This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
503-520 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1343539 Accessed: 10/06/2009 11:36
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucpress. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com.
The University of Chicago Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Critical Inquiry.
Kenneth Burke. psychoanalysis. R. any more than I could define modernism itself. in philosophy. But what is postmodernism? I can propose no rigorous definition of it. Why? Why pluralism now? This question recalls another that Kant raised two centuries ago-"Was heisstAufklirung?"-meaning. art. In short. in literature and criticism. "Whatis postmodernism?. which itself has become the irritable condition of postmodern discourse. Abrams. like a latter-day M. not to mention countless other artists and thinkers of our moment-engage that overweening query. I submit. there. "Who are we now?" The answer was a signal meditation on historical presence. 503 .' But to meditate on that topic todayand thisis my central claim-is really to inquire "Was heisst Postmodernismus?" Pluralism in our time finds (if not founds) itself in the social. as Michel Foucault saw. further. For the term has become a current signal of tendencies in theater. Wayne Booth. Jourdain. H. Matei Calinescu. and architecture. that the critical intentions of diverse American pluralists-M. they have been speaking postmodernism all their lives without knowing it. in cybernetic technologies and even in the sciences. 0093-1896/86/1203-0005$01. aesthetic."engage and even answer it tacitly. Richard McKeon. and historiography. and intellectual assumptions of postmodernism-finds its ordeal. dance. music.Pluralism in Postmodern Perspective Thab Hassan 1 Postmodernism once more-that breach has begun to yawn! I return to it by way of pluralism. consuming many pages of both critical and uncritical inquiry. All rights reserved. Critical Inquiry 12 (Spring 1986) ? 1986 by The University of Chicago. S. its rightness. Crane. Stephen Pepper.00. Nelson Goodman.
to theorize postmodernism in depth. have prompted incongruous thinkers to moot its supervention. a "conservative" sociologist.2 Still." and the "postmodernism of the neoconservatives. These include all manner or of ambiguities. which. ruptures. These bear on problems of cultural modeling. rather. though. the time has come to theorize the term. conflict. or supersede themselves. Indeterminacy."3And thus. as I see it-between the "premodernism of old conservatives. before it fades from awkward neologism to derelict cliche without ever attaining to the dignity of a cultural concept. Jiirgen Habermas. He is author of.5 2 Here. We may think of Werner Karl Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty. only a decade ago. is my catena: 1. or at least its self-revisions. testifies to "the end of the creative impulse and ideological sway of modernism. as a cultural movement. To theorize postmodernism. however. His latest work. dismissed postmodernism as another instance of the dreck. in the form of a Summer Seminar for College Teachers. cultural change-the problems of critical discourse itself in an antinomian phase. Kurt Godel's proof of incompleteness. Clearly. Instead. is forthcoming in 1986. for the past 125 years. Radical Innocence(1961). together they limn a region of postmodern "indetermanences" (indeterminacy lodged in immanence) in which criticalpluralism takes shape. and Ihab Hassan is Vilas Research Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. beyond that. and shaped our symbolic expressions. then. Out of Egypt. and folderol of a consumer society. it has penetrated the abstractions of "late" Marxist critics who. has dominated all the arts. of among other books. tries to distinguish-vainly. antecede. is to change its character in the making no less than to acknowledge its errancies. I want to offer a catena of postmodern features. Paracriticisms(1975). a "radical"philosopher. vexations. postmodernism has now received the bureaucratic accolade of the National Endowment for the Humanities. then. Thus Daniel Bell. and displacements affecting knowledge and society." the "antimodernism of the young conservatives. Still. too. staking out a cultural field. Thomas Kuhn's paradigms. and The Right PrometheanFire (1980). indeterminacies. My examples will be selective. the exhaustions of modernism. a paratactic list. traits may overlap. fads."4 This is neither the time nor the place. . literary periodization. The Dismemberment Orpheus (1971). if not define it.504 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective Indeed.
His ultimate opprobrium is "totalization"-any synthesis whatever. to the last fashionable aporia of unrecorded time. shifting signifiers. The postmodernist only disconnects. the openness of brokenness. Hence. Lyotard argues again. We are witnessing. and even atoms dissolve into elusive subparticles. a massive "delegitimation" of the mastercodes in society. deceit. Fragmentation. parabasis. of which the most baleful example is the rampant terrorism of our time. relativize. favoring instead "lespetites histoires. schizophrenia over paranoia. a desuetude of the metanarratives. Stanley Fish's affective stylistics. eluding. Or we may think of Harold Rosenberg's anxious art objects."which preserve the heterogeneity of language games. let us be witnesses to the unpresentable. social. Decanonization. fragments are all he pretends to trust. which remains under dire suspicion in post-structuralist circles as a "totalizing principle. they constitute our world. too. Indeterminacy often follows from fragmentation. self-reflection. metonymy over metaphor. Roland Barthes' textesscriptibles. all conventions of authority. for paratactic over hypotactic forms. paralogy.7 Thus. deconstruct the languages of power. even poetic. unjustified margins. but it was originally Nietzsche who declared the "subject""only a fiction": "the ego of which one speaks when one censures egoism does not exist at all. In the largest sense. Self-less-ness. his recourse to paradox. Indeterminacies pervade our actions. self-multiplication. Paul de Man's allegorical readings. Wolfgang Iser's literary Unbestimmtheiten. Hence his preference for montage. It diffuses itself in depthless styles. paracriticism. and David Bleich's subjective criticism. let us activate the differences and save the honor of the name. self-effacement-a fake flatness. collage.Norman Holland's transactive analysis. Thus Jean-Francois Lyotard exhorts.CriticalInquiry Spring 1986 505 Paul Feyerabend's dadaism of science. Derision and revision are versions of subversion.9 . interpretation. ideas. And in literary theory? From Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogic imagination. we decanonize culture. desire."6The age demands differences. de-defined." from the derision of authority to revision of the curriculum. the self impersonates its absence even as death stalks its games. interpretations. a mere mathematical whisper. in the differences from which reality is plurally made. Postmodernism vacates the traditional Depth-less-ness. "Let us wage a war on totality." Losing itself in the play of language. Harold Bloom's misprisions. more benevolent. refusing. Critics have noted the "loss of self" in modern literature. demystify knowledge. But "subversion" may take other. 4. without inside/outsideself. from the "death of god" to the "death of the author" and "death of the father."8 Thus postmodernism suppresses or disperses and sometimes tries to recover the "deep" romantic ego. 2. the found or cut-up literary object. which also require decanonization. epistemic. 3. simulating or its opposite. forms such as minority movements or the feminization of culture. this applies to all canons. we undecide.
