to confine such poetic conventions as meter, alliteration, or rhyme to the sound level are speculative reasonings without any empirical justification. The projection of the equational principle into the sequence has a much deeper and wider significance. Valéry’s view of poetry as ‘hesitation between the sound and the sense’ (cf. 45) is much more realistic and scientific than any bias of phonetic isolationism. [...] In poetry, not only the phonological sequence, but in the same way any sequence of semantic units strives to build and equation. Similarity superimposed on contiguity imparts to poetry its throughgoing symbolic, multiplex, polysemantic essence which is beautifully suggested by Goethe’s ‘Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis’ (Anything transient is but a likeness). Said more technically, anything sequent is a simile. In poetry where similarity is superinduced upon contiguity, any metonymy is slightly metaphorical and any metaphor has a metonymical tint. Ambiguity is an intrinsic, inalienable character of any self-focused message, briefly a corollary feature of poetry. Let us repeat with Empson: ‘The machinations of ambiguity are among the very roots of poetry’ (7). Not only the message itself but also its addresser and addressee become ambiguous. Besides the author and the reader, there is the ‘I’ of the lyrical hero or of the fictitious storyteller and the ‘you’ or ‘thou’ of the alleged addressee of dramatic monologues, supplications and epistles. For instance, the poem ‘Wrestling Jacob’ is addressed by its title hero to the

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Saviour and simultaneously acts as a subjective message of the poet Charles Wesley to his readers. Virtually any poetic message is a quasiquoted discourse with all those peculiar, intricate problems which ‘speech within speech’ offers to the linguist. The supremacy of poetic function over referential function does not obliterate the reference but makes it ambiguous. The double-sensed message finds correspondence in a split addresser, in a split addressee, and besides in a split reference, as it is cogently exposed in the preambles to fairy tales of various peoples, for instance, in the usual exordium of the Majorca storytellers: ‘Aixo era y no era’ (It was and it was not) (9). The repetitiveness effected by imparting the equivalence principle to the sequence makes reiterable not only the constituent sequences of the poetic message but the whole message as well. This capacity for reiteration whether immediate or delayed; this reification of a poetic message and its constituents, this conversion of a message into an enduring thing, indeed all this represents an inherent and effective property of poetry. [...] In poetry, any conspicuous similarity in sound is evaluated in respect to similarity and/or dissimilarity in meaning. But Pope’s alliterative precept to poets - ‘the sound must seem an Echo of the sense’ - has a wider application. In referential language the connection between signans [signifier] and signatum [signified] is overwhelmingly based on their codified contiguity, which is often confusingly labelled ‘arbitrariness of the verbal sign.’ 36 The relevance of the sound-meaning nexus is a simple corollary of the superposition of similarity upon contiguity. [...] Textbooks believe in the occurrence of poems devoid of imagery, but actually scarcity in lexical tropes is counterbalanced by gorgeous grammatical tropes and figures. The poetic resources concealed in the morphological and syntactic structures of language, briefly the poetry of grammar, and its literary product, the grammar of poetry, have been seldom known to critics and mostly disregarded by linguists but skilfully mastered by creative writers. The main dramatic force of Antony’s exordium to the funeral oration for
36 An allusion to the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure.

Caesar is achieved by Shakespeare’s playing on grammatical categories and constructions. Mark Antony lampoons Brutus’s speech by changing the alleged reasons for Caesar’s assassination into plain linguistics fictions. Brutus’s accusation of Caesar, ‘as he was ambitious, I slew him’, undergoes successive transformations. First Antony reduces it to a mere quotation which puts the responsibility for the statement on the speaker quoted: ‘The noble Brutus // Hath told you [...].’ When repeated, this reference to Brutus is put into opposition to Antony’s own assertions by an adversative ‘but’ and further degraded by a concessive ‘yet’. The reference to the alleger’s honour ceases to justify the allegation, when repeated with a substitution of the merely copulative ‘and’ instead of the previous causal ‘for’, and when finally put into question through the malicious insertion of a modal ‘sure’ : The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious; For Brutus is an honourable man, But Brutus says he was ambitious, And Brutus is an honourable man. Yet Brutus says he was ambitious, And Brutus is an honourable man. Yet Brutus says he was ambitious, And, sure, he is an honourable man. The following polyptoton - ‘I speak [...] Brutus spoke [...] I am to speak’ - presents the repeated allegation as mere reported speech instead of reported facts. The effect lies, modal logic would say, in the oblique context of the arguments adduced which makes them into unprovable belief sentences: I speak not to disprove what Brutus sopke,

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But here I am to speak what I do know. The most effective device of Antony’s irony is the modus obliquus [indirect method] of Brutus’s abstracts changed into a modus rectus [direct method] to disclose that these reified attributes are nothing but linguistic fictions. To Brutus’s saying ‘he was ambitious’, Antony first replies by transferring the adjective from the agent to the action (‘Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?’), then by eliciting the abstract noun ‘ambition’ and converting it into a subject of a concrete passive construction ‘Ambition should be made of sterner stuff’ and subsequently to a predicate noun of an interrogative sentence, ‘Was this ambition?’ - Brutus’s appeal ‘hear me for my cause’ is answered by the same noun in recto, the hypostatized subject of an interrogative, active construction: ‘What cause withholds you [...]?’ While Brutus calls ‘awake your senses, that you may the better judge’, the abstract substantive derived from ‘judge’ becomes an apostrophized agent in Antony’s report: ‘O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts[...]’ Incidentally, this apostrophe with its murderous paronomasia Brutus-brutish is reminiscent of Caesar’ parting exclamation ‘Et tu, Brute!’ Properties and activities are exhibited in recto, whereas their carriers appear either in obliquo (‘withholds you’, ‘to brutish beasts’, ‘back to me’) or as subject of negative actions (‘men have lost’, ‘I must pause’): You all did love him once, not without cause; What cause withholds you then to mourn for him? O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason! The last two lines of Antony’s exordium display the ostensible independence of these grammatical metonymies. The stereotyped ‘I mourn for so-and-so’ and the figurative but still stereotyped ‘so-and-so is in the coffin and my heart is with him’ or ‘goes out to him’ give place in Antony’s speech to a daringly realized metonymy; the trope becomes a part of poetic reality: My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me. [...]

1.3.2 Roman Jakobson: from ‘The metaphoric and metonymic poles’37

The varieties of aphasia are numerous and diverse, but all of them lie between the two polar types just described. Every form of aphasic disturbance consists in some impairment, more or less severe, either of
37 Jakobson’s seminal discussion of metaphor and metonymy comes at the end of a highly technical discussion of aphasia (i.e., language disorder). He begins by formulating one of the basic principles of Saussurian linguistics, that language, like all systems of signs, has a twofold character, involving two distinct operations, selection and combination. To produce a sentence like ‘ships crossed the sea’ (the example is not Jakobson’ s), I select the words I need from the appropriate sets or paradigms of the English language and combine them according to the rules of that language. If I substitute ‘ploughed’ for ‘crossed’, I create a metaphor based on a similarity between things otherwise different - the movements of a ship through water and the movement of a plough through the earth. If I substitute ‘keels’ for ‘ships’, I have used the figure of synecdoche (part for whole or whole for part). If I substitute ‘deep’ for ‘sea’ I have used the figure of metonymy (an attribute or cause or effect of a thing signifies the thing). According to Jakobson, synecdoche is a subspecies of metonymy: both depend on contiguity in space/time (the keel is part of the ship, depth is a property of the sea), and thus correspond to the combination axis of language. Metaphor, in contrast, corresponds to the selection axis of language, and depends on similarity between things not normally contiguous. Aphasics tend to be more affected in one or other of the selection and combination functions. Those who suffer from ‘selection deficiency’ or ‘similarity disorder’ are heavily dependent on context or contiguity to speak, and make ‘metonymic’ mistakes, substituting ‘fork’ for ‘knife’, ‘table’ for ‘lamp’, etc. Conversely, patients suffering from ‘contexture deficiency’ or ‘contiguity disorder’ are unable to combine words into a grammatical sentence, and make ‘metaphorical’ mistakes - ‘spyglass’ for ‘microscope’, or ‘fire’ for ‘gaslight’.

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the faculty for selection and substitution or for combination and contexture. The former affliction involves a deterioration of metalinguistic operations, while the latter damages the capacity for maintaining the hierarchy of linguistic units. The relation of similarity is suppressed in the former, the relation of contiguity in the latter type of aphasia. Metaphor is alien to the similarity disorder, and metonymy to the contiguity disorder. The development of a discourse may take place along two different semantic lines: one topic may lead to another either through their similarity or through their contiguity. The metaphoric way would be the most appropriate term for the first case and the metonymic way for the second, since they find their most condensed expression in metaphor and metonymy respectively. In aphasia one or the other of these two processes is restricted or totally blocked - an effect which makes the study of aphasia particularly illuminating for the linguist. In normal verbal behaviour both processes are continually operative, but careful observation will reveal that under the influence of a cultural pattern, personality, and verbal style, preference is given to one of the two processes over the other.
In a well-known psychological test, children are confronted with some noun and told to utter the first verbal response that comes into their heads. In this experiment two opposite linguistic predilections are invariably exhibited: the response is intended either as a substitute for, or as a complement to the stimulus. In the latter case the stimulus and the response together form a proper syntactic construction, most usually a sentence. These two opposite types of reaction have been labeled substitutive and predicative.

To the stimulus hut one response was burnt out; another, is a poor, little house. Both reactions are predicative; but the first creates a purely narrative context, while in the second there is a double connection with the subject hut: on the one hand, a positional (namely, syntactic) contiguity, and on the other a semantic similarity. The same stimulus produced the following substitutive reactions: the tautology hut; the synonyms cabin and hovel; the antonym palace, and the metaphors den and burrow. The capacity of two words to replace one another is an instance of positional similarity, and in addition, all these responses are linked to the stimulus by semantic similarity (or contrast). Metonymical responses to the same stimulus, such as thatch, litter, or poverty, combine and contrast the positional similarity with semantic

contiguity. In manipulating these two kinds of connection (similarity and contiguity) in both their aspects (positional and semantic) - selecting, combining, and ranking them - an individual exhibits his personal style, his verbal predilections and preferences. In verbal art the interaction of these two elements is especially pronounced. Rich material for the study of this relationship is to be found in verse patterns which require a compulsory parallelism between adjacent lines, for example in Biblical poetry or in the Finnic and, to some extent, the Russian oral traditions. This provides an objective criterion or what in the given speech community acts as a correspondence. Since on any verbal level - morphemic, lexical, syntactic, and phraseological - either of these two relations (similarity and contiguity) can appear - and each in either of two aspects, an impressive range of possible configurations is created. Either of the two gravitational poles may prevail. In Russian lyrical songs, for example, metaphoric constructions predominate, while in the heroic epics the metonymic way is preponderant. In poetry there are various motives which determine the choice between these alternants. The primacy of the metaphoric process in the literary schools of romanticism and symbolism has been repeatedly acknowledged, but it is still insufficiently realized that it is the predominance of metonymy which underlies and actually predetermines the so-called ‘realistic’ trend, which belongs to an intermediary stage between the decline of romanticism and the rise of symbolism and is opposed to both. Following the path of contiguous relationships, the realist author metonymically digresses from the plot to the atmosphere and from the characters to the setting in space and time. He is fond of synecdochic details. In the scene of Anna Karenina’s suicide Tolstoj’s artistic attention is focused on the heroine’s handbag; and in War and Peace the synecdoches ‘hair on the upper lip’ and ‘bare shoulders’ are used by the same writer to stand for the female character to whom these features belong. The alternative predominance of one or the other of these two processes

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is by no means confined to verbal art. The oscillation occurs in sign systems other than language38. A salient example from the history of painting is the manifestly metonymical orientation of cubism, where the object is transformed into a set of synecdoches; the surrealist painters responded with a patently metaphorical attitude. Ever since the productions of D. W. Griffith, the art of cinema, with its highly developed capacity for changing the angle, perspective, and focus of ‘shots’, has broken with the tradition of the theater and ranged an unprecedented variety of synecdochic ‘close-ups’ and metonymic ‘set-ups’ in general. In such motion pictures as those of Charlie Chaplin and Eisenstein, 39 these devices in turn were overlayed by a novel, metaphoric ‘montage’ with its ‘lap dissolves’ - the filmic similes.40 The bipolar structure of langauge (or other semiotic systems) and, in aphasia, the fixation on one of these poles to the exclusion of the other require systematic comparative study. The retention of either of these alternatives in the two types of aphasia must be confronted with the predominance of the same pole in certain styles, personal habits, current fashions, etc. A careful analysis and comparison of these phenomena with the whole syndrome of the corresponding type of aphasia is an imperative task for joint research by experts in psychopathology, psychology, linguistics, poetics, and semiotics, the general science of signs. The dichotomy discussed here appears to be of primal significance and consequence for all verbal behaviour and for human behaviour in general.41
38 I ventured a few sketchy remarks on the metonymical turn in verbal art (‘Prosa realizm u mystectvi’, Vaplite, Kharkov, 1927, No. 2; ‘Randbemerkungen’ zur Prosa des Dichters Pasternak’, Slavische Rundschau, VII, 1935), in painting (‘Futurizm Iskusstvo’, Moscow, Aug. 2, 1919), and in motion pictures (‘Upadek filmu’ Listi pro umeni a kritiku, I, Prague, 1933), but the crucial problem of the two polar processes awaits a detailed investigation. ( author’s note) 39 Cf. his striking essay ‘Dickens, Griffith and We’ : S. Eisenstein, Izbrannye star (Moscow, 1950), p. 153 ff. 40 Cf. B. Balasz, Theory of the Film (London, 1952). 41 For the psychological and sociological aspects of this dichotomy, see

To indicate the possibilities of the projected comparative research, we choose an example from a Russian folktale which employs parallelism as a comic device: ‘Thomas is a bachelor; Jeremiah is unmarried’ ( Fomá xólost; Erjoma nezenat). Here the predicates in the two parallel clauses are associated by similarity: they are in fact synonymous. The subjects of both clauses are masculine proper names and hence morphologically similar, while on the other hand they denote two contiguous heroes of the same tale, created to perform identical actions and thus to justify the use of synonymous pairs of predicates. A somewhat modified version of the same construction occurs in a familiar wedding song in which each of the wedding guests is addressed in turn by his first name and patronymic: ‘Gleb is a bachelor; Ivanovic is unmarried.’ While both predicates here are again synonyms, the relationship between the two objects changed: both are proper names denoting the same man and are normally used contiguously as a mode of polite address. In the quotation from the folktale, the two parallel clauses refer to two separate facts, the marital status of Thomas and the similar status of Jeremiah. In the verse from the wedding song, however, the two clauses are synonymous: they redundantly reiterate the celibacy of the same hero, splitting him into two verbal hypostases. The Russian novelist Gleb Ivanovic Uspenskij (1840-1902) in the last year of his life suffered from a mental illness involving a speech disorder. His first name and patronymic, Gleb Ivanovic, traditionally combined in polite intercourse, for him split into two distinct names designating two separate beings: Gleb was endowed with all his virtues, while Ivanovic, the same relating a son to his father, became the incarnation of all Uspenskij’s vices. The linguistic aspect of this split personality is the patient’s inability to use two symbols for the same thing, and it is thus a similarity disorder. Since the similarity disorder is bound up with the
Bateson’s views on ‘progressional’ and ‘selective integration’ and Parsons’ on the ‘conjunction disjunction dichotomy’ in child development: J. Ruesch and G. Bateson, Communication, the Social Matrix of Psychiatry (New York, 1951), pp. 183 ff.; T. Parsons and R. F. Bales, Family, Socialization and Interaction Process (Glencoe, 1955), pp. 119

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metonymical bent, an examination of the literary manner Uspenskij had employed as a young writer takes on particular interest. And the study of Anatolij Kamegulov, who analyzed Uspenskij’s style, bears out our theoretical expectations. He shows that Uspenskij had a particular penchant for metonymy, and especially for synecdoche, and that he carried it so far that ‘the reader is crushed by the multiplicity of detail unloaded on him in a limited verbal space, and is physically unable to grasp the whole, so that the portrait is often lost.’ 42 To be sure, the metonymical style in Uspenskij is obviously prompted by the prevailing literary canon of his time, late nineteenth-century ‘realism’ ; but the personal stamp of Gleb Ivanovic made his pen particularly suitable for this artistic trend in its extreme manifestations and finally left its mark upon the verbal aspect of his mental illness. A competition between both devices, metonymic and metaphoric, is manifest in any symbolic process, be it intrapersonal or social. Thus in an inquiry into the structure of dreams, the decisive question is whether the symbols and the temporal sequences used are based on contiguity (Freud’s metonymic ‘displacement’ and synecdochic ‘condensation’) or on similarity (Freud’s ‘identification and symbolism’). 43 The principles underlying magic rites have been resolved by Frazer into two types: charms based on the law of similarity and those founded on association by contiguity. The first of these two great branches of sympathetic magic has been called ‘homeopathic’ or ‘imitative’, and the second, ‘contagious
42 A. Kamegulov, Stil’ Gleba Uspenskogo (Leningrad, 1930), pp. 65, 145. One of such disintegrated portraits cited in the monograph: ‘From underneath an ancient straw cap, with a black spot on its visor, peeked two braids resembling the tusks of a wild boar, a chin, grown fat and pendulous, had spread definitively over the greasy collar of the calico dicky and lay in a thick layer on the coarse collar of the canvas coat, firmly buttoned at the neck. From underneath this coat to the eyes of the observer protruded massive hands with a ring which had eaten into the fat finger, a cane with a copper top, a significant bulge of the stomach, and the presence of very broad pants, almost of muslin quality, in the wide bottoms of which hid the toes of the boots.’ 43 S. Freud, Die Traumdeutung, 9th ed. (Vienna, 1950).

magic’.44 This bipartition is indeed illuminating. Nonetheless, for the most part, the question of the two poles is still neglected, despite its wide scope and importance for the study of any symbolic behavior, especially verbal, and of its impairments. What is the main reason for this neglect? Similarity in meaning connects the symbols of a metalanguage with the symbols of the language referred to. Similarity connects a metaphorical term with the term for which it is substituted. Consequently, when constructing a metalanguage to interpret tropes, the researcher possesses more homogenous means to handle metaphor, whereas metonymy, based on a different principle, easily defies interpretation. Therefore nothing comparable to the rich literature on metaphor 45 can be cited for the theory of metonymy. For the same reason, it is generally realized that romanticism is closely linked with metaphor, whereas the equally intimate ties of realism with metonymy usually remain unnoticed. Not only the tool of the observer but also the object of observation is responsible for the preponderance of metaphor over metonymy in scholarship. Since poetry is focused upon the sign, and pragmatical prose primarily upon the referent, tropes and figures were studied mainly as poetic devices. The principle of similarity underlies poetry; the metrical parallelism of lines, or the phonic equivalence of rhyming words prompts the question of semantic similarity and contrast; there exist, for instance, grammatical and anti-grammatical but never agrammatical rhymes. Prose, on the contrary, is forwarded essentially by contiguity. Thus, for poetry, metaphor, and for prose, metonymy is the line of least resistance and, consequently, the study of poetical tropes is directed chiefly toward metaphor. The actual bipolarity has been artificially replaced in these studies by an amputated, unipolar scheme which, strikingly enough coincides with one of the two aphasic patterns, namely with the contiguity disorder.

44 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion , Part I, 3rd

ed. (Vienna, 1950), chapter III. 45 C. F. P. Stutterheim, Het begrip metaphor (Amsterdam, 1941).

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the semantic description (which is made from the ‘situations,’ which can be decomposed into the action of actants). Finally, we find here a limited inventory of actants (which he calls, according to traditional syntactic terminology, functions). [...] Souriau's inventory is presented in the following manner: Lion ..............the oriented thematic Force Sun ............... the Representative of the wished-for Good, of the orienting Value Earth ............. virtual Recipient of that Good (that for which the Lion is working) Mars .............. the Opponent Libra .............. the Arbiter, attributer of the Good Moon ............. the Rescue, the doubling of one of the preceding forces We must not be discouraged by the energetic and astrological character of Souriau's terminology: it does not succed in concealing reflections that are not without coherence.[... ] The search for what could correspond, in Propp and Souriau's intentions, to that second actantial category cannot fail to raise some difficulties because of the fraquent syncretic manifestation of actants (already encountered at the level of syntax), the often noticed plurality of two actants present under the form of a single actor. For instance, in a narrative that is only a common love story ending in marriage without the parents' intervention, the subject is also the receiver, while the object is at the same time the sender of love: He = Subject + Receiver She = Object + Sender Four actants are there, symmetrical and inverted, but syncretized under the form of two actors. But we see also - Michel Legrand's couplet sung in the ‘Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ makes the point in an impressive synopsis: a man, a woman, an apple, a drama - with what ease the disjunction of the object and the sender can

1.3.3 A. - J.Greimas: from Structural Semantics 46

After defining the folktale as a display on a temporal line of its thirty-one functions, Propp raises the question about the actants, or the dramatis personae, as he calls them. His conception of the actants is functional: the characters are defined, according to him, by the ''spheres of action’ in which they participate, these spheres being constituted by the bundles of functions which are attributed to them [...] The result is that if the actors can be established within a tale-occurence, the actants, which are classifications of actors, can be established only from the corpus of all the tales: an articulation of actors constitutes a particular tale; a structure of actants constitutes a genre. The actants therefore possess a metalinguistic status in relation to the actors. They presuppose, by the way, a functional analysis - that is to say, the achieved constitution of the spheres of action. This double procedure - the establishment of the actors by the description of the functions and the reduction of the classifications of actors to actants of the genre - allows Propp to establish a definitive inventory of the actants, which are: 1. The villain; 2. The donor (provider); 3. The helper; 4. The sought-for person (and her father); 5. The dispatcher; 6. The hero; 7. the false hero. This inventory authorizes Propp to give an actantial definition of the Russian folktale as a story with seven characters. [...] The interest in Souriau's thought lies in the fact that he has shown that the actantial interpretation can be applied to a kind of narrative - theatrical works - quite different from the folktale and that his results are comparable to Propp's. We find here, although expressed differently, the same distinction between the events of the story [l’histoire événementielle] (which is for him only a collection of ‘dramatic subjects’) and the level of
46 University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1983. Pp. 200-8.

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produce a model with three actants. In a narrative of the type of The Quest fot the Holy Grail, on the contrary, four actants, quite distinct, are articulated in two categories: Subject Object Hero Holy Grail drama. What it also striking is the secondary character of these two actants. In a little play on words, we could say, thinking of the participial form by which we designated them (for example, ‘the opposing’ [opposant]: i.e. the ‘opponent’), that they are the circumstantial ‘participants,’ and not the true actants of the drama [spectacle]. Participles are in fact only adjectives which modify substantives in the same way that adverbs modify verbs. [...] We would say that the possible particularizations of the model should convey first the relationship between the actants ‘subject’ vs. ‘object’ and then be manifested as a class of variable constituted by supplementary investments. Thus, with great simplification, it could be said that for a learned philosopher of the classical age the relationship of desire would be specified, by a semic investment, as the desire of knowing, and the actants of his drama of knowledge would be distributed more or less in the following manner: Subject ...................... philosopher Object ....................... world Sender ...................... God Receiver .................... mankind Opponent ................... matter Helper ........................ mind In the same way, Marxist ideology as expressed by a militant could be distributed, thanks to its desire to help man, in a parallel fashion: Subject ...................... man Object ....................... classless society Sender ...................... history Receiver ................... mankind Opponent .................. bourgeois class Helper ....................... working class

Sender God Receiver Mankind [...] It is much more difficult to be sure of the categorical articulation of the other actants if only because we lack a syntactic model. Two spheres of activity, however, and, inside those, two distinct kinds of functions are recognized without difficulty. 1. The first kinds bring the help by acting in the direction of the desire or by facilitating communication. 2. The others, on the contrary, create obstacles by opposing either the realization of the desire of the desire or the communication of the object. These two bundles of functions can be attributed to two distinct actants that we will designate under the name of Helper vs. Opponent This distinction corresponds rather well to the distinction made by Souriau, from whom we borrow the term opponent: we prefer the term of helper introduced by Guy Michaud, to Souriau's 'rescue.' In Propp's formulation we find that opponent is pejoratively called villain (traitor), while helper takes in two characters, the helper and the donor (provider). At first sight, this elasticity of analysis may be surprising. [...] We can wonder what corresponds, in the mythical universe whose actantial structure we want to make explicit, to this opposition between the helper and the opponent. At first glance everything takes place as if, besides the principal parties in question, there would appear now in the drama projected on an axiological screen actants representing in a schematic faschion the benevolent and malevolent forces in the world, incarnations of the guardian angel and the devil of medieval Christian

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1.3.4 Gérard Genette: from ‘Frontiers of Narrative’ 47

We have here a new division, of very wide scope, since it divides into two parts of roughly equal importance the whole of what we now call literature. This division corresponds more or less to the distinction proposed by Émile Benveniste between narrative (or story) and discourse, except that Benveniste includes in the category of discourse everything that Aristotle called direct imitation, and which actually consists, at least as far as its verbal part is concerned, of discourse attributed by the poet or narrator to one of his characters. Benveniste shows that certain grammatical forms, like the pronoun ‘I’ (and its implicit reference ‘you’), the pronominal (certain demonstratives), or adverbial indicators (like ‘here’, ‘now,’ ‘yesterday,’ ‘today,’ ‘tomorrow,’ etc.) and - at least in French - certain tenses of the verb, like the present, the present anterior, or the future, are confined to discourse, whereas narrative in its strict form is marked by the exclusive use of the third person and such forms as the aorist (past definite) and the pluperfect. Whatever the details and variotions from on idiom to another, all these differences amount clearly to an opposition between the objectivity of narrative and the subjectivity of discourse; but it should be pointed out that such objectivity and subjectivity are defined by criteria of a strictly, linguistic order: ‘subjective’ discourse is that in which, explicitly or not, the presence of (or reference to) I is marked, but this is not defined in any other way except as the person who is speaking this discourse, just as the present, which is the tense par excellence of the discursive mode, is not defined other than as the moment when the discourse is being spoken, its use marking ‘the coincidence of the event described with the instance of discourse that describes it.’ Conversely, the objectivity of narrative is defined by the absence of any reference to the narrator: ‘As a matter of fact, there is then no longer even a narrator, The events are set forth chronologically, as they occur. No one speaks here; the
47 In Gérard Genette, Figures of Literary Discourse (Blackwell, Oxford, 1982),

pp. 138-143.

events seem to narrate themselves.’ [...] In discourse, someone speaks, and his situation in the very act of speaking is the focus of the most important significations; in narrative, as Benveniste forcefully puts it, no one speaks, in the sense that at no moment do we ask ourselves who is speaking, where, when, and so forth, in order to receive the full signification of the text. But it should be added at once that these essences of narrative and discourse so defined are almost never to be found in their pure state in any text: there is almost always a certain proportion of narrative in discourse, a certain amount of discourse in narrative. In fact, the symmetry stops here, for it is as if both types of expression were very differently affected by the contamination: the insertion of narrative elements in the level of discourse is not enough to emancipate discourse, for they generally remain linked to the reference by the speaker, who remains implicitly present in the background, and who may intervene again at any moment without this return being experienced as an ‘intrusion.’ [...] It is obvious that narrative does integrate these discursive enclaves, rightly called by Georges Blint ‘authorial intrusions,’ as easily as discourse receives the narrative enclaves: narrative inserted into discourse is transformed into an element of discourse, discourse inserted into narrative remains discourse and forms a sort of cyst that is very easy to recognize and to locate. The purity of narrative, one might say, is more manifest than that of discourse. Though the reason for this dissymmetry is very simple, it indicates for us a decisive character of narrative: in fact, discourse has no purity to preserve, for it is the broadest and most universal ‘natural’ mode of language, welcoming by definition all other forms; narrative, on the other hand, is a particular mode, marked, defined by a number of exclusions and restrictive conditions (refusal of the present, the first person, and so forth). Discourse can ‘recount’ without ceasing to be discourse, narrative cannot ‘discourse’ without emerging from itself. Nor can it abstain from it completely, however, without falling into aridity and poverty: this is why narrative exists nowhere, so to speak, in its strict form. The slightest

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general observation, the slightest adjective that is [a] little more than descriptive, the most discreet comparison, the most modest ‘perhaps,’ the most inoffensive of logical articulations introduces into its web a type of speech that is alien to it, refractory as it were. In order to study the detail of these sometimes microscopic accidents, we would need innumerable, meticulous analyses of texts. One of the objects of this study would be to list and classify the means by which narrative literature (and in particular the novel) has tried to organize in an acceptable way within its own lexis, the delicate relations maintained within it between the requirements of narrative and the needs of discourse. [...] The only moment when the balance between narrative and discourse seems to have been assumed with a perfectly good conscience, without either scruple or ostentation, is obviously in the nineteenth century, the classical age of objective narration, from Balzac to Tolstoy; we see, on the contrary, how the modern period has stressed awareness of difficulty to the extent of making certain types of elocution almost physically impossible for the most lucid and rigorous of writers. [...] All the fluctuations of contemporary fictional writing could no doubt be analyzed from this point of view, and particularly the tendency today, perhaps the reverse of the earlier one, and quite overt in a Phillipe Sollers or a Jean Thibaudeau, for exemple, to absorb the narrative in the present discourse of the writer in the process of writing, in what Michel Foucault calls ‘discourse bound up with the act of writing, contemporary with its unfolding and enclosed within it.’ It is as if literature had exhausted or overflowed the resources of its representative mode and wanted to fold back into the indefinite murmur of its own discourse. Perhaps the novel, after poetry, is about to emerge definitively from the age of representation. Perhaps narrative, in the negative singularity that we have just attributed to it, is already for us, as art was for Hegel, a thing of the past, which we must hurry to consider as it retreats, before it has completely disappeared from our horizon.
1.3.5 Gérard Genette: from ‘Structuralism and Literary Criticism’

In a new chapter of La Pensée sauvage, Claude Lévi-Strauss defines mythical thought as ‘a kind of intellectual bricolage’.48 The nature of bricolage is to make use of materials and tools that, unlike those of the engineer, for example, were not intended for the task in hand. [...] But there is another intellectual activity, peculiar to more ‘developed cultures, to which this analysis might be applied almost word for word: I mean criticism, more particularly literary criticism, which distinguishes itself formally from other kinds of criticism by the fact that it uses the same materials - writing - as the works with which it is concerned; art criticism or musical criticism are obviously not expressed in sound or in color, but literary criticism speaks the same language as its object: it is a metalanguage, ‘discourse upon a discourse’.49 It can therefore be a metaliterature, that is to say, ‘a literature of which literature itself is the imposed object’.50 [...] [...] If the writer questions the universe, the critic questions literature, that is to say, the universe of signs. But what was a sign for the writer (the work) becomes meaning for the critic (since it is the object of critical discourse), and in another way what was meaning for the writer (his view of the world) becomes a sign for the critic, as the theme and symbol of a certain literary nature. [...] If such a thing as ‘critical poetry exists’, therefore, it is in the sense in which Lévi-Strauss speaks of a ‘poetry of bricolage’ : just as the bricoleur ‘speaks through things’, the critic speaks - in the full sense, that is to say, speaks up - through books, and we will paraphrase Lévi-Strauss once more by saying that ‘without ever completing his project he always puts something of himself into it’. In this sense, therefore, one can regard literary criticism as a ‘structuralist activity’ ; but it is not - as is quite clear - merely an implicit, unreflective structuralism. The question posed by the present
48 Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago, 1966), p. 17. 49 Roland Barthes, Critical Essays, p. 258. 50 Paul Valéry, ‘Albert Thibaudet’, Nouvelle revue francaise (July 1936), p. 6.

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orientation of such human sciences as linguistics or anthropology is whether criticism is being called upon to organize its structuralist vocation explicitly in a structural method. My aim here is simply to elucidate the meaning and scope of this question, suggesting the principal ways in which structuralism could reach the object of criticism, and offer itself to criticism as a fruitful method. Literature being primarily a work of language, and structuralism, for its part, being preeminently a linguistic method, the most probable encounter should obviously take place on the terrain of linguistic material: sounds, forms, words, and sentences constitute the common object of the linguist and the philologist to such an extent that it was possible, in the early enthusiasm of the Russian Formalist movement, to define literature as a mere dialect, and to envisage its study as an annex of general dialectology. [...] But, like other ‘excesses’ committed by Formalism, this particular one had cathartic value: by temporarily ignoring content, the provisional reduction of literature’s ‘literary being’ to its linguistic being made it possible to revise certain traditional ‘verities’ concerning the ‘truth’ of literary discourse, and to study more closely the system of its conventions. Literature had long enough been regarded as a message without a code for it to become necessary to regarded it for a time as a code without a message. Structuralist method as such is constituted at the very moment when one rediscovers the message in the code, uncovered by an analysis of the immanent structures and not imposed from the outside by ideological prejudices. This moment was not to be long in coming, for the existence of the sign, at every level, rests on the connection of form and meaning. [...] Between pure Formalism, which reduces literary ‘forms’ to a sound material that is ultimately formless, because nonsignifying, and traditional realism, which accords to each form an autonomous, substantial ‘expressive value’, structural analysis must make it possible to uncover the connection that exists between a system of forms and a system of meanings, by replacing the search for term-by-term analogies with one for overall homologies. [...] The structural study of ‘poetic language’ and of the forms of literary expression in general cannot, in fact, reject the analysis of the relations between code and message. [...] The ambition of structuralism is not confined to counting feet and to observing the repetitions of phonemes: it must also attack semantic phenomena which, as Mallarmé showed us, constitute the essence of poetic language, and more generally the problems of literary semiology. In this respect one of the newest and most fruitful directions that are now opening up for literary research ought to be the structural study of the ‘large unities’ of discourse, beyond the framework - which linguistics in the strict sense cannot cross - of the sentence. [...] One would thus study systems from a much higher level of generality, such as narrative, description, and the other major forms of literary expression. There would then be a linguistics of discourse that was a translinguistics, since the facts of language would be handled by it in great bulk, and often at one remove - to put it simply, a rhetoric, perhaps that ‘new rhetoric’ which Francis Ponge once called for, and which we still lack. The structural character of language at every level is sufficiently accepted by all today for the structuralist ‘approach’ to literary expression to be adopted as it were without question. As soon as one abandons the level of linguistics (or that ‘bridge thrown between linguistics and literary history’, as Leo Spitzer called studies of form and style) and approach the domain traditionally reserved for criticism, that of ‘content’, the legitimacy of the structural point of view raises very serious questions of principle. A priori, of course, structuralism as a method is based on the study of structures wherever they occur; but to begin with, structures are not directly encountered objects - far from it; they are systems of latent relations, conceived rather than perceived, which analysis constructs as it uncovers them, and which it runs the risk of inventing while believing that it is discovering them. Furthermore, structuralism is not only a method; it is also what Ernst Cassirer calls a ‘general tendency of thought’, or as others would say (more crudely) an ideology, the prejudice of which is precisely to value structures at the expense of substances, and which may therefore overestimate their explanatory value. [...]

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Apparently, structuralism ought to be on its own ground whenever criticism abandons the search for the conditions of the existence or the external determinations - psychological, social, or other - of the literary work, in order to concentrate its attention on that work itself, regarded no longer as an effect, but as an absolute being. In this sense, structuralism is bound up with the general movement away from positivism, ‘historicizing history’ and the ‘biographical illusion’, a movement represented in various ways by the critical writings of a Proust, an Eliot, a Valéry, Russian Formalism, French ‘thematic criticism’ or Anglo-American ‘New Criticism’. [...] Any analysis that confines itself to a work without considering its sources or motives would, therefore, be implicitly structuralist, and the structural method ought to intervene in order to give to this immanent study a sort of rationality of understanding that would replace the rationality of explanation abandoned with the search of causes. A somewhat spatial determinism of structure would thus take over, but in a quite modern spirit, from the temporal determinism of genesis, each unit being defined in terms of relations, instead of filiation. ‘Thematic’ analysis, then, would tend spontaneously to culminate and to be tested in a structural synthesis in which the different themes are grouped in network, in order to extract their full meaning from their place and function in the system of the work. [...] Structuralism, then, would appear to be a refuge for all immanent criticism against the danger of fragmentation that threatens thematic analysis: the means of reconstituting the unit of a work, its principle of coherence, what Spitzer called its spiritual etymon. [...] [...] Structural criticism is untained by any of the transcendent reductions of psychoanalysis, for example, or Marxist explanation, but it exerts, in its own way, a sort of internal reduction, traversing the substance of the work in order to reach its bone-structure: certainly not a superficial examination, but a sort of radioscopic penetration, and all the more external in that it is more penetrating. [...] [...] What Merleau-Ponty wrote of ethnology as a discipline can be applied to structuralism as a method : ‘It is not a specialty defined by a particular object, ‘primitive societies’. It is a way of thinking, the way which imposes itself when the object is different, and requires us to transform ourselves. We also become the ethnologists of our own society if we set ourselves at a distance from it.’ Thus the relation that binds structuralism and hermeneutics together might not be one of mechanical separation and exclusion, but of complementarity: on the subject of the same work, hermeneutic criticism might speak the language of the resumption of meaning and of internal recreation, and structural criticism that of distant speech and intelligible reconstruction. They would thus bring out complementary significations, and their dialogue would be all the more fruitful, on condition that one could never speak these two languages at once. In any case, literary criticism has no reason to refuse to listen to the new signification that structuralism can obtain from the works that are apparently closest and most familiar by ‘distancing’ their speech; for one of the most profound lessons of modern anthropology is that the distant is also close to us, by virtue of its very distance. . The structuralist idea [...] is to follow literature in its overall evolution, while making synchronic cuts at various stages and comparing the tables one with another. Literary evolution then appears in all its richness, which derives from the fact that the system survives while constantly altering. Here, again, the Russian Formalists showed the way by paying special attention to the phenomena of structural dynamics, and by isolating the notion of change of function. Noting the presence or absence, in isolation, of a literary form or theme at a particular point in diachronic evolution is meaningless until the synchronic study has shown the function of this element in the system. An element can remain while changing function, or on the contrary disappear while leaving its function to another. [...] In this sense literary history becomes the history of a system: it is the evolution of the functions that is significant, not that of the elements, and knowledge of the synchronic relations necessarily precedes that of the processes.

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1.3.6 Tzvetan Todorov: from ‘Definition of Poetics’

To understand what poetics is, we must start from a general and of course a somewhat simplified image of literary studies. It is unnecessary to describe actual schools and tendencies; it will suffice to recall the positions taken with regard to several basic choices. Initially there are two attitudes to be distinguished: one sees the literary text itself as a sufficient object of knowledge; the other considers each individual text as the manifestation of an abstract structure. (I herewith disregard biographical studies, which are nor literary, as well as journalistic writings, which are not ‘studies’.) These two options are not, as we shall see, incompatible; we can even say that they achieve a necessary complementarity; nonetheless, depending on whether we emphasize one or the other, we can clearly distinguish between the two tendencies. Let us begin with a few words about the first attitude, for which the literary work is the ultimate and unique object, and which we shall here and henceforth call interpretation. Interpretation, which is sometimes also called exegesis, commentary, explication de text, close reading, analysis, or even just criticism (such a list does not mean we cannot distinguish or even set in opposition some of the terms), is defined, in the sense we give it here, by its aim, which is to name the meaning of the text examined. This aim forthwith determines the ideal of this attitude - which is to make the text itself speak; i.e., it is a fidelity to the object, to the other, and consequently an effacement of the subject - as well as its drama, which is to be forever incapable of realizing the meaning, but only a meaning subject to historical and psychological contingencies. This ideal, this drama will be modulated down through the history of commentary, itself coextensive with the history of humanity. In effect, it is impossible to interpret a work, literary or otherwise, for and in itself, without leaving it for a moment, without projecting it elsewhere than upon itself. Or rather, this task is possible, but then description is merely a word-for-word repetition of the work itself. It

espouses the forms of the work so closely that the two are identical. And, in a certain sense, every work constitutes its own best description. [...] If interpretation was the generic term for the first type of analysis to which we submit the literary text, the second attitude remarked above can be inscribed within the general context of science. By using this word, which the ‘average literary man’ does not favor, we intend to refer less to the degree of precision this activity, achieves (a precision necessarily relative) than to the general perspective chosen by the analyst: his goal is no longer the description of the particular work, the designation of its meaning, but the establishment of general laws of which this particular text is the product. Within this second attitude, we may distinguish several varieties, at first glance very remote from one another. Indeed, we find here, side by side, psychological or psychoanalytic, sociological or ethnological studies, as well as those derived from philosophy or from the history of ideas. All deny the autonomous character of the literary work and regard it as the manifestation of laws that are external to it and that concern the psyche, or society, or even the ‘human mind’. The object of such studies is to transpose the work into the realm considered fundamental: it is a labor of decipherment and translation; the literary work is the expression of ‘something’, and the goal of such studies is to reach this ‘something’ through the poetic code. Depending on whether the nature of this object to be reached is philosophical, psychological, sociological, or something else, the study in question will be inscribed within one of these types of discourse (one of these ‘sciences’), each of which possesses, of course, many subdivisions. Such an activity is related to science insofar as its object is no longer the particular phenomenon but the (psychological, sociological, etc.,) law that the phenomenon illustrates. Poetics breaks down the symmetry thus established between interpretation and science in the field of literary studies. In contradistinction to the interpretation of particular works, it does not seek to name meaning, but aims at a knowledge of the general laws that preside over the birth of each work. But in contradistinction of such sciences as psychology, sociology, etc., it seeks these laws within

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literature itself. Poetics is therefore an approach to literature at once ‘abstract’ and ‘internal’. It is not the literary work itself that is the object of poetics: what poetics questions are the properties of that particular discourse that is literary discourse. Each work is therefore regarded only as the manifestation of an abstract and general structure, of which it is but one of the possible realizations. Whereby this science is no longer concerned with actual literature, but with a possible literature, in other words with that abstract property that constitutes the singularity of the literal phenomenon: literariness. The goal of this study is no longer to articulate a paraphrase, a descriptive resume of the concrete work, but to propose a theory of the structure and functioning of literary discourse, a theory that affords a list of literary possibilities, so that existing literary works appear as achieved particular cases. The work will then be projected upon something other than itself, as in the case of psychological or sociological criticism; this something other will no longer be a heterogeneous structure, however, but the structure of literary discourse itself. The particular text will be only an instance that allows us to describe the properties of literature. [...] The fact that this essay was originally intended for a series of structuralist studies raises a new question: what is structuralism’s relation to poetics? The difficulty of answering is proportional to the polysemy of the term ‘structuralism. Taking this word in its broad acceptation, all poetics, and not merely one or another of its versions, is structured: since the object of poetics is not the sum of empirical phenomena (literary works) but an abstract structure (literature). But then, the introduction of a scientific point of view into any realm is always and already structural. If on the other hand this word designates a limited corpus of hypotheses, one that is historically determined - thereby reducing language to a system of communication, or social phenomena to the products of a code - poetics, as presented here, has nothing particularly structuralist about it. We might even say that the literary phenomenon and, consequently, the discourse that assumes it (poetics), by their very existence, constitutes an objection to certain instrumentalist conceptions of language formulated at the beginnings of ‘structuralism’. Which leads us to specify the relations between poetics and linguistics. [...] [L]iterature is, in the strongest sense of the term, a product of language. (Mallarmé had said: ‘The book, total expansion of the letter. [...]’.) For this reason, any knowledge of language will be of interest to the poetician. But formulated this way, the relation unites poetics and linguistics less than it does literature and language: hence poetics and all the sciences of languages. Now, no more than poetics is the only science to take literature as its object is linguistics (at least as it exists today) the unique science of language. Its object is a certain type of linguistic structure (phonological, grammatical, semantic) to the exclusion of others, which are studied in anthropology, in psychoanalysis, or in ‘philosophy of language’. Hence poetics might find a certain assistance in each of these sciences, to the degree that language constitutes parts of their object. Its closest relatives will be the other disciplines that deal with discourse - the group forming the field of rhetoric, understood in the broadest sense as a general science of discourse. It is here that poetics participates in the general semiotic process that unites all investigations whose point of departure is the sign.

1.3.7 Jonathan Culler: from Structuralist Poetics 51

When a speaker of a language hears a phonetic sequence, he is able to give it meaning because he brings to the act of communication an amazing repertoire of conscious and unconscious knowledge. Mastery of the phonological, syntactic and semantic systems of his language enables him to convert the sounds into discrete units, to recognize words, and to assign a structural description and interpretation to the resulting sentence,
51 Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1975, pp. 113-38.

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even though it be quite new to him. Without this implicit knowledge, this internalized grammar, the sequence of sounds does not speak to him. We are nevertheless inclined to say that the phonological and grammatical structure and the meaning are properties of the utterance, and there is no harm in that way of speaking so long as we remember that they are properties of the utterance only with respect to a particular grammar. Another grammar would assign different properties to the sequence (according to the grammar of a different language, for example, it would be nonsense). To speak of the structure of a sentence is necessarily to imply an internalized grammar that gives it that structure. We also tend to think of meaning and structure as properties of literary works, and from one point of view this is perfectly correct: when the sequence of words is treated as a literary work it has these properties. But that qualification suggests the relevance and importance of the linguistic analogy. The work has structure and meaning because it is read in a particular way, because these potential properties, latent in the object itself, are actualized by the theory of discourse applied in the act of reading. ‘How can one discover structure without the help of a methodological model?’ asks Barthes. To read a text as literature is not to make one’s mind a tabula rasa and approach it without preconceptions; one must bring to it an implicit understanding of the operations of literary discourse which tells one what to look for. Anyone lacking this knowledge, anyone wholly unacquainted with literature and unfamiliar with the conventions by which fictions are read, would, for example, be quite baffled if presented with a poem. His knowledge of the language would enable him to understand phrases and sentences, but he would not know, quite literally, what to make of this strange concatenation of phrases. He would be unable to read it as literature - as we say with emphasis to those who would use literary works for other purposes - because he lacks the complex ‘literary competence’ which enables others to proceed. He has not internalized the ‘grammar’ of literature which would permit him to convert linguistic sequences into literary structures and meanings. If the analogy seems less than exact it is because in the case of language it is much more obvious that understanding depends on mastery of a system. But the time and energy devoted to literary training in schools and universities indicate that the understanding of literature also depends on experience and mastery. Since literature is a second-order semiotic system which has language as its basis, a knowledge of language will take one a certain distance in one’s encounter with literary texts, and it may be difficult to specify precisely where understanding comes to depend on one’s supplementary knowledge of literature. But the difficulty of drawing a line does not obscure the palpable difference between understanding the language of a poem, in the sense that one could provide a rough translation into another language, and understanding the poem. If one knows French, one can translate Mallarmé’s ‘Salut’, but that translation is not a thematic synthesis - it is not what we would ordinarily call ‘understanding the poem’ - and in order to identify various levels of coherence and set them in relation to one another under the synoptic heading or theme of the ‘literary quest’ one must have considerable experience of the conventions for reading poetry. The easiest way to grasp the importance of these conventions is to take a piece of journalistic prose or a sentence from a novel and set it down on the page as a poem. The properties assigned to the sentence by a grammar of English remain unchanged, and the different meanings which the text acquires cannot therefore be attributed to one’s knowledge of the language but must be ascribed to the special conventions for reading poetry which lead one to look at the language in new ways, to make relevant properties of the language which were previously unexploited, to subject the text to a different series of interpretive operations. But one can also show the importance of these conventions by measuring the distance between the language of a poem and its critical interpretation - a distance bridged by the conventions of reading which comprise the institution of poetry. Anyone who knows English understands the language of Blake’s ‘Ah! Sun-flower’ : Ah, Sun-flower, weary of time, / Who countest the steps of the Sun, / Seeking after that sweet golden clime / Where the traveller’s journey is

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done: // Where the Youth pined away with desire, / And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow / Arise from their graves, and aspire / Where my Sunflower wishes to go. But there is some distance between an understanding of the language and the thematic statement with which a critic concludes his discussion of the poem: ‘Blake’s dialectical thrust at asceticism is more than adroit. You do not surmount Nature by denying its prime claim of sexuality. Instead you fall utterly into the dull round of its cyclic aspirations.’ How does one reach this reading? What are the operations which lead from the text to this representation of understanding? The primary convention is what might be called the rule of significance: read the poem as expressing a significant attitude to some problem concerning man and/or his relation to the universe. The sunflower is therefore given the value of an emblem and the metaphors of ‘counting’ and ‘seeking’ are taken not just as figurative indications of the flower’s tendency to turn towards the sun but as metaphorical operators which make the sunflower an instance of the human aspirations compassed by these two lines. The conventions of metaphorical coherence - that one should attempt through semantic transformations to produce coherence on the levels of both tenor and vehicle - lead one to oppose time to eternity and to make ‘that sweet golden clime’ both the sunset which marks the closure of the daily temporal cycle and the eternity of death when ‘the traveller’s journey is done’. The identification of sunset and death is further justified by the convention which allows one to inscribe the poem in a poetic tradition. More important, however, is the convention of thematic unity, which forces one to give the youth and virgin of the second stanza a role which justifies choosing them as examples of aspiration; and since the semantic feature they share is a repression of sexuality, one must find a way of integrating that with the rest of the poem. [...] The claims of schools and universities to offer literary training cannot be lightly dismissed. To believe that the whole institution of literary education is but a gigantic confidence trick would strain even a determined credulity, for it is, alas, only too clear that knowledge of a language and a certain experience of the world do not suffice to make someone a perceptive and competent reader. That achievement requires acquaintance with a range of literature and in many cases some form of guidance. The time and effort devoted to literary education by generations of students and teachers creates a strong presumption that there is something to be learned, and teachers do not hesitate to judge their pupils’ progress towards a general literary competence. Most would claim, no doubt with good reason, that their examinations are designed not simply to determine whether their students have read various set works but to test their acquisition of an ability. [...] To assimilate or interpret something is to bring it within the modes of order which culture makes available, and this is usually done by talking about it in a mode of discourse which a culture takes as natural. This process goes by various names in structuralist writing: recuperation, naturalization, motivation, vraisemblablisation. ‘Recuperation’ stresses the notion of recovery, of putting to use. It may be defined as the desire to leave no chaff, to make everything wheat, to let nothing escape the process of assimilation; it is thus a central component of studies which assert the organic unity of the text and the contribution of all its parts to its meanings or effects. ‘Naturalization’ emphasizes the fact that the strange or deviant is brought within a discursive order and thus made to seem natural. ‘Motivation’, which was the Russian formalists’ term, is the process of justifying items within the work itself by showing that they are not arbitrary or incoherent but quite comprehensible in terms of functions which we can name. Vraisemblablisation stresses the importance of cultural models of the vraisemblable as sources of meaning and coherence. Whatever one calls the process, it is one of the basic activities of the mind. We can, it seems, make anything signify. If a computer were programmed to produce random sequences of English sentences we could make sense of the texts it produced by imagining a variety of functions and contexts. If all else failed, we could read a sequence of words with no apparent order as signifying absurdity or chaos and then, by giving it an allegorical relation to the world, take it as a statement about the incoherence and absurdity of our own languages. As the example of

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Beckett shows, we can always make the meaningless meaningful by production of an appropriate context. And usually our contexts need not be so extreme. Much of Robbe-Grillet can be recuperated if we read it as the musings or speech of a pathological narrator, and that framework gives critics a hold so that they can go on to discuss the implications of the particular pathology in question. Certain dislocations in poetic texts can be read as signs of a prophetic or ecstatic state or as indications of a Rimbaudian ‘dérèglement de tous les sens’. To place the text in such frameworks is to make it legible and intelligible. When Eliot says that modern poetry must be difficult because of the discontinuities of modern culture, when William Carlos William argues that his variable foot is necessary in a post-Einsteinian world where all order is questioned, when Humpty-Dumpty tells Alice that ‘slithy’ means ‘lithe’ and ‘slimy’, all are engaged in recuperation or naturalization. is observed not as a finished, closed product, but as a production in progress, ‘plugged in’ to other texts, other codes (this is the intertextual), and thereby articulated with society and history in ways which are not determinist but citational. We have then to distinguish in a certain way structural analysis and textual analysis, without here wishing to declare them enemies: structural analysis, strictly speaking, is applied above all to oral narrative (to myth); textual analysis, which is what we shall be attempting to practise in the following pages, is applied exclusively to written narrative.52 Textual analysis does not try to describe the structure of a work; it is not a matter of recording a structure, but rather of producing a mobile structuration of the text (a structuration which is displaced from reader to reader throughout history), of staying in the signifying volume of the work, in its ‘signifiance’. Textual analysis does not try to find out what it is that determines the text (gathers it together as the end-term of a causal sequence), but rather how the text explodes and disperses. We are then going to take a narrative text, and we’re going to read it, as slowly as it is necessary, stopping as often as we have to (being at ease is an essential dimension of our work), and try to locate and classify without rigour, not all the meanings of the text (which would be impossible because the text is open to infinity: no reader, no subject, no science can arrest the text) but the forms and codes according to which meanings are possible. We are going to locate the avenues of meaning. Our aim is not to find the meaning, nor even a meaning of the text, and our work is not akin to literary criticism of the hermeneutic type (which tries to interpret the text in terms of the truth believed to be hidden therein), as are Marxist or psychoanalytical criticism. Our aim is to manage to conceive, to imagine, live the plurality of the text, the opening of its ‘signifiance’. It is clear then that what is at stake in our work is not limited to the university treatment of the text (even if that treatment were openly methodological),
52 I have attempted the textual analysis of a whole narrative (which could not be the case here for reasons of space) in my book S/Z, Seuil, 1970, [trans. Richard Miller, London, Cape, 1975.]

1.3.8 Roland Barthes: from ‘Textual Analysis: Poe’s Valdemar’

The structural analysis of narrative is at present in the course of full elaboration. All research in this area has a common scientific origin: semiology or the science of signification; but already (and this is a good thing) divergences within that research are appearing, according to the critical stance each piece of work takes with respect to the scientific status of semiology, or in other words, with respect to its own discourse. These divergences (which are constructive) can be brought together under two broad tendencies: in the first, faced with all the narratives in the world, the analysis seeks to establish a narrative model - which is evidently formal - , a structure or grammar of narrative, on the basis of which (once this model, structure or grammar has been discovered) each particular narrative will be analysed in terms of divergences. In the second tendency, the narrative is immediately subsumed (at least when it lends itself to being subsumed) under the notion of ‘text’, space, process of meanings at work, in short, ‘signifiance’ (we shall come back to this word at the end), which

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nor even to literature in general; rather it touches on a theory, a practice, a choice, which are caught up in the struggle of men and signs. In order to carry out the textual analysis of a narrative, we shall follow a certain number of operating procedures (let us call them elementary rules of manipulation rather than methodological principles, which would be too ambitious a word and above all an ideologically questionable one, in so far as ‘method’ too often postulates a positivistic result). We shall reduce these procedures to four briefly laid out measures, preferring to let the theory run along in the analysis of the text itself. For the moment we shall say just what is necessary to begin as quickly as possible the analysis of the story we have chosen. 1 We shall cut up the text I am proposing for study into contiguous, and in general very short, segments (a sentence, part of a sentence, at most a group of three or four sentences); we shall number these fragments starting from 1 (in about ten pages of text there are 150 segments). These segments are units of reading, and this is why I have proposed to call them ‘lexias’ 53 . A lexia is obviously a textual signifier; but as our job here is not to observe signifiers (our work is not stylistic) but meanings, the cutting-up does not need to be theoretically founded (as we are in a discourse, and not in ‘langue’ 54, we must not expect there to be an easily-perceived homology between signifier and signified; we do not know how one corresponds to the other, and consequently we must be prepared to cut up the signifier without being guided by the underlying cutting-up of the signified). All in all the fragmenting of the narrative text into lexias is purely empirical, dictated by the concern of convenience: the lexia is an arbitrary product, it is simply a segment within which the distribution of meanings is observed; it is what surgeons would call an operating field: the useful lexia is one where only one, two or three meanings take place (superposed in the volume of the piece of text). 2 For each lexia, we shall observe the meanings to which that lexia gives
53 For a tighter analysis of the notion of the lexia, and moreover of the operating procedures to follow, I am obliged to refer to S/Z [pp. 13 ff]. 54 ‘Discourse’ here corresponds to parole in Saussure’s distinction between langue and parole.

rise. By meaning, it is clear that we do not mean the meanings of the words or groups of words which dictionary and grammar, in short a knowledge of the French language, would be sufficient to account for. We mean the connotations of the lexia, the secondary meanings. These connotation meanings can be associations (for example, the physical description of a character, spread out over several sentences, may have only one connoted signified, the ‘nervousness’ of that character, even though the word does not figure at the level of denotation); they can also be relations, resulting form a linking of two points in the text, which are sometimes far apart, (an action begun here can be completed, finished, much further on). Our lexias will be, if I can put it like this, the finest possible sieves, thanks to which we shall ‘cream off’ meanings, connotations.
3 Our analysis will be progressive: we shall cover the length of the text step by step, at least in theory, since for reasons of space we can only give two fragments of analysis here. This means that we shan’t be aiming to pick out the large (rhetorical) blocks of the text; we shan’t construct a plan of the text and we shan’t be seeking its thematics; in short, we shan’t be carrying out an explication of the text, unless we give the word ‘explication’ its etymological sense, in so far as we shall be unfolding the text, the foliation of the text. Our analysis will retain the procedure of reading; only this reading will be, in some measure, filmed in slowmotion. This method of proceeding is theoretically important: it means that we are not aiming to reconstitute the structure of the text, but to follow its structuration, and that we consider the structuration of the reading to be more important than that of composition (a rhetorical, classical notion).

4 Finally, we shan’t get unduly worried if in our account we ‘forget’ some meanings. Forgetting meanings is in some sense part of reading: the important thing is to show departures of meaning, not arrivals (and is meaning basically anything other than a departure?). What founds the text is not an internal, closed, accountable structure, but the outlet of the text on to other texts, other signs; what makes the text is the intertextual. We are beginning to glimpse (through other sciences) the fact that research must little by little get used to the conjunction of two ideas which for long time were thought incompatible: the idea of structure and the idea of combinational infinity; the conciliation of these two postulations is forced upon us now because language, which we are getting to know better, is at

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once infinite and structured. I think that these remarks are sufficient for us to begin the analysis of the text (we must always give in to the impatience of the text, and never forget that whatever the imperatives of study, the pleasure of the text is our law). The text which has been chosen is a short narrative by Edgar Poe, in Baudelaire’s translation: - ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar’ - 55. My choice - at least consciously, for in fact it might be my unconscious which made the choice - was dictated by two didactic considerations: I needed a very short text so as to be able to master entirely the signifying surface (the succession of lexias), and one which was symbolically very dense, so that the text analysed would touch us continuously, beyond all particularism: who could avoid being touched by a text whose declared ‘subject’ is death? To be frank, I ought to add this: in analysing the ‘signifiance’ of a text, we shall abstain voluntarily from dealing with certain problems; we shall not speak of the author, Edgar Poe, nor of the literary history of which he is a part; we shall not take into account the fact that the analysis will be carried out on a translation: we shall take the text as it is, as we read it, without bothering about whether in a university it would belong to the students of English rather than students of French or philosophers. This does not necessarily mean that these problems will not pass into our analysis; on the contrary, they will pass, in the proper sense of the term: the analysis is a crossing of the text; these problems can be located in terms of cultural quotations, of departures of codes, not of determinations.
55 Histoires extraordinaires, trans. Charles Baudelaire, Paris, N.R.F.; Livre de poche, 1969, pp. 329-345 [The Collected Works, 3 vols. Ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1978, III, 1233-43. Tramslator’s note: The fact that Barthes is working on the translation of a text originally in English evidently causes some extra problems if translation. Naturally I have used Poe’s text; the quality of Baudelaire’s translation is such that most of Barthes’s comments apply equally to the original. The notable exception to this is the title, and Barthes in fact explicitly commenrs on this, continuing, however, to use the word ‘vérité’ in the French title in support of his analysis. I have specified by notes in square brackets wherever this might lead to confusion.

A final word, which is perhaps one of conjuration, exorcism: the text we are going to analyse is neither lyrical nor political, it speaks neither of love nor society, it speaks of death. This means that we shall have to lift a particular censorship: that attached to the sinister. We shall do this, persuaded that any censorship stands for all others: speaking of death outside all religion lifts at once the religious interdict and the rationalist one. [...] Analysis of lexias 1-17 [...] (1) - ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar’ - [ - La Vérité sur le cas de M. Valdemar] The function of the title has not been well studied, at least from a structural point of view. What can be said straight away is that for commercial reasons, society, needing to assimilate the text to a product, a commodity, has need of markers: the function of the title is to mark the beginning of the text, that is, to constitute the text as a commodity. Every title thus has several simultaneous meanings, including at least two: (i) what it says linked to the contingency of what follows it; (ii) the announcement itself that a piece of literature (which means, in fact, a commodity) is going to follow; in other words, the title always has a double function; enunciating and deictic. (a) Announcing a truth involves the stipulation of an enigma. The posing of the enigma is a result (at the level of the signifiers): of the word ‘truth’ [in the French title]; of the word ‘case’ (that which is exceptional, therefore marked, therefore signifying, and consequently of which the meaning must be found); of the definite article ‘the’ [in the French title] (there is only one truth, all the work of the text will, then, be needed to pass through this narrow gate); of all the cataphorical56 form implied by the title: what follows will realise what is announced, the resolution of
56 There is no English equivalent to this word, by which Barthes seems to

mean, ‘answering or reflecting back on itself’.

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the enigma is already announced; we should note that the English says: The Facts in the Case [...]-: the signified which Poe is aiming at is of an empirical order, that aimed by the French translator (Baudelaire) is hermeneutic: the truth refers then to the external facts, but also perhaps to their meaning. However, this may be, we shall code this first sense of the lexia: ‘enigma, position’ (the enigma is the general name of a code, the position is only one term of it). (b) The truth could be spoken without being announced, without there being a reference to the word itself. If one speaks of what is going to say, if language is thus doubled into two layers of which the first in some sense caps the second, then what one is doing is resorting to the use of a metalanguage. There is then here the presence of the metalinguistic code. (c) This metalinguistic announcement has an aperitive function: it is a question of whetting the reader’s appetite (a procedure which is akin to ‘suspense’). The narrative is a commodity the proposal of which is preceded by a ‘patter’. This ‘patter’, this ‘appetiser’ is a term of the narrative code (rhetoric of narration). (d) A proper name should always be carefully questioned, for the proper name is, if I can put it like this, the prince of signifiers; its connotations are rich, social and symbolic. In the name Valdemar, the following two connotations at least can be read: (i) presence of a socio-ethnic code: is the name German? Slavic? In any case, not Anglo-Saxon; this little enigma here implicitly formulated, will be resolved at number 19 (Valdemar is Polish); (ii) ‘Valdemar’ is ‘the valley of the sea’ ; the oceanic abyss; the depths of the sea is a theme dear to Poe: the gulf refers to what is twice outside nature, under the waters and under the earth. From the point of view of the analysis there are, then, the traces of two codes: a socio-ethnic code and a (or the) symbolic code (we shall return to these codes a little later). (e) Saying ‘M(onsieur) Valdemar’ is not the same thing as saying ‘Valdemar’. In a lot of stories Poe uses simple Christian names (Ligeia, Eleonora, Morella). The presence of the ‘Monsieur’ brings with it an effect of social reality, of the historically real: the hero is socialised, he forms part of a definite society, in which he is supplied with a civil title. We must therefore note: social code. [...] [...] At this point we reach the moment in the narrative at which we are going to take up the textual analysis again, lexia by lexia. Between Interrogation III and the beginning of the analysis to follow, an important term of the sequence ‘medical death’ intervenes: this is the mortification of M. Valdemar (101-102). Under hypnosis, M. Valdemar is henceforth dead, medically speaking. We know that recently, with the transplantation of organs, the diagnosis of death has been called into question: today the evidence of electro-encephalography is required. In order to certify M. V’s death, Poe gathers (in 101 and 102) all the clinical signs which in his day certified scientifically the death of a patient: open rolled-black eyes, corpse-like skin, extinction hectic spots, fall and relaxation of the lower jaw, blackened tongue, a general hideousness which makes those present shrink back from the bed (here again the weave of the codes should be noted: all the medical signs are also elements of horror; or rather, horror is always given under the alibi of science: the scientific code and the symbolic code are actualised at the same time, undecidably). With M. Valdemar medically dead, the narrative ought to finish: the death of the hero (except in cases of religious resurrection) ends the story. The relaunching of the anecdote (beginning with lexia 103) appears then at once as a narrative necessity (to allow the text to continue) and a logical scandal. This scandal is that of the supplement: for there to be a supplement of narrative there will have to be a supplement of life: once again, the narrative stands for life. [...] (110) ‘He now said: - ’ Yes; - no; - I have been sleeping - and now now - I am dead.’ From the structural point of view, this lexia is simple: it is the term ‘reply’ (‘I am dead’) to Interrogation IV. However, outside the diegetical

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structure (i.e. the presence of the lexia in an actional sequence) the connotation of the words (‘I am dead’) is of inexhaustible richness. Certainly there exist numerous mythical narratives in which death speaks; but only to say: ‘I am alive’. There is here a true hapax 57 of narrative grammar, a staging of words impossible as such: I am dead. Let us attempt to unfold some of these connotations: (i) We have already extracted the theme of encroachment (of life on death); encroachment is a paradigmatic disorder, a disorder of meaning; in the life/death of paradigm, the bar is normally read as ‘against’ (versus); it would suffice to read it as ‘on’ for encroachment to take place and the paradigm to be destroyed. That’s what happens here; one of the spaces bites unwarrantedly into the other. The interesting thing here is that the encroachment occurs at the level of language. The idea that, once dead, the dead man can continue to act is banal; it is what is said in the proverb ‘the dead man seizes the living’ ; it is what is said in the great myths of remorse or of posthumous vengeance; it is what is said comically in Forneret’s sally: ‘Death teaches incorrigible people to live’ 58. But here the action of the dead man is a purely linguistic action; and, to crown all, this language serves no purpose, it does not appear with a view to acting on the living, it says nothing but itself, it designates itself tautologically. Before saying ‘I am dead’, the voice says simply ‘I am speaking’ ; a little like a grammatical example which refers to nothing but language; the uselessness of what is proferred is part of the scandal: it is a matter of affirming an essence which is not in its place (the displaced is the very form of the symbolic). (ii) Another scandal of the enunciation is the turning of the metaphorical into the literal. It is in effect banal to utter the sentence ‘I am dead!’ : it is what is said by the woman who has been shopping all afternoon at
57 Hapax legomenon is the Greek term for a word coined for a particular occasion. 58 [Xavier Forneret (1809-84), poet. His ‘Vapeurs, ni vers ni prose’ passed unnoticed when it was published in 1838, but was reissued in 1952 by André Breton, who situated him in the tradition of Lautréamont and Surrealists.]

Printemps, and who has gone to her hairdresser’s, etc.59 The turning of the metaphorical into the literal, precisely for this metaphor, is impossible: the enunciation ‘I am dead’, is literally foreclosed (whereas ‘I sleep’ remained literally possible in the field of hypnotic sleep). It is, then, if you like, scandal of language which is in question. (iii) There is also a scandal at the level of ‘language’ (and no longer at the level of discourse). In the ideal sum of all the possible utterances of language, the link of the first person (I) and the attribute ‘dead’ is precisely the one which is radically impossible: it is the empty point, this blind spot of language which the story comes, very exactly, to occupy. What is said is no other than this impossibility: the sentence is not descriptive, it is not constative, it delivers no message other than its own enunciation. In a sense we can say that we have here a performative, but such, certainly, that neither Austin nor Benveniste had foreseen it in their analyses (let us recall that the performative is the mode of utterance according to which the utterance refers only to its enunciation: ‘I declare war’ ; performatives are always, by force, in the first person, otherwise they would slip towards the constative: ‘he declares war’); here, the unwarranted sentence performs an impossibility60. (iv) From a strictly semantic point of view, the sentence ‘I am dead’ asserts two contrary elements at once (life, death): it is an enantioseme, but is, once again, unique: the signifier expresses a signified (death) which is contradictory with its enunciation. And yet, we have to go further still: it is not simply a matter of a simple negation, in the psychoanalytical sense, ‘I am dead’ meaning in that case ‘I am not dead’, but rather an affirmation-negation: ‘I am dead and not dead’ ; this is the paroxysm of transgression, the invention of an unheard-of category: the ‘true-false’, the ‘yes-no’, the ‘death-life’ is thought of as a whole which is indivisible, uncombinable, non-dialectic, for the antithesis implies no
59 [In French this metaphorical usage corresponds to the English expression ‘I’m dead tired.’ ] 60 [See J.L.Austin, Philosophical Papers, ed. J.O. Urmson and G.J. Warnock, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1961; How to Do Things with Words, ed. J.O.Urmson and Marina Sbisa, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1962.]

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third term; it is not a two-faced entity, but a term which is one and new. [...] Other commentaries are possible, notably that of Jacques Derrida61. I have limited myself to those that can be drawn from structural analysis, trying to show that the unheard-of sentence ‘I am dead’ is in no way the unbelievable utterance, but much more radically the impossible enunciation. Methodological conclusions The remarks which will serve as conclusion to these fragments of analysis will not necessarily be theoretical; theory is not abstract, speculative: the analysis itself, although it was carried out on a contingent text, was already theoretical, in the sense that it observed (that was its aim) a language in the process of formation. That is to say - or to recall - that we have not carried out an explanation of the text: we have simply tried to grasp the narrative as it was in the process of self-construction (which implies at once structure and movement, system and infinity). Our structuration does not go beyond that spontaneously accomplished by reading. In concluding, then, it is not a question of delivering the ‘structure’ of Poe’s story, and even less that of all narratives, but simply of returning more freely, and with less attachment to the progressive unfolding of the text, to the principal codes which we have located. The word ‘code’ itself should not be taken here in the rigorous, scientific sense of the term. The codes are simply associative fields, a supra-textual organization of notations which impose a certain idea of structure; the instance of the code is, for us, essentially cultural: the codes are certain types of ‘déjà-lu’ [already read], of ‘déjà-fait’ [already done]: the code is the for of this ‘déjà’, constitutive of all the writing in the world.
61 Jacques Derrida, La Voix wt le phénomene , Paris, P.U.F., 1967, pp. 60-1, [‘Speech and Phenomena’, trans. David B. Allison, Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 1973, pp. 54-5.]

Although all the codes are in fact cultural, there is yet one, among those we have met with, which we shall privilege by calling it the cultural code: it is the code of knowledge, or rather of human knowledges, of public opinions, of culture as it is transmitted by the book, by education, and in a more general and diffuse form, by the whole of sociality. We met several of these cultural codes (or general sub-codes of the general cultural code): the scientific code, which (in our story) is supported at once by the principles of experimentation and by the principles of medical deontology; the rhetorical code, which gathers up all the social rules of what is said: coded forms of narrative, coded forms of discourse (the announcement, the résumé, etc.); metalinguistic enunciation (discourse talking about itself) forms part of this code; the chronological code: ‘dating’, which seems natural and objective to us today, is in fact a highly cultural practice - which is to be expected since it implies a certain ideology of time (‘historical’ time is not the same as ‘mythical’ time); the set of chronological reference-points thus constitute a strong cultural code (a historical way of cutting up time for purposes of dramatisation, of scientific appearance, of reality-effect); the sociohistorical code allows the mobilisation in the enunciation, of all the inbred knowledge that we have about our time, our society, our country (the fact of saying ‘M. Valdemar’ and not ‘Valdemar’, it will be remembered, finds its place here). We must not be worried by the fact that we can constitute extremely banal notations into code: it is on the contrary their banality, their apparent insignificance that predisposes them to codification, given our definition of code: a corpus of rules that are so worn we take them to be marks of nature; but if the narrative departed from them, it would very rapidly become unreadable. The code of communication could also be called the code of destination. Communication should be understood in a restricted sense; it does not cover the whole of the signification which is in a text and still less its ‘signifiance’ ; it simply designates every relationship in the text which is stated as an address (this is the case of the ‘phatic’ code, charged with the accentuation of the relationship between narrator and reader), or as an exchange (the narrative is exchanged for truth, for life). In short,

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communication should here be understood in an economic sense (communication, circulation of goods). The symbolic field (here ‘field’ is less inflexible than ‘code’) is, to be sure, enormous; the more so in that here we are talking the word ‘symbol’ in the most general possible sense, without being bothered by any of its usual connotations; the sense to which we are referring is close to that of psychoanalysis: the symbol is broadly that feature of language which displaces the body and allows a ‘glimpse’ of a scene other than that of the enunciation, such as we think we read it; the symbolic framework in Poe’s story is evidently the transgression of the taboo of death, the disorder of classification, that Baudelaire has translated (very well) by the ‘empiètement’ (‘encroachment’) of life on death (and not, banally, of death on life); the subtlety of the story comes in part from the fact that the enunciation seems to come from an asymbolic narrator, who has taken on the role of the objective scientist, attached to the fact alone, a stranger to the symbol (which does not fail to come back in force in the story). What we have called the code of actions supports the anecdotal framework of the narrative; the actions, or the enunciations which denote them, are organized in sequences; the sequence has an approximate identity (its contour cannot be determined rigorously, nor unchallangeably); it is justified in two ways: first because one is led spontaneously to give it a generic name (for example a certain number of notations, ill health, deterioration, agony, the mortification of the body, its liquefaction, group naturally under a stereotyped idea, that of ‘medical death’); and second, because the terms of the actional sequence are interlinked (from one to the next, since they follow one another throughout the narrative) by an apparent logic; we mean by that that the logic which institutes the actional sequence is very impure from a scientific point of view; it is only an apparent logic which comes not from the laws of formal reasoning, but from our habits of reasoning and observing: it is an endoxal, cultural logic (it seems ‘logical’ to us and what is more this logic becomes confused with chronology: what comes ‘after’ seems to us to be ‘caused by ‘. Although in narrative they are never pure, temporality and causality seem to us to found a sort of naturality, intelligibility, readability for the anecdote: for example, they allow us to resume it (what the ancients called the argument, a word which is at once logical and narrative). One last code has traversed our story from its beginning : that of the enigma. We have not had the chance to see it at work, because we have only analysed a very small part of Poe’s story. The code of the enigma gathers those terms through the stringing-together of which (like a narrative sentence) an enigma is posed, and which, after some ‘delays’, make up the piquancy of the narrative, the solution unveiled. The terms of the enigmatic (or hermeneutic) code are well differentiated: for example, we have to distinguish the positing of the enigma (every notation whose meaning is ‘there is an enigma’) from the formulation of the enigma (the question is exposed in its contingency); in our story, the enigma is posed in the [French] title itself (the ‘truth’ is announced, but we don’t yet know about what question), formulated from the start (the scientific account of the problem linked to the planned experiment), and even, from the very start, delayed: obviously it is in the interests of every narrative to delay the solution of the enigma it poses, since that solution will toll its death-knell as a narrative: the case, under the cover of scientific precautions. As for the solution of the enigma, it is not here of a mathematical order; it is in sum the whole narrative which replies to the question posed at the beginning, the question of the truth (this truth can however be condensed into two points: the proferring of ‘I am dead’, and the sudden liquefation of the dead man when he awakes from hypnosis); the truth here is not the object of a revelation, but of a revulsion. These are the codes which traverse the fragments we have analysed. We deliberately don’t structure them further, nor do we try to distribute the terms within each code according to a logical or semiological schema; this is because for us the codes are only departures of ‘déjà-lu’ beginnings of intertextuality: the frayed nature of the codes does not contradict structure (as, it is thought, life, imagination, intuition, disorder, contradict system and rationality), but, on the contrary (this is the fundamental affirmation of textual analysis) is an integral part of structuration. It is this ‘fraying’ of the text which distinguishes structure - the object of structural analysis, strictly speaking - from structuration - the object of

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the textual analysis we have attempted to practise here. The textile metaphor we have just used is not fortuitous. Textual analysis indeed requires us to represent the text as a tissue (this is moreover the etymological sense), as a skein of different voices and multiple codes which are at once interwoven and unfinished. A narrative is not a tabular space, a flat structure, it is a volume, a stereophony (Eisenstein placed great insistence on the counterpoint of his directions, thus initiating an identity of film and text): there is a field of listening for written narrative; the mode of presence of meaning (except perhaps for actional sequences) is not development, but ‘explosion’ [éclat]: cal for contact, communication, the position of contracts, exchange, flashes [éclats] of references, glimmerings of knowledge, heavier, more penetrating blows, coming from the ‘other scene’, that of the symbolic, a discontinuity of actions which are attached to the same sequence but in a loose, ceaselessly interrupted way. All this ‘volume’ is pulled forward (towards the end of the narrative), thus provoking the impatience of reading, under the effect of two structural dispositions: (a) distortion: the terms of a sequence or a code are separated, threaded with heterogeneous elements: a sequence seems to have been abandoned (for example, the degradation of Valdemar’s health), but it is taken up again further on, sometimes much later; an expectation is created; we can now even define the sequence: it is the floating micro-structure which constructs not a logical object, but an expectation and its repulsion; (b) irreversibility: despite the floating character of structuration , in the classical, readable narrative (such as Poe’s story), there are two codes which maintain a directional order; the actional code (based on a logicotemporal order) and the code of the enigma (the question is capped by its solution); and in this way an irreversibility of narrative is created. It is clearly on this point that modern subversion will operate: the avant-garde (to keep a convenient word) attempts to make the text thoroughly reversible, to expel the logico-temporal residue, to attack empiricism (the logic of behaviour, the actional code) and truth (the code of the enigma). We must not, however, exaggerate the distance separating the modern text from the classical narrative. We have seen, in Poe’s story, that one sentence very often refers to two codes simultaneously, without one’s being able to choose which is the ‘true’ one (for example, the scientific code and the symbolic code): what is specific to the text, once it attains the quality of a text, is to constrain us to the undecidability of the codes. In the name of what could we decide? In the author’s name? But the narrative gives us only an enunciator, a performer caught up in his own production. In the name of such and such criticism? All are challengeable, carried off by history (which is not to say that they are useless: each one participates, but only as one voice, in the text’s volume). Undecidability is not a weakness, but a structural condition of narration: there is not unequivocal determination of the enunciation: in an utterance, several codes and several voices are there, without priority. Writing is precisely this loss of origin, this loss of ‘motives’ to the profit of a volume of indeterminations or over-determinations: this volume is, precisely, ‘signifiance’. Writing [écriture] comes along very precisely at the point where speech stops, that is from the moment one can no longer locate who is speaking and one simply notes that speaking has started.

