Modernism and Affect 9780748693269

This collection reconsiders Modernism in the light of the humanities' affective turn" This book addresses an

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Modernism and Affect

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Modernism and Affect Edited by Julie Taylor

© editorial matter and organisation Julie Taylor, 2015 © the chapters their several authors, 2015 Edinburgh University Press Ltd The Tun – Holyrood Road 12(2f) Jackson’s Entry Edinburgh EH8 8PJ Typeset in 10.5/13 Adobe Sabon by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire, and printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon CR0 4YY A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 0 7486 9325 2 (hardback) ISBN 978 0 7486 9326 9 (webready PDF) ISBN 978 0 7486 9327 6 (epub) The right of Julie Taylor to be identified as Editor of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 (SI No. 2498).


List of Illustrations


Acknowledgements vi Notes on Contributors Introduction: Modernism and Affect Julie Taylor   1 Mind, Body and Embarrassment in Henry James’s The Awkward Age John Attridge   2 The Trauma of Form: Death Drive as Affect in À la recherche du temps perdu Robbie McLaughlan   3 Logic of the Heart: Affective Ethical Valuing in T. E. Hulme and Max Scheler Christos Hadjiyiannis   4 The Line that Binds: Climbing Narratives, Ropework and Epistolary Practice Abbie Garrington   5 The Amplification of Affect: Tension, Intensity and Form in Modern Dance Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy   6 Love and the Art Object Joanne Winning  7 Animating Cane: Race, Affect, History and Jean Toomer Julie Taylor   8 Fear and Precarious Life after Political Representation in Baudelaire Richard Cole

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94 111 131


­iv     Contents   9 Bloom-Space of Theory: The Pleasure and the Bliss of Gerty MacDowell Maria-Daniella Dick 10 From Odysseus to Rotpeter: Adorno and Kafka, Mimicry and Happiness Doug Haynes 11 Making Happy, Happy-making: The Eameses and Communication by Design Justus Nieland




Index 226

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6.1 Gluck, Medallion (1936). Reproduced by kind permission of Roy Gluckstein. 119 6.2 ‘Gluck Frame’. Reproduced by kind permission of Roy Gluckstein. 120 6.3 Eileen Gray, Monte Carlo Screen. Reproduced with kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland. 126 6.4 Rue de Lota Hallway. Reproduced with kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland. 128 11.1 ‘Happy in Furniture’, Architectural Design cover shoot, ©2014 Eames Office LLC ( 208 11.2 ‘What is a House?’ Arts & Architecture, July 1944, ©2014 Eames Office LLC (   209 11.3 A Communications Primer, ©2014 Eames Office LLC ( 211 11.4 ‘Art-X: Designer Pedagogy’, ©2014 Eames Office LLC ( 214 11.5 ‘Art-X / Sample Lesson brochure’ ©2014 Eames Office LLC ( 215 11.6 ‘Message Received: I Love You’, A Communications Primer, ©2014 Eames Office LLC ( 219


I owe thanks to Jackie Jones, Dhara Patel and the rest of the team at EUP for their help and advice in bringing the book to publication. I am very grateful to Felicity Marsh for her diligent copy-editing. I would like to thank all of the contributors, with whom I have felt privileged to work. Finally, my deepest thanks go to Simon Mussell for his indispensable support, both intellectual and affective. Julie Taylor Quotations from the Mallory/Holmes letters in Chapter 4 appear with kind permission of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Translations of Baudelaire by Barbara Johnson in Chapter 8 are reprinted by permission of The Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 10.2: 553-4. Images 6.1 and 6.2 and the quotations from Gluck’s unpublished papers that appear in Chapter 6 are reproduced by kind permission of Roy Gluckstein. Images 6.3 and 6.4 and the quotations from archival material by Eileen Gray in Chaper 6 are reproduced with kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland. All images and unpublished archival material by Charles and Ray Eames in Chapter 11 are ©2014 Eames Office LLC (

Notes on Contributors

Paul Atkinson teaches communications and media within the School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University, Australia. He has lectured and researched in a wide range of areas including critical theory, media studies, cinema studies, visual aesthetics, gender studies, performance studies and contemporary French philosophy. His published articles explore a range of topics including Bergsonism, cinema and foreseeability, modernism, affect theory and modern dance. He is currently working on a book and a series of articles that explore the relationship between processual theories of time, aesthetics, narrative and performance. John Attridge is a lecturer in English at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He is co-editor of Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception (2013), and his essays have appeared in journals such as Modernism/modernity, ELH and Modern Fiction Studies. He is completing a book entitled The Invisible Vocation: Modernism, Impressionism and Professional Society. Richard Cole is a doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta and a graduate of the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory. His recent and forthcoming essays appear in Cartographies of Exile (Routledge) and H.D. and Modernity (École normale supérieure). He is a commissioning editor at Wave Composition and serves on the editorial team for The Wallace Stevens Journal. Maria-Daniella Dick is a lecturer in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow. She is the co-author with Julian Wolfreys of The Derrida Wordbook (Edinburgh University Press, 2013) and has recently published on topics ranging from Shakespeare and Joyce to the theory of social networks, the latter in collaboration with Robbie McLaughlan.

­viii     Notes on Contributors Her research interests lie broadly in continental philosophy and comparative literature, and in late capitalism and technology. Michelle Duffy is a senior lecturer in sociology at Federation University, Australia. Her main research interests include the intersections of poststructuralist thought with festivals, music, community, affect, place and the body. Abbie Garrington is a lecturer in nineteenth- and twentieth century literature at Newcastle University. Primarily a modernist, her work considers representations of the body and its senses in the literature of the avant-garde and the literary history of expeditionary travel. Her first book was Haptic Modernism (Edinburgh University Press, 2013). Amongst other projects, she is now writing High Modernism: A Literary History of Mountaineering, 1890-1945, for which she has been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and a Visiting Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. A former leader with the British Exploring Society, she is soon to be found on expedition in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. Christos Hadjiyiannis is a Research Fellow in English Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford, where he works on a research project on modernism and conservatism in the period 1910-30. He has published essays on T. E. Hulme, Edward Storer and The Commentator; Hulme and Imagism; Ezra Pound and the London avant-garde; J. M. Kennedy; Richard Aldington; and Isaiah Berlin and anti-utopian politics. Doug Haynes teaches American literature at the University of Sussex. His research interests include modern and contemporary American writing and visual art, especially as they connect with critical theory. He has published essays on Thomas Pynchon, Nathanael West, Louise Bourgeois and Mike Kelley, amongst many others, exploring theories of economy, everyday life and the relationship between aesthetics and affects. He is currently working on a book on ‘black humour’ in modern American art and writing. Doug is also an editor of the journal Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon, and he currently serves on the executive committee of the British Association of American Studies. Robbie McLaughlan is currently a lecturer in postcolonial literature at Newcastle University. His first monograph, Re-Imagining the ‘Dark Continent’ in Fin de Siècle Literature, published by Edinburgh

Notes on Contributors     ix

University Press in 2012, canvassed the influence of nineteenth-century cartography on the nascent discipline of Freudian psychoanalysis. Justus Nieland is Professor of English at Michigan State University. He is the author of Feeling Modern: The Eccentricities of Public Life (University of Illinois Press, 2008), Film Noir: Hard-Boiled Modernity and the Culture of Globalization (Routledge, 2010), and David Lynch (University of Illinois Press, 2012). His current project is a study of film, design, and the modernist sensorium at mid-century. Julie Taylor lectures in American literature at Northumbria University. She is the author of Djuna Barnes and Affective Modernism (Edinburgh University Press, 2012) and her work on Barnes has also appeared in Modern Fiction Studies and Modernism/modernity. Her essay on Hart Crane’s queer intimacy will appear in the Winter 2014 edition of Twentieth Century Literature. Joanne Winning is a senior lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London. Her publications include The Pilgrimage of Dorothy Richardson (2000) and the edited Bryher: Two Novels (2000).

Introduction: Modernism and Affect Julie Taylor

From Walter Benjamin’s reports of the ‘fear, revulsion and horror’ aroused in early spectators of the metropolitan crowd to Thomas Hardy’s depiction of the ‘ache of modernism’, many of our most familiar accounts of modernity attend to its affective qualities (Benjamin 1982: 176; Hardy 1996: 130). It is well documented that modern life produced new shocks, stresses and excitements; new forms of tedium, distress and disappointment – an affective gamut exemplified by figures such as the innervated factory worker, the shell-shocked war veteran and the fervent revolutionary. We are also accustomed to thinking about the contested relationship between the historical phenomenon of modernity and the politics and aesthetics of modernism in broadly affective terms: the modernist art work might be understood as a space for processing or registering new traumas and new delights; as a vehicle to jolt its reader out of quotidian modes of perception; as a mournful or melancholic response to loss or a hopeful indexing of progress. As readers of modernism, we routinely find ourselves affected by its challenging forms; its capacities to bore, to frustrate, and to please. The eleven multidisciplinary chapters in Modernism and Affect invite us to dwell on such matters of affect and to put feeling at the heart of our thinking as we theorise modernism and modernity. The growing interest in affect within the humanities has drawn our attention to crucial aspects of modernist culture that seem to have been hidden in plain sight: while writing by modernists and their scholars has always been full of feelings, we have been slow to turn a critical eye towards them. However, recent works within modernist studies have suggested foundational links between affect and the structure of the modern itself. Jonathan Flatley has emphasised the melancholia of ­modernism, arguing that the ‘nowness’ of modernity implies a sense of anteriority that links it fundamentality to loss, while Heather Love has suggested that the ‘backward’ feelings of queer moderns (such as

­2     Julie Taylor pain, loss, trauma and melancholia) communicate a refusal of progress that highlights one of modernism’s central paradoxes: that ‘backwardness is a feature of even the most forward-looking modernist literature’ (Flatley 2008: 29; Love 2007: 6).1 In such understandings, then, the ‘modern’ emerges as an affective orientation towards history: affect is central to its constitution, its claims to newness and its ties to the past. If modernism’s affective dimensions have historically been underresearched, perhaps this is because scholars have tended to emphasise modernists’ aesthetic preferences for irony and detachment over embodied sentiment and their conviction, as Thomas Mann put it, that ‘art is a cold sphere’ (Wimsatt and Beardsley 2001: 1397). The traditional view of modernist aesthetics as cold, hard and cerebral is amply supported in some of the modernists’ most famous pronouncements about their projects. Writing in 1912, for example, Ezra Pound confidently predicts that twentieth-century poetry will be ‘harder and saner . . . as much like granite as it can be’, and he famously calls for a poetics that is ‘austere, direct, free from emotional slither’ (1954: 12). T. E. Hulme writes in similar terms when he celebrates a turn away from romanticism to a new classicism, a ‘period of dry, hard, classical verse’ that has ‘nothing to do with infinity, with mystery or with emotions’ (1936: 133). Such dismissals of feeling have been central to the rhetoric of rupture that has helped critics to retrospectively solidify modernism as a coherent ‘movement’: the affective coolness of modernism signifies its break from the immediate past (those gushing romantics and sentimental Victorians) and its break from the kitsch sentimentality of mass culture. The characterisation of one of modernism’s central theorists, Theodor W. Adorno, as the ‘theorist par excellence of the Great Divide’, has helped to secure such coldness as a measure of modernism’s mandarin opposition to the schmaltz of the ‘culture industry’ (Huyssen 1986: ix). Benjamin Kohlmann suggests as much in a recent attempt to address modernist melodrama: ‘Following Adorno’s claim in that the detached “aesthetic experience” (“ästhetische Erfahrung”) demanded by modernist texts excludes sentimentality and the “simulated feelings” of commodified “kitsch” . . . much scholarship about modernism has bracketed questions of affect and emotion’ (2013: 339). The gendered implications of this apparent allergy to emotion were recognised by Huyssen, who argued that the now disputed ‘Great Divide’ between modernism and mass culture was also an opposition, epitomised by Flaubert and his Emma Bovary, between the male artist (‘objective, ironic, and in control of his aesthetic means’) and woman as ‘a reader of inferior literature – subjective, emotional, and passive’ (1986: 46). Suzanne Clark has also emphasised how a masculine modernism was

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     3

defined against a feminised sentimentalism, but she makes the important point that many women modernists in fact challenged this dichotomy by preserving sentimental values such as ‘the appeal to feeling’ while also participating in ‘the revolution of the word’ (1991: 38). We can put feelings back into modernism, Clark suggests, by including writers whom the anti-sentimental bias excludes. But while restoring ‘the sentimental within modernism’ is clearly an important project, what if we were to suppose that modernism also offered distinct and varied affective theories of its own (ibid.: 4)? In Aesthetic Theory, for instance, Adorno makes claims that in fact complicate his better-known preferences for a ‘cognitive posture’ that is ‘more just to the aesthetic phenomenon’ than the ‘extra-aesthetic’ feelings provoked by art works (2004: 349). Within the same paragraph Adorno describes how the subject is ‘convulsed by art’, experiencing a distance-cancelling yet aesthetic ‘shudder’ (ibid.). Elsewhere in Aesthetic Theory, Adorno writes, ‘Ultimately, aesthetic comportment is to be defined as the capacity to shudder, as if goose bumps were the first aesthetic image’ (ibid.: 418). While kitsch and sentimentality are problematic for Adorno, embodied affect is quite central to his understanding of the aesthetic responses produced by modernist art. In the chapters that follow, compelling affective theories are indeed found in some of those thinkers most closely linked to the modernist distrust of emotion, including Adorno (Chapter 10) and Hulme (Chapter 3). Addressing both canonical texts and those that have historically been on the margins of modernist scholarship, this collection contributes to the rethinking of modernist affect as more various and complex than either a blanket rejection of feeling or an unexpected, against-the-grain participation in romantic or sentimental emotion. Central to the image of an anti-emotional modernism is the figure of T. S. Eliot, especially in his role as literary critic and as one of the writers most firmly associated with the New Criticism, a movement often treated as ‘merely a more systematic, more philosophical, or more academic articulation of formalist undercurrents within modernism’ (Menand and Rainey 2000: 3). The New Critics’ anxiety about embodied feeling is famously expressed in Wimsatt and Beardsley’s 1949 attack on a ‘physiological form of affective criticism’ in ‘The Affective Fallacy’ (2001: 1395). Here ‘goose-flesh’ appears again (Emily Dickinson’s this time) but for these authors such corporeal responses are not fit signs of ‘aesthetic comportment’ (ibid.). Wimsatt and Beardsley’s essay does not condemn feeling in criticism per se: rather it demonstrates concern about an irrational, unstructured and embodied form of affect, attacking criticism that fails to give ‘an account of the reasons for emotion’ but writes instead of ‘tears, prickles, or other physiological symptoms, of feeling

­4     Julie Taylor angry joyful, hot, cold, or intense, or of vaguer states of emotional disturbance’ (ibid.: 1399). While ‘translatable emotive formulas’ are permissible because they produce ‘classical objectivity’, vague ‘cognitively untranslatable’ feelings can only lead to ‘romantic reader psychology’ (ibid.: 1398). This anxiety about uncontained and untranslatable affect is indeed evident in Eliot’s notion of the ‘objective correlative’ as defined in ‘Hamlet and His Problems’ (1919), where Eliot complains that the play fails because Hamlet’s emotion is ‘in excess of the facts as they appear’; the ‘external’ evidence for it is insufficient (1997: 86). ‘The intense feeling, ecstatic or terrible, without an object or exceeding its object’ is appropriate as ‘study to pathologists’, but such uncontained emotion is not suitable for serious literature, which requires an ‘objective correlative’: ‘a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion’ (ibid.: 87, 85). But even here the story is not so straightforward: recent studies have started to question this characterisation of Eliot, emphasising instead the complex affective theories that inhere in his writing. In ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ (1919), his most seized-upon prescription for modernist aesthetics, Eliot mandates the separation of the suffering man and the impersonal poet, yet Anthony Cuda suggests that the essay ‘also describes the poet in terms of passivity and emotional sensitivity’ (2010: 6). This ‘passivity’ is crucial to Cuda’s theory of modernist affect: he resuscitates a classical meaning of ‘passion’ that associates it less with the idea of vehement feeling and more to its Latin root, passio (‘to suffer’ or ‘to be moved’). Cuda argues that modernists were interested in the creative potential of states of receptive passivity and that many important characteristics of modernism ‘arise in part from an urgent desire among writers to meaningfully encounter powerlessness, to both know and feel what it means to be the moved instead of the mover’ (ibid.: 5). Rochelle Rives argues for a more radically desubjectivised view of modernist affect in Modernist Impersonalities, which suggests that the impersonality celebrated in ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ does not lead to an absence of feeling but forces us to think about affect without personhood. Drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, Rives examines versions of modernist impersonality which ‘do not necessarily preclude forms of affect and attachment that dismantle authority precisely by diminishing the “person” as the “condition of possibility”’ (2012: 9–10). Furthermore, Eliot’s ‘Tradition’ theorises a mode of ‘poetic emotion’ (as opposed to ‘personal emotion’) that gains ‘intensity only in the absence of expression’ (ibid.: 12). Rives draws on Eliot’s definition of ‘poetic emotion’ as a ‘concentration which does not happen consciously or of deliberation’ to argue that the poet

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understands emotion as an impersonal ‘form of affect that cannot be expressed, recollected, collated, or analyzed’ (ibid.: 13). While Charles Altieri makes a similar reading of Eliot in The Particulars of Rapture, the pertinent distinction for him is between ‘emotion’ and ‘feeling’: for modernists the emotions ‘seemed beyond repair’, ‘contaminated’ by their association with rhetoric and with explanatory plots [that] made them seem irreducibly self-theatricalizing. The feelings, on the other hand, could be honoured for a subtlety and fluidity impossible to stage within socially approved abstractions. When feelings did involve intentionality, they contoured the imagination to the sensation and not the sensation to gesture and posture and belief. (2004: 50)

Eliot rejected the plottedness of emotion but embraced feelings, which, in Altieri’s distinction, are ‘woven into the rending of sensations’ (ibid.: 272 n. 24). Ultimately, like Rives (but adopting a distinct vocabulary), Altieri makes the case for Eliot’s impersonal affect: ‘Because of that closeness to sensation, he thought feeling afforded intensities and attachments, much less bound than emotions to the illusory project of constructing individual egos’ (ibid.: 50). All three re-readings of Eliot go beyond merely identifying or rejecting the presence of emotion to contribute to a growing appreciation of the particularities and idiosyncrasies of modernist affect.2 The distinctions between subjective emotion and more impersonal forms of affect made by Rives and Altieri find support in Justus Nieland’s more extended claims about the ‘publicness’ of modernist affect in Feeling Modern. Drawing on a wide range of avant-garde and popular twentieth-century works, Nieland points to ‘modernism’s acute attentiveness to the potential of unstructured feeling’, suggesting that modernists were demonstrably concerned with non-instrumental approaches to affect and with ‘affective states irreducible to reason’ (2008: 21). Crucially, Nieland makes a case for understanding modernist feeling in public rather than interiorised terms, for a modernism ‘obsessed with the kinds of eccentric feelings that worry the boundaries of identity and their reification in bourgeois social forms predicated on possessive individualism’ (ibid.: 21). In understanding ‘publicness’ in affective and corporeal terms as ‘a tentative phenomenology of the public world’, Nieland participates in a broader turn within cultural criticism to understand embodied experience and emotion as located within social, political, and historical fields rather than sequestered within the ‘private’ domain (ibid.: 7).3 Modernist feeling as articulated by Rives, Altieri and Nieland constitutes a challenge to humanist understandings of selfhood and psychology in line with recent formulations of ‘affect’ (often in contradistinction

­6     Julie Taylor to ‘emotion’) as a mode of thinking about feeling beyond the subject and beyond expressivity and intentionality. The broader concern with affect within the humanities has helped provide new paradigms, vocabularies and shades of distinction as we re-think modernist feeling. In turn, the chapters in Modernism and Affect contribute to this wider project as they offer nuanced models of modernism’s affective dimensions. However, as is clear from the examples discussed above, where terms like ‘emotion’, ‘affect’, ‘feeling’ and ‘passion’ all take on distinct meanings and relationships to one another, we should not assume that this work is united by a single, shared lexicon. Just as we are now used to thinking of a plurality of modernisms, we must also preserve (for the same reasons of capaciousness, openness and concern for particularity) a competing and overlapping cluster of terms surrounding affect. As Seigworth and Gregg write in their introduction to The Affect Theory Reader, There is no single, generalizable theory of affect . . . If anything, it is more tempting to imagine that there can only ever be infinitely multiple iterations of affect and theories of affect: theories as diverse and singularly delineated as their own highly particular encounters with bodies, affects, worlds. (2010: 3–4)

In Modernism and Affect, ‘affect’ is an umbrella term that, in the chapters that follow, means different things for different authors and is mobilised in varying relation to a set of additional terms. The turn towards affect and emotion is evident across numerous disciplines – literary and cultural studies, history, sociology, politics, philosophy, psychology, neurobiology, cognitive science – constituting part of theory’s broader re-engagement with questions of embodiment and matter. Beginning in the mid-nineties, this concern with materiality may be understood in part as a reaction to the preceding ‘linguistic turn’ in theory and the perceived limitations of constructionist views of the body. Brian Massumi, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Adam Frank, the authors of the two 1995 essays whose appearance is signaled as ‘the watershed moment’ by Seigworth and Gregg, position their work in response to the apparent deficiencies of post-structuralism and deconstruction (ibid.: 5).4 While acknowledging post-structuralism’s insights ‘concerning the coextensiveness of culture with the field of experience and of power with culture’, Massumi expresses his dissatisfaction with the emphasis on subjects over bodies, on ‘positionality’ over movement (2002: 4). While post-structuralist ‘discursive’ bodies might signify and make sense, they don’t sense: ‘Sensation is utterly redundant to their description. Or worse, it is destructive to it, because it appeals to an

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     7

unmediated experience’ (ibid.: 2). A return to the materiality of the body must therefore involve a departure from ‘the linguistic model at the basis of the most widespread concepts of coding’ (ibid.: 4). Similarly, Sedgwick and Frank, registering their frustration with what they call the ‘good dog/bad dog rhetoric’ of mid-nineties theory, posit their revival of Silvan S. Tomkins’s work as a challenge to post-structuralism’s discursive understandings of affect and, moreover, to the ‘automatic antibiologism’ that had become ‘the unshifting central tenet of “theory”’ (1995: 5, 15). However, Rei Terada (2001) has complicated this opposition by arguing that deconstruction has much to tell us about emotion, revealing a surprising continuity in discourse (if not ideology) between classical theories of emotion and post-structuralist linguistic philosophy. In their contributions to this collection, Cole and Dick further explore the complex relationship between post-structuralism and affect theory. In the context of affect in particular, theory’s apparent return to the body can also be viewed as a divergence from the dominant trend in the philosophy of emotions, which is to view emotions as forms of cognition and judgement rather than corporeal sensations. The basic view that emotion is intertwined with thought and reason goes back to Aristotle, but it has found further consensus among contemporary philosophers who suggest that emotions are not ‘dumb’ but rather involve appraisals and judgements and find their content in ideas and beliefs.5 This cognitive view challenges a physiological understanding of emotion that originated with Descartes and finds one of its most influential expressions in the James-Lange theory, named for the American psychologist and philosopher William James and the Danish psychologist Carl G. Lange. According to this theory, which is discussed in this collection by Attridge (Chapter 1) and Atkinson and Duffy (Chapter 5) and has been influential in contemporary theories of affect, emotion is not an ideational judgement but instead exists in the intersection between mind and body as the perception of physiological change. So, we don’t weep because we feel sorry, for instance, but rather feel sorry because we weep; we don’t tremble because we are fearful, but rather the feeling of trembling is fear. One of the distinctions between ‘affect’ and ‘emotion’ therefore relates to the association with non-intentional corporeality implied by the former, an association that becomes more emphatic if ‘emotion’ is more firmly tethered to ideas of rational judgement. However, if affect is visceral and corporeal it is not contained within the body: affective bodies are ‘defined not by an outer skin-envelope or other surface boundary but by their potential to reciprocate or co-participate in the passages of affect’ (Seigworth and Gregg 2010: 2). The differentiation between affect and emotion is also therefore a question of where feeling

­8     Julie Taylor is located. As Sianne Ngai writes, the distinction arose out of a practical need to differentiate between third- and first-person representations of feeling within the psychoanalytic scene, ‘with “affect” designating feeling described from an observer’s (analyst’s) perspective, and “emotion” designating feeling that “belongs” to the speaker or analysand’s “I”’ (2005: 25). While we speak of ‘having’ an emotion, we tend to acknowledge something less contained and personalised when we talk about being ‘affected’ by something or someone. The word ‘emotion’ originates in the Latin emovere (‘to move out’) suggesting that it is the property of an expressive subject. Affect, however, suggests contingency and relationality, betweenness and contact: for Spinoza, whose Ethics has figured prominently in recent theories of affect, affectus is the capacity to affect and be affected, an idea echoed in Seigworth and Gregg’s claim that ‘affect arises . . . in the capacities to act and be acted upon’ (2010: 1). However, as I have already suggested, many thinkers associated with the ‘affective turn’ do not place great emphasis on the affect/emotion distinction, and a significant number use the terms as near synonyms. Sara Ahmed, for instance, preserves ‘emotion’ while understanding this word in non-expressive terms that we might consider ‘affectual’, describing her book The Cultural Politics of Emotion as ‘an analysis of affective economies, where feelings do not reside in subjects or objects, but are produced as effects of circulation’ (2004: 8). While Sedgwick acknowledges that Tomkins describes a clear distinction between affects and emotions – ‘a limited number of affects – analogous to the elements of a periodic table – combine to produce what are normally thought of as emotions, which, like the physical substances formed from the elements, are theoretically unlimited in number’ (2003: 25 n. 1) – Sedgwick and Frank tend to use ‘affect’ and ‘emotion’ interchangeably in the course of their writing. However, the affect/emotion distinction is axiomatic for Massumi, who argues that the two concepts ‘follow different logics and pertain to different orders’ (2002: 27). In his influential theorisation, affect is an ‘irreducibly bodily and autonomic’ force or ‘intensity’; it should be understood as emergent and processual, an unformed and unstructured potentiality rather than a concrete phenomenon (ibid.: 28). As Atkinson and Duffy explain in Chapter 5, Massumian affect ‘passes through bodies as a continuum of changes in intensity and qualitative variation and as such is always “situated” but never self-identical’. Affect is unqualified, uncontained and unrecognizable: once it is becomes so its intensity diminishes and so follows ‘the capture and closure of affect. Emotion is the most intense (most contracted) expression of that

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     9

capture’ (ibid.: 35). Conversely, emotion is intensity qualified by insertion into the semiotic and semantic; it is affect that has become narrativisable, given ‘function and meaning’ so that it can be owned; it is ‘the sociolinguistic fixing of the quality of an experience which is from that point onward defined as personal’ (ibid.: 28). Massumi’s theory of affect as immanence is principally derived from a Bergsonian vitalism and Spinozist philosophy of the mind and body as read through Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. But in its emphasis on extra-linguistic intensity, on affect as that which can ‘transform and translate under or beyond meaning, semantics, fixed systems, cognitions’, Massumi’s work, like that of Lawrence Grossberg (1992), also has certain commonalities with Raymond Williams’s influential concept of ‘structures of feeling’ (Bertelson and Murphie 2010: 147). Williams’s phrase, coined in his 1977 book Marxism and Literature, has seen renewed interest in the turn to affect over the last two decades. Williams, concerned with the difficulties of capturing the present as it unfolds, developed the term to distinguish ‘forming and formative processes’ from the ‘institutions, formations, and experiences’ that have hardened into ‘formed wholes’ (1977: 128). Crucially, like Massumi’s affects, ‘structures of feeling’ are processual and unfixed and operate ‘at the very edge of semantic availability’ (ibid.: 134). Quite distinct from these models of affect is that found in Tomkins’s major work, Affect, Imagery, Consciousness.6 One crucial variance is ‘a certain inside-out/outside-in difference in directionality’: while the Deleuzian scheme favoured by Massumi construes affect as ‘an entire, vital, and modulating field of myriad becomings across human and nonhuman’, for Tomkins affect is ‘the prime “interest” motivator that comes to put the drive in bodily drives’ (Seigworth and Gregg 2010: 6). Rooted in the postwar vogue for systems theory or ‘cybernetics’ discussed by Nieland in Chapter 11, Tomkins understands affects as operating within a ‘feedback’ mechanism whereby they interact or ‘co-assemble’ with drives and other biological systems, including other affects. Tomkins reverses the Freudian model whereby affects are considered subordinate to the drives: ‘the primary motivational system is the affect system, and the biological drives have motivational impact only when amplified by the affective system’ (2008: 4). Affects act in accordance with a differentiated or ‘analog’ model to amplify or diminish drives, which operate according to an on/off or ‘digital’ model. Furthermore, unlike drives, affects may find any object, so that ‘there is literally no kind of object which has not been historically been linked to one or another of the affects’ (ibid.: 74). While for Massumi ‘affect’ is paradigmatically unqualified intensity,

­10     Julie Taylor another distinguishing feature of Tomkins’s theory is that it proposes a finite but highly recognisable and classifiable series of affects: the positive affects of Interest-Excitement and Enjoyment-Joy; a ‘resetting’ affect: Surprise-Startle; and the negative affects of Distress-Anguish, Fear-Terror, Shame-Humiliation, Anger-Rage, Contempt/Dismell and Disgust. Indeed, for Sedgwick and Frank, this qualification, Tomkins’s ‘finitely many’ affects, is one of the most valuable features of his theory, differentiating it from purely constructivist models which work only on the basis of ‘the presence or absence of some reified substance called Affect’ (1995: 17). What Sedgwick and Frank find in Tomkins is, therefore, ‘theoretical room for any difference between, say, being amused, being disgusted, being ashamed, and being enraged’ (ibid.). While Tomkins’s theory of affect has been taken up in its entirety by fewer scholars than Massumi’s Deleuzian-Spinozist version, what is evident in much recent work on the affects, including many of the chapters in this collection, is a critical desire to identify particular feelings.7 While some affect theorists have been concerned with how ‘the opening of affect is closed, reduced, and contained in familiar processes of naming and classifying’, the opposite risk might be that we are unable to talk about how and why it is that affect really matters to us (Anderson 2010: 163). The kinds of feelings that have mattered to critics in the turn to affect have been diverse. Philip Fisher, for instance, has explored the ‘strong, coarse, or violent states’ (like fear, anger and grief) that have traditionally commanded the attention of philosophers of emotions (2002: 18). Yet recent work also responds to Virginia Woolf’s call for ‘a new hierarchy of the passions’, exploring less grand, less noble and generally less intentional feelings than Fisher’s ‘vehement passions’ (Woolf 2002: 7). In Ugly Feelings, Ngai explores the kind of non-prestigious ‘explicitly amoral and noncathartic’ emotions that have received relatively little attention, such as envy, paranoia, irritation and the ‘animatedness’ I discuss in Chapter 7 (2005: 6). In terms of modernist affect in particular, Sara Crangle has emphasised the significance of the prosaic and quotidian, arguing that modernism ‘foregrounds and celebrates human passions that are emphatically banal, nebulous, ephemeral, but nevertheless fundamental’ (2010: 5). Furthermore, discussions of affect have also been animated by the concurrence of the prosaic and the grand. In An Archive of Feelings, Ann Cvetkovich attends to the ‘everyday’ traumas of queer life that have historically been neglected in favour of major historical catastrophes, yet also juxtaposes high- and low-degree affects, placing ‘moments of extreme trauma alongside moments of everyday emotional distress’ (2003: 3, 7). The explorations of bliss, pleasure, and happiness advanced in this

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     11

collection (Chapters 9, 10 and 11) contribute to a significantly underresearched area: much of the recent work on affect and the affects of modernism more specifically has, perhaps unsurprisingly, tended to focus on negative feelings such as trauma, shame and melancholia. Enda Duffy, taking seriously Aldous Huxley’s claim that speed is modernity’s only new pleasure, has attempted to ‘outline a grammar of this p ­ leasure . . . to describe its thrills and excitements’; yet such a concern with pleasure qua pleasure is quite unusual in modernist studies (2009: 4). As the title of Laura Frost’s book, The Problem With Pleasure, suggests, feeling good does not come easily for modernists.8 Indeed, Frost argues that modernist pleasure is redefined as a form of ‘unpleasure’, a form of hard-won gratification that is opposed to easy, accessible, direct (and normally somatic) satisfactions but that ‘can also be ironic and funny and offer engagements and intensities on par with pleasure’ (2013: 6–7). If scholars have paid less attention to the positive affects they have, in many cases, emphasised the usefulness of feeling bad. Shame, always an ambivalent affect in Tomkins’s reading, has been put to use by numerous critics, many of them working within queer theory, who have sought to problematise the contemporary emphasis on pride. Sedgwick (2003), Stockton (2006), and Probyn (2005) have, for instance, all emphasised how shame might actually be a vital resource for sociability and community. Similarly, the productive or ethical dimensions of mourning and melancholia are discussed in works by Eng and Kazanjian (2002) and Cheng (2001) and, within modernist studies, by Flatley (2008), Moglen (2007), Rae (2007) and Clewell (2009). Flatley finds within modernism an antitherapeutic but also antidepressive aesthetic response to melancholia; a defamiliarising or ‘self-estranging’ attention to negative experience that is ‘neither cathartic, compensatory, nor redemptive’ (2008: 5). Modernist melancholia is thus refigured as an engagement with the world: crucially, feeling is not opposed to thinking but rather feeling bad becomes a knowledge-producing activity that may provide ‘evidence of the historicity of one’s subjectivity’ (ibid.: 3). The question of to what extent affect (negative or otherwise) can be transformative, productive or diagnostic informs, at some level, much of the work in Modernism and Affect. While this introduction cannot do justice to the full range of approaches within recent work on affect, the chapters that follow give a sense of the diversity in contemporary thinking about feeling, together addressing affects that range from negative to positive, grand to prosaic, public to private and possess varying degrees of corporeality, intentionality and structure. The variety of forms and media and the historical span of the works explored in this collection are similarly diverse,

­12     Julie Taylor c­ orresponding to the expanded horizons offered by the ‘new modernist studies’. The chapters that follow consider the affective dimensions of literature, philosophy, visual art, design, dance and architecture, from the beginnings of modernism in the nineteenth century to the period following World War II. The collection begins with John Attridge’s chapter on The Awkward Age (1899), which reads Henry James’s proto-modernism in the context of fin de siècle mental science and its preoccupation, most evident in theories of emotion, with the materiality of the mind. Attridge contributes to recent accounts that challenge the commonplace equation between psychological depth and James’s transition to modernist novel, arguing that The Awkward Age represents mental life – and in particular awkwardness – as public behavior rather than ‘introspection, self-presence and interiority’. In a similar fashion to late-Victorian mental scientists (including his brother, William), James was concerned with finding a vocabulary for representing mental life in physical terms, demonstrating the interrelation of mind and body. Attridge argues that James’s use of a behavioural rather than expressive vocabulary for embarrassment determines the shape of the novel’s plot and forms part of its critique of a Victorian prudery that presupposes a mind–matter separation. Attridge’s consideration of nineteenth-century theories of embodied emotion is followed by two chapters that explore modernist feeling in relation to two other contexts that have informed, in diverse ways, contemporary reflections on affect: psychoanalysis and phenomenology. Theorists of affect (including Deleuze, Guattari and Tomkins) have often positioned themselves against Freudian psychoanalysis, and in Chapter 2, Robbie McLaughlan brings contemporary Deleuzian understandings of affect into dialogue with those found in Freud. Arguing that Freud’s ‘theorising of affect in many ways underpins the psychoanalytic project’, McLaughlan argues that, when seen through a Freudian lens, the sensory ‘planes of immanence’ or perpetual becomings celebrated in contemporary affect theory resemble the repetition compulsion of trauma. The death drive is made explicit when we are confronted with ‘the molecular, atomised or becoming’ and is manifested in the act of artistic creation. Following Derrida’s reading of Freud in The Postcard, McLaughlan formulates a psychoanalytic theory of the uncanny and traumatic affects of writing in relation to Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, ‘a text that makes manifest thanatos as a source of affect’. In Chapter 3, Christos Hadjiyiannis invites a reconsideration of Hulme’s apparent anti-emotionalism by emphasising the influence of Max Scheler’s phenomenology on Hulme’s war writing. Hadjiyiannis stresses the affective response to trench warfare evident in Hulme’s per-

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     13

sonal correspondence and in the poem, ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’. This poem, which captures the negative affects aroused by trench warfare, also suggests the necessity of fighting, and is read by Hadjiyiannis in the light of Hulme’s account of the revelation of objective ethical values through affective experience in his ‘War Notes’ and ‘A Notebook’. Hulme takes his term for this affective ethics – ‘logique du coeur’ – from Pascal, but his most significant debt is, Hadjiyiannis argues, to Scheler, for whom ethical values are both revealed and hierarchically ordered through acts of feeling, a phenomenology echoed in Hulme’s attack of pacifism. The next two chapters pay particular attention to forms of movement and contact between affective bodies, focusing on dynamics of relationality, space and corporeality. In Chapter 4, Abbie Garrington considers the physical and emotional intimacies of both epistolary practice and the rope belay of mountaineering as affective ‘binding lines’, examples of the body’s ‘webbed relations’. These two activities are brought together in the figures of Virginia Woolf and the mountaineer and letter writer George Mallory, as Garrington figures both climbing and epistolary practice as forms of textual and somatic contact in which brain, body and world are intertwined. Garrington explores the connection between these two tactile and reciprocal acts – and the connections produced between a letter-writing woman and the climbers she observes – in Woolf’s late, Alpine story ‘The Symbol’. In Chapter 5, Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy consider affect as corporeal tension and intensity in two modernist works by the Ballets Russes, Massine’s Parade (1917) and Nijinsky’s L’après-midi d’un faune (1912). Following Massumi’s theory of affect as an ‘autonomous’ intensity and Susan Langer’s similarly transcorporeal notion of a ‘continuum of feeling’, Atkinson and Duffy explore forms of dance in which affect is grounded in the material gestures of the body, located in the tensions required to create these abstract forms. Atkinson and Duffy argue that feeling was not suppressed in avant-garde dance but rather depersonalised and de-psychologised, following a different logic from the model of emotion as self-expression that dominated classical ballet in the nineteenth century. Chapters 6 and 7 are both concerned with questions of affect and subjectivity and, in their respective examinations of sexual dissidence and race, focus on artists who have historically been marginalised in accounts of modernism. In Chapter 6 Joanne Winning discusses how lesbian modernists oppose ideas of artistic impersonality through imbricating intimate affects in the production of their art objects (including literary texts, paintings, houses and interiors). Winning’s chapter – which engages both Michael Hardt’s notion of ‘corporeal reason’ and

­14     Julie Taylor the object relations psychoanalysis of D. W. Winnicott and Marion Milner – argues that Virginia Woolf, Gluck and Eileen Gray demonstrate an intense concern with the materiality of artistic production. This preoccupation with ‘stuff’ conveys a visceral, affective appreciation of their art, which serves as a realm in which transgressive sexual desires and identities may be safely articulated. From Gray’s lacquered surfaces to Gluck’s plasticine frames, these modernist art objects are ‘saturated with affect’, serving as ‘tangible, material expressions of bodily and emotional intimacy’. In Chapter 7 I explore the Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer’s critical deployment of a racist stereotype that links African American subjectivity to extreme emotional expressiveness. In his 1923 experimental volume Cane, Toomer not only invites readers to question whether such affects ‘belong’ to the subject but also employs these stereotypes to offer an embodied, affective history of American racism. Leaning on Ngai’s concept of racial ‘animatedness’, which captures the slippage from vitality and exuberance to a powerless, puppet-like state of innervated, non-intentional agitation, I suggest that Toomer uses affective stereotypes to diagnose the powerlessness of his subjects and to narrate a traumatic history in which persons are confused with things. In Chapter 8, Richard Cole explores the connections between public knowledge and public emotion and the question of what counts as intelligible or ‘common’ life in two lyrics from Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal (1868) – ‘Correspondance’ and its re-reading in ‘Obsession’ – and a series of related texts by Paul de Man, Edgar Allan Poe and Walter Benjamin. Bringing these texts together to produce a genealogy of modern fear, Cole considers how a Benjaminian ‘pure poetry’ or arresting expressionlessness ‘retrieves and re-enacts the differences between representational copies of fear and sensory responses to fear, disclosing a defensive motion in modernity between ideology and affective life’. In his reading of de Man, Cole invites us to reconsider the place of affect within post-structuralism, a project continued by Maria-Daniella Dick in Chapter 9. Dick offers a critique of affect theorists’ attempts to situate the novelty of their discourse in its separation from poststructuralist linguistic philosophies, a separation that ‘takes the character of a disavowal rather than an observation’. Dick interrogates the construction of affect as a form of extra-linguistic excess, arguing that the ‘Nausicaa’ episode of Ulysses ‘allows for a reconsideration of affect as a non-pure or non-originary state in its relation to modernity’. Turning to Barthes’s The Pleasure of the Text to explore the continuities between his elaboration of jouissance and contemporary descriptions of affect, Dick considers Ulysses as both a ‘text of jouissance’ (under-

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     15

stood by Barthes not as non-linguistic excess but rather as excess ‘born of the signifying plurality of the text’) and as a less radical ‘text of plaisir’, mimetic of affect. Ultimately, Ulysses refuses to separate literal and textual jouissance and posits the processual, unfixed, and material nature of language itself, thus challenging theories in which affect is formulated in opposition to (fixed) semiosis. Dick’s focus on pleasure and bliss leads the way for two final chapters on happiness, ‘that notoriously fuzzy affective complex of well-being, contentment and pleasure’, as Nieland puts it. In Chapter 10 Doug Haynes considers an Adornian form of happiness that might be found in the ‘correspondence between the poles of instinct and culture’, a happiness that is not a simple return to nature but an appreciation of pre-human animal pleasure that can only be realised from a retrospective lapsarian position of ‘properly socialised’ reason. This ‘advanced, if indolent happiness’ is a non-identitarian ‘happiness in alterity’ that stands in sharp contrast with the forms of modern bourgeois satisfaction anachronistically typified for Adorno and Horkheimer in the figure of Odysseus, who has relinquished primal happiness. Haynes explores the ‘affective intertwinement’ of nature and reason in Kafka’s ‘A Report to an Academy’ (1917), which demonstrates the absence of an enlightened sociality that might enable the happiness immanent in nature to be ‘redeemed’. In the final chapter, Justus Nieland considers modernism at midcentury through the iconic designed objects, practice and public image of Charles and Ray Eames. While the idea of happiness that circulates through such objects and images can be seen as a way of orienting consumers towards the postwar American ‘good life’, Nieland suggests that it is ‘ultimately more instructive as a model of production’, a form of happy-making indebted to the Bauhaus tradition and to modernist notions of the seriousness and difficultly of artistic pleasure. Nieland focuses on the Eameses’ short film A Communications Primer (1953) to consider their ‘happy-making as a kind of making happy’, where happiness is not connected to freedom or self-expression but rather ‘requires calculation’. The Eameses find in postwar materials and technologies a therapeutic, compensatory or ‘biomorphic’ happiness produced in the shadow of the bomb, demonstrating a hope to manage contingency through scientific accuracy and technique. Nieland’s chapter allows us to consider how modernism continues to signify at mid-century, its legacies informing the postwar production and circulation of affect.

­16     Julie Taylor

Notes 1. In a similar vein, I have argued that Djuna Barnes’s modernist relationship to literary history corresponds to the temporal and epistemological structures of particular affective experiences, such as the belatedness of trauma and the ambivalence of shame (see Taylor 2012). 2. While I have focused on Eliot as an exemplary figure who unites these recent works, their scope extends well beyond Eliot and (in Altieri’s case) beyond modernism. 3. A consideration of public emotion has figured in much recent work on gender, sexuality, race, class and disability in which affect is explored in the course of examining the connections between material existence, power, normativity and the social. Such work should be considered as a crucial part of the humanities’ ‘affective turn’. See, for example, politically engaged theories of emotion in Ahmed 2004 and Ngai 2005; Lauren Berlant’s ongoing exploration of intimate publics, including her ‘national sentimentality’ project (1991; 1997; 2008); discussions of affect and queer politics in Cvetkovich 2003, Love 2007 and Crimp 1989; the examination of race, ethnicity, queerness, performativity and affect in Muñoz 1999; 2000. 4. These essays are Sedgwick and Frank’s ‘Shame in the Cybernetic Fold’ and Massumi’s ‘The Autonomy of Affect’. In the following discussion I refer to these works as they subsequently appear in book format. 5. For examples of the view of emotion as cognition, see De Sousa 1987, Greenspan 1988 and Nussbaum 2001. For a recent study of modernist emotion that explores Nussbaum’s cognitive approach, see Martin 2013. 6. Volumes 1 and 2 of Affect, Imagery, Consciousness were published in 1962–3; Volumes 3 and 4 were published posthumously in 1991–2. 7. ‘Although Tomkins’s work has been put to serious use by both Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Adam Frank . . . it remains relatively little taken up in the United States and virtually unknown in Europe’ (Gibbs 2010: 118). Although Gibbs perhaps overstates the case slightly (Tomkins’s work has been explored in important works by Flatley 2008 and Ngai 2005, for instance), there is still only a relatively small number of studies that lean on Tomkins’s theory. 8. For a further problematisation of happiness see Ahmed 2010, which critiques the social imperative for happiness and demonstrates how this demand justifies forms of oppression.

References Adorno, Theodor W. [1970] (2004), Aesthetic Theory, trans. Robert HullotKentor, London: Continuum. Ahmed, Sara (2004), The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. — (2010), The Promise of Happiness, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     17 Altieri, Charles (2004), The Particulars of Rapture: An Aesthetics of the Affects, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Anderson, Ben (2010), ‘Modulating the excess of affect: morale in a state of “Total War”’, in Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, pp. 161–85. Benjamin, Walter [1940] (1982), ‘On some motifs in Baudelaire’, in Hannah Arendt (ed.), Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, London: Fontana. Berlant, Lauren (1991), The Anatomy of National Fantasy: Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday Life, Chicago: Chicago University Press. — (1997), The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. — (2008), The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Bertelson, Lone and Andrew Murphie (2010), ‘An ethics of everyday infinities and powers: Félix Guattari on affect and the refrain’, in Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, pp. 138–57. Cheng, Anne Anlin (2001), The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief, New York: Oxford University Press. Clark, Suzanne (1991), Sentimental Modernism: Women Writers and the Revolution of the Word, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Clewell, Tammy (2009), Mourning, Modernism, Postmodernism, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Crangle, Sara (2010), Prosaic Desires: Modernist Knowledge, Boredom, Laughter, and Anticipation, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Crimp, Douglas (1989), ‘Mourning and Militancy’, October 51 (Winter): 3–18. Cuda, Anthony (2010), The Passions of Modernism: Eliot, Yeats, Woolf, and Mann, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. Cvetkovich, Ann (2003), An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. De Sousa, Ronald (1987), The Rationality of Emotion, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Duffy, Enda (2009), The Speed Handbook: Velocity, Pleasure, Modernism, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Eliot, T. S. (1997), The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, London: Faber & Faber. Eng, David L. and David Kazanjian (eds) (2002), Loss: The Politics of Mourning, Berkeley: University of California Press. Fisher, Philip (2002), The Vehement Passions, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Flatley, Jonathan (2008), Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press. Frost, Laura (2013), The Problem with Pleasure: Modernism and its Discontents, New York: Columbia University Press. Gibbs, Anna (2010), ‘After affect: sympathy, synchrony, and mimetic communication’ in Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, pp. 186–205.

­18     Julie Taylor Greenspan, Patricia (1988), Emotions and Reasons: An Inquiry into Emotional Justification, New York: Routledge. Grossberg, Lawrence (1992), We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture, London and New York: Routledge. Hardy, Thomas [1891] (1996), Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hulme, T. E. (1936), Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Herbert Read, London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner. Huyssen, Andreas (1986), After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Kohlmann, Benjamin (2013), ‘Awkward moments: melodrama, modernism, and the politics of affect’, PMLA 128.2: 337–52. Love, Heather (2007), Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Martin, Kirsty (2013), Modernism and the Rhythms of Sympathy: Vernon Lee, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Massumi, Brian (2002), Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. Menand, Louis and Lawrence Rainey, ‘Introduction’ (2000), in The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 7: Modernism and the New Criticism, ed. A Walton Litz, Louis Menand and Lawrence Rainey, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–14. Moglen, Seth (2007), Mourning Modernity: Literary Modernism and the Injuries of American Capitalism, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Muñoz, José Esteban (1999), Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, London and Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. — (2000), ‘Feeling brown: ethnicity and affect in Richard Bracho’s The Sweetest Hangover (and Other STDs)’, Theatre Journal 52: 67–79. Ngai, Sianne (2005), Ugly Feelings, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Nieland, Justus (2008), Feeling Modern: The Eccentricities of Public Life, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Nussbaum, Martha (2001), Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pound, Ezra (1954), Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, ed. T. S. Eliot, London: Faber & Faber. Probyn, Elspeth (2005), Blush: Faces of Shame, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Rae, Patricia (ed.) (2007), Modernism and Mourning, Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press; Cranbury: Associated University Presses. Rives, Rochelle (2012), Modernist Impersonalities: Affect, Authority, and the Subject, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky (2003), Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky and Adam Frank (1995), ‘Shame in the cybernetic fold: reading Silvan Tomkins’, in Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Adam Frank (eds), Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Seigworth, Gregory J. and Melissa Gregg (2010), ‘An inventory of shimmers’,

Introduction: Modernism and Affect     19 in Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, pp. 1–25. Stockton, Kathryn Bond (2006), Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where ‘Black’ Meets ‘Queer’, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Taylor, Julie (2012), Djuna Barnes and Affective Modernism, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Terada, Rei (2001), Feeling in Theory: Emotion After the ‘Death of the Subject’, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press. Tomkins, Silvan S. (2008), Affect Imagery Consciousness, New York: Springer, vol. 1. Williams, Raymond (1977), Marxism and Literature, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Wimsatt, William K. and Monroe C. Beardsley [1949] (2001), ‘The affective fallacy’, in Vincent B. Leitch et al. (eds),The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Oxford and New York: W. W. Norton, pp. 1387–403. Woolf, Virginia [1930] (2002), On Being Ill, Ashfield: Paris Press.

Chapter 1

Mind, Body and Embarrassment in Henry James’s The Awkward Age John Attridge

The idea that Henry James took the nineteenth-century psychological novel as far as it could go in the direction of representing interiority is a deeply rooted critical commonplace. In Percy Lubbock’s The Craft of Fiction, for instance, an early milestone of novel theory, James is positioned at the apex of a Whig history of the psychological novel, credited with perfecting ‘the method by which the picture of a mind is fully dramatized’ (1921: 156). From Dorothea Krook’s ‘ordeal of consciousness’ (‘let this self-consciousness of theirs be not only intense and minute, but also active without intermission’) to Peter Brooks’s ‘melodrama of consciousness’ and even Sharon Cameron’s Husserlian reinterpretation of James’s ‘different, barely recognizable depiction of consciousness’, conscious mental life has been a lodestone for subsequent James critics (Krook 1963: 22; Brooks 1976: 153; Cameron 1989: 9). James himself, of course, courted this way of reading his work by making ‘consciousness’ a key term of his literary theory, above all in the prefaces to the New York edition with their doctrine of the ‘centre of consciousness’. David Lodge makes this point in the course of his discussion of James in Consciousness and the Novel: ‘Henry James is a crucial figure in the transition from classic to modernist fiction, and “consciousness” is one of the key words in his criticism of fiction and reflections on his own practice’ (2002: 50). Like other critics who take their cue from this ‘key word’, Lodge’s own discussion of The Wings of the Dove uses that novel to illustrate the unique power of fiction to represent interiority. Recent criticism, however, has drawn attention to aspects of James’s oeuvre that are not well described in terms of the poetics of interiority. Susan Honeyman, for instance, argues cogently that the theatrical and proto-cinematic qualities of What Maisie Knew (1897) are irreducible to these terms, concluding that

Mind, Body and Embarrassment in Henry James’s The Awkward Age     21 James, whose technique has often been seen as exemplifying a dramatic point of view, shares qualities with filmic and dramatic representation in lacking the very thing that [Dorrit] Cohn identified as unique to fiction – direct reports of the character’s thoughts and feelings. (2001: 73)

Setting out from a similar point of departure is David Kurnick’s compelling reading of The Awkward Age (1899) in the context of James’s failed attempt to become a playwright. Profoundly shaped by that experience, The Awkward Age is a novel which, Kurnick argues, demands to be read not as a way-station on James’s pilgrimage back to the novel but as a sustained exploration of the possibilities of resisting that form – particularly the novel of psychological depth that now seems tautologically connected with the epithet ‘Jamesian’. (2005: 110)

To be sure, the idea that the principle of ‘scenic’ narrative elaborated in James’s prefaces grew out of his foray into the London theatre is itself a commonplace in James criticism (James 1934: 115). For Honeyman and Kurnick, however, this principle is profoundly at odds with received ideas about the evolution of the psychological novel, inviting a radical reassessment of James’s art of fiction. Conventional ideas about James’s depiction of consciousness come under fire on a different flank in Vanessa Ryan’s Thinking without Thinking in the Victorian Novel. Engaging closely with the work of Victorian mental scientists like Herbert Spencer and G. H. Lewes, Ryan argues that nineteenth-century psychology questioned the narrow, Cartesian identification of mental experience with transparent selfawareness: ‘“Thinking” was reconceived to include much more than awareness of our own thoughts’ (2012: 1). The Cartesian ‘I’ was replaced with a ‘dynamic, adaptive, and functional approach to mind and body’, diverting attention ‘away from questions of the knowability of the content or nature of the mind to its functions’ (ibid.: 6, 13). Tracing the impact of this paradigm shift on the evolution of the novel, Ryan seeks to draw out the ways in which ‘Victorian novelists were fascinated not just with techniques of revealing interiority in fiction but also with the ways in which the mind remains opaque to itself and its narrators’ (ibid.: 7). Ryan’s account of James’s representation of consciousness accordingly emphasises James’s rendering of experiences that are only partially conscious and of mental states that defy verbal expression. Challenging the centrality of ‘consciousness’ to James studies, Ryan proposes the term ‘sentience’ to designate James’s interest in ‘more complex, not wholly conscious modes of awareness, and the gradual process whereby they can come to awareness’ (ibid.: 109).

­22     John Attridge Ryan shows that James’s interest in un-, pre- and semi-conscious mental states was not confined to any single stage of his career but can be detected in varying forms more or less throughout his oeuvre. Nonetheless, James’s late novel The Awkward Age is a special case for any inquiry that seeks to complicate or question James’s conventional positioning as the supreme master of the psychological novel, since it systematically eschews any inward access to its characters’ minds. Inspired by the dialogue novels of the French writer Gyp, James conceived The Awkward Age as an exercise in imitating the ‘guarded objectivity’ of a play – an exercise, that is, in reproducing the stage’s ‘imposed absence of that “going behind” – to compass explanations and amplifications, to drag out odds and ends from the “mere” story-teller’s great property-shop of aids to illusion’ (James 1987: 12). This policy of rigorous objectification amounts, Kurnick argues, to a ‘depsychologising agenda’ in which the proverbially Jamesian values of ‘interiority and psychic privacy’ are abandoned in favour of a ‘group subjectivity’ (2005: 117). Thus, in Kurnick’s reading, The Awkward Age sketches a confrontation between the genre’s traditional trump card of psychological depth and a contrary principle of public, social and performative selfhood. In the reading of The Awkward Age that follows, I want to pursue the line of inquiry initiated by Ryan and investigate how James’s representation of mental life in that novel might be situated in relation to Victorian mental science. Like Honeyman, Kurnick and Ryan, I am interested in how The Awkward Age deviates from the rich reporting of first-person experience believed to characterise the psychological novel, and embarks instead upon a representation of mental life that does not privilege introspection, self-presence and interiority. But whereas Ryan’s readings of James’s novels emphasise moments of ‘unconscious cerebration’ (a Victorian locution that James himself resorted to from time to time) and liminally or latently conscious thought, The Awkward Age evidently calls for a different approach, since the window onto subjective experience is artificially shuttered (Ryan 2012: 113). In The Awkward Age, rather than narrating instances of occluded decision-making or inchoate experience, James is necessarily occupied with representing mental life by the expedient of public behaviour: the reader must infer what characters think and feel from what they say and do. While this may seem the baldest of truisms when applied to a novel that is overtly designed to emulate a play, it is my contention here that this artificially imposed constraint allows us to see with particular clarity one of the points at which James’s fictional representation of psychology intersected with the concerns of contemporary mental science. To anticipate the argument a little, James’s use of physical behaviour to denote mental states in The

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Awkward Age draws attention to the fact that certain experiences might best be narrated in precisely this fashion – in terms of behaviour rather than interiority. In other words, the audacious stunt of renouncing internal focalisation can be read as an attempt to provide an adequate account of mental experience without recourse to the direct reporting of consciousness. One of my principal aims in this chapter is thus to situate The Awkward Age in relation to the science of mind: to argue that James’s technical experiment had a bearing on one of the central questions of fin de siècle mental science, which was much exercised by debates over whether mind could be adequately described in terms of matter. The other claim I want to make in this chapter is that James’s investigation of the line separating mind from matter, and the possibilities for representing the former in terms of the latter, is concentrated around one kind of experience in particular: embarrassment. Many readers have felt that social awkwardness is one of James’s great subjects. Ford Madox Ford, for instance, declared in a 1913 monograph that James’s ‘subjects in the end are selected instances of long chains of embarrassments’, and credited him, in 1922, with the discovery of this theme for modern English letters: ‘Henry James was our first Anglo-Saxon writer to perceive that this life of ours is an affair of terminations and of embarrassments’ (Ford 1969: 82; Saunders and Stang 2002: 210). The centrality of shame and its associated affects to James’s fictional imagination has also proven to be a fertile vein of inquiry in more recent James studies, and in what follows I will attempt to show that social awkwardness is key to understanding James’s narrative strategies in The Awkward Age.1 At this point, however, and before turning to the novel itself, it will be useful to posit some preliminary contextual suppositions about how late-Victorian psychologists viewed the study of emotion, and to consider why James’s representation of emotion, in particular, might be expected to complicate conventional readings of his representations of consciousness.