reflexiveness: these express the ineluctable recreations of mind in search of a truth that continually eludes it. often seeks its limits. is intolerable. flat surfaces repel mimesis. to irony. I think we reach a peripety of negations."'2 Irony. short. image or replica may be as valid as its model (the Quixoteof Borges' Pierre Menard). de Man. Hybridization.. unthinkable: the horrible.""fictual discourse. art is irrealist. mingle not to imitate but to expand the past in the present."10But the challenge to representation may also lead a writer to other liminal states: the Abject. Even its "magic realism" dissolves in ethereal states. aniconic. polylogue. which thrives on the formlessness. after Kenneth Burke. through language." the "nonfiction novel."This makes for a different concept of tradition. Thus.'3 Cliche and plagiarism ("playgiarism. its hard. "What is unrepresentability?" Kristeva asks." subverts itself in forms of articulate "silence." the "new journalism. including parody." and a promiscuous category of "paraliterature" or "threshold literature. or The "de-definition. In absence of a cardinal principle or paradigm. "That which. engenders equivocal modes: "paracriticism. in the modern. The Unpresentable. particularly. 6."" Here. pastiche.506 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective 5. And in Alan Wilde we see an effort to discriminate its modes: "mediate irony. through meaning." at once young and very old. pop and kitsch enrich re-presentation. the pure light of absence. Burke. the abject. For with my next "definien. contingency. "that which. we turn to play." "disjunctive irony. 7. Like the Kantian Sublime."Raymond Federman punned)."It becomes liminary. This dialogue. Jacques Derrida. high and low culture." in Lyotard's audacious analogue." as Julia Kristeva put it. randomness. in . perspectivism. In that plural present. Like its predecessor. all styles are dialectically available in an interplay between the Now and the Not Now. puts forward the unpresentable in presentation itself. the emptiness. the mutant replication of genres."Irony. it aspires to clarity. is part of no particular language .. Irony. and even absurdity. we begin to move from the deconstructive to the coexisting reconstructive tendency of postmodernism. and Hayden White. That which. entertains its "exhaustion. may even bring an "augmentd'etre. postmodern Unrepresentable. leaving it with only an ironic access or excess of self-consciousness. "the exchange between signs and death. perspectivism. multivalence. one in which continuity and discontinuity. of cultural genres travesty. We meet variants of it in Bakhtin. In this view. rather than the Sublime." and "postmodern" or "suspensive irony" "with its yet more radical vision of multiplicity. contesting the modes of its own representation. for instance.This could also be called. Postmodern literature. of the Absolute-"Thou shalt not make graven images"-"the postmodern would be. interplay. self-reflection-in assumes indeterminacy." deformation. the Same and the Other. parody and pastiche. allegory. or Death itself-more precisely. the clarity irony of demystification.
to death. the feast of becoming. without any suppression of the past in favor of the present-a point that Fredric Jameson misses when he criticizes postmodern literature.2' But constructionism appears also in Burke's "dramatisticcriticism." White's "prefigurative moves. Carnivalization. so much of postmodern art calls itself performance.. the performing self expresses "an energy in motion. irony. decanonization. hybridization. and it riotously embraces indeterminacy.'7 "Theatre" becomes-to the edge of terrorism-the active principle of a paratactic decanonized if not really carnivalized. Heidegger's concept of "equitemporality"becomes really a dialectic of equitemporality. of numerous parodies and travesties. jocose pre-postmodernists. yet in its "self-discovering.' of ." human beings. a new relation between historical elements.. Thus post- . the immanence of laughter. fragmentation. perspectivism and performance. of course. Performance."20 Scientists seem now more at ease with heuristic fictions than many humanists. lapse into narcissism. in social relations and high technologies."Pepper's "world hypothesis." Goodman's "ways of worldmaking. verbal or nonverbal. the 'turnabout. the "gay relativity" of things. For in carnival. last realists of the West. and architecture for their ahistorical character. or at least for its ludic and subversive elements which promise renewal.. their "presentifications. finally self-pleasuring response to . self-watching. then as now.. thinking thus to stub their toes on a stone. (Some literary critics even kick language. Carnivalization further means "polyphony. an aspect of what I have called the "new gnosticism" evident in science and art. change. Constructionism. and renewal. irrealist-"what can be thought of must certainly be a fiction. Since postmodernism is radically tropic. selflessness.) Such effective fictions suggest the growing intervention of mind in nature and culture. gaps must be filled. figurative. acted out. humiliations. "the true feast of time. indeed post-Nietzschean.Participation." not to mention current hermeneutic or post-structuralist theory. as Richard society. As performance. answered. "fictions. to the Other. art (or theory for that matter) declares its vulnerability to time. an energy with its own shape". profanations. all of which I have already adduced. as it transgresses genres." the centrifugal power of language. pressures and difficulties. is Bakhtin's." Nietzsche thought'9-it "constructs" reality in post-Kantian.'5 Indeed. But the term also conveys the comic or absurdist ethos of postmodernism. A second life. film. discover "the peculiar logic of the 'inside out' (a l'envers).18 10. Poirier contends. what Bakhtin calls novel or carnival-that is. invites performance: it wants to be written.CriticalInquiry Spring 1986 507 postmodernism. revised. antisystem-might stand for postmodernism itself. to audience." that self may also veer toward solipsism. At its best. anticipated in the "heteroglossia" of Rabelais and Sterne. The postmodern text. participation in the wild disorder of life."'4 8.Indeterminacy elicits participation. Indeed. The term.""6 9. comic crownings and uncrownings.
