Acts of Narrative 9781503620537

This outstanding collection brings together essays that reflect on the nature of narrative, literary criticism, and hist

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Acts of Narrative

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Rachel Bowlby Cathy Caruth Tom Cohen Jacques Derrida Diane Elam Carol Jacobs Alan Liu J. Hillis Miller WJ.T. Mitchell Ronald Paulson Nicholas Royle Ronald Schleifer Dan Shen Henry Sussman


Edited by Carol jacobs and Henry Sussman


For J Hillis Miller, in celebration ofhis unparalleled and unrelenting insight, ethics, justice, teaching, and friendship

Stanford University Press Stanford, California

© 2003 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Acts of narrative I edited by Carol Jacobs and Henry Sussman. p. em. Includes index. ISBN o-8047-4650-8 (cloth : acid-free paper) ISBN o-8047-4651-6 (pbk. :acid-free paper) r. English literature-History and criticism-Theory, etc. 2. American literature-History and criticism-Theory, etc. 3· Narration (Rhetoric) I. Jacobs, Carol. II. Sussman, Henry. 2003 PR2I.A28 820.9' 23-DC21 2003002091 Original Printing 2003 Last figure below indicates year of this printing: 09 o8 07 o6 05 04 03 10 II 12 Typeset by Tim Roberts in n/r3.5 Garamond


Preface: The Place of Narrative

Carol jacobs I


]. Hillis Miller and the Task of the Critic

Henry Sussman 2 Lying Against Death: Out of the Loop

J Hillis Miller


3 Waiting in the Wings



4 Parting Words: Trauma, Silence, and Survival

Cathy Caruth


5 The Other Day: The Interpretation of Daydreams

Rachel Bowlby


6 Difference Behind Similarity: Focalization in Third-Person Center-of-Consciousness and First-Person Retrospective Narration

Dan Shen


7 The "Telepathy Effect": Notes toward a Reconsideration of Narrative Fiction

Nicholas Royle


8 Trackings

Tom Cohen 9 The Rape ofthe Lock: A Jacobite Aesthetics? Ronald Paulson

no 130




The Serpent in the Wilderness: Space, Place, and Landscape in the Eighteenth Century

W]. T Mitchell n Narrative Discourse and a New Sense ofValue:

Meaning and Purpose in the Neoclassical Economics of Alfred Marshall

Ronald Schleifer 12


Sidney's Technology: A Critique by Technology of Literary History

Alan Liu


13 "Le Parjure," Perhaps: Storytelling and Lying ("abrupt breaches of syntax'')

jacques Derrida Notes Index


Preface: The Place ofNarrative Carol jacobs

The landscape "as such" is never given, only one or another of the ways to map it. -].Hillis Miller, Topographies, 6 An act of reading is the space produced by the practice of a particular place. -Michel de Certeau, cited in W. J. T. Mitchell's essay in this volume

We solicited essays from some of the most challenging thinkers in literary theory today, under the proposed title Acts ofNarrative. Narrative, if we are to believe what follows, is everywhere. It greets us at every turn: not only in fiction, poetry, and conventional history, but also in literary history, psychoanalysis, spatial designs, economics, and the conversational exchanges of everyday life. It greets us at every precarious turn, and this is perhaps what ties these essays together, fraught with social and political implications, and haunted by lies, deceit, and the inevitable abyss of death. If each of these essays reads narrative, it is certainly not because they read the same thing or produce the same spaces. Still, gathering them within the same volume suggests that they might, nevertheless, share the same turf, or, to once again read de Certeau's phrase out of context, that they might practice the particular place we have agreed to call narrative. To speak of narrative, and also to speak it, is not, perhaps, unlike the practice of certain landscape artists. We might look to]. M. W Turner in this regard, an exemplary figure in the English school of landscape painting. He was not adverse, and in this he was not alone, to practicing a particular place and to practicing it differently. The Passage of Mount St. Gothard, to take a well-known if hardly random image, tells one story if, in Turner's famous watercolor ("The Passage of Mount St Gothard, taken from the center of the Teufels Bruch [Devil's Bridge]"), one regards the two pack mules making their way laboriously along the mountainside behind a protective wall and another if in the almost identical oil ("The Pass of St Gothard")


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the eye falls on an ascetic religious figure who worships the image of his martyred god at the edge of the precipice. It tells one story if taken from the center of the "Teufels Bruch'' and quite another if it depicts the bridge itself (as in the oil "The Devil's Bridge, St Gothard"). And there is another story of bridges and breaks that the Passage will tell, given time. With respect to the essays at hand it seemed to go, almost without saying, not only that narrative is performance, but that while these essays might be about narrative, they themselves would also be narrative acts. What then is the role of the editors asked to account for the multiplicity of acts to follow? What kind of a story is one called upon to tell? The preface to a book, as its etymology tells us, is a saying beforehand, a saying beforehand that conventionally paraphrases the content of what is to come. But how could one claim to preface performances? Moreover, an edited volume is, necessarily, a confession of sorts (and its cover-up), that singularity of intention can ever pretend to animate the work. And yet what follows is not without its coherence, which is not to say univocity. We might, with Alan Liu, think of it as networking, or perhaps as a patchwork quilt. J. Hillis Miller's essay, "Lying Against Death: Out of the Loop," opens with an epigraph from Jean-Luc Nancy, "death does not consummate existence, one would, rather, have to say that it prevents it from turning into essence." One might be tempted to put this another way to describe the criticism of this generous and provocative writer: Miller's writing does not consummate the literary object that it directly or indirectly presents but rather prevents that object, and shows why it must necessarily prevent it, from turning into essence. And yet over the years we have become spoiled by Miller's absolutely lucid and seemingly straightforward voice that draws us into its orbit, lures us into the complacency of easy understanding, and assures us that we have learned something very definitive from this great business of literary criticism. Still, something always has to be obscured, forgotten, covered over in order for Miller's reader to go on reading. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than when he speaks of lying, as he not infrequently does. In "Lying Against Death" Miller writes about Henry James' novel The Wings ofthe Dove. This aboutness, after all, is the given ofliterary criticism. And yet if his first paragraph concerns anything, it is about the impossibility of a fiction about something. These opening lines are nevertheless exemplary. For, in a pattern repeated several times in the essay, each succeeding sentence rejects, replaces, and rewrites what came before, giv-



ing us the sense of an avalanche in the midst of which we are sliding headily fast, but not fast enough to avoid the inevitable. "The w:'ings ofthe Dove," we are told, "is in 'essence' a novel about death. James in the preface says so, and there is no reason to doubt his word." And yet what we learn all too rapidly is that there is every reason to doubt the word of the critic, even when he himself has written what he is trying to explain. James is no more to be believed than the characters in his novel, whose "social system is based on a set oflies that everyone knows are lies and yet agrees to pretend to believe." Not entirely unlike the world of literary criticism. The w:'ings of the Dove is less about death, about which, it turns out, it is impossible to write, than lying in relation to death. "Lying Against Death," as its title almost promises, teases out the obscure, not easily definable, but many ways in which speech acts in general and lying in particular are inextricably bound up with death in the course of the novel. The expression of the heroine's state along with the relation of the writer to it, Miller reminds us, are linked to insoluble mysteries according to James. And over the next several pages, once again, Miller performs a characteristic slide from one yet to be rejected formulation to the next. The novel is not so much about a dying woman as about the heroine's resistance to death. Moreover, that "defiance of death can only be represented" by way of "indirect presentation." Yet this creature, doomed from the very beginning to death and to be victimized by the society that seems to dote on her, is, Miller tells us, "an extreme danger to all those who have anything to do with her." She draws people away from their '"natural orbits,"' like '"the sinking of a big vessel or the failure of a great business."' It is, no doubt, a frivolous comment, one based on mere accidents of the spelling of proper names. Still, as we are reminded in this essay that James based his main character, Milly, on his cousin "Minny," we cannot help but notice the proximity of"Milly'' not only to the relative but also to the critic. Does the danger "Miller" attributes to the main character also seem to say something of the critical performance that brings, if not disaster, at least disappointment to those who wish to capitalize on a knowledge gained? For Miller "cannot be used in this way." Let us say that his reader has as much chance of coming away with a fortune as Densher at the close of the novel. Diane Elam's piece also reads Henry James's The Wings ofthe Dove. The title to the essay says it all. "Waiting in the Wings" suggests actors prepared to act, prepared to become characters whose set roles they have prac-


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ticed beforehand. Still, no action of that sort, no playing of a role that might be anticipated takes place. And yet, as Elam shows us from the opening line the narrative concerns waiting, waiting of another order. All the main characters wait and it is through this action, which is not quite perfect stillness, that a "consciousness of temporality" which "structures human existence" emerges. Merton Densher and Kate Croy imagine they can control the future, but what they encounter instead is a consciousness of mortality, that of others, and even their own, a sense of a past that will not hold still and a future that cannot be predicted, much less mastered. Elam relates this to the fon-da game of the child in Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle where a more successful control of loss at least seems to take place. Cathy Caruth will invoke the same lines in Freud to narrate a rather different and unexpected story. It is to this passage that her essay will repeatedly return. To be sure, like that Heraclitian river, it is never the same passage twice. For this and other reasons Caruth's piece is full of surprises. She begins with Freud's astonishment. In the pages that precede his turn to the child's game of"fort-da," he speaks in a famous moment of Beyond the Pleasure Principle, of a puzzling encounter with veterans of World War I. Their dreams, rather than fulfilling wishes, as Freud had come to expect, repeat the traumas of their battle experiences. Thereafter, the dreamers wake up into yet another fright, in a concatenation of the repeated trauma. If trauma, as Freud suggests, is a being taken by surprise, how are we to explain that these unusual dreams doubly reenact that experience? Moreover, it would seem that reading, and also the narrative accounts of reading, are especially prone to the unexpected. Thus Caruth makes us aware of Freud's remarkable narratival juxtaposition of wartime trauma with the description of a child's game. And, with respect to the latter, she points to Freud's seemingly random oscillations of interpretation, oscillations that repeat the fon-da movement of the child. But jumps, repetitions, and unpredictable juxtapositions are precisely, one might say, what Caruth's essay is both about and goes about performing. Thus her essay will move from Freud's two scenes in Beyond the Pleasure Principle to an encounter with a child traumatized by the murder of his best friend in Atlanta. And all these partake of yet another leap, that from the death drive to the life drive. Trauma becomes the imperative to awaken, to live, to create. A shift takes place along the way, unexpected in Freud, from an analysis of childhood to a far broader perspective of vast



cultural scope in which trauma becomes the opportunity for the creative acts of making history. The creative act, then, which seemed located in the veteran's awakening into survival, and in the child's game in the wake of its mother's departure, has its repetition in the gesture of Freud's exposition. Freud struggles with the events he reads in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, as he repeats their stories at a distance and thereby creates a new language that enacts the drive for life and a new departure into history. In this essay so filled with surreptitious shifts and seemingly compulsive repetitions, Caruth, too, accounts not only for Freud and the interviews of the traumatized Atlanta youth, but struggles with an event more quietly announced in her essay. Side by side with the more obvious objects of her concern, Caruth repeats, in a sense, the death of Freud's daughter, announced in a footnote of his essay. Caruth too enacts the drive for life. It takes place in the wake of her mother's death, quietly memorialized in an epigraph and footnote. Thus she performs for us, once again, in this echo chamber of textual repetitions, the failure of the mind to grasp an event it must inevitably miss. It is to Freud's narratives and their oscillations that Rachel Bowlby also turns. "The Other Day" explores, to begin with, the role that the residues of our waking hours play in his structurings of the dream and the shifting divisions that Freud marks out between daydreams and "nightdreams." It would be easiest to assume, and Freud often asks us to do so, that they are as different as night and day. Yet if Bowlby sheds light on this question, it is by plunging us into the realm of ambiguities that Freud's texts impose. The two are sometimes alike and sometimes not. For as Bowlby takes us on a wide-flung trajectory through Freud's works we find that the daydream can give significance to the dreams of the night either by contrast or by analogy. Are we to regard the events of the day that make their way into the dream as superficial and transitory, of little or no significance, a transparent cover story that draws attention away from the latent dream thoughts of the night's hallucinatory production? Or are we, rather, to recognize, as Freud not infrequently does, the similarity of the two, a similarity so powerful that the daydream, it too touching on the unconscious, might well serve as a model for our understanding of its counterpart? The complexity of this relationship becomes evident, if hardly transparent, as Bowlby reads Freud reading a scene of the daydream in the fiction of Alphonse Daudet. But what Freud writes in The Interpretation of


Carol jacobs

Dreams he displaces and interprets in The Psychopathology ofEveryday Life. And what Freud writes in the Psychopathology Bowlby rewrites, with irony and relevance to the issue of the dream, with irony and relevance as well to the issue of Freud's ambition. For Freud's multiple misrememberings of the fiction of Daudet, which Bowlby traces out with patience, say a great deal about relations of superiority and dependence, activity and passivity, perhaps not unlike the act of interpretation itself Bowlby is concerned with the rememberings and misrememberings of Freud, whereas Dan Shen theorizes the kind of narrations that Freud produces as he remembers. Her concern is the first-person retrospective narrative and some of the differences in focalization or point of view between such a mode and third-person narratives. What happens, Shen asks, when the narrator sees the world through the eyes of a character? How are we to account for the dual nature of that character's perceptions, both as elements of the story told and as elements of the discourse? When the third-person is the center of consciousness, what latitudes or rather constrictions guide the telling? In the case of a first-person narration the narrative possibilities are suspended between the more conventional retelling from the perspective of the current moment's hindsight and a recounting of matters as they took place in the past. When the two perspectives become confused, when the skill of the author is such that the reader is taken in, suddenly experiencing the world much like the character in earlier times, we have a narration that uses the first-person mode to perform the ambiguities of perception or to obliterate the distinction between present and past. Shen tells her story by turning to Joyce, Fitzgerald, James, and Proust. She cites, comments, and then often rewrites their prose to give us a sense how it might have been otherwise if the focalization had been shifted. If Shen is out to alter the concept of focalization, Nicholas Royle is rather in favor of discarding it altogether. "The 'Telepathy Effect': Notes toward a Reconsideration of Narrative Fiction" alerts us to a flawed story we have been telling ourselves ever since it has been a question of narrative theory, at least since the end of the eighteenth century. This is an "incoherent" story with a "flawed plot-device," a reassuring tale that has all the comforts and certainty of theological belief in an omniscient deity. Indeed the concept of"omniscient narrator" that Royle wishes to dispel finds its etymological and conceptual origins precisely in a religious terminology that describes the all-knowing Christian God. If we have held on to the con-



cept, Royle suggests, it is perhaps because we, too, as readers, have thus been able to partake of that delusive sense of knowledge, assuming "the experience of reading" to assert or presuppose "a fixed and totalizing interpretation." In place of omniscience, Royle suggests "telepathy." It is, in a sense, the shift from dogma to the "uncanny," a term that surreptitiously, as so many of these essays do, returns us to the author who gave that term its most urgent dissemination. For, as Royle tells it, the concept of "omniscient narration" freed the literary critic from any real encounter with psychoanalysis, substituting religious certainty for the uneasy "logic of the unconscious." Historically this takes place just when Freud's thinking about the "impossibility of complete knowledge" should have become an unavoidable obstacle to such thinking. Royle criticizes this flight from the unconscious, but his is no call to the scientific claims of Freud nor to any simple truth psychoanalysis might offer us about the literary text. "Telepathy" operates precisely as a literary force that eludes not only the fixations of religion but also those of psychoanalysis as scientific methodology. It also eludes the promise of those other, related terms, "point of view" and "focalization" which presuppose a reducible simplified '"unitariness' of the figures of 'author,' 'narrator' and 'character' alike." We get some sense of the telepathic literary force as Royle takes us through passages from Dickens, Woolf, and Rushdie, by way of Derrida's "being-two-to-speak." Being two-to-read is perhaps what Tom Cohen solicits-bringing us, as he does, to read "race" and reread "race" in Faulkner. Moreover, if in very different ways Caruth, Shen, and Royle tell of profound disturbance to any narratival recuperation of the past, Tom Cohen shows that it is only with such disturbance that epistemo-political transformation takes place. The texts in question are Go Down Moses and its preamble in the form of the story "Was,'' also "Pantaloon in Black." Cohen's act of reading concentrates on the tale of a runaway slave. In a story seemingly placed in the historical, representational frame of an antebellum plantation, at the site, then, of a conventional literary reading as well, Cohen remarks on the description of a hunt. This hunt for the slave, a performance ritually repeated by the characters of the story, is also a story that oscillates between and dissolves two models of reading. The runaway slave escapes from predetermined meanings and although ritually returned to them, he creates the excess of the "black hole" and of the "unrepresentable." This race enacts a rupture in the catastrophic history of the


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American South. It alters the way we read, say, the term "race," but many other terms as well, terms that have a peculiar resonance in the passages Cohen reads. The slave acts as signifiers run wild in a ritual of mastery and its disruption to be repeated endlessly. "Was," then, that referentless past tense verb, and the other works Cohen reads, would not be about the South, would not be about the particular time period that precedes the Civil War. It would transvaluate the apparent decline of Faulkner into realism, historicism, representation. What Cohen terms black reading has a transformative power that moves beyond any literalization of race in the comforting form of identity politics or a regionalist program of Americanists. It brings us to a new sense of magical realism and to a literature no longer American, but of the Americas. Cohen writes of political transformation that takes place as anteriority, repetition, and other historico-narrational gestures lose ground. Ronald Paulson, however, tells of social struggles in which the historical frame of synchronicity seems crucial. "The Rape of the Lock: A Jacobite Aesthetics?" is a highly complex juggling act. It puts into play not only the three authors named in the title, but also a host of other figures all vying for a space in which to rise and fall, not without some unexpected collisions. Thus, if a reading of Pope's Rape of the Lock is Paulson's immediate concern, there is no possibility of attentive analysis of literature here without taking into account critical political and religious stakes. Shaftesbury, Whig, anti-Tory, anti-Jacobite, is allied with an aesthetics that arises out of British empiricism and which inevitably speaks of matters theological and social. This is an aesthetics that critiques a Christian deity regarded as tyrannical and punitive and replaces it with a classical Platonic form of far less authoritarian nature. Along the way the parallel figure of the monarch is replaced by the many, or, at least, an oligarchy of connoisseurs and critics. The Jacobites on the other hand would have reversed all this, a return to the monarchy, and to a non-aesthetics linked, not to the reception and support by the many but to God and a poetics based on the poet. Where then, Paulson asks, are we to situate Pope in all this? While distancing himself from Shaftesbury, in Rape of the Lock Pope gives us a narrative of Christian fall and redemption, a religious redemption allied with hopes of political restoration. This is an aesthetics of the fall rather than of the ideal: and the redemption of the living fallen woman is ultimately through poetry. This is a return then to a poetics based on the au-



thority of the poet and on God, but also on the monarch, so that Pope's aesthetics of the fall and the blemish is also another politics. Swift offers a counter-aesthetics to Pope's Rape, rewriting passages and parodying especially the thematized inability therein "to tolerate a human flaw-a blemish of the ideal, an acknowledgement of the Fall." For whereas Pope seems to "[aestheticize] the human condition," Swift dismisses the possibility of an art whose aesthetics could bring about redemption. Within this constellation of positions, despite the more obvious grounds for difference, Paulson goes on to read the correspondences between Pope and what Hogarth is about in The Analysis ofBeauty. Whereas the blemish in Pope calls out for redemption through poet and God, the flaw in Hogarth contributes to the beauty of its object. Thus both Pope and Hogarth reject a Shaftesburian aesthetics of ideal harmony for an "aesthetics of the blemish." Pope does so in the expectation of a redemption, whereas Hogarth chooses rather to celebrate the variety of fallen nature. W ]. T. Mitchell returns us to Hogarth's "The Analysis of Beauty." "The Serpent in the Wilderness" traces the serpentine and spiral line of the eighteenth century less to represent what took place there, less to claim the form's universal application, than as a path to meditating the concept of the spatial design of a period in general, while yet taking into account the "very specific circumstances of a national culture at a defining moment." Passing by way of a narrative description of Hogarth's work, Mitchell rethinks the serpentine in relation to a topography that has crucial social and political implications. It has critical narrational implications as well, within the movement of Mitchell's writing. For the serpentine is a nationalistic mark of British liberty, on the one hand, but also a commentary on the enclosure movement; a celebration of the English countryside, but also a rejection of the specificity of English place that would suggest, a line that figures British colonial expansion as well. The sinuous form of Hogarth's curiosity and beauty becomes the unfixable line of Mitchell's argument. For Schleifer, as for Cohen, Paulson and Mitchell, it is history that cannot be ignored, though once again, on very different grounds. Ronald Schleifer's "Narrative Discourse and a New Sense of Value" takes up Alfred Marshall's Principles ofEconomics, first published at the end of the nineteenth century. This is work that moves from classical economics to "neoclassical" or "marginal" economics. That shift has much resonance with conceptual revolutions we tend to think of as more recent. Thus as


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Schleifer reads Marshall, the names not only of Virginia Woolf, but also ]. Hillis Miller, Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Joseph Goux, and Jean Baudrillard echo through the essay. Marshall's economics leaves behind a "systematic presentation of meaning," for the question of the way in which desire motivates us to act. He is concerned, not with simple utility but with "marginal utility," with that which induces us, just barely induces us, to purchase, to choose one thing rather than another. The way we apprehend value is transformed. In an economics that will stress exchange value rather than inherent value, it is desires that tend to define value and they operate in a system of substitutions. Neoclassical economics does attempt to quantifY, to establish a mathematical accounting. But side by side with this insistence on science, this is Schleifer's point, '"alternating' two modes of apprehension," as he thinks the motivations of desire in marginal utility, Marshall is inextricably bound to "particularities of historical detail." That is to say that Marshall's account makes "time a constituent element in the analysis of value." Neoclassical economics takes place through "story-telling and narrative." Understanding as narrative replaces positivism and a "categoreal mode of comprehension." History here is no fixed temporal structure, but rather that which marks the complexity of the new economics as configuration and relation. It "complicates systematic reasoning" in which everything, the miscellaneous, is constantly changing, in which subordination to principles or abstract meaning is no longer possible. If storytelling is crucial to neoclassical economics in Schleifer's reading, it is no less critical, Alan Liu tells us, to literary history. "Sidney's Technology'' is a story about narratology, more specifically about how we create literary histories and what the difference is between the literary histories of the past and "the so-called 'new literary history.'" Taking up texts from the sixteenth century to the present, but concentrating on readings from Sidney's Apology, by thinking of literary history as a communications system, Liu scrutinizes "from the perspective of contemporary technology" the way in which literary history is produced. Conventional "literary history is [first of all] the management of presentations of literature." This "management" wards off the threat of a literal understanding, an "unmediated reading" in which the perception of the work might immediately call forth its essence. This repudiation of the immediately understandable is the origin of literary history, and literary history, Liu argues, is therefore what literature itself has always been.



Liu turns to Greimas' structural semantics to show (or tell) us just how such management of literal presentation might be understood. The same schemas that apply to literature, schemas of"narrative action ... [as] communications transmission," also apply to the way in which different histories tell their tales. What emerges from this is that literary history comes forth as our sense of tradition. Still, a literal presentation of literature remains a threat even in the literary history that tries to contain it. But Liu locates the meta-management of that threat in the academy, in "the communicational situation of the classroom." Historical consciousness is "what we mean by education in the humanities," and history is that which denies the literal; and thus "denies us our present." Liu, no less than the literature he describes others describing, no less than literary history, no less than educators in the classroom, tells us a story with many layers. Ifliterary history thus socializes representations of literature, there is a general "pragmatics of culture" that meta-manages all that went before. This has usually taken place in the name of national culture in which socialization takes place. Still something new appears on the horizon-something carried out by "deconstructive, culturist, and multiculturalist research agendas" alike. The metaphor Liu chooses for it is no longer transmission but "networking." It is not entirely clear who authored the concluding if not conclusive essay. We solicited a piece from Jacques Derrida. We are publishing the pages that the postal carrier delivered in response. So many narrators, authors, critics, characters, witnesses, perjurers, and perjuries in the mix here: Jacques Derrida, to be sure, but also Henri Thomas, author of the novel Le Patjure, its narrator, Stephane Chalier, the novel's main character, "who [like Henri Thomas] was no stranger to the real person'' Paul de Man, de Man whom both Jacques Derrida andJ. Hillis Miller counted as a friend, and J. Hillis Miller whose theories of narrative, lying, and anacoluthon, breach the text from beginning to end. To simplifY: the narrator, impossible narrator, Jacques Derrida, tells us that in the late seventies Paul de Man, uncharacteristically linking knowledge, reading, and life, told him, "If you wish to know a part of my life, read Holder/in in America." Henri Thomas's Holder/in in America subsequently became part of the novel The Perjury/Perjuror. A question of lapse in memory, perhaps, the inevitable breach in the thinking of a subject never identical to itself over time, it tells of Stephane Chalier, who had forgotten himsel£ "Hospitalized and almost blind" (13), he stands accused of perjury-of entering a second marriage while neither admitting to nor


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terminating his first. The tale has remarkable resonance with anacoluthon as Miller describes it in writing on Proust in Black Holes, with its breaches in syntax, shifts in subject, interruptions of memory: A shift in subject in Thomas's narration such that the narrator as witness, as acolyte, substitutes for and is called upon to assume the guilt of the friend. But the story that Thomas's narrator tells, it too, is also not identical to itself. Not only because of, as de Man insisted, its relation to a "real" life, but also because its "oblique object," as Derrida cannot help but remind us, is not only that of the young Paul de Man, but also the accompanying story of and storytelling surrounding the "de Man affair" of more recent years. It is this unreadable and impossible story that the narrator does not tell, but asks us, its readers, to interpret. To be sure there have been many versions of it well before this provocation: perhaps none so blindly telling as the oil on canvas by Mark Tansey entitled "Derrida Queries de Man." It appeared as a postcard some years back (a very different postcard from that which Derrida sends). The setting is Turner's (the painter so critical to Miller's brilliant volume Illustration) "The Passage of Mount St. Gotthard, taken from the centre of the Teufels Bruch": Tansey practices this particular space differently. We find ourselves set into the mock Romantic, faux sublime, of lofty yet peakless mountains that are endlessly inscribed with almost unreadable fragments of text, divided by a treacherous abyss. Human figures which the painting's title names Paul de Man and Jacques Derrida appear at the edge of a precipice, over which the latter is jettisoning the former. Precariously poised, de Man has only a single leg to stand on. What does it mean to be the oblique object of a representation? Is this "oil on canvas" a stranger to the real persons it seems to portray? Who is telling this tale, we might ask. Does Tansey not risk here, not only a bridge to, but also a certain rupture (what the title of Turner's watercolor calls a "Bruch") of memory? What part of their lives could he possibly have known or understood? Was theirs not rather the performance of a pas de deux or even of a pas de deux? How the devil does this work of art destined to become a postcard position itself, politically? What is allegory, what is narrative? Why must all of this be left up in the air? Why must it be what we tend to call a cliffhanger?



]. Hillis Miller and the Task of the Critic Henry Sussman


If anything in the world of literature, of text, may rightly be characterized as a Thing, it is surely Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project (Das Passagen- Werk): not a history, not a treatise, not even strictly a sourcebook, for it also delivers Benjamin's comments, not a work of criticism-in its utter disjointedness, not even, properly, a work. The Arcades Project may well be described as a Thing that confronts us in its arbitrariness, its Geworftnheit, its Thrownness, 1 its irreducible and irrefutable materiality. Its aggressive repudiation of any prior known or recognized genre qualifies it to be the literary counterpart of an exile. Its attenuated emergence from the past, historical commonplace, memory, and nothingness thus parallels, uncannily, its author's respective exiles: from his native city, his homeland, Judaism, the intellectual communities of his elective affinity, his families (both by birth and by marriage, his class, and, ultimately, even his most shockingly disclosed expectations concerning experience. The Arcades Project is an uncanny simulacrum, like the dollhouse in Edward Albee's Tiny Alice or like the backup file that my computer, autonomous of my volition, will create of this essay as I compose it, a simulacrum of action taking place simultaneously with its call into Being, in real time, in virtuality. Over the same thirteen years, during which Walter Benjamin's life advances toward its seemingly inevitable annihilation, a life that proceeds by the systematic withdrawal of the socioeconomic and even material underpinnings that


Henry Sussman

made it possible, The Arcades Project comes to occupy a space and set of logical, generic, disciplinary representational conditions that make it manifestly impossible. The phenomenon ofWalter Benjamin and the composition of The Arcades Project, whatever it might be-and this is a major question-are inseparable. Although Benjamin's progressive loss of everything he ever valued, to whatever degree of his own connivance, can only have been excruciating, his textual double, The Arcades Project, emerges into Being and persists solely on the ground of an impossible set of assertions. In their utter impossibility, in an intransigence endowing cultural history and criticism and thinking itself with an unprecedented dynamic and flow resides the only positivity that can be said to have emerged from Benjamin's tortured existential trajectory. The Arcades Project is a Thing, I started to say, one of those bizarre and even humorous composites, like the hat that Charles Bovary is fated to wear into his new classroom at the outset of the novel named after his spouse (so imprudent in collusion with her drives) or like Kafka's Odradek: At first glance it looks like a flat star-shaped spool for thread, and indeed it does seem to have thread wound upon it; to be sure, they are only odd, broken-off bits of thread, knotted and tangled together, of the most varied sorts and colors. But it is not only a spool, for a small wooden crossbar sticks out of the middle of the star, and another small rod is joined to that at a right angle. By means of this latter rod on one side and one of the points of the star on the other, the whole thing can stand upright as if on two legs. 2

The Arcades Project, too, is utterly anomalous. It arises to fill an impossible task, the reconfiguration of nineteenth-century Paris and the experience of living in it under the aura of the epistemological, cultural, and, yes, political formations that arose in its aftermath. It may well be easier for us to acknowledge this dream of imaginative reconstitution when an author of fiction, perhaps of magical realism, assigns it to a character-as when Jorge Luis Borges has his consummate scholar of the peninsular Golden Age, Pierre Menard, compose several strategic passages of Don Quixote 3 without having read the novel-than it is for us to imagine the act of the textual reconstitution of Paris during the Second Empire that was achieved by an actual scholar, Walter Benjamin. The Arcades Project assembles an incompatible array of materials, whose composite effect is completely to disqualify one another. Benjamin, in a strategy reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan's memorable analysis of the first page of the New York Times, 4 not only places historical firsthand accounts of the developments and events from

J Hillis Miller and the Task ofthe Critic


the period of his interest, literary improvisations on the same motifs, popular documents, such as brochures and handbills, and historical, sociological, and critical retrospections of a much later provenance, directly alongside each other. He makes sure to cite witnesses and analysts whose attitudes toward the unfolding developments could not be more antithetical. One of Benjamin's most cunning strategies in composing the Arcades is the subsequent disclosure of the political ramifications of works and assertions initially cited in a milieu of purported neutrality, "repressive tolerance," or "historical objectivity." Fourier and Grandville, introduced in the early Convolutes as endearing, spacey avatars of early nineteenth-century expansionism, eventually emerge, through Toussenel, whom they influenced, as early harbingers of the first, fin-de-siecle National Socialism. In keeping with the principle of textual openness, which is an ethical and existential as well as compositional article of faith behind the Arcades, Benjamin freely mixes, with the sparest commentary, akin to the minimalist nods and grunts comprising the analyst's primary responses in psychodynamic psychotherapy, the formulations of his beloved radicals-whether Blanqui, Saint-Simon, Marx, Engels, or Adorno-with those of the protoFascists. The textual openness that affords this ongoing, quasi-systematic incompatibility, one recognizable to anyone fortunate enough to have experienced the radical democracy of]. Hillis Miller's classroom, is both a compositional principle and a credo of unabashed belligerence. It is the measure of Benjamin's ethics that he answered systematic social segregation, humiliation, and genocide with what is at most a strategy of generic and compositional belligerence. Benjamin's call for an utterly unbounded text, an array of articulation so open and receptive that it becomes the sky across which the constellation configures its inevitable but belated message, is largely what has made him, for a good thirty years already, so welcome to text-based thinkers, whether deconstructionists or rhetorical critics: "The dialectical image is an image that emerges suddenly, in a flash. What has been is to be held fast-as an image flashing up on the now of its recognizability. The rescue that is carried out by these means-and only by these-can operate solely for the sake of what in the next moment is irretrievably lost." 5 This performance, as well as assertion, of largely laissez faire but strategically interrupted compositional receptivity, the only milieu receptive to the literal brilliance of the dialectical flash, cannot, however, be of enormous consequence to cultural critics, for whom intellectual work is a readout of preconceptions, however complex or subtle they may be.


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Readers whose results tally with the principles of the disciplines that prompted them to undertake the reading, readers who discover in their research the results already inscribed in their premises, can find in Benjamin only an odd bird, both the inveterate exile who lived such an inconclusive life, in several senses of the word, and the textual amalgam, the Arcades, that functioned as his secret sharer and uncanny double for more than a quarter of that life.


The contemporary critic possessing demonstrable theoretical sensibility is, minimally, at once enough the philosopher to attach her reasonings to broader issues and arguments that have emerged at the level of the conceptual operating system maintained by that discipline and a poet, in at least in two senses: an observer steeped in the history, sensibility, and substantive and formal judgments of modern Western aesthetics, not to mention a writer aiming often, if not in every sentence, at the Baudelairean "miracle ... of a poetic prose" 6 -thus continuing the writerly project common, in different ways, to the Athenaeum, nineteenth-century French prose poetry, logical analysis, and the Frankfurt School. Yet through the odd conjunction between the New Criticism and deconstruction's implosion of the arguments and practices they share in minute attention to the turns of phrase and argument at the core of textual exegesis, the contemporary critic has also become a close reader: a master of spin and nuance who throws overarching concepts and operations to the wind. In brief, the emergence of values and attitudes embodied by the close reader as an interest, if not a persona, to stand alongside the poet, the philosopher, and the critic, may well stand as the most significant single intellectual development (if we truck in such units) to have emerged in the post-World War II years. The benighted semblable or contemporary who sets about even a pedestrian work of criticism thus at once has about her something of the poet, the philosopher, and the close reader. These writerly postures may, in important senses, oppose as well as complement one another. And we have not yet dared to formulate the heart of criticism. It may emerge that criticism, in its occasional setting and thrust, its fabrication of a throwaway framework for the integration of linguistico-cultural phenomena, its circulation back to a magnetic, fatal constellation of consecrated writers, is merely yet another competing script to be set alongside philosophy, poetry,

]. Hillis Miller and the Task of the Critic and close reading. If this is so, we really are in a stew. How is the contemporary worker in the field of cultural reception and dissemination to differentiate and dance between these registers in her own appropriate writerly practice? Especially when the multiplicity of registers and the tensions between them may never have been made explicit? And if much of our writing is laden with the overlap between seemingly similar writerly registers, which nonetheless bear imperatives and emphases that are slightly-but tellingly-different, what of the professionalization that, by virtue of its internal needs and momentum, would presume to categorize us and our work in categories far neater than our writing allows?

3 As opposed to the poet, the philosopher, and the close reader, the critic orchestrates, out of stirrings in the intellectual and cultural worlds, discursive occasions of a homemade nature and of limited scope and application. A relative of Levi-Strauss's bricoleur,l the critic fashions a reading of cultural phenomena that may be close, but not only close, out of the materials at hand: a compelling artifact, the conceptual frameworks that cry out to her or him, a moment that not only stands out but that furnishes a discursive occasion. Criticism, as it emerges to me in the context of discursive design and registers, is above all an occasional script. It arises to declare, articulate, and bestow an occasion. The occasion may consist in the praise or censure of a development, or the marking of a cultural phenomenon. The performative that is inevitably entailed in close reading is of a specific, highly formal nature. The performative of criticism varies with the occasion, itself a creation, or demon, of the critic. Writing from a series of perspectives that vary, like the perches of a sniper, over the long haul, the critic nonetheless assembles a collection, or manifold, of decisive artists and telling artifacts that have been formative to her sensibility and its occasional script. Like a sociopathic shark, the critic circles back to the scenes of her monumental aesthetic and intellectual feeds. The result of this retrospective circulation is not so much a canon or fixed body of authorized artifacts with limited access as a constellation of generative modes of thought, each itself in a state of flux or becoming. The sparkling illumination issuing from this constellation is the critic's luster, the contribution resulting from her writing habit, her very identity, albeit shifting and evolving over time. The critic works out of an occasion and assembles, by varying tools


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and means, a distinctive landscape. There is a science-fiction dimension to every mature critic's output: each has founded her own intellectual country. The critic's performance includes tribute. We are drawn to the country the critic founds because the tributes resounding within its borders ring true to our intellectual and cultural needs and aspirations. From Benjamin and Blanchot to J. Hillis Miller, this collectivity of provocative, whether inspiring or degrading, artifacts and artists presides over the critical obsession. With strangeness and exorbitant fascination, critics issue a summons, what Blanchot would term an "exigency." A combination of unresolvable anxiety and warm familiarity, the Freudian Uncanny pervades the place to which the critic, ever mindful of this aesthetic aura, hurries with the resolve to stay put as long as possible. Every critic attends to her singular chorus of sirens. From their fateful song, s/he reads out the occasion that will frame the new project to which a batch of critical script will be consecrated. The critic will do anything to assure the noteworthiness and coherence of this occasion. The philosophical vocation of correcting and noting the progress and new trigonometry of a conceptual operating system flies out the window when it no longer advances the critical occasion. This is in no way to imply that critics make bad philosophers. On the contrary, the philosophical precision that one finds in the commentaries of a Blanchot or a Miller often shed new illumination, for they have broken free of the operating system's persistent momentum and overarching Gestalt. But it is the occasion that prevails in the work of criticism, a pretext conjured silently and enigmatically by a configuration of resonant texts and artifacts comprising the critic's work and very signature. The critic circles back to her motley crew of usual suspects. If a critic achieves the magic of enabling us to see the world through another set of eyes, undeniably acute eyes that impart the breathtaking aura of a distinctive vision, it is largely owing to the trajectory in which s/he takes leave from her own formative and beloved works only to return to them under some unpredictable pretext. If we follow a critic through the maze of these abrupt leave-takings and recuperations, it is because we learn something unsettling and memorable at every turn. It may seem that J. Hillis Miller passes the past dozen years or so in the company of some of his longtime and familiar literary friends, that his "retakes," literal reprises, could not possibly venture far from earlier encounters. Yet even a casual survey of the remarkable output of this period indicates that in the course of his mean-


Hillis Miller and the Task ofthe Critic


derings away from and back toward some of the major sources of his critical inspiration, he is surveying contemporary critical theory's impact upon ongoing literary concerns including narrative and perspective, enlarging the theater of operation within literary criticism of such approaches as deconstruction and rhetorical reading, whose importance he was early to note and assimilate into his own inscription, and fitting out new technologies and discursive formats for the task of informed cultural exegesis. This is a substantial project, especially given the sustained intensity of the earlier studies on which it is based, some going back four decades now, a labor whose breadth and depth easily justifY the multiplicity of viewpoints converging in the following essays. It makes utter sense for Proust to play a significant role in introducing Topographies, 8 a work in which Miller derives inspiration from some of the authors pivotal to his early Victorian and novelistic explorations: Dickens, Tennyson, Hopkins, and James figure prominently in Miller's project of literary and cultural mapping, along with Kleist, a more recent interest. In large measure, Topographies is Miller's excursion into literary space, although on a wider than Blanchotian scale. The power of the conventions of mapping and the projection of place names on the place are so great that we see the landscape as though it were already a map, complete with place names and geographical features. The place names seem to be intrinsic to the places they name. The names are motivated. By a species of Cratylism they tell what the places are like.... Place names make a site already the product of a virtual writing, a topography, or, since the names are often figures, a "topotropography." With topotropography, the act of mapping, goes topology, the knowledge of places. This book investigates a cluster of related concepts as they gather around the central question of topography. How do topographical descriptions or terms function in novels, poems, and philosophical texts? Just what, in a given text, is the topographical component and how does it operate? The other topics in the cluster include the initiating efficacy of speech acts, responsibility, political or legislative power, the translation of theory from one topographical location to another, the way topographical delineations can function as parable or allegory, the relation of personification to landscape, or, as Thomas Hardy puts it, "the figure in the landscape." (4)

The occasion of Topographies is a map, at once of certain spatial issues in literature and of Miller's singular aesthetic and methodological sensibilities. The compositional principle of the work, introduced in the passage


Henry Sussman

above is one of clustering: the occasion that Miller creates by means of this collection is a coincidence between certain space-critical figures and issues and a cluster of texts in which these tropisms and allegories play themselves out. Miller returns to artifacts and authors whose significance has been laid bare to him in different contexts. A new framework crystallizes out of materials largely familiar. One could indeed argue here that the occasion on which this critical work arises is tantamount to and coterminous with the combinatory clusters of texts, tropes, and theoretical themes that it encompasses. Topographies appeared only four years before a joint project that Miller authored with Manuel Asensi, Black Holes I J Hillis Miller; or, Boustrophedonic Reading. 9 Sociopolitical issues, including the role ofhigher education under late capitalism and the contemporary cultural impact of cybernetics, occupy Miller's substantial contribution. It cannot surprise us that another Proust emerges in the pages of a critical work arising to a somewhat different discursive occasion. This is a virtual Proust, an author not only to whom space was crucial, and redolent of literary potential, but whose endlessly contradictory, expansive, and divergent drafts prefigured fractal mathematics and the space of the Internet and the World Wide Web. This revised Proust may well be an extension of the one in Topographies, whose place names constituted "a site already the product of a virtual writing." The freedom that Miller exercises in the later work is in spinning out the implications of this alien, if not entirely unprecedented, script. The form of the Recherche, I claim, may be understood by analogy with the graphing of fractals. A fractal is a simple formula that can be represented geometrically, though in a paradoxical or non-Euclidian form .... The chief particularity of fractals ... is their property of "self-similarity." This means that smaller and smaller parts of the whole repeat the pattern of the whole, down to the infinitely small. "A fractal," says Lauwerier, "is a geometrical figure in which an identical motif repeats itself on an ever diminishing scale." Even unimaginably small parts of the whole still repeat the pattern of the whole .... This controlled randomness, as Lauwerier shows, is related to what is called "deterministic chaos." ... A fractal incorporating "deterministic chaos" into the formula it graphs will involve both a high degree of statistical self-similarity and also a high degree of unpredictability and discontinuity. A tiny difference introduced into the numbers setting the parameters of the generating formula will sometimes produce large unexpected differences in the resulting geometrical figure when it is graphed. (349-51)

When the occasion for Miller's writing becomes black holes, which are at

]. Hillis Miller and the Task of the Critic


once sublime lacunae that open up in systematic thought and administration and the very precondition for writing and knowledge in an age of globalization and flows of enterprise and meaning on a galactic scale, fractals present themselves as a fortuitous figure for the inscription that the situation demands. The fragmentation, synecdoche, and miniaturization that fractals occasion are familiar to us from other contexts and works, for example, from German Idealism and Romantic theory, but the particular scale of the "unexpected differences" produced by minuscule changes on the fractal level is singular to this particular trope. The image of Proust that emerges in a fractal universe is far less familiar and reassuring than the topographer who scores the Recherche with a map of modernist experimentation and endeavor. What is at stake in Miller's writing here is even grander than the literary production of Proust and its cultural reception; it is no less than the modality of writing and knowledge that comes into being with the reconfiguration of rhetoric, with the emergence of singular and unprecedented tropisms. How is Proust's Recherche organized like a fractal? The Recherche, like a fractal, is organized according to a principle of self-similarity. It is, however, self-similarity of the second kind, that is, similarity with a difference, with unexpected and unpredictable irregularities. It might be better to call it "self-dissimilarity." The stories that organize the large-scale patterns of Marcel's life ... are echoed, though never exactly, in ever-reduced versions ... down to small-scale episodes like the death of Bergotte followed by Albertine's lie .... At a lower level still would be the brilliant metaphorical comparisons that make up so much of the stylistic texture of the Recherche. ... Lower still is the level of word echoing word, beneath that again the level of the letter. At the level of the letter, the reader encounters something similar to Marcel's inability ever to be sure or not whether Albertine is lying. (359) The comparison of the Recherche with stochastic fractals nevertheless gives the reader a way of understanding why an attempt to write about the Recherche does not lead to complacency except in those who are able to fool themselves, as Marcel is so inveterately fooled, for example, into assuming that Albertine must be either lesbian or non-lesbian. If you know the Recherche at all well, when you are presenting a reading of one episode or passage (and there is no reading of any worth that does not single out individual passages for analysis) you are always uneasily aware that if you had chosen another equally salient passage you would have gotten a significantly different result.... The Recherche was in principle unfinishable. It would always have been possible to add more material, more short or long interpolations. These would not have repeated anything already said. They would have fitted in with it in the odd, mind-twisting way each part of a stochastic frac-


Henry Sussman

tal fits the whole. To use the figure of the fractal ... is, since fractals are part of the new computer space, an example of the way new kinds of telecommunication transform our sense of literature by giving us new models for the formal property of!iterary works. (361-63)

A new figure, the fractal, configures a new space and model of spatiality, within whose boundaries emerges a relatively new Proust. The transition from topographical map to fractal mapping signals a sea change in Miller's work from an academic rhetorical criticism to a still-rhetorical metacritique directed to the sociopolitical configurations that Deleuze and Guattari address in the contrast they draw between various authoritarian formations and the schizo worldview. The fractal Proust of Black Holes is a radical mutation that results when a quantitative change, in this case in the degree of fragmentation and miniaturization, transforms itself into a qualitative revolution. This fractal Proust emerges when Miller's customary rhetorical analysis of the past two decades achieves a significantly broader systematic purview and scope. A revolution in the occasion of criticism produces a radical, hitherto unrecognizable Proust. Maurice Blanchot, by the same token. The occasion of critical writing redefines its literary properties, even when they are so familiar that the critic is on intimate terms with them. As in the case of Miller's reading of Proust, a gravitation toward the purview of systematicity is tantamount to a paradigm shift at the level of occasion. At the same time that Blanchot illuminates his exegeses of a bewildering multiplicity of cultural artifacts with an exquisite and erudite philosophical sensibility, he introduces us into a cluster, or webwork, of telling authors. And, as with Miller, the volumes of his critical work appeal, again and again, to a charmed circle of authors and critics, including Holderlin, Nietzsche, Kafka, Rilke, Mallarme, Heidegger, and Beckett, yet what inevitably summons them into being is an occasion marking them as true criticism. The Space of Literature 10 and The Gaze of0rpheus 11 contribute to Blanchot's unprecedented and as yet unequalled phenomenology of writing. In a critical work of marked philosophical sophistication, Blanchot marshals his polymorphous reading in a survey of the possible spatiotemporal, experiential, epistemological, ontological, pathological, and writerly conditions of writing. Such keywords as "exigency," "solitude," and "death" join a spare but profound vocabulary of the terms and tropes that condition writing in an aesthetically, rhetorically, and philosophically critical way, and trace its weaving and play. By the moment of The Infinite Conversation, 12 much of whose contents were written

]. Hillis Miller and the Task ofthe Critic


contemporaneously with the essays in the other two volumes, the critical occasion has shifted slightly. The writers and tropes that Blanchot has traditionally favored reappear, in an inquiry addressing writing's engagement with systematicity and the impact of systems and systems theory upon writing. The change in torque with regard to clustered authors and textual dynamics is slight, but tangible. This kind of readerly adaptation is what marks Blanchot, indelibly, as a critic, however remotely he wanders, on occasion, from this role. To speak of a contemporary writer as a man who went into ecstasy, engaged in irreligion, praised debauchery, replaced Christianity with Nietzscheanism and Nietzscheanism with Hinduism, after having hung around surrealism (I resume some well-intentioned accounts), is to offer thought as a spectacle and create a fictional character with little concern for the niceties of truth .... The limit-experience is the response that man encounters when he has decided to put himself radically in question .... It is a movement of contestation that traverses all of history, but that at all times closes up into a system, at other times pierces the world to find its end in a beyond where man entrusts himself to an absolute term .... Let us note, however, that this passion of negative thought does not merge with skepticism. (203-4)

The limit-experience emerges, early on in the mega-essay of the same title, as a framework for the observation of and participation in writing's asystematic features and implications. There is a slight but discernible turn away from Blanchot's critical persona as philosophical aesthete to that of systematic critic. The Marquis de Sade emerges from this repositioning more as the demon and victim of a new social order than as the avatar of modern debauchery (222-29). Nietzsche becomes a theoretician of the text rather than the avenging angel of negativity (162-68). Mallarme, within the framework of this occasion, becomes the architect of the Work more than the practitioner, par excellence, of imagism (258-62). In The Infinite Conversation Blanchot matches the philosophical oversight that he attains in The Writing of the Disaster: 13 "The limit-experience is the experience that awaits this ultimate man, the man who one last time is capable of not stopping at the sufficiency he has attained: the desire of he who is without desire, the dissatisfaction of he who is 'wholly' satisfied .... The limit-experience is the experience of what is outside the whole when the whole excludes every outside; the experience of what is to be attained when all is attained and of what is to be known when all is known: the inaccessible, the unknown itself" (205). Yet this project is merely one more critical en-


Henry Sussman

counter within an infinite conversation. Grand philosophical mind that he is, Blanchot continues in the occasion-centered reconfiguration of cultural resources that marks him, indelibly, as a critic, a consummate one. We who stumble on between the venues of the infinite conversation must seek the guidance of the Benjamins, Blanchots, and Millers as we persist in the enervated vocation of criticism.

