Contemporary Lit (Eng. 370) 25 January 1994 View Movies. Wkdys 1-5, 7- 10. See Stoppard. FS, 1-5. Sun 7-10.

Borges Tlön Uqbar — Invented reality takes over real reality. Discussion of mirror and relation to encyclopedia. Encyclopedia as apocryphal. Revisionism. Tlön is an orderly society, entirely created by men. Literature is fantasy, society is idealistic. Language is absent of nouns. Operates on adjectives and verbs. Grammar of language reflects reality. Reproduction via mirrors and literature. Pierre Menard (36) — Also reflection of real world. Criticism judges the merit of these stories. Authorship. Tension between authorship & context. Palimpsest. Novels always deal with previous texts, whether real or written. Context completely different. History not tool to understand reality, but it actually becomes reality. 27 January 1994 Eng 553. Read R. Barthes’ FromWork to Text. Foucault, What is an Author. John Barth The Literature of Exhaustion. 1967. Refers to pm, but not in so many words. Makes distinction between cultural and aesthetic. “Exhaustion” means “usedupness” of aesthetic forms. Particular form is novel. All possibilities of novel exhausted. Novel already perfect. Artist — virtuoso. Kind of art not many people can do. What others imagine but can’t express. Two things to be an artist: algebra and fire (borrows from Borges). Fire is talent, genius. Algebra is the work, discipline tradition. Barth assumes that talent is static notion, same for him as for Aristotle. Three categories of artist: • Old-fashioned artist — not technically up-to-date. Ignore recent developments. • Technically up to date civilian — Has discipline, but not genius. Doesn’t speak to human condition. • Technically up to date artist. Writing after Finnegan’s Wake, after Kafka. Deal with “felt ultimacies.” Borges incorporates felt ultimacies into stories. Self-conscious. Original literature whose theme is the impossibility of writing original literature. But there is always another element involved. Barth says consequence of ultimacies is that fictions invade reality, our reality becomes questionable. Role of artist being redefined. Not necessarily particularly talented individual. To be technically out of date is to be embarrasing. Beethoven’s Sixth would be an embarassment (unless done with ironic intent). Borges is technically old-fashioned artist, technically up to date civilian, and technically up-to-date artist. 602nd night of 1001 Arabian Nights. Self-aware lit. Histriones — Third c. sect which believed history can’t repeat, so lived viciously, hoping to purge the world of the vices they committed. cf Barth story, “Title”. Borges Library of Babel.

Library and universe. Both Finite and Infinite. Suicide — people can’t find meaning in works. 1 February 1994 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Inevitability. No History before script. Script holds back action. Paranoid approach to authorship and audience. Cultural agreement of nature of reality. Reality constructs. Time out of joint. Shakespearian plays begin in gloom and the unnatural. With coins tossed, no natural law is violated except law of probability. 2 February 1994 Barthes, From Work to Text Interdisciplinary work begins effectively when the solidarity of the old disciplines breaks down. New object is the text. Work is concrete occupying a certain portion of book-space (e.g., in library). The text, on the other hand, is a methodological field. Text is held in language, as discourse. The text is experienced only in an activity, a production. A text can cut across a work, several works. Not part of hierarchy or division of genres. Whereas the text is approached and experienced in relation to the sign, the work closes itself on a signified. Work represents an institutional category of the civilization of the sign. Text practices infinite deferral of the sign. Text’s field is that of signifier. Text refers not to some idea of the ineffable, but to the idea of play. A work whose integrally symbolic nature one conceives, perceives, and receives is a text. Every text belongs to the intertextual. Text is read without the father’s signature. The ‘I’ that writes the text is never anything but a paper ‘I’. Play text like game, like musical instrument, like door on hinges. Who executes the work. Text participates in a social order of its own. Class Notes — 3 February 1994 Ontology — study of being, assumes essense. Epistemology — study of knowledge. No absolute. Barthes is epistemological. Works and texts don’t name things, but approaches. Work conceived of in object, delimited in space and time. Text can’t be delimited. Doesn’t exist in space and time. New Critics and Formalists think (thought) of work & text as physical object. • Work “conceived of as an object.” Text is “methodological field.” • Works are Good Literature. New Critics don’t deal with kitsch. Text is only what a reading makes it. Every reader has different texts, but that doesn’t destroy value systems. • Work is assumed to be the signified. Text is in realm of signifier. Saussure. Signs — words, icons, anything that’s meaningful. Sign is different from object. Sign for tree is any picture, any word, any representation. Division between sign and object. Object is unattainable. Meaningful is what we say about object. Two parts, says Saussure, can never be separated from each other. Signifier + Signified = Sign. Can’t take that apart. Concepts always changing. Works are presumed to hold some kind of deep meaning, which pulls all together. • Works are singular, have only one meaning. Assumes critics will eventually arive at the correct reading of Hamlet. Unity in work. Big modernist aesthetic. Text is always in the signifier. • Relationship between Work and Author is one of filiation. Work is son of father-author. Passing on the seed. Author guarantees meaning of the work. Text