which physicists."22 11. which instantly turns any recipe into nouvelle cuisine. They become. pervasively "ob-scene. no less than mystic theologians like Teilhard de Chardin explore. at best. an equivocal concept.23 Yet in a consuming society such immanences can become more vacuous than fatidic." "collectivevertigo of neutralization. and semioticians. (b) a limitedcriticalpluralism is in some measurea reactionagainst the radical condition. without religious echo.) Nor do I believe that my eleven "definiens" serve to distinguish postmodernism from modernism. perhaps absurd. postmodernism appears to be a mysterious. cryptic. turning nature into culture. doubly modified by the impetus of the phenomenon itself and by the shifting perceptions of its critics. for the latter itself abides as a fierce evasion in our literary histories. biologists. Everywhere now we witness problematic diffusions. his/her measure the intertextuality of all life. apt or mendacious. ingredient-like raspberry vinegar. I believe-the potential anarchy . "to a diversity of right and even conflicting versions or worlds in the making. my argument has been prelusive. of signifiers. and culture into an immanent semiotic system. if ubiquitous. A patina of thought. which remains. partial. of "connections. as Marshall McLuhan crankily presaged. thepostmodern of to contain them. we experience the extension of our senses. reconstitute the universe-from quasars to quarks and back. as Jean Baudrillard a says." as Goodman remarked. (At worst. from the lettered unconscious to black holes in space-reconstitute it into signs of their own making. dissemination. The pervasive irony of their explorations is also the reflexive irony of mind meeting itself at every dark turn. I must now attend to those efforts which seek to limit-quite rightly. I should be much surprised if they amounted to a definition of postmodernism. to the growing capacity of mind to generalize itself through symbols. The language animal has emerged.25 But I do suggest that the foregoing points-elliptic. a forward into the obscenity of pure and empty form.508 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective modernism sustains the movement "from unique truth and a world fixed and found. provisional-argue twin conclusions: (a) and criticalpluralism is deeplyimplicatedin the culturalfield of postmodernism. through new media and technologies.theironicindetermanences. a disjunctive category. Immanence." now lies on everything the mind touches in its gnostic (noo)sphere.it is an attempt relativism. Languages."24 escape These eleven "definiens" add up to a surd. This refers. dispersals. 3 So far.
in his vast synoptics of motives. power. political. "I cannot promise a finally satisfactory encounter with these staggering questions. not only in their formal features but also in labile interpretive conventions. critics have disagreed. "make us look beyond their immediate concern and focus on the order not between "28 of literature. "itis not meanings but appropriate procedures for discovering meaning" that become disputable-"not particular readings. Is criticism a genre? Critical pluralists often suppose that it may be so." which must aspire to a perspective on perspectives. a "mad law. on exposing the enigma of its "exemplarity. when they find any. But that assumption. Wayne Booth. Yet the "orderof literature" itself has become moot. in our heteroclitic age. The shared tenancies of literary theory may make for hermeneutical communities of provisional trust. it was a useful assumption of identity upon which critics (somewhat like Stanley and Livingstone) often presumed." though even madness fails to define it. Even genre theorists invite us. with all that it must ethically and metaphysically imply. undoing its gender."29Since genres find their definition. genre assumed recognizable features within a context of both persistence and change."27 Booth's conclusion is modest but also alert. I must briefly consider criticism as genre. He knows that the epistemic foundations of critical pluralism themselves rest on moral. In the end. "Methodological perspectivism"(as he sometimes calls his version of pluralism) depends on "shared tenancies" which in turn depend on a constitutive act of rational. but how to read. enclaves of genial critical authority. only "seems to duplicate the problem with which we began". nowadays. they seldom offer a stable. That is.CriticalInquiry Spring 1986 509 of our postmodern condition with cognitive. In boundary genres particularly-and certain kinds of criticism may have become precisely that-the ambiguities attain new heights of febrile intensity." The mad "law of genre" yields only to the "law of the law . if not spiritual. Traditionally." as Derrida lays it. Could it have been otherwise? Throughout history. to go beyond genre-"the finest generic classifications of our time. This makes for certain paradoxes in the "law of genre. and vitally sympathetic understanding. grounds. or affective constraints. seems ever harder to maintain. on borders literary genres. Booth stands on a kind of Kantian-or is it Christian?categorical imperative of criticism. and desire-as Kenneth Burke did. But can any of these define criticism both as a historical and cognitive genre? That may depend on what we intend by genre. so he concludes. produced by my simple effort to be a good citizen in the republic of criticism. Derrida insists on undoing genre. As one might expect from the magus of our deconstructions. just. and potency. For as Gary Saul Morson notes." Paul Hernadi says. is forced finally to admit that a full "methodological pluralism. nature.26 Yet even that most understanding of pluralists. long ago. pretending to make systems out of their discord and epistemic structures out of their beliefs. epistemic norm.
theory should stop. particularly in our indetermanent. though.33 In fact it is their own conclusion that will have little consequence. The act. for instance. if as Jeffrey Stout maintains. it is a function of belief. of purpose and interest. should be seen as part of. For the moment. that critical theory has no methodological consequences whatever. or authority. as Knapp and Michaels themselves admit. Above all. conventional. and desire. . both enables and constrains. criticism. the principles of literary criticism are historical (that is. I think. the configurations we call literature. the latest disconfirmation of critical theory. So much.34 (This statement itself expresses a reasoned belief. as Jonathan Culler contends.. at once arbitrary."30 One is inclined to believe that even without the de-creations of certain kinds of writing. responsive to our ideological. a law of impurity. "'interpretive conventions' . It is." the authors conclude..510 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective of genre"-"a principle of contamination. literary theory.. beliefs is not necessarily to plunge into Hades or ascend Babel. of history and accident. the "culture of any society at any moment is more like the debris. if also. like my own paracriticism.. I stress. criticism obeys human imperatives. as Kuhn claims. [a] boundless context".. which continually redefine it. then. of value. rather than itself a system". or 'fall out' of past ideological systems. and contextual. our postmodern period?35 4 To exchange a largely cognitive view of our discipline for another that more freely admits politics. a parasitical economy. an act of partial lucidity. apophantic).32Drawing on the pragmatism of Richard Rorty and the stylistics of Stanley Fish. power. again. if. and if. as I submit. not the other way around". the authors brilliantly. as I hope will eventually become clear.3' Thus. . "competing schools. then how can a generic conception of criticism limit critical pluralism or govern the endless deferrals of language. in any case not axiomatic. "If our arguments are true. berserkly contend that "true belief" and "knowledge" are epistemologically identical. have now become (quite like postmodernism itself) "essentially contested concepts. as Victor Turner thinks. which reason articulates and consensus. pragmatic. the latest "revisionarymadness"is Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels' statement against theory. desires. for the case of the self-consuming theorist." horizons of eristic discourse. apodictic. It is a function of language. our human needs. remains partial. then. each of which constantlyquestionsthe veryfoundations of the others"reign in the humanities. My own conclusion about the theory and practice of criticism is securely unoriginal: like all discourse.) If. they can have only one consequence . . "theoretical terms should serve interests and purposes.
