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one may also adopt the opposite position. But rather than relating Svend Erik Larsen is Professor of Comparative Literature. a metalevel indicates a position outside a givenfield of objectsor meaningsand in relationto it. His most recent books. all published in 2002. and Mutters alene [All Alone]. 1.Vol. In its broadest sense. in both cases following metafictional inclinations results in complete isolation from both the context of literature and its readers. and what kind of answers can we reasonably come up with when using metafiction in a methodological and didactic framework? I shall begin by proposing a set of definitions broader than metafiction that will allow me to zoom in on it as a relevant methodological concept that opens for didactic reflections. Balzac. Does it not just refer to some author's self-centered ruminations in the ivory tower? Or a topic for the nerds of literary studies with a taste for theoretical acrobatics? If so. University of Aarhus. And critical endeavors are not necessarily devoid of anything but their own concepts. However. I will therefore engage in a methodological approach: what kind of questions can we put to the texts. They may instead pave the way for methodological and didactic considerations that ultimately make difficult literature more accessible as a cultural phenomenon. The notion of metalevel will constitute my starting point. or use it as a point of departure for the formulation of both general and basic aspects of such functions. Journalof Aesthetic Education. Therefore we can either discard it as generally irrelevant for the understanding of the cultural functions of texts. Rather than dwelling upon subtle theoretical differences in the definition of what metafiction is. The metafictional features of literature constitute one of the means by which literature reaches out to its context and also engages its readers. are Signs in Use. Spring 2005 ?2005 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois . The position taken in this essay will opt for the last possibility. 39.Self-Reference: Theory and Didactics between Language and Literature SVEND ERIK LARSEN Semiotics of Self-Reference Literary metafiction constitutes the extreme case of self-referential texts. although I know full well that already the term "metafiction" itself inevitably triggers a variety of skeptical reactions. Denmark and Treasurer of the International Comparative Literature Association. No.
In verbal scientific descriptions and arguments we may scrutinize the natural or everyday language as a medium. Here we may talk about the aesthetic intra-semioticmetafunction. We may refer to this fact as the specific epistemologicalintra-semiotic metafunctionof language.14 Svend ErikLarsen to the content of the field in question. such as quoting in the visual and auditive arts. in language we may construct auto-referential utterances that refer to themselves as linguistic products. Texts and pictures may refer to the same phenomenon even if such references do not overlap completely. art criticism in relation to the visual arts. This is the role of. the metalevel is supposed to serve as a platform enabling us to observe and evaluate basic principles and function of the field.1 The text contains a visual and a verbal part. All other sciences differ from linguistics in this respect. but not in relation to a given field of objects or in relation to another sign system. which it may share with other media. musicology in relation to the acoustic arts. but need the support of a linguistic metalevel or at least of signs that are linguistically anchored. in its most restricted sense. The picture shows a male body. although more complex cases may be found in various hybrid art forms. that is. but literature is exclusively concerned with the linguistic version of it. .This function is active in language as well as in other media. linguistics. and inscribed in a circle and a square with small lines crossing the body parts as if subdividing the body. moving arms and legs. We may call it an epistemologicalmetalevel. In this context. because they cannot deal scientifically with their non-verbal objects through the same non-verbal medium as that which makes up the object. range and validity of the sign system. for example. its basic linguistic structures and principles. A case in point is Leonardo a Vinci's famous Vitruvian Man from his notebooks (1513). In a more restricted sense. medicine in relation to bodily symptoms.from which we can observe and evaluate the basic principles defining the function.rather than to a given field of objects . a metalevel comprises a level in relationto a given sign system. without taking into consideration its content. language is a unique system. the theory of science or of epistemology in relation to the particular knowledge of various sciences. which is itself a verbal sign system. a metalevel points toward a level inside a given sign system from which we can refer to this sign system itself. which in this capacity shapes literature as a particular linguistic phenomenon. These distinctions allow us to produce a brief definition of metafiction as a textualfunction that is basedon the aestheticintra-semioticmetafunction. Only inside the semiotic system of language can the intra-semiotic metalevel have two different functions: The first function is as a science of language. for example. This is the role of. We may call it an inter-semioticmetalevel. Even mathematics or other strictly formal sign systems are based on natural languages. Finally. Second. We may call this level an intra-semioticmetalevel.
but that the circular and quadrangular geometrical forms in some ways refer to the proportions of body inscribed in them. In other words: an aesthetic intrasemiotic metafunction is exercised by the circle and the square in relation to the body. . 1493)by LeonardodaVinci Even if we cannot read the text in Leonardo's fine handwriting. almost a quote (itself an intra-semiotic metafunction). The surrounding verbal text is a brief summary of Vitruvius' basic idea and a close paraphrase.Self-Reference 15 VitruvianMan (c. it is not difficult to guess that the picture does not refer to some action outside the visual sign system (for instance depicting a man learning to fly).