4 The occasion is both the determining framework of critical inscription and the wizardry, always marginally elusive, by which the authentic critic's formulations ring true. Its theorization is decisive for apprehending the cultural intervention that the critic is driven to make. The critic, let us say J. Hillis Miller, leaves himself open, that is to say, susceptible, vulnerable to the arbitrariness of a set of occasions. Anything remarkable enough for him to mark in his writing belongs to the occasions that have struck home, whether they emerge to him in his reading, teaching, professional interactions, or the newspaper. Miller has primed himself to be susceptible to a certain configuration or moment by virtue of the prior decoding and inscription through which he has already incriminated himself The critic's annotation marks an occasion partially autonomous from him, partially already embedded in a prior list of cultural exchanges, mostly transgressive. The critic's response marks a preexisting occasion, but it also, in the case of an authentic reader such as Miller, who demands epistemological astuteness of himself, who invariably calibrates his interventions to a meticulous extrapolation of the prevalent momentary conceptual operating system, becomes an occasion in its own right. The major steps in a critic's self-education, facilitated by the linguistico-cognitive prosthesis of texts, become momentous occasions in the cultural engagement of an entire readership. As suggested above, the critic's willingness to diverge from earlier crystallizations, to circle back, to invest, on occasion, in discontinuous, tangential countermoves, is a susceptibility, insight founded on vulnerability. In a recent lecture, "On the Authority of Literature," delivered at Baylor University, 14 Miller attests to the hold The Swiss Family Robinson had on him as a child. The space of fiction began as a virtual one for him, one in which he truly believed and wished to enter. When I was a child, I did not want to know that The Swiss Family Robinson had an author, much less that the book was originally written in German and that I

]. Hillis Miller and the Task ofthe Critic


was reading a translation. I did not want to know that the name on the title page designated the person who had made it up. I did not think of it as a "fiction." ... To me the words printed on those pages seemed to be a magic formula allowing me access to a pre-existing virtual reality attainable only through just those English words. I did not have to wait for the New Criticism ... to discover or invent the "intentional fallacy" and so detach the author from the work, or for Michel Foucault's "What is an Author?" or Roland Barthes' "The Death of the Author" to kill off the author. For me he or she was never alive ... he or she did not seem to me the authorizing source and guarantee of the work, only a mediator or transparent window to an already existing hidden world. Miller debunks in this essay some of the easiest and most timeworn sources of literary authority, whether "an accurate representation of social reality and reigning ideological assumptions" common, in different ways, to Aristotle and Kenneth Burke, or the notion, so prevalent in many contemporary mass-media treatments, that literature ultimately goes back to its author-her life, times, socio-psychological formation, and so on. Yet the credulity that Miller grants to the virtual world to which the literary artifact points, one reinforced by the writings of Proust, James, and Derrida, is nothing less than shocking. The existence of this "enchanting" world, its fascination over him, becomes the occasion for a meditation on the author's "spurious authority'': "The writer cunningly and deliberately manipulates words so as to make them performatively efficacious charms inducing trust and belief in the reader." The sequence of theoretical models that Miller has entertained with the utmost diligence and respect may be thought of as a set of motivated modulations of this enchanting literary world. Theory scores fictive space with a certain architecture, of specific and limited duration, while at the same time opening up an orchestral shell for conceptual reverberations. Miller's early work indeed registers some of the formal characterizations that the New Criticism allowed. It then passes from a rich phenomenological gauging of texts and their impacts to the extreme positionality of deconstruction and rhetorical criticism and their refusal to state-except regarding specific textual crystallizations and only deploying language whose history and metaphysics has been embedded in itself. There is no end-position in this series of engagements, for they circle back upon themselves and arrive at unforeseen theaters of action, such as the current unveiling of the play and ideology of cybernetics in a set of artifacts deemed impervious to this technology by having strategically as well as historically anticipated it. Each one of the critic's major turns, changes of sensibility, or cultur-


Henry Sussman

ally political repositionings marks an occasion to which s/he has rendered herself susceptible. Yet each of these sea changes, or paradigm shifts, in the hands of an authentic critic, one who has paid for the public significance of her reactions with endless and unwavering attentiveness, becomes an occasion for further thinking and inscription on the part of the critical readership, the mass that has made itself susceptible to the critic. The vulnerability and responsiveness of other readers to what the critic has marked is the ultimate sign of the critic's efficacy. The critic, making full public spectacle of his predilections, inclinations, and susceptibilities, invites an inchoate, invisible mass of readers to an occasion. The eventuating festival is the critic's persistent mark.


Lying Against Death: Out of the Loop J Hillis Miller

Death does not consummate existence, one would, rather, have it prevents it from turning into essence. -Jean-Luc Nancy, The Sense ofthe World


say that

The Wings ofthe Dove is in "essence" a novel about death. James says so in the preface, and there is no reason to doubt his word. To put it another way, we must believe or not believe what he says, as the characters within the novel believe one another or do not. Or rather, it might be even better to say, The Wings of the Dove is a novel about the relation of speech acts to death. Yet again, refining further, it might be best to say that it is a novel about the peculiar kind of speech act called a lie in its relation to death. Let me try to explain how this is so. Certainly James himself, if the preface is to be believed, thought of The Wings ofthe Dove as having death as its primary theme: to be specific, the death of a young woman who has everything to live for. As usual, James speaks so eloquently and so forcefully in the preface that it is hard, after reading it, to see beyond or beneath James's own self-criticism, to think through what he may have, for more or less secret reasons of his own, omitted saying but that the novel itself nevertheless says, however indirectly, or that another reader might put differently from the way he puts it in the preface. "The idea," says James, writing, or rather dictating, six years after the novel was written, "reduced to its essence, is that of a young person conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed,


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condemned to die under short respite, while also enamored of the world; aware moreover of the condemnation and passionately desiring to 'put in' before extinction as many of the finer vibrations as possible, and so achieve, however briefly, the sense of having lived." 1 James says four things about this "idea'' in the preface. First, he tells the reader that he had the theme of Wings in his mind for many years before actually writing the novel. The notebook entries for The Wings of the Dove precede by many years the writing of the novel.2 It seems as if he may have felt some deep resistance toward writing this particular story: "Long had I turned it over, standing off from it, yet coming back to it; convinced of what might be done with it, yet seeing the theme as formidable" (r: v). "It" in this sentence refers to what he has just called the "idea'' of the novel. "Idea'' is a key word in the novel itself. James goes on a bit later in the preface to speak of the idea or theme as somehow hiding a secret, an impenetrable mystery: "The expression of her state and that of one's intimate relation to it might therefore well need to be discreet and ingenious; a reflection that fortunately grew and grew, however, in proportion as I focussed my image-roundabout which, as it persisted, I repeat, the interesting possibilities and the attaching wonderments, not to say the insoluble mysteries, thickened apace" (r: vi). What does he mean by "one's intimate relation" to the heroine's "state"? Is not the heroine an imaginary character? How can one have an intimate relation to a fictitious character? Does "intimate" here mean "secret," "hidden," perhaps shameful or at any rate inexpressible? "Insoluble mysteries"? What could James mean by that? An insoluble mystery is a true secret, if there is such a thing, a secret that can never be found out. What is there about the idea of a young woman doomed to die and fighting death every inch of the way that incorporates an insoluble mystery? I shall return to these questions. Second, in the preface James recognizes that it is impossible to write a narrative about death, or even about dying, in itself. On the one hand, death and dying are too dark as subjects. A work on such a gloomy topic is not likely to be a commercial success. James was wholly unsuccessful in his attempts to sell The Wings ofthe Dove for serial publication. On the other hand, there is not enough to say about death and dying. They resist language. That is what Paul de Man means, in part at least, when he says, in one of his more disturbing or even scandalous pronouncements, "Death is a displaced name for a linguistic predicament." 3 I shall return to this incompatibility between language and death.

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Because of this incompatibility, James's novel will need to be about his heroine's resistance to death: "the poet essentially can't be concerned with the act of dying. Let him deal with the sickest of the sick, it is still by the act of living that they appeal to him, and appeal the more as the conditions plot against them and prescribe the battle" (I: vi). In the case of Milly Theale, the act of living, as James makes clear, takes the form of a passionate resistance to death: "she had been given me from far back as contesting every inch of the road, as catching at every object the grasp of which might make for delay, as clutching these things to the last moment of her strength" (1: vii). Third, James indicates that even the act ofliving in defiance of death can only be represented directly up to a certain point. Beyond that point it must be presented indirectly, by way of one or more reflectors of that act of living/dying. After the climactic scene at the end of book 7 when Milly's solitary wandering through the rooms of her great palazzo in Venice is interrupted by Lord Mark, who has come to propose to her, Milly's consciousness is never again directly presented. For the rest of the novel, the presiding consciousness becomes Densher's. In a sense, Milly is already dead, for the reader at least, since her consciousness has vanished once and for all from intimate representation, however intimate James's own relation to Milly's state may have been. "Milly's situation," says James, "ceases at a given moment to be 'renderable' in terms closer than those supplied by Kate's intelligence, or, in a richer degree, by Densher's, or, for one fond hour, by poor Mrs. Stringham's" (1: xvii). In the last phrase, James apparently refers to the scene in which Susan Stringham comes to Densher's Venice apartment to tell him that Milly has "turned her face to the wall" (2: 270). The nonpresentation of Milly's thoughts and feelings toward the end of her life is a striking example of what James calls "the author's instinct everywhere for the indirect presentation of his main image" (I: xxii, James's emphasis). Some subjects-the act of dying, for example (but it is more than a nominal example)-cannot be presented directly. Fourth, James tells the reader that this death will wreak havoc among the living, even though such a person as Milly Theale, an extremely rich young American woman without any living family, will almost inevitably fall among thieves, so to speak. She will in one way or another be cheated, swindled: "What one had discerned, at all events, from an early stage, was that a young person so devoted and exposed, a creature with her security hanging so by a hair, couldn't but fall somehow into some abysmal trap-


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this being, dramatically speaking, what such a situation most naturally implied and imposed" (r: ix). By "devoted and exposed" James means devoted to death, as the idiom has it, as a sacrificial animal is devoted, in the sense of sworn by a sacred oath, to be killed, or as a "votary" is a certain kind of religious devotee. Milly is "exposed," not just in the sense of being vulnerable to fraud, but also in the sense that a scapegoat is exposed, left in isolation, outside social confines of reciprocal obligations, to die. This is one significance of the appellation "dove" Kate invents for Milly. Doves were one kind of sacrificial creature-among the Romans, for example. In a play on the -pose root James says Milly's "exposure" is "imposed," a matter of inevitable imposition. Even though Milly is certain to fall into some abysmal trap, as indeed she does, nevertheless she is an extreme danger to all those who have anything to do with her, especially those who try to swindle and exploit her. James uses three striking, and not wholly compatible, figures to name the disaster Milly's death brings others, even though they are bent on "working" her for all she is worth. Milly is like the Lorelei, the Rhine-maiden who lures men to their death. The persons around Milly, those who promote her illusion that she may yet continue to live, are "drawn in as by some pool of a Lorelei- ... terrified and tempted and charmed; bribed away, it may even be, from more prescribed and natural orbits, inheriting from their connection with her strange difficulties and still stranger opportunities, confronted with rare questions and called upon for new discriminations" (1: viii). It is Densher, more than Kate, Aunt Maud, or Susan Stringham, who is most drawn out of his orbit, made exorbitant, by his attraction to Milly. Though his prescribed orbit is to remain faithful to the oaths he and Kate have sworn to one another ("prescribed" in the sense of being written down beforehand as commands to follow), he is forced into ethical discriminations, decisions, and responsibilities that he knew nothing of before. Nevertheless, the other characters too have their lives decisively deflected, by no means necessarily for the better, even by selfish measurements, much less ideal ethical ones, through their association with Milly, however much a dove, in the sense of gentle and innocent, she may seem to be. A little later in the preface the figure of the Lorelei is replaced by two overlapping metaphors, one of which (the sinking of a great ship) echoes a trope already used for Milly in the body of the novel. The other picks up the economic imagery in the novel, about which I shall say more later. "I

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have named the Rhine-maiden," says James, "but our young friend's existence would create rather, all round her, very much that whirlpool movement of the waters produced by the sinking of a big vessel or the failure of a great business; when we figure to ourselves the strong narrowing eddies, the immense force of suction, the general engulfment that, for any neighbouring object, makes immersion inevitable" (r: x). A big ship goes down and everything else in its neighborhood goes down, too. A big business fails and all the investors, as well as many adjacent businesses, may fail too. Having anything to do with Milly is extremely dangerous. James goes on to say that though he is primarily interested in Milly's own sense of what happens to her through others, nevertheless her extravagant generosity and mild goodness are, paradoxically, what brings disaster to those around her. James needs to adjudicate carefully here the question of who causes the catastrophe. He even needs to do so to some degree against the implication of his figures, which is that Milly as Lorelei, sinking vessel, or failing business causes the disaster of the others. No, James in effect says, the surrounding figures bring their own doom upon themselves. They do this just by trying to capitalize on Milly's goodness and her fortune, as investors are to blame if they think a certain investment is a "sure thing" and try to make money on it. Nevertheless, Milly's best qualities were themselves "provoking" and in that ironic sense caused the catastrophes of the others. It is almost as if James were saying: "Watch out. Bad things will happen to you if you come too dose to someone who is extravagantly generous and good." Or, to put this from Milly's own perspective: "Don't be too generous and good. If you are, you will, by a perverse moral law, cause harm to those around you." Nevertheless, James wants also to exonerate Milly. "I need scarce say, however," he asserts in the sentence after the one just quoted from the preface, "that in spite of these communities of doom [all those taken down by the sinking of the great ship, The Milly] I saw the main dramatic complication much more prepared for my vessel of sensibility than by her-the work of other hands (though with her own imbrued too, after all, in the measure of their never not being, in some direction, generous and extravagant, and thereby provoking)" (r: x). Why is this? Why is Milly's particular form of generosity destructively provoking? The answer lies in the tangle of relations in the novel between death and lies. Society in The Wings of the Dove is a reciprocal system of working and being worked. This system is modeled on venture



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capitalism. London society is economic through and through. Like the capitalist monetary system of which it is a part, this society works only so long as the participants go on believing in the distribution of relative values that makes it up. As Milly observes of these London people, "they appeared all-every one they saw-to think tremendously of money" (I: I95), to which Susie replies, sensibly enough, that Milly has so much money that she does not need to think about it: "it came, as a subject of indifference, money did, easier to some people than to others" (I: I96). Money has value just because it is valued. This is the model for other valuations in the novel. Lord Mark is not really any more valuable just because he is a nobleman, but if everyone believes in his value, he has it. Milly's great success in London is a matter of fashion. Nothing more interesting than Milly happens to be around at the time, and so Milly becomes an instant success. Milly has an "image" of herself as "being, as Lord Mark had declared, a success. This depended more or less of course on his idea of the thing" (I: I6o). Precisely. Success is a matter of people's, the right people's, "ideas," and of their faith in those ideas. Lord Mark in this interchange goes on to say of Aunt Maud, who has launched Milly by taking her up as a protege, "She'll get back ... her money.... Nobody here, you know, does anything for nothing" (1: I6o). The whole system of relative valuations is based on nothing of substantial worth as foundation, at least not on any insight into that, nor on an objectively valid method of measuring value. Another more hyperbolic way to put this is to say that this social system is based on a set of lies that everyone knows are lies and yet agrees to pretend to believe. The whole airy fabric of giving and taking, of exchange, substitution, and appropriation, has no substance and is suspended over nothing. Yet another way to express this is to say that the social system is sustained by a complex set of constantly renewed speech acts that declare that such and such a person, rank, or thing has such and such a value. The paradigmatic type of such speech acts in the novel is the lie, exemplified in all the dozens of lies the characters tell one another. A lie is a pure example of a way to do things with words, since its truth value is nil, while its effectiveness as a performative utterance depends only on its being believed in or on someone's pretending to believe it. All speech acts are in a sense lies, since they bring about the condition they name, a condition that, as it is being named, does not yet exist as something to which truthful reference can be made. When the minister or justice of the peace says, "I pronounce

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you man and wife," the couple are not man and wife until the last syllable of that sentence echoes in the air. The condition comes into being after the fact, after it has been invoked by the speech act. It only works if everyone believes in it, just as two people are legally married only if everyone has confidence in the authority of the one who says "I pronounce you man and wife." Speech acts-for example lies-have a complex relation to death. Lies, as Marlow reflects in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, have a flavor of mortality about them. 4 They are connected in some obscure and not easily identifiable way with death, with the fact that all men, and all women too, will sooner or later die. One way to identifY this relation is to see that only creatures that can die can utter speech acts. This is in part because it is a distinctive feature of speech acts that their efficacy is unpredictable. A god cannot utter a performative. This is because a god knows for certain what will happen. Jehovah's "Let there be light" is not a performative, while a human being's "I bet the sun will rise tomorrow" is a genuine performative. The person who says that has no way of knowing for sure whether the sun will rise or not, just as the one who makes a promise or engages himself or herself to be married, secretly or publicly, has no way of knowing whether or not he or she will remain faithful to the pledge or the promise, for one thing because he or she may die before fulfilling the promise. All promises have an implicit added clause: "I promise to do so and so if I do not die first." This more or less obscure and secret connection of speech acts with death surfaces more overtly in three of the most common performatives: wills, bequests, and mortgages. When I sign a mortgage note, as its name implies, I am offering my death as a gage that guarantees I shall pay so much a month until the loan is paid off, even if I die before that happens. Or you could say that a mortgage is a bet, as the syllable "gage" suggests: "I bet I will die before this is paid of£" Or perhaps it is the reverse: "Ifl do not die I promise to pay this of£" In any case, the one who signs a mortgage puts his or her death on the line, signs in the name of his or her mortality. A ghost could not sign a mortgage note or be held responsible if it did sign. A bequest, such as Milly's bequest of her money to Densher, is of course a way of controlling what happens after the death of the person signing the bequest: "On my death, my estate, or such and such a part of it, goes to so and so as my beneficiary." A will is a way of using words to



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make my will effective after my death, to make what I will or want to happen, happen, even when I am no longer around to make it happen. As Marcel Proust well knew, a person is most likely to invoke death as a guarantee when he or she is lying-to say, for example, as Marcel reports Albertine as doing, "I can swear to you by anything you like, the honor of my aunt, the grave of my poor mother [la tombe de rna pauvre mere]," when she is most blatantly lying. Or at least so Marcel suspects, though he can never find out for sure. 5 There are no literal mortgages in The Wings ofthe Dove, but in a sense all the speech acts in the novel-pledges, promises, bequests, lies-are mortgages, mort-gages, bets against death or in death's name: "I wish I may die if I am not telling the truth, if I do not fulfill my promise, ifi am not faithful to my pledge." The relation berween death and the system of continuously renewed speech acts that keeps society going might be expressed as a paradox. On the one hand, death has to be constantly invoked as the guarantee of a performative's seriousness and felicity, as in the word "mortgage" or as in "I swear on my mother's grave." On the other hand, death has to be obscured, forgotten, covered over in order for the system to go on working. The social system must go on as if it and all those participating in its round of exchanges and substitutions were immortal. The system depends on remembering and forgetting death at the same time. This forgetting of death, while at the same time remembering it, is made explicit in The Wings of the Dove in a reflection Densher makes toward the end of the novel about the way everyone pretends not to know that Milly is dying, while at the same time everyone knows it perfectly well: He hadn't only never been near the facts of her condition-which counted so as a blessing for him; he hadn't only, with all the world, hovered outside an impenetrable ring fence, within which there reigned a kind of expensive vagueness made up of smiles and silences and beautiful fictions and priceless arrangements, all strained to breaking; but he had also, with every one else, as he now felt, actively fostered suppressions which were in the direct interest of every one's good manner, every one's piry, every one's really quite generous idea. It was a conspiracy of silence, as the cliche went, to which no one had made an exception, the great smudge of mortaliry across the picture, the shadow of pain and horror, finding in no quarter a surface of spirit or of speech that consented to reflect it. "The mere aesthetic instinct of mankind-!" our young man had more than once, in the connection, said to himself; letting the rest of the proposition drop, but touching again thus sufficiently on the outrage even to taste involved in one's having to see.

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So then it had been-a general conscious fool's paradise, from which the specified had been chased like a dangerous animal. (2: 298-99) Everyone knows, but everyone pretends, by a "beautiful fiction," not to know, in a conspiracy of silence. That conspiracy assumes that if you do not mention something it does not exist or ceases to exist. You have chased it away, like a dangerous animal. Silence in this case is a paradoxical speech act, akin to Aunt Maud's assumption that she can make Kate stop thinking she loves Densher by saying nothing about it or by asserting the opposite. Silence can be a species of effective lie, as in Densher's failure to tell Milly outright that Kate loves him and that they are engaged. Beyond that, however, James implies that mortality cannot be a fact of consciousness or a fact of speech within the circuit of polite society. That society is like a mirror that reflects many things but does not consent, either because of some tacit decision or because of an innate disability, to reflect it. "The great smudge of mortality across the picture," says James, in a majestic phrase, "the shadow of pain and horror," namely, just what Milly is suffering and confronting, "find[s] in no quarter a surface of spirit or of speech that consent[s] to reflect it." James himself, or rather his narrator, participates in this conspiracy of silence. He (it), as I have said, presents Milly's final pain and horror only indirectly. Densher is shown reflecting on this silence by calling it "the mere aesthetic instinct of mankind." Mankind generally shares with the artistfor example, in this, novel James-an unwillingness to consent to represent the great smudge of mortality across the picture. That smudge destroys the aesthetic. The aesthetic, as a system of representation, as the general system of the fine arts in the West since romanticism (for example in Hegel's so-called Asthetik) is allergic to death. The aesthetic, as the making of beautiful artworks, depends on ignoring death. The phrase "the great smudge ot mortality across the picture" has, however, another reference: namely the great scene early in the novel when Milly confronts at Matcham, 6 Lord Mark's splendid country house, the Bronzino portrait that everyone says closely resembles Milly. The confrontation is Milly's first dear recognition that she is dying. This is figured as her leaving a safe harbor for the dangerous open sea. The episode is Milly's own sinister mirror scene. It also recalls Kate's confrontation of her mirror image in the first sentence of the novel. Milly has her self-recognition of her mortality through seeing herself in the Bronzino. She weeps when she sees this:


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Perhaps it was her tears that made it just then so strange and fair-as wonderful as he had said: the face of a young woman, all splendidly drawn, down to the hands, and splendidly dressed; a face almost livid in hue, yet handsome in sadness and crowned with a mass of hair, rolled back and high, that must, before fading with time, have had a family resemblance to her own. [Milly has striking red hair.] The lady in question, at all events, with her slightly Michael-angelesque squareness, her eyes of other days, her full lips, her long neck, her recorded jewels, her brocaded and wasted reds, was a very great personage-only unaccompanied by a joy. And she was dead, dead, dead. (r: 220-21) As in Poe's "The Oval Portrait" or Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, with its associated work "The Portrait of Mr. W. H.," so in The Wings of the Dove Milly is, in a manner of speaking, killed by a portrait. The picture has a great smudge of mortality across it. The lady is "dead, dead, dead." The portrait, in spite of its aesthetic beauty, brings death into Milly's life. It does this by breaking the conspiracy of silence and making her conscious of death. In an analogous way James may have felt he was killing his cousin Minny Temple, the supposed "original" of Milly,? by finally doing a portrait of her and of his intimate relation to her condition, however indirect and discrete a portrait it might have been. He had kept her alive until then by remaining in love with her memory, as he says in a letter of 1870 to his brother William written after her death. Part of the passage is, oddly, addressed to the dead Minny: The more I think of her the more perfectly satisfied I am to have her translated from this changing realm of fact to the steady realm of thought .... She lives as a steady unfaltering luminary in the mind rather than as a flickering wasting earthstifled lamp .... In exchange, for you, dearest Minny, we'll all keep your future. Don't fancy that your task is done. Twenty years hence we shall be living with your love and longing with your eagerness and suffering with your patience. 8

It seems as if either the portrait or the person may be alive, not both. All portraits, of whatever ladies or gentlemen, are harbingers of death which may explain why some people resist having their portraits painted or photographs made of them. Bronzino's great lady "was dead, dead, dead." This mortality tells Milly she is mortal too. If Kate sees her vitality, her "talent for life," when she looks at herself in the mirror above her father's mantelpiece, she also unwittingly confronts her death, her mortality, just as does Milly in the later scene, which echoes the former. Kate's talent for life is not the opposite of Milly's devotion to death, but its mirror im-

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age. All mirrorings, such as the mirrorings in James's portraits ofladies, are death-dealing as well as life-preserving. Just how does Milly destroy the society of working and being worked, sustained by an endless round of lies, into which she enters? All the characters in one way or another want to appropriate her for their own purposes. Milly, however, cannot be used in this way. She cannot be incorporated into the economy that says you must "work'' others or be yourself "worked." Milly brings the great smudge of mortality into the self-sustaining aesthetic system of London society. Her innocence and her betrothal to death are dove-like weapons that allow her to defeat all the others and bring their projects to shipwreck, including Densher's desire to marry Kate. This is true even though Milly passionately loves Densher, at least so the reader is led to believe. She acts on that love to sacrifice her right to retaliation and to leave Densher a huge fortune so he can marry Kate. This, however, as I shall show, is just what separates Kate and Densher forever. In this Milly is like James's other heroines Isabel Archer and Maggie Verver. Their cruelty lies in their goodness and self-sacrificing generosity. Milly triumphs over all around her through her dovelike beneficence and her mortal illness, the match for Kate's vitality, her "talent for life." Neither Milly's goodness nor her proximity to death can be worked into their calculations. The whole social system, its reciprocal working and being worked, its exchanges and substitutions, depends on lies against death that are believed, but that depend for their efficacy on forgetting death or on pretending to do so. Milly brings death into this system and thereby ruins it. She ruins the possibility Kate worked for, to have Densher and the money too. Milly's act also makes Kate, after all, after the end of the novel (at least so James says in the notes: whether this really happens is another complete secret that we can never know), fulfil Aunt Maud's plans for her and marry Lord Mark. Milly can give but never take or bargain in the sense of entering into the calculated give and take that characterizes London society and that is often named by the narrator in economic metaphors. Milly belongs to a separate realm, where she is fighting a moment-to-moment losing battle against death. As she says, it would kill her if she were to turn away even for a minute from that battle and enter the ordinary social world. This is said in an extraordinary speech Milly makes to Lord Mark when refusing his proposal: "No, I mustn't listen to you-that's just what I mustn't do. The reason is, please, that it simply kills me. I must be as attached to you as you will, since you give that


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lovely account of yourselves. I give you in return the fullest possible belief of what it would be-" And here she pulled up a little. "I give and give and give-there you are; stick to me as dose as you like and see ifl don't. Only I can't listen or receive or accept-! can't agree. I can't make a bargain. You must believe that from me. It's all I've wanted to say to you, and why should it spoil anything?" (2: r6o-6r) To make a bargain in this case would be to accept Lord Mark's proposal, to promise in response to his proffer of himself, to utter a speech act in response to his speech act. Milly remains alive, paradoxically, only so long as she stays sequestered from life, just as she survives in Venice by remaining immured like a Maeterlinckian princess in the Palazzo Leporelli. 9 As devoted to death, Milly can enter life only by pretending not to be dying, as she consistently does until the scene when she refuses Lord Mark's proposal and tells him the truth, that she is "very badly ill" (2: 155), even though, as Milly feels, "nothing-nothing to make a deadly difference for him-ever could happen" (2: 159). Milly is the personage who does, in spite of the mere aesthetic instinct of mankind, make a deadly difference for every one of the major characters. She does this by her extravagant generosity, giving and giving and giving, but taking nothing in return. Such a gift, however, is a gift of death. It is a monstrous donation that puts the one who receives it infinitely in debt, without any possibility of ever paying off that debt. Gift giving and receiving in the ordinary sense belong to the everyday economic social round. If I give something to you, that puts you under an obligation to return the gift, and so on, in an endless benign circle of gift giving and receiving in which the balance always comes right or is always on the brink of coming right. Milly's giving is outside that circuit of exchange and recompense. She represents the secret ground of the circuit, which destroys the whole system when it is brought into the open. To listen to Lord Mark, to entertain his offer, would, paradoxically, simply kill Milly. It would kill her because she goes on living only by way of her relation to death and her insulation from life on her Maeterlinckian island. She is like one of those tomb artifacts or mummies that remain intact for thousands of years as long as they are sealed but crumble to dust the moment they are exposed to the air. She can bear witness to belief in what Lord Mark implores her to believe, namely, that he and everyone else truly loves her ("We're all in love with you" [2: 160]), only in an incomplete and uncompletable sentence: "'I give you in return the fullest possible belief in what it would be-' And here she pulled up a little." Presumably the sen-

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tence would be completed with something like "what it would be like if I were not dying," but that is what she cannot say, just as she is placed by her proximity to death beyond the possibility of uttering a felicitous speech act, even though death is the hidden ground of all speech acts. Milly cannot take, cannot "listen or receive or accept." She can only give. This means that she cannot "agree" or "make a bargain." To agree or enter into a bargain is a speech act in the strictest sense. It is a reciprocal response in which someone says, "Yes, I agree to accept this as a quid pro quo for that," or "I accept the bargain you offer in which I take so and so and give you so and so in return." Milly cannot do that. Milly is out of the loop, but she brings the ground of the loop into the loop, with disastrous results. She can give but not take. That giving makes her a kind of black hole in reverse, not a place that absorbs everything and from which nothing ever returns, but a place from which things are emitted yet into which nothing can enter. What is emitted, however, disastrously imposes on those who receive it an infinite obligation. The devastating effects of Milly's inability to agree or to bargain, to utter the most essential of speech acts, "I agree" and "I accept," on the economy of relations among the main characters in the novel-Kate, Densher, Aunt Maud, Susan Stringham, and Lord Mark-can best be seen in what happens to Densher. The bargain Kate makes with Densher (she will sleep with him if he will pretend to make love to Milly and so get her money) backfires when Densher's fulfillment of his side of the agreement brings about what it mendaciously asserts. It does come about that Densher falls in love with Milly, against his every wish and intention, or rather, as Kate says in the final scene of the novel, he comes to be "in love with her memory" after her death (2: 404). To be in love with someone's memoryit is an odd and striking locution. To be in love with someone's memorythat is, more or less, loving him or her after he or she is dead-is radically different from loving that person while he or she is alive. A love for a living person may be fulfilled or not fulfilled. Pledges, promises made to the living, like Kate's pledge to Densher, may be kept or betrayed, as her pledge to him is in the end not kept. This may happen by an intricate balance of competing obligations that may in a certain sense justifY the betrayal. To put this another way, new performative utterances may cancel and annul the old, but only so long as both parties remain alive. An unfulfilled promise made to someone who then dies, however, even if it is a lying promise, imposes an infinite obligation that devastates


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competing obligations to the living. This is what happens to Densher, Kate, and Milly, as it does in an analogous short story of 1896, "The Way It Came" (reprinted as "The Friends of the Friends") .10 Densher fulfills his part of the bargain by allowing Milly, as much through his silence as through anything he says or does, to believe he is free to love her because Kate does not love him. After Milly's death Densher comes to Kate, proposing that he will refuse Milly's bequest and that they should marry immediately. If not, he will make over every penny of Milly's money to Kate but will not marry her. Kate, with her lucidity and "high grasp," sees these as alternatives between which she must choose: "You'll marry me without the money; you won't marry me with it. Ifl don't consent you don't .... so that I must choose" (2: 404). Kate's choice, the ultimate determining event of the novel, takes the form of saying she will choose to marry him if he can give "[his] word of honor that [he's] not in love with her memory" (ibid.). Densher's reply is the climactic "Oh" of the novel. I have elsewhere discussed the progression of "Oh's" and their significance. Densher here says, "Oh-her memory!," neither confirming nor denying her imputation, which means, after all, confirming it, upon which Kate lucidly asserts: "Her memory's your love. You want no other." His reply is to say he'll marry her in an hour, to which she replies with another question, "As we were?" His answer is to say, yes, "As we were," upon which she turns to the door to leave him for good with a final shake of her head: "We shall never again be as we were!," thereby using the last ironically altered form of the phrase "There you are," which has echoed through the novel and about which there would be much more to say (2: 405). They can never again be as they were because Densher's lie to Milly has now become a solemn obligation to repay her love with his own love. You cannot bargain with the dead, but your relation to them may make it wholly impossible for you to keep bargains made with the living. The lesson of The Wings ofthe Dove might be expressed as the command: "Don't tell lies. They have a way of coming true, of their own accord, through the power of words, through the power of words in their secret relation to death, against all your wishes and intentions." This, it may be, is the "insoluble mystery'' about which James speaks in the preface. Marcel Proust has the narrator of A la recherche du temps perdu express elegantly this disastrous law that makes lies truth. He makes his formulation apropos of the lies he has told Albertine: "Time passes, and little by little everything we have spoken in falsehood becomes true [tout ce qu'on disait

Lying Against Death


par mensonge devient vrai]" (F 4: 44; E 3: 470). If this is the ironic "lesson" of both James's novel and Proust's, that lesson must not be misunderstood as an ethical command not to lie, since it is perhaps impossible not to lie and certainly impossible to control the effects lies or any other speech acts will have. This is one reason why it is also impossible to judge whether Densher or Kate acted in ways that are ethically admirable or vicious. It is impossible therefore to draw moral lessons from this novel, for example by saying, in Kantian fashion: "Everyone ought to act as Densher acted. It is possible to establish a universal moral law on the basis of his behavior." The actions of the characters are ultimately determined by forces beyond their control-namely, by the power of death. Milly is the personification of death's power. She is the one who brings death's devastation into the circle of giving and taking within which Densher and Kate have lived. Moreover, since death is wholly unintelligible, its effects on the living are unintelligible also. The Wings ofthe Dove is a novel about the blank incomprehensibility of death as it disastrously affects the living, including our ability to pass ethical judgment on the acts of the living in response to death. This happens according to the figure of Milly as like the Lorelei or like a sinking ship that draws all around into its dark vortex, including even the reader of the novel. The reader's power to draw moral lessons from the novel is disabled as much as are the projects of the characters. Milly's lies about her illness are efficacious only up to a point, as is her performative assertion that she "will live." In the end death wins the game, though only when she, Bartlebylike, turns her face to the wall. She turns away, that is, away not only from Densher but from all others, and wills not to go on willing to live. Death always wins in the end. It is, in this novel, the one power that is not subject to the performative power of words, since it is the ground of all performatives. You cannot know anything about death, nor can you coerce or bind it with performative oaths, even though all speech acts are in one way or another made in death's name, as when one swears on his or her mother's grave. This is the significance of the reader's ignorance of facts that it would be important to know: what it was that Kate's father did that ostracized him from polite society; the precise nature of the illness that kills Milly; the contents of the letter Milly writes Densher on her deathbed, timing its arrival for Christmas Eve; the exact amount of her bequest to him; what happens after the last scene and last sentence of the novel. Does Kate take the money and marry Lord


]. Hillis Miller

Mark, as James's notes of 1894 indicate? 11 The reader can never know any of these secrets. They remain impenetrable enigmas. These secrets stand figuratively, as what can be called allegorical catachreses, for the relation of the whole novel, as a virtual reality the reader can enter through the words, to the unwritten and unwritable ideal novel for which the actual novel, as James's preface laments and celebrates, is a poor but successful substitute: "the artist's energy fairly depends on his fallibility" (1: xiii). The critic's or reader's access to the hidden motivation for the entire action is, in turn, subject to the same limitations. What he or she can know and say circles around an unknowable and "unspeakable" center for which "death," Milly's particular death as stand-in for all human mortality, the great smudge of mortality across the picture, is a displaced name. The endpoint of the reader's understanding of The Wings ofthe Dove, or rather the frontier where nonunderstanding begins, is recognition of a congruence between the novel itself in its relation to its "origin," what James in the preface to The Golden Bowl calls the "clear matter" of the tale, 12 on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the characters in their relation to death. Each is, so to speak, the allegory of the other. The story told is in this case a figure for James's act of storytelling, as well as for the reader's relation to both.



Waiting in the Wings DianeElam

Henry James opens The Wings of the Dove with the words, "She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably."1 While James is certainly not known for his action-filled plots-no one is likely to confuse him with Ian Fleming or John Woothis is, even on James's own terms, a decidedly static way to begin a novel. Waiting is almost an actionless action: the action of inaction, the suspension of movement, the anticipation of action rather than action itself. To begin with waiting, then, is to begin by waiting for the real action to begin. But to say that is to reveal a problem, for the real action in The Wings ofthe Dove is waiting. In fact, the entire narrative revolves around it: Kate waits for her father, and she waits for Densher. Densher, in turn, waits for Kate. Kate and Densher wait together to be together. Aunt Maud keeps Densher waiting; Densher, in his own way, makes Aunt Maud wait. And then there is the matter of Milly. Mrs. Stringham waits for Milly; Lord Mark waits for Milly. Kate waits for Milly, and Densher waits for Milly. Milly herself waits to die, and all the characters wait for Milly to die. Beyond waiting is more waiting, for waiting is the action that spans the past, the present, and the future in The Wings ofthe Dove. I raise the matter of temporality here as not a minor concern. For what I think James is trying to approach in this novel is how a consciousness of temporality emerges through waiting. Waiting is not only an action that takes place in time (can happen in the past, the present, and the future); it is also an action that ar-


Diane Elam

ticulates temporal relationships, negotiating between the past and the future in a moment in the present. James, however, made his observations nearly a hundred years ago, and to think about waiting at the beginning of the twenty-first century, with its even more intense interest in "speeding up" time, in decreasing the intervals in which we wait for things to happen, might seem like a truly anachronistic concern. We now live in a world that tries to process its information faster and faster, where one of the great challenges of Internet technology is to cut down waiting time, to make us all forget that www all too often means wait, wait, wait. Isn't waiting, now, what we try not to do? One of the great values of The Wings ofthe Dove is that it illustrates that waiting neither can nor should be dispensed with entirely. And this is not for reasons of blind optimism that instill the kind of hope on which cliches are built: "Good things happen to those who wait." James's narrative is a disclaimer of anything so simple. It suggests that waiting inescapably structures human existence in time. Indeed, we will always wait-wait for the future to arrive; wait to understand what the past will have meant; wait to recognize what waiting will have made happen (how waiting will have structured the future); wait also to see how the past itself becomes structured as an act of waiting, as the time that waits for a future that could not yet be known. The suggestion, which James offers in even the very opening lines of his novel, is that we are waiting to work out our relationship to waiting. We are waiting to know what it was we were waiting for-waiting to know what waiting does, how waiting can invent the past as much as it does the future. James's scale for his investigation of waiting is, unsurprisingly, that of the individual consciousness. We witness in The Wings of the Dove how each character awaits waiting: how they understand their relationship to waiting and develop a consciousness of temporality through waiting. The narrative James unfolds in this way lends waiting a certain coherence and meaning that does not also force a completely linear understanding of temporality. Yet if waiting is a central focus in The Wings ofthe Dove, that is not to say that the narrative completely accounts for waiting. 2 While James seems less concerned with what might be at stake here, this is the very issue that Maurice Blanchot takes up in the fragments that comprise Awaiting Oblivion (L'Attente l'oubli) and The Writing of the Disaster (L'Ecriture du desastre). For Blanchot waiting is "a great shifting circle" that makes us question the very possibility of temporal or spatial coherence and

Waiting in the Wings


approach the unaccountable that is in excess of narrative. 3 Blanchot may be looking to go beyond the position that James establishes in The Wings of the Dove, but what their texts share is an insistence that a quality of attention can be developed through waiting. As readers, we must wait to understand waiting. And there are no short cuts: we must give ourselves over to the time of waiting. For this reason I want to trace in detail first how James narrates the act of waiting, illustrating the attention it requires, and then arrive at Blanchot's questions. So, then, to begin again with waiting in The Wings ofthe Dove, and to begin again in the opening chapter with the beginning of waiting. Yet beginning here is not to begin in the present but in the past, in the past in which waiting already occurred. For the novel begins not with Kate waiting but with Kate having already waited. Part of the effect of this is that Kate, as a character, is defined from the onset as she who waited. Even her proper name is pinned into the opening sentence by a pair of commas that allow the action of waiting to precede it, the cause of waiting to follow from it: "She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably'' (1). Kate is a character introduced through her history of waiting, and what immediately follows in the narrative is a description of what she did while she first waited. Now, her actions are not really all that profound: she moved "from the shabby sofa to the armchair upholstered in a glazed doth that gave at once." She also "had looked at the sallow prints on the walls and at the lonely magazine, a year old," and equally gripping we find out that "she had above all from time to time taken a brief stand on the small balcony to which the pair of long windows gave access" (r). What is important here, though, is that in waiting for her father the impatient Kate has the opportunity to reflect on the symbolic importance of her father's domestic space. It is not that the old objects which fill the house have specific stories that go with them-tales about their origin and the history of their use-that Kate then remembers in the process of waiting; rather, they serve a more indexical function, relating the conditions of the present to those of the past. In this instance, Kate cannot help but notice that these objects' best days, like Mr. Croy's own, have already past. These are worn objects that are merely old, not antique, and part of their value for Kate resides in what they tell her about her father's limited prospects. Kate's test of character is for her to recognize this and nonetheless continue to wait, for "if she continued to wait it was really in a manner that she mightn't add


Diane Elam

the shame of fear, of individual, of personal collapse, to all the other shames. To feel the street, to feel the room, to feel the table-cloth and the center-piece and the lamp, gave her small salutary sense at least of neither shirking nor lying" (r). Acknowledging the conditions in which her father lives does not, however, give Kate a great sense of why things have turned out the way they have. Rather, waiting allows her to take up the question of the past. As Kate reflects: Her father's life, her sister's, her own, that of her two lost brothers-the whole history of their house had the effect of some fine florid voluminous phrase, say even a musical, that dropped first into words and notes without sense and then, hanging unfinished, into no words nor any notes at all. Why should a set of people have been put in motion, on such a scale and with such an air of being equipped for a profitable journey, only to break down without an accident, to stretch themselves in the wayside dust without a reason? The answer to these questions was not in Chirk Street, but the questions themselves bristled there. (2) While reminding her of her family's history, Kate's act of waiting is not staged as a scene in which she uncovers the meaning of the past in the objects from the past, thus discovering the causes motivating her family's senseless decline. She doesn't wait for some truth to be revealed upon her father's eventual arrival, for "there was no truth in him ... he dealt out lies as he might the cards from the greasy old pack for the game of diplomacy to which you were to sit down with him'' (3-4). Nor does Kate wait toreceive a modicum of emotional comfort as redress for the distresses of the past, for as she already knows, "no relation with him could be so short or so superficial as not to be somehow to your hurt" (4-5). Rather, in her waiting Kate is taken up by reflection that makes her acknowledge simply that her consciousness of the present inescapably connects with a sense of the past, with a sense particularly of family history, which is embedded in the feel of the very fabric of the room. While reflection on the past in the act of waiting does not necessarily reveal the cause of the present, it does instill in Kate a sense of obligation, of responsibility that guides and shapes decisions about future action. For in this scene we also learn that Kate waited to go to see her father-has already kept her father waiting before he has kept her waiting-so that she "should be quite sure" (6) of her decision about how she should act in future. And the decision that she has made is that she will indeed "go" with him, will live with her father rather than give herself over to her Aunt Maud's social and financial direction.

Waiting in the Wings


Why this might be Kate's desire, what it has to do with the man with whom she has fallen in love, we only begin to learn about in this oblique opening chapter. As readers we wait to learn more about why Kate waited for her father in the way that she did. What we do get a strong sense of in the first chapter, though, is that Kate understands the past as that to which one has an obligation in the future, an obligation that one precisely waits to fulfill. However, just because one waits does not mean that the action that allegedly fulfills the obligation can always be carried out. Kate has waited to be sure, but now that she is sure, her father will not allow her to take the action that she has waited to take. Mr. Croy will not let her move in with him, for he believes that her obligation is to remain with Aunt Maud and marry whom she suggests. In the opening chapter of The Wings of the Dove James invents the past as the scene of waiting, as the scene of anticipation. To have waited is to have waited for a future to arrive, but the future that arrives is not necessarily the one that was anticipated. That is to say, while we always will have waited for the future that arrives, it will not necessarily be the one we thought we were waiting for. There are no guarantees, as Kate discovers early on, in waiting. However, even if there are no guarantees, James implies that waiting can, at least partially, be understood when it's passed into the past, when we stand in the moment in the future when the future that was waited for is itself a past. We may not know what it means to wait, but we can know what it means to have waited. Now, there is nothing all that complicated about what unfolds in this opening chapter, and what I have outlined so far in The Wings ofthe Dove is a simple-enough version of how waiting could be said to structure existence in relation to time, how a subjective consciousness of temporality is manifested in the act of waiting. I will say more about how Kate continues to be defined through her acts of waiting. But that must wait, because first I want to look at how James uses Merton Densher to interrogate, even challenge, the assumptions about the function of waiting that he introduces in the opening chapter with Kate. It could be said that Densher, like John Marcher in "The Beast in the Jungle," is a character whose entire life has been defined by waiting. 4 Or as James puts it, "that he was waiting was in short at the bottom of everything" (461). Early in the novel, James introduces the matter of Densher's waiting in a way that echoes Kate's situation in her father's sitting room. Waiting for Mrs. Lowder (Kate's Aunt Maud), Densher also finds that "it was the language of the house itself that spoke to him'' (55), and, as a result,


Diane Elam

he reads "more vividly, more critically ... the appearances about him" (55). This is, however, a different language from that spoken in Mr. Croy's home; it is the language of a house filled with excessive objects announcing not so much their owner's good taste as her good bank balance. The objects in this house speak of a past, although not one that has a historical specificity as either "Mid-Victorian or Early"; Densher is not "certain they were rangeable under one rubric. It was only manifest that they were splendid and were furthermore conclusively British" (56). What is important about these objects is that they are indeed "antique," rather than merely old, and confer on their owner a certain social and economic importance. The result for Densher is that "these things finally represented for him a portentous negation of his own world of thought" (56). Waiting has opened up a time of reflection that causes Densher to become acutely aware of the difference of his own economic circumstances and expectations, "the desert of his poverty" (55). Such recognition of difference does not, however, make what Densher has to negotiate with Mrs. Lowder any easier; instead, "the case grew less simple the longer he waited" (55). He begins to see the irresolvable economic complexity that underpins his relationship to Mrs. Lowder. For even the very time of his waiting, the length of time that he is kept waiting, is a further reminder that he waits not out of filial obligation, as did Kate, but because Mrs. Lowder's social and economic position means that she can exercise such a bald "display of her power." Yet such a display is not, we are told, intended to wound Densher. Rather, Mrs. Lowder makes him wait because "she had wanted him to think for himself of what she proposed to say to him-not having otherwise announced it; wanted to let it come home to him on the spot, as she had shrewdly believed it would" (57). Here the consciousness of temporality developed through waiting attempts to achieve a certain mastery over the future by making it a part of the past: the future becomes the already thought, that which was already anticipated in the time of waiting. So while Densher's "interview with Aunt Maud, none the less, took by no means the turn he had expected" (56), it does move according to Aunt Maud's choreography. Now we have here something of a contrast with the first scene of waiting in The Wings of the Dove. And we might want to ask: is the uncertainty with which Kate greets her own future merely a failure of her own consciousness or the stunning incompleteness of her father's power over her? Well, the answer could be yes to either or both counts, but on a larger scale it's tempting to

Waiting in the Wings


remain more sceptical. While waiting can often be imposed as an assertion of control by the person for whom one waits, placing such faith in the possibility of controlling the future for which one waits seems misguided indeed. But however misguided it may so obviously seem, it is nonetheless the premise at the very foundation of Densher's relationship with Kate. Kate and Densher are a couple joined in waiting. Waiting is, in effect, their shared promise. They promise one another that they will both wait, and what they will wait for is to be together. Their engagement is the very promise that they will, together, manifest a future that was thought, that was invented, in the past: the future that will make it possible for them to be together. In their case, waiting is structured as the ongoing projection of a promise made in the past. It is a promise made on the basis of what the past has meant such that it would make the anticipation, and the realization of a particular future desirable. This act of waiting is sustained by the premise of the future anterior, for this is waiting that will have been performed such that the beyond of waiting will have arrived through, and because of, waiting. That is to say, the promise to wait for the future rests on the belief that waiting is the only way that that future will arrive. This is a waiting game with high stakes, even if on the surface it may not seem like all that much of a gamble. James first likens the relationship, which Kate and Densher must play out through waiting, to a game of patience. They must appear able "to play patience, a prodigious game of patience, with success" (63). The aptness of this particular analogy must rest partially on the mere name of the game: the waiting game is a game of patience. And in this particular instance, our couple must appear to be in no rush, for to appear hasty is to give up the game, to reveal one's hand. Unlike most games of patience, where the solitary pursuit of playing against the deck is one in which there is no bet-for there is only oneself to bet against-here waiting to play out the hand carries financial risk. The very reason that Kate and Densher wait is to gain financial advantage: on their own, they both lack the wealth that Kate's Aunt Maud may decide to bestow on her. The gamble is that the couple can gain Aunt Maud's favor, even though she will not, initially, be pleased to bestow it on what she sees to be financially and socially inappropriate match for her niece. To understand the odds of this wager, it is worth remembering that while patience requires some skill, it is also a game of chance in which one wins because one has the patience to wait for the moment when the deck


Diane Elam

contains the right shuffle that makes winning even possible. Patience is neither bridge nor twenty-one. Densher gets close to the problem here when "it just seemed to blaze at him that waiting was the game of dupes" (220). Kate, however, does not concede this point. Kate, who is described repeatedly as impatient-her very charm even rests in her impatience, as Milly observes, "the splendid young woman who looked so particularly handsome in impatience" (183)-has a singularly focused and uncharacteristic patience when it comes to her relationship with Densher and the financial reward she might manage to reap from her Aunt Maud. 5 There she continues to place her faith in waiting: '"wait for me and give me time. Dear man,' Kate said, 'only believe in me, and it will be beautiful"' (229). Hope, faith, and belief join desire to keep them waiting. Yet this powerful alliance of emotion does not yield the anticipated result, for the story James tells is not one that ends beautifully for Densher and Kate. Waiting takes its toll, and the two no longer even wait for one another in the same way, to the same end. As Densher waits toward the end of the novel at their familiar meeting place, Lancaster Gate, it is with a sense of nostalgia, with a desire to return to the past of waiting as much as to imagine a future lying beyond waiting: "he had rejoiced, even while he waited, in all that the conditions had to say to him of their simpler and better time" (465). He goes on to hope that they could sit down again here so that "they might recover the clearness of their prime" (465). Waiting has changed them, and not necessarily in the same way. At this moment, Densher longs to end their waiting; he wishes simply to put an end to their living in a financial balance over which they ultimately have no control. It is as if he is tired, at last, of not being able to determine the shuffle of the deck in the game of patience. Says Densher to Kate: "We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our feeling for ourselves and for each other, not to wait another day.... I can't express to you my impatience" (467). He can bear postponement no longer and wants to announce their engagement, wants to make an official and public promise that projects the end of their waiting. Their past fear, he argues, "will seem an ugly madness. It will seem a bad dream" (467). But again the often impatient Kate has a different view, one which retains a patience with waiting and has its eye on a fantasy of the future as well as the past. She still believes that she is where she was and that Densher must give her "some better reason" than he does to convince her that he too is not where he was. Kate maintains that not only can she and Densher remain unchanged in time but that by continuing to wait, by project-

Waiting in the Wings


ing waiting into the future, it will be possible to give a particular meaning to their own past. As Kate explains, "we're only right as to what has been between us so long as we do wait" (468). More waiting will give them a past that they can live with, a past that justifies their future together. That is to say, they can remain unchanged-a couple with the right past-as long as they wait for the future that has not yet arrived. Kate effectively wins this round on the behalf of waiting; Densher concedes her points and agrees to keep waiting with her. This investment in waiting is, however, short-lived; by the turn into the next chapter Densher must admit that "Something had in this case happened to him" (469). Something in the immediate future changes his relationship to both his past and his future, but that something was already contained, however unacknowledged, in the past: Densher recognizes that he is different when he receives his letter from Milly, which now arrives after her death. Densher finds himself"immediately again putting himself in relation with her" (469); his relationship with Milly lives through and after her death, making it impossible for him to remain as he was. Yet Densher, even if he knows something has happened that changed him, still believes that he can return things to the way they were: that he can marry Kate as they were, as they were before and while they waited. Kate, however, sees it all differently, and in the final lines of the novel makes her feelings known to Densher: "But she turned to the door, and her headshake was now the end. 'We shall never be again as we were!"' (509). When the moment arrives that makes the end of waiting possible, what they have waited for is impossible. While certain conditions have indeed finally been met, others are irretrievably lost: the past that was the condition of waiting is lost in the arrival of a future that was not quite the one anticipated. The game of patience has not dealt the correct hand once again, and what's more, even past hands seem to have been re-dealt. Kate and Densher have waited to be formally engaged, to be eventually married. They promised each other that they would wait, but the very act of waiting makes the fulfillment of that promise impossible. The past, upon which their promise rests, cannot project itself into the future unchanged, because the future cannot guarantee what the past will have meant. Densher and Kate thus find themselves at a temporal impasse: since the past is irretrievable, the future is unobtainable. In their case, waiting effectively exhausts their desire, in so far as the temporal relation upon which its promise rests proves impossible: in the act of waiting, Densher and Kate