excess. to the chagrin of his orthodox critics. the convention . But it is Foucault. Donald Davie. the perception that power profoundly engages knowledge reverts to Plato and Aristotle. is Bleich: Literary theory should contribute to the changing of social and professional institutions such as the public lecture. shaping them to its own volition. since Folie et deraison (1961). and Richard Ohmann." Foucault seemed more concerned with promoting "new kinds of subjectivity" (based on a refusal of those individual identities which states force upon their citizens) than with censuring traditional modes of exploitation. less partisan and less strenuously political." he remarks. his ideology had become antic."40 Again. D. that deliver them to their readers. bravely. the "institutionalview"of both literature and criticism now prevails among critics as incongruous in their ideologies as Bleich. as a factor in delimiting critical pluralism. to discover the politics of knowledge. in forms of transmission and diffusion. Foucault saw power itself as an elusive relation. E. Booth. present and hidden.38That is why. in institutions.39 In a Foucauldian perspective. Indeed. an immanence of discourse. might concur. criticism appears as much a discourse of desire as of power. Marx theorized the relation of culture to class.. however. if not to the I Ching and the Egyptian Book of the Dead."37 he also accepted the Nietzschean But premise that a selfish interest precedes all power and knowledge. in his late essay "The Subject and Power. though. then. his terms persist in a variety of movements.CriticalInquiry Spring 1986 511 I must approach power as a constraint on postmodern relativism and. that solicit the attention of critics. anyway. a discourse. In the last century. Hirsch. from totemic Marxism to Marxism with a deconstructionist mask or receptionist face."41 Other critics. thus. of course. which is at once visible and invisible. both conative and affective in its personal origins. pleasure. ubiquitous. who has given us the most cunning speculations on the topic. a leftist critic like Edward Said would insist that the "realities of power and authority . a conundrum of desire: "It may be that Marx and Freud cannot satisfy our desire for understanding this enigmatic thing which we call power. Fish. would found criticism on collective reality. are the realities that make texts possible. He would distinguish and "spell out the priority. in patterns for general behavior. More recently. within the Marxist tradition. Increasingly.36 The whole burden of his work. No doubt. Frank Kermode. of a 'positive hermeneutic' based on social class from those ['negative hermeneutics'] still limited by anarchist categories of the individual subject and individual experience. has been to expose the power of discourse and the discourse of power.. Here. Foucault still maintained that discursive practices "are embodied in technical processes. A neo-Marxist like Jameson.
autotelic. the changes in our idea of criticism itself. or at least dilapidation. I confess to some distaste for ideological rage (the worst are now full of passionate intensity and lack all conviction) and for the hectoring of both religious and secular dogmatists. and no one subject (including theory) is self-justifying. self-explanatory.45 That ideal has now vanished. But what is politics again? An excuse to bully or shout in public.512 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective presentation. analogous to Andre Malraux'smuseeimaginaire. the rule of habit. which extends through Ernst Cassirer. Yet in our eagerness to appropriate art to our own circumstances and exercise our will on texts. The recession of the neo-Kantian idea. or Marxist conception (to name but three). ambiguously to Murray Krieger. of course. Freudian. immanent mendacity." "Feminism and Criticism. from a synchronous or generic discourse to a diachronic or conative activity. vengeance vindicating itself as justice and might pretending to be right." and the facile correlation of ideology with criticism drives a critic even so disputatious as Gerald Graff to protest the "pseudo-politics of interpretation" in a subsequent number. too. Theoretical work ought to show how and why no one class of scholars. and the processes of tenure and promotion. implies another loss-that of the imagination as an autochthonous. the right action when ripeness calls. and the old New Critics. possibly redemptive power of mind. the library itself may end in rubble. which triumphs over time and brute destiny. And the number of conferences on "Marxism and Criticism.42 The ideological concern declares itself everywhere. All these.43 At the same time. refract the shifts in our "myths of concern" (Northrop Frye's term) since the fifties. a critic as exquisitely reticent as Geoffrey Hartman acknowledges the intrusions of politics in his recent work. a deadly banality of being. It is also the loss. we risk denying those capacities -not only literary-which have most richly fulfilled our historical existence." keeps American airports snarled and air carriers in the black. Suzanne Langer. a passion for self-avoidance. the dur desir de durer. For what is politics? Simply." "Technology and Criticism. which can overcrowd our responses to both art and life." "Mass Culture and Criticism. the classroom. Yet we must all heed politics because it structures our . from a Kantian to a Nietzschean. though far more benign. the place where history rehearses its nightmares. and self-sustaining. But they reflect.46I admit to a certain ambivalence toward politics. of the "imaginary a library." total order of art. from an ontological to a historical apprehension." "Ethnicity and Criticism.44The activities of GRIP (acronym for the Group for Research on the Institutionalization and Professionalization of Literary Study) seem as ubiquitous as those of the KGB or the CIA. A bristling issue of Critical Inquiry explores the "politics of interpretation.
as anyone who follows the oedipal psychomachiaof critics must agree. that principle so freely invoked and seldom evident in criticism. reduce all facts of the human universe-error. the pleasure of the text derives both from the body's freedom to "pursue its own ideas" and from "value shifted to the sumptuous rank of the signifier. (Lately."he confides. I mean desire in the largest sense-personal and collective. tear. and thisfetishdesiresme. "That's it for me!" This is the Dionysiac cry par excellence-Dionysiac. we can only cry. to unlearn (desapprendre). for a "psychoanalytic intervention . as an aspect of the pleasure principle. boredom. too. Thus in Lefon. we know.49 Such a text eludesjudgment by anterior or exterior norms. the fragments have grown larger. epiphany. with the urge to their finite realization. each in its due season."48But I mean desire also in its more particular sense.) And I mean desire. William James. distinctions Barthes makes in that talismanic text. Barthes insists on the "truth of desire" which discovers itself in the multiplicity of discourse: "autantde langages qu'il y a de desirs."47 the psychoanalytic explanation Yet can also become as reductive as any other. suture. created by intermittences of the body even more than of the heart.. we need only note that pleasure becomes a constitutive critical principle in his later work. biological and ontological. unless desire itself qualifies its knowledge. its words.CriticalInquiry Spring 1986 513 our theoretical consents. For him. an antidote. a force that writers from Hesiod and Homer to Nietzsche." to renew his body so that it becomes contemporaneous with his students. "The text is a fetish object."5'The highest role of the professor is to make himself "fantasmic. the pleasure of the text is perverse. critical recusancies-shapes ideas of pluralism even as I write here.Perhaps . which Paul Valery understood when he wryly confessed that every theory is a fragment of an autobiography. Thus. literary evasions. Rupture. 5 Politics. It can dominate other modes of discourse. to political discourse which. pain. that is. dream-to its own terms. and Freud have reckoned with. It includes the Eros of the Universe which Alfred North Whitehead conceived as "the active entertainment of all ideals. as Kristeva says."50 We need not debate here the celebrated. if dubious. without it. Hence the need. a counterweight. so does erotic displacement. his inaugural lecture at the College de France.. scission enhance that pleasure. for Barthes. polymorph. now. in that peculiarly Gallic timbre. chance. In its presence. becomes tyrannical. Here Barthes comes elegantly to mind. is free to become our modern religion: the final explanation.