1.4

DECONSTRUCTION

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1.4.1 Jacques Derrida: from ‘Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences’ 62

We need to interpret interpretations more than we interpret things. (Montaigne) Perhaps something has occurred in the history of the concept of structure that could be called an ‘event’, if this loaded word did not entail a meaning which it is precisely the function of structural - or structuralist - thought to reduce or to suspect. Let us speak of an ‘event’, nevertheless, and let us use quotations marks to serve as a precaution. What would this event be then? Its exterior form would be that of a rupture and a redoubling. It would be easy enough to show that the concept of structure and even the word ‘structure’ are old as the episteme - that is to say, as old as Western science and Western philosophy - and that their roots thrust deep into the soil of ordinary language, into whose deepest recesses the episteme plunges in order to gather them up and to make them part of itself in a metaphorical displacement. Nevertheless, up to the event which I wish to mark out and define, structure - or rather the structurality of structure although it has been at work, has always been neutralized or reduced, and this by a process of giving it a center or of referring it to a point of presence, a fixed origin. The function of this center was not only to orient, balance, and organize the structure - one cannot in fact conceive of an unorganized structure - but above all to make sure that the organizing principle of the structure would limit what we might call the play of the structure. By orienting and organizing the coherence of the system, the center of a structure permits the play of its elements inside the total form. And even today the notion of a structure lacking any center represents the unthinkable itself. Nevertheless, the center also closes off the play which it opens up and makes possible. As center, it is the point at which the substitution of
62 Published in: Hazard Adams, Leroy Searle (eds), Critical Theory since 1965

(University Press of Florida, Tallahassee, 1986), pp. 83-93.

contents, elements, or terms is no longer possible. At the center, the permutation of the transformation of elements (which may of course be structures enclosed within a structure) is forbidden. As least this permutation has always remained interdicted (and I am using this word deliberately). Thus it has always been thought that the center, which is by definition unique, constituted that very thing within a structure which while governing the structure, escapes structurality. This is why classical thought concerning structure could say that the center is, paradoxically, within the structure and outside it. The center is at the center of the totality, and yet, since the center does not belong to the totality (is not part of the totality), the totality has its center elsewhere. The center is not the center. The concept of centred structure - although it represents coherence itself, the condition of the episteme as philosophy or science is contradictorily coherent. And as always coherence in contradiction expresses the force of a desire. The concept of centred structure is in fact the concept of the play based on a fundamental ground, a play constituted on the basis of a fundamental immobility and a reassuring certitude, which itself is beyond the reach of play. And on the basis of this certitude anxiety can be mastered, for anxiety is invariably the result of a certain mode of being implicated in the game, of being caught by the game, of being as it were at stake in the game from the outset. And again on the basis of what we call the center (and which, because it can be either inside or outside, can also indifferently be called, the origin or end, arche or telos), repetitions, substitutions, transformations and permutations are always taken from a history of meaning [ sens] - that is, in a word, a history - whose origin may always be reawakened or whose end may always be anticipated in the form of presence. This is why one perhaps could say that the movement of any archaelogy, like that of any eschatology, is an accomplice of this reduction of the structurality of structure and always attempts to conceive of structure on the basis of a full presence which is beyond play. If this is so, the entire history of the concept of structure, before the rupture of which we are speaking, must be thought of as a series of substitutions of center for center, as a linked chain of determinations of

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the center. Successively, and in a regulated fashion, the center receives different forms or names. The history of metaphysics, like the history of the West, is the history of these metaphors and metonymies. Its matrix - if you will pardon me for demonstrating so little and for being so elliptical in order to come more quickly to my principal theme - is the determination of Being as presence in all senses of this word. It could be shown that all the names related to fundamentals, to principles, or to the center have always designated an invariable presence - eidos, arche, telos, energeia, ousia (essence, existence, substance, subject) aletheia, transcendentality, consciousness, God, man and so forth. The event I call a rupture, the disruption I alluded to at the beginning of this paper, presumably would have come about when the structurality of structure had to begin to be thought, that is to say, repeated, and this is why I said that this disruption was repetition in every sense of the word. Henceforth, it became necessary to think both the law which somehow governed the desire for a center in the constitution of structure, and the process of signification which orders the displacements and substitutions for this law of central presence - but a central presence which has never been itself, has already been exiled from itself into its own substitute. The substitute does not substitute itself for anything which has somehow existed before it. Henceforth, it was necessary to begin thinking that there was no center, that the center could not be thought in the form of a presentbeing, that the center had no natural site, that it was not a fixed locus but a function, a sort of nonlocus in which an infinite number of signsubstitutions came into play. This was the moment when language invaded the universal problematic, the moment when, in the absence of a center or origin, everything became discourse - provided we can agree on this word - that is to say, a system in which the central signified, the original or transcendental signified, is never absolutely present outside a system of differences. The absence of the transcendental signified extends the domain and the play of signification infinitely. Where and how does this decentering, this thinking the structurality of structure, occur? It would be somewhat naive to refer to an event, a doctrine, or an author in order to designate this occurrence. It is no doubt part of the totality of an era, our own, but still it has already begun to proclaim itself and begun to work. Nevertheless, if we wished to choose several ‘names’, as indications only, and to recall those authors in whose discourse this occurrence has kept most closely to its most radical formulation, we doubtless would have to cite the Nietzschean critique of metaphysics, the critique of the concepts of Being and truth, for which were substituted the concepts of play, interpretation and sign (sign without present truth); the Freudian critique of self-presence, that is, the critique of consciousness, of the subject, of self-identity or of selfproximity or of self-possession; and, more radically, the Heideggerean destruction of metaphysics, of onto-theology, of the determination of Being as presence. [...] In the work of Lvy-Strauss it must be recognized that the respect for structurality, for the internal originality of the structure, compels a neutralization of time and history. For example, the appearance of a new structure, of an original system, always comes about - and this is the very condition of its structural specificity - by a rupture with its past, its origin, and its cause. Therefore one can describe what is peculiar to the structural organization only by not taking into account, in the very moment of this description, its past conditions: by omitting to posit the problem of the translation from one structure to another, by putting history within brackets. In this ‘structuralist’ moment, the concepts of chance and discontinuity are indispensable. And Lvy-Strauss does in fact often appeal to them, for example, as concerns that structure of structures, language, of which he says in the ‘Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss’ that it ‘could only have been born in one fell swoop’. [...] This standpoint does not prevent Lévi-Strauss from recognizing the slowness, the process of maturing, the continuous toil of factual transformations, history (for example, Race and History). But, in accordance with a gesture which was also Rousseau’s and Husserl’s, he must ‘set aside all the facts’ at the moment when he wishes to recapture the specificity of a structure. Like Rousseau, he must always cconceive of the origin of a new structure on the model of catastrophe - an overturning of nature in nature, a natural interruption of the natural sequence, a

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setting aside of nature. Besides the tension between play and history, there is also the tension between play and presence. Play is the disruption of presence. The presence of an element is always a signifying and substitutive reference inscribed in a system of differences and the movement of a chain. Play is always play of absence and presence, but if it is to be thought radically, play must be conceived of before the alternative of presence and absence. Being must be conceived of as presence or absence on the basis of the possibility of play and not the other way round. If Lvy-Strauss, better than any other, has brought to light the play of repetition, and the repetition of play, one no less perceives in his work a sort of ethic of presence, an ethic of nostalgia for origins, an ethic of archaic and natural innocence, of a purity of presence and of self-presence in speech - an ethic, nostalgia, and even remorse, which he often presents as the motivation of the ethnological project when he moves towards the archaic societies which are exemplary societies in his eyes. These texts are well known. Turned towards the lost or impossible presence of the absent origin, this structuralist thematic of broken immediacy is therefore the saddened, negative, nostalgic, guilty, Rousseauistic side of the thinking of play whose other side would be the Nietzschean affirmation, that is the joyous affirmation of the play of the world of signs without fault, without truth, and without origin, which is offered to an active interpretation. This affirmation then determines the noncenter otherwise than as loss of the center. And it plays without security. For there is a sure play: that which is limited to the substitution of given and existing, present, pieces. In absolute chance, affirmation also surrenders itself to genetic indetermination, to the seminal adventure of the trace. There are thus two interpretations of interpretation, of structure, of sign, of play. The one seeks to decipher, dreams of deciphering a truth or an origin which escapes play and the order of the sign, and which lives the necessity of interpretation as an exile. The other, which is no longer turned towards the origin, affirms play and tries to pass beyond man and humanism, the name of man being the name of that being who, throughout the history of metaphysics or of ontotheology - in other words, throughout his entire history - has dreamed of full presence, the reassuring foundation, the origin and the end of play. The second interpretation of interpretation, to which Nietzsche pointed the way, does not seek in ethnography, as Lévi-Strauss does, the ‘inspiration of a new humanism’ (again citing the ‘Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss’). There are more than enough indications today to suggest we might perceive that these two interpretations of interpretation - which are absolutely irreconcilable even if we live them simultaneously and reconcile them in an obscure economy - together share the field which we call, in such a problematic fashion, the social sciences. For my part, although these two interpretations must acknowledge and accentuate their difference and define their irreducibility, I do not believe that today there is any question of choosing - in the first place because here we are in a region (let us say, provisionally, a region of historicity) where the category of choice seems particularly trivial; and in the second, because we must first try to conceive of the common ground, and the diffrance of this irreducible difference. Here there is a kind of question, let us still call it historical, whose conception, formation, gestation and labor we are only catching a glimpse of today. I employ these words, I admit, with a glance towards the operations of childbearing - but also with a glance towards those who, in a society from which I do not exclude myself, turn their eyes away when faced by the as yet unnameable which is proclaiming itself and which can do so, as is necessary whenever a birth is in the offing, only under the species of the nonspecies, in the formless, mute, infant, and terrifying form of monstrosity.
1.4.4 Paul de Man: from Blindness and Insight: Essays in The Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism63

63 Published by University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1983. Selections

from pp. 26-8; 105-6; 139-41.

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1. FORM AND INTENT IN THE AMERICAN NEW CRITICISM [...] A truly systematic study of the main formalists critics in the English language during the last thirty years would always reveal a more or less deliberate rejection of the principle of intentionality. The result would be a hardening of the text into a sheer surface that prevents the stylistic analysis form penetrating beyond the sensory appearances to perceive this ‘struggle with meaning’ of which all criticism, including the criticism of form should give an account of. For surfaces also remain concealed when they are being artificially separated from the depth that supports them. The partial failure of American formalism, which has not produced works of major magnitude, is due to its lack of awareness of the intentional structure of the literary form. Yet this criticism has merits that prevail despite the weakness of its theoretical foundations. The French critic, Jean-Pierre Richard, alludes to these merits when he writes defensively in the introduction to his study of Mallarmé that ‘the reproach [of destroying the formal structure of his work] will especially be made by English and American critics for whom, as is well known, the objective and architectural reality of particular works is of the utmost importance.’ It is true that American textual interpretation and ‘close reading’ have perfected techniques that allow for considering refinement in catching the details and nuances of literary expression. They study texts as ‘forms’, as groupings from which the constitutive parts cannot be isolated or separated. This gives a sense of context that is often lacking in French or in German interpretations. But are we not confronted here with a flagrant contradiction? On the one hand, we blame American criticism for considering literary texts as if they were natural objects but, on the other hand, we praise it for possessing a sense of formal unity that belongs precisely to a living and natural organism. Is not this sense of the unity of forms being supported by the large metaphor of the analogy between language and a living organism, a metaphor that shapes a great deal of nineteenth-century poetry and thought? One could even find historical confirmation of this affiliation in the line that links, especially by way of I. A. Richards and Whitehead, the structural formalism of the new Critics to the ‘organic’ imagination so dear to Coleridge. The introduction of the principle of intentionality would imperil the organic analogy and lead to a loss of the sense of form; hence the understandable need of the New Critics to protect their greatest source of strength. [...] The ambivalence reappears among modern disciples of Coleridge, in a curious discrepancy between their theoretical assumptions and their practical results. As it refines its interpretations more and more, American criticism does not discover a single meaning, but a plurality of significations that can be radically opposed to each other. Instead of revealing a continuity affiliated with the coherence of the natural world, it takes us into a discontinuous world of reflective irony and ambiguity. Almost in spite of itself, it pushes the interpretative process so far that the analogy between the organic world and the language of poetry finally explodes. This unitarian criticism finally becomes a criticism of ambiguity, an ironic reflection on the absence of the unity it had postulated. But from where then does the contextual unity, which the study of texts reconfirms over and over again and to which American criticism owes its effectiveness, stem? Is it not rather that this unity - which is in fact a semi-circularity - resides not in the poetic text as such, but in the act of interpreting this text? The circle we find here and which is called ‘form’ does not stem from an analogy between the text and natural things, but constitutes the hermeneutic circle mentioned by Spitzer of which the history has been traced by Gadamer in Wahrheit und Methode and whose ontological significance is at the basis of Heidegger's treatise Sein und Zeit. What happened in American criticism could then be explained as follows: because such patient and delicate attention was paid to the reading of forms, the critics pragmatically entered into the hermeneutic circle of interpretation, mistaking it for the organic circularity of natural processes. This happened quite spontaneously, for Spitzer's influence at the time of the New Criticism was confined to a small area, and Heidegger's influence was non-existent. [...]

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2. THE RHETORIC OF BLINDNESS: JACQUES DERRIDA'S READING OF ROUSSEAU [...] All these critics seem curiously doomed to say something quite different form what they meant to say. Their critical stance - Lukács’s propheticism, Poulet's belief in the power of an original cogito, Blanchot's claim of meta-Mallarméan impersonality - is defeated by their own critical results. A penetrating but difficult insight into the nature of literary language ensues. It seems, however, that this insight could only be gained because the critics were in the grip of this peculiar blindness: their language could grope towards a certain degree of insight only because their method remained oblivious to the perception of this insight. The insight exists only for a reader in the privileged position of being able to observe the blindness as a phenomenon in its own right - the question of his own blindness being one which he is by definition incompetent to ask - and so being able to distinguish between statement and meaning. He has to undo the explicit results of a vision that is able to move towards the light only because, being already blind, it does not have to fear the power of this light. But this vision is unable to report correctly what it has perceived in the course of its journey. To write critically about critics thus becomes a way to reflect on the paradoxical effectiveness on a blinded vision that has to be rectified by means of insights that it unwittingly provides. [...] There are two possible explanations for Derrida's blindness with regard to Rousseau: either he actually misreads Rousseau, possibly because he substitutes Rousseau's interpreters for the author himself - maybe whenever Derrida writes Rousseau, we should read ‘Starobinski’ or ‘Raymond’ or ‘Poulet’ - or he deliberately misreads Rousseau for the sake of his own exposition and rhetoric. In the first case, Derrida's blindness merely confirms Rousseau's foreknowledge of the misinterpretation of his work. It would be a classical case of critical blindness, somewhat different in aspect but not in essence from the patterned encountered in critics such as Lukács, Poulet or Blanchot. Their blindness, it will be remembered, consisted in the affirmation of a methodology that could be deconstructed in terms of their own findings: Poulet's ‘self’ turns out to be language, Blanchot's impersonality a metaphor for self-reading, etc.; in all these cases, the methodological dogma is being played off against literary insight, and this interplay between methodology and literature develops in turn the highly literary rhetoric of what could be called systematic criticism. Derrida's case is somewhat different: his chapter on method, on literary interpretation as deconstruction, is flawless in itself but made to apply to the wrong object. There is no need to deconstruct Rousseau; the established tradition of Rousseau interpretation, however, stands in dire need of deconstruction. Derrida found himself in the most favorable of all critical positions: he was dealing with an author as clear-sighted as language lets him be who, for that very reason, is being systematically misread; the author's own works, newly interpreted, can then be played off against the most talented of his deluded interpreters or followers. Needless to say, this new interpretation will, in its turn, be caught in its own form of blindness, but not without having produced its own bright moment of literary insight. Derrida did not choose to adopt this pattern: instead of having Rousseau deconstruct his critics, we have Derrida deconstructing a pseudo-Rousseau by means of insights that could have been gained from the ‘real’ Rousseau. The pattern is too interesting not to be deliberated. At any rate, the pattern accounts very well for the slight thematic difference between Derrida's story and Rousseau's story. Whereas Rousseau tells the story of an inexorable regression, Derrida rectifies a recurrent error of judgement. His text, as he puts it so well, is the unmaking of a construct. However negative it may sound, deconstruction implies the possibly of rebuilding. Derrida's dialectical energy, especially in the first half of his book, which does not deal directly with Rousseau, clearly gains its momentum from the movement of deconstruction that takes place in the second part, using Rousseau as a sparring partner. Rousseau plays for Derrida somewhat the same part as Wagner plays for Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy, a text De la Grammatologie resembles even more closely than it resembles the Essai sur l'origine des langues.

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[...] The critical reading of Derrida's critical reading of Rousseau shows blindness to be the necessary correlative of the rhetorical nature of literary language. Within the structure of the system: text-reader-critic (in which the critic can be defined as the ‘second’ reader or reading) the moment of blindness can be located differently. If the literary text itself has areas of blindness, the system can be binary; reader and critic coincide in their attempt to make the unseen visible. Our reading of some literary critics, in this volume, is a special, somewhat more complex case of this structure: the literary texts are themselves critical but blinded, and the critical reading of the critics tries to deconstruct the blindness. It should be clear by now that ‘blindness’ implies no literary value-judgement: Lukács, Blanchot, Poulet, and Derrida can be called ‘literary’ in the full sense of the term, because of their blindness, not in spite of it. In the more complicated case of the non-blinded author - as we have claimed Rousseau to be - the system has to be triadic: the blindness is transferred from the writer to his first readers, the ‘traditional’ disciples or commentators. These blinded first readers - they could be replaced for the sake of exposition, by the fiction of a naive reader, though the tradition is likely to provide ample material - then need, in turn, a critical reader who reverses the tradition and momentarily takes us closer to the original insight. The existence of a particularly rich aberrant tradition in the case of the writers who can legitimately be called the most enlightened, is therefore no accident, but a constitutive part of all literature, the basis, in fact, of literary history. And since interpretation is nothing but the possibility of error, by claiming that a certain degree of blindness is part of the specificity of all literature we also reaffirm the absolute dependence of the interpretation on the text and of the text on the interpretation. [...] blowing in the direction of formalist and intrinsic criticism. [...] We speak as if, with the problems of literary form resolved once and forever, and with the techniques of structural analysis refined to near perfection, we could now move ‘beyond formalism’ towards the questions that really interest us and reap, at last, the fruits of the ascetic concentration on techniques that prepared us for this decisive step. With the internal law and order of literature well policed, we can now confidently devote ourselves to the foreign affairs, the external politics of literature. Not only do we feel able to do so, but we owe it to ourselves to take this step: our moral conscience would not allow us to do otherwise. Behind the assurance that valid interpretation is possible, behind the recent interest in writing and reading as potentially effective public speech acts, stands a highly respectable moral imperative that strives to reconcile the internal, formal, private structures of literary language with their external, referential, and public effects.[...] The attraction of reconciliation is the effective breeding - ground of false models and metaphors; it accounts for the metaphorical model of literature as a kind of box that separates an inside from an outside, and the reader and critic as the person who opens the lid in order to release in the open what was secreted but inaccessible inside. It matters little whether we call the inside of the box the content or the form, the outside the meaning or the appearance. The recurrent debate opposing intrinsic to extrinsic criticism stands under the aegis of an inside/ outside metaphor that is never being seriously questioned.[...] One of the most striking characteristics of literary semiology as it is practiced today, in France and elsewhere, is the use of grammatical (especially syntactical) structures conjointly with rhetorical structures, without apparent awareness of a possible discrepancy between them. In their literary analyses, Barthes, Genette, Todorov, Greimas, and their disciplines all simplify and regress from Jakobson in letting grammar and rhetoric function in perfect continuity, and in passing from grammatical to rhetorical structures without difficulty or interruption. Indeed, as the study of grammatical structures is refined in contemporary theories of generative, transformational, and distributive grammar, the study of tropes and of figures (which is now the term rhetoric is used here, and

1.4.5 Paul de Man: from ‘Semiology and Rhetoric’ (1979)

TO JUDGE from various publications, the spirit of the time is not

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not in the derived sense of comment or of eloquence or persuasion) becomes a mere extension of grammatical models, a particular subset of syntactical relations.[...] Without engaging the substance of the question, it can be pointed out, without having to go beyond recent and American examples, and without calling upon the strength of an age - old tradition, that the continuity here assumed between grammar and rhetoric is not borne out by theoretical and philosophical speculation. Kenneth Burke mentions deflection (which he compares structurally to Freudian displacement), defined as ‘any slight bias or even unintended error’, as the rhetorical basis of language, and deflection is then conceived as a dialectical subversion of the consistent link between sign and meaning that operates within grammatical patterns; hence Burke’s well - known insistence on the distinction between grammar and rhetoric. Charles Sander Peirce, who, with Nietzsche and Saussure, laid the philosophical foundation for modern semiology, stressed the distinction between grammar and rhetoric in his celebrated and so suggestively unfathomable definition of the sign. He insists, as is well known, on the necessary presence of a third element, called the interpretant, within any relationship that the sign entertains with its object. The sign is to be interpreted I we are to understand the idea it is to convey, and this is so because the sign is not the thing but a meaning derived from the thing by a process here called representation that is not simply generative, i.e., dependent on a univocal origin. The interpretation of the sign is not, for Peirce, a meaning but another sign; it is a reading, not a decodage, and this reading has, in its turn, to be interpreted into another sign, and so on ad infinitum. [...] These remarks should indicate at least the existence and the difficulty of the question, a difficulty which puts its concise theoretical exposition beyond my powers. I must retreat therefore into a pragmatic discourse and try to illustrate the tension between grammar and rhetoric in a few specific textual examples. Let me begin by considering what is perhaps the most commonly known instance of an apparent symbiosis between a grammatical and a rhetorical structure, the so - called rhetorical question, in which the figure is conveyed directly by means of a syntactical device. I take the first example from the sub - literature of the mass media: asked by his wife whether he wants to have his bowling shoes laced over or laced under, Archie Bunker answers with a question: ‘What’s the difference?’. Being a reader of sublime simplicity, his wife replies by patiently explaining the difference between lacing over and lacing under, whatever this may be, but provokes only ire. ‘What’s the difference’ did not ask for difference but means instead ‘I don’t give a damn what the difference is’. The same grammatical pattern engenders two meanings that are mutually exclusive: the literal meaning asks for the concept (difference) whose existence is denied by the figurative meaning. As long as we are talking about bowling shoes, the consequences are relatively trivial; Archie Bunker, who is a great believer in the authority of origins (as long, of course, as they are the right origin) muddles along in a world where literal and figurative meanings get in each other’s way, though not without discomforts. But suppose that it is a de - bunker rather than a ‘Bunker’, and a de - bunker of the arche (or origin), an archie Debunker such as Nietzsche or Jacques Derrida for instance, who asks the question ‘What is the Difference’ - and we cannot even tell from his grammar whether he ‘really’ wants to know ‘what’ difference is or is just telling us that we should’t even try to find out. Confronted with the question of the difference between grammar and rhetoric, grammar allows us to ask the question, but the sentence by means of which we ask it may deny the very possibility of asking. For what is the use of asking, I ask, when we cannot even authoritatively decide whether a question asks or doesn’t ask? The point is as follows. A perfectly clear syntactical paradigm (the question) engenders a sentence that has at least two meanings, of which the one asserts and the other denies its own illocutionary mode. It is not so that there are simply two meanings, one literal and the other figural, and that we have to decide which one of these meanings is the right one in this particular situation. [...] Let me pursue the matter of the rhetorical question through one more example. Yeats’s poem ‘Among School Children’ ends with the famous line: ‘How can we know the dancer from the dance?’ Although there are

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some revealing inconsistencies within the commentaries, the line is usually interpreted as stating, with the increased emphasis of a rhetorical device, the potential unity between form and experience, between creator and creation. It could be said that it denies the discrepancy between the sign and the referent from which we started out. Many elements in the imagery and the dramatic development of the poem strengthen this traditional reading; without having to look any further than the immediately preceding lines, one finds powerful and consecrated images of the continuity from part to whole that makes synecdoche into the most seductive of metaphors: the organic beauty of the tree, stated in the parallel syntax of a similar rhetorical question, or the convergence, in the dance, of erotic desire with musical form: O chestnut - tree, great - rooted blossomer, Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance? A more extended reading, always assuming that the final line is to be read as a rhetorical question, reveals that the thematic and rhetorical grammar of the poem yields a consistent reading that extends from the first line to the last and that can account for all details in the text. It is equally possible, however, to read the last line literally rather than figuratively, as asking with some urgency the question we asked earlier within the context of contemporary criticism: not that sign and referent are so exquisitely fitted to each other that all difference between them is at times blotted out but, rather, since the two essentially different elements, sign and meaning, are so intricately intertwined in the imagined ‘presence’ that the poem addresses, how can we possibly make the distinctions that would shelter us from the error of identifying what cannot be identified? [...] We return to the inside/ outside model from which we started out and which the poem puts into question by means of a syntactical device (the question) made to operate on a grammatical as well as on a rhetorical level. The couple grammar/ rhetoric, certainly not a binary opposition since they n no way exclude each other, disrupts and confuses the neat antithesis of the inside/ outside pattern. We can transfer this scheme to the act of reading and interpretation. [...] Does the metaphor of reading really unite outer meaning with inner understanding, action with reflection, into one single totality? The assertion is powerfully and suggestively made in a passage from Proust that describes the experience of reading as such a union.[...] The figure here dramatized is that of metaphor, an inside/ outside correspondence as represented by the act of reading. The reading scene is the culmination of a series of actions taking place in enclosed spaces and leading up to the ‘dark coolness’ of Marcel’s room. I had stretched out on my bed, with a book, in my room which sheltered, tremblingly, its transparent and fragile coolness from the afternoon sun behind the almost closed blinds through which a glimmer of daylight had nevertheless managed to push its yellow wings, remaining motionless between the wood and the glass, in a corner, poised like a butterfly. It was hardly light enough to read, and the sensation of the light’s splendor was given me only by the noise of Camus[...] hammering dusty crates; resounding in the sonorous atmosphere that is peculiar to hot weather, they seemed to spark off scarlet stars; and also by the flies executing their little concert, the chamber music of summer: evocative not in the manner of a human tune that, heard perchance during the summer, afterwards reminds you of it but connected to summer by a more necessary link: born from beautiful days, resurrecting only when they return, containing some of their essence, it does not only awaken their image in our memory; it guarantees their return, their actual, persistent, unmediated presence. The dark coolness of my room related to the full sunlight of the street as the shadow relates to the ray of light, that is to say it was just as luminous and it gave my imagination the total spectacle of the summer, whereas my senses, if I had been on a walk, could only have enjoyed it by fragments; it matched my repose which (thanks to the adventures told by my book and stirring my tranquility) supported, like the quiet of a

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motionless hand in the middle of a running brook the shock and the motion of a torrent of activity. [Swann’s Way, Paris: Pleiade, 1954, P. 83.] For our present purpose, the most striking aspect of this passage is the juxtaposition of figural and metafigural language.[...] Yet, it takes little perspicacity to show that the text does not practice what it preaches. A rhetorical reading of the passage reveals that the figural praxis and the metafigural theory do not converge and that the assertion of the mastery of metaphor over metonymy owes its persuasive power to the use of metonymic structures.[...] This would become clear from an inclusive reading of Proust’s novel or would become even more explicit in a language - conscious philosopher such as Nietzsche who, as a philosopher, has to be concerned with the epistemological consequences of the kind of rhetorical seductions exemplified by the Proust passage. It can be shown that the systematic critique of the main categories of metaphysics undertaken by Nietzsche in his late work, the critique of the concepts of causality, or the subject, of identity, of referential and revealed truth, etc., occurs along the same pattern of deconstruction that was operative in Proust'‘text; and it can also be shown that this pattern exactly corresponds to Nietzsche’s description, in texts that precede The Will to Power by more than fifteen years, of the structure of the main rhetorical tropes. The key to this critique or metaphysics, which is itself a recurrent gesture throughout the history of thought, is the rhetorical model of the trope or, if one prefers to call it that, literature. It turns out that in these innocent - looking didactic exercise we are in fact playing for very sizeable stakes.[...] There seems to be a difference, then, between what I called the rhetorization of grammar (as in the rhetorical question) and the grammatization of rhetoric, as in the readings of the type sketched out in the passage from Proust. The former ends up in indetermination, in a suspended uncertainty that was unable to choose between two modes of reading, whereas the latter seems to reach a truth, albeit by the negative road of exposing an error, a false pretense. After the rhetorical reading of the Proust passage, we can no longer believe the assertion made in this passage about the intrinsic, metaphysical superiority of metaphor over metonymy. We seem to end up in a mood of negative assurance that is highly productive of critical discourse.[...] We are back at our unanswered question: does the grammatization of rhetoric end up in negative certainty or does it, like the rhetorization of grammar, remain suspended in the ignorance o its own truth or falsehood? Two concluding remarks should suffice to answer the question. First of all, it is not true that Proust’s text can simply be reduced to the mystified assertion (the superiority of metaphor over metonymy) that our reading deconstructs. The reading is not ‘our’ reading, since it uses only the linguistic elements provided by the text itself; the distinction between author and reader is one of the false distinctions that the reading makes evident. The deconstruction is not something we have added to the text but it constituted the text in the first place.[...] Poetic writing is the most advanced and refined mode of deconstruction; it may differ from critical or discursive writing in the economy of its articulation, but not in kind.[...] The reading revealed a first paradox: the passage valorizes metaphor as being the ‘right’ literary figure, but then proceeds to constitute itself by means of the epistemologically incompatible figure of metonymy. The critical discourse reveals the presence of this delusion and affirms it as the irreversible mode of its truth. It cannot pause there however. For if we then ask the obvious and simple next question, whether the rhetorical mode of the text in question is that of metaphor or metonymy, it is impossible to give an answer. Individual metaphors, such as the chiaroscuro effect or the butterfly, are shown to be subordinate figures in a general clause whose syntax is metonymic; from this point of view, it seems that the rhetoric is superseded by a grammar that deconstructs it. But this metonymic clause has as its subject a voice whose relationship to this clause is again metaphorical. The narrator who tells us about the impossibility of metaphor is himself, or itself, a metaphor, the metaphor of a grammatical syntagm whose meaning is the denial of metaphor stated, by antiphrasis, as its priority. And this subject - metaphor is, in its

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turn, open to the kind of deconstruction to the second degree, the rhetorical deconstruction of psycholinguistics, in which the more advanced investigations of literature are presently engaged, against considerable resistance. We end up therefore, in the case of rhetorical grammatization of semiology, just as in the grammatical rhetorization of illocutionary phrases, in the same state of suspended ignorance. [...] Literature as well as criticism - the difference between them being delusive - is condemned (or privileged) to be forever the most rigorous and, consequently, the most unreliable language in terms of which man names and transforms himself. subverting the very possibility of a position of analytical mastery. In the resulting asymmetrical, abysmal structure, no analysis - including this one - can intervene without transforming and repeating other elements in the sequence, which is thus not a stable sequence, but which nevertheless produces some regular effects. It is the functioning of this regularity, and the structure of these effects, that will provide the basis for the present study. Any attempt to do ‘justice’ to three such complex texts is obviously out of the question. But it is precisely the nature of such ‘justice’ that is the question in each of these readings of the act of analysis. The fact that the debate proliferates around a crime story - a robbery and its undoing can hardly be an accident. Somewhere in each of these texts, the economy of justice cannot be avoided. For in spite of the absence of mastery, there is no lack of effects of power. I shall begin by quoting at some length from Lacan's discussion of ‘The Purloined Letter’ in order to present both the plot of Poe's story and the thrust of Lacan's analysis. Lacan summarizes as follows: There are two scenes, the first of which we shall straightaway designate the primal scene, and by no means inadvertently, since the second may be considered its repetition in the very sense we are considering today. The primal scene is thus performed, we are told, in the royal boudoir, so that we suspect that the person of the highest rank, called the ‘exalted personage’, who is alone there when she receives a letter, is the Queen. This feeling is confirmed by the embarrassment into which she is plunged by the entry of the other exalted personage, of whom we have already been told prior to this account that the knowledge he might have of the letter in question would jeopardize for the lady nothing less than her honour and safety. Any doubt that he is in fact the King is promptly dissipated in the course of the scene which begins with the entry of the Minister D[...] At that moment, in fact, the Queen can do no better than to play on the King's inattentiveness by leaving the letter on the table ‘face down, address uppermost’. It does not, however, escape the Minister's lynx eye, nor does he fail to notice the Queen's distress and thus to

1.4.6 Barbara Johnson: from ‘The Frame of Reference: Poe, Lacan, Derrida’ 64

[...] A literary text that both analyses and shows that it actually has neither a self nor any neutral metalanguage with which to do the analysing calls out irresistibly for analysis. And when that call is answered by two eminent thinkers whose readings emit an equally paradoxical call to analysis of their own, the resulting triptych, in the context of the question of the act of reading (literature), places its would-be reader in a vertiginously insecure position. The three texts in question are Edgar Allan Poe's short story - ‘The Purloined Letter’, Jacques Lacan's - Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’, and Jacques Derrida's reading of Lacan's reading of Poe - ‘The Purveyor of Truth’ (Le Facteur de la Vérité). In all three texts, it is the act of analysis that seems to occupy the centre of the discursive stage and the act of analysis of the act of analysis that in some way disrupts that centrality,
64 Published in: Robert Young (ed), Untying the Text: A Post-Structuralist

Reader (Routledge & Kegan Paul, Boston, 1981, pp. 227-43.

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fathom her secret. From then on everything transpires like clockwork. After dealing in his customary manner with the business of the day, the Minister's draws from his pocket a letter similar in appearance to the one in his view, and having pretended to read it, he places it next to the other. A bit more conversation to amuse the royal company, whereupon, without flinching once, he seizes the embarrassing letter, making off with it, as the Queen, on whom none of his manoeuvre has been lost, remains unable to intervene for fear of attracting the attention of her royal spouse, close at her side at that very moment. Everything might then have transpired unseen by a hypothetical spectator of an operation in which nobody falters, and whose quotient is that the Minister has filched from the Queen her letter and that - an even more important result than the first - the Queen knows that he now has it, and by no means innocently. A remainder that no analyst will neglect, trained as he is to retain whatever is significant, without always knowing what to do with it: the letter, abandoned by the Minister, and which the Queen's hand is now free to roll into a ball. Second scene: in the Minister's office. It is in his hotel, and we know from the account the Prefect of Police has given Dupin, whose specific genius for solving enigmas Poe introduces here for the second time - that the police, returning there as soon as the Minister's habitual, nightly absences allow them to, have searched the hotel and surroundings from top to bottom for the last eighteen months. In vain - although everybody can deduce from the situation that the Minister keeps the letter within reach. Dupin calls on the Minister. The latter receives him with studied nonchalance, affecting in his conversation romantic ennui. Meanwhile, Dupin, whom this pretence does not deceive, his eyes protected by green glasses, proceeds to inspect the premises. When his glance catches a rather crumpled piece of paper - apparently thrust carelessly in a division of an ugly pasteboard card-rack, hanging gaudily from the middle of the mantelpiece - he already knows that he's found what he's looking for. His conviction is reinforced by the very details which seem to contradict the description he has of the stolen letter, with the exception of the format which remains the same. Whereupon he has but to withdraw, after ‘forgetting’ his snuffbox on the table, in order to return the following day to reclaim it - armed with a facsimile of the letter in its present state. As an incident in the street, prepared for the proper moment, draws the Minister to the window, Dupin in turn seizes the opportunity to snatch the letter while substituting the imitation, and has only to maintain the appearances of a normal exit. Here as well all has transpired, if not without noise, at least without all commotion. The quotient of the operation is that the Minister no longer has the letter, but, far from suspecting that Dupin is the culprit who has ravished it from him, knows nothing of it. Moreover, what he is left with is far from insignificant for what follows. We shall return to what brought Dupin to inscribe a message on his counterfeit letter. Whatever the case, the Minister, when he tries to make use of it, will be able to read these words, written so that he may recognize Dupin's hand: ‘[...] Un dessein si funeste/ S'il n'est digne d'Atrée est digne de Thyeste’, whose source, Dupin tells us, is Crébillon's ‘Atrée ‘. Need we emphasize the similarity of these two sequences? Yes, for the resemblance we have in mind is not a simple collection of traits chosen only in order to delete their diference. And it would not be enough to retain those common traits at the expense of the others for the slightest truth to result. It is rather the intersubjectivity in which the two actions are motivated that we wish to bring into relief, as well as the three terms through which it structures them. The special status of these terms results from their corresponding simultaneously to the three logical moments through which the decision is precipitated and the three places it assigns to the subjects among whom it constitutes a choice. That decision is reached in a glance's time. For the manoeuvres which follow, however stealthily they prolong it, add nothing to that glance, nor does the deferring of the deed in the second scene break the unity of that moment. This glance presuppose two others, which it embraces in its vision of the breach left in their fallacious complementarity, anticipating in it the

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occasion for larceny afforded by that exposure. Thus three moments, structuring three glances, borne by three subjects, incarnated each time by different characters. The first is a glance that sees nothing: the King and the police. The second, a glance which sees that the first sees nothing and deludes itself as to the secrecy of what it hides: the Queen, then the Minister. The third sees that the first two glances leave what should be hidden exposed to whoever would seize it: the Minister and finally Dupin. In order to grasp in its unity the intersubjective complex thus describe, we would willingly seek a model in the technique legendarily attributed to the ostrich attempting to shield itself from danger: for that technique might ultimately be qualified as political, divided as it here is among three partners: the second believing itself invisible because the first has its head stuck in the ground, and all the while letting the third calmly pluck its rear; we need only enrich its proverbial denomination by a letter, producing ‘la politique de l'autruiche’, for the ostrich itself to take on forever a new meaning. Given the intersubjective modulus of the repetitive action, it remains to recognize in it a repetition automatism in the sense that interests us in Freud's text [SPL, pp. 41-4].65 Thus, it is neither the character of the individual subjects, nor the contents of the letter, but the position of the letter within the group that decides what each person will do next. It is the fact that the letter does not function as a unit of meaning (a signified) but as that which produces certain effects (a signifier) that leads Lacan to read the story as an illustration of ‘the truth which may be drawn from that moment in Freud's thought under study - namely, that it is the symbolic order which is constitutive for the subject - by demonstrating[...]the decisive orientation which the subject receives from the itinerary of a signifier’ [SPL, p.40]. The letter acts like a signifier precisely to the extent that its function in the
Jacques Lacan, ‘Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’ ‘ , in ‘ Yale French Studies, 48 (1972), pp. 39-72.
65

story does not require that its meaning be revealed: ‘the letter was able to produce its effects within the story: on the actors in the tale, including the narrator, as well as outside the story: on us, the readers, and also on its author, without anyone's ever bothering to worry about what it meant.’ ‘The Purloined Letter’ thus becomes for Lacan a kind of allegory of the signifier. Derrida's critique of Lacan's reading does not dispute the validity of the allegorical interpretation on its own terms, but questions rather its implicit presuppositions and its modus operandi. Derrida aims its objections at two kinds of targets: (1) what Lacan puts into the letter, and (2) what Lacan leaves out of the text. (1) What Lacan puts into the letter: While asserting that the letter's meaning is lacking, Lacan, according to Derrida, makes this lack into the meaning of the letter. But Derrida does not stop there: he goes on to assert that what Lacan means by that lack is the truth of lack-ascastration-as-truth: ‘The truth of the purloined letter is the truth itself[...]What is veiled/unveiled in this case is the hole, a non-being (non-étant); the truth of being (l'être), as non-being. Truth is ‘woman’ as veiled/unveiled castration’ [PT,66 pp. 60-1]. Lacan himself, however, never uses the word ‘castration’ in the text of the original seminar. That it is suggested is indisputable, but Derrida, by filling in what Lacan left blank, is repeating precisely the gesture of blank-filling for which he is criticising Lacan. (2) What Lacan leaves out of the text: This objection is itself double: on the one hand, Derrida criticises Lacan for neglecting to consider ‘The Purloined Letter’ in connection with the other two stories in what Derrida calls Poe's ‘Dupin Trilogy’. And on the other hand, according to Derrida, at the very moment Lacan is reading the story as an allegory of the signifier, he is being blind to the disseminating power of the signifier in the text of the allegory, in what Derrida calls the ‘scene of writing’. To cut out part of a text's frame of reference as though it did not exist and to
Jacques Derrida, ‘The Purveyor of Truth’, in Yale French Studies, 52 (1975), pp. 31-113.
66

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reduce a complex textual functioning to a single meaning are serious blots indeed in the annals of literary criticism. Therefore it is all the more noticeable that Derrida's own reading of Lacan's text repeats precisely the crimes of which he accuses it: on the one hand, Derrida makes no mention of Lacan's long development on the relation between symbolic determination and random series. And on the other hand, Derrida dismisses Lacan's ‘style’ as a mere ornament, veiling, for a time, an unequivocal message: ‘Lacan's ‘style’, moreover, was such that for a long time it would hinder and delay all access to a unique content or a single unequivocal meaning determined beyond the writing itself’ (PT, p.40). The fact that Derrida repeats the very gestures he is criticising does not in itself invalidate his criticism of their effects, but it does render problematic his statement condemning their existence. And it also illustrates the transfer of the repetition compulsion from the original text to the scene of its reading. [...] This study of the readings of the ‘The Purloined Letter’ has thus arrived at the point where the word ‘letter’ no longer has any literality. But what is a letter that has no literality? It seems that the letter can only be described as that which poses the question of its own rhetorical status. It moves rhetorically through the two long, minute studies in which it is presumed to be the literal object of analysis, without having any literality. Instead of simply being explained by those analyses, the rhetoric of the letter problematises the very rhetorical mode of analytical discourse itself. The letter in the story - and in its readings - acts as a signifier not because its contents are lacking, but because its rhetorical function is not dependent on the identity of those contents. What Lacan means by saying that the letter cannot be divided is thus not that the phallus must remain intact, but that the phallus, the letter, and the signifier are not substances. The letter cannot be divided because it only functions as a division. It is not something with ‘an identity to itself inaccessible to dismemberment’ as Derrida interprets it; it is a difference. It is known only in its effects. The signifier is an articulation in a chain, not an identifiable unit. It cannot be known in itself because it is capable of ‘sustaining itself only in a displacement’ (SPL, p.59). It is localised, but only as the ungeneralisible locus of a differential relationship. Derrida, in fact, enacts this law of the signifier in the very act of opposing it: Perhaps only one letter need be changed, maybe even less than a letter in the expression: ‘missing from its place’ [‘manque à sa place’ ]. Perhaps we need only introduce a written ‘a’, i.e. without accent, in order to bring out that if the lack has its place [‘le manque a sa place’ ] in this atomistic topology of the signifier, that is, if it occupies therein a specific place of definite contours, the order would remain undisturbed (PT, p.44-5). While thus criticising the hypostasis of a lack - the letter as the substance of an absence (which is not what Lacan is saying), Derrida is illustrating what Lacan is saying about both the materiality and the localisability of the signifier as the mark of difference by operating on the letter as a material locus of differentiation: by removing the little signifier [`], an accent mark that has no meaning in itself. The letter as a signifier is thus not a thing or the absence of a thing, nor a word or the absence of a word, nor an organ or the absence of an organ, but a knot in a structure where words, things, and organs can neither be definably separated nor compatibly combined. This is why the exact representational position of the letter in the Minister's apartment both matters and does not matter. It matters to the extent that sexual anatomical difference creates an irreducible dissymmetry to be accounted for in every human subject. But it does not matter to the extent that the letter is not hidden in geometrical space, where the police are looking for it, or in anatomical space, where a literal understanding of psychoanalysis might look for it. It is located ‘in’ a symbolic structure, a structure that can only be perceived in its effects and whose effects are perceived as repetition. Dupin finds the letter ‘in’ the symbolic order not because he knows where to look, but because he knows what to repeat. Dupin's ‘analysis’ is the repetition of the scene that led to the necessity of analysis. It is not an interpretation or an insight, but an act. An act of untying the knot in the structure by means of the repetition of the act of

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tying it. The word ‘analyse’, in fact, etymologically means ‘untie’, a meaning on which Poe plays in his prefatory remarks on the nature of analysis as ‘that moral activity which disentangles’ (Poe,67 p.102). The analyst does not intervene by giving meaning, but by effecting a dénouement. But if the act of (psycho) analysis has no identity apart from its status as a repetition of the structure it seeks to analyse (to untie), then Derrida's remarks against psychoanalysis as being always already ‘mise en abîme’ in the text it studies and as being only capable of finding itself, are not objections to psychoanalysis but in fact a profound insight into its very essence. Psychoanalysis is in fact itself the primal scene it is seeking: it is the first occurrence of what has been repeating itself in the patient without ever having occurred. Psychoanalysis is not itself the interpretation of repetition; it is the repetition of a trauma of interpretation - called ‘castration’ or ‘parental coitus’ or ‘the Oedipus complex’ or even ‘sexuality’. It is the traumatic deferred interpretation not of an event, but as an event that never took place as such. The ‘primal scene’ is not a scene but an interpretative infelicity whose result was to situate the interpreter in an intolerable position. And psychoanalysis is the reconstruction of that interpretative infelicity not as its interpretation but as its first and last act. Psychoanalysis has content only in so far as it repeats the dis-content of what never took place. In a way, I have come back to the question of the letter's destination and of the meaning of the enigmatic ‘last words’ of Lacan's Seminar. ‘The sender’, writes Lacan, ‘receives from the receiver his own message in reverse form. Thus it is that what the ‘purloined letter’, nay, the ‘letter in sufferance’ means is that a letter always arrives at its destination’ (SPL, p.72). What the reversibility of the direction of the letter's movement between sender and receiver has now come to stand for is precisely the fact, underlined by Derrida as if it were an objection to Lacan, that there is no position from which the letter's message can be read as an object: ‘no
67 Edgar Allan Poe, Great Tales and Poems of ... (New York Pocket Books,

neutralisation is possible, no general point of view’ (PT, p.106). This is also precisely the ‘discovery’ of psychoanalysis - that the analyst is involved (through transference) in the very ‘object’ of his analysis. Everyone who has held the letter - or even beheld it - including the narrator, has ended up having the letter addressed to him as its destination. The reader is comprehended by the letter: there is no place from which he can stand back and observe it. Not that the letter's meaning is subjective rather than objective, but that the letter is precisely that which subverts the polarity subjective/objective, that which makes subjectivity into something whose position in a structure is situated by the passage through it of an object. The letter's destination is thus wherever it is read, the place it assigns to its reader as his own partiality. Its destination is not a place, decided a priori by the sender, because the receiver is the sender, and the receiver is whoever receives the letter, including nobody. When Derrida says that a letter can miss its destination and be disseminated, he reads ‘destination’ as a place that pre-exists the letter's movement. But if, as Lacan shows, the letter's destination is not its literal addressee, nor even whoever possesses it, but whoever is possessed by it, then the very disagreement over the meaning of ‘reaching the destination’ is an illustration of the non-objective nature of that ‘destination’. The rhetoric of Derrida's differentiation of his own point of view from Lacan's enacts that law: Thanks to castration, the phallus always stays in its place in the transcendental topology we spoke of earlier. It is indivisible and indestructible there, like the letter that takes its place. And that is why the interested presupposition, never proved, of the letter's materiality as indivisibility was indispensable to this restricted economy, this circulation of propriety. The difference I am interested in here is that, a formula to be read however one wishes, the lack has no place of its own in dissemination (PT, p.63; translation modified, emphasis mine). The play of interest in this expression of difference is quite too

1951).

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interesting not to be deliberate. The opposition between the ‘phallus’ and ‘dissemination’ is not between two theoretical objects but between two interested positions. And if sender and receiver are merely the two poles of a reversible message, then Lacan's substitution of ‘destin’ for ‘dessein’ in Crébillon's quotation - a misquotation that Derrida finds revealing enough to end his analysis upon - is in fact the quotation's message. The sender (dessein) and the receiver (destin) of the violence that passes between Atreus and Thyestes are equally subject to the violence the letter is. The sentence ‘a letter always arrives at its destination’ can thus either be simply pleonastic or variously paradoxical: it can mean ‘ the only message I can read is the one I send’, ‘wherever the letter is, is its destination’ ; ‘when a letter is read, it reads the reader’ ; ‘the repressed always returns’ ; ‘I only exist as a reader of the other’ ; ‘the letter has no destination’ ; and ‘we all die’. It is not any of these readings, but all of them and others in their very incompatibility, that repeat the letter in its way of reading the act of reading. Far from giving us the Seminar's final truth, these last words, and Derrida's readings of them, can only enact the impossibility of any ultimate analytical metalanguage, the eternal oscillation between unequivocal undecidability and ambiguous certainty. unsandal'd were, / And widely glittered here and there / The gems entangled in her hair’ (58-65). What follows is a taking in: Christabel questions this remarkable figure (‘and who art thou?’, 70), and takes in the answer (‘my sire is of a noble line,/And my name is Geraldine’ 79-80); takes in as well the tale of forcible kidnapping; and takes in, finally, the person of Geraldine herself, into the safety of her father's hall. Once there, however, she does not take in some absolutely suspicious signs, such as Geraldine's too brief seizure of pain at the threshold (129 ff.), her refusal to join in prayer (141 ff.), the ‘angry moan’ of the mastiff (145 ff.), or the strange flaring of the brand (156 ff.). Is it Christabel's turn to be taken in by Geraldine? Ignoring these signs, and others like them, she draws closer to her guest, close to the point of lying at her side, naked, and in bed. There it is that a shock occurs, shocking first of all to Geraldine (‘Ah! What a stricken look was hers!’ 256): Christabel, reclining on her elbow and watching Geraldine, takes in something she was never meant to see, the sight of Geraldine's horrible ‘bosom and half her side’ (252). In her closeness, Christabel suffers an irreversible moment of accuracy, confirmed by Geraldine's defiant embrace. [...] What is the import of this embrace? If the shock of accuracy does not prevent the women from drawing closer still, does it not change, at least, the character of that closeness? Geraldine continues with a speech that is often read as a malediction but also serves as a statement of fact: ‘And with low voice and doleful look / These words did say: / ‘In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell, / Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel! / Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to-morrow, / This mark of my shame, this seal of my sorrow; / But vainly thou warrest, / For this is alone in / Thy power to declare, / That in the dim forest / Thou heard'st a low moaning, / And found'st a bright lady, surpassingly fair; / And didst bring her home with thee in love and charity, / To shield her and shelter her from the damp air’ ‘ (265-78). A strange turn: Christabel, taking in Geraldine, draws so close that she sees the ‘mark’, a sight that is like a dream, vivid and unforgettable, but not to be put into words, a ‘sight to dream of, not to tell!’ (253). The mark

1.4.8 Richard A. Rand: from ‘Geraldine’ 68

Leaving the father's hall at midnight, by ‘a gate that was ironed within and without’, and kneeling in prayer in a forest, beneath a huge oak tree, the lady Christabel hears a low sound of moaning. She springs to her feet, listens again, then steals around the tree for a look at the other side: ‘There she sees a damsel bright / Drest in a silken robe of white, / That shadowy in the moonlight shone: / The neck that made that white robe wan, / Her stately neck, and arms were bare; / Her blue-veined feet
68 Published in: Robert Young, op. cit., pp. 281-316.

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is thus a ‘seal’ in two senses of that word - a hallmark or signature, but one that also ‘seals up’, or encrypts, the fact of its own existence, of its meaning (if it has one) and its history (which is never revealed). And this seal, by sight and by touch, also seals up Christabel, and so becomes her seal and signature as well. Christabel, who cannot forget the mark, nor openly or articulately ‘declare’ it, must live henceforth as Geraldine lives, bearing, even as she dissembles, the sealing up of the seal, concealing the mark of her difference, saying one thing and meaning, knowing and being something else. [...] Taking, then, the poem named ‘Christabel’ as a meditation on itself, with the figure named ‘Geraldine’ as its own interior mirror-image; and taking the figure named ‘Christabel’ as one of her readers, perhaps a naïve one, or perhaps an exemplary one, whose openness to Geraldine is a kind of willing suspension of disbelief; we begin to feel that the poem extends a particular question to the reader: what is the ‘seal’ or ‘mark’ of the poem called ‘Christabel’, and if we should happen to see it, would we, like the lady Christabel, also lack the ‘power to declare’ it, and therefore, carry it, cryptically, within? It remains to see the mark, a situation anticipated in the second part of the poem. There, we encounter two readings of Geraldine that miss the mark completely: Sir Leoline's and Bard Bracy's. [...] ‘Christabel’ is thus a poem that breaks off at the moment of least communication, with Christabel caught in her spell, Sir Leoline enraged at her strange behaviour, and Bard Bracy sent off on an errand he wants to avoid. Clearly this scene of non-communication, dramatically rendered as an interaction between various characters, also mimes the condition of Geraldine, who is made up of these different and incompatible strata, one level communicating with Sir Leoline and the Bard, and another level, that of the ‘mark’, communicating with Christabel in her trance-like moments of recollection. And recalling that Geraldine is a kind of poem, we can see that the non-communication of the end of ‘Christabel’, which mimes the condition of Geraldine, reflects the rhetorical condition of the text itself: the poem tells a story that does not communicate with its own mark or seal. Must we give up the quest for the seal? Three issues remain unexplored. Taken together, they suggest a programme. First is the matter of closeness: we have not drawn close enough to Coleridge for his mark to surprise us. In textual terms, we haven't sufficiently taken in the system of his tropes and their deconstruction. The better part of this essay must attempt to do so. Second, in reading the tropes we must bear in mind what they do not reveal, namely the mark. They cover up the mark. But this covering up is not a resource of the tropes themselves: if it were, they could also disclose the mark. Rather, the covering up belongs to the power of the mark itself, which can always efface itself by taking the form of something else, of something other than a mark, for example of a story, or of a tropological system. Third, this effacement and divulgence of the mark is a kind of alternation, or winking movement: Christabel hears the story and recalls the mark, in alternation. The two movements never take place at the same time. In this respect, the relation of the mark to story is like the relation of a sign to its meaning, each to be focused on in turn, but not together. Geraldine, that is, is structured in certain respects like a sign, and it is not an accident that Coleridge ends his poem with a meditation on the signstructure: ‘A little child, a limber elf, / Singing, dancing to itself, / A fairy thing with red round cheeks, / That always finds and never seeks, / Makes such a vision to the sight / As fills a father's eyes with light; / And pleasures flow in so thick and fast / Upon his heart, that he at last / Must needs express his love's excess / With words of unmeant bitterness’ (656-65). This enigma stands in relation to the poem as a sign stands in relation to its meaning. It means the poem, but in a way that we cannot rationally analyse. And the meaning of this meaning is[...] a sign: a father who wishes to express a certain kind of thought (‘love's excess’), does so by means of certain shocking words, words of ‘unmeant bitterness’. It is the bitterness of the words that is ‘unmeant’, their bitterness being used to signify ‘love’ instead of ‘bitterness’. If we take the bitter words to mean

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what they seem to mean, then we miss their intended meaning. If we read the words as a trope - as a metaphor, in which the bitterness of the words resembles the bitterness of the feeling - then we inevitably miss the import of the words, and we also miss, therefore, the bizarre coincidence of the words with their meaning, a coincidence which is not organised like a metaphor. Trope, sign, and seal, then: a sequence of places to turn to. If not in the form of a progress, at least in the form of a juxtaposition. [...]

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majestic legends of the Bible, the adventure of the hero normally follows the pattern of the nuclear unit above described: a separation from the world, a penetration to some source of power, and a life-enhancing return. The whole of the Orient has been blessed by the boon brought back by Gautama Buddha - his wonderful teaching of the Good Law - just as the Occident has been by the Decalogue of Moses. The Greeks referred fire, the first support of all human culture, to the world-transcending deed of their Prometheus, and the Romans the founding of their world-supporting city to Aeneas, following his departure from fallen Troy and his visit to the eerie underworld of the dead. Everywhere, no matter what the sphere of interest (whether religious, political or personal), the really creative acts are represented as those deriving from some sort of dying to the world; and what happens in the interval of the hero's nonentity, so that he comes back as one reborn, made great and filled with creative power, mankind is also unanimous in declaring. We shall have only to follow, therefore, a multitude of heroic figures through the classic stages of the universal adventure in order to see again what has always been revealed. This will help us to understand not only the meaning of those images for contemporary life, but also the singleness of the human spirit in its aspirations, powers, vicissitudes, and wisdom. [...] The composite hero of the monomyth is a personage of exceptional gifts. Frequently he is honored by his society, frequently unrecognized or disdained. He and/or the world in which he finds himself suffers from a symbolical deficiency. In fairy tales this may be as slight as the lack of a certain golden ring, whereas in apocalyptic vision the physical and spiritual life of the whole earth can be represented as fallen, or on the point of falling, into ruin. Typically, the hero of the fairy tale achieves a domestic microcosmic triumph, and the hero of a myth a world-historical, macrocosmic triumph. Whereas the former - the youngest or despised child who becomes the master of extraordinary powers - prevails over his personal oppressors, the latter brings back from his adventure the means for the regeneration of his society as a whole. Tribal or local heroes, such as the emperor Huang Ti, Moses, or the Aztec Tezcatlipoca, commit their boons to a

2. PROTO -THEMES

2.1 MYTH CRITICISM

2.1.1 Joseph Campbell: from The Hero With A Thousand Faces 1. THE MONOMYTH: THE HERO AND THE GOD The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage: separation-initiation-return: which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth. A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from his mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. Prometheus ascended to the heavens, stole fire from the gods, and descended. Jason sailed through the Clashing Rocks into a sea of marvels, circumvented the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece, and returned with the fleece and the power to wrest his rightful throne from a usurper. Aeneas went down into the underworld, crossed the dreadful river of the dead, threw a sop to the three-headed watchdog Cerberus, and conversed, at last, with the shade of his dead father. All things were unfolded to him: the destiny of souls, the destiny of Rome, which he was about to found, ‘and in what wise he might avoid or endure every burden’. He returned through the ivory gate to his work in the world. [...] As we soon shall see, whether presented in the vast, almost oceanic images of the Orient, in the vigorous narratives of the Greeks, or in the

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single folk; universal heroes - Mohammed, Jesus, Gautama Buddha bring a message for the entire world. Whether the hero be ridiculous or sublime, Greek or barbarian, gentile or Jew, his journey varies little in essential plan. Popular tales represent the heroic action as physical; the higher religions show the deed to be moral; nevertheless, there will be found astonishingly little variation in the morphology of the adventure, the character roles involved, the victories gained. If one or another of the basic elements of the archetypal pattern is omitted from a given fairy tale, legend, ritual or myth, it is bound to be somehow or other implied - and the omission itself can speak volumes for the history and pathology of the example. [...] The cosmogonic cycle is presented with astonishing consistency in the sacred writings of all the continents and it gives to the adventure of the hero a new and interesting turn; for now it appears that the perilous journey was a labor not of attainment but of reattainment, not discovery but rediscovery. The godly powers sought and dangerously won are revealed to have been within the heart of the hero all the time. He is ‘the king's son’ who has come to know who he is and therewith has entered into the exercise of his proper power - ‘God's son’, who has learned to know how much that title means. From this point of view the hero is symbolical of that divine creative and redemptive image which is hidden within us all, only waiting to be known and rendered into life. ‘For the One who has become many, remains the One undivided, but each part is all of Christ’, we read in the writings of Saint Symeon the younger (949-1022 A.D.). ‘I saw Him in my house’ ‘ , the saint goes on. ‘Among all those everyday things He appeared unexpectedly and became unutterably united and merged with me, and leaped over to me without anything in between, as fire to iron, as the light to glass. And He made me like fire and like light. And I became that which I saw before and beheld from afar. I do not know how to relate this miracle to you. [...] I am man by nature, and God by the grace of God’. A comparable vision is described in the apocryphal Gospel of Eve. ‘I stood on a lofty mountain and I saw a gigantic man and another a dwarf; and I heard as it were the voice of thunder, and drew nigh for to hear; and He spake unto me and said: I am thou and thou art I; and wheresoever thou mayest be I am there. In all am I scattered, and whensoever thou willest, thou gatherest Me; and gathering Me, thou gatherest Thyself’. The two - the hero and his ultimate god, the seeker and the found - are thus understood as the outside and the inside of a single, self-mirrored mystery, which is identical with the mystery of the manifest world. The great deed of the supreme hero is to come to the knowledge of this unity in multiplicity and then to make it known. 2. THE KEYS [...] The mythological hero, setting forth from his commonday hut or castle, is lured, carried away, or else voluntarily proceeds, to the threshold of adventure. There he encounters a shadow presence that guards the passage. The hero may defeat or conciliate this power and go alive into the kingdom of the dark (brother-battle, dragon-battle; offering, charm), or be slain by the opponent and descend in death (dismemberment, crucifixion). Beyond the threshold, then, the hero journeys through a world of unfamiliar yet strangely intimate forces, some of which severely threaten him (tests), some of which give magical help (helpers). When he arrives at the nadir of the mythological round, he undergoes supreme ordeal and gains his reward. The triumph may be represented as the hero's sexual union with the goddess-mother of the world (sacred marriage), his recognition by the father-creator (father atonement), his own divinization (apotheosis), or again - if the powers have remained unfriendly to him - his theft of the boon he came to gain (bride-theft, fire-theft); intrinsically it is an expansion of consciousness and therewith of being (illumination, transfiguration, freedom). The final work is that of return. If the powers have blessed the hero, he now sets forth under their protection (emissary); if not, he flees and is pursued (transformation flight, obstacle flight). At the return threshold the transcendental powers must remain behind; the hero re-emerges from the kingdom of dread (return, resurrection). The boon that he brings restores the world (elixir). The changes rung on the simple scale of the monomyth defy

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description. Many tales isolate and greatly enlarge upon one or two of the typical elements of the full cycle (test motif, flight motif, abduction of the bride), others string a number of independent cycles into a single series (as in the Odyssey). Differing characters or episode can become fused, or a single element can reduplicate itself and reappear under many changes. The outlines of myths and tales are subject to damage and obscuration. Archaic traits are generally eliminated or subdued. Imported materials are revised to fit local landscape, custom, or belief, and always suffer in the process. Furthermore, in the innumerable retellings of a traditional story, accidental or intentional dislocations are inevitable. To account for elements that have become, for one reason or another, meaningless, secondary interpretations are invented, often with considerable skill. to revert to them. This coincides with a feeling that we all have had: that the study of mediocre works of art, however energetic, obstinately remains a random and peripheral form of critical experience, whereas the profound masterpiece seems to draw us to a point at which we can see and enormous number of verging patterns of significance. Here we begin to wonder if we cannot see literature, not only as complicating itself in time, but as spread out in conceptual space from some unseen center. This inductive movement towards the archetype is a process of backing up, as it were, from the structural analysis, as we back up from a painting if we want to see composition instead of brushwork. In the foreground of the grave-digger scene in Hamlet, for instance, is an intricate verbal texture, ranging from the puns of the first clown to the danse macabre of the Yorick soliloquy, which we study in the printed text. One step back, and we are in the Wilson Knight and Spurgeon group of critics, listening to the steady rain of images of corruption and decay. Here too, as the sense of the place of this scene in the whole play begins to dawn on us, we are in the network of psychological relationships which were the main interest of Bradley. But after all, we say, we are forgetting the genre: Hamlet is a play, and an Elizabethan play. So we take another step back into the Stoll and Shaw group and see the scene conventionally as part of its dramatic context. One step more, and we can begin to glimpse the archetype of the scene, as the hero's Liebestod and first unequivocal declaration of his love, his struggle with Laertes and the sealing of his own fate, and the sudden sobering of his mood that marks the transition to the final scene, all take shape around a leap into and return from the grave that has so weirdly yawned open on the stage. At each stage of understanding this scene we are dependent on a certain kind of scholarly organization. We need first an editor to clean up the text for us, then the rhetorician and philologist, then the literary psychologist. We cannot study the genre without the help of the literary social historian, the literary philosopher and the student of the ‘history of ideas’, and for the archetype we need a literary anthropologist. But now that we have got our central pattern of criticism established, all these interests are seen as converging on literary criticism instead of receding from it into

2.1.2 Northrop Frye: from ‘The Archetypes of Literature’ [...] It is clear that criticism cannot be systematic unless there is a quality in literature which enables it to be so, an order of words corresponding to the order of nature in the natural sciences. An archetype should be not only a unifying category of criticism, but itself a part of a total form, and it leads us at once to the question of what sort of form criticism can see in literature. Our survey of critical techniques has taken us as far as literary history. Total literary history moves from the primitive to the sophisticated, and here we glimpse the possibility of seeing literature as a complication of a relatively restricted and simple group of formulas that can be studied in primitive culture. If so, then the search for archetypes is a kind of literary anthropology, concerned with the way that literature is informed by pre-literary categories such as ritual, myth and folktale. We next realize that the relation between these categories and literature is by no means purely one of descent, as we find them reappearing in the greatest classics - in fact there seems to be a general tendency on the part of great classics

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psychology and history and the rest. In particular, the literary anthropologist who chases the source of the Hamlet legend from the preShakespeare play to Saxo, and from Saxo to nature-myths, is not running away from Shakespeare: he is drawing closer to the archetypal form which Shakespeare recreated. A minor result of our new perspective is that contradictions among critics, and assertions that this and not that critical approach is the right one, show a remarkable tendency to dissolve into unreality. [...] Rhythm, or recurrent movement, is deeply founded on the natural cycle, and everything in nature that we think of as having some analogy with works of art, like the flower or the bird's song, grows out of a profound synchronization between an organism and the rhythms of its environment, especially that of the solar year. With animals some expressions of synchronization, like the mating dances of birds, could be almost called rituals. But in human life a ritual seems to be something of a voluntary effort (hence the magical element in it) to recapture a lost rapport with the natural cycle. A farmer must harvest his crop at a certain time of year, but because this is involuntary, harvesting itself is not precisely a ritual. It is the deliberate expression of a will to synchronize human and natural energies at that time which produces the harvest songs, harvest sacrifices and harvest folk customs that we call rituals. In ritual, then, we may find the origin of narrative, a ritual being a temporal sequence of acts in which the conscious meaning or significance is latent: it can be seen by an observer, but is largely concealed from the participators themselves. The pull of ritual is toward pure narrative, which, if there could be such a thing, would be automatic and unconscious repetition. We should notice too the regular tendency of ritual to become encyclopedic. All the important recurrences in nature, the day, the phases of the moon, the seasons and solstices of the year, the crises of existence from birth to death, get rituals attached to them, and most of the higher religions are equipped with a definitive total body of rituals suggestive, if we may put it so, of the entire range of potentially significant actions in human life. Patterns of imagery, on the other hand, or fragments of significance, are oracular in origin, and derive from the epiphanic moment, the flash of instantaneous comprehension with no direct reference to time, the importance of which is indicated by Cassirer in Language and Myth. By the time we get them, in the form of proverbs, riddles, commandments and etiological folktales, there is already a considerable element of narrative in them. They too are encyclopedic in tendency, building up a total structure of significance, or doctrine, from random and empiric fragments. As just as pure narrative would be unconscious act, so pure significance would be an incommunicable state of consciousness, for communication begins by constructing narrative. The myth is the central informing power that gives archetypal significance to the ritual and archetypal narrative to the oracle. Hence the myth is the archetype, though it might be convenient to say myth only when referring to narrative, and archetype when speaking of significance. In the solar cycle of the day, the seasonal cycle of the year, and the organic cycle of human life, there is a single pattern of significance, out of which myth constructs a central narrative around a figure who is partly the sun, partly vegetative fertility and partly a god or archetypal human being. The crucial importance of this myth has been forced on literary critics by Jung and Frazer in particular, but the several books now available on it are not always systematic in their approach, for which reason I supply the following table of its phases: 1. The dawn, spring and birth phase. Myths of the birth of the hero, of revival and resurrection, of creation and (because the four phases are a cycle) of the defeat of the powers of darkness, winter and death. Subordinate characters: the father and the mother. The archetype of romance and of the most dithyrambic and rhapsodic poetry. 2. The zenith, summer, and marriage or triumph phase. Myths of apotheosis, of the sacred marriage, and of entering into Paradise. Subordinate characters: the companion and the bride. The archetype of comedy, pastoral and idyll. 3. The sunset, autumn and death phase. Myths of fall, of the dying god, of violent death and sacrifice and of the isolation of the hero. Subordinate characters: the traitor and the siren. The archetype of tragedy and elegy. 4. The darkness, winter and dissolution phase. Myths of the triumph of

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these powers; myths of floods and the return of chaos, of the defeat of the hero, and Götterdämmerung myths. Subordinate characters: the ogre and the witch. The archetype of satire (see, for instance, the conclusion of The Dunciad). [...] We have identified the central myth of literature, in its narrative aspect, with the quest myth. Now if we wish to see this central myth as a pattern of meaning also, we have to start with the workings of the subconscious where the epiphany originates, in other words in the dream. The human cycle of waking and dreaming corresponds closely to the natural cycle of light and darkness, and it is perhaps in this correspondence that all imaginative life begins. The correspondence is largely an antithesis: it is in daylight that man is really in the power of darkness, a prey to frustration and weakness; it is in the darkness of nature that the ‘libido’ or conquering heroic self awakes. Hence art, which Plato called a dream for awakened minds, seems to have as its final cause the resolution of the antithesis, the mingling of the sun and the hero, the realizing of a world in which the inner desire and the outward circumstance coincide. This is the same goal, of course, that the attempt to combine human and natural power in ritual has. The social function of the arts, therefore, seems to be closely connected with visualizing the goal of work in human life. So in terms of significance, the central myth of art must be the vision of the end of social effort, the innocent world of fulfilled desires, the free human society. Once this is understood, the integral piece of criticism among the other social sciences, in interpreting and systematizing the vision of the artist, will be easier to see. It is at this point that we can see how religious conceptions of the final cause of human effort are as relevant as any others to criticism. [...] We conclude with a second table of contents, in which we shall attempt to set forth the central pattern of the comic and tragic visions. One essential principle of archetypal criticism is that the individual and the universal forms of an image are identical, the reasons being too complicated for us just now. We proceed according to the general plan of the game of Twenty Questions, or, if we prefer, of the Great Chain of Being: 1. In the comic vision the human world is a community, or a hero who represents the wish-fulfilment of the reader. The archetype of images of symposium, communion, order, friendship and love. In the tragic vision the human world is a tyranny or anarchy, or an individual or isolated man, the leader with his back to his followers., the bullying giant of romance, the deserted or betrayed hero. Marriage or some equivalent consummation belongs to the comic vision; the harlot, witch or other varieties of Jung's ‘terrible mother’ belong to the tragic one. All divine, heroic, angelic or other superhuman communities follow the human pattern. 2. In the comic vision the animal world is a community of domesticated animals, usually a flock of sheep, or a lamb, or one of the gentler birds, usually a dove. The archetype of pastoral images. In the tragic vision the animal world is seen in terms of beasts and birds of prey, wolves, vultures, serpents, dragons and the like. 3. In the comic vision the vegetal world is a garden, grove or park, or a tree of life, or a rose or lotus. The archetype of Arcadian images, such as that of Marvell's green world or of Shakespeare's forest comedies. In the tragic vision it is a sinister forest like the one in Comus or at the opening of the Inferno or a heath or wilderness, or a tree of death. 4. In the comic vision the mineral world is a city, or one building or temple, or one stone, normally a glowing precious stone - in fact the whole comic series, especially the tree, can be conceived as luminous or fiery. The archetype of geometrical images: the ‘starlit dome’ belongs here. In the tragic vision the mineral world is seen in terms of deserts, rocks and ruins, or of sinister geometrical images like the cross. 5. In the comic vision the unformed world is a river, traditionally fourfold, which influenced the religious image of the temperate body with its four humors. In the tragic vision this world usually becomes the sea, as the narrative myth of dissolution is so often a flood myth. The combination of the sea and beast images gives us the leviathan and similar water-monsters. Obvious as this table looks, a great variety of poetic images and forms will be found to fit it. Yeats's ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, to take a famous

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example of the comic vision at random, has the city, the tree, the bird, the community of sages, the geometrical gyre and the detachment from the cyclic world. It is, of course, only the general comic or tragic context that determines the interpretation of any symbol: this is obvious with relatively neutral archetypes like the island, which may be Prospero's island or Circe's. been rather ridiculously overemphasizing medium as a differentiating factor; I take it that we can now safely assume no one will confuse a life with a poem and dwell on the elements common to the two, remembering that a pattern of social behavior can be quite as much a symbol as a word, chanted or spoken or printed. In deed as in word, the poet composes himself as maker and mask, in accordance with some contemporaneous mythos of the artist. And as we all know, in our day, it is even possible to be a writer without having written anything. When we talk therefore of the importance of the biography of the poet, we do not mean the importance of every trivial detail, but of all that goes into making his particular life-style, whether he concentrate on recreating himself, like Shelley, in some obvious image of the Poet, or, like Wallace Stevens, in some witty anti-mask of the Poet. Who could contend that even the faces of Shelley and Stevens are not typical products of their quite different kinds of art! The word ‘Archetype’ is the more familiar of my terms; I use it instead of the word ‘myth’, which I have employed in the past but which becomes increasingly ambiguous, to mean any of the immemorial patterns of response to the human situation in its permanent aspects: death, love, the biological family, the relationship with the Unknown, etc., whether those patterns be considered to reside in the Jungian Collective Unconscious or the Platonic world of Ideas. The archetype belongs to the infra - or meta-personal, to what Freudians call the id or the unconscious; that is, it belongs to the Community as its deepest, preconscious levels of acceptance. I use ‘Signature’ to mean the sum total of individuating factors in a work, the sign of the Persona or Personality through which an Archetype is rendered, and which itself tends to become a subject as well as a means of the poem. Literature, properly speaking, can be said to come into existence at the moment a Signature is imposed upon the Archetype. The purely archetypal, without signature elements, is the myth. Perhaps a pair of examples are in order (with thanks to Mr. C. S. Lewis). The story of Baldur the Beautiful and Shakespeare's Tempest deal with somewhat similar archetypal material of immersion and resurrection; but we recall

2.1.4 Leslie A. Fiedler: from ‘Archetype and Signature: The Relationship of Poet and Poem’ [...] One of the essential functions of a poet is the assertion and creation of a personality, in a profounder sense than any non-artist can attain. We ask of a poet the definition of man, at once particular and abstract, stated and acted out. It is impossible to draw a line between the work the poet writes and the work he lives, between the life he lives and the life he writes. And the agile critic, therefore, must be prepared to move constantly back and forth between life and poem, not in a pointless circle, but in a meaningful spiralling toward the absolute point. To pursue this matter further, we will have to abandon at this point the nominalist notion of the poem as ‘words’ or ‘only words’. We have the best of excuses, that such terminology gets in the way of truth. We will not, however, return to the older notions of the poem as a ‘document’ or the embodiment of an ‘idea’, for these older conceptions are equally inimical to the essential concept of the ‘marvellous’ ; and they have the further difficulty of raising political and moral criteria of ‘truth’ as relevant to works of art. To redeem the sense of what words are all the time pointing to and what cannot be adequately explained by syntactic analysis or semantics, I shall speak of the poem as Archetype and Signature, suggesting that the key to analysis is symbolics; and I shall not forget that the poet's life is also capable of being analyzed in those terms. We have

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The Tempest only in all its specificity: the diction, meter, patterns of imagery, the heard voice of Shakespeare (the Signature as Means); as well as the scarcely motivated speech on pre-marital chastity, the breaking of the fictional frame by the unconventional religious plaudite (the Signature as Subject). Without these elements, The Tempest is simply not The Tempest; but Baldur can be retold in any diction, any style, just as long as faith is kept with the bare plot - and it is itself, for it is pure myth. Other examples are provided by certain children's stories, retold and reillustrated without losing their essential identity, whether they be ‘folk’ creations like Cinderella or art products ‘captured’ by the folk imagination, like Southey's Three Bears. In our own time, we have seen the arts (first music, then painting, last of all literature) attempting to become ‘pure’, or ‘abstract’ - that is to say, attempting to slough off all remnants of the archetypal in a drive toward becoming unadulterated Signature. It should be noticed that the theory of the abstract art is completely misleading in this regard, speaking as it does about pure forms, and mathematics, and the disavowal of personality. The abstract painter, for instance, does not, as he sometimes claims, really ‘paint paint’, but signs his name. So-called abstract art is the ultimate expression of personality: so that the spectator says of a contemporary painting, not what one would have said in the anonymous Middle Ages, ‘There's a Tree of Jesse or a Crucifixion!’ or not even what is said of Renaissance art, ‘There's a Michelangelo Last Judgement or a Raphael Madonna!’, but quite simply, ‘There's a Mondrian or a Jackson Pollock!’. Analogously, in literature we recognize a poem immediately as ‘a Marianne Moore’ or ‘an Ezra Pound’ long before we understand, if ever, any of its essential meanings. The theory of ‘realism’ or ‘naturalism’ denied both the Archetype and the Signature, advocating, in its extreme forms, that art ‘merely describes nature or reality’ in a neutral style, based on the case report of the scientist. Art which really achieves such aims becomes, of course, something less than ‘poetry’ as I have used the term here, becoming an ‘imitation’ in the lowest Platonic sense, ‘thrice removed from the truth’. Fortunately, the great ‘realists’ consistently betray their principles, creating Archetypes and symbols willy-nilly, though setting them in a Signature distinguished by what James called ‘solidity of specification’. [...] A pair of caveats are necessary before we proceed. The distinction between Archetype and Signature, it should be noted, does not correspond to the ancient dichotomy of Content and Form. Such ‘forms’ as the structures of Greek Tragedy (cf. Gilbert Murray), New Comedy and Pastoral Elegy are themselves versunkene Archetypes, capable of being rerealized in the great work of art. (Elsewhere I have called these ‘structural myths’.) Nor does the present distinction cut quite the same way as that between ‘impersonal’ (or even ‘nonpersonal’) and ‘personal’. For the Signature, which is rooted in the ego and superego, belongs, as the twofold Freudian division implies, to the social collectivity as well as to the individual writer. The Signature is the joint product of ‘rules’ and ‘conventions’, of the expectations of a community and the idiosyncratic responses of the individual poet, who adds a personal idiom or voice to a received style. The difference between the communal element in the Signature and that in the Archetype is that the former is conscious - that is, associated with the superego rather than the id. The relevant, archetypal metaphor would make the personal element the Son, the conscious-communal the Father and the unconscious-communal the Mother (or the Sister, an image which occurs often as a symbolic euphemism for the Mother) - in the biological Trinity. It is not irrelevant that the Romantic movement, which combined a deliberate return to the archetypal myth with a contempt for the conscious communal elements in the Signature, made one of the leitmotifs of the lives of its poets, as well as of their poems, the flight of the Sister from the threat of rape by the Father (Shelley's Cenci, for instance) and the complementary desperate love of Brother and Sister (anywhere from Chateaubriand and Wordsworth to Byron and Melville). Even the most orthodox anti-biographist is prepared to grant the importance of biographical information in the understanding of certain ego elements in the Signature - this is what the intrinsicist calls the study of an author's ‘idiosyncratic use of words’. But they deny vehemently the

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possibility of using biographical material for the purposes of evaluation. Let us consider some examples. For instance, the line in one of John Donne's poems, ‘A Hymne to God the Father’, which runs, ‘When thou hast done, thou hast not done’ would be incomprehensible in such a collection without author's names as the Thomas and Brown Reading Poems. A second example which looks much like the first to a superficial glance, but which opens up in quite a different way, would be the verse ‘they'are but Mummy, possest’, from Donne's ‘Loves Alchymie’. Let us consider whether we can sustain the contention that there is a pun on Mummy, whether deliberately planned or unconsciously fallen into. Can we read the line as having the two meanings: women, so fair in the desiring, turn out to be only dried-out corpses after the having; and women, once possessed, turn out to be substitutes for the Mother, who is the real end of our desiring? An analysis of the mere word does not take us very far; we discover that the lallwort ‘mummy’ meaning ‘mother’ is not recorded until 1830 in that precise spelling, but that there are attested uses of it in the form ‘mammy’ well back into Donne's period and that the related form ‘mome’ goes back into Middle English. When we have discovered that John Donne did, indeed, live in an especially intimate relationship with his mother throughout her long life (she actually outlived her son); and when we have set the possible pun in a context of other literary uses of a mythic situation in which the longdesired possessed turns into the moment of possession into a shrivelled hag who is also a mother (Rider Haggard's She, Hilton's Lost Horizon, and, most explicitly, Flaubert's L'ducation Sentimentale), we realize that our original contention is highly probable, for it is motivated by a traditional version of what the psychologists have taught us to call the Oedipus Archetype. It should be noticed in passing that the archetypal critic is delivered from the bondage of time, speaking of confluences rather than ‘influences’, and finding the explanation of a given work in things written later as well as earlier than the original piece. Following the lead opened by ‘Mummy, possest’, we can move still further toward an understanding of Donne, continuing to shuttle between life and work with our new clue, and examining, for instance, Donne's ambivalent relations to the great Mother, the Roman Church, which his actual mother represent not only metaphorically, but in her own allegiance and descent. This sort of analysis which at once unifies and opens up (one could do something equally provocative and rich, for instance, with the fact that in two of Melville's tales ships symbolic of innocence are called The Jolly Bachelor and The Bachelor's Delight) is condemned in some quarters as ‘failing to stay close to the actual meaning of the work itself’ - as if the work were a tight little island instead of a focus opening on an inexhaustible totality. The intrinsicist is completely unnerved by any reference to the role of the Archetype in literature, fearing such references as strategies to restore the criterion of the ‘marvellous’ to respectable currency as a standard literary excellence; for not only is the notion of ‘marvellous’ prescientific, but it is annoyingly immune to ‘close analysis’. Certainly, the contemplation of the Archetype pushes the critic beyond semantics, and beyond the kind of analysis that considers it has done all when it assures us (once again!) that the parts and whole of a poem cohere. The critic in pursuit of the Archetype finds himself involved in anthropology and depth psychology (not because these are New Gospels, but because they provide useful tools); and if he is not too embarrassed at finding himself in such company to look about him, he discovers that he has come upon a way of binding together our fractured world, of uniting literature and nonliterature without the reduction of the poem.

