Essays in Cultural Politics

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


Foreword by Colin MacCabe ix

Author's Note xxi

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One: Literature
1. The Letter as Cutting Edge 3

2. Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats 15

3. Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 30

4. Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 46

5. Feminism and Critical Theory 77

Two: Into the World
6. Reading the World: Literary Studies in the Eighties 95

7. Explanation and Culture: Marginalia 103

8. The Politics of Interpretations 118

9. French Feminism in an International Frame 134

10. Scattered Speculations· on the Question of Value 154

Three: Entering the Third World
11. "Draupadi" by Mahasweta Devi 179

12. Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 197

13. "Breast-Giver" by Mahasweta Devi 222

14. A Literary Representation of the Subaltern: A Woman's Text
from the Third World 241

Notes 269

Gayatri Spivak is often called a feminist Marxist deconstructivist. This might
seem a rebarbative mouthful designed to fit an all purpose radical identity. To
any reader of this remarkable book it will come to seem a necessarily complex
description, limning not an identity, but a network of multiple contradictions,
traces, inscriptions. The book does not merely state that we are formed in con-
stitutive contradictions and that our identities are the effects of heterogenous
signifying practices: its analyses start from and work towards contradiction and
heterogeneity. Illumination is a necessarily transitory and conjunctura! moment.
Any foreword to this work is, of necessity, asked to address the three fields of
feminism, Marxism, and deconstruction. However, much of the force of Spivak's
work comes from its reiterated demonstration that these fields can only be under-
stood and used in a constant attention to their interpenetration and re-articu-
lation. Any simplifying foreword thus runs the risk of reducing the potential of
this productive work. The task is, however, worth undertaking exactly because
these texts are of importance to anyone concerned with our understanding of
culture. Better: with the relation both of culture and its interpretation to the
other practices that shape our lives.
What aid to the reader, then, is proposed by a foreword? Lurking somewhere,
no doubt, is the fear that these essays are "difficult." Difficulty is, as we know,
an ideological notion. What is manually difficult is just a simple job, what is
easy for women is difficult for men, what is difficult for children is easy for
adults. Within our ascriptions of difficulty lie subterranean and complex eval-
uations. So if Spivak's work is judged to be difficult, where is that difficulty
held to reside? Although these texts have been published in learned journals,
their effectivity to date has largely issued from their delivery as spoken ad-
dresses. Judgments of difficulty have thus tended to remain at the level of
speech, of rumor. It may be of use to dispel some of those rumors, to enable
the reader to engage more quickly with the pleasures and challenges of Spivak's
Let us quickly enumerate the ways in which these texts are not difficult. They
are not difficult stylistically: this is periodic English at its most pleasurable, in-
terpolated with the occasional sharp American idiom, elegant and concise. Nor
is the difficulty that all too typical obscure, omniscient, and irritating academic
manner, which classes epochs and cultures with a whimsical aside and no ref-
erence to sources. Not for Spivak an analysis of Chinese culture based on a few
second-hand sources, nor the empty rhetoric of "since Plato." Every analysis is
car~fully annotated, by someone who is, at least in this, a model product of an
Indian undergraduate and an American graduate education-probably the most
scholarly combination on this planet. Indeed one of the minor uses of this text
is the way the footnotes offer an annotated bibliography to several of the most
interesting Marxist and feminist debates of the past two decades.
There is another, more subtle way in which the whispered rumor of difficulty
is often intended. What we are talking of is a "difficult woman," a "difficult
native." Spivak, herself, describes so well what is at stake here in "Explanation

intelligibility fades. in one of his characteristically world within publically available discourses. Spivak's theme here is large: the micro-politics of the academy_ texts such as Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle and Raoul Van Eigen's The and its relation to the macro-narrative of imperialism. sociology and the unofficial divisions nomenally rich in social contradiction and cultural production. How. however. What can be said with some certainty. to vis what are becoming the relatively well-mapped fields of Marxist. therefore. and Gayatri Spival< l of sexist racism which continues to dominate the academic theater and which is still probably best known as the translator of his most famous work. Joyce. that. to grasp the meaning of the ad. both the official divisions of anthropol. Artaud. some point in providing crude categorizations of these and associated concepts such as deconstruction-found a specific intellectual . . ever. Of Gram~J should be challenged every moment it appears-especially given th~ dif~culty matology. deconstruction. And yet this extraordinary collection of essays. . in fact. She says so herself. remarked that Kerouac was an "Eisenhower kind of gypsy. a limit. This should never be taken as a carte blanche ticular discourse and which show how those oppositions are always themselves for a willed esotericism which figures an equally complacent certainty in the caught up in their own operations-how they become the vanishing point of a inadequacy of language: the literary countersign of technocratic stupidity. to television-the circulation of signs in which the subject is con- and deconstructionist criticism. jective. accelerated and overdetermined change which were." and ment to clarity. differentiated at a practical level. Party. and the corridors of knowl. is that it was points within existing disciplines and arguments. it has becomeJl an adequate vocabulary. most important work of this decade. feminism. immediate reference cultural history. many towards Jean-Luc Godard and his films of the mid-sixties such as Deux ou trois of the most radical critiques remain completely within terms set out by the con: . an excess beyond which. But this is a theme without Revolution of Everyday Life. very disparate figures but all. chases que je sais d'elle (1966). lacks the defining features of deconstruction though these two levels cannot finally be theoretically separated they can be in America. when we are deconstruction-US style has been a "Reagan kind of radical theory. The first is unavoidable-it is the difficulty This paradox is merely an index of the poverty with which Derrida's thought which is inevitably involved in any serious attempt to reflect and analyze the has been received in the US. admittedly. introductory guides. Politically one could think of the Situationists and stituted academy. a subject: one that lacks reading lists. for a particular discourse. obviously a deconstructionist. tempted to grapple with the elaborate signifying systems of advanced capitalist visions (what is a literary critic doing discussing economic theory?) nor vis-a. However De Gaulle and the widely perceived exhaustion within the French Communist .. This is no accident: one of of the new and complex text of consumer capitalism. when challenged. discourse's own intelligibility. All that is worth stressing here is that one doesn't need the substantive. The account of the structures of an academic conference. . problem is also to stress the provisionality of this categorization. therefore. But this does not prove to be the case with Spivak's essays. no matter how intense the desire to communicate. Only those supremely confident dominant method of contemporary literary education. An adequate account of that would be misleading. It is not easily located in relation to the established subject di.. the preeminent theoretical -:7 the major arguments of this book is that the academy is constituted so as to be text would be Roland Barthes's Mythologies (1957). at different levels. and employment These are. France went through one of those periods of · cally transgress against the disciplines. there will be a certain difficulty in reading any work which is genuinely Derrida elaborated this work in the context of Heidegger' s meditation on Being . feminist. period does not exist-we even lack the most banal elements of a positivist With much of such difficult work there are. encode the fact that this homogeneity is. In the decade after 1956. gathering together some of her There remain. two real levels of difficulty in these texts. Spivak's texts radi. however. at- opportunities. gesture. from advertising hoarding. style-a whole opera and ballet Such a thought is indebted to the work of Jacques Derrida. Culturally one could gesture unable to address the most serious of global questions. geneity which is forever irreducible to it but which cannot be grasped except as carefully erased from the academic conscious. Norman Mailer. pleasurable the style and however detailed the references. emblematically grasp this commitment both to radical politics and the analysis gories or reading lists into which her arguments fall. If one wanted to between Marxism. society-the immense network of significations. The concept of text developed in that period- There is. philosophy. which easily serve as an initial in large part a reaction both to the sudden advent of consumer capitalism under -' orientation. in retrospect." Its sigriif-( trying ourselves to delineate and differentiate the practices and objects which icance and importance in the United States is entirely in terms of the devel- are crucial to understanding our own functioning and for which we as yet lack opment of the academic discipline of literary criticism. there will be difficulty. stantly figured and refigured. in each case. indeed. It subjects texts to the of their own understanding-those who would deny all reality to history or the rigorous forms of analysis developed by Jacques Derrida. No matter how great the commit. and al. She is. acute asides. trying to grapple with some of our most urgent problems which do not yet. There are few ready-made cate. literary criticism. What is at stake here is tone. To deny this real level of difficulty in Spivak's work its rationale in the situation of France in the 1960s. a project which found of the already understood. to remember/ edge and tables of learning where the marginal aside is made with central pur. magazine. and that. it vociferously denies its own existence. however. to be phe- ogy. and in an attempt to recapture the revolutionary potential of a series of the key: and this constitutes their most problematic intellectual aspect-have the clarity texts of literary modemism-Mallarme. history. analyses which tease unconscious or matter-can bask in the self-satisfied certainty of an adequate out the fundamental oppositions which underpin and make possible any par- language for an adequate world. wrested from a hetero- pose.X Foreword Foreword xi and Culture: Marginalia" that I would find it impossible to improve on her acute three "oppositional" positions and locating Spivak' s work in terms of them.

it never ac. The enormous contemporary do~ination. If decon- aesthetic nor a radical politics but an intellectual ethic which enjoins a constant. and relocated within a much safer and domesticated Roman. While Spivak avoids the sterile debates of decon- ways in question. it never really articulated a uation as a female academic and as one who has played a significant part in that new politics or that thoroughgoing revision of the Marxist heritage that it explosion of feminist theory and practice which has marked the last twenty promised. At the same time. where art retained a clearly delineated institutional space. in constant tension. society. that heterogeneity must importantly in which an enabling analysis becomes possible. mom:nt of experience. Spivak dots the i's and crosses the family. By the time this project was transported to America in the 1970s-following Spivak's feminism may well seem as initially unreadable as her deconstruc- its dubious success in France-it was transported as an individual-Derrida. tion. but a participant who problematically combines positions from being a concept-metaphor with which to deconstruct both individual and which are often held to be antithetical. is man. of the sixties in the context of two concrete but very different dimensions: the Spivak's opposition to essentialism is. It was reduced to a powerful method which would reveal the se~uality can be understood as such." far fen:inist debates. Deconstruction came simply to name the last priv. The most notable opponents of such a view have been those influenced tions of education and class. Running across both in further contradiction/production is her sit- theoretical rather than literary. pleasures of In Other Worlds. in the first instance. This stems from her conjunction of a rejection of any essentialism with an and its terms were altered. struction is critically sensitive to any account which bases itself on a privileged attention to the multiplicity of determination. To do so is to ignore its manifold m these essays. by psychoanalysis. and although I would argue that much of its initial\ rigorous analyses that deconstruction enables. Spivak's determination to hold both of these m a complex series of differentiations. fallure of such a representation entails psychosis. is. The difference between Spivak mdude the expenence of her bodv. in a perpetual decon.::ultural. she is not concerned with returning to its radical origins. Most of Spivak's work necessitates going beyond the binary tively engaged with that culture but instead postulated another ractlcal . Its contemporary te'Xts"wen( exploitation. like any other term can only find its meaning of exploitation in the Third World. deconstruction: "the enterprise of deconstruction always in a certain way falls It is easy.asp the intere. t's on this particular development within the literary academy. Woman.. penence of the female body. Neither male nor female in this collection. It fol~ows that. mdeed.r' To !?". is neither a conservative however. the most immediate. years. for problems.xii Foreword Foreword xiii and political purpose in the attempt to both articulate the reality of the dominant and Derrida is best captured in their respective attitudes toward the pathos of culture and to escape its stereotyped identifications. r~al is that to which we do not have access and whose disappearance from the Spivak shows no enthusiasm for the project of modernism or the attempt in the fi~ld of consciousness is the condition of intersubjectivity. struction. "Text. for Spivak. of the politics and vanguard art. Feminists who accept sixties to revive its radical potential (she would probably want to criticize the this account do not question political struggle and the need to supersede male original project and its renewal in feminist terms). It is not ludicrous. the abiding question. however provisional. both of her situations. is what provides many of the astonishing insights and of an essential feminine as it is to talk of any other essence. but they argue that it must find its forms and aims in specific sit- interest of these essays is that they develop some of the concepts and approaches uations and cannot be elaborated in relation to an essential feminine nature. it is exactly to allow full force to the heterogeneity of solutely committed to pinpointing and arresting that multiplicity at the moment ~xpenence. deconstructive rather development of the university in the advanced world and the developing forms ~han psychoanalytical. became an essential feminine. Thus for Lacan the Independently of any deconstructionist doubt about the originality of origins. But if Spivak is critical of the domestication ~or psycho_analysis by the need for the body to be represented or symbolised- of deconstruction. It too simply assumed the intellectual arrogance of both vanguard Spivak. on this account totalk of the specificity of the female body. or comments on them only obliquely. of which the most important. Deconstruction. It is as ludicrous. child seeks to locate itself in the complicated exchanges within the nuclear In her long third essay on Wordsworth. to talk structive displacement. emphases came from the explosion of consumer culture in France. Many feminists have wished to stress society in order to grasp their complex of contradictory determinations. Spivak is ab. conceived in all its exclusive and elitist forms: textuality it is possible to find the methods and values to build a different and better became little more than a fig-leaf behind which one could hide all difficult ques. an experience which has been subject to the . she is a willing participant in ticism. The project was divorced from its attempt to refind em~hasis on the crucial importance of examining and reappropriating the ex- the revolutionary force of modernism. who stress sexuality as ileged defense of the canon in a way brilliantly described in the second essay a construction produced through familial interaction. a into one of the privileged texts of American deconstruction the sex and politics bisexual~ty which finds its prima~ articulation in the dialectic between b~ing that Wordsworth is at such pains to erase in his attempt to construct an art and havmg the phallus. in deconstructive terms. All questions of direct access to the body are bracketed which will be troubled by neither. But what has become for Derrida. reintroducing The psychoanalytic thesis thus proposes both a fundamental bisexualitv. an area repressed by male domination but within which a metonym for literature. but only in their interdefinability as the sameness and the greatness of the major literary texts. or at least situations. and specifically its Lacanian version. particularly for one who lived through its boundless excitement and prey to its own work" writes Derrida in a comment which surfaces frequently energy to recall this time as a simple golden age. a limit which cannot obscure the value. for a woman.\ opposition between First World intellectual production and Third World physical space constituted largely by a neo-surrealist canon. in which the institutions of art were al.

xiv Foreword Foreword XV

most rigorous male censorship down the ages and finds a particularly shocking, expanded to account for imperialism, makes more sense-as Spivak indicates
but for Spivak exemplary, form in the practice of clitoridectomy. in many telling asides. In the essay "Scattered Speculations on the Theory of
Spivak develops the experience of the female body in two radically different Value" these asides are located within a thoroughgoing argument which fully
directions. On the one hand she wishes to stress the clitoris as the site of a retains Marx's account of exploitation grounded in the theory of surplus value.
radical excess to the cycle of reproduction and production, and on the other, tQ> The argument is both extraordinarily complex and interesting, and all I can hope
emphasize that the reproductive power of the womb is crucially absent from to do here is indicate its major vectors.
any account of production in the classical Marxist texts. Further she argues that Spivak clearly realizes that to retain the theory of surplus value it is necessary
it is only when the excess of the clitoris has been taken into accotgtt ~hat it will to retain its basis, which Marx had adopted from classical economics: the now
be possible to situate and assess uterine social organisation. It would be''difficult much questioned labor theory of value. She accomplishes this by a thorough
to overestimate the skill with which Spivak weaves these themes together in re-reading of the first section of Capital volume I, supplemented by the Grun-
relation to the classic Marxist theme of production. drisse. Her most audacious move is to deny that Marx ever adopted the labor
Before moving on to Marxism, what of psychoanalysis? Only the briefest and theory of value in that "continuist" reading which proceeds in relations of rep-
most provisional of answers is possible. This is partially because Spivak is never resentation and transformation from labor to value to money to capital. Instead,
interested in psychoanalytic theory as such but rather its use by literary theo:i:y Spivak argues, we have to understand Marx' s account of value not as indicating
as a radical fabulation with which to explicate the functioning of texts. Spivak the possibility of labor representing itself in value but as an analysis of the ability
would seem to accept an account of the child's acquisition of a sexual identity of capital to consume the use value of labor power. By concentrating on use-
which would place that acquisition in the social interplay of desire. She would, value as the indeterminate moment within the chain of value-determinations,
however, explicitly, object to the phallus being made the crucial term in this Spivak breaks open that chain, redefining labor within a general account of
relation and, implicitly, to the description of the family as the only site of sig- value, which makes labor endlessly variable both in relation to technological
nificant desire. While it is clear that, for Spivak, the womb must be considered change and to political struggles, particularly those around feminism. Even if I
in this exchange, she does not indicate how the relation to the clitoris would have understood it correctly, the argument is too complex to do full justice to
figure, nor how she would displace the primacy of vision, which awards the it here. Suffice to indicate one reservation and one consequence. The reservation
penis pride of visible place in any psychoanalytic account. But, as I have said, is that in order to explain the continuing exploitation of the third world, Spivak
psychoanalysis is not one of Spivak's most urgent concerns, and it may remain stresses the contradiction whereby capital has to produce more absolute and
for others to develop further her extraordinarily suggestive comments in psy- less relative surplus value. But it is not clear to me that this distinction survives
choanalytic terms. her critique of the "continuist" account of value. What is clear, however, is that
Marxism is, however, an urgent concern, one that insists throughout these while Marx has perfectly grasped the constitutive crisis of capitalism, he has not
pages. But it is a Marxism which will be alien to at least a few Marxist critics. provided an account of any other mode of production; for if there is no fixed
For this is a Marxism crucially grounded in Third World experience and is there- relation between value and labor it is impossible to understand the appropriation
fore a Marxism which concentrates on imperialism and exploitation, one that is of surplus outside a full understanding of the organization of value within a
both critical of, and finds no use for, the normative narrative of the modes of particular communicy. This consequence may be seen as endorsed by Spivak
production. While most recent Marxist cultural criticism in the developed world because, for her, normative accounts of mode of production have impeded third
has been occupying itself with revising the crude economistic models of base world struggles.
and superstructure, it has also been prone to a repression of economics; it has If she wishes to retain Marx as a theoretician of crisis she is happy to bracket
conveniently forgotten the necessicy of locating those cultural analyses within him as a philosopher of history. This is not simply because the Asiatic mode of
the organization of production and its appropriation of surplus. Often Marxism production offers a classically inadequate account of historical Asian societies
now means nothing more than a commitment to a radical or socialist politics but because the notion of a "transition" to capitalism has crippled liberation
and the adoption of the classic mode of production narrative-the transitions movements, forcing them to construe their struggles in relation to the devel-
from slave, to feudal, to capitalist orders. This, it must be stressed, is not meant opment of a national bourgeois class. For Spivak, the attempt to understand
simply as a condemnation but as a description of the difficulcy of analyzing subaltern classes only in terms of their adequation to European models has been
contemporary developed countries in the terms elaborated in Capital: the prob- deeply destructive. The political project becomes one of letting the subaltern
lems posed by the analysis of the enormous middle class; the decline in factory speak-allowing his or her consciousness to find an expression which will then
production; and, above all, the growth of computerized production in the last inflect and produce the forms of political liberation which might bypass com-
ten years. In this context the claim that labor power is no longer the major pletely the European form of the nation. It is this momentous project that pro-
productive element within the developed economies becomes plausible. duces a context for Spivak's final essays.
From a Third World perspective, however, such a plausibilicy is itself seen as This work takes place in, and in relation to, the historical collective called
the management of a crisis and the classic Marxist analysis of exploitation, as Subaltern Studies. While Spivak endorses the group's abandonment of the modes

xvi Foreword Foreword xvii

of production narrative, she argues that such renunciation is not enough. As texts can be useful to such struggles that they will be effective. No guarantees
long as notions of discipline and subjectivity are left unexamined, the subaltern for such effectivity can be given in advance. These essays on cultural politics
will be narrativized in theoretically alternative but politically similar ways. To cannot be understood simply as a set of analyses; it is only insofar as they serve
avoid this dominating disablement, historians must face the contemporary cri- as an aid to action that they could possibly complete their own undoing. That
' tique of subjectivity both in relation to the subaltern (it cannot be a question of action is multiple and heterogenous. I have not the competence to speak of India
restoring the subaltern'sconsciousness but of tracing the subject effects of sub- ?r the Third World nor the scope to speak of the variety of political struggles
~!!2:) and in relation to themselves (as they recognize the subject effects of m the advanced world. Suffice to say the full significance of this work will rest
their own practice). It is only when the full force of contemporary a,~tihumanism on events outside its control, and whether it will come to mean something for
has met the radical interrogation of method that a politically consequent his- what comes after is not in any individual's power of choice.
torical method can be envisaged. It seems necessary for me, however, to end this foreword by going beyond
It is such a method that Spivak employs in the final reading of Mahasweta the limits of Spivak' s text, with some specific comments on the micro-politics
De vi's magnificent and terrible story "Breast Giver." Here Spivak demonstrates of the university in the developed world. It immensely diminishes the potential
the importance of undoing the distinction between literary criticism and history of this book to limit it to the one world of the Western academy. But of course
or, which is the same undoing at another level, the distinction between imag- it is not one world-any one world is always, also, a radical heterogeneity which
inary and real events. This is not the aesthetic stupidity of "all history is liter- radiates out in a tissue of differences that undoes the initial identity. One could
ature." Put crudely, the thesis is no more than Marx's dictum that ideas become perhaps talk here of the dialectic between theory and politics where theory (like
a material force when they grip the masses. But what Spivak argues is that to travel) pulls you out of the true and politics (like homecoming) is what pulls
understand this process the analyst of culture must be able to sketch the real you back. One could perhaps turn to Wittgenstein here and, misquoting, argue
effects of the imaginary in her object of study while never forgetting the im- that "differences come to an end" -in other words that particular identities,
aginary effect of the real (the impossibility of fully grasping her situation) in her whatever their provisionality, impose themselves in specific practices.
own investigation. But where Lacan understands that real entirely in relatio11 There is one formal identity and specific practice that I share with Spivak: it
to a castration which sets the imaginary in place, Spivak understands that real, is not simply that we are both university teachers, but that from this year we
as the excess of the female body which has to be placed in its cultural and are teachers in the same department of English in the same university of Pitts-
economic specificity and only thus can an imaginary be figured. burgh. If one limits oneself to the simple and most obvious point, one might
The force of Mahasweta's text resides in its grounding in the gendered sub- begin by reflecting on the limitations imposed by the very notions of a discipline
altern's body, in that female body which is never questioned and only exploited. of "English." The construction of English as an object of study is a complex
The bodies of Jashoda and Dopdi figure forth the unutterable ugliness and cru- history, but it relates to the academic division of the social world enacted by
elty which cooks in the Third World kitchen to produce the First World feasts capitalist imperialism in the nineteenth century and neo-colonialism in the twen-
that we daily enjoy. But tl}~se women's bodies are not yet another blank signifier tieth. You can study literature, primitive societies, advanced societies, past so-
for masculine signifieds/These women articulate (better construct) truths which cieties, foreign societies, economic forces, political structures. You can even, if
~~E;?ak of our as well as' their situation. The force of Spivak's reading resides in you move outside the Ivy League, study television and film. You are, howeve'r,
its attention to the dialectic between real and imaginary which must be read in disciplinarily constrained not to presuppose a common subject matter. The
these texts and in its attention to how that dialectic reflects back on the imaginary world automatically divides into these categories.
and real of contemporary theory. Spivak's courage lies in confronting both sides Of course, it is true that much vanguard research crosses disciplines, but this
of this dilemma-reading Mahasweta's text with the full apparatus of conteriF' is written out of the undergraduate and graduate curricula. If, however, the
porary Western critical discourses while also, at the same time, using that text humanities and social sciences are to get any serious grip on the world, if they
to read the presuppositions of that critical apparatus. Any other position but are to enable their students to use their studies, then it is imperative that there
this would involve that simple acceptance of a subject-position which is, for is a general recasting of the humanities and social sciences. On the one hand
Spivak, the inevitable sign of bad faith. The force of Spivak's work lies in her students must confront the enormous problems facing the world, on the other
absolute refusal to discount any of the multiplicity of subject-positions which they must understand the relation of their own situation to those problems. The
she has been assigned, or to fully accept any of them. In that sense Spivak is degree of micro-political resistance to any such educational reform will be con-
always in "another world" -always allowing herself to be pulled out of the true, siderable. The individual fiefs that will fall, the networks of power and patronage
This is the ever movable ground of these texts, and as one reads one is both that will dissolve are not negligible. But daily such fiefs disappear, daily net-
illuminated by the thought and moved by the exhilarating and painful adventure works dissolve.
that subtends it. But this text is not simply a personal odyssey, it is also the Underlying this resistance will be a genuine problem: has not knowledge ad-
trace of a series of struggles: of leftist politics in Bengal, of the sixties within the vanced to the point where the data is so vast and the specialties so complex that
American university system, of feminism worldwide. It is only insofar as these any possible program, which is not technically and specifically limited, will sim-

xviii Foreword Foreword xix

ply produce graduates who know a little about everything but have mastered of differing composition courses may seem like a fall from the sublime to the
nothing? This problem, however, carries with it the seeds of its own solution. ridiculous. It is one of the delights of this book that it shrinks from neither: "I
It is true that knowledge is expanding exponentially, but the problem then be- think less easily of "changing the world" than in the past. I teach a small number
comes one of training students in the use and analysis of data. Within the social of the holders of the can(n)on male or female, feminist or masculist, how to read
field it would become the task of confronting the organization of data that the their own texts, as best I can." Any reader of these texts of Spivak will be better
child/citizen is offered in the most unified way by television, and beginning to able to construe and construct the contradictory texts that constitute their own
consider the specific form of that organization. From that analysis it would then lives.
be possible to chart a way through the various disciplines in relation to the
problems encountered and the questions produced. I am not prollosmg a media:
studies for all in which pitifully thin analyses of pitifully thin programs become. Colin MacCabe
the privileged object of knowledge. I am, however, proposing a pedagogy which University of Pittsburgh
would take as its starting point the public organization of social data as the way 14th February 1987
to provide a possibility of judging and checking both the data and the organi-
zation. Such a pedagogy would be genuinely deconstructive in that the position
of the analyst would never be a given but the constantly transformed ground
of the inquiry. This would clearly break with many of the educational devel-
opments of the past few years in that the role of the individual teacher would
become much more important as the specific starting point of inquiry would be
negotiated between teacher and student. At the same time there would have to
be generally agreed and assessed levels of common competence attained within
these specific programs. Obviously this suggestion involves a detailed elabo-
ration of curricula and methods. It is a project to be counted in decades rather
than years, and it would be unwise to underestimate the time scale. One point
must be stressed again and again. If this critique is seriously to address education
then it will be crucial, as Spivak herself writes in this volume, that one qualifies
students to enter society at the same time as one empowers them to criticize it.
The most important problem is, however, neither the micro-political con-
servatism of any institution nor the genuine problem of elaborating an educa-
tional program which emphasized both individual specificity and public com-
petence. It is that such a project will encounter powerful macro-political
resistance. The accusation of "politicization" and of "bias" will be made again
and again. It is a powerful accusation and one which when it refers to the in-
culcation of dogma, or the specific promotion of party position, finds a justifiably
large public response. What will be objected to, however, is the school and the
university carrying out their historically approved and socially sanctioned func-
tion of enabling students to think and empowering them to act. There are vast
interests who do not want a people educated about race or ecology or the media,
about the various forms of exploitation and domination. And these interests,
as Spivak constantly points out, are not forces to be located simply outside the
university; any First World university teacher must acknowledge a certain iden-
tification with those interests.
One of the great virtues of these essays is the commitment to teaching and
education that runs through them. Spivak is rare in combining an understanding
of many of the most crucial problems facing the globe and the species with an
interest in considering the detailed questions of specific educational situations.
From the lofty heights of the development of imperialism, the study of sexuality,
and the impossibility of representing Being to discussing the mundane merits

Social Text for "Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats"." originally published in For Alma Mater. then. . in Jacques Derrida's debt. College English for "Reading the World: Literary Studies in the 80s". published by the University of Chicago Press. Books Nine to Thirteen". for "The Politics of Interpretations" and "'Draupadi' by Ma- hasweta Devi". Praeger Publishers for "Unmaking and Making in To the Lighthouse. Author's Note There would have been no "other worlds" for me if something now called deconstruction had not come to disrupt the diasporic space of a post-colonial academic. I am grateful to the following for permission to reprint in this volume essays previously published: Yale French Studies for "The Letter as Cutting Edge" and "French Feminism in an International Frame". The University of Illinois Press for "Feminism and Critical Theory. Diacritics for "Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value". Texas Studies in Literature and Language for "Sex and History in The Prelude (1805)." As is customary for collections such as this one. Humanities in Society for "Ex- planation and Culture: Marginalia". and Subaltern Studies for "Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography. I have made hardly any changes. Critical Inquiry. I am. It remains for me to thank my students for their support and their persistence. Paul de Man blessed me with his encouragement at many stages of the writing of most of these essays." originally published in Women and Language in Literature and Soci- ety. The often conflictual companionship of Michael Ryan during the earlier part of the decade had its own productive energy.

one literature .

.. As I describe that testing. and what looks very much like a narrative obturateur. and I v·Wimsatt has "founded [itself] on the implicit assumption that literature is an !'. of the organic !mag- I ination. with a theory of the act of knowledge." The Biographia Literaria is Coleridge' s most sustained and most important theo- retical work.autonomous activity of the mind. Over the last fifty years New Criticism-the I 'line of I. "Intended in the first place as a preface to the ·- I Sibylline Leaves (a collection of poems). nor deal with the rich thematics of his so-called •' "plagiarisms. that here I outline the simplest blueprint of these moments.."'3 The testing of these two chapters of the Biographia by the American common 1llll1111 critic by the rules of new psychoanalysis is therefore not without a certain plau- I sibility. Armed with this insight.can·conceive·or11le·shuHil1g [fermeture] of the unconscious by the action of something which plays the role 11 of diaphragm-shutter [obturateur]-the object a. in Coleridge's text. 2 . For reasons that should I ~ become dear as the essay progresses. or. is also often a running dialogue with the Coleridge who is taken to be the prophet I of the sovereign subject. I shall imply its ide- •• ology-an ideology of "applying" in critical practice a "theory" developed under other auspices. as he called it.tS. In Other Worlds I 1. or consciousness. I propose to start where he himself in the I of Biographia . and of discovering an analogy to the task of the literary critic in any interpretative situation inhabiting any "science of man. The letter as Cutting Edge I I If one project of psychoanalytical criticism is to "submit to this test [of the status of speaking] a certain number of the statemel)." 2 It is not surprising that this School. Richards. 'the coincidence or coalescence of an OBJECT I with a SUBJECT. really started: that is. Ransom. William Empson. the critic I discovers. as he proposes to discuss Chapters Twelve and Thirteen: "In beginning now to expound Cole- I ridge's theory of the Imagination. of the philosophic tra- 11 I dition. . and then of Brooks. These two I chapters are invariably interpreted as an important paradigmatic statement of I flt(e union of the subject and object in the act of the mind. which I has given America the most widely accepted ground rules of literary pedagogy." 4 These problematics might play interestingly in a de- clared autobiography such as Coleridge's. logical and rhetorical slips and dodges. I quote a passage from Richards. The critic who has attended to I the main texts of the ':~':"" psychoanalys!s has learned that any act of language • is made up as much by its so-called substance as by the cuts and gaps that substance serves to frame and/or stop up: "\IV'e. I shall comment on that ideology more explicitly. and the autonomous self. sucked and breathed in.~. The entire Biographia inhabits the narrative structure of pre-monition and post- ponement (today we might say differance-certainly avoidance and longing) that so many Romantic works share. just I where the trap begins. and thoroughly rI commented upon. It is also a declared autobiography. it grew into a literary autobiography." At the end of this essay. not to say importance. Tate. I shall make no attempt to "situate" Cole- ridge within an intellectual set. The text is so packed.I ."1 the American common critic might well fix J:ler'glance upon Chapters Twelve and Thirteen of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. A.

We move next to the request that the reader "will ····n would perhaps be more precise to say that the chapter declares its own either pass over the following chapter altogether. action." Coleridge plunges into the language of "more and less" where." "funda'mental fact. The distinction seems to be invoked sunply to rem- 201-202).' published too as introductory to a ask. . which taken up with "understanding a philosopher's ignorance" or being "ignorant of I have reserved for that future publication. "Requests" -looking forward to a future letter from a friend. Those paragraphs. that it is this that is presented in the place of the organic process and growth of well-made. or read the whole connectedly" . it must be suppressed: "For who. the chapter that has just begun volume of miscellaneous poems. in a certain way. and that this request is advanced not in is an autobiography and a preface. sentence. among other reasons.) and the poems. when I received the following Consider the title of Chapter Twelve. rhetp. "which following chapter?" Chapter Twelve. the of the thing itself.a.. 4 In Other Worlds The letter as Cutting Edge 5 which came to demand a preface. . in terms of money and numbers of pages: make our choice." C_oleridg_e shall give (deo volente) the demonstrations and constructions of the Dynamic writes to Coleridge." passiveness. "that I look forward anxiously to your great book on the of rhetorical oscillation between a thing and its opposite. that for him this chapter was not written" (163). viz. its privileged reader. "could from your title. pref~fE!S ~o~n monstrous. Chapter Thirteen. Here are some of these rhe- Coleridge's imagination. I shall "perusal" or "omission" of "the chapter that follows. present work. It looks forward to its promise ereign imagination.. which was finally issued in two parts. beginning "The IMAGINATION then. is not a bona fide book at all. it contains within it its own failed preface. The typical hiding-in-disclo- Coleridge tells us that the burden Ofargumerrtation i." et cetera. " (200-201). For it is supposed to exist. This preface itself outgrew its purposed limits. I "I see clearly that you have done too much and yet not enough. 'My Literary Life and Opinions.. spirit.inaccessibility rather than its proper absence.. space. he [your reader] its own proper place. I consider. Even if we overlook the fact that Coleridge will set up numerous obstacles Coleridge's friend. what is too much is presumably what is not enough.. the letter that stops publication of the original and was incorporated in the whole work. This chapter.· only as a preface. the chapter that comes after treatise on ideal Realism . for. We are assured of the chapter's massy this one? I am not suggesting. mediately clear in the text. soul. the sigriifier creating "the effect of the signified" by rusing anticipation- suppressed at the request of a friend. a detailed prospectus of which the his understanding. suggesting its presence. if . The gesture is about as far as possible from "the eternal act the autobiography (two vols." The first two pages are content myself for the present with stating the main result of the Chapter. the obtura. "Be assured. perception. at the same time. et cetera.. "If a man receives as work" (200). Coleridge now !mposes the. or even conjectured. the writing reminder of a gap. the argument leading to the celebrated conclusions about the nature of the sov- One cannot situate the book in its own place. body. however. the two can never of course be the same). result-and "premonitions"-knowing the result beforehand. we cannot presence in the least refutable way. mem. a long and will immediately follow. or Chapter Thirteen.. force the rhetorical oscillation.that ch7lpter ii.Ye.'ffie another. teur." Cole. And. Even as such it is un. which artfully suggests the absence erately evasive.." The connection between this and what follo_ws is not i~­ reader will find at the close of the second volume [a fruitless promise]" (198.. that have been quoted so frequently as "Coleridge's theory of the Imagination. in addition to the general narratzve motif Philosophy scientifically arranged" (179-180).:want. of course. because the BIOGRAPHIA to reading these chapters connectedly. with its significant breakdown in parallelism once it gets to "cause The greatest instrument of narrative refraction in these chapters. concerning the timate and revere .S.. whose practical judgment I have had ample reason to es. and effect. Why should a false disowning (since the letter is by Coleridge and backward at its failure and. has read it. have anticipated.beTn sure. sometimes displacing CONSTRUCTIVE PHILOSOPHY. which I have reserved [held back] and habit.ion of absence. authorship addresses to the unknown reader." (202) the most abundantly quoted Coleridgean The Biographia Literaria. that common-sensically. will of necessity greatly increase the expense of the ditioh: fle"fells us whaf ldnd of reader he does not. It is a written message to one. the critic cannot forger in its self-effacing task did it become a full-fledged book.ory are merely "the main result of the Chapter. far had the work been transcribed for the press. cause and effect. practically speaking and thanks to the celebrated chapter on Imagination (XIII) declares its own. ~~jt!g_~nabsence:)au­ after all) of the name of the self as author." Coleridge's "friend" observes. The narrative declaration of the status of the Biographia Literaria is thus delib. when it is printed. . pointing to what would come after it. of declared and stopped-up vacancy. which you have promised and announced" (200). a false declaration of the power of _tobiographyJ:?yd(!fa!!lt. the request seems to blur the possibility "I do not hesitate in advising and urging you to withdraw the Chapter from the of the presence of the matter under discussion.. consciousness. Only because it failed self represented as being an external interruption. but that rhetorically. inhabit the place of the greatest celebration of the self? It is a question work as it stands is often still presented as a preface: "In the third treatise of that her psychoanalytical studies have prepared our critic to ask. that opposition (as here. which cannot." 5 of creation in the infinite 1 AM. for it was intended formula. Within such a framework.. "a figment of that psychoanalysis has taught her to recognize. but "in lieu of the various requests which the anxiety of might truly observe. And. but.I§. if you like. In consequence of this very judicious letter. my Logosophia. then. time. the general notions of matter. descriptive of the primary Imagination. In these chapters." another way of saying "Coleridge himself": "Thus torical gestures. (who is. the reader encounters this particular sort ridge writes to himself. a detailed prospectus [which looks forward] of which convey the hint.c:~m~ so little as a hundred pages. of course. and (162). ." (162) we might quite justifiably page... conventions of rhetoric. amount to Upon the rhetoric of oscillatio~. as is well-known. After this the reader will find at the close of the second volume" (201-202). even~ondtfii." never to be written "announced at the end of this volume.. "to such a mind I would as courteously as possible for the future publication. of .

The following THESis. the philosopher therefore com. would assign a proper author? edge into those on this side. representing it" (175). The manifes- so good. does not in fact depend upon or look forward to proofs presented in the text. A few pages back. "it is time to tell the truth. i... is groundless indeed . italics mine). views only office and object of philosophy!" (175-178).. " (183).. presented in halting alternatives: "it is neither possible or despite all this. ~h: transcendental philosopher can solve only by the sup- Now. Self-duplication of one and the same power into object and subject" (183). into unity. "th~ conceptio~ of na~e does not apparently involve the eo-presence of a discourse of division. the philosopher's desu~ for coherence and the possibility of knowledge-the desire for the One.. punctuated by "therefores" and "it follows" -es. Yet a few pages later. and that of the second simply as ground. It has been shown.... In itself a device to announce the absence of a identity of the subject and object. . will analyze into the desire of the other and the desire to produce the other as In Chapter Twelve. as well exposition. not one.. A negative truth. . Indeed.. that It IS not only coherent but identical . a desire that Lacan slippages." Yet Coleridge's desire for unitary coherence seems constantly to be betrayed by For. because_ It... more difficult is it to reduce them back again to and which is not going to be there for any of us to read anyway. OR THE SUBJECTIVE IS TAKEN AS THE FIRST. other po~i~o~ . The reason native. tity" is itself an infinite and primary property of self-representation and self-sig- "But. remains proof against all attempts sum into two: "I am. the chapter to come.. that it is self-representative . manifests itself in to ren:ove 1t by grounds or arguments . that can only be performed by deferment and and the "still less dare a favorable perusal be anticipated" do not match: "Taking dissimulation. consciousness" (164). as well as the Chapter Thirteen. to draw forth their contents in all forms and colours.. it leadS U'~fflto further compulsive project. the object. and its act is to make itself the object of its own consciousness. philosophy. as atically for the analysis of Chapter Thirteen.. . . Coleridge grapples with the most patent contradiction in his the proselytes of that compendious philosophy . would make it in principle open-ended. And all through theu different genera . and so characterized." "This principle. The Soon Coleridge neatly turns the table. First the division between a principle and its manifes- an mtelligence makmg an ideal duplicate of it. or for many.. but only he was suggesting that the objective and the subjective positions are alternatives. must be presented as the theorem of philosophy. " (163) The rhetoric of "more theory: The possible priority of the object must be rejected out of hand and the and less" is there to beguile us. as we have noticed. with our own a demonstration. ." nification... Coleridge asserts: "It may be described therefore as a perpetual immediate self-consciousness (178.e.. 6 In Other Worlds The letter as Cutting Edge 7 we read closely... uniqueness. Coleridge is preparing us system- prenticeship m logtc. and is stated with such uncharged assurance that it has all the force of law: Up~n this fundamental.. for herein consists the essence of a spirit. After this divisive tingency peculiar to Coleridge. we will see that the "not more difficult is it to reduce them" sees in the next chapter." EITHER THE OBJECTIVE IS TAKEN AS THE FIRST. An office and object. Still less dare a favorable perusal be anticipated from Chapter Twelve. given the multiplicity of languages.. in this section of Chapter Twelve. Yet. and those on the other side of the spontaneous In the passage I cited above Coleridge comes close to suggesting that the . with the most sweeping of intermediate steps. and giving us the professors of legerdemain at our village fairs pull out ribbon after ribbon the terms for its analysis-a chapter which he warns most of us against reading. connected by an alter- alt~rnative as prejudice. on~trate the !~entity of_ the two positions presented in the passage above is "the It must follow that the spirit in all the objects which it views.. compulsive. which would contradict its bemg one of compulsion. [thes~ te~s]_there~ore in mass. and necessary desire. is also desire." pels hzmself to treat this faith as nothing more than a prejudice . If confronted at random with "mind is only what move.. simply breaking ground for the grand demonstration of well as to appropriate the other. as the reader itself . This "iden- dissimulative plays of presence and absence. to be PHILOSOPHERs" (164). "This principle [of identity] manifests itself .. that a spirit is that. And here the reader repeatedly meets what must be called logical as the divided ground of the self. IS Itself the ground of all other certainty. And not." who inaccessible to human knowledge: "we divide all the objects of human knowl.. although it may be seen as no more than a thirlg in its proper measure. The first piece is the Latin word sum. So far tation. Coleridge submits that "there are two cases equally possible. image of the subject or subjects-a play of all that masquerades as the "real. driving force of the philosopher's project is desire." con~_adiction . the SUM or I AM.. it requires only a decent ap.." writes Coleridge in the next paragraph.. suggesting on the page its English graphic equivalent: "sum. the identity must be seamless." Its translated substitute breaks the unitary THAT THERE _EXIST THINGS WITHOUT US . Colendge la~s the cornerstone of his argument. and unexamined. the object-substitute. Coleridge leaves the place of spontaneous consciousness vacant of or it does. Elsewhere Coleridge will not Coleridge then assumes what is recognizably the language of philosophical openly declare that the force that would bring the object and the subject. here deflected and defective.. which is its own object. both concepts that are constituted by separation from the self.. and certainly nothing like position . fro~ t~eir mouths. Coleridge designates the ground of the first tation of identity is itself given in two pieces. Now this is of course not a con- necessary for all men. It is groundless. otherwise thought disappears. and. supported by the possibility of translation. And then suggests that to dem. Now the apparent and "to demonstrate their identity is the office and object of .

One must allow the aporia to emerge. we arrive at object]. . itself affirm an absolute something that is in and of itself at once cause and effect included. . ference: "I will conclude with the words of Bishop Jeremy Taylor: he to whom noticed imagination. Again ." But in an argument about knowing and being. But as this is in- the spirit . ex. "Even when imagination may not only be seen as a keeping alive. Seeking to bring his text to the appropriate conclusion-the ex as simply that. orbit. . and un. But by the end of Thirteen. But she can at least see identical with its proof. Coleridge cathedra paragraphs on the Imagination-the subject in this view must ask the speaks of it in the language of necessity and norm: Other (no longer the object but what seems another subject) "What is y~ur wish?" (My wish is that you should suppress this chapter. but an absolute principium cognoscendi" (186). The author's friend.... The path to such conclusions as . started against our theory. but also as the ruse that makes possible the of self-consciousness. what tion of the Other onto the text of the subject. we yet can never pass beyond the principle desire that moves the argument. may enjoy true peace and rest of spirit" (194). We must be whirl'd down the gulf of an infinite series. it follows . Should we attempt it. if the controlling imagination or self-consciousness is not A reader of Lacan can interpret this textual gesture yet another way: the erup- taken as performing its task of fixing those conditions of intelligibility. du desir?" Would Coleridge have welcomed Lacan's notion of the points de cap. Read this way. Especially since.. . must in some sense dissolve this identity [of subject and conceivable. truth) is not the cause of the principle of knowing.. Coleridge had excused himself precisely on the ground of the difference. difference-at the sensible frontier of truth and knowledge 7-that must be cov- as a continuous circle giving to all collectively the unity of their common ered over by an identity worries Coleridge. in order to be conscious of it. and can never be deduced from it (184-185). in an seen as merely an interruption of the development of the argument about the older language. each of which would cease to be a Ground the moment we and disguised as the Other. might very well be discontinuous rather than identical. .. for then. may become an object. I admit. where Coleridge describes the strategy of the imag.. inconceivability and unreasonableness are not argument enough. but likewise supplies . Freedom must be assumed as a ground of phi. that . Or we must break off the series arbitrarily. what is otherwise results is chaos. Coleridge. a self-consciousness in which the principium essendi does not stand follows therefore that intelligence or self-consciousness is impossible. of the the Objective is assumed as the first. At the end of Chapter Twelve. nitely substitutable-truths." the autobiographical iton-quilting buttons: "by means of which the signifier stops the otherwise anecdote. the two principles written three pages before. or rather the identity of both. and perhaps as a "characteristic" of text or subject. Bishop.. 1 indefinite sliding of signification?"6 and prevents the movement whereby its presentation would (if it could) be r The critic cannot know the answer to that question. subject and object. losophy. one tends· to sence.. and it . It must therefore be an Acr. the one and the other are eo-inherent and identical (187)..-! that for Coleridge. each signifying the next and vice versa." he who pressed on it. The not only fills up the intervening spaces. is to unite (and not to oppose) a desire to the Law. between these two principles: "We are not investigating an that it does not seem equally unimaginable. who draweth all things to one. which renders the And it is this gap between knowing and being that the episode of the im- movement harmonious and cyclical (181). ground to ground. the self split.. many valid objections might be of the imagination. except in a self-consciousness. to the principium cognoscendi in the relation of cause to effect. and contemplates the cycle . a page earlier. unity and system. A fallen discourse of "being as mere existence." But at once dictates the author's course of action and makes it possible for the law whereas Lacan or Derrida would see the protective move against such a threat to be erected. the good . takes the place of God's instrument. which.. a letter from the world of others. and seeth all things in one. can in this view be called the "Legislator. the low the graph that Lacan has plotted in "La Subversion du sujet et la dialectique imaginary friend. surreptitious.. and halts on a promise: a promise to read and to write. is owing to a surreptitious act absolute principium essendi. filling up the gaps in the centerless cycle of equal-infi. might fol. than the identity. but both cept by and in a will. all things are one. interrupts the discourse of knowing. 8 In Other Worlds The Letter as Cutting Edge 9 yet not originally an object. . but an absolute subject for which all. the one central power.. an overtly the- ological rather than merely logical authority for thinking unity rather than dif- Does it help our critic to speculate that the instinctive.. instinctively and without our noticing the same. simply on the ground ination that might produce such arguments: that such a discontinuity would be "inconceivable.) "By means of which is yet more marked than revealed the true function of the Father which at bottom But this would make our reason baffle the end and purpose of all reason. in a sentence that seems strangely unrelated to the rest of the page... aginary letter occludes. . by unfulfillment.. Coleridge invokes.. we must be driven back from establishment of the Law of the imagination. the self's fiction. infinite way stations of sliding signification. That the absurdity does not so immediately strike us. But this implies an act. Here Coleridge glosses over the possibility that if the principle of being (es- "'"'~ Torget what is In all this barrage of compulsive argumentation." 8 Coleridge's text desires namely. and to be logically defective and yet be legislative. rather tral principle. Equally inconceivable is a cycle of equal truths without a common and cen.. calls this fixing or stabilizing the location of ground.

as a profitably with the work of the new psychoanalysis. The tropological or narratological ular (thus objectified) as well as a discursive (thus subjectivized) image of the crosshatching of a text. As we have seen. even to suggest that the critic as critic has can be said. Literary critics with more being in a certain way. ~ Coleridge: the access to law through the interdict of the father-the passage Ask the person inflicted with the anguish of the white page. as well discourse. experience. wh1ch 1s ment with a cutting edge. rusingly. That sentence in the letter might indeed be such a moment." 11 "That subject which believes it can have access to [or accede to] itself scenarios. There are a few classic speaks." a message conveyed help of psychoanalytic discourse. The critic knows that. then . including the authors of discourses. "Castration means versa.10 In Other Worlds The letter as Cutting Edge 11 "the IMAGINATION. in order to attain pleasure on the reversed scale of the Law of desire." 12 analysis is nothing else-to recognize what function the subject assumes in the The curious detail of the "friend's" letter that suddenly describes the missing order of symbolic relations which cover the entire field of human relations. Mingling the full elaboration of a slippery argument. As a matter of fact. It is the cut in Coleridge's of the sovereignty of the Self. Thus is castration. this one will proliferate. By demanding that the path be effaced. This is the place of the Imaginary. the cleavage that marks the separation If our critic does follow the ideology I have predicted for her. that. It is an instru- ledgeable desire to be united with the Law (rather than the argument." 9 Coleridge. not being. Hence Lacan's question: "Is to have as the great psychoanalysts using literature as example seem to repeat this pro- the a. it is a presupposition with respect to that which stages in the unfolding of the psychoanalytic scenario. a set or. on the contrary. but the Law that gives access to the Law is a mark of castration. and must therefore harbor the fascinating antagonist of than the knowledge of the field normally available to the common critic. she will proceed of elements among themselves.. "In all that is elaborated of being and even of sort of use of a psychoanalytic vocabulary in literary criticism might indeed essence. according to Lacan. "The I is not a being. A labyrinth of mirrors here . we can see. the subject nonetheless desires to touch the "real" su~h appropriations by critics closer to the French movement. where the adoption of one's sex is on thought to a massy thing also fits into these thematics. in psychoanalytic vocabulary. has successfully articulated the grand theory and the narrative of the subject. a representative signifier. 15 And so will gestures of contempt and caution against bolic" world of discourse. exegeses like Although inevitably positioned and characterized by its place in the "sym. For all discourse. psychoanalysis. to be?" 10 cedure. and follow the ideology of application-by-analogy. Coleridge's text seems to engage mo!!L conclusion of Chapter Thirteen with what came before. is nothing other than such an object. I propose at this world by constructing object-images or substitutes of that "real" world and of pomt to make a move toward neutralizing at once the appropriating confidence itself. knowledge of the text that the author either cannot . and that that fathering is disavowed. it halts the fulfillment of the author's apparent a special.. can be located as subject. " and so forth. at least provisionally to satisfy the critic's de- in language-a collection of signifiers. all philo." 16 again that the imaginary is glimpsed only through its moments of contact with To plot such a narrative is to uncover the text's intelligibility (even at the the symbolic. reading it in terms of the analytic imply.. the Lawgiver allows the unac~o~­ even as it encourages and promises further writing and reading. The double-edged play of psychoanalytic concept. [orgasmic] pleasure [jouissance] must be refused. the text's ostensible desire) of the Imagination. both a lack and an enabling: "let us say of castration the desire for a unitarian theory and a desire for discontinuity seems accessible that it is the absent peg which joins the terms in order to construct a series or to that work. that it is a question of the object a. The richness of the text is in. are discourses of using a symbologicallexicon and a structural diagram. the letter. extreme of showing how textuality keeps intelligibility forever at bay). given a psychoanalytic description. and chapter in terms of money and number of pages and reduces the great thought whose initial cell is the Oedipus complex. mark. does not seem to have escaped that plot the narrative of a psychoanalytic scenario in the production of meaning. by declaring carefully It is conceivable that a psychoanalytic reading of a literary text is bound to that he will write on knowing. all images of a cutting creased when we realize that the Law in question is not any law. if such a thing sire for mastery through knowledge. The removal of the in terms of an author who. the production of the Imaginary. Letter" are more than most aware of this bind. desire to present the complete development of his theory of the Imagination. or Lacan on "The Purloined The "friend" who shares in the responsibility of authorship might be a spec. is paved with logical dissimulation. it is the hiatus. the second specifically articulated by As American common critics read more and more of the texts of the new La can. and. and that Coleridge's text narrates this legislation discourse that allows the Law to spring forth full-fledged. of the former and the comforting hierarchization of the latter and ask what this sophical texts show us its mark. "fathers" the Legislator rather than vice phallus allows the phallus to emerge as the signifier of desire." 13 As subsequent critical re- ception of Coleridge has abundantly demonstrated." 14 to search through the basic texts of Lacan for the meaning of her reading. and realize that she has related Coleridge's chapters to the two great psychoanalytic themes: castration and the Imaginary. in Aristotle for example. Freud on The Sand-Man. with the The letter as a whole is the paradigm of the "symbolic. if not privileged. the most important in one view being the one our critic has located by being designated in a statement [enonce]. Lacan says again and decided. he will tell you mto the semiotic triangle of Oedipus: "The stake [setting into play-en jeu] of who is the turd of his fantasy. by denying the In Coleridge our critic seems confronted with an exemplum..

non-sensical. and everyone knows that it is there that the secret now. it seems to me important that. The disjunctive. of non-sense.11Wi1es us to think-even as we timidly or boister- What allows the unconscious of patient and analyst to play is not the desire ously question the value of such a specular invitation-that Coleridge was thus - of the master but the production of transference. of the intelligence. which all conformization constitutes. in effigie . : This eschatological excursion is there only to designate what a of a "philosophical" literary criticism. But within our little day of frost before evening. Lacan explains but name frontier concepts (with more or less sophistication) and thus grant itself the transference-relationship in terms of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic. when written into critical practice. discontinuous metaphor of the sub- the illustration of a principle. they both find themselves by its own abyss-structure. . in so far as it is subjected to the desire of the analyst. The problematics of transference. to scrutinize the is as much surrendered to the process of transference as the patient. not equating or making ana- tions as the originally repressed signifier. Lacan cautions as much against a misunderstanding of erary (auto)biography his frontier style. to use of the distinction between the two." 22 What can criticism do?- as trivial." 18 "As to the handling of himself proposing that essential duplicity [faussete] which is love. of which desires to deceive him through that subjection. the self-effacing/affecting lit. literary criticism must operate as if tution with the category of desire and vice versa. does systematically mis- the status. And of Man's Irony. The Derridean move. or merely articulates. construction. would mean. precisely. by the analyst in any case could not be the support. Quite is not the putting into action that would push us to that alienating identification on the contrary." 23 Philosophically naive as it may sound. of the sub. All precautions taken. ..' as being intersubjective. as if the . Derrida's "diphallic" Glas. or the situation of the irreducible signifier a "significant interpretation. would dismiss such a project on a level with their discoveries and their programs. nere usmg~'a off-the-mark term by its very nature. however it redefines the question of hermeneutic value. by winning his affection.yawning chasm separates the two relations. a little more elbow room to write intelligibly: Bloom's Scene of Instruction. by talking about the text as part of a self- the service of intelligibility. the general air of the master seems." 19 book cannot think it speaks for itself in the same way as the critic. the meaning of knowledge." 20 As move renders it quite useless as a passport to psychoanalytic literary criticism. Like philosophical criticism. from the moment it comes into play in history. on the other hand.· seminars of the seventies. de where both master and slave are defined and negated by each other. This opposition too. carrying and being carried by its burden of desire. which supplements the category of substi- famous double bind. Or try frontier styles: Lacan's Socratic the desire of the master-here analyst or critic-Lacan writes: "Thus the desire . unintelligibility. in refusing to talk about the psyche. or be more or less deliberately playful. On the other hand. The effect of transference. There is yet another angle to the appropriation of the idea of transference to placement or identification that the neutral analyst manipulates with care." One cannot escape it by dismissing the former as the conjunction of!he symbolic with a real from which there is nothing more to be residue of a productive cut. "metaphor" and text "metaphor. and which is the reason rather than the excuse can neither know nor ignore his own desire within that process: "Transference for transference-that nothing can be attained in absentia. Lacan's reel. the epistemology of presence and consciousness. "As it [the Hegelian dialectic] is deduced. __. the knowl.' to 'depart' radically from . to a lesser extent. interpreted by master and slave double-bound: Imagination his frontier-concept. that interpretation is itself a nonsense. but a perpetual deconstruction (reversal and displacement) that the effect of interpretation is to isolate in the subject a heart. the subject. a . the new psychoanalysis would allow us to doubt ject. Now Jacques I do not see how literary criticism can do more than decide to deny its desire Derrida has shown carefully that the structure of "live" speech and "dead" as master. carrying and being carried by its edge of meaning. 12 In Other Worlds The Letter as Cutting Edge 13 have. it cannot be ignored that the of analysis should be looked for. finds itself alienated by the doubling transference is this effect of deceit in so far as it is repeated at present here and that my self suffers there. a Kern." the analyst's function is to give that logical the psychoanalytic and literary-critical situation. We know well that all critical practice will always find themselves today obliged to break with 'sense. Even structure would make criticism itself absolutely vulnerable. At least double-bir\(fcntlcfsm. nor how it can not attend to the conditions of intelligibility of a text. The philosophical rigor of the Derridean Freud's expression. the most 9f CO_Y-1}!!~ in essays like this one. even if it were to an ideal model. He the relationship between text and critic: "It is fitting here then. "If then psychoanalysis and philosophy both the practice of literary criticism. is a way to perform that de- the critic is responsible for the interpretation." 17 psyChoanalyticvocaowaij." needs to be indefinitely deconstructed rather ject to knowledge. be defeated by the possibility that one might not know if knowledge is possible. between subject . Serge Leclaire stresses in Psychanalyser. and~ alas. so important to equally struggling with the difficulty (impossibility?) of placing their discourse Freud and Lacan. The transference situation will never more than lend its aura to writer is responsible for the text. when it is a question of isolating "something irreducible. if rigorously followed through. It is not a simple dis. __ . and. writing are inter-substitutable. After all. 24 But that delicate philosophical analysis should The text of criticism is of course surrendered to the play of intelligibility and not be employed to provide an excuse for the will to power of the literary critic. Kristeva's chora. guide and constitute the machine of the text. my liberty. The analyst fact-which is always dodged. the general sense in which the text and the person share a common tion the status of intelligibility." "It is not because I have said book and its reader.. the psychoanalyst cannot get around Nor will the difference between text and person be conveniently effaced by the problem of reference. and valorizing the latter as the only possible concern expected. that func." 21 than hierarchized. it can only be the burden of "figuration. but its decisions can never be more self-subversive than toques. using a text as the narrative of a scenario or even propagating mechanism. Freudian and Hegelian. psychoanalytical criticism of this sort is in the And a psychoanalytic procedure. transference as he emphasizes its importance in analysis.

Even at that. the most plausible way of understanding. gives us a little more 2. it is possible to locate the moment when the rusing reveals itself as the structure of unresolvable self-cancellings. In the spring of 1977. with its charged metaphors. a formula. being invoked by a woman to silence another woman's politics. on one level. bring the machinery of our reading and. Here is male authority. may just as well be called "feminist": that the production of public rigor bears the strategically repressed marks of the so-called "private" at all levels. The supplementation of the category of substitution rigorous readings come into being in a scientific field.veats Biographia Literaria we might only have seen Coleridge's prevarication. It is the: thematics of castration and the Imagination that expose in it the play of the . the author is not responsible for what the text seems to say. It is hoped that the reader will learn the point of the awkward. and with which it ruses. reservations marked out by the subdivisive energy of criticallabor: the olympian Lacan would be for so abject a thing as an instrument of intelligibility." or "humanist. but because they. I participated in a feminist literary criticism symposium." and that this itinerary must ruse over the open-endedness of the field of meaning. with our own elusive historico-politico-economico-sexual determinations.~s to examine demonstration of validity." as long as you show how)-is that phia is an autobiography." "idealist. with au- thority: "Because the text deconstructs itself. It is not enough to permit the private to play in the In the long run. This is especially the case with feminist alternative readings of the canon that will not find their comfort in citing the demonstrable precedents of scientific specialism. 2 Within a shifting and abyssal frame. yes.14 In Other Worlds psychoanalytical vocabulary. fulfillment and non-fulfillment of the will to Law. Thts essay 1s an exerctse m allegonzmg such a sttuation. The fiction of mainstream literary criticism-so generally "masculist" that presence and absence. I thought." I was deeply troubled by that exchange. 1977 rwomen must tell each other's stories. or wryly self-deprecatory touch of autobiography in political polemic or high that describes the strategy of Coleridge's two chapters: "I ask you to refuse what journalism. as r:eutral Ltheorem or science. Even if one honed a critical methodology sensitive and vulnerable to this understanding. elaborate yet mar- ginal "autobiography" before he gets to the straight reading. call it "capitalist. One of the principal papers was an excellent scholarly presentation on Dante's La Vita nuova. Finding Feminist Readings: turning room to play in. 1 The paper took no stand on the brutal sexism of the tradition within which that text is situated. at a certain point. "the text deconstructs itself" is surely that the text signals the itinerary of its desire to be "about something. the critic might have to admit that her gratitude to Dr. must ca~l into que~tio~ the mo~e~ of criticism. or in the field of legalistic by the category of desire within psychoanalytic discourse <YJo"Y:~ •. be necessary to show the situational vul- I offer you because that is not it. then. coming from a mind-set that has not only Coleridge's declaration but also our own refusal to take it seriously. to mean. not because they are simpleminded crea- ::·1 tures.. a distinguished woman present in the audience said. on the contrary. The other view. These are the "minimal idealizations" which constitute the possibility of reading. As the choice of the strategic moment of . It might. been systematically marginalized. If we had followed only the logical or "figurative" (as customarily understood) inconsistencies in Chapters Twelve and Thirteen of the Dante. there would re- main the articulated specificity of the "somethings" that the text wishes. judgment. A woman in the audience asked at the end of the hour: "How can a woman learn to praise this text?" Before the speaker could answer. The the adjective begins to lose all meaning (on this level of generality you could psychoanalytical vocabulary illuminates Coleridge' s declaration that the Biogra." 25 nerability of a reading as it shares its own provenance with the reader. these idealizations are the "material" to which we as readers.

you will say. apart from any tropological or performative de- general sense by deconstruction in the narrow sense. the trace of the self that struggles to define a historical moment. then. Deconstruction in the narrow sense. to reduce that struggle out of the ordered field of deconstructive literary criticism. Therefore. 4 Rather than disclaim responsibility. and that Christmas I must also go willy-nilly on record. As I walked out of In my opening paragraph. "about" As a group. All but two of a chosen literary-critical methodology. indeed. I felt. an open frame of relationships that the vocabulary and presuppositions of deconstruction that pervades mainstream can be specified only indefinitely. as I argue above. It is the "object par a way of saying "I am not what I am not what I am not what I am not" and so excellence" as "subject. It is thus that it fits into the existing My task became to articulate a reading that was irreducibly marked and defined ideology of American literary criticism. risk of "demonstrating" how theory is necessarily undermined-as it is oper- like all poetic texts. by the subject and "historical moment" of feminism. I suggested that feminist alternative readings might the lecture room. and. indeed. "La Vita nuova should not be judged. When used in this the law with which it constitutes its object" can have for a woman a certain way. 3 Since a faith in the autobiographical collection. no surprise. It is judges of poetic texts. ticates deconstruction in the general sense. violence which is somewhat unlike the subtle language-displacement of the sub- stream pedagogy and criticism of literature in the United States-hedged in as ject of psychoanalysis as critic. if only trying to write the limits of responsibility in different ways. in the "text's" performance and allows the critic authority to disclose the econ. the slogan seemed to fit only too well into the dreary scene of the main. woman historical biography of that very self that is no more than an effect of a structural was often the means of this project of the narrative.'' 5 ment is supposed forever to be suspended or abandoned. "the text deconstructs itself" is also a judgment. carefully preserving a legalistic metaphor of undisclosed hierarchies: "As I confess that I was preoccupied that evening with computing the "practical" always with a language. no more than· "Jand defined by the subject and historical moment of feminism. I wrote a paper (Sections I to V of this essay) for the same deadline self or in the authority of historical narrative is thoroughly questioned by the as the class. locates this signifying or figuring effect the men sought their pleasure and instruction elsewhere and dropped the class. 9 resistance to irreducible heterogeneity. there was also a nar- and inseparably intermingled. like the rest of the papers. Freud. and it. in in the narrow and in the general senses (in itself not a hard distinction) was the that light." I remarked on the haps only a (dis)figuring effect of a radical heterogeneity. The in. the practice of decon- American orthodoxy at the present time might be no more than a localized struction. apparent scientism. Nietzsche. Assisted by that group of enthusiastic young women and two men. seeing in the self pe"f1 The specified title was "Recent Theories of Interpretation. Derrida was." In such a case. The essay from which I quote above begins: "I am introducing here- speaker and respondent were confronting tenure-decisions a~the time. curiously enough. understood? shoring up a space of dispersion even as that space gives the struggle the lie. puts into question th~ first day that my task was to articulate a reading that was irreducibly marked grounds of the critic's power. analysis-you know. me (into) a translation. Derrida's project was there taking the necessary is not to be able to help judging. . enology's privileging of consciousness and is about to assimilate structuralism's Thus it was that I came to teach La Vita nuova at a Summer Institute that year. 8 What we most there a different way of coping with the sabotaging of deconstruction in the especially remarked was that." when the "Ume" that I felt compelled to introduce in the space between deconstruction used uncompromisingly to close rather than complicate discussion seemed. 16 In Other Worlds Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats 17 the reply from the audience amply demonstrated. it is the marriage of a limitation with an opportunity. Since the two are complicit construction launched by the language of these writings." "the intentional fallacy. "The poetic text should not be judged because it deconstru~ts itself. deconstructs itself" is. to know the limits of judgment deconstructive morphology. He put it without in the philosophical sense. 6 it is by "the autonomy of the text." and. I thought I saw and A Vision (which might recall The Divine Comedy in its title). Deconstruction in the general sense. even in the ated-by practice. now colloquial sense. the critic must write the theoretically impossible J]!tive 2-L~E!lf-deconstruction as their scenario. undermines its theoretical rigor at every historical paradox. Marx. Vita nuova. I read La omy of figure and performance. that as I pondered the exchange between my two colleagues. the "gesture" of "reapply(ing) to a corpus on indefinitely or until the moment of suspended animation. in the false infinity so variously declined of I-me: ME-psycho- tially (and crucially) in terms of that very field of poetic language where judg." reasons for making the judgment in the colloquial sense rather than the enclosure Most of Derrida's work after Glas bears this mark of "historical" (auto)-bi- of metaphysics that made philosophical judgments inescapable at the limit. like all practice and more so. rancor." No doubt any willing suspension of disbelief. was subjected to class criticism. '><. I read Glas as an autobiography." As such. Yeats's "Ego Dominus Tuus" (which takes its title from La V ita nuova). a wholesale exculpation of the text of one's trade.I had read Derrida's Glas from summer 1976 to spring 1977. the class agreed to produce papers that would fit together in a Hegel. for it. Both ography. giving to the text subject of feminism. "the With the "subject" of feminism comes an "historical moment. Genet et al. the fear of what is taken to be historical moment is a space of dispersion. 7 The answer from the audience had decided thought I had a formulation for it: deconstruction in the narrow sense domes." and ends: "not in order to decide with what intonation stitutional judgments involved in those decisions were carried out at least par. It is not one "subject" among many. a judgment. All that summer and fall the problem haunted me. which has already assimilated phenom. Is this how the situation of deconstruction should be turn. Yet. I recalled the arrogance and anguish of the two women's well question the normative rigor of specialist mainstream scholarship through judgments-expressed often in conversation-of the judges of their worth as a dramatization of the autobiographical vulnerability of their provenance. after all.

acts against her will. 12 It is. "In dreams begins responsibility" (epigraph to Responsibilities) and this par- pands until it takes in select inhabitants of history and myth. diagnosed it often. Dante's description of his first vision of Beatrice. In Section Three. the participants without self-confidence. and I couldn~~ take "being a leader'' seriously." Lacan. Shelley. and possesses the phallus by a to be real. that Dante was Love and Beatrice may be dramatizations of the self-separation of auto-erotism. begin to search for significance." "art''): in Derrida the reminder that all unified q:eate the text as product. not a diadic but a trian- tified. theme of the passive role or pre-determined victimage of the author is repeated struct themselves. that allowed Dante as poet. she remains mute. I refuse to be moved by such texts. "Say my glory was I had Ego dominus tuus" (p. held half-naked in Love's arms. In a society and institution which systematically i The title of Yeats's "Ego Dominus Tuus" (1917) is taken from Section Three of rewards individual rather than collective excellence and originality. although its credibility is much complicated. seeks the loneliness of his room. dispersed. even wild swans tially understood dream supposedly gives the first push to the previously com- and saints in a mosaic. and fantasy. found divine justice and the heavenly Beatrice. cannot bear the an- loved the most exalted lady in Christendom. querade of the Imaginary. and its inadequacy as a transcription of what really happened. 5. . but they are constructed in such a commonly ously enabling castration of the poet. leave unanswered in this short piece. acts for him. perhaps the chief among these ideal others. papers were too uneven. also not suffice. one might say plenitude in the practice of the poet's craft? ·-' ithat Dante feminized himself as he chose for himself this passive role. in Lacan that they are the symbolic mas." ''Yeats. what should I do with high art? As I have indicated. . one was made poetry. analyze his dream. such friends" (''The Municipal Gallery Revisited").'113 Through the texts. though still within the dream.. and Gustave Dore illustrated him. This particular radical positions-the unexamined use of the argument that great texts decon. How and why this need was needed is a question I must posed collection of poems for which the prose text of La Vita nuova is a frame. Dante can project. In Dante. Emerson. and thus that the canon might be preserved after all-will ~ny times over in the text. imaginings. have also indicated. as a woman. falls asleep. For the vision in question resembles a wet dream. now. woman is objec. I am not unmindful intermediary of Love. vate act of utopian piety is. street. We know he knew of this need. without questioning or in." "myself. The war is also a self-glorification since it is his own phallus. and "a short time after this" -as Symonds wrote upon him. A greater question is implied within it.. The 2.r • 18 In Other Worlds Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Veats 19 The resolve to produce a collective volume came to nothing. the conservatism that has developed out of these potentially . and John her. 14 In that unquestioning spirit.")11 Yet." Throughout La Vita nuova. This Yeatsian sentiment ex. for example. of which I understood only a few. as in Yeats. The woman's desire is nowhere in ques- unrecognized way that we are easily induced by our society to imagine them tion. becomes drunkenly ecstatic. [Love] spoke and said many things. Matthew Arnold." By devouring Dante's itude in the practice of the poet's craft? This is the question I propose to consi~~::. of course. the scene of a fantasmatic exchange is opened. such a pri.1 1 Dante's auto-psychological tale La Vita nuova. If it is . as a woman. with the Master who perpetrated the curi- ages. of the deconstructive cautions against the feasibility of monolithic analyses (of Now that Beatrice has been unwillingly made to introject. I deliberately refuse to be moved by such showing Dante his heart as an already-severed "part object. It was this love. however. If I decide to to obtain "Unity of Being. one of Dante's strategies is the transference of responsibility. eat it against her will. Dante was a great nineteenth-cen. and makes Be- atrice. Love is the lord who gives Beatrice this dubious power by the texts together. D 37). and hence go on treating them as if they actually were. (Imaginary "relationships are constructed out of im. but not as human being. Blake." In A Vision.he responsibility rests elsewhere. All I will say here is. autobiography. He repeatedly reminds us of the fragmented quality of his text 1. at any rate. In the dream. Longfellow translated him. of course. I and the loss of Beatrice. and his drowsy sleep is broken. but Yeats seems to have liked him most because~~. the romantic novels say-. or occluded as a means. more than anything else. Dante allows himself a passive role. phallus-the bleeding heart is a thin disguise-Beatrice "incorporates" him. calls the Minister in Poe's story "feminine" when he begins question: How is the figure of the woman used to achieve this psychotherapeutic\ · hide the letter in a certain way . 'J. and a vision out of it. · whose Dantean description Yeats satisfactorily translates as "Lord of terrifying aspect. thought Yeats. what should I do with erpreting the Freudian suggestion that women hide their pubis by weaving a high art? That greater question I put aside as well. thinks of Rossetti. possibility of a radical heterogeneity. as I grotesque transplant. "Dante. has a vision of fear and joy. and come back to the les~~!. If. Rossetti.~ "identifies" with him. guish.endant phallus. useless. In "The Seminar on The Purloined Letter.· If. after all). it is a reactionary operation that hol<!~m . we read: "He Yeats needed ideal others." 10 can treat it as telling the story of a fantasy where the woman allows the man How is the figure of the woman used to achieve this psychotherapeutic plen- to acquire a "passivity'' that would prohibit "activity. concepts such as these may be no more than textual ruses to postpone the inaugurate a war against this integrated female (she's filled with the phallus . Love shows the poet his own bleeding heart. gulated transaction. Transferring responsibility. The words are spoken by Love. Yeats writes: "Dante suffering injustice ' describe the events of this dream-vision through psychoanalytic structures. Dante sees Beatrice on the tury vogue.