reading. That unease touches more than our critical theories. in this forlorn.which so many in Europe read and. There is no possibility of explication. language and desire meet continually at the limits of their mutual destruction." Kristeva notes. C'estcommesi j'avais des mots en guise de doigts. Thus both love and suicide become textual mimesis: in the book of Barthes. it engages the nature of authority and belief in the world. Let me recover. to create consensual theory or practicewitness the debates of this conference. But cognitive. Humanism have all come and gone their way."5 Happily. in its relativisms and indetermanences. My point is rather more fundamental: much current criticism conceives language and literature themselves as organs of desire. The Sorrows of Young Werther. imaginary confession which strokes language in erotic foreplay: 'Jefrottemon langage contre l'autre. I share in its excitement. is that incontinent book of love.514 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective then he can realize true sapientia: "nulpouvoir. Barthes presents us with an encyclopedia of affective culture ordered by no principle other than the alphabet of desire. It is the old Nietzschean cry of nihilism: "the desert grows!"God. that can found a wide consensus of discourse? 6 Clearly. in our era. Reason. political. and affective restraints remain only partial. Yet clearly. Father. Simulating discretely a lover's speech. stylistically. even epistemically. and the text to which it always returns. which it attempts to restrain. un peu de sagesse."52 Fragmentsof a Lover'sDiscourseshows a darker side of desire. though their power may still flare up in some circles of faith. the stark lineaments of my argument. We have killed our . too. learned to sigh and die. King. my own excitement mixed with unease. Is there anything. its theme. They all finally fail to delimit critical pluralism. Critical pluralism finds itself implicated in our postmodern condition. death. though. the imagination of postmodern criticism is a disestablished imagination. et le plus de saveur possible. this last remark leads into my inconclusion. Yet the spirit of the Erinyes pervades the work's pages. of hermeneutics.54 But my point is not only that critical theory is a function of our desires. and "interpretationis infinite because Meaning is made infinite by desire. to which criticism tries to adhere erotically ("secoller. nor simply that criticism often takes pleasure or desire as its concern. and madness. "Desire and the desire to know are not strangers to each other. rendering it in broken figures such as a modern dancer may perform."Barthes says). History. for pain and solitude here attend the subject more than delight. un peu de savior. without ever leaving. it is an intellectual imagination of enormous vibrancy and scope."53 Other versions of this critical suasion come easily to mind.
In his hand he holds the "fourth critique. rest in. 9] I believeThis was written nearly a century ago and remains-so impeccable. that cannot by its nature be decidedon intellectualgrounds"(W. may not follow James so far. As a matter of fact we find ourselves believing. Between these beliefs. part of man. come out of Konigsberg. provisional. biologically considered. decides "an optionbetween propositions. metaphysical reason and historical life." I let him speak: He who takes for his hypothesis the notion that it [pluralism] is the permanent form of the world is what I call a radical empiricist. I turn to my bookshelf and pick out William James' The Will to Believe. I hardly know-yet we remain ourselves creatures of will.CriticalInquiry Spring 1986 515 gods-in spite or lucidity. 18). which James knew to be the most interesting. as do most of us now. desire. 11). our "passional nature. "our minds are as ready to grind out falsehood as veracity. most valuable. James even suggests that." I do not mean only such deliberate volitions as may have set up habits of belief that we cannot now escape from. when James' language turns spiritual: . and he who says. [W. like Rorty. empirical. Sadly. But all these still rest on. imitation and partisanship. transactions of power or hope. prejudice and passion. hope. p. There is no possible point of view from which the world can appear an absolutely single fact. ethics and aesthetics. Certainly they would balk. For him the crudity of experience remains an eternal element thereof. Sometimes I imagine a new Kant. 'Better go without belief forever than believe a lie!' merely shows his own preponderant private horror of becoming a dupe" (W. beliefs. p. Fish.56 This leaves the field open to "willing nature": When I say "willing nature. is friendly lucidity. self-created-upon which to found our discourse. the illustrious ghost disappears. I reach for the sublime treatise. belief." wheneverit is a genuine option he says. pragmatic. there can be only continual negotiations of reason and interest. or Michaels.-I mean all such factors of belief as fear and hope. and an imagination that keeps reason on the stretch. we hardly know how or why. Contemporary pragmatists. resolving of all the contradictions of theory and praxis. permitting pluralist beliefs.James speaks crucially to our condition in a "pluralistic universe. the circumpressure of our caste and set. it seems. And now we have nothing-nothing that is not partial. In the end. Here. mediations of desire." It which he calls The Critique PracticalJudgment. unimpugnable. p. is a masterwork. It proposes a different kind of "authority" (lower case). spirited through the Iron Curtain.