and others). In others words: an epistemological intra-semiotic metafunction is exercised by the verbal text vis-a-vis Vitruvius' work.2 Here Vitruvius explains in numerical detail the ideal proportions of the human body in order to provide us with knowledge of the order of nature.3 On the same grounds. songs. simultaneously. John Fowles. If we want in films. morphological. dialogues. a methodological preoccupation with literary metafiction does not aim at a more or less categorical description of its metafictional features.16 Svend ErikLarsen from a few pages of Vitruvius' work on architecture. making prose fiction. language is particular inasmuch as it can use. Furthermore. and especially the novel. Therefore. both the epistemological and aesthetic intra-semiotic metafunctions. Self-reference is an integral part of the way language works. Language alone has to use it. A closer look at the particular metafunctions involved in metafiction will be necessary to develop these general perspectives.detour via verbal language. or art criticism. Italo Calvino. The overall function of Leonardo's verbal and visual text is thus based on. inter-semiotically as it were. Thomas Pynchon. the heart of metafiction with a few privileged older authors as forerunners (Miguel de Cervantes. then we must. placing it as a postmoder and more particularly as an American preoccupation with the dissolution of the subject and of objective reference. or music to reduplicate their particular use of the aesthetic intra-semiotic metafunction with the epistemological one. Moreover: in the entire text the verbal part carries out an inter-semiotic metafunction in relation to the visual part by way of a . literature is not metafictional. parallel to its use of semantic. It is the outcome of a specific linguistic variety of the general self-referential capacity of all semiotic systems. titles. Laurence Sterne) of the modem versions (John Barthelme. and other linguistic features. some critics try to find a space for . but outside the Anglo-American domain. pictures. but not exhausted by the aesthetic intra-semiotic metafunction. Hence.necessary . It can only work through written text. nor does it seek to establish a systematic or historical typology of works according to their metafictional particularities. Metafiction is not a phenomenon in its own right. Some want to emphasize the epochalcharacter of metafiction. whereas other media can use only the latter. Metafiction and Method All non-verbal sign systems may or may not use the intra-semiotic metafunction. Denis Diderot. but employs the self-referential capacities of language. sculptures. while others take a genre-relatedapproach. integrate the verbal sign system at the very basis of the reduplication. This linkage of aesthetics and knowledge through intertwined metafunctions is essential to understand the methodological and didactic perspectives of metafiction.
the sky.some are used occasionally.. morphological. as is done in most criticism of metafiction in order to pinpoint the one and only manifestation of metafiction. .elements that could carry out a referential function without really referring to anything besides the language process itself .. different linguistic elements (syntactical. themselves or bystanders. and so on) are used to carry out the functions and secure their effect. instead of zooming in on different periods (postmodernism or modernism at large) or genres (the novel in particular) or specific themes (the dissolution of the subject) or particular devices (play with narrators). or style. genres and languages. is to enable us to grasp this difference and its repercussions. but only singles them out as parts of the expression of the dance.If this [pointing] is done with precision. so to say. which is everywhere. certain elements of language have always exercised an irresistible fascination5 . By pointing they [the dancers] literally indicate objects: the earth. Such types are invested in literature in various and unpredictable ways .6 These so-called deictic elements constitute a disturbing fact inside a philosophical horizon of substances. then.for example. thus in an aesthetic intra-semiotic perspective . but also that works of literature.. The same phenomenon can also be located outside language. The methodological task. and timing it resembles proper names in poetry when they are uttered with a measure of ornament and smoothness. different periods and genres use different elements for the same functions or emphasize certain functions while excluding others. in Plutarch. the objective of which is to scrutinize how meaning is created in literature so that it is able to grasp the world and captivate the readers and turn their attention to this world through the text by exploiting and not avoiding the general self-reference of language across periods.. like other more or less clearly delimited semiotic fields.7 The gestural dimension does not convey meaning to the elements of the dance. In one of his essays on dance in Moralia from the first century AD he notes that pointing [deixis] is something that does not copy the subject-matter. to relativize the postmodern position or to point to other forerunners besides the three famous ones just mentioned. some are peripheral even when used.4 But in all these attempts I find no focus on the methodological perspective. genre.for example.. pronouns. literary school. use the self-reference differently according to period.Self-Reference 17 literature as metafictional in their language. certain morphological forms. certain adverbs.. but actually shows it to us. I suggest a categorization according to types of self-reference. Since the grammarians of Antiquity. This methodological approach rests on the basic assumption that selfreference is at work everywhere language and other semiotic systems are at work. and so on.
also outside poetry and literature in general. But the way it makes its presence felt is the result of a choice made by the writer or speaker. Second.18 Svend ErikLarsen They indicate the dance as dance. although with less emphasis. never isolated from the others. Because of and not in spite of the very perfection of the self-reference. only when encompassed as integral parts of language as a communicative system. the conative. however. but of course is not always relevant for the actual communication. But when its predominance is particularly strong in certain texts it becomes identical to what I have just labeled the aesthetic intra-semiotic function. it is. It is not just part of it. the last one being identical to the epistemological intra-semiotic metafunction). it is always there. meter. maybe most. This observation has at least two consequences: First. that is. if the poetic function is the predominant function in poetry. also non-verbal." similar to rhyme and meter in linguistic expressions. called "ornament" and "smoothness. I will call texts characterized by such dominance metafictional. by way of a perfection of the expression as such. . the medium itself makes those who perceive the signs aware of something more than the dance. It is the presupposition for the existence and the identity of verbal metafiction. among others. Being an essential part of language in particular. namely. has given a linguistic specification in his attempt to integrate the deictic function into his well-known model of verbal communication. the poetic function as such is never chosen by the writer or speaker.a consciously chosen feature of language. So. the referential. other texts. used as an artistic tool such as rhyme. Hence. Following Victor Sklovskij this selective predominance is produced by a literary device (priem)9. This is the general deictic function which Roman Jakobson. or a combination of such features. the six functions have no meaning when considered separately. which it is in all poetic texts and in many.8 He investigates media-specific elements such as the pronouns that carry out that general semiotic function. but because this aspect of the text exercises its dominance to such a degree that we may say that it constitutes the text. The poetic function is his linguistic concept for general linguistic self-reference. In spite of its self-referential nature it is clear that pointing is a communicative process inasmuch as senders and perceivers are involved. as a gestural sign system. the objects. and the metalinguistic. the poetic function is always active. which they are not.not because they simply are metafictional in opposition to other poetic products. in a given context or in a specific type of expression any of the particular functions may dominate the others but can never annihilate them. But Jakobson's analysis also makes it clear that this function cannot be detached from the remaining five functions contained in his model (the emotive. called dancers and bystanders. and semantic code breaking. the phatic.