Diane Elam

have been caught between that which is no longer and that which will never arrive. Theirs is a relationship that only existed in so far as they did wait. Part of the problem here to which James does indeed direct our attention is the mistaken belief that waiting could constitute the ultimate passive act: the action of inaction. Waiting would thus be held out as the possibility of remaining perfectly still, inert, yet conscious of the fact that others do continue to act while time passes. We see this most obviously played out in Densher's other act of waiting: his waiting for Milly, which so disrupts his relationship with Kate. As Milly grows increasing ill in Venice, she suddenly refuses to see Densher. Mter returning to her palace every day for three weeks without seeing her, he concludes that: "He was only not to budge without the girl's leave-not, oddly enough at the last, to move without it, whether further or nearer, any more than without Kate's. It was to this his wisdom reduced itself-to the need again simply to be kind. That was the same as being still-studying to create the minimum of vibration" (398). Basically, "his business, he had settled, as we know, was to keep thoroughly still" (407). And Densher does indeed remain true to his business. In a conversation punctuated by pauses in which they take turns waiting for one another to speak, he explains to Mrs. Stringham "that he had been patient and above all that he had been still. 'As still as a mouseyou'll have seen it for yourself Stiller, for three days together, than I've ever been in my life. It has seemed to me the only thing"' (4n). In seeking such stillness, however, Densher finds that his days of waiting are far from pleasant: When he wasn't at home he was in circulation again as he had been at the hour of his seeing Lord Mark. He strolled about the Square with the herd of refugees; he raked the approaches and the cafes on the chance the brute, as he now regularly imagined him, might be still there .... It all came round to what he was doing for Milly-spending days that neither relief nor escape could purge of a smack of the abject. What was it but abject for a man of his parts to be reduced to such pastimes? What was it but sordid for him, shuffling about in the rain, to have to peep into shops and to consider possible meetings? What was it but odious to find himself wondering what, as between him and another man, a possible meeting would produce? (408-9) Reduced to an aimless walker without even the studied mission of aimlessness accorded the fl!ineur, Densher's psychic life is guided by a combination of abjection and fantasy in which he imagines possible meetings

Waiting in the Wings


with Lord Mark, who has himself been patiently waiting for Milly to respond to his overtures. The result is that "he had never been, as he judged it, so down. In mean conditions, without books, without society, almost without money, he had nothing to do but to wait" (433). Densher goes on to conclude, though, that such stillness was not indeed the right kind. Stillness, like waiting, has different qualities. As James explains, Densher "had been trying for weeks, as we know, to keep superlatively still, and trying it largely in solitude and silence; but he looked back on it now as on the heat of fever. The real, the right stillness was this particular form of society" (435). And we are encouraged to believe that his encounter with Milly's physician, Sir Luke, exemplifies this form of society. It would seem that Densher thinks that he should be close to those in Milly's life without himself actually becoming a physical part of it; he can then be both still and still in touch with her life. As he waits, Densher believes that effectively he does nothing, that he stands at a distance in his stillness, either more or less correctly. However, what he fails to take into consideration is that even in waiting he is still acting, still doing something that goes beyond the mindless tasks with which he has filled his days. Moreover, the something that he is doing, the something that matters most, has nothing to do with his physical movements but instead with his psychological activity. For waiting develops a psychic consciousness not only of the time taken up by waiting-how much time waiting seems to take, how quickly or slowly time seems to pass whilst waiting-but also a particular consciousness of temporality developed in relation to others. This is not, however, a question of existence in time that is dependent upon the actual physical presence of others. It is the consciousness of others who exist in time and for whom one waits at a distance, at a distance in time and/or space. In this register, waiting incorporates an active working through and working out of one's relationships with others. But not in any completely intentional or controllable way, for how waiting will have turned out to have changed those relationships, what work will have been performed in waiting, is not completely predictable in advance. That is to say, what waiting will have meant cannot be entirely known in the time of waiting. Let me take one brief example with which James illustrates this point. Even though Dens her is physically removed from Milly, he is drawn emotionally closer to her through his very focus on her as the reason for his waiting. His abjection, his fantasies, his active interest in stillness are all on


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account of Milly. This is not to say that the psychic work performed in waiting is something over which he has total control or completely understands. His waiting for Milly will irretrievably alter his past and his future relationship not only to Milly but also to Kate. Moreover, while Densher is conscious that he waits with others-with Kate or with Mrs. Lowder, for instance-he cannot be entirely sure that his waiting is the same as theirs; they wait together but the quality of their waiting is not necessarily something they have in common. Yet if waiting instills a consciousness of existence as a consciousness of existing with others in time, in The Wings of the Dove it is also very much a consciousness that develops in relation to death, in relation to the possibility that others will die. Indeed, much of the novel's action revolves around waiting for Milly's death; even the photograph of "The Doctor's Door" with which James opens the first volume of the New York edition could be seen as a sign anticipating her death. We begin with Kate waiting, but in effect we also begin, if only we were to know, waiting for Milly's death. James does not go in for a deathbed scene here, though, and the narrative never offers a description of Milly's actual death. 6 The reader, just like Densher, is sent away from Venice where she dies. What James seems more concerned with is how waiting temporally orients our being toward the death of the other and how, in waiting, we confront what that death means. Aching with suspense and anxiety, trying to avoid thinking about Milly's own consciousness of dying, Densher again attempts to project himself beyond waiting by imagining that Milly is already dead. He tries to convince himself that "the sense of waiting had passed" (461), and he pretends with Aunt Maud that "together they had seen their tragedy out. They spoke of the dying girl in the past tense; they said no worse of her than that she had been stupendous" (461-62). What Densher attempts to do here recalls the earlier scene when he waited for Aunt Maud. In effect, Densher tries to project himself into the future anterior, into a moment in the future when the immediate future will have become the past, when death will have already arrived. If, as Freud suggests, "mourning carries out its task" by declaring that "the object no longer exists" each time it is confronted by "the memories and situations of expectancy," Densher attempts this work before the object actually is dead.? His anticipation of Milly's death, his attempt "to live it" before it has actually occurred, could also be compared to the child's repeated enactment of the fort/da game while he

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waits, which Freud describes in Beyond the Pleasure Principle. R The repetition of a game, which stages the possibility of both return and loss of the loved object (in this case the mother), anticipates what would be experienced as the trauma of loss, provides a fantasy of compensation (return), and thereby also potentially either attenuates or eliminates actual trauma when the final loss of the loved one does occur. James does not, however, leave us with a sense that waiting enacts a coming to terms with the other's death in such a fashion, that there is any game like fort/da that can effectively turn waiting into actual mastery. The problem here is that we can never fully anticipate the future, the force of the event that is yet to happen, that cannot perhaps even be imagined as happening. There is no way to prepare fully for the trauma of the future. The future cannot be over and done with before it arrives; the meaning of death cannot so immediately be made a part of the past. Waiting cannot outwit the chronology of death. Densher's immediate future remains, then, one of waiting for Milly to die. Yet what will happen when that death does arrive? On the one hand, the other's death does put an end to waiting: the other will never arrive, so we will cease to wait. The anxiety, the suspense is over. On the other hand, the other's death makes waiting infinite: the other will never arrive, so we must always wait. And what is waited for is not really what the other's arrival would have meant had they only arrived, but more importantly what the other's death will come to have meant. We wait, that is, for the meaning of a death to arrive. For Densher this is not a meaning that ever arrives through a studied turn to religion. Densher never even pretends that religion provides either an answer or an end to waiting. His visit to the Brompton Oratory, after learning about Milly's death, has only to do with keeping his word to Aunt Maud that he is indeed going to church, when he never had any real intention of actually doing it (476-77). As a metaphor, "the wings of the dove" may have a religious resonance, but it does not settle Densher's mind in the face of death. This is not a messianic time of arrival, even if that messiah could be converted into the most secular of terms as Beckett does in Waiting for Godot. 9 Nor is the meaning of Milly's death to be calculated economically as a matter of inheritance; Densher refuses it without ever knowing exactly what it is. For Densher to understand what her death will have meant will involve an ongoing work of memory. Densher is effectively a haunted man in love with a memory of a dead woman. As Kate tells him, "'Her memory's your love. You want no other"' (509).


Diane Elam

Precisely how Densher continues to await what Milly's death will have meant, we will never know. James ends his novel a few lines later with Kate's dramatic exit. We can assume, though, that as with all works of memory, there will be a degree of invention: invention, in the future, of a past as a memory that can be lived with. This will be a future past in which what Milly was, and what her death will have meant, is to be revealed in part through the ongoing work that Freud calls Nachtriiglichkeit-a deferred action, a retrospection, a creation of a memory to fit the future. 10 Densher, that is, will continue to await Milly's death, waiting for what the reinvented past, which belongs to the future, will have meant. If waiting orients our being toward the death of others, it also animates a consciousness of awaiting one's own death. This is the matter that James explores most directly with Milly. She awaits her death in the context of private history filled with the death of others. Even more than Kate, Milly has led a young life shot through with death. Milly is the sole survivor of her family and has "no relations at all." As she puts it: "'I'm a survivor-a survivor of a general wreck. You see,' she added, 'how that's to be taken into account-that every one else has gone. When I was ten years old there were, with my father and my mother, six of us. I'm all that's left. But they died,' she went on, 'to be fair all around, of different things. Still, there it is"' (172). Each death is different, and yet their cumulative effect adds up to the same thing: Milly is left to live on her own, left to await her own inevitable death disconnected from any living family to remind her of her past, to guide her through her future. It is perhaps for this reason that Milly so seeks a connection with a broader sense of the past in order to give meaning not only to her life but also to her impending death. Travelling to Venice, a city as old as America is new, Milly takes up residence in the Palazzo Leporelli. This is not, however, any ordinary house, rather it is more like a museum, holding as it does "its history still in its great lap, even like a painted idol, a solemn puppet hung about with decorations" (314). Its owners, who "had preserved and consecrated" the objects in this space, have discreetly departed, giving the Palazzo over to Milly. Like Densher's reflections on Aunt Maud's furnishings and Kate's concern for her father's shabby rooms, we can read in Milly's "waiting rooms" her interest in being part of a larger cultural history. "Hung about with pictures and relics, the rich Venetian past, the ineffaceable character, was here the presence revered and served" (314). Yet Milly's relationship to these objects, to the culture and to the history that they belong, is as superficial as her un-

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canny resemblance to the dead woman in Bronzino's portrait. She is merely a tenant borrowing another culture's past. She may attempt to give her death and her life more meaning by trying to locate herself in a distinctive place and historical time-one with all its attendant associations with love, sexuality, and romance, but such an attempt bears witness to the increasing ungraspability of such associations. Milly may have "held with passion to her dream of a future" (462), but she cannot determine what her death will mean in that future or link the meaning of her death precisely to any one sense of the past, any one time or place. Yet to say this much is also to speculate, for James explores the context in which Milly waits for her own death more than the consciousness she develops as she waits. Significantly, we know more about what it means for Densher to wait for Milly's death than what it means for the dying woman herself to wait. This lack within the scene of waiting calls attention not only to the impossibility of knowing and determining the meaning of one's own death but also to the problem that one's own death marks the very limit of knowability. Here James could be said to anticipate Heidegger's more full-blown existential account of waiting. For Heidegger, Being is a being that awaits the future, that awaits death in the future. Yet if temporality existentially proceeds from anticipation, from the awaiting of death, we can never experience our own death or even the death of others; "at the most we are always just 'there alongside."''' While the narrative of waiting in The Wings of the Dove structures a phenomenological account of time, it also begins to explore the ungraspability of time and place, bringing us to the limits of knowledge, to the points where we will always wait to know. Although James tries to demonstrate the extent to which it is possible to narrate waiting-to give waiting the overall coherence of time and place that arises from the conversation and free indirect discourse, which form such a large part of The Wings of the Dove-the duration of waiting exceeds any one narrative. Waiting endlessly extends narrative, projecting a before and after without end. In waiting we may organize time, but not all time can be organized, can be known. It is this problem that leads Blanchot to provide a more radical questioning of both narrative and our ability to comprehend time and place. In his commitment to the "aimless drift" of the fragment, Blanchot releases waiting from narrative. 12 For Blanchot the emphasis falls even more strongly on the unknown, the unknown time of waiting and the unknown


Diane Elam

for which we wait. This is perhaps most clear in Awaiting Oblivion (L'Attente l'oubli), where Blanchot's fragments are loosely structured as a conversation between a man and a woman in a hotel room. It is a text without a definite beginning or ending, a text in which precisely who is saying what to whom is not always clear. No one is found here, and moreover there may be no here to find. As Ann Smock suggests, "the indifference of end and beginning-or of infinite waiting and extreme impatience-introduces the interval, the difference, the empty in-between where one and the other do not find themselves and are not found." 13 "Waiting is always a wait for waiting, wherein the beginning is withheld, the end suspended, and the interval of another wait thus opened" (24). According to Blanchot, "waiting is the calm leaving behind that leaves in its future everything that comes" (83). In this respect, there is no end to waiting; even "death, considered as an event that one awaits, is incapable of putting an end to waiting.14 Waiting transforms the fact of dying into something that one does not merely have to attain in order to cease waiting. Waiting is what allows us to know that death cannot be awaited" (27). Waiting just waits. It is a suspension within time, a suspension between past and future that is not also a present. As Blanchot explains in The Writing of the Disaster, "awaiting-just as it is not related to the future any more than to an accessible past-is also the awaiting of awaiting, which does not situate us in a present, for 'I' have always already awaited what I will always wait for: the immemorable, the unknown which has no present, and which I can no more remember than I can know whether I am not forgetting the future-the future being my relation with what, in what is coming, does not come and thus does not present, or re-present itself" (n7). If James shows how waiting gives rise to a consciousness of temporality, Blanchot points to how waiting opens onto the unknowable, the unaccountable, the unexpected, the immemorable as that which has no proper time but to whose possibility we remain attentive in waiting. 15 Something unaccountable will always lie in wait for us, and the moment that would put an end to waiting is itself incalculable, the beyond that neither James nor Blanchot can narrate, waiting forever in the wings.



Parting Words: Trauma, Silence, and Survival Cathy Caruth For Elaine G. Caruth 1

Freud begins his groundbreaking work, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, with his astonished encounter with the veterans of World War I, whose dreams of the battlefield bring them back, repeatedly, to the horrifYing scenes of death that they have witnessed. Like the victims of accident neuroses, these dreams seem to bring the soldiers back to a moment of fright or surprise that constituted their original encounter with death: "Now dreams occurring in traumatic neuroses have the characteristic of repeatedly bringing the patient back into the situation of his accident, a situation from which he wakes up in another fright. This astonishes people far too little" (13). 2 The repetition of battlefield horrors in the dreams astonishes Freud, because dreams, in psychoanalytic theory, had always served the function of fulfilling wishes: of allowing the unconscious, conflictual desires of childhood to find expression through the symbolic world of the dream. In the dreams of the returning veterans, however, the encounter with death and horror cannot be assimilated to the fulfillment of desire: rather than turning death into a symbol or vehicle of psychic meaning, these traumatic dreams seem to turn the psyche itself into the vehicle for expressing the terrifYing literality of a history it does not completely own. But the peculiarity of this returning, literal history also strikes Freud because it does not only bring back the reality of death, but the fright or unpreparedness for it: the dreams not only show the scenes of battle but wake the dreamer up in another fright. Freud's surprised encounter with the


Cathy Caruth

repetitive dreams of the war-the beginning of the theory of trauma, and of history, that has become so central to our contemporary thinking about history and memory-thus raises the urgent and unavoidable questions: what does it mean for the reality ofwar to appear in the fiction ofthe dream? What does it mean for life to bear witness to death? And what is the surprise that is encountered in this witness? Immediately after discussing the disturbing dreams of the war, however, Freud proposes to "leave the dark and dismal subject of the traumatic neurosis" and to pass on to the "normal" activity of child's play. Freud embarks here upon a story of his encounter with another repetitive behavior, the "puzzling activity" of a "good little boy" of one and a half, just beginning to speak. Freud says he observed the strange game of this child who repeatedly threw a wooden spool on a string into his cot, uttering the sound "o-o-o-o," then retrieved it, uttering "a-a-a-a." With the help of the mother, Freud first interprets these sounds as meaning fort, gone, and da, here, and ultimately suggests that the child is reenacting the departure and return of his mother, which he had just recently been forced to confront. The repetitive game, as a story, thus seems to represent the inner symbolic world of the child: as a story of departure and return, the game seems not only symbolically to fulfill a wish by telling the story of the mother's departure as the story of her return, but also to substitute, for the pain ofloss, the very pleasure of creation itself.3 But Freud himself unexpectedly proceeds to challenge his own first interpretation: Our interest is directed to another point. The child cannot possibly have felt his mother's departure as something agreeable or even indifferent .... It may perhaps be said in reply that her departure had to be enacted as a necessary preliminary to her joyful return, and that it was in the latter that lay the true purpose of the game. But against this must be counted the observed fact that the first act, that of departure, was staged as a game in itself and far more frequently than the episode in its entirety, with its pleasurable ending. (15-16)

The creative activity of the child's game, Freud recognizes with surprise, does not ultimately involve a symbolic representation of the mother's pleasurable return, but repeats, in a kind of stammer that interrupts its story, the painful memory of her departure. Like the soldiers' dreams, the game thus reenacts the very memory of a painful reality. What is most surprising in the child's game, however, is that this reenactment of reality in the game places repetition at the very heart of childhood, and links the repetition to a creative act of invention. In the introduction of the child's

Parting Words


game, Freud's original question, what does it mean for lift to bear witness to death? is linked to another question, what kind ofwitness is a creative act? I will propose in what follows that Freud's insight into trauma in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, his new understanding of personal and of collective history in the face of war, lies precisely in the striking and enigmatic leap that juxtaposes the nightmares of war to the child's game. This juxtaposition is not ordinarily taken into account in the critical reception of Freud's text-the study of trauma in contemporary fields tends to focus on a theory of history and memory derived ultimately from the example of the nightmare and the theory that grows out of it, and the writing on the child's game is not part of the tradition of trauma theory4-but it is crucial, I will suggest, for understanding the insight of Freud. My own understanding of this insight did not emerge, however, simply through a reading of Freud's text but began, in fact, in my encounter with a real child in Atlanta, a child whose best friend was murdered in the street and who is interviewed by the friend's mother. By reading together the language of the nightmare and the language of the child in Freud's text-two very distinct kinds of language whose intertwining strands are at the heart of Freud's theory-and in then understanding how Freud's text and the language of the real child shed light upon each other, we can begin to understand Freud's enigmatic move in the theory of trauma from the drive for death to the drive for life, from the reformulating of life around the witness to death, to the possibility of witnessing and making history in creative acts of life.

Death and Awakening Freud's analysis of repetition compulsion in the origins of consciousness indeed attempts to explain the significance and surprise of the traumatic encounter with death in terms of a new relation between consciousness and life. 5 Consciousness first arose, Freud speculates, as an attempt to protect the life of the organism from the imposing stimuli of a hostile world, by bringing to its attention the nature and direction of external stimuli. The protective function of consciousness as taking in bits of the world, however, was less important, Freud suggests, than its more profound function of keeping the world out, a function it accomplished by placing stimuli in an ordered experience of time. What causes trauma, then, is an encounter that is not directly perceived as a threat to the life of


Cathy Caruth

the organism but that occurs, rather, as a break in the mind's experience of time: "We may, I think, tentatively venture to regard the common traumatic neurosis as a consequence of an extensive breach being made in the protective shield against stimuli .... We still attribute importance to the element of fright. It is caused by lack of any preparedness for anxiety" (31). The breach in the mind-the psyche's awareness of the threat to life-is not caused by a direct threat or injury, but by fright, the lack of preparedness to take in a stimulus that comes too quickly. It is not the direct perception of danger, that is, that constitutes the threat for the psyche, but the fact that the danger is recognized as such one moment too late. It is this lack of direct experience that thus becomes the basis of the repetition of the traumatic nightmare: "These dreams are endeavoring to master the stimulus retrospectively, by developing the anxiety whose omission was the cause of the traumatic neurosis" (32). The return of the traumatic experience is not the direct witness of a threat to life but rather the attempt to overcome the fact that it was not direct, to master what was never fully grasped in the first place. And since consciousness cannot bear witness to death, the life of the survivor becomes the repetition of the reality that consciousness cannot grasp. In the traumatic encounter with death, life itself attempts to serve as the witness that consciousness cannot provide. The repetition exemplified by the nightmare, indeed, does not only concern (as I have analyzed elsewhere) 6 the repetition of the image in the dream, but the repetition of waking from it: "Dreams occurring in traumatic neuroses have the characteristic of repeatedly bringing the patient back into the situation of his accident, a situation from which he wakes up in another ftight" (13, my emphasis). If"fright" is the term by which Freud defines the traumatic effect of not having been prepared in time, then the trauma of the nightmare does not simply consist in the experience within the dream, but in the experience of waking from it. It is the surprise of waking that repeats the unexpectedness of the trauma. And as such the trauma is not only the repetition of the missed encounter with death, but the missed encounter with one's own survival. It is the incomprehensible act of surviving-of waking into life-that repeats and bears witness to what remains ungrasped within the encounter with death. The repetition of trauma, therefore, is not only an attempt or an imperative to know what cannot be grasped that is repeated unconsciously in the survivor's life: it is also an imperative to live that still remains not fully understood. And it is this incomprehensible imperative to live that Freud ultimately places at the

Parting Words


very origin of life, when he suggests that life itself began as the drive to death: "The attributes oflife were at some time awoken in inanimate matter by the action of a force of whose nature we can form no conception .... The tension which then arose in what had hitherto been an inanimate substance endeavored to cancel itself out. In this way the first drive came into being: the drive to return to the inanimate state" (38, translation modified). Life itself originates, Freud here suggests, as an awakening from "death" for which there was no preparation. Life itself, that is, is an imperative to awaken that precedes any understanding or consciousness and any possible desire or wish_? The witness of survival itself-the awakening that constitutes life-lies not only in the incomprehensible repetition of the past, that is, but in the incomprehensibility of a future that is not yet owned. Freud's central question raised by the war nightmare, what does it mean for life to bear witness to death? thus ultimately leads to another, more urgent and enigmatic question: in what way is the experience oftrauma also the experience ofan imperative to live? What is the nature ofa life that continues beyond trauma?

The Child's Game It might appear that with this analysis Freud had replaced the notion of the child, and its central place in psychoanalytic theory, with the theory of trauma. The child's repetition of its mother's departure could be explained as the unknowing reliving of its mother's (anticipated) death, and the child's life as the unconscious reliving of what is not yet grasped within the mother's departure. From the perspective of Freud's rethinking of life around its traumatic significance, the child's game thus peculiarly reenacts the incomprehensible moment of the mother's act of leaving and reshapes the very life of the child as the unconscious witness to the death he has survived. Repeating the fort that is not his own, but his mother's act of leaving, the child's own life story-his departure into life-becomes inextricable from his mother's silent departure into death. In this incoprehensible departure, the child's life-like the origin of the drive-thus silently enacts a larger history he does not completely own. 8 Freud's analysis indeed suggests that the encounter with traumatic repetition requires a rethinking of psychoanalysis itself, which had previously focused its model of the mind on the notion of childhood as the site of the pleasure principle. By modeling the mind on the encounter with war


Cathy Caruth

trauma, Freud thus appears to shift the center of psychoanalytic thinking from the individual struggle with internal Oedipal conflicts of childhood to the external, collective activities of history, and to make of childhood itself a reflection of a more obscure painful encounter. Thus Robert Jay Lifton writes that the reversal of adult and child trauma as a model for the human mind was at the center of Beyond, and produced the "image-model of the human being as a perpetual survivor." 9 The questions raised by war trauma concerning the nature of life thus require a new model for psychoanalytic thinking and, in particular, for the relation between psychoanalysis and history.

Beginning Again Yet the game of the child playing fort and da, there and here, with his spool, seems to become not less, but more enigmatic when it is understood in relation to traumatic repetition. If the child's reenactment of his mother's departure repeats, ultimately, her loss and her death, the game remains, still, an act of creation that, unlike the dream of the war veterans, does not simply compulsively repeat a history it doesn't own but creates, in its repetition, something new. 10 This very movement from the example of traumatic repetition in the war nightmare to the example of the child will, moreoever, reappear surprisingly in Freud's text, and will reappear precisely at the moment that Freud has explained the notion of trauma in the very origins of life. For shortly after introducing the origin of life as an awakening out of death, Freud pauses abruptly and starts again: But let us pause for a moment and reflect. lt cannot be so. The sexual instincts, to which the theory of the neuroses gives a quite special place, appear under a very different aspect. ... The whole path of development to natural death is not trodden by all the elementary entities which compose the complicated body of one of the higher organisms. Some of them, the germ cells, probably retain the original structure of living matter and, after a certain time ... separate themselves from the organism as a whole. Under favourable conditions, they begin to developthat is, to repeat the performance [das Spiel wiederholen] to which they owe their existence; and in the end once again one portion of their substance pursues its development to a finish, while another portion harks back once again as a fresh residual germ to the beginning of the process of development .... They are the true life drives. (39-40, translation modified)

Parting Words


The origin of life as the death drive-as the beginning of the repetition compulsion, and as an awakening-is itself repeated, Freud audaciously suggests, and is repeated, moroeover, precisely in the form of a game (Spiel). After disappearing for most of his text since his original introduction of the child-and disappearing in particular from the theory of trauma, which is entirely governed by the language of consciousness and awakening 11 -the language of the game reappears, and reappears to describe a different form of repetition: a repeating of the origin of life in another kind of beginning. 12 This repetition brings back, moreover, for the very first time, the explicit language of the child's game, the language Freud uses at the moment he recognizes the game as a game of departure: "But against this must be counted the observed fact that the first act, that of departure, was staged as a game in itself and far more frequently than the episode in its entirety, with its pleasurable ending [da.f der erste Akt, das

Fortgehen, for sich allein als Spiel inszeniert wurde, und zwar ungleich hiiujiger als das zum lustvollen Ende fortgefohrte Ganzel" (16). This game and the event of departure that it re-enacts is now repeated as the very action of the life drive: "Under favourable conditions, they begin to develop-that is, to repeat the performance to which they owe their existence; and in the end once again one portion of their substance pursues its development to a finish [ Unter gunstige Bedingungen gebracht, beginnen sie sich zu entwick-

eln, das hei.ft das Spiel, dem sie ihre Entstehung verdanken, zu wiederholen, und dies endet dam it, da.f wieder ein Anteil ihrer Substanz die Entwicklung bis zum Ende fortfuhrt]" (40). Freud thus reintroduces the language of departure not as the origin of the death drive, but as the way it repeats itself, differently, as the drive for life. 13 The departure into life is not simply the awakening that repeats an original death, but an act of parting that distinguishes, precisely, between death and life. 14 The repetition of this game, then, as an origin, is the beginning of life as a surprising repetition that both bears witness to and breaks from the death drive, that bears witness and repeats by precisely breaking away. It is a language of departure, that is, that does not repeat the unconscious origin of life as death, but creates a history by precisely departing toward survival. This creative act takes place, moreover, not only in the child's game, but in Freud's own text, as well, through the very transformation undergone by the language of trauma: from the departure-the fort-that appears to be the repetition of the mother's anticipated death in the child's game, to the fortfohren of the drive that is the pressure toward life. 15 This


Cathy Caruth

transformation also differentiates or parts the traumatized subject, the soldiers of war repeating death, from the individual testimony of Freud's own text, the creative act of language that becomes not only the story of departures but also the language of play, a language that would, in fact, become a new language for psychoanalysis in the future. In the life drive, then, life itself, and the language of creativity, begin as an act that bears witness to the past even by turning from it; that bears witness to death by bearing witness to the possibility of origination in life. History, here, is reclaimed and generated not in reliving unconsciously the death of the past but by an act that bears witness by parting from it. The language of the life drive does not simply point backward, that is, but bears witness to the past by pointing to the future. The return of the child's language in Beyond the Pleasure Principle thus transforms the original questions of trauma-what does it mean for life to bear witness to death? and what is the nature of a life that continues beyond trauma? into an ultimately more fundamental and elusive concern: what is the language ofthe life drive?

Mementos The significance of this question arose, for me, not from within Freud's theoretical text, nor in the history of World War I, but in my own encounter with a child in Atlanta, within the contemporary history of urban violence in America. I encountered this child shortly after leaving New Haven and arriving in Atlanta, when I became familiar with a group established in Atlanta to help traumatized children who had witnessed violence, a group called "Kids Alive and Loved." This group was established by a woman named Bernadette Leite, whose oldest son, Khalil, was shot in the back one night when he was out with friends, shortly before graduating from high school. The impulse for the group came specifically, as she tells us, not only from witnessing the symptoms of anger and the violent re-enactment of trauma in the kids' responses to the death at the funeral and afterward, but when the mother of the dead boy, Bernadette, overheard the peculiar language of children: "After his death I noticed that his friends were coming over every afternoon and hanging out in his room. And I began to listen, and I heard them speaking to him. They would come over every afternoon and hang out in his room and speak to him. And I realized that they needed someone to talk to." 16 Hearing the language of the children addressed only to her dead son, Bernadette recog-

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nized the unresolved trauma of many of his friends in their inability to speak about their feelings to the living. She thus decided to found a group to allow the children to talk about their feelings to each other concerning the violence they had experienced, in weekly Wednesday night meetings and through videotaped interviews she has made for the Kids Alive and Loved Oral History Archive. Giving the group the name "Kids Alive and Loved," whose initials-KAL-reproduce the initials of her child, Khalil Aseem Leite, Bernadette hoped to make the group not only a way of both helping the living children to get over their trauma by talking about Khalil (as well as other murders they had experienced), but also of providing a kind of living memorial to her dead son through the living children's words and lives. The complexity of this process was most movingly portrayed for me, however, through the words of a single child, in the recorded interview of Bernadette with Gregory, Khalil's best friend. Gregory was 17 at the time of his friend's death. He had received a call from Khalil that morning to go out that evening, but argued about being called so early, and then was not at home when he was called again. 17 Gregory speaks, throughout the interview, in a language that tries to convey the difficulty of grasping Khalil's death: when asked to say something about Khalil's life he answers, "He lived for everything. He died for nothing." This inability to grasp the meaning of his friend's death resonates in his own difficulty in extricating a description of Khalil's life from his own survival of Khalil's death: B: What do you want people to know about his life? G: He had a good heart. B: What does [the experience of Khalil's death] feel like? G: It's like when somebody is actually pulling your heart out, or just repeatedly stabbing it.

The dead Khalil's life and Greg's survival of it are tied around a heart that they share and that has now been removed. Greg's heart, it would appear, being removed and stabbed, tells the story of Khalil's death. In the exchange between Bernadette and Greg, we see Bernadette's attempt to help Greg memorialize Khalil in a kind of language of memory, and we witness Greg's own transformation of her language of memory into a parting that allows for both a memorialization of his friend and a recognition of his own life.


Cathy Caruth

Parting Words This possibility opens up, strikingly, in a moment of surprise, in a remarkable moment of his interview with her, just at the place, moreover, when the interview turns to the topic of memorialization. Bernadette has been asking about Gregory's feelings concerning Khalil's death, and the interview has become very sombre and at times filled with sorrow. Then Greg makes the interview take a sudden turn: B: G: B: G: B: G:

Do you have any mementos of Khalil? Let's see ... Do you have personal belongings of his? (suddenly smiling): He has something of mine! (laughing): I know he has something of yours ... a couple of things! He had ... That's what also made me feel good, because he was buried in my shirt that I loved, and my watch. At first that shirt bothered me because I loved that shirtB: And I didn't know at the time .... Mark picked it out and I only found out later. It's too bad-I wanted to get him a Tommy Hilfiger shirt he'd seen downtown but I didn't have time to get it and get to the funeral parlor. It's too bad-but then maybe he wouldn't have been buried in your favorite shirt. G: That's O.K., because it was my favorite shirt and my favorite friend. Greg's first response to Bernadette's question-"Do you have any personal belongings of his?"-comes as a surprise because it reverses the order by which the living Greg would memorialize his dead friend and suggests that it is the dead friend that is keeping mementos of him: "He has something of mine!" Greg says. This is also, in its irony and humor, a kind of maintenance of the playful relationship that Greg had with the living Khalil: the implicit joke that Khalil got away with his favorite shirt seems to recreate the very humorous relationship they had when Khalil was alive. Greg thus, in effect, says "gone!" to his shirt and, in so doing, establishes a relationship with Khalil that recognizes, even within the fiction of personification, the ineradicable difference between his life and Khalil's death. Bernadette's response, likewise, turns both to the dead and to the living at once, although in a somewhat different fashion. On the one hand she tells, very movingly, of a mother who wants to get one last gift for her dead son, to buy him the shirt that he had seen and wanted. But the telling of this story is simultaneously, and equally movingly, a kind of playful

Parting Words


mothering of the living boy in front of her, because she empathizes with him that it is too bad that he could not have had his favorite shirt back. To Gregory's "fort!" or "gone!" Bernadette thus says, in effect, "da !"or here! and, in this way, makes her act of mothering the living boy a continuation of her mothering of the dead one, and makes of Greg the living memory of the dead Khalil. It is thus particularly striking that Greg's final words, which are the true climax of the exchange for me, once again give up the shirt to Khalil: "That's O.K. It was my favorite shirt and my favorite friend." If his first response brought Khalil to life as a youthful friend-and reanimated Greg too as he was before he had the horrible knowledge ofKahlil's death-this final response, in giving the gift to Khalil, gives up that former innocence and recreates Greg through his ability to give to and thus memorialize his dead friend. By once again saying "gone!", Greg indeed departs from his former self and turns the memento-and the language of the mementointo an act, not of a symbolic return or wish for possession, but of an ability to give to the dead something that can never, now, be returned. 18 This double act is repeated, a few minutes later, in the next exchange, an exchange that now, significantly, concerns a game: B: So it made you feel good that your favorite friend was buried in your favorite shirt and your watch. G(smiling again): And he has my-it's not really a hat, it's a cap. It's a litde like a stocking cap, that colorful thing on his wall. Yeah, him and me and Maurice would play this game, "left hand," where you call out what's in the person's left hand and you get to keep it. And he called that and he got it. B: I should give that back to you, you could take it with you as a me1nento. G: Uhuh, I would feel better if it would stay in his household. Because it's a memento of him but it's a memento of me too. The game with his friend, Greg tells us, had been a game of naming and possessing; by calling out the other's clothing it could become yours, just as the friendship was perhaps a kind of reciprocal possession of each boy by the other. But when Bernadette offers, once again, to give the possession back-"1 should give it back to you, you could take it with you as a memento"-Greg once again repeats his fort: "I would feel better if it would stay in his household. Because it is a memento of him but it's a memento of me too." Naming the cap as a memento not only of Khalil but of


Cathy Caruth

himself, Greg not only gives up the part of himself that existed before Khalil's death, he also ties his life with Khalil's death: the cap is not only a memento of him for me, he says, but of me for him. This bond, however, does not confuse the living child with the dead one, nor does it symbolize the dead one in the living one, but precisely separates Greg, whose younger self is buried in the coffin, from the dead child who will not grow past this moment. Indeed, this refusal of Bernadette's offer to give the cap back is also (as my own mother pointed out to me), a way of saying "I will not be your dead child." In giving up the language of memorialization offered by Bernadette, however, he creatively transforms the language of the memento and achieves another language and another memorialization: a memorialization that takes place precisely through his separation and his own act of creation. 18 It is in this reclaiming of the meaning of the memento, even while giving it up, that Greg's fort, I would suggest, does not simply re-enact his friend's departure or attempt to return to his life, but bears witness, creatively, in the very act of parting from his dead friend. This language, I would suggest, is the language of the life drive. It is this drive for life that is at work in Greg's description of how the death of his friend is also motivating him to achieve goals in his life, achievements that will also incorporate Khalil's name: B: How has his death changed your life? G: I am more determined to make it in the music business somehow and I know it will be because of him. We used to talk about it all the time. He did rap .... [W)e were to go to Clark, Atlanta, him for business management and me for communication, music, and combine our talents. Bur now he can't do that .... But that's O.K., because when I do it I'll bring all the people jobs, Mike, Maurice .... When we get that studio [Khalil's) name is going to be the name of it. And I have to have a son and his name will be in there.

In this language we can see the drive for life, a language of parting that itself moves the speaker forward to a life that is not simply possessed, but given, in some sense, and received, as a gift from the dead. In the memento, as Greg teaches us, the two children take leave from each other: as Greg gives Khalil back to death, Khalil, in a sense, gives Greg back to life. This is a creative act, an act that bears witness to the dead precisely in the process of turning away. It is indeed a new language of departure, parting words 19 that bind the living child to the dead one even as he takes leave from him, binds him to his dead friend even in the very act of letting go.

Parting Words


Freud's Game In Greg's words, we see the insight of Freud's text as it touches on and resonates with our contemporary crises and with the actual struggles of children in contemporary culture. But Greg's words also shed light on the way in which the language of the child itself reemerges at the very heart of Freud's own theoretical writing. 2°For Freud's elaborate staging of the game of the fortlda can be understood not only as a description of the puzzling game of the child staging the departure and return of the mother, but as Freud's own oscillation in his understanding of the child's game. This oscillation takes the form, moreover, of the alternation between a fort and a da: I eventually realized that it was a game and that the only use he made of any of his toys was to play "gone" with them. (15) This, then, was the complete game-disappearance and return. As a rule one witnessed only its first act, which was repeated untiringly as a game in itself, though there is no doubt that the greater pleasure was attached to the second act. (15) It may perhaps be said ... that [the mother's] departure had to be enacted as a

necessary preliminary to her joyful return, and that it was in the latter that lay the true purpose of the game. But against this must be counted the observed fact that the first act, that of departure, was staged as a game in itself and far more frequently than the episode in its entirety, with its pleasurable ending. (15-16) As Freud's interpretation passes from the fort to the narrative of fort and da, and back again to the fort, Freud shows himself as struggling in the face of a child whose language, in its shifting meaning for Freud, first brings him nearer and then distances him in Freud's understanding. 21 What is striking in Freud's example, that is, is not simply the child's struggle and reenactment of the distance of its mother, but Freud's struggle with and reenactment of the distance of the child. Freud's text, it would appear, repeats the story of the child he has encountered, and does so, moreover, in the very act of distancing. Paradoxically, then, it will be in his repetition of the child's distance, in his own distancing of the child at the moment of his failed comprehension of the game, that Freud's own text will connect with, and transmit, the story the child cannot quite tell. Freud's text, that is, itself repeats the child's traumatized fort-the stammering word that marks the very loss of the child's own story-but does so as the very creation of its own new language, a language that does not return to the pleas-


Cathy Caruth

urable compensations of the narrative but speaks, precisely, from beyond the story. It is not necessarily on the level of the child's own game, that is, but on the level of Freud's repetition of it that the creative act of the game, the new conceptual language of the life drive, will take place. 22 We could, moreover, understand the entire theory of trauma in Beyond not as simply an explanation of trauma from the distance of theoretical speculation, but as the very passage of the story of the child in a theoretical act of transformation. 23 For what is the story of the mind's attempt to master the event retrospectively if not the story of a failed return: the attempt, and failure, of the mind to return to the moment of the event? The theory of repetition compulsion as the unexpected encounter with an event that the mind misses and then repeatedly attempts to grasp is the story of a failure of the mind to return to an experience it has never quite grasped, the repetition of an originary departure from the moment that constitutes the very experience of trauma. And this story appears again as the beginning of life in the death drive, as life's attempt to return to inanimate matter that ultimately fails and departs into a human history. 24 Freud's own theory, then, does not simply describe the death drive and its enigmatic move to the drive for life, but enacts this drive for life as the very language of the child that encounters, and attempts to grasp, the catastrophes of a traumatic history.

A Final Parting The most striking appearance of Freud's own speaking as the child will occur, however, not within the theoretical language of the text, but in a footnote that refers, in fact, to the entrance of a real death into the life of the child as well as into his own life: "When this child was five and threequarters, his mother died. Now that she was really 'gone' ('o-o-o'), the child showed no signs of grief." In noting the real death of the child's mother, Freud first explicitly links the child to himself, since the child's mother was also, in reality, Freud's daughter Sophie, who died toward the end of the writing of Beyond the Pleasure Principle. But whereas the (already traumatized) child shows no signs of grief, Freud himself begins to repeat, not simply the language of the fort, but the inarticulate sounds of the "o-o-o-o" that constituted the very origin of the game (and the only moment in which the living mother had appeared in the example, when she agreed with Freud as to the meaning of the "o-o-o-o" as indicating the

Parting Words


word fort). By reintroducing the lost "o-o-o-o" of the original child's game in his words, and in this footnote that announces his daughter's and the mother's real death, Freud implicitly connects the origin of the child's game with the very significance of his own theoretical text, a significance that now, in its very inarticulate stammer, serves as a kind of memory of and parting from Freud's own dead child. 25 The language of the theory, much like the child's stammering language, articulates the very notions of the trauma and of the death drive as a creative act of parting: a parting from the real child, and a parting from the psychoanalytic child-or from the mere psychoanalysis of childhood-toward an analysis of the collective catastrophes of death encountered in war, and toward the pressing cultural imperative for a new kind of survival.26 I would propose that it is through the child's words-through this literary, not fully articulated language of theory-that Freud's text speaks, moreover, most powerfully, in its full historical relevance, to us. For it is through the child's own stammer-the stammer of Freud as he faces the encounter with World War I, the reduction of the theoretical mind to the stammering struggle of the child-that Freud will first tell us about the necessity of witnessing the effects of death in the century of trauma. But it is also through the creative transformation of this stammer into a new language of psychoanalysis-not only the language of departure, which will be his language of history in Moses and Monotheism, but the very future language of psychoanalysis itself, in the rethinking of psychoanalysis, for example, around the individual's capacity for play-that the possibilities of Freud's not yet articulated insight are handed over to us.r I would suggest that it is only in listening to this second and literarily creative element in Freud's own writing, that the theory of trauma, now so prevalent in numerous disciplines, can extend itself beyond the theory of repetition and catastrophe, beyond the insight of the death drive, into the insight enigmatically passed on in the new notion of the drive to life. As such the theory of trauma does not limit itself to a theoretical formulation of the centrality of death in culture, but constitutes-in Freud's, and our own, historical experience of modernity-an act of parting that itself creates and passes on a different history of survival.



The Other Day: The Interpretation of Daydreams Rachel Bowlby

It almost seems to go without saying that dreams in The Interpretation of Dreams are creatures of the night. Shady, enigmatic, mysterious, they draw unto them all the accumulated metaphorics of a symbolic division between darkness and light. They belong to a nether world which has no place on the surfaces of daytime life-as in the following passage leading up to the famous identification with a legendary literary conqueror: In waking life the suppressed material in the mind is prevented from finding expression ... but during the night ... the suppressed material finds methods and means of forcing its way into consciousness. Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. 1

Freud cites Virgil in the original Latin, as though to emphasize not only the epic connection, but also the sense of strangeness in the movement from one world to its underworld, from day to night: "If I cannot move the higher powers, I will move the lower." But the separation itself seems to be a sure one. Sleep and "night" go together as surely as "waking life" and the day. Dream, sleep, nighttime, darkness all come to shade into one another to the point that they appear to be inseparable. As though to acknowledge that there is something about this obscurity that is more than the evidence allows-since it is obvious that sleep, and dreams, can occur in daylight as well as at night-Freud sometimes uses the expanded term "night-dreams." Without darkness, without the night, dreams would carry no mystery; there would be nothing to interpret. Yet the day is far from being absent from these nocturnal phenom-

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ena. It enters into Freudian night-dreams in two regular manifestations, each of which is considered at some length in the Interpretation. First, the use of the term "night-dreams" is partly, of course, a way of marking the existence of daydreams. And second, there are those ubiquitous features known as "day's residues." At first sight, daydreams and day's residues appear rather differentdaydreams are comparable to night-dreams, while the day's residues contribute to their making. But this initial division is complicated by the fact that daydreams themselves can also appear as part of the content of dreams. In this instance, daydreams function as ready-prepared, unobjectionable material that can be used by the dream without more ado, in this respect like the day's residues. The other case, that of the comparison of dreams to daydreams, is itself used for two opposite purposes: daydreams show something about dreams either because they are like them, or because they are not. This is partly because different features of dreams and daydreams are being utilized in each instance, but also because there are important variations in how Freud conceives of the relative importance of each. The day's residues are subject to other ambiguities of deployment. Freud states unequivocally that in every dream there is something left over from the previous day. That something is there, however, not because of its significance, but because it has none: being recent and new, the day's residues qualifY under the purely negative condition of being insignificant, free of associations. It is this that gives them the capacity to act as a "cover" for the real thoughts of the dream, which cannot obtain free expression by itself. The day is of merely passing significance, in two senses: the obvious one, whereby it matters only while it lasts, until it is past; and a second, whereby it enables the night-dream's thoughts to "pass," to appear to be as trivial and innocuous as the day's are supposed to be. These enigmatic and elusive appearances of the day, in a context for the most part resolutely nocturnal, can themselves easily pass unnoticed. In this paper, I shall pursue in more detail some of the peculiarities that attach to the day in the dream, and the dream in the day. What is the significance of the day's actual ubiquitousness, but alleged insignificance in the Freudian dream? With this question in mind, Freud's reference to a story by the nineteenth-century French novelist Alphonse Daudet in one of his discussions of daydreams offers a minor road which ends with a different view.


Rachel Bowlby Day's Residues, Night's Survivals

Freud insists that all dreams find some material out of "day's residues," from the thoughts and activities of the very day before. All dreams, it is claimed, make use of impressions from the day that immediately precedes the sleep of the dream; their usefulness is premised on the need for a cover or surface of indifference to hide dreams' real motives and meanings. This, day's residues are uniquely suitable to provide: Both groups of impressions satisfy the demand of the repressed for material that is still clear of associations-the indifferent ones because they have given no occasion for the formation of many ties, and the recent ones because they have not yet had time to form them. It will be seen, then, that the day's residues, among which we may now class the indifferent impressions, not only borrow something from the Ucs. when they succeed in taking a share in the formation of a dream-namely the instinctual force which is at the disposal of the repressed wish-but that they also offer the unconscious something indispensable-namely the necessary point of attachment for a transference. (SE 5: 564) As the language of borrowings and offers suggests, a kind of deal is struck. The deal depends on a negotiation between the ephemeral in quest of continuation and the permanent in search of short-lived daylight. The day's residues gain some temporary extension of their role when they get to participate in a dream, and the dream acquires a means of gliding its instinctual disturbances into an acceptable form. In what we shall see is a persistent attribution in many contexts, that which belongs to the day is taken to be transitory and thereby also trivial, while that which belongs to the night is durable to the point of timelessness, loaded with a pressure of meaning that must out into the temporal. It is significant that, in contrast to the usual emphasis in his outlining of this kind of structure-in relation, for instance, to the formation of neurotic symptoms-Freud here suggests not so much the negative aspect of a compromise, where a bargain is struck by each contributor making concessions, but the positive gains associated with a move that is beneficial to both parties. In the neurotic structure, the repressed wish gets itself out in the form of a symptom, but not as a fulfillment; while the ego keeps the wish from coming out openly, but only by allowing the symptom. The day's residues, on the other hand, have nothing to lose, being destined only to get lost. They are dismissed again and again: "unimportant details ...

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worthless fragments of waking life" (SE 4: 174); "remnants of trivial experiences' (SE 4: 177), "the 'dregs' of daytime recollections" (SE 4: q8), "indifferent refuse left over from the previous day" (SE 5: 589). The rhetoric of rubbish apparent here is linked sometimes to an idea that such detritus has to be disposed of-as it were, by a daily refuse collection. Freud rejects this theory in relation to dream-content only because it implies an impossible task of working over for dreams to accomplish, not because he thinks that there is no disposal to be done: The night would not be long enough to cope with such a mass. It is far more likely that the process of forgetting indifferent impressions goes forward without the active intervention of our psychical forces. (SE 4: q8) What is revealing about the form of this refuse-refusal is its premise of rational order: the night, with the dreams that take its time, is conceptualized as a given period for the achievement of necessary work, rather than-for instance, and as elswhere-as a phase in which the normal orders of time and reason are suspended altogether. The treatment of the remains of the day as superfluous waste for throwing out puts them at the opposite extreme from the dream-thoughts. These latter stay put come what may; are full of significance whereas the day's impressions have none whatever; they are virtually indestructible whereas the day's remains are (literally) ephemera, lasting only for a day and with no enduring value. A further radical distinction is suggested by the "mass" of indifferent impressions in the passage quoted above. "Crowds of such impressions enter our minds and are then forgotten" (SE 4: q6), Freud says a little earlier: on one side, teeming in from the day, is a number so large, it is implied, that it could not possibly be incorporated or assimilated; on the other, the small, select, and well-defined group of the repressed wishes. Such polarization is typical of the way in which Freud establishes his rwo-tier systems-in this instance, as often, contrasting a surface (of transient dailiness) with the underlying depths of timeless significance and potency. The day's residues serve primarily as only the veil or excuse for the dream-thoughts, the wishes to which they offer a means of muffled expression. For although Freud does discuss the possibility of a contribution to dreams of thoughts and worries and wishes from daily life in their own right, as independent instigators, he nonetheless affirms that they are not sufficient in themselves to get a dream going: "In my view, therefore, wish-


Rachel Bowlby

ful impulses left over from conscious waking life must be relegated to a secondary position in respect to the formation of dreams" (SE 5: 554). In this connection, daily life seems to be at once crucial and trivial: necessary to give the unconscious wish a hearing or a sighting, but of no importance in comparison to the psychical interests that are older, more deeply established. This accords, as we shall see, with one of the ways in which daydreams are differentiated from dreams.

Daydreams, Night-dreams Daydreams flit in and out of the Interpretation, in various guises and various kinds of connection and disconnection with the night-dreams that form the ostensible focus of the book's inquiry, its "royal road" to the unconscious. They are protean and contradictory in their appearancessometimes just a bit of a dream, sometimes similar to night-dreams and sometimes their antithesis. In the later, theoretical parts of the book, Freud deliberately draws on daydreams as both counter-example and analogy to elucidate his claims for the significance of night-dreams in their relations to unconscious wishes. As we shall see, these passages resonate with others in essays of the following years, in the course of which daydreams gradually come to serve as adumbrations or exemplary modes of what he is now exploring under the term "phantasy." In the Interpretation, then, daydreams appear on one side as extensions or analogues of dreams. In this connection, Freud makes a minor argument out of their shared name. In the German, a footnote glosses the term Tagtraum-a literal translation of the English "daydream"-with both French and English: "reve, petit roman-daydream, story." The connection here has to do with narrative form: the unity which characterizes the stories of daydreams resembles the surface appearance of night-dreams produced in the process of secondary revision (we shall come back to this aspect of the comparison). In a passage from the eighth of the Introductory Lectures (1916-17), Freud again makes the point about linguistic continuity. In this instance, he even goes so far as to refer to dreams as "nocturnal daydreaming," thereby making the daydream into the default mode of which the night-dream would be just a special case. Here the point of similarity is not the story as a whole but the happy ending attributed to daydreams: "Linguistic usage, therefore, has a suspicion of the fact that wishfulfillment is a chief characteristic of dreams" (SE 15: 130).