In this.. 55. why may not that be a sign that an invisible universe is there? . God himself. that conjunctive/disjunctive technological rage which affects postmodern discourse. in our postmodern epoch? Precisely because of its countervailing forces. an absence that also energizes our tempers. 1982). sing. 210. its indetermanences. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow (Chicago. in short. Power. Everywhere now we observe societies riven by the double and coeval process of planetization and retribalization. As to things nearer at hand. . "Maybe the most certain of all philosophical problems is the problem of the present time. its name echoing in our ears with the din of history. at least locally. And why." writes Michel Foucault in "The Subject and and Hermeneutics. which I express now to remind myself that all the evasions of our knowledge and actions thrive on the absence of consensual beliefs. particularly. and the animal will be born. tolerant beliefs. except to remythify the imagination. It may be that we shall simply bungle through. expectancies. Hubert L. sing.. It may be that some rough beast will slouch again toward Bethlehem. and bring back the reign of wonder into our lives. . totalitarianism and terror. except to call for pragmatic constituencies of knowledge which would share values. its haunches bloody.57 I do not know how to give literature or theory or criticism a new hold on the world. goals. The essay also appeared in Critical Inquiry 8 (Summer 1982): 777-96. may draw vital strength and increase of very being from our fidelity. as we have done for decades. This is our postmodern condition. my own elective affinities remain with Emerson: "Orpheus is no fable: you have only to sing. of what we are. 61] I do not quote this passage to press the claims of metaphysics or religion. wandering in the "desert"from oasis to oasis. ."58 But who nowadays believes it? 1.516 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective Is it not sheer dogmatic folly to say that our inner interests can have no real connection with the forces that the hidden world may contain? . point that way. in mutant or displaced forms. I do so only to hint that the ultimateissues of critical pluralism. pp. I have no prophecy in me. muddle through. perhaps centuries. And if needs of ours outrun the visible universe. world calamity. except to invoke enclaves of genial authority where the central task is to restore civil commitments. traditions. and the plant will organize. only some slight foreboding. I do not know how to make our "desert" a little greener. Everywhere we meet. fanatic faith and radical disbelief. critical sympathies. or extraterrestrial intelligence will shock the earth into some sane planetary awareness of its destiny. 56. p. [W. I openly admit: I do not know how to prevent critical pluralism from slipping into monism or relativism. our wills. and the rocks will crystallize. in this very moment." reprinted as "Afterword" in Michel Foucault:Beyond Structuralism ed. It may be that some natural cataclysm. in our postmodern epoch.
Fla. Friedrich Nietzsche. 1962). Jiirgen Habermas.p. Morson provides an excellent discussion of threshold literature. p. On the paratactic style in art and society. Garvin (Lewisburg. Regis Durand. see also Hayden White. p. the latter is more familiar in academic circles. 340. Though postmodernism is a far more inclusive phenomenon than post-structuralism. is one that pragmatism is unable to rule out from serious consideration" ("Pragmatism.CriticalInquiry Spring 1986 517 2. Science. 262-68. For a New Novel: Essays on Fiction."see my TheRight Promethean Fire: Imagination. It manifests itself in the white philosophies of post-structuralism as well as in various contemporary arts. See also Claus Uhlig. 14.. 1983).. 1983). "The Culture of Criticism. 8. 141. The Will to Power. See his "The Empire of Irony. Alain Robbe-Grillet. See. 1967). 4 (Baltimore."in Liberations: New Essayson the Humanities in Revolution. of a world of additiveconstitution. SilverlessMirrors: Book. pp. and evincing a striking parallel with traditional religious languages. 1955]. pp. in InnovationlRenovation. For a counter- .. trans. 1980). 1976). a refusal of hermeneutics. trans. Wis. and hybridization in his The Boundariesof Genre:Dostoyevsky's and the Traditionsof LiteraryUtopia (Austin. The Cultural Contradictions Capitalism(New York..'" and Matei Calinescu. pp.. Self. 3. Baker. 48-50. Conn. Kaufmann and R. Postmodernism. 1966). "Diaryof a Writer" 107-8. p. 1983). "Answering the Question: What Is Postmodernism?" trans. Lyotard. 1979). 1981). See Fredric Jameson. ed.trans.ed. Hollingdale (New York. Julia Kristeva. Lossof Selfin ModernLiterature and Art (New York. and 12.. see also the discussion of the postmodern self in Charles Caramello. 1980). Richard Howard (New York. 2d ed. Tex. 3-14. pp. (Madison... a "cosmic irony. of 4.." Four Essaysfrom "The and Meaning of Truth"[New York. p. See also her Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection."in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on PostmodernCulture. ed." p. see Wylie Sypher. "Answering the Question. Ill. "Postmodernism?" in Romanticism. "Postmodernism and Consumer Society. 1981). see English Literature:Opening Up the Canon. Harry R. 89-124. 1982). 13.Modernism. Leon S. the Ironic Imagination (Baltimore. Critical Inquiry 9 (Sept. and Cultural Change (Urbana. Hassan on and Sally Hassan (Madison." Critical Inquiry 9 (Sept. 91. and PostmodernAmericanFiction (Tallahassee. 7. "Intellectual History and Defining the Present as 'Postmodern. The last term is Gary Saul Morson's. 9. Wash. 66-69. Leslie Fiedler and Houston A. 199. Wayne Booth makes a larger claim for the currency of irony in postmodern times. 1983). Roudiez (New York. 7. 10. Wis. Alan Wilde. p." in InnovationlRenovation: New Perspectives theHumanities. 5. Jean-Francois Lyotard. esp.. The refusal of depth is. I have discussed some of these problems in The Dismemberment Orpheus:Toward of a PostmodernLiterature."New GermanCritique (Winter 22 1981): 13. and Critical Inquiry 10 (Sept. 11. "Toward a Chronology of Change. Horizons of Assent:Modernism. 49-76.. pp. in the widest sense. for instance. 1971). J. the "penetration" of nature or culture. This pluralistic view. Selected Papers from the English Institute. 1979. Walter Kaufmann. Margaret Waller. "From the One to the Many: Pluralism in Today's Thought. and 142-43. 1981). ed. and Susan Sontag. pp.s.Postmodernism." Georgia Review 37 (Winter 1983): 719-37. See also the perceptive discussion of the politics of the sublime by White. "The Politics of Historical Interpretation: Discipline and De-Sublimation. and her most recent discussion of "the unnameable" in "Psychoanalysis and the Polis. For an elaboration of "indetermanence. 1982): 84-85." Dominick LaCapra. 1982): 124-28." trans. 6. Hal Foster (Port Townsend. and see William James on the affinities between parataxis and pluralism: "It may be that some parts of the world are connected so loosely with some other parts as to be strung along by nothing but the copula and. 1965). "Modernity versus Postmodernity. Against Interpretation(New York. 1982). parody. n. ed. For other views of decanonization." deflating the claims of man's centrality. 112).. See Lyotard. Hassan (Middletown. Daniel Bell. La Conditionpostmoderne: rapportsur le savoir (Paris. Jr. 10. Pa. 341.ed.