is network. As though text had a hundred different parents. Elaborate relationship is intertextuality. Not merely source-study. It’s that anything that’s written is product of whatever author has read, as though you’re writing same thing over and over again. Combination makes things different. Says Eliot, new works are explosions in tradition. Barthes says its slower. • Arbitrary relationship of signified and signifier. Can’t function without some agreements. Reality as discourse. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern live in text of Shakespeare and Stoppard. R & G have little or no control over their own actions. 8 February 1994 Indeterminacy — impossibility of assessing how accurate sign is to referent. Object of sign, often called referent. 1984 First sentence: April and 13 o’clock. Echoes Chaucer (match between spiritual and real world) and Eliot (rebirth not working). Posters of Big Brother. Image and sense of being watched. Slogans are paradoxical (doublethink), propaganda. Doublethink prevents opposition by cutting words. Thought limited by words. 10 February 1994 Barthes & Foucault “Deathof the Author” v. “What is an Author?” For F., society of critics creates author. Author born in Renaissance. Prior to that, authorship used during Inquisition. Who wrote that, let’s burn them. Authorship v. Author function. Author’s can’t claim meaning. Reality is construct of cultural conversation. Requires consensus. Big Brother is the author function in Nineteen Eighty-Four. BB is an icon, a media image. At end of book, Winston emptied of old self, filled up with BB propaganda. Won the victory over himself, he loved Big Brother. No opposition between BB and Brotherhood, just like no opposition between Freedom and Slavery. Last thing Winston remembers before filled with BB is Mother. 15 February 1994 Similarities between 1984 and Brazil Jill & Julia. Ministry of Information. Info retrieval head man — Mr Helpman Ducts Mothers— not self-sacrificing in Brazil. Hellman is prop of mother. Posters — more ad-like in Brazil. Rebellion which might not exist. Jameson — Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism Doesn’t see pm as breakdown between high and pop culture. Says this was defined by modern critics. Mod was co-opted. Became commodity quickly. Mod artists got popular fast. Didn’t successfully separate self from politics and economics. PM critics say they’re populist. Jmsn says pm always was commodity. Vogue. PM co-opted almost immediately. Resistant art forms become establishment quickly. Oppositions disappear. Jameson says pm is cultural dominant, not a categorized thing. It’s a malaise. Chief feature of pm is absence of opposition. Operate with doublespeak. Jmsn offer five characteristics of pm • Depthlessness — Peasant shoes. What you’re painting is signifier. Artist’s