2.1.5 Herbert Weisinger: from ‘The Myth and Ritual Approach to Shakespearean Tragedy’ [...] It is my contention that while the last plays of Shakespeare do indeed carry forward the tragic pattern established in Hamlet, Othello,

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King Lear, and Macbeth, they neither heighten nor deepen it but on the contrary reject and even destroy it. In fact, I would go as far as to argue that the tragic pattern in the tragedies themselves is scarcely maintained equally strongly over each of the plays. For, on the basis of a comparison between the myth and ritual pattern as I have described it in Tragedy and the Paradox of the Fortunate Fall and the tragedies, I think that Shakespeare's tragic vision, which he was able to sustain but tentatively in Hamlet, most fully in Othello, barely in King Lear, hardly at all in Macbeth, failed him altogether in the last plays, and that this failure is manifested by the use of the elements of the myth and ritual pattern as mere machinery, virtually in burlesque fashion, and not as their informing and sustaining spirit. [...] I. The myth and ritual pattern of the ancient Near East, which is at least six thousand years old, centers in a divine king who was killed annually and who was reborn in the person of his successor. In its later development, the king was not killed, but went through an annual symbolic rebirth or resurrection. Starting out as a magical rite designed to ensure the success of the crops in the climates where the outcome of the struggle between water and drought meant literally the difference between life and death, the pattern was gradually transformed into a religious ritual, designed this time to promote man's salvation, and finally became an ethical conviction, freed now of both its magical and religious ritual practices but still retaining in spiritualized and symbolic form its ancient appeal and emotional certitude. Because it begins with the need to survive, the pattern never loses its force, for it is concerned always with survival, whether physical or spiritual. So far as can be ascertained at present, the pattern had a double growth, one along the lines of the ancient civilizations of the Near East, the Sumerian, the Egyptian, the Babylonian, both South and North, the Palestinian - first with the Canaanites, and then with the Hebrews - and from thence into Christianity; the other along the lines of the island civilizations of the Aegean, from Crete to the mainland of Greece, from thence to Rome, and once more into Christianity, the two streams of development flowing into each other and reinforcing themselves at this crucial juncture. Despite the differences between the religions of the ancient Near East (as, for example, between those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and between that of the Hebrews and of the others), nevertheless they all possessed certain significant features of myth and ritual in common. These features, in their turn, stemmed from the common bond of ritual, characteristic (in one form or another) of all together, though, as I have said, none possessed completely all the elements, which varied in some degree from religion to religion. In this single, idealized ritual scheme, the well-being of the community was secured by the regular performance of certain ritual actions in which the king or his equivalent took the leading role. Moreover the king's importance for the community was incalculably increased by the almost universal conviction that the fortunes of the community or state and those of the king were inextricably intermingled; indeed one may go as far as to say that on the well-being of the king depended the well-being of the community as a whole. From an analysis of the extant seasonal rituals, particularly the new year festivals, and from the coronation, initiation, and personal rituals of the ancient Near East, it is possible to make a reconstructed model of the basic ritual form. Essentially the pattern contains these basic elements: 1. the indispensable role of the divine king; 2. the combat between the God and the opposing power; 3. the suffering of the God; 4. the death of the God; 5. the resurrection of the God; 6. the symbolic recreation of the myth of creation; 7. the sacred marriage; 8. the triumphal procession; and 9. the settling of destinies. We must remember, however, that the dyingrising-God theme constitutes but one illustration, so to speak, of the greater cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The many and various rites connected with birth, with initiation, with marriage, and with death in the case of the individual, as well as the rites concerned with the planting, the harvesting, the new year celebrations, and with the installation ceremonies of the king in the case of the community, all these rites repeat each in its own way the deep-rooted and abiding cycle of death and rebirth. Not only do these rituals symbolize the passage from death to life, from one way of life to another, but they are the actual means of achieving the changeover; they mark the transition by which - throught

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the process of separation, regeneration, and the return on a higher level both the individual and the community are assured their victory over the forces of chaos which are thereby kept under control. [...] II. This then, is the myth and ritual pattern as I understand it. What are its implications for tragedy? To start with, I would suggest that in the myth and ritual pattern we have the seedbed of tragedy, the stuff of which it was ultimately formed. Both the form and content of tragedy, its architecture as well as its ideology, closely parallel the form and content of myth and ritual pattern. But having said that, I must also say that the myth and ritual pattern and tragedy are not the same. Both share the same shape and the same intent, but they differ significantly in the manner of their creation and in the methods of achieving their purposes. [...] Tragedy, on the other hand, is a creation compounded of conscious craft and conviction. If we describe the myth and ritual pattern as the passage from ignorance to understanding through suffering mimetically and at first hand, then we must describe tragedy as the passage from ignorance to understanding through suffering symbolically and at a distance. To speak of symbolic meaning is already to have made the leap from myth to art. In the myth and ritual pattern, the dying-reborn God-king, the worshippers for whom he suffers, and the action of his agony are identical; in tragedy, the tragic protagonist undergoes his suffering at an aesthetic distance and only vicariously in the minds of his audience. And for that reason does Aristotle tell us that tragedy is an imitation of an action. You participate in a ritual but you are a spectator of a play. Moreover, tragedy reconstitutes the myth and ritual pattern in terms of its own needs. Of the nine elements which make up the myth and ritual pattern as I have described it, four have been virtually eliminated from tragedy, namely, the actual death of the God, the symbolic recreation of the myth of creation, the sacred marriage, and the triumphal procession; two elements, the indispensable role of the divine king and the settling of destinies, are retained only by implication and play rather ambiguous roles in tragedy; while the remaining three - combat, suffering (with death subsumed), and resurrection - now give tragedy its structure and substance. I have already noted that one of the characteristics of the myth and ritual pattern is its adaptability, its ability to change shape while retaining its potency, and we should therefore not be surprised to find the same process at work in its relation to tragedy. What is revealing, however, is the direction of change, for we find, first, that the theme of the settling of destinies which is the highest point in the myth and ritual pattern - the goal of the struggle, since without it the passion of the God would be in vain, and chaos and disorder would be triumphant - this theme, so elaborately explicated in the ritual practices of the ancient Near East, is no more than implied in tragedy, just as the corespondence between the well-being of the king and the well-being of the community, again so detailed in ritual, is only shadowed forth, as a condition to be aimed at but not to be achieved in reality. Second, we discover that even greater emphasis is placed on the small moment of doubt in tragedy than in the myth and ritual pattern itself. [...] And, clearly spelling out the implications of the second change made by tragedy in the myth and ritual pattern is the third, the freedom of choice of the tragic protagonist and the responsibility for the consequences of making that choice. [...] To sum up, then, the structure of tragic form, as derived from the myth and ritual pattern may be diagrammed in this way: the tragic protagonist, in whom is subsumed the well-being of the people and the welfare of the state, engages in conflict with a representation of darkness and evil; a temporary defeat is inflicted on the tragic protagonist, but after shame and suffering he emerges triumphant as the symbol of the victory of light and good over darkness and evil, a victory sanctified by the covenant of the settling of destinies which reaffirms the well-being of the people and the welfare of the state. In the course of the conflict there comes a point where the protagonist and the antagonist appear to merge into a single challenge against the order of God; the evil which the protagonist would not do, he does, and the good which he would, he does not; and in this moment we are made aware that the real protagonist of tragedy is the order of God against which the tragic hero has rebelled. In this manner is the pride, the presumption which is in all of us by virtue of our mixed state as man, symbolized and revealed, and it is this hybris which

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vicariously purged from us by the suffering of the tragic protagonist. He commits the foul deed which is potentially in us, he challenges the order of God which we would but dare not, he expiates our sin, and what we had hitherto felt we had been forced to accept we now believe of our free will, namely, that the order of God is just and good. Therefore is the tragic protagonist vouchsafed the vision of victory but not its attainment. III. Seen from this point of view, Hamlet is a particularly fascinating example of the relationship between the myth and ritual pattern and tragedy, because it shows within the action of the play itself the development of Shakespeare's awareness of tragedy as a heightened and secularized version of the pattern. Hamlet begins by crying for revenge which is personal and ends by seeking justice which is social. Shakespeare deals with the problem of the play - how shall a son avenge the injustice done his father? - by presenting it to us in four different yet related ways simultaneously, each consistent within its pattern of behavior, yet each overlapping and protruding beyond the other, like the successive superimpositions of the same face seen from different angles in a portrait by Picasso. First, there is Hamlet-Laertes who, incapable of seeking more than revenge, dies unchanged and unfulfilled, no better nor no worse than when he had begun. Then there is Hamlet the Prince, caught midway between revenge and justice, who passes from ignorance to understanding but too late. Third, there is Hamlet-Fortinbras who avenges his father's wrongs by joining the warring kingdoms into a single nation under his able rule. And finally, containing all these Hamlets, is Hamlet the King, idealized by his son into the perfect king whom he must replace. From this dynastic destiny stems Hamlet's ambivalence towards his father: he loves him for the man he wants to be himself and hates him for the King who stands in the way of the Prince and for the father who stands in the way of the son. Seeking his father's murderer, Hamlet finds himself. The same necessity holds Hal and Hamlet alike, but where Hal sees a straight line between his father and himself - ‘You won it, wore it, kept it, gave it me;/ Then plain and right must my possession be.’ ( II Henry IV. IV.v.222-23) and is therefore sure of himself in a labyrinth whose walls are lined with trick doors and distorting mirrors: ‘O cursed spite,/ That ever I was born to set it right!’ Hamlet's ambivalence is reflected in the fragmentation of his character; there are as many Hamlets as there are scenes in which he appears, and each person in the play sees a different Hamlet before him. But of the contradictions in his character, two stand out as the major symptoms of his incompleteness. The first is Hamlet's yearning to be able to act, not for the sake of action alone, but rightly, in the clear cause of justice; for while no tragic protagonist acts more frequently and more vigorously than Hamlet, he is more and more perplexed to discover that the more he would do good - that is, cleanse Denmark by avenging his father's death - the more evil he in fact accomplishes; hence his envy of Fortinbras' ability to act resolutely and without equivocation (IV.iv.). Second, though he is nominally a Christian, yet in the moments of sharpest crisis Hamlet turns instead to the consolations of Stoicism: ‘If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all. Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes?’ (V. ii.231-35). And it is not enough: his mission succeeds only by mischance, his cause is still not understood, and with his dying breath he calls on Horatio, the true Stoic, to tell his story to the unsatisfied. Hamlet's vision is still clouded at his death ‘Things standing thus unknown’ ; Horatio's own version of the events is surprisingly but an advertisement for a tragedy by Seneca (V. ii. 391-97); and there is something too cold and callous in the way Fortinbras embraces his fortune. In short, the myth and ritual elements have not been completely assimilated in the tragedy: the suffering of the tragic protagonist is neither altogether deserved nor altogether understood by him, the rebirth is not quite inevitable nor necessary, and the settling of destinies in the person of Fortinbras is somewhat forced and mechanical. The genuine sense of tragic loss is somewhat vulgarized into regret: Hamlet has been too-fascinating. [...]

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2.1.6 Eric Gould: from Mythical Intentions in Modern Literature Chapter 1. ‘On the Essential in Myth: Interpreting the Archetype’ [...] I want to emphasize that the mythic, therefore, does not and cannot disappear in the modern so long as these questions remain. For reasons which should be clear to the reader by the end of this study, I do not believe that we must differentiate sharply between some pristine, original, and sacred myth of origins, which has somehow receded form our grasp, and which we can only pessimistically hope to recover, and, on the other hand, myth as semiotic fact. True myth, it is very often said, even by such opposites as Eliade and Lévy-Strauss, can no longer be a reality for civilized man. My point is that mythicity is alive insofar as we rely on fictions to make sense of our world, and indeed, on the inadequacies of language to explain the inexplicable. Instead of disappearing, our myths have become more and more obsessed, as literature is too, with the hermeneutics of expression, with the linguistic limits to mythicity itself. The urge to define myths continues unabated in the modern, and even more important, the deep human need for myth persists. In this way, we have turned often to literary myths about myth in order to re-create it. This is a difficult point to explain, and I have had to resort to the fact that myth, in order to be mythic, has to create itself, has to be a self-contained system deriving its ontology from language. The second and third chapters of this study explore the Structuralist model for myth's reproduction in narrative. I argue that literature and myth must exist on a continuum, by virtue of their function as language: myth tends to a literary sense of narrative form, and fictions aspire to the status of myth. The key question remains not that of the literary use of mythological motifs, but the possibility that myths can recover the structure of mythic thought and expression - indeed, that there might be some kind of equivalence between mythic and fictional narrative. Only a theory of fictions, it would seem, can cope with the meaning of both mythological and novelistic plots. But again, I stop short of offering a poetics of mythic form, for that has been well documented by Propp, Lévy-Strauss, and perhaps, by implication, by Todorov and Kristeva. Rather we need to concentrate now on the more speculative issue of how fictional narratives seek to justify their importance both in and out of the history of literary language and genre. For myths and fictions reveal the paradox of language itself as a system, defined in linguistic terms as both sequence (syntagm) and schemata (paradigm). Whatever we have to say about the meaning of a text is necessarily part of this paradox, which describes the ontological limits of both myth and literature. The work of James Joyce is a clear example of a conscious flirtation with this paradox. In Portrait, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake - and particularly in his increasingly complex emphasis on ‘epiphany’ and ‘transubstantiation’ - we find examples of how mythic thought can be recovered in the novel. This is achieved less by a simple re-use of motifs from The Odyssey and other quest mythology than it is by Joyce's clever entry into the logic of mythological plotting, which is carefully reconstituted in his writing. Plot transformations tend to the absurd (while preserving the dialectical reasoning of the original myth), and solutions to social compromise are reached by rearranging patterns of experience into constantly changing sign systems. So myth insists that reality is not static but a changing systematic, and this is recoverable in Joyce's logic of the pun, the epiphany, and the multilayered plot. Indeed, the whole subject of mythicity in the modern strikes me as showing itself most cogently in the relationship between myth and literature. Again, this is not particularly new, for German Idealism took this task very seriously. But once we have relocated that interest, the question remains fresh for us: Is the created myth of modern narrative different from ‘primary’ myth as we find it in archaic or primitivehistorical examples? Because I argue from the start that it is the nature of the language that determines myth and not the reverse, the conclusion of this study is that mythicity is no less modern than it is ancient, that it is preserved in the gap which has always occasioned it, through our attempts symbolically to represent and give meaning to our place in the world through discourse. Insofar as literature preserves the fullness of that intent, then it preserves mythicity.

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But one cannot leave the argument there, or else we become locked into mere circularity. In the end, it is not enough to argue from linguistic premises alone and expect to have spoken intelligently about the mana of myth, which has supposedly been rather more universal than the mana of literature. I do want to examine something we all know, that ancient myths survive in the modern with all their problematic intensity as they deal with the numinous and the sacred. The question is how and why. The ‘why’ relates to the argument for the ontological status of myth to be found in the first part of this study. The ‘how’ is discussed in specific examples drawn from the works of Lawrence and Eliot. If myth seeks to achieve understanding, to reach an unconcealed presence, to recover the numinous, to locate the universal in the Beingness of beings, then it must still cope with the Nothing of the modern. That remains our intellectual crisis, which is why I begin by trying to define essentiality and end by encountering the problem of mythical intentions in the contrasting attempts of Lawrence and Eliot to restore literature to the task of defining the absence of the ‘holy’ as an aspect of literature. A post-Structuralist approach to the problem makes the absence cogent enough. The fascination with that absent element, the semiotic gap, is implicit in our fascination with structure, even with the very hermeneutic intentions of a Lawrence or an Eliot. We find the attempt to recover the numinous in literature in these authors' belief in the logocracy of writing, in the text establishing the dominance of writing as expression, yet struggling with its limitations at the same time. Again, our problems with the sacred - as with any attempt to define essentiality - are with the linguistic. Discourse alone institutionalizes apodictic experience. So, too, all the genuinely ontological issues discussed so widely in the modern the Underground Man's boredom and spite, Heidegger's Nothing, Kierkegaard's irony, Jaspers' Encompassing, and now Derrida's Deconstruction - are all issues which are only defined in language and about language. So it is appropriate that we turn to the language of literature where the full weight of nihilation, irony, paradox, and transformation can be carried. From a critical standpoint, then, this study is an introduction to the course myth-and-literature studies might further take along less pessimistic lines than it has followed in the past. We need to go beyond the old obsession with the ‘failures’ of the modern fragmented sensibility to preserve myth in our time. There have certainly been defenders of the lacerated faith, but we need to note too that it is precisely the fragmentation which can be seen to keep myth alive. I attempt to offer fresh readings of Joyce, Lawrence, and Eliot with the motive of showing how they perpetuate mythicity. And since I am insisting that myth is a function of language and interpretation, it must be said that the subject under discussion is also the business of literary criticism. It is currently fashionable to declare that the reach of the Structuralist enterprise has far exceeded his grasp, and that its attempt to seek meaning through networks, vast and small, of symbolic connections and disconnections has neutralized the text. We are confronted by a theory of the autonomy of structures, and at the same time, as René Girard has said, we are forced to find a context in which to study those structures. It is to combat that problem that I argue that Structuralism must be intimately linked to interpretation theory. I do not think that one can saturate myth by discovering a formalistic grammar of it or a specific rhetoric of functions - here I only scratch the surface and offer some ideas based on principles language itself determines - but it is possible to show, after Lévy-Strauss, that mythic narratives do perform repetitively, negatively, transformationally, and in allegorical forms. The real task, though, is to keep alive in any approach to both myth and literature not only the problems of form, but the ontological issues which drive myth and much modern writing to the structures they embody. That is why it is so important to locate modern myth and literature studies in some theory of reading and writing as well as structure. We have to argue now for the relationship between a structure of the mythic and its reach, which will always, by necessity, exceed its grasp. For it is the nature of language itself to be symbolic, and the nature of myth to be the rhetoric of that intent. [...] Reader, writer, and language itself are each an appropriate system. Mythicity, and indeed, any other condition for narrative experience, is born of the competition between the participants in the interpretative

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event, each caught in a metaphorical world seeking stability. Myths, we might assume, form perhaps the most demanding system among narratives that we have, a point which can be defined in several ways: traditionally in ritual performance, which can be found in wide-ranging civilizations, or else in its psychological function as either an imperial Jungian archetype or as some version of what Bruno Bettelheim has described as myth's ‘typical’ involvement with ‘superego demands in conflict with idmotivated action, and with the self-preserving desires of the ego.’ But, again, those approaches do not seem to me to get to the heart of the matter: the mythicity of discourse as metaphor relies on metonymy. Myth is, after all, an historical consciousness only available in discourse, which does reveal a growing awareness of some literal meaning in our finitude through metaphorical expansion. But the importance of myth in our culture, it would seem, is the result of the fact that we have no option but to use metaphor in order to find thruth. That is, any theory of the appropriativeness of myth as a language event refers to the appropriativeness of language itself, which in turn has something to do with the ongoing process of transacting meaning in the business of metaphor-making and interpretation. We experience a union and a cutting from discourse at the same time. At best, all we can declare about the experience of interpretation is that we occupy a potential (and not an ideal) space in the world of language. As opposed to the hypothetical objectivity of archetypes which Jung and Frye proclaim, we find instead that metaphor drives us to what Starobinski calls ‘the contact surface’, the place where inner and outer actually meet. So we continue to need the ‘archetype’ as a description of this site, as a hypothetical space created by the subject's search for himself as well as by what lies outside himself, through the tradition of language and its meanings. As such, it contains not a fixed reality but a propositional statement which experiments with the literal. The archetypal model is largely proleptic. It is useful to us less as an object of belief, as a fixed, systematic item, than as a transactional fact, slowly revealing its form only in language and interpretation. It is objective only insofar as it exists as a semiotic item, leading us to link it to other signs and to modify our assumptions about itself and ourselves. The archetype is subjective in that it depends on interpretation for its own existence. This is not to declare an invidious hermeneutic circularity but, again, to assert the necessary absence of meaning before meaning can even be discovered. [...] So there is no reason to discard the term ‘archetype’ as inappropriate. On the contrary, it requires a fresh definition. Signs can now retain archetypal significance for us, in both ancient and modern texts, because they re-enact continually, through the play between metonymy and metaphor, the alternative closing and widening in discourse of the gap between the inside and the outside. They thereby inspire our ratiocination, creative fantasy, and above all, our process of interpreting the world as a sign system. To repeat my earlier point, the archetype as metonym is the rhetorical degree zero of metaphor. It is always the structural operation of the act of interpretation rather than the content of motifs which leads to our sense of the archetypal and, we hope, to a meaning for the unconscious. The archetype carries a necessary exteriority whose interpretative challenge must be met - as metonymy becomes metaphor - or else we lapse into a superstitious worship of the hidden side of its meaning. [...]

2.1

JUNGIAN ARCHETYPAL CRITICISM

2.2.1 Carl Gustav Jung: from ‘Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious’ The hypothesis of a collective unconscious belongs to the class of ideas that people at first find strange but soon come to possess and use as

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familiar conceptions. This has been the case with the concept of the unconscious in general. After the philosophical idea of the unconscious, in the form presented chiefly by Carus and von Hartmann, had gone down under the overwhelming wave of materialism, leaving hardly a ripple behind it, it gradually reappeared in the scientific domain of medical psychology. At first the concept of the unconscious was limited to denoting the state of repressed or forgotten contents. Even with Freud, who makes the unconscious - at least metaphorically - take the stage as the acting subject, it is really nothing but the gathering place of forgotten and repressed contents, and has a functional significance thanks only to these. For Freud, accordingly, the unconscious is of an exclusively personal nature, although he was aware of its archaic and mythological thoughtforms. A more or less superficial layer of the unconscious is undoubtedly personal. I call it the personal unconscious. But this personal unconscious rests upon a deeper layer, which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn. This deeper layer I call the collective unconscious. I have chosen the term ‘collective’ because this part of the unconscious is not individual but universal; in contrast to the personal psyche, it has contents and modes of behaviour that are more or less the same everywhere and in all individuals. It is, in other words, identical in all men and thus constitutes a common psychic substrate of a suprapersonal nature which is present in every one of us. Psychic existence can be recognized only by the presence of contents that are capable of consciousness. We can therefore speak of an unconscious only insofar as we are able to demonstrate its contents. The contents of the personal unconscious are chiefly the feeling-toned complexes , as they are called; they constitute the personal and private side of phychic life. The contents of the collective unconscious, on the other hand, are known as archetypes. [...] ‘Archetype’ is an explanatory paraphrase of the Platonic eidos. For our purposes this term is apposite and helpful, because it tells us that so far as the collective unconscious contents are concerned we are dealing with archaic or - I would say - primordial types, that is, with universal images that have existed since the remotest times. The term ‘représentations collectives’, used by Lévy-Bruhl to denote the symbolic figures in the primitive view of the world, could easily be applied to unconscious contents as well, since it means practically the same thing. Primitive tribal lore is concerned with archetypes that have been modified in a special way. They are no longer contents of the unconscious, but have already been changed into conscious formulae taught according to tradition, generally in the form of esoteric teachings. This last is a typical means of expression for the transmission of collective contents originally derived from the unconscious. Another well-known expression of the archetypes is myth and fairy tale. But here too we are dealing with forms that have received a specific stamp and have been handed down through long periods of time. The term ‘archetype’ thus applies only indirectly to the ‘représentations collectives’, since it designates only those psychic contents which have not yet been submitted to conscious elaboration and are therefore an immediate datum of psychic experience. In this sense there is a considerable difference between the archetype and the historical formula that has evolved. Especially on the higher levels of esoteric teaching the archetypes appear in a form that reveals quite unmistakably the critical and evaluating influence of conscious elaboration. Their immediate manifestation, as we encounter it in dreams and visions, is much more individual, less understandable, and more naive than in myths, for example. The archetype is essentially an unconscious content that is altered by becoming conscious and by being perceived, and it takes its colour from the individual consciousness in which it happens to appear. The unconscious is commonly regarded as a sort of incapsulated fragment of our most personal and intimate life - something like what the Bible calls the ‘heart’ and considers the source of all evil thoughts. In the chambers of the heart dwell the wicked blood-spirits, swift anger and sensual weakness. This is how the unconscious looks when seen from the conscious side. But consciousness appears to be essentially an affair of the cerebrum, which sees everything separately and in isolation, and

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therefore sees the unconscious in this way too, regarding it outright as my unconscious. Hence it is generally believed that anyone who descends into the unconscious gets into a suffocating atmosphere of egocentric subjectivity, and in this blind alley is exposed to the attack of all the ferocious beasts which the caverns of the psychic underworld are supposed to harbour. True, whoever looks into the mirror of the water will see first of all his own face. Whoever goes to himself risks a confrontation with himself. The mirror does not flatter, it faithfully shows whatever looks into it; namely, the face we never show to the world because we cover it with the persona, the mask of the actor. But the mirror lies behind the mask and shows the true face. This confrontation is the first test of courage on the inner way, a test sufficient to frighten off most people, for the meeting with ourselves belongs to the more unpleasant things that can be avoided so long as we can project everything negative into the environment. But if we are able to see our own shadow and can bear knowing about it, then a small part of the problem has already been solved: we have at least brought up the personal unconscious. The shadow is a living part of the personality and therefore wants to live with it in some form. It cannot be argued out of existence or rationalized into harmlessness. This problem is exceedingly difficult, because it not only changes the whole man, but reminds him at the same time of his helplessness and ineffectuality. Strong natures - or should one rather call them weak? - do not like to be reminded of this, but prefer to think of themselves as heroes who are beyond good and evil, and to cut the Gordian knot instead of untying it. Nevertheless, the account has to be settled sooner or later. In the end one has to admit that there are problems which one simply cannot solve on one’s own resources. Such an admission has the advantage of being honest, truthful, and in accord with reality, and this prepares the ground for a compensatory reaction from the collective unconscious: you are now more inclined to give heed to a helpful idea or intuition, or to notice thoughts which had not been allowed to voice themselves before. Perhaps you will pay attention to the dreams that visit you at such moments, or will reflect on certain inner and outer occurrences that take place just at this time. If you have an attitude of this kind, then the helpful powers slumbering in the deeper strata of man’s nature can come awake and intervene, for helplessness and weakness are the eternal problem of mankind. To this problem there is also an eternal answer, otherwise it would have been all up with humanity along ago. When you have done everything that could possibly be done, the only thing that remains is what you could still do if only you knew it. But how much do we know of ourselves? Precious little, to judge by experience. Hence there is still a great deal of room left for the unconscious. Prayer, as we know, calls for a very similar attitude and therefore has much the same effect. The necessary and needful reaction from the collective unconscious expresses itself in archetypally formed ideas. The meeting with oneself is, at first, the meeting with one’s own shadow. The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is. For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad. It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension; where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living, begins; where I am indivisibly this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me. [...] The anima is not the soul in the dogmatic sense, not an anima rationalis, which is a philosophical conception, but a natural archetype that satisfactorily sums up all the statements of the unconscious, of the primitive mind, of the history of language and religion. It is a ‘factor’ in the proper sense of the word. Man cannot make it; on the contrary, it is always the a priori element in his moods, reactions, impulses, and whatever else is spontaneous in psychic life. It is something that lives of itself, that makes us live; it is a life behind consciousness that cannot be completely integrated with it, but from which, on the contrary, consciousness arises. For, in the last analysis, psychic life is for the

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greater part an unconscious life that surrounds consciousness on all sides a notion that is sufficiently obvious when one considers how much unconscious preparation is needed, for instance, to register a senseimpression. Although it seems as if the whole of our unconscious psychic life could be ascribed to the anima, she is yet only one archetype among many. Therefore, she is not characteristic of the unconscious in its entirety. She is only one of its aspects. This is shown by the very fact of her femininity. What is not-I, not masculine, is most probably feminine, and because the not-I is felt as not belonging to me and therefore as outside me, the animaimage is usually projected upon women. Either sex is inhabited by the opposite sex up to a point, for, biologically speaking, it is simply the greater number of masculine genes that tips the scales in favour of masculinity. The smaller number of feminine genes seems to form a feminine character, which usually remains unconscious because of its subordinate position. With the archetype of the anima we enter the realm of gods, or rather the realm that metaphysics has reserved for itself. Everything the animal touches becomes numinous - unconditional, dangerous, taboo, magical. She is the serpent in the paradise of the harmless man with good resolutions and still better intentions. She affords the most convincing reasons for not prying into the unconscious, an occupation that would break down our moral inhibitions and unleash forces that had better been left unconscious and undisturbed. As usual, there is something in what the anima says; for life in itself is not good only, it is also bad. Because the anima wants life, she wants both good and bad. These categories do not exist in the elfin realm. Bodily life as well as psychic life have the impudence to get along much better without conventional morality, and they often remain the healthier for it. The anima believes in the kalon kagathon, the ‘beautiful and the good’, a primitive conception that antedates the discovery of the conflict between aesthetics and morals. It took more than a thousand years of Christian differentiation to make it clear that the good is not always the beautiful and the beautiful not necessarily good. The paradox of this marriage of ideas troubled the ancients as little as it does the primitives. The anima is conservative and clings in the most exasperating fashion to the ways of earlier humanity. She likes to appear in historic dress, with a predilection for Greece and Egypt. In this connection we would mention the classic anima stories of Rider Haggard and Pierre Benoît. [...] [The dream under discussion] expresses its meaning in the opinion and voice of a wise magician, who goes back in direct line to figure of the medicine man in primitive society. He is, like the anima, an immortal demon that pierces the chaotic darknesses of brute life with the light of meaning. He is the enlightener, the master and teacher, a psychopomp whose personification even Nietzsche, that breaker of tables, could not escape - for he had called up his reincarnation in Zarathustra, the lofty spirit of an almost Homeric age, as the carrier and mouthpiece of his own ‘Dionysian’ enlightenment and ecstasy. For him God was dead, but the driving demon of wisdom became as it were his bodily double. He himself says: ‘Then one was changed to two / And Zarathustra passed me by’. Zarathustra is more for Nietzsche than a poetic figure; he is an involuntary confession, a testament. Nietzsche too had lost his way in the darkness of a life that turned its back upon God and Christianity, and that is why there came to him the revealer and enlightener, the speaking fountainhead of his soul. Here is the source of the hieratic language of Zarathustra, for that is the style of this archetype. Modern man, in experiencing this archetype, comes to know that most ancient form of thinking as an autonomous activity whose object he is. Hermes Trismegistus or the Thoth of Hermetic literature, Orpheus, the Poimandres (shepherd of men) and his near relation the Poimen of Hermes, are other formulations of the same experience. If the name ‘Lucifer’ were not prejudiced, it would be a very suitable one for this archetype. But I have been content to call it the archetype of the wise old man, or of meaning. Like all archetypes it has a positive and a negative aspect, though I do not want to enter into this here. The reader will find a detailed exposition of the two-facedness of the wise old man in ‘The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales’. The three archetypes so far discussed - the shadow, the anima, and the

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wise old man - are of a kind that can be directly experienced in personified form. In the foregoing I tried to indicate the general psychological conditions in which such an experience arises. But what I conveyed were only abstract generalizations. One could, or rather one should, really give a description of the process as it occurs in immediate experience. In the course of this process the archetypes appear as active personalities in dreams and fantasies. But the process itself involves another class of archetypes which one would call the archetypes of transformation. They are not personalities, but are typical situations, places, ways and means, that symbolize the kind of transformation in question. Like the personalities, these archetypes are true and genuine symbols that cannot be exhaustively interpreted, either as signs or as allegories. They are genuine symbols precisely because they are ambiguous, full of half-glimpsed meanings, and in the last resort inexhaustible. The ground principles, the archai, of the unconscious are indescribable because of their wealth of reference, although in themselves recognizable. The discriminating intellect naturally keeps on trying to establish their singleness of meaning and thus misses the essential point; for what we can above all establish as the one thing consistent with their nature is their manifold meaning, their almost limitless wealth of reference, which makes any unilateral formulation impossible. Besides this, they are in principle paradoxical, just as for the alchemists the spirit was conceived as ‘senex et iuvenis simul’ - an old man and a youth at once. If one wants to form a picture of the symbolic process, the series of pictures found in alchemy are good examples, though the symbols they contain are for the most part traditional despite their often obscure origin and significance. An excellent Eastern example is the Tantric chakra system, or the mystical nerve system of Chinese yoga. It also seems as if the set of pictures in the Tarot cards were distantly descended from the archetypes of transformation. [...] In all cases of dissociation it is therefore necessary to integrate the unconscious into consciousnes. This is a synthetic process which I have termed the ‘individuation process’. As a matter of fact, this process follows the natural course of life - a life in which the individual becomes what he always was. Because man has consciousness, a development of this kind does not run very smoothly; often it is varied and disturbed, because consciousness deviates again and again from its archetypal, instinctual foundation and finds itself in opposition to it. There then arises the need for a synthetis of the two positions. This amounts to psychotherapy even on the primitive level, where it takes the form of restitution ceremonies. As examples I would mention the identification of the Australian aborigines with their ancestors in the alcheringa period, identification with the ‘sons of the sun’ among the Pueblos of Taos, the Helios apotheosis in the Isis mysteries, and so on. Accordingly, the therapeutic method of complex psychology consists on the one hand in making as fully conscious as possible the constellated unconscious contents, and on the other hand in synthetizing them with consciousness through the act of recognition. Since, however, civilized man possesses a high degree of dissociability and makes continual use of it in order to avoid every possible risk, it is by no means a foregone conclusion that recognition will be followed by the appropriate action. On the contrary, we have to reckon with the singular ineffectiveness of recognition and must therefore insist on a meaningful application of it. Recognition by itself does not as a rule do this nor does it imply, as such, any moral strength. In these cases it becomes very clear how much the cure of neurosis is a moral problem. [...]

2.2.2 Carl Gustav Jung: from ‘Psychology and Literature’ The profound difference between the first and second parts of Faust marks the difference between the psychological and the visionary modes of artistic creation. The latter reverses all the conditions of the former. The experience that furnishes the material for the artistic is no longer familiar. It is a strange something that derives its existence from the

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hinterland of man’s mind - that suggests the abyss of time separating us from pre-human ages, or evokes a super-human world of contrasting light and darkness. It is a primordial experience which surpasses man’s understanding, and to which his is in danger of succumbing. [...] The obscurity as to the sources of the material in visionary creation is very strange, and the exact opposite of what we find in the psychological mode of creation. We are even led to suspect that this obscurity is not unintentional. We are naturally inclined to suppose - and Freudian psychology encourages us to do so - that some highly personal experience underlies this grotesque darkness. [...] Although a discussion of the poet’s personality and psychic disposition belongs strictly to the second part of my essay, I cannot avoid taking up in the present connection this Freudian view of the visionary work of art. For one thing, it has aroused considerable attention. And then it is the only well-known attempt that has been made to give a ‘scientific’ explanation of the sources of the visionary material or to formulate a theory of the psychic processes that underlie this curious mode of artistic creation. I assume my own view of the question is not well known or generally understood. With this preliminary remark, I will now try to present it briefly. If we insist on deriving the vision from a personal experience, we must treat the former as something secondary - as a mere substitute for reality.The result is that we strip the vision of its primordial quality and take it as nothing but a symptom. The pregnant chaos then shrinks to the proportions of a psychic disturbance. With this account of the matter we feel reassured and turn again to our picture of a well-ordered cosmos. Since we are practical and reasonable, we do not expect the cosmos to be perfect; we accept these unavoidable imperfections which we call abnormalities and diseases, and we take for granted that the human nature is not exempt from them. The frightening revelation of abysses that defy the human understanding is dismissed as illusion, and the poet is regarded as a victim and perpetrator of deception. Even to the poet his primordial experience was ‘human –all too human’, to such a degree that he could not face its meaning but had to conceal it from himself. We shall do well, I think, to make fully explicit all the implications of that way of accounting for artistic creation which consists in reducing it to personal factors. We should see clearly where it leads. The truth is that it takes us away from the psychological study of the work of art and confronts us with the psychic disposition of the poet himself. That the latter presents an important problem is not to be denied, but the work of art is something in its own right, and may not be conjured away.The question of the significance to the poet of his creative work - of his regarding it as a trifle, as a screen, as a source of suffering or an achievement - does not concern us at the moment, our task being to interpret the work of art psychologically. For this understanding it is essential that we give serious consideration to the basic experience that underlies it - namely, to the vision. We must take it at least as seriously as we do the experiences that underlie the psychological mode of artistic creation, and no one doubts that they are both real and serious. It looks, indeed, as if the visionary experience were something quite apart from the ordinary lot of man, and for this reason we have difficulty in believing that it is real. It has about it an unfortunate suggestion of obscure metaphysics and of occultism, so that we feel called upon to intervene in the name of a well-intentioned reasonableness. Our conclusion is that it would be better not to take such things too seriously, lest the world revert again to a benighted superstition. We may, of course, have a predilection for the occult; but ordinarily we dismiss the visionary experience as the outcome of a rich fantasy or of a poetic mood - that is to say, as a kind of poetic licence psychologically understood. Certain of the poets encourage this interpretation in order to put a wholesome distance between themselves and their work. Spitteler, for example, stoutly maintained that it was one and the same whether the poet sang of an Olympian Spring or to the theme: ‘May is here!’ The truth is that poets are human beings, and that what a poet has to say about his work is often far from being the most illuminating word on the subject. What is required of us, then, is nothing less than to defend the importance of the visionary experience against the poet himself. [...] From the very first beginnings of human society onward man’s effort to give his vague intimations a binding form have left their traces.Even in

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the Rhodesian cliff-drawings of the Old Stone Age there appears, side by side with the most amazingly life-like representations of animals, an abstract pattern - a double cross contained in a circle. This design has turned up in every cultural region, more or less, and we find it today not only in Christian churches, but in Tibetan monasteries as well. It is the socalled sun-wheel, and as it dates from a time when no one had thought of wheels as a mechanical device it cannot have had its source in any experience of the external world. It is rather a symbol that stands for a psychic happening; it covers an experience of the inner, and is no doubt as lifelike a representation as the famous rhinoceros with the tick-birds on its back. There has never been a primitive culture that did not possess a system of secret teaching, and in many cultures this system is highly developed. The man’s councils and the totem-clans preserve this teaching about hidden things that lie apart from man’s daytime existence - things which, from primeval times, have always constituted his most vital experiences. Knowledge about them is handed on to younger men in the rites of initiation. The mysteries of the Graeco-Roman world performed the same office, and the rich mythology of antiquity is a relic of such experiences in the earliest stages of human development. It is therefore to be expected of the poet that he will resort to mythology in order to give his experience its most fitting expression. It would be a serious mistake to suppose that he works with materials received at second-hand. The primordial experience is the source of his creativeness; it cannot be fathomed, and therefore requires mythological imagery to give it form. In itself it offers no words or images, for it is a vision seen ‘as in a glass, darkly’. It is merely a deep presentiment that strives to find expression. It is like a whirlwind that seizes everything within reach and, by carrying it aloft, assumes a visible shape. Since the particular expression can never exhaust the possibilities of the vision, but falls short of it in richness content, the poet must have at disposal a huge store of materials if he is to communicate even a few of his intimations. What is more, he must resort to an imagery that is difficult to handle and full of contradictions in order to express the weird paradoxicality of his vision. Dante’s presentiments are clothed in images that run the gamut of Heaven and Hell; Goethe must bring in the Blocksberg and the infernal regions of Greek antiquity; Wagner needs the whole body of Nordic myth; Nietzsche returns to the hieratic style and recreates the legendary seer of prehistoric times; Blake invents for himself indescribable figures, and Spitteler borrows old names for new creatures of the imagination. And no intermediate step is missing in the whole range from the ineffably sublime to the perversely grotesque. Psychology can do nothing towards the elucidation of this colourful imagery except bring together materials for comparison and offer a terminology for its discussion. According to this terminology, that which appears in the vision is the collective unconscious. We mean by collective unconscious, a certain psychic disposition shaped by the forces of heredity; from it consciousness has developed. In the physical structure of the body we find traces of earlier stages of evolution, and we may expect the human psyche also to conform in its make-up to the law of phylogeny. It is a fact that in eclipses of consciousness - in dreams, narcotic states, and cases of insanity - there come to the surface psychic products or contents that show all the traits of primitive levels of psychic development. The images themselves are sometimes of such a primitive character that we might suppose them derived from ancient, esoteric teaching. Mythological themes clothed in modern dress also frequently appear. What is of particular importance for the study of literature in these manifestations of the collective unconscious is that they are compensatory to the conscious attitude. This is to say that they can bring a one-side, abnormal or dangerous state of consciousness into equilibrium in an apparently purposive way. In dreams we can see this process very clearly in its positive aspect. In cases of insanity the compensatory process is perfectly obvious, but takes a negative form. There are persons, for instance, who have anxiously shut themselves off from all the world only to discover one day that their most intimate secrets are known and talked about by everyone. [...] It makes no difference whether the poet knows that his work is begotten, grows, and matures with him, or whether he supposes that by taking thought he produces it out of the void. His opinion of the matter

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does not change the fact that his own work outgrows him as a child its mother. The creative process has feminine quality, and the creative work arises the from unconscious depths - we might say, from the realms of mothers. Whenever the creative force predominates, human life is ruled and moulded by the unconscious as against the active will, and the conscious ego is swept along on a subterranean current, being nothing more than a helpless observer of events. The work in process becomes the poet’s fate and determines his psychic development. It is not Goethe who creates Faust, but Faust which creates Goethe. And what is Faust but a symbol? [...] The secret of artistic creation and of the effectiveness of art is to be found in a return to the state of participation mystique - to that level of experience at which it is man who lives, and not the individual, and at which the weal or woe of the single human being does not count, but only human existence. This is why every great work of art is objective and impersonal, but none the less profoundly moves us each and all. And this is also why the personal life of the poet cannot be held essential to his art -but at most a help or a hindrance to his creative task. He may go the way of a Philistine, a good citizen, a neurotic, a fool or a criminal. His personal career may be inevitable and interesting, but it does not explain the poet. 2.2.3 Maud Bodkin: from ‘Archetypal Patterns in Poetry: Psychological Studies of Imagination ‘ 1. ARCHETYPAL PATTERNS IN TRAGIC POETRY [...] In an article, ‘On the relation of analytical psychology to poetic art’, Dr. C. G. Jung has set forth an hypothesis in regard to the psychological significance of poetry. The special emotional significance possessed by certain poems - a significance going beyond any definite meaning conveyed - he attributes to the stirring in the reader's mind, within or beneath his conscious response, of unconscious forces which he terms ‘primordial images’, or archetypes. These archetypes he describes as ‘psychic residua of numberless experiences of the same type’, experiences which have happened not to the individual, but to his ancestors, and of which the results are inherited in the structure of the brain, a priori determinants of individual experience. It is the aim of the present writer to examine this hypothesis, testing it in regard to examples where we can bring together the recorded experience and reflection of minds approaching the matter from different standpoints. It is hoped that, in this way, something may be done towards enriching the formulated theory of the systematic psychologist through the insight of more intuitive thinkers, while at the same time the intuitive thinker's results may receive somewhat more exact definition. [...] We have here an expression, somewhat imaginative and poetical, of an experience in presence of poetry which we may submit to closer examination - and this in two ways. We may study the themes that show this persistence within the life of a community or race, and may compare the different forms which they assume; also we may study analytically in different individuals the inner experience of responding to such themes. [...] 2. THE ARCHETYPE OF PARADISE-HADES, OR OF HEAVEN AND HELL [...] Having thus viewed the complete pattern of Coleridge's poem [Kubla Khan] in relation to that of Milton [Paradise Lost], we may set aside for examination in another essay the figure that inspires the poet's song, and may return to the question concerning the emotional significance of those images of mountain-garden, of cavern and underground waters, which are wrought into the pattern of both poems. Within the great poem of Milton the engulfed river appears of less formidable significance than does, in Coleridge's slighter poem, the river that falls in tumult through its measureless caverns. But in Milton's poem both the Mount of Paradise and the river in its darksome passage below have been, as it were, dwarfed and drained by those vast regions beyond them of Heaven and Hell which Milton has fashioned out of that same original substance which went to the making of Paradise and the gulfs

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beneath, in ancient tradition. Let us glance back towards the earliest appearance in literature of the mountain as a seat of blessedness with caverned depths below. Such an image came to Milton by two lines of descent, through Greek and through Hebrew literature. In the Odyssey Olympus appears as ‘the seat of the Gods that standeth fast for ever. Not by winds is it shaken, nor ever wet with rain, nor doth the snow come nigh thereto, but most clear air is spread about it cloudless, and the white light floats over it.’ In this passage an ancient tradition has taken a definite aesthetic form to which our feeling can respond. Olympus in this aspect is akin to that Elysian plain, ‘where life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor yet great storm nor any rain; but always Ocean sendeth forth the breeze of the shrill West to blow cool on men.’ [...] So much for a first glance at the image of Heaven and Hell, as it appears in Greek tradition. The other line of descent of the image, to Milton and ourselves, is from Semitic sources through Hebrew literature. The imaginative form, says Cheyne, taken by the Semitic conception of the original god-likeness of human nature is that ‘before the present condition arose, man dwelt near to God in God's own mountain home’. What picture have we of this mountain home of God? Students of Semitic origins tell us of a primitive Babylonian conception of a mountain, ‘Mashu’, coextensive with the earth - ‘a vast hollow structure, erected as a 'place of fertility' under the canopy of heaven and resting on the great 'deep'‘ . The great ‘deep’ under the mountain also appears as ‘the cave underneath the earth where the dead dwell.’ In the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh we read of the hero coming to this mountain whose entrance is guarded by Scorpion-men of terrifying aspect. ‘At sunrise and sunset they keep guard over the sun’, as he emerges from the deep and returns to it again. The colossal images of the ancient epic loom before us so dim and remote that we hardly dare trust ourselves to the experience they half-communicate. [...] When we turn from the image of the heavenly seat to that of hell, or the underworld, the Hebrew influence appears less dominant. Several Biblical passages indeed transmit the image of that deep that was found beneath the hollow mountain of Babylonian myth, presenting it as the antithesis of the heavenly height. The mystery of God is high as Heaven and deeper than Hell (Job xi. 8). [...] An image of Tartarus bearing an interesting relation to the caverns of Coleridge's poem is found in the mythical picture of the upper and under world that appears in the Phaedo of Plato. Plato pictures the ‘true Earth’ lifted up fair and pure into the ether, while, piercing right through the whole Earth yawns the great cavern ‘whereof Homer maketh mention, saying 'Afar off, where deepest underground the Pit is digged.'‘ Into this cavern all rivers flow and from it flow out again, and within it the measureless flood ‘swingeth and swayeth up and down, and the air and wind surge with it[...]and even as the breath of living creatures is driven forth and drawn in as a stream continually, so there also the wind, swinging with the flood, cometh in and goeth out, and causeth terrible, mighty tempests.’ Those rivers that encircle the earth ‘pour their waters back into Tartarus as low down as water can fall’, even to the earth's center. [...] When I questioned my own experience, why it was that in responding to Coleridge's line, I could not think of Abora as a Paradisal mount - the associations which the name gathered from the description preceding it were rather of caverns, of subterranean winds and tumult - an answer came in the form of a dim memory of some mountain named by Milton and associated with such fierce winds.[...] I would venture here again to utilize something of my own experience, presenting it only as an individual mode of approach to what may be truth of general validity. In my experience the lines describing the fountain forced upward with turmoil, ‘as if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing’, are closely linked with the passage in the Phaedo picturing the vast cavern where the measureless flood swings and surges, the wind swinging with it like the breath of a living creature drawn forth and in. That this image was actually operative in Coleridge's mind, determining the picture and phrases of his dream poem, we certainly cannot say. It may have been rather the aptness of a simile to express an imaginative spectator's

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response that has brought into both pictures a reference to the tumultuous breathing of the earth. Within those travellers' descriptions which Lowes exhibits as sources of the phrases of Coleridge's poem, was there also latent an organic response to the natural phenomenon witnessed, as to an expression of a living creature's force? We have, to judge from, in these descriptions, only the strong note of wonder: ‘the inchanting and amazing crystal fountain’, ‘he was astonished by an inexpressible rushing noise[...]and tremor of the earth[...]and saw, with amazement, the floods rushing upward many feet high’. Whatever organic response may have been present within the recorded amazement of the traveller, to Coleridge, sharing it as he read, some sense of the passion of a living thing was evidently conveyed. Elements of organic response which remain latent and undiscoverable in our conscious apprehensions we are now learning to explore by means of the analysis of experiences of dreams and reverie in which the same apprehended objects occur. Some time after I had read, with a certain excitement, Plato's description of the swinging flood in Tartarus - and had compared it with that other description in the myth of Er ( Republic, 614), of the souls coming to the ‘ghostly place where were two open Mouths of the Earth hard by each other, and also above, two Mouths of the Heaven’ I had a dream which appeared closely connected with Plato's description, and with the fascination it had for me. In the dream I found myself walking along the street of a sea-side town. Looking between the houses in the direction of the sea, I saw a vast cavern mouth which appeared as an opening both into earth and sky. I knew that through it one could pass into all the elements, earth, water, and air; but it was being boarded up almost completely. Only through some cracks between the boards, jets of water flowed. I was sorry about the boarding up, thinking how dull it would be then for me and all the people in the houses. As I recalled the dream of waking, I thought of Plato's strange mouths of Earth and Heaven; but, seeking for more personal associations, I came upon a memory from childish days of a certain semi-circular grated opening in a wall, through which a stream flowed. On the other side of the high wall were private grounds which I never visited. The water appearing and flowing through the bars of the low curved opening had mystery and fascination for me; so that when we walked with the nurse in that direction I would look forward to coming to the place and be disappointed if we turned back short of it. Another spot I recalled as equally exciting to visit in those days was the lock on a certain canal, where I could watch the runnels of water that forced a way between the planks of the sluice-gates, just as did the water in my dream. As I recall those early memories in relation to the dream-images, I seem to recognize the note of feeling that unites them with my apprehension of Plato's image, and also with that of Coleridge. It is a brooding wonder at the water's movement, and sympathy with it as with a thing alive. I do not know whether if I underwent a Freudian analysis the daily repeated pressures of the analyst's expectations would enable me to produce in relation to these memories further associations connected with the human body, its functions and secretions, that may have been latent within the childish wonder. If such were present I cannot by my method of inquiry recover them. What I do seem to recover is the note of a wonder more naive and unquestioning - a consciousness more utterly surrendered to its object - than any apprehension of my adult consciousness could be. In the trance of the infantile memory as revived by the dream, I seem to share with the flowing water a kind of sub-human life - a life of elemental feeling, from which, the dream seems to say, the higher socialized life must not be completely shut off, or it turns dull and arid. The hypothesis suggested, then, by my experience is that the magic, or fascination, which a reader may feel in such a description as that of the fountain of Coleridge, depends, at least in part, upon the presence, within his apprehension of the lines, of a factor of feeling of a more primitive character than pertains to ordinary adult consciousness. I have spoken of this feeling as an organic response. The child in presence of the moving water does not so much think, in terms of socialized consciousness, as feel the reaction of her own body, a reaction involving no doubt an immature sexuality, concerning which Freudian researches have taught us something, but involving also other elements, both of instinctual

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character, and of tensions and stresses shared with beings below the animal level. This factor of organic feeling, which invites our scientific curiosity to carry its analysis farther, should be identifiable, I think, by any reader who had the aptitude both for deep and full response to poetry, and for analysing that response. [...] The same reflections apply to the consideration of the cavern image. Examining my own response to the cavern image as it occurs in Coleridge's poem, I think a complex of reminiscence, including memories of damp dark cellars and of a deep well, regarded with fearful interest in childhood; also, fused with these, images of caverns and underground castle-vaults, goblin-tenanted, which I gathered from an absorbed reading of fairy-tales. These memories include no recognizable trace of reference to the womb. If, however, we accept the view that the earliest conscious apprehensions are conditioned by yet earlier responses of the organism unconscious ‘prehensions’, in Whitehead's phrase, inherited by later conscious ‘occasions’ - we have a means for conceiving how the earliest experiences of the infant in relation to the mother's body, especially the violent adventure of birth, may help to determine the first conscious reactions to dark enclosed places, and may contribute psychophysiological echoes to dreams and to the play of fancies. Let us now review the results that have so far emerged from the discussion. We have noted in the poem of Kubla Khan an image-pattern of mountaingarden and mountain-depths, of waters rising and falling, which we have seen also in Paradise Lost, and have followed back in Greek and Hebrew literature. When we examine the experience communicated by poetry and myth showing this image-pattern, we may, it is suggested, discern a corresponding pattern of emotion. Changeful and subtly interrelated as these patterns of emotion and imagery are found to be, yet the image of the watered garden and the mountain height show some persistent affinity with the desire and imaginative enjoyment of supreme well-being, or divine bliss, while the cavern depths appears as the objectification of an imaginative fear - an experience of fascination it may be, in which the pain of fear is lost in the relief of expression; in other instances the horror of loss and frustration symbolized by depth, darkness and enclosing walls sounds its intrinsic note of pain even through the opposing gain and triumph that poetic expression achieves. As in the preceding essay we traced a pattern of rising and sinking vitality, a forward urge and backward swing of life, reflected in an imagery deployed in time - an imagery in which winds and waters played their part - so now we find an emotional pattern of somewhat similar character presented statically, in imagery of fixed spatial relation - the mountain standing high in storm and sunlight, the cavern unchanging, dark, below, waters whose movement only emphasizes these steadfast relations of height and depth. [...]

2.2.4 Albert Gelpi: from ‘Emily Dickinson and the Deerslayer: the Dilemma of the Woman Poet in America’ [...] In the Dickinson canon the poem that has caused commentators the most consternation over the years is ‘My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun-.’ It figures prominently and frequently in After Great Pain, John Cody’s Freudian biography of Dickinson, and more recently Robert Weisbuch prefaces his explication in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry with the remark that it is ‘the single most difficult poem Dickinson wrote’, ‘a riddle to be solved’. The poem requires our close attention and, if possible, our unriddling, because it is a powerful symbolic enactment of the psychological dilemma facing the intelligent and aware woman, and particularly the woman artist, in patriarchal America. Here is the full text of the poem, number 754 in Johnson variorum edition, without, for the moment, the variants in the manuscript: My life had stood - a Loaded Gun - / In Corners - till a Day / The Owner passed - identified - / And carried Me away - // And now We roam in Sovreign Woods - / And now We hunt the Doe - / And every

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time I speak for Him - / The Mountains straight reply - // And do I smile, such cordial light / Upon the Valley glow - / It is as a Vesuvian face / Had let its pleasure through - // And when at Night - Our good Day done - / I guard My Master’s Head - / ‘Tis better than the Eider-Duck’s / Deep Pillow - to have shared - // To foe of His - I’m deadly foe - / None stir the second time - / On whom I lay a Yellow Eye - / Or an emphatic Thumb - // Though I than He - may longer live / He longer must - than I - / For I have but the power to kill, / Without - the power to die Despite the narrative manner, it is no more peopled than the rest of Dickinson’s poems, which almost never have more than two figures: the speaker and another, often an anonymous male figure suggestive of a lover or of God or of both. So here: I and ‘My Master’. the ‘Owner’ of my life. Biographers have tried to sift the evidence to identify the ‘man’ in the central drama of the poetry. Three draft-’ letters’ from the late 1850s and early 1860s, confessing in overwrought language her passionate love for the ‘Master’ and her pain at his rejection, might seem to corroborate the factual basis for the relationship examined in this poem, probably written in 1863. However, as I have argued elsewhere, the fact that biographers have been led to different candidates, with the fragmentary evidence pointing in several directions inconclusively, has deepened my conviction that ‘he’ is not a real human being whom Dickinson knew and loved and lost and renounced, but a psychological presence or factor in her inner life. Nor does the identification of ‘him’ with Jesus or with God satisfactorily explain many of the poems, including the poem under discussion here. I have come, therefore, to see ‘him’ as an image symbolic of certain aspects of her own personality, qualities and needs and potentialities which have been identified culturally and psychologically with the masculine, and which she consequently perceived and experienced as masculine. Carl Jung called this ‘masculine’ aspect of the woman’s psyche her ‘animus’, corresponding to the postulation of an ‘anima’ as the ‘feminine’ aspect of the man’s psyche. The anima or animus, first felt as the disturbing presence of the ‘other’ in one’s self, thus holds the key to fulfilment and can enable the man or the woman to suffer through the initial crisis of alienation and conflict to assimilate the ‘other’ into an integrated identity. In the struggle toward wholeness the animus and the anima come to mediate the whole range of experience for the woman and the man: her and his connection with nature and sexuality on the one hand and with spirit on the other. No wonder that the animus and the anima appear in dreams, myths, fantasies, and works of art as figures at once human and divine, as lover and god. Such a presence is Emily Dickinson’s Master and Owner in the poem. However, for women in a society like ours, which enforces the subjection of women in certain assigned roles, the process of growth and integration becomes especially fraught with painful risks and traps and ambivalences. Nevertheless, here, as in many poems, Dickinson sees the chance for fulfilment in her relationship to the animus figure, indeed, in her identification with him. Till he came, her life had known only inertia, standing neglected in tight places, caught at the right angles of walls: not just a corner, the first lines of the poem tell us, but corners, as though wherever she stood was thereby a constricted place. But all the time she knew that she was something other and more. Paradoxically, she attained her prerogatives through submission to the internalized masculine principle. In the words of the poem, the release of her power depended on her being ‘carried away’ - rapt, ‘raped’ - by her Owner and Master. Moreover, by further turns of the paradox, a surrender of womanhood transformed her into a phallic weapon, and in return his recognition and adoption ‘identified’ her. Now we can begin to see why the serious fantasy of this poem makes her animus a hunter and woodsman. With instinctive rightness, Dickinson’s imagination grasps her situation in terms of the major myth of the American experience. The pioneer on the frontier is the version of the universal hero myth indigenuos to our specific historical circumstances, and it remains today, even in our industrial society, the mythic mainstay of American individualism. The pioneer claims his manhood by measuring himself against the unfathomed, unfathomable immensity of his elemental world, whose ‘otherness’ he experiences at times as the inhuman, at times as the feminine, at times as the divine -

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most often as all three at once. His link with landscape, therefore, is a passage into the unknown in his own psyche, the mystery of his unconscious. For the man, the anima is the essential point of connection with woman and with deity. But all too easily, sometimes all too unwittingly, connection - which should move to union - can gradually fall into competition, then contention and conflict. The man who reaches out to Nature to engage his basic physical and spiritual needs finds himself reaching out with the hands of the predator to possess and subdue, to make Nature serve his own ends. From the point of view of Nature, then, or of woman or of the values of the feminine principle, the pioneer myth can assume a devastating and tragic significance, as our history has repeatedly demonstrated. Forsaking the institutional structures of patriarchal culture, the woodsman goes out alone, or almost alone, to test whether his mind and will are capable of outwitting the lures and wiles of Nature, her dark children and wild creatures. If he can vanquish her - Mother Nature, Virgin Land - then he can assume or resume his place in society and, as boon, exact his share of the spoils of Nature and the service of those, including women and the dark-skinned peoples, beneath him in the established order. In psychosexual terms, therefore, the pioneer’s struggle against the wilderness can be seen, from this viewpoint, to enact the subjugation of the feminine principle, whose dark mysteries are essential to the realization of personal and social identity but, for that reason, threaten masculine prerogatives in a patriarchical ordering of individual and social life. The hero fights to establish his ego-identity and assure the linear transmission of the culture that sustains his ego-identity, and he does so by maintaining himself against the encroachment of the Great Mother. Her rhythm is the round of Nature, and her sovereignty is destructive to the independent individual because the continuity of the round requires that she devour her children and absorb their lives and consciousness back into her teeming womb, season after season, generation after generation. So the pioneer who may first have ventured into the woods to discover the otherness which is the clue to identity may in the end find himself maneuvering against the feminine powers, weapon in hand, with mind and will as his ultimate weapons for self-preservation. No longer seeker or lover, he advances as the aggressor, murderer, rapist. [...]

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3. SUBJECTIVITY IN CRITICISM In the case of the complicated and confused dreams with which we are now concerned, condensation and dramatization alone are not enough to account for the whole of the impression that we gain of the dissimilarity between the content of the dream and the dream-thoughts. We have evidence of the operation of a third factor, and this evidence deserves careful sifting. First and foremost, when by means of analysis we have arrived at a knowledge of the dream-thoughts, we observe that the manifest dreamcontent deals with quite different material from the latent thoughts. This, to be sure, is no more than an appearance, for we find ultimately that the whole of the dream-content is derived from the dream-thoughts, and that almost all the dream-thoughts are represented in the dream-content. Nevertheless, something of the distinction still remains. What stands out boldly and clearly in the dream as its essential content must, after analysis, be satisfied with playing an extremely subordinate role among the dream-thoughts; and what, on the evidence of our feelings, can claim to be the most prominent among the dream-thoughts is either not present at all as ideational material in the content of the dream or is only remotely alluded to in some obscure region of it. We may put it in this way: in the course of the dream-work the psychical intensity passes over from the thoughts and ideas to which it properly belongs on to others which in our judgement have no claim to any such emphasis . No other process contributes so much to concealing the meaning of a dream and to making the connection between the dream-content and the dream-thoughts unrecognizable. In the course of this process, which I shall describe as ‘dream-displacement’, the psychical intensity, significance or affective potentiality of the thoughts is, as we further find, transformed into sensory vividness. We assume as a matter of course that the most distinct element in the manifest content of a dream is the most important one; but in fact [owing to the displacement that has occurred] it is often an indistinct element which turns out to be the most direct derivative of the essential dream-thought. What I have called dream-displacement might equally be described [in Nietzsche’s phrase] as ‘a transvaluation of psychical values’. I shall not

3.1

PSYCHOANALYTICAL APPROACHES

3.1.1 Sigmund Freud: from The Essentials of Psycho-Analysis

3.1.1.1 From ‘On Dreams’ (1901) [...] A good proportion of what we have learnt about condensation in dreams may be summarized in this formula: each element in the content of a dream is ‘overdetermined’ by material in the dream-thoughts; it is not derived from a single element in the dream-thoughts, but may be traced back to a whole number. These elements need not necessarily be closely be related to each other in the dream-thoughts themselves; they may belong to the most widely separated regions of the fabric of those thoughts. A dreamelement is, in the strictest sense of the word, the ‘representative’ of all this disparate material in the content of the dream. But analysis reveals yet another side of the complicated relation between the content of the dream and the dream-thoughts. Just as connections lead from each element of the dream to several dream-thoughts, so as a rule a single dream-thought is represented by more than one dream-element; the threads of association do not simply converge from the dream-thoughts to the dream-content, they cross and interwave with each other many times over in the course of their journey. Condensation, together with the transformation of thoughts into situations (‘dramatization’), is the most important and peculiar characteristic of the dream-work. So far, however, nothing has transpired as to any motive necessitating this compression of the material.

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have given an exhaustive estimate of this phenomenon, however, unless I add that this work of displacement or transvaluation is performed to a very varying degree in different dreams. There are dreams which come about almost without any displacement. These are the ones which make sense and are intelligible, such, for instance, as those which we have recognized as undisguised wishful dreams. On the other hand, there are dreams in which not a single piece of the dream-thoughts has retained its own psychical value, or in which everything that is essential in the dreamthoughts has been replaced by somehing trivial. And we can find a complete series of transitional cases between these two extremes. The more obscure and confused a dream appears to be, the greater the share in its construction which may be attributed to the factor of displacement. [...] 3.1.1.2 From ‘Beyond The Pleasure Principle’ (1920) [...] Strictly speaking it is incorrect to talk of the dominance of the pleasure principle over the course of mental processes. If such a dominance existed, the immense majority of our mental processes would have to be accompanied by leasure or to lead to pleasure, whereas universal experience completely contradicts any such conclusion. The most that can be said, therefore, is that there exists in the mind a strong tendency towards the pleasure principle, but that that tendency is opposed by certain other forces or circumstances, so that the final outcome cannot always be in harmony with the tendency towards pleasure. We may compare what Fechner [...] remarks on a similar point: ‘Since however a tendency towards an aim does not imply that the aim is attained, and since in general the aim is attainable only by approximations....’ If we turn now to the question of what circumstances are able to prevent the pleasure principle from being carried into effect, we find ourselves once more on secure and well-trodden ground and, in framing our answer, we have at our disposal a rich fund of analytic experience. The first example of the pleasure principle being inhibited in this way is a familiar one which occurs with regularity. We know that the pleasure principle is proper to a primary method of working on the part of the mental apparatus, but that, from the point of view of the self-preservation of the organism among the difficulties of the external world, it is from the very outset inefficient and even highly dangerous. Under the influence of the ego’s instincts of self-preservation, the pleasure principle is replaced by the reality principle. This latter principle does not abandon the intention of ultimately obtaining pleasure, but it nevertheless demands and carries into effect the postponement of satisfaction, the abandonment of a number of possibilities of gaining satisfaction and the temporary toleration of unpleasure as a step on the long indirect road to pleasure. The pleasure principle long persists, however, as a matter of working employed by the sexual instincts, which are so hard to ‘educate’, and, starting from those instincts, or in the ego itself, it often succeds in overcoming the reality principle, to the detriment of the organism as a whole. There can be no doubt, however, that the replacement of the pleasure principle by the reality principle can only be made responsible for a small number, and by no means the most intense, of unpleasurable experiences. Another occasion of the release of unpleasure, which occurs with no less regularity, is to be found in the conflicts and dissensions that take place in the mental apparatus while the ego is passing through its development into more highly composite organisations. Almost all the energy with which all the apparatus is filled arises from its innate instinctual impulses. But these are not allowed to reach the same phases of development. In the course of things it happens again and again that individual instincts or parts of instincts turn out to be incompatible in their aims or demands with the remaining ones, which are able to combine into the inclusive unity of the ego. The former are then split off from this unity by the process of repression, held back at lower levels of psychical development and cut off, to begin with, from the possibility of satisfaction. If they succeed subsequently, as can so easily happen with repressed sexual instincts, in struggling through, by round paths, to a direct or to a substitutive satisfaction, that event, which would in other cases have been an opportunity for pleasure, is felt by the ego as unpleasure. As a

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consequence of the old conflict which ended in repression, a new breach has occurred in the pleasure principle at the very time when certain instincts were endeavouring, in accordance with the principle, to obtain fresh pleasure. [...] Let us suppose, then, that all the organic instincts are conservative, are acquired historically and tend towards the restoration of an earlier state of things. It follows that the phenomena of organic development must be attributed to external disturbing and diverting influences. The elementary living entity would from its very beginning have had no wish to change; if conditions remained the same, it would do no more than constantly repeat the same course of life. In the last resort, what has left its mark on the development of organisms must be the history of the earth we live in and of its relation to the sun. Every modification which is thus imposed upon the course of the organism’s life is accepted by the conservative organic instincts and stored up for further repetition. Those instincts are therefore bound to give a deceptive appearance of being forces tending towards change and progress, whilst in fact they are merely seeking to reach an ancient goal by paths alike old and new. Moreover it is possible to specify this final goal of all organic striving. It would be in contradiction to the conservative nature of the instincts if the goal of life were a state of things which had never yet been attained. On the contrary, it must be an old state of things, an initial state from which the living entity has at one time or other departed and to which it is striving to return by the circuitous paths along which its development leads. If we are to take it as a truth that knows no exception that everything living dies for internal reasons becomes inorganic once again - then we shall be compelled to say that ‘the aim of all life is death’ and, looking backwards, that ‘inanimate things existed before living ones’. The attributes of life were at some time evoked in inanimate matter by the action of a force of whose nature we can form no conception. It may perhaps have been a process similar in type to that which later caused the development of consciousness in a particular stratum of living matter. The tension which then arose in what had hitherto been an inanimate substance endeavoured to cancel itself out. In this way the first instinct came into being: the instinct to return to the inanimate state. It was still an easy matter at that time for a living substance to die; the course of its life was probably a brief one, whose direction was determined by the chemical structure of the young life. For a long time, perhaps, living substance was thus being constantly created afresh and easily dying, till decisive external influences altered in such a way as to oblige the still surviving substance to diverge ever more widely from its original course of life and to make ever more complicated detours before reaching its aim of death. These circuitous paths to death, faithfully kept to by the conservative instincts, would thus present us to-day with the picture of the phenomena of life. If we firmly maintain the exclusively conservative nature of instincts, we cannot arrive at any other notions as to the origin and aim of life. [...] The life instincts have so much more contact with our internal perception - emerging as breakers of the peace and constantly producing tensions whose release is felt as pleasure - while the death instincts seem to do their work unobtrusively. The pleasure principle seems actually to serve the death instincts. It is true that it keeps watch upon stimuli from without, which are regarded as dangers by both kinds of instincts; but it is more especially on guard against increases of stimulation from within, which would make the task of living more difficult. 3.1.1.3 From ‘The Ego and the Id’ (1923) [...] The whole subject, however, is so complicated that it will be necessary to go into it in greater detail. The intricacy of the problem is due to two factors: the triangular character of the Oedipus situation and the constitutional bisexuality of each individual. In its simplified form the case of a male child may be described as follows. At a very early age the little boy develops an object-cathexis for his mother, which originally related to the mother’s breast and is the prototype of an object-choice on the anaclitic model; the boy deals with his father by identifying himself with him. For a time these two

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relationships proceed side by side, until the boy’s sexual wishes in regard to his mother become more intense and his father is perceived as an obstacle to them; from this the Oedipus complex originates. His identification with his father then takes on a hostile colouring and changes into a wish to get rid of his father in order to take his place with his mother. Henceforward his relation to his father is ambivalent; it seems as if the ambivalence inherent in the identification from the beginning had become manifest. An ambivalent attitude to his father and an objectrelation of a solely affectionate kind to his mother make up the content of the simple positive Oedipus complex in a boy. Along with the demolition of the Oedipus complex, the boy’s objectcathexis of his mother must be given up. Its place may be filled by one of two things: either an identification with his mother or an intensification of his identification with his father. We are accustomed to regard the latter outcome as the more normal; it permits the affectionate relation to the mother to be in a measure retained. In this way the dissolution of the Oedipus complex would consolidate the masculinity in a boy’s character. In a precisely analogous way, the outcome of the Oedipus attitude in a little girl may be an intensification of her identification with her mother (or the setting up of such an identification for the first time ) - a result which will fix the child’s feminine character. These identifications are not what we should have expected [from the previous account], since they do not introduce the abandoned object into the ego; but this alternative outcome may also occur, and is easier to observe in girls than in boys. Analysis very often shows that a little girl, after she has had to relinquish her father as a love-object, will bring her masculinity into prominence and identify herself with her father (that is, with the object which has been lost ), instead of with her mother. This will clearly depend on whether the masculinity in her disposition - whatever that may consist in - is strong enough. [...] 3.1.1.4 (1933) From ‘The Dissection of the Psychical Personality’

Ever since, under the powerful impression of this clinical picture, I formed the idea that the separation of the observing agency from the rest of the ego might be a regular feature of the ego’s structure, that idea has never left me, and I was driven to investigate the further characteristics and connections of the agency which was thus separated off. The next step is quickly taken. The content of the delusions of being observed already suggests that the observing is only a preparation for judging and punishing, and we accordingly guess that another function of this agency must be what we call our conscience. There is scarcely anything else in us that we so regularly separate from our ego and so easily set over against it as precisely our conscience. I feel an inclination to do something that I think will give me pleasure, but I abandon it on the ground that my conscience does not allow it. Or I have let myself be persuaded by too great an expectation of pleasure into doing something to which the voice of conscience has objected and after the deed my conscience punishes me with distressing reproaches and causes me to feel remorse for the deed. I might simply say that the special agency which I am beginning to distinguish in the ego is conscience. But it is more prudent to keep the agency as something independent and to suppose that conscience is one of its functions and that self-observation, which is an essential preliminary to the judging activity of conscience, is another of them. And since when we recognize that something has a separate existence we give it a name of its own, from this time forward I will describe this agency in the ego as the ‘super-ego’. [...] Hardly have we familiarized ourselves wih the idea of a super-ego like this which enjoys a certain degree of autonomy, follows its own intentions and is independent of the ego for its supply of energy, than a clinical picture forces itself on our notice which throws a striking light on the severity of this agency and indeed its cruelty, and on its changing relations to the ego. I am thinking of the condition of melancholia, or, more precisely, of melancholic attacks, which you too will have heard

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plenty about, even if you are not psychiatrists. The most striking feature of this illness, of whose causation and mechanism we know much too little, is the way in which the super-ego - ‘conscience’, you may call it, quietly treats the ego. While a melancholic can, like other people, show a greater or lesser degree of severity to himself in his healthy periods, during a melancholic attack his super-ego becomes over-severe, abuses the poor ego, humiliates it and ill-treats it, threatens it with the direst punishments, reproaches it for actions in the remotest past which had been taken lightly at the time - as though it had spent the whole interval in collecting accusations and had only been waiting for its present access of strength in order to bring them up and make a condemnatory judgement on their basis. The supper-ego applies the strictest moral standard to the helpless ego which is at its mercy; in general it represents the claims of morality, and we realize all at once that our moral sense of guilt is the expression of the tension between the ego and the super-ego. It is a most remarkable experience to see morality, which is supposed to have been given us by God and thus deeply implanted in us, functioning [in these patients] as a periodic phenomenon. For after a certain number of months the whole moral fuss is over, the criticism of the super-ego is silent, the ego is rehabilitated and again enjoys all the rights of man till the next attack. In some forms of the disease, indeed, something of a contrary sort occurs in the intervals; the ego finds itself in a blissful state of intoxication, it celebrates a triumph, as though the super-ego had lost all its strength or had melted into the ego; and this liberated, manic ego permits itself a truly uninhibited satisfaction of all its appetites. Here are happenings rich in unsolved riddles! [...] In face of the doubt whether the ego and the super-ego are themselves unconscious or merely produce unconscious effects, we have, for good reasons, decided in favour of the former possibility. And it is indeed the case that large portions of the ego and super-ego can remain unconscious and are normaly unconscious. That is to say, the individual knows nothing of their contents and it requires an expenditure of effort to make them unconscious. It is a fact that ego and conscious, repressed and unconscious do not coincide. We feel a need to make a fundamental revision of our attitude to the problem of conscious-unconscious. At first we are inclined greatly to reduce the value of the criterion of being conscious since it has shown itself so untrustworthy. But we should be doing it an injustice. As may be said of our life, it is not worth much, but it is all we have. Without the illumination thrown by the quality of consciousness, we should be lost in the obscurity of depth psychology; but we must attempt to find our bearings afresh. [...] Unluckily the work of psycho-analysis has found itself compelled to use the word ‘unconscious’ in yet another, third, sense, and this may, to be sure, have led to confusion. Under the new and powerful impression of there being an extensive and important field of mental life which is normaly withdrawn from the ego’s knowledge so that the processes occurring in it have to be regarded as unconscious in the truly dynamic sense, we have come to understand the term ‘unconscious’ in a topographical or systematic sense as well; we have come to speak of a ‘system’ of the preconscious and a ‘system’ of the unconscious, of a conflict between the ego and the system Ucs., and have used the word more and more to denote a mental province rather than a quality of what is mental. The discovery, actually an inconvenient one, that portions of the ego and super-ego as well are unconscious in the dynamic sense, operates at this point as a relief - it makes possible the removal of a complication. We perceive that we have no right to name the mental region that is foreign to the ego ‘the system Ucs.’, since the characteristic of being unconscious is not restricted to it. Very well; we will no longer use the term ‘unconscious’ in the systematic sense and we will give what we have hitherto so described a better name and one no longer open to misunderstanding. Following a verbal usage of Nietzsche’s and taking up a suggestion by Georg Groddeck [...], we will in future call it ‘id’. This impersonal pronoun seems particularly well suited for expressing the main characteristic of this province of the mind - the fact of its being alien to the ego. The super-ego, the ego and the id - these, then, are the three realms, regions, provinces, into which we divide an individual’s mental apparatus, and with the mutual relations of which we shall be concerned in what follows. [...]

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[The id] is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality; what little we know of it we have learnt from our study of the dream-work and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations. We picture it as being open at its end to somatic influences, and as there taking up into itself instinctual needs which find their psychical expression in it, but we cannot say in what substratum. It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle. The logical laws of thought do not apply in the id, and this is true above all of the law of contradiction. Contrary impulses exist side by side, without cancelling each other out or diminishing each other: at the most they may converge to form compromises under the dominating economic pressure towards the discharge of energy. There is nothing in the id that could be compared with negation; and we perceive with surprise an exception to the philosophical theorem that space and time are necessary forms of our mental acts. There is nothing in the id that corresponds to the idea of time; there is no recognition of the passage of time, and - a thing that is most remarkable and awaits consideration in philosophical thought - no alteration in its mental processes is produced by the passage of time. Wishful impulses which have never been passed beyond the id, but impressions, too, which have been sunk into the id by repression, are virtually immortal; after the passage of decades they behave as though they had just occurred. They can only be recognized as belonging to the past, can only lose their importance and be deprived of their cathexis of energy, when they have been made conscious by the work of analysis, and it is on this that the therapeutic effect of analytic treatment rests to no small extent. [...] We can best arrive at the characteristic of the actual ego, in so far as it can be distinguished from the id and the super-ego, by examining its relation to the outermost superficial portion of the mental apparatus, which we describe as the system [perceptual-conscious]. This system is turned towards the external world, it is the medium for the perceptions arising thence, and during its functioning the phenomenon of consciousness arises in it. It is the sense-organ of the entire apparatus; moreover it is receptive not only to excitation from outside but also to those arising from the interior of the mind. We need scarcely look for a justification of the view that the ego is that portion of the id which was modified by the proximity and influence of the external world, which is adapted for the reception of stimuli and as a protective shield against stimuli, comparable to the cortical layer by which a small piece of living substance is surrounded. The relation to the external world has become the decisive factor for the ego; it has taken on the task of representing the external world to the id - fortunately for the id, which could not escape destruction if, in its blind efforts for the satisfaction of its instincts, it disregarded that supreme external power. In accomplishing this function, the ego must observe the external world, must lay down an accurate picture of it in the memory-traces of its perceptions, and by its exercise of the function of ‘reality-testing’ must put aside whatever in this picture of the external world is an addition derived from internal sources of excitation. The ego controls the approaches to motility under the id’s orders; but between a need and an action it has interposed a postponement in the form of the activity of thought, during which it makes use of the mnemic residues of experience. In that way it has dethroned the pleasure principle which dominates the course of events in the id without any restriction and has replaced it by the reality principle, which promises more certainty and greater success. The relation to time, which is so hard to describe, is also introduced into the ego by the perceptual system; it can scarcely be doubted that the mode of operation of that system is what provides the origin of the idea of time. But what distinguishes the ego from the id quite especially is a tendency to synthesis in its contents, to a combination and unification in its mental processes which are totally lacking in the id. When presently we come to deal with the instincts in mental life we shall, I hope, succeed in tracing this essential characteristic of the ego back to its sources. It alone produces the high degree of organization which the ego needs for

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its best achievements. The ego develops from perceiving the instincts to controlling them; but this last is only achieved by the [psychical] representative of the instinct being allotted its proper place in a considerable assemblage, by its being taken up into a coherent context. To adopt a popular mode of speaking, we might say that the ego stands for reason and good sense while the id stands for the untamed passions. So far we have allowed ourselves to be impressed by the merits and capabilities of the ego; it is now time to consider the other side as well. The ego is after all only a portion of the id, a portion that has been expediently modified by the proximity of the external world with its threat of danger. From a dynamic point of view it is weak, it has borrowed its energies from the id, and we are not entirely without insight into the methods - we might call them dodges - by which it extracts further amounts of energy from the id. One such method, for instance, is by identifying itself with actual or abandoned objects. The object-cathexes spring from the instinctual demands of the id. The ego has in the first instance to take note of them. But by identifying itself with the object it recommends itself to the id in place of the object and seeks to divert the id’s libido on to itself. We have already seen that in the course of its life the ego takes into itself a large number of precipitates like this of former object-cathexes. The ego must on the whole carry out the id’s intentions, it fulfils its task by finding out the circumstances in which those intentions can best be achieved. The ego’s relation to the id might be compared with that of a rider to its horse. The horse supplies the locomotive energy, while the rider has the privilege of deciding on the goal and of guiding the powerful animal’s movement. But only too often there arises between the ego and the id the not precisely ideal situation of the rider being obliged to guide the horse along the path by which it itself wants to go. There is one portion of the id from which the ego has separated itself by resistances due to repression. But the repression is not carried over into the id: the repressed merges into the remainder of the id. We are warned by a proverb against serving two masters at the same time. The poor ego has things even worse: it serves three severe masters and does what it can to bring their claims and demands into harmony with one another. These claims are always divergent and often seem incompatible. No wonder that the ego so often fails in its task. Its three tyrannical masters are the external world, the super-ego and the id. When we follow the ego’s efforts to satisfy them simultaneously - or rather, to obey them simultaneously - we cannot feel any regret at having personified this ego and having set it up as a separate organism. It feels hemmed in on three sides, threatened by three kinds of danger, to which, if it is hard pressed, it reacts by generating anxiety. [...]