The Other Day


The clearest and largest claim for the importance of daydreams in the Interpretation makes them an alternative "royal road," a kind of Autobahn to the unconscious constructed after the first arrival at the destination: They share a large number of their properties with night-dreams, and their investigation might, in fact, have served as the shortest and best approach to an understanding of night-dreams. (SE 5: 492; italics added) And in a footnote later in the same section, this considerable overlap of features becomes, unequivocally, "the complete analogy between nightdreams and daydreams" (SE 5: 494). The usefulness of daydreams to the study of dreams on the grounds of shared components is emphasized in later writings. In "Hysterical Phantasies and their Relation to Bisexuality" (1908), we read: "They are justly called 'daydreams,' for they give us the key to an understanding of nightdreams-in which the nucleus of the dream-formation consists of nothing else than complicated day-time phantasies of this kind that have been distorted and are misunderstood by the conscious psychical agency" (SE 9: 159-60; emphasis added). And in the Introductory Lectures, in a long section on daydreams, Freud summarizes: "We know that such daydreams are the nucleus and prototype ofnight-dreams. A night-dream is at bottom nothing other than a daydream that has been made utilizable owing to the liberation of the instinctual impulses at night, and that has been distorted by the form assumed by mental activity at night" (SE 16: 372-73; emphasis added). Running through these passages are the two models, of part and paradigm. On the one hand, daydreams contribute to dreams: they form a nucleus, provide materials that go into the composition of the nightdream. On the other hand, daydreams resemble night-dreams. They could equally well have been used as a key to understanding that which night-dreams enable us to understand, since they are similar in psychical function-"the complete analogy," no less. Let us look first at the second of these aspects. Daydreams, like night-dreams, are narratives which lead to satisfaction by representing the fulfillment of wishes: Incidentally, if our experience in dreams is only a modified kind of imagining made possible by the conditions of the state of sleep-that is, a "nocturnal daydreaming"-we can already understand how the process of constructing a dream can dispose of the nocturnal stimulus and bring satisfaction, since daydreaming too is an activity bound up with satisfaction and is only practised, indeed, on that account. (SE 15: 130)


Rachel Bowlby

Such wishes, for both kinds of dream, are long-lasting, dating back, apparently, to the earliest period oflife. From the Interpretation: Like dreams, they are wish-fulfillments; like dreams they are based to a great extent on impressions of infantile experiences; like dreams, they benefit by a certain degree of relaxation of censorship. (SE 5: 492)

Daydreams can also be unconscious, Freud goes on to say-as far from waking awareness as dreams themselves. They too may point toward something that is constantly undermining the apparent unity and singularity of daytime consciousness and aims. Like dreams, they are a piece of normality which verges on being, and is structured like, a neurotic symptom. They may be the immediate forerunners of a hysterical attack, or they may precede a dream that is itself interchangeable with a hysterical attack. 2 But daydreams are also said to resemble not so much dreams in general as one particular aspect of their form and function: what Freud calls secondary revision. The longest section on daydreams in the Interpretation occurs in the part dedicated to that fourth feature of the dream-work; in it, the unifYing, reconstructive effect is said to be epitomized by daydreams: The function of "secondary revision," which we have attributed to the fourth of the factors concerned in shaping the content of dreams, shows us in operation once more the activity which is able to find free vent in the creation of daydreams without being inhibited by any other influences. We might put it simply by saying that this fourth factor of ours seeks to mould the material offered to it into something like a daydream. (SE 5: 492)

Here too, Freud both makes an analogy of daydreams and, at the same time, offers them as component parts of dreams. He continues: If, however, a daydream of this kind has already been formed within the nexus of the dream-thoughts, this fourth factor in the dream-work will prefer to take possession of the ready-made daydream and seek to introduce it into the content of the dream. There are some dreams which consist merely in the repetition of a daytime phantasy which may perhaps have remained unconscious. (SE 5: 492)

The alleged likeness of daydreams to dreams thus subtends very different-and conflicting-emphases. Daydreams are considered either as touching on the unconscious, repressed thoughts that are the origin of night-dreams, or as resembling only the not-dream part of the dream-its presentable, outside, external face as formed in the process of secondary reVlSlOn.

The Other Day


In later writings, this point slides into the suggestion of an obviousness that attaches to daydreams; it is this which might have made them a more accessible, less twisting road to the understanding of wish-fulfillment as the primary feature of dreams. The word that tends to be used here is "transparent." In the fifth Introductory Lecture, Freud states: "The content of these phantasies is dominated by a very transparent motive" (SE 15: 98). And in the eighth: ''At one point we hoped to approach an understanding of the problems of dreams from the fact that certain imaginative structures which are very transparent to us are known as 'daydreams"' (SE 15: 130). These references to transparency (Durchsichtigheit) may be compared to a pair of architectural similes that occur in the course of the discussion of daydreams in the Interpretation. Here is the continuation of Freud's enumeration of the points of similarity between daydreams and nightdreams: If we examine their [daydreams'] structure, we shall perceive the way in which the wishful purpose that is at work in their production has mixed up the material of which they are built, has rearranged it and has formed it into a new whole. They stand in much the same relation to the childhood memories from which they are derived as do some of the Baroque palaces of Rome to the ancient ruins whose pavements and columns have provided the material for the more recent structure. (SE 5: 492)

In addition to its derivative, remade status, the Baroque comparison functions to suggest the ornateness, the complexity and above all the finished appearance of a daydream, as of a dream which has been through the process of secondary revision. But here, when the "complete analogy" is still being considered, the structure is opaque rather than transparent: this is a front which obscures what lies behind it, rather than serving as a window on the wish. In the other instance, we move once again from the analogy to the component part, as daydreams are considered in their capacity to furnish one of the elements-the outward front-for the total building which will make up the dream: "[T]here is one case in which [secondary revision] is to a great extent spared the labour of, as it were, building up a farinrcd by 1 R E E P E S for the A U 'T 110 R, An.l , ld by him at bi Houfe in L r. t c r &T. ~ 1 os.


FIGURE 10-4- William Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty (London. 1753, Bh39 H 7c.2 Rare), title page. University of C hicago, Library, Special Collections Research Center. Reprinted with permission.

abroad, while the rich returnees from the plantations of the Carribean and the Atlantic coast could return to plant new wildernesses in England's green and pleasant land.

The Serpent in the Wilderness


Milton's paradise was already overdetermined as a landscape of conquest and colonization. Its site on a mountain-top surrounded by savage wilderness affords Adam "a prospect large/Into his nether empire neighboring round"(P.L. 4:145-46). 13 Our view of it is first framed by Satan's gaze, a Satan described for us as a Portuguese merchant approaching Madagascar along the coast of East Africa, ''As when to them who sail/ Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are passed/Mozambic" 4:159-61). It is framed as well by the solicitous, protective gaze of the angels Raphael and Michael, set as guardians over God's new colonial outpost where they are charged to keep the natives innocent. 14 It is as if Milton envisions Paradise as an English Protestant colonial "plantation," complete with a benignly supervised workforce of slaves who will be prevented from acquiring forbidden knowledge (i.e., reading) that is beyond their ken, and provided with "mild gardening labor" (a.k.a. fruit-picking) while they breed inhabitants who will eventually become angels (a.k.a. "English") to repopulate the depopulated empire of heaven (i.e., the British Isles). The tempter, you will recall, has "drawn off" one third of the angels in a rebellion, and set up a breakaway settler colony with its own imperial ambitions. Satan and his devils are, of course, the gods of pagan imperial idolatry, and (in the seventeenth century) of the rival Catholic empires of France and Spain under the spiritual guidance of the Antichrist in Rome. The paradisal garden cum wilderness with its serpentine rills and brazenly erect serpent is thus a figure of the contested imperial frontier in which the war is for the hearts and minds of the human race as such. Did Hogarth intuit all this in his synthesizing of the sinuous line of curiosity, desire, and variety with the figure of devilish temptation? If so, his diagram also fuses the utopia and heterotopia of Foucault. It is an unreal, utopian space, holding out an abstract image that reflects the knowledge/power complex of a social totality. It is also the template for real heterotopias, from the landscape garden designs pioneered by the English in the eighteenth century, to the labyrinthine cityscape of London, to the new vistas opened up for settler colonists around the world. The mazy, labyrinthine, error-prone wildernesses of the imperial frontier may be read as the route both into and out of the promised land, a figure of seduction and expulsion. Hogarth's dialectical image of eighteenth-century space captures at one and the same time the fetishization of landscape that remade the world, from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific to South


W ]. T Mitchell

Africa in the image of England, while at the same time seeming to liberate that world from pagan idolatry in the name of the one invisible god. It only remains for William Blake, near the end of the long eighteenth century (or the middle of the Romantic Century) to update this image in the paleolithic formation of the Serpent Temple at Avebury, a site of ancient "Druid" religion that, in Blake's visionary geography, signifies the redemption and overturning of the Universal (British) Empire, and therebuilding of Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land. 15 But that is another story. 16


Narrative Discourse and a New Sense ofValue: Meaning and Purpose in the Neoclassical Economics of Alfred Marshall Ronald Schleifer

I I begin this essay on the place of narrative in neoclassical economics with a short narrative from Alfred Marshall's Principles ofEconomics. Marshall's book, which went into eight printings between its appearance in 1890 and the final printing in 1920, spans the remarkable years of the second Industrial Revolution of the late nineteenth century and is often taken to be the most authoritative articulation of the "neoclassical" or "marginal" economics developed in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. 1 Near the end of Book III of Principles ofEconomics, "On Wants and their Satisfactions," Marshall illustrates the difference between the "marginal utility" of an item and its "total utility" by telling a story. "It is a common saying in ordinary life," he writes, that the real worth of things to a man is not gauged by the price he pays for them: that, though he spends for instance much more on tea than on salt, yet salt is of greater real worth to him; and that this would be clearly seen if he were entirely deprived of it. This line of argument is but thrown into precise technical form when it is said that we cannot trust the marginal utility of a commodity to indicate its total utility. If some shipwrecked men, expecting to wait a year before they were rescued, had a few pounds of tea and the same number of pounds of salt to


Ronald Schleiftr

divide between them, the salt would be the more highly prized; because the marginal utility of an ounce of salt, when a person expects to get only a few of them in the year is greater than that of tea under like circumstances. But, under ordinary circumstances, the price of salt being low, every one buys so much of it that an additional pound would bring him little additional satisfaction: the total utility of salt to him is very great indeed, and yet its marginal utility is low. On the other hand, since tea is costly, most people use less of it and let the water stay on it rather longer than they would, if it could be got at nearly as low a price as salt can. Their desire for it is far from being satiated: its marginal utility remains high, and they may be willing to pay as much for an additional ounce of it as they would for an additional pound of salt. (1, 129-30)2 This is a striking argument in many respects. First of all, it is remarkable how easily Marshall moves from "wants and needs" to "desire" and how, as I will suggest, the articulation of desire is closely bound up with storytelling and narrative. The "marginal utility" of an item-"that part of the thing which [a man] is only just induced to purchase" (I, 93)-is as fully imbricated with time and situation as narrative is. This is clear from one of the overriding premises of neoclassical economics, its aim, as Donald Winch notes, "of making the problems of scarcity and exchange central to pure [economic] theory" 3 : the "essential idea'' of marginal economics, he asserts, is its recognition of the "scarcity of given means in relation to alternative ends as the economic problem" (62). Thus he cites Leon Walras's definition of "social wealth" as "the sum total of all things, material or immaterial, on which a price can be set because they are scarce (i.e., both usefol and limited in quantity)" ( 62-63). Marshall's story embodies the problem of scarcity, and that problem itself-in its locatedness in a particular historical situation and its seeking temporally governed means and "alternative ends"-configures itself in terms of the beginnings, middles, and ends of narrative. Second, the relationship between principle and narrative-what I am calling the meaning and purpose of narrative-is tightly wrought in this passage, as it is throughout Principles ofEconomics; it is as if the "complexity," as Marshall calls it, of marginal economics in some ways necessitates narrative illustrations and examples which, because of this necessity, cease, to some degree, to remain simply exemplary and subordinate to the principles they illustrate. In addition, Marshall's use of "ordinary language" in his discussion-"the common saying of ordinary life"-is a feature of his work and of narrative more generally that self-consciously refuses to distinguish between the social and technical affairs ofbusiness and the personal and domestic affairs of private life. As Hillis Miller notes, "the ter-

Narrative Discourse and a New Sense ofValue


minology of narrative may by no effort be compartmentalized, divided into hanks of different colored thread. The same terms must be used in all regions." 4 Marshall, as we shall see, does not distinguish between the "regions" of production and consumption: "the extension of the principle of economic rationality to cover the behavior of households as well as that of firms," Ronald Meek argues, embodies "the spirit of capitalism" of the late nineteenth century and takes its place as another overriding premise of neoclassical economics. 5 And finally, the story he tells here-a modification of Robinson Crusoe, who reappears periodically throughout the Principles of Economics, and, indeed throughout economic analyses more generally-is notably problematic in terms of the very story Marshall is telling: of all the things shipwrecked men could want, salt would hardly be one of them. In this, it captures what Miller describes as the larger power of narrative. "For Sophocles, as for Heraclitus," he writes, "The God at Delphi neither quite explains nor hides; he gives a sign." The whole text of Oedipus the King might be seen as such a sign. Narration in general may be such a sign. We need storytelling, it may be, not to make things clear but to give a sign that neither quite explains nor hides. What cannot be explained nor understood rationally can be expressed in a narration that neither completely exposes nor completely covers over. The great stories in our tradition may have as their main function this proffering of an ultimately almost inexplicable sign. 6 The ability of narrative to suggest contexts of understanding beyond those that seemingly govern its purpose-to generate a purport beyond intention-is tied up with the analyses of classical political economy generally and the marginalism of neoclassical economics more particularly. Its relation to the tradition of political economy is clear in Jean Baudrillard's examination of Marx's observation that Robinson Crusoe is "a favorite theme with political economists." Still, Baudrillard says, having quite justifiably played his joke at the expense of the bourgeois economists and the interminable Robinsonnades, Marx would have done well to examine his own use of the Crusoe myth. For by opposing the obscure mysticism of commodity value to the simplicity and transparency of Crusoe's relation to his wealth he fell into a trap. If one hypothesizes (as Marxists do) that all the ideology of bourgeois political economy is summed up in the myth of Robinson Crusoe then it must be admitted that everything in the novel itself agrees with the mystical theology and metaphysics of bourgeois thought, including (and above all) this "transparency" in man's relation to the instruments and products of his labor? Baudrillard goes on to argue that "this ideal confrontation of man with his


Ronald Schleifer

labor capacity (Arbeitsvermogen) and with his needs" is above all "abstract in itself not abstracted from political economy, but abstract because it epitomizes the abstraction of political economy itself, that is, the ascension of exchange value via use value, the apotheosis of the economic in the providential finality of utility'' (140). It is this very abstraction-epitomized by the impulse in the late nineteenth century to mathematize economics-that Marshall both participates in and repeatedly resists in the narrative impulse of his work and, indeed, in its very form that counterpoints narrative and abstraction in the interplay of text, footnotes, and appendices. Baudrillard's final question concerning Crusoe-"if Crusoe's relations to his labor and his wealth are so 'clear,' as Marx insists, what on earth has Friday got to do with this setup?" (141)-imports the issues of history and, especially, historical time to the "abstractions" of economic value, issues which are central to the problem of neoclassical economics. 8 Beginning with this example of the narrative presentation of marginal utility and its seeming unconsciousness to the details of its presentation, I want to examine the role of narrative in relation to meaning and purpose in the work of Alfred Marshall's economics. That work signals a remarkable transformation in the apprehension of value in the last decades of the nineteenth century. The neoclassical economists brought a new set of questions and procedures to the study of wealth and value within social formations. They attempted to create a mathematical economics, one based, as Marshall himself says, on a species of differential calculus that, in the hands of his predecessor, Stanley Jevons, enabled "people who knew nothing of mathematical science to get clear ideas of the general relations between the small increments of two things that are gradually changing in causal connection with one another" (I, wm). Behind this abstraction was the "professionalization" of economics in the late nineteenth century that took its place within what Fredric Jameson calls "the experimental triumphs of positivistic science and its conquest of the university system." 9 Thus Marshall writes that "economics is thus taken to mean a study of the economic aspects and conditions of man's political, social and private life; but more especially his social life. The aims of the study are to gain knowledge for its own sake, and to obtain guidance in the practical conduct of life, and especially of social life" (I, 42). Still, he continues, economics "shuns many political issues, which the practical man cannot ignore: and it is therefore a science, pure and applied, rather than a science and an art.

Narrative Discourse and a New Sense ofValue


And it is better described by the broad term 'Economics' than by the narrower term 'Political Economy"' (1, 43). 10 Behind this global transformation of economic science is another assumption of neoclassical economics implicit in Walras and others, its focus not on value and wealth defined in terms of the necessities of what Adam Smith and Karl Marx describe as "use values," but its focus on the manner in which desire defines value. "The raison detre of economics as a separate science," Marshall writes, is that it deals chiefly with that part of man's action which is most under the control of measurable motives; and which therefore lends itself better than any other to systematic reasoning and analysis. We cannot indeed measure motives of any kind, whether high or low, as they are in themselves: we can measure only their moving force. Money is never a perfect measure of that force; and it is not even a tolerably good measure unless careful account is taken of the general conditions under which it works, and especially of the riches or poverty of those whose action is under discussion. But with careful precautions money affords a fairly good measure of the moving force of a great part of the motives by which men's lives are fashioned. (I, 38-39) The focus on "motive"-and especially the manner in which desire creates motive-rather than inherent value helps define the revolution effected by neoclassical economics, what Mark Blaug and others call "the marginal revolution," and such a refocusing takes its place among the various arts and sciences of the late nineteenth century: post-Newtonian physics, the synchronic linguistics of Saussure and his followers, the transformation of mathematics, as Bertrand Russell argued in 1901, from the study of quantity to the study of order, and the various modernisms of Picasso, Woolf, and Stravinsky. 11 The manner in which "money affords a fairly good measure ... of the motives by which men's lives are fashioned" entails the examination of the ways people dispose of money at the "margin," that point up to which, Marshall argues, "an increased application of any agent will be profitable under given conditions; but beyond which its further application will yield a diminishing return" (1, xvi). The margin is the point of decision-the palpable manifestation of motive and desire-where one thing rather than another is chosen as the object of desire. Thus Marshall argues that desire is endless, but particular desires are subject to change. "It is an almost universallaw," he wrote in the first edition of Principles ofEconomics (1890), "that each several want is limited, and that with every increase in the


Ronald Schleifer

amount of a thing which a man has, the eagerness of his desire to obtain more of it diminishes; until it yields place to the desire for some other thing, of which perhaps he hardly thought, so long as his more urgent wants were still unsatisfied. There is an endless variety of wants, but there is a limit to each separate want" (II, 238). Marshall goes on in later editions (starting with the fifth edition in 1898) to argue that "this familiar and fundamental tendency of human nature may be stated in the law ofsatiable wants or diminishing utility thus:-The total utility of a thing to anyone (that is, the total pleasure or other benefit it yields him) increases with every increase in his stock of it, but not as fast as his stock increases" (1, 93).

II This account of marginal utility necessarily takes the form of a narrative account: it requires attention to particularities of historical detail (like Crusoe's Man Friday) that complicates the abstractions of mathematical accountings. What Marshall is doing-what neoclassical economics as a whole does-is to make time a constituent element in the analysis of value. 12 Thus Marshall argues that "Robinson Crusoe had to do only with real costs and real satisfactions," but even so he, like "an old fashioned peasant family," still has to arrange his "investments of present 'effort and waiting' for future benefits" (1, 362). Throughout the Principles, Marshall repeated makes time-the future, the understanding of "waiting" as a species of "effort," the central concepts of "diminishing" utility and "diminishing" returns-of the utmost importance in apprehending and describing value. This is clear in the very sense of accounting that the Principles ofEconomics presents. Discussing J. E. Cairnes's critique of John Stuart Mill's Principles ofPolitical Economy he notes Cairnes's attempt to substitute a measurable quantity of "demand" for desire. "But the quantities of two desires on the part of two different persons," Marshall argues, "cannot be compared directly; their measures may be compared, but not they themselves." Marshall goes on to note that "Cairnes is himself driven to speak of supply as 'limited'" by the quantity of commodities being examined and "demand by the quantity of purchasing power" in a particular historical situation. "Sellers," he argues, "have not a fixed quantity of commodities which they offer for sale unconditionally at whatever price they can get: buyers have not a fixed quantity of purchasing power which they are ready to spend on the specific commodities, however much they pay for them. Account must then be taken in either case of the relation be-

Narrative Discourse and a New Sense oJValue


tween quantity and price, in order to complete Cairnes' account" (I, 97n). In this discussion Marshall is making clear that the quantitative "accounting" of supply and demand requires the qualitative "accounting" of a narrative in which the values being accounted for take on their value. Calculation and story are not hanks of different-colored yarn, but necessarily inhabit the same space, at the margin of value-what Marshall repeatedly calls "the margin of doubt": "that part of the thing which [a purchaser] is only just induced to purchase may be called his marginal purchase, because he is on the margin of doubt whether it is worth his while to incur the outlay required to obtain it" (I, 93). Such a margin of doubt plagues the producer/seller as well as the purchaser: a man building a house is faced with the elaboration of a large dwelling and the "waiting" to recover his capital outlay. "If the two motives, one deterring, the other impelling, seemed equally balanced, he would be on the margin of doubt. Probably the gain would much more than outweigh the 'real' cost with regard to some part of the house. But as he turned over more and more ambitious plans, he would at last find the advantages of any further extension balanced by the efforts and waitings required for making it; and that extension of the building would be on the outer limit, or margin of profitableness of the investment of his capital" (I, 352). The language of Marshall's descriptions here is, above all, narrative language: his technical term "waiting" (which he equates with "effort" as the "cost" of"deferred gratifications" [1, 35m]); tags like "at last" in this account; descriptions of "turning over" different plans; and the global situation of describing the actions of people in particular situations-here in the situation of doubt-all necessitate that an economic accounting is a narrative accounting as well. Such a narrative accounting is a particular kind of apprehension, one that Paul Ricoeur, following Louis Mink, distinguishes from the abstract accounts of the "theoretical" mode of comprehension of mathematical formalism and "categoreal" mode of philosophical systems. ''According to the theoretical mode," Ricoeur writes, objects are comprehended in terms of a case or as examples of a general theory. The ideal type of this mode is represented by Laplace's system. According to the categoreal mode, often confused with the preceding one, to comprehend an object is to determine what type of object we are dealing with, what system of apriori concepts organizes an experience that otherwise would remain chaotic. Plato aims at this categoreal comprehension, as do most systematic philosophers. The configurational mode puts its elements into a single, concrete complex of relations. It is


Ronald Schleifer

the type of comprehension that characterizes the narrative operation. All three modes do have a common aim, ... the act "of grasping together in a single mental act things which are not experienced together, or even capable of being so experienced, because they are separated by time, space, or logical kind. And the ability to do this is a necessary (although not a sufficient) condition of understanding." 13 The categoreal mode of comprehension characterizes classical political economy, with its attempts to situate economies of value within the systematic presentation of meaning. This is probably most clear in Marx's coherent and elegant account of capitalism-and especially his account of the "surplus value" of profits. But the clear distinction between private action and public good in the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith and even the labor theory of value of Ricardo offer a "system of apriori concepts organiz[ing] an experience that otherwise would remain chaotic." The theoretical mode of comprehension characterizes neoclassical economics insofar as it distinguishes itself from political economy as "a science, pure and applied, rather than a science and an art" (Marshall I, 43). Such an economics, as Baudrillard argues, is above all abstract, "the apotheosis of the economic in the providential finality of utility" (140). It is the "finality'' of the theoretical mode-the "finality," in Laplace, of the seeming mechanical determinism of Newton's mathematical physics and the "systematic reasoning and analysis" Marshall mentions (I, 38)-that distinguishes it from the semantic (categorical) meanings of systematic philosophy and the configurational comprehensions of narrative. But throughout the Principles ofEconomics Marshall complicates and qualifies the systematic reasoning and analysis of the new mathematical "economics" with narrative understandings that do not lend themselves to the finalities of abstract temporality. "In a stationary state then," he writes, the plain rule would be that cost of production governs value. Each effect would be attributable mainly to one cause; there would not be much complex action and reaction between cause and effect. Each element of cost would be governed by "natural" laws, subject to some control from fixed custom. There would be no reflex influence of demand; no fundamental difference between the immediate and the later effects of economic causes. There would be no distinction between longperiod and short-period normal value, at all events if we supposed that in that monotonous world the harvests themselves were uniform: for the representative firm being always of the same size, and always doing the same class of business to the same extent and in the same way, ... its normal expenses ... would be always the same....

Narrative Discourse and a New Sense ofValue


But nothing of this is true in the world in which we live. Here every economic force is constantly changing its action, under the influence of other forces which are acting around it. ... In this world therefore every plain and simple doctrine as to the relations between cost of production, demand and value is necessarily false: and the greater the appearance of lucidity which is given to it by skilful exposition, the more mischievous it is. (I, 367-68) The "monotony'' Marshall describes here sounds a lot like the monotony Wallace Stevens described a generation later in "Sunday Morning," the monotony of a world of such overwhelming "finality'' there is no room for the change of death. The very issue of death-in terms of which Hillis Miller describes "the function of all narrative," its aim "not to come to an end, but to keep the line, series, or chain of repetitions going. All storytelling, in continuing interminably, wards off death" (Reading, 227)-is of utmost importance to Marshall's sense of marginal utility. Thus early in the Principles ofEconomics he examines the concept of necessity. "It is common," he writes, distinguish necessaries, comforts, and luxuries; the first class including all things required to meet wants which must be satisfied, while the latter consist of things that meet wants of a less urgent character. But here again there is a troublesome ambiguity. When we say that a want must be satisfied, what are the consequences which we have in view if it is not satisfied? Do they include death? Or do they extend only to the loss of strength and vigour? In other words, are necessaries the things which are necessary for life, or those which are necessary for efficiency? to

(I, 6y-68)

The equation of the lack of necessary things to death is an absolute and categorical imperative: like the "stationary state" of economics, it creates the absolute-"monotonous"-equation of the "same" to the "same" that allows the mathematical formalism of theoretical comprehension and the categorical formalism of categoreal comprehension. It creates transcendental, providential finality. Efficiency, on the other hand, is a relational term that is apprehended in configurations: the "constellations" Walter Benjamin describes, the new mathematics of order (rather than quantity) Bertrand Russell describes, the momentary synchronic configurations of modernist art, linguistics, philosophy (see my Modernism and Time). Thus the concept of efficiency, like these other terms contemporaneous with Marshall's work, attempts to articulate what Miller argues that narrative apprehends, "an immanent and yet transcendental pattern within and also behind the work, present both


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in the part of it and in the whole, and at the same time above and beyond the work as its presiding paternal/maternal genius" (Reading, 99). That is, narrative in Ricoeur's powerful definition, "unifies into one whole and complete action the miscellany" of "circumstances, ends and means, initiatives and interactions, the reversals of fortune, and all the unintended consequences" of action (1, x). Indeed, narrative defines its "whole and complete action," both immanent and transcendental, as more than the sum of its parts; more than simply a collection of "data'' added together. Umberto Eco describes this process in terms of Peircean semiotics as the transformation of "a disconnected series' into "a coherent [textual] sequence" that allows us to recognize the '"aboutness' of the text which establishes a coherent relationship between different and still disconnected textual data." 14 In distinguishing death and efficiency, Marshall distinguishes between "a more or less clearly defined income which is necessary for merely sustaining its members" and "another and larger income which is necessary for keeping it in full efficiency'' (I, 68). In the concept of "efficiency'' he is offering the "aboutness" of labor, its whole and complete action, its purport. 15 Moreover, with this concept, Marshall is offering an indirect critique of Marx's classicallabor theory of value by historicizing, on a different level from Marx, the analysis of value. (Blaug notes the striking fact that Marshall never directly refutes Marx [299].) In fact, Marshall offers a historical example in the note to the passage I just quoted that is a fully narrative example grasping "together in a single mental act things which are not experienced together, or even capable of being so experienced, because they are separated by time, space, or logical kind" (Mink, 547). The complexity of narrative understanding is fully captured in Marshall's footnote. "Thus in the south of England," he writes, population has increased during the last hundred years at a fair rate, allowance being made for migration. But the efficiency of labour, which in earlier times was as high as that in the North of England, has sunk relatively to the North; so that the low-waged labour of the South is often dearer than the more highly-paid labour of the North. We cannot thus say whether the labourers in the South have been supplied with necessaries, unless we know in which of these two senses the word is used. They have had the bare necessaries for existence and the increase of numbers, but apparently they have not had the necessaries for efficiency. It must however be remembered that the strongest labourers in the South have constantly migrated to the North: and that the energies of those in the North have been raised by their larger share of economic freedom and of the hope of rising to a higher position. (I, 68-69n)

Narrative Discourse and a New Sense ofValue


In this account, Marshall marshals the "miscellany" of "circumstances, ends and means, initiatives and interactions, the reversals of fortune, and all the unintended consequences" of action (Ricoeur I, x) that characterizes narrative without recourse to the "categoreal" categories of class, class warfare, or even justice. Instead, he presents facts concerning historically situated workers in relation to the "ends and means" of efficiency, the "circumstances" of migration, the "unintended consequences" of letting the "same" pay scales measure "different" labor. 16 Moreover, the definition of labor in terms of its "efficiency'' is an example or illustration of what I have called elsewhere "non-transcendental disembodiment" of goods and value at the turn of the twentieth century. In Modernism and Time I use this term to describe some of the commodities of the second Industrial Revolution that were first produced on a large scale in Marshall's time: electric power, telephonic communication, finance capital altogether. Also in this category is the redefinition of labor embodied in the new lower middle class of clerks, teachers, and information workers, which exploded onto the scene as a "new" class in the late nineteenth century, and whose "goods" are less substantial-more "disembodied"-than the major products of the first Industrial Revolution, clothing, furniture, foodstuff. 17 In this, again silently, Marshall is opposing the implicit positivism of Marxian analysis with a different kind of understanding, one that re-conceives capital altogether. Thus Marshall points out the difference between "two retail dealers one [of which] will have a larger capital locked up in stock and the other [of which] will spend more on advertisements and other means of building up the immaterial capital of a profitable trade connection" (I, 355). Such "immaterial capital" of connection and arrangement-like the "constellations" (Benjamin), "order" (Russell), "collisions" (Heidegger), "borders" (Bakhtin), and the enacted "scenes" of narrative discourse (Woolf) articulated by Marshall's younger contemporaries of the early twentieth century-calls for the "configurations" of narrative comprehension. Virginia Woolf's description of narrative comprehension makes this most clear. In A Sketch ofthe Past, written about the time of the publication of the eighth edition of Principles of Economics, she defines a scene as "a means of summing up and making a knot out of innumerable little threads .... I find that scene making is my natural way of marking the past. A scene always comes to the top; arranged; representative. This confirms me in my instinctive notion-it is irrational; it will not stand argument-that we are sealed vessels afloat upon what it is convenient to call


Ronald Schleifer

reality; at some moments, without a reason, without an effort, the sealing matter cracks; in floods reality; that is a scene." 18 In this description of "scene"-which, in its figure of a "flood" of reality, seems to describe the irruption of transcendental meanings into daily experience enacted, like a Delphic oracle, throughout her fictional narratives-Woolf is describing, as the others do in my catalogue, a way of "arranging" experience beyond the simplicities of the absolute oppositions of need and desire, base and superstructure, (positivist) materialism and idealism, and productive and non-productive labor. Moreover, her figure of thread takes its place among the narrative threads that Miller repeatedly describes and the economic threads of yarn that Marshall presents in the last narrative example in this essay. Woolf's conception of a narrative, scenic comprehension allows us to see that the very definition of labor the Principles ofEconomics presents, like the definition of necessity that focuses on efficiencies of strength and vigor rather than the absoluteness of death, is a relational and configurational mode of understanding that encompasses temporality and calls for narrative. "Man cannot create material things," Marshall writes. In the mental and moral world indeed he may produce new ideas; but when he is said to produce material things, he really only produces utilities; or in other words, his efforts and sacrifices result in changing the form or arrangement of matter to adapt it better for the satisfaction of wants. All that he can do in the physical world is either to readjust matter so as to make it more useful, as when he makes a log of wood into a table; or to put it in the way of being made more useful by nature, as when he puts seed where the forces of nature will make it burst out into life. It is sometimes said that traders do not produce: that while the cabinetmaker produces furniture, the furniture-dealer merely sells what is already produced. But there is no scientific foundation for this distinction. They both produce utilities, and neither of them can do more: the furniture-dealer moves and rearranges matter so as to make it more serviceable than it was before, and the carpenter does nothing more. The sailor or the railway-man who carries coal above ground produces it, just as much as the miner who carries it underground; the dealer in fish helps to move on fish from where it is of comparatively little use to where it is of greater use, and the fisherman does no more. (I, 63)

In this presentation-it is hardly an "argument" insofar as it simply offers analogical examples of "arranging" matter without setting forth the abstract, logical necessities of its initial assertion-Marshall is working out his previous assertion that "experience has shown" that use-value is a prob-

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lematic way of defining wealth and value. Rather, exchange-value is the proper definition of wealth precisely because-like the "efficiency" of labor-it cannot easily be abstracted from history and the narrative temporality of historical accounts. "The term value," he writes-and by this he explicitly means "exchange value"-"is relative, and expresses the relations between two things at a particular place and time" (I, 6r). Similarly, "utility," "production," even "strength and vigour," express the relations between and among things rather than the positive value of a thing in itself Such relationships are comprehended in the configurations of narrative rather than the formal relational abstractions of mathematics or the strict hierarchy of relationship between principle and example of systematic philosophy. This is perhaps most clear in the most extended narrative presentation (outside the appendices) of Principles ofEconomics, the example of the domestic economy of "the primitive housewife" presented at the beginning of Chapter V of Book III, "Choice between Different Uses of the Same Thing. Immediate and Deferred Uses," and continued in Chapter IV of Book V, "The Investment and Distribution of Resources." The primitive housewife finding that she has a limited number of hanks of yarn from the year's shearing, considers all the domestic wants for clothing and tries to distribute the yarn between them in such a way as to contribute as much as possible to the family wellbeing. She will think she has failed if, when it is done, she has reason to regret that she did not apply more to making, say, socks, and less to vests. That would mean that she had miscalculated the points at which to suspend the making of socks and vests respectively; that she had gone too far in the case of vests, and not far enough in that of socks; and that therefore at the points at which she actually did stop, the utility of yarn turned into socks was greater than that of yarn turned into vests. But if, on the other hand, she hit on the right points to stop at, then she made just so many socks and vests that she got an equal amount of good out of the last bundle of yarn that she applied to socks, and the last she applied to vests. This illustrates a general principle, which may be expressed thus:If a person has a thing which he can put to several uses, he will distribute it among these uses in such a way that it has the same marginal utility in all. (I, n7)

Later in Book V Marshall "reverts" to this story and adds: "If it happened that two ways of making a vest were open to her, which were equally satisfactory as regards results, but on which one, while using up a little more yarn, involved a little less trouble than the other; then her problems would be typical of those of the larger business world. They would include first decisions as to the relative urgency of various ends; secondly, decisions as


Ronald Schleifer

to the relative advantages of various means of attaining each end; thirdly, decisions, based on these two sets of decisions, as to the margin up to which she could most profitably carry the application of each means towards each end" (I, 357). The "aboutness" of this story-the general principles it illustrates concerning the distribution of material and the distribution of methodsis striking in its combination of meaning and purpose. Such a combination takes its place in Marshall's "arrangements" of goods: as he notes in Book III, "the vital problems of domestic economy relate as much to wise action as to wise spending.... Domestic economy is often spoken of as belonging to the science of consumption: but that is only half true. The greatest faults in domestic economy, among the sober portion of the Anglo-Saxon working classes at all events, are faults of production rather than consumption" (I, u9n). Marshall's great achievement in the Principles was to bring together the measure of value in classical economics, its "source" in labor in particular and the cost of production in general, and the measure of value in neoclassical economics, its "end" in consumption ("consumption," he writes, "is the end of production" [1, 67]). In an articulation worthy of our most abstract semioticians, he even argues that "consumption may be regarded as negative production" (1, 64); and, as in Saussure's famous analogy between the relation of the signifier and the signified in a sign and two sides of a piece of paper, he likens the relationship between the cost of production and utility to the action of the scissors that cuts the paper: "we might as reasonably dispute whether it is the upper or the under blade of a pair of scissors that cuts a piece of paper, as whether value is governed by utility or cost of production" (I, 348). 19 In its recourse to the everyday life of households, Marshall's housewife narrative enacts a substitution-it also marks a blurring-in the order of gender: the housewife of the narrative-herself a "substitute" producer/consumer-is in turn replaced by the masculine "person" of the "general principle." This last substitution characterizes the masculine subject of "labor" in classical economics even though, as Mayer notes, most of the machines in England's textile industry "were operated by nonproletarian female labor" (Persistence, 35). In fact, the whole of this narrative is one of substitution-of socks for vests and vice versa. That is, the primitive housewife, like "the alert business man" he describes elsewhere, "at the beginning of his undertaking, and at every successive stage ... strives so to modifY his [her] arrangements as to obtain better results with a given expenditure, or equal results with a less expenditure. In other words, he [she]

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ceaselessly applies the principle of substitution, with the purpose of increasing his [her] profits; and, in so doing, he [she] seldom fails to increase the total efficiency of work, the total power over nature which man [woman] derives from organization and knowledge" (I, 355). Substitution, for Marshall, is particularly linked to efficiency and "is nothing more than a special limited application of the law of survival of the fittest" (I, 597). More generally, in the Preface to the eighth edition of the Principles he identifies "the dynamical principle of 'Substitution,"' seen "ever at work, causing the demand for, and the supply of, any one set of agents of production to be influenced through indirect channels ... in relation to other agents," with "the main concern of economics," namely "human beings who are impelled, for good and evil, to change and progress" (I, xv).

III In the housewife narrative, as in his "reconciliation" of the classical economics of production and the neoclassical economics of consumption, 20 Marshall is "substituting" one for the other-or, as I argue in Modernism and Time, borrowing a figure from Werner Heisenberg, "alternating"two modes of apprehension, the configurational and categoreal modes Ricoeur describes. Such alternating allows us to see more clearly what is at work in narrative, what I am calling the purpose and meaning of narrative discourse. In Symbolic Economies, Jean-Joseph Goux describes an economic analysis based upon the "remarkable marriage" of neoclassical economics and the metaphysics of Aristotle's "four causes"-formal, efficient, material, and final. He notes the implicit idealism of neoclassical economics in its identification of capital as the "formal cause," labor as the "efficient cause," nature as the "material cause," and desire as the "final cause"-and argues that, in neoclassical economics, as in Aristotle, "the formal cause subsumes both efficiency and finality: capital subsumes both labor and desire."21 In Marshall, however, this is not true: in Marshall capital is not the eidos of value; rather, it is defined in terms of the alternations of production and consumption, of household as well as business wealth, of female as well as male value. That is, the "sign" his housewife narrative presents, like a Delphic oracle, is the value of "the family well-being," concern with which defines the housewife as housewife. Such well-being is a species of "capital" that, as Miller says, "cannot be explained nor understood rationally [yet] can be expressed in a narration that neither completely exposes nor completely covers over" (Reading, 18). In the more immanent language


Ronald Schleifer

of economic science, the "capital" of the housewife story is the "hanks" of yarn (the "material" cause of socks and vests, embodying rather than subsumed by the "formal" cause of wealth defined, in Marshall's understanding of Adam Smith's definition, "the excess of production over consumption" [I, 787], "stock'' stored for consumption). Classical economics defines capital as "stored" or "accumulated" wealth, but Marshall defines production in this way and almost immediately equates it with consumption ("but in all the many changes which the meaning of the word 'productive' has undergone, it has had special reference to stored-up wealth, to the comparative neglect and sometimes even the exclusion of immediate and transitory enjoyment" [I, 65]). More specifically, Marshall defines capital precisely in terms of temporalities: capital itself, as "everyone knows" from their ordinary experience, is the embodiment of effort and waiting: "everyone knows that few, even among the Anglo-Saxon and other steadfast and self-disciplined races, care to save a large part of their incomes; ... and thus everyone understands generally the causes which have kept the supply of accumulated wealth so small. ... Everyone is aware that the accumulation of wealth is held in check, and the rate of interest so far sustained, by the preference which the great mass of humanity have for present over deferred gratifications, or, in other words, by their unwillingness to 'wait"' (I, 581). Capital is embodied waiting, 22 hovering on the margin of doubt, anticipating an "end" which, like the "ends" of narrative, will in turn call for more-perhaps more and more "efficient" -activities in the world. Like the novel Miller describes, the value articulated in capital is always subject to metonymic substitution and cannot be "unequivocally finished, or for that matter unequivocally unfinished" (Reading, 54). Thus, Marshall's neoclassical definition of capital replaces its hierarchically superior position as eidos with a position as a simple substitution within the configuration of causes: capital as traditional "trade capital" and/or money, capital as connection or "immaterial capital," capital as production, capital as utility/consumption. That is, in Marshall's analysis, the formal eidos-the "general principle"-shares with efficiency and desire the purport immanent in the phenomena of human action and the larger purport, outside or transcending phenomena, of meaning: family well-being, the usefulness of salt, the equation of market and factory, the substitution of "utilities" for "material things" (I, 63; see also Ricoeur I, 144 and Ill, 207), the substitution of domestic economy for commercial economy, the wisdom of ordi-

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nary experience. In this, capital has become a sign or signifier within a sign system, a metonym for value in a chain of metonymic substitutions-labor, production, consumption, desire, the fact that "there is an endless variety of wants, but there is a limit to each separate want" (II, 238), the interchangeability of socks and vests-that goes endlessly on without coming to rest in an abstract eidos of value, just as, in Marshall's lifetime, industrial capitalism transformed itself into the restless finance capitalism we still live with. In other words, Marshall's economics demands a configurational, narrative discourse in which purpose is not subordinate to abstract meaning, history to mathematics, domestic economy to general economy, female experience to male experience. Such an economy, as I have suggested, is the work of narrative, found everywhere in the economic principles of Alfred Marshall.


Sidney's Technology: A Critique by Technology of Literary History Alan Liu

A poet participates in the eternal, the infinite, and the one; as far as relates to his conceptions, time and place and number are not ... and the choruses of Aeschylus, and the book ofJob, and Dante's "Paradise," would afford, more than any other writings, examples of this fact, if rhe limits of this essay did not forbid citation. -Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Definse ofPoetry

I Imagine that "technological rationality" or the total life of "technique" -as Herbert Marcuse and Jacques Ellul, respectively, conceived it in the mid-twentieth century-is constituted not as a monolithic condition of modernity but instead as a perpetual slippage between two domains of techne. 1 One is the domain of machinic practices, or "technology" proper. The other is the domain of bodily, social, and organizational practices, or "technique." Technology enables, and is enabled by, technique. Yet these two domains do not evolve in lockstep; nor do their interior structures always align. Technology and technique slip against each other because the "fit" between them is never determined all the way down. At some level, the flow between the two becomes unpredictable, turbulent. Techne enters a zone of chaos. Or rather, to translate explanation by chaos into socially meaningful terms, let us say that in these zones of "misfit" irrationality between technology and technique-of what seems forced, inefficient, atavistic, plural, diverse, or even contestatory in the way people

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use machines-signals are being received from distant or alternative zones of techne (present, residual, or emergent) that cannot here and now be acknowledged except as "noise." The signs of such irrational, unacknowledged slippage between technology and technique are at least two-first, the invention of forced, catachrestic metaphors to paper over the misfit (we "scroll" down a Web "page," for example); and secondly, the convention that such metaphors as "scroll," "page," and even "Web" register a specifically temporal sense of slippage: the experience of a lag between advancing technology and residual techniques instantiating that greatest noise in our postindustrial New Economy: obsolescence. Any technological society, that is, must have its poetics. And that poetics, I will argue, must also be a poetics of historicity, which is how we imagine a world big enough to hold all the "downsized" and (in Evan Watkins's phrase) "throwaway" populations living in a state of historical obsolescence within the new. 2

II This is an essay that seeks to characterize the project of literary history as a technical practice that is part of the broader poetics of contemporary techne. My aim will be to bring us to the point-though here just to the point-of seeing the difference between the technical ethos of past literary history and the so-called "new literary history" (the anthologies, literary histories, and readers published since c. 1985). 3 The best way to make this difference clear is to review the older literary history from a perspective designed to force the issue. In order to clarifY the technical difference I indicate, this essay submits the literary historical practices of the past to a critique by technology-specifically, to critique from the anachronistic perspective of contemporary technology. What do past practices ofliterary history look like as a communications, media, and information system? And how is the new literary history different? The materials to be considered here will include only the following works representing certain shared elements ofliterary-historical explication from the sixteenth century through modernity: Sidney's Apology for Poetry (which will be my main example), Gray's "Progress of Poesy," Shelley's Defense ofPoetry, Taine's History of English Literature, Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent," Harold Bloom's Anxiety ofInfluence, and formalist


Alan Liu

literary history spanning from the Russian Formalist thesis of "systemic evolution" (Shklovsky, Eichenbaum, Tynjanov, Jakobson) to later hermeneutical and genre-study variants (e.g., Hans Robert Jauss and Ralph Cohen, respectively). I will also invoke one representative anthology: the Norton Anthology ofEnglish Literature. 4 The literary history represented by such works, we can define, is the management and socialization ofrepresentations ofliterature. This definition can be analyzed into two component axioms: Literary history is the management ofpresentations of literature. The great threat to literary history, we observe, has always been the literal presentation of literature, by which I indicate not the kind of literalness that in the fourfold scheme of biblical exegesis shared the universe of understanding with higher allegories but a much more uncontrolled habit that does not even perceive the possibility of plural understandings and so simply presents its chosen view-whether literal or allegorical in the exegetical frame-as the transparent truth of "the text itself." Literal presentation is the attempt to give a "sense" of the essence of the text as if there were no gap between perception and intuition. What is the spirit, truth, or beauty of a text, in other words? Why, it is this spirit, truth, or beauty that I sense here. At an elementary level, this is the kind of interpretation engaged in by the student who, when asked to talk about a text, answers with a recital or close paraphrase-as if to say indexically, "there it is." At a more advanced level, literal presentation is the interpretive mode that has most exercised such defensive literary histories as Sidney's and Shelley's. The challenge posed by Sidney's "poet-haters" or mysomousoi, we can thus say, is that they view literature as something that need only be perceived for its essence to appear. The realization that textual sense and essence might differ can then only come in the form of the basic Platonic accusation: literature lies. One kind of literalness (the sensory form constructed by figure, meter, rhyme, and so on) misleads us from another (the intuitive or Platonically transcendental truth). It is precisely such literalization that Sidney counters when, in answering the charge that poetry lies, he infantilizes the mysomousoi as too literal-minded: What child is there that, coming to a play, and seeing Thebes written in great letters upon an old door, doth believe that it is Thebes? If then a man can arrive, at that child's age, to know that the poets' persons and doings are but pictures what

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should be, and not stories what have been, they will never give the lie to things not affirmatively but allegorically and figuratively written. (155)

Nor, we should note, is it only explicitly defensive literary histories that are activated by the challenge ofliteral presentation. In one way or another, all the works in my paradigmatic set of literary histories could be said to revolve around the need to refute the unmediated reading that characterizes, if not mysomousoi, then superficial readers. Thus the primary mission of Taine's History is to differentiate between the literature one can actually read and something invisible to perception: what the Introduction calls the life of the "man," "psychology," and ultimately "Idea'' within literature's "shell." And so, too, Eliot's gaze past individual talent to the mysteries of tradition or Bloom's past the errors of the author to the foreauthor differentiate between the shell and the core. Such repudiation of the presentable, we may speculate, is what starts literary history on the task of translating the textual spirit, truth, or beauty of the literalizer into the specifically literary-historical version of essence: history. This is because history (as I have argued more fully elsewhere, Wordsworth: The Sense ofHistory) is the unpresentable that is there at the foundation. 5 It is the hollowing out of the here-and-now that paradoxically founds all that we are in the name of all we are not or are no longer. And a further speculation: if historical consciousness in literary history can indeed repudiate literal presentation by subordinating the sense of the text to an invisible historical essence, then-in a secondary operation-it will be able to open the eyes of literalizers to the fact that literature itself has always been only literary history. Literature is the repudiation ofliteral truth that Sidney and Shelley celebrated as "prophecy" but that literary history calls "history." Technical Corollary A: The full interest of viewing literary history as a management of presentation appears when we then identify the technique of such management. Indeed, it is only at the level of its techne that we perceive literary history to be a "management" of literalism at all rather than blunt denial. As in the case of any strong denial or defense, the difficulty is that the object of negation is also part of the positive identity of literary history. Even the most sophisticated differentiation of textual essence from sense, after all, must at some point fall back into the habit of literal presentation to make its case-if for no other reason than to ballast the argument with "intuitive" examples that seem to say: "this is what I mean." Or more simply and profoundly, consider the expression "see" in literary his-


Alan Liu

tory, as in a citation like "see Sidney's Apology, p. 153." However complex the passage referred to in such instances, it is presumed in the fiction of the citation that simply going to the proper page will allow us to perceive something essential to the present argument. No more need be said: "there it is." Literal presentation, in short, cannot be wholly expunged from literary history: it must instead be technically contained, screened, or-in a word-managed. What are the techniques by which literary history manages literal presentation? There are many ways, of course, to approach the techniques of literary history as they exist in tandem with underlying language technologies. In studying Sidney's Apology, for example (as Margaret Ferguson has suggested), we might do well to begin with techniques of classical rhetoric.6 Literary history as Sidney practiced it was a dispositio or arrangement ofliterature. But I will assimilate rhetorical analysis to a technical approach suggested by modern structural semantics and pragmatics-specifically, semiotic narratology-together with the metaphor of modern industrial communication systems that underlies such narratology. From this perspective, literary history manages presentation by means of a communication system in which narrative speech acts redirect the dangerous immediacy of citation-as-"seeing" into a long-distance of citation-as-"calling." We can start our technical analysis at the macro-level by noting that the ubiquitous surface-form generated by many older literary histories is recognizable as what we would today call "anthology discourse." Consider the pattern of a typical literature anthology: a work of literature appears under the management of a narrative headnote and complementary set of citations (the latter a formalization of references scattered through the headnote itself). Or again, observe that the anthology pattern is the basic discursive unit not just of anthologies but of literary-historical exposition generally. Surveying the genres, for example, Sidney finishes with a flourish upon the epic as follows. It will be useful to quote at length: There rests the heroical, whose very name (I think) should daunt all backbiters; for by what conceit can a tongue be directed to speak evil of that which draweth with it no less champions than Achilles, Cyrus, Aeneas, Turnus, Tydeus, and Rinaldo? Who doth not only teach and move to a truth, but teacheth and moveth to the most high and excellent truth; who maketh magnanimity and justice shine throughout all misty fearfulness and foggy desires; who, if the saying of Plato and Tully be true, that who could see virtue would be wonderfully ravished with the love of her beauty-this man sets her out to make her more lovely in her holiday

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Narrative action as a communication transmission.

apparel, to the eye of any that will deign not to disdain until they understand.... For as the image of each action stirreth and instructeth the mind, so the lofty image of such worthies most inflameth the mind with desire to be worthy, and informs with counsel how to be worthy. Only let Aeneas be worn in the tablet of your memory, how he governeth himself in the ruin of his country, in the preserving his old father, and carrying away his religious ceremonies, in obeying the god's commandment to leave Dido, though not only all passionate kindness, but even the human consideration of virtuous gratefulness, would have craved other of him; how in storms, how in sports, how in war, how in peace, how a fugitive, how victorious, how besieged, how besieging, how to strangers, how to allies, how to enemies, how to his own; lastly, how in his inward self, and how in his outward government, and I think, in a mind not prejudiced with a prejudicating humor, he will be found in excellency fruitful, yea, even as Horace saith, "me/ius Chrysippo et Crantore" [better than Chrysippus and Crantor]. (153)

What comes clear in this passage is the artfulness with which Sidneymuch like Pugliano managing horses in the opening anecdote of the Apology-manages The Aeneid by anthologizing it. He prefaces his digest of the poem with a narrative "headnote" about the epic genre bristling with citations to other epics as well as to secondary authorities (Plato and Tully). Then a citation to Horace closes off the unit with epigrammatic finality. Generating such anthology discourse is a technical apparatus that may be disclosed by improvising upon narratology as follows. My particular guide is Greimasian semantic or structural narratology, according to which stories consist in a transmission act conceived along the lines of the information-theory model that came out of Bell Labs in the late 1940s in the well-known work of Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver (Figure r).l


Alan Liu

Narrative action, in this view, is a communications transmission. In particular, the heart of action is the predication by which a heroic subject (located at the site of the "information source" or "transmitter" in Shannon's vocabulary) takes its quest object, which is to say transmits itself to that object. But in Greimas's scheme, the predicative transmission is only part of a larger structure of narrative communication. By deploying frame figures, narrative configures action within a communications system in which it is the sender who, together with a helper, codes the hero with competence and transmits him (a monarch, for example, sets a knight a task). It is then the receiver who, once the heroic signal passes an interfering opponent (Shannon's famous "noise"), reaps the communion of subject and object that predicates "happiness ever after" (examples of receivers: another monarch, the knight's lady, or perhaps even the knight himself). To apply this schema to literary history requires two progressively more structural steps. One is to recognize that the Greimasian design indeed describes the stories literary history tells about authors, works, corpuses, genres, and periods-and with no more stretching of narrative concepts than Greimas himself tolerates when sketching, for example, the ur-plots of"philosophy" or "Marxism." 8 To illustrate, we can look again at Sidney's anthologization of The Aeneid. The generative core of the passage, we can now see, is precisely a story: Subject Object Sender Receiver Opponent Helper

"Heroical" poetry "Truth" [God, inspiration] Humanity Human "Mind" Literary form

The subject of Sidney's story is "heroical" poetry; and the object of that poetry is "truth" (epic characters, Sidney says, "teacheth and moveth to the most high and excellent truth"). The implicit sender is God or inspiration, an identification we can make with some assurance based on Sidney's earlier discussion of the poet as prophet. The receiver is humanity. And shepherding the whole transmission is the great helper of the Apology: literary form. It is poetry's form or "holiday apparel" that allows it to overcome its perennial, noisy opponent: the dull human "mind." When Sidney rallies "images" to "stir" and "inflame" the mind, he is recalling his earlier praise of poetry's ability to seize the mind with "perfect pictures" (148); and when

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he opens his digest of Virgil with the phrase, "Only let Aeneas be worn in the tablet of your memory," he anticipates his ensuing discussion of verse as the prompt of memory (154). Similar narratives generate the anthology discourse of other literary histories. Without going into detail, for example, it is clear that the headnote to Sidney in the Norton Anthology ofEnglish Literature constructs a narrative of"influence" in which the hero is Sidney; the object, great literature; the sender, the spirit of the Elizabethan age (the historicist version of inspiration); the receivers, genres started by Sidney; the helper, Protestantism; and the opponent, early death. 9 If anthology discourse in literary history is the parole, in sum, then narrative structure is the underlying langue. Nor should we be surprised that literary history can thus be locked into the grid of structural-linguistic assumptions underlying the Greimasian appropriation of information theory. Whatever the fate of structure after poststructuralism, it is clear that in this case the heavy-handed element of control that structural models of communication project is exactly the point. Literary history, after all, tells relatively naive, sparse, or (in Claude Levi-Strauss's sense) mythic stories about literature's rise, quest, rebellion, triumph, and (in recent years) "death" whose power depends on eschewing complexity and cleaving to the essential, controlling structures of narrativity. 10 Without retreating from structuration, then (at least for the moment), it will repay us to press our model of literary history home by delving down one further layer: to the micro-technique of its structure. It is here that we come squarely upon the device of citation, whose ubiquitousness in anthology discourse follows from the fact that it must be considered to be the elementary structure of literary history. Like binaries in structuralist decision-trees (left/right, raw/cooked, bear dan/eagle clan, and so on), citational devices are the micro-components-the transistor switches-that steer narrative signals as they course down the literary-historical version of decision-trees (the plot of "Romanticism," for example, with its sequential forks: French Revolution/or nature, nature/imagination, imagination/love, etc.). To understand where their controlling power comes from, we need to look past specific devices of citation-namings, tidings, allusions, epigrammatic quotes, bibliographical references-to the basic contradiction implicit in all of them: the tension between "seeing" authority and "calling" (or "summoning") authority. The danger of literal presentation in citation, it may be suggested, can be suppressed only by redirecting "seeing" into "calls" to remote sources-when immediate in-


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spection, that is, defers to something like an apostrophe to the invisible gods ("0 Hermes!"). Or in the spirit of industrial-age messenger systems: we might borrow Avital Ronell's explicitly telephonic vocabulary and say that literary history is a communications system in which the narrative subject can never call its object on the predicative line without the interruption of remote and usually more powerful or elevated authorities (the sender, receiver, helper, and opponent) calling in on auxiliary lines. 11 The function of these latter lines is to switch the circuit of the predicative line to its proper destination when called upon by the subject in an inquiry-loop. "Which object should I seek?" we can thus hear heroes asking, requesting a direction to be relayed from the sender. Or again, a call-inquiry of the sort, "Which path should I take?" solicits helpers to relay tactics and craft. "Stand or flee!" calls out an opponent in the way a bullfighter's "citar" (in Roland Barthes's fanciful meditation upon "citation") summons the bull. 12 And "wilt thou receive me, lady?" the hero solicits of his receiver in order to switch at last into happiness mode. Only after all the connections to auxiliary parties are completed can the fatal call then be placed allowing the subject to communicate directly with the object of quest-grail, gold, secret, whatever. Literary-historical narratives connect in exactly the same way to remote authorities to switch their heroic authors, periods, and genres along forking decision-trees. Thus the prevalence of inquiries of the type "who were the ancestral senders?" (in one version of the Romanticism story: Milton/or Spenser); "who the ephebe-receivers?" (Eliot/Stevens); "who were the helpers?" (Coleridge/Dorothy); and "who the opponents?" (French Revolution/nature). Transposed into the declarative, such calls on remote authority become citations of the standard sort: "According to Coleridge," "Burke wrote," "See Hartman on Romantic nature," and so forth. There is one crucial relay, as we will see, left to close. But at least in principle we can now understand the circuit-switching mechanism by which literary history manages literal presentation. Literary history cites remote information about its heroic authors, works, corpuses, genres, and periods that can be used to switch any literal presentation of these heroes away from "intuitive" objects to ever more abridged and non-intuitive objects. ''Abridged" because each fork in the decision-tree cuts off yet another portion of relevant material; and "non-intuitive" because the final object of literary history is not what can be seen on the page at all but rather something invisible: that gigantic communications switchboard (as monopolistic in its way as pre-breakup AT&T) called "tradition."