Emotions and Mental Science at the Fin de Siècle The association of the passions with the body rather than the mind or soul is, of course, a venerable theme in the history of philosophy. René Descartes, for instance, in Passions of the Soul, defined passions as ‘perceptions, sensations or emotions of the soul’, but specified that they are ‘caused, maintained and strengthened by some movement of the spirits’ (1988: 338–9). Although they are perceptions, that is, passions are actuated by the animal spirits of the body: unlike purely intellectual

­24     John Attridge activities, such as willing or imagining, passions involve an interaction between mind and matter – mediated, Descartes hypothesised, by the pineal gland. Whether emotions should be considered as mental or physiological was a vexed question for nineteenth-century psychology. According to Théodule Ribot in La Psychologie des sentiments, the ‘intellectualist’ school of thought, led by Johann Friedrich Herbart, held that ‘affective states’ were ultimately no different in kind to cognitive states: ‘qualities, modes or functions of knowing . . . they are “intelligence muddled”’ (1896: viii).2 For ‘physiologists’ like Ribot himself, on the other hand, emotions were not merely an indistinct kind of idea but were, rather, ‘primitive, autonomous, irreducible to the intelligence, able to exist outside of it and without it’ (ibid.: ix).3 As such, emotions were resistant to introspection: ‘they plunge into the depths of the individual; they have their roots in the needs and instincts . . . Consciousness yields only a part of their secrets; it can never reveal them completely; one must descend beneath it’ (ibid).4 As a leading exponent of this point of view, Ribot lists William James, author of a profoundly influential physiological theory of the emotions. In The Principles of Psychology (1890), James noted the difficulty of distinguishing between more and less conscious feelings, observing that ‘In speaking of the instincts it has been impossible to keep them separate from the emotional excitements which go with them . . . Instinctive reactions and emotional expressions thus shade imperceptibly into each other’ (1998: 442). While refraining from proposing a rigid taxonomy of his own, James did attempt to bring clarity to the science of the emotions by focusing, not on classification, but on aetiology, and his conclusion on this point, at least, was unequivocal: the necessary cause of any emotion whatsoever is a physiological change. As he put it with characteristic panâche: My theory, on the contrary, is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur IS the emotion. Common-sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep; we meet a bear, are frightened and run; we are insulted by a rival, are angry and strike . . . the more rational statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble, and not that we cry, strike, or tremble, because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as the case may be. (ibid.: 450)

This was the famous James-Lange theory of emotion (named jointly for James and the Danish scientist Carl Lange), which soon achieved the status of orthodoxy among physiologically minded psychologists. G. F. Stout, for instance, noted in his 1907 Manual of Psychology that the James-Lange theory was ‘the general theory of emotion which is most favoured at the present time’ (Thomson 1993: 301). If, under the impetus

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of Darwinian biology and the rapid advance of physiology and neurophysiology, mental science in the Victorian era was exercised as never before by the question of mind–body interaction and the relationship between mind and matter, the theory of the emotions was the domain on which this question impinged most directly. James himself believed that his theory, rather than reducing the complexity of this relationship by eliminating mind altogether, in fact underlined just how intricately those two substances were interwoven: ‘If our hypothesis is true, it makes us realize more deeply than ever how much our mental life is knit up with our corporeal frame, in the strictest sense of the term’ (1998: 467). James classifies shyness, modesty and shame as instincts rather than emotions, while acknowledging that ‘instinctive reactions and emotional expressions thus shade imperceptibly into each other’. As an instinct, feeling shy is even more primitively physical than the feelings defined as emotions – a ‘reflex’ action, it is ‘called forth by determinate sensory stimuli in contact with the animal’s body’ (James 1998: 384). James’s discussion of shyness draws on Darwin’s On the Expression of the Emotions in Animals and Man (1872), which had devoted a chapter to blushing and associated forms of emotional behaviour. Focusing on the ‘expression’ of emotions, rather than what it is like to have them, Darwin’s study was self-consciously physiological in its focus, more or less entirely bracketing out the mode of introspective investigation favoured in the associationist tradition. Darwin was thus able to explain all emotional expression by the three principles of habitual action, inverse habitual action and reflex action, none of which presupposed self-consciousness, let alone volition. As James’s allusions to Darwin suggest, this account of the emotions was still a reference point in the last decade of the century, even if some of Darwin’s individual hypotheses had been superseded (according to Ribot, for instance, Darwin’s explanation of blushing had been disproven by the German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt) (Ribot 1896: 267). As with other aspects of mental life in the late-Victorian era, blushing, shyness, shame and modesty were habitually – though not exclusively – discussed within a physiological paradigm, as phenomena amenable to the same methods of inquiry in humans as they were in animals. Henry James does not, to be sure, stoop to describing social awkwardness as an affair of nerve-forces and sensory stimuli. But this vocabulary was potentially available to him, all the same, a horizon dimly apparent behind his more civilized idiom. In the fin de siècle, more so, perhaps, than in any previous era, to write about feelings was to invite reflection on their physical basis. In what follows, I want to suggest that Henry James’s representation

­26     John Attridge of embarrassment in The Awkward Age should be read in the context of contemporary psychological research. In particular, I will propose that the embarrassed bodies that James depicts in that novel can be construed as an intervention in contemporary questions about mind–body interaction. In order to understand how this could be the case – how a literary representation of fictional embarrassment could have a bearing on the research agenda of professional psychology – I want to adduce one final document from the archive of that discipline. In 1891 the Scottish psychologist Alexander Bain published an essay in Mind entitled ‘On physiological expression in psychology’. Bain, by this time an elder statesman of the new scientific psychology, took a conciliatory approach to the dispute between introspectionist and physiological psychologists, aiming to stake out common ground between physiological and introspectionist research programs. What makes his article particularly pertinent in the context of literary representations of mental life is its focus, not on the content or substance of psychological research, but on its vocabulary. Reviewing the words used to denote mental states and processes, Bain concludes that ‘the mixture of the psychical with the physical is such as to prove that mental processes, however distinct from bodily processes, have never owned even a vocabulary of their own’ (1891: 2). Many mental terms ‘were, in the first instance, purely material’, while other words used to describe the mind ‘still preserve their material meaning’ – words, according to Bain, such as move, elation, life, trembling, grief, hatred, soothing, restlessness, blush, sore, wound, sleepy, scald, fever, agitation, commotion, staring, smiling, frowning, shock, throb and tension (ibid.). Bain’s emollient conclusion is that these quasi-physical terms, which straddle mind and matter, can enrich the descriptive resources of introspective psychology, and that this in itself is a valuable service: ‘the material application does not detract from the propriety of the mental. What is more, it is an actual help and support. In order to conceive mental states with anything like clearness or force, we need all the suggestiveness that their well-known adjuncts can provide’ (ibid.: 3). Bain’s essay suggests that the research of mental scientists and James’s literary representations of mental life were connected at a number of points. It indicates, first, that at least some of the pressing theoretical questions facing psychologists were linguistic or discursive: studying the mind involved finding the right vocabulary in which to describe it. Second, more particularly, its assertion that mental and physical terms need not be rigorously distinct from one another closely resembles James’s strategy in The Awkward Age, which is engaged in using physical description as a way of representing mental life. A novel which sets out to depict a subtle psychological situation by describing gestures,

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expressions, postures and so on also invites a rethinking of the mind– body opposition at the level of language.

Awkwardness in The Awkward Age The Awkward Age is about the coming of age of Nanda Brookenham. As James explains in the preface, the novel’s central complication is the fashionably louche, ‘modern’ atmosphere of Nanda’s mother’s salon, which has the potential to compromise the reputation and, hence, marriageability of an adolescent girl (1987: 106). Into this smart milieu, as James puts it, ‘Nanda’s retarded, but eventually none the less real incorporation means virtually Nanda’s exposure’ (ibid.: 8). The awkwardness referred to in James’s title is thus primarily a social conundrum – a sticky problem of etiquette and domestic organisation – but this scenario also generates social discomfort, so that embarrassment is another of the connotations of the phrase ‘awkward age’. Nanda’s presence in Mrs Brookenham’s drawing room inhibits the conversation of her visitors and multiplies the occasions for embarrassing faux pas and moments of self-consciousness. The Awkward Age bears certain structural similarities to the Bildungsroman tradition, at least insofar as that genre typically narrates a young person’s social maturation, and James does sketch out the ghost of a marriage plot for Nanda in the form of at least two potential suitors: the dashing young professional Mr Vanderbank and the witty parvenu Mr Mitchett, known as Van and Mitchy, respectively. Intersecting this triangle at an oblique angle is the out-of-town visitor Gustavus Longdon, an elderly former admirer of Mrs Brookenham’s mother who is enchanted by the uncannily close resemblance between grandmother and granddaughter. Longdon takes an equivocal interest in both Nanda and Vanderbank and tries to orchestrate their marriage, while also remaining a remote marital possibility himself. None of these romantic potentialities is realised, however, so that Nanda’s future remains uncertain at the close of the novel. It is thus only a slight exaggeration to say that social awkwardness is what The Awkward Age is about. Nanda’s liminal position between innocence and experience, childhood and adulthood, is itself a cause of embarrassment, as at those moments when something Nanda does or says strikes her mother’s friends as indecent. Nanda’s unexpected, unchaperoned appearance – her ‘unsupported arrival’– at Mr Vanderbank’s home, for example, threatens to disrupt even the ebullient Mitchy’s social poise (ibid.: 89). Although, as James says, Mitchy is ‘superficially at least’ unfazed, his effort to conceal his surprise causes

­28     John Attridge a small ­breakdown in manners, which is drawn to our attention when Vanderbank belatedly arrives and greets his guests: no one has had the presence of mind to sit down, so that Vanderbank finds them awkwardly huddled as though on a ‘street-crossing’ (ibid.: 89). Mitchy is also taken aback, in this scene, when he involuntarily hears a double entendre in Nanda’s candid affirmation that ‘Mother wants me to do everything’ (ibid.: 88). Although Nanda takes ‘no notice of the effect upon him of her mention of her mother’, the hypothetical ‘ingenious observer’ that James resorts to throughout the novel ‘might even have detected in the still higher rise of this visitor’s spirits a want of mere inward ease’: Mitchy is flustered by the indecent constructions that might be put on Nanda’s remark (ibid.). A similar kind of discomfort or confusion affects Vanderbank later in this scene when conversation turns to Nanda’s association, through Tishy Grendon, with the morally spotted Carrie Donner. When Nanda asks if she ought to explain the significance of this connection to Mr Longdon, Vanderbank replies stiffly that ‘I don’t imagine, Nanda, that you really know’ (ibid.: 90). On the one hand, Nanda’s presumed innocence acts as a constraint on social intercourse; on the other, her precocious knowledge makes her elders embarrassed. The inhibition in Nanda’s presence is, of course, due to the genderspecific rules about decency and the taboo on sex: desire, carnality and sexual impropriety are the topics that she is politely supposed not to know anything about. In this sense, the primary cause of embarrassment in the novel, at least as far as the ‘awkward age’ is concerned, is the desiring and desirable body. Mrs Brook piques herself on the fact that she and her circle are capable of discussing ‘everything and every one’ without being ‘vulgar’; they, the narrator tells us, are ‘a society in which variety of reference had brought to high perfection, for usual safety, the sense of signs’ (ibid.: 99, 257, 227). This feat of weaving dazzling ‘talk’ around taboo topics without lapsing into vulgarity is sometimes figured as a keeping at bay of materiality, as, for instance, in the important motif of French literature that recurs throughout the novel. In a typical bantering exchange, Mitchy deprecates Mrs Brookenham’s allusion to ‘sticking in [her] native mud’ by gesturing to her tasteful décor: ‘Remarkably charming mud!’ (ibid.: 60). Mrs Brookenham seizes on the word to chaff Mitchy about the ‘abject, horrid, unredeemed vileness’ of the French novels he lends her, which must be returned ‘under cover of darkness’: they, at least, are a ‘specimen’ of ‘mud’ (ibid.: 64, 60). This passage of repartee performs, of course, the very kind of risqué talk that Mrs Brookenham so prides herself on, using levity to render a distasteful or taboo subject inoffensive. But the image of ‘mud’ also aptly captures

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what she and her circle are witty about: mud is smut, to be sure, but it also figures the coarse materiality of the French novels in question, which, critics have argued, are probably examples of naturalism.5 What one finds chez Mrs Brookenham – and, implicitly, in James’s novel – is indeed ‘remarkably charming mud’: mud beguiled of its barbarity by wit. The image of smut as mess, moreover, also goes to the heart of the novel’s theme of awkwardness. The problem facing the mother of an adolescent girl is that of ‘keeping the place tidy . . . for the young female mind’: keeping, in other words, the ‘mud’ that Mitchy brings into the house away from the children (ibid.: 170). Mrs Brookenham makes this point clear herself when she begs him facetiously ‘to remember in future that the children are all over the place, and that Harold and Nanda have their nose in everything’ (ibid.: 61). Whether Nanda can or cannot be assumed to have read improper novels is, as it happens, the hinge on which the dénouement of the novel turns, and this more serious recurrence of the trope of French literature brings an interesting additional fold to the imagery of mud, matter and untidiness. The plot’s muted climax is orchestrated around a French novel belonging to Vanderbank, which, it emerges, Nanda has read. This fact is revealed to the whole ensemble of characters at a party given by Tishy Grendon, to whom Nanda has leant the book in question: ‘I brought the book here from Buckingham Crescent and left it by accident in the other room’ (ibid.: 251). The scene seems self-consciously to emphasise the materiality of this particular specimen of ‘mud’, treating it as a stage property that characters (Lord Petherton and Aggie Mitchett) sit on and wrestle over, and exploiting its purely accidental reappearance to contrive the collapse of any romantic plot between Nanda and Vanderbank (whose squeamishness about Nanda’s innocence is, at least ostensibly, aggravated by this incident). In keeping with the earlier imagery of ‘mud’, that is, the gross materiality of the book’s contents – the biological themes and animal instincts thought to characterise French naturalism – is figured in its exaggerated material existence as a prop. Just as Mrs Brookenham predicted, mud threatens the project of keeping the place tidy for the young female mind: children ‘have their nose in everything’ and are easily besmirched. The target of James’s social criticism in The Awkward Age is the hypocritical separation maintained in polite English society between idealised female modesty and knowledge about sex. In this respect, The Awkward Age continues the critique of prudery and crude moralism that James had undertaken in What Maisie Knew (1897). Nanda must keep up the ‘preposterous fiction’ of her perfectly virginal mind, and

­30     John Attridge the question of her decency or lack thereof hinges on what her mind can be assumed to contain: Vanderbank uneasily insists that she cannot possibly ‘know’ why Tishy Grendon’s company is inappropriate, and, when he discovers her familiarity with French literature, Nanda herself murmurs sadly, ‘Oh, I see . . . It is my knowing, after all, everything’ (ibid.: 231). The substance of James’s critique is straightforward: this either/or dichotomy does not pose the right question, when, as Nanda says of the offending novel, ‘One hardly knows now, I think, what is and isn’t [hideous]’ (ibid.: 251). Other criteria are required for judging character than the presence or absence of factual knowledge. What makes this position interesting in the context of mental science is the way in which James reconfigures this familiar binary of innocence and corruption so that it is explicitly a dichotomy of mind and matter. French novels are mud; impropriety is untidiness; young female minds must be preserved from the soiling touch of matter. An analogy with substance dualism is also evoked when James deploys a tabula rasa image to pillory Victorian moral fastidiousness, as when Mrs Brookenham alludes to ‘the preposterous fiction . . . of Nanda’s blankness of mind’ and Mitchy mocks the ‘pious fraud’ of assuming her to be ‘a sheet of white paper’ (ibid.: 170, 185). Conventional Victorian morality is flawed, that is, not simply because of its puritanical moral categories but also because of its faulty conception of mental life, which is shown to rest on two interrelated fallacies about the nature of minds. First, it supposes a ‘preposterous’ dualism of mind and body, so that the ‘young female mind’ must be preserved from all contact with ‘mud’. Second, it falls prey to the narrow equation of mind with consciousness that, Ryan has shown, was in the process of being overturned by Victorian mental scientists. The idea that innocence and corruption could depend on the presence or absence of knowledge, stored as mental writing on a ‘sheet of white paper’, implies an introspectionist belief in what Gilbert Ryle called ‘knowing that’: a mental storehouse of explicit and consultable contents (1949: 27–59). This was, as Ryan argues, just the view that James was at pains to dissent from in What Maisie Knew. James’s own depiction of minds and bodies in The Awkward Age seeks, by contrast, to avoid the crude separation of mind and matter presupposed by these positions, demonstrating ‘how much’, as William James put it, ‘of our mental life is knit up with our corporeal frame’. The crude morality that James denounces in both What Maisie Knew and The Awkward Age correlates innocence or corruption with the presence or absence of certain ideas, which either are or are not available to conscious introspection. The occlusion of the introspective viewpoint in The Awkward Age complicates this model by requiring James to narrate

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mental experience – and especially emotional experience – from the outside, exploring a way of representing feelings without the ‘intellectualist’ emphasis on ‘observation intérieure’ (Ribot 1896: iv). Emotions in The Awkward Age are indeed prevented from yielding their secrets to consciousness. What I am arguing is that James’s ‘depsychologising agenda’, as Kurnick calls it, was profoundly significant in the context of contemporary mental science. Inasmuch as James was engaged in developing a vocabulary for representing mental life in physical terms, his experiment in narrative technique has a bearing on the problems surveyed in Bain’s essay on ‘The use of physiological expression in psychology’.

Embarrassment and the Marriage Plot It would be pedantic to multiply illustrations of this basic compositional principle. In the final section of this chapter, however, I do want to focus on one particular series of highly pitched emotional interactions played out between Vanderbank and Nanda. Evidently, intense emotions underlie Van and Nanda’s superficially nonchalant conversations, but the feeling on which I want to concentrate in what follows is embarrassment. Increasingly, as the romantic plot linking these two principal figures unravels and disappears, awkwardness and embarrassment become the keynote of their interviews, in a way that is, I will suggest, crucial to the eventual negation of this potential plotline. If The Awkward Age were a one-act play, the ultimately anticlimactic course of Van and Nanda’s romance might be reduced to a series of three tête-à-tête interviews, the first occurring at Mitchy’s countryhouse party at Mertle, the second at Mr Longdon’s home at Beccles in Suffolk and the third in Nanda’s sitting room in Buckingham Crescent. What makes Van progressively more embarrassed as this sequence progresses is his ambivalence about the romantic script that hovers over his relationship with Nanda, culminating in his flustered effort, in their final interview, to repudiate this phantom marriage plot altogether. In the first of these scenes, at Mertle, Vanderbank happens on Nanda in the grounds of the estate, precipitating a conversation about, among other things, Nanda’s friendship with Longdon. Van’s demeanour is self-­conscious from the outset: although ‘completely at his ease’, he is ‘still more wishing to show it’, and had, accordingly, ‘crossed his legs and closely folded his arms’ (James 1987: 128). James supplements our information about Van’s disguised nervousness with the report of a ‘constant little shake in the foot’ (ibid.). It is, of course, in keeping with James’s stated design

­32     John Attridge that these meticulously reported external cues should be sufficient for the reader’s understanding, but this scene also contains the further suggestion that an internally focalised account of this scene would not, in fact, enlarge or enrich that understanding in any meaningful way. This suggestion is made explicit when, in a convoluted narratorial intrusion, James declines to interpret one of Vanderbank’s blushes, caused by Nanda’s connotation-laden declaration that she is ‘true’: As Mr Van himself could not have expressed at any subsequent time to any interested friend the particular effect upon him of the tone of these words his chronicler takes advantage of the fact not to pretend to a greater intelligence – to limit himself on the contrary to the simple statement that they produced in Mr. Van’s cheek a flush just discernible. (ibid.: 131)

As if forgetting that he has, in any case, renounced ‘going behind’, James justifies his not doing so on this occasion with the plea that Vanderbank knows no more about his mental state at this moment than the hypothetical observer whose existence he frequently resorts to positing. At this moment, this physical description is adequate in itself: Van’s emotion, as William James might have put it, just is his blush. It is true that this particular blush need not be a sign of embarrassment, per se. Nonetheless, as we have seen, a certain complex feeling of constraint and self-­consciousness certainly is the principal mood of this encounter, and must surely account for at least part of the meaning of Vanderbank’s ‘flush’. What is more, Vanderbank will comment, later in the same book, on the difficulty of defining or explaining to himself his complicated attitude towards Nanda, and ‘embarrassment’ is the term he settles on to designate this vague difficulty. Unable to give a clear account to Mr Longdon of his tentativeness, he can say no more than that ‘the name doesn’t matter; at all events he’s embarrassed. He wants not to be an ass on the one side and yet not some other kind of brute on the other’: ‘I’m a self-conscious stick of a Briton’, he adds, later in the same conversation (ibid.: 160–1). James orchestrates a symmetrical counterpart to this first pastoral interview later in the novel, this time at Mr Longdon’s Suffolk country home. On this occasion, Vanderbank’s nervous symptoms are proportionately more pronounced as the romantic undertone of the situation is more highly pitched. James takes care to remind us, when Vanderbank’s foot again begins to twitch, that we have seen this sign of discomfort before: Vanderbank leaned back and smoked, and though all his air seemed to say that when one was so at ease for gossip almost any subject would do, he kept jogging his foot with the same small nervous motion as during the half-hour at Mertle that this record has commemorated. (ibid.: 197)

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The choreography of embarrassment becomes more overt as the scene progresses, as we learn through James’s conceit of a hypothetical act of surveillance. When, at one point, Nanda expounds her theory of Vanderbank’s pudeur, ‘we should doubtless have gathered, had we seen fully recorded in Vanderbank’s face the degree to which this prompt response embarrassed or at least stupefied him’ (ibid.: 202). When Vanderbank nervously springs to his feet and scans the horizon, this conceit recurs in its most flamboyant manifestation yet: An observer at all initiated would, at the juncture, fairly have hung on his lips, and there was in fact on Vanderbank’s part quite the look of the man – though it lasted but just while we seize it – in suspense about himself. The most initiated observer of all would have been poor Mr Longdon, who would now have been destined, however, to be also the most defeated and the sign of whose tension would have been a smothered ‘Ah, if he doesn’t do it now!’ (ibid.)

The proposal doesn’t occur; Nanda changes the subject; Van collects himself and, ‘his manner perhaps a little awkward’, manages to banter his way through the rest of the scene (ibid.: 203). If embarrassment and the struggle to maintain social poise are important figures in the background of these two scenes, the final panel in the triptych of dialogues between Vanderbank and Nanda is quite explicitly a study in awkwardness. By this time, the novel’s phantom marriage plot has been laid to rest, and what is at stake, for Vanderbank, is no longer romantic closure but only the disgrace of appearing either an ‘ass’ or a ‘brute’. This time James goes to vaudevillian lengths to figure his nervousness: chattering erratically and emitting ‘a constant though perhaps sometimes misapplied laugh’, fiddling with objects in the room, changing his seat three times, Vanderbank is a veritable caricature of awkwardness (ibid.: 281). Trivial though the question of Vanderbank’s embarrassment might seem next to the more pathetic consequences of the defunct marriage plot, Nanda nonetheless senses that embarrassment is, for so charming a man as Vanderbank, a kind of violence: ‘To force upon him an awkwardness’, she realises, ‘was like forcing a disfigurement or a hurt’, and so her self-sacrificing role becomes that of colluding with him in the pretence that there never was a marriage plot – erasing the traces of their romantic script (ibid.: 286). Leo Bersani has argued that James’s late writing moves away from the binary logic of realist representation – a sign refers to an imagined reality – and towards a kind of self-reflexive textuality in which psychological complexity is collapsed into linguistic ambiguity: In James’s late fiction, the narrative surface is never richly menaced by meanings it can’t wholly contain. Complexity consists not in mutually subversive

­34     John Attridge motives but rather in the expanding surface itself which, when most successful, finds a place in its intricate design for all the motives imaginable. (1976: 131)

In the case of The Awkward Age, ‘There is no reason to believe that any “obscure” motives enter into Vanderbank’s refusal to marry Nanda Brookenham’ (ibid.: 131). The thrust of Bersani’s argument is to insist that Vanderbank’s disengagement from the novel’s marriage plot be read not as the sign of some closeted truth but rather as a refusal of the very idea of a determinate, determining and determinable identity. The point is not that Vanderbank is a crypto-homosexual but that the proto-modernist complexity of James’s style clears a space for ‘living by improvisation’, outside of such categories (ibid.: 133). One might, today, wish to qualify the agnosticism of Bersani’s pioneering reading, particularly in light of subsequent research on James and sexual identity: surely, among the infinite ‘motives imaginable’, Vanderbank’s possible queerness is both more and less imaginable than some others.6 Nonetheless, Bersani’s insight that late Jamesian texts are not always best read as containers of hidden psychological depth closely parallels what I want to say about embarrassment. For not only does James decline to supply a positive psychological referent for the behaviour he narrates in The Awkward Age but, as we have seen, this physical description seems to be posited as an adequate substitute for internal focalisation, most explicitly in the case of Vanderbank’s opaque ‘flush’. Some behavioural descriptions, at least, are not partial, occluded accounts of a potentially accessible psychological truth; they are, rather, legitimate psychological descriptions in themselves. Thus, in a slightly different sense from that intended by Bersani, The Awkward Age does indeed reject the doctrine of hidden psychological depth. Bersani’s reading of late James is also relevant to the preceding analysis of embarrassment in another way. James’s late texts, Bersani says, do not reward readings that look for hidden psychological depth. The ambiguity of Vanderbank’s motives is itself the point: James’s ‘intricate design’ leaves room ‘for all the motives imaginable’. We have seen that social discomfort and maladroitness are among the kinds of behaviour that James does not ‘go behind’ to explain, thus avoiding the obligation to match each action with its psychic cause. This strategy forms part of James’s critique of Victorian prudery, which is based on an epistemologically crude understanding of innocence and corruption. But it also seems to be the case that Vanderbank’s embarrassment, in particular, has a special relationship with the ambiguity of his motives and is in fact crucial to the way in which he and Nanda extricate themselves from the marriage plot.

Mind, Body and Embarrassment in Henry James’s The Awkward Age     35

In a 1956 essay entitled ‘Embarrassment and Social Organization’, Erving Goffman argues that embarrassment serves a social function by holding open the possibility of contradictory social roles: ‘When situations are saved . . . something important may be lost. By showing embarrassment when he can be neither of two people, the individual leaves open the possibility that in the future he may effectively be either’ (1956: 270). Christopher Ricks has developed Goffman’s insight by applying it to Keats’s faculty of ‘Negative Capability’, arguing that Keats ‘was especially audacious in believing that the healthy strength of a sense of identity depends paradoxically upon the risk and openness and not upon self-protection; depends upon risking the absence of identity rather than on guarding the circumscription of one’s identity’ (1974: 24). In The Awkward Age, I would suggest, embarrassment operates for Vanderbank in a similar way, as a means of ‘risking the absence of identity’. Vanderbank tells Nanda at Mertle that he is not ‘any particular kind of man’, while at Beccles he has ‘the look of the man – though it lasted but just while we seize it – in suspense about himself’ (James 1987: 127, 202). His character is, as Bersani says, indeterminate, and the way in which this indeterminacy manifests itself in Nanda’s presence is in the embarrassment that he doesn’t quite know how to describe to Mr Longdon. This is, of course, what is literally happening in the novel: Vanderbank manifests the embarrassment of an undecided lover who wants neither to be an ass nor a brute. But in the functional terms suggested by Goffman and Ricks, Vanderbank’s embarrassment can also be read as a kind of strategy of deferral, a way of maintaining that psychological indeterminacy that, Bersani says, is the dominant effect of James’s late fiction. Embarrassment is the affect that supervenes in the three crucial interviews between Vanderbank and Nanda to undo their romantic potentialities. By being awkward in these interviews, rather than ardent, Vanderbank is able to remain in suspense about himself – to avoid becoming ‘any kind of man in particular’. If, at the level of story, awkwardness is what enables Vanderbank to bumble his way through a series of potential proposal scenes while preserving the ambiguity of his own identity, at the level of discourse James is spared the necessity of disambiguating Vanderbank’s embarrassment by his principle of dramatic, external representation. James’s decision to narrate mental life using a behavioural vocabulary is thus, in a sense, what enables this depiction of embarrassment to work. The novel’s perspectival architecture translates the opacity of awkwardness into a formal principle; not giving us a window into Vanderbank’s motives makes possible this interpretation of awkwardness and embarrassment as not entirely reducible to ‘observation intérieure’. This formal choice,

­36     John Attridge we have seen, can be read as a position-taking in contemporary debates about how best to conceive of and talk about the mind – debates that Bain’s paper tried to resolve on the linguistic level – so that what underpins the importance of awkwardness in the plot of The Awkward Age is a decision to understand the mind in a certain way. This understanding is wholly opposed to the intellectualist or ‘knowing that’ view that James criticises in the novel, according to which decency is negatively determined by the absence of indecent ideas in one’s mental store-house. James’s behavioural vocabulary implies a different understanding of mental and, especially, emotional life: one in which mind and body are inseparably intertwined, so that describing the physical ‘expression’ of emotions (flushing, blushing, fidgeting and so on) is not appreciably different from describing the feelings themselves. In this register, more­ over, discourse does not exaggerate the intelligibility of the emotions. James’s use of a behavioural vocabulary to represent mind is thus more than an incidental stylistic choice; it is, rather, a determining influence on the shape of the novel’s plot. Vanderbank’s behavioural awkwardness allows him and Nanda to pass through the novel without getting married; James’s behavioural representation of awkwardness allows him to resist the inertia of a certain heteronormative narrative template. Embarrassment, in both cases, is a way of fending off the dénouement of a marriage plot: a way, as it were, of not untying the knot.

Notes 1. The watershed paper on James and shame is Sedgwick 1995. On James and social mistakes, see Puckett 2009: 118–49. 2. ‘D’apres l’une, ils sont secondaires, dérives, qualités, modes ou fonctions de la connaissance; ils n’existent que par elle; ils sont de l’“intelligence confuse”.’ 3. ‘ils sont primitifs, autonomes, irréductibles à l’intelligence, pouvant exister en-dehors d’elle et sans elle.’ 4. ‘ils plongent au plus profond de l’individu; ils ont leurs racines dans les besoins et les instincts . . . La conscience ne livre qu’une partie de leurs secrets; elle ne peut jamais les reveler complètement; il faut descendre au dessous d’elle.’ 5. See, for instance, Walker 1995. 6. For an agile reading of homoerotic themes in The Awkward Age, see Trask 1997.

Mind, Body and Embarrassment in Henry James’s The Awkward Age     37

References Bain, Alexander (1891), ‘On physiological expression in psychology’, Mind, 16.61: 1–21. Bersani, Leo (1976), A Future for Astyanax: Character and Desire in Literature, Boston: Little, Brown and Company. Brooks, Peter (1976), The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of Excess, New Haven: Yale University Press. Cameron, Sharon (1989), Thinking in Henry James, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Descartes, René (1988), The Philosophical Writings Of Descartes, trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff and Dugald Murdoch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, vol. 1. Ford, Ford Madox (1969), Henry James: A Critical Study, New York: Octagon. Goffman, Erving (1956), ‘Embarrassment and social organisation’, American Journal of Sociology, 62: 264–75. Honeyman, Susan E. (2001), ‘What Maisie Knew and the impossible representation of childhood’, The Henry James Review, 22.1: 67–80. James, Henry [1899] (1987), The Awkward Age, London: Penguin. –––(1934), The Art of the Novel: Critical Prefaces, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. James, William [1890] (1998), The Principles of Psychology, Bristol: Thoemmes Press, vol. 1. Krook, Dorothea (1963), The Ordeal of Consciousness in Henry James, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kurnick, David (2005), ‘“Horrible impossible”: Henry James’s awkward stage’, The Henry James Review, 26.2: 109–29. Lodge, David (2002), Consciousness and the Novel: Connected Essays, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Lubbock, Percy (1921), The Craft of Fiction, London: Jonathan Cape. Puckett, Kent (2009), Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ribot, Théodule (1896), La Psychologie des sentiments, Paris: Félix Alcan. Ricks, Christopher (1974), Keats and Embarrassment, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Ryan, Vanessa L. (2012), Thinking without Thinking in the Victorian Novel, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Ryle, Gilbert (1949), The Concept of Mind, London: Hutchinson’s University Library. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky (1995), ‘Shame and performativity: Henry James’s New York edition prefaces’, in David McWhirter, ed, Henry James’s New York Edition. The Construction of Authorship, Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 205–39. Saunders, Max and Richard Stang (eds) (2002), Critical Essays: Ford Madox Ford, Manchester: Carcanet. Thomson, Robert (ed.) (1993), British Psychologists of the Late Nineteenth Century, London: Routledge.

­38     John Attridge Trask, Michael (1997), ‘Getting into it with James: substitution and erotic reversal in The Awkward Age’, American Literature, 69.1: 105–38. Walker, Pierre A. (1995), Reading Henry James in French Cultural Contexts, DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press.

Chapter 2

The Trauma of Form: Death Drive as Affect in À la recherche du temps perdu Robbie McLaughlan Violence appears with articulation. (Derrida 2001: 185)

In the opening pages of Civilisation and Its Discontents (1930), a text not commonly cited as a Freudian manifesto on affect, Sigmund Freud recounts how his friend Romain Rolland described religious sensation as a ‘peculiar feeling’. In a section indicative of Freud’s methodology that, at times, can appear startlingly unscientific – it is unclear whether this anecdotal speculation is offered as cool empirical fact – Freud communicates a written correspondence that he had with his friend over the affect that has its origins in the religious: ‘It is a feeling which he [Rolland] would like to call a sensation of eternity, a feeling as of something limitless, unbounded, something “oceanic”’ (1964: 64). Freud confesses that he ‘cannot discover this “oceanic” feeling’ himself, and admits the difficulty that such experiences pose to the psychoanalytic instinct to classify and pathologise. Rolland’s conception of the ‘oceanic’ feeling as a dissipation into the eternal and molecular is interpreted by Freud in terms of his ego economy; Freud speculates that this ‘oceanic’ feeling is nothing more than an example of a primitive-ego that has never been forced to accept the prohibitions of the reality principle. It is further psychoanalysed by Freud as a return to the pre-oedipal stage of infantile narcissism where a child has not yet negotiated the traumatic difference between its desires and the external world. Therefore, Rolland’s interconnected transcendental vision is, for psychoanalysis, nothing more than the traumatic moment when the child realises its survival in a threatening world is dependent upon the other. If the oceanic feeling offers affective possibilities, psychoanalysis reads this affective potentiality in terms of a broader theory of infantile sexuality. Freud voices his dissatisfaction at the limits of psychoanalysis in explaining both recondite and sensory phenomena; as he writes, ‘it is not easy to deal scientifically with feelings’ (ibid.: 65). All that psychoanalysis can do is to place the

­40     Robbie McLaughlan ­ hysiological signs within an intrapsychic network of understanding. If p the oceanic feeling can be read in terms of affect theory, then Freud has already anticipated this theoretical turn by explaining the seeming ethereal in terms of a psycho-sexual economy. Although Freud never produced a dedicated essay or lecture on affect, his theorising of affect in many ways underpins the psychoanalytic project. In its simplest form, affect is understood psychoanalytically as a movement of emotion, with Freud offering the most comprehensive account of affect, the closest he comes to a general psychoanalytic theory of it, in the Introductory Lectures (1916): And what is an affect in the dynamic sense? It is in any case something highly composite. An affect includes in the first place particular motor innervations or discharges and secondly certain feelings; the latter are of two kinds – ­perceptions of the motor actions that have occurred and the direct feelings of pleasure and unpleasure which, as we say, give the affect its keynote. (1963: 395)

Here Freud places affect within a phenomenological economy. Unconscious feelings endeavour to be made conscious in order to be ‘discharged’ so that the individual may receive some form of psychic payback through the release of a quota of pleasure. The affective process involves those feelings that can be categorised as either pleasurable or unpleasurable seeking representation; this is the aim of all psychic drives. The lustprinzip, or pleasure principle, was the founding principle upon which Freud began to structure his metapsychology. Following the injunction of the pleasure principle, the amount of pleasure experienced by the individual through this economy of affect is directly proportional to the amount that is given conscious expression – the complete release of emotional energy being the optimal result – with those feelings perceived by the ego as threatening (unpleasure) subjected to repression. In many ways, then, the clinical conception of affect is radically at odds with the way in which the term has become understood in the humanities after the recent affective turn. Therefore, in this chapter I am going to offer a new schematic understanding of affect that brings the psychoanalytic into conversation with the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, often regarded as the arch critics of psychoanalysis, whose work has propelled the ‘affective turn’ in theory. If affect theory privileges the way in which bodies can be recalibrated to new planes of immanence, or to make perceptible the molecular, or to allow the subject to experience non-human sensory flows, I am going to reveal the dangers that this may have for the subject if exposed to an affective process which has the potential to re-traumatise by facilitating the

The Trauma of Form: Death Drive as Affect in À la recherche     41

return of repressed memories. Affect theory, post Deleuze and Guattari, celebrates the perpetual nature of becoming over definitive articulation, but, from a psychoanalytic perspective, the experience of perpetual becoming or non-becoming without an end, resembles the nightmarish reality of the neurotic patient forever condemned to relive originary trauma without hope for resolution. In this chapter I want to argue that any kind of aesthetic form is an expression of the destructive violence of the death drive. As Jacques Derrida notes, in the quotation that frames my chapter, ‘violence appears with articulation’, and I argue that artistic creation is the manifestation of the death drive and the unconscious desire, of both artist and reader, for destruction. I look to the work of the early Freud and that of the later Freud in order to formulate a psychoanalytic position on the affective origins and potentiality of art. By arguing that artistic creation has its origins in and is an expression of an unconscious desire for destruction, this chapter argues that the death drive is made explicit whenever we are confronted with the molecular, atomised or becoming. The death drive, in the Freudian mode, is a yearning for a transcendental form of obliteration. Simply put, I want to argue that all writing can be read as a form of thanatography. I will do this by looking to another figure who straddles both the nineteenth and the twentieth century, Marcel Proust, and discuss À la recherche du temps perdu as a text that makes manifest thanatos as a source of affect. In ‘Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming’ (1909), Freud turns his psychoanalytic method to the process of artistic creation to place creativity within his developing metapsychology. Deceptively complex, Freud sets out to answer two rather simple questions: what are the ‘sources’ from which the creative writer draws his material? and why does this material exert such a sway upon the reader? As with the ‘oceanic’ feeling and all psychic phenomena, Freud charts the impulse to create and the affect that can be generated through reading to an earlier stage of infantile development. The source of creative inspiration can be found in play or, more specifically, the play of children. ‘Might we not say’, Freud writes, ‘that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or rather, re-arranges the things of his world in a new way that pleases him?’ (1959b: 143–4). Play is read as a complex strategy in which the child manipulates the external world so to facilitate the discharge of affect through the serial construction of fantasy. The blank page is transformed by Freudian psychoanalysis into the site par excellence upon which unconscious desires are projected and then inscribed through the act of writing. Freud’s psychoanalytic work on dreams demonstrated how dreams are governed by the principle of

­42     Robbie McLaughlan condensation, and artistic creation, similarly, allows the unconscious drives expression, albeit in a condensed form.1 To make the transition to adulthood, the child must relinquish play – this is one of the central tragedies of psychoanalysis, that maturation demands loss – but refuses to give up the pleasure yielded from play, ‘we can never give up a pleasure . . . experienced’, where instead of playing the adult now ‘builds castles in the air and creates what are called day-dreams’ (ibid.: 147). Not only is the unconscious the source of artistic creation, it also explains literature’s capability to exert a powerful sway over readers. The ars poetica, as Freud understands it, is the process by which art allows the writer to overcome those feelings deemed by the ego to be too repulsive to be made conscious but which are manifest through the inscription of a singular aesthetic form: writing. So all acts of creative writing encode a meta-psychological dimension of unspoken desires/ wishes that bypasses conscious recognition and penetrate the ego’s defensive barriers. Literature, as conceived by Freud, is always home to an uncanny double play between explicit meaning and the unconscious drama encoded within both the symbolic and formal aesthetic: The writer softens the character of his egoistic day-dreams by altering and disguising it, and he bribes us by the purely formal – that is, aesthetic – yield of pleasure which he offers us in the presentation of his phantasies. We give the name of an incentive bonus, or a fore-pleasure, to a yield of pleasure such as this, which is offered to us so as to make possible the release of still greater pleasure arising from deeper psychical sources. In my opinion, all the aesthetic pleasure which a creative writer affords us has the character of a fore-pleasure of this kind, and our actual enjoyment of an imaginative work proceeds from a liberation of tensions in our minds. It may even be that not a little of this effect is due to the writer’s enabling us thenceforward to enjoy our own day-dreams without self-reproach or shame. (ibid.: 153)

Creative writing not only facilitates a site where the repressed affect of the author can be exhausted; it also provides a psychic space for the reader to discharge their own unconscious desires through a vicarious identification with literary characters. This moment of vicarious identification takes the form of the reader recognising their own latent fantasies as they are expressed on the page; art, in the Freudian economic model, prohibits the onset of a neurosis through the reader’s unconscious awareness that others (ie. literary characters) are just like them. Of course this has been disguised by the writer so we do not recognise the daydream for what it actually is; thus, once again at a metapsychological level, both the artist and reader’s narcissism is allowed expression by circumventing conscious policing. Literature, in facilitating a ‘liberation of tensions’ (and this is why art is essential), allows us to identify with our

The Trauma of Form: Death Drive as Affect in À la recherche     43

neighbours through a shared libidinal investment in the scene of writing. Or, to put it in Lacanian terms: the reader is safe to enjoy their fantasies in the imaginary order of writing, to which they belong, without fear of retribution in the symbolic order of rules and regulations. Yet, there is an incentive bonus within Freud’s pleasure economy: that of fore-pleasure.2 Freud may value literature for the way that it facilitates the release of pent-up psychic tensions, yet it also comes with the added bonus of yielding a quota of pleasure in the shape of aesthetic form. This is how the artist bribes us into accepting the therapeutic. Aesthetic form is experienced as pleasing and, therefore, sugar-coats our medicine. The primary aim of literature, from a psychoanalytic perspective, may be the ‘liberation of tensions’ that have been systematically repressed through the years; nevertheless, the manner in which repressed affects are transmitted through literature carries affecting possibilities.3 This is how Freud ensures that literature is not simply reduced to mere therapeutic practice; he adheres to the German romantic tradition of the writer as creative genius – even though he differentiates between high art and the middle-brow – such a romantic figure, however, may not always be in control of his or her genius. In a section often quoted as a psychoanalytic theory of aesthetics, the late Freud of Civilisation and Its Discontents (1930) betrays a more gloomy pragmatism in light of the ominous remilitarisation of continental Europe, yet his belief in the redemptive power of art seems to hold: This aesthetic attitude to the goal of life offers little protection against the threat of suffering, but it can compensate for a great deal. The enjoyment of beauty has a peculiar, mildly intoxicating quality of feeling. Beauty has no obvious use; nor is there any clear cultural necessity for it. Yet civilization could not do without it. (1964: 33–4)

Freud advances his theory of fore-pleasure by directly linking the production of aesthetic affect to ‘the field of sexual feeling’ (ibid.: 83). Literature does not simply provide a space where the unspoken desires of both the artist and the reader are projected, but formal articulation, previously considered the source of a surplus pleasure, encrypts repressed impulses desiring conscious representation: ‘the love of beauty seems a perfect example of an impulse inhibited in its aim. “Beauty” and “attraction” are originally attributes of the sexual object’ (ibid.). The writer re-cathects unconscious desires into formal aesthetics to infuse the book as object with a libidinal excess that now carries the potential to overwhelm. If formal beauty is an expression of repressed infantile sexual memories, then affect and art as a source of affective sensations must also have their origins in the murky realm of the unconscious. To

­44     Robbie McLaughlan reboot a well known aphorism: one man’s (fore-)pleasure may well be another man’s pain.4 However, not all play is pleasurable and, in the later work, Freud makes use of the play of children to show how play enacts a release of unpleasurable affect. The most famous example of unpleasurable play in the Freudian canon comes in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) when Freud, observing his grandson playing with a bobbin, recognises and defines the limits of the pleasure principle.5 Freud observed how his grandson negotiated the anxiety of maternal separation by cathecting his fears into the object of the bobbin in the fort/da episode. For Freud this is play not simply as the expression of unconscious wishes – why would we knowingly subject ourselves to unpleasure? – but also as a transformative mechanism designed to reinstate agency in a scenario (the separation from mother) that is experienced as passive. The limits of the pleasure principle are fully revealed in the repetitive nature of the child’s play and in the ‘hostile impulses’ that govern it: ‘throwing away the object so that it was “gone” might satisfy an impulse of the child’s, which was suppressed in his actual life, to revenge himself on his mother for going away from him’ (ibid: 16). Play is configured as an expression not of the pleasure principle but of the death drive. This has profound implications for the figure of the creative writer who, according to Freud, re-cathects in words not only unconscious wishes and fears, but also a desire for destruction. It is after the late Freud’s discovery of todestrieb in Beyond the Pleasure Principle – where he famously states that, ‘the aim of all life is death’ – that his conception of literature as the site where the demands of the unconscious can be manifest is radically redrawn as this pleasure economy gives way to his new destructive discovery (ibid.: 38). The Freud that emerges from Derrida’s slow reading of Beyond the Pleasure Principle is one who is profoundly traumatised both by personal tragedy and by his own theorising of the death drive: a discovery that threatens to undermine the whole psychoanalytic project. Derrida turns psychoanalysis back upon itself in The Postcard to read Freud and the Freudian corpus in terms of traumatic affect. Towards the end of ‘Freud’s Legacy’, Derrida makes a detour of his own away from the text to the letters that Freud wrote during the composition and editing of Beyond the Pleasure Principle to produce a devastating reading in which little Ernst is read as the two-year-old Freud coming to terms with the death of his brother Julius. Freud famously refused to mourn the death of his beloved ‘Sunday Child’, his daughter Sophie, preferring, instead, to press on with the writing of his troublesome text.6 Tragedy was to strike once again only a few months later with the death of Sophie’s eldest

The Trauma of Form: Death Drive as Affect in À la recherche     45

child, and Freud’s favourite grandson, Heinerle; Derrida reminds us that this was to be the only time in Freud’s life in which he cried. Derrida detects a paradox in Freud’s attempt to establish himself as the founding father of psychoanalysis, as Freud, in being an originary of sorts, had been denied a formative period of analysis. Derrida’s close reading effectively places Freud on the couch, in the same way that Freud enacts an analysis through his psychobiographic reading of Leonardo Da Vinci, to carry out an analysis of Freud’s own unconscious as it is encrypted in the pages of his text. Derrida opens up a space where the banished ghosts of the two-year-old Freud’s childhood return, traumatically, to torment an old man blighted by personal tragedy, a tragedy that began with the death of his own brother, Julius: If the guilt is overlapped with the one whose death he lived as his own death, to wit the death of the other, of Ernst’s younger brother as of his younger brother, Julius, one holds several (only) of the strings in the lace of murderous, mournful, jealous, and guilty identifications which entrap speculation, it also constrains it with its rigorous stricture. The legacy and jealousy of repetition (already jealous of itself) are not accidents which overtake the fort:da, rather they more or less strictly pull its strings. And assign it to an auto-­biothanato-hetero-graphic scene of writing. (1987: 336)

Derrida interprets Freud’s own writing as a strategic attempt to disavow anxieties linked to his own mortality. Writing therefore becomes simultaneously an expression of and a deferral of the death drive. Psychoanalysis as a perpetual project – the reworking of the psychoanalytic map with every new discovery made – is read by Derrida as Freud’s way of deferring death through the act of writing, so that his work becomes the ‘auto-bio-thanato-hetero-graphic scene of writing’. This may explain why Freud seems unable, or maybe reluctant, to fully comprehend the theoretical repercussions of todestrieb; for if ‘the aim of all life is death’ then the lustprinzip is rendered as nothing more than todestrieb with an erotic dimension built into its psychic architecture. Simply put, there can be no lustprinzip after Freud’s theorising of todestrieb.7 I want to advance Derrrida’s reading to argue that creative writing is thanatographic. If, as outlined in ‘Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming’, writing is the act of fantasy that replaces childish play, where dreams are cathected into words, then, the discovery of todestrieb marks the moments when traum is devastatingly transformed into trauma. Dreams are not the symbolic condensation of wish fulfilment, but the manifestation of todestrieb. If in the early Freud, writing is daydreaming transposed into art then, for the later Freud, writing becomes the site of uncanny affect under the principle rule of todestrieb. Creative writing

­46     Robbie McLaughlan as the expression of unconscious memories allows artistic production to be read as the psycho-thanato-graphic. The creative enables the discharge of the destructive wish for annihilation; writing, then, is a formal displacement of the primacy of libido theory and the pleasure principle. Shortly before his death, Samuel Beckett was asked in an interview, ‘Which is more painful . . . writing or not writing?’, to which he replied, in a rejoinder that could belong to one of his characters, ‘They’re both painful but the pain is different’ (Shainberg 2000: 82). Beckett does not specify if it is the intensity or the quality of the pain experienced by the writer that marks the difference in non-writing and writing. Beckett’s modernism presents writing not as the projection of unconscious wishes related to pleasure but as a process in terms of an impossible masochistic economy whereby pain is experienced either way. Charting Freud’s theoretical methodology back through Beckett, writing is imagined as a form of traumatic play that allows for the discharge of death drive fantasies. This is why the absence of work fails to inoculate against suffering – the death drive has no outlet – and why writing wields such influence over the reader. The blank page doubles both as a space where sexual fantasies can be projected (again revealing the erotic dimension to the death drive) but also as the perverted palimpsestuous site of trauma. Writing, both for Beckett and for the late Freud, is a palimpsestuous act of re-inscribing latent trauma in a never-ending process of repetition. Writing as a psycho-thanato-graphic site is most evident in the (in) famous scene from the final volume of Marcel Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time (1913–27), when the Baron de Charlus engages in a repetitively violent game of sexual play: ‘I beseech you, mercy, have pity, untie me, don’t beat me so hard,’ said a voice. ‘I kiss your feet, I abase myself, I promise not to offend again. Have pity on me.’ ‘No, you filthy brute,’ replied another voice, ‘and if you yell and drag yourself about on your knees like that, you’ll be tied to the bed, no mercy for you,’ and I heard the noise of a crack of a whip, which I guessed to be reinforced with nails, for it was followed by cries of pain. (2000c: 154)

There is an uncanny textual doubling between the blank page and the Baron’s body as, from this Freudian theory of affect, both function as a cryptographic representation of suffering. Charlus’s body becomes a palimpsestous site where masochistic desire is literally inscribed in the form of those ‘hideous traces’ criss-crossing with the fresh cuts administered by his ‘tormentor’ Maurice; the narrator notes how the Baron’s back was ‘covered with bruises which proved that the chastisement was not taking place for the first time’ (ibid.). The scars and the lacerations

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marked upon the flesh of Charlus form a traumatic network of desire and a topographic rendition of todestrieb. Proust provides a complicated vision of the affective nature of trauma that, on the one hand, suggests a relationship between sensation and emotion that is disjunctive: (bodily) pain is experienced as a form of emotional pleasure. If read in isolation, this vignette points to an understanding that the reception of affect, no matter how gory in this case, defies psychic comprehension and is registered directly on the body. Yet, and as always with Proust, the orgasmic potentiality of fantasy to become realised is instantaneously diminished as this pleasure/pain dyad is experienced not as a moment of trauma but of disappointment; as the Baron remarks, ‘I did not want to speak in front of that boy, who is very nice and does his best. But I don’t find him sufficiently brutal. He has a charming face, but when he calls me a filthy brute he might just be repeating a lesson’ (ibid.: 156). The artifice of the role-play excludes the Baron from a primal plane of sensory pleasure, and it also reveals how this type of voluntary pleasure, affect on demand, fails to gratify his desire for a total form of destruction. Both the beating and the highly aestheticised space in which this bloody drama unfolds means that the Baron’s desire for an affect of thanatos can only ever be experienced as fore-pleasure. What the Baron unconsciously yearns for is transcendence through corporeal destruction. Charlus calls into question whether this staged form of sexual violence, no matter how bloodily it is articulated, can ever register as pleasurable. The performative nature of the master/slave dialectic and the iniquitous class relations of the bordello ensures that this type of play can only ever be dissatisfying; for as Freud writes in the first of his ‘Three Essays on Sexuality’ (1905), ‘it can often be shown that masochism is nothing more than an extension of sadism turned round upon the subject’s own self,’ so that a ‘sadist is always at the same time a masochist’ (1953: 158–9). Both the role of the master and the slave are painful positions, but the pain is different and incapable of providing the sensory affects desired as they only permit the partial discharge of the death drive in an affective form. The Baron’s scarred body is a palimpsest that testifies to the limits of the pleasure principle. He yearns for an affective experience that lies beyond the pleasure principle: a total destruction of the corporeal to become molecular, and this is can only be achieved through death. His compulsion to obsessively repeat this process is the conscious symptom of an unconscious drive that fails to go beyond the limits of the pleasure principle. Proust demonstrates how the Baron is all too conscious of the constructed nature of the play and this is why, ultimately, he fails to achieve the gratification desired. The body becomes a limited sensory device capable of generating a return of

­48     Robbie McLaughlan fore-pleasure, but unable to attain the sort of gratification desired as that would demand the complete annihilation of the body. The body as a sensory receptor registering conscious experience and the Baron’s body as a palimpsestous cartography can be read alongside another of Freud’s late essays, ‘A Note Upon the Mystic Writing-Pad’ (1925), in order to advance my theorising of affect and trauma in psychoanalysis. In this essay Freud evokes the metaphor of the palimpsest to outline his structural schemata of the psyche and does so by, once again, making reference to the unconscious through the metaphor of childish play. The upper layer of the Mystic Writing-Pad comprises of a ‘transparent piece of celluloid’ placed over a ‘slab of dark brown resin or wax’, so that the child is able to scribble on the film with a stylus, pull a chord and wipe whatever it is so that he/she is free to start scribbling once more (Freud 1961: 228–9).8 Although, as Freud notes, the celluloid can be wiped clear with every tug of the chord, the waxy bottom layer, like memory, retains the inscriptions of everything that has ever been etched upon it: ‘Thus the Pad provides not only a receptive surface that can be used over and over again, like a slate, but also permanent traces of what has been written, like an ordinary paper pad’ (ibid.: 230). Artistic creation, I argue, retains and exposes the permanent traces of the artist’s unconscious in the repetition of aesthetic form, that qualifies the artwork as a thanato-palimpsest in order to read the psychothanatographic. Gilles Deleuze interprets the Search as a narrative parallax, that ‘if we tried to transcribe the narrator’s vision,’ he writes, ‘the way biologists transcribe the vision of a fly, it would be a nebula with little bright points here and there’ (2006: 31). The narrator is ‘a very bizarre narrator’ for Deleuze, who reads him as having ‘no organs, no sensations, no perceptions: he has nothing’ (ibid.). Proust’s novel is a deterritorialised network without any textual centre that can be characterised by what Derrida refers to in response to Freud’s Mystic Writing-Pad essay, as ‘the absolute absence of any foundation’ (2001: 281). Therefore, this atomised vision can be read as the author and, therefore, the reader’s unconscious desire to transcend a limiting physicality to become a body without organs. The desire to experience being at a molecular level is evidenced in the way that repetition compulsion atomises the Search. For Proust and his parallax narrator, this textual repetition of themes and motifs is a hallmark of creative genius: ‘I explained to Albertine that the great men of letters have never created more than a single work, or rather have never done more than refract through various media an identical beauty which they bring into the world’ (2000a: 428). Here Proust outlines a manifesto of sorts that will become important for