3.1.3 Jacques Lacan: from ‘The Mirror Stage As Formative of the Function of the I As Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’ The child, at an age when he is for a time, however short, outdone by the chimpanzee in instrumental intelligence, can nevertheless already recognize as such his own image in a mirror. This recognition is indicated in the illuminative mimicry of the Aha-Erlebnis, which Köhler sees as the expression of situational apperception, an essential stage of the act of intelligence. This act, far from exhausting itself, as in the case of the monkey, once the image has been mastered and found empty, immediately rebounds in the case of the child in a series of gestures in which he experiences in play the relation between the movements assumed in the image and the reflected environment, and between this virtual complex and the reality it reduplicates - the child’s own body, and the persons and things, around him. This event can take place, as we have known since Baldwin, from the age of six months, and its repetition has often made me reflect upon the

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startling spectacle of the infant in front of the mirror. Unable as yet to walk, or even to stand up, and held tightly as he is by some support, human or artificial (what, in France, we call a ‘ trotte-bébé’), he nevertheless overcomes, in a flutter of jubilant activity, the obstructions of his support and, fixing his attitude in a slightly leaning-forward position, in order to hold it in his gaze, brings back an instantaneous aspect of the image. We have only to understand the mirror stage as an identification, in the full sense that analysis gives to the term: namely, the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image - whose predestination to this phase-effect is sufficiently indicated by the use, in analytic theory, of the ancient term imago. This jubilant assumption of his specular image by the child at the infans stage, still sunk in his motor incapacity and nursling dependence, would seem to exhibit in an exemplary situation the symbolic matrix in which the I is precipitated in a primordial form, before it is objectified in the dialectic of identification with the other, and before language restores to it, in the universal, its function as subject. This form would have to be called the Ideal-I, if we wished to incorporate it into our usual register, in the sense that it will also be the source of secondary identifications, under which term I would place the functions of libidinal normalization. But the important point is that this form situates the agency of the ego, before its social determination, in a fictional direction, which will always remain irreducible for the individual alone, or rather, which will only rejoin the coming-into-being (le devenir) of the subject asymptotically, whatever the success of the dialectical syntheses by which he must resolve as I his discordance with his own reality. [...] This why I have sought in the present hypothesis, grounded in a conjunction of objective data, the guiding grid for a method of symbolic reduction. It establishes in the defences of the ego a genetic order, in accordance with the wish formulated by Miss Anna Freud, in the first part of her great work, and situates (as against a frequently expressed prejudice) hysterical repression and its returns at a more archaic stage than obsessional inversion and its isolating processes, and the latter in turn as preliminary to paranoic alienation, which dates from the deflection of the specular I into the social I. This moment in which the mirror-stage comes to an end inaugurates, by the identification with the imago of the counterpart and the drama of primordial jealousy (so well brought out by the school of Charlotte Bühler in the phenomenon of infantile transitivism), the dialectic that will henceforth link the I to socially elaborated situations. It is this moment that decisively tips the whole of human knowledge into mediatization through the desire of the other, constitutes its objects in an abstract equivalence by the co-operation of others, and turns the I into that apparatus for which every instinctual thrust constitutes a danger, even though it should correspond to a natural maturation - the very normalization of this maturation being henceforth dependent, in man, on a cultural mediation as exemplified, in the case of sexual object, by the Oedipus complex. In the light of this conception, the term primary narcissism, by which analytic doctrine designates the libidinal investment characteristic of that moment, reveals in those who invented it the most profound awareness of semantic latencies. But it also throws light on the dynamic opposition between this libido and the sexual libido, which the first analysts tried to define when they invoked destructive and, indeed, death instincts, in order to explain the evident connection between the narcissistic libido and the alienating function of the I, the aggressivity it releases in any relation to the other, even in a relation involving the most Samaritan of aid. In fact, they were encountering that existential negativity whose reality is so vigorously proclaimed by the contemporary philosophy of being and nothingness. But unfortunately that philosophy grasps negativity only within the limits of a self-sufficiency of consciousness, which, as one of its premises, links to the méconnaissances that constitute the ego, the illusion of autonomy to which it entrusts itself. This flight of fancy, for all that it draws, to an unusual extent, on borrowings from psychoanalytic

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experience, culminates in the pretention of providing an existential psychoanalysis. At the culmination of the historical effort of a society to refuse to recognize that it has any function other than the utilitarian one, and in the anxiety of the individual confronting the ‘concentrational’ form of the social bond that seems to arise to crown this effort, existentialism must be judged by the explanations it gives of the subjective impasses that have indeed resulted from it; a freedom that is never more authentic than when it is within the walls of a prison; a demand for commitment, expressing the impotence of a pure consciousness to master any situation; a voyeuristicsadistic idealization of the sexual relation; a personality that realizes itself only in suicide; a consciousness of the other that can be satisfied only by Hegelian murder. These propositions are opposed by all our experience, in so far as it teaches us not to regard the ego as centered on the perceptionconsciousness system, or as organized by the ‘reality principle’ - a principle that is the expression of a scientific prejudice most hostile to the dialectic of knowledge. Our experience shows that we should start instead from the function of méconnaissance that characterizes the ego in all its structures, so markedly articulated by Miss Anna Freud. For, if the Verneinung represents the patent form of that function, its effects will, for the most part, remain latent, so long as they are not illuminated by some light reflected on to the level of fatality, which is where the id manifests itself. We can thus understand the inertia characteristic of the formations of the I, and find there the most extensive definition of neurosis - just as the captation of the subject by the situation gives us the most general formula of madness, not only the madness that lies behind the walls of asylums, but also the madness that deafens the world with its sound and fury. The sufferings of neurosis and psychosis are for us a schooling in the passions of the soul, just as the beam of the psychoanalytic scales, when we calculate the tilt of its threat to entire communities, provides us with an indication of the deadening of the passions in society. At this junction of nature and culture, so persistently examined by modern anthropology, psychoanalysis alone recognizes this knot of imaginary servitude that love must always undo again, or sever. For such a task, we place no trust in altruistic feeling, we who lay bare the aggressivity that underlies the activity of the philanthropist, the idealist, the pedagogue, and even the reformer. In the recourse of subject to subject that we preserve, psychoanalysis may accompany the patient to the ecstatic limit of the ‘ Thou art that’, in which is revealed to him the cipher of his mortal destiny, but it is not in our mere power as practitioners to bring him to that point where the real journey begins.

3.1.4 Jacques Lacan: from ‘The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud’ A. The Meaning of the Letter As my title suggests, beyond this ‘speech’, what the psychoanalytic experience discovers in the unconscious is the whole structure of language. Thus from the outset I have alerted informed minds to the extent to which the notion that the unconscious is merely the seat of the instincts will have to be rethought. But how are we to take this ‘letter’ here? Quite simply, literally. By ‘letter’ I designate the material support that concrete discourse borrows from language. This simple definition assumes that language is not to be confused with the various psychical and somatic functions that serve it in the speaking subject - primarily because language and its structure exist prior to the moment at which each subject at a certain point in his mental development makes his entry into it.

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Let us note, then, that aphasias, although caused by purely anatomical lesions in the cerebral apparatus that supplies the mental centre for these functions, prove, on the whole, to distribute their deficits between the two sides of the signifying effect of what we call here the ‘letter’ in the creation of signification. A point that will be clarified later. [...] I shall designate as metonymy, then, the one side ( versant) of the effective field constituted by the signifier, so that meaning can emerge there. The other side is metaphor. Let us immediately find an illustration; Quillet’s dictionary seemed an appropriate place to find a sample that would not seem to be chosen for my own purposes, and I didn’t have to go any further than the well known line of Victor Hugo: ‘His sheaf was neither miserly nor / spiteful...’, under which aspect I presented metaphor in my seminar on the psychoses. It should be said that modern poetry and especially the Surrealist school have taken us a long way in this direction by showing that any conjunction of two signifiers would be equally sufficient to constitute a metaphor, except for the additional requirement of the greatest possible disparity of the images signified, needed for the production of the poetic spark, or in other words for metaphoric creation to take place. It is true this radical position is based on the experiment known as automatic writing, which would not have been attempted if its pioneers would not have been reassured by the Freudian discovery. But it remains a confused position because the doctrine behind it is false. The creative spark of the metaphor does not spring from the presentation of two images, that is, of two signifiers equally actualized. It flashes between two signifiers one of which has taken the place of the other in the signifying chain, the occulted signifier remaining present through its (metonymic) connection with the rest of the chain. One word for another: that is the formula for the metaphor and if you are a poet you will produce for your own delight a continuos stream, a dazzling tissue of metaphor. If the result is the sort of intoxication of the dialogue that Jean Tardieu wrote under this title, that is only because he was giving us a demonstration of the radical superfluousness of all signification in a perfectly convincing representation of bourgeois comedy. It is obvious that in the line of Hugo cited above, not the slightest spark of light springs from the proposition that the sheaf was neither miserly nor spiteful, for the reason that there is no question of the sheaf’s having either the merit or demerit of these attributes, since the attributes, like the sheaf, belong to Booz, who exercises the former in disposing of the latter and without informing the latter of his sentiments in the case. If, however, his sheaf does refer us to Booz, and this is indeed the case, it is because it has replaced him in the signifying chain at the very place where he was to be exalted by the sweeping away of greed and spite. But now Booz himself has been swept away by the sheaf, and hurled into the outer darkness where greed and spite harbour him in the hollow of their negation. But once his sheaf has thus usurped his place, Booz can no longer return there; the slender thread of the little word his that binds him to it is only one more obstacle to his return in that it links him to the notion of possession that retains him at the heart of greed and spite. So his generosity, affirmed in the passage, is yet reduced to less than nothing by the munificence of the sheaf which, coming from nature, knows neither our reserve nor our rejections, and even in its accumulation remains prodigal by our standards. But if in this profusion the giver has disappeared along with his gift, it is only in order to rise again in what surrounds the figure of speech in which he was annihilated. For it is the figure of the burgeoning of fecundity, and it is this that announces the surprise that the poem celebrates, namely, the promise that the old man will receive in the sacred context of his accession to paternity. So, it is between the signifier in the form of the proper name of a man and the signifier that metaphorically abolishes him that the poetic spark is produced, and it is in this case all the more effective in realizing the signification of paternity in that it reproduces the mythical event in terms of which Freud reconstructed the progress, in the unconscious of all men, of the paternal mystery.

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Modern metaphor has the same structure. So the line Love is a pebble laughing in the sunlight , recreates love in a dimension that seems to me most tenable in the face of its imminent lapse into the mirage of narcissistic altruism. We see, then, that metaphor occurs at the precise point at which sense emerged from non-sense, that is, at that frontier which, as Freud discovered, when crossed the other way produces the word that in French is the word par excellence, the word that is simply the signifier ‘ esprit’ ; it is at this frontier that we realize that man defies his very destiny when he derides the signifier. But to come back to our subject, what does man find in metonymy if not the power to circumvent the obstacles of social censure ? Does not this form, which gives its field a truth in its very oppression, manifest a certain servitude inherent in its presentation ? One may read with profit a book by Leo Strauss, from the land that traditionally offers asylum to those who choose freedom, in which the author reflects on the relation between the art of writing and persecution. By pushing to its limits the sort of connaturality that links this art to that condition, he lets us glimpse a certain something which in this matter imposes its form, in the effect of the truth on desire. But haven’t we felt for some time now that, having followed the ways of the letter in search of Freudian truth, we are getting very warm indeed, that it is burning all about us ? Of course, as it is said, the letter killeth while the spirit giveth life. We can’t help but agree, having had to pay homage elsewhere to a noble victim of the error of seeking the spirit in the letter; but we should also like to know how the spirit could live without the letter. Even so, the pretentions of the spirit would remain unassailable if the letter had not shown us that it produces all the effects of truth in man without involving the spirit at all. It is none other than Freud who had this revelation, and he called his discovery the unconscious. [...] B. The Letter, Being and the Other Is what thinks in my place, then, another I? Does Freud’s discovery represent the confirmation, on the level of psychological experience, of Manicheism? In fact, there is no confusion on this point: what Freud’s researches led us to is not a few more or less curious cases of split personality. Even at the heroic epoch I have been describing, when, like the animals in the fairy stories, sexuality talked, the demonic atmosphere that such an orientation might have given rise to never materialized. The end that Freud’s discovery proposes for man was defined by him at the apex of his thought in these moving terms: Wo es war, soll Ich werden. I must come to the place where that was. This is one of reintegration and harmony, I could even say of reconciliation (Versöhnung). But if we ignore the self’s radical ex-centricity to itself with which man is confronted, in other words, the truth discovered by Freud, we shall falsify both the order and methods of psychoanalytic mediation; we shall make of it nothing more than the compromise operation that it has, in effect, become, namely, just what the letter as well as the spirit of Freud’s work most repudiates. For since he constantly invoked the notion of compromise as supporting all the miseries that his analysis is supposed to assuage, we can say that any recourse to compromise, explicit or implicit, will necessarily disorient psychoanalytic action and plunge it into darkness. But neither does it suffice to associate oneself with the moralistic tartufferies of our time or to be forever spouting something about the ‘total personality’ in order to have said something articulate about the possibility of mediation. The radical heteronomy that Freud’s discovery shows gaping within man can never again be covered over without whatever is used to hide it being profoundly dishonest. Who, then, is this other to whom I am more attached than to myself, since, at the heart of my assent to my own identity it is still he who agitates me? His presence can be understood only at a second degree of otherness,

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which already places him in the position of mediating between me and the double of myself, as it were with my counterpart. If I have said that the unconscious is the discourse of the Other (with a capital O), it is in order to indicate the beyond in which the recognition of desire is bound up with the desire for recognition. In other words this other is the other that even my lie invokes as a guarantor of the truth in which it subsists. By which we can also see that it is with the appearance of language the dimension of truth emerges. Prior to this point, we can recognize in the psychological relation, which can be easily isolated in the observation of animal behaviour, the existence of subjects, not by means of some projective mirage, the phantom of which a certain type of psychologist delights in hacking to pieces, but simply on account of the manifested presence of inter-subjectivity. In the animal hidden in his lookout, in the well-laid trap of certain others, in the feint by which an apparent straggler leads a predator away from the flock, something more emerges than in the fascinating display of mating or combat ritual. Yet there is nothing even there that transcends the function of lure in the service of a need, or which affirms a presence in that beyondthe-veil where the whole of Nature can be questioned about its design. For there even to be a question (and we know that it is one that Freud himself posed in ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’), there must be language. For I can lure my adversary by means of a movement contrary to my actual plan of battle, and this movement will have its deceiving effect only in so far as I produce it in reality and for my adversary. But in the propositions with which I open peace negotiations with him, what my negotiations propose to him is situated in a third locus which is neither my speech nor my interlocutor. This locus is none other than the locus of signifying convention, of the sort revealed in the comedy of the sad plaint of the Jew to his crony: ‘Why do you tell me you are going to Cracow so I’ll believe you are going to Lvov, when you really are going to Cracow?’ Of course the flock-movement I just spoke of could be understood in the conventional context of game-strategy, where it is a rule that I deceive my adversary, but in that case my success is evaluated within the connotation of betrayal, that is to say, in relation to the Other who is the guarantor of Good Faith. Here the problems are of an order the heteronomy of which is completely misconstrued (méconnue) if reduced to an ‘awareness of others’, or whatever we choose to call it. For the ‘existence of the other’ having once upon a time reached the ears of the Midas of psychoanalysis through the partition that separates him from the secret meetings of the phenomenologists, the news is now being whispered through the reeds: ‘Midas, King Midas, is the other of his patient. He himself has said it.’ [...] When I speak of Heidegger, or rather when I translate him, I at least make the effort to leave the speech he proffers us its sovereign significance. If I speak of being and the letter, if I distinguish the other and the Other, it is because Freud shows me that they are the terms to which must be referred the effects of resistance and transference against which, in the twenty years I have engaged in what we all call after him the impossible practice of psychoanalysis, I have done unequal battle. And it is also because I must help others not to lose their way there. It is to prevent the field of which they are the inheritors from becoming barren, and for that reason to make it understood that if the symptom is a metaphor, it is not a metaphor to say so, any more than to say that man’s desire is a metonymy. For the symptom is a metaphor whether one likes it or not, as desire is a metonymy, however funny people may find the idea. Finally, if I am to rouse you to indignation over the fact that, after so many centuries of religious hypocrisy and philosophical bravado, nothing has yet been validly articulated as to what links metaphor to the question of being and metonymy to its lack, there must be an object there to answer to that indignation both as its instigator and its victim: the object is humanistic man and the credit, hopelessly affirmed, which he has drawn over his intentions.

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3.1.7 Harold Bloom: from ‘Poetry, Revisionism, and Repression’ Jaques Derrida asks a central question in his essay on Freud and the Scene of Writing ‘ ‘What is a text, and what must the psyche be if it can be represented by a text?’ My narrower concern with poetry prompts the contrary question: ‘What is a psyche, and what must a text be if it can be represented by a psyche?’ Both Derrida’s question and my own require exploration of three terms: ‘psyche’, ‘text’, ‘represented’. ‘Psyche’ is ultimately from the Indo-European root bhes, meaning ‘to breath’, and possibly was imitative in its origins. ‘Text’ goes back, to the root teks, meaning ‘to weave’, and also ‘to fabricate’. ‘Represent’ has its root es: ‘to be’. My question thus can can be rephrased: ‘What is a breath, and what must a weaving or a fabrication be so as to come into being again as a breath? In the context of post-Enlightenment poetry, a breath is at once a word, and a stance for uttering that word, a word and a stance of one’s own. In this context, a weaving or a fabrication is what we call a poem, and its function is to represent, to bring back into being again, as individual stance and word. The poem, as text, is represented or seconded by what psychoanalysis calls the psyche. But the text is rhetoric, and a persuasive system of tropes can be carried into being again only by another system of tropes. Rhetoric can be seconded only by rhetoric, for all that rhetoric can intend is more rhetoric. If a text and a psyche can be represented by one another, this can be done only because each is a departure from proper meaning. Figuration turns out to be our only link between breathing and making. The strong word and stance issue only form a strict will, a will that dares the error of reading all of reality as a text, and all prior texts as opening for its own totalizing and unique interpretations. Strong poets present themselves as looking for truth in the world, searching in reality and in tradition, but such a stance, as Nietzsche said, remains under the mastery of desire, of instinctual drives. So, in effect, the strong poet wants pleasure and not truth: he wants what Nietzsche named as ‘the belief in truth and the pleasurable effects on this belief’. No strong poet can admit that Nietzsche was accurate in this insight, and no critic need fear that any strong poet will accept and so be hurt by demystification. [...] A poetic ‘text’, as I interpret it, is not a gathering of signs on a page, but is a psychic battlefield upon which authentic forces struggle for the only victory worth winning, the divinating triumph over oblivion, or as Milton sang it: Attir’d with Stars, we shall for ever sit, Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time. Few notions are more difficult to dispel than the ‘commonsensical’ one that a poetic text is self-contained, that is has an ascertainable meaning without reference to other poetic texts. Something in nearly every reader wants to say: ‘Here is a poem and there is a meaning, and I am reasonably certain that the two can be brought together’. Unfortunately, poems are not things but only words that refer to other words, and so on, and those words refer to still other language. Any poem is an inter-poem, and any reading of a poem is an inter-reading. A poem is not writing, but rewriting, and though a strong poem is a fresh start, such a start is a starting-again. In some sense, literary criticism has known always this reliance of texts upon text, but the known changed (or should have changed) after Vico, who uncovered the genuine scandal of poetic origins, in the complex defensive trope or troping defense he called ‘divination’. [...] Language for Vico, particularly poetic language, is always and necessarily a revision of previous language. Vico, so far as I know, inaugurated a crucial insight that most critics still refuse to assimilate, which is that every poet is belated, that every poem is an instance of what Freud called Nachtrahlichkeit or ‘retroactive meaningfulness’. Any poet (meaning even Homer, if we could know enough about his precursors) is in the position pf being ‘after the Event’, in terms of literary language. His art is necessarily an aftering, ans so at best he strives for a selection, through repression, out of the traces of the language of poetry; that is, he

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represses misprision, or creative misreading, but no matter how strong a misprision, it cannot achieve an autonomy of meaning, or a meaning fully present, that is, free from all literary context. Even the strongest poet must take up his stance within literary language. If he stands outside it, then he cannot begin to write poetry. The caveman who traced the outline of an animal upon the rock always retraced a precursor’s outline. [...] [...] Vico’s insight is that poetry is born of our ignorance of causes, and we can extend Vico by observing that if any poet knows too well what causes his poem, then he cannot write it, or at least will write it badly. He must repress the causes, including the precursor-poems, but such forgetting [...] itself is s condition of a particular exaggeration of style or hyperbolical figuration that tradition has called the Sublime. [...] [...] A strong poem does not formulate poetic facts any more than strong reading or criticism formulates them, for a strong reading is the only poetic fact, the only revenge against time that endures, that is successful in canonizing one text as opposed to a rival text. There is no textual authority without an act of imposition, a declaration of property that is made figuratively rather than properly or literally. For the ultimate question a strong reading asks of a poem is: Why? Why should it have been written? Why must we read it, out of all of the too many other poems available? Who does the poet think he is, anyway? Why is his poem? By defining poetic strength as usurpation or imposition, I am offending against civility, against the social conventions of literary scholarship and criticism. But poetry, when it aspires to strength, is necessarily a competitive mode, indeed an obsessive mode, because poetic strength involves a self-representation that is reached only through trespass, though crossing a daemonic threshold. [...] [...] Since poetry, unlike the Jewish religion, does not go back to a truly divine origin, poetry is always at work imagining its own origin, or telling a persuasive lie about itself, to itself. Poetic strength ensues when such lying persuades the reader that his own origin has been reimagined by the poem. Persuasion, in a poem, is the work of rhetoric, and again Vico is the best of guides, for he calls poetic logic, or what I would call poetic misprision. [...] Vico’s profundity as a philosopher of rhetoric, beyond all others ancient views tropes as defenses. [...] Vico is asking a crucial question, which could be interpreted reductively as, What is a poetic image, or what is a rhetorical trope, or what is a psychic defense? Vico’s answer can be read as a formula: poetic image, trope, defense are all forms of a ratio between human ignorance making things out of itself, and human self-identification moving to transform us into the things we have made. When the human ignorance is the trespass of a poetic repression of anteriority, and the transforming movement is a new poem, then the ratio measures a rewriting or an act of revision. [...] [...] For a strong poet in particular, rhetoric is also what Nietzscche saw it as being, a mode of interpretation that is the will’s revulsion against time, the will’s revenge, its vindication against the necessity of passing away. Pragmatically, a trope’s revenge is against an earlier trope, just as defenses tend to become operations against one another. We can define a strong poet as one who wil not tolerate words that intervene between him and the Word, or precursors standing between him and the Muse. [...] The hyperbole or intensified exaggeration that such boundlessness demands exact a psychic price. To ‘exaggerate’ etymologically means ‘to pile up, to heap’, and the function of the Sublime is to heap us, as Moby Dick makes Ahab cry out ‘He heaps me!’ Precisely here I locate the difference between the strong poets and Freud, since what Freud calls ‘repression’, is in the greater poets, the imagination of a CounterSublime. By attempting to show the poetic ascendancy of ‘repression’ over ‘sublimation’ I intend no revision of the Freudian trope of ‘the Unconscious’, but rather I deny the usefulness of the Unconscious, as opposed to repression, as a literary term. [...] [...] To say that a poem’s true subject is its repression of the precursor poem is not to say that the later poem reduces to the process of that repression. On a strict Freudian view, a good poem is a sublimation, and not a repression. Like any work of substitution that replaces the gratification of prohibited instincts, the poem, as viewed by the

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Freudians, may contain antithetical effects but not unintended or counterintended effects. In the Freudian valorization of sublimation, the survival of those effects would be flaws in the poem. But poems are actually stronger when their counterintended effects battle most incessantly against their overt intentions. Imagination, as Vico understood and Freud did not, is the faculty of self-preservation and so the proper use of Freud, for the literary critic, is not so to apply Freud (or even revise Freud) as to arrive at an Oedipal interpretation of poetic history. I find such to be the usual misunderstanding that my own work provokes. In studying poetry we are not studying the mind, nor the Unconscious, even if there is an unconscious. We are studying a kind of labor that has its own latent principles, principles that can be uncovered and then taught systematically. [...] Poems are not psyches, nor things, nor are they renewable archetypes in a verbal universe, nor are they architectonic units of balanced stresses. They are defensive processes in constant change, which is to say that poems themselves are acts of reading. A poem is, as Thomas Frosch says, a fierce, proleptic debate with itself, as well as with precursor poems. Or, a poem is a dance of substitutions, a constant breaking-of-the-vessels, as one limitation undoes a representation, only to be restituted in its turn by a fresh representation. Every strong poem, at least since Petrarch, has known implicitly what Nietzsche taught us to know explicitly: that there is only interpretation, and that every interpretation answers an earlier interpretation, and then must yield to a later one. 3.1.8.1 From ‘The Whole and Its Parts’ When the break between Freud and Jung is discussed, the modest and practical point of disagreement that marked the beginning of their differences is too often forgotten: Jung remarked that in the process of transference the psychoanalyst frequently appeared in the guise of a devil, a god, or a sorcerer, and that the roles he assumed in the patient’s eyes went far beyond any sort of parental images. They eventually came to a total parting of the ways, yet Jung’s initial reservation was a telling one. The same remark holds true of children’s games. A child never confines himself to playing house, to playing only at being daddy-andmommy. He also plays at being a magician, a cowboy, a cop or a robber, a train, a little car. The train is not necessarily daddy, nor is the train station necessarily mommy. The problem has to do not with the sexual nature of desiring-machines, but with the family nature of this sexuality. Admittedly, once the child has grown up, he finds himself deeply involved in social relations that are no longer familial relations. But since these relations supposedly come into being at a later stage in life, there are only two possible ways in which this can be explained: it must be granted either that sexuality is sublimated or neutralized in and through social (and metaphysical) relations, in the form of an analytic ‘afterward’ ; or else that these relations bring into play a non-sexual energy, for which sexuality has merely served as the symbol of an anagogical ‘beyond’. It was their disagreement on this particular point that eventually made the break between Freud and Jung irreconcilable. Yet at the same time the two of them continued to share the belief that the libido cannot invest a social or metaphysical field without some sort of meditation. This is not the case, however. Let us consider a child at play, or a child crawling about exploring the various rooms of the house he lives in. He looks intently at an electrical outlet, he moves his body about like a machine, he uses one of his legs as though it were an oar, he goes into the kitchen, into the study, he runs toy cars back and forth. It is obvious that his parents are present all this time, and that the child would have nothing

3.1.8 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: from Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Psychoanalysis

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were it not for them. But that is not the real matter at issue. The matter at issue is to find out whether everything he touches is experienced as a representative of his parents. Ever since birth his crib, his mother’s breast, her nipple, his bowel movements are desiring-machines connected to parts of his body. It seems to us self-contradictory to maintain, on the one hand, that the child lives among partial objects, and that on the other hand he conceives of these partial objects as being his parents, or even different parts of his parents’ bodies. Strictly speaking, it is not true that a baby experiences his mother’s breast as a separate part of her body. It exists, rather, as a part of a desiring-machine connected to the baby’s mouth, and is experienced as an object providing a non-personal flow of milk, be it copious or scanty. A desiring-machine and a partial object do not represent anything. A partial object is not representative, even though it admittedly serves as a basis of relations and as a means of assigning agents a place and a function; but these agents are not persons, any more than these relations are inter-subjective. They are relations of production as such, and agents of production and anti-production. Ray Bradbury demonstrates this very well when he describes the nursery as a place where desiringproduction and group fantasy occur, as a place where the only connection is that between partial objects and agents. The small child lives with his family around the clock; but within the bosom of his family, and from the very first days of his life, he immediately begins having an amazing nonfamilial experience that psychoanalysis has completely failed to take into account. [...] Is it possible that, by taking the path that it has, psychoanalysis is reviving an age-old tendency to humble us, to demean us, and to make us feel guilty? Foucault has noted that the relationship between madness and the family can be traced back in large part to a development that affected the whole of bourgeois society in the nineteenth century: the family was entrusted with functions that became the measuring rod of the responsibility of its members and their possible guilt. Insofar as psychoanalysis cloaks insanity in the mantle of a ‘parental complex’, and regards the patterns of self-punishment resulting from Oedipus as a confession of guilt, its theories are not at all radical or innovative. On the contrary: it is completing the task begun by nineteenth-century psychology, namely, to develop a moralized, familial discourse of mental pathology, linking madness to the ‘half-real, half-imaginary dialectic of the Family’, deciphering within it ‘the unending attempt to murder the father’, ‘the dull thud of instincts hammering at the solidity of the family as an institution and at its most archaic symbols’. Hence, instead of participating in an undertaking that will bring about genuine liberation, psychoanalysis is taking part in the work of bourgeois repression at its most far-reaching level, that is to say, keeping European humanity harnessed to the yoke of daddy-mommy and making no effort to do away with this problem once and for all. [...] 3.1.8.2 From ‘Psychoanalysis and Capitalism’ The schizoanalytic argument is simple: desire is a machine, a synthesis of machines, a machinic arrangement - desiring-machines. The order of desire is the order of production; all production is at once desiringproduction and social production. We therefore reproach psychoanalysis for having stifled this order of production, for having shunted it into representation. Far from showing the boldness of psychoanalysis, this idea of unconscious representation marks from the outset its bankruptcy or its abnegation: an unconscious that no longer produces, but is content to believe. The unconscious believes in Oedipus, it believes in castration, in the law. It is doubtless true that the psychoanalyst would be the first to say that, everything considered, belief is not an act of the unconscious; it is always the preconscious that believes. Shouldn’t it even be said that it is the psychoanalyst who believes - the psychoanalyst in each of us? Would belief then be an effect on the conscious material that the unconscious representation exerts from a distance? But inversely, who or what reduced the unconscious to this state of representation, if not first of all a system of beliefs put in the place of productions? In reality, social production becomes alienated in allegedly autonomous beliefs at the same time that desiring-production becomes enticed into allegedly

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unconscious representations. And as we have seen, it is the same agency the family - that performs this double operation, distorting and disfiguring social desiring-production, leading it into an impasse. Thus the link between representation-belief and the family is not accidental; it is of the essence of representation to be a familial representation. But production is not thereby suppressed, it continues to rumble, to throb beneath the representative agency ( instance représentative) that suffocates it, and that it in return can make resonate to the breaking point. Thus in order to keep an effective grip on the zones of production, representation must inflate itself with all the power of myth and tragedy, it must give a mythic and tragic presentation of the family and a familial presentation of myth and tragedy. Yet aren’t myth and tragedy, too, productions-forms of production? Certainly not; they are production only when brought into connection with real social production, real desiring-production. Otherwise they are ideological forms, which have taken the place of the units of production. Who believes in all this Oedipus, castration, etc.? The Greeks? Then the Greeks did not produce in the same way they believed? The Hellenists? Do the Hellenists believe that the Greeks produced according to their beliefs? This is true at least of the nineteenth-century Hellenists, about whom Engels said: you’d think they really believed in all that - in myth, in tragedy. Is it the unconscious that represents itself through Oedipus and castration? Or is it the psychoanalyst - the psychoanalyst in us all, who represents the unconscious in this way? For never has Engels’s remark regained so much meaning: you’d think the psychoanalysts really believed in all this - in myth, in tragedy. (They go on believing, whereas the Hellenists have long since stopped.) The Schreber case again applies: Schreber’s father invented and fabricated astonishing little machines, sadistico-paranoiac machines - for example head straps with a metallic shank and leather bands, for restrictive use on children, for making them straighten up and behave. These machines play no role whatever in the Freudian analysis. Perhaps it would have been more difficult to crush the entire sociopolitical content of Schreber’s delirium if these desiring-machines of the father had been taken into account, as well as their obvious participation in a pedagogical social machine in general. For the real question is this: of course the father acts on the child’s unconscious - but does he act as a head of a family in an expressive familial transmission, or rather as the agent of a machine, in a machinic information or communication? Schreber’s desiring-machines communicate with those of his father; but it is in this very way that they are from early childhood the libidinal investment of a social field. In this field the father has a role only as an agent of production and antiproduction. Freud, on the contrary, chooses the first path: it is not the father who indicates the action of machines, but just the opposite; thereafter there is no longer even any reason for considering machines, whether as desiring-machines or as social machines. In return, the father will be inflated with all the ‘forces of myth and religion’ and with phylogenesis, so as to ensure that the little familial representation has the appearance of being coextensive with the field of delirium. The production couple - the desiring-machines and the social field - gives way to a representative couple of an entirely different nature: familymyth. Once again, have you ever seen a child at play: how he already populates the technical social machines with his own desiring-machines, 0 sexuality - while the father or mother remains in the background, from whom the child borrows parts and gears according to his need, and who are there as agents of transmission, reception, and interception: kindly agents of production or suspicious agents of anti-production. [...] The ambiguity of psychoanalysis in relation to myth or tragedy has the following explanation: psychoanalysis undoes them as objective representations, and discovers in them the figures of a subjective universal libido; but it reanimates them, and promotes them as subjective representations that extend the mythic and tragic contents to infinity. Psychoanalysis does treat myth and tragedy, but it treats them as the dreams and fantasies of private man, Homo familia - and in fact dream and fantasy are to myth and tragedy as private property is to public property. What acts in myth and tragedy at the level of objective elements is therefore re-appropriated and raised to a higher level by psychoanalysis, but as an unconscious dimension of subjective representation (myth as humanity’s dream). What acts as an objective and

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public element - the Earth, the Despot - is now taken up again, but as the expression of a subjective and private reterritorialization: Oedipus is the fallen despot - banished, deterritorialized - but a reterritorialization is engineered, using the Oedipus complex conceived of as the daddymommy-me of today’s everyman. Psychoanalysis and the Oedipus complex gather up all beliefs, all that has ever been believed by humanity, but only in order to raise it to the condition of a denial that preserves belief without believing in it (it’s only a dream: the strictest piety today asks for nothing more). Whence this double impression, that psychoanalysis is opposed to mythology no less than to mythologists, but at the same time extends myth and tragedy to the dimensions of the subjective universal: if Oedipus himself ‘has no complex’, the Oedipus complex has no Oedipus, just as narcissism has no Narcissus. Such is the ambivalence that traverses psychoanalysis, and that extends beyond the specific problem of myth and tragedy: with one hand psychoanalysis undoes the system of objective representations (myth, tragedy) for the benefit of subjective essence conceived as desiring-production, while with the other hand it reverses this production in a system of subjective representations (dream and fantasy, with myth and tragedy posited as their developments or projections). Images, nothing but images. What is left in the end is an intimate familial theatre, the theatre of private man, which is no longer either desiringproduction or objective representation. The unconscious as a stage. A whole theatre put in the place of production, a theatre that disfigures this production even more than could tragedy and myth when reduced to their meager ancient resources. Myth, tragedy, dream, and fantasy - and myth and tragedy reinterpreted in terms of dream and fantasy - are the representative series that psychoanalysis substitutes for the line of production: social and desiringproduction. A theatre series, instead of production series. [...] 3.2 PHENOMENOLOGICAL CRITICISM

3.2.2 Georges Poulet: from ‘The Self and Other Critical in Consciousness’ Critical consciousness relies, by definition, on the thinking of ‘another’ ; it finds its nourishment and its substance only therein. [...] [...] Each literary work, of no matter what kind, implies, for the writer, an act of self-discovery. Writing does not mean simply to allow an unstemed rush of thoughts to flow onto the paper; writing means rather to construe oneself as the subject of these thoughts! ‘I think’ means first and foremost: ‘I reveal myself as the subject of that which I think’. The thought that flows through me, like a rapid stream that rushes past its banks without being soaked in, moistens and refreshes the always vital foundations of my being. I am a spectator of the phenomena that take place in me. My awakened thought, whether frail or powerful, lucid or murky, never fully coincides with that which is thought. My thought is a separateness; it peaches the key. I cannot say exactly when I came to the conviction that literature as a whole depends on this kind of fact. I read the philosophers; above all those who had thought more than others about the significance of the cogito. Nearly all of modern philosophy, from Montaigne to Husserl, seemed to me to begin with a reflection which had its roots in the function of consciousness. [...] Each literary text, whether essay, novel, or poem, had a point of departure; each organized language grew out of an original moment of awareness, adjusted itself then according to the successive points it subsequently touched upon. In this realm there was no basic difference between literary and philosophical texts. All literature was philosophy for me, each philosophy was literature. No matter what sort of text I read, at the instant I began to sense the effect of a concept in it, I found the same origin in almost each line and the same course running from this source.

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How could I have failed to recognize the significance of this discovery! The work always began with an act of awareness, and the critical interest which selected the work as an object of consideration posited the same beginning. I was no longer of the opinion that the writer subjects himself to the unordered flow of his spiritual life. He seemed to me now to be characterized therein that he attacked his problem each moment anew, as if he were beginning again from zero. And, in turn, the literary critic also began at zero, with the complete denial of his ‘self’. Thus it could validly be said that if the writer creates initially his own cogito, the critic finds his point of departure in the cogito of another. This alien cogito would then, regardless of its origin, become a part of the innermost being of the one who reproduced it. It was a kind of borrowed awareness. In addition, the critic would find it possible with this procedure to draw a number of conclusions from this point of departure. The cogito would reveal itself not only as a primary experience but also, in an involuted form, as a principle of multiple developments which arranged themselves within a time line. The critic would only have to follow this line. It would point him on his course. Everything would follow in an intelligible and logical manner from the first ‘I think, I am’. This discovery was of the greatest importance for me: criticism is the mimetic duplication of a conceptual action. It does not depend on an arbitrary notion. To experience anew in one’s own mind the cogito of a writer or a philosopher means to rediscover the manner of thinking and feeling, means to see how this thinking and feeling originate and assume form and what obstacles they encounter. It means also to rediscover the purpose of a life which takes shape out of the experience of the individual consciousness. And that means, also, the simultaneous recognition of the order in which thoughts succeed one another. They appear one after the other, at times in harmony with each other, at times not, depending upon the fluctuations of a reflection which seems to evolve anarchically but which, in reality, obeys the play of dialectic powers which belong to the original cogito. The spiritual world thus ordered by the writer must become, in turn, the spiritual order of the critic. [...] The coherence of the literary text becomes the coherence of the critical text which appropriates and transposes the literary text. [...] I decided to compile systematically all the variations of the cogito which I could find in my authors. This decision afforded that which up to this point had threatened to remain chaotic - a form. I had almost drowned in the flood of human thoughts. No matter what manner of thoughts they were or in which spiritual place I had been exposed to them, they had appeared to my as a confusion of currents whose differences I could not note. The procedure through which I now ascended to the self-experience of a certain author allowed me to seize the moment in which the originality of a concept realized itself in its mental act, and to measure the significance of the framework in which this concept was to develop. To arrive at this awareness of the self, which is afforded to each human being in a certain way at special moments, meant to reach a certain kind of original thought which gave me the key to everything which followed. In every case, the act of consciousness was fundamental. With each new conception of himself, he who experienced it confirmed his own permanence. Even more: it would introduce the formal principle on which the entire sequence depended. Because of this, I was tempted to call the experience of consciousness of the self a ‘categorical’ act. [...] Thus the cogito would never be equal to an isolated event. The awareness of self would be simultaneously an awareness of the world. The manner in which it would operate, the specific angle of vision through which it would arrive at a recognition of its object, would express itself in such a manner that it would encompass, either immediately or at the end of a long process, the entire universe. For whoever perceived himself in an original way would perceive simultaneously an original universe. [...] Everything was thus contingent on the original cogito: a cogito which was consequently taken up again and continually renewed, but which would remain true to its original appearance throughout all renewals. Whoever discovers the cogito of an author fulfills the task of the critic more than half way. Critical awareness can start only at that point. There remained, however, a final problem to solve. The first and most

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pressing duty of a literary critic was the rediscovery of the cogito of an author. But how was this cogito to be ‘rediscovered’ ?. [...] To consider a cogito as a possible object of research is to misunderstand its essence. It means to make a kind of thing out of a pure subject. The unusual aspect of the experience of consciousness consists precisely therein: that it cannot be regarded externally as a mere supplement of thought. It is, rather, the inner self of the consciousness, the I that confirms itself as I, regardless of the attributes which it happens to have. Thus a cogito was for me an act which would be experienced only inwardly. It escapes the mind unless the mind has succeeded in identifying itself with the power of perception perceiving itself. And since the specific task of the critic consisted precisely in comprehending this process of selfcognition in the studied work, the critic could not achieve that comprehension when he did not, in turn, performed the act thus revealed to him. In other words, the critical act required of the critic the same inner activity as the act of self-awareness performed by the examined author. An identical I had to operate within the author and the critic. To discover the cogito of writers it is necessary, therefore, to go back and reconstruct, within the same conditions, and almost the same terms, the cogito which each one of them had experienced. [...] There could be no criticism without this initial act through which critical thought enters within the thought criticized and temporarily establishes itself there as the cognitive subject. To conclude. All of the categorical principles mentioned here are linked. They all stand in relation to each other, and they all relate to the same act of consciousness. Together they represent the development of a thought process directed towards its objects, which imbue it with their form and their foundation, based on its relationship with the external world. However, this thinking is born in loneliness, often in the state of fear which isolation determines; it is a simple consideration of the self, a still undifferentiated experience of the awareness of self. Literary criticism must direct itself above all towards this initial I, to this first apperception of self. If, in the process, it follows all the variations of consciousness, of understanding and of the reconstruction of the universe in the studied author, criticism must nonetheless lay stress above all on the first encounter of self with its own being: all criticism is first and foremost a criticism of consciousness. 3.2.3 Roman Ingarden: from ‘Some Epistemological Problems in the Cognition of the Aesthetic Concretization of the Literary Work of Art’ In the cognition of the aesthetic concretization of a literary work of art we are concerned in the first place with discovering what aesthetic value is constituted and appears in it. But that is not the main concern of this cognition. It is basically only an empirical preparation for the real task which we must perform. This consists of an understanding, based on direct experience, of the nature of the ontic69 connection among the aesthetically valuable qualities appearing in the concretization: whether they only happen to appear together in the concretization, whether they are perhaps interconnected and blended in a peculiar way without sacrificing their specific distinctness, or whether they appear together necessarily. In the second place, we are concerned with understanding the mode of ontic connection between the set of aesthetically valuable qualities and the individual qualitatively determined aesthetic value which may appear. This understanding teaches us about the structure of the literary aesthetic object - and by ‘structure’ we mean the kind of ontic connection among the above-mentioned value-bearing factors of the object. We cannot achieve this understanding without also having the qualitative factors which enter into the connection. Thus it is not a purely intuitive act, but rather a decidedly intellectual one. It exhibits the necessity of the inner structure of the aesthetic object under consideration or else the lack of such a necessity, hence its greater or lesser
69 Ontic: concerned with the essence or being of entities. Ingarden believes the literary work has three ontic aspects: (i) intentional, creative acts by a human consciousness; (ii) the concrete material of a text, i.e. the marks on the page; (iii) ideal concepts or ideas.

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contingency. In particular, it can consist in the understanding that the value does not appear but is not sufficiently founded in the aesthetically valuable qualities which are present. The appearance of the value must thus have a basis outside the aesthetic object, which makes its objectivity at least questionable. With regard to the cognition of an aesthetic concretization we must further explain to what extent the aesthetically valuable qualities manifested in the object are founded in the artistic values of the work of art itself or necessarily arise form factors which the reader projects to fill out certain places of indeterminacy in harmony with the work. In this way we gain insight into the necessary or contingent structure of the literary aesthetic object under investigation, even into its foundations in the work of art itself. The demonstration of the necessary ontic interconnections among all the elements under consideration here reveals a new specific value factor in the aesthetic object: the valuable nature of the necessary formal unity founded in the individual character of the material factors. And this is the optimum that can be achieved in the area of aesthetic object. The aesthetic object is then a ‘realization’ of the content of a particular idea which the artist must somehow have had in mind. But he also had to invent the means for the ‘realization’ of his content; that is he had to create the corresponding work of art. For note that the idea in question is not the idea of the work of art but only the idea of the peculiar ontic interconnection between the relevant value quality and the set of aesthetically valuable qualities which coexists with it in harmonious unity. [...] The cognition of the aesthetic concretization of a literary work of art does not end with the immediate, intuitive apprehension of the concretization. It also involves fixing the results of the cognition in a set of judgements and corresponding concepts. The possibility of literary scholarship as a discipline which would also set itself the task of studying aesthetic concretizations depends on the extent to which this fixing in judgements and concepts can succeed. I should like to mention here just a few of the epistemological problems which arise in the context. [...] Every literary work of art is an intersubjective object in its schematic structure. It is open to question, however, whether the same may be asserted of aesthetic concretizations. The doubts relating to the concretizations arise mainly from the fact that, besides the work itself, a series of purely subjective, individual factors influence the formation of a given literary work. The formation of a concretization of, say Goethe’s Werther or Shakespeare’s Hamlet depends primarily on a number of external circumstances under which the reading is performed, as well s on the state of the reader himself. These factors are quite variable, are independent of the work of art being read and of one another, and cannot be predicted in their conjunctions. Thus the differences among individual concretizations of the same work are quite multifarious and, in general, unpredictable. It will happen only very rarely that two concretizations of the same work, formed by different readers, will be completely alike in all features which are crucial for the formation of the aesthetic value. [...] [...] If, despite several attempts, we are unable to guess a peculiar quality which, according to another person’s report, appears in the concretization he has constituted, then all we can do is take cognizance of the fact that there is something in the other person’s concretization of the work of art which is out of our reach. Then we can try to experience and to concretize the work of art aesthetically in a new way. Perhaps then we will cognize that quality which we did not recognize at first or a harmony which could then make communication with the other reader possible. But here we are certainly at the limit of what we can investigate in common with others. Without all these attempts at refining the cognition of literary aesthetic objects and overcoming the linguistic difficulties, however, we are not justified in declaring a priori, as is often done, that scientific mastery of this kind is impossible. The fact that this discipline has certain limits, which, by the way, can be extended, does not mean that it has no validity. [...] Within the limits of the competence of literary scholarship there thus remain the individual literary works of art as schematic entities and the ‘common’ (‘general’) attributes and structures of the concretizations, and especially of the aesthetic concretizations, of these works. At the limits of the sphere of investigation are the ‘individual’ features of the individual

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aesthetic concretizations, and it might be asked whether these do not go beyond these limits and should not perhaps be turned over to literary criticism. But the solution of this problem would require a general discussion about the object, the task, and the methods of literary scholarship and other forms of knowledge about literature, which include philosophy of literature, criticism, and poetics. Such a discussion goes beyond the scope of this book. This result seems, however, to be threatened by a danger we must now discuss. Judgements that appear to be contradictory are often made about the same literary work of art, in daily life as well as in scholarly investigation, especially when it is a question of so-called value judgements or evaluations. To the extent that this reflects a shortcoming of the individual investigator or arises from an accidental defect in the results achieved, it is something which occurs in all sciences, even the ‘exact’ sciences, and which furnishes no reason for despising the science in which it occurs. [...] In the case of literary scholarship, however, this fact is exploited as a reason to pass scornful judgement on any kind of knowledge about literature or any other art; this is especially common among mathematicians and natural scientists (‘scientists’ in the narrow sense of the word). The belief is that these errors and ‘contradictions’ are necessary in such a field and cannot be removed. Is this really the case? The existence of errors and contradictions must be readily acknowledged. We would also have to agree that it would jeopardize the scientific nature of such research if conflicting or even genuinely contradictory judgements were necessary in the field of literary study. But it is doubtful that they are necessary, and, it seems to me, no one has yet proved that they are. There are, however, certain apparent reasons for concluding that such a necessity exists. To date, there has not been a clear awareness of the difference between a literary work of art and its concretizations, nor has the need for such a distinction been realized. Instead of strictly separating two basic types of ‘literary’ judgements, those about the literary work of art itself and those about its concretizations, the practice has been to treat all these judgements (and verdicts) as if they all applied to the ‘work of art’ (with no consideration of what the term might mean). It seems to me that, after the introduction of our distinctions, the theoretical difficulties disappear. Neither conflict nor contradiction occurs when two judgements about two different concretizations of the same work say something different about corresponding factors of the two concretizations. The concretizations may very well differ on this point. The fact that such judgements do not agree does not constitute a shortcoming in literary study. Of course, that is true only when the point of difference between the judgements consists in a factor or attribute of the concretization which does not belong to the work itself but to supplementation of the work by the new factors or elements of the concretizations. If, however, we have two judgements which differed with reference to a factor of the schematic structure of the work of art itself, then we would have a real conflict or contradiction, which nevertheless can, in principle, be removed through further investigation. The admissible divergence among true judgements about different concretizations of the same work of art is not a defect in the study of literature. Our conception of the literary work of art accounts for its possibility. [...] It is a different situation, however, when two value judgements ascribe different artistic values to the same literary work of art. Then we must suspect that at least one of them is false and results from an inexact analysis of the work of art and the possibilities of its aesthetic concretizations. But then we do have the possibility of removing the conflict between the judgements by means of a new and more exact analysis of the work of art and its artistic excellence, so that this case presents no theoretical danger for literary scholarship, although it can sometimes be very difficult to find the basis of the error and form a correct verdict concerning the artistic value of the work. [...] And the reason evaluations of the work of art in respect of its artistic values often differ greatly and lead to long controversies may lie in the very fact that we can never take all possible concretizations into account but must restrict ourselves to some typical concretizations, which are easier to survey. If the work of art in question has an abundance of various possible concretizations, and if the concretizations admit values of a high orderwhich differ from one another, then the controversy concerning the

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artistic value of the work will last a long time, and perhaps it will not be possible to resolve it in a single cultural epoch. But this does not speak against the ‘scientific character’ of the evaluation of the literary works of art; it is rather simply a consequence of the essential structure of the literary work of art itself and of its ‘life’ in various cultural epochs, and a consequence of the relatively narrow limits of the literary scholar, who is often unable to see beyond the horizon of his own cultural epoch. But that should not tempt us into skepticism about literary scholarship; rather, it should spur us on to further investigation. possible. I saw him trace certain sensory fixations, especially an obsession with place. Haunted by the idea of the secret or sacred ‘spot’ on which nature seemed to converge, he rediscovered the religious (and romance) motif of numinous places. My analysis of how, and with what difficulty, Wordsworth’s ‘spirit’ detached itself from ‘place’ and raised itself to the larger, more generous idea of ‘nature’ showed that the notion of ‘spots of time’ was still indebted to that of ‘spirit of place’. Poetic genius, in Wordsworth, never quite freed itself of the genius loci, and in attempting to respect these nature-involved epiphanies he relived on the very ground of his senses the religious struggle between Hellenic (fixed and definite) and Hebraic (indefinite, anti-anthropomorphic) representations of the divine. [...] What moved me most, perhaps, was the poet’s exceptional openess to both visionary feelings and an anxious self-scrutiny of Puritan proportions. They go together and are difficult to separate. His distrust of pure imagination - of extasy - is not unlike Dr. Johnson’s. Margaret and the Solitary’s wife (in The Excursion) unbind themselves from earth; and Emily in ‘The White Doe of Rylstone’ is also in danger of losing contact when the ‘divine animal’ brings her back. A soul has to renaturalize itself. What other poet has such honest, awkward reflections on the difficulty of binding imagibnation to nature or world - such husbanding of the ‘curious links’ that weld self, or self and world, toghether - conjoined with great, as if contrary passages of visionary poetry old-style in which excess of imagination triumphs and renews the poet’s fear of apocalyptical dissolution? This exposedness of a mind, toghether with its search for ‘garments’ (Prelude V. 24) - for mediations drawn from selfexperience - was the burden of my book. I did not neglect the historical milieu, but neither did I offer it as an explanation. In a strange way the violence in France as well as the slower trauma of industrialization coincided with Wordsworth’s inner sense of irreparable change: they foreboded a cosmic wounding of Nature - of natural rhythms, of organic growth - which reinforced his fear of an apocalyptic rate of change and nature-loss. The last ten years have made us more sensitive to Wordsworth’s anxiety for nature. Apocalypse is not

3.2.5 Geoffrey Hartman: from Wordsworth’s Poetry 1787-1814 Retrospect 1971 What I did, basically, was to describe Wordsworth’s ‘consciousness of consciousness’. Everything else - psychology, epistemology, religious ideas, politics - was subordinated. If that is phenomennological procedure, so be it. I did not, however, support any special (Hegelian, Jungian, etc.) theory of personal identity of human and historical development. Though sometimes adducing analogies from other writers, I tried to describe ‘things’ strictly as they appeared to the poet, while raising the question as to why he so carefully respected their modes of appearance. The answer given by Wordsworth was that he had made when young a providential error: then it was already consciousness that was appearing, not simply things; and the blindness which caused the growing spirit to feel not its own burden but that of natural objects (they lay upon his mind ‘like substances’ and ‘perplexed the bodily sense’) initiated a quest-romance in pursuit of the creation, one which gave the boy’s imagination time to naturalize itself, to direct its great but uncertain powers toward the things of this world. In short, I followed Wordsworth’s self-interpretations as closely as

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habitable. Yet I did not achieve, or seek, a single transvaluing insight thaat might derive from Wordsworth a systematic view of human development. I remained more interested in ‘error’ - in the process and particulars of what the evolving mind thinks of as an emergence from error - than in the poet’s anticipation of modern findings. In some sense emergence itself, our unsteady growth into self-consciousness, became the subject. [...] At several points in the book I approached a general theory linking verbal figures and structures of consciousness. But I managed to evade my own insight and to remain with Wordsworth instead of translating him into decisive modernisms. There is, surely, a relation between the overdetermined or centroverted character of the omphalos and that of the symbol. The flight from these charged places of discourse or imagination through doublings, circlings, the generation of personae, metaphorical transference, and syntactical distribution - suggests a vital schizophrenia or decentering expressive of so much in personal growth. It is like moving away from parental or idolatrous fixation toward the cultivation of a love that is more than pointedly sexual, orthe overcoming of eye concepts that block sense experience. There is a line of descent to be established between lyrical narratives like ‘The Thorn’, which converge so strongly and frustratingly on an ocular center we are never sure of (has a crime been committed there, or is the crime an illusion to stimulate crude imaginations?), and lyrical movies like Antonioni’s Blow-up and Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad. The center they converge on is an absence; the darkness they illumine has no heart. Take Wordsworth’s lightest mystery story, ‘Strange fits of passion’. Can we discern its poetics? Strange fits of passion have I And now we reached the known: orchard-plot; And I will dare to tell, And, as we climbed the hill, But in the Lover’s ear alone, The sinking moon to Lucy’s cot What once to me befel. Came near, and nearer still. When she I loved looked every In one of those sweet dreams I day slept, Fresh as a rose in June, Kind Nature’s gentlest boon! I to her cottage bent my way, And all the while my eyes I kept Beneath an evening moon. On the descending moon. Upon the moon I fixed my eye, My horse moved on; hoof after All over the wide lea; hoof With quickening pace my horse He raised, and never stopped: drew nigh When down behind the cottage Those paths so dear to me. roof, At once, the bright moon dropped. What fond and wayward thoughts will slide Into a Lover’s head! ‘O mercy!’ to myself I cried, ‘If Lucy should be dead!’ The lyric has more error (anticlimax, illusion, mismatching of event and meaning) than center. The action is now too slow and now too fast, now overstated (first stanza) and understated (last stanza). A ‘wayward’ comment on wayfaring, it opens on a ballad note of high adventure yet from that perspective that almost plotless story is an anticlimax. A word like ‘fits’ is equally unsettled, not quite at home in its vernacular sense, nor quite referable to its archaic provenance (faict > fact = act = section of a ballad or romance). The rider too is strangely displaced. Is he man

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plus horse, or becalmed knight from Romance? He is certainly not the conventional Hotspur of ballad tradition, and his night ride has a touch of parody. Instead of sparking hooves and a charged message, a gentle distractable trot. All is ‘error’ in this poem: the lover’s mind wanders. Or does it? It is not over-anticipating, taking the moon as its mark, so that it is already where it wished to be - with the beloved, and beyond a changeable, sublunar world? So that it is, after all, haste ridden like a ballad hero’ s? Such strong anticipation or omening - call it futuring - is both expressed and limited by Wordsworth’s poetics of error. In mood, style and subject, his poems are a defense against ecstasy of this kind. Ecstasy, in which the soul goes out of the body, becomes ordinary and almost funny (a ‘fit’). We sense the psychopathology of everyday life as teh rider approaches an invisible boundary, the point at which he will go through into another world. He never does; when he wakes from his trance or dream, he is very much in this world, and we do not know where his mind has been. The crash - the moment proper of discovery - is leaped or avoided. The poem swerves from this ‘center’ or hovers between natural events and the intimation of an ecstatic sphere - just as the moon itself is a borderer, separating starry and mortal worlds. The poets, we know, anticipated Freud, but depth analysis will not explain this poem anymore than romance does. It is with both and with neither. Its figurative life is not a displaced life, but the very movement of imagination’s eccentric path. Because imagination leaps over time, because a star almost halts the traveler (his consciousness of the way), the narrative movement stalls and tends to collapse almost as soon as begun. This means, structurally, that the poem’s middle - the narrative proper barely keeps beginning and end apart as they converge. In ‘A slumber did my spirit seal’ (where the slumber corresponds to the trance of the ‘Strange fits’) this convergence has already taken place, leaving only two stanzas as poles of the vanished narrative, and the center a blank. Can we at least identify the poles? They are related, clearly, to ‘imagination’ and ‘nature’, to ‘ romance’ and ‘realism’. Yet, they veer, converge or cross. You fall, in Wordsworth, from the abyss of ideality (stanza one of ‘A slumber’) to the abyss of temporality (stanza two), or viceversa. You never remain in nature or in imagination. Let us say, then, that the lover of ‘Strange fits’ rides into the poem out of Romance. He is still apparaled like the child of the Great Ode, with an aura not purely of this world. And let us admit that were he to ride out of the poem it would be into trauma. But losing his way he remains in the poem that mediates the poles.

3.3

READER-RESPONSE CRITICISM

3.3.1 Hans Robert Jauss: from ‘Literary History As a Challenge to Literary Theory’ Thesis 1. A renewal of literary history demands the removal of the prejudices of historical objectivism and the grounding of the traditional aesthetics of production and representation in an aesthetics of reception and influence. The historicity of literature rests not on an organization of ‘literary facts’ that is established post festum, but rather on the preceding experience of the literary work by its readers. R. G. Collingwood’s postulate, posed in his critique of the prevailing ideology of objectivity in history - ‘History is nothing but the reenactment of past thought in the historian’s mind’ - is even more valid for literary history. For the positivistic view of history as the ‘objective’ description of a series of events in an isolated past neglects the artistic character as well as the specific historicity of literature. A literary work is not an object that stands by itself and that offers the same view to each reader in each period. It is not a monument that monologically reveals its timeless essence. It is much more like an orchestration that strikes ever new resonances among its readers and that frees the text from the material of the words and brings it to a contemporary existence: ‘words

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that must, at the same time that they speak to him, create an interlocutor capable of understanding them’. This dialogical character of the literary work also establishes why philological understanding can exist only in a perpetual confrontation with the text, and cannot be allowed to be reduced to a knowledge of facts. Philological understanding always remains related to interpretation that must set as its goal, along with learning about the object, the reflection on and description of the completion of this knowledge as a moment of new understanding. [...] The Perceval of Chrétien de Troyes, as a literary event, is not ‘historical’ in the same sense as, for example, the Third Crusade, which was occurring at about the same time. It is not a ‘fact’ that could be explained as caused by a series of situational preconditions and motives, by the intent of a historical action as it can be reconstructed, and by the necessary and secondary consequences of this deed. The historical context in which a literary work appears is not a factical, independent series of events that exists apart from an observer. Perceval becomes a literary event only for its reader, who reads this last work of Chrétien with a memory of his earlier works and who recognizes its individuality in comparison with these and other works that he already knows, so that he gains a new criterion for evaluating future works. In contrast to a political event, a literary event has no unavoidable consequences subsisting on their own that no succeeding generation can ever escape. A literary event can continue to have an effect only if those who come after it still or once again respond to it - if there are readers who again appropriate the past work or authors who want to imitate ,outdo, or refute it. The coherence of literature as an event is primarily mediated in the horizon of expectations of the literary experience of contemporary and later readers, critics, and authors. Whether it is possible to comprehend and represent the history of literature in its unique historicity depends on whether this horizon of expectations can be objectified. Thesis 2. The analysis of the literary experience of the reader avoids the threatening pitfalls of psychology if it describes the reception and the influence of a work within the objectifiable system of expectations that arises for each work in the historical moment of its appearance, from a preunderstanding of the genre, from the form and themes of already familiar works, and from the opposition between poetic and practical language. [...] A literary work, even when it appears to be new, does not present itself as something absolutely new in an informational vacuum, but predisposes its audience to a very specific kind of reception by announcements, overt and covert signals, familiar characteristics, or implicit allusions. It awakens memories of that which was already read, brings the reader to a specific emotional attitude, and with its beginning arouses expectations for the ‘middle and end’, which can then be maintained intact or altered, reoriented, or even fulfilled ironically in the course of the reading according to specific rules of the genre or type of text. The psychic process in the reception of a text is, in the primary horizon of aesthetic experience, by no means only an arbitrary series of merely subjective impressions, but rather the carrying out of specific instructions in a process of directed perception, which can be comprehended according to its constitutive motivations and triggering signals, and which also can be described by a textual linguistics. [...] A corresponding process of the continuous establishing and altering of horizons also determines the relationship of the individual text to the succession of texts that forms the genre. The new text evokes for the reader (listener) the horizon of expectations and rules familiar from earlier texts, which are then varied, corrected, altered, or even just reproduced. Variation and correction determine the scope, whereas alteration and reproduction determine the borders of a genre-structure. The interpretative reception of a text always presupposes the context of experience of aesthetic perception: the question of the subjectivity of the interpretation and of the taste of different readers or level of readers can be asked meaningfully only when one has first clarified which transsubjective horizon of understanding conditions the influence of the text. [...] Thesis 3. Reconstructed in this way, the horizon of expectations of a work allows one to determine its artistic character by the kind and the degree of its influence on a presupposed audience. If one characterizes as

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aesthetic distance the disparity between the given horizon of expectations and the appearance of a new work, whose reception can result in a ‘change of horizons’ through negation of familiar experiences or through raising newly articulated experiences to the level of consciousness, then this aesthetic distance can be objectified historically along the spectrum of the audience’s reactions and criticism’s judgement (spontaneous success, rejection or shock, scattered approval, gradual or belated understanding). The way in which a literary work, at the historical moment of its appearance, satisfies, surpasses, dissappoints, or refutes the expectations of its first audience obviously provides a criterion for the determination of its aesthetic value. The distance between the horizon of expectations and the work, between the familiarity of previous aesthetic experience and the ‘horizontal change’ demanded by the reception of the new work, determines the artistic character of a literary work, according to an aesthetics of reception: to the degree that this distance decreases, and no turn toward the horizon of yet-unknown experience is demanded of the receiving consciousness, the closer the work comes to the sphere of ‘culinary’ or entertainment art [Unterhaltungskunst]. This latter work can be characterized by an aesthetic of reception as not demanding any horizontal change, but rather as precisely fulfilling the expectations prescribed by a ruling standard of taste, in that it satisfies the desire for the reproduction of the familiarly beautiful; confirms familiar sentiments; sanctions wishful notions; makes unusual experiences enjoyable as ‘sensations’ ; or even raises moral problems but only to solve them in an edifying manner as predecided questions. If, conversely, the artistic character of a work is to be measured by the aesthetic distance with which it opposes the expectations of its first audience, then it follows that this distance, at first experienced as a pleasing or alienating new perspective, can disappear for later readers, to the extent that the original negativity of the work has become self-evident and has itself entered into the horizon of future aesthetic experience, as a henceforth familiar expectation. The classical character of the so-called masterworks especially belongs to this second horizontal change; their beautiful form that has become selfevident, and their seemingly unquestionable ‘eternal meaning’ bring them, according to an aesthetic of reception, dangerously close to the irresistibly convincing and enjoyable ‘culinary’ art, so that it requires a special effort to read them ‘against the grain’ of the accustomed experience to catch sight of their artistic character once again. [...] Thesis 4. The reconstruction of the horizon of expectations, in the face of which a work was created and received in the past, enables one on the other hand to pose questions that the text gave an answer to, and thereby to discover how the contemporary reader could have viewed and understood the work. This approach corrects the mostly unrecognized norms of a classicist or modernizing understanding of art, and avoids the circular recourse to a general ‘spirit of the age’. It brings to view the hermeneutic difference between the former and the current understanding of a work; it raises to consciousness the history of its reception, which mediates both positions; and it thereby calls into question as a platonizing dogma of philological metaphysics the apparently self-evident claims that in the literary text, literature [Dichtung] is eternally present, and that its objective meaning, determined once and for all, is at all times immediately accessible to the interpreter. [...]

3.3.3 Stanley Fish: from ‘Literature in the Reader: Affective Stylistics’ [...] Underlying these two analyses is a method, rather simple in concept, but complex (or at least complicated) in execution. The concept is simply the rigorous and disinterested asking of the question, what does this word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, chapter, novel, play, poem, do?; and the execution involves an analysis of the developing responses of the reader in relation to the words as they succeed one another in time . Every word in this statement bears a special emphasis. The analysis must be of the developing responses to distinguish it from the atomism of much stylistic criticism. A reader's response to the fifth word in a line or

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sentence is to a large extent the product of his responses to words one, two three, and four. And by response, I intend more than the range of feelings (what Wimsatt and Beardsley call ‘the purely affective reports’). The category of response includes any and all of the activities provoked by a string of words: the projection of syntactical and/or lexical probabilities; their subsequent occurrence or non-occurrence; attitudes towards persons, or things, or ideas referred to; the reversal or questioning of those attitudes; and much more. Obviously, this imposes a great burden on the analyst who in his observations on any one moment in the reading experience must take into account all that has happened (in the reader's mind) at previous moments, each of which was in its turn subject to the accumulating pressures of its predecessors. (He must also take into account influences and pressures predating the actual reading experience questions of genre, history, etc. - questions we shall consider later.) All of this is included in the phrase ‘in time’. The basis of the method is a consideration of the temporal flow of the reading experience, and it is assumed that the reader responds in terms of that flow and not to the whole utterance. That is, in an utterance of any length, there is a point at which the reader has taken in only the first word, and then the second, and then the third, and so on, and the report of what happens to the reader is always a report of what has happened to that point. (The report includes the reader's set towards future experiences, but not those experiences.) [...] The results (I will later call them advantages) of this method is are fairly, though not exhaustively, represented in my two examples. Essentially what the method does is slow down the reading experience so that ‘events’ one does not notice in normal time, but which do occur, are brought before our analytical attentions. It is as if a slow-motion camera with an automatic stop action effect were recording our linguistic experiences and presenting them to us for viewing. Of course the value of such a procedure is predicated on the idea of meaning as an event, something that is happening between the words and in the reader's mind, something not visible to the naked eye, but which can be made visible (or at least palpable) by the regular introduction of a ‘searching’ question (what does this do?). It is more usual to assume that meaning is a function of the utterance, and to equate it with the information given (the message) or the attitude expressed. That is, the components of an utterance are considered either in relation to each other or to a state of affairs in the outside world, or to the state of mind of the speaker-author. In any and all of these variations, meaning is located (presumed to be embedded) in the utterance, and the apprehension of meaning is an act of extraction. In short, there is little sense of process and even less of the reader's actualizing participation in that process. [...] The Affective Fallacy Fallacy In the preceding pages I have argued the case for a method of analysis which focuses on the reader rather than on the artifact, and in what remains of this essay I would like to consider some of the more obvious objections to that method. The chief objection, of course, is that affective criticism leads one away from the ‘thing itself’ in all its solidity to the inchoate impressions of a variable and various reader. This argument has several dimensions to it, and will require a multidimensional answer. First, the charge of impressionism has been answered, I hope, by some of my sample analyses. If anything, the discriminations required and yielded by the method are too fine for even the most analytical of tastes. This is in large part because in the category of response I include not only ‘tears, prickles’, and other ‘psychological symptoms’, but all the precise mental operations involved in reading, including the formulation of complete thoughts, the performing (and regretting) of acts of judgement, the following and making of logical sequences; and also because my insistence on the cumulative pressures of the reading experience puts restrictions on the possible responses to a word or phrase. The larger objection remains. Even if the reader's responses can be described with some precision, why bother with them, since the more palpable objectivity of the text is immediately available (‘the poem itself, as an object of specifically critical judgement, tends to disappear.’). My reply to this is simple. The objectivity of the text is an illusion, and moreover, a dangerous illusion, because it is so physically convincing. The illusion is one of self-sufficiency and completeness. A line of print or

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a page or a book is so obviously there - it can be handled, photographed, or put away - that it seems to be the sole repository of whatever value and meaning we associate with it. (I wish the pronoun could be avoided, but in a way it makes my point.) This is, of course, the unspoken assumption behind the word ‘content.’ The line or page or book contains - everything. The great merit (from this point of view) of kinetic art is that it forces you to be aware of ‘it’ as a changing object - and therefore no ‘object’ at all - and also to be aware of yourself as correspondingly changing. Kinetic art does not lend itself to a static interpretation because it refuses to stay still and doesn't let you stay still either. In its operation it makes inescapable the actualizing role of the observer. Literature is a kinetic art, but the physical form it assumes prevents us from seeing its essential nature, even though we so experience it. The availability of a book to the hand, its presence on a shelf, its listing in a library catalogue - all of these encourage us to think of it as a stationary object. Somehow when we put a book down, we forget that while we were reading, it was moving (pages turning, lines receding into the past) and forget too that we were moving with it. [...] oft, is not unwise.’ The focus of the controversy is the word ‘spare’, for which two readings have been proposed: leave time for and refrain from. Obviously the point is crucial if one is to resolve the sense of the lines. In one reading ‘those delights’ are being recommended - he who can leave time for them is not unwise; in the other, they are the subject of a warning - he who knows when to refrain from them is not unwise. The proponents of the two interpretations cite as evidence both English and Latin syntax, various sources and analogues, Milton's ‘known attitudes’ as they are found in his other writings, and the unambiguously expressed sentiments of the following sonnet on the same question. [...] If it does nothing else, this curious anticipates a point I shall make in a few moments: evidence brought to bear in the course of formalist analyses - that is, analyses generated by the assumption that meaning is embedded in the artifact - will always point in as many directions as there are interpreters; that is, not only will it prove something, it will prove anything. It would appear then that we are back at square one, with a controversy that cannot be settled because the evidence is inconclusive. But what if that controversy is itself regarded as evidence, not of an ambiguity that must be removed, but of an ambiguity that readers have always experienced? What, in other words, if for the question ‘what does 'spare' mean?’ we substitute the question ‘what does the fact that the meaning of 'spare' has always been an issue mean?’ The advantage of this question is that it can be answered. Indeed it has already been answered by the readers who are cited in the Variorum Commentary. What these readers debate is the judgement the poem makes on the delights of recreation; what the debate indicates is that the judgement is blurred by a verb that can be made to participate in contradictory readings. (Thus the important thing about the evidence surveyed in the Variorum is not how it is marshalled, but that it could be marshalled at all, because it then becomes evidence of the equal availability of both interpretations.) In other words, the lines first generate a pressure for judgement - ‘he who of those delights can judge’ - and then decline to deliver it; the pressure, however,

3.3.4 Stanley Fish: from ‘Interpreting the Variorum’ The Case for Reader-Response Analysis [...] Milton's twentieth sonnet - ‘Lawrence of virtuous father virtuous son’ - has been the subject of relatively little commentary. In it the poet invites a friend to join him in some distinctly Horatian pleasures - a neat repast intermixed with conversation, wine, and song; a respite from labour all the more enjoyable because outside the earth is frozen and the day sullen. The only controversy the sonnet has inspired concerns its final two lines: ‘[...] He who of those delights can judge, and spare / To interpose them

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still exists, and it is transferred from the words on the page to the reader (the reader is ‘he who’), who comes away from the poem not with a statement, but with a responsibility, the responsibility of deciding when and how often - if at all - to indulge in ‘those delights’ (they remain delights in either case). This transferring of responsibility from the text to its readers is what the lines ask us to do - it is the essence of their experience - and in my terms it is therefore what the lines mean. It is a meaning the Variorum critics attest to even as they resist it, for what they are labouring so mightily to do by fixing the sense of the lines is to give the responsibility back. The text, however, will not accept it and remains determinedly evasive, even in its last two words, ‘not unwise’. In their position these words confirm the impossibility of extracting form the poem a moral formula, for the assertion (certainly too strong a word) they complete is of the form, ‘He who does such and such, of him it cannot be said that he is unwise’ ; but of course neither can it be said that he is wise. Thus what Bush correctly terms the ‘defensive’ ‘not unwise’ operates to prevent us from attaching the label ‘wise’ to any action, including either of the actions - leaving time for or refraining from - represented by the ambiguity of ‘spare’. Not only is the pressure of judgement taken off the poem, it is taken off the activity the poem at first pretended to judge. The issue is finally not the moral status of ‘those delights’ - they become in seventeenth-century terms ‘things indifferent’ - but on the good or bad uses to which they can be put by readers who are left, as Milton always leaves them, to choose and manage by themselves.[...] Undoing the Case for Reader-Response Analysis Editorial practices like these are only the most obvious manifestations of the assumptions to which I stand opposed: the assumption that there is a sense, that it is embedded or encoded in the text, and that it can be taken in at a single glance. These assumptions are, in order, positivist, holistic, and spatial, and to have them is to be committed both to a goal and to a procedure. The goal is to settle on a meaning, and the procedure involves first stepping back from the text, and then putting together or otherwise calculating the discrete units of significance it contains. My quarrel with this procedure (and with the assumptions that generate it) is that in the course of following it through, the reader's activities are at once ignored and devalued. They are ignored because the text is taken to be selfsufficient - everything is in it - and they are devalued because when they are thought of at all, they are thought of as the disposable machinery of extraction. In the procedures I would urge, the reader's activities are at the center of attention, where they are regarded, not as leading to meaning, but as having meaning. The meaning they have is a consequence of their not being empty; for they include the making and revising of assumptions, the rendering and regretting of judgements, the coming to and abandoning of conclusions, the giving and withdrawing of approval, the specifying of causes, the asking of questions, the supplying of answers, the solving of puzzles. In a word, these activities are interpretive - rather than being preliminary to questions of value they are at every moment settling and resettling questions of value - and because they are interpretive, a description of them will also be, and without any additional steps, an interpretation, not after the fact, but of the fact (of experiencing). It will be a description of a moving field of concerns, at once wholly present (not waiting for meaning, but constituting meaning) and continually in the act of reconstituting itself. [...] This, then, is my thesis: that the form of the reader's experience, formal units, and the structure of intention are one, that they come into view simultaneously, and that therefore the questions of priority and independence do not arise. What does arise is another question: what produces them? That is, if intention, form, and the shape of the reader's experinece are simply different ways of referring to (different perspectives on) the same interpretive act, what is that act an interpretation of? I cannot answer that question, but neither, I would claim, can anyone else, although formalists try to answer it by pointing to patterns and claiming that they are available independently of (prior to) interpretation. These patterns vary according to the procedures that yield them: they may be statistical (number of two-syllable words per hundred words), grammatical (ratio of passive to active constructions, or of rightbranching to left-branching sentences, or of anything else); but whatever

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they are I would argue that they do not lie innocently in the world but are themselves constituted by an interpretive act, even if, as is often the case, that act is unacknowledged. Of course, this is as true of my analyses as it is of anyone else's. In the examples offered here I appropriate the notion ‘line ending’ and treat it as a fact of nature; and one might conclude that as a fact it is responsible for the reading experience I describe. The truth I think is exactly the reverse: line endings exist by virtue of perceptual strategies rather than the other way round. Historically, the strategy that we know as ‘reading (or hearing) poetry’ has included paying attention to the line as a unit, but it is precisely that attention which has made the line as a unit (either of print or of aural duration) available. A reader so practised in paying that attention that he regards the line as a brute fact rather than as a convention will have a great deal of difficulty with concrete poetry; if he overcomes that difficulty it will not be because he has learnt to ignore the line as a unit but because he will have acquired a new set of interpretive strategies (the strategies constitutive of ‘concrete poetry reading’) in the context of which the line as a unit no longer exists. In short, what is noticed is what has been made noticeable, not by a clear and undistorting glass, but by an interpretive strategy. [...] Interpretive Communities But why should this ever happen? Why should two or more readers ever agree, and why should regular, that is, habitual, differences in a career of a single reader ever occur? What is the explanation on the one hand of the stability of interpretation (at least among certain groups at certain times) and on the other of the orderly variety of interpretation if it is not the stability and variety of texts? The answer to all of these questions is to be found in a notion that has been implicit in my argument, the notion of interpretive communities. Interpretive communities are made up of those who share interpretive strategies not for reading (in the conventional sense) but for writing texts, for constituting their properties and assigning their intentions. In other words these strategies exist prior to the act of reading and therefore determine the shape of what is read rather than, as is usually assumed, the other way around. If it is an article of faith in a particular community that there are a variety of texts, its members will boast a repertoire of strategies for making them. And if a community believes in the existence of only one text, then the single strategy its members employ will be forever writing it. The first community will accuse the members of the second of being reducive, and they in turn will call their accusers superficial. The assumption in each community will be that the other is not correctly perceiving the ‘true text’, but the truth will be that each perceives the text (or texts) its interpretive strategies demand and call into being. This, then, is the explanation both for the stability of interpretation among different readers (they belong to the same community) and for the regularity with which a single reader will employ different interpretive strategies and thus make different texts (he belongs to different communities). It also explains why there are disagreements and why they can be debated in a principled way: not because of a stability in texts, but because of a stability in the makeup of interpretive communities and therefore in the opposing positions they make possible. Of course this stability is always temporary (unlike the longed for and timeless stability of the text). Interpretive communities grow larger and decline, and individuals move from one to another; thus while the alignments are not permanent, they are always there, providing just enough stability for the interpretive battles to go on, and just enough shift and slippage to assure that they will never be settled. The notion of interpretive communities thus stands between an impossible ideal and the fear which leads so many to maintain it. The ideal is of perfect agreement and it would require texts to have a status independent of interpretation.. The fear is of interpretive anarchy, but it would only be realized if interpretation (text making) were completely random. It is the fragile but real consolidation of interpretive communities that allows us to talk to one another, but with no hope or fear of ever being able to stop. In other words interpretive communities are no more stable than texts because interpretive strategies are not natural or universal, but learned. This does not mean that there is a point at which an individual has not yet learned any. The ability to interpret is not acquired; it is constitutive of being human. What is acquired are the ways of interpreting and those

Contemporary Critical Theories. A Reader
same ways can also be forgotten or supplanted or complicated or dropped from favor (‘no one reads that way anymore’). When any of these things happens, there is a corresponding change in texts, not because they are being read differently, but because they are being written differently. The only stability, then, inheres in the fact (at least in my model) that interpretive strategies are being deployed, and this means that communication is a much more chancy affair than we are accustomed to think it. For there are no fixed texts, but only interpretive strategies making them; and if interpretive strategies are not natural, but learned (and therefore unavailable to a finite description), what is it that utterers (speakers, authors, critics, me, you) do? In the old model utterers are in the business of handing over ready made or prefabricated meanings. These meanings are said to be encoded, and the code is assumed to be in the world independently of the individuals who are obliged to attach themselves to it (if they do not they run the danger of being declared deviant). In my model, however, meanings are not extracted but made and made not by encoded forms but by interpretive strategies that call forms into being. It follows that what utterers do is give hearers and speakers the opportunity to make meanings (and texts) by inviting them to put into execution a set of strategies. It is presumed that the invitation will be recognized, and that presumption rests on a projection on the part of a speaker or author of the moves he would make if confronted by the sounds or marks he is uttering or setting down. It would seem at first that this account of things simply reintroduces the old objection; for isn't this an admission that there is after all a formal encoding, not perhaps of meanings, but of the directions for making them, for executing interpretive strategies? The answer is that they will only be directions to those who already have the interpretive strategies in the first place. Rather than producing interpretive acts, they are the product of one. An author hazards his projection, not because of something ‘in’ the marks, but because of something he assumes to be in his reader. The very existence of the ‘marks’ is a function of an interpretive community, for they will be recognized (that is, made) only by its members. Those outside that community will be deploying a different set of interpretive strategies (interpretation cannot be withheld) and will therefore be making different marks. So once again I have made the text disappear, but unfortunately the problems do not disappear with it. If everyone is continually executing interpretive strategies and in the act of constituting texts, intentions, speakers, and authors, how can any of us know whether or not he is a member of the same interpretive community as any other of us? The answer is that he can't, since any evidence brought forward to support the claim would itself be an interpretation (especially if the ‘other’ were an author long dead). The only ‘proof’ of membership is fellowship, the nod of recognition from someone in the same community, someone who says to you what neither of us could ever prove to a third party: ‘we know.’ I say it to you now, knowing full well that you will agree with me (that is, understand) only if you already agree with me.

