A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art

Euro pean Persp ectives: A Series of the Columbia University Press

A Semiotic Approach to
Literature and Art

Edited by Leon S. Roudiez
Translated by Thomas Gora, Alice Jardine,
and Leon S. Roudiez

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Kristeva, Julia, 1941-
Desire in language.
(European perspectives)

Eight of the 10 essays included were originally
published (in French) in the author's Polylogue
and two in the author's :1:11µtiwTi')(i/: Recherches
pour une semanalyse.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Criticism-Addresses, essays, lectures.
2. Semiotics-Addresses, essays, lectures. 3. Lin­
guistics-Addresses. essays. lectures. 4. Art-Addresses,
essays, lectures. I. Title. II. Series.
PN98.S46K7413 808'.001'41 80-1 06 89
ISBN 0-2 31-04806-8
ISBN 0-231-04807-6 (pbk)

Columbia University Press
New York

Copyright© 1980Colurnbia University Press
Polylogue Copyright© 1977 f:ditions du Seuil
�.,,µtiwTix_�: Recherches pour une semanalyse copyright© 1969 Editions du Seu ii
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6


Preface vn

Acknowledgments xii

Introduction by Leon S. Rou diez

1. The Ethics of Linguistics 23

2. The Bounded Text 36

3. Word, Dialogue, and Novel 64

4. How Does One Speak to Literature? 92

5. From One Identity to an Other 124

6. The Father, Love, and Banishment 148

7. The Novel as Polylogue 159

8. Giotto's Joy 210

9. Motherhoo d According to Giovanni Bellini 237

LO. Place Names 271

Index 295

PREFACE The essays th at h ave been collected here for Engl ish-language readers were written ove r a span of some ten years. Fu rthermore. Hei deggeri an. as they e m body a form of research t h at recasts several disciplines tradi­ ti o n al l y kept apart a n d therefore pro ceeds with e ffort. and a k i n d o f p ass i o n fam i l i a r to p i o neers-presenti n g the m i n another l a n g u age. w h i l e analyzing. criticizi n g ." "me anin g. M ar x i an. s urel y leads one to m easu re. o r signifying phenomena. an d dissolving "pheno menon. The m e m o r y I a l l u ded t o is of course a perso nal o ne. or Freudian derivation j o l ted its o cca­ sion a l l y simpl isti c elegance an d carried t heo reti cal thought to an i n te nsity o f wh ite heat that set categories and co n cepts a b l aze-sparing n ot even disco u rse itse l f. on the contrary. Fol l o wi ng u po n the p henome n o l ogical a n d ex istentialist shock of th e postwar peri od. b ut it i s also h is­ tori cal. presenting them to day amou nts to a test of memory for me. as I tried to define it and put it to wo r k in °l:71µElwr1x�. the si xties witnessed a theoretical e b u l l ience th at co u l d roughly be summ arized as leading to the discovery of the determi­ n a tive r o l e o f language in all h u m an sciences. Semanalysis. her involveme nt. tensio n . question the metap hysical premises on which rest not only the sciences o f l a n g u age b ut t heir exportatio n to other do m a i ns." a n d "si gnifier . m eets t h at requirement to desc r i be the si g n i fying p henomenon. n ext to str u ctu ralism. " . to the extent th at their aim does not presuppose the writer's neutral ity b ut. Thus. o ne did neverthe­ less. I f it be true th at the light t h r o wn on the eni g m a constituted by meaning as wel l as by society came from t he relatio nsh i ps discovered between them and the structu res of l a n ­ gu age ( t o t he extent t h at it i s an object o f l inguistics). the difference in ment a l and i ntellectual hab its that persist in spite o f recently increased cultural exch anges between the United States a n d Europe. m ore than o ne o rdi ­ n a r i l y w o u l d. a cri tique of Hege l i an. from then on and in p arallel fashi on. within a di fferent cu ltu re .

are to be understood as mom ents within an analytical process. One will perhaps better u nderstand. one involving the analysis of meaning. in order to try to subvert the very theoretical. I h ope the reader will also perceiv e. mindful of th e splitting of subj ectivity implied by th e discovery of the u nconsciou s . and Sollers among others). That m eans that references to "dia­ lectics. to attempt to m od i fy its very theoretical apparatus. " "practic e.. located within that selfsam e theor etical thought.71µE1wr1x� ( 1 969) and even more so those o f Polylogue ( 1 977) are comm itted to it (and to works by Celin e. in a m ore specifically linguistic fashion. even though th ey often deal with literature or art. or semiological apparatus. is none other th an art in general. and tak ing advantage of the breakthrough acco m plished by Lacan in French psychoanalysis." etc. it resum ed Benven iste's m a sterly undertak ing and necessarily l ed to a lin­ guistics of enunciation. That u ncanny object. do not a m ount to either "art criticism " or "literary criticism . " Their concern rem ains intrath eoretical : th ey are b ased on art and literature. harried by the specificity that the subj ect of th e theory believes it can detect in that obj ect. giving heed to th e u nd erlying speak ing subject .viii P R EFACE Two radical instrumentalities occurred to me as being germane to such a proj ect in analytical sem i ology. m odern art and literature even m o re particularly. involved a qu estioning o f m eaning and its structu res. struc­ ture. now. or m ore precisely on a d esire for art and literature on the part of their writer. philosophical." "subject. Beckett. The essays of 1. pre-text and fo il. sem analysis attem pted to draw out its consequ ences with respect to th e different practices of discou rse (in literatu re and particu larly in the novel and in the contem porary novel). The first. Such an insertion of subj ectivity into matters of lan­ guage and m eaning unfailingly led one to confront a semiology stemm ing from Saussure or Peirce with Hegelian logic and with Husserl's phenom enology as well. their categories and relationships-not at all in the purity of th e source from which they sprang. wea k link in hu m an sciences and fascinating oth ern ess fo r ph ilosophy. in this ambitious clarifi- . Finally. why the essays presented here. I envision ed the second instrum entality of th is analytical project as having to be m ade up of the specific object it needed to assign itself in order to emphasize the limits of a positivist knowledge o f language and to induce research.

a ft er all. the choice I have m ade is entirely d ifferen t . concerning o u r con­ dition as speaking beings.Freudian r at ionality t hat takes two stages into accoun t. that of k nowledg e a s well a s o f a l l discou rse. Such a theoretical stance could well be termed metaphysical. who reached one of t h e h i g h point s o f language lea rning in this century b y never losing sight o f R ussian futurism's scorching odyssey through a revolution t hat ended u p strangling it. m aking way for a m ore personal style. of the earlier essays. tending toward a kind of form a liza­ ti on. even lim itation. P R EFACE ix cation. Still. And yet. chang es progressively as a psychoan a lytic trend is accentuated (as wel l as interest in litera ry and artistic practices). h ence dem onstrab le-not in a b anal sense but by giving serious consideration t o the new post. which remain alone. in our world of t echnological rationality. if contem porary t hought is oft en reluctant to adopt it. there rem ains the necessity t o pay attention t o the ability to deal with the desire fo r lan­ guage. this does not go so fa r as ident ifying th eoret ical discou rse wit h that of ar t-causing theory to be writ t en as literary or para-literary fict ion. and two cor­ responding types of p erformances. a logical dis­ course is sutured. I f there is a strong post­ Heideggerian t emptat ion leading i n t h at direction. Th e sta rker style. The daily att ention given to the discourse of the other confirms. Read ers will also notice t hat a change in writing takes place as t h e work progresses. distance. to impel us not toward the absolute but t oward a qu est fo r a little more truth. no belief in an all-powerful theory is tenable. on e rest­ ing on the brink of fiction without ev er completely toppl ing over into it : it is provided by my experi ence as analyst. is in m y opinion the fu n da­ mental lesson taught us by Roman Jakobson. That. and by this I m ean paying attention t o art and literature. that t h e speaking being . t o the art and literature of our time. an impossible truth. in even m ore poignant fashion. and. concerning the m eaning of speech. i f need be. one must recognize that such a stance is the only guarantee of ethics. a confession of humility: considering the complexity of the signi­ fying process. I t assumes the necessity o f adopting a stance involving othern ess. Why should this be so? The m ost telling answer to that q uestion is provided by what will also b e the second argument in favor of such a th eoretical discourse. the conscious and the u nconscious on es. on the basis of which a structure.

I n other words. to that point wh er e m ean­ ing has not y et appeared ( t he child). hence t ributary o f a universal Law. On the other. words). hurls us into t he void of a psychosis that appears h enceforth a s the solidary rev erse of our universe. On the one hand. on the contrary. t he call o f the unnamable. rather. But that is another m att er. I t was perhaps also necessary to be a woman to attem pt to take u p t h a t exorbitant wag er o f carrying t he rational proj ect t o t he out er borders of t he signifying venture of men . beginning with phonem es. in order t o carry a theoretical experience t o t h a t poi n t wh ere apparent abstraction is rev ealed a s t h e apex o f archaic. in order to shed light on a num ber of borderline-practices of m eaning and signification (practices of art and l it erature). the problem o f truth. or corporeal concreteness. . our only chance to avoid being n either m aster nor s lave of m eaning lies in our ability to insure our m astery of it (through t echnique or k n owl edge) as w ell as our passag e through it (through play or practice). "sublimation"?). bears. issu i ng from those bord ers wher e sig­ nification vanish es. In short. syllables.x P R l:l' ACE m aintains himself or herself as such to the extent that he/she allows for the presence o f two brink s . a passion fo r ventures with m eaning and its materials (ranging from colors to sounds. there is pleasure-but it k ills-at finding oneself different. not m erging with the others. once m ore t he proph et. no r elation t o that " plagu e" that Freud. oneiric. Having recourse t o psychoanalysis. if the overly constraining and reductive m eaning of a l anguage m ade up of u niv ersa ls causes us to suffer. Graft ed on t o semiology. there is pain-but it also m ak es one secure-caused as one recognizes oneself as subj ect of (others' ) discourse. of which t h i s volume neverthel ess bears t he discreet trace. irreducible. or sign. What was n ecessary was undoubtely a desire for language (is this another way o f saying. promised America when he brought his discov ery of t he u nconscious to its shores. truth of laJlguage but also of the dis- . jouissance. it scrut inizes the m ost subtle. I n a word. i n this work. Within that vise. analysis here is not restricted to themes or phantasms. for one is borne by a simply singular speech. . as I attem p t to do. or sent ence. but then exposed to the black thrusts of a desire that borders on idiolect and aphasia. . I h ope. no longer is (the i n sane p erson). satura t ed with i nt erpretation. n octurnal. or else functions as a restructuring (writing. the m ost d e eply buried logic o f those u nities and ultim at e relations that weav e a n identity fo r subj ect. faith. art). or truth.

it is in n o small part d u e t o t h e edi t orial sensibility of Leon S. Julia Krist eva TRANSLATORS' N O T E Julia Kristeva's work a t once dem ands and defies t ranslat ion. Christ. " Such "magistrality" u pholds faith as m uch as sci ence and int erpretat ions-that is what strikes the ear of the semiot ician psychoanalyst who t ries to articulate an utt erance of truth (one should say a style) wit hou t censoring what has been learned o ver a period o f two thousand years. but it "governs t h e i n ner workings o f the mind itself. I n responding t o t h at challenge. the immu tabl e Power of G od and eternal wisdom . and d evices dependent on scientific t h ought can describe it more or l ess m a st erfully. he is th e master. Analytic discourse. is perhaps the only o ne capable of addressing this u nt enable p lace where our s peaking species resides. m ore generally. "Now. Without censoring: for there is language there. makes up the fundamental epistomelogical concern of a j ourney a portion of which Am erican readers can see today. Tom Gora and A lice Jardine . But without being confined to it: for t here is more than a language object in the heterogeneous process of signifi ance. by holding to it. and more so in the presence of language. The conjunction of t hose two p ropositions has a dramat ic i m pact on t hought and. Such a "scienti fic" t ruth i n general. I f our undertaking has proved t o be a t all successful." I n 3 89 (D e Magistro) he cont inu es. threa t en ed by m adn ess beneath the em ptiness of h eaven. P R E FACE xi course that attem pts to account for it. I t m ay be that i n spi t e of our efforts a number of awkwardnesses rem ain. comes to u s from m astery. t h e one we consult in such a m anner. on the speaking subject . Roudiez. o u r prim a ry concern h a s been t o mak e her work as accessibl e as possible to an English-speaking audience. W e would like t o thank him and J u lia Krist eva herself for th eir continued encourag ement and support in bringing this project to com p letion. but wit hout being confined to it ei ther. that is. Saint Augustine knew t h at already wh en he n ot ed t hat the possibility for language t o speak t h e truth could not come from outside. the one of whom it is said that he dwells within t h e inner m an.

I must . m uch appreciation is due to the following friends and colleagues who cheerfully gave wh atev er inform ation or t im e was requested : R obert Aus­ terlitz. Da nto. H oward McP. Sidney M orgenbesser. Bert M . Alan Roland. William T. Leefm ans. M eyer.A CKNOWLED GMENTS For a ssistance given. Schapiro. R . M arie. bear responsibility for a n y t h a t rem ain a n d for a l l other in­ fe licities as well . J ackson. J a m es A . quite a few erron eous int erpretations were thu s avoided.P . L S. Luciano Rebay. in mat t ers large or small.Rose Logan. H. Cou lter. and Ma rsha Wagner. Gustafson. scriptural or factual. Richard F. Davis. A rthur C . Robert D. o f course. . Particular gratitude goes to Julia Krist eva for taking t i m e to respond to m any questions and for going over the t ranslation of a number of h er essays. Cumm ing.

DES IRE IN LANGUAGE A Semiotic Approach to Literature and A rt .


"I learned [Le n i n 's] Materialism and Empiriocriticism at the same tim e as I d i d t he square of t he h y potenuse. ph i l osop h y. h e r approach is. rhar shall nor be made manifesr: nei rher any rhing hid. and I h ope I am n o t correctly fol l o w i ng any o t her l i ne wh atsoever . she w an ted to p u rsue a . or sem i o l o gy ( wit h t he l a t ter t w o n o w t he m ain der ivatio ns). "2 The im p act her articles and books h ave had in France (and a r e begi n n ing t o h ave elsewher e) testi fies to t he effective­ ness of her strategy . Luke 8:17 At a c o l l o qu i u m on psychoanal ysis a n d pol i t i cs held in Mil a n i n Decem b er o f 1973. t he party y o u t h organizat i o ns . No t " applying" a t heo ry. but allowing pract i ce to t est t heo ry. s h e h as fitted t hem to t he object o f her investi gations. Ju l i a Kr istev a responded t o a quest i o n concerni n g her own p a per by say i n g. he wrote. and.INTRODUCT!ON For norhing is secrer. t he o n l y fru itful way leading to origi n al discovery . she received her early schoo l i n g fr om French n u ns. S he c a n n o t claim o rigi n al i ty in fo l l o w i ng s u ch a procedu re. rhar shall nor be known and come abroad. " I never i nten ded to fo l lo w a correct Marxist l i ne. phychoan a l ysis. i ntel lect u al l y spe a k i ng. Then came t he i nevit abl e C o m m u n ist Party chil dren's groups. Bo rn i n Bulgaria in 194 l to a m id d le-cl ass fami ly. w he n dea l i n g with concepts b orrowed fro m vario us disciplines. " 1 I n deed. l ater. As Kristev a put i t in a n i n tervie w pu b l is hed b y Le Nou vel Observateur. lett ing t he t wo e nter i n to a di alectical relatio nsh i p . just the same. b e t hey c a l led Marxism . l i ngu isti cs. t he one we t h o u ght we co u l d be c o m forted b y. "3 A t o ne po i n t. the o ne of which we could be prou d . " Ju l ia Kristeva always destro ys t he l atest precon ception. I su spect Roland Bar thes h a d in m i n d som ethi n g o f t he s o r t when h e credited her with delivering a new k n owledge. in 1970.

and d i scuss those idea that came from the West. for which sh e coined t h e neologism "id eologe m e . it b ecam e caught up in the "ideolog em e" of signs. " The t exture of the novel." "reading public." and "oeu vre" . steer ed h er t o Lucien G oldm ann's sem inar. however. as it s lowly evolved. but the main research and training center was in t he Soviet U nion. there began a research and writing process that has alr eady resu lt ed in publication o f a n impressive array of theoretical work s. courtly lyrics. sh e work ed on a newspaper for com mun ist youth while pursu­ ing literary studies at the university. wov en togeth er with strands borrowed from other verbal practices such as carnivalesque writing. it has resu lted in a gradual and nonconscious elaboration of con­ cept s such as "author" (a person having fina l "authority" over the "m eaning" of his achievem ent). receiv e books fr om abroad. am ong other things. H e r first (although n o t t h e first to be publish ed) was Le Texte du roman ( 1970). and drawing fr om what she calls the "post form alism" of M ikhail Bakhtin. putting t h a t t radi­ tional concept aside. an analysis of the birth of the novel in late m edieval tim es. how this t ex­ ture is intertwined with som ething akin to what M i chel Foucault has called epis tem e. in t hat process. as a doctoral-fellowsh ip h older that she went to Paris early in 19 66-and stayed . "lit erature. She also showed. the first job she h eld was that of j ournalist . who had em igrated from Bulgaria a few years earlier. which sh e sees as weighing heavily on its entire h istory. This happened at a tim e when Eastern Europe was still reaping benefits fr om the "thaw" that followed the Twen tieth Congress d enunci ation of th e late Stalin by Krushchev. managed to b ecom e free of the "id eologem e" of sym bolism (within which the m edieval epic had fl ou rished). It was. U sing Antoine de La Sale's L e Petit Jehan de Saintre (1456) as em blematic paradigm . tied it to bourgeois class valu es-all of which reached t he apex of their d evelopm ent or acceptance in the nineteenth century. Her essay. however. As it turned out . Tzvetan Tod oro-v. such concepts.2 INTRO DUCTI O N career in astronomy or physics. she sees what we call the novel as a narrative t ex­ t u re. and only children of party cadres could aspire to enroll there . together with adher ence t o the sign-system. and as a result sh e was able to meet n ews paper correspond ents from m any cou ntries . hawk ers' cries. "Th e . and scholastic t reat ises. Kristeva present s an original view of the concept of "g enre".

pr es erv ed h er fr om uncritical accept ance of that fashionable t rend . and the C entre National de R ech erch e Scientifiqu e. 4 T h e term . Goldmann's example played a part .. does belong within invert ed comm as." a translation of which is included here. history. 1 967. t he science of signs. it would seem. which m any lit erary " structuralists" ignored. it is. now clear that semiotics. "5 Kristeva's bent o f mind. she fr equ ented t h e Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. sh e h eld the position of research assistant at Clau d e Levi-Strauss's Labora­ tory o f Social Anthropology. provided h er with an important research tool. Peirce.11µEiwTiX7' / Recherches pour une semanalyse. and subject (i. which I emphasized at the very outset. 6 From th e title o f Kr isteva's collection o f essays.ot be assimilated t o its ev eryday fu nction as instru m en t o f sim ple com munication. This cam e about. Rather than cocktail parti es. also emphasized an associat ion wit h that group t hat actually began two years earlier wh en h er "Pour une semiologie d es paragramm es" appeared in t he Spring. b ecause he is involved in a signifying process that operates through lan­ guage and cann. app earing with t he Tel Que/ im print. where literary crit icism is concerned. played by linguistics in a scient ific approach to the text. for I agr e e with Piaget's observation. had by the end o f the sixties becom e quite influential among avant-garde writ ers and intellectuals. m ade in th e late sixties. Possibly. This book. the writing ag ent). becau se a writer obviously works with and within language. issu e of Tel Que/. m an i fests both the pres ence of genu ine structuralist t hought and h er own critical distance fr om its literary distortions.e. Kristeva arriv ed in Paris when literary "structuralism" was m os t fas hionable i n avant-garde circles and a l s o ( a s J ean Piaget rem arked) a t cocktail parties. develops a number of t hese points. Th e t erm "semiotics" (and its Greek cou nterpart as u sed in the title) com es from Charles S. that "one can only be disturbed by the current m odishness of structuralism . Necessary. 'i:. "sem iology" was . which wea kens and distorts it. The review. both necessary and insu ffi­ cient. insu fficient. his own "gen et ic structuralism" m anag ed to m aintain th e presenc e of factors such as g enesis. together with an experience of Russian postform alism dating back t o h er Sofia days. too. I N T R ODUCT ION 3 Bounded Text. At any ra te. the volume of essays publish ed in 1 969. b ecause of an awaren ess of t he role. u nd er the forc e ful editorship of Philippe Sollers.

Dia logue. C haracteristically. t o t h e possibili ty w e have " o f u sing i t in order t o sign ify something quite other t han what it says . " writ t en a t the same time as her Tex te du roman. but briefly stated . 8 clearly reveals a convergence with Lacan's linking of language to the uncon­ scious." defined as a "critique of m eaning. I n 1. Bakht i n . Saussure. She considered it so im portant that. it is what enables inst inct s to chall eng e au thority without producing anarchy-what enab les aut hority to con tain instinct s without res orting to concent ration cam ps. of i t s el em ents and i t s laws. with Freud. B enveniste. " in which sh e expands on ideas introduced by M ikhail Ba khtin and presents the often m i sund erstood concep t of " i ntertextuality . " 7 Two essays from that collection have been t ranslated for the present volume. her m aj or refer ences were M arx. Put another way. in passing. . which were virtually unknown until J ean S t arobinski b rough t them t o light in the early sixties.71µE1wr1x� h e is. " what m arked t h e year o f Kristeva's arrival i n Paris was t h e appearance of t h e nine-hundred-page volume of J acques Lacan's Ecrits. the object o f frequ ent footnotes. Engels. she un derwent psychoanalytic t raining and started a practice t hat she fitted in wi t h her obligations as a m ember of the faculty at the U niversity of Paris V I I . " Perhaps m ore t h a n m od i sh "structuralism . issue of Communications. Chomsky. and Roland Barthes had first published his " Elem ents de semiologie" in the November. 1 964. Her emphasis on Saussure's anagram s. som e y ears later. Earli er. Lukacs. " 9 M at t ers are m ore com plex t han the simple ambiguity suggested here. and Novel. she in troduced a new word into the second half of her title-"sem analyse. i n order to provide a m aterial b asis for her speculations. in Le Texte du roman. psychoanalysis was to have a determ ining influence in the developm ent of her t heories. Lacan referred to the dua l plan es o n which language o perat es. symbolic system). P eirce. J a kobson. And indeed. " and "Word. that duality is such as to m ak e i t possible for sem analysis to be a critique of meaning (assum ing that m eaning is part of a fix ed.4 INTRODUCTION defined by Ferdinand de Saussure. That she was headeif in t hat direct ion m ight well have been deduced from a read­ ing of the previously m ent ioned essay. " P our u ne s em iologie des para­ grammes . Lacan is only m entioned once. the already m entioned "Bounded Text. in conjunction with M arxism and linguist ics. But K rist eva did not m erely follow a path t hat had been cleared by others.

La R evolution du langage poetique ( 1 974). while the sci entific urge to m ake t he secret m a n i fest rem ains ever present. Fortunately for the latter. whith t h e sounds a n d rhyt hms of words i n t ransrat ional fashion ( i n Ossip Brik 's phrase) a n d effect ing what Victor Shk lovski called "sem antic displacem ents . of course. Still. there are i n �71µE1w-r1x1. a number of references. Poetic language is dist inct fro m lan­ guage as u sed for ordinary commun icat ion-bu t not because it may involve a so-call ed depart ure from a n orm. A nt onin Artaud. for this is an ideologically l oaded t erm t hat enables one to exclude any number of writings ( for ethical. work s by Lau treamont and Mallarme). sh e brings together m any of the strands that run t hrough earlier th eoretical essays. a language in which the writ er's effort is less to deal rationally with those obj ects or concept s words seem to encase than t o work . m any m ore in between." The object of h er investigat ion in t h es e pages is not called lit erature. it also includes that of the M arquis de Sade. i t is alm ost an otherness of l anguage. or M allarme. Racine. metaphors. political. alr eady noted by F ou cault i n The Order of Things and previously d iscussed in detail b y M au rice B lanchot fr om a l iterary point of view. INTRODUCTI O N 5 Testifying to Kristeva's early training in the sciences. l ies in its first t w o hundred pages entitled " Prelim inaires theoriques . I shall do . " 10 Poet ic language includes t h e language of Shak espeare. While t h ey are pertinent to her argument. she starts from the concept of "poetic language" as introduced by Russian formalist s. one of the basic w orking concepts of that volum e needs to be present ed. surface displays of mathem atical k nowledge subside in subsequent works. t h a t m arked several writers' relation to language during the lat e ninet eenth century (and she does exam ine. In a m aj or work . and of psy­ chotics as well. Louis Wolfson. in m y opinion. social. the m os t valuable port ion o f this b o o k . Su m m a rizing the contribut ion Kristeva has m ade in La R evolu tion du langage poetiq u e is beyond the scope o f this introduction. they do tend to complicate or even obscure matters for those readers who do not share her intellectual background. and. in detail. While her specific aim is to analyse t he alteration. a n d formulas borrowed from m athematics. or even medical reasons) and exalt others by placing them in an u n t ouchable category (something like "masterpieces of all time"): rat her. It is the language of materiality as opposed to t ransparency (where the word is forgot t en for the sake of the object or concept designated). consciou sly o r not.

undeterm ined. have elaborated systems where one should analyze a process (and t h ose who do. a t erm meaning "receptacle . or discourse (as phenom enology would have it). Here." 11 It is also anterior t o any space. It can never be iden t i fied with anything lik e Husserl's transcendental ego. an economy of primary processes articula ted by Freud's instinct u a l drives ( Triebe) through cond ensation and displacement. Linguists. between physio­ logical processes and social constraints. who describ es it as "an invisible and form less being which receives all things and in some m ysteri ou s way partakes of the intelligi­ ble.6 INTR ODUCTIO N so briefly. as in other essays. On the one hand. which presupposes a split subject-h ence two heterogeneous levels. u nity or ident ity. To state this in d ifferent t erm s. " O n e should always bear in mind t h a t t h i s is a split subject-divided between unconscious and conscious mot ivations. as sh e examines them . thati s. rather. on the other. they have described stability where one should ackn owledge m obility. by and large. something previous lingu istic theori es. Krist eva has posited two types of signifying processes to be analyzed within any production of m eaning: a " sem iotic" one and a "sym bolic" one. sh e proposes to a nalyze a sign ifying process. the object of her investigations is no longer la nguage (as in structuralism). she often refers t o the " speaking subj ect. The symbolic process refe rs to the . and readers should be cautioned that brevity necessarily entails a modicum of distortion . like Chomsky. unity where t here is contradict ion. while it lacks thesis or position. or even enunciation. what we have been offered so far are systems of meaning depending on consciousness. The sem iotic process relates to the chora . " which she b orrowed from Plato. tended to ign ore by em phasizing eit her one at the expense of the other. it is the aim of Kris­ teva's practice to remove what Plato saw as "mysterious" and " incom prehensible" in what he called "m other and receptacle" of al l things-and the essays presented in this collection also proceed in the direct ion of such an elucidation. and where s ocial and fam ily structures make t heir im print through the mediation of the maternal body. While the chora's articulation is uncertain. it is the dis­ cou rse of a split subject-and this again involves her in psychoa nalysis. A llowing her to accoun t for such splitting. t end to preserv e a C artesian or phenom enological subj ect). The activities and per­ forma nces of the speaking subject are the result of a dialectical process. and is m o s t incom prehensible.

is t he review. the genot ext plays a greater role. Kristeva had joined t h e editorial board o f Tel Que/ where h er name appeared on t he masth ead for t he first tim e in t h e sum­ m er i ssu e of 1 970. In short. fiction. In the pu blic eye. paternal function. t here was . was dominated by the symbolic (it was m ainly a phenotext). a s constituted by poetic langu age: a phenotext. who. she can no longer be considered apart from t he philosophical and political stances assum ed by the review.. The signi fying process may b e analyzed t hrough two features of the text. which may be detect ed by m eans of certain aspects or elements of language. and that accounts for its eventual split nature. for if o ne can obviously not dissociate h er from Tel Que/. some of A rtaud's pages display a genotext that i s nearly visible to t he naked eye. but in recent tim es it has i ncreasingly been affect ed by the sem iotic (i. Thus. In fact. and Jean Thibaudeau) in a dialogue with t he Fr ench Communist Party. which is the lan­ guage of comm u nication and has been t he object of linguistic analysis. I beli eve m at t ers are a b i t m ore com plex. and poet ic la nguage covers that wide b ody of t exts where t he signi­ fying process can be seen at work-provided one uses t he p roper t ools o f analysis. J ean Pierre Faye. In t he m eantime." results from a part icular art i culation between sym boli c and sem iotic dispositions. see K ris­ teva's discu ssion of a Sollers text. J acqueline Risset. the signifying proc ess. Th e speaking subject is engendered as belonging to both the sem iotic chora and the symbolic device. gram matica l and social constraints. i n " From O n e Identity t o a n Other. " given t he meaning the word has in Rene Thom's theory. one of int ellectual action and int eraction.e. Pi erre Rottenberg. J ean Ricardou. and t here is a const ant dialectical process at work. one cannot com pletely iden t i fy h er with it either. " and o f Celine's writing. Denis Roche. " b o t h translated here). even though it is not linguistic per se. in t he late sixties. for practical purposes. in its t raditional narrative guis e. INTRODUCTION 7 esta blishment of sign and syntax. M a rcelin P leynet. symbolic law. A t heoretical treatise in mathem atics is almost pure phenotext. she was as involved as other memb ers of the group (which t hen in­ cluded Jean-Louis Baudry. a genot ext. Different k inds o f writing are variously affect ed b y t h i s heterogen eou s process. in "The Novel as P olylogue. it could be t erm ed "catastrophe. especially t h ose of Phi lippe Sollers. as increasingly m anife s t in "poetic language.

Andre M al rau x. however. wit hout a moti on. Roland B arthes. a fter developm ents t h at were u ncom fortably rem iniscent of the Surrealists' affair with com m u nism forty years earlier. and Franyois Wahl. U nlike others. and sure of belon ging to a commu nity with w hich we shall never have a nything i n commo n . What strikes me m ost. in h er writ­ ings about that j ourney . the break cam e in 1 9 7 1 . had a lready u nderstood that t he West could n ot hope to apply Chinese practice or concepts t o solving its problem s . this lasted until t he Chinese leader's d eath in 1 97 6 . a b ook ignored by the pro-U S S R Fr ench Com m u n is t Party but heralded by Tel Que/. I t is a s t hough they h a d di scovered bizarre a nd amusi n g a n imals. relevancy t o Europeans t h at i s.8 INTR ODUCTION the possibility that such a party. ha rmless but mad. Apparently the Italians were m ore like what the Fr ench were sup­ posed to b e: one recalls t h a t. p iercing at a n y rate. occa­ sionally verging on enthusiasm for. I n specific t erms. A l a rge crowd i s seated in the sun. At any rate. t h is may have been a factor in t he arguments that must have t aken place at t he time. Jean-P au l Sartre had fou nd it possible t o h ave open discussions with I t alian comm unists but not with Fr ench ones. two decades earlier or so. M ao Zedong's version of commu­ nism. is her sense of total estrang em en t . would be m ore open t o interior discussions o r e v e n chall enges. they a r e wait i n g for us without a w ord. Rejection o f t he Communist Party sig naled for Tel Que/ t h e beginning of a period of considerab le interest in. They do n o t st are at t he man o r at t h e woma n i n o u r group. having developed within the political and cultural framework of French democracy. a t t h e you ng or t he old. she was cu rious to find out what happen ed w hen the anarchist and Taoist strands of Chinese culture (she was t her e a t t he heig h t of the anti-Con fu- . a t s ome specific feature o f face or body. That one can learn from China only in a com p lex. M aria­ A n tonietta M acciochi. M arcelin P leyn et. undoubtedly fo und a way into t he m editat ions.12 Questions about the rel evancy of the Chinese experim ent. published De la Chine late in 1 97 1 . caus­ ing a split within th e ranks of Tel Que/. a t t he blond o r t he brunet te. Kristeva had a direct experience of East ern communism. and would not fo llow t he path taken by East European parties. I n 1 974 Krist eva wen t t o C h i n a w i t h Philippe Sollers. Th e break was abundantly publicized when an independent-minded I talian communist. in 1 926. not rea lly inquisitive but slightly amused or un easy. mediated fa shion m ay well h av e been t h e postulate she t o o k with h e r on h er journey. Their eyes are calm.

A fter M ao's death. a sort of honeymoon with socialism was over. owing to her Bulgarian experi ence. w e need both historical and cultura l perspective. t he i n tellectual's position should b e one of continuously challenging all orthodoxies. As with the French Commu nist Party a few years earlier. He or sh e is in exile. subsequ ently she explain ed that "the history of C hinese com m unism is at o n e with a history of women's libera t i on . " 15 To u nderstand this. when one considers the alm ost imm ediat e reaction of the party apparatus." Some fo rm of Socialism is also t o be preferred. 1 9 7 7) . a n d h i s o r her position should b e one o f dissent . can no longer be counted on as un critical ally o f t he Left. w e need to realize on t h e one hand h o w little Western wom en have in com mon with Chinese wom en from a social and cultural standpoint. I beli ev e it was m ore a conceptual tool t owards social truth. probably did not fe el the shattering disillusion som e former M aoists went through in 1 977. Kristeva published Des Chinoises--the first book o f hers to h ave been translated into English (A bou t Chinese Wom en. howev er. and now it was blunted. h owever. I n other words. 13 Krist eva. in her view . Som e of t hose who called them selves "new philosoph ers" had turned M arxism into an ideal or a mystique. For her. she h eld on to M ao's saying about going fr om defeat to defeat until vict ory is won-modifying it to read. Nevertheless. an im pression was m ade (or confirm ed) that com­ m u nists the world over. INTRODUCTION 9 cius cam paign) were grafted on a Chinese version of M arxism . over practical alt ernatives available to the French people. to dissolve t hem-assuming t h at they are the forceful id eas. Dissenting from all polit ical power groups. without bitterly rej ecting these. she went to China as a sem analyst. be t hey in the government or in the opposition. "am ong which I include m ysel f: exiled from s ocialism and a M arxist rationality but. t he very strength of our times. had merely succeeded in replacing the oppressive regim es they overthrew wit h others equally or m ore opp ressive and "concentra­ tionary. It is no doubt significant t hat she focused on t h at aspect of t he situation in China. and on t he other what it must have m eant fo r Chinese women ." 1 4 Late in t he same y ear that saw h er i n China. differences between national parties notwith­ standing. attempting to analyse t hem. an i nt ell ectual. was Sollers's reaction: he spoke of a Chi nese "dram a" (an Am erican might have said "tragedy") and ask ed whether this was what " M arxism " (his quotation m ar k s) always added up t o . " U nt i l truth is attained. " Such at least.

and then it becomes possible to devote oneself to serious undertakings.17 Essays writt en between 1 973 and 1 97 6 and collected in Polylogue ( 1 977) add the problem o f sexual di ffer ence and that o f child develop­ m en t (especially its language-learning aspect) to t he concerns that were present in the earlier ones. I shall l et h er speak for hersel f: I am qu ite dedicated t o the femin ist movement but I think femin ism. Eit her one has children. ] Mallarme asked. Not that alone. or any other mo veme n t. "What is there to say concerni n g childbirth?" I find that question much more pungent t han Freud's well. ] I have the impressi on [some femi n ists] are relying too much on an existentialist concept of woman. need not expect unconditional back ing on the part of an int ellectual woman. [ . to the signifying process in t h e t exts of Lautreamont and M allarme. as analyses of paintings are added to t h o se of writt en t exts. I n "Giotto's J oy ... out of a k i n d of myt hicizi ng of feminin ity. " Kristeva examines painting as she did poet ic t exts in La R evolu tion du langage poetique-at least in part. Since this is a domain through which I am hardly qualified t o roam. Th e essay on Bellini dea l s with a m an ' s relationship to the m o t her and to wom an as m ot her my m eans of an original analysis of that painter's M adonnas.10 INTR ODUCTIO N to emerg e o u t of a feudal age. ] The arrival of a child is. . in n onconscious fashion. I believe. a concept that attaches a gu i l t c omplex to the maternal function.k n own. and that is the point I try t o ma k e when talk ing t o femin ist groups. or one does n ot. . which color is perceived first as darkness reced es. As far as I am concerned. [ . which fi rst as the child develops) is taken into considerat ion when accounting for the significance o f Giotto's frescoes. of which bound fe et and forced m arriages were t he m ost visible symbols. As phonic effects were seen to contribute. Of the seventeen essays in Polylogue. of course: read ers will soon be aware of the . . the first and often t he only o pport un ity a woman has to ex perience the Other in its radical separation from herself. childbearing as such never seemed i n con sistent with cultural act ivity. that is. eight a re included h ere. [ . g . " 1 6 Kristeva's feminist position is no m ore orthodox than her other stands. "Wha t does a woman want?" Indeed.. The scope of her investigation also wid ens. And M a o h i m sel f is reported to have said that "man could not be free unless woman was also liberated . what does it mean to give birth to a child? P sych oan alysts do not much talk a bout i t. as an object of love. I think the t ime has come to emerge out of the " for-women­ on ly" practice. but that means one is not good for anythi ng else.. likewise the ret inal perception of the various colors of light (e.

To theory. are the positive aspects of his approach. that this can lead to sclerosis. "18 His implicit reference is also to Kristeva 's own stat us. For a capsuled statement of the basic princi ples that underlie h er critical theory. the em phasis has been on practical criticism (to borrow I. it cou ld be translated either as "The Stra nger" or "The Alien" (French language. Richards's classic t i t l e) or on taxonomy ( Northrop Frye). Todorov and G reim as. like Foucault ' s or Derrida's). . a feminine noun in French. Barthes's specific r efe rence is to sem iotics. in our occasional fo rays into theory. with its m ore restricted vocabulary. and because she confronts Fr ench writing practice with t h ose emanat ing from other cultures. and necessarily so. absolutely necessary. . I would go t o t h e "triple t hesis" set fo rth in t h e subsec­ tion entitled "Two Channels of Discovery: Dialectics and Sociology . Her status as stranger proved to have been an asset in France. the one that disturbs . we often prefer m et hod. . perhaps. until recently. The discussion of Roland Barthes's criticism . rath er. are or were practically i ndigenous to the F rench scene. for his study on alle­ g ory. she provides us with a summ ary of her own poin t of view . sometimes allows fo r pregnant polysemy). t o her. to name a few. in particular. A. INTRODUCTION 11 com plex. Engl ish-language critics have. on literary and artistic exegesis . the t hird elem en t. in so doing. French theory with that issuing from other cou ntries. been reluctant t o confront literary t exts with theory. I believe each one of the t en essays I sel ected for t his volume sheds light not only on the obj ect of analysis but on Kristeva's method as well . ( I on esco and Adamov. Tzara and Beckett. we have been inclined to look for models (as Angu s Fletcher did. The article Roland Barthes devot ed t o her first coll ection of essays was given an am biguous title. in Freud's Totem and Taboo ). gives her the opportunity to stress what. for which the t rivial notion of nat iona lity i s lit tle m ore t han emblema t ic. . it should be an asset in t h is country as well. if one is willing to give this som e thought. Gris and Picasso. " Krist eva brings t o o u r own crit ical practice a n d textual theory some­ t hing that is u nm istakably alien but also. interrelated fashion in which different fields of knowledge are brought to bear.) She is the stranger because her writing d oes not conform to standard Fr ench t heoretical writing (j ust as it is m arkedly di fferent from other contem porary versions of i t . whose "historical role presen tly is t o be t h e intruder. as t h e lat t er bears a greater likelihood of practical application-for­ gett ing.

can never exclude t he writing subject who undertakes t he inves­ t igation from t he results of that investigation. A perusal o f articles published in a periodical such as Diacritics does reveal an increasing int erest in t heoretical writing. If the translation is faithful. K risteva's work rem inds us t hat theory is insep ara­ ble from practice-that th eory evolves out of practice and is modified by further practice. lest such a growing appeal turn into fa scination and l ead to purely abstract specu lation.12 INTR ODUCTION Now. neverthel ess. At this juncture. in English. contemp lating t he work t hat lay ah ead. q u i te sig­ nifica ntly. . Saussurian. a choice of position. and that much. and. t here are sequences here and t here that com e pretty close to it. like " beer when t he barm is put in" (Bacon. Chomskian. perhaps only euphoric hours. and that t he disciplines that enable us to undertak e a scien tific investigation of written text s. She is nearly always. K rist eva's writing is not a " tex t" in t he strong sen se the word has acquired in recent (m ainly F rench) critical th eory. I should emphasize that. t hat will m ake t heir secret m anifest. reading like Edmund Wilson. groundbreaking essays? There were days. if ever so slightly. Concepts.19 and t here are other journals m oving in t he same direct ion. however. t hey m ight have ent ertained hopes of h aving Julia Kristeva com e out. in m ost inst ances. Obviously she does not." i t is not a b ody of words in a state of fe rment and working. a method. off-centered in relation to all establi shed doctrin es ( M arxian. here it is. t he chances are that she never wil l-and probably should not anyway. t he result of much labor. there are signs point ing to a possible change in this state of affairs . N O TE S ON THE TRANSLATION A ND ON TE R M I N O LOGY Wel l. And yet. I believe. situation. t he next thing to wish is that it be r eadable (even t hough not always easy to read) and still preserv e some of t he particular flavor that charact erizes t he French original. or place from which t o speak (or writ e). it is a form o f expository prose that has something specific to com mu nicat e. F reudian. I n t h e main. It was not conceived as "poetic language. wh en. as quoted in Webster 2). has been accom plished. What else can translators say a fter w orking away at a set of original.

as a rule. Such a stance carries inevitable consequences in return for the t erm inology. gave his description of what Kristeva calls . . which at first gives the im pression of having been t hrown off balance by the shift in discou rse-and related di fficulties crop up for the translators. next-larger (set t heory). AUTHOR (au teur) . deep structure (linguistics). the t ranslation is that given by J . fo ld (cat astrophe t heory). catast rophe. nor have t h ose that are part of accepted t echnical or scientific vocabularies-such as. who m ay be tempted to render matters m ore conventionally logical. The following glossary was not really prepared with a view to solving such problems. Unusual words that are defined within the essays where t hey appear have not. it means that the discussion takes place within a specific ideological context wh ere the writer is seen as endowed with "authorial" att ributes. P ontalis. in everyday u sage it has survived in a num ber of set phrases such as clore /es debats (form ally bring a discussion to an end) or huis-clos ("in camera"). more comm onplace. Laplanche and J . When used. Whenever possible the t erm has been avoided and replaced with the m ore neutral "writer.B . ' ANAGRAM (anagramm e) . power of the con­ t inuum . " BOUNDED (clos). used with their everyday m eanings. 1 976). t hey are also. The verb clore is rather formal and even slightly ar­ chaic. with few exceptions. See GRAM. base. revised ed . to name but a few. One should keep in m i nd that. Wi lliam Faulk ner. recalling how he wrote As I Lay Dying. "to bound" is less usual and its connotations are not far from those of clore. prim al scene. . her discourse is not the orthodox discourse of any one of them : the vocabulary is t heirs but the syntax is her own . INTRODUCT I O N 13 fo r instance). 1 9 67. Vocabulaire de la psychar:alyse ( Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. while she may borrow term inology from several disciplines and theoretical writers. been listed here. for psych oanalytic terms. the point is rather to identify some of them and explain why a particular word or phrase was ch osen in tra nslating an ex pression used by Kristeva. such as full conscious control of the writing process and "aut hority" over the m eaning of what has b een written. superstructure ( M arxism). while "to l i m i t " would convey (es pecially in the past participle) the u nwanted connotation of something lacking. T o put i t another way. signifier/ signified. cathexis (psychoanalysis). on occasion. Our verb " t o close" corresponds t o the French fermer. these are not neologisms.

elimination of the weak er element. "beings. within the victorious one. in order to ease the t ransition. etant). DRIVE (pulsion). in the Standard Edition. " ) M arx o ften stressed that he was giving a natu­ ralistic or mat erialistic account of d ialectical d evelop ment. (Lenin: "The splitt ing of a single whole and the cognition of i t s contradictory parts . of dialectics . . with M arx there is contradict i on inherent in all t hings. ( M a rx : " M y dia­ lectical m ethod is not only different from the H egeli an. then antithesis. One should note t hat Kristeva also takes into account a p ost-Heideggerian critique of dialectics.14 INTR ODUCTION a "bounded" n ovel: "Before I ever put pen t o paper and set d own the first word. I have often qualified "drive" with "instinctual . t h ere is less agreement as to Seiende. Translating such phi losop hical distinction as conveyed in G erm an by Sein vs. with Hegel t h ere i s thesis. to designate the basic. I have had t o u s e "instinctual" ( a s opposed to "instinctive") in a num ber o f instances. I t is t he r oot of both the . " it would seem prefera ble to choose.") I n a nutshell. U sed. and finally synthesis. and then. " BEING. R ather than "entity. is the essence . which has been m istranslated. I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last peri od would fa l l. which results in a cleavage. but is its direc t opposite. . since "drive" does not have an appropriate adjectival fo rm. BEINGS (etre. especially in K risteva's earlier essays. . Translators of Heidegger apparently ag ree that Sein should be rendered as (capitalized) " Being". introducing t h e concept of heterogeneity and referring t o catastrophe t heory. From t h e G reek gramma. another form of the verb "to be"-here practically the sam e form. m aterial ele­ ment of writing-the m a r k ing. h owever. t here is a contradiction. etc." For those accustomed t o the latter. Those u n fami liar w i t h M arxist theory should keep in m ind t h at M arx's " di al ect ics" is the opposite of Hegel's. " T o t ranslate pulsionnel. the t race. " DIALECTICS (dialectique). and considering only one aspect of dialectics as emphasized by Lenin. GRAM (gramme). As there are no refe rences to "instinct" a s such in t hese essays. a struggle between the two elements of the cont radiction. that which is written. tha t should not cause a n y confusion. Seiende is easy for the French who can talk of etre v s . etant but rather awkward when i t comes t o English . as "instinct . . as in German and French. This corresponds to Freud's Trieb. and that K risteva refers both t o M arx and H egel in h er essays." but l ower-case and s et in t h e plural t o avoid any possible confusion with the ordinary u se o f "being .

was used by them in a variety of interconnected senses. JOUIS SANCE (jouissance). It is re lated to t he cu lture (in its sociological rather than huma­ nistic sense) o f that society . M ore significantly for Kristeva ' s work. In m ost cases "ideology" is tra nsm it ted on a preconscious level . ! N T R O D U CT!ON 15 fam iliar "gram m ar" and the m ore recen t "grammatology. or with the sources of a lit erary work . however. 1 952). or concepts) endowed with a specific historical context and fu nct ioning within a given society . The concept. forg otten by all save a few Renaissance scholars. "Pour une semiologie des paragramm es" ( Tel Que/. Any SIGNIFYING PRACTICE (q. ideas. involve the com ponents of a tex tual system such as the n ovel. Thi s French word was originally introduced by Krist eva and m et with imm ediate success. The OED . " the science of writing. and which was the st art ing point for her essay. Spring 1 967). J . the same root is at the basis of Ferdinand de Saussure's "anagram s. "Paragrams" refer not merely to changing letters ( Webster's definition) but to the in finit e possibilities of a text seen as an open network of indicial connect ions. Th e concept. has been general l y m isunderstood. posited by M a rx and Engels. It has nothing to do with m atters of i n fluence by one writer upon another. " hence neither repressed (unconscious) nor intentionally propounded (conscious). accom panied by a new articulation of the enunciative and denota tive position. " Dominant ideology" is the id eology existing and operating within the dominant class of a given society so as to further the economic and political int erests o f that class . It is defined in La R evolu­ tion du langage poetique as the transposition of one or m ore systems of signs into another. IDEOLOGY (ideologie). " which he thought he discovered in ancient Latin Saturnian verse (Cf. Both "gram" and "gram mat ology" have been giv en wide dissem ination by J acques Derrida.) is a field (in the sense of space t rav ersed by lines of force) in which various signifying system s u ndergo such a transposition. v. Jean Starobinski. since i t i s u sually taken for granted. it has since been m uch u sed and abused on both sides of the A t lantic. it does. considered a s "natural. The t erm is used in th e contemporary M arxist sense. on t he other hand. Louis Althusser has defined "id eology" as a system of representations (im ages. INTERTEXTUALITY (intertextualite) . for instance. nonsymbolic operation of signifying practice in poetic la ngu age. and to the sum of its prejudices and precon­ ce ptions. This was an early statement of her concern for the n onrational. The English word "jouissance" rests in dic­ tionaries . myths. L es Mots sous /es mots). Gelb (A study of Writing. defin ed as such by I .

. What is significant is the totality of enj oym ent t h a t is cov ered by t he word "j ouissance. on its cover. Krist eva gives "j ouissance" a m eaning closely related to that given the word by J acqu es Lacan. A br ief rem inder: j u st about ev ery one k n ows that there are various fo rms of m at erialism. nonreversible fashion. A Hegelian concept. . also. MATERIALI S M (materialisme). and a few centuries ago both F rench and English cognates had similar denotations cov ering t he field of law and t he activity of sex . there is m echanistic m at erialism . requiring it by going beyond it. t he factor of negativity in general . In Webster 2. " I ndeed. the Ecstasy of St. which. physical. v. "j ouissance" is t ot a l joy or ecstasy (without any m y stical connotation). First. so to sp eak . The "j ouissance" of t he Other "is fostered only t h rough infinitude" (ne se prom eu t que de /'infinitude).g . Lacan speaks of jouissance sexuelle and of jou issance phallique. Teresa. " for it merely deals with t he OTHER (q . i n a 1 767 poem . " both i n common usage and i n Lacan. who discussed it in his 1 972-73 sem i nar. William Dodd. In Krist eva' s vocabulary. NEGATIVITY (negativite' ) . sensual. i t i s t heir very soul. and is som etimes called vulgar M arxism . wh en publi shed i n France. t he Fr ench o ne has kept all of i t s earlier m eanings. It needs t o be distinguished from both "noth- .) and its (her/his) sexual attributes. t h rough t he working of t he sig­ n i fier. sexual pleasure is covered by plaisir. t h eir m oving spirit" (from t he Preface t o The Phenomenology of Mind). t h a t of authentic M arxism . t here is dialectical materialism. second. but in each cas e "j ouissance" is both gram m atically and conceptually quali fied. . and that sort of "j ouissance" "does not involve the O ther as such . by t he context. bore a phot ograph of Bernini's scu lpture.16 INTRODUCTION att ests that it was still used by eighteenth-century poets-e. which is rel at ed t o determ inism. t he t w o words share a common etymology. argu es fr om cause t o effect in linear. one of t he words u sed to define "j ouissance" is "enjoym ent . "The dissim ilarity that obtains in consciou sness between t he ego and the substance constituting i t s object is their inner distinction. whereas in t h e l atter t hey are simultaneous-"j oui ssance" is sexual. spiritual. While the English term has lost m ost of its sexua l connotations. what distinguishes common usage fr om Lacan's u sage (and Kristeva's as well) is that i n the former t he several m eanings are kept separate and precipitat ed. conceptual at one and t he sam e time. t hi s implies the pr esence of m eaning (jouissance j'oui"s sens = I= h eard m eaning). but wh en d ealing with Krist eva ' s essays (and even t hough she also deals with Greek m ateri­ alism) two of these should be kept in m in d .

therefore. on the other. On the one hand. " the science of signs. som ething else) . S EMIOTIC. When capitalized. S EMIOTICS (sem iot ique). rat her than to a physical entity or m oral cate­ gory. it is concrete mediat ion of what it reveals as m ere stases-the pure abstractions of Being and nothingness. that of the pure signifier. becom es le physiqu e. " PLACE (lieu ) . Lacan: "The unconscious of the subject is t he discourse of th e oth er" versus "The Other is. OTH ER. la semio tique is "semiotics . Both the E nglish t erm and its F rench equivalent cover two areas of meaning. t hey have a legal m eaning that has rem ained strong in F rench (proces: a legal suit or proceedi ngs). in Kris­ teva's text . OTHER (au tre. however. either by using the word " process" alone or qualifying it with eit her or both "unsettling" and "qu esti onable"-especially when the subject is in "process. and the process it undergoes is "unsettling" as to its place within t he sem iotic or sym bolic d isposition. K risteva' s lieu is a h ypothetical place. an attem pt has been made to render such nuances according to the context. an "affirm ative negativity . The "oth er" has eith er com monplace or philosophical m eaning (e." Since. Th e word "place" has been p refe rred over the m ore mathematical "locus" (lieu geometrique). or exclud ed by. even though constrained by actual forces or presences. Thus la physiq ue. they convey the idea of a continued forward m otion possibly accom panied by transformations. g . t h e "Other" refers to a hypothetical place or space. m eaning bodily or physical att ributes. does not apply to early essays such as "The Bou nded Text ." This. " Kristeva has rein­ t er preted such H egelian notions in La R evolu tion du langage poetique. the place in wh ich is constituted the I who s pea ks with him who hears . " a "productive dissolving . PROCESS (proces). m eaning the science of physics. a fashionable and som ewhat overworked term (what . In similar fashion." For the subj ect is "questionable" (in the l egal sense) as to its identity. I N T R O D U CT I O N 17 ingness" and "negation". The distinction between the capitalized and the n oncapitalized "oth er" is about the sam e in Kristeva as in Lacan . for it does not convey the lat­ ter's precise localizat ion. what ex ists as an opposite of. the word is used with varying nuances. The French la nguage has had for centuries the possibility of shifting an abstract word's m eaning t o its concrete counterpart by m erely changing gend er. A u tre). while in English surviving m ainly in a few phrases such as "due process" or "process serve r. it can be seen as characterizing the very m otion of heterogeneous matter. .

opens u p new areas of signi fication). i n La Traversee des signes .e.. Cliver is u sed m ostly i n m i nera logy. t h i s indirectly challenges t h e social framework with which he h a d previously identified. partly to avoid other connotations of "significance. the S YMBOLIC (q ." partly because of its very obsoleteness. was a very insignificant stream t o l o o k a t . for instance. Establishing a sign syst em calls fo r the identity of a speaking subject within a social framework.18 I N T R O D U CT I O N sem iotics is m ay be discovered in works such as U m berto Eco ' s A Theory of Sem iotics. refers t o operat ions t h at are both fluid a nd archaic-with t h e latter word restricted to its Freudian sense (See Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. See also the introduct ion to this volu m e. which h e recognizes as a b asis for that identity. into th in leaves-or a diamond according t o its cleavage planes. or revolut ion in societ y .). and i t thus coincides w i t h t i m e s of abrupt changes. or disposit ion. All this i s important for the m etaphorical m eaning it has in Kristeva's work where clive is applied m os t ly (but not exclusively) to the S U BJECT (q . " nevertheless. . i t s significance lay entirely in certain invisible conditions"­ George Eliot. "Split" is t herefore. ) S PLIT (clive'). le semiotique refers to the actual organization. within the body. dissolving the sign. i. as quoted in Webster 2). not the m ost appropriate render- . v . Kristeva's concerns have sometimes l ed her t o prefer "sem analysis" t o "semiotics"-owing to t h e etym ology o f "analysis" : analyein." (Julia Kristeva. as Kristeva u ses this term. . v. in dialectical conflict with le symbolique. taking i t apart. S IGNIF YING PRACTICE (pra tique signifiante). to dissolve. " espe­ cially since "signi ficance" carries the connotation of covert rather than ostensible m eaning ("The Rubicon . Signijiance. "I shall call signifying practice the est ablishm ent and the counterva iling of a sign system . renewal. Lecture 1 3 ) . It refers t o t h e work performed in language (through the het erogeneous articu lation of semiotic and symb olic disposi­ tions) t h a t enables a t ext t o signify what representat ive and com m u nica­ tive speech does not say. it m ight seem unnecessary to resurrect the obsolete "signifiance. " M eaning" corresponds t o sens and "significa­ tion" to sign ification. S I GNIF IANCE (signifiance). in theory at least. has been retained. questionable process. "Sign ifiance. of inst inctual drives (hence the "semiotic disposition") as t hey affect language and its practice. ) . and it m eans t o split m ica. "significance" thus b eing avail able for signifiance. Countervailing t h e sign system is done by having t h e subj ec t un dergo an un sett ling. in eit h er case the division is inherent and natural.

v. but worse in English. " W RITING (ecriture). But other t ranslators seem . le sym bolique ("the sym bolic") is a domain of position a n d judgment. The situat ion is somewhat confusing in French. it comes into being l ater tha n the semiotic. even in the sem iotic disposition. PHENOTEX T (tex te. in Kristeva's theory. Marx still accepted that notion of t he subject. speaking. Both. it is always present . it has been adopted. it involves the thetic phase. S UBJECT (sujet). I t is the subject implicitly posit ed by sci ence.h i s word i s constantly u sed with the meaning it has in psychoanalysis. the identi fication o f subj ect and its distinction fr om objects. For Kristeva. see the prefatory statement to this glossary). Genetically speaking. where the sel f is seen as a homo­ geneous. •. doing. genotexte. The phrase. The "un ary subj ect" is closely related t o traditional concepts of consciousness. TEX T. which cannot exist without const antly challenging th e symbolic one. i . consi s tent whole. acting. and m ost political t heory and pract ice. because of widespread psychoanalytic usage (the G erman Spa/tung translates both "cleavage" and "splitting" ) . societ y. nevertheless. S Y MBOLICS (sym bolique). The "unary subj ect" is thus not an ou tdated notion. in founding the subject. See general rem arks under S EMIOTIC. but it is seen as a mo m entary st asis or dam­ m i ng up of instinctual drives and the transverbal process. and philosophy. phenotexte). was introduced by Kristeva in the wake of Freud's theory of the unconscious and Lacan's elaboration of the sam e.. One could possibly use the word "scription" to convey t he sense of contem porary ecriture. See the I n troduction to this volum e. Synchronically speaking. e. are overridden by the dialectical opposition between the S EM I OTIC and the S Y MBOLIC (qq . ) . S Y MBOLIC. GENOTEX T. also effects its first "splitting" into t he conscious and the unconscious. the thinking. which he inherited fr om Feuerbach. linguistics. I NT R O D U C T I O N 19 ing of that term . and i t institutes the signifier /signified distinction. however. It is nev er used to suggest the topic or t hem e of a work . Ecriture is what produces "poetic lan­ guage" or "text" (in the strong sense of that word. This word must u n fortunately convey two dist inct meanings as it corresponds both to ecrit and to ecriture (in the recent. the concept is opposed to t hose o ( "split subj ect" and "subject in process. stronger sense of the latter term ). or writing ag ent . at the time of the m irror stage. Primal repression. UNARY S UBJECT (sujet unaire) . and the establishment of a sign system . H ere.

1 97 1 ). Theorie d e la litterature ( Paris: Seuil. 2. Ecrits/A Selection (New Yor k : Norton." pp. SS. 9. " J u lia Kristeva. A rm ando Yerdiglione. 1 9.. the context should make the m ean­ ing clear. 1 3-14. 1 2.Q. French Fiction Today ( N ew B r u n swick: R u tgers U niversi t y Press. pp. p. 1 9.Qu oted in H a n Suyin. J u n e 20. Tim aeus. 7. I nterv iewer. is used m ainly in the essay on Barth es. ed . for instance. Wherever it is used. 99. Jean P i aget. p . Edm u nd Wilson once complained that the novels of J. J acques Lacan. Des chinoises ( Paris: Editions des Femmes. 1 1 . K r isteva. R oudiez Notes I. (Winter 1 974). C f.b. pp. 73. the Fall 1 974 issue o f Diacritics.20 INTR ODUCTI O N to have stood by the word "writing . 1 970). . 1 0. ed. I used t h e J owett t ranslat i o n . 1 S 1 and 1 84. "Twelve P o i n t s from Tel Quel. Les Mots sous /es mots ( Paris: G allimard. 1 977). p . Let ter to Le Monde.B a rthes. The Morning Deluge ( Boston: Little." Q u inzaine L itteraire. " L' E t rangere. J ean-Paul E n thoven. Leon S. 1 974). " J u l i a K risteva: a quoi servent les i ntellectuels?" Le Nou vel Observateur. 14. 22." . I SS. 3 . 4." p . 1 9-20. 1 30. 1 9. p. " in t h a t special sense. Ibid. 1 976. My transla- t i o n. J ul i a K r isteva. E n t h o v en. 1 8. Plato. 3. 1 970. 1 972). " L ' E trangere.n Steinbeck were not "written" : he cam e close to using that verb wit h the meaning described here. R o ud iez. I 96S). 1 37. which also i ncl udes a n excellent essay by P hilip E . 1 974). p. p . "J u l i a Kristev a. Structuralism ( N ew Y o r k : B a sic B o o k s . 1 06 a n d 1 08. 6. . 17. 8 . Lewis on K ri s tev a.71µuwnx�/ Recherches pour u n e semana/yse ( Paris: Seu il 1 969). " we h ave here enough unusual voca­ bulary as it is. Brown. S I . S . p. p. 1 977." L'Esprit Createur. J ean Starobi n s k i . Essays b y B ri k a n d Shklo vski are included in Tzvetan Todorov. 1 S. 1 4(4):29 1 -303 . M ay 1. p. Oct. !.See. 1 972) and a subsequent article. For further details concer ning Sollers and Tel Q u e/ see the two l a s t chapters o f Leon S. 3. Ro land Barthes. E n t ho ven. and "writing . 1 3. Psychanalyse et politique ( Paris: Seu i l .l S. entitled " R evolu tionary Sem iotics. phrases quoted are on p p .


N ote A l l t ransla tions a r e published here for the fi rst ti me. Lovitt a n d A n n R e i l l y a nd published a s "Polylogu e " in Conremporary Lizerazure (Su mmer 1 978). .5 0 ( t he present t r a ns la t ion was done i ndependently)." appeared in Ocr ober ( Fall 1 9 7 8). and (2) An earlier version of " P l ace N ames. 6:93-1 1 1 . w i t h t h e two fo llowing except ions: ( I ) a port ion o f t h e essay "The Novel a s Polylogu e" w a s t ranslated b y C a r l R . 1 9( 3 ) : 3 3 6.

or who go no fu rther than to lift t heir examples out of leftist newspapers when illustrating linguistic propositi ons. in his linguistic theories he s ets fo rth a logical. t oday. he m ight accomm odate ethics to the ingenuousness of his g o od conscience--seeking socio-historical m otives for the ca teg ories and rela t ions inv olved in his m odel. and. T H E ETHICS OF LING U I ST I C S Sh ould a linguist. v o l . he m ight w ell respond by doing som ething else. h owever.1. n ormative basis for the speaking subj ect. Now. which is subsum ed in the nam es of M arx. Fascism and Stalinism stand fo r t he barriers that the new adjustment between a law and its transgression com es against. 1 9 77). while in politics he claim s t o be an anarchi s t .g. 1 9 74). X X X . b efo re being put t ogether again. desire. social ventures t hat h ave signaled the out break of something quite new within Western society and d iscourse. Nietzsch e. and their prim ary g oal has been to refo rmulate an ethics. . One cou ld thus acc ou n t for th e Janus-like behavior of a prominent m odern gram marian. engaging i n political activity. F i r s t publish ed in Critique 3 2 2 ( M arch. Ethics used to be a co ercive. Th en there are sch olars.. ever happen t o pause a n d qu ery t h e ethics of his own discou rse. reprinted i n Polylogu e ( Paris: Seuil. N ow. who squ eeze into m odern linguistic theory a few additional considerations on t he role of id eology. although tem p orarily and with full k nowledg e of what i s involved. generally sp eaking. or else. political. and Freud. the issue of ethics cr ops up wh erev er a code (m ores. and j ouissance. since t he end of the nineteenth century. socia l con tract) must be shattered in order to giv e way to the free play of negativity. pleasure. e. need. quite num erous but not so well kn own. there have been intellectual. custom ary m anner of ensuring t he cohesiveness of a particular group through th e repetition of a code-a more or less accepted apologue.

for examp le). It would deflect linguistics t oward a consideration of language as articulation of a heterogeneous process. even though constituting a bulwark ag ainst irrational destruction and sociologizing dogm at ism . neither can think the rhythm of M ayakovsky through t o his suicide or Khlebnikov's glossolalias t o his disintegra­ tion-with the young Soviet state as backdrop. Any attem pt at reinserting the "speaking subj ect . n ot only of structure and its regulated transform at ion. its outlay. for all intents and purposes) its field of study was thus hemmed in [su turel . Even though "formalism " m ight have been right. with the speaking subj ect leaving its im print on the dialectic between the . The ethical foundations for this belong to t h e past: in their work. I t is discovering the rules governing the coherence of o u r fundamental social code: language. above all. which was predeterm ined by the coherence of the particu lar m etalin­ guistic theory within which the search was conducted . D et er mining truth was reduced to a seek ing out of the obj ect-utterance's internal coherence. the problem o f tru th i n l inguistic discour se b ecame dissociated from any notion of the speaking subject . linguistics is still bathed in the aura o f systematics that prevailed at the time of its inception.24 T H E ET HICS OF L I N GUI STI C S Meanwhile. sig nification) is defined within bou ndaries that can be shift ed by the advent of a semiotic rhythm that no system of lingu istic com m u n ica­ tion has yet been able to assimilate. " whet her under the guise of a Cartesian subj ect or any other subject of enunciation m ore or less akin t o t h e transcendental ego ( a s linguists m a k e u s e of it). The speech practice that should be its object is one in which signified structure (sign. as soon as l i nguistics was est ablished as a science (through Saussure. but especially. seem helplessly anachronistic when faced with the contem porary m uta­ tions of subj ect and society. As wardens of repression and rationa lizers of the social cont ract in its m ost solid substratum (discourse). syntax. while structuralist logic can be m ade t o work only with primitive societies or their surviving elements. of its loss. cont rary to Zhdanov. compelling l i nguistics to change its object of study. resolves nothing a s long as that subj ect i s n o t posited a s t h e place. either system of signs or strategy for the transfo rmation of logical sequences. linguists carry the Stoic tradition to its conclusion . I t follows that form ulat ing the problem of linguistic ethics m eans. The epistem ology u nderlying linguist ics and the ensuing cognitive processes (structuralism . For. contemporary lin­ guists think like seventeenth century men.

THE E T l-l l C S OF LINGUISTICS 25 articulation and its process. t here had been only two significant linguists in France: M al larme and Artau d . inasmuch as p oetry is a practice o f t he speaking su bj ect. In short. A m ost eminent modern li nguist believed that. and the eternal return of both. " It does mean that we must analyze those elements of the complex operat ion that I shall call po etic language (in which the dialectics of the subject is inscrib ed) that are screen ed out by ordinary langu age. a n d transform ation. sou nds a rhythm i n language capable of stymieing any subjugated work or logic. i . I shall then be talking about something other than lan­ gu age-a pract ice for which any particular language is the margin. Situating o u r discourse near such boundari es m ight enable us to endow it with a current ethical impact. . and thus sociability. As to Heidegger. In short. are defin ed by bou ndaries admitting of upheaval. this would establish poetic language as the obj ect of linguistics' attention in its pursuit of truth in langu age. artistic creations are all conceiv ed in t he im age of p oetic language where t he " Being" of "beings" is fulfilled and on which. as is often said today. he retains currency. i n the last hundred years. as a consequence. But such discredit does not j eopardize poetry's logical stake. . becau se of his attentiveness to language and "poetic langu age" as an opening up of beings. its maximum dissolution. e. social constraint . But t h e stakes it entails are t otally different. consequently im plying a dialectic between limits. the et hics of a linguistic discourse may be gauged in proportion to t he poetry that it presupposes . and t he setting of a pre. as a struggle between world and eart h. Simi larly.and trans-logical rhythm solely within this limit . beings and their hist orial veracity. which i s post-H egelian. as an openn ess that is checked but nonethel ess occurs. m odern art's odyssey nevert heless rem ains t he field where the possibility of Hist ory and dia lectic st ruggl e can be played out (before t hese becom e a particular history and a concrete struggle). disso lution . since this artistic practice is the laboratory of a minimal signifying structure. what is im plied is that language. both signified and signi­ fying. This does not necessarily m ean. that poetic lan­ guage is su bject to more con straints than "ordinary langu age. this discredits only that closure i n Heidegger's reflections that system atizes Being. in spite of everything. " History" is grounded . The term "poetry" has meaning only insofa r as it m akes this k ind of studies acceptable to various educational and cultural i nstitutions. I f modern art.

thereby m aintaining science's lim itative require­ m ents. Thus. Consequently. J ak ob son' s linguistics appears to bracket the technical nature of some contem porary t endencies (such as generative gram mar). for example. t oward Slavic studies and research into language acqu isition. in t h i s way. that it is his dis­ course and his conception o f linguistics. t o perceive its experim ents in a way that could be qualified only as a "love" relat ionship-and t herefore.26 THE E Hll C S OF LIN G U ISTICS One might subm it that Freud' s discovery of the unconsci ous provided the necessary conditions for such a reading of poetic language. and t oward epistem ology and t he his­ t ory of linguistic discourse in its relati onship to contem porary or past philosophy and society: But beyond these contributions lies forem os t t h e heed given b y J ak obson t o poetic language. and those of no other linguist . to perceive the high stakes of any lan­ guage as always-already p oetic. that could contribute to t he t heory o f t he u nconscious-allowing us to see it being m ade and unmade-poiein [11"01eiv ]-like t he language of any subject. and to leap from t h e beginning of our century. There is no denying J a k obson' s contributions t oward establishing phonology and structural linguistics in gen eral. Precu rsor and predecessor. which in recent y ears has t aken upon itself to oversee all think - . when linguistics was not y et hem m ed in. when they did not precede. a n d sometimes ev en a knowledg e of langu age and its subj ect. Freudian breakthroughs. was the path taken by Roman Jakobson. This would be true for t he history of though t. m ore or less u n aware of Freud's discovery. I t should n o t b e surprising. by virtue o f its equally historical and poetic concern. this constitut es t h e u nique­ ness o f his research. Such. to the cont emporary period when it must open u p in order to have som ething to say about t he speaking subj ect. providing its ethical dim ension. propounded a practice. Avant­ garde m ovements of the twentieth cent ury. while bypassing Freud. J a k obson nevertheless also accepted the t ask of providing a concrete and rigorous description. he defined the origin and t he end of t he linguistic episteme. Freud himself considered writers as his predecessors. t hose blockings that cause it t o have problems with semantics. t h at kept pace with. I believe. it was entirely possible to remain alert t o this avant-garde laboratory. but not for the history of poetic practice. while at t he sam e t ime maintaining t he op enn ess o f present-day linguistic discourse. point­ ing out. th en.

alone. piercing through the linguist's metalanguage. I shall only review a few . sum m a rize the linguistic models. much l ess the tools o f poetic analysis. what decept ively ciph ers its m odel s.and t rans-logical breakouts. it is m erely a symptom o f the drama experienced by the Western subject as it attempts to master and structure n o t only the logos but also its pre. THE E T H I CS OF LI N G U I ST I C S 27 ing. th ere is the poem. th ere is an other besid es the irony of the learned m an. From all t h is. There is. identifies with it. sustained swish­ ing and whistling sounds. imitating their voices. " Russian Poetry of my Gen era­ tion"-he gave a reading of M ayakovsky and Khlebnikov. dea th. and that is another problem . of the fr iendships and sensitivities t h a t coalesced into lives and life projects. standing watch over the structures of com munication and sociality. " The linguistics professor doesn't know this. No lo nger will it be possible to read any trea tise on phonology wit hout deciphering within every phoneme the statement. " H ere lies a poet . never to invent any new notion of language. of the aesth etic and always political batt les of Russian society on the eve of the Revolution and during the first years of victory. Irony. and. a causality other than linguistic: a het erogeneous. however. as i f t o safeguard the sovereignt y o f the scholar­ warden. rhyt hmic accents. But he also and fo rem ost com es away suspecting that the signifying process is not lim ited to the la ngu age system. The li nguist proj ects h imself into it. To understand the real conditions needed for producing scien t i fic m odels. what it st ops. and fu ture. in the sense that it is rhythm . vocal izations of the disintegrating voyage t oward the mot her constituted by t he "trans-m ental" ("zaum ") language of the second. within them. destruc­ tive causality. I t is quite an experi ence t o listen t o Harvard U n iversity's recording of Roman Jak obson ' s 1967 lecture. t hrust out t h roat and fu lly militant t one of the first. although. and the softly whispered words. allowing him blithely to put forward his m odels. one should listen t o the story of t heir youth . m odestly filed away am ong the "obj ects" of research. discourse. in fa c t . an other. but that there are also sp eech . and in the end. extracts a few concepts necessary for building a new m odel of l anguage . with the lively. then. one m ay perceive what initiates a science. is the t i m id witness t o this dram a. and to pres erve the sterility of theory. proposed by Jak obson. I shall not .

can provide m y rhythm. this thrusting t ooth pushing upwards before being capped with the crown o f l anguage. T h e sound of t he sea . of any phenom enon with which I can associate a sound. like t he earth com pleting its revo­ lution around t he sun. and it's the wrong size.28 THE E T H I C S OF L I N G U ISTI C S themes. or even the rotation of the earth. gives way t o . A hundred times ( o r so i t seems) t he dentist t ries a crown o n the tooth. o ne has a sudden sensation that the rhythm is strained: there's som e little syllable or sound m issing. THE S T R U G G LE B E TW E E N POET AND SUN Two tendencies seem to dominate M ayakovsky's poetic craft : rhythmic rapture a n d the simultaneous affirmation of t he "ego . this struggle between word and forc e gushing with t he pain and relief of a desperate d elirium. insofar as they are hidden recesses-silent causality and ethics-of the linguistic process. I n m y case. I t ' s like having a toot h crown ed . now m u m bling m ore rapidly in t ime with m y steps. When the fu ndam entals are already t here. as in a shop full o f v isual aids. So the rhythm is t rim med and t akes shape-and rhyt h m is the basis of any poetic work. res ou nding through the whole thing. because when at l ast the crown fits. a n d inext ricably connects w i t h . or mythemes. recurring and int ertwining with itself. . trailing t hrough my consciousness. which in my case. Where this basic dull roar of a rhythm com es from i s a mystery. b u t at last. Gradually i ndividual words begi n to ease themselves fr ee of this dull roar . rocking m otions or in fact. Y ou begin to shape all the words anew. T h e analogy is all the m ore apposite in m y case. " Rhyt h m : " I w a l k along. . and it fits. o f this gushing fo rth around the crown-word. w e have this rhyt hm. a fter a hundred attempts. from pain and rel ief. it's all k i nds of repetitions in my mind of noises . waving my arms a n d m u m bling alm ost word­ lessly. n ow shortening m y steps so as not to i nterrupt m y mumb ling. the whistle of a high wind . this repetitiv e sonority. t hen. h e p resses one down. endlessly repea ted. . inherent in his listening to fu turist poetry. the repetition o f this growth. . or a servant who slam s the door ev ery morning. I (quite l i terally) h a ve tears i n my eyes. " 1 On the one hand. and the work drives you to dist raction.

I ' l l kill him for you. language and its rhyth m . THE ETHICS OF L I N G U I STI C S 29 On the other hand. m u rderous. a m oth er. and in the end would dig itself in. contract. there is no choice but to struggle eternally agai nst the sun. rhythm incapable of formu lation. Thu s: " one more m inute / and you will m e et / the m onarch of the skies / if I want. We should und erstand it as a summary leading from t he poet ' s condition to poetic formulation. inasmuch as it wants to enunciate rhythm. never one without the oth er. evoke L autream ont. which J a k obson brought out. t his " I " i s bound t o the sun. constraint. it is threatened by it because solar mast ery cuts off rhythm . an "ego" decla ring itsel f poetry' s sole interest (cf. we have the "ego. Cyrano. " which h e opposed to anthropom orphism (one can think of other word associations on the b asis of mayak "beacon" ) . but also bringing it t o light. o r Schreber. t he " I " is successively the sun and its opponent. runs through such text s . Without it. com- . Sun: agency of languag e since it is the "crown" of rhythmic t hrust. I am N apoleon / I am the chief of armies and m ore. K h lebnikov evok es another aspect of this solar contest. = Once the rhythm has been centered in t h e fixed position o f an all powerful "ego". Trotsky called this erection of the poetic "I" a " M ayakom orphism . the poetic " I " thrusts a t the sun-a paternal im age that is covet ed but also feared. and comparing it sel f to N apoleon (" Napoleon and I": "Today. out of its earthy revolutions. crown. Thus. the poem " I Am A lone"). paternal law abrading rhyth m . / Com­ pare / him and m e ! " ) . Only by vyin g with the ag ency of limit i ng and structuring language does rhythm b ecom e a contestant-form ulating and transforming. "Sun ! / M y fath er ! / Won't you m el t and stop torturing me! / M y blood spilled by you runs along the road" ("A F ew Words about M yself'). grow l ing. The essential point t o note is that there would be no struggle but for the sun's agency. t o socialize i t . and poetic formu lation will continue as long as the struggle d oes. but sign. It is a part of this ag ency because it m ust m aster rhyth m . In­ asmuch as the " I " is poetic. to enunciate itself. word. the sun ! " ( " N apol eon and I " ) . " situated within the space o f lan­ guage. system : no longer rhy �hm. structure. I could giv e m any references. Bataille. and sentenced t o die. t o channel i t i nt o linguistic structure i f only to break the structure. lim iting structure. w ou ld flow forth. destroying it to a large degree. a legislative seat which m u st be usurped . t h e struggle between poet and sun.

with M ayakovsky. In any case. is constituted by the structu ring agency. H e invent ed words b y onomat opoeia. it t h read ed through m et a phor and metonymy a network of m eaning supplem entary t o the normative sign i fying line. constituting what for the author was a num erical code. hammered in sonorous t h rusts within and against the system of language-that is. a network of phon em es or phonic grou ps charged with instinctual drives and meaning. " All of Khlebnikov's pagan mythology is underlain with a contest against the sun supported by a fe m i nine figure. But above all. a ciphering. gathering into one representation and thus substantifying all that which. thus has the prophet spoken" . demanding of him an acute awareness of t he articu latory base and instinctual charge of that articulation. underlying the verbal signs: for exam ple. rhythm . pagan mythology is probably nothing m ore than rhythm becom e substant ive: this other of the linguistic and/ or social contract. what in Khlebnikov Tynanov called "infa ntilism" or "the poet's pagan attitude regarding words" 2 is essentially m a ni fest in the glossolalias unique t o Kh leb nikov . J akobson not es the phonic displacem ent m ech-mjach (sword-bullet) dom inating several lines of K hlebn ikov ' s poetry. " T he otter's children" are squ ared off against th ree suns. one purple. w i t h a great deal of allit eration. drawing it closer to childhood s ol iloquy.3 .30 THE ET HI C S O r LI N G U I S TI C S ing t o the aid of her children in their fight against the su n. this ulti­ m ate and prim ordial l eash h olding the body close t o the m other before it can becom e a social speak ing subject. In "The G od of the Virgins. H av ing becom e "trans-mental" Khlebnik ov' s instinctual." The poem "Ka" calls forth the "hairy­ armed sun of Egypt . ci phered language proj ects i t sel f as prophetic and seeks for hom ologues within this tradition: for exam ple. one white. ) The vocalization o f language thus becomes a way of deflecting t h e censorship that." the protagonist is "the daughter of the sun prince. for rhythm . "Through Zarathustra's golden m outh let us swear / Persia shall becom e a Soviet country. the other dark green. " Veterpenie / k ogo i o chem ? / net erpenie-mecha stat' mjachom" (Wind-song / o f whom and for what? / I m patience / of the sword t o become a bullet ) . This ent ire strategy b roke u p the lexicon of the Russian la nguage. wh ere one notices also a tend ency toward infa ntile regression and/ or toward lessening of tension on the level of pronunciation as well as on the more general level of sexualized sem antic areas . all-power­ ful m other or forbidd en virgin. Here.

. but s imultaneously. provide it with its matter independently of the sign." as Freud had written in Totem and Taboo . as rhyt h m . J ak obson suggested that the crime was m ore concretely the murder of poetic language. exorcises. ?" asks Jak obson in "The Genera ti on That Wasted Its Poets. For it is this em inently parodic gest ure that changes the system ." he probably meant m ore than just Russian or Soviet society. . the immedia t e conscious· ness of t he absence of this identity (A is not A) is necessary. . " 4 We tend to read this article as if it were exclusively an indict m ent of a society fou nded on t h e mu rder of its poet s . 5 On the basis of h i s work on M ayakovsky. t his ant i nomy is in evit able. ] beside t he immediate consciousness of the identity existing bet ween the object and its sign (A is A). even psychoanalysts were not all convi n ced that "society was now based on com plicity in the common crim e. The question is unavoidable: if we are not on the side of those w h om society wastes in order to reproduce itself. the relat ionsh i p between t he conce pt and t he sign becomes auto­ matic. and invokes it. hardened a long narrow and rigid m odels. and fr ee it from denotation. This is probably t rue. death. for. there are frequent and m ore general allusions to the "stability of the un­ changing presen t. On the other hand. when t he article first appeared in 193 1 . now that what prevails is not rhythm but the poet ' s death . and all consciousness of reality dies . The word is experienced as word and n ot as a simple substitute for a named object nor as the ex plosion of emotion[ . . where are we? M urder." to "life. The poet is put to death because he wants to turn rhythm into a dominant element. and so harries." and to "daily existence. no inter· play of signs. and unchanging society represent precisely the i nability to hear and understand the signifier as such -as ciphering. as a presence that precedes the signification of object or em otion. " Consequently we have this Platonistic ackn owledgm ent on the eve of Stalinism and fascism : a (any) society may be stabilized only if it excludes poetic language. t here is n o i n terplay of concepts. because h e wants to make la ngu age perceive what it doesn't want to say. poetic language alone carries on the strugg le against such a death. J ak obson is fascinated by murder and suicide as t hemes with poets of his generation as well as of all t i m e. T H E ETH ICS OF L I N G UISTICS 31 R H YT H M AND D E ATH "But h ow do we speak about t h e poetry of M ayakovsk y. By "society. the progress o f events c omes to a h alt. wit hout cont r a dict ion.

poetic languag e struct ures itself a s t he very nucleu s of a m onumental hist oricity. hate. " Can he h ear them in what is k n own as "private life"? There is good reason to believe that th ese "wasted poets" are a lone in m eeting the challenge. put s a sid e. m eaningless. t o see t h a t h i s poems. Thus. rest ored i t s i nstinctual value. = ' THE FUTU R I S T S F U TU R E According t o Jakobson. that is.6 Today. at t ha t . It is easy. a privileged one in R ussian M edieval poet ry.32 T H E E T H ICS OF L IN GUI S TICS [ . and aimed at a "trans-mental languag e. the a nalyst boasts o f his ability to hear " pure signifiers. immediat e prese nt kills. Futurism m anaged to do so without withdrawing from its own historical period. Futurism succeeded in making this poetic law ex plicit solely because it extended further t h an anyone else t he signifier's autonomy. faith and negation. Now. revolt and reconcil iation. that is. ] . i m perious. a n terior m emory with meaning intended for later or forever. a fo rever. . . and fritters away t he poem. The poem ' s time fram e i s som e " fu ture anterior" t h a t will never t a k e plac e. Such a t heme is a very obvious and direct descendant of the cont est against t h e sun m yt h that I mention ed earlier. Whoever understands t hem cannot " practice linguistics" without passing t hrough whole geographic and discursive continen t s as an i m pertinent traveler. . a " faun in the h ouse" [faune au /ogis phonologie-Ed . by thus sus pending t he present m om ent. it will not truly b e exp erienced in the present. The son assumes from his sun-father t he task of com p leting t he "self' and "rhythm" d ialect ic within the poem." Consequently attuned to a scene preceding the logical system aticity o f communication. the irruption within t he order of la nguage of t he ante­ riority of language evok es a lat er t im e. M ayakovsky w a s in terested in resur rect ion. from the rust that t h reatens ou r formulation o f l ove. but only as an uph eaval of present place and mean­ ing. instead. take up the t hem e of M essianic resurrection. like t h ose of Khlebnikov and other futurists. never come about as such. ) Poetry pro tects us from this autom atizati on. It heard and understood t he R evolu tion only because its presen t was dependent on a futu re. But the i rruption of semiotic rhythm within t he sign i fying system of language will never be a Hegelian A ujhebung. The rigid. by straddling rhythm ic. i t paid st rong atten­ tion to t he explosion of the October R evolu t i on .

subj ect to regional im peratives (econom ic. familial. At that point t he code becomes receptive to t he rhythmic body and it forms. " Y ou have t o bring the poem to the highest pitch of expressiven ess" ( M ayakovsky." nor mechanistic enclosure o f this notion within a proj ect oblivious t o the violence of t h e social cont ract and evolut ion's being. in order to ex ploit solely their dynamics producing exchange value. ) . "aristocratic" and "elitist" dem and. But we k n ow the pi ece is good when. They should move rapidly enough so that they p i erce the prese nt . Although. In " A s for the Self. Conseq uently. The wi n d of the gods of t he word blows from that di rection. striving to rem ain ant i feu dal and antibourgeois. a refinem ent of the various forms of dissipating t he tension we have been calling "poetic lan­ guage. impossible m eaning. futurism st ressed equally its participation in t h e anamnesis of a culture as well as a basic feature of West ern discourse. another m eaning.7 Poetic discourse m easures rhyth m against t h e m eaning o f la nguage structure and is thus always eluded by m eaning in t he present while con­ t inually postponing it to an i m possible t i m e-to-come. it set s the presen t ablaze. i t is neither flight in the face of a supposed metaphysics of the notion of "history. t actical. but a futu re. above a l l . poetic language's future ant erior i s an im possible. like a shooting star. . con fronted with such regional necessities. . [ ." It should com e as no surprise t h a t a m ovem ent such a s t he Oct ober Revolution. in its role as a piece of t he fut ure. Bey ond t hese m yt hem es. in opposition to present m eaning. THE ETHICS OF L I N G U I ST I C S 33 M ayakovsky and Khlebn ik ov's pro-Soviet propos'a ls and leaps into mythology cam e from a nonexistent p lace in the future. political. While we wait. " Khlebnikov writ es: Short pi eces are important when t hey serve as a b reak i n t o t he future. The i m portant element of this " fut ure anterior" of . we can not yet defi ne the reason for this speech . Anteriority and fu ture join together to open that historical axis in relation to which concrete history will always b e wrong: murderous. it is noneth eless the only sign ifying strategy allowing the speaking animal to shi ft the limits o f its enclosur e. l eaving behind a t rail of fire. ] t he homeland of creat ion is the fu t ure. limiting. " H ow are Verses M ade"). . . i f and only if we attribut e t o this word its new resonance. should call forth the sam e mythemes t h at dom inated feudalism and were suppressed by the bourgeoisie. it is assuredly t he m os t appropriate historical discou rse. h owever.

subjective. But the dramatic notion of language as a risky practice. and parall elism (cf. except perhaps under the rubric of "addit i onal rul es. seems tied t o a n o t i o n o f sign ifying proc ess t h a t contem porary t heories do not confron t . Nonetheless. met onymy. m etaphor. Secondly. includ ing gen era­ tive semantics.-. a n d social outlay). notably phonological. D oes this m ean there is no future (no h ist ory) fo r this discourse. as it can be und erstood th rough J ak obson's pract ice. M ayak ovsk y's suicide. Can contem porary linguistics hear this concept ion o f langu age o f which Jak obson ' s work i s the m aj or t oken? The currently dominant cou rse. wh ich found its own "a nteriority" within the " poetic" experi ence o f the twentieth century? Linguistic ethics. in the study of the linguistic system . it is hard t o see how notions of elision.i G U I S T I C S language is "the word perceived as word ." necessitating a cut o ff point in the s pecific generation of a la nguage. su rely rests on m a ny of J ak obson's approaches. generative gram m ar. consists in foll owing the resu rgence of an " I " coming back to rebuild an ephem eral structure in which the constituting st ruggle of language and soci ety would be spelled out . understood as m oving beyond sim ple linguistic stud ies toward a typology of signifying system s com posed of semiotic ma terials and va ried social functions. i t demands a sem iology. " a phenomenon in turn induced by the contest between rhythm and sign system . it is integrated into a t radit ion where linguistics is inseparable from concepts of subject and society . rather. it allows u s to fo resee what the discou r se on the signi fying process might be in times to come. Such an affirm ation of Saussurian sem iological exig encies in a period dom inated by generative gram mar is far from archaistic. .34 T l-IE ET HIC S OF L l . Khlebn i k ov ' s d isinteg ration. A s it epitom izes the experi ences of language and linguistics of our entire European century. his study on biblical and Chinese verse) could fit into the g enerative apparatus. and Artaud' s inca rceration prove that this contest can be prevented . J a kobson's linguistic ethics th erefo re u n m is­ takably dem ands fi rst a h is torical epis temology of linguistics (one won­ ders which Eastern or Western th eories linked with what ideol ogical corpus of Antiquity. t he Middle A ges. allowing the speak ­ ing animal to sense the rhythm o f the body as well as the u pheavals of history. or the Renaissance were able t o formulate the problematic o f language a s a place o f st ructure a s well a s o f i t s bodily.