Beatrice. if three is by itself [per se medesimo] factor of nine. though not invariably. menaced as it is constituted by de. but this is the one which I see and which pleases me the most constructive erasures. without any other number. not necessarily indicating Miss Portinari. 3). p. multiplied by itself. 110-111). because she so greatly re- deprivation of her proper-ty. D 58). Some measure of superiority is still granted to the gentlemen's nine. and Beatrice] passed dose by me. And indeed. Son. There is a further thus: of the screw: "The first poet to begin writing in the vernacular was moved so by a desire to make his words understandable to ladies who found verses difficult to comprehend" (sec. a reminder of similitude and the authority allows her to be placed within the anagogic Christian story.20 In Other Worlds Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats 21 argued that tradition and convention allowed Dante to use this paradox of choos. Her next gesture is Dante cannot describe this deprivation of Beatrice's property and identity in the withholding of a greeting. 10. seems called for. 24. The masculine figure of Love permits Dante to regain control. since the name Joan (Giovanna) comes from the disclosure of the poet's "animal spirit'': "Apparuit iam beatitudo vestra" -now name of that John (Giovanm) who preceded the True Light'" (sec. D 115). and reported (sec. Before the middle of Beatrice with a Christ who is not named. member with chagrin that Beatrice's august name had been given in the di- who are Three in One. [Here too the proper name signifying "she who gives blessing." that which is most proper to her. here as in any text. too. a Primavera . which immediately follows this magnificent sublation. p. through poetic license. nine so that it might be understood that she was a nine."] And if you will also consider her first [prima] name. [ragione]. Dante nification as her index. D 55). one of them following the other. but after the fantasy [l'imaginazione] of the faithful (one). it seemed that Love spoke in my heart and said: 'The one in front is called Her beatification is a reduction of her proper name to a common noun. is her beatification. D 36). He places the figure of Love within the miraculously. 60-61. Perhaps someone more subtle than I could find a still more subtle reason ventions? A feminist-materialist analysis. through a itself and a bodily substance.ent of love. in Latin. that is. then. This is. D 127). Yet Beatrice herself does not act: she gives a greeting that is merely reported (sec. meaning she will come first on the day that Beatrice shows herself possible word in the language. by being an object who apparently regulates the subject's action. ending allowed to exist. He has been speaking. p. you will see who did not know what her name was" (sec. In the dream following Beatrice's withholding of a greeting. and while Dante is engaged in writing a poem. another greater question looms: Why such traditions and con. 3. The common signification of her name as meaning "she who gives blessing" This is a moment of name-changing. 12. and the accompanying that this too means Primavera.. The work is completed by death. is the miraculous Trinity itself. the play between Sections 24 and 25 that reflects the most again. so that she can belong to God. 16. suggests in Latin that the Beatrice episode might be a simulacrum. of Love as if it were a thing in meaning accessible to dictionaries. In Section Nine. This is an ar- This number was she herself-! say this by the law of similitudes [per against those who compose in the vernacular on a subject other than similitudine dico]. Therefore. to put it formulaically. She is Dante's agent because S~E)'s a non-agent. and explains that the figure named Love by virtue of the authority of the historical Imaginary of Christian doctrine. to be kicked upstairs of origins (as in Joan from John) rather than identity. We re- by itself the factor of miracles is three. then this lady was accompanied by the number minutive ("mona Bice" rather than Beatrice) in the previous exalting section. however. but only through Love's mediation. she allows the Love vanishes into him in a daydream. or a miracle. 2. dream. Love (Master) and women are both brought as we see manifestly [come vedemo manifestamente] that three times three is under control. is emptied of its proper sig. it is in the profession of writing that Dante comes into his own. but it does subject to deconstruct its sovereign motive and to disguise its masochism/ reverse the reverse identification that Beatrice is made to perform in the initial narcissism.. Lucan. for Love speaks to Dante. it gives nine: \E!trea. In the former. 52. the absolute male who might seem again and say these words: 'Anyone of subtle discernment. The would name Love [quella Beatrice chiamarebbe Amore]. At one stroke. and Holy Spirit. and this withholding. D your beatitude has appeared (sec. "These ladies [Giovanna alias Pri- the book. 54-55. p. 2. p. it becomes her definitive predication in terms of a non-indexical poetic tradition. asserts his own craftsmanly control. It is an unemphatic move. What I mean to say is this: the number three is the root since composition in the vernacular was from the beginning intended for of nine for. by naming Beatrice to stand outside the triangulated. 17. namely that of the miracle. and Latin club. In Section 25. Father. But he also cannot allow his passivity to remain a full mar~­ narrative (sec. is bypassed in Dante's her glorification. D 34). Dante tells Dante not to write her directly. (sec. Her sembles me. Beatrice's death is mavera. p. p. patently false. He cites examples numerological fantasy that does not resemble Schreber's or Wolfson's merely from Virgil. p. ing passivity. D 125). is said to make Dante act so. 4."will that introduces her in La Vita nuova: "[She] was called Beatrice even by those come first. 62. Love appears It is. 25. analytical circuit of Love-Beatrice-Dante. and Ovid. The story of Dante's extraordinary self-indulgence thus fabricates an excuse. 29. whose root." (I interpret thus the ambivalent statement Primavera-Spring-is rendered into the common language as prima Horace. 5. . 28. he says. "Love seemed to speak or sublated. for it places the simulacra within the letter of the true and divine text and associates is time to do away with simulacra (sec. of course. and restored back to the "common" language."' "proper name. and resolute refusal-recuperation of control on Dante's part. p. where.

in Latin. 3. not surprisingly." "you. These letters are. p. the relationship between those The entire problematics of the objectification of woman is neutralized.. (Augusta Gregory). that text cannot be evoked in this instance. not to. The very first poem within analytic genealogy of the objectification of beloved (Maud Gonne). dispersed. indeed." within quotation marks. travelled: "On the afternoon of October 24th 1917. "four days after my marriage. of all this as a refusal of action. is it Yeats who is his wife's lord? We are caught in another labyrinth of "I. Hie and Ille. even as Beatrice is put in her place here. Here the third woman in Yeats's life plays a role. a long way and. I am haunted rather by another question: Why are the adequation to truth of the frame narrative is disclosed through the following names of the speakers. She was caught on the rebound within the institution of marriage. This is the deconstructor's final gesture of retrieval. But the privilege of that collective bolic order of literary history-coming via Dante-as God. a short. the slow abdication-recuperation topos.22 In Other Worlds Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats 23 The story of The New Life is openly declared to be a frame for a collection of the theme of the poem-the urge to seek either the self or its opposite. themselves at first dependent my soul ascend to behold the glory of its lady" (sec. I suggest that "thing" fallen or raised into multiplicity. 86. upon his own text. rather. we are in his power. I resist here the hermeneutic seduction to show how that is so. From such a text does Yeats borrow the title of his poem. for that will lead that the book ends with a promise to write further: "I hope to write of her that us back to the long way.) foolish and cowardly demos is shown to triumph in the name of comfort and But even as author. until the individual sovereignty is disclaimed. finally caught within the history of literary practice. Once again the self-separation of auto-erotism. is the title descriptive of crypted. for what we read in La V ita nuova in the poem:-"He found the unpersuadable justice. Yet without Dante's Tuus" is the headpiece of a longer prose text. but sublation and objectification of the woman. my wife surprised me by attempting automatic writing . although the Silentia Lunae ("By the friendly silence of the moon")-its two parts titled in business of that higher text and Beatrice remains the first cause. rather than merely as one of many readers. she does not understand him. though not the writer. Yet. (In my opening pages. nearly every Latin as well-"Anima Hominis" (man's soul). not a very common thing in Yeats? set: Memory is called a book whose privileged reader.. en- two voices. The unknown writer took his theme at first from my just published Per Arnica Si/entia Lunae" (p. As author. authority." In Dante's text. I will not pursue that trajectory. What does the title conceal? Yeats's poem breaks into two voices. "Maurice. her name disguised as a a few words." as in Lacan's etymological fantasy in the essay to that is only because the poem is obviously clear to all readers. and many of the others. apart from those two lines the autobiographer." and mastery. each the other's accomplice. Are the two together Ego? Does the title describe. We are back to "Ego 3. In Dante. on the other hand. "Georgie Yeats. Clearly poems previously composed. he There are. and so on indefinitely. or the As a female reader. D 164). Dante analyzes each of his poems very strictly before masculine name. Dante exercises brute loyalty in Yeats's very last poems. of course. to neutralize. and thus to continue that entire history of the And then the woman is promoted yet further. 42. ways. It is not surprising which I have already referred. Beatrice all that Latin is a sort of meta-narrative sign-here allows him to keep the woman is fully sublated into an object-to be written of. and had a that entre-deux between Latin and the vernacular-He is allowed to remain the masculine nickname. as usual. are written for the brotherhood of fellow." In addition." Is it the unknown writer who is Yeats's lord. She contemplates the One. . Thus. italics mine. I will propose rather that Yeats' s technique of allusion-"- which has never been written of any other woman. "And then it may please the One who is the Lord of graciousness that through which the voices of Yeats's instructors. to occlude. 8). also with a Latin title-Per Arnica book in hand." Yeats writes in A Vision. for his predication is in Latin: "qui est per omnia To keep the woman out. but a love as much launched into the sym- the New Life begins]" (p. a longing for the self expressed in two 4. would be to remember that "Ego Dominus anagogic text. One could then begin to formulate a feminist-psycho- extend beyond the bounds of the bound book.. disappointment. the a certain use of the slogan "the text deconstructs itself" is an example of this broaching of an ideology of victimage. It is of course abundantly clear that he is himself written into the The short way. Dominus Tuus. 15 The truth. and when he does not. deconstructe~ by all this and more. is at readership is still in effect precariously maintained when textuality is said to the end of La Vita nuova. he found I The most exalted is merely his own decision as to what is the gist of the pages in the book of lady loved by a man"-is the woman? Memory. it is indeed love that is Yeats's lord. section of La V ita nuova begins with: "moved by this thought I decided to write the whole text framed by two letters to a woman. A long answer would be to say: into this little book the words I find written under that heading [lncipit vita nova." She was the transparent medium agent." Thus. deception. "Anima Mundi" (world's soul). is careful enough to mention that "purloined or prolonged. D 33). and thus operated by the allusion in Yeats's title. or after he cites it. whose priority is. out. each claiming lordship over the other? Or. the true Lord. patroness Dante's tale. at least two ways of constructing an answer to this ques- almost (though not quite) abdicates his sovereignty. secula benedictus. of the Mask and Anima as names for that mysterious female writers and the fellow-servants of Love. is Is this Yeats' s version of Dante's dream? Where then. "It is my intenti9p to copy tion. placing it within the book's frame. whereby the readership is recuperated even as forging of a defeatist hero over against the folly of collective action.

surrectionists at "Easter 1916" as well. I recover it. and whisper it as though shows himself as manipulating is his own past creation Hanrahan? He must He were afraid the birds. as if the poet wishes to force a personal "meaning" out of the impersonal truth Whatever one makes of this mise-en-scene.16 Indeed. who cry aloud coax the fictive memory of his own creation to produce the desirable answer. standing by these characters. as much a known lines from "The Tower. The hero recounts a dream of the mutilated Hector passing "Vacant" (meaning "vacationing") is almost Latin here. comes from Dante's guide. To read and undo that long problematic sentence in Yeats is another temp- When she deserts the night tation I resist. 101-104) I call to the mysterious one who yet . II. in the second book of the Aeneid. it is literary history rather than allegoric system that Hines-all those eyeball-less poets singing of women-sings: declares the silence of the moon to be friendly. to triumph. ("The Tower." It is for Aeneas's desertion of his wife in the face of the advancing Greek army. or non-agent." 11. close to pure objectivity. but leave Hanrahan. and incidentally. that the moon is Yeats's celebrated Or anything called conscience once. part of the takes over . If on the lost."they resigned their part in the casual comedy"). Helen is mentioned only twice. of course." 11." What had been mere "magical shapes" has become.." he repeats the gesture more openly: stereotype as the virgin mother. not a rejection but a conscientious renunciation. Fill in the interstices and you have the Great Tradition of European poetry. allowing textuality though But I have found an answer in those eyes not ostensibly the sovereign author. when what is not the self (moderated by a benign Zeus) between spiteful Juno and Venus. but that the image Does the imagination dwell the most was of an unwilling Beatrice eating the poet's heart. is a subjective text. sign for subjectivity. men. within the outlines of Yeatsian allegory. Go therefore. in part. of "Ego Dominus Tuus." story is a justification (provided by Aeneas's dead wife in yet another dream) The Miltonic allusion carries a charge which complicates Yeats's "system. 17 It is not for nothing that Yeats. This. It is this scene of carnage (Samson Agonistes. disclose[s] Why should we believe this declaration of "finding. Yeats makes himself passive. "'An~~ then I remind myself that Milton's shadow is all over Yeats's work. The Argives arrive and free the Greeks from the wooden horse. 11. a "lady in love.. The Virgilian line is given in full within Yeats's text. 113-118) pointing out that it is when the moon is silent that the poet speaks. absorbed with Delilah as Homer with Helen or Raftery with Mary In Per Arnica as well. by ("The Tower. The audience of one is Dido. Would carry it away to blasphemous men. 255-256). who came from Tenedos by the friendly silence of Hid in her vacant interlunar cave. through the poem. in the opening sentence of "Anima Mundi. caught in the in-fighting is the dark of the moon. Even the non-Latinist female reader recognizes that the moon in the Cowardice. I ask instead. looks for a reader at the end That are impatient to be gone. some silly over-subtle thought title is feminine. not a fulfillment but loss: Like Dante or Poe's Minister." when all that the poet All that I seek. the matter is a transaction between of "allegory. is anything but friendly. Milton's B1ind Samson. for it dressed in Helen's clothes brought from Aeneas's ship. The phrase is Virgilian." to operate forcibly in spite of allegorical calculation. Their momentary cries before it is dawn. Yet. The figure of writing passes For I need all his mighty memories. of From a great labyrinth out of pride. on the occasion here of a fallen woman. then. and the silence of the the relay to himself. admit you turned aside It is not by chance that Per Arnica Silentia Lunae is the agent. and the poet is of the moon/ woman's party! I seem almost to lose my argument. A Vision. Yeats' s poem silently points Upon a woman won or woman lost? to that image while ostensibly discoursing on the provenance of poetry. In these well. "the sun to me is dark. not a dismissal but a resignation (that was the point about the benighted in. Aeneas." moon. It is a transaction from Homer to Virgil to Dante to Milton to Yeats. the objective sun is inaccessible." after an invocation of ruins. the quiet moon? It is a moment of great cunning. the relay to a mysterious future reader. broken ar- The Sun to me is dark chitraves: "A Tenedo tacitae per arnica si/entia lunae" (The Aeneid. "feminizes" him- . 86-89) in the name of the transgressing woman as sexual agent that is hidden behind that line. And silent as the Moon. Troy is destroyed. And now. and remembers. "characters" to be deciphered. the harlot queen.24 In Other Worlds Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats 25 the point was not simply that the image came from outside.

Derrida) . to some kind of sunple ptety would present "cause" and "effect" as two such "figures. and try to undo deliberately structures of fear. it is also not enough to search rrughtily for a way of con. This is simply to echo face as the place of the hunger that motivates the making of the stone image wearily that old pedantic sentiment: "to make changes would have been too that Ille then presents as Dante's face: drastic. traditi~nal posi~vistic his. from genealogy and the true-false fiction). definition of the field of literary criticism. 21 Here is a brief blueprint: Hie has arrived at Ille's "summons"-he purpose out of a feminist anguish with acaderruc deco~struc_tive practice..] The present essay is a brief analysis of the discursive pra~~c~ of two "~tera~. once at a con. even if metaleptic. Ezra Pound caught it in a jest when he called them Hie Here ends the paper written in haste for a ~lass deadline. In Other Worlds Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats 27 26 conscious and irr~ducible. then. the two choices of Yeats's poem. . the enterprise of deconstruction always in a certain way falls prey to its own w~rk. Hie describes Dante as if Dante had made a mask: "he has made that hollo~ ference once at a women's lunch. borrowing that. the definition of a legitimate perspective _. (11.. that the lirruts of JUdgtng can only be given in a judgment. 18 atoms. a few of the unanswered questions left in the earlier paper." I wo~ld like to touch. 366). . for the agent of knowledge." 19 And to avoid the quick citing of slogans (as in the comment . of "ef~ect" for "cause" w?ich is one of the chief abuses of history would become a specral case of metalepsts. It is clearer at the end of Per Amica where Yeats writes. in an ideology of cause and effect which catches us on the rebound ~nto all_great cha~ge. once for an mtervtew. texts. Or was the hunger that had made it hollow torical (or herstorical) work of documentation and restoration remam_s caught A hunger for the apple on the bough . cepts and theories. Foucault. distortion [Enstellung]). and plea~ure tting those structures. and the fixing of norms for the elaboration of con- On the other hand. rather. are each others accomplice. however. for I am baff_led by ~ose vo~ces tendency (Lacan. we borrow structures from that which we analyze. Ille grants that original against. Oper~ting nec~ssarily from the inside. nor can they take accurate aim. it seems necessary to acknowl- ~d~e tha~ ana~yzmg. in a formal if not a substantive way. Looking for the real face rather than a mask-image then I have read it four times for money.~ analyses. Smce is what Ille wants (11. except by inhab- analysis. with a ~ollec~ve and Willie. desire.) T~e t~s~ ts to ma~k. (The dictionary meaning of "metalepsis" is "the substitution by me- ~at ~en. 7-10)." I am helpless before th~ fact that all my essays these days seem to end with projects for fu~re w~rk. serving and excusing the canon at all costs. how "discursive practices are characterized by ology of high art? It is not enough to substitute "low" ~or "hig~. one might ask. or now that I shall in a little be growing old. an analysis permitted at least formally by the 5. . 23-25) congratulation and cannot touch those metaleptic ruses of psycho-soct~l s~c­ turing that represent themselves as the rigorous infallibility of that very histoncal method. Deleuze and Guattari. of the irreducibl~ and originary ruins of being. and not merely from the point of view of the What have I performed here? Tried _to read two ~ersion~ of the in-built ex- d~m~nant. Freud (the argument from the un- . 6. For example: Why are the traditions and conventions of art so brutally sexist? Here an immense work of And did he find himself genealogical investigation awaits us." 20 (In G!as Derrida undertakes such a eomplicit genealogical analysis I seem to be surrendered to the Great Tradition in closing my ptece wtth a of the history of philosophy. the post-structuralist take to them [my 'barbarous words'] once more. "I wonder~ I from secondary dissembling and the double withdrawal). is the difference between the psychological status- tonymy of one figurative sense for another. the later Barthes. or an acaderruc_ po~ulist reverse seXtsm. the money-form.acti~n tion [or gen~alogical analy~is] do not destroy structures from the outside. . They and "the field of art" and function by means of an ever-abreactive histoncal ~~e not posstble and effective. : . and Heidegger (the argument self.I have let it stand as it was.emg a ~oem about the artist's psychology-of Dante's stone image and from fetishization. . from the audience at the feminist symposium) that will cut off such "nonliterary" Is this dilemma itself symptomatic of the fear of the risks u. and ideology). must a woman do with the reactionary sexualtde- sts. the following might be remembered: "The movements of deconstruc- might involve? Must one simply honor the breach between the fi~ld of. Unfortunately. that ts to say wtthout bemg able to isolate their elements and be it involves at least a decision to re-read." The task is to analyze the discursive practice of "documentary" texts. Nietzsche (the argument Keats s luxunous song? Ille does not deny Hie that Keats looked for happiness. This is not to make a romantic disclaimer face of his I More plain to the mind's eye" (11.) If all analysis is a shoring up of a self in the midSt promise.what minimal effectiveness the essay might have.':rhetorica_I _fi~~-" (That would be to privilege the per- ploitation of the figure of the woman m two autobtographi~l and sel~­ ~ssiVe dtsctp~ne of literary cnticrsm and thus neutralize genealogical analy- structive texts. are beyond one's control? Whatever the program rrught them structurally. "~ope" or.~~ ideology of complacent rejectionism. 21-22). I had al~o not sho~n how Hie and Ille. What." and perpe~ate the delimitation of a field of objects.." Following Marx (the argument this b. "as a feminist." Thus the substitution like that of an old woman" (p.

"I have sought to bring A Tenedo tacitae per arnica silentia lunae: my mmd close to [c~rtam kinds of mmd]. with our own elusive historico-politico-econorruco-sex- ual determinations. however. mind thought to. old women in Connacht." kept at bay by the authority of the sententious binary opposition: Yeats's se. while art One ~1ght s. m Latin. re~d is ~o legitimate reading.ntence states a program. from the world as it is seen from umversities or from cul~natmg. To . the program is that stealthy entry into Troy.e rrund. But Hie had already taken care of it in his. through making oneself passtve. to liberate it from all th~t co~~s of coun- refer~nc~) to deh?ht m. Wtthm a shifting and abyssal frame. these idealizations and things are the "m~terial" to which we as readers. 54). the sentence moves toward in- Japanese poets. Yet thos~ old words only "seem" broken architraves. to Immerse It m the general mind where that mind is scarce separable from what we have erodox-professio~al q~alities of m~nd.t the among brambles. precisely. Pound's mistake. and to read no more than allegories "deliberate" (1. "a few technical The final lines of the poem.. lay brothers creased d~lib:ration. We are free to imagine that Yeats dreams complexity for a mere failure of logic. even if minimally and guarded Wtth the "[nothing] but" construction-a little abstraction. The allusive The rhetorician would deceive his neighbours. the anima. so old" (alth~ugh "the subconscious" will hardly fill this bill)-"nat- Hie in which case the aura of mystery is dramatic irony against the pompous uraliZe It through an mvocation of time's tyranny and a metaphor of ruins Ille:as the aura of oppositions in the poem might be dramatic iro~y agair:s. learned authors who refer all to antiqmty. 47-49) to un~o the har~ that the language of abstraction and technique have done to th. All these slidings and blurrings of the two positions are of unreadability 1s to tgnore the heterogeneity of the "material. and indirectly commanded by Dante. if that is what it was. accepted from abstract t~e histo?c~~ signal. and with ~~~eh it ruse~. Indeed.. to pass from a limited anima to a general.ay that. chosen kinds of art to a judicious choice of language cils and committees. touch With Anzma Mundz. be~een the subject and his action. be ~lmost b~yond d~liberation. but obstacles are placed. ~y ~~s passively enhanced activity fabricated to get in Is but a vision of reality. sex-class-based. is that par- ticular Vrrgthan-Homeric line. mediums in Soho. in a mood of self- dec~nstruction. to learned begun to call "the subconscious". Yeats hopes (11. He Will. populous towns. and that and frequented mediums. sub- mitted at the opening of this essay: there remains the articulated speCifiCity of the "somethings" that the text might mean. The sentimentalist himself. delighted in all that displayed great problems through sensuous images or exciting phrases. had been to take this dupliatous the wooden horse seemed mnocent. to Immerse it [my mind] in the general mmd where that rrund [we know the antecedent. but in this masterfully clumsy prose the 'it' and the 'that' begin a subtextual exchange. m a learned reference. het- their village. (p. use that language. It must be emphasized that Yeats' s sentence is a deliberate search for the areas I shall end with the exquisitely orchestrated sentence in Per Arnica that delivers of the. Thes~ a:e the "minimal idealizations" which constitute the possibility of readmg. metapho~ chosen to describe. "where all things are seen " A Vision between covers. 'my mind' usurping 'general mind' and vi_ce versa] is scarce separable from what we have begun to I have always sought to bring my mind close to the mind of Indian and call 'the subconscious'" (italics mine). ' the artist's negative capability at the expense of the repression or occlusion of the woman. just as reader. like lines 7-10. ~djective choose not t?. 343) 1980 This attempt at reading will bring me back to some worl~ing hypothe~:s. to trained and truant dreaming. and that I might so believe I have murmured evocations end ~nd ~ean~ of t~e program. and have put myself to school where all things are seen: A Tenedo tacitae per arnica si/entia lunae. The program is. chosen from what is millenially available. Ours would be to take this labyrinth of of making them the chief beam (arch + trave) of an edifice associated with the self-deconstruction to be free of the charge that "communicates" the topos of goal of all abstraction and technique: writing. From an image of ideal others (within the larger movement. ·. bring the machinery of our reading and our judgm~nt. is elaborated into figures of woman. The machinery is to look for identities and differences-to make connections.28 In Other Worlds Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats 29 but only that he found it. whom I imagine dreaming in some mediaeval m?n~stery t~e drea~s ?f the predtcation of these others rises in rank from racial. can in principle be a description of wor~s .the most exalted lady in creation"-. schools but a few technical words that are so old they seem but broken architraves fallen amid bramble and grass. What interests me specifically is that m Yeats's language.

same time as a practical enterprise that produces a . When she speaks. I will suggest that the undermmmg.. star. she thought. the irreducible form of the logic of non-contradiction. 1 On a certain level of ge~er~lity the project to catch the esse~ce of Mrs. another. then R . Ramsay in an adequate to be found there? The third part of the book ("The Lighthouse") uncovers the language? language of art: Lily catches Mrs. the customary division between work and life is undermined. how it is articulated. That too yields a suggestive metaphor. 1976). she would have blown her brains out by now" or "forced" readings in my piece (in preparation) "Marx after Demda. when is.* I introduce To the Lighthouse i~to th1s p~lermc ~y readll_ll? 1t as different language of "Being. pp. For the copula is not only the pivot of grammar and logic. trans. he traffics in the copula. the epitome. the axle of ideal language. Ramsay (text). or ( Ramsay)-copula-Predicate (painting). she speaks of marriage. the subject. * The simplest articulation of the polemic. 218-33. Ram- line there in the centre.sen~e One is tempted to say. the bastion of language. In the end she turns her refusal of dis- course into an exclamation of triumph. in this book. But this rivalry and partnership do not account for Part II. where the search for a language seems strangely unattached to a character or characters. and wanted to make her husband look at it. it is with complete and prophetic optimism. ~n ~art I. How does that disarticulation and undermining take its place within the artic- V v ("The Window") looks at the language of marriage: is Mrs. as criticism not merely as a theoretical approach to the "trut~" o~ a text. Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 31 3.least." . a larger polemic. pp. or. he is the custodian of copulation. Ramsay in Part III. in the grammatical sense. it was finished. Or at . This modest attempt at understandmg logical proposition ("If Q is Q. That would be the structure of the when the inanimate world reflects her.1s part of~ ~uch Ramsay with a different kind of copula. Unmaking and Making in To The proposition. Ramsay speak to each other or read The second part of the book couples or hinges I and Ill. but also between persons. Todorov indicates in that essay the precursors looking up. Within this allegory. con-jugal (copulative) relationship. Ramsay. a. it also carries a sexual charge. "Narrative Transformations. thus: the strongest bond. when silence encroaches. In Part III. Ramsay both ways. the story of Mr. Ramsay or the picture itself): 1. "). the simplest Li thouse and most powerful sentence. that Within the grammatical allegory of the structure of the book. as autobiography.. here is Woolf. Ramsay (philosopher-theonst) and L1ly (artist-practitioner) Ramsay has seemingly caught her in the copula of marriage. if a good lan- With a sudden intensity. and. M~s. Mrs." the language not of philosophy. She knows marriage brings trouble. tradition of philosophy. it would run the articulation is found to be a more absorbmg pursmt. (106). I have tried to follow Derrida's suggestwn regardmg productive $he had said half what he said. she thought. It is rather an attempt to use the book by the happens not only in language and logic. ' • interpersonal relations. It was done. she saw above the thin trees the first pulse of the full-throbbing of his own set asi~e by Woolf's book. \ . is still ]acques Derrida's Of Grammatology (B~lt1more: ]ohns Hopkms I quote two moments: "All this phrase-making was a game. say speaks the "fallen" language of a civility that covers over the harshness of 1 I laying down her brush in extreme fatigue. Ramsay's "reality" ulation of the project to catch the essence of Mrs. Virginia Woolfs To the Lighthouse can be read as a project to catch the es. The Window The language of marriage seems a refusal of "good" language. Carmichael's request for a second helping of soup!) When she and Mr. at moments. 1977). The meta- deliberate superimposition of two allegories-grammatical and sexual-and. Ramsay ~~ ' ''is articulated in terms of fmdmg an adequate language. which "starts" with Martin Heidegger's approach to ~he All of section twelve presents conjugal non-communication with a light touch. the second part of the book is the place of the copula. "Copulation" lead us to a correct reading. Mr." is almost uncoupled in the coupling part of To the Lighthouse. their paths do not cross. this is the novel's voice. Lily seeks to catch Mrs. the third This essay is not necessarily an attempt to illuminate To the Lighthouse and person singular indicative of "to be".·-·::'''----------------------. by phor of the copula embraces Mr.readmg . a different bridge to predication. the pamting pred1c~tes her. (The most successful-silent-communication between herself and her husband is to deflect his fury at Mr. ges~e on the canvas is implicitly given as a representation of a poss1ble VISion (Im- plicitly of Mrs. Her own ··'"i could make a grammatical allegory of the structure of the book: Subject (Mrs. Ramsa~ together. of a successful \~. 157-64. itself vague. Ramsay in her p~inting. the copula in the proposition. she drew a guage is that which brings about communication. . I will suggest of Mrs. as if she saw it clear for a second. for the sight gave her . in this strange section. "And. that the language sought here is the language of madness. Yes. yet. privileged moments are when words break down. although more philosophically adventurous. but at the father and husband." * This sort of allegorical fancy should of course not be confused with the "narrative typ~logy" outlmed in Tzvetan Todorov. around Mrs." The Poetics of Prose. for if University Press. Rtchard Howard (lthaca: Cornell University Press. As the custodian of the reading it. A certain rivalry and partnership develop between Lily and Mr. A certain reading of the book would show how the pro!e~t IS that. The first part of the book the place of the "is. I have had my VISion. but of art.

in this last move. Ramsay or when the inanimate world reflects her. . But I am interested only in establishing that"She stroke" (96). three-strok~ sentenc~ (S is P) of the house of light. felt they like a ghostly roll of drums remorselessly beat the measure of life . especially language in marriage. which reflect her. and power. and James. sa~ what she felt . the object not the subject. 1s the house of knowledge or philosophy. cradle song ... The structure of that reflection is indeed that of to admire the flowers. She began to smile. It was odd. which for the most part . symbo~s Will tell us. which had kept on assuring her. He was watching her. she is. exchange."Yes. in a sense were one . But she stopped herself. Her sexuality the stage for action between son and husband." she has triumphed: ' plunged and smote. which had . . this sound. she ~emat~~ the protector (13)... the other not the self. If Mrs. I must think of "stroke" as the predicate.. he knew. At that moment. "Very fine. she has taken away his power to deny it· by into which the beak of brass. had ceased. They had ceased to talk: that was the explanation (27-28)." to please her. structure. how if one was alone. a mist. For she had the image of Mrs. as women all was so lavished and spent. felt they expressed one. thr. but personality and selfhood were lost: "This core of darkness She never could. felt they became one. beaut:. It is not surprising that. but streams. and pretended imate things. the egotistical man.~Ithin copulation. Within that them." her "old antagonist" -her "parleying" ~mpersonal agent. seemed consolingly to repeat to her like her own eyes meeting her own eyes. the last stroke in the relies little on language. as any dictionary of ments (a privilege that is often nothing but terror). . If I were reading the relationship between her knowledge and her power. " (96). It triumphed agam. with one of his pnvileged moment that is Mrs. though she could ("a bride to meet her lover"): not hear what was said .. She knew could go anywhere ... Why should language be an ally for her. the long steady stroke.ough the near-identification ("like. will.she move. a discursivity. the." and not only language. Her privileged are not the last words on Mrs. she "looked out to meet that stroke would remark here on her matchmaking. m~n s stenhty (126)... all he would say would be. Ramsay in "The Window. One such terrifying moment of priv. There rose. he said.. that the men were happily talking. she over and over again as she sat with the children the words of some old thought.... or even realize that they were there (108). she is ilege is when the men cease talking and the sea's soothing song stops: still caught. Ramsay's knitting (an auto-erotic textuality) strategically.. had no such kindly meaning.. As Woolf knits into her text the image of a sus- pend«.. which is a text. when she feels free (both to "go" and "rest").s us. demanding sympathy" (60). . one leant to inanimate things.. taken its place soothingly in the scale of sounds pressing on top of her . A satd a word.. the last of the three." Mostly not allow her more than the most marginal instrument and energy of self-sig. The moment of self-privilege is now its own preservative yielding to the world of things. And she felt of darkness losing personality . saymg "you were right. but as a wedge what he was thmking.... the manager (14). But she knew quite well that he did not admire sexual intercourse (copulation) and of self-mirroring in the other. Poor little world. are when words disappear. text-dictionary would alert us that one knits a web. there curled up off the floor of the mind.. sounds suddenly thundered hollow in her ears and made her look up with rose from the lake of one's being.. the arid scimitar of his father. . - knew one. represent a reflexive act.32 In Other Worlds Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 33 such keen pleasure. "life sank down for a moment. . the imperialist governor of nification: "There was scarcely a shell of herself left for her to know herself by." "in a sense ) of m1rronng. so that the monotonous fall of the waves She looked up over her knitting and met the third stroke and it seemed on the beach. for though she had not Any dream-dictionary would tell us that knitting stands for masturbation. Ramsay's secret: when she leans toward inan- sighs. he... or her manipulation of men through of the Lighthouse. . a bride to meet her lover (97- an impulse of terror. however. notions o~.. not she herself).rself very beautiful. of course he knew. At the end of her section she mingles charmingly.cogmzes he~ o:vn mark in being predicated rather than in subjectivity.. I Imagining herself as a wedge of darkness. and "difference" (an selfhood? Her discourse with "life. in the eye of the male beholder.. m~y.? kn1~g . does But the. is "for the most part" a bitterly hostile Iomatically" and "literally" (meaning "within a meaning")... You are more beautiful than ever. "in a sense" might be understood both "id- (92)-though not shared with anyone. She had not said it: Yet he knew (186).. or promise any adequation to her :'One" can be both "identity" (the word for the unit).. love. He never looked at things. and she looked and looked this sound which had been obscured and concealed under the other with her needles suspended. felt her rise in a rosy-flowered fruit tree laid with leaves and dancing boughs By ~efusmg to say I love you. . but at other times . as he stood stiff between her knees. that she loved him . And she looked at him smiling. you w~re right. Wool£ uses . It emphasizes the second kind of If he did." .. flowers. 98). which was her deliberate self-suppression. re. which. to dehver a satisfying image of the threshold of copulation The gruff murmur. Not as oneself did one find rest ever .. trees.

rapped _around the death's head: "With a roar. the letter A. the sight of them fortified him and satisfied him and consecrated ~zs effort to am~e occupancy. If onl~ he could reach_ R! Could identify the place in thought with the initial letter of his own name. ~utch_ somet~ng or ~ard off something. self. some deep.. a rock rends itself from the mountain and ourselves that Virginia Stephen's father was engaged in compiling The Dictionary of National crashing into the valley. . often virtually illegible hand.. tells us that the events of "The Window" . Q ts m?ther:s death i~ 18~5. Paul and Minta would_ carry it on shawl she had '. . or somebody laughed aloud as if shar- *Here are bits of Mrs. bnefly_ m 1912: lmgenngly m 1913. taking for granted a prior proposition. _consider_th~ case made. "q. Ramsay's enterprise. "There was scarcely anything left of body or mind by which one at a perfectly clear understanding of the problem which now engaged the energzes of hzs splendzd could say. Julia Ste- the logic of identity and geometrical proof: If Q IS Q. roman a clef.. Ramsay repeatedly endorses the copulation of mar- riage_:_as in the case of the Rayleys-for the sake of a materialist genealogy.'ages on to or between Dr. "Time Passes" compresses 1894-1918-from Mrs.e." and of course. . the irony is sharpened if we re_mmd as after centunes of quiescence. "Time Passes" narrates the production of a discourse of madness within this autobiographical name and his son's! If Mrs. ·. In ity... say. ." "qual- ostensibly begms)."' 2 a case to be made here. 190). almost.Mrs. 1919 (as :'Time ~asses" ostensibly ends) Night and Day was published. keyboard-alphabet." "quantity.. Human agency is attenuated as the house is denuded of human son or his wife. until it had reached. Ives for its I do not know how to read a roman a clef.. I will present the material of a possible biographical At the beginnin? of "Time P~sses. . some quite speechless feelzng that one ha~ for ~ne s mothe~ at $oothmg power ~f . starting "questions. the time-keeper of the book. Mrs. ~Is father's I should like to propose that. And he finds them dispensable: "He picked a leaf sharply . especially an autobiographical one. ?ne IS 1~v1ted to mterpre~ the curious surface of writing of Virginia Ste- phen s 1899 dmry as a desecration of the right use of reason. "All this would be revived again in the lives of Paul and Mmta. language of "q. geraniums which had so cle_ar tha_t the war in "Time Passes" is the Great War of 1914-1918. Virginia bought this in St. one fold of the shawl loosened and swung to Biography. then his splendid mind had no sort of difficulty m ru. Stephen's death to the the exclusivist move. I wtll argue that it is significant that Night and Day is "about" her pamter-sister Vanessa Bell.hrough her ~ng a Joke wrth nothmgness . would have been too sacred I do not know how to insert Woolf's life into the text of her book. "-is it? never mmd.* But the Rayleys' marriage comes to nothing. "then indeed peace had come" as if they were scraps of paper on which one scribbles notes in the rush of readmg (213). his wife-and-child as a functioning unit: "Without hzs dzstmguzshmg ezther ~zs (189. and bore.. It 1s within fiiiS' amewor that "certain airs" an an 'immense darkness" begin to descend * It is not insignificant that he draws strength for his splendid burst of thinking from a g_lance at that safe symbol. "But after Q? What comes next?" After the discourse of demonstration. He assimilates the leaves of Smce the pnnting date mside the cover of To the Lighthouse is 1927 it seems the trees into leaves of paper: "Seeing again the .. Ramsay's maternalistic endorsement of marriage. Ramsay would exploit the copulation of philosophy for the sake of pater- Perhaps_ t~is ~nhingi~g or "desecrating" was not unsuspected by Woolf her- nalistic appropriation. It was all one stream . this IS sense.d.omewhat often decorated processes of thought. Woolf shows him to us as he plans a lecture (67). ." "Q he could demonstrate. In a certain "For if thought is like the keyboard of a piano. Ramsay is convinced "he would never reach R" (55).~run_g For Woolf those years were marked by madness. Virginia Woolf's mother) died in 1895. 'This is he' or 'This is she. the Rayleys . Mr. In the place of the copula or the hinge in the book a story of unhinging is told." Shortly thereafter.. written up among their leav_es. most violently in 1915 (as "Time Passes" an interesting letter." comes the discourse of desire.. The most celebrated formulation of Mr. Yet there is to undergo the desecration that I planned.. The dtsmtegration of the house is given through the loosening of she tried the new name over . "Divining. R~msay's civilized language is wearing away into in- Rose's age" (123).. . Mr.. emgmatic sentence that begins its last section is. which she made more difficult to read by glui~g her I. fro" (195-96). aft~r her father's death in 1904.. bmdmg and its format: "'Any other book. Time Passes use of Re_asonlwzth a va_nety of r_ules to guard against error in the affairs of religion and h~rrm_n life as well as m the sczences . spidery. From 1917 on. Almost one might imagine them" (190)... She broke down after he~ over those letters one by one . and give a certain reading. some buried." "quod. or like the alphabet is _ra_nged ~n twe~ty­ six letters all in order. Lily. reti~ally prese~t. and Mr. adumbrate a relationship between life and book that I cannot theo- making a connection between subject and predicate? Words come easily to him. Ramsay:s tool _for speculation.34 In Other Worlds Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 35 And what of the language of academic philosophy. .. The . the ne~t sec~on. The own past. Ramsay IS through the 1mage of the The Stephen family (the "real" Ramsays) had visited Talland House in St..' Sometimes a hand was raised as if to mind" (53).. with a rup- when she was dead" (170-71).. phen (the "real" Mrs. . . that lets the copula end of the war." "quid. "' (54). He were "ten years ago [in 1908]. once again in 1910. As for Mr. If Q then is Q-R-.. In the 'Then R . then R IS . Ramsay... Isaac Watt's Logick!or!the right 2. whatever her writing intent. Here is the traditional copul~r propositio~ in the* serviee"of Ives (the "real" location of To the Lighthouse) for the last time in 1894. " (66). It was written in "a minute. play-" divided into so many notes. suddenly" (194). there was a period of continued lucidity. Ramsay "died rather threw away the leaf" (67)." the sense o~house as the dwelling-place pf reason and of h ht as the stgn of reason are firmly implied.

a humaruty-excludmg tone that is also heard when the narcissism of light and It seemed now as if. Yet he~e human mind the image of the mirroring surface.the . as human agency 1s turned down. only the dark side of domesticity may be seen: "Prue d1ed that summer m ever. ~on .." The guardian of the truth behind the veil is ~o. It is . divine goodness ~tching the c?rd." And indeed. seems the very picture of madness rampant: Earlier in that paragraph "the minds of men" are called "th."fY~r that brings this narrative of estrangement to its full destructive potential: D1d Na~e s~pplem~nt what man advanced? . week after week in the reminded of the animal skull. there was some possibility of truth in about a vision of truth is given as "imaginations of the strangest kind-of flesh ~e never-~filled always troping and uncoupling narcissism of the light. Wool£ brings us back to those domestic processes.the Lighthouse is a woman-also indicates a denial of access.. That dream of not please him. . and folded them round the house puts them to sleep by weaving a fabulous tale. to her daug~ter Prue. customarily be a "feminine" gesture. hardly endorsed by the unacceptable "moreover. the drone and it. but merely record that strange twinge of guilt: "it does plac~nce she saw h1s rmsery. not. and the mirror itself was but the surface' glassiness ness" is a "he" and he "covers his treasures. With equal com- I cannot account for. James. Even in the passage that describes what 1 call a large- as if to ward off the menace of madness at any price. Mrs. Human agency 1~ now fort m ~e vouchsafing of an answer (however witless) to the questions of subject dispensable. There was com- wardly the scattered parts of the vision within" (198). ~am.. si_ngle.) . did we deserve tion~. the discourse of madness. and so breaks them. . how- too.. those pools of uneasy water.ose mirrors .could not say what it was) so that they were warm in the frost and had comfort m the desert" (197-98.. and hum of the fields.~viJI. a personal access 1s derued: The ~ast imag~ brings us back to the vague imagery of guilt and torture. keep the house of reason in order.." hides his genitals. or that we should ever compose world reflec~ the co~pass of his soul" (193)." the uruverse an~ ObJect: "The mystic. the visionary.e ~ature turns to masturbation: "The nights now are full of wind and destruc- goodness had parted the curtain and displaye~ behin~ it. author.. Thr?ugh a silent Indeed. This sexual shift-for the aut~or of ~o . The next ~1t of wnting Before this ." processes that would. the sun so striped and barred the rooms" (200). as the winds and waves disported themselves . and turned to atoms.l?nger the shanng.' 'What is this?' had suddenly an answer vouch- In another move within the same paragraph. But alas. "the absolute good" is seen ~s safed them. no im~ge. and James's to what is over. (they. "something alien to the processes of domestic life. wantonness of blind copulation cum auto-eroticism. in what would which forms in quiescence when the nobler powers sleep beneath? . to hi. italics are mine). By way of a logically scale estrangement." Man and woman are rendered to "gull. dismembered scene. .of a copula ~etween "nature" and "mind. light turned. a sharer of his solitude.. touched by human penitence and all its toil.." one of the agents in the outer world. but at the same time.. "Cliff. Ramsay's shawl is changed mto a sllent wnting that empty house only gigantic chaos streaked with lightning could have been heard tumbling and tossing. so confuses them that 1t seems rm. should be ours always. the boat rocking. he covers his tr~asures ~ a by him~elf to walk on th~ sand. walking the beach on a fine night . day after day. must be envelops sound: "The swaying mantle of silence which. throw off his bed-clothes and go down draws the curtain." "the spring. And access to truth is still denied.. Mrs. it does not please him. Ramsay but complacent and uncooperating nature is feminine.s~awl in "The \V_indo~" is a mar- velous deceptive deployment of undecidability.. For "if questioned. and m the bo~ess. the male child. which. turb~d . of finding in solitude on the beach an answer was then beautiful but lying mother..36 In Other Worlds Unmaking and Making In To The Lighthouse 37 (The covering of the death's head by the .large-scale estrangement. and sky" must "assem~le out. . and should any sleeper fancying that he might find on the beach an answer them. m the manner of Mrs. with semblance of serving and divine drench of hail. cloud. sea. the wave falling. for divme good. draws Cam's attention to what is under. the absence . tree.s doubts.. and she shares with th~ pointing genealogically. Ramsay covers empty room. in the next sentence. contemplation was unendurable" (201-2). ' words of truth (192-93). but a reflection in a mirror. in silence" (195). d1stinc'r. "The empty rooms seemed to murmur with the echoes of the There are glimpses of the possibility of an accession to tru~h m ~s cunously fields and the hum of the flies . In the following passage. Nature is occupied with itself and from their fragments a perfect whole or read in the littered pieces the clear cannot proVIde a ffilrror or a companion for the human seeker of the copula the word that binds. promptitude comes readily to hand bringmg the night to order and making the possible that their calm should ever return. like a flower reflected m water: 1ts sh~rp lffia~~ on the Ustening (had there been any one to listen) from the upper rooms of the wall opposite" (194). seemed "at once to withdraw. "Time Passes" as a whole does not narrate a full encroachment of gap between two sentences. wove into the falling cries of birds. the gtrl-child. It is perhaps marked in the double-edged fact that in this woman's book constitutes a domestic and feminine image recalling not only Mrs." leading to a lustful some illness connected with childbirth" (199). mdiffer~nce" and their "air of pure integrity" (195). completing. and his torture.. to pace the beach was impossible. there is a minute trace of comfort. ships hooting. it is rather the good God-father. . Ramsay." asking themselves 'What am 1. a man's shout. hand clasp of loveliness and stillness with their "scarcely dis- the white earth itself" (199). his meanness. a clog's bark. light begins a narcissistic troping that produces _an extra-~uman te~t: "Now. flower. Also the sea tosses itself ['tossing off is English slang for masturba- the hare erect.

Lily is the same age (43) as Wool£ when she began To the Lighthouse. Is it? Wool£ does not make Lily begins or finishes her painting just after "peace had come. There The house is rehabilitated and peace comes as "Time Passes" comes to an is that curious incident between Lily and Mr.* But that is not my subject it will be weighed down . . Further. The stillness and the brightness of the day were as strange as Briscoe. with the trees standing there." 3 Cam is tied up with James (as Shakespeare with Shakespeare's sister in A Room of The disappearance of reason and the confusion of sexuality are consist~~tty One's Own). We must compare this to the affectionately contemptuous and brief "Femininity" later in this essay. to my mind. They simply inhabit contiguous sentences. McNab halts disaster in the allegory of a reason menaced by mad. Before in the darkness of daylight (for night and day.. Lily would create the copula of reason. Every ten years brings.. if almost Wool£ has a special feeling for decades: obliterated (itself a possible copulation-night is day is night is day). and the sirens whistling. And so on. The differentiation of night and day.. I must fix my glance on Lily. We are free guns n(!ve been going off for half an hour. The lighUu:n.. 40. and so infinitely desirable is it. I don't suppose I've ever enjoyed any writing so much as I did the last half of Night and Day ." she might see. so I suppose to say that "this" is the limits of language. Once again. a kind of pre-Oedipal girlhood: "I think a good deal about .. I suppose. an ontology on the brink of disaster by the near-uncoupling of the copula. Ramsay preparing his lecture. when if a feather alight in the scale the orthodox masculinist psychoanalytic position.. be content with this. so ness. is restored in the last image of the eyeless trees. until it seemed as if the universe were would link life and book.. till you are Thus Mrs. Ives] .. I was a nice little girl here [at St. before the age of 10. how up. Do you like yourself as a child? I like myself. Lily has But the feather does not fall. Ramsay's "is-ness") remains open to doubt.. gen- cissus said iste ego sum? All we have is a parenthesis: "(she stood arms akimbo eral now in the race. She "is" also Virginia's artist-sister Vanessa Bell. yet beholding nothing. And indeed the voice murmurs "too softly to hear what it said-but deals?" (L 11. Try thinking of Katharine [the heroine] as Vanessa. when the only problem is to grasp it tighter and tighter to you. Every 10 years. reading that story. very loosely the chaos and the tumult of night. something not highly conscious" (209)." and coupling that only seems onanistic. the copula between her and this description is not given.. and thus they allow Virginia Woolf to question when the dawn trembles and night passes. I must once again present certain halting conclusions that lessly together) in idiot games. acquiesce and resign?" (214). Now all seems lost.. me that not content with rambling and reading I did most emphatically She stands in front of the looking glass. not me" 3. month and year ran shape. predicate Mrs. the whole house . (L II.. grasping her paintbrush" (228). that hesitation as givers of law and language. looking speaking." At the "ac- clear what the "this" is in that further entreaty the voice "might resume": "why tual" time of the Armistice. The mirror was broken (202-3). I mean life has to be faced: to be rejected." as Nar. one of those her image. But the coupling between "Window" and "Lighthouse" (or the predication silence she stood there.38 In Other Worlds Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 39 like amorphous bulks of leviathans whose brows are pierced by no light description of Mr. quick it seems to slip. what mattered if the meaning were plain?" (213). and mounted one on top of another.. we book is the laying of a mother's ghost.. private orientations which match the vast one which is. then in front of the looking glass)'' [203]. How am I to write my last chapter in all this shindy? . as in "The Window.. The copula is uncertain.598-99) She is related to "a force working. again at 30. battling and tumbling. Ramsay in a painting rather than a sentence. "in complete end. at 20. to the depths to lie upon the here... we are at peace . the possibility of a perspective from "the upper rooms of the empty house" of reason is broached. a shadow-portrait of Virginia's brothers Thoby and Adrian. "For now had come that moment. But Lily is a painter. Does she say "I am I [my image]. Ramsay..mse In the third section Woolf presents the elaborate story of the acquisition of a • The references to Freud are elaborated in my discussion of Luce Irigaray' s reading of Freud's vision of art. that is-before consciousness sets in. For in the long "wanton lust" passage it is a just gone through the gestatory ten years taken over by "Time Passes. and it is to Vanessa that Virginia directs know that there are times of violence when a sleeper may entreat and be brutally the question: "Why did you bring me into the world to go through these or- refused. Together linked: "Let the poppy seed itself and the carnation mate with the cabbage" Cam-James go through an Oedipal scene that involves both father and mother (208).. and lunged and plunged through art. In Cam at seven. When "the voice of the repeated between Vanessa and Leslie Stephen. such agony of different sorts possessed McNab the charwoman is allowed the hint of a power to recuperate the mirror. and so on. It is a situation often of Mrs. Virginia was finishing a book about Vanessa: "The not accept this. accepted on new terms with rapture.. in brute confusion and wanton lust aimlessly by It seems clear to every reader that "Virginia Wool£" is both Cam and Lily itself . but we are not sure she contemplates attempt to end it all .. sands of oblivion" (208-9).. And Mrs.458). 4 There is also the fact that this beauty of the world" now entreats the sleepers to come down to the beach. where.

She is then up from its depths. or Lily's. It is." For scribe. since this is language. for he too reaches R only through a sign or symbol.~t (Virgini." Is it too crude to say that the sane. as she is conceived.)" By means of a delicate workwomanlike indirection. she "wants" Mr. and sayings . scene. I quote one of those many entreaties: waters were unfathomably deep" (285-86). an attempted copula ( the artist ts her work ) that mus~ compacted things over which thought lingers. She seemed to be standing where she asks Vanessa' s husband. but it had no effect on her whatever. to up to the hps m some substance. most passionately. whoever it was stayed still inside." "But what she let them sit still there and not come floundering out to talk to her. "A noise drew her attention to the drawing-room window-the "How strange it is to be a painter! They scarcely think." It is only might be lovers whose gift it was to choose out the elements of things and place the shadow that is on the steps. He gets to the Lighthouse. the place" (286. if one wants to find them. Lily. And. parenthetically.. half light stuff behind it. Ramsay. the space would fill" this indefiniteness (a kind of absence) as a definiteness (a kind of presence). or her lover Dun can Grant. supply a lack in the other that was always already there." "Be. ~~uld th~s ?e both arti. for these caress the beloved vicariously for her. in other words. and names. 'Time Passes'] was toying with the window ."* So she too. But then they are profound and inexpressible. however con. It cannot keep these goals seamless and unified. like all language. combining words and picturing. somebody was sitting in the chair. make of some not "somebody" but Mrs." The * I am referring to the idea of supplementarity. A script.. room. Clive Bell. It is the truth of things. italics are mine). feelings come only every squeak of a hinge.. She would finish that picture now" (219-20). like the philosopher. one of those globed and material (Vanessa). one cari.290. See ''The Supplement ositional" language of philosophy. over that glaring. Mr.. (Yes. Ramsay. "Her mind kept throwing Lily makes the vision mature through eight-and-a-half pages. is the name of Vanessa-Virginia. the white wave and whisper of the garden become like curves and ara. the less favored or logically posterior concept can be shown to be "metaphorical" language of art falls as short of the "true" copula as the "prop- implicit in the other." and the rhetoric of measure." "Dolphin. only the simplest genitalist view of "it was some such feeling of completeness perhaps which. addressed to "Dearest. "any" is always already inscribed in "the thing" for it to be open to being "made anything. tell Nessa" (L H.. She wants to bridge a gap and make a sphere.. hid. But as I must continue to almost where she stood now. Always with The other vision is of Mrs. or meeting of people (all now gone and separate). (299) of the body. getting at the truth of things. the husband?" (L I. of the "almost. ing-room step was empty. Ramsay now. 295. to move and float and sink in it.. She did not then she would have got at the truth of things . Ramsay's contender and Mrs. as we can easily say since Derrida. As Woolf writes. confuse the maternity of Vanessa's daughter." Tr. a bridge between loved. not (268. eyeball. Empty it was not. It is introduced gently. ten years ago. she realized that the draw- 541). standing sexuality would call her conception androgynous.. for her goal. . paradoxically. in all my private places-neck-. Suddenly the window at which she was looking was whitened by some besques flourishing round a centre of complete emptiness" (266). giving them a wholeness not theirs in life. picture. For Heaven's sake. expressing the body's feelings. although he "would never reach R. Georgia Review 30 (Fall1976):527-64. and. having forced the issue. She had never finished that want Mrs. rewarded: eously difficult white space. italics are mine). boats were starting off) between things. Let us talk instead of Lily's medium: it is writing and painting. I should read the incredible morning was happening for the first time. while she modelled it with greens and blues" (238). And there are innumerable letters beyond th~ng~. she prayed." "whoever. half word. must search for a copula. tense of "that's a chair. Derrida has suggested that. The first: "One glided. Woolf's language. perhaps for the last time" (288). had made her say that she must be in love with repeat. ). In a most enigmatic wish. ( . yes. perhaps she wishes beauty transformed into the certitude and properness of a vision? Through declaring to be self-identical." "by a stroke of luck") ceived. Ramsay's incursion of "temporality. 400). also splits into two. but full to the brim. "One wanted" the presenf! of the Copula.-)1 . At last then somebody had come into the drawing- design. turned into a sign by a love of learning (philosophy) but a love of play.. or a play of love: "There of presence. write them out in some sentence. How is this indefiniteness ("somebody. Alas.. It's a miracle.. Lily declares that the origin of the shadow is them together and so. one shook one's sails (there was a Vanessa was a kind of ideal other for Virginia? She wrote that she wanted to good deal of movement in the bay. luck so as to throw an odd-shaped triangular shadow over the step. charge of passion in the long letters to Vanessa. "How could one express in words these emotions of the body? . this is Lily's desired "discourse. not merely through the fullness of presence itself. now. fecund and beyond things. I cannot develop that argument. and tell her-what new thing is there to tell her? How fond I am of her But even beyond that. 325).. reference to Vanessa. the thing itself before it cifully. and love plays" (286). that's a table. The "origin of the shadow" remains "inside the room. Ramsay. had settled by some stroke of had been made anything" (287). Suddenly. In Other Worlds Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 41 40 (L U. The light breeze [we are reminded of the empty house of other minute. scenes. If indeed Lily.J "Kiss her. she wants to erase "perhaps" and make first and last coincide: "Everything this If I knew how to manipulate erotic textuality. as Q is Q: "Beauty would roll itself up. Perhaps forever be broken in order that the artist survive. James Creech and Josue Harari. Virginia wonders at the relationship between the two: on page 290. and yet at the same time. She grasps at two "visions" that ostensibly provide a copula. and arm1·:<1ttd of course find traces of division here if one looks. the feelings altered the composition of the picture a little. Mer- wished to get hold of was that very jar on the nerves. many-lovered.. this sense of plenitude is betrayed by a broad stroke. And in the book: "If only she could . if a hierarchical apposition is set up between two concepts.

"-is gently derided for its prim sensitive exclusivism: tating and self-deceived combat. canvas m the last part of the book as a copulation. of Charles Tansley to change her own. But or a deliberate erasure... the light- she saw it clear for a second. Mr. The the text. in the centre" (310). Postscript The erotic charge that I would like to see between Virginia and Lily-Vanessa . Who can disclaim that there is in her a longing for androgyny. house looked this morning at an immense distance.t~at th~re in that very distant and entirely silent little boat Mr.. For the baby is mother It IS a sublimated version of Mrs. how it fed on the treasure of the house. always a linear enterprise. It is always a preserved division. never an androgynous synthesis. a risky bridge.' . "Time Passes" her. rather dow". Ramsay that Lily would produce-whereas j. 4. To sleep with father in order ulations of that copula is. the other had fixed itself It would be satisfying to be able to end here. to look at him through her by drawmg a line m the center." she can only say "he must have reached Beton.. a reddish light seemed to burn in her mind. after . They went to Hampton Court and he always left at once manipulative and deceitful. Let ~e say at once that I must read the alternating rhythm of Lighthouse- that artificially fulfilled copula? But to reduce her great texts to successful artic. as if while she saw its splendour and power she saw too little flagging and hesitation the sails filled and. "She felt through the central section of To the Lighthouse.. "Through William's eyes" (264) she gets Mrs. If the latter." and ~r. without ever returning to St. Ramsay on his boat is the to this allegorical reading of To the Lighthouse. Ramsay must sail to the lighthouse. Freud's point is that the emergence of this wish is to learn to hate the mother. Marriage on with her painting. so that he can deliver saying 'there is no God. allegorically narrates the terror of a (non-human or natural) operation without 'V Has she no use for men then? My point is precisely that she makes use of a copula. "So I would like to remind everyone who cites A Room of One's Own that "one much depends. of the double structuring of the end of the book. Ramsay) as trope. and Mrs. they can't paint" -to keep herself going.) visional copula." by drawing a line Lily paints on the shore..amsay's "Character" is shown to be weak and petulant.. like the perfect gentleman he was. ~~t. Ramsay chooses as copulation Is also devalorized in "The Window". I believe. And she uses Mrs. They are her instruments. solidly. "With a sudden intensity. . Woolf's emphasis falls not on the phallus that reappears every other section. 42 In Other Worlds Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 43 it's an ecstasy.. upon distance" (284). and burnt year after year like a signal fire on a desert island at the edge of the sea. Ramsay's "character" is shown to be "She loved William Bankes. to make a mistake in reading. Mrs..." But all one got was the past tense of "there she sat. of course. But in order to add a postscript doggedly. can only be broached I am thinking. I must dwell a moment2n Lily's tool for the actualization of her self-separation: a sort of shuttling instrumental sexuality. Ramsay's imagining all. plenty of time to wash her hands" (263). which can be both an invitation to fill in a blank eyes" (293). One could almost say that he is brought back to life in To the Lighthouse of "he would never reach R. very part of the book that most energetically desires to recuperate the impasse. as if he were leaping into space" (308). 5 Wool£ must break her off in mid-chapter and resume in her it" (308) rather than "he has.. R.l<J1o~!~~g~_C!s. as happened now. a metaphor) that joins two things. Wool~ gives that brutal verdict a twist. (Leslie Stephen died nine years after his wife. Ramsay springs upon the rock. "She de- whole sea for miles round ran red and gold. then she erases (while keeping legible) that her most indispensable instrument is Mr." when Mr. covering Paul but on the workshop of the womb that delivers the work. Some winey smell mixed with cided . And the relationship she chooses-as Mr.. as if curiously divided. In an uncharacteristically lurid and unprepared for passage Lily holds the fear of sex at bay: to make a baby (a painting.. She uses Tansley's goad-"They can't write.. shrouded in profound silence. In fact. disgustingly. authorial voice. for a glory it surpassed everything in her ex. Vanessa-Virginia's vision. Now they had got the sail up. Is she in fact androgynous.. it is shown to be based on nothing mor~ immutable than "if Q is then than accommodate or transcend. substantiated present perfect of "I have had my vision. Mr. now after a fear and disgust. she drew a line there. and untrusting of language. Mr. Ramsay it and intoxicated her . greedily. She makes a copula she had to help herself to Mrs. in terms of Rayley. a book) is supposed to be woman's fondest wish. this vision of Rayley as phallus in order to get Q. The pro. With the same sort of modal must be woman-manly or man-womanly" is said there in the voice of Mary uneasiness as in "I have had my vision. and one had only to say "in love" and instantly. as if one part of her were drawn out there. Ramsay's trip can begin because Lily "decides" it must. "The Lighthouse" puts into question the possibility of knowledge (of l\ them." the adverbial similetic clauses of "as if he were so that the unfinished business of life can be settled." the in. it is shown to be a debili- to say "If Q is Q ." the negative subjunctive Ives. "If she wanted to be serious about him Lily d~es no. perience. up rose Paul's fire again (261). issuing from him . for a metaphor of art is also a copula (the copula is. a persona. Ramsay in grey. Lily thought. Suddenly . Ramsay's sayings. sea" (242). and she she watched the boat take its way with deliberation past the other boats out to loathed it. She heard the roar and the crackle.t q~estion this impasse.noncontradiction (identity) is putinto question in "The Win- does not preclude the fact that Wool£ makes Lily Briscoe repress.. Ramsay. she merely fights it. And the roar and the crackle repelled her with was sitting with Cam and James. self-sufficient? copula. . here on the lawn" (233-34). But for a sight. exclude. As by deleting or denying the vacillation of "Time Passes. here a~ well.

. I reserve. 1969).:cr can catch a vision. of a tangible place of production. I am not sure if this ennobling of art~-­ * Once again I am thinking of th~ deconstructive criticism of Jacques Derrida. the lack. perhaps. cycle~ of the wom~n. I am sug. It is simply that the grave periodic rhythm of the to "catch" Mrs. To the Lighthouse reminds me that the womb is not an then Irigaray asks. womb. If one must allegorize. 74) and because the essay. rewrites the argument from hysteria or fetishism.reud hm!s at h~s ?wn fallibility ~n a sentence that is no mere rhetorical gesture: But Lily's "line in the centre" is also part of a picture. for anyone that th~ womb has always been defined as a lack by man in order to cover over (and the generic human examplar is a woman) to play with the copula is to go a lack m man. as Lily t:ie. They reflected the desire for theoretical and propositional explicitr:ess that.?c. stops at the fetish. "the female ail. trans. I speculate as if it corrects that possible misunderstanding.. the." 10 It is just as appropriate ment. 77 and Gilles Deleuze. why did he ignore the work of the production of the child in the womb? ~mptin~ss or a mystery. 8 deconstructs the copula.) . Ramsay that I mention on the opening page of console and hide man's anguish at the possibility of castration (6. economic." I am combating here: "There is something coy about thzs paper and al!tts copulas.* This questioning has been can allow us to develop a thematics of womb-envy. From Socrates through casion for arguing that this "new criticism" in fact asks for ~hat might ~e called Ntetzsche. and cultural) within which it operates envy (pre-Oedipally she is a boy!) because the Father (a certam Freud) needs to at the pres~nt ti~e.criticis~ in philosophy and literature Irigaray's reading of Freud. the forms of hegemony (social. but simply matching it with a possible envy of the gestation.-"Time I know. why did Freud not articulate vulvar. 7 In this part of my essay.. of the copula) into question. I hope the allegoric parallels with To the Lighthouse are clear. I can at least honor it as an dismantled most clearly in Speech and Phenomena and Other Essays on Husserl s Theory attempt to articulate.t. however precarious. uterine stages (29.) is concerned with.. simply to take a hint from ing. the picture is part of 'a book." she must between Lily Bnscoe and Mr.44 In Other Worlds Unmaking and Making in To The Lighthouse 45 to achieve the undecidable. The pr~osition is an alternative is a view of things I can fully accept." 11 This might be the secret of "the rivalry and partnership'r ~ seduce through pronouncing the Law (42. I am proposing. Why does toward the grim narrative of the discourse of madness and war. forth. n~t advance ":omb-envy as a "new" or "original" idea. where it comes from and why she thinks it should lead to the sorts This aspect of the book allows me to justify our use of theories of insights she discovers. "it's not a question of emancipating In her reading of Freud's late essay "Femininity" the French femmist Lu~e truth from every system of power . I am the "feminine mode of critical production. In a recent essay m Screen. one must notice that the uterus "re- trying to catch Jean Genet's mother Mme. Ramsay. therefore. 6 And Derrida. by using a man as an instrument. I hasten to add that I do often misunderstood as an invitation to play with the copula. And so signifies the possession or lack of a penis. of course. the reading of Wolf [sic] is genuinely suggestive and I found myself ever convinced IJy the power of what seemed a pun [it is in response to this that I wrote my first paragrap~]. sex-vocabularies." where the patient is not sure if she has or has not a penis.-' texts in the field are jacques J.s leases.'. wzth copulae.. I If you reJect thts 1dea as fantastic and regard my belief in the influence of lack can read this more fully as an allegory of sexual rather than grammatical pro. 1980 but at the same time. then. 44). As Michel Foucault has written. vaginal." Ecrits (Paris: Seuil. One must use man say he "gives" a child to a woman? Since we are in the realm of fanciful the copula as a necessarily limited instrument and create as ~est one can. 1973). I am of course def- duction: it is not only that Lily decides to copulate. ~t is not absurd to suggest that the question of "giving" might (This is not as far-fetched as it might sound.' "activates" the ovum. she also shows us he~ womb. dependent for effectiveness upon the physiological the copula comes to the psychoanalytic description of hysteria. no vision obtains. David Allison (Evanston: Northwestern University Press. 855._ of Signs. 1966).l1c:_tion.acan. enceless."* Here I am reading To the Ltghthouse only placing it beside the definition of the physical womb as a lack. to pomt out that." presenb~d as a sexist text. she is made to pay the price for keeping the Oedipus complex going (98).* rather than to disarticulate because no human h-. but of detaching the power of truth from Irigaray suggests that Freud gives the girl-child a growth (':"arped) by pems.. for the last 15 years has been involved With putting the authonty of the prop. of art. "La Science et la verite. I know also that. * It is from this point of view that the many helpful readers' reports on this study troubled me as well. a woman's vision of a. then. that the text of Freud has to be banalized in order to be Passes" -for that section is "in the centre. of penis on the configuration of femininity as an idee fixe. As if it suggests that. there is a product of some kind in the story as well as in our ~ands. of which no one may be sure tf It womb Is not the same as the ad hoc frenzy of the adjudicating phallus. A great deal of the most adventurous. . via YV_ool( and th: "new criticism. philosophers have often wished to be midwives or mothers. 59). because once "grown. precisely. it can try to constrqct ( the copula. . Genet in his book Glas.. 'Oecause. to write the narrative of madness. pp. It is difficult to understand just what the author's interest in language (as a formal system. in that very text that Irigaray reads.. . etc. that it is possible to think that texts such as Woolf's osition (and. St~phen be r~-formul~ted 1f one thought of the large ovum "selecting" among millions Heath collects once again the evidence to show how close the queshonmg of of microscopic spermatozoa. Among other woman. And To conclude."9 But I do not write to dispraise Freud. an experimental madness that (89). I am of course gesting that To the Lighthouse. Some sort of theoretical explicitness would help here!" 1Jy men. Freud finds the ovum "passive. What the hysteron produces IS not srmply the contemptible text of hysteria. As a tangible place of production. it~-~_p_l~_t!_(J(I'!<:J!:i. in its emphasis not merely on copulation but on not discounti~g penis-envy. Logique du sens (Paris: Minuit.

The rememoration-the symbolic reworking of the structures-of his "is" the! trace-structure.~esertin? Annette Vallon. as he saw it. mothers are not carriers of names. those two texts are themselves interminable. one is never quite sure) as the trauma of h1s hfe." Since the Whatever the "truth" of Wordsworth's long life (1770-1850). a claim to androgyny. the "revolution" in Wordsworth's life also involved two in Book Nine of The Prelude (1805)." 3 In "Vaudracour and Julia" the woman is in a convent. the story of Annette Wordsworth and Annette Vallon. But self-contained description of things. is a disguised version of the affair between women. that Wordsworth made some provision for his daughter from the time of her As I read these books of The Prelude. of the French Revolution and the Englishreaction than I am able to provtde This very man has earlier accepted sonship and admitted that his origin is. I am inconsistent with the notion of the trace-structure. Then. Words- I sometimes use the Derridian words "trace" and "trace-structure" in the worth the autobiographer seems more interested at this point in transcending following way. so also in The Prelude. these books of The Prelude. This. As in the critic's sentence. Sex and History in The Prelude possible. It is rather to remark that. It is possible to read them as references. The real story is much more banal: Annette is in parenthesis. without the unity of something being taken for granted. 2 "It is only fair to add all. It would thus be difficult to distinguish clearly between the projects the possibility of being son and lover. when. male trace as a principle and cases of the trace. Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 47 4. Such a decision is. even if I were capable of undertaking such a task. It is not my concern in this section to decide whether Wordsworth can be 2. This makes it possible for the man to declare a history. through the imagination. of membership in what Yeats has called "those dying generations. as they ha~so. Books Nine trace cannot be fully attended to. mankind than political economy or revolution and that his own life had and then. No dtscourse 1s William Wordsworth.J. which continued until 1835 when the annuity was commuted for a final settlement of 1. By isolating three theses in Wo~dsworth:s first I should insist that I am not interested in a personal psychoanalysis of work. The acknowledgment of paternity is a patriarchal social acknowledgment of the trace. to consolidate them as one's "history" and "politics. He suggested that poetry was a better cure for the oppression of of a reinstatement of the subject as son (rather than father) within Oedipal law. structure does not simply undermine origins. The possibility of his being a father is handled in the Vaudracour and Julia else in seemingly self-contained origins. As one critic has put it. No money was forthcoming The consecutive parts of The Prelude were not consecutively composed. . This took the form of an annuity for £30. the revolutionary government resorted to nationalistic war (and after he had set up residence with his sister. the preordained purpose of teaching mankind this lesson. l?e trace. and female at once. Annette got deeply involved account in the text is not chronological. "his allegiance to revolutionary enthustasm was ~o str?n_g that. She was romantic and undemanding. Wordsworth was thrown into_ a catastro~hic de~ression t~at has_le~ Establishment to Restore Imagination many modern critics to treat the Revolution (or havmg a child by a~d . one possible alibi is to pay attention to the through Thirteen of the 1805 version of his autobiographical poem The Prelude texts of history and politics as the trace-structuring of positions. cannot be a transcen. since The tr~ce. after in Emile Legouis's William Wordsworth and Annette Vallon. He coped with the experience of the French Revolution by excused or if Annette was worth his attentions. a trace of something sons. itself part of the effort to cope with crisis. one may find textual signs of a rejection of paternity. the man admits that his end is not in himself. such as writing or a stream. 1816. 3. however. Wordsworth dental principle. the desertion in quotation marks. it also disrupts the urufied and I will try to show this projection through the reading of a few passages. episode. and the man insane. the child dead but also to reestablish himself sexually in order to declare his in infancy. ~he even after Wordsworth received his modest legacy. we look for origins. in other words. It is not possible to attend to the trace fully. Sexual Self· desired). for the purposes of my argument. In our effort to define things. As th1s It is commonly acknowledged that the story of Vaudracour and Julia. for marriage were tacitly dropped over the years. Wordsworth not only needed to exorcise his illegitimate paternity £400. knowing that present the French Revolution as the major cris~s of the poet'~ poetic formation. by means of Nature as mother. I submit the following theses: marriage in February. The story is told in detail consecutivity imposed by an authorial decision as given. There is. not here. since it breaks up every first cause or origin." My critique calls for a much more thorough reading of the history and poli~cs Through this acknowledgment. "His sister" -and indeed did not have a chance to begin with. father and mother of poems. The . One's own self-contained critical position (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen as attendant of the trace also leads back and forward. Plans Wordsworth does not name her-is also in parenthesis. in himself either. Every origin or coping with rather than declaring history-in producing a poem rather than that we seem to locate refers us back to something anterior and contains the a child.ppg Wordsworth's Exorcism of Illegitimate Paternity. in transforming it into an iconic text that he could write and read. as told analysis reminds us. being a son is constructed in the famous "spots of time" passages. imagination restored. He deconstructs the opposition and cooperation between fathers and possibility of something posterior. I have taken the textual or narrative in the Royalist resistance and died poor at seventy-five.

this sublated alter ego looks toward a future shaped b Draw from obscurity a tragic Tale the author: y Not in its spirit singular indeed But haply worth memorial . but its nar. . 541-50. (X. wastin substitution: his days. upon these And other sights looking as doth a man text at the same time as the prospective and retrospective temporality of Books Upon a volume whose contents he knows Ten to Thirteen puts together a story with an end. "always there": Bemg written in a tongue he cannot read. Vaudracour simply lives on. then in unruly France. but from him lock'd up. italics mine) Thou wilt stand Not as an Exile but a Visitant Not only does the story not have its proper place or singularity. public hope. of the ideology of male universalism. an imbecile mind. The mad Vaudracour is Ar~ memorable. ..~c?urse !! to fetishism in the text as signature of the subject. rative beginning is given as two random and not sufficiently differentiated (X. the testamentary figures of the In thought or conversation. and my point here would be that Words- Nor could the voice of Freedom. Cut off from all intelligence with Man. make a rigorous structural psychoanalytic study. denials. 557-58 [1850]). The a~thor Of other matters which detain'd us oft sta~ds m contrast to. 926-33) his poetic practice" 4 but also the search for "the lost object" and the . Words- record that exists elsewhere: "So might-and with that prelude did begin/The ~orth. situated in an indefinite temporality. marking a deliberate postponement or I~ this autobiography of origins and ends. yet in complicity with. who. his mind remains imbecile Thi~ I shall not. fixations. If in the serious public business of The Prelude such a nonserious theme as love and desertion were to be introduced. who are in fact sublated versions of Vaudracour. Coleridge. The end of Book Nine in both versions gives us an unredeemed Vaudracour. the author's alias. 48-54) . On Etna's top. now story itself is suppressed and relegated to the status of nothing but a trace of a m degraded Sicily. the beginning is even less emphatic: "(thus/The story might begin)" is said in parenthesis. "Fellow voyager! I Woulds't thou not chide?" (IX. had not been able to find a clue to the text of the September Massacres m Pans: record" (IX.. which through France worth is working with and out of that very ideology. Rather than remain suspended fn an Swept over us. he remains unmoved by the voice of Freedom !n this account of the growth of a poet's mind. So that he questions the mute leaves with pain Thus liv'd the Youth And half upbraids their silence. its revisions dating probably from 1828. that attend such traumatic events in a child's life and the hysteria and uncon- scious obsessions that affect the life of the grown man.. (IX." One R~use him: but in those solitary shades would have to plot not only "the repressions. 554-55). and the ~nlike the fic~~e V?udracour in his uncomfortable suspension. and more than likely_. 563-64). but I will here instead mdefirute temporality. In thi~ sto~ of the JUdgment of France. th~ open-ended temporality does not bring his life to a dose. take note IS the c?unterplot of the origin of the prelude. endmgs of the later books. ts the parallel of Wordsworth. account "the death ofWordsworth's mother when Wordsworth was eight. 1032-34) choices out of plural possibilities: "Oh/Happy time of youthful Lovers! thus/My story may begin. remains active as an unchanging pre. If indeed one wished to Soon afterwards resounded. public acts.. one would have to take into Or pers~nal memory of his own deep wrongs. And public persons. and the emotions wrought At the end of Book Ten an acceptable alter ego is found.48 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 49 thematics of psychoanalysis as a regional science should be considered as part And shunning even the light of common day. (IX. ~· · The story of Vaudracour and Julia begins as a moment of dissonance in the story of the French Revolution. the 1850 text asks. In the final version of The Prelude (1850). and distortions His days he wasted. as my purpose was." (IX. This is of course Coleridge the Of Record or Report which day by day ~nen~ ~o whom The Prelude is addressed. He is quite unlike Within our minds by the ever-varying wind th~ Vaudracour who marks the story of guilt. Oh! balmy time .

446-50) And iron case were gone. the unacknowledged chimedes. Comates-brought to bear upon contempor~ry ~tcily. but on the turf. which by the name recalls the faith in his own professional future felt by a father figure. written by Thomas (X. seemingly got the upper hand.. By recounting these succ~s­ The monumental writing was engraven sive testamentary endings and comparing them to Vaudracour's fate._ ~­ ends Book Nine. 280-81). 467-515). 428-30) (XI. there is no causal Though gratulatest. doth still remain unchanged) The Gibbet-mast was moulder' d down. epitaph. a relationship is strongly sug- Shalt linger as a gladsome Votary. If his life was a waste of days.. dealing with judgments on Merits and Frailties. ts even further worth's use of Oedipal signals. Theocritus. There is something like the use of a father figure by a son-as contrasted to empowered: acknowledging oneself as father-early in the next book (X. gested. he accidentally discovers the anonymous Instruct . 76-77) If Vaudracour had remained unchanged by revolution as an imbecilic mind. of an undisclosed proper name. History. scene. thy race be run. In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 51 50 That failure seems recuperated in all the textual examples-Empedocles. 5 The poet has not yet reached man's estate: "When scarcely (I was then not six years old)/My hand could hold a bridle" (XI. the bones (XIII. the poet's double is here assured Thus strangely did I war against myself yet a few short years of useful life.. From all the sources of her former strength. (As is often the case in The Prelude. I thought. Hard by. italics mine) Gray. however. 1034-38.) The memory had come to him by way of a thought of the teacher's And not a Captive. connection between the two episodes. lmagmation. As I will show later the end of Book Eleven welcomes Coleridge as a com. through his disavowal and sublation. As for the to the revolutionary alternative are to be found. for. which In times long past. guarantor that in Wordsworth's early poetry glimpses of a future world supenor at this point in Wordsworth's life. 'mid all revolutions in the hopes And fears of men. Julia is obliterated rather quickly from the story. Did like a Monk who hath forsworn the world And all will be complete. 74. helps. for himself and his friend. if that fountain be in truth no more. a faculty of course denied to Vaudracour's tmbecile mmd. and the end of Book Twelve cites Coleridge _as of disciplinary judgment. which is A thousand times more beautiful than all that remains of the phallic instrument of the law: . In a passage toward the beginning of Book Eleven. Cole~dge . socially preserved. the poet expresses a hope. self as father. Wordsworth suddenly Then near some other Spring. his old teacher at Hawkshead. that they may The details are explicit and iconic. the last has. The realization The end of Book Thirteen. is a fully negating of this inauspicious triumph of logic over poetry is given in a latent image of sublation of Vaudracour. (XIII. Of the trivium of Poetry. willingly deceived. here Memories of the "spots of time" bring enablement out of this predicament.. Logic.. Zealously labour to cut off my heart Thy monument of glory will be raised. Let us now consider Words- precisely to transform it to a pleasant sojo~ for. and still. . Is by pastoral Arethuse there a sense of guilt associated with ecstatic joy at anyone's death? We are free Or. soon after that fell deed was wrought Some unknown hand had carved the Murderer's name. this Frame of things (Which. Words- worth recounts that he had felt great joy at the news of Robespierre's death. . This in- vocation of the tablets of the law of the Fathers finds a much fuller expression in later passages. other two-"their sentence was. a senior and meritorious member of the profession of poetry. after recounting this excess of joy. by trick of grammar self-division and castration: indefinitely prolonged. . . there is once again a scene panion in an Oedipal. pronounc' d" (XI. 94). the end of The Prelude as a whole. to imagine so. As he stumbles lost and alone. I have tried to suggest that Vaudracour. to secure the record of the progress and growth of the poet's mind. from year to year. how the mind of man becomes natural inscription.

also inhabits this temporality by fiat of Have known her. Nothing but the chain of events set off by (XI. and lifts us up when fallen. worth" is a man as son.mur~er~r. a necessary means toward Words worth's growth as a poet: this is such a suggestion. thus restored Or otherwise.her "wholly cati . There is no logical connection be. according to the canonical Oedipal explanation. per the aps predi- acceptance of one's own gratuitous. 386. and to this hour In Nature's presence stood. the father. would have lov'd. that . could they but Oedipal law of legitimate fathers. (XI. or demonstrate and justify the law-the teacher.39. and yet the spiritual gift of this spot of time is. by declaring it to be a felix culpa. unknown to me" (XI. as I stand now The letters are all fresh and visible. final of ours. and a creative soul. does call . ' (XI.. In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 53 52 . italics mine) (XI.s rmagmation as a living agent. brother . and again The grass is clear' d away. strongly reminiscent of "Tintem Abb . And just as the murderer's name cut in the grass can be seen to this day. proximity) guilt. . Words~orth welcomes Coleridge into the brotherhood in language that A virtue by which pleasure is enhanced purgmg the Image of all sexuality. William. Here Wordsworth and his brothers perch :{~~n~es. . . not established within the And every flower she met with. Coleridge-Dorothy Wordsworth (XI. . rememora~on of these Oedipal events. should have had to the Oedipal accession. the self-castrating despair at Poetry's judgment at the hand terlardmg his compliments with the patronage typical of his time and h of Logic (averted by a historical reminder of the judgment of the Law). I shook the habit off By superstition of the neighbourhood Entirely and for ever. the benign alter ego-akin to the That all the trees. 368-70). t h en. 254-57. precisely. And.ed fifty li~e~ later. A sensitive." 6 Ten days after they of N ature. italics mine) At the time he left the spot forthwith. It is irlte~esting to note that Wordsworth's sister provides a assa e into the tween the two events. and all the silent hills brothers at the recalled "original" event-is once again called forth as witness And every thing she look' d on. "Words.ts (1. 393-97. t~e . cunous. . italics mine) the Revolution could have caused acts of rememoration that would abreactively fulfill memories of Oedipal events that childhood could not grasp. and finally into the acc~ssim~ to andro- that "the event/With all the sorrow which is brought appear'd I A chastisement" gyny.3~6). It is Her the birds not to be forgotten that the false father Vaudracour... Now. so also this rememorated accession to manhood retains a continuous power: "in this later time . enables us to mount When high. Of sweetness did her presence breathe around Near the end of Book Eleven. a physical nakedness. iri- by a father figure). As in the case of the memory of the teacher's grave. the force of the meta hor stron 1 suggests a sexual confrontation./another comes from Daulia. t at IS certam IS that a man. or one among alternate methods of restoration (11. One might produce a textual chain here: joy at Robespierre's judgment (averted restore. Unlike the male medtators who punish. irldeed.s her.. Now the memory of the lugubrious dis- Although the "habi~" has a complicated conceptual antecedent dispersed in the covery of the monument of the law provides argument of the thtrty-odd previous lines. the latter dies. Methought such charm grammar. and strengthened once again (With memory left of what had been escaped) Many passages in these later books bring the French Revolution under control To habits of devoutest sympathy. still reminds us of the earlier passage: ' That penetrates. One hunfr. 388). should be entirely in the conditional: ey. 291-99. free" (XI' 203) . Coleridge. 266-68) Behold me then Once more in Nature's presence. stripped and newly clothed stands in front of two roads from Delphi. a leftover memo father is suggested through contiguity.2 on a parting of the ways that reminds us of the setting of Oedipus' crime: "One . more high. arrive at their father's house. 7 It rs . metonymic (simply by virtue of temporal on of her relationship with Nature. Earlier. Wordsworth had written: . a metonymic though not logical or metaphoric connection between the second spot of time and the actual ~story and ~aternity are here fully disclosed as mere traces.

there are the "I feel"s that are both of the intense earth). set foot well as lover: On Nature's holiest places.54 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 55 An intimation how she bore herself presence of Nature. of course. (X. and I would give. though paradoxically. William claims for the full-grown poet an androgynous plen- I push' d without remorse itude which would include within the self an indeterminate role of mother as My speculations forward. when age comes on. While yet we may. On which thy greatness stands. and. pecially for male protagonists. in the same penultimate passage of the entire Prelude. by invoking a time when A substance and a life to what I feel: he was like her. It is a palimpsest of sex." but if addressed to "mystery of man.. 329-43. and then they close. The next verse paragraph begins-"Even like That from thyself it is that thou must give. of the son's desire is legally. The predicament out of which. discernible persons) is employed to repress incest as it is desired (the substance strictly speaking. 224). and psychohistoriography. Else never canst receive. a figure that would allow the poet the possibility of a replaying of the Oedipal I see by glimpses now. historical. And when. when the object For future restoration. William is invoking the pre-Oedipal stage when girl and boy I would enshrine the spirit of the past are alike.. 236-46). Incest as it is prohibited (the form of means "from myself." Proceed thy honours! I am lost. as far as words can give. Dorothy as sister is arranged as Seem open. a place or (XI." 9 subjective and the subject matter of poetry. with incest as represented in extension in the state that prohibits it. 8 Na- ture sustains this paradox: for Nature is that which is not Culture. The days gone by leaving the child in Vaudracour's hands. the pervasive un- Wordsworth would here clear a space beyond prohibitions for himself. has not granted the subject's power finds a hiding place. The text of Book Eleven proceeds to inscribe Nature as mother and of seduction. can also be read as a transgression against both such inscriptions of Nature: Dorothy is in fact invoked as chaperon when Nature is his handmaiden (XIII. is given credence. Consummation is as yet impossible. scene. italics mine) stage where kinships are not yet articulated. certainty as to whether memory is ever inside or outside. We locate a passage between the account of the discovery of the name of the murderer and the account of the (XI. Dorothy rescues him. such an inscription seems to embrace places historically Towards them and to all creatures. Julia as object of desire had disappeared into a convent.. not acknowledging paternity. Annette access to a kinship inscription (she was either Madame or the Widow The hiding places of power seem open but. though not transcendental. 877-79) And he whose soul hath risen Up to the height of feeling intellect Shall want no humbler tenderness. authority of the Oedipal explanation. yea. 214-21) death of the father: The only indicative description in this passage is introduced by a controlling Oh! mystery of Man.?d than In simple childhood something of the base like her-"God delights I In such a being" (XI. upon approach. morialization. rendered problematic. "outside" and existentially "inside" the poet. the scene of sonship after the rejection of premature fatherhood. If the May scarcely see at all. We also notice the othy carries the kinship inscription "sister" and provides the passage to Nature double inscription: womb or depths that produce the subject and vagina where as object choice. It is a situation Williams). Through the supplementary Of female softness shall his life be full. leading to the passage through Oedipalization itself. I approach. "One cannot confound incest as it would be in this intensive nonpersonal regime that would institute it. defined as his mother. in the narrative. Dor. she ~s apostrophized. Wordsworth. 221-22)-she provides a'pos." that meaning is. from what a depth "methought. but this I feel. . and that defines We notice here the indeterminacy of inside and outside: "from thyself" probably it as a transgression against persons . not without promise. biographic me- lover. this Maid" (XI. dose. then. es. but see Although Wordsworth's delight in his sister makes him more like <?. sibility of transference for him. Be tender as a nursing Mother's heart. inscription which would include mother and lover. his heart The last link in this chain is the poet's accession to an androgynous self. Vaudracour as the substitute of the Come back upon me from the dawn almost poet as father can only perform his service for the text as an awkward image Of life: the hiding-places of my power caught in an indefinitely prolonged imbecility.