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readers to bear in mind when re-reading. The novel’s cyclical structure – any reader of Proust must end by beginning again – is echoed in Proust’s palimpsestuous project, which evidences a notion of writing as a form of repetition compulsion capable of generating traumatic affect: You told me you had seen some of Vermeer’s pictures: you must have realised that they’re fragments of an identical world, that it’s always, however great the genius with which they have been re-created, the same table, the same carpet, the same woman, the same novel and unique beauty, an enigma at that period in which nothing resembles or explains it, if one doesn’t try to relate to all through subject matter but to isolate the distinctive impression produced by the colour. (ibid.: 430)

The Freudian link between creative writer and reader is made explicit. If Freudian psychoanalytic theory posits that repetition has its origins in the repressed trauma of childhood and evidences the existence of the death drive, then Proust’s belief in repetition as a sign of artistic genius connects both the writer and reader in their trauma. As Delueze and Guattari write in What is Philosophy, ‘a great novelist is above all an artist who invents unknown or unrecognized affects and brings them to light as the becoming of his characters’ (1994: 174). The unconscious of both the creative writer and the reader is brought into contact through the Proustian aesthetics of the death drive and in creation as the repetition of ‘fragments of an identical world’. Deleuze and Guattari understand artistic creation as the ‘struggle against chaos’ when remarking that the painter does not paint on an empty canvas, and neither does the writer write on a blank page; but the page or canvas is already so covered with preexisting, preestablished clichés that it is first necessary to erase, to clean, to flatten, even to shred, so as to let in a breath of air from the chaos that brings us the vision. (ibid.: 204)

Deleuze hints towards the death drive’s perpetual incitement to reset when stating how destruction must prefigure creation. This is the paradox of artistic creation as understood psychoanalytically: all creation is propelled by the chaotic order of todestrieb. Proust the narrator describes Elstir’s studio at Balbec as the ‘laboratory of a new sort of creation’ where the figure of the artist is able to translate ‘the chaos that is everything we see’, and what we do not see, into visual form (2002: 478). If artistic creation is the articulation of the chaos of the unconscious and reading is a process of vicarious identification, then what are the implications for those exposed to affects of chaos or trauma? In a passage from The Guermantes Way, Proust the narrator cultivates a moment of unpleasure whereby affect appears as a form of

­50     Robbie McLaughlan j­ouissance. After an afternoon spent drinking champagne with Saint Loup, the narrator and Rachel retire to a private room within a restaurant. The room is decorated with a single mirror ‘of such a kind that it seemed to reflect a score of others in an endless vista’ above which there is an electric bulb, allowing the narrator to soporifically conjecture that this impression of endless reflection when experienced in the lamp lit night must ‘give to the drinker, even when alone, the idea that the surrounding space was multiplying itself simultaneously with his sensations’ (2000b: 192). In a moment that invites a comparison with Lacan’s analysis of the Ideal-I as a moment of méconnassaince that compels the subject to embark on a lifelong quest to correspond with this ghostly reflected other, Proust’s narrator experiences the uncanny affect generated through this phenomenon of endless repetition as moment to be disavowed. He seems to inherently understand that this infinite reflection is a parallax view in which todestrieb becomes exposed: I caught sight of him, a hideous stranger, staring at me. The joy of intoxication was stronger than my disgust; from gaiety or bravado, I gave him a smile which he returned. And I felt myself so much under the ephemeral and potent sway of the minute in which our sensations are so strong, that I am nor sure whether my sole regret was not at the thought that the hideous self whom I had just caught sight of in the glass was perhaps on his last legs, and that I should never meet that stranger again for the rest of my life. (ibid.: 192–3)

The structural similarities between the conception of the neighbour figure and das Ding (the Thing) in Lacanian theory is revealed when the narrator comprehends the threatening other as ‘a hideous stranger’. The narrator’s initial impulse to psychically disavow that which is perceived as dangerous is immediately overcome by the quota of pleasure that this encounter with the spectral imago returns. This moment is pleasurable because it functions as a form of symbolic death; this molecularisation is the sort of sensory experience that Charlus craves. The narrator’s atomisation in the form of an endless reflection excites because it offers new affective possibilities of transcending the symbolic order and experiencing life as ghostly Ideal-I in the imaginary. The narrator can marshal this manifestation of the death drive by simply altering the angle that he stands in front of the mirror, so that he is, at any time, able to collapse the atomised, spectral, other back in on itself and unify this threatening multiplicity. Artistic creation is the process of molecularisation in the Proustian universe where bodies become separated from their physicality only to be reassembled on the page or on the canvas. When the narrator makes reference to a portrait of the mysterious Miss Sacripant (who is really

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Odette), Proust reiterates his belief in the creative writer’s ability to atomise and then reassemble: ‘Artistic genius acts in a very similar way to those extremely high temperatures which have the power to split up combinations of atoms which they proceed to combine afresh in diametrically opposite order, corresponding to another type’ (2002: 509). So long as this process of atomisation is restricted – the death drive regulated through the genius of the artist and his use of repetition – to the production of art, then such sensory excitation and the affective opportunities offered is celebrated by Proust in his novel; however, when a subject is unable to regulate this molecularising threat of the death drive it is always experienced as traumatic. While talking to his grandmother on the telephone, the figure of Grandmother is reimagined by the narrator in terms of the spectral – she becomes a ‘beloved ghost’ – and her disembodiment serves as a textual dress-rehearsal for her later death: once she dies in the imaginary order she can then killed off in the symbolic: ‘“Granny!” I cried to her, “Granny!” and would fain have kissed her, but I had beside me only that voice, a phantom, as impalpable as that which would come perhaps to revisit me when my grandmother was dead’ (Proust 2000b: 150). The artist is able to safely discharge a small amount of affective todestrieb through artistic creation in this molecular form. Readers, also, are able to satisfy their death drive desires through entering deterritorialised universes where characters function nebulously. In this form of writing at the atomic level, then, Proust’s vision anticipates Freud’s theorising of todestrieb in the manner that he reveals the dominance of the death drive in the psychoanalytic pleasure economy and in the way that the death drive manifests itself through molecularisation. Freud, too, in Beyond the Pleasure Principle theorises that the death drive can be discerned within a powerful psychic desire for annihilation through dissolution – this is what he refers to as the nirvana principle: Our recognition that the ruling tendency of psychic life, perhaps of nerve life altogether, is the struggle for reduction, keeping at a constant level, or removal of the inner stimulus tension (the Nirvana-principle, as Barbara Low terms it) – a struggle which comes to expression in the pleasure-principle – is indeed one of our strongest motives for believing in the existence of deathinstincts. (1959a: 55–6)

Freud’s discussion of the unconscious in terms of the biological in chapters four and five culminate in his speculation that, at a cellular level, there is an imbalance in the organic world towards destruction, that every organic system tends towards the lowest level of tension, which, as outlined by Freud, equates to death.9 The death drive makes

­52     Robbie McLaughlan itself known wherever we encounter the disembodied, the fragmented, the atomic, the repeated and the molecular. The creative writer whose genius derives from an ability to reassemble the fragments of an identical world is, through artistic creation at this atomic level, involved in a project that not only makes manifest the death drive and all of its affective possibilities, but in doing so exposes the death drives that propel creation. The implications of this are profound in terms of both a Freudian theory of art and an economy of affect; for if creation is the expression of unconscious desires laid out on the blank page or canvas, what both the late Freud and Proust reveal is that the creative process is, rather paradoxically, the moment when todestrieb is given expression. There is no pleasure principle after the death drive – the pleasure principle is nothing more than the erotic dimension of the death drive – so that the death drive can be found, in all of its obscenity, in artistic creation. The fore-pleasure gained from form is nothing more than this erotic dimension to the death drive. The consequences of this can be seen in the passage from Proust that has become known as ‘the death of Bergotte’. In this passage todestrieb is given an outlet in the palimpsestuous, in the atomised and in the affect produced within the unfortunate viewer: At last he came to the Vermeer which he remembered as more striking, more different from anything else he knew, but in which, thanks to the critic’s article, he noticed for the first time some small figures in blue, that the sand was pink, and finally, the precious substance of the tiny patch of yellow wall. His dizziness increased; he fixed his gaze, like a child upon a yellow butterfly that it wants to catch, on the precious little patch of yellow wall. ‘That’s how I ought to have written,’ he said. ‘My last books are too dry, I ought to have gone over them with a few layers of colour, made my language precious in itself, like this little patch of yellow wall.’ (Proust 2000a: 207)

Aesthetic form is, here, implicated in the release of traumatic affect through the camouflaging of the unconscious in all of its destructive obscenity. Bergotte’s death reveals the trauma of form. He notices Vermeer’s repetition of fragmentary images the ‘little patch of yellow wall’ with its palimpsestous ‘few layers of colour’. In doing so he is confronted, as with a pearl revealed in an oyster, with both Vermeer’s and his own unconscious. Aesthetic form here functions in a similar manner to the way in which affect is generated in the artificiality of the bordello, the performative nature of which ultimately serves to thwart the Baron from ever attaining the satisfaction of his own unconscious desire for destruction. The affect yielded is actually the affect of (fore-)pleasure. If artistic production is the unconscious transposed onto the blankness

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of the page or canvas, and if what lies beyond the pleasure principle is the death drive, then Vermeer is transformed in Proust into the artist of todestrieb; a fact which is gruesomely confirmed when the narrator aligns the disembodied name of Vermeer with the decaying – the becoming molecular – body of Bergotte: there is no reason inherent in the conditions of life on this earth that can make us consider ourselves obliged to do good, to be kind and thoughtful, even to be polite, nor for an atheist artist to consider himself obliged to begin over again a score of times a piece a piece of work the admiration aroused by which will matter little to his worm-eaten body, like the patch of yellow wall painted with so much skill and refinement by the artist destined to be for ever unknown and barely identified under the name Vermeer. (ibid.)

Reading or viewing yields an affective quota as it represents the very moment when the unconscious of the artist is brought into contact with the unconscious of the other. In the Proustian universe, where genius is evidenced through the repetition of a fragmentary system of textual/ visual leitmotifs so that artistic creation becomes the symptomatic manifestation of repetition compulsion, the subject is confronted with the possibility of being overwhelmed by the production and release of an affective energy. Just as the grandmother’s death plays out on an imaginary level before it actually occurs, the death of Bergotte uncannily anticipates Proust’s own death. In May 1921, Proust, who had done so much to bring Vermeer back to life within fashionable circles, attended an exhibition of Vermeer’s paintings and was particularly keen to see, for what turned out to be the last time, the painting that he had once described as the ‘most beautiful painting in the world’.10 The last known photograph of Proust before his death was taken in May 1921, where he is standing outside the Vermeer exhibition at the Jeu de Paume. He had recently added the death of Bergotte to The Captive and was feverishly editing the manuscript of the final three volumes when he died in his bedroom in the November of 1922. Here the three modalities of time are brought into devastating contact – when traum becomes trauma – in the spectral autobiographical overlaps between Proust and his novel.

Notes   1. This importance of this psychic process of condensation in the act of literary creation is made immediately clear in the German title of the essay, ‘Der Dichter und das Phantasieren’; with the German verb ‘dicten’ meaning

­54     Robbie McLaughlan both to write poetry and to condense. Freud’s theory of the duality of writing, therefore, is inscribed within the very semantic architecture of the word.   2. By consciously using the language of capitalist economics here, Freud anticipates the way in which Lacan incorporated Marx’s concept of ‘surplus value’ into his own theoretical framework by translating it as plus-de-jouir. The act of writing here becomes associated with the way commodity capitalism permits only the partial, fleeting, gratification of pleasure/desire.   3. To put it in non-theoretical terms, this can be understood in the same way as sex with foreplay; final pleasure is reached, but it is achieved by way of a pleasurable detour.   4. Marx, too, aligns the production and experience of affect with suffering in the Grundrisse when he writes that ‘man as an objective, sensuous being is therefore a suffering being – and because he feels that he suffers, a passionate being’ (1992: 390).   5. This is another vignette where it is difficult to ascertain whether this biographical episode is being offered as scientific fact.   6. He writes in a letter to Sándor Ferenczi after the death of Sophie, ‘My wife is quite overwhelmed. I think: La séance continue. But it was a little much for one week’ (Freud, cited in Derrida 1987: 329).   7. As Lacan states in Écrits, ‘every drive is virtually a death drive’ (2007: 719).   8. Freud here presents the subject as a composite of sensory receptors incessantly exposed to stimuli that are only partially comprehended or computed. Jean Laplanche, in a 1990 lecture delivered at the University of Kent, extends this metaphor further when he writes, ‘The image proposed by Freud is that of an organism, a protozoan stretching out feelers towards the external world and hastily withdrawing them as soon as they have sampled the excitations coming from it’ (1992: 164).   9. Žižek discusses how Freud misunderstood his own discovery when using Lacan to highlight how the death drive operates not in terms of the transcendental (the nirvana principle) but in terms of ‘the undead, of a spectral life beyond (biological death)’ (2003: 93). 10. In a letter to his friend the critic Jean-Louis Vaudoyer, Proust confessed that Vermeer had been his favourite artist since adolescence: ‘Ever since I saw the View of Delft at the museum in The Hague, I knew that I had seen the most beautiful painting in the world’ (cited in Tadie 2001: 392–3 n.76).

References Deleuze, Gilles (2006), ‘Proust round table’, in David Lapoujade (ed.), Two Regimes of Madness, trans. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 29–61. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari (1994), What is Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchill, London: Verso. Derrida, Jacques (1987), The Postcard, trans. Alan Bass, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. — (2001), Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass, London: Routledge. Freud, Sigmund [1905] (1953), ‘Three essays on sexuality’, in The Standard

The Trauma of Form: Death Drive as Affect in À la recherche     55 Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, London: The Hogarth Press, vol. 7. — [1909] (1959b), ‘Creative writers and day-dreaming’, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, London: The Hogarth Press, vol, 9, pp. 143–4. — [1916] (1963), Introductory Letters to Psychoanalysis, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, London: The Hogarth Press, vol. 16. — [1920] (1959a), Beyond the Pleasure Principle, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, London: The Hogarth Press, vol. 18. — [1925] (1961), ‘A note upon the mystic writing-pad’, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, London: The Hogarth Press, vol. 19. — [1930] (1964), Civilization and Its Discontents, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, London: The Hogarth Press, vol. 21. Lacan, Jacques (2007), Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink, New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Laplanche, Jean (1992), Jean Laplanche: Seduction, Translation and the Drives, ed. Jon Fletcher and Martin Stanton, trans. Martin Stanton, London: Institute of Contemporary Arts. Marx, Karl [1844] (1992), Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts in Early Writings, trans. Rodney Livingstone and Gregor Benton, Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics. Proust, Marcel [1919] (2002), Within a Budding Grove, trans. C. K. ScottMoncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D. J. Enright, London: Vintage, vol. 2/6. — [1920–1] (2000b), The Guermantes Way, trans. C. K. Scott-Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D. J. Enright, London: Vintage, vol. 3/6. ­­­­—  [1923] (2000a), The Captive, trans. C. K. Scott-Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D. J. Enright, London: Vintage, vol. 5/6. — [1927] (2000c), Time Regained, trans. Andreas Mayor and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D. J. Enright, London: Vintage, vol. 6/6. Shainberg, Lawrence (2000), ‘Exorcising Beckett’, in The Paris Review: Playwrights At Work, ed. George Plimpton, New York: Modern Library, pp. 50–87. Tadie, Jean-Yves (2001), Marcel Proust: A Life, trans. Euan Cameron, London: Penguin. Žižek, Slavoj (2003), The Puppet and the Dwarf, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Chapter 3

Affective Ethical Valuing in Hulme and Scheler

Logic of the Heart: Affective Ethical Valuing in T. E. Hulme and Max Scheler Christos Hadjiyiannis On 10 August 1914, less than a week after Britain declared war on Germany, T. E. Hulme volunteered for the army. Still in his late twenties, Hulme had been active in London’s intellectual circles for some time. His earliest known writings, the rudimentary notes published posthumously as ‘Cinders’ and ‘Notes on Language and Style’, date from 1906–7. In about 1908, he delivered ‘A Lecture on Modern Poetry’, in which he outlined some of the key poetic principles that went into forming Ezra Pound’s Imagist and Vorticist aesthetic: formal and metric irregularity; presentation of personal or subjective impressions; and juxtaposition of images in poetry into distinct lines (Hulme 1994: 53–5; cf. Pound 2005: 253, 244, 283–6). Hulme recast these poetic tenets into a theory of ‘classical’ modernism in ‘Romanticism and Classicism’ in 1911–12, now giving them a distinctly political bearing: the new poetry must be ‘accurate, precise, and definite’, in accordance to the anti-progressive, anti-sentimental and, ultimately, anti-Liberal ‘dry classical spirit’ that recognises human nature as fixed and finite, and which therefore requires external checks and control (1994: 68, 66, 70). As well as being a progenitor of this ‘classicist’ brand of anglophone literary modernism, Hulme was one of the earliest propagators of the influential metaphysics of Henri Bergson. He spent 1909–11 discussing Bergson’s ‘new philosophy’; during this period, he also published a series of articles for the right-wing weekly The Commentator. In his political writings, Hulme refutes the Liberal ‘myth’ of Progress, and, describing himself as ‘a certain kind of Tory’, advocates politics based on ‘order’, ‘discipline’, and ‘tradition’ (ibid.: 232, 235). Hulme wrote extensively on modern abstract art, too, defending, from his position as prominent contributor to The New Age, the geometric art of Epstein and Epstein’s circle. When the war broke out, Hulme emerged as a vocal supporter of Britain’s decision to intervene. Right up to his death in the trenches in September 1917, he defended Britain’s intervention, publicly castigat-

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ing pacifists, including Bertrand Russell, with whom he agreed on some philosophical fronts yet whose anti-war stance he derided as ignorant, naïve and sentimental (ibid.: 387–8, 392–3, 408). Hulme is remembered as much for channelling ideas into London’s modernist vortex as for his highly personal, vehement style. As Comentale puts it, ‘Hulme consistently writes through feeling . . . Anger, sadness, panic, lust – his work seethes with emotion’ (2004: 210). Indeed, there are many moments in his writings when, in apparent contrast to the impersonal poetics that his idiosyncratic anti-romanticism helped inspire, his emotions take over.1 In the last of his ‘Notes on Bergson’ (1911–12), for instance, he is unable to contain his anger at ‘sentimentalist’ responses to mechanism: ‘My annoyance demands physical expression. I want to do something dramatic with the printed page. I find myself muttering: “You think that, do you? You—!”’ (1994: 153). Likewise, in his art journalism, frustrated by one critic’s failure to appreciate the brilliance of Epstein, he vents that the ‘matter becomes so disgusting that it has to be dealt with . . . a little personal violence’ (ibid.: 260). Such ‘primordial’ responses – anger, annoyance, exasperation, irritation – are unsettling insofar as they give rise to a modernism built on chauvinist bravado: to what Carr has described as Hulmean modernism’s ‘aggressive cult of masculinity’ (2004: 95). However, Hulme’s ‘elemental’ engagement with the world must also be read in light of some of the claims he makes in his early notebooks, specifically the entries that advocate non-rational or instinctive interaction with the world. In ‘Cinders’, for example, he writes that the ‘cosmos’ can only be understood through ‘the sick disgusting moments [that] are part of the fundamental chaos – primeval chaos’ (1994: 13). Here and elsewhere in his work, Hulme sides against ‘rationalism’ or ‘intellectualism’, two terms he uses interchangeably in his writings to refer to the positivist idea that all epistemological or moral enquiries must begin with scientific analysis (ibid.: 99–100, 106). The rationale is that it is a mistake to conceive of the world as a structured or ordered universe unified under scientific principles or axioms; instead, ‘We must judge the world’, as another entry prompts us, ‘from the status of animals, leaving out “Truth”, etc.’ (ibid.: 14, 101). For Comentale, Hulme’s emotional response to the world and those around him carries an ethical–philosophical valence, in the sense that, in Hulme, feeling is at once ‘overflowing with affect and committed to value’ (2004: 211). It is precisely this aspect of Hulme’s work that interests me in this essay: the part played by those ‘unconscious visceral forces’ we call ‘affects’ in his writings, and the philosophical significance with which he imbues these ‘unqualified’ feelings, sensations or instincts (as

­58     Christos Hadjiyiannis ­ istinguished from emotions) in the act of ethical valuing.2 The focus d is on Hulme’s wartime writings: the letters he wrote to his family from the trenches; his war-time defence of Britain’s involvement in the conflict; and ‘A Notebook’, his last philosophical essay which argues for the existence of a sphere of objective and absolute values. I argue that Hulme is at his most ‘affective’ in the series of letters he composed at the front, collected after his death as ‘Diary from the Trenches’. As for many other combatants, life in the trenches was for Hulme an especially affective experience, one negotiated between disorientating feelings including fear, anxiety and ennui. Claims by Ferguson and Sheehan that Hulme remained distant and detached in the trenches are thus shown to be somewhat unwarranted: yes, there is flatness and impersonality in his prose, he avoids dramatisation, and his attitude is, as Sheehan puts it, ‘counter-sublime’ (2013: 142), but a closer reading reveals debilitating affects seething in-between the lines.3 Hulme’s trench-warfare experiences are captured most vividly in ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’, a poem which, as I show below, can be productively read as a poetic rendering of his affective responses to trench warfare. Hulme comes closest to offering a cohesive account of how affects impact on ethical valuation in ‘War Notes’ and ‘A Notebook’, more specifically, in the passages where he allows for the existence of objective and absolute ethical values that are – crucially – revealed through an intense affective experience: what he calls, borrowing from Pascal, ‘logique du coeur’ (1994: 414). His insistence on the existence of a sphere of absolute values is partly dictated by his pro-war argument against ethical relativism, on which he found pacifism to be based; but his emphasis on this ‘logic of the heart’, combined with his conviction that there exists a hierarchy of objective and absolute values, also echoes the phenomenology of the German philosopher Max Scheler (1874– 1928). Scheler, with whose phenomenology we now know Hulme to have been familiar, holds that it is only through affective, non-rational means that ethical values are revealed and, moreover, ordered.4 This is the implicit claim in Hulme’s argument in support of the war. Turning to Scheler thus allows for a useful and fruitful comparison, one that formalises the important part played by affect in Hulme’s thought.

Trench Warfare In his study of life in the trenches during the World War I, Das expertly details various ways in which trench warfare was lived as a ‘sensual’ experience (2005: 6). We see the extent to which war was experienced

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affectively, with the combatants often having only their most basic instincts to guide them, through reading Hulme’s ‘Diary’. From reading his letters it also becomes clear that fighting in the trenches was an experience marked by disorientation and distress, states that register themselves first as bodily affects: as fright, claustrophobia and inanition. A quality frequently ascribed to affects is that they are contagious, in the sense that they move in, out and through bodies (Gibbs 2001: 1). In Hulme’s ‘Diary’, shared emotional reactions blur personal spaces and boundaries, spreading across, muddling over the combatants’ cognitive and perceptive faculties. Furthermore, as is often the case with affective experiences, Hulme finds it difficult to fix his impressions or articulate his feelings, for a further characteristic of affective states is that they occupy areas of ‘inbetween-ness’, lying undetermined between immediate perception and cognition. Affects are intractable; resisting expression, they defy communication. As Seigworth and Gregg put it, ‘affect emerges out of muddy, unmediated relatedness . . . not in some dialectical reconciliation of cleanly oppositional elements or primary units’ (2010: 4). There are many instances in ‘Diary from the Trenches’ when Hulme’s occluded vision and hindered movement force him to rely on his senses to navigate the landscape.5 Because sensual responses under such conditions must remain ‘unchecked’, and often unqualified, reactions become especially affective: undetermined and indeterminable. Darkness intensifies his emotions, disorients him and precludes the possibility of his determining locations (Hulme 1994: 319, 321, 325). The unfathomability of the landscape makes it feel infinite: ‘we can see for miles our own & beyond the German lines . . . then later see, it seems miles away, the white smoke of the shell bursting’ (ibid.: 320). Unable to judge distances by sight, Hulme must rely on acoustic awareness and, more precariously, the inevitably inaccurate knowledge of the range of enemy fire: ‘How near it is to the trenches may be judged from the fact that this time one of our sentries was shot dead by a stray bullet’ (ibid.: 324). Together with disorientation, fear is the other dominant feeling registered in Hulme’s letters. Fear is felt everywhere; it affects the soldiers’ behaviour and their perception of those around them, yet remains murky and indeterminable. Hulme uses ‘fearful’ to describe a range of experiences: fear is induced by the Rest Camp; the cold weather; tiredness and exhaustion; and shelling (ibid.: 313, 315, 326, 328). Hulme’s fear, we may say, is affective insofar as it ‘emerges out of muddy, unmediated relatedness’ (Seigworth and Gregg 2010: 4). It is apt, then, that it is mud that Hulme finds the most ‘fearful’ – and mud (like fear, like affect) lies everywhere, on the roads that are ‘fearful with mud’, in the field that is ‘fearfully muddy’ (1994: 316, 324). Mud frightens Hulme, hinders

­60     Christos Hadjiyiannis his movement, and also impacts on his thinking and perception. The ‘predominant impression I shall carry away from this war’, he writes on 13 January 1915, is looking ‘reflectively at your feet & the patterns of the mud’ (ibid.: 316). Soldiers he once knew begin to look ‘very different, their faces & clothes a sort of pale mud colours’ (ibid.: 317). In the trenches, he admits, ‘all you can think of is the mud’ (ibid: 318). Hulme also confesses to feeling claustrophobic, bored and vulnerable. Inside ditches he feels ‘shut in and hopeless’, ‘just like being in your grave’, and as in a ‘rabbit hole’ (ibid.: 320–1, 323, 329). When he can’t sleep, he has ‘nothing to look at but the top of the ditch slowly freezing’ (ibid.: 321). When ‘star shells go off’ they make him feel unnervingly exposed: ‘you stand out revealed quite clearly as in daylight . . . as if you were suddenly naked in the street and didn’t like it’ (ibid.: 319). Paul Fussell has written about war as a ‘collision between events and the language available – or thought appropriate – to describe them’ (2000: 169). We can think of Hulme as caught up in a similar ‘collision’, finding it, as he does, hard to convey his experiences in writing. He writes to his family, ‘It’s very difficult to describe anything to you, to at all make you realise what is actually like’ (Hulme 1994: 327). Not that he knows what to make of what he sees and feels himself: what is given affectively must remain ineffable. Although not quite like the orally disfigured, vocally disabled soldier in Owen’s ‘Has your Soul Sipped?’ or Sorley’s ‘mouthless dead’, Hulme’s difficulty in conveying his feelings and impressions calls to mind the inability of the speaker in Eliot’s ‘East Coker’, who ventures – ‘with shabby equipment’ – to articulate ‘the general mess of imprecision of feeling’ (1969: 182).6 Digging trenches under a ‘very clear starry night’ in January, everything looks to him ‘picturesque’. But then again, ‘in reality’, he continues, ‘there is nothing picturesque about it’: instead, ‘it’s the most miserable existence you can conceive of’ (Hulme 1994: 321). On another occasion, he again tries – and fails – to fix an impression: the experience of seeing the ‘profile of men in front of you’ carrying their faggots resembles a ‘sort of frieze – like the procession in Scheherezade, or rather very unlike it’ (ibid.: 319).

‘Trenches: St. Eloi’ Hulme’s affective responses to trench warfare are condensed in ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’, a poem understood to have been recited by a convalescing Hulme to Pound when the former returned from the front with a bullet wound in 1915.7 Pound, in turn, reworked and published it under Hulme’s name:

Affective Ethical Valuing in Hulme and Scheler      61 Over the flat slope of St. Eloi A wide wall of sandbags. Night, In the silence desultory men Pottering over small fires, cleaning their mess-tins: To and fro, from the lines, Men walk as on Piccadilly, Making paths in the dark, Through scattered dead horses, Over a dead Belgian’s belly. The Germans have rockets. The English have no rockets. Behind the line, cannon, hidden, lying back miles. Before the line, chaos: My mind is a corridor. The minds about me are  corridors. Nothing suggests itself. There is nothing to do   but keep on. (Hulme 1915: 22)8

The scene opens at St. Eloi, the village south of Ypres where Hulme’s Honourable Artillery Company was stationed between March and April 1915. The soft intonation of ‘flat’, ‘slope’, ‘wide’ and ‘wall’ creates an almost serene atmosphere, the alliteration of ‘l’ in ‘flat’, ‘slope’, ‘Eloi’ and ‘wall’ achieving a slow, slurring effect. We are reminded of the ‘Waste Land’ described in David Jones’s In Parenthesis, with its ‘sharp contours and unformed voids of . . . mysterious existence’; and just as the ‘long stillnesses’ in Jones’s desolate landscape are punctuated with ‘sudden violences’, so too the serene scene in ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’ is quickly interrupted by the advent of ‘Night’, as the poem switches ominously and abruptly to a silent and dark place (Jones 1937: x). Here, ‘desultory men’ potter and aimlessly clean ‘their mess-tins’. In having men ‘pottering’ and walking purposelessly ‘to and fro’ in silence, the poem evokes what Hulme describes in his letters as the ‘curious’ effect of war: ‘This continuous shelling and the apprehension of it’, he had written in February, ‘has altered some men. They keep very quiet all day long & hardly say anything’ (1994: 325). Soldierly routine and mundaneness render the war a ritual performed in silence. Rudolf Binding, describing his own experiences on the Western Front, writes that ‘feeling deeply about [the war], one becomes less able to talk about it every day’ (1929: 60). For Leed, this is what makes ‘the experience of war . . . a nonverbal, concrete, multichannel learning experience that can never adequately be reproduced in mere words’ (1981: 74). Moreover, by having soldiers ‘walk as on Piccadilly’ and civilians make ‘paths in the

­62     Christos Hadjiyiannis dark’, the poem moves not only between the intense and the inarticulate but also between the everyday and the extraordinary, this blurring of boundaries highlighting the deracination of war: as Hulme puts it, ‘there is nothing certain or fixed’; ‘You have no place that belongs to you. You really are as nomadic as an animal’ (1994: 326). The two long insertions that follow the opening vignette, with their polysyllabic nuance prolonged through the use of commas, establish the superiority of the German army. The striking enjambment induces a sense of syntactic dislocation akin to the displacement felt by Hulme during real-life shelling in the battlefield (ibid.: 322). In the letters, Hulme describes the Allies’ battered trench line as ‘leading up to an abyss’; here, this feeling is summed up in the word ‘chaos’ (ibid.: 326). The colon that punctuates ‘chaos’ suggests that a description or explanation will follow, and, indeed, the poem switches to first-person voice for an unnamed speaker to state soberly: ‘My mind is a corridor. The minds about me are / corridors.’ The typographical arrangement forms a visual labyrinth, producing an experience analogous to crawling through narrow trenches. Any distinction between the topography and its perception by the subject is completely erased: it is now extremely difficult to separate the physical properties of the landscape from the mental attitude of those in it. The feeling of dislocation is intensified in the following line, with the speaker, now appearing robbed of agency, conceding that ‘Nothing suggests itself / There is nothing to do’. The line, however, breaks, for the poem to end on a resolute acceptance of one’s state-of-being, complemented by a determination to ‘keep on’. As Sheehan argues, ‘When the imagination has been deadened by routine, by the proximity of death and by the quelling of desire, to “keep on” is all one can do’ (2013: 145). But this resoluteness also reminds us that Hulme, like many others of his generation, considered the war a worthy cause.9 Read this way, ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’ thus neatly captures Hulme’s affective experience of war, a war that exposed him to anxiety and destitution, but which he also thought it his duty to fight.

In Support of War The views of groups and individuals who sided against the war varied considerably, but two common pacifist arguments ran as follows: the war was an act of aggression that departed from fundamental internationalist values; it was morally wrong, unnatural, and therefore indefensible (Vellacott 1980: 32–6). Disillusioned Liberals maintained that there was

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a common, transnational liberal ideology shared between the AngloSaxon peoples and that an altercation with Germany could only hinder the prospects of creating a pan-European Liberalism, whilst Bloomsbury pacifists of Bertrand Russell’s ilk made the case that the war was morally unjustifiable (Sherry 2003: 195). Hulme attacked both these lines of reasoning. Restating the official pro-war narrative, he argued that the war against Germany was a necessary measure for the preservation of British democratic institutions: those who opposed it simply failed to recognise the extreme danger that Germany posed to Britain and Europe more broadly (Hulme 1994: 333–4, 384, 397–9). However, it was against Russell’s pacifism, and the ‘humanist’ ethic upon which, in his view, it was based, that he directed his criticism most sharply. Russell’s objection to the war is sophisticated, nuanced and multifarious.10 Perhaps his most significant contribution to the anti-war cause, however, is his discussion in early 1916 of ‘the springs of human action’ in a series of lectures published as The Principles of Social Reconstruction (1997: 9). Reason, Russell argues here, has little power over human impulses and desires; even though reason helps guide us to any goal we might contemplate, unless we want to take notice of its calculations we do not have to. This is the essence of Russell’s distinction between desires and impulses. In the realm of desire, humans can easily make use of reason; impulses, however, resist reason, as they impel us to act on them without calculation. That is precisely why impulses are, for Russell, both important for human life and potentially destructive: having no purpose, they supply the driving force for our emotional life and ensure creativity; yet at the same time, unless they are directed towards creative and life-enhancing paths, impulses may easily be seen as leading to ‘destruction and death’ (ibid.: 14–15). As Ryan points out, this distinction helped Russell discredit war as irrational and immoral. That is, it enabled Russell to make the case that the reason why so many supported the war was that, living in a society that did not nurture their impulses, modern citizens had become bored and frustrated (Ryan 1988: 72–4; cf. Russell 1988: 309). The volunteers’ eagerness to fight was a symptom of social malaise: through mischievous education and propaganda, society had encouraged aggressive and anti-social impulses rather than creative and sociable ones. Hulme, who had been arguing the case for war in the pages of the New Age since November 1915, took issue with Russell’s pacifism in a series of articles published simultaneously in the New Age and the Cambridge Magazine in January–February 1916. Focusing on Russell’s distinction between desires and impulses, he protested that Russell’s antithesis was ‘a delightfully simple picture of the true nature of the ­controversy’

­64     Christos Hadjiyiannis (1994: 393; cf. 405). The problem was not that Russell showed impulses and desires to play an important role in decisions – Hulme acknowledged that they do – but that Russell’s distinction excluded the possibility that anti-pacifists may have supported the war on ‘other “reasons”, which may also be disinterested, ethical, and not emotional’ (ibid.: 395). Hulme is certainly guilty of misapprehension here: Russell had, after all, made it clear in Principles of Social Reconstruction that everyone is moved by impulse (cf. 1997: 15). However, to condemn (as some critics have) Hulme’s criticism of Russell as misguided, amateurish, populist or opportunist is to risk missing the point of his objection.11 For Hulme noticed, and Russell admitted himself, that, by the time of Principles of Social Reconstruction, Russell had moved from postulating a theory of objective ethical values to maintaining that ethical values are subjective (Hulme 1994: 408; Russell 1916a: 305 and 1916b: 386). According to Hulme, this view of ethics as simply a ‘quasi-rational ground for the indulgence of impulse’ that Russell had come to hold in 1915–16 leads directly to ‘ethical scepticism’ – to ‘a relativist view of ethics’ (1994: 407–9). This was a serious argumentative flaw, for it surely undermines Russell’s reasoning against war: ‘all he can say is that he prefers pacifist instincts’ (ibid.: 408). In his response Russell remained unapologetic; Hulme continued to be unsympathetic. In the New Age on 24 February, he asserted that Russell’s change of heart was symptomatic of an ‘uncritical acceptance of the liberal ideology that [had] prevailed since the eighteenth century’; and, in a version of the same piece that he revised for Ogden’s Cambridge Magazine, he speculated that ‘perhaps suspecting instinctively that the objective conception of ethics might lead to the establishment of values he would call reactionary . . . [Russell] dropped the objective conception’ (ibid.: 408, 475n.68). Hulme (who in ‘War Notes’ attempted to show that objective ethical values do not necessarily entail authoritarian politics) was able to expand on what he meant by ‘objective conception of ethics’ in ‘A Notebook’. In this essay, he challenges the relativist/humanist ethics (upon which pacifism, he argues, is based) through appealing to a sphere of unalterable values. ‘A complete reaction from the subjectivism and relativism of humanist ethics’, Hulme writes in ‘A Notebook’, ‘should contain two elements: (1) the establishment of the objective character of ethical values, (2) . . . an order or hierarchy among such values, which it also regards as absolute and objective’ (ibid.: 451–2). Given that he finds ethical relativism as the moral code upon which pacifism is based (ibid.: 427), and judged in the context of his defence of the war more broadly, Hulme’s keenness to assert a hierarchy of ethical values must be understood as partly an attempt to give his argument in favour of the war cre-

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dence and coherence. If objective or absolute values exist, and if certain values are ‘higher’ than others, then the citizens of Britain can be seen to have a valid (indeed, absolute) moral reason to defend their country against Germany. This, in turn, would prove contra Russell that the war was not fought for impulsive reasons – or, at the very least, that even if their reasons were impulsive, they were certainly neither false nor futile. To account for the existence of objective values in ‘A Notebook’, Hulme turns to Husserl and Moore, but also the early Russell. What connects Husserl and Moore to the early Russell is their shared rejection of psychologism in favour of a ‘pure’ or ‘objective’ understanding of philosophy.12 These thinkers’ non-relative, non-naturalist conception of philosophy allows, at least in principle, for the assertion of objective ethical values. By redeploying – and revalorising – the distinction between Weltanschauung (worldview) and ‘pure philosophy’ that joins the works of Husserl, Moore and the early Russell, Hulme hopes to discredit humanism/pacifism as merely a ‘standpoint’ (as ‘a particular view of the relation of man to existence’ (ibid.: 429, 433)). He pins on their anti-psychologism, that is, his hopes for an objective ethical system that is free from the ‘anthropomorphism’ and the ‘empirical prejudice’ on which he finds pacifism to be premised (ibid.: 443). Whilst Husserl’s ‘rigorous science’ and Moore and Russell’s ‘neoRealism’ play a foundational part in Hulme’s construction of objective moral values, it is through the ethical phenomenology of Scheler that the thesis in ‘A Notebook’ is best understood. Hulme’s argument in ‘A Notebook’ regarding the existence of an order of objective and absolute ethical values recalls Scheler’s thesis in Formalism and Non-Formal Ethics of Value (1913–16). Significantly for understanding the place and philosophical role of affect in his thought, Hulme also follows Scheler in maintaining that ethical values are revealed to us affectively, through a ‘logique du coeur’. As I argue below, Hulme’s Pascalian ‘logique’ is in principle the same as Scheler’s order of love (ordo amoris), also drawn from Pascal. Hulme’s invocation of Pascal puts him in line with Scheler; it also realigns him with Bergson, elements from whose philosophy Hulme never quite abandoned.

Scheler’s Order of Values As a phenomenologist, Scheler is concerned not with the analysis of the form, existence or reality of objects in the world (phenomenology leaves the investigation of natural objects to the natural sciences) but with grasping the content, meaning or essence of objects as we experience

­66     Christos Hadjiyiannis and interpret them. Formalism and Non-Formal Ethics of Value thus proceeds on the hypothesis that humans have the ability to experience and comprehend the world in a non-contingent, non-formal way (i.e., we become aware of the content of experience before its form). What we experience is given to us immediately as visceral sensation, as our bodies come in contact with the world (Scheler 1973: 35; 285–6). It is in this (limited and loose) sense that, in Schelerian phenomenology, the contents of objects can be said to be given to us affectively. Following Nietzsche, Scheler maintains that humans do not so much have a body but are bodies that are affected by objects around them (Frings 1996: 8; Scheler 1973: 59–60). Moreover, as essentially loving beings (ens amans), we are capable of an essential insight given to us in the intentional act of being drawn (love) or repulsed (hate) by an object; put otherwise, we are instinctively and immediately drawn to an object’s content, which is its essence of being (Frings 1996: 8). Such ‘pure’ acts of experiencing are acts of love in the sense that they offer an immediate intuition of an object, are intentional (they give meaning), whilst also, just as is the case with pure love, they operate under their own ‘logic’ – which is why we are not always capable of proving why we love another person despite being certain of our love for them (Davis and Steinbock 2014). And just as in self-transcending acts of pure love, for the ‘other’ (the world, in this case) to offer itself to us (our intuition), we must ‘open’ ourselves to it. Humans intuitively grasp the essence of being of an object in pure or asymbolic intuition, which is to be distinguished both from the knowledge we gain through sensuous elements or their derivatives (i.e., natural facts) and knowledge acquired through logical patterns of unification (i.e., scientific facts, given to us as symbols) (Staude 1967: 19). It follows that Scheler’s distinctive brand of phenomenology, based as it is on pure intuition, is a technique (not a method) that temporarily eliminates sensible intuition and logical deduction; it ‘brackets’ the world, opening up to the content and essence of the world as it is experienced (Frings 1996: xii). Understood this way, phenomenology does not negate the natural or practical world, nor does it devalue practical life. Rather, it asks that we open ourselves to non-rational modes of evidence. Just as affects emerge in immediate perception, so, too, in Scheler’s phenomenology contents of objects are revealed to us immediately in inner perception, at the exact moment when our bodies come in contact with the world. At this moment, a priori ideals, units of meaning and propositions, are ‘self-given by way of an immediate intuitive content’ (Scheler 1973: 48). One distinctive feature of Scheler’s phenomenology (for there are many) is that it includes in it an examination of ethical values.13

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According to Scheler, not only are ethical values revealed to us in asymbolic intuition through affective means, but it is also through special acts of feeling and the heart’s ‘logic’ (ordo amoris) that these values are ordered and hierarchised. This process is captured in the notion of value-ception [wahrnehmung] (Scheler 1916: 201 and 1973: 197–203; Frings 1996: 94). Value-ception occurs as part of perception, prior to thinking – as, for example, when we find a tree pleasurable, green, or large (i.e., we are made aware of its content). In value-ception, a material, non-formal a priori arises in experience: this is value, and, in this sense, all experience can be said to be value-latent. Crucially, whilst we ‘see’ value just as we see colours or hear sounds, reason, to use Scheler’s simile, is as ‘blind’ to the realm of values as ears and hearing are to colours: this is a ‘type of experiencing whose “objects” are completely inaccessible to reason’ (1973: 255). During this grasping of value, which constitutes our most original or ‘primordial’ relation to the world, positive values come to the foreground of our attention, with things with negative value receding to the background (ibid.: 200, 252–3). As part of this intentional act of preferring (loving) or rejecting (hating), we order objective ethical values and are led to ‘genuinely objective objects and the eternal order among them’ – and, importantly, as Scheler adds, ‘the order and laws contained in this experience are as exact and evident as those of logic and mathematics’ (ibid.: 255). Ethical values are ‘objective’ in the sense that they can be known; for they can be known only if they have some kind of objective quality. Moreover, ethical values can be ordered according to certain modalities. For example, we tend to move upwards from sensible values (pleasure) to vital (noble/good) and spiritual (beautiful/right) values to, ultimately, divine values (holy) (Scheler 1992: 229–30). Values are higher (deeper) or lower (more superficial) depending on factors such as duration or depth of fulfilment. In general, lower values are founded on other values, whilst higher values are independent, which is why they can be characterised as ‘absolute’. According to Scheler, we all possess the capacity to love or hate, hence also to instinctively order values – what he calls ‘ethos’ – in us (1973: 303–6; 1992: 255). Furthermore, we always prefer higher values to lower ones: it is not a question of choice, nor is value ordering historically or culturally relative. All ethically responsible individuals (‘persons’) will feel it imperative to prefer higher to lower values, irrespective of the types of values an object has for an individual or a culture. A cow may be holy for a Hindu and vital for a cowherd, for example, but the holy is always preferred to the vital (Davis and Steinbock 2014). Finally, all value preferencing involves a certain act of sacrifice. Scheler

­68     Christos Hadjiyiannis is resolutely against the view (which he attributes to Kant) that something is more valuable simply because its realisation requires struggle or endeavour (1973: 228–9). If anything, because the ethically responsible person is drawn to (loves/prefers) higher values, she sacrifices the least for its realisation, i.e. in such cases, it does not feel like we are giving up anything of higher value. What is more, the absolute nature of values means that the value of obedience to a given value will always be the same, irrespective of the effort involved in obeying. However, sacrifice is important in Scheler in that, even if it does not establish values, it helps clarify our given and accepted ethical valuations (1973: 230). As Scheler was to put it elsewhere, in an essay on ‘The Meaning of Suffering’, ‘sacrificing “for” always implies a positive value of a higher level or the avoidance of an evil of a higher level’ (1992: 88).

Hulme’s ‘Logic of the Heart’ To return to Hulme: Scheler’s discussion of non-formal ethical values, revealed to us immediately (affectively) in asymbolic intuition and ordered in perception (value-ception), provides various entry points into Hulme’s defence of war and the theory of objective ethical values he developed during the war. For one, value-ception entails that feeling alone can act as adequate basis for moral decision – that, in other words, feeling need not be aided by reason. This complicates Russell’s claim in Principles of Social Reconstruction that volunteers were driven to war because of anti-social, misguided impulses. Value-ception, that is, has the potential to account for the existence and plausibility of what Hulme describes as ‘other “reasons”, which may also be disinterested, ethical, and not emotional’ (1994: 395). Furthermore, much like Hulme, Scheler intended his thesis regarding a hierarchy of values partly as a political critique of bourgeois humanism, the kind which Hulme traced at the basis of the ‘middle-class . . . pacifist, rationalist, and hedonist’ ethic (ibid.: 249). Building on Nietzsche’s concept of ressentiment (the negative sentiment expressed by individuals aiming to devalue the achievements of others whilst secretly coveting them), Scheler claims that bourgeois mentality tends to inverse values, and that, as a result, it compares lower to higher values. The effect of this emotional negation is a reversal of values, leading to the creation of an illusory order of values (Scheler 1992: 117, 132; Frings 1996: 58–63; Staude 1967: 37). A similar argument to Scheler’s can be found in Georges Sorel, whose book Reflections on Violence Hulme translated for publication in 1916. In the translator’s ‘Preface’, Hulme

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describes Sorel’s argument concerning ‘the feelings of envy and retaliation as the basis of liberal democracy’ as very convincing, noting that another ‘careful analysis of this sentiment and its historical connection with democracy can be found in Max Scheler’s Über Ressentiment u. Werttheorie’ (1994: 247nb).14 Most important of all, Hulme, too, holds that ethical values are revealed to us affectively: not rationally but through the heart’s ‘logic’. Hulme follows Scheler when he claims in ‘War Notes’ that objective ethical values operate under a ‘logique du coeur’. This is a reference to Pascal’s claim that ‘Le coeur a son ordre’ [the heart has its own order or logic], meaning that, unlike the intellect, the heart does not analyse the world by principle and demonstration, operating instead according to its own ‘logic’. As fragment 282 of Pascal’s Pensées has it, ‘We know truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart, and it is in this last way that we know first principles; and reason, which has no part in it, tries in vain to impugn them’ (1931: 79). In Pascal’s Augustinian discourse, as Ignatieff correctly points out, ethical values are revealed to us affectively through the body: thus ‘the certainty of Grace is delivered to men not in their reason but in violent certitudes of the body’. In Pascal, moreover, religious–ethical certainty is given almost affectively: ‘not in the language of rational proof . . . but in the language of fire, burning his senses as hotly as hunger’ (1984: 74–5). As it has already been surmised, this is also the fundamental premise of the phenomenology espoused by Scheler, who, in fact, acknowledges the influence of Pascal on his thought in various places in his work (1973: 63; 1992: 135). It is in an almost identical way to Scheler that Hulme appeals to Pascal’s ‘logique’: to support the claim that certain ‘feelings’ as revealed to us instinctively are ‘absolute, not relative to human life, and in certain respects a priori’, and that it is therefore possible to ‘range . . . ethical values in a certain order or hierarchy’ (1994: 414). Indeed, Hulme follows Scheler in distinguishing between lower values (‘founded on, and . . . dependent on, the “higher” values’) and higher values (‘absolute and quite independent of life’) (ibid.: 414–15). Ultimately, Hulme’s turn to Pascal betrays his enduring debt to Bergson. In ‘A Notebook’, Bergson is criticised for failing to recognise the chasm between lower (organic) and higher (ethical/religious) values and thus for falling ‘easily in line with humanism’ (ibid.: 426). This has prompted various critics to conclude that, by 1915–16, Hulme had become disenchanted with Bergson’s metaphysics.15 Yet Pascal’s ‘logic of the heart’ closely resembles ‘intuition’, Bergson’s trademark philosophical ‘method’, with both affirming the intensity of instinct over the efficiency of the intellect. It is precisely for this reason that

­70     Christos Hadjiyiannis Bergson credits Pascal as a source of inspiration for his own intuitionist metaphysics (1915: 21). Intriguingly, Pascal’s ‘logique’ and Bergson’s Lebensphilosophie have been found to meet in Scheler’s phenomenology (Frings 1996: 60; Staude 1967: 21): intriguingly, because, whilst evidently borrowing key ideas from Bergson’s philosophy (Schneck 1987: 17–18), Scheler is, like Hulme in ‘A Notebook’, critical of Bergson. He is a lot more open about his intellectual debt to Husserl and Moore, crediting both in his Preface to Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values (Scheler 1973: xix, xxi). Insofar as it brings together elements from the works of Pascal, Bergson, Husserl and Moore, Scheler’s work may go someway towards explaining Hulme’s mention of all these philosophers in ‘A Notebook’.

Conclusion Read via Scheler, Hulme’s thesis regarding the existence of a sphere of objective and absolute ethical values, as levelled against Russell’s pacifist ethic, gains a distinct ethical–phenomenological valence. The existence of a higher ethical order, revealed to us affectively, cannot guarantee the moral righteousness of war: as Roberts noticed many years ago, the moral righteousness of war can only depend on the purpose behind it (1938: 116). However, it does show that the instinctive willingness to fight is neither ethically misguided nor unjustifiable. More speculatively, Scheler’s ethical phenomenology, with its emphasis on sacrifice, offers a fresh way of reading the resolute tone of the closing lines of ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’. Just as sacrifice in Scheler confirms and clarifies higher ethical values, the speaker’s sacrificial determination to ‘keep on’ makes him an ethically responsible person. The speaker’s perseverance and determination, that is, corresponds to a Schelerian act of ordering values. In ‘The Meaning of Suffering’, Scheler suggests that higher life always requires sacrificial suffering, which sometimes may even lead to death. This insight, he maintains, ‘can be grasped in its entirety not only with the mind but with the heart’ (Scheler 1992: 91). Scheler identifies two types of suffering: ‘western’ suffering, an exterior fight against suffering; and ‘eastern’ suffering, as it is predominantly found in India (also the Stoa and certain forms of Christianity), which suspends suffering from within, through non-resistance and complete patience (Frings 1996: 29, 39, 148). A similar spirit, also ‘eastern’, is at work in ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’. The poem’s undertone shares something with the unsentimental, ‘classical’ Japanese and Chinese poems that Pound was translating for Cathay at the time (Moody 2007: 257–62; Longenbach 1988: 112–16). As one

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of these poems, ‘South Folk in Cold Country’, puts it, ‘Hard fight gets no reward / Loyalty is hard to explain’ (Pound 1915: 31); ‘Leave- Taking Near Shoku’ puts it more pithily: ‘Men’s fates are already set / There is no need of asking diviners’ (ibid.: 30). Finally, a comparative analysis of Hulme and Scheler such as the one I have attempted here is rewarding insofar as it reminds us of the centrality of affect, feeling and emotion in Hulme’s thought – and, perhaps, more broadly and by extent, in the ‘impersonal’, ‘anti-sentimental’ modernism with which he is commonly associated.16 For, despite his frequent proclamations to the contrary, right up to his death, Hulme embraced the visceral, offered himself to the world and let his heart find and follow its own ‘logic’.

Acknowledgment I should like to express my gratitude to Andreas Vrahimis for his shrewd and generous comments on my analysis of Scheler’s phenomenology.

Notes  1. This ‘impersonal’ modernism is most often associated with Eliot’s criticism: see, for example, Eliot 1934: 21. Regarding Eliot’s debt to Hulme, see Margolis 1972: 46; Asher 1995: 49–51; and Schuchard 1999: 52–67.   2. On the distinction between emotion and affect, see Bertelsen and Murphie 2010: 148.   3. See Ferguson 2002: 211 and Sheehan 2013: 141–2.   4. In his 2013 catalogue, the specialist book dealer Paul Rassam advertised newly found ‘Eight pages of notes, variously in pen and pencil in Hulme’s difficult hand, with an additional two on squared paper probably torn from a field­service notebook’, including ‘2 1/2 pp. on Max Scheler . . . headed ‘Scheler / Liebe v. Mitgefühl’ (2013: 25). I am indebted to Paul for alerting me to these manuscripts, now held at the Harry Ransom Centre in Austin, Texas (uncatalogued 2014 accession). Scheler touches on Liebe [love] and Mitgefühl [fellow-feeling] in Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values, but these notions are more extensively discussed in Zur Phänomenologie und Theorie der Sympathiegefühle und von Liebe und Hass (1913).   5. On how the combatants’ lack of vision altered their perception of topography in the trenches, see Fussell 2000: 76 and Leed 1981: 77.   6. See Owen 1986: 67–8 and Sorley 1996: 89.   7. See Ferguson 2002: 65.  8. The poem was first published in Pound’s collection Catholic Anthology (1915) as ‘Poem: Abbreviated from the Conversation of Mr T. E. H.’, with ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’ as its subtitle. When Pound reprinted the poem in

­72     Christos Hadjiyiannis Umbra (1920) he added that it is an ‘abbreviation of some of [Hulme’s] talk made when he came home with his first wound in 1915’ (1920: 123).   9. See Sheffield 2002: 154–8. 10. See Vellacott 1980: 12–13, 55, 60–72 and Ryan 1988: 64. 11. See, for example, Ryan 1988: 72; Comentale 2004: 146; and Garver 2006: 146. 12. See Husserl 1981: 166–7 and 2001: 2–3, 106–7; Moore 1993: 4 and 1903: 7, 20–21, 58; and Russell 1986: 8, 57, 63–5. 13. For a helpful overview of Scheler’s phenomenological technique and what sets it apart from other brands of phenomenology, including Husserl’s, see Staude 1967: 15–22 and Frings 1996: ix-xii, 4–5. 14. Hulme probably has in mind Scheler’s Über Ressentiment und moralisches Werturteil (1912). 15. See Levenson 1984: 82 and Ferrall 2001: 117. 16. On the paradox of ‘emotional’/‘impersonal’ modernism, see Comentale 2004: 211. See also Bush on Eliot’s ‘extremely deceptive use of the terms “personal” and “impersonal”’ (1984: 44).

References Asher, Kenneth (1995), T. S. Eliot and Ideology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bertelsen, Lone and Murphie, Andrew (2010), ‘An ethics of everyday infinities and powers: Félix Guattari on affect and the refrain’, in Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds) The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 138–57. Binding, Rudolf (1929), Fatalist at War, trans. Ian F. D. Morrow, London: Allen & Unwin. Bush, Ronald (1984), T. S. Eliot: A Study in Character and Style, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Carr, Helen (2006), ‘T. E. Hulme and the “spiritual dread of space”’, in Edward P. Comentale and Andrzej Gasiorek (eds), T. E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 93–112. Comentale, Edward P. (2006), ‘Hulme’s feelings’, in Edward P. Comentale and Andrzej Gasiorek (eds), T. E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 209–29. Das, Santanu (2005), Touch and Intimacy in First World War Literature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Davis, Zachary and Steinbock, Anthony (2014), ‘Max Scheler’, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward N. Zalta, (accessed 17 March 2014). Eliot, T. S. (1934), ‘Tradition and the individual talent’, in Selected Essays, London: Faber, pp. 13–22. — (1969), ‘East Coker’, The Complete Poems and Plays, London: Faber, pp. 177–83. Ferguson, Robert (2002), The Short Sharp Life of T. E. Hulme, London: Allen Lane.