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Thus we can add a further elaboration to our speculations about "history" in literary history. It is no accident that history as understood by older literary history has generally emerged from the unpresentable into manifest, citable form precisely as "tradition." Tradition is historical consciousness managed by citations. Done well, such citation has a deus ex machina effect that confers upon narratives ofliterature the seemingly necessary contingency of history itself. Whether literary history tells stories of continuous tradition or its "revolutionary" reversals, in other words, it creates a story in which the ordering of cited information about a work appears identical with the very evolution of historical action-a fusion of"reception-history" and "evolution" history nowhere more programmatic than in Jaussian hermeneutic literary history. Thus what is the object of Imagination in the Simplon Pass episode ofWordsworth's Prelude? Recent "operators" of Romantic literary history tell us: "Please hold that call from Wordsworth's Mind; I have another call coming in from Napoleon." 13 The call from Napoleon is the apparent voice of history. It is the voice of the seemingly necessary contingency that interrupts the call placed by the Imagination to self-consciousness (the "poet's calling" that the poem literally celebrates) in the service of citing a more remote political context capable of usurping self-consciousness in the name of history. Technical Corollary B: But perhaps we have too prematurely subordinated citation-as-"seeing" to citation-as-"calling." One relay in the system, as I indicated, is still open. To locate this relay, we can make yet another pass through Sidney's paragraph on The Aeneid with the question in mind: what in the passage is barely under control? The answer, clearly, is the digest ofVirgil, which paraphrases the plot so fulsomely that it not only threatens to suspend Sidney's narrative argument about epic but strains even his syntax. The digest opens by marshaling events in parallel subordinate clauses: "how [Aeneas] governeth himself in the ruin of his country, in the preserving his old father, ... in obeying the god's commandment to leave Dido .... "But once Sidney reaches Dido, we notice, a miniature epyllion starts up requiring a digression into further subordination: "though not only all passionate kindness," the sentence adds, "but even the human consideration of virtuous gratefulness, would have craved other of [Aeneas]." And with this digression releasing more ofVirgil's original narrative than the sentence can easily subordinate, syntax begins to founder. "How in storms, how in sports, how in war, how in peace, how a fugitive, how victorious," and so on, Sidney continues,


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eliding predication in each clause so severely that the "tablet" of our "memory'' can barely recover in time for the sentence to close. We might be reminded here of Odysseus' scar as studied by Auerbach: Sidney's mention of Dido, like the servant's touch upon the scar, suddenly calls up a whole prior tale usurping the control of the main tale. 14 The relay still open, of course, is the one at the very heart of literal presentation inspiring us to explore narrative management in the first place. I refer to what has so far remained invisible in my schematization: the contact that literary-historical narrative must at some point make with the original narratives of primary literature: the wires, as it were, that conduct from such stories as "the development of epic" to full-bodied stories on the order of "arms and a man" (The Aeneid). Literary history, as we have seen, is a system of remote citations designed to control the connection between literary-historical subjects and objects. But how does primary literature get fed into the system in the first place as a subject able thus to be distributed and thereby abridged and steered? What if the initial charge of literature were simply too large to be handled by the literary-historical circuits and could only discharge in a lightning strike ofliteral presentation? By "initial charge," I mean roughly something like the effect of Milton on a student who either "loves" or "hates" him-all of him. Paradise Lost is a great (or terrible) poem; each individual book or line is great; even single words "rebound" upon us as if we, too, were belated peasants surprised by the "joy and fear" of the essential Miltonic voice (reduced in its reception to "joy or fear"). Put quantitatively, the problem such charge poses for literary history is that there is a perennial imbalance of force making even the slenderest conduit leading from literary history to primary literature potentially a source of overload. With the possible exception of such especially compulsive literary histories as Harold Bloom's, after all, literary history's tales of "rises," "declines," "revolutions," and so forth tend to be far weaker in realization than the primary literary narratives they manage. What they gain in "mythic" or schematic clarity they lose in the felt allure, complexity, suspense, and ultimately deep pathos that make us "read for the plot." Without some impedance or, better, buffer (in current technologese: "flow control") able to compensate for this imbalance, all the delicate narrative forks of literary history would be flooded by an initial surge of primary narrative that becomes unmanageable simply because it saturates all the forks in the literary-historical decision-tree-making the

Sidney's Technology


object of The Aeneid, for example, both Sidneyan "truth" and deceit, love and hate, honor and dishonor, public identity and privacy, etc.; or of Paradise Lost (contrary to the hoary gambit of asking which is Milton's real hero) all of the following: God, Man, Woman, and Satan (not to mention, on the plane of influence: Virgil, Moses, and Spenser). Indeed, we see such saturation beginning to work in the "how" clauses of Sidney's digest, which increasingly occupy both poles in a series of binaries: war/peace, allies/enemies, inward self/outward government. The qualitative aspect of the problem is just as telling. This is because the truly insidious character of literal presentation, we can now realize, is that it is not just an unfocused discharge like lightning. Rather, it is itself a technique of citation-a whole, uncanny counter-technique emphasizing citation-as-"seeing" rather than citation-as-"calling." However intuitive it may seem, that is, literal presentation of literature is really a full-blown communications system whose micro-devices of paraphrase, long quotation, transcription, facsimile, etc., travesty the citation-function in literary history. Rather than being managerial, these citational devices are reproductive. Even the most muted among them (paraphrase, for example) calls on the original work so as to regenerate within the space of literary history a potentially ungovernable literature; and such more elaborate devices as long quotation or transcription create monsters. Primary literature, we can say, is a vast generator of information linked to a reproductive technology and (my focus at present) reproductive technique. Literary history is a much less robust apparatus whose specialized technique would tap that generator delicately. At the moment when literary history necessarily engages in literal presentation-however briefly or subtly-to quote or paraphrase the primary text, its citational technology becomes perilously vulnerable to a massive incursion of information that shorts out all the fine interpretive relays to the sender, receiver, helper, and opponent. Or to bring the conceit home in familiar terms: one false or badly phrased question by the teacher, and the student responds to a citation "calling" on traditional authorities by objecting obstreperously: "bur if we look at the text, it says ... " (followed by a long, unmanageable paraphrase). How can the citational connection between literary history and primary literature be monitored, therefore, so as to control the entry of reproductive citations into the network of managerial citations? Indeed, how are managerial citations themselves controlled so that they do not suddenly


Alan Liu (Critical Author)














Monitoring apparatus ofliterary-historical narrative.

turn reproductive and ask us to "see" too much of the remote authority? If each relay in a literary-historical narrative is a sentry controlling the actions of the "hero" ofliterature, in short, what prior sentry with master On/Off switch can from the first either cut literature down to size (phrased qualitatively: limit and organize the use of reproductive devices) or buffer it with flow-control techniques (storing the signal in the cache of "history'' and "tradition") so that it becomes narratively tractable? The answer, I suggest, must be located in a secondary, institutionallyspecific technique of management: a second-order narrative monitoring literary-historical narrative itsel£ To sketch this supervisory apparatus, it will be useful to vary the Greimasian approach by raising it fully from semantics to pragmatics. As we have so far sketched it, literary history is a communicational situation whose pragmatics are restricted to the plane of the narrative. Senders, receivers, and so forth are frame figures peripheral to, but still signally in, the story. To observe the second-order monitoring apparatus, we need now to step off the narrative plane to the institutional situation in which literary history functions. The apparatus I have in mind may be visualized as a communicational situation superimposed over literary-historical narrative as follows: (Figure 2). This is the pragmatic situation that adds to literary-historical narrative the specific managerial techniques of the institution we know as the academy. It is not accidental that it has been so easy above to reach for examples from the scene of instruction (a student reciting a text, a typical teaching anthology, and so on). Nor is it accidental that Sidney's Apology

Sidney's Technology


so consistently honors literature on the point of "learning." Heroical poetry "teacheth and moveth," we heard Sidney say in one of many variants on the Horatian "delight and instruct" dictum. Throughout the Apology, "teaching" and "learning" are privileged terms-even to the point of acquiring specifically academical connotations under the titles of "learned . . " "sch o1ar, " or sch oo1- "master. " (I n h.1s openmg . men, " "1earned H eb noans, anecdote, Sidney figures his relation to Pugliano tongue-in-cheek as "scholar" to "master.") Just so, Shelley-anti-pedagogical as he could be in other contexts-deploys a version of the Horatian dictum ("the beautiful and the true") when he doses an extraordinary paean to literature by granting teachers the last, best place next to God: But poets, or those who imagine and express this indestructible order, are not only the authors of language and of music, of the dance, and architecture, and statuary, and painting; they are the institutors oflaws, and the founders of civil society, and the inventors of the arts of life, and the teachers, who draw into a certain propinquity with the beautiful and the true, that partial apprehension of the agencies of the invisible world which is called religion. 15 And if it is not too perverse, we could move at this point directly from Shelley to Eliot, whose "Tradition and the Individual Talent" is uncomfortably aware of the "usual objection" that Eliot's view of poetry "requires a ridiculous amount of erudition (pedantry)." Eliot's response is to save the phenomena of knowledge by expanding the schoolroom to the scale of the world: "it is not desirable," he says, "to confine knowledge to whatever can be put into a useful shape for examinations.''l6 The exact manner in which the pragmatics of the academy-i.e., the communicational situation of the classroom-meta-manages the literaryhistorical management of narrative may be elucidated as follows. It may be noticed that in my discussion so far I have slighted remote citations to critical or secondary literature: what Plato, Tully, or Horace have to say in the Sidney passage, for example (or what Castiglione, Fulke Greville, Spenser, and others have to say in the Norton headnote on Sidney himself). I have also elided certain crucial citational devices with a strong figurative component: namings-by-address, apostrophes, invocations, personifications, and sometimes full-scale impersonations. In classically rhetorical terms, the latter "personating" citations (as they may be called) manage dispositio. The distribution of argument in the Apology into narratio, explicatio, partitio, refotatio, and so forth depends on a series of "callings" by which Sidney


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makes spokesmen of differing views appear-and then quickly disappear-in clever concatenation. We can instance such Sidneyan "personations" as the following: I will give you a nearer example of myself, who ... in these my not old years and idlest times [have] slipped into the tide of a poet. (143) And first, truly, to all them that professing learning inveigh against poetry.... (143)

And even historiographers ... have been glad to borrow both fashion and perchance weight of poets. (144) But truly now having named him [David], I fear me I seem to profane.... (145) [A]s principal challengers step forth the moral philosophers, whom, me thinketh, I see coming towards me with a sullen gravity.... (147) The historian scarcely giveth leisure to the moralist to say so much, but that he, laden with old mouse-eaten records ... denieth, in a great chafe, that any man for teaching of virtue ... is comparable to him. (147) First, truly I note not only in these mysomousoi, 'poet-haters,' but in all that kind of people.... (154)

It is possible to project all these secondary and personating citations upon the primary plane of literary-historical narrative. Sidney's impersonated moral philosophers, historiographers, and poet-haters, for example, could be seen as noisy opponents supplementary to the dull "mind." But I have not utilized these citations in this way because it is important to see that they are only partly rooted on the plane of literary-historical narrative. Their larger function is to serve as relays outward from that narrative to the institutional communicative situation. Citations that personate a narrator on the narrative plane (e.g., the self-aware "I think" at the end of Sidney's paragraph on The Aeneid) thus project on a different plane an "author" superimposed over the sender position. In a specifically academic or pseudoacademic institutional setting, that author is the literary historian or "scholar," "critic," and/or "theorist." So, too, citations that personate a narratee map over the receiver an implicit "reader" whose academic embodiment is the student. When at the end of his paragraph Sidney addresses the "mind not prejudiced with a prejudicating humor," he in effect invokes the character of a receptive student. In a similar vein, citations that personate or call upon secondary authorities (Horace, Plato, and Tully in the

Sidney's Technology


Sidney passage) map over the helper an implicit didact or "teacher." Finally, citations that personate moral philosophers, historiographers, and other falsely "learned" mysomousoi (e.g., the "backbiters" at the head of the passage on epic) superimpose over the opponent position a character familiar to Eliot: the "pedant" (or in neoclassical terms, dunce). Once this monitoring apparatus grounded in the institution is set in place, then the technology of management is complete. How to prevent literal presentation from overloading the narrative switches when literary history, as it must occasionally do, cites its primary literature? The answer is to counter the deictic or first-hand forcefulness of reproductive citation with the even more coercive citational technique that is pedagogy. The reason, of course, is that the elementary "switch" or control mechanism by which pedagogy communicates its narrative arguments in the classroom is a particularly potent form of citation-an "interpellation" designed to enforce the laws of narrative citation. According to the standard teaching format: a student "calls" on the teacher (who, in turn calls on the scholarcritic-theorist) to solicit a lesson. But when it is the teacher who calls on the student (in the way that an Althusserian policeman "cites" a man in the street), then the result is the inverse of a lesson: a test. 17 (Teacher: "What is The Aeneid about?" Student: [narration]. Teacher: "Identify this quotation." Student: [citation].) One further dimension of the "history'' in literary history can now be noticed. If such history begins in the need to deny literal presentation, as I suggested, and if it first emerges into manifest form as tradition, then the institution in which we learn the tradition that denies us our present is education. Put simply, historical consciousness-whether deployed in literary or other kinds of study-is now what we mean by education in the humanities. When the student "presents" the literal text as if it were selfevident, education responds: look at the text in such a way as to see through it to its tradition of texts and contexts, to everything, in short, that manages the text by precedence, parallel, or interpretation. Such is one reason, as John Guillory's work on the literary canon so incisively argues, that an adequate discussion of literary history must at some point cite the history of the academy. 18 Literary history is the socialization of representations of literature. But the academy, of course, is not the ultimate ground of the pragmatics allowing literary history to manage literal presentation. There is still one more


Alan Liu

step to take in modeling traditional literary history, which we can accomplish in much more abbreviated fashion because the territory is so familiar in older literary histories and so reconfigured in the new literary history. The step is from literature-through the intervening technique of literary-historical narrative and pedagogy-to the general pragmatics of culture. At this point, it is sensible to speak of the management of "representations" ofliterature rather than of presentations. The total intent of the techniques of management we have observed, it may be said, is to regulate presentations of literature to the point where there are effectively no presentations at all, only apparent representations. All good academical technique thus triggers a "representation-effect." Good teaching in a seminar, for example, depends in part on the ability of the instructor to transform student presentations into self-aware "views." After a student presents a particularly aggressive reading, a teacher can turn to the class and say something of the sort: "would you agree with Melissa's view?" At that moment, presentation becomes representation: a "view," "interpretation," "argument," or "narrative" in quotes. The effect is roughly the same when Sidney figures a moral-philosopher or historian offering his view of literature. At the moment Sidney displaces our attention to the "presenter" (through devices of impersonation), we no longer directly perceive the presentation; we watch representation in quotes. Given that academic literary history ultimately resolves all presentations into representations of literature, then the question becomes: what to do with plural, alternate, or incommensurable representations? We can take a quick inventory of representations of literature to indicate the scope of the problem. In my paradigmatic set of literary histories, for example, we hear spokesmen tell literary-historical tales according to which the object ofliterature is lying (Plato), abuse (the mysomousoi), ornament (Sidney), knowledge (Sidney, Shelley), imaginative prophecy (Sidney, Shelley, Bloom), delight or pleasure (Sidney, Shelley), therapeutic "music" (Gray, Shelley), "catalysis" (Eliot), and "defamiliarization," changing "expectations," or "innovation" (Russian Formalists, Jauss, Cohen). How can academic literary history sort out such multiple stories, rejecting some representations of literature and linking others together in an overarching hierarchy? How, in other words, can it compose all its petits recits into a metanarrative? The key to the dilemma lies in realizing that the many alternate stories of literature available to academic literary history do not simply come

Sidney's Technology


from left field. Rather, they become materials for literary-historical synthesis because from the first they are profoundly and intimately "known" to the academy. In particular, we can hypothesize that the majority ofliteraryhistorical recits have derived from scenes of instruction related in some way-psychologically, socially, or institutionally-to formal education itself. Thus, for example, representations of literature as lyrical music, pleasure, or (for Bloom) psycho-rhetorical agon hearken back to an explicitly childish or primitive social kindergarten ("In the youth of the world, men dance and sing," Shelley imagines; "In climes beyond the solar road,/ Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam," Gray concurs). And the scene of instruction traditionally responsible for such childishness is familial domesticity. Whatever its purport, we might thus say, Shklovsky's exemplum ofliterature as the "defamiliarization" of a household parlor (the room being "habitually" cleaned in the Tolstoy passage he quotes) is actually not so unfamiliar: we are still at home. 19 Or again, representations of literature as "prophecy" invoke the religious adjuncts of the academy. Given that the pragmatics ofliterary-historical instruction involve cross-institutional affiliations and competitions, then, our question about metanarrative can be refashioned as follows: what larger or tiber-institution monitors the whole complex of related scenes of instruction such that the institution of formal education is legitimated? What institution of institutions, that is, adjudicates and privileges the very notion of education in the fractious context of its domestic, religious, and other institutional kin? The answer most ofi:en has been national culture. The recourse of the literary-historical instructor charged with the many unruly narratives of domestic, religious, and other regimes, in other words, is to convene them in a classroom administration that looks outside itself for final legitimation to the management regime that is society at the state level-in particular to the "England," "America," "France," or other state-civilizations that have been the predominant meta-heroes ofliterary histories (as in the "The Norton Anthology of English Literature"). In this regard, the vast bulk of literary histories are really nation or area studies, whether British, American, French or otherwise. All, that is, socialize competing narratives ofliterary history by convening them in an academy imaging a larger national administration, a more authoritative template for socialization. We can thus add a last speculation about the "history" in literary history. Literary history, we recognize, achieves its fullest form when historical consciousness progresses from the sense of the unpresentable through


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the sense of tradition to an explicit historiography and sociology of nation (or, inseparably bound up with nation, a "national literacy"). I refer to the imperative in most of the literary histories in my paradigmatic set to map the tradition ofliterature over the development of civil society. The relation between literature and state-civility is variously conceived such that one or another is causally prior to the other (or sometimes the two are simply parallel), but the effect in all cases is to organize competing representations of literature into a metanarrative functioning as a sort of "Aeneid" of literary history: the story of a nation's founding. The full result of thus mapping the history of literature over the social, economic, and political condition of the state is the long roll call of explicit civil histories in literary history. Sidney traces the connate rise of literature and classical civilization at the beginning of the Apology; goes on in the middle to match literature to the history of empire (in the section on "poetry ... the companion of camps"); and then delineates the history of literature in the context of the English nation. Shelley surveys the parallel rise of poetry and civilization in prehistoric times; extends that survey in a long history of the relationship between literature and societies; and, of course, at last gives literature a place in the legislature of the world. Gray's "Progress of Poesy'' follows the migration of literature from nation to nation in the wake of freedom ("When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,/ They [the Muses] sought, oh Albion! next thy sea-encircled coast"). Taine charts his literary history infamously over the coordinates of"the race, the surroundings, and the epoch." Eliot seeks a literary "main current" that is also the spirit of nation-state Europe ("the mind of Europe-the mind of [a poet's] own country," he calls it). And, to take just one more instance, the Russian Formalists in their late period desperately sought to correlate the theory of evolving literary systems with Soviet social dialectics. It is a fallacy, we can conclude, to say that even the most rigorously "formal" literary history does not contextualize. All literary histories have completed themselves explicitly or implicitly by mapping the history of texts over the history of peoples as those peoples have been organized since Early Modern times in national cultures. All manage and socialize representations of literature.

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III How do we turn the page, then, to the "new literary history"? This is not a question I can address here in more than telegraphic form (to revert to a communications technology even older than telephony). But terse telegraphy of the sort that helped control the railroads-and thus assisted the rise of the first great, modern corporate organizations (as studied in the work of Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and James R. Beniger)-may be useful.2° Just as the telegraph signaled, "collision impending," we might say, so I must now do the Morse for, "paradigm-change impending." For the peculiar feature of telephony as a paradigm, of course, is the thoroughness with which its phenomenology-originating in centralized, circuit-switched, and master-slave relations (whereby a higher authority, the sender, redirects the circuit in toto between the transmitter and receiver)-began to convert since the 1970s to the new god of decentralized, packet-switched, and (the key word here) networked relations-to what is now called not telephony at all but "voice networking." The appropriate metaphor for the new literary history that currently displays the deconstructive, culturalist, and multiculturalist research agendas of the past three decades, I suggest, is networking. However variously these several research agendas have described their project, from the point of view of a critique by technology-i.e., of a critique of the changed position of literary-historical knowledge in a world dominated by information culture-they must all also be described as just another interface for new technologies and techniques governed in the last instance by the "learning organization" now contending with the academy for lordship over knowledge. I refer to the postindustrial corporation. Postructuralism and its sequalia share an office with distributed networking, packet-switching, subnets, "virtual corporations," flexible work teams, "just in time," "chaos management," and so on through all the litany of terms invented by that great contemporary imagination of techne: Knowledge Work. 21 But there is a difference, and it is this difference that a fully critical engagement between academic knowledge and Knowledge Work-one in which the critique runs in both directions-must grasp. I can do no more here to suggest that difference than to advert to a single, dominant metaphor in the new literary history-not networking, not telephony, not even telegraphy, but an even older technology of work and communication that poses (besides its more explicit poststructural, multiculturalist, and


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gendered meanings) a certain kind of historicizing stance toward technology capable of saving a space in the new for the old. The metaphor is one about which I have much more to say (but not here): patchwork quilting. Why so many of the volumes of the "new literary history'' have cover illustrations evoking patchwork-and equivalent tropes such as "mosaic" and "kaleidoscope"-is a question worth technical investigation. 22 Any technological society, in short, must be a poetics. And that poetics must also be a poetics of history, which is our only way to imagine a world big enough to hold all of us.



"Le Parjure," Perhaps: Storytelling and Lying ("abrupt breaches of syntax") Jacques Derrida "You will write it, won't you? Much better than I could ever do 1 Because I can't! Impossible! Way beyond my means! But you!"' The passage in Proust has to with storytelling (in the double sense oflying and of narration), with memory as a precarious support of narrative continuity, and with anacoluthon's function in both storytelling and lying. Anacoluthon doubles the story line and so makes the srory probably a lie. A chief evidence for the middle's perturbation is the small-scale details oflanguage. This means that close reading is essential to reading narrative: "To tell the truth, I knew nothing that Albertine had done since I had come to know her, or even before." 2 (to be continued) By "the ethics of reading," the reader will remember, I mean the aspect of the act of reading in which there is a response to the text that is both necessitated, in the sense that it is a response to an irresistible demand, and free, in the sense that I must take responsibility for my response and for further effects, "interpersonal," institutional, social, political, or historical, of my act of reading, for example as that act takes the form of teaching or of published commentary on a given text. What happens when T read must happen, but I must acknowledge it as my act of reading, though just what the 'T' is or becomes in this transaction is another qucstion. 3

What Is Called Not Thinking? "Just imagine, I was not thinking about it" [Figurez-vous que je ny pensais pas].

Let us begin with a quotation. And a response. They come from a narrative. A narrative that remains forever a fiction. They will never cease returning to it, returning to it and belonging to it. Yes, response, for legibly this sentence is addressed to someone in the grammar of the imperative


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("Just imagine ... " "Figurez-vous ... "), even as it already refers to something already defined: "I was not thinking about it." Imagine the scene, now, yourself. Imagine this exchange. You hesitate between believing and not believing. You no longer know whether you must believe someone or believe in someone, which is not the same thing, or yet again believe what someone says when he responds without really responding: "Just imagine, I was not thinking about it." What would you reply, you in turn, to the man (for it is a man) who said that to you, in response to an accusation of perjury, at the moment you reminded him of some proof, a fact, even a testimony? In the cited text, the friend reminds the perjurer accused of bigamy: "My dear Stephane, I'm not the one, after all, who had a little lapse of memory the day you got married" (134). Another way of saying, I paraphrase: "Bur all the same you are a perjurer [pmjure], you committed perjury [parjure], you lied, you dissimulated, you knew that you were lying and perjuring." [I have asked my translator friends to keep the word "parjure" in French because many things are going to depend on it, almost everything, in truth. The same word, parjure, in French means both the act of perjuring, the crime of perjury, in sum, and the author of the perjury, the guilty one, the perjurer.] How would you react, and with what interpretation, faced with someone who then responded to you: "That's true. Just imagine, I was not thinking about it. Thank you." For the character in the novel will have surrounded this strange proposition (imperative, demand, suggestion, remark: "Just imagine," "Figurez-vous") with an acquiescence that is not just any one ("That's true") and with a sign of gratitude that is literally unfathomable ("Thank you"). What truth is in question here? For what exactly does he say he is grateful? What does he recognize with gratitude [reconnaissance]? I have extracted the quotation ("It's true. Just imagine, I was not thinking about it. Thank you.") from a novel by Henri Thomas, Le Parjure.4 As the cover of the book rightly confirms, we are indeed talking of a "novel," thus of a fiction and a literary fiction. We shall not forget this and will return to it, but only after a long detour. "I was not thinking about it" does not mean simply "I forgot." Beyond the foct of amnesia, or even of omission, which is not a simple loss of memory, beyond the failure that is noted in the official record [constat], it is already the confession of some breach of duty: I was not thinking about it although, as you have just reminded me, I should have thought of it. That was my duty; I was supposed not to be ignorant of this law. More

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precisely, this confession resembles an avowal that disculpates itself; thus, it also resembles a neutral description no less than a confession, a strange avowal of innocence, that of someone who, disavowing his avowal, in some way pleads guilty and not guilty at the same time for having believed, innocently, that he did not have to remember, that he did not have the duty to remember, for not having thought what was necessary, for not having thought that it was necessary, that it would have been necessary to think of it-and first of all, before this or that, of the imperative to think of it, to think of remembering to think of it, to think of thinking of it-and thus to think of being faithful to a commitment, of avoiding perjury: I did not think that I had to remember, I did not think that I had a duty of memory, that I had to not forget, not forget myself, not forget my identity as subject, my identity with myself I was not thinking, I forgot; it's a fact that, like the self-identity of the subject, memory is or rather must, should be an ethical obligation: infinite and at every instant. Can one commit perjury "without thinking about it"? In a moment of distraction? Not as an active transgression, but through forgetting or because it's not the moment to think about it? One wonders if there is here an excuse to be found, an attenuating circumstance. And whether it can be deemed forgivable to "not think about it"-to forget to think of everything, of all the presuppositions and implications of what one does or says. If there is no thinking without the risk of forgetting oneself, if forgetting to think, if forgetting to think ofit is a fault, if such an interruption, such an intermittence is a failure, then what is called thinking? And forgetting? What is called not thinking? Not thinking to think ofit? There is nothing more banal, in a certain way. After all, one cannot reasonably expect a finite subject to be able, at every instant, in the same instant, or even merely at the desired moment, to remember actively, presently, in an act, continuously, without interval, to think ofall the ethical obligations for which, in all fairness, he should answer. That would be inhuman and indecent. As a result, the figurez-vous oscillates between a strong sense and a weak one. Let us translate. On the one hand: you can easily imagine that my mind was elsewhere; I couldn't think of everything; I was occupied, a priori, with other pressing matters or other laws, other commitments, or someone else-who, for reasons that are no less ethical, called for and deserved no less attention. On the other hand: even though it is difficult to imagine, make an effort of imagination or figuration to understand me, to understand this singular thing that has happened to me. It's as if I was not


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the same, as if 'T' was not identical at several moments of history, of the story to be recounted or recalled, or even at several instants of the day or the night, awake or asleep, conscious or unconscious, or even with different persons, with all the others to whom I am tied finally by different commitments, all equally imperious, all equally just but incomparable, untranslatable into each other. Miller says it so well, precisely, so justly: "Just what the 'I' is or becomes in this transaction is another question." Let us leave this question waiting, along with the other one that has to do with the situation of the tete-a-tete or face-to-face between two men, two friends, two accomplices, perhaps, or two acolytes, one of whom asks the other to understand him ("Just imagine, I ... ") and thus to begin by putting himself in his place, by identifYing with him. The space of an at least virtual "we" is already supposed by this exchange-as it is by any exchange, no doubt. We will come back to this at length. A supplementary connotation here: the one addresses himself to the other to ask him to understand him, to put himself in his place, thus already to substitute himself for the other. What about the we in this scene of undecidable confession, of ironic confiding, of postulated substitution? Even before one comes to the determined "perjury," to the content or the act of the perjury in question in the "Just imagine, I was not thinking about it," is there not already an initial perjury haunting the exchange to which the "Just imagine" belongs? It remains to be seen how "we" can perjure and say "we"-more precisely, while saying "we," and while thinking to think we and to avow or disavow us, and to ask or give us forgiveness. It remains to be seen how we can tell ourselves the truth and the truth of "us," but also how we can then, without delay, betray, disavow, perjure, disclaim, renounce, abjure this supposed truth of the we.

"Probably," "Maybe," Perhaps": The Ethical Rigor and Inventions of J. Hillis Miller How to go about it? How to speak? I would like to withdraw this text from the law of the genre "text in homage," even if sincere, and from the well-known academic scene: a long-time colleague and friend devotes an essay to a friend and eminent colleague, to an influential and distinguished professor whose work-one of the richest and most impressive that he has

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been given to know and respect in the course of his life-he wishes, along with others, to salute. Moreover, I don't feel capable, in a few pages, of measuring here my admiration for and gratitude to Hillis Miller, still less of recounting a shared history, I will say a companionship-most of whose major features are known anyway: thirty years of untroubled friendship, of work in common, of making our way side by side-"teaching" and "reading," as the passage cited from Ethics of Reading in epigraph says-in the same institutions (Johns Hopkins, Yale, UC Irvine), so many private and public encounters, so many colloquia, and, throughout all of that, such a profound agreement about what Hillis Miller calls "the ethics of reading" and perhaps, ifl dare to say it, "ethics," period. Therefore, after weighing things for a long time, I thought it was more just to make the following choice: to propose to Hillis Miller, to give him to read and to judge, the most demanding interpretation possible, but the most trembling as well, of a certain "story" or "history," and to do this while taking inspiration from the lesson that, like so many others, I have learned from him. This "story'' is not just any one. It was not unrelated to our own, to that which, the one who, the other friend, was "between us," I mean Paul de Man. This story is the oblique object of a recit, let us say of a narration. A literary narration, a "fiction," as one tends to say with too much facility. Yes, for the moment let's keep the rather neutral word "narration." Let's keep it for three reasons. First, I am told that the texts collected here are supposed to take "narrativity" as their leitmotiv. Second, Hillis Miller has renewed magisterially, among other things, the reading and the thinking of narration-and not only as literary fiction ;;tnd not only in so-called Victorian fiction. Finally and above all, because the work I am preparing to take as example, Le Parjure, appears to be narrative, of course, in its structure (its cover, I repeat, bears the term "novel") but poses formidable problems in its relation to socalled "real" history (that of Paul de Man, which will thus have traversed our own, so to speak, and very closely, that of Hillis Miller and myself, among others), in its relation to fiction, to witnessing, in short to all the "unknowns" that today can be inscribed under the words truth and reality, but also sincerity, lying, invention, simulacrum, perjury, etc. To justifY my choice, before I even begin, I will reconstitute again a few premises. At least three, whose configuration is also a conjunction of dated events or apparently irreversible sequences. In the three cases, it is a matter of figuring out what "to remember" means-and thinking ofremembering: not forgetting to remember, not forgetting to keep memory,


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but also thinking of remembering, which also means in its French syntax: to think because, insofor as, as long as, inasmuch as one remembers, thought as memory and first of all as memory of self, memory of the other in the self. I think of that English word, I remember "to re-mind," whose enigma has always fascinated me: to not forget to put back in memory, to remind someone, to think of reminding, warning, with a sign, a crib note, a memento, a reminder. Already a mnemotechnics at the heart of and not outside the thinking of thought. 1. First reminder: a moment in Hillis Miller's work. A few years ago, as we know, Miller began to elaborate a new problematic: at the unfathomable depths of an abyssal staging, at the beating heart of what is so blithely called literary fiction, to decipher the still invisible vein of a question believed to be ageless, the great and inexhaustible history of the lie, that is, of perjury. Every lie is a perjury, every perjury implies a lie. Each betrays a promise, that is, an at least implicit oath: I owe you the truth from the moment I speak to you. A certain number of recent essays, often devoted to Proust, testifY to this. 5 Daringly engaged on the path of what Miller proposes to call-the neologism is his-"polylogology," this problematic opens up the space to an at least implicit multiplicity of voices, narrative or narrating origins, in order to take rigorous account of them. These voices are so many legitimating sources, sources of authority or legitimacy ("the implicit multiplicity of the authorizing source of the story" 6). As soon as there is more than one voice in a voice, the trace of perjury begins to get lost or to lead us astray. This dispersion threatens even the identity, the status, the validity of the concept-in particular the concept of perjury, but also and equally the word and the concept "I." Miller gives several names to this multiplicity of voices or "consciousnesses." He recognizes in them several figures, either himself signing and forging a new term (for example, "polylogology," or even "alogism"), or borrowing it and granting it a new destiny, another working out, as, for example, following Friedrich Schlegel, "permanent parabasis of irony." But I would like to insist on the most striking and no doubt the most productive of these figures, the one that assures a powerful general formalization even as it remains rooted and forever inscribed in the fictional singularity of a corpus that already produces it in itself, like a sort of general theorem, like a generalizable theoretical fiction, ifi can put it that way, like a fiction having the value of theoretical truth and an ethical dimension: it is that of anacoluthon. Doubtless more than a figure of rhetoric, despite appearances, it signals in any case toward the beyond of rhetoric within rhetoric. Beyond

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grammar within grammar. With a gesture whose necessity and elegance I have always admired, it is in the text of Proust himself that Miller finds what he invents: namely, a noun and a concept that he will then put to work in a productive, demonstrative, generalizable fashion-well beyond this unique literary root, well beyond this oeuvre. But we are already involved in the difficulty that seemed to loom once the theoretical concept is itself part of the fiction, once it finds itselfat work in the work studied. It is part of the narrative fiction that thus comprises it at the very moment it allows one to comprehend it in turn. The concept is more powerful than the work, which is more powerful than the concept. This theoretical generalization does not happen only after the fact. Miller was looking for it. Because he was looking for it, because he anticipated it even as he felt its necessity, he discovered and invented it at the same time in Proust. He found it where it was to be found. He invented it in the other, in the two senses of the term: produced and revealed. He caused it to arise, in an inaugural gesture, there where its body was already to be found, at once visible and invisible. The long quotation that I will dare to extract from "The Anacoluthonic Lie" continues the one placed in epigraph. The underlined words will translate what I must select for my purposes, without further justification, without other authorization than that given me or imposed on me by the configura! conjunction I was speaking of a moment ago. It will be a matter of what is at stake ethically in the interruption of a memory. The essential finitude of a discontinuous anamnesis inscribes ellipses and eclipses in the identity of the subject. lt permits anyone to respond, in a manner that is at once responsible and irresponsible, as serious as it is insolent, undecided between provocative irony and disarming sincerity, perhaps in truth disarmed: "It's true. Just imagine, I was not thinking about it. Thank you." The passage in Proust has to do with storytelling (in the double sense oflying and of narration), with memory as a precarious support of narrative continuity, and with anacoluthon's function in both storytelling and lying. Anacoluthon doubles the story line and so makes the story probably a lie. A chief evidence for the middle's perturbation is small-scale details oflanguage. This means that close reading is essential to reading narrative: To tell the truth, I knew nothing that Albertine had done since I had come to know her, or even before. But in her conversation (she might, had I mentioned it to her, have replied that I had misunderstood her) there were certain contradictions, certain embellishments which seemed to me as decisive as catching her


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red-handed [qui me semblaient aussi decisives qu'un flagrant de fit], but less usable against Albertine who, often caught out like a child, had invariably, by dint of sudden, strategic changes of front, stultified my cruel attacks and retrieved the situation. Cruel, most of all, to myself. She employed, not by way of stylistic refinement, bur in order to correct her imprudences, abrupt breaches of syntax not unlike the figure which the grammarians call anacoluthon or some such names [de ces brusques sautes de syntaxe ressemblant un peu a ce que les grammairiens appellent anacoluthe ou je ne sais comment]. Having allowed herself, while discussing women, to say: "I remember, the other day, I ... ," she would suddenly, after a semi-quaver rest, change the "I" to "she": it was something that she had witnessed as an innocent spectator, not a thing that she herself had done. It was not she who was the subject of the action [Ce netait pas elle qui etait le sujet de l'action] _7

Miller continues at length the quotation of this passage, which he deems to be of an "admirably graceful subtlety." He then fits it with an analysis, which is itself subtle and admirable, that extends and generalizes the "theoretical" scope, in some way, of this singular example. It is as if, extending and generalizing, the analysis were inventing it in some way. I believe I must prefer here this word "invention" because it hesitates perhaps between creative invention, the production of what is not-or was not earlier-and revelatory invention, the discovery and unveiling of what already is or finds itself to be there. Such an invention thus hesitates perhaps, it is suspended undecidably between fiction and truth, but also between lying and veracity, that is, between perjury and fidelity. Whence, it seems to me, the essential role played by the discreet but decisive intervention of the mark of the undecidable that is the "perhaps" in "The Anacoluthonic Lie," precisely, in the definition of the anacoluthon. Two examples: A passage of an admirably graceful subtlety! The anacoluthon, or failure to follow a single syntactical track, for example in the shift from first to third person in the middle of a sentence, creates a narrative line that does not hang together. That shows, to anyone who notices it, that the story is-may be-a lie, a fiction. How could the same story apply at once to the teller and to someone else? The difficulty is in noticing the discrepancy, since memory, for Proust, far from being total and continuous, is intermittent and discontinuous. Our memories are out of our control. We remember only what our memories, acting on their own, happen to think it worthwhile to save. Lying and fiction, as Albertine's anacoluthons show, come to the same thing since both are forms of language that cannot be returned to a single paternal, patronizing logos or speaking source .... Who is the liar here, Albertine as the example of the eternal feminine, evasive and unpossessable, in this

"Le Parjure, " Perhaps


case betraying Marcel in covert lesbian liaisons? Or is the prime liar Marcel Proust himself, who has displaced into a misogynist fiction his own experience of betrayal in a "real life" homosexualliaison? 8 Though we can notice that something has gone wrong with the narrative sequence, we can no longer remember the beginning well enough to see for certain the incoherence of the story and so perhaps discover the truth hidden behind the lie. I say "perhaps" because for Proust it is impossible ever to be sure whether or not someone is lying. This is because, contrary to what seems common sense, a lie is a performative, not a constative, form of language. Or, rather, it mixes inextricably constative and performative language. 9

Besides the recent "Fractal Proust," Miller's earlier essays on Proust do not refer directly to de Man or explicitly to de Man's readings of Proust. But it seems to me at every moment obvious that these texts are pursuing an explanation with de Man, in the sense of Auseinandersetzung. There is always, at least implicitly, it seems to me, an active reading, an interpretation, and a discussion of de Man's theses: his theses concerning Proust and reading, of course, but also his theses concerning all that which, in the question of lying or truth, is eminently ethical, ethical in general and ethical in the sense of an ethics of reading. The passage I placed in epigraph is drawn from a chapter of The Ethics ofReading, which bears as epigraph a long quotation from Allegories of Reading. One reads there in particular provocative utterances such as: The ethical category is imperative (i.e., a category rather than a value) to the extent that it is linguistic and not subjective. Morality is a version of the same language aporia that gave rise to such concepts as "man" or "love" or "self," and not the cause or the consequence of such concepts. The passage to an ethical tonality does not result from a transcendental imperative but is the referential (and therefore unreliable) version of a linguistic confusion. Ethics (or, one should say, ethicity) is a discursive mode among others. 10

Within the scope of this essay, I will not be able to discuss these propositions, but I do not think they are unquestionable, neither in my view nor in Miller's. I recall them merely in order to reconstitute the configuration or the conjunction in which I am preparing to approach the eminently ethical question of perjury (that is, a species of lie or, inversely, the genus of which lying is a species) and the book Le Parjure. It is an indissolubly ethico-literary question of testimonial narration and of fiction. 2. Second reminder, a memory: Toward the end of the seventies, at


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Yale, Paul de Man said to me one day something like this (I do not recall what led to this remark, but we must have been talking, as we often did, of Paris, probably of Henri Thomas, one of the friends of my friend Paule Thevenin): "If you want to know a part of my life, read 'Holderlin en Amerique.' Henri Thomas, whom I knew here, in America after the war, published this text in Mercure de France, and it was reprinted or augmented as a novel, at Gallimard, Le Parjure." I confess that I did not rush out looking for the book. I never found the issue of the Mercure de France. But years later, at a bookseller's in Nice where I was on vacation, I came upon Le Parjure. I read it very quickly, but very quickly I understood that the principal character of the fiction, Stephane Chalier, resembled in certain features the real person of Paul de Man and that it was a matter, to say things once again much too quickly, of the story of a second marriage, in the United States, while a first marriage in Europe had not ended in legal divorce. Hence the accusation of bigamy and perjury. The novelist-narrator-witness-character tells the moving and agitated story of a young BelgianAmerican couple: "Holderlin in America," hospitalized and almost blind, finds himself, with his new young wife, the object of legal proceedings or threatened with legal proceedings. He is being pursued by both the first wife and the American authorities. After my reading, I remember that I wrote to Paul de Man, a few words, as discreetly as possible, in conformity with the customary tone of our exchanges, saying that I had been bouleverse, bowled over. We never spoke about it again. Just as I never spoke about it with Henri Thomas, whom I didn't know at the time and whom I nevertheless telephoned, years later, in 1987 (he lived in Brittany) to hear his response to what some friends (including Hillis Miller) and myself had just discovered about the past of the young Belgian journalist that Paul de Man was during the war and that we right away decided to make public and accessible to discussion. Some may still recall perhaps what was hastily called the "de Man affair" by some newspapers, avid for this kind of merchandise, and some university professors, who for a long time had been poisoned by the impotence of resentment. It was their affair, but I will not go back over this by now abundantly "documented" episode, concerning which I have said what I felt at length and publicly. 11 I recall merely that Henri Thomas's testimony was at the time that of a trusting and admiring friend, without the least reservation. 12 3· Third reminder: It so happens that last year, in the course of a sem-

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inar on forgiveness and perjury, I reread more attentively, as if for the first time, Thomas's book in order to test a certain number of schemas and hypotheses. Hillis Miller was present at this seminar, at UC Irvine. He thus shared this strange experience of which, in many ways, we are, if not the only witnesses, at least privileged witnesses-to attempt, as he put it, a response to the text that is both necessitated, in the sense that it is a response to an irresistible demand, and free, in the sense that I must take responsibility for my response and for further effects, "interpersonal," institutional, social, political, or historical, of my act of reading, for example as that act takes the form of teaching or of published commentary on a given text. What happens when I read must happen, but I must acknowledge it as my act of reading, though just what the 'T' is or becomes in this transaction is another question. 13 For, however trembling and undecidable, however suspended remained and still remains today the novel's and the fictional "character's" reference to our friend de Man, we could not not be haunted by the memory we still had of him. We could not not know that we were in some way being observed internally by him, by the spectral vigilance of his gaze, even if this quasi "presence" in no way limited our freedom. In truth, it even sharpened our responsibility.