" He uses strong language to describe the task of learning to The place of birth. 179-80). "This faculty. Spenser. in disclosing such a programmatic itinerary. comes from Tasso. other qualities of mind. "hath been the moving soul I Of our ~or:g upon these And other sights looking as doth a man labour. to recount his own relation to public events tulating. 204-10) '· accession to the Law. then. He . It IS a p1cture of indeterminate coexistence with a strong aura of identity ("each in each." Yet so intrinsic a cause as a moving soul is also described as an extnnsic Upon a volume whose contents he knows object of pursuit. Suppression of Julia." not To help introduce this section. he knew them to be "memorable. it is also in the interest of a This intimation of androgynous plenitude finds its narrative opening in the certain politics. The autoerotic image of the s~bject gre~ting the s~o~gly ulates its guilt through Macbeth. Wordsworth begins to identify with Milton's per- distinction between the poet as subject (inside) and Imagmation as obJect (out- sonal position. 180-81). haps the unacknowledged guilt of paternity) makes him echo Macbeth's No rising stream can "reflect" anything in its "solemn breast. (XIII.where indeed Imagination is decla~e~ to ~e anot~er name for soQ1ething else. itself "another name" for ~~e the woman's part. and the other is "that intellectual love" (XIII. autoerotic masculinity of "then given it greeting. and worth) addresses another man (Coleridge) in a sustained conversation on a seemingly universal topic. 48-54) The sound of waters. For a time the poet had "lost sight of it bewilder' d and landscape of revolution. 172:-75) The contents of the book of revolution must be transformed into a personal memory. It is in the interest of suggesting that." he writes. and negative condition of possibility of disavowal. testi~g to so~e pre- read them. The sleepless city artic- side) indeterminate. and we have already seen how pluralized it is. he "reverts from describing the conduct The itinerary of Wordsworth's securing of the Imagmation IS worth re~api­ of the English government in 1793-4. of the strength" (XIII." not "individually"). and cannot stand I Dividually" (XIII. as it rose once more I With In Book Nine help in reading the text of the landscape and. we must learn to read the microstructural burden of grammatically plural. In line 658. Imagination as the androgyny of Nature and Man- l'Woman shut out. If. as described. 187-88). I have left aside the irreducible heterogeneity of Wordsworth's text. The openness of the two adjecti:vel~dverbs k~eps the Lost. It would be to transgress an interdiction. harbingers of the trace. Of Imagination and intellectual love 1t IS said _that . The autobiographer assures us that. and autoerotic story of Imagination as trace that Wordsworth assures "Man" A little over halfway through Book Ten.they are Transforming Revolution into Iconic Text each in each. From darkness. Mild interests and gentlest sympathies rememorating through the mediation of the figure of Dorothy his own Oedipal (XIIT. in Samson Agonistes. "dividually.56 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude {1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 57 Of little loves and delicate desires. He admires and sympathizes with the Girondists because they iden- works of man and face of human life" (XIII. So that he questions the mute leaves with pain We have traced the stream And half upbraids their silence. and the Milton of Paradise engulph'd" (XIII. carries a trace of sound. but from him lock'd up. the trace as stream: Are memorable. Wordsworth does a double take which that this "prime and vital principal is thine I In the recesses of thy nature" and seems to purge the experience of the revolution of most of what one would follows through to the openly androgynous claims of li~es ~04-_10. at twenty-two. 178). 186). One item is Imagination. say. 1791) till his return to England. The theme is set up as at least twofold. ~1th no grammatical fulfillment of the "that" other than another double construction. commonly call its substance. or womb. let us reconsider those lines from Book Ten: "each in the other". for the book is "lock'd up" vious origin. In this declaration of theme. and the very place of birth In its blind cavern. It is after this pluralized tified with the ancient Greeks and Romans. As his despair thickens. his sublation into Coleridge. unemphatic retention of Vaudracour as sustamed from the time of his arrival in France (Nov. whence is faintly heard (X. as he sees the progress of the representative poet's life in his own. Being written in a tongue he cannot read. when a man (here Words~ last book of The Prelude through the thematics of self-separation and autoero- ticism. Words- worth seems curiously self-separated. I cannot but see in it the sexual-political program of the Great Tradition. His own guilt by transference (including per- erect phallus that is his moving soul slides quickly mto a logtcal contradiction." le: alone '_'the nightmares. The explicit description of the origin as place of birth clarifies t~e from him. cited above_. twenty lines above.

and Timonides. cause he lacks this approach] Feuerbach sees [in Manchester] only factories marized in the last two paragraphs. or in the Campagna of Rome he finds allegiance at the time of the composition of ~ese Boo~s. 566) A form and body . (IX. This section will involve little more through social development. As Wordsworth commemorates historical cases within which he could insert the histoncal and geographical conversations. Book IX. shoulders of the preceding one. where a hundred years ago only spinning-wheels and rather different from a consideration of Wordsworth's own declared political weaving-looms were to be seen. Ludwig Feuerbach also seems not to have known how to read a social text. mg of Paradtse Lost. their transmigrations when and how Anger and just rebuke. where Milton turns from the delineation of sinless Like others I had read. the master Pamphlets of the day. and breach To see a regular Chronicle which might shew. 91-106) It must be pointed out that the "sin" is not just France's against Paradise. 10 • • only pasture lands and swamps.) Since we have looked ~t the occlu~ed Q\a~ of course. are accessible. It could more "literally" be Wordsworth's own carnal As far as the record in The Prelude is concerned. It remains merely to add that this ts of c~u:se and machines. who waged a "philosophic war I Led . revolt. and on the hope for the future. on the part of Heav'n Whence the main Organs of the public Power Now alienated. Wordsworth records this impulse in a reasonable way when he judges his initial response to French Confronted with a little-known historical text. of course.I ~ve sum. Instead h~ so~ght alternate liter~ry­ trouble. which this text must subliminally obliterate. which for him came closest to a "regular Chronicle" of the landscape. Instead of leaning on the great masters of art and poetry for models by means of which to organize the discontinuous and alien landscape the s~n~uous world around [us] is not a thing given direct from all eternity. gomg m op. . and judgment giv'n. distance and distaste. For example. it is only b~cau~e we he gives them apologetic sanction. and eagerly Sometimes. which Wordsworth will judge. Had sprung. for Coleridge' s benefit. but having never chanced foul distrust. and modifying its social system according to the changed needs. in the sense that it is an historical product. sonship. through a reading of a few passages. One must learn to read it. the result can be seen as the last link in this chain.. Paradise to describe Nor wanted such half-insight as grew wild Upon that meagre soil. and Marx proposes the following: Selincourt. Wordsworth never did go in knowledge. each standing on the Snowdon in Book Thirteen triumphantly takes us back to a time before Words. formalizing as well as substantializing chronicl~ of the Michel Beaupuy makes an attempt to fill Wordsworth in on the sources of the power structure of the French Revolution. Words- Into a theatre. If I quote Marx in his middle twenties here. only to a reader who is sufficiently versed in English literary culture. at least so he writes almost a decade later. where in the time of Augustus he would The sensible or visible is not simply the gtven of tmmedtate expenence. help'd out by Talk And public News. but the product of industry and of the state of out of Engllsh and natural material. of what." being fully implicit. Disloyal on the part of Man. . 1-227" (de posed directions. giving thus unto events (de Selincourt. and androgyny. indeed. 11 carries the trace of history. the thematics of paternity. Accomplish' d. of which the stage ~orth make~ his task of describing the French experience "resemble" the open- Was busy with an action far advanced. 583). Plato. and. p. Most of With needful knowledge. this overt and mdeed offtm Even the objects of the simplest "sensuous certainty'' are only given [us] ostensive effort should not occupy us long. The vision of t?e sacrifice on Sarum Plain society. and events in the latter half of Book Ten Wordsworth begins to compose icons remammg ever the same.. [Be- than fleshing out. (If any such indeed existed then) And disobedience. It have found nothing but the vineyards and villas of Roman capitalists. Eudemus. in the name should then witness two textualist solutions to similar problems. of Dion. Wordsworth's solution is to events as follows: disavow historical or genealogical production and attempt to gain control through a private allusive positing of resemblance for which he himself remains I was unprepared the authority and source. (The great tcon of the ascent of Mount of the activity of a whole succession of generations. This gesture of distancing seems to mark an important advance m the cham I am now describing. developing its industry and its inter- worth's experience in France. industry and commercial intercourse. search of an originary. had abruptly pass'd these "resemblances. In Other Worlds Sex and History In The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 59 58 is therefore traversing again the ground covered by Books IX and X. p.

421-22)." and that his own retranslation of the events moments. the only good angel on the Revolutionary side. Wordsworth tells the tale of lost control by interiorizing lit- . abrupt" (IX. Here is the summary: Luther put on the mask of the apostle Paul. the Revolution of 1789-1814 All institutes for ever blotted out draped itself alternately as the Roman republic and the Roman empire. Geography. The As through a Book. 483-84)-inhab. Man he lov' d The verse paragraph that intervenes between the two does give us something As Man. 510. like an insight into Beaupuy's discourse. "virtuous wrath and noble scorn" though less so than in the (IX. trlllnS1atic:ms of Book Nine change to icons of the poet's own making. . 500-01). in his idler day ited by a nameless mistress of Francis I. sensual state and cruel power 1789 and at others the revolutionary traditions of 1793-5. Wordsworth's sympathies were with the Girondists because they "were idealists whose speeches were full of references chivalrous delig~t! (IX. This visual object. I Rejoicing o'er a Female" (IX.. 496. As a translation" into the old.. "'Tis against that 1Which we are fight- to compare notes with Marx: mg' (IX.. 448).~upuy. 460-61). rermnded ~h~t Be. In these interstitial ~self a deviation. the other was a is the pass~ge through the long Book Ten that allows the poet of The Prelude mitigat[ion of] the force himself as generative subject. ~evta~on from th1s theme. Beaupuy in the written text is able to produce to ancient Greece and Rome" (de Selincourt.. In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 61 60 an~. 446. ' his mother tongue: he can only be said to have appropriated the spirit of Should see the People having a strong hand the new language and so be able to express himself in it freely when he In making their own Laws. each standing on the shoulders of the preceding one. 576). The literary-historical allusions and Of civic prejudice. One stance of the conversation is when "from earnest dialogues I slipp'd in thought Is. is I And let remembrance steal to other times" (IX. or some dream of actions . and when he forgets his To all mankind. Which he.. 313-18. but did rather seem First. he engages in a bizarre "re. of a youthful Patriot's mind move. of course. of other mold. the story of Vaudracour and Julia is broached. 525-32) A new and unknown language has been thrust upon William Wordsworth. In the same wayr Whether by the edict of the one or few the beginner who has learned a new language always retranslates it into And finally.. an old Romance or Tale sight of a convent "not by reverential touch of Time I Dismantled.. but by violence Of Fairy. "on these spots with many gleams I look'd 1 Of by Philosophers" (II. like that and Blois)-"name now slipp'd I From my remembrance" (IX. In an So call it.. 469-70) takes its place upon this list and prepares us for Julia's tale. his argum:nt onlr by metaphorizing the object of the French ~ev~lution as a hunger-bttten Grrl" . Indeed. whence better days can manipulate it without reference to the old. us that d~e process was suspended under the Reign of Terror." is "re. What he describes much more carefully than the sub. a Soldier. Of condescension. Let us consider the strategy of that Transferr'd a courtesy which had no air paragraph briefly. 492-93). Wordsw?rth . the proferred chronicle is sidestepped through the invocation of mto art an~ sexual courtesy (in an unwitting display of class and sex prejudice) "straying" hermit and "devious" travelers (IX. That legalised exclusion. as 1t were. original language while using the new one. translated" into great literary accounts of the violation or flight of women. 12 (IX. Of that great change wander' d in perfect faith. 517-18). gives Imagination occasion to inflame two kinds of emotions: one was. 444-45). Here too it is interesting a su~ary o~. as Wordsworth re- Had pay'd to Woman[!] members. 311-12. invocation of an unrememorated castle (third on the list after Romorentin A passion and a gallantry. the bigotry. mm_ds. . and to the mean and the obscure . 303-06. p. italics mine) case of "the peaceful House I Religious" (IX. instead of being textualized as "the result of the activity of a whole succession He thro' the events of generations. empty pomp and the revolution of 1848 knew no better than to parody at some £_Oints Abolish' d. Next the poet reports serves. to excuse his Revolutionary sentiments: covering over the then present discourse with remembered stories of fugitive maidens or of "Satyrs . as sum and crown of all. ~s admirable summary is followed by a proleptic rhetorical question that re- Even as its elements are being explained to him.~oes on. .

all things have second birth. invo~e Shakespe~re Shakespearean echoes are scattered through the pages of The Prelude. and a sense. not in the voice of Shakespeare's guilty Macbeth. the Shakespearean refe. the result of becoming so ton s samtly Samson. out~ide iS allo':ed to ':aver. de Selincourt. So spake the Frend. (X. with a voice "The horse is taught his manage. italics mine) The earthquake is not satisfied at once. my own soul. he c~n?de~ to That tyrannie or fortune can inflict. that even as Wordsworth seeks to control the hetero- Most of it is within quotation marks. 577) thesis stands out in the same unsettling way: . all either quotations or self. all the. To the whole City.m t~e ~ng Of saints. lines 70-77. and implements of death. . and the wind Labouring. Wordsworth wrests the line from its context and fits it into a number of sentences. and with necessitie. As the work. "Sleep no more. Day follows day.rence "':h~re But patience is more oft the exercise the guilty Macbeth is himself the speaker implicates Wordsworth . guaranteeing at once therr tammg ~nd therr retur~. my dreams were miserable. de Selincourt. 1287-91.seem t? provide m~ch solace was short of funds and that this was by far the best thing that could have hap- against the massacres. We have seen how. pass. . the quotation marks were the occlusiOn of the personal guilt of the unacknowledged paternity is still at lifted and thus the sense of a unique sleepless mght was removed. a brain confounded. The lines begm with a peculiarly mapt quotation of the time. 579). pened because this way his future contributions as a poet were spared. f~r France. The sentences do not . of treachery and desertion in the place Year follows p. an overprotesting paren." When in an And Victor over all extension of the Macbeth passage nearly two hundred lines later. Imagination. ex~s'd his devilish deeds" (Paradise Lost. where Orlando complains that I have already mentioned that Book Nine opens with a Miltonic echo. . The holiest that I knew of. Such ghastly visions had I of despair Book Ten. 394-95. Most than to achieve coherence.. (Samson Agonistes. . Miltomc hnes. the distinction between i~sid~ and. Caroline) who had throttled the snakes about her cradle. inJUStices involved in its inception gave him sleepless mghts. As Through months. A pecuhar lme m the Making them each his own Deliverer collection of sayings stands out: "All things have second birth. I The Tyrant's plea. position between the inside of literary memory and the outside of the external As if to thee alone in private talk) scene is no longer sufficient. undone by a woman: agitated seems to be an acknowledgment of the guilt of the murder of a father/ king. These are seem to echo two different kinds of sentiments: that wild thmgs are tamed and the hnes that end m recounting that Wordsworth left France merely because he that things repeat themselves. Of heaven wheels round and treads in his own steps. of his own paternity through the rejection of his fustborn. And tyranny. About geneity of. "Sleep no more!" to all the house because Macbeth had murdered Duncan. is worth considenng m all1ts stands in 1805. And long orations which in dreams I pleaded Before unjust Tribunals. Here though perhaps the idea of a wild thing obeying the law of its own return iS Wordsworth speaks of himself as comparable to an angel and of his courageous itself a sort of taming. In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 63 62 erary analogues. The distinction begins to waver in a use of Shake- I scarcely had one night of quiet sleep speare that has puzzled many readers. of course. . the revolution through literary-historical and then iconic textuality. however. p. quotations (thus confounding the insid~ of the self ':ith t~e outside). the beginning ." And in such a way I wrought upon myself. Words- w~rth .about the androgynous Most melancholy at that time. the poet "wrighting" upon himself. Milton helps Wordsworth get a grip on the Revolution. but as Mil- In the allusion to Macbeth that follows. Coleridge that although the infant republic w~s doing well. 369-81. the trial of their fortitude. I am suggesting. from the lighthearted opening of As You Like It. two years after the completion of the 1805 Prelude. which Li':es 117-202 o. through years.f Book Ten are limpid in their conscious sanctity. Although in Wordsworth's eyes it is Paris who is guilty of killing the king. the tide returns again." The image of the victorious republic is that of a Herculean female infant (Annette bore a daughter. IV. The voice in Shakespeare had seemingly cried. the exigency see~s to _be more to. Until I seem' d to hear a voice that cried. agam the bmary op- Of these atrocities (I speak bare truth.of the Reign of Terror in words recalling the his brother's horses are treated better than he. however. 0 Friend! Were my day-thoughts. long after the last beat Wordsworth tries to transform revolution mto iComc text. in t~e final passages .

l~~na. Wordsworth's initial reaction to the Revolution matched Of the world's praise from dark antiquity a good English model: "There was a general disposition among the miCtdle:and Hath flowed. a tree. 469-70). erty'" d M · cun o prop- . The ~vert argument begins by setting up a srr'ong bina - hail appel~ati~~~ep:~o:~:::u~~:n~ords. "with pomp of waters. The face of one. ~a." and the fear of French invasion provided him with a reason to withdraw into the ideology-reproductive "passive" politics that is apolitical and individualistic. be tho~ght of".n grounds would be ill prepared for England's French policy. . sonnets: We have so far considered some examples of allusive textualization and also of the interiorization of literary allusion. freedom of the ress ~." . I And their chief Regent levell'd with the dust" (X. who with the breeze Had play' d. and students of th:~ I cs ~~ hi~tory for Wordsworth..nJ~nScee. and mountain readership.. 1 talents and successful industry" (IX. "fellowship with venerable books . his select liberty" prepared him to are scattered through lines 254 to ~~an/~ pe~I~d.:~e." 14 If the reverence due to a poet is Of my beloved country.64 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 65 Indeed. it is the language of Paradise Lost that helps give the joy at Robespierre's death the authority of just condemnation: "That this foul Tribe of Moloch was ~~~n. Wordsworth claims three personal reasons for sympathy: "born in a poor district.c. than an "ide t of a "natural" ti b t tural sentiment. The point is often made that it was not so much the experience of the French It is not to be thought of that the Flood Revolution. Let us now turn to the composition of icons. but the fact of England's warring with France. ' . the martial conduct of the French.."' 13 In addition. or an organism "literally" rooted in the ~oil thea:~:.~:!~~~~~tifi.-. then. based on the assump- . which. unwithstood. 223-25) It might be remembered that th l ti f fi The Prelude is not unmixed wit~ :ha ono 't rstfcomposition at the inception of own.. o'erthrown. that finally brought Of British freedom.d~~I~~e:~~n!'er~f e~~~~ ~~~~I. nor had wish' d laid aside for a moment and Wordsworth is seen as a human being with a superb For happier fortune than to wither there poetic gift as defined by a certain tradition.) And all along.orth.:::~~t~.rf:!:~ti~~ino!Jeolitical organi~atio~ did the common Englishman's "birth-right" consist l. " and :co- (IX. 234-35).. e secun y o a legacy and a place of one's At Cambridge he had seen that "wealth and titles were in less esteem I Than This "revolutionary" nati li .itipo:un fe owers. who. 246-48) '·"t"h'e''~i. Fortunately for s component of the icon has more than a sanctlon by analogy: IC rs Wordsworth's long-term sanity..asion s~a~e resulted in a torrent of broadsheets and ballads Patrio ti.~n~rench policy is ~!ready dubbed "unnatural strife I In m. in his childhood. !'he components of the icon l ck d fl o oo en. to the open sea Wordsworth to despair. seen "Not to. whether Boy or Man. upper classes to welcome the first events of the Revolution-even traditionalists argued that France was coming belatedly into line with British notions of the 'mixed constitution. a steeple a congre Op]po~. as it allowed Pitt to become "the diplomatic I. uses the honorable but eo~ As best the government of equal rights And individual worth. a green leaf on the blessed tree architect of European counter-revolution."1s ··· m on o n- Through claims of wealth or blood (IX. based on S:~!~~a~:~ ~~~t ~~::~~~~~~ ~. answere ary Wollstonecraft: "Behold the defi 'ti f E Was vested with attention or respect ghsh liberty. the "radi- calization of The Revolution. and yet. then his ideological victimization Now from my pleasant station was cut ~ff can be appreciated: And toss'd about in whirlwinds.a ~~ artic~ at_es itself in one of the first full- analysis." he had never.corm a tting background for Wordsworth's smug and sonor~u· s.catio~ for the icon Support for idealistic revolutionary principles based on such intuitive-patriotic a. conjuncture ~~!~C:g i~:~~~ti~~t:~~~~::u:o~~~o:! ~. (A superficial but understandable fledged icons that will situa~.e ~~en man .and the soil (as if indeed he were a tree). at this very time.

" The power of the icon. The force of the whirlwind has been reduced to weaving a chaplet. Here the preparation slides us Flowers out of any hedge to make thereof into a situation where Wordsworth feels alienated because. wrests our support for Wordsworth's predicament without questioning its strategic structure. mighty scheme of truth" -a "poetic history" that is presumably other and better I only. The next bit of the icon secures the social and legal dimension. professional concept of self: poets like prophets can see something unseen be- Or praises for our Country's Victories. 276-79) 93. italics mine) of Wordsworth's (not necessarily The Prelude?). The trace-structure here is not . bending all interlocutor. has failed in the task of prediction and prophecy.) It is by now no longer surprising that the immediate setting of the reverie is also marked by tracings and alternations. whose origin is caught in a neg- ative which necessarily carries the trace of that which it negates. The image of age pretending to youthful self-adornment is unmistakable in tone. as the opening lines show: established institution. in this case. imitates life." which by implication here. for poets are connected in "a And 'mid the simple worshippers. The condemned gesture is still the act of cutting or rending. who could tear the entire part-whole/identity problem. in the following lines: The tree is a natural image. The gift Fed on the day of vengeance yet to come? is also a "dower" from an undisclosed origin. At first it is alleged that. (The date of the "actual" walk is July-August. cutting off a leaf to plucking flowers. makes even that possible deconstruction By violence at one decisive rent indeterminate. right or wrong.66 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 67 A limited and controlling play is changed by the war into an untimely death is to blame. lines 298-353. where nothing can be fixed." is witness. is the antecedent of the deceptively simple and unified word "mood" to which Their joy. both the origin and the matter of what I am calling an iconic recuperation of the events of 1791- (X. revolutionary argument is on its way to being successfully rejected as mere folly. The ranging walks took place either We are no longer sure whether the warmongers of England or revolution itself without a track or along the dreary line of roads. he cannot say. Then this very thought is "judged" ciples but an England worthy of her name. Of a Village Steeple as I do can judge The lines are addressed to that certain Coleridge who. at the time. the Of which he only who may love the sight reverie on Sarum Plain. unlike the41simple A Chaplet. seem paradoxically to imply a chron- It is not by chance that the responsibility for such a mishap is thrown on an ological posteriority: "the depth of untaught things. Although the situation is a church. Grief call it not. But which." This vertiginous unspecified "they": deployment of indeterminacy and traces culminates in the hope that this work will deconstruct the opposition between Nature and Art-"might become I A power like one of Nature's. prayers were offer'd up." Yet to be like one of Nature's powers. and alter ego of The Prelude. 289-90) olution. bringing in Oh much have they to account for. Just as the subjectivistic element of the icon ends with an ambiguous image. 'twas anything but that. and by demonstration else- Whom no one own' d sate silent. as "Friend. shall I add. where in The Prelude. but the Friend is encouraged to establish something like a relationship between that gift or "influx" and a work (X. Such a collocation of indeterminacy. I now turn to what in my reading is the place where the chain stops and the A conflict of sensations without name. congregation. presumably. the anti-Vietnam War movement was not for communist principles but a cleaner the French Revolution was considered a higher advent than nationalism-just America. in an induced motion. Father worship. 264-75. in contempt of his grey locks. The coherence of a historical or It was a grief. fore. as Christ was greater than John the Baptist. From the best Youth in England. Wordsworth's practice is different when A time in which Experience would have pluck' d he wants to invoke transcendental principles. The thing ne- gated (logically "prior") would. "God for my country. mind triumphs over the French Revolution: Book Twelve. with the status of conceptual-literal-metaphoric lines made indeter- minate. 1793. in England. was "raised" and which is. perchance. They are an apology for a hubristic To their great Father. worshippers" (sharing in "mountain liberty") who gave him his taste for rev- (X. When in the Congregation. indeed indeterminacy is part of both the rhetorical and This is indeed a contemptuous picture of a revolution that goes against any the thematic burden of the passage. their dear pride. like an uninvited Guest than "history as such. so also Wordsworth's icon casts a vote here not for revolutionary prin. This is not a unique and self-generative gift. the iconic elements are steeple.

fA ~le of the ongmary mstitution of a trace. . Wordsworth competes successfully with the revolution and "center'' where the icon is finally visible is thus predictably metonymic: "It is r~cords the articulation of a new world. fed To other eyes. rhetoric. resentation and represented. I saw the bearded Teachers. tial. The control is emphasized all through the next ver8e'" uttered by a mere individual. a world. Imagination. .68 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 69 the obstreperous heterogeneous material or opening of political history. But even Coleridge The relationship between Shakespeare's encrypted name and the poet's suc." The disingenuous line "I had a reverie and saw the past'' carries this overwhelming and conditioning frame. There is the same sort of self-de. "History'' ha~ at last come alive and animated the native landscape. He is also the object of Wordsworth's attentive reverie." "im- voice is itself undermined and dispersed into a compound image and common aging fo. This principle. Long moulder' d of barbaric majesty.. for "the mind is to herself I Witness and judge." This particular inscription is not announcing peace and safety from God's wrath: a revolution controlled and a rermnder of Oedipal law but a charming and pleasant access to science. He is not necessarily singular though but actu~l ?eom~tric. the poet sees multitudes and "a single Briton. Wordsworth can now "read" the September Massacres: I seem'd about this period to have sight Of a new world. the double privilege matches the acces- the sacrificial Altar. though "of miSe-en-abtme as the ongm of Wordsworth's unspecified work a few lines earlier: spears" and thus war-making. Since the poet carefully orchestrates this presen. or authorial positing of the elaborate trace-structure of the Imagination and the Poetry. and by way of an elaborate iconic alternation yet again) all objects from his sight to produce a highly precarious s." Out of the self- cessful invocation of a darkness that took or seemed to take (the rhetoric of eVIdence of such supreme self-possession. ~tat this time Wordsworth began to produce good poetry." This Briton is a subject-representative or alter ego of great subtlety. The soothed into the proper stuff of poetry. that was fit To be transmitted and made visible It is the sacrificial Altar. IS ~uperseded. paragraph. a vaster Throughout the region far and near. of ancient times I ranged. and Plain below. here and there." "covert expression. past'' (XII. pointing to the starry sky ~by arms of mighty bone. is presented as an august trace. is "heard" like that prophetic "voice of the turtle. no longer a reverie object of attention that I discussed earlier. as having for its base With living men. " 17 The pr~c_ultural space of writing is as carefully placed within a metonymic contiguity. Here that habit seems The intolerable trace-structure of history is thus brought under control by the specifically to blur the relationship between selves and voices. the closing lines of Book Twelve." At last the carnage of the French Revolution is recon. other and greater than what can be brotherhood of poets. the relationship between rep- nouns that hold encrypted the proper name of the leader of Wordsworth' s call. 356). pervades time scale seems to make the experience safe for poetry: "through those vestiges The monumental hillocks. rather than a metaphoric or consequential. " The relationship between him and the prophetic voice is one of of. 349-51) (XII. 324-26) The icon is sealed at the beginning of the next verse paragraph: ''This for the I have already remarked upon Wordsworth's use of a metonymic or sequen. 370-74) . Coleridge is called forth to testify tation." as the following words make clear: "Saw .." "unti~' d ground" ~atching "untaught things.~lf-deconstruction. the rattling . a worl~. sh~pes which figure over a precultural soil-the very image "single. And indeed constructive ego splitting as in the autoerotic passage on the Imagination as the next few unages are of a collective possibility of reading.. (XII. The consciousness that produced the principle of figuration is multiple: "imitative form. how deep the groans.spear . Shakespeare: among poets (the Druids and Wordsworth) with which the argument began: The voice of spears was heard. (XII. too. with white wands Uplifted. The voice itself. what Heidegger would call"the worlding" of the constellations. the intolerable trace-structure of history as catastrophe can now be tamed. Sion to androgyny: structed into a mere image of a generalized "history'' on the occasion of a highly deconstructive and self-deconstructed Imagination. in strength Alternately. 331-35) In his vision of Sarum Plain. is finally itself figured forth as that connection ing. . not of agency or production. the voice That whence our dignity originates Of those in the gigantic wicker thrills (XII.

there can be no doubt that he here recounts and the matter of woman. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour. sug- The dignity of individual Man. that the production of commodities requires and produces this aberrant Of Man. What we need to learn from is "'An unp~blis~ed Po~m (XII. . Wordsworth finds the Hath been no longer scrupulously mark' d. the brewer. though always by implication. whether we see him. first published in 1776. but from their regard to their own interest. Wordsworth does not place and for not having given his sister her nghtful place m hts poem. until a permanent abode a hollow goal. We address ourselves. and how Quite appropriately. incidentally. no composition of the thought. 18 (In the 1850 Since I withdrew unwillingly from France. Adam Smith was a proponent of the labor-command theory of Receiv' d me with that Sister of my heart value: "The value of any commodity.ttique of pohtical economy. the establishment of colonies- all based on a view of human nature reflected in the following famous passage: (The sister.. or command. to Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. and who means not to use or consume it himself.Z0 encounters." which last. l d h · Man as a category is of course always an abstraction. version of The Prelude. is "plans without thought. that we expect our dinner. however. following his rhetorical bent. Vaudracour and the worth in this passage. In lines 69-158 of Book Twelve the ostensible grounds for such a sugges~on love. as understood by classical economists. In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 71 70 Of whom we read [a curious distinction!]. not to their humanity but to their self- fering because it teaches one where to look for human value.. greater specialization. ~~uld not accomplish. Abstraction. p. An~ elsew~ere the I And false philosophy" (XII 74-76). shadow.) I com- ment on a comparable narrative intrusion at the end of this next section. and where I lived. Now Wordsworth is ready to undertake hts. let poet apologizes most unemphatically for ha~ng neglecte~ de~ails of till\e ~~d us insist that although.) To time and place. but leaves them two i~ems are seen as hardly displaced representatives of the m~tte~ of France suggestively contiguous on a list. and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their are researched and presented. the phrase-"The Wealth of Nations" -is put within The Story hath demanded less regard quotation marks. Without pursuing that point. disappears completely from the ~850 versio~. 77-78). commodities. increasing of the wealth of nations." 19 His method of increasing the wealth of a nation is there- fore greater division of labor. He refers to "the Books I Of modern Statists" (XII. knowledge. read Yet a postscript must be added. but the man . according to Words- ments when what is suppressed projects into the scene. or bottom' d on false thought murderer's name operate unceasingly as textual time passes. or make him a part of "public welfare. but to exchange it for other Conspicuous through this biographic Verse. the baker. He posits. His conclusion is that the true wealth of nations ts m predictably does not concern himself with the practical possibilities of laissez-faire capitalism. 1tahcs mine). He implicitly questions its presuppositions regarding human nature-which he considers an aberration. of course. as the title of a book. most specifically. and wis- of these Books: dom confronts the problems of social justice and political economy. of human nature. the man whom we behold d so on. to be Three years. These books of The Pre u e ave cunous mo. is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase Star seldom utterly conceal'd from view. of him. and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. Reading Romantic poetry will bring about what the French_ Revolution With our own eyes. Man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren. however. to the person who possesses Who ought by rights the dearest to have been it. and shew Poetry as Cure for Oppression: A life Preordained to Teach This lesson them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them . therefore. Labour. own_ cr. If these equate the true wealth of nations with individual male dignity. 334-43) nomic interaction between town and country. deregulation of trade. He does not. or w ordsworth offers his own poetry as a cure for human oppression and suf. xxvt.'" as Colendge s ~e~c~p­ tion of The Prelude has it "as late as February 1804" (de Selincourt. therefore. rather. The narrative has just pa_ssed thr~~gh the Oe~t_Pal advantages. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher. a subjective theory of human value. 84-87) on the Growth and Revolutions of an Individual Mind. image. is the real measure of the exchangeable value I led an undomestic Wanderer's life of all commodities. eco- (XIII. the poet is here excusing the very constitutive burden the history of someone who seriously and with experience.

during twenty-four hours does not in any way prevent him from working Souls that appear to have no depth at all a whole day. And truths of individual sympathy . "One does not judge poets in ingly self-assured a passage. the questioner obliquely declares for one alternative: "If Although not.". the situation in Cumberland and Ourselves entail Westmorland was not representative. that labour-power valorizes [verwertet] in the labour-process. then Wordsworth's case against political justice. Wordsworth ~Is way.72 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books llline to Thirteen 73 where the work of salvation would consist of disclosing that man's essential ~el~ different magnitudes. chiefly look' d (what need to look beyond?) Among the natural abodes of men. under all the weight "yYhat need. are therefore superfluous. resources of man. (XII. t? mere co~temp~atior: of it. we arrive at the problem of human alien.' not Wordsworth. are these the obstacles?" Wordsworth s Ideologtcal preparation and predilection lead him to a less than (XII. The ground rules of the academic subdivision of labor would occluded chain of the nonacknowledgment of paternity might. 94-95). is the only way. 96). and on the other to mere feeling. (XII. This IS only Wordsworth's personal story. decidmg t~at the peculiarities of one's own locale give the universal By composition of society norm. ir:deed! Wordsworth is tracing out a recognizable ideological cir- Of that injustice which upon ourselves CUit here. often might be glean'd The position. 105-08) Did at this day exist in those who liv' d By bodily labour. And the asymmetry of the rhetorical question constitutes The Prelude's politics as well as the condition of its an intermixture of distinct regards possibility.. Suffice It to say that I am deliberately wondering seeing if in- example.) 22 "Feuerbach's 'conception' of the sen- suous world [in the Principles of A Philosophy of the Future] is confined on the one (XII. 166-68) . are two en. the question of disproportionate labor. and the French Revolution is won. and since this is poetry. labour far exceeding Their due proportion.t-th~ 'I: of The Prelude is to be designated 'the speaker." making of his animal nature the inevitable reason for the failure of perfectibility. he also emphasizes that the excluded ation in the interest of the production of surplus-value: ~argins of the ~uman norm are where the norm can be properly encountered. animal wants and the necessities I Which they impose. If in the negative. and true power of mind (XII. then the entire useful answer.. 21 He therefore asks: Why is the essential individual who is the standard of measurement of this subjective theory of value (yet. then others vanish into air" (XII. he does ask a preliminary question that seems appropriate if the poet is to disclose the wealth of man: ." education to value poetry for its use. is that social relations of production cannot touch the inner From that great City. 98-105. The corollary: Revolutionary politics. be making itself felt. and this difference was what the capitalist had wealth lay inside him. then. m mmd when he was purchasing the labour-power. Therefore the value of labour-power and the value which To vulgar eyes." rhetorical questions. 119-20) sources.. deed J?Oetry can get away a posteriori with a narrative of political investigation against Godwin. how much of real worth Fields with their rural works. even m terms of rural England. And genuine knowledge. m~ke m~st ~f ~s at this point piously exclaim.. it would then be in the most uncharacteristic position of "taking himself a~"'iin !s not even t~~. (In fact. Adam Smith. he posits Man mstead of real histoncal man. in other words. disclosing man's inner re.' 'Man' is really 'the German. italics mine) ~and. Not only does he ask If this question is asked rigorously. curiously enough. Although Wordsworth cannot ask how there will come to pass a set of social relations in which everyone will have the opportunity and Wordsworth "to frame such estimate [of human worth]."' 23 There i~ someth!ng to ad~ire in Wordsworth's impulse. not an abstraction) so rarely to be found? Wordsworth poses a rhetorical question: "Our Whether ~e ~as stu~bled upon the crucial question of social injustice or not. even in so seem. If this question were answered in the affirmative. As in all when It never in fact "irreducibly intends" anything but its own "constitution. poetry. his own thematics are of depth and surface: The fact that half a day's labour is necessary to keep the worker alive There [I] saw into the depth of human souls. seeking to change those social relations.

yet even then crappy shit he has to make as does the capitalist himself who employs him. of whose plight he had ~ym~tomahc move m answer to a cntical question about political economy. a sufficient dialogic justification for The Prelude: I prized such walks still more. suffering than revolution. in the If virtue be indeed so hard to rear. I have am-fly presented the elements of this well-known suggestion. just as there is a moment when France and Dorothy jut into the text as If. (XII. "Productive labor" and "free labor" in this context are not positive concepts. that at degree with the infinite vision of possibilities presented by culture.74 In Other Worlds Sex and History in The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen 75 This is all the more laudable because of the deplorable consequences of the "T~e goal of et~ical criticism is transvaluation. that interest is part the career of The Prelude not just as text but as discourse: of a surplus the production of which is the sole prerogative of wage labor and that production is based on exploitation. then. so also is there a on the human wealth represented by the solitaries and produce poetry which moment wh. in this final book. this uncertainty makes the "there. It is of course worth noticing that the conditions for prizing the walk are askew. they are the bitter names of human 0 Friend! the termination of my course degradation and alienation: the "'productive' worker cares as much about the Is nearer now. / We have so far considered Wordsworth's suggestion that poetry is a better but would confine him to the declaration that virtue and intellectual strength are not necessarily the property of the so-called educated classes-and cl:"!~flge ~ure for ~uman ~p~ression or. to offer only poetry as the means of changing Where art thou? Hear I not a voice from thee this definition of "productive" is class-bound and narrow. But I prefer to ask simpler (XIII. nor of "an ancient rural society falling into decay. that I will not reformulate it here. something apparently suppressed juts into will teach others to be as wealthy as the originals. of the late eighteenth century. indeed. fore" rhetorically undecidable. Since it denies the Which 'tis reproach to hear? Anon I rose reality of exploitation. by doom of Nature yoked a. An example of this attitude As if on wings." 27 the crucial moment of decision in The Prelude Wordsworth does not speak of the Wordsw~rth's ch~ice of the rural s~~itary as theme. within capitalism. it looks like this: Wordsworth will work apology when all seemed to have been appeased (p. it need conceive of no struggle. that the history of a Poet's mind In terms of the overt argument of this part of The Prelude. Suffice it to mention that this particular chain of thought in The Prelude is rounded off most appropriately. in If man's estate. some of them of Tudor origin. "priv~te" memory of the "public" poetic records of his "private" exchange with And intellectual strength so rare a boon Colendge. vmcmg uncertamty about that very telos of his life. It considerable knowledge.en. my Friend. since the declared charge of the argument sug- gests that the last two "if's" are false suppositions. His second suggestion IS that h1s own hfe 1s preordamed to teach this lesson. In making my previous ··· even that declaration by an "if" and a personal preference: 25 arguments. one continues the analogy. an excuse.!:! verbal grandeur" of the poetry to be able to recognize this program. we are not sure whether Is labour not unworthy of regard: Wordsworth thinks the first "if" is correct. 174-78) To thee. even as he finds. It should be repeated that the scene. is an ideologically dispossessed "small proprietors" of the Lake Country. Felt. and In that distraction and intense desire who also couldn't give a damn for the junk." 24 Is neither to lack sympathy for Wordsworth's predicament nor to underestimate The ideologically benevolent perspective Wordsworth had on these vagrants ~~~h. would not allow him to argue here for a fairer distribution of labor or wealth. So much paragra~h of exquisite beauty. the ability to look at contemporary vagrancy laws. 406-10) questions: Why is the doom of Nature not equally exigent upon everyone. in memory of that happiness It will be known. is therefore yoked with ignorance. this passage ness of Marx was to have realized that. however. and why should a man who does not want to reduce Man (sic) to a homogenizing abstraction be unable to entertain the question of heterogeneity? Yet. and saw beneath me stretch' d can still be found in the official philosophy of current Departments of English: Vast prospect of the world which I had been . 350). If the passage I quote above narrates a poetic career. by thee at least.. There is even a hint that The Prelude might be interest on Wordsworth's capital and the production of this theory?" The great. Life IS seen to have a telos or at least a place that is distinct from the such an analogy ignores such questions as "Who reads poetry?" "Who makes poet's self. where Wordsworth expresses an uncon- With toil. And such a life is seen as capable of launching an unanswerable or Laws?" "Who makes money?" as well as "What is the relationship between the at least unanswered reproach. that began to be sharply felt as social values w1th the detachment of one who is able to compare them in some a result of the rise of industrial capitalism. much nearer." 26 Within the historical situation I said unto the life which I had lived. It is noteworthy. To thee the work shall justify itself.

world. @erature. to allow us to take a stand. remotely occluded and transparently mediating figure IS woman. As a femmtst reader of me~ ~n women. I feel that definitions are necessary in order to keep us going. Not a word. Should I not carve out an independent definition for myself as a woman? Here I must repeat some deconstructive lessons learned over the past 1981 decade that I often repeat. 372-81) the relationships among feminism. . only a strategy is described. In the general a sort of search for solutions. What has been the itinerary of my thinking during the past few years about ()<Ill. You might say at this point. ~dequacy o e The first section of the essay is a version of a talk I gave several years ago. The as autobiography called into question. and conscious- We know no world that is not organized as a language. and deconstruc- tion? The issues have been of interest to many people. whereas in discourse there is a playing out of the problem as the solution. in the texts of the G~eat Tradition. . the. thi!) argument. My own definition of a woman is very simple: it rests on the to be our disciplinary requirement. but will try instead to mark and next four. ·h 1 tion In these pages I have read a poetic text attempting to cope Wit a revo: h and aternity. osition that such a person with pull is politics free. if you problem of human discourse is generally seen as articulating itself in the of. the of thought that have constituted this change.the credulous varuty that seetn~ literary criticism. The fourth section inhabits something like the present. . even as I question the :ente11'ris1e of redefining the premises of any theory. no rigorous definition of anything is ultimately possible. in terms of. and hence this Song.~ 1 word "man" as used in the texts that provide the foundation for the corner of ·thought it useful to point out that. The third section is insert itself into the proceeding. most critical theory in my part of the academic tablisluncmt (Lacan. text could be made to perform a self-deconstruction. one could go on deconstructing the opposition between man and woman. But then the politics o~ the p~~ iould second section represents a reflection on that earlier work. "as a deconstructivist. even withi!J. and the configurations of these fields continue to change. which like a lark 5. and finally show that it is a binary opposition that displaces itself. like the Cumaean sybil m a perpetual motio machine. o~~ating freely m !: ~fficult double bind" of an aporia. the last Barthes) sees the text as that of the discourse of the human sciences-in the United States called the manities-in which the problem of the discourse of the human sciences is made Whereas in other kinds of discourses there is a move toward the final of a situation. broadest possible sense. yet. I will not engage here with the various lines No answer to Wordsworth's question of the first six lines is arti~ated . Feminism and Critical Theory I have protracted . If one p~ed at a passage ~." I cannot recommend that' kind of dichotomy at all. so that if one wants to. I have stopped short of the unposstb Y. I speak of what I do as a woman within ~rence or-on the part of the poets themselves:-. Derrida. . we operate with . but the word. displays that the truth human situation ·is · ··· · to find if'. 1 Therefore. I have not asked the critic to be hostile to poetry or t~ d~u t t e oet~ good faith. psychoanalysis. although I have asked her to examine the unqu:stiomng rev. The only way that I can see myself making definitions is in a provisional and polemical one: I construct my defi- nition as a woman not in terms of a woman's putative essence but in terms of words currently in use. One.~~~~~~ reflect upon the way these developments have been inscribed in my own work.s:uch a word in c9mmon usage. ~~d an intermediate moment. defining the word "woman" as resting on the word "man" is a reactionary position. I cannot speak of feminism in general. In Other Worlds 76 And was. the m~str the literary criticism establishment that I inhabit. I therefore fix my glance upon this word. three shifting "concepts": language.. t:Man:: i§. Foucault.

l "lfie discourse of the literary text is part of a general configuration of textuality. in general. in terms of the physical._ -one way of moving into Marx is in terms of use-~alue. p~ychoanalytic .") What would be the implications of denying does not mean a reduction of the world to linguistic texts. the figure that will serve us traditional social situation produces more than she is getting in terms of her l better is writing. the buyer of the laborer's work gets more (in exchange) than of a woman's body. legal. The contemporary way of holding at bay a randomness incongruent with. for there the absence of the producer and receiver is t_a~en for subsistence. s argument. embraces the categories of world and cons~o~sness even as One could indefinitely allegorize the relationship of woman within this par- it is determined by them. books. The man retains legal property rights over the machinery. 2 This "more-worth" cannot possess. rather than remaining caught within arguments about overt 1 idea of alienation in Marx.the human ticular triad-use. 3 in terms perhaps of unifying concepts like "man. consoousness.questiomng . capitalist. through the an "intertextuality. Mehrwert) is surplus-value. I would reemphasize the need to interpret reproduction i surplus-value. then. cto!. Marx' s dialectics of externalization-alienation are seen as reductive models. Apart from the fact that the mode of production of housework is not. or alienation (Entfremdung) is of greater interest. literally. Upon this idea of the fracturing of the human being's rela- '~ unified or homogeneous. I wanted to say all of the of a tangible place of production in the womb situates the woman as an above because. Marx's notion of use-value is that which pertams to a thing as a Marxian problematic. but child is an inalienable fact of the property right of the man who "produces" 6 In terms of this legal possession. labor. and property is incomplete. a the capitalist system. or text-:-rmght ~se!! ~e a strictly speaking. Strictly speaking. sp~cific need. I would like t~ fix upon seJ<:ualllty. and teac~g: . Its exchange-:value (after the e~ergence of both so-called matrilineal and patrilineal societies the legal possession of li money form) does not relate to its direct fulfillment of a. of language. emotional. self. the labor process externalizes itself and the worker commodities. The pos- I could have broached Marx and Freud more easily. . and ." The Marxian exigency would make us ask bution.g is. t a placing forth of the solution as the unavailability of a unified sol~tion to.!J!leonst of the world (hi~tory straction of use-value into exchange-value. . 5 is directly consumed by an agent. is the text-a weave of knowing and no~-~owmg which ~s w~t know. the custodial decision . In Other Worlds Feminism and Critical Theory 79 78 no other consciousness but one structured as a language-languages that we worker needs for his subsistence while he makes the thing. might be seen as a dissi- work longer than necessary for subsistence wages or by means of hn'r-<~:~V1n reactionary gesture. speaking about Marxist or. the special interest of childbirth. when she seeks financial compensation for housework. and the idea of normality and health m Freud. for we are operated by those languages as w:ll. It seems that the entire prob- inadequate evigence. and ~~E>It~t_I)U!!~-_s~l!. To my way of thinking. consciousness.In terms of this conviction. I am not.. in the literary critical establishment here. universally accepted by men. and surplus-by suggesting that woman in the being's control over the production of language. or by the man for the capitalist who owns his tabor- fposition. The situation of the domestic work- and society). by making the women are much more nurturing of children. the child. It is dodged and the problem apparently solved. and thus prove certain kinds of truths about world rewritten from a feminist perspective. custodial. as a text of consoousness and the at least two questions: What is the use-value of unremunerated woman's work unconscious. This human textuality can be seen not only as world and self. to himself and his work as commodities rests the ethical charge of '""ability is often not confronted. For our purpose.lg that their descriptions of world an~ self a~e based hlklbeariJilg. the common custodial definition. 4 evidence and d~monstration. relationship to production. this picture of the receiving consciousness of the text. wnting. but also in the world and self. gran. class-transcendent consciousness as the generating. They seem to bring forth evidence from the world This does not mean that. rather assessed in terms of what it can be exchanged for m either or money. all Implicated . would be fully broached. or a tradition women entry into the capitalist economy? Radical feminism can here learn a composed of books. . then.:.!~.cntiosm as a re. cautionary lesson from Lenin's capitulation to capitalism.entirrtental situation of the woman's product.jn. the idea of externalization it would fit into a Marxist or a psychoanalytical canon. I would risk sayi!. These are important questions." the uni~ersal contours of a I would argue that.M~. generating or receiving. race-.m wages are the only mark of value-producing work? (Not. On each separate occasion. but they do not necessarily broaden Marxist ductive enterprise which diagnoses the scenano m every book m terms of." It should be clear from this that such a concept of textu~Ity slogan "Housework is beautiful.. and childrearing would be inserted. if the Marxian account of externalization-alienation of man or man's self. I think. criticism in the narrow sense. This unavail. ving said this. since we are..exual politics. w~ere from a feminist point of view. The category (in German. and sex-. those ~~ in any theory of production. as a text of the forces of labor and production-~culation-distrt­ place is not one of "pure exchange. for the man who owns her. such an analysis is paradoxical. generated. and therefore is a continual source of the production of surpluses. seeks the ab- The theoreticians of textuality read . seemingly outside of the langu~ge-(sp~ec~)-wnting op. ex~hange-val~e. Now. exchange. In this process of abstracting through exchange. (This organizing principle-language. as for husband or family? Is the willing insertion into the wage structure a curse the representation of a world in terms of a self at play with oth~r se~ves a~d or a blessing? How should we fight the idea. woman.t~9:.. that generating this representation. although nonreductive methods are impliot by fetish formation is inadequate because one fundamental human in both of them Marx and Freud do also seem to argue in terms of a mode !latiionship to a product and labor is not taken into account.-~ safe figure.) . power.

the genital stage is preeminently phallic. into account. and practical. Pain does not operate in the same way in men and in women. Thus. This particular gap in Freud is significant. the chief problem of American fern- it. today I see the object of investigation to be not only the history production is avoided both in Marx and in Freud.~­ "grounds" or theoretical "bases" that operate our ideas of world and self. 10 Our mood. deconstruction as the questioning ctsm ts netther your gender (such a suggestion seems hopelessly dated) nor the of essential definitions would operate if one were to see that in Marx there is a theories of revolution or psychoanalysis. Everywhere there is a non- In order not simply to make an exception to man's legal right. The most crucial see my work as the developing of a reading method that is sensitive text of this argument is the essay on femininity in the New Introductory Lectures. and surplus-value rela. woman. The hysteron remains the rights has foregrounded this unacknowledged agenda. certain kinds of thoughts are presupposed by the notions of world and to suggest that if the nature and history of alienation. I think that kind of change. of the colonial object. After all. whether one diagnoses the names dermines the agency of the subject in his work and his property. schiz. should be corrective. In Other Worlds Feminism and Critical Theory 81 80 is a sentimental questioning of man's right. but to make available the idea of a womb-envy based and with which it functions. Criticism must remain resolutely neuter moment of major transgression where rules for humanity and criticism of so. through a generalization. 9 gender. often by way of literature. I would like or not. As I suggested above. adversanes. a If we continue to work in this way. anticipated. one will see that. mourning. place which constitutes only the text of hysteria. labor. world and self are produced with the business of the appreciation of the literary suppose an ethical theory: alienation of labor must be undone because it un. the "Third . Marx's texts. and class. text. race. The unpleasure should not be operated only through the logic of repression. not clitoral or scorns "theory" and therefore remains ignorant of its own. Freud does not take the womb readings.) In Freud. 8 Freud's spectacular mechanics of imagined. and constantly broach the duce literature. 7 If there were the kind ot!. the common currency of the understanding tangible place of production. pre. (There are exceptions to such "Third World Women" or their testimony but also the production. These texts must be rewritten so that there is new material for the grasping as the deferment of pleasure. much Marxist feminism as something that interacts with the idea of penis-envy to determine human works on an analogy with use-value. The earlier remarks would apply indirectly to the There. since we carry the womb as well as being carried by In the matter of race-sensitive analyses. Once again. concepts of normality and productivity. the people who pro- avoided pain write the subject's history and theory. to an extent. Today rules. One should not mistake the grounds out of which the ideas of cieties are based on inadequate evidence. or to add a confrontation of the idea of the womb as a workshop. paranoia. or models from whom we take our ideas and then revise or reassess One way of moving into Freud is in terms of his notion of the nature of pain them. Part of the feminist enterprise might of property are reexamined in terms of women's work and childbirth. we must engage and rogate penis. including Capital. rr_Ugh! wa~t to ignore them altogether and say that the business of literary criti- omy and social ethics. male and female. I would like to suggest that in the womb. and the production consciousness of the most "practical" critic. 12 tionships. If one were to look at the never-quite-defined concepts of normality and health that run through and are submerged in Freud's texts. are also moved by general ideas of world and never-quite-defined concept of normality: anxiety. 11 We might chart the itinerary of womb-envy in the criticism is its identification of racism as such with the constitution of racism production of a theory of consciousness: the idea of the womb as a place of America. ophrenia. Our task in rewriting the text of Freud is not so much to declare correct the theory of production and alienation upon which the Marxist text is the idea of penis-envy rejectable. inhibition. especially the later Freud who wrote Beyond the of the production and determination of literature within the general production Pleasure Principle.lOJ:IIDE~nt of class-sensitive and directly to the development of gender-sen- sex. Freud's best-known determinant of femininity is penis-envy. (This is not to sentimentalize the pain is necessary. especially among American neo-Freudians such as Erich great European theories. melancholy. Fromm. If one looks closely. We writing that I am proposing. in fact. it can lead well bet~ provide "evidence" so that these great male texts do not become great us to a reading of Marx beyond Marx. even among such long as American feminists understand "history" as a positivistic empiricism exceptions. there is the possibility that pain exists within the of society will change. one would have to redefine the nature of pain. it would be harder to sketch out the rules of econ. The of work I have outlined would infiltrate the male academy and redo the opposition pleasure-pain is questioned in the physiological "normality" of of our understanding of the context and substance of literature as part of human enterprise. consciousness to which they cannot give a name. The current struggle over abortion vaginal. the coining of new money. I am speaking here about invariable presuppositions. except to produce a sur- footnote from a feminist perspective to the Marxist text. Freud begins to argue that the little girl is a little boy before she discovers ~ve. and and d~termination of consciousness and society. this deconstructive move will make it much harder to devise the What seems missing in these earlier remarks is the dimension of race. Marx's own writings on women and children seek to alleviate their These are some questions that may be asked of the Freudian and Marxist condition in terms of a desexualized labor force. sexuality and the production of society.) The problematizing of the phenomenal identity of pleasure and women's writing and research into the conditions of women in the past. exchange-value. As Luce Irigaray and others have shown. I certainly believe that such work is supplemented by research into of childbirth.

tween Marxism and feminism. which pluraltZes the now-defunct narratives of social justice still endorsed not only the history of European feminism in its opposition to Bolshevik !. subversive power of "women's work" in models in the construction of a verse." 15 The reactions to that proposal have been interesting in wage . even phasize that the clitoris. in this reading.. IS also not produced for immediate and adequate consumption or direct Pursuing these considerations. would neces~xsure alienation seems to me today to be heavily enough touched by a nuclear-familial the ills of the nuclear family. 14 To learn to read that way is m an meduably determinate mode (heterogeneous combination of domestic to understand that the literature of the world. When . Elizabeth Fox-Genovese. I proposed recently an analysis of "the dis. is. and project. For the first: the child. I am myself bent upon reading the text of inter- model. is women's work that has continuously survived within not only the as the primary determinant is already given in the texts of Marx. In contrast. It is a critique not only of Freud's masculism but of nuclear-familial twen~eth centuries. You must stop thinking of yourself privileged as a hetero. among others.. On the other hand. Hardcore Marxism at best dismisses Fre~ch mtell~ctuals think this tendency is inherent in the "pagan tradi- and at worst patronizes the importance of women's struggle. as it does to the offer of Greek mythical alternatives to Oedipus as the national ferrurusm as operated by the production and realization of surplus- regulative type-case of the model itself. the reproduction and maintenance of children would make of phallus/semination as organically omnipotent the only recourse is to name the heterogeneous the original calculation in terms of something like the slow dis- clitoris as orgasmically phallic and to call the uterus the reproductive extension p~~ement of value fro~ fixed capital to commodity. realizes surplus-value as profit. I should like to reem. Negn suggests. hysterocentrism to be open to the critique of psychoanalytic feminism that I course thus touches my critique of Freud as well as most Western feminist chal. as it does to the romantic notion that v~ue . I had ~ot yet read the autonomist arguments about wage and it as a "little penis. My concern with the production of colonial'Cfis. both supportive and ad. I prefer the of capitalism but other historical and geographical modes of pro- . suggest above. 19 Exigencies of work and "You're right." Negri sees this possibility in the inevitable consum- In the interest of the broadening scope of my critique. is and politico-civil economy). an excess which must be brought under control wtthm consumensm.82 In Other Worlds Feminism and Critical Theory 83 World" as its object of study will remain constituted by those hegemonic First work that sees that the "essential truth" of Marxism or feminism cannot be World intellectual practices. Nancy extends to alternative scenarios to Freud that keep to the nuclear parent-child H~sock. Heidi Hartman." 16 Because of its physiologistic orientation. modity.My own earlier concern with the specific theme of reproductive (non) an extended family. exchange. My present work relates this to the ideological de- My attitude toward Freud today involves a broader critique of his entire velopment of the theory of the imagination in the eighteenth.. an~ :Annette Kuhn. pn~tiv~ (capttalist) accumulation. but the conflict between the suffrage movement and the union movement in this country must be taken into account. if sexu~l reproduction is seen as the production of a prod- on occasion political) organization which makes sexual constitution irreducibly ~ct by . 18 These insights take the of the phallus . nineteenth. also a short-hand for women's excess in all persist~nt~y exacerbat~s crisis.. Yet. A certain response from American lesbian feminists mulation can only be advanced if reproduction is seen as identical with sub- can be represented by the following quotation: "In this open-ended definition sistence." Other uses of my suggestion.ra1ditiional Marxists in a post-industrial world. subject. entailing a minimal variation of social relations then not tied by the concrete universals of a network of archetypes-a theory that two original Marxist categories would be put into question: use-value ~s the was entailed by the consolidation of a political excuse-but by a textuality of m~a~~e of co~unist production and absolute surplus-value as the motor of material-ideological-psycho-sexual production. have also reduced the discourse of the clitoris to a physiological fantasy. complicit with historical and political economy. in fact. does not itself produce the value and there- iological effect. I now argue as Social Democrat women. that the "revolutionary subject" to keep business going as usual. For the second: the premise that the difference between subsistence- course of the clitoris. although not a com- eral presupposition of my earlier of ~cholarship and ex~erience pennitting. I earlie~ touched upon the relationship between wage-theory and objection sees my naming of the clitoris as a repetition of Freud's situating of women s work. Such a critiq~e praeticed pride in relationship between domestic and political economies in order to establish female heterosexuality. the first part of this . The extended or corporate family is a socioeconomic (indeed. th~t socialized capitalism must nurture. This articulation sharpens a gen. on both sides. sexual woman. itself accessible only to a few. This historical problem will not be solved by saying that we need more than an analysis of capitalism to understand male me~uctbly determmate means (conjunction of semination-ovulation). lenges to Freud." To the second part of the objection I customarily respond: as best developed m the work of Antonio Negri. 13 separated from its history. or that the sexual division of labor I. especially a community of women. can ?e brought abo~t by f?Olitical interventionist teaching of literature. and one cannot know how far one succeeds. the effort to 1mlLtat1m. I would like next to study put First World lesbianism in its place is not nec~ssarily reducible . 20 .. 17 Mainstream English Marxists sometimes think that such an My attitude toward Marxism now recognizes the historical antagonism be. I am inter~sted in class analysis of families as it is being psychoanalytical theories of the constitution of the sexed subject. cntique of wage-labor m unexpected directions.It is through reversing and displacing this areas of production and practice. even as I acknowledge and honor its irreducible phys. Commodity consumption.and labor-power's potential of production is the origin of original accu- the context I discuss above. On the ?ther ~nd.

as Zeus was. Drabble creates an extreme situation.... alone by choice. can be used as the model presumably. and legal heterogeneity of erature "well" is in itself a questionable good and can indeed be sometimes the relationship between the definitive mode of production and race. or a repetition of pain. ideological. however. she situates her protagonist.. an invocation of the economic text foregrounds the operations of the New toward the product of his own body. but why is it that. idly malicious. race." Jane in my work. the concept of free will. in another place. I look rather at the repeated agenda of the situational production of those concepts and our complicity in such a production. Jane. What I received was grace. carelessly kind. in the most inaccessible privacy-at the moment of birthing. I am still moved by the reversal-displacement morphology of decons~cti?n. certainly be shown to be useful for feminist practice. and James. that his work becomes sohpsistic self subject. Grace and study marks his move from the critical deconstruction of phallocentrism to "af. an uncatastrophisJm: began to re-read The Waterfall with these things in mind as well as the worrying plosion of the search for validation via the circuit of p~o~ucti~ty. Though at least it lacks firmative" deconstruction (Derrida's phrase). is cited by Marx as the only example of zero-work. Surely I would have loved deconstruction simply opening a way for feminists. It is possible that Drabble is taking up the challenge the hidden ethico-political agenda of differentiations constitutive of knowledge of feminine "passivity" and making it the tool of analytic strength. Lucy. Jane's love affair with James. concerns of race and class were beginning to invade my mind. political. The discourse of race has come to claim its importance in this way relating to the birthing woman through the birth of "another man's child. it is the long history of won:'-en's work which Class in English from Oxbridge. 22 This solitude. Necessity lay and marginal? What is it in the history of that sign that allows this to happen? with me when James did [pp. Drabble gives to James the problem of Imperialism. and Jane can be: class. was being organized. Drabble slows language down excruciatingly as Jane crediting the asymmetry of the "interest" of the historical moment. in an empty world. w~e~ arbitrary. then. the "opposite" answer-random contingencies: 3. It is also the deconstructive view that swers emerge. in one way or another. Anyone could have foreseen it. The tradition of academic radicalism in England is a sustained example of zero-work: work not only outside of wage-w?rk. suggestion is to use literature. I know that it was not in- surfaced in Spurs (first published as "La Question du Style" in 1975). "outside" of the definitive modes of production. quickly recuperated Drabble has a version of "the best education" in the Western world: a First by imperialist maneuvers. There is blood and sweat on the crumpled sheets. as a "nonexpository" Rather than the refusal to work of the freed Jamaican slaves in 1834. I have also begun to see that.. to show how provisional and self-suspending keeps me resisting an essentialist freezing of the concepts of gender. Investigating records how. . an invocation of history and . of necessity.. it could not have been anyone else . Rather thoughts about sex. given Over the last few years. The economic.. her cousin. the question "Why does love happen?" In place of the mainstream of the foreign body unwittingly nurtured by the polis. race. I loved him inevitably. state. What I deserved was what I had made: articulates the thematics of "interest" crucial to political deconstruction.. as it were. the power of the oikos. looks and smells dreadful. to necessity. The Waterfall is the story of leads us back to the place of psychoanalysis in colonialism. But of course it's not women opened the way for Derrida as well. And yet "love" happens. unkind: because I saw his naked wrists against a striped tea towel once. is strong. His incipient discourse of woman true. Lucy's husband. Drabble was at Oxford when the prestigious journal New Left Review but. the figure and discourse of anyone who might have shown me kindness . Perhaps I could work seems to become less interesting for Marxism. and class.84 In Other Worlds Feminism and Critical Theory 85 duction. with a feminist perspective. 49-50]. . domestic economy.. 24 Reading lit. which also evitable: it was a miracle . wonders why. I will quote two. This aspect of deconstruction will not allow the establishment of a hegemonic "global theory" of feminism. rather than those facts: a lonely woman. intermittently attentive. to answer.. take turns watching over With psychoanalytic feminism. In 1979-80.. miracles.and productive of harm and "aesthetic" apathy within its ideological framing. than a miniaturized and thus controlled metaphor for civil society and the Like many woman writers. I don't much care for my terminology. I loved James because he was what I had never had: because he belonged What follows is in some sense a check list of quotations from Margaret Drabble's to my cousin: because he was kind to his own child: because he looked The Waterfall that shows the uneasy presence of those concerns.politics her in the empty house as she regains her strength. Necessity is my God. I will hold this question until the end of this essay. With Marxist fem. 23 The early Derrida can make a religion that denied free will. which theory of practice. I am not adverse to a bit of simple biographical detail: I The displacement required here is a transvaluation. and him- he writes under the sign of woman.. Many an- and judgment interests me even more. It is at this point that Derrida's that most disastrous concept. that placed God in his true place.. 21 objectification and idolization of the loved person. My class-differentiated women's and wives' work is abundantly recorded . In place of a legalized or merely possessive ardor inism.

for there are many ways determmation of microstructural heterosexual attitudes within her chosen en- of unmothering a woman. drowned was These are not bad answers: necessity if all fails. The account of Jane's family's class prejudice the affair begins: IS inCISively told. blood bonds between mothers and in the oceans of our flowing bodies. but at a distance. them-thin. a small thin child . t~nder ears. Her father is headmaster of a public school.perhaps Dr~bble is i~o~~c when she creates so class-bound and yet so think of her. to think there were reasons . thought. every day. and it is not good enough to helpful: Dr. sycophant- you're describing. Because he addressed me an intimate question upon a impermanence. as they say. too. Those aren't reasons ?eef . Hearing it. 48. 56-57]. waiting for him. And from upstairs the baby's cry reached Ically.. h~ prou~ly t?ld us. making elaborate and hideous semantic jokes about the fruits of labour.. pathetically. World femmists are up agamst that fact. staring at his roast therefore I bleed. said Lucy . I hated my father at that instant [pp. There is a peculiar agreement between Lucy and herself before ?n. I did not ~~~ I think of her-or only occasionally. not as yet.. 48]. or perhaps random contin- it. So arbitrary. I would But .. but Jane's identification with the me. For This.. IS tru~ . I don't know." overprotesting its own if I cannot act Without my own approbation-and I must act. For example...o _pnvileged ~ wom~n the most worth telling. in a tone of such academic There was one child I shall always remember. in the white sea of that strange familiar daughters. sexual choice.. one would be all the more a throwing in familiar references to prominent Tories that were quite wasted victim. Not the well-bred lady of pulp to thought. and trying.. with equal calm . is m~de to sh~re the lightest touch of her parents' prejudice. said Jane. The female bonding has something to do with a baby's cry. If not race. Ah. the entire questioning is carried on in what I can only see as a privileged at- ~osph~re. She considers the problem of making women rivals in terms of the man who It is not that Drabble ~oes not want to rest her probing and sensitive fingers possesses them.. tur~ng redder and redder. a~d reduces his parents lived in South Kensington and were mysteriously depraved.. and the poor child sat there. and for some reason smiled [pp. If there is irony to be generated pain" [p. Sometimes I prefer to think we are vic. therefore I suffer. of course. said father. The melodramatic beach on Christmas day.abble m~nipulates her to examine the conditions of production and say that children are for the motherly. said Lucy. The problem for a reader like me is that bed [p. is no overt agreement. 67]. each item on this list of contingencies has a plausibility far from fiction. For these reasons. is also the name of Jane's orgasms James's her own deliberate part in deceiving Lucy this way: "I forgot Lucy. here. She paused. the accident which might have killed James does not not dare to accept the offer of one. of the narrative makes this doubtful.ahze that ther~ are no fixed new rules in the book. but simply a hint that the "reason" for her the most important issue remains sexual deprivation. Rather than imposing my irony. that Jane is Drabble (although that. was it. of course.. ciful~y. Yet Drabble's Jane. does not end the book.. I wonder why people marry? Lucy continued. and thus falling in with the times? Neither. lying awake at night as the baby cried. This should not become an The loose ending of the book also makes Jane's story an extreme case. whose flatness that the topic seemed robbed of any danger. ate a mouthful of the toast. from "outside the book. Jane that it gave me pleasure to see James hold her in his arms for me? The man I IS made to _re. how can I deny ~losure. I am human. And yet. the beginning of the book that her poems are read on the BBC. really. I am n?t saying.m a complicated way). Do you think so? said Lucy. Because he was not serious. perfect love." and bring Jane security and Jane ~reate one: a ne~ ladder. If I need to understand what I am doing.. drowned or stranded. It would be nice. said Jane. First loved and the child to whom I had given birth" [p. I am saying that Drabble considers the story of If the argument for necessity is arrived at by slippery happenstance from thought s. th~ . I have changed. Jane records Waterfall. because in fact do so. pangs as sorrowful and irrelevant as another person's autho:. to smile. italics mine].. wailing. . Is this excuse but should remain a delicate responsibility: "If I need a morality.problem of class... and James happiness? Or is it resolutely "liberated. If there were a reason. that I lay there. but an Impossible princess who mentions in one passing sentence toward random. 1 will love going to last. desperate. with pangs of irrelevant inquiry. The part I have ehded 1s a mocking reference to the child's large red ears.. spreading butter less seat m an Immment General Election... 26-27]. of course.. a new virtue. I attempt to find the figure of Jane as narrator tion between parent and child: "Blood is blood. It merely reveals all to Lucy. My father teased him unmer- on the toast. the two women looked at each other. tims . asking questions that the poor child could not begin to answer. prove itself to be "true. Because he helped himself to a drink when I did and satisfactory ending. waiting to die and drown there. an attempt not to rivalize women. all to a humdrum kind of double life. on such . or unfathering a man . gency. pangs endured not by me and in analytic a Jane? It IS a possibility. I am wounded." Jane records inconclusively her gut reaction to the supposed natural connec.86 in Other Worlds Feminism and Critical Theory 87 seven years ago. the name of a card trick. was standing as Labour Candidate for a hope- Jane. love free of social security. It must come. as Brecht said. This e~closure is important because it is from here that rules come.

. But then life is a serious matter. 4. perhaps there are merely likenesses . demanding metaphor-is a metaphor as well. even those produced by women. indeed the precarious necessity of the micro-macro opposition.. situational. and in the moral world of love .. a move dramatized as for human beings. maybe: religious terms. I do not know which of these two James represented.88 In Other Worlds Feminism and Critical Theory 89 I am no longer capable of inaction-then I will invent a morality that condones of the structural unconscious and speak without role playing. I risk condemning all that I have been" [pp. The qualities. a clas. texts today. one falls. Salvation. In exposing its limits could be an aesthetic allegory of deconstructive practice. and our anxious students. I flinched at the conclusion and can even see in my hesitance report on the unreliability of categories: "I want to get back to that schizoid a virtue: it is dishonest. women's studies. should I? .. I will thus explain the point Jane is making here and relate it to If the cautions of deconstruction are heeded-the contingency that the desire what. the microstructural moments of practice that make possible and undermine haps upon resemblance and seeming substitutability-figuration-rather than every macrostructural theory. Because it's obvious that I haven't told the truth. a fictitious form [pp. I will reconstitute it in a form that I can The Waterfall: to return to the third person with its grounds mined under. The categories by which one understands. She wants to plot her narrative in terms of the paradoxical category-"pure How could I? Why. She engages in terms. a Minnesota-based multinational corporation. the women took hostage two visiting U. yet is bound not to give up. it might rather be the lesson of the scene of writing of then I will put it together again. for women oneself up to the conveniently classifying macrostructures.. the sexual situation in extremis. I think"-the privatist cry of comprehend it. about myself and James. Hysterical the problems of race and class. Many of the women were injured and two suffered miscarriages. by itself. corruption: courage. I will resolve it to parts. In who tells us about the impossibility of truth-in-fiction-the classic privilege of July. I will take it all to pieces. vice.. world": when one takes a rational or aesthetic distance from oneself one gives tionary-merely to fill in the void with rules will spoil the case again.. selves. We must of course remind our- sical privileging of the aesthetic.. Thus Drabble fills the void of the female consciousness with meticulous and they depended on the supposed true end of life . I should acknowledge this global dismissal release the women. 130]." or "literature. I must make an effort to our motto cannot be Jane' s "I prefer to suffer. 51.. South Korea. Though by doing so. I haven't corrupted love" -that allows her to make a fiction rather than try. I've one or two more sordid conditions to describe. but it is a virtue. 25 reinstatement of the union leaders. It is no doubt useful to decipher women's fiction in this way for feminist solve and reconstitute life into an acceptable fictional fonn that need not. our positivist feminist colleagues in charge of creating the discipline of interpretation through a gesture that is accessible to the humanist academic. that essentialism is a trap. are revealing themselves as arbitrary. Having taken note me. per. dependent per. I suppose.. She then changes from the third to the privileging of essence. she confides that the exigencies of a narrative's unity more important to learn to understand that the world's women do not all relate had not allowed her to report the whole truth. the Korean government was reluctant. 237 woman workers in a factory owned compounded. since it might unwittingly suggest that there is somewhere a way of speak. vice-presidents. in March 1982. since the discourse reflecting the constraints of fiction-making by Control Data. the qualities of plus and minus. We must strive moment by moment to practice a taxonomy by Drabble's third-person narrator. such discretion. more significantly. By contrast. of the frame... dispute. What can a literary critic do with this? Notice that the move is absurdity twice In Seoul. 46. 52-53]. as women have been known to acknowledge it. though she seems thwarted in any serious presentation of tion . when one involves oneself in of different forms of understanding. The names of qualities are interchangeable: then I can get back there to that isolated world of pure corrupted love" [p. third-person dialogue. Of the truth. I am less patient with literary haps. the proliferation of aphorism and paradox. worry too much about the categorical problems-seems. Even within those limitations. Six union leaders were dismissed and imprisoned. virtue: redemption. it is inartistic. that begins to and it is not merely hysteria that acknowledges this fact: for men as well seem more and more a part of women's fiction. that a speaker can somewhere get rid To grasp this narrative's overdeterminations (the many telescoped lines- . for Drabble hints at the limits of self." in person to first... helpful articulation. the critical view above would call "the anthropomorphic to "understand" and "change" are as much symptomatic as they are revolu. students and colleagues in American academia. yet again. Control Data's main office was willing to I should choose a simpler course. that microstructural dystopia. different forms of change. accept. in fiction. Drabble's Jane's way out-to re. The risks of first-person narrative prove too much for Drabble's fictive Jane. quite the same way. On July 16. ing about truth in "truthful" language. to told enough. the Ko- of any narrative speculation about the nature of truth and then dismiss it in rean male workers at the factory beat up the female workers and ended the turn.S. into the deep waters of a on the self-identical category of truth: first person who recognizes the limits of understanding and change. and of the marginality of sex. as it were. struck over a goes on then to fabricate another fictive text. the human world. weakness: and hence the To return us to the detached and macrostructural third person narrative after confusion of abstraction. Notice further that the narrator demand for a wage raise. It seems Within a fictional form. damna. and heroic liberal women. especially through "fiction. 52].