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[...] I hope to be able to show you that the concept of commitment, in the perfunctory form in which it generally occurs in the debate I have just mentioned, is a totally inadequate instrument of political literary criticism. I should like to demonstrate to you that the tendency of a work of literature can be politically correct only if it is also correct in the literary sense. That means that the tendency which is politically correct includes a literary tendency. And let me add at once: this literary tendency, which is implicitly or explicitly included in every correct political tendency, this and nothing else makes up the quality of a work. It is because of this that the correct political tendency of a work extends also to its literary quality: because a political tendency which is correct comprises a literary tendency which is correct. [...] Social relations, as we know, are determined by production relations. And when materialist criticism approached a work, it used to ask what was the position of that work via-à-vis the social production relations of its times. This is an important question. But also a very difficult one. [...] Before I ask: what is a work’s position vis-à-vis the production relations of its time, I should like to ask: what is its position within them? This question concerns the function of a work within the literary production relations of its time. In other words, it is directly concerned with literary technique. By mentioning technique I have named the concept which makes literary products accessible to immediate social, and therefore materialist, analysis. At the same time, the concept of technique represents the dialectical starting-point from which the sterile dichotomy of form and content can be surmounted. [...] If, then, we were entitled earlier on to say that the correct political tendency of a work includes its literary quality because it includes its literary tendency, we can now affirm more precisely that this literary tendency may consist in a progressive development of literary technique, or in a regressive one. [...] And so we come back to the thesis we proposed at the beginning: the place of the intellectual in the class struggle can only be determined, or better still chosen, on the basis of his position within the production

4. HISTORY, IDEOLOGY

4.1

NEO-MARXIST APPROACHES

4.1.1 Walter Benjamin: from ‘The Author As Producer’ 70 You will remember how Plato, in his project for a Republic, deals with writers. In the interests of the community, he denies them the right to dwell therein. Plato had a high opinion of the power of literature. But he thought it harmful and superfluous - in a perfect community, be it understood. Since Plato, the question of the writer’s right to exist gas not often been raised with the same emphasis; today, however, it arises once more. Of course it only seldom arises in this form. But all of you are more or less conversant with it in a different form, that of the question of the writer’s autonomy: his freedom to write just what he pleases. You are not inclined to grant him this autonomy. You believe that the present social situation forces him to decide in whose service he wishes to place his activity. The bourgeois of entertainment literature does not acknowledge this choice. You prove to him that, without admitting it, he is working in the service of certain class interests. A progressive type of writer does not acknowledge this choice. His decision is made upon the basis of the class struggle: he places himself on the side of the proletariat. And that’s the end of his autonomy. He directs his activity towards what will be useful to the proletariat in the class struggle. This is usually called pursuing a tendency, or ‘commitment’.
70 Address delivered at the Institute for the Study of Fascism, Paris, on 27 April

1934

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process. [...] Here I should like to confine myself to pointing out the decisive difference between merely supplying a production apparatus and changing it. I should like to preface my remarks on the New Objectivity 71 with the proposition that to supply a production apparatus without trying, within the limits of the possible, to change it, is a highly disputable activity even when the material supplied appears to be of a revolutionary nature. For we are confronted with the fact - of which there has been no shortage of proof in Germany over the last decade - that the bourgeois apparatus of production and publication is capable of assimilating, indeed of propagating, an astonishing amount of revolutionary themes without ever seriously putting into question its own continued existence or that of the class which owns it. In any case this remains true so long as it is supplied by hacks, albeit revolutionary hacks. And I define a hack as a man who refuses as a matter of principle to improve the production apparatus and so prise it away form the ruling class for the benefit of Socialism. I further maintain that an appreciable part of so-called left-wing literature had no other social function than that of continually extracting new effects or sensations from this situation for the public’s entertainment. Which brings me to the New Objectivity. It launched the fashion for reportage. Let us ask ourselves whose interests were advanced by this technique. For greater clarity let me concentrate on photographic reportage. Whatever applies to it is transferable to the literary form. Both owe their extraordinary development to publication techniques - radio and illustrated press. Let us think back to Dadaism. The revolutionary strength of Dadaism lay in testing art for its authenticity. You made still-lifes out of tickets, spools of cotton, cigarette stubs, and mixed them with pictorial elements. You put a frame round the whole thing. And in this way you said to the public: look, your picture frame destroys time; the smallest authentic fragment of everyday life says more than painting. [...] But now let us follow the subsequent development of photography. What
71 [Ed.] Die neue Sachlichkeit: A post-expressionist artistic movement of the

mid-1920s in Germany that included such figures as George Grosz.

do we see? It has become more and more subtle, more and more modern, and the result is that it is now incapable of photographing a tenement or a rubbish-heap without transfiguring it. Not to mention a river dam or an electric cable factory: in front of these, photography can only say, ‘How beautiful’. [...] It has succeeded in turning abject poverty itself, by handling it in a modish, technically perfect way, into an object of enjoyment. For it is an economic function of photography to supply the masses, by modish processing, with matter which previously eluded mass consumption Spring, famous people, foreign countries - then one of its political functions is to renovate the world as it is from the inside, i.e. by modish techniques. Here we have an extreme example of what it means to supply a production apparatus without changing it. Changing it would have meant bringing down one of the barriers, surmounting one of the contradictions which inhibit the productive capacity of the intelligentsia. What we must demand from the photographer is the ability to put such a caption beneath his picture as will rescue it from the ravages of modishness and confer upon it a revolutionary use value. [...] Turning to the New Objectivity as a literary movement, I must go a step further and say that it has turned the struggle against misery into an object of consumption. In many cases, indeed, its political significance has been limited to converting revolutionary reflexes, in so far as these occurred within the bourgeoisie, into themes of entertainment and amusement which can be fitted without much difficulty into the cabaret life of a large city. The characteristic feature of this literature is the way it transforms political struggle so that it ceases to be a compelling motive for decision and becomes an object of comfortable contemplation; it ceases to be a means of production and becomes an article of consumption[...]. [...] Commitment is a necessary, but never a sufficient, condition for a writer’s work acquiring an organizing function. For this to happen it is also necessary for the writer to have a teacher’s attitude. And today this is more than ever an essential demand. A writer who does not teach other

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writers teaches nobody. The crucial point, therefore, is that a writer’s production must have the character of a model: it must be able to instruct other writers in their production, and, secondly, it must be able to place an improved apparatus at their disposal. This apparatus will be the better, the more consumers it brings in contact with the production process - in short, the more readers or spectators it turns into collaborators. We already posses a model of this kind, of which, however, I cannot speak here in any detail. It is Brecht’s epic theatre. [...] Epic theatre does not reproduce conditions; rather, it discloses, it uncovers them. The uncovering of the conditions is effected by interrupting the dramatic process; but such interruption does not act as a stimulant; it has an organizing function. It brings the action to a standstill in mid-course and thereby compels the spectator to take up a position towards the action, and the actor to take up a position towards his part. Let me give an example to show how Brecht, in his selection and treatment of gestures, simply uses the method of montage - which is so essential to radio and film-in such a way that it ceases to be a modish technique and becomes a human event. Picture to yourself a family row: the wife is just about to pick up a bronze statuette and hurl it at the daughter; the father is opening a window to call for help. At this moment a stranger enters. The process is interrupted; what becomes apparent in its place is the condition now exposed before the stranger’s view: disturbed faces, open window, a devastated interior. There exists, however, a viewpoint from which even the more normal scenes of present-day life do not look so very different from this. That is the viewpoint of the epic dramatist. He opposes the dramatic laboratory to the finished work of art. He goes back, in a new way, to the theatre’s greatest and most ancient opportunity: the opportunity to expose the present. [...] You may have noticed that the reflections whose conclusions we are now nearing make only one demand on the writer: the demand to think, to reflect upon his position in the production process. We can be sure that such thinking, in the writers who matter - that is to say the best technicians in their particular branches of the trade - will sooner or later lead them to confirm very soberly their solidarity with the proletariat.

4.1.2 Walter Benjamin: from ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ [...] The presence of the original is the prerequisite of the concept of authenticity. Chemical analyses of the patina of a bronze can help to establish this, as does the proof that a given manuscript of the Middle Ages stems from an archive of the fifteenth century. The whole sphere of authenticity is outside technical - and, of course, not only technical reproducibility [...] The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be brought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always depreciated. This holds not only for the art work but also, for instance, for a landscape which passes in review before the spectator in a movie. In the case of the art object, a most sensitive nucleus - namely, its authenticity - is interfered with whereas no natural object is vulnerable on that score. The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced. Since the historical testimony rests on the authenticity, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction when substantive duration ceases to matter. And what is really jeopardized when the historical testimony is affected is the authority of the object. One might subsume the eliminated element in the term ‘aura’ and go on to say: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art. This is a symptomatic process whose significance points beyond the realm of art. One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced. These two processes lead to

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a tremendous shattering of tradition which is the obverse of the contemporary crisis and renewal of mankind. Both processes are intimately connected which the contemporary mass movements. Their most powerful agent is the film. Its social significance, particularly in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect, that is the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage. [...] The concept of aura which was proposed above with reference to historical objects may usefully be illustrated with reference to the aura of natural ones. We define the aura of the latter as the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be. If, while resting on a summer afternoon, you follow with your eyes a mountain range on the horizon or a branch which casts its shadow over you, you experience the aura of those mountains, of the branch. This image makes it easy to comprehend the social bases of the contemporary decay of the aura. It rests on two circumstances, both of which are related to the increasing significance of the masses in contemporary life. Namely, the desire of contemporary masses to bring things ‘closer’ spatially and humanly, which is just as ardent as their bent toward overcoming the uniqueness of very reality by accepting its reproduction. [...] The uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being imbedded in the fabric of tradition. This tradition itself is thoroughly alive and extremely changeable. An ancient statue of Venus, for example, stood in a different traditional context with the Greeks, who made it an object of veneration, than with the clerics of the Middle Ages, who viewed it as an ominous idol. Both of them, however, were equally confronted with its uniqueness, that is, its aura. Originally the contextual integration of art in tradition found its expression in the cult. We know that the earliest art works originated in the service of a ritual - first the magical, then the religious kind. It is significant that the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function. In other words, the unique value of the ‘authentic’ work of art has its basis in ritual, the location of its original use value. This ritualistic basis, however remote, is still recognizable as secularized ritual even in the most profane forms of the cult of beauty. The secular cult of beauty, developed during the Renaissance and prevailing for three centuries, clearly showed that ritualistic basis in its decline and the first deep crisis which befell it. With the advent of the first truly revolutionary means of reproduction, photography, simultaneously with the rise of socialism, art sensed the approaching crisis which has become evident a century later. At the time, art reacted with the doctrine of l’ art pour l’ art, that is, with a theology of art. This gave rise to what might be called a negative theology in the form of the idea of ‘pure’ art, which not only denied any social function of art but also any categorizing by subject matter. (In poetry, Mallarmé was the first to take this position.) An analysis of art in the age of mechanical reproduction must do justice to these relationships, for they lead us to an all-important insight: for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual. To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility. From a photographic negative, for example, one can make any number of prints; to ask for the ‘authentic’ print makes no sense. But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice - politics. [...]

4.1.3 Terry Eagleton: from Criticism and Ideology [...] In what sense is it correct to maintain that ideology, rather than history, is the object of the text? Or, to pose the question slightly differently: In what sense, if any, do elements of the historically ‘real’ enter the text ? Georg Lukács, in his Studies in European Realism, argues that Balzac’s greatness lies in the fact that the ‘inexorable veracity’ of his art drives him to transcend his reactionary ideology and perceive the real

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historical issues at stake. Ideology, here, clearly signifies a ‘false consciousness’ which blocks true historical perception, a screen interposed between men and their history. As such, it is a simplistic notion: it fails to grasp ideology as an inherently complex formation which, by inserting individuals into history in a variety of ways, allows of multiple kinds and degrees of access to that history. It fails, in fact, to grasp the truth that some ideologies, and levels of ideology, are more false than others. Ideology is not just the bad dream of the infrastructure: in deformatively ‘producing’ the real, it nevertheless carries elements of reality within itself. But it is not enough, therefore, to modify the image of ‘screen’ to that of ‘filter’, as though ideology were a mesh through which elements of the real could slip. Any such ‘interventionist’ model of ideology holds out the possibility of looking behind the obstruction to observe reality; but in the capitalist mode of production, what is there to be observed is certainly not the real. The real is by necessity empirically imperceptible, concealing itself in the phenomenal categories (commodity, wage-relation, exchange-value and so on) it offers spontaneously for inspection. Ideology, rather, so produces and constructs the real as to cast the shadow of its absence over the perception of its presence. It is not merely that certain aspects of the real are illuminated and others obscured; it is rather that the presence of the real is a presence constituted by its absences, and vice versa. [...] History, then, certainly ‘enters’ the text, not least the ‘historical’ text; but it enters it precisely as ideology, as a presence determined and distorted by its measurable absences. This is not to say that real history is present in the text but in disguised form, so that the task of the critic is then to wrench the mask from its face. It is rather that history is ‘present’ in the text in the form of a double-absence. The text takes as its object, not the real, but certain significations by which the real lives itself - significations which are themselves the product of its partial abolition. Within the text itself, then, ideology becomes a dominant structure, determining the character and disposition of certain ‘pseudo-real’ constituents. This inversion, as it were, of the real historical process, whereby in the text itself ideology seems to determine the historically real rather than vice versa, is itself naturally determined in the last instance by history itself. History, one might say, is the ultimate signifier of literature, as it is the ultimate signified. For what else in the end could be the source and object of any signifying practice but the real social formation which provides its material matrix ? [...] The literary work appears free - self-producing and self-determining because it is unconstrained by the necessity to reproduce any particular ‘real’ ; but this freedom simply conceals its more fundamental determination by the constituents of its ideological matrix. If it seems true that at the level of the text’s ‘pseudo-real’ - its imaginary figures and events - ‘anything can happen’, this is by no means true of its ideological organisation; and it is precisely because that is not true that the freewheeling contingency of its pseudo-real is equally illusory. The pseudoreal of the literary text is the product of the ideologically saturated demands of its modes of representation. History, then, operates upon the text by an ideological determination which within the text itself privileges ideology as a dominant structure determining its own imaginary or ‘pseudo’ history. This ‘pseudo’ or ‘textual’ real is not related to the historical real as an imaginary ‘transposition’ of it. Rather than ‘imaginatively transposing’ the real, the literary work is the production of certain produced representations of the real into an imaginary object. If it distantiates history, it is not because it transmutes it to fantasy, shifting from one ontological gear to another, but because the significations it works into fiction are already representations of reality rather than reality itself. The text is a tissue of meanings, perceptions and responses which inhere in the first place in that imaginary production of the real which is ideology. The ‘textual real’ is related to the historical real, not as an imaginary transposition of it, but as the product of certain signifying practices whose source and referent is, in the last instance, history itself. [...]

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4.1.5 Terry Eagleton: from Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976) Marxist criticism is not merely a ‘sociology of literature’, concerned with how novels get published and whether they mention the working class. Its aim is to explain the literary work more fully; and this means a sensitive attention to its forms, styles and meanings. But it also means grasping those forms, styles and meanings as the products of a particular history. The painter Henri Matisse once remarked that all art bears the imprint of its historical epoch, but that great art is that in which this imprint is most deeply marked. Most students of literature are taught otherwise: the greatest art is that which timelessly transcends its historical conditions. Marxist criticism has much to say on this issue, but the ‘historical analysis of literature did not of course begin with Marxism. Many thinkers before Marx had tried to account for literary works in terms of the history which produced them; and one of these, the German idealist philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, had a profound influence on Marx’s own aesthetic thought. The originality of Marxist criticism, then, lies not on its historical approach to literature, but on its revolutionary understanding of history itself. Base and Superstructure It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. The social relations between men, in other words, are bound up with the way they produce the material life. Certain ‘productive forces’ - say, the organisation of labor in the middle ages - involve the social relations of villein to lord we know as feudalism. At a larger stage, the development of new modes of productive organisation is based on a changed set of social relations - this time between the capitalist class who own those means of production, and proletarian class whose labor - power the capitalist buys for profit. Taken together, these ‘forces’ and ‘relations’ of production form what Marx calls ‘the economic structure of society’, or what is more commonly known by Marxism as the economic ‘base’ or ‘infrastructure’. From these economic base, in every period, emerges a ‘superstructure’ certain forms of law and politics, a certain kind of state, whose essential function is to legitimate the power of the social class which owns the means of economic production. But the superstructure contains more than this: it also consists of certain ‘definite forms of social consciousness’ (political, religious, ethical, aesthetic and so on), which is what Marxism designates as ideology. The function of ideology, also, is to legitimate the power of the ruling class in society; in the last analysis, the dominant ideas of society are the ideas of its ruling class. Art, than, is for Marxism part of the ‘superstructure’ of society. It is (with qualifications we shall make later) part of society’s ideology - an element in that complex structure of social perception which ensures that the situation in which one social class has power over the others is either seen by most members of the society as ‘natural’, or not seen at all. To understand literature, then, means understanding the total social process of which it is part. As the Russian Marxist critic Georgy Plekhanov put it: ‘The social mentality of an age is conditioned by that age’s social relations. This is nowhere quite as evident as in the history of art and literature’. Literary works are not mysteriously inspired, or explicable simply in terms of their authors ‘psychology .They are forms of perception, particular ways of seeing the world ;and as such they have a relation to that dominant way of seeing the world which is the ‘social mentality’ or ideology of an age. That ideology, in turn, is the product of the concrete social relations into which men enter at a particular time and place; it is the way those class relations are experienced, legitimized and perpetuated; they are constrained into them by material necessity - by the nature and stage of development of their mode of economic production. To understand King Lear, The Dunciad or Ulysses is therefore to do more than interpret their symbolism, study their literary history and add footnotes about sociological facts which enter into them. It is first of all to understand the complex, indirect relations between those works and the ideological worlds they inhabit - relations which emerge not just in ‘themes’, and ‘preoccupations’, but in style, rhythm, image, quality and

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(as we shall see later) form. But we do not understand ideology either unless we grasp the part it plays in the society as a whole - how it consists of a definite, historically relative structure of perception which underpins the power of a particular social class. This is not an easy task, since an ideology is never a simple reflection of a ruling class’s ideas; on the contrary, it is always a complex phenomenon, which may incorporate conflicting, even contradictory views, of the world. To understand an ideology, we must analyse the precise relations between different classes in a society; and to do that means grasping where those classes stand in relation to the mode of production. All this may seem a tall order to the student of literature who thought he was merely required to discuss plot and characterization. It may seem a confusion of literary criticism with disciplines like politics and economics which ought to be kept separate. But it is, nonetheless, essential for the fullest explanation of any work of literature. Take, for example, the great Placido Gulf scene in Conrad’s Nostromo. To evaluate the fine artistic force of this episode, as Decoud and Nostromo are isolated in utter darkness on the slowly sinking lighter, involves us in subtly placing the scene within the imaginative vision of the novel as a whole. The radical pessimism of that vision (and to grasp it fully we must, of course, relate Nostromo to the rest of Conrad’s fiction) cannot simply be accounted for in terms of ‘psychological’ factors in Conrad himself; for individual psychology is also a social product. The pessimism of Conrad’s world view is rather a unique transformation into art of ideological pessimism rife in his period - a sense of history as futile and cyclical, of individuals as impenetrable and solitary, of human values as relativistic and irrational, which marks a drastic crisis in the ideology of Western bourgeois class to which Conrad allied himself. There were good reasons for that ideological crisis, in the history of imperialistic capitalism throughout this period. Conrad did not, of course, merely anonymously reflect that history in his fiction; every writer is individually placed in society, responding to a general history from his own particular standpoint, making sense of it in his own concrete terms. But it is not difficult to see how Conrad’s personal standing , as an ‘aristocratic’ Polish exile deeply committed to English conservatism, intensified for him the crisis of English bourgeois ideology. It is also possible to see in these terms why that scene in the Placido Gulf should be artistically fine. To write well is more than a matter of ‘style’ ; it also means having at one’s disposal an ideological perspective which can penetrate to the realistic of men’s experience in a certain situation. This is certainly what the Placido Gulf scene does; and it can do it, not just because its authors happens to have an excellent prose - style, but because his historical situation allow him access to such insights. Whether those insights are in political terms ‘progressive’ or ‘reactionary’ (Conrad’s are certainly the latter) is not the point - any more than it is to the point that most of the agreed major writers of the twentieth century Yeats, Eliot, Pound, Lawrence - are political conservatives who each had truck with fascism. Marxist criticism, rather than apologising for the fact, explains it - sees that, in the absence of genuinely revolutionary art, only a radical conservatism, hostile like Marxism to the withered values of liberal bourgeois society, could produce the most significant literature. Literature and Superstructure It would be a mistake to imply that Marxist criticism moves mechanically from ‘text’ to ‘ideology’ to ‘social relations’ to ‘productive forces’. It is concerned, rather, with the unity of these ‘levels’ of society. Literature may be part of the superstructure, but it is not merely the passive reflection of the economic base. Engels makes this clear, in a letter to Joseph Bloch in 1890: According to the materialistic conception of history, the determining element in history is ultimately the production and reproduction in real life. More than this neither Marx nor I have ever Asserted. If therefore somebody twists this into the statement that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms it into a meaningless, abstract and absurd phrase. The economic situation is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure - political forms of the class struggle and its consequences, constitutions established by the victorious class after a

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successful battle, etc. - forms of law - and then even the reflexes of all these actual struggles in the brains of the combatants: political, legal, and philosophical theories, religious ideas and their further development into systems of dogma - also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form. Engels wants to deny that there is any mechanical, one - to - one correspondence between base and superstructure; elements of the superstructure constantly react back upon and influence the economic base. The materialist theory of history denies that art can in itself change the course of history; but it insists that art can be an active element in such change. Indeed, when Marx came to consider the relation between base and superstructure, it was art which he selected as an instance of the complexity and indirectness of that relationship: In the case of the arts, it is well known that certain periods of their flowering are out of all proportion to the general development of society, hence also to the material foundation, the skeletal structure, as it were, of its organisation. For example, the Greeks comparedto the moderns or also Shakespeare. It is even recognised that certain forms of art, e.g. the epic, can no longer be produced in their world epoch - making, classical stature as soon as the production of art, as such, begins; that is, that certain significant forms within the realm of the arts are possible only at an undeveloped stage of artistic development. If this is the case with the relation between different kinds of art within the realm of art, it is already less puzzling that it is the case in the relation of the entire realm to the general development of society. The difficulty consists only in the general formulation of these contradictions. As soon as they have been specified, they are already clarified. [...] Two questions, then, emerge from Marx’s formulations in the Grundrisse. The first concerns the relation between ‘base’ and ‘superstructure’ ; the second concerns our own relation in the present with past art. To take the second question first: how can it be that we moderns still find aesthetic appeal in the cultural products of the past, vastly different societies? In a sense, the answer Marx gives is not different from the answer to the question: How is it that we moderns still respond to the exploits of, say, Spartacus? We respond to Spartacus or Greek sculpture because our own history links us to those ancient societies; we find in them an undeveloped phase of the forces which condition us. Moreover, we find in those ancient societies a primitive image of ‘measure’ between man and Nature which capitalist society necessarily destroys, and which socialist society can reproduce at an incomparably higher level. We ought, in other words, to think of ‘history’ in wider terms than our own contemporary history. To ask how Dickens relates to history is not just to ask how he relates to Victorian England, for that society was itself the product of a long history which includes men like Shakespeare and Milton. It is a curiously narrowed view of history which defines it merely as the ‘contemporary moment’ and relegates all else to the ‘universal’. One answer to the problem of past and present is suggested by Bertolt Brecht, who argues that ‘we need to develop the historical sense[...] into a real sensual delight. When our theatres perform plays of other periods they like to annihilate distance, fill in the gap, gloss over the differences. But what comes then of our delight in comparison, in distance, in dissimilarity - which is at the same time a delight in what is close and proper to ourselves?’ The other problem posed by the Grundrisse is the relation between base and superstructure. Marx is clear that these two aspects of society do not form a symmetrical relationship, dancing a harmonious minuet handin-hand throughout history. Each element of a society’s superstructure art, law, politics, religion - has its own tempo of development, its own internal evolution, which is not reducible to a mere expression of the class struggle or the state of the economy. Art, as Trotsky comments, has ‘a very high degree of autonomy’ ; it is not tied in any simple one-to-one way to the mode of production. And yet Marxism claims too that, in the last analysis, art is determined by that mode of production. How are we to

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explain this apparent discrepancy? Let us take a concrete literary example. A ‘vulgar Marxist’ case about T.S.Eliot’s The Waste Land might be that the poem is directly determined by ideological and economic factors - by the spiritual emptiness and exhaustion of bourgeois ideology which springs from that crisis of capitalist imperialism known as the First World War. This is to explain the poem as an immediate ‘reflection’ of those conditions; but it clearly fails to take into account a whole series of ‘levels’ which ‘mediate’ between the text itself and capitalist economy. It says nothing, for instance, about the social situation of Eliot himself - a writer living an ambiguous relationship with English society, as an ‘aristocratic’ American expatriate who became a glorified City clerk and yet identified deeply with the conservative traditionalist, rather than bourgeois - commercialist, elements of English ideology. It says nothing about that ideology’s more general forms nothing of its structure, content, internal complexity, and how all these are produced by the extremely complex class - relations of English society at the time. It is silent about the form and language of The Waste Land – about why Eliot, despite his extreme political conservatism, was an avant garde poet who selected certain ‘progressive’ experimental techniques from the history of literary forms available to him, and on what ideological basis he did this. We learn nothing from this approach about the social conditions which gave rise at the time to certain forms of ‘spirituality’, part - Christian, part - Buddhist, which the poem draws on; or of what role a certain kind of bourgeois anthropology (Fraser) and bourgeois philosophy (F.H.Bradley’s idealism) used by the poem fulfilled in the ideological formation of the period. We are unilluminated about Eliot’s social position as an artist, part of a self - consciously erudite, experimental elite with particular modes of publication (the small press, the little magazine) at their disposal; or about the kind of audience which that implied, and its effect on the poem’s styles and devices. We remain ignorant about the relation between the poem and the aesthetic theories associated with it - of what role that aesthetic plays in the ideology of the time, and how it shapes the construction of the poem itself. Any complete understanding of The Waste Land would need to take these (and other) factors into account. It is not a matter of reducing the poem to the state of contemporary capitalism; but neither it is a matter of introducing so many judicious complications that anything as crude as capitalism may to all intends and purposes be forgotten. On the contrary: all the elements I have enumerated (the author’s class - position, ideological forms and their relation to literary forms, ‘spirituality’ and philosophy, techniques of literary production, aesthetic theory) are directly relevant to the base/ superstructure model. What Marxist criticism looks for is the unique conjuncture of elements which we know as The Waste Land. No one of these elements can be conflated with another: each has its own relative independence. The Waste Land can indeed be explained as a poem which springs from a crisis of bourgeois ideology, but it has no simple correspondence with that crisis or with the political and economic conditions which produced it. (As a poem, it does not of course know itself as a product of a particular ideological crisis, for if it did it would cease to exist. It needs to translate that crisis into ‘universal’ terms - to grasp it as part of an unchanging human condition, shared alike by ancient Egyptians and modern man.) The Waste Land’s relation to the real history of its time, then, is highly mediated; and in this it is like all works of art.

4.1.6 Terry Eagleton: from ‘The Rise of English’ TO SPEAK OF ‘LITERATURE AND IDEOLOGY’ as two separate phenomena which can be interrelated is, as I hope to have shown, in one sense quite unnecessary. Literature, in the meaning of the word we have inherited, is an ideology. It has the most intimate relations to questions of social power. But if the reader is still unconvinced, the narrative of what happened to literature in the later nineteenth century might prove a little more persuasive. If one were asked to provide a single explanation for the growth of

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English studies in the later nineteenth century, one could do worse than reply:’ the failure of religion.’ By the mid-Victorian period, this traditionally reliable, immensely powerful ideological form was in deep trouble. It was no longer winning the hearts and minds of the masses, and under the twin impacts of scientific discovery and social change its previous unquestioned dominance was in danger of evaporating. This was particularly worrying for the Victorian ruling class, because religion is for all kinds of reasons an extremely effective form of ideological control. Like all successful ideologies, it works much less by explicit concepts of formulated doctrines than by image, symbol, habit, ritual, and mythology. It is affective and experiential, entwining itself with the deepest unconscious roots of the human subject; and any social ideology which is unable to engage with such a deep-seated a-rational fears and needs, as T. S. Eliot knew, is unlikely to survive very long. Religion, moreover, is capable of operating at every social level: if there is a doctrinal inflection of it for the intellectual elite, there is also a pietistic brand of it for the masses. It provides an excellent social ‘cement,’ encompassing pious peasant, enlightened middle-class liberal and theological intellectual in a single organization. Its ideological power lies in its capacity to ‘materialize’ beliefs as practices: religion is the sharing of the chalice and the blessing of the harvest, not just abstract argument about consubstantiation or hyperdulia. Its ultimate truths, like those mediated by the literary symbol, are conveniently closed to rational demonstration, and thus absolute in their claims. Finally religion, at least in its Victorian forms, is a Pacifying influence, fostering meekness, self-sacrifice, and the contemplative inner life. It is no wonder that the Victorian ruling class looked on the threatened dissolution of this ideological discourse with something less than equanimity. Fortunately, however, another, remarkably similar discourse lay to hand: English literature. George Gordon, early professor of English literature at Oxford, commented in his inaugural lecture that ‘England is sick, and ... English literature must save it. The Churches (as I understand) having failed, and social remedies being slow, English literature has now a triple function: still I suppose, to delight and instruct us, but also, and above all, to save our souls and heal the State.’ 1 Gordon’s words were spoken in our own century, but they find a resonance everywhere in Victorian England. It is a striking thought that had it not been for this dramatic crisis in mid-nineteenth-century ideology, we might not today have such a plentiful supply of Jane Austen casebooks and bluffer’s guides to Pound. As religion progressively ceases to provide the social ‘cement,’ affective values and basic mythologies by which a socially turbulent class-society can be welded together, ‘English’ is constructed as a subject to carry this ideological burden from the Victorian period onward. The key figure here is Matthew Arnold, always preternaturally sensitive to the needs of his social class, and engagingly candid about being so. The urgent social need, as Arnold recognizes, is to ‘Hellenize’ or cultivate the philistine middle class, who have proved unable to underpin their political and economic power with a suitably rich and subtle ideology. This can be done by transfusing into them something of the traditional style of the aristocracy, who as Arnold shrewdly perceives are ceasing to be the dominant class in England, but who have something of the ideological wherewithal to lend a hand to their middle-class masters. State-established schools, by linking the middle class to ‘the best culture of their nation,’ will confer on them ‘a greatness and a noble spirit, which the tone of these classes is not of itself at present adequate to impart.’ 2 The true beauty of this maneuver, however, lies in the effect it will have in controlling and incorporating the working class: It is of itself a serious calamity for a nation that its tone of feeling and grandeur of spirit should be lowered or dulled. But the calamity appears far more serious still when we consider that the middle classes, remaining as they are now, with their narrow, harsh, unintelligent, and unattractive spirit and culture, will almost certainly fail to mould or assimilate the masses below them, whose sympathies are at the present moment actually wider and more liberal than theirs. They arrive, these masses, eager to enter into possession of the world, to gain a more vivid sense of their own life and activity. In this their irrepressible development, their natural educators and initiators are those immediately above them, the middle

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classes. If these classes cannot win their sympathy or give them their direction, society is in danger of falling into anarchy.3 Arnold is refreshingly unhypocritical: there is no feeble pretence that the education of the working class is to be conducted chiefly for their own benefit, or that his concern with their spiritual condition is, in one of his most cherished terms, in the least ‘disinterested.’ In the even more disarmingly candid words of a twentieth-century proponent of this view: ‘Deny to working-class children any common share in the immaterial, and presently they will grow into the men who demand with menaces a communism of the material.’ 4 If the masses are not thrown a few novels, they may react by throwing up a few barricades. Literature was in several ways a suitable candidate for this ideological entreprise. As a liberal, ‘humanizing’ pursuit, it could provide a potent antidote to political bigotry and ideological extremism. Since literature, as we know, deals in universal human values rather than in such historical trivia as civil wars, the oppression of women, or the dispossession of the English peasantry, it could serve to place in cosmic perspective the petty demands of working people for decent living conditions or greater control over their own lives, and might even with luck come to render them oblivious of such issues in their high-minded contemplation of eternal truths and beuties. English, as a Victorian handbook for teachers put it, helps to ‘promote sympathy and fellow feeling among all classes’ ; another Victorian writer speaks of literature as opening a ‘serene and luminous region of truth where all may meet and expatiate in common,’ above ‘the smoke and stir, the din and the turmoil of man’s lower life of care and business and debate.’5 Literature would rehearse the masses in the habits of pluralistic thought and feeling, persuading them to acknowledge that more than one point of viewpoint than theirs existed - namely, that of their masters. It would communicate to them the moral riches of bourgeois civilization, impress upon them a reverence for middle-class achievements, and, since reading is an essentially solitary, contemplative activity, curb in them any disruptive tendency to collective political action. It would give them a pride in their national language and literature: if scanty education and extensive hours of labor prevented them personally from producing a literary masterpiece, they could take pleasure in the thought that others of their own kind - English people - had done so. The people, according to a study of English literature written in 1891, ‘need political culture, instruction, that is to say, in what pertains to their relation to the State, to their duties as citizens; and they need also to be impressed sentimentally by having the presentation in legend and history of heroic and patriotic examples brought vividly and attractively before them.’6 All of this, moreover, could be achieved without the the cost and labor of teaching them the classics: English literature was written in their own language, and so was conveniently available to them. Like religion, literature works primarely by emotion and experience, and so was admirably well-fitted to carry through the ideological task which religion left off. Indeed by our time literature has become effectively identical with the opposite of analytical thought and conceptual enquiry: whereas scientists, philosophers, and political theorists are saddled with these drably discursive pursuits, students of literature occupy the more prized territory of feeling and experience. Whose experience and what kinds of feeling, is a different question. Literature from Arnold onward is the enemy of ‘ideological dogma,’ an attitude which might have come as a surprise to Dante, Milton, and Pope; the truth or falsity of beliefs such as that blacks are inferior to whites is less important than what it feels like to experience them. Arnold himself had beliefs, of course, though like everybody else he regarded his own beliefs as reasoned positions rather than ideological dogmas. Even so, it was not the business of literature to communicate such beliefs directly to argue openly, for example, that private property is the bulwark of liberty. Instead, literature should convey timeless truths, thus distracting the masses from their immediate commitments, nurturing in them a spirit of tolerance and generosity, and so ensuring the survival of private property. Just as Arnold attempted in Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible to dissolve away the embarrassingly doctrinal bits of Christianity into poetically suggestive sonorities, so the pill of middleclass ideology was to be sweetened by the sugar of literature.

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There was another sense in which the ‘experiential’ nature of literature was ideologically convenient. For ‘experience’ is not only the homeland of ideology, the place where it takes roots most effectively; it is also in literary form a kind of vicarious self-fulfillment. If you do not have the money and leisure to visit the Far East, except perhaps as a soldier in the pay of British imperialism, then you can always ‘experience’ it at second hand by reading Conrad or Kipling. Indeed, according to some literary theories this is even more real than strolling around Bangkok. The actually impoverished experience of the mass of people, an impoverishment bred by their social conditions, can be supplemented by literature: instead of working to change such conditions (which Arnold, to his credit, did more thoroughly than almost any of those who sought to inherit his mantle), you can vicariously fulfill someone’s desire for a fuller life by handing them Pride and Prejudice. It is significant, then, that ‘English’ as a academic subject was first institutionalized not in the universities, but in the Mechanics’ Institutes, working men’s colleges, and extension lecturing circuits.7 English was literally the poor man’s classics - a way of providing a ceapish ‘liberal’ eduaction for those beyond the charmed circles of public school and Oxbridge. From the outset, in the work of ‘English’ pioneers like F. D. Maurice and Charles Kingsley, the emphasis was on solidarity between the social classes, the cultivation of ‘larger sympathies,’ the instillation of national pride, and the transmission of ‘moral’ values. This last concern still the distincitve hallmark of literary studies in England, and a frequent source of bemusement to intellectuals from other cultures - was an essential part of the ideological project; indeed the rise of ‘English’ is more or less concomitant with an historic shift in the very meaning of the term ‘moral,’ of which Arnold, Henry James, and F. R. Leavis are the major critical exponents. Morality is no longer to be grasped as a formulated code or explicit ethical system: it is a rather a sensitive preoccupation with the whole quality of life itself, with the oblique, nuanced particulars of human experience. Somewhat rephrased, this can be taken as meaning that the old religious ideologies have lost their force, and that a more subtle communication of moral values, one which works by ‘dramatic enactment’ rather than rebarbative abstraction, is thus in order. Since such values are nowhere more vividly dramatized than in literature, brought home to ‘felt experience’ with all the unquestionable reality of a blow on the head, literature becomes more than just a handmaiden of moral ideology: it is moral ideology for the modern age, as the work of F. R. Leavis was most graphically to evince. The working class was not the only oppressed layer of Victorian society at whom ‘English’ was specifically beamed. English literature, reflected a Royal Commission witness in 1877, might be considered a suitable subject for ‘women ... and the second - and third-rate men who [...] become schoolmasters.’8 The ‘softening’ and ‘humanizing’ effects of English, terms recurrenly used by its early proponents are within the existing ideological stereotypes of gender clearly feminine. The rise of English in England ran parallel to the gradual, grudging admission of women to the institutions of higher education; and since English was an untaxing sort of an affair, concerned with the finer feelings rather than with the more virile topics of bona fide academic ‘disciplines,’ it seemed a convenient sort of nonsubject to palm off on the ladies, who were in any case excluded from science and the professions. Sir Arthur Qiuller Couch, first professor of English at Cambridge University, would open with the word ‘Gentlemen’ lectures addressed to a hall filled with women. Though modern male lecturers may have changed their manners, the ideological conditions which make English a popular university subject for women to read have not. If English had its feminine aspect, however, it also aquired a masculine one as the century drew on. The era of the academic establishment of English is also the era of high imperialism in England. As British capitalism became thratened and progressively outstripped by its younger German and American rivals, the squalid, undignified scramble of too much capital chasing too few overseas territories, which was to culminate in 1914 in the first imperialist world war, created the urgent need for a sense of national mission and identity. What was at stake in English studies was less English literature than English literature: our great ‘national poets’ Shakespeare and Milton, the sense of an ‘organic’

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national tradition and identity to which new recruits could be admitted by the study of humane letters. The reports of educational bodies and official enquieries into the teaching of English, in this period and in the early twentieth century, are strewn with nostalgic back-references to the ‘organic’ community of Elizabethan England in which nobles and groundlings found a common meeting-place in the Shakespearian theater, and which might still be reinvented today. It is no accident that the author of one of the most influential government reports in this area, The Teaching of English in England (1921), was none other than Sir Henry Newbolt, minor jingoist poet and perpetrator of the immortal line ‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’ Chris Baldick has pointed to the importance of admission of English literature to the civil service examinations in the Victorian period: armed with this conveniently packaged version of their cultural treasures, the servants of British Imperialism could sally forth overseas secure in a sense of their national identity, and able to display that cultural superiority to their envying colonial peoples.9 It took rather long for English, a subject fit for women, workers, and those wishing to impress the natives, to penetrate the bastions of rulingclass power in Oxford and Cambridge. English was an upstart, amateurish affair as academic subjects went, hardly able to compete on equal terms with the rigors of Greats or philology; since every English gentleman read his own literature in his spare time anyway, what was the point of submitting it to systematic study? Fierce rearguard actions were fought by both ancient universities against this distressingly dilettante subject: the definition of an academic subject was what could be examined, and since English was no more than idle gossip about literary taste it was difficult to know how to make it unpleasant enough to qualify as a proper academic pursuit. This, it might be said, is one of the few problems associated with the study of English which have since been effectively resolved. The frivolous contempt for his subject displayed by the first really ‘literary’ Oxford professor, Sir Walter Raleigh, has to be believed. 10 Raleigh held his post in the years leading up to the First World War; and his relief at the outbreak of the war, an event which allowed him to abandon the feminine vagaries of literature and put his pen to something more manly - war propaganda - is palpable in his writing. The only way in which English seemed likely to justify its existence in the ancient universities was by systematically mistaking itself for the classics; but the classicists were hardly keen to have this pathetic parody of themselves around. If the first imperialist world war more or less put paid to Sir Walter Raleigh, providing him with an heroic identity more confortingly in line with that of his Elizabethan namesake, it also signaled the final victory of English studies at Oxford and Cambridge. One of the most strenuous antagonists of English - philology - was colosely bound up with Germanic influence; and since England happened to be passing through a major war with Germany, it was possible to smear classical philology as a form of ponderous Teutonic nonsense with which no self-respecting Englishman should be caught associating.11 England’s victory over Germany meant a renewal of national pride, an upsurge of patriotism which could only aid English’s cause; but at the same time the deep trauma of the war, its almost intolerable questioning of every previously held cultural asumption, gave rise to a ‘spiritual hungering,’ as one contemporary commentator described it, for which poetry seemed to provide an answer. It is a chastening thought that we owe the university study of English, in part at least, to a meaningless massacre. The Great war, with its carnage of ruling-class rhetoric, put paid to some of the more strident forms of chauvinism on which English had previously thrived: there could be few more Walter Raleigh after Wilfred Owen. * English Literature rode to power on the back of wartime nationalism; but it also represented a search for spiritual solutions on the part of an English ruling class whose sense of identity had been profoundly shaken, whose psyche was ineradicably scarred by the horrors it had endured. Literature would be at once solace and reaffirmation, a familiar ground on which Englishmen could regroup both to explore, and to find some alternative to, the nightmare of history.

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4.1.8 Fredric Jameson: from ‘The politics of theory: Ideological positions in the postmodernism debate’ The problem of postmodernism - how its fundamental characteristics are to be described, whether it even exists in the first place, whether the very concept is of any use, or is, on the contrary, a mystification - this problem is at one and the same time a aesthetic and a political one. The various positions which can logically be taken on it, whatever terms they are couched in, can always be shown to articulate visions of history, in which the evaluation of the social moment in which we live today is the object of an essentially political affirmation or repudiation. Indeed, the very enabling premise of the debate turns on an initial, strategic presupposition about our social system: to grant some historic originality to a postmodernist culture is also implicitly to affirm some radical structural moments of the capitalism from which it emerged. The various logical possibilities, however, are necessarily linked with the taking of a position on that other issue inscribed in the very designation ‘postmoderinsm’ itself, namely, the evaluation of what must now be called high or classical modernism itself. Indeed, when we make some initial inventory of the varied cultural artifacts that might be plausibly characterized as postmodern, the temptation is strong to seek the ‘family resemblance’ of such heterogeneous styles and products, not in themselves, but in some common high modernist impulse and aesthetic against which they all, in one way or another, stand in reaction. The seemingly irreducible variety of the postmodern can be observed fully as problematically within the individual media (of arts) as between them: what affinities, besides some overall generational reaction, to establish between the elaborate false sentences and syntactic mimesis of John Ashbery and the much simpler talk poetry that began to emerge in the early 1960s in protest against the New Critical aesthetic of complex, ironic style? Both register, no doubt, but in very different ways indeed, the institutionalization of high modernism in this same period, the shift from an oppositional to a hegemonic position of the classics of modernism, the latter’s conquest of the university, the museum, the art gallery network and the foundations, the assimilation, in other words, of the various high modernisms, into the ‘canon’ and the subsequent attenuation of everything in them felt by our grandparents to be shocking, scandalous, ugly, dissonant, immoral and antisocial. […] In narrative proper, the dominant conception of a dissolution of linear narrative, a repudiation of representation, and a ‘revolutionary’ break with the (repressive) ideology of storytelling generally does not seem adequate to encapsulate such very different work as that of Burroughs, but also of Pynchon and Ismael Reed; of Beckett, but also of the French nouveau roman and its own sequels, and of the ‘non-fiction novel’ as well, and the New Narrative. Meanwhile, a significantly distinct aesthetic has seemed to emerge both in commercial film and in the novel with the production of what may be called nostalgia art (or la mode rétro). But it is evidently architecture which is the privileged terrain of struggle of postmodernism and the most strategic field in which this concept has been debated and its consequences explored. Nowhere else has ‘the death of modernism’ been felt so intensely, or pronounced more stridently; nowhere else have the theoretical and practical stakes been articulated more programmatically. Of a burgeoning literature on the subject, Robert Venturi’s Learning from Las Vegas (1971), a series of discussions by Christopher Jencks, and Pier Paolo Portoghesi’s Biennale presentation, After Modern Architecture, may be cited as usefully illuminating the central issues in the attack on the architectural high modernism of the International Style (Le Corbusier, Wright, Mies): namely, the bankruptcy of the monumental (buildings which, as Venturi puts it, are really sculptures), the failure of its protopolitical or Utopian program (the transformation of all social life by way of the transformation of space), its elitism including the authoritarianism of the charismatic leader, and finally its virtual destruction of the older city fabric by a proliferation of glass boxes and of high rises that, disjoining themselves from their immediate contexts, turn these last into the degraded public space of an urban no-man’ s-land. […] On the whole, four general positions on postmodernism may be

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disengaged from the variety of recent pronouncements on the subject; yet even this relatively neat scheme of combinatoire is further complicated by one’s impression that each of these possibilities is susceptible of either a politically progressive or a politically reactionary expression (speaking now from a Marxist or more generally left perspective). One can, for example, salute the arrival of postmodernism from an essentially anti-modernist standpoint.72 A somewhat earlier generation of theorists (most notably Ihab Hassan) seems already to have done something like this when they dealt with the postmodernist aesthetic in terms of a more properly poststructuralist thematics (the Tel quel attack on ideology of representation, the Heideggerian or Derridean ‘end of Western metaphysics’): here what is often not yet called postmodernism (see the Utopian prophecy at the end of Foucault’s The Order of Things) is saluted as the coming of a whole new way of thinking and being in the world. But since Hassan’s celebration also includes a number of more extreme monuments of high modernism (Joyce, Mallarmé), this would be a relatively more ambiguous stance, were it not for the accompanying celebration of a new information high technology which marks the affinity between such evocations and the political thesis of a properly postindustrial society. All of which is largely disambiguated in Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House, an otherwise undistinguished book report on the recent architectural debates by a writer whose own New Journalism itself constitutes one of the varieties of postmodernism. […] These positions - anti-modern, pre-postmodern - then find their opposite number and structural inversion in a group of counter-statements whose aim is to discredit the shoddiness and irresponsibility of the postmodern in general by way of a reaffirmation of the authentic impulse of a high modernist tradition still considered to be alive and vital. Hilton Kramer’s twin manifestoes in the inaugural issue of his new journal, The New
72 The following analysis does not seem to me applicable to the work of the boundary two group, who early on appropriated the term ‘postmodernism’ in the rather different sense of a critique of establishment ‘modernist’ thought.

Criterion, articulate these views with force, contrasting the moral responsibility of the ‘masterpieces’ and monuments of classical modernism with the fundamental irresponsibility and superficiality of a postmodernism associated with camp and with the ‘facetiousness’ of which the Wolfe style is a ripe and obvious example. What is more paradoxical is that politically Wolfe and Kramer have much in common; and there would seem to be a certain inconsistency in the way in which Kramer must seek to eradicate from the ‘high seriousness’ of the classics of the modern their fundamentally antimiddle-class stance and the protopolitical passion which informs the repudiation, by great modernists, of Victorian taboos and family life, of commodification and of the increasing asphyxiation of a desacralizing capitalism, from Ibsen to Lawrence, from Van Gogh to Jackson Pollock. Kramer’s ingenious attempt to assimilate this ostensibly anti-bourgeois stance of the great modernists to a ‘loyal opposition’ secretly nourished, by way of foundation and grants, the bourgeoisie itself - while the most unconvincing indeed - is surely itself enabled by the contradictions of the cultural politics of modernism proper, whose negations depend on the persistence of what they repudiate and entertain - when they do not, very rarely indeed (as in Brecht), attain some genuine political selfconsciousness - a symbolic relationship with capital. It is, however, easier to understand Kramer’s move here when the political project of The New Criterion is clarified: for the mission of the journal is clearly to eradicate the 1960s and what remains of that legacy, to consign that whole period to the kind of oblivion which the 1950s were able to devise for the 1930s or the 1920s for the rich political culture of the pre-World-War-I era. The New Criterion therefore inscribes itself in the effort, on-going and at work everywhere today, to construct some new conservative cultural counter-revolution, whose terms range from the aesthetic to the ultimate defence of the family and of religion. […] It will not be surprising, in the light of what has been shown for an earlier set of positions on modernism and postmodernism, that in spite of the openly conservative ideology of this second evaluation of the contemporary cultural scene, the latter can also be appropriated for what

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is surely a far more progressive line on the subject. We are indebted to Jürgen Habermas73 for this dramatic reversal and rearticulation of what remains the affirmation of supreme value of the Modern and the repudiation of the theory, as well as the practice, of postmodernism. For Habermas, however, the vice of postmodernism consists very centrally in its politically reactionary function, as the attempt everywhere to discredit a modernist impulse Habermas himself associates with the bourgeois Enlightenment and with the latter’s still universalizing and Utopian spirit. With Adorno himself, Habermas seeks to rescue and to recommemorate what both see as the essentially negative, critical and Utopian power of the great high modernisms. […] Both of the previous positions - antimodern/prepostmodern , and premodern/antipostmodern - are characterized by an acceptance of the new term which is tantamount to an agreement on the fundamental nature of some decisive ‘break’ between the modern and the postmodern moments, however these last are evaluated. There remain, however, two final logical possibilities, both of which depend on the repudiation of any conception of such a historical break and which therefore, implicitly or explicitly, call into question the usefulness of the very category of postmodernism. As for the works associated with the latter, they will then be assimilated back into classical modernism proper, so that the ‘postmodern’ becomes little more than the form taken by the authentically modern in our own period, and a mere dialectical intensification of the old modernist impulse towards innovation. […] The two final positions on the subject thus logically prove to be a positive and negative assessment respectively of a postmodernism now assimilated back into the high modernist tradition. Jean-François Lyotard 74 thus proposes that his own vital commitment to the new and the emergent,
73 See his ‘Modernity - An Incomplete Project’, in Hal Foster, ed., The AntiAesthetic (Port Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983), pp. 3-15. 74 See ‘Answering the Questions: What is Postmodernism?’ in J.-F. Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), pp. 71-82; the book itself focuses primarily on science and epistemology rather than on culture.

to a contemporary or postcontemporary cultural production now widely characterized as ‘postmodern’, be grasped as part and parcel of a reaffirmation of the authentic older higher modernisms very much in Adorno’s spirit. The ingenious twist or swerve in his own proposal involves the proposition that something called ‘postmodernism’ does not follow high modernism proper, as the latter’s waste product, but rather very precisely precedes and prepares it, so that the contemporary postmodernisms all around us may be seen as the promise of the return and the reinvention, the triumphant reappearance, of some new high modernism endowed with all its older power and with fresh life. This is a prophetic stance, whose analyses turn on the anti-representational thrust of modernism and postmodernism; Lyotard’s aesthetic positions, however, cannot be adequately evaluated in aesthetic terms, since what informs them is an essentially social and political conception of a new social system beyond classical capitalism (our old friend, ‘postindustrial society’): the vision of a regenerated modernism is in that sense inseparable from a certain prophetic faith in the possibilities and the promise of the new society itself in full emergence. The negative inversion of this position will then clearly involve an ideological repudiation of modernism of a type which might conceivably range from Lukács’ older analysis of modernist forms as the replication of the reification of capitalist social life all the way to some of the more articulated critiques of high modernisms of the present day. What distinguished this final position from the antimodernisms outlined above is, however, that it does not speak from the security of an affirmation of some new postmodernist culture, but rather sees even the latter itself as a mere degeneration of the already stigmatized impulses in high modernism proper. This particular position, perhaps the bleakest of all and the most implacably negative, can be vividly confronted in the works of the Venetian architecture historian Manfredo Tafuri, whose extensive analyses constitute a powerful indictment of what we have termed the ‘protopolitical’ impulses in high modernism (the ‘Utopian’ substitution of cultural politics for politics proper, the vocation to transform the world by transforming its forms, space or language). […]

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But a genuinely historical and dialectical analysis of such phenomena particularly when it is a matter of a present of time and of history in which we ourselves exist and struggle - cannot afford the impoverished luxury of such absolute moralizing judgements: the dialectic is ‘beyond good and evil’ in the sense of some easy taking of sides, whence the glacial and inhuman spirit of its historical vision (something that already disturbed contemporaries about Hegel’s original system). The point is that we are within the culture of postmodernism to the point where its facile repudiation is as impossible as any equally facile celebration of it is complacent and corrupt. Ideological judgement on postmodernism today necessarily implies, one would think, a judgement on ourselves as well as on the artifacts in question; nor can an entire historical period, such as our own, be grasped in any adequate way by mean of global moral judgements or their somewhat degraded equivalent, pop-psychological diagnosis (such as those of Lasch’s Culture of Narcissism). On the classical Marxian view, the seeds of the future already exist within the present and must be conceptually disengaged from it, both through analysis and though political praxis (the workers of the Paris Commune, Marx once remarked in a striking phrase, ‘have no ideals to realize’ ; they merely sought to disengage emergent forms of new social relations from the older capitalist social relations in which the former had already begun to stir). In place of the temptation either to denounce the complacencies of postmodernism as some final symptom of decadence, or to salute the new forms as the harbingers of a new technological and technocratic Utopia, it seems more appropriate to assess the new cultural production within the working hypothesis of a general modification of culture itself within the social restructuration of late capitalism as a system. […] What can at least be admitted is the more universal presence of this particular feature, which appears more unambiguously in the other arts as an effacement of the older distinction between high and so-called mass culture, a distinction on which modernism depended for its specificity, its Utopian function consisting at least in part in the securing of a realm of authentic experience over against the surrounding environment of philistinism, of schlock and kitsch, of commodification and of Reader’s Digest culture. Indeed, it can be argued that the emergence of high modernism is itself contemporaneous with the first great expansion of a recognizable mass culture (Zola may be taken as the marker for the last coexistence of the art novel and the bestseller to be within the single text). It is now this constitutive differentiation which seems on the point of disappearing: we have already mentioned the way in which, in music, after Schonbergm and even after Cage, the two antithetical traditions of the ‘classical’ and the ‘popular’ once again begin to merge. In a more general way, it seems clear that the artists of the ‘postmodern’ period have been fascinated precisely by the whole new object world, not merely of the Las Vegas strip, but also of the late show and the grade-B Hollywood film, of so-called paraliterature with its airport paperback categories of the gothic and the romance, the popular biography, the murder mystery and the science-fiction or fantasy novel (in such a way that the older generic categories discredited by modernism seem on the point of living an unexpected reappearance). In the visual arts, the renewal of photography as a significant medium in its own right, and also as the ‘plane of substance’ in pop art or photorealism is a crucial symptom of the same process. At any rate, it becomes minimally obvious that the newer artists no longer ‘quote’ the materials, the fragments and motifs, of a mass or popular culture, as Joyce (and Flaubert) began to do, or Mahler; they somehow incorporate them to the point where many of our critical and evaluative categories (founded precisely on the radical differentiation of modernist and mass culture) no longer seem functional. But if this is the case, then it seems at least possible that what wears the mask and makes the gestures of ‘populism’ in the various postmodernist apologias and manifestoes is in reality a mere reflex and symptom of a (to be sure momentuous) cultural mutation, in which what used to be stigmatized as mass or commercial culture is now received into the precincts of a new and enlarged cultural realm. In any case, one would expect a term drawn from the typology of political ideologies to undergo basic semantic readjustments when its initial referent (that Popular-front class coalition of workers, peasants and petty bourgeois generally called

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‘the people’) has disappeared. Perhaps, however, this is not so new a story after all: one remembers, indeed, Freud’s delight at discovering an obscure tribal culture, which alone among the multitudinous traditions of dream-analysis on the earth had managed to hit on the notion that all dreams had hidden sexual meanings - except for sexual dreams, which meant something else! So also it would seem in the postmodernist debate, and the depoliticized bureaucratic society to which it corresponds, where all seemingly cultural positions turn out to be symbolic forms of political moralizing, except for the single overtly political note, which suggests a slippage from politics back into culture again. I have the feeling that the only adequate way out of this vicious circle, besides praxis itself, is a historical and dialectical view which seeks to grasp the present as History. interpretation as such, but rather at best its (indispensable) preconditions. Today this properly antiquarian relationship to the cultural past has a dialectical counterpart which is ultimately no more satisfactory; I mean the tendency of much contemporary theory to rewrite selected texts from the past in terms of its own aesthetic and, in particular, in terms of a modernist (or more properly postmodernist) conception of language. This unacceptable option, or ideological double bind, between antiquarianism and modernizing ‘relevance’ or projection demonstrates that the old dilemmas of historicism - and in particular, the question of the claims of monuments from distant and even archaic moments of the cultural past on a culturally different present - do not go away just because we choose to ignore them. Our presupposition, in the analyses that follow, will be that only a genuine philosophy of history is capable of respecting the specificity and radical difference of the social and cultural past while disclosing the solidarity of its polemics and passions, its forms, structures, experiences, and struggles, with those of the present day. [...] My position here is that only Marxism offers a philosophically coherent and ideologically compelling resolution to the dilemma of historicism evoked above. Only Marxism can give us an adequate account of the essential mystery of the cultural past, which, like Tiresias drinking the blood, is momentarily returned to life and warmth and allowed once more to speak, and to deliver its long-forgotten message in surroundings utterly alien to it. This mystery can be reenacted only if the human adventure is one; only thus - and not through the hobbies of antiquarianism or the projections of the modernists - can we glimpse the vital claims upon us of such long-dead issues as the seasonal alternation of the economy of a primitive tribe, the passionate disputes about the nature of the Trinity, the conflicting models of the polis of the universal Empire, or, apparently closer to us in time, the dusty parliamentary and journalistic polemics of the nineteenth-century nation states. These matters can recover their original urgency for us only if they are retold within the unity of a single great collective story; only if, in however disguised and symbolic a form, they are seen as sharing a single

4.1.9 Frederic Jameson: from ‘On Interpretation: Literature As a Socially Symbolic Act’ This book will argue the priority of the political interpretation of literary texts. It conceives of the political perspective not as some supplementary method, not as an optional auxiliary to other interpretive methods, current today - the psychoanalytic or the myth-critical, the stylistic, the ethical, the structural - but rather as the absolute horizon of all reading andall interpretation. This is evidently a much more extreme position than the modest claim, surely acceptable to everyone, that certain texts have social and historicalsometimes even political-resonance. Traditional literary history has, of course, never prohibited the investigation of such topics as the Florentine political background in Dante, Milton’s relationship to the schismatics, or Irish historical allusions in Joyce. I would argue, however, that such information - even where it is not recontained, as it is in most instances, by an idealistic conception of the history of ideas - does not yield

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fundamental theme - for Marxism, the collective struggle to wrest a realm of Freedom from a realm of Necessity; only if they are grasped as vital episodes in a single vast unfinished plot: ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles: freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman - in a word, oppressor and oppressed - and stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large or in the common ruin of the contending classes’. 75 It is in detecting the traces of that uninterrupted narrative, in restoring to the surface of the text the repressed and buried reality of this fundamental history, that the doctrine of a political unconscious finds its function and its necessity. From this perspective the convenient working distinction between cultural texts that are social and political and those that are not becomes something worse than an error: namely, a symptom and the reinforcement of the reification and privatization of contemporary life. [...] To imagine that, sheltered from the omnipresence of history and the implacable influence of the social, there already exists a realm of freedom - whether it be that of the microscopic experience with words in a text or the ecstasies and intensities of the various private religions - is only to strengthen the grip of Necessity over all such blind zones in which the individual subject seeks refuge, in pursuit of a purely individual, a merely psychological, project of salvation. The only effective liberation from such constrain begins with the recognition that there is nothing that is not social and historical - indeed, that everything is ‘in the last analysis’ political. The assertion of a political unconscious proposes that we undertake just such a final analysis and explore the multiple paths that lead to the unmasking of cultural artifacts as socially symbolic acts. It projects a rival hermeneutic to those already enumerated; but it does so, as we shall see, not so much by repudiating their findings as by arguing its ultimate philosophical and methodological priority over more specialized
75 Karl Marx and Friederich Engels, ‘The Communist Manifesto’, in Karl Marx, On

Revolution, ed. And trans. S. K. Padover (New York, 1971), p. 81.

interpretive codes whose insights are strategically limited as much by their own situational origins as by the narrow or local ways in which they construe or construct their objects of study. Still, to describe the readings and analyses contained in the present work as so many interpretations, to present them as so many exhibits in the construction of a new hermeneutic, is already to announce a whole polemic program, which must necessarily come to terms with a critical and theoretical climate variously hostile to these slogans. It is, for instance, increasingly clear that hermeneutic or interpretive activity has become one of the basic polemic targets of contemporary poststructuralism in France, which - powerfully buttressed by the authority of Nietzsche - has tended to identify such operations with historicism, and in particular with the dialectic and its valorization of absence and the negative, its assertion of the necessity and priority of totalizing thought. I will agree with this identification, with this description of the ideological affinities and implications of the ideal of the interpretive of hermeneutic act; but I will argue that the critique is misplaced. [...] [...] Leaving aside for the moment the possibility of any genuinely immanent criticism, we will assume that a criticism which asks the question ‘What does it mean?’ constitutes something like an allegorical operation in which a text is systematically rewritten in terms of some fundamental master code or ‘ultimately determining instance’. On this view, all ‘interpretation’ in the narrower sense demands the forcible or imperceptible transformation of a given text into an allegory of its particular master code or ‘transcendental signified’ : the discredit into which interpretation has fallen is thus at one with the disrepute visited on allegory itself. Yet to see interpretation this way is to acquire the instruments by which we can force a given interpretive practice to stand and yield up its name, to blurt out its master code and thereby reveal its metaphysical and ideological underpinnings. It should not, in the present intellectual atmosphere, be necessary laboriously to argue the position that every form of practice, including the literary-critical kind, implies and presupposes a form of theory; that empiricism, the mirage of an utterly

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nontheoretical practice, is a contradiction in terms; that even the most formalizing kinds of literary or textual analysis carry a theoretical charge whose denial unmasks it as ideological. [...] I will here go much further than this, and argue that even the most innocently formalizing readings of the New Criticism have as their essential and ultimate function the propagation of this particular view of what history is. Indeed, no working model of the functioning of language, the nature of communication or of the speech act, and the dynamics of formal and stylistic change is conceivable which does not imply a whole philosophy of history. [...] Interpretation proper-what we have called ‘strong’ rewriting, of ethical codes, which all in one way or another project various notions of the unity and the coherence of consciousness - always presupposes, if not a conception of the unconscious itself, then at least a mechanism of mystification or repression in terms of which it would make sense to seek a latent meaning behind a manifest one, or to rewrite the surface categories of a text in the stronger language of a more fundamental interpretive code. This is perhaps the place to answer the objection of the ordinary reader, when confronted with elaborate and ingenious interpretations, that the text means just what it says. Unfortunately, no society has ever been quite so mystified in quite so many ways as our own, saturated as it is with message and information, the very vehicles of mystification (language, as Talleyrand put it, having been given s in order to conceal our thoughts). If everything were transparent, then no ideology would be possible, and no domination either: evidently that is not our case. But above and beyond the sheer fact of mystification, we must point to the supplementary problem involved in the study of cultural and literary texts, or in other words, essentially, of narratives: for even if discursive language were to be taken literally, there is always, and constitutively, a problem about the ‘meaning’ of narrative as such; and the problem about the assessment and subsequent formulation of the ‘meaning’ of this or that narrative is the hermeneutic question, which leaves as deeply involved in our present inquiry as we were when the objection was raised. [...] [...] The type of interpretation here proposed is more satisfactorily grasped as the rewriting of the literary text in such a way that the latter may itself be seen as the rewriting or restructuration of a prior historical or ideological subtext, it being always understood that the ‘subtext’ is not immediately present as such, not some commonsense external reality, nor even the conventional narrative of history manuals, but rather must itself always be (re)constructed after the fact. The literary or aesthetic act therefore always entertains some active relationship with the Real: yet in order to do so, it cannot simply allow ‘reality’ to persevere inertly in its own being, outside the text and at distance. It must rather draw the Real into its own texture, and the ultimate paradoxes and false problems of linguistics, and most notably of semantics, are to be traced back to this process, whereby language manages to carry the Real within itself as its own intrinsic or immanent subtext. Insofar, in other words, as symbolic action - what Burke will map as ‘dream’, ‘prayer’, or ‘chart’ 76 - is a way of doing something to the world, to that degree what we are calling ‘world’ must inhere within it, as the content it has to take up into itself in order to submit it to the transformation of form. The symbolic cat therefore begins by generating and producing its own context in the same moment of emergence in which it steps back from it, taking its measure with a view toward its own projects of transformation. The whole paradox of what we have here called the subtext may be summed up in this, that the literary work or cultural object, as though for the first time, brings into being that very situation to which it is also, at one and the same time, a reaction. It articulates its own situation and textualizes it, thereby encouraging and perpetuating the illusion that the situation itself did not exist before it, that there is nothing but a text, that there never was any extra - or con-textual reality before the text itself generated it in the form of a mirage. One does not have to argue the reality of history: necessity, like Dr Johnson’s stone, does that for us. That history Althusser’s ‘absent cause’, Lacan’s ‘Real’ - is not a text, for is fundamentally non-narrative and nonrepresentational; what can be added, 76 Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form (Berkeley, Calif., 1973), pp. 5-6; and see my ‘Symbolic Inference; or, Kenneth Burke and Ideological Analysis’, Critical Inquiry, 4 (1978), pp. 507-23.

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however, is the proviso that history is inaccessible to us except in textual form, or in other words, that it can be approached only by way of prior (re)textualization. Thus, to insist on either of the two inseparable yet incommensurable dimensions of the symbolic act without the other: to overemphasize the active way in which the text reorganizes its subtext (in order, presumably, to reach the triumphant conclusion that the ‘referent’ does not exist); or on the other hand to stress the imaginary status of the symbolic act so completely as to reify its social ground, now no longer understood as a subtext but merely as some inert given that the text passively or fantasmatically ‘reflects’ - to overstress either of these functions of the symbolic act at the expense of the other is surely to produce sheer ideology, whether it be, as in the first alternative, the ideology of structuralism, or, in the second, that of vulgar materialism. [...] History is therefore the experience of Necessity, and it is this alone which can forestall its thematization or reification as a mere object of representation or as one master code among many others. Necessity is not in that sense a type of content, but rather the inexorable form of events; it is therefore a narrative category in the enlarged sense of some properly narrative political unconscious which has been argued here, a retextualization of History which does not propose the latter as some new representation or ‘vision’, some new content, but as the formal effects of what Althusser, following Spinoza, calls an ‘absent cause’. Conceived in this sense, History is what hurts , it is what refuses desire and sets inexorable limits to individual as well as collective praxis, which it ‘ruses’ turn into grisly and ironic reversals of their overt intention. But this History can be apprehended only through its effects, and never directly as some reified force. This is indeed the ultimate sense in which History as ground and untranscendable horizon needs particular theoretical justification: we may be sure that its alienating necessities will not forget us, however much we might prefer to ignore them. 4.1.10 Raymond Williams: from ‘Dominant, Residual, and Emergent’ The complexity of a culture is to be found not only in its variable processes and their social definitions - traditions, institutions, and formations - but also in the dynamic interrelations, at every point in the process, of historically varied and variable elements. In what I have called ‘epochal’ analysis, a cultural process is seized as a cultural system, with determinate dominant features: feudal culture or bourgeois culture or a transition from one to the other. This emphasis on dominant and definitive lineaments and features is important and often, in practice, effective. But it often happens that its methodology is preserved for the very different function of historical analysis, in which a sense of movement within what is ordinarily abstracted as a system is crucially necessary, especially if it is to connect with the future as well as with the past. In authentic historical analysis it is necessary at every point to recognize the complex interrelations between movements and tendencies both within and beyond a specific and effective dominance. It is necessary to examine how these relate to the whole cultural process rather than only to the selected and abstracted dominant system. Thus ‘bourgeois culture’ is a significant generalizing description and hypothesis, expressed within epochal analysis by fundamental comparison with ‘feudal culture’ or ‘socialist culture’. However, as a description of cultural process, over four or five centuries and in scores of different societies, it requires immediate historical and internally comparative differentiation. Moreover, even if this is acknowledged or practically carried out, the ‘epochal’ definition can exert its pressure as a static type against which all real cultural process is measured, either to show ‘stages’ or ‘variations’ of the type (which is still historical analysis), or, at its worst, to select supporting and exclude ‘marginal’ or ‘incidental’ or ‘secondary’ evidence. Such errors are avoidable if, while retaining the epochal hypothesis, we can find terms which recognize not only ‘stages’ and ‘variations’ but the internal dynamic relations of any actual process. We have certainly

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still to speak of the ‘dominant’ and the ‘effective’, and in these senses of the hegemonic. But we find that we have also to speak, and indeed with further differentiation of each, of the ‘residual’ and the ‘emergent’, which in any real process, and at every moment in the process, are significant both in themselves and in what they reveal of the characteristics of the ‘dominant’. By ‘residual’ I mean something different from the ‘archaic’, though in practice these are often very difficult to distinguish. Any culture includes available elements of its past, but their place in the contemporary cultural process is profoundly variable. I would call the ‘archaic’ that which is wholly recognized as an element of the past, to be observed, to be examined, or even on occasion to be consciously ‘revived’, in a deliberately specializing way. What I mean by the ‘residual’ is very different. The residual, by definition, has been effectively formed in the past, but it is still active in the cultural process, not only and often not at all as an element of the past, but as an effective element of the present. Thus certain experiences, meanings, and values which cannot be expressed or substantially verified in terms of the dominant culture, are nevertheless lived and practised on the basis of the residue - cultural as well as social of some previous social and cultural institution or formation. It is crucial to distinguish this aspect of the residual, which may have an alternative or even oppositional relation to the dominant culture, from that active manifestation of the residual (this being its distinction from the archaic) which has been wholly or largely incorporated into the dominant culture. [...] A residual cultural element is usually at some distance from the effective dominant culture, but some part of it, some version of it - and especially if the residue is from some area of the past - will in most cases have had to be incorporated if the effective dominant culture is to make sense in these areas. Moreover, at certain points the dominant culture cannot allow too much residual experience and practice outside itself, at least without risk. It is in the incorporation of the actively residual - by reinterpretation, dilution, projection, discriminating inclusion and exclusion - that the work of the selective tradition is especially evident. This is very notable in the case of versions of ‘the literary tradition’, passing through selective versions of the character of literature to connecting and incorporated definitions of what literature now is and should be. This is one among several crucial areas, since it is in some alternative or even oppositional versions of what literature is (has Been) and what literary experience (and in one common derivation other significant experience) is and must be, that, against the pressures of incorporation, actively residual meanings and values are sustained. By ‘emergent’ I mean, first, that new meanings and values, new practices, new relationships and kinds of relationship are continually being created. But it is exceptionally difficult distinguish between those which are really elements of some new phase of the dominant culture (and in this sense ‘species-specific’) and those which are substantially alternative or oppositional to it; emergent in the strict sense, rather than merely novel. Since we are always considering relations within a cultural process, definitions of the emergent, as of the residual, can be made only in relation to a full sense of the dominant. Yet the social location of the residual is always easier to understand, since a large part of it (though not all) relates to earlier social formations and phases of the cultural process, in which certain real meanings and values which were created in actual societies and actual situations in the past, and which still seem to have significance because they represent areas of human experience, aspiration, and achievement which the dominant culture neglects, undervalues, opposes, represses, or even cannot recognize. The case of the emergent is radically different. It is true that in the structure of any actual society, and especially in its class structure, there is always a social basis for elements of the cultural process that are alternative or oppositional to the dominant elements. One kind of basis has been valuably described in the central body of Marxist theory: The formation of a new class, the coming to consciousness of a new class, the process, the (often uneven) emergence of elements of a new cultural formation. Thus the emergence of the working class as a class was immediately evident (for example, in nineteenth-century England) in the cultural process. But there was extreme unevenness of contribution in

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different parts of the process. The making of new social values and institutions far outpaced the making of strictly cultural institutions, while specific cultural contributions, though significant, were less vigorous and autonomous than either general or institutional innovation. A new class is always a source of emergent cultural practice, but while it is still, as a class, relatively subordinate, this is always likely to be uneven and is certain to be incomplete. For new practice is not, of course, an isolated process. To the degree that it emerges, and especially to the degree that it is oppositional rather than alternative, the process of attempted incorporation significantly begins. [...] The process of emergence, in such conditions, is then a constantly repeated, an always renewable move beyond a phase of practical incorporation: usually made much more difficult by the fact that much incorporation looks like recognition, acknowledgement and thus a form of acceptance. In this complex process there is indeed regular confusion between the locally residual (as a form of resistance to incorporation) and the generally emergent. Cultural emergence in relation to the emergence and growing strength of a class is then always of major importance, and always complex. This recognition is very difficult, theoretically, though the practical evidence is abundant. What has really to be said, as a way of defining important elements of both the residual and the emergent, and as a way of understanding the character of the dominant, is that no mode of production and therefore no dominant social order and therefore no dominant culture ever in reality includes or exhausts all human practice, human energy, and human intention. This is not merely a negative proposition, allowing us to account for significant things which happen outside or against the dominant mode. On the contrary it is a fact about the modes of domination, that they select from and consequently exclude the full range of human practice. What they exclude may often be seen as the personal or the private, or as the natural or even the metaphysical. Indeed it is usually in one or other of these terms that the excluded area is expressed, since what the dominant has effectively seized is indeed the ruling definition of the social. It is this seizure that has especially to be resisted. For there is always, though in varying degrees, practical consciousness, in specific relationships, specific skills, specific perceptions, that is unquestionably social and that a specifically dominant social order neglects, excludes, represses, or simply fails to recognize. A distinctive and comparative feature of any dominant social order is how far it reaches into the whole range of practices and experiences in an attempt at incorporation. There can be areas of experience it is willing to ignore or dispense with: to assign as private or to specialize as aesthetic or to generalize as natural. Moreover, as a social order changes, in terms of its own developing needs, these relations are variable. Thus in advanced capitalism, because of changes in the character of labour, in the social character of communications, and in the social character of decision-making, the dominant culture reaches much further than ever before in capitalist society into hitherto ‘reserved’ or ‘resigned’ areas of experience and practice and meaning. The area of effective penetration of the dominant order into the whole social and cultural process is thus now significantly greater. This in turn makes the problem of emergence especially acute, and narrows the gap between alternative and oppositional elements. The alternative, especially in areas that impinge on significant areas of the dominant, is often seen as oppositional and, by pressure, often converted into it. Yet even here there can be spheres of practice and meaning which, almost by definition from its own limited character, or in its profound deformation, the dominant culture is unable in any real terms to recognize. Elements of emergence may indeed be incorporated, but just as often the incorporated forms are merely facsimiles of the genuinely emergent cultural practice. Any significant emergence, beyond or against a dominant mode, is very difficult under these conditions; in itself and in its repeated confusion with the facsimiles and novelties of the incorporated phase. Yet, in our own period as in others, the fact of emergent cultural practice is still undeniable, and together with the fact of actively practice is a necessary complication of the would-be dominant culture.

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cases a new interpretation over an old interpretation that has become incomprehensible, that is now itself only a sign). There are no facts, everything is in flux, incomprehensible, elusive; what is relatively most enduring is - our opinions. 605 (SPRING-FALL 1887) The ascertaining of ‘truth’ and ‘untruth’, the ascertaining of facts in general, is fundamentally different from forming, shaping, overcoming, willing, such as is of the essence of philosophy. To introduce a meaning this task still remains to be done, assuming there is no meaning yet. Thus it is with sounds, but also with the fate of peoples: they are capable of the most different interpretations and direction toward different goals. On a yet higher level is to posit a goal and mould facts according to it; that is, active interpretation and not merely conceptual translation. 606 (1885-1886) Ultimately, man finds in things nothing but what he himself has imported into them: the finding is called science, the importing - art, religion, love, pride. Even if this should be a piece of childishness, one should carry on with both and be well disposed toward both - some should find; others - we others! - should import!

4.2 MICHEL FOUCAULT: POWER AND DISCOURSE

4.2.1 Friedrich Nietzsche: from The Will to Power 481 (1883-1888) Against positivism, which halts at phenomena - ‘There are only facts’ - I would say: No, facts is precisely what there is not, only interpretations. We cannot establish any fact ‘in itself’ : perhaps it is folly to want to do such a thing. ‘Everything is subjective,’ you say; but even this is interpretation. The subject is not something given, it is something added and invented and projected behind what there is. - Finally, is it necessary to posit an interpreter behind the interpretation? Even this is invention, hypothesis. In so far as the word ‘knowledge’ has any meaning, the world is knowable; but it is interpretable otherwise, it has no meaning behind it, but countless meanings. - ‘Perspectivism.’ It is our needs that interpret the world; our drives and their For and Against. Every drive is a kind of lust to rule; each one has its perspective that it would like to compel all the other drives to accept as a norm. [...] 600 (1885-1886) No limit to the ways in which the world can be interpreted; every interpretation a symptom of growth or of decline. Inertia needs unity (monism); plurality of interpretations a sign of strength. Not to desire to deprive the world of its disturbing and enigmatic character! [...] 604 (1885-1886) ‘Interpretation,’ the introduction of meaning - not ‘explanation’ (in most

4.2.2 M. Foucault: from ‘Why Study Power? The Question of the Subject’ [...] I would like to say, first of all, what has been the goal of my work during the last twenty years. It has not been to analyse the phenomena of power, nor to elaborate the foundations of such an analysis. My objective, instead, has been to create a history of different modes by which, in our culture, human beings are made subjects. My work has

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dealt with three modes of objectification which transform human beings into subjects. The first is the modes of inquiry which try to give themselves the status of sciences; for example, the objectivizing of the speaking subject in grammaire generale, philology, and linguistics. Or again, in this first mode, the objectivizing of the productive subject, the subject who labours, in the analysis of wealth and of economics. Or, a third example, the objectivizing of the sheer fact of being alive in natural history or biology. In the second part of my work, I have studied the objectivizing of the subject in what I shall call ‘dividing practices’. The subject is either divided inside himself or divided from others. This process objectivizes him. Examples are the mad and the sane, the sick and the healthy, the criminals and the ‘good boys’. Finally, I have sought to study - it is my current work - the way a human being turns himself into a subject. For example, I have chosen the domain of sexuality - how men have learned to recognize themselves as subjects of ‘sexuality’. Thus, it is not power but the subject which is the general theme of my research. It is true that I became quite involved with the question of power. It soon appeared to me that, while the human subject is placed in relations of production and of signification, he is equally placed in power relations which are very complex. Now, it seemed to me that economic history and theory provided a good instrument of relations of production and that linguistics and semiotics offered instruments for studying relations of signification; but for power relations we had no tools of study. We had recourse only to ways of thinking about power based on legal models, that is: What legitimates power? Or, we had recourse to ways of thinking about power based on institutional models, that is: What is the state? It was therefore necessary to expand the dimensions of a definition of power if one wanted to use this definition in studying the objectivizing of the subject. Do we need a theory of power? Since a theory assumes a prior objectification, it cannot be asserted as a basis for analytical work. But this analytical work cannot proceed without an ongoing conceptualization. And this conceptualization implies critical thought - a constant checking. The first thing to check is what I shall call the ‘conceptual needs’. I mean that the conceptualization should not be founded on a theory of the object - the conceptualized object is not the single criterion of a good conceptualization. We have to know the historical conditions which motivate our conceptualization. We need a historical awareness of our present circumstance. The second thing to check is the type of reality with which we are dealing. A writer in a well-known French newspaper once expressed his surprise: ‘Why is the notion of power raised by so many people today? Is it such an important subject? Is it so independent that it can be discussed without taking into account other problems?’ This writer’s surprise amazes me. I feel skeptical about the assumption that this question has been raised for the first time in the twentieth century. Anyway, for us it is not only a theoretical question but a part of our experience. I’d like to mention only two ‘pathological forms’ - those two ‘diseases of power’ - fascism and Stalinism. One of the numerous reasons why they are, for us, so puzzling is that in spite of their historical uniqueness they are not quite original. They used and extended mechanisms already present in most other societies. More than that: in spite of their own internal madness, they used to a large extent the ideas and the devices of our political rationality. What we need is a new economy of power relations - the world ‘economy’ being used in its theoretical and practical sense. To put it in other words: since Kant, the role of philosophy is to prevent reason from going beyond the limits of what is given in experience; but from the same moment - that is, since the developement of the modern state and the political management of society - the role of philosophy is also to keep watch over the excessive powers of political rationality, which is a rather high expectation. Everybody is aware of such banal facts. But the fact that they’re banal does not mean they don’t exist. What we have to do with banal facts is to

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discover - or try to discover - which specific and perhaps original problem is connected with them. The relationship between rationalization and excesses of political power is evident. And we should not need to wait for bureaucracy or concentration camps to recognize the existence of such relations. But the problem is: What to do with such an evident fact? Shall we try reason? To my mind, nothing would be more sterile. First, because the field has nothing to do with with guilt or innocence. Second, because it is senseless to refer to reason as the contrary entity to nonreason. Last, because such a trial would trap us into playing the arbitrary and boring part of either the rationalist or the irrationalist. Shall we investigate this kind of rationalism which seems to be specific to our modern culture and which originates in Aufklärung? I think that was the approach of some of the members of the Frankfurt School. My purpose, however, is not to start a discussion of their works, although they are most important and valuable. Rather, I would suggest another way of investigating the links between rationalization and power. It may be wise not to take as a whole the rationalization of society or of culture but to analyze such a process in several fields, each with reference to a fundamental experience: madness, illness, death, crime, sexuality, and so forth. I think that the word ‘rationalization’ is dangerous. What we have to do is analyze specific rationalities rather than always invoke the progress of rationalization in general. Even if the Aufklärung has been a very important phase in our history and in the development of political technology, I think we have to refer to much more remote processes if we want to understand how we have been trapped in our own history. I would like to suggest another way to go further toward a new economy of power relations, a way which is more empirical, more directly related to our present situation, and which implies more relations between theory and practice. It consists of taking the forms of resistance against different forms of power as a starting point. To use another metaphor, it consists of using this resistance as a chemical catalyst so as to bring to light power relations, locate their position, and find out their point of application and the methods used. Rather than analyzing power from the point of view of its internal rationality, it consists of analyzing power relations through the antagonism of strategies. For example, to find out what our society means by sanity, perhaps we should investigate what is happening in the field of insanity. And what we mean by legality in the field of illegality. And, in order to understand what power relations are about, perhaps we should investigate the forms of resistance and attempts made to dissociate these relations. As a starting point, let us take a series of oppositions which have developed over the last few years: oposition to the power of men over women, of parents over children, of psychiatry over the mentally ill, of medicine over the population, of administration over the ways people live. [...] The modern Western state has integrated in a new political shape an old power technique which originated in Christian institutions. We can call this power technique the pastoral power. First of all, a few words about this pastoral power. It has often been said that Christianity brought into being a code of ethics fundamentally different from that of the ancient world. Less emphasis is usually placed on the fact that it proposed and spread new power relations throughout the ancient world. Christianity is the only religion which has organized itself as a church. And as such, it postulates in principle that certain individuals can, by their religious quality, serve others not as princes, magistrates, prophets, fortune-tellers, benefactors, educationalists, and so on but as pastors. However, this word designates a very special form of power. 1. It is a form of power whose ultimate aim is to asure individual salvation in the next world. 2. Pastoral power is not merely a form of power which commands; it must also be prepared to sacrifice itself for the life and salvation of the flock. Therefore, it is different from royal power, which demands a sacrifice from its subjects to save the throne.