Affective Ethical Valuing in Hulme and Scheler      73 Ferrall, Charles (2001), Modernist Writing and Reactionary Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Frings, Manfred S. (1996), Max Scheler: A Concise Introduction into the World of a Great Thinker, 2nd edn, Milwaukee: Marquette University Press. Fussell, Paul (2000), The Great War and Modern Memory, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Garver, Lee (2006), ‘Hulme among the progressives’, in Edward P. Comentale and Andrzej Gasiorek (eds), T. E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 133–47. Gibbs, Anna (2001), ‘Contagious feelings: Pauline Hanson and the epidemiology of affect’, Australian Humanities Review p. 24, (accessed 17 Mar 2014). Hulme, T. E. (1915), ‘Poem: abbreviated from the conversation of Mr T. E. H.: Trenches: St. Eloi’, Catholic Anthology, London: Elkin Mathews, p. 22. — (1994), The Collected Writings of T. E. Hulme, ed. Karen Csengeri, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Husserl, Edmund (1981), ‘Philosophy as rigorous science’, in Husserl: Shorter Works, ed. Peter McCormick and Frederick A. Elliston, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 166–97. — (2001), Logical Investigations, trans. J. N. Findlay, ed. Dermot Moran, London: Routledge, vol. 1. Ignatieff, Michael (1984), The Needs of Strangers, London: Chatto & Windus. Jones, David (1937), In Parenthesis: seinnyessit e gledyf ym penn mameu, London: Faber. Leed, Eric J. (1981), No Man’s Land: Combat and Identity in World War 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Levenson, Michael (1984), A Genealogy of Modernism: A Study of English Literary Doctrine 1908–1922, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Longenbach, James (1988), Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats and Modernism, New York: Oxford University Press. Margolis, John D. (1972), T. S. Eliot’s Intellectual Development 1922–1939, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Moody, A. David (2007), Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and His Work, vol. 1: The Young Genius 1885–1920, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Moore, G. E. (1903), Principia Ethica, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. — (1993), ‘Nature of judgment’, in G. E. Moore: Selected Writings, ed. Thomas Baldwin, London: Routledge, pp. 1–19. Owen, Wilfred (1986), ‘Has your soul sipped?’ The Poems of Wilfred Owen, ed. Jon Stallworthy, New York: Norton, pp. 67–8. Pascal, Blaise (1931), Pensées, trans. W. F. Trotter, London: J. M. Dent. Pound, Ezra (1915), Cathay, London: Elkin Mathews. — (1920), Umbra, London: Elkin Mathews. — (2005), Early Writings: Poems and Prose, ed. Ira B. Nadel, London: Penguin. Rassam, Paul (2013), Late 19th & 20th Century Literature, no. 27, Charlbury, Oxfordshire. Roberts, Michael (1938), T. E. Hulme, London: Faber. Russell, Bertrand (1916a), ‘Mr. Russell’s reply’, Cambridge Magazine, 12 February 1916, p. 305.

­74     Christos Hadjiyiannis — (1916b), ‘North Staffs’ praise of war’, Cambridge Magazine, 11 March 1916, p. 386. — (1986), ‘On scientific method in philosophy’, in The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, vol. 8: The Philosophy of Logical Atomism and Other Essays, 1914–19, ed. John G. Slater, London: Allen & Unwin, pp. 55–73. — (1988), ‘Disintegration and the principle of growth’, in The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, vol. 13: Prophecy and Dissent, 1914–16, ed. Richard A. Rempel et al., London: Unwin Hyman, pp. 307–14. — (1997), The Principles of Social Reconstruction, London: Routledge. Ryan, Alan (1988), Bertrand Russell: A Political Life, London: Allen Lane. Scheler, Max (1916), Der Formalismus in Der Ethik und die material Wertethik: neuer Versuch der Grundlegung eines ethischen Pernalismus, Halle a. d. S: M. Niemayer. — (1973), Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values, trans. Manfred S. Frings and Roger L. Funk, Evanston: Northwestern University Press. — (1992), On Feeling, Knowing, and Valuing: Selected Writings, ed. Harold J. Bershady, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Schneck, Stephen Frederick (1987), Person and Polis: Max Scheler’s Personalism as Political Theory, Albany: State University of New York. Schuchard, Ronald (1999), Eliot’s Dark Angel: Intersections of Life and Art, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Seigworth, Gregory J. and Gregg, Melissa (2010), ‘An inventory of shimmers’, in Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 1–25. Sheehan, Paul (2013), Modernism and the Aesthetics of Violence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sheffield, Gary (2002), Forgotten Victory: The First World War: Myths and Realities, London: Review. Sherry, Vincent (2003), The Great War and the Language of Modernism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sorley, Charles (1996), ‘When you see millions of the mouthless dead’, in The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, ed. Jon Silkin, London: Penguin, 1996, p. 89. Staude, John Raphael (1967), Max Scheler: An Intellectual Portrait, New York: Free Press. Vellacott, Jo (1980), Bertrand Russell and the Pacifists in the First World War, Brighton: Harvester.

Chapter 4

The Line that Binds: Climbing Narratives, Ropework and Epistolary Practice Abbie Garrington In ‘An Inventory of Shimmers’, Gregory Seigworth and Melissa Gregg suggest that affect is ‘integral to a body’s perceptual becoming’ (2010: 3), part of a process in which that body is ‘pulled beyond its seeming surface-boundedness by way of its relation to . . . forces of encounter’ (ibid.). Through affect, they claim, a body is ‘webbed in its relations’ (ibid.). In the early twentieth century, two models suggest themselves as both allegories for and instantiations of such webbed relations: letter writing and mountaineering. Epistolary practice, in its combination of bodily sensations (as writer or recipient) and of identity formation (in a conversational duet with one’s addressee), along with its connections to others in a network facilitated by postal services, pulls individual identity and intimate bodily experience into relation with others, using the handwritten line. Mountaineering makes use of the rope strategies of the belay, tying together participants in ways both physical and emotional in a binding that ‘shimmers’ between the literal and the metaphorical. Using the figures of George Mallory and Virginia Woolf, mountaineer and author, this chapter explores the ways in which letter writing and mountaineering can both be considered as activities of the binding line. For Mallory, one’s passage up the rock face is a form of script, while the letter sends forth the looped line of the belay to attach the addressee. For Woolf, letter writing may suffer the perilous line break of mountaineering, while climbing scenes afford the opportunity to consider the potential of epistolary practice as a literature of the moment, a temporary tie. Mountaineering and letter writing are in this way bedfellows, albeit unlikely ones, since their binding lines, on mountainside and page, generate narratives of affect.

­76     Abbie Garrington

Mallory and Marjorie From 1923 until his death on the slopes of Everest on 8 or 9 June 1924 (the precise moment of his end being unconfirmed), Mallory maintained a correspondence with Eleanor Marjorie Holmes (known as Marjorie), a teacher of no official qualifications working at a private school in Bentham, Yorkshire. The correspondence was of both an intense order and a peculiar kind, since the two had never met in the flesh. As Mallory expressed it, ‘I can never write to you without a delighted surprise that we should have travelled so far together without meeting’, a remark which draws attention to the fact that, while they kept in sympathetic step, only one of them has in fact been travelling; Marjorie’s imagined companionship has been facilitated by the epistolary form (26/05/23: 4). Although this appears an odd arrangement, Mallory’s family responsibilities, paid work, writing and expedition assignments, alongside his shyness, kept him from wild sociability in his adult life, making expedient a liaison of the letter. The Royal Geographical Society holds copies of all missives received by Marjorie in Mallory’s hand, the collection mined by those on the hunt for insights into the climber’s psychological fortitude in the face of the impending summit attempt of 1924 – a service the letters supply admirably. The rest of the Mallory archive contains items retrieved from his body when it was discovered during a 1999 expedition, among which that most commonly requested for public display is his climbing boot.1 This fetishisation of the contact relic is more familiar from pilgrimages towards the bodies, or bodily traces, of saints. However, since ‘saints’ remains in contemporary mountaineering parlance as a term for the greats of the climbing past, and since discourses of climber pilgrimage were deployed in the press during the Everest era, homage to the contact relic of Mallory’s boot may be read in context. We should note that this specific prize of the reliquary is the point at which man met mountain, conjuring up Mallory’s foothold, and its loss. Yet the letters of the archive are also concerned with contact and with bodily conjuring. We can reasonably read the epistolary page as ‘prosthetic’, as standing in lieu of unmediated contact, since that word’s origins in the term prosthenos indicate an appended or supplementary letter (that is, character), rooting prostheses in the literary form (Armstrong 1998: 78). A letter (i.e. piece of correspondence) is of course something that unfolds in language, but it also extrapolates and extends touch capacities, making it a positive prosthesis in its magnification of human powers. When I write a letter I become my pen, with my concentration set at the tip, but I also (with the pen seen, too, as a prosthesis), stroke the page.2 My caress is

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given over to the scriptive instrument, while a possible steadying hand upon the paper keeps the unmediated human touch in play. Mallory himself dwells on the tactile trace, with his rather plaintive request that Marjorie ‘write me a little letter with a word of affection and I would kiss the hand that wrote it’, going on to ask ‘can you love a shadow – a mere hand that spins out lame halting words & belongs in some way to a name in the newspapers?’ (08/03/24: 1–2). Additional tactile capacities of the mountaineer creep in here, with problems of expression conflated with the lame and halting step. When the letter meets its recipient, such traces of my touch come into contact with the touch of another; this is a caress at a distance. Further, whether or not I make explicit reference to it, the letter’s origins in the intimate contact of hand-and-page, and its ultimate destiny to be (customarily) read alone upon receipt, forges a particular kind of bond that may well encourage a resonant physical experience for my reader. The saints reappear at this point, since the notion of praesentia has the saint present, upon death, both in heavenly realms and at the site of his or her body parts or relics (see Brown 1981), a doubled presence that is here supplied via epistle. We cannot know whether Mallory harboured a desire for eventual, actual touch, the intervening pen and paper prostheses removed (although it seems from his responses that Marjorie did), but he clearly considers the letters a kind of transgression. Working at the time of writing for the extra mural studies department of the University of Cambridge, his anxieties may be due to a mooted lack of privacy within the university postal delivery system and the gossip it might provoke (‘Anyway do you realise that I really was damned . . . angry with you Marjorie, you naughty girl? You tell me you meant to put “Personal” on the envelope, I have no doubt you did: but that is not the point’ (13/10/23: 1)). But it may more reasonably be supposed that a letter is, for Mallory, a great intimacy. Within this broader story of the affective epistolary form, the expedition letter proves a particular case. Often focusing on physical travails in their accounts of recent days, such letters may attempt to convey the degraded or exhausted body, passing on experiences ‘on the hill’ to those reading in comparative comfort. In cases where the recipient is known intimately to the writer, this collapse of distance is also crucial, in that (as with the praesentia of the saints) the impossibility or impracticality of literal touch makes the imagined triumph over geography an imperative. In both cases we are looking for letters with the ability to be touching – in terms both of conveying bodily experience, and of emotional expression. When Mallory writes, ‘oh, I like your letter well enough. I’m touched by it’, then, he is speaking of manifold forms of touch – the tactile trace of the author, the summoning up of a particular p ­ hysical

­78     Abbie Garrington experience, and the emotional response to endearments (02/03/23: 2–3). Upon receipt in the field, the letter which comes to the expedition member literalises the contact for which it stands, as it is usually kept close to the body, both for safekeeping and for preservation in inclement conditions, forming a kind of second skin or semi-permanent caress. Writing in July 1923, Mallory again reflects on the strangeness of a relationship conducted by letter in its entirety: It is curious how much you make me want to converse with you merely by writing. You have some literary power – the power of putting forth yourself, the responsive, feeling, emotional self in words & that I suppose is the power of literature . . . the letter which proceeds from the real desire to tell things or still more which is inspired by some curiosity or excitement in the spiritual presence of the imagined recipient can be the best talk in words, the best of all. (31/07/23: 2)

‘Merely by writing’ has a double meaning here – either ‘merely by writing, you prompt me into dialogue’, or ‘you make me want to converse with you via the epistolary form exclusively’. The power Mallory ascribes encouragingly to Marjorie (she shares his ambitions in authorship and looks to him in part as a literary mentor) is subsequently ascribed to literature in general, but we close with the letter, circling back to that notion of conjuring to suggest that the recipient stands beside the scribe in spiritual form, a kind of muse. The phrasing ‘proceeds from’ underscores the extending reach–touch of the letter–prosthesis, grasping toward that muse (in a later note comes the line ‘farewell to you now – my holidays all unrelated – but you a figure more distinct, and nearer’ (04/10/23: 8)). For Mallory, the epistolary form brings Marjorie toward him, a spiritual presence which does not simply compensate for her physical absence but appears to surpass it, the climber’s feelings baffling him in their intensity for a woman whose flesh is, after all, not simply absent in these instances of letter contact but entirely absent from his ken. By October, Mallory is asking: why should a letter from you have such a strange effect on me? . . . after reading it I wanted to kiss you. If she’s a scolded child [for sending a private letter to a professional address] she’s a kissed child, spiritually kissed by a man she never set eyes on. (04/10/23: 3–4)

The ‘strange effect’ is the conjured presence. Woolf concurs with Mallory’s view of the epistolary relationship as one in which the addressee is present to the scribe, remarking that ‘a good letter-writer so takes the colour of the reader at the other end, that from reading the one we can imagine the other’, and that ‘all good letter writers feel the drag of the face on the other side of the page and obey it’

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(1967: 63; 2011: 225). Further, ‘without someone warm and breathing on the other side of the page, letters are worthless’, a claim supported by the expedition letter, since it is precisely warmth and breath that are in short supply on Everest’s flanks (Woolf 1984b: 109).3 A curious feature of Mallory’s conceptualisation of the presence of Marjorie at the other side of his ‘line’ is its heat: Guess what might happen if another spark glowed there in the chair opposite. Would two sparks make a fire? . . . What is it all about this fire always wanting to blaze up? Shall we see it blaze or shall we hold the snuffer on it? Two to one on the blaze now: tomorrow two to one on the snuffer. (07/11/23: 3)

There is more than the heat of passion at work here, with the conjured presence of the absent letter sender and/or recipient making itself known through an inflagration, or perhaps inflammation, with the latter’s suggestion of heat that will be felt in the flesh. The phrase ‘in flagrante delicto’ hovers around such a reading, with its implication of the caught-in-the-act revelation of a romantic affair. However, the phrase’s legal meaning of ‘blazing’ – that is, conspicuous – offence is perhaps more helpful since it leads us toward ‘caught red handed’ and draws attention to the operation of the touch and wider somatic system in sensing the burning presence of the absent addressee. One further explanation can be found for Mallory’s deployment of flame discourse in conceptualising the Marjorie relationship: the scene of writing itself. Discussing Horace Walpole, Woolf notes the difficulties of bridging the public appetite for one’s words and the intimate setting in which they will be read, asking ‘how can a writer turn at will from that impersonal stare to the little circle in the fire-lit room?’ (2011: 226). In claiming the intimacy of Walpole’s epistolary intent, Woolf observes that he has told an addressee of ‘a spark from the fire [that] has burnt the page he was writing’ – evidence against the claim that he wrote with posterity exclusively in mind (ibid.). Mallory’s expedition letters, including perhaps those to his wife Ruth, might well have been written with an eye to posterity, with the last letters of R. F. Scott a relatively recent memory. Yet Marjorie was a secret, leading to the flickering flame – letters might be written or read by the fire, they might bring the warm glow of the imagined presence and/or of sexual desire, but such thoughts might well lead to a feeling that the pages must be burnt (‘the best letters of our time are precisely those that can never be published’ (Woolf 1966: 262)).4 Nor should we think that the snows of the summit preclude such heat – we have Woolf (see below) and D. H. Lawrence as a precedent. The abandoned first chapter of Women in Love (1921), now considered

­80     Abbie Garrington a prologue to the work, involves a mountaineering scene in which it is suggested that its three male protagonists are ‘enkindled in the upper silences into a rare, unspoken intimacy’ which is lost at ground level: ‘Then had come the sudden falling down to earth, the sudden extinction. At Innsbruck they had parted’ (Lawrence 1979: 489, 490).5 Whether prompting a tactile, spiritual or flammable connection, something about the letter says ‘Alpine for You’, as a mountain-themed 1951 episode of the Popeye cartoon has it, and in pining I will both conjure you, and touch you through this paper prosthesis. A particular yearning in an expeditionary context is both eased via the prosthetic reach and exacerbated or enkindled by the conduit of epistolary prose. The only tendency within Mallory’s letters that sidelines flame discourse is that of a pull toward metaphors of ropework, apparently forever on the tip of the pen of the active mountaineer.6 So it is to Mallory that we turn for an explicit reflection on the connection between epistolary practice and the strategies of the rope that will both propagate and symbolise trust on a climb: What do you need me for, Marjorie? To prattle on like this in my psychomoralising strain? . . . Or just to be a little closer – because words spelt in ink twist a line as one writes to throw over & tie to oneself that other one, whatever they say in kindness. (15/01/24: 3)

By time of writing, Mallory knew that he was to join the 1924 attempt on Everest, and it is therefore no surprise to find him thinking in terms of mountain metaphors. The rope line by which mountaineers are connected is, however, a particularly resonant representation of connection, trust, risk and intimacy – all concepts crucial to the Marjorie letters. Margrit Shildrick has suggested that touch is always an embodied gesture that may sustain a reciprocal sense of solicitude and intimacy . . . To touch and be touched speaks to our exposure to, and immersion in, the world of others, and to the capacity to be moved beyond reason, in the space of shared vulnerabilities. (2001: 402)

It is ‘shared vulnerabilities’, in a mountain space ‘beyond reason’ or rationally justifiable endeavour, that generate the reciprocity of trust within the belay. Writing in Modern Mountaineering (1933), George Abraham claims that ‘the full, careful, and discerning use of various belays, must be mastered thoroughly if the sport is to be practiced justifiably’; while belay failure is the gravest of situations ‘on the hill’, it is also ropework that will supply a means of managing risk (ibid.: 151–2). The term ‘belay’ has shifted meaning across the decades: it may refer to rocks and projections used to secure the rope, the person providing

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anchorage to a lead climber, the rope activities of that anchor, or the more general use of a communal rope tied to all members of a climbing party. In each case, the aim is for a brace to be available in the event of a slip, meaning that a climber will move only a limited distance beyond the point of anchorage, and cannot go into freefall. ‘Belay’ also moves along the ropelines to the nautical world, where its many meanings are associated with securing rope through encircling or tying around. It persists within nautical slang, now meaning ‘cut it out’, ‘cease and desist’, and so retaining a sense of the cut-off point and, for that matter, an anchor. The Oxford English Dictionary notes it may also mean ‘explain or expound’, neatly combining the linguistic and tactile, which suggests that Woolf’s and Mallory’s observations on epistolary ties are present in the etymology of the term itself. While the mountaineer’s repertoire of rope manoeuvres is vast, none is such a powerful symbol of trust and common purpose as the belay. One of history’s most famous images of roped climbers is that of the last sighting of Mallory tied to Sandy Irvine during their final attempt upon Everest’s summit. Noel Odell, geologist of that expedition, was the last to see the two men alive: My eyes became fixed on one tiny black spot silhouetted on a small snowcrest beneath a rock-step in the ridge, and the black spot moved. Another black spot became apparent and moved up the snow to join the other on the crest. The first then approached the great rock-step and shortly emerged at the top; the second did likewise. Then the whole fascinating vision vanished, enveloped in cloud once more. (1924: 164)

As he reads, the script of the climber-letters and the pen trail of the rope that links them are eventually made illegible to Odell by the conditions. Repeatedly asked to ‘read’ this final sighting for an assessment of whether or not the pair ultimately reached the summit, he is unable to say with certainty, to write the next passage of script.

Alpine Woolf Despite her lupine surname, we do not necessarily expect to find Woolf on the mountainside. She is a doughty and determined traveller, writing memorably about Turkey and Greece, yet prevailing wisdom has us ascribe to her the natural habitat of the drawing room and consider her explorations as primarily those of the mind. So it may be at first a surprise to find that on 22 June 1937, she records in her diary, I wd. like to write a dream story about the top of a mountain. Now why? About lying in the snow; about rings of colour; silence . . . & the solitude.

­82     Abbie Garrington I cant though. But shant I, one of these days, indulge myself in some short releases into that world? [. . .] Oddly enough I see it now ahead of me – in Charing X road yesterday – as to do with books: some new combination [. . .] I’m trying to get the 4 dimensions of the mind . . . life in connection with emotions from literature – A days walk – a minds adventure: something like that. And its useless to repeat my old experiments. They must be new to be experiments. (1984b: 95–6)

The reference to ‘that world’ might be read as indicating the closed shop of the climber’s ‘brotherhood of the rope’ (see McDonald 2007), with whose connections and traditions Woolf is familiar, but outside of which she stands as a non-practicing mountaineer. However, since arrival in this world is a ‘release’, we can more convincingly claim that Woolf here figures the summit as a space of rarefied air and ascension as a move toward the heavenly, rather than simply accession to a male-dominated cadre of climbers. Giving the memorial address for the loss of Mallory and Irvine at St Paul’s Cathedral on 17 October 1924, the Right Reverend Henry Luke Paget intoned from the Latin psalms ‘ascensiones in corde suo desposuit [sic]: He has set ascents in his heart; or, as we should phrase it, He has set his heart on ascents’ (1924: 463). This reference to Psalms 84: 5, ‘In whose heart are Thy ways’, is useful in emphasising that Woolf, too, had set her heart on ascents, for all that she feels she ‘cant’ currently write about them. Yet the exploration of the mind with which we more readily associate the author does not fall away as we turn our attention to the business of mountaineering. Woolf’s mountainous imagination is perhaps simply the latest iteration of her longstanding interest in finding new forms for the proper expression of psychological experience. It is in Charing Cross Road, far from the snows of silence and solitude, that the mountain has reared up before her once again, returning us to her suggestion, in her essay ‘The Cinema’ (1926), that it is in the city’s momentary conjunctions that we find experiences ‘awaiting a new art to be transfixed’ (Woolf 1950: 171). The reference to ‘some new combination’ here, a literary form that will render both ‘life’ and ‘emotions’, recalls the language of Nicholas the dentist, amateur orator of Woolf’s recently completed The Years (1937), who refers to the soul as ‘wish[ing] to expand; to adventure; to form – new combinations?’ (1968: 238). When Woolf sees the mountain loom before her in the street, it may therefore be said to be both prompt and symbol, heavenly ascents demanding new forms for their proper description, and the hard graft of literary experimentation being a kind of mental mountaineering, a long slog up the slopes.7 In November 1940, Woolf writes that she wants to ‘brew some

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moments of high pressure. I think of taking my mountain top – that persistent vision – as a starting point’ (1984b: 341). The mountain offers ‘persistent vision’ through the scope and clarity provided by elevation, but it is also persistent in its long-term residency in Woolf’s imagination, in turn echoing the lengthy timescale of the mountain’s own life; it, of course, endures. Woolf’s response to this strange geological outcrop both in and of the imagination is a short story that takes the long view, through the representation of a mountaineering moment.The published text of that story is drawn from a typescript with holograph revisions dated 1 March 1941, and thus we are both at the end of Woolf’s mountain-related diary entries and within the final days of her life since her suicide comes on the twenty-eighth of that month (her death in the River Ouse seeing her turn not to the mountain but to the water, that other preoccupation of her writing life, to bring about her end (Lee 1997: 760)). The typed title ‘Inconclusions’ is in this holograph draft crossed out and ‘The Symbol’ written in its place (Dick 2003: 305). This apparent shift toward clarity of meaning is unravelled by Woolf’s, and her protagonist’s, grappling with the nature or object of that symbol, the mountain. The story begins, There was a little dent on the top of the mountain like a crater on the moon. It was filled with snow, iridescent like a pigeon’s breast, or dead white. There was a scurry of dry particles now and again, covering nothing. It was too high for breathing flesh or fur covered life. All the same the snow was iridescent one moment; and blood red; and pure white, according to the day. (Woolf 2003: 282)

In an Alpine setting, we find this rebarbative summit in which neither men nor animals belong. Percy Shelley’s ‘Mont Blanc’ (1816 and 1817) is echoed in this description of the colour instability of the snow: ‘The everlasting universe of things / Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves, / Now dark – now glittering – now reflecting gloom – Now lending splendor’, as well as in the loneliness of the location: ‘the snows descend / Upon that Mountain; none beholds them there’ (2009: l.1–4; l.131–2).8 The implication of the heavenly is present once again, in that the summit is shorn of the fleshly – we should note that it was described in the typescript as ‘virgin’; and that the term is retained later on in the tale (Woolf 2003: 305, 238). The ominous blood-red flash within the heavenly white of the summit anticipates disaster, a kind of shepherd’s warning. Omen gives way to the certainty of danger as further hints accrue that all will not go well: ‘The graves in the valley – for there was a vast descent on either side . . . recorded the names of several men who had fallen climbing’ (ibid.: 282). Following these intimations, Woolf

­84     Abbie Garrington changes focus and takes us to a domestic scene – one itself concerned with focusing, in which an unnamed woman, subject to a mountain view, is writing a letter to her sister in Birmingham: ‘“The mountain,” the lady wrote, sitting on the balcony of the hotel, “is a symbol . . .” She paused. She could see the topmost height through her [field] glasses. She focussed the lens, as if to see what the symbol was’ (ibid.). The touch of humour here indicates that we cannot look in order to know; the indecipherability of the mountain as symbol is not to be solved by attending to its scrutability. Yet Woolf does begin by foregrounding the visual aspects of this scene of epistolary activity, carefully positioning her protagonist as an audience member (or, with the anticipated disaster in mind, as a witness): The balcony overlooked the main street of the Alpine summer resort, like a box at the theatre. There were very few private sitting rooms, and so the plays – such as they were – the curtain raisers – were acted in public. They were always a little provisional . . . So little that was solid could be dragged to this height. (ibid.)9

In addition to one explanation for that ‘Inconclusions’ title – the provisional nature of a town built so high – this quotation suggests that if the doings of that town are the ‘curtain raiser’, then the mountains themselves may supply the main act, and so it proves: One can see the mountain from every window . . . I can assure you, I could shriek sometimes coming out of the one shop where they sell papers . . . always to see that mountain . . . Somehow the talk, even among the invalids, who are every where, is always about the mountain . . . In the storm last night, I hoped for once it was hidden. But just as they brought in the anchovies, The Rev. W. Bishop said, ‘Look there’s the mountain!’ (ibid.: 283–4)

The passage is subtle in its establishment of the division of labour. Others, as we soon learn, will climb the mountain, but letter writers, clerics and those who are feeble of body will have to find other ways to contemplate the slopes, the latter being so unfit for a climb that it seems amazing they register the presence of that mountain at all (‘even . . . the invalids’). The looming of the Charing Cross peak here finds a more literal rendering, as does that notion of the ‘persistent vision’, since the mountain cannot be escaped (recalling the Matterhorn’s domination of the town of Zermatt). That Woolf’s mountain should invoke ‘shriek[s]’ puts us in mind of John Ruskin’s famous objection to the participant mountaineer, who has ruined the Alps by treating them as ‘soaped poles in a bear-garden, which you set yourselves to climb, and slide down again, with “shrieks of delight”’ (1903–12: 89). Ruskin sides with the spectators.

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Spectator contemplations might well be profound, given this everpresent reminder of the scale of history, this memento mori that so challenges the flesh. For Woolf’s letter-writing woman, proximity to a high place has prompted that ‘long view’: I never told you . . . how I longed when the doctor came, that he should say, quite definitely, She cannot live another week. It was very prolonged; she lived eighteen months. The mountain just now reminded me how when I was alone, I would fix my eyes upon her death, as a symbol. I would think if I could reach that point – when I should be free – we could not marry as you remember until she died . . . I thought, when I reach that point – I have never told anyone; for it seemed so heartless; I shall be at the top. (2003: 283)

The long view finds a typographical equivalent in the frequent use of the dash in this passage. Woolf’s partial shift from the semi-colon, her customary recourse when depicting either flow or scattered thought, is important in its visual rendering not only of the extended scope of vision, and perhaps of the yearning an Alpine view might provoke, but of the ropes that would make ascent possible. One further form of labour is introduced by Woolf here – not literary experimentation nor literal mountaineering but the sacrifices of a woman left to care for an ailing relative, and in doing so foregoing, or postponing, the happiness that might otherwise have been hers. (Such lingering illnesses were a concern of Woolf’s at this time: see the bed-bound Mrs Pargiter of The Years.) These domestic responsibilities can be contrasted with the opportunities available to male relatives: ‘so many of our uncles and cousins were explorers. I have always had a great desire to explore for myself. But of course, when the time came it seemed more sensible . . . to marry’ (ibid.). The letter, and the mountain that prompts it, therefore affords Woolf the chance to think through the thwarted lives of women, an abiding interest in her fiction and non-fiction writing. Further, with the suggestion that mountaineering is men’s work, while letter writing is women’s, Woolf picks up the thread of arguments she has established in her many discussions of epistolary practice. Reviewing the published letters of Dorothy Osborne, she remarks that letter writing ‘was an art that a woman could practise without unsexing herself . . . that could be carried on at odd moments, by a father’s sick-bed, among a thousand interruptions’ (Woolf 1967: 60).10 It is a mother’s sick-bed that has been recalled in ‘The Symbol’, but this tale makes clear that, while she has had no time for adventuring, our scribe has had time to form an epistolary habit. Room therefore exists for a ‘mountain of one’s own’ interpretation, in which the snow and not the grass is forbidden territory, the notion of trespass transposed from college lawns to Alpine heights (Woolf 1984a: 5–6).11

­86     Abbie Garrington However, our reading of the story is modified once mountaineers come onto the carefully constructed scene: ‘Lowering her glasses, she nodded at the young men who in the street below were making ready to start. With one of them she had a certain connection . . . an Aunt of his had been mistress of her daughter’s school’ (Woolf 2003: 282). That ‘certain connection’ compels the letter writer to follow the fate of the party, forming a link between her domestic balcony location and the harsh realities of the slopes. She participates in an established feature of the Alpine holiday given that ‘by means of various telescopes enthusiastic onlookers could trace a climb from its start to its conclusion. As a result, by [the] mid [nineteenth]-century, mountaineering was not as solitary an undertaking as it had once been’ (Colley 2010: 57). Thus ascending climbers will potentially have their attention split between the immediate contact of body and rock and the spectacle their progress presents to those watching in the hotels affording a view of their route. While Woolf’s story, through its other doublings, remains with the woman (sister and sister; inside and outside; mountain and valley) it asks us to consider this bifurcated attention of the stars of the mountaineering show. Woolf’s story complicates the active climber/inert observer dualism, involving two fields of action, figured as masculine and feminine, the mountaineer (his attention split between the tactile labour of the climb and imagined tourist eyes) and the scribe (attending to both mountain scene and epistolary page). This appears a story of separation – and yet the symmetry here of two hand experiences (rock grasp; pen grasp; two forms of chirurgie, ‘work of the hands’ (Derrida 1993: 5)) might lead us to suspect that connections (‘a certain connection’) will also be drawn, putting the letter writer and the mountaineer in contact, by virtue of their tactile acts. Writing of handwriting, Vivian Sobchack remarks upon its pleasures, which are ‘as much in the manual forging and visual sight of the letters and words as in their . . . communicative value, and [in] a physical fatigue felt in the hand’ (2004: 114). The letter writer combines the effort of the hand with the hard work of phrase formulation: Still holding the pen, still tipped with a drop of ink, she waved down at the climbers. She had written the mountain was a symbol. But of what? In the forties of the last century two men, in the sixties four men had perished; the first party when a rope broke; the second when night fell and froze them to death. We are always climbing to some height; that was the cliché. (Woolf 2003: 283)

Her ink-tipped pen of course echoes the precipitate drop to which she refers (‘when a rope broke’), but the poised or hesitant pen is also the

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symbol of the aphasic, s/he who, like Prufrock, cannot ‘spit out all the butt-ends of [his] days and ways’ (Eliot 1963: 15). The Prufrockian conundrum might sensibly be read as a response to the blank canvas of the mountain’s snows. Addressing Wordsworth’s references to Mont Blanc in Book VI of The Prelude, Alan Liu has remarked that ‘the whiteness at Mont Blanc . . . is the space in which history can ghost into the present; it is not no meaning but a panic of too much possible meaning’ (1984: 528). We should note the panic of possibilities which is put forth by the bone-white mountainside, as well as that two-way tabula rasa, in which the epistolary page remains blank or ‘virgin’ precisely because of the blankness of its selected subject. In a line present in the typescript but excised, Woolf makes explicit this concern with ineffability: there is about the mountain ‘something that far from running into ink spontaneously, remained almost unspeakable even to herself’ (2003: 305). In a 1907 letter to Violet Dickinson, Woolf describes the difficulties of transition from thought to written form, takes on the language of the shifting summit, and creates another moment of ineffability which all comes down to the pen-point: Now my brain I will confess . . . floats in blue air; where there are circling clouds, soft sunbeams of elastic gold, and fairy gossamers – things . . . that must be tenderly enclosed, and expressed in a globe of exquisitely coloured words. At the mere prick of steel, they vanish. (cited Stimpson 1987: 173)

In ‘The Symbol’ two writers attempt to overcome such difficulties. The author has an in-story proxy – she is tracing a woman who is tracing a climb; both scribblers are women, writing by hand. Yet Edward Mendelson has said of W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood’s The Ascent of F6 (1936) that while ‘there is nothing obviously dramatic about sitting at a desk with pencil and paper . . . the mountaineer’s ascent clothes the poet’s struggle in visible action and gives it palpable suspense’ (1981: 251–2). So it may be that, despite some hints toward the snows as the preserve of the masculine, the mountaineers are the Woolf proxy, highlighting the effort that must go into the attempt to express oneself in epistolary form. As for ‘palpable suspense’, we are dealing with both palpation, with hand and body interactions, and suspense – we anticipate a fall, to follow a moment of ink-drop suspension. It is the indecipherability of the symbol of the mountain that prompts a contemplative pause, drawing together the impossibility of its explication in a letter, and the purposelessness of the climb so treasured by the committed mountaineer (remembering Mallory’s oft-quoted response to the question of why climb Everest? ‘Because it’s there’).12 For Daniel Chandler, it is the symbiosis of mind and hand in the act of handwriting

­88     Abbie Garrington that makes the letter both potent and problematic: ‘words flow from a pen, not from a mind . . . I become my pen; my entire organism becomes an extension of this writing instrument. Consciousness is focused in the point of the pen’ (1992: 69). It is therefore no surprise to find the letter writer pausing – she must not only decipher the mountain and explain the purpose of the climb undertaken in full view of the graveyard but must also somehow express herself in relation to that mountain. To quote Cecil Day Lewis: ‘Those Himalayas of the mind / Are not so easily possessed: / There’s more than precipice and storm / Between you and your Everest’ (1954: 92).13 Eventually Woolf breaks the suspense of her story and lets her ­mountaineers – and her ink – drop: ‘As I write these words, I can see the young men quite plainly on the slopes of the mountain. They are roped together. One I think I told you was at the same school with Margaret. They are now crossing a crevasse . . .’   The pen fell from her hand, and the drop of ink straggled in a zig zag line down the page. The young men had disappeared.   It was only late that night when the search party had recovered the bodies that she found the unfinished letter on the table on the balcony. She dipped her pen once more; and added, ‘The old clichés will come in very handy. They died trying to climb the mountain . . . And the peasants brought spring flowers to lay upon their graves. They died in an attempt to discover . . .’   There seemed no fitting conclusion. And she added ‘Love to the children,’ and then her pet name. (2003: 284)14

Reinforcing a personal connection, and reiterating the youth of the party, Woolf raises the stakes of the accident. While a typical Woolfian ellipsis suspends the reader’s progress over the mountain’s crevasse, it is a zigzag line that marks the epistolary page.15 That liberated ink drop traces, in fact, the shape of a safe mountain descent; it is the pen, point of consciousness of the observer and scribe that suffers the abrupt fall that echoes that of the climbers themselves. Writing resumes, although personal expression is jettisoned in favour of the clichés that have hitherto been avoided, although often remarked upon (ibid.: 283, 284, 305).16 The language of sacrifice is partially evoked, but the absence of a ‘fitting conclusion’ reiterates the purposelessness of the climb, the ‘because it’s there’ draw to the top. Both the climb and the letter remain unfinished – ‘Inconclusions’ indeed. Woolf’s protagonist, in struggling with unwieldy clichés in her attempt to recoup the possibly ‘indefensible’ deaths for a noble purpose, draws attention to the common terminology and uneasy equation between ‘the fallen’ of the Great War and those who are lost on the hill (see Westaway 2013). But the hellish descent is also a fall from grace, a kind of catabasis, as the intermittently fiery glow

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of Woolf’s summit may be said to anticipate. Thus the fall of a climber falls between two discourses of fallenness – that of youth wasted in war and of the descent from heavenly realms. While God has apparently set his heart on ascents (ascensiones in corde suo disposuit) – to climb, then, is human, to err divine – the broken line is also a hellish descent. The break in Woolf’s epistolary line occurs at the moment where language fails, when the hell of the fall and the discourse of noble sacrifice battle it out via blotted ink and cliché. It is perhaps in the zigzag ink trace that speaks most eloquently about the loss of the climbing men, and the impossibility of its proper transcription. Woolf has remarked that when ‘the art of letter-writing [was] in its infancy . . . the language was still too rich and stiff to turn and twist quickly and freely upon half a sheet of notepaper’ (1967: 60). In the zigzag we have an example of the liberty of the twisting line of the contemporary page, which partakes of the freedom of immediate response, and offers direct access to feeling.17 ‘The Symbol’ is therefore a work as interested in epistolary practice as in mountaineering, its doubled line break drawing our attention to two forms of (hitherto) binding line. Read in this way, Woolf’s story introduces the suggestion that mountaineering might be said to be always an affecting narrative, best accessed through the affective epistolary text seeking to link the bodily (‘days walk’) with the emotional (‘minds adventure’).

The Line that Binds Contemporary body studies, amongst which theories of affect make a central contribution, have re-thought the human sensorium, so that ‘rather than talk of bodies, we might talk instead of brain–body–world entanglements’ (Blackman 2012: 1). Woolf is prescient in suggesting that brain/emotions, body and world might become entangled in a mountaineering moment, resulting in the frayed (or zigzag) epistolary line. For Lisa Blackman, bodies are ‘characterised more by reciprocity and co-participation than boundary’, reciprocal relationships finding pertinent allegories in the epistolary or belay relationships, themselves intertwined in complex ways, as both Woolf and Mallory show (ibid.: 2). Rummaging through drawers of ill-stored letters, a half-hearted epistolary archive, Woolf states that ‘the effect is indescribable. One could swear one heard certain voices . . . was in Italy, was in Spain, was horribly bored, terribly unhappy, tremendously excited’ (1966: 262). The affective nature of these letters, not only conveying experience but also conjuring it in the emotional and bodily centres of the addressee,

­90     Abbie Garrington is clear. Further, it is the ‘haphazard ways’ and ‘general absorption in the moment’ of these modern letters which makes them so powerful, suggesting that the art of the letter, far from being killed off by cheap postage, has become a potent literary force (ibid.). Woolf’s susceptibility to the voices of others finds a cruel echo in the symptoms of her poor mental health, leading ultimately to her suicide shortly after completing ‘The Symbol’. Like her drawers, Woolf’s mind became stuffed with voices (‘but what to do with them? (ibid.)), and she wrote one last letter to Leonard before ending her life, severing the tenuous thread of existence, her final binding line.

Notes   1. Information received: RGS Deputy Librarian Jan Turner.   2. I reverse Chandler’s (1992) claim here (see below).  3. Woolf conceives of the scribe/conjured addressee relationship as a duet. Rebutting the suggestion that Walpole wrote for posterity using friends as mere ‘pegs’ from which to hang letters, she writes, ‘If [William] Cole had been nothing but a peg there would have been none of this echo, none of this mingling of voices’ (2011: 225). Tackling Prosper Mérimée’s Lettres à une inconnue in 1906, Woolf claims: ‘to read the letters intelligently you must construct a reply; they demand it as imperiously as certain notes struck on the piano demand, & seem to imply their harmonies’ (1992: 342).   4. See also Woolf to Ethel Smyth: ‘Lets leave the letters till we’re both dead. Thats my plan. I dont keep or destroy but collect miscellaneous bundles of odds and ends, and let posterity, if there is one, burn or not’ (1994: 272).  5. David Trotter drew my attention to this specific quotation. Lawrence himself climbed, spending a week with David Garnett and Harold Hobson in Mayrhofen and en route to Sterzing, in August 1912. He also walked in Switzerland with A. P. Lewis in June 1914 (Lawrence 1979: 498 n. 8).   6. One last line completes the mountaineer’s contribution here: the ‘line’ or ascent trajectory superimposed upon sight of a peak.  7. Woolf’s understanding of the summit owes much to Lawrence, clearest when Crich attempts the slopes alone: ‘Should he climb the other ridge, or wander along the hollow. How frail the thread of his being was stretched!’ (Lawrence 1979: 473).   8. Mallory is also a Shelley man: ‘Do you know Shelley? One of the greatest spirits that have appeared on earth . . . he has influenced my life more than any one’ (08/03/24: 3). Shelley was a substantial feature of Robert Bridges’s anthology The Spirit of Man (1916), taken on Mallory’s 1924 expedition, as I have noted elsewhere (Garrington 2013: 39).   9. Catharine Stimpson suggests that Woolf’s own letter writing is theatrical: ‘She creates a series of private theatres for an audience of one, each with its own script and scenery, lights and costumes’ (1987: 169).

Climbing Narratives, Ropework and Epistolary Practice      91 10. The connection between women and the epistolary form is long-standing: ‘In the eighteenth century . . . women who wrote familiar letters were figures of epistolary contradiction, simultaneously lauded as “naturally better” writers and disparaged as naturally disorderly’ (Brant 2006: 18). 11. A Room of One’s Own invokes a further ‘line’ via fishing metaphor. Seated by the Cam, Woolf notes: ‘Thought . . . had let its line down into the stream. It swayed . . . letting the water lift it and sink it until – you know the little tug – the sudden conglomeration of an idea at the end of one’s line’ (1984a: 5). See also Woolf’s use of the letter as bait, most explicit when she writes to Smyth that ‘this is a little worm dangled to catch a letter – a long one’ (1994: 309). 12. Wordsworth anticipates Mallory in his explanation for spending the summer vacation in a trip to the Alps: ‘But nature then was sovereign in my heart, / And mighty forms, seizing a youthful fancy, / Had given a charter to irregular hopes’ (1995: l338–48). 13. The precipitate drop does double duty in ‘The Symbol’, containing the possibility of a letter cut short or abandoned, the mountain’s inexpressibility having got the better of the scribe, but also underscoring (or dangling pendulously beneath) the reference to other falls in Woolf’s potted history of mountaineering. It is the four deaths of the ‘sixties’ that are crucial – a reference to the Matterhorn disaster, in which four lives were lost because of a broken rope. Further evidence that Woolf has the Matterhorn in mind is provided by the name she gives the hotel’s proprietor, Herr Melchior (2003: 284), presumably named for Melchior Anderegg with whom Woolf’s father, Alpinist Sir Leslie Stephen, climbed frequently (Stephen 1996: 86 n. 2). 14. See also Lawrence: ‘When they brought the body home, the next morning, Gudrun was shut up in her room. From her window she saw men coming along with a burden, over the snow’ (1979: 475). Woolf’s rendering, with floral tributes upon the graves, is squarely within the pastoral tradition. 15. The crevasse turns up in another epistolary context when, in Three Guineas (1929), Woolf writes to her addressee that while class unites them (they are both ‘educated’), gender divides them: ‘But . . . those three dots mark a precipice, a gulf so deeply cut between us that for three years and more I have been sitting on my side of it wondering whether it is any use to try to speak across it’ (1984c: 110). 16. Woolf’s concern with cliché, particularly when describing mountaineering, may be rooted in her reading of Alexander Pope. The latter’s, or (via pseudonym) Martinus Scriblerus’, Peri Bathous, or, The Art of Sinking in Poetry (1727) bemoans the failures of contemporary verse to rise above the bathetic, deploying topographical metaphors of mountains and fens to explain such rising-and-sinking. Pope’s role in Woolf’s Orlando (1928) confirms her interest in his work. 17. Note Woolf’s ‘Modern Letters’ (1930): ‘a well-formed handwriting is now the rarest of happy discoveries. Here it slants, here it bends back; it is rapid, and running in almost every case’ (1966: 260). While speed of execution leads to illegibility, the hurried letter allows the form to grasp the moment, an abiding Woolfian interest.

­92     Abbie Garrington References Abraham, George D. (1933), Modern Mountaineering, London: Methuen. Alpine for You, film, directed by Izzy Sparber, USA: Paramount, 1951 Armstrong, Tim (1998), Modernism, Technology and the Body: A Cultural Study, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Blackman, Lisa (2012), Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation, London: Sage. Brant, Clare (2006), Eighteenth-Century Letters and British Culture, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Bridges, Robert (ed.) (1916), The Spirit of Man: An Anthology in English and French from the Philosophers and Poets, London: Longmans Green & Co. Brown, Peter (1981), The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity, London: SCM Press. Chandler, Daniel (1992), ‘The phenomenology of writing by hand’, Intelligent Tutoring Media 3.2/3 (May/August): 65–74. Colley, Ann C. (2010), Victorians in the Mountains: Sinking the Sublime, Surrey: Ashgate. Day Lewis, Cecil [1929] (1954), Transitional Poem, London: Jonathan Cape/ The Hogarth Press, pp. 11–50. Derrida, Jacques (1993), Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas, Chicago: Chicago University Press. Dick, Susan (2003), ‘Notes to “The Symbol”’, in Virginia Woolf, A Haunted House: The Complete Shorter Fiction, ed. Susan Dick, London: Vintage, pp. 305–6. Eliot, T. S. [1915] (1963), ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, in Collected Poems, London: Faber and Faber, pp. 13–17. Garrington, Abbie (2013), ‘What does a modernist mountain mean? Auden and Isherwood’s The Ascent of F6’, Critical Quarterly 55.2 (July): 26–49. Lawrence, D. H. [1921] (1979), Women in Love, ed. David Farmer, Lindeth Vasey and John Worthen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lee, Hermione (1997), Virginia Woolf, London: Vintage. Liu, Alan (1984), ‘Wordsworth: the history in “Imagination”’, ELH 51.3: 505–48. Mallory, George (02/03/23–08/03/24), ‘Letters to Marjorie Holmes’, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) LMS/M.48. McDonald, Bernadette (2007), Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston, London: Mountaineers Books. Mendelson, Edward (1981), Early Auden, London: Faber. Odell, Noel (1924), ‘“Mr. Odell’s Story”, in ‘The Mount Everest Dispatches’, The Geographical Journal 64.2 (August): 164. Paget, Henry Luke (1924), ‘Memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral’, The Geographical Journal 64.6 (December): 464. Pope, Alexander [1728] (2009), Peri Bathous, or, The Art of Sinking in Poetry, London: Oneworld Classics. Ruskin, John (1903–12), ‘Of kings’ treasuries’, in Sesame and Lilies, Works of John Ruskin, ed. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, London and New York: George Allen, vol. 18, p. 89.

Climbing Narratives, Ropework and Epistolary Practice      93 Seigworth, Gregory J. and Melissa Gregg (2010), ‘An inventory of shimmers’, in. Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 1–25. Shelley, Percy Bysshe [1816] (2009), ‘Mont Blanc, lines written in the Vale of Chamouni (version A)’, in The Major Works, ed. Zachary Leader and Michael O’Neill, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 120–4. Shildrick, Margrit (2001), ‘Some speculations on matters of touch’, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26.4: 387–404. Sobchack, Vivian (2004), Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture, Berkeley: University of California Press. Stephen, Leslie (1996), Selected Letters of Leslie Stephen, ed. John W. Bicknell, Basingstoke: Macmillan. Stimpson, Catharine R. (1987), ‘The female sociograph: the theater of Virginia Woolf’s letters’, in D. C. Stanton (ed.), The Female Autograph: Theory and Practice of Autobiography from the Tenth to the Twentieth Century, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 168–79. Westaway, Jonathan (2013), ‘The origins and development of mountaineering and rock climbing tourism in the Lake District, c.1800–1914’, in John K. Walton and Jason Wood (eds), The Making of a Cultural Landscape: The English Lake District as Tourist Destination, 1750–2010, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 155–79. Woolf, Virginia [1926] (1950), ‘The cinema’, in The Captain’s Death Bed and Other Essays, ed. Leonard Woolf, London: Hogarth Press, pp. 166–71. — [1928] (2008), Orlando, Oxford: Oxford University Press. — [1929] (1984c), Three Guineas, in A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas, ed. Hermione Lee, London: Chatto & Windus, pp. 107–268. — [1930] (1966), ‘Modern letters’, in Collected Essays, ed. Leonard Woolf, London: Hogarth Press, vol. 2, pp. 259–62. — [1937] (1968), The Years, London: Penguin. — [1938] (1984a), A Room of One’s Own, in A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas, ed. Hermione Lee, London: Chatto & Windus, pp. 1–106. — [c. 1941] (2003), ‘The symbol’, in A Haunted House: The Complete Shorter Fiction, ed. Susan Dick, London: Vintage, pp. 282–4. — (1967), ‘Dorothy Osborne’s Letters’, in Collected Essays, ed. Leonard Woolf, London: Hogarth Press, vol. 3, pp. 59–65. — (1984b), The Diary of Virginia Woolf Volume 5: 1936–41, ed. Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie, London: Penguin. — (1992), A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, ed. Mitchell A. Leaska, London: Hogarth Press. — (1994), Leave the Letters Till We’re Dead: Collected Letters VI, 1936–41, ed. Nigel Nicolson, London: Hogarth Press. — (2011), ‘The humane art’, in The Essays of Virginia Woolf, ed. Stuart N. Clarke, London: Hogarth Press, vol. 6, pp. 225–9. Wordsworth, William [1805] (1995), The Prelude: The Four Texts, ed. Jonathan Wordsworth, London: Penguin.