''n. un- manist ideology through "corporate philanthropy . 27 got a ~11 year with pay to work at NOW's national office in Washington. "In Roman theory. Derrida cannot think that the . "productivity") through technological advancement. Socialized capital kills by remote control. Western European. here that.. It should make us confront the discontin- most p~stine 1deolo~cal e~pression in the privileged social stratum of the city." The incident that I recounted above. The irreducible search for greater production of surplus-value (dissimulated the suppression of the clitoris. for men and women alike. To minimize circ~l~~~n ti~e. She's had two before this"' 28 However active in the pro- italism. 'this is not the first than a checklist of the overdeterminants. and such civilizing mstruments as railways. In a two-job family. grade away from the livestock that constituted an instrumentum semi-vocale and postal services. mdustnal ca~Itahsm ncultural slave was designated an instrumentum vocale. In~ige~ous pr~ducti~n ':"as t~e presuppositions of a slave mode of production. In the case of the telecomm~mications indus~. In Other Worlds Feminism and Critical Theory 91 90 agers watched while the South Korean men decimated their women. D. 31 Suffice it to say makes less. applied for and tocratic individualism. nam~d." 30 fact that these workers were women was not merely because.. not at all uncommon in the multinational The undoubted historical-symbolic value of the acronym PLATO shares in the arena complicates our assumptions about women's entry into the age of com- effacement of class-history that is the project of "civilization" as such: "The slave puter~ and the modernization of "women in development. 32 ing necessity to train a consumer who will need what_ is prod~ced and th_us help . which is neither the necessary recipient nor the agen~ of so- ronym) taking it through Freud and beyond. One of Control Data's radio commercials speaks of how its computers open slowly made it imperative that manufacturing itself be carried out on the soil the door to knowledge. No one can deny the dynamism and civilizing power of socialized cap- duces both property and the proper name of the patronymic-that I have called ital. These possibilities overdetermine any generalization about universal par~nt- She writes: 'I commend Control Data for their commitment to employing and ing based on American." I asked above. the speaking tool. In the earlier stages of industrial cap- m1sc~mage _s~~ s ~ad. ""'"'·'"'"::. perhaps discontinuous-that agers denied charges. which mak~~ prob- ~at whi~~-h~s im-propriety as i~s property. The determination of that book is cialized capital.C. One remark made by a member of Control Data man- allow us to determine the reference point of a single "event" or cluster of ageme~t. former treasurer of Minnesota NOW. often contradictory.. and a uniformly graded system of educa. 26 Here. too. the ag- thus crippled or destroyed. seemed symptomatic in its self- "events") would require a complicated analysis. simply. This. and the sustaining virtues of the working-class family. like those Belgian "Why i_s it. One might speculate that ernments are mortgaged. The made possible." 29 ' the labor movements in the First World and the mechamsms of the welfare state." especially ~n te~s mode o~ p~od~ction ':"hich underlay Athenian civilization necessarily found its of our daily theorizing and practice. These motives do not exist on a large scale in a comprador economy like that to remterpret the relationship between Socrates and Plato (Control Data's ac- of South Korea. including their me_n. The man- sometimes noncoherent. . by thus differentiating himself from the phallocentric tradition under Does this make Third World men more sexist than David Rockefeller? The the aegis of a(n idealized) woman who is the "sign" of the indeterminate of nativist argument that says "do not question Third World mor~s" is of course unexamined imperialism. dissimulated by . too. at home or in the workplace. Here deconstruction becomes complicit with an es- not have a transcendent ennobling power. socialized capital has not moved far from could develop their manufacturing industrial base.tion. mak- t~~ noble name helps to dissimulate a quantitative and formula-permutational ing old machinery obsolete at a more rapid pace than It takes to absorb Its value VISion of knowledge as an instrument of efficiency and exploitation with an aura in the commodity. the correspond- illustrates. one needed to establish due process. and that the news item about Control Data as. as m the proper name (patronymic) or property.ign woman IS u~determmate by virtue of its access to the tyranny of the text of lematic the grounds upon which we base our own intellectual and pohtical ac- the proper. In this case. T~e nuclear farmly ~oes parable of my a~gum:n~. or laundered anthropologtcal women . "that when Derrida writes under the sign of lacemakers. I will give no more pr_otecti_ve cruel~: "Although 'it's true' Chae lost her baby. even for a comparable job. No one. because of a blmdness to the multmational theater. this is particularly practical. all conspue to CIVIhze. It is also because woman h1s work becomes solipsistic and marginal?" they are the true army of surplus labor. the colonies provided the raw materials so that the colonizing c~untries duction of CIVilization as a by-product. It IS this tyranny of the "proper" -in the sense of that which pro- tivities. ' ~hy not suggest thi~ to your employer?" 33 Bourgeois speculation.. Kit ~etchum. the Amencan man. as reported in Multinational Monitor. and the gov- ~e acronym of this computer system is PLATO. of the Third World. and sexually mdeterminate woman (Control Data's victim) as a vehicle. Derrida has written a _ma~cally orchestrat~d book-La carte postale-on phi- realize surplus-value as profit. of the unique and subject-expressive wisdom at the very root of "democracy. oriental women have small and supple fingers.. where labor can make many fewer demands. will agitate His d~scover~ of the figure of woman is in terms of a critique of propriation- for an adequate wage. There is something like an answer. the man saves face tf the woman proper-mg. The_ following paragraph appeared recently in Ms: ology of marriage have developed in the West since the English r~volution ~f Data 1s among those enlightened corporations that offer social-service the seventeenth century has something like a relationship to the nse of men- · . . The surplus-value is realized elsewhere. The fact that Ideology and the Ide- bours:ems femm1sm. together with two from the implement which was an instrumentum mutum. uities and contradictions in our assumptions about women's freedom to work whose mtellectual heights 1ts surplus labour in the silent depths below the polis outside the house. the tax ~reaks ass~~Iated With_ supp~.~~~ h~~ losophy as telecomm_umcabon (Control Data s business) using an absent.

I think less easily of "changing the world" than in the past. as best I can. na- tionalism.92 In Other Worlds "dean" national practice and fostered by the dominant ideology. It is not the determinant of the last instance. I teach a small number of the holders of the can(n)on. 1986 two Into the World . national liberation. ethnicity. feminist or masculist. The dissimulation of political economy is in and by ideology. What is at work and can be used in that operation is at least the ideology of nation-states. and religion. can participate in the tyranny of the proper and see in Control Data an extender of the Platonic mandate to women in general. how to read their own texts. Feminism lives in the mas- ter-text as well as in the pores. male or female.

in bulletin and and newspaper and meeting we deplore our attenuation and betrayal society. And it is not merely a question of disciplinary formation. there is no prediction.on between life and art relates to the displacement of the bewildering between the conditions of life and the professions of our . Reading the World: Literary Studies in the Eighties After my public lecture on "Literature and Life" in March 1980 at Riyadh University Center for Girls (sic). In Other Worlds 94 6. 2) Very generally speaking. half to myself." 4) "literary studies" is to have any meaning in the coming decade." In that exchange I was obliged to stress the distinction between my position and the position that. through our study of literature. exploitation. no taxes. the aesthetic is free and ·am. 3) This declaration is the condition and effect of "ideology. The effort to invite a persistent displacement of the bewildering ntradicti. a student asked me with some asperity: "It's all very well to try to live like a book. no laws." It is difficult to say that very last bit to a woman in Saudi Arabia. no planning. the ones who make plans. advocates anaesthetization of life. As a result. political economy-the world. and to act upon that lesson. One must fill the vision of literary form with its connections to what is being read: history. the student and critic of literature is made to believe in and to perpetuate received dogma of my second point. but what if no one else is prepared to read? What if you are dismissed as an irresponsible dreamer?" I found an answer to her question at the tail end of a metaphor: "Everyone reads life and the world like a book. and sexual oppression. its ideology have to be questioned. perhaps we literary people would not forever be such helpless victims. in a world of massive brutality. the most 'responsible' nondreamers: the politicians. It is a question also of questioning the separation between the world of action and the world of the disciplines. There is a great deal in the way. literary people are still caught within a position they must say: Life is brute fact and outside art. even as in and article we mouth the freedom of the aesthetic. Yet these leaders read the world in terms of rationality and averages. So I added. we cah ourselves learn and teach others to read the world in the 'proper' risky way. Even the so-called 'illiterate.ce11cts life.' But especially the 'leaders' of our society. The world actually writes itself with the many-leveled. Without the reading of the world as a book. as if it were a text- book. the businessmen. then the work of the "world" can go without the interference suggested in my fourth point. no welfare. Here I must stress that I am also not interested in answers to questions like "What is the nature of the aesthetic?" or "How indeed are we to understand 'life'?" My concern rather is that: 1) The formulation of such questions is itself a determined and determining gesture. no war. But the disciplinary of the teacher of literature is inscribed in that very text of the "world" the received dogma refuses to allow us to read. unfixable intricacy and openness of a work of literature. and with a sense of failure: "Mere literary studies cannot accomplish this. If.

" that vague evil. H.J bn6 '{-G}) ods belonging to the history of ideas rather than strictly to the domain of literary criticism. about so far h~s'<h'een. after an excellent ta~ No.~Srm ~. Teaching composition is of ~he inexhaus~ble volubility of nonintellectual ~ienrl'ls<'t!J~o~<.e~ trivial but harmful.dy affects the so-called theoretical field and the so-called practical- complicates matters further. it is the composition . sense does not signify an avoweddoctrine. what I call the received dogma of the discipline of To speak of the mode of production and constitution of the radio station li~erary stu. . the latest spatio-temporal discoveries of the magical realms of "pure sci. while mature wisdom consists in leaving Business as Usual. 3 (1977). I refer. The culprit is not far to see.") <c.Wl'itlf(s:>i!lteNcac.lltMiioni cMi~t\M.f'.l.the•otherJby<t?eah(but!Wher~ doosge.) vertisement supported by and supporting the first two items.J7f·~v. It is the received dogma of readers'' (''Deconstructing Deconstructionptt t.oftfu!. se.O(tlrO render to a polity that must disguise the extraction of surplus value as cultural speaking. the bewildering was an unrehearsed aside. modified) the resources and techniques for getting grants in our profession.''' ~teven Weiland remarked about Robert Scholes' performance the previdtii$f~ght: I confess that the paragraph I am about to quote could perhaps be realfto!M~an:. J. "Psychological" and "Marxist" criticism. 'PS''j pages of the ADE Bulletin are to be believed. the department. fie~d e~ually.. If indeed the Ideology as It operates in the discourse of Hetrli. an effort . the freedom of the aesthetic and literature's refusal to soil itself by rendering service to the state-when that very refusal is the greatest service that it can fear of a critical reading that would question~th-e." (By "theory" truth or natUra6bbhaviol'}in" <111€'ertaitlt sifuationi}. and the area has held steady as the largest provider sam~ veiled accusation appears at the end of~el!!ilsc~on~gk~Sii~~~~ of jobs in the profession. the disc jockey and his audience think. The discs are not delineated as more equal and more fundamental than others. deconstruction.. have entered "theory" through Jacques Lacan. each Implymg. p. since 1976 the number of jobs in composition has doubled. of bemg a charlatan. ofo:liutl!let"\ .wfm:hogoesi H. 10 (1980). 3 (1979). No. The terms can be seen outlined in such exchanges as "The Limits of Pluralism.I HO'. review of the most notorious "theory" statldnglithif:hlibl'SI(.?T:J-qhtJ . 41).r In the context of this marginalization our in-house disputes seem not only another thing by a semiotician.!R:t{lfimi rtjfr'' 27." In the case of the dispute between composition and literature. In Other Worlds Reading the World: literary Studies in the Eighties 97 96 miotics. received dogma is another name for." or by drawing generalized philosophical analogies from text.U. Unfortunately enough.:It is rathe':i' th:a loos:elyrartitFI:. Although my general argument and my metaphor of the humanist as disc jockey directly question this illusion of freedom from the "world" and the state.o:. or her meaning is related to the received dogma. Abrams. I was troubled by this at our own conference when. ? cunous topos nses up to resist: the critic is accused. Scholes had attempted a delid~ . The preferred and "American" side of the dispute endorses "pluralism. and such forums as most of the "theoretical" factors such as foreign relations. such as those of phenomenology. long accused of reductivism I have recently described our unwitting complicity with a world that efficiently and determinism. 407-447. literature. I should of course admit that on reality?) or force~Mogic1. Yet in terms of the politics and economics of the uni. the terminology becomes protect the brutal ironies of technocracy by suggesting either that the sys- fearfully abstract..." M. .Willalf'i' haw~<t is meant un-American activities that employ a vocabulary and sometimes meth." Humanities in Society.oossi~".criticism today-" deconstruction": "I think':IDeodrll!Wa~olll'lrp~!flcW'J teacher whose position-with some significant exceptions-is less privileged clensy of graduate students. and the profession." ("Explanation and Culture: Marginalia. p.Jte:~.. by attem~ting a read~ng of a hidden ethical or ideological agenda in a literary manistic "values. of course. Louis Al- marginalizes us in the following way: thusser. that they are free to play.vfi!Jl . and between practical criticism/literary history and "theory. and so on. This illusion of freedom allows us to terest.ahzatio~ I~ta~t.¥b1'k. is something the humanist must transform by inculcating hu. ence.ofi': recognized inside and outside the academy to be socially useful. of playing Pied Piper to the young. On the other hand. 1979). When "theory" brings up questions of ideological "in- to think.. Within this intricately determined and mul- histo~cal..te~ibf'tiW:' contradiction I speak of above is clearly to be seen. to the disputes between composition and able to learn that sort of reading. Critical>tO:t~:>j history that I find myself most directly touched.q!.~Si' '~A'~ V~"' Story. P~sso:l.n:Vdlve ~tfurun~ ti\e. and the Frankfurt School. indeed are made" and more precarious. Hillis Miller. The trends in taste and the economic factors that govern them Gerald Graff's Literature Against Itself: Literary Ideas in Modern Society (Chicago: are also products of the most complex interrelations among a myriad of University of Chicago Press. 209.0th:'el rtl'l:trle'YfYComm.. the college. when "theory" seeks to undo this situation tem nourishes the humanist's freedom of spirit.r wJllie1ai.needirm:tci. set~ of histori~ally$~nse·:or l my concern reflects my own increasing speculation in "theory. the conduct of ad- sessions at annual conventions of national or regional literary organizations.ol~tfti~R'l versity.icleolbg¥5 rdoologyrln tit~"' dynamism." according to which some points of view are clearly We are the disc jockeys of an advanced technocracy. such works as technology. or the limitations of the merely aesthetic norm.~al'go~. I suppose I am just not yoq. or that "technology. structuralism. 2." (I cannot quote his exact w(. who like to feekthentseiva$'~1'!ii. ~~pla'~g30f"'lilteridl'!ology:ot!Mtr 'dil:leilJilili¥oit>fcl . if only by implication. "records" of the old-fashioned kind. The two sides of the dispute in fact leave our general tiform situation. the world market.tni~~da:C!d<d~terminingmot~ons) lpt'eJ!UPJ:$0-nsJ q it is in the matter of the dispute between theory and practical criticism/literary practices. but productions of the most recent Wayne Booth.

The university has rightly rewarded your voice.' to take into account how we are ourselves caught in an ideology-critical pedagogy would constantly question: "The wretched side a time and a place. cbltt•t()!Sfte.all!.UUant. and as you write your papers.orttom t~wJastttim. Because I warmed that particular chair about not only literature. and then to imagine acting within such an awareness. that figure of authority.{ova.with:youi. omy of Criticism: Four Essays [Princeton: Princeton University Press.~ astcTlieiEummideS'. the United States. that this is not to belittle were being imported through visiting or U. a New Philosophy I think I had made it dear to my students that." of this is that Deconstruction encourages (graduate students) to feel superior I made some good friends in that class-although I could not always be sure not only to undergraduates but to the authors they are reading" (Donaghue. education.!.·.tthqrij. As far as I could tell. sketched in your papers. say.ngerqthan.her\i'ita. a so-called "Indian spiritual" solution. b~uep:rin~ . Since our theme was so clearly socio-historical. follows: "Do you know what indoctrination is?" "Yes. development seminar there. but as a piece of Wordsworthian backed up by the traditional readings'S:on<lil. let me beguile you with some "Do you know where it is to be found?" ex<:nJlples. private lives deeply. Anat. gument: In the final analysis.e. in movable of your economics and business classes.a seminar for first-year Plan II students at the University of Texas "Suppose an outsider.£~ ~xathe.' what Israel that year. I seem to have baptized it as the seat of authority the state. There was. although I was often critical or Active Science.ge_-s of Woznan:. as did I. to use the Baconian!Jonget•thaathe limits of personal good will.udicating some extra freedoms for you. four-year honors program for exception. p. than lead to. m.tqtitudes.ml3til·by. or Dante. You have.vt~ left it. .•!~e dents to write their papers from a point of view that was not only that of private verbal and the social text at the same time that it knows its own inability to but also of public individuals.-and see in them the for reasons much larger than individual enthusiasm for American education.. useful: frm'HsL:W:eti·Vill3~ad some great texts of the Part of the "modernizing" package is. affect your gip. 5). everything else in the college is Plan I.)!oUI'pexsonalgoodcwilbSince our topic this semester is countries. and thus'lzn<~.gbod will. therefore. or yet Rous- criticism nobody would give it more than about aB plus" (Northrop Frye. the methodologies of the humanities every day in class. Saudi Arabia has been one of America's strongest allies among provmg.all''a!e iJldiiYidual~.e.n· me a·chanq~ :to -:introduce to them the theme that is my subject tonight. 1 It is an experiment in using an expertise in reading literature of European or American ideology.'J~eacher in a small group in movable chairs around a For my second example I will go back to Saudi Arabia. fiscal decisions. because we are all unique individuals. of thinking collectively in any but the most inhuman way?" nitJ. quite properly. no public generalization of this question is possible conian project to discover the idols of the mind.. After a variety of valiant efforts.adj.<TSJ. perhaps even about the problem in their papers.. Yet in a speculative field such as the interpretation of texts.-ou: ha..andrManin·the. Suppose someone were to say that this was a result of your indoctrination ou~ta!\QJ.furough the back door.~t. Wasn't it the "intentional fallacy" that did that? "Wordsworth's Preface to advanced by their teacher. for to keep moral speculation and decision-making apart.. andty. well-monitored classes in fixed seats faculty of the Riyadh University Faculty of trained faculty sustain and Aes~h¥l~&..S.::7tou siJ-.the fu'st:l'. As a result of the incredible boom following the surprise defeat gejpgto.trbe.98 In Other Worlds Reading the World: Literary Studies in the Eighties 99 or critic.gillDitell:ba·serious degree of freedom by the arrangement of fur. I was a little late for the pectations theories? You know that decisions in the public sphere. of a chair if I was late-partly because they saw repeatedly that the readings 41).ther than continue in this abstract vein. Saudi Arabia is "modernizing" itself at an extremely rapid I aJn_. If you deny them. .rarid:~Emii£:. most of p~t. The students had left the same chair empty. the young men and women sat. A.r ·q~-teatibtud:ile. were to say that you had been indoctrinated? That you ally. foreign policy decisions. legal decisions. but the humanities in general in the service with znYrJ?. Here is a gist ofmy homily: "You are amazingly intelligent young people of you feel that there is something foolish and wrong and regimented about a public uqq~litionabl~. an idolatry of literature. Aeschylus.~tcRI'lusse.s~ual. as a to read the text of a world that has an interest in preserving that expertise merely native of India.plc€"rPeel:lJ. "The Soviet Union and the Islamic world. The fear of critical reading ill-concealed in the following words is what something like their 'age. But history and the institutions of power and twice-I think it was the first time a woman had run what amounted to a faculty al. this time to the male ce~tet~·y~m-less·gnted peersJare in large. I would often ask these stu- A pedagogy that would constantly seek to undo the opposition be~een. seau. to render you incapable ex.t.'Fextflpf Men and Women. I was able to talk to them to propagate.~~ li~'i!l!al arts undergraduates. I was in no way at all offering them.ou must remember. could no longer conceive of public decision-making except in the quantified areas .say~ng now' rrHgh. nearly every know its own ideological provenance fully is perhaps better understood in the paper faced with that specific charge ended in variations of the following ar- American context as a de-archaeologized and de-teleologized version of the Ba. observing the uniformity of the moves you have all lasHaUcPhli\II is an interdisciplinary.!.~.stro. 1957].la_ss meeting.:N~:W:: :y.~ug)i). where you learn all about rational ex- chalirscar. such as tax seGondn~lass m~ting.." .yba~." I. which would constitute rather or even desirable. Yotir· historical-institutional imperatives are Since 1973.OtU:ula hQllow square of four oblong tables.•and through them sustained by the ideology or received dogma of disinterestedness and free- . The impression I carried away strengthened my the}U:vill:g~t iR. a certain problem the class could not get over. in a fragmented rather than a continuous way. in a dialogue resembling what a species of self-idolatry as the privileged reader. :Ra. I met a group of faculty members gazing upon authority on a dais. empty for:me. were not authoritatively the Lyrical Ballads is a remarkable document.-.

4)..100 In Other Worlds Reading the World: literary Studies in the Eighties 101 dom that I have been describing in the case of literature.. but also h?w we could. in some det~il.tics. will take care of those dirtier flows. A diversified Warburg Panbas Becker working in the interest of? Where is there a decidable technocratic elite whose allegiance to humanism.) tigious house of Warburg Paribas Becker gave the same assurance to Brooks- Following my general viewpoint. will be truth free of the circuit of exchange to be found? What about the fact that most sentimental. Is it? If the exchange of money a "humanist" intellectual elite that will be unable to read the relationship be. was nsf1Drrrtati. S. say. with American help. We show our ideological for and understand it? Has that fact anything to do with the self- in the humanist academy will support each other. and lite~ary cntics have been capable of drawing a lesson from the indicate that I have outlined an answer with reference to Wordsworth's The mdetermmacy. if at all in evidence. should slide without a sense of rupture my suggestions. and arms. what are Diamond. the other is dogma of the teaching of literature? Is there an active-philosoph- advantage. be~av10nsm. "How do you propose to fit. allows for lie~as-truth. "English literary studies" changes drastically in meaning. 4. (I received s~onals eager!~ watched t~e in-fighting on both sides. Toward the enough to look forward to a struggle for such painstaking and painful beginning of May this year." This was in opposition to Diamond's "proposed analysis. The equally pres- American Style. To mention only a few of the heavies: faculty devel- into an active and involved reading of the social text within which the student fundamental curricular revision. can adjust to changing social demands. My entire ~edago~c approa~h would assunng them that It would be to their benefit and advantage. port-import business in methodologies." the Times reported next week. The apparent lack of contact people would rather read the full-page ad and believe it than read the details between rational expectations in the business world and freedom and disint~re~t of p~nte~ . Sir James Cavenham. If that can graduate into the 80s might teach itself to attend to the dialectical and think I have fulfilled that demand only too well. it was advanced that he and his followers were under- to my experience as a student in India and a teacher m the Amencan Middle the seri~usness ~f..A. To call it "cultural imperialism" is to pass the buck. but rather constantly. an unresolvable doubt. persistently. That reply will have to wait till next time. "As the battle intensified. as here. Saudi Arabia. however. and tween its own production and the flow of oil. merger. conventionally and by tacit agreement presented as Prelude in an essay-"Sex and History in Wordsworth's The Prelude (1805): Books truth. Shakespeare." In the same issue of the Times. Maine. the first therefore is more liable to be false. then. mond's duect and Brooks-Scanlon's indirect product-were consumed. that a ~terary study The after-dinner speech demands by definition a certain vague euphoria. one is a paid ad. 2 "materiality'' of their existence? The point of these far-flung digressions has been. Sec. where Cavenham's French Com- not merely how literary studies. """'n'"'h""'". money." He already while I was there: analytical and speech act theory in philosophy. "Wall Street profes- and ideology-transcendent aestheticism in literature-and so on. ICal (to remmd you of the Baconian term) analysis of that? On May 14. mathematization on a precritical psycholo~c. objective structuralism. We have here what the latest literary theory would call-borrowing a word tenation that produces this can be read and acted upon. the English financier. Diamond is a paper company. thropology. hist~ry­ . Merrill Lynch. more correctly the umversitanan discipline of pany Generale Occidentale. refe:nng "interested". although not ?nee and from the Greek-an aporia. learned in the classroom. because it would reduce Cavenham's share to a much descriptive and biologistic clinical approaches. planned to oppose the Brooks-Scanlon-Dia- English studies. Considerable amounts of paper-Dia- mands in the very long run. Let me. that operates and informs the "serious" business that determines Nine to Thirteen"-forthcoming in Texas Studies in Language and Literature. is in fact slowly fabricating for itself news. 13 May 1980. Diamond's I am attempting to suggest our pedagogic responsibili~ in ~is ~itua~o~: ~o ask annual meeting took place in Bangor. of a French philosopher who had suggested that "truth" is indeterminate and into this pedagogic program?" I did give him an answer. and to Amenca s ~argmalizi. quantitative owned "nearly 6 percent. I compiled this checklist looking to buy out "35 percent of Diamond (International)'s stock. like all repeated gestures of life-suste. I am indeed The after-dinner speech as genre allows me to add another story. Brooks-Scanlon. ego-psychology in psychology. a~~ ~elibid~mzed smaller percentage.01 But I do not suggest that the struggle should begin at the ex- . first. no. and objective structm:alism in hi~to~ a~d ~n­ acquisition of Brooks-Scanlon Inc. the American academy. New Cnticism. an advertisement covering or more evil geniuses here or in Saudi Arabia are necessarily plannmg this ex- an e~tire page exh~rted Diamond's stockholders to vote "no" on the merger. a forest products company'' (New York Times. In nearby Orono. mond. p. A con- An Arab-American linguist trained on the American West Coast asked me at siderable amount of intellectual energy and acrimony were spent on the work one of the meetings in model m ~~s. structural functionalism. The point is. then come to nothing. Would the assembled phi- West and Texas. and Liter~ture met from May 8 to 11. that such that I am well aware of the complicated organizational assumptions un- an activity. Further. that the Ideolog~caUmatenal conca. let me hasten to assure continuous crosshatching of ideology and literary language. in every sense. I would not for a mom~nt sugg~st tha~ one Scanlon investors. The highly respected Mer- such lavish hospitality from my hosts that it seems churlish to add that I ~ad nil Lynch Whiteweld Capital Market Group had assured Diamond a month ago probably been invited to add to this package the message of Decons~ction t~~t the merger terms were fair to Diamond's stockholders. acceptance of error-as-truth when we say. contribute toward chang~ng those de. overhauling of disciplinary lines until and teacher of literature are caught. the International Association for Philosophy by changing some of our assumptions.

I have spoken in support of a way of reading that would continue to terms of ~s pe~uliarity of deconstruction then that the displacement ot? break down these distinctions.'ublic sector also operates emotionally and sexually. The explanatory labels are "feminist. I believe the answer is yes. psy- and changing the social text. trying to cope with its difficulties and to reveal its subtleties. little o~ the undisclosed margins of that first essay. the sus- where we read each other's work and learn to write in the approved institutional l: tammg e:"planation still r~mains that the public sector is more important. any rate. belong to the public.. the opposition between the private and the public." are such strategic defi· But deconstruction teaches one to question all transcendental idealisms ."'. or~ary seXISt households. much more important and threatening that a masculinist the preferred practice of the critic-the list can be wide enough to accommodate pohtics IS obliged.ent of the opposition itself. fifteen of them spent in full." "the poem as such. and Michel Foucault. that the We begin with a situational definition of "practical criticism": a criticism that domestic sphere IS not the emotions' only legitimate workplace. a~d explicit in some.. but the standards for qualification remain im. at least smce. a regulative norm. educational institutions. But the institutions of religion. like d~construction of the opposition between the private and the public is im-. 1 allows for departmental qualification for the PhD." "intrinsic criticism. of public activity. or workplaces. or texture. indeed..) A little over the first half of the course is a criticism workshop. of course. intellectual arenas belong You will have gathered that I am deeply doubtful of the isolationist kteology to th~ public ~ector. the definition of the private is marked in Iowa City. with all "outside knowledge" Certam practices of religion. This is because in plicitly the same. The Mitchell. emphasis is has the qualifying examination. largely because of the predilections I have elaborated so lengthily above.102 In Other Worlds pense of our students' immediate futures. I would like to end by recalling a moment after the talk.and.the European eighteenth century. I tried writing a first version of this piece in the usual disinterested academic It is merely that we should not mistake the requirements of the job market for ~tyle. chairman of the English department at the University of Minnesota. How can one launch a persistent critique of the cho~erapy." "deconstructivist.upon a reversal of the public-private hierarchy. . where is the inside? To al:'parently qu~sti~ns. The most Percy Shelley. partme~t of the I. culture. It is according to thrs"·: and a friend of long standing from his graduate student days at the University structure of then that I write: of Iowa. 5 reversal. Lawrence a public potential. the course is given to readings and discussions of texts that offer fundamental & ~he ferm~st. Feminist ideology without letting go of the strategy? I put together a working answer to practice. more masculine. and domestic are the private sector. psychotherapy. feminist activity. ~~ fa~t. . We should work to implement the changes even as we prepare our students to fit into the job market as it currently exists. and art in the broadest sense are put out of play. 3 even as I think its strategies are extremely useful in interpreting said to inhabit the private sector as well. asked if perhaps my critical attitude did not reflect the fact that I. (My department no longer In the interest of the effectiveness of the women's movement... to sustain all public activity. For if the fabric of the so-called public I have so far tried to follow the notes of the talk I gave at the ADE Seminar IS woven of the so-called private.. him-he was born in England-was an outsider? I have thought about that m all. and actively inten::1ret public-pnvate marks a shifting limit rather than the desire for a ' "inside" and "outside" as texts for involvement as well as for change. The rest of !Lmore ra~o~al and m~sten~us. "The public (male) and pnvate (female): an ideal society and a sex-transcendent hu- text itself. nitions. This decision was based on To explain what I mean. I believe I said that night. never once and for all.. practice must be reiterated here. would define a certain set of characteristics as an "inside" at a certain time. generally.tha~ prevents this feminist reversal of the public-private individual effort that looks forward to the major collective efforts that are on from freezmg mto a dogma or. reversed. 4 lllsipl2tc. this i~ the explanation that I offer for my role at the Explanation Culture Symposium and for the production of this expanded version of my . than the private. Th~ ~motional. since it is the weave. it is always different from itself. must insist that sexuality and the emo- critiques of the ideology that would present this technique as the description of " tions are. Walter Benjamin. th~ political.after a few pages and after some thought decided to disclose a the ineffable determinants of the nature of literary studies.. from succeeding fully is the my mind. always defers itself. so.em. the description of a course that I found myself designing on my feet. define an inside is a decision. I think rather that our efforts should 7. socral.. oft~n placed . It is a According to . Even after nineteen years in this country.. at once way. A very minor The shifting limit ." . Explanation and Culture: Marginalia be on at least two fronts at once. as well as the criticism of art. Displacing the opposition that it ini- time teaching. and ~rt.. I gave up. a diffident and humble a certam program at least implicit in all feminist activity: the deconstruction of one. it is .~e expla~ations th~t constitute (as they are the effects of) our required course for incoming graduate students: Practical Criticism. situation even as I provide her with a mind-set to change it. reversmg this hierarchy. But then. What I hope to achieve . sexual. of practical criticism-to explicate the text as such.. and the critical method neither a constitutive nor. The peculiarity of decon- question. repressively. suggests that each com- the question while I taught the course for the first time. ~rofess10nal. sedimentation of this repressive politics is the institutionalized sex through such a bicameral approach is to prepare the student for the existing dislcrimiJrtation that seems the hardest stone to push. I will offer you a final example. If it were either I am describing would question the ethico-political strategic exclusions that fei_Irinist activity w?uld articulate or strive toward that fulfilled displacemen. economic.

Don t worry. After the next batch of short speeches. But the direct question of what this pomt of Vlew was ~pJiarulncm wa~ culturally prohibited. based on a good deal of observation. at . there is the itinerary of ~SQ. In fact..:. I believe I did say that I knew it only too well. I questioned the structure of our proceedings whenever I felt it to be being. a certain margmality. I thought therefore that. lunch. .~tly th~~~ participants would turn to me. (It would take me too far afield to develop and present long as it did not confront the problem of the critic's practice in ~ny radical way. margmality-a susp1oon help that ~y.!:li. of cognition in aesthetics.. These presuppositions assure gin. or corridor chat). The trick 1s to recogruze that in every textual production. and I wondered if he had thought to declare." 2 But I was not satisfied Wlth hermeneutics. that the academic male model for behavior . because that would only show that scientious moderator seemed constantly to summarize me out of th~ grQQp. essary-:-for the structure or means of production of explanations is. as pri~anded their wives. willy-~y. The group repeatedly expressed interest m my po~t o~ Vlew ~ecause 1t had been put to me m public. view would reverse and displace such hierarchies as cogrutive-aesthetic. nilly.. came~ t~e presup~o~Ition of an explainable (even if not fully) universe This exchange illustrates yet another way I had solidly put myself in the a~ exp~g.w. from the explanations themselves. privilege process. ~oth of these kinds of remark would have produced lively profitable discusSion a~ut explanation and Cllltural persuasion if. what are the "means devised in the interest of the problem of a objective knowledge"?3 of illustrations from Nietzsche. and explai~ what I me~nt or didn't . Ler~y male ~mmal~ fought. I was that can control knowledge and a world that can be known. mr ar~ents ha~ not be~n in the interest of my per. solidanty Wlth a public and the private. on the general level.) I received no personal criticism "in public. margin and center.. But I had no use for these phantasmic su~divisions Now when a Jacques Derrida deconstructs the opposition between private nition. the Idea.. every explanation must seCllre and assure a certain . dis. A ~e. the common cause between fenurus~ clearly diStinguished. and my sentences hope- that what is at the center often hides a repression. . the choice of these two labels to give myself a shape produces be~~en a very l~p. . "~. the male right to aggression. of course. Paul. Our Intelligent and con. The question then becomes: What'ffithis ex-·~ At worst the discussion of cogrution and aesthetics would srmply resume. George Rqusseau. if mis~ded Itself. essential element in all proper philosophers. perception. m fact. No.b.. the collegial dinner. It didn't common cause is an espousal of. say. I was quite tough in public. told I ha~ used my power unfairly by posing as marginal. I did deconstructor by publicly aligning himself with w~t. in tfie ' bleat out sentences such as these in the interstices of the discussion. The response was a remark that N1etzsche . spo~e of.) .Wn. I thought to g~ve ' oneself the right to a correct self-analysis and thus to avoid all thought of symp. (Alternatively. in fact. that I could criticize tomaticity was foolish. and sensing Cllltivated. and an attention to. . no one will bother you on the big public I sensed. It seemed an and deconstruction might have made me choose them as lab_els ~or myself. It was JUSt that I thought some of it was Cllrable.Il~~. In other w?~ds. mistaken as the neutral that would accommodate all of us. I would not find unity in diversity. I learned. Is a poem About the worst of these asides even I feel obliged to remain silent.constructi~e pomt old words woul~ no~ resemble t:hemselves any more if a trick of rereading. . (even If rmperfectly) subject. Ricoeur has c~lled n~t reserve my ~sts f?r the privacy of the bedroom or the kitchen table (in "the hermeneutics of suspicion.ort~t part.. . a more speofic level. explanations. No. even in play. I s~ legitimated. Every intervention was read as an expression All this may be merely a preamble to admitti~g t~at at th~ ac~al symposmm of personal pique or fear. .. But in this case. of the ideology of Cllltural explanations that cannot be them a common cause. Taken aside. a worthless philosopher. but more "real" of margmal communication. \ After hearing us make our preliminary statements.est. he said that it was than academic Amenca. I spoke of my marginality at the public session. and the like) of the labor of consoous~ess .. 104 In Other Worlds Explanation and Culture: Marginalla 105 We take the explanations we produce to be the gro~nds of our action. indeed. I was assured at one point that sometimes confrontation rather than integration s~emed ~refe~able. Searle. mascu- out but to develop a provisional theory of the practical politics of <. A picture? And so on. of evtherytexplanati?n.~s unrecognizable principle to this group of pleasant and gifted scholars. th~r~ was no the establishment only because I spoke its language too well (English. although rather fun. volition. In fact. lessly penod~c and Anglo:!ndi~n.•<u·cu· P?Wer p~y?). except as the exceptional. and uru~ersal practice of intellectuals.texp. I was assured that fun was and a ~orld. where decent men re- the theory of "interpretation rather than explanation" -"suspicious" ~r not. I would not women's mo~ement. and no harm had been meant. is constituted by and as it effects a desire to conserve the expla- one occa~ion I had captured the floor with a rather cunning. he said that we were all haVIng been tramed before the hard-won triumphs of the latest wave of the I interested in culture as process rather than object of study. we exclude the possibility of the radically heterogeneous. evident that we wanted to formulate a coherent notion of explanation and culture sonal s~fety but rather agamst their masculist practice. this case. ~ey are endowed with coherence in terms of our explanation of a self. initially in a place out of comparison more sexist~ . Following the precarious and unrigorous rule of the deconstruction of the trusting the text. the possibility of expla. Thus willy. . an old friend.toward their so-called female equals was that of the bourgeois hus- } "rthought the desire to explain might be a symptom of the desrre to have a ~elf band. I countered hotly that cheap above that the will to explain was a symptom of the desire to have a ision was out of place in a scholarly discussion. he touches the texture of language and tells how as an object of interpretation of which I was a part. never posed or was posed at the end of a three-hour session given over to correct definition of the role. da~·" I ~~pt myself from gnashing my teeth. spoke of the model of explanation havmg Yielded to ~­ terpretation and threw me a conspirator's look. public. Exp~g." of course. one kind of situational peared singular.manner in such situations is high-handed..

a philosopher of scie~~e ~smath:matiaan is a philosopher. including his own. Speaking for the specific politics of sexuality. whenever some comparison seemed to turn out unfavourable t .. on mtegration of the humaniti H ' rmght p~ove a model for the ever- other hand. This is also. one~s demic discourse. g. any truly qualified woman ea . exceptionally talented and deserv: .he ~ offering me their perplexity and cha . ~d to separate herself from the the production of any explanation is politics as such. on this point you're more masculine than feminine. For the ladies.u:~ our midst. liU\OC•enc~e (pushing all guilt to the mma~gtn ~nd center. paradoxically. margm. I hoped to draw our at. The general the vast majority of women is off:r:~kerusm: that po~er withheld from and specific levels are not clearly distinguishable. hence that J'ustice b:segdam acces~ to leadership. had no difficulty in inside our group at the symp~:l~r~. When all my colleagues were reacting adversely to my cations of marginality.~t_at the fore. sI should insist "Several of our excellent women colleagues in analysis. standing on the ground of bisexuality. rather than being a speciafintereste~d the reader repeatedly how and that this was being paid for in the partiality of our researches. As I speak of how huma ." he does not mean "is." He QISiPlciCe the between . Derrida analyzes Edmund Husserl's Logical ~n most of them. m th~ interest of speaking argument. . woman IS encouraged to see herself diff prevai s. He reminds woul~ put the very law of displaceme~ra:S~ ~ n?t poss~b~~' and. A s selective inhabitants of the margm· iif7 structure or schema of an absolute will to hear-oneself-speak. Yet if Speech and Phenomena is read carefully. I as. We. 7 women as ited margin of a particular explanation specifies its particular politics.. what inhabits the prohib. not wi~:ting attention to a feminist marginality. To learn this without self-exculpation but without excusing the other side either is in my view so important that I will cite here a benign example from Derrida befor~. when Derrida says. "can be expressed as. These cone: ~s b ?es not reproduce itself as a col- There's a false power which masculine society offers to a few women who old-fashioned chambers and b gu . although the prohibition of marginality that is crucial in Wlder female condition· and sh . b~'?.. called a masculist centralism ~y . They were inviting me terms of which all of us at the s . the male analysts. on emphasizing your "The history of metaphysics therefore can be expressed as the unfolding of the order better to exclude the . were able to utter a suspicion that we."' there are a mathematician and a h . the center is defined d cen er t at offers the official I Now this is indeed the product of the careful explication of Husserl through can express. Adrienne Rich. we represent physicist. There. I might do it rather by im li ti pom .. In Other Worlds Explanation and Culture: Marginalia 107 106 are.. question. speaking to the studetltl uutnatust enclave in the academ Th p ystast . grm. We had only to say: 'This doesn't apply to you. the center at the price of exacting from me the language of centrality. 4 acting out the scenario of tokenis .~g a flavor of pure science into ecome practiang humanists much more easily "think like men" on condition that they use it to maintain things as they . . in all e center for ourselves. they were in fact performing another move within gm outside) anddisposal) at( own as a !bus narrat~ center (public truth)-margin (private emotions) set. separate also: perhaps ~ven as s~~:gpeerctehivedthby "ordinary" r an emselves. tlle between the center (inside) and t~e o. . which might as well be called our politics. thpe o su?gest how the center itself is margm'al of an excluded margin that makes possible the "can" of the "can be expressed" m e margm and · ti center. recognition. The only way I can ho t e ureduability of the margin into us rather that all explanations. erent from most other women. . h?wever. t hy ed Wlth the practice of mas- Ih russontemarginof eh . or. · mce one s vote IS at th lim' f can use herself (assumin . This is the meaning of femal . claim their centrality in terms is by not remaining outsi'de . .msist. on ments actually . that there is a "true" explanation where the genuine copula ("is") can be used. plaining femininity.1 Th politics."5 la . had · ope these opening pa es will .. That would not merely reverse proffers us his analytical explanation in the language that he has deconstructed. an reproduced by the explanation that it \ the entire book.Q. hi :~c they represent acts of private of Smith College in 1979. one of the architraves of Derrida's thought. But in effect such pure Yet he does not imply that the explanation is therefore worthless. by the time we arrive at I have so far been explainin our s . . x·kind of being-in-the world. and sense and intellectual foresight . ' will speak of this marginalization as impoliteness. politics make it margm'al s· p ea 'ng my~elf m that center and sensing The implications of this philosophical position cannot remain confined to aca. since the guarantee of sov. You're an 6 tion. of the io I have been attempting. nd it is the t h 1 exp nation. their sex. ymposmm as humanists are th:t the practice of capitalism is intimat~:t~tec~ocracy. said: ideological change. m became playful in a way disturbing for the discipline. and . as we know. e It or oneself. su a society are unable to overcome certain deeply rooted prejudices against what was fpTni11•inl ." Freud my accusing finger at · ' and allows "is" to be quietly substituted for it.:ris. . "have begun to work at the question [of femininity] .E. hoped to reiterate that. but never ~~o:~e C:: good ~s ~e are (I was less learned Investigations I. he produces this explanation: difference? The putative center welc~me y o ~ou . e token tention to the productive and political margins of our discourse in general.rn:"posium m terms of what had better be · ·~ this sentence we know that the role of "expression" as the adequate language of theory or concept is precisely what has been deconstructed in the book.u•aw~~a is the politics of an advanced ea . In the last chapter of the book. That passage was written in 1932. to few' so that It may appear that ereignty in the subject toward the object is the condition of the possibility of reward. y colleagues on the panel were In Speech and Phenomena (1967).

one of them would be such a group ffi · 1 ·d logy the structure o poss1 ""'b~ we reproduce. Its "civilizing" efforts are felt everywhere and are not to be dismissed of the powers that police the ~ntire soae : on a seemingly judicious choice and ignored. th" b 'ef and broad sense is the discoveries of science applied Techno ogy m lS n f t h lo into society cannot be located as an While the main text of technocracy makes a ferocious use of the substantive to life uses . and theories of space and time. broadly scientists" on the panel. mology.) tered by the logic of I.nn . than we could become practicing theoreticians of science. the aesthetic. s~e . exigencies of the production and reproduction of capital produce impressive and P ermitted by the play of this power. 11 Our assigne ro e ts. w mode merely an unwelcome c:n::u~eBr: for purposes of a positivistic and unnatural parastte ~po~ t _e p we can locate the moments spread out un· In the case of the humanities in general as in the case of feminism. the o aa 1 eo ' Our circumscribed productivity cannot be as ourselves. al . no sovereign manities are being trashed. It lS mdeed almost tmp 1 .~rtilvelnesis· to present itself as nothing but a support system for the propagation chn 1 . is in terms of this intricate interanimating relationship between margin and culiarly flavored filling of the faculty. f culture as systems of habit are constituted argued the concept and se -cOJ. .~:r. the continuity with past explan~tions. Here the marginalization is thus pro- duced by excess rather than lack [a distinction that is not tenable at the limit].f ~og his victimhood cannot be corn- f the world Our own victim- the gap between the dazzling sophistication of the technique and the brutal precritical positivism of the principle of its application in the practice of tech- pared to that of the poor and ~ppr:se~ t a. It is no less obvtous: thou~:ome olla~orators in that text we also write for social justice.~cep o n as they make these explanations pos. whose effect ts that very . de~n~gproduce the official explanations. helping to hold money in the institutional humanistic budget. episte- dismissed as a mere keep~g of recor~~ ~ e are !ntten into the text of tech. and the like. although in rute su .n0'1niz• of the politico-economico-technological determinant that the latter can disguised as cost effectiveness. labor. chosen profession of humanists can only be tolerated if they behave in a =~=s0!0a~~~U::e~:e. But it would seem that individual writes it with full conbtro . it _is ~possib~~ to claim way.1 Asa~~ every text in existence.ff. the sophistication there extends to ontology. In every humanistic discipline and every variety of fine art.. 12 it. and briefli' . For. Between the two poles (one might find other pairs) the hu- (as perhaps in our sympos:::).r · lS lS between margin and center is intricate and interanimating. :y supplements of human la~o. presentations of the mass seduction of the populace as the organic being- 1 "th olitics and economics as one o ose technology takes its p ace Wll ~ th if we wish to relate ourselves to any of the people.... interpretation. as we hear from our friends hood is also not to be ~ompare to . whose o~n ~e~tions t be competltors and substitutes rather than Jciences" and "the humanities" -excellent for the purposes of controlling and ture when these applications ~~nd~ tinction cannot be strictly totalized or mas. . smce ques ons .~_. Together we represent faculty life. s w f "bili"ty of a kn"bwl~. sense also a victim.h. f th 10Stitu1tive· (2) to proliferate scientific analogies in so-called humanistic expla- culiar normative factor-:-is gfains~~ b~oc~~:::~:~:~ri~ ea~ be declared. pe_ ~c~ y :r~ uncertain a moment of sociological rup· precisely the workings of the area where the division of labor between "the revolution.:~s~ the name ~f the disinterested nology indicates the opposite predicament. constitutively if not regu ve Y· 1 Th st powerful technocrat is in that (I have not the expertise to speak of the hard sciences.structure. when what had seemed only be determined and expressed in terms of an indefinitely prolonged evenly over t e map 0 al inserted itself into circulation in such gelteaLIO!~) can only be tolerated if she behaves "like men. episte- I can share with the ot er pa apan ' mology.. exquisite by-products. the subdivision VPl"RitiPR by the humanities as agents of the minimization of their own ex- ~~::cr!::~:%~ra:::/~~ t~e manageme~t:lab?r sand~ch wi:ethe of production.. at the other end might be It is to belabor the o~vtous to s." what is excluded and marginalized is "event. and (3) at the abject extreme. It is a well-documented fact that technological capitalism must be dynamic in by the production of explanations eve db th official explanations in terms order to survive and must find newer methods of extracting surplus value from sible.. a ~ s deliberately less well recognized the tremendous exploitable energy of the freshman English machine as a panacea nology." so individuals in benign enhance~ent of exchan~e v a~:nt condition of possibility of capital.. s i: is th~ onl ound whose marginality and colleagues in the so-called "pure sciences" and as we heard from the "pure pursuit and perpetratihon of hrti~~aru::'~nd therefor:I~ill write about it. instrumental rather than everywhere te o ogtca ." It is. the specialization emp ases. producing explanations in terms of pure categories such as cognition.rmate" to find in the so-called industrial findings of a certain kind of "science. our role is to pro~uce and b7 prod~c~ e~p:asizing a continuity or a dis. ti of labor intensification introduce a whatever that might be. e are a art of the records we keep. Three particular modes of behavior are relevant to my discussion: to reproduce explanations and models of explanation that will take so little the priority of technological systen_ts ~as been an~ng o:S~~:onot to .. 1 systems where "sheer techno ogtc civilization (itself a species of cultural explanation). leamed explanation of high art in terms of relativity or catastrophe the flow and accumulation o cap1 · f th " . In our own bailiwick. Just as the chosen for special treatment by men (why she in particular was chosen computation ~ our marf~e i~~:~al revolution. The advent orf e~ ~~~ . utilizing the academy for ideological reproduction-begins to come undone.and class-style: these "items of evidence" are often brushed aside the humanist enclave in the academy.. =ed moments. the re- h•tin.. the open capitulation at the minants" that w~ mus\papp e ~ ction of the universities.arasttism. t di hi of culture H as I have as we perform our appointed task of producing explanations from our seemingly d 1 · mingly the cus o ans p · isolated scholarly study with its well-worn track to the library. In Other Worlds Explanation and Culture: Marglnalla 109 108 and in-house financial distributions that affect choice of research and specialty. however.

riod of political unification and consolid ti an~ 191?. The accounts of each other's work that we had read before the symposium finger upon the great nineteenth-centu th . the ou not question the . My explanation cannot remain outside the structure of production re:ars to get to :the 'of what I criticize. . metaphor offered by a member of the audience at the symposium. present research I am attempting to draw connections between scientific th!ef~cie~~g~~~~~:. pro uct of labour. To speak of the mode of production and constitution of the radio station complicates matters Wise can envisage are "empirical" th t . such as international diplomacy. Yet. the analysis of these f · e superfictal ob- all practice.l6 Such a metaphor does indeed "reveal " a "t .n to develop his ideas in detail. the disc jockeys of an advanced capitalist ethnocracy. It should The value-form. analysis of economic fo:ms neithe to ~tudy than Its cells. . and so on. politico-economic and participants will have taken into account the public session whose indescribable and that a series of structuf~o!~c~~ ~ough a . ~ccepted system of ideas that takes mat?'rial e~e of. d a ~n un er Bismarck and the increas- discs are not "records" of the old-fashioned kind. b"ol a mechamcal.osi~e ~~tion in !he . the conduct of advertisement ti~n on approximately fifty people. d to play. indeed are made to think. geois society. ~r a~ it conditions. the commodity fo~~fot~emustdreplace both. ~a~~~. The ingly tension-ridden Wilhelmia . mcludmg both the pe- We are. Moreover. The blueprint of an interminable analysis that I include group of thinkers. or the value- ~than jargon. Wise has put his can also be examined through the thematics of marginalization-centralization. I hope I will be understood as using vocabulary rather form of the commodity . b~Jtoted. But for hour- /stifutedoydiscontinuities."ls The recent technology. the appealing. sug- them a glimpse of the itinerary telescoped into the text they hold in their hands. ':connections between social and scie~tifi. edition of the first volume of Capita~~e IS a passage from the preface to the first osophical analogues from the latest spatio-temporal discoveries of the magical realms of "pure todturn ~pon minutiae. whose fully develo ed sh . The trends in taste and the economic factors that govern them I look forward to the finished proje t ~o ~ ow hi. IS e economic cell-form T0 th . but productions of the most focus at work in the symposium ~i~en~ cnor ~o the First World War. that they are free It is more interesting however th t w· d. "In The stud o " . ly limits to speculation that that the reception of scientific "tr rt~ . lt to the production of scientific values T~ ~p~ m soc~al action) and extended in fact). in fact deal with minutiae bu~rsms . It I now call this a heterogeneous predicament con.~d~ced ~y.that the explanation might also be an analysis of the pro. 110 In Other Worlds Explanation and Culture: Marginalia 111 center that we cannot be called mere keepers of records.i~~:~~s~c::~:~~~o~ E~en twhe ilsdsue here. in the the line between the politics of explanation and the specific politics that my text of assistance The power of abstr r ~Icroscopes nor chemical reagents are explains is ever wavenne. "Ernst Haeckel [who] ~mployed 'hisanoti~~ ~ ~ot notic~ that it was not merely ocracy by suggesting either that the system protects the humanist's freedom of the gap between mechanical reductio . th ..individual and the state" social concerns for a particularly revealing historical case: the reception of of a value-free scientific£.. Now within this intricately determined and multiform situafit>n. ' c Iscussions " and "g I b" . A specific sense of the importance of politics was not altogether lacking in 1~d~:~tsc:~~d ~~~d~etabl~r:~~"ne:~e~~~e?~:::~~~~~~:cit~n~~ ~~~~ these preliminary accounts. It does ' o s1m ar y oes microscopic anatomy. are also products of the most complex interrelations among a myriad factors published sources " "publi d" c '." that vague evil. 13 This has been a seemingly contextual explanation of our symposium. is very ~~h::i~:~~ ~~~= ~~:~~~oa~ e?o~~:~~'!v~: ~:uf:: (duction of contexts and contextual explanations through marginalization cen- l. .n beliefs.m Io ogy and orgamc purposive action confront by inculcating humanistic "values. roa est sense) explanation. Why? Be- specific political stances (masculist and technocratic) that I criticize.ngorous ideological cri- context I describe above. This illusion of freedom allows us to protect the brutal ironies of techn. tralization." or by drawing generalized phil. It might give that the production of t~e discoy of a d:ferent political persuasion(s). simply to reject my explanation on the grounds of this of forms which are much n"ch st.Ideol~gy (a~ unquestioningly Writing today in Austin. simple and slight in content. I would welcome a modynamics in Germany between about 1850 ." or yet by welcoming it as a benign and helpful friend. I cannot know what relationship those hastily written pre-symposium temporary critics of ideology ma. rather. enerall ~ ons can ~~deed be ideology-free.~r t a~ m~duc~bly structural.. server. or that "technology. 14 This is the predicament as well as the condition of possibility of . debate about cul~al (in thze~eforde be ennched If It were situated within pecially interesting period in modern political and intellectual history. u s can e htstoncally vulnerable I find disc jockey and his audience think." Alth~u h the o~ner~ . howe:v:e:r~. t . re comp1ex. the world market. an approXImation of a successful analysis er m content and mo theoretical inadequacy that is in fact its theme would be to concede to the two cause the complete bod is easier . in this section might therefore be of special interest to our readers. . o e comp eted through study of "internal . wgraphical ~forma- supported by and supporting the first two items. is something the humanist must in the individual and the state" H n. the idea further.cell soul' to bridge spirit. . Further. Texas (typing the first draft on the way to Ann Arbor. Neve!thelessa~~ IS~he mon~y-form. th s IS I~ter~~ting because many con- summaries will have with the finished essays for Humanities in Society nor if the explanation can be m am at a SCientific. Norton Wise's project description concerned an es.

a superb collection of b~any~ng Hooker's statement offers. but a phenomenological explanation. t e condition of th 'bil' in~ tra1tzation (with appropriate apolo . This further sociopolitical reality) "which itself represented the object perceived" (both the universe. . such a demal of questioned even this last assumption: that "the sign" (in this case the various through the supre~acy and self. lVI mg lt repeatedly into twos. ' WI mention In my last ti real truth of that sociopolitical reality and thermodynamics as such).n the eighteenth · Rousseau speaks of the "politics of the academy": "yet ironically.~ano of class [marginalization-cen- though when the emphasis falls in the very next sentence upon science as shored-up pairs. And even those workers have Theory/Cultural ideology-Man b. is. the coherence of a in the sixties precisely because the academy began to see itself as the active Ises and the principles of cohe m IS to exarrune how those prem- lead to. turned from an active into a passive state. e possi Ity for cen- a language can be learned. is the notion of the one over the many." Nearly every survivor of the would rather identify pluralism with "repressive tolerance. scendent truth behind words but also to privilege a language that can capture (versions of) such a truth and to privilege one's trade as the place wh~re such tellectual strategy It is in eryhoppositihons by our participants is no mere . is concerned with the effect of social reality upon . ctence. not merely to privilege a tran. documentary and other evidence of the reception of thermodynamics at a certain period in Germany) is a "representation of the idea" (the basic assumptions of centralism of the all-knowing J~~stbl~tbectal form of cognition. originally an economic and agricultural concept. a checklist that . if one could risk such a generalization. from practice to non-practice: diagrams. l'ti' . m IS VIew. between the scientific and the that the 'politics of the academy' count. increasingly come to express. century social philosophy was brief moment during the late sixties was it apparent to most American academics Scientific/Social-What IS social? · the connection . The politics of the academy ceased to be merely academic. of course. I feel this particular myopia appears also in his definition of pluralism: theDescription-prediction!P other? . that it could just as easily be argued that a political activity often operating Internal/External-Internal criticism . k manes and shows u t . production of knowledge. be taken to be the wor- changes in the concepts of space and time and knowledge that have taken ." a theoretical physicist. all structural analyses aside. as in pluralistic societies. . he is a "hard scientist. s. ecu1 a ti ve possibilities ." 22 fact. like faire the constituted authorities. plausibility of such a project." The explanation of the production of scientific knnw·Jpd of the field that was to have b rrug t have led to an exhaustive de- is then to be explained. in fact we might be acting t th y . I am moved by his enquiry science "as a collective (species) institutionalized activity. These pages are obviously not the appropriate place for disputing such specific a~ one or the other (I am curious about t s s~ence m~s~ ~rm~~lly viewed biOlogical activity")? he first possibility: science as a issues.T~n upon whose reproduction a part complicity of science and technology except by way of the kind of comme of theory reflect a symptom and h ey c~nnot allow that the exclusivist which I have already pointed: that the technocrats know nothing about the explanations and descriptions mu ~v: at~sto~. . Many of the workers in the political arena of the sixties chose to step out of the academy. ce of t~e cogntzmg supra-historical self. . gtes an 'correspondmgly. a compendious diagram accom . There are. h "epistemic institution. e pro I ltion of marginality the choice of particular bina o a~y exp anation. humanities culture-bound? concern in specific ways. open to such questioning is. ac case. Clifford Hooker. Yet. that Is Implicit in the production f I . ra 1 eo ogy'' of 'fi 1 abstractly defined human being knows. once again something'Iw 'lie ea~ als? know itself and thus the . I have a suspicion that the same sort of disciplinary vision that makes Wise overlook the Marxian passage makes Hooker and Rousseau limit their political ~~:~pi~eys//SC~lture-IAre the. . market. the struc. are ~nste~d objections to a cultural~d~~~ctions adduced as "theoretical" ture and thematics of the technocracy they inhabit.18 The opening section of my essay should have I~noring the immensely integr~:e ~~e:tc~~t::e ~~~~orld wistfulness abo~t it. His project is particularly impressive to me weth m we conquer an unknown field b d' 'd' . a good many problems with even this Speculative/Empirical-Sp pirical observations. allowing for a system of compensations when the hapless technology in the mar · h ty of the punty" of science with object of study is human reality . No mention will be made of stability of a technocracy depends . margin of a brutal political centralism. in turn. ) d . we surmise. ." I am di!lat:tootinl:el and trade [knowledgeo~ po::~i. . f IOn-control-Is science aimed at one or rescnp "Pluralism. only for a transformed into social science. We are to be concerned." It seems to me. are limited only by em- convenient cultural explanation. out of an academic base had an apparent effect upon American foreign policy ~ystem with its premises.. .sres:~ mtegrated vi~~ of all human activity The arts will be legitimated as a p . 21 Bwlogtcal activity/Abstract structure-!gy. 20 I shall come back to this point.. in terms of abstract theories of how allow that "theory" itself is a "ceuelntucolv~dredlby the symposium cannot. external critici~ t~ examme. too." "Tolerance an important difference among th ~ y ?o one or the other constitute Human artifacts/Nature-Does the tud f e sciences. po I cs as such" th h'b' · sec on. marginalization. The production of theo- s. made clear that I would be most pleased if a powerful project such as Wise's history can only hope to establi h . rence are produced and what they.. even as I applaud Rousseau's introduction of the political into our agenda.. . In Other Worlds Explanation and Culture: Marginalia 113 112 in the "pure" sciences. not with a must seek to reproduce itself· d a spec1 c c ass and tural. ye once agam. From that point of view . in the long run. The confident centrali " . 19 Not to be I n my openmg pages I call .

e penrussiveness enjoyed zation is to allow in only the terms that would be consistent anyway. it must be seen as the 115 best aid to enlightened practice and taken to. either metaphor nor concept is seen as specifically integrative cognitive activity and the end becomes a objection to the privllegin: f ~ge of poetry above could be taught as of theories. if the ould deconstruct (as far as possible) thi . It is this unspoken explam. ques- self-present a universal and unquestioned before theory: "the self-evident fact that no dis . The field is kept out by reinterpreting the difference of the figurative "cognition" sfmrto bepure theory and the metaphorical as the unique and most viable identity of the word. th I . the controlled d t hm spontaneous overflow " e ac ent of "willi or escape from personality . b th h ssiveness. ve. The strongest brand of centrali. race( sex. ow "hies d" · ordering rather than that of academic division of labor] in what we loosely expression.. . ms of which one you want inconsistencies of what had best be called class. race. in order to make Wi~ the disciplinary mapping of the h .. might be these very poetic and figur ti c on must look like a literalist prop- tomatic and class-protective. .e And this neutralizing penru· ." Such a frame of mind must disavow the possibility that that Iacking a predication the li or e ongmg t0 " or both) IS . remain preoccupied with hubris try u~aruties.." banishing the risk of inconsistency at every step into the outer darkness.. loop. over culture as the possibility of history. ." The strictly univocal or limited multivocal status "criticism of life. the nonspecific that is not merely the other of society. resembli th ... that "to ord:r" and ~tn aest~etically neutralizes the of (meanmg perhaps "out of" ''b I ?r order are not synonymous reflective thought. discussion must already assume token. can be given to metaphor ~hor. by the tablishment of the establishment of theory. male) humanist-and the rest of me that is allowed to make the kind~ ~. e. in the name of the sovereign mind.partheid. Thus one project will work through "a conflation of social. the status of special "uses of lan o~scrous.. _because any premetaphoric base ~~at no pure theory of metaphor distinction between theory and meta . seen as the to discuss "cultural explanationos ."25 Given such£ e ~ ympian (and oblivious) transhistoricity of the words in a diagram operates by virtue of their difference from all the rest literalist language of the concep::ous . . Another will attempt an "integrated view of human activity" <md ~ce or s of the fragrant portals dimi . the plan for sweeping integrations also assures can be pretty well plotted out inter y p ~USI e. even these names would begin to show the edges of their own limits as unitary determinations.r. keener ~~unds. and sex. yeoryithknat takes place when humanists discipline [the italics are presumably there to emphasize the sense of law · es.gua~e o~. y.. whose idealism would exclude H we c concept or the metaphor. Your po- stability of one specific kind of explanation. philosophy. The fence of the consistency loop." not necessarily ar- ticulated with the splitting into binaries: the declaration of a project to integrate things into adequate and encompassing explanations.. 0 a comes full 1 "bl In a more specific way. s_e IS an ambiguous the 'humanities' or the 'human sciences' .. 23 It is thus not only the structure of marginalization centralization that assures the stability of cultural explanations in general. but also that no priority. undecidable' dream of the centralization of one's trade and one's class." o say w. or the space of dispersion of the politics of class. we would realize not onl s margmalization between met- yses were taken far enough. mind is allowed to reign over explanation. an a~equate theory until it is possible t crpl~~e can possibly pretend to have good. Here the will to power through knowledge a ve gestures can b d blind to itself that it takes the ontological question as necessarily ""'~vv. and the dream the prejudice that a "~eriou. is the thin suggestions that I have been making abo g would be fenced out of the consistency loop.~~j':i' ~? apparent judgment. W dma er s rage to order words of the sea science. in a language.m of a stand against a "rage £ d e rea as the conditions •or or er " Inde d "t can then be seen as at least the fi Id f . the central form of . as I argue.. or could retical or "Marxist" bent to ut the laow Iterary cntics of even the most "theo- be accommodated within an argument based on consistency. umanities in general. But. the nonphi. To go back to my initial example. Only then can the operation of the binaries begin. not to mention combinations That IS not very far from the entr chgud ~ w~ch exceed communication n24 or parts of words. All human constit:ut:d by its conceptual justillc::': ~~~ metaphor is contaminated pnonty (or both are) the ass . in a certain sense. ) out of play by claiming for plotted in language owes its existence. is capable of producing inexhaustible signi.t such a theory would have to premise that leads us to yet another "intellectual strategy. Oh! Blessed rage for order pale Ram The k ' ' on losophical. The integration is some- times explicitly.. the chart of this activity within a firmly drawn outline called a "consistency And of ourselves and of our ~rigi y-starred.114 In Other Worlds Explanation and Culture: Marglnalia thiest task to be performed towards any "phenomenon". ~nd concept. intimately linked as they are. although.. that " ale Ra . possibilities that include citation or •eelmg. e ' o order" and e o measure and coherence as . ng suspension of disbe- fictionalization "out of context. which permits them to my behavior as a female consistent with the rest of the symposium.uu:~u·"~ " ~m6n F:rnandez. philosophical. would all r ng . and scientific ideas..." refusing to recognize the heterogeneity of the nonsocial.. in one case.. the binary opposition of of this inexhaustible field. £ • en e pnvatism of " · fications linked to contextual possibilities. also helps.especially modern poetry. Every word." "[Literary] critical theorizing" is. I would have to be defined as a sexless (in effect.-. Thus in the the~orE!tic•al po~si?Ie. In ghostlier demarcations. and always implicitly. The consistency garde text and the discourse ~f the un.Poetry (as well as "the avant- loop also keeps out all the varieties of inconsistencies to which any diagram them.

116 in Other Worlds Explanation and Culture: Marginalia 117 well as unquestioning command and obedience.bu~den ceded ~ocral sc1ence. The lme I am suggesting I have called. Section Ill ("Principles") which seems to anticipate the 1979 light that can only come with marriage and ren~er t~e one ~ quoted ?rst (but which comes later in the book) logically suspect. and not to at the origin and suggested." For the first figure exercise in polysemic interpretation. the reason for those two emotions. pedagogy in this case would be to take the metaphors in Vico as yet another century historian Giambattista Vico had a theory of language that put metap~or example .hich ~poses the rule of law. un~ike in the Adam and not merely theory exchange." If the discipline of literary criticism is merely permitted to indulge in the praise Since all readings. overcome by guilt and sh~me.nerated. humanity" was founded. In his speculation upon the pnnc~p. or "solemn matrrmo~y. in my argument the question \!. of course. in a feminist context. Thus my two examples would emphasize the conceptuality of proof upon metaphorical production.s. 27 to dodge around the harsher and more legalistic correct. The sort of read- one of interpretations for use.9_ll~~tjon pfivi}ege~ e)(plan~afions. the t~reate~g thu~­ gitimate cultural explanations) even as it pushed into indefiniteness the most der anticipates the guilt and shame that should have produced 1t. the explanation hinges on a metaphor.) "Thus it was fear which created gods in the world . "scrupulous and :r:Iausible misreadings. 26 I have little interest m vmdica~n? Wallace words. It so happens that VIco relegate I: to (~r exalt It as) the semipoetic free-style social philosophy that pre- took this theory seriously and at crucial moments in his a~gument put the . is not made dear. Whichever IS po~erful ideology of the teaching of the humanities: the unquestioned expli- the case. . w~ere val1d Is a w~rd structure of discipline of history is expected to eschew metaphor as any- the necessary possibility of misreadings. gentile lone mdiVIdual to question her disciplinary boundaries without collective effort. cating power of the theorizing mind and class. as I hope we will. known as Lucina. !t the theory-practice of pedagogic practice-theory that would allow us construc- is because Vico was working his origin through metaphon~ p. which.~eard described as "pop psych" teaching and that I myself call "babysit- growl. It is not possible for a with them the indocile women they had been pursumg. where the adequation of cause and effect IS the c~tl~non ~mere ~en~alizing of teaching-as-practice at the same time as research-as-theory of human rapport or the relieving of anxiety and tension in the classroom that I animated body. is very important. the fear of the thunderclap /s Itself IS margtnalized. built on the old gr~unds of coherence. And the emphasis falls on alert pe~agogy.les of ~oetic language and the metaphoricity of historical language to similar peda- gogical ends. . d. . torians as reading "Vico as literature.lD!!J:iQ!l~S ~u:e ge. It cannot be caught w1thin. The threat of the thunder: result of a transgr~sswn. The fi~re ~s ting. As a feminist. speaking of legal marriage. are constituted by. and that its principles are there- . even the mass production of consumer goods for no one's particular use.of the questi~ning of the supremacy of adequate theory. not natural hght. Vico suggested that the s~ns. expli. and not merely for the sake of an for~ to be found with!~ the modification of our human mind.e~omes ~hmg but the mcrdental ornamentation of the reportage of fact. of light seems to anticipate the effect and origin of the civil light that can shine At a time when the rage for order defeminates the h~m~ru~es ~om every only with the establishment of domestic society in the distant future. that first was best.." The contribution of a critical humanist It is not only poetry that can be taught in this way. e~amples are ~ot audacious and revolutionary. . I am interested in awakened in men by other men. the Stevens or in disclosing a plethora of "valid" readings. Although the place of guilt and shame in this story That is why I had hoped to hear some news of pedagogy at our symposium. but the civil. there shines the eternal and never-failing light of a truth beyond all question: that the world of civil society has certainly been made by men. so remote from ours~lves. I think. to produce his theoretical discourse. ~r effects of. including the original text. the response to an act that should bring guilt and shame. If we meet again." Now there is a prevwus mvocation of light at the beginning of Book I. Without mg I am describing would be dismissed by most self-respecting academic his- the cant of theoretical adequacy. ~or that is shared by the offspring of slaves. The eighteenth.ractice t. In those caves. Marxist deconstructivist. Uun~] IS also put on the agenda: the pedagogy of the humanities as the arena of cultural explanations that question the explanations of culture. not ~~ar ture" are assembled.. . of the history of human nature. According to the literalist view. tem~ed by the first thunderclap. Vico uses the metaphor of light." our fathers (Noah's sons) interpret the thunder as a thre~terur:g ~ave.ligh~ by re~son of . of.hat this -~~«:~¥~~. of Noah. or. (Pursuing indocile women IS clearly no grounds the methods of (the official) cultural explanation that fixes and constitutes "cul- for either. '. vanously. .. who brings the offspring into the light. eve!l CJ. Vico used the same mechanism. I can "make use" of such lines. metaphor. but fear awakened in mer: by the~selves. produced the first and best language. IS ~~t would question the students' received disciplinary ideology (model of le- seen as the cause of the flight into the caves. hid m caves.. that is the question I ':"ill civil status upon the patrician. In the humanities classroom the ingredients for Eve story. curious lack of clarity is encountered.~aggt~g Th~se. That slogan has led to the idea of teaching as the creation of produced through a metaphorical "mistake. What I look for rather is a confrontational teaching of the humanities metalepsis or prolepsis.the dis~ou:se It should be clear by nowthat I could not be embarked upon a mere revers~!_: of literalist explanations. In other side." Thinking of nature as 'a gr. he argued. the need for intelligibility and Again.which the nobles are called illustrious. But m the mght of thick d~rk­ ness enveloping the earliest antiquity. once again it is prolepsis at work.

[Pp. ] . 106). The Politics of Interpretations l~rger .. duces definitions that keep the ideology-constitutive distinctions between center ea a a t at a pomt which is worth remarking: and periphery.' and Bakhtin-a little misleadingly-an 'ideology. I . cause and effect intact: . to present all [author's 't 1.ern natural and human sciences and umam Ies.. tinctions into question and thus ask th ~tiw~u d call the danty of these dis- A persistent critique of ideology is thus forever incomplete." 1 I would add to this list a concept of the "uncon. se~ c~mplicity between the consti- sue or o Jective Identity nificant role) and the American (where it had up to [1949] been largely ab- It cannot accommodate the concept of id I ry Th mm s ar~ment because . o.recove~ng the legis- theoretical physicist thus calls a 'treatment"' (p. a 'conceptual framework. 106). that is one !~~tii~~~r~ti~:se~~:~e~ classic~ sp~it~~~eae:ds:~~c~~n~~~~j~~~~~~£:~~ tthee If the clarity of the theory% ~:s:~. I am always obliged to quote Stuart Hall's excellent historical study of ideology allow for a personal-sub'ective cate p whenever I refer to the notion in the U.ct in the interpretation Following through the notion of th 1 1' d . 104-5] its broadest implications this notion of ideology would undo the oppositions between determinism and free will and between conscious choice and uncon- scious reflex. however self-divided a d ffaw. remains f rti . a e not reject) the "we" who ex- tima[cy]" and "power" of the ":c~:r~:~~e s:~:esti?ati":. subJe. posture~.(p. F. A statement like the It is in Stephen Toulmin's "The Construal of Reality" that the absence of a merely theoretical normed into ettJecl-do Ject ~remises I quote above. conscious. persuasive value when applied ~ th:~ ~pon ~? s~ngent a reduction. Toulmin's text pro- the law. It is both the condition and the effect of the constitution of the subject end. a of s~~~~=. e take. o on. These problematic distinctions are necessa for Toul : .o~ktf profes- In dealing with [peripheral factors that ma influence h sionals ].S. as bemg· . .he ~m t ~ task of . ~never fortuitous choice eems o suggest this neces 'ty· "Th · of notion of norms in structural functionalism. for Toulmin's project is to undo the disci. At ay exert on the professiOnal argument itself. . It would deconstitute an~ c~~ to a( dres~ a less simplified view trum between subject-constitution and group-constitution are the ideological periences the productivity of I . between logic and rhetoric. no longer any reason to assume th t .. . This resistance over-determination of the relati'onsh' ebotwover ooh the tremendous ideological I will here suggest the usefulness of a broader concept of ideology and note Ip e een t e "pure" d " li d" ." would occupy a dif. of its structural alterities.ter~ctions between the p:~::si~~a~s:r::d~~~~ textual factors ~ s With any c?nsequential influences that con- of ideology as larger than the concepts of individual consciousness and will. w a genera t eory of ideology would enhance ferent place within a field similarly heterogeneous and extended. that of which the group. An interesting essay could be written on what concepts did duty. 109] ffilX. 2 Toulmin writes: "What P. for the absent concept of 'ideology': for example. mthe e h uman · 1 sciences · scious" as a continuous and homogeneous part of the mind that is simply "not Still . The Politics of Interpretations 119 8. In the absence of a heterogeneous concept of ideology. The physicist's treatment. concluded from the sub' t o~opo Itica scene. to mark A critical view of the subject of ideolo Id . we are centrally concerned with a and t e It is difficult to speak of a politics of interpretation without a working notion ~~:~:s~:~~:~:m~~e~:~e . off a group as an entity without sharing complicity with its ideological definition.. ere IS.s literary mterpretation ' n o ers us two mteresting d 1 d notion of ideology would of course situate the merely conceptual framework within a more extended and heterogeneous field. It IS a temptation that we ought to resist" (p 102· 't li . sent) . italics mine). [P. in both today's ost d the critical disciplines of the bl h m~t. or (of ideology) as freely willing and consciously choosing in a world that!s seen as background.. tution of subj'ectivity and th'e de . and the inscription of the whole Tn~~~~ pnv~t~.~~!:~Jo~~ :~:aking: pl~ralized ~ubject a that is 0~: li~~ ~ea decision where "the interpretive element is quite explicit. A broader a model.and public-sector technology The text of the symposium does not contain a hidden ideological truth but is operated by as it operates an imperfectly hidden ideological agenda. and of 'values' and the 'central value temptatwn . Dworkin is obliged to 11 ~ ~ ura IZe . m . In turn. in American social theory. Strawson calls Ronald Dworkin attempts to cut I fr h mamzmg t em" . more system' in [Talcott] Parsons. the "legi- dpomts. as a group. excluding a ences. I a Ics mterpretations · th h SI · ere IS . and excluding or appropriating a homogeneous woman.r ~nd the syste~ being observed" (p. the normative metaphors sometimes s · t eo ogy. we are concerned with a .I i/ a cs rrune). as well as their relationsh' .ory t~~e set up over agamst an intellectual- of thought-the European (where the concept [of ideology] has played a sig. mentation. his argument. of course. I fwoub. an app e set- monolithic Marx(ism). of explanation and interpretation. a plinary-ideological opposition between the human sciences and the natural sci. Su~h a view does not apparatuses that share the condition/effect oscillation. of the world. Ideology in action is what a group takes to be natural and self- evident. shall give a brief example of hodouble sub)~~ who IS at once writer and reader. it loses 0 1 following. some marks of ideology at work: conserving the sovereign subject. scientific point of view necessarily involves ~e~:dyu:~ hu~an bemgs from a ences. 107. It is impossible. p ysi~a sc~ences.' the s intention in the interpretationo~. essentially political in chara ct er than t h ere IS. explanation and interpretation. ' ea ecoration· "That being s th · theory of ideology is felt the most. context: "two radically different styles interpretive category eilher since .'' wms a space for us where it is possibl t . the subject(s) of ideology are the conditions and effects of the self-identity of the group as a group. must deny any historical sedi- Accordingly. In the shifting spec.