M . K h lebnikov.1 93 3). 1 97 3 ) . 3. Oeu vres. THE ETHICS OF LINGU ISTICS 35 Notes I . pp. L . 2. (Paris: Oswald. trans (Berkeley: M aya. 4. This essay w i l l appear i n English translation i n a fut ure v ol u m e of J a kobson's Selected Writings.3 7 . Velimir K h l ebnikov. 1 3 : 146. I n Tzvetan Todorov. V l a d i m i r M ayako vsky. Totem and Taboo i n The Standard Edition of the Complete Works ofSigm und Freud ( London: H ogarth & The Institute of Psych o-Analysis. " i n Questions d e poetique. Schnitzer. t r a n s . 1 9 3 1 ). published by Mouton in The H ague. 6. 1 967). From the preface of Velimir K hlebnikov. Oeu vres. Hyde. . p. F i rst appeared as "O pokolenii rastrativshem svo i k h poetov. trans. 1 9 7 1 ). 1 24-2 5 . Questions depoetique. 1 927. Cape. ed . 1 9 53). pp. . pp. 7. ( L ondon: J . H o w A re Verses Made? G . 46. J ack H irsch man and Victor Erlich. 5 . "Qu'est-ce q u e l a poesie. 3 6 . 7-4 5 . T h e o t h e r M ayak ovsky quotations a re from Electric Iron . 1 970)." i n Smert' V1adimira Majako vskoga ( Berlin. (Paris: Seu i l . Sobranie Sochinenij ( M oscow.

rhe­ t orical division o f genres with a typology of texts. The ideologeme is that intertextual function read as "m aterialized" at the different structural levels of each t ex t . that is. and ·second. T H E B O U N D ED TEXT THE U TTE R A N C E A S ID E O LO G E M E l. 1 969). and hence can be b etter · · approached th rough l ogical categories rather than linguistic ones. 1 1 3-42. contem porary sem iotics takes as its object several semiotic practices which it considers as translinguistic.i !��t_j§. � ( Paris: S e u i l . that is. . is· redist ributive (destrucjjye � constructive). severa) utterances. and this __ means: first. w hile remaining irredu cible to its categories as t h ey are presently assigned. 1 The ideologeme i s the intersection o f a given textual arrangement (a s em iotic practice) with the utterances (sequences) that it either assimi­ lates into its own space or to which it refers in the space of exteri or texts (sem iotic practices). to different kinds of anterior or synchronic utterances. taken from other texts._ t��!_eX�!�_ li productfvity. an intertextuality: i n the space of a given text. and which stretches along the entire length of its traj ectory. intersect and neu­ tra lize one another. to defi ne the specificity of d i fferent t extual arrangements by placing t hem within the general t ext (cultu re) o f which they are part and which is in turn. One of t he problem s for semiotics is to replace the fo rmer. giving it its historical and s ocial coordinates. This is not an interpretative step coming after F i r s t pu blished in �71µ E iwTiX. 2 . t h at its relationship to the language in which it is situated . he text is defined as a trans-linguistic apparatus that redistributes the order o f langu age by relating com mun icative speech. Rather t h a n a discourse. 2. which aims to i n form directly. that it is a permutation of t exts. part of them . 0 In this perspective. p p . they o perate through and across language.

THE BOU N D E D TEXT 37 analysis in order to explain "as ideological" what was first "perceived" as "linguistic. as a second s tep. N o velistic utterances. seen as a text. That fu nction. I t is an op eration. a dependent variable. as they pertain to this suprasegmental level. while deal­ ing with linguistic u nits (words. By studying t hem as such. by studying the text as intertextuality. the functions defined according to the extra-novelistic textual set (Te) take on value within the novelistic textual set (Tn ) . and even m ore so. constitu tes what m ight be called the argumen ts of the operation. their origins outside of the novel. is a semiotic practice in which the synthesized patterns of several utterances can be read . is of a t ranslin­ gu istic order. are either words or word sequences (sentences. the u t terance specific to the novel is not a minimal sequence (a definitely set entity). The no vel. considers it as such within (the text o f) society and history. which. m ore simply put. By bracketing the question o f semantic sequences. is determined along with the independent variables it links t ogether. I shall study the function that incorporates them within the text. paragraphs). I shall establish a typology of these utterances and then proceed to investigate." The concept of text as ideologem e determ ines the very procedure of a sem iotics that. a motion that lin ks. Speaking m etaphoricall y. there i s univocal correspondence between words or word sequences. thus pr oceeding at a sup rasegmental level . Only in this w ay can t he novel be defined in its unity and/ or as ideologeme. To put it anot her way. 3 Instead of analyzing entities (sememes in t hemselves). I t is therefore clear that what I am proposing is an analysis that. are linked up within the totality of novelistic production. linguistic units (and especially sem antic u nits) will serve only as springboards in establishing different k inds of no velistic u tterances as functions . paragraphs) as semem es . one c a n bring o u t t h e logical practice org anizing t hem. sentences. For me. 2 3 . The ideologeme of the novel is precisely this intertextual function defined according to Te and having value within Tn. sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other. in the study of a written text . The ideologeme of a text is t he fo cus where knowing rationality grasps the transformation of ut terances (to which the text is irreducible) into a tot ality (the text) as well as the insertions of this totality into the his­ torical and social text . Two k inds of analyses. m ak e it possible to isolate the ideologem e of the sign in the novel: .

The sym bol's fu nction in its h orizontal dimension (the articulation o f signifying units a m ong themselves) is one of esca ping parad ox . the sym bol does not "resem ble" the obj ect i t symbolizes." "treason. uni vocal connections link these t ranscendences to the units evoking them . " "nobility. a suprasegmental analysis of the utterances contained within the novel 's framework will reveal it as a bounded tex t (with its initial progra m m i ng. second. let m e first briefly describe the particularities of the sign as ideol ogem e." " fear.38 THE B O U N D E D TEXT first. the two spaces (sym bolized-sym bolizer) are separate and do not com­ m unicate. as such. It is. ) . " "cou rage. M yth ical thought operates within the sphere of the symbol (as in the epic. et cetera ) through sym bolic units u nits of restriction in relation t o t h e sym ­ - bolized universals ("heroism . as clearly manifested in this period's literature and painting. its deviations and t h eir concatenation)." etc. F R O M S YM B O L T O S I G N I . is t hus one o f restriction." " vi rt ue. The sym bol assu m es the sym bolized (un iversals) as irreducib le t o th e symbolizer (its ma rkings). its arbitrary ending. a semiotic practice of cosm ogony: these elements (sym bols) refer back t o o n e ( o r s everal) u nrepresentable a n d unk nowable u niversal t r anscen­ dence(s ). Since the novel is a t ext d ependent on the ideologem e o f the sign. A sem iotics of the symbol characterized European society until around the thirteenth century. one could even say that the symbol is horizontally antiparadoxical: within its logic.4 The good and the bad are incom patible--as are the . folk tales. in its vertical dimension (universals-m arkings). its dyadic figu ration. an intertextual analysis of these utterances w i l l reveal the relationship bet ween writing and speech i n the text o f the novel . two opposing units are exclusive. The second half of t h e M iddle Ages (thirteenth t o fi ft een th centuries) was a period of transition for European culture: thought based on the sign replaced that based on the sym bol. I will show that the novel's textual order is based m ore on speech than on writing and then proceed t o analyze the t opol ogy of this " phonetic order" (the arrangement o f speech acts in relation t o one another). The sym bol's function. chansons de geste.

and general nature. and G regory the G reat a s on the altar of Notre Dame of Avioth). the four great evangelists were no longer set against the four prophet s. Thus are implied the general charact eristics of a symbolic semiotic practice: the quan titative lim itation of symbols. t heatrical representations of Christ ' s life were ba sed on both t h e canonical and apocryphal Gosp els or t h e G old en legend (see the M ysteries dated c . R ather. 1400 published by A chille Jubinal in 1 83 7 and based on the m anuscript at t he Library of Saint e-Gen evieve). which lays claim to resemblance and identification of the elem ents it holds together. for example. Great architectural and lit erary compositions were no longer possible: the miniature replaced t he cat he­ dral and the fifteenth century became t he century of the m iniaturists. its passage (its assim ilation) into the sign was assured. "resolved . honey a n d ashes. the prophets were cont rast ed with the apostles. 2. the sym bol was b ot h challenged and weakened. et cetera. once it appears. The k ey to symbolic sem iotic practice i s given from the very beginning of sym bolic discourse: the course of sem iotic developm ent is circular since the end is program m ed. the theater as well as art in general was invaded by scenes devoted to C h rist's public life (as in the Cathedral of Evreux) . until the end of the fi ft eenth century. Beginning i n the fi ft eenth century. but against t he four fat hers of the Latin Church (Saint A ugustine." I n t hirteenth-century art. t heir rep etition. The contradiction. given in embryo. The t ranscendental foundation evoked by th e symbol seemed to capsiz e. From the t hirteenth to the fifteenth century. whereas in the fifteenth century. THE BOUNDED TEXT 39 raw and the cooked. while first postulating their radical dif­ ference. I t is thus concealed. its t ransm i tting focus-was put into qu estion. " and t herefore put aside. b u t i t did n o t completely disappear. Wh ence t he obsessive insist ence on t he them e of dialogue between t w o irreducible but sim ilar el em ent s (dialogue-gen erator of the pathetic and psychological) in this transitional period. The serenity of the symbol was replaced by the strained ambivalence of the sign's connect ion. Sai n t Jerome. Sa int Amb rose. from the beginning (whose end is the beginning) because the sym bol's fu nct ion (its ideologeme) antedates the sym bolic utt erance itself. both loca ted on the s ide o f the "real" and "concret e. The transcendental unity su pport ing the sym bol-its otherworldly casing. during this period. This heralds a n ew signifying rel at ion between two elements. For exam ple. immediately demands resolution. /im itation. Thus. the .

the sign refers back to entities both of lesser scope and m ore concretized than t h ose of the sym bol. impossible to finish. The ideologeme of the sign is therefore. Put into a relationship within the structure of sign. The it in erary of this concatenation of deviations is pract ically infinite. Through this m ovement.5 3 . 40 THE B O U ND E D TEXT fourteenth and fifteenth centuries abound i n dialogues between God and the human sou l : the Dialogue of the Crucifix and Pilgrim . in the case of t he sign. They are reified universals becom e objects in the strongest sense of the word. the units of the sign's semiotic practice are articulated as a m etonym ical concatenation of deviations from the norm signifying a progressive creation of m etaphors. that is. is then transfo rmed into an objectivity-the reigning law of discourse in the civilizat ion of the sign. h ierarchical. et cetera . of the referent to the signified. be seen vertically as well as h orizontally: within its vertical function. A difference bet ween the sign and the sym bol can. Opposi­ tional t erms. with an arbitrary ending." The "immediately perceptible. however. " valorized in this way. giving the illusion of an open structure. transcendentalized and elevated to the level of th eological unity. of the signified to the signifier. and h ierar­ chizing. gundy's library) . It was even replaced by pastiches that brack eted and erased the transcendental basis of the sym bol (the Bible of the Poor and the M irror of Human Salvation. at the same time. whence the impression of the work's arbitrary ending. the Bible was m oralized (see the fam ous moralized Bible of the Duke of Bur- . in the adventure novel. The sign that was outlined t hrough these mutations retai ned the fu ndamental characteristic of the sym bol: irreducibility of t erms. The sem iotic pract ice of the sign thus assimilates the metaphysics of the s ym b ol and proj ects it onto the " i m m ediately percept ible. always exclusive. the entity (phenomenon) u nder consideration is. I n literary discourse the semiotic practice of the sign first clearly appeared . . are caught within a network of m u l tiple and always possible deviations (surprises in narrative structures). which is struc­ tured on what is unforeseea ble and on surprise as reification (at the level of narrati ve st ructure) of the deviation from the norm specific to every practice of the sig n . Dialogue of the Sinful Soul and Christ. and. Within t heir horizontal function. in addition. during the Renai ssance. in a general w ay. like the ideologeme of the sym bol: the sign is dualist. all the "units" of the signifying st ructure itself.

for educational purposes and as a lament for a departure (for puzzling reasons. or as accou nts of his tr avels (Let tres a Jacques de Luxembourg sur /es tournois. warrior. 1 4 59. In a semiotic practice based on the symbol. The novel is one of the characteristic m anifest ations of this am bivalent ideologem e (closure. which. i n fact. Jehan de Saintre is the only novel to be found a m ong La Sale's writings. linking of deviations)-the sign . That is. THE B O U N D E D TEXT 41 This is. nondisj u nct ion. closed and terminated in its very beginnings.or by nonconjunction . institutes the referent-signi fied-signifier hierarchy and secondly. dyadic process. since such itinerary is program med by the ideologem e constitut­ ing the sign. It is related to conceptualist (antiexperimental) t h ought in the same way as the sym bolic is to Platonism . he left the Kings of Anjou to become tutor of the Count of Saint Pol's t hree sons i n 1 448). THE I D E O LO G E M E OF THE N OVE L : N O VE L I S T I C E N U N CI A T I O N Every li terary work part aking of the semiotic practice of t h e sign (all " liter ature" before the epistem ological break of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries) is therefore. 1 4 5 7)-all o f these being constructed as historical d iscourse or as het erogeneous m osaics of texts. it is program m ed by a closed (finite). first. Here I will examine this ideologeme in Antoine de La Sale's Jehan de Saintre. put together-like the symb ol-as resolution of contradict ion. as "scientific" t racts.1 4 5 1 ). . after a long career as page. con tradiction is resolved by nondisju nction . contradiction was resolved by exclusive disju nction (nonequivalence) . in a sem io tic practice based on the sign. R econfort a Madam e de Fresne. Antoine de La Sale wrote Jehan de Saintre in 1 456. the illusory im pression which defines all "literature" (all "art" ) . and tutor. H istorians of French literature have neglected this particular work-perhaps the first writing in prose t hat could be called a n ovel (i f one labels as such those works that depend on the ambiguous ideol ogeme .V -.= . which are otherwise presented as compilations of edi­ fying narratives (La Salle. interiorizes these oppositional dyads all the way to the very level of the articulation of term s. and after fo r ty-eight years o f service. I -. as ideologem e. 1 448.

2). The few studies that have been devoted t o it 6 concentrate on its references to the m ores of the time. All that remains is to t ell. t o fill in. it will be nothing o ther than an inscription of deviations (surprises) that d o not destroy t h e certainty of the t hematic loop (life-death) holding the set t ogether. and so on . what was already concep­ tualized. as sign : this is the loop u tterance (exchange obje c t)/ addressee (the duke or. he m arks out within twenty lines the first loop8 that encloses the t extual set and programs it as a means of exchange and.7 What is m ore. therefore. l. its other. H aving thus utt ered his purpose and named its addressee. its rhetorical representation. The text opens with an introduct i on t h at shapes (shows) the entire itinerary of the novel: La Sale knows what his text is ("t hree stories") and for wha t r eason it exists (a m essage to J ehan d ' A nj ou)." p." which requires a second loop-this one found at the them atic level of the m essage. known. the reader). the articulation of this ideologem e of the sign. the story o f t h e Lady of the Beautiful Cousins (of whom I have already spoken) and of Saintre. " 2 . whose names might . to detail. enunciates himse(f The st ory of J ehan de Saintre m erges with the book 's st ory and becom es. Literary history. its inner lin­ ing. which continues to dominate our intellectual horizon. A nt oine de La Sale's narrative confirms the nar­ rative of his own writing: La Sale s peaks but also. La Sale gives a shortened version of J ehan de Saintre's life fr om beginning to end ("his passing away from this world.42 THE BO l: N D E D T E X T of the sign). accu se the author of underestimating the historical events of his time ( the Hundred Years War. We thus already know how the st ory will end: the end of t h e narra­ tive is given before the narrative itself even begins. has not been able to bring to light the transitory struc ture of this t ext. The t ex t turns on a them atic axis: the interplay between two exclusive oppositions. et cetera) as well as o f belonging-as a true reactionary-to a world of the past. that is. attem pt to find the " k ey" to the characters by identifying them with personalities La Sale m ight have k nown. imm ersed in refe rential opacity. in a sense. sim ply."the story as word upon word it proceed s . All anecdotal interest is thus elim inated: the n ovel will play itself out by rebuilding the distance between life and death. which situates it at the threshhold of the two eras and shows. writ ing. T h e title c a n n o w b e presented: " A n d first. before any con tact between pen and paper. through La Sale's naive poetics.

THE BOUNDED TEXT 43 change (vice-virtue. praise-criticism . N egation is thus repeated in the affirm ation of duplicity. the inevitable ch oice of one or the other t erm (with the "or" being exclusive). that is. they will alternate according to a traj ectory lim ited by nothing but the initially presupposed excluded m iddle. treason. fo r exam ple. all figures fo u nd in the novel (as heir to the carnival) that can be read in two ways are organized on the m odel of this fu nction: ruses. The Court (neu ­ trality = obj ective opinion). the A pology of the widow in the Roman t exts is directly followed by the m isogynist rem arks of Saint J erome) . love-hate. But t he semic axis of these oppositions remains the same (positive-negative). only to give way-within a now-to a network of paddings. resolving within a figure of dissim ulation or mask . foreigners. La Sale first introduces i t - through the Lady's doubly oriented utterance: as a m essage destined to the Lady's female companions and t o the Court. the irreducibility of opposite terms is adm itted only t o the extent that the empty space of rupture separating them is provided with ambiguous semic combinat ions. The trajectory of the novel would be i m possible without this nondisjunctive function this dou­ - ble which program s it from its beginning. b lazonry. a s well as Saintre (passive object o f the . as a message dest i ned to Saintre himself. the m essage's duplicity is known only t o the speaker hersel f (the Lady). The nondisju nctive function of the Lady's u t terance is revealed in st ages that are quite interesting to follow. to the author (subject o f the n ovelistic ut terance). The exclusiveness of the two term s posited by the n ovel ' s thematic loop is replaced by a doub tful positivity in such a way that the disjunction which both o pens and closes the novel is replaced by a yes-no structure (nondis­ junction). in an attempt at synthesis. Within the ideologeme of th e novel (as with the ideologeme of the sign). and to the reader (addressee o f the novelistic utterance). but com bines carnivalistic play with its nond iscursive logic. u t t erances that can be doubly interpreted or have double desti­ nations (at the level of the novelistic signified). set­ ting u p the n ovel ' s traj ectory. and. A t first. an­ drogynes. to a con­ catenation of deviations oscillating bet ween two opposite poles. is i m m ediately repressed within a before. This fu nction does not bring about a para-thetic silence. this utterance connotes aggressivity t owards Saintre. The initially recognized opposition. "cries" (at the level of the n ovelistic signifier). and so on. it connotes a "tender" and "test ing" love.

The d ouble (dissimulation. are dupes of the Lady's univocal aggressivity towards the page. In this way. La Sale t ouches upon the very point where the speech act (work) tilts t owards discu rsive effec t (product). the writer is both actor a�d �!l_t�_gr. the opposition of contraries. Saintre's defeat-and the end of the narrative-are due to this error of substituting an utterance accepted as disj unctive and uni­ vocal for the nondisjunct ive function of an u t t erance. Negation in the novel thus operates according to a double m odality: a/ethic (the opposition of c ont raries is necessary. The novel b ecomes p ossible when the a/ethic m odality of opposition j oins with the deontic m odality o f reunion. or i m p ossible) and deontic (the reunion of cont raries is obligatory. m ask). permissi­ ble. Saintre forget s t he nondisjunction. in the alethic m ode. the duplicity is displaced : Saintre becomes part of it and accepts it.44 THE BO U ND E D T E X T m essage). I t reappears several times. For La Sa le.-· --" . and thus. . In the second stage. indifferent . introducing t h e speech of he w h o i s writing the n arrative a s being t h e utterance of a charact er in t h i s drama of which he is also the author. In a third stage. t h at m eans t hat he conceived - the text of the n ovel as both practice (actor) and product ( author). as fu ndamental figure of the carnival. upon the very constituting process of the "lit erary" object. he com­ pletely transforms into som ething positive what he knew to be also nega­ tive. French: acteur-auteur). contingent.10 thus becom es the pivotal springboard for the deviations filling up the silence i m p osed by the disjunctive function o f the novel's thematic-progra mmatic loop. in fact. It is.9 T h e novel covers the traj ectory of deontic synt hesis i n order t o condemn i t and to affirm . but in the same gesture. the novel absorbs the duplicity (the d ialogism) of the carnivalesque scene while submitt ing i t to the u ni­ vocity (monologism) of the symbolic disjunction guaranteed by a transcendence-the author-that subsu mes the totality of t he novelistic utterance. precisely at this point i n the textual traj ectory-that is. 3. possible. after the enunciation of the t ext's t oponymical (message-addressee) and t hematic (life -death) closure (loop)-that the word "ac tor" i s inscribed. he loses sight of the dissimulation and is taken in by the game of a u nivocal (and t herefore erroneous) i n terpretation of a m essage that rem ains double. or forbidden). he ceases to be the obj ect of a m essage a n d b ecomes the subj ect of utterances for which h e assumes authority. Playing upon a hom ophony ( La t i n : actor­ auctor..

. They are . ( The words that m ediate this inference are worth noting: "it seems to me at first view that she wished t o imitate the widows of ancient t i m es . These two orientations intertwine in such a way as to m erge. . TH E BO U N D E D T E X T 45 process (actor) and effect (author). The fu nction of the author/ actor's enu nciation t h erefore consists in binding his discourse to his readings. novel istic ut terance. binds t ogether two m odes of the novelistic u tterance. t owards a referential ut terance. and faces in two directions: first. divides. into oblivion . or textual-hence cita­ tional). ( I have ex amined elsewhere the topology of speech acts in the t ext of the novel . and yet.piay-thai p r�c�ded th�m . . the m essage is both discourse and representat ion. These are empty words whose functions a r e bot h junc tive a nd transla­ tive. narration and citation. narration-the speech assu m ed by he who inscribes himself as actor-author. particularly. " "if. the already set notions o f oeuvre (m essage} ancf owner _ (author) do not succee<n-n -pushing -tfie. The novelist ic infe rence is exhausted through the nam ing process of the two prem ises and. For example. based on other sequences (referential-hence narrative. witness to the narration) t o the story of Aeneas and Dido as read (cited). within novelistic nondisju nction. )12 It unveils the writer as principal act or in the speech play that ensues and. his speech act to that of o�hers. and so on. . La Sale easily shift s from the story as "lived" by the Lady of the Beauti ful Cousins (to which he is wit­ ness. let me say that the m odality of novelistic enuncia­ tion is inferential: it is a process within which the subj ect of the novelistic utterance a ffirm s a sequence. since. at the same time. As j unctive. cita­ tion -speech attributed to an other and whose authority he who i nscribes himsel f as act or-author ack nowledges . The author-actor's utterance u n folds. 4. " "and thereupo n Saint J erome says . considered to be true. as conclusion of the inference. " and s o on. into the single speech of he who is both subject of the book (the author) and obj ect of the spectacle (actor). . . w hi ch are the prem ises of the inference and. In c onclusion. i . toward t extual premises. without leading to the syllogistic conclusion proper to logical infe rence. as such. and second. e . play (actor) and value (author). as V ergil says . 1 1 l'J ov: elistic speech is thus inserted into the n ovelistic utterance and accounted for as one of its elem ents . they tie together (tota lize) two minimal utterances ( nar­ rative and citational) within the global. . through their concat ena­ tion.

that is. cha nging its ideologeme. 13 These inferential agents im ply the juxta position of a discourse invested in a subject with another utterance di fferent from the author's. dominated by the symbol. It is this third m ode that the novelistic inference adopts and effects within the author's utterance. the author refuses to be an obj ective "wit­ ness"-possessor of a truth he sym bolizes by the word-in order t o inscribe himsel f as reader o r list ener." or other infe rential agents that refer back. the speaker's utterance is univocal. narration) and written (textual premises. it names a referent (" real" obj ect or discourse). Medieval lit eratu re. citation) intersect. This split­ ting of the mode of enunciation did not ex ist in the epic: in the chansons de geste. tie together. at the level of the n ovelistic enunciat ion's inferential m ode: it admits the existence of an other (discourse) o n l y to t h e ext ent t h a t it m akes it its own . We thus u ncover a third programm ation o f t h e novelistic text which brings i t t o a close before t h e beginning of the . the transposition of hawkers' cries and blazons into a written text). communicat ive) level t o a textual level (of productivity). I t is the hollow. The scene of the carnival introduces the split speech act: the actor and the crowd are each in turn simultaneously sub­ ject and addres see of discou rse. structuring h i s t ext through and across a permutation of o ther uttera nces ." "says thereupon. supported by the m onolithic presence of signified transcendence. The carnival is also the bridge between the two split occurrences as well as the place where each of the terms is acknowledged : the author (actor + spectator). As translative. un representable space signaled by "as. it is a signifier symbolizing transcendental objects (universals). or bound." "it seems to me. The ideologeme of the sign once again crops up here. They make possible the deviation of the novelistic utterance from its subject and its self-presence. As irreducible to any of the prem ises constituting the infe rence. H e does not so much speak as decipher. a resemblance. " " phonetic" l it erature. its displacem ent from a discursive (informa­ tional. is thus a "signifying. Through this inferent ial gesture. an equalization of two di fferent dis­ courses. The inferential agents allow him to bring a refe rential utterance (narration) back to textual prem ises (citations) and vice versa. they transfer an ut terance from one textual space (vocal discourse) into another (the book). They est ablish a sim i litude.46 THE BOUNDED TEXT therefore internuclear. They are thus i ntranuclear (for exam ple. the m ode of novelistic enunciation is the invisible focus where the phonetic (refe rential utterance.

" THE N O N D I S J U N CT I V E F U N CT I O N O F THE N O V E L 1 . Life is opposed to death in an absolute way (as is love to hate. thought of as communion or sym metrical reunion) it introduces the figure o f dissimulation. being to nothingness) withou t the op posit ion's com plementary negat ion that would transform biparti­ tion into rhythmic totality. I t is this n ondis­ junctive function that intervenes on a secondary level and instead of an infinity complem en tary to bipartition (which could have taken shape within another conception of negation one might term radical. By positing two opposing terms without a ffirming t heir identity in the same gesture and simul taneously. the solidarity of rivals. good to bad. o f am bivalence. within this unrepresentable trajectory bringing together two types o f utterances with t h e i r different a n d irreducible "subj ects. dying out as entities and turning into an altern ating rhyth m . never complem entary. a compromise between testim ony and citation. that is. and this presu pposes that the opposition of term s is. since it doesn't integrate its own opposition. i. The novelistic u tterance conceives o f the opposition of terms a s a nonal ternating and absolute opposition between two groupings t hat are competitive but never solida�y. The negation remains incom plete and unfinished unless it includes t his doubly negative m ovement that reduces the difference between two term s to a radical disjunction with permuta­ tion of t hose terms.e. In order for this nonalternating disj unction to give rise to the discursive traj ectory of the novel. The initial nonalternating opposition thus turns out to be a pseudo-opposition-and this at the time of its very i ncept ion. and never recon­ cilable through indestruct ible rhythm. it must be em bodied within a negative function: nondisju nction . namely. such a negation splits the m ovement of radical nega­ tion into two phases: disjunction and nondisjunction. between the voice and the book. THE BO U N D E D TE X T 47 actual story: novelistic enunc1at10n turns out to be a nonsyllogistic inference. This division int roduces. The novel will be performed within this em pty space. . first of all. at the sam e time. 2 . I n other . virtue to vice. of the double. t o an em pty space around which they m o ve. time: temporality (history) is the spacing of this splitting n egation. what is introduced between two isolated and nonalternating scansions ( opposition-conciliation).


This explains why. by obeying the law of nonconj unction (symbolic). duty and love. inevitably present ed as an exclusion of woman. Such hieroglyphic semiotic practice is also and above all a conj u nctive disjunction o f the two sexes as irreducibly differentiated and. The rhythmic order of Orient al texts organizing the sexes (differences) within conjunctive disju nct ion (hierogamy) is here . good and evil. The cou rtly literature of Southern France is of particular interest within this transition from symbol to sign. The "classical" epic. can t herefore engender neither personalities nor psychologies. Europe). A t the same time there was produced a n exclusion of t h e Other. Neither satirical. feeding on mi scellany and ambiguity. as nonrecognition of sexual (and social) opposition. THE BOUNDED TEXT 49 Roland and the Round Table Cycles. hero and traitor. within which is proj ected and with which is later fused the Sam e (the Author. at the same t ime. In our civilization-caught i n the passage from the symbol to the sign-hymn to conjunctive disjunction was transformed into an apology for only one of the opposing term s: the Other (Woman). to t race the appearance of the double as precursor to the conception o f per­ s onality within the evolution of the epic. heroes are cowardly and suspect ("Charlem agne's Pil­ grimage"). M an). fou nded on the resemblance of contraries. 15 Psychology will appear along with the nondisju nctive function of the sign. fi nding in its ambiguity a terrain conducive t o its meanderings. this epic is witness to a dual sem iotic practice. virtue is no longer rewarded (the G arin de M onglan Cycle) and the t raitor becom es a principal actant (the D oon de M ayence Cycle or the " Raoul de Cam brai" poem ). a maj or semiotic pr actice of Western society (courtly poetry) attributed to the O ther (Wom an) a prim ary structural role. over a long period. laudatory. the king is worthless. nor approving. without any possibility of com prom ise. Recent studies have demonstrat ed the analogies between the cult of the Lady in these t exts and those of ancient Chinese poetry. I t would be possible. stigmatizing. 4 . pursue one another in irreconcilable hostility from begin­ ning t o end. however. 16 There would be evidence showing influence of a hieroglyphic semiotic practic ba sed on "conj unctive dis­ junction" (dialectical negat ion) upon a semiotic practice based on nondis­ j unctive opposition (Christianity. alike. Near the end of the t welfth century-and especially in t h e thirteenth a n d fourteenth centuries-there spreads an ambigu ous epic: em perors are ridiculed. religion and barons become grotesque.

and farces). as evidence o f the i n filt ration in Southern French society of the I nquisiti on Tribu nals' activity. an Other ent ity. the idealization of woman (of the Other) signifies the refusal of a s ociety to constitute itself through the recognition of the differential but nonhierarchizing status of opposed groups. The unfini shed negative gesture is. alone.negation as well as n onrecognit i on of the conj unctive disj u nction of sem i c term s . Author). situated halfway between these two types of uttera nces. the explicit deval­ orization of women beginning with fourteenth-century bourgeois literature (in fabliaux. the spiritualization o f courtly literature was already a given within the structure of this sem iotic practice characterized by pseu do. I t eventually iden t i fied with religious attitudes. It also signifies the structural necessity for this society to give itself a permut ative center. 18 Whatever the empi­ rical fa cts m ay be. already theological : it is stopped before h aving designated the Other (Wom an) as being at the sam e time op posed and equal to the Sam e ( M a n. Hence. a mystifying center. 5 . a blind spot whose value is invested in the Same giving the Other (the center) t o itself in order to live as one. and unique. soties. She i s n o longer only the deified mistress required by the code of courtly poetry. Antoine de La Sale' s novel. contains both: the Lady is a dual figure within the novel's structure. 17 or. and in its incompletion it evokes P lat onism. erasing disj u nction (sexual difference). Wom an) whose center is there only so as to perm it those m a king up t he Sam e to identify with it. and dissolving into a series of im ages ( from the angel to the Virgin). before being denied through the cor­ relation of contraries (the identity of M an and Woman simultaneous to t heir disjunction). a fter the debacle of t he A lbigenses. I t is therefore a pseudo-center. Within such an ideologeme. on t he contrary. Scholars have interpreted the theol ogization of courtly literature as an attempt to save love poetry from the persecutions of the lnquisition . the valorized term of a nondisj unctive . and cannot be fundam entally distinguished from. or that of the D ominican and Fran­ ciscan orders. the exclusive positivity of this blind center (Woman). t herefore. Sociology has described h ow women came to occupy this permutational center (as obj ect of exchange). 19 This devalorizing valorization prepared the terrain for. s tretching out t o infinity (of "nobility" and " qualities of the heart "). t h at is.50 THE BOU N D E D TEXT replaced by a cent ered system (Other. which has n o value except as an o�ject of exchange a m ong mem bers o f the Sam e.

and therefore the woman herself finds there her self-identity nondisj oined from the Ot her. neither enam ored of Saintre nor faithful to t h e Abbot. together. N ever ma sculine. child-lover for the Lady or comrade-friend sharing a bed with the k ing or Boucicault. His homosexuality is m erely the narra­ tivization of the n ondisj u nctive function peculiar t o the semiotic process of which he is a part . She is also disloyal. I n Jehan de Sain tre. to which Saintre is assimi­ l at ed. the Lady's fool and conqu eror of soldiers. 1 4 1 ). or Boucicault (as the man who is also the woman who possesses him ) . Neither deified nor ridiculed. the Lady becom es the nondisjunctive figure par excellence in which the novel is centered. they are nondis­ junctive within a single ambivalent unity connoting the ideologeme o f the sign . the sublimation of sex (without sexualization of the sublime). The Lady' s nondisjunctive fu nction. ungrateful. they tie up the elements of a cultural text into a stable system dominated by nondisju nc­ tion (the sign). at the level of the con­ catenation of its constituent utterances. page and hero. Sain tre's own nondisj unctive function assures him a role as obj ect of exchange between the m asculine and feminine of society. He is the pivot-mirror within which the other argu­ ments of t h e novelistic function are projected in order to fuse with them selves: the Other is the Same for the Lady (the man is the child. while rem aining opaque to the irreducible d(f/erence between the two). cared for and betrayed. THE B O U N D E D TEXT 51 connection. THE AGRE E M E N T O F D E V I A TIO NS The novel's nondisj unctive function is m anifested. the warriors. lover of the Lady and loved either by the king or a comrade in arms-Boucicault (p. neither mother nor mistress. He is the Sam e who is also the Other for the k ing. rather. Saintre is the accomplished androgyne. assures her a role as obj ect of exchange in male society. as an agreement of deviations: the two originally opposed arguments ( forming the thematic loops life- . the two attributive terms are no longer semically opposed through nonconjunction as would be required in a sem iotic practice dependent on the symbol (the courtly utterance). Saintre is also part of this nondisju nctive function: he is both child and warrior. and infamous.

These k i nds of utterances reappear with obligatory m onotony and make of the text an aggregate of recurrences. The imbrica­ tions of these deviations are apt to open u p-praises could be repeated indefinitely. Cato. from the end o f the novel where exaltation has been transformed into its contrary (desolation) before ending i n death-these l audatory descriptions become relativized. They are. Whenever an u t terance assumed by an Actor (Author) intervenes t o serve as a temporary connecting device. a considerable number of plagiaris ms h ave also been pointed out . the Lady's chamber). com­ plete in themselves . These utterances. Saint Paul. Saintre' s return). or all three at once. are laudatory descriptions of either objects (clothes. Pittacus of M isselene. Caught up within the novel's t otality-that is. 63. gifts. Seneca. the subject of enunciation. a succession of closed. cyclical utterances. etc . purchases. and weapons) or events (the departu res of t roops. in addition to ackn owledged borrowings. as deviations in relation t o the oppositional loop fram ing the novelistic utterance. I n deed. ) are connected and m ediated by a series of utterances whose relation to the originally posited opposition i s neither explicit n o r logically necessary. 50). Timides. etc. 2 . Saint Bernard. 79) or of weapons ( p . 7 1 -72. and apparel (pp. They a r e concatenated without any m ajor im perative putting an end to their j uxtaposition. am biguous. and double: their u nivocity changes to duplicity. etc . such are the descriptions of commerce. it is extremely laconic and does nothing m ore t han link t ogether descriptions that fi rst place the reader before an army ready to depart. These descript ive u tt erances are minu tely detailed and return periodically according to a repetitive rhythm placing its grid upon the novel's tem porality. . Saint Augustine. and combats). Epicurus. good-evil.52 THE BOUNDED TEXT death. Socrat es. h owever. seen in reverse. La Sale does not describe events evolv­ ing over a period of t i m e. term inated (bounded and determined) by the fundamental fu nction of the n ovelis tic u tterance: nondisj u nction. the G ospels. another k ind o f devia tion operating according to nondisjunction appears along the n ovel's trajectory: Latin citations and m oral precepts. . Avicenna. Besides laudatory descriptions. deceptive. time (the troops' departure. which can connote space (the tradesman's shop. Saint Gregory. Exa m p les include Thales of M iletus. Each one is centered in a certain point. beginning-end. a costume or piece of jewelry and then proceed to praise t hese obj ects put t ogether according to no causality whatsoever . 5 1 . banquets. a shopkeeper's place.

marketplace. shouted in public squares. sound itself. is engen­ dered th rough the voice and operates according to the structures of the discursive (verbal. "Phonetic" literature is characterized by this kind of laudat ory and repetitive u tterances-enum era tions. T iff BOUNDED TEXT 53 I t is not d i fficult t o find t h e extranovelistic sources of these t w o k inds of deviations: the laudative description and t he citation. it is therefo re reduced to a representamen (sign) that is m anageable and can be circu lated as an element assuring the cohesion of a communicative (com m ercial) struc­ ture endowed with m eaning (value). preexis tent to the signifier. These laudatory utterances. 22 Antoine d e La Sa le' s text captu res the blazon just befo re this splitting into praise and/or blame. oral ut terance. or public square. known as blazons.20 These solem n . In the fi fteenth century. An arbitrary signifier (the word as phone) is transcribed onto paper and present ed as adequate to its signified and referent. I t is the utterance of the m erchant vau n ting his wares or o f the herald announcing com bat. etc . or monumental enumera­ tions b el ong to a cu lture that might be called phonetic. definitively imposed by the European Renaissance. The cu lture of exchange.). Blazons are recorded into the book as uni­ vocally laudat ory. The blazon is transform ed into blame and is thus inserted into the novel's nondis­ j unct ive function as noted above: the fu nction est ablished according t o t h e extratextual set (Te) changes within t h e novelistic textual set (Tn) and in this way defines it as ideol ogem e. The first comes from the fair. or on the m a rketplace (the quality and price of m erchandise) . and designed t o give direct inform ation to the crowd on wars (the num ber of soldiers. Ph onetic speech. It represents a "reality" t h a t is already there. become t ex t : less than writing. the blazon was already the nondisju nctive figure par excellence. were abundant in France during the fourteenth and fi fteenth centu ries. inevitably referring back t o a reality with which it identified by duplicating it (by "signifying it"). But they b ecom e am biguous as soon as they are read from the point of view of the n ovel istic t ext's general function: the L ady's t reachery skews the laudatory tone and shows its ambiguity. praise and blame at the same time. the novel is thus the transcription of vocal communication . tumultuous. 21 The blazon later lost its u nivocity and became ambiguous. arm ament s. phonetic) circuit. duplica ted so as to be integrated into the circuit of exchange. They come fr om a com m unicat ive discourse. their direction. .

" "to put it briefly. 3. they are transcribed within quotation m arks or are plagiarized. phoneti c culture claimed to be a scriptural one. and street .pseudo O ther). . repetition. The second kind of deviation-the citation-comes from a written tex t ." etc. 23 While emph asizing the phonetic and introducing into the cultural text the (bourgeois) space of the fair. referent / signified/sign i fier) as well a s the t opology o f the commu nicative circuit (subject-addressee. The split­ ting that makes up the very nature of the sign (object/sound. the end of the M iddle Ages was also characterized by a m assive infilt ration of the writ­ ten tex t : the book ceased to be the privilege of n obles or scholars and was democra tized ." and "here I will stop speak ing for a bit of M adame and her Ladies t o return to little Saintre. reaches the ut ter ance' s logical level (phonetic) and is present ed as n ondisju nctive. N evert heless. La Sale o ften interrupts the course of dis­ cursive time to introduce the present time of his work on the text: "To return to my poin t . 25 citation and plagiarism are as phonetic as the blazon even if their ext rascriptural (verbal) source goes back to a few books before Antoine de La Sale' s . The introduction of writing has two maj or consequences. 4 .54 THE BOUNDED TEXT T h i s splitting of the ut terance ' s univocity i s a typically oral phen omenon which can be found within the entire discursive (ph onetic) space of the M iddle Ages and especially in the carnival scene. The succession of " even ts" (descriptive u tterances or citations) obeys the m otion of the hand working on the empty page-the very economy of inscript i o n . First . m arketplace. the temporality o f La Sale's text is less a discu rsive t em porality (the narrative sequences are not ordered according to the tem poral laws of the verb phrase) than what we might call a scrip tural t em porality (the narrative sequences are oriented towards and rekindled by the very activity of writing).24 As a resu lt. They are carried intact from t heir own sp ace in to the space of the novel being written. and therefore tem p orality (cf. Same." "as I will tell you. Such junct ives signal a tempora lity ot her than that of the discursive (linear) chain : the massive present of inferential enu nciation (of the scriptural work). t h e reference t o a writ ten t ext upsets the laws imposed on the text by oral t ranscription: enu meration. To the ex t ent that every b ook i n our civilization is a t ranscription of oral speech. Latin as well as other books (already read) penet rate the novel ' s text either as directly copied (citations) or as m n esic t races (mem ories) . supra).

The novel ends with the utterance of the author who. overwhelmingly dom inated by discursive (phonetic) order. This com plet ion is to be distinguished from the structural finitude to which only a few philosophical system s ( H egel) as well as religions h ave aspired. as a sign. A R B IT R A R Y C O M P LE T I O N AND S T R U C TU R A L F I N ITUD E l . or assumed in the t ext of the novel. Saint re. The notion of literature coincides with the notion of the novel. im pression) while refusing to read the process of its productivity : " li terature"-within which the novel occu pies a privileged posi tion. in its totality. i nterrupts the narrative to announce the end: "And here I shall begin the end of this st ory . The book's com positional com pletion nevertheless reworks the structural finitude. " no longer in the sense of inscription but of exchange obj ect ("which I send to you in the manner of a letter"). Within the figures described above. All ideological activity ap pears i n the form o f utterances com posi­ tionally completed. The structural finitude characterizes. to the point of t he Lady's punishment. a ft er having brought the story of his character. . t he traj ect ories close upon t hemselves. as a "lett er. The story can be considered finished as soon as t here is completion of one of the loops (resolution of one of the oppositional dyads) the series of . The initial program m i ng of the book is already its structural finitude. THE BO U N D E D T E X T SS Second. This incom pletion nevertheless underlines the text's structural finitude. the (phonetic) u tt erance having been transcribed onto paper and the foreign text (citation) having been copied down. am bigu ous. as much on account of chrono logical origins as of st ructural bounding. as secondary: as a transcription­ copy. I shall try t o isolate t hat of Jehan de Saintre. t he obj ect that our culture consumes as a finished product (effect . Every genre having its own particular structural finitude. return to t heir point of departure or are confirmed by a censoring elem ent in such a way as t o outline t he limits of a closed dis­ cou rse. " (p. as a fundamental trait. 2 6 Explicit comp letion is often lacking. 307). . both of them form a written t ext within which the very act of writing shift s t o the background and appears. The novel is thus structured as dual space: it is both phonetic utterance and scriptural level . 2.

fo r the present. this time of the place of language-this citation of t h e tombstone inscription is produced in a dead language ( Latin). Speech ends when its subj ect dies and it is the act of writing ( o f work) that produces this m urder. A b r i e f narrative o f t h e narrative follows. This loop is the condem­ nation of the L ady. if I have erred in any way either by writing too m uch or too little [ . on the actual page. here. the "actor. . But the structural finitude. s a i d Saintre. which writing (as t ext of the n ovel) places in q uotation marks. The real arresting act is performed by the appearance. . within the novelistic utterance. . of the very work that produces it." sign als the second-the actual-reworking o f the ending: " A nd here I shall give an ending t o t h e book of t h e m os t valiant k night w h o . Within this dual surface o f the text (story of Saintre-story of the writ­ ing process)-t he scriptural activity having been narrated and the narra­ tive having been o ft en interrupted to allow the act of production to sur­ face-(Saintre's) death as rhetorical im age coincides with the stopping of discourse (erasure of the actor). . cannot be spoken . which I send t o you in the manner o f a letter" -p. The narra­ tive stops there. 309)-emphasis m ine). Nothing i n speech can put an end-except arbitrarily-to the infinite concatenation o f loops. . my m ost feared lord. ") . I shall call this completion of the narrative by a concrete loop a reworking o f the structural finitude. terminating the n ovel by bringing the utterance back to the act of writing ("Now. the Latin reaches a standstill where i t i s n o longer t h e narrative t h at is being com pleted ( having been terminated in the preceding para­ graph: "And here I shall b egin the end of this story . Set back in rel ation t o · French. A new rubric. repeated by the text at the m omen t it becomes silent. m ost high. I write you nothing else" [p. " ( p . In addition-another retrac­ tion. ] I have made this book. . .56 T H E BOU N D E D T E X T which was opened by the initial programming. emphasis m i n e) and by substituting the present of script for the past of speech ("And in conclu­ sion. signifying a condem nation of am biguity. . 309. . Nevert heless-as another retraction of speech-this death. 308). ") but rather the discourse and its product-"literature" /the "letter" ("And here I shall give an ending to the book . and m ost powerful and excellent prince and my m os t feared lord. I t is asserted by a (tombli ke) writing. once more m a ni fested by a concretization of the t ext's fundamental figure (the oppositional dyad and its relation to nondisj u nct ion) is n o t su fficient for t h e b ounding of t h e author's dis­ course.

the n ovel as a discourse (independent of the fact t hat the author-m ore or less consciously-recognizes it as such). however. value): the reign of literature is . at the close of the M iddle Ages and t herefore befo re consolida­ tion of "literary" ideology and the society of which it is the superst ruc­ ture. of cultural text. THE B O U N D E D TE X T 57 3. It is here that there intervenes a third conception o f the b ook as work and n o longer as a phenomenon ( narrative) or as literature (discourse). The narra tive's conclusion coincides with the conclusion of one loop's trajectory. An instance o f s peech. To com plete the novel as literary artifact (to understand i t as discourse or sign) is a problem of social practice. by its very naivete. The narrative could again take up Saintre's adventures or spare us several o f t hem . a product of speech. a (discursive) o bj ect of exch ange with an owner (author). Antoine de La Sale d oubly term inated his novel : as narrat ive (structurally) and as discourse (compositionally). does not stop at this conclusion. To t erminate the novel as narrative is a rhet orical problem consisting of rew orking t he bounded ideologeme of the sign which opened it. The fact remains nevert heless that it is bou nded. t hat is. and consumer (the pu blic. o ften in the form o f an epilogue. t he Work) with its own death-writing (textual productivity). born dead : what terminates it structurally are the b ounded fu nctions o f the sign's ideologem e. The succeeding social text elim inates all notions of production from its scene in order to su bstitute a product (effect. I n this. and it consists in confr onting speech (the product. value. This compositional closure. it constitutes a decisive stage i n the deve lopment o f the speaking subject's critical consciousness in relat ion to his speech. La Sale. literature). reveals a major fact later occul ted by bourgeois literature. Thus. addressee). The fact that it is a narrative is but one aspect-an anterior one-of this particu­ larity: it is "literature. What bounds it com positionally and as cu ltural artifact is the expliciting of the narrative as a written text. o f cour se.27 The n ovel's finitude. never reaches this stage. The novel has a double semiotic status: it is a linguistic (narrative) phenomenon as well as a discursive circuit (letter. which the narrative repeats with variation.28 The narrative is presented as a story." That is the difference characterizing the n ovel in relation t o narrative: the novel is already "literature". occurs at t he end to slow down the nar­ ration and to demonstrate t hat one is indeed dealing with a verbal construction u nder the cont rol of a subj ect who speak s.

misunder­ stood. The opposition phonetic/scriptural. What opens it is speech : "of which the first shall tell of the Lady of the Beautifu l Cousins. and unspoken. to the transcri ption from a tomb in two languages-Latin and French . o ften verbose and repetitive. Saintre's death is not the narration of an advent ure: La Sale. in annou ncing this m aj or fact. We shall have to wait for a reevalu ation of the bourgeois social text in order for a reevaluation o f "literature" ( o f discourse) to take place t hrough the advent of scrip tural work within the text . La Sale inscribes himself as writing in order to justify t h e end of his writing: his narrative is a Jetter whose death coin­ cides with the end of his pen wor k . although often at work in the text and made evident when deciphered. There we have a paradoxical phenom enon that dominates. In t he meantime. Writing is revealed. the Author. For the phonetic conscious­ ness-fr om the Renaissance to our tim e30-writing is an artificial limit. phonetic discourse) t o a "subj ective artifice" (scriptural practice). as well as for any so-called "realist" writer. avoiding any bounding of sequences within a finite ideolo­ gem e. has been suppressed. and t he literary art i fa ct (discourse). petrifies. this fu nction o f writing as work destroying literary repres entation (the literary art i fa ct) remains latent.29 4. it is also the correlational act par excellence. for him who thinks o f himself as "author . and deadly. a subjective finitude. and blocks . evo ked only to o ppose "object ive reality" (utterance. This phenom enon is on a par with its other aspect : valorizat ion of the oeuvre. the entire history of the novel: the devalorization of writing. in di fferent form s. " as a function t hat ossifies. " The act of writing is the differential act par excellence. and opening them u p to an infinite arrangement. an arbitrary Jaw. utterance/text-at work within the bourgeois novel with devalorization of the second term (of the scriptural. tex tual)-misled the Russian Formalists. discourse. h owever . paralyzing. its categorization as pej orative.58 T H E B O U N D E D TEXT t h e reign o f m arket value occulting even what La Sale practiced in a confused way: the discursive origins of the literary even t . For La Sale. t hat is. In versely. The intervention of writing in the text is o ften an excuse used by t he author to justify the arbitrary ending of his narrative. Writing itself appears only to bound the book. writing is speech as Jaw (with no possible transgression). reserving for the text the status of other. Writing. irreducible to what is different from it. Thus. restricts himself. It perm itted them to .

Willard Q u i ne. each sign has and does not have a denot a t u m . in which t h e sign i s e l i m i nated by t he correlative paragram m atic seq uence. in other words. a transformative sem iotic practice. Second. discursive) to the detriment of wri ting (textual productivity). I have borrowed from this study the di fferent iation between two m ean ings of signify­ i ng u n its: one within the space of the sym bol. T H E B O U N D E D TEXT 59 interpret t he insertion of writing into narrative as proof of t h e text's "arbitrariness" or of the work's so-called "literariness. o n e c a n distinguish t hree types: first. S e e A . " Etabl issement du t e x t e defi n i t i f du P e t i t Jehan de Saintre. . 6. Desonay. Albert J . as opposed to t he l evel of i m m an ence. Third. . in which t h e "signs" are released from denot a t a and orien t ed toward the other. each sign does not h ave a denotatum. it is not t r u e that each sign has and does not have a denota t u m . 1 96ff. Greimas. Greimas. 1 4 : 1 -48 & 2 1 3-80: "Comment u n ecrivain se corrigeait au X V e siecle. the other w i t h i n that of the sign. W i t h i n West ern scient ific t h i n k i ng. conceptualism. 6 : 8 1 . 4 2 . T h e following are among t he most i m portant: F. H e considers it a s belonging t o the l e v e l of manifest a t i on." in Revue Beige de Phi/o/ogie et d'Histoire. it is l ogical. inter changeable. I have borrowed the term " ideologeme" from t h i s work. ( 1 927)." i n From a Logical Point of View (Cambr idge: H arvard U niversity P ress. 1 978). J . and not at all destined t o tran sform the other (the addressee). 3. Wehrle. a systematic sem iotic practice founded on the sign. " R e i ficat ion of U n iversals. only within a b ounded (cultural) t ex t . w h i c h is t h a t of the s e m e . 2. which could be seen as a tetralem m a -each sign has a denotat u m . a paragram matic semiotic practice. See my "Pour u n e sem i o l ogie des paragr ammes. Emile M ale. Bakhtin. I use t h e t e r m "sememe" as i t appears i n the t er m i n o l ogy o f A . pp. M edvedev and M . 1 966. o n e after another." i n R evue du Seizieme Siec/e.1 967 Notes 1 . 3 . con­ servative and l i m ited.71µEiwTix. 5 . The Formal Method in L iterary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics. p ." i n Etu des d e Langue et ." i n 1. J . These three are P latonism. " L e P e t i t J e h a n de Saintre. therefore o n meaning. whom t hey modify.h: recherches pour une semanalyse ( Paris: Seu i l . and n o m i nalism . its elements are oriented toward denotata. p . L' Art religieux de la fin du Moyen Age en France (Paris: A . 1 969). embraces all areas of m an's ideological creativity. 1 9 66)." P . O t a k a . w h o defines it as a combination of t h e s e m i c n u c l e u s and con t ex t u al semes. Semantique Structurale ( P a r i s : Larousse. Colin 1 90 8 ) . 4 . 1 9 5 3 ) . ( Ba l t i more: Johns H opkins U niversity Press. ( 1 92 7 ). explicative. t hree fu ndamental currents break a w a y from t h e symbol's dominat ion. See V. m o v i n g t hrough the s i g n t o t h e v a r i a b l e . " L iterary sch olarship is one branch of t h e study of ideologies [which] ." It is evident that the concepts of "arbitrariness" or "literariness" can only be accepted within an ideology of valorization of the oeuvre (as phonetic.1 2 1 : Y . N. W h e n considering sem iotic practices i n relation t o t h e sign. t r ans.

L a Mise a mort ( 1 965). y aun en este oficio acabe siendo sustituido par el m i n i s t r i l . a poet would publish his verse and entrust them to the m em ory o f m i nstrels o f whom he demanded accu racy. m an's individuality is l i m i t ed by h i s linear relationship to o n e o f two categories: the good or t h e bad people. 9. For t hese terms borrowed from struct u r a l syntax. C ont emporary realist literature is situ ated at the other end of the history of t h e novel. as Louis Aragon adm i ts.. 7 . Shepard. A n y contemporary novel t h a t str uggles w i t h t h e problems o f "realis m" and "writ­ ing" is r e lated to the structural ambivalence of Jehan d e Saintre. See his Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics (Ann Ar bor: Ardis. La Pensee chinoise ( Paris: A l b i n M ichel. SO. and t o t h e structure o f M en i ppean s a t ir e .aise au X Ve siec/e ( Paris: H . ed. W. M ichel Granet. 1 95 7] . In t h e epic. Theorie de la litterature ( P ar is: Seuil. La Nou velle franr. p. . 1 96 5 ). t h e passage fr om m i nstrel as Actor ( a c haracter i n a dramatic production. . "The Syntax o f A n t oine de La Sale. The relationship between t h e t w o is obvious and. The n o t i o n o f "author" appears i n R om ance poetry about t h e beginning o f the twelfth century. 1 904). i n j u r idical Latin: auctor. salesman). I t evokes the task of organizing disparate utter a nces that A n t oine de La Sale h ad u ndert a k en at the dawn of t h e novelistic j ourney. m aker o f a product. t he one who m a kes. All my referen ces are to t h e t e x t edi t ed by J ean M israhi ( Fordham U n iversity) and Charles A . Champion 1 9 1 0 ). S . S oderhjelm. 6: 1 5 -28. P. note I . 1 97 3 ) . 1 968). 1 4. convive con el juglar" (Ibid. A n Essay on Modal Logic ( A m sterda m : North­ H olland." in PM LA ( 1 905). 12. where the Author ( A n t oine) sets h i mse l f apart from the Actor (Alfred). 20:435 -50 1 .60 THE BOUNDED TEXT L ittera ture Frant. Jn this way. 1 9 5 1 ). generates. 3 80). that was translated into French as " La Construct ion de la n ouvelle et du roman" in Tzvetan Todorov. 0 teorii prozy ( M oscow 1 929). 8. desired in the case o f h i s own n ovel. Poesia juglaresca y origines de las literaturas romdnicas [ M adrid: I ns t i t u t o de Est udios P o l i t icos. 1 95 3 ). p. See Georg Henrik von Wright." p. 1 965). See my book L e Texte d u roman (The Hague: M outon. at a point where i t has been reinvented i n order t o proceed t o a script ura I productivity that k eeps close t o narrat ion without being repressed by it. q u eda como simple m u sico. The s m allest change was i m m ediately n oticed and criticized: "J ograr bradador" ( R a m o n M enendez-Pidal. I am indebted to M i k ha i l Bakhtin for his notion of t h e double and am biguity as the fu ndamental figure i n t h e no vel l i n k i ng it t o the oral carnivalesque trad i t i on. organizes. 1 1 . " Le Style. 1 0 . i n juridical Lat i n : actor. 1 970). ch a p t e r 2. 1 3 .aises (Tokyo. going so far as to take the nam e Antoine de La Sale. Notes sur A ntoine de La Sale et ses o eu vres ( H elsingfors: E x o fficina t ypographica Societ atis Litterariae fen nicae. and my essay. W." i n this volu m e . t o the m echanism o f laughter and the mask. see Leon Tesniere. and N ovel. i m p lements. (Originally published in 1 934. A t t h e t i m e . K n udson ( U n iversity of I l linois) and published by D roz ( G eneva 1 96 5 ) . This term i s used by Victor Shklovski in the chapter o f h i s book. p. and creates an object o f which h e n o l onger i s the producer b u t t h e salesman-cf. 1 968). Rabelais and his World (Cam bridge: M IT Press. el juglar queda exclu'ido de la vida liter aria. the con­ troller o f the narrative) t o m instrel as Author (founder. D i a l ogue. t hose w i t h positive or neg a t i v e a t t r i b u t e s . Esqu isse d'une syntaxe structurale (Paris: Klincksieck. the accuser. "Word. tipo de! m u sico ejecutante venido de! extranjero y q u e en el paso de! siglo X I V al XV. 1 4. a sem i o t i c a p proach to a transfo rmat ional discursive s t ructure. 1 70. an accuser-cf. ' " Erron o j uglar ! ' exclamaba condenatorio el t r ovador gallego y con eso y con el cese de! canto para l a poesia docta.) 1 5 .

" in lzvesrija A kademii nauk SSSR. 20. Le Troubadour Guiraulr R iquier: £rude s u r la decadence de l'ancienne poesie provent. In the matter or blazons. 1 8 . Vie privee d'aurrefois: I . Les Voix de Paris: essai d'une hisroire /i11eraire er musicale des eris populaires ( Paris : G . Fu rst.oises des X V er XV!e siecles ( P a ris: P . Two C h i n ese collec tions. 1 90 5 ) . " which date rrom t h e third a n d fo u r t h ce nturies A . 188 5). £rude sur la condilionprivee de la femme dans le droir ancien er moderne ( Paris: Du ran d et Pedo n e-Laurie!. 1 : 1 1 .ale ( P a ris : U . Arabic poetry conrribured by contact with Pro venyal discourse to the form at ion a n d development or courtly lyricism i n re gards to both its content a n d types. and so on .Len ingrad 1 9 58 ) . 1 8 57 ) . D ' Ha u co u rt and G. see H. on t h e o t h e r side or Isl a m. "Con te mpo­ rary P ro bl e ms in Com parative L i t erature. internal division . " La Q uestion d e s rem m es a u X V e siecle. in which the leader or the Roman t roops e n u merates forty. and so o n . in Grim melshausen's D e r Saryrische Py/grad ( 1 666). and J . I V . 3 3 5.. " D. C h i nese songs. and Dirs des pays. D . 1 8 65. T h e blazon appears rreq u e n t ly i n myst eries a n d sa tirical farces. rive we apons . 1 6 . p. Chelovek v lirera1ure drevnej R usi [Man in t h e Literature or O l d Russia] ( M oscow. 4 5 8 ff. 1 8 64). 2 3. 38 1 . 1 7 .1 878). Thus. P. 1 9 . 2 2 . with t h e Orient and C h ina (in 75 I . 1 884) an d G. 8 1 . S e e A l fred Frank lin. S e billot. S e e A n a tole de M onta iglon . as double ( n e i t h e r posit i ve nor pej orative). 1 8: lase. Le Blason ( P aris: P resses Universitaires de France. a n d L e Marryr d e sainr Canren (late fift e e nth c en tury). G. const i t u t e a dis­ rinc1 series and stem from a diffe r e n t world or thought. T h e Russian academician Nik o l a i Konrad has demonstrated that the A rab world was in contact. S e e Alois R ichard Nykl. without m echanically " i n fluencing" P rovem. Blason popu­ laire de la France ( P aris: L.1 6 . R ecueil de poesies frant. Jose ph Anglade. a n d 3: 1 5. S e e Le Mys1ere d e Vieux Tesramenr ( fi rteenth c e n tury). p.1 902). Noneth eless. Hispano-Arabic Poerry and !rs Relarions wi1h 1he Old Proven�:al Troubadours (Ba ltimore: J. . A ntoine Fra n orois C a m p a u x . p. Le cou rt. Le Troubadour Gui/hem Monrahagal (Tou louse: Bibliorhi?que Merid­ ionale. . Such are. contact and contami­ n ation a r e a fact or t hose two c u ltu res-the A r abic and t h e Chin ese ( lsla m ization or China. D a ms. 5: 1 1 0. as well as its rhyt h m . J. Kast ner. 1 9 60 ) . Con sequ ently. evok e t h e th em e s and organization o r c o u r t l y P roveni. L'Annonce e r la reclame (P aris: Plon ­ Nou r r i t . c h a nges i n h is psyc hological state happening in a flas h . Gaidoz and P. THE BO U N D E D TE X T 61 Psyc h ological states seem to be " free or personalities. fi nally. th e re rirst appear t we nty semantic ally positive u t t e r a n ces that are l ater restated as sem a ntically pejorative and. H. Cou let. de P aris . P. in w h i c h t h e officers o r N e b u c h adnezzar's a r m y e n u me r a t e forty.:al poetry o r t h e t welrt h th rough t h e fi fteenth c e n t u ries. followed by i n filtration of Chinese signi f"ying structure [art a n d literature] i n to A rabic rhetoric and. B r a n du s . the army o r t h e H a l i fat of' B agdad m e t t h e a r m y or t h e T ' a n g E mpire). M a n may be t ransformed from good to bad. t h e y are free to change with e xtraordinary rapidity and to attain u n believable dimensions. See Nik olai Konrad. This study de monstr ates how. s e e M . for i nstance.1 6. rhyme scheme. Concerning borrowings a n d plagiarisms b y A n toi n e d e L a S ale. 1 928). 4. into M editerranean culture). t h e fa mou s " P arisian h awkers' cries"-repetitive u t t e ra nces and laud atory e n um e r a t ions that fo lfilled the pu rposes or adve rtise m e n t in the society o r t h e time. S . " Yiie h-ru " and " Y ii -t'ai hsin-yu ng. conseq u ently. .1 8 . Du rivau lt." in Revue des Cours Lirreraires de la France er de l'Erranger (P aris: I. 1 897. " L iterature a n d L a n g u a ge" series ( 1 9 59 ) .t h re e k i nds or weapons. Lichac hov. 2 1 . Gide. on the o t h e r h a n d . Series 1 2. on t h e b a nks o r t h e river Talas. J a n n e t-P.:al poe try. 1 946). p . Ce rr.

and in his cham ber there hung "a large panel on which were written t h e A BC ' s with w h ich one can write t h roughout all the Christian and Saracenic countries. This devalorization of writing h a r kens back to P l ato. the r o l e and fate of b o o k s cha nged . R . t r ou b adour and trou vere poems. Strasburg.62 THE BOUNDED TEXT "Antoine d e L a S a l e e t S i m o n de Hesd i n . Van G i n neken. the Novel o f Thebes). the poetry of Ru tebeuf. " in Melanges offerts a M . An actual trade i n manu script books sprang u p and saw considerable expansion in the fi fteenth cen t u r y in Paris. Harward. Emile Ch<itelain (Paris: H Cham pion 1 9 1 0). Secular b o o k s soon began to appear: the Roland cycle. and this was accom panied by texts bei ng repl aced with im agery. L' Ecriture chinoise et l e geste humain (Paris: P . as d o many of our philosoph i cal presuppositions: "There neit her is nor ever will be a treatise o f mine [on m y teaching]. Augsburg. " in Romania ( 1 9 5 5 ) . courtly novels (the Novel o f A l ex ander the Great. 1 9 3 7 ) and J. 1 94 8 ) . Eik henbaum. litu rgical d rama. 1 96 1 ). . in R eadings in Russian . the Grail). t r a n s . Histoire d u livre d e /'antiquite a nos jours ( Paris: Poinat. 1 960). I . o n e ass u m ing a combinat ion o f t w o condi tions: s m a l l s i z e a n d the im pact of p l o t on t h e ending" ( B . and " U ne Sou rce d'Antoine de La Sale: Si mon de Hesdi n . especially not a l anguage that is unchangeable. 1 9 3 2 ] .). See Chang Chen-ming. trans. Cologne. t h e Roman de Renart. Antwerp. suddenly a light. " Beginning with t h e middle o f t he twelft h century. S ee Svend Dahl. H istorians of writing generally agree with that thesis. L' Univers des livres ( Paris: Hermann. 1 939). The cult of books extended into t h e court of the k i ngs of Anjou (who were closely l inked to t h e I t alian Rena issance) where A n t o in e de La Sale worked. p . The book a s a product of prime necessity entered into t h e cycle o f M edieval product i o n . Br uges. Vienna. m i racle plays. . ' " S hort story' i s a term referring excl u si vely t o p l o t . S e e M edvedev and B a k h t i n . some his­ torians i n sist on writing's preemi nence over spoken language. M . the c i t y h ad undergone t h e im pact o f b o o k s a n d stimulated their a ppearance. [Cam bridge: Cambridge U n iversity P ress. as i t w e r e . on accou n t of the wea k n ess of l a ng u age [ . For it does not admit of exposit i on like other branches o f k n o wledge. which i s true of that wh ich i s set down in written characters" (ibid . Such is the case u n less writing happens to be assi m i lated to a n authority fi gure or t o an imm utable truth. I n m a r k ets and fairs. pp. " 0 . the late M iddle Ages went t h rough a period when books were devalorized. B reton novels ( K ing A rt h u r . but i t also beca m e a protected product . 34 1 -50. but a ft e r m u c h converse about the m a t ter itsel f and a l i fe l i ved together. u n l ess it manages "to write what i s o f great service to mankind and to b r i n g the nature o f th ings i n t o the light for a l l t o see" (ibid. . etc. G hent. I t seems natu ral for Western t h ought t o consider any writing as secondary." 25. " A l bert F l ocon. 7 : 1 3 5 ) . I t became a profit able and marketable prod uct. as com­ ing a fter vocal ization. Following a per iod when books were considered as sacred objects (sacred book = Latin book). is k i ndled in one soul b y a fl a m e that l e a p s to it f r o m another. near t h e churches. 24. On the other hand. J . . Rene o f A njou ( 1 4 80) owned twenty-fo u r Turkish and Arabic m a n uscripts. 2 7 . pp." I . Deeds and words had an echo in them and were m u l t iplied in a proli ferating dia lectic. As the place o f production a n d exchange. The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship. the R om a n ce o f t h e R ose. 76:39-83 & 1 8 3-2 1 1 . ] no man of intelligence will venture to express his philosophical views in language. fa bl iaux. a n d thereafter sustains itself' ( Th e Platonic Epistles. Geuthner. See J am es G. 2 6 . Fevrier. Histoire de Ncriture ( Paris: Payot. Titu n i k . La Reconstitution typologique des langages archaiques de l'humanite (Am sterda m : Noord­ H o l landsche u i tgevers-maatschappij. paid copyists would spread out their o fferings and hawk their wares. 1 36-37). H e n ry and t h e Theory o f the S h o r t Story. But idealist reasoning scept ically discovers that "fu rther.

A s to the im pact of phonetism i n Western culture. M. He envisions himself as t h e actor o f speech (and not of a sequence of events). o ften introduces a t t h e e n d t h e spea k er a s a wit ness t o o r participant i n t h e nar­ rated " fact s . in novelistic conclusions.3 2 ) . which inscribes t h e product ion of i t s writing before t h e conceivable effects of an "oeuvre" as a phenomenon of (representative) dis­ course. after a l l int erest i n the narrated events has ended (the deat h o f the m ai n character. t h e author speaks not as a wit ness to some "event" (as in folk t ales). pp. 30. Of Gram­ mato/ogy ( Ba l t i m ore: J ohns H op k i n s U n iversity Press. An example of this would be Phili ppe Sol lers's book. he speaks in order t o ass u m e ownersh i p of the discourse t hat he appeared at first t o have given t o someone else (a character ). rather. 29. for instance) . A. trans. ( N ew York: Red Dust. The Park. " Yet. 1 97 6). . and he follows t hrough t h e loss of t h a t speech ( i t s death). stories of voyages. 1 978 ) . THE B O U N D E D TEXT 63 Poe tics: Formalist a n d Structuralist Views [ A n n Arbor: U n iversity o f M ichigan P ress. Sheridan­ Smith. T h e poetry of tr oubadours. l i k e popu lar t a les. 1 969). 2 8 . not to express his "feel ings" or his "art" (as i n troubadour poetry). see J acques D errida. and o t h e r k i n ds o f narratives. 2 3 1 .

then. o f poetic language) that "writing" has had the virtue of bringing to light. What would be involved i s t h e logic o f language ( and all the m ore so. th at is . i n w hich contem porary structural analysis claim s t o have its source. this alone would give currency to essays written over fo rty years ago.3. Bakhtin shuns the linguist's technical rigor. as well as one of the m ost powerful attem pts to t r anscend its limitations. dynamic gram . I have in m in d that particular literary practice i n which the elaboration o f poetic m eaning em erges as a t angible. while he takes on the fundamental problems presently confronting a structural analysis of n arrative. Writer as well as "scholar. D I A LOG U E . isomorphic t o t h e elaboration of poetic m eaning. A N D NOVEL1 I f t h e efficacy o f scien t i fic approach i n "human" sciences h a s always been challenged. WORD . 2 Confronted w i t h t h i s situation. Ru ssian Form alism . r ecently com i ng to light i n the work o f M ik hail Bakhti n . was i tsel f faced with identical alternatives when reasons beyond literature and science h alted its endeavors. R esearch was nonetheless carried on. 1 4 3 -7 3 . it is all the m ore stri k i ng that such a challenge should for the first time be issued on the very level o f the structures being s tudied-structures supposedly answerable to a logic oth er than scien­ t ific." Bakhtin was one of the first to replace the stat ic h ewing out of texts with a m odel where liter ary structure does n ot simply exist but is generated in relation First published in 2:71µ uwr1x� ( Par i �: Seuil. or persist in its efforts to elaborate a m odel t h a t w o u l d be isomorphic t o this o ther logic. pp. 1 96 9). . literary semiotics can either abstain and rem ai n silent. a concern o f primary im port ance t o contem porary sem iotics. His work represents o n e of t h a t m ovement's m ost rem ark able accom plishments. wielding an impulsive and a t t i m es even prophetic pen.

WORD. linear history appears as abstr act i on . which are t hen seen as texts read b y the writer. By introducing the s tatus of the word as a m i n imal structural unit. t hrough . What allows a dynamic dimension to structu ralism is his conception of t h e "literary word" as an intersection of textual sur­ face� rather than a point (a fixed meaning). we must first defi ne the three dimensions o f textual space where various semic sets and poetic sequences fun ction. Con fronted with this spatial conception of lan­ guage's poetic operation. the addressee (or the character). THE WO R D WITHIN THE SPACE OF TEXTS Defining the specific status of the word as signifier for d i fferent m odes of (literary) intellection within d i fferent genres or texts puts poetic an alysis at the sensitive center of contem porary "human" sciences-at the intersection of language (the true p ractice of thought)3 with space (the volume within which signification. Carnivalesque discourse breaks t hrough the laws of a l anguage censored b y gram m a r and sem an­ tics and. as a dialogue among several writings: t hat of the writer. The poetic word. There is no equivalence. and he l ooked for its roots i n carnival. the: pi:�ct!Ce of a signifyin� y ru_cture in relation or opposition t o another structure. and into which he inserts him self by rewriting them . identity between challenging official linguistic codes and challenging o fficial law. The only way a writer can participate in history is by t ransgressing this abstraction through a process of reading-writing. Bakhtin was the first to study this logic. polyvalent a n d m u lt i -determ ined. that is. To investigate the status of the word is to s tudy its articulations (as semic complex) with other words in the sentence. and in light of this transform ation. but r ather. Diachrony is transformed into synchrony. Bakhtin situates the text within history and society. D I A LO G U E . A N D N O V E L 65 t o another stru cture. adheres to a logic exceeding that of codified discourse and fully comes into being o n ly in the m argins of recognized culture. His­ t ory and m orality are written and read within the infrastructure of texts. at the same time. and then t o look for the same functions or relationships at the articulatory level of larger sequences. and the contemporary or earlier cu l tural context. is a social and political protest . t h rough a j oining o f differences. . articulates itself).

to literary structure. however. e . D I A LO G U E . as well as that of regulator. T h e word a s m inimal textual u n i t thus t u r n s o u t to occu py the status of m ediator. these t w o axes. AND NOVEL These three dimensions or coordina tes of dialogue a r e writing subject. not necessarily on the basis o f lin­ guistic m odels-justified by the principle o f semantic expa nsion.66 WORD. The notion of intertextua ll{!:5f eplaces that of i ntersubjectivity. . i . The word is spatialized . are not clearly distinguished. and secondly. Hence horizontal axis (subj ect-addressee) and vert ical axis (text-context) coin­ cide. questions­ and-answers. this other book. in relation to which the writer has written his own t ext. dis­ cover relations among larger narrative units such as sentences. and exterior text s . 6 . what appears as a lack of rigor is in fact an insight first introduced into lit erary theory by Bakhtin: any t ext is constructed as a m osaic of quotations. any text is th� absorption and transformation of another . et cetera. which he calls dialogu e and ambivalence. dialogues. The novel in particular exteriorizes linguistic dia­ l ogue. controlling mutations from diachrony to synchrony. Any descript ion of a word's speci fic operation within different literary genres or texts thus requires a translinguistic procedure. semic elem ents or as a set of ambivalent elem ents. we must think o f literary genres as im perfect sem iological system s "signifying b eneath the surface of langu age but never without i t " . I n Bakhtin's work.4 The addressee. Consequently the task of liter ary sem iotics is to discover other formalisms corresponding to different m odalities of w ord-j oining (sequ ences) within the dial ogical space of texts. He thus fu ses with this other discou rse. We could thus posit and demonstrate the hypothesis that any e volution of literary genres is an unconscious exteriorization of linguistic s tructures at their different levels. The word's status is thus defined hori­ zon tally (the word in the text belongs to both writing subj ect and addressee) as well as vertically (the word in the t ext is orien ted toward an anterior or synchronic literary corpus. and poetic language is read as at least 'd6uble . through the very notion of status. linking structural m odels to cultu ral (his torical) environment. First. addressee. is included within a book's discu rsive universe only as discourse itself. Yet. it fu nctions in three dimensions (subj ect-addressee­ context) as a s et of dia/ogical. bringing to light an im portant fact : each word (text) is an intersec­ tion of word (texts) where at least one other word (text) can be read.

[ . but it consistently refrains from studying those d ialogical relationships themselves. t h e dialogue-m onologue distinction h a s a m u c h larger significance than the concrete meaning accorded it by the Russian For­ m alist s . such t erms refer t o a linguistic infr as tructure t hat m u st be studied through a sem iotics of literary tex ts. ) D i alogical relationships are totally i m possible without logical and c oncrete sem antic relat ionships. Some of them distinguished between m onological discourse (as "equivalent to a psychic state")9 and narrat ive (as "artistic im itation of m o nological discourse") . Bakhtin emphasizes t hat those structuring a narrative ( for exam ple. but rather. 1 1 For Bakhtin. 12 While insisting on the di fference between dialogical relationships and specifically lingu istic ones. L i nguistics studies "language" and its specific logic in i t s com monality ("obshchnost") as that fact or which mak es dialogical i ntercourse possible. and so on). dialogue can be monological.8 as subsequent t o dialogue." They insisted on the dialogical character of linguistic communication7 and considered the m onologue. to which we would add subj ect of enunciation/subj ect of utterance) are possible because dialogism is . they have t h eir own speci ficit y . W O R D . must be elaborated fr om the point where they leave off. he seem s to be unaware that before refe rring to an oral discourse. studying the relation­ ship between t he two. writer/character. synt actic construction of oral discourse. Eik henbaum notes that Gogol's text actively refers to an oral form of narra tion and to its linguistic characteristics (in tonation. . For Bakhtin. ) D i alogical relationships are not reducible to l ogical or concrete semantic relationships. With him. but they are not reducible to t h e m . the "em bryonic form" of common lan­ guage . D IALOG U E . AND N O V E L 67 W O R D AND D I A LO G U E Russian Formalists were engrossed with the idea of "linguistic dialogue. Yet. pertinent vocabulary. . indirect and direct. the writer of the narrative usually refe rs to the dis­ course of an other whose oral discourse is only secondary (since the ot her is the carrier of oral discou rse) . . [ . which are in and o f themselves devoid of any dialogical aspect. . I t does not correspond to the direct/ indirect (monologue/ dia­ logue) distinction in narrat ives or plays. 10 Boris Eikhenbaum's fam ou s s tudy o f Gogol's The Overcoat is based on such premises. and what is called m o nologue can be.: dialogical. He thus set s u p two modes o f narration. This sem iotics cannot be b ased on either linguistic m et hods or logical givens.

" A s Bakhtin himself writ es. this "double character of langu age" has even been demonstrated as syntagma tic (m ade m anifest through extension. and secondly. however. does not s e e dialogue o n l y a s language assumed b y a subj ect . he nonetheless insists that "dialogue is the only sphere p ossible for t he life o f language . 13 which help to clarify Bakh tine's notion of di alogism as inherent in lan­ guage. " Today we can detect dialogical realtionships on several levels of langu age: first. I n order fo r dialogical rela­ t ionships to arise among [logical or concrete sem antic relationships]. becom e u t terances.. fo r the -y. _ ] - the n otion or. Bakh tinian dialogism identifies writing as both subj ectivity and com­ 1_11 un ication. rather. We should also note J akobson's dou ble structures and t h eir over lappings within the code/message relationship.-j5et!H'. It would be impor tant to analyze linguis­ tically the dialogical exchanges between t hese two axes of l anguage as basis of the novel's ambivalence. and m etonymy) and system atic (manifested t hrough associa­ tion. On still another level (which could be com pared t o the novel's am bivalent space). m o nological contracts as well as systems of cor­ relative value actualized in dialogue with the other ) or of parole (as essentially "combinative. yielding to that o f "am�ival�nce of v. he sees i t .i riter. Confronted with this dialogi sm. presence. that is. " not pure cr eation. absence. . but individu a l form ation b ased on the exchange of signs)." 1 4 Bakhti n . expressed in a word. Without ex plaining exactly what m akes up this double aspect o f language. . as a writing where o n e reads t h e other (with n o allusion t o Freud). as intertextuality.iii�su b ect o fwriti ng" becomes blurred.r� i �ing . " __ A MBIVA L E N C E The t erm "am bivalence" implies the insertion of history (societ y ) into a t ext and of this text into h istory. "language appropriated by t h e i ndividual as a practice . and metaphor). and becom e the positions of various subj ects. t hey m u s t clothe t hem selves in t h e word. t hey are one and the . 68 W O RD . born of a rev olutionary Russia t hat was preoccupied with soci a l problem s .when he speaks about discourse. Bakhtin foreshadows what Emile Benveniste has i n mind . or better.a: . AND NOVEL inherent i n langu age itself. langue/parole. within the systems either of langue (as collective. within the combinative dyad. D I A L OG U E .

" Lautream ont wanted to write so that he could submit himself to a h igh morality. Dialogue and ambivalence are borne out as the only approach that perm its the writer to enter history by espousing an am bivalent et hics: negation as affirm ation. Jn this perspective. When he speak s of "two paths m erging within the narrative. AND NOVEL 69 same. "truth") does not exist in this field. determination. since every unit is d ouble) acts as a m ulti­ determ ined peak . W ithin his practice. This im plies that the minimal unit of poetic language is at least double. developed on the basis of language's dialogism . He studies the polyphonic novel as an absorption of the carnival and the monological novel as a stifling of this literary structure.European sen­ tence). D I A L OG U E . a perpetual challenge o f past writing.�cra value" or literat� 's m oral "message.-. denotes "spatialization" and correla tion of the literary (linguistic) sequence. which. Dialogue a n d ambivalence lead me t o conclude that.!age-by definition an infi nity of pairings and combinations. " Bak htin considers writing as a reading of the anterior literary corpus and the text as an absorption o f and a reply to another tex t . The notion o f sign (Sr-Sd) is a product o f scientific abstraction (identity-substance-cause-goal as structure of the Indo. poetic language is a " doubl e. would enable us to understa nd. not in the sense of the signifier/s igni fied dyad. but rather. . Consequently. the sign " = " and the very concept o f sign. this m orality is actu alized as textual ambivalence: Th e Songs of Maldoror and the Poems are a constant dialogue with the preceding literary corpus." Saussure's poetic paragram ("Anagram s") extends fr om zero to two: the unit " one" (definition. The notion of double. It suggests that poetic language functions as a tabular model. within the interior space o f the text as well as within the space of texts. WORD. which he calls " M enippean" because o f its dialogism . the notions of definition. the result of thinking over poetic (not scientific) lan­ guage.postu lates the necessity for what he calls a trans/inguistic science. which presuppose a vertical (hierarchical) divi­ sion between signifier and signified. Bakhtin. in terms of one and other. designating a vertically and hierarchically linear divisio n . intertextual relations� rela­ f tionships that the nineteenth century label �d·. cannot be applied to poetic lan- 81. where each "unit" (t his word can no longer be u sed without quotation marks. The double would be the minimal sequence o f a para­ gram m atic semiotics to be worked out starting from the work of Saussure (in the "Anagram s") and Bakhtin. a text cannot be grasped through linguistics alone.

and cau­ sality. and Alonzo Church evolves out of a 0. M odern logic from G ottlob Frege and Giuseppe Peano to Jan Lu kasiewicz. . a continuity where 0 denotes and 1 is implicitly transgressed. A literary semiotics must be developed on the basis of a poetic logic where the co ncept of the power of the continuum would em body the 0-2 interval. determ ination. a subordination o f the code to l .l sequence. The realist novel.�� t ive discours e into . and social "prohibition" is l (God. twentieth-century Chinese philosopher Chang Tung-Sun (the product of a different linguistic herit age-ideogram s-where. where l is not a limit. in place of G od . tends to evolve within this space.. Law." "character" creation. Within this "power of the continuu m " from 0 to a speci fically poetic double. to God.70 WORD. narrat ive is a prohibition. and "subject" development-all are descriptive narrative elements belonging to the 0. D IA LO G U E . -a acco mplished in revolutionary society). itself founded on the Greek ( l ndo-European) sentence. there extends the Yin-Yang "dialogue") and. produces formulae that are m ore isomorphic with language-all of t hese are ineffec­ tive within the realm of poetic langu age.l logic is dog­ m atic. which Bakhtin calls monological ( Tolstoy). With B a khtiri�. nothingness-notation) t o accou nt for t h e operation o f poetic languag e. By adopting a dream logic. the linguistic. I t is therefore impossible t o formalize poetic language according to ex isting logical (scientific) procedures withou t dist orting i t . on the one hand. who begins with set theory.--w-ho s s1m iTates n-. Realist description. The only discourse integrally to achieve the 0-2 poetic logic is that of the carnival . definition of "per­ sonality. psychic. it tra nsgresses rules o f linguistic code and social m orality a s well. the epic i s religious a n d theological. Robert Ackermann . Such a sentence begins as subj ect-predicate and grows by identification. Hence. a monologism . Bakhtin (who attempted to g o beyond the Formalists through a dyna mic t heorization -. AND NOVEL I nstead of carrying these thoughts t o their conclusion we shall concentrate here on one of t heir consequences: the inability of any logical system based on a zero-one sequence (true-false.l i nterval and are t hus m onological. G eorge Boole. The only li nguistic practice t o "escape" this prohibition is poetic discourse. Defi nition). on the other. I t is no accident that the shortcom ings of Aristotelian logic when applied t o language were pointed out by.epic discourse. a l l "realis t" narrative obeying 0. Scientific procedures are indeed ba sed upon a logical approach.

does n o t dis­ place the 0 . and philosophical in nature-the problem of i nter­ textuality (intertextual dia logue) appears as such . Swift. Proust. our century's polyphonic novel becom es "u n readable" (Joyce) and in terior to language (Proust. this " transgression" o f linguistic. lan guage. We should par ticularly em phasize this specificity of dial ogue as transgression giving itself a law so as t o radically and categorically dis­ tingu ish it fr om the pseud o-transgression evident in a certain m odern "erotic" and parodic literature. t o m ention only a few o f the Revolu tion's writers who m ade the outstanding i m prints of this scriptural brea k . fictitious level. an other im perative than that of 0. logical. and social codes within the carnivalesque only exists and succeeds. nor has anything to do with the architectonics of dialogism. indicating a becom­ ing in opposit ion to the level of continuity and substance.1 int erval. I t thus com pensates for m onologism . Kafk a-while specifying that the m odern polyphonic novel. although analogous in its status. We m ight also add the "modern" novel of the twentieth century-J oyce. the logic of distance and relationship between t he dif­ ferent units of a sentence or narrative s tructure. Bakhtin's theory itself (as well as that of Saussure's "Anagrams") can be t raced historically to this break : he was able to discover textual--�l_<?giJm_!n the writings o f M ayak ovsky. Bakhtin then extended his theory into literary history as a prin­ ci V le of all upheavals and defiant productivity. and Dostoievsk i. both of which - . 71 I n fact. we can outline a new app roach to p'oetic texts . Kafka). D IA LO G U E . " it is a dramatic "banter" (Lautreamont). The novel incorporat ing carnivalesque structure is called polyphonic. and another lo�. Using t hat as point of departure. to dialogical n ovels of the past. AND N O V E i. Swift. Khlebnik ov. Dialogism is not "freedom to say everything. Bakhtin's exam ples include R abelais. WORD. becau se it accepts another law. The latter. of course." operates according to a principle of law anticipating its:. a n d Andrei Bely. seeing itself as "libertine" and "relativizing. political. where monologism is concerned . and Dos toievski remains at a represen tative. which implies a categorical t earing from the n orm and a rela­ tionship of nonexclusive opposites. is clearly m arked off from t hem . own transgression . A break occurred at the end of the n ineteen th century: while dialogue in Rabelais. Begh:ning with this break-not only literary but also social. /� akhtin's term dialoQism as a sem ic com plex thu s im plies the dou ble. Literary sem io tics can accept the word "dialogism ".

introduces a second principle of formation: a poetic seq uen ce is a "next-larger" (not causally deduced) to all preceeding sequences of the Aristotelian chain (scientific. CLA S S I F I CATI O N OF W OR D S WITHIN T H E N A RRATIVE According t o Bakhtin.72 W O R D . It is the annunciating. which is supposed to provide him with direct. and dial ogical (transfinite sequences t h a t are next-larger to the preceding causal series ). expresses the last possible degree of signification by the subj ect of discourse within the limits of a given context. The n ovel's ambivalent space thus can be seen as regulated by two for mative principles: m onological (each following sequence is determ ined by the preceding one). Secondly. It k nows nothing but i tself and its object. First. . where symbolic relationships and an alogy take precedence over substance-causality connections. Bakhtin m oves to a reevaluation of the novel's structure. referring b ack t o its obj ect. opposed t o m o nological levels o f causality and identifying determination. the direct word. which. objective comprehension. it is a logic of analogy and nonexclusive opposition." a concept b orrowed from G eorg Cantor. The n otion of ambivalence pertains t o the permutation o f the two spaces observed in novelistic structure: dia logical space and m onological space. This i nvest iga­ tion takes the form of a classificati on of words within the narrative-the cla ssification being then linked t o a typo logy of discourse. Finally. on the basis o f poetic language's "power of the continu u m " (0-2). From a conception o f p oetic language as dialogue and ambivalence. 15 Dialogue appears m os t clearly in t h e structure o f carnivalesque lan­ guage. D IA L O G U E . AND NOVEL obey t h e logic of being an d a r e thus m onological. monological. it is a logic o f the "transfinite. there are three categories o f words within the nar­ rative. to which it attempts to be adequate ( i t is not "conscious" of the influences of words foreign to it). expressive word of the writer. or narrative). t he denotative word.

having become the object of an ot her (denotative) word. parody fo r instance. chang­ ing neither meaning nor tonality. This category of ambivalen t words is characterized by the writer's exploitation of another's speech-without running counter to its thought-for his own pu rposes. polem ical confessions." but a fo reign discourse is constantly present in the speech that it distorts. the obj ect­ oriented word. It is a foreign word. Here the writer introdu ces a signification opposed t o t hat o f the other's word. is not "conscious" of it. has in m ind repetition). The result is a word with two significations: it becom es ambivalent. is t herefore univocal. subordinate to the narrative word as object of the writer's com prehension. proves to be quite d i fferent. D I A LO G U E . it subordinates that word to its own task. am bivalent words appear in M enippean and carnivalesque texts (I shall return to this point). Consequently. The o bject-oriented word. the other's word is represented by the word of the narrator. it is at som e distance from the latter. of which the hidden interior polemic is an ex am ple. like the denotative word. " It has direct. AND NOVEL 73 Second. however. Stylizing effects establish a distance with regard to the word of anot her-contrary to imitation (Bakhtin. which takes what is imitated (repeated) s eriously. objective meaning. giv­ ing it a new meaning while retaining the meaning it already had. WORD. I t is both oriented towards its object and is itsel f the object o f the writer's orientation. and hidden dia­ logue. introducing no other signification. A second category of ambivalent words. is characterized by the active (modifying) influence of another's word on the writer's word. he fo llows its direction while relativizing it. Wit h this active kind of am bivalent word. Within t he evolution of genres. Examples include auto­ biography. questi ons-and-answers. rather. the writer can u se another's word. . This ambivalent word is t herefore the result of a joining of two sign systems. The forming of two sign systems relativizes the t ext . but is not situated on the same level as the writer's discou rse. claim ing and appropriating it without relativizing it. It is the writer who "speaks. t h e object-orien ted word is t h e direct discourse of "char­ acters. I n the t hird instance. t h at is the specific characteristic of its s t ructure. But the writer's orientation t owards the word as obj ect does not penetrate it but accepts it as a whole. thus. The novel is the only genre in which am bivalent words appear. A t hird type of am bivalent word.