Holderlin in America: The Oath of a Madman In the course of this seminar, I insisted at length on a first given of history: a separate study ought in fact to be devoted to the multiple and tangled reasons for which the crime of perjury, inscribed to be sure in all legal codes of the European tradition, finds nevertheless in the United States the zone of its most intense gravity. It is in the United States, to my knowledge, that perjury is named and tracked, by that name, with the greatest frequency, with an obsessional insistence. Although I have not done an inventory, it seems to me that the occurrence of the word "perjury" is much more frequent in the United States than in any other Western country, as threat of legal action against the "perjurer," in official documents, wherever a commitment or declaration is made, and practically everywhere a signature is required. Much more frequent than, for example, in France (where the word "perjury" remains rare, somewhat specialized, certainly unintelligible to the ordinary population), are the equivalents or nearby words, such as foux temoignage, contreforon (false witness or testi-


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mony, forgery, counterfeit). In the United States, one cannot sign a public document without having to read, without being supposed to have read, officially, legally, that perjury is strictly punishable by law. Which is in fact completely consistent, since this practice merely thematizes, and thus in principle makes undeniable, a universal implication of the law and the Western social contract: on the condition, of course, that the legal subject understands the language and knows how to read what he or she is being reminded of in this fashion, namely, that no one is assumed to be ignorant of the law before which one is in advance obligated and obligated to appear; truth, veracity, and good faith are owed by whoever promises it, beginning with the veracity of the promise. A promise whose structure is thereby vertiginously complicated, because it is engaged even before any explicit formulation, and even in the case where I would declare, with a negation, denegation, or disavowal, that I do not commit myself. Such a complication is reinvested and capitalized in the act of perjury. For ifl perjure myself, if I lie while making what is called a false testimony, I have perhaps already lied (not necessarily or always but perhaps), I have perhaps previously lied by promising (seriously, it is understood) to tell the truth: I have already lied by promising veracity (and one must always specifY veracity rather than truth [verite]: lying or perjury does not involve saying what is false or untrue but saying something other than what one thinks; it is not making a mistake or an error, but misleading the other deliberately). I have perhaps already lied by promising to tell the truth, lied before lying in not telling the truth. Thus we see the time of perjury is divided from the very first moment. When I accuse myself of perjury or when I accuse someone of perjury, this accusation can take one or two directions at once: I can accuse the other (or myself) of having betrayed, in a second moment, a sincere promise that would not have been kept, thus the betrayal follows, like a second original moment, a commitment that was first of all honest and in good faith, authentic; or else (or even at the same time) I can accuse the perjurer, the other or myself, of having lied ftom the first moment, of having perjured by promising to tell the truth, thus by swearing an oath to begin with, of having perjured or forsworn by swearing [dlwoir parjure en jurant]. One can thus perjure oneself after having sworn, but one can also forswear by swearing. These two temporalities or these two structural phases seem after the fact to envelope one another. Hence the gulf of amnesia, the interruption, the possibility of anacoluthic discontinuity that we were talking

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about earlier, the "Just imagine, I was not thinking about it." I can always say, whether or not one believes me, whether or not one takes it into account: "I sincerely promised to tell the truth, or I promised this or that, promised to be faithful to my promise, promised to be faithful to my given word, swore to be faithful, period, and then later, for some reason or other, or for no other reason than the return of my wickedness, my malice, or even my loss of love, or even a transformation of myself, or even the sudden arrival of another person, another obligation, or even forgetfulness or distraction, I had to betray. But this betrayal comes about only in a second moment: when I promised-swore, I was sincere, in good faith, I was not perjuring mysel£ Not yet." These two moments are at once rigorously distinct and strangely indiscernible. But this difference of the times is inscribed under the law of a contract, under a contracted, contracting, and sacral, sacramental law. This law, and no doubt it is the Law itself, the origin of the Law, is destined to annul precisely temporal difference. The essential destination, the structural signification of the oath or the given word, is to commit oneself not to be affected by time, to remain the same at moment B, whatever may happen, as the one who swears previously, at moment A. This sublating negation of time is the very essence of fidelity, of the oath, and of sworn faith. The essence or the truth of the Law. But the perjurer, the one who perjures himself or herself, can always seek to be excused, if not forgiven, by alleging, on the contrary, the unsublatable thickness of time and of what it transforms, the multiplicity of times, instants, their essential discontinuity, the merciless interruption that time inscribes in "me" as it does everywhere. That is the ultimate resource, or even the fatality, of the anacoluthon. The typical allegation, justified or not, undecidably veracious or lying: "I sincerely promised in the past, but time has passed, precisely, passed or surpassed, and the one who promised, long ago or in the past, can remain faithful to his promise, but it is no longer me, I am no longer the same me, I am another, I is another, I have changed, everything has changed, the addressees of the promise as well. For example: I was in love, I am in love no longer in the same way, I love someone else, and I am unable to account for that, myself, ask the other who decides this for me within me." One could appeal here to a psychology of the self, even a basic but still difficult to dispute psycho-phenomenology. It attests that in certain cases, someone, me, a me, can sincerely, seriously commit himself or her-


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self under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, and then, in a second moment, for one reason or another, show that he or she is not worthy of the promise, incapable of keeping it or capable of betraying it, of perverting it, abjuring, disavowing, and so forth. According to the same psycho-phenomenology, the unfolding of this process, namely, the drama of this diachrony, would be distinct from another scenario: someone is already lying, he perjures himself already at the moment of the oath and the promise. This bifid structure is not without effect on the scene of repentance and forgiveness. To ask for forgiveness or offer excuses may consist in confirming the sincerity of the first commitment and of attenuating the betrayal ("attenuating circumstances"), if not as an inessential accident, at least as a second moment of fall, a second or even secondary and above all unforeseeable corruption: I was sincere when I promised this or that, when I promised fidelity, but I could not foresee this change, these events, everything that has happened, I could not foresee who, the other who has arrived in the interval, the other who may be another, a third party, or else myself. Is it necessary to insist? Our lives are made up of such stories. The psycho-phenomenology of the self, the egology that is in general tied to it seems to be indisputable. And yet the essence of the oath, the vocation of the promise, the very idea of sworn faith or fidelity, the Law, are made in view ofcausing the laws of the just mentioned psycho-phenomenology of the self to lie. In their concept, in their horizon, which is itself a promise, they are destined to defeat, to undo, to put to rout the logos of this psychophenomenology itself, the reason and the identity of the psyche. They happen so as to prove wrong, if not to lay blame on the psyche, logos, phenomenality, the ego. An oath is sufficiently mad to put these "authorities" in the wrong or to destine them in turn to madness. Which is madder, psyche, logos, ego, the phenomenon-or the oath? This expression, this metonymy, the periphrasis of this nickname, "Holderlin in America," was first of all something like the oath of a madman. He was not joking when he said one day to his father: "You are mistaken, father; it will be Holderlin in America and I will go write it over there," then insisted again, going right to the bottom of things: "at bottom I am not joking. It will be Holder/in in America, and I am going to pack my bags to go write it over there." Project or challenge ("It will be Holder/in in America, and I am going to pack my bags to go write it over there"), these words commit. They ap-

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


pear in the first pages of Henri Thomas's novel, Le Parjure. Let us recall that in the Mercure de France, before the publication of the book, the fragment was titled "Holderlin in America." The person a part of whose story was something like the referent of what remains forever a fiction-and let us not forget that-was, then, my friend Paul de Man, who, I repeat, confided to me one day that he had also been Henri Thomas's friend and that, if I wanted to know something of his life, I ought to read this "Holderlin in America." 14 Let us return to what remains forever a literary fiction, to the novelplay titled Le Parjure. Everything begins in Belgium with a strange story of letters. Letters that are more or less purloined or detoured, in their destination, between the father, "a specialist in the great Romanticism," and the son who will become "Holderlin in America" and who gets called a "little romantic" while he is studying Penthesilea. Because his father, specialist in the great Romanticism, treats him as a "little romantic," because his father says of him "Stephane has not yet found his way," the son protests, and I quote him again: "You are mistaken, father; it will be Holder/in in America, and I will go write it over there." In this novel within the novelLe Parjure, Holder/in in America is first of all the title of a novel or a play that the young man Stephane Chalier, the principal character, plans to go write there, in America. It is, in effect, as if the play or the novel, as if the writing of the play or the novel was meant to be confused with his way [voie], with the voyage or the path of his existence, with that "way" that his father used to say he had not yet found, the way of his exile or his adventure in America. He decided to leave Belgium after the war for the United States, in an infinitely overdetermined personal and political situation, but as a challenge thrown up to the father, his father or the Father: "You are mistaken, father; it will be Holder/in in America, and I will go write it over there." Stephane Chalier thus leaves for America, having "fled after a last quarrel with father Chalier" (n), the "specialist in the great Romanticism" (13) who often called his son a "little romantic," the son who was never sure whether "this was blame or praise" (12). At the same time, Stephane leaves his wife Ottilia and his two children. He had, moreover, been annoyed by Ottilia's working for father Chalier, whose "brilliant student" she had been. Her study, Les Bijoux dans la poesie symboliste, "had aroused the enthusiasm of the elder Chalier" (21). This remark appears in a sequence that puts on stage the triangle of


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great and little romanticism (father/son/daughter-in-law) at the same time as the moment of the oath ("You are mistaken, father; it will be Holder/in in America, and I will go write it over there"). But the present of this oath (which is, moreover, sealed, signed, as we will see, by an "it is now") presents itself in truth, like any self-respecting oath, in the future of what is coming: here, in the grammar of three futures, three commitments, or three promises. To be kept beginning now. These three performatives are not just any ones; they are carried by verbs such as "to be," "to go," "to know": "it will be," "I will go," "I will know." Such grave oaths remain nevertheless rather mad or rather rash because they do not correspond to any plan. They are not only improvised but, as it were, imposed on Stephane. He surprises himself, he lets himself be surprised, therefore, in an apparently aleatory or unforeseeable and therefore irresistible fashion, by the strange force of another law, by the pull or impulsion of one knows not what necessity coming from the other. Holder/in in America: Will that be the title of a work to come, as everything seems to indicate? Or else, by means of the work, the proper name, barely a metonymy, at bottom the autograph of his own becoming to come? Will not he, himself, be Holderlin in America? That evening father Chalier had modified somewhat his formula, while speaking to Jaubert: "Stephane has not yet found his way . .. " "You are mistaken, father; it will be Holder/in in America, and I will go write it over there." Everyone had laughed, but gently. Jaubert had clarified: "It's not what you say that amuses us, but your manner of saying it!" "l hope so, because at bottom I am not joking. It will be Holder/in in America, and I am going to pack my bags to go write it over there." He was not thinking about this ten minutes before he spoke; at the moment at which he blurted out these words, he really had no plan. He had never had any desire to see the United States. The hills of Bohemia, Andalusia, Crete, everything attracted him, except that country whose accent he found so ugly. But neither was it the first time that he surprised himself by speaking in this way, as if by chance, and always against someone, he who was otherwise so gentle, so docile. As if something in him from time to time tried to leap out, in words. In words alone, this could have gone on for a long time, speaking didn't change anything in life over there, the father and Ottilia also spoke, the breach closed up again. Ottilia had laughed along with the other two: "I can't see you as an emigrant. You don't know what it's like." She knows. She fled the Rumania of the Iron Guard, and by way of the

"Le Parjure, " Perhaps


Black Sea no less, and Turkey, and the Greek freighter! With all that, a brilliant student of father Chalier; as for her, she chose her way rapidly. Les bijoux dans la poesie symboliste had aroused the enthusiasm of the elder Chalier. Stephane merely replied: I will know it, and dinner ended as if nothing had happened. And yet everything is clear from that moment on. Stephane is loathe to form a clear idea of what he was before; too many things are involved, it's too close to adolescence. Bur from that moment on, well, it is like now, it is now. (20-21) 1'

Untranslatable title: Le Parjure Like the "reality'' it fictionalizes, Le Parjure opposes an infinite or abyssal resistance to any meta-narrative. Henri Thomas was the friend of the "real" character, Paul de Man, whom he met in America after the war. In the novel, the narrator, who is not the author, is also the friend of the principal character, Stephane Chalier. But in what does the narrative core consist, that which seems to support the tide, the event designated by Le Parjure? Where is it situated? This magnificent tide, Le Parjure, is a chef d'oeuvre in itself It exceeds any interpretive decision. There are at least three ways of reading and interpreting it, three ways of situating its thematic referent, but each of the three haunts the others. Each of the three thus raises the number of tides (3 + n), to be sure, but each also makes apparent the title's intrinsic multiplicity. Each recalls as well its divisibility, without possible end, its essential dissociation, its internal interruption. r. In the first place, le parjure could always be, for a somewhat vigilant and patient reader, the fiction, the novel itself, its signature, if you will, the manner in which the novelist, at work in his act of writing, but also the narrator, in the novel, which is still something else, betrays his friend by unveiling, by taking his confession (it is constantly a question of a confession and an avowal in the novel), by publishing this confession, namely, a story of perjury, or even by falsifYing it. That is a first possible perjury. The narrator causes to avow and disavows his friend. The title could thus designate, already, the double perjury of the narrator or the novelist who betrays the truth confided to him by his friend or the truth of which he was the privileged and secret witness. Le Parjure would already sign the perjury, betrayal, fault, and would do it doubly, like a double signature, since both the novelist and the narrator accuse themselves with it. It is in the open, described, or prescribed space of such a tide that what Miller calls "storytelling" comes about: "storytelling (in the double sense oflying and of nar-


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ration), with memory as a precarious support of narrative continuity, and with anacoluthon's function in both storytelling and lying." 2. Without contradicting bur by complicating the first, by overdetermining it en abyme, a second reading of the title Le Parjure (and thus of the book that bears this title) might also concern the betrayed, failed, unfulfilled promise, by the hero of the novel this time, to go make or write "Holderlin in America." With regard to the scene I have just read and commented on (promise, commitment, threat, challenge: "I am not joking. It will be Holder/in in America, and I am going to pack my bags to go write it over there"), has there been perjury or not? Perhaps. Who will ever know? It is true that the real character, my friend, was someone who not only wrote a lot on Holderlin, in France and in America, bur who thought at least to change something or invent something new in the interpretation of the thinking poetry of Holderlin. The stakes of this may be considerable, or even in-finite, if one follows out the implication in a certain way. This friend, then, would have in a certain way introduced Holderlin in America, through and beyond a field of literary theory. Which is also true of the perjury and the lie in the Confessions of Rousseau, especially around the stolen or "purloined" ribbon. 16 One of the important motifs in his reading of Holderlin concerned, moreover, the question of the true (das Wahre, rather than die Wahrheit, the truth) and of the event. This question haunts Le Parjure, as we will verifY. No one will ever know whether or not "Holderlin in America'' has taken place, whether the promise has been kept or whether some perjury has betrayed it. Perhaps. 3· But the third sense of the title, which is also its first referent or its principal theme, its most obvious sense, the most common, the most massive, is the one that refers to the central narrative, namely, the perjury as such, the legal perjury, the perjury in the eyes of positive law, le parjure committed by le parjure, the perjury committed by the perjurer-since in French alone, as we must once again underscore, "le parjure" is certainly the act of perjuring (perjury), or even the content and the object of this act (again perjury), but also the author of the perjury, the perjurer. This is only possible in French, where one can say: you are a parjure or you committed a parjure. To this immeasurable extent, Le Parjure remains untranslatable. With all the consequences one can imagine, its economy in any case resists the other language. And thus perhaps it resists the passage across the frontiers of one nation, from one nation-state to another. Here le parjure is thus, first of all, the hero of a novel and/or the of-

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


fense that he committed in the eyes of the American justice system: he had been married, he had two children in Belgium, he remarried in the United States, a few years later, while omitting to declare his former and still valid marriage (he had not divorced) or while declaring that he was not married. Before this second marriage, before the perjury itself, Stephane and Judith (who will be his second wife, his American wife) become bound to each other in a situation or at a moment in which, as Henri Thomas (or in any case the narrator, the witness, who will be, like the witness of this second marriage and of the parjure) recalls, they were still placed under the sign and in the memory of Holderlin.

The One Who Did Not Accompany Me: The Truth of the Acolyte So here is Hi:ilderlin in the restaurant of a motel. It is before the perjury, before the second marriage, the one that Holderlin would have somehow incited or blessed, before a perjury that is, in a certain way, consummated in advance of having taken place. Holderlin in America, topometonymy, is also, as we'll see, Holderlin in France. Everything seems to be suspended from a metonymy, a quotation, a quasi anacoluthic change of subject. Interruption in the obvious, the shadow at the heart of the light, painting, snapshot. Let us observe first, in this love scene, the painting of light itself: illustration of the lighting, clarification of the clearing, elucidation of the truth. The painting tells a story of brightness. There is here a logic, a poetics, a rhetoric of narration. What it is trying to show hangs from a hair (the hair of the perjurer) but is not as farfetched as it appears: The light was bright in the dining room, the shadow of hands played over the pink paper tablecloth, and Stephane's heavy mop of blond hair shone as he lowered his head. He did this often, it was almost a tic with him. When he laughed, when he had just said something a little bizarre, he bent his head so as to hide for a moment in the shadow. While laughing between the words, so that she had not grasped it all, he had just said: The lines oflift are different, What we are here below ...

And he was still talking, his head bent, laughing, when she plunged her right hand into the golden, somewhat dirty mop that was there beneath her eyes. Her roughly scarred palm clung to it. The people from the motel had almost never


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witnessed such gestures in the dining room. There was no longer any doubt: these young people were not married. Stephane then did something no one had ever seen in this place in America, and that no one perhaps will never see again: he grabbed the wrist of the hand that was stirring in his hair, he pulled it out, and held it before him, its palm open and its fingers moving more slowly. Then he bent down over it and kissed it for a long time in several places. His hair was touching her wrist and he was laughing once again, his face hidden in this hand. Then raising his head, he continued in a joking manner:

What we are here below, only a god can complete it. He held Judith Samson's hand in both of his now, hiding the palm that he had just kissed. She looked at him with a dreamy attention, an absent look, then she asked: "What were you saying a moment ago?" "Holderlin," he said. "Two lines ofHolderlin." "Who was Hiilderlin?" "A man like me ... yes, well, with all the differences. What made me think of it? Oh, it's very simple." The high price of the meal they were finishing was due chiefly to the bottle of wine Stephane had ordered. He turned it so the girl could see the label. "Bordeaux," he said. "You see? He went to Bordeaux on foot, from Germany, and he made the return trip the same way." "All alone?" "Yes ... or rather, no, that is, not really all alone. The people who met him saw him alone, naturally, no one was walking beside him. Yet, listen, a lady who lived in the middle of France, about a third of his way home, told how one morning when she opened the shutters she saw a man standing in the garden, not moving, except that he was passing his glance over the flowers, the trees. He saw the lady and smiled. What astonished her, besides the smile that she found charming, was the color of the man's hair, a very light blond, what we call platinum now. And long hair, falling onto his shoulders. Light blue eyes, the pure Nordic type, if you will." (42-43)

Reading these descriptions, it seems already, but we will specify this, that the narrator is also a little in love with Stephane-Holderlin-the perjurer. He identifies both with him and with the woman in love. In truth, he identifies with everyone, and this would be one of the inextricable knots that keeps the title at the bottom of its own abyss. Witness and friend of Stephane-Holderlin, the narrator is also an acolyte, that is, someone who accompanies. According to both etymology and usage, the acolyte accompanies with an eye to following and assisting. He is an attached subject, who follows the other, listens to him, and is joined to him like his shadow.

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


He assists in a double sense: he is present and he aids, he supplements. The suppleant can be the one who aids a priest in church (service of the akoluthia), the most frequent sense. He can also become the accomplice in a suspicious or even guilty act, even if, to take up again Proust's phrase quoted by Miller, he is not himself the "subject of the action." In this role of the substitute, which is both necessary and contingent, essential and secondary, the acolyte is an accomplice, a second, a suppleant who accompanies, but without accompanying altogether, in any event, at a certain distance. He is someone who, repeatedly, assists, but not without giving someone the slip a little [non sans fousser quelque peu compagnie] . 17 The companion thus becomes, simultaneously, "the one who did not accompany," to parody Blanchot's title. In a structural and regular fashion, the acolyte thereby takes on, as we will verifY, an anacolytic figure. Anakolouthia designates generally a rupture in the consequence, an interruption in the sequence itself: within a grammatical syntax or in an order in general, in an agreement, thus also in a set, whatever it may be, in a community, let's say, or a partnership, an alliance, a friendship, a being-together: a company or a guild [compagnonnage]. But since the acolyte assists without being absolutely identical or in agreement, therefore not fully present to the person, the subject, or the community that he supplements, he represents not only his contrary, an anacolytic figure, but also, by himself, an analytic figure. His place is as much that of the analyst as of the breach, the fission reaction, the interruptive dissociation. There is no need to mobilize all the resources of semantics or etymology in order to associate the figure of the acolyte, which accompanies, with its negative, the anacoluthon, which does not accompany. Think, for example, of the definition that Fontanier gives of the anacoluthon. It is more grammatical than rhetorical. Moreover, he classes the anacoluthon among the figures of speech "other than tropes," among the "non-tropes." This definition itself banks on the figure of accompaniment, and speaks, in what is finally a rather pathetic and human manner, of"letting stand alone a word that calls out for another as companion. This missing companion is no longer a companion." (We would be tempted to compare this definition, which speaks of lack, solitude, aloneness, mourning in the language, to the one given by the OED for anacoluthon: "a wanting sentence"): Here is a figure whose existence Beauzee does not deny, but that he finds useless to distinguish by a special name. Nevertheless, it is a very particular species of ellipsis, which has nothing in common with the other species except that it belongs


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to the same genus. It consists in implying, and always in conformity with usage or without contravening it, the correlative, the companion ofan expressed word; it consists, I say, in letting stand alone a word that calls out for another as companion. This missing companion is no longer a companion; it is what in Greek is called Anacoluthon, and this name is also that of the figure. 18 When he reflects the scene he has just described, the narrator also reflects the light, the elucidation of the lights and shadows. Doing so, he avows, he confesses. But he confesses the failure of a "witness" or a "narrator," his powerlessness to avoid perjury, in effect, to tell the truth: his dependent situation, the place from which he witnesses, his attachment, his love or friendship, his assistance, his compagnonnage, let us say his subjection as supplement to the beings he is speaking of: all this deprives him of the truth, or even of the promised veracity. Thus of a certain light. He cannot keep his word as witness. He is party to the drama that he must recount, before the law. While showing, must he show himself in the light of day or not? In either case, he betrays. He must, in the same light, hide where it is a matter of showing, but also he must show where he would like to hide, first all, to hide himself He must expose while dissimulating, encrypt while unveiling, stifle a "great secret" even as he tells it, and finally betray, precisely because he is a witness, denounce, disavow the very thing and those whom he accompanies as witness (virtually a witness at a marriage ceremony). He gives them the slip [!/leur fousse compagnie.] This tragedy of testimonial narration is admirably inscribed by Thomas in the essence of a "light," a same light, the light but also the shadow whose physical or literal play he has just described, in the preceding scene, in an apparently naive or conscientiously pictorial fashion. This light bears its shadow within itself and it now reveals its essence as "philosophical light," the light of a truth that hides by revealing, gathering and dispersing, moreover, through the turning of its tropes (metonymy, synecdoche, anacoluthon) the whole story of Holderlin in America-which from now on neither the narrator nor any of us will ever again behold like a stranger, an insensitive, impassive witness. The perverse light of this anacoluthon: this time, the instantaneous substitutions to which it gives rise thanks to the ruptures in construction still conceal from us the "subject of the action," but while leaving us undecided between the narrator-witness "subject" (too implicated in the narration) and the "subjects" whose story he is telling. Here then, on the side of the narrating narration and not only on the side of the narrated narration, the anacoluthon gives rise to fictions

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


or perhaps, even, to lies by the narrator himself. He is already and he is going to become, more and more, the assistant, the auxiliary, the partner, even the double, and we should say, so as to remain within the anacoluthic family, the companion, the accomplice, the acolyte, Conrad's "secret sharer," in sum, 19 of the principal perjurer, of the criminal, here of Stephane Chalier. (l point out here that Hillis Miller will have taken into account the structural possibility of this anacoluthon, namely, that of an undecidable lie or perjury that must never be excluded on the part already of the narrator, or even the author. 20 This possibility thus traverses, and in truth institutes all the couples of acolytes, ifl may say that, beginning with those whose positions we are studying here: narrated narration/ narrating voice and/or narrative voice, character/narrator and/or author): And yet I who am in that time when one drags oneself through all sorts of obstacles with less and less strength, what would I be without them? Still another question that will remain unanswered, because I cannot be without them .... Oh this misery of the witness, whether one calls him a narrator or chronicler or teller of imaginary tales! If he shows himself, he hides what he wants to uncover for you; if he shows only the things he wants to say, he stifles a great secret, himself, his link to all this, the flash that unites them all in a same world, that philosophical light around the window of a small room in Heidelberg, in summer, which Stephane Chalier was thinking about because of the indirect lighting behind the motel's dwarf palms. This light emanating from a distant reading had also shone in the wine of origin before spreading out bizarrely beneath the little palms and becoming all the paleness of the prairie where they stopped, several hours after the motel. (43-44).

We-in the University "I cannot be without them," says the narrator, the acolyte who, to adapt Fontanier's phrase, "calls out for another as companion." Here, then, arises an ordeal putting to the test this tie, this alliance, this "being together," this complicity of the acolyte, let us say this uneasy friendship. In 1964, the narrator reports on the "Chalier affair," without knowing, of course, without the author suspecting that one day there will be, in the same country, and in "reality," other affairs, for example, a "de Man affair," in the course of which, however, a question will often be asked whose form was already to be found, literally, in Le Parjure: "What was known about his years before America?" (138-39) Neither the author nor the narrator could


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foresee that in years to come, just as in this first "Chalier affair," it was going to be necessary to pay attention, as we will in a moment, to the most vulgar forms of media violence (already the link between television, the University, and ''American law"). The narrator wonders whether it was Ottilia (the name he gives to Chalier's first wife, in memory, I suppose, of Goethe and Elective Affinities) who, hunting down her husband in the U.S., "herself advised the Immigration Committee of the fact that Chalier had made a false declaration before entering into his second marriage" (n1). At the university where he is teaching, Chalier receives a letter convoking him to Washington, before an authority charged with such matters. Everything therefore begins with a letter and a letter received at the university, for everything we are talking about is set in the theater of the academy, beginning with father Chalier, a distinguished university professor, his daughter-in-law, who is carrying out research under his direction, and Holderlin in America (a possible subtitle for this book: of perjury in the university, between Europe and America). Everything begins with the reading of this letter, a letter brought by this focteur de la verite that is the narrator, but it is a letter for a blind man, if I may put it that way, a letter that his two acolytes, his wife and his witness, give to "Holderlin'' and read to him since his eyesight is so bad he cannot do it himself It is unnecessary to recall the challenge to the father in order to think that, "almost blind," in the narrator's words, this "Holderlin" is a very oedipal figure. The anacoluthon finds here its first lodging. The letter had been addressed to him at the University, where he had not gone for several days. He was hesitating at the time about having the operation (a question of money once again), and it is quite possible that this letter made him decide to enter the hospital the next day. The man whom I now know would have willingly remained blind in one eye, just as he had given up almost his entire inheritance. The most docile thing to do, obviously, would have been to go to Washington, in his poor state of health, unable to read, seeing everything in a blur. He would perhaps have done it if we had not been there, Judith and I. I had brought him the letter, and it was Judith who read it to him. That is how I learned that Chalier had been guilty of taking a false oath in front of an American magistrate before marrying Judith Samson. He had declared under oath that he had not been previously married or divorced. The letter from the Committee mentioned this fact briefly, but also gave the date of the marriage with a numerical reference proving that an investigation had taken place-and above all it mentioned additional information concerning his marriage in Europe and the two children born from it. Stephane

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


Chalier was requested to present himself within a week at a certain office of the Department of the Interior, where he would be interviewed by the person who had signed the letter. It was a woman, more precisely, a middle-aged Miss. For the police to have convoked Chalier to an office in Washington, and not in New Hampshire, meant that the affair was very serious, but it might also mean that no one wished, for the moment, to put him in an awkward position vis-a-vis the University and the New Hampshire authorities. The affair was delicate: an investigation of the winner of the first fellowship awarded by the Papa"ios Foundation risked setting off a scandal like that of the Sorrows affair-the highly respected professor who had cheated on a television quiz show, for several months running, while amassing a fortune. But the infraction of American law was obvious, indisputable; there was even something brutal about it that impressed me at the time like an unexpected gesture-the claw stroke of a peaceful cat, a rock thrown by a child. (n2-r3). 21 Now begins the narrator's torment, the avowal of his aversion in the face of this incredible offense (a bottomless perjury, before the law of the state, to be sure, but first of all as regards the sworn faith of the first marriage and above all, above all, as regards the betrayed innocence of the first children!); now begins the movement to renounce a friendship incompatible with perjury/ the perjurer, to disavow it, to accompany Chalier no longer and yet, right away, the belief in the unbelievable, then, finally, apparently, the reaffirmed fidelity, however damaged and ambivalent it remains. I could not be indignant that he had been convoked to Washington, I could not feel sorry for him, but neither could I tell him that he had asked for all this and let him son things out for himself. It was necessary to choose, however. I don't mean I had to choose how to conduct myself with him, because it was not a question of leaving him there, he who was almost blind-but in my feeling: if he was guilty, it was not only of perjury before the American authorities, bur of abandoning his first family, especially his children; I am, I must say, excessively sensitive in that regard-and there could no longer be any question of friendship between us. But if he was not guilty? What an idea! Of course, he was guilty! Bigamist! What a ridiculous word. I never dared use it when speaking with him. So he was guilty, I had no doubt of that, nor did he, moreover. Judith herself had her share of guilt since she was aware of the first marriage; if she had expected the letter from Washington she could not have remained more calm after having read it. (n3-14) The anacoluthon becomes generalized. It thus cleaves or causes to tremble all the "subjects" of the action and the enunciation: at once the characters of the novelistic fiction, the narrator, and their supposed models


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referred to in real life, the author and his friends. So many acolytes. The anacoluthon passes, by definition, the border between fiction and reality, between literature and testimonial document. Even if, finally, it erases all these borders, this generalization without decidable limit supposes at least a highly significant structural fold: the duel of friendship, the companionship that strangely links the narrator and the perjurer/perjury, or, if you prefer, the witness of the perjurer/perjury and the perjurer/perjury himself or itself. The narrator is constantly tormented by a disturbance of identification. He wonders at what moment and even whether he will ever have had the right to say "us." Later, much later (we will get to this), he writes: "Now I can say 'us"' (163). Question of the "us," which can be extended to the whole scene of forgiveness and perjury. Is there, at what moment, and in what modalities, an "us" that, with a single signature, gathers together the victim and the guilty one, the accuser-prosecutor and the offender, the person from whom one asks forgiveness and the person before whom or to whom the confession is confided? Here, at what moment can the narrator say and thus sign an "us" that unites him to the principal character, to the perjurer, that is, moving from one to the next, to Holderlin in America, in the same "philosophical light," that is, in the anacoluthic metonymy? This metonymy blurs or complicates all the frontiers; it instigates all possible substitutions: between characters, between the narrator and the characters, between the fiction and reality, between the secret and the manifest, between the private and the public, and so forth. This question is dramatized in countless ways, but I will highlight only one of them. Holderlin in America, alias Stephane Chalier, alias Paul de Man, finds himself in an "ophthalmologic clinic" for a problem of partial blindness (which makes one think also of Blanchet's Madness of the Day). He asks his friend, his companion the narrator, who relates it to us, to take his place and to write for him, who because of his partial blindness cannot write, the confession required, in a very American style, by the Washington committee. Even though apparently, in all conscience, he is completely innocent of what has happened, the narrator begins to feel guilty. Holderlin in America does everything to make him feel guilty and thus responsible for the awaited confession, to make him sign it, in some way, in his place, or to countersign it.

"Le Parjure, " Perhaps


The "Report-Confession," the Unique Impossible/ Impossible Unique What would the narrator-friend-witness-companion be guilty of? Well, of having wanted to defend Holderlin, of having intervened in his favor, of having been a witness for the defense, a witness for him, and for having thereby provoked the demand for a confession on the part of the committee and its Quaker lady president. The structural fold is formed, or rather becomes more manifest than ever, at the moment of this inversion of roles, when the guilty one accuses the witness and makes him bear responsibility for the offense. The anacoluthic catastrophe finds one of its privileged places in this fold. Here is one of the most extraordinary passages of the book. The narrator-witness has gone to the clinic to see his friend the perjurer. Together they evoke the process that led to the demand for this report-confession by the "Quaker lady president." I will emphasize a few words in this sequence, which includes the "Just imagine, I was not thinking about it." (I leave the interested, and informed, reader free to make all the transpositions possible between the protagonists of "the Chalier affair" and those of "the de Man affair." There is no relation between them, but all relations are also possible between them.) "The idea of this report didn't come from me." At this point I received the only reproach that he ever addressed to me: "If you had not thought it was right to intervene in this committee, with a letter from Dr. X-I know because he told me about it himself-the Quaker lady president would never have gotten the idea." I was annoyed; I was upset to the point of not knowing what to say except: "Yes, that's true." I ftlt guilty, and there must have been something in my voice, or in my silence-how do I know?-that informed him exactly of my state, he who was listening to me in the dark, with a pitiless attention, for he played on it and said to me only what was sure to disconcert me even more. He laughed-carefully, since the least tug on the edges of his bandaged eye caused him pain. He said: "Well, you will just have to follow through with your initiative, all the way to the end. It is you who will write my complete confession to the Quaker lady of the high Commission." He thus meant to make me ftel I had committed an error, an offense-that I was ... guilty. Well, really! The time it had taken me, all the maneuvers, to reach this lady! And he was reproaching me, whereas I had never reproached him. IfI was guilty, what about him? Was he without fault and without clumsiness?


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I swear that not even for a second did I mean to reply spitefully, even as the strongest gust of resentment broke over me and my throat tightened as when one holds back tears. I could do nothing but remain silent or say something terrible, as I now perfectly well realize. But he, for his part, did not want me to keep silent! He wanted the answer: "You will write it, won't you? Much better than I could ever do! Because I can't! Impossible! Way beyond my means! But you!" It is then that I said: "My dear Stephane (and this was the first time I called him by his first name, quite naturally, instinctively, out of great friendship!), my dear Stephane, I'm not the one after all who had a little lapse of memory the day you got married." (132-34; my emphasis)

Before listening to the response from Stephane (a first name that Henri Thomas, who was a specialist in English-language literature and a great translator, chose perhaps while thinking of the figure of the rebellious son represented by Stephane Chalier, alias Stephen in Ulysses), let us note that behind the good sense of the denegation ('Tm not the one after all who ... "),a muffled anxiety impels the protest: what if, basically, I were he? He said: "That's true. Just imagine, I was not thinking about it. Thank you. I think the visit is over. You needn't bother to come back." He held out his hand to me, at random. I could do nothing but shake it, and then I left. (134) What if, basically, I were he? said I, commenting in a certain way on the narrator's denegation (''I'm not the one after all who ... ," that is, the perjurer is not me) and letting it be understood that the anacoluthic substitution of the subject, the replacement of the acolyte, could be at once the motor, the motivation, and the dramatic emotion of this narrative. A generalized anacoluthon would make of the narrator, of any narrator no doubt, an acolyte of his "character" or of his "friend." An identificatory substitution would harbor, in sum, the betrayal and the perjury at the heart of every narration, every recit, every confession, every "relation" or "report" [rapport]. It would wreak havoc with the very truth or veracity of which it is all the same the condition. No meta-discourse, no meta-narrative would escape unscathed from this devastating perjury, which is all the more destructive that it serves the most sincere desire for truth. 22 And in fact, in Le Parjure the narrator's denegation (''I'm not the one after all who ... ,"that is, the perjurer is not me) proves rather insistent. It is repeated. This assid-

"Le Parjure, " Perhaps


uous obstinacy confirms that the narrator, the unconscious subject, if you like, or the narrative voice of the narrator whispers the contrary and smuggles it into the narrative: yes, yes, on the contrary, it is indeed you who ... it is indeed you, thus it is indeed me the perjurer, and you are lying once again, and I am lying, and you betray all the time, you disavow, I betray and disavow on the pretext of fidelity. You do it, I do it, you make me confess it, I make you confess it and at the same time you, I disavow it. Some ten pages further, the same denegative form recurs, this time in the past, heavily underscored by a "what I said was true" that could well be merely one more perjury, lie, or mystification. "I am not Chalier," he will say a little after that (147), in a manner that is less and less convincing. In a different sense, yet another disavowal at the heart of the avowal. A "what I say is true" is inevitably inscribed in the scene and even in the signature of every lie. I emphasize: When I said to Chalier that Tm not the one after all who had a memory lapse-I was speaking like other people. And, so? What I said was true. They will say that Sorrows, since we're talking about him, was irreproachable in his behavior toward his wife and his three children-that this no doubt finally explains the committee's indulgence toward him. Sorrows cheated the idiotic television audience, and the petition from the students insisted on that: the stupidity of the quiz show audience ... Chalier, on the other hand, how to put it? He is cheating the administration, which is not idiotic like the public; it puts faith in the sworn word ofhonorhe abandons a wife and two children .... And then he thinks it's funny that the lady head of the committee suggests he explain himself freely in writing. He breaks with the only friend he has, I don't mean just in Westford, but in the whole United States, in the whole world; he remains alone in his hospital bed, still unable even to write to his wife, his wife who is not his wife. How can one not agree with everyone on all this? The more I thought about it, the more I saw it thus and not otherwise. Ever since things had started going wrong for Chalier, people must have ended up forgetting something. What was known about his years before America? Or even, in which city in California or Arizona did he sign that damned oath of honor? I had to find out, myself, before I began writing for the lady. (138-39) "What I said was true," declares the witness-narrator. A question of the truth, therefore, or rather of veracity, of light-and thus, from one to the next, a question of the meaning of what I am doing here, myself, by writing, and what we are doing together, you and me, I who seem to be speaking as analyst, interpreter, but also as narrator, friend, and witness, for example, of Paul de Man, my friend and the mutual friend of Hillis Miller and myself This question of veracity is knotted up in an inextricable and


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vertiginous fashion with that of the us in this confession, in this reportconfession of repentance. Moreover, the expression rapport-conftssion, which the narrator uses all the time, has been well chosen by Henri Thomas to mark the troubling indissociability of an objective report that merely reports constatively, for the American administration, the reality of what was, on the one hand, and, on the other, the confession that is an avowal and already a repentance, thus a performative disavowal, a denunciation of oneself, of the evil one has done that is more than a mistake. The American administration requires one and the other at the same time, the report and the confession, the report as confession, the report-confession. Holderin in America asks his friend, the narrator, the acolyte, to write the report-confession for the administration in his place, since it's his friend's fault that the process got started. The narrator feels this to be not a punishment but an impossible assignment, the order to do the impossible. This impossible, whose law we are going to follow, becomes something both more and other than the report-confession, more and other than the impossible avowal as disavowal: the most impossible impossible becomes the narrator himself, the friend, the acolyte, the countersignatory, the one who says "I" and that an absolute anacoluthon dislodges forever from its proper place: disavowed identity. He had accepted the principle of the report-confession, while I was looking at my chestnut tree and was accepting to write this report myself, but not at all because the idea had come from me and as punishment for my initiative-but because I knew as well as Chalier did that this report-confession was impossible. But impossible in a strange, I would even say unique way. (145)

This impossibility of the impossible is thus unique. It is unique by reason of a certain essence of time, more precisely, of the having been, of the past, of the "outmoded" [depasse]. The lexicon of the "past" and especially of the depasse or "outmoded" brings together a whole argument on the subject of the impossible confession-and of an impossible that becomes at once the report-confession, the confessed, and the confessor, the one who avows, makes one avow, and disavows. The depasse is not unrelated to the amnesia or distraction of the "Just imagine, I was not thinking about it." Moreover, we will soon hear an "it escaped me" from the mouth of the narrator, which strangely resembles the "I was not thinking about it." It recalls, it brings back nonmemory to memory, the possibility of an essential amnesia, the threat or the chance of a (active or passive) forgetting, the effects of an irreducible distraction at the heart of finite thought, a dis-

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


continuity, an interruptibility that is at bottom the very resource, the ambiguous power of the anacoluthon: the disappearing at work, a passive work, in the very essence of seeming [para£tre], in the very phenomenality of appearing [apparaftre ]. The argumentation is all the more troubling in that Hi:ilderlin in America, in "real" life if we can still say that, will have shown some years later, notably with the example of Rousseau, why confession is in a certain manner impossible. This demonstration has become one of the canonical points of reference in certain American university milieus. We can follow the movement by which the friend-witness-narrator, the acolyte who accompanies without accompanying, prepares not only to say "us" on the subject of the offense and the report-confession, but to become himself, and to admit the fact, the report-confession that is awaited and that is effaced in the writing, having become impossible and forever "outmoded" in the process. Himself and this book, Le Parjure, become in effect the report-confession that he agreed to write even though it was impossible. All of this is the narrative of a disappearance, a signature that gets erased at the moment it enters literature. Here is the rest of the passage we just quoted. Besides the work on passer-depasser, that is, to pass, to overtake, we will also follow the play in the semantic transformation of the word rapport ("report," "relation"). But impossible in a strange, I would even say unique way. There are perhaps those who would understand this immediately; for the others, I will try to explain. One often says, today, that this or that idea, some scientific or philosophical theory is outmoded [depassee ]. It is still taken into account, like the rung of a ladder for climbing higher, but one must not tarry on it. No longer believing in them, one is necessarily no longer really interested in these ideas. I mention this well-known process so as to clearly show the difference between what was happening to us and what happens to all reasonable beings in the modern world. We had gone beyond [depasse] the idea of sending a report-confession to the Quaker lady and, at the same time, the idea he had had, that it was up to me to write it-but this is the most difficult point to speak of-the point on which we were in perfect agreement since our almost silent quarrel had happened. Here it is, or rather I am there, but I cannot manage to stay there in a way so as to understand clearly. It escaped me, as if my mind were turning in a dance around a landscape without stopping. A confession by Chalier to the Quaker lady to explain his false declaration-I had believed this was possible, I admit! And I would be the one to write it, I had accepted this, I had already taken some mental notes. Well, there would be no report-confession, that had been decided. No visit to the committee lady. Those intentions were outmoded [depassees], I would say-it's a question I teach-like


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classical tragedy; but no, that would seem to say we had good reasons for moving [passer] on to another means for getting out of it, and I do not see any such good reason. The intentions had been overtaken [depassees] in a far simpler way: by movement, the true, the only movement-by disappearing. And there is one thing that I understood clearly, perhaps the only thing in this whole race to nowhere: disappearing was effectively the only true response that Chalier could make to the committee, to the entire government, to society as a whole. But to disappear is not to respond to a precise question (the false oath)! There is no relation [rapport] between the two; they are two different orders of things! That is what I also assert-and if I don't just leave things there, that's because I am not Chalier, merely someone close to him, and because I can offer an explanation to the extent that my situation is not altogether his-it will thus be only an approximate explanation. All the same, I am also aware of what was absolutely clear in Chalier's story, or rather absolutely direct. Without that, I could not even begin to defend him. But equally because of that, I realize that my "plea for the defense" is really nothing but a stopgap when compared with what is obvious and needs no defending by anyone. How right Chalier was when he said that it was my responsibility to write the report! He was more right than he thought (for he spoke in anger and did not remember when I reminded him of it). I do not have to write this report, for I find I am myself the report, the relation [rapport] between my Chalier (if he read this, what a wicked little smile he would have!) and the others, beginning with their various committees ... " (145-48) At the moment he says "I am myself the rapport," a rapport that had just seemed impossible, the impossible itself, the word rapport changes meaning, even as it remains, on the spot, what it is. It turns on itself like a trope, in the manner of a strophe. It is far from exhausted by its value as "report to be written on the subject of," testimony, countersigned confession, and so forth. The word rapport gets charged with a far graver and more impossible mission. It becomes, but in the past it will have become the relation to others, a relation that is just as impossible, a relation without relation, Blanchot would say, the relation between persons, between someone, his friend, and others, the anonymous crowd or the institutional authority before whom one must appear, co-appear-or disappear. Here then is the narrator-friend-witness-countersignatory, the acolyte who does not accompany, accusing himself again-this time of playing on words, on the word rapport, but not only on words: What am I saying with that! I am playing on words and things at the same time. And after all! There are days when I am tempted to run to Washington, to search out the lady, if she is still in the same position (she's probably been promoted), or

"Le Parjure, " Perhaps

22 7

her replacement, and to say to her: It's about the Chalier affair, five years ago. I am the report that you were waiting for, the report-confession! I will tell all I know, and then I will say: "Now I efface myself; from here on, I know nothing more, there is something else." What would they do? (148)

The Truth Without Us: "Which Father Are We Talking about?" Narrator, witness, the friend has thus himself become, with and without a translatable play on words, an impossible report/relation, the impossible-rapport in the triple sense of narrative or administrative report, of confession ("report-confession"), and of relation to the other, between one and the other, one and others, the ones and the others. The anacoluthon has not only operated, to dissociate, disjoin, interrupt, at the heart of the word "rapport," at the very inside of language and discourse, as does a trope in general. The anacoluthon has also done its work in things themselves, if one can say that, here in the "subjects of the action," across and beyond the grammatical "1." Transmutation of the whole "rapport," of all the bearings [portees] and all the analogies of this rapport. This transmutation is neither active nor passive; it takes place like the obscure alchemy that precipitates out an "us." In the novel and no doubt everywhere that an "us" takes form, always in the shelter of/from [a l'abri de] some sober and inevitable perjury (I mean to let this "in the shelter of/from" be delivered over to the dark powers of the equivocal; they are what I am talking about: we guard ourselves from the perjury that we inhabit, that inhabits us and keeps watch over us at the very moment we think we have posted guards against it, at the instant we are warned, by the perjury itself, against the betrayed truth). Here, between the narrator and Holderlin in America, there is now this us of the perjury. The perjuring-perjured us maintains from now on a strange relation to the truth of the true. A truth that, by reason of this disappearance of the subject, is there without us who are I no longer know where most of the time. "Yes, yes, that is true," says a narrator who is more than ever destined to the disavowing avowal, to denegation, to perjury, to the most devoted abjuration. Unable as I am, in the limits of this essay, to reconstitute the whole weave in which I must cut and select, I ask the reader not to measure the richness of this book, Le Parjure, by the shreds extracted from it, in a supplemental betrayal, for the needs of the current


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demonstration. An immense work remains to be done, I am convinced, beginning with the "impossible" translation of this book into English. The passage that I lift out here (the appearance of the us, of a desperate us, the "Now I can say us') says, above all, something about finitude, the failure of memory, the amnesia essential to the movement of truth for finite and mortal beings, "finished in advance," as the narrator says. Earlier we proposed recognizing this finitude at the origin of the anacoluthic interruption, of discontinuity and divisibility in general, of the disjunction that makes relation at once possible and impossible. We are much too small, much too finished in advance, much too dead. I had begun to understand this during the first stop, but it was in the form of a kind of despair, all muddled with fatigue. Now I can say us. I caught up with it precisely there, in the despair into which we had fallen. What a distressing subjection, to have to vacillate between happiness and unhappiness, without end, and more and more dry and hollow with oneself, in this movement of a pendulum. One has to believe it, since no exception has ever been found: this movement continues until immobilized by exhaustion. Yes, yes, it is true. The child already knew this when he looked at his father from the other side of the table, in the dining room at Gijon. If the guests, if the gentleman and the lady sitting at the same table had awakened us at that moment by bursting into laughter and saying, "But here is our little orphan!"-well, then I would not be here trying to master a fantastic truth, which is constantly changing in some silly detail or another, silly but true in its manner, the historical manner, that of father Chalier. (163-64)

To what do these final allusions refer ("Yes, yes, it is true. The child already knew this when he looked at his father from the other side of the table, in the dining room at Gijon"), as well as the "we are ... much too dead"? They recall and follow a passage that shows the perjurer (Stephane) as symbolic orphan of a father whose honesty consisted in knowing himself to be dead. And the son knew this knowledge, he knew himself to know that his father knew himself to be dead, dead in his lifetime, dead in advance. Stephane was constituted, he knew himself to be instituted, instructed, formed by such a knowledge of knowing, by such a knowing-oneself knowing this knowledge of self of his dead father (the death in advance of the said father); he knew it and he followed this knowledge that followed him everywhere. This knowledge pursued him in advance, chasing him as far as his movement of "Holderlinian" flight to America, as far as the conjugal perjury. I am, I follow this knowledge of the knowing-oneself dead of my father, he might have said, and everything follows from there.