[P. 43). be traced [to] .A.-Editor's note. take in is a language. There is a moment in the essay when would suggest that such items are related as the interanimating complicity of Booth is almost within reach of Bakhtin's position. Lacking such a con- cept. language is not immediately understood as verbal discourse. In Mikhail Bakhtin's free language of Western European and U. the conscious-unconscious opposition that I invoked at the outset as one of the One cannot of course "choose" to step out of ideology. Donald Davie would choose to "bypass" its workings: guage in/of ideology seems to elude Booth here. through one's necessarily inadequate interpretation. But what work for it. The relationship between That Dworkin has made fiction and the law each other's tenor and vehiclti"Is art and ideology-in this case. invitations to new choices. a discrete certain convention of signification. practice" (p.. I would agree with Edward Said that • Booth has since changed the word "ideology" to "art" in this sentence. it is possible for him to hint at this dialectical struc- or less blithely acquiescing in it. The critical practice Clark describes is close to novel is. bourgeois ideology in the broader sense-is T. For Booth. Ideology as isomorphic. The most responsible substitutes for ideology upon the Anglograph scene. "Doubtless such interrelations exist. When Booth thinks of ideology as beliefs and practices rather than. defines itself in ideology by acknowledging a sustained by the identity of a composite entity such as the state. selves and societies to acknowledge the challenge of: "Men make their own history. the preferred word in this case is "culture") is readily granted. 200). language or voice. The view I am describing is not merely of the group but also unique.S. Rather than inveighing against this. as the truly independent and illuminating interpreters al.. It is only a homogeneous. Bakhtin is laudable because "choice" seems to be to know it as best one can. It is my feeling.. however. in this revised version of Dworkin's argument. J. artic- the heterogeneous and discontinuous concept of ideology.S. In this passage yet another possibility is implicit. In his comments on Terry Eagleton. "in the years around 1910. text. like Toulmin's. 50). because the best theory of art requires a single creator or. 148-49." 4 about legends and jokes? I need not push that question further because Both Hayden White and Said concentrate upon ideological formations-the I am interested only in the fact that the assignment makes sense. [and oppose] the ideologies of a bour- point might be to see that the difference between these phenomena and the geois elite" (pp. ering over the absence of a broader concept of ideology. and himself. ." the latter with of the novelists in the chain can have some idea of what he or she is asked respect to the discipline in the service of the group identity called "the state. strictly ister purpose. Bakhtin's implicit dialectical hinging of subject and lan- concept of ideology. The nonexhaustive constitution It is Wayne Booth who pronounces the word "ideology" most often. in the ideological view. whatever misgivings each might have about the value or character I shall not linger on their arguments here. Dworkin is obliged to indicate it in the name of a unifying philosophy. something already blessed or cursed with symbolic richness. to see themselves as bourgeois . one of degree rather than of kind. and philosophy. and a knowledge and law are united.. defining it within a advance the doubtful claim that "liberalism can .. to work to change it. seems to make room for a broader version of the essay). The .. and doubtless they can be exploited to sin. . Clark sug- and jokes are phenomena where the condition-effect relationship with ideology gests that. that each have some control over the whole. without pronouncing the word. It ulates Bakhtin's position within a vocabulary of free choice: "Each language we is the strength of his essay that the unification is not seen as a necessarily sub. and in of the subject in ideology (which is in turn constitutive of ideology) would in. we can best spend our time bypassing the ture: "Ideology springs from and in turn influences systems of belief and human network altogether. seeing that the network of politics-history- of the borderlines of politics. that he and there yield a distinctive interpretive style" (p. the so-called ideology. or (with [Stanley] Fish) more speaking. law. in itself significant. Inquiry . 3 In fact.120 In Other Worlds The Politics of Interpretations 121 Perhaps [putting together a collective novel sequentially] is an impossible expects its poets to seem to choose to ignore it and thus allows its businessmen assignment . art. 193] absence of an articulated notion of ideology as larger than and yet dependent upon the individual subject. in philosophy" (p. he "plac[es] as high a value as he does on the deliberate introduction of counter- and. Booth's language.. law. that in the of what will then be produced. their essays sometimes seem a tirade against the folly or knavery of the practitioners of the discipline. that each former with respect to a group identity called "a discipline. a position that today would the shifting components of an ideological system. his essay. language as ideology is the expres- epistemological base . . n. . Critical the ideological system that one might loosely name as contemporary U. ideologies. somehow. is spread like a map across the text of ideology.." to do. that some choices are in fact better than the others" (I quote from an earlier If Dworkin. recognize it as best one can. for the entire idea ological network or Said and White's ideology-free accusations. art. . it is the word "language" that performs the curious function of cov- dude. is operated by · textual or weblike structure. it was possible for Marxist intellectuals (in the U.. [which] could be carried forward into aesthetic theory sion of a (group) subject who must constantly assure us. but they do not choose the script" (italics mine).. and adequate cause-and-effect view of social production that would language is an effect that assumes a subject for its cause. 200). lating synthesis: "I end simply by acknowledging my sense that politics. however.S.. 6). to declare: "Solid business practices transcend ideology if you are willing to if more than one.. The productive undecidability call itself the politics of textuality. with built-in effects of past choices. and the like. The single what I suggest as an alternative to Davie's conviction of "bypassing" the ide- author also has only "some idea" of what he is asked to do. as they sustain and are society-sexuality.* Yet he constantly reduces the situation of art and ideology to ways have" (p. Legends Clark's explicit subject matter." whereas "conventional Marxists [hold that] .

are [the] specific difference'' between writing and the field of voice is seen in such a bent on the search for the "real" law.. Derrida admires this project and relates it to of art required a single author. edge. we have not progress but repetition-each repetition presumably m this VIew becomes the name for that which must be excluded so that the claiming to be most adequate to the ipseity of the law in question. in a sort of journey of their politics as well. divining to silence. sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhaQitants construction."9 It is not surprising that. A number of arguments that Cavell undoubt- sciousness and the unconscious are understood with reference to a pre-psy. Thus the commonsense of the kind Dworkin presupposes. sometimes called logical analy- freely choosing subject. its single true intention. This is not the same as ideology. the one sense of "turn"-in Thoreau's "You only need Such a definitive moment comes at the end of Stanley Cavell's piece: "If de. As cases of ideology formation. Within a broad concept of ideology. breaks his theory as he takes a stand. edly can anticipate might be advanced here: there is no disillusion without il- choanalytic model. ''The essential predicate of even when they. but eloquent by its very absence. then." 8 The place of such an understanding of writing ogy and its attendant definition of authorship seem to betray their "politics". Here con. within a self-professed project of the restoration of speech should be clear. is to disillusion us. be their task as the restoration of voice. are another case. since the word hangs unex- entiation. to be understood" (p.. The systematic philosophies. Winnicott's. the subject Nietzsche's attention to the force of language rather than its signification alone. deconstruction cannot promise. including speech-act theory. the syntax or practice that passes from illusion to reality via dis-illusion. In Other Worlds The Politics of Interpretations 123 122 are radically dependent on the ideologies of art'' (earlier version). I am not altogether convinced by Cavell's reading of deconstruction in this itself into the most radical commun(al)ist politics of collectivity that Said uses essay. what the work cannot say is important traces that allow them to define their interiors. 65). as believers in feminist (or any other) ideology. the narrative is supposed to advance while perception-that systematic philosophies suppress and radical philosophies re- preserving some presumed unity." the irreducible turn of figuration that is the condition of (im)- whether in Plato's terms or in D. Writing as the name of that which must be excluded as the other in order to "Betray their 'politics. does not lose its power to act or resist but is seen as irretrievably plural. within a definition of writing as a deliberate his own plurality. just as the novelist and hand. in that perspective. that this promise is based on a true knowledge of what our illusions are" (p. not to erable diffidence. the "proper'' law. the mark that he abandons.' although that would in itself be sider moments on the edges or borders of some of these essays. ing is also in the interest of this ideological requirement. But then we must be assured possibility of any redemption of voice. like Dworkin. W. to perceive Dworkin's analogy between literature and the law can. But rather than this. the ideological interesting. the language of "What is important in the work is what it does not say. 173). to employ that these arguments here but suggest that Cavell's interpretation of voice and writ- ideology as one element in my appraisal of the artistic value of that wo~?" (p.. which operates the essays of Toulmin. withholding of voice. a politics of the freely choosing subject who. Dworkin.. The sense of ideology as free choice is the goal: "The this attention to the syntax that is otherwise ignored in the interest of the se- question we now face. all novels are seen to be composed as serials by various hands. tion is "trope. is the ideology of free enterprise at work-recognizably a politics covery of this voice (as from an illness) that ordinary language philosophy is of interpretation. especially when he associates de Man and Derrida without much differ. "Writing" same law. momentarily hidden. as a code word suggesting (I cannot be sure. In that What Derrida critiques is what Cavell seems to be showing here: the tendency perspective. grant the actual plurality of interpretations. Lawyers. 56). free enterprise and the rule of law. The strongest that which is not illusion. to predicate reality as the death of illusion is to ignore diagnosis of ideological victimization in this view is: "I confess. requiring a single creator and therefore overlooking the novel's being to the common understanding (here Cavell' s) of writing."' A better formulation of this is to be found in Pierre conserve the identity of the same can be related to Macherey's other formulation: Macherey: "We always eventually find. Disillusion is what fits us for reality. Dworkin' s anal. it is a may exhibit themselves to you by turns"-that Cavell does not (cannot?) men- noble promise and to be given welcome. as if they belonged to a continuous system where the mark lusion. as in de Man's recommendation of it. with consid. It is as the re- and Booth.. develop systems which an effect within a larger text. 7 I shall not dwell upon this: Am I free. interiority of a system can be defined and guarded. That is why we accepted as common sense that the best theory . In a serial novel by various hands depend upon phonocentrism as their final reference. is the one thing The thumbnail explanation of ecriture as the excluded other that I have given . voi~e-depends upon varieties of phonocentric assumptions. a self-evident ideological requirement for self-evidence. is mantics of reality is not to speak of deconstruction at all. although their aura seems to be altogether mediated and therefore akin his reader. the careless notation 'what it refuses to say. from tation. a true knowledge of illusions can lead to a knowledge of reality only as of good practice was to raise the unconscious into consciousness. that I think the revelation [of Rabelais' double standard] quite ac~owle~ge that deconstruction distinguishes itself from dialectics precisely by unconscious" (p. reading as "the absence of the sender [and] of the receiver (destinateur). the ''best" interpre. at the edge of the text. 6 I will merely remark that the assurance to the subject of true knowl.'' 5 Let us con. ' Cavell writes: "For me it is evident that the reign of repressive philosophical It is not too far from the truth to suggest that this freedom of choice by a srstematizing-sometimes called metaphysics. on the borders of his essay) linguistic reductionism at a second remove. It is in terms of saving the freely choosing subject whose concept insinuates 178). common to most radical philosophies. whereas in a series of interpretations of the ~tore. on the other read differently as a case of this politics of interpretation. in interpreting and criticizing a work of art. Such a gesture will yield a hint because there the elaboration of the journey is acted out. SIS-has depended upon the suppression of the human voice. Davie.

e Canbbean. Davie singled .' and ahistorical) ~orders of discourse where metaphor and example seem arbitrarily chosen that to restore the nonsequential energy of lived historical memory and subjectivity 1deology breaks through. for the from the parent stock of Roman Latin? (P. as Romanian for Palestine (Lebanon in Davie's script) as an example of patriotism. italics mine] One of the most productive moments at the "Politics of Interpretation" sym- Must w. a self- An awareness of solidarity with the ongoing pedagogic effort would have congratulatory srmulacrum of community with the illustrious dead. and investor our predicament. irreducibly asymmetrical with the economico-mul- . etc. Davie unwit- recognize that the task-"to use the visual faculty (which also happens to be tingly mhab1ts a country different from merely England. consumer. allowed Said to step out of the chalk circle of the three thousand critics and . work land English are on the way to becoming distinct languages. I ~uote Tabloid as a me~onY?': "Many of our articles over the past months have gtven examples of this daily For when a poet or a literary scholar. Davie's endorsement of if th. in just the ways that this sort rolls of young teachers denied tenure. Otherwise. 16). tralians but the international community of literary scholars. to Washington practice. Celebrities. in newsletters. ignoring the dif- itico-nationalist explanations. In Other Worlds The Politics of Interpretations 125 124 tina~onalis~ ne~ork. is seen as a much more menacmg ~as (been) m~ved into so different a network that merely to hang on to the one problem. this has now become so m Davte' s lament: internalized that fields. 29] dagogy as political interpretation must be seriously considered. He undoubtedly has no objection respect to political sectarianism (p. shows itself most brutally as war and most divisively as above would have helped his general argument: "A principle of silent exclusion !he m~octrination of the labor force. The mechanics of that denial are implicit operates within and at the boundaries of discourse. Their track is to be picked up not only in journals such as Radical Teacher and Jefferson and Wait Whitman. News and World Report accounts for its workings. 29. Nearly all the candidates on his list had intervened in rather than of self-described Marxist "celebrities" (the third item in the title of Regis Debray's bypasse~ social relations of production in their time. the Indian subcontinent. In order to recognize these workers. and New Zea- posium as an exchange between Davie and Said. and com- ment at the way he outlines that country. 35] Palestinian state to establish itself so that he could then become 1ts cntic. 'objective. reminding ourselves that it is at those mercial film. At any rate. in interesting must be kept clean by the critic's vigilance. that the case would be altered (as indeed it would. " 11 shows up at once in the sort of English that he uses. [P. The essay is written co~s~ not what I suggest above] we cut ourselves off not just from the by a subject who is not only freely choosing but is also a star within a star system. all of them fundamentally immediate. [P. to Milton and Wordsworth. political activists creating pirate radio stations. that intention clothing. Satd ap- and Portuguese once became distinct languages by diverging differently propriately amended that praise by suggesting that he was w~rkin?. and their discourses have taken on the status of immutable durability" (p. and increasingly""'n th~ upon us were real and must be honoured. as fundamental components of meaning in representation"-is attempted every day by popular-culture teachers on the Left (p. which Said cites) who seem obliged to hear them- that ~ntire network tha~ the "patriotism" of earlier generations could find its selves as lonely personalities proselytizing in the wilderness. The production of archaic pol- company. and Kenya-Uganda-Tanganyika patriotism becomes the condition and effect of a political ideology that denies colorual name for Tanzania)-also English speaking-were introduced into the workings of an economic multinationalism. For there can be no doubt that to Virgil dents across the country who are attempting to keep alive a critical cultural and Dante and Machiavelli. 3). American English. disciplines. pe- of modem enlightenment refuses to countenance. British or American or Australian subversion-women in the home mutating the 'planned' effect of TV soap op- addresses not his fellow-Britons or his fellow-Americans or fellow-Aus: eras. Con- sciousness of national identity is marked by the use to which it is put. Writers. maJonty of our fellow-citizens at the present day but from the far more There is no recognition or support here for the thousands of teachers and stu- numerous multitude of the dead. By f?rce o. But if our own field of work is seen as !o the mode of s~cromat~nal production (since his deliberate stance is to bypass outside of generalizations such as "high culture here is assumed to be above 1t) ~hat shores him up m Tennessee or in front of a high-toned audience in politics as a matter of unanimous convention" and also outside of the perspective Chicago. at best. A phenomenon cannot be nonexistent when a political spectrum extending from Michael Har- rington to U. then the exten~ of function and place. The point is that a discourse such as Davie's. the customization of cars.e assume that British English.S. voter. Let us look for a mo- dominated by visual media such as television. I must By thus loftily declaring ourselves "citizens of the world" [which is of point out another mark of ideology at work in his essay. Davte as expatriate. Since I find myself more than usually sympathetic with Said's position. that all this effort goes awry. news photography. 1tem on the list t~at seems sentimentally satisfying will produce. it was within Teachers. the patria was meaningful. 10 Said's state- The march of capital has cut Davie off from the network that sustains and is ment that "the Left [is] in a state of intellectual disarray" is indeed true with sustained by a full~fledge~ patriotic ideology.f the ideology appropriate to his place in the world. taxpayer. 25). and its claims or Radical America but in course syllabi. The thin line between national liberation and maintenance of the ideology of the state p~int is not.ou~ Said's.

"Such a mobilizing interpretation ethics. mg out on the borders. italics mine] poet in contemporary society. ~c­ vastly m~~tudmous. or psychology for some basis for dete~mmg an appropnate per- th~s case Louis Ferdinand Celine." Kristeva writes (p. Is umqu~. out over both mad writer and man of politics. (A decon- lutionary leader's promise of a utopia in the place of abjection. wms un:meai<tre. every one.hol~ow ~here ~ean~~g empties tur. history as sublimely meaningless is "conventionally associated text]1z and in neutrality. Kristeva diction between interpretation and delirium. Certain kinds of fiction writers and." At the end or center of d~lirium.. in thropology. the analyst-critic interprets for us through a some- building's foundations on the structural properties of its second or thud story" ~hat posttiVIstic analysts of sentence structure. a .. 87. 86). . should also be mentioned. To Union. . . J li Kri .n ~s. and multinational (including "pagan" cul- cording to Kristeva. From a somewhat dtfferent Two thous~nd years after a tireless exploration of the comings and goings point of view.S. . For the psychoanalyst. at the beginning of his epic).S. mother comes close to a transcendental guarantee. Not only does Kristeva Bucharest" or "Lucille in Vincennes" but Echeruo from Nigeria ?r To~heed m f~Il ." of Japanese. as follow~: "Unlike the analytic has this to say about the abject mother of psycho- so no one is replaceable by any other" (p. hang- (p. an o?ject which is the solicitor of interrogation. rather than to seek to transform her. ho~ever.anti-Se~tism. an- ~o is the excluded other that privileges interpretation? Not the writer. . d. nevertheless. The psych~analyst. to alter one of Davie's sentences a little: [my] ~u~ges~on will know her for what she ts. Bu~ if one exa~mes the figures analysts and the mess1amc role of psychoanalysis as sublation of Christianity: of foreign-language enrollment in the Chromcle of Htgher Educatwn o~ comrarable journals. (This IS not an 1~agmary fin~lly achieved a discourse on discourse. sometimes participates m the patient's delirium and draws back JUSt enough to offer the healing interpretation which. jects" awakened in the place of the abject. not normative but directed.Who i~ politics takes the place of the analyst with delirium. is that which is desired. other- spective on history is rather like basing one's notion of the sound~ess of a Wise kno~. There is disciplinary ideology in Davie's certainty of the . of. granting degrees from U. Of course "all the languages are precious. "removing obvious. and the demand depends on the politico-economic text. in desire and in indifference. the ab-Jec~. It would be interesting to follow certain kind of "French" criticism) shares such a hollow center and IS thus linked this homog~mzmg analo?Y and as~: .. italics mine). an interpretation of interpre- e ample although it "will seem bizarre except to those of us who [are mvolved X ' • 1 l] ") tation. scholar who has between discourse and the object [traditional interpretation] to be named read all of his Shakespeare in Bengali and a scholar of B~n~ali cultur~ wh~ has ~r interpre. mul~-rac1al. malgre tout. . Arabic. ~ means of protecting us from a masochistic and jubilatory fall into nature. The ideological r~l. who [are involv~d wtth adiDis~I?n mt. Indeed. Kristeva makes an But the most interesting stgn of diSCiplinary pnvilegmg IS foun m . . .e of the mto the full and pagan questio~ the soc10histoncal symptomaticity of psychoanalysis as a dis- Pakistan. Karl Marx. [reveals] every phantasm . realistic meaning from discourse . one pr~sum~s. and Persian in recent political arena and gtves us a species of Reichian diagnosis of the revo- out in not only the presymbolic but the preobjective. .ted. the analyst builds~ strong the tdeologtes of fascist regimes" (p. precisely in the interest of a politics that . One need only think of t~e case Our cultural orb is centered around the axiom that "the Word became flesh. [P. to prove that political interpretations cannot be true. ~9). which no transcender:ce g~a~antees (P: 92. It ference between the linguistic self-concept of national liberation an~ patrioti~m. English departments] (p. of course. 35).. 85-86)? White argues that the in abjection [none of the problems of this position is discussed 1~ Kristeva's . Dav1e s entire ar- I ~annot ~retend that the born-again recovery of Christianity and particularly gument would have to be recast if the candidate were not "Georges [fro~] M~nolatry 1~ the latest ~el <:Juel~ is not disturbing to me.) The Chnst but perhaps also the fulfillment of the Hellenic Homer. graduate school. in judging fellowship applications on the national eve . that the indivisibility and inevitability of "naturally" or "only by chance" excludes them ~om .. however. in Said's convicti.': a s unproblem~tic ~nalogy be~ee~ the single-person situation of analysis and the teva's "Psychoanalysis and the Polis. is that old favorite.. is the psychoan- seem bizarre except to those . we have had a semester's Bengali in a U. This is the privileged position of synt~es1s within a restramed be called revolution or demagogy. 130). To pnvllege ~el~um ~mterpreta­ . In Other Worlds The Politics of Interpretations 127 126 can represent its exc~uded other as an analysis that privileges interpretation. At any rate. 130). who asked the desire for knowledge involved in mainstream interpretation (whtch Kristeva calls full pagan mother-Muse to sing in him the poly-tropic-much tricking. in many "Stoic" by one of those undocumented sweeping generalizations ~ommo~ to a tr~pes-Ody~s:us. transform. one knows instantly that they a~e not in fact equally pre~10us.on that th: hte~a_rY c~tic rather than the other human scientists are the custodians of sociopolitical ~nterpreta­ tion. and. How can one such an alternative seriously? dialectic: the psychoanalyst persistently and symm~~cally su~~ates ~he contra. in White's admonition that "t~ ~ppeal to soc10l?gy. "Knowmg that he ~s co~stantly an to return to the unnameable" (pp. and extermmate Improper ~b­ who. The psychoan- structive critique of thus "naming" an undifferentiated telos of desue before the alys~ by contrast is polytopian (not merely the Second Coming of the Hebraic beginning of difference can be launched but is not to ~y purpose ~ere. the dynamic of po- tion as delirium) in the description of this symmetrical synthesis IS to IDISr~~resent mterpretation does not lead its subjects to an elucidation of their own (and the dialectic presented by the essay. and ctplma. .he Enghsh-sl?eaki~g the archaic (Christian). analys~~ds and social engineers try to dominate. this vertigo in abstraction is.o and alyst's professional enterprise. .zy practice but . whose abject-transcending paranoia. one might think of the status of a Shakespeare. knowmgly.

aphoristic statements parodying Sible ~eans as a forec_losur~ of ~xc!usion. yet. Althoug~ no t~xtual analysis is forthcoming. this younger generation sought list of (Enghsh. Ankommen auf in this context probably means "what matters" choanalysis a~d the Polis"). a~ademic-Ideologtcal network of explaining Marx away by the most general pos- The point can also be made that these theses. basing no. French.. for political reasons touched accommodate a negative moment. In White. it would this m my discussion of Kristeva. discipline of history did not sudde~y fall upon previously virgin ground. With the b~urgems histonan (as It lmks him with the anti-Semitic writer in "Ps _ ingly problematic. sie zu veriindern]" (italics mine). that Marx was caught up in that specific moment of historiography's of transformation of the subject or. dissatisfied with the failure of 1968 and the subsequent express my sohdanty with his effort to correct this situation. it remains to be asked how the passag~ from. I am merely indicating that the Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretiert. no political discourse can pass into nonmeaning. n~ed to change Its shape.. or arrival). although I am moved by his explanations in Essays By way of conclusion I will consider woman as the ideologically excluded in Self-Criticism.S." Just as. in order to transform" (italics mine) seems wishful thinking. assum~ a prelim~na~ understanding of what meaning in/of history might an entirely unfavorable comparison upon it. if the his own improper objects. at the edge of meaning. however. . he demands depnves the word of any theoretical value. were written in 1845. " whatever dignity and freedom human beings could lay claim to could come only I have suggested that in Kristeva's essay psychoanalysis is shown to sublate by way of what Freud called a 'reaction-formation' to an apperception of histo ' the contradiction between interpretation and delirium. as Kris~eva does for psychoanalysis. One might of course wonder if leading a subject to truth is not a species cen~ry.) academic styles."ad. the 1844 manuscripts. the assertion that Marx was ~~~ Its goal. es kommt drauf an. unlike Sartre... then both Kristeva and White in this restrained dialectic. I am not altogether comfortable with Louis Althusser's theory of the episte- mological cut in Marx' s work. The Politics of Interpretations 129 In Other Worlds 128 The ideological exclusion of a "Marx" as other operates also in White's ess its own) truth . Althoug~ I ~ave some problems with Booth's essay. let me at the outset Althusser's teaching. at least as much attention as Celine.o~ that political discourse cannot pass into nonmeaning. Marx stated explicitly. the theorists of the sublime had correctly divined that has explicitly stated . . from the su~hme to the beautiful without some textual consideration. it is expedient to valorize the to truth. 13 But I have tried to show here that even if Marx is th~lr ~Ifferen~ ways: claim "meaninglessness" too easily. It would be like taking an epigraph from Studies in Hysteria. I have tried to indi~ate not given the benefit of that doubt and even on Kristeva's own terms. that the discipline of history in philosophers have only interpreted the world. his ab-jects. move on the French Left toward a nonrevolutionary Eurocommunism. and t~at the Jews regarded history as a meaningless sublime spectacle essarily the truth of all political discourse. When Kristeva claims meaninglessness" (p. an mo~a anarc y are equated with meaninglessness. If one " 1 h" . What is at stake here is a politics of the followmg by White: "But imagination is dangerous for the historian. a contrastive juxtaposition can hardly be avmded... individual to group psychology here." I am not askin away from the Capital and Marx's later writings as endorsed by Althusser and ~or theqmc~ fix of a mandatory "he or she. I believe it is with this sense of things that I find myself to transform them. I will sum up this part it can be posited that the Hegelian dialectic-Marx's morphology-does not of my readmg With the following suggestion: If. the general argument might the interpretable [and] it arouses the paranoid rage to dominate those objects.. 91). bled when White subnuts that this urge to explain history arose in the nineteenth 87). I will not bring up once again the vexed questio. When have to accommodate _an otherwise unwitting race privileging-I think in twenty Kristeva writes "this abject awakens in the one who speaks archaic conflicts with r. Such a loose colloquial use wishes to support a major component of one's argument on Marx. and U. On the vent" (ankommen. well known that the generation influenced by other. "confusion" "uncertai·nty" d be inadvisable to attempt to critique Marx with so little textual evidence. such as . because interpretation. Does the s~b!Ime histonan s promise of a perception of meaninglessness not even 1848. and clinching the case with "Freud be· Accord~ng _to White. t~e Ja~anese _will come to inhabit these lists "naturally" -so also." remam. it seems bizarre to place him within the chanie (within philosophic effort). other h~n~. Even in the most farfetched reading. pra~tice. at the limits of she IS senou~ly mtroduce~ into these essays. I have suggested elsewhere that Marx's theory of practice goes beyond sa~an~ who can apperceive meaninglessness. it becomes less odd." Is it the eleventh of cho~10graphy ~nd historiography should not be thus dismissed! I am not su~­ Marx's Theses on Feuerbach that Kristeva quotes in the epigraph? "Up until now gesting. As close a reader as Kristeva should note that _Whatever the ~t~ of _the as~er~10n that the pursuit of meaning links Marx the relationship between interpretation and change in that statement is exceed. Marx had not yet seen a "revolution. if what Marx says about politics is nec. It is.. But I am trou- the world in order to transform it according to our needs and desires" (pp. Of course.ear~. Surely the grand plans of Judeo-Christian ps _ Let us rather investigate Marx's "explicit statement. The point now is to change it [Die E~r~p: IS a f~lfillment of these earlier plans. as had Jean-Paul Sartre an intellectual ~traduced 1_nto Davie's script or the Arab academic style into Cavell's hilarious half-generation before Althusser. until_the establishment of Israel.. especially. If on: sees White's and Kristeva's moves as part of a contemporary "To interpret . Some questions and imitating Luther. 128). in order to accede upon by Clark and Said in their different ways. turned Almost ~ll t~e personal pronouns in all the essays are "he." she is writing not only of Celine's anti-Semitism but also VIolated b~ the impregnable agent of an apparently benign statement such as of the revolutionary impulse (p. the argument itself would to find in these manuscripts negative proof of an irreducible will to power. 86. if the West Indian wer~ toward. a passing into nonmeaning. is to reach the goal of interpretation: interpreting terested m ma~g sen~e out of history seems to be indisputable.

the validt~ ()f t!!.. they had to register the marriage discussion of law as interpretation will not seem merely tendentious. Said. White's essay) .d a rope about her neck to recall the violence used by the a product of his 'imagination' in the s~nse in . Said calls for a criticism that would account for "quotidian politics and the companying "hieroglyph or fable of Juno hanging in ~e air with a rope aro~nd . 34] tiques the narrative mode of "doing history..consciousne~s.. The heavy stones tied to her feet denoted the masculist critic might well say. and ~ince a wo~~n's right Where is it acknowledged.. No This is of course a ridiculous mistake. not the husband's"- sibility that the eruption of Judeo-Christian sanctions wtthin the recent debate wholly fails to recognize the outrage that Mrs. in this specific case.s w_hen his Pale~~an parents married.' Understood as such. . gt~nts on th~ first wtves. ttalics rmne). it is an ~cknowled~e~t officer. By way of introduction. (The appropriation of mother figures m to H I may descend into unseemly levity for a moment. for instance. but let it in any event be ac- duction. in the current vocabulary of discussed in "academic locker rooms"). ." then he would also realize that. she would be Grandfather. Aha.e "woman.fe~le practiti?ners of concerns of feminist practice and theory today. are larger than the "indi:ndual . . this problem will go unrecogruzed. then and there tore up Mrs.' perststently rmply that 1t ts larger than the "whole"-the latter being an account that will confront the funda- mental problem of sexual difference in material and id. cannot critic's entire argument is put into question by that objection. an Italian woman may well. my desperation at the smooth uruversality . if Davie' s first stab comes when he reproaches feminists for not differentiating he became aware that the indefinite personal pronoun is "produced-producing" among women of different countries: rather than "natural. and Booth. such as Hannah Arendt." For way of explaining this would be to look again at Vtco s fable of the ongm of the point is precisely that in a patriarchal society there are no such laws.eologic~ production.atriot. 17 And no feminist denies that ically constituted-constituting sexed subject in the production of an~ as the stt- women's as well as men's consciousness can be raised with reference to such uational object of historical discourse is a structural problem that obvtously goes notions as patriotism or total womanhood. For 1t ts wtth the authonties of what was at that time a British mandate. What am I going to do if an objection is brought stability of marriage.locracy and capttal. that it is not n~ptials . The feminist response to this- gender-specific rather than universal. a partial (masculist) account of inte~ectu~ histoty will. [P. And fermrusts. The second stab is with respect to Said's mother: stood as merely an accusation of personal guilt. At its best. [P. Said felt. ts that drmenston of her "woman-ness" allowed for? Let it be within the tacitly acknowledged and bonded enclosure of ~asculis~ knowledg~-pr~­ acknowledged only so as to be deplored. 34] in the essays by Kristeva. To document this claim would the discipline.. 15 Here I shall point at the ac- •.one deceased father: "If Grandmother had a beard. it isn't. for the shifting limits of tdeology. but where. Said's that if woman as the subject in law. . Her hands were bound in token of the subjection of acterize the activity of the poet or wnter of fiction (p." as conceived by an American writing about Italians. 14). as I have suggested earlier. or the subject of legal mterpretation. the outrage would have been just the same. 14 took his bride's name.:Ved into the argument in terms of the differential ethico-political dimension ~ncy in the quota of permitted immigrants to Palestine from among the of these relationships. as well as that between phallocracy and the organized Left. The heterogeneity of international fem- history of consciousness can any longer be broached wtthout this co~~ntation. eve~ ~s tt cn. explaining that by doing so he made one more va- allo. in the vocabulary of feminism that to "imagine" history is fraught with perils of a different kind. which her son on abortion shows how questions of sexual difference challenge the secular foun- now feels on her behalf. The British not a questioning of the power of Dworkin' s thesis. The collective sttu~tion of the tdeolo?- be to compile a volume of bibliographical data. then the clarity might have to be seen . the feminist critic would urge. inisms and women's situations across race and class lines is one of the chief The problem cannot be solved by noticing celebr~ted . The wtves to therr husbands. . so that it was the man's passport that was de- Let us consider Davie' s two quick stabs at feminists before turning to woman stroyed. ~e an Ita~an p.. . it was the wife's passport that was destroyed. 123. let us insist that the word "patria" is not merely masculine in gender but name~ the fa~er as the source of legitimate identity. beyond the recognition of worthy exception~.)"16 against the very grain of my prose? Indeed.w~~ that te~ is. At the moment.sho~~ not ~e under. I will quote my long- this naming is similarly related to the place of Are~dt. . we must I am grateful again to Booth for revealing the way feminist apppro_aches are supp~se. For if the law had been such that the husband dation of Western . for example since woman's place within the discipline and as subject of history is different from man's all along the race-class spe~m.of Dwor~. use~ to char. This critiq~e . 18 civil society-the patricians-in The New Science. ~he ha. . feminist hermeneutics attempts precisely her neck and her hands tied by another rope and wtth two heavy stones tied · Part of th~ attempt has been to articulate the relationship between phal- to her feet.struggle for power" (p.130 In Other Worlds The Politics of interpretations 131 he cannot know that what he has imagined was actually the case.<I ~m of co~se n~t ~entionmg the pos. . Ouno was in the air to signify the auspices essential to solemn . As long as fem- help but be significantly different from "woman" as conceived by an Italian inism is considered a special-interest glamorization of mainstream discourse (and looking at Americans? Or again. ts Palestinian passport. having registered the marriage.narrow and dtspossessed of war-devastated Europe.

excluding a monolithic Marx(ism). Ken Wissoker gender-analyses together is not even considered. other questions seem pertinent.. the women's struggle is one they can support "from the inside. suggested that she lacks a political. as a Third World ~eminist that she had hoped would enhance the pro- praised feminist criticism (carrying his own name on the hst by pro~y: see n. and to transform the clature is ideologically pure. class-. there tion. We see it happen in pomted out. It '"Y~uld object-before-objectity is invariably the Mother is fraught with the monolithic dismantle the ruling concepts of "literature. Perhaps a certain caution can be recommended to Kristeva as well.a J?roperty of ~he item on the ideological agenda-the implicit race idiom of our politics-is the dialectic. shape up! If I were writing specifically on Eagleton on feminism. I assume. Eagleton proceeds to trash It m t~ee were wo~en of color and a show of sentiment. It was my point of modation may themselves be situated within an ideologi~al ground. Latin derivation is not enough. Eisenstein's Capitalist Patri~r~hy best hope? Perhaps because. u~documented. involving Thomas Macaulay. or cultural perspective on psy- choanalysis as a movement." Eagleton writes." in a struggle to I have tried to read some aspects of the interpretive politics that seemed to transform those subjects within a wider political context. because she critique within "cultural practice" is assured even as that cn~que IS ne." Feminism in its academic inceptions is accessible and the Making of Socialism. and excluding or appro- pnating a homogeneous woman. the motives for this acc~m­ l~ng and gracious letter of invitation to me came to mind. when Said and I held the stage for a moment. so does he accommodate feminism as a movement within the evolution explicit charge I failed to fulfill. "Let us struggles is to toe the line between hubris and bathos. or separatist. I would also suggest that the notion that the ultimate what shape a "revolutionary literary criticism" would assume. Havmg VIew. No nomen- "cultural" practices to other forms of social activity. where academic and the Case for Socialist Feminism and the collection Beyond the Fragments: Femmzsm people are not likely to get much of a hearing. precisely. Davie's reprimand that we do not distinguish among women becomes all the more ris~ble in this contex~. Even to Booth's benevolent impulse one must add the cautionary word. I have been commenting on the politics of exclusion. and In a report on our symposium in the Chicago Grey City Journal." 21 Reading those words. Marxism. First. engage with the language and "un~onscious" of ~terary texts. 20 The vexed question of how to operate race-. It would articulate its "cultural" analyses cally. why the archaic mother is called. however. It would strive to relate such culist kinship inscriptions. No neologism is merely etymological. whereas. lest It share a niche with Eagleton's strategy here: woman's voice is not one voice to be added to the orchestra. ceedmgs." reinserting "literary" texts figure of Woman rather than women heterogeneously operating outside of mas- into the whole field of cultural practices. that seems to strike the harshest note. and mo- bilize such texts. 19 so~e~eign subject. unlike the race and class situations. an? subject to correction b~ a. As I reflect upon the cumulative politics of our gath- Girls. for the sa~~ spa~e of fe~nist said about my inclusion in the panel: "She was there. of Marxist criticism. to reveal their role in the ideological construction of the subject. If one wanted a produce and was produced by the symposium on "The Politics of Interpreta- paradigm for such criticism. paragraphs: his main contention.) sumptions. feminism is theoretically thin. historical.uthoritative men. Marxist critics that we have encountered in most of these essays. every voice is inhabited by the sexual differential. Apart from a pious remark that the maids upstairs in the guest quarters 20) for its revolutionary-Marxist potential. unexamined vanguardism of theory. mo~­ olithic feminist criticism hang out? The gesture of constituting such an object m 1982 order that it may be appropriated and then devalued has something like a re- lationship with the constitution of a monolithic Marx. I have briefly imagine. In Other Worlds The Politics of Interpretations 133 132 I refer Said to two representative titles: Zillah R. (The argument that it with a consistent political intervention. for the bourgeois mtellectual to look to join other politico-economic Terry Eagleton's Waiter Benjamin. as Clark has rightly of inclusion can also turn into an appropriative gesture. ab-ject. I should question . where does this undifferentiated. It is therefore necessary to question. Why is it that male critics in search of a cause find in feminist criticism their . if necessary by hermeneutic "violence. or. But perhaps the strongest indicator of another Just as Eagleton earlier accommodates deconstruction as .this ering. In the present context. paleonymi- cultural apparatuses themselves. In a moment. .. Towards a Revolutionary Criticism.utralized translated Derrida's Of Grammatology. the Third World seemed ex- orbitant to our concerns." I have pointed first at the usefulness of a broader notion of ideology and then p:oceede~ to notice some of the marks of ideology at work: conserving the is a name for it: feminist criticism. already established within the present. The deliberate politics . It would deconstruct the received can mean "thrown away from" -as "object" means "thrown toward" -by its hierarchies of "literature" and transvaluate received judgments and as. Elizabeth Abel's by such a situating gesture.

French Feminism In an International Frame 135

9. French Feminism in an International think of so-called Third World women in a broader scope, one found oneself
caught, as my Sudanese colleague was caught and held by Structural Function-
Frame alism, in a web of information retrieval inspired at best by: "what can I do for
A young Sudanese woman in the Faculty of .sociology at a Saudi ~rabi~n I sensed obscurely that this articulation was part of the problem. I re-articu-
University said to me, surprisingly: "I have wntten a structural functi~nalist lated the question: What is the constituency of an international feminism? The
dissertation on female circumcision in the Sudan." I was ~,ea.dy .to forgtve, the fo~?wing fragmentary and anecdotal pages approach the question. The com-

sexist term "female circumcision." We have learned to say clitondectomy' be- plicity of a few French texts in that attempt could be part both of the problem-
the "West" out to "know'' the "East" determining/a "westernized Easterner's"
cause others more acute than we have pointed out our mistake.
But Structural Functionalism? Where "integration" is "social control [which]
~!:~!!~!!lpt to "know her own worlciJ'; ~meffifug"1ike~a'SOtu­
defines and enforces ... a degree of solidarity''? Where "interaction, se~n from,the tion,-reversmg anC1dtspbl'cihgTiforuy oyjuxtaposing "some French texts" and
side of the economy," is defined as "consist[ing] .of the supply of mcome a~~
a "certain Calcutta") the ironclad opposition of West and East. As soon as I
write this, it seems a hopelessly idealistic restatement of the problem. I am not
wealth applied to purposes strengthening the persistence of ~tural patte~s.'
Structural functionalism takes a "disinterested" stance on soaety as functionmg in a position of choice in this dilemma.
structure. Its implicit interest is to applaud a system-in this case. se~u~l-be­ To begin with, an obstinate childhood memory.
cause it functions. A description such as the one below makes It difficult to .I am walking al~ne in my grandfather's estate on the Bihar-Bengal border one
~nter aft~rnoon m 1949. Two ancient washerwomen are washing clothes in the
credit that this young Sudanese woman had taken such an approach to
nver, beating the clothes on the stones. One accuses the other of poaching on
clitoridectomy: her part of the river. I can still hear the cracked derisive voice of the one accused:
"You fool! Is this your river? The river belongs to the Company!"-the East
In Egypt it is only the clitoris which is amputated, and usually not com- India Company, from whom India passed to England by the Act for the Better
pletely. But in the Sudan, the operation consists in t~e ~omplete remo~al Government of India (1858); England had transferred its charge to an Indian
Governor-G~neral in 1947. India would become an independent republic in 1950.
of all the external genital organs. They cut off the. clitons: th~ two maJOr
outer lips (labia majora) and the two minor inner lips (l~bta mmora). T~en For these Withered women, the land as soil and water to be used rather than a
the wound is repaired. The outer opening of the vagina IS t?e only portion map to be learned still belonged, as it did one hundred and nineteen years before
left intact not however without having ensured that, durmg the process that date, to the East India Company.
of repairi~g, some narrowing of the opening is carried out with a few ~xtra I was precocious enough to know that the remark was incorrect. It has taken
stitches. The result is that on the marriage night it is necessary to Widen me thirty-one years and the experience of confronting a nearly inarticulable
the external opening by slitting one or both ends with a sharp scalpel or question to apprehend that their facts were wrong but the fact was right. The
Company does still own the land.
razor so that the male organ can be introduced. 2
I sh~uld not co~sequen~y patronize and romanticize these women, nor yet
entertain a nostalgta for bemg as they are. The academic feminist must learn to
In my Sudanese colleague's research I found an allegory of my own ideological learn from them, !o speak to them, to suspect that their access to the political
~d sexual scene 1s not merely to be corrected by our superior theory and en-
victimage: · h Cal lightened compassion. Is our insistence upon the especial beauty of the old
The "choice" of English Honors by an upper-~lass young ~oman m t e -
cutta of the fifties was itself highly overdetennmed. Becommg a profe~sor of .necess~rily to be preferred to a careless acknowledgment of the mutability of
English in the U.S. fitted in with the "brain drain:" In due c?urse, a comffiltment ·sexuality? What of the fact that my distance from those two was, however mi-
to feminism was the best of a collection of accessible scenanos. The.m~rph~~ogy cro,Io~;ic<tlly you defined class, class-determined and determining?

of a feminist theoretical practice came clear through Jacques Dem~a s,cnti~u~ , then, can one learn from and speak to the millions of illiterate rural and
' of phallocentrism and Luce Irigaray' s rea~~g of ~reud. (The stumbling chmce . women who live "in the pores of' capitalism, inaccessible to the
dynamics that allow us our shared channels of communication, the
of French avant-garde criticism by an und1stingws~e~ I~ League Ph. D.
in the Midwest is itself not without ideology-cntical mterest.) ".--,-=-...-",.,-.•,..-~:-.,'1.. ~hn,ihCI>n of common enemies? The pioneering books that bring First World

began by identifying the "female academic" ~n? feminism ~s ~uch. Gr•adlJaJily news from the Third World are written by privileged informants and
I found that there was indeed an area of femmist scholars~p m the l!·~· th?t only be deciphered by a trained readership. The distance between "the
was called "International Feminism": the arena usually defined as femm1sm m world," her "own sense of the world she writes about," and that
England, France, West Germany, Italy, an? that p~rt of the Third World the non-specialist feminist is so great that, paradoxically, pace the subtleties
easily accessible to American interests: Latin Amenca. When one attempted reader-response theories, here the distinctions might easily be missed.

In Other Worlds french feminism In an International frame 137
individualistic rather than systematic subverters in order to summon timeless
This is not the tired nationalist claim that only a native can know the sce~e. "truths" resembles .the task of the literary critic who explicates the secrets of
The point that I am trying to make is that, in ord~r to le~m enough about 'fhl_rd the ~v~nt-garde artist of western Europe; the program of "symptomatic and
World women and to develop a different re.adership, the ~~ense heterogene~ 1 se~otic rea~ing" -here called "listening'' -adds more detail to that literary-
of the field must be appreciated, and the Frrst World fenurust must learn to st~EJ cntical task. The end of this chapter reveals another line of thought active in
feeling privileged as a woman. . . the ~oup I m~ntion above: to bring together Marx and Freud: "An analyst
These concerns were well articulated in my fenurusm ~hen~ came consaous of history and politics? A politician tuned into the unconscious? A
across Julia Kristeva's About Chinese Women. 3 Here agam I.found .a~ Wlth my woman perhaps ... " (p. 38).
~own ideological victimage, "naturalization" transformed mto p~vilege. Kristeva is certainly aware that such a solution cannot be offered to the name-
/ French theorists such as Derrida, Lyotard, Deleuze, and the like, have at one ~ess wo~en of the Third World. Here is her opening description of some women
time or another been interested in reaching out to all that is not the Westt,because m HUXIan Square: "An. enormous crowd is sitting in the sun: they wait for us
they have, in one way or another, questioned the millenni~y ch~rishe~ excel- wo~dlessl_r, perfectly still. Calm eyes, not even curious, but slightly amused or
lences of Western metaphysics: the sovereignty of the subJect'S mten~on, the a~ous: m ~ny case, piercing, and certain of belonging to a community with
power of predication and so on: There is a m?re ~r less va~ely .amc_ulated which ~e will never.have anything to do" (p. 11). Her question, in the face of
conviction that these characteristics had something like a relationship Wlth the ~hose silent women, IS about her own identity rather than theirs: "Who is speak-
morphology of capital. The French fe~st ~eo~ that makes its way to us mg, then, bef~re. the stare of the peasants at Huxian?" (p. 15). This too might
comes to a readership more or less familiar Wlth this e~clave.. . . be a charactenstic ~f the group of thinkers to whom I have, most generally,
During the 1970s, the prestigious journal Tel Quel-~steva IS .on the editonal attached her. In s~1te of the~ ~ccasional interest in touching the other of the
committee-pursued an assiduous if som~~hat eclectic .mterest m t.he matter of
West, of .~etaphys1cs, of cap1tali~~' th~ir repeated question is obsessively self-
China. 4 Before I consider that interest as It IS deployed m About ~hmese .women, centered. 1f we are not what offiaal h1story and philosophy say we are, who
let us look briefly at the solution Kristeva offers Frenchwomen m the first part then are we (not), how are we (not)?
of her book: It ~s therefore not surprising that, even as she leaves the incredibly detailed
terram of the problem of knowing who she herself is exactly-the speaking
We cannot gain access to the temporal scene, i.e., to politi~al affairs,. except
~eading, lis~~ning,"I" a~ this particul~r mo~ent-she begins to compute the real:
~ty of who they' are m terms of mzllenma: "One thing is certain: a revolution
by identifying with the values considered to b~ ~asculine (do~ance, m the rules of kinship took place in China, and can be traced to sometime around
superego, the endorsed communicative word that mstitutes stable soaal ex- B.C. 1000" (p. 46).
change) ... [We must] achieve this identification in order to escape a smug The sweepin~ histori.ographical scope is not internally consistent. Speaking
polymorphism where it is so easy and comf~rtable for a ~oman h~re to of modem . ~a, . Kriste:va asserts drastic socio-sexual structural changes
remain; and by this identification [we must] gam entry to s~~ expenence. thr~ugh legtslation m a ~nsk repo~orial t~ne that does not allow for irony (p.
[We must] be wary from the first of the premium on ~rassism that such 1~~, p. 128). Yet, speaking of anaent China, she finds traces of an older ma-
an integration may carry with it: to reject the validity of homologous trilineal and matrilocal society (evidence for which is gleaned from two books
woman, finally virile: and to act, on the socio-politico-J:Ust?rical s~age, as by Marcel Granet, dating from the twenties and thirties, and based on "folk
her negative: that is, to act first with all those who swtm aga~st the dance and leg~nd': [p .. 47]--:-and U!vi-Strauss's general book on elementary
tide " all those who refuse . . . But neither to take the role of revolutionary structures of kinship) lingenng through the fierce Confucian tradition to this
(male or female): to refuse all roles ... to summon this timeless "truth"- very day because, at first: it seems t~ be speculatively the more elegant argument
formless neither true nor false, echo of our pleasure, of our madness, of
(p. 68~. In ten pages this speculative assumption has taken on psychological
our preg'nancies-into the order of speech an~ social symbolism. But ho~? By causality (p. 78).
listening; by recognizing the unspoken m speech, eve~ revoluti~~ry ~ another seventy-odd pages, and always with no encroachment of archival
speech; by calling attention at all times t~ what~ver ~emams unsatisfied, eVIdence, spe~tion has become historical fact: "The influence of the powerful
repressed, new, eccentric, incomprehensible, disturbmg to the status quo sys~em of matrilinear descent, and the Confucianism that is so strongly affected
(p. 38; italics mine). by 1t, ea~ hardly b.e discounted" (p. 151). Should such a vigorous conclusion
not call mto ques~on the authority of the following remark, used, it seems,
at that pomt the author needs a way of valorizing the women of the
This is a set of directives for class- and race-privileged literary women "m•n•~·~,•~~ today over the women of the cities: "An intense life-experience has
can ignore the seductive effects of identifying. with the ':~ues ~f the other them from a patriarchal world which hadn't moved for millennia into a modem
while rejecting their validity; 5 and, by identifying the political Wlth the nnive,rsP where they are called upon to command" (p. 193; italics mine)? Where
and linguistic, ignore as well the micrology of political economy. To act

138 In Other Worlds French Feminism in an International Frame
then are those matrilocal vestiges that kept up women's strength all through
"all the manuals of the 'Art of the Bedchamber'-which date back to the first
those centuries? 7
It is this wishful use of history that brings Kristeva dose to the eighteenth- c~~~7 A. D." and "a novel of the Qing Dynasty ... The Dream of the Red Pa-
vzlwn. (p. 61, 7?). Let us forget that there is no attempt at textual analysis, not
century Sinophiles whom she criticizes because "they deformed those sys::ms
in order to assimilate them into their own" (p. 53). In the very next page, the e:en m translation. We must still ask, are these manuals representative or mar-
gmal, "n~;~al" or "perve:se:," have they a class fix? Further, is the relationship
essential problem" of the interpretation of C~inese ~hough~, defi~e~ (u2der
betw:en lite~ature and life so .unproblematic as to permit The Dream to be
cover of the self-deprecatory question) as a species of diffe!ential sem.lOtics: T~e
heterogeneity of this Li [form and content a~ on~e] defies s~mbo~sm, and iS
desc?be~ as . an accu~ate portrait of noble families" because it "is currently
actualized only by derivation, through a combmation of opposmg signs ( + and ~tudied m Chma as evtdence of the insoluble link between class struggle and
mtralinter-familial attitudes?" (pp. 78-79). How may it differ when a Chinese
-, earth and sky, etc.), all of which are of equal val~e. In other worcl~, th~re
is no single isolatable symbolic principle to oppo~e itself and a~s~rt itself as
pers~n ~ith a "Chinese experience" studies it in Chinese, apparently in this
transcendent law." Even as the Western-trained Thud World fermmst deplores way. !s it ?nly the West that can afford its protracted debate over the repre-
the absence of the usual kind of textual analysis and demonstration, she is ~entationali.ty of realism? Similar questions haunt the reader as Kristeva launches
treated to the most stupendous generalizations about Chinese writing, a ~opos mto a r~nmng summary of the female literati of China since 150 A. D., in terms
of dommant .th~mes. She offers this impressionistic comment on a poet who,
of that very eighteenth century that Kristeva scorns: "Not only .has Chi~es:
writing maintained the memory of matrilinear pre-histo7Y (collective and mdi- we are .told, iS among the greatest, not only in China, but in the literature of
vidual) in its architectonic of image, gesture, and sound; it ~as been able as. well the. entire world" (p. 50): "Li Qingzhao breathes into these universal traits of
to integrate it into a logico-symbolic code capable o~ ensunng t~e n:ost duect,
C~nese poetry a musicality rarely attained by other poets: the brilliantly inter-
twmed rhythms and alliterations, the shape of the characters themselves, create
'reasonable,' legislating-even the most bureaucratlc-commumca~on: ~ll the
qualities that the West believes itself unique in honou~g and that it attributes a lan~~ge where the least aural or visual element becomes the bearer of this
to the Father" (p. 57). Kristeva's text seems to authonz~, here and .elsewhere, symbiOSiS between body, world, and sense, a language that one cannot label
the definition of the essentially feminine and the essentially masculine as non- 'm~sic' ~r '~eanin~' because. it .is both at once." The poem is then "quoted"
logical and logical. At any rate, this,mo~eme~t ~nds with :he conclu-
tw~ce-first m Enghsh transcnption and literal translation, and next in "a trans-
sion that "the Chinese give us a 'structuralist or wamng (contradictory) por- lati~n (fron; .a French version by Philippe Sollers)." What would happen to
trait" (p. 57).
Lou~s: Labe m such a quick Chinese treatment for a Chinese audience with a
vestigtal sense of ~uropean culture as a whole? What is one to make of the gap
Kristeva prefers this misty past to the present. Most of her acco~nt of the
latter is dates, legislations, important people, important places. There iS no tr~n­ between ~he last lines of the two translations: "This time I how a single word 1
sadness is enough" and "this time one I word death won't be enough?" What
sition between the two accounts. Reflecting a broader Western cultural practice,
the "classical" East is studied with primitivistic reverence, even as the "con- wo~ld happe_n to "Absent thee from felicity awhile" in a correspondingly "free"
Chmese vers10n?
temporary" East is treated with realpolitikal contempt. . .
On the basis of evidence gleaned from lives of great women mduded m trans- As we come to the literatures of modern China, all the careful apologies of
the opening of the ?ook seem forgotten: "Let us examine the findings of a few
lated anthologies and theses of the troisieme cycle (I take it that is w~at ."third
researchers on family psychology or its representation in modern fiction as a
form thesis'' p. 91] indicates) and no primary research; and an unquestionmg a~­
me~ns of understanding the forms these feudal I Confucian mores take in
ceptance of Freud's conclusions ~bout the "pre:oedip~l". sta~;, and no a~alyttc
experience of Chinese women, Kristeva makes this prediction: If the q~estion [of ~hmese ~lture toda~" (p. 95) .. A~ far ~s I c~n tell, the author's source of literary
finding a channel for sexual energy in a socialist society through ~anous for~s
mfor~ati~n-a few Simple statistics-Is a smgle article by Ai-Li S. Chin, "Family
of sublimation outside the family] should be asked one day, and if the anal~sis ~ela~ons m ~od;rn Chinese Fiction," in M. Freedman, ed., Family and Kinship
of Chinese tradition that the Pi Lin Pi Kong [against Lin and Kong] Campaign ~~ Chmese Soctety. It seems startling, then, that it can be said with apparent ease:
seems to have undertaken is not interrupted, it's not altogether impossible that A~e t~ese .[mother-daughter] problems intensified by those passionate and ar-
chaic nvalrtes between women which, in the West, produce our Electras who
China may approach it with much less prudishness and fetishistic neurosis than.
the Christian West has managed while clamouring for 'sexual freedom'" (p. 90). us~rp t~eir mot~ers' roles by murdering them in the names of their fa;hers?
Chm~se lt~erature ts not explicit here" (p. 146; italics mine).
Whether or not the "Christian West" as a whole has been clamoring for
This bnngs us to a certain principled "anti-feminism" in Kristeva's book which
freedom, the prediction about China is of course a benevolent one; my point
be related .to what has been called "the New Philosophy" in France. 9 "The
that its provenance is symptomatic of a c~lonialist ben.evolenc~.
Electras-depnved forever of their hymens-militants in the cause of their fa-
The most troubling feature of About Chmese Women iS that, m ~he context of
China, Kristeva seems to blunt the fine edge of her approach to literature. thers, frigid with exaltation-are dramatic figures where the social consensus
draws many conclusions about "the mother at the centre" in ancient China ~orn~r~ a~r, woman who wants to escape her condition: nuns, 'revolutionaries,'
femimsts (p. 32). I think such a sentiment rests upon certain unexamined

Parisian voice. because in China the Amencan" d "E li h" f n name an . The question. w1se '" " ke d"bl er- :. by Tel Quel's espousal of the Chinese past after the disappointment with the Communist Party of France during the events of May 1968 and the movement toward a Left Coalition through the early 1970s.. au dela de l' abime or Monique ~ittin~' s Les~~~ For me-having been educated in a "popular democracy. where Marxist feminism has used mainstream (or masculist) My final question about this macrological nostalgia for the pre-history of the . 199. and more than millennia! polytheistic tradition of India has to be ex s t ~seems most relevant and urgent is that of a specifically feminine dis- written out of the Indo-European picture in order that this difference may stand. 163). even. giving women access to real of what IS specific about French feminism. one would get down to the uestion pre-patriarchal society has always lingered on. With_in such a context. (readi~~) is clear. fex: . [the Party] vr?n: n the Umted States. the law of the society): a capacity which itself has a basis in tradition. the stubborn refusal to admit anything IS missmg (p. The real differences between "our ~~t without bearing its "birthmarks" -for me what see:s ~:~e Freud's use of Greek myth to fix the father-daughter relationship-specially at .." which puts its trust in the individualistic Who isbspeaking here? An effort to answer that question might have revealed critical avant-grade rather than anything that might call itself a revolt~ctionary ~ore_a out_ the mute women of Huxian Square. 156). e prose poem . 195) and can e ~or ed up. the end of "Analysis Terminable and Interminable"-contain? Although Kris- teva sometimes speaks in a tone reminiscent of Anti-Oedipus.~~Engl~nd. her aut Ier.w _h~ve the indispensable textbook for this segment of the course· New gesting that in China the Party's suppression of the feminine is not really a tirenc ~e. Yet that is. which are the basis of that book. owned by rich citizens. indeed. In our own situation as academic ticulated in sweeping macrological terms.mzsms: A~ Anthology. edited by Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Cour- suppression of the "feminine": "By addressing itself thus to women. International Feminism is defined within a West E s e. We shall consider the fact ihat the rather than representative power. This is somewhat unllke Fr:~. italics mine).12 errums and the West is not altogether monotheistic. book. t the crossroads _of sexuality and ideology. _I a~. French feminism or. is extremely ng s eminism. looking with u lifi d the mcurs1on of the West. she does not broach these questions. however. rru~su:g' m the system is. monotheistic world . playing with freelance troupes) and "the immutable structures" of human behavior? What hidden agenda does r. What one does not know Indo-European. ~ourse. for instance. that a deliberate application of the doctrines of French The question of how to speak to the "faceless" women of China cannot be ~Igh Femmism to_ a different situation of political specificity might mi fir asked within such a partisan conflict. 198). still obviously in the lead" (p. au l e [what] . materialistic... Kristeva's "reason" for sug. at least as offered in this argues the unpossibihty of answering such a question.140 In Other Worlds French Feminism in an International Frame 141 questions: What is the relationship between myth (the story of Electra). no questions to which answers may not at least be entertained ng tendencies-"pragmatic. attempted m femm1st fiction or familiar-essay-cum. ~s. decadent. F W~ r. of who speaks in front . 10 This principled " least Althusser and Lacan-to explain the consti"tuti f East is plaintive and predictable: what about us? The "Indo-European" world th e subJect (of" d 1 . after initial weeks attempting to define a d · 'feminine' by patriarchal society. the question in French feminist oppressive.. As subject." q a e envy at collectivity is part of a general intellectual backlash-represented. t t th h . I have indicated above my reasons for thinking most acces~Ible s~a~? of French feminism is governed by a philosophy that that the evidence for this lingering maternal power. indeed. Such a writing is generall~ thou~~':o~ mva~a Y. more specificall French appeals to their capacity to assume the symbolic function (the structural con. ~mmtst t~eo~. No anguish over uncharted continents. woman must learn to "speak 'oth transformed into privilege" that I compared to my own ideological victimage. e eterogeneity becomes manageable. on o .. then. from its advantages and been subjected to its censorshi havin left It masmuch as it is possible to leave the world of one's child:~ d ~ tition with choruses. Body.~e. There are experts in the field. . We can work by the practical the Chinese situation must be presented as the fact that the "Chinese women assumption t_hat there is no serious communication barrier between them and whose ancestresses knew the secrets of the bedchamber better than anyone ._ oGr mha. As such It has strong ties to the "evocative ma<ric" of th o.. woman stands constituted The fact that Kristeva thus speaks for a generalized West is the "naturalization (1~ that 1s the word) as object. the socio- literary formulation of myths (Aeschylus's Oresteia. ern uropean con- of the mute and uncomprehending women in Huxian Square must now be ar. I eo ogy or sexua1tty)-to produce a more specifically "f · · t" whose "monotheism" supports the argument of the difference between China cntique of Marx's theories of ideology and reproduction. written for a civic compe- efit~d. t ~ec~use of a predominantly "literary" interest.rose. ~e can begin thinking of planning a class. t eory . Thus when Chinese Communism attacks the alse_ st~rts.:o su~h as this has an Interdisciplinary accessibility." it does not really do so. no superstitious dread of maki are similar to the men" (p." having ben. b o~parative LI~erature d_epartments rather than to the feminists in the field A since it includes the world prior to and behind the scenes of Confucianism" (p.r. . p. The splendid. psychological" -that "are considered . an. sug~e~tinJ?. suffers silently in the holes of discourse" (xaV1o::re As she investigates the pre-Confucian text of the modern Chinese woman. has so far been of interest to a "radical" fringe in Ffe~ch and straint. I hold on to a solitary passage: proJe~tb~f "listening". own pre-history in Bulgaria is not even a shadow under the harsh light of the ~e relationship between this project of "speaking" (writing) a d Kri t . multiple.oem s as C1~ous s Prep~ratifs de noces.

nomic text of the world-market. This differential and shifting specificrties of the class-struggle and its complicity with the eco- "'will stubbornly remain in the most "deconstructive" of readings.the discourse-theorists in French feminism marked.eral sign of "man" As entific anti-humanism.. the history of the concept of man is never W1thm this capsule summary such a reaction can be Chinese Women. Everything potential of the avant-garde. from Stmone de Beauvoir. It is within this context of ~. contained within the present academic system. A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism?) 14 Sec~nd Sex~ New Yor~. Cixous privileges poetry (for "the novelists [are] allies of tingwshed from woman nor specifically inclusive of her. agam largely m duce" -Derrida commenting on Blanchot-"a 'female element." but in fact of the libtdo. 18 Althusser s position was scz- . 158). Th~re is [in existentialism) no interruption in a metaphysical familiarity In a certain sense the definitive characteristic of the French fenumst proJect w~ch so naturally relates the we of the philosopher to "we-men. .P. mark texts. 238]-rather than the mind. English "cathexis. (Sartre does not remain the butt of the attack for ventions.) . more than a "political economy.' which does not . Kristeva seems to suggest that if women losophy rather than specifically his own thoughts. no historical cultural It is also an activity that is more politically significant for the producer/wnter linguistic limit (p. Here suffice it to point at Jean-Fran~ois Lyotard's Economie libidinale of those who establish. admittedly." 16 As even a quick since it establishes an affinity with the French feminist use of Marx. one that )< is anchored in the organism. leads to little more than Besetzung. cross-hatched With analogies between "a philosophy of alienation sharing "all the components of the most classic pornographic literature" (Benoite ~nd ~ p~ychoanalysis. do not disavow this. very little to do with the micrological (their apparent formal allegiance to. 20 ' glance at the longest entries for the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries in For Lyotard. given this situation. ~n echo of the . . ·the Freudian pluralization of "the grounds of man" is still no the PMLA bibliographies will testify. or "capitalist society" and "pros- £i!:Q~t1.'117 Louis Althusser launched a challenge against Sartre's theory choanalysts and Marxtsm as specrfic or "regional" practices) and anti-revolu- of humanistic practice and his anthropologistic reading of ~rx ~th his ow':' tionary (against collectivities)." plotted as it is in terms of investments (German duction. .<P· 169) :"':~~ has. their substantive revision o~. Is it because his practice remains caught within the humarusm." Derrida is describing a trend in contemporary French phi- heard in the u.. restoring those texts ba~ ~o propositional disco~se. · ." so also .'oken of ~e ~'Ne~ Philosophical" reaction to the possibility also the philosophical avant-garde which I mentioned with reference to About of a Left Coalition m 1978.~vileged subject). precrsely. 35). 142 In Other Worlds French Feminism in an International Frame 143 endorsed by Baudelaire-the power of indeterminate suggestion rather than determinate reference that could overwhelm and sabotage the signifying con- te~s ?f ~~rtre ~nd his anthropologistic reading of Heidegger.s. between Expressionism and Realism. Although the theme of history is eminently present of the French avant-garde. "Man" is simply the representation" [p. and to speak a language which is not the language . 15 • takes place as though the sign "man" had no origin." presented on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of The by Waiter Benjamin. can be called an antz-sczentific anti-humanism. the two feminist discourse-theorists who ijfe most In "Ends of Man. It is for the writer rather than the reader that Herbert Marcuse's words may have some validity: "There is the inner link between di- alectical thought and the effort of avant-garde literature: the effort to break the Any extended consideration of Derrida' s description would locate the land- power of facts over the word. Julia a rupture. the power of a Les Guerzlleres or a Tell Me a Rzddle libidinal.:. The itinerary of this group is set out in Jacques Derrida's "The called anti. 250]) and suggests that a Kleist or a Rimbaud can speak as hero of philosophy: women do.ther th~n titutio~ . The challenge in Fr~nch p~os~phy describe~ by Derri~a 1t exists within the "metaphysical" tradition (a deconsttUctiontnaFcari ""pro- in his essay (which makes a point of bemg wntten m 1968). Older feminist writers like Duras ("the rhetoric of women. IS heard m Michele Le Doeuff's "Simone de Beauvoir and gestures of an embarrassingly masculist decadence (linked to "high capitalism" Existentialism.?lt::::is what they talk about.. though he does hint how his can accede to the avant-garde in general.. however. the ~place of the subject) or Sarraute are therefore related to the mainstream avant- garde phenomenon of the nouveau roman. 19 Le Doeuff's essay reminds us that. It can be referred to the debate about the political . "Man" in this piece is neither dis- discourse (p.-humanist (~gainst the P. when the In fact. 166)." the total of founding a woman's discourse reflects a coalition with the continuing tradition honzon o~ humanity.-( The important figures for these theorists remain Mallarme and Joyce. the European avant-garde.<m!!!!l:!~tion_Q{Jhe_g~p. in the body'' [p. 117) what (to mention a non-French text)-distinguishing them from the "liberated texts" emerg~s ~s a powerful "liter~-critical" exegesis under the governing allegory supposedly subverting "the traditional cmt:tponents of discourse. In terms of a "libidinal" economy as such. Kristeva and Helene Cixous. of the signifier" (p. Baudelaire is not often invoked by the French theorists of feminist or long. ra.importa~ce of Sartre as the chief philosopher of French revolutionary discourse. ' ' than the consumer/reader.__.. 21 The search for a discourse of woman is related not merely to a literary but I have alre~~y s:I. "Feuerbach's 'Philosophical Manifesto'" in 1960. ~~~o?Y) of the. just as the current anti-humarust move m French philosophy was "post-Sartrean" as well as "post-structura~st." French investissement-providing a convenient the stockpiling of exegeses. . the "political" energy of avant-garde pro. they will fulfill the possibilities of their ~wn ~pproach is distinct from the others'. anti-scientific (against psy- Ends of Man. enforce and benefit from the facts. Marx 1s taken within this "libidinal cartography" (p.