But for some reason unknown to Dinesen they do not want to make any rhymes themselves. But "they were quick to understand that the meaning in poetry is of no consequence. or rhyme literally making language an echo of itself.The rhyme intensifies the communicative awareness and the listeners' need to find an unusual meaning. Isak Dinesen tells about the poetic magic of rhyme. The Wakambas do eat snakes." the last statement being an insult to the Wakambas present. metrical exploitation of the material rhythm of language. In principle." Instead they waited attentively for the rhyme to come and laughed when it finally occurred. Whores are bad. any linguistic element can embrace them. But in a sense. In the small anecdote titled "Natives and Verse" from Out of Africa. and those who can produce it and those who cannot are unambiguously positioned in relation to each other. Metalinguistic self-reference detaches the verbal expression from ordinary meaning and draws attention to language as material process. I propose distinguishing between four types of self-reference that range from the most restricted to the broadest self-reference. But in this process there is also an opening toward possible new meanings." She translates as folchumbe/Malya/Mbaia/Wakamba/Na lows: "The oxen like salt. One day in the field Dinesen makes a nonsense verse in Swaheli: "Ngumbe/Na penda kula mamba. but of course literary conventions have restricted the register of possibilities available to authors. Language is contained in a communicative process with a precise distribution of the positions and responsibilities of the subjects involved." having with this invitation avoided the obligation to produce a rhyme themselves in return for hers. But it does not isolate language from the communicative process. just like metalinguistic self-reference according to Sklovskij and Jakobson (ostranie). The rhyme is anxiously waited upon. Metalinguistic Self-Reference This type of self-reference constitutes texts referringto their own materialmanifestation as language. concrete poetry pointing over and over again to the signs crawling down the white page. nor does it isolate it from the cultural universe of meaning in a presumably self-annihilating destruction of meaning.10 Rhyme is unknown to the black people working on her farm in Kenya and therefore exercises an alienating effect on them. Dinesen's workers invite her to continue: "Speak again.Self-Reference Four Types of Literary Self-Reference 19 In order to be able to characterize the shifting dominance of the poetic function and to capture the different elements that bring forth the self-referential function. and they did not question the thesis of the verse. This might occur as direct reader addresses. they now take command . speak like rain.
(II) we have too much blood in us or what O patience above [b] its pouring out of me like the sea anyhow he didn't make me pregnant as big as he is [c] I don't want to ruin the clean sheets I just put on I suppose the clean linen I wore brought it on too [d] damn it damn it and they always want to see a stain on the bed to know you're a virgin. regional. and author-specific differences in communication. I shall restrict myself to exemplifying an indirect case from James Joyce's Ulysses..or the verbal description of visual phenomena. With the rhymes she has opened their linguistic universe and made them uncertain as to how to respond.20 Svend ErikLarsen of the process. Metatextual Self-Reference This type of self-reference constitutes texts referringto the role of language in relation to other media. a direct and an indirectform...... or the use of verbal description to explain a picture. The methodologicalaspect of the analysis of metalinguistic self-reference takes into account the text as a communicative process and a communicative product and allows for a consideration of the epochal...[k] I bet he never saw a betterpair of thighs than that look how white they are . Another example is embedded discussions on art and aesthetics in literature.. One of them is the unexpected arrival of her period... its steps indicated below in italics and marked by letters from [a] to [o] in this truncated quotation: (I) wait O Jesus wait [a] yes that thing has come on me yes now wouldn't that afflict you of course all the poking and rooting and ploughing he had up in me now what am I to do Friday Saturday Sunday.. the direct reference from dialogue to gesture in a theater performance. while the free floating stream of consciousness centered around her immediate bodily impulses is weaving her life back and forth in time. cultural. One of the most familiar direct forms is ekphrasis. [g] I thinkIIl cut all this hair off me therescalding me I might look like a young girl.There are two varieties. but with their request they have opened hers beyond her capacity to answer. Here.] [j] O lord how noisy I hope theres bubbles on it. They force her to ask a question she cannot answer: "Why they should feel verse to be like rain I do not know.. [e] let me up out of this pooh sweets of sin whoever suggested that business for women." is her reaction.. [h] wheresthe chamber gone [i] easy Ive a holy horrorforits breakingunderme after that old commode I wonder was I too heavy sitting on his knee [.. In the last chapter Molly Bloom is lying in bed early one morning next to her husband Leopold Bloom.[f] this old bedjingling like the dickens I suppose they could hear us away over the other side of the park till I supposed to put the quilt on the floor with the pillow under my bottom.ll Vitruvian Man is Leonardo's visualization of Vitruvius' ekphrastic description. The process can be followed in the book over three or four pages.