Chapter 5

The Amplification of Affect: Tension, Intensity and Form in Modern Dance Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy The concept of affect in contemporary theory marks a return to the body as a site for the interplay of thought and feeling, and its importance derives from its refusal to reduce the body to the status of a container for either the mind or, by implication, the emotions. The body is the very condition for the transmission or distribution of affect both in terms of its capacity for movement and for perceptual engagement, whereas emotion is a particular type of containment and localisation of affect within the body. For modernist dance, the breadth of the theory of affect means that it is able to explain the radical shift from the sentimentality of the nineteenth century to the depersonalised abstract intensities of the avant-garde without arguing that this is based on the removal or suppression of feeling. Contours of feeling are always present but their modality changes depending on the structure of presentation, style and the particular manifestations of the gestural and intensive movements of the body. As a way of investigating this interrelationship, this chapter will focus on corporeal tension as a condition for understanding affectivity in modernist dance with reference to two key works of the Ballets Russes, Léonide Massine’s Parade (1917) and Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’aprèsmidi d’un faune (1912). These works deploy forms of abstraction that allow for, and indeed suggest, a depersonalisation of affect which can be described and analysed in terms of tension and intensity. Abstraction, affect and bodily tension are entwined in the material properties of these modernist dancing bodies in a way that challenged the representation of emotion in the nineteenth century; in particular, the belief that emotion constitutes a form of self-expression. Studies of feeling, affect and emotion have long been linked to conscious emotional states, but in recent studies in the humanities the concept of affect refers to a much more general condition of being affected that incorporates both mind and body, or mind in body. Affect theory is the culmination of a range of philosophies from the

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early reconceptualisation of the relationship between body and mind in Spinoza and Bergson, William James’s studies on emotion, through to the corporeal phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the process philosophy of A. N. Whitehead and Susanne Langer, and most recently the processual post-structuralism of Gilles Deleuze and Brian Massumi. Common to these philosophies is a questioning of the division between physical and psychic states and the belief that one directly causes the other. The mind is not accorded precedence over the body, whereby an emotion is felt first in consciousness after which the body responds, because the body is a condition for feeling. It is more appropriate to argue that physical and psychological states are co-extensive in the theory of affect. One of the first theorists to examine how emotion is invested in the body was the psychologist William James. James argued that bodily states associated with emotion are not an effect of cognition, for this would assume that the emotion can be constituted without reference to the body, rather the body is a ‘sounding board’ that resonates with a stimulus. James gives the example of trembling, which, he argues is not the product of fear. Rather, he argues, trembling, combined with a range of other bodily movements, constitutes fear (1950: 450). There is no hierarchy of mind and body in the play of the emotions because there is a reversibility of feeling; we are able through the mimicry of movements associated with an emotion – facial movements, gait, and so on – to generate that emotion (ibid.: 465). An emotional state could be invoked by the body, or indeed occur in the body, before it is consciously registered, which means that this approach can serve as a critique of self-expression. Regardless of the degree to which we accept James’s proposition, he properly states that emotion resides in the intersection of the body and the mind, which brings with it the implication that the study of emotion in any field should involve an examination of the sensual and perceptual conditions of the body. Furthermore, if there is no clear division between inner and outer states, then emotion must be something that is neither corporeal nor mental; indeed it must share some of the properties of both. This is the approach taken by Susanne Langer, one of the key writers on the relationship between feeling and thought, who argues that emotions are not discrete or primitive states but part of an ontogenetic and phylogenetic continuum of feeling. Emotions unfold in both consciousness and the body, and we are always in some state of feeling irrespective of whether or not we manifest the signs of a typical or common emotion such as anger or fear. There are no clear breaks between one feeling and another; it is more appropriate to talk about an underlying state of feeling:

­96     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy As soon as feeling is regarded as a phase of a physiological process instead of a product (perhaps a by-product) of it, a new entity metaphysically different from it, the paradox of the physical and psychical disappears . . . the entire psychological field – including human conception, responsible action, rationality, knowledge – is a vast and branching development of feeling. (Langer 1967: 23)

Feeling is ever-present and underpins all thoughts, perceptions and emotions, and it waxes and wanes in conjunction with changes in our bodily state. We do not reason or make a decision without the co-presence of this continuum of feeling, for we are always inclined toward a particular argument or belief when we reason or choose one path over another. This is manifest in the body in the way we shift our posture, change the direction of our gaze, or feel the acceleration of our heartbeat as we become excited by an idea. The constitution of feeling is not a simple property of the body, because the body is visibly and sensually in the world and accessible to others. For Langer the continuum of feeling is transcorporeal and manifest in all our activities, behaviours and interrelationships with others. With regard to artistic production and reception, feeling is what links the creator and the ‘beholder’ of the work, and the work itself is a form of language that organises and distributes feeling (Langer 1953: 59). In a dance performance we not only discern affectual differences in the movement of bodies, we move in the same time as the performance and participate in a common distribution of feeling. This position is similar in many respects to Massumi’s theory of affect, which also posits affect as the processual condition for understanding emotion, and thus extends beyond a commonsense discrete psychological description of emotional states. Affect is corporeal insofar as it describes the capacity of the body to be affected and to affect but it is not located in the body or limited to a single sense. Rather, it involves a range of processes, often autonomic, that operate through the senses – describing in many cases a form of disposition – linking habitual memory to future action. Affect is a means of drawing out a particular lived relationship with the world – a lived or virtual abstraction – that is contingent on the body but not fully demarcated by it. In this regard, there is an ‘autonomy of affect’ inasmuch as ‘it escapes confinement in the particular body whose vitality, or potential for interaction, it is’ (Massumi 2002: 35). Similar to Langer’s condition of feeling, affect passes through bodies as a continuum of changes in intensity and qualitative variation and as such is always ‘situated’ but never self-identical. It is therefore more appropriate to state that affect is corralled or ‘captured’ by cognitive and discursive practices and that ‘emotion is the most intense (most contracted) expression of the

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capture’ (ibid.). Massumi’s contention that form, feeling and quality are created in sensual movement contrasts with those philosophies which define the body primarily in terms of its position, or ‘positionality’, for example discursive approaches that regard the body as contingent on a ‘subject’ located in a network of signs (ibid.: 2). Affect is the means of understanding the continuity of qualitative variation that passes in and through body without reducing the body to a collection of discrete senses or reducing qualia, including the emotions, to localised properties of objects. In contrast with most theories of emotion, Massumi’s affect theory and Langer’s continuum of feeling are ontologies that could be used to describe any activity, event or object. The question then is, in what ways are these approaches of particular relevance to the discussion of dance? Massumi and Langer both discuss dance in their aesthetic writings, yet dance has been understudied and neglected in many key aesthetic treatises. One reason for this is that dance is a performance art and must be understood in terms of movement rather than the organisation of space or fixed stylistic properties, as is common in the analysis of the plastic arts. The main constitutive aspects of dance are not easily demarcated because they describe movements that do not always have a clear beginning or end, not to mention a value. This lack of objective specificity is accentuated by the absence of speech which in other domains has the capacity to explain movement in terms of intention. There is an ephemerality and precariousness to dance due to the variation in modes of embodiment, ‘since a dancer’s labour is nothing else than to embody, disembody and re-embody’ (Lepecki 2012: 15). One way of stabilising and giving aesthetic value to dance is to interpret these corporeal shifts in terms of self-expression. The positing of the subjectivity of the dancer links together the transitory movements of the dance but also serves to contain and define affect as a psychological state. This psychologisation of dance is central to the ‘classical expression theory’, which has had a long history from fifteenth-century dance instruction to modernism. In its simplest form, it describes how music invokes feeling in the ‘soul’ which is then outwardly expressed in the body’s movement – the choreographed movements make an inner state visible to an audience (Franko 1995: 76). In this account, the body does not respond directly to music because this would remove the emotional content of the dance, which must be invested in the soul. Without the soul, dance movement would be little more than the acting out of musical rhythm. For classical ballet of the nineteenth century, this act of self-expression was strongly linked to narrative and characterisation. Gesture, in combination with displays of virtuosity, amplified the

­98     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy emotional intensity of inner states such that they could be easily read by the audience. Expressive form in dance underwent many transformations depending on what was posited as an inner state. In the twentieth century, there was a greater interest in idiomatic expression, with one of its most noted performers, Isadora Duncan, arguing that dance is the ultimate expression of female experience because it directly translates the ‘soul’ into movement (Reynolds and McCormick 2003: 14). Mary Wigman, like the expressionist painters she associated with, created a form of dance called Ausdruckstanz (‘expressive dance’) in which discordant and subconscious emotions were brought to the surface often to unsettle the viewer (Newhall 2009: 16). In each case, expression theory depends on the separation of inner and outer states and the translation of an incorporeal feeling that inheres in either the soul, consciousness or the subconscious into a series of corporeally grounded movements. It has the capacity to confirm subjectivist accounts of emotion and maintain focus on the individuality of performance. The idea that dance is primarily a form of self-expression has remained popular, which raises the question of whether or not it can be used to distinguish artistic periods. For Massumi, the tendency towards self-expression reaches it apotheosis in modern dance, and to support this argument he compares the work of Martha Graham with Merce Cunningham. He states that ‘Graham’s modern dance made symbolic use of gesture. The movements of the body were deployed to evoke depths of personal feeling striking a universal chord’, whereas Cunningham reconceived dance as ‘pure movement’, in which each gesture is disrupted before it can be made intelligible (Massumi 2011: 138, 140). In this characterisation, modern dance was figurative and remained so until the arrival of contemporary dance, which deployed a type of abstraction analogous to that found in modern painting and sculpture (ibid.: 138). This contrast between emotive self-expression and affectual abstraction has some validity and maps onto a common account of aesthetic modernism in painting, sculpture and music, in which artistic change is propelled by the suppression of representation and self-reflexive formalist experimentation. However, for Massumi, this critique of representation occurs much later in dance, over forty years later, with the arrival of Merce Cunningham and what is loosely called contemporary dance. What is not acknowledged in this argument is the reconsideration of the formal properties of dance in the early part of the twentieth century, which leads Mark Franko to ask, ‘How can a modernist aesthetic characterized by the disjunction of form and content depend entirely on emotional impulses of a unique self (emotivism)?’ To answer his own

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question, he argues that modern dance was defined by the confluence of two tendencies: an interest in its material and formal conditions and a new type of emotivism, most clearly evinced in Martha Graham’s oeuvre (1995: 39). In Graham’s early performances the face was prevented from displaying emotion and there was a focus on rigidity and ‘tautness’ rather than gestural ‘flow’ that is analogous to the removal of subjectivity in the visual arts (ibid.: 44). In works such as Lamentation (1930, music by Zoltán Kodály), it is the internal tensions of the body that are accentuated over the linking of meaningful gestures or the expression of psychological states. As Graham explained in an interview, Lamentation’s choreography captures inner strain through outer movement, where ‘the garment that is worn is just a tube of material but it is as though you are stretching inside your own skin’ (1976). The angularity and rigidity of position, as well as the organisation of tension and balance, was a riposte to the flowing movements, natural curves and lyricism of classical ballet (Franko 1995: 59; see also NadalMelsió 1996). This reconfiguration of affect in modern dance does not describe the suppression of emotion but rather its de-psychologisation. In resituating affect in the corporeal surfaces of the body, an analogy can be drawn between the development of modern dance and affect theory, where there is a transition from the investment of emotion in the body through to the dispersal of systems of feeling throughout the body. Dance during the modernist period is characterised by a greater emphasis on the limits and materiality of the human body and the corporeal modes of abstraction that undermine self-expressive and narrative principles, as well as the common aesthetic expectation that dance should be graceful. Rudolf Arnheim argues that dance occupies a peculiar position within a broader modernist aesthetic owing to this accentuation of its corporeal materiality: The modern dance has run into an interesting inner conflict by stressing the weight of the human body – which the classical ballet has tried to deny – and at the same time following the general trend in moving from realistic pantomime to abstraction. (1954: 21)

For, while abstract painting and sculpture dispense with the figure and instead follow formal principles of visual organisation – from the ephemeral properties of light in Impressionism to the dematerialised fields of colour in minimalism – dance has to return to the body in all its corporeal thickness. Jean-François Lyotard argues that one of the features of painting in modernism was the increasing recognition that the ‘gesture of painting’ is its proper metier. As much as the avant-garde was breaking with the past, it was also coming to terms with it through the

­100     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy exploration of the materiality of painting – ‘the pictorial spasm’ – over and above representation and the rules of good composition (Lyotard 2012: 235). For modern dance it was experimenting with the limits of the body and its own particular materiality grounded in physicality. The body has weight and substance, and this is part of its expressive potential rather than something that should be suppressed in the search for formal beauty; just as, in many respects, the use of coarse brushes and impasto strokes in modernist painting are used to accentuate the materiality of the painted surface. Abstraction in dance cannot be separated from the physical constraints of the body, and what distinguishes modernism is its willingness to reveal this physicality as part of its overall affective contour. The investigation of the material basis for abstraction in dance did not arise until quite late in modernism with the choreographic work of Vaslav Nijinsky as part of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. This company was central to the development of modern dance, supporting many of the century’s early great choreographers, including Michel Fokine, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine. The Ballets Russes was the catalyst for a series of remarkable balletic events that not only continued the modernist search for the autonomy of dance but brought together dance and the other arts through the work of composers such as Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel and Prokofiev and artists such as Picasso, Gontcharova, Derain and Matisse. The company was very quickly recognised as being at the forefront of the dance avantgarde, and its approach to performance came to largely define modern ballet or the ‘new ballet’ (Garafola 1989: 39): Nothing was left untouched: subject matter, movement idiom, choreographic style, stage space, music, scene design, costuming, even the dancer’s physical appearance – all felt the imprint of the quest for new forms. The ideas seeding these experiments often derived from arts other than dance – p ­ainting, avant-garde performance, and especially the ‘new drama’ revolutionised by the innovative stagecraft of directors such as Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold. Not all of these experiments bore fruit, and many disappeared after a season. But together, they cast off the burden of the nineteenth century. (ibid.: viii)

The success of the Ballets Russes meant there was a resurgence of interest in ballet in France at around the same time that some of the key abstract movements in art, such as cubism and fauvism, had begun to establish themselves. However, the Ballets Russes owed its early popularity not to its alignment with vanguard artists but rather to its exotic sensualism, the eroticisation of male leads and stories derived from the

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East. In this early period, it was only in the work of Nijinsky that the Ballets Russes began to explore a type of abstraction that came to characterise modern dance. Nijinsky created only four works for the Ballets Russes – L’après-midi d’un faune (1912), Le Sacre du printemps (1913), Jeux (1913) and Till Eulenspiegel (1916) – and the first three in particular broke new ground in choreography with his emphasis on the inward gesture and constrained movement. Millicent Hodson argues that his choreography was influenced by the principles of abstract art with bodily posture serving as the abstract condition for movement: In non-figurative painting structural design took the place of imagery. Similarly, in dance Nijinsky replaced conventional pas with posture, from which he constructed the design of movement on the body and then extended it to groups and finally to the ground patterns of the groups in motion. (1986: 68–9)

In his infamous Le Sacre du printemps the dancers were forced to rigidly submit to beats and moved in ‘impersonal blocks’, and emotion was disengaged from facial expression to be indicated instead by the force and ‘weight of the body’ (Hill 2000: 117, 120; see also Duffy and Atkinson 2014). The choreography of Le Sacre became ‘synonymous with the very idea of modernism’ (Garafola 1989: 51), and, as Reynolds and McCormick argue, ‘Nijinsky paved the way for virtually all the modern-dance developments of the twentieth century’ (2003: 56). However, it was in his earlier work, L’après-midi d’un faune (set to Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune first performed in 1894, and the themes of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem, L’après-midi d’un faune written in 1876), that these new ideas about the body and its movement began to develop. In the tale of a faun cavorting with a group of nymphs, the short ballet conveyed the eroticism that was popular with the Ballets Russes, but there was a significant difference. The faun’s movements did not have the same fluid dynamism as the earlier ballets of Mikhail Fokine, instead the choreography was organised around a series of poses designed to resemble the bas relief designs on Grecian urns (Järvinen 2009: 38). As the ballet opens, the faun reclines on a rock holding a pipe to his lips but with no movement and the back slightly twisted to flatten it out and show both a profile and dorsal view. This pose soon gives way to another with the knee raised, one arm jutting forward and the other obliquely pushing backward and still in profile. Laconic movements connect the positions but in this opening sequence, the body seeks to define itself two-dimensionally with clearly articulated angles – often

­102     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy with the limbs forming triangles. In Faune, there were no dances in the accepted sense of the word, rather ‘bodies and feet assumed strict profile or frontal positions, and arms were angular, not rounded’ (Reynolds and McCormick 2003: 55). The dancers’ torsos open outwards towards the spectator while the head, arms and legs remain in profile. This process of flattening out, in addition to its classical reference, is a material experimentation with the body that is analogous to the visual experimentation with flat planes in painting during the fin de siècle and the beginnings of abstraction and the reduction of painting to its fundamental metier, that of the picture plane. Marshall Cohen argues that this is part of a minor strand in modernism which was concerned with translating optical and painterly features into dance, and that ‘something like it may be true of the “two-dimensional” effects Nijinsky sought in L’après-midi d’un Faune’ (1983: 172). The notion of the body becoming painterly or twodimensional may also be discerned in a small subset of modern dance, notably in works by the American Ruth St Denis and the Bauhaus theatre’s Oskar Schlemmer; however, Nijinsky’s choreographies are distinct insofar as they make visible the torsional tension of the body, which works against its natural articulations in creating these abstract shapes. Jacques Rivière, in a prescient article written in 1913 after the opening of Le Sacre du printemps, argues that one of the distinguishing features of Nijinsky’s choreography was its emotional precision when compared to the ‘vague’ and flowing movements of his predecessor Fokine: By breaking up movement and bringing it back to the simple gesture, Nijinsky causes expression to return to the dance. All the angles, all the breaks in his choreography, are aimed only at preventing the escape of emotion. The movement closes over the emotion; it arrests and contains it; by its perpetual change in direction, it deprives emotion of every outlet and imprisons it by its very brevity. (1983: 120)

This is certainly not the emotion of the classical ballet, as the arms and face do not present an inner state to the audience, rather it is a form of affect that remains grounded in the body’s material gesture. Interestingly, Louis Horst, one of the key figures in the development of modern dance, includes in his training programme for dancers an exercise called ‘Strange Space Design’, in which the dancer is asked to create abstract shapes with their body, and while doing so feel the way the musculature accommodates the feeling of ‘tension’. In the instructions, students are advised, ‘No emotion – cold design – but it may convey emotion through its tensions’, referring, like Rivière, to a type of emotion that is entirely invested in the body (Horst and Russell 1961: 39). In Horst’s exercise and Nijinsky’s ballet, the telos may be a form

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of visual abstraction but there is a process of realisation that unfolds through the body. In Faune, Nijinsky was experimenting with the kinaesthetic and dynamic potential of posture, and in doing so he reveals affective forces that are not based on the fluidity and ease of movement. Horst argues that dance is able to convey a sense of ‘intimacy’ to its audience that is not available to the other arts because of the immediacy of the body’s physicality. This intimacy is not an effect of self-expression – although in some styles it could be – but rather an extension of the dancer’s thoroughgoing understanding of the body’s musculature and ‘an intimacy with the muscle tensions of daily movements’: Instead of the universal ballet principle of a secure powerful center of gravity in an upright back from which the brilliant movements of arms and legs give an unreal and superhuman impression, the modern dancers talk of movement based on the principles of ‘tension of relaxation,’ ‘fall and recovery,’ ‘contraction and release.’ The flexibility and shift of movement to various parts of the body give it a range of expression as wide as life experience. (Horst and Russell 1961: 16–17, 18)

In this intimate relationship with the body’s materiality, modern dance also realises the modernist impulse – to return to Lyotard’s expression – to understand the ‘gesture’ of the medium. It aligns dance with the visual arts, which Langer argues are not static for when artists describe the production of a work of art ‘they are likely to speak of tensions and resolutions, and all their language shifts to dynamic metaphors: forces in balance or imbalance, thrusts and counterthrusts, attraction and repulsion, checks and opposites’ (1967: 157). These dynamic forms underpin the affectual structure of all art, which Langer tentatively suggests, ‘is the creation of forms symbolic of human feeling’ (1953: 40). Art is a means of modulating change through its formal structures in a manner that is analogous to the modulation of intensity in all ‘human feeling’. In dance, there is an immediacy that distinguishes it from the visual arts because the performer’s intimate relationship with the changing states of tension and release are revealed within the time of the performance. In this respect, modern dance heralded a new type of corporeal, nonpsychological emotion – Rivière refers to the constraints on emotion in Nijinsky’s work, Franko to ‘emotivism’ and Horst to ‘intimacy’ – to which the term ‘affect’ is much more applicable. It describes an aesthetic change that was difficult to specify because it could not be configured within the discourse of emotion, which is commonly associated with subjective states. Subjective emotions are also much more easily demarcated because they are part of a long history in which they have been ‘qualified’ through ‘sociolinguistic fixing’ – we know how to name them

­104     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy – and are organised in ‘narrativizable action-reaction circuits’ (Massumi 2002: 28) However, without linguistic and narrative demarcation, the intensity of affect is much more diffuse and remains ‘unqualified’ (ibid.). In dance there is some degree of qualification of affect for it is anchored in the body, but this does not lead to the clear separation of psychical states. The body has a material boundary and a form of structural organisation which conveys feeling, as in James’s example of trembling with fear, but affect cannot be fixed, the trembling could be from cold rather than fear. Irrespective of clearly defined emotions, there is a sense of intimacy between audience and performers in modern dance because it is viewed through our intimate experience of bodies in movement and our capacity to move. We do not have to infer or append an affectual value to the visually demarcated figures on stage because at least on one level these bodies align with our own expressive potential. We see the changes in tension and relaxation, movement and rest, even though we might not be able to ascribe or linguistically fix a particular value to them. By the end of World War I, the Ballets Russes had taken on a new form of modernism, one closely associated with the French avant-garde which many theatre and dance historians trace back to the ballet Parade (Garafola 1989). The idea for this ballet originated with the poet Jean Cocteau, who began work with Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes as a publicist but was later involved in the company’s artistic direction (Doyle 2005: 13). The narrative holding Parade together is simple. The stage is designed to represent a street-fair theatre (or théâtre forain) – common in Paris at the time. Three music-hall numbers are performed as a means to entice the audience into the theatre, and three different managers attempt to convince the audience to attend the whole show. However, no one enters the theatre and all fall exhausted at the ballet’s end (Oxenhandler 1957). Cocteau’s charge was to astonish, to make the ballet shocking. In order to do this, he brought together artists later described by poet Guillaume Apollinaire as members of L’Esprit Nouveau – Erik Satie, Picasso and Massine – with the intention of creating an experimental theatre, one that drew on cubism to challenge the theatre’s use of the ‘pictorial mode[s] of behaviour’ (Axsom 1979: 8). He deployed what he called his ‘Picassian method’, that is, a ‘careful distortion of observed reality’ (Oxenhandler 1957: 49). Yet, as with the Ballets Russes’s earlier production of Le Sacre du printemps, the premiere of Parade held on 18 May 1917 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, was greeted with general disgust by the Paris audience (Fehr 2009: 8). Much of the audience’s outrage was due to the inclusion of vaudevillian aspects of everyday Parisian popular culture

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– such as the circus, cinema and music hall – that moved away from Russian folklore and oriental or primitive ballet themes (Rothschild 1991). While from 1920 later staging of the work was successful (Fehr 2009: 7), Parade has often been viewed as awkward, dismissed as ‘an unsuccessful work which was hampered by some cubistic customs that did not come off’ (Franks 1954: 37). However, the ballet’s importance to understanding modern dance is now better recognised. As the Joffrey Ballet’s founder, Robert Joffrey, explained in an interview in 1975, Parade was ‘the first multimedia ballet, because not only the dancing was important, the art was, and especially those wonderful cubistic costumes’ (Joffrey). In this production, it was not a matter of integrating abstract forms into the body but creating a composite performance in which the dancer was situated within a broader visual art aesthetic. Diaghilev had met with the Italian futurists and this led to a rethinking of how ballet operates in terms of the relationships between the dancer and the stage. The futurists sought new ways of filling space and making the space itself expressive, and they did this by drawing on the materials of the modern world, including popular entertainment (Rothschild 1991). While contemporary accounts suggest that Parade’s vaudevillian references were in part the reason for the initial rejection of the work, the fact that the ballet has not endured may be due to its oddly composite form in which the tension implicit in the bodies of the dancers was masked by the visual structure of the sets and costumes. The most overtly cubist element in Parade is Picasso’s design for the Managers’ costumes, which were tall and rigid and hid both the face and the torsos of the performers. They drew upon his synthetic cubist work, in which he used flat, overlapping planes to represent an object’s three dimensions within the two dimensions of the picture plane. This visual form of cubism was therefore not new to audiences, nor was the idea of bodies positioned to represent two-dimensionality; if anything was to shock audiences, it was probably the size of these figures and the grotesque elements of their bodies (ibid.). What is curious about these costumes in particular is that they remove any tension from the body because of their planar form and rigidity. Unlike the flattening of the bodies in Nijinsky’s Faune, the audience is not confronted with the spectacle of the dancer conforming to the abstract shape. There is no coincidence between the corporeal tension immanent to the dancers’ movements and the visual tension of the costumes. Fixed costumes working on a flat visual plane disrupt the relationship between the kinaesthetic feelings of the dancer and the spectator’s understanding of these feelings. In a modern dance performance, where the form of the body is usually revealed, there is little separation of the visual surfaces

­106     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy of the human body – shape, texture, colour, position – from the kinaesthetic and proprioceptive properties that are immanent to it, such as weight, tension, effort and instability. To see the body is to see it through its kinaesthetic potential. As Arnheim argues ‘when the dancer lifts his arm, he primarily experiences the tension of raising. A similar tension of raising is visually conveyed to the spectator through the image of the dancer’s arm’ (1954: 393–4). Furthermore, this materiality of gesture is grounded in a series of linked movements, the continuity of effort and intentionality of the lived body. One of the most influential figures in modern dance, Rudolf Laban, argues that the particular tensions associated with the desire, ‘impulse’ and inclination to move – from which can be derived value, belief and attitude – are visible in the performance as ‘effort-characteristics’ (1950: 10). Mood and personality are not purely internal states because they are present in the effort that underpins a series of complex movements. Effort is the underlying logic that gives meaning to the movements, and this can be discovered through developing an understanding of rhythm (Laban and Lawrence 1974: 5). Without rhythm and movement in the torso, there is no indication of effort in the upper body of the various Managers in Parade and, consequently, there is a suppression of the particular continuum of feeling that is associated with the effort of human movement. It is difficult to separate the form of affect from the intensive rhythms constitutive of effort. Indeed, effort refers to a principle of tension without which it would be exceedingly difficult to consider affect as corporeal. In watching these cubist assemblages, the costume, because it does not cleave to the body, could be said to be participating within a different affectual series to that of the dancer. It has a visual tension in the verticality and planar structure, similar in some respects to an art deco facade, but this tension operates in and against the body because of its visual weight and immutability. The costume does not seem to have the capacity to be affected within the time of the performance; however, the legs of the performer do. It is through the dancers’ leg work that a connection is made to another ‘plane’ or dimension of the cubist theatre, that of Satie’s composition. A glimpse into how this multilayered structure was able to work successfully is captured in Cocteau’s discussion of the 1917 audience’s reception, where he notes that ‘the entrance of the first gigantic “manager” passed without any remark – p ­ robably because he danced beautifully to the music’ (1917: 90). One can assume that ‘beautifully’ here refers to the concordance of the dancer’s steps – similar in many ways to early French ballet – with the rhythmic form of the music. Here the affectual continuity of the performance is sustained by the relationship between the movement of the body and that

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of the music, as it is in ‘classical expression theory’, but without the expression of the face confirming or fixing the emotional value of the performance. This raises questions about whether affect can, or indeed should, be used in the assessment or judgement of a dance performance. Is affect a property that is evenly spread across the whole, that is, a kind of general quality of performance? Or is it something that should be analysed separately in each of the mediums – the affectual movements of music, costume and choreography? Even if it is regarded as a general continuum of feeling that incorporates each of the elements, much of the affectual tension may be found in the antagonism between the various parts, rather than in their agreement. For example, the verticality of each of the Manager’s costumes invokes a tension related to their potential to topple over, which works against the horizontality of the dance steps. Affect cannot be separated from time. Both Langer and Massumi argue that there is a processual foundation to the understanding of the variation in feeling that infuses all artworks. Outside of this general ontology it is also important to talk about how the temporal form of a work or medium conditions affect; affect is always subject to particular formal constraints of a medium. Laban argues that we should attend to the differences between what he refers to as the ‘dynamic’ arts, that is, performing arts including dance and the ‘static arts due to a transience of movement’ (1950: 8–9). Static works are produced always with the idea that they will endure, and owing to this durability, the viewer’s relationship to the work is one of ‘contemplation’ in which the beholder has time to reflect on the work. By contrast, the audience at a play, a mime, or a ballet has no opportunity for contemplation. The spectator’s mind is forcibly submerged by the flow of the everchanging happenings which, given a real inner participation on his part, leaves no time for the elaborate cogitation and meditation. (ibid.: 9)

Laban states that when there is an overemphasis on the static arts within a performance work, they ‘are apt to impair the spectator’s interest in and attention to the dynamic happening which is the all-important element’ (ibid.: 10). There is a difference in the type of attention but in most cases one form is subordinate to the other. In modern dance this is evinced in the preference for tight-fitting clothes or partially nudity to allow the viewer to see the clean lines of choreography but also the inframovements of performance – muscles flexing and relaxing, hair flowing, fabric creasing. In this case these infra-movements are expressive of a particular type of tension that operates according to its own speed but is always incorporated into the broader movement of the choreography. In

­108     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy Parade and the Manager’s dances, we are forced to confront the difference in the modes of attention in the static and dynamic arts because the pictorial stasis of the dancer’s facade is accentuated each time the legs move. One could say that they operate according to two different time series, two different notions of endurance. To return to the earlier question about whether there is a general affective movement that describes the whole work, there is both a bifurcation and a confluence. There is a separation of the particular tensions and rhythms of each medium but there is also a coming together of the various parts in the intensive form of the costumed body. Affect relates to how the audience comes to terms with these differences, that is, how they locate variations in intensity relative the different speeds of the mediums and of different modalities of aesthetic engagement. Dance within modernism, like other avant-garde art forms, sought to understand its material foundations and this led to various experiments with abstraction. Dance’s new materiality could be compared to the rise of non-figurative styles in the plastic arts, in particular, in the way that it refocused attention on the form and surface of the body and away from the cognitive, emotional and subjective states of the dancer. However, the body is not a material that can be indifferently shaped to suit the purposes of an artist or choreographer. Any change to the posture, position and movement of a dancer must always make reference to the structural integrity of the human body, its specific tensions and the degree of effort that underpins all human movement. There is always a degree of tension in the perception of dance because the audience member has both a visual and kinaesthetic reference in the potential movement of their own body. What this means for any attempt at periodisation, is that any change in the formal principles of dance is also a change in the continuum of feeling, or affectual conditions, of the medium. In modern dance, there was a suppression of emotion rather than the suppression of affect because of the increased emphasis on the materiality of the body. In Nijinsky’s L’après-midi d’un faune, affect was intrinsic to the body and grounded in postural constraint and as such was fundamentally different to the extrinsic outpourings of emotion, characteristic of classical ballet. Affect was not located strictly in the abstract forms the body adopted but in the tensions required to create these forms. Massine’s Parade also deployed a form of depersonalised affect that can be described and analysed in terms of tension and intensity, but in many ways it was an anomaly because its logic of abstraction required the synthesis of incompatible elements. The fact that it is an anomaly may in part be attributable to the absence of clear lines of affectual intensity that accompany the dancer’s movements. Despite the abstract and

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largely non-narrative basis for much contemporary dance, there remains a coherence in the way it communicates affectually through the body, and this may underpin much of its popularity. References Arnheim, Rudolf (1954), Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Visual Eye, London: Faber & Faber. Axsom, Richard (1979), Parade: Cubism as Theater, New York and London: Garland Publishing. Cocteau, Jean (1917), ‘Parade réaliste: in which four modernist artists have a hand’, Vanity Fair, 5: 17–19. Cohen, Marshall (1983), ‘Primitivism, modernism, and dance theory’, in R. Copeland and M. Cohen (eds), What is Dance? Readings in Theory and Criticism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 161–78. Doyle, Tracy (2005), ‘Erik Satie’s ballet Parade: an arrangement for woodwind quintet and percussion with historical summary’, doctoral thesis, Louisiana State University. Duffy, Michelle, and Paul Atkinson (2014), ‘Unnatural movements: modernism’s shaping of intimate relations in Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps’, Affirmations: of the Modern, 2: 95–119. Fehr, Nikolas (2009), ‘Critical cosmopolitans commandeer the parade’, Musicological Explorations, 10: 7–31. Franko, Mark (1995), Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Franks, Arthur Henry (1954) Twentieth Century Ballet London: Burke. Garafola, Lynn (1989), Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Graham, Martha, documentary interview. Production of WNET Thirteen and the Martha Graham Dance Company, 1976. Hill, Peter (2000), Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hodson, Millicent (1986), ‘Ritual design in the new dance: Nijinsky’s choreographic method’, Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research, 4.1: 63–77. Horst, Louis and Carroll Russell (1961), Modern Dance Forms in Relation to the Other Modern Arts, San Francisco: Impulse. James, William [1890] (1950), ‘The emotions’, The Principles of Psychology, New York: Dover Publications, vol. 2, pp. 442–85. Järvinen, Hanna (2009), ‘Dancing without space: on Nijinsky’s “l’après-midi d’un faune” (1912)’, Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research, 27.1: 28–64. Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, video recording, Alix, Jay and Harold Ramis Lakeview Films, New York: Docuramafilms, c. 2012. Laban, Rudolf (1950), The Mastery of Movement on Stage, London: MacDonald and Evans. Laban, Rudolf and F. C. Lawrence [1947] (1974), Effort: Economy of Human Movement, 2nd edn, London: MacDonald and Evans.

­110     Paul Atkinson and Michelle Duffy Langer, Susanne K. (1953), Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, vol. 1. — (1967), Feeling and Form, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Lepecki, André (ed.) (2012), Dance, London: Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press, pp. 14–23. Lyotard, Jean-François [1993] (2012), ‘Le fait pictural aujourd’hui’/The pictorial event today, trans. Vlad Ionescu and Erica Harris, Textes dispersés 1: esthétique et théorie de l’art/Miscellaneous Texts 1: Aesthetics and Theory of Art, Leuven: Leuven University Press, pp. 224–39. Massumi, Brian (2002), Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ­­—  (2011), Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Nadal-Melsió, Sara (1996), ‘Dancing icons or the syncopation of the unsayable: Graham’s Lamentation and the Cult of the Mater Dolorosa’, Lectora 2: 83–91. Newhall, Mary Anne Santos (2009), Mary Wigman, London and New York: Routledge. Oxenhandler, Neal (1957), Scandal & Parade: The Theatre of Jean Cocteau, London: Constable & Co. Reynolds, Nancy and Malcolm McCormick (2003), No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century, New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Rivière, Jacques [1913] (1983), ‘Le Sacre du printemps’, in R. Copeland and M. Cohen (eds), What is Dance? Readings in Theory and Criticism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 115–23. Rothschild, Deborah M. (1991), Picasso’s Parade: From Street to Stage, London: Sotherby’s Publications.

Chapter 6

Love and the Art Object Joanne Winning

Coordinates In his consideration of the affective turn in the humanities and social sciences, Michael Hardt has argued for the institution of a provocative new term: ‘corporeal reason’ (2007: x). Such a term speaks to the way in which a consideration of the affects requires a revision of the traditional Cartesian splitting of mind and body. The affects, he notes, are capable of crossing, and thus indeed undoing, the received division between the life of the mind and the life of the body: ‘the affects pose a problematic correspondence across each of these divides: between the mind’s power to think and the body’s power to act, and between the power to act and the power to be affected’ (ibid.: xi). This chapter mobilises the concept of corporeal reason in order to analyse the relations between lesbian modernist practitioners and their made modernist objects (text, painting, interior design, house). In contradistinction to T. S. Eliot’s directive about the flight from the emotions being a necessary precondition of the production of the modernist art object, this chapter asks about the affects imbricated in the production of these objects. One of the dominant modernist paradigms for creativity, Eliot’s 1919 manifesto ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’, asserts the need for the poet to repudiate the personal and the affective: ‘Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality’ (1998: 370–1). Eliot’s escape would suggest that the ‘true’ art object – be it poem, novel, painting, architectural design – must enact a cut, a break, a disassociation from the affect of its producer in order for it to exist, independently, as an aesthetic entity. Needless to say, in this chapter, I want to read against this dominant paradigm. In Eliot’s case alone, we might instantly problematise this mode of affect-less production, but I want to consider the specific case of modernist production where issues of sexually dissident

­112     Joanne Winning desire and identity are imbricated in the creative act. Put simply, at the outset, I want to ask if, in this specific set of personal and sociocultural circumstances, the lesbian modernist art object might acutely become a repository for desire and intimacy which cannot otherwise be openly expressed. The lesbian modernists, I would argue, demonstrate a particularly heightened concern, perhaps indeed obsession, with materials – literally stuff: paint, ink, paper, wood, lacquer, wool, chrome, steel, rubber – and the spaces they make in the creation of an object – text, painting, sculpture, photograph, chair, desk, house – in a way that strongly inscribes a structural relation between artistic production, affect and sexuality. The theoretical frame of this chapter draws upon psychoanalytic models of creativity advanced by two key members of the British Independent Group, D. W. Winnicott and Marion Milner: the art object represents a ‘transitional space’ into which affect might be projected and contained. In this sense, straddling the concept of affect advanced in affect studies and psychoanalysis, this chapter asks what bits of embodied and rational selves are lodged in the art object. It will take three test cases: the writer Virginia Woolf, the artist Gluck (Hannah Gluckstein) and the architect Eileen Gray. In each case, the imbrication of sexual dissidence, affect and materiality is compellingly represented in their creative production. The aim here is to offer a starting point for the critical analysis of affect in modernism, in terms which, whilst specific to lesbian modernism, may well offer purchase on the various modernisms across the early twentieth century. This chapter asks about the intimacy that may exist between an artist and their art object – an intimacy that may either replace or encode an act of dissident intimacy between two female bodies. In order to consider this form of intimacy, I want to examine what we might call the affect of production.

Love and the Made Object At the point of the inception of the term ‘Sapphic modernism’, back in 1990, Shari Benstock considered the three key obstacles that stand in the way of the definition and detailing of the term. Firstly, she notes, ‘we lack the textual information’ (Benstock 1992: 185). What Benstock alludes to here, I think, is the historic occlusion of female and lesbian modernist texts, in addition to the systematic neglect of female and lesbian contributions to the cultural production of modernism. Benstock cites the second obstacle as the fact ‘that theories of creativity remain

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speculative at best’ (ibid.). What we lack here, then, are the conceptual tools to theorise the link between sexual desire and creativity. The third obstacle, large and fundamental as it is, is that ‘we are saddled with inadequate definitions of modernism and restrictive notions of lesbianism’ (ibid.). In this chapter, it is the second obstacle – this profound question about the relationship between sexuality and creativity – that I want to address. What is the relation between affect and desire and the creation of the art object? How might creativity constitute a conduit between desire and subjectivity? In as much as this chapter seeks to take up and work on Benstock’s point about the speculative nature of theories of creativity by providing productive conceptual tools which might do this work, it is crucial to my discussion too to recognise that in many cases the lesbian modernists themselves are not simply subjects unwittingly preoccupied by the nature of creativity and unconsciously recording their own processes; rather than that, they are aware of and working on these very questions. As a first example of this reflexive analysis, we might consider the creative act that braces the narrative events of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse (1927), which is the completion of Lily Briscoe’s painting of Mrs Ramsay and her son James. Woolf portrays the process of creation in great detail. In one sense, Woolf constructs the relationship between painter and painting as a space between two objects. This interrelational space is integral to painterly subjectivity. As Lily considers the process of painting the ‘shape’ of the tableau in which Mrs Ramsay sits reading to her six-year old son James, she describes ‘that moment’s flight between the picture and her canvas’ (Woolf 1970: 23). It is in this brief movement that ‘the demons set on her who often brought her to the verge of tears and made this passage from conception to work as dreadful as any down a dark passage for a child’ (ibid.). If such ‘demons’ represent common anxieties about technical skill, concentration and originality, they come alongside more complex anxieties, which have to do with subjectivity, identity and desire. Lily continues, ‘it was there too, in that chill and windy way, as she began to paint, that there forced themselves upon her other things’ (ibid.). These anxieties constellate around her lack of confidence in both herself and her origins (‘her insignificance, keeping house for her father off the Brompton Road’) and, crucially, ‘her impulse to fling herself (thank heaven she had always resisted so far) at Mrs Ramsay’s knee and say to her – but what could one say to her? “I’m in love with you?”’ (ibid.). Though Lily immediately counters her own articulation of ‘love’ – ‘No, that was not true’ – she goes on to note ‘One could not say what one meant’ (ibid.). The knot of her emotions, painfully confused as they are expressed in her internal monologue, suggests the

­114     Joanne Winning paucity, or d ­ ownright lack, of a vocabulary through which to express this love. Indeed this lack of vocabulary, of the words and means to say, might well be read as the impulse, unconsciously rendered, which stands behind Lily’s move to paint. Later in the text, Lily is met in the middle of painting by William Bankes, the widower whom Mrs Ramsay plots to marry off to Lily. In the Bankes–Briscoe exchange about the nature of painting, Woolf articulates a fundamental link between Lily’s creativity and subjectivity. Bankes’s gaze upon her painting is an excruciating exposure to Lily, and yet it also offers possibility: that any other eyes should see the residue of her thirty-three years, the deposit of each day’s living, mixed with something more secret than she had ever spoken or shown in the course of all those days was an agony. At the same time it was immensely exciting. (ibid.: 61, my emphasis)

The ‘secret’ might well be read as desire. Bankes, a scientist and archetypal realist spectator, questions the level of abstraction in Lily’s portrait and the way in which it seems to ‘reduce’ these ‘objects of universal veneration’ – mother and child – and possibly even more strangely a mother figure ‘famous for her beauty’ (ibid.). Lily’s reply gestures towards what we would call an aesthetics of modernism, as well as the uniqueness of her vision: ‘But the picture was not of them, she said. Or, not in his sense. There were other senses too, in which one might reverence them’ (ibid.). Lily’s ‘reverencing’ of Mrs Ramsay stands alongside, and in contrast to, the modes of ‘reverence’ described in Mr and Mrs Ramsay’s marriage, the nature and permanence of which are continually under question in the novel. Lily’s ‘reverence’ is something which must be put into a painting, its nature unspeakable in any other form. Her particular gaze, which encompasses her desire for Mrs Ramsay, cannot be expressed to Bankes in words: ‘she could not show him what she wished to make of it,’ indeed she cannot even see it herself ‘without a brush in her hand’ (ibid.: 62). What Lily sees is a set of spatial relations – ‘how to connect this mass on the right hand with that on the left’ – and it is these relations she attempts to record in her painting (ibid.). Her vision thus embeds love within the articulation of space, in a sense there is, literally, nowhere else she can put it. Trying to convey all of this to William Bankes, and have him look at her visual account of it, is to share ‘something profoundly intimate’ (ibid.: 63). Lily’s picture, it transpires, cannot be completed in Mrs Ramsay’s lifetime. It is finished only after death and loss have prevailed, so that the act of love that is painting is completed through the processes of memory. Years later, back at the Scottish house and in the same place

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where she tried to record her love before, Lily puts up a ‘clean canvas’ that acts as a ‘barrier’ against the intrusions of the bereaved Mr Ramsay (ibid.: 169). Here, in this later, detailed description of the creative act, Woolf explores the materiality of the canvas more fully, particularly its function as both external object and space. Lily experiences the canvas as having some obscure kind of agency: ‘She saw her canvas as if it had floated up and placed itself white and uncompromisingly directly before her. It seemed to rebuke her with its cold stare’ (ibid.: 178). Her physical relation to the canvas, as well as the tangible sense of working with paint as a substance, is fully articulated here. Most importantly, for my present analysis, the act of painting is represented as a deeply embodied process, as the following lengthy quotation makes clear: With a curious physical sensation, as if she were urged forward and at the same time must hold herself back, she made her first quick decisive stroke. The brush descended. It flickered brown over the white canvas; it left a running mark. A second time she did it – a third time. And so pausing and so flickering, she attained a dancing rhythmical movement, as if the pauses were one part of the rhythm and the strokes another, and all were related; and so, lightly and swiftly pausing, striking, she scored her canvas with brown running nervous lines which had no sooner settled there than they enclosed (she felt it looming out at her) a space. Down in the hollow of one wave she saw the next wave towering higher and higher above her. For what could be more formidable than that space? (ibid.: 179)

If, following Hardt’s notion of corporeal reason, affect is both in and of the body, it is important here to understand the act of painterly creation – in To The Lighthouse an act of memorialisation – as a process that takes place beyond the instituted binary division of mind from body, in which psyche and soma co-constitute each other. Thus, as the painting both expresses and contains the affects of love and loss, it speaks the body as well as the mind. Lily’s epiphany is articulated in the act of the final brushstroke; it brings a bodily exhaustion, as if the act of expression gives the body final physiological and at the same time as emotional release: ‘She looked at the steps; they were empty; she looked at her canvas; it was blurred. With a sudden intensity, as if she saw it clear for a second, she drew a line there, in the centre. It was done; it is finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision’ (ibid.: 237). Lily Briscoe’s affective investment in her own modernist object might well be understood through the conceptual model provided by Marion Milner. Uniquely, Milner’s therapeutic theory and clinical practice as an analyst were complemented by her own endeavour to understand herself through introspective self-writing and as a visual artist.1 As both analyst

­116     Joanne Winning and artist, Milner undertakes to theorise the creative act of drawing from the twin perspectives of painter and clinician in her compelling self-analysis, On Not Being Able to Paint (1950). In terms that resonate with Lily’s memorialisation of loss in her painting, Milner gives us a description of the affective investment in the art object: So it became clear that if painting is concerned with the feelings conveyed by space then it must also be to do with the problems of being a separate body in a world of other bodies which occupy different bits of space: in fact it must be deeply concerned with ideas of distance and separation and having and losing. (1971: 12)

‘Distance’ and ‘separation’ and ‘having and losing’ would seem to structure the creative process as represented by Lily Briscoe; they are also resonant terms with which to think about desire and identity. Milner’s model in particular opens up a way in which to think about the art object as repository for the affects of desire, identification and intimacy in the context of lesbian modernism. Put simply, in a cultural context in which I must either repudiate or disavow my desire in public, can I put it into the object, since it cannot be held, expressed or lived outside it? In her account of the twenty-year analysis she undertook with a schizophrenic patient, Susan, Milner describes how the primary mode of communication that comes to work in the analysis is that of the patient’s drawings. During the course of the analysis, Susan, who had been unable to communicate through language, recovered the ability to doodle and draw. These drawings become the mode of communication between analyst and patient. Milner describes the drawings as ‘containing, in highly condensed form, the essence of what we were trying to understand. In fact I came to see them as my patient’s private language which anyone who tried to help her must learn to read – and speak’ (1969: xxi). Communication by visual image, rather than the more normative practice of speech, might here be read as an indication of the breakdown in the schizophrenic patient’s ability to make sense (a reading of this case history through Lacanian notions of schizophrenia would be fruitful), but compellingly, Milner herself discovered problems when she comes to produce a coherent narrative account of the narrative. Milner writes: One of the things, for instance, that I noticed when I began to try to write a discursive account of what she said and did and what I said and did, centring on her drawings, was that certain lines of poetry kept nosing their way into the foreground of my thinking. (ibid.)

Whilst poetry is of course an art form built out of linguistic materials, it is also the literary form that relies most heavily on the use of the symbol.

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In the course of writing about the analysis, Milner came to recognise that these lines of poetry were actually ‘highly relevant’ to her own ‘understanding of the progress of the analysis’ (ibid.). Indeed they function as ‘essential bridges’ in Milner’s thinking, which helped to span (my own spatial metaphor here) the ‘raw material’ brought by the patient and Milner’s conceptualisation of it in both the practice of treatment and the creation of psychoanalytic theory (ibid.). Writing of Milner’s contribution to British psychoanalytic practice, Lyndsey Stonebridge argues that ‘Milner, in both her autobiographies and her psychoanalytic work, attempts to construct a ‘frame’ for phantasy and illusion: a space where the inside can traffic with the outside, where the self can meet the not-self’ (1998: 144). Such an account relies on notions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, which Milner herself came to articulate through consideration of the picture frame: Frames can be thought of both in time as well as space, and in other human activities besides painting. An acted play is usually, nowadays, framed by the stage, in space, and by the raising and lowering of the curtain in time. Rituals and processions are usually framed in space by barriers or by the policemen that keep back the onlookers. Dreams are framed in sleep and the material of a psycho-analytic session is framed both in space and time. And paintings nowadays, are usually bounded by frames. But wall paintings are not, and when the wall is the wall of a cave the painted image must come nearer to the hallucinated images of dreams. Thus when there is a frame it surely serves to indicate that what’s inside the frame has to be interpreted in a different way from what’s outside it; for painters nowadays do not seem so concerned to achieve a near hallucination. Thus the frame marks off an area within which what is perceived has to be taken symbolically, while what is outside the frame is taken literally. (1971: 157–8)

Here Milner records the division between the symbolic within the painting and the literal world external to it in a way that we might feel confident in considering in relation to any work of art. Surely the functioning of a work of art via a symbolic register is common to all human creative practice? Yes, it is. Then why make a particular case of it in relation to the specific affective dynamics of lesbian modernism? What we see in the work of many lesbian modernists is a hyper-sensitisation to the nature of the symbolic register, a deeply affective and intimate relation to the symbolic contents of their made objects. And moreover, I argue here in relation to Woolf’s representation of Lily Briscoe’s art practice, and the two test cases I outline below, they display a kind of hyper-embodiment in their strong focus on the materiality of their objects, which speaks of affect and intimacy beyond the traditional frame. We might develop our understanding of the intimate, affective relation between the artist and her made object by considering the theorisation

­118     Joanne Winning of creativity provided by one of Milner’s most influential colleagues, the paediatrician and psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott.2 Winnicott’s complex model of infant development hinges upon the ability of the human subject to separate from the parental figure through the use of objects and behaviours that act to support the transition from complete dependency to individuated subjectivity. Healthy individuation relies upon the use of such transitional objects and phenomena. For Winnicott, child play and the creation and use of a transitional object carry over into healthy, fulfilled adult relationality and what he calls ‘creative living’: ‘It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self’ (1999: 54). Given the psychic investment in objects and their use in everyday psychic life, it is perhaps no surprise that Winnicott has particular things to say about the creativity of artists: ‘It is a frequent experience in clinical work to meet with persons who want help and who are searching for the self and who are trying to find themselves in the products of their creative experiences’ (ibid.). Yet the art object itself, in Winnicott’s clinical work with artists, does not often function as restoratively, or constitutionally, as one might expect. There are limits to the functionality of the art object, an obsessive quality to it which reveals much about the intensity of the artist’s affective investment in it. Winnicott argues that The self is not really to be found in what is made out of products of the body or mind, however valuable these constructs may be in terms of beauty, skill, and impact. If the artist (in whatever medium) is searching for the self, then it can be said that in all probability there is already some failure for that artist in the field of general living. The finished creation never heals the underlying lack of a sense of self. (ibid.: 54–5)

Without getting into the clinical material here, I want to draw out this notion of the artist’s ‘search for self’ in the made art object since it adds an important dimension to our understanding of the creative act, particularly in relation to the nexus of affect, creativity and sexuality. Winnicott’s notion of a ‘failure of general living’, or a creative act that produces an object as an attempt to ‘heal an underlying lack of sense of self’ are productive terms for considering the nature of a sexual subjectivity which cannot be lived or expressed. My question here is to what extent we might understand the very visceral accounts of art objects produced as containers of affect that we find in the work of so many lesbian modernists. I turn here to the very material domains of painting and interior design to consider this question.

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Gluck As a first test case, I take the work of the modernist painter Gluck, born Hannah Gluckstein into the wealthy Lyons tea-houses family in 1895. Gluck eschewed any formal allegiances with contemporary art movements, preferring to pursue her own aesthetic agenda as a portrait painter. Here I want to use one example of a self-portrait marked by its attempt to represent lesbian sexuality and subjectivity. Her painting Medallion, completed in 1936 (Fig. 6.1), is a portrait of herself and her lover Nesta Obermer. Gluck’s private name for this painting was the ‘YouWe’ picture; the collapsing of pronouns indicates the intimacy of the women as lovers and, to Gluck’s mind, also as soul mates. It is a transgressive image in its articulation of lesbian desire, and Gluck liked nothing better than to confront visitors with the picture. The confrontation turned on whether they would identify its articulation of sexual identity and desire or not. Let us read it here as a representation of subjectivity. Its symbolic contents are potentially unreadable to viewers who cannot decode its female masculinity. As a material record of subjectivity, we might interpret the painting as both affective search for self, and as a symbol of same-sex desire. How might such a richly invested affective object be framed? Predating Marion Milner by some years, Gluck, in fact, was much exercised by the limitations of traditional picture frames. Demonstrating a notable obsession with materials, she decided to design her own picture frame, which she named the ‘Gluck Frame’ (Fig. 6.2): Early in 1932, while I was still painting for my Exhibition, to take place in the Fine Arts Society, New Bond Street, in November of that year, I realised that my usual framing difficulty was cropping up again, but that this time

Figure 6.1  Gluck, Medallion (1936). Reproduced by kind permission of Roy Gluckstein.

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Figure 6.2  ‘Gluck Frame’. Reproduced by kind permission of Roy Gluckstein.

Love and the Art Object      121 it was far more serious than it had been in previous Exhibitions . . . One day feeling quite despairing, I took a lump of plasticine and started to make something very simple which, if possible, could be part of any wall on which it might be placed, and in doing this I suddenly realised that what has become the Gluck frame was the only solution. This consisted of steps, imitating the costly panelled effect of setting pictures in a wall, but steps of such character that the usual essence of all frames was reversed and instead of the outer edge dominating it was made to die away into the wall and cease to be a separate feature. (Gluck, n.d., my emphasis)3

What is notable here is Gluck’s turn to the materiality of plasticine. In a state of frustration, Gluck moulded, kneaded a plastic, pliable substance. The frame is unique for the way it inverts the usual relation between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Where the edge of the traditional frame usually builds to a deep outer edge, here, in its final wooden i­ ncarnation, the Gluck Frame diminishes, fading into the outside space in a way that allows the symbolic contents on the canvas to seep out, to slip off into the space beyond the frame. If we read this frame as surrounding a painting such as Medallion, we might say that the frame allows the image to disperse and communicate its affect in new and transgressive ways. After she completed a prototype frame with which she could work, Gluck became obsessed with the deterioration in the quality of modern paint, undertaking a campaign of some seven years, which she came to call the ‘Paint War’, in which she lobbied the paint industry for a return to the traditional use of cold-pressed oil and hand-ground pigments in the manufacture of paint. Skilling herself with a formidable understanding of chemistry and paint production, as well as researching parallel processes in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, Gluck wrote various polemical articles about the problem of ‘Dichroism’, sometimes called ‘the suede-effect’. As Gluck articulates it, ‘dichroism is the symptom of a disease that kills oil paintings prematurely’ (1964: 337). She set out ‘to find the cause of this disease’, recognising ‘from the soapy, greasy effects’ that ‘fat must be present somewhere in some form’ (ibid.). The ‘suede-effect’ caused Gluck deep distress because of the way it splits the light as it reflects off the surface of oils. In a fundamental way, it destroys the effect, and indeed the affect, of the painted surface. In a fascinating move, Gluck’s distress made her cast around for theoretical paradigms that might explain her own affective investment. One place to which she turned was psychoanalysis, writing to Carl Jung in 1960 to ask if he might help her understand the importance of the quality of oil paint to her creative practice. Oil paint, she told Jung, was ‘the marrow of my bone and my vision was only fully realizable in that medium’ (Gluck, 1960). She continued to Jung that in the course

­122     Joanne Winning of the Paint War, she had realised how: ‘vulnerable the artist [is] for full expression on the nature of his medium, and I cannot find any explanation as to why this deep, almost physical, need for a certain type of material is a truth and apparently born in one’ (ibid.). She demonstrated her own remarkable insight about the profound correlation between artistic choice of materials and affect: after all, new materials find their artists, but it always seems to fall within certain narrow limits, as for instance the difference between oils and watercolours, modelling against carving, and of course in the choice of musical instruments. Vision and preferred medium seem indivisible. (ibid., my emphasis)

Gluck’s Paint War ended in defeat: unable to make large-scale inroads into modern paint production, towards the end of her career Gluck became so despondent about the quality of paint that she stops painting altogether, feeling it was no longer possible for her to articulate herself with the available material.

Eileen Gray Eileen Gray has received little critical attention for her unique contributions to modernist design and architecture, yet her innovations in the interior and exterior design of spaces of habitation were groundbreaking. Gray’s contemporaries recognised her importance, as the De Stijl architect Jan Wils wrote in the Dutch magazine Wendingen in 1924, ‘Eileen Gray is a very special, unique figure in the world of new form-finding’ (Wils, quoted in Adam 2000: 164). According to her biographer, Peter Adam, Gray existed on the periphery of the lesbian subculture of early twentieth-century Paris but, unlike some of her peers, was intensely private about her liaisons with women. Adam asserts that despite moving in lesbian circles she kept her relationship with her lover, the singer Damia (Marie-Louise Damien), ‘very secret’ (2000: 114). Gray settled permanently in Paris in 1906, making her home in an apartment in rue Bonaparte and deciding to pursue a career in interior design. From the outset of her furniture career, her spatial acts and creations embody dissidence and the desire to create objects which signal a rupture with traditional spatial codes and articulate a new spatial vocabulary through which to express the intimate experience of modernity. In May 1922 she opened her gallery and shop, Jean Désert, in rue du Faubourg SaintHonoré. Jean Désert was a space in which to both exhibit and sell her furniture and interior designs. We might characterise Gray’s career as

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designer and architect as a continual search for a new spatial vocabulary and, moreover, the right materials in which to articulate it. I read this striving for new spatial practice as being governed, in part, by her sexual dissidence. Gray’s search for materials began with paint, in her early years of artistic training at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London in 1898. The journey continued with the decorative finish of lacquer. With the designer Evelyn Wyld she experimented with wool, and made a trip to North Africa in order to hone her skills as a designer of rugs. Later she started to play with industrial materials: glass, metal, cork, chrome and tubular steel. Her work with chrome and tubular steel began in 1925, at exactly the same time as Marcel Breuer was using chrome tubing in his cantilevered chair ‘Cesca’ (1924–5),4 pre-dating Le Corbusier’s use of the steel frame in 1928.5 Even in her nineties, Gray was still playing with materials, explaining to a journalist that she had been experimenting with new kinds of plastic that she found ‘rather attractive’ (Blume 1979: 14). In Vers une Architecture (1923), Le Corbusier argues that ‘the business of Architecture is to establish emotional relationships by means of raw materials’ and that ‘Passion can create drama out of inert stone’ (1978: 10, 11). Materials then can be understood as metonymic signifiers of emotion; here, of course, Le Corbusier is talking in terms of generating emotions in the spectator, but we might also say they can convey an emotion in the practitioner too. Gray explained to Peter Adam, I am guided only by the subconscious. Anything I ever did came from it and I suppose that is why I am so inarticulate and when I see friends there is always a sort of tension, attempting to express myself and often failing. That is why, in the conscious world, difficulties seem so insurmountable and become such a worry. (Adam 2000: 342)

I do not want to overread Gray’s sense of her subconscious by talking only in terms of sexuality but I do want to acknowledge the place which dissident, or even repudiated, desire occupies within the unconscious (to bring this into the realms of psychoanalysis). Her own inarticulacy in verbal language suggests that the reason for her fascination and obsession with materials has much to do with the way in which these substances offer different modes of articulation, alternative routes through which her ‘subconscious’ might offer up its products. In 1917, the Vogue reviewer who visited Gray’s interior design shop in Paris, describes her use of lacquer as a ‘singularly direct free method of expression’ (‘A. S.’ 1917: 29). In this sense, we might say, Gray came to ‘speak’ in lacquer. Gray began her lacquer career in 1905, becoming apprentice to the lacquer studio of D. Charles in London’s Soho. Lacquer is a highly sensual material that involves a hugely laborious

­124     Joanne Winning process of application. Its high sheen excites the sense of sight, even as its unblemished smoothness excites the sense of touch. It is clear from the way Gray writes of lacquer in her detailed notebook of techniques that it is both a product and a finish, which is alive for her. Lacquer evokes skin, both in its finished state and in the way it covers a natural structure, as skin covers flesh and skeleton. The connection between skin and lacquer is evoked symbolically also in the damage it can cause the lacquerer. Mo Teitelbaum, who interviewed Gray just before her death in 1976, writes: ‘Already by 1915, both her arms had become infested with the skin disease caused by lacquer-work. The resin provokes a dangerous rash which takes a long time to cure’ (1975: 39). Unlike the famous lacquerer Jacques Dunand, who ‘employed Indo-Chinese whose skin is less susceptible to the disease’, Gray literally got her hands dirty (ibid.).6 In her development of lacquer technique, her investment in the development of new colours and surfaces and her wrapping of the object within it, Gray embedded an erotic charge in her objects. The cultural theorist Elizabeth Grosz argues for an account of sexuality and desire as a densely corporeal framework in which the body’s erotogenic map is redrawn to incorporate a far more complex conceptualisation of the process of erotic encounter. For Grosz the erotic resides in the coming together of body parts and either other bodies or surfaces that awaken the senses: the coming together of two surfaces produces a tracing that imbues eros or libido to both of them, making bits of bodies, its parts or particular surfaces throb, intensify, for their own sake and not for the benefit of the entity or organism as a whole. They come to have a life of their own, functioning according to their own rhythms, intensities, pulsations, movements. (1995: 182)

In this sense, Gray’s lacquer-skin speaks of an eroticisation of space, and of things-in-space. It also, importantly, draws out an erotic response in the Other. One of the compelling emotions evoked by Gray’s lacquerwork, when one is first confronted with it, is the strong desire to touch, to run one’s hands over the surface of the object. We might say that she turned her lacquer objects into containers for the erotic. As I have argued previously, the hand needs to be read as a lesbian erotic signifier (Winning 2000: 78–81). As Gray’s lacquer notebook makes clear, the process of achieving the definitive high polish on her lacquered objects relied upon the sensitive skill of the hand and fingers. Gray coated her objects with four coats of lacquer to achieve the desired effect. The first two thinner coats prepared the ground of the surface and were applied

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with a rag but the all-important thicker third coat was mixed first on the hand and then applied by the fingers: ‘this coat should be thicker – then polish with tsunoko powdered deer horn & oil using oil in same manner as before & putting tsunoko on back of the hand against which rub fist & second fingers and then polish.’7 The nexus between skin, the erotic and lacquer would seem to be have been picked up, somewhat coyly, in an early review of Gray’s lacquerwork. The 1917 reviewer for Vogue writes, By what process of rubbing, by what mixture of resin and colour, by what subtle feeling for decorative line Miss Gray produces her effects, only Miss Gray knows; but the results are here for us all to wonder at, for us all to covet. The difficulties of the work are great. Best adapted to lacquer are flat surfaces, which are carefully covered with cloth or silk before the resinous gum is applied, thus rendering the grain of the wood for ever invisible. Then – but it is forbidden to write of the manner in which colour is mixed with the gum, which, by a process of rubbing and drying – and lacquer perversely dries best in a damp atmosphere – results in the mirror-like, flinty surfaces we know so well. (‘A. S.’ 1917: 29)

Here, it seems, lacquering speaks of dissident, unspeakable desire and practice, known only to Gray herself, sequestered in her damp bathroom in the rue Bonaparte in Paris. If Gray demonstrates an obsession with materiality in her use of lacquer, she also comes to display a desire to reframe space. Lacquer comes to coat the intimate spaces of domestic living, in her interior design. As Jean Paul Rayon argues, Gray’s work demonstrates her growing interest in ‘total space’; that is to say, as she began to modify interior space with the object she increasingly became compelled to move towards architecture. This desire to articulate more fully in ‘total space’ was already evident, he argued, in the objects she produced, not least the screen that became an iconic part of Gray’s oeuvre: ‘the screen . . . is typologically the most architectural piece of furniture possible’ (Rayon 1989: 165–6). One of Gray’s most famous early screens is Le Destin (1913), a four-panel screen made in red lacquer and incorporating both abstract and figurative designs on both sides. Notably Le Destin is a solid screen in which the vertical planes are used as a space for images. In this sense the surface of the screen emulates a canvas and thus evokes the idea of a painting. By contrast, the later screen which Gray designs for her Boudoir de Monte Carlo, for the XIV Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in 1923, is constructed out of interwoven lacquered bricks that are hinged together with brass rods (Fig. 6.3). If Le Destin evokes the discipline of painting, the Monte Carlo screen evokes the discipline of sculpture. What is interesting here is to

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Figure 6.3  Eileen Gray, Monte Carlo Screen. Reproduced with kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland.