will one day be changed into something like a materialized soul." and the responses of White and Michael Riffaterre to it. 1978). 184).. The Will to Power." The New YorkTimes Magazine. the two issues on convention and genre of New LiteraryHistory 13 (Autumn 1981) and 14 (Winter 1983).pp. pp. See Hassan. But see also Jean Baudrillard's version of a senseless p. Morson. Caryl Emerson and Holquist.trans. CriticalInquiry 10 (Dec. Waysof Worldmaking (Indianapolis. 184.J. 23. against Michael Fried. Bakhtin. impregnates it with his own ideal substance and is finally entitled to imagine that one day or another. p. and. Rabelais and His World. 26. 21 Aug. no. James wrote: "The world is One just so far as its parts hang together by any definite connexion. Paracriticisms:Seven Speculationsof the Times (Urbana. See M. See his essay." Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism(New York. After Modern Architecture.pp. who made this prescient. however." in The Anti-Aesthetic. 28. 15. 121-50. 1979). self-reflexive patterns seem also essential to advanced theories of artificial intelligence. 1 (Austin. "Literary Theory as Genre. Bakhtin. without ceasing to be the world. in Critical Exchange 13 (Spring 1983): 1-17. p.. Paul de Man. "LiteraryHistory and Literary Modernity. and Performance Theory. immanence. 11. See. Children of the Mire: Modern Poetryfrom Romanticismto the Avant-Garde(Cambridge. the spirit of ideas" ("The Dehumanizationof Art" and Other Essays on Art. It was Jose Ortega y Gasset. And finally it is growing more and more unified by those systems of connexion at least which human energy keeps framing as time goes on" ("Pragmatism. 1983). And before Ortega. Baudrillard.. It is many just so far as any definite connexion fails to obtain. and Hassan. 18. 1983:23100. creative. 1981). of the performing principle in postmodern art ("Theatre/SIGNS/Performance: On Some Transformations of the Theatrical and the Theoretical. Nietzsche. Booth. 24. 1974). 189-210. Active. University of Texas Press Slavic Series. 20. Mass. x. 29. 126-34." 166). Rabelais. "The Ecstacy of Communication. N. 286. Meg Shore (New York. pp. "A Propadeutic for Literary Change." Innovation/Renovation. 25. 16. "News. "Exploring the Labyrinth of the Mind. See the article on Douglas R. 1983): 43. Ill.. The Boundaries of Genre. 291. See also the forum on Bakhtin. See also Christopher Lasch. 33-34. pp. this terrible outer world will become so saturated with man that our descendants will be able to travel through it as today we mentally travel through our own inmost selves-he finally imagines that the world. 1972). injects it.the winds will blow at the bidding of Ariel. p.trans. N.Y. gnostic statement in 1925: "Man humanizes the world. 1978).. "What Are You Doing After the Orgy?" Artforum(Oct.518 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective statement. the persuasive article of Ralph Cohen. see Paolo Portoghesi. See Regis Durand's defense. p. and Calinescu. The Culture Life of Narcissism:AmericanLife in an Age of DiminishingExpectations(New York. Beyond Genres:New Directionsin LiteraryClassification(Ithaca. Cohen also sees literary change itself as a genre. 213-17). xiii. See. 1982). See. and Octavio Paz. and 27-38. 21. 27. ThePerformingSelf Compositions Decompositions theLanguages and in of Contemporary (New York. p. Paul Hernadi. The Right PrometheanFire. Michael Holquist. 1971). Bakhtin. FourEssaysbyM. See also Richard Schechner.ed. 139-72. pp. 1968]. in the far depths of time. 49. p.."in Innovation/Renovation. Richard Poirier. trans. pp." p. 19. pp. 18-26. James understood this when he said: "Youcan't weed out the human contribution . Helene Weyl [Princeton.. Sex. altho the stubborn fact remains that there is a sensible flux. 10-11. and The DialogicImagination: trans. Culture. xv.. as in Shakespeare's Tempest. 1968). for instance. "From the One to the Many. Critical Understanding:The Powers and Limits of Pluralism (Chicago. Nelson Goodman. for instance." Centrum3 (Spring 1975): 45-64. 1975). Mass. M. Hofstadter's latest work by James Gleick. 22. 17. Helena Iswolsky (Cambridge. what is true of it seems from first to last to be largely a matter of our own creation" ("Pragmatism. Tex. and Literature." 105). p. further. . M. 1971).