in this case bodily signs. watching herself and her pubic hair.13By way of this self-reference.their linear order.[o] easy piano 0 I like my bed God here we are as bad as ever after 16 years. selected from a sequence of three pages in the novel. and of sex. A little later. thinking of the sounds while on the pot. The methodologicalaspect of the analysis of metatextual self-reference takes into account the boundaries of the power of language in relation to other signs. And then while she takes her time on the pot without anything new happening. the author addresses himself with questions concerning what he is doing. With this type of self-reference literature considers its own nature as a work of art rather than as a linguistic product. a topic that invites us to investigate the historical variations of this boundary.Self-Reference (III)  ah yes I know I hope the old press doesnt creak ah I knew it would.. and to what effect. her associations still produce non-sequential time lapses and fragmented memories of her body. One could call this indirect metatextual self-reference syntactical iconicity. the metalinguistic and the metatextual. in quote III she finishes her business and sneaks back into the bed. we advance one and a half pages without reference to her menstruation. finding the chamber pot. Around her visit to the chamber pot. of miserable womanhood. the linguistic and the bodily movements.. she has to get up. Through his work. Following quotes II and III.[m] that's all for tonight [n] now the old jingly bed. as we see in quote II half a page further down in the book.. These questions . and the distance between the references to menstruation represents the actual pauses between the different phases of her bodily movements. the pauses between them . inside Molly's monologue there is a dialogue between the verbal and the bodily signs that is not based on semantics.. more rapidly. we can detect her movements in their linear order from her initial concern about the blood stains to. why. This reflection is often based on the two previously mentioned types of self-reference. and admiring her thighs.more than their content represents the actual order of her actions. over another half page or so.. her easing herself out of the creaking bed.I hope they'll have something better for us in the other world tying ourselves up God help us. 21 In the first quote (I) Molly finds out about her bleeding and reflects on having sex with Leopold. but rather on a iconic relationship between two media.. rendered linearly. lifting her night gown. The organization of the verbal signs .. MetapoeticSelf-Reference This type of self-reference constitutes texts referringto their specific role as poetic texts. but the syntactical rhythm and the phrastic order follows the linear and sequential order of her bodily movements out of bed while her mind is still concentrated on her sexual experiences with different men. She does not say one word about it.
. and more importantly. the attentionis deplaced Consequently. in a bodily metaphor. relevant in different historical contexts but articulated too.XXXIII. this giganticpoem constitutesa completepresentationof the Christiancosmos of the high Middle Ages.v. that men may sooner quenchit on your way" (DC. then by Beatriceherthe and self.v. The centralepic event is the wandering of a subjectthroughHell.Par. not as an order as such. On the other hand..And let the fire of your consumingwish come forth. This mission is carriedout in DivinaCommedia as a cosmic reflection. Par. also the cosmic order finds its expression. but that you betterlearnto speak your thirst.When. He is supposed to rendereverythinghe has perceivedto the othermortals.DC. he perceives Beatricein her celestial the as turning on the perfection boundaryof his perceptualand linguisticcapacities.via metalinguisticself-reference from the text and its objectto the process of poetic creationand the poetic subject: Thereforemy Lady:"Speak.XXXIII.It shows us its own double project: both to represent the cosmic order as its content and to establish the basic conditions for the representational process itself. and as a descriptive endeavor also an impossible projectbecause his linguistic cav. which in itself representsthe elevated complexityof the universe:"Reader.. before refinally by to Earth a messenger. and Paradisecalled upon by his dead he is beloved.In the end. cally betterequipped. gently guided first by Virgil.and elevating task.Par. 70ff). terrible. the absolutenature of the experiencemakes the task as impossibleas the squaringof the circle (forexample. although modified in order to embraceDante'spoetic purpose. or if. One specific occurrenceis found in Dante Alighieri'sDivinaCommedia. pious Bernardde Clairvaux. being differently. "well markedby the innerstamp of your desire.)His ekphrasticattemptsare doomed to fail. Beatrice.and even if he were linguistipacity is insufficient(DC. that has to be satisfied in a poetic expression. Small wonder if I now/summon still greaterart to what I write" (DC. but as a personal .XVII.14 On the one hand. you know to what exalted height/I raised my theme. 7ff). Purgatorio. Here it is primarilythe self-centeredcreativeimpulse.IX. so to speak ."she said.the squaringof the circle. The words of the poet must carrythe entire world. Witha metalinguisticselfreferencehe points to the necessity of sophisticatedverbal ornamentation.who neverhave and neverwill experience what he has been exposed to. perspective. 57f). v.Purg.the work is the journey of a poet in searchof a poetic mission.22 Svend ErikLarsen this indicate the methodological perspectiveof the metapoeticself-reference. he succeeds.. 133f. in the contradictory mixing of thirst/water and fire as complex as his own metaphorfor his poetic task . not that we learnmore by what you say.an engaging.