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3. It is a form of power which does not look after just the whole community but each individual in particular, during his entire life. 4. Finally, this form of power cannot be exercized without knowing the inside of people’s minds, without exploring their souls, without making them reveal their innermost secrets. It implies a knowledge of the conscience and an ability to direct it. This form of power is salvation oriented (as opposed to political power). It is oblative (as opposed to the principle of sovereignity); it is individualizing (as opposed to legal power); it is coextensive and continuous with life; it is linked with a production of truth - the truth of the individual himself. But all this is part of history, you will say; the pastorate has, if not disappeared, at least lost the main part of its efficiency. This is true, but I think we should distinguish between two aspects of pastoral power - between the ecclesiastical institutionalization, which has ceased or at least lost its vitality since the eighteenth century, and its function, which has spread and multiplied outside the ecclesiastical institution. An important phenomenon took place around the eighteenth century - it was a new distribution, a new organization of this kind of individualizing power. I don’t think that we should consider the ‘modern state’ as an entity which has developed above individuals, ignoring what they are and even their existence, but, on the contrary, as a very sophisticated structure, in which individuals can be integrated, under one condition: that this individuality would be shaped in a new form and submitted to a set of very specific patterns. In a way, we can see the state as a modern matrix of individualization or a new form of pastoral power. [...] 4.2.3 M. Foucault: from ‘How Is Power Exercized?’ What constitutes the specific nature of power? The exercise of power is not simply a relationship between partners, individual or collective; it is a way in which certain actions modify others. Which is to say, of course, that something called Power, with or without a capital letter, which assumed to exist universally in a concentrated or diffused form, does not exist. Power exists only when it is put into action, even if, of course, it is integrated into a disparate field of possibilities brought to bear upon permanent structures. This also means that power is not a function of consent. In itself it is not a renunciation of freedom, a transference of rights, the power of each and all delegated to a few ( which does not prevent the possibility that consent may be a condition for the existence or the maintenance of power); the relationship of power can be the result of a prior or permanent consent, but it is not by nature the manifestation of a consensus. Is this to say that one must seek the character proper to power relations in the violence which must have been its primitive form, its permanent secret, and its last resource, that which in the final analysis appears as its real nature when it is forced to throw aside its mask and to show itself as it really is? In effect, what defines a relationship of power is that it is a mode of action which does not act directly and immediately on others. Instead, it acts upon their actions: an action upon an action, on existing actions or on those which may arise in the present of the future, a relationship of violence acts upon a body or upon things; it forces, it bends, it breaks on the wheel, it destroys, or it closes the door on all possibilities. Its opposite pole can only be passivity, and if it comes up against any resistance, it has no other option but to try to minimize it. On the other hand, a power relationship can only be articulated on this basis of two elements which are each indispensable if it is really to be a power relationship: that ‘the other’ (the one over whom power is exercised ) be thoroughly recognized and maintained to the very end as a person who

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acts; and that, faced with a relationship of power, a whole field of responses, reactions, results, and possible inventions may open up.Obviously the bringing into play of power relations does not exclude the use of violence any more than it does the obtaining of consent; no doubt the exercise of power can never do without one or the other, often both at the same time. But even though consensus and violence are the instruments or the results, they do not constitute the principle or the basic nature of power. The exercise of power can produce as much acceptance as may be wished for: it can pile up the dead and shelter itself behind whatever threats it can imagine. In itself the exercise of power is not violence; nor is it a consent which, implicitly, is renewable. It is total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible actions; it incites, it induces, it seduces, it makes easier or more difficult; in the extreme it constrains or forbids absolutely; it is nevertheless always a way of acting upon an acting subject or acting subjects by virtue of their acting or being capable of action. A set of actions upon other actions.Perhaps the equivocal nature of the term ‘conduct’ is one of the best aids for coming to terms with the specificity of power relations. For to ‘conduct’ is at the same time to ‘lead’ others (according to mechanisms of coercion which are, to varying degrees, strict) and a way of behaving within a more or less open field of possibilities. The exercise of power consists in guiding the possibility of conduct and putting in order the possible outcome. Basically power is less a confrontation between two adversaries or the linking of one to the other than a question of government. This word must be allowed the very broad meaning which it had in the sixteenth century. ‘Government’ did not refer only to political structures or to the management of states; rather, it designated the way in which the conduct of individuals or of groups might be directed: the government of children, of souls, of communities, of families, of the sick. It did not only cover the legitimately constituted forms of political or economic subjection but also modes of action, more or less considered or calculated, which were destined to act upon the possibilities of action of other people. To govern, in this sense, is to structure the possible field of action of others. The relationship proper to power would not, therefore, be sought on the side of violence or of struggle, nor on that of voluntary linking (all of which can, at best, only be action, neither warlike nor juridical, which is government. When one defines the exercise of power as a mode of action upon the actions of others, when one characterizes these actions by the government of men by other men - in the broadest sense of the term - one includes an important element: freedom. Power is exercized only over free subjects, and only insofar as they are free. By this we mean individual or collective subjects who are faced with a field of possibilities in which several ways of behaving, several reactions and diverse comportments, may be realised. Where the determining factors saturate the whole, there is no relationship of power; slavery is not a power relationship when man is in chains. (In this case it is a question of a physical relationship of constraint.) Consequently, there is no face-to-face confrontation of power and freedom, which are mutually exclusive (freedom disappears everywhere power is exercised), but a much more complicated interplay. In this game freedom may well appear as the condition for the exercise of power (at the same time its precondition, since freedom must exist for power to be exerted, and also its permanent support, since without the possibility of recalcitrance, power would be equivalent to a physical determination). [...]

4.2.4 Michel Foucault: from The Order of Things:An Archaeology of the Human Sciences

Chap. 10: ‘THE HUMAN SCIENCES’ [...] There is formed the theme of a pure theory of language which would provide the ethnology and the psychoanalysis thus conceived with their formal model. There would thus be a discipline that could cover in a single movement both the dimension of ethnology that relates the human sciences to the positivities in which they are framed and the dimension of psychoanalysis that relates the knowledge of man to the finitude that

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gives it its foundation. In linguistics, one would have a science perfectly founded in the order of positivities exterior to man (since it is a question of pure language), which, after traversing the whole space of the human sciences, would encounter the question of finitude ( since it is through languge, and within it, that thought is able to think: so that it is in itself a positivity with the value of a fundamental ). Above ethnology and psychoanalysis, or, more exactly, interwoven with them, a third ‘counterscience’ would appear to traverse, animate, and disturb the whole constituted field of the human sciences; and by overflowing it both on the side of positivities and on that of finitude, it would form the most general contestation of that field. Like the two other counter-sciences, it would make visible, in a discursive mode, the frontier-forms of the human sciences; like them, it would situate its experience in those enlightened and dangerous regions where the knowledge of man acts out, in the form of the unconscious and of historicity, its relation with what renders them possible. In ‘exposing’ it, these three counter-sciences threaten the very thing that made it possibile for man to be known. Thus we see the destiny of man being spun before our very eyes, but being spun backwards; it is being led back, by those strange bobbins, to the forms of its birth, to the homeland that made it possibile. And is that not one way of bringing about its end? For linguistics no more speak of man himself than do psychoanalysis and ethnology. It may be said that, in playing this role, linguistics is doing no more than resuming the functions that had once been those of biology or of economics, when, in the nineteenth and early twetienth centuries, an attempt was made to unify the human sciences under concepts borrowed from biology or economics. But linguistics may have a much more fundamental role. And for several reasons. First, because it permits - or in any case strives to render posible - the structuration of contents themselves; it is therefore not a theoretical reworking of knowledge acquired elsewhere, the interpretation of an already accomplished reading of phenomena; it does not offer a ‘linguistic version’ of the facts observed in the human sciences, it is rather the principle of a primary decipherment: to a gaze forearmed by linguistics, things attain to existence only in so far as they are able to form the elements of a signifying system. Linguistic analysis is more a perception we find that by means of this emergence of structure (as an invariable relation within a totality of elements) the relation of the human sciences to mathematics has been opened up once more, and in a wholly new dimension; it is no longer a matter of knowing whether one can quantify results, or whether human behaviour is susceptible of being introduced into the field of a measurable probability; the question that arises is that of knowing whether it is possible without a play on words to employ the notion of structure, or at least whether it is the same structure that is referred to in mathematics and in the human sciences: a question that is central if one wishes to know the possibilities and rights, the conditions and limitations, of a justified formalization; it will be seen that the relation of the sciences of man to the axis of the formal and a priori disciplines - a relation that had not been essential till then, and as long as the attempt was made to identify it with the right to measure - returns to life and perhaps becomes fundamental now that within the space of the human sciences there emerges their relation both to the empirical positivity of language and to the analytic of finitude; the three axes which define the volume proper to the sciences of man thus become visible, and almost simultaneously so, in the questions they pose. Lastly, as a result of the importance of linguistics and of its application to the knowledge of man, the question of the being of language, which, as we have seen, is so intimately linked with the fundamental problems of our culture, reappears in all its enigmatic insistence. With the continually extended use of linguistic categories, it is a question of growing importance, since we must henceforth ask ourselves what language must be in order to structure in this way what is nevertheless not in itself either word or discourse, and in order to articulate itself on the pure forms of knowledge. By a much longer and much more unexpected path, we are led back to the place that Nietzsche and Mallarmé signposted when the first asked: Who speaks?, and the second saw his glittering answer in the Word itself. The question to what language is in its being is once more of the greatest urgency. At this point, where the question of language arises again with such heavy over-determination, and where it seems to lay siege on every side

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to the figure of man (that figure which had once taken the place of Classical Discourse), contemporary culture is struggling to create an important part of its present, and perhaps of its future. On the one hand, suddenly very near to all this empirical domains, questions arise which before had seemed very distant from them: these questions concern a general formalization of thought and knowledge; and at a time when they were still thought to be dedicated solely to the relation between logic and mathematics, they suddenly open up the possibility, and the task, of purifying the old empirical reason by constituting formal languages, and of applying a second critique of pure reason on the basis of new forms of the mathematical a priori. However, at the other extremity of our culture, the question of language is entrusted to that form of speech which has no doubt never ceased to pose it, but which is now, for the first time, posing it to itself. That literature in our day is fascinated by the being of language is neither the sign of an imminent end nor proof of a radicalization: it is a phenomenon whose necessity has its roots in a vast configuration in which the whole structure of our thought and our knowledge is traced. But if the question of formal languages gives prominence to the possibility or impossibility of structuring positive contents, a literature dedicated to language gives prominence, in all their empirical vivacity, to the fundamental forms of finitude. From within language experienced and traversed as language, in the play of its possibilities extended to their furthest point, what emerges is that man has ‘come to an end’, and that, by reaching the summit of all possible speech, he arrives not at the very heart of himself but at the brink of that which limits him; in that region where death prowls, where thought is extinguished, where the promise of the origin interminably recedes. It was inevitable that this new mode of being of literature should have been revealed in works like those of Artaud or Roussel - and by men like them; in Artaud’s work, language, having been rejected as discourse and re-apprehended in the plastic violence of the shock, is referred back to the cry, to the tortured body, to the materiality of thought, to the flesh; in Roussel’s work, language, having been reduced to powder by a systematically fabricated chance, recounts interminably the repetition of death and the enigma of divided origins. And as if this experiencing of the forms of finitude in language were insupportable, or madness that it manifested itself - the figure of finitude thus posing itself in language (as that which unveils itself within it), but also before it, preceding it, as that formless, mute, unsignifying region where language can find its freedom. And it is indeed in this space thus revealed that literature, first with surrealism (though still in a very much disguised form), then, more and more purely, with Kafka, Bataille, and Blanchot, posited itself as experienced: as experience of death (and in the element of death), of unthinkable thought (and in its inaccessible presence), of repetition (of original innoncence, always there at the nearest and yet always the most distant limit of language); as experience of finitude (trapped in the opening and the tyranny of that finitude). It is clear that this ‘return’ of language is not a sudden interruption in our culture; it is not the irruptive discovery of some long-buried evidence; it does not indicate a folding back of thought upon itself, in the movement by which it emancipates itself from all content, or a narcissism occurring within a literature freeing itself at last from what it has to say in order to speak henceforth only about the fact that it is language stripped naked. It is, in fact, the strict unfolding of Western culture in accordance with the necessity it imposed upon itself at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It would be false to see in this general indication of our experience, which may be termed ‘formalism’, the sign of a drying up, of a rarefaction of thought losing its capacity for re-apprehending the plenitude of contents; it would be no less false to place it from the outset upon the horizon of some new thought or new knowledge. It is within the very tight-knit, very coherent outlines of the modern episteme that this contemporary experience found its posibility; it is even that episteme which, by its logic, gave rise to such an experience, constituted it through and through, and made it impossible for it not to exist. What occurred at the time of Ricardo, Cuvier, and Bopp, the form of knowledge that was established with the appearance of economics, biology, and philology, the thought of finitude laid down by the Kantian critique as philosophy’s task - all that still forms the immediate space of our reflection. We think in that area. And yet the impression of fulfilment and of end, the muffled feeling that

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carries and animates our thought, and perhaps lulls it to sleep with the facility of its promises, and makes us believe that something new is about to begin, something we glimpse only as a thin line of light low on the horizon - that feeling and that impression are perhaps not ill founded. It will be said that they exist, that they have never ceased to be formulated over and over again since the early nineteenth century; it will be said that Hölderlin, Hegel, Feuerbach, and Marx all felt this certainty that in them a thought and perhaps a culture were coming to a close, and that from the depths of a distance, which was perhaps not invincible, another was approaching - in the dim light of dawn, in the brilliance of noon, or in the dissention of the falling day. But this close, this perilous imminence whose promise we fear today, whose danger we welcome, is probably not of the same order. Then, the task enjoined upon thought by that annunciation was to establish for man a stable sojourn upon this earth from which the gods had turned away or vanished. In our day, and once again Nietzsche indicated the turning-point from a long way off, it is not so much the absence or the death of God that is affirmed as the death of man (that narrow, imperceptible displacement, that recession in the form of identity, which are the reason why man’s finitude has become his end); it becomes apparent, then, that the death of God and the last man are engaged in a contest with more than round: is it not the last man who announces that he has killed God, thus situating his language, his thought, his laughter in the space of that already dead God, yet positing himself also as he who has killed God and whose existence includes the freedom and the decision of that murder? Thus, the last man is at the same time older and yet younger than the death of God; since he has killed God, it is he himself who must answer for his own finitude; but since it is in the death of God that he speaks, thinks, and exists, his murder itself is doomed to die; new gods, the same gods, are already swelling the future Ocean; man will disappear. Rather than the death of God - or, rather, in the wake of that death and in a profound correlation with it - what Nietzsche’s thought heralds is the end of his murderer; it is the explosion of man’s face in laughter, and the return of masks; it is the scattering of the profound stream of time by which he felt himself carried along and whose pressure he suspected in the very being of things; it is the identity of the Return of the Same with the philosophy and the promise of an approaching culture were no doubt one and the same thing as the thought of finitude and the appearance of man in the field of knowledge; in our day, the fact that philosophy is still and again - in the process of coming to an end, and the fact that in it perhaps, though even more outside and against it, in literature as well as in formal reflection, the question of language is being posed, prove no doubt that man is in the process of disappearing. For the entire modern episteme - that which was formed towards the end of the eighteenth century and still serves as the positive ground of our knowledge, that which constituted man’s particular mode of being and the possibility of knowing him empirically - that entire episteme was bound up with the disappearance of Discourse and its featureless reign, with the shift of language towards objectivity, and with its reappearance in multiple form. If this same language is now emerging with greater and greater insistence in a unity that we ought to think but cannot as yet do so, is this not the sign that the whole of this configuration is now about to topple, and that man is in the process of perishing as the being of language continues to shine ever brighter upon our horizon? Since man was constituted at a time when language was doomed to dispersion, will he not be dispersed at a time when language regains its unity? And if that were true, would it not be an error - profound error, since it could hide from us what should now be thought - to interpret our actual experience as an application of the forms of language to the human order? Ought we not rather to give up thinking of man, or, to be more strict, to think of this disappearance of man - and the ground of possibility of all the sciences of man - as closely as possible in correlation with our concern with language? Ought we not to admit that, since language is here once more, man will return to that serene non-existence in which he was formerly maintained by the imperious unity of Discourse? Man had been a figure occurring between two modes of language; or, rather, he was constituted only when language, having been situated within representation and, as it were, dissolved in it, freed itself from that situation at the cost of its own fragmentation: man composed his own figure in the interstices of that fragmented language. Of course, these are no affirmations; they are at

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most questions to which it is not possible to reply; they must be left in suspense, where they pose themselves, only with the knowledge that the possibility of posing them may well open the way to a future thought. One thing in any case is certain: man is neither the oldest nor the most constant problem that has been posed for human knowledge. Taking a relatively short chronological sample within a restricted geographical area - European culture since the sixteenth century - one can be certain that man is a recent invention within it. It is not around him and his secrets that knowledge prowled for so long in the darkness. In fact, among all the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things and their order, the knowledge of identities, differences, characters, equivalences, words - in short, in the midst of all the episodes of that profound history of the Same - only one, that which began a century and a half ago and is now perhaps drawing to a close, has made it possible for the figure of man to appear. And that appearance was not the liberation of an old anxiety, the transition into luminous consciousness of an age-old concern, the entry into objectivity of something that has long remained trapped within beliefs and philosophies: it was the effect of a change in the fundamental arrangements of knowledge. As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end. If those arrangements were to disappear as they appeared, if some event of which we can at the moment do no more than sense the possibility without knowing either what its form will be or what it promises - were to cause them to crumble, as the ground of Classical thought did, at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea. 4.2.5 Michel Foucault: from Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison [...] Rusche and Kirchheimer’s great work, Punishment and Social Structures, provides a great number of essential reference points. We must first rid ourselves of the illusion that penalty is above all (if not exclusively) a means of reducing crime and that, in this role, according to the social forms, the political system or beliefs, it may be severe or lenient, tend towards expiation of obtaining redress, towards the pursuit of individuals or the attribution of collective responsibility. We must analyze rather the ‘concrete systems of punishment’, study them as social phenomena that cannot be accounted for by the juridical structure of the society alone, nor by its fundamental ethical choices; we must situate them in their field of operation, in which the punishment of crime is not the sole element; we must show that punitive measures are not simply ‘negative’ mechanisms that make it possible to repress, to prevent, to exclude, to eliminate; but that they are linked to a whole series of positive and useful effects which is their task to support (and, in this sense, although legal punishment is carried out in order to punish offences, one might say that the definition of offences and their prosecution are carried out in turn in order to maintain the punitive mechanisms and their functions). From this point of view, Rusche and Kirchheimer relate the different systems of punishment with the systems of production within which they operate: thus, in a slave economy, punitive mechanisms serve to provide an additional labour force – and to constitute a body of ‘civil’ slaves in addition to those provided by war or trading; with feudalism, at a time when money and production were still at an early stage of development, we find a sudden increase in corporal punishments – the body being in most cases the only property accessible; the penitentiary (the Hôpital Général, the Spinhuis or Rasphuis), forced labor and the prison factory appear with the development of the mercantile economy. But the industrial system requires a free market in labour and, in the nineteenth century, the role of forced labour in the mechanisms of

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punishment diminishes accordingly and ‘corrective’ detention takes its place. There are no doubt a number of observations to be made about such a strict correlation. But we can surely accept the general proposition that, in our societies, the systems of punishment are to be situated in a certain ‘political economy’ of the body: even if they do not make use of violent or bloody punishment, even when they use ‘lenient’ methods involving confinement or correction, it is always the body that is at issue – the body and its forces, their utility and their docility, their distribution and their submission. It is certainly legitimate to write a history of punishment against the background of moral ideas or legal structures. But can one write such a history against the background of a history of bodies, when such systems of punishment claim to have only the secret souls of criminals as their objective? Historians long ago began to write the history of the body. They have studied the history of the body in the field of historical demography or pathology; they have considered it as the seat of needs and appetites, as the locus of physiological processes and metabolisms, as a target for the attacks of germs or viruses; they have shown to what extent historical processes were involved in what might seem to be the purely biological base of existence; and what place should be given in the history of society to biological ‘events’ such as the circulation of bacilli, or the extension of the life-span (cf. Le RoyLadurie). But the body is also directed involved in a political field; power relations have an immediate hold upon it; they invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks, to perform ceremonies, to emit signs. This political investment of the body is bound up, in accordance with complex reciprocal relations, with its economic use; it is largely as a force of production that the body is invested with relations of power and domination; but, on the other hand, its constitution as a labour power is possible only if it is caught up in a system of subjection (in which need is also a political instrument meticulously prepared, calculated and used); the body becomes a useful force only if it is a both a productive body and a subjected body. This subjection is not only attained by the instruments of violence and ideology; it can also be direct, physical, pitting force against force, bearing on material elements, and yet without involving violence; it may be calculated, organized, technically thought out; it may be subtle, make use neither of weapons nor of terror and yet remain of a physical order. That is to say, there may be a ‘knowledge’ of the body that is not exactly the science of its functioning, and a mastery of its forces that is more than the ability to conquer them: this knowledge and this mastery constitute what might be called the political technology of the body. Of course, this technology is diffuse, rarely formulated in continuous, systematic discourse; it is often made up of bits and pieces; it implements a disparate set of tools or methods. In spite of the coherence of its results, it is generally no more than a multiform instrumentation. Moreover, it cannot be localized in a particular type of institution or state apparatus. For they have recourse to it; they use, select or impose certain of its methods. But, in its mechanisms and effects, it is situated at a quite different level. What the apparatuses and institutions operate is, in a sense, a micro-physics of power, whose field of validity is situated in a sense between these great functionings and the bodies themselves with their materiality and their forces. Now, the study of this micro-physics presupposes that the power exercised on the body is conceived not as a property, but as a strategy, that its effects of domination are attributed not to ‘appropriation’, but to dispositions, manoeuvres, tactics, techniques, functionings; that one should decipher in it a network of relations, constantly in tension, in activity, rather than a privilege that one might possess; that one should take as its model a perpetual battle rather than a contract regulating a transaction or the conquest of a territory. In short this power is exercised rather than possessed; it is not the ‘privilege’, acquired or preserved, of the dominant class, but the overall effect of its strategic positions – an effect that is manifested and sometimes extended by the position of those who are dominated. Furthermore, this power is not exercised simply as an obligation or a prohibition on those who ‘do not have it’ ; it invests them, it is transmitted by them and through them; it exerts pressure upon them, just as they themselves, in their struggle against it, resist the grip it has on them. This means that these relations go right down into the depths of society, that they are not localized in the relations between the state and its citizens or on the frontier between classes and that they do not merely reproduce, at the level of individuals, bodies, gestures and behaviour, the

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general form of the law or government; that, although there is continuity, (they are indeed articulated on this form through a whole series of complex mechanisms), there is neither analogy nor homology, but a specificity of mechanism and modality. Lastly, they are not univocal; they define innumerable points of confrontation, focuses of instability, each of which has its own risks of conflict, of struggles and of an at least temporary inversion of the power relations. The overthrow of these ‘micro-powers’ does not, then, obey the law of all or nothing; it is not acquired once and for all by a new control of the apparatuses nor by a new functioning or a destruction of the institutions; on the other hand, none of its localized episodes may be inscribed in history except by the effects that it induces on the entire network in which it is caught up. Perhaps, too, we should abandon a whole tradition that allows us to imagine that knowledge can exist only where the power relations are suspended and that knowledge can develop only outside its injunctions, its demands and its interests. Perhaps we should abandon the belief that power makes mad and that, by the same token, the renunciation of power is one of the conditions of knowledge. We should admit rather that power produces knowledge (and not simply by encouraging it because it serves power or by applying it because it is useful); that power and knowledge directly imply one another; that there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations. These ‘power-knowledge relations’ are to be analysed, therefore, not on the basis of a subject of knowledge who is or is not free in relation to the power system, but, on the contrary, the subject who knows, the objects to be known and the modalities of knowledge must be regarded as so many effects of these fundamental implications of power-knowledge and their historical transformations. In short, it is not the activity of the subject of knowledge that produces a corpus of knowledge, useful or resistant to power, but power-knowledge, the processes and struggles that traverse it and of which it is made up, that determines the forms and possible domains of knowledge. To analyse the political investment of the body and the micro-physics of power presupposes, therefore, that one abandons – where power is concerned – the violence – ideology opposition, the metaphor of property, the model of the contract or of conquest; that – where knowledge is concerned – one abandons the opposition between what is ‘interested’ and what is ‘disinterested’, the model of knowledge and the primacy of the subject. Borrowing a word from Petty and its contemporaries, but giving it a different meaning from the one current in the seventeenth century, one might imagine a political ‘anatomy’. This would not be the study of a state in terms of a ‘body’ (with its elements, its resources and its forces), nor would it be the study of the body and its surroundings in terms of a small state. One would be concerned with the ‘body politic’, as a set of material elements and techniques that serve as weapons, relays, communication routes and supports for the power and knowledge relations that invest human bodies and subjugate them by turning them into objects of knowledge. It is a question of situating the techniques of punishment – whether they seize the body in the ritual of public torture and execution or whether they are addressed to the soul – in the history of this body politic; of considering penal practices less as a consequence of legal theories than as a chapter of political anatomy. Kantorowitz gives a remarkable analysis of ‘The King’s Body’ ; a double body according to the juridical theology of the Middle Ages, since it involves not only the transitory element that is born and dies, but another that remains unchanged by time and is maintained as the physical yet intangible support of the kingdom; around this duality, which was originally close to the Christological model, are organized an iconography, a political theory of monarchy, legal mechanisms that distinguish between as well as link the person of the king and the demands of the Crown, and a whole ritual that reaches its height in the coronation, the funeral and the ceremonies of submission. At the opposite pole one might imagine placing the body of the condemned man; he, too, has his legal status; he gives rise to his own ceremonial and he calls forth a whole theoretical discourse, not in order to ground the ‘surplus power’ possessed by the person of the sovereign, but in order to

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code the ‘lack of power’ with which those subjected to punishment are marked. In the darkest region of the political field the condemned man represents the symmetrical, inverted figure of the king. We should analyse what might be called, in homage to Kantorowitz, ‘the least body of the condemned man’. If the surplus power possessed by the king gives rise to the duplication of his body, has not the surplus power exercised on the subjected body of the condemned man given rise to another type of duplication? That of a ‘noncorporal’, a ‘soul’, as Mably called it. The history of this ‘micro-physics’ of the punitive power would then be a genealogy or an element in a genealogy of the modern ‘soul’. Rather than seeing this soul as the reactivated remnants of an ideology, one would see it as the present correlative of a certain technology of power over the body. It would be wrong to say that the soul is an illusion, or an ideological effect. On the contrary, it exists, it has a reality, it is produced permanently around, on, within the body by the functioning of a power that is exercised on those punished – and, in a more general way, on those one supervises, trains and corrects, over madmen, children at home or at school, over colonized, over those who are stuck at a machine and supervised for the rest of their lives. This is the historical reality of this soul, which, unlike the soul represented by Christian theology, is not born in sin and subject to punishment, but is born rather out of methods of punishment, supervision and constraint. This real, non-corporal soul is not a substance; it is the element in which are articulated the effects of a certain type of power and the reference of a certain type of knowledge, the machinery by which the power relations give rise to a possible corpus of knowledge, and knowledge extends and reinforces the effects of this power. On this reality-reference, various concepts have been constructed and domains of analysis carved out: psyche, subjectivity, personality, consciousness, etc.; on it have been built scientific techniques and discourses, and the moral claims of humanism. But let there be no misunderstanding: it is not that a real man, the object of knowledge, philosophical reflection or technical intervention, has been substituted for the soul, the illusion of the theologians. The man described for us, whom we are invited to free, is already in himself the effect of a subjection much more profound than himself. A ‘soul’ inhabits him and brings him to existence, which is itself a factor in the mastery that power exercises over the body. The soul is the effect and instrument of a political anatomy; the soul is the prison of the body. [...]

4.3

THE NEW HISTORICISM

4.3.1 Stephen Greenblatt: from Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation Of Social Energy in Renaissance England THE CIRCULATION OF SOCIAL ENERGY I began with the desire to speak with the dead. This desire is a familiar, if unvoiced, motive in literary studies, a motive organized, professionalized, buried beneath thick layers of bureaucratic decorum: literature professors are salaried, middle-class shamans. If I never believed that the dead could hear me, and if I knew that the dead could not speak, I was nonetheless certain that I could recreate a conversation with them. Even when I came to understand that in my most intense moments of straining to listen all I could hear was my own voice, even then I did not abandon my desire. It was true that I could hear only my own voice, but my own voice was the voice of the dead, for the dead had contrived to leave textual traces of themselves, and those traces make themselves heard in the voices of the living. Many of the traces have little resonance, though every one, even the most trivial or tedious, contains some fragment of lost life; others seem uncannily full of the will to be heard. It is paradoxical, of course, to seek the living will of the dead in fictions, in places where there was no live bodily being to begin with. But those who love literature tend to find more intensity in simulations -–in the formal, self-conscious miming of life – than in any of the other

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textual traces left by the dead, for simulations are undertaken in full awareness of the absence of life they contrive to represent, and hence they may skillfully anticipate and compensate for the vanishing of the actual life that has empowered them. Conventional in my tastes, I found the most satisfying intensity of all in Shakespeare. I wanted to know how Shakespeare managed to achieve such intensity, for I thought that the more I understood this achievement, the more I could hear and understand the speech of the dead. The question then was how did so much life get into the textual traces? Shakespeare’s plays, it seemed, had precipitated out of a sublime confrontation between a total artist and a totalizing society. By a total artist I mean one who, through training, resourcefulness, and talent, is at the moment of creation complete unto himself; by a totalizing society I mean one that posits an occult network linking all human, natural, and cosmic powers and that claims on behalf of its ruling elite a privileged place in this network. Such a society generates vivid dreams of access to the linked powers and vests control of this access in a religious and state bureaucracy at whose pinnacle is the symbolic figure of the monarch. The result of this confrontation between total artist and totalizing society was a set of unique, inexhaustible, and supremely powerful works of art. In the book I have written something of this initial conception survives, but it has been complicated by several turns in my thinking that I had not foreseen. I can summarize those turns by remarking that I came to have doubts about two things: ‘total artist’ and ‘totalizing society’. I did not, to be sure, doubt that the plays attributed to Shakespeare were in large part written by the supremely gifted alumnus of the Stratford grammar school. Nor did I cease to believe that Renaissance society was totalizing in intention. But I grew incessantly uneasy with the monolithic entities that my work had posited. No individual, not even the most brilliant, seemed complete unto himself – my own study of Renaissance self-fashioning had already persuaded me of this – and Elizabethan and Jacobean visions of hidden unity seemed like anxious rhetorical attempts to conceal cracks, conflicts and disarray. I had tried to organize the mixed motives of Tudor and Stuart culture under the rubric power, but that term implied a structural unity and stability of command belied by much of what I actually knew about the exercise of authority and force in the period. If it was important to speak of power in relation to Renaissance literature – not only as the object but as the enabling condition of representation itself – it was equally important to resist the integration of all images and expressions into a single master discourse. For if Renaissance writers themselves often echoed the desire of princes and prelates for just such a discourse, brilliant critical and theoretical work in recent years by a large and diverse group of scholars had demonstrated that this desire was itself constructed out of conflicting and ill-sorted motives. Even those literary texts that sought most ardently to speak for a monolithic power could be shown to be the sites of institutional and ideological contestation. But what does it mean to pull back from a notion of artistic completeness, on the one hand, and totalizing power, on the other? It can mean a return to the text itself as the central object of our attention. To speak of such a return has a salutary ring – there are days when I long to recover the close-grained formalism of my own literary training – but the referent of the phrase ‘the text itself’ is by no means clear. Indeed in the case of Shakespeare (and of the drama more generally), there has probably never been a time since the early eighteenth century when there was less confidence in the ‘text’. Not only has a new generation of textual historians undermined the notion that a skilled editorial weaving of folio and quarto readings will give us an authentic record of Shakespeare’s original intentions, but theatre historians have challenged the whole notion of the text as the central, stable locus of theatrical meaning. There are textual traces – a bewildering mass of them – but it is impossible to take the ‘text itself’ as the perfect, unsubstitutable freestanding container of all of its meanings. The textual analyses I was trained to do had as their goal the identification and celebration of a numinous literary authority, whether that authority was ultimately located in the mysterious genius of an artist or in the mysterious perfection of a text whose intuitions and concepts

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can never be expressed in other terms. The great attraction of this authority is that it appears to bind and fix the energies we prize, to identify a stable and permanent source of literary power, to offer an escape from shared contingency. This project, endlessly repeated, repeatedly fails for one reason: there is no escape from contingency. All the same, we do experience unmistakable pleasure and interest in the literary traces of the dead, and I return to the question how it is possible for those traces to convey lost life. Over the past several generations this question has been addressed principally by close reading of the textual traces, and I believe that sustained, scrupulous attention to formal and linguistic design will remain at the center of literary teaching and studying. But in the essays that follow I propose something different: to look less at the presumed centre of the literary domain than at its borders, to try to track what can only be glimpsed, as it were, at the margins of the text. The cost of this shift in attention will be the satisfying illusion of a ‘whole reading’, the impression conveyed by powerful critics that had they but world enough and time, they could illuminate every corner of the text and knit together into a unified interpretative vision all of their discrete perceptions. My vision is necessarily more fragmentary, but I hope to offer a compensatory satisfaction: insight into the half-hidden cultural transactions through which great works of art are empowered. [...] I have termed this general enterprise – study of the collective making of distinct cultural practices and inquiry into the relations among these practices – a poetics of culture. For me the inquiry is bound up with a specific interest in Renaissance modes of aesthetic empowerment: I want to know how cultural objects, expressions and practices – here, principally plays by Shakespeare and the stage on which they first appeared – acquired compelling force. English literary theorists in the period needed a new word for that force, a word to describe the ability of language, in Puttenham’s phrase, to cause ‘a stir to the mind’ ; drawing on the Greek rhetorical tradition, they called it energia. This is the origin in our language of the term ‘energy’, a term I propose we use, provided that we understand that its origins lie in rhetoric rather than physics and that its significance is social and historical. We experience within ourselves, but its contemporary existence depends upon an irregular chain of historical transactions that lead back to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Does this mean that the aesthetic power of a play like King Lear is a direct transmission from Shakespeare’s time to our own? Certainly not. That play and the circumstances in which it was originally embedded have been continuously, often radically, refigured. But these refigurations do not cancel history, locking us into a perpetual present; on the contrary, they are signs of the inescapability of a historical process, a structured negotiation and exchange, already evident in the initial moments of empowerment. That there is no direct, unmediated link between ourselves and Shakespeare’s plays does not mean that there is no link at all. The ‘life’ that literary works seem to possess long after both the death of the author and the death of the culture for which the author wrote is the historical consequence, however transformed and refashioned, of the social energy initially encoded in those works. But what is ‘social energy’ ? The term implies something measurable, yet I cannot provide a convenient and reliable formula for isolating a single, stable quantum for examination. We identify energia only indirectly, by its effects: it is manifested in the capacity of certain verbal, aural and visual traces to produce, shape, and organize collective physical and mental experiences. Hence it is associated with repeatable forms of pleasure and interest, with the capacity to arouse disquiet, pain, fear, the beating of the heart, pity, laughter, tension, relief, wonder. In its aesthetic modes, social energy must have a minimal predictability – enough to make simple repetitions possible – and a minimal range: enough to reach out beyond a single creator or consumer to some community, however constricted. Occasionally, and we are generally interested in these occasions, the predictability and range will be far greater: large numbers of men and women of different social classes and divergent beliefs will be induced to explode with laughter or weep or experience a complex blend of anxiety and exaltation. Moreover, the aesthetic forms of social energy are usually characterized by a minimal adaptability – enough to enable them to survive at least some of the constant changes in social

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circumstance and cultural value that make ordinary utterances evanescent. Whereas most collective expressions moved from their original setting to a new place or time are dead on arrival, the social energy encoded in certain works of art continues to generate the illusion of life for centuries. I want to understand the negotiations through which works of art obtain and amplify such powerful energy. If one longs, as I do, to reconstruct these negotiations, one dreams of finding an originary moment, a moment in which the master hand shapes the concentrated social energy into the sublime aesthetic object. But the quest is fruitless, for there is no originary moment, no pure act of untrammelled creation. In place of a blazing genesis, one begins to glimpse something that seems at first far less spectacular: a subtle, elusive set of exchanges, a network of trades and trade-offs, a jostling of competing representations, a negotiation between joint-stock companies. Gradually, these complex, ceaseless borrowings and lendings have come to seem to me more important, more poignant even, than the epiphany for which I had hoped. [...] conceptualizations of problems. One of the marks of a good professional historian is the consistency with which he reminds his reader of the purely provisional nature of his characterization of events, agents, and agencies found in the always incomplete historical record. Nor is it to say that literary theorists have never stuudied the structure of historical narratives. But in general there has been a reluctance to consider historical narratives as what they most manifestly are: verbal fictions, the contents of which are as much invented as found and the forms of which have more in common with their counterparts in literature than they have with those in the sciences. Now, it is obvious that this conflation of mythic and historical consciousness will offend some historians and disturb those literary theorists whose conception of literature presupposes a radical opposition of history to fiction or of fact to fancy. As Northrop Frye has remarked, ‘In a sense the historical is the opposite of the mythical, and to tell the historian that what gives shape to his book is a myth would sound to him vaguely insulting.’ Yet Frye himself grants that ‘when a historian’s scheme gets to a certain point of comprehensiveness it becomes mythical in shape, and so approaches the poetic in its structure.’ He even speaks of different kinds of historical myths: Romantic myths ‘based on a quest or pilgrimage to a City of God or classless society’ ; Comic ‘myths of progress through evolution or revolution’ ; Tragic myths of ‘ decline and fall, like the works of Gibbon and Spengler’ ; and Ironic ‘myths of recurrence or casual catastrophe.’ But Frye appears to believe that these myths are operative only in such victims of might be called the ‘poetic fallacy’ as Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Spengler, Toynbee, and Sartre – histroians whose fascination with the ‘constructive’ capacity of human thought has deadened their responsibility to the ‘found’ data. ‘The histroian works inductively,’ he says, ‘collecting his facts and trying to avoid any informing patterns except those he sees, or is honestly convinced he sees, in the facts themselves.’ He does not work ‘from’ a ‘unifying form’ as the poet does, but ‘toward’ it; and it therefore follows that the historian, like any writer of discoursive prose, is to be judged ‘by the truts of what he says, or by the adequacy of his verbal reproduction of

4.3.2 Hayden White: from Tropics of Discourse ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’ There is one problem that neither philosophers nor historians have looked at very seriously and to which literary theorists have given only passing attention. This question has to do with the status of the historical narrative considered purely as a verbal artifact purporting to be a model of structures and processes long past and therefore not subject to either experimental or observational controls. This is not to say that historians and philosophers of histroy have failed to take notice of the essentially provisional and contingent nature of historical representations and of their susceptibility to infinite revision in the light of new evidence for more sophisticated

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his external model,’ whether that the external model be the actions of past men or the historian’s own thought about such actions. What Frye says is true enough as a statement of the ideal that has inspired historical writing since the time of the Greeks, but that ideal presupposes an opposition between myth and history that is as problematic as it is venerable. It serves Frye’s purposes very well since it permits him to locate the specifically ‘fictive’ in the space between the two concepts of the ‘mythic’ and the ‘historical’. As readers of Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism will remember, Frye conceives fictions to consist in part of sublimates of archetypal myths-structures. These structures have been displaced to the interior of verbal artifacts in such a way as to serve as their latent meanings. The fundamental meanings of all fiction, their thematic content, consists, in Frye’s view, of the ‘pre-generic plot-structures’ or mythoi derived from the corpora of Classical and Judaeo-Christian religious literature. According to this theory, we understand why a particular story as ‘turned out’ as it has when we have identified the archetypal myth, or pregeneric plot structure of which the story is an exemplification. And we see the ‘point’ of a story when we have identified its theme (Frye’s translation of dianoia), which makes of it a ‘parable or illustrative fable’. ‘Every work of literature’, Frye insists, ‘has both a fictional and a thematic aspect,’ but as we move from ‘fictional projections’ toward the overt articulation of theme, the writing tends to take on the aspect of ‘direct address or straight discursive writing and cease[s] to be literature.’ And in Frye’s view, as we have seen, history (or at least ‘proper history’) belongs to the category of ‘discursive writing’, so that when the fictional elements – or mythic plot structure – is obviously present in it, it ceseases to be history altogether and becomes a bastard genre, product of unholy, though not unnatural, union between history and poetry. Yet, I would argue, histories gain part of their explanatory effect by their success in making stories out of mere chronicles; and stories in turn are made out of chronicles byu an operation which I have elsewhere called ‘emplotment’. And by emplotment I mean simply the encodation of the facts contained in the chronicle as components of specific kinds of plot structures, in precisely the way that Frye has suggested is the case with ‘fictions’ in general. The late R. G. Collingwood insisted that the historian was above all a story teller and suggested that historical sensibility was manifested in the capacity to make a plasible story out of a congeries of ‘facts’ which in their unprocessed form, made no sense at all. In their efforts to make sense of the historical record, which is fragmentary and always incomplete, historians have to make use of what Collingwood called ‘the constructive imagination’, which told the historian – as it tells the competent detective – what ‘must have been the case’, given the available evidence and the formal properties it displayed to the consciousness capable of putting the right question to it. This constructive imagination functions in much the same way that Kant supposed the a priori imagination functions when it tells us that even though it cannot perceive both sides of a tabletop simultaneously, we can be certain it has two sides if it has one, because the very concept of one side entails at least one other. Collingwood suggested that historians come to their evidence endowed with a sense of the possible forms that different kinds of recognizably human situations can take. He called this sense the nose for the ‘story’ contained in the evidence or for the ‘true’ story that was buried in or hidden behind the ‘apparent story’. And he concluded that historians provide plausible explanations for bodies of historcal evidence when they succeed in discovering a story or complex of stories implicitely contained within them. [...] Now, if any of this is plausible as a characterization of the explanatory effect of historical narrative, it tells us someting important about the mimetic aspect of historical narratives. It is generally maintained – as Frye said – that a history is a verbal model of a set of events external to the mind of the historian. But it is wrong to think of a history as a model similar to a scale model of an airplane or ship, a map, or a photograph. For we can check the adequacy of this latter kind of model by going and looking at the original and, by applying the necessary rules of translation, seing in what respect the model has actually succeeded in reproducing aspects of the original. But historical structures and processes are not like these originals; we cannot go and

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look at them in order to see if the historian has adequately reproduced them in his narrative. Nor should we want to, even if we could; for after all it was the very strangeness of the original as it appeared in the documents that inspired the historian’s efforts to make a model of it in the first place. If the historian only did that for us, we should be in the same situation as the patient whose analyst merely told him, on the basis of interviews with his parents, siblings, and childhood friends, what the ‘true facts’ of the patient’s early life were. We would have no reason to think that anything at all have been explained to us. This is what leads me to thimk that historical narratives are not only models of past events and processes, but also metaphorical statements which suggest a relation of similitude between such events and processes and the story types that we conventionally use to endow the events of our lives with cultural sanctioned meanings. Viewed in a purely formal way, a historical narrative is not only a reproduction the events reported in it, but also complex of symbols which gives us directions for finding an icon of the structure sof those events in our literary tradition. I am here, of course, invoking the distinctions between sign, symbol, and icon which C. S. Peirce developed in his philosophy of language. I think that these distinctions will help us to understand what is realistic in all putatively realistic representations of the world and what is realistic in all manifestly realistic ones. They help us, in short, to answer the question, What are historical representations representations of? It seems to me that we must say of histories what Frye seems to think history is true only of poetry or philosophies of history, namely that, considered as a system of signs, the historical narrative points in two directions simultaneously: toward the events described in the narrative and toward the story type or mythos which the historian has chosen to serve as the icon of the structure of the events. The narrative itself is not the icon; what it does is describe events in the historical record in such a ways as to inform the reader what to take as an icon of the events so as to render them ‘familiar’ to him. The historical narrative thus mediated between the events reported in it on the one side and pregenric plot structures conventionally used in our culture to endow unfamiliar events and situations with meanings, on the other.[...] But the presumed concretness and accessibility of historical milieux, this contexts of the texts that literary scholars study, are themselves products of the fictive capability of the historians who have studied those contexts. The historical documents are not as opaque than the texts studied by the literary critic. Nor is the world those documents figure more accessible. The one is no more ‘given’ than the other. In fact, the opaqueness of the world figured in historical documents is, if anything, increased by the production of historical narratives. Each nwe historical work only adds to the number of possible texts that have to be interpreted if a full and accurate picture of a given historical milieu is to be faithfully drawned. The relationship between the past to be analysed and historical works produced by analysis of documents is paradoxical; the more we know about the past, the more diffucult it isto generalize about it. But if the increase in our knowledge of the past makes it more difficult to generalize about it, it should make it easier for us to generalize about the forms in which that knowledge is transmitted to us. Our knowledge of the past may increase incrementally, but our understanding of it does not. Nor does our understanding of the past progress by the kind of revolutionary breakthroughs that we associate with the development of the physical sciences. Like literature, history progresses by the production of classics, the nature of which is such that they cannot be disconfirmed or negated, in the way that the principal conception schemata of the sciences are. And it is their nondisconfirmability that testifies to the essentially literary nature of historical classics. There is something in historical masterpiece that cannot be negated, and this nonnegatable element is its form, the form which is its fiction. [...] It is this mediative function that permits us to speak of a historical narrative as an extended metaphor. As a symbolic structure, the historical narrative does not reproduce the events it describes; it tells us in what direction to think about the events and charges our thought about the events with different emotional valences. The historical narrative does not image the things it indicates; it calls to mind images of the things it imitates, in the same way that a metaphor does. When a given concourse of events is emploted as a ‘tragedy,’ this simply means that the historian

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has so described the events as to remind us of that form of fiction which we associate with the concept ‘tragic.’ Properly understood, histories ought never to be read as unambiguous signs of the events they report, but rather as symbolic structures, extended metaphors, that ‘liken’ the events reported in them to some form which we have already become familiar in out literary culture. Perhaps I should indicate briefly what is meant by the symbolic and iconic aspects of a metaphor. The hackneyed phrase ‘My love, a rose’ is not, obviously, intended to be understood as suggesting that the loved one is actually a rose. It is not even meant to suggest that the loved one has the specific attributes of a rose - that is to say, that the loved one is red, yellow, orange, or black, is a plant, has thorns, needs sunlight, should be sprayed regularly with insecticids, and so on. It is meant to be understood as indicating that the beloved shares the qualities which the rose has come to symbolize in the customary linguistic usages of Western culture. That is to say, considered as a message, the metaphor gives directions for finding an entity that will evoke the images associated with loved ones and roses alike in our culture. The metaphor does not image the thing it seeks to characterize, it gives directions for finding the set of images that are intended to be associated with that thing. It functions as a symbol, rather than as a sign: which is to say that it does not give us either a description or an icon of the thing it represents, but tells us what images to look for in our culturally encoded experience in order to determine how we should feel about the thing represented. So too for historical narratives. They succeed in endowing sets of past events with meanings, over and above whatever comprehension they provide by appeal to putative causal laws, by exploiting the metaphorical similarities between sets of real events and the conventional structures of our fictions. By the very constitution of a st of events in such a way as to make a comprehensible story out of them, the historian charges those events with the symbolic significance of a comprehensible plot structure. Historians may not like to think of their works as translations of fact into fictions; but this is one of the effects of their works. By suggesting alternative emplotments of a given sequence of historical events, historians provide historical events with all of the possible meanings with which the literary art of their culture is capable of endowing them. The real dispute between the proper historian and the philosopher of history has to do with the latter’s insistence that events can be emploted in one and only one story form. History-writing thrives on the discovery of all the possible plot structures that might be invoked to endow sets of events with different meanings. And our understanding of the past increases precisely in the degree to which we succeed in dertermining how far that past conforms to the strategies of sense-making that are contained in their purest forms in literary art. [...] The implication is that historians constitute their subjects as possible objects of narrative representation by the very language they use to describe them. And if thsi is the case, it means that a different kinds of historical interpretations that we have of the same set of events, such as the French Revolution as interpreted by Michelet, Tocqueville, Taine, and others, are little more than projections of the linguistic protocols that these historians used to pre – figure that set of events prior to writing their narratives of it. It is only a hypothesis, but it seems possible that the conviction of the historian that he has ‘found’ the form of his narrative in the events themselves, rather than imposed it upon them, in the way the poet does, is a result of a certain lack of linguistic self-consciousness which obscures the extent to which descriptions of events already constitute interpretations of their nature. As thus envisaged, the difference between Michelet’s and Tocqueville’s accounts of the Revolution does not reside only in the fact that the former emplotted history in the modality of a Romance and the latter his in the modality of Tragedy; it resides as well in the tropological mode – metaphorical and metonymic, respectively – with each brought to his apprehension of the facts as they appeared in the documents. I do not have the space to try to demonstrate the plausibility of this hypothesis, which is the informing principle of my book Metahistory. But I hope that this essay may serve to suggest an approach to the study of such discursive prose forms as historiography, an approach that is as old as the study of rhetoric and as new as modern linguistics. Such a study

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would proceed along the lines laid out by Roman Jakobson in a paper entitled ‘Linguistics and Poetics’, in which he characterized the difference between Romantic poetry and the various forms of nineteenth-century Realistic prose as residing in the essentially metaphorical nature of the former and the essentially metonymical nature of the latter. I think that his characterization of the difference between poetry and prose is too narrow, because it presupposes that complex macrostructural narratives such as the novel are little more than projections of the ‘selective’ (i.e., phonemic) axis of all speech acts. Poetry, and especially Romantic poetry, is then characterized by Jakobson as a projection of the ‘combinatory’ (i.e., morphemic) axis of language. Such a binary theory pushes the analyst toward a dualistic opposition between poetry and prose which appears to rule out the possibility of a metonymical poetry and a metaphorical prose. But the fruitfulness of Joakobson’s theory lies in its suggestion that the various forms of both poetry and prose, all of which have their counterparts in narrative in general and therefore in historiography too, can be characterized in terms of the dominant trope which serves as the paradigm, provided by language itself, of all significant relationships conveived to exist in the world by anyone wishing to represent those relationships in language. [...] For example, let us suppose that a set of experiences comes to us as a grotesque, i.e., as unclassified and unclassifiable. Our problem is to identify the modality of the relationships that bind the discernible elements of the formless totality together in such a way as to make of it a whole of some sort. If we stress the similarities among the elements, we are working in the mode of metaphor; if we stress the differences among them, we are working in the mode of metonymy. Of course, in order to make sense of any set of experiences, we must obviously identify both the parts of a thing that appear ot make it up and the nature of the shared aspects of the parts that make them identifiable as a totality. This implies that all original characterizations of anything must utilize both metaphor and metonymy in order to ‘fix’ it as something about which we can meaningfully discourse. In the case of historiography, the attempts of commentators to make sense of the French Revolution are instructive. Burke decodes the events of the Revolution which his contemporaries experienced as a grotesque by recording it in the mode of irony; Michelet recodes these events in the mode of synechdoche; Tocqueville recodes them in the mode of metonymy. In each case, however, the movement from code to recode is narratively described, i.e., laid out on a time line in such a way as to make the interpretation of the events that made up the ‘Revolution’ a kind of drama that we can recognize Satirical, Romantic, and Tragic, respectively. This drama can be followed by the reader of the narrative in such a way as to be experienced as a progressive revelation of what the true nature of the events consists of. The revelation is not experienced, however, as a restructuring of perception so much as an illumination of a field of occurance. But actually what has happened is that a set of events originally encoded in one way is simply being decoded by being recoded in another. The events themselves are not substantially changed from one account to another. That is to say, the data that are to be analyzed are not significantly different in the different accounts. What is different are the modalities of their relationships.[...]

4.3.3 Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield: from ‘History and Ideology: The Instance of Henry V’ [...] Perhaps the most fundamental error in [the] accounts of the role of ideology is falsely to unify history and/or the individual human subject. In one, history is identified by a teleological principle conferring meaningful order (Tillyard), in another by the inverse of this - Kott’s ‘implacable roller’. And Sanders’s emphasis on moral or subjective integrity implies a different though related notion of unity: an experience of subjective autonomy, of an essential self uncontaminated by the corruption of worldly process; ‘individual integrity’ implies in the

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etymology of both words an ideal unity: the undivided, the integral. Theories about the ultimate unity of both history and the human subject derive of course from a western philosophical tradition where, moreover, they have usually implied each other: the universal being seen as manifested through individual essences which in turn presuppose universals. Often unawares, idealist literary criticism has worked within or in the shadow of this tradition, as can be seen for example in its insistence that the universal truths of great literature are embodied in coherent and consistent ‘characters’. The alternative to this is not to become fixated on this negation universal chaos and subjective fragmentation - but rather to understand history and the human subject in terms of social and political process. Crucial for such an understanding is a materialist account of ideology. Ideology is composed of those beliefs, practices and institutions which work to legitimate the social order - especially by the process of representing sectional or class interests as universal ones. This process presupposes that there are others, subordinate classes, who far from sharing the interests of the dominant class are in fact being exploited by that class. This is one reason why the dominant tend not only to ‘speak for’ subordinate classes but actively to repress them as well. This repression operates coercively but also ideologically (the two are in practice inseparable). So for example at the same time that the Elizabethan ruling fraction claimed to lead and speak for all, it persecuted those who did not fit in it, even blaming them for the social instability which originated in its own policies. This is an instance of a process of displacement crucial then (and since) in the formation of dominant identities - class, cultural, racial and sexual. Ideology is not just a set of ideas, it is material practice, woven into the fabric of everyday life. At the same time, the dominant ideology is realized specifically through the institutions of education, the family, the law, religion, journalism and culture. In the Elizabethan state all these institutions worked to achieve ideological unity - not always successfully, for conflicts and contradictions remained visible at all levels, even within the dominant class fraction and its institutions. The theatre was monitored closely by the state - both companies and plays had to be licensed - and yet its institutional position was complex. On the one hand, it was sometimes summoned to perform at Court and such may seem a direct extension of royal power [...]; on the other hand, it was the mode of cultural production in which market forces were strongest, and such as it was especially exposed to the influence of subordinate and emergent classes. We should not, therefore, expect any straightforward relationship between plays and ideology: on the contrary, it is even likely that the topics which engaged writers and audiences alike were those where ideology was under strain. We will take as an instance for study Henry V, and it will appear that even in this play, which is often assumed to be the one where Shakespeare is closest to state propaganda, the construction of ideology is complex - even as it consolidates, it betrays inherent instability. The principal strategy of ideology is to legitimate inequality and exploitation by representing the social order which perpetuates these things as immutable and unalterable - as decreed by God or simply natural. Since the Elizabethan period the ideological appeal to God has tended to give way to the equally powerful appeal to the natural. But in the earlier period both were crucial: the laws of degree and order inferred from nature were further construed as having been put there by God. One religious vision represented ultimate reality in terms of unity and stasis: human endeavour, governed by the laws of change and occupying the material domain, is ever thwarted in its aspiration, ever haunted by its loss of an absolute which can only be regained in transcendence, the move through death to eternal rest, to an ultimate unity inseparable from a full stasis, ‘when no more Change shall be’ and ‘all rest eternally’ (Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VII, ii). This metaphysical vision has its political uses, especially when aiding the process of subjection by encouraging renunciation of the material world and a disregard of its social aspects such that oppression is experienced as a fate rather than an alterable condition. Protestantism tended to encourage engagement in the world rather than withdrawal from it; most of The Faerie Queene is about the urgent questing of knights and ladies. The theological underpinning of

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this activist religion was the doctrine of callings: ‘God bestows his gift upon us [...] that they might be employed in his service and to his glory, and that in this life.’ This doctrine legitimated the expansive assertiveness of a social order which was bringing much of Britain under centralized control, colonizing parts of the New World and trading vigorously with most of the Old, and which was to experience revolutionary changes. At the same time, acquiescence in an unjust social order (like that encouraged by a fatalistic metaphysic of stasis) seemed to be effected, though less securely, by an insistence that ‘whatsoever any man enterpriseth or doth, either must keep himself within the compass, limits or precincts thereof’ [...]. This ideology was none the less metaphysical. Such an activist ideology is obviously appropriate for the legitimation of warfare, and so we find it offered by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Henry V - as the Earl of Essex set off for Ireland in 1599 Lancelot Andrewes assured the Queen in a sermon that it was ‘a war sanctified’ [...]. In the honeybees speech human endeavour is not denigrated but harnessed in an imaginary unity quite different from that afforded by stasis: ‘So may a thousand actions, once afoot, / End in one purpose’ (I. ii. 211-12). Like so many political ideologies, this one shares something essential with the overtly religious metaphysic it appears to replace, namely a teleological explanation of its own image of legitimate power - that is, an explanation which is justified through the assertion that such power derives from an inherent natural and human order encoded by God. Thus the ‘one purpose’ derives from an order rooted in ‘a rule of nature’ (I. ii. 188), itself a manifestation of ‘heavenly’ creation, God’s regulative structuring of the universe. What this inherent structure guarantees above all is, predictably, obedience: ‘Therefore doth heaven divide / The state of man in divers functions, / Setting endeavour in continual motion; / To which is fixed, as an aim or butt, / Obedience.’ (I. ii. 183-7) And what in turn underpins obedience is the idea of one’s job or calling in effect one’s bee-like function - as following naturally from a God-given identity: soldiers, ‘armed in their stings, / Make boot upon the summer’s velvet buds; / Which pillage they with merry march bring home / To the tent-royal of their emperor.’ (I. ii. 193-6) The activist ideology thus displaces the emphasis on stasis yet remains thoroughly metaphysical none the less. More generally: in this period, perhaps more than any since, we can see a secular appropriation of theological categories to the extent that it may be argued that Reformation theology actually contributed to secularization [...]; nevertheless it was an appropriation which depended upon continuities, the most important of which, in ideological legitimation, is this appeal to teleology. Not only the justification of the war but, more specifically, the heroic representation of Henry, works in such terms. His is a power rooted in nature - blood, lineage and breeding: ‘The blood and courage that renowned them / Runs in your veins’ (I. ii. 118-19) - but also deriving ultimately from God’s law as it is encoded in nature and, by extension, society: France belongs to him ‘by gift of heaven, / By law of nature and of nations’ (II. iv. 79-80). Conversely the French king’s power is construed in terms of ‘borrow’d glories’, ‘custom’ and ‘mettle [...] bred out’ (II. iv. 79, 83; III. v. 29). With this theory of legitimate versus illegitimate power the responsibility for aggression is displaced onto its victims. Thus does war find its rationale, injustice its justification. There are two levels of disturbance in the state and the ideology which legitimates it: contradiction and conflict. Contradiction is the more fundamental, in the sense of being intrinsic to the social process as a whole - when for example the dominant order negates what it needs or, more generally, in perpetuating itself produces also its own negation. Thus, for example, in the seventeenth century monarchy legitimates itself in terms of religious attitudes which themselves come to afford a justification for opposition to monarchy. We shall be observing contradiction mainly as it manifests itself in the attempts of ideology to contain it. Conflict occurs between opposed interests, either as a state of disequilibrium or as active struggle; it occurs along the structural fault lines produced by contradictions. Ideology has always been challenged, not least by the exploited themselves, who have resisted its oppressive construction of them and its mystification of their disadvantaged social position. One concern of a materialist criticism is with the history of such

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resistance, with the attempt to recover the voices and cultures of the repressed and marginalized in history and writing. Moreover, ideology is destabilized not only from below, but by antagonisms within and among the dominant class or class fraction (high, as opposed to popular, literature will often manifest this kind of destabilization). Whereas idealist literary criticism has tended to emphasize the transcendence of conflict and contradiction, materialist criticism seeks to stay with them, wanting to understand them better. Ideologies which represent society as a spurious unity must of necessity also efface conflict and contradiction. How successful they are in achieving this depends on a range of complex and interrelated factors, only a few of which we have space to identify here. One such will be the relative strength of emergent, subordinate and oppositional elements within society. [...] The endless process of contest and negotiation between these elements and the dominant culture is often overlooked in the use of some structuralist perspectives within cultural analysis. One other factor which militates against the success of ideological misrepresentation involves a contradiction fundamental to ideology itself (and this will prove specially relevant to Henry V): the more ideology (necessarily) engages with the conflict and contradiction which it is its raison d’ être to occlude, the more it becomes susceptible to incorporating them within itself. It faces the contradictory situation whereby to silent dissent one must first give it a voice, to misrepresent it one must first present it. These factors make for an inconsistency and indeterminacy in the representation of ideological harmony in writing: the divergencies have to be included if the insistence on unity is to have any purchase, yet at the same time their inclusion invites sceptical interrogation of the ideological appearance of unity, of the effacements of actual conflict. There may be no way of resolving whether one, or which one, of these tendencies (unity versus divergencies) overrides the other in a particular play, but in a sense it does not matter: there is here an indeterminacy which alerts us to the complex but always significant process of theatrical representation and, through that, of political and social process. [...]

4.4

FEMINIST CONCERNS AND APPROACHES

4.4.1 Simone De Beauvoir: from The Second Sex [...] If her functioning as a female is not enough to define woman, if we decline also to explain her through ‘the eternal feminine’, and if nevertheless we admit, provisionally, that women do exist, then we must face the question: what is a woman? To state the question is, to me, to suggest, at once, a preliminary answer. The fact that I ask it is in itself significant. A man would never set out to write a book on the peculiar situation of the human male. But if I wish to define myself, I must first of all say: ‘I am a woman ‘; on this truth must be based all further discussion. A man never begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a man. The terms masculine and feminine are used symmetrically only as a matter of form, as on legal papers. In actuality the relation of the two sexes is not quite like that of two electrical poles, for man represents both the positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to designate human beings in general; whereas woman represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria, without reciprocity. In the midst of an abstract discussion it is vexing to hear a man say: ‘You think thus and so because you are a woman’ ; but I know that my only defence is to reply: ‘I think thus and so because it is true’, thereby removing my subjective self from the argument. It would be out of the question to reply: ‘And you think the contrary because you are a man’, for it is understood that the fact of being a man is no peculiarity. A man is in the right in being a man; it is the woman who is in the wrong. It amounts to this: just as for the ancients there was an absolute with reference to which the oblique was defined, so there is an absolute human type, the

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masculine. Woman has ovaries, a uterus: these peculiarities imprison her in her subjectivity, circumscribe her within the limits of her own nature. It is often said that she thinks with her glands. Man superbly ignores the fact that his anatomy also includes glands, such as the testicles, and that they secrete hormones. He thinks of his body as a direct and normal connection with the world, which he believes he apprehends objectively, whereas he regards the body of woman as a hindrance, a prison, weighed down by everything peculiar to it. ‘The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities’, said Aristotle; ‘we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness.’ And St. Thomas for his part pronounced woman to be an ‘imperfect man’, an ‘incidental’ being. This is symbolized in Genesis where Eve is depicted as made from what Bossuet called ‘a supernumerary bone’ of Adam. Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being. Michelet writes: ‘Woman, the relative being...’ And Benda is most positive in his Rapport d’ Uriel: ‘The body of man makes sense in itself quite apart from that of woman, whereas the latter seems wanting in significance by itself... Man can think of himself without woman. She cannot think of herself without man.’ And she is simply what man decrees; thus she is called ‘the sex’, by which is meant that she appears essentially to the male as a sexual being. For him she is sex - absolute sex, no less. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute - she is the Other. [...] But women do not say ‘We’, except at some congress of feminists or similar formal demonstration; men say ‘women’, and women use the same word in referring to themselves. They do not authentically assume a subjective attitude. The proletarians have accomplished the revolution in Russia, the Negroes in Haiti, the Indo-Chinese are battling for it in IndoChina; but the women’s effort has never been anything more than a symbolic agitation. They have gained only what men have been willing to grant; they have taken nothing, they have only received. The reason for this is that women lack concrete means for organizing themselves into a unit which can stand face to face with the correlative unit. They have no past, no history, no religion of their own; and they have no such solidarity of work and interest as that of the proletariat. They are not even promiscuously herded together in the way that creates community feeling among the American Negroes, the ghetto Jews, the workers of Saint-Denis, or the factory hands of Renault. They live dispersed among the males, attached through residence, housework, economic condition, and social standing to certain men - fathers or husbands - more firmly than they are to other women. If they belong to the bourgeoisie, they feel solidarity with men of that class, not with proletarian women; if they are white, their allegiance is to white men, not to Negro women. The proletariat can propose to massacre the ruling class, and a sufficiently fanatical Jew or Negro might dream of getting sole possession of the atomic bomb and making humanity wholly Jewish or black; but woman cannot even dream of exterminating the males. The bond that unites her to her oppressors is not comparable to any other. The division of the sexes is a biological fact, not an event in human history. [...] Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth. The religions invented by men reflect this wish for domination. In the legends of Eve and Pandora men have taken up arms against women. They have made use of philosophy and theology, as the quotations from Aristotle and St. Thomas have shown. Since ancient times satirists and moralists have delighted in showing up the weaknesses of women. We are familiar with the savage indictments hurled against women throughout French literature. Montherlant, for example, follows the tradition of Jean de Meung, though with less gusto. This hostility may at times be well founded, often it is gratuitous; but in truth it more or less successfully conceals a desire for self-justification. [...] With still more reason we can count on the fingers of one hand the women who have traversed the given in search of its secret dimension: Emily Brontë has questioned death, Virginia Woolf life, and Katherine Mansfield - not very often - every day contingence and suffering. No

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woman wrote The Trial, Moby Dick, Ulysses, or Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Women do not contest the human situation, because they have hardly begun to assume it. This explains why their works for the most part lack metaphysical resonances and also anger; they do not take the world incidentally, they do not ask it questions, they do not expose its contradictions: they take it as it is too seriously. It should be said that the majority of men have the same limitations; it is when we compare the woman of achievement with the few rare male artists who deserve to be called ‘great men’ that she seems mediocre. It is not a special destiny that limits her: we can readily comprehend why it has not been vouchsafed her - and may not be vouchsafed her for some time - to attain to the loftiest summits. Art, literature, philosophy, are attempts to found the world anew on a human liberty: that of the individual creator; to entertain such a pretension, one must first unequivocally assume the status of a being who has liberty. The restrictions that education and custom impose on woman now limit her grasp on the universe; when the struggle to find one’s place in this world is too arduous, there can be no question of getting away from it. Now, one must first emerge from it into a sovereign solitude if one wants to try to regain a grasp upon it: what woman needs first of all is to undertake, in anguish and pride, her apprenticeship in abandonment and transcendence: that is, in liberty. [...] are being promoted to leadership positions in government, industry, and culture. Inequalities, devalorizations, underestimations, even persecution of women at this level continue to hold sway in vain. The struggle against them is a struggle against archaisms. The cause has nonetheless been understood, the principle has been accepted. What remains is to break down the resistance to change. In this sense, this struggle, while still one of the main concerns of the new generation, is not, strictly speaking, its problem. In relationship to power, its problem might rather be summarized as follows: What happens when women come into power and identify with it? What happens when, on the contrary, they refuse power and create a parallel society, a counterpower which then takes on aspects ranging from a club of ideas to a group of terrorist commandos? The assumption by women of executive, industrial, and cultural power has not, up to the present time, radically changed the nature of this power. This can be clearly seen in the East, where women promoted to decisionmaking positions suddenly obtain the economic as well as the narcissistic advantages refused them for thousands of years and become the pillars of the existing governments, guardians of the status quo, the most zealous protectors of the established order. This identification by women with the very power structures previously considered as frustrating, oppressive, or inaccessible has often been used in modern times by totalitarian regimes: the German National-Socialists and the Chilean junta are examples of this. The fact that this is a paranoid type of counterinvestment in an initially denied symbolic order can perhaps explain this troubling phenomenon; but an explanation does not prevent its massive propagation around the globe, perhaps in less dramatic forms than the totalitarian ones mentioned above, but all moving toward levelling, stabilization, conformist, at the cost of crushing exceptions, experiments, chance occurrences. Some will regret that the rise of a libertarian movement such as feminism ends, in some of its aspects, in the consolidation of conformism; others will rejoice and profit from this fact. Electoral campaigns, the very life of political parties, continue to bet on this latter tendency. Experience proves that too quickly even the protest or

4.4.2 Julia Kristeva: from ‘Women’s Time’ The terror of power or the power of terrorism First in socialist countries (such as the USSR and China) and increasingly in Western democracies, under pressure from feminist movements, women

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innovative initiatives on the part of women inhaled by power systems (when they do not submit to them right off) are soon credited to the system’s account; and that the long-awaited democratization of institutions as a result of the entry of women most often comes down to fabricating a few ‘chiefs’ among them. The difficulty presented by this logic of integrating the second sex into a value system experienced as foreign and therefore counterinvested is how to avoid the centralization of power, how to detach women from it, and how then to proceed, through their critical, differential, and autonomous interventions, to render decision-making institutions more flexible. Then there are the more radical feminist currents which, refusing homologation to any role of identification with existing power no matter what the power may be, make of the second sex a counter - society. A ‘female society’ is then constituted as a sort of alter ego of the official society, in which all real or fantasized possibilities for jouissance take refuge. Against the sociosymbolic contract, both sacrificial and frustrating, this countersociety is imagined as harmonious, without prohibitions, free and fulfilling. In our modern societies which have no hereafter or, at least, which are caught up in a transcendency either reduced to this side of the world (Protestantism) or crumbling (Catholicism and its current challenges), the countersociety remains the only refuge for fulfillment since it is precisely an a-topia, a place outside the law, utopia’s floodgate. As with any society, the countersociety is based on the expulsion of an excluded element, a scapegoat charged with the evil of which the community duly constituted can then purge itself; a purge which will finally exonerate that community of any future in order to fend off criticism – in the foreign, in capital alone, in the other religion, in the other sex. Does not feminism become a kind of inverted sexism when this logic is followed to its conclusion? The various forms of marginalism – according to sex, age, religion, or ideology – represent in the modern world this refuge for jouissance, a sort of laicized transcendence. But with women, and insofar as the number of those feeling concerned by this problem has increased, although in less spectacular forms than a few years ago, the problem of the countersociety is becoming massive: It occupies no more and no less than ‘half of the sky’. It has, therefore, become clear, because of the particular radicalization of the second generation, that these protest movements, including feminism, are not ‘initially libertarian’ movements which only later, through internal deviations or external chance manipulations, fall back into the old ruts of the initially combated archetypes. Rather, the very logic of counterpower and of countersociety necessarily generates, by its very structure, its essence as a simulacrum of the combated society or of power. In this sense and from a viewpoint undoubtedly too Hegelian, modern feminism has only been but a moment in the interminable process of coming to consciousness about the implacable violence (separation, castration, etc.) which constitutes any symbolic contract. Thus the identification with power in order to consolidate it or the constitution of a fetishist counterpower – restorer of the crises of the self and provider of a jouissance which is always already a transgression – seem to be the two social forms which the face-off between the new generation of women and the social contract can take. That one also finds the problem of terrorism there is structurally related. The large number of women in terrorist groups (Palestinian commandos, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, Red Brigades, etc.) has already been pointed out, either violently or prudently according to the source of information. The exploitation of women is still too great and the traditional prejudices against them too violent for one to be able to envision this phenomenon with sufficient distance. It can, however, be said from now on that this is the inevitable product of what we have called a denial of the sociosymbolic contract and its counterinvestment as the only means of self-defense in the struggle to safeguard an identity. This paranoid-type mechanism is at the base of any political involvement. It may produce different civilizing attitudes in the sense that these attitudes allow a more or less flexible reabsorption of violence and death. But when a subject is too brutally excluded from this sociosymbolic stratum; when, for example, a woman feels her affective life as a woman or her condition as a social being too brutally ignored by existing discourse or power (from her family to social institutions); she may, by

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counterinvesting the violence she has endured, make of herself a ‘possessed’ agent of this violence in order to combat what was experienced as frustration – with arms which may seem disproportional, but which are not so in comparison with the subjective or more precisely narcissistic suffering from which they originate. Necessarily opposed to the bourgeois democratic regimes in power, this terrorist violence offers as a program of liberation an order which is even more oppressive, more sacrificial than those it combats. Strangely enough, it is not against totalitarian regimes that these terrorist groups with women participants unleash themselves but, rather, against liberal systems, whose essence is, of course exploitative but whose expanding democratic legality guarantees relative tolerance. Each time, the mobilization takes place in the name of a nation, of an oppressed group, of a human essence imagined as good and sound; in the name, then, of a kind of fantasy of archaic fulfillment which an arbitrary, abstract, and thus even bad and ultimately discriminatory order has come to disrupt. While that order is accused of being oppressive, is it not actually being reproached with being too weak, with not measuring up to this pure and good, but henceforth lost, substance? Anthropology has shown that the social order is sacrificial, but sacrifice orders violence, binds it, tames it. Refusal of the social order exposes one to the risk that the so-called good substance, once it is unchained, will explode, without curbs, without law or right, to become an absolute arbitrariness. [...] In sum, all of these considerations – her eternal debt to the womanmother – make a woman more vulnerable within the symbolic order, more fragile when she suffers within it, more virulent when she protects herself from it. If the archetype of the belief in a good and pure substance, that of utopias, is the belief in the omnipotence of an archaic, full, total, englobing mother with no frustration, no separation, with no break-producing symbolism (with no castration, in other words), then it becomes evident that we will never be able to defuse the violences mobilized through the counterinvestment necessary to carrying out this phantasm, unless one challenges precisely this myth of the archaic mother. It is in this way that we can understand the warnings against the recent invasion of the women’s movements by paranoia, as in Lacan’s scandalous sentence ‘There is no such thing as Woman.’ Indeed, she does not exist with a capital ‘W,’ possessor of some mythical unity - a supreme power, on which is based the terror of power and terrorism as the desire for power. But what an unbelievable force for subversion in the modern world! And, at the same time, what playing with fire! Creatures and creatresses [...] Pregnancy seems to be experienced as the radical ordeal of the splitting of the subject: redoubling up of the body, separation and coexistence of the self and of an other, of nature and consciousness, of physiology and speech. This fundamental challenge to identity is then accompanied by a fantasy of totality – narcissistic completeness – a sort of instituted, socialized, natural psychosis. The arrival of the child, on the other hand, leads the mother into the labyrinths of an experience that, without the child, she would only rarely encounter: love for an other. Not for herself, nor for an identical being, and still less for another person with whom ‘I’ fuse (love or sexual passion). But the slow, difficult, and delightful apprenticeship in attentiveness, gentleness, forgetting oneself. The ability to succeed in this path without masochism and without annihilating one’s affective, intellectual, and professional personality – such would seem to be the stakes to be won through guiltless maternity. It then becomes a creation in the strong sense of the term. For this moment, utopian? On the other hand, it is in the aspiration toward artistic and, in particular, literary creation that woman’s desire for affirmation now manifests itself. Why literature? Is it because, faced with social norms, literature reveals a certain knowledge and sometimes the truth itself about an otherwise repressed, nocturnal, secret, and unconscious universe? Because it thus redoubles the social contract by exposing the unsaid, the uncanny? And because it makes a game, a space of fantasy arid pleasure, out of the abstract and frustrating order of social signs, the words of everyday communication? Flaubert said, ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi.’ Today many women imagine, ‘Flaubert, c’est moi.’ This identification with the potency of the

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imaginary is not only an identification, an imaginary potency (a fetish, a belief in the maternal penis maintained at all costs), as a far too normative view of the social and symbolic relationship would have it. This identification also bears witness to women’s desire to lift the weight of what is sacrificial in the social contract from their shoulders, to nourish our societies with a more flexible and free discourse, one able to name what has thus far never been an object of circulation in the community: the enigmas of the body, the dreams, secret joys, shames, hatreds of the second sex. It is understandable from this that women’s writing has lately attracted the maximum attention of both ‘specialists’ and the media. The pitfalls encountered along the way, however, are not to be minimized: For example, does one not read there a relentless belittling of male writers whose books, nevertheless, often serve as ‘models’ for countless productions by women? Thanks to the feminist label, does one not sell numerous works whose naive whining or market-place romanticism would otherwise have been rejected as anachronistic? And does one not find the pen of many a female writer being devoted to phantasmic attacks against Language and Sign as the ultimate supports of phallocratic power, in the name of a semi-aphonic corporality whose truth can only be found in that which is ‘gestural’ or ‘tonal’ ? And yet, no matter how dubious the results of these recent productions by women, the symptom is there – women are writing, and the air is heavy with expectation: What will they write that is new? Another generation is another space [...] To restrict myself here to a personal level, as related to the question of women, I see arising, under the cover of a relative indifference toward the militance of the first and second generations, an attitude of retreat from sexism (male as well as female) and, gradually, from any kind of anthropomorphism. The fact that this might quickly become another form of spiritualism turning its back on social problems, or else a form of repression ready to support all status quos, should not hide the radicalness of the process. This process could be summarized as an interiorization of the founding separation of the sociosymbolic contract, as an introduction of its cutting edge into the very interior of every identity whether subjective, sexual, ideological, or so forth. This in such a way that the habitual and increasingly explicit attempt to fabricate a scapegoat victim as foundress of a society or a countersociety may be replaced by the analysis of the potentialities of victim/executioner which characterize each identity, each subject, each sex. What discourse, if not that of a religion, would be able to support this adventure which surfaces as a real possibility, after both the achievements and the impasses of the present ideological reworkings, in which feminism has participated? It seems to me that the role of what is usually called ‘aesthetic practices’ must increase not only to counterbalance the storage and uniformity of information by present-day mass media, databank systems, and, in particular, modern communications technology, but also to demystify the identity of the symbolic bond itself, to demystify, therefore, the community of language as a universal and unifying tool, one which totalizes and equalizes. In order to bring out – along with the singularity of each person and, even more, along with the multiplicity of every person’s possible identifications (with atoms, e.g., stretching from the family to the stars) – the relativity of his/her symbolic as well as biological existence, according to the variation in his/her specific symbolic capacities. And in order to emphasize the responsibility which all will immediately face of putting this fluidity into play against the threats of death which are unavoidable whenever an inside and an outside, a self and an other, one group and another, are constituted. At this level of interiorization with its social as well as individual stakes, what I have called ‘aesthetic practices’ are undoubtedly nothing other than the modern reply to the eternal question of morality. At least, this is how we might understand an ethics which, conscious of the fact that its order is sacrificial, reserves part of the burden for each of its adherents, therefore declaring them guilty while immediately affording them the possibility for jouissance, for various productions, for a life made up of both challenges and differences. Spinoza’s question can be taken up again here: Are women subject to

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ethics? If not to that ethics defined by classical philosophy – in relationship to which the ups and downs of feminist generations seem dangerously precarious – are women not already participating in the rapid dismantling that our age is experiencing at various levels (from wars to drugs to artificial insemination) and which poses the demand for a new ethics? The answer to Spinoza’s question can be affirmative only at the cost of considering feminism as but a moment in the thought of that anthropomorphic identity which currently blocks the horizon of the discursive and scientific adventure of our species. extraordinarily rich and inventive, in particular as concern masturbation, is prolonged or accompanied by a production of forms, a veritable aesthetic activity, each stage of rupture inscribing a resonant vision, a composition, something beautiful. Beauty will no longer be forbidden. I wished that that woman would write and proclain this unique empire so that other women, other unacknowledged sovereigns, might exclaim: I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst - burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. [...] I write woman: woman must write woman. And man, man. So only an oblique consideration will be found here of man; it’s up to him to say where his masculinity and femininity are at: this will concern us once men have opened their eyes and seen themselves clearly. [...] Nearly the entire history of writing is confounded with the history of reason, of which it is at once the effect, the support, and one of the privileged alibis. It has been one with the phallocentric tradition. It is indeed that same self-admiring, self-stimulating, self-congratulatory phallocentrism. [...] It is impossible to define a feminine practice of writing, and this is an impossibility that will remain, for this practice can never be theorized, enclosed, coded - which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. But it will always surpass the discourse that regulates the phallocentric system; it does and will take place in areas other than those subordinated to philosophico-theoretical domination. It will be conceived of only by subjects who are breakers of automatisms, by peripheral figures that no authority can ever subjugate. Almost everything is yet to be written by women about femininity: about their sexuality, that is, its infinite and mobile complexity, about their eroticization, sudden turn-ons of a certain miniscule-immense area of their bodies; not about destiny, but about the adventure of such and such a drive, about trips, crossing, trudges, abrupt and gradual

4.4.3 Hélène Cixous: from ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ I write this as a woman, toward women. When I say ‘woman,’ I’m speaking of woman in her inevitable struggle against conventional man; and of a universal woman subject who must bring women to their senses and to their meaning in history. But first it must said that in spite of the enormity of the repression that has kept them in the ‘dark’ - that dark which people have been trying to make them accept as their attribute there is, at this time, no general woman, no one typical woman. What they have in common I will say. But what strikes me is the infinite richness of their individual constitutions: you can’t talk about a female sexuality, uniform, homogeneous, classifiable into codes - any more than you can talk about one unconscious resembling another. Women’s imaginary is inexhaustible, like music, painting, writing: their stream of phantasms is incredible. I have been amazed more than once by a description a woman gave me of a world all her own which she had been secretly haunting since early childhood. A world of searching, the elaboration of a knowledge, on the basis of a systematic experimentation with the bodily functions, a passionate and precise interrogation of her erotogeneity. This practice,

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awakenings, discoveries of a zone at one time timorous and soon to be forthright. A woman’s body with its thousand and one thresholds of ardour - once, by smashing yokes and censors, she lets it articulate the profusion of meaning that run through it in every direction - will make the old single-grooved mother tongue reverberate with more than one language. We’ve been turned away from our bodies, shamefully taught to ignore them, to strike them with that stupid sexual modesty; we’ve been made victims of the old fool’s game: each one will love the other sex. I’ll give you your body and you’ll give me mine. But who are the men who give women the body that women blindly yield to them? Why so few texts? Because so few woman have as yet won back their body. Women must write through their bodies, they must invent the impregnable language that will wreck partitions, classes, and rhetorics, regulations and codes, they must submerge, cut through, get beyond the ultimate reserve-discourse, including the one that laughs at the very idea of pronouncing the word ‘silence,’ the one that aiming for the impossible, stops short before the word ‘impossible’ and writes it as ‘the end.’ with the exploitation and manipulation of the female audience, especially in popular culture and film; and with the analysis of woman-as-sign in semiotic systems. The second type of feminist criticism is concerned with woman as writer - with woman as the producer of textual meaning, with the history, themes, genres and structures of literature by women. Its subjects include the psychodynamics of female creativity; linguistics and the problem of a female language; the trajectory of the individual or collective female literary career; literary history; and, of course, studies of particular writers and works. No term exists in English for such a specielised discourse, and so I have adapted the French term la gynocritique: ‘gynocritics’ (although the significance of the male pseudonym in the history of women’s writing also suggested the term ‘georgics’). The feminist critique is essentially political and polemical, with theoretical affiliations to Marxist sociology and aesthetics; gynocritics is more self-contained and experimental, with connections to other modes of new feminist research. [...] As we see in this analysis, one of the problems of the feminist critique is that it is male-oriented. If we study stereotypes of women, the sexism of male critics, and the limited roles women play in literary history, we are not learning what women have felt and experienced, but only what men have thought women should be. In some fields of specialisation, this may require a long apprenticeship to the male theoretician, whether he be Althusser, Barthes, Macherey or Lacan; and then an application of the theory of signs or myths or the unconscious to male texts or films. The temporal and intellectual investment one makes in such a process increases resistance to questioning it, and to seing its historical and ideological boundaries. The critique also has a tendency to naturalise women’s victimisation, by making it the inevitable and obsessive topic of discussion. [...] In contrast to this angry or loving fixation on male literature, the programme of gynocritics is to construct a female framework for the analysis of women’s literature, to develop new models based on the study of female experience, rather than to adapt male models and theories.