the Text." Glyph 7 (1980): 206. Pepper.. I am aware that other thinkers distinguish between "variety"and "subjectivity"of understanding in an effort to limit radical perspectivism." Critical Inquiry 8 (Summer 1982): 723-42. N. 32.J." in Innovation/Renovation. Mass. Ibid.. and genre. 34. Human Understanding:The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts(Princeton. their differences with relativists.. 42. 1982). Victor Turner. 1983): 597-610. even when they disagree on the nature of truth." Critical Inquiry 9 (June 1983): 800. and Metaphors:SymbolicAction in Human Society (Ithaca. 213. Knapp and Michaels. in Knowledge and Human Interests. "La Loi du genre/The Law of Genre. 163. See Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels." Critical Inquiry 9 (Mar. contradict too powerfully the [Romantic] world-view of literature. 38. 211-15 and 366. trans. Edward Said. See Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism. 200. for instance. Thus. "Convention and Meaning: Derrida and Austin.. 1982). Dramas. Bouchard. 41. N.Y. "On Realism's Relativism: A Reply to Nelson Goodman. 1968). p.. can no longer exist. See Critical Inquiry 9 (Sept. Foucault. "Realism. and the subsequent responses in CriticalInquiry9 (June 1983). als 1971). again.Critical Inquiry Spring 1986 519 30. O'Hara's response (pp." and Hirsch. and Technik und Wissenschaft "Ideologie" (Frankfurt am Main. N. . 49-112. 1982). Hirsch concurs with both. Stephen C. and Reality. Goodman and Menachem Brinker agree that belief is "an accepted version" of the world. See Geoffrey Hartman. See Goodman. 1970). 31. See also Booth's lucid discussion of it. "A Reply to Our Critics. 1978). The term "essentiallycontested concept" is developed by W." Brinker. But I wonder why their arguments have failed to eliminate. 36. p. Relativism. Practice:Selected ed. "The Pseudo-Politics of Interpretation. Shapiro (Boston." New LiteraryHistory 14 (Winter 1983): 411. Language. 1942). Jameson. 726-42).. 44. in A Grammar of Motives (New York. see. See also WhatIs Literature?ed.. and the Critic (Cambridge. 5. The ImaginaryLibrary:An Essay on Literatureand Society(Princeton. 1983).Y. 1977). The Political Unconscious:Narrative as a SociallySymbolic (Ithaca. 37.Counter-Memory. 45. 1972). Critical Understanding. pp. pp. 40. preceded both Foucault and Habermas in this large political and logological enterprise. p. "The New Wilderness: Critics as Connoisseurs of Chaos. Kenneth Burke. Gallie in his Philosophy and the Historical Understanding (New York. p. Act 1981). 166. Fields. 39. David Bleich. "Literary Theory in the University: A Survey. Kuhn. The Structureof ScientificRevolutions. Jeffrey Stout.Y." remarks Alvin B. Jacques Derrida.first its enabling beliefs and eventually its institutional manifestations. The relevance of belief to knowledge in general and conventions in particular is acknowledged by thinkers of different persuasions. "If social circumstances . Thomas S. 1974).. Hernadi (Bloomington. This entire issue concerns genre. Richard Rorty and Hirsch find it possible to disagree about the "question of objectivity. Donald F. my emphasis. N. or why. B. Kernan. 87-110.pp. "Revisionary Madness: The Prospects of American Literary Theory at the Present Time" is the title of Daniel T. Ind." which became the theme of a conferenceat the University of Virginia in April 1984. 35. p. and George Bealer. "Beyond Convention?" All appear in New LiteraryHistory 14 (Winter 1983). WorldHypotheses:A Study in Evidence (Berkeley and Los Angeles. also offers vigorous neo-Marxist critiques of knowledge and society.pp. p. Habermas. and E. trans. (Chicago. realism. then the Imaginary Library.. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca." New LiteraryHistory 13 (Autumn 1981): 30. 2d ed. 286. 14. p. D. 43. Jonathan Culler.. 216-20. or at least reduce.J. 1968). The World. Jeremy J. 33. "Against Theory. and see Gerald Graff. Stephen Toulmin. "What Is the Meaning of a Text?" New Literary History 14 (Autumn 1982): 5. Qualityand Concept (Oxford. Essaysand Interviews. 1945). N. for instance.
monetarism." Raritan 1 (Winter 1982): 41-67. 86. 25.trans. n. Gilles Deleuze-seem more subtle in their ideas of "resistance" than their American counterparts. pp. p. In America. while Foster claims a "postmodernism of resistance." p. delicately and profoundly to respect one another's mental freedom: then only shall we bring about the intellectual republic. 51. The Political Unconscious). Even postmodernism. 78. Though "everything is ideological. since the procedures of "mass." KenyonReview. We ought. 1977]). at last." GeorgiaReview 34 (Fall 1980): 600. Fragmentsd'un discoursamoureux(Paris. . Kristeva. Lane [New York. 48. James once more: "No one of us ought to issue vetoes to the other. 1820-1872. "Desire and Dissent in the Postmodern Age. 1955). feminism. Alfred North Whitehead. Baudrillard. 52. Economie libidinale [Paris. 8:79. Ibid. we need still to distinguish between ideologies-fascism. 8. on the contrary. But see also. 1974])." or "postindustrial" society are more advanced in America than in France.520 Ihab Hassan PostmodernPerspective 46. 1977). vegetarianism. Powers of Horror). Lyotard.s. p." pp. Said's critique of Foucault. then only shall we live and let live. "seduction" (Baudrillard. as a political ideology. See A Future for Astyanax: Characterand Desire in Literature (Boston. Lefon inauguralefaite le vendredi 7janvier 1977 (Paris. 56. 1976). their hidden exactions. 27. p." "consumer. Barthes. the language of politics and the discourse of desire constantly seek one another. p. as if the utopian marriage of Marx and Freud could find consummation. 87. 30). Interestingly enough. and Helen R. in speculative as well as in practical things" (W. A few sentences in the paragraph which this sentence concludes have appeared in my earlier essay. 1956). 54. xii). p. beyond this. perhaps paradoxical. 17. 57. Adventuresof Ideas (New York. believes that "the postmodern condition is a stranger to disenchantment as to the blind positivity of delegitimation" (La Condition postmoderne. 1975]). "TheWill to Believe"and OtherEssaysin Popular Philosophy(New York. Barthes. 46. (Boston. ed. In our therapeutic culture.p. Richard Miller [New York. Ibid. The Pleasure of the Text. trans. James. "Travelling Theory. 53.. Mark Seem.. "Psychoanalysis and the Polis. 6-7. as a counterstatement. 50." as we nowadays like to say. 47. does any postmodern pluralist go? 58. and which is empiricism's glory.-between their overt claims. "anti-Oedipus" (Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Barthes. p. 276. Hence the political use of such erotic or analytic concepts as "libidinal economy" (Lyotard." a "counter-practicenot only to the official culture of modernism but also to the 'false normativity' of a reactionary postmodernism" (The Anti-Aesthetic. The Pleasure of the Text. 1979]). pp. "Psychoanalysis and the Polis. How far. Edward Waldo Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes. Robert Hurley. etc. for instance. Anti-Oedipus:Capitalismand Schizophrenia. my translation). "delirium" or "abjection" (Kristeva. will be included in the text. and "the political unconscious" (Jameson. requires discriminations. 55. Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson. abbreviated W. 5 (Winter 1983): 1-18. "bliss"(Roland Barthes. "Parabiography: The Varieties of Critical Experience. ix. p. This is curious. 49. Lyotard.p. 10 vols. then only shall we have that spirit of inner tolerance without which all our outer tolerance is soulless. French thinkers of the Left-Foucault. nor should we bandy words of abuse. All further references to this work. the work of Leo Bersani has addressed such questions as "Can a psychology of fragmentary and discontinuous desires be reinstated? What are the strategies by which the self might be once again theatricalized? How might desire recover its original capacity for projecting nonstructurable scenes?"And it answers them by suggesting that the "desiring self might even disappear as we learn to multiply our discontinuous and partial desiring selves" in language. 1978). De la seduction [Paris. 65. in our words. Kristeva.See also Hassan. 1909-14). 82.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.