74 WORD, D I A LO G U E , A N D N O V EL


T h e notion o f univocity o r obj ectivity of m onologue a n d o f t h e epic t o
which it is assi m ilated, or o f the denotative object-oriented word, cannot
withstand psych oanalytic or sem antic analysis of language. Dialogism is
coextensive with the deep structures o f discou rse. N otwithstanding
Bakht i n and Benveniste, dialogism appears on the level of the Bakhtinian
denotative word as a principle of every enunciation, as well as on the
level o f the "story" in Benveniste. The story, like Benven iste's concept of
"discourse" itself, presu p poses a n intervention b y the speaker within the
narrative as well as an orientation toward the other . In order to describe
the dialogism inherent in the denotative or historical word, we would
have to turn to the psychic aspect of writing as t race of a dialogue with
onese i f (with another), as a writer ' s dist ance from himself, as a splitting
e writer into subj ect of enunciation and subj ect of u tterance.
y the very act of narrating, the subj ect of narration addresses an
1 r; narra t i o n is structured in relation to this ot her . (On the strength of
such a commu nication, Francis Ponge o ffers his own variation o f " I
think therefore I am " : " I speak and you hear m e, therefore w e are ." H e
thus postu lates a shift from subjectivism t o am bivalence.) Con sequently,
we m ay consider narration ( beyond the signifier/ signified relationship) as
a dialogue between the subject of narration (S) and the addressee (A)­
the o ther. This addressee, q uite sim ply the reading subject , represents a
doubly oriented entity: signifier in his relation to the t ext and signified in
the relation between the subject of n arration and him sel f. This entity is
thus a dyad ( A 1 and A 2 ) whose two t er m s, communicating with each
other, constitute a code system . The subj ect of narration (S) is drawn in,
and therefore reduced t o a code, t o a nonperson, to an anonym ity (as
writer, subject of enunciation) m ediated by a third person , the he/she
char acter, the subj ect of u tterance. The writer is thus the subject of nar­
ration transformed by his having included himself within the narrative
system ; he is neither nothingness nor anybody, but the possibility of
permutation from S to A, from story to discourse and from discourse t o
story. He becomes a n anonymity, a n absence, a blank space, thus permit­
ting the structure to exist as such . A t the very origin of narration, at the
very moment when the writer appears, we experience emptiness. We see


the problem s of death , birth, and sex appear when literature touches
upon this strategic point that writing becomes when it exteriorizes lin­
guistic system s through narrative structure (genres). On the basis o f this
anonymity, this zero where the author is situated, the he/she of the
character is born. At a later stage, it will becom e a proper nam e (N).
Therefore, i n a literary text, 0 does not exist; emptiness is quickly
replaced by a "one" (a he/she, or a proper nam e) that is really twofold,
since it is subject and addressee. It is the addressee, the other, exteriority
(whose object is the subject of narration and who is at the same tim e
represented and representing) w h o transforms t h e subject i n t o a n au thor.
That is, who has the S pass through this zero-stage of negation, of exclu­
sion, const i tuted by the au thor. In t his coming-and-going m ovemen t
between subject a n d other, between writer (W) a n d reader, the author i s
structured as a signifier a nd the text a s a dialogue o f t w o discourses .
The constitution o f characters ( o f "personality") also permits a dis­
junction of S into Sr (subject of enunciation) and Sd (subject of
utterance). A diagram of this m u tation would appear as diagram 1 . This

s _......s .
---- --. W (zero) -. he --. N = S
' sd

Diagram I

diagram incorporates the structure of the pronom inal system 16 that
psychoanalysts repeatedly find in the discourse of the obj ect of
psych oanalysis (see diagram 2).
At the level o f the text (of the signifier)-in the Sr-Sd relationship-we
find this dialogue of the subj ect with the addressee around which every
narration is structured . The subject of ut terance, in relation to the subj ect


(some) one

Diagram 2

76 W O R D , D IA LO G U E , A N D N O V E L

o f enunciation, plays the role o f addressee with respect to the subj ect; it
inserts the subject of enunciation within the writing system by m a king the
latter pass through emptiness . M a llarme called this operati on "elocu­
tionary disappearance . "
T h e subject of u tterance is b oth representative o f the subject of enun­
ciation and represented as object of the subject of enunciation. I t is
t herefore com mutable with the writer's anonymity. A character ( a per­
sonality) is constituted by this generation of a double entity starting fr om
zero. The subject of utterance is "dialogical," both S and A are disguised
within it.
The procedure I have j u s t described in confronting narration and the
novel n ow abolishes distinctions bet ween sign ifier a n d signi fied. It
renders these concepts ineffective for that literary practice operating
uniquely within dialogical signifier(s). "The signifier represents the sub­
ject for another signifier" (Lacan).
N arration, t herefore, is always constituted as a d ialogical m at rix by
the receiver t o whom this n arration refers. A n y narration, including his­
t ory and science, contains this dialogical dyad formed by the narrator in
conj u nction with the other. I t is translated through the dialogical Sr/Sd
relationship, with Sr and Sd filling the roles of signifier and signified in
turns, but constituting m erely a permutation o f two signifiers.
It is, h owever, only through certain narrative structures t h at this dia­
logue-this hold on the sign as double, this am bivalence of writing-is
exteriorized in the actual organization of poetic discourse on the level o f
textual, literary occurrence.


Bakhtin's radical undertaking-the dynamic analysis o f texts resulting i n
a redistribution o f genres-calls upon u s t o b e just a s radical i n develop­
ing a typology of discourses .
As it is used by the Formalists, the term " narra tive" is too ambiguous
to cover all of the genres it supposedly designates. At least two different
types of narrative can be isolated.
We h ave on the one hand m onological discourse, including, first, the
represen tative m ode of description and narration (the epic); secondly, his-

WORD, D IA L O G U E , A N D N O V E L 77

torical discourse; a n d thirdly, scientific discourse. I n a l l three, t h e subject
both assum es and subm its to the rule of I (God). The dialogue inheren t
in a l l discourse is smothered by a prohib ition, a censorship, such t h at this
discourse refuses to turn b ack upon itself, to enter int o dialogue with
itself. To present the m odels o f this censorship is to describe the n ature of
the differences between two types of discourse: the epic type (history and
science) and the M enippean type (carnivalesque writings and n ovel),
which transgresses prohibition. M onological discourse corresponds to
J akobson's system atic axis of language, and its analogous relationship to
gramm atical affirmation and negation has also been noted.
On the other hand, dialogical discourse includes carnivalesque and
M enippean discourses as well as the polyphonic novel. In its structures,
writing reads another writing, reads itself and constructs itself through a
process o f destructive genesis.


The epic, structu red a t t h e limits of syncretism, illustrates t h e double
value of words in their post syncretic phase: the utterance o f a subj ect
( " I " ) inevitably penetrated by language as carrier of the concrete,
universal, individual, and collect ive. But in an epic, the speaker (subj ect
of the epic) does not make use of another's speech . The dialogical play of
language as .correlation of signs-the dialogical permutation of two sig­
nifiers for one signified-takes place on the level of narration (through
the denotative word, or through the inherency of the text). It does not
exteriorize itself at the level of textual manifestation as in the structure of
novels. This is the schem e at work within an epic, with no hint as yet of
Bakhtin's problem atic-the am bivalent word . The organizational prin­
ciple o f epic structure thus remains m onological. The dialogue of lan­
guage does not m anifest itself except within a narrative infrastructure.
There is no dialogue at the level of the a pparent textual organization (his­
torical enunciation/discursive enunciation); the two aspects of enuncia­
tion remain limited by the narrator's absolute point of view, which coin­
cides with the wholeness of a god or com munity. Withi n epic
m onologism , we detect the presence of the "transcendental signified" and
"self presence" as highlighted by J acques Derrida.


It is the system atic m ode of language (sim ilarity, according to
J akobson) that prevails within the epic space. Metonym ic contiguity,
specific to the syntagmatic axis of language, is rare. O f course, associa­
tion and m etonymy are there as rhetorical figures, but they are never a
principle of st ructural organization. Epic logic pursues the general
through the specific; it thus assumes a hier archy within the structure of
substance. Epic logic is therefore causal, that is, theological ; it is a belief
in the literal sense of the word.


Carnivalesque structure is like the residue of a cosm ogony t hat ignored
subst ance, causality, or identity outside of its link to the whole, which
exists only in or through relationship. This carnivalesque cosm ogony has
persisted in the form of an antitheological (but not antimystical) an d
deeply popular m ovement. It rem ains present as an often m isunderstood
and persecuted substratum of official Western culture thr oughout its
entire history; it is most noticeable in folk games as wel l as in M ed ieval
theater and prose (anecdotes, fables, and the Roman de R enart). A s
composed of distances, rela tionships, analogies, a n d nonexclusive opposi­
tions, it is essentially dialogical. It is a spectacle, but without a stage; a
game, but also a daily u ndertaking; a signifier, but also a signified. That is,
two t exts m eet , contradict, and relativize each other . A carnival par­
ticipant is both actor and spectator; he l oses his sense of ind ividuality,
passes through a zero point of carnivalesque acti vity and splits into a
subject of the spectacle and an object o f the game. Within the carnival ,
the subject is reduced t o nothi ngness, while the structure o f the au thor
em erges as anonymity that creates and sees itself created as self and
other, as m an and m ask . The cynicism o f this carnivalesque scene, which
destroys a god in order to impose its own dialogical laws, calls to m in d
Nietzsche's Dionysianism . T h e carnival first exteriorizes the structure of
reflective literary productivity, t h e n inevitably brings to light t h i s struc­
ture' s u nderlying u nconscious: sexuality and death . Out of the dialogu e
t h a t is est ablished between them , the structural dyads of carnival appear:


high and low, birth and agony, foo d and excrem ent, praise and curses,
laughter and tears.
Figures germ ane to carnivalesque language, including repetition ,
"i nconsequent " statem ents (which are nonetheless "connected" within an
infinite context), and n onexclusive opposition, which fu nction as em pty
sets or disjunct ive additions, produce a m ore flagrant dialogism t h an any
o ther discourse. D isputing the laws of language based on the 0- 1 int erval,
the carnival challenges G od, authority, and social law; insofar as it is
dialogical, it is rebellious. Because of its subversive discou rse, the word
"carnival" has understandably acqu ired a strongly derogatory or nar­
rowly burlesque m eaning in our society.
The scene of the carnival, where there is no stage, no "theater , " is thus
both stage and life, game and dream, discourse and spectacle. By the
sam e t oken, it is proffered as the only space in which language escapes
linearity (law) to live as drama in t hree dimensions. At a deeper level,
this also signifies the contrary: drama becomes located in language. A
major principle thus emerges: all poetic discourse is dram atization, dra­
m atic permutation (in a m athematical sen se) of words. Within car­
nivalesque discourse, we can already adu m brate that "as to mental con­
dition, it is like the m eanderings of drama" ( M allarm e). This scene,
whose symptom is carnivalesque discourse, is the only dimension where
"theater m ight be the reading of a book, its writing in operation . " I n
other words, such a scene is t h e o n l y place where discourse attains its
"potential in finity" (to use D avid Hilbert's term), where prohibitions
(representation, "m onologism " ) and t h eir transgression (dream , body,
"dialogis m " ) coexist. Carnivalesque t radition was absorbed into M enip­
pean discourse and put into practice by t he polyphonic novel.
On the omn ified stage of carnival, language parodies and relativizes
itself, repudiating its role in representation ; in so doing, it provokes
laughter but remains incapable of detaching itself from represen tation .
The syntagmatic axis of language becom es exteriorized in this space and,
through dialogue with the systematic axis, constitutes the ambivalent
structure bequeathed by carnival t o the n ovel. Faulty (by which I mean
am bivalent), both representative and antirepresentative, the carni­
valesque structure is anti-Christian and antirationalist. All of the m ost
important polyphonic novels are inherit ors of the M enippean, car­
nivalesque structure: those of Rabelais, Cervantes, Swift, Sade, Balzac,


Lautreamont, Dostoievski, J oyce, and Kafk a . Its history is the history of
the struggle against Christianity and its representation; t his m eans an
exploration of language ( o f sexuality and death), a consecration of
am bival ence and of "vice . "
T h e word "carnivalesque" lends itself t o a n ambiguity one m u s t avoid.
In contem porary society, it generally connotes parody, hence a
strengthening of the law. There is a tendency to blot out the carnival's
dramatic (murderous, cynical, and revolutionary i n the sense of dia­
lectical transformation) aspects, which Bak htin emp hasized, and which
he recognized in M enippean writings or in Dostoievski. The laughter o f
t he carnival is n o t sim ply parodic; i t is no m ore comic than tragic; it i s
b o t h a t once, o n e m ight s a y t h a t i t is serious. This is t h e only w a y that i t
c a n avoid becoming either t he scene of l a w or t h e scene o f i t s parody, i n
order t o become t he scene o f i t s o ther. M odern writing o ffers several
striking exam ples of this omnified scene that is both law and
ot her where laughter is si lenced because it is not parody but m urder

and revolution (Antonin Artaud).
The epic and the carnivalesque are the two currents that fo rmed
European narrative, one ta king precedence over the other according to
the times and the writer. The carnivalesque t radition of the people is still
apparent in personal literature of late antiqu ity and has remained, to this
day, the life source reanimating literary t h ought, orienting it t owards new
C lassical humanism he lped dissolve the epic m onologism that speech
welded t ogether so well, and that orators, rhetoricians, and politicians, on
the one hand, tragedy and epic, on the other, im plem ented so effectively.
Before another m onologism could take root (with the triumph of formal
logic, Christianity, and Renaissance hum anism), 17 late antiquity gave
b irth to two genres that reveal language's dialogism . Situated within the
carnivalesque tradition, and constituting the yeast of the European novel,
these two genres are Socratic dialogue and M enipp ean discourse.


Socratic dialogue was widespread i n antiquity: Plato, Xenophon,
Antisthenes, Aeschines, P haedo, Euclid, and ot hers excelled in it,


although only the dialogues o f Plato and X enophon have come down t o
us. N o t as m u c h rhetorical i n genre a s popular and carnivalesque, it was
originally a kind of memoir (the recollections of Socrates's discu ssions
with his students) that broke away from the constraints of history, retain ­
ing only the Socratic process o f dialogically revealing truth, a s well as the
structure of a recorded dialogue fr amed by narrative. N ietzsche accused
Plato of having ign ored Dionysian tragedy, but Socratic dialogue had
adopted the dialogical and defiant stru cture of the carnivalesque scene.
According to Bakhtin, Socratic dialogues are characterized by opposition
to any o fficial m o nologism claiming to possess a ready- made truth.
Socratic truth ("meaning") is the product of a dialogical relationship
among speakers; it is correlational and its relat ivism appears by virtue of
the observers' au tonomous points of view. Its art is one of articulation of
fa ntasy, correlation o f signs. Two typical devices for triggering this lin­
guistic network are syncrisis (confronting different discourses on the
same topic) and anacrusis (one word prompting another). The subj ects of
discourse are nonpersons, anonyms, hidden by the discourse constituting
them. Bakhtin reminds us t hat the "event" o f Socratic dialogue i s o f the
nature of discourse: a questioning and testing, through speech, of a
definition. This speech practice is therefore organically linked to the man
who created it (Socrates and his students), or better, speech is m a n and
his activity. Here, one can speak o f a practice possessing a synthetic
character; t he process separ ating the word as act, as apodeictic practice,
as articulation of difference fr om the image as represent ation, as
k nowledge, and as idea was not yet com plete when Socratic dialogue
took form . But t here is an i m p ortant "detail" to Socratic dialogism; it is
the exclusive p osition of a subject of discourse that provokes the dia­
logue. I n the Apology of Plato, Socrates's trial and the period of await­
ing judgment determine his d iscourse as the confessions of a m an "on the
threshold." The exclusive situation liberates the word from any u nivocal
objectivity, from any representative fu nction, opening it up to the sym­
bolic sphere. Speech affronts death, m easuring itself against another dis­
course; t his dialogue counts the person out.
The resemblance between S ocratic dialogue and the ambivalent word
o f the novel is obvious.
Socratic dialogue d i d not last long, but it gave birth to several
dialogical genres, i ncluding Menippean discourse, whose origins also lie
in carnivalesque folklore.


M E N IP P E A N D I S C O U R S E : T H E T E X T A S

I . M enippean discourse takes its name from M enippus o f Gadara, a
philosopher of the third century B. C. His satires were lost, but we know
of their existence through the writings of Di ogenes Laertius . The term
was u sed by the Romans to designate a genre of the first century s . c .
( M arcus Terentius Varro's Satirae Menippeae).
Y et, the genre actually appeared much earlier; its first representative
was perhaps A ntisthenes, a student of Socrates and one of the writers of
Socratic dia logue. Heraclitus also wrote M enippean texts (according to
Cicero, he created an analogous genre called /ogistoricus); Varro gave i t
definite stability. Other exam ples include Seneca the Y ounger's Apoco­
/ocyn thosis, Petronius's Satyricon, Lucan's satires, Ovid's Meta­
morphoses, Hi ppocrates' Novel, various samples of Greek "no v els, "
classical utopian novels, a n d Roman ( H oratian) satire. Within the
M enippean sphere there evolve diatribe, soliloquy, and ot her minor
genres of cont roversy. It greatly i n fluenced Christian and Byzantine
literature; in various forms, it survived through the M i ddle Ages, the
R enaissance, and the Refor m ation through to the present (the novels of
Joyce, Kafka, and Bataille). This carnivalesque genre-as pliant and
variable as Proteus, capable o f insinuating itself into other genres-had
an enormous i n fluence on the development of European literat ure and
especially the formation of the novel .
M enippean discourse is both comic and tragic, or rather, it is serious
in the same sense as is the carnivalesque; through the status of its words,
i t is politically and socially disturbing. It frees speech from historical
constraints, and this entails a thorough bo ldness in philosophical and
imaginative inventiveness. Bakhtin em phasizes that "exclu sive" situa­
ti ons increase freedom of language in M enippean discourse. Phanta­
sm agoria and an often mystical sym bolism fuse with macabre natu­
ralism . A dventures u n fold in brothels, robbers' dens, t averns, fair­
grounds, and prisons, am ong erotic orgies and during sacred worship,
and so fort h . The word has no fear of i ncrim inating itself. I t becomes
free fr om presupposed "values" ; without dist inguishing between virtue
and vice, and without distinguishing itself fr om them , the word considers
them its private domain, as one of its creations. Academic problems are


pushed aside in favor of the "ultim ate" problem s of existence: this dis­
course orients liberated language t owards philosophical u niversalism .
Without distinguishing ontology from cosm ogony, i t unites them into a
practical philosophy of life. Elements of the fant astic, which never appear
in epic or tragic works, crop forth here. For example, an u nusual
perspective fro m above changes the scale of observation in Lucan's
lcaro-m enippea, Varro's Endym ion, and later i n the works of Rabelais,
Swift , and Voltaire. Pathological states of the soul, such as madness,
split personalities, daydream s , dreams, and death, become part of the
narrative (they a ffect the writ ing of Shakespeare and Calderon). Accord­
ing to Bakhtin, t hese elem ents have m ore structural t han t hematic signifi­
cance; t hey destroy m an's epic and tragic unity as well as his belief in
identity and causality; they indicate that he has lost his totality and no
longer coincides w i t h himself. A t the same t i m e , they o ften appear as a n
exploration o f language and writing: in Varro's Bimarcus, the t w o
M arcuses discuss whether or n o t o n e should write in t ropes. M en ippean
discourse tends t owards the scandalous and eccentric in language. The
"inop portune" expression, with its cynical frankness, its desecration of
t h e sacred, a n d i t s attack on etiquette, is quite characteristic. This dis­
course is m ade up of contrasts: virtuous courtesans, generous bandits,
wise men that are both free and enslaved, and so on. It uses abrupt tran­
sitions and changes; high and low, rise and fall, and misalliances of all
kinds. I ts language seems fascinated with the "double" (with its own
activity as graphic trace, doubling an "outside") and with the logic o f
opposition replacing t h a t of identity in defining term s. I t is an all-inclu­
sive genre, pu t t ogether as a pavem ent of citations. It includes all genres
(short s tories, letters, speeches, m ixtures of verse and prose) whose
structural signi fication is to denote the writer's distance fr om his own
and other texts. The multi-stylism and multi-tonality of this discourse
and the dialogical status of i ts word explain why it has been im possible
for classicism, or for any other authoritarian society, to express it self in a
novel descended fr om M enippean discou rse.
Put t ogether as an exploration of the body, dream s, and language, this
writing grafts onto the topical: it is a kind of political j ournalism o f its
time. Its d iscourse exteriorizes political and ideological conflict s o f the
m oment . The dialogism of its words is practical philosophy doing battle
against idealism and religious metaphysics, against the epic. It con-


stitutes t h e social and political thought of a n era fighting against
theology, against law.
2. M enippean discourse is thus structured as ambivalence, as the
focus for two tendencies of Western literature: representation t hrough
language as staging, and exploration of langu age as a correlative system
of signs. Language in the M enippean tradition is both represent ation of
exterior space and "an experience that produces its own space . " I n this
ambiguous genre appear, first, the prem ises of realism (a secondary
activity in relation to what is lived, where m an describes himself by mak ­
i n g of himself an exhibition, finally creating "characters" and "per­
sonalities"); and secondly, the refusal to define a psychic universe (an
i m mediately present activity, characterized by im ages, gestures, and
word-gestures t h rough which man lives his limits in the impersonal). This
second aspect relates M enippean structure to the structure of dreams and
hieroglyphic writing or, possibly, to the theater of cruelty as conceived by
Artau d . His words apply equally; M enippean discourse "is not equal to
individual life, t o that individual aspect of life where characters t riumph,
but ra ther to a kind o f liberated life that sweeps away h u m an indi­
viduality and where man is no m ore than a reflected image." Likewise,
the M enippean experience is not cathartic; it is a festival of cruelty, but
also a political act. It transmits no fixed m essage except that itself should
be " t he eternal j oy of becom ing, " and it exhausts itself in the act and in
t h e present. Born after S ocrates, Plato, and the Sophists, it belongs t o an
age when t hought ceases t o be practice; the fact t hat i t is considered as a
techn e shows t hat the praxis-poiesis separation has already t a k en place.
Similarly, literature becom ing "thought" b ecomes conscious of itself as
sign. M an, alienated from nature and society, becomes alienated from
himself, discovering his " interior" and "reifying" this discovery in the
a mbivalence o f M enippean writing. Such t o kens are the harbingers of
realist represen tation. M enippean discourse, however, k nows nothing o f a
theological principle's monologism (or of the Renaissance m an-God) that
could have consolidated its representat ive aspect. The " tyranny" i t i s
subj ected t o is that of t ex t ( n o t speech a s reflect ion o f a preexisting
universe), or rather its own structure, constructing and understanding
itself t h rough itself. It constructs itself as a hieroglyph, all the while
remaining a spectacle. It bequeaths this a m b ivalence t o the novel, above
all to t he polyphonic novel, which k nows neither law nor hierarchy, since

or ridiculed. m etaphor and m etonymy. incorporating M enippean elem ents. In other words. t ending to refuse representation and the epic. but also contiguity (analogy. t hat censor all car­ nivalesque and M enippean elements. M enippean dia­ logism contradicts it and points it t owards other forms of t h ought. known as realistic. and therefore "rhetoric"-not in Benedetto Croce' s sense of ornament. M enippean discourse develops in tim es of opposition against Arist o telianis m . and writers of polyphonic novels seem to disapprove of t h e very structures of official thought fou nded on formal logic. dialogical novel. embodies the effort of European thought t o break . Only modernity-when fr eed of "God"-releases the Menippean force of the novel. ignored. From within the very interior o f formal logic. I n the Middle Ages. The novel. Today. I ndeed. that of representation by language. M enippean ambivalence consists of communication between two spaces: 18 that of the scene and that of the hieroglyph. but rather. and t herefore "realism"). in the bourgeois era. and especially t he modern. as justification through and in language). bourgeois society has not only accepted. has only been tolerated. and that o f experience in language. To t he contrary. but claim s to recognize itself in t he novel. stands against Aristotelian logic. THE S U BV E R S IV E N O V E L 1 . the M enippean. t hat is. 19 such claim can only refe r to t h e category of m on ol ogica l narratives. whose structu res were assembled at the time of the Renaissance. it has been declared unreadable. t ranslating a logic of relations and analogy rather than of substance and inference. M e nippean tendencies were held in check by the authority o f the religious text. D IALOGUE. even while skirting it. it shares the same fate as the carnivalesque discourse practiced by students during the M iddle Ages outside of the Church. polyphonic novel. AND NOVE L 85 it is a plurality of linguistic elem ents in dialogical relationships. T h e con­ junctive principle of the di fferent parts of Menippean discourse is cer­ t ainly sim ilitude (resem blance. dependence. juxt aposition. Now that m odern. the dialogism of M enippean and carnivalesque dis­ courses. system and phrase. WORD. they were contained by the absolutism of individuals and things. This am bivalence is the novel's inheritance.

A N D N O V E L o u t of the framework o f causally determined identical substances and head t oward an other m odality of thought that proceeds through dialogue (a logic of distance. and Bataille-to mention only t hose who have always been and still remain on the fringe of official cu ltu re) . and it presents itself as perpetually challenging this discourse. anal ogy. Identity. said that literature "is nothing but the flash of what should have been produced previously or closer to the origi n . The way in which European t hought transgresses its constituent characteristics appears clearly in the words and narrative structures of the twentieth-century novel .::::? Addressee (A). The . The first m odel determines genre (epic poem .::::? A ) plays itself out entirely within the writing discou rse. is the writer himself. Lautreamont.86 W O R D . one of the first to understand the Menippean qualities of the novel (let it be emphasized that Bak ht in's term has the advantage of situating a cert ain kind o f writing within history). and (2) Subject of enu nciation .::::? Subject of u tterance. subst ance. based on two dialogical categories : ( l ) Subject (S) . D I A LOG U E . it is nonethe­ less rooted in our present concerns. relation. Sade. and therefore d ialogism and M enippean am bivalence . M allarme. nonexclusive and transfinite opposition). opposit ion. relativity. the first dialogical m odel (S . and definition are transgressed so that others may be adopted: an alogy.20 Although this entire historical inventory that Bakhtin has undertaken evokes the im age of a m u seum or the task of an archivist. then.Rabelais. Swift. Kafka. The first m odel implies a dialogical relationship. where the text is elaborated as theater and as reading. while the second presupposes m odal relationships within this dialogical form ation. It is therefore not surprising that the novel has been considered as an inferior genre (by neoclassicism and other similar regimes) or as subversive (I have in mind the m aj or writers of polyphonic novels over m any centuries. Within the p o lyphonic structure of a n ovel. " 2 . but as reader of another text. The writer's interlocutor. Everything written today unveils either the possibility or im possibility of reading and rewriting history . This possibility i s evident i n t he literature heralded b y the writings o f a new generation. novel) while t h e second determ ines generic variants. I would n o w suggest two m odels for organizing narrative significa­ tion. causality.

carnivalesque phenomena attracting young people. q u antum exchanges. syntagm atic. the com­ munal. compelling us t o analyze them as m odes of thought. t hrough language. This entails the study. That line could be seen as the graph of a motion through which our culture forsakes itself in order to go beyond itself. and current interest in the correlational symbolism of Chinese philosophy-to cite only a few striking element s of m odern t hought-all confirm this hypothesis. 1 96 6 . one of the fundamental problem s facing contem porary sem i otics is precisely to describe this "other logic" withou t denaturing it. M o re than binarism . and the configuration of (literary ) space a s revealing (literary) t h ought without "realist" pretensions. Consequently. as a reading-writing that fa lls in with non-Aristotelian. thereby establishing a close relationship between lan­ guage and space. W O R D . dialogism may well become the basis of our time's intellectual stru cture. A N D N O V E L 89 I t does not strive t owards transcendence b u t rather t oward harmony. finality. By examining the am bivalence of the spectacle (realist representation) and of l ived experi ence (rhetoric). T h e term "ambivalence" lends itself perfectl y to t h e current transitory stage of European literature-a coexistence (an ambivalence) o f "the double of lived experience" (realism and the epic) and "lived experience" itself (linguistic exploration and M en ippean discourse)-a literature that will perhaps arrive at a for m of thought similar to that of painting: the t ransmission of essence through form . within language as a correlation of texts. et cet era. The path charted between t h e two poles of dialogue radically abolishes problem s of causality. Dialogism situates philosophical problems within language. correlational. The predomi­ nance of the novel and other ambivalent l iter ary structures. m ore precisely. a l l the while im plying an idea of rupture (of opposition a n d analogy) as a m odality of transformation . "car­ nivalesque" logic. from our philosophical arena. I t suggests t h e im portance o f t h e dialogical pri nciple for a space of t h ought much larger than that of the novel. of the n ovel's space and of its tra nsm utations. D IA LO G U E . one m ight p erceive the line where the rupture (or junction) b etween them takes p lace.

which does not transgress the Aristotelian tradition founded on substa nce and causality.21 one m ight wonder whether the presuppositions of a m et alan­ guage that sets up hierarchies or is heterogeneous to narrative do not weigh too heavily upon such studies.. Contem porary analysis of narrative structure has been refined to the point where it can delineate functions (cardinal or catalytic). and indices (as such or as information). based on a triad and thus on struggle and proj ection (a m ovement of transcendence). dialogue..88 WORD. I f there is a m odel for poetic language. beyond the sentence and rhetorical figures.. Perhaps Bak htin's naive procedure.. By establishing the status o f the word as m inimal unit o f the text. m ust not be confused with Hegelian dialectics. Dialogism replaces these concepts by absorbing them within the concept of relation . space and infinity-concepts amenable to form alization through set theory and the new m athematics. which owes m uch to Hegel. Without gainsaying the undisputed value of this kind of research.... The notion of dia logism. it no longer involves lines or su r fa ces. A m bivalence M enippean Discou rse Polyphonic Novel Figure I (on the status of the word. AND NOVEL Pr act ice G od " Discourse" " H istory" D i a logism M onologism Correla ti onal L ogic A r i stotelian Logic P h rase System Carnival Narrative . and am bivalence).. it can describe the elaboration of a narrative according to particular logical or rhetorical patterns. D IA LO G U E .... but rather. Bakhtin deals with structure at its deepest level. . within which words function as quantum units. "'v" . The not i on of status has added to the im age of the text as a corpus of atoms that of a text m ade u p of relationships. as well as on the importance of certain new perspectives opened up through them . centered on the word and its unlimited ability to generate dialogue (com­ mentary of a quotation) is both sim pler and m ore productive.


R otsel.] 3 . i n Russkaja rech. p. trans. automatic writing). trans. Bakhtin died in 1 97 5 . 1 97 8). V i n ogradov. then. " Western m an ' s state o f "interiority" is thus a l i m i t ed l i t erary effect (confessional form . " O dialogich eskoj rechi" ( O n Dialogical D i scourse). p.E d . See Julia K ris teva. . Poetika ( M oscow: N a u k a . ] 4. although. La R evolution d u /angage poetique ( Paris: Seuil. i t p o i n t s o u t that "an expanding sequence i s recognized as the equivalent o f a syntactically simpler c o m m u nication" and defines "expansion" as "one of the m ost important aspects o f the operation o f natu ral languages . The point o f departu re for t h i s essay l i e s i n t w o books by M ik h a i l Bakhti n : Rab elais and His World.] 6. V . I conceive of t h e notion of expansion a s the theoretical principle a u t h orizing m e to study i n the struct u r e o f gen res an exteriorizat ion ( a n expansion) o f struc­ tures in herent to language. Vostotchno-luzhickoe narechie (The Eastern Louj i k s ' D ia lect) ( Petrograd: 1 9 1 5) . L . " A . Semantique structurale (Paris: Larousse. Robert C. this "monologue" probably exists only i n texts that pretend to reconstitute the so-called physical rea l i t y of " verbal n u x . 1 : 1 44. Derrida uses the word gram ( from the G reek gram ma. . the German word for "gen u i n e" does m od i fy "consciousness": " . I n a way. I ndeed. V. V . and for that reason alone i t rea l l y exists for m e personally as wel l . langu age. as organized chaos. . continuous psychological speech. 72. 3 3 . V . 9 . trans. Les Mots sous /es mots [Paris: G al l i m ard. . Czerba. (Cam bridge: M I T Press. " Language is as old as consciou sness. [Ed. ed. V . the year o f t h e publ ication o f h i s collection of essays. auch flir m i ch selbst echt existi erende Bewu. and fi nally. p. " K a r l M arx. . 1 966). and within. 1 974). in the latter part of the sentence. F . " . S. publ ished in French as Esthetique et theorie du roman ( Paris: Gallim ard. Ryazanskaya. Th e German Ideology. as t ranscendence. 1 1 . 8 . in The Marx-Engels R eader. [The French translation qu oted hy Kristeva is less faithful t o the German text. Greimas. 1 96 5 ) . 5 . when structural semantics refers to the linguistic foundations o f d iscourse. "Le l a ngage est la conscience reelle . J . 1 2 2. ( N ew Y o r k : Norton. W. [Ed. It seem s that what is persistently being called "interior m onologue" is the most i n domitable way i n which a n entire civilization conceives itself as identity. trans . 5 9-60. pp. R . V inogradov. 1 9 26). Voprosy /iteratury i estetiki ( M oscow). Yet. "that which is written") to designate the i rre d ucible m a t erial element of writing. 7 . See his Of Grammato/ogy. 1 976). D I A L OG U E . K istorii velikoruskix govorov (Toward a H i story o f R u ssian Dialects) ( Kazan : 1 869). 1 9 7 1 ] ) a n d suggest a n ew approach to literary texts. Helene Iswolsky. 1 9 7 3 ) . Tucker. Bou de. language is practical consci ousness t h a t exists also fo r other m en. ( B a l t i m ore: Johns H o p k i ns P ress. 1 972). l O . a s opposed t o the vast a m ount o f ex­ traneous connot ations current l y surrounding that word.Btse i n . Gayatri Spivak. E .90 W O R D . and the " N otes on the Translation and on Term ino logy" i n this volume. and Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. AND N O V E L ·N otes I . " The French version begins. ( A n n A r bor: A rdis. 2 . . I shall refer to only a few o f Bakhtin's n ot i on s insofar as they are congruent with the conceptions o f Ferdinand de Saussure as related to h i s "anagrams" (see Jean Starobinsk i . Freud's "Copernican" revo l u t ion (the discovery of the split within the subject) put an end t o t h e fiction o f an internal voice by positing the fu ndamental principles governing t h e subj ect's radical exteriority in relation to.

8 ( 1 966). p. I should emp hasize that i n t roducing notions o f set theory i n t o considerations on poetic language h a s o n l y metaphorical value. ed . a n t i monol ogical. See S . vol. [ 1 965]. 1 9 59). 1 3 0-4 7. no. I. 2 (Cambr idge: The U niversity P ress. since it i s fo u nded on the pr in­ ciple of a di fference between t h e "self' and the "world." i n Selected Writings /I (The H ague: M outon. C hristian M e t z . a n d others. 1 9 38). "Theorie des R om ans" (Theory of the N ovel). The author as creator of every t hing having to do w i t h the n ovel cannot be l ocated on any o f t hese l ingu istic surfaces. Bakhtin. 1 5 . although t h ey do not posit any specific relationship between n ove­ listic " i l l usionism" and linguistic symbolism. Viole t t e M orin. A l l t h ese s u r faces are located at vary­ ing distan ces from that authorial center" (" S l ovo o romane. A. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. 1 5 1 . WORD. 8. . See L u ce Irigaray. C l au d e Bremond. scientistic. he resides within the controlling center constitu ted by t h e i n t ersect i o n of the surfaces. 1 97 1 ). or for strat ifications within each o f them. AND NOVEL 91 1 2 . 1 5 1 -52. S e e t he i m portant col lect i o n o f studies o n narrative s t ructure i n Communications. in order t o allow the possibi l i t y o f a correlative logic based on t he very components o f form a l l ogic. 1 9 59). Attributing a single center to him would be to constrain h i m within a monological. R eflexions sur le roman (Thoughts on the Novel. and t h e quant ifiable/ i n finite relationship on t h e other. Bakhtin. ( 1 9 3 5 ) 3 5 : 5-275. H a yak awa. Georg L u k acs. or theological aspect of Western culture. An int eresting perspective on the concept o f t h e novel a s dialogue i s provided b y Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction ( C h icago: U n iversity of Ch icago P ress. series B. no. pp. Meaning. Actually. 84-90)." in Cahiers pour /'Analyse. 1 7. 14. H ayakawa. I n v olving t h e concept o f identity. U m berto E c o . " A C hinese P h ilosopher's Theory of K n o w l edge . " S h i fters. " in Voprosy literatury. "What I s M eant by Aristotelian Structure i n Language. 1 9 . Rat her. 2 1 . 1 8 . in A nna/es A cademiae Scientiarum Finnicae. 1 3 . " C o m m u nication l i nguistique et com m u n icat ion specu laire. 16. I. pp. J oseph Needham. vol. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics." it prompts a search for m ediat ion between the two terms. Theory of the Novel (Cam bridge: M IT Press. 1 9 7 1 ) . t h e wri ter is nothing more than the linking of these centers. D I A LO G U E . a n d atomist t hought o f Aris­ totelian G reece and has strengt hened throughout cen turies this activist. pp. 3 . Chang Tung-su n . Koskim ies. I . causal. pp. 1 9 6 5 ) . i t i s l i n k ed t o t h e substantialist. theological position. . and Maturity ( New Y o r k : H arper. 20. ( M ay 1 966). It is a system of s u r­ faces t h a t in tersect. J. 1 96 1 ). as the t w o are equally a n t i -Aristotelian. J ules G r i t t i . Thibaudet. I t is legi t i m a t e t o do so because one can draw an analogy between the Aristotelian logic/poet ic logic relationship on the one hand. I should l i k e to stress t h e a m biguous r o l e of Western individu a lism . On t he o t her hand. Science and Civilization in China." in language. and dialogical. Our la nguage and Our Wor/d ( New York: H arper. Paris: G al l i m ard. 3 9 -5 5 . Greim as. and Gerard G enette. This point o f view is shared b y a l l theorists of t h e novel: A . "The l anguage of the novel can be located neither on a surface nor on a line. H i s ideas concerning the reliable and unreliable writer parallel some of Bakhtin's investigations into dialogism in the novel. Tzvetan Todorov. Verbal C ategories and the R u ssian Verb. which in cludes contributions by R o land B arthes. " in S. Such a mode shows u p in m odern physics as well a s i n ancient C hi nese t h ought. It was perhaps this phenomenon that Bakhtin had in m ind when he wrote.

"perhaps as important. Didactic. as opposed to the break- First published in Tel Que/ 4 7 (Fall 1 9 7 1 ). pp. 23-54. v arious m odes of "teaching. ' As capitalist society i s being economically and p o litically choked t o death. Writing Degree Zero . beyond a span of thirty years. . a Passion of writing. reprinted in Po/y/ogue ( P aris: Seuil. Philosophical finds.4. as the one m arking the passage fr om the M iddle Ages to the Renaissance" ( Critiq u e et verite. and transformative knowledge. Roland Barthes. Only one language grows m ore and m or e contem p orary: the equivalent. of the language of Finnegans Wake. and disappear without leaving either a convinced audience or n oteworthy dis­ ciples. HOW D O E S ONE S P EAK TO LITERAT U R E? .ism. . preem pts its k nowledge where it does not impel it. They have survived. 1 977). in any " field" whatsoever. t hroughout Academia. In so doing. in m odified form. and devises another original. it stimulates and reveals deep ideological chan ges t h at are currently search­ ing for their own accurate political formulation. and involving the same problem. no longer command attention. It follows that the literary avant-garde experience. by virtue of its very characterist ics. com pete. thus bringing about a m u t at ion. p. and perhaps will continue to survive. 48). which recounts stage by stage the disintegration of bourgeois consciousness. m obile." scientific or aesthetic formalism s fol low one upon another. . is slated to become t h e laboratory of a new discourse (and of a new subj ect). rhet o ric. dogmatism of any k ind. I t also rej ects all discourse that is either stagnant or eclectically academ ic. discourse is wearing t h i n a n d heading fo r collapse a t a m ore rapid rate than ever before.

and because he sough t . and the status of metalanguage within the possi­ ble k nowledge of literature (the split bet ween "science" and "criticis m " ). which a i m s at specifying t h e key role o f literature i n the system of discourses : the notion of writing. a tex t . since I shall necessarily effect a sifting o f the whole of Barthes' s texts. h ow could I m atch his t alents as a writer? I ntending to write neither a scien­ tific analysis of any one specific text. I s h a l l now review w h a t I consider a major portion o f the w o r k o f R oland Ba rthes. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L IT E R A TU R E'? 93 down of a bourgeois "liberalism " t h at never ceases t o exploit and dom i nate. the reckoning of history within the written tex t . the subjective and the obj ective? The investigation of these contem porary ideological upheavals h inges on a knowledge of the literary "machine . He is t h e precursor and founder of modern literary s tudies precisely because he located literary practice at the intersection of subj ect and history. whose only am bi­ tion is to call attention and refer to the texts of R oland Barthes. He thus attem pted to constitute the concrete obj ect o f a learning whose variety. This will be a "classical. I shall attempt t o cho ose a "point o f view"-a displacement that perhaps jus­ tifies this undertaking. ultim ately. because he studied this practice as symptom of the ideological tearings in the social fab ric. a negativity germane t o the subj ect as well as to hist ory. into a new apportionment of relat ionships between the sym bolic and the real. the desire of the subj ect in writing. language seen as negativity. the precise mechanism that symbolically (semiotically) controls this t earing. " M y review of the work o f R oland B arthes i s situated i n this perspect ive. In o ther words. nor a global evaluation. as well as that of society. to the revisionism and hasty integration of a dogm atism that never ceases to be repressive and m e-too-ist under its [revolutionary] dis­ guise. and m obility allow him to ward off the saturation of old discourses. the desubstanti fication of linguistic ideals. How does literature achieve this positive subversion of the old universe? How does there em erge. This knowledge is in a way already a writing. through its practical experience. the operation of inscribing the a-sym bolized real into the fa bric of writing. I shall do so from the standpoint . capable o f clear­ ing a way ideologies and even "natural" languages in order to formulate new signifying devices? How does it condense t h e shattering of t h e sub­ ject. within texts. the impetu s of the body and. multiplicity." indeed a d idactic review.

" k nowledge" or "science" becomes the objective formulation of the desire to write. They are not only inseparable from one another. and hist ory. Writing then is a section effected by history in the language already wor ked on by a subject . situated as he is within contem porary history. t hus displacing his framework. t heir i nterrelationship im plicating both the "literary" person and the quibbling "scientific" spe­ cialist. This is to insert within society a practice that it cen sors. The knot is thus t ied by which l iterature will be considered from various viewpoints at the same time: language." therefore. inheren tly ruptured. subject o f metalanguage. sociology. such as lin­ guistics. by the reading that he gives o f t exts t oday. " Literature" becomes writing. My "point of view. The originality of Barthes 's writings probably lies in this double necessity: ( 1 ) that scientific approaches be simultaneous and that they form an ordered set giving rise t o Bart hes ' s concept of semiology. subject-producer. but t heir specific m ode of blending is the very condition of this possibility of k nowledge. is that the avant-garde allows u s to read in Barthes's work (itself part of that m ovem ent) contemporary elements of the cur­ rent discursive-ideological mutation. These are all "ent ries" into it for sciences that are either established or i n the process o f being established. (2) that they be controlled by the discreet and lucid presence of the subject o f t his "possible kn owledge" of literature.94 H O W D O E S O N E S P E AK TO LITE R A T U R E ? of avant-garde texts. semio­ logical. Realizing the desire fo r writing requires o f the subj ect (of metalanguage) the double m otion of adhesion and of distancing wherein he curbs his desire for the signifier th rough the sanction of a code (linguistic. itsel f dictated by an ( u topian?) ethics. of current avant-garde tendencies often subsequent t o the writing of Barthes. psychoanalysis. history. and thus to reconstitute the cohesion and harmony of a social discourse. THE DISCOVERY T h e notion of writing ( Writing Degree Zero) fashioned the concept of literary practice as well as the possible knowledge of this practice. thus setting the sta kes where the subject is-within language through his experience of body and history. et cetera). . to com m u nicate what it cannot understand or hear.

in the wake of B arthes. literature does n o t give rise to specific knowledge. but also. It is rather certain that his colleagues or disciples tend t o neglect them . Without the second necessity. sociology. . circum scribed theory looking for its truth. but the same discourse fa ils in the works of those-m ore scientific or m ore essayistic-w ho. we have the technicist illusion that "literary science" need only reproduce the nor m s of Science (if possible." its "object" and their rela tionsh i p are brought about." grafting them selves onto literary practice. n o t a l l of Barthes's writings obey ( o r a t least n o t all i n the same way) t hese necessities extracted from the whole of his wor k . the various form alisms. delineated in its t otality by an autonom ous. " of phonology. it gives the linguist as well as t he hist orian its surplus value. omit one or the other com­ ponents of the operation. we witness the fragmentation of the literary entity into "disciplines. The term "essays" should not be perceived either as showing rhetorical hum ility or as adm ission of weak theoretical discourse (as the wardens of "rigor" in the human sciences m ight be tempted to think). com pliance ta kes place i n the aggregate o f Barthes's texts. in a m ore m odern and deviou s way. or generative grammar) in order to insert itself into the dig­ nified but am orphous domain of "studies in mass com m unication . living o ff it (history. on the condition t hat it rem ain in the shadows of knowledge as a passive thing. often appearing as "essays . but to applications of doctrines that are nothing but ideological exercises since they are em pirical and fragmented. Russian or New-Critical). never as an agent . Literature confirm s all the hypotheses of all the human sciences. t he science of literature is an always infinite discourse. " Possibly. but as a m ethodological exigency of the m ost s erious k ind. not specified as a precise object. structural semantics. either linguistic or not. Nonetheless. This means that. an always open enunci a t ion of a search for t he laws of the practice known as litera­ ture. " m odel literature and make of it the object of a new k ind of obj ective discourse. The objec tive of this search is to make manifest the very procedure through which this "science. or even m ore "rigorously. rather than to apply em pirically such and such a tech­ nique to an indifferent obj ect. of linguistics. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LITE R A T U R E '? 95 The Technicist Illusion Without the first of those necessities. These writings.

if not dominated. since they obey the rules of econo-technical evolution. or other requirem ent does B arthes's discovery m eet-a discovery that amounts t o a recasting? Would it not be m ore prudent to manage with m odestly coupled divisions: literature and linguistics. litera­ ture and ideology. the work o f Bart hes shows t h a t literature i s precisely t h e place where this alienation and this blockage are thwarted each time in a specific way. It can then m a k e of this "art" an o bj ect of "science" in order to see that it cannot be sim ply reduced. is thus. by definition. seems to heed the technocratic requirements o f our time (to constitute a specialized discourse fo r all o f the so-called "human" domain). This concentra tion. As the borderline between a signifier where the subj ect is lost and a history that i m poses its laws on h i m . It goes through t hem and locates itself elsewhere. Its place is transversal t o the one t h e sciences assign t hem selves .96 HOW D O E S O N E S P E A K T O L I TE R A TU R E ? The Axis of R ecasting: The His torical Subject What epistem ological. it goes counter to these appearances. l i terature appears as a specific m ode of pra ctic al knowledge. a nonexistent obj ect for t h e sciences of communication or social exchange. like the myths of antiquity. The list goes o n and on. ideological. if not m ore. literature and sociology. If the contribution o f Barthes. having delineated. the global possi bilities o f communication and techn ology. and so forth. industrialist society. has allowed a portion o f its analytical activity t o grapple with this "absence of place . For subj ects of a civilization who are alienated i n t heir language and blocked by their h istory. " Whether decadent or worked upon by w h a t i t h a s repress ed. an index for the underly­ ing rules g overning it as is the structuration of k inship for so-called primitive s ocieties. our society can see that art is as m uch. literature and psychoanalysis. this deposit. H ere i s concentrated what verba l com­ m unication and social exchange put aside. The cur­ rent stage of capitalist. and t o follow empirio-critical p ostu lates (all signifying practices can be subsu m ed under a fo rm alism borrowed trom an exact science). t o a techne-procedure o f cogitation (to be manufa ctured according t o this or that linguistic device) or to social functions (to be . m atching them so as to overturn t hem . in fa ct. who seek s t o iden t i fy what i s s p ecific and incomparable in literary practice.

nonetheless opens out on a different "subj ect . the body. or better. repressed and innovative. The project outlined by Roland Barthes. t heir " other . while in fa ct sancti oned by psychoanalysis. powerful a n d unknown. psychoanalysis stum bled against while examining the m eanderings between " I " and "other . this writing. " " L iterary" and generally "artistic" practice transforms the dependence of the subject on the signifier into a test o f its freedom in relat ion to the signifier and reality. between desire and the law. language. This is the subject t h at has reached its apex in the Christian-capitalist era. is the fu nction of the sub­ j ect caught between instinctual drives and social practice within a lan­ guage that is today divided into often incommunicable. within this t exture. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LITE RATU R E ? 97 related t o som e economic need). literature dist ills its birth and its struggles. " t o which Barthes has given its name: writing. " wh ich. "art" reveals a specific practice. and consequently. neit her objective nor sub­ j ective. objectivized. But on the contrary. then. an essential specificity o f the "art s . I t is a trial where the subject reaches both its limits (the laws of the signifier) and the obj ective possibilities (linguistic and hist oric) of t heir displacement. and inscribes in a new series of perpetual contradictions. crystallized in a m ode of production with highly diversified and m ultiplied manifestations. that is.and ultra-language. but both at the same t ime. by i ncluding the tensions of the "ego" within historical contradict i ons. as we know. and by gradually breaking away from these tensions as the subject incl t. mult iple systems: a Tower o f Babel that literature specifically breaks open. " by which an asserted " ego" becomes outside-o f-self. and "metalangu age. writing is the ridge where the historical becoming of . to the point of being its secret m otor. and the presen t.I des t hem in such contradic­ tions and reconciles t hem to t heir struggles ( It is precisely this inclusion. henceforth available. refas hions. " between the imm em orial ideological and scientific tradition." ) What we discover. It weaves into language (or other "signifying m aterials") the com plex relations of a subj ect caught between " nature" and cultu re. A s infra. as translanguage. We have not yet grasped the importance of a change o f venue that involves thinking about the subj ect on the basis of literary practice rather than on the basis of neurosis or psychosis. The science whose possibilities Barthes outlines seeks the subject 's lines o f force within this literature.

psycho­ analysis. Barthes can say. 2 1 8) and that. p . but only if they respect the constraints of the device. an a-psychological. Once this area has been determined. that i s . t o notice it. that " art is a certain conquest o f chance" ( Critical Essays. which ma kes up the second panel of B arthes's inaugural wor k ." for this "place" of meaning that it enunciates but does not name is the very place of the m aterialist dialectic t hat no human science has yet approached. literary p ractices can be considered as the obj ect of a possible k nowledge: the discursive possibility emerges out of a reality impossible for it although localizable by it. This dev ice in fact calls for the introduction o f linguistics. Writing thus posits another subj ect. On the subject o f lit erature. and/or to the semantic and ideological m eans o f constitution of the subj ect. therefore. Barthes's work has proposed a new field-a new obj ect. et cetera. for what determines it ulti­ m ately isn't the problem atic of communication (relationship to an other) but that of an excess o f "ego" within an experience-a necessary practice. whose purpose is to understand this practice: a localized chance as condition of obj ective u nderstanding. a chance to be u ncovered in the relationship of the su bject of metalanguage to the writing u nder study.98 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K T O LITERATU R E ? the subj ect is affirmed. like the structuralist project. They are just beginning. a-subjective sub­ j ect-an historical subj ect. j p . i t "speak s t h e place of m eaning b u t does n o t name i t " ( Critical Essays. The insert ion of this practice into the social science corpus necessitates a modification of the very notion of "science. L iterature: The Missing L ink of Human Science Because it focuses on t he process of meaning within langu age and ideology-from the "ego" to history-literary practice rem ains the m issing link in the socio-com mu nicat ive or subj ective-transcendental fa bric of the so-called human sciences. Nothing m ore "natural. for the first time a definitively anti psychological one. What is involved here is the problem of i m possible m et alanguage. Barthes is the first t o demonstrate this impossibility." so that an analogous dia­ lectic m ay operate. 2 1 9). sporadically. That is. a new knowing subj ect--for these sciences. an area of chance will be reserved and delineated within the procedure. . thus opening the way fo r philosophers o r semioticians.

invisible without it. Any chain o f language is invested with a sending-focu s that links the body t o its biological and social history. Any phonic u nit is t hu s number and in finity. where the opposites-subject and his to ry. and t he objective history o f superst ructures. biological. chancy codes. it avoids. Kant. plet hora and as such signi fying. i t is clear t h a t i t is the H egelian dialectic (whose transcendence veils the objective progress it has ach ieved since Descartes. and the Enlightenment) that first pointed to the m asterly lines o f t h i s interplay between limit and i n finity. the history of the subj ect . w i t h purposefu l insistence. having barely crossed the t hreshold of the "exact sciences .are interwoven. I t succeeded in this by im posing at its foundations the k nots. t h rough language and within the ideology of our society. Any sentence is both syntax and n onsentence. which cannot be evidenced by a finite . If it t h ereby operates on the side of discursive reason. thereby wielding a " knowledge" t h at it does n o t necessarily reflect. A t t h e s a m e t i m e . and socially u n fo reseeable. rat ionale a n d objectivity-a stumbling b lock for contem porary sciences. whose intrascien­ tific productivity t opples. in themselves. literature has u n folded and held these opposites. " into a gnoseological dam ho lding back the scientific theory of the speaking and k n owing subject (psychoanalysis) and of h is ­ tory (historical m aterialism ) . These limits. Knowledge in the Text For already a century. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LiTE R ATU R E? 99 LAN G U A G E AND W R ITIN G Discovering a new object through a m et alangu age elaborated halfway between chance and necessity seem s to be the rule today in all the sciences. They are indeed the ones t hat we encounter at the crossroads of Barthian reflection. Hegelian t ranscendence b y practicing contradict i on within the material element of langu age as the generator of ideas or m eaning through the biological and historical body of a concrete subject . above all. because at the same time it is a differential of infinity. Specific subj ects cipher the norm ative language of every­ day commu nication by means of extralinguistic. any sequence is both myth and the m elting pot where it is engendered and dies through its own history. appear frequently t o b e the ideological alibi for a barely m odernized Kantianism. normative unicity and disorderly m u lti­ plicity.

precisely t here. and j ournalistic discourse. but of a text.1 00 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L I T E R A T U R E'? number of deductive or "rational" operations but operate within the necessity o f "obj ective laws . thanks t o an alliance between sociology ( Marxism . and Barthes is the rational empiricist who comes to m ak e a science o f i t . shattered and coherent. Sade. It is from that position that he radically opposes himself to any transcendent . their ideological and practical correspondents. Two Channels of Disco very: Dialectics and Sociology Brought to our attention by M aurice Blanchot through his studies on Hegel. " This particular subj ect-neither o f cogita­ t ion nor of Saussurian language." and "lives. and the developm ent of productive forces and means of k n owledge on the other. it seem s. structuralism (Levi-Strauss). " feels. and through it toward the set of a corporeal. scientific u pheaval . political. legislated by an u n foreseeable necessity-this " subj ect" is precisely the obj ect that Barthes is look ing for in the literature called writing. physical. I t is then clear that the practice of writing and its subj ect are immediate contem poraries. (b) its immersion in history entails the taking in to account of social and historical conditions. and substantial "order . while both preceding and exceeding these rifts. and the literary avant-g arde-a new status based on an implicit triple thesis: (a) the m at eriality o f writing (obj ective practice within language) insists on con fr onting the sciences of language (linguistics. and. Sartre). (c) its sexual overdetermination orients it toward psychoanalysis. writing and its subj ect secure with B arthes a new epistem ological statu s. indeed forerunners. of the modern. and Kafka. the new novel. logic. operative sym bols that suture the rifts between archaic subjectivist ideology on the one hand. the units that ensure coherence between the way in which the subject enunciates. Balzac. " and what objective knowledge achieves without him elsewhere. Tel Que/. " Writing as a n object o f k nowledge emerges o u t o f t h e transfo rmation of dialectics i n t he field o f language (m eaning). myth ic. M al larme. semi­ otics). They abandon the speculative labyrinth of absolute mind and the contemplation of the essence o f language to achieve-with Fourier. but also on a d(fferen tiation in relation to them . The productive am biguity of Barthes's writings resides.

We m ight criticize the "ideology" of this procedure if we see it only as a reduction of com plex signifying practice to a neutral and universal intelligibility. But that would amount to neglecting Barthes's itinerary. t o organize an other com binat ive system with the help of t hese same linguistic categories operating to the second power in that other system im pelled by another subject. The deep unity of such seem ingly divergent books as Writ­ ing Degree Zero. Signifying systems are so strongly linguistic that Barthes proposes t o m odify Saussure's well-known position accordingly: " Linguistics i s not a part of the general science of signs. Their bearing is negative at first ( " No semiology exists which cannot. just as i t i s true that this sam e ambiguous stance can sometimes pro ffer a "naive" formalist temptation t oward total symbolization of t he real and sym bolic world. Barthes's sem iological texts-they all are sem iological texts if we choose to retain the term to designate not form alization. evidence this constantly operative contradiction in Barthes. sin ce lan­ guage is t h e primary signifying system and the most easily apprehended. in t he last analysis. 1 1 ). syntactic order. and even stylistic order. according to Barthes. and Le System e de la mode. 20). p. But at the sam e tim e. and t o enable u s t o su bst antiate them . it is sem iology which is a part of linguistics" (Elem ents of Sem iology. signifying systems are trans-linguistic. The loop is looped: the passage t hrough Russian Form alism served only to return us m ore firmly than ever to the translinguistic and even ant ili nguistic positions of Writing Degree Zero ("There exists funda­ mentally in writing a 'circu mstance' foreign to Janguage"-p. Linguistics and Phenom enological Idealities Signifying system s. which is dictated by the desire to specify a t opology (communication does not equal writing) and thus confr onts semiological system atizat ion with a critical writing (we shall return to this point) t h at breaks with the "neu­ tral and un iversal" status of m etalanguage. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LITE R A T U R E? IOI o r positivist phenom enology. They are articulated as large u nits that run across phonetic. even a privileged part. be ackn owl- . but research int o the dialectical Jaws of the signifying process-demand above all a desubstantification of signifying ideality. The need for this is visibly dictated by a concern for rigor and positivity. both do and do not pertain t o linguistics. Elem ents of Semiology.

since it is not only or not spec(fi­ cally discourse directed at someone else. opaque linguistic cate­ gories and structures. begins by denying this commu nicat ion in order to formulate a nother device. All writing will t herefore cont a i n the a m biguity o f an o bject which is both l angu age and coercion: t here exists fu ndamentally in writing a "circu mst ance" foreign to la nguage. As negative of the earlier so-called "natural" language. and quantitative cathexes that are logically anterior to linguistic entities and to thei r subj ect m ark the constitution and the m ovem ents o f the "self. has other supplem entary networks at its disposal. t here is. discharge. as i t were. " and are m anifested by the fo rmulation of sym bolic-linguistic order. inversion). since it is o nly partially com m unicative. it is an anticom munication. As Barthes wrote. facilitation . The phenomenological idealities that a linguistic approach discovers there are. this negati vity works against the transparence o f language and o f sym bolic function in general . in borderline ex periences. through symbolic order. discharges. D isplacem ents and facilitations of energy. indicating in other respects but simultaneously a disrupted social structure. precisely. defined by the topos of its com m u n ication with an other. Behind substantified. p. this new "language" is consequently no longer communicative. condensation. That is. 2 Writing would be the recording. for B art hes. a facade conceal ing another order that.1 02 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L I T E R A T U R E'? edged as sem ioclasm " [Mythologies. rem ains to be established. i t only partially depends on the idealities esta blished by linguistic science. of this dialect ic of displacement. it has access to the form ative process o f its linguistic idealities by u nfolding their phenomenal su bstance. i t m a n i fests an essence and holds the th reat of a secret. repetition. it is i n t i m idating. the weight of a gaze conveying an intention which is no longer Jin- . to an antilanguage (J oyce). this other scene is only partially linguistic. there functions a scene where the subj ect. or even mortal. Writing on the contrary is always r ooted i n something beyond langu age. I shall call it transforma tive. Linguistic units and structures no longer determ ine writ ing. On the contrary. not lik e a line. it develops like a seed. cathexis of drives (the m ost characteristic of which is the death drive) that operates-constitutes the signifier but also exceeds it. for the " I " as well as for the "ot her " : it leads. adds itself t o t h e linear order o f language b y using t h e m ost fundamental laws of the signifying process (displacement. to a sacrifical language ( Bataille). 9]). Although it is still u nderstood as signifying. and produces a sur-m ean­ ing.

( Writing Degree Zero . for it is human history which conveys reality into speech. 1 09). myth is intelligi b le only as historical product ion. . confronts the writer with a necessary option between several m oral attitudes con nected with language. it forces him to signify Literature in term s o f possibilities outside his control" ( Writing Degree Zero. While i t m ay be a structure. but in history. H O W DOE S O N E S P E A K TO LITERATURE'? 1 03 guistic. p . it is legible. Written in 1 95 3 . History. C on trary then t o a structuralism that seeks in m yths the " perm anent structures o f the human m ind" and perhaps closer t o a recently reasserted Levi-Strauss. precisely. "History. reconstructed like crystals from the practice of subjects in history . its social and hist orical overdetermination. This gaze m ay well express a passion of language. p. fo r myth is a type of speech chosen by history: it cannot possibly evolve from the 'nature of things" ' (Mythologies. these lines were to become the analytical method of S/Z in 1 969. as in literary m odes o f writing: i t m a y a lso ex press t h e t h reat o f retribution. t hrough and beyond the discursive phenomenon. but there are n o eternal ones. . and it alone rules the life and death of mythical language. p. 1 1 0 . 20. his proj ect is radically d ifferen t . Myth. This com pulsory but not m asterable necessity that commands the obli­ gation to signify is delivered b y a privi leged ex perience: "structuralist" . p. "One can conceive o f very ancient myths. Barthes's position differs from that of structuralism : history. Ancient or not. 3 Barthes pursues. 2 . Although this position has a m arked affinity t o the structuralist procedure with which Bart hes readily happened to fall in . emphasis m i ne). emphasis mine). But because he begins with another experience. then. with him. in which the un ity of the signs is ceaselessly fascinated by zones of infra. A esthetics An analogous desubstantification is undergone by mythic idealities. a s i n political ones [ . is inseparable fr om the u nfolding in depth of the signi­ fying subjec t through which.or ultra-language. there are no substan tial ones" (Mythologies. " M yt h i s n o t defined by t h e object o f i t s m essage. em phasis m i ne). its laws will thus be found not in phon ology. but b y the way i n which it utters this m essage: there are formal limits to myth. mythology can only have an h is torical fou ndation. ] literary m odes o f writing.

" " St ructu­ ralism does not withdraw history from the world : it seeks to link history not only to contents (this has been done a thousand tim es) but also to certain forms. crossing t hrough the negative and the a ffirmative. he posits writing in the space of t heir separa­ tion. As a t ranslinguistic form ulation." thanks t o the subj ect and t o history. unfigurable. partakes (as literally seen in the previous quotation from p.5 Such a text is S/Z. according to Barthes. it comes close to B lanchot' s " fascinated" "act of writing" a s well a s t o Sartre's "work a s obj ectifica­ tion of the perso n. then such a light can only be t hrown on the h orizon o f the investigation. first formu lated in Writing Degree Zero and continually analyzed in its various m odes. an im personal "One" whose Oedipal m o ther seem s to be the substratu m . Yet. musical plurality oi the paragramm atized text. because what is inscribed is always already broken up within the u ngraspable. To Fascinate and Objectify: Blanchot and Sartre Two different confr ontations will perhaps help us to perceive more clearly the s trategy o f t his desubstantification that produces writing in Barthes. Bar thes points out the dialect ical k inship. posits itself outside of dia lectics. not only the ideological but also the aesthet ic" ( Critical Essays. Sheltered by this dazzling light. a return that allows the negative m ode to be absorbed into a sem ­ blance o f a ffirm ation ( t h e moment o f inscription). The notion of writing. This is the "aesthetic. as an operation admitting of being clarified by understa nding. 20 o f that work) of the " fascination" that Blanchot contemplates i n an "act o f writing" "comm itted to absence of time" and which. not only the m aterial but also the intelligible. where Being is lack­ ing. anonym ous. i f this break perm its the daz­ zling light of the scriptural position to flash "where space is the vertigo of spatial positioning . simultaneously veils and reveals the voice of the castrate. p . "6 by suggesting th at i t i s a m aternal beaming that activates the subject o f writing." in a blinding light. without figure. 2 1 9).1 04 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L I T E R ATU R E? reflection leads to it by u n folding the symbolic function "in depth. im personal. 4 Writing. transsubj ective. or rather. by m eans of the representative cut of castration. in a "loss of Being." Between these app arently i rreconcilable limits. b u t only a semblance. t he music and the art that appear as lights freed b y an incision. t h e semi- . the com m on element of a transform ed dialect ic. whose sem i otic net­ work. is fam iliar with this return of teleological dia­ lectics.

H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO UTE RA T U R E ? 1 05 otician carries on his survey on this side o f blindness. except in the first stages of research and only inasmuch as the im personal constitutes the "upper" limit o f the operation involved. endowed wit h biography. t here is no "absolute" anonym ity of the text. But t here is obj ect ivation of spacing within a subj ect. to m ateriality.8 A n d yet. For Barthes then. m entioned in passing. I t is precisely upon the traces of this semantic operation that fa scina­ tion appears as objectivation. in the opaque night of the form he is t o illuminate. but at the same time it becomes a practice. and the text em erges as the work of a subj ect ( M ichelet. Barthes's goals are radically an alytical and dissolve those entities charac­ teristic of existential thought and inherited fr om specu lative philosophy. a relationship to heterogeneity. A d ouble approach is consequently necessary t o d e a l w i t h the tex t : i t m u s t be seen through t h e linguistic network. but whose life shares its structu res . " surpassing i t a n d bequeathing t o it i t s his torical intelligibility. a work that exceeds life. Fourier). a s seems t o be the generally accepted existential approach). This dialectical concept ion of writing as obj ective praxis is again sought a ft er if not achieved i n Sartre. which are t o be inserted in the text in order t o define its "lower" limit. and history. writing is less a dazzle­ m ent where the subject faints into the m other than an operation l ogically "preceding" this fainting: he follows its perform ance through the sem antic volume of l anguage and presents it in the rigor of its form alism s. inscribes. i f writing is the o bjectivation o f the "person . which nevertheless merely releases. Balzac. The proportion o f each is already weighted i n favor of t he written element. The subj ectal cloud crystallizes into the praxis of a "person" with a story and in history. and understands "lived experience . Sade. it serves as the basis for the largely sem iological conception of "praxis" (and not for an interpreta tion of sem iosis based on a t heory of "praxis". In t heir place. 7 Barthes first substantiated it in his essay on M ichelet. body. Formalism is t hus tem pered b y the introduction of an obj ective subject for whom this for­ malism is t h e practice. The "totality" (of "work" and " person") as well as "expression" and "lived experience" are d oubt- . Loyola. it inaugurates a signifying work through which t hese entities are constituted." Thus. a n d i f by the same to ken . Langu age thus becomes not only a germ ination o f empty a n d infinite m eaning m ak ing i t s w a y through linguistic a n d semio­ logical relat ionship and units. b u t also through biography.

lik e an ink that is eaten away'? A work where the subject is not "em pty" u nder the appearance o f multiple meaning. Nigh t. Barthes's light fails. as H egel would say. and Color Caught between objectivation and fascin ation. Clarity. it proceeds by demonstration. operates for and through this light. This rationalism knows nei ther negativity as poetry n or objectivity as m o vement . and synthesis. Deductive. faced with this nocturnal form not illuminated by a subject master of language. it ex plains. but not the . apparent in his strictly semiological writ ings as well as in the system atizing layer inherent in all his texts. " it retains only the classic system aticness. Of the subj ect ' s dark appearance wit hin the im personal. between involvement and a-theism . t o try t o generalize from the seesaw m otion linking biography and works without having minutel y scru tinized the devices that the signifying t exture o ffers to the sem iotician's gaze. The light that Barthes throws on the praxis of writing on the edge o f the im personal avoids t h e flight o f meaning-its night-side. con­ sequent. a t one with anonymous dazzlem en t-as well as the historical j uggernaut-the event­ ful sequence of "forms" accom panying the sequence of base and superstructure in time. writing will be exposed to the light of scientific investiga­ tion. The light o f understanding that anim ates this sem iotic and ethical dis­ course p ushes the poet aside. analysis. proves. is withdrawn fr om ethical substance? A work where any fixed defini­ tion is absorbed into the unconscious and where any (linguistic or subj ec­ tive) substance is fluid and incandescent. in contradiction to which a symbolic formality comes along to posit the meaning(s) as well as the subj ect?9 Faced with t his form ' s night s preading across poetic surplus. within the maternal "One. I t is henceforth naive. The m odelization proposed by Barthes. and elucidates. The sym bolic process is affected in its articula tions. but is a "surplus o f subject" exceeding t h e subj ect through nonsense. " H e who hears a language without under­ standing" ( Blanchot). Is this becau se the poetic work. i f not impossible.1 06 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L I T E R ATU R E? less the existential pillars that su ffer the greatest dam age in that kind of procedu re. prudent. The light of such a sem iological reason leaves in the shadows the loss of the subject into nonsense as well as his loss into what is beyond meaning. patient.

46). 5 5) . who experiences its profu ndity. shadowing it and coloring i t . not its instrumentality nor its beauty" ( Critique et verite. 1 3) . Experiencing the traj ectory of this negat ivity. it is replaced by a toms of flux. as the initial limit of the possible" ( Writing Degree Zero. a supple­ ment of intim acy that Barthes sees. History (real or literary). Sifted by understanding. It is understood as the material limit against which the one and the other are dialectically constituted: "The language functions nega­ t ively. there is no m ore durat ion: a minute equals a century. Language as Negativity: Death and Irony Consequently drained of subst ance and ideality. but in a time that does not flow. does not bind them ."in it. flight. time has perished" (ibid. nor days. nor hours [ . does not em pty t hem except to fill them up all the more. t h i s supplement o f night a n d m otion t h a t escapes t h e light o f semio/ogica/ u n derstanding will b e produced b y t h e critic's writing within the very l i nguistic texture that gives rise t o light.) than by reason of the very object of his investigation. the pluralized domination. antimetaphysics. but not the pluralizing negative. history as a succession is partitioned into experiences ." or rather. These atoms are present in their own time. . rupture. ] Tim e no longer exists. and irony. . From within "structuralism . mixes into writing. time and m otion are incarnated by "personalities" or "utterances": a historicity peppered with t i meless "types". p. 5 3 ) . nor years. Literature is for him the ex perience and proof of the negativity specific to the linguistic process: " A writer is someone for whom language is a problem . tak ing the shape o f "virtue h a tching t h e ambisexual M asses" (Michelet par /ui-m eme. full of desires that are legible through their oral (Fourier) or obj ect­ related (Sarrasine) attachment. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LITE R AT U R E ? 1 07 repressed poetic intensity of their struggle. then.. less because o f a philosophical option (deconstruction. p. " Barthes was probably t h e first t o consider language as negativity. p. "no more centuries. I n analogous fashion. etc. writing is contestation. And yet. with M ichelet. Negativity operates within it upon the unity of Language and . a time that brings them or takes them a way but d oes not transport them . and also between the symbolic and the real. language becom es the b order between subjective and objective. nor m onths. Sketched out. is what B arthes calls in his essay on M ichelet a "cordial history. p . " a softening o f the rigid legislature of social or literary system s.

. t opologists. is the axis that Barthes seeks in them . the critic himself is obliged to produce a particular 'tone'. but only th eft. Loyofo. signifying m ateriality stops the m ovement of absolute negativity that might exist i n the sig­ nified alone and by m eans of a negat ive t heology. They enumerate. count. p : i O) . . As for the critic. it breaks its indi­ vidual. The new signifying process welcomes n egativity in order to remodel language into a u n iversal. articu late. in criticism . they are architects of new languages. In writing. a philosophy establish for themselyes in. from Writing Degree Zero through S/Z into Sade. frag­ ment the old t ext of culture. this nega tivity reaches t h e edges o f a positivity because it operates within language and the subj ect. at least. and transhistoric writ­ ing-language. synthesize. science. inventors of codes and la nguages. logothetes. contingent. The operating negat ivity o f writing is grasped. 56). That is. Acting with th e subject. in the final analysis cannot be anything but affirm at ive" ( Critique et verite. The writers t hat Barthes chooses are classifiers. Unable to dissolve t he "selr' .1 08 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L I T E RATU R E ? upon the agent of this unity. he brushes against and then passes by this shattering of m eaning in language with no pole of transference o th er than linguistic and/or self-refe rential. 78). and superficial represen t ations and m ak es of t hem an inorganic nature. formulate. and determ ined by the d iscourse o f t h e o ther. an ideology. The critic "openly assumes at his own risk the intention of giving a precise m eaning to a work" (ibid. p. "There is no language site outside bourgeois ideology . ] The only p ossible rej oinder is neit her confrontation nor destruction. p . Yet. "Although we don't know h ow the reader speaks to a book. writil}g is ab! � to "e)(ceed the laws that a society. abstract rules also involving corporeal and hist orical m at eriality. the negative is formulated. 10 a pulverization of fr agm ented elements . This.§!�er to agree among them selves in a fine surge of historical intelli g ibility" ( sade�--r•ou rier . threading h i s way in and out of the "flesh" of their writing to find new syntheses of new languages. sustained. and this t one. It is ulti­ m ately blocked by one m eaning clearly revealing the critic's writing as being entirely triggered. by One Affirmation. But the formulating operation of critical writing needs to b e distinguished from t hat of the writer. Fourier. internat ional. i t operates within t h e dialectic of transfe rential rela­ tionship. Loyola. literature. [ . . By obeying strict. and change its features according to formulas of disguise" .

I t is the critic's task. In order for this t o happen. in t h e negative operation t h a t i s lan­ guage. p. but who is also i ncapable of tossing back the I into pure. . to coagulate an island of m eaning upon a sea o f negativity. "The sym bol must go looking for the symbol" (ibid. " I rony is nothing m ore t han a question put to la nguage by language" ( Critique et verite. Lautreamont. 69). constitu tes only one m omen t (am ong others) of the operation. . a sem blance of m eaning must appear at a fugitive m oment. . a s funny as it is ephemeral. . that is. p. p. The Objectification of the Negative Since l anguage is negativity. therefore." which. while the rest of his la nguage rem ains. h e returns t o this same "I. for Barthes. This is an aphasia of the /. 7 3) . a m ovem ent exceeding its subj ective center and encompassing the enlarged center m ak ing up the object . I m plicating him self. This irony. yet m arked by the infinite detours that (as in aphasia) the constant blocking of a particular sign im poses on speech" (ibid. Freud dem onstrated precisely this economy of laughter in Jokes and Th eir Relation to the Unconscious : it is a discharge with two meanings between sense and nonsense. who cannot give up writing. and there is hardly a m ore com ical one. p. has becom e language: t h e critic "confr onts [ . Thus. by which the critic. 1 7). starting fr om his opaque " I " and moving towards the writings of an other. "The critic is he who is incapable of producing the novel's He. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LITE R AT U R E ? 109 into this whirling and sel f-regulated inorganic nature that produces logothetes. effect. Through a perfectly homonymic course. intact. t h rough the intermediary of the other. For Rabelais. and signs them . the critic retains from scriptural n egativity a weak ened. the critic rem ains riveted to his " I " that hoards polyvalences. in the process. a n d J oyce a r e ironic only when w e posit them ( o r when they p osit t hem selves) as subj ects tapping a m eaning that is always already old. it is . but its predi­ cate" (ibid. always already out of date. . 74). participates in the scriptural operation. private life. t h e critic m a y "develop what is precisely lacking in science and could be sum m ed in one word: irony". Swift . because t here is irony each t i m e an ephem eral meaning crystallizes for such a reader . but persistent. "it is n o t the object which must be opposed t o the subj ect in criticism. The death drive of the writer becomes irony in t h e critic. sure of his I and without abandoning it. ] h i s own language" .

p . then Literature is vanquished" (ibid. neither subj ective individuality nor exterior object ivity. Queneau. then. p. " "The m a n is put on show and delivered up by h i s language. that of Proust. " I f the writing is really neu tral. Writing. " 1 1 Although it is dialectical. a m agician or a sculptor" (ibid. Dialectical Law. is founded on the existence of a social nature. " "equation . . and i f others. " social or mythical characters of a language are abolished in favor of a neu tral and inert state o f form (ibid. Prevert. thus establishing speech as an object wh ich m ust receive treatment at the hands of a craftsm an. M ore precise than an exterior objectivity that is nothing in itself. Writing would be the inscription of o ther laws. p. O n e w i l l recall t h a t i n Hegel "law [ a s ] t he stable . it is the very pri nciple o f Hegel ' s " self-movem ent" a n d o ffers the very element of l a w : "the determ inateness of this animating principle. although they be inseparable from the rules of negat ivity inherent in the symbolic fu nction. t h e law inscribed by writ ing according t o Barthes i s n ot Hegelian. instead of being a cum bersom e and recalcitrant act . " Better defined than the negative u n ity of individual language. " "necessity. " and indeed "law . it brings one back to the other. reaches the state of a pu re equa­ tion. . all em phases mine). whether they are inspired by self-interest or generosity" ( Writing Degree Zero. betrayed by a formal reality which is beyond t h e reach of h i s lies. 77). Barthes points to these laws w hen he speak s of ' 'formal tru th. if that of M allarm e postulates a silence. each in its own way. . Scrip tural Law: Writing of the R eal The practice of writing becom es the edge separating and u niting the subj ectivity to which style attests-"starting from a sublanguage elaborated where flesh and external reality com e together" (ibid. " I f Flaubert's writing enshrines a Law. it speci fies it precisely by returning through and across n egative language to the sin­ gular speaking being. .I IO H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L IT E R A T U R E? am enable-even in its negative m obility-to laws. i s considered as a k ind of totality "in itselr' and " for itself. I n short. 78). 8 1 ) . it denies it. p. if all these m odes of writing imply an opacity of form and presu ppose a problem atic of langu age and society. which is the difference i f the Notion itself is Law. 1 1 )-with the obj ectivity represented by s ocial history. and if language. Celine. which is no m ore tangible than an algebra when it confronts the innermost part of man.

Indeed. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K T O LI T E R A T U R E ? Ill presentment or picture of unstable appearance" 1 2 must. polysem ia. and syntactic shattering). appropriate i n finity to itself. . an inverted world (the in-itself of the sens ible world) is posited and rem ains present in the sensible world . 14 Writing establishes a different legality. At the same time. t h at occu pies. Writ ing is upheld not b y the subj ect o f understanding. but on the other hand. beyond representation. that is. t oward what cannot be sym bolized (one m ight say. In Writing D egree Zero it is s tyle that represents this heteronom ia included in writing. and a fter a precise course. etc . Such a dialectic of inversion leads to Hegelian infinity. . toward the "real"). without "im aginary" interme­ diary. I n other words. multiple. on the one h a n d . ] a sublanguage elaborated where flesh and external reality come together" ( Writing Degree Zero. the subj ect and its loss. heteronomic negativity operates between polynomia and its ins tinctual cathexis. a closed per­ sonal procc:: s s [ . style as a "frame o f reference is biological or biographical. the pluraliza­ tion of m eaning by different m eans (polyglottism. 1 1 ). ) t ra­ versing non sense and indicating a sup pression of the subj ect. It is a k ind of asym bolic memory of the body. the ideogram of biological and social orders. it brings toget her in a heteronomous space the naming of phenomena (their entry into symbolic law) and the negat ion of t hese names (phonet ic. not historical [ . in a first stage. "understanding thus learns that it is a law in the sphere of appearance for distinctions to com e about which are not distinctions. " 13 In a second st age. . "its secret is . This supple­ m entary negat ion (derivative negation. S/ Z analyzes in the t ext t he contradiction between naming and poly­ nomia. ] indi fferent to society and t ransparent t o it. even a pluralized sub­ j ect. To do that. Writing Degree Zero i dentifies this type of heteronomy by the term "writing". sem ant ic. if one prefe rs. of the "symbolic" ) and m oves . n egation of the hom onomic nega­ tion) leaves the hom ogeneous space of m eaning (of naming or. . I n other t erms. but perm u table. . i t learns that what i s self-same [Gleichnam ige] is self-repul­ sive . and m obile places. the heteron om ical negativity o f writ ing operates. not a place of enunciation. situ ated. bet ween nam ing (utterance/enunciation) carried out b y the subj ect o f underst anding (m eaning) and polynom ia. in order t o palliate t h i s difference internal to t h e thing itself. because of this self-sam eness. t oward the biological-societal " base" that is its excess. t hus. a n d to place itsel f on a par with the phenomenon. Polynomia is the index. but by a divided subject. p. . .

] unified and com plete in the m anner of a N atural Order" ( Writing Degree Zero. style resides outside art. prim ordial m eaning. Loyola. null m eaning). it inclu des a production. p. an unma rked code. which i s always fo r Barthes a neutral sym bolic. whom it t raverses. when all is said and done. founder of its acts like so m any inscriptions" (Sade. So. "another notion of writing is possible: neither decorative nor instrum ental. transsymbolic. Barthes's studies of Fourier and Sade suggest the possibilities open to this biological-corporeal. 1 2 . n am ing and its negation in writing operate on heterogeneous series and split the totality of One hom onomic M eaning ( prescribed by the first negati on-symbolization) in order to reproduce the production o f the subj ect between t h e r e a l and the symbolic back wards. too. instinctual substratum left intact by the first sym bolization (by natural language) and t hu s. in a sense. . contradict i on between sym bolic and asym bolized). its name ("sem iology") m atters little. Sem iology could be t his discourse i f. Style is alm ost beyond it" (ibid. it started from linguistics and went t o m eet w i t h psychoanalysis and his­ t ory. it appears that for literature. . Thus. without an origin. consequently. "Without origins" m eans that it is a superim pression or a suppression of a first. p. e . preceding it so as to look back upon the scriptural act through the interplay of " prim ary processes. language is "the whole of History [ . and transhistorical cat hexis. " B y reason of its biological origin. scriptural hetero­ nomia does not com e into play between two "sam es" that repulse one another o r dissolve within one unity. 40). " o f the "signifier's logic. it avoids Hegelian and post-Hegelian " aesthetic religion . after t h e fact. The path is clearly marked along which writing organizes. p. ). I O). outside the pact which binds the writer to society" (ibid. I n these two aspects (contradiction between nam ing and polynomia. p . antecedent t o m an. 1 2) . iden tifiably within language. The conditions for a theory of writing are thereby posited. . "It includes a production" m eans that the polynomic superim pression (suppression of first and. Fourier. Emphasis mine.. a n u nwritten language." N ever producing ex nihi/o." bursting across and through the language of a book-free dramatized subject.1 12 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K T O L I T E R A T U R E'? recollection locked within the body of a writer" (ibid.). by recognizing the heteronomy of m eaning. "A language is therefore on the hither side o f litera­ ture. that is. i n sum secondary but prim al. . i . is a supercathexis of the symb olic "void" by a biological-social. but d i f- . Clearly. a void meaning.

am ong others). To the extent that they are inscribed through and across the enun- . The text. Now. " I t appears to deny H egelian phenomenon and law because it struggles against the " first" naming. A l t hough one can discern in wri ting a m ove­ m ent that seems to recall i deated dialectics condensing the phenomenon and inverted infinity. " nor epic-or m ore prosaically-novel­ istic "he. "cuts obliquely through the instances of discourse as well as through 'genres. The first study of Barthes that records the multiplications of the space of enuncia­ tion within writing. " and whose n ovelty is due to the infinity em anating from the rupture of the sym bolic. but other laws that can enunciate t hemselves differently beginning with these pronom­ inal. the dram a of personal pronouns reveals the st aging o f a subject pluralized on the chessboard of writing. but a transfusing and renewal of it . heteronom ous i n relat ion to Hegelian Law." the "plural subj ect" of writing sim ultaneously t raverses the sites of t h ese three discursive agencies. " left unnamed because it is "real ."' It effects the anamnesis of "literary history" only by dint of u ndertaking an analysis of the place of enu nciation within the very element o f language. not the original-paternal l aw. Neither lyric " I ." it inscribes. it struggles with constancy and originality. an antiname and pronom inal. was devoted to Philippe Sollers's novel Dram e (" Drama. Novel" ) . Writing provides the act of reading with an asy mbolic "phenomenon. whose transform ation and future nevertheless allow them selves to be inscribed (in the pronominal device. into a new legislation the "phenomena" as "named . " rit ual "you . The Return of R epresen tations It is also in departing from totalizing homonymy t hat scriptural laws postulate. which is the domain of Law. paradoxal. A process of nam ing is substi­ tuted for this im possible to symbolize real. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L I TE R ATU R E ? 1 13 ferently. since writing breaks the "subj ec t " apart into multiple doers. as an other name (a pseudonym). Poem. relying on Benveniste's linguistic analyses of the sub­ ject in langu age. scriptural logic b rings it about specifically in a frag­ m ented space t h at transforms the idealistic matrix. 15 Here. not a beyond of representation. invoking t heir conflicts and under­ going t h eir divergent appearances. transsubstantive agencies. " heteronym ic. int o possible places of retention or loss o f m eaning within "discourse" and "history . Its legitimacy is illegal. u n i fying instance.

t hey liberate new representations elaborated by the subj ect of these enunciations. can no longer be m erely an "object"? No work other than Bart h es's better opens up a pat h of investigation that m ight yield an answer to t h i s ques­ t i on. rej ecting the name outside of itself into other plu r alized names. Confronted with this text. the question still remains: h ow does one const itute a new heterogeneous signifying b ody. and even m ore so.1 14 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO L I T E R ATU R E ? ciations em anating from the mu ltiple and unnamable p laces of meaning occu pied by the book. it is no longer language. J oyce) with the form al experience of the avant-garde of this century and with a revolt against the langu age and order of a society on the wane. " 16 as a redistribution of l anguage amenable t o "extra" or supplementary rules. and i f one accepts the necessity of Barthes's ethical subject. Although one can detect in Barthes 's works a kinship with dialectical principles. or is so only metaphorically. h abits. the very problems t h at we k eep facing with B arthes. because what is involved is the material that-through drives-accomplishes in each writing according to a speci fic topos. it is largely because we read them in the l ight of what is being written today. and the foundations of a program for a contem porary literary theory. and t hus as a h omonym ic n egation. are called forth by this avant -garde. and to the extent that they combine these enunciations t ogether with their agencies. portents o f avant-garde activities. The term inology we are using. this new "literature" that has us read in a new and d ifferent m anner. For semiological metalanguage. It presents itself as a simply n ominal negation. . But what the lit erary avant-garde grasps of t h i s rej ection is situated out side of nam ing itself. whose epic rhythm breaks apart social and phantasmatic m yt h ology by synthesizing i n a new way a critical tradition whose subversive i m p act has been ignored ( Rabe­ lais. for which literature.17 This warrant s repeating. this new representation appears as a "double coding . and social rules (a new world through and across t h e negation of the present world t h at writing denies according to its imm anent logic). a sentence always in t h e process of becoming. Such new represent ations of a world "in progress" t ranslate the suppression of the topos of One Su bject of understanding (a new symbolic responds to the new topology articu lated by the instinctual drives oq � anized by d esire) as well as a violent criticism o f ideologies.