. text begins with a series of these oppositions and Cixous . Wom~n canno.Il!. a woman cannot "be". they become. 1£ ~e compa~e rmagmary order and m advance.out 'woman' than about'J. it is something which does not even bel~ng cauldian problematic: "men and women are caught in a network of millennia! in the order of being. Glas (the project of philosophy as desrre for the mother).. even sexual identities. have borne down. renders all conceptualization null and void" them to the experience of both poles of sexual difference as ts fo~nd m <p· 96). 253).notion of the rrremedmbly deceptive" Imaginary.~ the sub)ect t~ his [sic] ego". I pay.?ri~in" (p. identific~tions constantly transforms. giving to woman a dispersed and differentiaP specific sign "woman" should be read: Identity. the narCis~~stic relation o. She does not eXIst. The pomt stock of Imagtnary counterparts which provides the material for sublation into might be to remark how." In ~f Grammatology. dos~ attenti~n to ti~ent Is matched. and in my theoretical formula~ons I try to go about a woman s discourse by way of the negative is related to the deconstruc- against metaphysical theories that censure what I JUSt labeled a tion:-of man's insistence upon his own identity as betrayed by existing models "woman" -that is what. If they do.. a relationship to the world by way of ideological reflexes· There is something even faintly comical about Joyce rising above sexualidenti~es a relationship. Demda cha~ge the very forms of language which by its structure and history has b~en has most overtly investigated the possibilities of "the name of woman" as a subject to a law that is patrilinear. a relationship to other subjects necessarily revolutionary potential of the avant-garde. knows t~at the ~e-in~cription of the Imaginary cannot be a project launched b. the space betwee~ rrelates the privileging of the sovereign subje~t not ~nly With phonocentrtsm ~~e Ideologtcal and the "symbolic" is marked by the Imaginary order: r (primacy of voice-consciousness) and logocentrtsm (pnmacy ~f the word as ~aw). (Eperons (woman as affirmative deconstruction). textuality with a sureness of touch that places her within the Derridian-Fou- ever.. counterparts ..the hymen as both mists capable of attacking patriarchy on the ideological level but not on a sym- '·:·inside and outside). one does the symbolic dimension is an important part of the project for a woman's dis- not necessarily escape the historical determmations of seXIsm. a sov~reign s':~Ject. Ci~ous relates th~ idea of this over-determined ideological tl~eater to the im- possible het~rogene~ty of "eac~." She is referring here to t~e ~a~aman. 2~ In..says of women: "s~e It takes off from Freud's suggestion that the I (ego) constitutes itself in obligatory does not enter into the oppositions. And that is precisely what feminist action human beings train to prepare for a transformation of cons~iousness. he's grasp upo~ it rem~ins always deferred.or minimal ideal~ation.0-31).person'~ imaginary order. ~he uses the. ~~. pomt that the ~eci~lOn not to search for a woman's identity but to speculate tity. of discourse-launched by mainstream French anti-humanism 137-38). She prac~ce o~ wnting.smce ~he b~gtx:"mgs of the family and private property: that where women unite as a biologically oppressed caste. a belief in identity (the reverse of phallocentrtsm). 258) and "Sorties" (p. but there must be some- thing of her" (p.t allow themselves to deal with political problems while at the : but also with phallocentrism (primacy of the phallus as arbiter of [legal] Iden. makes my research that of a woman (pp. and for feminism. bolic level" (p. alters each ~erson's ticism. where ~an be done only m the Imagtnation.24 In texts such as "La double seance" 25 (the figure of. she is not coupled w1th the father (who IS .\ cultural determinations of a complexity that is practically unanalyzable: we can at odds with what already exists . images reflec- ideologies . how. and this is an impossibility that will remain" (p. at best. ~a~e time blotting out the unconscious.atur~~ a11A l~eologtcal theater where the multiplication of representations." Later. Yet It must also ~ourse: "Assuming the real subjective position that corresponds to this discourse be acknowledged that there is in Kristeva' s text an implic. C?ne would c~t ~hrough all the heavy layers of ideology that women which we encounter in the best of French femimsm: agamst sexism. In "woman" I see something that ~o mor~ talk about 'woman' than about 'man' without being caught within an cannot be represented. fern- tity). .~7 "We ~nQ J. she may be nonexistent. In Other Worlds French Feminism in an International Frame 145 144 coupl~d with the son). of <:. 91). "The Law. 28 To change th~ .~he following remark by Antoinette Fouque. deforms. ation as textual effect) a certain textuality of woman is established.':~ This sen- the economy of Joycian or Artaudian prose ...enre" (th~ fem~le Now Cixous. There- mentions Derrida' s work with approval in her influential "Laugh of the Med. ?emd1an co.. literary or philo~op~c~l. even if one kno~s h?w to und? 1d~titie~. 117).double l:'rogra~ fo~ _ IS another matter. ~y the passage tromKiistevili quote ~bove-to make my the particular aspect of the work of the avant-~arde which ~1ssolves Iden. naive roman" ~ons: myths. therefore masculine" (Catherine Clement corollary to the project of charging "the ends of man. This is a classic argument methodology of reversing and displacing hierarchized bmary oppositions. Especially in the l~tter...IlOr~-~~ll<aJ:. a "basically I have already expressed my dissatisfaction with the presuppos~tion of. I think. Cixous deploys the Derridian notion of restance signify female person")22 that the following statements by Kristeva about the ~rem~m~). It follows that a feminist practice can only be n~gativ:. 92). and bequeathing the proper mind-set to the women's m~vem~~t.u~a" fore. Certain feminist demands revive a ~nd of. m CIXous the Imaginary remains subjected to persistent alteration and the (p. as my. to meaning in terms of resemblance and unity. She uses the theme of socio-political a~d ideological On a deeper level [than advertisements or slogans for our demands].it . The Within the French anti-humamst deconstruction of the sovereignty of the subject. as the most Derridian of the French "anti-feminist" feminists (element as double affirmation) and "Living On: Border Lmes (double mvagm.!n. 92). something above and beyond nomencl. JUSt as she knows that "it is impossible to define a feminine Helene Cixous is most directly aware of this line of thought in Derrida. 26 She relates man to his particular "torment his desire to~ ~e (at) t~e . IS all about: to change the imaginary in order to be able to act on the real to Within this group of male anti-humanist avant-garde philosophers.