"Le Parjure, " Perhaps


Upon arriving in Washington, the next morning, I knew in any case this: you remember the town where the Chalier family used to spend their vacations in Spain, at Gijon? Little Chalier begging with the other kids at the exit from the station? Orphan!In the dining room, that evening, the father was as always, as he had been lately, as he was at present. Stephane Chalier, at ten years old, already knew what today, in the carefreeness of his release from the clinic, he had thought he was inventing. I don't mean to say that he invented, for the pleasure of talking in the breeze of the highway, the fact that his father had been extraordinarily honest; that was pure truth, of which the ten-year-old child had no knowledge-but this honesry consisted in knowing himself to be, he told me-did he really pronounce the word?-dead. I made him say that, a moment ago, and there I've underscored the word. Now I believe he said this word once, in a low but distinct voice, and right after he laughed his little laugh that sets him apart from everything. (r6r-62). 23 This us will never be the us reached by a phenomenology of mind in the figure of a knowing-itselfof absolute knowledge. Basically, the anacoluthon interrupts forever the relation to self, the possibility of a relation to self, or even of an absolute and absolutely absolved confession of self, a report-confession. We are not present to the truth of this us and when we are present, the truth is not there. No one says this better, more consistently, than the acolyte, a little after this extraordinary ellipsis (ellipsis on the very eclipse of the "us"). This ellipsis plays on a discreet and once again untranslatable homonymy between the suis of the verb etre ("to be") and the suis of the verb suivre ("to follow"). (Once more, for lack of space, I extract it brutally from a long development that the interested reader can reconstitute if he wishes): Even their death is false. When the father died, in the time of the Father, what a sudden abyss, what distress, and then what presence of the Father ... Yes, I know, you are feeling a little piry for us. Which Father are we talking about? Be precise! ... To whom can we say it, since those we love are forever dispersed? Certainly not to the Quaker lady! The report is excluded once and for all. Oh eternal life, to whom? First of all, the question is posed only for me, in this moment; it is a fact, I am alone, I was before meeting Chalier, and in this moment Chalier is far from this country.... No one followed him, except possibly me at present, who am [suis] also with him, I said it: us. ... We face the truth, from time to time; ten, fifteen years can pass before a movement puts us once more face to face with it, not necessarily in a flash oflight; it can be darkest night, there may be a smoking blaze-and walls of rocks and walls of books-nothing can stand in the way: thus, it is not just from time to time that the truth is there, but we only who are I don't know where most of the time. (167-74) 24


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Yes, "Much too dead" Le Parjure is a story of the truth, in sum, of the truth without knowledge, without absolute knowledge-this story of this truth, of the eclipse of the us in which is produced its light, the remaining [restance] without substance of its remains. Toward the end of the book: "They were very small marks of the truth, the minimal trace, almost nothing. Today I am no longer laughing-! need all my attention to distinguish what separates this 'almost nothing' from 'nothing"' (221-22). Where ethics and the law demand what is owed them, where judges would call for some sanction, the narrator takes the responsibility to respond: "In sum, it was punishment for carelessness and lack of foresight rather than for perjury-and the punishment came down to very little, since we are alive at this moment, like everybody" (222). For us, for me who is writing and for you who are reading, they are dead today, both of them. The two wives survive. So do we. Alive, they still used to say, in a single voice, which remains that of the narrator, the witness, the friend, the acolyte signing and countersigning with what should have been the same seal: Yes, like you, like everybody, as much you like. You show me the seal that is on all the living, that covers us all exactly; each word, each gesture, the least polite smile allows me to touch it, and I contradict nothing. Chalier and I, we never thought to escape from this seal: we are docile living beings, and that is why what we used to say made us laugh; it was our way of bearing what happened to us-the almost nothing, the nothing: how can one not laugh about it? We were out of danger, he said. (Ibid.) The anacoluthon introduces a maddening irregularity; it dislocates, disperses, denegates, disavows in advance every "us" and every "you" we have just read, the "us" of the couple of friends and the "you" (namely, "us" the reader or supposed addressees, sometimes included in, sometimes excluded from the "us" of the acolytes). How to decide who is "us" and "you"? Rereading them, I emphasize these personal pronouns, I underscore every "us" and "you," including the "he" that sends everybody back, first of all, the one who is speaking, to his or her absolute solitude-within and in spite of the "you" -"us." Yes like you, like everybody, as much you like. You show me the seal that is on all the living, that covers us all exactly; each word, each gesture, the least polite smile allow me touch it, and I contradict nothing. Chalier and I, we never thought to es-

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


cape from this seal: we are docile living beings, and that is why what we used to say made us laugh; it was our way of bearing what happened to us-the almost nothing, the nothing: how can one not laugh about it? We were out of danger, he said. Confirmation, seal, signature: near the very last ending of the novel, the narrator declares: "For me to be able still to say us, I had to remain alone, at present" (242). The last paragraphs break with he, she, or us, with the third and the first persons. This is so as to address now a second person plural who, this time, does not intend us, the readers, addressees, interpreters (or even the other friends-or enemies-of Chalier alias Paul de Man). The narrator apostrophizes the couple for and by the love of whom all this has happened, "you," Judith and Stephane: "Judith, Stephane, listen to me" (245). None of this would have happened without this couple, without the event of this encounter, the encounter between Judith and Stephane before the encounter with the narrator himself Consequently, everything becomes indebted to what has, there, irreducibly, undeniably, ineffaceably, come about: this is the true. Everything becomes indebted to this true. Am I forcing things by interpreting in this, precisely, symbolic manner the fact that the last pages of the book, very close to the ultimate signature, say something about the debt, precisely, a debt that remains unpaid by the narrator even as it is a question of the money that he was supposed, that he ought to have lent them or given them, the money that he owed them for having failed in his duty to give it to them? The last scene of the perjury is a scene of asked-for forgiveness. As always-and this is why the seminar to which I referred at the beginning never dissociated, from its title on, perjury and forgiveness. Speaking to the original couple, the couple who were at the origin of the story, the couple of the perjury, the narrator asks forgiveness for an unpaid debt. They had asked him for money before leaving, and he says to them: "Judith, Stephane, listen to me. Earlier, faster, I couldn't. Money, quite simply. I had sent you three-fourths of all I had available ... I should have" (245). Forgive me for not having done what I should have done, in sum, he says, he says to them, he says to us, we say to us. Everything then seems to become descriptive again, realistic, "matter-of-fact" in order to depict the last moments before the final separation, the calm wrenching apart of the departure. The couple has left the island. The last paragraph names a kind of idiocy of man, of the two men who have understood nothing, the two acolytes, the perjurer and his witness,


jacques Derrida

sleeping in the same body in some way, whereas the woman, meanwhile, the second wife keeps watch, is stirring about, making decisions, and so on. One feels an accusation on the horizon: a couple of men united as one, "a single idiot," brothers, in sum, seems to denounce the woman. An impassive and at bottom inaccessible woman. The other, the only one to decide, when you get down to it. It is she who, when the last word is addressed to her, keeps it, this last word. She is its only guardian and the only survivor. Note that she keeps watch; it's her turn to keep watch. "At the end of the night." "Without saying a word." You left Halifax without seeing me again, and without telling me where you were going. It is you, Judith, who acted, without consulting anyone, without hesitating, as you did on the island when you left to go get the boat, although nothing had been decided yet and it was merely your turn to keep watch, at the end of the night. And we were sleeping, Stephane and me, like a single idiot, and it was the children that you meant to awaken first. Quick, leaving everything behind, but not your bits of wood, your sea eagle, your dolls-quick, climb into the boat, without saying a word, and you so calm. (244-45)

P.S. Signature Event Context A last accompanying note for all these acolytes who do not accompany. As you will no doubt have noticed, they are all, by profession, professors. Like us. All these professors have, they learn and teach the fatal experience of perjury-within the profession, within the profession of faith, within the sworn faith. I am speaking of the men and not the women: Paul de Man, Henri Thomas, Stephane Chalier, Father Chalier, the narrator, Hillis Miller, myself. All professors. For these reasons, and a few others, it would be consistent (consistent with the responsibility of a signature) to recall once again, however briefly, the academic context in which this narrative will have had to be inscribed. Including this text whose narrative framework is more or less obvious. In the seminar to which I have made more than one allusion, it was a question not only ofHolderlin in America, of perjury and forgiveness in America (North and South, because we also evoked Clinton and Pinochet and his sons, etc.). It was also a matter of leading things back to the place par excellence of perjury: the family, marriage, the sexual relation according to sworn faith, the relation that is or is not sexual, depending on how, as Clinton said one day, you say or you understand "what 'is' is." Clinton and

"Le Parjure," Perhaps


Holderlin in America are accused of having publicly perjured themselves, before a committee, before the law. But before being public and brought before positive law, their perjury concerned, in its content, a domestic and private betrayal, namely, infidelity to a first sacrament of marriage. While reading Kafka's Letter to the Father, we linked the question of forgiveness to that of the impossible marriage, on the one hand, and to literature, on the other. Through the sacrifice of Isaac, we followed a sort of rupture of marriage, an infidelity to Sarah, to whom Abraham says not a word at the moment of taking the life of his son, their son. This is also what happens in Le Parjure, where the relation to Father Chalier seems determinant, where marriage seems at once too possible (twice) and thus impossible since it was forgotten, denegated, taken lightly, the question of the twice perjured "us" that we followed between Holderlin and his witness-acolyte thus being posed first of all between the two members of the conjugal couple. They do not manage to say us with a sufficiently sworn us, so that the innocence or the offense might be shared. By following the rupture of his engagement with Regina, we could have found in Kierkegaard interminable discussions of this impossible "us," be it the us of a common repentance. The madness of marriage, therefore. The madness of the oath, as we were saying above. If one recalls what Kafka's Letter to the Father said about marriage as "madness," one will be equally struck by certain Kierkegaardian echoes. Kierkegaard excludes shared repentance-one always repents alone-even while declaring that, if it commands one to marry, then Christianity is a form of madness. The logic of the argument: One cannot suffer together from an unhappy love. One cannot say "us" while declaring "us" to be unhappy together from an unhappy love. One cannot say, it has no sense: We are unhappy from the same unhappiness, we are living together an unhappy love, we repent. To wish to proceed along that path in union would be to repeat that dreadful incongruity ... that in union we should mourn an unhappy love. That cannot be. What likeness is there between her sorrow and mine, what fellowship between guilt and innocence ... ? I can sorrow in my way; if she is to sorrow, she must do it on her own account .... it is unethical for her and me to sorrow thus in union [sorge: that we share the same care, the same affliction, the same solicitude, the same grief, all possible meanings of the word sorg, which plays in Kierkegaard, as in Heidegger, a determining role). 25 Is this not the fundamental logic of "Holderlin in America''? If one


jacques Derrida

credits him with having considered his first marriage or his first love unhappy, it was broken off by itself and he could no longer share even this unhappiness with Ottilia, the first wife. Everything that happens before the public law, especially in a foreign country, then becomes secondary, superficial with regard to this private, secret, singular truth. The first commitment warranted forgetting or distraction when new love arose: "Just imagine, I was not thinking about it." Elsewhere Kierkegaard also writes: "The life of such a sinner is rigorous. For example, he cannot marry. Or should he perhaps fall in love and unite with a girl in order to repent together, this should be the significance of the marriage. And if one's only passion is repentance-then to give a child life, a child who should innocently rejoice in life and have the right to do so. No, he will say, if Christianity commanded marriage it would be madness. "26 This Christian marriage, this madness, would consist in giving the nuptial consecration its sense as the constitution of an us, of an alliance of repentance, of a community in expiation, the sworn faith of two sinners who unite to ask for forgiveness together, in the unique passion of repentance for a sin that, if it is serious, must be mortal. Marriage would be a machine of death, a machine for giving oneself death even as one pretends to give oneself life, to give oneself to life, and to give life to one's children. This madness of the alliance, in the form of Christian marriage, would be at the center of the whole question of perjury and forgiveness. Doesn't this happen each time a Christian marriage takes place? Each time a constitution, whether democratic or secular in appearance, takes up the burden of the madness of a Christian marriage? Each time politics is married with Christianity? Conclusion: one ought never to get married, whether or not one is Christian. Marriage is a madness in Christian lands, but it has no absolute sacramental sense outside of Christianity. Or yet again, which comes down to the same thing, one ought never to marry more than once, like Hi:ilderlin in America. One does not marry twice, and if one can marry twice, that's because marriage is impossible or destined to perjury, to the impossibility of repenting together. Whether it takes place once or twice, marriage would be that madness. Impossible to decide if it is more mad to lose one's senses in a Christian land or a non-Christian land. But it is perhaps even more impossible today to decide where the frontiers of Christian lands are drawn.



r. For the notion ofThrownness, see Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), pp. 174, 185, r88, 223-25, 232, 234> 2% 321, 329-30, 337, 378, 394, 399, 434-35, 458. 2. Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories, ed. Nahum N. Glatzer (New York: Schocken, 1976), "The Cares of a Family Man," p. 428, abbreviated CS hereafter. 3· See "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" in Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones (New York: Grove, 1962), pp. 45-56. 4· See Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride (Boston: Basic Books, 1967), 2-7. 5· Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 473 (N9,7), abbreviated AP hereafter. Parenthetical annotations refer to citations' locations in Benjamin's manuscript. 6. Walter Benjamin, AP, op. cit., p. 437 (Mwa,2). 7· See Claude Levi-Strauss, "The Science of the Concrete," in The Savage Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973), pp. 16-17, 19-22. 8. J. Hillis Miller, Topographies (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995). 9· J. Hillis Miller and Manuel Asensi, Black Holes: or, Boustrophedontic Reading (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). In its bicolumnar architecture, Black Holes may be thought of as a collaborative response to the blueprint for a conceptual exploration set out and explored by Jacques Derrida in Glas. ro. Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989). II. Maurice Blanchot, The Gaze of Orpheus, trans. Lydia Davis (Barrytown, NY, Station Hill, NY, 1981).



12. Maurice Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation, trans. Susan Hanson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993). 13. Maurice Blanchot, The Writing ofthe Disaster, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980). 14. This discussion appears in]. Hillis Miller, On Literature (New York: Routledge, 2002). It has been published, among other languages and venues, in German under the auspices of the Zentrum fur Literaturforschung, Berlin.


This chapter is from a work in progress, Speech Acts in Henry james, J. Hillis Miller, Stanford University Press, forthcoming. Reprinted with permission. r. Henry James, The Wings ofthe Dove, reprint of New York Edition of 1907-9 (Fairfield: N.J.: Augustus M. Kelley, 1976), r: p. v, henceforth identified in the text by volume and page number. The Wings ofthe Dove makes up volumes 19 and 20 of this edition, but they are identified on the title pages as volumes r and 2 of the novel proper. I shall use the latter designations. 2. The fullest are dated November 3, 1894, and November 7, 1894. See Henry James, The Complete Notebooks, ed. Leon Edel and Lyall H. Powers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 102-7, henceforth Notebooks, followed by the page number. Another briefer entry is dated February 14, 1895, ibid., pp. II4-15. These notebook entries show how far James's first ideas for the characters and the action were from the final "idea," the "virtual reality" that he ultimately, years later, transformed into words. 3· Paul de Man, "Autobiography as De-Facement," The Rhetoric ofRomanticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), p. Sr. 4· Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (London: Dent, 1956), p. 82. Marlow says: "You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavor of mortality in lies-which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world-what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten would do." 5· Marcel Proust, A La recherche du temps perdu, ed. Jean-Yves Tadie, Pleiade edition (Paris: Gallimard, 1989), 4: 191; Remembrance ofThings Past, trans. C. K. Scott-Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and Andreas Mayor (New York: Vintage, 1982), 3: 625, henceforth F and E, followed by the volume and page numbers. 6. "Matcham" is perhaps an echo of "Matching," Plantaganet Palliser's country house in Anthony Trollope's Can You Forgive Her? and other Palliser novels. If so, it is graceful homage to the elder novelist, about whom James wrote a substantial essay. See Henry James, ''Anthony Troll ope," Literary Criticism: Essays on Literature; American Writers; English Writers, ed. Leon Edel and Mark Wilson (New York: The Library of America, 1984), pp. 1330-54.



7· James writes eloquently of the death of Minny Temple in the concluding section of his second autobiographical volume, Notes of a Son and Brother (New York: Scribner, 1914). 8. The james Family, ed. F. 0. Matthiessen (New York: Knopf, 1947), pp. 6I-63. See also the discussion of this letter and the section in Notes of a Son and Brother about Minny Temple in Sharon Cameron's admirable essay on The Wings ofthe Dove in her Thinking in Henry james (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, I989), pp. I54-55· 9· James uses the latter figure to describe Milly's relation to Kate during their private talks in Venice: "Thus insuperably guarded was the truth about the girl's own conception of her validity; thus was a wondering pitying sister condemned wistfully to look at her from the far side of the moat she had dug round her tower. Certain aspects of the connection of these young women show for us, such is the twilight that gathers about them, in the likeness of some dim scene in a Maeterlinck play; we have positively the image, in the delicate dusk, of the figures so associated and yet so opposed, so mutually watchful: that of the angular pale princess, ostrich-plumed, black-robed, hung about with amulets, reminders, relics, mainly seated, mainly still, and that of the upright restless slow-circling lady of her court who exchanges with her, across the black water streaked with evening gleams, fitful questions and answers" (2: I39). ro. Henry James, Complete Stories: r892-r898 (New York: The Library of America, I996), pp. 609-34. II. Notebooks, p. n5. 12. Henry James, The Golden Bowl, reprint of New York Edition of I907-9 (Fairfield: N.J.: Augustus M. Kelley, I976), I: xiii. (This is vol. 23 in the set.)



r. Henry James, The Wings of the Dove (I902), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, I998), p. I. All further references will be indicated by page number. 2. To say this would point to the limit of Paul Ricoeur's argument that "time becomes human to the extent that it is organized after the manner of narrative; narrative, in turn, is meaningful to the extent that it portrays the features of temporal experience." Time and Narrative, val. I, trans., Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, I984-88), p. 3· 3· Maurice Blanchot, Awaiting Oblivion (L'Attente l'ottblz), trans. John Gregg (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, I999), p. 5; The Writing ofthe Disaster (L'Ecritttre du desastre), trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, I986). All further references will be indicated by page number. 4· Henry James, "The Beast in the Jungle," in The Novels and Tales of Henry james, New York Edition, vol. XVII (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909), pp. 6I-127. Here James explores a character whose entire identity is structured around waiting. Marcher spends most of the tale waiting "for the thing to happen that



never does happen" (p. 85). He suspends himself between a future that never arrives and a past he never really lived, such that he becomes that which he fears most: "the man, to whom nothing on earth was to have happened" (p. 125). It is the death of the woman who retrospectively Marcher realizes he should have loved-a plot turn that cannot also but evoke a comparison with Densher-that makes him finally see "that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion" (p. 125). Marcher is probably James's most vivid example of the danger of thinking that waiting will always be something more than simply waiting for waiting. Blanchot takes up this very issue in Awaiting Oblivion. "The Beast in the Jungle" is also not the only other text in which James explores waiting. Washington Square, Watch and Ward, and The Bostonians are certainly other strong examples; however, I think it actually would be possible to read most of James as some sort of an investigation of waiting. 5· The novel is scattered with numerous references to Kate's impatience. For instance, early on, "she walked in her impatience away" (p. 53). Later, "Kate, as if a little impatient for their withdrawal, had wandered out to the balcony, where she hovered for a time unseen" (p. 188). "In one of her more marked shows of impatience" (p. 237), she closes off her discussion with Densher, only later to be made "again impatient" with him when she takes up the subject of Milly. 6. By way of contrast, The Portrait ofa Lady contains two striking deathbed scenes, both of which involve Isabel Archer waiting for death to arrive: in the first instance, waiting for the elder Mr. Touchett to die at Gardencourt, and then later waiting, once again at Gardencourt, for Ralph Touchett's death. What James seems to be suggesting in Portrait as well is that the death of others never puts an end to waiting. 7· Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia," in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. XIV (London: Hogarth Press, 1975), p. 255. Freud also argues that the ego willingly severs "its attachment to the object that has been abolished" because of "the sum of the narcissistic satisfactions it derives from being alive" (p. 255). 8. Sigmund Freud, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," in The Standard Edition ofthe Complete Psychological Works ofSigmund Freud, vol. XVIII (London: Hogarth Press, 1975). 9· In Beckett's play Vladimir and Estragon just wait, wait for Godot for no other apparent reason than that is what they do. There is no meaning to waiting beyond this. They wait because they are, and the only things that will put an end to waiting are either Godot's messianic arrival or their own death-they contemplate hanging themselves if Godot does not arrive the next day. As Vladimir says parodying Hamlet, "What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come-"(Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot [London: Faber and Faber, 1975; orig. pub. 1956]), p. 8o). For Beckett-unlike James or, I would venture to say, Blanchot-waiting marks



the meaningless condition of modern life in which historical consciousness is lost alongside any larger reason for existence. 10. Freud explains this concept at some length in his "Wolf Man" case history, in The Standard Edition ofthe Complete Psychological Works ofSigmund Freud, val. XVII (London: Hogarth Press, 1975), pp. 7-122. It would also be possible to stage waiting as an act of remembrance, as a ritual in and through which we become conscious of both a past and a future that we will always remain waiting to arrive: will always wait for a future in which the past still waits to be made present. II. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), p. 282. As Heidegger more fully explains: "Death does indeed reveal itself as a loss, but a loss such as is experienced by those that remain. In suffering this loss, however, we have no way of access to the loss-of Being as such which the dying man 'suffers.' The dying of Others is not something which we experience in a genuine sense; at the most we are always just 'there alongside"' (p. 282). Importantly, Heidegger orients temporality toward the future, such that "the character of the 'having been' arises from the future" (p. 374). In short, for Heidegger, "the primary meaning of existentiality is the future" (p. 376). Jacques Derrida provides a useful reading of this aspect ofHeidegger's work, arguing that "a certain thinking of the possible is at the heart of the existential analysis of death" (Aporias, trans., Thomas Dutoit [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993], p. 62). Echoing Blanchot, Derrida takes Heidegger to be saying that "in the 'not yet' that bends us toward death, the expecting and waiting [sattendre] is absolutely incalculable; it is without measure, and out of proportion with the time of what is left for us to live. One no longer reckons with this 'not yet,' and the sigh that it calls forth does not bespeak the measurable but instead the non measurable: whether it lasts a second or a century, how short will life have been" (p. 69). 12. According to Blanchot in The Writing of the Disaster, "fragments are written as unfinished separations. Their incompletion, their insufficiency, the disappointment at work in them, is their aimless drift, the indication that, neither unifiable nor consistent, they accommodate a certain array of marks-the marks with which thought (in decline and declining itself) represents the furtive groupings that fictively open and close the absence of totality" (p. 58). 13. Ann Smock, "Conversation," in Maurice Blanchot: The Demand ofWriting, "ed. Carolyn Bailey Gill (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 125. 14. In The Writing ofthe Disaster, Blanchot asks "Why can we not bear, why do we not desire that which is without end?" (p. 143). He offers by way of a reply that "the messianic hope-hope which is dread as well-is inevitable when history appears politically only as an arbitrary hubbub, a process deprived of meaning or direction. But if political thinking becomes messianic in its turn, this confusion, which removes the seriousness from the search for reason (intelligibility) in history-and also from the requirements of messianic thought (the realization of morality)-simply attests to a time so frightful, so dangerous, that any recourse



appears justified: can one maintain any distance at all when Auschwitz happens? How it possible to say: Auschwitz has happened?" (p. 143). 15. See also Awaiting Oblivion, pp. 21-22, 50-52.



1. My mother was a psychoanalyst who worked for many years with children and adolescents and later with adults. She had discussed an earlier version of this text with me a number of times before her death in March 1998. 2. "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works ofSigmund Freud, translated from the German under the general editorship of James Strachey in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Jan Tyson, 24 vols. (London: Hogarth, 1953-74), xviii, Chapter 2 (hereafter cited as SE). German quotations are taken from Sigmund Freud, Studienausgabe (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag, 1969-1979), III. 3· Freud describes the game as the child's "first great cultural achievement," and suggests that the child rewarded himself for not expressing his distress by creating a game instead. Thus the game not only represents the mother's wished-for return, but by substituting itself for the mother the game becomes, itself, a kind of symbolic return. 4· The game has been read, for instance, as a game of mourning. Within the literary critical tradition see, for example, Eric L. Santner, Stranded Objects: Mourning, Memory, and Film in Postwar Germany (New York: Cornell University Press, 1990). The received understanding of the game is that it represents a form of mastery and is thus, not strictly speaking, purely traumatic repetition-unless traumatic repetition is understood as already itself a form of mastering. Freud does suggest at one point in his analysis that the game may express a principle of mastery "beyond the pleasure principle" but the peculiarity of such repetition is rarely explored within traditional analyses. Exceptions to this line of thought can be found in Jacques Derrida, "To Speculate-on 'Freud"' in The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, tr. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). Jacques Lacan analyzes the game in the context of a reading of traumatic repetition in The Four Fundamental Concepts ofPsycho-Analysis, tr. Alan Sheridan, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller (New York: Norton, 1978). See also Rodolphe Gasche, "The Witch Metapsychology," in Returns of the French Freud: Freud, Lacan, and Beyond, ed. Todd Dufresne (New York: Routledge, 1997). On the crucial structure of the game in relation to the speculative structure of Beyond the Pleasure Principle see Samuel Weber, The Legend of Freud (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), and his Return to Freud: jacques Lacan's Dislocation ofPsychoanalysis, tr. Michael Levine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 5· For a related analysis of this aspect of Freud's text with a slightly different emphasis see my Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History (Baltimore:



The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), chap. 3, "Traumatic Departures: Survival and History in Freud." 6. Ibid. 7· Life is thereby separated from the desire to live; survival is no longer linked to the wish to live but to another imperative that appears to have ethical force (thus the survivor mission to tell) as well as a relation to knowing or witnessing [as an "awakening"]). 8. Thus the theory of individual trauma in Beyond the Pleasure Principle will lead to the theory of historical (and collective) trauma in Moses and Monotheism. I have analysed this in terms of the story of departure in Unclaimed Experience, chaps. r and 3· The notion of an attempt to return that becomes a departure is a pattern that originates in Beyond the Pleasure Principle in the description of individual trauma and ultimately the foundation of life; in Moses and Monotheism, Jewish history is itself structured by a trauma that turns Moses' attempt to return the Hebrews to Canaan into an endless departure into a Jewish history of survival. 9· Robert]. Lifton, "Survivor Experience and Traumatic Syndrome," in his The Broken Connection: Death and the Continuity of Lift (1979; New York, Basic Books, 1983). TO. Freud emphasizes the creative element of the game by remarking that it is the "first self-invented game" of the child (das erste selbst-erschaffene Spiel), an emphasis we see again in his letter to Wilhelm Zweig concerning his insight behind Moses and Monotheism, that "Moses created the Jews," which uses a related although slightly different verb form (hat . .. geschajfen). Freud's use of the word "create" in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, which I am echoing in my own use of the word "creative," thus has a specific, foundational meaning and is also, in both Beyond the Pleasure Principle and Moses and Monotheism, ultimately linked to a traumatic history. The creative element in the fortlda game appears, moreoever, to be associated specifically with the origins of language; Freud notes that the game begins when the child is just beginning to make articulate sounds. Jacques Lacan thus suggests that this game represents the origin of symbolic language as such in the differentiation of the phonemes o and a (see his "Function and Field of Speech and Language," in Ecrits, tr. Alan Sheridan [New York: Norton, 1977]). The game is not, that is, about symbolizing the literal but about moving from silence to speech. The foundational nature of the game-or of the scene as Freud presents it-points toward its link to the foundational moment that traumatic repetition repeats, which is the ultimate concern of Beyond the Pleasure Principle. 11. One line of theoretical (or in Freud's terms, "speculative") elaboration of the notion of trauma in Beyond the Pleasure Principle begins in Chapter II with the example of the nightmares of battle-which are compared to the nightmares of an accident that wake the patient up from his sleep-continues with the explanation of trauma in Chapter IV, which speculates on the origins of consciousness and proposes that trauma is a break in the stimulus barrier that consciousness provides for the living organism, and culminates in Chapter V, in which Freud suggests that



life itself was an awakening from inanimate matter for which there was no preparation. This line of speculation appears to have an independent logic and does not completely align itself with the language of play that accompanies it in an apparently separate line of argument. The Spiel appears first in the example of the child, is repeated in Chapter III in regard to the reenactment behavior in transference, and thenceforth is mentioned only in regard to children's play and theater, until the introduction of the notion of the life drive. (Interestingly, the discussion of analysis in Chapter III suggests that the entire theory of the Oedipal origins of unconscious conflict in childhood needs to be rethought after the encounter with trauma; at this point in his argument, then, Freud appears to be incorporating the earlier theory of neurosis into a larger speculation concerning traumatic neurosis.) It is notable that the distinction between the terminology of the nightmarea terminology of seeing and awakening-and the terminology of the game-a language of play and speech-also appears in contemporary discussions of the problem of traumatic imagery as opposed to the resolution of trauma in (symbolic) language. See, for example, Bessel A. van der Kolk, "Trauma and Memory," in Bessel A. van der Kolk, Alexander C. McFarlane, and Lars Weisaeth, eds., Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society (New York: The Guilford Press, r996). I2. The movement from the death drive to the life drive seems, in fact, to carry out a possibility contained in Freud's double denomination of trauma in Chapter II, as both fright (Schreck) and surprise ( Oberraschung): "daj das Hauptgewicht der Verursachung aufdas Moment der Oberraschung, aufden Schreck, zu fallen schien," "Schreck aber benannt den Zustand, in den man geriit, wenn man in Gefahr kommt, ohne aufsie vorbereitet zu sein, betont das Moment der Oberraschung." r3. Interestingly, it is not until the introduction of the life drive that the fort makes its appearance again literally in the language of Freud's text. Here we might see a possibility of bringing together Jean Laplanche's insight into the shared single energy of the life drive and death drive and Harold Bloom's insistence that Freud is a dualist. See Jean Laplanche, "Why the Death Drive?" in his Life and Death in Psychoanalysis (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, I970) and Harold Bloom, "Freud's Concept of Defense and the Poetic Will," in his Agon: Towards a Theory ofRevisionism (New York: Oxford University Press, r982). r4. The repetition of the origin as the new beginning of the life drive thus distinguishes itself from the confusion between death and life enacted in the death drive. One thinks of the repeated confrontation with death in life in traumatic repetition associated with the sense of being a living dead by survivors (c£ Robert Lifton's Death in Life: Survivors ofHiroshima [New York: Basic Books, r967], or of the literary example of the woman in Duras's and Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour, having missed the moment of her lover's death, exclaiming, "I could not find the least difference between his dead body and mine." So too, in that piece, the slap that breaks the traumatic repetition in her encounter with the Japanese man can be understood as a new beginning that distinguishes death from life, not as un-



derstanding but as act. One might say that the event of trauma is repeated, in the moment of parting in the life drive, as the act of survival, an act that, in a sense, fulfills the imperative to live that begins life, but fulfills it differently (the imperative and its fulfillment are not continuous). This act, though, is not just any act; since it repeats the "awakening" of the life drive, it is inextricable from questions of witnessing or knowing that govern traumatic repetition (which is life and is also awakening) and thus can be understood as a different form of witnessing. To this extent, the question of creativity-as a creativity arising in the context of trauma-is bound up with the question of truth. Rather than providing an affective response to trauma, the life drive can be understood as providing another means of bearing witness. In other words, the life drive (unlike, say, the pleasure principle) cannot be understood within the economy of pleasure (which is also the economy of symbolization, as we see in the fortlda game) but must engage the problems of truth and knowing introduced by the trauma. 15. It should be noted that the passage from Chapter 2 is already fairly complex and appears to be somewhat playful in its own use of fort and da, in naming the never-achieved pleasurable end of the game (the hoped-for da) as "das zum lustvollen En de fortgefiihrte Ganze"-i.e., in naming the longed-for da by means of a fort. The question of departure could also be thought as a meditation on the nature of the return (Derrida suggests something of the sort in "To Speculateon Freud"); here it would be interesting to examine the shift from the da of the child-seen as the marker of the pleasure principle-to the zuriick of the drives beyond the pleasure principle. The new meaning of fortfohren, moreover, brings out a remarkable reversal that occurs in the movement from Chapters II and IV (where trauma is an exception to ordinary experience, an encounter with death that disturbs consciousness) to Chapter V (where the traumatic delay defines the very origin of life itself, and ultimately, in its repetition in the life drive, the possibility of a new beginning). For whereas consciousness was understood, originally, to protect life against death (Chapter IV), we can see (from Chapter V) that, since trauma ultimately reenacts an origin that marked the beginning oflife, consciousness ultimately serves to protect the organism not from death bur from life-or more accurately, from the surprise of new beginnings. 16. Bernadette Leite, personal communication. She has spoken of this (and reiterated the importance of speaking) in The Atlanta journal-Constitution (July 24, 1999, August 15, 1999, among other dates) and is honored in the November 1999 edition of Redbook. She worked for several years in association with the Minority Health Institute at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. q. As Greg says, "He called early, like IO or n .... But again, that was the night I went to my cousin's home, he called again, but I wasn't there." It should be noted that the use of the word "child" to describe Greg is based on my sense that Greg "grows up" in the encounter with Bernadette, in the moments of the interview in which he takes leave of his friend and of his former self. In this sense his



encounter with Bernadette and the child's game in Freud's text circle around the beginning of a new identity founded in the confrontation with loss. 18. The tone of Greg's language here might be understood as being achieved through a giving up of a certain kind of pathos, although, even in its humor, it attains a different pathos, perhaps the pathos of giving up pathos. I would like to thank Elizabeth Rottenberg for her insights into questions of humor and tone in the exchange between Greg and Bernadette Leite. 19. It is interesting to note that the question of departure and parting arises at the end of the interview between Bernadette Leite and Greg: "B: Any parting words? G: Departing words? B: Parting words .... Words to say to others" (KAL Oral History Archive). 20. Thus the future of Freud's text could be understood as a "beyond" in the strict sense, both inside and outside of Freud's text in the language of a child both inside (in the game) and outside (in the experience of the real child), already there but not yet there, just as, perhaps, the life drive is beyond the death drive. 21. On the self-reflexive dimension of the scene see, for example, Derrida, "Speculations on Freud"; on the self-reflexivity of Beyond the Pleasure Principle see Harold Bloom, "Freud and the Sublime: A Catastrophe Theory of Creativity," in Agon, where he suggests that Freud's citation ofTasso in Chapter 3 is "an allegory of Freud's own passage into the Sublime," and Perry Meisel, "Freud's Reflexive Realism" ( October28 [Spring 1984]). Freud's argument, as we have outlined, thus first appears to replace the notion of childhood Oedipal conflict with a kind of trauma modeled on the adult (war trauma), but the self-reflexive level of Freud's writing re-introduces the child's centrality or priority not as a concept but as a kind oflanguage. Likewise, the notion of beginning wrapped up in the awakening at the origin of life becomes associated with a kind of origination in language. 22. Thus Freud's own creative act could be said to arise (as in the interview of Greg and Bernadette) out of an encounter: his encounter with the child. The shift from death drive to life drive, which remains fairly enigmatic in its original speculative introduction in Chapter V-Freud just stops with the description of the death drive and starts again with the life drive-could be said to take place on the level of the encounter rather than as something that could simply be an object of speculation or knowledge within the theory. In other words, if one were to ask, pragmatically or clinically, what would make possible the move from death drive to life drive in an individual-what makes possible, for example, the language of the life drive for Greg-the answer would have to be found, in this particular text by Freud, on the level of the encounter, that is, as taking place in the context of an encounter. 23. Not the distance of theoretical knowing, then, but the distance of the child's game. 24. On the fort at the origin see Sam Weber, The Legend of Freud and Unclaimed Experience, chap. 3· 25. As Freud insists in his own letters, Beyond the Pleasure Principle was mostly



written before the death of Sophie and thus does not (in the strictest sense) refer directly to her death; by introducing her death in a footnote, however, Freud allows the resonances to take place and also sets up another parallel with the child, for whom the mother died after the game just as Sophie died after the writing of Freud's text. On the death of Sophie see, for example, Jacques Derrida, "Speculations on Freud" and Elisabeth Bronfen, "Eine Frau verschwindet: Sophie Freud und ]enseits des Lustprinzips," Psyche 47, 6 (January 1993). Anne Whitehead (in an unpublished lecture) also remarks on the important contribution ofLuce Irigaray to the unread position of the mother in the fort!da game in "Beliefltself," in her Sexes and Genealogies, trans. Gillian C. Gill (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987). 26. The interweaving of language and history, once again, emerges in Freud's peculiar association of the death drive with something "unobtrusive" and, in later texts, "dumb," and the life drive with noise or "clamour." This distinction occurs first in Beyond the Pleasure Principle and is reiterated in The Ego and the Id and Civilization and Its Discontents. Reading the death drive in terms of its historical shape in Beyond the Pleasure Principle and Moses and Monotheism, we could say that what the language of the life drive bears witness to is, perhaps, the silence of history (or, in the child's game, the silence of the mother's departure). 27. To the extent that the life drive moves us away from the direct line of argument that leads from Beyond the Pleasure Principle to Moses and Monotheism, or from individual to collective history, the imperative for survival could be understood here as taking place within acts (or within a language of the life drive) that is neither simply individual nor simply collective in the sense of those terms that preceded the death drive/life drive analysis. In a sense, the introduction of the life drive in my argument is also the reintroduction of the notion of individual acts on the other side of the collective analysis of historical catastrophe implied in the death drive argument that leads to Moses and Monotheism. Here, the "individual" act (or the language of the life drive) might itself carry with it the force of a larger history. On psychoanalysis and play see D. W Winnicott, Playing and Reality (London: Tavistock Publications, 1971). Here we might recall the importance of the word "create" for Freud discussed above in n. 10, and its passage into Winnicott in the notion of living creatively. It is also interesting to note that this later thinker of play was also interested, in this context, in the notion of surprise.



*An earlier version of this chapter appeared in Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation ofDreams, Laura Marcus (ed.), Manchester University Press, 1999. I.

Freud, The Interpretation ofDreams (1900), trans. James Strachey, Standard

Edition, vol. 5, p. 6o8. Future references to this and other works by Freud will be given within the main text, using the abbreviation "SE." 2. The first suggestion is made in "Hysterical Phantasies" (SE IX:16o), as well as in Interpretation (SE V:491, the second in Interpretation (SE V:494). 3· However, in a passage added to the Interpretation in 1909-the year after "Creative Writers and Day-dreaming" - Freud provided an interesting qualification to this by granting some control to some dreamers. There are those "who thus seem to possess the faculty of consciously directing their dreams. If, for instance, a dreamer of this kind is dissatisfied with the turn taken by a dream, he can break it off without waking up and start it again in another direction-just as a popular dramatist may under pressure give his play a happier ending" (SE V:571-72). 4· Another incident from the works of Daudet which is also about the inseparability of sexual and social inversions appears earlier on in the Interpretation. This time, the association is to the opening part of Daudet's Sapho-in Freud's precis:

A young man carries his mistress upstairs in his arms; at first she is as light as a feather, but the higher he climbs the heavier grows her weight. The whole scene foreshadows the course of their love-affair, which was intended by Daudet as a warning to young men not to allow their affections to be seriously engaged by girls of humble origin and a dubious past. (SE IV:285-86) The dream, in Freud's interpretation, involves a woman's sexual and thereby also social rise and fall, and a man's social rising and falling, in relation to the dreamer's brother-all of which features he sees as being intimated by the Daudet parallel. Peculiarly enough, the idea of this particular source-text for the dream is Freud's own; but the dreamer accepts its relevance by making a connection to a further work (a play he had seen the evening before) involving similar themes of the upward and downward mobility of a young girl's sexual and social career. 5· See Alphone Daudet, Le Nabab (1877), Oeuvres, tome II, ed. Roger Ripoll (Paris: Gallimard, 1990), chap. 5, p. 544·



1. Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics (London: Methuen, 1983), p. 73· 2. The formalist orientation of the present paper reflects the present-day study of Western literatures in China. In 1978, China adopted an economic reform policy, opening its doors to the outside world. The early 1980s saw a sudden rush into China of various schools of Western literary theory and criticism, such as New Criticism, structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalytic criticism, feminism, and cultural studies. Interestingly, all these schools, however in or out of fashion in the West, were invariably new and "contemporary" to Chinese scholars. Having been



subjected to political criticism for decades, many Chinese scholars became particularly interested in text-oriented schools of criticism. Thus when the U.S. academic world was trying to move away from formalist criticism toward a better understanding of the connections between literature and society, politics, and ideology, many scholars in China were delighted to move away from political criticism toward the study of form and aesthetics, which had not been possible for a very long time. In recent years, new historicism, postcolonialism, and the discussion of globalization have become popular in China, but the fact remains that many Chinese scholars are still very interested in formalist approaches. Unsurprisingly, for the past ten years or so there has been an upsurge in narratological studies in China, both in the publication of a series of books and numerous articles, and in the increasing narratology courses offered within universities. Given the particular socio-historical context of China, it may not be surprising that the present paper addresses the issue of narrative technique. 3· Gerard Genette, Narrative Discourse, trans. Jane E. Lewin (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980), pp. 198-99; d: Gerard Genette, Narrative Discourse Revisited, trans. Jane E. Lewin (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 77· 4· Seymour Chatman, Coming to Terms (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), p. 145· 5· Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction, pp. 83-84. 6. Coming to Terms, pp. 144-45. 7· Coming to Terms, pp. 145-46. 8. Seymour Chatman, Story and Discourse (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978), p. 9· 9· Story and Discourse, p. 158. ro. Coming to Terms, p. 142. IT. Dan Shen, "Defense and Challenge: Reflections on the Relation between Story and Discourse," forthcoming in Narrative. 12. Percy Lubbock, The Craft ofFiction (New York: Viking Press, 1957), p. 251. 13. Mieke Bal, Narratology, trans. Christine van Boheemen (Toronto: University ofToronto Press, 1985), p. 50. 14. Narrative Fiction, p. 85. 15. While it is untenable to use human limitations as a criterion for judging the godlike omniscient narrator, it is quite reasonable to draw an analogy between the first-person narrator's account of past events and a person's account of past events in daily life. The first-person narrator is also a conventional construct, who is sometimes endowed with "omniscient" power in perception. But, as distinct from the omniscient mode, in the first-person mode we can use human limitations as a criterion and regard the first-person narrator's "omniscience" as a transgression of the first-person mode (see Dan Shen, "Breaking Conventional Barriers: Transgressions of Modes of Focalization," New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective, ed. Willie van Peer and Seymour Chatman [New York: SUNY Press, 2001], pp. 159-72). r6. Cf William F. Edmiston, "Focalization and the First-Person Narrator: A



Revision of the Theory," Poetics Today (1989) 10=733-39; Dorrit Cohn, "The Encirclement of Narrative: On Franz Stanzel's Theorie des Frzahlens," Poetics Today (1981) 2:176. 17. Ulric Neisser, Cognitive Psychology (New York: Meredith, 1967), p. 146; Manfred Jahn, "Windows of Focalization: Deconstructing and Reconstructing a Narratological Concept," Style (1996) 30:258-59. 18. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1992), pp. 47-48. Hereafter, references will be made by page numbers in parentheses in the text. 19. In Narrative Discourse Revisited, Genette concedes Chatman's criticism by admitting, "Only the hero at that moment in the story deserves stricto sensu the term 'focalization'; for the hero-become-narrator, we are dealing with extradiegetic information, which only the identity of person between hero and narrator justifies us, by extension, in calling 'focalization"' (p. 77). Genette seems to have overlooked the fact that, in narrating past events, the first-person narrator often uses his present retrospective perspective to perceive the events concerned. 20. The external narrator may also use his/her/its own perspective to focalize events. But when he/she/it does so, the mode of focalization shifts from third-person center of consciousness to third-person external focalization, which goes beyond our present concern. 21. Henry James, The Ambassadors, ed. Leon Edel (Boston: The Riverside Press, 1960), pp. 18-22. Hereafter, references will be made by page numbers in the text. 22. Marcel Proust, Remembrance ofThings Past, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin (New York: Random House, 1981), 2:510. 23. See Dan Shen, "On the Transference of Modes of Speech (or Thought) from Chinese Narrative Fiction into English," Comparative Literature Studies (1991) 28:395-414. 24- Sec Dan Shen, Narratology and the Stylistics ofFiction (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2d ed., 2001), pp. 308-10.



The author would like to thank Andrew Bennett, Timothy Clark, and Laura Marcus for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this essay. A slightly different version of this chapter appears in Nicholas Royle's The Uncanny (New York: Routledge, 2003). Reprinted with permission. r. Dorrit Cohn, Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), p. 7· See also Kate Hamburger, The Logic ofLiterature, trans. Marilyn J. Rose (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973), p. 83. 2. In this respect it seems especially appropriate, if ironic, that Micke Bal



should make lamenting reference in her recent Preface to the Second Edition of Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of' Narrative (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) to narratology's "positivistic claims, formalist limitations, and inaccessible, idiosyncratic jargon" (p. xiv). The present essay shares Bal's stated desire to focus more carefully on the strange nature of narrative fiction as such. She rightly notes the irony that, in recent years, "with the growth of the study of narrative, interest in what makes narratives 'be' or 'come across' has only declined" (ibid.). 3· Quoted in Cohn, p. 8. 4· See Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 91. 5· Jonathan Culler, "Political Criticism: Confronting Religion," in his Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), p. 8o. 6. J. Hillis Miller, The Disappearance of God: Five Nineteenth-Century Writer:r (London and Cambridge, MA: Oxford University Press and Belknap Press, 1963). 7· James Boswell, Life ofjohnson (London: Oxford University Press, 1953), p. 730. 8. See Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg, The Nature ofNarrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), pp. 272-73. 9· Thus they propose, for example, that "the authoritarian monism of the fully omniscient mode of narration has become less and less tenable in modern times, while the multifarious relativism of that same mode has seemed increasingly appropriate" (p. 276). ro. George Eliot, The Lifted Veil, with an Afterword by Beryl Gray (London: Virago, 1985), p. r. Further page references are given parenthetically in the text. n. See Beryl Gray, Afterword to The Lifted Veil, p. 84; and also the chapter on George Eliot, entitled "On Second Sight," in Nicholas Royle, Telepathy and Literatztre: Essays on the Reading Mind (Oxford and Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1991), pp. 84-110. 12. Wallace Martin, Recent Theories of Narrative (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986), p. 146. Further page references will be incorporated within the main body of the text. 13. "First Report of the Literary Committee" (December 9, r882) by W F. Barrett, C. C. Massey, Rev. W Stainton Moses, Frank Podmore, Edmund Gurney, and Frederic W H. Myers, in Proceedings ofthe Society for Psychical Research, vol. r, pt. 2 (London: Triibner, 1883), 8r. 14. See Ernest Jones, Sigmund Freud: Life and Work, vol. 3 (London: Hogarth Press, 1957), p. 462. 15. Jacques Derrida, "Telepathy," trans. Nicholas Royle, Oxford Literary Review ro (1988), pp. 3-41: here, p. 14r6. Gerald Prince, A Dictionary of Narratology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1987), p. 7317. See Henry James, Literary Criticism: French Writers, Other European Writers, The Prefaces to the New York Edition (New York: Library of America, 1984), pp. 1035-341; J.W Beach, The Method of Henry james (New Haven: Yale University



Press, 1918); Percy Lubbock, The Craft ofFiction (London: Jonathan Cape, 1921). A by now classic historical survey is Norman Friedman, "Point of View in Fiction: The Development of a Critical Concept," PMLA 70 (1955): n6o-84. Wallace Martin's remarks on omniscience appear in a chapter entitled "Points ofView on Point ofView": see Recent Theories ofNarrative, pp. 130-51. 18. The Craft ofFiction, p. 65. 19. The Craft ofFiction, p. n5. Cf. also p. 120. 20. See Gerard Genette, Narrative Discourse, trans. Jane E. Lewin (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1980), p. 189. Genette notes that his use of the term is in turn indebted to Cleanth Brooks's and Robert Penn Warren's phrase "focus of narration" in their Understanding Fiction (1943). 21. Cf. Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan's argument that "the term 'focalization' is not free of optical-photographic connotations, and-like point of view-its purely visual sense has to be broadened to include cognitive, emotive and ideological orientation." See her Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics (London: Methuen, 1983), p. 71. It should perhaps be stressed that it is not our aim here simply to dismiss the importance of the visual in thinking about narrative fiction, but rather it is to argue for a more affectively and sensorily complex and differentiated conception. 22. See Narrative Discourse, p. 189ff. 23. Jacques Derrida, Given Time: 1. Counterfeit Money, trans. Peggy Kamuf (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 153. (First published in French in 1991.) 24. Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (London: Granada, 1976), p. 37· Further

page references are given parenthetically in the text. 25. For a reading of one ofWoolf's works of short fiction in this context, see ''A Walk in 'Kew Gardens,"' in Telepathy and Literature, pp. rn-20. 26. In a diary entry for Monday, October 15, 1923, and in a spirit of explicit disagreement with Lubbock's assumptions about writing and conscious control, she writes of Mrs Dalloway: "It took me a year's groping to discover my tunnelling process, by which I tell the past by instalments, as I have need of it. This is my prime discovery so far; and the fact that I've been so long finding it proves, I think, how false Percy Lubbock's doctrine is-that you can do this sort of thing consciously." See Virginia Woolf, A Writers Diary (London: Granta, 1976), pp. 66-67. In an earlier entry (August 30), she describes how she "dig[s] out beautiful caves behind [her] characters .... The idea is that the caves shall connect and each comes to daylight at the present moment" (p. 65). 27. Salman Rushdie, Midnights Children (London: Pan Books, 1982). Further references are given parenthetically in the text. 28. "New," for example, in comparison with E. M. Forster's telepathically-preoccupied A Passage to India (1924), a novel that is in this and various other ways an important intertext for Midnights Children. For a reading of A Passage to India (and Forster's novels more generally) in terms of telepathy, see Nicholas Royle, E. M. Forster (Plymouth, England: Northcote House/British Council, 1999).



29. Patricia Merivale, "Saleem Fathered by Oscar: Midnight's Children, Magic Realism, and The Tin Drum," in Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community, ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995), p. 339· 30. See John Haffenden, Novelists in Interview (London: Methuen, 1985),

PP· 237-8. 31. See Claudette Sartiliot, "Telepathy and Writing in Jacques Derrida's Glas,"

Paragraph, 12:3 (1989), 215. 32. "Telepathy effect" is a phrase used by Hillis Miller in a statement published on the back cover of Telepathy and Literature: "Royle argues that literature as a whole is a 'discursive formation' penetrated through and through by what he calls a 'telepathy effect."' The author of Telepathy and Literature encountered these words not long before receiving final proofs of the book. He looked through his typescript in vain for the presence of the phrase in question. Feeling that Miller had understood his work far better than he himself ever might, Royle inserted, at the end of a sentence in a chapter on Wuthering Heights, the "missing" supplement: "Thus the telepathic, foretelling, foretune-telling, mad network of narrators and narrating that constitutes the text, weaving and crisscrossing it: telepathy effect" (p. 53).