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consider how this screen articulates space in a very different way from that of the solid screen of 1913. When put into the space of a room as a room divider, the screen separates out that space into different areas or compartments. This division is reinforced by the ways in which the differentiated space is often put to different uses. In contrast to the solid vertical planes of Le Destin, the Monte Carlo screen evokes the idea of the lattice. Whilst the Monte Carlo screen might still function as a room divider, it introduces a certain tension between the areas of interior space it separates, since they remain within the visual field. With its lattice-like design, the screen plays with the notions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’; that which is behind the screen can be partially seen, yet is also partially hidden. To some degree this screen, then, might be said to act as a spatial representation of desire, particularly where that desire might be difficult to articulate. The optical effects of the screen are to produce visual images of that which is beyond, drawing it into the same space as the spectator. That which cannot be fully seen is yet visible through the gaps, can be read as it crosses over the lacquer blocks which frame it, Gray’s preferred medium, at this time, for eroticised speech. In 1919 Gray undertook the decoration of the rue de Lota apartment owned by the milliner Madame Mathieu-Lévy, owner of the ‘famous modiste salon’ Suzanne Talbot (Adam 2000: 95). The transformation of this space from traditional Parisian apartment to an expression of sensual modern space took Gray over four years and was finally completed in 1924. One of final elements of the space to be completed was the hugely labour-intensive hallway (Fig. 6.4). In this hallway the screen becomes a fixed plane. Here the screens are fixed to the walls, extending almost to their full height. The lacquered screen spills off the walls and into the open space of the hallway, blurring the spatial boundaries and again invoking the tension between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, or ‘here’ and ‘beyond’. The hallway leads to the full-length double doors, themselves lacquered in black and gold. Opening the door requires passing the skin of the hand over the lacquered handle and gripping it, thus allowing passage into the rest of the apartment where each of the walls were decorated in lacquer panels of various descriptions and sizes. The extension of lacquer on to structural surfaces is unique to Gray. This hallway required 450 brick panels, each of them carefully lacquered. If lacquer is the erotic speech she cannot otherwise utter, then against such a silence this space seems to ring with the enunciation of desire. To return to Gray’s notion of being ‘guided’ only by her ‘subconscious’, here we get the clear sense of the affect of production. According to Gray, her own inarticulacy in verbal language – and the failure of intimacy in the real, lived encounter – derived from the drives of her

­128     Joanne Winning

Figure 6.4  Rue de Lota Hallway. Reproduced with kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland.

‘subconscious’. As such, her fascination and obsession with m ­ aterials suggests a different mode of articulation of intimacy, which I read as profoundly caught up in issues of sexual identity. To close, let me return to Winnicott’s argument about the artist whose search for the self is undertaken in creative practice, his assertion that there is ‘already some failure for that artist in the field of general living’. Such a failure, I would argue, in the instance of these lesbian modernists, has much to do with a sociocultural context in which sexual dissidence cannot be fully articulated and must be sublimated into their art objects. It renders these objects saturated with affect and transforms them into tangible, material expressions of bodily and emotional intimacy which stand in lieu of their physical expression.

Love and the Art Object      129

Notes 1. Milner (1900–98) published her first experiment in self-writing, A Life of One’s Own in 1934, under the pseudonym Joanna Field. As the title demonstrates, she was profoundly influenced by the psychological turn of modernism and the modernist stream of consciousness technique. Milner trained as an analyst with Ella Freeman Sharpe and Joan Riviere, following the Kleinian paradigm of an object relations model. Milner became an important member of the British Independent Group. 2. Donald Woods Winnicott (1896–1971) trained first as a doctor at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London in the early 1920s, specialising in paediatrics and began his first analysis in the late 1920s with James Strachey. Winnicott went on to become one of the foremost and influential members of the British Independent Group. 3. My sincere thanks to Roy Gluckstein for access to these private papers. 4. See Cranz 2000: 81. 5. See Rykwert 1972. 6. Later in the twentieth century, lacquer would become technologised; the time-laden process of a bodily produced material being replaced by the processes of the chemical industry and renamed ‘enamel’. See Huth 1971. 7. Eileen Gray, Lacquer Notebook, n.p. Tsunoko is ‘very finely powdered hartshorn charcoal used with a small quantity of oil in the polishing of lacquer’. See Herberts 1962: 382.

References Adam, Peter (2000), Eileen Gray: Architect, Designer, London: Thames & Hudson. ‘A. S.’ (1917), ‘An artist in lacquer’, Vogue (August), 29. Benstock, Shari (1992), ‘Expatriate sapphic modernism: entering lesbian history’, in Karla Jay and Joanne Glasgow (eds), Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions, 2nd edn, London: Onlywomen Press, pp. 183–203. Blume, May (1979), ‘Designing woman’, International Herald Tribune February 17–18. Cranz, Galen (2000), The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body, and Design, New York & London: W. W. Norton. Eliot, T. S. [1919] (1998), From ‘tradition and the individual talent’, in Vassiliki Kolocotroni, Jane Goldman and Olga Taxidou (eds), Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 366–71. Gluck (1960), Letter to Carl Jung, 15th November, Gluck Papers. ­— (1964), ‘The impermanence of paintings in relation to artists’ materials’, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, 5093. CXII (April), 335–52. — (n.d.), ‘The Gluck frame’, Gluck Papers. Gray, Eileen (n.d.), Lacquer notebook, V&A Archive, London, n.p. Grosz, Elizabeth (1995), Space, Time, and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies, London: Routledge.

­130     Joanne Winning Hardt, Michael (2007), ‘What affects are good for’, in Patricia Ticineto Clough with Jean Halley (eds), The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social, Durham, NC & London: Duke University Press, pp. ix–xiii. Herberts, Kurt (1962), Oriental Lacquer: Art and Technique, London: Thames & Hudson. Huth, Hans (1971), Lacquer of the West: The History of a Craft and an Industry, 1550–1950, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Le Corbusier [1923] (1978), Towards a New Architecture, trans. Frederick Etchells, London: The Architectural Press. Milner, Marion [1950] (1971), On Not Being Able to Paint, Oxford: Heinemann. — (1969) The Hands of the Living God: An Account of Psycho-analytic Therapy, London: The Hogarth Press. Rayon, Jean Paul (1989), ‘Eileen Gray: the north star and the south star’, 9H, 8: 164–87. Rykwert, Joseph (1972) ‘Eileen Gray: pioneer of design’, Architectural Review (December): 356–7. Stonebridge, Lyndsey (1998), The Destructive Element: British Psychoanalysis and Modernism, London: Routledge. Teitelbaum, Mo (1975), ‘Lady of the rue Bonaparte’, Sunday Times Magazine (22 June), 28–40. Winnicott, D. W. [1971] (1999), Playing and Reality, London: Routledge. Winning, Joanne (2000), The Pilgimage of Dorothy Richardson, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Woolf, Virginia [1927] (1970), To the Lighthouse, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Chapter 7

Animating Cane: Race, Affect, History and Jean Toomer Julie Taylor ‘The only time that I think “Negro”’, wrote Jean Toomer to his close friend Waldo Frank in 1922, ‘is when I want a peculiar emotion which is associated with this name’ (2010a: 69). Like many of Toomer’s statements about race, his allusion to the term ‘Negro’ as a kind of emotional shorthand poses a variety of interpretational possibilities. Does ‘peculiar’ simply mean ‘particular’, or is Toomer suggesting that there is something strange or perverse about African American feeling? Should we dismiss his comment as a problematic assumption of stereotypes about African American emotionality or should we concentrate on those scare quotes around ‘Negro’? And if ‘thinking “Negro”’ produces a certain feeling for Toomer, might it also (or instead) work the other way round: is the racialised subject in fact produced by the circulation of affects? We can start to think through such questions by considering Toomer’s complex treatment of the relationships between race and affect in Cane (1923), his experimental cycle of poems, stories and sketches depicting African American life in the rural South and the urban North. Toomer’s work amply demonstrates the aesthetic continuities in the still-contested relationship between the Harlem Renaissance and ‘mainstream’ modernism, providing just one example of how these two overlapping cultural phenomena might together challenge and complicate our understanding of American modernism.1 Although commonly labelled a Harlem Renaissance writer, Toomer also participated in primarily white avant garde cultures, and his apparent celebration of African American feeling points to the significance of primitivism for historicising modernist uses and understandings of affect. Behind Toomer’s comment about ‘a peculiar emotion’ seems to lie a persistent racist stereotype that links ethnic otherness to a form of heightened expressiveness, a stereotype that stimulated white modernist investments in ‘the primitive’ – which in the United States included the celebration of African American culture. My key referent in exploring this stereotype and its relationship to Toomer’s

­132     Julie Taylor use of affect is Sianne Ngai’s concept of ‘animatedness’. Ngai argues that animation signifies ‘the most basic or minimal of all affective conditions: that of being, in one way or another, “moved”’, a form of vitality which may be intentional or take intentional feelings, like anger, as its object (2005: 91). However, in its racialised form, the state of being animated becomes conjoined with the stereotype of excessive expressivity; it is ‘twisted into the image of the overemotional racialised subject, abetting his or her construction as unusually receptive to external control’ (ibid.). In this context, ‘animatedness loses its generally positive associations with human spiritedness or vitality and comes to resemble a kind of mechanization’: the animated/animate human body soon becomes, through the work of racism, an animated/inanimate puppet-like figure (ibid.: 31). I argue that Toomer’s Cane explores the transmission and production of affect to suggest that such animatedness is not a property of African American subjects but is produced by contact between bodies as a mark of racial otherness. Furthermore, the questions of subjectivity and intentionality that have concerned affect theorists take on a very particularised, high-stakes meaning in both Ngai’s theorisation of animatedness and Toomer’s own dramatisation of African American expressivity. While animatedness might not ‘belong’ to Toomer’s racialised subjects, appreciating its non-subjective elements does not naturally lead to a valorisation of affect as uncontained intensity but rather allows Toomer to register a specific social and historical process (the racist attempt to turn persons into things) through an embodied, affective phenomenon.2 Ngai emphasises the ‘exaggeratedly emotional, hyperexpressive, and even “overscrutable” image of most racially or ethnically marked subjects in American culture’, including figures as diverse as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘ebullient Topsy’ and Warner Brothers’ ‘hyperactive Speedy Gonzales’ (ibid.: 93). While such ‘exaggerated emotional expression’ is evident in depictions of ‘hand-wringing Jews, gesticulating Italians, and hot-tempered Greeks’ and comes to function as a ‘marker of racial or ethnic otherness in general’, it is most prominent within American cultural production in the representation of African American subjects (ibid.: 93, 94). Such stereotypes informed contemporary receptions of Cane, such the New York Tribune’s review in October 1923, which praises Toomer for his authenticity and lyricism but remarks on the difficulty of capturing in language an emotional disposition that borders on the pathological in its excess: It is patent that the author has yet a lot to learn about elucidating his sometimes rather strident reactions to the negro, for at moments his outbursts of

Animating Cane: Race, Affect, History and Jean Toomer     133 emotion approach the inarticulately maudlin. Yet the negro under religious emotion does evolve himself into a sort of pathological entity, and perhaps this criticism is unjust. Nevertheless, the difficulty the author encounters is apparent, for to paint the emotional color and vivacity of the negro requires a resource of sensibility whose ultimate dimensions often escape rather than are captured by the pursuing word. (Armstrong 1971: 28)

Such representations of African Americans were of course key objects of critique in the elaboration of the figure of the ‘New Negro’, and, in ‘The Dilemma of the New Negro’, James Weldon Johnson succinctly identifies the expressiveness that the Negro signifies for ‘the artistic conception of white America’: ‘In the brighter light, he is a simple, indolent, docile, improvident peasant; a singing, dancing, laughing, weeping child . . . In a darker light, he is an impulsive, irrational, passionate savage’ (1928: 478). But in locating the stereotype that Harlem Renaissance writers must challenge, Johnson also describes characteristics underlining primitivist fetishisations of the African American subject by white modernists. The primitivists of the twenties and thirties, influenced by the psychoanalytic distinction between repression and expression, saw ‘natives’ as ‘conduits to the unconscious’ and the ‘authentic impulses’ of ‘sexuality, physicality, violence, and play’ (Chu 2009: 145). As a mixed-race writer, who had ‘passed’ for both white and black, and famously refused to contribute to Johnson’s Book of American Negro Poetry on the grounds that his poems ‘are not Negro poems, nor are they Anglo-Saxon or white or English poems’, Toomer’s writing is marked by competing attachments to black Harlem and ‘mainstream’ white modernism. 3 Indeed, his work is suggestive of the ways in which the Harlem Renaissance and American modernism were, as George Hutchinson argues, ‘intimately intertwined, mutually constitutive’ (1995: 3). If Cane does not avoid the affective stereotypes of primitivism, it redeploys or animates them in a way that challenges their naturalness and exposes their history. Toomer’s most direct modernist influences were the ‘Young Americans’, a group of Greenwich Village writers and critics including Hart Crane, Lewis Mumford, Waldo Frank, Gorham Munson and Sherwood Anderson.4 Both Frank and Anderson contributed to the 1920s genre of the “Negrotarian” novel, the most famous example of which is perhaps Carl Van Vetchen’s controversial Nigger Heaven (1926), an exhibit of ‘Harlemania’ that was admired by Langston Hughes but heavily criticised for its racism by W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke. In these texts ‘black American culture became a kind of Africa for whites, an inaccessible homeland where all the passion and vitality kept in check by “Puritanism” were expressed’ (Wendy Steiner, quoted in Terris 2003: 93). In his 1925 novel Dark Laughter, Anderson

­134     Julie Taylor uses a cast of exoticized black figures as an affective backdrop to the action of the white characters: African Americans tend to appear either singing, dancing or – as the title suggests – laughing in a way that modifies the atmosphere for the main narrative. In the final scene, the focalised narrative charts the self-conscious attempts of the white Fred to laugh with relief when his lover has left. Fred’s emotional complexity and inscrutability are set against the ironic backdrop of a negro servant’s laughter, a laughter for which the animated intensity is commensurate with the intensity of the laugher’s blackness: The older negro woman tried to quiet the younger, blacker woman, but she kept laughing the high shrill laughter of the negress. “I knowed it, I knowed it, all the time I knowed it,” she cried, and the high shrill laughter ran through the garden and into the room where Fred sat upright and rigid in bed. (Anderson 1925: 319)

Waldo Frank’s contribution to this novelistic sub-genre is the experimental and rather pretentious Holiday (1923), which focuses on a single day in the fictional southern town of Nazareth and ends in the lynching of an innocent black man, John Cloud. Written and published alongside Cane (and with the two authors working together closely), Holiday is perhaps well-intentioned, but while the fairly straightforward plot attempts to challenge racial stereotypes, Frank, appearing to conflate primitivism with modernist innovation, often fetishises racial expressiveness in his more experimental descriptive passages. While the affective lives of John and his mother are not especially racialised – the realist dialogue captures their understandable fears, anger and dissatisfaction – the ‘mood’ of the novel relies heavily on a racially inflected register of affective intensity. As I discuss below, Frank seems at times to exhibit a self-consciousness about this, offering some interrogation of how affect is ascribed to particular subjects, yet he conceptualised his turn to the black South in fairly uncritical primitivist terms, remarking that it allowed him to produce a ‘juxtaposition of repression and passion’ (2010: 52). On the face of it, this attitude towards the black South seems to have been shared by Toomer: the authors’ correspondence from 1922 reveals their striking similarities in purpose and perspective. As the pair decide exactly how far south they need to travel to gain material for Cane and Holiday, they both appear to equate an increase in geographical distance with an increase in affective intensity and authenticity, conflating southern black life with emotional expression as they seek to capture the ‘vividity and color, the dash and love and waywardness conjured to the art mind by “nigger”’ (Toomer 2010b: 49). ‘Have you ever been in a Negro church?’ Toomer asks Frank: ‘God but they feel the thing.

Animating Cane: Race, Affect, History and Jean Toomer     135

Sometimes too violently for sensitive nerves; always sincerely, powerfully, deeply’ (2010c: 62). Here Toomer’s position indeed approaches that of the primitivist anthropologist looking for racial colour and emotional intensity. And Cane itself includes certain lines and passages that would not be out of place in a contemporary ‘Negrotarian’ novel, especially in the first section, Toomer’s ‘swan song’ for southern black folk culture. The sensuous ‘Georgia Dusk’, for instance, offers ‘Race memories of king and caravan, / High priests, an ostrich, and a jujuman’, ‘dusky cane-lipped throngs’, and ‘blood-hot eyes and cane-lipped scented mouth’ (Toomer 2011: 17). Yet Toomer’s fiction also mobilises distinctions between his stated investment in emotion as personal and sincere and an impersonal, uncontained form of affect, offering a more complex exploration of the relationship between race and affect than that found in much of the primitivist literature of his Greenwich Village contemporaries and in his own non-fictional writing. Furthermore, in Cane, Toomer puts the stereotype of animatedness to work, suggesting the potential of this affect to diagnose the very history of racism that has produced it as a mark of racial otherness. In ‘Seventh Street’ and ‘Theater’, a brief sketch and a short story in part two of Cane, set in the urban North, blackness is again connected with affective excess. Toomer’s rich, rhythmic, alliterative prose describes Seventh Street in terms resonant of primitivism: ‘A crudeboned, soft-skinned wedge of nigger life breathing its loafer air, jazz songs and love, thrusting unconscious rhythms, black reddish blood into the white and whitewashed wood of Washington’ (ibid.: 41). Similarly, the longer sketch, ‘Theater’, also set in the North, begins with an image of black animatedness: ‘Black-skinned, they dance and shout above the tick and trill of white-walled buildings’ (ibid.: 51). Yet in both prose pieces Toomer invites us to consider where such affect is located, and to whom it ‘belongs’. Toomer suggests that animatedness is an effect of exchange and transmission rather than an essential property of African American subjectivity, a form of expressivity but not an ‘expression’ in the sense of a move from depth to surface. Rather, Toomer suggests that animatedness is a product of surface contact and pressure. In ‘Theater’, Toomer indicates that animatedness is also animating: ‘Life of nigger alleys, of pool rooms and restaurants and near-bear saloons soaks into the walls of Howard Theater and sets them throbbing jazz songs’ (ibid.). ‘Life’ is understood as a depersonalized intensity that affects the world, changing the atmosphere: African American exuberance vitalizes the North. Just as in ‘Theater’ where, as Rachel Farebrother has noted, ‘feelings “soak’’ and ‘‘seep’’ into white structures, imbuing them with a creative energy’, ‘Seventh Street’ invites us to

­136     Julie Taylor imagine the ‘flow’ of feeling as a form of contagion, a model common in theories of the affects, and particularly notable in the work of Silvan Tomkins (2006: 514).5 The image of ‘black reddish blood’ flowing into the ‘whitewashed wood of Washington’ makes the connection between the contagion of affect (hot-bloodedness) and race mixing. Yet the sketch resists interpretation as a problematic narrative about the connection between production of affective intensity and the literal production of racial otherness. This is in part because Toomer invites us to imagine that the heightened affectivity in question might actually be white chauvinist hysteria about race mixing: ‘Blood suckers of the War would spin in a frenzy of dizziness if they drank your blood’ (2011: 41). But furthermore, the image of the vampire, whose ‘dizziness’ seems to suggest both attraction and fear towards the affective intensity with which blacks are marked, speaks to Toomer’s repeated question: ‘Black reddish blood. Pouring for crude-bones soft-skinned life, who set you flowing?’ (ibid.). The repeated image of ‘soft-skinned . . . nigger life’, alongside that of the vampiric whites, suggests a different affective dynamic from that of contagion. ‘Blood’ or, racialised affect, has been set ‘flowing’ by a wound: to be soft-skinned is to be vulnerable to touch, and it suggests a body that is affected as much as affecting. That a ‘frenzy of dizziness’ could signal both excitement and a form of racist hysteria suggests the impossibility of managing the transmission of affect; it suggests how intensities are affected as they spread, that affect resides in such movement and cannot be captured, contained or confidently diagnosed. We might read such complexities of affective transmission alongside a scene from Frank’s Holiday, in which the narrative itself comments on the problems of reading or trusting a ‘mood’ or atmosphere. The racist Judge Hade, a man who associates black people with ‘shout[ing] and laugh[ing]’ and ‘sing[ing] and sway[ing] and groan[ing]’, is struck by the impression that something is the ‘matter’ that morning, that the town is ‘astir’ (Frank 2003: 99, 94). Hade’s daughter Virginia responds to her father by asking if it might be he who is astir, ‘since it’s you who feel it’ (ibid.: 95). Judge Hade’s diagnosis of collective feeling is turned back on him: he is recast as a participant rather than a neutral reader of the scene. Frank therefore offers a modification of the contagion model of affect, suggesting, as Sara Ahmed puts it, that ‘atmosphere is not simply “out there” before it gets “in” . . . To receive is to act. To receive an impression is to make an impression’ (2010: 40). Elsewhere, Ahmed warns us to be alert to the press in ‘impression’ because it ‘allows us to associate the feeling of having an emotion with the very affect of one surface upon another, an affect that leaves its mark or trace’ (2004: 6). In ‘Theater’, alongside the images of spilling and spreading Toomer also

Animating Cane: Race, Affect, History and Jean Toomer     137

imagines affective intensity as a form of pressure: ‘Girls dance and sing. Men clap. The walls sing and press inward. They press the men and the girls, they press John towards a center of physical ecstasy’ (2011: 52). As with the ‘blood suckers’ of ‘Seventh Street’, Toomer, like Frank, offers images that suggest that animatedness is not simply a property of the black subject that may or may not be ‘passed on’ but rather that it is produced as an effect of the violent pressures and collisions of racism. By demonstrating the way that emotions are produced through contact, Cane suggests that they ‘are not “in” either the individual or the social, but produce the very surfaces and boundaries that allow the individual and the social to be delineated as if they are objects’ (Ahmed 2004: 10). Yet, more than this, Toomer diagnoses how affects are made to signify in ways that produce the racialised subject as ‘other’, as less than human. While understanding animatedness as non-intentional and non-subjective affect allows us to appreciate Toomer’s critique of an essentialism that aligns racial identity with a form of expressivity, there is, within the context of American racism, much more at stake in such questions of agency and subjectivity. As theorised by Ngai, the ‘subjective/objective problematic’ central to discussions of affect inheres in animatedness and is indeed crucial to the diagnostic power of this affective stereotype. The slippages between intentionality and non-intentionality that characterise animatedness signal the racialised subject’s oscillating agency and personhood within particular historical and social contexts. Toomer’s depictions of the emotion ‘associated with’ the word ‘Negro’ offer an interrogation of the ‘surprising interplay between the passionate and the mechanical’, the slippage between animatedness as a form of personhood – of exuberance, liveliness, or vitality – and a sign of mechanical non-being (Ngai 2005: 90). While Toomer’s fullest treatment of this slippage and its specific relationship to racial disempowerment and violence occurs in Cane’s final, story, set in the South, it is significant that the first instances occur in the central section, which is set in the industrial North. Before his modernist treatment of the traumatic living past of the rural Deep South, Toomer explores this aspect of animatedness in the context of urban modernity, where the mechanisation of the body was a more easily recognisable phenomenon, and one that did not work exclusively along the colour line. But in ‘Theater’ and ‘Bona and Paul’, Toomer brings the question of race to bear on the image of the reified modern body to elaborate an affective dynamic that comes close to Ngai’s concept of animatedness. In ‘Theater’, the quintessentially modern scene of a (production) line of chorus girls suggests the connection between embodiment and mechanisation:

­138     Julie Taylor A pianist slips into the pit and improvises jazz. The walls awake. Arms of the girls, and their limbs, which . . . jazz, jazz . . . by lifting up their tight street skirts they set free, jab the air and clog the floor in rhythm to the music. (Lift your skirts, Baby, and talk t papa!) Crude, individualized, and yet . . . monotonous . . . (Toomer 2011: 51)

Here Toomer places disembodied dancing limbs alongside moving walls: bodies and objects converge in depersonalised animation. The narrator struggles to distinguish between persons and things and between the individual and the collective. The disembodied voice seeks to further animate the chorus girls in its call for communication, yet this desire for the particularity of individual interaction is also the familiar sexist reduction of a person into a thing. In his depiction of bodies both ‘individualized’ and ‘monotonous’, Toomer thus dramatises the dilemma of personhood at stake in ‘the question of whether “animation” designates high-spiritedness, or a puppet-like state analogous to the assembly-line mechanization of the human body famously dramatized by Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times’ (Ngai 2005: 21). Focalised through the ‘dictie’ theatre-owner’s brother, John, the narrative adopts the power of the male gaze in its description of the chorus girls. But as affects move between bodies, the narrative moves from objectification towards identification with the animated, racialised crowd, the ‘mass-heart of black people’: Other chorus girls drift in. John feels them in the mass. And as if his own body were the mass-heart of a black audience listening to them singing, he wants to stamp his feet and shout. His mind, contained above the desires of his body, singles the girls out, and tries to trace origins and plot destinies. (Toomer 2011: 51)

The collective feeling of the crowd is apparently shared by John, who becomes a sort of avatar for mass affect: his body, separated from his mind, becomes puppet-like, he wants to ‘stamp his feet and shout’ in a stereotypical display of ethnic exuberance. John is animated by the ‘mass-feeling’ into a paradoxically de-animating, and specifically racialised, animatedness: emotionality, when aligned with racial otherness, is no longer a signifier of human life, but a dehumanising force that makes John’s body not his own. In ‘Bona and Paul’, Toomer’s tale of a doomed relationship between two trainee teachers in Chicago, a white woman and a light-skinned black man who is passing, Toomer presents us with a racialised body whose exuberance seems to promise some kind of release from the regulating forces of modernity:

Animating Cane: Race, Affect, History and Jean Toomer     139 On the school gymnasium floor, young men and women are drilling. They are going to be teachers, and go out into the world . . . thud, thud . . . and give precision to the movements of sick people who all their lives have been drilling. One man is out of step. In step. The teacher glares at him. A girl in bloomers, seated on a mat in the corner because she has told the director she is sick, sees that the footfalls of the men are rhythmical and syncopated. The dance of his blue-trousered limbs thrills her. (ibid.: 70)

Within this scene of conformity – a production line of teachers who will themselves produce normativity – Paul stands out to Bona both in terms of his skin colour and the irregularity of his movements: ‘Columns of the drillers thud towards her. He is in the front row. He is in no row at all. Bona can look close at him. His red-brown face—’ (ibid.). Ngai argues that animatedness is made distinctive in the way it oddly synthesises two kinds of automatism whose meanings run in opposite directions, encompassing the extremely codified, hyperrationalized routines epitomized by the factory worker’s repetitive wrenching movements in Modern Times but also, as Rosalind Krauss notes, “the kind of liberating release of spontaneity that we associate with . . . the Surrealists’ invocation of the word ‘automatism’ (as in psychic automatism)”. (2005: 100)

Here Paul’s movement is characterised as essentially spontaneous, as a form of lively expression that escapes the ‘codified, hyperrationalized’ bodily routine of the drill line. However, any liberating element of this scene must be tempered by the image of the atomised, disembodied ‘blue-trousered limbs’ that, recalling the chorus-girls’ limbs in ‘Theater’, thrill Bona and stand as a fetish of racial otherness. While Cane offers moments where animatedness seems to offer a form of liberation from modernity’s bodily regulation through its very excess, the structure of this racialised affect means that such liberation is only illusory. Rather, the value of animatedness’s excessive quality to any anti-racist political project might be its ability to render forms of oppression hyper-visible on the surface of the body. I want to turn now to ‘Kabnis’, the closet drama that ends Cane and brings the collection back to the South; in it, animatedness offers an embodied history of the trauma of racism that remains otherwise inaccessible and inarticulable for Toomer’s protagonist. Ngai argues that animatedness, like the other ‘ugly feelings’ she discusses, are diagnostic, and what they diagnose in particular are ‘states of inaction’ (2005: 22). In its racialised version, animatedness becomes ‘ugly’ rather than a positive sign of liveliness because it is, as we have seen, ‘turned into a form of emotional excess, and similarly stripped of its intentionality’ (ibid.: 32). ‘In this manner,’ Ngai elaborates,

­140     Julie Taylor ‘the racialization of animatedness converts a way of moving others to political action (“agitation”) into the passive state of being moved or vocalized by others for their amusement’ (ibid.). In ‘Kabnis’, Toomer illustrates this proximity between agitation and animatedness and demonstrates how, in the case of the powerless racialised subject, the desire for political action is transformed into a state of impassioned passivity. Furthermore, Kabnis’s animatedness not only diagnoses his own social powerless and inaction but narrates a longer history of racism that speaks specifically to the American legacy of slavery that he fails to confront directly. What Kabnis’s animatedness diagnoses, in its confusions between subject and object, intentionality and non-intentionality, is the very problem he attempts to avoid. The setting for ‘Kabnis’ was inspired by Toomer’s two-month stint as acting principal at a school in Sparta, Georgia: like Toomer, Ralph Kabnis is a northern man of mixed race, possessing a silky moustache and a ‘lemon face’ (Toomer 2011: 81). The story recounts Kabnis’s dismissal from his teaching job for drinking and follows his subsequent involvement with the town’s black inhabitants. Set against a backdrop of ongoing and remembered racist violence, what the story really charts is Kabnis’s affective life as he is forced to confront his own place in the traumatic history of the black South. Kabnis demonstrates a range of feelings designated by Ngai as ‘ugly’ – he is by turns irritated, paranoid, envious, disgusted – but his characteristic mode of being moved is a form of habitual and sometimes mechanical jumpiness, a kind of ‘innervated “agitation”’ or ‘animatedness’ (Ngai 2005: 31). The fine line between agitation and animatedness, between intentionality and non-intentionality, is charted throughout the story. Kabnis demonstrates the kind of Bartleybean ‘suspended’ or ‘obstructed’ agency that Ngai understands as a condition of ‘ugly feelings’ such as animatedness: he refuses to engage with politics or to openly accept his racial heritage and is characterised by his powerlessness; a powerlessness that extends from his being fired from the school to the impotence of his (quite reasonable) paranoia about the lynch mob. His orientation towards the world is summed up by his exclamation ‘Can’t something be done? But of course not’ (Toomer 2011: 88). Indeed, the first action ascribed to Kabnis is unwilled: the story opens with him trying unsuccessfully to read himself to sleep, but the winds whisper to him: ‘Kabnis, against his will, lets his book slip down, and listens to them’ (ibid.: 81). As Karen Jackson Ford notes, Carrie’s mothering of Kabnis at the story’s conclusion is ‘only the final image among many’ (including Halsey bathing him ‘like a child’) of Kabnis’s ‘regression to an almost infantile passivity’ (2005: 132).

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Kabnis’s fantasies in this opening scene lead to an early reflection on the failure of language: ‘God, if I could develop that in words’ (Toomer 2011: 81). While he aspires to an oratory inherited from his ‘blueblood’ ancestors, and insists on his ability to craft speech, ‘the power of commanding speech is’, Susan Edmunds argues, ‘precisely the power denied to Kabnis as a black man in the South’ (2003: 160). In an early monologue Kabnis attempts to articulate an anger that extends towards religion, racism and authority, towards ‘lynchers and businessmen’ (Toomer 2011: 83). Yet he immediately suppresses this anger – ‘Oh, no, I won’t let that emotion come up in me. Stay down. Stay down, I tell you’ – in favour of an ‘impotent nostaglia’ for the North (ibid.). Significantly, this affective shift, when agitation is blocked or impeded, is marked by Kabnis’s animation: ‘He rises. He totters as a man would who for the first time uses artificial limbs. As a completely artificial man would’ (ibid.). Kabnis’s shift from agitation to innervated passivity is accompanied by a slipping down the scale of animacy from a human to a kind of mechanised puppet. A similar scene occurs when Kabnis is animated by fear as he hopelessly flees those he imagines are ‘after him’ with hounds: A splotchy figure drives forward along the cane- and corn-stalk hemmed-in road. A scarecrow replica of Kabnis, awkwardly animate. Fantastically plastered with red Georgia mud. It skirts the big house whose windows shine like mellow lanterns in the dusk. Its shoulder jogs against a sweet-gum tree. The figure caroms off against the cabin door, and lunges in. It slams the door as if to prevent someone entering it. (ibid.: 91)

The Georgia mud in which he is caked has already figured in the story as a key to his passivity and inaction: Halsey has noted that, despite his northerness, Kabnis isn’t ‘stuck up’, but rather gets ‘stuck’: ‘He aint like most northern niggers that way. Aint a thing stuck-up about him. He likes us, you an me, maybe all—it’s that red mud over yonder—gets stuck in it and cant get out’ (ibid.: 86). Here, Kabnis’s failure to express critical judgements about the South is cast as a moment of suspended agency through the image of being ‘stuck in the mud’. In the ‘scarecrow’ scene we see the consequences but also the origins of Kabnis’s impassioned passivity. Here, being plastered ‘fantastically’ with red mud is akin to being blacked up: in his animation, Kabnis is imagined to resemble that most acutely racist stereotype, the blackface minstrel. Kabnis’s intense emotionality is contrasted by the cold inscrutability of the other northern outsider in the story, Lewis, an observer, probably based on NAACP investigator Walter White, who records things ‘that werent fer notin down’ (ibid.: 89). ‘Cant make heads or tails

­142     Julie Taylor of him,’ Layman remarks, ‘and I’ve seen lots o queer possums in my day. Everybody’s wonderin about him. White folks too. He’ll have t leave here soon, thats sho. Always askin questions. An I aint seed his lips move once’ (ibid.). Lewis’s quality of being ‘stuck up’ rather than ‘stuck’, as it were, his ability to get in the way, to ask inconvenient questions, is connected to affective coolness. Layman’s observation that ‘I aint seed his lips move once’ conjures Lewis as the ventriloquist rather than the dummy, an agent as opposed to the animated object Kabnis tends to resemble. But rather than see Kabnis as the opposite of Lewis, we might imagine the former as a potential version of the latter: Lewis is ‘what a stronger Kabnis might have been, and in an odd faint way resembles him’ (ibid.: 95). Ironically, the note tied around a stone and thrown through the window as a warning for the genuinely agitating Lewis contributes greatly to Kabnis’s agitation and paranoia. Although he ultimately leaves in defeat, we might see Lewis as a version of Kabnis where agitation has transformed to action rather than passive animatedness: their resemblance suggests the proximity between agitation and animation – that agency is not directly opposed by animatedness, but rather, such subjective/objective confusion is at the heart of this racialised affect. However, Lewis’s agitation is not quite satisfying in either a narrative or a political sense: as Mark Whalen argues, Lewis fails to truly know the South and to comprehend the emotional terror of the community, perhaps as a consequence of his ‘lack of empathy, the emotional contact sacrificed for the aim of objectivity’ (2007: 162). Rather than write off Kabnis’s animatedness as simply a failed agitation, then, perhaps his affective response can tell us more about the black South’s history of oppression and terror than Lewis’s detached attempts to effect change. Geneviève Fabre remarks upon Kabnis’s ‘exaggerated ceremonious gestures, his grotesque costuming in a gaudy robe’ and ‘his excessive physical, verbal, and emotional behaviour’ in ‘the Hole’, the cellar in which the final scenes of the story take place (2001: 118). Such excess means, Fabre argues, that Kabnis cannot be taken seriously: ‘As he stumbles over a “bucket” of dead coal, and “trudges upstairs,” with “eyes downcast and swollen” . . . he seems again like a “scarecrow replica” of himself and is excluded from the final scene’ (ibid.). But what would it mean to take Kabnis seriously as a figure for African American history itself, as a figure on whose body is written the struggle for personhood that has marked that history? Mel Y. Chen has argued that animacy is a helpful construct in theorising ‘anxieties around the production of humanness’, activating ‘new theoretical formulations that trouble and undo stubborn binary systems of

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difference, including dynamism/stasis, life/death, subject/object, speech/ nonspeech, human/animal, natural body/cyborg’ (2012: 3). Toomer’s work explores the tensions between animacy and inanimacy to trouble a central binary at the heart of American racism: the distinction between the human and the non-human. In ‘Reification, Reanimation, and the American Uncanny’, Bill Brown offers a reading of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000) that I find instructive in this context. In Lee’s film a collection of inanimate ‘Sambo art’ – Aunt Jemima cookie jars, dolls, etc. – comes to life: first as an effect of the film’s cinematography and then when the collector ‘imagines’ that one of his favourite pieces, a ‘jolly Nigger bank’ moves (Brown 2006: 194). This scene of animation is followed by a jump-cut to the blacked-up face of a minstrel which, Brown argues, ‘intensifies the object/subject equation’ (ibid.: 196). Brown understands this ‘revenge of the black collectible come-to-life as the recollection of the ontological scandal perpetrated by slavery, as the reanimation of the reified black body . . . the re-enactment of the breakdown of the person/thing binary’ (ibid.: 197). In the case of Bamboozled and the other instances of reanimation Brown cites ‘the point is not only that the inanimate comes to life but that the history of this ontological ambiguity – human or thing – is precisely what remains repressed within U.S. culture’ (ibid.: 199). If Lee’s film reanimates the racist totem of the ‘Sambo’ artefact, Toomer dramatises this ‘ontological ambiguity’ through the stereotype of ‘animatedness’ itself. Early on in ‘Kabnis’, a scene of ‘reanimation’ similar to Bamboozled’s office scene occurs in Halsey’s parlour but, significantly, this reanimation is connected to the racist trope of emotional excess. Halsey’s parlour contains family portraits, the evidence for his mixed-race heritage: the portrait of his great-grandfather, ‘an English gentleman’ with a pallid forehead and a ‘sharp and regular’ nose, sits alongside that of his great-grandmother: That here there is a Negro strain, no one would doubt. But it is difficult to say in precisely what feature it lies. On close inspection, her mouth is seen to be wistfully twisted. The expression of her face seems to shift before one’s gaze – now ugly, repulsive; now sad, and somewhat beautiful in its pain. (Toomer 2011: 85)

In the empty room, the face, unreadable in its emotional excess, but hyper-readable in its racial otherness, ‘moves’ in an uncanny and robotic fashion. This ‘revenge’ of the inanimate object, the ‘re-enactment of the person-thing binary’, foreshadows the final scenes in ‘the Hole’, a space simultaneously womb-like and grave-like, and so fitting for such examples of in/animacy. Here, Kabnis hears (or imagines that he hears) the

­144     Julie Taylor uncanny murmurs of Father John, a blind and mute ex-slave and a figure presented as both the embodiment of the trauma of the black South and strikingly ‘thing-like’: ‘dead already’; ‘like a bust in black walnut . . . Immobile’ (ibid.: 112, 104). Although Kabnis initially renounces any connection with Father John – ‘he aint my past’, he claims, ‘My ancestors were Southern blue-bloods’ – after this apparent reanimation he painfully attempts to acknowledge the history of slavery, imagining a similarity between the Hole an ‘th place they used t stow away th wornout, no-count niggers in th days of slavery . . . that was long ago; not so long ago’ (ibid.: 106, 112). Jennifer D. Williams argues that ‘Kabnis’ reflects the impossibility of capturing racial trauma, that ‘the violence of racial history cannot be contained by words unless those words can materialize into flesh’ (2008: 98). Kabnis proposes an affective and embodied theory of language in his claim that something has crept into his soul from a nightmare and must be fed with ‘misshapen, split-gut, tortured, twisted words’ (Toomer 2011: 109). However, since Kabnis fails in his oratory, I think we might emphasise the way Toomer explores the language of the body rather than the materiality of language: through his animatedness, Kabnis has narrated the history at which his words can only hint. That Toomer describes Kabnis in terms resonant of the reanimated portrait in Halsey’s parlour (his ‘face gives way to an expression of mingled fear, contempt, and pity’) suggests that a similar ‘re-enactment of the person-thing binary’ is evident in his own animatedness (ibid.: 88). The reanimation of Father John, a person who has been turned into a thing, only highlights the de/animation that has been played out on Kabnis’s expressive but depersonalised body throughout the story, and connects such animatedness to a longer history of racism. While Kabnis may only arrive at conscious realisation after his perception or imagination of the ex-slave’s reanimation, his affective orientation throughout the story, his embodiment of animatedness, has told the same ugly history of the ‘ontological confusion’ produced by racism. ‘These aint th days of hounds an Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, Halsey remarks to Kabnis, reminding readers that ‘feeling right’, to paraphrase Harriet Beecher Stowe, is not the affective project of Toomer’s Cane (ibid.: 92; Stowe 1998: 452). The ‘noncathartic aesthetic’ of diagnosis produced by animatedness is, Ngai reminds us, distinct from the ‘direct activism’ supposedly incited by sentimentalism’s ‘poetics of sympathy’ (2005: 9). Rather than emphasising the moral feelings of his protagonist, Toomer takes his affective register from the ugliest of racial stereotypes. In doing so, Cane allows us to appreciate how stereotypes seem to have lives of their own, as W. J. T. Michell has argued, (also in relation to

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Lee’s Bamboozled). Thinking about blackface minstrelsy in particular, Mitchell points to this stereotype’s associations not just with hate but also ‘elements of affection, love, and even envy’ (2005: 303). While this challenging affective ambivalence towards the racist stereotype is not necessarily evident in Cane, Toomer’s work does suggest how stereotypes themselves become animated to accrue, as Mitchell claims about all images, ‘forms of surplus value and excess vitality’ (ibid.: 294). By this logic, the quality of excessiveness associated with the racialised subject is transferred to the stereotype itself. Toomer’s use of animatedness is itself an animation of that racist stereotype: he brings this stereotype to life to reveal its paradoxically deadening effect on its objects. What animatedness animates in Cane is a particular but inarticulable history of the trauma of dehumanisation. As Ahmed writes, ‘“feelings” become “fetishes”, qualities that seem to reside in objects, only through an erasure of the history of their production and circulation’ (2004: 11). Toomer resists this erasure by suggesting that racist stereotypes about emotion and expressivity might tell their own history – the story of their own production and the concomitant production of persons as things – in plain sight on the animated body.

Notes 1. The contested nature of this relationship is evident from the series of questionnaire responses in a recent Harlem Renaissance special edition of Modernism/modernity (Baker et al. 2013: 433–67). 2. I follow Flatley here, who identifies a ‘valorization’ of affect along these lines in the work of Brian Massumi (2008: 200 n. 22). 3. Toomer goes on to say that his poems ‘spring from the result of racial blendings here in America which have produced a new race or stock’ (1993b: 106). Much Toomer scholarship has focused on the writer’s attitudes towards his own racial identity and to race in America more generally. Toomer’s most famous statement about his racial make-up appears in a 1922 letter to The Liberator. Here, after recounting his family history, he writes, ‘Racially, I seem to have (who knows for sure) seven blood mixtures: French, Dutch, Welsh, Negro, German, Jewish, and Indian’ (1993c: 15). Toomer emphasises a post-racial identity, rooted in American racial mixing, in much of writing from the 1930s, including his 1931 claim that he was the member of a new race, ‘the American race, differing as much from black and white as black and white from each other’ (1993d: 105). 4. Toomer cites Frank and Anderson as his most important modern influences (1993a: 19). 5. See, for example, Tomkins 1995: 64.

­146     Julie Taylor References Ahmed, Sara (2004), The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. — (2010), The Promise of Happiness, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. Anderson, Sherwood (1925), Dark Laughter, New York: Boni & Liveright. Armstrong, John [1923] (1971), ‘The real negro’ in Frank Durham (ed.), Studies in Cane, Columbus, NC: Charles E. Merrill, pp. 27–8. Baker, Houston A. et al. (2013), ‘Questionnaire responses’, Modernism/modernity 20.3 (September): 433–67. Brown, Bill (2006), ‘Reification, reanimation, and the American uncanny’, Critical Inquiry 32. 2 (Winter): 175–207. Chen, Mel Y. (2012), Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. Chu, Patricia E. (2009), Race, Nationalism and the State in British and American Modernism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edmunds, Susan (2003), ‘The race question and the “question of the home”: revisiting the lynching plot in Jean Toomer’s Cane’, American Literature, 75.1 (March): 144–68. Fabre, Geneviève (2001) ‘Dramatic and musical structures in “Harvest Song” and “Kabnis”: Toomer’s Cane and the Harlem Renaissance’, in Geneviève Fabre and Michael Feith (eds), Jean Toomer and the Harlem Renaissance, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, pp. 109–27. Farebrother, Rachel (2006) ‘“Adventuring through the pieces of a still unorganised mosaic”: reading Jean Toomer’s collage aesthetic in Cane’, Journal of American Studies, 40.3: 503–21. Ford, Karen Jackson Ford (2005), Split-Gut Song: Jean Toomer and the Poetics of Modernity, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. Flatley, Jonathan (2008), Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press. Frank, Waldo [1923] (2003), Holiday, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. (2010), ‘Letter to Jean Toomer’ [26/7/22], in Brother Mine: The —  Correspondence of Jean Toomer and Waldo Frank, ed. Kathleen Pfeiffer, Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, pp. 51–2. Hutchinson, George (1995), The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, Cambridge, MA and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University. Johnson, James Weldon (1928), ‘The dilemma of the new negro’, The American Mercury, December, 477–81. Mitchell, W. J. T. (2005), What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Ngai, Sianne (2005), Ugly Feelings, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Stowe, Harriet Beecher [1852] (1998), Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Terris, Daniel (2003), ‘Waldo Frank, Jean Toomer, and the critique of racial voyeurism’ in Heather Hathaway, Josef Jarˇab, and Jeffrey Melnick (eds), Race and the Modern Artist, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 92–114.

Animating Cane: Race, Affect, History and Jean Toomer     147 Tomkins, Silvan S. (1995), ‘What are affects?’ in Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Adam Frank (eds), Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. Toomer, Jean [1922] (2010a), ‘Letter to Waldo Frank’, in Brother Mine: The Correspondence of Jean Toomer and Waldo Frank, ed. Kathleen Pfeiffer, Urbana, Chicago and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, pp. 68–9. –––[1923] (2011), Cane, ed. Rudolph P. Byrd and Henry Louis Gates, Jr, New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co. — [1931] (1993d), ‘A new race in America’, in A Jean Toomer Reader: Selected Unpublished Writings, ed. Frederick L. Rusch, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 15–16. — (1993a), ‘Letter to Gorham Munson’ [31/10/22], in A Jean Toomer Reader, ed. Frederick L. Rusch, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 19–21. — (1993b), ‘Letter to James Weldon Johnson’ [11/7/22], in A Jean Toomer Reader: Selected Unpublished Writings, ed. Frederick L. Rusch, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 105–6. — (1993c), ‘Letter to The Liberator’ [10/8/22], in A Jean Toomer Reader: Selected Unpublished Writings, ed. Frederick L. Rusch, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 15–16. (2010b), ‘Letter to Waldo Frank’ [25/7/22], in Brother Mine: The —  Correspondence of Jean Toomer and Waldo Frank, ed. Kathleen Pfeiffer, Urbana, Chicago and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, pp. 49–50. (2010c), ‘Letter to Waldo Frank’ [21/8/22], in Brother Mine: The —  Correspondence of Jean Toomer and Waldo Frank, ed. Kathleen Pfeiffer, Urbana, Chicago and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, p. 62. Whalen, Mark (2007), Race, Manhood, and Modernism in America: The Short Story Cycles of Sherwood Anderson and Jean Toomer, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. Williams, Jennifer D. (2008), ‘Jean Toomer’s Cane and the erotics of mourning’, Southern Literary Journal 40.2 (Spring): 87–101.

Chapter 8

Fear and Precarious Life after Political Representation in Baudelaire Richard Cole Where better to begin a consideration of fear and the modern politics of representation than with the self-identified ‘shock’ Charles Baudelaire experienced sometime between ‘1846 and ’47’ when he first discovered ‘a few fragments by Edgar Poe’? (1986: 148). To underscore the importance of his discovery, Baudelaire’s letter divides his reaction to Poe’s work into two categories. On an aesthetic level, the jarring power of Poe’s fragmentary narrative exposition enabled a new mode of representation to reveal shocking moments of emotional uncertainty. The ‘poems and short stories’ Baudelaire happened upon in Paris were organised ‘in a vague, confused, disorderly way’, enacting a metaphorics of correspondences ‘that Poe had been able to bring together to perfection’ to expose a defensive struggle for self-expression and emotional coherence in the face of a fleeting and contingent view of everyday modern life (ibid.). But there is a second and unapologetically political response worthy of discussion here. It was Poe’s dark vision of a democratic and progressive history that galvanised Baudelaire’s commitments to develop one of the most unsettling features in his poetry. A mob fear haunts Les Fleurs du mal. And although my critical examination will resist the reductive assertion that Baudelaire’s complicated politics were categorically anti-democratic, his fear of the court of public opinion as the immanent ordering force in modern life does offer a remarkably lucid, at times shockingly contentious, point of re-entry into his work. The issue can be rephrased thus: it was precisely in Poe’s terrifying portrayals of the escalating conflict between the will of the supposedly free individual and the mass public that resonated with Baudelaire’s concerns about the widening gap between individual liberty and democratic rule. A fear of the unchecked power of the multitude was therefore difficult for Baudelaire to endure but more intolerable to surrender. Baudelaire recognised non-rational impulses were guiding the political motivations of an emerging mass public. As his poetry responded to

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the prospect that emotion was a criterion for democratic conformity, it confronted the terrifying extent to which the rise of public opinion as the arbiter of cultural life was impulse-driven, installing protections against emotions like fear to fashion a sense of reliability and security where perhaps there was none. This rapid political shift from centralised leadership to collective initiative, as Baudelaire identified it in 1863, had resulted in the production of a fragile historical ‘period of transition when democracy has not yet become all-powerful, and when aristocracy is only partially weakened and discredited’ (1981: 421). The problem thus was not simply the championing of public opinion; the corollary issue was how collective actions to accelerate and provoke liberty tended only to partially undo current power structures. Although Baudelaire’s unease may have sounded counterintuitive, if not defamatory, to those who placed their public trust in the redemptive powers of liberal reform, it certainly makes a good deal more sense today given the extent to which we have come to recognise the cultural contradictions of a liberal democratic system that so often limits the very rights and freedom it purports to defend. For this reason The Painter of Modern Life evoked ‘the rising tide of democracy, which spreads everywhere and reduces everything to the same level’ (ibid.: 422). As Baudelaire’s poetry likewise responds to the modern pressures of conformity it repeatedly encounters the alarming extent to which political life is increasingly structured around false security and controlled modes of emotional expression. Paul de Man singles out fear as an affective force at stake in Baudelaire’s aesthetic critique of modernity. ‘The lyric is not a genre’, de Man identifies, ‘but one name among several to designate the defensive motion of understanding’ (1984: 261). De Man’s late, unfinished essay, ‘Anthropomorphism and Trope in the Lyric’, formulates this claim by examining connections between questions of the lyric and questions of epistemology and rhetoric. Despite apparent divergences in style, method and aim, both Baudelaire’s modern lyric and modern political discourse similarly engage with an emotional undercurrent in language that functions to impart a sense of security where perhaps there is none. The ‘motion’ of this safety mechanism is ‘defensive’ to the extent that affective language serves to compensate for unstable perceptions and sensations. ‘When we don’t know what to think’, Rei Terada asserts, ‘emotions give us something to feel’ (2001: 49). Here Terada mobilises de Man’s claim that figurative language sets up a defense against the pathos of uncertainty, and that the basis of a social and political order is constructed by ‘converting nameless experiences into nominative acts’ (ibid.: 63). By establishing the figurality of the language of the emotions we orientate ourselves to what (and what not) to feel and understand to

­150     Richard Cole be intelligible forms of political life, thereby registering the tensions in modernity between sensory excess and rationalised precision. And yet the experience of a common life remains deeply unstable to the extent that these norms are not static but instead draw on shifting linguistic schemes of intelligibility, which, if read correctly, actualise ‘the possibility of a future hermeneutics’, one capable of interrogating and exposing self-enclosed discursive frames of political recognition that find a remarkable structural analogue in the boundedness of the lyric genre (de Man 1984: 261). An important consequence of this comparative analysis between public knowledge and public emotion is that the two frames of recognition can be shown to operate in tandem with one another. Their arrangement is constellated. One works to extend or delimit perception of the other; yet one is never entirely reducible to the other’s expression. For example, the passage from epistemic uncertainty to certainty frequently corresponds with the passage from emotional insecurity to security. Thus it may seem that what de Man calls ‘historical modes of language power’ are able to gain widespread public knowledge and authority by manipulating emotions like hope or cynicism, serenity or agitation (ibid.: 262). But here we must remember that de Man’s project rarely tasks itself with surveying the wide spectrum of positive or negative affects. Deeply invested in undertaking Baudelaire’s question of what recurrent patterns and structural networks operate below the representative surface to animate a discursive system of signs, his commitment to language does not easily merge with the extralinguistic approaches that have become wildly popular after the affective turn.1 He does, however, want to show how any public desire for epistemic and emotional security is not simply reducible to a listology of affective tropes like the ones listed above. ‘Tropes’, in de Man’s system of thought, ‘are neither true nor false and are both at once’ positive and negative (ibid.: 242). Despite its powerful potential to create an illusion of coherence in the representational system, a trope like fear is ‘always at the very least dialectical, the negative knowledge of error’ (ibid.). Barbara Johnson connects this examination of the sensory trace that exposes an error in semantic unity to The Resistance to Theory, wherein de Man speaks of ‘literature as the place where this negative knowledge about the reliability of linguistic utterance is made available’ (de Man 1986: 10). He reads the lyric to discern a crisis of affective (mis)recognition that emerges when the ostensibly reliable operations that defend the gaps between incompatible hermeneutic registers stop working in ways that for him appear impossible to ignore. Mistakes, elisions, misappropriations, disfigurations and other structural inaccuracies conflict with the monumental stability of any text, enact-

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ing an extralinguistic disturbance which haunts the process of reading. De Man’s project of examining a constellated structure of feeling and understanding, even at its most condensed, extends beyond language: for ‘it is precisely the tension between an experienced and a purely linguistic disruption that is at issue’ (1984: 260). This statement not only demonstrates that sensory experience frequently functions outside the registry of textual representation, it clarifies how emotion and understanding transfer and supplement one another to defend the perceptible limits of the expressible, with startling results: any common life that is intelligible relies to large extent on a system of political representation (i.e. law); however, because this account of experience is so limited, discerning its operations frequently involves a terrifying encounter with the disunities produced by the defensive injunction buffering commonality against aberrant, individuated life. Thus we must go slowly at first through a discussion of the fear of what lies beyond political recognition to discern how it works to instate what a ‘person’ is. When de Man discusses a speech act as the binding of emotion and understanding he also acknowledges that to represent any life as intelligible requires giving oneself over to publically expressible modes of sociality and historical understanding that delimit human autonomy. Likewise, the issue for Baudelaire is the overvaluing of public opinion as a reliable force for progressive change. His essays on Poe express vitriol for how rapidly the modern ‘principle of limitless liberty’ degraded into ‘that mob of buyers and sellers, that nameless thing, a headless monster’ (1981: 197). By figuring the multitude as a headless Leviathan, a reasonless monster of unbridled consumption, he conveys that, although the ‘political State has a power generating core’, a democratic realignment of its collective energies will not produce the conditions necessary for freedom when the majority merely consents to political agendas aligning constituent power with profit margins (ibid.). Baudelaire’s dilemma is that the right to equality fails to be secured when modern democratisation is conflated with the siren call of modern progress. Deliberation on how individuals might be moved to consider the vulnerability of others is frequently lost in ratifying the interests of the majority. The point of exposing this fold in democratic representation is to assess how norms operate to produce that which can be recognised as a life against affective experiences less recognisable as such. The problem, then, is not merely to consider how personhood is defined but also how the politics of majority rule adjudicates norms based on a relatively limited conception of what can be recognised, expressed and thus protected as a life in common. More precisely, what an individual feels and knows as the political horizon of the emerging modern community depends on a

­152     Richard Cole public collection of tropes – what de Man repeatedly interrogates as an army of tropes: a system of signs whose emotional and epistemological excesses are configured in ways to protect a fragile system of interpretations. Two modern sonnets by Baudelaire, ‘Correspondances’ and ‘Obsession’, contrast how a common language has the differentiating capacity to refigure fear to register two very different affective investments in public life. I reproduce both here.2 Correspondances La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles; L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers. Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité, Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté, Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent. II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d’enfants, Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies, —Et d’autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants, Ayant l’expansion des choses infinies, Comme l’ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l’encens, Qui chantent les transports de l’esprit et des sens. [Correspondences Nature is a temple, where the living pillars Sometimes utter indistinguishable words; Man passes through these forests of symbols Which regard him with familiar looks. Like long echoes that blend in the distance Into a unity obscure and profound, Vast as the night and as the light, The perfumes, colors, and sounds correspond. There are so many perfumes fresh as a baby’s skin, Mellow as oboes, verdant as prairies, —And others, corrupt, rich, and triumphant, With all the expansiveness of infinite things, Like ambergris, musk, benjamin, incense, That sing the transports of spirit and sense.] Obsession Grands bois, vous m’effrayez comme des cathédrales; Vous hurlez comme l’orgue; et dans nos coeurs maudits,

Fear, Precarious Life, Political Representation in Baudelaire     153 Chambres d’éternel deuil où vibrent de vieux râles, Répondent les échos de vos De profundis. Je te hais, Océan! tes bonds et tes tumultes, Mon esprit les retrouve en lui; ce rire amer De l’homme vaincu, plein de sanglots et d’insultes, Je l’entends dans le rire énorme de la mer Comme tu me plairais, ô nuit! sans ces étoiles Dont la lumière parle un langage connu! Car je cherche le vide, et le noir, et le nu! Mais les ténèbres sont elles-mêmes des toiles Où vivent, jaillissant de mon oeil par milliers, Des êtres disparus aux regards familiers. [Obsession You terrify me, forests, like cathedrals; You roar like organs; and in our cursed hearts, Chambers of mourning that quiver with our dying, Your De profundis echoes in response. How I hate you, Ocean! your tumultuous tide Is flowing in my spirit; this bitter laughter Of vanquished man, strangled with sobs and insults, I hear it in the heaving laughter of the sea. O night, how I would love you without stars, Whose night can only speak the words I know! For I seek the void, and the black, and the bare! But the shadows are themselves a screen That gathers from my eyes the ones I’ve lost, A thousand living things with their familiar looks.]