. " he t akes o n the t ask o f pointing o u t heteronomy. its obj ect will n o longer be the full m eanings of a work but. p . that is. p. "works crisscrossed by the great mythic writing in which humanity tries out its significations. by introduc­ ing the agency of the subj ect. p. its desires" (ibid. p. "the same writing: the same sensual pleasure in classification. he introduces desire: " Clarity [ . o n the contrary. in a m an ner of speaking. . p . 5 8 ) . "there is no other primary significatum in literary works than a certain desire: to write is a m ode of Eros" ( Critical Essays. ] the same im age practice [ . p. 56). 79). the empty meaning t h at supports them all" (ibid. . science o f form s : what will concern it are the v ariations i n m ean­ ings engendered and. l ocalized. H ow? Through the presence of enunciation in t h e utterance. pluralized meaning as the condition. . p . it is no longer to desire the work but to desire one's own language" (ibid. xvi). ] the same erotic and phantasmatic fashioning of the social system " (Sade. 5 7). 70). 3). Speaking in his nam e to an other. "the accounting passion t ransmit­ ted to the exercitant" (ibid. ] broadened fr om author t o s ociety" (ibid. As for the "crit ic. but the very plurality of the work's m eanings" ( Critique et verite. "The scholar" describes n egativity within a transrepresentative and transsubj ective hom ogeneous system : his discourse detects the linguistic formality of a shattered. determ ined by its " I " and thus by the " I " of its reader. . Loyola. whose obj ect is not a particular meaning. . "the energy of language (of which the . or rather. . ] is all this desire th at lies within writing" ( Critique et verite. . one should ask the critic t o "make m e believe in your decision to speak" (ibid. ] the same enumerative obsession [ . engenderable by the works them selves . that is. . as the index o f a heteronom ous operation: "general discourse. I t will not interpret sym b ols. "We shall not classify the entirety o f possible m eanings as an immutable order but as the traces of an immense 'operating' arrangement [ . p . but their polyvalence alone. . 6 1 ). "science of the contents' conditions. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K T O LITE RATU R E ? 1 15 S C I E N CE AND CRITICI S M : MUSIC I n the place of a metalanguage generally recognized a s powerless. 3 3). contingent speech. p. p . . "To m ove from reading to criticism is to change desires. by assuming a representative. 75). . Fourier. . . . in a word. the same m ania for cutting up [ . the discourses of the "critic" and of the "scholar" becom e differentiated and linked to spell out the legislating heteronomy of writing. .

p. " from Benveniste to L evi-Strauss. Thus is made up not a h ierarchy of overlap ping m etalanguages but a m obile system of free signifying devices. therefo re. its obj ective genesis. historical contradictions. One can thus understand how Barthes's work is not only a t r anslation into scientific law of the l iterary t ext . is that its substance is essentially intelligible. i nversely. The statemen t s of all great scholars in the "hum an sciences. and so on. indicates heter ogeneity through and across the signifier. an other practice of the sexes .kn owledge. Perhaps one can posit that. a name prom pts desire.116 H O W D O E S O NE S P E A K TO LITE R ATU R E ? Exercises is one of the exem plary t h eaters) is a form-and the very form of a desire of the world" (ib id. Desire. but also "desire" between writing and criticism . "desire" seem s to signify the recognition o f a heterogeneous ele­ ment in relation to the sym bolic-t h e space of a m aterial contrad iction where the "other" is another topos of the subj ect. 1 0). It is equ ally and simultaneously the m ar k of Barthes's prudence that brings together kn owledge and the process of truth-a prudence whose m oral connotation is erased if we admit that the irruption within the neutral truth of science of a subj ect of enunciat ion d oes not i nvalidate this truth but calls attention t o its operation. t here is "desire" b etween language and writing. reason. with desire as its purpose (and one would h ope that sem iol ogical analysis shows this abundantly). even if it translates it: instinctual drives. "What is indeed rem ark able about such an imagination. alert. the irrupt ion of desire in the signifier as an index of "real" het erogeneit y . Desire as Index of Heterogeneity Desire causes the signifier to appear as h eterogeneous and. This revealer-desire of the eteros (E'Tepos) is not only a m ode of eros (Ep ws) that then finds its categorial explanation. w here the subject is implicated (body and hist ory). 68) . statem ents sup- . Critical k nowledge ties and unties their im brication. To posit that the subject is linked by its desire to the signi fier is to say. i n a state of perpetual initiative. His k n owledge of literature is precious precisely because it j oins to these "t races of an i m m ense operat­ ing device" that science pun ctuates. a dream does not" (Systeme de la mode. Consequently. t hat he has access t hrough and across the signifier to what the symbolic d· Jes not make explicit. intelligibility. m ean­ ing prom pts a sale. The network t o be deciphered seems to split in half. . and sym bolic order. p . fo r Barthes. an object does not.

The form al net ­ work that such a m odel is can only be the ex terior facet of this m ass whose hidden side m ade up of asym b olic "rem nants" com es to light within the negativity of desire. a paragon of demonst ration. p. Extracted from linguistics. Since Freud not iced in the subj ect the failure of a desire for the signi fier to ach ieve objective value. its intelligibility does not merely lie within the rules of pure m at hesis or any other system aticness on which it depends in order t o give coherence to metalanguage and a m eaning to its obj ect . other. The desire of a subj ect t h at ties him t o the signifier obtains th rough this signifier an objective. Without the latter. by way of exam ple. for all that. poem ." Barthes writes. since the subj ect of writing. specific like no other. is "in-itself-and-for-it self. overcom ing it." the very place. "normally chooses the code of the let ter . where it is erased. With it. it is possible t o con­ clude t h at literary practice is not situated within the field explored by psych oanalysis. without. where it appears to be dependent on ideology. This h appens only in literature. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LIT E R A TU R E'? 1 17 posedly legislative and lacking in any kind of subj ect. the m odel does not touch upon the extrahom onymic obj ect ivity of the signifying operation that t he critical k nowledge of Barthes proposes to address. 20). " while the nou velle critique "grounds the objectivity of its descriptions on t heir coherence" ( Critique et verite. C onsequently. the unicity of t h e enunciating rationale contradicts t he heteronom ous development of writing. n o t of division but. he paves the way for such a . of m otion. extraindividual value. Barthes's work is not an investigat ion into how this " objective-becom­ ing of desire" comes about within the literary text. ceasing (as it does in science) to be the desire of a subj ect. " Within such a m ethod. The " m odel" itself. or novel). the eventuality of a possible understanding of this operation is preserved. it is the place where the subj ective/ o bj ective d istinct ion proves invalid. for exam pie. becomes caught in this contradic­ tion. appropriated and t hus transformed according t o t h e object u nder scrutiny (a myth. Revealing literature as a possible science. give evidence of being contaminated by this type of "m odesty" and affected by "writ ing. Writing is precisely this "spon­ t aneous m otion" that changes the formulat ion of desire for a signifier into obj ective law. void-in-itself. Desire as An Objective "The critic of verisimilitude.

where the subject coalesces. a s they remain limited by their fr agm entation . M oreover. unmasterable. im age. a passion for objectivity sim ultaneous with a subjective desire for objects. whatever is regularity. but t h ey do convey a sense o f the "precision" of a dialect ics. objectival multiplicity.1 18 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K T O LITE R ATU R E ? strictly scientific investigati o n . and his­ t orical elem ent s. this assymm et ry. The salience of Barthes's discovery lies precisely in this alliance between regularity and unclassifiable. gives it its buoyancy. and Loyola can be grasped within a sem iological diagram that summarizes the regular objectivity of their writing. they constitute his own way o f proceeding. Balzac. But. since. subj ect /h istory). He discovers them to be the essential principles of t exts. The empirical. Laws and Ru les What apparently begins t o emerge from within Barthes's textual analyses is the rough draft o f a dialectical conception of law. n o aesthetic or stylistic approach could ever conceive. form ality. as we have already poin t ed out. et cetera). H is own undertaking makes it clear that literature's specificity resides in the passage between this desire t o signify the asymbolized and the asymbolizable. we must never forget that these peaks of Barthes's semiological graph r ise up from a b ase that cannot be m ade axiomatic and is summarized by desire and history. One can thus u nderstand . code. The laws that Barthes t aught us to b ring to light from within literary practice always exhibit this duplicity." or a "limit" ( these are Barthes's words) between the two levels that writing m akes obj ective (sym­ bolic/real. Barthes ' s sem i ological laws delineate the objectivation of the subj ective t h rough and acr o ss history and within the signifying texture (language. Yet. each of these rules depends on corporeal. vital. The laws that he formul ates for signifying systems d o not carry the weight of rules governing a form al. an alliance of unification and pluralism. aleatory. neces­ sity. l ogical p rocedure. biological. and engenders it. a "motion. sem i ology. which permeates the biological subj ect and descriptive history. hazardous object appears from beyond the diagram-it supports it. and this dialect ic. Thus. on each o f these planes (desire/ objectivity). That constitutes a radical discovery of which no literary history. Sade. at t he same time. and algebra: in short . and historically sanctioned objectivity. Barthes seeks whatever can be m astered and experim ented upon in schem atic form.

it is a time of j ouissance. at omizes itself. l aughter. is not alien to the Freudian discovery." as a notion substituted for "literature" and as a procedure. abounding. T h e " I " is n o t t h e one w h o reads: t h e im personal time o f regularity. multiple. This kind of t heoretical attitude allows Barthes to skirt psychoanalysis without m aking m istakes on writing. already. and attentiveness t oward the phonematic network. Fourier. happiness. a com binative" (Sade. 3 ) . The identity of the reading I l oses itself there. and " m a kes pleasure. pleasure. h i s drives. this position proves to be less a theoretical platform than what we might call a " practical kn owledge" of writing . the rhythm of the sentences. the particular sem anteme bringing him back to a feeling. his k n owledge of literature. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K T O LITE R A T U R E ? 1 19 that Barthes's semiology is not a formalization. A reading. "The text is an object of pleasure" (Sade. Music The reading of a text is doubtlessly the first stage of t h eoretical elaborat ion. p." dis­ persed for h aving read. com­ munication dependent on an inflexible order or. enveloping. Loyola. of the grid. But Barthes's conception and practice of "writing. p. its other. The being-in-itself-and­ for-itself of the "obj ective" other that negates and determ ines the "sub­ j ective" is active within language and adheres to certain laws. and of harm ony t akes hold of the "I. stating t his should be enough to establish a com m on grou n d for psychoanalytic and dialect ical laws . A harmony organizes sounds around us. Yet. Then. "it is a m at t er o f bringing into daily l i fe t h e fr ag­ ments of the u nintelligible " formulas") that emanate from a t ex t we admire" (ibid. Fourier. his reading of it. one reads j u st as one listens to mu sic: "the . for Barthes. whose conceptual supports are muted. L oyola. At the s a me t i me. sexu ality. 7). This rare capacity is a condition of B arthes's writings on the fr ontiers of "science" and " criticism" ( Barthes is probably the only one who can read his students). is the t er­ rain of the reading subj ect's desire. to be even more offen­ sive. In his writings. ) . a regularity comes forth t o gather these atom s: a grid l ays out j ouissance. an event or reading of the m ost "em pirical" kind. his formulations that so irritate the purist are all on the order of dialectical laws. where one discovers one t ext u nder another. occupies the position of a t heory o f the unconscious and o f its role in writing.

that produces writ ing. 72). " I t s truth is t o p roduce the m otion o f t h i s inclusion (contrary t o t h e excluding procedure o f classical science) t h a t posits a n d goes beyond its subj ective center (repudiated in science. 34). while revealing the d ialectical laws fo rmu lated by this discou rse. is not everything. " ( Cri­ tique et verite." constructing itself in t h e operation of a n inclusion exterior to i t s "obj ect . Theoretical discourse is not the discourse of a repudiated sub­ j ect. p. Its n ovelty is m easured in the change of a preposition. he speaks to literature as to his other as instigator. whence t h e trying character of its lan­ guage" (ibid. by reason of the desire and heteronomy it brings to light and into play. Through this change. religions. this possible . t hen. t h e approach to m et a ph orical language t ha t intellectual discourse will one day need" ( Critique et verite. and the "arts" articulates itself through an external i nclusion in its object . the other (and not others) is what is n o t self. The External Inclusion The goal here is t o capture t h e l a w of desire t h a t makes m usic. . is obj ectivity? What "guarantee" have we against the possibility of desire to "deform" the "truth" of the "object" itself. . p. which Barthes calls "critical. . t hen. to find its code and to note it down. 3 1 ). '"j argon' is the language of the other. its status unknown. Barthes's discourse posits i t sel f outside the circumscri bed discourse of t he scholar and calls forth on his part the charge of "j argon" as an obj ective necessity: ' "j argon ' is a product o f imagination ( i t shocks as does t h e imagination). Thus. But it is also t o experience the desire of the one who reads. while allowing what is said and what is not said to float haphazardly. but of one searching for the laws of its desires.1 20 H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LITE RATU R E ? measure o f critical discourse is its accuracy. M etalanguage. There is only one final step left befo re we reach explicative discourse. t hi s new continent of k n owledge t h a t approaches ideology." t hat is. He doesn ' t speak about literature. the literary t ext'? The dialectical objectivity of this discou rse stem s from its " truth. hypostasized in ideology) by addressing itself t o a difference (writing) recognized and always m ain­ tained as external (heterogeneous) to k n owing discourse. But where. We must find a w ay to communicate this music by finding a code. p. operating as a hinge between immersion in the signifier and repudiation (it is neither one nor t he other). Through its function. J u s t as i n music .

for Barthes. " "politics. as the one m arking the passage from t he M iddle Ages to the Renaissance" ( Critique et verite. p. Paris: Seuil. on account of that. corporeal. such a literature assumes its efficacy in present t ime. but one is nonetheless obliged t o draw up an answer if one does not want t o abdi­ cate time: the time of history as well as that microcosmic time. are perhaps the symptom indicating that this power of writ ing penetrates. Notes I . "as important. withi n a constant questioning of the symbolic and of its subj ect. all discourses that d o not shirk t heir t opicalit y: "knowledge. Such a discourse announces what seem s re­ quired by an eventual ideological renewal: the awakening of subj ects . the other. It is also simultaneous with the opening up o f the hom onymic corral of the totalizing and repudiated sub­ j ect t oward the questioning o f active. In deed. H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LITE R ATU R E? 121 understanding o f literature heralded b y Barthes possesses a knowledge that science does not attain . in our time and according to hist orical necessity. The constitution of a possible k n owledge o f this writing is. and social m ateriality. and involving the same problem . I l l . with a perpetual struggle with no possible philosophical relaxation. What can literature accomp lish? Perhaps no one k nows. An answer: Where fr om? When? Barthes's work and the trend that h e init iated. 1 97 2 . and which still carries him. What can literature accom plish today? T h i s ethical a n d political ques­ tion has never fa iled t o be present u nder the for m al ist appearances that j o u rnalistic and academic rum ors have pasted onto the avant-garde. This simultaneity is accompl ished in literatu r e and especially in the literatu re o f the contem porary avant-garde. 1 964. : Northwestern U n iversity Press. followed by page n u m bers. trans. where the t ext is elaborated . ] . It implicates the k n owing subject within an analytic relationship to langu age. This awakening occurs simu ltaneously w i t h t h e putt ing i n t o play of the desire for a signifier to symbolize a "real" that has fallen into th e sub­ j ect ' s past or is questionable for societ y. R i chard H oward. the sym ptom of a deep social m ut ation. R e ferences t o books by Roland Barthes appear i n t h e body i n the t e x t . [Translation or Essais Critiqu es. Evanston. The following edi t i ons have been used: Critical Essays . 48)." 18 and in general any art that carries m eaning.

page 2 2 . [Translation of Elements de semiologie. experience has shown. R ichard M i ller.122 HOW DOES ONE SPEAK T O LIT E R ATU R E'? Critique et verite. 1 960). Thus. 1 9 55 ) . 7 . 5. Paris: Seuil. N e w Y o r k : H i l l a n d W a n g . trans. and ed . Yet is is still too soon for this total explanation to b ecom e apparent to us. the work-when one has searched i t -becomes a hypothesis and a research tool to clarify t h e biography. 3. B u t we m u s t u nderstand in w h a t sense. The notion of " paragram" is related to Saussure's "anagram s . 1 9 5 7 . p. . p. " K r ist eva discusses this in her essay. "The concepts of 'psychical energy' a n d 'discharge' and t he treatment o f psychical energy as a quantity have become habitual i n my thought since I began to arrange the facts of psych opat hology phil osophically". . ] System e de la mode. but that. "Le Tem ps du mythe. Annette La vers. Paris: Editions du Seuil. i t concentrated in i t s e l f all the power of enchant m ent . ] Sade. 1 97 0 . • a mythology that may be causally linked to history by each of its ele ments. trans. Loyola. 1 42-4 3 . Annette La vers a n d C o l i n S m i t h . both in the conditions t h at bring i t about and in the artistic creation t h at realizes it and fin ishes i t off by expressing it. [ E mphasis m ine. . Paris: Seuil. [ . S/Z. Search For a Method. 24. [Transla­ t ion of Sade.P a u l Sartre. " T h e w o r k poses questions t o t h e l i fe. R ichard.] Michelet par lui-m em e. Sigm u nd Freud. 1 97 6 . " P our u n e sem iologie des paragra m m es" i n "!-17µE1wrrxi/. It has i t s roots i n t h e l i fe. " . 1 97 2 . 26(3): 540. resists the cou r se of the latter and continually readjusts its own grid t o offer the least resist ance against the torrent of events. N e w Y o r k : H i l l a n d Wang. 1 96 8 . in fact. Paris: Seuil. [Translation of Le Degre zero de Ncrilure. ] Fascination is fu ndament ally l i n k ed to t he neu tral and im personal presence of the i n determ inate O n e. 1 966. 1 967. Paris: S e u i l . J ames Strachey. w hich controls t he notion of writ ing. Paris: Seu il. Loyola. 1 96 7 ) . ( N ew York: K n opf. [Trans la­ tion of Mythologies. Paris: Seuil. M iller. t r a n s . . [ . 1 97 1 . Fourier. t h e i m m ense face­ less someone [ . B l anchot. trans. w hich. . I t does not involve t h e econ omic concept ion of psychic activity i n Freud (theories i n instinctual drive. We could also say t hat if the M other i m plements her fascinating attraction. [Translation o f S/Z. . . ] 6. b u t i t finds its total explanation only in itself. trans. r at her. dialectical semantics. ( N ew Y o r k : Norton. Fourier. ] T h e l i fe i s illu m i nated by the work as a reality w hose total determ ination i s fou nd out­ side o f it." A nna/es ( M ay-August 1 97 1 ). New Y o r k : H i l l and Wang. Jokes and their R elation to the Unconscious.M aurice Blanchot. ] B u t we m u st k n o w also t h at t h e work never reveals the secrets of the biography"-J ean. Annette La vers and Colin Smith. [ E d . 1 47. 1 954. and its explicit relationship with the spe a k ing subj ect argua bly p l ace Barthes's u nder t a k ing within a thinking that i s congruent (or could be m ade congr uent) with t hese Freudian positions. t o be sure. . 4. L'Espace litteraire ( P aris: Galli­ m ard. Elements of Sem iology. ] 2 . " P erhaps the power of the m a ternal figu r e derives its explosivity from the very power of fascination. it i l l u m inates t h e life. ] To write is to enter i n t o an affirmat ion of solitude where fascination operates as a t hreatening ele m e n t " . pp. Mythologies. N ew York : Hill and Wang. 1 964. i s rarely strong enough t o smash it and carry i t away i n i t s m om e nt u m " -C l aude Levi-Strau ss. 1 974. m ore complete. it is only because the child previously li ved entirely u nder fascination's glance. N ew Y o r k : H ill a n d W a n g . metapsychology). m ore total than the l i fe. T h e reference to Freud is recent a n d never elaborated i n Barthes's works. ] Writing Degree Zero. considered in its ent irety. t h e work as the obj ectification o f t h e person is. 1 95 3 . Paris: Seu i i . 1 96 7 . trans.

p. J . 9. which is an i n t ernal distinct ion. V. J u l y 1 97 1 . t h ere. 3 1 5 . U nless he is dumb. trans. 1 976). and t hus. or distinction p er se. it is the i n verted form of itself. A. ( New Y o r k : H u m anit ies P ress..7. 7 2 5 ." Ibid. A l a n Sheri dan-Smith. Theorie d'ensemble ( Paris: S e u i l . it would not be an oppos ite. W e h a v e t o t h i n k pure flu x . p. [ . cf. Ibid. that is. I . Science of Logic.. they relish a style which is a cross between the li terary and the colloq u i a l "-"On Literary Style" i n Mao Tse­ Tu ng on Literature and A rt ( Pek ing: Foreign Language Press. o f ideology and politics. l . it i s the oppos ite o f its own self. Baillie. trans. Y e t .. i. 1 8 . by their distanciation from writing and by an inequality between t he old and the new on these two levels. pp. 1 949). "[T]his absol ute notion o f distinction m u s t be s e t for th a n d apprehended purely as inner distinction." ibid. self-repulsion o f t h e self-same as self-same. opposi t i o n w i t h i n opposit ion itself. t aking it by itself w i t h ou t the other. or Cont radict ion. which is the i nverted world. p . 1 0 2 . . beyond t hese concrete i m plications. H egel. that is. 202. 1 1 . Ibid. Thus t h e su persensible world. for example: "Caring l i t t l e for gra m m a r or rhetoric . he is doing propaganda work . Critiqu e of Dialectical R eason. the opposite is not only one of two factors-if so. or t h e other is itself directly and i m m ediately present within i t . M a o ' s remarks have a m ore general worth that we cannot grasp without a theoretical reevaluation of the subject within signify­ ing practice. M i l ler. " Language a s t h e practical relat ion o f o n e m a n to another i s praxis. 1 969). ] ' Hu m a n relations' are i n fact interindividual structures whose common bond is language and w h i c h actually e x i s t s at every m om ent of H istory"-Jean -Paul Sartre. 99. ( N ew York: M ac m i l l i a n . b u t a bare existen t-it is the opposite of an opposite. p. p. B. Phenomenology of Mind. "That first reflection out o f i m m ediacy is the subject's process of distinction o f itself from its substance"-Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H egel. has at the same time reached out beyo nd the other world and has in itself that other. since I have here the opposite all by itself. I S .. he always has a few words to say. M a o Z edong i s t h e only m a n i n polit ics and t h e only com m unist leader since Lenin t o h a ve frequ ently insisted on the necess ity of worki ng u pon language and writing in order t o transform ideology. 1 9 60)." Semiotica ( 1 97 1 ). 1 2 . His remarks are cer t a i nly m otivated by the particularities o f the Chi nese language and its l i terature. p. 1 89-2 2 2 . 1 6. I place the opposite on one side. and l i k eness of the u n l i k e as unlike. . it has i n point of fact the other i m m ediately within itself. Philippe Sollers. and praxis i s always l a nguage (whether t r u t h fu l o r deceptive) because it cannot t a k e place without signi­ fying itselr. Tel Q u el. 2 5 . it is to itself conscious of being in verted ( ftir sich verkehrt e ) . 1 3 . 1 9 5 . 804 . Phenomenology of Mind. 3 ( 3 ) : pp. p. Just on that account." Critique. 206. however. in o t h e r words. " L a m at iere et sa ph rase. Only thus is it distinction as i n t ernal distinction. Thus.. No doubt I put the opposite here and the O ther. For i n t h e distinction. only thus is it in the fo rm of Infinity. I t is th erefore im perative that our com rades should all study lan­ gu age. "Whenever a m a n speaks to others. 1 968). 1 3 2. O n t h e subject o f the inscription of i n s t i n c t u a l drives t hrough and across l angu age in a u n i q u e t e x t control led by a precise situ a t ion o f the subj ect in relation to castration. o f w h ich i t i s t h e opposite.3 9 . Hegel. H e obviously considered work ing on language as a fu nda­ mental element of any ideological i m pact. ( London: N ew Left Books. 1 7 . 1 0 . p . H O W D O E S O N E S P E A K TO LIT E RATU R E? 123 8. trans. . it is that world itself and its opposite in a single u nity. 1 4 ."Oppose Stereotyped Party Wri ting. Fon agy.e. " D o u b l e Coding in Speech . pp.

through the particularity of its signifying Originally a paper read a t a seminar organized by J ean. retains religion as its blind bou ndaries. like the Russian F o rm alists. " t h e original title of Kri steva's ess ay reflects and m a k es use of t h e title o f Celine's n o v e l D'un chateau /'au tre. Far from being an "epistemological perversion . I s h a l l deal with a particular signifying practice. first published in Tel Que/ ( S u m m er 1 97 5 }. " a n i m p o r t a n t one in p hilosophy since H egel and also in Kristeva's wor k . structure. pp. t h e more literal "From One Identity to an Other" has been chosen in order to k eep t h e a mbiguous feeling o f the French as w e l l as the w o r d "other . can just barely "explain and validate religious sentim ent" (as Levi-Strauss observed. to posit (if not to dem onstrate) t hat every language t heory is predicated upon a con­ ception of the subj ect that i t explicitly posits. 1 97 5 . whether it be t h at of an individual subj ect or of a m eaning structure. Although t h i s has b e e n transla ted as Castle to Castle. or at least. 1 Second. as an internal limit. . F ROM ONE I D ENTITY TO A N OTH E R I shall attempt. I call "poetic language. This-on the whole. necessarily guarantees a certain transcendence. no. I shall indicate the variable posi­ tion these m ay have required of the speaking su bj ect-sup port within their obj ect langu age. " in order t o demonstrate that this kind of language. implies. " D 'une identite l ' a utre. J anuary 27. 1 49-72. repr i n t ed in Poly/ogue ( Paris: Seuil." a definite subj ect is present a s soon as t here is consciousness o f signification. within t h e ritual limits o f a o ne-hour sem inar. i n connect ion with structuralism ) . M eaning. 1 977). which. I shall need t o outline an epistem ological itin erary : tak ing three stages in the recent hist ory of linguistic t h eory. or t h eory. 62. Consequently. t echnical-foray into the episte­ m ology of linguistic science will lead us to b roach and. and at best. I hope.5. identified either within the u n i ty or the mu lti­ plicity of subj ect. if not a t h eology. or tries to deny.M a r i e Benoist and d irected by Claude Levi-Strauss at the College de France. this is precisely why all human k nowledge. elucidate a problem whose ideological stakes are considerable but whose banality i s o ften ignored.

Poet i c language. subj ect. the only langu age t hat u ses u p transcendence and theology t o sustain itself. by its very economy borders on psychosis (as for its subj ect) and tot alitarianism or fascism (as for the institutions it implies or evokes). are inherent in the signifying fu nction and. I shall therefore and in conclusion argue in favor of an analytical theory of signifying systems and practices that would search within the signifying phenomenon for the crisis or the u nsettling process of meaning and su bj ect rather t han for the coherence or identity of either one or a multiplicity of structures. I shall speak of Louis-Ferdinand Celine. secondly. evolution . which w ould take into account these crises of meaning. in sociality. revolution. scientific) whose om nipotence he never ceased praising-philology . and structure. or d isarray. This fo r two reasons: first. but which may assu m e other forms i n the West as well as in other civilizations) could not rem ain outside t he so-called human sciences without casting su spicion on their ethic. of "religious sensibility. by derivation. This conversion of t heological discourse into historical discourse was possible thanks to a tool (for him. Finally. I could have spoken of Vladimir M ayakovsky or Antonin Artaud. let us return to the con­ gruence between conceptions of language and of subj ect where Ernest Renan left them . We are all aware of the scandal he caused among ninet eenth-century m inds when he changed a t heological discour se (the Gospels) not into a myth but into the history of a man and a people. " On that account. FR O M O N E I D E N TI T Y TO AN OTHER 125 operations. As used by Renan or Eugene Burnou f in A vestic . Without referring back to the stoic sage. is an unsettling process-when not an outright destruc­ tion-of the identity of m eaning and speak ing subj ect. poetic language. knowingly the enemy of religion. of transcendence or. these phenomena (which I consider within poetic language. 2 and consequently. such crises. then that practice and subj ect are walking a precarious tightrope. consequently. it accom panies crises with i n social structures and institu­ tions-the moments of their m utation. who guaranteed both the sign's triad and the inductive condit ional clause. For if m u t ation within langu age and institutions fi nds its code through this signifying practice and its questionable subj ect in process that const i t u tes poetic language. situated at the forefront of twentieth-century polit ics. far fr om b eing accidents. I shall try to draw a few conclusions concerning the possibility of a theory in the sense of an analytical discourse on signifying system s.

If one has d i fficulty following Renan when he affirm s that "rat ionalism is based on philology"-for it is obvious t hat the two are int erdependent-it is no less obvious t h at philological reason­ ing is m aintained through the identity of a historical subject : a subj ect in becom i ng. as did the universal gram m a r of P ort Royal. Whatever the di fference between com parativists seek ing t hose laws unique to fam ilies of lan­ guages and phi lologists decipheri ng the m eaning o f one language. In both cases this organic identity of law or m eaning implies that langu age is the possession of a homo loqu ens within history. J acob Grim m ' s phonetic laws). As Renan writes in A veroes et l'A verroi"s me. unidimensional descriptions-with n o analysis o f the sign's density. restore struct ural identity ( for the com parativists) or mean ing ( for the philologists). or that. therefore. Why? Because. or national. syliogism) as an u nanalyzable given .1 26 F R O M O N E I D E N TI T Y TO AN OTHER Studies. a com­ mon conception o f language as an organic identity unites t h em . em bodied into a singu larity that. 3 Closer to the object ivity of the Hegelian "consciousness of sel r ' for the com parat ivists. be it concrete. still owes something t o H egel for the philologists. This signifying unit rem ains im plicit within each description of law or text t h at philologists and com parativist s u ndertake: linear. this organic identity articu lates itself thanks t o a law that crosses national and historical lan­ guage bo rders making of t hem one fa mily (cf. sent ence. predication (sentence gram m ar). a text has only one meaning" even i f it is through "a kind o f necessary m i sinterpretation" that "the philo­ sophical and religious development of human ity" proceeds. philology incorporates the comparativism o f phi­ lologists Franz Bopp or August Schleicher. once technically completed. the com p arativist and philological reason that Renan exem plifies considers the signifying unit in itself (sign. for exam ple. langu age is always one system. far from dissecting the internal logic of sign. perhaps even one "struct ure. et c. individual. " for the philologist. in so d oing they reveal the initial presupposition of the specifically lingu istic undertaking as an id eology that posits either the people or an exceptional individual as appropriating .-but which. and." always one m eaning. it necessarily implies a subj ect (collective or individual) t o bear witness t o its history. as comparativists believed. or syllogism (logic). Little does it matter that. the logical problem atic of meaning. as philologists believed. this organic identity articulates itself thanks to one meaning-singular and unique-inscribed into a text still undeciphered or whose decipherability is debatable.

it definitely prevents reducing a language or t ext t o one Jaw or one m eaning. In the analysis of a signifying fu nction (language or any "human. what is censu red at the level of semantic complexity reemerges i n the form of a becom ing: that obliteration of the density t hat consti tutes sign. and syll ogism. a langu age is not a system. while founding h istory. But. of history. an appreciation of u niversal gramm ar. and in which the H egelian consciousness of self became stranded as it was concretized. the speaking subj ect). but on the other. Thus. Stru ct u r al lin­ guist ics and the ensuing structural m ovement seem to explore this episte­ m ological space by elim inating the speak ing subj ect. no economy). or on t h e texts of J oh n the Apostle. even t hough there actually is in Renan. through Saussure. t hu s allowing linguistics to claim a logical. philological reasoning. we see t h at the subj ect they legitimately do without is nothing but the su bj ect (individual or collective) of historico-philological discourse I just discussed. miserable treasure. is the " personal identity. it is a system of signs. on a closer look.4 Linguistic reasoning. this subj ect. the reduction o f the com plex signifying economy of the speak ing subj ect (though obliquely perceived by Port R oyal) produces without fail an opaque "I" that makes h istory. and this vertically opens up the fam ous gap between signifier and signified. beyond countless contradict i ons." social phenomenon). and even surprisingly m odern pro posals t h at advocate the study of crisis rather than normality. this subject-support of com parativist laws or o f philological analysis does not lend itsel f t o change. which. to shifting from one law to another. sentence. m athematical formalization on the one hand. or from one m eaning to another. except by postulating the m ovem ent of becoming. which l inguistics and the corollary hum an sciences do without. that is. it has no density. sentence. becom es a deadlock for language sciences. F R O M O N E I D E NTITY TO AN OT H E R 1 27 this structure or this meaning. embodied into philology and history. that is t o say. and in his semitic studies the rem arks o n " t hat delirious vision transcribed i n a b arbaric and undecipherabl e style" as he calls the Christ ian gnostic texts. from one structure to another. Becau se it is in itsel f unanalyzable (like the sign. and syllogism (and consequently. a subj ect of . works its revolution precisely by a ffecting the constitut ive unity of a p art icular language. a call for the constitution of a lingu istics for an isolated l an­ guage (in the m anner of t he ancient I ndian gramm arian Par:iini). succeeded philological reasoning. " 5 Nevertheless. is compensated for by historical reasoning.

it lacked a gra m m ar. structural linguistics could not become a linguistics of s peech o r discourse. J akobson explicitly recognized in him a philosophical m entor for post-Saussurian linguists. also i nt roduces the heret o fore u nrecognized possi­ bility of envisioning language as a free play. 6 M oreover. " I f it is t r u e t ha t the divi s i on o f t h e Saussurian sign (signifier /signi fied). generative gram m ar does reinstate it by rescuing universal grammar and the Cartesian subj ect fr om oblivion. because i t left its place vacant. this investigation has n o lin­ guistic followers. recur sive functions o f syntactic trees. who t oday effectively enable u s to appreciat e and circu m scribe the contribu­ tion of phenomenological linguistics from a H usserlian perspective. using that subj ect t o just i fy the generative. does not m aintain itself by a "me. but rather. generative gra m m ar is evidence of what structural linguistics omitted. rather than in D escartes. i ndeed. Husserl master­ fully u nderstood and posited that any signifying act. forever without closure. rather t han a new beginning. philosophical ( Heideggerian discou rse) and psychoanalytic (Lacan' s signifier) contem poraries or successors. M oreover. But it is possible to detect in Husserl t h e basis o f linguistic reasoning (structural or generat ive) to the extent t h a t . but not fo r conj unctural reasons. it is also t rue that this possibility was not developed by Saussure except in the very problematic A nagram m es . several A m erican epistem ologists of generative gra m m ar recognize in Husserlian phenom enology. explicit in the generative t endency that can be found su m m ed up in the philosophy of Husserl. Of course. whether structural or generative. But in fact.1 28 F R O M O N E I D EN TITY TO AN O T H E R enunciation t akes shape within the gap opened up between signifier and signified that admits both structure and interplay within. I refer m odern linguistics and the m odes o f t h ought which i t oversees within the so-called hum a n sciences back to this fou nding fat her fr om another field. For . linguistics since Saussure adheres to t h e same presuppositions. Husserl was invited to and discussed by the Circle of Prague. a fter the reduct ion of the H egelian con­ sciousness of self into philological or historical identity. th ough t h ey are not lack­ ing. for in order t o m ove from sign t o sentence t h e pl ace of t h e subj ect h a d t o b e acknowledged a n d no longer k ept vacant. m iserable treasure" but by t h e "transcendental ego . t h e fo u nd at i o n s o f t h e generative u ndertaking. implicit within the structuralist cu rrent. I ndeed. unknown to Husserl. indeed. insofar as it remains capable of elucidation by k nowledge. and structura l linguistics ignores such a subj ect .

tributary to phenomenological reason. t h e thin sheath o f t h e sign (signifier / signified) opens onto a complex archit ecture where int entional l i fe-experience captu res m at erial (hy lic) m u lt i plicities. The predicative (syntactic) operation . psycholo­ gism . when a speaker produces i t with t h e intention of 'expressing himself about something' t hrough its means.a tion. i f it exists. The i m portant point here is that this real object. can only be t ranscendental in the sense that it is elaborated i n its identity by the j u dg­ i ng consciou sness of transcendental ego.. A s early as Logical Investigations of 1 90 1 . t hrough noesis and noemis.8 So m uch so t h at i f the world were annih ilated. either coinciding with t h e explicit signified or set o ff a short distance from it. etc. constituted by a judgment on something: "The articu late sound-com plex. the written sign. t h e n with noematic m eaning. t hen perception is already cogitation and the cogitation is t ranscendent to percept ion. the signi fied "res" would remain because t hey are t ranscendental: they "refer entirely t o a consciousness" insofa r as they are signified res. and incarnat ion theories typical of Renan. " 7 Consequently. within patterns of a signification originally destined fo r faultless communicat ion. so that finally the result fo r the j u dging consciousness is the formatio n of an object once and fo r all signi fied as real. Let us exam ine for a m oment t h e signifying act and the Husserlian t ranscendental ego. but still fastened t o the unalt erable presence of meaning and. fa ilure m ade manife st. F R O M O N E I D E N TITY TO AN O TH E R 1 29 post-Saussu rian structural linguistics still encloses the signi fier. keep­ i ng in mind t h at linguistic reason (structural or generative) is to Husserl what philological reason was t o Hegel : reduction perhaps. Husserl situates the sign (of which one cou ld have naively thought t h at it had n o subj ect) within the act o f expressing m eaning. but also concret e realiz. similarly. endowing them first with noetic m ea ning . even i f nonm otivated. first becomes a spoken word or communicative bit o f speech . The signified is transcendent as it is posited by m eans of certain concat enations within an experience that is always confined to judgment. first signified by means of hylic data. that is. It is t herefo re im possible to take up the congruence between concep­ tions of language and of subj ect where Renan left off without recalling how Hu sserl s h i ft ed ground by raising it above empiricism. for i f the phenom enologist distinguishes between intuiting and endowing with m eaning.

we can draw two conclu sions fr om this brief review: . rather. the object of meaning and signification) and the operating consciousness itself. "Transcendental egology"9 th u s reformula tes t h e question o f t h e signi­ fying act 's subj ect: ( 1 ) the operating consciousness. the p roblem atic of the sign is also bound up in this q u estion. the ego constitutes itself only through the operating consciousness at the time o f predication. of the sentence. The ego as support of the predicative act therefore does not operate as the ego-cogito. and with it. simultaneously constitutes Being. and the ego (in so far as it is t ranscendental). t here is a t ranscendental ego. the (transcendent) signified real object. which means that it t akes shape within the predicative operation. Thus. It i s perhaps n o t unim portant t h at the rigor of J u daism a n d the persecution i t has been subj ected to in our time u nderlie Husserl's extraordinarily firm elucidation o f the t ranscendental ego. the subj ect is henceforth t h e operating t hetic consciousness positing cor­ relat ively the t ranscenden t a l Being and ego . is already a given in m aterial data and percep­ tions. as it "resembles" t h em (which allows us to say that t he t ran­ scenden tal ego is always already in a way given). (2) even if inten tionality. j u s t a s they are the foundation of the human scien ces . the transcendental ego belongs to the consti tuting operating conscious­ ness.1 30 FROM ONE I D E NTITY TO AN OTH E R constitutes t h i s judging consciousness. This operation is thetic because it simultaneously posits the thesis (posi­ tion) o f both Being and ego. For the purposes of our discussion. for every signified t ranscendental obj ect. (3) "belief' and "ju dgment" are closely interdependent though not identical: "The syntheses of belief (Glaubenssynthesen) find their 'expression' in the for m s of stated m eaning . H u sserl m ak es clear that any lingu istic act. positing a t t h e same tim e the sig­ nified Being (and therefore. " 10 Neither a historical individual nor a l ogically conceived consciousness. in fact. t h e subject is m erely the subj ect o f predication. is sustained by the transcendent al ego . the judging consciousness. of j u dgment. through predication. insofar as it sets up a signified that can be com­ municated in a sentence (and there is no sign or sign ifying structure that is not already part of a sentence). b o th of which are givens by virtue o f thetic operation-predicat ion o f j u dg m en t . Thus. that is. as the ego of a logically conceived consci ousness and " fragment o f the world".

i n other words. without including in t hese considerations the sub­ ject thus form ulated as operating consciousness. this thetic character of the signifying act. These criticisms circu m scribe the met aphysics inherent in the sciences of signification and therefore in the human sciences-an important epist em ological t ask in itself. Finally. But t hey reveal their own short­ com ings not so much. which is also that of the episteme underlying structur­ alis m . as some believe. and socializing elements: u nder the imp ression that it is break ing down the m etaphysics o f the sig­ nified or t h e transcendental ego. will continually ignore its constraining. 2 . shapes. in that t hey prevent serious. the s till transcendental subj ect of enunciation. and exceeds t he operating consciousness (this will be our purpose when confr onting poetic language) . meaning. This function harbors coherence (which is indeed transcendental) or. in a m uch m ore lucid m anner. FROM O N E I D E NTITY TO AN OTHER 131 1 . theoretical or scientific research. I f it is t rue. and linguistic methodology. Let us first acknowledge. any reflect ion on significance. such a reflection will becom e lodged in a negative t h eology t hat denies t heir limitations. legislative. through a linguistics (developing in France a fter Benveniste) which is attuned to the subject of enunciation and which includes in the latter's operating consciousness not only logical m odalities. by refusing its t hetic character. but in that such "deconstructions" refu se (through d iscredit ing the signified and with it the t ranscendental ego) what constitutes one fun ction of language though not the only one: t o express meaning in a com m unicable sentence bet ween speakers. consequently. that t h e question o f signification and t herefo re of m odern linguistics is dominated by Husserl. social identity. beginning with what is now a descri ptive if not scientific perspective. This phenomenological conception of the speaking subject is m ade possible in m o dern linguistics by the introduction of logic into generative gram mar and. th inks he has discovered givens that m ay escape the unity of the transcendental ego (because each . with Husserl. the attempts to criticize or "deconstruct" phenomenology bear concurrently on Husserl. I t i s im possible t o treat problem s o f signification seriously. befo re going beyond the Husserlian problem atic to search for t h at which produces. Without t hat acknowledgem ent. which est ablishes the transcendent object and the transcendental ego of com m unication (and consequently of socia­ bility). even when the researcher in the field. i n lin­ guistics or sem iology. but also interlocutory relationships.

from the m om ent t hey are posited by the st ructuring learning as particularities of the transcendental real obj ect. a tt racting . but o f a n y science of m a n a s signified phenomenon. as multiple attributes. t r anscendental. all m at erial diversities. operating consciousness. M eaning and signification. In an interpretive undertaking for which there i s no dom ain heterogeneous to m eaning. either structures or process). the t hetic predicative operation and its correlatives (signified obj ect and transcendental ego). th ese m ultiplicities can only produce a plural identity-but an identity all the same. thesis of the ego). s ince it is eidetic. do not exhaust the poetic fu nction.1 32 F R O M O N E I D E N TITY TO AN O T H E R identity would be as if flaked into a multiplicity of qualities or appurtenances. revert to a real (transcendental) obj ec t . deprived of what is heterogeneous to m eaning. h owever. depending on the m ethod. lowering o n t o its shoulders the wandering anger of a particular t i m e for the d ischarge of its psychological evil-being. i n the final analysis. predicates within the same eidet ic unity: the unity of an object signified by and for a transcendental ego. a s Artaud writes. is t o b e rest ored." 1 1 . thesis of the obj ect. are false multiplicities. such a study would. To the extent that poet i c langu age operates with and communicates m eaning. which constitutes i tself by predication--by syntax-as thetic: thesis of Being. are only one of its limits: cer­ t ainly constitut ive. failing to see what in the poetic funct ion departs from the signified and the transcendental ego and m akes of what is k nown as "literature" something other than k n owledge: the very place where social code is dest royed and renewed. Husserl th erefore stands on the threshold not only of m odern linguistics concerned wit h a subj ect of enunciation. even i f multiple. but not all-encom pa ssing. whose obj ecthood. While poetic language can indeed be studied through its meaning and signification (by revealing . Even apparently psychoanalytic interpret ations (relationship t o parents. thus providing. inasmuch as t hey signify. i t also shares particularities of the signifying operations eluci­ dated by Husserl (correlation between signified obj ect and the t ran­ scendental ego. et cetera). " A release for the anguish of its time" by "animating. Therefore. amount to reducing it to the phenomeno­ logical perspective and. t h ough valid for the sign i fying economy of poetic language. the discourse of k n owledge that delivers this multiplied identity to us remains a prisoner of phenomenological reason for which the multiplicities. hence. are givens of consciousness.

We shall call this disposition sem io tic (le sem iotique). hybrid. A rtaud. a num ber of tex t s by M allarme. which is later reactivated as rhyth m s . according t o the etym ology o f the G reek sem eion ( a71µE iov). cert ain Dadaist and Surrealist experiments. t r ace. Research I have recently u ndertaken on child language acquisition in the . no signified obj ect and therefore n o operat ing consciousness of a transcendental eg o. this h eterogeneousness. which articu lates t he units o f a particu lar rhythm or i nt ona­ tion). lexem es. despite. in radical experiments. syntax i tself. Plato's Tim eus spea ks o f a chora ( xwp a). serving as ultim ate support o f the speak i ng subj ect threatened by the collapse o f the sign ifying function. one should begin by positing t hat there is within poetic language (and therefore. although i n a less pronounced m a nner. organized. both object and consciousness). and consequently. This heterogeneousness. engraved m ark. to the father. and in excess of it and produces in poetic language "musical" but also nonsense effects t hat destroy not only accepted beliefs and significations. F R O M O N E I D E NTITY TO AN O T H E R 1 33 Consequently. index. a distinctiveness adm itting o f an uncertain and indeterm inate articulation because it does not yet refer ( for young children) or n o longer refers (in p sychotic dis­ course) to a signified obj ect for a t hetic consciousness (this side of. m orphemes. this signifying disposition is not that of m eaning or significat ion: no sign. like the rule o f repetition. carnivalesque discourse. the proof. anterior to nam ing. The notion of heterogeneity is i ndispensable. for though articulate. precise. " One can describe m o re precisely than did philosophical intuition the particularities of this signifying disposition that I h ave just named sem iotic-a term which quite clearly designates that we are deal­ ing with a disposition that is definitely heter ogeneous to m eaning but always in sight of it or in either a negative or surplus relationship t o it. that gua rantee of t hetic consciousness (of t he signified object and ego)-for example. intonations. unnam able. or through. and sentences. to the One. within any language) a heterogeneousness to m eaning and signification. and com plying with const raints and ru les (especially. improbable. but. glossalalias in psychotic discourse. detected genetically i n the first echolalias of i n fants as rhythm s and intonations anterior to the first phonemes. the p rem oni­ t ory sign. imprint-in short. this heterogeneou sness to signification o perates through. a dist inctive m ark. n o predication. m eaning. receptacle (1J-iroooxEiov). m aternally connoted to such an extent that it m erits "not even the rank o f syllable.

but in recent texts. It is for this reason that it is a language. phonic. attacked. aspiring to the status of m etalangu age. vocalic timbres i n Symbolist work . since a mult iple and som et imes even u ncom prehensible signified i s nevertheless com municated. a socially commu nicable discourse like poetic language. but it tends to gain the u pper hand at the expense of the thetic and predicative constraints o f the ego's j udging con­ sciousness. for exam ple. Firs t . not only do the rhythmic constraints. or c orrupted the sym bolic function might be in poetic langu age. the non recoverable elisions in Un Coup de Des). it persists as an internal limit of this bipolar economy. 12 However elided. t h ough comb ined in di fferent ways to constitute types of discourse. perform an organizing function that could go so far as to violate certain gramm atical rules of a national 111. m odern phono-acoustics-these sem iotic operations (rhyt h m . " as well as another concom itant study on particularities of psychotic discourse aim notably at describing as precisely as possi­ ble-with the help o f. Language as social practice necessarily presupposes these two dispositions. intonation) and their dependence vis-a-vis the body's drives observable through muscular constractions and the libidinal or sublim ated cathexis that accom pany vocalizations. a n d the signified obj ect for the consciousness o f Hu sserl's transcendental ego. o r anterior to the "m irror stage. the sym bolic function of sign ificance. Thus in any poetic language. to distinguish it from the latter. types of signifying practices . one could say prepredicative stages. which m a k es the meaning of the utterance u ndecidable ( for example. the signifying economy of poetic language is speci fic in t h at the sem iotic is not only a constraint as is the symbolic. far from being . is this inevit able attribute of m eaning. concerning a signifying practice. as opposed to the sem iotic. The symbolic (le sym bolique). Scientific discourse. tends to reduce as much as possible the sem iotic component . due to the impact of semiotic processes. this semiotic heterogeneity posited by theory is inseparable from what I shall call. that is. sign. secondly. but also g raphic disposition on the page) are accom panied by nonrecoverable syntactic elisions. it persists also because the sem iotic processes themselves. it is im possible t o reconstitute the particu lar elided syntactic cat egory (object or verb). t hese semiotic constraints (rhythm. for example. I t goes without saying that. On the contrary.ngu�g-� and oft en neglect t he importance of an i deatory message. for exam ple.1 34 F R O M O N E I D E NTITY TO A N OTH E R prephonological. the sym bolic fun ction nonetheless m aintains its presence.

between language and rhythm (in the sense o f link age that the word "rhythm" had for Aeschylus's Prometheus according to Heidegger's reading). I f it is true that there would unavoidably be a speak ing subject since the signifying set exists. the set to which it . FROM O N E I D E NTITY TO AN OTH E R 135 set adrift (as they would be i n insane discourse). thus belongs exists with this indefinition. which. it is nonetheless evident that this subj ect. belongs to language as symbolic. but in different form : though poetic language unsettled the position of the sig­ nified and the transcendental ego. scien t ific discourse t ends to hide-and this im plies considerable consequ ences for its subj ect . a phonem e. between the symbolic and sem i otic. as distinctive elem ent of meaning. the language object itself appears quite differently than it would from a phenomenological perspective. shapes the signifying function. For a t heory attuned t o this k ind o f functioning. intonational repetitions. but rather for heterogeneity. but o f a signi fying apparatus. with this fuzziness. must be. But this same phonem e is i nvolved in rhythm ic. for through the surgery it practiced in the o perating consciousness of the transcendental ego. undefined production o f a new space of signi ficance. it nonetheless posits a thesis. Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis did allow. not of a particular being or meaning. which therefore is no longer either a phoneme or a part of t h e symb olic system-one m ight say that its belonging to the set of t h e language is indefinite. rational. k nown as the unconsciou s. a questionable subject-in-process. I t is of course Freud's theory o f the unconscious that allows the apprehension of such a subj ect. it posits its own process as an undecidable process between sense and nonsense. I t is poetic language that awakens our attention t o this undecidable character of any so-called natural language. Nevertheless. Thus. between zero and one. let us say. Husserl's "thetic function" of the signifying act is thus re-assumed. a feature that u nivocal. The support o f this signifying economy could not b e t h e transcendental ego alone. In light of these state- . in order to tally with its heterogeneity. set u p a new formal construct : a so-called new formal or ideological "writer's u niverse. not for (as certain sim plifications would have it) a few typologies or structures that m ight accomm odate the same phenomenological reason. " the never-finished. it t hereby tends t owards autonomy from m ean­ ing so as to maintain itself in a sem iotic disposition near the instinctual drives' body. it is a sonorous distinctiveness.

On the contrary. which introduces wandering or fuzziness into language and. This passage into and through the forbidden. and m aternal terri­ t ory. consequen t ly. language as nom ination. But the sym bolic (i. poetic language wou ld be for its q uesti on able subj ect-in-process the equ ivalent of incest: it is within the economy of signification itsel f that t he questionable subj ect-in­ process appropriates to itsel f this archaic.e. stem s from t he archaisms of the s emiotic body.. life/deat h ) and. " Idee sur /es romans. is o ften explicit as such (Sade: " Un less he becomes his m ot her' s lover from the day she has brought him into the world. m et aphor and met onomy. orality / anality. let him not bother to write. - J oyce and his d aughter at the e n d o f Finnegans Wake." " prim ary p rocesses. a fortiori. Before recognizing itself as identical in a m irror and. thus it simultaneously prevents the word fr om b ecoming m ere sign and the m other fr om beco ming an o bjec t like any other-forbidden. and syntax) constitutes itself only by breaking with this anteriority. love/hate. or d ancers. at the same time. instinctu al. m aternal elem ent. I shall now make a fe w rem ark s o n the questionable subj ect-in­ process of poetic language. into poetic language is. If it is true that the p rohibition o f incest constitutes. a m ark o f the workings of drives (appropriation/ rej ection. fo r we shall not read h i m . I stress t his point for th ree reasons: . language as comm un icative code and women a s exchange obj ects in order for a society to be established. Language as symbolic funct ion constitutes itself at the cost of repressing instinctual drive and cont inuous relation to the m other. which constitutes the sign and is correlative to the prohibition of i ncest. this body is dependent vis. fr om a diachronic point of view." displacem ent and condensation. The sem i otic activity. rhetorical figu res-but which always rem ains subordin ate-subj acent to the prin­ cipal fu nction of naming-predica ting. as signifying. sign. and innum erable identifica­ tions with women. from a synchronic point of view. the u nsettled and questionable subj ect of poetic language (for whom the word i s never uniquely sign) m aintains itself at the cost of reactivating this repressed insti nctual.a-vis the m other. At the same time instinctual and m aternal. Artaud. sem iotic processes prepare the future speaker for entrance into meaning and signification (the symbolic).136 F R O M O N E I D E N T I T Y T O A N O TH E R ments. which is retrieved a s " signifier. t h a t waver between fet ishizat ion and hom osexuality). 1 . iden t i fying with his "daughters". Celine who takes as pseudonym his grandmother's first name.

as Levi-St rauss pointed out to Dr. beyond the resonances of Christian ethics. FROM ONE ID E N T I TY T O AN O TH E R 137 (a) T o em phasize that t h e dominance of sem iotic constraint i n poetic language cannot be solely interpreted. poetic language is linked with "evi l". this reinstatement of maternal territory into the very economy of language does not lead its quest ioned subj ect-in-process t o repudiate i t s symbolic disposition. And yet . given not only the them atization of t his relationship." or with the "signifier" at the expense of the "m essage". consider what this presym bo lic and trans-sym bolic relationship to the mother introduces as aimless wandering within the identity o f the speaker and the economy of its very discourse. as a preoccupation with the "sign. deprived of its hallowed function as support of the law. this relationship of the spea ker t o the m other is probably one of the m ost important factors pro­ ducing interplay within the structure of m eaning as well as a quest ioning process of subj ect and history. M oreover. as formalist poetics would have it. one must. now. in discussing poetic language. "literature and evil" (I refer t o a title by G eorges Bataille) should be u nderstood. even disap­ pointed. em bracing it from top t o bottom in such a sin­ gular fashion t h at it defies generalizations." which has mobilized unconsciousnesses for centuries. o f that analytic "compet ency" that legend attributes to U lysses. to ignore the mother-child relationship within a given anthropo­ logical vision of s ociety. 2. This applies all the m ore a s "great literature. it is more deeply indicative of the instinctual drives' activity relative t o the first structurations (constitution o f the body as sel f) and identifications (with the mother). has not hing to do with the hypostasis of incest (a petty game of fet ishists at the end of an era. priesthood of a would-be enig ma-the forbidden m other). as the social body's self-defense against the discourse o f incest as destroyer and generator of any language and sociality . (b) To elucidate the intrinsic connection between literature and breaking u p social concord : because i t utters incest. A ndre Green. a cause of that agility. this incestuous relation. on the contrary. ex ploding in l anguage. (c) It i s of course possible. still has this common feature in all outstanding cases: it presents itself as demyst ified. but especially the mutat ions in the very economy o f dis­ course attributable to it. as Roland . Formulat o r-logothete. rather. i n order t o become the cause of a perm anent trial of the speaking subj ect.

h ere. his own father. " The rhetorician does not invent a language. But rather. " inflicts it with a few anomalies generally taken from writers of the past. Fearing its rule but su fficiently aware of the legis­ lation of language not to be able to turn away from this sacrificial­ paternal function. and fiancee a t the same time. Here we must clearly distinguish two positions: that of the rhetorician and that of the writer in the strongest sense o f the word. transpaternal function of poetic langu age reaches its thematic end by staging a simult aneously impossible. the role of father and incestuous son. or for. in order to attack the power represented by a woman. through writing. This is indeed what is happening to the discourse of contem porary philosophers. visible figurehead of a dynasty of m atrons t oward whom he usurps.138 F R O M O N E I D E NTITY T O A N OTH E R Barthes would say-the subject of poetic langu age continually but never definitively assumes the thetic fu nction of naming. paternal function. gives up this battle with. and . Lautream ont struggles ag ainst the Om nipotent . which the paternal function represents within reproduc­ tive relation. M adame de M ontreuil. the transgression is carried out and the transsym bolic. the M arquis de Sade. thus miming a fa ther who remembers having been a son and even a daughter of his father. that is. so that only thus are signifying a n d social structures clinched even though they are ignorant of this sacrifice) and if the paternal function represent s this sacri ficial function. m other. hemmed in by the breakthroughs in social sciences o n the one hand. and orgastic society-never one without the other. as a symbolic. not in order to take his place. when. but also hallowed humanism and the "instinct of heaven" i tself. but not to the point of leaving cover. to signify what is untenable in the symbolic. If symbolic and social cohesi on are m aintained by virtue of a sacrifice (which m ak es o f a soma a sign towards an u nnam able transcendence. In Maldoror. A fter the death of his son Anatole. divine menace and salvation in the manner of Senatspriisident Schreber . in France particularly. Son perm anently at war with father. then it is not up to the poet to adj ust to it. he seduces it in the Latin sense of the verb-he "leads it astray . The m os t analytical o f them all. as Celine puts it. establishing m eaning and significati on. nor even to endure it. thanks to which a book replaces not only the dead son. M allarm e writes a Tom beau . fascinated by the symbolic fu nct ion of paternal discourse. sacrificial. he takes it by storm and from the flank . the symbolic legislation represented by the fa ther. one who has "style. erased from reality. nominal.

the subj ect goes through fan tasies of omnipotence or ident ification with a totalitarian leader. As to psychosis. "I am the father of my im aginative creations. As win­ ner of the batt le. and thus. of consciousness and instinctual drive. sign. F R O M O N E I D E N TITY TO AN OTH E R 1 39 social u pheavals on the other. would eventually find sign ified elem ents for all sig­ nifiers. but a perm anent go-between from one to the other. he no longer needs to seduce the father by rhetorical affectations. Stylists all. as rationalists believe). and this very significat ion based on prohibition (of incest) . assu m e a different discourse. he m ay even drop the nam e of the father to take a pseudonym (Celine signs with his grandm o ther's first name). pat ernal fu n ction of language. a pulsation of sign and rhythm . in the footsteps of science." Artaud claim s. perhaps m ore dramatically than b efore or elsewhere. in the place of the father. sacrificial function p roduces an obj ectification of the pure signifier. Psychosis and fetishism represent the two abysses that threaten the unstable subject of poetic language. "I am my father. the philosopher begins performing literary tricks. neither im aginary discourse of the self. poetic Ian- . my m other. where fetishism is concerned. far fr om thus becoming an u npleasant or negligi­ ble accident within the firm progress of sym bolic process (which. The stylist's adventure is t ot ally different. m ore and m ore em ptied of m eaning-an insipid for­ m alism . 3. though m inor in appearance. symbolic legality is wiped out in favor of arbitrariness of an instinctual drive without m eaning and communicat ion. o f which the internal setting off of the sign (signifier / signified) is merely a wit ness. thus arrogating t o him sel f a power over imaginations: a power which. heterogeneous to signification. which contem porary poetic language has u ndergone." writes M allarm e at the b irth of G enevieve. constantly dodg­ ing the pat ernal. these borderline experiences. Nevertheless. and me. even m ore radical one bet ween an instinctual. panicking at the loss of all reference. sem ioticizing body. Through the perm anent contradiction between these two disposit ions (sem iotic/symbolic). my son. nor discourse of t ranscendental knowledge. as twentieth-century literature has only too clearly demonstrated. On the other hand. is m ore fetching than that of the transcendental consciousness. but also that it is reinforced by another. show not only that the Saussurian cleavage (signifier/ signified) is forever unb ridgeable. they sound a dissonance within the t het ic. and thetic signification est ablishing signified object and t ranscendental ego.


in "modern " literature.or t ranssym bolic. contem porary wit h the m aj or national epics and the const itution of nat ions them selves) nor even to the body itself. in so doing. they thus tend t o become independent of the central verb. It is a jubilant recognition that. loses its clear contours. both identi fying with and rej ecting a com m u nity ( fa m ilial or folk). but when different "obj ect-phrases" are for example numerous and juxt aposed with a verb. but rather. M oreover. though they function di fferently. Therefore. to detach themselves from the sentence's own signification. provokes its lapses. they are separated by the charac­ teristic "three dots. it refe rs neither to a l iterary conven­ tion (like our poetic canons. thus giving them rhyt h m . both o f them involve constitutive operations of the j u dging consciousness (therefore of identity) by simultaneously perturbing its clarity and the designation of an obj ect (obj ecthood)." This procedure divides the sentence into its constitu­ tive phrases. a l l the addenda of which the reader is capable). By using three dots to space the phrases making up a sentence. there are no syntactic anomalies (as in the Coup de Des or the glossalalias of Artaud). but on a free context (the entire book . a constraint that I have termed semiotic fu nc­ tions in addition to the j u dging consci ousness. Here. Beginning with Death on the Installment Plan. or compensates for them . but also. the sentence i s con densed : not only does Celine avoid coordinat ion and em beddings. such a net­ work has nothing to d o with classic poeticness (rhythm. is maintained. to a signifying disposition. which fashions any j u dging consciousness so that any ego recognizes its crisis within it. rep l aces petty aesthetic p leasure. and to acquire a m eaning initially incom plete and consequent ly capable o f taking on multiple connotations that n o longer depend on the fram ework o f the sentence. pre. conven­ tional rhet orical figures) because it is drawn from the drives' register of a desiring body. Sentential rhythms . The elided obj ect in the sentence relates to a hesitation (if not an erasure) of the real object for the speaking subject . The predicative thesis. That literature is witness to this kind of deception . constitut ive of the j u dging consciousness. even if the so-called poetic codes are n o t recognizable within poetic la nguage. the transcendental obj ect . but also because. if they constitute a net­ work o f constraints that is added to denotative signification. the denotated object of the ut terance. m et er. F R O M O N E IDE N T IT Y TO AN O T H f. R 141 larity o f his discourse. he cau ses connotation to rush t hrough a predication that has been striated in that manner.


" 1 3 Here is an i m posing and m enacing father. cleaning the flagstones in front of his shop. or what one calls t he "obscene folklore of children. m ore than a simple context asserts itself-the drama of a questioning process h eterogeneous to the meaning that precedes and exceeds it . strongly em phasizing the enviable necessity of his position. transcendental signified." just before fall­ ing ill. a prohibitor. "I have m y conscience on m y side. literature achieves its cathartic effect s . full of obsessional habits like. and this on the very level of language. . the drives' body. lacking an obj ective referent. The obscene word. the obscene word m obilizes the signifying resources of the subj ect. . . for exam ple. By reconst itut ing them. Then. . In Death on the Installm ent Plan. His anger ex plodes spectacularly once. ' Come. . the m ovement of rej ection and appropriation of the other. nor signifier available to a neutralized consciousness: around the object denoted by the obscene word. we find a paternal figure. but spoiling it by his derisive fury: undermined power whose weapon one could only take away in o rder to engul f it at the end of a j ourney between m other and son. not without explaining in the face of general disapproval." utilize the same rhythmic and sem antic resources. com e ! ' she said when we were alone [ . FROM ONE I D E N T I T Y TO A N O TH E R 1 43 better than an obscene word for perceiving the limits of a phenom eno­ logical linguistics faced with the heterogeneous and com plex architec­ tonics of significance. when he shuts himself u p in the basement and shoots his pistol for h ours. ] We threw the package in the drink . and that obj ect provides a scanty delineation. and accom pany the particu l arities of poetic l anguage to which I have just refe rred . it is neither obj ect. is also the contrary of an aut onym-which involves the function of a word or utterance as sign. chi ld . Childrens' counting-out rhymes. the m ost " fa m ilial" of Celine's writ­ ings. prom ote. . prone to scandal. that produce." "a mind. connecting it to gesturality. Auguste: a m an "of instruct ion. Several them es in Celine bring t o light t h e relat i onships o f fo rce. " M y m other wrapped the weapon in several layers of newspaper and t hen in a cashmere shawl . perm itting it to cross t hrough the m embrane of m eaning where consciousness holds it. . a t first within t h e fa mily triangle. a n d then i n contemporary society. increasingly pure signifier vainly attempts to impose upon the subj ect ." sullen. they maintain the subj ect close to these ju bilatory dramas that run athwart the repression that a uni vocal. kinesthesia.

at the end : "I am the son o f a wom a n who restored old lace . death. The Word came next to replace emotion as the t rot replaces t h e gallop [ . . which necessarily im plies the act o f logical and legal j u dgment. weaves the sem iotic network of instinctual drives. susceptible of a psychosis-inducing ex plosion. . exceeding the law of t he paternal word's own mastery. and who has the right t o her own desire. epic. if it thus fails t o conform to signifying identity." "the three hundred years befo re Chris t . I d o not need to be t aught . where we decipher the relationship of the speaker to a desiring and desired m other. right?" Anyway. heritage of the m other. . it nevertheless constitutes another identity closer t o repressed and gnomic archaism s . "a choice in a drawing room " : "the whore's trade doesn't interest me". A device. this m aternal reference to old l acework is explicitly t h ought of as a n a rcheology of t h e word: " N o ! I n t h e beg inning was emotion. . t h rough signified and signify­ ing identity and confronting the semiotic network : a disposition closer t o t h e G reek gnomon ("one that k nows. I know it. are n onetheless woven with scrupulous precision. the ident ity-of him who u nseated what Celine calls the "heaviness" of m en. in order t o flee it. I n another interview. " "the circus. or tragic. before defin ing himself. [I am] one o f t hose rare men who k nows how t o distinguish batiste from valencienne . i t i s Celine's language t hat records n o t o n l y t h e institutional b u t a l s o the . are what he calls in North. narrate. The threads of in stinct ual drive. support s the lan­ guage-or i f you wish. A speech thus slatted by inst inctual drive-D iderot would have said "musicated"-could not describe.1 44 F R O M O N E I D E N T I T Y TO AN OTH E R I n an interview. plugged in live to an era o f war. and g enocide. " "carpenter's squ are") t h a n t o the Latin lex. or theatricalize "object s " : by its com position and signification it also goes beyond the accepted cate­ gories of lyric. " While m em bers o f t h e Resistance sing i n alexandrine verse. dramatic. The last writings of Celine. "the vivisection of the wounded. into gibberish. that is. . ] They pulled m a n out of emotive poetry in order to plunge him into dialectics. then. One must therefore conceive of an other disposition of the law. a regu lated discrimination. of fathers. Celine com pares him sel f to a "society woman" who braves the nevertheless maintained fam ily prohibition. . " This fragile delicacy. what is R igodon if not a popular dance which obliges language to bow to the rhythm of its em otion .

facing philosophy. though dissolved in laughter and dom inant non-sense. poetic language has deserted beauty and m eaning to become a laborat ory where. If we t ook this venture seriously-if we could hear the burst of black laughter it hurls at all attempts t o m aster the human situation. or simultaneou sly. rather than by positing it as an object o f kn owledge. they are nevertheless posited as idols in Hitlerian ideology. better than anything else. Rather. sufficient also to u nderstand that it is not enough to allow what is repressed by the sym­ bolic struct u re to em erge in a "musicated" language to avoid its traps. writing that pretends to agree with "circu s" and "vivisect ion" will nonetheless find its idols. we must in addition dissolve i t s sexual determ inations. I am saying that this literary discourse enunciates through its formal decenter­ ing. m ore apparent in Artaud's glossalalias. We could not avoid wondering about the possibility. F aced with t his poetic language that defies kn owledge. the discourse that u nderm ines the judging consciousness and releases its repressed in­ stinctu al d rive as rhythm always turns out to be at fa ult fr om the viewpoint o f an et hic that remains with the transcendental ego-wh atever j oys or negations m ight exist in Spinoza's or Hegel's. FROM ONE I D E N T I TY TO AN O T H E R 145 profoundly symbolic j olt involving m eaning and the identity of transcendental reason. the impossibility of a sig­ nified or signifying identity is being sustained. As proof. fascism inflicted this j olt on our u niverse and the human sciences have hardly begun to figure out its consequences. castrating. to m aster language by lan­ guage-we would be forced t o reexam ine "literary history. Since at least H olderlin. but also through the rhythm s and them es of violence in Celine. U nless poetic work can be linked to analytical interpretation. even if only provisional. and sodomizing father. the faltering o f transcendental consciousness: this does not m ean that such a d iscourse is aware of such a faltering or interprets it. m any of us are rather tem pted to leave our shelter to deal wit h literature only by m i m ing its meanderings. and the t ranscendental eg o of all signification." to rediscover beneath rhetoric and poetics its unchanging but always different polemic with the symb olic function. A reading o f any one o f Celine's anti-semitic t racts is su fficient to show the crudely exhibited phantasm s of an analysand struggling against a desired and fr ustrating. the legitim acy of a theoret ical discourse on this practice of language whose stakes are precisely to render impossible the transcendental bou nding that supports the discourse of k nowledge. We . k n owledge.

it seem s to me. which it never stops challenging. poetic langu age pursues an effect of singular tru th. para-philo­ sophical. within its language object . It is probably necessary to be a woman (ultimate gu arantee of sociality beyond the wreckage of the paternal symbolic function. literary experience rem ains nevert heless som ething other than this analytical theory. of its expansion) n o t to renounce t heoretical reason b u t to com pel it to increase its power by giving it an obj ect beyond its limits. And this requires that subjects of the theory must be themselves subjects in infinite analysis. could not in any way accou nt for it. intonational. this expanded t heory of signifi­ cation cannot give itself new objects except by positing itself as n onuniversal: t hat is. located in the m atrix of the sign. as well as the inexhaustible generator of its renewal. for . of accounting for a nonetheless articulated instinctual drive. Such a posi­ tion. which ciphers the langu age with rhyt hmic. Against k nowing thought. can fi nally adm it. this is what Husserl could not im agine. by presu pposing that a questionable subj ect-in­ process exists in an economy of discourse other than that of thetic con­ sciousness. When it avoids the ris k s that lie in wait for it. a linguistics capable. This kind of heterogeneous economy and its questionable subj ect-in­ process thus calls for a linguistics other than the one descended fr om the phenom enological heavens. across and through the constitut ive and insurm ountable frontier of m ean­ ing. This instinctu al drive. The developm ent o f this t h eory of signification is in itself regulated by Husserlian precept s. because i t inevitably m akes an object even of that which departs from m eaning. confronted with poetic langu age. refers back to an instinctual body (to which psychoanalysis has tu rned its attention). which. perhaps. but what a woman. and other arrangem ent s. nonreducible to t h e position of the transcendental ego even t h ough always wit h i n sight of its thesis. what Celine cou ld not k now. but would rather use it as an indication of what is heterogeneous to meaning (to sign and predication): instinctual econom ies. aware as she is of the inanity o f Being. provides a possible basis for a t h eory of significa­ tion. and thus accom plishes. however. always and at the sam e time open t o bio-physiological sociohistorical constraints. But. even though abet ting the law o f signi­ fying structure as well as of all sociality. am ong others. FROM ONE I D E N TITY T O A N OTH E R 146 let ou rselves b e taken i n b y this mim eticism : fictional. para-scientific writings.

1 970). 1 947-58) 3 : 322. 1 956). t his solitary practice that the materialists of antiquity unsuccessfully championed against the ascendance of theo­ retical reason. . 1 2 . l 'Homm e nu. Levi-St rauss." p. pp. A n t o n i n Artaud. V I I I . 4. i n Husserliana (The H ague: H rsg. 1 7. p . E r n est Renan. Kr isteva's French phrase is m ise en proces.] 7. which. pp. 1 1 . R. p . p. 8 : 2 8 7 . ( London: C o ll ier. 6 1 4. Erste Philosophie. 78. logical Investigations. Les Mots sous /es mots ( P aris: G al l i m ard. Louis-Ferdinand C e l i n e . E r n est Renan. H u sserl. R a l p h M anheim. 8. 2. and note 6. W . 1 962). 276-77. recurring concept-that of a constantly changing subject w hose identity is open t o ques t i o n .M ac M ill an. Edmund H u sserl. Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology. C f. 1 966). (New York: N ew Directions. trans. Ideas. ( London: R o u t ledge & K egan Paul. 1 9 7 1 ). Findlay. 9 . Claude Levi-St rauss. See J ea n Starobinski. 1 8 9 1 ). 6. refers to an im port ant. " N otes o n the Tran slation. " in Oeu vres completes ( Paris: G al l i­ m ard). 3 1 3 . Notes I . Oeuvres Completes. p. 10. [Ed. Death on the Installment Plan. 1 97 1 ) . /'Homm e nu (Paris: P i o n . Edmund H u sserl. 9 3 -9 4 and 1 0 1 .] 1 3 . 402. [ Ed . ] 3 . The Future of Science ( B oston: R oberts B r others. v o n R . " l ' A na rc h i e sociale de !'art . trans. J . Boeh m . like le sujet en proces. [Ed. FROM ONE I D E NTITY TO AN OTH E R 147 the m odern community. Edm u nd H u sserl.Levy. p. pp. la R evolution du language poelique ( P aris: Seuil. 5. 274ff. (Paris: C a l m ann. B oyce G i bson. trans. See K r isteva. 1 974). 6 1 5. N.

i t doesn't matter w h o t h e actual father i s since t h e child belongs solely t o i t s m ot her (First Love). even on her way to the toilet . has made of my cemetery a sewer Dante. LO V E . R. AND BAN I S H M ENT That one who on earth usurps my place. in my opinion q u it e adequately circu m scribing that writer's known novels and plays. pp. are no less First published i n Cahiers de /'Herne ( 1976). a t h em e of orality stripped of i t s ostenta­ t i on-the m ou t h of a lonely woman. fa ce to face with G od. within the parenthesis of First Love and Not I. Paradiso. Becket t's pieta m aintains a sublime appearance. reprinted i n Polylogue ( P aris: S e u i l .6. This parenthesis. the antonym of a hymn or of M olly's monologue. 1965) What goes by the name of love is banishment. 1 977). the now carnivalized destiny of a once flourishing Christianity. Huse. face t o face with nothing (Not I). H. in m icrocosmic fashion. 22-25. T H E FAT H E R . my place which is vacant in the sight ofthe Son of God. I t includes everything: a father's death a n d t h e arrival o f a child (First Lo ve). b ot h t he strength and the limitations of a writ­ ing that comes across less as " aesthetic effect" than as something one used to situate close to the "sacred . XXVII. ( Trans. . First love Strangely enough. conveys b ack t o m e. Becke t t . I needed a Venetian ambien ce-the complet e opposite of Beck ett's un iverse-to h ave a sense of grasping. Even t hough the m ot her is a prostitute. 1 3 7-47. and at the other end. And t h e babblings o f a seventy-year-old woman (Not I). " No name exists t oday for such an "unnam able" interplay o f m eaning and j ouissance.

LOV E . T H E FATH E R . arousing to the point of defecation) and Death (empty axis. On the one hand. " This will then be the only love-one that is possible. Death-the ideal that provides m eaning but where the word is silent. i n brothel and at church" finally appears in reality under the guise of a paternal corpse. 2 . And so: 1 . But banishment-lo ve . whose nam e remains equally undif­ fe rentiated. decay. merges with the son's "selr' (but where a daughter can very easily become tra pped). never leaving the black m ourning of an inaccessible paternal fu nction. pet rified. and for t hat very reason m ore tenacious than ever. and thus Meaning. the pa ternal corpse. . a m a n has a hard time finding som ething else t o love. " and thus to bl end into "history's ancient faeces . He could hardly venture in that direct ion unless he were confr onted with an undifferentiated woman. which itself has found refuge on the side of Death . From a far. in all their nonsense. one that is true: neither satyric. R acked bet ween the father (cadaverous body. nor Platonic. Some of them. 1 su mm arizing the sublim ated obscenity that portrays him as consubstantial with his father. and constantly th reatened with being obscured. demystified. Banishment : an attempt at separating oneself from the augu st and placid ex panses where the father's sublime Death. tenacious and silent. he catches a glimpse of "some fo rm of aesthetics relevant to man" (the only one ! ) and discovers a "great disem bodied wisdom" (the u nrivaled one!). R aised. nor intellectual. on the other. A verbal find seals this junc­ tion of opposit es: chamber pot. it thus provides a m eaning for the existence of living corpses. but still split and separate. with a paternal aura. A N D BAN I S H M E N T 1 49 haloed. the pillars of our im agination are still there. ironically but obsti­ nately raising her toward that third person-God-and filling her with a strange j oy in the face o f nothingness. waste. just like the archaic breast ( Lulu? or Lully? or L olly?). . but only the decayed cadaver of his fat h er. "m ore dead than . Father and Death are u nited. stirring to t h e point o f tran­ scendence). her singing voice out of tune in any case. and excrem ent m o bilizing pleasure and leisure. T h e " thing" he h a d heard of "at home. Through it. hence a possible though trivial comm unication. at least . exhausted. a prostitute t o be sure. in school. with only one righ t: to be inscribed "in time's forgotten cowplats . evokes Racine. A m a n experiences love a n d simul t aneou sly puts it to the t est on the death of his father. and Dante all at once. a term that. Baudelaire. mumm ified. exch angeable for another (A nna). for the son-writer.

A N D B A N I S H M E N T alive" . fr om the first feces on. this disabused realism. without the means for fading away. save for and by virtue of this stretched out void of paternal Death. endlessly expected from t h e first cries o n . It is the m eaning of the narrative of the son.1 50 T H E F AT H E R . he discovers the price of warmth (of a hothou se. The corpse under his eyes is the waste-obj ect. the third. m ourning a love. from the first words on. and moreover. a relat ionship in the im age of this very obj ect. filial. 3. fallen off the fa ther. a banishment robbing this sensible but always already dead. on chooses banishment toward the part constituting a fal len object or an object of l ove (of being possessive and genitive parti­ tive). Live somewhere else. without spending the saved-up. there is no possible release fr om the grip of paternal Death. obsessed m an never sees his fa ther as dead. it always was. necessarily) could ever t otalize. fr ozen forever. where the only opportunity is to become a nyone at all. A life always off t o one side.person father. To lo ve is to survive pa ternal meaning. b ored but sol id. as ideal and inaccessible t o any !iv- . taking the p lace o f his protection. self o f its silence on the t hreshold o f a rimy m inerality. is not that particular dead body. who never enunciated himsel f as anything else. This act o f loving and i t s incum bent writing spring from the Death of the Father-from the Death of the third person (as Not I shows). this obj ect of love-transposition of love for the Other. L O V E . the fallen and thu s t h e finally possible obj ect . this m iserable downfall. this low-spirited action. the always trivial ersatz of this disincarnate wisdom that no obj ect (of love. of a room. at an im passable distance. I t i s a life apart from t h e paternal country where n onetheless lies the obsessed se! rs unshakable quiet . This cadaverous object fi nally allows its son to have a "real" relationship with the world. and so firm ly condem ned. It demands that one travel fa r to discover the futile but exciting presence of a waste-obj ect: a man or woman. Against the m od i fying whole of the father's Death. In other words. Through this opening. A fragile. pu shed aside by paternal st rength. this sullen irony. t oo . and yet. where. uncertain life. of a turd) and the bored om of those humans who provide it-but who waste it. And yet. the prim ary. paternal capital in one's pockets. he might look for wom an. but in the com pany of paternal Death. So flee this perm anence of m eaning. Banishment: above/beyond a life of love. But the Other. It is Death. without banishment. H ow trivial. this di sappoint ed m ercy.

twenty-five m i nutes and even a s long as half an hour daily. Assumption of self through t he dead father turns the banished writer into a father in spite of himself. with Becket t . the (son's) m other? It is because he deduces this absence that t he banished son. Now. " ) and his nigh ttime "stewpan. a kind of " automobilis m . LOVE . l esser figures . truly evokes the aut oerotic m echanism and " M alic M olds" of the " Large G l ass" Bachelor. his readers. THE F A TH E R . This banished l over. And even if Lulu isn't a virgin . incestuous plunge sum m ed up in M olly's j ouissance or the paternal baby talk in Finnegans Wak e. a fter and against the m ilitant bachelors of the early twent ieth century. twenty m inutes. even if it eludes him . by analyzing his b anish­ ment. but noneth eless believes in being one-tense . even if she proves to be a woman with an unruly clientele. the " cooling cycle" that adj usts h er am orous m echanism t o that of the banished narrator places the two coital pro­ t agonists forever. But Beckett writes again s t J o yce. M oreover. as l ong as he persists in his search he narrates in the name of D eath for the father's corpses. t hey should assume it but only as an i m possible relationship. too. a false father who doesn't want to be a father. I obtain these figures by the addition of other. half fo urth dimen­ sional. AND BANIS HMENT 151 ing being as it might seem . that rather t han avoid the sexual act. the myth o f the bachelor writer leaves behind the fa scinated terror of P roust or Kafka and comes closer to M a rcel Duch a m p's d r y humor. Beckett says. 5. a father u nder protest. whose participants are condem n ed t o a perpetual banishment that confines them within auto­ erot icism . I n t he m an­ ner of Duchamp. it is only because it has come to conceal barred incest . that is. for you. to take up all the space where otherwise we would im agine an unspoken woman: the ( father's) wife. Lulu-Anna has all the qualit ies of Th e Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors. m ight not remain forever a bachelor-neither m onk nor nar­ cissistic l over of his peers. Indeed. 4 . how can one fa il to see that i f Death gives meaning to the sublime story of this first love. as with Ducham p. ascet ically rej ecting the latter's j oyous and insane. " autom atically activating its "internal combustion engine" and setting for th again by "stri pping-bare" m ove­ ments. A s long a s a son pursues meaning i n a story or through narratives . but a father in flight. Even-half robot. long long sessions." k eeping him b edtime com pany better than a bride. into icy communication. w i t h all h i s calcula­ tions ("I thought of Anna then.

at the end of the act. nor in ecstasy. Assuming the s tance of his father's son inocul ates h im forever against any incestuous. solitary illumination of a head suf­ fused by light and of a m outh. he quickly gets away fr om h e r s o a s t o devot e himself entirely to his own "slow descen t s again. and even m ore so. the soft . bet ween su blimity and pleasure. fortified wit!i this assum ption of Death. First Love suggests that. there is no pleasure. and-in order to be fa ithful to his dead father to the end-a double suicide. "poetic" endeavor. in the field. however. one feels nothing ." which expressly allows him t o sketch out a new m eaning. substituting for the fa ther. for a woman. The body is stiff. The fa t her's presence t h at caused the son t o narrate First Love has become fo r the old woman of Not I a rhetorical device: a questioning. that is. Corpse and wast e have been replaced by a syn tactic occurrence: elision.the "ma rried" spinster-the autoerotic autonomy of her u niverse is ensu red by childbirth. this void. There remains fo r him t o relish his grief. Questioning is the supreme j udicial act. neither d rugged nor drunk. renu nciation of the b ody. which enabled the son to experience love. T h i s also accom plishes the impossible coexistence of two incom municable ent ities. He needs the gentle t ouch of a mute partner. Faithful to his paternal love.1 52 THE F ATH E R . su blimation. and continually asking questions. the em ptiness h olding him u p between Death and waste. the counterpart of what the dead father is for the obsessed m an i s t h e child. is still with us. h e does not allow him self t o be concerned about h er own experience. is a different m atter. that. The father's D eath. grasping at t h e same void. for the I who asks the ques­ tions. for his wi fe. The banished young m an has aged . a balance of nothingness-on condition that it be written: " those instants when. what the banished m an n eeds m os t from a woman is simply someone t o accompany h i m i n t o Death's void. except. " L iving close to a woman who helps him survive in this banishment from the father's Death. into the third person's void. Because i n a more immediate and direct sense. I n corresponding fashion. LOVE. th rough the very act of asking t hese questions (apart from the . to write a nar­ rative. t here are no ambiguities to sug­ gest the sl igh test m easure of perversion. 6. one male and o ne fe m ale. but now it does not even lead t o a pseudofictional narrative. AND BANISHMENT in the elegance of perm anent m ourning. the long submersion. in these light beams. he has becom e an old lady (Nat I). waste. Yet.

m an. who? what? . m other. S H E ! . pursuing. she speaks. t o rem ember it had something to do with lem on trees. . like pleasureles s vowels. alone with the flow of words that have lost their m eaning. she! . or so few words. A N D BAN I S H M E N T 1 53 meaning of the request) postulates the existence of the other. obst inate voice. the disappearance not only of the addressee (you). " not you either. an overflow caused by an excess of internal subordination. u seless." the anonymous and u nnamable " G od. t o get through this world. slipping out of the sentence. and for m e that is no mean feat. T h e elision of t h e obj ect is t h e syntactic recognition o f an im possible object . What in this t ext still appears as a su rplus of meaning. THE FATH E R . beyond dial ogue. Here. beyond this amorous association o f the banished writer with the . . the fa ther's Death. i t exists. the "it exists. not a word. no! . the object conceals itsel f. A disappointed M outh. nor child. Yet. not a note. A missing (gram m at ical or discu rsive) object im plies an i m p ossi­ ble subj ect: not I." the "Other"-t he pen's axis. what? . t h ere must be a He beyond communicatio n . or orange trees. . " Here. no "you"-neither fat her. in Not I. . or orange trees. person . and I have heard plenty. probably remaining in t h at u nnamable domain of the (ather: It had something t o do with lem on t rees. t h i s m eans t h a t the a c t of writing. beyond psych ologism . that is all I remem ber. dying but persistent. this de. even m y way. what she was. the third. that. sustained by the same first love. " "Mouth recovers fr om vehem ent refusal t o relinqu ish third . . without me or y o u . already. that are suspended. seized by the desire to pour itself out as i n t o a w ash basin. looking for. without hearing singing.oralized and frustrated mouth is nevertheless held to its trivial search : " not k nowing what . t h a t what. I have retained nothing . i t b eing a pparently i m p ossible. that nothing. . The prerequisites of writing. LOV E . and always a delet i on o f the object o f dis­ course. for o f all the o ther songs I have ever heard i n my l i fe. "askew . .. . In First Lo ve. . I forget. " "tack y " . who? . but o f all topic of discourse. I fo rget. . . this sentence has gone on long enough. . And yet. so few notes. a deletion o f direct obj ects. tenacious. since it is " not I . And yet t here is nobody in mind. . is in fact an obstinate refu sal to let go of the third person: the elem ent beyond dis­ course. . . beyond subj ectivism. o ft en becomes. dying M outh. awaiting. physically i m p ossible short o f bei ng deaf.