The methodological questions arising from this definition is the intricate relation between the reality and truth value of fiction in contrast to other phenomena. located in a small Caribbean seaport.]"17 . he says. Thus.. an 'I" placed above the level of the characters. In the seventh and last of the books of the poem." I said. Marcel Proust's A la recherchedu temps perdu.15 As the most general and comprehensive type of self-reference. and when I was a boy your name was as wide as a bay. "Not all the way through. Georges Perec's W. the self-reflexivity of the poem becomes a reflection both of the world it represents and of the subject that produces the representation. when the "I" directly turns to the sea that speaks for itself: [. the "I" holds... master. too little sea and salt. The validity of such texts depends more on the addressee accepting the narrative shaping of the subject and thereby the logic of the narration. There is also a lyrical persona in this book. in work. identity. Breyten Breytenbach's Dog Heart are but a few modem instances of this problematic." [..] "Those gods with hyphens. as I walked along the curled brow of the surf: the word "Homer" meant joy.16 He uses the gods and heroes of Homer in a modem myth of place. Modem autobiography revolving around Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Les Confessions(1782-89) cannot function without such metafictional dimensions. which are themselves interchangeably named by Greek or local names. Paul Auster's The Invention of Solitude. it was the same song of the desert shaman.. in death. Homer is more present. Antonio Lobo Antunes' South of Nowhere.. Homer himself arrives in a canoe as a marble bust of an old bearded man.] "I never read it. than on the content of the actual memories feeding the story.. in poetry can be communicated to other mortals.by the Caribbean Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott.. the basic ontological question of metafictional self-reference is often embedded in the three others. The subject that portrays or presents itself acquires its identity and reality as a subject only through the narration and does not refer to the identity of the subject outside the text. MetafictionalSelf-Reference This type of self-reference constitutes texts referringto their ontologicalstatus as fictional texts. This is true for Omeros. like Hollywood producers" [. Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa. joy in battle. and only then. He admits that he has never had the stamina to finish his reading of Homer's old epic. then the numbered peace of the surf's benedictions [. and language. Too many gods and cross-references.] "I have always heard your voice in the sea.Self-Reference 23 experience that then.
although different. His experience of nature. as Homer puts it. Language not only transforms things into signs. Fiction and reality are blended when the relation between them is told without them overlapping completely. he sends his narrator. foaming with paper. one on worried water. In contrast.[. Only and maritime can the ney journey. For both 'I' is a mast.that is. They through this relation does the island acquire an identity through his art.. by a communicative metaphor.. First of all. Metafictional self-reference is supported by metapoeticself-reference. he does not go.and your island with your art. depends on a narrator.] Your wanderer is a phantom from the boy's shore. The movement is not in the journey at sea ("hedoes not go"). . Mark you. it also creates the subjects that participate in reality through dialogical acts that make reality a meaningful reality... he teaches the 'I'. the two quotes open an ontological discussion of the relation between fiction and reality. but in the journey of poetry.. he basically makes the same point as Homer. this is what this island has meant to you. because only through the story is the journey identified as something specific. Skip the gods..] Therefore. Also metalinguistic self-reference is an important support for metafictional self-reference. The trick of time.the narrated jourdepend on each other: there are always two journeys and must relate to each other. but don't mix up fiction and reality. Moreover. Homer stresses that fiction and reality. or look at him differently. The necessary but delicate transformation of things into signs and meaning happens on the conditions of fiction-making: the narrator makes fun with time in order to reshape the actual journey through the journey related in the story. The verses quoted contain a reflection on language as a communicative medium.24 Svend ErikLarsen Homer shows no pettiness."18 Now we are approaching metafictionalself-references. The "I"admits that he can see a difference: there is Homer the word and there is the sea. he plays tricks with time because there are two journeys in every odyssey. their foreign languages identify the sailors he meets in . a desk is a raft for one. while an actual craft carries the other to cities where people speak a different language. This ontological issue is the pivotal point of the text. and continues: [. without noise. the sea.. all on its own. But the real sea can easily do without Homer. the other crouched and motionless. is represented as a dialogue between himself and the sea . To circle yourself . Although the "I' rejects the necessity of poetry vis-a-vis the sea. and dipping the beak of a pen in its foam.