In both sonnets ‘man’ comes to designate a sense of life in common. ‘Correspondances’ operates to expose a series of encounters with natural forms that are felt and understood through a mobile exchange of sensory and symbolic unities.3 Metaphorical transfers reverberate individual particularities only to sing a common resonance verifying ‘all the expansiveness of infinite things’. Thus the intermingling of distinct natural ‘perfumes’ can be ‘Mellow as oboes, verdant as prairies’, or, just as easily, ‘fresh as a baby’s skin’. Very few poems in Les Fleurs du mal demonstrate such coherence between ‘spirit and sense’. Indeed, the poem can hardly be classified as a lyric. It lacks a clear confrontation between present context and historical remembrance. The function of a lyric address is missing to deliver the first-hand immediacy of reference. Whatever material inscription it designates, it conjures sheer anteriority.

­154     Richard Cole Its ‘engraved, marmorean gnomic wisdom’ unifies an always already externalised world (de Man 1984: 254). The absence of any one discernable voice allows for the external correspondences between things to be experienced harmoniously. Yet to read its figurative displacements requires a declaration of faith strong enough to take as given the mythic generalities that unite the common mind of ‘Man’ and ‘nature’. Only through this act of faith in objective experience does the poem save itself from entering into individual subjectivity, thus avoiding the flat spin of disorienting synesthesia. Hence ‘The perfumes, colors, and sounds correspond’ in harmony to ‘sing the transports of spirit and sense’. ‘Correspondances’ does not state the truth about a sensory correspondence in the world; it states the epistemological conditions under which a harmonious externality can be felt as freedom. It omits all clear recognition that we tend to conflate general commonalities between things through a series of epistemological leaps in understanding: a metonymic process of substitution allowing for a shared feeling of harmony to stretch over the surface of things. De Man’s 1967 seminar clarifies that the irresistible feeling of harmony achieved in ‘Correspondances’ is remarkably similar to ‘the model of a conversation, of language exchanged between human subjects, as the analogous link between the spiritual world and the world of the senses’ (1993: 106). Take, for instance, Baudelaire’s description of the ‘living pillars’ of nature, which correspond analogously to a ‘forest of symbols’. Faculties of reason and sense converge to animate a living system of signs that we use in conversation to designate a shared, seemingly natural, affectivity. So although it may be a ‘rather untypical poem’, not least because ‘the intersubjective element is generally much stronger in Baudelaire’s work’, it does not simply designate ‘an interpersonal subject lost in oneness with nature but instead a very specific and particular self in its relation to others’ (de Man 1993: 106). What is lost in personal expressiveness is gained in a shared system of symbolic depth – thus proving that emotions circulate publically beyond the subject.4 Yet ‘Correspondances’ hides the gap between historical antiquity and Baudelaire’s era of modernity. Its symbolic depth is not as profound as it might seem, for its vocal substitutions have been produced by a logic of containment that goes unacknowledged. What the poem elides, and why de Man refuses to call it a lyric, is any reference to the irresolvable contradiction that has provoked this need to unify a single life with nature or with others through speech in the first place. Whereas a lyric by definition contains a reflexive address, one that cannot fully reconcile nor hide the defensive motion of expressive language that produces it, ‘Correspondances’ instead relies on ‘transports’ – a verbal process of naturalisation that mobilises signs

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to hide all differences and gradations between things. Differences are erased by conjunctive words like ‘comme’, which operates too selectively and thus disingenuously in its bid to reconcile the gap between the individual mind and nature. The harmony of ‘Correspondances’ is too reverent and hushed in tone. It points to a common symbolic registry that transcends the individual person, yet fails to address whether or not ‘man’ might also designate an unbridgeable distance rather than close proximity between individuals or things. Baudelaire’s second poem, ‘Obsession’, breaks this trance-like unity. It re-reads the opening quatrain of ‘Correspondances’ only to haunt its sylvan scene with the speaker’s lost memories of coherence. There is no starker contrast between two poems in Les Fleurs du mal. ‘Obsession’ chronicles the affective gain in pathos that occurs each time the speaker addresses the objective world. He repeatedly attempts to recover an earlier sense of unity between time and place now lost. ‘The metaphoric crossing between perception and hallucination’, says de Man, invokes ‘that of recollection and re-cognition, as the recovery, to the senses, of what seemed to be forever lost beyond experience’ (1984: 258). For Walter Benjamin this disjunctive system of crossings and passages perfectly matched the serried topology of riding through a labyrinthine subway network, with its stops and starts.These structures are felt and understood as stations of interchange in the historical development of urban life. For the symbolist every object is merely a corresponding symbol, and these symbols are the language of man, a hieroglyphic language in which every material form expresses an idea. The modern form of Baudelaire’s poetic juxtapositions, composed during Paris’s rise to modernity, stood for nothing less than a memory machine whereby an incantation summons forth the historiographical shades of the disjunctive past. Symbolism does not only enact unities; it also exposes latent cultural histories and incongruous structural combinations. It confuses any simple linear progression from railed horsecar to steam tramcar to electric subway, and hence overwrites modernity’s chronological memory of technological progress. Baudelaire is so steeped in urban life that the metropolis itself rarely features in his poetry, an irony demonstrating the superb agility of a modern poet estranged from the material conditions that delimit his experience. His lyrics give expression to the lost analogy between the world of spirit and matter. In ‘Obsession’ the latter no longer subsumes the former. The accompanying shock disturbs confidence in the accuracy of any correspondence that might legibly fix self-identity to the spatial and historical coordinates of modern life. Shock poetics also troubles the authenticity of public appeals for negative liberty, exposing how this

­156     Richard Cole ethos indexes a widely pervasive yet seemingly individualised struggle for self-preservation. To reduce freedom to the lack of external impediments is to presume that this fear can be overcome. But Benjamin finds the political efficacy of fear has been reversed in Baudelaire. Shock poetics mobilises fear, but it does so to make visible how this public emotion circulates to shield individuals from remembering and facing alternative forms of prior experience now lost; ‘fright gains “significance” in proportion to the “absence of any preparedness”’ to shield anxieties about the atrophy of experience in political modernity (2003: 317). So when Baudelaire’s speaker admits, ‘You terrify me, forests, like cathedrals’, the ‘like’ or ‘comme’ calls forth an uncanny return of the substitutive power of sign ‘transports’ celebrated in ‘Correspondances’. In ‘Obsession’ the plural ‘forests’ stand in for so many trees that they cannot be counted, either singularly or into individual sets or subgroups. Another terrifying deficiency in modern observation is illuminated in the line’s recourse to the cathedral – a collective symbol built by many anonymous hands, like a city not reducible to any one person, built to assuage disunities, yet individuals may freely come to worship God alone. So, evidently, where in Baudelaire’s earlier, crisis-proof poem the overwhelming fear of contradiction was vanquished, momentarily lost, or repressed, giving way to a sensus communis upholding unity, in ‘Obsession’ it becomes clear that a radical disruption occurs each time the speaker aims for symmetry. The process of stabilising fear through nominative acts circles back on itself as ‘Obsession’ records its own errors and omissions.5 Lacking the certitude necessary to conflate comparative judgement with affective coherence, the speaker makes an enumerative stutter into a warning sign: ‘You terrify me, forests, like cathedrals; / You roar like organs’. The speaker questions the accuracy and motivations directing his imprecise speech. His roaring fears of misrecognition reverberate and intensify with each successive metaphorical leap. Public emotions can rescue the mind from uncertainty. Yet an overreliance on emotions – like the overwhelming fear that structures sensory relations in ‘Obsession’ – confuses epistemic value judgements. So although this process of affective manipulation aims for stability, the overreliance on feelings tends to upset the balance of seeing things as they are. Objects no longer stare back with ‘their familiar looks’. Experiencing this imbalance signals a crisis in which a differentiated set of relations become increasingly difficult to distinguish and isolate. De Man clarifies: As the confusion between structure and value increases, the tone and terminology of the text glide almost imperceptibly from the language of judgment

Fear, Precarious Life, Political Representation in Baudelaire     157 to the language of the affections, and the judgment finally openly declares itself to be another name for ‘sentiment’, (still distinct, at this point, from ‘sensation’, against which, it will be remembered, judgment was originally defined). The ambiguously ‘inner’ world of consciousness, of which it can no longer be said whether it is the seat of good or evil, becomes the affective space engendered by this ethical indecisiveness . . . Virtue becomes finally justified in terms of an erotic pleasure principle, a moral libido that seems not easily compatible with the piety of the inner voice of conscience but that consciously acts out the rhetorical system of the text. (1979: 75)

As ‘Obsession’ increasingly gives itself over to the fear that its judgements are ungrounded, the transports which ‘Correspondances’ employed to hold powerful sway over external resemblances weaken in authority. Baudelaire’s speaker does not only fear losing sight of ‘A thousand living things’. His repetitive record of losses also confirms that his fear of loss is somehow compensating for his greater fear of the loss of judgement. The poem is haunted by the prospect that its ‘affective space’ has been pre-prescribed by a public mood. Can the speaker distinguish his own fears from those produced by a damaged external rationality – a rhetorical system of public norms that the speaker acts out? The poem’s ethical integrity may have been compromised. The speaker may be conflating a public mood with his own ‘inner voice of conscience’, and doing so with alarming frequency. In the preface to The Rhetoric of Romanticism, de Man feels compelled to acknowledge the significant debts his project owes to Adorno’s (1984: xi), specifically to Adorno’s examination of modernity’s historical shift toward individual psychology. ‘Once the state of human consciousness and the state of the social forces’ become confused, says Adorno, any sense of liberation soon comes to ‘acquire repressive and violent qualities’ (2001: 17). Where the harmonious life of the first poem ceases to hold sway, the ‘I’ of the second poem appears to find no common ground. Aggression is directed inward. Only in this way might ‘Obsession’ confront language’s own false sense of autonomy. To what extent, we might ask, does de Man read Baudelaire’s speaker as produced by a defensive scheme of political life? To read Baudelaire’s lyric ‘I’ as a construct of subjectification is to establish its poetic acts of self-making as part of a broader operation. Discursive errors negatively demarcate the external otherness that gives life to the lyric ‘I’. To voice an account of oneself therefore necessitates an encounter with a public force that comes to designate a limited frame of self-recognition. The epistemological security that enabled the mood of affective harmony in ‘Correspondances’ is supplemented in ‘Obsession’ with a fearful resignation that the pleasure in repetition (‘an erotic pleasure

­158     Richard Cole principle, a moral libido’) might destroy the overall sense of coherence. This repetition compulsion finds affinities between things. ‘Affective verisimilitude’ happens, says de Man, ‘at the cost of much represented agony’ (1984: 256). In locating all of nature inside the subjectivity of man, the lyric ‘asserts its right to say “I” with full authority’ only to the extent that it undercuts the objective mastery necessary for the speaker to discern and voice that which lies outside a common ethico-political life (ibid.). The second poem adds remembrance to the timeless poem ‘Correspondances’, but it does so only to recall that verbal reference cannot easily be distinguished from the public language required to express it. ‘Obsession’ says ‘I’ but only does so because it has been structured on the edifice of free expression. ‘Is this what lyric poetry,’ asks Barbara Johnson, ‘so often structured around the relation between loss and rhetoric, must decide?’ (2001: 213–14). Here we have finally come around to the question of how ‘man’, which in both poems signifies a life in common, exposes the discursive horizon by which the person is representable. Trope and anthropomorphism provide two distinct representational possibilities in which the person-making of both poems might be understood to adhere. First, de Man says, language guards against affective and epistemic uncertainty by concealing the disjunction between trope and anthropomorphism. A trope designates a freely corresponding structure of relation – a figural substation of one for another. Metaphors to do with cold, like the cold ‘Ocean’ that haunts Baudelaire’s speaker in ‘Obsession’, correspond to the fear of remembering the dead ‘ones I’ve lost’. The ocean is lifeless. It comes into recognition to the extent that it can be perceived as a sign of fear. The ocean may even be perceived as cold to the degree it is fearful. However, the speculation that accompanies this metaphorical correspondence supplements and intensifies the fear of death with an accompanying, and confusing, fear of uncertainty. Anthropomorphism, on the other hand, provides a useful way to control such fears because it stops the metaphorical chain of indeterminate correspondences between objects which are necessary to make a tropological comparison. For to use an anthropomorphism is to already assume as given what the common properties of human life are: ‘anthropomorphism’ is not just a trope but an identification on the level of substance. It takes one entity for another and thus implies the constitution of specific entities prior to their confusion, the taking of something for something else that can then be assumed to be given. Anthropomorphism freezes the infinite chain of tropological transformations and propositions into one single assertion or essence which, as such, excludes all others. It is no longer a proposition but a proper name. (de Man 1984: 241)

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Anthropomorphism is a delimited act of self-making. This making of the self, the powerful production that defines personal agency, operates by setting up as given a relation to what it is not. The self may even ascribe human characteristics to things that are not otherwise living. Judith Butler clarifies that the purpose of such a task is to discern a certain schism that structures the precarious life inherent to all modern political subjects: ‘The subject is always outside itself, other than itself, since its relation to the other is essential to what it is’ (2010: 49). A person uses an anthropomorphism to discern what it is by referencing something that it is not. But we must be careful not to mistake this operation for a trope. ‘Instead of analogy’, writes de Man, ‘we have enumeration’ and ‘an enumeration never moves beyond a set of particulars’ (1984: 250). So whereas ‘“forêt” synthesises but does not enumerate a set of trees, “amber,” “musc,” “benjoin,” and “ensens,” whatever differences or gradations one wishes to establish between them, are refrained by “comme”, and unable to lead beyond themselves’ (ibid.). What comme protects is its own power of relationality. As a specific type of speech act comme designates an anthropomorphism because it mobilises the resemblances between signs to animate a common vitality. The perfect communicability its semantic constellation arranges defends in the name of a belonging in common. But how exactly does this enumerative power to form a community connect to de Man’s rather confusing statement that anthropomorphism is not a proposition but a proper name? Barbara Johnson asks: ‘If “man” is what is assumed as given, why call it a proper name’? (2001: 207). The answer, according to Johnson, is that ‘a break nevertheless occurs in the system of correspondences, leaving a residue that escapes and remains: the proper name’ (ibid.). Its ‘apparent enumeration’, says de Man, ‘is in fact a foreclosure’ (1984: 241). Arresting the chain of tropological transformations situates a common life. The iterative force of this arrest not only structures how we come to know and identify personhood but may even constitute an error considerable enough to expose what lies outside this defensive barrier. These twin operations, equally made possible by arresting the chain of signifiers, have very different functions. Yet the way de Man formulates his discussion of anthropomorphism as a defensive mechanism owes a great deal to Walter Benjamin’s examinations of a second, more liberating, type of arrest also made possible by constellated language. ‘For the sake of pure language’, the translator ‘breaks through the decayed barriers of his own language’ (1996: 261). Benjamin’s theory of translation is a theory of language because every language is incomplete. Since the task of translation involves encountering this deficiency it involves exposing the barriers of one language in order to establish the t­ranslatability

­160     Richard Cole of the original work. An arrest of the original content occurs at the moment when one context is understood to supplement the other. It is de Man who arranges this formulation for the American academy. In a 1983 lecture de Man outlined the critical power created by this arrest: ‘The translation canonises, freezes, an original and shows in the original a mobility, an instability, which at first one did not notice’ (1986: 82). Here we can discern two opposing types of arrest. The first freezes the chain of signifiers in order to limit the common properties of what a life can be understood to be. The second type freezes the original in order to expose the shocking fragility of an extralinguistic experience which commonly goes unnoticed. During the discussion period de Man struggled to address a question about what cannot be assimilated into human language: Things happen in the world which cannot be accounted for in terms of the human conception of language. And they always happen in linguistic terms, or the relation [to] language is always involved when they have [happened]. And good or bad things, not only catastrophes, but felicities also. And they happen. In a sense, to account for them, to account for them historically, to account for them in any sense, a certain initial discrepancy in language has to be examined. You can’t – it cannot be avoided. (ibid.: 101)

De Man fears that his vague comments about events that occur outside of language are now charting unknown territory. His affective response to this uncertainty is especially telling since the fear that overwhelms his clarity corresponds to a gap in his understanding of how to address an event that lies beyond representation. Although de Man admits that his assumptions regarding that which operates beyond discursive limits may be ‘a little obscure, and not well formulated’, he says ‘it cannot be avoided’ (ibid.: 104). As he approaches the limits of his own system of thought it becomes evident that the language lucidity depends on has a constitutive role to play. He is inclined to keep talking. The more he talks, the more he fears that he no longer knows what he is talking about. He says, ‘But I feel it, that there is something there. Something being said there which is kind of important to me, which I think . . . which isn’t clear’ (ibid.). If ever there can be said to be a Benjaminian moment of arrest in de Man’s thinking surely this is it. The knowledge he gains by giving himself over to feeling, however fleeting the experience, is that language always communicates something other than itself even when it appears to only communicate itself. But if language is endowed with what is expressed as meaning, how exactly does it also carry a hidden potential to convey that which exists outside the meaning of its expression? Walter Benjamin terms this

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arresting function the expressionless. Benjamin notes on two distinct occasions that Baudelaire’s interest in Poe’s stories will act as a major pivot for his manuscript The Arcades Project. ‘In Baudelaire’s theory of art’ Benjamin observes that ‘the motif of shock comes into play not only as a prosodic principle. Rather, this same motif is operative wherever Baudelaire appropriates Poe’s theory concerning the importance of surprise in the work of art’ (1999: 383). This radical opening created by the arresting moment give context to another passage wherein Benjamin quotes Baudelaire directly: ‘Every epic intention . . . is the result of an imperfect sense of art’ (ibid.: 286). What Baudelaire borrows from Poe is his arresting principle: the elucidatory power of art resides in the shocking force of its imperfection. In a handwritten note underneath, Benjamin adds, ‘This is, in embryo, the whole theory of “pure poetry” (Immobilization!)’ (ibid.). Pure poetry must be understood as the function of an immobilisation: this arrest halts the expressive operations of language to present a discontiguous constellation. When the movement of meaning is presented in fragments it also produces an unsettling feeling of doubt. Benjamin frequently uses terms such as ‘trembling’ or ‘quivering’ in relation to the expressionless. These are figures for the fear of instability always inherent in discursive structures, yet only visible in the arrest of the expressive powers which normally (and normatively) function to actualise the power of any recognisable form of shared historical life. Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’ (which, famously, Baudelaire translated), opens with a chilling acknowledgement of the expressionless function hidden in language. The narrator, who is convalescing from an unidentified illness, indicates that language carries a form of poisonous knowledge so dangerous and potentially disabling to humanity that it must never be spoken. He translates only one line from an unnamed German text, a supplement which he hopes will be just sufficient enough to immunise the population: ‘“er lasst sich nicht lesen” – it does not permit itself to be read’ (Benjamin 1996: 388). As nicely as this extratextual fragment sets up the narrative frame, it also exposes his own limitations to tell the tale about that which can never be clearly expressed: ‘There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told’ (ibid.). To what extent is this inexpressible secret a product of the act of translation? And how exactly does the inexpressible differ from the expressionless? Benjamin’s essay on translation differentiates between a meaning which cannot be articulated from the expressionless: It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language which is exiled among alien tongues, to liberate the language imprisoned in

­162     Richard Cole a work in his re-creation of that work. For the sake of the pure language, he breaks through decayed barriers of his own language. (ibid.: 261)

Benjamin is uninterested in translations that involve attempts to copy a corresponding code of literal meanings from one language to another. Instead, he tasks translation with the action of finding a forceful, transformative current running underneath all languages. He calls this secondary language that delivers the expressionless a pure language or pure poetry. De Man’s lecture on Benjamin touched on this silent repository that runs beneath representation, but his fears of embarrassment when he was beginning to sound too inarticulate in public stopped him from going far enough. A remarkably similar fear haunts Poe’s narrator. For although the secret that the man of the crowd carries may not permit itself to be read (inarticulable), the narrator fears the other possibility: that this poisonous knowledge can be transferred in tacit ways that circumvent the commanding control over the story he tells (expressionless). It also supplies Baudelaire with a useful model for his shock aesthetics. More immediately striking about Poe’s story is the extent to which it acknowledges the impossibility of ever really knowing this faceless man in the crowd. Walter Benjamin clarifies that ‘The Man of the Crowd’ reverses narrative convention to such an extent that it reads ‘something like an X-Ray picture of a detective story’. Since ‘It does away with all the drapery that a crime represents’, it leaves behind only the ‘pursuer, the crowd, and the unknown man who manages to walk through London in such a way that he always remains in the middle of the crowd’ (Benjamin 2003: 27). Despite his central position, his behavior somehow interrupts the regular patterns of public circulation. What is it about Poe’s experimental crime story, which does not divulge a single gruesome act, and for this reason somehow appears even more threatening, that so deeply resonated with Baudelaire’s modernity? As for the events Poe does represent, how do we reconcile the ‘delicious novelty of emotion’ the narrator feels as he pursues the man through the crowd’s ‘tumultuous sea of heads’ with the decisive, concluding moment when he finally confronts the stranger face-to-face but receives neither acknowledgment nor expression in return (Poe 1996: 388)? To engage with this arresting fear of the single expressionless face within the modern crowd invariably involves some recognition of the pathological public sphere and the representational limits by which it can come to know itself. Freud, for instance, in his analysis of phobias, joins together fear, aversion, guilt, anxiety and, most importantly, identification to diagnose the complicated structure of psychosis by which individuals come to incorporate the aggression of the paternal signifier

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out of fear of reprisal. Here we might even read Poe’s text to suggest that the speaker ultimately fails to confront the man of the crowd, at least not as his behavior lends itself to a clear reaction, precisely because the man is not in the crowd, he is of the crowd, publically possessed by the crowd; his otherness is a mass projection that at once enables and exposes the powerfully repressive energies that form the collective ‘press’ of the crowd, as Poe terms it (ibid.).6 The fear the narrator confronts in the expressionless face is a fear of reprisal for acting outside the pressing norms that define the crowd. Poe goes into extensive detail when identifying the various social groups discernable in the crowd. He meticulously details countenances, gaits and attires as they differ between classes and occupations as far reaching as clerks and gamblers. To project one’s fears onto the blank-faced man involves a wish to defend a border that defines a common life on the one hand and the wish to violate it with impunity on the other. Here a question emerges: how do we understand what it means to become a political subject if the forms of relationality that constitute us and with which we come to identify in order to gain a sense of affective life are a function of our limited concept of survivability? I doubt very much that fear, as a defensive reflex for self-protection, can easily be expelled from the frame of recognition that defines the person proper. But this is not to say that expanding this frame to recognise more vulnerable and precarious forms of life is impossible either. The discomfort Poe’s narrator encounters in the expressionless face of the Other threatens to expose the poisonous knowledge of his own inability to forgo judgement on a partial life. Empathy requires a measurement of affective proximity in order to share the feelings of another. Facial expressions perform an important role here in conveying the emotional stakes of our public encounters. In de Man’s extensive work on prosopopoeia it is exactly this figure of bestowing face which demonstrates that emotions are public to the extent that expressions make our inner life appear to one another. This shared recognisability has gone missing in Poe’s story. Rather than conferring face, the trope is inverted. The old man is defaced, unreadable, absent of shared expression. But this is not the only reading. The expressionless face has the potential to be collectively recognised as a figure for precarity. Yet the narrator fails to perceive it as such. He is attuned only to facial expressiveness. Hence his final description of this failed encounter with a partial life. He feels an overwhelming obligation to judge the man as ‘the type and genius of great crime [because] He refuses to be alone’ (ibid.: 396). With this final twist Poe clarifies that individuality is not entirely reducible to the absolute singularity of one life. But if

­164     Richard Cole even the man’s anonymity is still somehow dependent on the multitude, if his frantic movements which allow him to become lost in the crowd are observably exhilarated by an increase in the crowd’s collective energies, then why does the narrator not seek to preserve this partial life, to nurture or to rehabilitate the man’s precarity for the collective good? The merciless fear that haunts modern liberal democracy, according to Poe’s epigraph, is this great misfortune of not being alone. But this one explicit reference to interpersonal alienation is a red herring. The narrator remains unable to broker any further acts of recognition in part because of a deficiency in the modern powers of detection: failing to acknowledge an inassimilable difference as anything other than a threat to the safety of the crowd. The sublimity he sees in the face that cannot express nor eloquently be expressed thus operates beyond the multitude’s limited capacity for amazement, provoking terror instead of amity. The man comes to personify the multitude’s inability to wake to a sense of its own potency. Even at the height of this defensive boundary we come to know as fear an experiential loss is also perceivable. For there can be no meaningful emotional life without understanding that which lies beyond subjective experience; and only lives articulated in comparison with the public emotional defenses that bind us to experience can be fully and selfconsciously historical. The expressionless is what reminds us of what remains lost beyond our totalising concepts that must therefore be continually be retrieved and reworked: In the expressionless, the sublime violence of the true appears as that which determines the language of the real world according to the laws of the moral world. For it shatters whatever still survives the legacy of chaos in all beautiful semblance: the false, errant totality – the absolute totality. Only the expressionless completes the work by shattering it into a thing of shards, into a fragment of the true world, into the torso of a symbol. (Benjamin 1996: 340)

The pure poetry of this arrest occurs when the language we use to discern correspondences also confronts and destroys the false bonds that conceal the elements of a life we are missing and require in order to fully live. That mode of contemplation presents us only with a fragment, but it is a vital fragment that no longer fearfully inheres in a false relation to a perfectly enclosed structure of protection. To remain any longer under this wrong form of protection would be to concede that such arrests are ‘lose-able’, or can be forfeited; precisely because they are forms of life that are veiled by fear, they are wrongly framed as being lost or forfeited. In recognising the precarious life in the ‘torso of a symbol’, pure poetry retrieves and re-enacts the differences between representational copies

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of fear and sensory responses to fear, disclosing a defensive motion in modernity between ideology and affective life.

Notes 1. John Brenkman opened a 2012 Cornell seminar with the qualification that studies in affect are conducive to rich, productive discussions only to the extent that critics remain wary of turns. If this essay succeeds at all in doing so I dedicate it to him. 2. I duplicate the third and posthumous (1868) edition of Les Fleurs du mal to accord with de Man. The translation is Barbara Johnson’s (2001). 3. Metaphor, from the etymon metaphora, to transport, to bear, and in this case to transfer affects. 4. Although some affect theorists hold steadfast to a basic distinction that ‘emotion refers to cultural and social expression, whereas affects are of a biological and physiological nature’ (Probyn 2005: 11), I side with Ngai’s position that ‘At the end of the day, the difference between emotion and affect is still intended to solve the same basic and fundamentally descriptive problem it was coined in psychoanalytic practice to solve: that of distinguishing firstperson from third-person feeling, and, by extension, feeling that is contained by an identity from feeling that is not’ (2005: 27). Likewise I warrant using emotion and affect interchangeably. 5. The Lyric Theory Reader recently reprinted de Man’s essay with a new editorial preface. During the book launch at the 2014 ACLA conference, Jonathan Culler praised its monumental achievements and suggested one necessary corrective. The preface, Culler legitimately contended, reverses de Man’s reading by mistakenly indicating that ‘Correspondances’ reads ‘Obsession’, rather than vice versa (see Jackson and Prins 2014: 219–23). 6. For reasons of space I have kept my genealogy of fear focused on the modernist historical context, but I intend my discussion to resonate with the critique by Ruth Leys (2010) of how more recent scientific (‘post-psychoanalytical’) approaches often reduce complex public emotions like fear to hard-wired biological phenomena.

References Adorno, Theodor (2001), Problems of Moral Philosophy, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Baudelaire, Charles [1868] (2008), Les Fleurs du mal Jaffrey: David R. Godine. — (1981), Baudelaire: Selected Writings on Art and Artists, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. — (1986), ‘Letter to Armand Fraise’ (18/2/1860), in Selected Letters of Charles Baudelaire: The Conquest of Solitude, Chicago: Chicago University Press, pp. 147–9. Benjamin, Walter (1996), Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 1, 1913–1926, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

­166     Richard Cole — (1999), The Arcades Project, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. — (2003), Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 4, 1938–1940, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Butler, Judith (2010), Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?, New York: Verso. de Man, P. (1979), Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke and Proust, New Haven: Yale University Press. — (1984), The Rhetoric of Romanticism, New York: Columbia University Press. — (1986), The Resistance to Theory, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. — (1993), Romanticism and Contemporary Criticism: The Gauss Seminar and Other Papers, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Jackson, Virginia and Yopi Prins (2014), ‘Structuralist reading’, in The Lyric Theory Reader: A Critical Anthology, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 219–23. Johnson, Barbara (2001), ‘Anthropomorphism in lyric and law’, in Tom Cohen et al. (eds), Material Events: Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 205–25. Leys, Ruth (2010), ‘How did fear become a scientific object and what kind of object is it?’ Representations 110: 66–104. Ngai, Sianne (2005), Ugly Feelings. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Poe, Edgar Allan [1840] (1996), ‘The man of the crowd’, in Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry, Tales, & Selected Essays, New York: The Library of America, pp. 388–96. Probyn, Elspeth (2005), Blush: Faces of Shame, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Terada, Rei (2001), Feeling in Theory: Emotion after the ‘Death of the Subject’, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Chapter 9

Bloom-Space of Theory: The Pleasure and the Bliss of Gerty MacDowell Maria-Daniella Dick How to begin when, after all, there is no pure or somehow originary state for affect? (Seigworth and Gregg 2010: 1) Pleasure of the text, text of pleasure: these expressions are ambiguous because French has no word that simultaneously covers pleasure (contentment) and bliss (rapture). Therefore, “pleasure” here . . . sometimes extends to bliss, sometimes is opposed to it. But I must accommodate myself to this ambiguity. (Barthes 1975: 19)

In an interview with Gregory J. Seigworth and Melissa Gregg, Lawrence Grossberg speaks of the need to define the ‘specificity’ of what affect has come to encompass, since ‘basically, it’s become everything that is non-representational or non-semantic – that’s what we now call affect’ (Grossberg 2010: 316). Grossberg accordingly defines affect on the basis of Raymond Williams’s ‘structures of feeling’, which he understands to be about the limits of signification, of representation, and (though I am loath to use the word) the kind of “excess” or “surplus” that is always there through discursive production that is not captured by notions of signification or representation . . . So, I think that the notion of a gap between what can be rendered meaningful or knowable and what is nevertheless livable is a more interesting place to start. And for me, this connects up in very interesting ways with notions of modernity and everyday life. (ibid.: 318)

As defined by Gregg and Seigworth, one of the aims of the ‘affective turn’ is to move away from the so-called linguistic turn, and it is arguably in that separation that it is constituted as the new in theory.1 I wish to examine the significance of that break for affect theory as a discourse and its relation to theory more broadly. While the claim that affect can bypass the semiotic is what gives affect theory its modernity as a discourse predicated upon a conscious break from structuralist and post-structuralist linguistics, I should like to interrogate its definition

­168     Maria-Daniella Dick as a non-semiotic force postulated as the ‘livable’ exterior of meaning and the implications of that definition for a discourse that is ostensibly understood through its resistance to proper qualities. Given the problematic status of literature in Williams’s ‘structures of feeling’, I wish to consider how the modernist text of Ulysses (1922), and specifically its ‘Nausicaa’ episode as it represents the lived experience of ‘everyday life’, allows for a reconsideration of affect as a non-pure or non-originary state in its relation to modernity. To begin, we must first consider how the ‘excess’ Grossberg refers to is constructed. Williams defines ‘structures of feeling’ as a structure, or ‘set’, of ‘specifically affective elements of consciousness and relationships: not feeling against thought, but thought as felt and feeling as thought: practical consciousness of a practical kind, in a living and interrelating continuity’ (1977: 132). These structures of feeling are the architecture of affect, but the complexities inherent in the concept are most evident in its relation to the work of art. Although art may be made present in ‘active’ reading and its making is a ‘formative process’, the work of art remains within the domain of ‘explicit and finished forms’ through ‘objectified conventions and notations (semantic figures) in literature’ (ibid.: 129). The paradigm of the literary work as the formalised reduction of lived presence is reliant on literary technique and stylistics (‘conventions’) through which literature is constructed as form. Literature offers the pleasure of the material quotidian, but this ostensible presence in process is reduced in writing to a delimited pleasure of culture, where the latter is a fixed doxology. Williams argues that the importance of literature is in its formal innovations, ‘the evidence of forms and conventions – semantic figures’, which can signal the formation of new structures and therefore participate in material process (ibid.: 133). Importantly, however, these formal techniques are qualified by Williams in the very act by which he excepts them ‘as social formation of a specific kind which may in turn be seen as the articulation (often the only fully available articulation) of structures of feeling which as living processes are much more widely experienced’ (ibid.). It is through literature, then, that structures of feeling are defined precisely as that which cannot be articulated, or is in excess of articulation. Protected as presence through that act of sequestration of experience from signification, form is not only the secondary reduction of that presence but the a priori from which affect must begin in order to institute the living presence of structures of feeling as such; only through the formal reduction can it be established as an ostensible a priori. Insofar as literature participates in process, it is subordinated from autonomy in form to an historical function of documenting the emergence of the ‘living’ process from which it

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is implicitly divorced and which it articulates, in so doing separating the living process from that articulation. Literature locates affect within history, serving as the formal representation of new social process. Although Williams suggests that literature is among the kinds of art ‘distinguishable from other social and semantic formations by its articulation of presence’ (ibid.: 135) it is yet notable precisely because it offers a formalisation of living process through a stylistics by which that process is conserved in its plenitude outside of form and form serves as index of new historical affects: The effective formations of most actual art relate to already manifest social formation, dominant or residual, and it is primarily to emergent formations (though often in the form of modification or disturbance in older forms) that the structure of feeling, as solution, relates. Yet this specific solution is never mere flux. It is a structured formation which, because it is at the very edge of semantic availability, has many of the characteristics of a pre-formation, until specific articulations – new semantic figures – are discovered in material practice. (ibid.: 134)

In this construction modernity emerges through modernist formal innovations, the modernist novel representing the lived consciousness of modernity in solution through its new stylistics. Previously a specific solution ‘at the very edge of semantic availability’, modernity as the experience of the fleeting and contingent is made available and becomes a structured formation through the new semantic figures of modernism.2 Among these are Joyce’s techniques of free indirect discourse and interior monologue, which allow access to the inner life and crises of modernity but in this configuration serve ultimately as the expression of an emergent but by definition unavailable historical reality.3 Affect thus requires literature as an historicisation of its presence – hence the importance of modernism to modernity – but is reduced through form. Affect theory retains this element of Williams’s figuration, conceiving affect in a primarily temporal sense according to the logic of which affect theory emerges temporally as the new. In his seminal article ‘The Autonomy of Affect’ Brian Massumi cites an experiment in which the sensation felt by a body and the registration of that sensation through expression are temporally disjointed by a half-second; he concludes that the half-second is missing not because it is empty but rather because it is ‘overfull, in excess of the actually performed action and of its ascribed meaning’ (1995: 90). There are two assumptions at work here, namely that meaning is fixed and can therefore be exceeded and that the excess of affect is conceived as a plenitude. In place of the absent present, there are instead ‘pastnesses opening onto a future, but with no present to speak of’. The present is made absent through its speed, evacuated by

­170     Maria-Daniella Dick having happened too quickly to have been perceived, ‘too quickly, actually, to have happened’ (ibid.: 91). The present is not divided at its origin in the collapse of past, present and future, but made absent – opposed to presence – for a plenitude or excess that retains these temporal categories and retains the structure of epochal temporality predicated upon presence. Massumi produces a definition that has its basis in Spinoza’s Ethics, wherein he suggests mind and body are co-conceived ‘in so pure and productive a receptivity that it can only be conceived as a third state, an excluded middle, prior to the distinction between activity and passivity: affect’ (ibid.: 93). This is a reconfiguration of what might be considered as a Husserlian protention and retention, excluding the immediate present but retaining affect in a reserved state through a temporal break that maintains the logic of presence. This logic divorces itself from philosophies of language while also establishing a theory of affect through that divorce on a meta-theoretical level of the ‘affective turn’ from language. By situating affect as extra-linguistic it separates itself from poststructuralism, but the predicate of that separation takes the character of a disavowal rather than an observation. In their introduction to The Affect Theory Reader, Gregg and Seigworth appropriate Barthes’s concept of the ‘Neutral’ to suggest that affect theory marks a shift away from structure towards a consideration of liminal or interstitial states, those ephemeral, evasive and fluctuating locuses of potentiality that they call the ‘bloom-space’ of affect, a place of the ‘in-betweens or blooming intervals’ (2010: 10). Explicitly figured as a place of burgeoning plenitude, these ‘bloom-spaces’ are irresolvable to meaning but universally share a quality of the ‘not yet’ by which they can be recognised if not homogenised (ibid.: 9). In Barthes’s theory they seem to find a new spatio-temporal vocabulary that appears to evade the ‘axes and abrupt angles’ of structuralist binaries but, importantly, also calls attention to ‘the present, to existing conditions’ (Seigworth and Gregg 2010: 10). Affect theory consciously marks its project as a return to praxis, a political and ethical turn from an implicitly hermetic linguistic theory. This is a deft ideological coupling by which the ground of the present and lived everyday is retained as affective in constitution and ethical in theory, co-existent with a turn from philosophy of language which is figured as a non-ethical separation from praxis. However, this is to elide that the neutral was first intimated in the 1975 publication of The Pleasure of the Text, in which Barthes explicitly links it to the text and to that pleasure which is ‘not an element of the text . . . not a naïve residue; it does not depend on a logic of understanding and on sensation; it is a drift, something both revolutionary and asocial’ (1975: 23). This drift, later to be

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so important to affect theory, is not in opposition to textual signification nor posited upon ‘sensation’ but is an excess born of the signifying plurality of the text. The ambiguity of textual affect, as opposed to mimesis of affect in the text, is held in the distinction between two types of pleasurable text. The text of pleasure [plaisir] is the text that ‘contents, fills, grants euphoria; the text that comes from culture and does not break with it’ (ibid.: 14); it is the classic text, in which a coherent selfhood can be maintained. Conversely, the text of bliss [jouissance] ‘imposes a state of loss . . . unsettles the reader’s historical, cultural, psychological assumptions, the consistency of his tastes, values, memories, brings to a crisis his relation with language’ (ibid.). In the interstice of ambiguity between these two orders of pleasure, my suggestion is that ‘Nausicaa’ can be read as a modernist ‘bloom-space’ wherein affect might be considered. ‘Nausicaa’ is a scene that would at first purport to produce Ulysses as such a classical text of pleasure. The chapter is staged as an affective encounter between a young woman, Gerty MacDowell, and an initially unnamed man in which the dynamic is filtered through the consciousnesses of both as they register the mobilisation of desire and affect arising therein. Passing between interior and exterior perspectives, in a tableau of scents and sensations, minds and bodies, colour and feeling, the chapter makes that movement its technique; defined as ‘tumescence and detumescence’ in the Gilbert and Linati schema, the technique is replicated in the diegesis of ‘Nausicaa’ as it follows the flux of desire not only psychically and affectively but also corporeally, building to a mid-way apogee wherein its deigetic climax is achieved through the literal orgasm of Bloom and is then followed by his subsequent postorgasmic reveries.4 The protagonists having encountered each other on Sandymount Strand, the beach becomes the site of a silent dialectical exchange, unarticulated between them but articulated in the text, and this flux and climax is represented through a stylistics of free indirect discourse and interior monologue which establishes two codes in the episode: a code of romantic fantasy for Gerty and, for Bloom, a code of pragmatic voyeurism. The affect between them is represented by the collapse of distinct categories into a synaesthetic mimesis of its registration in thought, in – as Joyce described it – a ‘namby-pamby jammy marmalady drawersy (alto-là!) style with effects of incense, Mariolatry, masturbation, stewed cockles, painter’s palette, chit chat, circumlocutions, etc., etc.’ that replicates a consciousness of feeling (Joyce 1966: 135). ‘Nausicaa’ begins with the scene of Gerty on the beach, her mind filtering the phenomenological world through an emotive prism. Through the free indirect discourse in which her mind is delivered, her consciousness

­172     Maria-Daniella Dick becomes coterminous with its representation; purporting to deliver a mimesis of self-presence, the technique of her code represents her psyche as one of girlish desires and dissatisfactions overarched by an unrealised sexuality sublimated in the language of romantic cliché characteristic of the ‘Princess Novelette’ of which she is an avid reader. Occupied equally by thoughts of her beau, Reggie Wylie, pristine lingerie sets with matching pastel ribbons, admiration of priests and her new chenille hat, her narration encodes reality as a scene from the novelette, the textual codes of which construct her psyche in its self-expression. ‘Nausicaa’ is constructed through this code of small, breathless pleasures as the fantasy of Gerty’s desire for the ‘foreigner’ sitting on the rock, yet we are led to believe that fantasy does not merely temporarily supplant reality while maintaining its own order but is rather experienced qua reality (Joyce 1986: 293). The man on the rock becomes a libidinal cipher in Gerty’s self-directed imagination and the code ultimately is a masturbatory economy wherein reality has its genesis and libidinal return in her psyche; in effect, Bloom occupies the alter-role that allows Gerty to mobilise her desire towards the generation of affect, which is its real object. On this level, ‘Nausicaa’ is concerned with representing the movement of affect between two consciousnesses rendered mimetic through a combination of narrated free indirect discourse and interior monologue. The scene changes as the chapter begins to move between Gerty’s romantic vision of Bloom and Bloom’s sexualised gaze as it is centred on Gerty, and they engage in an elaborate and quasi-ritualistic corporeal semiotics that simultaneously propels the scene of their exchange and yet shows it to be one of shared disconnection. Joyce’s concern here is with the mutual exclusivity of desire foregrounded through the disjunction that becomes apparent between these two psyches both as they understand the intentions of the other and as they view the unfolding scene. While on this level of free indirect discourse the attraction is reciprocal it is mobilised through an optics of desire that results in a phenomenology of fantasy wherein reality is rendered not only as two perspectives but as two scenes of reality. Further, the stylistics of free indirect discourse do more than render a disjunction of the perception of reality for they produce a fissure in the proposition of reality as predicated upon shared perception. Yet arising from these two scenes is a mutually acknowledged perception of affect as it joins Gerty and Bloom that is, moreover, separated from the emotive disconnection of which only the reader is aware. Emphasising the necessary incorporation of the other into the subjectivity of the fantasist, ‘Nausicaa’ foregrounds the irony of disconnection producing an affect postulated in fantasy. While Gerty can

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imagine a male sexuality and incorporate it into her romance, Bloom can similarly recover an imagined femininity and incorporate it into his philosophical pragmatics grounded in the corporeal. Neither discourse, however, can imagine the other except finally as an exteriorisation and extension of the internal self. Reading ‘Nausicaa’ as a text of pleasure rendered through the style of differential codes, the mid-way climax of the text comes with a scene of exhibitionism and voyeurism accompanied by a fireworks display that allows the diegesis and narration to metaphorically mimic the tumescence of the scene. Gerty achieves an outlet for her sublation by exhibiting herself to Bloom while watching the fireworks explode in the sky, leaning back so that he can see not only her legs but her underwear, ‘and she let him and she saw that he saw then it went so high it went out of sight a moment’ (ibid.: 300). Bloom masturbates to this peepshow which culminates in an orgasmic burst of fireworks and an ejaculation both literal and figurative: And then a rocket sprang and bang shot blind blank and O! then the Roman candle burst and it was like a sigh of O! and everyone cried O! O! in raptures and it gushed out of it a stream of rain gold hair threads and they shed and ah! they were all greeny dewy stars falling with golden, O so lovely! O, soft, sweet, soft! (ibid.)

This point of climax marks the zenith of the chapter and its volta from tumescence to detumescence in both form and content. The scene becomes literally anticlimactic, the turn marked by Bloom’s realisation that Gerty has composed herself so carefully in their erotic tableau to conceal what is now on show as she rises to go, walking slowly because ‘Tight boots? No. She’s lame. O!’ (ibid.: 301). From climax to fall, the orgasmic and subsequently prophylactic are mobilised in that ‘O’, which then moves into Bloom’s masturbatory fantasy as it ends in the staccato punctuation of his post-orgasmic monologue by a repeated ‘O’, followed by the coupling of an ‘Ah!’ that pierces the monologue on the page as the text moves from Gerty’s consciousness to that of Bloom (cf. ibid.: 301–3); echoing those in the fireworks passage, they provide a chiasmic counterpoint as the narrative moves into his interior monologue, rendered in the rhythm of the chapter as a detumescent quiescendo to mirror the climactic crescendo. The orgasm is thus the instance of narrative volta between rising and falling and the movement from bliss in the jouissance of orgasm to pleasure, ‘raptures’ to economy. Though affect speaks to rhythms of interrelation, it is Barthes’s suggestion of the rhythms, or ‘tmesis’ of reading, that is here analogous to this affective movement in the chapter and apposite to extrapolating a reading

­174     Maria-Daniella Dick of Ulysses predicated upon these conventions of form. Barthes suggests that a certain ‘diluted tmesis’ belongs to the classical text of pleasure, in which the texture of language is subordinate to a rhythm of reading whereby the reader chooses to privilege one part while neglecting another (1975: 10). It is in the very rhythm of reading that the classical novel can be identified, and a tmesis of reading in ‘Nausicaa’ identified with the pleasure of the text both literal – the tumescence and detumescence of orgasmic desire – and figurative – the rhythm of reading of the text of pleasure – is metonymic of an injunction to read Ulysses according to these rhythms as the classic novel; in fact, this method of reading, in which parts are skipped and attention given to the whole rather than the texture, is what underlies the reading of Ulysses that figures it as a novel of the everyday and everyman in which attention should be paid to its broad heart and not to its modernist form. Politically this reading produces Ulysses as a continuation of the realist novel made hyperreal through formal innovation or ‘conventions’. The work of art remains mimetic in a hyperrealism that accommodates ontological and epistemological understandings of modernity as a fracturing of identity and communal perception, yet in this reading these effects remain recoverable to representation in their plenitude through form. This suggests that modernism is rationalised as a reactive discourse, but one which remains on a philosophical continuum with realism; it requires form to be figured as only a stylistics, one that ultimately supports a modernist mimesis of the interior life. If read on the level of formal expression through innovative technique of an anterior and non-representable affect, then Ulysses is produced in Barthes’s terms as a classical novel of pleasure that becomes a document of the process of modernity, reduced as completed form of that process by virtue of understanding its writing as a set of formal conventions. These conventions can then only be the form of an essentially non-semiotic lived experience reduced to meaning through signification. Though their dual discourses are irreconcilable, Bloom and Gerty have apparently shared an affective experience in that a mutual perception of force has arisen between them and forged their interconnection, leading Bloom to observe that, though there has been no verbal intercourse between him and Gerty, ‘still it was a kind of language between us’ (Joyce 1986: 305). Affect here remains, however, on the level of mimesis as irrecoverable to its experience within the text, conceived as the ineffable presence of lived experience. Free indirect discourse represents and thus absents (within its own predicates) a postulation of consciousness as self-present and affect as it is produced from consciousness, or thought as feeling. When it is articulated by Bloom, his acknowledgment of it as a ‘kind of language between us’ places affect

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outside language in that the qualification implies a transcendence of language. Affect is therefore protected as an extra-linguistic space, in the sense that language conceived as a system of signification is taken to imply fixed meaning. It is reserved as an interstitial excess where communication bypasses signification. This ‘kind of language’ of affect is created as a presence that simultaneously reserves itself as presence and posits language as both fixed form and an historical product of process. Where it is articulated, the vehicle of the work of art encodes the pleasures of the text to produce the text as one of pleasure, through which it becomes an emergent form of a modernist affect conceived in humanistic terms; as such, the text serves as a redemption of the times, a literary testament to the possibilities of humanism in modernity. In this sense, it offers through the stylistic code of the classical novel a humanist hope for modernity that, even if connection of consciousness is inaccessible, there can be a communality in structures of feeling, interrelation in affect. This accords with the popular view of Ulysses as a novel of the communal everyday and everyman, in which form is effaced as a stylistics delivering and simultaneously transcended by content. Williams’s hypothesis might then connect to, and help us to understand, this reading as it posits the novel as a fixed formation of modernity as a structure of feeling, articulated and thus reduced from that experience but offering through the hypermimesis of its technical conventions a view of humanist interconnection in a period of ontological and epistemological crisis. As such, Ulysses becomes a product that is a metonymic of a redemptive politics of writing. I wish to argue that this is in fact metonymic not of a politics of writing but one of reading. This reading is challenged in the moment of orgasm, where ‘Nausicaa’ presents an alternative version of the text that would also allow us to interrogate the politics of affect. In the instance of climax, diegesis is separated from language and the text and its edges separated, opening pleasure on the one seam, bliss on the other. The moment of jouissance in diegesis is stylistically expressed in free indirect discourse. If this is figured as Williams’s ‘convention’ and read according to Barthes’s codes, it separates the fundamentally mimetic and therefore economic pleasure of the text on one hand from the expression of its content, which is the literal moment of bliss. As such, the text cleaves to the code of the classical novel by fixing experience in reduced form, producing itself as the form of that reduction. However, what ‘Nausicaa’ shows us is the fundamentally ideological function of such a reading: by separating form from content, plaisir from jouissance, it reveals the predication of that reading upon a subordination of literature to an exterior lived reality. This is the ‘bloom-space’ wherein affect is represented,

­176     Maria-Daniella Dick its presence as presence conserved in that distinction. If, however, the language of Ulysses is not reserved to the domain of stylistic convention, one can argue that the moment of literal jouissance is coterminous with that of textual jouissance. Rather than a formal convention fixing a lived reality, it is a modernist literariness that evinces a crisis in language through which all other crises, ontological and epistemological, are figured. By proposing a view on language that is coextensive with its form, Ulysses posits language as an ‘ever-processual materiality’; as such, its form cannot be relegated to a temporal posterior of a lived reality that it structures and reduces.5 By moving from a mimetic work of art to a literary text that postulates a philosophy of language that it also enacts, Ulysses emerges as the text of bliss. This challenges the theorisation of affect, from Williams to Massumi to Grossberg, as it is predicated as non-significatory in contradistinction to the fixed meaning of language. If semiosis does not fix meaning – if, in fact, meaning itself is made irreducibly plural through semiosis – then the distinction does not hold. Bloom’s monologue echoes and re-echoes with phrases from across Ulysses and its characters, entering into the drift of jouissance. By positing a reality experienced phenomenologically, in which the experiencing psyche is also linguistically constituted, Joyce postulates a view of modernity whereby connections are effected and commonality privileged despite a fundamental evacuation of communal reality. Instead, such connections as are made are always demonstrated through intertextual rendering of perception, where that intertextuality simultaneously emphasises the poignancy of fragmentation and the dependency of connection. Rather than a humanist perspective that would ultimately vaunt this connection as the supervening totality of human experience, in Joyce we see an insistence on difference instead of the formalisation of a spiritual triumph. The network of linguistic connections is not a formal mimesis of human interconnectivity but a differential trace of the linguistically constructed psyche in lived reality by which we are connected, and connect, through the iteration of language. If consciousness has no presence outside the language that shapes it and thus removes it from presence conceived as identical self-presence, the writing of ‘Nausicaa’ cannot be conceived as technique or convention expressive of a prior and external truth that is then removed from presence in writing. As ‘Nausicaa’ floats in and out of the writing of Ulysses, in and out of consciousness, the permeability between consciousnesses as an effect of signification both within the text and as a principle is conceived from this anterior trace that also separates it from a humanist reading. The text, and modernism more widely, ceases to be an historicised articula-

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tion of process; it is, to use Barthes’s phrase, a material ‘ribbon of infralanguage’, a perpetual process, and the text of jouissance deconstructs the opposition between form and affect and the bracketing of ideology held therein (1975: 7). Free indirect discourse and interior monologue therefore also cease to be ‘conventions’ as they do not express and reduce a prior self-presence, and so the distinction between posterior form and anterior content held in the mimetic relation dissolves. By virtue of its play of codes, according to which variant scenes and exegeses thereof are produced, ‘Nausicaa’ becomes an onanistic abyss of interpretation wherein the masturbatory or self-directed impulse variously offers an interpretation of the chapter as literal, figurative, perspectival or self-reflexive fantasy. The grounds of the signified are evacuated as these psychic scenes coincide but are not hierarchised; there is no exterior code that would establish a stable foundation for the encounter by privileging one fantasy, perspective and reading. It could, moreover, be argued that the chapter in fact only builds to its climax at its very ending. As he closes his eyes and rests upon the rock at the end of ‘Nausicaa’, Bloom’s space of affect becomes a dreamed inner monologue combining Gerty’s nakedness and Molly’s encounters, a reverie of mimetic desire in which her language mingles with his. The narrative perspective then widens in scope to a final reckoning of the scene through free indirect discourse that draws its elements together and presents first Bloom, and then Gerty, in their final thoughts: A bat flew. Here. There. Here. Far in the grey a bell chimed. Mr Bloom with open mouth, his left boot sanded sideways, leaned, breathed. Just for a few Cuckoo Cuckoo Cuckoo. The clock on the mantelpiece in the priests’ house cooed where Canon O’Hanlon and Father Conroy and the reverend John Hughes S. J. were taking tea and sodabread and butter and fried mutton chops with catsup and talking about Cuckoo Cuckoo Cuckoo. because it was a little canarybird that came out of its little house to tell the time that Gerty MacDowell noticed the time she was there because she was as quick as anything about a thing like that, was Gerty MacDowell, and she noticed at once that that foreign gentleman that was sitting on the rocks looking was Cuckoo Cuckoo Cuckoo. (Joyce 1986: 313)

­178     Maria-Daniella Dick Joyce here voids the stability of our understanding of the chapter and forces us to revisit our reading from these final lines in which we are invited to supply the narrator’s lacuna with the intervening Cuckoo, eliding the curtailed free indirect discourse with the literal interjection to gain an insight into Gerty’s perception of Bloom. The dismissal of Bloom, suggested as the perspective of Gerty, adds a final scene that upsets all those that have come before, retrospectively undermining the veracity of her inner life as it has been presented through the relationship between consciousness and technique. Doubling the orgasmic ‘O’, the repeated ‘oo’ of cuckoo is a multiple climax of the signifier, a jouissance wherein the text reaches its blissful climax in loss. No longer the ‘foreigner’ of Gerty’s fantasy, Bloom’s position and, more significantly, his perspective, are cast into doubt. So too is the formalism of the chapter: though each vignette appears realist, their combination in light of these last lines removes not only the certitude of an external reality but also the principle of that reality. In this it is very subtle, for it does not enter into formal play obviously but through the conventions of realism; by appearing to be hyperrealist it mocks realist form. ‘Nausicaa’ evacuates the grounds of the final signified, eschewing the conventions of literature for the jouissance of pure textuality and rejecting the corollary between diegesis and narration so that the multiple scenes produced from the text might coincide but none offer the perspective from which a rendering of ‘truth’ might be accessed. As such, an exterior of fantasy cannot emerge through which the scenes would resolve into a hierarchy of meaning. The concept of truth predicated upon an exterior reality of lived quotidian experience is displaced in signification, and it in turn displaces the relation of text as form to that experience. Finally, the affect between Gerty and Bloom is shown to be ‘some kind of language’ between them, subject to misinterpretation of the affective experience. If it is in this sense something to be interpreted, and open to the possibility of misinterpretation, the implication that affect is received in and as its own plenitude is undermined. Massumi establishes the affective in a gap between content and effect, where the content of an image is ‘its indexing to conventional meanings in an intersubjective context, its sociolinguistic qualification’ and the effect its ‘intensity’ (1995: 84–5). This intensity is synonymous with affect, which is in turn separate from the ‘form of content – signification as a conventional system of distinct difference’ (ibid.: 85). This positing of affect does not acknowledge that différance, as conceived by Derrida, temporally separates the presence of the present necessary to ‘fix’ distinction. In order to produce a reading of affect as a phenomenon the theorising of which is posited as an intellectual and disciplinary watershed, that reading must