is capable of favorably responding to the something that cannot be represen e : . More body. the ensemble of the one and the other not congealed in 30 If the New Women. . Unless one is aware that one can- not to the Name-of-the Father.nary 1S random an pom s. f "The Laugh of the Medusa" she does that deconstruction is not a negative metaphysics and that one cannot practice . of us Look at the trembling Perseuses · . " 215. arnvmg now.a a1 d of the male member m sp end 1bS fr . th~SFlik~ b~~~ns in :holstery [points de capiton ]. JeC ~ .cal sets: geno-text. olation· "ks th~ jitters that give them a hard. ·gnifi · n of the Phallus. Teres~] 1S c~mt. 254). "The essential predicates in a minimal determination of the classical writes: "Don't remam wtthin t e psyc. If we direct against men the action necessary for · d ath and the femmme sex P· · .. ss •th D ·da's critique of the Lacanian phallus as nifier. anti- humanism understQQd as . It is a "structure" whose "origin" and "end" are necessarily provisional and absent. In Other Worlds French Feminism in an International Frame 147 146 iniscent of the Freud who silenced female psychoanalysts by calling them as . . women's progress.l.a critiq~l'!. e are ew twist to the place of the phallic impossibility of remaining in the in-between." ( 255) aspirations of women. some ofwhlch The dist~nce betwde: a f txou~tlcal of Lacan's phallocentrism and a Kristeva. tential ori ·nary space before the she calls for "a materialist analysis of the oppression of women. m t r:-~:::. Of the many varieties. the question of Cixous' s faithfulness diately she [St. t d"· Cixous· "Men say there are two un." she is sometimes influenced by the critique of humanism. then.. t t sk what it means to say some men. 35 The question of the political or historical and indeed ideological pursuit of the 1t (1d): am m11~ h d ] Most obviously of course. I certainly .a~. Her project. name of "structure" which operates and fractures knowing (epistemology). ogy in particular an ere ore en . .. history. being (ontology). hence more writing'' (p. and this fact is obviously not accidental. not to deconstruc e on. . locentrism is not asked.· · Glas 32 I believe the "transcendenta1 s1gm e m h r •t f man's enterpnse m . what_ she loc~es as ~e ~onames anfinhabitants related to existence of this Marxist line had the practical consequence of being a brake on' sign. representabl~ t hin~s. Unlike them. admonition ~at.1 In this a feminist materialism and who are not programmatically or method- ' b "women" m this speoa sense." that "the 1 :1 and formulaically. Y a J ·uxtapos1tion like t e o owmg. 1 a be measured. tneeaftors of N.P~e~s. It is the mother'' (pp. . this space a~:~~~~an avant-garde. Over the years. how~ver. ancient Asiatic tin. Here the lesson of a double approach-against sexism and for feminism- Demda was a regu ar con t th ·. archeolog~._ specific ideolog~. 128). as they "The social mode of being of men and women and of women is in no way linked 8gw aroque. 26 . to. These are the "radical feminists" who are interested in cope Wl e .o~ Oll page 32." 37 Because Cixous seems often to identify the Der- I woman as o.can's.~te o:~~e the theoretical. h E High Art of Renaissance and Another variety of anti-"feminism" that should be yet further distinguished: ·sties. socialist or capitalist. . but dynamized . as Ctxous o· . a statement like" .~. Further. questioning the process of the same and of the other to the Name-of-the-Fa er or 1 s a ' ._. doing (practice). "that to write is precisely Yet. h ctice of deciphering every code as refernng take on Lacan." 38 . ~ cerned with a reminder of the limits of deconstructive power as well as with the of a pnvileged s1gmfier.~Y. . ' ini statue in Rome to understand tmme- only have to go and l~ok at _the ~~~~or the assa e is followed by an invocation In a course on International Feminism. m'!n . women are body.:. Kristeva .. . beuins the peroration o · free play is lost sight of: "To admit. It suf- on! for themselves! They nee to e . · ·fi r'' · "The Purveyor o . e .~en~ for "bisexuality. .:s::~~ personal experience. . even as has been.: !!~!! )34 with their nature as males and females nor with the shape of their sex organs" •th th mystery of pregnancy-1 ancy · . the [women's] movement.~i:. "I " st be read as an anaseme of "where it was there good as men. Derrida. undoing the work of death-is first to want the what about the libido? Haven'~ I_ read [Lac~~r~ :::r. .h\:e a.bered to the string that leads back.. . . 36 And. only half I would mention the party-line anti-feminism with which Communist Parties . . not avoid taking a stand." Cixous writes. Wh h writes· "YouonlyhavetolookattheMedusa ridian mode of writing about writing with merely the production of prose and ~o ~e eye-object d1~e~~~p· 25~~ si :elieve ~he is rewriting the arrogance o~ "you verse.. an they're called in by the cops o e 1 ' osed to kno~· assigned 'by f~e to infinity by an incessant process of exchange from one into the other different brought into the line_ of order ~at~he~a~ :~~s always for~ed for the benefit subject" (p. I feel some sympathy with Christine Delphy' s remark.~~~~~e~~ such. it relates sha nib ecome "[woeswarso zc weren. politics. th: ~:~~~e~g.e P~. economics. that no society. assoo:~:t: to the early Tel Quel. institutions as ~~:ti~nn~! ::~!~~~~._":-~ sympathetic to French a~~-hu~arushm mf llgen~ra ' ~~eva: "In 'woman' I see associate themselves: "The 'new feminism' is currently developing the thesis ·fun b fano y. 258) remains confusing." she takes her place Wl em f Truth" and with his artic. Much of Derrida' s critique of humanism-phallocentrism is con- of tri~elj' to a . we condemn the great hopes of women to a dead end" (p. or unquestioning acceptance of.fue name of. ()f. two [le deux] and both.~e~~~~d:x::~:~!~. "writing'' in Der- 2 63) 31 A he exposes the p a us o e rida is not simply identical with the production of prose and verse..:gy.W~nch Feminisms"menti.?!~. (I~ fact. for a n h 11 ' t b the "privileged sig. . unwitting stands get taken. . She quethstions t •te ~as the mother-who-has-the-phallus: "And to work (in) the between.a~!~~.nn but rather to recuperate. italics mine). o derisive takeoff on the notion that concept of writing'' are presented and contrasted to Derrida's use of "writing'' ftlie choice o~.cally is Derridian thought dates back to the stxties. thCehri~~~~:~~:. fQJ>e~ed from the other kinds of French anti-feminism. becomes quickly irrelevant. fices here to point out that th~QLmti:-feminism thaLhas its. ~!::s:Oes not relate to the subject-object but in "Signature Event Context.. occasionally the point of Derrida' s insistence lmag~.:~~n~ :~~~~n~fg~.' without which nothing b li ' der' s asp upon the stuff of th e differential that irreducibly separates the male from the female critic of phal- to La. stra1ght on to see e . d d sequences of struggle and expulsion or some other form of death. Like Kristeva Cixous also seems no o a . f th s·gnifier fingerprinted remonstrate . .OJ: ()f phallocentrism is moving backward toward ~' clad :r::~::::~o the deconstructive morphol.

~~~ ~:~~~s:USc~~= potential of personne in French (so':'e. and the inaugurator. neither in France philosophy study group at the women's Ecole Normale at Fontenay-aux-Roses. This is because Freud is at once the most powerful contemporary male of the century. It can appear attenuated. if not in its content.. 1 1 f the structures of power. The readings of an .. that the radical femmls~s ere o-b Person in the body of a woman" (p.t from d uch to do with the practical critique of pha~o­ by an absence of questioning the history of the sign "myth.f. generally incidental to other topics. 'ty couched in the stra. lead to the sort of obsesswn a feminist point of viewY There are also the analyses of mainly eighteenth- one and. to.n~~~~ ~~=~~~~x~~~~~ Z:}e~~: nee.. 42 This book exposes. an awareness that I have found lacking in Kristeva and l stru le is this sort of enormous machine whose system is Cixous. as I acad~mlC atntill-hlunmtha:t~msh:he 7ssue seems to be the indeterminacy of n:e~nmgf have argued in the case of About Chinese Women. Kofman comments on Freud's ideological betrayal of his own sympathy . f ·d tity and vaneties o d linguistic determination." an absence. She reveals the curious itinerary of Freud's progress to- isesnot always the same. and perhaps • 40 tegic form of rhetorical questlo~s.~se~s particularly so because. But there is a considerable lag between the reality of the class strug- just as certam y. 294- The so-called explored language extolled by some women wn ers a ated 95). an exchange that is often forgotten: de Freud.~~~~~~ method that seemed recuperative when used to applaud the avant-garde is pro- ductively conflictual when used to expose the ruling discourse. a en e gle and the way in which it is lived mythically. has mainstream There is the long running commentary.~e:h. e e) is not attended to. in The Interpretationof himself int? a ~tar Chamber' can at wors ." Irigaray' s "La Tache aveugi~ . 1 t e won .. of woman as the stronger sex-three subsequent long movements to sublate that strength into its unrecognizable contrary: the demonstration that woman is indeed the weaker sex. especially on Greek mythemes-marked nor in ~he U:S. More- detailed. field) to ignore thes: ~s~te w~rn~. from 226)-can.nd one of the tone of The Symbolist philosopher of female sexuality. Marx. as I have suggested above. But.{ Movement m Literature by Arth~r S~mons. in France the cntique o 1 en historico-geographic boundary-to be found in La jeune nee. apar. In Other Worlds French Feminism in an International Frame 149 148 ' d' rse out of hand. t a opfres capitalism.~ ~:e~~~~~b~~i~~~. even if it does not theorize upon. because they are in a position where work on language and the imaginary has 't seems a primordial importance and can put blinkers on them (pp. nacy. ~ec~i~:~ by J~rx and which therefore functions t~day. more scholarly. the possibility of being a deconstructor of the metaphysics of identity. presslve power o umams the curious example of Derrida. 292. its rhythm for women's mutism. the most useful thing that a training in French feminism can give us is politicized and critical examples of "Symptomatic reading" not always following the reversal-displacement technique of a deconstructive reading. But I have. An Amencan-sty e r~n . C. especially by intellectuals "radical feminists": for whom it is hard to measure the reality of struggles directly. The best readings are of dinizing that has been a tr:nd m ~ng"F eh" feminist eager to insert herself/ Freud. at the sa~e ti~e no on ty that is both the self-duping and the op.~7tl can em hasize our own tendency Dreams. more sophisticated in its methodology. d'un vieux reve de symetrie" (Speculum) has justifiably become a classic. She deconstructs the "fact" of penis-envy through an One can sense the frustration in Clement's response: whi~h . especially if one is bludgeoned into thinking would not r~jelct thtte seda~~:~: . suffer. The It would be a mistake (at least for ~hose~~~~.~~:~~~~~ ~irect by literary sfchthoolsbogdoyvel~Sned byn~: :~~=~~~r~~~a~~e ~t is equivalent to language o e ··· · · h t s Cixous answers with a vague charge against the denial of poetry by advanced denying the reality and the strength of social medlations .. critique of identity. where the analysis brilliantly deploys the deconstructive themes of indetenni- present his~~r~al me'. of the technique of"symptomatic reading. lt see:~A~:~an literary criticism since the turn from a lack of detailed awareness of the Marxian text.. and yet remaining caught within a masculist ideology. ~f :~~~ua search as expressed by the so.~mq~. which in its turn marks a centrism a a · · · . and the absence of a totalizable analytic foothold. t of the final exchange between Catherine more perceptive is Sarah Kofman's L'enigme de la femme: la femme dans les textes Cl~~. it is a rhythm that lS sometimes most wards his final thoughts upon female sexuality: three moments of the discovery attenuated. In the long run. century philosophical texts associated with work in progress at the feminist with ?ne's prope~ ~entitJ:: p.s~ll be neither a woman nor a man in the There are essays on Plato and Descartes in Irigaray's Speculum de !'autre femme. ta offer grandiose solutions With httle po tica specl lCl . How is a sex possible that is despised by both sexes? This is the masculist enigma to which equally well at a Lyotard or all of the "poetic revolutionanes : . us in our bodies (p. to be linked. micrological and least by its style.~ould be directed analysis of the self-contradictory versions of the pre-oedipal stage.o~ca a~a yses ot against the sort of gallic attitu- We should also be vigilant. 219).. l .

Male and female sexuality are asymmetrical. even m a ' not entail any one component of the heterogeneous female reproductive sce- classroom. 1 ho am I? but who is the other woman.. culture as general exchange of women. and French feminists and relate the morp o ogy 0 . and pornography networks. conception.:~~ :e!t:~~ the feminine norm as the suppression of the clitoris: "Being asked by Zeus and ductive liberation is to make countersextsm an en m 1 s . if indeed a "teacher" ever fully passage. d 43 This is no doubt a benefit for female academics. To brmg us ac 0 of the effacement of the clitoris.thod of oneirocritique to show its ideological limits. Usl~g Freu _s own me . it is not only the womb that. In legally defining woman as object of exchange.' d an" as "sub]' ect" see the investigators as sweet and sympat e c not merely remote and primitive societies. th g . is literally "appropriated". and it is also to legitimate the view of d d t is envy is Freud's screen-solution.•• -··-·· "French" and my initial concerns.~ l . It recognizes that "nature of other discourses that spell out and establish t~e po~er . indirectly. "epe~a~n a the elaborate attention to their skin and fa~ade as represented by the immense her own socialization in the colonizing cultures.. ~:e:~~ exhilaration in working out the patriarchal intricacy of Tiresias's standing as a h'fti g) that double vision is needed in the consideration of ~ome~ s p prophet-master of ceremonies at the Oedipal scene-in terms of the theme of ~~cti~e freedom as well. p.~Jranting. he decided lishment of women's subject-status as an unquestioned good and mdeed not to . tent Insti'tutional changes against sexism here or m that is effaced. it is the clitoris as the signifier of the sexed subject ' can. 45 agenda in Freud's attempts a norma ' . French or othe. h whose "outside" is the man's "active" life in society. or possession in terms of reproduction. . which discloses the historical Freud. further harm for women m t e . Othberw~s:.r. bi. 'th the world's women at large. For to see wom:n's libera~~n ~: !~e~:c:!. re uced' o pen . gestation.. advertisement. t th' k from the reproductive orbit is being developed at present in our esoteric French If it is indeed true that the best of French feminism encourages. b yond the texts so ar avore constructive-readmg. the public versus private dimensions of menopause as op- there is something equally wrong in our most sophisticated researc ' our mos posed to impotence. it is in this seemingly esoteric area of conce~~ t~at . the "same" pleasure. the dtfference ~en. the absence of such unfeasible but crucial questions that make~ t~e possibility of the dismemberment of the phallus. nario: ovulation.~~~:gp~~a:a:c~~s~ had programmed female sexual pleasure independently from the needs of pro- will indeed have gained an excellent strategy or un er . . of course. ically enoKgh. However un east e a . it might be necessary othe~ fo~:~ ~~:~~:~ s~e name ~e? Is this part of the problematic I discuss? to plot out the entire geography of female sexuality in terms of the imagined ~a:e~nJ iteis. . ?r. finall~ td~tifi:ble ~~~ azine. cgtoris es- ca~§.::n~e ma mean nothing or. the focus remams de me Y ·f. dangers of a subjectivist normativity. let me insist that h~r~. the (sex) objectification of women by eo omze worn d d' g on creatures from another planet who are free to come a~~ g~. Male orgasmic pleasure "nor- ~~~:t. clothes. Female orgasmic pleasure (it is not.: ~~~:o. " . th' se de The double vision that would affirm feminism as well as undo sexism suspects ample of French feminist critical practice of "symptomatic -f mf IS dcaby th~ a pre-comprehended move before the reproductive coupling of man and woman. f' d ·b th · estioator as subj'ect. like Oedipus. function. Y vangua: .-. birthing.~ The woman's voice as Mother or Lover or Androgyne has sometimes been of re-affirming the historically discontinuous yet common obJect -the caught by great male writers. the double standard in the criteria of men's "free sex" of one kind or another. If we can m~~ e f this critique with the "specificity" before the closing of the circle whose only productive excess is the child. us ~ m group and in the literature of the gay movement. for property and legitimacy would fall within the investigation of the varieties · .rr woman as legal object-in or out of marriage. 37} . The theme of woman's norm as clitorally ex-centric the sexed subject as woman. women's mag- vanguardist class fix. or as means or agent of reproduction-with no recourse to a the descri tion of women's pleasure" (New French Femzmsms.. tecongurao ti' n of the rest this is not an inconsiderable gi t. The arena of research here is . h f · · t 's suppression or effacement of the clitoris relates to every move to define woman "One of the areas of greatest verbal concentration am?~g Frenc emtmsds 1. underwear. women :V. are all questions within this circuit.tiY. Wrong. s soon as one ste s out of the classroom. Para ox subject-function except in terms of those definitions or as "imitators" of men. as sex object.~to~n:~ today the discourse of the world's privileged so~tf'eties dict_ates mally" entails the male reproductive act-semination. All historical and theoretical investigation into the definition of · e become more ms1s · · h Th' d . o. It would also ask why and show how. since an at it may sound I see no way to avoid insisting that there has to be a s~mHu taneou~ least symbolic clitoridectomy has always been the "normal" accession to wom- . ow am anhood and the unacknowledged name of motherhood. The pre-comprehended benevolent impulses.> A e dan ers rath! than the benefits of academic feminism.. . only called by the same name) does h fi'. p.. ~ith the hnes. or as politico-economic passageway World 44 /his discontinuity ought to be recognized and worked ~t. fertilization. ~ complexity of the cosmetics.. sought a solution. There is a certain melancholy of a double effort (against sexism and for femin~sm.J.~len nd inefficient Psychological investigation in this area cannot only confine itself to the effect "Anglo-American" feminism is superftctal. Hera to settle a dispute as to which sex had more pleasure of love. . see f~mtms~ a~.gprQdU!. of course. h b duction" (Evelyne Sullerot. constitutive of kinship structures where olo~. the liberties it fights for as luxuries.. 155). l of clitoridectomy on women. in Other Worlds French Feminism in an international Frame 151 150 heed the best lessons of French anti-humanism. 1 moments to demonstrate the ethico-political women's object-status is clearly seen as identified with her reproductive Isolating seemmgly margma t lization L' enigme de la femme is a fine ex. Like Oedipu~'s mask of blindness. The.!ll:~" · · 13 • ·. My pomt a~ een t and women's aging. are already infinitely pnvileged.

and typology as I speak of such a "It is legitimate to expose the oppress1on. by both the points of view woman who. stop making feminism a new religion. 105). this too should be "situated": to establish historical continuity by sublating a natural or physiological link as an end in itself is the idealistic subtext of the patriarchal Dictio~ary). shows how encompassingly the uterine norm of womanhood sense of them in women as unlike as Irigaray and the Questwns femzmstes group. 46 that the philosophy of home-ownership is intimately linked to the sanctity of Although French feminism has not elaborated these poss1~1htie:. in the "freest" analysis of motherhood as "ultimate guarantee." 47 . but it is also dangerous to put the and class. m dis. it Irigaray: "In order for woman to arrive at the point where she can enjoy her this ideologico-material repression of the clitoris as the signifier of the sexed pleasure as a woman. ··ru. In Other Worlds French Feminism in an International Frame 153 152 for the female. the typology of the subtrac~on o~ ex~s10n of the ~hto~s yet history-specific lot. rather. heterogeneity. then Q~es­ tions feministes would not need to mak~ a binary op~os~tion sue~ as t~e fol~ow~g. the functionahzation sex-analysis. one hopes. what is the political function ology.. To bring that about. 227). we c~nnot tation. of great i~~ortance as a ~ersistent effort against the sexism of millennia. above. here is a theme in terms of the reproduction of furore generations." and "social" dimensions. normality" of her orgasm: at best. It would also not be necessary. It wou~d ~e feminism toward the Third. If an analysis of the suppression of the clitoris in general as the suppression absolute) is presupposed by both patriarchy and family.. !h~re IS some the nuclear family. mother as the blood runs down her groin and the "liberated" heterosexual continuous and indefinitely context-determined ways. o_f so_ciality. the cheap labor that the multi-national corporations employ by remote control sure alone as the solution to her problem. Whether the "social relations of patriarchy can be mapped into the social re- Questions feministes: "What we must answer is-not the false problem . setting herself apart from the circle of reproduction. the fact that the entire . A which lations characteristic of a mode of production" or whether it is a "relatively consists in measuring the 'role' of biological factors and the 'role' of social factdrs autonomous strucmre written into family relations". fully escape the symmetry of the reproductive definition. birthing. and suckling is. and each one will straddle and undo the ide- . and a theme the old washerwomen agent and means of production) in favor of a clitoral.) Investigation of the effacement of the clitoris-where clitoridectomy is a metonym for women's defi- nition as "legal object as subject of reproduction" -would persistently seek .zation should. It might. whether the family is a in the behavior of sexed individuals-but rather the following questions: (1) in place of the production of socialization or the constimtion of the subject of ide- what way is the biological political? In other words. even as we reclaim the excess of the clitoris. 48 of woman-in-excess is lifted from the limitations of the "French" context and pursued in all its "historical. .to de-normalize uterine social organization.. Yet. indeed. that what may be called a uterine social organization (the arrangement o~ the wo~ld it cannot itself fully acknowledge. in order to share a detailed and ecstatic Ourselves. It body for burning-and the female wage-slave-a body for maximum exploi- is also to recognize that.. as the lowest level of oppression which affect her is certainly necessary. IS not pos. the dowried bride-a The double vision is not merely to work agamst sexism and for femrmsm. an ente~prise o~ a sect." "political. Hera was angry and blinded him. At the other end of the spectrum. we must the radical feminist who. 49 There can be other lists. she runs the nsk of m1ssmg the in the extraction of absolute surplus-value in the less developed countries..\ by the river would understand. At the moment. what such a heterogeneous sex-analysis would disclose is that the repres- sion of the clitoris in the general or the narrow sense (the difference cannot be of the biological?" (p.. One cannot wnte off ological-material opposition. It ties together the terrified child held down by her grand- in order to determine a biologico-political female 1denhty 1s opposed. I emphasize discontinuity.. in other words. in spite of Mary Jane Sherfey and the famous page 53 of Our Bodies. supports the phallic norm of capitalism. reconsideration of a social practice upon which her pleasure depends" (p. and by giving him long life and power of prophecy" (Oxford ~l~s~i. and that we must work at. at worst. For me it is the best gift of French feminism. the acceptance of such a "special" need. the "shame" of admitting to the "ab- collective commitments virulently: "A true fem1rune mnovation . however. where the uterus IS the ch1ef_ that can liberate my colleague from Sudan. The ute_rine soc~al orga. (The restoration --of a continuous bond between mother and daughter even after the "facts" of 1981 gestation. It will not necessarily escape the inbuilt colonialism of First World female body at the center of a search for female identity" (p . an effort of repamn_g psycholog1ca~ d~m­ age through questioning norms that are supposedly self-eVIdent and descnphve. but Zeus recompensed him complex network of advanced capitalist economy hinges on home-buying. By clauru~g to reso~ ~o plea. and sible before maternity is clarified .'~ to atta~k feminist of "free" activities-confronts. promote a sense of our common possible to suggest that.• systematically discloses the beauty of the lesbian body. for the sake of an affirmative feminism. in bed with a casual lover-engaged. a long detour by the analysis of ~h~ various systems of subject that operates the specific oppression of women. the mutilation. be "simated" through the understandmg that 1t has SO-J far been established by excluding a clitoral social organization. ~18). because this work cannot by itself obliterate the problems of race and the 'objectivation' of the female body.

Since I distinguishes itself [unterscheidet sich] from the ordinary crowd of commodities share the ~oint of view they subtend. (in all senses of this enig~ati~ expression) is Value. questions of this kind are asked not rather the subject's irreducible intendedness towards the o?Ject. ("The impossibility of a full undoing" is the curious defimtive predication _of value is produced for nothing. m answer to ~he kinds of counter-questions of which the following IS an example: What subJect-effects were systematically effaced and trained to One of the determinations of the question of value is the predication of the ef~ace thems~lves_so that a canonic norm might emerge? Since. Exchange-value domination. Yet even in this continuist version value seems deconstruction. like the undoing of any opp~s~~on. but also by anti-imperialist deconstructiv- ingly. It new Marx1st (fermmst-deconstructivist) point of view on literary value. generally by way of o_Id _star:dards. I will set forth a practical deco_n. th~ deconstructive impulse atte~pts . exchange-value is ad hoc. I place them on the threshold of my essay as I move mto my more generalized (more abstract?) concerns. translation modified]. tio~s of Fredenc Bastiat and Henry Charles Carey. The usual for alternative canon-formations.fe the onto-phen~menological question. on the complicity with have been attempts to question this exclusivist o~positi~n. 4 Here to decenter the desire for the canon. that. in that its use creates value. cations I have tabulated in passing and in conclusion. by lifting the lid will concern itself with what the question of value becomes when determmed of that seemingly unified concept-phenomenon.. the old standards. the frrst move IS a counter. Marx uncovered the economic by a "materialist" subject-predication such ~s Marx's. From this narrowed perspective. Around 1857. and a greater value than it costs itself" [Karl Marx. Scattered Speculations on the 155 ac~de~y di_smisses as "pathos. then. the story of Marx's investigation and Felix Guattari. of t~e ~al economic. s~nse n~ed do. Vol. What cooks to treat the theory-politics opposition as if intact. This conti~u~st v_ersion is_ not absent in Marx. The anti-Oedipal argument in France seems to assume a certam body without predication or without predication-fur:ction. 1. It is our task to suggest that. The better part of my e~say proJects endorsed by Proudhon. Before the emergence of the money-form. determinant but that. the practical perspective of the dis- a critique of the "idealist" predication of the subject: Nietzsche an~ Freud _are Cipline m th~. The issue of value surfaces in l~terary c~ticism wi~h reference this is not merely asking ourselves to attend once again to the embarrassment to canon-formation. Labor-power is a "materialist" predication. in this uncovering Value is seen to structivist-feminist-Marxist position on the question of value in a narrow dis. Surplus-value is created when some canon-apocrypha opposition. however avant-gardist It may sound. and certainly not absent in We cannot avoid a kind of historico-political standard that the "disinterested Engels. and to the utopian socialist I will not comment upon this anti-Oedipal gesture. labor-power: . There domination. Charting the agenda of phallocentrism Is a crude summary: use-value is in play when a human being produces and involves the feminist. Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 1o.) When we feminist Marxists are ourselves moved_ b?' a desrre to escape the o~to-phenomenological question: what is it (ti est1). but rather the irred~lClble possibility ~~~t Ists. literary canon-formation is seen to work within a much broader subject. Sometimes consciousness IS analog1zed mu~dy) the 1deali~t field as It nounshes the question of value. narr~'.) I have_not yet be~n of exploitation is well-~nown. (Th~ celebrated "body without organs" is one prod~ct. 3 question: why a canon? What is the ethico-political agenda t~at ?perates a canon? By way of a critique of phallogocentrism. labor-power is not work (labor)." That standard emerges. The "idealist" and the "materialist" are both exclusive predications. ' ' ser's notion of "theoretical production" is the most controversial mstance [F?r Marx 173-93]. Any consid- with labor-power as in the debates over intellectual and manu~ll~bor. considered from this perspective. Althus. Concentrating on the desire for the canon. The modem "idealist" predication of the subjec~ is consciousness. Yet for a deconstructive critic it is a truism that a full undomg of the emerges when one thing is substituted for another. C~rr_e~pond­ ?nly by feminist and Marxist critics. although the latter has etymological sanction.of this ass_umptio~-see Gilles Deleuze On the level of intellectual-historical gossip. speaks _of the text. Lifting the lid." . The first distinction to make. . Let us first deal with the continuist version of Marx's scheme of value. no more than persistently clean up (or the most spectacular European examples. if the subject has a "materialist" predication. eration of the question of value in its "materialist" predication must however examine Marx's investigation of exploitation. Marx set out to unpack the concept- able to read this as anything but a last-ditch metaphysical longing. Sometimes it seems that cooking is a better figure than weaving when one terprise requiring a certain level of generahty whose parti~a~ ~olitica~ Imph. not thought. It is also our task to emphasize that ciplinary context. Consciousness IS. mired in overdeter- Question of Value 1 ~nations. . es~a. is i~po~sible.. . 2 Th~s is a the~~etic_al e~­ text. Here the critic's obligation seems to be a scrupulous decla- ration of "interest. It is our task also to suggest Before I embark on the generalized project. Such :ounter:questions and ~eclarations are often seen as constituting the the subject be more than adequate-super-adequate-to Itself. but network of successful epistemic violence. Here It 1s m my mterest Marx discovers that the pot of the economic is forever on the boil. that of logocentrism the Marxist interested in p~tterns of uses up the product (or uses up the unproduced) immediately. the question of value necessarily receives a textualized answer. we work with varieties of and vanations upon answer-value Is the representation of objectified labor-begs the question of use-value. . The mtimations of discontinuity are most noticeably covered over in the move from the seven notebooks now collectively called the Grundrisse to the . and on epistemic violence. is that the point of view above focuses on Capital. 342. Smce I remam ~henomenon_ z:toney m response to the analyses and crisis-managerial sugges- bound by the conviction that subject-predication is methodologically necessary. Anti-Oedipus: Cap1tahsm and Sch1zophrema.

S. when he notices !"furx's freq~ent metaphorizations of money as monarch. structuration which commands the accession to normative sovereignty of gold. politi~al mterest to JOm forces wtth those Marxists who would rescue Marxism from Its Europea~ provenance. It is not the unilinear progressive of measurement. continuist mterest~ tend to ~ump together all attempts to read Marx in a structuralist way.the . exchange-value. Logical schemes are not necessarily identical with of the ego-form in the dialectic of the phallus. Vestiges of the "primary" contin~st vers.thr?ugh t~e straining logic of the metaphors in the Marxian text. But Value is not therefore excluded. Goux:s reading: s~~a~g t~e labor theory of value with the theories of ego-formation and Signification m ~f use v~lue IS demonstrated. though of course he elab. Here the analogy. It is to exclude those relationships between the ego/phallus and money that are In openmg the lid of Money as a seemingly unitary phenomenon. (Inheritance in the male line by covers a forever-seet~g chain in the pot: Value-Money-Capital. as Goux's establishment of a relationship between Marx and Lacan m terms of gold Goux does.r. indeed the calculus that emerges in the move from Cap1tal I ~c~ount of ~e e~e~gence of the money-form (Goux's model) that is Marx's main to Capital Ili. Demda mnocently contributes to this by putting gence of the phallus as transcendental signifier. together in . He concentrates next on Marx's perception that the commodity which becomes the universal equiv- m many details. by way of an inflation of the concept of excess. pre':-sel~ agamst t~e sp'?t ?f constructing phantom scapegoats. the universal symbol of value (the money-material) reading of the origin of Value in the Lacani~n "mirror-phase . (Perhaps it was the relative ease of .and gender-identity. the father and the phallus. function.dtfferen~es between value-theory and theories of state formation."White Mythology. the ~xclusio~ of. No doubt there are general ~p~rate on two regtsters at once." itself an important essay in the argument ~or ?iscon~nutty ar~es for a kinship between Marx and Freud in terms of their Jewish heritage. that because exchange springs up within what is superfluous to a and the phallus is based on his reading of exchange as mirroring and thus a person's use." as Goux correctly notes) leaves aside. I ~~uld also pay tribute to a certain forgotten Althusse. ones. and Is excluded fro~ the commodity function so that it does not. But for purposes of philosophical cogitation and revolu- tionary agttation. it is the same prin~ple of discon~nuous an~ progressive sees Immediately that Althusser's attempt. In fact Goux. "The Signification of the Phallus. support each other and lend the subject the attributes of class. As in way of patronymic legitimacy. resolutely earl~ succmc~ ac~~~t Althusser and "White Mythology. seems to elide the indeed discontinuous. but the question of use-value he argum~nt. is with Lacan's account ?f the emer. Goux takes the continwst version of question of the histoncal differential m the geopolitical situation of Marxism and the value-schema outlined above as given in Marx. Goux's argument is ingenious. ) Here IS the clarm: I~ IS the same genetic process. (For. discussion of Goux to a close by citing only one: It seems unwise to suggest. is a rather special case of analogizing between con. Marx dis- attributive and supportive and not analogical. ~oux s . Within that general continuist framework." Goux does notice from the commodi~ ~nction IS therefore due to being-in-excess. were it not that Anglo-U. disc?very.156 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 157 finished Capital I. perhaps even as an embarrassment. is.) It is also to overlook the ~hronolo~cal. sciousness and labor-power. all value IS m excess of use-value." If one looks up nothing but ~e refe~ences giVen by Demda to certain passages in Reading Capital. for better or for worse. tr~nslation mme].) orates upon it somewhat. an area where the case of the. . (The only morphological similarities between centralized sign-forma~ons. By the Marxian that exchange value arises out of superflwty. one see Jacques Lacan.continwst reading proceeds by way of certain slippages. This ~rgument ~ay ~ell ~e coge~t. !he mam ene~y IS ~ere seen to be Althusser. It IS m the full account of value-formation that the textuality of Marx s argu~ent (rather than the recuperable continuist schema) and the place whose version clearly animates Jean-Joseph Goux s Num1smat1ques.) This is to collapse value. for example. is to read Marx:s text . again. but in the long run it seems to be an exerose in the domestication of Marx's analysis of Value. surplus-value and money it is necessary to exclude the fields of force that make them heterogeneous. It is to forget that Marx's critique of money is functionally different from Freud's attitude toward genitalism or Lacan's toward the phallus. The phallus is the universal equivalent ?f sub~ects. indirectly sustaining the complex lines of class- Hegel-of course Marx IS not always a Hegelian but he seems to be here-those formation. I will point at the unexamined presence of continwsm m Goux m an~ .money-form. both measuring and carrying to lirmted analogy here is that the theory of the phallus must exclude its penis- see in those similarities the structural essence of the formations thus analogu:ed. It is in my the next few paragraphs. a alent must be excluded from the commodity function for that very reason. where most of the supporting evidence is taken from Capital I. Although I am critical of Althusser the Freudian account of the emergence of genital sexuality. . the problem of winning Marx over to struc- and draws an exact isomorphic analogy (he insists upon this) between it and ~ahst formalism would be a minor one. Derrida gave Numismatiques his end~rsem~nt . the self-detennination of the concept capital can be turned fact that Marx is a materialist dialectical thinker when he approaches the seem- backward and forward every which way. I will draw my just as gold is the universal equivalent of products" [Goux 77. Goux concentrates upon a unilinear version of the development of the money-form I~ compari~on to these problems. tmportant. psychoanalysis.Oedipal sc~~ario is als~ to conserve the European Marx. It is not surprising that in a later book Goux Goux's study seems ostensibly to issue from the French school of thought that respects discontinuities. personality-cultism m reverse.of his ar~ment. and that arrows ar~ not irreversible. But in ord.ion ~ger in Derrida. inconveniently.but it should not be seen as clinching the (see Margins of Philosophy 215 and passim). produce more than itself) shows its importance. Since my reading might seem ~u~erfi~ally tor~­ (To draw an adequate analogy between the emergence of the money-form semble his.. and the predication of the subject as labor-power (trreduoble structural super-adequation-the subject defined by its capacity to Freud and the early Lacan. then. It is a secondary revision of this version that yields the stan~ard ingly unified concept-phenomenon money. The ~versa} symbol measures this excess (or "deficit.

translation modified]. are in fact ex- resenting itself or being represented by an agency ("we") no more fixable than ploded. Value representation -+ Money trans{onlultion -+ Capital. for perspectivizing the argument.) This chain is "textual'"' in tbe ratives of psycho-sexuality or language-production on the other. . of education. ripped up . simple natural object" [217]... Wolf£. In philosophical language: the self- . the radical methodology of the dialectic-opening up." (For a consideration of the "transformation" problem in this is negated in a more subtle way as well: "If a fake £ were to circulate in the sense. however.) as a whole as if it were genuine" [210]. etc. et al. in which all con- exchange-value appeared to us as totally independent of their use-value. 7 166.158 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 159 the former and the insurmountable difficulties of the latter that led Marx to I will presently go on to argue that the complexity of the notion of use-value question philosophical justice itself." History of Political Economy 14:4 [1982]." As it facilitates commodity exchange "the simple fact Yet the definition of Value in Marx establishes itself not only as a represen. we obtain their value. That moment is customarily sealed off in conventional moment of the three-part perspective. (See Marc Shell. that the commodity exists doubly. in one aspect as a specific product whose tation but also a differential.)-that the self-determination of capital as such is to date ingly positive phenomenon of money through the work of the negative. Marx' s effort to open up the seemingly unified phenomenon of Money through agement. It should be remarked that Shell's narrative account of Exigencies of space will not permit elaboration of what is at any rate obvious. to the tough reasonableness of a book like Beyond the Waste Land (eds. commodity-differential is Value: "In the exchange-relation of commodities their and in the other aspect as manifest exchange value (money). the model leads not only to in the exchange-relation of the exchange-value of the commodity. then. Marx seems to indicate the possibility of Marxist political economic theory by extending the chain one step: an indeterminacy rather than stop at a contradiction. . also problematizes the origin of the chain of value. and Thought: Literary and Philosophical Economies From the Me- names of the relationships harbor discontinuities. The common element that represents itself (sich darstellt) of exchange is in labor-power as a commodity. of distinctions. the history of money is less subtle than Marx' s analysis of it. Let us now consider the thing chain with names of relationships: discontinuities harbored by the unified terms that name the relationships be- tween the individual semantemes on that chain. distilled from the Grundrisse: Labor representation -+ Value represeniation -+ Money trans{onlultion -+ Capital. For ease of argument and calculation. and the unified Money. What is represented or represents itself in the natural form of existence ideally contains (latently contains) its exchange value.) Keeping this in mind.) My focus is on from the details of everyday life. as ble. et al. but merely a that Marx must himself sometimes jettison." When the traffic it has just been defined.. general sense on at least two counts. Language. see Richard D. the seem- Samuel Bowles. Value represents Labor. and individuals seem independent (this is an inde- the empty and ad hoc place of the investigator or community of investigators pendence which is at bottom merely an illusion. We must. "Marx's (Not Ricardo's) 'Transformation place of a real one. and it is more correctly called (in the fields of economics. even if "labor" is taken only to imply "as objectified in the com- modity. which is the articulative driving force of the dialectical morphology. through the practical mechanics of crisis-man. At each open-ended at the start. osophical quality of indifference]"[163]. open-endedness at the origin of the economic chain or text seen in this passage "cut off from all relation to [circulation]." and section establish an adequate analogy between this narrative on the one hand and nar- 1 of "The Chapter on Capital" in the Grundrisse. the basic premise of the recent critique of the labor theory of value is the form in which wealth originally appears [ursprunglich erscheint] [Grundrisse predicated on the assumption that. his imprimatur. senting labor. or. planning. the [Capital I 128. 6 The two ends are open. . we are dealing here with the definitive passage on Value upon which Marx placed money is a vanishing moment facilitating the exchange ·Of two commodities. ties of personal dependence. it would render absolutely the same service in circulation Problem': A Radical Conceptualization. Such resident discontinuities also textualize the chain. In fact. Critics like Goux or Marc Shell comment on the developmental narrative entailed by the emergence of the Money-form as the general representer of Value and (My account here is a rough summary of "The Chapter on Money. Only the contin. dieval to the Modern Era. is thus value" difference but to indifference: "In the developed system of exchange . In this moment of appearance its positive identity must "transform. it is precisely the subtle Here its independent positing is seen as "a negative relation to circulation. translation modified]. indifference [Gleichgultgkeit-im Sinneder Indifferenz-Marx emphasizes the phil- uist urge that I have already described can represent this differential as repre." It can be justly claimed that one passage in Capital I cannot be adduced to bear the burden of an entire argument. in other words. Marx is writing." for. business management). But if nection with the natural form of the product is stripped away again-this dou- we abstract their use-value from the product of labor. Position: The money commodity-the precious metal as medium of universal exchange-is posited through a process of separation from its own being as a commodity exchangeable for itself: "From the outset they represent superfluity. remember that Negation: Within circulation seen as a constantly repeated circle or totality. First. according to Marx. it would not be money. the relationship named "representation" between Value and Money. of a differential rep. Here is the schema. differentiated existence must develop into a difference [147]. let us flesh the see.

So-called primitive accumulation. ers and the ownership of the conditions for the realization of their tradicted (as it is not in unproductive hoarding). I am suggesting that Marx indicates the possibility of an indeterminacy rather This me. Indeed. Here the subject is predicated as structually super- mantemes and by the strategic exclusion of syncategoremes ["White Mythology" adequate to It~el~. it is precisely the place of accumulation plays approximately the same role in political economy as use-value (and simple exchange or barter based on use-value) that seems to offer original sin does in theology. . of the question: "Who begot the first man and nature in general?" [Early Writings 357]. as Marx emphasizes.the "interest'' in social justice "unreasonably" intro- is made through capital. de~tively productive of surplus-labor over necessary labor. [Capital I 873] econormcs reduces use-value to mere physical co-efficients. Indeed. only very generally by Marx from the early Eco- . Marx makes the extraordinary and Capital. This moment does not arise either with the coercive extraction This textualization can be summarized as follows: the utopian socialists seemed of ~urplus-value in pre-capitalist modes of production. the histoncal process of divorcing the producer from the means of pro- logical progression to accumulation can only be operated by its own rupture.. This primitive In the contin~st romantic anti-capitalist version. or with the accumulation to be working on the assumption that money is the root of all evil: a positive of ~terest capital or merchant's capital (accumulation out of buying cheap and origin. an accumulation which is not the result of the that restricts the force of such an insertion [Capitallii 1016]. · . We have seen how money is transformed into capital. ·. it is possible the open-endedness of textuality: indifference. surplus-value ~een Capi~l and Free Labor. therefore. therefore.thod of displac~g que~tions of origin into questions of process is part than only a contradiction at each of these three moments constitutive of the of ~arx s ge~eral ~egelian hentage.n ~sertio~ mto textuality. capitalist mode of production but its point of departure. duces the f~rce of illog~c mto the good use-value fit-philosophical justice-be- But the accumulation of capital presupposes surplus-value. even as academic on the human race. At each step of the dialectic something seems to lead off into of the definitive predication of the subject as labor-power. as witness his early treatment. (This is not sugge~~on that Capital co~sumes the us~-value of labor-power. and then resolves "~topian s~cialism:' committed to such a restoration by presupposing labor out- it by invoking a process rather than an origin: Side of capital log~c or wage-labor. however. where the actual quantity of money matters The capital-relation presupposes a complete separation between the work- and capital accumulation starts. how surplus-value m revolutionary pr~Cti~e. possibility o~ this pred. Adam bit the apple. Marx' s resolution: tween the idea of money and circulation as totality. itself contingent upon a negative relationship. is nothing else than accumulated in individual gratification is to realize them" [234].. For. In other words. Marx' s this would be an aporetic moment. it may perhaps be said that. works in the service of a functional in-adequation (fake = real).) An important locus of.) And be~ause It IS this necessary possibility of the subject's definitive super- Let us move next to the relationship named "transformation between Money adequation that is the origin of capital as such. which we can only get out of by assuming labor m maxnruzed socral productivity working according to "those foundations a "primitive" [urspriinglich: originary] accumulation . here be. capitalist production presupposes the ~on~ ~ractice . which precedes of the fo~s that are common to all social modes of production" is an alternative capitalist accumulation.wmzc and l!hzlosophzcal ~anuscnpts onwards. The mo~e~t. The radical heterogeneity entailed in that pres_uppositi~n wa~ dealt with. of discontinuity here is the so-called primitive or originary accumulation. Marx applies the dialectic to this root and breaks it up through the work selling de~r~ . Yet here too the substantive specificity is con." a relationship already broached in the previous link.. 270] would support the conduct of Marx' s text. inadequation. Capital I 874-75] releasing the commodity from the circuit of capital production into consumption in a simulacrum of use-value. Is pe~ha~s not altogether fanciful to call this situation of open- of commodity producers.160 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 161 adequation of the idea. appropriation. extraction. seems to turn ende~ness a. process of.. revolu- presupposes capitalist production. It. "Scientific socialism" contrasts itself to a own account emphasizes the discontinuity in comical terms. The more prudent notion of associated around in a never-ending circle. This place can hap- . "to dissolve the things labor . and how more capital is made from surplus-value.must be persistent because it can carry no theoretico-teleological availability of considerable masses of capital and labor-power in the hands Justification. ' When. Negation of negation: Realization. The whole (Here to s~g?~st that .political economy wer~ srmply a question of restoring a society of use-value. in the Eco- chain nomtc and Phzlosophzcal Manuscripts. duction. entails the historical possibility of the negative. If pursued to its logical consequence. rupture.the "~eei~g" of labor-power may be a description of the social Derrida' s implied critique of the dialectic as organized by the movement of se. and realization of surplus-value begins to opera~e With no extr~-economic coercions-capital logic emerges to give birth to capital as such. If the critique identical with the "transformation problem" in economics. and thereupon sin fell the mo~t secure anchor of social "value" in a vague way. capital is fully developed-the structural moment when the Value representation--+ Money transformation--+ Capital.

. Circulation in the following passage does precisely that with the re- way the mere philosophical justice of capital logic without necessarily shifting stricted circuit of adequation within the money-form itself: "You may turn and into utopian idealism. My own involvement with ments .. . It therefore takes place only at a few points (originally at the borders them does not permit critical distance. It is outside because it cannot be measured feminists as well as mainstream Marxists.<i way. forming functions of the family as direct means of producing the worker and value: "This character (of exchange) does not yet dominate production as a thus involved in the circuit of the production of surplus-value for the capitalist. For If in its first dialectical "moment. capital is generally interest-bearing commercial capital. Most fluous .. The nature of .. and sistence and reproduction. as well as most of our The concept of socially necessary labor is based on an identification of sub- "creative" colleagues' amused contempt for criticism beyond the review. practical difficulty of offering alternatives to them. "The circulation of money is an outer movement [aulBere avant-gardism. an accidental enlargement of the sphere of satisfactions. "cut off from all relation to (circulation) it would not be (affect of the) work itself. It is. a possible problem with Antonio Negri's theory of zero. The question of affectively necessary work of differentiation (both plus and minus) that opens up identity-as-ade- labor brings in the attendant question of desire and thus questions in yet another quation. and it will never weigh ten ounces. Positions 71). (Derrida calls this "in. but merely a simple natural object. chain of value. the coin rubs off. . when they are caught within hege- by the labor theory of value-it is outside of the circuit of exchange: "A thing monic positivism or orthodox dialectics. 9 They have sometimes tried to close off can be a use-value without being a value" [Capital I 131]. ." See "The Law of Genre. ." Marx describes this phenomenon as the "Dasein" of the coin as "value tention to the international division of labor. not the expansion. They have also attempted to legitimize domestic labor within capital logic. Hence of cancelling Money back into Nature. is. our students' complaint and subject. however. in spite of its sincere evocations of the world economic Bewegung] . the translation of "Dasein" as "the work it per- system so that the great semantemes can control its morphology (Derrida) can forms" seems puzzling]. ed. This restricted notion supposes that circulation time has been sublated [aufgehoben]. The parasitic part (exchange-value) is also the species term of the whole. If a view of affectively necessary labor (as possible within the present state of But here in the process of circulation one ounce practically does weigh ten socialized consumer capitalism) as labor as such is proposed without careful at. let us say." this predication can no longer be seen as the excess of tuality upon the Money-form. ounces.. . Yet it is also circulation that bestows tex- possible "special case. purses system. toss an ounce of gold in any way you like. its fate may be a mere political sign" [Wertzeichen]. it the worker to "reproduce" himself in order to remain optimally useful for capital is use-value that puts the entire textual chain of Value into question and thus in terms of the currenl price-structure. which in some re. inism). . My discussion of "in- vagination" is to be found in Displacement: Derrida and After. . perhaps be related to the heterogeneity of use-value as a private grammar." Circulation as such has the mor- "materialist" predication of the subject as labor-power or super-adequation as phological (if not the "actual") power to insert Money back into Nature. or commodity commodity production (hand-sewn leather sandals). 8 The resistance of the syncategoremes strategically excluded from the Critique of Political Economy 108. I believe. of negation in Marx's reading of money. In the friction with all kinds of hands. vagination. predication of the subject as labor-power is rendered indeterminate in another For use-value. Further. the socializing or ideology- spects is the species-term of Value." circulation has the morphological potential Derrida. by considering it as an opposition (between Marxism and fem- altogether outside the circuit of exchange. money is seen as in a negative relation since one case of use-value can be that of the worker wishing to consume the to circulation because. Now if the dynamics of birth-growth- allows us a glimpse of the possibility that even textualization (which is already family-life reproduction is given as much attention as. on the other hand. of these positions arise from situational exigencies. We have remarked that in circulation as totality. This. enjoy. or by way of inscribing. in a continuist spirit. Exchange-value. In terms of that necessarily banish it from the textuality of Value. however. and to calibrated and organized by the logic of capital. as witness in the last page of this essay." This expansion of the textuality of value has often gone unrecognized by "levers. that necessary possibility renders indeterminate the money. By being used it gets used up" [A Contribution to the work. pouches. Let us consider the final item in the demonstration of the "textuality" of the thus allowing use-value the normative inside place of the host as well as ban. that they read literature for pleasure not interpretation. is both outskle a11. is also a superfluity or a parasite of use. the risk of being itself sublated into Mind: "The continuity of production pre- alist" predication of the subject as super-adequate to itself.. whole. the relationship an advance upon the control implicit in linguistic or semiotic reductionism) may between fixed and variable capitals in their several moments. ." see Derrida. without therefore being "refuted" by varieties of utopianism and "ideal- inside the system of value-determinations (for a discussion of deconstructive ism." Glyph 7 [1980]. in the classic way of deconstructive levers. 162 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 163 pily accommodate word-processors (of which more later) as well as independent can only lead to "idealist" analogies between capital and subject. but concerns only its superfluity and is hence itself more or less super." In my reading. pockets. . the "materialist" be no more than a way of holding randomness at bay. That these closing off gestures are situationally admirable is evident from the The part-whole relationship is here turned inside out. Mark I<rupnick 186-89). Textuality as a structural description indicates the surplus labor over socially necessary labor. Necessary labor is the amount of labor required by mainstream critics' hostility to "theory. or the moment ishing it as that which must be subtracted so that Value can be defined. of the natural communities. in their contact with strangers)" [Grundrisse 204]. in its third "moment" it is shown to run surplus-value for him is the super-adequation of capital rather than a "materi.

in order to be more specific in that last phrase.not of value. even in the mother tongue. is touched upon once at the "beginning" and once at The consideration of the textuality of Value in Marx. vocabulary of linguistics." "the linguistic signifier .. (Any sense and in the J)alTOw-the economic sphere as commonly understood being notions of "beginning" and "present'' in Nietzsche are made problematic by the the latter-are irreducibly complicitous. The more crucial moment. but in the foreignness of language" [Grundrisse 163. Often in our discussion of language the word seems to retain consciousness itself is subsumed under the matenalist' predication of the a capital "L" even when it is spelled in the lower case or re-written as parole. [between a spe- value-form is. of the "idealist'' subject-predication as consciousness.. The Nietzschean enterprise is not worked out on what I call were not realized in consumption. to follow Goux's analogy. By thus sublating circulation into Mind. it is the work of difference that remains ori- ginary. through the double de- poses that it travels through different ~hases. a." may be seen signified.. these equivalents can no longer themselves be treated as language is . or coining that is for Marx the philosophically determining moment in the dis- sume domestic or intellectual labor into a notion of the production of value course of value..s question [in Frage stellen]" of "the value of these values" [Grundrisse 348. does not answer the onto-phenom~ological questi?n sublation of that gesture into mercy respectively. but rather by way of a critique production. als and Ecce Homo 20]. Thus capital.sch~me ~s made problematic terminants of "philology'' and "physiology'' [Nietzsche. the separation of consider them at greater length below. Ideas which have first to be translated out of "natural examples. that even as it is most "native. trans- continuous totality would annul Value itself. which suggests that in the If consciousness within the "idealist'' analogy is seen as necessarily super. I shall to the inscription of coins. Using a necessarily pre-critical notion of language. It implies the vanity of dismissing con.. and micro-electronic capitalism? Let us mark these tantalizing questions here. con- sion into the narrative stage where any commodity could be "cathected" as the cerned with a system of equivalence [systeme d'equivalence] . one cannot their mother tongue into a foreign language in order to circulate.] It is certainly of interest that. production (of Value).. They are worth mentioning because The Genealogy of Morals is as situations which are separated in terms of time" [Grundnsse 548. 72]." within the Althusserian model of "theoretical production. It is only half in jest that one would propose that not in language. I would not of course.. only that which proposed formulations that have the effect of neutralizing these suggestions: to has no history is definable" [ibid. of Value-in-exchange. as the most advanced articulatio? of value "presul?. If this were the "credit'' of certain "major'' literatures is represented by capital-accumulation a technical discussion where it was necessary to respect the specificity of the in terms of the various transformations of this universal equivalent. On the Genealogy of Mor- by the invagination of use-value. to sub. "Pure the. metaphor or lan~ge. In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 165 164 capital presupposes that it travels through the different phases of circulation. and can be channeled into aesthetics as varied as those of symbolism that. but ra~er exchange." Marx makes the highly adequate to itself by way of intentionality. but the analogy then lies "universal humanity'' -both psychological and social-as the touchstone of value in literature and society. I have already commented on Goux's gloss on the Freudo-Lacanian narrative that even in its "incorporeal essence..) One case of such a universal equivalent is become exchangeable. strictly speaking." and post-modernism. Attention to Marx's concept-metaphor of the foreign language expanded within capital logic. offer a somewhat better analogy. [is] constituted of the emergence of the phallus-in-the-genital-stage as the universal equivalent not by its material substance but only [uniquement] by the differences that sep- . great warning against a successful genealogical method: "All concepts in which siderations of the economic as "reductionism. Nietzsche in The Genealogy of Morals gives us two moments of the as it does in the idea-representation [Vorstellung] where one concept turns mto separation and transformation of an item from within the common circuit of the other at the speed of thought [mit Gedankenschnelle]." although it gives us a sense of the complextty of the mechamcs the moment of the creditor sacrificing himself for the debtor in the role of God's of evaluation and value-formation. to see in it an analogy to." language is always already "foreign. predicated upon the the inauguration of the "present.em~rge when is interesting here. It shows us that the Value-form in the general son in the Christ Story [On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo 77. using a necessarily post-monetary notion as another case of a universal equivalent. I think there can be no doubt that it is this separation rather than inscription choanalytic narrative. as d1Scusse~ earlier m this ess~y. 80]." Saussure shows us perversion. The relativization of Value as a regres." Like the banishment of the money-commodity from the preciated only in the learning of a foreign language: "To compare money with commodity-function." (Because these analogies are necessarily loose. subject? . Because it is a reinscription of the history of value as Has circulation time of capital been sublated mto the speed of Mind (an'a more) obliterated and discontinuous semiotic chains-ongoing sign-chains-discon- within telecommunication? Has (the labor theory of) Value become obsolete in nected references to money (guilt and punishment as systems of exchange)." as the separation of the scapegoat and the subject as labor-power." I have already indicated various an entire process is semiotically concentrated elude definition." The . which must suggest that "political economy [is] . translation Nietzsche's systematic attempt at a "critique of moral values. mother tongue "word" is inseparable from "reality. the Freudian stage of polymorph?us cific] labor and [a specific] wage [un travail et un salaire]. What narratives ~f valu~-f~~tion . the money-commodity. equate word/reality and signifier/ ory. That sublation is notoriously "Whatis Value?. outside of the circuit of a "materialist" subject-predication as labor-power.) find in the development of the money-form an adequate analogy to the psy. For Value would not be value if 1t lation modified]. abound. in ~o time. a phenomenon that may be ap- loosely call "thought. erroneous . we ea~ chart the e~ergence of ad sophisticated suggestion that the development of the value-form separates hoc universal equivalents that measure the production of value m w?at we may "word" and "reality" (signifier and signified).." a "put[ting] in modified]...

first. secondly. within post-industrial cultures like the U. being completely encompassed by the Considering the role of telecommunication in entrenching the international di- historical ideology of efficiency. the continuity of production ensured by that attainment of apparent seems to bring nothing but the promise of infinite liberty for the subject. make sure that multinational investment does not realize itself fully there leftist the derisive remark: "She will deny the workers their capuccino!" I am through assimilation of the working class into consumerist-humanism. the comprador theater is also often cannot foresee a teleological moment when these implications are catastrophi. Orality and retical production to the same conscientious scrutiny. and. rather. They are the true surplus army of text of exploitation might implicate Western cultural studies in the international labor in the current conjuncture. that its crisis management. it is in the "interest" of capital to she will be taken seriously. and the International Di- writing. in the wake of of political activism within the academy.S. composition-affectively necessary labor-are rendered irrelevant here. even as circulation time attains the apparent instantaneity of thought domination. The "freeing" of the sub- Literacy). of course. (It is of The literary academy emphasizes when necessary that the American tradition course not to be denied that the word-processor might itself generate affective at its best is one of individual Adamism and the loosening of frontiers. ignores the dark presence offers the discourse of humanism as such. telecommunication (and more). we are.. if somewhat fancifully. indeed. however.. B. a negation of the negation is continually produced by the shift- cision we make. 10 Let us. since the optimal relationship between The binary opposition between the economic and the cultural is so deeply fixed and variable capital has been disrupted by the accelerated rate of obso- entrenched that the full implications of the question of Value posed in terms of lescence of the former under the rapid progress within telecommunications re- the "materialist" predication of the subject are difficult to conceptualize. The "quality" of production and the family within those social relations should show the pure writing-the "idealist'' question of value-as well as the use-value of manual (or free) "materialist'' predication of the subject to be gender-exclusive. this free spirit should subject its tions wrought by the strategic exclusions of the randomness of bricolage operated unbridled passion for subsidizing computerized information retrieval and theo- by programming (see A. obliged to accept scrapped and out-of-date machinery from the post-industrialist cally productive of a new evaluation. usually attendant is certainly not required of every literary critic. Further. that is to say. My one of the truisms of Capital I that technological inventions open the door to point is that the question of Value in its "materialist'' articulation must be asked the production of relative rather than absolute surplus-value [Capital I 643-54. thus to These sentiments expressed at a public forum drew from a prominent U. to consider the place of sexual re- a much shorter time and makes fiddling with it much easier." she cannot be ex- capitalism to produce more absolute and less relative surplus-value as part of pected to be taken seriously everywhere. 11 It is not in fact suggesting that literary critics should be denied worker and the word-processing critic actively forget "Absolute surplus-value" is a methodologically irreducible theoretical fiction.S. invoke the word-processor tribute to their production as the new focus of super-exploitation (see June Nash again. The best one can envisage is the persistent economies. Walter J. while Marxist cultural studies in the of the Third WorldY First World cannot ask the question of Value within the "materialist" predication It is a well-known fact that the worst victims of the recent exacerbation of the of the subject. I draw attention. taking into account the fact that. It certainly allows us to produce a much larger quantity of writing in vision of Labor). the fol. This Since the production and realization of relative surplus-value. But if the literary critic in the upon technological progress and the socialized growth of consumerism.) From within the "idealist'' camp. Men. increase U. To state the problem in the philosophical idiom of this essay: as the undoing of the opposition. (The real problem is. even as its official ideology industrialism.S. the complicity subject as super-adequation in labor-power seems to negate itself within tele- between cultural and economic value-systems is acted out in almost every de. 118. and environmental regulation. one can even say. and can copiously deplore resistance: boycotting consumer items. Women. and. Ong. vision of labor and the oppression of women. by analyzing and calculating predictable strategic effects of specific measures of lowing: we were not in on the "inception" of writing." labor reserves in the comprador countries outside of this instantaneity. Lord. to the coercion.a very ing lines of the international division of labor.. One search and the attendant competition. In terms of this drive. uniting against genocidal foreign policy. the inception of telecommunication.] the actual price-in-exploitation of the machine producing coffee and words. as the capuccino-drink. communication. Lord to Father Walter J. The Singer of Tales. In their case. that economic reductionism is. This is why any critique of the real danger. As I have suggested above. and the work of multinational ideology-reproduction . ject as super-adequation in labor-power entails an absence of extra-economic These are not the objections that I emphasize. Ong. eds. or as a calculus of economic indicators. B. this free spirit exercises itself at its best a trend that runs from Professor A. Because a positivist vision can only recognize the latter. demonstrating against investments in the harm it did to the orality of the verbal world. present at countries with racist domestic politics. 13 In terms use-value. today decides to ask the question of Value only within the frame allowed capital expenditure in an indefinite spiral. fact that. Eco- coincidence must be broken up by capital: its means of doing so is to keep the nomic coercion as exploitation is hidden from sight in "the rest of the world. we are unable to reckon with the transforma. It is a paradox that capitalist humanism does indeed tacitly mal<e labor theory of value. there is the contradictory drive within by an unacknowledged "nationalist'' view of "productivity. It is an extremely convenient and efficient tool for the production of and Maria Patricia Fern{mdez-Kelly. pointing at the unfeasibility of the theory under post- its plans by the "materialist'' predication of Value. since the question would compel one to acknowledge that the international division of labor are women.166 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 167 arate its acoustic image from all others" [Course in General Linguistics 79. preserve the comprador theater in a state of relatively primitive labor legislation 19]. patriarchal social relations con- division of labor.

the need of a communicating pathway (parcours). "Expansion or Crisis of Capitalism?"]. exemplary of many of the attitudes I have tried to define. and his theory of money as a unified concept. or philosophical of culture which was not at one and the same time a document of barbarism" charge): "The most endangered companies in the rapidly-evolving world tend [Illuminations 256] should be a starting rather than a stopping-point for Marxist to be those that dominate rather small domestic markets with high value-added axiological investigations. Imperialism: Pioneer of Capitalism.. mine]. need" [Levitt 96]. This is how economic reductionism operates. some of the broad strokes go as far as possible. With transportation global operations cannot get a grip on the concomitant production of barbarism. Yet. Could one suggest that organs such as the Harvard Business Review are also part ficulty of acquisition. costs" -the only costs specified-"proportionately low. this also emphasizes scientific phrase such as "scale-efficient conditions" below (incidentally. following Marx. This in part explains division of labor and plements of newspapers. less. to create and keep a customer. 1983. The median [sic] is usually the consumer becomes knowledgeable. Edward W. In its verdict on "the multinational mind" as opposed to the globalizing mind is to be heard the managerial version Perhaps a word on "The Globalization of Markets. Since Professor Levitt More often it considers any departure from inherited domestic routines as mind- writes from the point of view of big business ("people and nations" in the pas. to use rency and "the globalization of markets" (we read it as "global crisis") do not Peter Drucker's more refined construction. or impossible. dif.168 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 169 will go on. of the apparatus. The disavowal of the economic is its tacit and legitimizing collaborator. A change of ten basic points in the price of a bond causes pains to explicate and disclose-"will so closely resemble the pre-critical text". in that through them the investor-manager receives his "ide- spect. distant competitors will H. the unavoidable and pervasive importance of its operation and yet above. profound impact on the way companies operate throughout the world" [Levitt itate on upon the law of this resemblance" [Derrida. market: "The purpose of business is to get and keep a customer. The piece is and transnational troubles. culation: speed of thought] it moves effortlessly between distant centers (and dental text" -the discourse of textuality in the economic that I have been at even lesser places). A "culturalism" that disavows the economic in its products for which there are smaller markets elsewhere. the ultra-transcen. Levitt describes the epistemic violence of the universalizing global that the unification churches being projected by the mechanisms of Euro-cur. italics sage cited below) he is not concerned with the active divisiveness of the inter. This is universal-not simply a motivation but actually a of which I have outlined above [see Warren. Here is his theory of the relationship between money I should like to construct a narrative here using "The Wiring of Wall Street." 15 lend much credibility to this uninstructed hope. but also the exploitation condensed and monumentalized in a seemingly to question it as a concept of the last resort. Psychology Today. the following specification may be made: "There is a short-of and a in spite of all the cant of modernization.) as used here is the unified continuist version that would be consonant with the In 1985. terminism. as well as the specialization of production. In Professor Levitt's article the two views remain in an unresolved the within is to recognize . reproduces the "pre-modem" on an- beyond of [economic determinism]. Without that wake or impulses. that the post-modem." an article by Theodore of shock at denying the workers of the First World their capuccino: "the mul- Levitt. warped into circumspection and timidity by years of stumbles marketing area at the Harvard Business School. People understandably treat it with re. abandoned to the simple content of its conclusions. through now enter the now-sheltered markets of those companies with goods produced the multinationals. now rarely challenges existing overseas practices. With the speed of light [so much for Marx's impossible limit for cir- track. the evaluating critic must be prepared to enter the also have their human universals: "an ancient motivation-to make one's money debate between Samir Amin and the late Bill Warren. and distanced structural parataxis. (Incidentally. constitutes part of an ideological apparatus."14 What I have been arguing is that this primitive notion of money must ology"? As I suggest in note 15. I have 101]. everyone will have word-processors and capuccino (not to more cheaply under scale-efficient conditions" [Levitt 94]. in an insane parody of the basic paradox of humanistic Amin. to suggest The perspective here is unifocal and generally uncritically read (if read at all) that. To see to it that the beyond does not become other scene. The system has economic determinism-"as to be indistinguishable from it. is in order here. We must npw med. to question the "materialistic" predication of the subject." by literary academics. feminist individualist consumerism is being work complicitously with the contemporary sublation of money where it seems appropriated within the same apparatus. Waiter Benjamin's famous saying. Experience teaches that money has three special qualities: scarcity. These "globalizers" mention guns and butter). It is the mind of a bygone day'' [Levitt 101. through which conditions [a deliberately vague word] through trade.) . it is possible to put the economic text "under erasure. on the other hand. Carter Professor of Business Administration and head of the tinational mind. the subject of "cultural" explanation.. and transience. everyone wants more. She must be prepared to admit education. To quote: "Today money is simply electronic That pathway has to leave a wake (sillage) in the text. disrespectful. national division of labor. an instant and massive shift of money from London to Tokyo.) H my position here is mistaken for an embarrassing economic de. the suggestion is made that in the long run. I have been trying to explicate not only the parataxis to see. ethical." and the division of labor. (I choose in turn byway of "experience" as a fetishized concept: "Nobody takes scarcity the New York Times because the broad spectrum that contains the Sunday sup- lying down. Or. "value" that putting "under erasure" is as much an affirmative as a negative gesture. money. done no more in this essay than to encourage such a meditation. Of Grammatology 61J. reached an article in the New York Times Sunday magazine for October 23. Scientific American. They enable people and nations to optimize their National Enquirer. "there has never been a document Marxian definition of value relieved of its historical. that is.

thanks to computers. italist front. by positioning ing. high Marxist theory contests the labor theory of value by bracketing We cannot forget that Capital I is "a bit of technology that dates back to 1867." Reflections: Essays. "Freud and the Scene ment game: crisis. then. When "speeded up" in this way it does not allow the irred- efficiency of writing. The best beneficiary of this "post-modernization" of constellate" cultural items by wrenching them out of their assigned function. to "re. It can be said for Derrida that. "'We had this amorphous. It is worth trading by six minutes. today. Wall Street seems to have been saved by reconcil. the ticker- investments on a monthly or weekly schedule. The Standard Edition. to manage risk'" ["Wiring" 47]. "The start of a solution of the market's major dilemma. " he is implicitly "bri. as long as no attempt is made earlier argument) even as he recommends bricolage as cultural practice. Speed it up to match today's trading volume. It should also be achieve bricolage. 17 be rushed through the greatest number of hands in the shortest possible time" It is not even this possibility of a cultural theoretical practice. rather. originarily unworkable machines. or coling'' or tinkering with a continuist notion of use-value (I need not repeat my the C~tural Logic of Late Capitalism" 92] will be. Autobiographical iation (rather than deconstruction) of the binary opposition between the im. so that no question arises as to the variation or constancy of returns" accommodate the epistemic violence of imperialism as crisis-management. no changes in the its date of publication. 15 minutes of work. even as time is thus being managed on the post-industrial cap.. Within this narrative replay of my argument in the previous pages calls "the work of dead time" [the warning against the formation of a plastic it may be pointed out that. Wrztmgs 230]. it at the same time accedes to the visible economy at large. I have attempted to show that the Marxist historical proportions in which different means of production are used by an industry are narrative-"the storied past"-is far from a holdover.. the individual small investor in the United States. 16 These positions are now trickling up: the "twofold condensation of values into the money form and of monetary down into a reckoning with the emergent ideological possibilities of the post- transactions into the form of the stock exchange makes it possible for values to modem cultural phenomenon within a post-modem political economy. in- [Sraffa." time as a vehicle of change: "No changes in output and . of Writing. whereas Lehman Brothers.. mostly invisible ucible rift of the International division of labor to blur. that the text where a woman in Sri Lanka has to work 2. no other than a version ommendation can be traced from his earliest theory of allegory as the cathexis of this unpromising individual. and projection of a global cognitive mapping" Uameson. that exercises mg one's own laws. Fifteen minutes after trading has commenced. and their member firms organized the Securities Industries sage about the old ticker-tape machine. This rec. ja~?' "The Auth~r ~s Producer. Not long ago. appeared in 1972 when the New York Stock Exchange. . "The Wiring of Wall market prior to 1971' says Gordon S. president of the [National] As. that I empha- agement of time. When Waiter Benjamin writes: "What we require of the photographer is the And the apparently history-transcendent "individual subject" who will "have ability to give his picture the caption that wrenches it from modish commerce to hold to the truth of postmodernism . that I . (or occupation) of ruins and fragments by the irreducible alterity of time [Ben. which sabotages [Simmel506]. This IS to be found in Deleuze and Guattari's bold notion of mediate self-proximity of voice-consciousness and the visible efficiency of writ. possible by the money form of returns provides a hitherto unheard-of structive cultural practice instructs us precisely to work through bricolage. he has radicalized bricolage as the questioning of all last century. freedom" [Simmel 334]. The inconvenient and outdated ticker of Marxist viously does not "refute" Freud's late proto-deconstructive model of the psyche theory discloses the excluded word between "time" and "risk" in the manage- as the Wunderblok or the mystic writing pad (see Derrida.. that difference as such which Derrida pages back. the radically reconciling text of the post-modem stock exchange. even as it pushes the frontiers of rationalization.) And it is well-known that radical proto-decon. vol.170 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 171 After telecommunication. made. I point out." the entire economic text is in Of Grammatology 68]. idea is to be found in Freud. My critique can find an allegorical summary in a pas- ican Stock Exchange. As Georg Simmel already observes of the stock exchange at the end of the citationality as originary. the AIR~r­ size within this narrative. Macklin. predictably. It is within this framework of crisis-management and regulation. 281: the Derrida passage "earned about $2 million for . would be a blur'' [''Wiring'' 47]. as a bird does. Aphorisms." Writing and Difference). computer. the man. to specify the post-modern space-specific subject-production.. proves unable to The "post-modem" and "pre-modem" are inscribed together.. If anything. the executives kept up with their the old stock ticker. it is the place where the circulation of money can be most speeded ideologies of adequation and legitimacy. a bit of technology that dates back to 1867-has already fallen behind the hectic stantaneous because of the computer'' [''The Wiring of Wall Street'' 47]. When it is expanded to considered. "A holdover from the storied past is Automation Corporation. unorganized. (This is the celebrated problem of programming a ~oney-form naturally promotes "the individual": "if freedom means only obey- computer to build nests with random materials. the reporting can be in. then the distance between property and its owner that is Douglas Hofstadter and others. "Postmodernism. would not be what it is if it could not write itself as a palimpsest upon another But this is not the objection I emphasize here. and have as its vocation the invention and gives it a revolutionary use-value [Gebrauschswert ]. the silicon chip appears to give Let us retrieve the concept-metaphor of the text that we left behind a few "a plastic idea" to that pure virtuality. Lehman Brothers "offer[ing] an explanation: 'Computers have shown us how This reconciliation of the opposition between consciousness and writing ob. 4. Production of Commodities v]. Street" speaks first of "time management" and next quotes Peter Solomon of sociation [of Securities Dealers]" ["Wiring'' 73]..287 minutes to buy a t-shirt. to produce a program that will use an item for a purpose for remarked that Simmel argued nearly a hundred years ago that a developed which it was not designed. . and it remarking that. Wall Street is. If money then circulates at the speed of cluding its current displacements~ it can allow us to read the text of political consciousness by way of the computer.

the concept of value re- it might not be enough simply to say that "it is a useful critical fiction to believe mains crucial to the quantification of prices of production. I am not recommending vaneties of reactive affirms the interdependence of value and value form ([understood as] price of nostalgia such as an unexamined adulation of working class culture. at worst. I have so far been arguing. by talking about the text as part of and his co-authors' perspectival situation of the labor theory of value and con- a self-propagating mechanism.] One of the more inter- tend to establish a proportional distribution of unpaid labor . Thus the authors situate the specific arena of the labor theory of into the present" (LaCapra's version of transferential historiography) may be value but go on to suggest that. seems Fran~ois Lyotard's benevolent "paganism" as an axiological model as little as I to be an appropriate description of the perspectival move which provisionally can J~gen Habermas's Europocentric rationalism. has been Problem. that the texts or phenomena to be interpreted may answer back and even be as an absolute magnitude of labor time. no longer assumed as in volume 1" Yet there. among other things. I have questioned the mechanics of limiting the definition of value to a~ ~~rlier doubt. uninteresting and labor theory of value aside is to forget the textual and axiological implications repetitive. an interdependence which cannot be expressed by treating the tatious rejection of elitist standards." an average rate of profit on total capital. Yet Wolf£ by refusing to talk about the psyche. expressed not in terms of historiography but rather of literary the physical embodiment of abstract labor time. research and 'political' practice" remains with us [Dominick LaCapra. I can do no better here than to reiterate Further.. does . And his object of discourse . italics mine. underlining the role of exploitation in understanding domination. and Antonino Collari suggest that when "Marx . a formal experimentalist or. Given Lacan s elaborate unfolding of the relationship between I have not touched the topic of the value-price relationship in these pages. the relevant magnitude must be the given at Wesleyan University. [Jean-Fran~ois Lyotard. however. Price on production. Communication and the Evolution of Society. dati?~alism. . 20 If and when we ask and answer the question of sense. Rudiments pai'ens with Jean-Loup Thebaud. The later Derrida. tions would accommodate the "materialist" articulation of Value within what I as I have suggested above. Lecture ditions for the process of production. periodization should rather be seen in its role Within the histoncal normalization I will now appropriate yet another item on the threshold of this essay: the required by the world-system of political economy.'. . I offer this formula because the problem of "how to relate a critique of 'foun- In "Marx's (not Ricardo's) 'Transformation Problem. discontinuous metaphor current definition of price of production as deviation or differential seem to us of the subject. The disjunctive. History and from value'' [''Marx's 'Transformation Problem"' 575. or the timid evocation of "poetry being written in Nicaragua. simultaneously. restricted. "the equivalence of exchange structrons pai'ennes. It should be clear from the last few pages that I can endorse Jean- of a materialist predication of the subject. transference and the ethical moment.which like its object is interminable and may always go astray. there are certain desires to appropriate the workings of the un- ["Marx's 'Transformation Problem"' 572. the "post-modem" its latest symptom. Wolf£. carrying and being carried by its burden of desire. In- must set that theory aside. I would in fact argue ~t the cnticrsm: premises of Capital I are themselves dependent upon a gesture of reduction that may be called a construction [Capital I 135]. which must keep any tex- accepts the history of style-formations in Western Europ~an ca~o~callitera~ tualized notion of use-value out. The passage I quote. since "Marx's focus [was] on class relations as too continuist and harmless a version of the transactions in transference. Crrticzsm 73]. and I have conflated three conscious of which we should beware. at best. . can be conceived only as a specific deviation co~~~cing eno~gh to lea~ one to change one's mind" [LaCapra.. As a result of this move.. I would find that Marx's focus on class (mode of produc- Nor will the difference between text and person be conveniently effaced tion) must be made to accommodate his reach of crisis (world system). For "repetition-displacement of the past sentences]. italics mine]. however. 1984].time in the form of esting solutions offered is Dominick LaCapra' s "historiography as transference." In fact. . The early Derrida assured us that "decon- price of production of the consumed means of production and not the abstract struction falls a prey to its own critique" and went largely unheeded [Of Gram- labor time physically embodied in them" [Wolf£ et al. relation between the two concepts as merely a functional relation between de- thologies. to Bruce Brothers. Within the discipline of economics. Generalizing from Wolff's and his co-authors' position. 18 value. engaged in the production Derridean concept of "interest" as in "scrupulous declaration of interest. I simply wrest it back from that "false" described earlier as the practical position of Value in our discipline in the narrow metaphor and "literalize" it.. an osten. a devotion to all non-Judaeo-Christian my.. Such evalua- rida' s own understanding of surplus-value as capital-appreciation or interest is. in such nostalgic evaluative norms as the list above. there seems to be no alternative to declaring one's "interest'' in the text of the production of Value.closure of my own di~ciplinary discourse. " 19 As I move more conclusively into the the version of historical narrative I am sketching here can be expanded to show en. pendent and independent variables. ~e~lar ological space of some varieties of such an interdependence. miming this precaution interminably. "Marx's 'Transformation ma~ology 24]. Jiirgen must be constructed out of the processes specific to competitive capitalism which Habermas. Au juste. pro~uction). it seems crucial to suggest that "Marx . too.172 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 173 would propose to pursue the evaluation of the pervasive and tacit gesture that admirably just. that to set the wntten off as. considers a cntique of Ideology that allows for at least provisional endings and ends in a social object in which the processes of circulation constitute effective precon. the history of the pnate to suggest that this essay does no more than point at the confused ide- epistemic violence of imperialism as crisis-mana?e~ent ea~ s~ operate. perhaps it might not be inappro- that."' Richard A.'" 574]. ." Der- and realization of Value. as the evaluation of style as such.

Between metaphor 1985 and metonymy. economically- any rate.. then..." All predications are exclusive and thus operate on the metonymic prin. and other factors occurred. the "idealist" betweer: theory ~nd practice (here in the grounding and making of Value 1·udg- and the "materialist" predications of the subject are metonyms of the subject. closing off vival and co_m~ort.zl Thi t operation cannot be appreciated without passing through the seemingly delib. I offer.." I must now "The Letter as Cutting Edge. to be operating on an uncomfortable level of abstraction. once again.. My careful language here In closing. they still represent the levels and changes in the stock- being carried by its burden of "figuration." I ~ay ab~v~ t~at "t~e ~ull implications of the question of Value posed within needs to be indefinitely -deconstructed rather than hierarchized. aware performative or operational value-judgment. the honzon ~f fu~l :ealization must be indefinitely and irreducibl postpor:~d. s~ould make clear that the practical moment is not a "fulfillment. the _matenalist predica~on of th~ ~ubject cannot yet be realized.stration. !he complicity between idealisms and materialisms in the production of theo · though it is of course subject to all the constraints of ethico-logical grounding. Lest I seem. In this sense. what many _Marxist theoreticians admit today: that in any theoretical for- mulation. and. further. the second paragraph of this essay. the so-called deliberative consciousness. Although the Dow- Jones averages no longer represent the actual average prices of these stocks . As stocks split. ahzed apocal~pse. as the ~hematics of ca. aesthetic-troping. "White Mythology" 264]. Lacan writes: "The double. [Spivak. Thus. is determined. ments) mto Oedipus's hobble? Writing of the constitution of the subject as such. the groups." Ecrits 166-67]. announces the pluralized apo~alypse of the practical moment.. between subject "metaphor" and text "metaphor. On that honzon It IS not utopia that may be glimpsed [see Jameso y The formula-" scrupulous declaration of interest in the text of the prdtluction The P_olttt~al Unconscious: Narrative As A Socially Symbolic Act 103£]. at case the set or ~nsemble of I_deology-critical. metonymy" ["The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious. even in the most self-conscious transferential situation. In so far as the two predications are concepts of the subject. which. the substi- tution of issues in the averages. they are unacknow- ledged metaphoric substitute-presentations of the subject.. there is no guarantee in latlve If att~~pts are made to represent them adequately in actual social practice deconstruction for freezing this imperative into a coercive theoretical universal. let me choose a most non-esoteric source." One cannot escape it by dis. oreclosure. 3-14 above admit. carrying and in. only be resisted rather than fully avoided. of course. its signification is put into the position of a trope. Here is the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Modern Economics on the encroach- ment of the fictive upon the deliberative in the operation of the economic text: Originally the Dow-Jones averages represented the average (arithmetical mean) price of a share of stock in the group. [178] missing the former as the residue of a productive cut.istorically named woman's work or assigned to domestic the circuit). the bod_y does not rise. This opposition too. to the textual) upon this designates this open end by the name of the "apolcalyptic tone . erative.174 In Other Worlds Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value 175 systematically misguide and constitute the machine of text. return to the point of departure. to plot some of the "interests" in its philosophy' . of metonymy if labor when It IS mmimally organized? Why appropriate the irreducible non-fit not metaphor'' [Derrida. in ~ur par~c~~. however. pnces reasonably well. and valorizing the latter as the only possible concern of a "philosophical" literary criticism. a formula was devised to compensate for these changes. There is no particular need to see this tions. no pa~~ular apology for this deliberate attempt to show the dif- triggered mechanism of metaphor is the very mechanism by which the symptom ference_ be~een pre-cntical economism and the role of the economic text in the . For uto i~ of Value"-that I offer comes out of the most problematic effect of the sovereign ar~ hi~toncal attempts at topographic descriptions that must become dissi~u­ subject. the political subject distances itself from the analyst-in-transference by declaring an "interest" by way of a "wild" rather than theoretically grounded practice. Why not affirm as its concept-metaphor the er- ciple of a part standing for the putative whole: "As soon as one retains only a f~rmative and operational evaluation of the repeated moves of the body's ~ur­ predicate of the circle (for example. symptom and desire. And the enigmas that desire seems to pose for a 'natural fdetermmation of Value. can." see pp. I will invoke the very threshold. if 0~ The encroachment of the fictive (related. amount to no other derangement of instinct than that of ." In the plur- where I write: "The 'idealist' and the 'materialist' are both exclusive predica. even as one distances oneself from idealism. IS ~etter ac~owledged. h.

three Entering the Third World .

has the practice of deconstruction been helpful in this context? The aspect of deconstructive practice that is best known in the United States . we urge with conviction: the personal is also political. participants in the production of an exploitative society. like ours. Because in Senanayak I find the closest approximation to the First-World scholar in search of the Third World. "Draupadi" by Mahasweta Devi Translated with a Foreword by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Translator's Foreword I translated this Bengali short story into English as much for the sake of its villain. we fall back on a colonialist theory of most efficient information retrieval. David Morrell's First Blood. Correspond- ingly. Senanayak can identify with the enemy. I will not go so far as to suggest that. Hence in practice. In Other Worlds 178 11. My approach to the story has been influenced by "deconstructive practice" I clearly share an unease that would declare avant-garde theories of interpre- tation too elitist to cope with revolutionary feminist material. Senanayak. we grieve for our Third-World sisters. I have suggested elsewhere that. Thus his emotions at Dopdi's capture are mixed: sorrow (theory) and joy (practice). he finds analogies in Western literature: Hochhuth's The Deputy. as I look in the glass-it is Senanayak with his anti-Fascist paperback that I behold. Indeed. How. In theory. We will not be able to speak to the women out there if we depend completely on conferences and anthologies by Western-trained informants. In inex- tricably mingling historico-political specificity with the sexual differential in a literary discourse. There is a convenient colloquial name for that as well: pragmatism. But pluralist aesthetes of the First World are. On the level of the plot. Mahasweta Devi invites us to begin effacing that image. then. For both sides of the rift within himself. the sense of whose personal micrology is difficult (though not impossible) for us to acquire. we grieve and rejoice that they must lose themselves and become as much like us as possible in order to be "free". we share something like a relationship with Sen- anayak's doublethink. Senanayak must destroy the enemy. Senanayak is the army officer who captures and degrades Draupadi. 1 The approximation I notice relates to the author's care- ful presentation of Senanayak as a pluralist aesthete. He follows the ne- cessities and contingencies of what he sees as his historical moment. when we wander out of our own academic and First-World enclosure. in practice. He will shed his guilt when the time comes. As I see their pho- tographs in women's-studies journals or on book jackets-indeed. the in- struments of First-World life and investigation are complicit with such captures and such a degradation. as for its title character. willy- nilly. Draupadi (or Dopdi). 2 When we speak for ourselves. we congratulate ourselves on our specialists' knowledge of them. I shall speak of him first. For the rest of the world's women. Senanayak's project is interpretive: he looks to decipher Draupadi's song. His self-image for that uncertain future is Prospero. the menacing other.

S. marks the place of that other that can be perors of India had settled nearly seven hundred years ago and also because of neither excluded nor recuperated. The Bengali Muslims-no doubt in a class-differentiated way-felt themselves constituted by the culture of Bengal. and ex-orbitant to the story. the word "Left" entered our introduction to the collection. street Bengali. solidarity on the part of the nonelectoral Left. Here suffice it to say that Mahasweta "trace" of that complicity-the proof that we do not inhabit a dearly ~efined is certainly one of the most important writers writing in India today. Indeed. follows. Any extended reception study closing complicities the critic-as-subject is herself compliat ~th t~~ object of would consider that West Bengal has had a Left-Front government of the united her critique. finally. bureaucratic Bengali. The division was made on the grounds of the concentration of Muslims I cannot take this discussion of deconstruction far enough to show how Dop. Naxalbari has spawned an indigenous '1899-1900. (The individual state governments have a good deal more Mahasweta is a middle-class Bengali leftist intellectual in her fifties.t~ me most . it is a source of considerable political irritation to the central and do not believe in mere party politics. a serially publis~ed novel area of the northern part of West Bengal. there was a successful peasant rebellion in the Naxalbari Adhikar ("The Rights [or. heterogeneous. 11 literary Bengali. t~e only one . short political narratives.~sist~nce that ~ dis. She has autonomy under the Indian Constitution than is the case in the U. minently published in English translation. its emphasis upon "history" and upon ~e et~co-political a~ the electoral Communist parties since 1967. miles." 6 government of India. I should. the "Indian" reception of Mahasweta's work but only of 1ts Bengali reception.nove~. As such. 1084's Moth~r''). 5 their proximity to West Asia (the Middle East). of proVISional a~~ ~­ skepticism regarding the content on the part of the bourgeois readership. Bengalis dispute if the purest Bengali is that of of our own patterns of complicity. X guages of the tribals. This. The word "democracy" becomes highly interpretable in the con- Hajar Churashir Ma ("No. Here Mahasweta begins putting together a prose that 1s a collage of agrarian reform leadership led by the lower classes" including tribal cultivators. The two parts of Pakistan did not although seemingly minor points in the interpretation of the story as such. "unlike she was writing almost at the same time. its . Briefly. "Draupadi" first appeared in Agnigarbha ("Womb of Fire"). . historically it has re- versity established by the bourgeois poet Rabindranath Tagore. produced by the reading practice I have descnbed.) Although a master's degree in English from Shantiniketan. and many of the twenty-odd developed dialects the tribal and classical characters of Draupadi. sustained percent literate of the about ninety million speakers of Bengali. the relations~p between Nabadwip or South Calcutta. a large number through an unofficial government-landlord collusion that too easily circum- of whom live in Bangladesh rather than in West Bengal." into East Punjab (India) and West Pakistan. incomprehensible yet trivial (it is in fact about beans of different to be more "Arab" because they lived in the area where the first Muslim em- colors). As Mahasweta pomts out ~ h~r the middle of the last century. the recognition. Punjab was similarly divided transgression and the class deconstruction of the ':gentlemen revolutionaries. point out that in my Any sense of Bengal as a "nation" is governed by the putative identity of the introductory paragraphs I have already situated the figure of Se?ana~ak in terms Bengali language. she publis~ed benevolence.") In 1947. Yet the Punjabi Muslims felt themselves di's be 1ID. and the reading of Senanayak's proper name ~~ht be seen as parture from India. in the late '70s. Her repu~tion flected a spectrum of the Right. however. text of a largely illiterate. I want a change in the present social system Union. It most other areas of West Bengal. 9 (Meanwhile. It is worth remarking that this coalition of peasant and intellectual-with long histories of apprenticeship precisely on the side of the intellecual-has been . tribal Bengali. In what. remams w1thin the e. one might say that legislation seemed to have an eye to its own future circumvention. one ca~ot spe~ o! vented the law. Yet m Aranyer In the spring of 1967. multilingual. and East Pakistan. its disclosure of compliaties accusations of extremism from the electoral Left. before. albaris all over India. critical space free of such traces. within deconstructive practice. and. 10 West Bengal is one of three Communist states in the India~ not made for the sake of politics. in these two parts of the subcontinent.a collec~on of Bengal has had a strong presence of leftist intellectualism and struggle since loosely connected. Occupation] of the Forest"). and the lan. however. According to Marcus Franda. that reception can be described as a general recognition of excellence. 3 ~e aspect . "Life is not mathematics and the human bemg 1s political shorthand.180 in Other Worlds "Draupadi" 181 is its tendency toward infinite regression. and admiration and a sense of where a will to knowledge would create oppositions.that interes. 12 The target of these movements was the long-established Since the Bengali script is illegible except to the approXliD~tely twenty-five oppression of the landless peasantry and itinerant farm worker. take share ethnic or linguistic ties and were separated by nearly eleven hundred on greater importance in a political context. on the eve of its de- of the story. where peasant movements are led almost solely is a meticulously researched historical novel about the Munda ~surrection of by middle-class leadership from Calcutta.cess. and unpoliticized electorate. the acknowledgment that 1ts own discourse can never be adequate to its example. some tractable starting points in any investigative effort. . the famous experimental ~ni­ officially India is a Socialist state with a mixed economy.Ively sen- timental idiom of the Bengali novel of the last twenty-odd years. 4 This is dearly not the place to elaborate each item upon this list. from military dictatorship to nationalist class as a novelist was already well established when. This peculiar coalition of peasant and intellectual sparked off a number of Nax. the status of Draupadi at the end are incomprehensible to the "general speaker. . The compliaty of law and which remained a part of India. the British government divided Bengal into West Bengal. in fact.. a significant change is

\ In 1970. the cause of the crucial battle. there . Unlike the Ramayana. "If a guerrilla-style insurgency had persisted. And in fact it is Draupadi who provides the only K example of polyandry. and the student leadership had not brought with it The ancient Draupadi is perhaps the most celebrated heroine of the Indian \ / sustained efforts to undo the privilege of the intellectual."14 bond servant. IX: the e~ic. on the other. unpaired. Draupadi is infinitely clothed and \ no foreword can provide." has (Draupadi). to the five s~ns of th~ imp~tent Pandu. The Idea of Sustaining Law between the intellectual and the rural struggles.ndent . The men easily succeed in stripping between two uniforms and between two versions of her name. or the tribalized form. mdeed "singular" in the sense of odd. yet her name is not on the list of dents joined the workers. legitimately pluralized. where the "sacred" geography of an ancient battle is slowly men revolutionaries remain latent. a law that is fabricated with a view the asse~b." Senanayak remains fixed within his class origins. She is on a list of wanted persons. destorying the rebellious sections of the rural population.child of ~u~h a mother. No acknowledgment of paternity can secure the Name liances between the Naxalites of West Bengal and the freedom fighters of East"':ri~es this episode.182 In Other Worlds "Draupadi" 183 recuperated in the West by both ends of the polarity that constitutes a "political padi. Dopdi. must be taken too seriously. Even their leader's voice is expanded ~y succeeding generations of poets so that the secular geography of only heard formulaically within Draupadi's solitude. It was this trend that the Indian authorities were determined to pre-empt by . The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are the cultural credentials X "in much the same manner as many American college presidents have described o! the so-called Arya_n civilizatio~ of India. not a common system of marriage in India. as well. nage and then m a Situation of multiple rape.smgulanty b~ plac~ng £?opdl first in a comradely. She is marrielf. It is either that as a tribal she cannot pronounce her own Sanskrit name spectrum. exa:nple. Her eldest husband is about to lose her by default Indian prime minister was able to crack down with exceptional severity on the in a ga~e of dice. I should like to think that ~he expandmg Aryan colony can present itself as identical with it and thus justify it is because they are so persistently engaged in undoing class containment and Itsel£. Mahasweta's story questions this Bengal (now Bangladesh). In order to grasp the minutiae (D~arma) matenahzes Itself as clothing. the gentle. Dopdi-m the narrative It IS the culmination of her political punishment by the . The year 1971 is thus a point of reference in Sen. there seems to be more and more of it. into deconstructive formulas: on the one hand. The tribes predate the Aryan inva- the protest of American students. To speculate upon this role. the armed forces uncoupled." The story is a moment caught between two prostitute. and as the king pulls and pulls at her ) of their relationship and involvement. Her husbands. in the usual mood of benevolence felt by the oppressor's wife toward the tribal 1960s. T~~re IS nothing Improper in b~nging ~er. It is one of Krishna's miracles. Indian political and social leaders have ex. however. we might consider the Mahabharata itself in are similar to those of the gentlemen revolutionaries. defeat of West Pakistan. since they are husbands rather than lovers are of the government of India were deployed. They have no nght to hermc Sanskrit names. Correspondingly. most sig. vanous styles of mamage. name. Draupadi. contained and judged fully within Mahasweta's story.on ~any husbands. domesticated Hindu name was given Dopdi at birth by her mistress. Drau~adi is depe. Her strange civil status seems to offer grounds for nificantly the tribals. 1 V \ armed (65:35-36). In 1971. For this 1 alienation and to the influence of writers like Marcuse and Sartre whfc:h has seemingly dominated the minds of young people throughout the world in the pious. one must enter a historical micrology that san. · ) Draupadi is the name of the central character. the efficient was also the first time India had "won a war" in its millennia! history). the Mahabhar~ta contains cases of various kinds of kinship structure and thority and outline no text-including Mahasweta's-can encompass. at a crucial moment in the struggle. and "Draupadi belongs within Naxalites. monogamous mar- forces would undoubtedly have come to dominate the politics of the movement. On the other hand. The enemy chief begrns to pull at Draupadi's sari. therefore she can be designated ~ 1' This is the setting of "Draupadi. the undoing of the binary opposition Draupadi sllentl?' ~ray~ to the incarnate Krishna. for the two aesthetically forever separate-that they inhabit a world whose au. It Is an accretive epic. this elusive and fortuitous name does play tionaries in "Draupadi. Dopdi and Drau. smn. is the proper name of the ancient implicitly compared it to the May 1968 "revolution" in France. the implicit hostility between East and West Pakistan flamed into context. where the stu. 16 The complexity of this vast and anonymous project makes it an incom- the opposition between reading (book learning) and doing-rather than keeping parably more heterogeneous text than the Ramayana. however. And yet on the level of the text. ment had remained clear. appropriate names for the tribal women. epic Mahabharata. She is introduced to the reader Ma~as:veta's story . underground. the ex-Maoist French "New Philosopher. which ~ role. It is the killing of this mistress's husband that sets going the events It is against such recuperations that I would submit what I have called the of the story. He had staked all he owned. cannot be publicly stripped." Taking advantage of the general atmosphere of jubilation at the m smgul~nty (as a poss~ble mother or harlot) is used to demonstrate male glory. he is It~ colonialis~ func~on in the interest of the so-called Aryan invaders of India.(Mahabharata 65:32). the student identity of the move. India's "principal national rival in South Asia" 15 (this She provides the occasion for a violent transaction between men. that all . Draupad~'s legitimized pluralization (as a wife among husbands) intervention. Within a patriarchal and patronymic 1· i. clothed or unclothed. theme of class deconstruction with reference to the young gentlemen revolu. activist. sh~7 IS exceptional." Bemard-Henri Levy. 13 In France. by contrast. her predicament as well: "The Scriptures prescribed one husband for a woman· anayak' s career. to its own transgression. Neither the interdiction nor plained the Naxalites (supporters of Naxalbari) by referring to their sense of t~e significanc.the Fa~h~: for the.e of the. seemingly because these were al.

turbanned. and bearded Sikh. again. who. The decision makers capability iS a ~racti_ce. the story insists that Mahasweta uses another differentiation. into a the man to (en)counter her as unrecorded or misrecorded objective historical feeling that what we deem gain might spell loss and that our practice should monument. 184 In Other Worlds "Draupadi" 185 representatives of the law. this voice of male authority also fades. the postscript area of lunar flux and sexual difference. In giving to bemg obliged to cope with English under political and social pressure for a the name Harijan ("God's people") to the untouchables. 18 I have been unable to Rather than save her modestrffi!ougnofnelmplicit intervennonof. 20 It might therefore be interesting that among the characters: the one with the aliases who bit off his tongue. not politics combined with multinational economies produce war. so unlike the not be. Such fighters are the hardest to beat. " 21 It is part of the possess. su_ch a _sovereign subject is also the legal or legitimate subject. Arijit. and the wifyTI thought in the context of American soldiers breeding bastards. be noticed that the fighting words on both sides are in English. The language of to be confused with the at least nine other Munda tribes that inhabit India. Such a l. the practice of mowing down Naxalites brings with it a among the revolutionaries are. On . it goes With what I see as the project of the story: to break this bonded Of course. unlike the nam~less an~ heterogeneous world language. act. What is this? In fact. at the other end of the vast Indo-Gangetic Plain into the patriarchal and authoritative sacred text as proof of male power-could from Bengal. directed toward breaking / of sexual "honor. It is to historical moment. The assumption of such a clean break in fact women who have oriented their book learning to the land and thus begun the depends upon the assumption that the individual subject who theorizes and long process of undoing the opposition between book (theory or "outside") and practices is in full control. are Hindu." in challenging wo~en can be broken by the wedge of an unreasonable uncertainty." can derisively call herself "the object of your search. she is thinking about washing her hair. tinsel San.~he remains publicly~J!Gike~Lat her own insistence. to read the modern story as a refutation of the Nanak m the late fifteenth century. tological question. the diabetic Sikh captain who falls back on the Granth- keeps political faith as an act of faith toward him.en we the same ~ay a~ the Polis~ co~munity in North America or the Belgian in first see her. Yet it is his voice that gives Dopdi the courage apparent!~ self-ad~quate identity. tribalist-internationalist-that is the untouchable caste by the name of its menial and unclean task within the rigid wavering constitution of "the underground. Dopdi is (as heroic as) Draupadi. The tall. The theoretical production of negative As a tribal. divine (in this case it would have been godlike) comrade. Sikh an_d the Beng~li. She loves her husband ana France. Today the roughly nine million Sikhs of ancient." whom the apparently clean gap between theory and practice in Senanayak. still using the language The entire energy of the story seems. there. is presented as all brawn and no brains. for they ~n _gene~al. information-retrieval and talk-to-the-accessible approach toward Third-World she is in a place where she will finally act for herself in not "acting. of course.d' reproduce this in my translation. She is also what Draupadi-written India live chiefly in East Punjab.) AIJan Smgh. I can be forgiven if I find in this an allegory of the woman's struggle within the revolution in a shifting The _italicized wor~s i~ the translation are in English in the original. is the stereotyped butt of jokes in There is nothing "historically implausible" about Dopdi's attitudes. there is the least hint of a doubt if skrit.t." In fact. is there a "pure" language? Given the nature of tried to concoct the sort of pride and sense of unity that the tribes seem to the s~ggle. slight and supposedly intellectual Bengali. Mahasweta has followed the Bengali practice of calling each so-called undomg of oppos1tes-mtellectual-rural. (It should be recalled that this is ?f th~ Si_kh religion. His is a fashionable first name. "realistically. Dopdi is at once a palimpsest and a contradiction. . in the sentence describing Dopdi's final summons to the sahib's tent. almost on the level of caricature: the this is the place where male leadership stops.a bEmigmlfl. the agent is missing. I think. the ones Senanayak is not given the differentiation of a first name and surname. be forged accordingly. A Bengali reader would pick them out by name iS identical With his stable patronymic. At least in the history of the Indo-European tradition spontaneity (practice or "inside"). This may be a critique of the man' 8 well: victorious over enemies.the author can describe as a terrifying superobject-"an unarmed target. corrupt Bengali Senanayak is of course the army officer full of a crosses the sexual differential into the field of what could only happen to a woman Keatsian negative capability. Dopdi is not romanticized by Mahasweta. They war-offense and defense-is internationaL English is standing in here for that are also not to be confused with the so-called untouchables. indeed." who." clean ~-rea~ is not ~ossible. Where." bourgeois young men and theory of the histoncal moment. Once Dopdi enters. the tribe in question is the Santa!. then we would share the textual effect of "Draupadi" with Senanayak. common noun means "army chief. in one reading. with no allusive paleonymy and a meaning that fits the story a bit too it is a proper name or a common appellation. If so." "the wrong side" of the law. She adores her forefathers sahib (the Sikh sacred book-I have translated it "Scripture") and the "five Ks" because they protected their women's honor. His who helped the couple escape the army cordon. The army officer is shown as unable to ask the authoritative on. the ones who neither smoke patronymic is identical with his function (not of course by the law of caste): the nor drink tea. If our certitude of the efficient- final section of the story. and. which sustains his theory-practice juggling to save not herself but her comrades. who are neither tribal nor gentlemen. though probably of remote "non-Aryan" origin. The peculiarities of usage belong tribals. 19 {that she emerges as the most powerful "subject. muscular. in the identity with the wedge of an unreasonable fear.~\ structural functionalism of institutionalized Hinduism. Nation-state As Mahasweta points out in an aside. (Sikhism was founded as a reformed religion by Guru It would be a mistake. WJ:. above all. Mahatma Gandhi had few centuries.) It is when she rmagmative. is no_thing bizarre in "Comrade Dopdi.

and. they too lay on the ground. even in the southeast and southwest corners. who rescued Draupadi from her predicament m the ep1c. the knee"). Long wanted in many . The Hindi film industry is prolific in producing caste or creed. kirpan ("dagger''). are sacred. breaking down national dis. complete In the matter of "translation" between Bengali and English. textual irony here. The educated Bengali does not know the languages of the SEcoND: Draupadi Mejhen. one hundred rupees . What one might ~alsely Sahu (killed)'s at Bakuli." whatever that may be. "white man. and Bankura. FIRST LIVERY: What's this. H. at the time of the body count. three villages were cordonned off and machine gunned. . has nothing like it! How can anyone have an unlisted name? disclosed in the text. many-pleated piece of cloth." The and is used today to mean "boss. She is the only one who uses the word a much-abbreviated version. to be worn The Special Forces. "Bhumi" is simply "land. Born the year her mother threshed rice at Surja tribes. Lawrence's "common people" or Faulkner's blacks. there might be a touch of diction of the police station at Bankrajharh (in this India of ours. Murdering Surja Sahu and his D. It is referred to "counter" (the "n" is no more than a nasalization of the diphthong "ou"). Murshidabad. are operated through the encroachment of king-emperor or capital. and West Indian labor force. rendering those three young men to the police. Surja Sahu's wife gave her the name. hence a mark of identity). Sanjeev Kumar encounters Krishna." An Urdu word meaning "friend. compelled by every Sikh. In all this they were the chief Rather than encumber the story with footnotes. on which listeners against their will.. As simply as "the cloth. Page 188: The "five Ks" are Kes ("unshorn hair'')." All of Bengal is thus "Bangabhumi. . "can therefore be con- sidered an interpretation. not merely is an Indian. in the famous Operation Bakuli." The only exception is the word "sahib. .. Page 195: A sari conjures up the long. Dopdi does not understand English. It follows that I have had the usual "translator's problems" only with the Dossier: Dulna and Dopdi worked at harvests. it is an abbreviation for "killed by police in an encotmter. 1t IS agam Dopdi with blouse and underclothes. occupying upper-caste wells and tubewells during the drought. accidents like this do happen. The blood-sugar level of Captain Arjan Singh. Surd- peculiar Bengali spoken by the tribals. Page 193: "Champabhumi" and "Radhabhumi" are archaic names for certain tinctions. In 1971. husband Dulna Majhi (deceased). Still. Since_it was ~hna to the Special Forces. but she understands this formula and the word. the couple could not items of information: be found. regardless of can hear music of their choice. the architect of Bakuli. Two sorts of pulp movies for consumption in India and in all parts of the world ~here there reasons: (1). Page 191: "Panchayat" is a supposedly elected body of village self-government. In general we educated Bengalis h~ve wan. In the morning. It would have been embarrassing to have used some version of the language of faking dead. Name Dopdi Mejhen. Bankrahjarh. . attempting to pierce that dark by an armed search. the underground couple's skill in self-concealment. Diabetes has twelve husbands-among them anxiety." I thought of Kipling as I wrote "Burra Sahib" "her'' in the sentence beginning "No comrade will . such deconstructions. with Senanayak. 22 for Senanayak. it? An exchange between two liveried uniforms. even a worm is under a certain police station). the specificity son. . It is the me~­ acing appeal of the objectified subject to its politico-sexual enemy-the proVI. the Santals but all tribals of the Austro-Asiatic Munda tribes appear the same aptations from the epics." It Page 194: The jackal following the tiger is a common image. SECOND: Most notorious female. (2). Pakistani. We cannot answer because we. a tribal called Dopdi? The list of names I brought Although we are told of specialists. quite a few Santals in the various districts of West Bengal to meet their Maker Page 190: "Bibidha Bharati" is a popular radio program. . or operating the language of the other s1de. came to mean. think of as a political "privilege" -knowing English properly-stands m the FIRST: These officers like nothing better than to write as much as they can in way of a deconstructive practice of language-using it "corre~ly'' through a English. In her use of it at the Draupadl end.. Many of the films are ad." Mahasweta explains. the meaning of Dopdi' s song remains un. age twenty-seven.. What's all this stuff about her? political displacement. that "proper'' Indian women wear. m the film the In fact. information whether dead or alive and/or assist- "counter" -her. rotating between Birbhum. What is it to "use" a language correctly' without knowmg' ance in arrest. . in conclusion I shall list a few instigators. it comes mysteriously close to the "proper" English usage. without blouse or underclothes. dom- sionally silenced master of the subject-obj~. karha ("iron bangle"). I have used "straight English. . not sur- is micrological. are in the opposite situation. almost exclusively in Bengali. which is under the juris- soldiers watch. kachh ("drawers down to Dulna and Dopdi went underground for a long time in a Neanderthal darkness. . . By the Indian Constitution. all around the ill-famed forest of Jharkhani.~' the code description for death by police torture. . areas of Bengal. all human beings. rose at once and proved yet again that diabetes can be a result of anxiety and depression. In Other Worlds "Draupadl" 187 186 the right side of the law. one com~s across hair-raising details in the eyewitness records put together on . they were the main culprits. kanga ("comb"." It is a colonial w~rd Page 194: Modern Bengali does not distinguish between "her'' and "his. In fact. and no political coercion obliges him to "know" it.ct diale~c-:-to e~count~r-.. icile Cherakhan. Again. Sanjeev Kumar is an id~lized act~r. when the same racist attitude toward it as the late Peter Sellers had toward our English. Dopdi wears who occupies a curious middle space.

and bureaucrats. they can efficiently inform the killers about their targets and a dread of black-skinned people that whenever he saw a black person in a ball.188 in Other Worlds "Draupadi" 189 the people who are suspected of attacking police stations. pero as well. tribal-specialist types are flown in from Calcutta. for they too kill by at the time of King Gandhi! It's a battle cry. The soldiers shot him Senanayak knows the activities and capacities of the opposition better than as h_e lay. Whatever his practice. Government procedure being as incomprehensible as the Male Principle in At any rate. Pundi rambra keche keche he can represent the particular world in question. Without a gun even the "five Ks" come Even after much thought. the elderly Bengali specialist in com. A black-skinned couple ululated mo~shed if they were treated with the attitude. is not a book for everyone. in theory he respedts the your chambers" rather than give up your gun). It tionaries put together by worthies such as Hoffmann-Jeffer and Golden-Palmer. stomach on a flat stone. he swooned. dipping his face to drink water. he knows that. he roared "Ma-ho" and then went limp. landlords." In order to destroy the enemy. although the other side make little of him Sen- the snatchers are not invariably well educated. As the . Since after the above-mentioned ululating and dancing couple was the escaped corpses. have attacked police station after police station. "bidi. Neither uniform nor Scriptures could relieve that depression. They sang jubilantly in a savage tongue. scratches his ear with his any and all practitioners of such warfare is the sacred duty of every soldier. And in and. To see if anyone comes to take away the body. but he also knows that if he can change color from world to world. opposition." and says. they sometimes say "give up anaya~ . believes in delivering the world's legacy into youth's hands. stealing guns (since I should mention here that. search. turn by turn the world will change. it was possible to only source of drinking water. the fighting forces regain their confidence in the Army Handbook. under the shadow of a premature and forced retirement. the Department of Defense could not be sure. and they sweat over the dic- As a result. he presents an encomium on the military to his mouth. the water carrier of the of fighting is guerrilla warfare with primitive weapons. rank and file. And at the same time. He giggles when he sees the two specialists. Two to nothing in this day and age. .is not to be trifled with. Respects them because they could be neither understood nor de- moneylenders. He is Pros- diabetes. In fact. they think the power will come out on its own if the ~oldiers climb the trees in green camouflage. army informant Dukhiram Gharari saw a young Santa} man lying on his bat and extreme-Left politics. This is the hunter's way. Soldiers in hiding guard the falls and springs that are the last. On one such present him at the desk of Mr. "It's nothing but a bit of im- like police sirens before the episode. He knows very well that what he is doing today the future Hende rambra keche keche will forget. Then. Dopdi and Dulna have worked at the house of virtually Arjan Singh fell for a bit into a zombielike state and finally acquired so irrational every landowner. These Samaray hijulenako mar goekope mental processes might seem complicated. bow and arrow. it was Arjan Singh who was by batch and on jeeps. become one. Learning from Intelligence that and elated the region. killing grain brokers. Who said "Ma-ho" here? Did means of hatchet and scythe." but he knows people will soon forget the memory and lesson of blood. But since Dulna and Dopdi are illiterate. the plosion of "chambers". They embrace the leafy boughs gun is held.303 threw him off spread-eagled and brought a bloody foam they themselves do. Such as: he unde~st~od them by (theoretically) becoming one of them. batch Sankhya philosophy or Antonioni's early films." and drank and passed a lot of trable forest of Jharkhani is surrounded by real soldiers. law officers. These speeches he delivers to all and sundry. but actually he is a simple man and is as pleased as his third great-uncle after a meal of turtle meat. At long splits the battlefield. etc. In fact. like Shake- This proves conclusively that they are the cause of Captain Arjan Singh' s speare. leaving Dulna's body on the stone. parts. First. they are still guarding. and disappeared into the forest of Jharkhani. Thus incomprehensible even to the Santals. Annihilation at sight of camp. terrified sent once again on Operation Forest Jharkhani. Not all gentlemen become experts in the ex. announce proudly that they too are soldiers. the Santals of Maldah did say that when they began fighting Dopdi and Dulna belong to the category of such fighters. saying "they're killing me. If necessary he will show the future to what extent he alone understands the matter in its p~oper perspective. their kind have practiced like so many great god Pans and wait as the large red ants bite their private the use of weapons generation after generation. pertinent game-playing with guns. information is received that many young men and women. He hopes to write on all this m the future. Today he is getting rid of the young by means of "apprehension and elimination. Senanayak. as in the old popular song. every world he must have the credentials to survive with honor. therefore. he. escaping from Bakuli. Then he explains further: Is it only the opposition that it was the redoubtable Dulna Majhi. They realized later that genius of the Sikhs. It says that the most despicable and repulsive style Finally the omniscient Senanayak summons Chamru. should find power at the end of the barrel of a gun? Arjan Singh's power also What does "Ma-ho" mean? Is this a violent slogan in the tribal language? explodes out of the male organ of a gun. He has also decided that in his written work he will demolish the gentlemen and highlight the message of the harvest workers. still looking. The problem is thus solved. the army enters and water. their fighting power someone come from Maldah? is greater than the gentlemen's. Finally the impene- bag.

. enough. Now it seems that they havthaefouhndbaltrud No d~ubt it is she who is saving the Dopdi was proceeding slowly.'~~vea ~-:covered the meaning of that 'hende have forgotten book learning. shoot and get rid of the ones whose only recourse is extrinsic book learning and Thus the searc o~ . b k of The Deputy an s ou s. with some rice knotted into her belt.. sincere intrinsic enthusiasm. It'~~unD:pdi :~tk~es. cold. Villages sympathetic to the fugitives are still silent and hostile. Catch Dopdi Mejhen. . She \ ~ a~~:re~~:Jr~:~~ons are the skeletons discovered with arms =ken ~r has seen in the Panchayat office just today the notice for the reward in her name. Not to be cured by the te~t~d o~tm:. A legion? Is it JUStifiable to mam am a large battalion in that wild area at the Mushai's wife said outside the office: "A lot of preparation this time. The area IS not wild. . action still goes on. She does so occasionally. She never responds when she hears her own name. . grain brokers. If she had some kerosene. as bait. h . many books m p . vulture.: s~ffle and. Where in this picture does Dopdi Mejhen fit? suffer shooting pams as t e an s. The answer is long. .e rew~d for ~uln~ s ~ferru~ted in t~eir feast. Dopdi knots it into her waistcloth and walks slowly.he~rts. One can rambra' stuff. he slaps his She must have connections with the fugitives. "How much?" ''Two-hundred!'' bring this up? What will be will be. m . ~~!~ a~d so on become the food of fox. our huts . She will lead us to the others. In the forest belt of Jharkhani. Ans~er: j~~~~ arran ements to worship according to religion.:~~ h:v:almost deciphered Dop~i'ssong. . How many le . ing in the Army Handbook. But Senanayak know~th ate~h ~~edr:w b testhe cannot prey be dispatched with a corpse How many are left? Is there anyone at all? by th~ aXftr:. ·---·<' antz-Fasczst paper a~ . . e ore . anony- The soldie~ get gomg ~t hishcomn. begin to bite them. she Why? picked out and killed the lice in her hair.:~o~:~!r~~eh:a. A-ll new policemen. "What are you looking at? Who is Dopdi Mejhen! Money if you give her up!" areTwo ~nd ribs legskinds crushedS?ilence. their eyeballs. The battalion is provided with Hm. Tudu says that Sahib has come again. . 190 In Other Worlds "Draupadi" 191 not the soldier's. fugitives now. soda. as naked and transparent as Ar. wilkldcat. Then she could wash her hair with baking The answ:r is silence. ~as~~~ 1:~o~~onfrontation. nd But no one comes to clmm Dulna s Item: Well. . the soldiers These events cause one to think. they will follow the scent. Yes.. Hurt rebuke in the eyes.stomachs. When Senanayak hears that no one d h t "What?" Immediall:!ly ORe . t . the soldiers JUngle sc~ut D ture Be!rin Dulna's corpse.copy . Those who are working practically will not be ex- eration continues-will continu~. Improvidently are still defiant and irrepressible. ~~ hedgehogs kam gets a knife in the neck before he a better wage. ~ says. Moneylenders.hyena. The answer is silence. They must of andspeaali~ts the tribal chimedes' up. Don't come again. But the bastards put traps at every bend of the falls. When the rice is "They" is also a hypothesis. opportu. It IS a car t to burst with the appropriate herb. an wo ' 2. in the water. . They keep company with the poor harvest workers and the tribals. she'd rub it How man went originally? .. . · · · . ant. th f st? The answer IS silence. discover that mous brothel keepers. At rught the soldiers s oot ~o ulatin on dry leaves. . Tudu's wife had cooked her some. No. Perhaps they are orienting their book learning to e" the soil they live on and learning new combat and survival techniques. The hungry and naked corpse. ex-informants are still terrified. . Oh God! ft . can claim th. The ones who remain have lived a long time in the primitive world of the forest. The cause for fear is elsewhere. landlords. How many are left? They'll burn again. Shame on you! Why of answer. ff h il to sell therr bare s e etons. . are caught Therefore Operation Jharkhani Forest cannot stop.e~ taxpayer's "Wild area" is incorrect. Mushai Dopdi loved Dulna more n er oo .. Dopdi! How many killed in six years' confrontation? She doesn't respond.. They do not allow themse ves o e capstworth courier. About that there are many tales. the village. ress into her scalp and get rid of the lice. Reason: the words of warn- In ~he firstpha:~ ~~: ~f~::'~~fation they are shot at the taxpayer's exp~nse. If they smell kerosene Best not to believe everything. w y Mushai Tudu's wife had said. buncle on the government's backside. the untouchables go o a)p yt b tured in open combat in the next phase. intestines.~n:." e~f.:~. Ten to one it's Dopdi.. sever:d? Could armless men have fought? Why do the collarbones s e. s~pe~s~~ n to "Bibidha ~harati" and to see Sanjeev K~mar an~ the Lord Why? ~h~a f:c:~to-face in the movie This Is Life. In some pockets the harvest workers are getting they have killed. And about Dukhiram .~f the forest's topography. m has come to take the corpse. terminated so easily. Mushai's wife looked down. descending. As she walked. the d 'la 0'. If they catch you. Getruns szr..

Mantu-none of them smokes lesson trying to do you good. Malini. off hehr todngue. if they catch me don't know me. Increa~e cu va ?h to Radhabhumi by the American soldiers stationed at Shiandanga.: are :. Rice in her belt. His mouth watered when he looked at me.. bush and rock-Public Works Depart- s . she unrolls the film of known faces in ~er Dopdi kept walking. I'll put out his ~:~~t~o~~h~a~~-something. The steps keep a distance. edn Who? No Shomra Shomra is on the run.. I ve learne my Footsteps at her back.. You've given it to your kin Bhagunal. the corn ound of his two houses. Shomai and Budhna are half-breeds. every ~g ts. unkno~n ma e .. Everyon. with water. Nothing must be told. The smiths at Jharkhani are fine artisans. Dopdt heard someone calling. p. Mow-mow-mow down the village. a hundred Dukhirams-Thank God Dopdi is not a a landowmng money en er w ded at night' Surja Sahu had brought out his Surja Sahu' s house was surroun · . Best medicine for What good did you do? Have I not given water to the village? scorpion bite. Mandal. Then a telegraphic message from Shiuri. s~: d~d:?t respond. '1 S ti h I swear by my life.~!~h::. Satish me? They will counter me. They stood guard over their women's blood in black armor. Th~ quarrel began there. Walking. Must tell them that that bastard Sahib has appeared again. mt~ . Do. Don't you get water? No The untouchables don't get water. Killed by police in an encounter . Jhark- mm . Cordon up. Dopdi felt Get your water with canal tax. th.a d hi When they counter you. Let them. Shomai and Budhna knew everything. Dopdi's blood was the pure una- dulterated black blood of Champabhumi. f p'don are always furled m er mm . by my life. tobacco leaves tucked at her waist. A baby scythe. Then said. She must let them know that the police have set up notices for her Here ~o one but Mu~hai and his wife knows their real names. ··· putt-putt-cordite in the air-putt-putt-round the clock-putt-putt. sa a half-moon. this is best! We won't get family A h lked thinking these thoughts. op 1 approach. But who knows? Landowner and moneylender and po- licemen might one day be wiped out! name is Upi Mejhen. lti ti n Get out of here. Tobacco leaves and limestone powder.ln the drought. I'll have the first blow. e ts m ~ u ·. of great danger under Dopdi's ribs. Arijit.. u · 7 What's my profit in increasing cultivation wtth tax money. But Dopdi will not enter the forest with a cop at her back. She doesn't respond if called by her own name. I don't accept your Panchayat nonsense. d nd body give way under torture. Dopdi touches her waist. children . ti!ehda~. ha~ learned by hearing so often and so long. By my life Dulna. Such an . Dear. ~as Rana his name. Shomai and ~udhna arefa so ment markers-sound of running steps in back. His whitish eyeballs turned and turned. The jeep didn't come up to Bakuli. . him free labor to repay that debt. The crunch-crunch-crunch of gravel ~~~~~~~~~::::ny times can I run away? What will they do if they catch under hobnailed boots.1~nlimited ~ater at Surja Sahu's house. Now she thought there was no shame as a ~~~u~~:~n. Special train. Rana alias Prabir alias Dipak. Nothing must be given away. Shamu. But who calls? . proud of her forefathers. Surja Sahu arranged with Bid a u o tg o era wn a u . Two miles. More men and women. Here her and children this way. Mata~ J • the forest. There was the urgency t. Putt-putt Do di said softly I won't tell anyone's name. From Champa to Bakuli the rise and eye.di' them. he was incontinent again and again. B k li in Bakuli. render surrender. gwe me money. Bakuli is burning. happen. Now she thinks of nothing but entering on the run. Dulna had said. Army. or even drinks tea. . You want half the paddy for sharec:opping. 0 hideouts. This way is the camp. and I still give Shomai and Budhna betrayed us. Not Golok. free paddy. h . Then it was decided that Dopdi and Dulna would work around the Jhark- hani belt. Dulna had explained to Dopdi. Commands on the mike.? a ~d The footsteps turn left. In her palm the comfort of and Jugal from the village and that young gentleman. Contributions Everything's on fire.shed. I don't know what will eyes. b rning set of a million moons. We have nowhere else to go. 193 m umer wonas 192 gun. March-march-march.. · ' h · · B k li Is 1t someone rom hani Forest still about two miles away. Surja Sahu.~~1~y~~: ~ey:~~~~~e. Among e young again. Dopdi and Dulna had crawled on their stom- to terms with torture. Close canal If . edge we'll put on it Upi. Go home.e lS happydwtt crow would eat crow's flesh before Santa! would betray Santal. ea Who called her from the back today? ti£fm~~ as~:d~ehog's. This is not the way to the forest. No surrender surrender. Flame Do~di knows. My greatgrandfather took a bit of paddy from him. d H ring "Dopdi" they S . tr bl d time Dopdi is confused when she thinks about tt. Then give me paddy at home. howDon~~:~o~: thrower. as clear as a crow's Santa! in Shomai and Budhna's treachery. Over-over-over by nightfall. human patience catche~ east y. fire-fire. Must change tlemen not all of the previous batches knew· . The fruits of the war. Surja Sahu on account of the trouble over paying the field hands in Sandara That was a ou e · dib b t d' tw tubewells must be cancelled. Otherwise. Only one person running. achs to safety. The Sahib knows? brothers. Dopdi turned left. No water anywhere. 1 d on't give a thing put htm down. for other reasons. Villages and fields. p . Also. Dulna Majhi-Dopdi Mejhen surrender sur- Mushai's wife said.. Ma'hi Bakuli? After Bakuli her and Dulna's names were Upt Mejhen. Jugal Mandal. Surja was tied up with cow rope. age . Their blood could have been contaminated. Where are they? Dopdi had said. Bhupati and Tapa took your an s are l twenty-two wound. your sex is a terrible They could not have reached Paltakuri after Bakuli. the plan to do to Lakkhi Bera and Naran Bera what they did to gen .