does not narrow our view on the text as a semiotic system only highlighting the text as an isolated and culturally detached object. relates to the overall metafictional self-reference. With his reference to Vitruvius he contextualizes his drawing in a particular historical and cultural context. of Homer with ink and pen. But on the other hand. semiotic self-reference enables us. it enables us. an identification that bridges the text and the maritime context as mediated by the playing around in poetry with ontology. this occurrence. too. This instance. the entire metafictional enterprise. and communication is characterized by way of language as an interplay of pronouns . of Homer in today's Caribbean archipelago . belonging to verbal language. that of nature and natural . Quite the contrary. Quite the contrary. there is the visually motivated effect of the "I" being shaped like a mast. or rather forces us. that of architectural and spatial ideas and practices. Although not very important. including all types of self-reference implied in the use of language. too. although they.Self-Reference 25 other cities. in the form of a vertical line like a pole.this is a way of showing the "trick of time" in the text itself without making it explicit. This is exactly what is brought about in Leonardo's Vitruvian Man whom we left above inscribed in a verbal text. First. In two cases we also discover an instance of metatextual self-reference. And the overall reflection on ontology. or rather forces us. the sea has a voice uttering the name of Homer. including all types of self-reference implied in the use of language. show a more differentiated and refined use of self-references. The complexity is due to the fact that Leonardo with the integral use of two semiotic systems makes a double contextualization of the bodily proportions. is part of the ontological intricacies producing an inextricable intertwining of fiction and everyday experience. Thus. to question how the text is anchored and produced as a subjectivized semiotic system in a historical and material reality. Self-Reference and Didactics Thus. aesthetics. a circle and a square as a case of aesthetic inter-semiotic and epistemological self-referential metafunctions as well as an instance inter-semiotic metafiction relating word and image. Using both verbal and visual self-reference Leonardo's drawing is a more complex as a semiotic phenomenon than literary texts. to question how the text is anchored and produced as a subjectivized semiotic system in a historical and material reality. does not narrow our view on the text as a semiotic system that only highlights the text as a verbal phenomenon and as an object isolated and detached from other cultural sign products. with the depiction itself he contextualizes his sketch in an ahistorical context." "he" .and the names and functions they represent. The other example is the anachronistic use of Hollywood producers."I. the entire metafictional self-reference.
19 However.26 Svend ErikLarsen order . meet the gods. In this way the aesthetic experience of the temples can be translated into transcendental knowledge. from finger tips to elbow. That is the body. Vitruvius only addresses the question of the ideal proportions of the human body in his third book. According to classical metaphysics the validity of the constructive process is based on analogy. If we image a body lying down spreading its legs and its arms. Through the metafunctions carried out by the text as a whole the two contexts are embedded in each other . In book three Vitruvius lays down the numerical principles incorporated in the body and in the next book he shows at length how columns and temples of different types correspond to the ideal proportions. He also continues later on with the advantages of octagonal forms in city building with reference to some of the bodily-based proportions. Leonardo does not state this argument explicitly . and in the same move culture is being given a natural foundation that qualifies certain built spaces as better as living spaces than others being constructed from immediate bodily experience. the tips of its fingers and toes will be placed on the periphery of a circle and in the angles of a square (both of . Here humans. and so on. Both the units of measurement (such as finger and palm) and the proportions are derived from the body in a truly intra-semiotic self-reference.nature is being made culturally accessible through bodily experience and quantitative measurement to be used for spatial constructions in cities and buildings. that it is of utmost importance that the human whose parts are in harmony with the god-given cosmic order is used as constructive principle of the temples. Up to this point he has been dealing with the practical skills of the architect.the naked body and the basic natural forms. Vitruvius agrees. not the body in any other material or mental aspect. But the metafunctions of the combined verbal and visual texts guide our mind toward this argument. But now he is approaching the constructions of temples and the layout of holy places. that is the proportions of the body parts based on ideal numbers. After this cosmological justification he states meticulously the different relations between the height of the body and the span of the outstretched arms. between distances from top of the head to the nipples. Therefore. through the immediate confrontation with the built environment. he states with many references to older Greek and Roman architects.he just makes a drawing and paraphrases close some parts of Vitruvius with a brief summary of his ideas about the ideal proportions of the body. Therefore he focuses on the human body insofar and only insofar as it corresponds analogically to the natural order. How is that? Let me begin with Vitruvius and the quote Leonardo has selected. He also imagines how the body as a whole may correspond analogically with ideal natural proportions. the material used for building and the requirements for the construction of walled cities.
First. Second. but the male sex organ is now placed where the diagonals meet. but does not spell out clearly the bodily position of the point of intersection of the diagonals of the square. My first claim is the following: what is left out of Leonardo's verbal quote and summary is replaced by a new aesthetic and epistemological dimension by the drawing. not any selection but a historically and didactically very significant one. Leonardo. He just makes his own version. the man drawn is not lying down as Vitruvius suggests. however. They are just two independent forms united through the body. not the navel. man is the self-confident subject in a secular world creating and upholding its order based on its own . the sign of Man created. but the male sex.Self-Reference 27 which are ideal geometrical forms).22 whereas Leonardo's man could be shown in any trendy health care magazine. The dimensions of both the circle and the square corresponds to the relational order between the body parts. Leonardo thus exploits the fact that Vitruvius only mentions that the center of the circle should be in the navel. Third. First. Man is therefore inside both the mutually displaced square and the circle and thus he constitutes the harmony of the ideal proportions. is a new center.21 To the best of my knowledge. and therefore places the square entirely inside the circle. He only summarizes and quotes the plain numerical principles and units of measurement. not as in Vitruvius where he is just inscribed expressing passively the cosmic order. But compared to Vitruvius' ekphrastic suggestion Leonardo makes an important change that opens for a new historical and cultural understanding and use of the bodily proportions. too. not two completely synthesized cosmic forms. all other contemporary and earlier drawings based on Vitruvius place the diagonal intersection in the navel. In the passage from Vitruvius chosen by Leonardo he only refers to a selection of Vitruvius' view points. both the sign and the active agent of Man the creator. but not their contextual relation to holy places or to any metaphysics with analogy as a basic principle of recognition. My second claim is that this transformation only becomes visible when the combined visual and verbal text is seen as one semiotic totality where both the verbal and the visual parts are built on an intra-semiotic self-reference and at the same time act as complementary to each other through inter-semiotic metafunctions. is explicit on this point: the penis. the navel is not the only center. but is posited in an erect position facing the viewer directly with a stem gaze. In Leonardo. More importantly. neither does he quote nor refer to Vitruvius' suggestion of how the drawing of the body in the circle and the square is supposed to be made. The effect of this representative strategy is double. if we at the same time place the navel in the center of the circle. I now return to Leonardo's text. Second. He places the man inside both geometrical figures in such a way that they are both inside and outside each other and their centers and outlines therefore mutually displaced. leading to a rather awkward bodily appearance.