ability to project is at issue. It can be read as significant in art. Warhol — Jameson says there’s no depth. Reproducing art. Pastiche. Vaccuum cleaner in Brazil and Potemkin. Flat reference. • Weakening of Historicity — revisionism. History told by victors. Truth more and more distant. History more nostalgia than truth. Nick-at-night. • Waning of affect — genuine emotions replaced by commodified emotion. People affected communally but in a dangerous way. Baudrillard calls people “a terminal.” Computer terminals manipulate data. • Schizophrenia — Life in excluded middle. Breakdown of self and non-self. Subject and object. Subjective — what you think. Objective — everything else. No strong sense of self. Ego boundaries collapse. Syntax breaks down. For French psychoanalysts, sentence is smallest unit of ego construction. Modern alienate hero is no longer possible. PM’s don’t know where we end and culture ends. • Replacement of production with reproduction. • Possible goals of political art. 17 February 1994 Jameson, cont. Marxist dialectic. Ideas from base become belief systems. Guys at top running things. No one escapes pm as cultural dominant (or superstructure). Ginsberg America. Three stanzas. Conversation. Litany. Catalogue of subject matter. America is catalog of America’s crimes and oppression. Apostrophe to America. In first stanza, it’s power structure. Opposition between Ginsberg and nation. “I can’t stand my own mind.” Politically and socially defiant. Stanza two: “I’m addressing you.” You is America or reader or self. Opposition breaks down. I am America, I am talking to myself again. Time magazine is the new telescreen. Third stanza sorts out America and Ginsberg. Dialogue and pastiche of TV. At end, America and Ginsberg are divided. 22February 1994 Missed 24 February 1994 No class on the 15th. Remove verse poets on 17th. Midterm: March 17. Pynchon Depthless allusions. Diagesis — world of story Crying of Lot 49 is “inverted mystery” Cause & Effect. Effects become causes Metaphor and metonymy. Metonymy — Stand-ins. White House for Executive branch. Post horn changes meaning. Begins as stand-in for WASTE. IA guy adopts sign for own organization. IA has nothing to do with WASTE. Horn is signifier without a signified. Metonymy is pm, Metaphor modern. Metaphor is ordered, goes full circle. Metonymy keeps going. Metaphor: vehicle and tenor. Vehicle is concrete, tenor is abstraction. Pynchon and physics. Maxwell’s demon designed to resist entropy (62). Keep system ordered without expending energy. High order systems are not natural. Attempts to create order pushes disorder up

somewhere else. Think of mystery novel as highly ordered construction. Freeways — get people somewhere. It’s a conduit, a system. Then they get disordered, developed. Strip communities develop around freeway. Communities exist for freeway. Cars as selves, shells. 1 March 1994 Pynchon, cont. Entropy and order. Glasses of water analogy. Macrocosmic vie w — can see disorder. Microscopic — ordered. Slow and fast grouped where they should be. After ice melts, macro is order; micro is disordered Who is Oedipa in conflict with. Clues are metaphors. Entropy is conspirator whom Oedipa works against. Oed. & excluded middle, ones and zeroes. Must be paranoid to form opposition between self and non-. Meaning = 1, Meaningless = 0. Can’t sort info, inside and outside of America. Binary oppositions break down. She’d have to become Pierce to see world in his way. Noise / tension between reader and text, or else you lose identity. Baudrillard says Entropy is metaphor put into play to justify reading. Simulacra for Oedipa. Signifiers refer only to other signifiers, no signified. Vehicles not controlled by tenor. Baudrillard — Precession of simulacra, is Oedipa interpreting entropy as conspirator. Signifier precedes meaning (signified). Oedipa thinks demon-maker has reasoned backwards. Gone from simulacra to demon. B. says simulacra come first, we make inferences then believe in them. Nefastis demon becomes sign for God or Word. Left not w/ Oedipa’s paranoia, but with schizophrenia. Not either / or but both / and. Schizophrenia no identity boundaries. No revolution in America. 3 March 1994 Baudrillard. Signifier/Signified. Noise in confusion. Hyperreality produced by signifiers. Brooks, Baraka, Lorde “The Boy Died in My Alley” — Brooks (b. 1917) Did you hear shots, shots I hear. Trope. Rhythm is regular and sing songy, but death is being described. Policeman, Shots, Boy, Alone. Capital letters. Policeman defined in terms of position, authority. Impersonal. I never see the dead. Distancing. Across my years and arteries. Arteries doesn’t rhyme. Mixes senses. Synesthesia — combination of two sense images. Careens through nights and years. Policeman pounded on my door. I have known this boy before. This boy becomes everyboy. The boy who ornaments my alley. Ornaments by bleeding. Defamiliarization. Futurefall —> Neologism. I have closed m y heartears. I have killed him late and ever. Connection to Pontius Pilate, the crowd, the apostles. Wild. Killed him with knowledgeable unknowing. Red floor of my alley is a special speech to me. Hung upon the heaven for a long stretched moment. Lorde’s Power, Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo.