In contrast with the overflowing M olly and Fin­ negan's negative awak ening. the substit ute for the father. and it exonerated them fr om any guilt in replacing the fa ther and exercising the power they t ook fr om h i m . I do not exist"). A t t h e (phantasm atic?) dawn of religion. which she incorporates into her impossibility to such a degree that she sacrifices her "self' to it. stands a j ouissance provoked by m eaning's deception. the sons of the pnm1t1ve h orde commem orated their share in the Deat h of the fa ther by partak ing of a totemic m eal. "stewpans. Only refuse. m adly but cert ainly. LOVE. perm anently m ourning vagina with a m outh. m ight perpet uate it self as trace t h rough a symbolic ascesis renouncing sexual j ouissance. She. visible. No t /: a heartrending statement of the loss o f identity but also. Left . Becket t's tragic irony thus achieves its m aximal resonance when the son's tenacious love of Death is uttered through the m outh of a wom an. writing. AND BANIS H M E N T m ad. fled his father so that the int roj ected superego. But Beckett represents the other end of the process. Two boundar ies of paternal love. an im possible genitality for both sexes. seventy-year-old woman. which nevert heless inevitably perseveres through and beyond this unavoidable third pers on. pursuing a paternal shadow binding h e r to the body and to language. no escape fr om death for either. also sustai ned. t h rough which. replaces a forbidden. They are a fasci n at ing and i m possible couple. reconciled them to his body as if it were a maternal breast. but an equally impossible fem i ninity. t actile.1 54 THE FATH E R . She experiences j ouissance in nonsense t h rough repression. Im possible subjectivity ("if I have no obj ect of love. eit her before or beyond t heir "work s . by censorship of the m aternal body. and yet unnamable disgust. discreet and resigned jubilation. They thus incor­ porated into t heir reality what they had symbolically introjected. perm anently setting her o ff fr om socialized humans. the gap between writing and psychosis bursts open . Swallowing the totemic animal. " He writes in a state of ascesis . without link or syntax . on both sides. adher­ i ng to its meaning. a sweet relief produced by the m ost minute corru ption of m eaning in a world unfail­ ingly saturated with it." and the "convenience" have replaced the totemic m eal. In fact. d evastated by (paternal) love. that was sexual ambi­ guity or t ravesty. He. j ouissance seeps-oral. audible. one for each sex. the father's Death was a murder denied .

incorporati ng. Christianity. or introjecting the father's power and/or Death . as omnip resent as he is incredible. or bet ter yet . according t o Freud. to see both-Pieta and serene jubila­ tion of the m other-in the work of Giovanni Bellini. In this way. One needs only t o glance through fifteenth-century art. and doing. this Father. and the rest of their company. Will he come? Of course not ! But just the same. one of the components of Christianity reaches its apex and the threshold leading to its reversal: its Judaic substratum and its Protestant branch. let us ask for G odot. this God. were com pensated by j ouissance. X ray of the m ost fun­ damental myth of the Christian world: the love fo r the fa ther' s Death (a love for meaning beyond communication. and m aybe even all granting of m eaning: saying. AND BANISHMENT 1 55 with only failed or frustrated orality. thus linked to the m urder. But what is m ore. our m on otheistic civilization. for the incommunicable) and fo r t he universe as waste (absurd com m u nicat ion). t hey will experience its fascination and terror. Christianity celebrates m at ernal fecundity and offsets the m orbid and murderous filial love of paternal reason with m other-son incest. rem ain enigmatic becau se of an incom- . t o u nderstand t h a t t h e fasci nation a n d enduring quality of M editerranean and Oriental Christianity are unthink able without this conj unction. of the corpse-u niverse o f M olloy. LOVE. into t heir a bsurd existence as wastrels. which. which continues t o i n fuse meaning. rem ains im p ossible in Becket t. forever subj ect to his hold. True. Watt. dispersed as it m ight be. the sons have given up any hope of either annexing. The fact rem ains that there is another componen t . There probably has never been a k eener eye directed at paternal Death in that it determ ines the son. of ruin. which. lucid and rigorous. The only possible community is then centered in a ritual of decay. THE F A TH E R . C arnivalesque excavations on the brink o f a t oppling over t oward something else. writing. who n onetheless continue their m ost " Beck ettian" of activities: questioning and wait ing. nonetheless. have founded speech's meaning i n the Death o f the inaccessible father. but. seem s t o b e o n the verge o f admitt ing that this Death was a M u rder. Both in its pagan beginnings or its Renaissance deviation. these luminously fleshed M ad onnas. for example. such an adm ission could surface or become bearable only i f the communal meaning. They will rem ain forever separated from him . holding their male i n fa nts with often am biguous caresses.

disgust. in the baby-angels and winged breasts scu lpted into the colum n s of Saint M ark's Church in Venice. which cannot be found i n the glance soothed by the nothingness underlying " Go d is love. o f flood of lights. had henceforth becom e nothingness in the eyes of these early Western women. looking at us fr om within a painting. close to fainti ng. and nonetheless persis tent. LOVE. AND BANISHMENT m ensurable dis tance separating them from their sons-a dista nce espe­ cially manifest in their averted gazes. such an unnamable. they can be seen as a shrewd admission of what in the fem inine and maternal is repressed. except . in another fa shion. m aternal body. but its presence is only one segm ent of j ouissance. Illum inated by absence. and which i s always necessarily k ept u nder the same vei ls of sacred terror when fa ced with the father's Deat h--a Death that. or noth­ ingness. t hrough these oblique. the segm ent dest ined for others. or through these oblivious heads. And yet there is a rem nant. nothing­ ness. obstinate-like Not I." nor in the serenely positioned. I t bursts out in a profusion o f colors. Far from fem inist. averted from the world in a fr ustrated and m elancholy expecta tion. b y means of a quite u nnamable stance. at the beginning o f the R enaissance. . and always vacant glances. perhaps. an elsewhere. and even m ore brutally. but which. is not less but m ore than Word and M eaning. what is represses: the j oyous serenity of incest with the m other. This rem nant is precisely what constitu tes t h e enigma o f Christian maternity. Their child is probably t here. unlike that of Not /. Bellini's cl assicism and. dim m ed . withheld. What rem ains.1 56 THE F ATH E R . can be expressed by neither narrative nor im age. nevertheless. t o save the Religio n of the Father by breathing into it. has already b een eclipsed by the God in the M adonna's eyes as well as i n M outh of Not I. that discretely diverted body-interm ediary and p assageway between an ex ploded and absent head and an i n fa nt t o be given away. Through the recovered mem ory of the i ncestuous son-the artist-this j ouissance im agines itself to be the same as the m other's. it parallels the obsessional m orbidity specific to Christianity as it is to any religion. A n attem pt was made. A s i f t o say that t heir love is not even the baby-still an object of b anishm ent-but perhaps now as always. m ore than before. the same incredulous and stubborn "God is love" that in No t I already opens up onto nothing. in its immensity. N ow. in Christianity. the lavish ness of the baroque testify to it.

In Not I. but also a shattering of the object across and through what is seen and heard within rhythm : a poly­ m orphic. could a wom an. leaving behind an obsessional labyrinth . On the contrary. that this repression of m o t herhood and incest was affirmed as risky and unsett ling in one's very flesh and sex . he has set forth the limi tations and the means-the structure-that enabled him to probe the desacralized piety of the father' s Death. For. H ere I see the averted. LOV E . If he had. Leonardo and M ichelangelo replaced G iovanni Bellini . AND BANISH M EN T 1 57 Too late. especially its hom osexuality. predating the father-and this in the third person . eternal. Beck ett d oesn't oblige them to experience the ex plosion of a nat ivity whose incestuous j ouissance they celebrated . and echolalias of the m oth er-infant sym biosis-intense. T h e result is a text that forces Catholics. pre-Oedipal. having chosen the narrative. through m onologue or dialogue. . serene. that is. by m eans of a language that "m usicates t hr ough letters." resume within discourse the rhythms. The Renaissance was to revive M an and his perversion beyond the m other thus dealt with and once again rej ected . frustrated but obstinate. shielded from death. then. poly phonic. he wou ld have been led to write poetry. And he m ade us a present of the calm discharge that it allows . albeit very exceptionally. u nchangeable j ouissance t h at has nothing t o d o with death and its obj ect. facsimile o f the third person. becom es a m irage of this possible serenity. a language of banishm ent . take shape at last. THE F AT H E R . Latins. French. I t was not until the end of the nineteenth century and J oyce. even m ore than Freud. i f not t o discover. after Joyce a n d in di fferent fashion. incarnate in the m other. Not until t hen did it. disillusioned eyes of radiant M adonnas . speak another love? Love as obj ect banished fr om paternal Death. So much the bet t er. Mou th. . a truly analytic solution might. Humanism and its sexual explosion. banished from love. Is it because Becket t ' s written works. t o assume. a language nonetheless foreign to him. Having had a child. through such scorn for femininity. probably. But the colors o f t he paintings are lacking. intonations. what they have borrowed from the outside (Judaism) or what . and its bourgeois eager ness to acquire obj ects (products and money) rem oved from immediate analysis (but not from t he preconscious) the cu lt of natality and its real and sym­ bolic consequences . seem to have their sights on some archeology other than Chris­ tianity's? U sing the Lat ins' m ost analytic language. a language of l ove.

avoided m other. above and beyond his m ockery and for a humanity searching for a solitary com m unity. AND BA N I S H M E N T they have rej ected ( Protestantism ). does there not persist an other-untouched and fully seductive? The true guarantee o f t h e last myth of m odern times. Q u otations are from First L o ve and Other Shorts (New York : Grove Press. but. color. radiant death in the face of a fleeing God wit h a feeling of terror and lack of understanding. and D a n t e e x i s t only in the F r e n c h v e r s i o n of First Love (Premier A mour [Paris: Minuit. t h e trivial rigor o f paternal Death-fo r every speak ing being. t h e myth o f th e fem in ine-hardly the third person any longer. which. and laughter to conquer the last refuge of the sacred. To give them back to us transformed. m ore fu ll of langu age and imagina­ tion. 1 9 74). Note I. ] . at a glance and despite Not I. The French equ ivalent o f "ch amber pot" is po t de cham bre. i f only as lucid and enlightened observers. and c orporeal.1 58 THE l'A T H E R . secu lar. more and less than m eaning: rhyt hm. Such a text necessarily att racts a certain num ber of adm irers or even accomplices from am ong the "o thers. and exiles. A n d t h at will have t o d o until someone else comes in a burst o f s ong. Yet . On the other hand. the comm unity that Beckett so challenges quickly notices that the writ er' s work does leave something untouched: the jub ilant serenity of the u n approached. 1 970)). and joy. still inac­ cessibly hidden in Belli ni's rem ote M ad onnas. tone. The references t o Racine." the "dissim ilar. b u t Beck ett used the more "elegant" versi on. color. vase de nuit. both beyond and within. but permanent support of M eaning. at least within Christianity's closed world. a disillusioned and hardly bearable. Baudelaire. Just as Beck ett restored . Beck ett ' s lesson is thus one in m o rality. through. could indeed have various poetic connota tions. So beyond the debris of the desacralized sacred that Beck et t calls upon u s to experience. within. one o f rigor and ironic seriousness. foreigners. [ E d . and across the Word? Therein lie both the strength and the limitations of Beck et t ' s fiction. LOV E . i f t h e denotation i s put aside. " the strange. t hose who refu se consciou sly to ack nowledge their debt to the third person will listen to Not I and i ts portrayal o f senseless.

Mao . i t breathes a gust o f di zziness i nto y o u . i ts dance. H asks fo r no thing-no dec i ph er i ng. L o ve is sense and nonsense. Logically. and your social animosities being released i nto a vision o f t i m e where Di o nysi us. reprinted in Polylogue (P aris: S e u il." and k no wledge is here bul a mezaphor for a jar more radical experience: 1ha1 of zhe le11er. listen. H sweeps yo u away. where life. deazh. its gest ures. Epicurus. unseen and forgo tt e n . . t h e poets of Arabia. its h i story. Webern ( " Das Augenli cht"). Philippe Sollers. or po l i t i cal comple­ m e nt t h a t might h ave been left in abeyance. ] Language is seen as zhe scene of zhe whole. t he class struggle. zhe way zo infinizy: he who k no ws nm language serves idols. Ch uang Tzu . H olderlin. T H E NOVEL AS PO L YLOG U E Unveiling is noz reduczion buz passion . t h e anci ent l and of A qui t a i ne. ceaselessly. Mar x.2 2 0 . It w h i sks you fro m your com for table posi t i o n. 1 977). Po mp idou' s France. ii is perhaps whaz allows sense zo come ouz of nonsense and mak es zhe lauer obvious and legible. Logiques." Augusti ne. and cultural revolut i o n all f ind t h eir place. murdero us sexuality bei ng unwound i nto a subtle. . pp. he who could see his language would see his god. at any rate. 76 H is a m usic t h a t is inscribed in language. discover its m usic. and you can watch your opacity bei ng dissolved-into sounds. and h ave i ts t i me. but lucidity returns at once. 1 7 3 . becoming t h e object o f i ts own r e aso ning.7. So you m ust read. no one-he. Nerval. [ . . no comm entaries. zhe reader of zhe Divine Comedy is Dame. i m m erse yourself in i ts l anguage. along w i t h music. H is a novel by Philippe Sollers. over flowing. First pu blis hed in Tel Que/ 57 (Spring 1 974). theoreti cal. sense. and all of h istory jo i n in a dance. 1ha1 is. t h e "Apocalypse. p. zoo. and nonsense becom e inseparable. yo ur b l ind. is wizhin "love. and d azzling sense h as b een exh austed . organi c. and u nt i l saturated. easy gesture. no phi losoph i c al . proj ec t ed from t h e body i nto l anguage.

henceforth. and open logic of H ( 1 973). from the p rocess that today writes H and tom orrow som ething else) you say. seeks itsel f-it seeks one that m ight enunciat e this turning point. back to H: who is what? D oes the text have a m aster? H ow do I go about killing what I assume is "master " and causes me to founder. concretely. you talk about it." 1 972). "This is a problem . correcting them selves. here. I n a first phase. enclosed within a still-active bourgeoisie. The l aughing. not politicized enough. "It gets at me j u st the same. but elsewhere and deferred . through the climax it has reached. singing. . dissect s my language. . and structured by the reality principle laid down by social contradictions? A l anguage. a t t h e peak o f a rationality t h a t i s n o l onger G reek. living in a culture that is weak ened but still capable o f integration. t o fi n d a n e w vitality. " In a th ird. Worldwide revisionism has collapsed-a foundering that i s plain fo r all t o see. oversexed. t h eir experience . . " T h e j ol t of M ay ' 6 8 : a call fr om t h e m asses. u ndecidable. as a character on you r Oedipal stage. this reversal. and my history: H? Y ou tend to see H as a person. thus giving evi­ dence of a historical turning point having been arrived at. not sexed enough. " In a second phase. perm eated by t h e u nconscious. to rej ect dogmatism-politics-ideology-diplomacy m oving forward. somber. materialized. . b u t dia­ lecticized. H ow so? As m u sical and as active as all t hat? I mpossible! It is not delirious enough. and from Sollers. as protectio n from H (I m ean. a n d t o search for an identity t h a t is a threat t o itself-and a t hreat to you . perhaps. F o r those w h o have long known that im agination is an absolute ant ipower. this whirlwind. And t h a t is endless. a subj ect within langu age. because H sends you into analysis. You go from H to Sollers. There is the violence of Lois (" Laws. Were they mistaken? The time of history passes through the stories of individuals: their birth. this confrontation of the old within the new . " I don't want to k now that this is a problem . The Cultural Revo­ lution fol l ows its course: socialism now attempts to transform itsel f. I t is overpolit icized . you assu m e its writ er as an obj ect of trans ference.1 60 THE N O V E L AS P O LY L O G U E O r else. overdelirious. What about us. to fashion its negativity into a psychological or sociological case. now. m y representation. withdrawing. what was new was the concrete m anifestat ion of this truth-the general strike i m m obilizing France.

generally speak ing and allowing for a few except ions. has dissolved ident ity and cells. and under various guises that change according to power r ela­ tionships. they d o without it. But that is not the issue. no i m aginary. sounds in a foreign lan­ guage. That the negative is a rem nant of the past (the not yet abolished bourgeois classes. . " is to speak about my right to speak. finally. im possible. I m ean that because of Yalta. I was obliged to ma rry in order to have a French passport and to work in France. analysis. or r a ther. because of Yalta I wanted t o "m arry" the violence that has tormented m e ever since. and that is what is known as civilization. It all begins with dogm at izing ideological struggle. to the extent that I am allowed to use the pronoun " I . " once ex posed t o the negative. m ak ing u p little protectionist " l 's"-the convenient narcissism s of b ackwar d bourgeois "su bj ects. Or perhaps. in French . Consequently. for some t i m e. i nsu­ perable. indeed. com plicity with. but-ala s !-such is our lot. shields them from innovation. I want to speak about it myself. I shall not say all. Obviously. is nothing more than u nderst anding. while elsewhere. THE NOVEL AS P O LYLOG U E 161 Wou ld discussing i t am ou n t to resisting the tide? One resistance against oth ers? Since people have been wondering why. exch ange. Read H egel as one m ight. to speak about it. the "ego. o r politics. then abandoning it and. has raked me to death. But what we are propos­ ing will be. in short. eroticism t hat is forbidden. and sociality. everything escapes or comes t ogether i n theory. caused hat red to well within what is usually cal led love. if not basis fo r St alinis m . as you m ay have noticed. You will perhaps understand if I tell you that Yalta has turned a portion of the earth into societies that are being buil t on the illusion t h a t the negative-death. . To put it bluntly. what one t ends to accept before veering com­ pletely about and believing that such violence is fatal. I speak in French and about literature because of Yalta. socialism . And yet . violence-does n o t concern them . coveted recognition and haunted my nights and my tranquility. and yet all the m ore . ignores it and escapes m ore or less unscathed. since they have said so. if you wish . and h istory . parents) or an outside threat . irregularity in a poem. hence. violence is a passing error (Stalin's prison camps). but s u c h a protection. irrem ediable. or activism . moreover." very m u c h protect ed. I have no "I" any m ore. In fact. it sometimes h appens: ques­ tions about sexuality.

Or else it crack s. Because o f the well-k nown easing of oppression. And you notice. any protect ion. red. . Woe unto him who thinks that you are-in good part or in bad. the discourse of others. but something that no one talks about: devious words. the sym­ bolic covering (constituted by acquired k n owledge. M allarme . to be shattered. after you ask for inform ation on the latest five-year plan. of course. you " are" within the shattering. any beliefs. y ou must not forget that this all takes place within language.1 62 TH E N O V EL AS P O L Y LOG U E experienced a n d unrem itting. but not quite certain. i ncluding those com prised by fa ther or professor. decays. . t ightens. one m ight say. . As a result. and t here i s n o way either to integrate them or to avoid integrating them into your t hinking. I h ad recourse to French : Robespierre. or. and something that I call instinctual drive (for lack of a bet t er term) rides up to dest roy any guarantees. no m atter . be they juvenile or charact eristic of developing societies (one and the same). Like som et hing by M atisse. . the s oreness in your throat. "So m u ch the better. It is easily said. returning to the capital. All accord­ ing to the symbolic reaction that is more or less likely. narcissism cru m bles and the superego says. not possible in Bulgarian. wasted sentences. once again because of Yalta. the "thaw" . and commu nal shelter) cracks. and. to be sure. . Besides. but you also listen t o t h e voice of t h e woman t a lking to you . ebony. A n aim less drift i ng ensues that reconciles me t o everyth ing t h a t i s being shattered-rej ecting what i s established and . Y ou will say that Freud has given us a way of gett ing rid of all of these problem s. Hence." the gadflies are there. the " hom osexuals. desires. and it react s-matures. Then. and green rugs she wove . of course. First. a laboratory of death. a n d you l o o k especi ally at the orange. Then. " But the body seem s t o need an identity. do not take yoursel f for someone or something. It is a desire t o unders tand. there's one problem out of the way . i f you prefer. purple. Sade. if they can . Y ou become someone w h o wonders i f the communal eu phoria is not a lie. But above all. their num bers are growing. dream s. and the immediate surroundi ngs get it sm ack on the chi n. " the "poets. a lie involving not only harvest-time enthusias m . p ast history. like st one. and t o resist. And I h ave since been wedded to a torren t . . For what you take t o b e a shattering o f language i s really a shattering o f t h e body. death drive. rhyt hms. they exist fo r no other reason than to t a k e it on the chin. that the "abnormal" and "crazy" people. Above all. bleeds. you listen to the figu res.

A body. I cast it off. the im portant thing is to see what exceeds it. invocati ons. That could be all there is to it-an "anonymous white con flict" as they said in the ninet eenth century. Tha t gives me a fractured appearance that fools the naive observer . because it is a text. identity. where the me becom es lost. and we could engage in endless fo rensic contests. how much nonidentity. " Not that they do not operate un der the shield of a tyrannical. but they are fuzzy. I sidestep its own . Territory of the mot her. lifting u p the dismem bered. child. Chinese tones. it opens me up to a precise j ouissance that few suspect even existed . heterogeneous t erritory of the body/ text. a t ext that bounces back to me echoes of a t erritory that I have lost but that I am seeking within t he blackness of drea m s in Bulgarian. Being o f langu age? I t even calls on me t o represent it. what is heterogeneous. But it is only a question of power. this risky text provide m eaning. m ore throbbing than m eani ng. I have written d own this much a bused word and insist upon i t so that you m ight u nderstand h ow m u ch risk there is in a text. besid. But what would be the point? N ow this is the point: my concern lies in the other. outside of m e. despotic Nam e-of­ the. they do so in a com pletely d i fferent way than a "Name.o f-the-Father . nonauthenticity. im possibility.e me. I u nderstand t hat. and their stream goes to our breasts. you. my own negation erected as representation. This het erogeneous obj ect is of cou rse a body that invites me to ident i fy with it (wom an. In fact. Words come to mind. This heterogeneous obj ect is a body. it is not m e. " I " continually m akes itself over again. French. sleeping body. but rather. androgyne?) and i m m ediately fo rbids any identifica­ tion. I coil my j ouissance within it. of me who thought I was the other. in a cold fire where m u rder is no l onger the m u rder of the other. What I am s aying t o you is that if this het erogeneou s body. two thousand years of nun­ neries illustrate what m ight happen. That is a place one must rush away from. Russian. genit als. which no longer have m u ch to do with all this. and corrosiveness it h olds for t h ose who chose to see them selves within it. reposi t s itself as a . us-of personal pronouns t herefore. signifying nothing. So I listen to the black. but the consu m pt i on of which I can a lso decipher. THE NOVEL AS P O LYLOG U E 1 63 opening up an infinite abyss where t here are n o m ore words. and j ouissance. and irridescent sk in.Father. of the other who t h ought she was I. For neither body that has become liquid powder nor the shining m ercury that founders me can ever abolish a vigil : paternal shadow. oth erwise. of m e. it is a non-me in m e.

. All that is. to k now . for instance. generally speak i ng. spasmodic but unspeak able and savage violence. L anguage i s affected by it. " I " pronounces it . wants t o k n ow i tself. shattering. " I " returns then and enunciates this intrinsic twisting where it split into at least four of us. ' I feel t h at this path is determined by sexua l difference. in narrow­ m inded m astery. Rem ember Artaud's t ex t where t h e black. i n narcissism . protesting: j ealous of its exploration. a n d consequently. in children. or in fet ishism of one's "work " (writing. we have an underwater. et cetera). H aving returned. m ortal violence of the " fe m inine" is simultaneously exalted and stig­ m at ized. I think that for a wom an. the loss of identity in j ouissance demands of her that she experience the phallus t h at she simply is. t h at is. if I m ay say so. O therwise. leaving. " the " actor" is t h ere. So t hen. . t o communicate. and so "I" posits m yself-" 1 " socializes my self. This is an indispensable and imperative movement. " I " feels u ncom fo rtable t here. fascin ated by the danger of ever having to begin again . t o abolish i t a t . rather perverted. the problem i s t o cont rol this resurgence of phallic presence. but not without a certain sense of grat ification. an abrupt about-face when this heterogeneous negative that provoked me to j ou issance/death sets to work . on a language. u n less he has personally experienced this four-sided duel. coming and going. the murder is disgu ised as a request that others put some rigor in t heir thinking. compared to despotism as well as to slavery. . but this phallus m u st i m m ediat ely be establ ished somewhere. where society constitutes itself by denying the murder it inflicts on m usic-on instinctual drive-when it is fo u nded o n a code. loses itself. But ceaselessly drift i ng away. To communi­ cate. in a denial and/ or hypostasis of the other woman. the concept is twisted. and a denial of effect ive negat ivity. in a vertigo of the phallic m other-and the w hole thing is dedicated t o H itler. sym bolic witness of the shattering where every entity was dissolved. No scholar. all challenged by it. painting. n o orthodox theoretician c a n find h i s w a y through a n y of m y essays. t h i s already puts me on the other side. And yet. t h e "poet . knit­ t ing. and forbid­ ding any "I" to doze off within the realm where denial persists. letting out slack .1 64 THE N OV E L AS POLYLOGUE displaced. . having a t endency to accept the ambiguous and ephem eral praises due to the diver who was mischievous enough to bring back a few t r ophies. u ndermaternal dive: oral regression. All the m ore so b ecause t h e other.

what is i ndi spensable is the function carried out by som e One. infinitizing breaks. If a solution exists to what we call to day the fe minine problem atic. keeps me awake during my negative vigil. b lind and Oedipal: it is all that. to pierce through the paternal wall o f the superego and afterwards. ambitious. by they scholarly. through language too. repeated. or protective. " as I perceive him through my reading H. both o f you. I t ret u rns to where you are. but a desire to know m ore and differently than what is encoded-spoken-written . With this device. I believe two conditions are necessary if this course is to be followed . social matters-but a voice fragmented by increasing. adolescent. exclusive. There. ideological. critical. As far as I am concerned. castration applies not t o this or that person. an instinctual drive that descends in waves. in love with hist ory. go through an infinite. irritat ed. overwhelmed with a desire to k now. to reem erge still u neasy. music. but for o thers. having you. a crisis of enunciation and of t h e interdependence of its m ovem ents. but as a s tance essential t o a practice. a text. tearing apart the symbolic thesis. it i nvolves coming to grips with one's langu age and body as others. multipliable dissolution. For others. The second condition is sexual and no social statute can ever guara ntee it. disap­ pointed . fam ilial. It applies to him as he experiences his phallic fixation. in order to point out to you that you do not take place as such. inside-out desire. it m ight be something else. split apart. or-why not (but not yet)-by a group. T h e first i s historical. capable of quest ioning (or provok ing) its own infinite quest. until you recover possibilities of sym bolic rest oration: h aving a position that a l lows your voice t o be heard in real. bourgeois West . it too passes over this ground. and within language. The "auth or. interchangeably. in my opinion. it . filial. In short. as heterogeneous elem ents. but specifically t o each individu al in recurrent fashion. The other that will guide you and it sel f through this dissolut ion is a rhyth m . Rom antic. It involves t hrowing wom en into all of society's contradict ions with no hypocrisy or fake protection. But what is the con nection that holds you both t ogether? Counter-desire. on t h e edge and even in the m idst of its own identity crisis. asymm etrical. a device t hat d issolves all of your solutions. t o her as she accedes t o it. and the other way around. the negative of desire. THE NOVEL AS POLYLOG U E 1 65 first. it was satisfied much m ore rapidly in socialist countries and is already reaching the Christian. befo re you.

This development has just barely begu n .tak ing H. classic hystericals. A painful laboratory that entails mistakes. . social. and vict i m s . but since they are "one" only t o begin with. all that is i m possible. and lin­ guistic constellation. by virtue of communit ies that open up the fam ily. . elsewhere. fai lu res. t h e negative awakens within the body and language of the other so as t o weave a fa bric in which your role is tolerated only if it resem bles that of women in Sade. and Bataille. J oyce. reading. quiescent. and deal ing with H. But you m ost certainly m u st n o t consider you rsel f either as the weaving or as t h e ch aracter against whom it is woven. enthralled by archaic m others. We recognize t hem m ore clearly each d ay. no longer exist s . in your own way. where. nor M aria van Rysselbergh's asexual m ythology. bearing its and the other's fam ilia!. search for that impossible maternal fusion and are exalted in their fr ustration. So that is why. and to disappear within the m ovem ent of this attentiveness. a dismal relic. in production . by virtue of a cert ain non-"uxorial" way of grasping the Freudian revolution. and h ow I am searching for. hearing. Since t here i s one m an and one woman. they are precisely the subj ects who involve themselves in class and ideological st ruggles. I am talking about it because it is my problem .1 66 THE NOVEL AS POLYLOG U E breaks apart a n d recovers. . others. in scientific experimentation. A fter the sacch arine whirlwind of J ocastas and Ant igones. next t o a quie­ tude fascinat ed with the self-indulgent whims of hysterics. n or Nora Joyce' s proud and obedient excitement. confined within groups where what t hey take for l esbianism leads them into seclusion from society. in definitely. nor Lou Salom e ' s subtle cu riosity. " of this particular poet. exasperat ed and frigid young women. any m ore than the grat i fying cou­ pling that "viri lized" the women of postwar existentialism or rom antic­ communism-henceforth.. antiquated. What is im portant is t o listen to it. But if you want t o t alk about i t (and this is the only way t o undergo its process) you find yourself once again face to fa ce. N either M m e. This m eans t hat the wife of a "poet . and H [ash ] 1 . who dream of being wom en or som e unapproachable master. two by two. building up i t s strength. There are men. a con tem porary prob­ lem . . by virtue of pop music. anot her "relationship" arises out of sexual difference and the i m p ossible element it infers on both sides . M allarme's k nitt ing.

Instead of serving as the upper limits of enunciation. You your­ sel f perceive this music when you let yoursel f be carried along by the unpunctuated. to slow down. you can check this. let us s a y "instinctual" breakthrough i s situated a t t h e m ost intense place of nam ing-at t h e thetic place o f a n inescapable syntax that abru ptly halts the maternal body's vague. autoe­ rotic jubilation-recognizes its reflection in a m irror and shifts instinctual m ot ility into logically structurable signi fiers. the sentence-m eaning-sign(/icance here acts as its l ower limits. So that the sentence limits are there. m etonymy. t h i s intonational. but not below. releases the period and. You notice that whenever you ex pect his voice. it produces " stylistic figures " : m et aphor. elisions. The A ujhebung of inst inctual drive across this boundary. situates the sem iotic ex perience beyond the sentence. which nonetheless exerts its full impact. I m ean intonation and rhythm. ordinarily. a period. and thus. by listening to the writer read. which play only a subordinate role in everyday communication but here constitute the essent ial elem ent of enunciation and lead u s directly t o the otherwise silent place of its subj ect. rhythm ic. THE NOVEL AS P O L Y LO G U E 1 67 BE YOND THE S E NTE N C E : T H E TRAN S F I N I T E I N LA N G U A G E With n o punctuation. there occu r s a break th rough of what m ay be called "prim ary" processes. etc . The clauses are th ere: short and regular. In so doing. Through and in conj u nction with these limits. but the semiotic process does not stop there. plausible. By m usic. So-called " artistic" practices have always exerted fa scination because they elude this boundary. instead of declaring. quest ions or reques ts. sentence fr agments. owing to which sign ification-always already . Sentences are easily "restored" and the simple clause kernels that constitute the running text a re easily isolated and punctuated. but we mainly lose a music. we lose semantic and logico­ syntactic ambiguit ies. Here. or actual denotation) remain. drop. beyond signification and meaning. i f you are so inclined. those dominated by intonation and rhythm . and trail off so as to sug­ gest a limit. H is not a sentence but it is not less than a sentence. it in fa ct rises higher. When this involves m orphemes. with no synt actic or lexical anomalies to cloud t h eir clarity. m eaning (the position of a subj ect of enunciation) and signijlcance (possible.

Finishing off reason is done only after t he full ness o f reason. by throttling the outlay that k eeps it alive-that m eans intervening precisely when the sentence pulls i tself t ogether and stops. literature lends itself t o t h e Hegelian challenge t h at discovered in i t nothing m ore than a few pearls of wisdom in a sty. H reveals a practice where p resent and surpassed reason has no power.1 68 T H E N O V E L AS P O L Y LO G U E in the form of a sentence-com es into being. Language. instinctual) explosion. a n d they revive t h e u neasi­ ness t h a t goes w i t h regressing to a time before the m i rror stage. m ore-than-significance. Otherwise. There is no outlay of logical m ovem ent without the completio n of its course. m o re-than-m eaning. of course. intervening at the point where sociality constitutes itself by k i lling. La M onte Y ou ng. it is sign-com munication-sociality. and Stockhau sen have m ade this clear. Kagel. reason remains as a power and demands i t s right to exercise control over the drift ing that remains unaware of it . has a specificity that no other system based on d i fferences possesses: it divides (signifier/ signified) and joins (modifier/m od i fied = sentence) . insurgent. H moves us beyond these aesthetic regions. alth ough they continue to upset com ­ m onplace logical order by setting in m otion the most active. ( full)filling it and then ripping it: "a reason in hell" (p. to allow i t to sing. But these have fou n d t h eir m ost frui t ful ground in music: Cage. into the juncture of logic and sentence where socio-sy mbolic order is rebuilt and ignores anything hav­ ing to do with the previous. on the other hand. " M usicating" this dividing-j oining m ovement i nvolves exploding rhythm into division. u nderlying ( semic. but especially.2 Otherwise. if an outlay is made. m odern pract ices. into juncture: into the m et aphoric­ met onymic slippage that corrugates lex em ic items and l i ft s even t he sig­ nifier/ signified censorship. If t h ere is a loss. phonic. 26). Thus we are dealing with a composition where the sentence is a minimal unit and where a texture t hat surpasses b u t never belies it is elaborated on the basis of i t : m ore-than -a-sentence. but always m ore: m ore-than-syntactic. The problem is t o raise and transfo rm this very m oment. I nt ervening at the l evel where syntact ic order renders opaque t h e outlay u nderlying t h e signifying practice. m orphem ic. t h ey never result in less. a practice where the antipower of instinctual drive is in turn deprived of its hallucinatory influence as it is filtered through the rigor of . but also.

the predicative sequence itsel f break s up into phrases that funct ion as subjects and others that fu nction as predicates. sim ultaneously unified by m eaning (a position of the subject of enunciation) and significance (a virtual denota­ tion). THE NOVEL AS POL YLOG U E 1 69 the sentence. c/e (9:1 5). inseparable as they are. defined in reading by a single breath ing motion. A breathing m ovement thus coincides with the attitude of the speaking subj ect and the fluctuating range o f denotat ion. fem m e or balle. et cet era. sentence sequences still m anage t o become est ablished. Equally applicable is the am bivalent value of those personal pronouns whose antecedent is unclear: the pronoun e//e on the first page could refer equally to the fe minine French words machine. . ji/tre philtre (9 :23). This breathing thus sustains a succession of sentences. accen ts toniques (9:2). as nom inat ive. a practice where logical su perego and fetishist oraliza tion neutralize each other without m astery and without regression.) This ambiguity is heightened when predicate phrases appear in surface structures. relative pronouns. we notice that sentences. etc. phi jlo t tant (9 :28). either dovetail or adj oin am biguously because of the elision of determinants (conj u nctions. but in a different logical realm. Through these am biguit ies and polyvalances. c/aquem en t (9 : 1 6). which result s in a generally rising in tonation. attributive. so//ers-sol/us ( 1 1 : 1 ). a halt in breathing and syntactic finitude. Networks of alliteration (the correlat ives of "signifying dif­ ferent ials") est ablish trans-sentence paths that are su perim posed over the linear sequences of clauses and int roduce into the logical-syntactic mem ory of the t ext a phonic-instinctual memory. Or for reasons o f sem antics or of length. easily det achable from the textual whole. g/ai'eu/ clocher c/e de sol ( 1 0 :6-7). as if t h ey were drawing supp ort fr om some other region of the b ody-support . cata cata catalyse (9:10. also inseparable. meaning. Looking closely at the beginning of H. The human body and meaning.1 1 ). The next breathing m ovement introduces the speaking su bj ect 's new attitude and a new sphere of denotation. are thus given a new start. They set up associative chains that crisscross the text from beginning to end and in every di rec­ tion: son cote cata soc/e ( 9 : 1 -2). The borders that define a sequence as a unit of breathing. thus fashion a dismem bered score. adjoined phrases t h at can agree in many di fferent ways with the noun-phra se subj ect. ph i/ippe fi/ioque procedit-ffl/ ( I 0:23-24).

The narrat i o n h as b egu n . Thus. m ar k i n g infinitely a bi ologic a l . i t is a displ acement o f the m a c h i nel i k e anonymity toward a she. . T h e second bou n dary is m arked by t h e pronoun elle. a rein v o k i n g o f the machine. "Je" b egi ns to speak a n d t a k es charge of t h e n arrative now u nder n ic accen ts . -There follows a metalinguistic position that com m e n ts u pon the course of a silent body b ro ught into play by someo n e else's dream and h enceforth pl aced i n a posi t i o n t o control this narrative. .1 70 T H E NOV E L AS POLY LOG U E and significat ion (gramm ati cally m ade up as a concatenat i o n of sentences) vary great l y a n d indicate t h e s u bject o f enuciatio n ' s m ot i l ­ it y-his chances for res urgence a n d m e ta m o r phosis. In any case. H e r e are som e t h at appear at t h e begi n n i n g o f t h e tex t : -T h e personal pronoun e//e ( 9 : 3 ) m ar k s th e bou n dary o f the preceding sequ ence and i n t r odu ces another unit of breathi ng. . phant asm ati c. electric. o f an e//e who act i vates the machine a n d t r i ggers i ts-or her. Je/e//e m ark s t h e m ax i m u m sexual and d iscursive a l terat io n . a fract u ring of the previously a ffirmed. a n d h a l l uc i n ato ry al terity: "pour la premiere fois I' hallucination goutte a gou tte est vue du dedans decoupee foutee" ( " fo r t h e fi rst t i m e th e h a l l uci­ nation drop by drop is seen from within cut u p cru s h ed " ) . m e tal i n guistic m astery . rem i nder o f l ex ical disso l u t i o n . w i t h t h e pro n o u n elle. e//e is at t he s a m e t i m e t h e speak ing and a ct i ng su bj ect o f t h e n arrative. a dream a n d m o t i o n cast. -There is an i rr uption o f onomatopoeias: cata cata catalyse suggests t h e so u n d o f a ty pewri ter in actio n . signify i n g cu rrent . t h e l atter is i n t u r n cut a n d repl aced b y an imperative: " tiens on es t en pleine mon tagne y a d'la poudreuse regarde /es cristaux blancs violets sens cet air" ( " h ey we're way up in the m o u n t a i n s t h e stu ff is powdery look white purple crystals feel t h a t a i r").A fter the interrogative e nu n ciation gi ves way t o t h e declara tive. o f the bursts o f instinctual dri ves work ing th rough p h o n e mes: t h e metal ingu is t i c position does not predo m i n at e . j u st like je.ais la ba//e" ( 9:3). N otice t h a t t h e je representing t h e subject presen t i n g t h e text appears for t h e f i r s t t i m e w i t h i n t h e dream o f the pro n o u n elle: "elle a reve ce tte nuit queje lanr.t r a u m a and l e a p o f t h e n arrative's b egi n n i n gs.m eani ng-sign i fi cation . or a remi n der o f a heterogeneous enunciat i o n . b u t d o e s t h e pronoun refer to t h e m ac h i n e o r t h e wo m a n ? . now beco m e balle a n d bombe qui retombe . It is a r eply t o t h e i n i t i a l q u est ion (qui dit salut). -A n e w resu m pt i o n o f th e narrative.

3 It is a m ortal. I t again drifts away. Or the first and last paternal names generating t hrough signifying series an infinitely open array of sig­ nifieds. Thus we have the reference at the beginning of the text t o t he m agic " filt er" or "philtre. ot her semiotic procedures draw out the com plet ion produced by synt actic operat ions. and significa­ tion. this "phi floating on my lips like the other infa n t with the vultures' tail" reminding us o f Freud's int erpreta­ tion of one of Leonardo Da Vinci's drea ms. That question i ng su mmons is less pronounced at the end. but "exquisite" scission (an ironic com­ ment on Surrealist au tomatism's cadavre exquis. determine a sim ilar m obility of a subj ect propelled into the whirlwind of his own fr agm entation and renewal-his ex-schize (p. -Within a few lines. -The pronoun I is not seeking itself. but not lost. this time floating across new boundaries cor­ responding to historical and biographical references. . 82). we find several ne w boundaries analogous to the previous ones. however. inter­ rogative segm ents are present up to the last sequences of the text: " k ilusu . or to the Koran: "he who accept s his book with his right hand that m ight be alright but he who accepts it behind his back zap flu nked " (p. within t h e framework of eit her t h e past or the present. where each elem ent in turn gives rise to a m ini-narrative. the enunciation is not finished. a return to m etalanguage: "y a-t-il une au tre form e non y aura­ l-ii reponse bi en sur que non personne et d' ailleurs le de/ire n' est pas le de/ire" ("is there anot her form no will t here be an answer certainly not no one and besides delirium isn't deliriu m " ) . gathering childhood memories or historical sketches by means of a swarm of hom onymous k ings. THE N O V E L A S P O L Y LO G U E 171 -Again." structuring and regenerating the intoxicat ion of a shattered. or "exquisite corpse") because it is anterior. but it persist s. . identity. 1 2 ). what I have called a "sequence"-a unit o f breathing. This intonat ion hangs on a clearly interrogative connotation. Nothing is brought t o completion. which. the interrogative sentence o pening the text ("qui dit salut . 1 1 ). int roducing an explicit I ("I was not born to be quiet ") who begins his " own" narrative. Or similarly. in add ition. " ) stimulates from the very beginning. The reading voice m arks the boundaries of each sequence by rising. and which several inter­ rogative sentences frequently and thr oughout the text confirm . m eaning. is im possible to pinpoint. a renewing and prophetic resum ption. Or the references t o the Bible: "in hebrew the word fo r nude craft y awake is the same" (p. it loses itself i n a series of refe rences to l ogical or political even ts that.

. ]" ("hoocoudanow n . . 1 8 5 ) . We d o not k n ow. . what happens on either side o f it. however. the lowering voice of t h e declarative sentence and the ensuing pause are essential and distinctive m arks of a sentence. Although every one agrees t h at t here is n either m ea ning nor signification without a syntactic nucleus. The set ends with a sequence held on a level rather than a descend­ ing intona tion: " all flesh is like grass shadow the dew of time among voices" (p. and (within the specific infinity of any of these languages) of repeatedly pro­ ducing fin ite but original and renewable utterances . embeds the spea king subject within the limits of sentence enunciation. even less. As is well k nown. ] que crierai-je [ . . we are still far fr om u nder­ stand ing which of the speak ing subj ect's att itudes imposes this finitude and. . . I shall assu m e that a precise type of signifying practice. This is what genera­ tive grammar attem pts to represent through its system of recursive operations capable of reducing an infinite number of signifying procedures to the gramm atical norms of any national langu age. . 1 85). but other signifying practices that have j ouissance as t h eir goal-that is. Syntactic apprenticeship brings about and com pletes the subj ect's ability t o become a speaking subj ect. hoocoudabeleev'd hoocoudaherd [ . the A ujhebung of death and o f . Children learning a langu age first learn the intonations indicating syntax structure-that is. . and so on. ] what shall I shout" (pp. based on a reques t and an exchange of information. I ntonation and rhythm are the first markers o f the finite in the infinity o f semiotic process. soon thereafter also signifies. but only t o the extent that he has at his disposal an infinite system that can be m ad e finite. melody or music-before they assimilate the rules o f syntactic form ation. ] shout to h i m " (p. The sum m oning intonation also enters into the abundant im peratives near the end: "that's why go enter leave come b ack in leave again close yourself upon yours e lf hide yourself from yourself outside of yourself come back leave come back in quickly [ . 1 84-85). what determines that possibility for the speaking subj ect to confine t h e sem iotic practice within t h e lim its of t h e sentence norm ally described as noun phrase plus verbal phrase (Chom sky) or m odified plus m odifier ( Kurylowicz) or the j oining of nonlinguistic terms by means o f nonrelational ties between t h e un iversal a n d t h e particular ( Strawson).1 72 THE NOVEL AS P O L Y L OG U E kilucru kiluentendu [ . they delineate the limited posi­ tions o f a subj ect who first invokes but.

in t h e sense . Thus. a raising of sentential (monological or dial ogical) meaning t o the p ower of an open infinity. but also a juxtaposition of utterances t h a t record the various stratifications of t h e genotex t (instinctual drive. Language possesses a transfinite elem ent ( if I may use this term in a different sense than Cantor's). illocution. it is the expanse beyond the sentence limits t hat. instinctual rhythm becomes l ogical rhyt h m . to discourse. with out which it cannot ex ist). without ever requiring of the subj ect of enu nciation a shift as to his position in relation to his speech act . H generates this transfinite of lan­ guage. and heteronomous subj ect of enunciation. o ne that is neither sentential m onologue nor allocutionary dia­ logue. phrased infinity of a polylogical "discourse" of a multiplied. "j uridic" act presu pposing a direct effect on the reader. but the text fu nctions as a plural dialogue. to the extent that the possible attitudes of the subj ect in relation to his speech rem ain open. THE NOVEL AS POL YLOG U E 1 73 outlay of sign i fying unit within the production of a new socio-sym bolic device-would necessitate the pursuit of signifying operations beyond the li mits o f the sentence. can be either "prim ary" or "secondary. Because it is transfinite. resonant rhythm. that is. this is precisely what happens in H. thanks t o these operations. addressee. the text o f H funct ions not o nly as a plural dialogue between the subj ect of enunciat ion and his ident ity. an illocutionary act. synt actic a n d metalinguistic posit ions and t heir inversions). preserved. " and t hey prevent the speaking subj ect from being fixed in a single or unified posi­ tion-rather. in relation to the very realm of lan­ guage: in relat ion t o the sentence and its support-subj ect . not only is it a s peech act imposing t h e fulfillment of this plural dialogism on the addressee sub­ j ect (that is. an illocutionary. for which t h e sentence serves as a basic com ponent through which one must work one's way. t h e sentence gai ns access to a higher dom ain. Not only is there a j ux­ t aposition of di fferent ideological or comm unicative positions (sender. We have seen that these signi fying operations. they m ult iply it. For discou rse m ight be (as in fact is the case) a simple concatenation of sentences (whose l ogic rem ains to be determ ined). Yet. open u p on a sundered cont inuity where a precise interval (the sentence) holds the value of meaning and significat ion-bu t their t r u e power i s built u p only on t h e basis o f t h e numerated. I t is not enough t o say t h a t . but rat her. presupposition). stratified.

on the cont rary. interrupt. I n H. . 4 intona­ tion. It depletes all communities. or rather. although the collision bet ween sem iotic operations ( those involving instinctual drive. it would be an anarchic outcry against the thetic and socializing posi­ tion of syntactic language. " "narrative. " and so on) isolates the protective zones o f a subject who normally cannot totalize the set of signifying procedures. " condensing and shifting them ont o anot her level where. and the lines drawn above each sentence indicate the level of in tonati o n . necessitates their position. Consequently. shorten "secondary processes . On the other hand. The breaking up of genres ("poetry . The simul taneous appearance of narrative g enre and sentence limits t he signifying process to an attitude of request and communicat ion. " I have attem pted to " restore" standard punctu ation t o the transcrip­ tion of the opening passages of H . phonic differentials. t he subj ect of enu nciation has turned arou nd. clan. sequ ences. or put aside to give free rein to another . A plus sign ( +) marks syntactic ambiguities (indefinite embeddings and subordinations) that remain. H's originality derives fr om playing t hese contradictions one against another. nor about narrative (the fulfi llment of a reque � t. i t has been shown that the syntactically norm ative sentence develops within the context o f prosaic and. historic narrat ion. the isolation o f an ego am enable t o transference. it actu ally produces an infinite fragm ent at ion that can never be t erm inated : an "ex ternal polylogue. we are no longer talking about poetry (a return to th e near side of syntactic articulation. all the st rings of t h i s prodigious instrument that langu age is a r e played t oget her and simultaneously. being neither. a pleasure of merging with a rediscovered. since poetry works o n the b ar bet ween signifier and signified and t ends to erase it. The lines linking certain segments of the text m ark a few of its phonetic-signifying differential axes. and b oundaries) m ay be th ought o f as a tot alizing phenomenon.1 74 T H E N O V E L A S PO LY L O G U E t h at it takes them for granted. but also appro­ priates them within the infinitely open "set" that it constitutes. no process is im peded. a n d symb olizing). im agining. the exchange of inform ation. Therefore. and so on) and symbolic operations (those con cerned with sentences. in the meantime. later. I n t h e narrat ive. "Prim ary" processes confirm . A double virgu le (/ /) marks the limits o f each sequence. t h e speaking subj ect constitutes itself as the subj ect o f a family. either destroying them or identifying with the m om ent of t h eir subversion. or state group. repressed. hypostatized m aternal body).

This is precisely the device that produces the limited-and-infinitized sentence. im beds it into a new sem i ot i c d evice. for it sets up vocal ic series whose arrangement also rem ains aut o n o m ous in relation to the signi fied sequence. sometimes. or highlighted by the insertion of t onic accents. u npunctuated Chinese texts. " strikes the unconscious as a calm and yet horrifying violence. as if an enunciatory flight. This scanning. the unpunctuated but m et rical sentence finds its justification. converting prelogical rhythm or crumbling logic int o a polylogical rhythm. in this sense. and. W i t h i n t h e t ext t aken as a whole. With this reversal of our logical habits. transcendental . Y et. the finite m eaning of each part. The sentence is lift ed away th rough a scan ning that. a finitude in which there huddles an ideational unit. our con­ scious listening registers it as an invocat ive. however. they are bro ken up. which are impossible to decipher except when approached as a whole. in order to pick out. THE N O V E L A S P O L Y LO G U E 175 Intonation actually punct u ates the tex t . for one m ust grasp the rhythm of the whole text. in reverse fashion. which is added to the underlying punctuation and points out the latter's inability to com prehend "the rhythmic fu ndamental langu age. within the phenotex t . The subj ect of enunciat ion's m otility. my vocalic scanning cannot coincide with comm onplace punctu ation. or as a long one foll owed by th ree short ones. only later. shortened. A vocalic "scanning" o f these two pages ( figure 2) generally m atches syntactic divisions. refusing its infinitization-the metaphysical. while m aintaining it. lyric m onotone-a k i nd o f Tibetan M ozar t . went beyond sentence limits and sequence boundaries and called forth . It evokes im ages of old. requires a different m ode of phrasing. For this rhythm is k ept up independently. which is neither poem nor novel but polylogue. One does not begin with the part in order to reach the whole: one begins by infinitizing the totality in order to reach . m arked off by the scope of one's breathing. written punctuation . both pulverizing and m u lt iplying u nity through rhyt h m . a " fundamental language" 5 t h at is quite simply rhythm . plainly nar­ row-m inded. There is no fo rmal prej u dgment that led to breaking up the sentence. The regu larity of these breathing periods that arise and stop short at precise intervals is striking. They appear as a sequence of short intervals. hence the poly-logic of the speak ing subject. Still. eliminates som e of the ambiguities that persist when one m erely restores standard. t he meaning of the smaller sentence or lexical units. the sen tence appears as a shelter.

.u+n-o�n .s_ e_ rr. e n 1est / \ // \iaS-y . an s . + c a t a + s oc l e .. P�ine. 1-'"- .:i i s c e matin � �1 �r t. !!on . _ u r e . y a Regard e !es �- ce che v i l l '::' s fois l ' halluc inat ion .-ie""n--s=r-. // Cata ca a �.:: son c oin+si n i s t n l-". le d x . le � d e l i cm : bombe a u i re --.-. I I l '9"a-.. o f-J- u1-·i�d-e.·. la macl:ine ! " j I I I rc n � r t� s ..i l w ·.- .::-. I I I I - e- c� t v- u_ o _a- · u- -<l-- c e . "'i.. -r-n- • •- r-l � a . ...1 >U t re fore.-.e c ou 9ee 1 70u'll. l ' ubsen t e __ I serrure . � .i l r e p on / ? s . 1 . on repa r t ? - ..i d e . ___. s n c O t <: t o rtue ..-o. r �·aruC " ? .t .i:. ..� a 1 a ! l l <: u r ::.e . ·t d <: c . i t l a t e t e O :i!'l .c-r .. "'u d ... � fa ""' .. · o-u-rs q u i+e l l c f ::i. .t .\ rhv c cct t e nui t s ' arr te p l r. 1 aura. ses t o u c n e s flgee F..La mach n i � ses p� t t e s (_ Q u i it : " S::i l u t . . / II Y a. bn e i: t en pl ine monta�n e . ? . C.

l ue //B��l . iJ'. .:oi e ncore ? t com::ent quoi enc ore ui I d i. �' i8rii='e' F IG U R E 2 .oc id iLilen t . qui lui d o d wi point juate avant le 3 trava1 l lif . j e n e pourtant fai t e r.

4 1 ) and "you h ave t o treat y ou rsel f like a sonata" (p. you first hear a rhythm-sound-voice-scanning. "there comes a time when i feel m yself like i am the bearer of everything and nothing in everything it's m aybe a cranked sym phonic · state" (p. t oward empty and m u t e instinctual drive. But this is merely a bridge. bu t "don't rush and give too ful l a contou r t o what comes back" (p. The poly logue's fi rst prerequisite: cause rhythm to em erge. 4 1 ). evok ing M oby D ick and M elville (p. Thus. hasten it. the entire history of the West ern subj ect and his relat ionship to his enunciation has com e to an end: "teach the tongue to sing and it will be ashamed to want anything else but what it sings" (p. When the m os t solid guarantee of our ident ity-synt ax-is revealed as a limit. would thus a m ount to upsetting a metaphysical enunciation. 64). B u t t hrough m u sic. 3 2). t oward the dissolution of rhythm a fter t hat of the sentence. like the bridge o f a s hip on t h e high seas. "what interests me is this brain dive below the sponge flip flop letting the clay ru n in it drop in pressure half-muted shreds who sees a sentence t here you do yes oh really" (p. have it rem ove the symb olic surface: "you believe you can hold out at this pace in the face o f universal refusal you k now i don't mind war i enjoy it" (p. with and beyond the sentence. 7 8 ) .1 78 T H E N O V E L A S P O L Y LO G U E ego. taking you t oward the d issolu t ion of sym bolic link ing. there is always a l ogical stu bbornness: "alone the logical fire cipher of negat ion leaves n o rem n ants" (p. denying that negativity a n d going on to a syntax seen as absolute. 43). 7 7 ) . 1 1 ). when you allow y ourself t o be carried away by the polylogue's fugue. t oward the clashes of m atter: "better to perish in t h i s wailing infinity t h a n t o be thrown back to t h e lands" (p. " langu age is a fi n ite or infinite grou ping o f sentences them selves sequences of discrete atoms" ( p . "speech is a recessive phase o f the respiratory cycle" ( p . " sentences should be m isunderstood" (p. 66). "you think i go t o o fast y ou think it has the shakes it m ight look hysterical of course not everyone has understood it was only a peaceful open k indly rhythm true m eaning o f the t orrential spasm here i m im ic the least possible m usic" (p. where it would play the role of l ower lim it rather t h a n absolute pin nacle. 96). 42). Keeping and converting this shelter within a poly-logue. "everything cru mbles at the same time without m oving without water without su bstance while em ptiness forces everything to flow while . 89). threatened by the negativity t h a t produced it. 98). because it is "sounds-words-sounds-not-words-sounds-nor-words-sounds" ( 1 5 5). through breathed rhyt hm.

and back again­ the path of j ouissance. Each syllable then becom es the support fo r a small portion of b ody. 99). "the guy who's got brakes he stops as i f drive wasn't constant as if was enough time t ' write com m a sem icolon and the whole m ess as if it wasn't on the air 24 out of 24 it's up t o you to transform yourself each t o his own ditch" (p. a whirlwind of a pu lverized " I " dissolved and reassembled within. raising and lowering its voice. THE NOVEL AS POLYLOGUE 1 79 it goes plop by plopped m atter only filaments on the surface" (pp. "it's the u nderside of language that turns over at the boiling point" (p. pierc­ ing t hrough the shield of the vocal and symbolic cover: "but as long as space and drives or the anim ated void push y ou on go on let yourself bloom begin again erase your get out again from there" (p. 3 2-3 3). 1 78). instinctual drive and rhythm in consci ousness: t h ey are the repossession and representation o f . I t is simply the sonorous indica tor o f a break. 64). m o rtal. M u sic i t self is a derivat ive. Con sciousness in rhythm and instinctual drive. cosmic space). "as far as i rem em ber the hallucination was there alive patient its third dimension added listen I didn't inven t the clock of language the point is t o k n ow who is m aster and that's it" (p. "o nce one has truly scaled the voice the names come b ack softly violently that is an experience that takes up delirium from way back " (p. instinctual drive. o f a deaf. mute. social. which is just as m uch inside (the body itself) as outside (the physical. 72). "my words have begu n to trem ble in the shape of airplanes com et s tendrils torches busy pouring out this sky t oward the end of the day bursts of delirium you only have to find outside the raw triggering enem y wall of come coal-smeared ice axe entangled suck me or else i'll blow m y brains ou t" (p. "what a choral group the whole body let me stick my ear against you cheek against y our j aw that's where i want to listen to your silence in stifled noise not sound effect s" (p. A m easu red language carried away into rhythm to a point beneath lan­ guage: v iolent silence. I t takes place where t he b ody is gashed by the blows of biology and the shock of sexual. violating and harm onizing. 94). break ing through to the quick. 64). a n d hist orical contradiction. Each syllable becomes a particle. its language: "so my hypothesis is as follows wells of roaring orgasms tapped to the t en-thou­ sandth t hought t o the ten-billionth thrust aside honestly with the force of a drop ham mer" (p. 1 29). a n d regenerative rhythm . 14 7). collided void. a wave.

with 't otality. which only this d ialectics can construct. ] how can one s ay that in what rhythm h ow does one transfo rm written and spoken langu age in the sense of breathing dis­ m antling o f ideology verbal tartar now becom e m u te orbital sometimes we are on t h e bank sometimes in the m i ddle of the st ream it is necessary that one fe el that very strongly the stream the bank two and one on top of the other and one u nderneath the other and one separated from the o ther and one lin ked t o t h e other stream bank stream bank stream bank stream leaving the thread to the curren t" (p. with the t hesis of . ] you must exercise throat larynx lungs liver sp leen the two sexes" (p. 1 39). mythic inside. . poly-logical object: "when t he ear is penet rat i ng it becom es an eye o t herwise the lesson rem ains t angled in the ear without reaching the k not st accato outside" (p. between m eaning and m u sic. " opaque: "i said you have to exhaust sight spread hearing befo re letting it go in due time come on let's get this skull out for m e gold meant sonority and j ade glitter branch leaves flow smile all of this m u st be slipped into silk herbs light [ . there is a dialectics between limit and dismem bered infinity. Language exists to have music burst into sight. 1 39). . The eye cannot be excluded by the ear.1 80 THE NOVEL AS POLY L O G U E delirium a n d t h e loosening o f t h i s repossession and representation: "what distinguishes this style from the clinical docum ent in the strictest sense is the absence of chok ing lin ked not link ed no reason fo r the opening to sketch itself id is the representation of t hings nerved rather than nervous nervated narrated in the inert that is innate twice born never superan­ nuated" (p. invocative instinctual drive encounters the signifiable. the representation reverberates. but it is indeed a striated representation and vision. depleting-signifying l anguage: "the sex and politics equation without the insertion of l anguage rem ains m et aphysical the indicator of an unmastered belief [ . 97). o therwise m u sic is exiled into an esoteric. the polylogue-text. . Spelled out here. realistic. between sight and rhythm. Yet. U nder this totalizing-infinitizing condition. and sight rem ains "one. emphasizes m u sic above all and. the mute m atter of language: it is a polemic with finitude. th rough it. Rhythmic language thus carries a representation. with pause. and bet ween bank and stream : dialectics-epitome of language. 8 1 ). as the agent of this equation is a sonorous-representat ive. . "the schizo is as m uch a bircher as anyone" (p. sound becomes im age. 83). the equation sex = politics i s satisfied.

u nearthing hell under social harmony and proving t o M an t hat he is " Lillipu tian. through affirmed-rhythmic identi ty. The . obvious meaning. Its laugh is heard only through and after the music of the tex t . laughter dethrones). THE N O V E L A S POLYLOG U E 181 socialization that is also. . Laugh th rough saturated-st riated meaning. A ll network s of possible meaning must be exhausted beneath com ­ mon sense. The polylogue destroys any symbolic "thesis" that it preserves by pelting it with a mu sic that revives the dea fened. threateni ng. H laughs di fferen tly. bounding and deadly. Roussel. where power and logic are experienced as am bivalent at first. the name. all this is to push man aside and to refashion the animal within man-to make him sing like the b irds of J osquin des Pres: "hyt ys m o rnyng cum now herkyn the smale larke that sayeth lorde hyt ys day hyt ys day rede rede di! do rede dil do lee" (p. An unfa mi liar. or cru el. the unreasoning resonance." Since the Renaissance. but also pleasure and j ouissance. the West has laughed only with the Enlightenm ent (with Voltaire and Diderot. T o revive the animal. and simultaneously. or perhaps in the recesses o f psychosis. Chaplin . 1 4 5 ) . and cruel fit. H' s laughter d oes not arise out of the Rabelaisian joy shak ing up science and esotericism. drowning him in a burst of laughter: "we are the ashes of innu m erable living beings while the problem is to experience it in the throat as i f we had all b ecome nobody what im palpable instrument dissolved in the wind" (p. . ) . 1 45). to rect i fy the failure. that t hey are "arbitrary" just like the sign. Laugh into a void comp osed of logical . phrasem ongering m an: "there go your associat ive chains gnawing at the liver of yesterday yet this music should have massacred the m em ory struck the eardrum straight fr om the shou lder no no not the ear the eardrum cut out in t he open n o no not the old drum a whole lucid peeled vortex shined thawed colors now listen please be fair pick out the pieces the effort the crystals that yearned for no for what well that yearned yes that wanted oh yes that wanted would a com plaint be hazardous an asshole of a m an half-baked animal" (p. eardrum of socialized. and broken d own in the end (laughter is black with burnt up m eaning: J arry. syntactic. to stretch out the eardrum anew. and narrat ive surplus. disillusioned. 1 62). m arriage and Spirit. and the uttera nce. troubling. and aggressive meaning-before we can understand that they are ungraspa­ ble. recovered. banal. u ndefinable laugh . educated. promising body-the laughter o f gigantic Man. i f not ruptu red. based on a full. that they adhere t o no axis. vulgar. Nor is it Swift's furious.

a n d music.1 82 THE N O V E L A S P O L Y LOG U E laughter of H i s n ' t caused by a clash between signi fied values. We laugh on account of the limit assumed in the very m ovement t h at enroots and uproots finitude within an endlessly centered and yet decent ered process. neither life nor death. n o r is it caused by the eruption of nonsense within sense as appears to be the case in Lois [" Laws. We laugh at the utterance that is not music. intonation. T h e sonorou s t h reads branch out until t h ey disperse with l o s s i n a body inebriated with a motion that is in no way personal t o it. even less so in order to put ourselves out of j u dgmen t ' s reach. in some surreality where everything is eq ual. in order t o judge the position that gives mean­ ing. Neither happy nor sad. t h a t provo kes t h i s l aughter . m erges with the motion of nature as well as of an historical mutation : "you must swim in m a tter and the language of matter and t h e transformation o f language i n t o matter a n d m at t er into language tribe of m atter feel ing o f the outing on swann's way t h e sun is still the same a s before but chang hsii h a d the best cu rsive script u nder t h e t' ang h e would get drunk the souse shouted ran every which way then took up his brush wrote at top speed it even happened t h a t he dipped his hair into the ink t o draw to the quick hsieh-huo means to write lively t h at ' s clearly evident in m a o ' s characters 1 7 august 1 966 hsin p'ei ta the first two jumbled t h e t hird aggressive resolute sure o f the new and there i t is that ' s the whole . Everything cau ses l aughter since sign ifiance is motion. wh ich set s i t sel f squarely against t h e flow o f rhyt h m . then. and/ or at sexuality that is not a process of consumption. rather it accept s it so as to pul verize it all the better. Oriental laughter: sen sible and leading t o t h e void . laughter of sociality itself. Rather." 1 97 2 ] . such a laughter is synonym ous with m usicated enunciation-a space where enu nciation and rhyt hm. We laugh because of possible in eaning. because of the attitude that causes us to enunciate significat ion as it brings us j ou issance. W e do not laugh because o f what m akes sen se or because of what does not. it is t h e arbitrariness of the break establishing m eaning. Laughter of a castration t h at m oves u s t o n ame in a process that exceeds nam ing . but rather. We do not laugh. positioning and infinitization of m eaning are inseparable. Laughter of lan­ guage. neither sexual organicism nor sublimated renuncia­ tion. We l augh at castration . H does not avoid this attitude. Optim ism o r pessim ism?­ misplaced m ilestones that also cause laughter.

THE N OV E L A S POLY LOG U E 183 story the class struggle i s part o f nature and n ature has plenty o f tim e this seagull is t he same as a t h ousand years ago but man is full of clouds" (p. but t h at necessarily imp lies that whoever enunciates has an unconscious that beats within him as rhythm-intonation-music. In spite of its prescientific shortcomings. of t he ackn owledgement of the prim acy o f exterior over interior. Lang uage. 1 00). as such. There is no such thing as materialist logic or m aterialist linguis tics. o f n ature over society. i s left t o the wardens of the logos positing­ rem oving Being-beings-nothingnes s . conforms to t he truth of a particu lar stance of the speaking subject: that of the transcendental ego. before . but this k n owledge is inseparable fr om the atti tude o f the s peaking subject within his language and/or within the world. in Lucret ius' poetic language. is foreign to m aterialism . Philosophy-be i t logical. M at erialism is a kn owledge o f the world. this classical m aterialism carries within itself a "trut h " that contem porary m echanistic m aterialists are unable to m atch." and H u sserl said as much. From a m ec h anistic point of view. it did in Heraclitus' elisions. m aterialism is a ques­ tion of substance. M o reover. the-id-to­ sig nify-that-something-is. or better. any discourse that adheres t o the postu lates of a communica­ tional logic and linguistics is at once a discourse that. Seen fr om the place of its enun­ ciation-the same as that of the basic sentence (an u t terance o f req uest and exchange)-matter can be nothing but "transcendence. And yet . gram m atical. 1 974): two aspects of the same process. or pedagogical-could never be m aterialist . whose emergence through the game of hide-and-seek with the object was explained by H usserl . and errors. m aterialism was able t o sign i fy. t o be sure. naivetes. in Epicurus' gestures declining the m ores of the city-st ate. in its very system . WHAT IS A MATE RIALIST WHO SP EAKS? I am reading Sollers' H. et cetera. o f economy over ideology. at the s a m e time as I a m reading his Sur le materialisme [On m ateriali s m ] (Paris: Seuil. Logics and li nguist ics have each been based on an attitude that repudiates heterogeneity in the signi fier and that. the practice that causes the id to signify. M aterialism is above all an enunciation of whatever you please.

That pain is experienced as such as soon as a word (signified. The subj ect loses himself so as to imm erse himself i n the m aterial and historical process. a n d that m y sterious death . made up of opaque . bargaining. befo re. inst inctual separation. The protectionist. An "I" that has u ndergone this process in order to return t o his fo rm er position and give voice to its poly-logic. So H eraclitu s was the misanthrope. b u t he reconstitutes himself. . And Lenin. and this im plies the m asses' own involvement . and rhythmic polyvalence. at the same time as their reappearance at the heart of a logical. fragmented. It is a t oken of their involvement in a broader process. It i s drained only a fter having pelted all w o r d s circulating within. regains his u nity and rhythm i cally pro­ nounces his own dissolution as well as his return. who arrived during the night at [his] Smolny [headquarters i n St. rediscover a multivalent "dis­ course" beneath surface speech .that is a materialist who speaks. symbolic. H investigates precisely this m o m en t that so m any philos o p hies and dogmatisms seek to cover u p-the m om en t when materialism is able to ut ter itself. Diderot speaks as a m aterialist when he performs as a one-man orchestra: Rameau ' s nephew . and separator. divider. i m m obility. a s one and hetero­ geneous. not t h e flight of an ego subsu m ed by the pred­ icative synthesis outside of any notion of what came befo re its l ogical posit i o n . the fragmenter. and history be formu­ lated-spoken-as a d ialectical process. at the same tim e a s a sub­ j ective. and social explosion . Petersburg] with his body crippled by p a i n . signifier) is posited. Only through this multiple schizt ic pain can the process of the subj ect. t orn between Philosophical Notebooks and What Is To Be Done?. And Sade was the stag e director for p ain a s the scene of u nconsciousness and jouissance-spoken at last. let us call it a discourse without words. it is the ordeal of an attack. and a fter the enunciat ing subj ect . R ather. A rhythm that multiplies language and withdraws from its transcendental position is propelled by pain. Not the " self ' dissolving into some muted m atter­ schizophrenia adrift . . social code. through polemics or struggle. a m a terialist discourse appears as joy ripped with pain. M arx and Lenin speak as m aterialists when t hey rej ect philosophical dis­ course and. rhythm is the enunciation of a pain that severs t he "self. or death. When i t is set forth in rhythm . possible a fter all.1 84 THE NOVEL AS POLYLOGU E dissolving him within a cellular and biological. m at t er. and each organ . that is. " t he body.

T h e " I " h a s become a strange physicist fo r whom the quantum particle is not merely an "external" obj ect t o be ob served. The " I " em erges again. 96). and imm obility. ] i won't accept the identity i feel m uch too am phibious bombing protein nucleot ides hydrogen cloud initial iridescence of helium double helix" (p. Painful and deadly negative drive. 26). 32). subj ect-object irre­ mediably lost to each other . H i s shat tering h a s multiplied h i m . so as to reveal the m aterial t ruth o f the process that brought i t to the brink o f its shattering into a whirlwind of mute parti­ cles. 1 62). THE N O V l: L AS P O L Y LO G U E 185 units that interchange without getting involved. speaking and musicating. 1 2 1 ) . " i hurt everywhere when i am seized by this epilepsy from m edical greek spilepsia properly attack yes it attacks me it takes h old of me inside­ out sk eleton" (p. "it's t rue that that frightens t hem this daily crum bling o f sensitive tissue pain of the gum s in t h e kidneys o f the liver in the shoulder t h ere are some who w o u l d lock them selves up with m at h for no m ore reason than there are some who prefer rushing to a dance" (p. 1 1 3 ) . . but also. "a bone that is feeling a h igh" (p. 63). . . t here is loss o f sel f and o f k n owledge. " t h e grave you carry it everywhere with you" (p. The instant the attack begins. " i t ' s like the intimate st art of mat ter now me i refuse i refuse i refuse no no no [ . . " so t h ere's the pain that rises again in the t eet h the temples in the b ack of the neck the pain you know it's lik e ext ended t allied temporalized palpable j ouissance who said it cou ldn't be written but o f course by long su ffering little fire sharp k een poin t s t h at is where you see who works and who gossips [ . 61 ). an "internal" state of the subj ect and of experienced language: "the actor m ay i ndicate th is by the wave function of his m olecule to escape the cycle he must crush him self in the . a bru s h with death. And t hen. does not stop t h i s process. deprived h i m of hum an characteris­ tics. 39). and the absence of m eaning: "t here is an instant vertigo when you reach out your arm beyond absolute k nowledge in order t o find the flower" (p. The schizoid regains consciousness: "the schizoid becomes diplomat enterprising u nbeatable su pple again post m aso bird kind" (p. . 77). ] oh dusty conveyor b elt" (p. capable o f provoking schism. there is t h is rewriting o f Saint Paul: "oh but who shall deliver m e fro m this body without death" (p. -such a code cannot become can­ celled-ecstatic-laughing-without hurting. the pain of schism. made him anonymous: " nature is for me a lak e full of fish and m e fish fish fish without a complex" ( p . .

count less body. mat ter com ing t hrough : "i don't paint being i paint the passing anyhow i don't paint anything at all i fe el really bombed out when will we accept im perm anence absence of signature disappearance of the seal inside feet close t ogeth er and goodnight" (p. 46). 1 06). voice is dam ped. Sol lers speaks of a "springing of the subj ect . Because some One emerges fr om this schizophrenic pulverizing and has it g o through our com m u nal code (discou rse). subst ance is vocalized. refashioned. and infinite: "one body is not equivalent to another we are here t o begin enlightening the scale of bodies within the stream how do you force the head to let it be to becom e conscious of all the registers" (p. which it i m m ediately provides with a dismembered. materialist language is the language of a body never heard and never seen. thought out-both wave and particle. a new rhythm is perceived and our body appears as brok en. " occurring in order to arrange the shattering into a langu age. But it finally recovers the unity of speak­ ing consciousness in order t o signify itself. A rtaud-and physical disloca­ tion has becom e its m etaphor. The subj ect is destabilized-Van Gogh. as each is m ade infinite in relat ion t o the other. I t cannot be pinned down but is liable to be present. " i f you wish to m a intain t h e boiling point i n your room don't forget t h at each link is represented by a wave fu nct ion with two centers occupied by a pair of elect rons em anat ing from two linked atoms go on breathe your probability of presence the clouds now replace the traj ectories we evolve with this spectral fo g any ej aculation casts a thought not t h ought it really makes one burst with laughter" (p. dismembered . Here. no C artesian extension. 47). logica l. 1 0 5). nor even Leibnitz's m onads in t abular networks . Only t hen does the spea king subject discover him self as subj ect o f a body t h at is pulverized. As a n area o f heterogeneou s strata (drive-sound-langu age) that can b e multi plied and infinitized. But-and this is what is so surprising-the subject returns. and refashioned according t o t h e polylogue's bursts o f instinctual drive-rhyt h m .186 THE NOVEL AS P O L Y LO G U E um bilical" ( p . there are none of Spinoza's substances. "this ability that som etimes an obstinate but fluid subject has t o rem ove veil by veil to untie t he knots t o insist on its nega­ tion u nt i l the infinity in i t s always u nexpected shape begin s to well u p . as each one enters into a process of infinite fission that begins as they clash. This polylogical body i s a perm anent cont radict ion between substance and voice.

but busy going through it-going t hrough itself-in all directions. It is ra ther the return of t he lim it-as-break. 6 In short. . . and to use t hem again . t o disso lve even their bou ndaries. vocal. 99). makes of this sus pended "u nity" a dead ent ity: "i apply this treat ment t o m y self by peri odic massaged excitement each side occupied wit h crisscrossing itself striated zones on the whole the problem is this unit of equilibrium which causes the m u lti plicity t o be t hought outside on the basis o f a unit that is firm on dead center" (p. to rej ect and mult iply them . and language. I shall term "writer" that ability t o rebound whereby the v iolence of rej ect ion. "any spont aneou s formulation that is not sought after will have to be paid for dearly" (p. from its subj ective-signifying-symbolic control point. It is the (primary) condition of this surprising rebound. " t en aciously h olding on to its unity. crisscrossing itself with furrows. lucidly and consciou sly. appraising it sel f and conceiving of itself in term s of all the coordinates o f "geo m etry" : "that's a peculiar kind of horse this subj ect at a walk at a trot at a gallop before you . reaching over itself. cast ration. This is a reaffirmed. which is i tself a (secondary) condition causing t he pulverization to speak. t hey do this not in order to vanish at that point (as com munal m eaning w ould h ave it). perhaps codified whirlwind. 1 1 0). i n extravagant rhythm. The test of radical heterogeneity comes when the sign ifying thesis finds itself outside o f any mult iplicative experience. and the bar separating signifier from signi fied. but it is also cleft fr om its axis. codi ficat ion. "n ever forget the right o f the deadm ost" (p. rem iniscing. causing the once alientated unity t o d ance: "basically it is death that is afr aid of us" (p. which found nam ing. deat h . T H E N O V E L AS P O L Y L O G U E 1 87 nearby inside outside" (p. 87). 1 5 5). It is not the reconstruct ion of a unary subj ect. A rem inder of the Vedas: "here i am i i and again i first-born of the order befo re the gods in the navel of nondeat h " (p. about his lacks in m eaning. in hysterical fa shion. " The deadmost alone is capable of formulating som ething new. but in order. Formulat ion i m m ediately be­ comes anteriority. preventing any return to unity. right belongs only t o the "deadmost. 70). liable to break a t any m o m ent. while the taut stretch separating the two. An animal is a physical. 62). 68). "curious how the animal can get a hard on in its sleep while it is in the process of cutting itself up how i t experiences itself at the same time com pressed gaseous u nit put away in drawer" (p. indelible " I . finds its way into a multiplied signifier. his p lunges into an underwater body .

a collision. in relation to the " I . the text." constitutes a "knot. "I am the t ru t h . 99)." " I . B u t such a n asserted " I . this before. formulated sequence rhythm and meaning. . It goes from the "subjective" to the "obj ective.1 88 THE N O V E L A S POLYLOG U E behind y o u under you a n d above y o u forward m ot i on backward m otion swallowed up swim mer worker idler and dreamer and fu dger liar and seeker and speaker pillager weeper lis tener fleer and unemployed" (p. 3 5 ) . " The polylogue says." "language." a I . " it is only because "I" says so. This "I" speaks/ sings the indecisive m ovement of its own coming." then back again t o the "subj ective. One cannot even say t h at this "before" has in fact t aken place. before la nguage. 3 6 ) . A b efore t h at isn't even unconscious. before b eing. "i want to be alone u ndersta nd alone when i want to as bathed aired as on the first m orning" (p. this "double of tongued wind"-gathers t ogether into a single. then--an inrush of shock. conscious of the tru t h of its practice. is "the sign of a m ore profo und geometry that i feel in me behind me with the smell of t he attic crossroads of stitching fine network of stars dig dig unfasten u nglue send back you get h ere a quick theory of envelopes algebra and arithmetic are the doubles of this t ongued wind without effect" (p. otherwise. and death . spurt . t hen-stasis of sound. " "speech. 1 07). then-heterogeneity of the "represent amen. because if "it has t aken place. F or this polylogical " I " speak s of a before: before logic. 1 29). So here. "there is the obj ect of sexual grat ­ ification and someone who passes for t he one who experiences it but he who while he experiences orgasm k n ows one and the other is not affected" (p. death. 98). and a reconstructed or m i m ed presence where it scans-and-sig­ nifies the truth of its production and dea t h ." and so forth without end: "i had n othing o f the outside save an interrupted circular perception i wasn't able t o determine if the water h ad a b ackdrop of vegetation t h e color green was perhaps simply t h e reflect ion of t h e shut­ ter" (p. "how do you expect to live with an u ngraspable sheet of water with a body that sees itself and sees itsel f t h at sees itself seeing itself seen visible invisible thus ceaselessly saying g ood-bye that's not a fa ther m a 'am t h at ' s not a m other" ( p . then. This is not m ys ticism saying. "i truth i have a right to lie in the m anner that suits me" (p. erased presence. " . " hypostasized a n d unsha keable in i t s twi sted multiplications." the "other. a "before" all "before-unconsciousness"-shock. does not insist on truth for its sp eech. . 1 1 ). spurt. Its geometry-that is.

castrating) away fr om an inaccessible before (instinctual. prophesying because he is cutting a dangerous after (logical. Nor is it an Other. a n d o n l y for t h a t . m aternal. melody. 30). This "I" is j u st present enough t o open the present into a double infinity: an imm emorial before and an historically ravaging immediateness: "as for me I speak of m isappropria­ tion from before the before let him who has the spark be enlightened with the deduction at the source which they never viscerally suspected it's something ent i rely di fferent a fight here with knives between what traverses me and the set brow that used to be cal led dem onic don't believe fo r a m i nute the delu ders who tell you that it isn't true at all the t erm prophet came i n t o use arou nd 980 concerning passion in its physical sense in the twelfth they said prophesy from the greek prophetes literally he who says in advance check it out yourself at least those of you not too entrenched where do i get t his insolence i don't k now yes it is really limit­ less" (p. But it is the very process itself. rem ains presentable. I saiah . " present t o sign i fy the process t h a t exceeds it. Yesha'yahii. where One and O ther are stases. flashing like light ning for whoever has not heard t he echo of the before and has not gone there on his own. any " I " that ventures into this "before" has no guarantee of "being" or of "t ruth" in its speech other than intonation. Y l . naming. In H. AS P O l . 3 5 ). . logical fu ture. OG U E 1 89 "not. m oments of pause: a natural-sem iotic-symbolic process. invo lving h eterogeneity and contra­ dict ion: "i kind of lik e when malaise m isunderstanding grow in thick ­ ness t h e whirlwind must come into being there maybe t hey'll make me k ick m ysel f o ff in t h e e n d accused as i a m o f wanting the t w o a n d a t t h e s a m e t i m e proposing scission they see i t as manichaeism while t h e rumbling in their stom achs doesn't m a k e the mul tiple voice o n e and bound m u l tiple divided bound saying the one mult iple the non-one the always and never m u l t iple oh my void you alone faithful i shall go so fa r as saying tender and faithful and cutting horrible soft punctual t errify­ ing" (p. It is neither One. and the twisting effect it inflicts on langu age by making it speak in a future t ense that is menacing to those com fo rtably satisfied with th e present-with "beings" com m em orating a " Being" that. I t is " I . "Wh o says h ello"?-hell o. song. negativity. on the other hand. THE N OVEi. paran oid. musical). Yet." that is. set in his m astery. the present "I" is the crest of a m elodious before and an immediate. nevertheless.

infinitely m ovable centers. disappointing the obsessed. This is the Augustinian formula referring to the "holy spirit" in De Trinitate. Proper Name-pseudonym-releasing the two in a burst of l aughter t h at attack s the son ' s identity-but also that of the "artist . . the phrase. het erogeneous. within this register. it returns and t h reat ens all nominal ex istence. Nothing proceeds from anything." but saying what is heard: "he shall not speak on his own but everything he hears he shall say" (p. get ting on the fet ishist ' s nerve. it has such entity proceed fr om a symbolic origin where the law of social con tract is concealed. Thus impersonal. here.1 90 THE NOVEL AS P O L Y LOG U E A floating signifier? A senseless flow that produces i t s own signifiance: "what a pro fession being the so-called floating signifier or rather the water t hat signifies itself by itselr' (p. and int rigu ing the schizoid. and a logical and perm anent awakening in the very drift of syllab les-fr ustrating the hysteric. 1 8 1 ). But it is also and sim ult aneously that of one' s "proper name". speak ing (in) t h e n a m e o f no one-not even i n its (own) " proper name. H introduced proceedings against both naming and the (proper) Name by positing and then ack nowledging their constraint. the logical and heterogeneous infinity is no longer kept out of the way. and only if. S H ATTE R I N G T H E FAM I LY There is a sober quality in H that consists in the light contour o f music. " Sentence-sequence-nar­ ration-and an excess of t h eir sign ificat ions (in which so many readers o f Lois became trapped) loca lizable i n a process of i ndefinitely. h owever. as what is "beyond the sentence. infinity is invented through colliding. in short. This m eans that it is a going th rough and beyond the sign. " is probably foremost a going through and beyond the nam ing. to what can "in the name o r ' refer? An excess in the fu nction of the Father or o f the Son. the ideal proceedings against t h e One and ag ainst Naming itselr? The transfinite in la ngu age. and linguistic finitude. an avoidance of overl oading sequences with narrative. an indexing that gives an identity t o entity if. and cont radict ory bursts where "what proceeds" (naming and the Name) is only a set whose ex istence depends on infinity t hrust aside. But. 59).

outside. set her up like a boundary o f the process where "I" with "she"-"the other. the first other. i t turns it into rhythm-it i s rhythm. with a few lim ited variations possible. sexuality no l onger has the gratifying appeal o f a return to the promised land. the obsessed. I t is a focu s o f attention that drives us crazy or perhaps allows u s t o rem ain afloat when the t hetic (the symbolic) lets go. t h e m other. Or you have this P h allic M other enter into you r language where she enables you to k il l the m aster signifier-but also reconstitutes that ultim ate and tenacious repression seizing you in the veils of the "genital mystery" (Nerval. in fact. In the past. No language can sing u nless it confronts the Phallic Mother. i t must swallow her. The phallic mot her has possession of our im aginaries because she controls the family. T h e s o n ' s incest is a m eeting w i t h the other. t h oroughly investigate her jouissance and. THE N O V E L A S POLYLOGUE 191 H says that what determ ines these reactions lies within the dom ain of the Phallic M other. scans i t . this was called "the sacred . and the schizoi d . or the phallic M ot her who gathers us all into orality and anality. is nothing but the place where rhyt h m stops a n d iden tity is constituted . . A ny subj ect posits him self in relat ion to the phallus-that m uch everyone understands.Father t ranscending the fam ily within a signifier that. eat her. the absolute esoteric code. W h o kn ows? W h o says so? Only rhythm. R ather. opposite. or a fan­ tasy takes root in you and clears t he way for a polym orphism t hat eats away at accepted social codes-but can also be their repressed accom ­ plice. t h e de-signating a n d dissolving gesture. " "the m other"-becomes lost . the fetishist. " In any case. The a lternatives used to seem set : either the N ame­ of. but h e re we are all stopped short by this "trut h " : the hysteric. What w e t a k e fo r a m ot her. That the phallus could be the m other is something often said. Who is capable of this? "I alone am nourished by t he great m other . For all that i t m u st not leave her u n t ouched. Either you stay spastic and aph asic. within this consumm ated incest. The language that serves as a wit ness to this c ourse is iridescent with a sexuality of which i t does n o t "spea k " . " writes Lao Tzu . against the law. reproduces its dramas. without releasing h er. dissolve her. . into the pleasu re of fusion and rejection.t he. and the imaginary is familial. Know the mot her. within the experiencing of the phallic. . go beyond her. Nietzsche. firs t take her place. Artaud) . m aternal m irage. and all the sexuality t h at the m at ernal im age com m ands.

the m other's power. t h e absorption o f its bursting. m urderer o f h i s m other. abides in the margins of society by waver­ ing between the cu lt of t he m other and t h e playful. and t h rust aside. comprehended. god. laughing. is exhausted . tragic support of political religion. a demystification of the fem ale sphinx. "it's the whirlwind n o need t o insist to m a k e one believe there is a t hought on this side nervous non-t hought read t o m e slowly it's not about a crisis we are in a m ess in fact what rem ains here is always childish free fa l l the difficulty lies precisely in accepting that the m o ther be this slow oh so slowly broken from the species would that she were blind what here's the secret would that she were t h i s slow blind fa ll and whore despite the appet ite support but don't hope to see her without sm ashing you rsel f in" (p. n o r Oedipus. he eludes all codes. nor m an. his i s a refusal t o accept blindness. born a second time for h aving had the m ot her. "poet" banished fr om the Republic because he has shot t hrough his m a t ernal pedest al. occult wise m an. The Phallic Mother-as blinding pillar of the p olis and u nconscious buttress of the laws of the city-is apprehended. The Greek myth i s deflated. 1 64). he is Dionysius. "what causes t h e poet to have first a definite taste o f m enstrua in the m ou t h and why it is not reasonable to ask him t o talk as if h e had not lost his baby t eeth" (p. cast rated trustee o f a invisible k nowledge. replaced b y a n on-Oedipal incest that o pens the eyes of a subj ect who is nourished by the m other. and the alliance o f the bursting o f the "proper" that follows. m ade into a hero through t he unconscious support from J ocasta. The subj ect of this drama can in no way be a "citizen"-neither Orestes . neither animal. 1 3 8). "i had my m ot h er in a dream clearly silhouetted clean alluring" (p. Oedipus. engaged and directed t owards refashioning a harmonious ident ity.1 92 THE NOVEL AS P O L YLO G U E I t is t h e penetration o f a heterogeneous terrain. and a forsaking o f A n tigone. retraces h i s steps t o a before all o f this h appened-so a s t o k n ow. . 1 43). By the same t oken. 1 2 7). stripping away of its m ystery. It i s a strange sort of in cest where "Oedipus" comes out look ing like Orpheus-singing-and where J ocasta rem ains blind. It involves a reversal o f roles. The "actor" subject . The p oet 's j ouissance that causes him t o em erge from schizophrenic decorporealization is t he j ouissance of the m other: "who was able i s able will be able to kiss his deep m other on the mouth and sense arising radiating the triple and one rejoicing" (p.

against his m irror i m age-a partially reassu ring and regenerative experience. legislating and socializing ordea l: "it's the old woman's vengeance fu rious at having been deciphered saying that's it isn't it it's finished buried once and for all that pig you are free my little darlings i squat on his grave reproduce the dead end ask your questions have respect for the bar it's me it's the law i anus in the su perego i bring you the chi ld of an inhumed gu y's night" (p. The war. carries the scar of not m erely the trauma but also the triumph of his battle with the Phallic M other: "you haven't sufficiently not iced that the d ouble dimension of oedi pal lan­ guage reprodu ces in inverted form the double dimension of the oracle oidos swollen foot oida i know while sucking his thumb grapes of corinth they also say the laws at a higher m oment's notice defining the animals below the gods above one and another pawns iso lated on the chess­ board of the polis out of play rupture of the gam e moral whoever wants t o leave without for that m at ter buying glasses white cane while listening carefully to the whee whee when the animal finally falls without him we would k n ow n othing what a view into backness true surpassing of the soothsayer in short there a re two ways of being blind one in the future the other i n the past [ . HI E N O V EL A S P OLYLOG U E 193 H i s oracular discourse. h owever. this tragedy is primarily an­ chored in the som ber and blinding reg ion of the m aternal phallus. i s never over and the poet shall continue indefinitely to m easure himself against the m ot her. 1 5 8). . as is the tragedy firmly and ent irely anchored in class st ruggle. . ] d o you k n ow what he d oes after having disappeared at colonus because antigone was beginning t o get 'im pissed off he returns on the road to t h ebes h e n otices that the fem ale sphinx is surfa cing again oh well once again he k ills it but forewarned by the previous experience he doesn't tell anyone and ye'know buzzes off fa r real far somet i m es he's here among you aggrieved look fo r being so b adly t h ought of badly understood" (p. . s plit (signifier/signi fied) and multiplied ( i n its sentential and lyrical concatenations). h owever. 1 5 8). .7 The luster surrounding M a llarmean m yst ery i s shattered. ] or else go t ake a walk in the schizoo when I say k ill father sleep with m other go away eyeless from where one com es got to understand that it t akes place on the same body right hand left hand [ . For the subj ect. What follows is the aggressive and mus icated discourse of a kn owledge that att ack s phallic power each t ime it sees it constituting itself under the . a partially castrating.