the picture is built up through an entirely intra-semiotic self-reference . is not itself part of the object referred to by the analogy. most radically manifested in literature. the body. The body as such does not refer to the natural order. aesthetic experience is aesthetic education before it is ideal knowledge in the analogical mode. Metafiction is only a particular variety. Therefore we have to use analogy to make the relation.the body reflecting cosmos in passively mirroring its own proportions. But Leonardo's man is part of the material and social world to which it refers as a creative being. as matter and form as it were. In contrast the color sample "green" may refer to the color of the grass. according to Goodman.the dimensions of the circle and the square are translated into the body. This body is more than ideal proportions. and therefore also works with all aspects of self-references. and a condensed sign of it as created by man according to the principles of human form. carrying with it the real principles of creation . Self-reference is by no means self-sufficiency. But as exemplification metafiction still leads our attention to the world of which it is a real part. . Exemplification is established through intra-semiotic self-reference as the link between the aesthetic and epistemological metafunctions. a turf of grass exemplifies the lawn. but is not genuine part of the lawn. metafictional or not. in this case the ideal proportions. meaning that for instance. The body passively expresses the geometrical figures and actively incorporates them at the same time. Without being an exemplification the ontological questions metafiction forces upon us would be of no relevance. The basic pedagogical principle: learning through experience. Thus. works through exemplification in this sense. consists of both possession and reference. But Leonardo's body is both a genuine part. but its proportions refer to it. possessing both the qualities of the lawn and referring to the lawn from where we have cut it out. Exemplification works through different levels and types of self-reference. In the same way the body in Vitruvius is not part of the ideal cosmic order as a body. No wonder Leonardo overlooks the specific religious context of Vitruvius' rumination on the bodily proportions. the cosmic order.the sex and the principles to be used for creation of a lifeworld. This historical shift marked by Leonardo also implies that analogy can no longer self-referentially be the mode of learning as in Vitruvius . but only a sign for it by way of certain selected details.23 An exemplification. Therefore. it is also a bodily subject. We may use Nelson Goodman's term exemplificationto generalize the overall semiotic logic of self-reference on such non-transcendental conditions. not the mirror of a transcendental order. of the human lifeworld it refers to. The general epistemological value of an analogy presupposes that the medium of the analogy.28 Svend ErikLarsen bodily proportions. marked by small lines on the body and the distance between the different positions of the actively moving hands and feet.
235-51. (Urbana: TheNovelas a Universityof IllinoisPress. Brian McHale."in "The FinerThread. Metafiction: TheTheory and Practice Literature of Self-Conscious (London:Routledge. Here we have left the general interest in aesthetic experience and education and have zoomed in on the arts.net/Leonardo/ vitruvianman/index. The ideal order of nature in Vitruvius has been replaced by the ideal order of the arts. Leonardoda Vinci. like exemplification. And also in judging about what we learned .edu/drawinglab/vitruvian. particularly through the arts because of their self-contained and unique character. NOTES 1.LarryMcCaffery. PatriciaWaugh.aiwaz. www.24 Aesthetic experience as such.aesthetic objects may refer to a wrong reality (Plato vs.com/VitruviusN. Here the mimetic principle has been self-evident for years: only by referring to a world outside the object offering an aesthetic experience we could learn anything.. 2.Mark Currie.html and http://thealchemicalegg. Postmodern Narrative: TheMetafictional Paradox Hutcheon."NeuroticNarrative: Theory.RobertScholes. (Berkeley: Universityof California 4. 1. Vitruvius. 1982). JosephDewey and Tighter Essayson theShort of HenryJames. the artists).Grant Metafictionand Object-Relations Stirling. with metafiction as an extreme case related to verbal language. Muse (Pittsburgh: The University of 1984). Fabulation Universitetsforlaget. Book3.TheMetafictional PittsburghPress.evansville. BrookeHorvath(WestLafayette: PurdueUniversityPress. no matter the mimetic qualities of the aesthetic objects. Metafiction (London:Longman. Fiction(New York: Methuen. 1987). 1998).See differentdrawings and referencesto the numeric system behind them and their hidden meanings.Partial Magic: Genre Self-Conscious Press. reminds us that aesthetic experience and aesthetic education are much broader phenomena and intimately related to the semiotic processes in the aesthetic experience at large. open a way into the world through these semiotic processes rather than indicate a step out of it.html.1979). On Architecture 1-10 (Cambridge: HarvardUniversity Press. the Weave": Fiction ed.Linda 1995)."College .Self-Reference Conclusion 29 This argument leads to another way of looking at didactic aspects of aesthetic experience than usual. and methods in the process of learning have been derived from the mimetic principle. 2002). 1996). That is why aesthetic experience is an educational and a didactic process.TheMeaningof Metafiction (Bergen: and Metafiction 1981).html. to a wrong knowledge about reality (censorship) or not to reality at all (Marxism vs. Narcissistic (London:Methuen. Exemplification and self-reference. but also more restricted. Joseph Wiesenfarth. 153-54."Metafiction as the Real Thing.ed.and RobertAlter. Here Friedrich Schiller's notion of aesthetic education was more advanced. www2.145-47.Inger Christensen. They also enable us to understand this process by underlining the very complexity of our sensibility. TheNotebooks da Vinci(Oxford:OxfordUniverof Leonardo sity Press. 3. the poets).1975). gave way to human self-reflection and thereby made individual freedom possible. 2001). Self-referential strategies.