4.4.4 Elaine Showalter: from ‘Towards a Feminist Poetics’ Feminist criticism can be divided into two distinct varieties. The first type is concerned with woman as reader - with woman as the consumer of male-produced literature, and with the way in which the hypothesis of a female reader changes our apprehension of a given text, awakening us to the significance of its sexual codes. I shall call this kind of analysis the feminist critique, and like other kinds of critique it is a historically grounded inquiry which probes the ideological assumptions of literary phenomena. Its subjects include the images and stereotypes of women in literature, the omissions and misconceptions about women in criticism, and the fissures in male-constructed literary history. It is also concerned

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Gynocritics begins at the point when we free ourselves from the linear absolutes of male literary history, stop trying to fit women between the lines of the male tradition, and focus instead on the nearly visible world of female culture. [...] Before we can even begin to ask how the literature of women would be different and special, we need to reconstruct its past, to rediscover the scores of women novelists, poets and dramatists whose work has been obscured by time, and to establish the continuity of the female tradition. [...] As we recreate the chain of writers in this tradition, the patterns of influence and response from one generation to the next, we can also begin to challenge the periodicity of orthodox literary history, and its enshrined canons of achievement. It is because we have studied women writers in isolation that we have never grasped the connections between them. When we go beyond Austen, the Brontes and Eliot, say, to look at a hundred and fifty or more of their sister novelists, we can see patterns and phases in the evolution of a female tradition which correspond to the developmental phases of any subcultural art. In my book on English women writers, A Literature of their Own, I have called these the Feminine, Feminist and Female stages. During the Feminine phases, dating from about 1840 to 1880, women wrote in an effort to equal the intellectual achievements of the male culture, and internalised its assumptions about female nature. The distinguishing sign of this period is the male pseudonym, introduced in England in the 1840s, and a national characteristic of English women writers. [...] The feminist content of feminine art is typically oblique, displaced, ironic and subversive; one has to read it between the lines, in the missed possibilities of the text. In the Feminist phase, from about 1880 to 1920, or the winning of the vote, women are historically enabled to reject the accommodating postures of femininity and to use literature to dramatise the ordeals of wronged womanhood. [...] In the Female phase, ongoing since 1920, women reject both imitation and protest - two forms of dependency - and turn instead to female experience as the source of an autonomous art, extending the feminist analysis of culture to the forms and techniques of literature. Representatives of the formal Female Aesthetic, such as Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf, begin to think in terms of male and female sentences, and divide their work into ‘masculine’ journalism and ‘feminine’ fictions, redefining and sexualising external and internal experience. [...] In trying to account for these complex permutations of the female tradition, feminist criticism has tried a variety of theoretical approaches. The most natural direction for feminist criticism to take has been the revision, and even the subversion of related ideologies, especially Marxist aesthetics and structuralism, altering their vocabularies and methods to include the variable of gender. I believe, however, that this thrifty feminine making-do is ultimately unsatisfactory. Feminist criticism cannot go around forever in men’s ill-fitting hand-me-downs, the Annie Hall of English studies; but must, as John Stuart Mill wrote about women’s literature in 1869, ‘emancipate itself from the influences of accepted models, and guide itself by its own impulses’ 77 - as, I think, gynocritics is beginning to do. This is not to deny the necessity of using the terminology and techniques of our profession. But when we consider the historical conditions in which critical ideologies are produced, we see why feminist adaptations seem to have reached an impasse. [...] The new sciences of the text based on linguistics, computers, genetic structuralism, deconstructionism, neo-formalism and deformalism, affective stylistics and psychoaesthetics, have offered literary critics the opportunity to demonstrate that the work they do is mainly and aggressive as nuclear physics - not intuitive expressive and feminine, but strenuous, rigorous, impersonal and virile. In a shrinking job market, these new levels of professionalism also function as discriminators between the marketable and marginal lecturer. Literary science, in its manic generation of difficult terminology, its establishment of seminars and institutes of post-graduate study, creates an élite corps of specialists who spend more and more time mastering the theory, less and less time reading the books. We are moving toward a two-tiered system of ‘higher’
77 J. S. Mill, The Subjection of Women (London, 1869), p. 133.

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and ‘lower’ criticism, the higher concerned with the ‘scientific’ problems of form and structure, the ‘lower’ concerned with the ‘humanistic’ problems of content and interpretation. And these levels, it seems to me, are now taking on subtle gender identities, and assuming a sexual polarity - hermeneutics and hismeneutics. Ironically, the existence of a new criticism practised by women has made it even more possible for structuralism and Marxism to strive, Henchard-like, for systems of formal obligation and determination. Feminist writings in these modes, such as Hélène Cixous and the women contributors to Diacritics, risk being alloted the symbolic ghettoes of the special issue or the back of the book for their essays. It is not because the exchange between feminism, Marxism and structuralism has hitherto been so one-sided, however, that I think attempts at syntheses have so far been unsuccessful. While scientific criticism struggles to purge itself of the subjective, feminist criticism is willing to assert (in the title of a recent anthology) The Authority of Experience.78 The experience of woman can easily disappear, become mute, invalid and invisible, lost in the diagrams of the structuralist or the class conflict of the Marxists. Experience is not emotion; we must protest now as in the nineteenth century against the equation of the feminine with the irrational. But we must also recognise that the questions we most need to ask go beyond those that science can answer. We must seek the repressed message of women in history, in anthropology, in psychology, and in ourselves, before we can locate the feminine not-said, in the manner of Pierre Macherey, by probing the fissures of the female text. Thus the current theoretical impasse in feminist criticism, I believe, is more than a problem of finding ‘exacting definitions and a suitable terminology’, or ‘theorizing in the midst of a struggle’. It comes from our own divided consciousness, the split in each of us. We are both the daughters of the male tradition, of our teachers, our professors, our disertation advisers and our publishers - a tradition which asks us to be
78 Lee Edwards and Arlyn Diamond (eds.), The Authority of Experience (Amherst,

rational, marginal and grateful; and sisters in a new women’s movement which engenders another kind of awareness and commitment, which demands that we renounce the pseudo-success of token womanhood, and the ironic masks of academic debate. How much easier, how less lonely it is, not to awaken - to continue to be critics and teachers of male literature, anthropologists of male culture, and psychologists of male literary response, claiming all the while to be universal. Yet we cannot will ourselves to go back to sleep. As women scholars in the 1970s we have been given a great opportunity, a great intellectual challenge. The anatomy, the rhetoric, the poetics, the history, await our writing. [...] The task of feminist critics is to find a new language, a new way of reading that can integrate our intelligence and our experience, our reason and our suffering, our scepticism and our vision. This enterprise should not be confined to women; I invite Criticus, Poeticus and Plutarchus to share it with us. One thing is certain: feminist criticism is not visiting. It is here to stay, and we must make it a permanent home.

4.4.5 Elaine Showalter: from ‘Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism’ (1985) ‘AS A SORT of a come - on, I announced that I would speak today about that piece of bait named Ophelia, and I’ll be as good as my word’. These are the words which begin the psychoanalytic seminar on Hamlet presented in Paris in 1959 by Jacques Lacan. But despite his promising come - on, Lacan was not as good as his word. He goes on for some 41 pages to speak about Hamlet, and when he does mention Ophelia, she is merely what Lacan calls ‘the object Ophelia’ - that is, the object of Hamlet’s male desire. The etymology of Ophelia, Lacan asserts, is ‘O phallus’, and her role in the drama can only be to function as the exteriorized figuration of what Lacan predictably and, in view of his own early work with psychotic women, disappointingly suggests is the phallus

Mass., 1977).

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as transcendental signifier. To play such a part obviously makes Ophelia ‘essential’, as Lacan admits; but only because, in his words, ‘she is linked forever, for centuries, to the figure of Hamlet’. [...] Yet when feminist criticism allows Ophelia to upstage hamlet, it also brings to the foreground the issues in an ongoing theoretical debate about the cultural links between femininity, female sexuality, insanity, and representation. [...] Feminist critics have offered a variety of responses to these questions. Some have maintained that we should represent Ophelia as a lawyer represents a client, that we should become her Horatia, in this harsh world reporting her cause aright to the unsatisfied. [...] If we turn from American to French feminist theory, Ophelia might confirm the impossibility of representing the feminine in patriarchal discourse as other than madness, incoherence, fluidity, or silence. In French theoretical criticism, the feminine or ‘Woman’ is that which escapes representation in patriarchal language and symbolism; it remains on the side of negativity, absence, and lack. In comparison to Hamlet, Ophelia is certainly a creature of lack. ‘I think nothing, my lord’, she tells him in the mousetrap scene, and he cruelly twists her words: Hamlet: That’s a fair thought to lie between maid’s legs. Ophelia: What is, my lord? Hamlet: Nothing. (III.ii.117-19) In Elizabethan slang, ‘nothing’ was a term for the female genitalia, as Much Ado About Nothing. To Hamlet, then, ‘nothing’ is what lies between maid’s legs, for, in the male visual system of representation and desire, women’s sexual organs, in the words of the French psychoanalyst Luce Irigaray, ‘represent the horror of having nothing to see.’ 15 When Ophelia is mad, Gertrude says that her ‘Her speech is nothing,’ mere ‘unshaped use’. Ophelia’s speech thus represents the horror of having nothing to say in the public terms defined by the court. Deprived of thought, sexuality, language, Ophelia’s story becomes the Story of O - the zero, the empty circle or mystery of feminine difference, the cipher of female sexuality to be deciphered by feminist interpretation.6 A third approach would be to read Ophelia’s story as the female subtext of the tragedy, the repressed story of Hamlet. In this reading, Ophelia represents the strong emotions that the Elizabethans as well as the Freudians thought womanish and unmanly. When Laertes weeps for his dead sister he says of his tears that ‘When these are gone,/The woman will be out’ - that is to say, that the feminine and shameful of his nature will be purged. According to David Leverenz, in an important essay called ‘The Woman in Hamlet,’ Hamlet’s disgust at the feminine passivity in himself is translated into violent revulsion against women, and into his brutal behavior towards Ophelia. Ophelia’s suicide, Leverenz argues, then becomes ‘a microcosm of the male world’s banishment of the female, because ‘woman’ represents everything denied by reasonable men’.7 [...] While all of these approaches have much to recommend them, each also presents critical problems. To liberate Ophelia from the text, or to make her its tragic center, is to re-appropriate her for our ends; to dissolve her into a female symbolism of absence is to endorse our own marginality; to make her Hamlet’s anima is to reduce her to a metaphor of male experience. I would like to propose instead that Ophelia does have a story of her own that feminist criticism can tell; it is neither her life story, nor her love story, nor Lacan’s story, but rather the history of her representation. This essay tries to bring together some of the categories of French feminist thought about the ‘feminine’ with the empirical energies of American historical and critical research: to yoke French theory and Yankee knowhow. Tracing the iconography of Ophelia in English and French painting, photography, psychiatry, and literature, as well as in theatrical production, I will be showing first of all the representational bonds between female insanity and female sexuality. Secondly, I want to demonstrate the two way transaction between psychiatric theory and cultural representation. As one medical historian has observed, we could provide a manual of female insanity by chronicling the illustrations of Ophelia; this is so because the illustrations of Ophelia have played a major role in the

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theoretical construction of female insanity. 9 Finally, I want to suggest that the feminist revision of Ophelia comes as much from the actress’s freedom as from the critic’s interpretation.10 When Shakespeare’s heroines began to be played by women instead of boys, the presence of the female body and female voice, quite apart from details of interpretation, created new meanings and subversive tensions in these roles, and perhaps most importantly with Ophelia. Looking at Ophelia’s history on and off the stage, I will point out the contest between male and female representations of Ophelia, cycles of critical repression and feminist reclamation of which contemporary feminist criticism is only the most recent phase. By beginning with these data from cultural history, instead of moving from the grid of literary theory, I hope to conclude with a fuller sense of the responsibilities of feminist criticism, as well as a new perspective on Ophelia. [...] Whereas for Hamlet madness is metaphysical, linked with culture, for Ophelia it is a product of the female body and female nature, perhaps that nature’s purest form. On the Elizabethan stage, the conventions of female insanity were sharply defined. Ophelia dressed in white, decks herself with ‘fantastical garlands’ of wild flowers, and enters, according to the stage directions of the ‘Bad’ Quarto, ‘distracted’ playing on a lute with her ‘hair down singing.’ Her speeches are marked by extravagant metaphors, lyrical free associations, and ‘explosive sexual imagery.’ 12 She sings wistful and bawdy ballads, and ends her life by drowning. [...] In Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, the stage direction that a woman enters with dishevelled hair indicates that she might either be mad or the victim of a rape; the disordered hair, her offense against decorum, suggests sensuality in each case.14 [...] Drowning too was associated with the feminine, with female fluidity as opposed to masculine aridity. In his discussion of the ‘Ophelia’s complex,’ the phenomenologist Gaston Bachelard traces the symbolic connections between women, water, and death. Drowning, he suggests, becomes the truly feminine death in the dramas of literature and life, one which is a beautiful immersion and submersion in the female element. Water is the profound and organic symbol of the liquid woman whose eyes are so easily drowned in tears, as her body is the repository of blood, amniotic fluid and milk. [...] Clinically speaking, Ophelia’s behavior and appearance are characteristic of the malady the Elizabethans would have diagnosed as female love - melancholy, or erotomania. From about 1580, melancholy had become a fashionable disease among young men, especially in London, and Hamlet himself is a prototype of the melancholy hero. Yet the epidemic of melancholy associated with intellectual and imaginative genius ‘curiously bypassed women.’ Women’s melancholy was seen instead as biological, and emotional in origins.17 [...] The subversive or violent possibilities of the mad scene were nearly eliminated, however, on the eighteenth - century stage. Late Augustan stereotypes of female love - melancholy were sentimentalized versions which minimized the force of female sexuality, and made female insanity a pretty stimulant to male sensibility. Actresses such as Mrs. Lessingham in 1772, and Mary Bolton in 1811, played Ophelia in this decorous style, relying on the familiar images of the white dress, loose hair, and wild flowers to convey a polite feminine distraction, highly suitable for pictorial reproduction, and appropriate for Samuel Johnson’s description of Ophelia as young, beautiful, harmless, and pious. [...] But whereas the Augustan response to madness was a denial, the romantic response was an embrace.20 The figure of the madwoman permeates romantic literature, from the gothic novelists to Wordsworth ans Scott in such texts as ‘The Thorn’ and The Heart of Midlothian, where she stands for sexual victimization, bereavement, and thrilling emotional extremity. [...] In the Shakespearean theater, Ophelia’s romantic revival began in France rather than England. When Charles Kemble made his Paris debut as Hamlet with an English troupe in 1827, his Ophelia was a young Irish ingenue named Harriet Smithson used ‘her extensive command of mime to depict in precise gesture the state of Ophelia’s confused mind.’ 21In the mad scene, she entered in a long black veil, suggesting the standard imagery of female sexual mystery in the gothic novel, with scattered bedlamish wisps of straw in her hair.

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[...] Whereas the romantic Hamlet, in Coleridge’s famous dictum, thinks too much, has an ‘overbalance of the contemplative faculty’ and an overactive intellect, the romantic Ophelia is a girl who feels too much, who drowns in feeling. The romantic critics seem to have felt that the less said about Ophelia the better; the point was to look at her. [...] Smithson’s performance is best recaptured in a series of pictures done by Delacroix from 1830 to 1850, which show a strong romantic interest in the relation of female sexuality and insanity. 25 The most innovative and influential of Delacroix’s lithographs is La Morte d’ Ophelie of 1843, the first of three studies. Its sensual languor, with Ophelia half - suspended in the stream as her dress slips from her body, anticipated the fascination with the erotic trance of the hysteric as it would be studied by Jean-Martin Charcot and his students, including Janet and Freud. [...] While Millais’s Ophelia is sensuous siren as well as victim, the artist rather than the subject dominates the scene. The division of space between Ophelia and the natural details Millais had so painstakingly pursued reduces her to one more visual object; and the painting has such a hard surface, strangely flattened perspective, and brilliant light that it seems cruelly indifferent to the woman’s death. [...] asylum work in the 1850s by Dr Hugh Welch Diamond, who photographed his female patients at the Surrey Asylum and at Bethlem. Diamond was heavily influenced by literary and visual models in his posing of the female subjects. His pictures of madwomen, posed in prayer, or decked with Ophelia - like garlands, were copied for Victorian consumption as touched - up lithographs in professional journals.30 [...] But if the Victorian madwoman looks mutely out from men’s pictures, and acts a part men had staged and directed, she is very differently represented in the feminist revision of Ophelia initiated by newly powerful and respectable Victorian actresses, and by women critics of Shakespeare. In their efforts to defend Ophelia, they invent a story for her drawn from their own experiences, grievances, and desires. [...] On the Victorian stage, it was Ellen Terry, daring and unconventional in her own life, who led the way in acting Ophelia in feminist terms as a consistent psychological study in sexual intimidation, a girl terrified of her father, of her lover, and of life itself. [...] Her ‘poetic and intellectual performance’ also inspired other actresses to rebel against the conventions of invisibility and negation associated with the part. [...] Terry was the first to challenge the tradition of Ophelia’s dressing in emblematic white. For the French poets, such as Rimbaud, Hugo, Musset, Mallarme and Laforgue, whitness was part of Ophelia’s essential symbolism; they call her ‘blanche Ophelia’ and compare her to a lily, a cloud or a snow. Yet whiteness also made her a transparency, an absence that took on the colors of Hamlet’s moods, and that, for the symbolists like Mallarme, made her a blank page to be written over or on by the male imagination. Although Irving was able to prevent Terry from wearing black in the mad scene, exclaiming ‘My God, Madam, there must be only one black figure in this play, and that’s Hamlet!’ (Irving, of course, was playing Hamlet), nonetheless actresses such as Gertrude Eliot, Helen Maude, Nora de Silva, and in Rusia Vera Komisarjevskaya, gradually won the right to intensify Ophelia’s presence by clothing her in hamlet’s black.34 [...] The Freudian interpretation of Hamlet concentrated on the hero, but also had much to do with the re-sexualization of Ophelia. As early as 1900,

These Pre - Raphaelite images were part of a new and intricate traffic between images of women and madness in late nineteenth - century literature, psychiatry, drama, and art. First of all, superintendents of Victorian lunatic asylums were also enthusiasts of Shakespeare, who turned to his dramas for models of mental aberration that could be applied to their clinical practice. The case study of Ophelia was one that seemed particularly useful as an account of hysteria or mental breakdown in adolescence, a period of instability which the Victorians regarded as risky for women’s mental health. [...] And where the women themselves did not willingly throw themselves into Ophelia - like postures, asylum superintendents, armed with the new technology of photography, imposed the costume, gesture, props, and expression of Ophelia upon them. In England, the camera was introduced to

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Freud had traced Hamlet’s irresolution to an Oedipus complex, and Ernest Jones, his leading British disciple, developed this view, influencing the performances of John Gielgud and Alec Guinness in the 1930s. In his final version of the study, Hamlet and Oedipus, published in 1949, Jones argued that ‘Ophelia should be unmistakably sensual, as she seldom is on stage. She may be ‘innocent’ and docile, but she is very aware of her body.’38 In the theater and in criticism, this Freudian edict has produced such extreme readings as that Shakespeare intends us to see Ophelia as a loose woman, and that she has been sleeping with hamlet. Rebecca West has argued that Ophelia was not ‘a correct and timid virgin of exquisite sensibilities,’ a view she attributes to the popularity of the Millais painting; but rather ‘a disreputable young woman.’39 [...] Since the 1960s, the Freudian representation of Ophelia has been supplemented by an antipsychiatry that represents Ophelia’s madness in more contemporary terms. In contrast to the psychoanalytic representation of Ophelia’s sexual unconscious that connected her essential feminity to Freud’s essay on female sexuality and hysteria, her madness is now in medical and biochemical terms, as schizophrenia. This is so in part because the schizophrenic woman has become the cultural icon of dualistic femininity in the mid - twentieth century as the erotomaniac was in the seventeenth and the hysteric in the nineteenth. It might also be traced to the work of R.D.Laing on female schizophrenia in the 1960s. Laing argued that schizophrenia was an intelligible response to the experience of invalidation within the family network, especially to the conflicting emotional messages and mystifying double binds experienced by daughters. Ophelia, he noted in The Divided Self, is an empty space. ‘In her madness there is no one there[...] There is no integral selfhood expressed through her actions or utterances. Incomprehensible statements are said by nothing. She has already died. There is now only a vacuum where there was once a person.’43 [...] But since the 1970s too we have had a feminist discourse which has offered a new perspective on Ophelia’s madness as protest and rebellion. For many feminist theorists, the madwoman is a heroine, a powerful figure who rebels against the family and the social order; and the hysteric who refuses to speak the language of the patriarchal order, who speaks otherwise, is a sister. 45
45

In terms of effect on the theater, the most radical application of these ideas was probably realized in Melissa Murray’s agitprop play Ophelia, written in 1979 for the English women’s theater group ‘Hermone Imbalance’. In this blank verse retelling of the Hamlet story, Ophelia becomes a lesbian and runs off with a woman servant to join a guerilla commune.46 When feminist criticism chooses to deal with representation, rather than with women’s writing, it must aim for a maximum interdisciplinary contextualism, in which the complexity of attitudes towards the feminine can be analyzed in their fullest cultural and historical frame. The alternation of strong and weak Ophelias on the stage, virginal and seductive Ophelias in art, inadequate or oppressed Ophelias in criticism, tells us how these representations have overflowed the text, and how they have reflected the ideological character of their times, erupting as debates between dominant and feminist views in periods of gender crisis and redefinition. The representation of Ophelia changes independently of theories of the meaning of the play or the Prince, for it depends on attitudes towards women and madness. The decorous and pious Ophelia of the Augustan age and the postmodern schizophrenic heroine who might have stepped from the pages of Laing can be derived from the same figure; they are both contradictory and complementary images of female sexuality in which madness seems to act as the ‘switching - point, the concept which allows the co-existence of both sides of the representation.’ 47 There is no ‘true’ Ophelia for whom feminist criticism must unambiguously speak, but perhaps only a cubist Ophelia of multiple perspectives, more than the sum of all her parts. But in exposing the ideology of representation, feminist critics have also the responsibility to acknewledge and to examine the boundaries of our own ideological positions as products of our gender and our time. A degree of humility in an age of critical hubris can be our greatest strength, for it is by occupying this position of historical self - consciousness in both feminism and criticism that we maintain our credibility in representing Ophelia, and that unlike Lacan, when we promise to speak about her, we make good our word.

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4.4.6 Sandra M. Gilbert: from ‘Literary Paternity’ Though many of these writers use the metaphor of literary paternity in different ways and for different purposes, all seem overwhelmingly to agree that a literary text is not only speech quite literally embodied, but also power mysteriously made manifest, made flesh. In patriarchal Western culture, therefore, the text’s author is a father, a progenitor, a procreator, an aesthetic patriarch whose pen is an instrument of generative power like his penis. More, his pen’s power, like his penis’s power, is not just the ability to generate life but the power to create a posterity to which he lays claim, as, in Said’s paraphrase of Partridge, ‘an increaser and thus a founder.’ In this respect, the pen is truly mightier than its phallic counterpart, the sword, and in patriarchy more resonantly sexual. Not only does the writer respond to his muse’s quasi-sexual excitation with an outpouring of the aesthetic energy Hopkins called ‘the fine delight that fathers thought’ (in a poem of that title) – a delight poured seminally from pen to page – but as the author of an enduring text the writer engages the attention of the future in exactly the same way that a king (or father) ‘owns’ the homage of the present. No sword-wielding general could rule so long or possess so vast a kingdom. Finally, the fact that such a notion of ‘ownership’ or possession is embedded in the metaphor of paternity leads to yet another implication of this complex metaphor. For if the author/father is owner of his text and of his reader’s attention, he is also, of course, owner/possessor of the subjects of his text, that is to say of those figures, scenes and events – those brain children – he has both incarnated in black and white and ‘bound’ in cloth or leather. Thus, because he is an author, a ‘man of letters’ is simultaneously, like his divine counterpart, a father, a master or ruler, and an owner: the spiritual type of a patriarch, as we understand that term in Western society. Where does such an implicitly or explicitly patriarchal theory of literature leave literary women? If the pen is a metaphorical penis, with what organ can females generate texts? The question may seem frivolous, but, as my epigraph from Anais Nin indicates, both the patriarchal etiology that defines a solitary Father God as the only creator of all things, and the male metaphors of literary creation that depend upon such an etiology have long ‘confused’ literary women – readers and writers alike. For what if such a proudly masculine cosmic Author is the sole legitimate model for all earthly authors? Or worse, what if the male generative power is not just the only legitimate power but the only power there is? That literary theoreticians from Aristotle to Hopkins seemed to believe this was so no doubt prevented many women from ever ‘attempting the pen’ – to use Anne Finch’s phrase – and caused enormous anxiety in generations of those women who were ‘presumptuous’ enough to dare such an attempt. Jane Austen’s Anne Elliot understates the case when she decorously observes, toward the end of Persuasion, that ‘men have had every advantage of us in telling their story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands.’ For, as Anne Finch’s complaint suggests, the pen has been defined as not just accidentally but essentially a male ‘tool,’ and, therefore, not only inappropriate but actually alien to women. Lacking Austen’s demure irony, Finch’s passionate protest goes almost as far toward the center of the metaphor of literary paternity as Hopkins’s letter to Canon Dixon. Not only is ‘a woman that attempts the pen’ an intrusive and ‘presumptuous Creature,’ she is absolutely unredeemable: no virtue can outweigh the ‘fault’ of her presumption because she has grotesquely crossed boundaries dictated by Nature. [...] Commentators on female subordination from Freud and Horney to de Beauvoir, Wolfgang Lederer, and, most recently, Dorothy Dinnerstein, have of course explored other aspects of the relationship between the sexes that also lead men to want figuratively to ‘kill’ women. What Horney called male ‘dread’ of the female is a phenomenon to which Lederer has devoted a long and scholarly book. Elaborating on de Beauvoir’s assertion that as mother of life ‘woman’s first lie, her first treason [seems to be] that of life itself – life which, though clothed in the most attractive forms, is always infested by the ferments of age and death,’ Lederer remarks upon woman’s own tendency to, in effect, kill

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herself into art in order ‘to appeal to man’ : ‘From the Paleolithic on, we have evidence that woman, through careful coiffure, through adornment and makeup, tried to stress the eternal type rather than the mortal self. Such makeup, in Africa or Japan, may reach the, to us, somewhat estranging degree of a lifeless mask – and yet that is precisely the purpose of it: where nothing is lifelike, nothing speaks of death.’ For yet another reason, then, it is no wonder that women have historically hesitated to attempt the pen. Authored by a male God and by a godlike male, killed into a ‘perfect’ image of herself, the woman writer’s selfcontemplation may be said to have begun with a searching glance into the mirror of the male-inscribed literary text. There she would see at first only those eternal lineaments fixed on her like a mask to conceal her dreadful and bloody link to nature. But looking long enough, looking hard enough, she would see – like Mary Elizabeth Coleridge gazing at ‘the other side of the mirror’ – an enraged and rebellious prisoner: herself. [...] Passages from the works of several other women writers suggest one significant way in which the female artist can bring this secret self to the surface of her own life: against the traditional generative authority of the pen/penis, the literary woman can set the conceptual energy of her own female sexuality. Though our patriarchal culture has tended to sentimentalize and thus trivialize the matriarchal power that, in the view of the nineteenth-century German thinker J. J. Bachofen, once dominated most human societies, a surprising number of literary women seem to have consciously or unconsciously fantasized the rebirth of such power. From Christina Rossetti, who dreamed of a utopian ‘Mother Country,’ to Adrienne Rich, whose Of Woman Born is (among other things) a metaphorical attempt to map such a land, women writers have almost instinctively struggled to associate their own life-giving sexual energy with their art, opposing both to the deadly force of the swordlike pen/penis. In Charlotte Bronte’s The Professor, for instance, the young poet/seamstress Frances Henri celebrates the return of love and liberty after a long interlude of grief and failure by reciting ‘Milton’s invocation to that heavenly muse, who on the ‘ secret top of Oreb or Sinai’ had taught the Hebrew shepherd how in the womb of chaos, the conception of a world had originated and ripened.’ Though, as Virginia Woolf once suggested, the author of Paradise Lost was the ‘first of the masculinists’ in his misogynistic contempt for Eve, the ‘Mother of Mankind,’ Bronte drastically revises his imagery, de-emphasizing the generative power of the patriarchal Author and stressing the powerful womb of the matriarchal muse. More directly, in Shirley she has her eponymous heroine insist that Milton never ‘saw’ Eve: ‘it was his cook that he saw.’ In fact, she declares, the first woman was never, like Milton’s Eve, ‘half doll, half angel’ and always potential fiend. Rather, she was a powerful Titan, a woman whose Promethean creative energy gave birth to ‘the daring which could contend with Omnipotence: the strength which could bear a thousand years of bondage... the unexhausted life and uncorrupted excellence, sisters to immortality, which ... could conceive and bring forth a Messiah.’ Clearly such a female Author would have maternal powers equal to the paternal energies of any male Titan. Mary Shelley’s fictionalised Author’s Introduction to The Last Man is based on a similarly revisionary myth of female sexual energy, a covertly feminist Parable of the Cave which implicitly refutes Plato, Milton, and the metaphor of literary paternity. In 1818, Shelley begins, she and ‘a friend’ visited what was said to be ‘the gloomy cavern of the Cumaean Sibyl.’ Entering a mysterious, almost inaccessible chamber, they found ‘piles of leaves, fragments of bark, and a white filmy substance resembling the inner part of the green hood which shelters the grain of the unripe Indian corn.’ At first, Shelley confesses, she and her male companion (Percy Shelley) were baffled by this discovery, but ‘At length, my friend... exclaimed ‘ This is the Sibyl’s cave; these are sibylline leaves!’ ‘ Her account continues as follows: ‘On examination, we found that all the leaves, bark and other substances were traced with written characters. What appeared to us more astonishing, was that these writings were expressed in various languages:

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some unknown to my companion... some... in modern dialects.... We could make out little by the dim light, but they seemed to contain prophecies, detailed relations of events but lately passed; names... and often exclamations of exultation or woe... were traced on their thin scant pages.... We made a hasty selection of such of the leaves, whose writing one at least of us could understand, and then... bade adieu to the dim hypaethric cavern.... Since that period... I have been employed in deciphering these sacred remains.... I present the public with my latest discoveries in the slight Sibylline pages. Scattered and unconnected as they were, I have been obliged to... model the work into a consistent form. But the main substance rests on the divine intuitions which the Cumaean damsel obtained from heaven.’ Every feature of this cave journey is significant, especially for the female critic (or writer) who seeks alternatives to the ‘masculinist’ metaphor of literary paternity. It is obviously important, to begin with, that the cave is a female space, and – more important – a space inhabited not by fettered prisoners (as the famous cave in Plato’s Republic was) but by a free female hierophant, the lost Sibyl, a prophetess who inscribed her ‘divine intuitions’ on tender leaves and fragments of delicate bark. For Mary Shelley, therefore, it is intimately connected with both her own artistic authority and her own power of self-creation. [...] The quest for creative energy enacted by Charlotte Bronte and Mary Shelley in the passages I have quoted here has been of consuming importance (for obvious reasons) to many other women writers. Emily Dickinson, for instance, sought what Christina Rossetti called a ‘Mother Country’ all her life, and she always envisioned such a country as a land of primordial power. Indeed, though Dickinson’s famous ‘My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun’ seems to define sexual/creative energies in terms of a destructive, phallic mechanism, it is important to remember that this almost theatrically reticent literary woman always associated apparently ‘male’ guns with profound ‘female’ volcanoes and mountains. Thus her phallic description of poetic speech in ‘My Life had stood’ is balanced by a characterization of the (‘female’) volcano as ‘The Solemn – Torrid – Symbol – / The lips that never lie –.’ And in one of her lesser known poems of the 1860s she formulated a matriarchal creed of womanly creativity that must surely have given her the strength to sustain her own art through all the doubts and difficulties of her reclusive life: Sweet Mountains – Ye tell Me no lie – / Never deny Me – Never fly – / Those same unvarying Eyes / Turn on Me – when I fail – or feign, / Or take the Royal names in vain – / Their far – slow – Violet Gaze – / My Strong Madonnas – Cherish still – / The Wayward Nun – beneath the Hill – / Whose service – is to You – / Her latest Worship – When the Day / Fades from the Firmament away – / To lift Her Brows on You –’ One of Dickinson’s most perceptive admirers, the feminist poet Adrienne Rich, has more recently turned to the same imagery of matriarchal power in what is plainly a similar attempt to confute that metaphor of literary paternity which, as Anais Nin wrote, has ‘confused’ so many women in our society. ‘Your mother dead and you unborn,’ she writes in ‘The Mirror In Which Two Are Seen As One,’ describing the situation of the female artist, ‘your two hands [grasp] your head,’ ‘drawing it down against the blade of life / your nerves the nerves of a midwife / learning her trade’.

4.4.8 Lillian S. Robinson: from ‘Treason Our Text Feminist Challenges to the Literary Canon’ The lofty seat of canonized bards (Pollok, 1827) AS WITH MANY OTHER restrictive institutions, we are hardly aware of it until we come into conflict with it; the elements of the literary canon are simply absorbed by the apprentice scholar and critic in the normal

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course of graduate education, without anyone’s ever seeming to inculcate or defend them. Appeal, were any necessary, would be to the other meaning of ‘canon,’ that is to established standards of judgement and of taste. Not that either definition is presented as rigid and immutable - far from it, for lectures in literary history are full of wry references to a benighted though hardly distant past when, say, the metaphysical poets were insufficiently appreciated or Vachel Lindsay was the most modern poet recognized in American literature. Whence the acknowledgment of a subjective dimension, sometimes generalized as ‘sensibility,’ to the category of taste. Sweeping modifications in the canon are said to occur because of changes in collective sensibility, but individual admissions and elevations from ‘minor’ to ‘major’ status tend to be achieved by successful critical promotion, which is to say, demonstration that a particular author does meet generally accepted criteria of excellence. The results, moreover, are nowhere codified: they are neither set down in a single place, nor are they absolutely uniform. [...] For more than a decade now, feminist scholars have been protesting the apparently systematic neglect of women’s experience in the literary canon, neglect that takes the form of distorting and misreading the few recognized female writers and excluding the others. Moreover, the argument runs, the predominantly male authors in the canon shows us the female character and relations between the sexes in a way that both reflects and contributes to sexist ideology - an aspect of these classic works about which the critical tradition remained silent for generations. [...] Suche as all the worlde hathe confirmed and agreed upon, that it is authentique and canonical. (T. Wilson, 1553) [...] Obviously, no challenge is presented to the particular notions of literary quality, timelessness, universality, and other qualities that constitute the rationale for canonicity. The underlying argument, rather, is that consistency, fidelity to those values, requires recognition of at least the few best and best-known women writers. Equally obviously, this approach does not call the notion of the canon itself into question. We acknowledge it Canonlike, but not Canonicall. (Bishop Barlow, 1601) Many feminist critics reject the method of case-by-case demonstration. The wholesale consignment of women’s concerns and productions to a grim area bounded by triviality and obscurity cannot be compensated for by tokenism. True equality can be attained, they argue, only by opening up the canon to a much larger number of female voices. This is an endeavor that eventually brings basic aesthetic questions to the fore. Initially, however, the demand for wider representation of female authors is substantiated by an extraordinary effort of intellectual reappropriation. The emergence of feminist literary study has been characterized, at the base, by scholarship devoted to the discovery, republication, and reappraisal of ‘lost’ or undervalued writers and their work. From Rebecca Harding Davis and Kate Chopin through Nora Neale Hurston and Mina Loy to Meridel LeSueur and Rebecca West, reputations have been reborn or remade and a female countercanon has come into being, out of components that were largely unavailable even a dozen years ago.1 In addition to constituting a feminist alternative to the male-dominated tradition, these authors also have a claim to representation in ‘the’ canon. From this perspective, the work of recovery itself makes one sort of prima facie case, giving the lie to the assumption, where it has existed, that aside from a few names that are household words - differentially appreciated, but certainly well known - there simply has not been much serious literature by women. Before any aesthetic arguments have been advanced either for or against the admission of such works to the general canon, the new literary canon, the new literary scholarship on women has demonstrated that the pool of potential applicants is far larger than anyone has hitherto suspected. Would Augustine, if he held all the books to have an equal right to canonicity ... have preferred some to others? (W. Fitzgerald, trans. Whitaker,

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1849) But the aesthetic issues cannot be forestalled for very long. We need to understand whether the claim is being made that many of the newly recovered or validated texts by women meet existing criteria or, on the other hand, that those criteria themselves intrinsically exclude or tend to exclude women and hence should be modified or replaced. If this polarity is not, in fact, applicable to the process, what are the grounds for presenting a large number of new female candidates for (as it were) canonization? The problem is epitomized in Nina Baym’s introduction to her study of American women’s fiction between 1820 and 1870: Reexamination of this fiction may well show it to lack the esthetic, intellectual, and moral complexity and artistry that we demand of great literature. I confess frankly that, although I have found much to interest me in these books, I have not unearthed a forgotten Jane Austen or George Eliot or hit upon the one novel that I would propose to set alongside The Scarlet Letter. Yet, I cannot avoid the belief that ‘purely’ literary criteria, as they have been employed to identify the best American works, have inevitably had a bias in favor of things male - in favor of, say, a whaling ship, rather than a sewing circle as a symbol of the human community ... While not claiming any literary greatness for any of the novels ... in this study, I would like at least to begin to correct such a bias by taking their content seriously. And it is time, perhaps - though this task lies outside my scope here - to reexamine the grounds upon which certain hallowed American classics have been called great.2 [...] The effect is pluralist, at best, and the epistemological assumptions underlying the search for a more fully representative literature are strictly empiricist: by including the perspective of women (who are, after all, halfthe-population), we will know more about the culture as it actually was. No one suggests that there might be something in this literature itself that challenges the values and even the validity of the previously all-male tradition. There is no reason why the canon need speak with one voice or as one man on the fundamental questions of human experience. Indeed, even as an elite white male voice, it can hardly be said to do so. [...] After all, when we turn from the construction of pantheons, which have no prescribed number of places, to the construction of course syllabi, then something does have to be eliminated each time something else is added, and here ideologies, aesthetic and extra-aesthetic, do necessarily come into play. Is the canon and hence the syllabus based on it to be regarded as the compendium of excellence or as the record of cultural history? For there comes a point when the proponent of making the canon recognize the achievement of both sexes has to put up or shut up; either a given woman writer is good enough to replace some male writer on the prescribed reading list or she is not. If she is not, then either she should replace him anyway, in the name of telling the truth about the culture, or she should not, in the (unexamined) name of excellence. This is the debate that will have to be engaged and that has so far been broached only in the most ‘inclusionary’ of terms. It is ironic that in American literature, where attacks on the male tradition have been most bitter and the reclamation of women writers so spectacular, the appeal has still been only to pluralism, generosity, and guilt. It is populism without the politics of populism. [...] A cheaper way of Canon-making in a corner (Baxter, 1639) [...] Permission may have given the contemporary critic to approach a wide range of texts, transcending and even ignoring the traditional canon. But in a context where the ground of struggle - highly contested, moreover - concerns Edith Wharton’s advancement to somewhat more major status, fundamental assumptions have changed very little. Can Hawthorne’s ‘d----d mob of scribbling women’ really be invading the realms so long sanctified by Hawthorne himself and his brother genuises? Is this what feminist criticism or even feminist cultural history means? Is it - to apply some outmoded and deceptively simple categories - a good development or a bad one? If these questions have not been raised, it is

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because women’s literature and the female tradition tend to be evoked as an autonomous cultural experience, not impinging on the rest of literary history. Wisdome under a ragged coate is seldome canonicall. (Crosse, 1603) Whether dealing with popular genres or high art, commentary on the female tradition usually has been based on work that was published at some time and was produced by professional writers. But feminist scholarship has also pushed back the boundaries of literature in other directions, considering a wide range of forms and styles in which women’s writing - especially that of women who did not perceive themselves as writers - appears. In this way, women’s letters, diaries, journals, autobiographies, oral histories, and private poetry have come under critical scrutiny as evidence of women’s consciousness and expression. Generally speaking, feminist criticism has been quite open to such material, recognizing that the very conditions that gave many women the impetus to write made it impossible for their culture to define them as writers. This acceptance has expanded our sense of possible forms and voices, but it has not challenged our received sense of appropriate style. What it ammounts to is that if a woman writing in isolation and with no public audience in view nonetheless has ‘good’ - that is, canonical models, we are impressed with the strength of her text when she applies what she has assimilated about writing to her own experiences as a woman. If however, her literary models were chosen from the same popular literature that some critics are now beginning to recognize as part of the female tradition, then she has not got hold of an expressive instrument that empowers her. [...] Once again, the arena is the female tradition itself. If we are thinking in terms of canon formation, it is the alternative canon. Until the aesthetic arguments can be fully worked out in the feminist context, it will be impossible to argue, in the general marketplace of literary ideas, that the novels of Henry James ought to give place - a little place, even in the name of Alice James, much less the Seamer on Men’s Underwear, little more than a form of ‘reverse discrimination’ - a concept to which some of them are already overly attached. It is up to the feminist scholars, when we determine that this is indeed the right course to pursue, to demonstrate that such an inclusion would constitute a genuinely affirmative action for all of us. The development of feminist literary criticism and scholarship has already proceeded through a number of identifiable stages. Its pace is more reminiscent of the survey course than of the slow processes of canon formation and revision, and it has been more successful in defining and sticking to its own intellectual turf, the female countercanon, than in gaining general canonical recognition for Edith Wharton, Fanny Fern, or the female diarists of the Westward Expansion. In one sense, the more coherent our sense of the female tradition is, the stronger will be our eventual case. Yet, the longer we wait, the more confortable the women’s literature ghetto - separate, apparently autonomous, and far from equal may begin to feel. At the same time, I believe the challenge cannot come only by means of the patent value of the work of women. We must pursue the question certain of us have raised and retreated from as to the eternal verity of the received standards of greatness or even goodness. And, while not abandoning our newfound female tradition, we have to return to confrontation with ‘the’ canon, examining it as a source of ideas, themes, motifs, and myths about the two sexes. The point in so doing is not to label and hence dismiss even the most sexist literary calssics, but to enable all of us to apprehend them, finally, in all their human dimensions.

4.5

ETHNO-CRITICISM

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4.5.1 Edward Said: from ‘Crisis [in orientalism]’ It may appear strange to speak about something or someone as holding a textual attitude, but a student of literature will understand the phrase more easily if he will recall the kind of view attacked by Voltaire in Candide, or even the attitude to reality satirized by Cervantes in Don Quixote. What seems unexceptionable good sense to these writers is that it is a fallacy to assume that the swarming, unpredictable, and problematic mess in which human beings live can be understood on the basis of what books - texts say; to apply what one learns out of a book literally to reality is to risk folly or ruin. One would no more think of using Amadis of Gaul79 to understand sixteenth-century (or present day) Spain than one would use the Bible to understand, say, the House of Commons. But clearly people have tried and do try to use texts in so simple-minded a way, for otherwise Candide and Don Quixote would not still have the appeal for readers that they do today. It seems a common human failing to prefer the schematic authority of a text to the disorientations of direct encounters with the human. But is this failing constantly present, or are there circumstances that, more than others, make the textual attitude likely to prevail? […] A text purporting to contain knowledge about something actual, and arising out of circumstances similar to the ones I have just described, is not easily dismissed. Expertise is attributed to it. The authority of academics, institutions, and governments can accrue to it, surrounding it with still greater prestige than its practical successes warrant. Most important, such texts can create not only knowledge but also the very reality they appear to describe. In time such knowledge and reality produce a tradition, or what Michel Foucault calls a discourse, whose material presence or weight, not the originality of a given author, is really responsible for the texts produced out of it. This kind of text is composed out of those pre-existing units of information deposited by Flaubert in the catalogue of idées reçues80.
79 A Spanish romance of uncertain origin, first printed in the sixteenth century. 80 The Catalogue or Dictionary of Received Ideas is an ironic appendix to

In the light of all this, consider Napoleon and Lesseps 81. Everything they knew, more or less, about the Orient, came from books written in the tradition of Orientalism, placed in its library of idées reçues; for them the Orient, like the fierce lion, was something to be encountered and dealt with to a certain extent because the texts made that Orient possible. Such an Orient was silent, available to Europe for the realization of projects that involved but were never directly responsible to the native inhabitants, and unable to resist the projects, images, or mere descriptions devised for it. Earlier I called such a relation between Western writing (and its consequences) and Oriental silence the result of and the sign of the West’s great cultural strength, its will to power over the Orient. But there is another side to the strength, a side whose existence depends on the pressures of the Orientalist tradition and its textual attitude to the Orient; this side lives its own life, as books about fierce lions will do until lions can talk back. The perspective rarely drawn on Napoleon and de Lesseps - to take two among the many projectors who hatched plans for the Orient - is the one that sees them carrying on in the dimensionless silence of the Orients mainly because the discourse of Orientalism, over and above the Orient’s powerlessness to do anything about them, suffused their activity with meaning, intelligibility, and reality. The discourse of Orientalism and what made it possible - in Napoleon’s case, a West far more powerful militarily than the Orient - gave them Orientals who could be described in such works as the Description de l’ Egypte and an Orient that could be cut across as de Lesseps cut across Suez. Moreover, Orientalism gave them their success - at least from their point of view, which had nothing to do with that of the Oriental. […] Yet - and here we must be very clear - Orientalism overrode the Orient.
Gustave Falubert’s novel Bouvard et Pécuchet, published posthumously in 1881. 81 Napoleon Bonaparte led a military expedition to Egypt in 1798 and initiated an academic study of that country whose findings were published in twentythree volumes between 1809 and 1828 under the title Description de l’ Egypte. Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-94) was a French diplomat and engineer who designed and supervised the construction of the Suez canal in 1859-69.

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As a system of thought about the Orient. It always rose from the specifically human detail to the general transhuman one; an observation about a tenth-century Arab poet multiplied itself into a policy towards (and about) the Oriental mentality in Egypt, Iraq or Arabia. Similarly a verse from the Koran would be considered the best evidence of an ineradicable Muslim sensuality. Orientalism assumed an unchanging Orient, absolutely different (the reasons change from epoch to epoch) from the West. And Orientalism, in its post-eighteenth century form, could never revise itself. All this makes Cromer and Balfour, as observers and administrators of the Orient, inevitable. The closeness between politics and Orientalism, or, to put it more circumspectly, the great likelihood that ideas about the Orient drawn from Orientalism can be put to political use, is an important yet extremely sensitive truth. It raises questions about the predisposition towards innocence or guilt, scholarly disinterest or pressure-group complicity, in such fields as black or women’s studies. It necessarily provokes unrest in one’s conscience about cultural, racial, or historical generalizations, their uses, value, degree of objectivity, and fundamental intent. More than anything else, the political and cultural circumstances in which Western Orientalism has flourished draw attention to the debased position of Orient or Oriental as an object of study. Can any other than a political masterslave relation produce the Orientalized Orient perfectly characterized by Anwar Abdel Malek? a) On the level of the position of the problem, and the problematic… the Orient and Orientals [are considered by Orientalism] as an ‘object’ of study, stamped with an otherness - as all that is different, whether it be ‘subject’ or ‘object’ - but of a constitutive otherness, of an essentialist character…. This ‘object’ of study will be, as is customary, passive, nonparticipating, endowed with a ‘historical’ subjectivity, above all, nonactive, non-autonomous, non-sovereign with regard to itself: the only Orient or Oriental or ‘subject’ which could be admitted, at the extreme limit, is the alienated being, philosophically, that is, other than itself in relationship to itself, posed, understood, defined - and acted - by others. b) On the level of the thematic, [the Orientalists] adopt and essentialist conception of the countries, nations and peoples of the Orient under study, a conception which expresses itself through a characterized ethnist typology … and will soon proceed with it toward racism. According to the traditional orientalists, an essence should exist sometimes even clearly described in metaphysical terms - which constitutes the inalienable and common basis of all the beings considered; this essence is both ‘historical’, since it goes back to the dawn of history, and fundamentally a-historical, since it transfixes the being, the ‘object’ of study, within its inalienable and non-evolutive specificity, instead of defining it as all other beings, states, nations, peoples, and cultures - as a product, a resultant of the vection of the forces operating in the field of historical evolution. Thus one ends with a typology - based on a real specificity, but detached from history, and, consequently, conceived as being intangible, essential - which makes of the studied ‘object’ another being with regard to whom the studying subject is transcendent; we will have a homo Sinicus, a homo Arabicus (and why not a homo Aegypticus, etc.), a homo Africanus, the man - the ‘normal man’, it is understood - being the European man of the historical period, that is, since Greek antiquity. One sees how much, from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, the hegemonism82 of possessing minorities, unveiled by Marx and Engels, and the anthropocentrism dismantled by Freud are accompanied by europocentrism in the area of human and social sciences, and more particularly in those in direct relationship with non-European peoples83. […] From the outset, then, Orientalism carried forward two traits: (1) a newly found scientific self-consciousness based on the linguistic importance of the Orient to Europe, and (2) a proclivity to divide,
82 The concept of ‘hegemony’ - cultural or ideological domination of the majority by a minority that is accepted as ‘natural’ by both groups - derives from the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937). 83 Anwar Abdel Malek, ‘Orientalism in Crisis’, Diogenes 44 (Winter 1963): 107-108.

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subdivide, and redivide its subject matter without ever changing its mind about the Orient as being always the same, unchanging, uniform and radically peculiar object. Friedrich Schlegel, who learned his Sanskrit in Paris, illustrates these traits together. Although by the time he published his Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier [On the Language and Wisdom of India] in 1808 Schlegel had practically renounced his Orientalism, he still held that Sanskrit and Persian on the one hand andPGreek and German on the other had more affinities with each other than with the Semitic, Chinese, American or African languages. Moreover, the Indo-European family was artistically simple and satisfactory in a way the Semitic, for one, was not. Such abstractions as this did not trouble Schlegel, for whom nations, races, minds and peoples as things one could talk about passionately - in the ever-narrowing perspective of populism first adumbrated by Herder - held a lifelong fascination. Yet nowhere does Schlegel talk about the living, contemporary Orient. When he said in 1800, ‘It is in the Orient that we must search for the highest Romanticism’, he meant the Orient of the Sakuntala, the Zend-Avesta, and the Upanishads84. As for the Semites, whose language was agglutinative, unaesthetic and mechanical, they were different, inferior, backward. Schlegel’s lectures on language and on life, history, and literature are full of these discriminations, which he made without the slightest qualification. Hebrew, he said, was made for prophetic utterance and divination; the Muslims, however, espoused a ‘dad empty Theism, a merely negative Unitarian faith.85‘ Much of the racism in Schlegel’s strictures upon the Semites and other
84 Sakuntala is a Sanskrit verse drama by the Indian fifth century poet Kalidasa. The Zend-Avesta is the scripture of Zoroastrianism. The Upanishads belong to Hindu scripture. 85 Friedrich Schlegel, Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier: Ein Beitrag zur Begrundung der Altertumstunde (Heidelberg: Mohr & Zimmer, 1808), pp. 4459; Schlegel, Philosophie der Geschichte: In achtzen Vorlesungen gehalten zu Wien im Jahre 1828, ed. Jean-Jacques Anstett, vol 9 of Kritische Friedrich Schlegel - Ausgabe, ed. Ernest Behler (Munich: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1971), p. 275.

‘low’ Orientals was widely diffused in European culture. But nowhere else, unless it be later in the nineteenth century among Darwinian anthropologists and phrenologists, was it made the basis of a scientific subject matter as it was in comparative linguistics or philology. Language and race seemed inextricably tied, and the ‘good’ Orient was invariably a classical period somewhere in a long-gone India, whereas the ‘bad’ Orient lingered in present-day Asia, parts of North Africa, and Islam everywhere. ‘Aryans’ were confined to Europe and the ancient Orient, as Léon Poliakov has shown (without once remarking, however, that ‘Semites’ were not only the Jews but the Muslims as well 86), the Aryan myth dominated historical and cultural anthropology at the expense of the ‘lesser’ peoples. The official intellectual genealogy of Orientalism would certainly include Gobineau, Renan, Humboldt, Steinthal, Burnouf, Remusat, Palmer, Weil, Dozy, Muir, to mention a few famous names almost at random from the nineteents century. It would also include the diffusive capacity of learned societies: the Société asiatique, founded in 1822; the Royal Asiatic Society, founded in 1823; the American Oriental Society, founded in 1842; and so on. But it might perforce neglect the great contribution of imaginative and travel literature, which strengthened the divisions established by Orientalists between the various geographical, temporal, and racial departments of the Orient. Such neglect would be incorrect, since for the Islamic Orient this literature is especially rich and makes a significant contribution to building the Orientalist discourse. It include work by Goethe, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Kinglake, Nerval, Flaubert, Lane, Burton, Scott, Byron, Vigny, Disraeli, George Eliot, Gautier. Later, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we could add Doughty, Barrés, Loti, T. E. Lawrence, Forster. All these writers give a bolder outline to Disraeli’s ‘great Asiatic mystery’. In this enterprise there is considerable support not only from the unearthing of dead Oriental civilizations (by European excavators) in Mesopotamia,
86 Léon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas

in Europe, trans. Edmund Howard (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

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Egypt, Syria and Turkey, but also from major geographical surveys done all through the Orient. […] With disenchantment and a generalized - not to say schizophrenic - view of the Oriental, there is usually another peculiarity. Because it is made into a general object, the whole Orient can be made to serve as an illustration of a particular form of eccentricity. Although the individual Oriental cannot shake or disturb the general categories that make sense of his oddness, his oddness can nevertheless be enjoyed for its own sake. Here, for example, is Flaubert describing the spectacle of the Orient: To amuse the crowd, Mohammed Ali’s jester took a woman in a Cairo bazaar one day, set her on the counter of a shop, and coupled with her publicly while the shopkeeper calmly smoked his pipe. On the road from Cairo to Shubra some time ago a young fellow had himself publicly buggered by a large monkey - as in the story above, to create a good opinion about himself and make people laugh. A marabout died a while ago - an idiot - who had no longer passed as a saint marked by God; all the Moslem women came to see him and masturbated him - in the end he died of exhaustion - from morning to night it was a perpetual jacking-off…. Quid dicis [what say you?] of the following fact: some time ago a santon (ascetic priest) used to walk through the streets of Cairo completely naked except for a cap on his head and another on his prick. To piss he would doff the prick-cap, and sterile women who wanted children would run up, put themselves under the parabola of his urine and rub themselves with it.87 Flaubert frankly acknowledges that this is a grotesquerie of a special kind. ‘All the old comic business’ - by which Flaubert meant the wellknown conventions of ‘the cudgeled slave … the coarse trafficker in women … the thieving merchant’ - acquire a new, ‘fresh … genuine and
87 Flaubert i Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour, trans. and ed. Francis Steegmuller (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1973), pp. 44-5. See Gustave Flaubert, Correspondence, ed. Jean Bruneau (Paris: Gallimard, 1973), I:542.

charming’ meaning in the Orient. This meaning cannot be reproduced; it can only be enjoyed on the spot and ‘brought back’ very approximately. The Orient is watched, since its almost (but never quite) offensive behaviour issues out a reservoir of infinite peculiarity; the European, whose sensibility tours the Orient, is a watcher, never involved, always detached, always ready for new examples of what the Description de l’ Egypte called ‘bizarre jouissamce’. The Orient becomes a living tableau of queerness. […] As a judge of the Orient, the modern Orientalist does not, as he believes and even says, stand apart from it objectively. His human detachment, whose sign is the absence of sympathy covered by professional knowledge, is weighted heavily with all the orthodox attitudes, perspectives and moods of Orientalism that I have been describing. His Orient is not the Orient as it is, but the Orient as it has been Orientalized. An unbroken arc of knowledge and power connects the European or Western statesman and the Western Orientalists; it forms the rim of the stage containing the Orient. By the end of World War I both Africa and the Orient formed not so much an intellectual spectacle for the West as a privileged terrain for it. The scope of Orientalism exactly matched the scope of empire, and it was this absolute unanimity between the two that provoked the only crisis in the history of Western thought about and dealings with the Orient. And this crisis continues now. Beginning in the twenties and from one end of the Third World to the other, the response to empire and imperialism has been dialectical. By the time of the Bandung conference in 195588 the entire Orient had gained its political independence from the Western empires and confronted a new configuration of imperial powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Unable to recognize ‘its’ Orient in the new Third World, Orientalism now faced a challenging and politically armed Orient. Two alternatives opened before Orientalism. One was to carry on as if nothing had happened. The
88 At this conference, held in Bandung, Indonesia, twenty-nine nations of Africa and Asia (including Communist China) planned economic and cultural co-operation, and opposed colonialism.

Contemporary Critical Theories. A Reader
second was to adapt the old ways to the new. But to the Orientalist, who believes the Orient never changes, the new is simply the old betrayed by the new, misunderstanding dis-Orientals (we can permit permit ourselves the neologism). A third, revisionist alternative, to dispense with Orientalism altogether, was considered by only a tiny minority. One index of the crisis, according to Abdel Malek, was not simply that ‘national liberation movements in the ex-colonial’ Orient worked havoc with Orientalist conceptions of passive, fatalistic ‘subject races’ ; there was in addition the fact that ‘specialists and the public at large became aware of the time-lag, not only between orientalist science and the material under study, but also - and this was determining - between the conceptions, the methods and the instruments of work in the human and social sciences and those of orientalism.89The Orientalists - from Renan to Goldziher to Macdonald to von Grunebaum, Gibb and Bernard Lewis -saw Islam, for example, as a ‘cultural synthesis’ (the phrase is P. M. Holt’ s) that could be studied apart from economics, sociology, and politics of the Islamic peoples. For Orientalism, Islam had a meaning which, if one were to look for its most succinct formulation, could be found in Renan’s first treatise: in order best to be understood Islam had to be reduced to ‘tent and tribe’. The impact of colonialism, of worldly circumstances, of historical development: all these were to Orientalists as flies to wanton boys, killed or disregarded - for their sport, never taken seriously enough to complicate the essential Islam. […] The present crisis dramatizes the disparity between texts and reality. Yet in this study of Orientalism I wish not only to expose the sources of Orientalism’s views but also to reflect on its importance, for the contemporary intellectual rightly feels that to ignore a part of the world now demonstrably encroaching upon him is to avoid reality. Humanists have too often confined their attention to departmentalized topics of research. They have neither watched nor learned from disciplines like Orientalism whose unremitting ambition was to master all of the world, not some easily delimited part of it such as an author or a collection of
89 Abdel Malek, ‘Orientalism in Crisis’, p. 112.

texts. However, along with such academic security-blankets as ‘history’, ‘literature’ or ‘the humanities’, and despite its overarching aspirations, Orientalism is involved in worldly, historical circumstances which it has tried to conceal behind an often pompous scientism and appeals to rationalism. The contemporary intellectual can learn from Orientalism how, on the one hand, either to limit or to enlarge realistically the scope of his discipline’s claims, and on the other, to see the human ground (the foul-rag-and-bone shop of the heart, Yeats called it) in which texts, visions, methods, and disciplines begin, grow, thrive, and degenerate. To investigate Orientalism is also to propose intellectual ways for handling the methodological problems that history has brought forward, so to speak, in its subject matter, the Orient. But before that we must virtually see the humanistic values that Orientalism, by its scope, experiences, and structures, has all but eliminated.

4.5.2 Edward W. Said: from ‘The Politics of Knowledge’ [...] At the heart of the imperial cultural entreprise I analyzed in Orientalism and also in my new book, was a politics of identity. That politics has needed to assume, indeed needed firmly to believe, that what was true for Orientals or Africans was not however true about or for Europeans. When a French or German scholar tried to identify the main characteristics of, for instance, the Chinese mind, the work was only partly intended to do that; it was also intended to show how different the Chinese mind was from the Western mind. Such constructed things - they have only an elusive reality - as the Chinese mind or the Greek spirit have always been with us; they are at the source of a great deal that goes into the making of individual cultures, nations, traditions, and peoples. But in the modern world considerably greater attention has generally been given to such identities than was ever

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given in early historical periods, when the world was larger, more amorphous, less globalized. Today a fantastic emphasis is placed upon a politics of national identity, and to a very great degree, this emphasis is the result of the imperial experience. For when the great modern Western imperial expansion took place all across the world, beginning in the late eigtheenth century, it accentuated the interaction between the identity of the French or the English and that of the colonized native peoples. And this mostly antagonistic interaction gave rise to a separation between people as members of homogenous races and exclusive nations that was and still is one of the characteristics of what can be called the epistemology of imperialism. At its core is the supremely stubborn thesis that everyone is principally and irreducibly a member of some race or category, and that race or category cannot ever be assimilated to or accepted by others-except as itself. Thus came into being such invented essences as the Oriental or Englishness, as Frenchness, Africaness, or American exceptionalism, as if each of those had a Platonic idea behind it that guaranteed it as pure and unchanging from the beginning to the end of time. One product of this doctrine is nationalism, a subject so immense that I can treat it only very partially here. What interests in the politics of identity that informed imperialism in its global phase is that just as natives were considered to belong to a different category - racial or geographical - from that of the Western white man, it also became true that in the great anti-imperialist revolt represented by decolonization this same category was mobilized around, and formed the resisting identity of, the revolutionaries. This was the case everywhere in the Third World. Its most celebrated instance is the concept of négritude as developed intelectually and poetically by Aimé Césaire, Leopold Senghor, and, in English,W.E.B.DuBois. If blaks had once been stigmatized and given inferior status to whites, then it has since become necessary not to deny blackness, and not to aspire to whiteness, but to accept and celebrate blackness, to give it the dignity of poetic as well as metaphysical status. Thus, négritude aquired positive Being where before it had been a mark of degradation and of inferiority. Much the same revaluation of the native particularity occurred in India, in many parts of the Islamic world, China, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where the denied or repressed native essence emerged as the focus of, and even the basis for nationalist recovery. [...] Inattentive or careless readers of Frantz Fanon, generally considered one of the two or three most eloquent apostles of anti-imperialist resistance, tend to forget his marked suspicions of unchecked nationalism. So while it is appropriate to draw attention to the early chapters on violence in The Wretched of the Earth, it should be noticed that in subsequent chapters he is sharply critical of what he called the pitfalls of national consciousness. He clearly meant this to be a paradox. And for the reason that while nationalism is a necessary spur to revolt against the colonizer, national consciousness must be immediately transformed into what he calls ‘social consciousness,’ just as soon as the withdrawal of the colonizer has been accomplished. [...] At bottom, what Fanon offers most compellingly is a critique of the separatism and the mock autonomy achieved by a pure politics of identity that has lasted too long and been made to serve in situations where it has become simply inadequate. What invariably happens at the level of knowledge is that signs and symbols of freedom and status are taken for the reality: you want to be named and considered for the sake of being named and considered. In effect this really means that just to be an independent postcolonial Arab, or black, or Indonesian is not a program, nor a process, nor a vision. It is no more than a convenient starting point from which the real work, the hard work, might begin. [...] This has proved a disastruous process, whether for postcolonials, forced to exist in a marginal and dependent place totally outside the circuits of world power, or for powerful societies, whose triumphalism and imperious wilfullness have done so much to devastate and destabilize the world. What has been at issue between Iraq and the United States is precisely such a logic of exterminism and displacement, as unedifying as it is unproductive. It is risky, I know, to move from the realm of interpreation to the realm of world politics, but it seems to me true that the relationship between them is a real one, and the light that one realm can shed on the other is quite illuminating. In any case, the politics of

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knowledge that is based principally on the affirmation of identity is very similar, is indeed directly related to, the unreconstructed nationalism that has guided so many postcolonial states today. It asserts a sort of separatism that wishes only to draw attention to itself; consequently it neglects the integration of the earned and achieved consciousness of self within ‘the rendez-vous of victory.’ On the national and on the intellectual level the problems are very similar. Let me return therefore to one of the intellectual debates that has been central to the humanities in the past decade, and which underlies the episode with which I began. The ferment in minority, subaltern, feminist, and postcolonial consciousness has resulted in so many salutary achievements in the curricular and theoretical approach to the study of the humanities as quite literally to have produced a Copernican revolution in all traditional fields of inquiry. Eurocentrism has been challenged definitevely; most scholars and students in the contemporary American academy are now aware, as they were never aware before, that society and culture have been the heterogenous product of heterogenous people in an enormous variety of cultures, traditions, and situations. No longer does T. S. Eliot’s idea of the great Western masterpieces enduring together in a constantly redifining pattern of monuments have its old authority; nor do the sorts of patterns elucidated with such memorable brilliance in formative works like Mimesis or The Anatomy of Criticism have the same cogency for today’s student or theorist as they did even quite recently. And yet the great contest about the canon continues. The success of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, the subsequent publication of such works as Alvin Kernan’s The Death of Literature, and Roger Kimball’s Tenured Radicals as well as the rather posthumous energies displayed in journals like The American Scholar (now a neoconservative magazine), The New Criterion, and Commentary - all this suggests that the work done by those of us who have tried to widen the area of awareness in the study of culture is scarcely finished or secure. But our point, in my opinion, cannot be simply and obdurately to reafirm the paramount importance of formerly suppressed or silenced forms of knowledge and leave it at that, nor can it be to surround ourselves with the sanctimonious piety of historical or cultural victimhood as a way of making our intellectual presence felt. Such strategies are woefully insufficient. The whole effort to deconsecrate Eourocentrism cannot be interpreted, least of all by those who participate in the enterprise, as an effort to supplant Eurocentrism with, for instance, Afrocentric or Islamocentric approaches. On its own, ethic particularity does not provide for intellectual process - quite the contrary. At first, you will recall, it was a question, for some, of adding Jane Austen to the canon of male Western writers in humanities courses; then it became a matter of displacing the entire canon of American writers like Hawthorne and Emerson with best selling writers of the same period like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Susan Warner. But after that the logic of dispalcement became even more attenuated, and the mere names of politically validated living writers became more important than anything about them or their works. I submit that these clamorous dismissals and swooping assertions are in fact caricatural reductions of what the great revisionary gestures of feminism, subaltern or black studies, and anti-imperialist resistance originally intended. For such gestures it was never a matter of replacing one set of authorities and dogmas with another, nor of substituting one center for another. It was always a matter of opening and participating in a central strand of intellectual and cultural effort and of showing what had always been, though indiscernibly, a part of it, like the work of women, or of blacks and servants - but which had been either denied or derogated. [...] Kanafani’s novella belongs to the genre of immigrant literature contributed to by an estimable number of postwar writers - Rushdie, Naipaul, Berger, Kundera, and others. But it is also a poignant meditation on the Palestinian fate, and of course eerily prescient about Palestinians in the current Gulf crisis.*1 And yet it would do the subject of the work and its literary merit an extraordinary disservice were we to confine to the category of national allegory, to see in it only a mirroring of the actual plight of Palestinians in exile. Kanafani’s work is literature connected birth to its specific historical and cultural situations as well as to a whole world of other literatures and formal articulations, which the attentive

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reader summons to mind as the interpretation proceeds. The point I am trying to make can be summed up in the useful notion of worldliness. By linking works to each other we bring them out of the neglect and secondariness to which for all kinds of political and ideological reasons they had previous;y been condemned. What I am talking about therefore is the opposite of separtism, and also the reverse of exclusivism. It is only through the scrutiny of these works as literature, as style, as pleasure and illumination, that they can be brought in, so to speak, and kept in. Otherwise they will be regarded only as informative etnographic specimens, suitable for the limited attention of experts and area specialists. Worldliness is therefore the restoration to such works and interpretations of their place in the global setting, a restoration that can only be accomplished by an appreciation not of some tiny, defensively constituted corner of the world, but of the large, many-windowed house of human culture as a whole. It seems to me absolutely essential that we engage with cultural works in this unprovincial, interested manner while maintaining a strong sense of the contest for forms and values which any decent cultural work embodies, realizes, and contains. A great deal of recent theoretical speculation has proposed that works of literature are completely determined as such by their situation, and that readers themselves are totally determined in their responses by their respective cultural situations, to a point where no value, no reading, no interpretation can be anything other than the merest reflection of some immediate interest. All readings and all writing are reduced to an assumed histroical emanation. Here the indeterminacy of deconstructive reading, the airy insouciance of postaxiological criticism, the casual reductiveness of some (but by no means all) ideological schools are principally at fault. While it is true to say that because a text is the product of an unrecapturable past, and the contemporary criticism can to some extent afford a neutral disengagement or opposed perspective impossible for the text in its own time, there is no reason to take the further step and exempt the interpreter from any moral, political, cultural, or psychological commitments. All of these remain at play. The attempt to read a text in its fullest and most integrative context commits the reader to positions that are educative, humane, and engaged, positions that depend on training and taste and not simply on a technologized professionalism, or on the tiresome playfulness of ‘postmodern’ criticism, with its repeated disclaimers of anything but local games and pastiches. Despite Lyotard and his acolytes, we are still in the era of large narratives, of horrendous cultural clashes, and of appallingly destructive war - as witness the recent conflagration in the Gulf - and to say that we are against theory, or beyond literature, is to be blind and trivial. I am not arguing that every interpretaive act is equivalent to a gesture either for or against life. How could anyone defend or attack so crudely general a position? I am saying that once we grant intellectual work the right to exist in a relatively disengaged atmosphere, and allow it a status that isn’t disqualified by partisanship, we ought then to reconsider the ties between the text and the world in a serious and uncoercive way. Far from repudiating the great advances made when Eurocentrism and patriarchy began to be demystified, we should consolidate these advances, using them so as to reach a better understanding of the degree to which literature and artistic genius belong to and are some part of the world where all of us also do other kinds of work. This wider application of the ideas I’ve been discussing cannot even be attempted if we simply repeat a few names or refer to a handful of approved texts ritualistically or sanctimoniously. Victimhood, alas, does not guarantee or necessarily enable an enhanced sense of humanity. To testify to a history of oppression is necessary, but it is not sufficient unless that history is redirected into intellectual process and universalized to include all sufferers. Yet too often testimony to oppression becomes only a justification for further cruelty and inhumanity, or for high sounding cant and merely ‘correct’ attitudes. I have in mind, for instance, not only the antagonists mentioned at the beginning of this essay but also the extraordinary behaviour of an Elie Wiesel who has refused to translate the lessons of his own past into consistent criticism of Israel for doing what it has done and is doing right now to Palestinians. So, while it is not necessary to regard every reading or interpretation of a text as the moral equivalent of a war or a political crisis, it does seem to

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me to be important to underline the fact that whatever else they are, works of literature are not merely texts. They are in fact differently constituted and have different values, they aim to do different things, exist in different genres, and so on. One of the greatest pleasures for those who read and study literature is the discovery of long-standing norms in which all cultures known to me concur: such things as style and performance, the existence of good as well as lesser writers, and the exercise of preference. What has been most unacceptable during the many harangues on both sides of the so-called Western canon debate is that so many of the combatants have ears of tin, and are unable to distinguish between good writing and politically correct attitudes, as if a fifth-rate pamphlet and a great novel have more or less the same significance. Who benefits from leveling attacks on the canon? Certainly not the disadvantaged person or class whose history, if you bother to read it at all, is full of evidence that popular resistance to injustice has always derived immense benefits from literature and culture in general, and very few from invidious distinctions made between ruling-class and subservient cultures. After all, the crucial lesson of C. L. R. James’s Black Jacobins, or of E. P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working Calss (with its reminder of how important Shakespeare was to nineteenth-century radical culture), is that great antiauthoritarian uprisings made their earliest advances, not by denying the humanitarian and universalist claims of the general dominant culture, but by attacking the adherents of that culture for failing to uphold their own declared standards, for failing to extend them to all, as opposed to a small fraction, of humanity. Toussaint’s L’ Ouverture is the perfect example of a down-trodden slave whose struggle to free himself and his people was informed by the ideas of Rousseau and Mirabeau. Although I risk oversimplification, it is probably correct to say yhat it does not finally matter who wrote what, but rather how a work is written and how it is read. The idea that because Plato and Aristotle are male and the products of a slave socity they should be disqalified from receiving contemporary attention is as limited an idea as suggesting that only their work, because it was addressed to and about elites, should be read today. Marginality and homelessness are not, in my opinion, to be gloried in; they are to be brought to an end, so that more, and not fewer, people can enjoy the benefits of what has for centuries been denied the victims of race, class, or gender.