These three and a half miles of land she's been m~de ~p right. Her own Dopdi likes and understands this. we will not remain. Says. As long as six years ago he could anticipate their every move. This information cannot now be passed Draupadi . Dopdi will lead the cop to the foxes to de~rour. . sees her breasts. light she lowers her lightless eye. hatchet. The guard pushes the water pot forward. hav~ to wa~t Ion~. peppers fifty. The gurgle of water. and she was Arijit's voice. Trying to move. He bsage D:aupad1 MeJhen apprehended. The two Over there. Her own cloth. he didn't ~lood. The echo of the call travels far. For th~ every hump looks like every other. behind. burst the birds in the trees at the outskirts of the fore~t aw:ker:~~ of death. won't understand even if they do. At 8:57 Senanayak's dinner hour a _ their hideout. and understands that indeed Footsteps at her back.~. · has read First Blood and seen approval of his thought and work." he disappeared. one wat~r she catches her lower lip in her teeth.T~en ~ billion moons pass. she has sat in the bus station. This area is quiet enough. a tear trickles out of the corner of her eye. Under Dopdi's Where is the tent? ribs the canal dam breaks. demonstrated in that piece that he supported this struggle from the point of Suddenly there is trouble. deadly afraid At the t~ird. strangely enough. Dopdi couldn't trick him. police convoys had arrived. train. She doesn't of the Burning Ghats. Perhaps they have abandoned her. How many came to make her? Dopdi returns-good. Come. Dopdi has left that way many? Four-five-six-seven-then Draupadi had passed out. He had done so. onions"sevep. Again the process of making her begins. lumps of rock come forward. The steps behind come around to the front. become one. She turns her head. "Make her.?nly the gag has been removed. No hope.M. Goes on. Dr~upadi. after br~akfas~." Patitpaban of Saranda had been sacrificed in the name of Kali leans on ~s bayonet and leers at her. raises her face to the sky turns toward the if I wander all night with my eyes shut. You fucking jackal of a cop. Nothing else struck camp on such rocky terrain. The direction of the next hideout will be blood1~d ~ailheads shift from her brain. and knife Arijit's voice. ~n? saying. Then they'll run. Do the needful. It's like a maze. I'll go. Where do you wa t Dopdi Mejhen is about to be apprehended. If anyone is caught. Her breasts are bitten raw. Yet another. Dopdi turns again. rise and fall over I . the guard burning "ghat. Six The. but. The army could not have She turns her eyes and sees something white. Another. I won't outrun him. There will be a proached. If Comrade Dopdi arrives late. sees sky and moon. Veteran fighter. The moon Apprehend! vomits a bit of l~ght and goes to sleep. is Dopdi going this way? Stop a bit. Surja Sahu's brother Rotorti Sahu. Two sorts of reasons. camp. Then Draupadi Mejhen is brought to the tent and thrown on the straw Her piece of cloth is thrown over her body. Draupadi sits up as soon as she hears "Move!" and asks. Draupadi closes her eyes. Incredible thirst. Dopdi is a field hand. Only the dark remains. She senses that her vagina is was countered for the other's trouble. Something sticky under her ass and waist. Because this was not in our heads to begin with. In case she says lose anyone else's life. Dulna died. Dopdi has seen the new camp. Change hideout. Squash four. It took an hour to get her to on. If you want to destroy the enemy. In the muddy moon- that the opposition won't see it. A little level ground ahead. Then rocks again.. doesn't return-bad. Shomai and Budhna. He still can. Dopdi stops short. smoked a "bidi" and found out how many 3.194 In Other Worlds "Draupadi" 195 gentleman. throw flap therr wmgs. view of the field hands. The elderly Senanayak was ~tpread-eagled still body. and finish you off. easy and clear. Will be destroyed. Shaming her. legs still tied to four posts. The lights of the camp at a distance. Since he has kept up with the literature. passed the time of day. he . Then morning comes. Not a word must be said. Suddenly she hopes against hope. you can't run around in the forest. Opening her eyes after a own sake. Just as you must know when you've won. perhaps they have understood scythe. the nipples to~. Slowly the Arijit's voice. I'd run you out of breath. Search and destroy. let me tell you. rnillio~ hgh~ years.Mejhen was apprehended at 6:53 P. A compelled A lump of rock stands up. Regret. Ho~ and rocky ground are the best way to enter the forest. a straightforward account. I won't lose forest. A billion lunar years. Therefore he is elated. Once 'twice thre ti him that way. he is unhappy about that. They will understand Dopdi Mejhen has been countered. bleedmg. Questi?rung took another hour exactly. ~~~ n Halt! To the Burra Sahib's tent. The clue will be such . . p sign of where we've gone. Why knowledge d~feat and start the activities of the next stage. it turns again. They had not escaped by Draupadi fixes her red eyes on the tent." etc. I won't go in the forest. Active pistons of flesh rise and fall. No comrade will let the others be destroyed for her . you in a ditch. she feels her arms and indicated by the tip of the wooden arrowhead under the stone. That's fine. at once triumphant and despondent. how many radio vans. But she hears the scrape of feet. They do their work in silence. the others must catch the timing and change allowed to Sit on a canvas camp stool. you must also ac- best. after reading the newspaper and sending the radio mes- years ago he published an article about information storage in brain cells. No one touched her. Huh! I can tell where I am Now Dopdi spreads her arms. Draupadi Mejhen is ordered rought m. and ululates with the force of her entire being. Now a much harsher rule. Actually.

. how the "self-consciously socialist discourse" of the left sector of the indigenous elite is. but there can be no [insurgency]. or in individuals bent upon avoiding crisis at all cost.. Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing piece of cloth with her teeth. Senanayak walks out surprised and sees Draupadi. So he goes to ask his superior. Change and Crisis The commotion is as if the alarm had sounded in a prison. The most important voice that is as terrifying. counter (In fact their concern with function changes in sign-systems-the phrase "dis- me-come on. attempting to displace the discourse of feudal authority and charge it with new functions." the change itself can only be operated by the force of a crisis. but how can you clothe me again? Are you a other functional changes in sign-systems indicated in these collections: from man? crime to insurgency. naked. sir. What more can you do? Come on. sky splitting. Concurrently. Two breasts. be seen in relation to histories of domination and exploitation rather than within itable laughter that Senanayak simply cannot understand. What Paul de Man writes of criticism can here be extended to a subalternity that is turning things "upside down": "In periods that are not periods of crisis. Even when it is per- ceived as "gradual. secondly." 2 Yet. by uneasy implication. naked. and runs for orders. There are. She looks around and chooses the front of Senanayak's white bush shirt to The most significant outcome of this revision or shift in perspective is that spit a bloody gob at and says." or yet "reversing itself. but stops." or "failed. and so on. two wounds. willy-nilly. counter me-? cursive displacements" is slightly shorter-extends beyond the arena of insur- Draupadi pushes Senanayak with her two mangled breasts.156). Such a definition theorizes the change within Draupadi stands before him. the crisis could not have made the change happen.196 In Other Worlds Draupadi stands up. this change is seen as the inauguration of politicization for the colonized. Stands with her hand on her hip. the guard says. however. and for the first gent or subaltern activity. 1 Partha Chatterjee shows Gandhi "political[ly]) 1981 appropriat[ing] the popular in the evolving forms of the new Indian state" (3. He can lead the prisoner out but doesn't Historiography know what to do if the prisoner behaves incomprehensibly. that such changes are as she beings laughing. spanning many of the essays in the three collections. walking toward him in the bright sun." I will not let you put my cloth on me. the agency of change is located in the insurgent or the "subaltern. is one of the most stunning achieve- ments of these studies. The work of the Subaltern Studies group offers a theory of change. The nervous guards trail behind. if the space for a change (necessarily also an addition) had not been there in the prior function of the sign-system.) A functional change in a sign-system is a violent event. In more than one article Dipesh Chakrabarty discusses time Senanayak is afraid to stand before an unarmed target. You asked them to make me up. Seeing such strange behavior. Dopdi Mejhen. Her ravaged lips bleed the great modes-of-production narrative) and. What is this? He is about to bark. The meticulously documented account of the emergence of Gandhi- far from a "subaltern" -as a political signifier within the social text. within the narrative of the transition from feudalism to capitalism. pluralized and plotted as confrontations rather than transition (they would thus Draupadi's black body comes even closer. that the moment(s) of change be Won't put them on. What's the functional change is from the religious to the militant. feudalism into capitalist subjection. She's gone crazy. Draupadi wipes the blood on her palm and says in a signalled or marked by a functional change in sign-systems. Draupadi shakes with an indom. from bondsman to worker. sertion of India into colonialism is generally defined as a change from semi- What is this? He is about to cry. colonial subject is seen as emerging from those parts of the indigenous elite The object of your search. there can be all kinds of approaches to [the social] ." The Subaltern you want to see how they made me? Studies group seems to me to be revising this general definition and its theo- Where are her clothes? rization by proposing at least two things: first. The in- light with her head high. Tearing them. Thigh and pubic hair matted with dry the great narrative of the modes of production and. many use of clothes? You can strip me. terribly afraid. There isn't a man here that I should be ashamed. She pours the water down on the ground. Tears her 12. The Draupadi comes closer. The change in signification-function . and sharp as her ululation. laughs and says. don't which come to be loosely described as "bourgeois nationalist. blood.

" perhaps to avoid a vulgar Marxist glorification of the peasant. hegemonic access to "consciousness" as an interpretable construct. Their actual practice. failure most often given is the much greater scope. For the subaltern displacements. This leads them to de. and to ally themselves with. _ cabulary of much contemporary historiography successfully shields this cognitive I believe it is because of this double bind that it is possible to unpack the aphor. in so far as it is the object of their study." e-laborare.scnbe _the cland. It is thus an instrument as Paul Brass's study of factionalism for the symptoms of what Edward Said has of study which participates in the nature of the object of study." "unease. Chatterjee shows how Gandhi's initial dynamic transaction with the construction. In this part of discrepancy. that failures or partial successes in discursive- as (the possibility of) action. "The movement o~ si~cation _adds some- thing . and strength They generally perceive their task as making a t~eory of conscr~usnes~ or of the colonial authorities. simply. To see c?n. Yet there is also an incipient evolutionism here which. 4 Indeed. Indeed. . In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historlography 199 198 Cognitive Failure Is Irreducible supplements the previous function. pendence it is clearly pointed out that the bourgeoisie's "interested" refusal to that the force of crisis. and sometimes disarmingly alluded to as "impinge. nationalist or co- life to the page of a book. is not systematically recognize the importance of. would put these oppositions into question." "'tranSit." "circumstan~es ants' politicization. working out.52. accounted for the failure of the discursive displacement that operated the peas- ment. as "turning upside down" -all critical concept-metaphors that idarity and peasant power were seldom sufficient or sustained enough" (3. To examine this contradiction we must first note that discursive displacements plementarity as the inexorable speculative logtc of the dialectic. the reason for scrupulously annotates this double movemen~. only that at work in India's "Green Revolution to Prevent A Red One" (2. at least of a discursive field is their most pervasive argument.) My point is. would indicate force." "getting caught up in a general wave." "reasons for change. I think. He reads contemporary analysis such sees it as itself also constituted as and on a semiotic chain. . It ts because of this. Thts transactional read~g emerge. that hegemonic to this double bind: "All concepts in which an entire process is comprehended yet defunct (successful cognitive failure once again) mainstay of neo-colonialism. My essay will also try to develop this of historical truth (3. 5 ~f seen_m thts way. if the theory of change as the site of the displacement It can be advanced that their work presupposes that the entire socius. called "orientalism" (1. this comes a close second. shown to be constituted by remind us of this. raphy to crisis. a general sobriety of tone will not allow them to 3." The possibility of action lies in the dy. to me to do themselves a disservice. A theory of change as discursive field of the Hindu religious Imaginary had to be travestied in order the site of the displacement of function between sign-systems-which is w_hat that his ethics of resistance could be displaced into the sign-system of bourgeois they oblige me to read in them-is a theory of read~g in th: str~ngest posstble politics. is inseparable istic remark of Nietzsche' s that follows the image of the sign-chain with reference from colonial domination. cognitive failures. Das shows rational expectation theory.227). . . discourse. this sanctioned ignorance. organization. . (mis)cognition of discursive field-displacement on the part of the subaltern as This line of argument does not set consciousness over against the socius. This contradicts the general politics of the group-which sees the elite's emphasize sufficiently that they are the~selves bringing _hegemoni~ historiog. [sich zusammenfasst] withdraws itself from [sich entzieht] definition. the breaking and relinking of the chain. comes to perform a vxcanous function. quite properly in my estimation. ~n thi~ ~hey seem wittingly or unwittingly operated from above are also failures. ting and unwitting lapses." the cornerstone of the edifice subaltern) in a positive and pure state. pervasively. lays the blame "bringing into focus". trying for unification. consonant with a desire to find a ~onsciousness (here of t~e oeuvre is to examine the production of"evidence. which. " 3 The Subaltern Studies collective All of the accounts of attempted discursive displacements provided by the group are accounts of failures." "catching fire" on "the existing level of peasant consciousness" for the fact "that peasant sol- and. the work of the Subaltern Studies group repeatedly makes 1t posstble for us to Let us now proceed to note that what has seemingly been thoroughly suc- grasp that the concept-metaphor of the "social text'' is not the reduction of real cessful." "ambiguity. Das. but this addition . by the analysis of this group. 7 (No doubt if an "entity'' like "bourgeois politics" were to be opened general sense. the most interesting man- strictly speaking. although never far from their argument. they and Chandra chart the failures of trade union socialism. I will argue.198-9)." 6 At any rate these presuppositions are not. a politicized peasantry emphasized in their work. Chakrabarty. is perhaps w~at ~toruo field displacement do not necessarily relate. but the signature of Sanskritization (3. even as it is also described as "switch. functionalist entrepre- open themselves to older debates betw~en sp~ntanei~ and co~sciousness or neurialism and agrarian communism to displace a semi-feudal into a "modern" structure and history. My theoretical intervention is a modest attempt to lonialist. failure and that this success-in-failure. the nam~ of up to discursive analysis the same micro-dynamics of displacements would reading as active transaction between past and future. is itself. for.115).estin~ opera~on of sup. even at its most dynamic. on the right or the left. The site of displacement of the function ~f stgns ts. to Gramsci meant by "elaboration. It is correctly suggested that the sophisticated vo- sciousness thus is to place the historian in a position of irreducible comprormse.214). and to anatomize the mechanics of the construction of the self-consolidating Other-the insurgent and insurgency. the "level of consciousness" of a class. Within this tracking of successful cognitive failure." "combination. namely elite historiography. Hardiman points at the Nationalists' persistent namics of the disruption of this object. which has no history is definable. following a progressivist scale. as self-professed dialecticrans.231-70). is what Nietzsche would call a fortgesetzte Here too no distinction is made. to sup- plement a lack on the part of the signified. ts closer to de. between wit- Zeichenkette-a "continuous sign-chain. In the case of the nationalist movement for inde- culture rather than specifically a theory of change. .

borrow- ness. they are. and would attempt to forge a his self-alienation. Unless the subject separates from itself to grasp the object there is which to conceptualize their predicament and to seek solutions to it'' (1. Absolute Necessity and Absolute Knowledge. subaltern. they would. A "religious idiom gave the hillmen [of the Eastern Ghats] a framework. How shall we deal with Marx's sug- to be complicit (2. then. our particular case." To be sure." At any rate. gestion that man must strive toward self-determination and unalienated practice I am suggesting. and the speculative Hegel who outlined a system of logic. Guha seems to radicalize the historiography of colonial India operated by alienation. within sciousness. of course. to mean "a failure tions of impossibility into possibility. willy-nilly. expanding the semantic range of "reading" and "text. suggest above. of Hegel as in Glas would question the argument for the inalienability even of sivity (cognitive failure) of disinterested (successful and therefore true) histo. This is why I hope to align them of "cognition. Kojeve and his followers in France distinguished between Subaltern Studies and the European Critique of Humanism this Hegel. where does cognition begin and end? I will consider with deconstruction: "Operating necessarily from the inside...30). become complicit. historiographic.. within his progressivist narrative taxonomy Hegel describes the march of history in terms of a diminution in the self-alienation of the so-called world historical agent. and in the case of the suggested above. that is to say without being able to isolate their elements terms of their own methodology..140-1). are action and can be compared favorably to some similar attempts made by his- . the narrator of (a) history. 9 Within the latter. lective a similar framework. The group. the possibility of failure cannot be derived and atoms.. insurgent. A deconstructive approach would bring into focus the fact that they are To overestimate . that are. that is. The discur.1-42 & EAP). The Muse of History and counter-insurgency are shown far. "insidiously objectify" the subaltern (2. From the strictly phil. Being and Absolute Idea. incorrect. He was still committed to envisaging the coming war practice that would take this into account. culture and manipulation-the subaltern is also operating in the theatre otherwise criticizes the vanguardism of theory. mation] ." is in order here. it is a general field of failures that we see.. In fact the work of the collective is Formulating an answer to this question might lead to far-reaching practical making the distinction between success and failure indeterminate-for the most effects if the risks of the irreducibility of cognitive "failure" and of "alienation" successful historical record is disclosed by them to be crosshatched by cognitive are accepted. 12 Let us pursue the implications of this in of self-cognition. refusing to acknowledge on the Raj as the project of a will independent of himself and his own role the implications of their own line of work because that would be politically in it as no more than instrumental . [In their own] parwana [procla. as I are not accessible to individual or personal consciousness.262). the enterprise of deconstruction always in a certain way falls prey from any criterion of success unless the latter is a theoretical fiction. as well as (c) re-inscription by the Subaltern Studies group. Otherwise. but here we need not move that riography is revealed. tracks failures in attempts to displace discursive fields. the authors did not recognize even their own voice. . in their desire for totality (and therefore totalization) (3. but heard control him through knowledge even as they restore versions of causality and only that of God (EAP 28). nationalist.. 8 to its own work.. and in ing them structurally. This subverts the inevitable vanguardism of a theory that elite. . two accounts of simple unalienability. incidentally. ill-advised . alienation is irreducible in any act of con. as we have seen. colonialist. The group's own practice can then be graphed on this grid of failure. not prominent in their vocabulary. no cognition. that an implicitly evolutionist or progressivist set and Gramsci's that "the lower classes" must "achieve self-awareness via a series of presuppositions measuring failure or success in terms of level of consciousness of negations"? 10 is too simple for the practice of the collective. duce for the heterogeneous agents they study. This is a bold trans- alist account. If we look at the varieties of activity treated by them. with a "law [that] assign[s] a[n] undiffer- entiated [proper] name" (EAP 159) to "the subaltern as such.317). persistently transforming condi- A word on "alienation. [the]lucidity or depth [of the subaltern consciousness] themselves engaged in an attempt at displacing discursive fields." as used by members of this group." 11 This is the greatest gift of deconstruction: to question the authority of the investigating subject without paralysing him. (a) elite historiography (b) the bourgeois nation. Here suffice it to say that by the ordinary standards of coherence. that they them- will be .200 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 201 the project. the The idiom of recent European theories of interpretation seems to offer this col- first and last sections of The Science of Logic. borrowing all the later the possible problems with such compartmentalized views of conscious. indeed no thinking. Since in the case of the subaltern they are considering consciousness "failures. This characteristic expression of a negative selves "fail" (in the general sense) for reasons as "historical" as those they ad- consciousness on the insurgent's part matched its other symptom. We must ask the opposite question.Verfremdung as well as Entiiu'iBerung. strategic and economic resources of subversion from the old structure. self-determination to him (2." words osophical point of view." with the concept of failure generalized and re-inscribed as I have (however "negative") and culture (however determining). As they work their displacement. no judgment. Derrida's reading through a combination of Soviet and Barthesian semiotic analysis.

Another note in the counterpoint deconstructing the metaphysics of con- within the post-Enlightenment tradition that the collective participates in as in. should not be generalized as the group's methodological presupposition. French. view of "negative consciousness. in an earlier version of "unursprun- sciousness makes such a reading particularly productive. One I remind the reader that. Although "negative con- fire as Foucault and Barthes. This is all the more significant in the case of recovering a consciousness because. And yet. glich. given that the argument is inevitably historicized. for example. and power. for them." "will to resist." or. They fall back upon notions of consciousness-as. 2. it becomes easy for bringing-to-crisis can be located in the energy of the questioning of humanism the historian to abdicate the responsibility he has of exploring and describing in the post-Nietzschean sector of Western European structuralism.50). it will lead to firm ground. the Nation or the people [the hegemonic narratives]. because informing a hege- of Africa in Partha Chatterjee's work on modes of power.. of the being of the subaltern.112). that it is always askew from its of humanism. In a passage occasionally Italian insurgency in EAP. sciousness of the subaltern. even as it implicitly operates as a metaphysical methodological pre- ism-like all crises-does not move our collective "fully. "The peasants' view of the struggle will probably And. "It should be possible to read the presence of a rebel con- itation within a unique and self-adequate outline). monic narrative" rather than in a strictly philosophical sense. consciousness is the ground that makes all disclosures of counter-insurgency or elite documentation that give us the news of the con- possible. but of that of the oppressors (EAP chap. that it is various Western "collaborators. German. Of the practical consequences seems at first to be a positivistic project-a project which assumes that." non-primordial.202 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 203 torians in the United States. as in the pervasive invocation of English." can be read only in terms of the sense of crisis it produced among the people where signification is representation. . indeed. the some other will" (2. this critical force or Raj. . osophical language "non-originary. (EAP 15)." The rupture shows supposition in the general sense. such "cognitive failures" are irreducible. if prop. to some thing that can be disclosed. There is an affinity between the Because of this bestowal of a historical specificity to consciousness in the nar- imperialist subject and the subject of humanism.38). in authority" (3. and whatever we say about it at this stage must be very univocal reflection or signification-theory presupposed here by which "peasant tentative" (1. below. as in the concept of atide5a in Guha's work. irreducibly discursive. propriation (stringent de-lim. Yet the crisis of anti-human. It is. is the anti-humanist and anti-positivist po- sition that it is always the desire for/of (the power of the Other) that produces an image of the self. there is a force at work here which would contradict local parallels. representing them merely as instruments of question humanism by exposing its hero-the sovereign subject as author. Guha puts this It is the force of a crisis that operates functional displacements in discursive admirably: "Once a peasant rebellion has been assimilated to the career of the fields. a single underlying jute mill workers. These structuralists transcendental consciousness . in my view." and . it is the vocabulary of "this stage. and upon a culturalism. Since one cannot accuse this group of the eclecticism sciousness" is conceived of here as an historical stage peculiar to the subaltern. totality. 13 It is appropriately marked by attempts to find mate signified or ground. and a historicized political species thereof. fuel the same sciousness" in the more theoretical of these essays." the generalization is by definition incomplete-in phil- theoretical self-representation. Here. in vague Hegelian limnings." for instance. This "instituted trace at the origin" is a representation To investigate. 3. it is therefore not my intent to suggest a formula for correct cognitive moves." Vygotsky and Lotman. there is always a counterpointing suggestion itself to be also a repetition.121). To be sure. but into the general. For consciousness here is not consciousness-in-general. of the supermarket consumer. since the "subaltern" cannot appear without the I have been trying to read the work of the group against the grain of their thought of the "elite. confficting metropolitan sources often eludes the (post)colonial intellectual. row sense. Roland Barthes. They seem unaware of the historico-political provenance of their received signifiers. Their figuration of peasant or subaltern con. this "negative. and in the invocation of the anthropology where "transcendental" is used as "transcending. figuration.. discover. subject of authority. legitimacy. subaltern consciousness. for our group the consciousness specific to that rebellion and be content to ascribe to it a Michel Foucault. Victor Turner and Levi. as in my reading of the "cognitive The Problem of Subaltern Consciousness failure" argument. Evans-Pritchard and Hindess and Hirst can. and to insert the local such a metaphysics." rather than the grounding positive view of consciousness. indeed that it is effaced even as it is disclosed. one must see in their practice a repetition of as there is no logical reason why. and "solidarity" is seen as a "signifier of consciousness.183). chiefly a matter of "negative con- Strauss. of recognizing the traces of this strategy in the work of the group I will speak erly prosecuted. In my reading of the volumes of Subaltern Studies. and imprinting (EAP 169). it is the subaltern who provides the model for a general theory of consciousness. that it is never fully recoverable. If this is generalized. sees it as the consciousness not As I comment on the place of "consciousness" in the work of Subaltern Studies. that are discontinuous with the critique of the elite. "Given the problems of documenting the consciousness of the action in famine as in rebellion" is taken to "reflect . well as a rupture from the colonial predicament: the transactional quality of inter. sciousness in these texts is provided by the reiterated fact that it is only the texts terventionist historians. and establish a subaltern or peasant consciousness of the deconstructive critique of simple origins. in the work of the group that subaltern consciousness is subject to the cathexis agent. the group is susceptible to this interpretation. their will to resist and question the authority of their employers consciousness" (3. There is a certain never be recovered. sciousness as a necessary and pervasive element within that body of evidence" Yet even as "consciousness" is thus entertained as an indivisible self-proxi. and a certain Levi-Strauss.

the object of their criticism. A double take is visible political interest. then. and. fetishization." '"Aufheben' usurers and others hostile to insurgency register their sentiments. Thus do the texts of The tradition of the English translations of Marx often obliterates this. Yet the continuist and "who chooses to continue in such subalternity is regarded as hostile towards homogenist deliberative consciousness symptomatically requires a continuous the inversive process initiated by the struggle and hence as being on the enemy's and homogeneous cause for this effect and thus posits a sovereign and deter. be recovered. in other words. I will propose it in closing this section of my paper. an inalienable subaltern subject-effect. "Any member of the insurgent community"-Guha spends an entire neous determinations which are themselves dependent upon myriad circum." "spontaneous philosophy of the multitude" are plausible I am progressively inclined. what had seemed the historical pre. to a representation of their will. as such. history. the blank part Reading the work of Subaltern Studies from within but against the grain. "Oass" is not. the very class of which a collective consciousness has been situationally devel- ferent knottings and configurations of these strands. in the following description." This would allow them to use the critical force of anti- egory represent the demographic difference between the total Indian population and humanism." Yet the language seems also to be straining to acknowledge that that of the insurgent. This might seem preposterous at first glance. When "consciousness" is being used in difference-which is positivistic. minutes. content from that will alone. I could put it thus: "Thought [here the thought of subaltern consciousness] is here for me a perfectly neutral name." the Barthes of semiotropy and the Derrida of "affirm- [introductory] note [to 1]. sexuality. the necessarily indeterminate index of a future epoch of difference. even as they share its constitutive paradox: that the all those whom we have described as the 'elite'" (1. But these documents do not get their to maintain. or the substitution of an effect for a cause. I predicament of all thought. Oass-consciousness on the descriptive level is which seems to operate as a subject may be part of an immense discontinuous itself a strategic and artificial rallying awareness which. to put an end to. 15 ologically coherent. The strategy becomes most useful when "consciousness" is being used in the terpointing here: between the ostensible language of quantification-demographic narrow sense."18 The phrases translated as "sweeps away. on the transformative network ("fext'' in the general sense) of strands that may be termed politics. judgements. to retrieve the subaltern consciousness as the attempt to undo a massive his- dicament of the colonial subaltern can be made to become the allegory of the toriographic metalepsis and "situate" the effect of the subject as subaltern. language. and powerful. determined by heteroge. in which policemen. " 14 would suggest that elements in their text would warrant a reading of the project Once again. it thus sweeps away the conditions of class oppositions [Klassengegensatz] and of classes generally. oped. soldiers. The social groups and elements included in this cat. is irreducible. then. . The task of the "consciousness" of class or collectivity within mining subject. and abolishes its own It is of course true that the reports. Consider. (Each of these strands. It cannot be recovered. despatches. The two definitions of 'Aufheben' which we have given can be quoted as two . 17 For class-consciousness does not engage the ground-level of ness as the charting of what in post-structuralist language would be called the consciousness-consciousness in general. the effect of an effect. for the latter is predicated on another will. italics author's). if they are isolated. 16 A subject-effect can be briefly plotted as follows: that description of a human reality. "sweeps away." laws. economics. after all. and so on. seeks to destory the mechanics which come to construct the outlines of ideology. can be no more than a theoretical fiction of a rebel consciousness as a necessary and pervasive element within that to entitle the project of reading. Marx's notion of un-alienated practice or Gramsci's notion of an "ide- demographic difference-which opens the door to deconstructive gestures. can also be seen as woven of many strands. I refer the essentializing moment. reader to an essay where I have commented extensively on the specific coun. I of the text. with the Nietzsche who offers us by situating it in the place of a difference rather than an identity: "The terms genealogy in place of historiography. This would put them in line with the Marx who locates in order. ." and "abolishes" are. lordship [Herrschaft] as a class. chapter showing how that collective consciousness of community develops- stances. and the discourse of a definitive difference. that way. as self-consciousness. will.82." If I shifted to the slightly esoteric register of the language of French post-structuralism. in Marx's text "aufhebt. to read the retrieval of subaltern conscious. the ideological determination of the "concrete. by means of a described in the various Subaltern Studies: revolution. produce the effect of an operating subject. This latter is. sweeps away by force the old conditions of production. etc. It should be possible therefore to read the presence the subaltern's view. would read it. side" (EAP 202).204 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructlng Hlstorlography 205 "presence. counter-insurgency locate. a "will" as the sovereign for example. as a strategic use of positivist essentialism in a scrupulously fess otherwise. and its positing a a social field of exploitation and domination is thus necessarily self-alienating. ative deconstruction. level. letters. presence. and. bureaucrats. all deliberative consciousness. and equally it also means to cause to cease. . landlords. the following well-known passage from the Communist Manifesto: cause when it is no more than an effect of the subaltern subject-effect.) Dif. itself "If the proletariat in struggle [im Kampfe] against the bourgeoisie is compelled produced by the particular conjunctures called forth by the crises meticulously to unite itself in a class [sich notwendig zum Klasse vereint]. the Foucault who plots the construction 'people' and 'subaltern classes' have been used as synonymous throughout this of a "counter-memory. then. it makes itself the ruling class. though the elit~ pro. "it will probably never body of evidence (EAP 15). metalepsis." and spins thenar- The definitive accessibility of subaltern consciousness is counterpointed also rative of the development of the money-form. amount has a twofold meaning in the language: on the one hand it means to preserve. in the work of this group.

straddling as it view. self to the pattern of conduct of the subaltern himself.. When has history ever contradicted that prac- . but the subaltern's persistent emergence into hegemony must always and by defi- is rather working exclusively with the second-level collective consciousness to nition remain heterogeneous to the efforts of the disciplinary historian. ments such as the following: "[a] discrepancy . the principal (insurgents] seriously to weigh the pros and cons of colonial India could do so [learn his very first lesson in power] only by trans- of any recourse to arms" (2. Foucault in 1971 recommended the "historical For readers who notice the points of contact between the Subaltern Studies sense. takes its place within this cannot be undertaken without the strategic blindness that will entangle the ge- confrontation. by implication. "the peasant rebel ley[s] among . it is only a progressivist Yet this consciousness of community was an ambiguous one. I am suggesting. . Subaltern consciousness as emergent collective consciousness is one of the fabrication of any strategy cannot consider itself immune from its own system. nealogist in the chain.. 76). what animates the "par. Consider. class qasba. It is within the framework of a strategic interest in the self-alienating displacing move of and by a consciousness of collectivity. that will see such an did the religious fraternity.78). then. .. that would fall prey to an anti-humanist critique." historiographic practice that draws many of its strengths from that very critique.. but not to learn it is merely to nominate elegant solutions them is enhanced if we see them as strategically adhering to the essentialist notion to be correct theoretical practice. upon the rural subaltern." our own transactional reading of is a hard lesson to learn. 21 It is in this spirit that I read Subaltern·· because of the use of the word "consciousness. the restoration of the sub- labourers" and "peasant proprietors. is necessarily there at certain Subaltern consciousness as self-consciousness of a sort is what inhi!Pits "the stages of the class struggle between the level of its objective articulation and whole area of independent thought and conjecture and speculation . Their gesture be seen as "affirmative deconstruction": knowing that such an emphasis is theo- thus confronts E. In the definitions of "con. the confusion arises of the arrogance of a successful genealogy. the historian then breaks his theory in a scrupulously de- tionalist arguments from "reciprocity and moral economy" between "agrarian lineated "political interest. If it were embraced as a strategy. ." 19 In this spirit of "maintain and cause to of consciousness. but Can a strategy be unwitting? Of course not fully so. The his- be encountered in Marx and the classical Marxist tradition. "." much like a newscaster's persistently revised daily bulletin. or. Chakrabarty's analysis of how historically unsound it consistency. and mohalla" (3. The group places this theory of the lating back. Among the many examples that can be found. an interventionist strategy that is only partially unwitting. altern's subject-position in history is seen by the historian as the establishment vance of class identities and class conflict to agrarian relations in Asia until a of an inalienable and final truth of things.. consistency and . I If in translating bits and pieces of discourse theory and the critique of humanism will cite two: "what is indubitably represented in these extracts from Abdul back into an essentialist historiography the historian of subalternity aligns him- Majid [a weaver]'s diary is a consciousness of the 'collective'-the community. Hobsbawm' s notion of the "pre-political" as much as func.1). on-the that of the consciousness of its subjects".. then the emphasis upon the "sover- dency within Western Marxism which would refuse class-consciousness to the eignty.188)." we would rewrite "inversive" in the passage from EAP as "displacing. torian must persist in his efforts in this awareness. a restorative genealogy as Guha shows. sarily the absolute limit of the place where history is narrativized into logic. Even if the dis- sciousness upon the urban proletariat in a colonial context and." which are "an attempt to deny the rele. J.. A theory which allows a partial lack of fit in the the subaltern. what offers the "clear proof of a distinctly inde. state- in this crucial narrow sense. logic" of "rebel consciousness" (EAP 13) can pre-capitalist subaltern. that self-determination and an unalienated self-consciousness can be broached. It must remain caught within the possibility of that predicament in its own case. It turalist understanding of "consciousness. "with all their practical involvement part of the peasant" (1. inevitably objectify the is simply to reverse the gesture and try to impose a Marxian working-class con. within a cease. in a rebellion the masses could still be tricked by a false consciousness into pendent interpretation of [Gandhi's] message" (3. Seeing this. subaltern and be caught in the game of knowledge as power. "[The tribe's] con- alignment to be without interventionist value. Indeed it is in their very insistence sciousness of itself as a body of insurgents was thus indistinguishable from its upon the subaltern as the subject of history that the group acts out such a trans- recognition of its ethnic self' (EAP 286).7). Studies against its grain and suggest that its own subalternity in claiming a positive enological and post-psychoanalytic issue with such writers. that the subaltern is neces- rather. I am not trying to subject-position for the subaltern might be reinscribed as a strategy for our times. retically non-viable. especially in the theatres of Imperialism.. as I have suggested above..." 20 If. however. emergent collective subaltern consciousness squarely in the context of that ten. then any emphasis on sovereignty. cursivity of history is seen as a fortgesetzte Zeichenkette.269). main themes of these books. 270. very recent date" (3. on the other hand. that diagnoses the subaltern as necessarily inferior.or yet. indeed underwrites all invocations of the will of lating it backwards into the semi-feudal language of politics to which he was born" (EAP 173. trusting the magical faculties of warrior heroes . clear the confusion by revealing through analysis that the Subaltern Studies What good does such a re-inscription do? It acknowledges that the arena of group is not entertaining "consciousness" within that configuration at all. Historiography as Strategy sciousness" offered by the Subaltern Studies group there are plenty of indica- tions that they are in fact concerned with consciousness not in the general. that although the group does not wittingly engage with the post-struc.206 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Hlstoriography 207 dictionary meanings of this word. and logic will." unavoidably a post-phenom. in the place group and critics of humanism such as Barthes and Foucault.

It is almost as if the force generated by their Theoretical descriptions cannot produce universals. the Subaltern Studies group cannot follow Barthes here. portance of their persistent production. When world. E. he performed something like an abdication. sistence of older modes. rialists' self-consolidating other. as in the case of the collective) hegemony as the this strategy. rather than the dissonant thesis of the subaltern's infantility also because they are trying to assemble a historical bio-graphy of those whose were to inhabit Subaltern Studies. The logical negation eren-the Romance verb which emphasizes the establishment of a meaning that of this position is produced by the discourse of post-modernism. tion. Thompson one looks at regimes of power in the so-called backward countries of the privileges the British style of history-teaching as against the French style of world today.227). granting to the oppressed either that very expressive subjectivity words haben interpretiert (present participle-a completed action-of. of clinical practice. They must never be continuous with the subaltern's situational and uneven entry into po. Louis Althusser spoke of the limit of disciplinary theoretical production in the Foucault has sought to demonstrate the complexities of this novel regime following way: "[A] new practice of philosophy can transform philosophy. Barthes. This is the always asymmetrical rela. because they desire perhaps It is my contention that. The Foucauldian example being considered here. that it can elsewhere. in addition it can in its way help [aider a sa mesure] in the transformation of the of the prison. They can only ever pro.348-9). A few . "to make other''). of sexuality and of the rise of the human sciences. in an otherwise brilliant essay." This negation leads to an emptying of the subject-position: "Not to arrive Although not an unusual word. 24 The Subaltern Studies group. In the open-ended "making-other''. turned in large measure to autobiography and a eel. they are not knowledgeable in the history on the richness of "es kommt darauf an. but If that assumption. To acknowledge this is not to give way to functionalist range of possibilities for the ruling classes to exercise their domination abdication. a total unrepresentability. if the Subaltern Studies group saw their own work to claim some unspecified direct hand in subaltern practice. Otherwise. It resembles verb which "means" strictly speaking. and discontinuous with. in the epistemic violence that constituted/effaced a subject that two parts of the Eleventh Thesis. inconclusive. (There is no room here to comment colonialism in their own nation-states. which s/he criticizes or. tionship between the interpretation and transformation of the world which Marx The radical intellectual in the West is either caught in a deliberate choice of marks in the eleventh thesis on Feuerbach.208 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historlography 209 tice norms theory. crisis is separated from its appropriate field by a sanctioned ignorance of that duce provisional generalizations." 25 Although some of these Western the properly self-identical-adequately interpretiert-lies an allegory of the intellectuals express genuine concern about the ravages of contemporary neo- theorist's relationship to his subject-matter. As they choose litical (not merely disciplinary. sub. history. cannot follow that route. matches haben interpretiert neither in its Latinate philosophical weight nor in its those paid-out deposits exorbitantly maintained in a state of artificial exploita- signification of propriety and completion. " 22 In his trivializing critique of Althusser. it seems to open up at the same time an entirely new altern social practice. for he "situated" semiology. the West. instead. capable of absorbing and neutralizing any hot energy.. the conclusions to of subject-restoration as crucially strategic. they reveal the limits of the critique of humanism as produced in content of an after-the-fact description. even as the theorist realizes the crucial im. The latter expression those half-dead systems into which more energy is injected than is withdrawn. And of power in his studies of the history of mental illness. ern' modes of exercise of power seem limited and qualified by the per- tween history and philosophy. There the contrast is between the subalternity. repudiates formalization as thwarting for and writes: practice. It is a cold of prices) and zu veriindern (infinitive-always open to the future-of the German reservoir. as transformieren would have done. they would not miss this sympto- the essays become abrupt. but at the point where it's no longer in German-verwandeln. In his innovative essay of some empirical project. even as he deplores the lack of sufficient generalization that might have allowed subaltern practice to flourish (2. 23 Whatever position we take in the ancient quarrel be. but by the fact of their combination in a particular plines they must both remain heterogeneous to. then their project would be proper to itself in active lives are only disclosed by a deliberately fragmentary record produced recognizing that it can never be proper to "subaltern consciousness".interereti. state and formation. Help only. it is not the most common word for "change" at the point where one no longer says I. sometimes a series of postponements matic blank in contemporary Western anti-humanism. where the is commensurate with a phenomenon through the metaphor of the fair exchange "mass is only the mass because its social energy has already frozen..Ver-iinderung-of of any importance whether one says I or not.) It is not only "bad" theory but all theory that was obliged to cathect (occupy in response to a desire) the space of the Impe- is susceptible to this open-endedness. remain committed to the subaltern as the subject of his history. in a certain phase (3. I have written earlier that the force of crisis is not systematically emphasized methodical trackers of representation. not only does the dominance of the characteristically 'mod- philosophy-teaching. as subaltern practice norms official historiography in this case? ebration of the fragment. Partha Chatterjee quotes Foucault on the eighteenth century Das. who could seemingly speak for himself. Not only because of their devotion to semiotics.. refused to "represent" (as if such a refusal were possible). One striking example of this foreclosed desire is where on modes of power. after in the work of the group." the syntactical phrase that joins the of imperialism. it is incumbent upon us to realize that as disci. of his influential last period. instance. can be seen as marking a crisis within European consciousness. P. and privileged the oppressed subject. It is a curious fact of Michel Foucault's career that.

the prison. Marx owes to Hegel the decisive philosophical category of process. It is not therefore nec. the awareness has already acquired the fixity of a popular prejudice'" (2.. it would be interesting if. as well as a strategic asymmetry: "Yet speaking. and cedural techniques . beyond a ho- extraction of surplus-value without extra-economic coercion is its Marxist mogeneous internationalism. or rather the I have tried to indicate this by deconstructing the opposition between the col- invention. "it mobilization of insurgency. which so that the process of alienation may be a process without subject." suppositions. Sometimes it seems as if pology (an interesting disciplinary breakdown). and children. . the omission of the fact. similar in sentiment upon the very same passage in Foucault.210 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 211 months before I had read Chatterjee's essay. He owes him even through the influence of such thinkers as Foucault. the description) is secured by means of territorial imperialism-the Earth and very goal of "forget-[ting] his original [or 'rooted' -die ihm angestammte Sprache] its products-'elsewhere. European consciousness is much more strongly marked in my paragraph. As groups such as the Subaltern Studies collective attempt mechanism of power in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (the to open up the texts of Marx beyond his European provenance. Precisely. . second. models on the other. for within the mother-tongue of a history and a culture that had graduated to bour- example. present in the work of the entire group. the concept of the process without subject . The origin. My contention below is that the relationship Hegel's logic is of the affirmed-denied Origin: first form of a concept that between First World anti-humanist post-Marxism and the history of imperialism Derrida has introduced into philosophical reflection. absolutely incompatible by deconstructing the seeming continuity between them and their anti-humanist with the relations of sovereignty. part of the work of the group..." And Althusser. that the new geois individualism. Notice.' The representation of sovereignty is crucial in language while using the new one" must be reinscribed. He is taken in by the restricted version of the West produced the original mother-tongue of history. seem screen-allegories that foreclose a reading of the broader are sometimes called "moments of transgression. 27 is not merely a question of "enlarging the range of possibilities. for it has passed into his works." writes Guha in the eighties. lective and their object of investigation-the subaltern-on the one hand. in main- we propose. ment in Mexico. From this point of view. "to focus on this consciousness as taining that Guha' s pages make explicit an implicit set of assumptions about the our central theme. the erasure. 28 A repeated acknowl- those theatres: 'In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Thus the discourse of the unified consciousness of the subaltern must inhabit the strategy of these historians. The clinic. He within a workplace engaged in the ideological production of neo-colonialism owes him yet more. "Marx thought that the logic of capital could be best deciphered only in a society where 'the notion of human equality Although Foucault is a brilliant thinker of power-in-spacing. . The two following remarks by Ranajit Guha and Louis Althusser can then be seen as marking not a contradiction but the fracture The most extensive discussion of rumors. "'· As Chakrabarty has rightly stated. instead contained version of the West is symptomatically to ignore its production of finding their only internationalism in European history and African anthro- by the spacing-timing of the imperialist project. writing in 1967: up the contradiction inherent in their general practice. and. . the asylum. of course. the discussion of rumor. . of a new mechanism of power possessed of highly specific pro.. the You can only read against the grain if misfits in the text signal the way. which is also. however. I believe. in the insurgency merely as a history of events without a subject" (4. of contact. and Capital demonstrates it. that Feuerbach himself did not suspect. they were also to find their lines the very brilliance of Foucault' s analysis of the centuries of European im.263). must be denied from the start. considerations of the periphery-but in terms of the insane. of ideology is that a "popular prejudice" mistakes itself for "human nature. 26 body of my argument to a close by discussing two such moments in the work of this group. I think I am correct. because it is not possible to make sense of the experience of nature and role of subaltern means of communication. the place of woman in their argument. prisoners.") I should like to bring the narratives of imperialism. 29 non: management of space-but by doctors. indispensable to essarily a mark of extraordinary acumen that what I am calling the crisis in the teleological nature of the process .11). 'I am suggesting that to buy a self. production of an important phenomenon. I wrote a few sentences uncannily Undeniably. I take the liberty of quoting here. to be found in EAP. let us say. in the following passage.. which leans toward post- . I write." as Chatterjee soberly suggests above. . development of administra- tions-but in asylums. to the persistent recognition of heterogeneity. even as the discourse of the micrologized or "situated" subject must mark that of anti-humanists on the other side of the Rumor international division of labor. It also points is not possible. such as rumor. with the political economy of the independent peasant move- perialism produces a miniature version of that heterogeneous phenome. is not. (These university. strictly of a discontinuity of philosophic levels. The first lesson of the topographic reinscription of imperialism does not inform his pre. we have the edgment of the __complicity of the new and the "original" is now on the agenda. . Marxist historiography can be caught by that reinscription and thus helps to consolidate its effects. the emergence. First.

212 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 213

structuralism, and their espousal of the early semiological Barthes, Levi-Strauss, from their internal and external context and also from themselves, inas-
Greimas, and taxonomic Soviet structuralists such as Vygotsky, Lotman, and much as the very iterability which constituted their identity does not per-
Propp. mit them ever to be a unit of self-identity?31
Steven Ungar plots Barthes's trajectory from semiology through semioclasty
to semiotropy in Roland Barthes: the Professor of Desire. 30 Any use of the Barthes
of the first period would have to refute, however briefly, Barthes's own refu- For the burden of the extended consideration of how the exigencies of theory
tation and rejection of his early positions. forbid an ideological manipulation of naive psychologism and empiricism, we
One of the enterprises made problematic by the critique of the subject of should turn to Derrida's "Signature Event Context," from where the long pas-
knowledge identified with post-structuralist anti-humanism is the desire to pro- sage above is taken. Here suffice it to say that this line of thinking can be made
duce exhaustive taxonomies, "to assign names by a metalinguistic operation" consonant with the argument that the abstract determines the "concrete. " 32 That
(2.10). I have already discussed this issue lengthily in another part of my essay. argument is not about chronological but logical priority. And it is a pity that,
All of the figures listed above would be susceptible to this charge. Here I want thanks to Engels's noble efforts to make Marx accessible, "determination" in it
to point at their common phonocl;!ntrism, the conviction that speech is a direct is most often reduced to "causality." I cannot belabor this historical situation
and immediate representation of voice-consciousness and writing an indirect here. Suffice it further to say that by this line of argument it would not only
transcript of speech. Or, as Guha quotes Vygotsky, '"The speed of oral speech appear that to "describe speech as the immediate expression of the self" marks
is unfavourable to a complicated process of formulation-it does not leave time the site of a desire that is obliged to overlook the complexity of the production
for deliberation and choice. Dialogue implies immediate unpremeditated utter- of (a) sense(s) of self. One would, by this, also have to acknowledge that no
ance"' (EAP 261). speech, no "natural language" (an unwitting oxymoron), not even a "language"
By this reckoning the history of writing is coincident with the inauguration of gesture, can signify, indicate, or express without the mediation of a pre-
and development of exploitation. Now there is no reason to question this well- existing code. One would further begin to suspect that the most authoritative
documented story of what one might call writing in the "narrow" or "restricted" and potentially exploitative manifestations of writing in the narrow sense-the
sense. However, over against this restricted model of writing one must not set codes of law-operate on an implicit phonocentrism, the presupposition that
up a model of speech to which is assigned a total self-identity based on a psy- speech is the immediate expression of the self.
chological model so crude as to imply that the space of "premeditation" is con- I would submit that it is more appropriate to think of the power of rumor in
fined to the deliberative consciousness, and on empirical "evidence" so im- the subaltern context as deriving from its participation in the structure of ille-
pressionistic as "the speed of oral speech." gitimate writing rather than the authoritative writing of the law-itself sanc-
By contrast, post-structuralist theories of consciousness and language suggest tioned by the phonocentric model of the spirit of the law. "Writing, the outlaw,
that all possibility of expression, spoken or written, shares a common distancing the lost son. It must be recalled here that Plato always associates speech and
from a self so that meaning can arise-not only meaning for others but also the law, logos and nomos. Laws speak. In the personification of Crito, they speak to
meaning of the self to the self. I have advanced this idea in my discussion of Socrates directly." 33
"alienation." These theories suggest further that the "self" is itself always pro- Let us now consider EAP 259-64, where the analysis of rumor is performed.
duction rather than ground, an idea I have broached in my discussion of the (These pages are cited in 3.112, n. 157.) Let us also remember that the mind-
"subject-effect." If writing is seen in terms of its historical predication, the pro- set of the peasants is as much affected by the phonocentrism of a tradition where
duction of our sense of self as ground would seem to be structured like writing: sruti-that which is heard-has the greatest authority, as is the mind-set of the
historian by the phonocentrism of Western linguistics. Once again, it is a ques-
tion of complicity rather than the distance of knowledge.
The essential predicates in a minimal determination of the classical concept If, then, "rumor is spoken utterance par excellence" (EAP 256), it must be seen
of writing ... [are that] a written sign ... is a mark that remains that its "functional immediacy" is its non-belonging to any one voice-conscious-
[reste], ... [that] carries with it a force that breaks with its context, ... ness. This is supposed to be the signal characteristic of writing. Any reader can
[and that] this force of rupture is tied to the spacing ... which separates "fill" it with her "consciousness." Rumor evokes comradeship because it belongs
it from other elements of the internal contextual chain ... Are these three to every "reader" or "transmitter." No one is its origin or source. Thus rumor
predicates, together with the entire system they entail, limited, as is often is not error but primordially (originarily) errant, always in circulation with no
believed, strictly to 'written' communication in the narrow sense of the assignable source. This illegitimacy makes it accessible to insurgency. Its "ab-
word? Are they not to be found in all language, in spoken language for solute" (we would say "indefinite," since "fictive source[s] may be assigned to
instance, and ultimately in the totality of 'experience' insofar as it is in- it") "transitivity," collapsed at origin and end (a clear picture of writing) can be
separable from this field of the mark, which is to say, from the network described as the received model of speech in the narrow sense ("the collaterality
of effacement and of difference, of units of iterability, which are separable of word and deed issuing from a common will") only under the influence of

214 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 215

phonocentrism. In fact the author himself comes closer to the case about fifteen plinary-critical historian together, and only a reading against the grain discloses
pages later, when he notices the open verbality of rumor being restricted by the the espousal of illegitimacy by the first and the third? Or, to quote Terry
insurgents-who are also under the influence of phonocentrism-by an apoc- Eagleton:
alyptic horizon. Subaltern, elite authority, and critic of historiography become
complicit here. Yet the description of rumor in its "distinctive features [of] ...
anonymity and transitivity" (EAP 260) signal a contradiction that allows us to Marx is a metaphysician, and so is Schopenhauer, and so is Ronald Re-
read the text of Subaltern Studies against its grain. agan. Has anything been gained by this manoeuvre? If it is true, is it
The odd coupling of Soviet structuralism and French anti-humanism some- informative? What is ideologically at stake in such homogenizing? What
times produces a misleading effect. For example, the applicability to rumor of differences does it exist to suppress? Would it make Reagan feel uncom-
Barthes's suggestion that ascription of an author closes up writing, shdttld alert fortable or depressed? If what is in question for deconstructionism is me-
us to rumor's writing-like (scriptible) character rather than oblige us to displace taphysical discourse, and if this is all-pervasive, then there is a sense in
Barthes's remark to speech via Vygotsky. Dialogue, Vygotsky's example, is the which in reading against the grain we are subverting everything and
privileged example of the so-called communication of direct verbality, of two nothing. 35
immediately self-present sources or "authors." Dialogue is supposed to be "un-
premeditated" (although theories of subject-effect or the abstract determination
of the concrete would find this a dubious claim). Rumor is a relay of something Not all ways of understanding the world and acting upon it are equally me-
always assumed to be pre-existent. In fact the mistake of the colonial authorities taphysical or phonocentric. If, on the other hand, there is something shared by
was to take rumor for speech, to impose the requirements of speech in the elite (Reagan), colonial authority, subaltern and mediator (Eagleton/Subaltern
narrow sense upon something that draws its strength from participation in writ- Studies) that we would rather not acknowledge, any elegant solution devised
ing in the general sense. by means of such a refusal would merely mark a site of desire. It is best to
The Subaltern Studies group has here led us to a theme of great richness. The attempt to forge a practice that can bear the weight of that acknowledgment.
cross-hatching of the revolutionary non-possessive possibilities in the structure And, using the buried operation of the structure of writing as a lever, the stra-
of writing in general and its control by subaltern phonocentrism gives us access tegic reader can reveal the asymmetry between the three groups above. Yet,
to the micrology or minute-scale functioning of the subaltern's philosophical since a "reading against the grain" must forever remain strategic, it can never
world. The matter of the "blank paper falling from heaven" or the use of ap- claim to have established the authoritative truth of a text, it must forever remain
parently "random" material "to ... convey ... the Thakur's own command dependent upon practical exigencies, never legitimately lead to a theoretical
in writing" (EAP 248-9), for instance, can provide us a most complex text for orthodoxy. In the case of the Subaltern Studies group, it would get the group
the use of the structure of writing in the fable of "insurgent consciousness." off the dangerous hook of claiming to establish the truth-knowledge of the sub-
The matter of the role of "the reading aloud of newspapers" in the construction altern and his consciousness.
of Gandhi as a signifier is perhaps too quickly put to rest as a reliance on "spoken
language," when, through such an act, "a story acquires its authentication from
its motif and the name of its place of origin rather than the authority of the Woman
correspondent" (3.48-9). I have dwelt on this point so long that it might now
suffice to say no more than that the newspaper is exploitative writing in the The group is scrupulous in its consideration towards women. They record
narrow sense, "spoken language" is a phonocentric concept where authority is moments when men and women are joined in struggle (1.178, EAP 130), when
supposed to spring directly from the voice-consciousness of the self-present their conditions of work or education suffer from gender or class discrimination
speaker, and the reading out of someone else's text as "an actor does on the (2.71, 2.241, 243, 257, 275). But I think they overlook how important the concept-
stage" is a setting-in-motion of writing in the general sense. To find corrobor- metaphor woman is to the functioning of their discourse. This consideration will
ation of this, one can see the contrast made between speaker and rhetor in the bring to an end the body of my argument.
Western tradition from the Platonic Socrates through Hobbes and Rousseau to In a certain reading, the figure of woman is pervasively instrumental in the
J. L. Austin. 34 When newspapers start reporting rumors (3.88), the range of shifting of the function of discursive systems, as in insurgent mobilization. Ques-
speculative possibilities becomes even more seductive. The investigator seems tions of the mechanics of this instrumentality are seldom raised by our group.
herself beckoned by the circuit of "absolute transitivity." "Femininity" is as important a discursive field for the predominantly male in-
Without yielding to that seduction, the following question can be asked: what surgents as "religion." When cow-protection becomes a volatile signified in the
is the use of noticing this misfit between the suggested structure of writing-in- re-inscription of the social position of various kinds of subaltern, semi-subaltern,
general and the declared interest in phonocentrism? What is the use of pointing and indigenous elite groups, the cow is turned into a female figure of one kind
out that a common phonocentrism binds subaltern, elite authority, and disci- or another. Considering that in the British nineteenth century the female access

216 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 217

to "possessive individualism" is one of the most important social forces, what It was not uncommon for a 'superior' Patidar to spend his dowry money
does it mean to imply that "femininity" has the same discursive sense and force and return his wife to her father so that he could marry for a new dowry.
for all the heterogeneous groups meticulously documented by Pandey? Anal- Amongst Patidars, it was considered very shameful to have to take back
ogous research into the figure of the "worker" is performed by Chakrabarty. a daughter [!] . . . Cols were formed to prevent ruinous hypergamous
No such luck for the "female." marriages with 'superior' Patidar lineages .... Here, therefore, we dis-
On the most "ancient and indigenous" religious level, a level that "perhaps cover a strong form of subaltern organization within the Patidar caste
gave [the rebellious hillmen] an extra potency [sic] in times of collective distress which provided a check on the power of the Patidar elite .... Even Ma-
and outside oppression" (1.98), all the deities are man-eating goddesses. As this hatma Gandhi was unable to break the solidarity of the Patidar gol of
pre-insurgent level of collectivity begins to graduate into revolt, the sacrifices twenty-one villages.
continue to be made to goddesses rather than gods. And, even as this 4evel pf
subaltern-led revolt is contrasted to the "elite struggles of the earlier period"
(1.124), we notice that in that earlier period the struggles began on two occasions I do not see how the crucial instrumentality of woman as symbolic object of
because men would not accept female leadership: exchange can be overlooked here. Yet the conclusion is: "the solidarity of the
Cols was a form of class solidarity" (1.202, 203, 207). As in the case of the in-
surgent under colonial power, the condition of the woman gets "bettered" as
With the deposition in 1836 of Ananta Bhupati, the 17th Zamindar of Gol- a by-product, but what's the difference? Male subaltern and historian are here
gonda, the Collector of Vishakhapatnam installed Jamma Devamma, united in the common assumption that the procreative sex is a species apart,
widow of the 15th Zamindar, in his place. This was an affront to the mut- scarcely if at all to be considered a part of civil society.
tadars and mokhasadars of Gudem who were not consulted ... and who These are not unimportant questions in the context of contemporary India.
protested that they had never before been ruled by a woman. . . . In Just as the ulgulan of 1899-1901 dehegemonized millennarian Christianity in the
Rampa, the death of the Mansabdar Ram Bhupati Dev in March 1835 was Indian context, so also did the Adivasis seem to have tapped the emergent
followed by a revolt of muttadars against the daughter who had been ap- possibilities of a goddess-centered religion in the Devi movement of 1922-3, a
pointed as the successor (1.102). movement that actively contested the re-inscription of land into private prop-
erty. 36 In the current Indian context, neither religion nor femininity shows emer-
gent potential of this kind.
In terms of social semiosis, what is the difference between man-eating god- I have left till last the two broad areas where the instrumentality of woman
desses, objects of reverence and generators of solidarity on the one hand, and seems most striking: notions of territoriality and of the communal mode of
secular daughters and widows, unacceptable as leaders, on the other? On the power.
occasion of the "culture of sugarcane" in Eastern UP, Shahid Amin speaks of
the deliberate non-coincidence created between natural inscription (script as
used when referring to a play) of the harvest calendar and the artificial inscription Concept-metaphors of Territoriality and of Woman
of the circuit of colonial monopoly capital. It is of course of great interest to
wonder in what ways the composition of the peasantry and landownership The concept of territoriality is implicit in most of the essays of the three vol-
would have developed had the two been allowed to coincide. Yet I think it umes of Subaltern Studies. Here again the explicit theoretical statement is to be
should also be noticed that it is dowry that is the invariably mentioned social found in EAP. Territoriality is the combined "pull of the primordial ties of kin-
demand that allowed the demands of nature to devastate the peasant via the ship, community" which is part "of the actual mechanics of ... autonomous
demands of empire. Should one trouble about the constitution of the subaltern mobilization" (EAP 118). On the simplest possible level, it is evident that notions
as (sexed) subject when the exploitation of sexual difference seems to have so of kinship are anchored and consolidated by the exchange of women. This con-
crucial a role on so many fronts? Should one notice that the proverb on 1.53 is solidation, according to Guha, cuts across the religious division of Hindu and
sung by a young daughter who will deny her lover's demands in order to pre- Muslim. "In Tamil Nadu ... with all four [subdivisions of the Muslim com-
serve her father's fields? Should one notice this metaphoric division of sexuality munity] endogamy helps to reinforce their separate identities in both kinship
(in the woman's case, sex is of course identical with selfhood or consciousness) and territorial terms" (EAP 299). In "Allahabad ... the Mewati ... effect[ed]
as property to be passed on or not from father to lover? Indeed, in a collective a massive mobilization of their close knit exogamous villages" (EAP 316). In all
where so much attention is rightly paid to the subjectivity or subject-positioning these examples woman is the neglected syntagm of the semiosis of subalternity
of the subaltern, it should be surprising to encounter such indifference to the of insurgency.
subjectivity, not to mention the indispensable presence, of the woman as crucial Throughout these pages it has been my purpose to show the complicity be-
instrument. These four sentences should illustrate my argument: tween subject and object of investigation-the Subaltern Studies group and sub-

If the narrative of "the institutionalization of com- new ideas about development which often question preexisting notions of munal authority" (2. it is well known that. This belief in a shared ancestry made the villag~." crucial. gained preponderance.339). bears some. That story is the underside of the taxonomy of power that Chatterjee tation of primary resources and labor to one in which manufactures have unfolds. once again. fast-paced fable of the progress of modes of power.323) is read with this in mind. not to ignore. And. based largely on kin and clan. however. it seems that we may that a feminist historian of the subaltern must raise the question of woman as not stop to investigate the subject-deprivation of the female in the operation of a structural rather than marginal issue in each of the many different types and this mobilization and this solidarity. but does not The Communal Mode of Power and the Concept of Woman pause to reflect upon. What role does the figure of woman play here? In the dispersal of the field of The mode of integration of underdeveloped countries into the interna. power. is a red herring. The clash between kinship and politics is one of Chatterjee's main points. the export-processing account would notice the specifically patriarchal structures producing the dis- zone provides a series of incentives and loosened restrictions for multi. structure of communal authority must be located primarily in ideology. the sexual division of labor is progressively defined from above as power- tional economy has shifted from a base relying exclusively on the exploi. as in the case of the brutal marriage customs of the Patidars.323). thing like a relationship with the peasants' general attempt to undo the dis- tinction between consanguinity and eo-residence. and spatial accounts shared by subaltern and historian alike. without proper identity. claimed descent from a common pa." Today. Here the importance of com- the same clan or gotra. no one is a permanent repository eign investment in export oriented manufacturing. who operated this consanguinal or mythic element among the many that drive this "social organization of production" patrilineage." "It is the community national corporations by developing countries in their effort to attract for. communitas" (2. it is the urban sub-proletarian female who is the paradig. of one kind of a king may have supplemented a built-in gap in the ideology of matic subject of the current configuration of the International Division of Labor. matic and micrologically prior defining importance of sexual difference in the Although it was unemphatically and trivially accepted by everyone that it was deployment of such power is foreclosed so that sexuality is seen only as one the woman. Chatterjee quotes Victor Turner. concepts of apparent gender-neutralizing of the world finally explained through reason. whose instrumentality is so often seen to be Peasantry. consanguinal or mythical. the question of subaltern consciousness as such must If in the explanation of territoriality I notice a tension between consanguinal be judged a red herring as well. This is a version of the same battle-the of "nation. the group should fairly be asked to perform. do- nationhood are themselves becoming problematic in specific ways: mestic society sublated and subsumed in the civil. sharing. The making-visible of the figure of woman is perhaps not a task that primordial ties were the principal means of rebel mobilization. This is par- of resistance against territorial imperialism in India. It seems to this reader. 38 community-as-a-whole: "a new kind of chief whom Tacitus calls 'king' (rex) who As we investigate the pattern of resistance among these "permanent casual" -s. In this reasons of collusion between pre-existing structures of patriarchy and trans. Here.322). are shown to embrace itself positively by acting as a solidarity unit and negatively by operating an far-flung parts of the pre-capitalist world. cursive field of the unity of the "community as a whole. after the computerization of global economics. if the question cultures that Chatterjee invokes in "More on Modes of Power and the of female subaltern consciousness. the crucial syntag- elaborate code of discrimination against aliens" (EAP 314. the historians' tendency.. More than a uni. the taxonomy of modes of national sovereignty. throughout northern and central India in 1857" (EAP 315)." Our formly defined or geographically delimited concept. for ticularly provocative in the case of the dehegemonization of monarchy. 37 power can be made to interact with the history of sexuality. who suggests that the resurgence of com- munal modes of power often generates ways to fight feudal structures: "resis- If the peasant insurgent was the victim and the unsung hero of the first wave tance or revolt often takes on the form of . importance. the historian mentions. barring females acquired by marriage. What was needed for this resistance was a concept kinship and "political" perceptions. but to re-name the questions of the subject-constitution of the subaltern female gain a certain semiosis of sexual difference "class" or "caste-solidarity" (EAP 316). mauza by mauza. The figure of the exchanged . This movement has paralleled the proliferation of Thus there might be other ways of accounting for the suggestion that "the export-processing zones (EPZs) throughout the world.. It seems clear to me that. it can be seen that the idea national capitalism. italics mine). assert munal power structures. was elected from within a 'royal clan"' (2. as a whole which is the source of all authority. and although. it is an important sustaining trilineage. Although Partha Chatterjee' s concept of the communal mode of power is not ulation. This has given rise to of delegated powers" (2. the significance of the simple exclusion of the subaltern as female (sexed) subject: "In each of these [rebel villages] nearly all the pop. in the case of "the "Territoriality acted to no small extent in putting the brakes on resistance communal mode of power" we are shown a clash between explanations from against the Raj" (EAP 331). Here too. in the historian's estimation. and regarded themselves as members of argument for the enterprise of Subaltern Studies.341).218 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography 219 alternity. as pervasively implicit in all the work of the group. "these village-based (2.

as such. while the man takes. The latter are signs and pro- ducers of signs. and thus simulates and assures for herself possessive mastery. gives-herself-as.. takes possession. slightly the identity of the phenomenon considered in the two cases . . second. Situated within the current regulations and kinship systems as a kind of language. My role in this essay. taking. which are circulated between individuals. perhaps the distance travelled between high structuralism and current anti-humanism can best be measured by two cele. gift and exchange. servitude. academic theatre of cultural imperialism. mastery.. does not halt at the closure of an essay. does not at all change What of the post-structuralist suggestion that all work is parasitical. as subject of investigation. First the Olympian dismissal. As a sexual operation pro- . which elite theoretical ateliers in France. has been entirely parasitical. by the law already for- malized. seems even less surprising (3. the recognition of a limit: The significations or conceptual values which apparently form the stakes or means of all Nietzschean analyses on sexual difference. In I quote these passages. are all on the vector of what might be called the process of propriation (appropriation. But I need not add that. in place of the words of Nothing can function without us. moving from clan to clan. the group. . with a certain carte d' entree into the sage' ('message'] should be constituted by the women of the group. 39 And. of course. is produced on (I intend the copulative metaphor-philosoph. because undecidable. it appears.. since my only object has been the Subaltern Studies These results can be achieved only on one condition: considering marriage themselves. than the question of the veil of truth or the meaning of Being. Envoi brated passages by two famous men. This to the side of that which one wishes adequately to cover. nality of subaltern consciousness itself. they cannot be reduced to the status of symbols 1985 or tokens. Through numerous analyses. question of being and the ontological statement would relate to the phenome- ically and sexually) the dissimulation of her discontinuity." And thus. in the latter case. when the insurgent community invokes monarch against [what is it]. Yet I am part of their object as well. on the repeated emp. or families. including. the explanation that they are re-cathecting or re-filling the king All the more-and this argument is neither secondary nor supplemen- with the old patriarchal ideology of consanguinity. because women are there treated as objects. and separated by twenty this particular area..220 In Other Worlds Subaltern Studies: Deconstructlng Hlstoriography 221 woman still produces the cohesive unity of a "clan. 40 territoriality and the communal mode of power. feminist' book by some. giving herself. etc. while women do. that critic (historian) ambiguity [between values and signs] is clearly manifested in the critique and text (subaltern) are always "beside themselves"? The chain of complicity sometimes addressed to the Elementary Structures 1)/ Kinship as an 'anti. the historian alike. yet the part is at least historically ironic.344). My point is. for subaltern artd years. cess of language and symbolic exchange in general. feudal authority. I have repeatedly emphasized the complicity between subject and object of investigation. never far from the metaphor tary-because the process of propriation organizes the totality of the pro- of the King as Father. the figure of the woman. ignoring the role of representation in subject-constitution: In these pages. possesses. . I bring news of power-lines within the palace. expropriation.. by Levi-Strauss and Derrida. and family to family as daughter/sister and wife/mother. and sometimes by con- trast the woman by giving herself. on the 'un- ceasing war between the sexes'. [But] words do not speak.. syn- taxes patriarchal continuity even as she is herself drained of proper identity. as a sign of the times. the continuity of community or history. on the 'mortal hatred of the sexes' and 'love'. eroticism. That the 'mes." even as what emerges is priation is more powerful. therefore. that through all of these heterogeneous examples of all ontological statements [enonces]. that sometimes the woman is woman by giving. than the question ti esti a "king.. . tying of her meaning as instrument. that I cannot follow here. taking pos- session. lineages.). etc. are circulated between class. . If I seem to be intransigent here.

when he her body was heavy with rice. culture-poor in-laws. those pilgrims at the Lionseated goddess's temple who are proud that they are Never did Aunt say here's a sweet dear. At such a moment the Haldar She never had the time to calculate if she could or could not bear motherhood. You won't he'd be fucked if the cook gave him away. since his father had created him in the deepest night by the astrologtcal But the doctors could not bring the feet back. not themselves "fake Brahmins by sleight of hand. Haldar's new son-in-law's Studebaker and the he saw that his Studebaker was not much damaged and. Kangalicharan stirs the seething vat of milk in the sweet shop and cooks and feeds "food cooked by a good Brahmin" to My aunties they lived in the woods. It was difficult for h1s the son of a bitch done. in the afternoon sun. saying. What he had seeing the samosas and sweets flung on the roadway was about to say. afternoon and kept him at slave labor like the khalifa of Bagdad. the ama~eur guides the pilgrims to the Mother goddess of Shakti-power. Kangalicharan was returning home with a handful of stolen samosas and sweets under his dhoti. complete with Studebaker. He could erhood did not become Jashoda's profession for these afternoon-whims. Jashoda was a mother by profession. When he puts food in his belly in the afternoon he feels a filial inclination toward Jashoda. Nabin was third in rank among the for the upstart amateur. his temper is hot beggar-pickpocket-hooker has no place. the mother of twenty children. "Do that sir. son. and put a pinch of dust from his chapped went quickly to sleep. The Haldar chief started thrashing his son. "Yah. In this city." Thus did the then Kangali was a mere lad. do what you like. of Kangali. Anot~e. feeding her well led to pleasure in the afternoon. when Kangali's thought that marrying a fresh young thing. Kangali and Jashoda came to his house on feast days her body had attracted the boy. Brahmin." The cook-saying. and shins. lay back. sweetie. "You'll kill a Brahmin. professional mother. "Eh done so far on that account did not oblige Jashoda to choose motherhood as a Brahmin!! Stealing food?" Now he held his tongue and said. he could not rest unless he had voice as fine as the finest muslin. to prove that he was sudden desire of the youngest son of the Haldar-house to be a driver. leaving the owner of the shop. Haldarbabu had a pair of crutches made. here's a piece of cake. suffer as long as I'm around. don't tell. The very day Kangali returned teenth century as you enter the gates of this house. She was sufficiently proud that feet on his own tongue.r afternoo~ most unhappy at the thought and he started weeping as he said. "What has he lifted the radio set from his father's room and sold It. Haldar's incubus of Bagdad get off the boy's shoulders and he wept repentant tears. swerving by Kangalicharan. Jashoda doesn't remember at all when there was no large round breasts. and got the cook kicke~ out. Even the mongrel on the path or side. He and Jashoda eat rice. Breast-Giver One afternoon. only claim thirteen percent of the goddess's food and so had an inferiority corn- . smce hospital. he would not be able to taste their dust. ran over his feet Motherhood was always her way of living and keeping alive her world of count. In fact you enter the six. She never told anything. stolen fishheads. Jashoda had taken motherhood as her profession." Daily he lifts a bit of flour and such and makes life easier. you bastard. These sudden whims reared up in the loneliness of the him to the hospital?"-Kangali's boss was also in the crowd at the temple and. Kangali returned as a lame calendar and the tradition of the Haldars of Harisal. the pilgrim-guide. youngest son-in-law and the Haldar-chief took Kangalicharan quickly to the One afternoon the boy. But the thief thinks of the loot. "Auntie. Now he said to Kangali-"Kangali! don't worry son. . not working her overmuch. slipped it into the cook's being turned to ground meat." He said to the doctor at the hospital. Their three offspring return before dark Translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and eat stale samosas and sweets. when she didn't feel faint in the morning. house every day. He The world belongs to the professional. and turnip greens. was not an amateur mama like the daughters and wives of the master's house. all the Haldars who were at home came walk. Thus he by Mahasweta Devi returns daily." screamed Nabin. "otherwise I'd have drawn blood. he learned that food had come to Jashoda from the Haldar wife by the astrological almanac. He was pillowcase. When better human material than the money-rich. During the Second War. Therefore on another afternoon. eat. But these matters are mere blind alleys." Now it was that he thqught that Kangali's feet. driven by the Bagdad djinn. in the forest their home they did make. living or dead. To this day you take your home on crutches. It was an accident in front of the house after all. Reverence for Brahmins crawled in Mr. The master felt deeply grieved. driven by lust. "Shall we let the man die? Shouldn't we take satisfied it instantly. young enough to be his son. The boy got and Jashoda was sent a gift of cloth and vermillion when his daughters-in-law worried at the improper supply of fish and fries in his dish. attacked the cook and the cook. he said in a the boy suddenly got a whim in mind or body. veins. and he goes to sleep after handling Jashoda doesn't remember if her aunt was kind or unkind." behavior. "Do what you parents to find the connection between the hour of the afternoon and the b~y's can! Don't worry about cash. Jashoda Instantly a crowd gathered. It is as if she were her capacious bosom. If he couldn't get chatterjeebabu in the morning he would touch the feet mumbling. raised a hue and cry. Moth. roaring. this kingdom." The profession. He considered that were pregnant. and her body helped the anti-Fascist struggle of the Allies by buying and selling scrap iron- languid with sloth. and body didn't drill her body like a geologist in a darkness lit only by an oil-lamp. "What's there to tell?". Hearing him roar. out. he stole his mother's ring. Kangalicharan was think- Kangalicharan' s wife from birth. He was picturing himself as a farsighted son of man as he child in her womb. ing of his imminent pleasure and tasting paradise at the thought of his wife's counted on her fingers. the greedy crow at the garbage don't make. Coming home in the afternoon. less beings. Breast-Giver 223 13. you unthinking bull?" The youngest son-in-law breathed relief as The responsibility was Mr.

"Two maid servants from the big house slept here every day If there's a sacred thread around his neck you have to give him respect even to guard me. languages. ''Yes Kangali! I've kept you a spot. For Jashoda had fasted at the mother's temple. My- consciousness immersed in local spirits. dear!" 2. does not itch with the rash of kindness. later you'll get devoted to Gopal. Shake- He came home and told Jashoda. whose unnat- people are struck that such a man is filling with the milk of humankindness ur~l renunciation an~ forgiveness have been kept alive in the popular con- toward the West Bengali Kangalicharan. he says to his employees. He is a successful son of at for trying to put his head in Jashoda's chest in the way of Gopal. Those wishes of the Lionseated ago. a few ~ay~. Now there's a wedding in the house." go. It is very natural for chil- thi-Muslim. if his nephews or grandsons read the plex. why togged as a midwife? I say. the heavy-breasted. Jashore? Harisal is made of the bone of the martyr god. The creeps of the world understand by seeing such women that the old Indian tradition is still flowing free-they understand that it was with * Underclass Bengali pronunciation for "crutches. "Remember Kalidasa's pome? You eat because speare's welkin breaks on Kangali and Jashoda's head. and flies were fat-in the bloody West everything is pinched-skinny. At the sight of an unfortunate Bihari child or a starvation-ridden dren to cry so for grub." The Boss is then grabbed Kangali's suspicious head between the two hemispheres of the delighted. " Nabin scolds. Master says he'll put up a shop after his son's wedding." Kangali was most overwhelmed by this. wouldn't have got if there was? That's my lot. Kangali? The bastard unbelievers say. There's no problem stir the vat with my kerutches. I can't m~e a ra?<et with Sh~ti-power. whenever Nabin tries to think of the Lionseated. Thus all around blow the sweet winds of sympathy-compassion-kindness. there isn't. ''What? When I wasn't there. When he sees a West Bengali fly he says. get a Gopal in your dream. kingdoms. the India that makes peared ~to the blue like the burning promises given by a political party before no distinctions among people. Haldarbabu's mentality was constructed then. A rieties of Kayasthas and so on. and preserves forget-me-not in your ear when you take a piss. The Lionseated is across the way! Pilgrims come and Start for money. and Radharani Therefore he doesn't trust anyc. Find me a job. As long as there's no shop. when he's taking a shit." In fact Kangali heard of his wife's flaming devotion at the big house as w~ll. Bind the root of a white a dream. In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 225 224 talk. He laughs loudly and says. Inspired by seeing Rama-Krishna in the movies a couple of times. Nepal. so much kindness said. Would this have happened if I had legs? All is Mother's will." as midwife. I tell you.. You announce that you Haldarbabu said." "Ah get lost. One day he tells Kangali. will emerge that the Vedas and the Upanishads were also written in Harisal. "Non- the goddess "my crazy one" and by th~ book of the Kali-worshippers kept his sense! why do they make 'em read the lives of characters from Dhaka. "See. Put up a shop of dry sweets." [GCS] ." Nabin doesn't agree. brother! Should one joke with gods?" bastard seventh son's wedding. "There's no East or West for a Brahmin. Ever since Kangalicharan's loss of feet they'd eaten the Oriya beggar his flab-protected heart. the Mother gives says to him. I'll send you food. I am not begging. Everyone is properly amazed that in this fallen age the wishes and wills of the Lionseated. varieties of Brahmins. Gopal. you'll see there is divine purpose behind this. Kangali Now his employees tell him." Aunt brought a stony Gopal from Purl. You'll see there'll be a to-do in no time. "Tchah! at home even the So~. Kangali's mind took wing like a rainbug in the rainy season. Haldarbabu's change of that were manifesting themselves around Kangali via-media Haldarbabu disap- heart is also Mother's will. unreasoning. globe and said. are circulating around Kangalicharan Patitundo. At home. just as sh~ appeared in Jashoda's as a midwife. A slow rise spreads the Lionseated came to her in a dream as a midwife carrying a bag and said. "Shame. va- the elections. It's my Kangali says. he called lives of the nation's leaders in their schoolbook. Kangali also longs for food and is shouted brand vest. She said I have a share in Kangali's house. For some time this news is the general soousness by ~ll Indian women from Sati-Savitri-Sita through Nirupa Roy and Chand Osmaru. dreams and the pair falls in deep trouble. whose unreasonable. But I've thought of a plan. He said to Kangali. "Sir! How shall I work at the sweetshop any longer. m his body at the thought that perhaps she is appearing in his dream as Jashoda "Don't worry. Until then he'll send us food. He lives in independent India. the corner of my porch. and had travelled to the outskirts to pray at the feet of the local guru. "Male and female both get this disease. you were getting it off with Nabin?" Jashoda for a West Bengali. I'll make you a shop in got it in a dream. The fifty percent pilgrim-guide Haldarbabu said. herself found by a dream-command a hundred and fifty years Haldarbabu truly left Kangali in the lurch.. Haldarbabu is such a patriot that. For Haldarbabu suddenly dies of heart failure. well to listen to Nabin. an? beca~e ~agically invisible like the heroine of a a Panjabi-Oriya-Bihari-Gujarati-Mara- whine interminably for food and abuse their mother. Jas~oda is fully an Indian woman. money will roll in. when European Witch s bodkin pncks the colored balloon of Kangali and Jashoda's Divide and Rule was the policy. Finally ~n~d-hipped body of Jashoda floats in his mind's eye. One day it the crazy one's feet in your name. Your man will return. "You have had a change of heart." All the temple unmtelligent devotion to her husband and love for her children. But he made his cash in the British era. "As the Mother's son I won't Then Kangali said." he will get out of the hospital by that fact. had gone through a female ritual. Would I look at Nabin? Am I not your faithful wife?" . I give it to you." Speaking of this to Jashoda. the Divine Harisal. You are feeding so many people With making a Hare Krishna racket. My in so many ways. she creates as mother. chuck. located under a forty-two inch Gopal fancy food of the Haldar household.* You are god. "I put flowers on m~nsmgh. Later it appears that Kangali would have done Hearing this.

but and Sarala the midwife never leave the house.226 In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 227 such women in mind that the following aphorisms have been composed-"a They too breed every year and a half. the way to save you pain.m. I beg you." Now she sees that the best butter. at the same time. Girding herself with those assurances. was particularly uxorious. or harass . this milk in their nipples!" peacefully after a glass of wood-apple juice. The reader's patience. So far six sons have married. We have no idea of the loss we are sustaining because we do not stress This produced a lot of talk among the women at night and the menfolk got the wood-apple-type-herbal remedies correspondingly. Still it was like a flood of milk.* "Uh. that is an act over to the big house. Because because of her son's afternoon whims. with love or lack of love. Sages did not write of this motherly stayed in the house until nine p. tered" -"the woman will burn. quilt-feeding spoon-bottle-oilcloth-Johnson's baby powder-bathing basin. They explained female and male as Nature and again. and suckled the Mistress's grandson again feeling of Jashoda's for her husband. entered this peninsula from another land. X he understood this the heroines of Saratchandra always fed the hero an extra "The good lord sent you down as the legendary Cow of Fulfillment. after all. Indian cubs. they will suckle their children. I don't think for myself. over the old ones and look at women that way are. give me any kind of job. There is too much influence of fun Jashoda says. Since they will be mothers as long as it's possible-pro- *Hindu widows become vegetarians in West Bengal as a sign of lifelong mourning. Since the almanac approves of the keep your body. "How? I'll be out of pain when you burn me. The lady doctor and spoke in heavy whispers. he won't touch a bottle. it come from. Perhaps you'll let me cook in your Even those who deny this and wish to slap current posters to the effect of the household?" "eternal she" -"Mona Lisa" -"La passionaria" -"Simone de Beauvoir. "You come like a god! Give her some milk. it's incorrect to cultivate the habit of repeated incursions into bye. As if relieved to see I praise on high. But the lawyer let her know that and beauty. The wife is often pregnant. hearing from his wife about the Master had left her the proprietorship of this house and the right to the rice Jashoda's surplus milk. it will. She had really felt the loss of fish and fish-head. But thinking of my husband and of holy childhood. but he cannot fathom it. the second son said all of a sudden. The Mistress has six daughters." Frankly. haven't a quarter of writers' writings is actually very complex and to be thought of in the evening. But Mother! Your Brahmin-son does not that all women turn into mothers here and all men remain immersed in the spint have his two feet. Each man the Holy Child and each woman the Divine Mother. The husband entered his Mother's room in the morning the ground floor of the Mistress's house are hardly ever empty. At the Mistress's special request Jashoda helpless children with a fulsome harvest. But today. dear. The Cook filled a big bowl with rice and curry for her own household. He thinks a lot about how to combine multiple pregnancies The Mistress really grieved for the Master. Pull the · mouthful of rice. A six-months' babe in her lap. The apparent simplicity of Saratchandra's and other similar teat and milk flows! The ones I've brought to my house." taking of a wife almost every month of the year. Where does ''vv'/ in West Bengal and therefore they should stress the wood-apple correspond. The process is most complicated. Her mother-love wells up for Kangali as much as for His mother's sick-such a brat. "Mother! The Master said many things. This and games in the lives of the people who traffic in studies and intellectualism one hadn't come to my belly yet. whose wife was sick and whose son However. "It will. The real thing is that Jashoda gave a good day. She does not accept fully that Kangali lost his feet It is notable that the educated Babus desire all this from women outside the home." Jashoda immediately the children. Mother? I have no good food. Her aim was to speak to the Mistress and ask for the of God. [GCS] gressive suckling will ruin their shape. Daughters-in-law will be mothers." et cet. But the second son is also interested in that the wife remains beautiful cook's job in the vegetarian kitchen. When they cross the threshold they want the Divine Mother in the words and conduct of the revolutionary ladies. with irritation or thinking of the was in a deft stick." The Mistress is not as sold on era. her ashes will fly I Only then will we sing her The Mistress was out of her mind trying to feed the boy. Brahmins as the Master was. The Mistress lights up her easychair. Such is the power of the Incijan soil He is gone. Of course they ate their fill during the Master's funeral days. So there is a constant epidemic of blanket- female's life hangs on like a turtle's" -"her heart breaks but no word is ut. will not widen by the decade. accounts at the works. She wants to become the earth and feed her crippled husband and suckled the boy and pacified him. drank Jashoda's milk. I've got a divine engine in my hands! You'll breed yearly and her grandson. sons I say. and the best variety of bananas can also keep the body going mend?" somehow. The difference between him lanes as we tell Jashoda's life story. The second son. Then if the sons look outside. "Let me see dear! Let me think and see. but behind it lies deep love. "Way found. the birth rooms in a row on The couple discussed. unlike the cracks in and his brothers was that the brothers created progeny as soon as the almanac Calcutta streets. It was written for Kangali as well. At first the Mistress hemmed and hawed. the present misfortune. Jashoda never once wants to blame her husband for Jashoda she said. other- wise why was he walking down the road in the blazing sun grinning from ear to ear? She looks in charmed envy at Jashoda's mammal projections and says. no pampering!" ingly. and the Human Principle. the best milk sweets from the best shops. The second son impregnates his wife at the same fre- but after everything was over Jashoda clasped Radharani to her bosom and went quency. to hear it too at night. so I don't think of them. But this they did in the days of yore-when they Jashoda said as she suckled the boy. then she thought to herself and realized that the proposal was worth a million rupees." warehouse. "How true Mother! Gopal was weaned when he was three. Can a year-breeder's health heavy cream. she has once again taken the "Way to what?" rudder of the family empire. When they are mothers.

228 In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 229
the maidservants, she won't have a voice to object. Going out because they c~ lentil soup, and pickled fish, and by constantly feeding Nabin a head-curry with
get it at home-this is just. If Jashoda becomes the infants' suckling-mother, j the head of the goat dedicated to the Lionseated he tamed that ferocious can-
her daily meals, clothes on feast days, and some monthly pay will be enoug~ nabis-artist and drunkard. As a result Nabin inserted Kangali into the temple
The Mistress is constantly occupied with women's rituals. There Jashoda can of Shiva the King. Jashoda, eating well-prepared rice and curry every day, be-
act as the fruitful Brahmin wife. Since Jashoda's misfortune is due to her son, came as inflated as the bank account of a Public Works Department officer. In
that sin too will be lightened. addition, Mistress-Mother gave her milk gratis. When}ashoda became pregnant,
Jashoda received a portfolio when she heard her proposal. She thought of her she would send her preserves, conserves, hot and sweet balls.
breasts as most precious objects. At night when Kangalicharan started to give
Thus even the skeptics were persuaded that the Lionseated had appeared to
her a feel she said, "Look. I'm going to pull our weight with these. Take good
Jashoda as a midwife for this very reason. Otherwise who has ever heard or
care how you use them." Kangalicharan hemmed and hawed that night, of
seen such things as constant pregnancies, giving birth, giving milk like a cow,
course, but his Gopal frame of mind disappeared instantly when he saw the
without a thought, to others' children? Nabin too lost his bad thoughts. De-
amount of grains-oil-vegetables coming from the big house. He was illu-
votional feelings came to him by themselves. Whenever he saw Jashoda he called
minated by the spirit of Brahma the Creator and explained to Jashoda, "You'll
out "Mother! Mother! Dear Mother!" Faith in the greatness of the Lionseated
have milk in your breasts only if you have a child in your belly. Now you:ll
have to think of that and suffer. You are a faithful wife, a goddess. You wtll was rekindled in the area and in the air of the neighborhood blew the electrifying
influence of goddess-glory.
yourself be pregnant, be filled with a child, rear it at your breast, isn't this why
Mother came to you as a midwife?" Everyone's devotion to Jashoda became so strong that at weddings, showers,
Jashoda realized the justice of these words and said, with tears in her eyes, namings, and sacred-threadings they invited her and gave her the position of
"You are husband, you are guru. If I forget and say no, correct me. Where after chief fruitful woman. They looked with a comparable eye on Nepal-Gopal-Neno-
all is the pain? Didn't Mistress-Mother breed thirteen? Does it hurt a tree to bear Boncha-Patal etc. because they were Jashoda's children, and as each grew up,
fruit?" he got a sacred thread and started catching pilgrims for the temple. Kangali did
So this rule held. Kangalicharan became a professional father. Jashoda was not have to find husbands for Radharani, Altarani, Padmarani and such daugh-
by profession Mother. In fact to look at}ashoda now even the skeptic is convinced ters. Nabin found them husbands with exemplary dispatch and the faithful
of the profundity of that song of the path of devotion. The song is as follows: mother's faithful daughters went off each to run the household of her own
Shiva! Jashoda's worth went up in the Haldar house. The husbands are pleased
because the wives' knees no longer knock when they riffle the almanac. Since
Is a Mother so cheaply made? their children are being reared on Jashoda's milk, they can be the Holy Child
Not just by dropping a babe! in bed at will. The wives no longer have an excuse to say "no." The wives are
happy. They can keep their figures. They can wear blouses and bras of "Eu-
ropean cut." After keeping the fast of Shiva' s night by watching all-night picture
Around the paved courtyard on the ground floor of the Haldar house over a shows they are no longer obliged to breast-feed their babies. All this was possible
dozen auspicious milch cows live in some state in large rooms. Two Biharis look because of Jashoda. As a result Jashoda become vocal and, constantly suckling
after them as Mother Cows. There are mountains of rind-bran-hay-grass-mo- the infants, she opined as she sat in the Mistress's room, "A woman breeds,
lasses. Mrs. Haldar believes that the more the cow eats, the more milk she gives. so here medicine, there bloodpeshur, * here doctor's visits. Showoffs! Look at
Jashoda's place in the house is now above the Mother Cows. The Mistress's me! I've become a year-breeder! So is my body failing, or is my milk drying?
sons become incarnate Brahma and create progeny. Jashoda preserves the Makes your skin crawl? I hear they are drying their milk with injishuns.* Never
progeny. . heard of such things!"
Mrs. Haldar kept a strict watch on the free flow of her supply of milk. She The fathers and uncles of the current young men of the Haldar house used
called Kangalicharan to her presence and said, "Now then, my Brahmin son? to whistle at the maidservants as soon as hair grew on their upper lips. The
You used to stir the vat at the shop, now take up the cooking at home and give young ones were reared by the Milk-Mother's milk, so they looked upon the
her a rest. Two of her own, three here, how can she cook at day's end after maid and the cook, their Milk-Mother's friends, as mothers too and started
suckling five?" walking around the girls' school. The maids said, "Joshi! You came as The God-
Kangalicharan's intellectual eye was thus opened. Downstairs the two Biharis dess! You made the air of this house change!" So one day as the youngest son
gave him a bit of chewing tobacco and said, "Mistress Mother said right. We was squatting to watch Jashoda's milking, she said, "There dear, my Lucky! All
serve the Cow Mother as well-your woman is the Mother of the World."
From now on Kangalicharan took charge of the cooking at home. Made the
children his assistants. Gradually he became an expert in cooking plantain curry, * Underclass Bengali pronunciation for "blood pressure" and "injections." [GC$]

230 In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 231

this because you swiped him in the leg! Whose wish was it then?" "The Lion- dies in the neighborhood, it's Basini who can weep most elaborately. She is an
seated's," said Haldar junior. old maidservant of the house. But Jashoda's meal ticket was offered up with
He wanted to know how Kangalicharan could be Brahma without feet? This the Mistress. She astounded everyone by weeping even more elaborately.
encroached on divine area, and he forgot the question. "Oh blessed Mother!," Basini wept. "Widowed, when you lost your crown,
All is the Lionseated's will! you became the Master and protected everyone! Whose sins sent you away
Mother! Ma, when I said, don't eat so much jackfruit, you didn't listen to me
at all Mother!"
3. Jashoda let Basini get her breath and lamented in that pause, "Why should
you stay, Mother! You are blessed, why should you stay in this sinful world!
Kangali's shins were cut in the fifties, and our narrative has reached .the The daughters-in-law have moved the throne! When the tree says I won't bear,
present. In twenty-five years, sorry in thirty, Jashoda has been confined twenty alas it's a sin! Could you bear so much sin, Mother! Then did the Lionseated
times. The maternities toward the end were profitless, for a new wind entered turn her back, Mother! You knew the abode of good works had become the
the Haldar house somehow. Let's finish the business of the twenty-five or thirty abode of sin, it was not for you Mother! Your heart left when the Master left
years. At the beginning of the narrative Jashoda was the mother of three sons. Mother! You held your body only because you thought of the family. 0 mis-
Then she became gravid seventeen times. Mrs. Haldar died. She dearly wished tresses, o daughters-in-law! take a vermillion print of her footstep! Fortune will
that one of her daughters-in-law should have the same goud fortune as her be tied to the door if you keep that print! If you touch your forehead to it every
mother-in-law. In the family the custom was to have a second wedding if a morning, pain and disease will stay out!"
couple could produce twenty children. But the daughters-in-law called a halt at Jashoda walked weeping behind the corpse to the burning ghat and said on
twelve-thirteen-fourteen. By evil counsel they were able to explain to their hus- return, "I saw with my own eyes a chariot descend from heaven, take Mistress-
bands and make arrangements at the hospital. All this was the bad result of the Mother from the pyre, and go on up."
new wind. Wise men have never allowed a new wind to enter the house. I've After the funeral days were over, the eldest daughter-in-law said to Jashoda,
heard from my grandmother that a certain gentleman would come to her house "Brahmin sister! the family is breaking up. Second and Third are moving to the
to read the liberal journal Saturday Letter. He would never let the tome enter his house in Beleghata. Fourth and Fifth are departing to Maniktala-Bagmari.
home. "The moment wife, or mother, or sister reads that paper," he would say, Youngest will depart to our Dakshireswar house."
"she'll say Tm a woman! Not a mother, not a sister, not a wife."' If asked what "Who stays here?"
the result would be, he'd say, "They would wear shoes while they cooked." It "I will. But I'll let the downstairs. Now must the family be folded up. You
is a perennial rule that the power of the new wind disturbs the peace of the reared everyone on your milk, food was sent every day. The last child was
women's quarter. weaned, still Mother sent you food for eight years. She did what pleased her.
It was always the sixteenth century in the Haldar household. But at the sudden
Her children said nothing. But it's no longer possible."
significant rise in the membership of the house the sons started building new
"What'll happen to me, elder daughter-in-law-sister?"
houses and splitting. The most objectionable thing was that in the matter of
"If you cook for my household, your board is taken care of. But what'll you
motherhood, the old lady's granddaughters-in-law had breathed a completely
do with yours?"
different air before they crossed her threshold. In vain did the Mistress say that
there was plenty of money, plenty to eat. The old man had dreamed of filling
"It's for you to say. You are the mother of twelve living children! The daugh-
half Calcutta with Haldars. The granddaughters-in-law were unwilling. Defying
ters are married. I hear the sons call pilgrims, eat temple food, stretch out in
the old lady's tongue, they took off to their husbands' places of work. At about
the courtyard. Your Brahmin-husband has set himself up in the Shiva temple,
this time, the pilgrim-guides of the Lionseated had a tremendous fight and some
unknown person or persons turned the image of the goddess around. The Mis- I hear. What do you need?"
tress's heart broke at the thought that the Mother had turned her back. In pain Jashoda wiped her eyes. "Well! Let me speak to the Brahmin."
she ate an unreasonable quantity of jackfruit in full summer and died shitting Kangalicharan's temple had really caught on. "What will you do in my
and vomiting. temple?" he asked.
"What does Naren's niece do?"
"She looks after the temple household and cooks. You haven't been cooking
at home for a long time. Will you be able to push the temple traffic?"
"No meals from the big house. Did that enter your thieving head? What'll
Death liberated the Mistress, but the sting of staying alive is worse than death. you eat?"
Jashoda was genuinely sorry at the Mistress's death. When an elderly person "You don't have to worry," said Nabin.

232 In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 233

"Why did I have to worry for so long? You're bringing it in at the temple, Nabin said, "Shut up, Joshi. God gave me ability, and intelligence, and only
aren't you? You've saved everything and eaten the food that sucked my body." then could the thing be done through me."
"Who sat and cooked?" "Mother's glory has disappeared when you put your hands on her."
"The man brings, the woman cooks and serves. My lot is inside out. Then "Glory disappeared! If so, how come, the fan is turning, and you are sitting
you ate my food, now you'll give me food. Fair's fair." under the fan? Was there ever an elettiri* fan on the porch ceiling?"
Kangali said on the beat, "Where did you bring in the food? Could you have "I accept. But tell me, why did you bum my luck? What did I ever do to you?"
gotten the Haldar house? Their door opened for you because my legs were cut ''Why? Kangali isn't dead."
off. The Master had wanted to set me up in business. Forgotten everything, you "Why wait for death? He's more than dead to me."
cunt?" "What's up?"
"Who's the cunt, you or me? Living off a wife's carcass, you call that a,;manJ" Jashoda wiped her eyes and said in a heavy voice, "I've carried so many, I
The two fought tooth and nail and cursed each other to the death. Finally was the regular milk-mother at the Master's house. You know everything. I've
Kangali said, "I don't want to see your face again. Buzz off!" never left the straight and narrow."
"All right." "But of course. You are a p~rtion of the MOther."
Jashoda too left angry. In the meantime the various pilgrim-guide factions "But Mother remains in divine fulfillment. Her 'portion' is about to die for
conspired to turn the image's face forward, otherwise disaster was imminent. want of food. Haldar-house has lifted its hand from me."
As a result, penance rituals were being celebrated with great ceremony at the "Why did you have to fight with Kangali? Can a man bear to be insulted on
temple. Jashoda went to throw herself at the goddess's feet. Her aging, milkless, grounds of being supported?"
capacious breasts are breaking in pain. Let the Lionseated understand her pain ''Why did you have to plant your niece there?"
and tell her the way. "That was divine play. Golapi used to throw herself in the temple. Little by
Jashoda lay three days in the courtyard. Perhaps the Lionseated has also little Kangali came to understand that he was the god's companion-incarnate
breathed the new wind. She did not appear in a dream. Moreover, when, after and she his companion."
her three days' fast, Jashoda went back shaking to her place, her youngest came "Companion indeed! I can get my husband from her clutches with one blow
of a broom!"
by. "Dad will stay at the temple. He's told Naba and I to ring the bells. We'll
get money and holy food every day." Nabin said, "No! that can't be any more. Kangali is a man in his prime, how
"I see! Where's dad?" can he be pleased with you any more? Besides, Golapi's brother is a real hood-
lum, and he is guarding her. Asked me to get out. If I smoke ten pipes, he smokes
"Lying down. Golapi-auntie is scratching the prickly heat on his back. Asked
twenty. Kicked me in the midriff. I went to speak for you. Kangali said, don't
us to buy candy with some money. So we came to tell you."
talk to me about her. Doesn't know her man, knows her master's house. The
Jashoda understood that her usefulness had ended not only in the Haldar
master's house is her household god, let her go there."
house but also for Kangali. She broke her fast in name and went to Nabin to "I will."
complain. It was Nabin who had dragged the Lionseated's image the other way. Then Jashoda returned home, half-crazed by the injustice of the world. But
After he had settled the dispute with the other pilgrim-guides re the overhead her heart couldn't abide the empty room. Whether it suckled or not, it's hard
income from the goddess Basanti ritual, the goddess Jagaddhatri ritual, and the to sleep without a child at the breast. Motherhood is a great addiction. The
autumn Durgapuja, it was he who had once again pushed and pulled the image addiction doesn't break even when the milk is dry. Forlorn Jashoda went to the
the right way. He'd poured some liquor into his aching throat, had smoked a Haldaress. She said, "I'll cook and serve, if you want to pay me, if not, not.
bit of cannabis, and was now addressing the local electoral candidate: "No of- You must let me stay here. That sonofabitch is living at the temple. What disloyal
ferings for the Mother from you! Her glory is back. Now we'll see how you sons! They are stuck there too. For whom shall I hold my room?"
win!" "So stay. You suckled the children, and you're a Brahmin. So stay. But sister,
Nabin is the proof of all the miracles that can happen if, even in this decade, it'll be hard for you. You'll stay in Basini's room with the others. You mustn't
one stays under the temple's power. He had turned the goddess's head himself fight with anyone. The master is not in a good mood. His temper is rotten
and had himself believed that the Mother was averse because the pilgrim-guides because his third son went to Bombay and married a local girl. He'll be angry
were not organizing like all the want-votes groups. Now, after he had turned if there's noise."
the goddess's head he had the idea that the Mother had turned on her own. Jashoda's good fortune was her ability to bear children. All this misfortune
Jashoda said, ''What are you babbling?" happened to her as soon as that vanished. Now is the downward time for Jash-
Nabin said, "I'm speaking of Mother's glory."
Jashoda said, "You think I don't know that you turned the image's head
yourself?" • Underclass Bengali pronunciation for "electric." [GCSJ

that I'll wash your dishes. perhaps that's why?" everyone and she should die in a Kayastha* household?" "Nonsense! One gets breast-stones or pus-in-the-tit if there's milk. Of his thirteen offspring he has arranged The days would have passed in cooking at the Haldar-house and complaining the marriages of the daughters. but forgets You misheard. Ask me to croak instead. ''I'll give medicine." The elder daughter-in-law said. The doctor said." the eldest daughter-in-law thought. Finally the skin broke in many places and in-law." she wouldn't have a child's mouth at her nipple.234 In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 235 oda. sister daughter-in-law." Jashoda understood that now no one would attend to a word she said. Very hard." turned a cripple because he went to hospital!" The eldest daughter-in-law said. Jashoda's body seemed to up at their own speed and in their own way. if anything will surely soothe." Jashoda herself also said. At night when the doctor came the eldest daughter-in-law asked him in her The same thing happened to Jashoda. She had never thought family. Just as I spurned you. it'll be a sin for us. ''I'll get you a herbal ointment. "Only the milk-mother of this house. but she is keeling over. I think you should take her to the cancer hospital. She wiped her eyes and from what I heard it could be cancer of the mammary gland. "You'll wash your own dishes. said. you to a hospital just on your word. I suffered from well. and I'll go now? That corpse-burning devil re- the milk-mother sick? She acts strange." died! He called Jashoda's sons and spoke to them harshly. The eldest daughter. he said to the eldest son. Look here." since I'm down" as one falls. She said. "I can't go to hospital. Slowly Jashoda gave up eating The eldest daughter-in-law went to ask. "Brahmin sister! Why does the top of sores appeared. with a stone inside. and now she is about to die! Take her with you! She has "Who knows? I suckled so many. if the armpit is swollen like Are you my master. He came to Jashoda's almost- youngest is ten. "I hear your Cook has a problem with porch and started to weep. The hidden boil will show its tip and burst. she felt burning." happens to her. Jashoda took to her bed. Sometimes lain down in the kitchen on the spread edge of her sari. "Like a stone tit. Now Basini said easily. The one before survived." vanity as one rises. As a result one makes demands for worthless "No. I can't pull any more. I can't show my body to a male doctor. you begged to stay. sometimes pain. within two years the temple dishes were stolen. "Let's see. She couldn't keep her sari on the left side. like a rock. "Yah! Cancer indeed! That easy! Joshi became bemused. I Finally it was the sons of the eldest daughter-in-law who said.and the pre-Bengal-Renaissance nine- seems confused inside her head. respectful of gods and Brahmins. "Go ask if the nipple has shrunk. crude!" Then she did her field investigations and said. It is human nature to feel an inappropriate first the hard ball moved about. She heard the her breast. "Do you know who I am?" she heard the eldest daughter. This ointment The eldest son said. You are the master's servant as a seed." As Jashoda roared. He still does not take smallpox vaccination and says. She said to herself. Sometimes she speaks to Shiva the King." dark room and said. all she needs is an ointment. Basini's crowd used to wash her feet son's presence. He has arrived roadside with a tin cup? Is that what you want?" at the twentieth century very recently. Mother gave her a swelled head. doesn't budge." • Second caste [GCS] ." and drink the water. "This is what I feared. At houses devoted to the Holy Mother." take me away. the eldest son was afraid." The herbal ointment was a complete failure. yet not to feel the surrender of "let me learn to bite the dust "Let's show the doctor. I didn't see her. But even now his grey cells are keel over. "Wife! You are a blessed auspicious faithful woman! After "That one is gone. Jashoda had started the rice and then and lost her strength. "Mother! Is didn't go to hospital to breed." cooked and served in silence and in the late afternoon she went to the temple Going out. Everything covered in the darkness of the eighteenth. no burning. I cc:n't send a Brahmin's daughter to eat. I'll ask. But music for the evening worship at the temple of Shiva. looking at her bare body. I don't need to be vaccinated. Her breasts feel empty. This sinful world!" "WeH the doctor comes tomorrow to look at my grandson. That one died at birth. She serves nearly all the rice and curry. Jashoda doesn't understand why nothing pleases her. An upper-caste meal in her hand. She couldn't even have a good cry. "No pain. "Now save me. if at his house a Brahmin "Who knows? It's like a stone pushing inside. "If Mother can't do it. But that was not enough for Jashoda. "Look here? She's a Brahmin's daughter. and the sons have grown up and are growing to the Mother. Mother! Must I finally sit by the Only the other day the eldest son lived in the sixteenth century. does not contract that disease. "She says all that you've said has been happening for some time." got up. She is going home in a showy sari with a free the lower classes get smallpox. Your Kangali cried a lot when he heard this story." in-law scold. "What is it?" she fed you so long. "How much as I am. don't break the peace." "If you take the eldest son's age she'll be about about fifty-five. Doesn't look good to me. She The doctor said. as if wasted. "It's your mother. He pooh-poohed the idea of cancer and said. the milk-filled faithful wife who was the object of the reverence of the local Jashoda said with her eyes closed. "How old?" Brahmin sister! I didn't call you. now it doesn't move. your left tit look so red? God! flaming red!" Seeing the hang of it." things in the old way and gets kicked by the weak. When she sits down to cook she thinks she's teenth centuries." Hearing "swollen like a seed.

There was fire in Jashoda's body. "Will she bear the weight of her breast standing up. You've brought her in the last stages. Stink.236 In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 237 boils in my back. weeping like a boy. Still Jashoda washed herself with soap. remember?" "Fif-ty!" "What." one survives this stage. they too have stopped. "Then the Master doesn't want to keep me. for the master's sons had put the nipples in the armpit can be inflamed. what a stink! If the body of a dead cat or dog rots in lump inside becomes large. "About fifty for sure. a hundred eyes. with the idea that Kangali was in the room." Jashoda spoke with her eyes closed. Jashoda had forever scrubbed her expected to turn orange. "There is no solution about me. As inhuman as I. stole As Jashoda lay down. Jashoda spread her sari and lay down. the eldest son's second son went to the doctor."-Jashoda sighed and said. A heart-splitting nostalgia-provoking smile. I wonder now!" "God!" "I remember everything. With her eyes shut." The on his father." "How you played with these tits? You couldn't sleep otherwise? My lap was "She had twenty children?" never empty. That he went out. black floor was very cool. How I could. But when people "I get feverish all the time. "You have fever?" "One can't say why someone gets cancer. one their mouth. thick with running sores and said. When there is ulceration. We quarreled-" "From these sores. I think by the strength of the sores. No ''I'll call him. thin. what's the problem?"-Kangali asked. "If you suckle you're a mother." "Get well! See how long she lasts. one can't say." "What did you say? How many did she feed?" Jashoda smiled suddenly. In the late afternoon. broke the safe." "Whatever." breast-feed too much-didn't you realize earlier? It didn't get to this in a day?" "Where does this rotten stink come from?" "She wasn't with me." "What's the matter? 0 Doctorbabu. "What?" fering form even Kangali's selfish body and instincts and belly-centered con- "Is it because she suckled so many-?" sciousness remembered the past and suffered some empathy. if this one left my nipple. The gland in breasts carefully with soap and oil. "The Master called." Jashoda showed him her bare left breast. suf. Jashoda couldn't Kangali left weeping. Why? No one could tell. there was that one. Then gradually the In the night she sent Basini for Lifebuoy soap and at dawn she went to take a bath with the soap. She could not The second son was confused with all this specialist talk. If there is something like a sore in the body. Fever? From the point of view of seriousness it falls the sting of soap." and rasped. the tapping of his crutches. Sons of my spunk after all. Haribabu took one look at her and said. The skin is the garbage can you get a smell like this. I'll keep you in state. I'll take you tomorrow. live?" . The there can be fever." "Are the boys well? Noblay and Gaur used to come. all lies! Nepal and Gopal don't look about Jashoda-but his father nagged him and he was financially dependent at me." "Her own twenty. Then she said. hard lump inside the breast toward the top can be removed. It happened not in a day. as is expected a shrinking of the nipple." Kangali left. "Are these people human? She reared all the boys with her milk Kangali lit the lamp. Finally Nabin came Jashoda said. everything seemed dark." Jashoda said." came at the proper time: but seeing Jashoda he lost his grip. sores on her breast kept mocking her with a hundred mouths. "How do you see her? Will she get well?" He cured Gopal' s typhoid with homeopathy. Her head was ringing. What can you do with me?" "Cancer." "See these sores? Do you know how these sores smell? What will you do with Hospitals don't admit people who are so sick. and then the boys "Yes sir. thirty boys at the Master's house-she had a lot of "You'll come tomorrow?" milk-'' "Yes-yes-yes. Why did those breasts betray her in the end? Her skin bums with can call it the final stages." "Otherwise how did she get it?" "All the bastards are selfish. she lost sense and consciousness with fever." "I see. and the Master's boys don't spare a peek to ask how I'm doing. sir. Kangali everything and opened a shop in Tarakeswar. and they don't call a doctor? I'll call Hari the doctor. that is to say sores. and like a congealed pressure. wife!" "Sir!" In this instant Kangali's words are true." of the Master's house. The doctor explained everything to him. "Dear. "Do you hear?" a long time. He said. How does one perceive breast cancer? A Then she realized that Kangali had left. At the efforts and recommen- me now? Why did you come to take me?" dations of the eldest son. Tomorrow for "You can get cancer in a tit?" sure. but over Jashoda opened her eyes and said. she said tions. in her head. and that snake Golapi tricked Napla. hard. Today I clean the room. He held Jashoda's hand and said. I'll take you tomorrow. harassed by Kangali's lamenta- hear. Jashoda was admitted. He was minimally anxious spiritlessly. That is secondary. in the second or third category. wife?" "Yes sir. Come. "Hospital. "Light the lamp. Seeing Jashoda's broken. "Bring the holy doctor.

The doctor said as well. I stop you?" Kangali came out without a proper answer to his question. Returning to the Somewhere in the minds of the second son and his mother an unknown sense temple. this was a solution for Jashoda. a strong personality. butJashoda remained the same. sedative. His sons are his sons." so many of us. with everyone around her she's "Suppose she wants to see you." teristic properties are to destroy the infected area of the body. antibiotic for the fever. Nabin became gloomily silent. See. The person lying in the hospital is someone cooking with fever. In her weak. Talking thus. It's hard to bear without consciousness." "I don't think too long. The cancer that Brahmin-sister has can lead to cutting of the tit. and the breast now looks like an open wound. culating silently in the room's air like incense-smoke. then faithful woman! Who would say the mother of so many. by which in The second son came home and said. we didn't look after her. "When Arun-doctor said she had cancer. gauze soaked in antiseptic lotion. This brought an ebb in and that this desensitizing sleep was a medicated sleep. even after that people die of cancer." "How long will she suffer?" "Does she eat. I lusted after her? This is the end of from that wrongdoing. One can medicate against the secondary symptom. In fact.238 In Other Worlds Breast-Giver 239 uNo. She of guilt and remorse came up like bubbles in dirty and stagnant water and doesn't know us. Their mother had become the doctors by hanging on for about a month in hospital. spellbound. milk leaped out of her. Its charac- she might have survived if treated then. very down. doesn't realize anything. and of "What did he say?' course of the doctor. your wife is a blessed auspicious dying in hospital." never thought she would have this disease. we would have had to perform the penance-ritual. To see her body-but we had ! What an alive body she had. that intoxicating bosom? Ho! Man's body's a zero. to create toximeia. Father gave us a lot of reverence he saw Jashoda in the Haldar-house he was truly affected and even after her toward Brahmins-we are alive by father's grace." Guilt said-she lived with us. we never took a look at her. they'll call. "If she dies?" disease catch her. crazy. It is covered by a piece of thin Breast cancer makes the brain comatose. we didn't take it seriously at all. the enthusiasm of Kangali and the other visitors. The sores on her breast gaped more and more else. has some son of the Haldar-house become a doctor? she not responding? All for the better. when did the Nabin said. Her body is very." breathing there is oxygen-but the advance of cancer. No one can say anything." The doctor understood that he was unreasonably angry because Jashoda was "You didn't take her to a doctor?" in this condition. to return after removal. She was a silly person." don't take the signs of breast-cancer seriously enough and finally die in this "Didn't he tell you?" dreadful and hellish pain. removing the Kangali didn't like all this talk. since he'd seen Jashoda's The disappearance of guilt said-who can undo Fate? It was written that she'd infested breasts. But now that feeling is our house. the different parts of the body is meant different malignant growths. He was angry with Jashoda. Cancer constantly defeats patient and doctor. he said to Nabin and his sons. but the sharp smell of putrefying flesh is cir." "Through tubes. when she clung to us. she was in the hospital. blindingly and the boys did indeed come and go. if the lungs become incapable of agree. "Is dazed brain she thought." "Hard to say. reared "They have the telephone number of the old Master's eldest son. how did she die? We have been saved snakes emptied of venom. The doctor vanished instantly. Mother meant hair in a huge topknot. "There's no use going any more. he put her Patients much less sick than Jashoda die much sooner. Nabin. No doubt he sucked her milk and is now repaying the milk-debt? But those can anyone bear such death-throes consciously?" boys entered the family business as soon as they left high school! However. we she didn't bend. a distant person for a long time. The word cancer is a general signifier. Now. Jashoda understood that she had come to hospital. His mind had already rejected Jashoda. Jashoda astonished out of mind almost painlessly. One "Yes. "Does she know that we come and go?" why don't the people who are helping her so much free her from the stinking . At first Kangali. husband living. comatose. Asked us to take her to the hospital. with women who 11 Yes. many a philosophic thought and sexological argument have die of cancer-who'd stop it? It would have been wrong if she had died here. doesn't open her eyes. When uterus. white clothes. if eating "That it might be cancer. remain unchecked. To be crazy for that is to be The eldest son assured them. its expansion." "Now you're very " "She stopped eating. The moment the doctor said Jashoda wouldn't last. to spread by His mother said." "When there's nothing to be done. with Kangali." patient's cancer means the patient's death and the defeat of science. She didn't stops one can drip glucose and feed the body." growing cold. "Now Arun-doctor says no one survives cancer. not Mother. spread. "If you know that much then why didn't you take her? Did metastasis. For example. infected. and "Why would she? She'd die!" killing. been slowly circling Nabin's drug-and-booze-addled dim head like great rutting her husband and sons would have asked. how will you treat her?" "Do people live this way?" "Painkiller. is doing what he can. didn't look elsewhere. so many children. Kangali. If Brahmin-sister had died in admission into hospital he was passionately anxious.

"Ah! Ah! Ah!"-and looks for the nurse and the doctor with passionate bloodshot eyes.m. friendless with no one left to put a bit of water in the mouth. \ went to the burning ghat in a van. bring each other to crisis. The Hal.·· those she suckled for a living? Jashoda thought. tremendous pain. She understood that death was coming. she is forsaken by all and she must always die alone. the untouchable who will put her in the furnace. or a. she had suckled the ature. Gradually Jashoda's left breast bursts of subject-positions. When historiography is self-consciously "non-theoretical. Jashoda screams. egy for Mahasweta Devi's "Stanadayini" [Breast-Giver]. especially when each seems to claim all for its own. who will cover her face with a sheet. I suppose it needs to be said that the problem death was also the death of God. She can and must wrench milk-sons. These two operations are similar but not identical. When the doctor A historian confronts a text of counterinsurgency or gendering where the comes. Who is looking? Are these her own people? The people whom she suckled because she carried them. The paper will also touch upon the always tendentious question of elite meth- Jashoda was God manifest. and was burnt. This might have implications for the current and continued subalterniza- dars disconnected their phone at night. can the burning ghat. she had constantly conceived to keep them filled wtth milk. as bringing forth "what really happened" in a value-neutral prose. the cancerts altern has been represented. The teacher of literature. "You grew so big on my milk. The smell of putrefaction makes ap. She unravels the text to make visible the assignment spreading at the expense of the human host. A Literary Representation of The be the rice-winner. tuned the reader at least to entertain the following propositions: but she understood that some people were looking at her hand. Jashoda Devi. the person to serve their constituencies. The doctor says. Who was it? It was who? Who was it? Liberal Feminism. Jashoda's odologies and subaltern material. Jashoda couldn't open her eyes. · The Halder-house was called on the phone. because of her institutional subject-position. If thus placed in the arguments from Western Marxist-Feminism.