ThomasA. DogHeart(CapeTown:Human and Rousseau.T.htm. See.5.I.30 Svend ErikLarsen Literature Modernes 27. DerekWalcott. Nelson Goodman. Striedter(Miinchen: Fink. 11.html. 147.On theAesthetic ofMan.Wou le souvenir 2003). Jane Subjects/ Dowson and Steven Earshaw (Amsterdam: Rodopi. With Reference to Reference (Indianapolis:Hackett.Robert Baah. ed.Criticism.A Jean-Jacques la recherche du temps perdu1-7 (Paris:Livrede Poche.LesConfessions (Paris:Hachette. 24.in a Series (Oxford: of Letters OxfordUniversityPress. Hans Arens. "Comparative and Rhetoric.1969). "Iconicityin Syntax: The Natural Order of Attributes. RomanJakobson.TheInvention Africa (London: of Solitude Faberand Faber. (London: Ibid.M. Vitruvius. Glotta Grammatik. Ibid."Critique 39. del'enfance Denoel. "Kunst als Verfahren.Mirjam Erzihlen. See.http://thealchemicalegg. 1997)."Reader: says in Reader-Oriented Theory. (2000):1-23."HardMetafiction Decline of Postmodernism?" in Postmodern Postmodern Text. Self-Representation.. 21. (Tubingen: Iconicity. "Teoriade la extrapolacion: la novella contemporanea y la reflexion no.com/VitruviusN.Notebooks.and Pedagogyno.1990). no." chap. TransMinds(Princeton: PrincetonUniversityPress. 1977). 20. Sprenger.ed.1983).acpoitiers.J.4-35 IsakDinesen. 1992) and W.1971). 16.Picture Theory (Chicago: Universityof ChicagoPress.1985). parent Roland Posner.MarcelProust. "Poeticsand Linguistics."in Russischer ed.Outof (New York:Vintage. "Garcilaso's 3. 40 (1998): 52-78. 19. 10." in Stylein Language. 6. Viktor Sklovskij.and Bemd in Modern American and Englerand KurtMuller. (Baltimore: MurrayKrieger.4. 1 (1997):1-16. Metafiktion im deutschsprachigen Romander Gegenwart (Stuttgart:Metzler.OutofAfrica (New York: Vintage. Semantics1-2 (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press..Ekphrasis Mitchell.fr/arts_p/b@lisel4/pageshtm/ index."CanMetafiction be te6rica. 15.eds. 14.:Athenaum.2000). Metafiction:Somewhere between Ideology TakayukiTatsumi. 57 and CatherineZ."in ed.Antonio Lobo Antunes. John Lyons. 17.see www.281. 8. 1983). 18.cf.291.Sprachwissenschaft 1-2 (Frankfurt a.Languages of Art (New York:BobbsMerrill.1995). 2. Johns Hopkins Press. Sebeok(Cambridge: M.287-88.For other renaissanceinterpretationsof bodily proportions in an architectural context.283.and BreytenBreytenbach. Natureand the Ideaof a Man-MadeWorld(Cambridge: MITPress. (Paris: GeorgesPerec. Jurij Formalismus." Caliope and the Returnof the AuthorSubject: The 86.. 22. .1960).1994). Thisbook will be cited as DC in the text for all subsequentreferences.Ulysses(New York:Vintage. 15 (London: Heinemann. 15. for example. 159. no. 1 (1997):71Eclogues:Artifice.350-77.and Svend ErikLarsenand JorgenDines Johansen. Norman Crowe. 12.chap. 1968). chap.T.1985). Friedrich Education Schiller.93."DieAnfangeder griechischen 37 (1958):5-41.Metafiction.1968).Signsin Use (London:Routledge. no. Southof Nowhere (New York:Random House. Dante Alighieri.25-41. 5.1857). 1986). 1999). 1995). 1998).Press. Moralia Plutarch.TheDivineComedy (New York:OxfordUniversityPress.Paul Auster.Howard Wescott.1989). Rousseau. no. Paul Bouissacet al. 1981). HeinrichKoller."Periodicum Read Straight? EsOr.305-37. When the Pen in YourHand Is Not YourOwn.Luigi Cazzato. 7. 9.1961).1982).2002).1986). Da Vinci. JamesJoyce. 9.MichaelHardin.Architecture. Stauffenburg. 13. Historiographic Metafiction Canadian Literature Ferdinand (Paderbom: Schoningh. Elgin. 23.53.IsakDinesen.Omeros Faberand Faber. 51 (1998):468-79.632-35and DorritCohn.
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