4.5.3 Edward W. Said: from ‘The Problem of Textuality The pages that follow work through two powerful, contemporary ‘ways’ of considering, describing, analyzing, and dealing theoretically with the problem of textuality, a manifestly central problem for anyone concerned with criticism and theory. These ‘ways’ - with only the slightest allusion to Proust’s ‘ways’ intended - are Foucault’s and Derrida’s. My analysis of these two theories is part of an attempt to characterize an exemplary critical consciousness as situated between, and ultimately refusing both, the hegemony of the dominant culture and what I call the sovereignty of systematic method. Moreover, I will argue that for both these critics, critical work is a cognitive activity, a way of discovery, not by any means a purely contemplative activity; indeed, I will go so far as to say that in our present circumstances criticism is an adversary, or oppositional activity. Finally - and I am depressingly aware that these prefatory comments are far too schematic - I will discuss Derrida’s mise en abyme and Foucault’s mise en discours1 as typifying the contrast between a criticism claiming that il n’ y a pas d’ hors texte and one discussing textuality as having to do with a plurality of texts, and with history, power, knowledge and society. Far from mediating or reconciling these vividly contrasting theses about textuality, whose protagonists serve me as but two instances of a very wide theoretical divergence polarizing contemporary criticism, my position uses both in what it is own best interest since both strike me as indispensable to any cogent critical position. Derrida and Foucault are opposed to each other on a number of

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grounds, and perhaps the one specially singled out in Foucault’s attack on Derrida - that Derrida is concerned only with ‘reading’ a text and that a text is nothing more than the ‘traces’ found here by the reader - would be the appropriate one to begin with here.2 According to Foucault, if the text is important for Derrida because its real situation is literary an abysmally textual element, l’ ecriture en abime with which (Derrida says in ‘La double séance’) criticism so far has been unable really to deal,3 then for Foucault the text is important because it inhabits an element of power (pouvoir) with a decisive claim on actuality, even though that power is invisible or implied. Derrida’s criticism therefore moves us into the text, Foucault’s in and out of it. Yet neither Foucault nor Derrida would deny that what unites them more, even, than the avowedly revisionist and revolutionary character of their criticism as theory, performance, and pedagogy - is their attempt to make visible what is customarily invisible in a text, namely, the various mysteries, the rules, and the ‘play’ of its textuality. [...] To say that the text’s textual intention and integrity are invisible is to say that the text hides something, that the text implies, perhaps also states, embodies, represents, but does not immediately disclose something. At bottom, this is a gnostic doctrine of the text to which, in quite different ways, Foucault and Derrida both assent. Foucault’s whole enterprise has taken it for a fact, however, that if the text hides something, or if something about the text is invisible, these things can be revealed and shared, albeit in some other form, mainly because the text is part of a network of power whose textual form is a purposeful obscuring of power beneath (or in) textuality and knowledge (savoir). Therefore the countervailing power of criticism is to bring the text to a certain visibility. [...] Derrida works more in the spirit of a kind of negative theology. The more he grasps textuality for itself, the greater the detail of what is not there for him; [...] I consider his key terms, ‘dissémination’, ‘supplément’, ‘pharmakos’, ‘trace’, ‘marque’, and the like, to be not only terms describing ‘la dissimulation de la texture’ but also quasitheological terms ruling and operating the textual domain his work has opened. In both cases, nevertheless, the critic challenges the culture and its apparently sovereign powers of intellectual activity, which we may call ‘system’ or ‘method’, when in dealing with texts these powers aspire to the condition of science. The challenge is delivered in characteristically large gestures of differentiation: Derrida refers everywhere to Western metaphysics and thought, Foucault in his earlier work to various periods, epochs, epistémès, that is, those totalities which build the dominant culture into its controlling, incorporating, and discriminating institutions. Each ‘way’, Foucault’s and Derrida’s, attempts not only to define these challenged entities but also in some persistent fashion to dedefine them, to attack the stability, authority, presence, power of their rule, to dissolve them if at all possible. For both writers, their work is meant to replace the tyranny and the fiction of direct reference - to what Derrida calls presence, or the transcendental signified - with the rigor and practice of textuality mastered on its own highly eccentric ground in Derrida's case, and in Foucault’s, in its highly protracted enduring, systematized, and sustained persistence. Dedefinition and antireferentiality are Derrida and Foucault’s common response to the positivist ethos which they both abhor. On the other hand both have constantly appealed to empiricism and to the nuanced perspectivism they seem to have derived form Nietzsche. [...] The significance of Derrida’s position is that in his work he has raised those questions uniquely pertinent to writing and to textuality that tend to be ignored or sublimated in metacommentary on texts. The very elusiveness of texts, and the tendency to see them homogeneously either as functions of, or as parasitic on, some schematic philosophy or system on which they are dependent (as illustrations, exemplifications, expressions): these are the things at which Derrida’s considerable dedefinitional energies are directed. In addition he has developed a particularly alert and influential reading method. Yet his work embodies an extremely pronounced self-limitation, an ascesis of a very inhibiting and crippling sort. In it Derrida has chosen the lucidity of the undecidable in a text, so to speak, over the identifiable power of a text; as he once said, to opt for the sterile lucidity of the performative double scène in

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texts is perhaps to neglect the implemented, effective power of textual statement.4 Derrida’s work thus has not always been in a position to accommodate descriptive information of the kind giving Western metaphysics and Western culturea more than repetitively allusive meaning; neither has it been interested systematically and directly in dissolving the ethnocentrism of which on occasion it has spoken with noble clarity; neither has it demanded from its disciples any binding engagement on matters pertaining to discovery and knowledge, freedom, oppression, or injustice. For if everything in a text is always open equally to suspicion and to affirmation, then the differences between one class interest and another, or between oppressor and oppressed, one discourse and another, one ideology and another are virtual in - but never crucial to making decisions about - the finally reconciling element of textuality. [...] For Foucault, as much as for Derrida, textuality is a more variable and interesting category than the somewhat lifeless one imposed on it by the canonizing rituals of traditional literary criticism. Ever since the beginning of his career Foucault has been interested in texts as an integral, and not merely an accessory, part of the social processes of differentiation, exclusion, incorporation, and rule. [...] The conflict in each text between its author and the discourse of which, for various social, epistemological, and political reasons, he is a part is central for Foucault’s textual theory. Far from agreeing with Derrida’s contention that Western culture has valorized speech over writing, Foucault’s project is to show precisely the opposite, at least since the Renaissance, and to show also that writing is no private exercise of a free scriptive will but rather the activation of an immensely complex tissue of forces for which a text is a place among other places (including the body) where the strategies of control in society are conduced. [...] Foucault’s most interesting and problematic historical and philosophical thesis is that discourse, as well as the text, became invisible, that discourse began to dissemble and appear merely to be writing or texts, that discourse hid the systematic rules of its formation and its concrete affiliations with power, not at some point in time, but as an event in the history of culture generally, and of knowledge particularly. [...] [...] Whereas Derrida’s theory of textuality brings criticism to bear upon a signifier freed from any obligation to a transcendental signified, Foucault’s theories move criticism from a consideration of the signifier to a description of the signifier’s place, a place rarely innocent, dimensionless, or without the affirmative authority of discursive discipline. In other words, Foucault is concerned with describing the force by which the signifier occupies a place, so in Surveiller et punir he can show how penal discourse in its turn was able to assign felons to their places in the structural, administrative, psychological, and moral economy of the prison’s panoptical architecture. Now the value of such a strictly historical view of the signifier in the text is not only that it is historical. Its greatest value is that it awakens criticism to the recognition that a signifier occupying a place, signifying in place is - rather than represents - an act of will with ascertainable political and intellectual consequences and an act fulfilling a strategic desire to administer and comprehend a vast and detailed field of material. The nonrecognition of this act of will is what one finds the deconstructor not recognizing, thereby denying or overlooking it. Thus by virtue of Foucault’s criticism we are able to understand culture as a body of disciplines having the effective force of knowledge linked systematically, but by no means immediately, to power. Foucault’s lesson is that while in one sense he complements Derrida’s work, in another he takes a step in a new direction. [...] For Foucault where there is knowledge and discourse, there must criticism also be, to reveal the exact places - and displacements - of the text, thereby to see the text as a process signifying an effective historical will to be present, an effective desire to be a text and to be a position taken. While severed consciously form cultural hegemony, this sort of criticism is a meaningful activity within the culture. It releases one form the barriers imposed formalistically on one by departments, by disciplines, or by moribund traditions of scholarship and opens up the possibility of an aggressive study of the realities of discourse, which at least since the eighteenth century has ruled the production of texts. Yet despite the extraordinary wordliness of this work, Foucault takes a

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curiously passive and sterile view not so much of the uses of power but of how and why power is gained, used, and held onto. This is the most dangerous consequence of disagreement with Marxism, and its result is the least convincing aspect of his work. [...] [...] What one misses in Foucault therefore is something resembling Gramsci’s analyses of hegemony, historical blocks, ensembles of relationships done from the perspective of an engaged political worker for whom the fascinated description of exercised power is never a substitute for trying to change power relationships within society. [...] I can conclude on a more positive - if somewhat summary - note. I have been implying that criticism is, or ought to be, a cognitive activity, and that it is a form of knowledge. I now find myself saying that if, as Foucault has tried to show, all knowledge is contentious, then criticism, as activity and knowledge, is or ought to be contentious, too. My interest is to reinvest critical discourse with something more than contemplative effort or an appreciative technical reading method for texts and undecidable objects. [...] Criticism cannot assume that its province is merely the text, nor even the great literary text. It must see itself, as well as other discourse, inhabiting a much contested cultural space in which what has counted in the continuity and transmission of knowledge has been the signifier as an event that has left lasting traces upon the human subject. Once we take that view, then literature as an isolated paddock in the broad cultural field disappears, and with it too the harmless rhetoric of self-delighting humanism. Instead we will be able, I think, to read and write with a sense of the greater stake in historical and political effectiveness that literary, as well as all other, texts have had. [Ed.] ‘Mise en abyme is a term in heraldry meaning a shield which has in its center (abyme) a smaller image of the same shield, and so, by implication, ad infinitum, with ever smaller and smaller shields receding toward the central point.’ J. Hillis Miller, ‘Steven’s Rock and Criticism as Cure’, Georgia Review, 30 (1976), p. 11. For Foucault’s theory of discourse see his ‘The Order of Discourse’, in Untying the Text, ed. Robert Young, pp. 48-78. Michel Foucault’s attack on Derrida is to be found in an appendix to the later version of Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’ age classique (Paris, 1972), pp. 583-603. [Ed.] This is available in English as ‘My Body, This Paper, This Fire’, in Oxford Literary Review, 4 (1979), pp. 928.) Jaques Derrida, La Dissemination (Paris, 1962), p. 297. I have referred to this, citing Derrida, in ‘Roads Taken and Not Taken in Contemporary Criticism’, Contemporary Criticism, 17 (1976), p. 334.

4.5.4 Edward W. Said: from ‘Secular Criticism’ Literary criticism is practiced today in four major forms. One is the practical criticism to be found in book reviewing and literary journalism. Second is academic literary history, which is a descendant of such nineteenth-century specialties as classical scholarship, philology, and cultural history. Third is literary appreciation and interpretation, principally academic but, unlike the other two, not confined to professionals and regularly appearing authors. Appreciation is what is taught and performed by teachers of literature in the university and its beneficiaries in a literal sense are all those millions of people who have learned in a classroom how to read a poem, how to enjoy the complexity of a metaphysical conceit, how to think of literature and figurative language as having characteristics that are unique and not reducible to a

NOTES [Reorganised and renumbered from the original]

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simple moral or political message. And the fourth form is literary theory, a relatively new subject. It appeared as an eye-catching topic for academic and popular discussion in the United States later than it did in Europe: people like Walter Benjamin and the young Georg Lukacs, for instance, did their theoretical work in the early years of this century, and they wrote in a known, if not universally uncontested, idiom. American literary theory, despite the pioneering studies of Kenneth Burke well before World War Two, came of age only in the 1970s, and that because of an observably deliberate attention to prior European models (structuralism, semiotics, deconstruction).... Now the prevailing situation of criticism is such that the four forms represent in each instance specialization (although literary theory is a bit eccentric) and a very precise division of intellectual labour. Moreover, it is supposed that literature and the humanities exist generally within the culture (‘our’ culture, as it is sometimes known), that the culture is ennobled and validated by them, and yet that in the version of culture inculcated by professional humanists and literary critics, the approved practice of high culture is marginal to the serious political concerns of society. This has given rise to a cult of professional expertise whose effect in general is pernicious. For the intellectual class, expertise has usually been a service rendered, and sold, to the central authority of society. This is the trahison des clercs of which Julien Benda spoke in the 1920s. Expertise in foreign affairs, for example, has usually meant legitimization of the conduct of foreign policy and, what is more to the point, a sustained investment in revalidating the role of experts in foreign affairs. The same sort of thing is true of literary critics and professional humanists, except that their expertise is based upon noninterference in what Vico grandly calls the world of nations but which prosaically might just as well be called ‘the world.’ We tell our students and our general constituency that we defend the classics, the virtues of a liberal education, and the precious pleasures of literature even as we also show ourselves to be silent (perhaps incompetent) about the historical and social world in which all these things take place. [...] From being a bold interventionary movement across lines of specialization, American literary theory of the late seventies had retreated into the labyrinth of ‘textuality,’ dragging along with it the most recent apostles of European revolutionary textuality – Derrida and Foucault – whose trans-Atlantic canonization and domestication they themselves seemed sadly enough to be encouraging. It is not too much to say that American or even European literary theory now explicitly accepts the principle of noninterference, and that its peculiar mode of appropriating its subject matter (to use Althusser’s formula) is not to appropriate anything that is worldly, circumstantial, or socially contaminated. ‘Textuality’ is the somewhat mystical and disinfected subject matter of literary theory. Textuality has therefore become the exact antithesis and displacement of what might be called history. Textuality is considered to take place, yes, but by the same token it does not take place anywhere or anytime in particular. It is produced, but by no one and at no time. It can be read and interpreted, although reading and interpreting are routinely understood to occur in the form of misreading and misinterpreting. The list of examples could be extended indefinitely, but the point would remain the same. As it is practiced in the American academy today, literary theory has for the most part isolated textuality from the circumstances, the events, the physical senses that made it possible and render it intelligible as the result of human work. Even if we accept (as in the main I do) the arguments put forward by Hayden White – that there is no way to get past texts in order to apprehend ‘real’ history directly – it is still possible to say that such a claim need not also eliminate interest in the events and the circumstances entailed by and expressed in the texts themselves. Those events and circumstances are textual too (nearly all of Conrad’s tales and novels present us with a situation – say a group of friends sitting on a ship’s deck listening to a story – giving rise to the narrative that forms the text), and much that goes on in texts alludes to them, affiliates itself directly to them. My position is that texts are worldly, to some degree they are events, and, even when they appear to deny it, they are nevertheless a part

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of the social world, human life, and of course the historical moments in which they are located and interpreted. Literary theory, whether of the Left or of the Right, has turned its back on these things. This can be considered, I think, the triumph of the ethic of professionalism. But it is no accident that the emergence of so narrowly defined a philosophy of pure textuality and critical noninterference has coincided with the ascendancy of Reaganism, or for that matter with a new cold war, increased militarism and defense spending, and a massive turn to the right on matters touching the economy, social services, and organized labour. In having given up the world entirely for the aporias and unthinkable paradoxes of a text, contemporary criticism has retreated from its constituency, the citizens of modern society, who have been left to the hands of ‘free’ market forces, multinational corporations, the manipulations of consumer appetites. A precious jargon has grown up, and its formidable complexities obscure the social realities that, strange though it may seem, encourage a scholarship of ‘modes of excellence’ very far from daily life in the age of declining American power. Criticism can no longer cooperate in or pretend to ignore this enterprise. It is not practicing criticism either to validate the status quo or to join up with a priestly caste of acolytes and dogmatic metaphysicians. Each essay in this book affirms the connection between texts and the existential actualities of human life, politics, societies, and events. The realities of power and authority – as well as the resistances offered by men, women, and social movements to institutions, authorities, and orthodoxies – are the realities that make texts possible, that deliver them to their readers, that solicit the attention of critics. I propose that these realities are what should be taken account of by criticism and the critical consciousness. It should be evident by now that this sort of criticism can only be practiced outside and beyond the consensus ruling the art today in the four accepted forms I mentioned earlier. Yet if this is the function of criticism at the present time, to be between the dominant culture and the totalizing forms of critical systems, then there is some comfort in recalling that this has also been the destiny of critical consciousness in the recent past. [...] Ever since Eliot, and after him Richards and Leavis, there has been an almost unanimously held view that it is the duty of humanistic scholars in our culture to devote themselves to the study of the great monuments of literature. Why? So that they may be passed on to younger students, who in turn become members, by affiliation and formation, of the company of educated individuals. Thus we find the university experience more or less officially consecrating the pact between a canon of works, a band of initiate instructors, a group of younger affiliates; in a socially validated manner all this reproduces the filiative discipline supposedly transcended by the educational process. This has almost always been the case historically within what might be called the cloistral world of the traditional Western, and certainly of the Eastern, university. But we are now, I think, in a period of world history when for the first time the compensatory affiliative relationships interpreted during the academic course of study in the Western university actually exclude more than they include. I mean quite simply that, for the first time in modern history, the whole imposing edifice of humanistic knowledge resting on the classics of European letters, and with it the scholarly discipline inculcated formally into students in Western universities through the forms familiar to us all, represents only a fraction of the real human relationships and interactions now taking place in the world. Certainly Auerbach was among the last great representatives of those who believed that European culture could be viewed coherently and importantly as unquestionably central to human history. There are abundant reasons for Auerbach’s view being no longer tenable, not the least of which is the diminishing acquiescence and deference accorded to what has been called the Natopolitan world long dominating peripheral regions like Africa, Asia, and Latin America. New cultures, new societies, and emerging visions of social, political, and aesthetic order now lay claim to the humanist’s attention, with an insistence that cannot long be denied. But for perfectly understandable reasons they are denied. When our students are taught such things as ‘the humanities’ they are almost always taught that these classic texts embody, express, represent what is best in our, that is, the only, tradition. Moreover they are taught that such fields as the humanities and such subfields as ‘literature’ exist in a relatively

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neutral political element, that they are to be appreciated and venerated, that they define the limits of what is acceptable, appropriate, and legitimate so far as culture is concerned. In other words, the affiliative order so presented surreptitiously duplicates the closed and tightly knit family structure that secures generational hierarchical relationships to one another. Affiliation then becomes in effect a literal form of re-presentation, by which what is ours is good, and therefore deserves incorporation and inclusion in our programmes of humanistic study, and what is not ours in this ultimately provincial sense is simply left out. And out of this representation come the systems from Northrop Frye’s to Foucault’s, which claim the power to show how things work, once and for all, totally and predictively. It should go without saying that this new affiliative structure and its systems of thought more or less directly reproduce the skeleton of family authority supposedly left behind when the family was left behind. The curricular structures holding European literature departments make that perfectly obvious: the great texts, as well as the great teachers and the great theories, have an authority that compels respectful attention not so much by virtue of their content but because they are either old or they have power, they have been handed on in time or seem to have no time, and they have traditionally been revered, as priests, scientists, or efficient bureaucrats have taught. It may seem odd, but it is true, that in such matters as culture and scholarship I am often in reasonable sympathy with conservative attitudes, and what I might object to in what I have been describing does not have much to do with the activity of conserving the past, or with reading great literature, or with doing serious and perhaps even utterly conservative scholarship as such. I have no great problem with those things. What I am criticizing is two particular assumptions. There is first the almost unconsciously held ideological assumption that the Eurocentric model for the humanities actually represents a natural and proper subject matter for the humanistic scholar. Its authority comes not only from the orthodox canon of literary monuments handed down through the generations, but also from the way this continuity reproduces the filial continuity of the chain of biological procreation. What we then have is a substitution of one sort of order for another, in the process of which everything that is nonhumanistic and nonliterary and non-European is deposited outside the structure. If we consider for a minute that most of the world today is nonEuropean, that transactions within what the UNESCO/McBride Report calls the world information order are therefore not literary, and that the social sciences and the media (to name only two modes of cultural production in ascendancy today over the classically defined humanities) dominate the diffusion of knowledge in ways that are scarcely imaginable to the traditional humanistic scholar, then we will have some idea of how ostrichlike and retrograde assertions about Eurocentric humanities really are. The process of representation, by which filiation is reproduced in the affiliative structure and made to stand for what belongs to us (as we in turn belong to the family of our languages and traditions), reinforces the known at the expense of the knowable. Second is the assumption that the principal relationships in the study of literature – those I have identified as based on representation – ought to obliterate the traces of other relationships within literary structures that are based principally upon acquisition and appropriation. This is the great lesson of Raymond Williams’ The Country and the City. His extraordinarily illuminating discussion there of the seventeenth-century English country-house poems does not concentrate on what those poems represent, but on what they are as the result of contested social and political relationships. Descriptions of the rural mansion, for example, do not at bottom entail only what is to be admired by way of harmony, repose, and beauty; they should also entail for the modern reader what in fact has been excluded from the poems, the labor that created the mansions, the social processes of which they are the culmination, the dispossessions and theft they actually signified. Although he does not come out and say it, Williams’ book is a remarkable attempt at a dislodgement of the very ethos of system, which has reified relationships and stripped them of their social density. What he tries to put in its place is the great dialectic of acquisition and representation, by which even realism – as it is manifest in Jane Austen’s novels – has gained its durable status as the result of contests involving money and power. Williams

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teaches us to read in a different way and to remember that for every poem or novel in the canon there is a social fact being requisitioned for the page, a human life engaged, a class suppressed or elevated – none of which can be accounted for in the framework rigidly maintained by the processes of representation and affiliation doing above-ground work for the conservation of filiation. And for every critical system grinding on there are events, heterogeneous and unorthodox social configurations, human beings and texts disputing the possibility of a sovereign methodology of system. Everything I have said is an extrapolation from the verbal echo we hear between the words ‘filiation’ and ‘affiliation.’ In a certain sense, what I have been trying to show is that, as it has developed through the art and critical theories produced in complex ways by modernism, filiation gives birth to affiliation. Affiliation becomes a form of representing the filiative processes to be found in nature, although affiliation takes validated nonbiological social and cultural forms. Two alternatives propose themselves for the contemporary critic. One is organic complicity with the pattern I have described. The critic enables, indeed transacts, the transfer of legitimacy from filiation to affiliation; literally a midwife, the critic encourages reverence for the humanities and for the dominant culture served by those humanities. This keeps relationships within the narrow circle of what is natural, appropriate, and valid for ‘us,’ and thereafter excludes the non-literary, the non-European, and above all the political dimension in which all literature, all texts, can be found. It also gives rise to a critical system or theory whose temptation for the critic is that it resolves all the problems that culture gives rise to. As John Fekete has said, this ‘expresses the modern disaffection for reality, but progressively incorporates and assimilates it within the categories of prevailing social (and cultural) rationality. This endows it with a double appeal, and the expanding scope of the theory, corresponding to the expanding mode of the production and reproduction of social life, gives it authority as a major ideology’. [...]

4.5.5 Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: from The Signifying Monkey (1988) ‘The Trope of the Talking Book’ I THE LITERATURE of the slave, published in English between 1760 and 1865, is the most obvious site to excavate the origins of the AfroAmerican literary tradition. Whether our definition of tradition is based on the rather narrow lines of race or nationality of authors, upon shared themes and narrated stances, or upon repeated and revised tropes, it is to the literature of the black slave that the critic must turn to identify the beginning of the Afro-American literary tradition. ‘The literature of the slave’ is an ironic phrase, at the very least, and is an oxymoron at its most literal level of meaning. ‘Literature,’ as Samuel Johnson used the term, denoted an ‘aquaintance with ‘letters’ or ‘books,’ according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It also connoted ‘polite or humane learning’ and ‘literary culture.’ While it is self-evident that the ex-slave who managed (as Frederick Douglas put it) to ‘steal’ some learning from his or her master and the master’s texts, was bent on demonstrating to a skeptical public an acquaintance with letters or books, we cannot honestly conclude that slave literature was meant to exemplify either polite or humane learning or the presence in the author of literary culture. Indeed, it is more accurate to argue that the literature of the slave consisted of texts that represent impolite learning and that these texts collectively railed against the arbitrary and inhumane learning which masters foisted upon slaves to reinforce a perverse fiction of the ‘natural’ order of things. The slave, by definition, possessed at most a liminal ststus within the human community. To read and to write was to transgress this nebulous realm of liminality. The slave’s texts, then, could

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not be taken as specimens of a black literary culture. Rather, the texts of the slave could only be read as testimony of defilement: the slave’s representation and reversal of the master’ a attempt to transform a human being into a commodity, and the slave’s simultaneous verbal witness of the possession of a humanity shared in common with Europeans. The chiasmus, perhaps the most commonly used rhetorical figure in the slave narratives and throughout subsequent black literature, is figured in the black vernacular tradition by tropes of the crossroads, that liminal space where Esu resides. The slave wrote not primarily to demonstrate humane letters, but to demonstrate his or her own membership in the human community. [...] Just as there are remarkably few literary traditions whose first century’s existence is determined by texts created by slaves, so too are there few traditions that claim such an apparent unity from a fundamental political condition represented for over two hundred years in such strikingly similar patterns and details. [...] Shared modes of figuration result only when writers read each other’s texts and seize upon topoi and tropes to revise in their own texts. This form of revision is a process of grounding and has served to create curious formal lines of continuity between the texts that together comprise the shared texts of blackness, the discrete chapters of which scholars are still establishing. What seems clear upon reading the texts created by black writers in English or the critical texts that responded to these black writings is that the production of literature was taken to be the central arena in which persons of African descent could, or could not, establish and redefine their status within the human community. Black people, the evidence suggests, had to represent themselves as ‘speaking subjects’ before they could even begin to destroy their status as objects, as commodities, within Western culture. In addition to all of the myriad reasons for which human beings write books, this particular reason seems to have been paramount for the black slave. At least since 1600, Europeans had wondered aloud whether or not the African ‘species of men’, as they most commonly put it, could ever create formal literature, could ever master the arts and sciences. If they could, then, the argument ran, the African variety of humanity and the European variety were fundamentally related. If not, then it seemed clear that the African was destined by nature to be a slave. [...] What remained constant was that black people could become speaking subjects only by inscribing their voices in the written word. If this matter of recording an authentic black voice in the text of Western letters was of widespread concern in the eighteenth century, then how did it affect the production of black texts, if indeed it affected them at all? [...] The most salient indication that this idea informed the writing of black texts is found in a topos that appears in five black texts published in English by 1815. This topos assumed such a central place in the black use of figurative language that we can call it a trope. It is the trope of the Talking Book, which first occured in 1770 slave narrative and was then revised in other slave narratives published in 1785, 1787, 1789, and 1815. [...] The trope of the Talking Book is the ur-trope of the Anglo-African tradition. Bakhtin’s metaphor of double-voiced discourse, figured most literally in representational sculptures of Esu and implied in the Signifying Monkey’s function as the rhetoric of a vernacular literature, comes to bear in balck texts through the trope of the Talking Book. In the slave narratives discussed in this chapter, making the white written text speak with a black voice is the initial mode of inscription of the metaphor of the double-voiced. [...] The explication of the trope of the talking Book enables us to witness the extent of intertextuality and presupposition at work in the first discrete period in Afro-American literary history. But it also reveals, rather surprisingly, that the curious tension between the black vernacular and the literate white text, between the spoken and the written word, between the oral and the printed forms of literary discourse, has been thematized in black letters at least since slaves and ex-slaves met the challenge of the Enlightenment to their humanity by literally writing themselves into being through carefully crafted representation in language of the black self.

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[...] The trope of the Talking Book became the first repeated and revised trope of the tradition, the first trope to be Signified upon. The paradox of representing, of containing somehow, the oral within the written, precisely when oral black culture was transforming itself into a written culture, proved to be of sufficient concern for five of the earliest black autobiographers to repeat the same figure of the the Talking Book that fails to speak, appropriating the figure accordingly with embellished rhetorical differences. II The first text in which the trope of the Talking Book appears is James Albert Ukawsaw Gronnoiosaw’s first edition of A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince, As Related by Himself. Gronniosaw’ a narrative of enslavement and delivery had by 1811 been published in seven editions, including American editions of in 1774 and 1810 and a Dublin edition in 1790. In 1840 another edition was published simultaneously in London, Manchester, and Glasgow. It is this edition to which I refer. Reading and writing were of signal import to the shaping of Gronnoisaw’s text, as presences and absences refigured throughout his twenty-four-page narrative. While the 1770 edition says in its subtitle that Gronniosaw ‘related’ his tale ‘himself’, the 1774 edition reprinted at Newport, Rhode Island, claims that his narrative was ‘written by himself.’ When referred to in editions subsequent to 1840, ‘related’ or ‘dictated’ replace ‘written by himself.’ It is the narrator’s concern with literacy that is of most interest to our argument here. [...] Gronniosaw’s identification of himself in his narrative’s title as ‘an African Prince’ helps to explain the significance of this rhetorical gesture. Gronniosaw, by representing himself as a prince, implicitly tied his narrative to the literary tradition of the ‘Noble Savage’ and to its subgenre, the ‘Noble Negro’. Gronniosaw, in other words, represents himself as not mere common Negro slave, but as one nurtured, indulged, and trained in the manner of royalty everywhere. Faced with what must have seemed a deafening silence in black literary antecedents, Gronniosaw turned to the fictions of the Noble Savage to ground his text within a tradition. [...] One of the ironies of representation of the Noble savage is that he or she is rendered noble through a series of contrasts with his or her black countrymen. Oronooko bears aquiline features, has managed through some miraculous process to straighten his kinky hair, and speaks French fluently, among other languages. Oronooko, in other words, looks like a European, speaks like a European, and thinks and acts like a European or, more properly, like a European king. Unlike the conventions of representing most other Noble savage protagonists, then, Oronooko and his fellow black princes-in-bondage are made noble by a dissimilarity with their native countrymen. He is the exception, and not in any way the rule. Several Africans gained notoriety in eighteen-century England and France by claiming royal lineage, even attending performances of Oronooko on stage, weeping loudly as they were carried from the theatre. Gronniosaw seized upon this convention of Noble Savage literature, but with a critical difference. To ground himself in the tradition of Bunyan, Gronniosaw figures his sense of of difference as the only person in his grandfather’s kingdom who understood, ‘from my infancy,’ that ‘some great Man of Power ... resided above the sun, moon and stars, the objects of our [African] worship.’ Gronniosaw’s salient sign of difference in his inherent knowledge that there existed one god, rather than the many worshipped by all and sundry in the Kingdom of Zaara. [...] If Gronnisaw, like Caliban, first learned the master’s tongue to curse and swear, he quikly mended his ways. Indeed, almost from the beginning of his capture, Gronniosaw seems to have been determined to allow nothing to came between his desire to know the name of the Christian God and its fulfillment. Gronniosaw represents this desire within an extended passage in which he uses the trope of the Talking Book. He first describes his pleasure at disregarding the principal material sign of his African heritage, an extensive gold chain which must have been remarkably valuable, judging by its description: When I left my dear mother, I had a large quantity of gold about me, as

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is the custom of our country. It was made into rings, and they were linked into one another, and formed into a kind of chain, and so put round my neck, and arms, and legs, and a large piece hanging at one ear, almost in the shape of a pear. I found all this troublesome, and was glad when my new master [a Dutch captain of a ship] took it from me. I was now washed, and clothed in the Dutch or English manner. Gronniosaw admits to being glad when his royal chain, a chain of gold that signified his cultural heritage, was removed from him, to be replaced, after a proverbial if secular baptism by water, with the ‘Dutch or English’ clothing of a ship’s crew. That which signified his African past, a veritable signifying chain, Gronniosaw eagerly abandons, just as he longs to abandon the language that his European captors ‘did not understand.’ Gronniosaw signifying gold chain is an ironic prefigurement of Brother Tarp’s link to his cultural heritage, a prison gang, in Invisible Man. When Tarp tells Ellison’s narrator that his chain ‘had a whole lot of signifying wrapped up in it’ and that ‘it might help you remember what we’re really fighting against,’ we not only recall Gronniosaw willingness to relinquish his signifying chain, but we also begin to understand why. Gronniosaw has absolutely no desire to ‘remember what we’re really fighting against.’ As Tarp continues, such a signifying chain ‘signifies a heap more’ than the opposition between ‘yes and no’ that it connotes, on a first lvel of meaning, for the escaped prisoner. These significations are what Gronniosaw seeks to forget. If Gronniosaw willingly abandons his signifying chain of gold, then he is also willing to discard that chain of signifiers that comprised whatever African discourse he used to greet his Dutch enslavers. He represents this desire in the black tradition’s first use of the trope of the Talking Book, which follows the unchaining ceremony in the same paragraph: [My master] used to read prayers in public to the ship’s crew every Sabbath day; and when I first saw him read, I was never so surprised in my life, as when I saw the book talk to my master, for I thought it did, as I observed him to look upon it, and move his lips. I wished it would do so with me. As soon as my master had done reading, I followed him to the place where he put the book, being mightly delighted with it, and when nobody saw me, I opened it, and put my ear down close upon it, in great hopes that it would soon say something to me; but I was very sorry, and greatly disappointed, when I found that it would not speak. This thought immediately presented itself to me, that every body and every thing despised me because I was black . What can we say of this compelling anecdote? The book had no voice for Gronniosaw; it simply refused to speak to him, or with him. For Gronniosaw, the book - or, perhaps I should say, the very concept of ‘book’ - constituted a silent primary text, a text however, in which the black man found no echo of his own voice. The silent book did not reflect or acknowledge the black presence before it. The book’s rather deafening silence renames the received tradition in European letters that the mask of blackness worn by Gronniosaw and his countrymen was a trope of absence. [...] III The Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, A Black is not properly a slave narrative, though it is usually described as such. Rather, it is an Indian captivity tale, a genre that was extraordinarily popular in the eighteenth century. [...] What is so striking about Marrant’s Signifyin[g] revision of Gronniosaw’s trope is that he inverts Gronniosaw opposition of blackness and the silence of the text. Rather, in this kingdom of the Cherokee, it is only the black man who can make the text speak. The king’s daughter, representing the Cherokee people, says ‘with much sorrow’ that ‘the book would not speak to her.’ Marrant’s capacity to make the text speak leads directly to his second condemnation for being a witch. Only by making the Lord himself appear, ‘most lovely and glorious,’ does Marrant escape the sentence of death. If in Gronniosaw’s trope voice presupposes a white or assimilated face, in Marrant’s text voice presupposes both a black face and an even more luminous presence, the presence of God himself. This

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scene, we shall see, is refigured in John Jea’s revision of the trope of the Talking Book. If Marrant Signifies upon Gronniosaw by substituting the oppositions of black/Cherokee and Christian/non-Christian for black illiterate African/white literate European, what has become of Gronniosaw’s ‘signifying chain’? Marrant does not disappoint us; the chain is inverted as well, although it is still made of gold. And, like Gronniosaw, Marrant by contiguity in his narration associates the golden chain with his own mastery of language, the Cherokee language. Marrant’s figure of the golden chain does not appear until the penultimate sentence in the twoand-one-half-page paragraph in which the talking Book episode occurs. In this sentence, Marrant informs us that it is the Cherokee king who owns the gold ‘chains and bracelets’, and as we might suspect, it is John Marrant, literate black man from another world who has the power over the king to command them him to put them on, or to take them off, ‘like a child’ : ‘The King would take off his golden garments, his chain and bracelets, like a child, if I objected to them and lay them aside.’ It is Marrant, master of the text and its presences, of its voice and letters, who, for reasons never stated in this text, can force the king to ‘lay’ his golden chain ‘aside’, like Gronniosaw, who eagerly lays his golden chain aside in his first attempt to shed his African identity. [...] For all of his apparent piety, then, Marrant seems to have been concerned to use the text of his sole predecessor in the Anglo-African tradition as a model to be revised. Marrant’s revision inaugurates the black tradition of English literature, not beacuse he was its first author but because he was the tradition’s first revisionist. My idea of tradition, in part, turns upon this definition of texts read by an author and then Signified upon in some formal way, as an implicit commentary on grouding and on satisfactory modes of representation - in this instance, a mode of representation of the black pious pilgrim who descends into a chaotic wilderness of sin, is captured, suffers through several rather unbelievable trails of faith, then emerges whole and cleansed and devout. But of what sort is Marrant’s mode of Signifyin(g) upon Gronniosaw’s Narrative? Marrant’s revision is an excellent example of ‘capping’, which is the black vernacular equivalent of metalepsis. Marrant is capping upon Gronniosaw’s trope because his revision seeks to reverse the received trope by displacement and substitution. All of the key terms of Gronniosaw’s trope are present in Marrant’s revision, but the ‘original’ pattern has been rearranged significantly. [...] IV [...] Regardless of what Atahualpa might have said, Rycaut’s 1688 translation could have been Cugoano’s source, and Marrant’s, since they both read English, unlike Gronniosaw. Cugoano, however, was familiar with Marrant’s revision and seems to have decided to use the ‘original’ version as a way of stepping around Marrant. What seems clear from this is that, as early in the Anglo-African tradition as 1787, black texts were already ‘mulatto’ texts, with complex double, or two-toned, literary heritages. The split between influence of form and influence of content, which I have suggested is the import of Ralph Ellison’s statements about his own literary ancestry, would seem to have obtained as early as 1787. VI The final revision of the trope of the Talking Book is that of John Jea. Jea revises the trope extensively in his autobiography, The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea. Jea enjoys a rare distinction in the Anglo-African tradition: he is one of the few, if not the only black poet before this century who published both an autobiography and a work of imaginative literature. [...] Jea introduces two major revisions of the slave narrative structure that he received from the eighteenth century. These include the visual representations of the text’s subject, which prefaces his text, and the trope of the Talking Book. As Equiano had done twenty-six years before him, Jea prefaces his text with his own image, but an image represented both in prophile and silhouette. Jea’s representation of himself in shadows draws attention primarely to his ‘African’ features, especially to his ‘Bantu’ nose, thick lips, and his ‘Ibo’ forehead, unlike the engravings of

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Phillis Wheatley and Equiano, which call attention to the assimilated presence of a subject who is Anglo-African, a hybrid third term meant to mediate between the opposites signified by ‘African’ and ‘Anglo-Saxon.’ Jea’s choice of representation of himself, while common among other Protestant ministers who published autobiographies contemporaneous with Jea’s, is the negative, if you will, of the positive image selected by Wheatley and Equiano. Jea reverses the convention of self-presentation by employing the silhouette to underscore a literal blackness of the subject represented as black upon black. But even more curious for the purpose of this chapter is Jea’s revision of the trope of the Talking Book, which he also seeks to make literal. [...] Jea reverses the semantic associations of ‘slave’ and ‘chains’, making his condition the metaphor of the human condition. It is clear early on in his text, that this Christian life of a slave bears a relationship to other lives as the parts stands for the whole. Jea, as I hope to show, has much in mind in his revisions of the contents of the trope of the Talking Book. Let us be clear about Jea’s chain: while nominally freed by the laws of New York because he was baptized and because he ‘could give a satisfactory account of what he knew of the work of Lord on his soul,’ it was not until he demonstrated his ability to ‘read’ the first chapter of the Gospel of John, ‘very well and distinct’ as Jea tells us twice, that his rights to ‘liberty’ were confirmed by the ‘magistrates’ of New York because he had been ‘taught of God.’ Jea, in other words, literally reads his way out of slavery, just as Job Ben Solomon in 1731 had literally written his way out of bondage. Whereas Gronniosaw, Marrant, Cugoano, and Equiano had represented a truly cultural or metaphysical manumission through the transference afforded by the trope of the Talking Book, Jea, on the surface at least, erases this received trope by literalizing it to a degree that most narrators would not dream of attempting before Jea’s usage and especially afterward. Jea attempts to ground his representation of this miracle by carefully selecting concrete details of the event to share with his readers. He names the text that the angel teaches him to read; he adds that the event occurs just before dawn, ‘being about four o’ clock in the morning,’ and that the entire reading lesson unfolded ‘in about fifteen minutes.’ Jea also gives his readers a fairly precise account of events that led to the angel’s appearence, and of actions immediately before and after this supernatural visitation. Finally, he tells us three times that his request of God and God’s gift in return was to ‘read,’ ‘understand,’ and ‘speak the language’ of this chapter of the Bible in both ‘the English and Dutch languages.’ Jea’s desire, satisfied by divine intervention when all merely mortal avenues had been closed off by the evils of slavery, was for a bilingual facility with the text of God, a facility that he is able to demonstrate upon demand of the skeptical. It is the mastery of the text of God, alone of all other texts, which leads directly to his legal manumission. It is not an arbitrary text that the angel (or God) selects for the black slave’s mastery. Rather, it is the Gospel of John. Let us recall its opening verse: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ Jea’s ‘mastery’ of reading is centered upon the curious sentence of the New Testament which explicitely concerns the nature of ‘the Word,’ upon the logos, speech or the words as reason. And let us recall the first chapter’s final verse: ‘And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of Gos ascending and descending upon the Son of man.’ Jea takes these framing verses of this major text and represents its wonders in the most literal manner possible, by having ‘heaven open’ and angel both descend and then ascend, but also literally dramatizing the text’s first verse, that ‘the Word’ is the begnning, and is with God in the beginning, and indeed ‘was God.’ Only God, epitope and keeper of the Word can satisfy the illiterate slave’s desire to know this Word, ‘in the English and Dutch languages,’ because all human agencies are closed off to him by slavery. God-in-the-text, then emerges from the text, and rewards his servant’s unusual plea with its fulfillment at its most literal level. While we, his readers, find Jea’s account of his literacy training to be allegorical at best, he does not seek to emphasize the event as figurative; on the contrary, by making it one more element in his linear narration (albeit a crucial one), and by representing it as the the event that leads directly to his attainment of legal liberty, Jea disregards the strategies of revision drawn upon by

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Cugoano and Equiano (both of whom call attention to its figurative properties, as we have seen) and attempts to represent the several literal and figurative elements of the received trope as if they all happened. This is what I mean when I say that Jea literalizes the trope, that he erases its figurative properties by expanding its compacted denotations and connotations into a five-page account of the event that transforms his life in a most fundamental way. [...] After Jea’s revision, or erasure as I am thinking of it, the trope of the Talking Book disappears from the other slave narratives published in the nineteenth century. No longer is this sign of the presence of literacy, and all that this sign connotes in the life of the black slave, available for revision after Jea has erased its figurative properties by its turn to the supernatural. Rather, the trope of the Talking Book now must be displaced in a second-order revision in which the absence and presence of the speaking voice is refigured as the absence and presence of the written voice. Jea’s scene of instruction, or midnight dream of instruction (did it actually happen, he wonders aloud as his readers wonder, or was it ‘only a dream?’), represents the dream of freedom as the dream of literacy, a dream relized as if by a miracle of literacy. [...] The trope of the Talking Book is not a trope of the presence of voice at all, but of its absence. To speak of a silent voice is to speak in an oxymoron. There is no such thing as a silent voice. Furthermore, as Juliet Mitchell has put the matter, there is something untenable about the attempt to represent what is not there, to represent what is missing or absent. Given that this is what these five black authors are seeking to do, we are justified in wondering aloud if the sort of subjectivity that they seek can be realized through a process that is so very ironic from the outset. Indeed, how can the black subject posit a full and sufficient self in a language in which blackness is a sign of absence? The modes of revision of one trope that are charted in this chapter, a trope fundamental to the slave narratives in one form or another between 1770 and 1865, attest to the sort of shared, if altered, patterns of representation that serve to define a literary tradition. One could easily write an account of the shaping of the Afro-American tradition, from Briton Hammon’s 1760 narrative to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, simply by explicating the figures used to represent the search of the black subject for a textual voice.

4.5.6 Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: from From the Seen to the Told ‘Canon-Formation, Literary History, and the Afro-American Tradition’ THE WESTERN CRITICAL TRADITION has a canon, as the Western literary tradition does, I once thought it our most important geature to master the canon of criticism, to imitate and apply it, but I now believe that we must turn to the black tradition itself to develop theories of criticism indigenous to our literatures. Alice Walker’s revision of Rebecca Cox Jackson’s parable of white interpretation (written in 1836) makes the point most tellingly. Jackson, a Shaker eldress and black visionary, claimed like John Jea to have been taught to read by the Lord. She writes in her autobiography that she dreamed a white man came to her house to teach her how to interpret and understand the word of God, now that God had taught her to read: A white man took me by my right hand and led me on the north side of the room, where sat a square table. On it lay a book open. And he said to me: ‘Thou shall be instructed in this book, from Genesis to Revelations.’ And then he took me to the west side, where stood a table. And it looked like the first. And said, ‘Yea, thou shall be instructed from the beginning of creation to the end of time.’ And then he took me to the east side of the

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room also, where stood a table and a book like the two first, and said, ‘I will instruct thee-yea, thou shall be instructed from the beginning of all things to the end of all things. Yea, thou shall be well instructed. I will instruct.’ And then I awoke, and I saw him as plain as I did in my dream. And after that he taught me daily. And when I would be reading and come to a hard word, I would see him standing by my side and he would teach me the word right. And often, when I would be in meditation and looking into things which was hard to understand, I would find him by me, teaching and giving me understanding. And oh, his labor and care which he had with me often caused me to weep bitterly, when I would see my great ignorance and the great trouble he had to make me understand eternal things. For I was so buried in the depth of the tradition of my forefathers, that it didn’t seem as if I never could be dug up. In response to Jackson’s relation of interpretative indenture to a ‘white man,’ Walker, in The Color Purple, records an exchange between Celie and Shug about turning away from ‘the old white man’ which soon turns into a conversation about the elimination of ‘man’ as a mediator between a woman and ‘everything’ : Still, it is like Shug say, you have to git man off your eyeball before you can see anything a’ tall. Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon, as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain’ t. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plot himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Celie and Shug’ omnipresent ‘man,’ of course, echoes the black tradition’s synecdoche for the white power structure, ‘the man.’ For non-Western, so-called noncanonical critics, getting the ‘man off your eyeball’ means using the most sophisticated critical theories and methods available to reappropriate and redefine our own ‘colonial’ discourses. We must use these theories and methods insofar as they are relevant to the study of our own literatures. The danger in doing so, however, is best put by Anthony Appiah in his definition of what he calls ‘the Naipaul fallacy’ : It is not necesary to show that African literature is fundamentally the same as European literature in order to show that it can be treated with the same tools; ... nor should endorse a more sinister line... : the postcolonial legacy which requires us to show that African literature is worthy of study precisely (but only) because it is fundamentally the same as European literature. We must not, Appiah concludes, ask ‘the reader to understand Africa by embedding it in European culture’ (p. 146). We must I believe, analyze the ways in which writing relates to race, how attitudes toward racial differences generate and structure literary texts by us and about us. We must determine how critical methods can effectively disclose the traces of ethnic differences in literature. But we must also understand how certain forms of difference and the languages Iwe employ to define those supposed differences not only reinforce each other but tend to create and maintain each other. Similarly, and as important, we must analyze the language of contemporary criticism itself, recognizing especially that hermeneutic systems are not universal, color-blind, apolitical, or neutral. Whereas some critics wonder aloud, as Appiah notes, whether or not ‘a structuralist poietics is inapplicable in Africa because structuralism is European’ (p. 145), the concern of the Third World critic should properly be to understand the ideological subtext which any critical theory reflects and embodies, and the relation which this subtext bears to the production of meaning. No critical theory - be it Marxist, feminist, poststructuralist, Kwame Nkrumah’s ‘consciencism,’ or whatever - escapes the specificity of value and ideology, no matter how mediated these may be. To attempt to appropriate our own discourses by using Western critical theory uncritically is to substitute one mode of neocolonialism for another. [...]

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We must redefine ‘theory’ itself from within our black cultures, refusing to grant the racist premise that theory is something that white people do, so that we are doomed to immitate our white colleagues, like reverse black minstrel critics done up in whiteface. We are all heirs to critical theory, but we black critics are heirs as well to the black vernacular tradition. Our task now is to invent and employ our own critical theory, to assume our own propositions, and to stand with the academy as politically responsible and responsive parts of a social and culturtal African American whole. [...] As deconstruction and other poststructuralisms, or even an aracial Marxism and other ‘articles of faith in Euro-Judaic thought,’ exhaust themselves in a self-willed racial never-never land in which we see no true reflections of our blac faces and hear no echoes of our black voices, let us - at long last - master the canon of critical traditions and languages of Africa and Afro-America. Even as we continue to reach out to others in the critical canon, let us be confident in our own black traditions and in their compelling strength to sustain systems of critical thought that are as yet dormant and unexplicated. We must, in the truest sense, turn inward even as we turn outward to redefine each institution in this profession - the English Institute, the MLA, the School of Criticism - in our own images. We must not succumb, as did Alexander Crummell, to the tragic lure of white power, the mistake of accepting the empowering language of white criticism as ‘universal’ or as our own language, the mistake of confusing the enabling mask of theory with our own black faces. Each of us has, in some literal or figurative manner, boarded a ship and sailed to a metaphorical Cambridge, seeking to master the master’s tools, and to outwit this racist master by compensating for a supposed lack. In my own instance, being quite literal-minded, I booked passage some fourteen years ago on the QE II! And much of my early works reflects my desire to outwit the master by trying to speak his language as fluently as he. Now, we must, at last, don the empowering mask of blackness and talk that talk, the language of black difference. While it is true that we must, as DuBois said so long ago, ‘know and test the power of the cabalistic letters of the white man,’ we must also know and test the dark secrets of a black and hermetic discursive universe that awaits its disclosure through the black arts of interpretation. For the future of theory and of literary enterprise in general, in the reminder of this century, is black, indeed. How does this matter of the black canon of criticism affect our attempts to define canon(s) of black literature? I believe, first of all, that until we free ourselves of the notion that we are ‘just Americans,’ as Ellison migh put it, and that what is good and proper for Americanists is good and proper for Afro-Americanists, we shall remain indentured servants to white masters, female and male, and to the Western tradition, yielding the most fundamental right that any tradition posseses, and that is the right to define itself, its own terms for order, its very own presuppositions. If we recall the etymology of the word ‘theory’ from the Greek theoria, we can understand why the production of the black text - specific theory is essential to our attempts to form black canons: theoria, as Wlad Godzich points out in his introduction to Paul de Man’s The Resistance to Theory, ‘is a public, institutional act of certification which assumes the authority to ‘effect the passage from the seen to the told’, and provides the basis for public discourse. Theory, then, is - like rhetoric - a form of cognition modeled upon (public) utterance rather than upon (private) perception.’ When we mindlessly borrow another tradition’s theory, we undermine this passage from the seen to the told - from what we see to how we tell it - this basis for our own black public discourse, this relation between cognition and utterance. [...] Here, then we see the two poles of black canon-formation, established firmly by 1849: Is ‘black’ poetry racial in theme, or is black poetry any sort of poetry written by black people? I have been thinking about these strains in black canon-formation because a group of us are editing still another anthology, which will constitute still another attempt at canon-formation. W. W. Norton will be publishing the Norton Anthology of AfroAmerican Literature. The editing of this anthology has been a great dream of mine for a long time. I am very excited about this project. I think that I am most excited about the fact that we will have at our

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disposal the means to edit an anthology which will define a canon of AfroAmerican literature for instructors and students at any institution which desires to teach a course in Afro-American literature. Once our anthology is published, no one will ever again be able to use the unavailability of black texts as an excuse not to teach our literature. A well-marketed anthology - particularly a Norton anthology - functions in the academy to create a tradition, as well as to define and preserve it. A Norton anthology opens up a literary tradition as simply as opening the cover of a carefully edited and ample book. I am not unaware of the politics and ironies of canon-formation. The canon that we define will be ‘our’ canon, one possible set of selections among several possible sets of selections. In part to be as eclectic and as democratically ‘representative’ as possible, most other editors of black anthologies have tried to include as many authors and selections (especially excerpts) as possible, in order to preserve and ‘resurrect’ tradition. I call this the Sears Roebuck approach, the ‘dream book’ of black literature. We have all benefited from this approach. Indeed, many of our authors have only managed to survive because an enterprising editor was determined to marshall as much evidence as he or she could to show that the black literary tradition existed. While we must be deeply appreciative of that approach and its results, our task will be a different one. One task will be to bring together the ‘essential’ texts of the canon, the ‘crucially central’ authors, those whom we feel to be indispensable to an understanding of the shape, and shaping, of the tradition. A canon is the essence of the tradition: the connection between the texts of the canon reveals the tradition’s inherent, or veiled, logic, its internal rationale. None of us are naive enough to believe that ‘the canonical’ is selfevident, absolute, or natural. Scholars make canons. Keenly aware of this - and quite frankly, aware of my own biases - I have attempted to bring together as period editors a group of scholar-critics, each of whom combines great expertise in her or his period with her or his own approach to the teaching and analyzing of Afro-American literature. I have attempted in other words, to bring together scholars whose notions of the black canon might not necessarily agree with my own, or with each other. I have tried to bring together a different array of ideological, methodological, and theoretical perspectives, so that we together might produce an anthology which most fully represents the various definitions of what it means to teach that tradition. I can say that my own biases toward canon-formation are to stress the formal relationship that obtains among texts in the black tradition relations of revision, echo, call and response, antiphony, what have you and to stress the vernacular roots of the tradition, contra Alexander Crummell. Accordingly, let me add that our anthology will include a major innovation in anthology production. Because of the strong oral and vernacular base of so much of our literature, we shall include a cassette tape along with our anthology. This means that each period will include both the printed and spoken text of oral and musical selections of black vernacular culture: sermons, blues, spirituals, R & B, poets reading their own ‘dialect’ poems, speeches, and other performances. Imagine having Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday singing the blues, Langston Hughes reading ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers,’ Sterling Brown reading ‘Ma Rainey,’ James Weldon Johnson ‘The Creation,’ C. L. Franklin ‘The Sermon of the Dry Bones,’ Martin speaking ‘I Have a Dream,’ Sonia Sanchez ‘Talking in the Tongues’ - the list of possibilities is endless, and exhilarating. So much of our literature seems dead on the page when compared to its performance. Incorporating performance and the black and human voice into our anthology, we will change fundamentally not only the way that our literature is taught but the way in which any literary tradition is ever conceived.

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5. ANTI-RELATIVISM, ANTI-ANTI-FOUNDATIONALISM: TRADITIONALIST RESPONSES creator of Lear, Hamlet, Iago, Falstaff and his disciples such as John Webster and Thomas Middleton. The best living English critic, Sir Frank Kermode, in his famous Forms of Attention (1985) has issued the clearest warning I know about the fate of the canon, that is to say, in the first place, the fate of Shakespeare: Canons, which negate the distinction between knowledge and opinion, which are instruments of survival built to be time-proof, are of course deconstructible; if people think there should not be such things, they may very well find the means to destroy them. Their defense cannot any longer be undertaken by central institutional power; they cannot any longer be compulsory, though it is hard to see how the normal operation of learned institutions, including recruitment, can manage without them. The means to destroy canons, as Kermode indicates, are very much at hand, and the process is now quite advanced. I am not concerned, as this book repeatedly makes clear, with the current debate between the right-wing defenders of the Canon, who wish to preserve it for its supposed (and nonexistent) moral values, and the academicjournalistic network I have dubbed the School of Resentment, who wish to overthrow the Canon in order to advance their supposed (and nonexistent) programs for social change. I hope that the book does not turn out to be an elegy for the Western Canon, and that perhaps at some point there will be a reversal, and the rabblement of lemmings will cease to hurl themselves off the cliffs. [...] Canonical strangeness can exist without the shock of such audacity, but the tang of originality must always hover in an inaugural aspect of any work that incontestably wins the agon with tradition and joins the Canon. Our educational institutions are thronged these days by idealistic resenters who denounce competition in literature as in life, but the aesthetic and the agonistic are one, according to all the ancient Greeks, and to Burckhardt and Nietzsche, who recovered the truth. What Homer teaches is a poetics of conflict, a lesson first learned by his rival Hesiod. All of Plato, as the critic Longinus saw, is in the philosopher's

5.2 Harold Bloom: from The Western Canon

5.2.1 ‘Preface and Prelude’ With most of these twenty-six writers, I have tried to confront greatness directly: to ask what makes the author and the works canonical. The answer, more often than not, has turned out to be strangeness, a mode of originality that either cannot be assimilated, or that so assimilates us that we cease to see it as strange. Walter Pater defined Romanticism as adding strangeness to beauty, but I think he characterized all canonical writing rather than the Romantics as such. The cycle of achievement goes from the Divine Comedy to Endgame, from strangeness to strangeness. When you read a canonical work for a first time you encounter a stranger, an uncanny startlement rather than a fulfillment of expectations. Read freshly, all that The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, Faust Part Two, Hadji Murad, Peer Gynt, Ulysses, and Canto general have in common is their uncanniness, their ability to make you feel strange at home. Shakespeare, the largest writer we ever will know, frequently gives the opposite impression: of making us at home out of doors, foreign, abroad. His powers of assimilation and of contamination are unique and constitute a perpetual challenge to universal performance and to criticism. I find it absurd and regrettable that the current criticism of Shakespeare ‘cultural materialist’ (Neo-Marxist); ‘New Historicist’ (Foucault); ‘Feminist’ - has abandoned the quest from his aesthetic supremacy and works at reducing him to the ‘social energies’ of the English Renaissance, as though there were no authentic difference in aesthetic merit between the

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incessant conflict with Homer, who is exiled from The Republic, but in vain, since Homer and not Plato remained the schoolbook of the Greeks. Dante's Divine Comedy, according to Stefan George, was ‘the book and school of the ages’, though that was more true for poets than for anyone else and is properly assigned to Shakespeare's plays, as will be shown throughout this book. Contemporary writers do not like to be told that they must compete with Shakespeare and Dante, and yet that struggle was Joyce's provocation to greatness, to an eminence shared only by Beckett , Proust, and Kafka among modern Western authors. The fundamental archetype for literary achievement will always be Pindar, who celebrates the implicit sense the quasi-divine victories over every possible competitor. Dante, Milton , and Wordsworth repeat Pindar's key metaphor of racing to win the palm, which is a secular immortality strangely at odds with any pious idealism. ‘Idealism’, concerning which one struggles not to be ironic, is now the fashion in our schools and colleges, where all aesthetic and most intellectual standards are being abandoned in the name of social harmony and the remedying of historical injustice. Pragmatically, the ‘expansion of the Canon’ has meant the destruction of the Canon, since what is being taught includes by no means the best writers, who happen to be women, African, Hispanic, or Asian, but rather the writers who offer little but the resentment they have developed as part of their sense of identity. There is no strangeness and no originality in such resentment; even if there were, they would not suffice to create heirs of the Yahwist and Homer, Dante and Shakespeare, Cervantes and Joyce. As the formulator of a critical concept I once named ‘the anxiety of influence’, I have enjoyed the School of Resentment's repeated insistence that such a notion applies only to Dead White European Males, and not to women and to what we quaintly term ‘multiculturalists’. Thus, feminist cheerleaders proclaim that women writers lovingly cooperate with one another as quilt makers, while African-American and Chicano literary activists go even further in asserting their freedom from any anguish of contamination whatsoever: each of them is Adam early in the morning. They know no time when they were not as they are now; self-created, selfbegot, their puissance is their own. As assertions by poets, playwrights, and prose fiction writers, these are healthy and understandable, however self-deluded. But as declarations by supposed literary critics, such optimistic pronouncements are neither true nor interesting and go against both human nature and the nature of imaginative literature. There can be no strong, canonical writing without the process of literary influence, a process vexing to undergo and difficult to understand. [...] The burden of influence has to be borne, if significant originality is to be achieved and reachieved within the wealth of Western literary tradition. Tradition is not only a handing-down or process of benign transmission; it is also a conflict between past genius and present aspiration, in which the prize is literary survival or canonical inclusion. That conflict cannot be settled by social concerns, or by the judgment of any particular generation of impatient idealists, or by Marxists proclaiming , ‘Let the dead bury the dead’, or by sophists who attempt to substitute the library for the Canon and the archive for the discerning spirit. Poems, stories, novels, plays come into being as a response to prior poems, stories, novels and plays, and that response depends upon acts of reading and interpretation by the later writers, acts that are identical with the new works. These readings of precursor writings are necessarily defensive in part; if they were appreciative only, fresh creations would be stifled, and not for psychological reasons alone. The issue is not Oedipal rivalry but the very nature of strong, original literary imaginings: figurative language and its vicissitudes. Fresh metaphor, or inventive troping, always involves a departure from previous metaphor, and that departure depends upon at least partial turning away from or rejection of prior figuration. Shakespeare employs Marlowe as a starting point, and such early Shakespearean hero-villains as Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus and Richard III are rather too close to Barabas, Marlowe's Jew of Malta. When Shakespeare creates Shylock, his Jew of Venice, the metaphorical basis of the farcical villain's speech is radically altered, and Shylock is a strong misreading or creative misinterpretation of Barabas, whereas Aaron the Moor is something closer to a repetition of Barabas,

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particularly at the level of figurative language. By the time that Shakespeare writes Othello, all trace of Marlowe is gone: the selfdelighting villainy of Iago is cognitively far subtler and light years more refined imagistically than the self-congratulatory excesses of the exuberant Barabas. Iago's relation to Barabas is one in which Shakespeare's creative misreading of his precursor Marlowe has triumphed wholly. Shakespeare is a unique case in which the forerunner is invariably dwarfed. Richard III manifests an anxiety of influence in regard to The Jew of Malta and Tamburlaine, but Shakespeare was still finding his way. With the advent of Falstaff in Henry IV, Part One the finding was complete, and Marlowe became only the way not to go, on the stage as in life. [...] I feel quite alone these days in defending the autonomy of the aesthetic, but its best defense is the experience of reading King Lear and then seeing the play well performed. King Lear does not derive from a crisis in philosophy, nor can its power be explained away as a mystification somehow promoted by bourgeois institutions. It is a mark of the degeneracy of literary study that one is considered an eccentric for holding that the literary is not dependent upon the philosophical, and that the aesthetic is irreducible to ideology or to metaphysics. Aesthetic criticism returns us to the autonomy of imaginative literature and the sovereignty of the solitary soul, the reader not as a person in society but as the deep self, our ultimate inwardness. That depth of inwardness in a strong writer constitutes the strength that wards off the massive weight of past achievement, lest every originality be crushed before it becomes manifest. Great writing is always rewriting or revisionism and is founded upon a reading that clears space for the self, or that so works as to reopen old works to our fresh sufferings. The originals are not original, but that Emersonian irony yields to the Emersonian pragmatism that the inventor knows how to borrow. The anxiety of influence cripples weaker talents but stimulates canonical genius. What intimately allies the three most vibrant American novelists of the Chaotic Age - Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner - is that all of them emerge from Joseph Conrad's influence but temper it cunningly by mingling Conrad with an American precursor - Mark Twain for Hemingway, Henry James for Fitzgerald, Herman Melville for Faulkner. Something of the same cunning appears in T. S. Eliot's fusion of Whitman and Tennyson, and Ezra Pound's blend of Whitman and Browning, as again in Hart Crane's deflection of Eliot by another turn toward Whitman. Strong writers do not choose their prime precursors; they are chosen for them, but they have the wit to transform the forerunners into composite and therefore partly imaginary beings. [...] Canon is primarily manifested as the anxiety of influence that forms and malforms each new writer that aspires to permanence. Literature is not merely language; it is also the will to figuration, the motive for metaphor that Nietzsche once defined as the desire to be different, the desire to be elsewhere. This partly means to be different from oneself, but primarily, I think, to be different from the metaphors and images of the contingent works that are one's heritage: the desire to write greatly is the desire to be elsewhere, is a time and place of one's own, in an originality that must compound with inheritance, with the anxiety of influence. 5.2.2 ‘An Elegy for the Canon’ Originally the Canon meant the choice of books in our teaching institutions, and despite the recent politics of multiculturalism, the Canon's true question remains: What shall the individual who still desires to read attempt to read, this late in history? [...] Reviewing bad books, W. H. Auden once remarked, is bad for the character. Like all gifted moralists, Auden idealized despite himself, and he should have survived into the present age, wherein the new commissars tell us that reading good books is bad for the character, which is probably true. Reading the very best writers - let us say Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Tolstoy - is not going to make us better citizens. Art is perfectly useless, according to the sublime Oscar Wilde, who was right about everything. He also told us that all bad poetry is sincere. Had I the power to do so, I would command that these words be engraved above

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every gate at every university, so that each student might ponder the splendor of the insight. [...] Cultural criticism is another dismal social science, but literary criticism, as an art, always was and always will be an elitist phenomenon. It was a mistake to believe that literary criticism could become a basis for democratic education or for societal improvement. When our English and other literature departments shrink to the dimensions of our current Classics departments, ceding their grosser functions to the legions of Cultural Studies, we will perhaps be able to return to the study of the inescapable, to Shakespeare and his few peers, who after all, invented all of us. [...] What interests me is the flight from the aesthetic among so many in my profession, some of whom at least began with the ability to experience aesthetic value. In Freud, flight is the metaphor for repression, for unconscious yet purposeful forgetting. The purpose is clear enough in my profession's flight: to assuage displaced guilt. [...] Our legions who have deserted represent a strand in our traditions that has always been in flight from the aesthetic: Platonic moralism and Aristotelian social science. The attack on poetry either exiles it for being destructive of social well-being or allows it sufferance if it will assume the work of social catharsis under the banners of the new multiculturalism. Beneath the surfaces of academic Marxism, Feminism, and New Historicism, the ancient polemic of Platonism and the equally archaic Aristotelian social medicine continue to course on. I suppose that the conflict between these strains and the always beleaguered supporters of the aesthetic can never end. We are losing now, and doubtless we will go on losing, and there is sorrow in that, because many of the best students will abandon us for other disciplines and professions, an abandonment already well under way. [...] Curtius, ever alert to the fortune of canonical metaphors, has an excursus upon ‘Poetry as Perpetuation’ that traces the origin of the eternity of poetic fame to the Iliad and beyond to Horace's Odes, where we are assured that it is the Muse's eloquence and affection that allow the hero never to die. Jakob Burckhardt, in a chapter on literary fame that Curtius quotes, observes that Dante, the Italian Renaissance poet-philologist, had ‘the most intense consciousness that he is a distributor of fame and indeed of immortality’, a consciousness that Curtius locates among the Latin poets of France as early as 1100. But at some point this consciousness was linked to the idea of a secular canonicity, so that not the hero being celebrated but the celebration itself was hailed as immortal. The secular canon, with the word meaning a catalog of approved authors, does not actually begin until the middle of the eighteenth century, during the literary period of Sensibility, Sentimentality, and the Sublime. The Odes of William Collins trace the Sublime canon through Milton and are among the earliest poems in English written to propound a secular tradition of canonicity. [...] One illuminating theory of canon is presented by Alastair Fowler in his Kinds of Literature (1982). In a chapter on ‘Hierarchies of Genres and Canons of Literature’, Fowler remarks that ‘changes in literary taste can often be referred to revaluation of genres that the canonical works represent.’ In each era, some genres are regarded as more canonical than others. In the early decades of our time, the American prose romance was exalted as a genre, which helped to establish Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald as our dominant twentieth-century writers of prose fiction, fit successors to Hawthorne, Melville, Mark Twain, and the aspect of Henry James that triumphed in The Golden Bowl and The Wings of the Dove. [...] The historical novel seems to have been permanently devalued. Gore Vidal once said to me, with bitter eloquence, that his outspoken sexual orientation had denied him canonical status. What seems likelier is that Vidal's best fictions (except for the sublimely outrageous Myra Breckenridge) are distinguished historical novels - Lincoln, Burr, and several more - and this subgenre is no longer available for canonization, which helps to account for the morose fate of Norman Mailer's exuberantly inventive Ancient Evenings, a marvelous anatomy of humbuggery and bumbuggery that could not survive its placement in the ancient Egypt of The Book of the Dead. History writing and narrative fiction have come apart, and our sensibilities seem no longer able to accommodate them to one another. [...]

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Aesthetic value is by definition engendered by an interaction between artists, an influencing that is always an interpretation. The freedom to be an artist, or a critic, necessarily rises out of social conflict. But the source or origin of the freedom to perceive, while hardly irrelevant to aesthetic value, is not identical with it. There is always guilt in achieved individuality; it is a version of the guilt of being a survivor and is not productive of aesthetic value. [...] The openers-up of the Canon and the traditionalists do not disagree much on where the supremacy is to be found: in Shakespeare. Shakespeare is the secular canon, or even the secular scripture; forerunners and legatees alike are defined by him alone for canonical purposes. This is the dilemma that confronts partisans of resentment: either they must deny Shakespeare's unique eminence (a painful and difficult matter) or they must show why and how history and class struggle produced just those aspects of his plays that have generated his centrality in the Western Canon. Here they confront insurmountable difficulty in Shakespeare's most idiosyncratic strength: he is always ahead of you, conceptually and imagistically, whoever and whenever you are. He renders you anachronistic because he contains you; you cannot subsume him. You cannot illuminate him with a new doctrine, be it Marxism or Freudianism or Demanian linguistic skepticism. Instead, he will illuminate the doctrine, not by prefiguration but by postfiguration as it were: all of Freud that matters most is there in Shakespeare already, with a persuasive critique of Freud besides. The Freudian map of the mind is Shakespeare's; Freud seems only to have prosified it. Or, to vary my point, a Shakespearean reading of Freud illuminates and overwhelms the text of Freud; a Freudian reading of Shakespeare reduces Shakespeare, or would if we could bear a reduction that crosses the line into absurdities of loss. Coriolanus is a far more powerful reading of Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon than any Marxist reading of Coriolanus could hope to be. Shakespeare's eminence is, I am certain, the rock upon which the School of Resentment must at last founder. How can they have it both ways? If it is arbitrary that Shakespeare centers the Canon, then they need to show why the dominant social class selected him rather than, say, Ben Jonson, for that arbitrary role. Or if history and not the ruling circles exalted Shakespeare, what was it in Shakespeare that so captivated the mighty Demiurge, economic and social history? Clearly this line of inquiry begins to border on the fantastic; how much simpler to admit that there is a qualitative difference, a difference in kind, between Shakespeare and every other writer, even Chaucer, even Tolstoy, or whoever. Originality is the great scandal that resentment cannot accommodate, and Shakespeare remains the most original writer we will ever know. [...] We possess the Canon because we are mortal and also rather belated. There is only so much time, and time must have a stop, while there is more to read than there ever was before. From the Yahwist and Homer to Freud, Kafka, and Beckett is a journey of nearly three millennia. Since that voyage goes past harbors as infinite as Dante, Chaucer, Montaigne, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy, all of whom amply compensate a lifetime's rereadings, we are in the pragmatic dilemma of excluding something else each time we read or reread extensively. One ancient test for the canonical remains fiercely valid: unless it demands rereading, the work does not qualify. The inevitable analogue is the erotic one. If you are Don Giovanni and Leporello keeps the list, one brief encounter will suffice. [...] Catholic distinctions between divine immortality and human fame, firmly founded upon a dogmatic theology, remains fairly precise until the advent of Dante, who regarded himself as a prophet and so implicitly gave his Divine Comedy the status of a new Scripture. Dante pragmatically voided the distinction between secular and sacred canon formation, a distinction that has never quite returned, which is yet another reason for our vexed sense of power and authority. [...] Gertrude Stein maintained that one wrote for oneself and for strangers, a superb recognition that I would extend into a parallel apothegm: one reads for oneself and for strangers. The Western Canon does not exist in order to augment preexisting societal elites. It is there to be read by you and by strangers, so that you and those you will never meet can encounter authentic aesthetic power and the authority of what

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Baudelaire (and Erich Auerbach after him) called ‘aesthetic dignity’. One of the ineluctable stigmata of the canonical is aesthetic dignity, which is not to be hired. [...] Plato hoped that by banishing the poet, he would also banish the tyrant. Banishing Shakespeare, or rather reducing him to his contexts, will not rid us of our tyrants. In any case, we cannot rid ourselves of Shakespeare, or of the Canon that he centers. Shakespearean as we like to forget, largely invented us; if you add the rest of the Canon, then Shakespeare and the Canon wholly invented us. Emerson, in Representative Men, got this exactly right: ‘Shakespeare is as much out of the category of eminent authors, as he is out of the crowd. He is inconceivably wise; the others, conceivably. A good reader can, in a sort, nestle into Plato's brain, and think from thence; but not into Shakespeare's. We are still out of doors. For executive faculty, for creation, Shakespeare is unique. [...] Without the Canon, we cease to think. You may idealize endlessly about replacing aesthetic standards with ethnocentrism and gender considerations, and your social aims may indeed be admirable. Yet only strength can join itself to strength, as Nietzsche perpetually testified. Does literature have a social function? I am very unhappy with current attempts throughout the universities of the Western world by a group I have called ‘the school of resentment’ to put arts, and literature in particular, in the service of social change. The utility of literature is to teach us not how to talk to others, but how to talk to ourselves.And the function of the critic is to make one aware both of the sorrows and of the very occasional and rather perilous glories of what it means to be condemned to talk to oneself. A proper use of Shakespeare and Dante and Tolstoy and Cervantes and the other writers of the very highest order is to teach us both to fill out and to temper that conversation with ourselves. What does this ‘school of resentment’ resent? Literature. They resent difficulty. And I suppose they resent the discipline to which they apparently apprenticed themselves, only to discover that they resented it more than they supported it. If they really believe that their function is to address the admittedly terrible plight of people who are trapped in the inner cities of America, who are trapped in the eroded wastelands of our decaying farm belt and elsewhere, they shouldn’t be teaching literature. They ought to become social and political and economic activists and devote their lives to serving the poor. They should strive to better the condition of those who are indeed insulted by the horrible inequities of our abominable, system. But the truth is that they could not care lees. I am one the few professors from Yale from a working-class background. And I believe that I can smell a hypocrite in these matters from a considerable distance. Who are these hypocrites? They are pseudo-Marxists, pseudo-feminists, watery disciples of Foucault and other French theorists. And they are transparently at work propagating themselves in our universties, making sure that only those who hold their precise view receive appointments and advancement. I would say that there is no future for literary studies as such in the United States. Increasingly, those studies are being taken over by the astonishing garbage called ‘cultural criticism’. At NYU I am surrounded by professors of hip-hop. At Yale, I am surrounded by professors far more

5.3 Harold Bloom: from ‘Bloom and Doom’ Harold Bloom writes in The Western Canon that he hopes his book ‘does not turn out to be an elegy’. Yet Bloom, 64, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale and Berg Professor of English at New York University, now doubts that literary studies will survive. The elegiac tone creeps into both his book and his conversation - only to chased off by his indignation. [...]

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interested in various articles on the compost heap of so-called popular culture than in Proust or Shakespeare or Tolstoy. I am aware that I am fighting a rear-guard action, and that the war is over and we have lost. What will replace the canon? Partly the staples of popular culture, and partly, to use that dreadful phrase, ‘politicaly correct’ works. A dear friend who teaches English at the University of Chicago told me with great gusto how she had led the fight to replace the stories of Ernest Hemingway with the works of the Chicano-American writer Gary Soto in her introductory course on literature. Now Hemingway, at his very best, is just about as good as Chekhov or Joyce - that is to say, about as good as a short-story writer can be. While Gary Soto couldn’t write his way out of a paper bag. When I told her this, she replied that she and I could go home and read whatever we wanted to at night. I find her attitude a kind of social fascism, as if esthetic considerations were all right for us, but are not proper for all students. I find that outrageous. inconsistency, or even a curious paradox. Tough-minded cognitive atheism usually tends to be an emotional given rather than a developed system. But if mere inconsistency is no bar to dogmatic skepticism in literary theory, one might hope nonetheless for a conversion to agnosticism if it could be shown that the doctrine of cognitive relativity is based on premises that are empirically wrong. I. The metaphor of perspective Words concerning the changing appearances of an object, when it is seen from different points in space, came to the lexical scene rather late in modern European languages. Perspective-words are not found at all in the lexicon of ancient Greece and Rome. The Orient was apparently more precocious. Evidence from the actual practice of early Chinese painters shows that they understood systematically the distorted appearance of object when viewed by monocular vision from a single location in space. But in the West, the ‘laws of perspective’, which is to say the systematic distortions of spatially located vision, were not understood until the fifteenth century, the period when painters worked out the principles for representing monocular perspectives on two-dimensional surfaces. […] It has taken Western culture an even longer time to discover the spiritual analogues to perspective-effects as represented in such metaphors as viewpoint (1856), standpoint (1836), mental perspective (1841), and attitude (1837), the dates in parentheses representing the first occasion of such figurative usage recorded in the New English Dictionary. If Renaissance painters required the camera oscura, the Victorians, in making their spiritual analogue, apparently required Kant 90. To assume
90 The inference that Kant’s philosophy lay behind this conception is further supported by the suggestive fact that S. T. Coleridge, one of the first Englishmen to read Kant, was also the first author recorded in the NED to use the phrase ‘point of view’ as a spiritual metaphor. On the other hand, David Hume showed himself to be a proto-Kantian in ways beyond those recognized by Kant, in the following use of the phrase, not recorded in the NED: ‘Every work of art in order to produce its due effects on the mind, must be surveyed in a certain point

5.5 E. D. Hirsch Jr.: from ‘Faulty perspectives’ The main intellectual (and emotional) sanction for dogmatic skepticism in present-day literary theory is its assumption that all ‘knowledge’ is relative. This cognitive atheism, as I call it, is based mainly on the idea that everybody sees literature from his own ‘angle of vision’, and responds emotionally to literature through his own system of values and associations. Individualized in this way, cognitive atheism is straightforward subjectivism. But other closely related forms in literary theory and practice are cultural relativism, historical relativism, and methodological relativism. All exhibit the same structure; all of them make truth and reality relative to a spiritual perspective. That this doctrine of critical relativity should itself be the single doctrine exempt from an otherwise universal skepticism rarely strikes its adherents as a damaging

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that one’s own sense of reality is distorted by one’s spiritual location, on the analogy of monocular vision, required the Copernican revolution of the Kantian philosophy. But the implied relativism in that analogue is a supreme irony, since the purpose of the critical philosophy was to defend the validity and universality of knowledge, not its dependence on a spiritual perspective. It is not only an irony, it is a total vulgarization of the great Kantian insight. This chapter is a sketch of some of these vulgarizations in the domain of hermeneutic theory, and an argument against their uncritical and facile application. II. The perspective of history: three relativistic fallacies It was chiefly Herder91 in the late eighteenth century who challenged the assumption that the perspective of human nature is essentially the same in all times and places. Herder’s contrary view of history has been called ‘historicism’ by Meinecke92, who judges it to be ‘one of the greatest revolutions that Western thought has experienced.’93 Undoubtedly Meinecke is right. And one effect of this revolution was to introduce the metaphor of perspective into the domain of historical description. Not until historians began to assume that men’s perspectives are essentially different in different eras did they begin to write monographs on the Romantic Zeitgeist or the Medieval Mind. In various degrees of sophistication, such perspectival concepts are now the staple of literary history. According to Meinecke, the chief feature of historicism ‘is the replacing of a generalizing mode of thinking about human phenomena with an individualizing mode of thinking.’ But Meinecke’s description is only
of view, and cannot be fully relished by persons whose situation, real or imaginary, is not conformable to that which is required by the performance’ (‘Of the Standard of Taste’, 1757). 91 Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803), German philosopher, poet and critic. Author of Outlines of The Philosophy of Man(1784-91). 92 Friedrich Meinecke (1862-1954), German historian. 93 F. Meinecke, Die Entstehung des Historismus (Munich, 1947).

partly accurate for modern historicism (or cultural perspectivism) in its uncritical forms. Literary history often stresses the individuality of a period without placing a correspondent stress on discordant individualities within a period. And this is odd, since those who understand the sameness of individuals within a period do not very often perceive sameness among individuals across different periods. Meinecke is himself an historian, a distinguished one, who avoids this inconsistency. History of any sort, including literary history, he asserts, would be impossible on the assumption that man’s perspective changes radically in history; and it would be empty if it assumed that human nature remained everywhere the same. Uncritical dogma in either direction deserves to be called a fallacy. It is not, of course, a logical fallacy, only an offence against experience and common sense. The first historical fallacy on my list of three I call the fallacy of the inscrutable past, since under it, one regards persons of the past in the way Englishmen in novels used to regard inscrutable Orientals. Literary historians of this style infer from the past a state of mind so different from our own that its texts can be understood only by an initiated few, from whom an act of ‘historical sympathy’ is required to understand a distant era that seems to be populated by beings who might have come from Mars. […] Theorists like Gadamer94, for instance, or like Barthes, rightly object to the cultural narcosis induced by such ‘reconstructions’ of the past.95 But as an antidote they recommend that we vitalize the inscrutable texts of the past by distorting them to our own perspective. In other words, they accept the fallacy of the inscrutable past as the premise on which they base their skeptical counterproposal. It is far better to distort the past in an interesting and relevant way than to distort and deaden it under the pretense of historical reconstruction. […] My second fallacy of historicism is the fallacy of the homogeneous past. Obviously, it is often accompanied by the fallacy of the inscrutable past,
94 Hans-Georg Gadamer, German philosopher, author of Truth and Method (1960). 95 H. G. Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode (Tübingen, 1960), esp. p. 290-324, and Roland Barthes, Sur Racine (Paris 1960).

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as in the case of Snell, who seems to assert that all the Greeks of Homer’s day lacked a concept of a unified human self. Under this fallacy, everybody who composed texts in the Elizabethan age, or the Romantic Age, or the Periclean Age shared in each case a common perspective imposed by their shared culture. Literary historians who write on this premise are content to apply it in the following sort of syllogism: Medieval Man believed in alchemy. Chaucer was a Medieval Man. Chaucer believed in alchemy. […] Finally my third historicistic fallacy. It is the one I wish chiefly to expose. It now lurks behind many a critical bush. It is the fallacy of the homogeneous present-day perspective. Only by accepting this additional fallacy, for example, can Gadamer offer an alternative to Snell. For when Gadamer attacks the ‘deadness’ of pretended historical reconstruction, he assumes a present that has its own peculiar deadness. To whom, for instance, is historical reconstruction dead? Why, to the homogenous ‘us’. Jan Kott96 invites ‘us’ to meet Shakespeare, ‘our contemporary’. Roland Barthes invites ‘us’ to meet ‘our’ contemporary, Racine, to make him speak to ‘us’. But this homogeneity in our present perspective is a construction as artificial as any of the despised ‘reconstructions’ of the past. It is entirely false to Herder’s genial insight into the great multifariousness of human-being, both past and present - the original insight of historicism in which all its later fallacies are grounded. In such later theories, then, Herder’s insight into the individuality of men and cultures has been vulgarized. A complementary insight by his contemporary Vico has been repudiated. Erich Auerbach has phrased Vico’s idea as follows: ‘The entire development of human history as made by men is potentially contained in the human mind, and may, therefore, by a process of research and re-evocation be understood by men.’ 97 To say with Herder that men and cultures are often very different from one
96 Jan Kott is a Polish emigré critic and theatrical producer, author of Shakespeare Our Contemporary (1964). 97 Erich Auerbach, ‘Vico and Aesthetic Historicism’, in Scenes from the Drama of European Literature (New York, 1959).

another is not to deny that a man can understand someone with a perspective very different from his own. Vico’s conception, later elaborated by Dilthey98, was that men share a common potential to be other than they are99. The distance between one culture and another may not in every instance be bridgeable, but the same is true between persons who inhabit the same culture. Cultural perspectivism, of the sort I have been attacking, forgets that the distance between one historical period and another is a very small step in comparison to the huge metaphysical gap we must leap to understand the perspective of another person in any time or place. III. What is an approach? Dilthey’s psychological model for our potential ability to understand the past is persuasive and balanced. But Dilthey himself did not always manage to preserve this balance in his writings. It is mainly to him that we owe the word Weltanschauung, that is, the spiritual perspective of a person or a culture. In the domain of literary criticism, the critic’s Weltanschauung is sometimes called his ‘approach’, a term first used in this perspectival sense in the twentieth century. The critic’s interpretation of literature depends on his ‘approach’. What the scholar discovers depends on his ‘approach’. The term implies a methodological prspectivism. Dilthey tells the story of a nightmare that visited him sometime after he had begun to use the term Weltanschauung. As a guest in a friend’s house, he had seen assigned a bed near a reproduction of Raphael’s School of Athens, and as he slept he dreamt that the picture had come to life. All the famous thinkers of antiquity began to rearrange themselves in group according to their Weltanschauungen. Slowly into the dream composition came later thinkers: Kant, Schiller, Carlyle, Ranke, Guizot - each of
98 Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911), German philosopher and social scientist. 99 W. Dilthey, Zergliedende und Beschrebende Psychologie , vol. 5 in

Gesammelete Schriften, 8 vols. (Berlin, 1921-31).

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whom was drawn to one of the groups that had formed around Plato or Heraclitus or Archimedes. Wandering back and forth among the groups were other thinkers who tried to mediate between them, but without success. In fact, the groups only moved farther and farther apart, until they could communicate only among themselves. The thinkers had become isolated in their separate approaches to reality. Then Dilthey awoke from his dream, which he interpreted as follows: No man can see any reality steadily and see it whole. Each approach is partial