.1 94 THE NOVEL AS POLY LOG U E aegis o f t h e m other. . insu res cont inued repressi on: "as if science's postulate was a t t h e beginning woman m ade pregnant" (p. man as such does n o t exist [ . Yet i t never forgets t o draw forth the truth that this conflict lets escape. . Procreation: t h e m other's pregnancy. and the regressive rush in as soon as the sym­ bolic surface cracks and allows the shadow of the t ravestied m other t o appear-its secret a n d i t s ultimate support . The occult. . 52). you're all stuck at the oral" (p. 8 T h e difficulties of gathering i n t o a specular space the motility o f a pre­ m ature hum a n body. Whence the warning that conju res up the City of God: "the great m other tends to come back with her castrastes as she does each time the ground opens up before boiling" (p. It also insu res. "m ister t otem misses taboo the dessert a la stabat mater" (p. 1 1 3). "what is all this talk about a man who could h ave every woman if not a woman's fant asy" (p. 49). Does that make Man a fantasy of the Phallic M other? " . But why is the speaking subj ect incapable of ut tering the m other within her very self? Why is it that the "m other h ersel f ' does not exist? Or that what is (what is said) has a m other who can only be phallic? A n d whence the insuperable oral stage? " . pulverized by instinctual drive: t h at is the difficulty o f identification that t h e mother is particu larly partial to-is t h at an unavoidable backdrop? Transforming this identifying support into an . . . . He who thinks he is a man is m erely the appendage of a m other. "when thought is im peded it's becau se it has come and gathered around a nam e a desire for a n ame for a navel" (p. 1 37). " t h e cult of the g oddess reason always seem ed to me to be a negative argument against robespierre t here's still some of m ama inside it reeks o f a sub­ m issive son fine student still although the soprano on the altar t h at was daring from that point of view we haven ' t progressed that much" (p. 70). . j u s t like the Prim itive Father. the power of the Phallic M other underlying any tyrann ical orga­ nizat ion as she is present in any unconscious desire: "the mama the m am a of great big papa [ . the esoteric. ] the shadow of mama shaping her penis everywhere" (p. b y the same stroke. that unshakable butt ress o f every social code. 7 5 ) . 1 3 7) . by the way. ] m other on t h e right fat her on the left and the right side has the left side killed and t h e right side gets hold of the tip of the left side which it hides under its litt'l sk irt which generates t h e indefinite l a y i n g of the o n e excluded from t h e middle" (p. 1 3 7). 13 7).

is altered into a maternal language. It is also to grasp t h i s maternal language as well as t o be free of it t h a n k s t o the sub­ sequently rediscovered m oth er. pierced. signified. and u ndergoing the crisis o f this particular reacti­ vat ion in the m idst of language. who is at a s trok e (a linguistic and logical stroke. THE NOVEL AS POLYLOG U E 1 95 Other-into the place o f a pure signifier-maintains the presence of a m aternal. m ediat ed by the subj ect ' s p osition). what about the desiring quest? I t becom es a desire for appropriation by maternal langu age: "i'm not talk i ng t o you in the name of the phallic anal this pisses you off like me nor in t he name of the father the son or the t rading post nor in the name of the t hieving genital n o but of genius spread t h e newness of t om orrow t h e antisuperm an the nongod nonman the nonunique the excesses i n dormitories because at last i ask y ou what becomes of death in your neighborhood [ . directl y o n the body "proper. at the m i rror stage. and jubilant rhythms preced­ ing the signifier ' s posit ion as langu age's position is to discover the voiced breath that fastens us to an undifferent iated m other. and carried away into the symbolic. substantial. and ego-related opacity in the shadows. stripped. . a fter the period of latency. To rediscover the intonations. Thus only by puncturing this place of a "pure signifier" can we also and simult aneously deflate the m aternal sup­ port u pon which the signifier establishes i tsel f. uncovered . to a mother who later. Perhaps what is involved is the possibility o f reactivat ing the experience of early childhood (the Oedipal stage). Thi s is the text-detached from orality. Then." and within the already ripe sym bolic-logical system that the subj ect will have at its d isposal in his future experience. m aternal body come together again . set within the symbolic thesis of a l anguage already acquired before puberty . castrated. ] your birth sm ack s you in the face you hear breathing easier the rights o f what was there before you i pass through you i do not pass through you it's you who chooses my am oeba" (pp. with no delayed action. The m other reemerges as the archetype of the infinitely interchangeable obj ect of the desiring quest. This "second birth"-this Dionysiac birth-probably comes at the m oment of puberty : then the subject and the Oedipal. into puberty. and vice versa. . her power collides with the sym bolic (which the m ature subj ect-body has already mastered during the period of latency). either the subject . and the subj ect experiences the trauma of this collision. scansions. 7 5-76). At that point.

that spoken incest places him on the brink where he could sink into the delirium of a schizoid that successfully breaks t h rough everything but the m ot h er. 67). distracting m o t her who threatens sym bolic unity. From a careful reading of Lois and H. workers. sisters. every "she" has a place in this configuration . and phallic stages and to function within the com plete gamut of the body. t oward the end of his childhood. m ore-than-linguistic stroke. "the hysterical woman's m outh is our radar" (p. and games­ that Sollers grants a great deal of im port ance to the period o f latency as a t ru e laboratory where this storehouse of evocations. the garden. and drama o f the word/body separation whose flash-spasm t he poet alone can hear and whose lesson he al o ne can integrate. would be that child that doesn't forget.1 96 THE NOVEL AS P O L Y LOG U E su bmits inextricably to a reactivated Oedipal experience. although by dialect icizing t h e rediscovered m ot h er. or he and his semiotic capability flee beyond the burnt out. thus leaving a t race of t heir conflict in the very language he uses? As a result. but a subj ect who ceaselessly searches t h rough his latent memory fo r whatever m ight allow him t o resist an invoked and rej ected m ot her. index o f a poorly controlled phallus. which allows the subj ect to break t hrough the pubescent reactivation of the Oedipal experience. on the other. by pitting them against each ot h er. the fam ily. Neither blind Oedipus nor warring Orestes t rampling t h e m ot her u nderfo ot. like an anam nestic child finds his phallic mother again. Does this. on the one hand. friends. "resonant m ercury separating the . make the "poet" a subj ect who. the factory. as sym ptom o f symbolic weak ness in relation t o t h e overflowing instinctu al drive. this semiotic. but who is u ltim ately carried a long within a sem iotic process. This consequently lets the subj ect reconnect with his own oral." The innovator. h e could also. it becomes clear t hrough the numerous evocations of childhood situations-the G ironde region. 88). and the sym bolic. "it can feel in a flash what years cou ld n ever have revealed" (p. produce what is new in "cul­ ture. where t h e subj ect is alternately put t ogether and pulled apart. did not sim ply stop and forget but now roams over his own backlands and. and the signifier ri pened at the m o m ent of latency. From this moment. then. Every hysterical woman. l anguage. under t he sam e m omentum. then. anal. is worked out.

and in support of the "new relation­ ship. heterogeneous t o the "poet . The "new relationship" involved here is consequen tly dia­ metrically opposed t o fam ilial. Evok ing J oyce: "the other one is right to say that finally a hero mat ters little if he has not also li ved with a woman that lofty airs without this mult iple experience in the m inuscu le allow the m aximum amount of illusion t o subsist" ( p . 1 67). and domestic tranquillity. Opp osed to this. Otherwise. as the other." we must " think " love-that is. its constitutive hatred: "bearing the hate of som eone who hates you is not unworthy and i am sick if it is so to hate your enem ies hate is older than love" ( p . . "j ust the same i say love out of personal t aste for paradox because of course little t o do with the filth for sale u nder that label j u st the same we n eed revolutionary romant icism a particular serious new style brilliant resolute a vice that o beys us qualified partners [ . " w h o h a s learned from t h e hysterical wom an w i l l not make. " represents what poetic discourse brings about but what man is not (to the extent that he does exist). as wom an. a s a waterm ark . we m u st im pregnate it with negativity. confront her by inventing a new m eaning for love. 1 1 7)-such is "M an's" m istake. we must display. con tradiction. . 1 02). The closest comparison would be "the big bang hypothesis inspiration expira­ tion the galaxies m ove apart fr om each other as if they were located on a balloon that was being quickly inflated there is the sensation t h at we must ask of coitus without which what a bore the yarn about fusion captation the m a nger the stable the moo moo of the beauty and the . THE N OV E L AS P O L Y LO G U E 1 97 ger ms divergence of dye especially with wom en while man t ends to bury himself under words becau se he still doesn't know how t o let the words bury the words" (p. t h e exiled negative. which the "poet . The hysterical woman. . 5 6) . what new relationship male fe m ale i've been look ing for this forever at bottom alone with all quicker lighter brighter" (p. "she" is this "disunited unity unified into the unique and multiplied multifold" (p. This is why he mu st necessarily a n d constantly m easure him self against her. A n d love? " . mothering. which he experiences only in a text. w e revert back t o notions of God. . and mythical fu sion. 2 2 ) . ] on the contrary i say that with that we settle at the heart of power we overthrow it if we hold firm on obscure points whatever the case m ay be i want to see people come while t hey're wondering why" ( p . and conflict . 1 30).

. 84 ). truer : "thus the point i s to m old o neself exactly on the enemy like the enemy in the spouse and the spouse in the enemy that's the way he him self offers you vict ory one wants the other and his other is other and you are alone with the sunset" (p. She?-"here t here's a m oment when the girl looks at you and says i am you you're happy that i ' m you" ( p . ] they can ' t feel fr om in there this unex­ pected aspirated jouissance the one since ever on the horizon the retained excess fl are let ' s go come and die where your life was" (pp. as the splitting of "I's. incom prehen­ sible. Now we can understand that the logic o f this place where negat ivity causes j ouissance is foreign to the l ogic of genealogy and paternal-filial . 1 24). giving i t back. mak ing war again elsewhere. 1 1 0). . 3 8 ) . " H e?" " She?" Each i s split apart.1 98 THE N O V EL AS P O L Y LOG U E beast" ( p . "real nett ing of the bedmate who h as becom e an accom plice in mu rder doesn 't stop me from liking the horse in you galloping noble savage" ( p . . alone. She-He?-as the crisscrossing of sexual di fferences. since each one bestows deficiency on the other: "these women their parry is t aut u nder rock toward childbearing the men want to avoid death theorem their desires cross" (p. twisted." or as avoidance. infinitized. 1 44)."he the specialist in reverse pregnancies" (p. ] but there is the other's t orture trusting and burning and i already k n ow h ow she won't ever get to know i see her al ready eyes open incredulous cram med full of life and scents carried away blown out like a torch are you able to t ouch her punctu red skull to weigh it to enter it in the race and to laugh j u st the same to continue isn't that the moment when you crack up" (p. 84-8 5). and even m ore clearly: "shall i ever be a sharp parcel of her breath shall i ever succeed in m ak ing a bank d i ssolving of bank s in its reflect ion i u nderstand him who says no i'll stop when the last one has been freed until then i want to hear only dissonances i refuse to sign the prepared agreemen t" (p. He?. dissolved. 148). with death running the show. an enem y. 60). 5 2). usurping the other's place. Rom eo? Juliet? They are disson a n t : "it's t rue that i would kill you with too m any caresses and he detestable m a t rix of death i damn well will force your rotten m outh open [ . shatter­ ing every entity: "and each bone exploded by layers arms gett ing longer and longer [ . su rer. "you're m y little boy and i'm you m other very depraved o bserving you young beautiful supple your living zipper" (p. harm onizing. 96). .

" T h e latter. . . 27). . i s at t h e s a m e time preserved fr om sociality a n d the social sexual code-normal or abnormal: "leave the ballroom where the judge dances glued to his favorite lawbreaker go deeper leave ' em alone you've got no t ruck with them " (p. " o f the "poet . 1 63 ) . ] with a norm alization of sundry hom osexual practices [ . fo reign to procrea tion. 1 28). the Primit ive Father arises . 79). H e is also preserved from au thority and from c oded m astership: "you should procreate how do you expect anyone to take your word without that" (p. Oedipu s' fat her. Laius. avoids the tragic with a laugh: "i propose to provide for as of now a central area for reproduction with fem inine interests set forth from head to foot national assem bl ies of huck stering fathers st ock exchange of proper names [ . before restoring paternal power in t h e form of a paternal righ t. refusing its absolute regulation with a black ease that here. Thus. THE t>: O V L L A S P O L Y L O G Li E 1 99 numerat ion. T h e reproductive funct ion. The Freudian vision in Totem and Taboo is deciphered as a hom osexual conspiracy in which brothers kill the father to take the mother for them selves. preserved from t h e reproductive chain. i n short. and hence less dangerous than she. This is a place of depletion. "disobeyed the oracle who forbade him to procreate but o n the other hand as he was a fag like everyone else and as he's �upposed t o have forgotten him self one day in a woman you get the picture" ( p . But. is thus the ant onym of the "act or. an unconsci ou s genetrix. who accom ­ plishes the Phallic M other's desire. once agai n. lying athwart that of the reproduction o f the species. . Whence. ] sgic sodom gom orrha int ernational cou ncil" (69.70) . sustained b y a homosexuality ( nar­ cissism-tapping by the mother) that is unaware of itsel f. but more noticeable than she. next to the Phallic M other. The procreator. they indulge in homosexual practices u nder the prim al m other's imaginary grip: "finally the prim ordial father was sim ply a tall crazy woman and freud was right to recall that guys in exile base t heir organization on mutual fe elings t hey fo reswear the use of liberated women it scares t hem shitless they see again in th eir dream s t h at butchered father who is none other than mama knowing the ropes and diseased" (p. engenders the Father-the figure of a power agai nst which the "actor" rebels and whose fissure precisely induces him t o explore the m aternal t erritory. Similarly. as elsewhere. t h e " poet' s " com­ plicity with the hysterical-phobic woman who suspects t h a t the fat h er is .

And y e t . and since t h e subj ect's u n i t y not o n l y refrains from crum bling into the "schizoo" bu t . posit ing of an " I " that is stable and here.200 T H E N O V E L A S PO LYLOG U E castrated : "enormous di fference o f the daughter who was able physically to ascertain the fa ther's filth iness she can becom e exceptionally our ally how d o we liberate the woman from woman that is the question likewise how do we rid the guy of the guy and maybe then everybody outside o f t heir bou ndaries t h e real session could begin" ( p . the fa mily l oses i t s reason to exist. far from providing the subj ect with either fa m i ly or power. . ] anyhow they can't do anything against my m issile ground ground ground air let him who has ears listen" (p. symbolization. later on. perhaps. and nothing m o re. the paternal function-inasmuch as it is symbolic function. It withdraws before something else. yet. They are an im aginary accom plishment. ground air = sol air = Sollers [Ed . by means of a spoken inces t. T h e paternal function: internal structuration o f t h e polylogical process. 28. j ust as. The father' s death accelerates the analysis of the Phallic M other. The father's first name shows up at th e very beginning of H. a guaran tee o f nom i nation. recognizing t h i s symbolic. or one could say "paternal" fu nction that the "I" henceforth assumes. one encounters the Asiat ically calm image of the father planting orange trees (p. 1 39). pluralized. ] ) . it reopens access t o the negativity o f drive. but it also probably favors its insertion in a signifier t hat was never so complet ely l iberated and mastered at the same time. an other social space serving the poly logizing subj ect. 37). since the sym bolic network n o t o n l y resists the onrush o f m u sic. sets u p an analytical polylogue in all of his peregrinations. and superegoistic (even pulverizable) resu rgences-persists eternally. . When all protagonists i n what was the fam ily becom e funct ions within the signi fying process. it withdrew before the contradictory association of j ouissance and work? . cond ition of separat ion from maternal rhythm. something s t i l l i nvisible. this funct ion m akes of him an innumerable and infinitizable exile from socia l sets: "and he pu ts his right hand on me i mean t hat i put it there m yself but in a rather special way t h a t would really take too long to explain but that in any case u ses a rather signifi­ cant qualitative j u m p to k eep the two of the one divides into two and he tells me don't worry 'bout it i am the first and the last and so we h ave t i m e to gas t ogether i am li ving i was dead but now i am living in a way t h at you will n ever stop suspecting [ . consequently. m u ltipliable.

an infinity of forks. of an intonat ion. or of one or m ore j ux t aposed a n d imbricated sentences. out lin ing this division under the guise of an I/ she-he contradiction. literally jolted b y t h e sudden appearance o f other paths. wit h chapters shuffled like playing cards. Here. But the rhythm that scans this t hesis turns the thread into a broken path with m u l t i ple edges. condensed ech oes of otherwise interm inable chronologies. A lmost every sequ ence is recovered time. alt hough it lasts but the time of a breath. In H. Time in H is stratified. in Nom bres. even if it allows itself to be b roken or rhyth m ically measured by a panchronic and uncon­ scious pro-j ect .sym bolic thesis. without tim e or negation. the genesis of t h e family plays only one score among m any others. b rief flashes. deduct ion. infinitizing them the one t h rough the others. h istory of revolutions. there are no set cycles-they open up and crisscross. life and death. the linear-phal lic t i m e within which and in relation to which the fam ilial son-daughter-subj ect thinks it self-shattering the family through rhythmic polylogue puts an end to that time.9 is no longer called for with the "springing of the subj ect" in Lois and H. It is like a Phenomenology of the Mind. h ist ory of conquests. some out­ side-of-time rediscovered by the "I" in analysis who brea ks through his sym bolic screen and plunges into a recept acle where the u nconscious holds it self protected and in reserve. THE N OV E L AS P O L Y L OG U E 20 1 STRATIFIED T I M E : H I S T O R Y A S INFINITIZE D TOTA LITY Since t h e fam ily has its fam ilial time-the time o f reproduction. which is st aged in Drame and. their piecing together revealing recursive determinations. the time of the polylogue is not pause in time. Thereupon the sub- . This is not a Proustian "recovered time" where concatenation of sentences h ark ens the story b ack t o its fam ilial genesis. and evolution. and achronic dependencies that Hegel-a teleol ogist of the evolutionary finite who proceeded by closing cycles-could not h ave im agi ned. history of art. and departures into other d imensions. trans-tem poral causalit ies. either. time reappears and. but who returns within the act of writing. the "I" rediscovers the thread of succession. polyph onic time. It t u r n s it into an unlikely "to pology" t hat t ot alizes every possible and im aginable zone (history of t h ought. Still. This tim elessness. t o a lesser degree. genera­ tions. with the logical. returns to the same furrows. and history of class struggle).

Euripides and Pindar (p. Burroughs (p. 1 5 6). they in fact calm the text by means of their periodic flow. What really m oves along quick ly is the perpetually dividab le story . M ozart (p. the reader is asked to refashion within his own semiotic process "specific . Van G ogh (p. 1 26). science. 1 42-43). an ailing Freud (p. 81 ).202 THE N O V E L A S P O L Y LOG U E sequent sequence em erges out o f anot her chronology. M elville (p. What m oves quickly is not linguistic time nor intonational sequences. Leibnitz (p. A eschylus. Stalin. 1 23). Homer ( The Iliad. 1 07). 1 09). M allarm e rewritten (p. P ou nd (p. p. Aristotle. . 92). Engels and Bachofen (p. Descartes-N apoleon (p. 1 48). 1 62). 1 1 9). the Brahmins (pp. 1 64). and condenses an entirely different time. religion. the child G oeth e (p. 90). Overney (p. . M a rx. 1 65). even to the point of mak ing it mo notonous." as can be seen fr om the list of names that are evo ked: Goethe (Dichtung und Wahreit). M arx (p. Sade (p. Socrates ( p . 1 6). Pu rcell (p. M ozart and Nietzsche (p. 1 2). Beckett. 1 1 9). Nerval (p.Lenin. Nietzsche and Socrates (p. the Greek s (p. the calm rigor of utt erances. G reek paeans (p. Spinoza (p. poly-tem poral subject. it is taken from different "domains. but it eventually provides an (approxim ate) idea of t h e meander­ ings of H t hrough what is k n own as the history of philosophy. 1 1 3 ).Lasalle.Engels and N ietzsche again. Don Juan (p. 5 9 ) . G orgias (p. Freud on h omosexuality (p. 1 5 3-54). Charcot (p. 1 22). crossing un scathed the boundaries of each sequence. H egel and Plato (p. M onteverdi (che g/oria ii morir per desio de/la vit­ toria. 73). Baudelaire as dealt with by L e Figaro (p. Lautreamont (pp. U SS R. 1 54). 87). The rapidity that H produces is in fact the rapidity with which temporal changes take place. 1 5 1 ). 1 25 ) . 1 1 4). M allarm e (p. 1 4 1 ). 90). First. Stali n ' s daughter (p. 1 3 2). Len in-E picurus (p. 1 22). 1 23 ) . 1 42). and the perm anent rationality of the subj ect of enunciation. 1 1 5 ). 1 1 4). 86). Rumi (p. By m eans of these circuits and short-circu its.H egel-Heraclitus (p. the Biturige people (p. again M allarme rewritten (p. 1 1 9). 1 72). 1 2 5). 1 2 5). along with the Vietnam war (p. Lenin (p. Nerval with the Prince of Aquitaine (p. 1 1 0). 1 3 9). 1 03). Pu rcell (p. it departs from logical m astership. 67).India. 89).U S A (p. Mao ("the infinite flow of absolute truth. 89). This list is fa r from com­ plete. Celine. 1 8 2) . 1 43). p. oppositions to Freud ( p ." p. 10 H O!derlin (p. J oyce (p. as some feel Indian music to be. HO !derlin (p. these separate fields cease t o be the shreds of one "specific h i story" t o becom e the heterogeneous moments of a poly-logical. 1 1 4). and art. 1 45). 1 1 }. C opernicus ( p . alth ough brief.

and so on. " pp. To the logical thesis. fascists m assacring J ews. the shifting of the historical axis. or class histories-which h enceforth nothing can tot alize. and open them selves-avoiding the formation of a closed loop. as concerns t i m e. nor tot alized. infinitized time. com plem ent. and. the Palestinians at the M u nich Olympic Games (p. and they continue t o weigh uncom fortably on the com plex-ridden. a childhood fr iend. the entry of China int o world history. there can be no polylogue: neither rhyth m . gradually. M ao's reception of the Japanese Prime M inister ( p . national. the idiocy o f academ ic discourse ("that seven horned sheep of a reading expert. penal. 1 34). an axis that insu res the progression of this frag­ mentat ion of refashioned time: the critical political position in present­ day history. the ideological struggle. strati fied. t here corresponds. econom ics) and the exceptional adventu res of "great m en. however. and "specific" reconst itution seem s narrow. here and n ow: thus is the historical space elaborated where the subject posits him self in order to refashion time-the time of subjectivity and. " These are indices of the "springing o f the subj ect" into and through his own dissolut ion into the masses. linear. Without this space. Laurence. There could be no polylogical subject without this new-stratified. a new historical time. Confronted with that practice in H. a critical practice within contemporary history. is a subj ect of m ore than twenty centu ries of histories that ignored one a nother. nor mul­ tiplied m eaning. any historical. the accelerated rhythm of the polylogue iden t i fying with the pace of industrial work (p. but one also recognizes passing figures or configurat ions of the political scene: M essm er. disintegra t ed by semiotic rhythm s within an i n finit e sentence. the twentieth-century subj ect . 1 5 5). THE N O V E L AS POLY LOG U E 203 tem poralities" (art. By this I mean that H would not be co nceiva ble if it were not political. Through t im e experienced a n d recast-heterogeneous a n d m ultiplied-the subj ect who has been called fo rth. science. and her yellow star (p. politics. through it. penalizing. among others. 92). The stage is set with Overney from the outset . 1 48). Class conflicts. mu!- . and reductive of at l east one of the li nes that are competing here to sever. let us introduce history's rhyt hm into our discou rses. the Lin Piao "affair" ( p .11 Pom pidou (p. Let us set history to rhythm. so that we m ight become the infinit ized su bj ect of all histories-be they individual. 1 68). There is. within m odes of production that excluded one another. neurotic consciousness of this or that political choice. 1 40). 30. 1 7 2).

Its successor. phallic. and merely li near political positions that incarnate a fam ilial time structure within a familial discou rse. which dem onstrably has nothing to do with classical. there is either insanity or dogmatism-always s olidary. produc­ tion. In France t oday. of t i m e . and to history. H i n fuses our identity with a sense o f struggle to have u s desire social con­ flict and no l onger separate the one from the other. "death lives a human life you can check i t out yourself every night just look at the newscaster on the tv absolute k n owledge has com e into being . H inserts us into the m om entum of death held in abeyance-that i s . at best rehabilitated mad ness. The inseparability o f politics and polylogue ap pears as the guarantee of a meeting between the subj ect's unset tling process and that of history. through a polylogical politics: "a form of life has grown old it's done for bring on the next one" (p. th etic. like the two sides of a coin. H does this with the aim o f leading us through and beyond Chris­ tianity: "he'll come the new subj ect it's messianic thinking not really only that we m ove forward in disorder on all fr onts strudel leaves" (p. to un ity. that neither subject nor history can exist without a confrontation between challenging process (sem iotics. The k ind of u pheaval now required involves more than a change in class power. perhaps m ore closely than anyone t oday. the petty bou rgeoisie. Historically significa nt. t o the sym­ bolic. the very one that was responsible for forging a notion of history. this k ind o f revolution t ook the fo rm of religion: "as if the new subj ect was not primarily the one risen fr om the dead in other words he who absolut ely does n ' t give a damn fo rever and forever climbing out of potter's field with his little red and gold flag t hat's why christianity is a tragic or comic m isin terpreta­ tion" (p. dogm atic. H splinters a n d refashions o u r language. U ntil recently. namely. if they exist. will have no choice but to impose them selves in other ways. and recurring-political topos. of the state). that is.2 04 THE N OV E L AS P O L Y LOG U E tiplied. 73). 1 6 1 ). We must transform the subj ect in his relat ionship t o language. but it lacks a sense of history: " t h ere is by definition n o bourgeois poetry just as there is no petty bourgeois h i story" (p. H also listens to the tim e of Christianity. 1 4 1 ). a n d our t i m e . 6 5 ) . Fail­ ing such m eeting. the bourgeois class. New historical fo rces. We are now faced with a m o nu m ental requirement. paternal. in order t o grasp the truth of m onotheism that it sets for th. class struggle) and u nity (symbolic. has had no poetry and has censured madness. our body.

split. H r eleases from within the historical continuum cert ain eternally recurrent m o m ents. spat ialized. locking the ego and the superego into an endless race toward death. But it is an explosive encounter. to put it briefly) achieves its goal as the fulfillment of a sociocu ltural contract . time has been divided into two opposing modes-irredu­ cible. . just as they m eet in language. T H E NOVEL AS P O L Y LO G U E 205 period" (p. Rhythm causes this stop in order to cut duration short. cu tting an inaccessible eternity into unifo rm o r dif­ ferentiated instants. each sentence. H prevents any atemporal "basis" whatsoever fr om forming. resounding im pulse. for when rhythm gets rid of repressive duration. Traditionally. 27). let m e call it "biblical. but inversely. . The fi rst is an atemporal " basis" from which there su rges an infinit ely repeat able. this is generally called his torical time. ] what is the one a disqualifying limit and lenin says it in restrained fa shion thought should emcompass all represent at i on and so must b e dialectical to wit divided by nature unequal altered i am thirsty . chronological devel opment. So "i accept com pletely the com ing of class struggle it does not affect m y interests n o second thoughts about i t no bank account no subj ective obelisk to polish i'm look ing for points at which to intervene little finger right foo t earlobes wrists top of t h e shoulders i've been really on top of it for years now" (p. and each eternal m oment of personal experience within hist orical develop­ ment and progression. both sym pt om and cause of schizoid condition. each intonation. Consequently. each narrat ive sequence. if historical dura­ tion operates on the basis of repression. volume rather than line--crops up t o remind one of what is at w ork beneath repression: the cost at which repression (duration-or history. evolution with an i n finite goal ." suc­ cession of numbers. time can stop for the subj ect who has become the situs of the intersect ion. Time as rhythm ic agency and time as evolutive duration m eet dialectically in H. duration plans it so as t o i m pede rhythmic pain. then rhyt hm-as metered time. 41 ) . even if every lin­ guistic perform ance does not reveal it . seen as a race toward paradise. Similarly. The second is the. by situating each rhythmic m easure. Suicide: "write this down a hu ndred times rhythm is an inferior demon but sir if the general refers to itself it catches fire n egation that m a k es up the basis of cause is the positive encounter of cause with itself and anyhow the reciprocal action being the causality of cause cause does n't die out in the effect alone [ .

1 82-8 3). surreptitiou sly. i f o n e exists. it is easy to understand why striated. humanitarian (the list could go on fo rever) transcendence shifts the rhythmic time o f a poly­ logical subj ect into a signifying or sym bolic elsewhere where h e exists as a shelt ered exile.! ggernau t . for comm unication. an eternal-su pport for the Eternal-Phallic M other. t h e ultimate gesture.206 THE N O V E L AS PO L Y L O G U E [. its settling down censures a rhythm that t hought it could m eet and recognize itself within i t . for example) marks the failure of a revolu tion. is built upon negativity-rej ection-death. historicizing thesis-to be shi ft ed. Such a "rescue" is therefore im possible for the heterogeneous. th ere. when there is no revolu tion. m ade negative. rhyth mic. Divine.e. ] i ' v e h ad enough enough o r t h e n the cou rage t o w a n t a l s o this . there is transcendence "rescu­ ing" the subj ect from suicide. and polylogical experience of the subject in unsettling process. its revolutions. and of the repression that serves as a foundation fo r the sym bolic. the eternal " basis" is reconstituted. Thus. "leaning against") h er. m aterial. " of the alt ered " I . along with phobic hom ogeneity. But besides revolu tions? Classically and traditionally. enough t o the extreme in half a second i t is gul ped raw tem ptation for it is out of the question to express oneself here during the lecture light up no turn on the gas no jump go on com e on now j u m p no swa llow all of that no i said no the knife no the razor blades in hot water no now is the time when you ' re the rat ion" (pp. and once again. It should be equally underst andable why suicide (in M ayakovsky's case. " this "springing of the subject" against (as one says. traversed. and transfinite discourses are cat hected into social logic only at the m o m ent of its ruptu res-i . The negativity that underlies historical duration is the rej ection of the other but also of the " I . But what about su icide? I t i s . the other in itself. . Suicide stands for the accident o f this dialectical encounter between rhythm and duration. " The history that precedes us. as well as against the others. family oriented. and be brought t o j ouissance. exceeded. the other. that is being made all arou nd us. indeed. against the symbolic. a n d which is prevented only by the j oui ssance of regaining control-the recovery of the " I . regim enting.. that we invoke as ultimate justification and un touchable sublimation. protective. structuring. of the negat ivit y that causes each stasis to be "deferred" and each inst ance of repression to be driven towards the limits where sociality and l i fe disappear. and fo r t h e social j 1. Yet. .

p oin ting out its shortcomings. this is possible because H has gone b eyond the One in order to be written. The ruptured." as H put s i t . he/ she is listening to time as Beet h oven experienced it when he heard the arm i es of the French Revolu tion. But also and at the same time. new politics). biological. and particu larly that of class struggle. THE :-< O V U . We t end to forget t h at when a twen tieth -century-minded person l istens to the Eroica. new philosophy. Each one bears a chronology that. "co m p osition instead of happening in the h ead of an author wil l hap pen in nature a n d real space with consequently im m ense obj ective wealth in addition i m peding u nderhanded approp �ia­ tion necessitating the risks of execu tion" (p. and thus calls on every "one" to venture out into the explosion t hat sur- . for exam ple. poetry. invert ed. et cetera). H aving durable history listen to the murder over which it steps ahead. Each one admitting of different sem iotic practices (myths. rad io. and Europe are inextricably mi ngled by economy. The subj ect who listens to this time could indeed and at least "treat himself as a sonata. This is what H sets forth by m eans of its series of "personal histories. new poetry. art. Asia. Artaud. " its "case studies" (Nerval. the rhyth m ic hoo fbea ts o f their horses. polit ics) whose h ierar­ chies are never the same. t h e n a book? A t ext that ex ists only i f it c a n fi nd a reader who m atches its rhythm-its sentential. and trans-fami­ lial rhythm. Is H . even though it wi shes to be its partner. religions. infini tely m arked out within historical t i m e. Y LO G U E 207 and the fulcrum of this negativity is first and forem ost the subj ect itself: put to death o r suicided by society (as Artaud said of Van Gogh ) . Holderlin. . A fr ica. calls on the other. splin tering times. as Artaud wanted it t o be. and communications satellites. A m erica. each system in turn questioning the values of the others. and Europe brought together for the first time thank s to the canons . This is all p ossi o1e because someo ne r efashioned his "I" and his language into a music ade­ quate to the continuing. instead o f accepting to b e quietly pigeonholed in proper order. corporeal. Listening to t h e t i m e that fills H. Already in H. I hear a world finally spread out. 1 04). often invisible within "comm onplace" renditions of history. having those atem poral moments when duration was ruptu red reason and resound. and refashioned time of H induces us to grasp a new history. television. politics. so as to extract whatever it represses and whatever renews it at the same t i m e (new music. the borders t h ey opened. AS P O l . .

" you hav e a l l rlu n k ed your orals" or.) 3 . . ) 9 ." which i s a "si g n i rying di fferential" ( Le ibnitz hovers i n the back gro u n d).208 THE NO V E L AS POLYLOG UE ro u n ds u s . [ Ed . 1 9 69). the pronunc iation or ex-schize is t h e same as t h a t o r exquise. "you a re all glued to oralit y . ] S . which h a s b e e n t ra nslated as "basic language" in the Srandard Edirion or Freud's works. 209/f [Ed . " La raison d u p l u s fort e s t toujou rs l a meilleure" from t h e fable T he Wolf a n d 1 h e Lam b. The American slang word hash would t hus correspon d to Sollers' H . 161) or. T h e re rere nce is to S chre be r's Grundsprache." in �1Jµflwnx� (Pa ris: S e u i l . " In Fre nch. yo u know t h a t " al l flesh is l i k e grass sh adow t h e dew o f t i m e a m ong voices" ( p . T h e Fre nch. [ Ed . renders t h e Fre n c h J'anus b u t l e av es out the o b v i o u s p u n . and by the d rives working t hrou gh phona tion . "I bri n g you the c hild or an Id u m e an night . Nom bres w as the starting poi n t o r Krist ev a's essay. is. b u t it is legible in the fu l l sense or the term only when one explores its complex g e n esis. o r course. Two e arlier novels by Sol lers: Drame ( Pa ris: S e u i l . 1 8 5 ) . a n umber or others. 1 97 3) w i l l b e made i n t h e body or t h e t e x t . each elem e n t o r t h e sign ifier is thereby overde­ termined by the m ea n ing or the l ex ical item or or the sentence. "basic English"). the words meaning respectively "being a former schizoid" a n d " e xq u isit e . and Nombres. " L ' E ngendrement de la formule" (CL note 4 ) . refashions us and that sooner or later we shall have to h ear: "a form of l ife h as grown o l d i t' s done for b ri n g on t h e next one" ( p .g. 1 9 6 5. ( P aris: Seuil. 1 9 68)." [Ed. R e rerences to Sol lers' nov el H ( Paris: S e u i l. ) IO. [ E d . i t a l i c s t h e line. I t is a rough equ i v alent or " Might m ak es right . pp.) 7. I h ave c hose n to t ra nslate it as " ru nd a m e n t a l language. mo ves t h rough us. I n F rench slang. " I a n u s . N otes I. " L ' E ngendrement de la form u l e . whe reas i n our slang it rerers mainly to heroin. [Ed . The phenotext is t h e printed text. ) 8 . These notions are developed i n the essay. Because or t he connot ations or "basic" (e. [Ed." The Fre n c h phrase is langue defond. ) 6 . I n F r e n c h . t he place and the m ea ns by w hich t h e g enotext penetrates the phenotext at t h e level or t h e sign ifier. " [ E d . "vous etes t ous colics a ! 'oral" c a n mean both. a nd La Revolurion du langage poerique (Paris: Seuil. ) 2. i f you t ak e in some o f H. "i bri n g you t h e c h i l d o r an i n h u m e d guy's n i g h t " reebly a tte mpts to suggest the sound or t h e Engl ish t ra ns l a t ion or a line by M allarme. New York : R e d Dust. where t h e word cadavre precedes ex-schize. " im plyi ng that t h e n ou n has b e c o m e a v e rb. and the points made by K rist eva would not apply to an En glish v ersio n ." [ E d . " The Surrealist rererence is obv ious in Sollers' t e x t. ro m a n rigures w ithin pare n t heses indicate t h e pa ge. ) 4 . " l a raison du p l u s mort" parodies t h e w e ll -known line b y La Fon t a i n e . T h e " p honic d ifferential. P ierre Overney w a s a work er k i l led by a s e c urity g u a r d d u rin g a n a n t iracist demonstra tion outside the R e n a u l t plant at Bil Ian court (a Paris suburb) on Febru ary 26. Quotations have b e e n translated except when the disc ussion is closely t e x t u a l . t ha t con notation o r his t i t l e shou ld be k e p t i n m i n d-bu t t he re are . briefly put. as in t he fol lowing pages. 1 9 74). t h e l etter H rerers to hashish as well as to heroin.. 1 980). the a nalogy is closer: " J e t 'apporte l'e nfant d'une n u i t d'Idu mee/Je t 'a pport e l ' e nfa n t d'une n u i t d'inhume.

Jean-Ba ptiste Cha rcot ( 1 8 67.x. Jalal ed.-le veuf. THE N O V E L AS P OLY LOG U E 209 1 972. t h e phrase " P ri n c e o r A q uita i n e" e vok es.) was a Greek Sophist born in Sicily who was sent as am bassador to A thens where he set t led and taught rhetoric: Johan J a kob Bachoren ( 1 8 1 5. "Je suis le tenebreu.Din Rumi w a s a thirteenth c e n tury S u list poet whose main work is t h e Mathnawi. I Le prince d'A quitaine a la tour abolie." [ E d .c. K risteva in cludes. Schwabe. ] 1 1 .1 9 3 6 ) w a s a French neu rologist a n d explorer or the antarctic re gions a n d or Greenland. l'inconso/e. dwellin g in what later became the Berry province w ith some ( according to Sollers) w a n d e ring to the Bordeaux region. the we ll-k nown lines from Gerard de N erval's poe m El Desdichado. " fascist. P ierre M essmer i s a hard-line Gaul list w ho w a s a ppoi nted premier in 1 972 by con­ servative French P resident G eorges Pompidou.1 8 87) was a S wiss ju rist and c lassical scholar who is perhaps best k nown for his stu dies on social evolu­ tion and matriarchy as developed i n his book . under t he general term . ( 1 8 6 1 ): while t he re were prin ces in t he former d u c hy a n d k in gdom or Aquitain e . Gorgias ( c . for a contem porary c u l t u red French perso n. ] . at the Olympic G ames in M u n i ch ( 1 97 2 ) n i n e Isr a e l i a th l etes w e re seized by t h e Black Septe mbe r O rganizat ion a n d l ater k i l led dur­ ing a g u n battle between the Palest i n ian terrorists and German police: clearly." the German N a z is a n d French collaborators who were respo nsible for m assacring French J ews. t he latter in his ship named Pourquoi pas? ( Why not?): the B itu rige were one or t h e t ribes of G a u l.380 B. 48 5-c . Das Mutterrecht [ M at r i a rchal law] Base l: B. [Ed.

A particu lar "sign" has al ready come into being. then. or rather. no. it is not t h e space o f "first naming. G I OTTO ' S J OY H ow can we find our way through what separates words from what i s b o t h without a n a m e a n d m ore t h a n a name: a painting? W h a t is it that we are trying to go through? The space of the very act of nam ing? At any rate. put back into words that from which words have withdrawn . In the present insta nce. then. (He lived a t a time when the die had not yet been cast. a second-st age nam ing in order t o name an excess o f n am es. ) ' I shall attempt t o First appeared i n Peinture ( J a n u ary 1 972). 1 977). when i t was far fr om sure that all lines would lead t oward the unifying. and m eshed . . and set side by side what is compact. M y choice. and u nderstand from t h e o n e where something functions in addition to my speech : something that is more-than-speech. We m u st develop.8. r eprinted i n Poly/ogu e ( P aris: Seuil. we m u st open out. We must t h e n fi n d o u r w a y through w h a t separates the place where " I " spea k. It has organized "something" into a painting with no hopelessly separate referent . 3 8 3 -408. is t o insert t h e signs of language i n t o this already-produced reality-sign-the painting. the painting is its own reality. m y desire t o speak o f Giotto ( 1 267. release. a m eaning to which s p ace and color have been added.1 3 3 6)-if justification be needed-relates t o his experiments i n architecture and color (his t ranslation "of in stinctual d rives into colored surface) as m u ch as t o his place within t h e history o f Western painting. The question. There is also an " I " speak ing. fixed center of perspect ive. nor is i t the one that arranges into signs what the subject perceives as separate real ity. a m ore-than­ name become space and color-a painting. We must retrace t h e speaking t hread. 2-3 . a n d any num ber of "I's" speaking di fferently before the "same" painting." or of the incipient naming o f t h e in/ans. the painting is already there. reason. condensed. pp.

heteroclitic theoretical apparatus yet to be worked out . The advent of "histories of subjects" or "biographies"-sym bolizing both phylo. destinies. drawn mostly from G iorgio Vasari. O f course. A nar­ rative signified cannot constrain the signifier (let us accept these terms for the moment) except through the im position of continuous representa­ tion. shall not concern me here. in this sense. mythical charact ers resem ble the peasants of G iotto's time. deviating from i t only t o bring i n the m asses. it could not h ave come about without such a disruption and. then. within the framework of the narrative. I should emphasize that such an i t inerary implicates its subject m ore than it repudiates it u nder the aegis of a scientific code. and Christ. Christian painting experienced the mass arrival of charact ers with t heir itineraries. This is not an apology. Christian legend. 2 This kind of endeavor locates m y strategy som ewhere between an immediate and subj ective deciphering and a stil l incoherent. that translation. tive fol lows bi blical and evangelical canon. ' G I OTTO S J O Y 21 1 relate that ex perience. it had free rein. it goes hand in hand with Giotto's disruption of space and color. a t Assisi a s well a s a t PadU<"\. their epic. provided the pictorial signified: the normative elements of painting. This socio­ logical aspect . I could say that it followed . Contrary to a certain k ind of Buddhist or Taoist painting. insuring both adherence t o social code and fidelity to ideological dogm a. Francis. rather.and ontogenetic mutations-as wel l as the int roduction of the principle of narrative into Christ ian ideology and art are theoretically justified by Saint Francis and his exegete Saint Bonaventura . In those works concerning St. and histories: in short. The norm has withdrawn into the signified. h owever important it m ight be to the history of paint ing. I am calling attention to the dialectical necessity and difficulty now facing any theory of painting that attempt s to put forward an under­ standing of its own practice. The lat ter's . that pivotal historic m om ent without verbal support from any of these-except for a few a necd otal although not insignificant points. the Virgin M ary. Primarily. Painting as such wou l d b e possible as l ong a s it served the narrative. N A R R ATION AN D T H E N O R M Giott o 's pictorial narr&. which is a narrative.

popular oral tradition. o f biography. but it would seem that the oldest narra­ tive sequence pertaining to the old Test ament is in the Church o f Sant' A pollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. rigid Christian canon . favoring. the narrative signified of the G iotto frescoes at Padu a ( figure 3). lack ing sequences of im ages articulated within a totalizing cont inuity) that Orthodox Christianity. dating from the t i m e of Theodoric. biblical legends. o f a series o f trials. the scroll tears. of narrative. its entry into the Christian pic­ torial art of the time by disrupting twelve-centur ies-old. including those at St. the notion of indi­ vidual history is. To the contrary. But Byzantine m osaics. I f t h e principle of itinerary itsel f is not new (it appears in Greek epics. the narrative signi fied of the Arena Chapel's nave. revealing the gates of h eaven a h d exposing the narrative as . is artificial. In illust rated manuscripts of the sixth century. The em pt y chairs suspen ded in a blue expanse ( Th e Vision of the Thrones at Assisi) would be unim aginable in the secular narrative of the Padua fr escoes. This t heoretical and artistic phenomenon fits in with a new European society m oving t owards the Ren aissance and breaks with the Byzantine t radition (portraits and detailed but isolated scenes. ). suggests t h at the dem ocratization of the Christian religion was effected by means of biography. Yet. Within Giotto's pictorial narrat ive. illuminations follow a logic o f narrative epi sodes (cf. in fact. which h ad no Renaissance. Abruptly. There are pictorial narrative episodes in t h e nave of Santa M aria Mag­ giore in Rome (fourth century). through a sim ple and stark l ogic lim ited t o the basic episodes of M ary's and Jesus' lives. m ore developed in the Padua frescoes than in those at Assisi. or sim ply justifying. On the walls o f Padua w e find a masterful expression of personal itineraries replacing Byzantine pathos. ' 212 G IO T T O S JO Y The Mind's R oad t o God is t h e philosophical enu nciation of a subject' s itinerary. etc. Th e Book of G enesis at Vienna). depict detailed scenes and sequences of dramatic and pathet ic scenes without any com prehensive narrative to seal the entire fa te of a particular character. preserved . M a rk ' s Chu rch in Venice. coiling in upon itself from both sides near the top of the back wall facing the altar. its formulation by Bonaventura is rela­ tively so. supporting the symbolism of teleological dogm a (guarantee of the mythical Christian community) and u n folding in three superimposed bands from left t o right in accorda n ce with the Scriptures.

ot hers weak en. and still ot hers dark en: phosphorescent blue. This scene is the reverse of the narrat ive's symbolic seq uence. Here. G I OTTO. in the face o f the human dimension-the reverse of the divine continuity displayed in the narrat ive. just under the two scrolls. P h o t o : Dm itri K essel nothing but a thin layer of color (figure 4). three elem ents coexist there: his­ torical characters (Scrovegni [who is the donor of the chapel]. I N T E R I O R O F T H E A R E NA C H A P E L. the Last Judgment. dark red . within the broader scope of the Last Judgment. some colors disappear. facing the altar. in the depiction of Hell. ' G I Orro s J O Y 213 F IG U R E 3 . discontinuity. black. in the face of hist orical reality. There is no longer a distinct architecture. lies anot her scene. death)-in other words. Law. violence. With the representation of Hell the narrative sequence stops. and chaos. In the lower right-hand corner. curves. P A D U A . . obliquely set m asonry alongside angular mountains in the narra tive scenes give way on the fa r wall to ovals. and the painter him self). and the two groups of the blessed and the damned. outside the narrative: Hell. is cut short. sex. and fantasy (naked bod ies. the contours of the characters are blurred.

Even at this fu ll stop in epic sequence.and anti­ narrative to appear: nonlinear space of historical men. A R E N A C H A P E L. representation still rules . D E TA I L F R O M T H E L A S T J U DG M ENT.2 14 G IOTTO'S J O Y FIGURE 4. Law. Photo: Scala It seems as if the narrative signified of Christian painting were upheld by an ability to point to its own dissolu tion. The representation of Hell would be the representation of narrative dissolution as well as the collapse of architecture and the disa ppearance of color. the u nfolding narrat ive (of tra nscendence) must be broken in order for what is both extra. P A D U A . and fantasy. G I OTTO.

In Hell. b ecom es symbolized as the reverse. but it also represents the opposite side of the norm. the excessive. G JOrro ' s J O Y 215 as the only vestige of a tra nscendental norm . It tears itself from the norm . for exam ple) or inscribed (ideograms in Chinese painting). bypasses it. but rather. But beginning with Giotto. t he forbidden. with the em ergence of the great Christian paintings of the Renaissance. representation alone. no longer situ ated in time but rather in space) this "force working upon form " that earlier was concatenated as narrative. it fi nds its sign. goes beyond it. Deprived of narrat ive. Only in this way is the signifier of the narrative (i . pictorial practice fu lfills itsel f as freedom-a process of liberation through and against the norm . and ins�parable other of transcendence. we are speaking of a subj ect's freedom. In Giotto's wor k. as dialectics sets forth its truth. the anoma lous. the subj ect ' s freedom. show t heir independence of symbolic Law by pit­ ting themselves against the represented narrative (parables of C hristian dogma) as well as against the very economy of symbolization (color­ form-representation). the Last Judg­ ment. to be sure. pinpointed. operates a s guarantee for the m ythic (and here. it appears as symptom atic o f this pictorial work ' s adh erence t o an ideology. Giotto's practice. Christian) com munity. The next m ove would be to abandon represen tation. negat ive. and Hell cap ture in a transcendence (which is no longer recited. . on the other hand. would consist . the particular ordering of forms and colors constituting the narrative as painting) released here. painting reaches its l i m i t and brea k s apart . turns away from it. Certain Buddhist a n d F a r Eastern paintings exclude t h e signified from representation and become depleted either through the way t hey are laid out (Tantric squares. Thu s. and con­ sequently. a s signifying device. a n d of a signified i n Chris­ tian art . emerging through an order (a signified) turned graphic while permi tting and in tegrating its transgressions. to have noth ing but color and form-or noth­ ing at all. The his tory of i ndividual subj ects. color and form "in them selves" are never liberated. at the conclusion of the narrat ive. and the repressed: Hell. and the Christ ian tradi­ tion of art in general. d oes something else-always in relation to i t . It appears indepen dent precisely because it constantly pits itself against the everpresent norm . e . the antinorm . the independence of color and form appears in relation to the signified (to th eological norm ): with respect to narrative and representation. For. absorbs it.


precisely in i t s relative escape from the symbolic order . B u t , since this
freedom does not seem to exist outside o f what we agree t o call an
"artist, " it com es about by m od i fying t h e role played by t h e systems of
referent, signifier, and signi fied and their repercussions within the organi­
zation of signi fiance into real, im aginary, and sym bolic (both role and
organization are patterned on the fu nction of verbal commu nica­
tion-keystone of the religious arch) so as to organize them differen tly .
Two elem ents, color and t h e organization o f pict orial space, will help us,
within Giotto's painting, t o follow this m ovement t owards relative inde­
pendence from a signifying practice patterned on verbal communication.


I n t h e search for a clue t o a r tistic renewal, attention h a s often been given
to the com position and geomet rical organizat ion of Giotto's frescoes.
Critics have less frequently stressed the im portance of col or in the pic­
torial "language" of G i o t t o and of pai nters in general . This is probably
because "color" is difficult t o situate both within the formal sys tem o f
painting and within painting considered a s a practice-th erefore, i n rela­
tion to the painter . Although sem iological appro aches consider painting
as a language, they do not allow an equivalent for color within the ele­
ments of la nguage identi fied by linguist ics . D oes it belong am ong
phonem es , morphem es, phrases, or lexemes? If it ever was fru itful, the
la nguage/painting analogy, when faced with the problem of color,
becom es untenable. Any invest igation of this question must th erefore
start from another hypothesis, no lo nger structural, but econom ic-in th e
Freudian sense of the term .

What we have perm issibly called t h e conscious presentat i o n o f the obj ect can now
be split u p into the presentation o f the word and the presentation o f the thing
[. . ] The system Ucs. contains t h e t h i ng-ca t h exes of the objects, the first and

true obj ect-cathexes; t h e Pcs. comes about b y t h i s thi ng-presentation being
hy percat hected th rough being l i n k ed with the word-prese ntations corresponding
to it. It i s these hypercathexes, we may suppose, that bring about a higher psy­
chical organization and m a k e it possible for the primary process to be succeeded
by the secondary process which is dominant i n t h e Pcs.3

This hypercathexis of thing-presentations by word-presentations permits
the fo rmer to become conscious, somet h ing they cou ld never do without

G I O T T O ' S JO Y 217

this hypercathexis, for " thought proceeds in sys tem s s o far remote from
the original perceptual resi dues that they have no longer retained any ­
thing of t he qualities of those residues , and, in order to become con­
scious, need to be reinforced by new qualities . "•
Freud sees, then, a split between percepti on and t hought process.
Positing a qualitative disappearance of archaic perceptions (an assump­
tion that seem s wrong to us when we co nsider the subject as "artist , " but
we shall not argue this point here), Freud situates word-presentations in a
position of relat ionship involving two categories: the perceptual and the
verbal . Such an economy is particularly clear in the case of sch izophrenia
where word-presentations undergo a m ore intense cathexis in or der to
allow for recovery o f "lost obj ect s" separated from the ego (what Freud
calls " taking the road of the o bj ect by way of its word elem ent").
In int erpreting Freud's t erminology, it becom es clear t h a t "thing­
presen tation" principally designates the pressure of the unconscious drive
linked to (if not provoked by) obj ects. "Thought" denotes conscious
processes (including secondary processes), and the various synt actical
and logical operations; resulting from the imposition of repression, they
hold at bay the "thing-presen tations" and their corresponding insti nctual
pressures. The term "word-presentation" poses m ore o f a problem . It
seem s t o designate a com plex state of drive t h at cathect s the symbolic
level, 5 where this instinctual drive will later be replaced, due to
repression, by the sign representing (erasing) it within the communicative
system . Within "word-presentations" the drive' s pressure: ( 1) is di rected
at an external obj ect ; (2) is a sign in a system ; and (3) emana tes from the
biological organ that articu l ates the psychic basis o f such sign (the vocal
apparatus, the body in general). Freud in fact writes, "But word-presenta­
tions, for their part t oo, are derived from sense-perceptions, in the sam e
way as th ing-presentations are." 6
Word-presentations would t h en b e doubly lin ked t o t h e body. First , as
represen tations of an "exterior" obj ect denoted by the word, as well as
representations of the pressure itself, which, although intraorganic,
nevertheless relates the speaking subject to the obj ect. Second, as
representations of an " interior objec t , " an internal percept ion, an
eroticization of the body proper during the act of formulating the word
as a sym bolic elem ent . This b odily "duel , " thus coupling the inside and
the out side, as well as the two instinctual pressu res linked to bot h , is the
matter upon which repression is set-transform ing this complex and

218 c ; 1 0 Tro ' s JO Y

heterogeneous pressure i n t o a sign directed at someone else within a com ­
municative system, i . e . , trans form ing it into language.
The triple register is made up of a pressure marking an outside,
another linked t o the body proper, and a sign (signifier and pri m ary
processes). This is then invested in the fragile, ephemeral, and com pact
phase of the symbolic fu nct ion's genesis and constitutes the true require­
ment for this fu nction. It is preci sely this triple register that is cathected
in an instinctual ma nner in cases of "narcissistic neuroses" where one has
detected the " flight of the ego that manifests itself in the rem oval of con­
scious cathexis." That is, it fo rsak es the dist ance that kept apart
"thought" from "d rives" and "thing-presen tations" and thus cu lm inated
in isolat ing the ego.
This triad also seem s to be hypercathected on the artistic fu nction,
whose economy thus appears to be clearly disti nct from that of com­
municat ion. I f, indeed, the signifier-signified-referent triangle seem s
methodologica lly su fficient to describe the com municative fu nction,
artistic practice adds what Freud calls "word-present ation . " This implies
the triple register of exterior drive, interior drive, and signifier. It in no
way corresponds to the sign's triangle, but it affect s the architecture of
the latter. As a result, the artistic fu nction int roduces a pivotal order into
the symbolic order (the order of "thought," according to Freud's termi­
nology). This pivotal order-both an "energetic pressure" (instinctual
drive) and an "imprint" (signi fier)-modifies both the symbolic (because
it cathects it with instinctual drive and thing-presentation) and thing­
presen tations (because it cat hects them with signifying rela tionships that
the percep tions them selves could not have insofar as th eir cathexes "cor­
respond only to relationships between th ing- presentations").7
This Freud ian metapsychol ogical triad frustrates both " representa­
tion" (as it rat her involves tak ing in instinctual pressu res) and the
"word . " It suggests an elementary formal apparatus, capable of setting
in m otion the phonemic order, a stock of lexemes, syntactic strategies
(these to be determined for each subject through the process of langu age
acqu isition), and the presyntactic and prelogical primary processes of dis­
placem ent, condensation, and repetition. This formal apparatus, subsum­
ing instinctual pressures, is a k i nd of verbal code dom inated by the two
axes o f metaphor and meto nymy; but it uses, in a specific way (according
t o each subject ) the general and limited possibilities of a given la nguage.

G I OTTO S J O Y 219

Color can b e defined, considering what I have just said, a s being
articulated on such a triple register wit hin the dom ain of visual percep­
tions: an ins tinctual pressure linked to external visible obj ect s; the same
pressure causing the eroticizing of the body proper via visual percept ion
and gesture; and the insertion of t his pressure u nder the impact of censor­
ship as a sign i n a system of representation.
M atisse alludes to color having such a basis in instinctual drives w hen
he speaks of a "retinal sensation [that] destroys the calm of the surface
and the contour"; he even com pares it to that of voice and hearing:
" U l t i m a tely, there is only a tactile vitality com parable to the 'vibrato' of
the violin or voice. "8 And yet , although subj ective and instinctual, this
advent of color (as well as o f any other "artistic device") is necessarily
and therefore objectively occasioned and determined by the hist orically
produced, form al system in which it operates :

Our senses have an age of development which does not come from the i m m ed iate
surroundings, but from a m o m e nt i n civilization. We are born with the sensibility
o f a given period of civilization . And that counts for more than all we can learn
about a period. The arts have a development which comes not only from the indi­
vidual, but also from an accu m u l ated strength, the civilization which precedes us.
One can't d o just anything. A t a lented artist cannot do j u st as he l ikes. I f he u sed
only his talents, he would not ex ist. We are not the m a sters of what we produce.
It is i m p osed on us.•

One might th erefore conceive color as a com plex economy e ffecting
the condensation of an excitation m oving towards its referent , of a
physiologically supported d rive, and of "ideological values" germane to a
given culture. Such values could be considered as the necessary historical
decantation o f the fi rst two com po nent s . Thence, color, in each instance,
must be deciph ered according to: ( l) the scale of "natural" colors; (2) the
psychology of color perception and, es pecially, the psychology of each
perception's instinctual cathexis, depending on the phases the concrete
subj ect goes t hrough with reference to its own history and within the
m ore general process of im posing repres sion; and (3) the pict orial system
eith er operative or in the process of form ation. A preeminen tly com­
posite elem ent, color condenses "objectivit y," "subj ectivity," and the
intrasystematic organiz ation of pictorial practice. It thus em erges as a
grid (of differences in ligh t , energet ic charge, and system atic value)
whose every element is linked with several interl ock ing registers. Because

220 G IO TTO ' S J O Y

it belongs t o a painting' s system, a n d t herefore, to the extent that i t plays
a s tructural role in any subject-elaborated apparatus, color is an index of
value (of an obj ect ive referent) and an instinctual pressure (an erotic
im plication of the subj ect); it hence finds itself endowed with new func­
tions it does not possess outside this system and, therefore, outside pic­
torial practice. In a painting, color is pulled from the unconscious into a
symbolic order; the unity of the "self' clings to this symbolic order, as
this is the only way it can h old itself t ogether. Th e triple register is
constantly present, however, and color's diacritical value within each
painting's system is, by the sam e token, withdrawn t oward the u ncon­
scious. As a result, color (conpact within its triple dimension) escapes
censorship; and the unconscious irrupts into a culturally coded pictorial
Consequently, the chromatic experience constitutes a m enace to the
"sel f," but also, and t o the contrary, it crad l es the sel f s att em pted
reconstitution. Such an experience follows in the wake of t h e s pecu lar­
imaginary sel fs formation-dissolution. Linked therefo re t o primary
narcissism and to subj ect-obj ect indeterm inacy, it carries t races o f the
subj ect ' s instinctual drive t oward unity (Lust-Ich ) with its exterior sur­
rounding, u nder t he influence of the pleasure principle about to become
reality princi ple u nder the weight of rej ection, the symbolic funct ion, and
repressi o n . 10 But chrom atic experience casts itself as a turning point
between the "selfs" conservative and destructive proclivities; i t is the
place of n arcis sistic eroticism (autoeroticism) and death drive- n ever one
without the other. If that experience is a revival of the "sel f ' t hrough and
beyond the pleasure principle, such a revival never succeeds in the sense
that it would constitute a subj ect of (or u nder) symbolic law. This is
because the symb olic necessity, or the interdiction laid down by color,
are never abso lute. Contrary to delineated form and space, as well as to
drawing and composition subj ected t o the strict codes of representation
and verisim ilitude, color enj oys considerable fr eedom . The color scale,
apparently restricted by com parison with the infinite variation of fo rms
and figures, is accepted as the very domain of whim, taste, and
serendipity in daily life as m uch as in painting. I f, nevertheless, the inter­
play of colors follows a particular historical necessity (the chromatic
code accepted in Byzantine painting is not the same as that o f the
Renaissance) as well as the internal rules o f a given painting (or any

G I OTTO S J O Y 221

device whatsoever), still such a necessity is weak and includes its own
transgression (the im pact of instinctual drive) at the very m oment it is
im posed and applied.
Color m ight th erefo re be the space where the prohibition foresees and
gives rise to its own immediate transgression. It achi eves the momentary
dialectic of law-the laying down of One M eaning so that it might at
once be pulverized, multi plied into plural meanings . Color is the shatter­
ing of unity. Thus, it is through color-colors-that the subj ect escapes
its alienation within a code (represent ational, ideological, symbolic, and
so forth) t hat it, as consci ous subj ect, accepts. Similarly, it is through
color that Western painting began to escape the constraints of narrative
and perspective norm (as with Giotto) as well as representation itself (as
with Cezanne, M atisse, Rothko, M ondrian). Ma tisse spells it in full: it is
through color-painting's fundamental "device, " in the broad sense of
"human language"-that revoluti ons in the plastic arts come about.

W h e n t h e m e a n s of expression h ave become s o refi n ed, s o attenuated that t heir
power o f expression wears thin, it is necessary to ret u r n t o the essential princip les
which m ade human language. Th ey are, a fter all, the principles which "go back
t o the source," wh ich relive, wh ich give us l i fe. Pictures which have become
refinements, subtle gradations, d issolu tions without energy, call for beau t1jiil
blues, reds, y ello ws m atters to stir the sensual depths in men . 1 1

T h e chrom atic apparatus, l i k e rhythm for la nguage, thus involves a
shattering o f m eaning and its subject into a scale of differences . These,
however, are articulated within an area beyond m eaning that holds m ean­
ing's surplus . Color is not zero meaning; it is excess m eaning th rough
instinctual drive, that is, through death. By dest roying unique normative
meaning, death adds its negat ive force to that m eaning in order to have
the subj ect come t hrough . As asserted and different i ating negativity, pic­
t orial color (w hich overlays t he practice of a subj ect merely speak ing in
order to com mu nicate) does not erase m eaning; it maintains it through
multi plication and shows t hat it is engendered as the meaning of a sin­
gu lar being. A s the dialectical space of a psycho-graphic equili brium ,
color t herefore t ranslates an oversign i fying logic in that it inscribes
instinctual "residues" that the underst anding subj ect has not sym ­
bolized . 12 It is easy t o see how color's logic might have been considered
"em pty of meaning," a m obile grid (since it is subj ective), but outside of
semantics, and th erefore, as dynamic law, 1 3 rhythm , interval, 1 4 gesture.

instinctual/ diacritical/ represen tational condensations. that it is heavy w i t h "semantic latencies" linked to t h e economy of the subject's constitution within significance. just as contem porary linguistics. or sim ply deform able figure. the state of instinctual drive cathexes during this period. and hear. to the form ation o f t h e specu lar " I " . In all likelihood.3 3 That speci fic economy of color c a n perhaps ex plain why m etaphysical speculations on light and its variations go back to the very oldest of . Paradiso. t h ey t o o are colors. fo rbid­ den. proceeding not only from the obj ective basis of perception and o f t h e ph ases o f the subj ect's passage through chromatic acquisition parallel to linguistic acquisit ion." chromatic grid. is not the black cast of form . D a nte. I t provok es surface clashes o f varying inten sity. nor is it the white of dazzling light. we can only ou tline cert ain general hypotheses on the basis of our observat ions c oncerning painting's relationship to the sub­ j ect's sign i fying m ode. that this " form al. e t cetera . far from empty. an u ndefilable. physi ological and. Within the distribution of color. (These phases would include the perception of such and such a color at a given st age. I I I . conceptual. biological fou ndation. speak to t h e m . Si nce the light of the t ru t h which requites them Does n o t let them t u r n from it sel f. Color. on the cont rary. Color does not suppress light but segm ents it by break ing its undi fferentiated unicity into spect ral multiplicity. these hypotheses involve the observer much m ore than they can lay any claim to obj ectivity.222 ' G I OTTO S JOY We would suggest. instinctually foreclosed. when bl ack and white are present. the relationship to the m irror phase. to establish t h e m ore or less exact psychoanalytic equivalents of a part icular subj ect 's color scale. is seek ing its corporea l. relat ionship t o t h e m oth er. is em pty only of a "unique or ultimate signi fied". therefore. perh aps. a transparent light of m eaning cut o ff fr om the body. ) Gi ven t h e presen t state of research. that is to say. and believe. After having made mani fest and analyzed the "mystery" of light and the chemical production o f colors. h aving d iscovered the phoneme. science will no doubt establish the obj ective basis (biophysical and biochemical) of col or perception. 3 1 . F O R M A LU C I S : THE BURLESQUE Therefore. Psycho­ analytic research will then make it possible.

Yet. . but a corporeal form " : 17 forma lucis. . opening u p within Christianity an opportunity for the plastic arts. when it lin ked ligh t with t h e body. its n orm-representation (with the advent of I m pressionism and the ensuing movem ents). it eventually left behind. As the other of the body. . ] Therefore. then. and philosophers say that warmth is a certain subtle k ind of substa nce. With i n Indo. they are im plicit in the fundamentals of Zoroastrianism . [ . Several theological state­ ments bear witness to high spiritual leaders' distrust of painting. first . is not a body. Western painting p rofessed to serve Catholic theology while bet raying it at the same time. he observes that the painter l eaves behind spirituality's higher spheres: . ] August ine says that hum or and the earth's soil are fundamental counterparts. it seem s clear that light. if not simply "bur­ lesque . never before achieved . by the same token. unitary theology. a fl ood of representations. it co-opts the chromatic scale (with its basis of drives crossing through the subj ect). both strictly and figuratively speaking. we m ust insist on the ambiguity of such a state­ ment: if it cont ests a rigid. 16 they reach the center o f Christian doctrine (in Saint Augustine. for exam ple). for instance. 15 and Plotinism . " Hegel evinces this kind of attitude when . which they perceive as "not elevated enough" spiritually. an opening u p o f colored surfaces. it must be a something­ else-than body. after h aving recognized Giotto's original use of color.European civilizations. ' G I OTTO S J O Y 223 beliefs. and pursuing his reasoning in the same paragraph. at t h e same time. The twelfth cent u ry occupies a k ey position in this process because of t he humanist refo rm it brought to Christianity: this affects the metaphysics of color in the work of Saint Bonaventura. . later. light gives it its form and thus becom es the privileged int erm ediary between substance and its effect-or t h e essent ial element of imagination: "If light names or articu­ lates form . the place of the im agination. Within t h is ambiguity and by playing with this contradiction. t hen light cannot possibly be a body. as I suggested earlier . into theol ogical space. Format ive light is nothing but light shattered into colors. [ . its t h emes ( a t the time of the Renaissance). through Hellenistic civilization. for a fl owering o f im ages. arrested in the dazzling whiteness of m eaning. This sta tem ent entails a lib erat ing scope difficult for us to appreciate t oday: i t aims at contesting the lum inous unicity of the idea and opens it up t o the spectrum of the subj ect 's "art i st ic" experience. a n d later.

adva nces beyond a compar atively subordinate stage in the process . catching the eye becau se of the color blue.2 24 ' G I OTTO S J O Y G i otto. rather than form or architecture. That this chrom atic experience could take place under the aegis of the Order of M erry Knights com mem o rating the Virgin is. . it descreetly enters the theological signi fied. [ .Cim abue or the Sienese frescoes . again articu­ lated within a com plex and regu lated distribu tion. One's first im pression of Giotto's painting is of a colored substa nce. ] The thi ngs o f the w orld receive a stage and a wider opport u n i ty for expression. This chro matic joy is the indicat ion of a deep ideological and subj ect ive transformation. which came to light later. . as a rule. . the visual precursors of the earthy laugh that Rabelais only translated into language a few centuries later. 18 Thus. it contrasts strongly with the som ber coloring of Byzantine m osaics as well as with the colors of. d istorting and doing violence to it without relinqu ishing it. perhaps. . . next to the Name-of-the-Father). in changing color style. ] in this tendency of G i ot t o to hum an ize and t owards realism he never real ly. fou nd room for burlesque along with so much that was pathetic [ . or. 19 The delicate. Giotto's j oy is the sublim ated j ou i ssance of a subj ect liberating him s elf from the transcendental dominion of One M eaning (white) th rough the advent of its inst inctual drives. m ore than a coincidence (sub lim ated j ouissance finds its basis in the forbidden m o ther. chromatic nuances oh he Padua fr escoes barely st and out against this lum inous blue. Giotto might have given a graphic reality to the "n atural" and "human" t endencies of the ideology of his time. Giotto's colors would be "formal" equivalents of the burlesque. and this is i l lustrated by the way G iotto. Such a blue takes hold of the viewer at the ext rem e limit o f visu al percep­ tion. the heresies). in philosophy. a l o n g w i t h the changes he effected i n respect t o m odes o f conception and composition. under the i n fluence of his age. Giotto's j oy bu rst into the chrom atic clashes and harm onies that guided and dom inated the arch itectonics of the A rena Chapel frescoes at Padu a . ' PADUA S B LU E Blue i s the first color t o strike the visitor as he enters into the semidark­ ness of the A rena Chapel. This joy evokes the carnivalesque excesses of the m a sses but anticipates their verbal and ideological t ranslations. through literary art (the novel. one is struck by the light that is generated. U nusual in Giotto's time because of its brilliance. b rought about a reform in the art of preparing coulours.

color t ears these figures away from the wall's plane. while t he central elem ent containing the cones (the fovea) fixes the object's im age and identifies its form . It has also been shown that the fovea is indeed that part of the eye developed latest in h uman beings (sixteen m onths a fter birth). Under these conditions. biological (and also ma ternal) dependence. J ohannes Purkinj e's law states that in d i m light. following Andre Broca's pa radox. including one's own im age (the "sel f ' perceived at the mi rror stage between the sixth and eighteenth month)-com es into play after color perceptions. would have a noncent ered or decentering effect. on this side of or beyond the object's fixed form . giving them a . gives a sculptu ral volu m e to Giotto's figures. and therefore the colo r blue. precisely. within a limitless pseudoself. On the ot her hand. blue is the first color to appear. Rather. the conflictual scene of prim ary narcissism a n d autoerotism22 whose clashes could follow any concat enat ion of phonic. thus. t hat is. O B LI Q U E C O N S T R U CT I O N S AND C H R O M AT I C HARMONY The m a ssive irruption of bright color into t h e Arena Chapel frescoes. or spectral differences. " but while in the process of becom ing this " I " by breaking away from instinctu al. s pecu lar " I . That is. Thus all colors. not yet alienated into the set im age facing h i m . The earl iest appear to be those with short wavelengths. but blue in particular. short wave­ lengths prevail over long ones. They t hereby ret urn the subject to the archaic m om en t of its dialectic. as a rem inder of the subject's conflictu al const itution. the subject is caught in the acu t e contradiction between the instincts of self-preservation and the destructive ones. one perceives the color blue through the rods of the retina's peri phery (the serrated m argin). 2 1 This m ost likely indicates that cent ered vision-the identifica tion of obj ects. the chromatic experience can t h en be interpreted as a repet ition of the specular subj ect ' s em ergence in the already constructed space of the underst anding (speaking) subj ect . A possible hypot hesis. often leading to com parisons with Andrea Pisano. ' G I O TT O S J O Y 225 I n fact . that blue is. 20 would be that the percept ion o f blue entails not ident ifying the object . lessening both object ident ificat ion and phenomenal fixation. before the fixed. before sunrise. not yet a ble to distinguish the contours of others or his own other in the mirror. that it is the zone where phenom enal identity vanishes. arranged in soft but contrasting hues. v isual.


GI OTTO " S JOY F IG U R E S . one next to the other. THE EXPULSION O F THE DEMONS FR O M A REZZO. or. with each rec­ tangular surface once again divided in order to generate other blocks and tiered columns. G I OTTO. A block is set at an angle to the frame. B A S I L I CA OF ST. . pyramid and cu pola are articulated by m eans of nested. Photo: Scala forty-five-degree angle. culminating in the triangle at the top (pyramid) or in the green cupola. broken and exploded on t he fa r-side wall. conversely. F R A N C I S . transparent. ASS I S I . broken blocks ( The Cruc�ftx of St.

Francis Preaching before H onorius I II at Assisi . in three stages : first t here is a solid rectangu lar base. since it reappears at Padua in two figu reless fres­ coes. the conflict is nevertheless harmonized in the up per part of the fresco. in the m a k e up of human figures and interiors. Francis R enouncing t h e World present s open blocks. A similar working of square surfaces m ay be seen in the Church of Santa Croce i n Florence. would be alm ost in perspect ive except fo r the friezes and ogives near the top. as if the square. H ow do colors part icipate in this both antagonistic and harmonized space? Two workings of color m ay easily be distinguished at Padua: first. second. and second. one set on top of the other (the seat ). confronted with the circle. ' 228 G I OTTO S J O Y Dam ian Speaks t o S t . third. above this an angle appears (slanted t o the left in o n e fresco. Situated over the altar. another bl ock . This particu lar treatment of space is worth noting. A n interesting variation o f Giotto's geometrical investigations of the rect angle appears in St. but this antagonistic treatm ent o f space is softened by the curves of the three ribbed vaults. The surfa ce of the square cut out by the frame is t ranslated into two volumes. a field curving inwards. produced an oval lin ing. . opening from the back t owards the viewer. soaring over a large block oriented t owards the left. but avoiding the vanishing point of perspect ive. where the intersecting arcs of the ogives m eet in the ribbed cupola's t hree focal p oints. In Visions of Friar A ugustine and the Bishop of A ssisi t here are blocks open on t h e right. St. t hey inaugurate the narrative series and program it. architecture). deepening and mult iplying the surfaces and preven ting the lines from converging at one point. providing its graphic matrix. In The Apparition to the Brothers of A ries. landscape. another diagonal overlapping echoes th em within the square fr esco. pressed o n t o each other. a conflictive m odule for space. Francis). to which is added. a raised and im balanced bl ock coll apses onto another facing it within the square of the frame. a triptych o f blocks with their far sides shot through with blue ovals. slightly ask ew. In the Dream of Pope Innocen t Ill. similarly oriented. in the scenery ( field. t o the right in t h e other)-a confrontat i on o f sur­ faces cut into squ ares. a depth set o ff from the frame. A spiral is cl inched before the window as if to emphasize the unstoppable and inexhaustible m ovem ent going from square to circle.

" These " folds o f color" are confront ations between one color and the complete chromatic scale: while each color remains dominant . Such a difference is precisely what causes spat i al conflictivity t o be perceived without vio­ lence-as h arm ony and transi t ion. which are. more accessible to dayligh t. It seem s as if the distribution of colored ma sses reflected a search for the smallest possible difference capable of shattering a homogeneou s b ackground. the first perceived under increased l ighting. the colors of clothing are o pened out t hrough the realistic effect of drapery folds into variations of pink absorbing gray. while color seeks out barely perceptible dif­ ferences. whereas the blue­ rose or blue-gold one appears m ore frequentl y in the lower registers. for exam ple. however. frag­ mented blocks is achieved through the confrontation of colored surfaces : either through colors of the same hue with the addition of com ple­ mentary t ones ( for exam ple. each m ass of color is unfolded into its variants. while the lower ones. In some instances they recall the subdu ed colorings of Chinese prints. in fact. The oblique or frontal planes of t he blocks stand out from this background eit her through the use of colors close to blue (green. For exam ple. In every case. or direct ly through complem entary chromatic scales. where a text su pports the signified. The blue-green relation dominates the upper frescoes. Giotto seemingly wants to facilitat e the natural percep tion of a viewer standing at the center o f the somber chu rch. white. thus m olding a cape. the pink roof in The A nnuncia tion to A nna). the antagonistic space o f the overlapping. accen tuate gilded-rose colors. Interiors that are set frontally are surrounded by square or lateral planes painted rose or yellow ( The Mocking of Christ). Once again. in The A n nu ncia­ tion to A nna) or contrasting with it (rose and pink ish gray. all other hues are particularly refined and very ligh t. ' G I O TTO S J O Y 229 The blue field dominates the scenery. and green. or gold and golden-rose i n The Betrothal of th e Virgin). These variants are infinitesimal di fferentials within the already subtly different light hues of G iotto's palette. The less visible upper registers are consequently done in blue-green. This becomes even m ore evident in the treatm ent o f human figures. m inu te ret inal sensations charged with the least "semantic lat ency . On the one hand. except for the basic blues. i n The Meeting at the Golden Gate. What is im portant is that. grayish-green: for exam ple.

' 230 G IOTTO S J O Y in its various m ixtures. with a sense o f volume. dis­ tinguishes it fr om adj oining spheres and colors. i t is also differently a n d indefinitely attenuated. The line seem s guided by unfol ding color and merely follows it. a space o f noncent ered . Color thus succeeds in shaping a space of conflicts. set tles it. Thus. a return to the opposite side (green ): B 1 . Roundness becom es chromatic and ind ependent of the cu rved drawing itself. . The colors of colliding surfa ces thus delineate the edges of such cubed space. In fact. set within an angular space of blocks and squares. and m ore effect ively than the clashing surfa ces. these m asses of color generate the volume of the pain ted surface. agai n . its opposite (red): A 2 will be varied until it reaches only a slight di fference in hue (pink. therefore. and in short.lavender): A 3 = B 3 before another return t o t h e opposite (b lue): B 4 ( = field) opposed in turn b y red : A 4 before the fi nal C. in The Massacre of the Innocents at A ssisi we have the foll owing sequ ence: brick red-pink-bordeaux-green­ white-lavender-white-g reen-red-pink-lavender-blue (like the field)-red-gold. . t hese voluminous colors. there is t h en a j u m p to the other e n d of the spectrum (green ): B . The con flict within a color moving t oward white-an effect of pure brilliance-provides each color and. if we designate red by A. an echo of the beginning (lavender): A . as they com e into being by interm ixing and detaching them sel ves from t h e entire spectru m . rou nded fullness of the bodies) repeat the oval. becom e articula ted with one anot her eit her by close contrast (at the same end of the spectru m) or by truly d iverging contrast (comp le­ m entary colors ). and yellow by C. colored masses (deformed and drawn out spheres and cy li nders). Relatively lim ited di fferences appear at the beginning (red-pink ) : A. but a space tu rned inward. In addition and at the same time. they serve as transition between clashing surfa ces. unbordered and unfixed t ransitions. while t h e colors of each figure give volu me to and round out this c O"n flict bet ween block s . identifies it when color defies fixed obj ects. This rou nded. accentuates it.shaped. These m asses of color become spherical through their own self-differentiation. To sim plify. each framed su r face. The curves of the drawing (oval shape of the heads. sculptural aspect of Giotto's figures strikes one im mediately. the fol lowing a rrangem ent m ay be seen . blue by B.

cont ours. as we have suggested. I t i s l i k e a setting side b y side o f chro­ m atic differences that throb iflto a third dimension. because it has been set in m otion starting from "retinal sensation. t hen. As a consequence. F o r this chromatic system-so crowded with figures. This is done solely by virtue of the colors' own resources. b u t h e coats them. and m y th ical scenes-appears void of figuration i f viewed at l ength and attent ively. Volume is produced by jux­ taposing u n folding chrom atic differences alone wi thout the assistance o f rigid contours. This painting. whose "m odel" could very well be a multi-faceted gem. the inst inctual and sign i fying resources of the speaking subj ect. ' G I O T T O S JO Y 231 Thus. softening. reaches comp letion within t h e viewer. The painter uses drawings and lines. the geom etry represent ed in the same fresco includes two prismatic t owers with their facets obliquely set. The chromatic treatment of characters produces a plastic effect con­ firming this geometry. arranged in this m anner. but rather. therefore. but reproduces t h e movement of t heir confr ontation. I t also adds a harmonization of delineated sur­ faces and an im pression of volu m e within the colored surfaces them selves . suffuses them with colored m atter so that they break away from strictly chromatic differentiation. without recourse to geometric determ ination. and dialecticizing lines. G iott o's chrom atic experiments prefigure a pict orial practice that his im m ediate fo llowers did not pursue. I t steers the subj ect t owards a system atic cutting t h rough its foreclosure. to the resources of the chromatic scale. In fact. not conforming to the l ocalization-identification-placement o f phen omena and/or their ( o r an y ) ultim ate m eaning. is a com pact and plurifunct ional ele­ ment. = The arrangem ent. Color. This practice aspires not t o figu ral representa­ tion. and figurations." their instinctual basis. erases angles. I s this not precisely the "mechanism" of j ouissance whose economy Freud locates in the process . color em erges inevitably as the "device" by which painting gets away from identi fica­ tion of obj ects and th erefore from realism . it acts u pon t h e sub­ j ect ' s station point outside of the painting rather than proj ecting him int o i t . By overflowing. landscape. which t hen extrapolate. placements. and the su perim posed signifying apparatus. is both conflictual and serial. limits. w e have: A-B-A 1-B1-A 2 -A 3 B 3 -B 4 -A 4 -C. Such a chromatic work ing.

artis tic practice is indeed doubly articulated: t h rough the inclu­ sion o f a "subj ective" signifying economy within an "obj ective" ideological functioning. which merge with the ideology of the time: subjectivist and hum anist renewal o f Christianity. that is. in su m m ing up. even "materialist" m o rality (in the forms of Averroism and nominalism). The signifying economy thus made up partakes o f an ideological func­ tion: Giotto's paint ing as an element of t h e early fourteenth century societal "superstructure. in t erms of (and liable to t he constraints o f) concrete social contradict ions. it brings into play the geometric possibilit ies of squares and blocks ( their conflict). in Jok es and their Relation to the Unconscious ) ? Let me emph asize. therefore. not only operates t hrough the individual (biographical subject) who carries it out. and t hrough the production of m eaning t hrough its subj ect . I m ight suggest that the sociopolitical and ideological position of the painter within t he social contradictions o f his time u ltim ately det ermines a concret e signifying economy. By its very natu re. but it also recasts him as his­ torical subject causing the signifying p rocess that the subj ect undergoes - to match the ideological and political expectat ions o f his age' s rising classes . liberating." This raises a fundamen tal p roblem. Giott o ' s own work-j ouissance in color and space and the specific role incum bent on the subj ect t herein. In other words. "secularizing. A long such lines. a ( subj ective) sign i fying economy becom es an art istic signifying practice only to the extent that it is art icu­ lated t hrough the social struggles of a given age. it explores the infinitesimal chromatic di fference that produces a t hree-d imensional effect from a colored surfa ce and the opposing or serial alternation o f such volumes due t o an "element" already indicating volume: the triple register o f color (as suggested above) in rela tion t o the sign. ' 232 G I OTTO S J O Y o f rem oving prohibition by making one's way through it (in h i s studies on another phenomenon o f "bewilder m ent" : witticism . A signifying economy within an artistic practice. On the one hand. turning it into an artistic pract ice that will play a given social and hist orical role. the inclusion of a signifying economy within a social context. Thus." m odern. This ideology corresponds to what Fred- . on the other. that thi s work ing one's way t h rough is rigorously regu lated by a j uxtaposition of differences in volu m e that operates along two converging paths.

that captures signifiance as well as its specific subj ect look ing at the paint ing . concerning the painting ' s signification. and it is this area that contem porary semiology. Antal's study should be consulted for a detailed analysis of the economic and ideological foundations behind the pictorial experience exami ned here. but rather. t o present t h e avant-garde with a genetic-dialect ical reflect ion on what produced it and/ or that from which it sets itself apart . o f the ensu ing pictorial renewal. to encourage a return t o t he ( " formal" and ideological) history o f painting's subj ect within its contemporary production. the notion of color can only have t opological value: it expresses precise structures o f atoms and molecules. within the fram ework . but. on a com plex register: the instinctual cathexis of chrom atic elements and the ideological values that a particular age p laces on t h e m . Neither the whole of Giotto's work nor the complex ity of the questions raised about it are addressed directl y by these reflections. what can be described in t erms of frequency (light) can only be ana lyzed in ter ms of geom et ry (coloring matter). thereby bypassing the sign i fying economy of the subj ect involved . color plays. t hese d i fferences provide a structural constraint. . rather. a general outline. of frequency. Beyond the th resh old of structural necessity. Therefore. m ore generally. As diacrit ical m arkings inside a system (the system of a painting). I have m ade use of certain elem ents in Giotto's painting in order to present several problems relevant t o painting as signifying practice. as I have shown. " 25 which happens t o be the fin ancial basis but also the ideological patron not only o f Giotto. I began with a discussion o f color in terms o f light. Applied to an obj ect. these topol ogical or frequential di fferences are of no im port in their own speci fici ties and precisions. What escapes structural constraint is nonet heless sizable. however. however. G 1 o rro ' s JO Y 233 erick Antal calls the "securely established F lorentine upper m iddle class. ] in correlation to their own t imes. They are importa n t only as structural differences all owing a spatial distribution. aided by psych oanalysis. is investigating. I would simply em phasize that one cannot understand such practice without taking its s ocioeconomic foundations into account. Nevertheless. Their obj ect has been. nor can one understand it i f one chooses t o reduce it solely t o these foun­ dations. . and therefo re. As Walter Benj a m in said of literature: "It is not a question of presenting works [ .

i t is confi rm ed in its role by the creation o f t h e s y m b o l o f negation (cf. At t h e same time the oblique constructions used in the m aj ority o f his designs reveal a m ovement in a different direction"-] ohn White. 1 9 7 3 ) . ) In addition. Ibid. 202. J o h n Ruskin. in structur ing the "artistic fu nction . Giotto and His Work in Padua ( London: Levey. Metapsychology. 1 947). 9. 7 5 . 1 4 : 2 0 1 -2 . seemed to be at odds with the doctrine of Saint Francis. Metapsychology. Birth and R ebirth of Pic­ torial Space ( London: Faber & Faber. M a rcel in Pleynet has s h o w n . that is. who worked under the aegis of the Franciscans." in . " M ol l i son quei che laudan povert ade. St ate­ ments to Teriade. do not all agree that he wrote that poem . Frederick Antal. C f. the oral phase of infa n t i l e eroticism that dom inates not only the pre-Oedipal experience. 1 9 3 6. M arcelin Pleynet. relation to the mother. J a c k Flan. R obson and F r a n k l y n . " 26 N otes I . but also the phase preceding the " m ir­ ror stage" (and ther efor e. Giotto himself. Scrovegni himself was a patron of Giotto and thus figured in the fres­ coes. in the seventh circle o f Hell. M at i sse.2 34 G I O TT O ' S J O Y of the time of their birth. 1 97 3 ). 2 . p . and upheld the existence and dign ity of the Virgin M ary. Papers on Metapsychology: The Unconscious i n The Standard Edi­ tion of the Works of Sigm und Freud ( London: Hogarth Press & The I n stitute of Psycho­ Analysis. 202. 7." ( H istorians. Freud explains t h i s passage from percept ion t o symbolic fu nction b y t h e economy o f unification and rejection engendering t h e sym bol ic fu nction. emphasis mine. and the im posit ion of repression. Statements to Teriade. ( u nless h e be in agreem e n t with its speci fically Florentine decadent for m ). but even m ore so. He belonged to the Order of Caval ieri Ga udenti or the " M erry K n ights. Florentine Painting and Its Social Background ( N ew York : H arper. p. Dante put Scrovegn i's father. whose role proves to be capital. Freud. trans. G iotto is said to have sent a single proof o f his expertise-a perfect circle drawn in red pai nt-whence the expression "a more perfected art than G i ot to's O. 1 9 2 9-30. 8. t h e separation between subject and object. Negation i n The Standard Edition. generally k nown as the Arena Chapel. p.. in the c a s e o f M at isse. p. 1 8 54 ). when he wrote a poem against poverty. We should keep in mind that the Padua frescoes are located in the Scrovegni Ch apel. 5 . Giotto appears to have been the only Florentine artist at the beginning o f the fou rteenth century to have am assed a true fort u n e . 1 0 . Sigm u n d F reu d . 5 8 . " Giotto's paintings d o represent a step towards t h e a r t i ficial perspective o f the fifteenth century. the constitution of the specu lar " I " ) . " L e Systeme de M atisse. em phasis mine. our own . Matisse on A rt. who was looking for a painter for Saint Peter's Basilica. Reginald. 6. 3 . h owever. the connection between chro­ matic experience. There is also an anecdote concern­ ing G i ot t o's pictorial practice." so called because o f the wealth and behavior of its mem bers. 4 . not only in elucidating the genesis of the symbolic fu nct ion. p. t o present the time that k nows them. ( N ew York: Phaidon. 1 9: 2 3 5-39). 7 4 . 1 9 5 3 ) ." C f. 202. H enri M at i sse. I n reply to Pope Benedict X I . " C f. and above all. p . Freud.

to the musi cality o r the lit erary text. " For t h e eye o f the Absolutely E xistent needs n o other light t o effect perception.Th eaetetus . the best or the senses. [ . 1 8 . trans. ] The great light ( I n t el l igence) sheds its light though remaining within itself. My emphasis. ( N ew York : H acker Art Books. A . and around this center a l u minous sphere that radiates from ( I ntell igence ) . ( P h iladelph ia: M onsalvat Press. 1 9 1 0 ). I 5 . " The m ind b u ilds a wall against t h e m a s s of s i m u lacra t h a t assails it. 3 : 322-24. "over the whole or n orthern Europe. but someth ing which has arisen between t h e two and is pecu liar to each percipient " . The Philosophy Of Fine Art. C o r n ford. non est corpu s. n o t or any w h o h a v e part a n d l o t in t h e w o r l d o r cre a t i on. 1 8 64). . R u sk in notes that before Giotto. R eprinted i n P l eynet. Anaxagoras held that colors represent the interplay or an i n fin ity or seeds corresponding to t h e i n fi n ity o r l u m i n o u s sensat ions. H . ( N ew York: P u t n a m . et philosophi dicunt quod calor est substantia quaedam subtilis [ . F o r t h e created is approached by sense. B y that token. 1 3 . 66. System e de la peinture (Paris: Seu ii. A n d therefore. . non potest esse l u x ipsum corpus. 2. 2 . " We must i m agine a center. 1 9 2 3 ) . Book 1 v . F. who i s apprehended by t h e m i nd. 1 2 . i n general. in Philo. . precisely i n this way. S e e also passage 1 7 . 1 9 . Guthrie. Whitaker. 1 7 . Then around this sphere. passage 5 3 . ( P rinceton: Princeton U niversity Press.P lotin us. 8 5 8. which c a n n ever grasp t h e nature which is appreh ended by m ind"-Philo. D ist. M.. According to wave t heory. sed aliquid corporis [ . one the things or the m i nd. On The Creation of the World. 3. and the brill iancy that radiates around i t (on to t h e soul) is ' reason " ' . i t s fu nct ion i s related ( i n t h e domain o f sight) t o rhyt h m ' s function and. F. i n t ro duces instinctual drive into la nguage. " A nd k n owing that of all th ings light is best. . Osm aston. p p . On The Cherubim. librum Secundum Sententiarum [Co m m entary on t h e sentences. 1 9 7 1 ). Physical theories of color have at times embraced this point of view. ' G I OTTO S J O Y 235 l' Enseignem ent de l a peinture ( P aris: S e u i l . 2 : 67-69. sed forma corporis"-Sanctus Cardinalis Bonaventurae. X I I I . . G eorg Wilhelm Friedrich H egel. Hans Lewy. 1 1 . they a r e the instruments of t h a t s a m e God a l o n e . trans. A r t . trans. pp. "si ergo l u x formam <licit . the eye is in t h e body. Lecture given at the Palais de la Decouverte. 74. . H. page 6 1 . (Ox ford: Ox ford U n i versity Press. the other t he things or the senses"-Philo. t h e colouring of the eleventh and early twel fth centu ries had been pale: i n m a n uscripts. pp. 5 5 2 -5 3 . a l l t o t h e m ind.5 9 . 14. Collected Dialogues. P . P l ato maintai ned that "what we say 'is' this or that color will be n e i t h e r t h e eye which e ncounters the motion nor the motion w h ich is encountered. H e m ade it the indispensable means of sight.. Enneades. 1 977).7 5 . for what the intel lect is in t h e soul. K . II] in Opera Omnia (Paris: Ludovique V ives: 1 8 64. trans. quod lux. Colson & G. pp. 1 6. for each or t hem sees. 1 97 8). M . passage 97. proprie et abstracte loqeundo. C f. 1 7 . 1 946). Statements to Teriade. ] sicut <licit Augustinus q u od humor et humus sunt elementa. i n Philosop hia Judaica. trans. See also passage 28. 1 9 56. Tonnelat. lies a second one that also is l u m inous. in Edith H a m ilton & H u n t i ngton Cairnes. p. M atisse. ] sic igit u r ex praedict iis patet. principally com - . eds. 1 9 7 5). but only as a light lit from another l ight ( t h e u n iversal Soul). 67-74. Evolution des idees sur la nature des couleurs. 1 9 36. Q u a e s t . which. Epicurus seems t o suggest t hrough his th eory or s i m u lacra a connection between color and what we now call t h e "u nconsci o u s . F . selecting o n ly th ose that pique its i n t erest. b u t H e Himself i s t h e archetypal essence or w h i c h myriads or r a y s are t h e effluence. none v i s i b l e to sense. each material atom is m ade up or a subatom o r color or sound whose connec­ tions are i m m aterial: dharmas or laws.

and scarlet. com posed strictly. to rel ieve the main colours. chiefly green. "To see a blue light. 68. you m u st not look direct l y at i t . 24. p u r p l e . " 2 1 . a n d yellow. 25. t h e let ters had often been colou red w i t h black a n d y e l l ow only). green. 2 1 . 3 : 2 90. G iotto. " Literaturgeschichte u n d Literaturwissensch a ft " in Gesammelte SchrUien ( F r a n k fu rt / a m / M ai n : S u h rk amp. it seems that notions of "narcissism" (be i t primary) and autoe­ roticism suggest too s t rongly an already existing iden t i t y for us t o apply them rigorously to this confl ictual and i m p recise stag e of subjectivity. Walter Benjamin. in a l l i t s leading m asses. p. with white and black. and a t the close of t h e fourteenth cent u ry. in t h e close o f t h e twelfth and throughout t h e thirteenth century. p. . solemn and deep. The Development of the Human Eye (Cambridge: Cambridge U niversity Press. p. 1 928). 20.R u s k i n . the great system of perfect colour was in u se. In the early part of t h e fourteenth century the colours begin t o grow paler: a b o u t 1 3 30 t h e s t y l e is al ready com pletely modified. b l u e being sparingly introdu ced (earlier s t i l l . A n tal. 1 9 72). o f t h e colours revealed by G o d from S i n a i a s the noblest. 23.-blue. M a nn. White. Florentine Painting and its Social Background. being u sed in points or small m asses. Birth and R ebirth of Pictorial Space. Ibid. 22. 7 5 . 26. 6 8 . In t h i s context. I . with gold (other h ues. Then. p. ' 236 G I O TT O S J O Y posed o f p a l e red. C . in t h e eighth and n i n t h cen tu ries. t h e c o l o u r is q u i t e pa l e a n d delicate" . .

a sacred beyond. to signify what is going on. no. 1 9 77). but it goes on. a vessel of divinity.3 5 . This becoming-a-m other. love. split. There is Chris tian theology (especially canonical theology). speeding up or slowing down . tenderness. growing as a graft . "It happens. . and transcendence' s ult imate support-necessarily vir­ ginal and com m itted to assum ption. Lay humanism took over t h e con­ figu ration of that subj ect through the cu l t of the m ot h er. science is not concer ned with the subj ect. within that simult aneously dual and alien space. finally become clear). if w e presum e t hat som eone ex ists th roughout t h e process o f cel ls. " "I cannot realize it. a n d mult iplying First publ ished in Peinture ( Decem ber 1 9 7 5 ) . 1 0." M ot herhood's i m possible syl logism . fr agment. dividing. Such are the wi les of C hristian reason ( Christianity ' s still m at chless rationalism . and vanish. A n d yet . this ges tation. reprinted in Poly/ogue ( Paris: Seuil. there is an other. Within the body. M OT H E R H O O D ACCORD ING TO G I OVANNI B E L L I N I T H E MATE R NA L B O D Y Cells fu se. and body fluids change rhyt h m . a n d atoms accumula ting. and proliferate. can possibly be accoun ted fo r by m eans o f only two discourses. And no one is present. indom itable. but as an obj ective dis­ course. 409. tissues stretch. but theology defines m a t ernity only as an im possible elsewhere. and seat o f social conservat i o n . There is science. a spiritual tie with the in­ effable godhead. or at l east its rationa lizing power. but I 'm not there. pp. the mother as site of her proceedings. it t hus establishes a sort o f subject at the point where the subj ect and its speech split apart . th rough the m aternal body (in a state of virginity and "dormition" 1 before Assumption). m olecu les.9. volumes grow.1 1 .