No class Tuesday after break. 24 March 1994 Rough Draft due 5 Apr. Lorde (Power) & Brooks Baraka, A New Reality is better than a new movie Tues.: Foucault, Order of Discourse Lorde: Similarities between Boy died in my Alley and Power White police Child Poem is itself a political action Personal responsibility Speaker talks about her own reactions Poetry & Rhetoric 2nd stanza blood desert white 29 March 1994 On paper. 31 March 1994 Order of Discourse — Foucault Production of discourse controlled by societal procedures to avoid chance and materiality. Rules of conversation. Foucault less concerned with how we talk than re: content. Prohibition & Taboo. What can’t be spoken about and who can’t say it. Three taboos: • Sexuality • Politics • Madness Madness encompasses the other two. Break the first two, break the discourse’s rules, and you are declared mad. In madness, distinctions between true and false figure. For F., discourse is the world. Outside discourse is the “real”. Foucault says knowledge is something you create, not discover. Description of world is contest over who can make the best argument. Ghosts. Representation depends on publishing. Show rules of systems that we regard as flexible. Graduate school is to specialize and learn the rules. Jes Grew is treated like a disease. (cf. Last night’s dream about ghost and Willis, dressed as Doctor). Jes Grew looking for its text. It’s mumbo jumbo. Literary formulism — privileging book as art object, instead of bringing it down to politics. Mumbo Jumbo is fictionalization of discourse. Read Rich — Diving into the …, Plath, and one fem. critic. 5 April 1994 Syllabus Revisions 4/26 Kingsolver Rich, Plath. Rich — Diving into the Wreck Chief metaphor: descent from boat into water, for writing. Reads book of myths before diving. Ritual & Martial. Foreign to her experience. Cousteau reference.

She’s alone with camera, knife. Rich uses tools of vision. Cousteau brings things into gaze; culturally masculine. Ladder in stanza 2. Objects have reality, but their use is determined by men. Descends into ocean, beyond enlightenment. People have to survive on the ship, not in the water. Touch becomes dominant instead of sight. No reality outside discourse except the real, which is objects and instincts. Went for the wreck and not the story of the wreck, the thing and not the story of the thing, but gets caught up in everything else. The words (myths) are purposes, the words are maps. I am she, I am he. Once held to a course. “A knife, a camera, a book of myths in which our names do not appear.” “We are, I am, you are the one who find our way” 7 April 1994 Discourse = Power Reality is discursive No meaning if we don’t talk about them. Feminists define dominant discourses They define discourses as masculine (Freudian) Feminine is subordinate to masculine discourse If you exist, you exist in feminine terms Lacan says superego is contained in language. Prior to language, there is no identity. No ego boundaries until they understand language. For Lacan, male organ is image of unity. Women are divided. Something is one thing because you see (not feel) the divisions. Psyche isn’t unified. Males define themselves as unified by comparing with divided women. Deconstruction. Take oppositions assumed to be absolute, and show unity of concepts. Unless people had concept of division, they couldn’t have concept of unity. Ideas born at same time. Plath (b. 1933, d. 1963) Critics don’t like her Mimicry can be interpreted as exactly what it mimics. Lady Lazarus Conflict between way women are supposed to behave and the way she wants to behave. In Holocaust, people become guinea pigs. “In the new Holocaust museum, they have videos of it. It’s, like, horrible.” —BRP Images designed to reveal there’s nothing inside. She’s a victim of male experiments. Went through experiments. Skin bright as Nazi lampshade. Christ raising Lazarus connotes medical experimentation of Nazis and her doctors. Pure gold baby that melts to a shriek. I eat men like air.

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