1. See "The Fractal Mosaic," in J. Hillis Miller and Manuel Assensi, Black Holes (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999). 2. J. Hillis Miller, "Ideology and Topography: Faulkner," in Topographies (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), pp. 192-96. 3· I use the term "material" with a privative (a) to suggest a use of material and materiality-as in "materialist historiography," going back to Benjamin-invokes material agency not as a master-referent but as the domain of inscription-where perception, memory, hermeneutic accommodations and accords, aesthetic ideologies, and "experience" are archivally programmed. For a critical interrogation of this "materiality without matter" see Jacques Derrida's, "The Typewriter Ribbon," in Material Events-Paul de Man and the Afterlife ofTheory, edited by Tom Cohen, Barbara Cohen, J. Hillis Miller, andAndrzej Warminski (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000). 4· William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses (Vintage: New York, 1970). 5· That "Faulkner" is entirely alert to this auto-inscription and archival gamble (or erasure) is marked not only by his covert citing of titles from his own production in the performative-theoretical evisceration of the history of"the book" in section four of "The Bear" (notably Sanctuary and The Sound and the Fury, referenced to a sort of anti-God "He" on page 272), but the use of the term "catafalque"-a double-fall, a going down of "fa(u)lque(ner)," a bier on display



across the disarticulations of Go Down, Moses itself-in "Go Down, Moses": "in formal component complement to the Negro murderer's catafalque: the slain wolf" (p. 364). 6. Eric Sundquist notes of Go Down, Moses in Faulkner: The House Divided (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), that "Faulkner is moving further away from his own early 'modernism' and placing himself, deliberately or not, more clearly in the tradition of classic nineteenth-century American fiction" (p. 133), that is, a regression to a type of naturalism, or mimeticism, that is not without a sentimental falling off as well. He adds: "Go Down, Moses may be Faulkner's most honest and personally revealing novel, even though it is clearly not his best" (p. 153). That is, the more "honest" it is, the more mimetic it is, yet as a falling off into sentiment merely, the weaker, or hence more dishonest it also is, and so on. In Playing After Dark (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), Toni Morrison complains that, typically, as soon as Faulkner is seen as treating "blacks" primarily, the writing is itself cast off as the author's decline. We will suggest, below, a still more complicated relation between the problematic of blackness, animals, falling or going under, and Mosaic "authorship" than either view represents. 7· An extended scrutiny of "Sophonsiba'' would link her not only to the eviscerated, dreaded, and wholly empowered domain of "woman" in the book, but with sound, rhetoric, aesthetics, cognition (in the mock-allegorical allusions of the name), in short, the Greek. 8. The variously deployed figure of "trace chains" -at once mnemonically inflected and bearing the terms of (t)race and enslavement-will recur across the different texts, beginning with Sophonsiba's association with sound or the ear in "Was": "the earrings and beads clashing and jingling like little trace chains" (p. 10). The term will criss-cross mnemonic constellations and scriptive nodes as what stand to be modified or altered in the production of transformed historial, proto- and post-Mosaic "events." Compare to the use of "trace-chains" in "The Bear" (p. 245). 9· One of the sites in which the problematic of the "aesthetic" is played out is around the narrative use of Keats's Grecian Urn ode in relation to Uncle Hubert Beauchamp's self-borrowed against and emptied in advance "gift" (to Isaac) of the "tin coffee-pot" (p. 297), the "legacy" in chapter four of"The Bear." The text performs the dispossession of an entire legacy of the "aesthetic," of aesthetic ideology tout court, yet by its own agency. ro. While the work equivocates between the facades of Greek and Roman and Hebraic-that is, unreliable markers of the "aesthetic," the churchly-mimetic, and the originary law-it does so in an unstable way that discloses, at first, an Egyptian motif beneath each, as if these options did not indicate historical periods bur constructed variants of an underlying marking system, almost "unreadable" (to whites) yet as hieroglyphic as the letter delta that appears on the page of "Delta Autumn," like a pyramid, or the distortions to the story of Joseph that Mollie Beauchamp introduces in her chant: "Roth Edmonds sold my Benjamin. Sold him to Egypt. Pharaoh got him--" (p. 353).



rr. See Walter Benjamin, "The Task of the Translator," in Illuminations, Edited and with Introduction by Hannah Arendt, translated by Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken, 1968), p. 8o. 12. It is interesting that a new interpretive tack, alert yet perverse and regressive, is the "environmental" reading of Go Down, Moses, as with Judith Bryant Wittenberg's "Go Down, Moses and the Discourse of Environmentalism," in New Essays on Go Down, Moses, ed. by Linda Wagner-Martin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 49-72. 13. Such a virtual shift corresponds in ways to what de Man called a passage from reading language as (mere) tropes, systems of displacements, to "another conception oflanguage" as a kind of materiality precedent to figuration which he terms performative in Aesthetic Ideology (University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 1996), p. 132. De Man adds a note concerning this "one-way street" of Benjamin: "that process ... is irreversible. That goes in that direction and you cannot get back from the one to the one before" (p. 133). De Man's insistence on a passage, direction, shift, movement, or translation occurs like a drum-beat in Aesthetic Ideology: "pass from that conception of language to another conception of language" (p. 132); "the passage from trope ... to the performative" (p. 132); "there is a single-directed movement" (p. 133); "there is a road that goes from this notion of Schein to the notion of materiality" (p. 152).



r. I use the word "aesthetics," though it was first used by Alexander Baumgarten in his Meditationes Philosophicae of 1735 and further developed in his Aesthetica of 1750. Derived from the Greek aisthetikos, it means simply "perception" and has nothing per se to do with art or beauty; Baumgarten applies the word to poetics and discourse. In the Meditationes Baumgarten wrote: "Therefore, things known are to be known by the superior faculty as the object of logic; things perceived [are to be known by the inferior faculty, as the object] of the science of perception, or aesthetic." Shaftesbury focused on the beautiful, based on anticlerical, antipapist assumptions that relied heavily on platonic philosophy; the theory Addison developed was closer to the original sense of aesthetics. See Baumgarten, Meditationes (Reflections on Poetry), trans. Karl Aschenbrenner and William B. Holther (Berkeley, 1954), p. 78. As a context for the following pages, see my The Beautiful Novel and Strange: Aesthetics and Heterodoxy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univrsity Press, 1996). A version of the present essay also appears in my Hogarth's Harlot: Sacred Parody in Enlightenment England (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). 2. Theoretically, of course, a Jacobite could, like Bolingbroke, be also a deist. 3· Erskine-Hill, ''Alexander Pope: The Political Poet in His Time," EighteenthCentury Studies, 15 (r98r-82), 130-31; more recently, Poetry of Opposition and Revolution: Dryden to Wordsworth (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), chaps. 3 and 4;



also, Murray G. H. Pittock, Poetry and jacobite Politics in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 107-19, esp. n2-13. 4· Pope's Essay on Criticism (17n), written just before the Rape, was, of course, addressed to critics and not poets, and dealt with judgment and only indirectly, from the perspective of the critic, poetic creation. Nevertheless, Pope's onus fell on the bad critics and their false judgments, nor on the Homers and Virgils they criticize and attempt to supersede. The good critic turns out to be the satirist and judge of morals, not the aesthetician (11. 526 ff.). 5· The infidels and Jews who worship the "sparkling Necklace" in the Rape were anticipated by the critics ("tuneful fools") in the Essay on Criticism who "admire ... but to please their Ear,/Not mend their Minds; as some to Church repair, /Not for the Doctrine, but the Musick there" (II. 340-43). 6. As he wrote in his Review (1704): "For a Protestant to wear a cross about her Neck is a Ridiculous, Scandalous piece of Vanity;" "to wear that which in all Countries is the Badge and Signal of a Roman Catholick, and which for that Reason has been left off by all the Protestant Ladies in the World, is a tacit owning themselves in the Wrong, and is Scandalous to Protestants."Defoe, Review, r8 July 1704; ed. Arthur Secord, 9 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1938), r:171. 7· Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, ed. Paulson (London: Yale Univeersity Press, 1997), pp. 66, 102, 106. 8. See Paulson, Hogarth, r (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990); for the episode of the church door, pp. 322-23. 9· See Wasserman's "The Limits of Allusion in The Rape ofthe Lock," jEGP, 65 (1966): 425-44. The quotations are from 433 and 431. 10. The judgment of Hercules was Shaftesbury's attempt to impose on the painter a subject and ethos by the connoisseur who dictates the program and commissions the painting (as Shaftesbury did with Paolo de Mattheis, who executed the painting that he used as frontispiece). rr. Perhaps in the company of his friend the painter, Charles Jarvis, who would certainly have read it. Pope's views on painting, as opposed to aesthetics, were conventional-Palladian, Burlingtonian, and Richardsonian (connoisseurship). 12. Pope's rejection of heroic virtue is also Miltonic as well as Christian. Milton's Satan embodies an outmoded attachment to a belief in chivalry (Stuart Cavalier values): the "long and tedious havoc fabl'd Knights/In Battles feign'd," which Milton opposes to "the better fonitude/OfPatience and Heroic Martyrdom/Unsung" (9.30-37). 13. Paul Monod notes in Jacobite poetry the mixture of the "libertine popularism of the Cavalier poets and the stern religiosity of High Church divines" (jacobitism and the English People, I688-q88 [Cambridge, 1989], p. 66). 14. An extreme example of the Shaftesbury-Belinda position can be seen in Rochester's early Cavalier poems, for example in his "'n Obitum Serenissimae Mariae Principis Arausionensis" (r66r): "Once even a minor blemish sullies her del-



icate face, perhaps a woman may escape, a goddess cannot. A being whose body matches her soul, she who is all loveliness, how can she survive her own beauty." 15. See Mandeville, Fable ofthe Bees, 1724 ed. 16. Pope, Peri Bathous, chap. 4, in The Prose Works ofAlexander Pope, ed. Rosemary Cowler, 2 (Hamden, Ct.: Archon Press, 1986): 191. Hogarth's aesthetics begins with a chapter on "Fitness," and throughout he emphasizes the fact that beauty without fitness is mere ornament. A functional dung basket is more beautiful than a gilt shield that does not withstand a sword or spear. Fitness represents the human function. q. "Soliloquy or Advice to an Author," in Characteristics, ed. J. M. Robertson (London, 1900), r: 136. r8. Cf. "To Stella, Visiting Me," l. 23: "Nor is Complexion Honour's Place." r9. The parallels are many: Celia's hair is the first to show the signs of decaythe dye runs down "from her tresses on her front." Like Belinda, she adores her own image; when made up, she is "the wonder of her sex;/Say, which among the heavenly powers/Could cause such marvelous effects?" (II. 54-56); even Partridge is invoked, and Galileo is replaced by Flamsteed. 20. In "The Progress of Beauty" distance was invoked: "Nor let the beaux approach too near" (1. 68); this means "Delude at once, and bless our sight," for Celia should "be seen from far,/ And chiefly ... by night" (11. 70-73). 2r. I have elsewhere explored the point of view of the model of Don Quixote's and Sancho Panza's different (aesthetic) responses to the real Dulcinea, whom Sancho has to produce for his master. See Paulson, Don Quixote in England: The Aesthetics of Laughter (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), chap. 4· 22. Paradise Lost 2.883-91. 23. C£ Garth's Claremont (1715), on the time when "Of Spanish Red unheard

was then the Name;/ for Cheeks were only taught to blush by Shame ... " 24. Analysis, 59· 25. Also, recalling Trivia, he distinguishes the effects of different weather con-

ditions: "the colouring of park beautys in a winters morning and a summers Evening differ as much as the Trees they walk by"; "The gently glowing warmth brings out the Sweetest colouring, the things are then clear broad and briliant" (among the Analysis MSS., 133). 26. Paradise Lost, 4.347-50; Aeneid 1.453. 27. In the frontispiece to the Analysis, which illustrates the story of Colum-

bus's breaking the egg in order to show how he can stand it on its end, Hogarth not only illustrates again his point about the lock that breaks the perfect oval but connects the break with his principle of"fitness"; the broken egg is like Columbus's discovery of the New World and the alluring lock serves to attract the marriageable man. 28. Exodus 12:5, 29.1; Leviticus 1:3, 3.1, 4.3, 22.19-25; I Peter 1:19; 2 Peter 2:13, 19; Exodus, 2r:r8, 23. 29. The "allure" of the blemish is no less ambiguous than its origin, the felix culpa. In his chapter "Of Light and Shade," returning to praise of the oval ("the



more equal to its variety than any other object in nature; and of which the general form of the face is composed"), Hogarth adds "that every dent, crack, or scratch, the form receives, its shadows also suffir with it, and help to shew the blemish. Even the least roughness interrupts and damages that soft gradating play of shades which tall upon it" (rr7, emphasis added). 30. He calls beauty "a composed variety" ("for variety uncomposed, and without design, is confusion and deformity'' [35)) but adds that the more variety there is, the more beauty. 31. Hogarth's sense of "harlot" is closer to that in Swift's "Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed" ("Of Bridwell and the compter dreams, I And feels the lash, and faintly screams") than "The Progess of Beauty."



I. Illustration (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), p. 78. I would like to dedicate this essay to my former teacher and mentor, who opened up the labyrinth of reading to me at Johns Hopkins in the sixties. 2. On the question of "design" as formal pattern and intention, see Tim Erwin's essay '~exander Pope and the Disappearance of the Beautiful," in So Rich a Tapestry: Th'e Sister Arts and Cultural Studies, ed. Ann Hurley and Kate Greenspan, (Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1995), 88-n5. 3· See Illustration, especially the discussion of Ruskin, pp. 75-80. See also my discussion of this form in "Metamorphoses of the Vortex: Hogarth, Blake, and Turner," in Articulate Images, ed. Richard Wendorf (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 125-68. 4- Regis Debray, Media Manifestos (New York: Verso, 1996), 26. 5· See: Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (London: Blackwell, 1991); Michel Foucault, "Of Other Spaces," Diacritics 16 (Spring 1986), 22-7. 6. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 1J7. 7· For further reflection on the space-place-landscape triad, see the preface to the 2d ed. of Landscape and Power, ed. W J. T. Mitchell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002). 8. William Hogarth, The Analysis ofBeauty, Written with a View ofFixing the Fluctuating Ideas ofTaste (London: J. Reeves, 1753). 9· Richard Payne Knight, The Landscape: A Didactic Poem (London, 1794). 10. For reproduction of this painting and further discussion, see my essay, "Imperial Landscape," in Landscape and Power, chap. I. II. John Barrell, The Dark Side ofthe Landscape (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980). See also Raymond Williams's discussion of enclosure in The Country and the City (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973). 12. Oliver Goldsmith, "The Deserted Village," in English Romantic Poetry and Prose, ed. Russell Noyes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956), 92.



13. John Milton, Paradise Lost, ed. William G. Madsen (New York: Modern Library, 1969), 96. 14. I owe this suggestion to J. Douglas Canfield of the University of Arizona. 15. See William Blake's jerusalem, plate 100. 16. A story that is partly told in my book, Blake's Composite Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), and in "Metamorphoses of the Vortex," cited



1. Harold Perkin, for instance, describes Marshall as "the founder of neo-classical economics" (The Rise ofProfessional Society: English Since r88o [London and New York: Routledge, 1989], p. 128). This might be too sweeping a description, however. Marshall, following the work of W. Stanley Jevons, Leon Walrus, and Carl Menger, might better be described as producing a more or less authoritative systematic exposition of neo-classical economics. For a thorough history and analysis, see Mark Blaug, Economic Theory in Reprospect, fourth edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985), chaps. 8-u. See also two fine collections of essays: R. D. Collison Black, A. W. Coats, and Craufurd Goodwin, eds., The Marginal Revolution in Economics (Durham: Duke University Press, 1973); and John Whitaker, ed., Centenary Essays on Alfred Marshall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). 2. All references, by volume and page, are to Alfred Marshall, Principles ofEconomics, ninth (Variorum) edition, two volumes, ed. C. W. Guillebaud (New York: Macmillan, 1961). 3· Donald Winch, "Marginalism at the Boundaries of Economic Science," in Black et al., p. 71. 4- Ariadne's Thread: Story Lines (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 24. 5· See Ronald Meek, "Marginalism and Marxism," in Black et al., pp. 233-45. 6. Reading Narrative (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), p. 18. 7· For a Critique ofthe Political Economy ofthe Sign, trans. Charles Levin (St. Louis: Telos Press, 1981), p. 140. 8. For an extended discussion of the relationship between history and abstractions in relation to Crusoe, see my Analogical Thinking (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), chap. 3· 9· The Political Unconscious (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981), p. 251. ro. Marshall's disavowal of the classical term "political economy"-found in Adam Smith, Ricardo, Mill, Marx-is striking in relation to the transformation or conflation ofliterary studies with cultural studies in recent years. Hillis Miller's repeated reference to the relationship between cultural and textual analyses marks, in a small way, the kind of distinction Marshall pursues. See, for instance, his discussion in the opening pages of Reading Narrative; part I of Illustration (Cam-



bridge: Harvard University Press, 1992); and the extended meditation on literary study in the transnational university in Black Holes (in J. Hillis Miller and Manuel Asensi, J. Hillis Miller; or, Boustrophedonic Reading [by Manuel Asensi]/ Black Holes [by J. Hillis Miller] [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999]). My grandfather, Oscar Schleifer, who lived through the turbulent years of the early twentieth century in Russia and the United States, would tell me while I was in graduate school that the study of literature was fine, but I ought to devote myself to political economy. "Not economics!", he would say with contempt, "but political economy." I'm sorry he didn't live to see the ways in which "cultural studies" have replaced "political economy" as the study of the "political, social, and private" lives of people that entails and combine the ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics that Enlightenment culture so strenuously worked to keep separate. n. For an elaboration of this argument, see my Modernism and Time: The Logic ofAbundance in Literature, Science, and Culture I88o-I9JO (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Russell's observation appears in Mysticism and Logic (New York: Doubleday Anchor [n.d.]), p. 87. 12. See George Stigler, "The Place of Marshall's Principles in the Development of Economics," in Whitaker, p. 5· 13. Time and Narrative, vol. I, trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, I984), p. 159. Ricoeur is citing Louis Mink, "History and Fiction as Modes of Comprehension," New Literary History (1970): r, 547· Ricoeur's three modes correspond in interesting ways to Donald McCloskey's examination of the place of narrative comprehension in economics, If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, I990), the "rhetorical tetrad" of "fact, logic, metaphor, and story" (p. I). He describes metaphors as "models," which is the "categoreal" work of systematic philosophy and traditional political economy; his logic pursues Ricoeur's theoretical comprehension; and story pursues configurational comprehension. Against these McCloskey notes that empirical foct is "the allegedly scientific half of the tetrad, the fact and logic" (p. I). I4- "Horns, Hooves, and Insteps: Some Hypotheses on Three Types of Abduction," in The Sign ofthe Three, ed. Umberto Eco and Thomas Sebeok (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, I983), p. 2I3. I5. The linguist, Louis Hjelmslev, significantly redefines "meaning"-which he takes to be burdened by overwhelming metaphysics-as "purport," the social, future-oriented purposes of language (Prolegomena to a Theory of Language, trans. Francis Whitfield [Madison: University ofWisconsin Press, I96I]). I6. Here, as elsewhere in the Principles, Marshall exhibits the decency of his sympathy for labor. Discussing the need for imaginative, "purely intellectual," and "sometimes even the critical faculties" necessary for economics as a science, he adds that "economic studies call for and develop the faculty of sympathy, and especially that rare sympathy which enables people to put themselves in the place, not only of their comrades, but also of other classes" (I, 45). In his study of the role of narrative in economic analysis, McCloskey notes that



"a style of ethical storytelling that insists that cases matter as much as principles is foreign to most of modern economics" (p. 147). This kind of ethics-which is close to the "ethics" of reading Hillis Miller describes-characterizes much of the power of Marshall's extended factual and hypothetical narratives that often embody, simply in their extended exposition, his "sympathy'' for "other classes" (I, 45). I7· See Arno Mayer for an extended discussion of the nature of production in the first Industrial Revolution (The Persistence ofthe Old Regime [New York: Pantheon Books 1981], p. 20). As I argue in Modernism and Time (chap. 3), the products of the first Industrial Revolution are the basic, substantial, positive source of value in Marx's labor theory of value (assumed from the classical economics of Smith and Ricardo): the food, clothing, and shelter by which the value oflabor as a commodity is measured and which, in turn, creates the "surplus value" of the difference between the value produced by labor and the value of labor as a commodity itself. I also examine the advent of the lower middle class-which, in Mayer's description as a "classless class or half-class" ("The Lower Middle Class as Historical Problem," journal ofModern History [1975]: 47, 422) is opposed to the more traditional class of the petty bourgeoisie-in the late nineteenth century and its relationship to literary modernism. One should keep in mind that Marshall's description of"immaterial capital" I cite later in this paragraph specifically mentions the advertisements that Leopold Bloom (in Ulysses) and Edward Ponderevo (in Tono Bungay) "produce." 18. In Moments of Being, ed. Jeanne Schulkind (New York: Harvest/HBJ Books, 1985), p. 142. 19. Moreover, like Wordsworth's and Hardy's achievements in epic and lyric poetry, Marshall's achievement situates value and worth amid the ordinary activities of life and substitutes the locus of "economics" in factories and businesses devoted to production with its locus in households and markets where the opposition between production and consumption is blurred. Throughout his work, Marshall repeatedly alludes to ordinary language as the best place to discover operative "principles" of economic analysis: talking about the "principle of substitution," he notes that his technical description "is in close harmony with such common sayings of every-day life, as that 'everything tends to find its own level,' that 'most men earn just about what they are worth,"' etc. (I, 404). This comports nicely with the "ordinary language" philosophies of Wordsworth, Wittgenstein, and Austin. 20. Denis O'Brien, "Marshall's Work in Relation to Classical Economics," in Whitaker, p. 157. 21. Symbolic Economies: After Marx and Freud (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), p. 199· 22. See Christopher Bliss, "Alfred Marshall and the Theory of Capital," in Whitaker, pp. 330-38.




r. E.g., Herbert Marcuse, "Some Social Implications of Modern Technology," in Andrew Arato and Eike Gebhardt, ed., The Essential Frankfitrt School Reader (New York: Continuum, 1988), p. 153; Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, trans. John Wilkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967), p. xxv. I develop this argument about the slippage between technologies and techniques more fully in my The Laws ofCool: Knowledge Work and Information Culture, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. 2. Evan Watkins, Throwaways: Work Culture and Consumer Education, (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1993). 3· Jonathan Arac wrote in the mid-198os: "A major impetus to the boom in American theory was the hope for a 'new literary history' (the journal of that name was founded by Ralph Cohen in 1969). Yet no accomplished projects have been widely recognized as fulfilling that hope" (Critical Genealogies: Historical Situations for Postmodern Literary Studies [New York: Columbia University Press, 1987], p. 1). We can now modify Arac's observation in the light of the '9os and after. The new literary history awaited only a form in which to be recognized: display-genres able to bring to market a new notion of the survey or anthology that had in fact already circulated throughout the "anecdotal" openings, collage-like juxtapositions of context and text, kaleidoscopic splinterings of the canon, and other such destabilizations of unified literature in the criticism and theory of the '8os. Concentrating just on avowedly "comprehensive" or broad-coverage Anglo-American surveys (about or by American, English, Canadian, or Australian authors) published between 1985 and 1994, we can construct a checklist for our discussion as follows:

Literary Histories

Columbia Literary History ofthe United States, gen. ed. Emory Elliott (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988)

A New History of French Literature, gen. ed., Denis Hollier (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989)

The Columbia History ofthe American Novel, gen. ed. Emory Elliott (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991) The Columbia History ofAmerican Poetry, ed., Jay Parini; assoc. ed., Brett C. Miller, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993)

The Columbia History ofBritish Poetry, ed. Carl Woodring; assoc. ed., James Shapiro (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994)

The Cambridge History ofAmerican Literature, vol. r: I590-r82o, ed. Sacvan Bercovitch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)




The Norton Anthology ofLiterature by Women: The Tradition in English, ed. Sanrda M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar (New York: W. W. Norton, 1985) joseph's Coat: An Anthology of Multicultural Writing, ed. Peter Skrzynecki (Sydney, Australia: Hale and Iremonger, 1985)

Longman Anthology ofWorld Litemture by Women, I875-I975, ed. Marian Arkin and Barbara Shollar (New York: Longman, 1989)

The Heath Anthology ofAmerican Literature, 2 vols., gen. ed. Paul Lauter (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath, 1990) Readers

American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context, ed. Barbara Roche Rico and Sandra Marro (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991) Decker's Patterns of Exposition (Instructor's Edition), 13th ed. (New York: HarperCollins, 1992)

Kaleidoscope: Stories of the American Experience, ed. Barbara Perkins and George Perkins (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) Literary Guides and Companions

The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, ed. Ian Ousby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Hamlyn Pub. Group, 1988)

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present, ed. Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements, and lsobel Grundy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990) Prentice Hall Guide to English Literature, ed. Marion Wynne-Davies (New York: Prentice Hall, 1990) 4· Sir Philip Sidney, "An Apology for Poetry," in Hazard Adams, ed., Critical Theory Since Plato, rev. ed. (Fort Worth, Texas: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992) [page references hereafter cited in my text]; Thomas Gray, "Progress of Poesy," in The Poems ofThomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith, ed. Roger Lonsdale (New York: Longmans, 1969); Percy Bysshe Shelley, "A Defense of Poetry," in Hazard Adams, op. cit; Hippolyte Taine, History ofEnglish Literature, trans. H. Van Laun (New York: Henry Holt, 1877); T. S. Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent," in Hazard Adams, op. cit.; Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory ofPoetry (London: Oxford University Press, 1973); Victor Shklovsky, ''Art as Technique," in Russian Formalist Criticism: Four £ssays, trans. Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965); Boris Eichenbaum, "The Theory of the 'Formal Method,"' in Russian Formalist Criticism; Jurij Tynjanov, "On Literary Evolution," trans. C. A. Luplow, in Readings in Russian Poet-



ics: Formalist and Structuralist Views, ed. Ladislav Matejka and Krystyna Pomorska (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1971); Roman Jakobson, "The Dominant," trans. Herbert Eagle, in Readings in Russian Poetics: Formalist and Structuralist Views; Hans Robert Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic ofReception, trans. Timothy Bahti (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982); Ralph Cohen, "Innovation and Variation: Literary Change and Georgie Poetry," in Ralph Cohen and Murray Krieger, Literature and History: Papers Read at a Clark Library Seminar, March J, I973 (Los Angeles: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, 1974); The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 6th ed., 2 vols., ed. M. H. Abrams, et al. (New York: W. W Norton, 1993). 5· Alan Liu, Wordsworth: The Sense ofHistory (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989). 6. See Margaret W Ferguson, Trials of Desire: Renaissance Defenses of Poetry (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), pp. 137-62. 7· In the following discussion, I develop freely from A.-J. Greimas, Structural Semantics: An Attempt at a Method, trans. Daniele McDowell, et a!. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983). The visualization is an adaptation of one in Gerald Prince's A Dictionary ofNarratofogy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987), p. 2. For the work of Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver, see their The Mathematical Theory of Communication (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1949). 8. Greimas, op. cit., p. 208. The tabular form I use to apply Greimas's scheme to Sidney and the Norton Anthology imitates Greimas's tables for philosophy and Marxism. 9· Norton Anthology, 6th ed. (previously cited), vol. I, pp. 458-59. ro. Cf, David Perkins, "Discursive Form Versus the Past in Literary History," New Literary History 22 (1991): 369: "Literary history is and perhaps must be written in metaphors of origins, emergence from obscurity, neglect and recognition, conflict, hegemony, succession, displacement, decline, and so forth. Thus it activates archetypal emotions .... The possible plots of narrative literary history can be reduced to three: rise, decline, and rise and decline." On "death" in this context, see Alvin Kernan, The Death ofLiterature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990). On "myth" in Claude Levi-Strauss, see his "The Structural Study of Myth," Structural Anthropology, trans. Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (New York: Basic, 1963), pp. 206-31. II. I borrow very loosely from Avital Ronell's The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989). A "trunk" line is the long-distance communication channel between two communications exchanges, each of which is linked in a hub-and-spoke pattern to many phones or terminals. In my conceptual model here, the hero is located at an exchange; calls to or from the sender/helper then switches the relays at the exchange in order to transmit the hero over long-distance lines to another exchange-at which point further relays then pass the hero on through the hub-and-spoke to the receiver. (On trunk lines and relays, see Jade Clayton, McGraw-Hill Illustrated Telecom Dictionary [New York: Mcgraw-Hill, 1998].)


Roland Barthes, 5/Z, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang,

1974), pp. 22-2313. Liu, Wordsworth: The Sense of History, pp. 3-31. This connection between

Wordsworth and Napoleon, however, has not gone uncontested. 14- Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation ofReality in Western Literature, trans. William R. Trask (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953). 15. Shelley, op. cit., p. 517. r6. Eliot, op. cit., p. 762. 17. More fully: the response to a teacher's call can also be a paper or classroom comment, both of which include (but are not necessarily restricted to) a "testing" component. For Louis Althusser's example of being "hailed" by a policeman, see "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation)," in his Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, trans. Ben Brewster (London: New Left Books, 1971), p. r63. r8. John Guillory, Cultural Capital: The Problem ofLiterary Canon Formation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). 19. Shklovsky, op. cit., p. 12. 20. Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1977); James R. Beniger, The Con-

trol Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986). 21. I make this argument more fully in my forthcoming The Laws ofCool· The Culture ofInformation. See also Arif Dirlik's argument about the relation between postmodernism and contemporary business organizations in "The Postmodernization of Production and Its Organization: Flexible Production, Work and Culture" (in his The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism [Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1997]). 22. See, for example American Mosaic or Decker's Patterns ofExposition I3 (cited in note 3).



* This chapter was previously published in Without Alibi, Jacques Derrida, translated and edited by Peggy Kamuf, Stanford University Press, 2002. © 2002 Stanford University Press, reprinted with permission. r. Henri Thomas, Le Parjure (Paris: Gallimard, 1964), p. 134. Page references for all other citations from this book will appear in parentheses in the text. 2. J. Hillis Miller, "The Anacoluthonic Lie," in Reading Narrative (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998), p. 149. 3· J. Hillis Miller, The Ethics of Reading (New York: Columbia University



Press, 1987), p. 43· This passage is extracted from chap. 3, entitled "Reading Unreadability: de Man." Among other reasons, I choose it because I would like what I will write here to say, very indirectly to be sure, but let no one be in a hurry to interpret or conclude, something of the friendship of thinking, of the friendship, period, that binds us: Paul de Man, Hillis Miller, and me. As a response, but an impossible response, to the impossible injunction that I cite here: "You will write it, won't you?" 4· To go directly, without delay, toward the facts of the perjury, that is, the "false oath" that is at the center of this exchange and of the novel, let's quote a few more lines. They represent only one stage in the narration. The narrator says: "Thus I learned that Chalier had taken a false oath before the American magistrate, before marrying Judith Samson. He had declared under oath that he had not been previously married or divorced. The letter from the Committee briefly mentioned the fact, but gave the date of the marriage along with a numerical reference proving that an inquiry had taken place~and above all it mentioned additional information concerning his marriage in Europe and the rwo children who had been born from it" (112). 5· The most recent and no doubt most ample and rich of these essays has just appeared at the moment I am finishing this text. I refer to "Fractal Proust," in Black Holes/}. Hillis Miller; or, Boustrophedonic Reading, the section signed by Miller in the book published with Manuel Asensi (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), pp. 313-483, odd pages. Allusions to de Man's text "Reading (Proust)" are numerous here, and the question of what Proust calls "lying fictions" is central (see, e.g., p. 473). 6. J. Hillis Miller, "The Anacoluthonic Lie," p. 149. 7· Ibid.; my emphasis on "probably." 8. Ibid.; my emphasis on "may be," of course, but it would also have been necessary to emphasize the insistence on the necessity (which is, however, aleatory) of paying attention to what always risks escaping attention. Ethics of reading: "To anyone who notices it ... ," "The difficulty is in noticing." 9· Ibid., p. T54· My emphasis on "perhaps," of course, but it would also have been necessary to emphasize, once more, the "we can notice." 10. Cited by Miller, Ethics ofReading, p. 41. II. See esp. my "Like the Sound of the Sea Deep Within a Shell: Paul de Man's War," trans. Peggy Kamuf, in Memoires for Paul de Man, rev. ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), and "Biodegradables: Seven Diary Fragments," trans. Peggy Kamuf, Critical Inquiry 15, no. 4 (Summer 1989): 812-73. 12. Without mixing fiction and reality (we will continue to grant this rigorous distinction), may I be permitted to cite a passage from the novel that seems to describe, beneath the features of Stephane Chalier, what Henri Thomas, like so many of his other friends, like "all those who knew him," thought of Paul de Man: "If it had not been found to be justified in one way or another, then his existence, since he had met Judith, would have been nothing more than an abject drifting, and all those who knew him during those years agree with the assertion that there



was no moral sloppiness on his part, no debasing of the heart and the mind. He did not seek to be true; he was. When the people who knew him learned about the unbelievable difficulties in which he found himself finally caught, no one would have wanted to be in his place, and yet they did not speak of him with commiseration. In a sense, they were pitiless: He had wanted it, this existence. He was even, let us speak frankly, guilty. No one pitied him because everyone continued to find him very strong, always up to the ordeal, without wondering too much where he found his strength: the little laugh, the blue eyes whose look quickly became more resolved, with the cold assurance that was needed, no doubt put a stop to all curiosity" (69-70). 13. Miller, The Ethics ofReading, p. 43· 14. They met, no doubt (but this remains to be verified and specified), when Henri Thomas was professor of French at Brandeis University, between 1958 and 1960. 15. I underscore "He was not thinking about this." Once again, what is it we call "not thinking"? r6. May I be permitted to refer here to Memoires for Paul de Man and, more precisely, to a text that I devote to the de Man ian reading of the "purloined ribbon": "Typewriter Ribbon: Limited Ink 2," in my Without Alibi, ed., trans., and introduction Peggy Kamuf (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002). q. The idiom fousser compagnie aquelqu'un has, alas, not even an approximate equivalent in English that would combine the key word "company" with another formed on "false." We will continue to note the French expression in brackets.Trans. r8. Pierre Fontanier, Les Figures du discours (Paris: Flammarion, 1968), p. 3I5. 19. The title of Conrad's novella is translated in French as Le Compagnon secret, the secret companion-or acolyte. 20. "Who is the liar here, Albertine as the example of the eternal feminine, evasive and unpossessable, in this case, perhaps betraying Marcel in covert lesbian liaisons? Or is the prime liar Marcel Proust himself, who has displaced into a misogynist fiction his own experience of betrayal in a 'real life' homosexual liaison?" (Miller, "The Anacoluthonic Lie," p. 151). 2r. The premises of this episode were made apparent earlier. For example: Those who considered Stephane Chalier guilty had no personal existence; they represented the law, they were far away, in Washington (where I went to see them a little later); in sum, I would say that the Justice system was perfectly incapable of judging such a man. But at the moment I'm talking about (the operation), I did not know that the Immigration Police had discovered what they called Stephane Chalier's false testimony: a single line on the form filled out by Stephane at the marriage bureau in Tucson, Arizona. He declared that he had never been married before marrying Judith Samson on the same day. (71-72) I will not expatiate on the choice of these biblical names, Judith Samson, for



the second (legitimate illegitimate) wife of Stephane with the "long hair, falling onto his shoulders" who had just "grabbed the wrist of the hand that was stirring in his hair" (41-43). 22. Elsewhere I have tried to show, from another point of view and in another context, the fatal necessity of this originary perjury; cf. Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), PP· 33-34· 23. Is it useful to underscore here what these last lines of the quotation say and to underscore, precisely on the subject of what the narrator underscores while quoting and on the subject of what he "made say" the one he claims to be quoting ("I made him say that, a moment ago, and there I've underscored the word. Now I believe he said this word once")? The movement he is analyzing, honestly, and following closely, his own movement, is it not the very one that I, doing this, am following here? 24. The canonical question of the death of God as death of God the Father is elsewhere treated explicitly by the narrator, speaking like the professor that he is and Chalier's colleague, colleague in effect of both Chaliers, father and son, just as Thomas was also Paul de Man's colleague. In the voice of the narrator and the author, we hear a professor speaking (who was also a great novelist, a great poet, a great translator-of Shakespeare, Melville, and Jlinger, among others): "The famous God is dead-for that's what we're talking about-is familiar to all students beyond a certain not very advanced level, who know where the formula comes from. But it is far less frequent to hear discussion of the idea that the God who is dead was above all, if not uniquely, the Father, and that the death of the Father is that of all paternity as spiritual reality. The father only ever had any being, only ever had any authority because there was the Father. Rupture of a tie that ceases to be sacred ... the seed of all romantic distress is planted there" (98). 25. Soren Kierkegaard, Stages on Lift's "Wtty, trans. Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1940), pp. 279-80. 26. Sorerz Kierkegaard's journals and Papers, ed. and trans. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), vol. 6, p. 88.


Page references to figures are indicated by the addition of an "f," e.g. "I54f." Academy: and perjury, 232; role in literary history of, 186-92, 193 Addison, Joseph, I30, 131, 137-39, 253m Aesthetics: Addison's, 131, I37-39, 253m; and disinterestedness, I36; Hogarth's, I31-32, I42-45, 149-50, 152-53, I)); and imperfection, 13I, 132, 133, 136, 139-40, 142-43, 145: Jacobite, 130-32, 139; and morality, I33, I41, 144; original concept of, 253nr; politics and, 130-32, 138, I44, 149, 150-51; Pope's, 130-39, 14I, 144, 145; realist, 137: and religion, 131-32, 138-39, 144, 145; Shaftesbury's, 130-39, 141, I44, I45, 253m; Swift's, I39-4I; and ugliness, I37, 143, I45; and variety, I45, I49 Aesthetic, the, u6, I22-27 Albee, Edward, I Althusser, Louis, III, 189 Ambassadors, The (James), 86, 90-91 America, 205-6, 2I8, 224, 232 Anacoluthon, 200-201, 202, 215-I7, 2I8-2I, 225, 227, 228, 230 Analysis ofBeauty, The (Hogarth), 131-

32, 142-45, 149-50, 151, 152; title page, 148f, 154f Anthology discourse, 178-8I Anxiety ofInfluence (Bloom), 175 Apology for Poetry (Sidney), 175-92 Arcades Project, The (Benjamin), 1-4 Aristotle, I3, I7I Asensi, Manuel, 8 Auerbach, Erich, 184 Aurhor: as creator, 94, 96; death of, 13. See also Poet, creative role of Authority, appeals to, see Citation, in literary history Bakhtin, Mikhail, r67 Barrell, John, 153 Barthes, Roland, 182 Baudrillard, Jean, 159-60, 164 Baumgarten, Alexander, 253m Beach, Joseph Warren, roo Beagle (ship), 149 Beauty: humanistic view of, I32; and imperfection, 142-43; natural, 145; and perfection, 133, 136, 144; religious view



of, 131; and serpentine line, 149, 151, 153; and variety, 149; and virtue, I4I, 144 "being-two-to-speak," 102-3 Bell Labs, I79 Beniger, James R., I93 Benjamin, Walter, I-4, III, 125, 128, 129, 165, I67 Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Freud), 47-54 Bible, 143. See also Fall (Bible) "black holes," III, 129

Black Holes: or, Boustrophedontic Reading (Miller and Asensi), 8-10 Blake, William, 155-56 Blanchot, Maurice, 6, 2I), 220, 226; as critic, ro-12; on waiting, 32-33, 4546 Blanckenburg, Friedrich von, 94 Blaug, Mark, r6I, I66 Bloom, Harold, 175, 177, 184, I9I Borges, Jorge Luis, 2 Boswell, James, 95-96 Burke, Edmund, 149 Burke, Kenneth, 13 Cairnes,]. E., I62 Canon, literary, I89 Caroline period, I35 Catachresis, 30 Catholicism, 130, I3I, I37• I39· I44, I55 Causation, Aristotelian, I7I Cavalier poetry, 134-35 Certeau, Michel de, I47-48 Chance, II4, n7, II9 Chandler, Alfred D., Jr., I93 Chatman, Seymour, 82-84, 85 Children, role in psychoanalytic theory of, 48-49, 51-54, 59-6I China, literary criticism in, 246n2 Chinese language, narrative effects of, 90,92 Christianity: marriage as madness in,

233-34; as source for concept of omniscience, 97-98 Citation, in literary history, I8I-83, IS)86, I87-89 Clairvoyance, seeTelepathy, in narration Clinton, Bill, 232 Close reading, 4 Cohen, Ralph, q6 Cohn, Dorrit, 93, 94 Colonialism, see Imperialism Communication systems: literary history as, I82-86, 193; narrative as, 179-80 Confession, 224-25, 229 Conftssions (Rousseau), 212 Conrad, Joseph, 21, 2I7 Consciousness: and death, so; Freudian view of, 49; of temporality, 4I -46 Corporations, postindustrial, I93 Creativity, trauma and, 48-49, 53-54 Criticism: and literature, xiii; and the occasion, 4-14 Crusoe, Robinson, 159-60, I62 Culler, Jonathan, 94-95 Culture, and literary history, I90-92 Darwin, Charles, 149 Daudet, Alphonse, 63, 74-75, 77-8o Daydreams, 66-So; and fiction, 73-80 Death: and finality, 165; and forgetting, 22-23; and language, 15-I7, 29-30; and representation, 23-25; speech acts and, 2I-22; waiting and the meaning of, 42-45 Death drive, 50-5I, 52-54 Debray, Regis, 147 Deconstruction, 4, 193 Deftnse ofPoetry (Shelley), I75 Defoe, Daniel, 13I-32 Deleuze, Gilles, 10 "de Man affair," 204, 217, 221 de Man, Paul, xxii, 16, III, 199, 203, 204, 205, 209, 2II, 2I2, 220, 223, 23I, 232 Derrida, Jacques, xxii, I3, roo, 102, 103, I27

Index Desire, and economic value, 161-62 Dickens, Charles, 99 Discourse, versus story, 83 Disinterestedness, and aesthetics, 136 Dreams, 47-49, 62-80 Durer, Albrecht, 151 Earle, Augustus, 149 Eco, Umberto, 166 Economics, and narrative, 157-73 Eden, 152, 155 Education, see Instruction, literary history and Efficiency, concept of, 165-67 Eichenbaum, Boris, q6 Eliot, George, 97, 99, ro8 Eliot, T. S., 175, 177, r87, 192 Ellul, Jacques, 174 Empiricism, 130 Epistle to Bathurst (Pope), 138 Epistle to Burlington (Pope), 138 Erskine-Hill, Howard, 131 Ethics, see Morality Ethics of reading, 195, 199, 203 Eve, 133-34, 135-36, 142, 151 Exchange, systems of, 19-20, 25-27 Fall (Bible), 131, 132-39, 151 Faulkner, William, nr-12, IIJ; "Bear, The," n9, 121, 126-127; Go Down Muses, II4-29; "Pantaloon in Black," 123-125, 127; "Was," II5-120, 123, 126 Ferguson, Margaret, 178 Fiction, see Literature Finitude, 228 First-person narration: compared to third-person narration, 85-87; double perspective in, 87-90; norms of focalization in, 81-85 Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 84-85, 89 Haubert, Gustave, roo Focalization, 81-92, 94; first- and thirdperson modes compared, 85-87; first-


person, 81-85, 87-90; and point of view, ro1-3, ro8; third-person, 90-91 Fontanier, Pierre, 215-16, 217 Forgetting, 196-97, 225. See also Memory Forgiveness, 231, 232-34 Formalism, in literary history, 175-76. See also Russian Formalism Forster, E. M., 99 Fort/da game, 42-43, 48-49, 51-53, 59 Foucault, Michel, 147, 155 Fractals, 8-ro, 1ro-n, 129 Freud, Sigmund, 42, 44; on dreams, 62So; games and psychoanalytic theory of, 59-61; and telepathy, roo; on trauma, 47-54 Games, 53, 6o-6r. See also Fort/da game; Play Gardens: English, 149, 152; French, 149 Gay, John, 141 Genette, Gerard, 81-82, 85, ro1 Genre study, 176 George I, King of England, 131 God, and omniscient narration, 95-96 Go Down Moses (Faulkner), n4-29 Goldsmith, Oliver, 153 Goux, Jean-Joseph, 171 Gray, Thomas, 175, 191, 192 Great Gatsby, The (Fitzgerald), 84-85, 89 Greek tragedy, So Gregory (Khalil Leite's friend), 55-59 Greimas, A. ]., 179-81, 186 Guattari, Felix, ro Guillory, John, 189 Hardy, Thomas, 99 Heidegger, Martin, 44, 167, 233 Heisenberg, Werner, 171 Hermeneutics, 176 Heterotopias, 147, 155 History: and economic value, 160, r62, 168-69; and historical periods, 145; literary history and, 177, 183, 189, 191-



92; and mimesis, 126; and poetics of techne, 175; and psychoanalysis, 52; and telepathy, 106; trauma and, 4849

History ofEnglish Literature (Taine), 175, 177 Hogarth, William, 131-32, 142-45, 14950, 151-53, 155; The Analysis ofBeauty title page, 148f, 154f Hi:ilderlin, Friedrich, 95, 212, 225 "Holderlin in America'', 204, 208-9, 233 Homer, 133, 135 Humanism, and aesthetics, 132, 143, 144 Ideology, III -12. See also Interpretive systems Iliad (Homer), 133, 135 Imperialism, 150-51, 153-56 Information systems, see Communication systems Information-theory model, 179 Inscription, see Interpretive systems Instruction, literary history and, 186-92 Interpretation ofDreams, The (freud), 62-73 Interpretive systems, no-29 Jacobites, 130-32, 139 Jakobson, Roman, 176 James, Henry, 13, 99, 100, 101; The Ambassadors, 86, 90-91; The Wings ofthe Dove, 15-30, 31-46 Jameson, Frederic, 160 Jauss, Hans Robert, 176, 183 Jevons, Stanley, 160 Joyce, James, 82, 222 judgment ofHercules (Shaftesbury), 134 Kafka, Franz, 2, 233 Kellogg, Robert, 96, 101 "Kids Alive and Loved", 54, 55 Kierkegaard, S0ren, 233-34 Knight, Richard Payne: The Landscape,

"Improved", 152f; The Landscape, "Unimproved", 150f Landscape: concept of, 148; and imperialism, 155-56; painting of, xi, xxii, 149-50; and politics in 18th-century England, 153; serpentine line in, 149 Laplace, Pierre Simon, 163, 164 Law, 205, 207 Lawrence, D. H., 99 Lefebvre, Henri, 147 Leite, Bernadette, 54-58 Leite, Khalil, 54-58 Letter to the Father (Kafka), 233 Levi-Strauss, Claude, ), 181 Lies, 20-22; and truth, 28-29. See also Perjury Life drive, 50-51, 52-54, 58, 6o Lift ofjohnson (Boswell), 95-96 rifted Veil The (Eliot), 97, 108 Lifton, Robert Jay, 52 Literary canon, 189 Literary history, 175 -94; as area studies, 191; citation in, 181-83, 185-86, 18789; as communication system, 18286, 193; and concept of tradition, 183; definition of, 176; and history, 177, 183, 189, 191 -92; and literal interpretation, 176-78, 185; as management of literature, q6-89; and national culture, 191-92; old and new compared, 175, 193-94; pragmatics of, 186-92; as quilting, 194; semantic structure of~ 179-86; as socialization ofliterature, 189-92; and works ofliterature, 184-85 Literature: Go Down Moses and concept of, n6, II7, 122, 126, 128-29; and history, 199; split point of view and essence of, 102-3, 109. See also Novels, and daydreams; Poetry, as lies Love, courtly, 135 Lubbock, Percy, I00-101

Index Madame Bovary (Flaubert), wo Mallarme, Stephane, n Mandeville, Bernard, 136 Mapping, 7 Marcuse, Herbert, I7 4 Margins: and desire, 161-62; and economic value, 163; marginal utility in economics, 157-65; and modernism, 161 Marriage, 232-34 Marshall, Alfred, 157-73 Martin, Wallace, 98, 101-2, 103 Marx, Karl, 159, 161, 164, r66 Mathematics, and economics, 160 Mayer, Arno, 170 McLuhan, Marshall, 2 Media, 218 Meek, Ronald, 159 Memory, 199-200; and trauma, 54-58; and understanding, 43-44. See also Forgetting Mercure de France, 204, 209 Merivale, Patricia, 105 Midnight's Children (Rushdie), 105-8 Mill, John Stuart, r62 Miller, j. Hillis, 3, 6-IO, 12-14,95, no12, 128, 145· 146, 147> 158-59· 165-66, 171, 198-205, 2II-12, 217, 223, 232 Milton, John, 144, 184; Paradise Lost, 132-35· 137-38, 141, 142, 152, 155 Mimesis, u6-2o, 123, 125-26 Mink, Louis, 163 Modernism, 161, 165, 167 Morality: and aesthetics, 133, 141, 144; judgments of, 29; and memory, 19697

Mrs Dalloway (Woolf), 103-5 Nancy, Jean-Luc, 15 Napoleon Bonaparte, 183 Narrative: versus abstraction, r6o, 16264, 169, 173; Chinese language effects in, 90, 92; as communication transmission, 179-80; as configurative,


165-69, 173; and daydreams, 66, 6768, 79-80; as foundation for literary history, 181; immanence and transcendence in, 165-66, 168; and lying, 21112, 216-17, 222; and neoclassical economics, 157-73; omniscience and totalizing view of, 97; and ordinary language, 158; as performative, xii; and scarcity, 158; and signs, 159; and waiting, 45-46 Narrative theory, 81-92, 93-109 National culture, see Culture, and literary history Networking, as metaphor for literary

history, 193 New Criticism, 4, 13 Newton, Isaac, 164 Nietzsche, Friedrich,


112, n5, 121

Norton Anthology ofEnglish Literature, 176, 181, 187, 191 Novels, and daydreams, 79-80 Novelty, and aesthetics, 137

Occasion, criticism and, 4-14 Omniscience, in narration, 94-98, roo101, 103, 105-6, I08 Otherness, n3-14, 123, 126 Oxford English Dictionary (OED), 215r6 Painting: European, 151; landscape, 14950 Paradise, see Eden Paradise Lost (Milton), 132-35, 137-38, 141, 142, 152, 155 Parjure, Le (Thomas), 196, 199, 204, 205, 208-33 Peirce, Charles Sanders, 166 Performative speech acts, 21-22 Perjury, 195-98, 200, 227; double aspect of, 206-7; legal aspect of, 205-6, 232-33; and Le Parjure, 2n-13; narrative and, 2II-12, 216-17, 222. See also Lies



Perspective, visual, 151 Picasso, Pablo, 161 Picturesque, 149, 150, 152 Pinochet, Augusto, 232 Place: concept of, 147; serpentine line in, 1)0 Plato, 120 Play, 54, 56-57. See also Games Poet, creative role of, 138, 144-45, 145 Poetics: versus aesthetics, 130, 138, 139, 144; of domain of techne, 175 Poetry, as lies, 176-77 Poets, as teachers, 187 Point of view, narrative, 82, 85-87; unity and disunity in, 101-9 Politics: and aesthetics, 130-32, 138, 144, 149, 150-51; and landscape in r8thcentury England, 153; Paradise Lost and, 155 Pope, Alexander, 149, 151; Rape ofthe Lock, 131-45 Poststructuralism, 193 Prince, Gerald, roo Principles ofEconomics (Marshall), 15773 "Progress of Poesy" (Gray), 175 Proust, Marcel, 7-ro, 13, 22, 28-29, 200; Remembrance ofThings Past, 810, 87-89, 201-3 Psychoanalysis: games and, 59-61; and literary criticism, 98-99, roo; and omniscient narration, 98-99; and play, 54; and telepathy, 99-100; trauma and model of, 51-52 Quilting, as metaphor for literary history, 194 Race, 120, 121, 123-25, 127, 129 Rape ofthe Lock (Pope), 131-45 Reading, see Ethics of reading; Interpretive systems Realism, see Mimesis Religion, 95; and aesthetics, 131-32, 138-

39, 144, 145. See also Catholicism; Christianity Remembrance ofThings Past (Proust), 810, 87-89 Repetition, and trauma, 49-54 Representation: death and, 23-25; indirect, I7 Rhetoric, classical, q8, 187 Ricardo, David, 164 Ricoeur, Paul, 163-64, 166, 171 Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith, 81, 82, 85 Ronell, Avital, 182 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 212, 225 Rushdie, Salman, 105-8 Russell, Bertrand, r61, 165, r67 Russian Formalism, 176, 192 Sade, Marquis de, n Sartiliot, Claudette, ro8 Satan, 133-34, 135-36, qr, 142, 151, 155 Saussure, Ferdinand de, n6, r61, 170 Schlegel, Friedrich, 200 Schmitt, Carl, 138 Scholes, Robert, 96, 101 Secondary revision, 68 Self-identity, see Subject (the "I") Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of, 130-39, 141, 144, 145, 253lll Shannon, Claude, 179-80 Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 174, 175, 176, 187, 191, 192 Shklovsky, Viktor, 176, 191 "Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, The" (Hemingway), 98 Sidney, Philip, 175-92 Signification, systems of, see Interpretive systems Smith, Adam, 161, 164, 172 Smock, Ann, 46 Sophocles, So, no Space: concept of, 147-48; serpentine line in, 149 Speech acts: and death, 21-22; as ex-

Index changes, 27; as lies, 20-21. See also Performative speech acts Stevens, Wallace, 165 Story, versus discourse, 83 Stravinsky, Igor, 161 Subject-object diagram, 179f, 186f Subject (the "I"), 197-98, 200, 207-8, 227, 229 Substitution, concept of, 170-71 Sundquist, Eric, 126 Swift, Jonathan, 139-41 Swiss Family Robinson, The (Wyss), 1213 Taine, Hippolyte, 175, 177, 192 Tansey, Mark, xxii Teachers, see Instruction, literary history and; Poets, as teachers Techne, technology versus technique in domain of, 174-75 Technology: concept of, 174-75; as perspective tor critiquing literary history, 175 Telepathy: in narration, 96-97, 99, IOI, I03, ro4-9; and psychoanalysis, 99IOO

Telephony, as metaphor for literary his~ tory, 182-86, 193 Temple, Minny, 24 Temporality, 31, 45· See also Time; Waiting Thackeray, William Makepeace, IOOI01 Thevenin, Paule, 204 Third-person narration: compared to first-person narration, 85-87; flexibility of focalization in, 90-91 Thomas, Henri, 204, 2II, 222, 232; Le Parjure, 196, 199, 204, 205, 208-33 Time: and narrative, 158, 163-65, 16869; and perjury, 206-8. See also Temporality Topographies (Miller), 7-8 Trackers, The (Sophocles), no


Tracking, as analogy for interpretation, no, n3-14, n8, 120-22, 125-26 Tradition, 183 "Tradition and the Individual Talent" (Eliot), 175 Tragedy, Greek, So Translation, 122, 125-26 Trauma, 47-61 Turner, J. M. W., xi, xxii Tynjanov, Jurij, 176 Ugliness, and aesthetics, 137, 143, 145 Ulysses (Joyce), 222 United States, see America University, see Academy Utopia, 147, 155

Vtznity Fair (Thackery), roo Virgil, 62, 181, 183 Visual, as metaphor in narrative theory, IOI-2

Voice, narrative, 82, 85, 101, 200 Waiting, 31-46, 172 Waller, Edmund, 135 Walpole, Sir Robert, 132 Walras, Leon, 158, r6r Wasserman, Earl, 133-34 Watkins, Evan, 175 Weaver, Warren, 179 Whig party, 130, 132, 137, 144 William III, King of England, 131 Williams, Raymond, 147 Winch, Donald, 158 Wings ofthe Dove, The (James), 15-30, 31-46 Wish-fulfillment, 66, 67-68, 71-73. So Woolf, Virginia, 99, r6r; Mrs Dalloway, ro3-5; A Sketch ofthe Past, 167-68 Woolston, Thomas, 132 Wordsworth, William, 150, 153, 183