On the other hand. psychotic tendencies are acknow ledged. we immediately deny it. nonet heless rem ains a constant fa ctor of social reality. a t hreshold where "nature" confronts "culture. are we not positing an animism t hat reflects the inherent psychosis of the speaking Being? So. if she were not phallic. but a t the same t i m e t hey are set tled. in ot her words the mas ter of a process that science. if we suppose her to be master of a process that is prior to the social-symbolic-linguistic contract of the group. m ore of a filter than anyone else-a t h oroughfare. despite its effective devices. also reveals. t h e wom an-subject . and bestowed upon the mother in order to maintain the ultimate gu arantee: symbolic coherence. i . then every speaker would be led to con ceive of its Being in relation to som e void. and t hat it is representable. su mm oned only to accom plish his function. In a double-barreled m ove. although u nder the sway of t h e paternal function (as symbolizing. and ultim ately.i '\ ! without any iden tity (biological o r socio-sym bolical) having been formed so far. which. This m ove. better than any mother ever could. h owever. that the maternal body is the place of a splitting. if we suppose that a mother is the subj ect of gestation. quieted. is o ften assim ilated to the baby itself and thus returned to its place a s devalorized man. that is. first. a perm anent t h reat against. the font that nourishes them : the fantasy of the s o-called "Phallic" M other. desti ned to insure reproduct ion of the species. " To imagine that t here is someone in that fi lter-such is the source o f religious m yst ifications. for mamma is there. acknowledges it can not now and perhaps never will be able to take away from her. its mastery. Only . then we acknowledge the risk of losing identity at the same time as we ward it o ff. she embodies this phenom enon. T h e discourse of analysis proves t h at t h e desire for m otherhood i s without fail a desire t o bear a child o f t h e father (a child of h e r own fath er) who. and the cont ract of desire.238 M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D l l\ G T O B E i . which is to originate and justify reproductive desire. she war­ rants that everything is. Because if. its stabili t y . as a result. on the cont rary. a nothingness asymetrically opposed to t h is Being. Through a b ody. there were no one on t h is threshold. We recognize on the one hand that biology j olts us by m eans of unsymbol ized instinctual dr ives and that this phenomenon eludes social intercourse. even t h ough hypostatized by Christianity. if the m other · were not. the representation of preex isting obj ects. we say there can be no escape. s peaking subject and like all ot hers) .

once the fruit is detached. through and with this desire. m otherhood seem s to be im pelled also by a nonsy m bolic. a com plet e absence of meaning a n d seeing. m ore open to her own psy­ chosis.1 '> 1 239 through these phantasmatic nuptials can the father-daughter incest be carried out and the baby come to exist. the logos. and I ndian mystics. neither self nor part of the self. displacem ent. a ru ler over psychosis. rhythm. She thus actualizes the homosexual facet of m oth erhood. Such an excu rsion t o the limits of pri m al regression can be phan­ tasm a t ically ex perienced a s the reunion of a woman-mot her wit h the body of h er m other. By giving birth. a subj ect of biology. the cerem ony loses its effect unless it be repeated forever. The homosexual-maternal facet is a whirl of words. the whirling dust of cabalic. one t oward which women aspire all the m ore passionately simply because it lacks a p enis: that body cannot penet rate her as can a m a n when p ossessing his wife. Only Ferenczi. M aterial compulsion. The b ody of h er m other is always the same M aster­ M ot h er of instinctual drive. later. have spoken about this. obj ect-oriented. once the obj ect is produced. the woman enters into contact with h er m ot her. How can we ver­ balize this prelinguistic. through wh ich a woman is simul­ taneously closer to her inst inctual m em ory. m ore negatory of the social. but also. and its laws. 1 . and consequently. and prag­ matic discourse) the feminine. she becomes. Otherwise. an obj ect destined to be a subj ect. M arie Bonaparte. verba l scarcity so prevalent in our culture. evoking the biological destiny of each di fferent iated sex . At that. Epicurus' at oms. The symbolic paternal facet relieves feminine aphasia present within the desire t o bear the/a ther's chil d . Arab. Freud. it is feeling. unrepresentable m em ory? Heraclitus' flux. It is an appeasem ent that turns into melancholy as soon as the child becomes an obj ect. M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D l '> G TO B E I . spasm of a m em ory b elonging t o the species that either binds t ogether or splits apart to perpetuate itself. symbolic bond. a gift t o ot hers. And yet. bringing peace only to those who firmly adhere to the paternal symbolic axis. M elancholy readj usts the paranoia that drives to action (often vio­ lent) and to discourse (essentially parental. the incest is t o o fa r rem oved. nonpaternal cau sality. and the stippled drawings of psychedelics-all seem better m et aphors than the t heories o f Being. series of m arkers with no other signi ficance than the eternal return of t h e life-death biological cycle. she is her own m other. they are the same continuity di fferentiating itself. an other . and. .

it resides within the sm allest. I t affects prim al repression. Yet. fo r the woman involved. only b y virtue of a particular. a paradise lost but seemingly close at hand. absurd. And even psych oanalysts believe in it. Perversion slows down the schizophrenia that collaps­ ing identities and the delights of the well-known and oft-solicited (by some women) pantheist fu sion both brus h up against. Before founding society in the same stroke as signs and com m u nication. as they constitute the living entity within its species. however. I t affects this series of " little dif­ ferences-resem blances" (as the Chines logicians of antiquity would say). especially) through the strange form of split sym­ b olization (threshold of langu age and instinctual drive. tied to an obj ect. m ost archaic. l . contradiction becomes a variant. This tendency t owards equalization. It is powerful sublimation and indwel ling of the sym bolic within instinctual drives . with its needs. alterity becomes nu ance.240 M O T H E R H OOD ACCORDING T O B E ! . c a n only be regression. which suddenly appears to her as worthless. but also supreme power of symbolic instance t hus returning to m atters of its concern. Here. and fantasied clinging t o the m aternal body a s a screen against the plu nge. discursive practice called "art . that is borne by the u n failingly m a scu line libido. but like a negative o f the one. comic-a surface agit ation severed fr om its im possible found ations. As the ar- . that she is within an "enceinte" separat ing her from the world of everyone else. And y e t it is j ouissance. swaying between these two positions c a n o n l y mean. " an "enceinte" woman loses communital meaning. 2 Enclosed in this "elsewhere. " A woman also attains it (and in our society. Oriental nothi ngness probably better sums up what. and discharg e becomes peace. which is seen as a regressive ex ti nction of sym bolic capabilities. this requisite o f sociality. The speaker reaches this limit. t hey are the precondition of the latter's existence. in t h e eyes of a Westerner. tension becom es passage. and m ost uncertain of differences . distinguishing between the instinctual drives of life and deat h . flashes. reduce differences. for m en. does not. a hidden god but constantly present through occult fan­ tasy. or at best. Those a fflicted or affected by psychosis have put u p in its place the im age of the M other: for women. An ultimate danger fo r identity. of the "symbolic" and the "sem iotic") of which the act of giving birth consists. Sublimation here is both eroticizing withou t residue a n d a disappearance of eroticism a s it returns t o i t s source.! N l sound. its elem entary appercep­ tions and com munication.

in a biological. immediately and unwittingly. the physiological operat ions and instinctual drives dividing and multiplying her. in its analyt ical course. and finally. as long as t here is . of unset t ling its own lim its . it does make of the m a ternal body the stakes of a natural and "obj ective" con­ trol. And. Am ong such "natural" indu cem ent s . which is essential although it comes second. then each of the sexes-a division so much m ore archaic and fu nda­ m ental than the one into la nguages-would have its own unconscious wherein the biological and social program of the species would be ciphered in con frontation with la nguage. "psychotic" moments. it inscribes both bio­ logical operat ions and their instinctual echoes into this necessary and hazardous program constitut ing every sp ecies . in order to preserve the homology of the group. fi rst. quick ly st ifled by st andard palliat ives (by viril and "rational" censorship. being su perimposed upon t h e bio­ logical--this destiny seals off (and in women. makes t h e mother mist ress of neither begetting nor instinctual drive (such a fantasy underl ies the cult of any ultim ately fem inine deity). This process is quite rightly underst ood as the demand for a penis. The m aternal body slips away from the discursive hold and immediately conceals a cipher that must be ta ken into accou nt biologically and socially. it causes the childbearing woman to cat hect. If it is t rue t hat every national language has its own d ream language and unconscious. and thus. Fantasy in deed has no other sign . Ll 1' l 24 1 chaic process of socialization. secretly gu arded and incom­ municable m od ality. independent of any ind ividual consciousness.and transsymbolic m em o ry. The maternal body is the m odule of a biosocial progra m. no other way to im agi ne that the speaker is capable of reaching the M ot her. a social teleology. one m ight even say civilizat ion. of both the m essages that consciousness. is nothing more than a recording. it censures) that archaic basis and the special j ouissance it procures in being transferred to the symbolic. however. but independent from it. The sym bolic destiny of the speaking anim al. M OT l l E R ! IO O D A C: C: O R D I � G TO B E I . Privileged. on the screen of the preconscious. This ciphering of the species. this fragile. this pre. Its jouissance. which is mute. thus b ecom e necessary. pick s u p from this ciphering process and their classifications as em pty foundation. maternity is needed for this sexual m odality to surface. exposed to it s influence. as a-sub­ j ective lining of our rational exch anges as social beings. or by the sent iment ality of "maternal" t end erness t oward a substitute-object for everything). or whatever indu ces them naturally.

The very ex ist ence of aesthetic pract ice makes clear that the M other as sub­ j ect is a delusion. 1 language-sy m b olism-paternity. I n other words. then. of representation and light. thus traversing both sign and object . o f tr anscendence.-. from the point of view of social coherence. At the in tersection of sign and rhythm. in her. urging women to satisfy this presum ed dem and and to m ain­ tain the ensuing order. is a body rej oicing Uouissant ] . the artist lodges into language. and to explain this unsettling of the symbolic stratum. w h ere she knows not. this event called m o therh ood. there will never be any other way to represent . aesthetic practice touches u pon . and even psychoanalysts have their seat. He delineates what. I f it is true that idealist ideologies develop along these lines. Because. this instilling the subj ectless bio­ logical program into the very body of a symbol izing subj ect. arising perhaps unwitt ingly out o f her marginal position. any negation of this utili­ tarian. m o t herhood would be nothing more than a phallic attempt to reach the M other who is presumed to exist at the very place where (social and bio­ logical) identity recedes. through a sym bi osis of m eaning and nonmeaning.. this nature/culture threshold. This means that th rough and across secondary repression (fou nding of signs). gramm arians. to t h e negation of sym bolic position. Thus. G TO B l L I . 1 :--. to obj ecti fy. and sym bolic aspect of motherhood plunges into regression-but a particular regression whose cu rrently recognized m anifest ations lead to t he hypostasis of blind subst ance. he bears wi tness to what the u nconscious (through the screen of the mother) records of those clashes that occu r between the biological and social program s of the species . and to a justification of this regression under the aegis o f the same Phallic M other-screen . too. his own specific j ouissance. of representation and interplay of di fferences. which is wh ere legislators. The l anguage of art. just as the negation of the so-called poetic dimension o f language leads o n e to believe i n t h e ex istence o f t h e M o t her. social. on the other hand.242 M O T l l E R ll O O D A C C O R D J . the sublim ation taking pl ace at the very m om ent of primal r epression within the m other's body. the artist speak s from a place where she is not. follows (but differently and m ore closely) the other asp ect of maternal j ouissance. o f the sym bolic and the semiotic. which is where every body is made homologous to a male speaking body. and through his identification with the m other (fetishism or incest-we shall return to this problem ). a n d con­ sequ ently. before all ot her speakers.

l S 1 6. On the other. eroticism t aken over by the language of art . there is a tilting t oward the body as fetish. from Byzantine iconography to R en aissance hum anism and the worsh i p of the body that it i n i tiates. and Mediterranean a rchitectural manner. or integration o f the im age accom plished in its truth­ likeness within the luminous serenity of the unrepresentable. chrom atic differences beyond and despite corporeal representation. craftsm en of Western a r t reveal better than anyone else the artist's debt to the m aternal body and/or m otherhood' s entry into symbolic ex istence-that is. Worship of the figu rable. a predominance of luminous. two attitudes t oward the maternal body emerge. and founded the Venetian Renaissance. representable man. translibidinal j ouissance. On the one hand. otherwise inexpressible in our culture. I-i e taught Giorgione and Titian. Leonardo Da Vinci and Giovanni Bellini seem to exemplify in the best fashion the opposition b etween t hese two at titudes. iconography. Nevertheless. t hrough and across which a m a ternal body m ight recognize its own. Florence and V enice. At the place where it obscurely succeeds within the maternal body. which came somewhat later than the Florentine but was m ore organically allied t o it s Byzantine sou rces and m ore attracted by the display of the fem inine body than by the Grecian beauty of young boys. L E O NA R D O A N D B E L LI N I : F E TI S H AND PRIMAL REPRESSION Giovanni Bellini: 1 430?. M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D l !' G TO B E L L I !' ! 243 primal repression ( fou nding biological series and the Jaws of the species). historical intersect ion of pagan-matri archal Orientalism with sacred Christianity and incipient hum anism was perhaps needed fo r Bellini's brush to retain the traces of a m arginal experience. He also con­ tributed a com pletely new elemen t : the lum inous density of color (the . every artist tries his hand. A unique biographical experience and an uncomm on. but within this representation itsel f. Bellini's work is a synthesis of Flem ish landscape painting. are attributed to him or to his school . Not only is a considerable portion of pictorial art devoted to m otherhood. but rarely with equal success . Approxim ately two hundred and twenty paintings. prefiguring two destinies within the very economy of Western representa­ tion. basically on sacred topics.

In 1 506. but his wife Ginevra Bocheta died y oung. Leonardo tu rned t oward the sciences. t hey often neglect what this manner im plies as t o pict orial experim entation. we h ave the typical configu ration o f a hom osexual structure. his brother. which determ ined t h e young m a n ' s interest i n art . first. He was the official painter for the Ducal Palace. He was m arried. he complied only when assisted by his disciples. A nne and the Mona Lisa. Persuaded by pre­ cocious seduction and dou b le m other hood of the existence of a maternal phallus. the effect . passionately k issing the illegiti­ m ate child). Bellini's discretion stands in contrast t o t he profusion of information and biographical notes left behind by his you nger contem porary.244 M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D l 1': G TO BE i. His father was the painter J acopo Bellini. int roduced volu me into the b ody and into the painting. finally. and it is u ncert ain whether he mar­ ried again. Leo­ nardo Da Vinci ( 1 452-1 5 1 9). they also neglect to observe it d own to the m ost minute details of the painting's surface. Leonardo was raised in his fat her's fam ily by his stepm ot her. n o subj ective writings. the painter never s topped looking for fe tish equivalents in the bodies of young people. Thus. Freud could maintain that Leonard o ' s "artistic personality" was form ed. by the precocious seduction h e was supposed t o have experienced at the hands of his m other (the vampire t ai l o f his dream s would represent the t ongue of his m other.IN! initial technique of o i l painting. The fat her finally trium phed over the drawing power o f t h e mot her. by a double m o therhood (taken from his m other. in his miserly wor- . and t hen t hey disappear.i. but worse. The spoors of his l i fe leave a discret e i m print. o f shadows a n d brightness t h a t . in his fr iendships with them. a n d near the end of his life. the painter Gentile Bellini . m ore so t han t h e discovery o f perspective. who had no children o f her own). which w a s already being m a stered). Bellini him self left us no words. second. Relying on biographical evidence and on paintings as narrative as Virgin and Child with St. refusing t o do so. by the impressive authority o f an o ffice­ holding father. in Bellin i ' s m a nner. H istorians of art em phasize. Diirer called him the best of pain ters. but the paintings executed in that capacity were destroyed. We must read him through his pai nting. We have almost no biographical details: a nearly perfect d i scretion. and fi n ally. He was urged b y I sabella d ' Este t o paint pagan motifs but he backed out. His broth er-in-law was the painter A ndrea M antegna. as did his son.

and they are supported by t h e story of Leon ardo' s life t h a t was brought out by Freud." I 245 ship of obj ects and m oney. torturing. desti ned to give the effect of representable.i '. an intimate of Power. herself furtively m ascu line. and architectural ex perimentation. who rem ains the real focus of pictorial space and narrative interes t. but it dram at ically affects a desire that is im possible to satisfy by an abunda nce of obj ects. and in his avoidance of all contact with and access to the fem inine body . As long as t here is father. or another' s . all chrom atic. which ceaselessly excite and disappoint. both earlier and later. and gratifying the artist subj ect within its practice. a m agisterial Lord. He goes in quest of fan tasies that insure any group's cohesion. Next comes the staging of psychological episodes centered in the desire for a b ody-his. But when Narcissus is thus sheltered and dominated . They can be found elsewhere. I. releasing. a child's." G TO B E I . he reveals the phallic influence operat­ ing over everyone's im aginary. A nne. Leo­ nardo turns to his symbolic power. both in his biography and his . u ndergoes a figuration wherein it is reduced to a simple. this kind of structure unfail­ ingly entails a hum anist realism . infantile j ouissance that must never be reproduced. there i s a fetishism of the body and an extrem e refinement of the t echnique of representation by resem ­ blance. identical with that of the M o na Lisa. Tak e for exam ple Leo­ nardo's Virgins : Madonna with the Carnation and Virgin and Child with St . Within t he economy o f representation. First. technical device. desirable. bodies. eclipsing m at ernal imprint . or behaviors.

! O T l l E R ll O O D A C C O R D I '. "Baby is my goal. the lim it of an archaic. Such an attitude incites pleasure. The fu ndamental traits o f Renaissance pai nting em erge in such a vision. and I k n ow it all"-such is the sl ogan of the m other as master. There we find the enigmatic smile. even when a mot her figures at the center of the painting. fe tishistic forms. threatening. Finally. face and torso im pulsively turn t oward the male infant . it is he t hat makes her exist. She established the child's diffident na rciss ism and cu lt of the m asculine body which he ceaselessly painted. with naive tenderness. he can become the privileged ex plorer of secondary repression . His was a forbidden m other because she was the primordial seducer. but with him better than with others. luminous. The m aternal figure is com­ pletely absorbed with her baby. he st ops the gap in repression and surges t owards scient i fic knowledge rather t han investigating through graphic arts the pleasure-anguish within u ncon­ sci ous form ations.

Commenta tors are puzzled. out side the paternal household. the very economy of representat ion. N or d oes i t explain-and this is m o st crucial-why Anna's last will. painting divided into form ­ object s. But that does not explain why Giovanni. passion for obj ects. The artist. A m ong this m achine's resources figure the un­ touchable m other and her ba by. are fitted into place by virtue of the themes of m otherhood.obj ect. and others. m asterable objects. who held t h e position of Seigniorial pai nter before G iovanni. was living alone in 1 459. Raphael. According to Vasari.U N i painting. delighting in im ages and capitalizing on artistic m erchandise. but of one wh o is the universal and nonet h eless com plex-ridden center confronting that ot her funct ion. a veritable p roof of the deduct ions that biographical information only suggested . 1 4 7 1 . It is no accident t h a t the m ajor segm ents of this econ omy. son of J acopo. at San Lio in Venice. within reach o f his eye and hand. unlike his brot her and sister. displays this always and everywhere unaccom pl ished art o f reproducing bodies and sp aces as graspable. after Nicolosia ( M antegna's wife ) and G entile. underage to be sure. causes and effects come together a n determ ine beyond the details of his li fe and t h e themes of his paintings. J acopo' s wife Anna Rinversi recorded in her will the birth of a fi rst-born son. in some pain ti ngs. or the m other ( M ona Lisa and the Virgi n ) . Yet. Bellini. and thus should have b een born in 1 426.246 M O T ll E R U O O D A C C O R D I N G TO BEi. j ust as t h ey appear in the paint­ ings of Leonardo. They are the eye and hand o f a child. If Giovan ni was born before this date. Both Belli ni' s enigm atic biography and the t echnique of his paint ings suggest a di fferent interpretation. But they seem well supported by the paintings. the woman's body. he must have been either an il legitimate child or t h e son o f Jacopo or Anna by a previ ous marriage. dated N ovem ber 2 5 . Are we in fact dealing with projections m ade possible by our uncertain knowledge? Perhaps. painting-obj ect s: the series rem ains open t o centuries of obj ect­ oriented and figurable libido. which carries the appropriation o f obj ects to its lim it: science. in 1 429. Body-obj ects. regardless o f its referen t . as servant of the m at ernal phallus. Gi ovanni appears third after J acopo and G entile. which was t o determine Western man's vision for four centuries to com e. This hypothesis is corroborated m ost convinci ngly by Giovanni's soci al standi ng in relation to G entile. Other biographers insist that Vasari was wrong and that Gi ovanni was the you ngest child. does . died a nonagenarian in 1 5 1 6.

as the honorable Leonardo's wife replaced Leonardo's real mother: Anna knew not hing of the painter of M adonnas.': I 247 not list him among the chil dren heirs. or nowhere in particular. b ecause. up above. separating the bodies of infant and m other in his paintings. he was t h e son of a father: he bore his father's name. nor by the distribution of colored blocks outlining corporeal volu mes. giving credence to speculations concerning an illegitim ate birth or obscure mar­ riage. neither through the portrayed corporeal contact. but without "her"-without eyes or vision-an . But even if we do remain incredu­ lous in the face of biographical lack and com mentat ors' perplexity. So it seem s that Anna Rinversi did not recognize herself as G iovanni's mother. a sweet j ubila­ t ion where she is not. face. if not hostility. M aternal space is there. abandoned. beyond narrative. unlike the mother's solicitude in Leonardo's paint ings t oward the baby-obj ect of all desire. M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D I I\ G TO B E L LJ '. Gi ovanni also finished some o f Gentile's paintings. and puzzling. beyond lived ex perience and biography-in short. from the neck up. As i f t here were a maternal function that. was m erely ineffable j ouiss ance. but never centers it in the baby. Even though the hands clasp the child and bodies sometimes hug each other. beyond figuration. the bi ographical outline. let us also behold the dist ance. dead. Anna does not seem to have replaced the "real" m ot her. the maternal b ody not covered by draperies-head.flees the paint ing. The faces of his M adonnas are turned away. this inaccessible peace colored with melancholy. 3 Such is the situation. a loss of identity. and eyes. is gripped by someth ing other than its object. intent on something else that draws t heir gaze to the side. attracting. N icolosia and Gentile. Gentile let him have the position of Seigniorial painter when he left for Constantinople. He was also a brother. beyond psy­ chology. Was he precociously weaned fr om an illegit imate. greeting t h e viewer who confronts the work of this painter of m otherhood above all other t opics. or concealed genetrix? D oes this point to the disavowal of a "sin" com mitted beyond the law's purview and of which Giovanni was the result? Whatever the truth may be. the m other is only partially present (hands and torso). It rather seem s as t h ough he sensed a shat tering. And the painter as baby can never reach this elsewhere. But we have no di rect access t o i t . beyond discourse. worked in his studio. and carried on his painterly tradition. I ndeed. nevertheless---fas­ cinating. But the m other is absent-the m other has been lost.

and light break away from the them e (always banal. within the very space of the lost-u nrepresentable-forbidden j ouissance of a hidden mother. not as it is confronted with a woman-"body" or woman-"subject . the sudden brightness in turn opening up color itself-a last con­ trol of v ision. J acopo. in the Louvre. dead.. canonical. The Funeral of the Virgin. (Jacopo's real fervor.) Only h i s s o n Giovanni w a s able t o awaken this m other. situated beyond the law. the juxtaposition of fu ll t ones. And yet. . toward dazzling light. thus instilling a symbolic life less into t h e fa ther's sexual obj ect than into its undiscovered j ou issance. implying that t hey are the real. First. Given Bellini's profusion of virginal images. t h rough the i n fluence of his son-in-law M antegna. no elaborate individualization). less by its t heme than by t h e architectonics of a mountain colored in watery tones against which the saint stands. neither dignit ary nor lawyer. the lim itless volume resolving into a contrast of "hots" and "colds" in an architecture of pure color. U N I infinitesimal division o f col or and space rhythmically produce a peculiar. For it was from h i s fa ther that G iovanni t ook his first lessons in spatial liberation and sacred paint­ ing. determ ines that fa scination. seemed t o reside in arch itectural innovation. obj ectless goal o f the painting. G iovanni wanted to surpass his father. unlike the m ot her. fervently pursued architecture (see his drawings for Jesus and the Doctors. st aggering. Giovanni Bellini could reach it only by fol lowing the spoors o f the fat her who. we m ight be tempted t o think that the absent . serene joy. he paints her as if carried a long by the mo m entum of Byzantine canon . " but as it is confronted with the very function of j ouissance. But the search appears wherever color. Christ before Pilate. etc. constructed volume. The Ecstasy of Saint Francis best su ms up this search for jouissance. I n fact. was always present in the real as well as the sym bolic life of the painter. and mute mother.248 MOTH E R HOOD A CC O R D I N G T O B E i . seduc­ ing the child through a lack of being. To touch the mother would be t o possess this presumed j ouissance and to make it visible. Yet the dull seriou sness of his m ot herhood scenes cast him as blind to the m other. it could even be a Taoist painting. his Madonna and Child paintings in the Correr Museum). Who holds this jouissance? The folds of colored surfaces. beyond its own density. all are monumental displays o f Rom anesque or Gothic architect ure) and venerated conven­ tional notions of Byzantine m ot herhood (cf. with no psychol ogy.

which stands instead of the j ouissance of both sexes . a space of fundam ental unrepresentabi lity t oward which all glances n onetheless converge. etc. he depri ves i t o f any right to a real existence (there is noth ing " fem inist" in Bellini's action). The point is to reach the threshold of repress ion by means of the iden tification with m otherhood (be it as heterosexuality or symbolic incest). which is insu rm ounta- . psycho­ logical. U n failingly. Giovanni could share in this both m aternal and paternal j ouissance: He aspired to becom e the very sp ace where father and mother m eet. which provides motherhood. but one floa ting over a lum inous background. and s ocial figures. a kind of possession of the m other. not even sounds." This experience. object-libidio. with a langu age. we must also work intently upon primal repression. is arrayed. A kind of incest is then committed. MOTHERHOOD A C C O R D l !' G TO B E L i . only to di sappear as parental. although in doing so. He thus makes evident this always-already-past conditional of the ma ternal fu nction.) is a fet ishized im age. the result o f this attitude (moth er-child representat ion. object. we no longer hear words or meanings. seem s to dem and a consum­ ing of the het erosexu al relat ionship. alone impassa­ ble. In any case. to reach this threshold where m a ternal j ouissance. If we see this t h reshold in a painting. a primal scene where genitality disso lves sexual identification beyond their given di fference. we need a relati onship t o the m ot her ot her than that of the fet ishistic. This is how break ing through prim al repression. ma rketable paint ing. The converse. was t o b e spelled out within t h e individual's biographical matrix. i !' ! 249 But then. Bellini penetrates through the being and language of the fa ther to position him sel f in the p lace where the m other could have been reached . det ectable in Bellini's painti ngs. the heterosexuality of this part icular economy refers only t o t h e speci fic relationship bet ween t h e subject and h i s ident ity-the possi­ bility of going through sign. and m ost importantly. we have here a different con figu ration of artistic practice cont rolling a di fferen t economy of representation. h owever. and obj ect-libido in order to t ap and sem iotize even the most m inute displacements in those i n s tinctual pressures that m ark the dividing line between the species and its lan­ guage. d oes not hold t rue. that mute border. (But in order to see it. he does accord it a sym bolic status. as described earlier and evidenced by the psychological dram a or its aesthetic sublim ation. evoking an "in ner experience" rather than a referential "object.

a n d h e r " D ormi­ tion" comes to Western Christianity fr om the Orthodox Catholic Church. M ary takes on again the potential authority of a Greek goddess (despite the writers' cl aims to the cont rary). The only . sanctioned by the themes of her " D ormition" or Assumption. Plunged int o a loss of signs. It strained biblical and evangelical interpret ation to m a k e i t seem as i f t h e rites were d erived from these texts. Bellini was their precu rsor. J ohn o f Dam ascus (late seventh. " ' I n general. It burst forth as a cry only after having gone through colors and lu m i nous spaces. it reappears only in the work of certain m odern painters ( Ro t h ko. A T R AJ E C T O R Y FROM M A D O NN A TO VE N U S I N T H E N U DE T h e practice of honoring Christ ' s M other. Bellini's paintings h ave a common denominator in sacra con versazione. " " Your h earing is m ortal. which succeeded in annexing the Oriental rites of m ot h er god­ dess and fecundity. we fi nally come upon deliverance: " A nd tell why the sweet symphony of Paradise Which below sounds so devou t l y I s silent i n this heave n . " t herefore there is n o song here. ) As in t h e saturnine sk ies of Dante's Paradise. which appears as o fficial doctrine in the writings of theologians such as St.O G T O B E L l . at the end of Canto X X I . early eighth century). h i s N ativity. But with what loss o f j ou issance ! As such. I t is there that the " sacred" scene of t h e Western World has been knotted and arrested. For t h e same reason Beatr ice has no smile. l i k e y o u r vision. achieving the progress with which we are all familiar. trapped as he was in an epoch fraught with divergent trends. a loss o f the seducing figure (the com passionate or laughing mother). M atisse) who rediscovered the technique of eclipsing a figure in order to have color p roduce volume. t h e voice here is silen t . Byzantine apocrypha of the sixth through ninth centuries confirm this tendency.250 MOTH E R H O O D A C C O R D l :-." H e answered m e. It was soon to be replaced by hum anism and rational k n owledge. In t hese texts. I N I ble-m aking t h e task a s tempt ing as it is risk y . as if t h ey had always been inscribed in them.

which was a link between a body and ascet ic rigor. ladder (of J acob). rigid iconographic canon. in Ezekiel's vision)-dwelling. liv­ - ing area. the Sopacani frescoes in Serbia. t o the extent that. produced neither mother nor even goddess. and M oslem and Romanesque tendencies in iconography. although a m an (but like a woman?) he belongs to the Father. bu t rather a s tyle of representation t h at shift ed from hum an figures to austere idealization with n o gap or separation b etween the two. ornamentation. the Venetian Republic enlarged the economic grip o f its position as t rue colonial empire and am assed artistic influ ences from Europe and the Orient . ergas t erion privileged space. This style. Venetian Gothic style was thus shaped before the arrival o f Florentine . a rather "unfem inist" M aster Eckhart em phasized M ary's assimilation to Christ. she is thus seen as a union. heleousia in Greek) apparent in Our Lady of Vladimir ( 1 1 25. Confronting Byzantiu m . G iotto.1 1 30). Later. and these functions m ake of her a metaphor fo r the Holy G host. without separation. elim inated the distance between her son and hersel f. t he inaccessible grandeu r of the earlier M adonnas gave way to the already humanist com passi on (um ilenie in Russian. did not waver or lose any o f its abstract rigidity until Byzantium's importance began t o wane in the twel ft h century (the time of the Fourth Crusade. and others. Another quite revealing Orthodox conception of the Virgin defines her as ep"(a. M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D I N G TO B E L LI N I 25 1 human not to die. sculpture. virginal face to a m u ltitude of figures set in a composition oriented t oward an i ncreas­ ingly elaborate architecture (cf. this famed maniera greca that invaded I taly and influenced Guido da Siena. €Xwvuza. The twel fth century witnessed the transition fr om a single. in short . and building construction. which relied on graphic rigor t o delineate blocks of dark colors.. she revived in body and/or spirit (this point varies according to interpreters) and in so doing. a contact withou t gap. the assertion of southern Slavic peoples. I t was thus a transformed Bysantine artistry. by asserting t h at M ary is only the im age (fantasy?) of Christ him self.uThpzov. Among these figured Gothic architecture. Cim abue. or door (of the Tem ple. The formal. She can be seen in the countless icons that proliferated out of the Orient and steadfastly served as models for I talian art . 1 26 5 ) . A t that point. and the M usulman invasion of Asia M inor). justified by the Assum ption. Ducci o. Flem ish landscape painting.

the citystate was beginning to lose i t s hegem ony and t o turn t oward t he "terra firma" of I t aly. Byzantine's influence prevailed. and thus open ing itself up to t h e influences of antiquity. there is a Venetian Republic. toward a renascent realism . Between the two. These lead all o f Venice. between the sacred serenity of old religion and the political and cultural upheaval on the day. and perhaps due to the consequences of foreig n-pol icy fa ilures. I n painting. At the same t ime. controlled by the D oges. Simi­ larity. and espe­ cially A ntonello da M essina who passed on to G i ovanni Bellini t h e art o f oil painting. Bullfighting and another fascinating game in which cats go at the pates of bald men incited as m uch interest and probably more cathartic angu ish than t he feasts o f Saint M ark. we have the deeply rooted persistance of the Byzantine u niverse. fo r example. Carnival eclipsed Assum ption i n im portance. t hanks to. nevertheless. The cu l t of the State became the supreme et hical value and its autonomy vis­ a-vis the Church grew. L! N l humanism . Nevertheless.252 MOTH E R H O O D ACCORDING TO B E ! . Paolo Veneziano adhered t o it until after 1 3 50. increasing influence o f the lay court s. a n d Corpus Christi combined. New Mores: The impoverished pat rician class produced hoodlu m s who chased nuns and adolescen t s so regularly that courtesans began to com­ plain o f being neglect ed. alien implantations: M a ntegna's supposedly N ordic rigidity but also his Roman architectural experience. acting in the name of everyone). t h e Ascension. in fr ont of and u nder Bellini's brush. Thus. There were. fo r exam ple. under pressu re from the Turks. · was not sacred. P atrician ladies next became aroused. since i t was elective (even if only by one part icular class. welcoming the Greek sch olars who were fleeing M oslem dominion. sym bolic as it was. that the o ften realist and popu lar piety of the people and even the clergy never diminished is clearly evident in the m any reliquary celebrations and religious fe stivals of the time. including t h e Bellini fam ily and notably Gentile. Venice changed ethics at the same time it changed aesthetics. As a divide between Byzantium and humanism . and on th e other the awakening and growing influence of continental hum anism . Yet a consciousness of eco­ nomic and religious com munal unity persisted. demand­ ing of the Pope the right to wear richly ornamented clothing and j ewelry . whose p ower. . on the one hand. popu lar involvement in governm ent declined to the extent that the term " Venetian Commune" soon fe ll into disuse.

Christ's A gony in the Garden. Such novelty is certainly surprising. as if the son's dea t h were supposed to provide a necessarily t ragic and human rendition of this indeterm inate passion­ anguish-melancholy-j o y giving iridescence to the serenity of the m at ernal body. based on the theme of Christ ' s Passion and displaying a M antegnesque organization of color and landscape ( The Dead Christ in the Sepulchre. Such is the course o f Bellini's endeavor. Paris). the theme of Christ's death often a p pears coupled with the N at ivity t h eme. London). New York). who abandoned Reason and Will for the glory of fem ale nudity-a rom ance illustrated by woodcuts of yet u n precedented eroticism . a student of the m aster iconographers m u st have resembled a contem p orary interpreter of Bach fa ced with the onslaught of pornography. M oreover. N at ional Gallery. Such tragic manifestation of a son's deat h and the p lacid exaspera­ tion of his m ot her are best u nited in the eyes o f J esus. a series of crucifixions. Painted with . is firm ly settled within the theme of m otherhood. But the apotheosis of the sacred's slide toward voluptuousness is without doubt Hypnerotomachia Poliphili ( 1 499). Louvre. as the color blue collap ses into light. the M adonnas dating from 1450 to 1 4 60 ap pear coldly distant and impassive. Cont act between m o t her and child is by the tips of fingers alone. Her contem plat ive look borders on sadness as i f the baby were already crucified (A doring Madonna before Her Sleeping Child. it is not com p letely anti­ thetical to what p recedes it. but not shock ing. A bridge does ex ist between the two experiences. The theme of m otherhood reappears in his work between 1 4 5 5 and 1 460. att ribu t ed to a Dom inican monk nam ed Fra ncesco Colonna. Confronted with the subsequent deluge of nudity and eros. Jerome. but it must b_e found. M et ropo litan M u seum . Ven ice). M O T H E R II O O D ACCORDING TO B E L LI N I 253 New Ideas: T h e Petrarchian a n d Neo-Platonist Pietro Bembo arranged for Bellini to undertake a comm ission from I sabelle d ' Este to paint pagan scenes and thus spread the Florentine doctrine unseating virgin m ot h erhood in favor o f carnal love as the true beginning of any spiritual ascent toward God. Civico Museo Correr. this t i m e with an accent on the ma ternal hands. in Christ Blessing the People ( 1 460. M ilan. M u seo Poldi Pezzoli. b arely em erging out of Byzant ine canon (Mother with Child and St. D etroit). I n fact. A fter a few initial paintings in an iconographic style and in the m anner of his fat her ( The Crucifixion.

nearly distressed at having m issed an ex perience that nothing embodies. This split character of the maternal body has rarely been so clearly brought forward. of M antegn a ' s sim ilar painting. who t ries in vain to loosen her grip (Madonna and Child. all constitute a st ange m odesty. There is a shiver of anguish and fear in the child's hand. Perhaps a brutal. Amsterdam and Berlin) (figure 6). We have a striking cleavage of the mat ernal body. whose illuminated face alone is revealed . The climax of this series is the Madonna and Child in Bergamo (figu re 8). the folds of the virginal gown separate this little dram atic theater from the maternal body. All the while. and h er cheek s radiating peace. On one side t h e m other' s hands h o l d t hei r obj ect tightly (could i t b e t h at. Correr M u seum) (figu re 7) or rest on his sexual member (National G allery. her noneth eless definite pleasure.1 464). precisely because of the arrangem ent of bodies) the theme of . Brera). I s this an archaic mem ory of m aternal seduction. Although still possessive. Madonna and Child. with a Flem ish countryside fo r back drop. There is a cru shing hug. in h e r relationship to the child.1 464) ( figure 9) is considered by some today t o be the model. dreamy peasan t faces. the mother experiences the sym biotic clinging syndrome?). they bear witness to a maternal appropriation of t h e child. as i f the child were merely a displaced witness. New H aven .2 54 M O T ll E R l l O O D ACCORDING TO B EL L I N I austere a n d graphic precision. which grips the m ot h er's thumb. unshakable in its intim acy. a recollec­ tion of the hand whose pr ecocious. t ak i ng his m other's hands along on his body. alone of all his peers. H er characterless gaze fleeting un der her downcast eyelids. It presents with less narrative suggest ion (but n o Jess clearly. frees himself violently. al ready sexual caresses are m ore th reatening than com forting? I n the following years ( 1 460. on the ot her. a spotlight thrown on a dram atic narrative. a tussle between a possessive mother and her child. The Presentation in the Temple ( 1 460. they now shift toward the child's buttocks (Madonna and Child. we see the softened. biographical separation from a com­ plicity as striking as su ffocating and an inaccessible recollection that keeps lurking behind the cu rtain were all necessary for Bellini to accom­ plish the task . rather than a copy. Aggressive hands prod the stom ach and penis of the frightened baby. Washington. who. doubtlessly d u e to M antegna's i n fluence. the m other's hands rem ain at the center o f the painting bringing its miniature dram a to a head.

B E L L I N I . MA D O NNA A ND CHIL D. R ij k smuseu m . . D ETA I L Amsterdam . M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D I N G TO B E LI J N I 255 F IG U R E 6 .


M O T H E R H O O D A C C O R D I N G TO B E i . B E L L I N I . U N i 2 57 FIGU R E 8. ACCA D E M I A C A R RA RA . MA D O NNA A ND CHILD. . B E RG A M O.

the sym biosis of the two a ppears to allow no possible separation. . but within this pictorial experience. flesh against flesh. the baby will obviously be separated from its m other. a twin body.S U A L . On the right at a slight dist ance. Brera). According to law. Their embrace evokes the embrace binding the dead Christ to the bosom of his mother. LA PRESENtAZIONE DI it. · . The Virgin is holding and lifting her swaddled child.U N i F IG U R E 9 . while Saint John waits slightly to the side (Dead Christ Supported by his Mother and Saint John. sur­ rounded by other men. branches of the same trunk. D ETA I L V E N I C E . an old m an. ·. m other/child separat ion. holds out his arms to receive the baby.258 MO T l-I E R H O O D A C C O R D I NG TO BEi. who adheres to the hollow of her body. . skin against skin. On the left stands t h e com ­ munity of women. TIEMPO d � E: P R E S E NT A T I O N IN T H E T E M P LE). B E L L I N£. which she does not proffer. G A L LE R I A Q U E R I N I STA M P A L I A .

It appears as t hough this aggressivity were rising to the m ot her's throat .1 490). combining retention and instinctual drive. Academy Museum. Y et. enigm atic fe atures of the Bergam o Madonna (which the child is fleeing) now reverberate in the ret icent Madonna with Two Trees ( 1 487. perhaps. so to spea k . calm appearance of the Madonna with Two Trees. MOTH E R H O O D A C C O R D I N G TO B ELLINI 259 A long and fru itful period of spatial experimentation in triptychs. Venice) or in the Madonnas of Luga no or Sao Paolo). I t seem s as if Bellini had t o experience. The beaming. Florence) and landscape (Madonna and Blessing Child. transforms the form er dist a nce-pleasure balance into distance-anguish. which was essentially m aternal. a representation in the plastic arts of the disengagement of the painter from an im age-from the I m age. the split between m o ther and child becomes thematically as well as concretely accentuated. the painter oriented his int erest. b etter to approach the ineffable j ouissance t ranscending the m ot her . and thereby. Air (A doring Madonna and Child. repeating the char acteristics of earlier m aternal paintings with the exception. It is. or hurt. . mist rustful. " And the sacred. Frick Collection. The "possessive mother" of the previous peri od m oves toward the representa­ tion of a "hostile mother. and collective scenes followed this forced separation. it is she who appears ready to flee. b u t especially t o surpass. London. Venice) abound to the extent that the m aternal embrace loosens its vise. the series of portraits). 1 475-80. Contini Bonacossi. Alm ost serious. St. In the next series of pai n t ings ( 1 480. New York) is probably the most striking example of this m ovement from figuration t oward pure spatialization o f color. if not a hostile side-glance canceling the always protected. and second and forem ost. Representations of M adonna and Child accom pany these spatial investi­ gations. that distance is more firmly marked into the painting. Academy G alleries. in fact . but. probably disappointed. toward positioning a basically minim alized body within landscapes or structures that are always architecturally structured. altar pieces. t oward representing other im ages than that of the m ot her and sacred su bj ects (cf. During this period. it is the infant that abruptly reveals it when. t he trau m a o f maternal seduct ion i n order t o insert sp ace into h i s organizat ion of chrom atic m arkings. National G allery. first. Francis in Ecstasy ( 1 480 and 1 485. what fills her is less an inaccessible placidity than a certain stiffness.



t r ansparent yellow. but. Tend­ ing toward pure light. supported by the power of its own chrom atic composi tion. Through his frequent use of altar pieces and by positioning the m aternal throne in his paint ings u nder architectural vaults. Bellini's colors demon strate t h at even what always remains multihued an d com pact figuration inevitably floats in empty space. Bellini can in reality replace the radiant or angu ished m a t ernal face. relativizing the importance of figuration. it seem s to open up infinitely t oward another spatiality that n o longer needs delineation or stratification. or even useless. Angelic musicians are present . Bu t there is also a soaring movem ent beyond this over­ fu llness perfectly m astered through realistic represen tation. These are the limits o f representation. gives way in turn to differentiation within chrom atic m atter it sel f.262 M OT H E R H O O D A C-C O R D I N G T O B EL LI N I a n d the green l andscape o f the backgrou nd. rounding out near the top. and other increasingly realistic and numerous characters multiply the frontal surfa ce of the painting. Perhaps it would be im possible. As in D ante's eighth circle of heaven. Behind them . Venice). the painter set s himself off from his work . it seem s t o fl oat luminously. From a di stance. Precisely by means o f such a chromatic outcome. Saints. producing a sense of space. which echo and attenuate the folds of her cape. attained th rough a saturat ion of o bj ects and architecture. Child. and it is orchestrated foll owing the great est blossom ing of lum inous space. t he shout has burst t hrough. caught in the grips of primal repression (even if its im age persists in his paintings) with a subtle d i fferentiation of vision and of what is figurable and iden t i fiable (cf. Venice) . or pl aced more appropriately into a real architectural setting. illuminated by a dark . Yet. Whether in the Madonna. as in the triptychs of the Churches of Santa M aria <lei Frari ( 1 488) and San Zac­ caria ( 1 505). to search for the biographical l andmarks of this j ourney leading fr om the "iconographic" . but also of geom etrical framework. t his juxtaposition of colored masses. the viewer ' s eye scans from t op to bottom a m ot her who is projected from the painting but who does not dom inate. music can henceforth be heard. which he himself has sculpted or painted. and A ngelic Musicians ( 1 487. Madonna with the Child Jesus and Sain ts Catherine and Magdalene. Academy Galleries. the b ackground su rface curves arou nd the group. The total space of the painting thus seem s to u n fold into three planes. Academ y Galleries. Bellini produces the same spatial out­ look.

in order to com plete t h e investigation of a ravishing m aternal jouissance but also of its t errorizing aggressivity. he recorded the dowry of his wife G inevra Bocheta. Then did Ginevra die at that time? I n any case. and finally. J 263 m other to the fascinating m other-seductress.1 509). in order.' the little st rangler in Sao Paolo. Between these two dates the child's birth m u st have occurred. in order someh ow to admit the threat that the m ale feels as much fr om the p ossessive m aternal body as from his separation fr om it-a threat t h at he immediately returns to that body. A ft er the painter's "m ysterious" birth. His newly acqu ired and soon lost fam ily and paternity reversed the idealized notions of a Byzantine and greatly seductive mot her of the years 1450 to 1 4 80. In 1 48 5 . and then. the im agery of full. the Academ y G al leries in Venice. it produced the ecstasy of Saint Francis. from 1 4 80 until 1 500. carries on and perfects Bellini's m astery of the style .'. set off by a background of ecstatic green color. when Alvise died ten years later in 1 499. he was already orphaned of his m other. and in 1 489. there rem ains. Ginevra lists a son Alvise as heir i n her will. if they did not lead to. M OT H E R H O O D A C C O R D I N G TO B E U J :-. m i m etic. although always coexisten t wit h. the upheaval involving both the psychology of M otherhood and his sty le. During the same years between 1 4 80 and 1 490 that m ark the transform ation of m ystery. and true signs. the j ouissance on the border o f primal repression. one intriguing biographical fact that may be sign i ficant. figuration. this fascination changed into the feelings o f controlled hostility or disappointment eviden t in the Madonna with Two Trees or the divisive vengeance :. without maternal m e diation. capable of capturing her speci fic im aginary j ouissance. not t o demystify the mot her. Bellini's fa m i lial and paternal experiences along with the deaths of his wife and son accom­ panied. passing through a t hreatening and fleeing m other to the lum inous space where she surro­ gates hersel f. Giovanni married and had a son. Sao Paolo. beyond. but to find h er an increasingly appropriate l anguage. and the m other-child narrative into a search for space and light encircling and dominating them . however. One will recall that t h e M a­ donnas in Lugano. including the M adonna in Det roit ( 1 500. I n the fifteen years between 1 48 5 and 1 499. finally. It is as i f paternity were necessary in order to relive the archaic i m pact of the maternal body on man. The final series o f motherhood paintings. and the church at Frari were painted a fter his m arriage.

carnal passion as supreme grace. . The infant's body. Christopher panel of the Saint Vincent Ferrer polyptych ( 1 464. San Giovanni e Paolo. converging perspect ive. once it has arrived a t i t s luminous. The infant J esus n ow clings t o a saint with m ore dramatic confidence than h e ever displayed for any of the M adonnas. Church of Saint John Chrysostome. and P olyphilus's dreams? Bellini accepted secular or pagan commissions (portraits. alleg orical studies. Venice). He yielded to fashion and probably to his patrons. parallel and close t o hers. The m ot her's fa ce again fa lls into calmness/absence.1 468. present only to justify this cleaved space. or spect acle? What happens t o i t in a Venice just discovering antiquity. or in t he Saint Christ opher Child J esus couple i n Saints Chris topher. Washington). But his ret icence t owards the new was shown when he procrastinated on Isabella d' Este's request despite Bembo's i ntervention on her beha l f and even though his patron eventually asked m erely for a simple presepio-an adoration of the shepherds which lent itself to a sacred-secular mixture. Jerom e [or Saint J ohn C hrysost ome?] and A ugustin e ( 1 5 1 3 ). when he painted The Feast of the Gods ( 1 5 1 4 . Is not the o bj ect-oriented libido always m asculine? What becomes of this m ovement t h r ough m aternal jouissance. fr ontal perspective and a d eeper. privileged space and living area. M oreover. humanism. figure. N onetheless. and it includes obvious strokes by Titian. Bembo's theories. colored im print. and so on). psychological passion between adult and child seem s to be displaced fr om woman t oward a m an. h owever. as may be seen i n the St.2 64 M OT H E R H O O D A C C O R D I N G TO B E L IJ N I h e created bet ween 1 480 and 1 500. paintings lost i n the Ducal Palace fire. sometim es splitting into di fferent scenes. The maternal figure increasingly appears as a modu le. the fem ale b ody. figures increase in number and land­ scapes extend deeper into the painting. that is. devoid of object. a process. she i s again the ep'Yaudpwv (ergasterion). Light inundat es the canvas. nonetheless appears m ore easily separa­ ble. t h ose partak ing in t he feast still have the awkward appearance of guests at a carnival. always divided by a central curtain or one covering t wo-thirds of the canvas on one side. thus producing two different perspectives: a shallow. the very human. Venice). but its style is already that of G iorgione. drea ms o f an unsignifiable experience.

two-thirds fabric panel . Rather. it is still the unique light of Bellini's style. not in the obj ect-for-ot hers th at is the i n fant. to encounter itself. spark ling in its matter and through interplay with its counterpart. rest raint persists along with a kind o f sta te­ ment of insurm ou ntable limits: "This is how it is. revealing by ricochet her fa ce and neck . careful t o fragment sp ace as much as possible by following the refr act ion of light rays. there appears a crack d own the shadowed frontal part of the canvas. producing a bend in the representa­ tion and engendering a third space. instead of the trad itionally clad m other in the foregrou nd. Detroit). Her face comes fr om the Madonna with Blessing Child ( 1 509. surrou n ding the body of the N u de. sheltered by shadows against a luminous background landscape. we h ave the nudity of a full-bodied young woman. which is easily differentiated fr om the m asses of light carving up the bodies and volumes in the canvases of other contem porary painters. Even though the style is Giorgione's and the body radiates n o less sensu ality than do the paintings of Bellini's young disciple. the Madonna with Two Saints ( 1 490. melancholic. This device. unique t o Bell ini and especially to this painting. it is not the flesh's iridescence that captures our a t tention. The colored light thus produces curved and open space. The averted. but in the pseudo-obj ect made up by the m i rror itself. And the m i rror can do not hing m ore than to return the gaze. Through the perpendicular juxt aposition of m irrors. M OT H E R H O O D A C C O R D! S G TO B E LLINI 265 The m ost surprising of the paintings of his later years is probably the Venus in Vienna ( l 5 1 5 ). ecst atic." The Virgin h as com e . nor even in the viewer (as the angle of the two m irrors opening towards the viewer might suggest). Academy G alleries. a cir­ cu lar look . I t shares the same division of pictorial space of the last M adonnas: one-third landsca pe. it appears as inverted perspective. N either background nor fo reground. It is a reflexive glance. Face t o face w i t h prim ary narcissism. the com plement ary hues of the shadows. or ret icent gaze of the M adonnas here proj ects from the depths o f the pupils to see i t self. m anifests it sel f even m ore fu lly becau se of the interplay o f mi rrors. but from the luminous treatment of color itself. emanating not from the jux taposit ion of volu mes nor the isolation of form s ( Leonardo's style). But now. Venice). it is the opening of one vista of the painting towards the viewer. m odest. a reversal of the viewer-viewed point of view-enough to make every cubist dream .

1 4 8 5 . essentially tied to obj ects and deeply fet ishistic. in this insta nce the female body. and Roth k o . G T O B E i . h e added his own special discovery. on t he other. In two or three paintings (if we also count the A llegory in the Academ y Ga lleries and the Feast of the Gods in Washington). which nevertheless encountered and revealed his main preoccupation (jouissance)-but in still too t h em atic a m anner. And still. In the end. and skull o f the lower right corner. each with its own volum e. This "sacred" elem ent had long accom panied the im age o f his m aternal bodies. he exhibited a connoisseur's mastery of the subj ect matter equal to that of Giorgione and Titia n . S P A C E S AND G LI M M E R S Saint Francis i n Ecstasy ( 1 480. but also al ready detached from. like a crit ic from the future. there appears another space. Cezanne. what affected it through a Madonna's veils. U N I down from her clothed exile i n a n elsewhere that racked her. unrepresentable. Bellini. fading into sem idarkness at lower right . there is the nude and passably erotic body. clearly conveying to the secu lar world j ust ex actly what wo rked upon it. . the obj ect-oriented ostentation of his time. Each volu m e bends. as it was fr om all representations. fleet ing. On the left. diagonally across from pulpit. But the uncovered woman nevertheless rem ains split. is ty pical of Bell ini's work . m otherly stom ach rem inds us that she is only one point of view. virginal figurations. but whose slack . certainly her own. book. it could not be fully a ppreciated until after Poussin. Frick Collection. an interplay of lights. On the one hand. Through this Woman and Mirror. near the top o f the painting. and a great deal of light suggest the divine presence. which the fashion of his time never let h im display as such : a lumi nous coloration surpassing any representation of the nude body . Yet. entered easily into the sex shop of his age. almost ent irely engu l fed by their m orning glow. his use of light vastly surpasses this them atic. since it was thus engendered by. New Y o r k ) por­ trays the saint against a cascade o f aquam arine volum es. Bellini was fol lowing.266 M O T J·J E R M O O D A C C O R D J :-. a donk ey. where a landscape. since h e at tached it t o a body. the sex shop ful filled its role for the old master. This unfolding of the painting's surface into two planes. now ninety years old. its fundamental entrap­ ment by the m i rror im age.

Yet another spiral balances the first. Saints Catherine and Magdalene ( 1 490. here the cupola effect is produced by the dark color becom ing lu mi nous. up to t h e borders of its complement arity. lower diagonal spiral on the left / centered diagonal spiral near the t op. finds i n its left half a spiral m ovement that surges u pwards. from black . The outline of the robe covering head and rounded shou lders of t h e Virgin gives support to it. near the top center. angular. tormented by the luminous color of each section. until it becomes lost in pure ligh t . t hey are also hom ogenized into a single luminous mass by t he green hues of the foreground and the orange hues of the backgrou nd. where it dazzles. to bright y ellow. und ulating left half-vertical right half. the deep orange of t heir flesh and the rust -maroon tint of t heir hair deepen or fade with each fold. wind­ ing into a green spiral (a hill) in the lower-left foreground. Consequently. This treatm ent of color as such is accentuated by an . But while the triptych's sense of cu rvature is produced by the curved back wall and arched ceiling. producing a sense o f tor­ ment among the represented forms. between two invisible limits. bending space no l o nger arises out of the graphic carving out of the drawing. Yet . M ary 's bluish-green robe. u p per left-hand diagonal/lower right-hand di­ agonal. t oward yellowish-whit e. Academy Galleries. among other elem ents. where color is ex tinguished. constituting the lower right angle o f the backdrop. and the infant ' s u pward gaze suggests it as well-one sees this at once. But the curvature is achieved essentially by t he turning of t h e m ore saturated colors. I n t h e Madonna with t h e Child Jesus. filling the paint­ i ng ' s forms and volum es. Here t h e painting's surface constitutes a vau lt. covered with iridescent colo red masses that bind together this multiple su rface: foreground/ background. breaks. Perhaps the saint's ecst asy is precisely this union between the drawing's im placable fr agm entation and a soft lining encompassing the fragm ents within two m asses of luminous hues: green and orange. running t h rough the spectrum. The brick reds or pur­ ples of the saints' garments. This splitting/laminating of the surface is heightened by. Veni ce). and fragments itsel f separately. seek­ ing itself within its own range. as did the Frari triptych. curving and broken lines. in contrast to the verti­ cality of rock s on the rig h t . within their own hue. G raphic constructions t hat divide. together with infin itesimal di fferent iations within one color. M O TH E R H O O D A CC O R D I N G T O B EL LI N I 2 67 twists. the split/ laminated surface of the painting. There is i nterplay am ong cutting traces.

and red. The brown background is one of Bellini's fu ndamental discoveries. and whites. There are n o bent surfaces and n o domes. It m arks the limits of representation in and for which a few colored-obj ect elem ents condense-unfa ilingly. invisible color. Pure luminosity b athes each figuration. and b lues. Florence). is present in the backgrou n d . including those t h a t firmly m ark the fragmented spaces. here becomes geom etrical. trees. fragmented by outlines but bound together by color. more rational in the painting's foreground. blacks. desert sun . m ountains. hearth. Saints Catherine and Magdalene to create the i m pression of vaulted space. Sat urated with black . greens. results from subdued color m oving across the limits o f its scale to the two ex tremes of the spectru m . from right t o left and m erges into b lue sky at the top center of the painting-flight. as it did in Saint Francis in Ecstasy. m ore G reek . a sparkling medium engendering and suspending bare brightness. t h e tormented graphic nature of form s . and thus allows blinding light to pre­ dominate through the yellows. in lieu of robes. green. and azure opening. however. the com pact ness o f this brown tint inver ts into its opposite-a vague. but so as t o escape a l l the m ore easily-as reds. . reds. the wavelike or broken features of the many planes of the background. as in Madonna with the Child Jesus. and harm onize at the same time. The curved space. Now a l l figural represen tation appears a s a m irage under a yellow. where a terrace railing opens up three sides of a rectangula r volu me in fron t of the viewer. repeating the cu rves of a nude body. U ffizi.268 M O T l-I E R l-I O O D A C C O R D I N G TO B E U 1 N I elliptical placement o f blinding flashes-exposed flesh changing t o yellowish-pink . twist. Because of the dominance of variegated yellows. I n The Sacred A llegory ( 1 490. A high level of sublim ation is reached at the very point where anguish appears-an anguish that nudity m ight otherwise have provok ed and that we call eroticism . It sim ply exis t s as an incandescence within the d om inating orange that lights u p the browns. as well as the regular geometry of the foreground.1 500. as in the u pper curves o f the three women's heads and lower curve of t heir hands and the b aby. The floor is broken u p into red and black squares and hexagons. sky. nor does it burst forth fr om a corner in order to spiral. liquid. hu m an and animal figures. Light here is not engendered. while the tree of life delineates three-fourths of its surface. That reminder o f the graphic space of Sain t Francis in Ecstasy. open u p on i n finity.

If this in terpretation of the painting is correct. sacred and figural journey h a s s h o w n t h a t for Bellini. The th ree women in the painting incorporate t hree a spects of this sacra con verzatione: on the left. and signs are begotten. " As Grace. of j ouiss ance through and within pictorial represen­ tation. and nuances in color and as their endless b o nding toget her. work ing on them. Far from suppressing spatial or color dif­ ferences. If primal repression is just anot her ex pression for prim ary narcissism. and here. w h ich is v iewed m erely as a period or sleep. a secon d figure represents a condensation of Truth and Jus tice. as understood t hrough Bellini. shows t hat prim ary narcissism is the threshold o n which pictorial experience ceases and whence it work s its effects. whence bodies. before she was carried to heaven ( Assumption). Our long biographical a nd historical. J ustice. on the right. Truth. M O Tl l E R M O O D A C T O R D I :\ G TO B E L LI N I 269 This allegorical painting is said to represent Saint Bernard's com m entary on the first fourteen verses of Psalm 84. M ary assu mes the place of the Father. motherhood is nothing m ore t h a n such a luminou s spati alization. then provok­ ing one and the other. The interplay of m irrors confronting the nude Venus. and Peace discuss hum anity's salvation t hrough the I ncarnation. The word originated in the Transitus Maria. the "rest oration o f I srael . m ore precisely. It can only result in a shattering of figu ration and form in a space of graphic lines and colors. d rawings. d i fferentiated until they disappear in pure ligh t . ] 2 . t h e ultim ate language of a jou issance at the far limits o f repression. i dentities. and analyzing them-without ever being able to rem ove them-must be the cause of jouissance. [ E d . " Dorm ition" refers t o the p e r iod or the V i r g i n M a ry's death. a finally nonthreatening Yahweh himself appears. and on the throne. This is the sublim ation of a totalizing power. M aria Aeterna represents Grace and Peace. such harmony distributes them within an open infi nity as integ ration of the limits separating figures. Notes I . pushed to the limits of represent ability: form and color. T h e French w o r d "enceinte" h a s been k ept as the o n l y w a y t o preserve the p u n : . a firth-century Byzan tine apocrypha. we are in fact confronted with a both t hem atic and ch romatic represen tation of harm ony . announcing the arrival of justice and peace.

i N ! "enceinte" i s a protective wall around a town: " fem m e enceinte" i s a preg n a n t woman. [Ed . Viatico per cinque seco/i di Pittura veneziana ( Fl orence: Sansoni. x x 1 . R. G . Dan te. G iovanni Bellini ( M ilan: S i l v a n a . Paradisio.270 M OT H E R H O O D A C C O R D I N G T O B E i . ] 3 . C f. L. Pittura veneta de/ quattro cento ( N ovara : 1 9 5 3 ) . 58-63. 1 9 60). Coletti. L o n g h i . . 4. Fi occo. and ot hers. i . 1 946).

For if death is the Other. who spell out j ouissance and horror. it was forced. nor to strain m eaning by writing the speaking being's identity as fiction. Before Sade and Solzhe­ nitsyn. Reason was thus tran scended by a h eterogeneous elem ent (biology: life) and by a third party (I/you com munication is displaced by it: the child). pp. it might well unsettle the speak er' s paranoid enclosure. Wishing to escape.10. in Polylogue (Paris: Seuil. instead. it turned t oward and became h aunted by childhood. but they do so in a m anner alt ogether different from that in which the obsessed person's wretched consciou sness ceaselessly sign i fies his bondage to deat h . 467-9 1 . INFANTILE LAN G U A GE Twice during the past few centuries Western reason perceived that its role of being a servant t o m eaning was im prisoning. Witness Rousseau and Freud-two crises of classical and positivist rationality. asserted by t he child. life is a t hird party. P LACE NA M ES C H I LD H O OD LANGU AG E . to face reproduction o f t he species (the boundary between "nature" and "cul­ ture") and the varied atti tudes toward it . 1 977). . and as this signification. the other in the speak ing subject (articulated today by m o dern li terature's disruption of t h e Christian Word). It was as if Reason were suddenly neither satisfied sim ply to test its restraining bonds by confr onting t exts. is d i sq u iet­ ing. a nexus of life and language (of species and society)-the child. analytic discourse was given a privileged foil. These challenge the speaker with the fact t h at he is not whole. And two revolu­ tions loomed on its horizon: one in polit ical economy (seek ing its status in M arx). from which this translation was made. With out this advent of the real (im posed by the child but b locked by the myth of the Place Names w a s fi r s t published as Noms de Lieu in Tel Que/ 6 8 (Winter 1 976): i t appeared in a revised vers ion.

by celebrating M a n in the child. instinctual drive being t otally comm itted (in Existen tialist fashion) to Lifework or History-when it does not foster perversion as t he final guarantee of order. chick en or egg?" So that one might observe. just the same. et cet era). At the same time. the place of an "error" that we shall now try t o read m ore closely. o n e belief still persists: either m e n a n d wom en exist in a n d for the romantic or surrealist exchange of ideas or sex . that is.272 P LA C E NAMES child). whose subj ective and political outgrowths are traced in the Bible. Oedipi u nbek nownst to t hemselves. cause or effect. the notion of "infantile sexuality" allows for the exam ination. h owever. The child was. like all rituals he quickly became a substitute. Two thousand years ago the child Jesus came to circumvent these two dead ends. And yet . It is true that the child butt resses the fundamental premises of Freudian thought (the theory of instinctual drives. without which there would be nothing but children. For where life and discourse come t ogether. " as Freud rarely did. that is. but having become a ritual. the pill and the Pope know this indeed . the em erg ence of sym b olism. Christianity m ay have interfered with Judaism's att ract ion to obsessional and paranoid confine­ ment. not of he who does not speak (in-fans) but of what within the speaker is not yet spok en. that is where the destiny of subj ect s is caught up in the chain o f civilization. by m aking the child into a u niversal fetish. who t a lked am ong them selves of having been children. Today. the stages marked by the Oedipus com plex. or will always rem ain u nsaid. Were the Greeks. Christ ianity fo reclosed the possibility ( o f which it nevertheless had an inkling) o f break ing the cycle of religion. the . By uncover­ ing childbirth from beneath kinship st ructures. The discovery of the Freudian unconscious severs the always possible umbilication of man to the child. unnamable within the gaps of speech . perhaps. Such an error cannot be righted when t h e m ind allows itself to be taken in by the inextricable alternative of "cause" and "effect . it was the last possibility of doing so. rejection-negativit y. by Freu d's own admission. it gave a place to women-not necessarily a sym bolic progress but certainly a biological and social necessity. or else sublimation can occur with nothing left over. compared with which Freu d's " errors" h ave the advantage of sh owing his t hought to be rooted in the eternal return of parent/child: "Am I parent or child. that the child is a m yth (Oedipal) told by parents t o their parents. He even became a whole history-Christianity.

The In terpretat ion of Dreams. During this period he completed his neu rological research . THIRD MOVEMENT : Freud also all owed for the child's genital desires and proceeded t owards the concept ion of the O edipus com plex . and recognizing that his eldest daughter. the end of the family's reproductive cycle. in 1 896. several m onths before his father's death). Freud m arried in 1 8 86 and had six children (three girls and three boys) between 1 8 8 7 and 1 89 5 . was published in 1 89 8 . May 3 1 . 1 897). At t h i s m o m ent. and the beginning of Freud's friendship with Fliess. He u sed the word psychoanalysis one year later. of Studies on Hysteria. through hypnosis at first. He would soon begin a self-analysis within the fr amework of that relat ionship whose hom osexual tenor he later emphasized . Thus the conception o f an essentially aut oerotic childhood sexu ality emerged . o f 1 897. F reud promoted that theory until 1 8 96. That same year marked the birth of Anna (whose analytical research would essent ially center on ch ildhood). which situ ates it within the field of signifying articu lations. Let us restate a few facts. M athilde. 2 S ECOND AS S UMP­ TION: that seduct ion was only a hysterical fantasy m erging with a paranoid attitude. leading t o the publication in 1 895. published his findings on aphasia and infantile paralysis ( 1 89 1 ). writt en evidence for such a stand d oes not em erge until 1 905 ( "Sexuality in the Aetiology of the Neu roses " ) and in 1 906 ( Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality). Although this happened in the last years of the century. m edicine. Feb. with Breuer. PLACE NAMES 273 m ost lucid parents of history? This might have perm i tt ed them t o cir­ cum scribe aggression (childlike. was possibly the obj ect of his own attem pts at seduction (letter to Fliess. 1 FIRS T A S S U M P TION: hysteria is set o ff by parental seduction during childhood. the year of his father' s death. it was only a fter the death of his fat her in 1 8 97 that Freud wrote the inaugural work of psychoanalysis. 1 1 . 1 897. Yet. and catharsis that were still perceptible in Studies on Hysteria. Between the first assumption (the parent seduces t h e child and leads it . and began his research on h ysteria. which set it free o f the substantialism . hereafter term ed Oedipal) in o rder to proceed t owards law in the City. Freud i n t roduced a change in t h e concept ion of what he had th ought to be the cause of hysteria: parental seduction . suggesting that J acob Freud must have seduced him (letter t o Fl iess. and thus serving as a screen for his childhood auto­ erot icism .

one must revise those expectations. I almost gave up analysis. however. no longer to be father. . I had in fact stu mbled for the fi rst time upon the Oedipus com plex ." 4 Acknowledging an end ("one cannot begin again": to have children?) and a feeling of despair (the father is dead: no m ore seducer?). and t h u s the begin­ ning of the m odern conception of the child. t o say the least : " Perhaps I persevered because I no longer had any choice and could not then begin again at something else. have been produced th rough an inverted Oedipal com plex? Could the "Oedipus com plex" be the dis­ course of m ou rning for his father's death? As neurosis is the negative of perversion. and thereby of infan tile sexu ality. T h e revers al of his position with respect to the parent-child relationship (the child becom ing the agent o f seduction). [in its disguise of sedu ction fantasy ] . A n A u to­ biographical Study ( 1 925): " When. At last cam e the reflection that. could that discourse represent." Why did he nevertheless continue? The expl anation is succinct . and consequently the guarant ee. however. of socializat ion. a fter all. two events occurred : Freud ceased having children and his father d ied. I was . he at the same t i m e recovered control ("one does not have the right": t o abandon the father. "Like Breuer. "5 C ould the discovery of the Oedipus complex.2 74 PLACE NAMES to neurosis) a n d the second (the seducer i s t h e autoerotic a n d polym or­ phous perverse child). That may be a paternal vision of childhood and thus a limited one. Here. the negative of the guilt experi enced by a son who is forced by the signi fier to take his father's place? The Freudian conception of the child would thus provide the basis for paternal discourse. . to abdicate paternity?). Freud t erms parental seduction an "erroneous idea" that cou ld have been " fatal to the young science. one had no right to despair because one has been deceived in one's expectations. I was at last obliged t o recognize t h a t these scenes of seduction h a d never t aken place. lucidly presented to support the inevitability . for some time com pletely at a loss [from 1 897 to 1 900 approximately] . in like manner. it is. " 3 The distress provoked by the discovery of that mistaken path was so great th at he wrote. Such a reading seem s to be supported by an ex amination of his later tex t. both present and ultim ate. the solid foundation for the paternal function. is dram atically evoked in two sub­ sequent texts: On the History of the Psychoanalytic Movem ent ( 1 9 1 4) and A n A u tobiographical Study ( 1 92 5 ) . thus corresponding to those events.

9 Instinctual ity is simult aneou sly revealed as innate and hereditary. resulting in none Qt her than Oedipus: "I had in fact stumb led for the first time upon the Oedipus com plex . the result of subtracting the utterance of guilt fr om the u t t erance of mastery: "Seduction during childhood ret ained a certain share. the seducer is me. " 7 We thus come to the shaping of this image of the child­ parent. now I am also the father [of M athilde]. t o assume the m oral. PLACE NAMES 2 75 of the sym bolic and/or social code. "one can no longer begin agai n . paternal fu nct ion ("One has no right to despair because he has been disappointed . th erefore the sedu cer can only be the child). loving them as a devoted father (there seem s to be agreement on this). Freu d ' s self-analysis led him to that telescoping of father and child. the seducer cannot be my fa ther. origin and becoming. " 8 The child-parent o r t h e parent-child. within the Freudian framework . So. a fter having fathered six children in eigh t years. of disillusionment with respect to the hysterical body. I t is. but. a child always already older. erogen ous zones. biblical visi o n. this is accom panied at once by the desire t o take his place. in the etiology of neu roses. long live the fat her that I am : there where it (id) was shall I (ego) com e to be. " In addition t o this recognition of closure.6 The "child" is what remains of such a becom ing. an ethical. the libido as substance. and even genital desires. the seducing child. therefore. and "seductive eroticism "-is it the recognition of a sexual dead end?-there cam e his father's death and Freud's feelings of guilt t oward him (no. But the seducers tu rned out as a rule t o have been older children . thus presen ted t o analytical practice. to produce that s peci fic twist of psychoanalytic discourse that brings to mind the H eraclitan aiwv : cyclical time and also space where the G reek thinker happened to see the poet at play-the poet who alone maintains the discourse of a child giving birth (to a father?) . With the end of the reproduct ive cycle and spurred by his father's death. space and time. The fa ther is dead. j oins cause and effect. the child of this father. For alt hough t h e child enters the world with polym orphous . born i n t o the world with compound drives. having admit t ed to being the possible seducer of his daughter but also the victim of his fa t her's sedu ction. it is already protected from substantialist inter­ pretations." Freud writes). though a humbler one.

In like m anner. Sam eness prevails). This is only too evident i n ego-centered t rends i n child psychology. t h i s dismantling o f t h e Christian-Rou sseauist m y t h o f childhood is accompanied b y a problem atic endorsement. a wan dering at the limits of the thinkable. this precocious. but also before the "m irror stage") tends to be minimized. and at the same t i m e.276 PLACE NAMES instinctual drives. It follows t hat neurosis--or the speaking subj ect-can never be dealt with at the level of drive. the child i s endowed with what is dictated by adult memory. always distorted to b egin with. Thus. or t hrough a child at zero degree of symbolism . the difficulty. " 1 0 Nevertheless. and t h erefore universalized. before Oedipus. one finds the features t h at are particular t o adult discourse. t he myth of hum an continuity persists (fr om child to parent." The m ost important debates and innovations in psychoana lysis have consequently and necessarily b een centered in this problem . Outside of poetic practice (thinking a dissipat ed langu age. but rat her always t hrough a narrative "texture. Heraclitan limit. t hese conflict with repression a n d the latter produces the several variants of libido fix ation (" subj ective structures"). " t h at is. a t exture of la nguage and phantasm : "It was only a fter the int roduction [within childhood's instinctual experience] of this elem ent of hysterical fantasies [the parental seduct ion fant asy ] that the texture of the neurosis and its relation to the patient' s life became intel ligible . the empiricist . On the other h and. The point is indeed to em phasize the heterogeneity between the libidin al. the function of the fa m ilial context in the pre­ cocious development of the child (before puberty. presym b olic organization is grasped by the adult only as regression-j ouissance or schizophrenic psychosis.signi­ fying organization in infancy (let us call it the " semiotic disposition") and t h e "sym b olic" functioning of the speaker foll owing language acqui­ sition and the consequent parental identifications. t h e analytical solutions to this question (this Freudian "error") always appear problematic: Jung's dead end with its archetypal configurations of libidinal substance t ak en out of the realm of sexuality and placed in bon dage to the archaic m ot her. the im possibility that beset such an attem pt at gain­ ing access to childh ood : the real stakes of a discourse on childh ood within Western t h ought involve a confrontation bet ween t hought and what it is not. Proj ected into the supposed p lace of childh o od. reinven­ tion of materialism ). b u t also in a psychoanalytic practice t h at posits t h e subj ect as dating from the "mirror stage.

h owever. by the solu tions that parents recently dis­ co vered in ans wer to the sexual inan ity manifested by the child. from its very beginning (which remains with us as space become permanent t ime). P I. or tim e-all of which remain speci fic attributes of the adult speaker's libido. on the one hand. t hey use categories and even unquali fied models (always m ore or less t aken from generat ive gram m ar) . esta blishing their psych otic fo undation or their capacity fo r j ouissance­ of which the aesthetic is one am ong several." phenom­ enological i n its approach to discourse. 11 which can be detected in t h e nonspeaking child. t herefo re without obj ect. Others posit a difference between lan­ guage and l ogic in children. This d isposition is set out and articulated. which is at the same time im possible and inevitably persistent within the real-imaginary-symbolic triad. has still not a ffected lingu istics. But . seem s t o indicate t h a t the signifying disposit ion t hat Win nicott c a l l s the "pre­ obj ective libido" (therefore not the Freudian libido). removing the unnam able from childhood and placing it within the real.ACE NAMES 277 prec1s10n of M elanie Klein's "partial objects" and subsequently the effort. which rem ains u niversal and Cartesian in its study of individual "languages. in t rying to describe the former. persists beneath the second ary repression imp osed as soon as langu age is acquired. goal. by Winnicott and his followers to posit within the "potential space" between m other and nursing infa nt a libido without drive. transference. the desiring m achines of schizophrenics without signifiers. Freud's error. it sees itself as being attached by drive (even before desire) to this object of love ex tolled by its parents in t heir denial of the sexual nonrelation that the child's coming punctu ates. in all speak ing beings. "Childhood langu age"-a t heoretical m i rage-has become for psycholinguistics the privileged ground where the contradictions and dead ends of linguistic rat ionality are attested . But. As distingu ished from speculation. h owever. Some see in "childhood language" an em pirical demon stra­ tion of generative gram m ar ' s pertinence (deep structure exists because it functions as such in the child). or fi nally. in a new and radical way that nevertheless rem ains all-encom passing within the Name-of-the­ Father (as with Lacan). it also conti nues. For the hysteric child to attribute its neurosis to parental seduction is probably an instance of paranoia. t hrough the seduction myth. through the formation of t he Oedipus complex . and in adults on the other.

. c u l m i n ating in t h e works b y S pi t z an d W i n n i ­ c o t t . " i n t h e sense that Freud spea k s o f i n fa n t i l e sex u al i t y . t o t h e use o f c h i ldhood langu age a s an il lustration o f t h eory. t h e arrival o f a c h i l d b reak s t h e a u toero t i c circle o f pr egn ancy (wh en her j o u issance recalls t h e saint w h o beco m es o n e with . logico-syntactic catego ries). with i n t h e s y n t actic repression constitu ting th e g r i d o f a n y l a n ­ gu age a s u n i versal system . b e su m m arized as a s h i ft from t h e pa ternal. is a flo u ndering i n em pirici s m . which are i ntegrated or short. T h e resu l t .circu i ted. b u t where it always rem ains an " i n fa n t i l e l anguage . The c h i l d therefore becom es the real from which we b egin our a n a l ysis. be possi b l e to pos i t as " o bj ec t " of an alysis not " c h i l dhood l an g u age" but rat h er " i n fantile l an gu age. probably amput ated.ACE NAMES contingent u p o n t h e l atter. is a v ai l a b l e to acco u n t for t h e di fferen ces o n e su pposedly detects in t h e ch i l d's logic or syntax. an d w h i c h b ecom e m an i fest i n eith er syntactic l ib erties or lexical variations o f c h i l dhood dis course. through m i n i m al com pon e n ts. 1 2 It m i gh t . in t h e first i nstan ce.a telescoping o f paren t and c h i l d . of ou r (any) l anguage' s infantile attri b u tes. " Thus it would consti t u t e an a n alytical atten tiven ess to language. . on th e o t h er hand. We wou l d t h en b e concerned w i th the atten t i v en ess t h at t h e adu l t . Freudian attentiv eness to a m a t er n al attention? With all the progress an d setbacks such a phan­ tasmatic attitude indu ces in m e n a n d women anal ysts .278 Pl. a n a n a l ysis t h at is appl i ed through phant asm i c or m y t h i cal contents (which have been u n t i l now t h e so l e obj ects o f psycho analysis a n d c h i l d psy chology) t o th e " m i n i m a l " com ponents o f l anguage (phonic. or m or e precis ely. within the dual rel a t i o n s h i p transference b etween adu l t a n d child. for no concept of the s u bj ect. a n d syn t actic opera­ tions. other t h an o n e b o u n d to Car tesian l ogi c. is a b l e t o perceive i n t h e disco u rse o f a c h i l d ( b o y o r g i r l ) w h i l e i t refers h i m to t h a t l e v el w h e r e h i s " o w n " lan­ g u age is n ever totally r ational ized or norm ated accordi ng to Cartesian l i n gu i s t i cs. b u t i n tended to be com pleted t h ro ugh m atu r a t i o n . lex i c al . T h e presy n t actic ph ases o f c h i ldhood semiosis rem a i n o u tside o f this i n v est igat i o n . each ti m e in speci fi c fas h i o n . m at ernal attitude toward t h e c h i l d . b u t also excluded a r e a l l sem a n t i c l a t encies d u e to sex u a l a n d fa m i ly d i f­ ferences. through h i s sti l l i n fantile sex u a l i t y . in t h e second. T h is leads. T h is particu l a r attent iveness to the psycho a n a l y t i c con ditions u n derly­ ing language structu res m i ght i n v ite a probab l y transferential. For a wom a n . C a n n o t th e history o f post­ Freu dian child psychology.

In both cases. From this point on. for a m o th er (as opp osed to a genetrix). the third person. is the di fficult account of a relationship with an other: with an "object" and with love. Throughout these meanderings where the ana lyzer . and a llows for the usurpation of the father's place while refusing to recognize i t). but for it . . directing it toward others or toward the array of consu m er goods. Love replaces narcissism in a third person that is external t o the act of discursive commun ication. except to be im agined as child for a woman. . is not taken for granted? And that in order to reach this constantly alt ered One. . "God is love" : it is for this very reason that he does not exist. . or deferred in its paranoid course. inaccessible and yet consu bstantial with her instinctual drive during her passion) and brings abou t what. Is i t not true t h at a woman is a being for whom the One. which requ ires castration and obj ect. but he (she). H ere again one acknowledges the brilliant inspiration o f Christian tradition. often hidden. The m ot her of a son (henceforth the generic "infant" no l onger ex ists) is a being confronted with a being-for-him . to have access to the sym bolic-thetic level. t h e well-kn own relation­ ship with an object-which exists only a s obj ect o f love-is founded only as a th ird-person relationship: neither I nor you within a relationship of identification or lust. seals the community of the species. she m u s t tear herself from the daughter­ m other sym biosis. H e releases t h e hysteric woman ' s anguish. The m other of a daughter replays in reverse the encounter with her own m other: differentiation or leveling of beings. The death drive is loosened across its entire dramatic gamut extending from the fury of Lady Macbeth to self-sacrifice. the child. because for t hem t he child is the cork that stops. It is precisely the child that. P LA C E NAMES 2 79 her god. The child is the removal o f what was only a graft during pregnancy: an alter ego capable (or not) of replacing a m aternal narcissism henceforth integrated within a "being fo r i t . " Neither for itsel f nor in itself. always for the same love obj ect. for a woman. H ence. constitutes an access ( an excess) t oward the Other. glim p ses of oneness or paranoid prim ary identification phan­ tasized as primordial sub st ance. renounce the undifferentiated com munity of women and recognize t h e father at the same time as the sy mbolic? . denied. and t herefore the Other. I t is an angu ish t hat brings the m other t o grips with castration (that very castration that a num b er of "women" or genetrices deny. for t h e m ot her-not fo r t h e genetrix-the child is an analyzer.

any access to the symbolic disposition through the fantasy of a substantia list fusion within that generative matter where m others incorporate their children) and where the saint succeeds (when. that such formants (even if their refi nements lead only to t he addressee's catharsis. " "origin. If the m etaphysical solidarity of "meaning. It is clear that "neuropsychological m aturation " and language acquisi­ tion cannot be taken for granted under these conditions. We m ust not fo rget. m orphology of catast rophies). M aternity k n ots and unknots paranoia-the ground on which hysterics stand. as it is posited by that predicat ion peculiar t o language. sanctioned sign of denial): she k eeps o pen the enclosures where paranoid persons anchor t hemselves. with the "baby". the structures of any language inevitably carry the imprint of t he m other­ a nalyzer relat ionship. therefore. it is its opposite and opposes it. of which the speaker would be m erely a phen om enal actualization. it still seem s clear t h a t any spatial represen tation pro­ v ided for within a universal language is necessarily subject to t eleological ." 1 3 Husserl's considerations on the spatial intuitions o f the Greek s leading up to Euclid have lost none o f t h e i r epistem ological force: the hist ory o f hum an forming is roo ted i n language as a system of propositions. " and " forming" is thus posited a s the limit of any attempt at clarification (and also. in her passion fo r the sym­ bolic. In all lik elihood. of li nguistics). 1 4 N o fo r m i n g c a n transcend its origin-meaning. A n d t h at is enough to confo und any linguistic theory. acknowledgment o f castrat ion prevents m urder. and perhaps also of all analysis (and perhaps of psycho analysis). For this very reason the m other is able to analyze where the genetrix fa ils (by block ing. however.280 PLACE NAMES leads h i s m other. m ay seem appealing. and t hey do not function as "m odels" of a referent-obj ect) have their particu lar source in the "logical activity specifically linked to language . S P A C E C AU S E S L A U G H T E R Current attempts t o p u t a n end to hum an subjecthood (to the ext en t that it involves subj ection to m eaning) by proposing to replace it with spaces ( Borromean knots. her own body becom es the exalted.

" 17 what about this "space" prior t o the sign. we must choose between two direct ions: either we delineate the history of spaces (we practice epistem ology). " certainly.M allarme). an epistemological bent t oward elucidation that is not. ." The second alternative inevitably m erges with Freudian preoccupations: the analysis of the " origins" of form­ ing/ speaking foll ows the path of the Freudian "error" ment ioned above.18 M em ories of b odily contact. what about the "semiotic chora. attracted as they are to the "m ythico-m agical . or we investigate what Husserl calls "human fo rming. " . " 15 The history o f the speaking being (spatially bound precisely because he speaks) is only spatial variation. as H usserl postulates. I t is henceforth clear that meaning's closure can never be challenged by another space. a fulfillment of . it is an invocation. on t h e other hand. i f not "at heights so far rem oved that a place fuses with the bey ond [ . . but rather displacing it by m eans o f a praxis or a techne. but only by a di fferent way of speaking: another enu nciation. P LA C E NAMES 28 1 reason. contrary to what "rom antic m inds" might maintain. If we remain with this tendency." There exists. 16 never shattering the limits of the speaking/ forming. . it is one of its practices. another "literature. the "destiny" of the speaking being. and where phenomenology encloses the transferential disin­ t egration of m eaning-as soon as the latter is b eing articulated as either demonstrative or simply "un iversally int elligible" clauses. warmth. ] the bewildering successive clash of a whole account in formation . Any atten t iveness to "infa ntile language" (as defined above) seems to be located at that ambiguous point where psychoanalysis opens up the limits of phenom enological m eaning by indicat ing its condit ions of production. To repeat the question that the infa nt-analyst puts t o matern a l atten­ tiveness before any m i rror shows him any representation whatsoever. one variation of signifiance not limited to what is "universa lly intelligible" -madness and literature are its witnesses. before any language begins to encode his "idealities" : what about the paradoxical sem iosis of the newb orn's body. rather. an anaclisis. and nourishment: these underlie the b reath of the newborn b ody as it appeals to a source of support. this archaic disposi­ tion of primary narcissism that a poet brings to light in order t o challenge t h e closure of meaning ("nothing will have t aken place but the place . N either request nor desire. .


care that Spitz properly termed the "diatrophic mother . " Vocal and mus­
cu lar cont ract ions, spasm s of the glottis and m otor system-all m ake up
for the absence of intrauterine life components . Voice is the vehicle of
that call for help, di rect ed at a frustrated memory, in order t o insure,
first through breath and warm th, the survival of an ever premature
hu man being; and this is undoubtedly significant fo r the acqu isition of
language, which will soon be articulated along the same vehicle. Every
cry is, p sychologically and proj ectively, described as a cry of distress, u p
t o a n d including t h e fi rst vocalizations, which seem t o constitute distress
calls, in short : anaclises. The newborn body experiences t hree m onths of
such anaclitic "facilitations" without reaching a stable condition.
Faced with these anaclises, the adult-essent ially t h e m other-o ffers a
disturbed reception, a m o bile receptacle, which fashions i t self on the
invocation, fo llows its winding course, and eventua lly accent s i t with a
surge of angu ish that the newborn analyzer's body produces in the analy­
sand. From this time on, we must reckon with the mother's desire,
beyond which it is hard for her to go, to maintain the qewborn child
within the invocation: the child as adju nct to the breast, a wealth of her
own, m ay be an analyzer, but it is an analyst lack ing any int erpret ation
and who thus lock s m other and child within the regression of primary
m asochism . Th is is the precise moment for either the "optimal frustra­
tion" t h at Spitz requi res of the mot her with regard to the child, or Win­
nico tt's m y sterious "good enough mot her" : they are intended t o break
the prim ary narcissism wit hin which mot her and child are wrapped up,
from anac/isis to diatrophy, so that, wit h t he advent of autoeroticism, the
door is finally open to a rel ationship with the obj ect , at the same time as
representation and langu age make t heir appearance.
Before this step becomes effect ive, however, and within the subtle drift
from primary narcissism to aut oeroticism , the "good enough m other"
with her "optimal frustration" scores a poin t : laughter.
It is perhaps enough that the mother know both how to respond to and
to stop the anaclisis, so that she m ight stall, settle, and anchor herself
there . Providing an axis, a proj ection screen, a limit, a curb for the
infant ' s invocat ion may be what , in the maternal fu nction, relates t o the
paternal one, p robably characterized , at best, by absence or refusal
encoded in presence itsel f. As the nervous system matu res, it probably
assumes (and sometimes takes over) the m obile su pport fu nction pro-


vided by t h e m other/the father, while being i n fluenced by i t in other
Voice, hearing, and sight are the archaic dispositions where the earliest
fo r m s of discreteness emerge. The breast, given and withdrawn; lamp­
light capturing the gaze; interm ittent sounds of voice or mu sic-a ll these
meet with anaclisis (according to a tem poral sequence probably pro­
gram m ed, too, by the particular aptitude of each child), hold it, and thus
inhibit and absorb it in such a way that it is discharged and abated
through them : early "defenses" against the aggressivity o f a (pseudo-)
drive (without goal). A t that point, breast, ligh t , and sound become a
there: a place, a spot, a m arker. The effect, which is dram atic, is no
lo nger quiet but laughter. The imprint of an archaic m oment, the
threshold of space, the "chora" as prim itive stability absorbing anaclitic
fa cilitation, produces laughter. There is not yet an outside, and the t hings
that made the newborn laugh at about two and one-half m onths (after
the satisfa ction of i m m ediate n eeds produced the hallucinatory laughter
of t h e first weeks) are sim ply m arkers of something in the process of
becoming stability. But neither ext ernal nor internal, neither outside nor
inside, such m a rkers are not iceable only because t h ey slow down
anaclisis: they do not stop it. One m ight detect in t hem the inception o f
spatiality a s well as sublima tion.
Those scattered a n d fu n ny m om en t s become projected-archaic syn­
thesis-onto the stable support of the mother's face, the privileged
receiver of laughter at about t hree m onths. It is then that the narci ssism
of the initial mother-child symbiosis slips toward autoeroticis m ; here one
observes the em ergence of a body parcelled into erot icizable "obj ects"
(essentially oral). Oral erot icism, t he smile at the mother, and the first
vocalizations are cont empora neous: Spitz's well-k nown " first point of
psychic organization" 19 is already one com plex sem iotic phenom enon
presaged by others.
The inaugural sublim ation, in m ost cases visu al, brings us not only to
the fou ndations of narcissism (specular gratification) but to the riant
wellsprings of the im aginary . The im aginary takes over from childhood
laughter: it is a j oy without words. Chronologically and logically long
before the m irror st age (where the Same sees it self altered t hrough the
well-k nown opening that constitutes it as representation, sign, and
death), 20 the semiotic disposition m akes it start as riant spacious ness.


During t h e period of indistinction between "same" a n d "other, " infa nt
and m o ther, as well as between "subject" and "obj ect , " while n o space
has yet been delineated (this will happen with and after the m irror
stage-birth of the sign), the semiotic chora that arrests and absorbs the
m otility of the anaclitic facilitations relieves and produces laughter.
Orality plays an essential role in this prim ary fix ation-subli mation:
appropriation of the breast, the so-called "pa ranoid" certainty of the
nursing infant t hat he has been in possessi on of it, and his ability to lose
it after having had his fill. What should not be obscured is the
im portance of the anal "instinctual drive" fr om this period on: the child
has a secure anal discharge while, b alancing that loss, i t incorporates the
breast . Anal loss, accompanied by considerable expenditure of muscular
m otility, combined with t he satisfaction of incorporating the breast,
probably encourages proj ecting facilitation into this visible or audible
point that gives the infa n t a glimpse of space and produces laughter.
The simultaneity of l aughter with fi rst vocalizations has long been
recognized . 21 And the visual m otility / fixation art icu lation as substratum
of archaic semiotic spaciousness as well as laughter seem s, m oreover, to
be borne out by belated childhood laughter. A s we k n ow, children lack a
sense of humor (humor presupposes the superego and its bewildering).
But t hey laugh easily when m otor t ension is linked to vision (a ca ricature
is a visualization o f b odily distortion, of an extreme, exaggerated m ove­
ment, or of an unmastered m ovement); when a child's body is too rapidly
set in motion by the adult (return to a m o t i lity defying its fixation, space,
and place); when a sud den stop follows a m ovement (someone stum bles
and falls). The speed-continuity of m ovement and its check s-punctua­
tion of the discontinuous: an archaic t opos that produces laughter and
probably supports Bergs on ' s psycho logy of laughter and Freud's j okes as
well. The chora is indeed a st range "space" : the rapidity and violence of
t h e faci litations are localized at a point that absorbs them, a n d they
return like a boomerang to the invoking b ody, without, however, signify­
ing it as separate; they stop there, impart the j o lt-laughter. Because it
was bounded but not blocked, the rate of fa cilitation discards fr ight and
bursts into a j ol t of laughter. Instability, "bewildering clash , " "a whole
account in form ation" . . . We have either a riant, porous bou ndary, or a
blocking barrier of earnest sullenness-the child gets one or t h e other
from its mother. Either a hysterical m o ther defying her own mother

P l .A C E NAMES 285

through parental identi fication, or a m other subjugated to her's, per­
petually seek ing symbolic recognition. Either one determines, as early as
t h i s " first p o i n t of psychic organization ," attitudes whose pea k s lie in
imaginative freedom on the one hand, and ritualistic obsession on the
Even more belated disposit ions o f laughter22 seem to com m em orate
stages o f this archaic laughter-space-the am bivalence of facilitation
( fright/ peace, invocation/ discharge, mot ility/ check) as well a s the
porou sness of boundaries or of the point of fixation. A sense of humor
seems to build up, beginning with such sem iotic underpinning, both u pon
the inhibition of aut oerot icism (prescribed by parents) and upon its
rem oval wit hin childhood situations where parental authority or its sub­
stitute is weakened. The su perego recognizes the ego as faltering vis-a-vis
inhibition but, by a leap-shattered m ovement, space-reconstitutes i t as
invu lnerable and therefore laughing. The person a l (ego, body) depends on
or is constituted by a counterpoise (the point of proj ection: lamp, m o ther,
parents) t hat burdens and domina tes it but, without being definitively
separated (neither barring nor blocking facilit ation), by its perm issive
distance allows the body to discover itself again, relaxed and free of
anguish, which is rem oved elsewhere; a nimble sort of fun is what
rem a ins. An inhibit ion is thus built up for laughter, but as existing
elsewhere: a set place, always there, but separate from the body, which
can, only under th ese condit ions, constitute itself as "personal" and reach
j ouissance at a distance. At this stage we have the necessary conditions
that, avoiding inhibition through laughter, constit ute the semiotic dis­
position and insure its maintenance within the sym bolic. The precondi­
tions for language acquisition are given at this point ; t heir m odulations
involve the entire neurotic gamut of inhibitions and anguish that
charact erizes t h e speaking being's destiny.
This distant place that absorbs, de fers, 23 and therefore sublim ates
angu ish is the prototype o f the object m uch as it is of the "perso nal " : the
body that rem oves fear to a constant and distant location (the m other)
can transfer it s place over to what had been an amorphous m ass and
henceforth becomes a territ ory of markers, points of fixation, and dis­
charges: the au t oerotic body, the b ody proper.
I n order, h owever, that this point o f discharge m ight acqu ire another,
different existence, one which will form a space, it must be repeated.

286 P I . A C !: N A M l: S

Rhythm , a seq uence of link ed instants, is immanent t o the chora prior to
any signified spaciousness: henceforth, chora and rhythm, space and time
coexist . Laugh ter is the evi dence that the instant took place: the space
t hat su pport s it signifies time. Located elsewhere, distant, permissive,
always already past : such is the chora that the mo ther is called upon t o
produce w i t h h e r child s o t h a t a sem iotic disposition m ight exist. In the
same way, later, after the acquisition of language, the chi ld's laughter is
one o f a past event: because a prohibition has existed it can be overcome
and relegated t o the past-thus a weak ened and m asterable replica
represents it from then o n .


Winnicot t's " p otential space," 24 elaborat ed b y a " t ransitional obj ect," 25
perfects the necessary conditions for semiotic functio ning and transition
t o language acquisition.
One m ight, following M. A . K. Halliday, 2 6 say that prior to t h e appear­
ance of a truly articulated language, vocaliza tions are used and endowed
wit h "linguistic fu nctions." Halliday calls them "m eaning" fu nctions, but
a reformulation of Winnicott's position with respect to language could
supply a better phrase: "potential m eaning fu nctions. " A potent i al mean­
ing, then, supported in its an alytic circumstances by transitional objects,
would be, somewhere between the ninth and sixt eenth m onths, dif­
fe rentiated into a ful l range of fu nctions, described in adult term s as instru­
mental, regu latory, interactive, personal, heuristic, and im aginative.27
" P otential meaning" appears phonically in a variety of vocalizations (in
varying and specific degrees, according to the chi ld),28 which even tually
grow weaker and are redu ced to a rising-falling intonation approximating
that of the adult sentence.
According to Halliday, two new functions appear before the second
year-t he pragm atic function (a fusion of instrumental and regu latory
functions) and the mathetic fu nction (fusion of the personal and heuristic
ones). That already im plies a com plex process of ideation and
transforma tion of the "potential space, " a fter the "m irror stage, " into a
sign ifiable space of representation. The child, in ter vening (as it performs
one of those functions) and observing (as it per form s another), encodes


t h e m i n t o intonation (rising in the former case, falling in the lat ter) but,
bet ter still, it encodes th em into a com plex gestural sem iotics that is dif­
ficult t o describe.
While i t is true t hat pseu domorphem es and even pseudophrases
em erge during this period, they rem ain h olophrastic: they a r e vocaliza­
tions, they designate the place or obj ect of enunciation (the " t o pic" ),
whereas the m ot or or vocal gesture (intonation) serves as predicate (the
"com m ent").
We note that beginning w i t h the " first point of psychic organization,"
light-giving m a r ker or m other's face, which produced laughter along with
the first vocalizations, t he fu ture speak er is led to separate such points
into objects (transitional at first, then sim ply obj ects) and add t o them no
longer laugh ter but phonation archetype of the morpheme, condensa­

tion of the sentence. As if the laughter that makes up space had become,
with the help of matura tion and repression, a "place nam e."
Primitive naming very oft en makes use of adverbs of position, ana­
phoric demonstra tives (this, that) or, m ore gen erally, " topic" anaphora
referring t o an obj ect either external or internal to the body proper and
t o the pract ical, i m m ediate environment; observable in the first childhood
verbalizations, it is always related to a "space"-a poin t that henceforth
becomes object or referent.
Cu rrent research on the language of children between two and three
years old has shown that 50 percent of the utterances of two-year-olds
are of the type, that's a foll owed by a noun phrase, the percent age falling
t o l 5 percent at the age of t hree to three-and-a-half yea rs.29 The archaic
appearance of anaphoric demonstratives is accom panied by other archaic
phenomena t h a t have their roots in the first vocalizations and echolalias
concomitant to the constitut ion of the semiotic chora: glottal st ops and
stress ( a play on in tensity as well as on frequencies of vowel sounds) .
Psycholinguists are well aware that the child, before using m ore o r less
regular syn tax, m ak es utterances that come closer to the topic-com ment
m odel than to the subject-predicate one. 30 Although admittedly the rele­
vancy of t he two syntactic m odels could be discussed ad nauseam , we see
here a recu rrence of the spatial m arker, which not only initiates the
sem iotic disposition but also s hores up the first syntactic acquisitions.
I t m ay be worth going over the sem antic fu nctions of the anaphoric
dem onstratives that are found in the topic position in utterances of 50

a. Thus the dem onstrative. The discourse of a two-year-old girl demonstrated what I think is . cet. make o f the ana­ phoric demonst rative a com plex "shifter". donnez-moi que j'aille acheter votre esclave" M o l i er e.a." "en de<. points to the enunciation rather than the utterance ( summ oning the subject. finally.a"). - L' Etourdi. that has gathered such modalities o f spatialization into one category-"catast rophe. "accepter. celui-10. the referent . 6). but they also have an inciting value. the spatial function can becom e temporal ("d'ici demain.. " for t h ey refe r t o other signs within the utterance or in the context ("ii faut faire ci. A true "catastrophe" in the sense this word has taken on in m orphological theories o f catastrophes: g oing over fr om o n e enunciative sp ace into another. While it i s true that the childhood utterances that have been collated do not all display those sem antic latencies of dem onst ratives. let me restate the position of Benveniste. keeping the enu nciation at a dist ance in several ways-away from t h e subject. cette. i n modern French." "en <. French. straddling several fu nctions of language. and itself. All t hese funct ions. ii faut faire <. "c 'est le prendre qu'elle veut"). thus relating to the subject of enunciation. taken collectively. or the pleonastic expression. A s Dam ourette and Pichon point out. celui-ci. as in all languages.288 PLACE NAMES percent o f young French-speak ing chi ldren. dem onstratives (ce. signs.a: " <. remain imm anent to any u sage of the dem onstrative. Finally.a". referring to a place outside of the system of discourse/referent). dans des circonstances comm e eel/es actuelles. I I . since it is true (as I have observed since the begi nning of this investigation) that the archeology o f spatial naming accom panies the development of autonomy of the subjective unit . beyond what is being signified (such a value in­ for ms <. "un secret aussi garde que celui garde dans ce m essage". dem onstrat ives have a function t h at could be termed " m eta linguistic. one could posit that they harbor t hem unconsciously:3 1 the child lodges i tself within a lan­ guage. u n pou voir ecrasant par son poids". celui. or to itself (it can be auto-refe rent ial). to a sign (it b reaks up the signifying chain and refers t o it metalinguistically). for whom the shift er (deictique) i s t h e m ark of discourse within t h e system of a particular language-mean­ ing that it is defined essentially through its use by individual speakers. eux: from the Latin ecce) provide a determination resu lting from a state of presence and proxim ity. " These modalities. h owever.

The topic is henceforth less the ana phoric dem onst rative c' est than a personal pronoun sh i fter-essentially M oi je. we m ight submit t hat the entry into syntax cons titutes a firs t victory o ver the mot her. she felt obliged to "analyze" that place (those places) thus fragmented by giving them a person's n ame: "mamma" or the m other's first nam e. ici. it also evidences postu res of subm ission. humiliation. la. which the infant is not yet satisfactorily able to designate. im pressed by her m other ' s new pregnancy (most likely for all of these "reason s. This discourse leads to t h e hypothesis (which m ight be confirmed or disproved by other transferences) that spatial naming-including al ready syntactically elaborated form s such as dem onstratives and adverbs of position-ret ains the mem ory of the m a ternal im pact al ready evoked within the const itution of semiotic rudiments. c'est pas-a game in wh ich the children indulge . and vict imizat ion in relat ion to adults as well as to peers. G iven the fr equency of topic demonstrative utterances beginning with the first gramm at ically constructed sentences. hau t. along with the introject ion of an archaic m other. Each time she organized the space of the room in which we played together by m eans of dem onst rat ives or shi fters (c'est. ceci. bas.a. cela). A t the same time. Precocious and quite advanced in language learning. The distance seem s u ncert ain. the figure increases to 36 percent with three-year-old children . the littl e girl est ablished her "mamma" in all the locations designa ted by these recently acquired spatial t erm s. at about three years. the composition of the m ost freq uent utt erances changes at the same time as t he m ain behavioral characteristic. P LA C E N A M E S 289 psychoanalytic underpinning o f the archaic nam ing of referential space by dem onstra tives." and to assert herself in opposition to her fem ale interlocutor who could not help but rem ind her of her mother). name. While 1 7 percent of t h e two-year-old children ' s ut terances exhibit this structu re. for while the child experiences pleasure in repeating utterances of this type. What is striking is that later. or loca­ lize. probably. a stil l uncertain distancing of the m other. by the simple fact of naming (by the appearance of the topic and m ore exactly of the dem onstrative c'est). ext rem ely att ached to her father and. I note the appearance of the possibility of negating the dem onstrative: pas <. It is as if a certain masochism ap peared.

autoeroticism . or system of particulars (and even for a "cluster" of definitions) and are equ ivalent to dem onstrat ives (ceci. cela). the dem onstrative. as opposed to 50 percent at two years." From our point of view. on the contrary.a c'est) occu rs less frequently at this age: only 1 5 percent of <." primary narcissism. c' est a papa." the person's name) and to the eq uivocal subj ect/ object relationship that is its psychoanaly tical coun­ terpart (" potential space. the perplexed notions of logicians on the sem antics of proper names. The well-k nown "reel game" with its fort-da. According to some-Stuart Mill. " Significantly. pas casse. For others like Russell. ) . observed around the age of eigh teen m onths. class. succeeds the previou s "masochism . The psychic cathexis of the child breaks away from the place and refines the spatialization of the enu nciation as well as that of the sign i fying chain it sel f. For Frege. " etc . nega tion and the designation of protagonists of enunciation ( personal pronouns) begin to a p pear. c' est casse. An often unmistaka ble "sadism. its lingu istic realiza­ tion first in demonstrative or localizing utterances and fi nally in personal and negative ut terances. aggressiveness is the underpinning of that negativity. h owever. arising from an u ncertain position of the speak ing subject's identity and refer­ ring back to the pre-obj ectival state of nam ing.a c' est followed by a noun phrase.290 PLACE N AMES w i t h a pleasure leading t o freq uent glossalalias ( "pas qa. the generic demonstration (<. The em ergence of per­ sonal design ation and proper name in close relation to the shifters and semantic latencies (of the "potential space") of this period un derpin (and in that sense explain) the dynam ic and semantic am biguity of proper . the "topic. c' est pas qa. One cou ld relate to this archeology of naming (the spatial reference point. the shifter does not yet designate an "object . c' est a" -object of discourse). the proper name is a subst antive of definite reference (therefore sim ilar t o the dem onst rat ive) but of indefinite signification ( "cogniti ve" as well as "emot ive" ) . This ex plicit negat ivity connotes an inc reased independence within the symbolic and the capacity for au to-designation (' '. finds. over a period of time. for instance-pro per names have no significat ion (they denote but do not connote): they do not signify but point to a referent." which could be interpreted as a devou ring of the archaic mother. they are ab brevia­ tions of descri ptions for a series. At the sam e time that the father is evoked. sado­ masochism ) .

by the same token. for it is indeed such a key fantasy of our reproductive desires) be an indelible theming of this same fold between the "space" of need ( for food and sur­ vival) and a symbolic space of designation (of the body proper)? Could it be a fold that the archeology of shi fters summarizes and is produced in all a rchaic designations o f the mother. By indicating. " 3 2 Hence it provides a presence.Royal points out.Royal. . Reason is unscathed only at the expense of an obsessional shackling to time and. how the units and m inimal opera­ tions of any language (and even more so t hose of discourse) revive. " while allowing the m ind to add ideas "stimu­ lated by circu msta nces . ceci was bread and now. to it. if analysis is lack ing. ceci is my body. certainly: it is within our "adu lt" discou rse that these potential meanings and t opological latencies are at work . " But the be­ lievers in the "Cartesian subject . We suggest that nam ing. never finished with her. if we need an "object " of study. is at the same time Bread and Body of Christ: "This is my body . and an evocation of uncer tain mu l tiplicities. " subject. and their im pact within unconscious and imaginary constructs. as well as in all experiences a t the limits of corporeal identity-that is. always origi nating in a place (the chora. and extend the preg nancy that still constitutes the ulti­ mate limit of meaning where. is a replacem en t for what the speaker perceives as an archaic m other-a m o re or less vict orious con front ation. of erasing "mystery" as b odily and/or nom inal mutation under the sam e signifier (despite all the precau­ tions taken wit h respect to t heology in the Logiques). in its well-k nown evangelical usage. which would therefore ex plain why this.predi­ cate). their lack of preci sion as to the notion of identity. As the Logique o f Port. ceci marks a "confu sed idea of the im mediate thing . C ould trans-substantiation ( for this is what we are dealing with. transform . and the child cannot help leading all of us. " the logicians of Port. cannot ration alize the passage from one to the other un der the same shi fter ceci except through recourse to tim e: Before. men and women. space. the identity of meaning and presence? Child hood la nguage. tran scendence takes root. P LA C E N A M E S 29 1 names. posited but indisti nct . "topic. model. as precisely as p ossible. infan tile lan­ guage.

9. H eraclitus. 7:274 (emphasis added). Heraclite OU la separation ( Paris: Editions de M inuit. trans." the theme o f a special issue of Langages edited by J acques M ehler. Leopold. who plays" ( from the Wiss m a n . i s susceptible to m u tilation and is defined as t h e "fem ale elemen t . Freud. cf." Freud. I ll . The Life a n d Work o. . as t h e standard translation shows. 52. AlclJv ?rail' t<JTI ?ra1jwv. p. And further: " Every explication and every t ransition from m a k ing explicit t o mak ing self-evident (even perhaps i n cases where . Paizon (1rai!wv). W. the present participle of the verb to play. bearing children .292 PLACE NAMES Notes I. object. 20: 34. and sign. . 6. engenderi ng. "The Origin o f Geometry" in The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenom enology. 8 . sol/lch werden.E d m u nd H u sserl. a n d "Apprent issage de l a syntaxe chez l'enfa n t . 4.aise.Fli ess analysis.Bollack French translation. p . notice that Freud cha nges position i n m id-rou t e ( fr om seduced to seducer. 80. 3 64. David G arr. ( Evanston. 16 ( D ecem ber 1 969). Er nest J o nes.3 5 . 3. N ot e t h e ideological and fem i n izing anth ropo­ m o rphizations of Winnicott's argument: the obj ect's exist ence presupposes "separation" and " doing" and i s defi n ed as the " m ale element" o f sex u a l ity. 1 3. 2 The "seduct ion" i s perhaps directed towards Fliess.. 1 97 1 ). 3 66). 20:34. vol. a Book of R eadings ( New York: Prentice H all. 1 4 : 7 . The Standard Edition of the Works of Sigm und Freud (Lo ndon: H ogarth P ress & The Institute o f Psycho-Analysis. p. 1 2 . Ibid. Child Language. t h u s prior t o the constitution o f subject. 1 9 5 3). Aaron Bar­ Adon and Werner F . For an h i storical survey of the principal linguistic works on language. 5. " edited b y L aurence Lentin for L angue Fran<.. 1 : 2 6 3 . " H ere we m ust t a k e i n t o con sideration the peculiar l ogical activity which is t ied specifically t o l anguage as well as to the ideal cogn i t i ve structures that arise s pecifical l y w i t h i n i t " . Sigmund Freud. Wo Es war. contrary t o the m a l e element progr a m m ed by frustration. " 1 0. eds. can be laid from the birth da te" a n d which. W i n n icott. 1 972).. Standard Edition. "Sex u ality in the Neuroses. 1r E<J <JEOwv-"Life is a newborn who bears. 1 1 . "Libido" devoid of object or goal. 1 9 70). 1 9 5 3 )." to which we s h a l i return la t er).Qirough the children as i n terme­ diaries (the young Sigmund and M a t h ilde). : Northwestern U n iversity Press. 1 9 7 1 ). 7 . a paradoxical state of facilitation. " P sych olinguistique et grammaire gener at ive. i n w h i c h " ident i t y requires so l i t t l e mental s t r uct ure" em erges from " Being" w h o s e "foundation . Ibid. C f. 2 7 ( September 1 97 5 ) . from son t o fat her) w h i l e t h e object o f seduction changes sex ( from boy t o girl). "It is clear that the m ethod of producing original idealities o u t o f what is prescien­ t i fically given in t he cultural world m u st have been written down and fixed in firm sentences prior to the existence of geometry" (ibid. . vol.f Sigmund Freud ( New York : Basic Books. Standard Edition. " D . the o bj ect's u ncertainty ( t h e "transitional o bj ect. u sed with pesseuon (1r E<JuEJwv: pushing pawns) can only be redu ndant. 14. Playing and Reality ( N ew Y o r k : Basic Books. which also includes an i n t eresting article by Christine Leroy o n presy n t actic i n t ona­ t ion. This should be added to the dossier of the Freud. Ibid. the writers a l l ow themselves to differentiate between the signi fiers i n order t o break this redu nda nce and to reveal an etym ological m eaning o fpaizon: " m a k ing a child.

with esse ntial n ecessity. " in The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. 1 974). and t his might ex p la i n the precocity o f la bial and dental conson a n ts ( Vo/­ kerpsycho/ogie [1 900 ] . 20. "A B iological Sketch o f an I n fa n t . W h i l e "w e can also say now t h a t history is from the start n o t hing other than the vital movement of the coexistence and t h e in terweaving of original fo r ma tions a n d se dimen t a t ions of mean ing" (ibid� p . Alan Sheri dan. 1 970). This research i n volves two groups of children: for c hi ldren observed from age t hree mo n t hs to t hree years. A . t r a ns. from m at he m a tics to ast ronomy? 1 7. 29. my "Co ntra intes r yt hmiq u es e t la ngage poetique" in Polylogue ( P a ris: S e uil. 81 ) . 22. The First Year of Li/'e: A Psychoanaly1ic Study of Normal and Deviant Development of Objec1 R elations (New York : I n tern a tion a l U n iversities P ress." in Ecri1s: A Se/ec1ion. 2 4 . before the appearance of gestures ex press­ ing desires ( a t about o n e year) and fin ally intonat ions. Learning H o w t o Mean: Exp/orations i n the Development of Language ( Lon don: Edward A rnold. pp." Psychoana�)'Iical Study of t h e Child (I 962). and S .. ) 1 8 . M . Ibid. (N e w York : Norton. 2 7 . Is i t not t rue t h a t the o n l y (historical) events today. T he resu l ts. 2 : 3 9-6 0. 4 37-66. "The t ransitional object represents t h e mother's ability t o pres e n t t he world i n su ch a way that the i n fa n t does not at first k now t h at the object is not created by the i n fa n t " (ibid. (Baltimore: J ohns H o pkins U n iversity Press. "The M i rror Stage as Formative of the Fu n c tion of the I. Sou le in La Connaissance d e /'enfant par la psych­ analyze ( P a ris: Presses U niversitaires de Fra n ce. p. Spivak. 1 : 3 1 4. ( 1 946). the horizon o f its history (Historie) within itself" (ibid. 21. W u n d t notes the dependence that I have m e n tioned between vocaliza tion a n d vision: i m i t a t ive artic u l a t io n i s d e t ermined b y sounds heard a s well as by sou n ds s e e n to be art icu l a t e d . 3 70-71 ) . C f. K . and as such i t bears. war) are s c ien t i fic e vents: t h e inven t ion of spaces. 1 7: 2 9 2 . 1 -7. p. Soule i n L'Enfant e t son corps ( Paris: Presses U niversi taires d e France.. accom p a n i ed by imita tion of sou n d . p reverbal mod a lities (Charles Darwin. 2 3 . Fain . C f. . H alliday. " La Chora semiot ique. S p i t z . S p i t z . C f. that is. 1 977) pp. "Th e Child's L a u ght e r . 2 : 2 8 5 -308 [ 1 877)). 1 9 77). ! 8 ff. S o m e i n t eresting developments i n pediatrics and c hild psyc hology are d isc ussed by I . 1 07 ). esse n t ially. 1 6 . and for c hildre n obs e rved from age two to three years. Kre isler. W . 1 96 5 ) . Edith J acobsen. it is something historical (ein Hiszoriches). " A u toeroticism re -ex a mi n ed . see the i n t roduction t o t his volu m e . 1 9 1 1 . Cf.. D a rw i n notes that a ft e r t h e first c ries of su ffe ring. Playing and Reality. J acques Lacan. 1 97 4). from a p hilosophical perspe ctive. at the e n d of being merged in with t he object" ( W i n n i co t t . a l l o f which are archaic. M . p. 28 . pp. " in La R evolu1ion du /angage poetique ( Pa ris: Seu il. 3 7 1 ). outside o f m urder (that is. L e bovici a n d M. p p. This d eferring facilit ation of "ins t i n c t u a l drive" before the le tter has been considered. G. For a br ief accou n t . 2 3-30. 2 5 . t rans. " I refer to the hypothetical area that e xists (bu t c a n not e x ist) between the b a by and the obje ct (mother or part of mother) during t h e phase o f t h e repudiat ion o f t he object as not-me. a n d M .1 9 ) . pp. Ibid. b u t t here is a predominance o f visual perception over acousti c perception i n the i n i t ial st ages. R . 378 . " Mind. P L A C' E N A M E S 293 o n e stops mu c h t o o soo n ) is nothing other th a n historic al disclos u re: in itself. 1 5 . R . 2 6 . 1 977). 1 9 7 5 ) . by J acques D errida in OfG rammaw/ogy. laughter a ppe ars towards the t h i rd mo n t h . 1 9 . [Ed .

Verbal exchanges are recorded during collec­ tive games where an individual ized relationship potent ially grows between adu l t analyst and each of the children. within the equivocal aspect of prim ary nar­ cissism. m u s t be tested against a nalyses of a la rge num ber of cases. J.1 3. ( 1 96 1 ) 39: 1 . cri ti cize this position and st ress that positionality is only t h e result of innate gra m m a t i cal classes. 1 965)." in Foundations of Language ( 1 967) 3 : 37-65 . see J effrey S . C f. A . linguistic. On topic-comment interpretation of i n fant syntax. a supplementary argument i n favor of t h i s t h eory. " I dentity and Catastrophe. "Topicali­ zation in Ch i ld Langu age. prepositions. Petito!. is hencefo r t h replaced by terms with precise positions." i n t o morphemic pairs and fi nally into normative syntax. . J erry A . in that positionality determines t h e organization of t h e si g n i fying chain itself. I O I . p. Bever. ( 1 965) 72 :476-82. and that children first learn localization of u n i t s before being able to associate t h e m . at t h e t i m e of t h e sym bolic. in "Theoret­ i ca l N otes on the Acquisition of Syntax: Critique o f 'Contextual G en e ralizat ion. G r u be r . played between fl u id "terms" ( I /other. "The O n t ogeny of English Phrase Structure. which draw their logical and syntactic value from that very position. fu nctioning of the s u b­ ject. I should like to point out that the spat iality supporting the sem iotic fu nction (which I referred to above) is echoed.2 94 P L ACE NAMES statistica l l y meager a n d solely applicable a s hypotheses for fu t u re work. Nicole. and a u x i li­ ari es. Thomas G. 32. A rnauld and P. Fodor. J a n u a ry 1 97 5 . in t h e beginning would be classes." in Language. Logique ( P aris: Presses U n ivers itaires d e France. not places. as well as M artin Braine. inside/ o u tside). and William Wexsel. 30."' Psychological R e 1•iew. The semiotic chora or t h e potential space that. t o the detriment of t h e th eory (currently widely debated) of the u n iversa l i ty of gram m a tical categories? 3 1 . Bu t is t h e genesis of t h e posi tionality of terms (I am outlining a few o f its psych oanalytic aspects) as c o n ferring value." a paper read a t the sem inar of Claude Levi-Strauss on Identity. through a process o f "contex tual general izations. Wh atever t h e met hodological and psych ological interest o f this discussion in its own right. The analysis also in volves the regression that this play-attentiveness induces in the researchers and students as a prerequisite for the deci phering and in terpreta­ tion of chil dhood-infan t i l e discourse. Braine notes that t h e first i n fant utterances are determ i ned by relat ionships of order fall ing into t w o categories (pi1•or words plus "X") which include pronouns.

1 86. Madonna. Ecstasy of Saint Francis. 91 n. A n to n e llo d a M ess in a. 1 47n. 207. 1 90. Honore de. 1 28 B a rt hes. Adoring Madonna and Child. 1 59 Bellini. 1 36. 60n. A a r o n . 1 59. 1 37. 202 259. 243-69. 1 48-58. 202. 1 49. 80. 79. Frederick . 2 3 2 Ad amov. 252 First Love. beings: te rms defi n e d .. 72. Child. 75 263. . Madonna and Blessing Child. J. 1 1 8. Bataille.1 2 1 A n glade. 292n 1 22n. 1 53 . Christ in the Sepulchre. Dead 132. 1 05. 202 B a c horen. 209n. Madonna and Child with Cherubs. 8 9 . 253. 4. 2 3 5 92. 2. A m brose. 1 59. S a m u e l . 260. 253. 52. 2 54. 2 5 3 . 8 4. 1 92. 258 . 1 07. People. poe ts o r. 100. A r istotle. t ra n s formation or s u bject or n a rration 265. 7. 9 1 n. 1 2 5. 2 3 6n. 82. 1 4 Arabia. see L a n guage learning: S em iot i c Balza c . 145. 90n. Theater of Cruelty. 1 42. M ik h a e l. 1 57. 7 A n tis t he nes. 6 1 n. 5. 1 59 1 48-49. see S crovegni Chapel B ellini. 4. 107 An agrams. 1 5 Ba illie. . Not /.. Charles. 5 2 A eschines. John. 8. City of G od. 2 34n. B . 1 3 . 5 9 n . 1 3. 70.. 2 5 3. . 1 55. A n aclisis. 1 4 1 . 80. Feast of the Gods. 1 94. Sai111s and A ngelic . 2 59. 88. J e a n . 1 9 1 . 209n. 1 42 . 207 poem. Child Language. 34. 1 58 n . G e n tile. Christ's Agony in 29 4n. A u thor: derined. 1 93 Baudry. 268. 84 Supported by His Mother and Sai111 Au gustin e . S aussu re's. 1 37 Its Social Background. 68-72. 246. 39. 1 94. A n to n i n ..I N D EX Ack erm ann. 1 90 259. 266. Rola n d . 8 2 Beckett. G eorges. 1 66. 70 A verroism. Am bivalen c e . 2 8 3 260. 266. 1 66. 202. A ristotelian logic. 73. 223. Sleeping Child. I. S a i n t . 1 48-52. 1 52-58 Aqu i t a i n e . 62 11 . in Nerva l's Bee thove n . 80 A eschylus. Bar-A den. 1 56.. 2 59. A u toe rot icis m . 4. 202. 1 1 . 1 33. Logique or Po rt Roy a l . 60n. A n t a l . J oseph. G iova n ni. De Trinitate. disposit ion Sarrasine. Ludwig v a n . S a i n t . 1 23n. 69. 91 n . 1 1 A vicenna. A doring Madonna Before Her A r n au l d . 1 02. A rt h u r . Crucifixion. Christ Blessing the Artaud. 79. 1 39. Madonna and Child. 1 42. 7 1 . Flore mine Painring and La Li11erature et I e ma/. A n a x agoras. xi. 39 64-89. 202 An tigon e . 2 5 3. 8 9 Bakh t i n . A poc aly ps e . Johan J akob. viii. 25. 1 5. P r i n c e or. 2 20. Bau delaire. 10. 1 58.. 1 1 . Louis. 244. 86.. 20n . A nt o i n e . 264. 252 A re n a Chapel. 86. 233. 248. Robert.. 29. 20. the Garden. Be ing. 1 35. A l thusser. i n to. 247.L ou is. Dead Christ 1 64. origin.

Paul. Cage. Charles. 22 1 . 1 22n. 24. 7 3 . 20n . Funeral of the Virgin. E m i l e. Mother With Butor. 209n. 224. Charac ters (i n novel). . Gospels. 21 5 Magdalene. R . 1 8 2. 7 1 and comm u n ication. 262 C a m p aul(. C a tast rophe t heory. C a rt esian t rad i t io n . 279 Black S eptember Organization. Bocheta. 2 1 1 . 52 C ast ration. Gin evra. 266 Boo le. Chanson d e geste. 74-75 1 3. H enri. 60n . 1 26 Chang Hsii. t ra d ition. 288 Blan chot. 265. N icolosia. Bonave n t u r a . 1 2 8 . Georg. represen ta tion. 5. 4. 2 50. M ig u e l de. H u n t ington. M au rice. and Augustine. 202. 85. Madonna and Child. 2 94n. 1 4 1 . W ayne: Rhetoric of Fiction. 248 4 4. 2 44. Commen tary on the Cervantes Sa avedra. 263 Ce line. P iet ro. 264. in San ra Maria dei Frari and San Calderon de la Barca. A n dre. 1 39. M artin. 1 4. Cezan ne. 248. F . 1 93 . Thomas G. 69. Cartesian l i n g u istics. 1 36. 1 47n . 244. 2 3 9 the Jnstalmenr Plan. W illiam. Tryp tychs Cai rnes. 1 87. Biturige t ribe. Walter. Madonna Burnou� Eug&n e .ming. 259. J oser. Madonna With Infant B roca . 280 Chang T ung-su n . 209n. George. North. of Saint Vincent Ferrer. 73. 1 38. C a to the Elder. C hild: as a n alyzer. L' Ecriture chi noise et le Booth. 1 8 1 Bounded: bounded te l(t. v i i i . 43. Boude. 278 Bernard of C l airvaul(. 7. 46. Death on Bonaparte. 52 B l azons. 9 1 n. 29 1 Bever. 264 to structure or dream and desire. Rigodon. cou n terpart to masc uline obsession with Breuer. C h a p l i n . 235n. 1 52.59. 1 00. 288 L a n g u age Bergson. 262. 1 1 0. 2 8 5 . 202. I 06. 2 1 1 . v iii. 90n. J acopo. 70. 223. 279-8 0. Madonna With B urrou ghs.. 1 1 3. 1 86 Benve niste. as related Bembo.Baptiste. 78-80 Benj a m i n .. 52. 1 48. apocrypha. 38 Dialects. 36. 202 Two Trees. Lou is-Fe rdinand. 260. 267. Bopp.1 2. 1 04. 269 Cartesian subject. 77. as o bject or love . 87 Child and Sainr Jerome. Sacred Allegory. 246. Saints Christopher. 40. 65. 2 54. 2 5 1 . 262. 1 5 5. 62n. 268. Boehm. Claude. 70 Chang Chen. 1 44 God. 202. 277 Bibie. 2 5 2 Presenta tion in the Temple. 8 3 Zaccaria. 68. 253: Polyp tych Byza n t ine art. A ndrei. 1 56-57. 1 2 5 With Two Saints. 28 0. 264. 79 Sentences. 1 82 Borromean k n o ts. 2 1 2. 234n. 1 7 1 . 72. 53 Cav alieri G a u d e n t i . as Bremond.. 6 1 n. Franz. 273-74 d e a t h. Bellini. 9 ! n. 49 Brai n e . d e fi n ed. Ossip. 1 68 Jerome. Saint. Christ Before Cantor. 225 Jesus and Saints Catherine and Bu ddhis t paint ing. G iovanni ( Conr. 82. 233. To ward a History of Russian . 263. E. 1 89. Jean. 246 as o pposed to discourse o r represent a t ion Bely. see also 1 3 1 . M a ri e. Brahmins. 294n. Pedro. geste humain. 6. 1 25. Be lli ni. 235n. J ohn. 7 4. S a i n t : T he Mind's Road to 1 44. 220. A n toi n e Fran�ois. Jesus and Carnival and c arnivalesque tradition. 5. 1 73 Pilate. 1 1 6. the Doc1ors. Musicians. 72. 209n. 253. 1 65. Cartesian el(te nsion . 284 Cartesian logic. 9 1 n . 7. birth o f. 2 36n. 278 . 1 40-47. 268.296 INDEX B e llini.) B rik . M ic hel: A Change of Heart. 70. 1 43.1 4 Charcot. 1 64. 202 Charl emagn e's P i lgrimage. 1 3.

82 rationality. Dada. 1 69 Czerba. Svend. J . L .1 9. power of the. Enlightenment. 6 1 n .. Benedet to. 1 1 6. 2 9 1 under Cartesian China. 74-76. Um berto. 1 1 . Le Troubadour Gui/hem Eco. 63n.1 8: as index Chinese philosophy. 39 Discourse: novelistic discourse within t h e Ch uang Tzu. 23-34 Darwin. 6. 59n. 280 Derrida. F . Dante Alighieri. 1 72 Dialectics: defined. 1 6 Cim abue. 250. 18 I. chrom a t ic 2 1 6. 1 44. 2 5 3 . 14. 2 50-5 1 . N icholas. 1 5 1 C o m m u n i s t party. 7 7 . 24 5 . 7 1 .7. 20n. 7 2 C opernicus. language as. Congress of. . 272-73. 247-48. 2 5 1 Coulet. 67-72. Dostoievsk i. Isabella d ' . Ch inese prints. Twent ieth Du rivault. 279. 1 5 8 n . Euclid. G olden Legend. Wil l i a m . 22 5-29. 2 64 262. 7. 1 4 9. 87 Colonna. semiot ic. Of Eu rip ides. 77. tr iad. Chomsky. 90n . Evreux. 8. 202 Grammato/ogy. Ch rist's l i fe . cathedral of. 270n. L e B/ason. ix. 262-69 Duccio di Buoninsegna. 1 2 8 . 80. 2 34n . Feodor M ik h a ilovich. 8 8 . Ch inese poetry: ana logy with m edieval 244-4 5: see also Carnival French poetry. C h r istianity and Diogenes Laertius. 87. 87. 1 59. 2 9 1 4 1 -42. see also Subject treatment and l u minosity.. 87. 1 4 Chara. 1 92 39. 2 8 8 Erl ich. 276-77. 2 37-38. 2 0 2 . 27 8-80. Po/iphi/i ( Polyphilus' Dream). . Epicurus. 6. see also other. Eth ics. The Eastern Loujiks' Engels. Boris. 1 24-30. 2 5 3-64. represen tation a n d symbolization. 1 5 . . F . M a r cus Tullius. 49 Colet t i . J . 89 of heterogeneity. Rene.. space as effect of. object. vs. 6 1 n. Charles. Denis. Eik henba u m . M a rcel. Dionysius. 2 39. 8 2 Dodd. 1 84 t radition. Le B/ason. see also Semiotic Dialogism. 2 1 1 . a n d t h e Descartes. . 62n. 1 2 . 4. 69: as spatialization. H. D u champ. 202 Dialect. G iovanni. 49 Desonay. . 1 59 subj ect-addressee chain. novel tending toward. 1 -2. 90n. 2 35 n . 224-2 5 . Pittura veneta de/ quattro cento. 8 3 . 79. 67 C roce. A l onzo. 9 9 . 6 1 n. Jean-Paul. 2 5 1 Colson. 264 66. Histoire du /ivre de /'antiquite monologism . 2 5 3 . 74-76: typology Church. . 1 8 .. Crime and Punishment. 239 Damourette. 1 5 9. Noam. Friedrich. 1 1 7. 224-3 1 . J acques. 38. xi. Christian dogma Diderot. 39 . 1 34 . 8 0-8 I . . 3 5 n . 66. 1 84. 270n. 69 Color: According to the m etapsych ological Drive: defined. 80.1 5 .. M eister. 30. Montahagal. 8-9 Desire: in critical writing. 89 Christ. Este. 9 1 n. L . 62n . 2 Continuum. disposi tion 8 3 . 293n. G . 272. V . INDEX 297 1 5 5-56. 4. People's Republic of. 70 of. 77-78 a nos jours. 202. 99 En thoven. 202 Eckhart. . 222-23. 2 5 1 Doon de M ayence Cycle. 229 D ' H aucourt. 2 2 4 . Francesco: Hypnerotomachia Double: fascination with. 279-80.1 7: in painting. Cyrano de Bergerac. Dahl. 52. 9 . 72. 76-78 . 293n. 76-89 Cicero. G . 1 83 . 1 5 2. Ram eau 's and a r t. 1 3 3 Epic. Victor. 1 5 . 244. oral drive. 8 5 Elisions: non-recoverable syntactic. Christian Nephew.

2 44-45 Ge n e r a t ive grammar. Go ldma n n . 2 5 1 . 3 245. and the Bishop ofAssisi. Gustave . 273 . 105. 34 Feuerbach. 1 1 A nna. Fem inine viol ence. 2 9 3n. : Studies on Hysteria. Sandor. 220. 67. As I Lay Dying. Gerard. Saint. 1 1 Francis Preaching before Honorius III. 1 6 4 6 1 n. H . 2 74: Papers on Ezek iel's vision . La Pensee chinoise. M .. 1 55. 2. J o h a n n Wolfgang von. laji?mme). 1 24: post-formalism. 2 3 1 -32. A. N 1 47n. Paul (Etude sur la condition privee de Findlay. Fere nczi . J e a n Pierre. A lbert. Garin de M onglan Cycle. 1 1 0 Giot to. Blason popu/aire de la France. Charles. 2 1 2 Frege. P a u l Johann A n se lm von . Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. 228: Visions of Friar Augustine Fra n k l i n . 7. 273: Gran et. Figaro. G. Green. 1 2. 76. J a mes G. Russian. 1 1 7. i x . J acob. 28. . 1 4. the Thrones at Assisi.. 1 09. David . 1 99 F a u lk ner. 1 26 . 2 3 . 1 4. v i i Movement. L 'Univers des livres. 62n. 19 G e n e t t e . 26.2 98 INDEX E xisten t i a lism. 32-33 Feminine n a rcissism . 39. 2. M athilde. 3 Gate. 2 92n. . 70. 2 2 8: Betrothal of the Virgin. 239 Gelb. The Overcoat. Autobiographical Study. 1 64 Femi nine proble m a t ic. 1 1 9. 1 22n . 1 35. Gogol. 58. 70. 4. 62n. 60n. 30 Freud. Sigmu n d . 23. 1 37 1 8: J okes and Their Relation to the Gregory t h e G r e a t . 2 43. W illiam. Form a n d Space. 2 92n. J . 1 22n . World. 26. 208n . 264. 244. R. 3 8 /nnocem Ill." 220: Go rgias. Vie privee d' autrefois. 1 23n. 67 1 57. . Histoire de Ncriture. Boyce. 2 73. 1 1 2 228: Saint Francis Renouncing the Francis. 2 2 8 : Vision of 6 1 n. 209n.1 8. 1 5 . 1 1. 272-78. 64. 202. 6 1 n. 226-28 2 30-3 1 : Mocking ofChrist. 9 I n.. 2 2 9 : Massacre of the Innocems. 2 9 4n. 1 4 5-46. A n gus. 226: Expulsion of the Demons Formalists. Crucifix of Saint Damian Speaks to Fodor.1 5: see also A n agram Interpretation of Dreams. 273: Totem and Taboo. Gi bso n . 7 Fu turism. . A nnunciation to F l etche r. N orthrop. 208n. 25 1 Metapsycho!ogy: The Unconscious. I O I . Andre. W. Saint Francis. Aries. 1 1 . 274: Gra m : defin ed. . 22 9: Saint Fouca u l t . Gottlob. 9011. 1 47n. and Arms. Lucie n. Nikolai Vasil yevich. 2 75 und Wahrheit. M ichel. History of the Psychoanalytic Grimm. 2 6 5. 2 34n. 2 29: Flocon . Fain. 2 2 8 : Dream of the Palace Fomigy. 1 7 1 . 2 3 9 .lch . J A Study of Writing. 1 07.. J erry A. S aint. 2 2 7-28 : Dream ofPope Folk tal es. 1 00. A lfred. 2 34n. 2 73: Fascis m . Dichtung Freud. 226: Meeting at the Golden 95. 9 1 n. 1 1 Fay e . 2 1 1 . Giovanni Bellini. 59n . 1 58 Garr. 1 3.. 49 myth of the fem i n in e . 266 Flaubert. Wilhelm. 28 1 : " L us t . 5. 2 1 6. i x . L' Enfam et son corps. G iorgion e. 290 Glossolalia. 52 Unconscious. l. 1 65 Gaidoz. vii. 1 62. Le. 284: On the Greimas. I v a n . 203. ji·om Arezzo. 270n. 1 0.1 4 Frye. Fi occo.. 3 1 . J. 1 66. 10. 202. 5. 1 6 4-66. G e notext. 2 2 9: Apparition t o the Brothers at Fliess.. 27 1 . J acob.. M ichel. 35n . 2 1 0-34. 27 3 Goethe. Fou rie r. 202 Freu d . Femi n i n i t y and th eory. 209 Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.• Fe tishism and represe n t a tion. 90n. 2. Fevrier.. 202 Gide..

vii. 45 history and t h e sign ifying s u bj ect. 1 5. 1 36. J a rry. 1 5. 1 50. 1 6 1 . 1 84. defi n ed.1 4. 80 Joyce. I nstinct. J u binal. 55. Guth rie. 1 2 \ n . 39. 9 2 . 1 54 2 5 1 -52. 68. Science of Logic. 68-6 9. i x . C. transcendence. I n t ertextua lity: defined. 1 28 . 235n. J erome. 27 po e t ic la ngu age and a r t as m aternal H ayakawa. Jocasta. 1 35. 7 9 J acobsen. 2 . . 2 0 2 : Finnegans Wake. 36-38 H a lliday. Der European Sciences and Transcendental Satyrische Py/grad. Homosexua lity.1 7. 32. 1 35 I rony. 2 02. 82 J oyce. Th£ Life and Work of word. 1 66 H usse rl. M . 9 \ n. 43. Inquisition. 14. Phenomenology of the polyphony. 292n. 1 9 2 pe rcei ved th rough words as i n tersect ion Joh n of Damascus. 1 63 . 1 89 Heraclitus. 1 09. A l fred. 1 99. 6. 50 H egel.. 1 54. 1 1 General Introduction to Pure Gritti. W. v o n . 35n. 202. 8 2 . writing a n d Mind. fem i n i n e . 80. 1 45. Hete rogeneity. 222-23 H a m ilton. 77.-2 9 3n. 183. 1 4. Edith. 2 92n. Language. 20 1 . 1 5 1 . H u m a nis m: classica l. 1 46.. 3 8 Art. 2 5 1 H yde. 1 5 9. 2 2 3-24.1 6 Horatian Sat ires. 8 2 J a kobson. Ideology. S. Learning Ho w to . 9 1 n. 1 27 into synchron ic h istory t h rough dialogica l Jones. INDEX 299 Grimmels hausen. 1 5 1 . Meaning. 1 8 1 H istory: ambiva lence of texts. 1 5 4 . 2 3 9-40 247-48. 1 4 5 Jou issance. 5 1 -55.. 38. 1 4. 6 1 n. 1 6. 1 2 3 n . 1 66. 2 39. 2 92n. 7 1 . 7 1 . Carl G . J a mes. H arvard U n i ve rsity. Luce . text of the novel 1 2 9. 1 56. 65-66 Sigm und Freud. . 8 0. 9 1 n. Ideas: Gris. Hippocra tes. 3 9 13 4 .father incest. 1 30. E d ith. F . David. Ach ille. 8 2 . 1 84. 1 3 7. 30.1 1 . 207 232. v iii. 1 0 3 . 9 9. 1 26. 1 00. 1 5 Mean. 1 06. TM Crisis of J u n g. v iii. d e fined. J e ffrey S . 1 66. 2 9 3 n. H e idegger. 2 2 3 Isa i a h . 1 8 1 H i t lerian ideology. x . H . t ra nsposit ion o f a n t erior or consciousn ess o f self.. G M " 3 5 n . E u gene. 1 1 4. 1 5 7. 276 . K . 24-2 5. 1 4 8 . I m age and transcendence. 2 76. 1 9 1-92 Maturity. 1 92-95. Jack. 1 2 9 G u ido da S i e n a. 293n. bi: . J u a n . He lene. 202. Rich ard. Th£ Iliad. 9 0n. 1 09 H elle n is tic civil iz ation. art as language of maternal Hom er. 1 8 1 . K . 25. Ren a issance. Howard. 1 42 . Ph£nomenology. Ernest. 2 42. 4. 85-86. Roma n . S a i n t . 9 9. 244. synchronic stateme nts i n to Hegelian dialectic. 2 47. 26-34. Iswolsky. 2 02 jou issance. 78 H i rsch m a n . Ionesco. No ra. . Saint. 1 1 1 23n. 238-39. 1 4 2 . 1 2 8-30. 65. Philosophy of Fine speech i n n o v e l . 2 3 5n. 1 5 1 . 29 4n. Frie drich. 2 2 4. Florentine. 1 0 2 . 37. 2 86. and i ncest. t ransform a tion of d iachro nic J o h n t h e A post le. Investigations. Ideologeme. 1 56. 2 5 0 o f t exts. Incest : daugh ter. 27. 1 1 0. 2 1 4. see Dr ive 88-89. J u les. Ulysses. 1 4 8 . 1 4 3. 1 83. 1 3 1-32. 36. Logical Gru ber. J . 1 4 5 . 254. M a rtin. Phenom enology. 1 89 H ilbert. H i t l e r.. I r igaray. E d m u n d . 1 64 J osqu in des Pres. 1 47n. G . . 1 1 2. 1 9 7 . 2 24. H eg elian as. H old erl i n . 1 2 3n . He gelian commu nicative speech. 263. vii. 2 80-8 1 . 2 3 5n. 82-83. 1 27. A . .

2 3 5n. J e a n de. 1 9. 76. 6 1 n. S . psyc hoanalysis and language a n alysis. A nn e t te. 1 1 0. 2 93n. 2 02 M a llar me. Leopold. 1 57. 71 1 38 . 5 3-59 moyen-iige en France. Le ibnitz.. Lau trea mon t. l ingu isti c Levi-S t ra uss. 1 33. I m m a n u e l. 283. 25. J erzy. S tepha n e . E m i l e .3 00 INDEX K a l'k a . Ferdinand. 1 38. 1 2 7 Le wis. 4 1 -46. R. 1 86. Lawr e n c e .-62n. 244. J . G Les Voix d e Paris. 1 8 3 Laplanche. Le11res a L u k as ie wicz. 29 1 . Gy!lrgy. 32-34. entry in to syn tu a n d victory over the L i n g u is t i cs.. 1 09. Krush chev. 243-46. 6 9 . absolute k nowledge . and cast ration. Charles A . 1 5 1 color and the burlesque. Lasalle. 1 05. w i t h i n meaning Kastner. Kre isler. 6 1 n. 1 7. mot her. proper na mes. 265. ! . ! . 294n. L e n in. C laude. V l ad imir l lyich. 70 Jacques de Luxem bourg sur /es zournois. 1 35. 202. 20 n. N i k i t a Sergeyevich. 276-77. L'Enjam et son corps. 122n. 28 1 . 8 3 l . M el a n ie. Lentin. structur alism. . 1 8 1 . 4. 247. L a Fon t a i n e . 1 0 . 76. 3. 6 1 n. 94 object. 1 27-28. 292n. a na p hora. as system of signs. K osk i m ies. 5. Man in the L iterature of l anguage/i n fantile langu age. 2 8 1 ff. M ar ia-A ntonie tt a . psychanalyse. 1 3 1 . Viatico per cinque secoli di pot e n tial mea n in g . Got t frie d Wilhelm von. 2 93n. ge nesis o f the signifiable l i n g u is t ic code. J e a n . 1 00. 8 6. 1 24. 245 . 278.. 277. Lovitt. 1 66 L aughter: vs. 1 9 1 Lucretius. Ch ristine. 2 0n. a utoe rot icism a n d imagina tion. 2 Materialism and Empiriocriticism. 292n. S. I . Freu dian u n conscious. 272-78. 8 0 . Theorie des Romans. 1 93. 1 3 9 1 n. a n d Kage l. 1 37. 79. A ntoine de: La Salle.. 1 1 6. vocaliz a t io n of l a c k . 14. Velimir. viii. 1 45. enunciation a n d the Le roy. 1 03. 2 . presyntactic Lon g h i .. 8 a n d L e Petit Jehan de Sainzre. . 82. . 223. M allarme.. L a n g u a g e learning: anac lisis. 202 9 1 n. S. D . a o Tzu. 1 7 1 . 80. 1 84 L a c a n . 1 7 2 Philosophical N ozebooks a n d What ls 10 Be Done?.. Vocabulaire de la L u k acs. . 1 95. . 202 Klein. 208n.. 292n. Madonna With the Carnation. 27. 80. 289-90. 1 00. 286. 277 Lavers. Nikolai. 1 1 8 28 1 -8 2 L u c a n . 1 98-99. Virgin and Child With L anguage: Cartesian subject in generative Saint A nne. 1 28. Ignat ius o f. 4 . 60n. M arie . 24. 22n. .· Ku rylowicz. 289. Leon ardo da Vi nci. K n udson. 71. v i i i . L'Arl religieux de la fin du 50-5 1 . J acques. M a uricio. H a ns. m irror L i n Piao. 202. La Sale. 2 9 . 1 39. 28 5-87. L'Homme nu. 282-84. 1 68 gestu r ality. 290-9 1 . syn t a x an d negat io n . W erner F. 282-84. 59n. M acciochi. 4 1 . Child Language. L e bo v i c i . 1 99 Mona Lisa. 284-85: a s primer for K a n t . 86. and Reconforz a Madame de Fresne. J an . La C onnaissance de fenjam Konrad. M al e . Koran. 244. childhood Lichachov. 210n. 6 1 n . 1 6 . Old Russia. Franz. 1 00. 287. 1 22n. 1 42. P h i l i p E.. 1 84. 1 47n. 293n. 245 grammar. 29-30. Carl R. M . par la psychanalyse. Theory oj zhe Novel. Loyola. topic/comment. 23-34. 287-89. 1 3 .8 2 K h lebnikov. 9 9 sem io t i c chora. 1 0 . R a fa e l . 1 28. L e w y . 1 62. Laius. vii. Pi11ura veneziana. 7 1 . 203 stage. 82. 1 7 1 Lecourt. 27 1 -78. 4.

62n. M arx. 70. Recueil de poesies M aterialis m. a n d M cdvcdcv. Wolfgang A m adeus. Poesia Nicole. 1 07 M alraux. 77. M essm e r. r e l a t ion to. Andrea. Ralph. 1 5. 1 4. s u bj e c t 's Negativity: dcri ncd. 4. 1 59. 1 23n. A n atole de. t ra nsccn dcncc. 7 1 . 1 62. M ichelang e lo Buon arroti. Developmenz ofzhe Human M il le r. 1 62 . 29. vii. a n t irepresent ation al. 69-70. a n d mate rialist discourse. 292n. and h et eroge n e it y. timelessness a n d su icide. 33 Ne gation: a s a ffirmation. · M en ip pus of Gadara. 69. as 249. 2 3 6n. 2 0 1 -8. 1 0. M on taiglon. 2 1 9. Gerard de. 20 9n. J u les. 39 M eni ppe an trad ition. a n d M arx ism . 1 57 141 M ichelet. INDEX 301 208n. 67. 2 8 1 : Un Coup de des . . 1 6. M orin. 1 3. 2 47. 1 00. 79. 1 5 5-57. 1 84. juglaresca. M enippean disco u rs e . 2 0 6 . spe c u la rization in. J oseph. 1 6. 1 85. 70. 2 02 N e u rosis: see S u bj ect M cnendcz-Pidal. 9. M cl ville. 1 9 1 . 1 9. M ill er. 1 6 1 : in writing.. n arcissism 1 37. 2 07. 8 1 . 2 02. 1 22n. Fascism and S t alinism as M o z art .. 2 22-24. 1 1 1 Lilerary Scholarship.1 5. 77. 84. h istory as an alysis o f N a rc issism. 84.. M atc rn a l fu nction: mot h e r vs g c n c t rix. Eleclric Iron. H o w A re Verses Made. 85. 206-7. 1 05. 202 t ext. representat ion without narrative. 2 2 1 . P. 22 1 M ao Zedong.. K a rl. H e rm an . 1 02 . polyphonic. 1 6 . 2 3 5n. 60n. avant-garde as always a lready fram. 82-8 9 N ietzsche. 28. 72-73. stru c t u re and the n o v e l . A . 202 return of t h e repressed. see also Text . 1 40-45. 79-80 Novel: modern. Logique of Port-Royal. 85. 67-68. 202 political discou rse. 78. 1 59. Notre Dame o f Avioth. 2 5 0-5 1 . . 1 24: nonsense and 78-79. 2 03. 1 2 5. 8 5-86: M et z . 272 . see also Prim a ry speak i n g s u bj e c t . 69. 209n. 278-80. 1 23n. M ann. modes. . 1 25. Ramon. 2 50 2 1 4. . John Stuart. Science and Civilization 27. 1 83: paranoia. 7 1 . i n t erior. pictorial. 1 5 9. M oth erhood: C h ristianity. 73. and double. M onotheism: a nd art. 82 monological. 2 34n. 1 24-2 5 . 2 03. 67. 2 06 Narrat ive: a n alysis o f. A n dre. 2 3 . 76-77. 2 1 1 . I. M onologism. I. 2 8 2-83 prohibition. 294n. Pict. V . 64. 202. structu re. 8. M at isse. language as. Vladim i r Vla d i m i rovic h .oises des X Ve ez X Vie siecles. 32 2 7 1 : German Ideology. 67 M aya k o vsk y. 1 46-47. . 2 52.. 2 02. N The Formal Method in . 8 M il l . 69-7 1 : a n d non-disj u n ct ion. 1 9 1 . Ncrval. 47-49 production of mean ing. 8 5-87.1 2 . C . and w riting. 1 75. M eh l e r. Pi erre . politic ally dissid ent. Frie dric h. 60n. 9 1 n. 74-76. 87. 145. l it erature a n d e vil. see Novel 203 M onologu e. 1 2 . 1 8 2 . Richard. 2 05-7: h istory and the t c mporality o f t h e N apolcon. J ean. 290 M an h e im. 2 8-34. u n its. 1 78. in China. N e e d h am. 1 32 -33. M a ntegna. Claudio. 72 . He nri. 23. Pierre. 60n.. 5 9 n. 9 1 n. M i s rahi. 1 60 66. 2 1 1 . 9 1 n . 2 3 9 . 9 0n. M ay 1 968. 69. Violette. Eye. 1 47n.1 3. 2 8 0 defined.• ncgat ion . 74. 1 64. 8 2-8 3. 1 03 . 80. 2 54 M o ndrian. 2 44. 202 M cn ippcan satire. 1 34. non-disj u n c tion in t h e s u r m c a n ing. 2 1 1 . 90n. C h ristian. 1 44-45: conditions for a dialectic. 214. 2 4. 6 9: a n d t h e M e a ning: mean ing. 85-86.1 6. 60n. J acques. rea list. 1 07-9. ix-x 1 63. 6 1 n. 2 03-4: bre ak i n g up M onteverdi.

20n. 70 Pound. 1 04. M arcel. 225. Phenotex t. 248-49. 8 . 1 9 1 : phallic and i m aginary P r i m a l scene and representation. J acques. 277: 2 3 5n . Poet i c l ogic. 2 02 Pro 1•en1. . 242-43. 272-73. 1 2 2n . Pompidou. G i u seppe. 2 3 8 . Enneades. 208n. 79. 1 54-5 5 . Linguistic Circle of. 80 Prevert. 1 3 3. 82 permu t a t i o n o f words. 1 1 Psychosis. Parody.302 INDEX Nyk l . 208n. Edouard.36: sem i ology and. 1 5 1 . 249 mother. 2 6 . 3. 1 96: 235n. 274. 2 2 3 . 6 1 n . ambiva Troubadours. 202 Peirce. 208n. Saint. Port . Ezra. Petitot . 73 Paradox. 226. ix-x. 69. Enseignement de la maternal body. 1 45 . 8 1 . 1 96 1 2 5 . . Pablo. Oedipus: Oedipal aggression. 203. 69 Philo J u daeus. 5 0 . • 3 1 . 1 1 2. 1 5 . 29 1 : u n i versal 1 49. 2 0 n. 1 5 0. 273-7 5 : t h e dead father. 1 5 5 . 64. 1 1 0. 1 3 3 Oedipal experience. 245. 1 42. 266 Perspect ive. A ndrea. 1 4 5 -46: Pontalis. 1 2 7 Polem ic. 1 5 1 -52. 1 9 5 Poetic l a nguage. 1 74 244-45. 97. v i i i . 1 49: Ponge. phallic mother. 20 3. 275. 8 1 . 1 54-5 5 . 4 . 200. 1 64. N icolas. 276. J . 1 34. 272: P l o t i n u s and Plot i n i s m . 24-2 5. 36: t ra n s linguistic. Oedipal narrati ve. On the Creation of the Prose. 7. 1 3 1 97 : and poetry. . 1 74. Polynom ia. 1 1 9 : the critic's � i aget . 74. hidden i n t erior. Francis. 2 0 2 : Apology. 209n. psychanalyse. 78 World. 1 9 1 . : Timeus. medieva l . 1 37-39. 82 Prague. 273: Oedipus 8 0 . 1 9 3 : Oedipal myth. 1 92. transference. R ussian Peano. 1 26. 5. 1 85 Post . 1 1 0 Phallicism. � honic differen t i a l . 234n. Pisano. 7 1 . 66. 1 93. as dialogue a n d Overney. Y . 1 73-74. 1 3. 6. A l o i s R ichard. 1 94. 2 8 8 Poetrr a n d Its R elation With the Old Pi ndar. 1 96. 1 86. 220. 1 27 Paul. 20 1 gr a m m ar o f. 36. 74 disintegration and renewal. 1 32. 4 Poussin. G eorges. Vocabulaire de la fa ther as obj ect o f l ove. 1 92 Poet i c word. 1 99: Oedipal Pl eynet. : see also drive. 1 69-7 1 . 265. and t h e i n fi n ite. 70. M arcel l i n . Pi erre. 1 59. 1 74 Orpheus.formalism. 1 95-96: Oedipal m other. 1 49-50 Plato a n d Platonism. 59n. peinture. 8 4 . . 1 99. Theaetetus. . 1 60. as discourse o f identi ty. 65 Otaka. 1 3 5. 4. 6 Productivity: text as. J . 69. 282 Phenom enology. 6 . 7 . I . 2 6 5 Pregnancy as i n s t i t u t ional ized psych osis. 1 36. dialogue of A nag rams subject of enunciation w i t h i tself. 202. see Formalists. Orestes. 1 63. 1 3 5 . 1 73 . 294n. 1 99. Oedipal stage. 52. viii.B. 1 49-50: death and meaning. complex. . 7 2 : as dramatic Ovid. 206. 1 92-93. 3 1 . vii. 1 92. Proust. 1 5 1 -52. 273. C h arles S . 1 2 5-26 Psychoanalysis. 3. 29: a n d w r i t i ng. 225 P i t t acus o f M isselene. 20 1 Philology.R oyal: Logique. 7 1 -72 Piinini. 3 8 Polylogu e : consciousness w i t h i n rhythm and Paragram s. 1 74. 1 94. Jean. 1 1 7 P icasso. 1 1 1 . 62n . 70. 7.-2 3 5 n . 1 2 8 Phaedo of Elis. 1 9 1 . 242 269. 73 186 Paternal fu nction. 1 75-83. 2 3 5n. Prim ary narcissism. 2 1 1 . Hispano-Arabic Pichon. 32. 5 2 Obsession i n writing. see S u bject . 2 37-40 Petro n i u s Arbiter.

in. 1 1 8. 4. 3 Sn. 2 6. 2 1 5. 1 36. R u ssell.. Sem iotics R u s k i n . 1 49. rhetorical Ri nversi. 202. 209n. 2 50. 79. R epressi on. 1 38. 33. 2 1 2 texts. 1 26. 242-43. 79. 2 2 1 . 2 7 1 . 1 36 Semiot ics. 2 28-30. 1 1 signifying process: 1 06. 1 44. 1 33 . 34. 1 26 Reich. 1 06.1 9. 2 2 5 2 26-28. A veroes et 208n. Soviet. 1 3 3 . 90n. 7 1 . 1 1 8. 5. 1 04. 5 . 262. I O I . 90n. repression. ! 0 1 -2 . 276 sciences. 1 75-79. J ohn. Jean-Jacques. 1 84. gestures. 1 66 t h e sym bolic. 263. 234n . Rabelais. 2 3 5n. 205. R otsel. Wilhelm. l i teratu re's Round Table. or i iterary Saint Mark's Church (Venice). 1 20-2 1 . 1 66. Ferdi nand de. 2 2 0 .1 7. 1 1 0 Sant'Apollinare Nuovo ( R a venna). 69. 7 1 . Roussel. 59n. 1 1 2 . 1 1 5 . Jalal ed. 2 1 7. 8 . as determ i n ed b y R ysselbergh. Pu r k i nje. 1 62 Sememe. see also R u m i . ! 00. 1 0 1 -2 .2 8 7 sur /es romans. Sch reber. 224 1 23n. 2 7 . ! 00. W. 1 4 2 . Jacqueline. 1 1 6. see also Semiology . Lou. style. 49 34. ldees sem iotic chora. 234n. Salome. G iotto and his Work in Semiotic disposition: anaclisis. 2 30-3 1 Santa Croce ( F l orence). 1 1 4. 2 0 2 San Fr ancesco (Assisi). 2 1 2 Sartre. 2 2 8 S a n t a M a r i a M aggi ore ( R o m e). a fli r m a t ion. 2 24. 74 R obespierre. Critique of Dialectical Reason. 2 9 . 6. . 2 1 9. and psychoanalysis. 2 8 1 -8 2 : the Padua. R e n a n . 6 l n. 2 1 2. 1 05-6. 86. J ean. 7 S e m i ol ogy. 7 1 criticism and writing. H e n r y . INDEX 303 Purce ll. . 2 8 6. 29. 1 8 1 . R aymond. Science.236n. ! 0 8-9. or Rottenberg. primal Sade. 1 4 7n. 7 l i terature. Maria van. 246. de. m u s ic. 24. 1 54. Raymond. 1 22n . 6-7. 24 1 . 2 84. Johan nes. Scrovegni Chapel ( Padua): G iotto's frescoes Renaissa nce representation in painting. 1 40. v i i i . 249-50. I . S . Reilly. 2 3 9. .. 1 38-39 Ri sset. Revol u t ion. Semanalysis. Enrico. l'A verroi'sme. Ann. 1 0 5 . and Ri cardo u . P. 1 3 8. R a o u l de Cam brai. 93. 86. 1 2 8-29. A . t heater. 2 0 2 . 1 57 . viii. 1 2 . 83. 2 1 2 Queneau. 7 Semantic analysis. Roche. Senatspriisident Daniel. 98. 1 33 . Ryazanskaya. 2 8 1 -8 3 .P a u l . 1 40 Schnitzer. 234n. 284-8 5 : l anguage learning. 22n. 7 8 phenomenological sig n i fy ing and R o t h k o .. B/ason populaire de /a France. 1 66 59n. 140.1 8 . dissolving Roman de R enart. translinguistic practices. 243-50. 247 seduction vs. 239. 207. Bertrand. 245-46 Sebillot. Semanalysis. Saussure. 9. M ax i m i l i e n . 2 1 8 . 2 7 1 . ethics of l iterary science. 3 2 . Cycle or. J ean. 2 6 6 m y t h ical ent i t ies. Denis. 246 1 39 Realism. G iotto's frescoes i n . rationalization or t h e Ri chards. 7 1 . . 36. 24. 1 74. 290 dance. 1 00. 1 0 5-6. de fined. 1 02-3. 145. Pierre. 2 1 3. 37. . 1 2 5 -27. M a r k . R . 1 1 6. Raphael Santi. R a cine. 269 m etalanguage. 3 . A F. 1 09. criticism a n d prim al. Jean . 1 62 . 96. 1 58n. 206. Anna.1 5. Fran�ois. Ernest. v i i . D. 4. 7 irony. 94-9 8 . 67. 1 2 7.. 1 8 1 semi ological nega t i v i t y . chora and i t s m aternal connect ion. 1 5 . L. see Novel Schlei cher.D i n . 1. 2 2 5-26. August. 49 " absence or pl ace" with respect to social Roussea u . defi ned. l 2 2 n . 1 2 1 . 1 7. The Future of Scrovegni.

Baruch. F . 97. subject of narration. 249. viii. 249. 276-77. a s operating conscious ness. 74-75. 2 8 3 Socratic dial ogue. predication impossible ident ity. 1 5. 1 46. 1 8. 9 t r a nscenden t al ego. 1 9 1 . 1 24-2 5 . 1 98 Stru ct u r alism. 97. 1 80-8 1 . 20n. 283. Macbeth. S e t theory. 1 5 3-54. 83. 293n. discourse a s . 1 78 . 28 1 . . disposition. bou nded text blocked by non-disju nct ion. W . o f enunciation. 47-5 1 . 1 29-30. 42. 20 1 . 3. 1 62-63. relation o f oral 1 39-40. 2 5 1 Tel Que/. d) Stalin. 74. 2 7 1 1 95-96. 1 72 Romeo and Juliet. Sur le materia/isme. 1 97-98 Stockhausen. 5 . defined. 1 60 . . typology o f the s u bject and death drive. 1 63-64. c) program m i ng. 1 34. as distinct from subject of fet ishism. 1 00 Soule. Signifying differential.. 1 60. H . the novel as text. fascination and Sphinx. Shepard. 1 24 . and. Signifying practice: defined. 1 2 7 -28. 248 Sopocani M onastery. 1 86. 1 09. 1 82. 4 5 -47. S. 4. 1 96. 42-44. 25. Steinbec k. 20n. psychanalyse. 49-50. 63n. 1 29-30. 96-97. 1 93 objectification. Sym bo l ic disposition: defined.. a s historical non-disj u nction within t h e n ovel 's s u bject. P . Drame. Philippe. 5 . word as signifier. 3. 2. t heir contradict ion.. Sm i t h . 1 30 Song of Roland. Leon. 52. Colin. 60n . J ean. 4. Joseph V. 1 79. 24. Aleksandr l sayevich. J oh n . 1 67-68. 202 biog r aphy. Sexual difference. 1 36. 99. Les Mots sous /es mots. The Park . 1 8 1 Sollers. 1 3 5-36. 5 2 Stalinism . 1 68 Shak espeare. 282. . 60n. 1 39. P. 1 39. L a Nouvelle fran<. 1 37-38. 54. 1 6 1 .. 8. Saussurian notion 1 89. 1 2 3n. 2 1 8 . 240. 1 74. William. 1 22n. 6 . au X Ve siec/e. l 6 1 Seneca t h e Y o u nger. Sien ese frescoes. and generative grammar. its inferential enunciation. 1 24-25 differ e n tiated from subject o f neurosis Signifying syst em.. t hesis as predication. 1 90. 283-84. 279. 7. 1 8 5-86. Nombres. Tex t : defined. 74. 3 . 29. as determining t h e semiotic 1 96. Esquisse d'une syntaxe Connaissance de l'enfan t par la structurale. G ayatri. L'Enfant et son corps. 1 1 3 . as Socialism. 84. ix. as questionable and in Signifier / sign i fi ed : addressee as signifier process. 1 28 . 1 83 1 39-40. M . 224 1 9 . 38-4. 2. 79. 20 1 . 60n. La Tesniere. 237-4 3 . 2 3. 1 5 7. and instinct u a l temporal ity. 131 Sherida n-Smith. 9 I n. 9. 87. 20n. s u bj ect of text a s Signifying pr ocess. Strawson. 202 S u b l i m ation. Alan. and signi fied. 3. 293n. language and Spinoza.8 1 Surrealism. present tense in drives. 1 2 9-30. 1 4 5 . Sign: evolution from symbol t o sign. I 04-5. 1 25 . 1 68 .. 293n. 142. viii. 48-49 Sophists. Swift . b) Y'ear of Life. . 90n. 20 1 . Victor.. 1 5 3-54. Cartesian subject S hklovsky. a) Spitz. 6-7. The First i n ferential enunciation. 24. 8 2 Starobinski. 1 90 . 6. 2 2 1 . 69. 83. Han. 64-65. t ranslinguistic. W. 284. 90n. 1 2 7. 1 3 . 1 4 2 . 1 6 1 . 1 33. 1 84-85. 7 1 . 1 3 1 . 203. 86. 1 28-29. 65 drive to rhythm and m u s ic. I 0 I and p sychosis.aise Suyin. 1 32. 3 8-4 1 . 6-7. 1 0 5 . 84 Taoist painting. 202 structural and com positional fi nit u de.1 . Lois. 278. 1 5. 205-6. 20 1 64-66. 1 7 1 Soderhjelm. 14 7 n. Socrates. Rene A . 1 5 1 . 1 28 drive. 8 . 47-48. 267-69. 2 1 1 . Solzhenitsyn . 1 62-63. speak ing and split s u bj ect. The Morning Deluge. 1 24-2 5 . J onathan. Subj ect: anal d rive.1 00. 8. Spivak. 60n . 80. Ka r l heinz. 208 n . 1 7 5 . oral of. 78. 1 33-34 1 87 .3 04 INDEX Seneca. 7 . 1 59-208. 293n.

Armando.7 3 . 277. 6 2n . 24 Van G ogh. 8 Thales o f M ilet u s . 278.. 1 1 Yi n-yang. Theodoric t h e Great.1 5 . 7 0 . 2 1 2. Thebes. 7 Playing and Reality. 2 2 6. 70 U t terance. denotative. 20n . 1 1 3 . 3 5 n . and t h eoretical reason. Wilson. 83 j) ch aracters as stages in the Vasari. as other in medieval T i t u n i k .. Zhdanov. 294n. H . 9. loss of identity in jouissa nce. D. 2 7 2 poetiq u e. . . 1 8 3 . 96-97. Gi orgio. 207 Zoroastrianism . 7 8 -80: text and dissol u t i on Verdigl ione. x. 1 08. . Varro. 8 4 Wexsel. 2 8 1 Modal Logic. of Christian ideology. Tristan. M a rcus Teren tius. Thom . 25 1 transposition o f M e nippean a m b i valence. M. 9 1 n. 1 1 . J e a n . V i n ogradov. J . Fram. G eorg Henrik von. Wright. Word: direct. 1 59 Theater: medieval theater. 7 1 1 1 0. V . Veneziano. see Tonnelat.73: dialogica l . Xenophon. Transgression of codes. 2 7 8 . 60n .. 293n. Albert J . 78. 2 2 3 . 52 Webern.1 9. 1 2. 72. Todorov. 5 2 Wolfson. Anton. G . Tru t h .5 6 . i x . T i m ides. L eo : m onological novels o f. text vs. Van G i n neken. theater. k i nship rules. 44-4 5 : t h e novel as Venetian Gothic st yle. 45 2 5 3 . A ndrei Aleksandrovich. e ) narrative a n d lit erature. J ohn. 2 3 5 n . 5 Titian. R obert C . 2 9 Wundt. poetry. 90n. 6 1 n . . 2 5 2 4 1 -47. Rene. V . 293n.1 3 . 8 0 . and real ism. 1 64 . 292n..1 00. Theorie de 1 46. J .:ois M a rie Arouet de. 83. Vietnam war. 2 6 5-66: text a s fuzzy set. 1 3 5. 72. a n d object­ Tolstoy. 45: Aeneas and Dido. la /itterature. 49-50.1 0. 5 8-59. 1 74. 2 77. 286. Transfi n ite. 7 W i n n icott. 266 Woman. 78-80. . L a R econstitution Yii-t'ai hsi n-yung. 2 34n . 2 5 Tucker. 2 4 3 . 90n. rhetoric of genres. ( Volkerpsychologie). An Essay o n Tra n s ference. Evolution des idees s u r la also Signifier /sign i fied nature des couleurs. 1 8 7 narrat ion. . Fran�ois. 1 9-20. . 1 90 Writing: defined. 36-37 Wahl. 62n.fu. Albert. 202 textual logic vs. 264. Space. Reflexions sur le roman. I . . 1 1 8. 236n. Vincent. 60n. 1 6 8 Y ii eh. 82. 99. 3 0 Tzara. 68-72. 2 1 1 . Paolo. x-xi. Leon. Edmund. 20n. 1 67. 59n. . W . William. INDEX 305 5 5 . Questions de h e r place w i t h i n Christianity. . . La M o n t e. 2 2 1 -2 2 .. 2 1 2 White. Tzvet a n . 2. text a s Wehrle. Hegelian dialectic. 1 69-7 1 . 1 93 Whitaker. 1 60. 72. A . 6 l n. Trotsky. 9 l n . 2 4 . Birth and R ebirth of Pictorial Thibaudet. 2 35 n . 66. 1 8 1 typology of texts vs. Lou is. 2 8 2 . W . 202. 8 7 oriented. typo/ogique des /angages archafques de /'humanite. 1 86-87 Y o u ng. R. 1 8 6. 8 1 Ty nanov. 60n . Volt ire. 246 meta morphosis of t h e subject of Vedas. and the law. 1 74. 20 Thibaudeau. Vergil.

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