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resort to a structuralist understanding of language – wherein difference is spatial but not temporal – in order to mark an ‘affective turn’ that simultaneously purports to be the future of theory through that break from language. Massumi postulates the difference between form and content, intensity and effect as that between a line of expectation or ‘narrative continuity’ and an excess of that expectation, a disruption of the line and entrance into non-linear temporality (ibid.). However, the trace, as defined by Derrida, is ‘this constitution of the present, as an “originary” and irreducibly nonsimple . . . synthesis of marks, or traces of retention and protentions . . . that I propose to call archi-writing, archi-trace, or différance’ (1982: 13). The trace is the originary disruption of what Massumi calls ‘meaningful sequencing’, and it is the non-narratable mark from which the disruption of the ‘line of narrative continuity’ takes place (1995: 85). Massumi’s claim avoids binarism by not opposing language to intensity; rather, ‘it would seem to function differentially in relation to it’ (ibid.: 86). This places intensity within a realm outside of signification, but to reserve intensity in this way is to think difference on the basis of presence. If one cannot be outside writing in general, the claim that affect its outside of signification is untenable; rather, it is elevated to the position of a transcendental signified. My claim is that intensity, or affect, can only function differentially through the archiwriting of the trace, which disrupts all structure identified as such with self-presence. If affect is non-semiotic or non-narratable, it is as an effect of that difference which produces presence and is prior to it, rather than in opposition to a reduction of the ‘livable’ presence of the everyday in the formed literary work. Insofar as affect evades meaning, it does so not because it occupies a space protected from systems of meaning, but because it is produced from the differential trace that replaces the concept of a unitary signified meaning with plurality. The interstitial does not arise as such through a protection from the trace; rather it arises, as such, from the trace. Affect cannot be fixed in form and defined as non-significatory through its removal from that fixation since the literary form in which it would be fixed is representative of and subject to the same process that produces affect, namely the process of the trace. Its excess is thus better conceived as a plurality arising from the trace that undoes all structure than a plenitude. To employ Barthesian terms, the constitution of content from form undoes the historical subject and marks the emergence of the new subject of modernity. I wish to conclude that ‘Nausicaa’ is a bloom-space not only for the reading of affect but for the state of theory. In the discipline of theory as of literature, affect theory is synonymous with both the new and the continuation of theory, a view that has become, if not its definition, then

­180     Maria-Daniella Dick at least a universal perception. The temporality that constructs affect is also indicative of the temporality of theory in this regard, whereby the future of theory is figured by a break with the historicised past of poststructuralism; writing of the image, Massumi states that Approaches to the image in its relation to language are incomplete if they operate only on the semantic or semiotic level, however that level is defined (linguistically, logically, narratologicaly, ideologically, or all of these in combination, as a Symbolic). What they lose, precisely, is the expression event – in favour of structure. Much could be gained by integrating the dimension of intensity into cultural theory. The stakes are the new. (1995: 87, my emphasis)

It is worth noting that Derrida refers to the ‘event’ of deconstruction, as the inadmissibility of the trace for affect poses the ‘new’ as a problematic inherent to thinking affect and its discourse (1991: 273). Massumi presents this as a linguistic challenge, arguing that ‘our entire vocabulary has derived from theories of signification that are still wedded to structure even across irreconcilable differences (the divorce proceedings of post-structuralism: terminable or interminable?)’ (1995: 88). This inadvertently touches upon the crux of the issue, in that post-structuralism cannot be conceived as a break or ‘divorce’ from structuralism, being, instead, the maintained closure of an epoch of metaphysical philosophy that cannot, in order for post-structuralism to sustain its precepts, be closed or figured as such a closure. Rather than conceiving itself as the beginning or ‘new’ in relation to that which has ended, Derrida is careful in Of Grammatology to say why this cannot be the case; he announces the ‘end of the book and the beginning of writing’ as an infinite opening rather than an epochal shift, for to predicate post-structuralism upon such a break would re-enter it into metaphysics through the temporal structure that registers the ‘here and now’ as a temporal and spatial indivisibility constituted by an interval from that which was – the past – and that which is yet to be.6 This is the bind of affect theory: by announcing itself as the new then being inherently identified as such through its construction of the ‘linguistic turn’ and subsequent relegation of the latter to an historical past, it re-enters the logic of structure and its epoch through that temporality. While Williams’s teleological perspective predicates ‘structures of feeling’ upon this temporal division and invests in the ‘here and now’ of lived presence, Massumi appears to acknowledge the work of différance; however, this is only as part of a privileging of science that opposes affective states to their narrative registration and on the basis of which he sequesters affect from signification, concluding that ‘the skin is faster than the word’ (1995: 86). The location of difference in an alter realm to language re-enters into the suppression of writing rather than

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acknowledge that the ineffability of the trace precedes the ineffability of any presence, including that of affect. Affect is constituted, I argue, from that which affect theory disavows, in a deliberate turn that returns theory to the structure and era it is attempting to leave in that disavowal. Gregg and Seigworth are correct that there is no ‘pure’ or ‘originary’ state for affect, but affect theory resists definition within its own precepts because it places its content outside of language. In the end, the definition of affect is not extralinguistic but a linguistic issue. Massumi notably writes that there is no ‘vocabulary specific to affect’ (ibid.: 88), but it might instead be suggested that, as it is predicated upon a preconception of language, its conceptual lexicon is a metaphysical vocabulary for the twenty-first century and subject to analysis of its own process. It is in fact affect theory that is ‘wedded to structure’ through its relation to signification. And yet as Barthes writes, ‘I cannot cleanse the word “pleasure” of meanings I occasionally do not want’ (1975: 19). The ambiguity of affect arises not outside of signification but as a result of it: in the resistance of meaning to being fixed, affect emerges in and from the trace that divides meaning from proper self-identical presence in the signified. The excess of affect cannot be held in protection as if this operation did not always already happen in writing, as if the excess did not already arrive as something irrecoverable – even to language – but not reserved from the operation of language, a principle of plurality located in and deriving from the trace. Rather than being the received form of a lived process in solution, the affective form of the modernist text opens a reading of affect theory and its investments held in relationship to literature. To materialise affect, Massumi proposes it as an ethics in distinction to the ‘solipsism’ of ‘social constructivism’, which, he argues, in its worst forms, suggests not only that nature is discursively constructed but that it is ‘in discourse’ so that ‘nature appears as immanent to culture’ (1995: 100). The popularity of affect theory speaks to this rejuvenation of the nature–culture divide; in a sense, it has been made prominent by a collective affect within the humanities which takes the form of a disciplinary anxiety in both literature and theory. Like affect theory, which arises from it, this anxiety is based in the epochal perspective, producing a rhythm of trend and inevitable turn. I would venture that this perspective is corrosive in that it undermines the epistemological claims of literature and theory; rather than knowledge to be incorporated and challenged, theory becomes a competition of discourses always implicitly subordinate to epistemologies and disciplines from which it is excluded. Affect theory offers a tacit alleviation of this anxiety in its positing as praxis, but if a reading of Joyce returns us through literature

­182     Maria-Daniella Dick – more specifically, to a philosophy of language held in the literariness of the text – to the commission of modernism and theory not only to analyse but to act in the world, then it also forces an examination of the investment in the affective turn in its relegation of signification to an historical past. This relocates the grounds of the material and ethical in a depoliticisation of language, but also of theory. In his last ever interview Derrida referred to the philosophy of his generation as ‘an ethos of writing and of thinking’ (2007: 27). The duality therein signifies both an ethos of writing and a situation of ethics within signification. While affect theory is undoubtedly linked to late capitalism, as Massumi argues, it reserves ethics through a recourse to the extra-linguistic. Its quality of non-representation does not arise by virtue of an excess structured by the trace of différance but from a temporal structuration that circumvents that originary division to posit affect as a temporal disjunction wherein the excessive ‘not yet’ is figured as temporal and spatial plenitude. However, as Derrida insists, reading ‘cannot legitimately transgress the text towards something other than it . . . toward a signified outside the text whose content could take place, could have taken place outside of language, that is to say, in the sense that we give here to that word, outside of writing in general’ (1997: 158). While the ‘affective turn’ purports to relegate the ‘linguistic turn’, poststructuralism has already argued the fallacy of that break and indicated the implicit view of history that underlies it. As Massumi writes, affect ‘is a real condition, an intrinsic variable of the late-capitalist system’, but affect theory as it is perceived could be suggested to be a symptom of late capitalism in its recourse to an historical temporality renewed through fissure that finds its culmination in the end of history (1995: 106). The philosophy of language is necessary to a resistance of late capitalism as it proffers a view of history and also as that view constructs theory as a site of resistance: rather than the continuation and future of theory being constituted by a series of fractures, its continuation is provided for through an ordering based not on this metaphysical turn from old to new but on an infinite opening of each closure through which the future of theory could be conceived, and its opening onto the future. Whether we view Ulysses as the text of pleasure or that of bliss depends on our view of literature and of language at this juncture of the twentyfirst century. This perception essentially extends to history, whether we enter back into a structural view of history or believe that the ‘linguistic turn’ constructs an opening that cannot then be closed. If the difference between pleasure and bliss is only of degree, then the text produces a ‘pacified’ history because the text of bliss is ‘merely the logical, organic, historical development of the text of pleasure: the avant-garde is never

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anything but the progressive, emancipated form of past culture’ (Barthes 1975: 20). If, as I have argued, Ulysses as the modernist text is different in kind and not only in degree from the mimetic function of literature as proffered in the nineteenth-century novel, the reading of literature opens up the question of a misprision of language and its wider humanist investments. As Barthes suggests, on the difference ‘depends the way in which we shall write the history of our modernity’ (ibid.).

Notes 1. See Seigworth and Gregg 2010: 7. 2. To paraphrase Charles Baudelaire on modernity: ‘the transient, the fleeting, the contingent’ (1972: 403). 3. Free indirect discourse in Joyce is the subject of Hugh Kenner’s Joyce’s Voices, where it is famously dubbed ‘The Uncle Charles Principle’ (2007: 15–38). 4. See Appendix A: ‘The Gilbert and Linati Schema’ in Joyce 1993: 735. 5. Cf. Gregg and Seigworth’s ‘affective bloom-space of an ever-processual materiality’ (2010: 9). 6. ‘The unity of all that allows itself to be attempted today through the most diverse concepts of science and of writing, is, in principle, more or less covertly yet always, determined by an historico-metaphysical epoch of which we merely glimpse the closure I do not say the end’ (Derrida 1997: 4).

References Barthes, Roland (1975), The Pleasure of the Text, trans. Richard Miller, New York: Hill and Wang. Baudelaire, Charles (1972), Baudelaire: Selected Writings on Art and Artists, trans. P. E. Charvet, Harmondsworth: Penguin. Derrida, Jacques (1982), Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. — (1991), ‘Letter to a Japanese friend’, in A Derrida Reader: Between The Blinds, ed. Peggy Kamuf, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 269–77. — (1997), Of Grammatology, corrected edn, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. — (2007), Learning to Live Finally: The Last Interview, interview with Jean Birnbaum, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. Grossberg, Lawrence (2010), ‘Affect’s future: rediscovering the virtual in the actual’ in Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, pp. 309–38. Joyce, James [1922] (1986), Ulysses, ed. Hans Walter Gabler et al., London: The Bodley Head. — [1922] (1993), Ulysses, ed. Jeri Johnson, Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics.

­184     Maria-Daniella Dick — (1966), Letters of James Joyce, ed. Stuart Gilbert, New York: Viking, vol. 1, reissue with corrections. Kenner, Hugh (2007), Joyce’s Voices, London: Dalkey Archive Press. Massumi, Brian (1995), ‘The autonomy of affect’, Cultural Critique 31 (Fall): 83–109. Seigworth, Gregory J. and Melissa Gregg (eds) (2010), The Affect Theory Reader, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. Williams, Raymond (1977), Marxism and Literature, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 10

From Odysseus to Rotpeter: Adorno and Kafka, Mimicry and Happiness Doug Haynes The happiness of thought, the promise of its truth, lies in sublimity alone. (Adorno 1996: 364)

Tales of Brave Odysseus Despite his location in antiquity, for Adorno and Horkheimer, in Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), Odysseus is the ur-figure of the modern bourgeois: the archetypical middle-man who uses contracts and cunning to outwit and differentiate himself from nature but who relinquishes primal happiness as the price of doing so. Indeed, in Dialectic of Enlightenment, Odysseus sounds from the depths of the epic poem to tell us how Western civilisation is faring today; his expert grip on life, achieved by renouncing its sweeter fruits, favours a reality principle over a pleasurable one and a compromised existence over a life led more dangerously. In contrast to, say, Hegel’s lord from the Phenomenology, who gains his power by showing in battle that he is fearless for himself – ‘not attached to life’, in Hegel’s expression – the risk-averse Odysseus is tightly wedded to self-preservation, a tendency that, for Adorno and Horkheimer (somewhat in the spirit of Nietzsche and Freud), is key to his rejection of happiness (1977: 113). As I will discuss, happiness, for Adorno, always seems to involve openness to alterity, not smug self-control or palliative amusement; arguably, Odysseus’s smooth selfreproduction resembles that of the machine, balancing repetition with growth, Thanatos with Eros, and novelty with habit. Such impressive productivity, however, requires actual labour. And discussing the troubled genealogy of the self, the writers of Dialectic of Enlightenment tell us that ‘the strain of holding the I together adheres to the I in all stages; and the temptation to lose it has always been there with the blind determination to maintain it’ (Adorno and Horkheimer

­186     Doug Haynes 1995: 33). Lisa Yun Lee notes that the rowing sailors in Adorno and Horkheimer’s account of Homer represent the appropriated body of the worker (2005: 3); the strain that Odysseus as overseer feels thus gathers up the whole structure of the division of labour. As the placeholder at the social apex, it falls to him to be the figure of and under control. But his role is precarious. Alongside the social imperative for forward movement and ironclad self-cohesion, the ego yearns constantly to fall back into the primal soup, as Freud suggested too in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). Happiness is in a sense deathful. The resistance to death, or to the loss of a barrier between ‘oneself and other life’, as Adorno and Horkheimer put it, ‘is intimately associated with a promise of happiness which threatened civilization in every moment . . . The mind of Odysseus, inimical both to his own death and to his own happiness is aware of this’ (1995: 34). Any lure of ‘other life’ tempting civilisation to dissolution has no place in the rigid lifeworld of Enlightenment. Odysseus’s tricks on nature must thus enact a positive repression of the possibility of death or deathliness, turning it into something else. Following the grain of Adorno and Horkheimer’s thought, we might read Odysseus’s sublimation of the threatening otherness of death as a means to articulate a more general resistance to epistemological heterogeneity. The death that must be resisted is like a disruptive little death. Adorno and Horkheimer call it both ‘narcotic intoxication’ and ‘deathlike sleep’, thinking ahead to the lotus-eaters of the narrative. These states are imagined deaths, erotically ‘surviving the self’, miming the breach of the carapace of selfhood – the ego that throws its energies into self-reproduction – and speculatively projecting the latter into a more direct relation with the object-world. Here is conjured a subject shorn of identitarian thinking and reliance on the tautology of the concept, suggesting a very different kind of ‘mimesis unto death’ from the one Adorno and Horkheimer see in Odysseus’s adaption to the lifeless Enlightenment ratio (ibid.: 34, 57).1 Perhaps there is even something of the romantic Liebestod, or lovedeath, in the speculative death-figure menacing civilisation: a stab at reconciliation with what the latter cuts out; an affect far removed from one of Odysseus’s calculations.2 One thinks of Kafka’s Gracchus, the hunter cheated of death, so important to Adorno. Harold Bloom’s comment works well here: ‘how admirable Gracchus is, even when compared to the Homeric heroes!’, he writes: They know, or think they know, that to be alive, however miserable, is preferable to being the foremost among the dead. But Gracchus wished only to be himself, happy to be a hunter when alive, joyful to be a corpse when dead: ‘I slipped into my winding sheet like a girl into her marriage dress’ (1986, 6).

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All of which sounds very dangerous. And as is well known, Adorno turns to aesthetic experience as the only possible scene in which, as the epigraph to this chapter reminds us, thought can confront alterity and so find its truth and happiness. Simply put, sublimated in the contemplation of particular kinds of (especially modernist, autonomous) artwork, the mediated subject is powerfully drawn out of itself and into the ambit of equally mediated historico-cultural objects that, as art-objects, retain their quiddity. Constellated thus, the subject can no longer retain its old configuration: as Roger Foster suggests, Adorno describes the aesthetic experience of the dissolution of the self as Glück (happiness). This feeling cannot be rooted in the subject’s capacity to assimilate experience; rather, it anticipates the possibility of experience that would be free of the diremption of subject and object. (2013: 189)

In aesthetic experience, a truer world is intimated, no longer in the thrall of blind rationality and exchange, nor endlessly identical with the machine-like subject, miming machine-life. Absorption in the austerity of the aesthetic work adds up to a form of happiness, even hope, as well as surely and equally a type of shock. But still the question of how this experience, which is an analogue of the sparagmos described above, can be aligned to happiness seems worth pursuing. After all, the Glück factor Adorno attributes to aesthetic knowledge is a somewhat negative, bracing one, very much requiring the cold comfort of truth in order to be bearable: remember, the artwork demands that the subject looses from his/her moorings entirely. In his (abandoned) ‘Draft Introduction to Aesthetic Theory’, for example, Adorno tells us that aesthetic experience ‘breaks through the spell of obstinate self-preservation; it is the model of a stage of consciousness in which the I no longer has its happiness in its interests or, ultimately, in its reproduction’, a profound dislocation of feeling away from the self (1997a: 346). Later in the same text, the same stage of consciousness reveals itself in terms of bodily feeling: as a ‘shudder’, which seems to suggest the flesh itself being pulled toward another. This redistribution of the chilly affect of self-management to a chilly, alien identification with otherness is warmed up in Michael Taussig’s account of mimesis, or mimicry. For Taussig, identification with the other is analogous to the infant ego’s desire to become the maternal Other, an insight, equally, of Adorno and of Walter Benjamin (1993: 35–6).3 As with the sympathetic magic of Dialectic of Enlightenment, Taussig regards the Aristotelian pleasure of mimetic identification as central and basic to the formation of reason itself, prior to the latter’s more complete instrumentalisation. For the present, though, I want to

­188     Doug Haynes argue that the figure of death-as-alterity in Adorno and Horkheimer reveals another affective contradiction in enlightened thought, and so threatens civilisation anew, this time through its unworking of linear temporality. Poetically, Freud, in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, presents life as a ‘detour’ on its way to a death that was always there, ‘immanent in the organism’, exerting its centripetal/centrifugal pull towards release, like the promise of morphine (1974: 33). He allows us to imagine death as a kind of memory back to or towards which we are heading but which haunts us en route as well: an eccentric temporal movement and a passage to a prior state: ‘the aim of all life is death’, Freud says (ibid.: 32). ‘In every moment’, add Adorno and Horkheimer (1995: 34). Of course, Odysseus is much opposed to any such thing. Trickily, he overcomes the natural world exactly through the rationalisation of time. The way he both enjoys and renounces the Sirens’ song, for example, involves a flattening, as it were, of temporal dimension. That song, we are told, tells of ‘everything that ever happened on this so fruitful earth’, a spell in the thrall of which any passing sailor will hit the rocks (ibid.: 33). The music beguiles its listener with a vision of the past as something other than the deadening ‘practicable knowledge’ of Enlightenment, or history as the mere ‘material of progress’; it sings, rather, of a past that can be rescued (ibid.: 32). Bound to the mast, Odysseus enjoys the song’s beauty but resists its danger and an immersion in the oceanic temporality outside the ‘fixed order of time’ he inhabits. He excises the ‘incommensurable’ aspect of the Sirens’ performance: their exorbitant claim on his selfhood (ibid.: 12). Breaking from classical time, Odysseus maintains himself by dividing the past from the present and future. As the ‘mind’ of modern industrial civilisation (disguised as an ancient Greek), he renders himself impervious to the claims upon the present made by the past: claims which, in the strange phylogenesis of Dialectic of Enlightenment, are for a magicised nature as well as the suffering victims of history who find themselves in the same trashcan too.4 In his essay on Kafka in Prisms, we might note, Adorno says of modern society: ‘its waste-products become pre-historical’ (1997b: 260). Odysseus’s narrative exemplifies exactly the deadened conditions of modern life. Not only are the pleasures of such life inseparable from its privileges (Odysseus listens while his crew rows; the cries of the dead become mere ornament) but also its dependence on modes of exchange (the tricks Odysseus plays) empties it of much of its potential for fulfilment, reducing what pleasures it can deliver to those of a second order. But really, for that text, and for Adorno elsewhere, whatever conceptions of pleasure and happiness are possible within damaged life – either

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as part of that life or after it has been superseded – will always involve an engagement with the kind of temporality we find with the Sirens. Odysseus’s drive towards self-preservation, or futural consciousness, necessarily sifts out what will be painful to it: the claims of the other, despite the immanent potential this might have for a truer happiness. As Peter Osborne eloquently puts it: The speculative projection of the future, as the basis for a totalised knowledge of the past and present through which that future might be reached, acts as a form of redemption that obliterates those historical events which are not gathered up by its totalising gaze, whilst denying the moment of absolute otherness inherent in its temporal distance from those which are recalled: that moment of otherness which ineluctably associates the passage of time with death. (1995: 42–3)

Hence the survival of the Odyssean self as I have described it is intrinsically bound up with amnesia about previous generations. Odysseus represses it all (his ‘mind’, we might recall, ‘is aware of this’, yet he somehow isn’t). Furthermore, the claims of the past are made precisely against the all-consuming mesh of Enlightenment; they emanate from some prior place of nature and a place of happiness, as we shall see. But where is nature, exactly? Alistair Morgan points out that writers like Bernstein and Whitebrook read a naturalist, even vitalist tendency in Adorno’s philosophy, a Lebensphilosophie privileging a prior nature over culture, and instinct over ego (2007: 20–2). Against such an essentialist view of the writer, perhaps we might seek a notion of happiness in Adorno’s thought that avoids recourse to simple naturalism, turning to what we might think of as his dialectical lapsarianism. Adorno’s best-known presentation of redemptive consciousness is futural: ‘Perspectives must be fashioned that displace and estrange the world, reveal it to be, with its rifts and crevices, as indigent and distorted as it will appear one day in the messianic light’ runs the end of Minima Moralia, an apology for the practice of immanent critique (1993: 247). Yet an earlier aphorism there shows just such a perspective fashioned as a kind of edenic return. Against the imperatives of technical progress and growth – the busy modern mode he amusingly dubs ‘chubby insatiability’ – Adorno borrows a phrase from Maupassant to wonder if lying on water and looking peacefully at the sky, ‘being, nothing else, without any other further definition and fulfilment,’ might take the place of process, act, satisfaction, and so truly keep the promise of dialectical logic that it would culminate in its origin. (ibid.: 157)

Certainly there is a tendency throughout Minima Moralia to regard all modernisation as further reification. But this description of a logic

­190     Doug Haynes that ends in its own origin signals something sharper: a correspondence between the poles of instinct and culture, between something like prehuman animal pleasure – this sublime happiness is ‘faire rien comme une bête’, notes Adorno – and a more advanced, if indolent, species of pleasure that might be possible after the disappearance of the deadening routines of un-emancipated capitalism.5 A similar notion of the profound connection between beginnings and endings can be found in Hegel’s well-known comments from the introduction to the Science of Logic. ‘What constitutes the beginning, because it is something still undeveloped and empty of content, is not yet truly known at that beginning’, he writes. Science, he adds, is ‘the completed cognition of it, replete with content and finally truly grounded’ (Hegel 2010: 49). More germane for the present discussion, he goes on to say that an analysis of the beginning would thus yield the concept of the unity of being and non-being . . . or of the identity of identity and non-identity. This concept could be regarded as the first, purest, that is, most abstract, definition of the absolute . . . In this sense, just as such an abstract concept would be the first definition of the absolute, so all further determinations and developments would be only more determinate and richer definitions of it. (ibid.: 51–2)

Although wrought with conceptual twists, Hegel implies that origins become such only in their movement towards endings. The pristine nature of the beginning contains the essence of the end, but both can only be thought that way in the light of determinate content, upon which all definitions depend. The simple opposition between being and nothingness – the archetype of beginnings – for example, already presages an end. But such a beginning is also the retrospective simplification of the complex recognition of otherness involved in the identity of identity and non-identity we might think of as a more satisfying end, a distant telos. In Adorno’s aphorism above, I suggest, a chiasmatic relationship is likewise drawn between a state of nature as a beginning and a blissful, non-instrumental ‘being’ belonging to an enlightened sociality as an end, where the otherness of the others has fully been affirmed. Nature can only be imagined from the perspective of a fall, but, as the aphorism hints, and this chapter argues, nature, and the happiness it might contain, can only be realised as an origin from the perspective of a properly socialised reason (Hegel says ‘science’). Origins of this kind are fully installed post factum. So, happiness must be more than a successful adaptation to a bad life – a strategy Adorno accused Freud of endorsing, and which Herbert Marcuse charged the neo-Freudians of promoting too (Marcuse 1955:

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217–52). Neither does happiness re-emerge as an old, sublimated feeling from nature, discoverable ontogenetically in, say, Proust’s involuntary memory, or, more phylogenetically, as Freud suggests, in a return to an earlier, more natural human state. Rather, as Hegel’s model leads us to consider, such an experience or intuition of happiness is as much a lightning flash from the end of history as it is the recollection of a beginning. And as much as such a feeling might be a glimpse of a ‘redeemed’ existence, it is also, I argue, a corrosive or dialectically negative one, discontented with the status quo, wherein lies its power.

Animals The odd but compelling fragment on animals in Dialectic of Enlightenment – ‘Man and Animal’ – addresses this point. In it, the argument of the whole essay collection seems condensed, the contrast between animal and human life is drawn and the question of a pristine nature considered. The tragedy of the animal is its dumbness: its inability to speak, conceive thought, or arrest the flux of things and begin the work of the concept. Its condition – nature – far from unfathomable plenitude and the wellspring of joy is instead ‘the dismal emptiness of existence’ and requires the intervention of thought, reflection, or representation in order to be free: ‘If happiness is to materialize, bestowing death on existence, there must be . . . a concept’ (Adorno and Horkheimer 1995: 246). Thought kills, reason kills – as Hegel too noticed – but it kills a wasteland, not an Eden. The whole of Dialectic shows this point: reason is both fall and redemption; it is both loss and the only possible source of happiness. Life, then, does not spontaneously comprise, say, Aristotle’s eue¯meria as its bare minimum, or residual sweetness. In fact, unbarriered being in nature, such as suggested, for example, by Heidegger, is not so much utopian as terrifying to the writers of Dialectic of Enlightenment: ‘An animal answers to its name and has no self; it is shut up in itself and yet at the same time utterly exposed’, they note, and recall folk tales in which to be turned into an animal is damnation (ibid.: 246). How then to figure nature’s role in happiness? Perhaps when we are told that ‘only when seen for what it is, does nature become existence’s craving for peace’ do we get some sense of this (ibid.). Although the writers never do define nature for what it is, preferring to list what it isn’t – it’s not intrinsically good, as the ancients thought, neither is it noble, as averred by the romantics – for Adorno and Horkheimer, nature’s subversive potential is finally that it is ‘remembered’ (ibid.: 255).

­192     Doug Haynes This notion of remembrance is a rich one. Marcuse makes much of it in Eros and Civilization as a means to break the compulsion of narratives of progression and repression: ‘As cognition gives way to re-cognition, the forbidden images and impulses of childhood begin to tell the truth that reason denies’, he says (1955: 18). And Adorno and Horkheimer seem to have sympathy with these illuminations. The kind of remembrancing to which they refer, however, isn’t exactly that return of the repressed Marcuse envisages, though. Nor is it quite the Benjaminian rescue of the dead we discussed above. It resembles, rather, the acknowledgement of a ‘wound in which a thorn was once embedded’, which is how, at one point, they define the negative power of beauty (Adorno and Horkheimer 1997: 249). Nature is the object that enlightenment subsumes and then forgets. In total society, nature becomes the object obsessively displaced by more and more discipline, discernible only in the wounded distortions and contradictions of culture: the body that cannot speak, like an animal, and requires a voice for its suffering. It becomes almost the trace of something that never existed. Under these circumstances, it’s hard to imagine what a return to, or of nature could even look like.

A Report to an Academy A sense of nature as a negative, or immanent presence, alongside a notion of reason as unrealised or disingenuous, can be investigated in Franz Kafka’s 1917 short story ‘A Report to an Academy’. So too can the affective intertwinement of the two. Walter Sokel calls the story ‘a fictional analogue to Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment’, tracing in it the career of the ego-self from its traumatic breach of instinct to its adaptation to social life (2002: 268). I want to suggest that Kafka’s fiendishly overdetermined parable certainly does this but it also performs at least a double irony: it undercuts a notion of civilised reason with a countervailing image of freedom and nature, and vice versa, generating interference between the two. Kafka’s short story is located in fact precisely on that turbulent crossing point. Importantly, in ‘A Report’, the narrator is one of Kafka’s many animal protagonists: an ape. Adorno once noted that that there is ‘nothing so expressive as the eyes of animals – especially apes, which seem objectively to mourn that they are not human’, underlining those comments from Dialectic of Enlightenment about the animal locked up in itself (1997a: 113). The ape’s eye, eerily like our own, reflects the abyss between the creature of culture and that of nature. Defying the tragic dumbness of

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nature, however, Kafka’s animal does find a voice but only by taking on the voice of a human, with all the uncanniness such ventriloquism must involve. Is this a dead nature speaking? If Adorno means to see something of the objective in the eyes of the beast, Kafka rightly complicates this for us, sketching an asymmetrical relationship between human and animal in which it is not clear who is scrutinising whom. Shot and captured on Africa’s Gold Coast by the historically real Hagenbeck zoological company, which, as Nigel Rothfels details, trafficked also in ‘savage’ humans for European fairs (2002: 81–142), Kafka’s ape’s adoption of human speech and behaviour is, he says, ‘a way out, nothing more’ (Kafka 2005: 82). Living on his wits, the animal dodges a violent death, or a prospective fate as a zoo animal, by starting to speak. Rotpeter, or Red Peter, as he is called, detours into his voice in a crablike movement: a ‘slip off into the bushes’, as he puts it, from apedom to humanity (ibid.: 83).6 Now, from the very first words of Kafka’s story, he is deferentially addressing the Academy in a human voice, invited to speak there and provide an account of his life as an ape. This task, though, he ‘regretfully . . . cannot comply with’, since the animal in him was lost on that slippery way out (ibid.: 250). Here a kind of binarism is established wherein nature can never know itself – it can only be the deadened subject of the anthropocentric gaze. And as both subject and object of that gaze, the ape’s account is a curious, bifurcated one. So, despite not getting the monkey-talk it wants, the scientific Academy, acme of Enlightenment, nonetheless seems to get what it needs: confirmation of the profound difference between human and animal. It is spared what Adorno identifies as ‘the shiver of discomfort that comes over someone who has been made aware of his resemblance to an unknown relative’, a comment echoing the repression of filiality we saw in Odysseus (1997b: 253). Ever the diplomat, and (pr)offering the ‘frankness’ of the handshake that was his first lesson in humanity, a lesson in what Deleuze and Guattari would call his ‘territorialisation’, Rotpeter skilfully reassures the assembled academicians that their shared evolutionary lineage does not draw human and animal together – ‘your life as apes, gentlemen, insofar as something of that kind lies behind you, cannot be farther removed from you as mine is from me’ (Kafka 2005: 250). Rather, the ape’s hugely accelerated ‘development’ (ibid.: 258) (Corngold says ‘evolution’ [Kafka 2007: 83]) in the five years since his capture is presented in terms of a professional career (as a vaudeville artist! of which more later) and not at all as a Darwinian process, not that kind of time. By the end of the report, the ape’s mien – ‘I can’t complain, but neither am I satisfied’ – retains traces of social rather than simian climbing, and an all-too-bourgeois ennui (ibid.).

­194     Doug Haynes Indeed, much of the critical weight that has borne down on ‘A Report’ has tried to determine the exact quality of the ape’s way out. ‘No, it was not freedom I wanted. Just a way out; to the right, to the left, wherever’, Rotpeter announces, amongst many other enigmatic locutions (ibid.: 80). In which direction, then, is he headed? Really, he goes nowhere; as Deleuze and Guattari point out, he makes ‘a stationary flight, a flight of intensity’, by which they mean a move into a new condition, not out (1986: 13). Howard Caygill disagrees, citing Benjamin in the latter’s focus on exile in Kafka, and writing of the ape’s ‘renunciation of hope and its replacement by calm [and] exodus-exile’ from his native realm (2009: 143–4). Adorno, for his part, tells us that, in general, Kafka ‘drives through to the bare material existence that emerges in the subjective sphere through the total collapse of a submissive consciousness . . . The flight through man and beyond into the non-human – that is [his] epic course’ (1997b: 252). On these terms, Rotpeter staggers from one hell to another. Meanwhile, Michael Taussig entitles the introduction to his Mimesis and Alterity ‘A Report to an Academy’ and deftly renders the narrative of Kafka’s story as ‘the ape aping humanity’s aping’ (1993: xviii). Alongside these theories of the ape’s escape, we might note that Rotpeter’s way out, or lack of one, is in fact constituted in Kafka’s text precisely in terms of affect, or feeling. Recalling his horrific, even insane reactions to capture and cage: ‘hopelessly sobbing, painfully hunting for fleas, apathetically licking a cocoanut, beating my skull against the locker, sticking my tongue out at anyone who came near me’, the ape adds that ‘over and above it all only the one feeling: no way out’ (Kafka 2005: 252–3, 253, my emphasis). His overwhelming sense mixes quintessentially apish, animal distress with affects only associated with humans, like sobbing; indeed, even to stick out one’s tongue seems profoundly ambivalent, recalling both bestial organ display and a gesture towards imitation and linguistic signification; it’s unclear which side has priority. Continuing in the doubling spirit of the narrative, Rotpeter then throws doubt on the memory of this feeling: Of course what I felt then as an ape I can represent now only in human terms, and therefore I misrepresent it, but although I cannot reach back to the truth of the old ape life, there is no doubt that it lies somewhere in the direction I have indicated. (ibid.: 253)

Effaced by the act of speaking, his past apparently becomes primeval, inaccessible or distorted, again like the history Odysseus represses in Dialectic of Enlightenment. A new regime disposes of the old; the memories Rotpeter relates to the Academy begin really only after his

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immolation by the hunters: shot in the face and hip, he is anthropomorphised as Red Peter both because of the facial wound and in reference to an already well-known (and, again, historically real) performing ape called Peter, one that has already been territorialised. His wounded nature is the beginning of personhood. So the ape’s feeling that, over the course of the narrative, appears as a ‘calm’ or, for critic Jerry Zaslove, a laudable askesis preparatory for human-ness (2012: 35), and which later, as I suggest, turns into a nagging bourgeois ‘dissatisfaction’, starts, we should remember, with ‘the blissful howl of ignorance’ that first accompanies Rotpeter’s perception of a possible way out (Kafka 2005: 252). In Deleuze and Guatteri’s terms, this howl is an entirely unterritorialised affect – Rotpeter’s last as a pure ape, although clearly this purity is already in question. From here on in, as Sokel has argued, Kafka’s story, like Horkheimer and Adorno’s, is about the further production of a delimited Enlightenment self, much opposed to a nature that has become ‘synonymous with death . . . an illusion inimical to life’ (2002: 273). For Rotpeter, it is as a prisoner of Hagenbeck, an avatar of the European imperium, that, Sokel writes, ‘the self . . . writing the memoir was born’ (ibid.: 276). But for us, the story is about the production of nature too; just as the self is born in Enlightened self-interest, so too is nature as the latter’s antithesis and imagined primal ground. Happiness in the sense it has been discussed above, henceforth belongs ‘over there’ or ‘back there’, constituted as a lack: a plenitude that has become (or always was) a wary, renunciatory askesis.

Making a Monkey Although Kafka resisted the allegorisation of his work, the ape-tohuman shift in ‘A Report’ has been read in many ways, almost all incorporating a sense of what W. E. B. Du Bois called double consciousness, wherein one considers oneself through the gaze of a hostile other. Kafka’s story has been regarded as, variously, a comment on Jewish assimilation (Rubenstein 1968: 55–60); colonialism (see Caygill 2009: 132; Taussig 1993: xiii–xix) and immigration (Sokel 2002: 268–91). Taussig’s emphasis on multiple levels of aping, however, seems to hit the nail on the head. In ‘Franz Kafka: On the Tenth Anniversary of his Death’, Walter Benjamin suggested something similar: Kafka’s world is a world theatre. For him, man is on the stage from the very beginning . . . The law of this theatre is contained in a sentence tucked away

­196     Doug Haynes in ‘A Report to an Academy’: ‘I imitated people because I was looking for a way out, and no other reason’. (1992: 121)

Rotpeter’s central conversion narrative is certainly theatrical: the cruel sailors on the ship that carries him from Africa try to teach him how to drink schnapps. After some failed attempts at this activity, he succeeds. Draining and tossing the bottle aside ‘like an artist’, as the ape says, despite the disgust it causes him, ‘I shouted “Hello!,” broke out in human speech [and] with this cry leaped into the human community and felt its echo . . . like a kiss on my whole sweat-soaked body’ (Kafka 2007: 82). Becoming human is ambiguous: an ec-stasy and a felt recognition, achieved in the most humiliating circumstances. Margot Norris provides a Nietzschean reading of this. The ape’s way out of harm is to mimic the discourse of civilisation: for Nietzsche, the sheltering discourse of the weak. Norris thus accents the ‘supplementary nature of mimesis . . . the repetition of an absence rather than a presence, which appears not spontaneously, prompted by pleasure, as Aristotle suggests, but in response to the danger of a lack, a need, or a threat’ (1980: 1239). For her, Kafka, like Nietzsche, sees history, philosophy, art, science and religion, and so on, as merely ‘dramatic structures’, like the Academy itself, domesticating a life that should be driven by a will to power: life at its most affirmative and suprahuman. Hence her richly evocative notion of the mimesis of a lack. In this sense, the endangered ape steps sideways into human-ness, ‘camouflaging himself as a master’, for the same reasons most humans do: to get out of the line of fire (ibid.: 1246). Rotpeter has made a good job of it. Being a performing monkey pays, it seems, and we can make no mistake about the life he leads as a result: the ‘banquets’, the ‘learned societies’ and the ‘convivial occasions’ he attends; the ditzy (if disturbed) chimpanzee mistress that awaits him (Kafka 2007: 83). Norris’s argument catches the comic rhyme Kafka makes between the solemnity of the Academy, for whom Rotpeter is performing his report, and his area of expertise, vaudeville theatre, where, as a performer, he has become ‘secure to the point of being impregnable’ on the great stages of the ‘civilised world’ (ibid.: 77). In both, the ape trades freedom, unterritorialised living, and so on, for bourgeois life. This is the aping – to recall Taussig – that humans perform too. And in a key passage, Rotpeter openly tells the Academy (and the reader), that I could never have achieved what I have done had I been stubbornly set on clinging to my origins, to the remembrances of my youth. In fact, to give up being stubborn was the supreme commandment I laid upon myself; free ape as I was, I submitted myself to that yoke. In revenge, however, my memory of the past has closed the door against me more and more. (Kafka 2005: 250)

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So Rotpeter decides to do this to himself: he places the commandment upon himself and it swiftly erases his ape nature, perhaps any nature. The effort he makes is analogous to his address to the Academy, what Zaslove calls a negotiation with the ideology of the addressees. His selfcommand is to be tractable, to be presentable to the others in terms of their interests. And this very tractability is what allows the multivocity of the narration. His performance is not absolute self-effacement – a symbolic death – but a kind of cynicism, or cynical reason, in which the ape is honest about the necessity of the discipline to which he subjects himself, while silently that discipline necessarily reveals the ideology of its silent addressees: the Academy. Kafka’s story seems thus to illuminate less a generalised Nietzschean perspective than a dialectical engagement with entrenched social power. In other words, as I have already suggested, the role of the Academy, clearly signalled by, for example, the language of the colonial explorer adopted by Rotpeter (Caygill 2009: 132), is to present – or elicit the selfpresentation – of its ape-subject as specimen. Unsurprisingly, the talking specimen – the specimen with a double-consciousness – provides an unquantifiable, incommensurable surplus. He is acting as (in the sense of knowingly imitating) one of the Academy, and yet his imitation gives back more than is bargained-for. In this sense too, then, mimesis is supplementary: it addresses a lack on the part of the other. In the case of ‘A Report’, I suggest, what is missing from the Academy is self-­consciousness about its own inner motives and their origin in Enlightenment myth: Rotpeter’s play of identity is really a play of non-identity too. In their account of ‘A Report’, Deleuze and Guattari demonstrate something of this asymmetrical mimicry, alighting on the moment when Rotpeter’s energetic training in Hamburg unhinges his human teacher: The deterritorialized animal force precipitates and intensifies the deterritorialization of the deterritorializing human force (if we can express it that way). ‘My ape nature fled out of me, head over heels and away, so that my first teacher was almost himself turned into an ape [Corngold says ‘made a monkey of’ (83)] by it, had soon to give up teaching and was taken away to a mental hospital.’ (1986: 13)

For these writers, it is the teacher whose ape pupil is driving himself inhumanly hard who ‘becomes-animal’, counter-transfers and breaks from an Oedipally construed order. He ‘swerves’ into identifications and affects that are neither human nor Natural as such (Deleuze and Guattari 2012: 204). We see another example of this in Rotpeter’s mirth over the trapeze acrobats of vaudeville, ‘hung by the hair from the teeth

­198     Doug Haynes of the other’ (Kafka 2005: 253). ‘What a mockery of Mother Nature!’ the ape thinks, ‘Were the apes to see such a spectacle, no theatre walls could stand the shock of their laughter’ (ibid.). His comments conjure a strange set of reflections: humans as bad apes engendering the laughter of humans in real apes. From an affective perspective, though, what Rotpeter’s performance really highlights is the Academy’s need, unbeknown to itself, to have its own conscience assuaged. It is this supplement that ensures Rotpeter’s mimicry is always more than it appears. His imitation involves more than the rudimentary shamanic protection against power that Adorno and Horkheimer suggest for mimesis in Dialectic of Enlightenment (1995: 209–12, and passim), and to which Norris alludes (1980). It’s more too than the passive resistance Adorno suggests is Kafka’s key tactic, although it follows a similar logic. For Kafka, Adorno says, One must make oneself completely unobtrusive, small, a defenceless victim, instead of insisting on one’s rights according to the mores of the world, that of exchange, which unremittingly reproduced injustice. Kafka’s humour hopes to reconcile myth through a kind of mimicry . . . Myth is to succumb to its own reflected image. (1997b: 269–70)

In this reading, Kafka’s characters don’t challenge a world grown immeasurably bad. Instead, by incorporating the latter’s worst aspects, ‘the subject seeks to break the spell of reification by reifying itself. It prepares to complete the fate which befell it’: a kind of inversion of sympathetic magic (ibid.: 269). The turn to animal existence in Kafka, for example, collapses the bourgeois myth of individuation into itself. But in ‘A Report’, of course, the reverse is true: the animal is individuated and unusually articulate. He responds to and supplies what the Academy really needs of him. Taking them at their (silent) word, he splits himself into both victim and apologist for the persecutor: he enacts a double consciousness. Actually, reassuring his observers of their human evolutionary superiority, as noted above, Rotpeter goes still further, acting somewhat like the cow from Ameglian Major in Douglas Adams’s science-fiction comedy The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), a beast bred in such a way that it actually wants to be eaten: ‘A large dairy animal approached Zaphod Beeblebrox’s table . . . “Good evening,” it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches, “I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in the parts of my body?”’ (2010: 96). Rotpeter likewise peppers his report with phrases that take the sting out of the misery he has experienced at the hands of a violent establishment of which the Academy is the scholarly part. He displaces the lat-

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ter’s masterly responsibility onto himself, revealing and redoubling the immiseration the Academy represses, or relocates to its scientific subjects. Incorporating pain and its disavowal, the ape’s performed abjection becomes a disingenuous j’accuse – an imitation that reveals what is otherwise invisible, doing so in the same darkly humorous spirit as the suicidal bovine. Despite being shot by Hagenbeck employees, for example, ‘I have [since] drunk many a bottle of good red wine with the leader of that expedition’, he says, clubbishly (Kafka 2005: 251). Tortured in a cage that prevents him either sitting or standing, he comments that such a method of confining wild beasts is supposed to have its advantages during the first days of captivity, and out of my own experiences I cannot deny that from the human point of view this is really the case. (ibid.: 252)

Rotpeter even empathises with the sailor who burns his fur in the course of the drinking lessons: ‘he perceived that we were both fighting on the same side against the nature of apes and that I had the more difficult task’ (ibid.: 257). Although the various apparatchiks of reason here require the ape to nullify the animal side of itself – denature its nature – increasingly it seems this side is in fact the subjective one, the side speaking against rigidification. Reason, conversely, in Kafka’s tale, is slipping back into more primary forms. Rotpeter describes his process of ‘calm’ observation of his captors on board ship – an ‘accumulation of observations’ – that leads to his imitation of them and his way out: ‘Under the influence of my environment I behaved as if I had calculated’, Rotpeter recalls (Kafka 2007: 81, my emphasis). As Sokel points out, this is quasi-Baconian (2002: 278). But reason here is reduced to a life-ordeath decision, equated with the belly (Kafka 2007: 79). In this sense, Enlightenment has advanced no further than simple self-preservation, a desperate clinging to life. Worse, the scientific method as revealed by Rotpeter’s mimicry is an activity little better than a cat playing with a bird: power relations disguised as objective inquiry. At least a cat doesn’t require its bad conscience to be ameliorated by the death-wish of the bird. Adorno remarked that ‘philosophy is really only there to redeem what lies in the gaze of an animal’ (Claussen 2003: 305). If by ‘redeem’ he means that what is immanent in nature – its happiness – can be realised only in a properly socialised reason, Kafka’s ‘A Report’ shows that the latter, as represented by the Academy, has not yet emerged. Reason exists in Kafka’s text precisely as a means not only to control nature but, in the same moment, to appropriate the latter’s resources for the few, even its affective resources. The same is true aboard Odysseus’s

­200     Doug Haynes boat, as we have seen. For his part, Rotpeter’s mime of the bourgeois life and its consciousness exposes just these lacunae, these unredeemed aspects. Ultimately, his performance offers a kind of negative pleasure in anticipation of a happiness. Participating in the Aristotelian enjoyment of mimesis about which Taussig reminded us above, Rotpeter becomes the locus of diverging interests, which he transforms, or sublimates into irony, dissimulating his own role as the artist as he does so: It was so easy to imitate these people. I learned to spit in the very first few days. We used to spit in each other’s faces; the only difference was that I used to lick my face clean afterwards and they did not. (Kafka 2005: 255)

Driven by a mordant kind of humour, a placeholder for a prospective happiness and for a possible nature, Rotpeter slips away sideways, ‘into the bushes’ again, on his way out.

Notes 1. Roger Foster discusses this breach of the self in the context of Adorno’s aesthetic work and his notes on Kafka (2013: 181). 2. Andrew Bowie points out that Adorno distrusts such false immediacy as Wagnerian ‘lovedeath’ (2013: 62). 3. Taussig is guided by Benjamin’s ‘On the Mimetic Faculty’. See Benjamin 1979: 160–3. 4. I draw on Benjamin’s notion of history from his ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’, especially his sense of an ‘origin that cannot be contemplated without horror’ (1992: 248). John Abromeit points out that Benjamin’s ‘Theses’ helped underscore the eccentric historical schema of Dialectic (2011: 427). 5. Morgan usefully notes that the obverse side to the life of peace Adorno posits here is the latter’s ‘nothingness’ and lack of fulfillment: ‘an experience beyond any use’, which is itself somewhat nightmarish (2007: 119). 6. Stanley Corngold’s translation for Norton (2007) elicits this jungle image far more than does the Muirs’s 1971 translation for the Schocken edition of Kafka’s Complete Stories (reprinted in Vintage, 2005).

References Abromeit, John (2011), Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Adams, Douglas [1980] (2010), The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, London: Macmillan. Adorno, T. W. (1993), Minima Moralia, trans. E. F. N. Jephcott, London: Verso. — (1996), Negative Dialectics, trans. E. B. Ashton. London: Routledge.

Odysseus to Rotpeter: Adorno and Kafka, Mimicry and Happiness     201 — (1997a), Aesthetic Theory, trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor, London: The Athlone Press. — (1997b), Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Adorno, T. W. and Horkheimer, Max [1944] (1995), Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cumming, London: Verso. Benjamin, Walter (1979), One-Way Street, trans. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter, London: Verso. — (1992), Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. Harry Zohn, London: Fontana. Bloom, Harold, ed. (1986), Franz Kafka. New York: Chelsea House. Bowie, Andrew (2013), Adorno and the Ends of Philosophy, London: John Wiley. Caygill, Howard (2009), ‘Kafka’s exit: exile, exodus and messianism’, in Peter De Bolla and Stefan H. Uhlig (eds), Aesthetics and the Work of Art: Adorno, Kafka, Richter, London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 126–46. Claussen, Detlev (2003), Theodor W. Adorno: Ein Letztes Genie, Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari (1986), Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, trans. Dana Polan, Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press. — (2012), A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi, London: Bloomsbury. Foster, Roger (2013), ‘Adorno on Kafka: “interpreting the grimace on the face of truth”’, New German Critique 40.1 118 (Winter): 175–98. Freud, Sigmund [1920] (1974), Beyond the Pleasure Principle, ed. and trans. James Strachey, London: The Hogarth Press. Hegel, G. W. F. (1977), Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller, Oxford: Oxford University Press. — (2010), The Science of Logic, trans. George di Giovanni, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kafka, Franz (2005), The Complete Short Stories, ed. Nahum N. Glatzer, trans. various, London: Vintage. — (2007), Kafka’s Selected Stories, trans. and ed. Stanley Corngold, New York: Norton. Lee, Lisa Yun (2005), Dialectics of the Body: Corporeality in the Philosophy of T. W. Adorno, New York: Routledge. Marcuse, Herbert (1955), Eros and Civilization: a Philosophical Inquiry into Freud, New York: Vintage. Morgan, Alistair (2007), Adorno’s Concept of Life, London: Continuum. Norris, Margot (1980), ‘Darwin, Nietzsche, Kafka, and the Problem of Mimesis’, MLN 95.5 (December): 1232–53. Osborne, Peter (1995), The Politics of Time: Modernity and Avant-Garde, London: Verso. Rothfels, Nigel (2002), Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Rubenstein William C. (1968), ‘A report to an academy’, in Angel Flores and Homer Swander (eds), Franz Kafka Today, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 55–60. Sokel, Walter Herbert (2002), The Myth of Power and the Self: Essays on Franz Kafka, Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

­202     Doug Haynes Taussig, Michael (1993), Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, London: Routledge. Zaslove, Jerry (2012), ‘A report to an academy: some untimely meditations out of season’, English Studies in Canada 38.1 (March) 27–50.

Chapter 11

Making Happy, Happy-making: The Eameses and Communication by Design Justus Nieland Among the personal papers of architect and designer Eero Saarinen is a curious chart of the marriages of his friends, ranking their relative happiness on a scale from 0 to 100 per cent (Lange 2006: 244). At the top of the chart – with a whopping ninety per cent happiness rating – are Saarinen’s dear friends Charles and Ray Eames. Saarinen’s diagrammatic approach to the happiness of his intimates may strike us as rather technical, perhaps overly quantitative or schematic. Adorno would have been horrified. By what empirical method does one measure something as unquantifiable or resistant to calculation as happiness – that notoriously fuzzy affective complex of well-being, contentment and pleasure that has long been at the center of the philosophical question of what counts as the ‘good life’?1 But his choice of the Eameses as almost completely happy was entirely in keeping with the couple’s public image at mid-century. Arguably the most influential American designers of the postwar period, the Eameses were a model happy couple whose iconic designed objects and design practice would be globally exported as the promise of a happy lifestyle afforded by US-style democratic liberalism. Eamesian happiness, circulating through both images and objects, was a particular mid-century product that linked the ‘goodness’ of the American good life, secured through the United States’s booming consumer economy and global hegemony at the dawn of the Cold War, to the ‘goodness’ of so-called good design. Spearheaded in 1948 by MoMA’s Director of Industrial Design, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr, the Good Design programme was a landmark merger of art and commerce – a partnership with the largest wholesale marketer in the USA, the Chicago Merchandise Mart. The programme selected the best, most innovatively designed American consumer goods for display in a series of semiannual exhibitions in Chicago and New York under the aegis of MoMA and reflected the museum’s interest in design as a way of fusing modern art and the everyday domestic. According to the museum’s director,

­204     Justus Nieland Rene d’Harnoncourt, the programme aimed to ‘stimulate the appreciation and creation of the best design among manufacturers, designers, and retailers for good living in the American home’ (‘Good Design’ Exhibition Pamphlet, quoted in McDonald 2004: 399), but it also marked an unprecedented effort to shape ‘the buying habits of American consumers and the selling practices of retailers’ (Riley and Eigen 1995: 151).2 Kaufmann, for his part, was not just a engineer of new corporate synergies between modern art and business but also a true believer in the political significance – indeed, the democratic vitality – of modernist household objects, whose intent, as he put it in his 1950 manifesto What is Modern Design?, was ‘to implement the lives of free individuals’ (1950: 8) The domestic and international success of the exhibitions convinced Kaufmann of the role of design in presenting ‘the best and most progressive side of our life to the European public’, and it spurred him to bring good design into the realm of cultural diplomacy in projects like the Marshall Plan exhibition, ‘Design for Use, USA’ (Kaufman, quoted in McDonald 2004: 399). Jointly sponsored by the State Department and the European Cooperation Administration, ‘Design for Use’ was the first of three European exhibitions prepared by MoMA between 1951 and 1955 dedicated to American-designed objects, and starring, among other goods, the happy things of Eamesian making. Attentive to the contexts of such Cold War exhibitions, and other sites of modernism’s institutionalisation at mid-century, design historians have recently described ‘good design’ – with its promise of happiness through consumption and democratic futurity in the American model – as a form of ‘soft power’: a mode of propaganda and information-­ handling that persuades by attraction and enticement rather than coercion, ‘enlisting support through intangibles like culture, values, belief systems, and perceived moral authority’ (Castillo 2010: xi). Model homes, like model families or model couples such as the Eameses, thus become normalising instruments – implementing, to borrow Kaufmann’s instrumental language, ‘the lives of free individuals’ in a Cold War pedagogy of democratic lifestyle and its abiding, airy promise of happiness. If happiness, as Sara Ahmed has argued, is a general phenomenological ‘orientation toward something as being “good”’ a broad ‘horizon of likes’ with a more complex intentionality than other emotions, it is also, powerfully, a normative promise (2010: 24). Often the judgement about certain objects as ‘being happy’ is already made before we encounter them; such objects enter what Husserl called our ‘near sphere’ with ‘an affective value already in place’ (ibid.: 24, 28). Here, orientation towards objects deemed ‘happy’ or potentially happy-making dovetails with the operations of habit and taste – taste as ‘a very specific bodily

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orientation that is shaped by what is already desired to be a good or a higher good . . . to become oriented means to be directed towards specific objects that are already attributed as being tasteful’ (ibid.: 33). In this way, Ahmed argues, happiness becomes temporalised, linked to expectation, and grafted onto specific images of tasteful futurity that, put into circulation, accrue affective value and create communities as forms of shared orientation towards ‘the good’. Eamesian happiness can thus be described as one of the mid-century’s more powerful normative horizons for orienting audiences and consumers at home and abroad toward designed objects and ‘ways of life’ deemed ‘good’, or that might circulate – as did images of the Eameses and by the Eameses – as signs of the postwar good life. Eamesian happiness, I argue, is ultimately more instructive as a model of production, a process or technical manner of working with objects and images in their mid-century techno-scientific environments, than as the reified promise of any particular good. The Eameses’ happy-making, a mode of engaged, contented labor, is indebted to their training in an Arts and Crafts tradition of joy in materials and to their modernist selfunderstanding as inheritors of a Bauhaus genealogy for which promiscuous aesthetic production across media is the therapeutic expression of an integrated personality, a ‘whole man’ in an era whose modernity is synonymous with debilitating over-specialisation. The Eameses repeatedly called their happy-making a way of ‘taking their pleasure seriously’. The phrase typifies a quasi-ascetic modernist approach to pleasure as a way of making unfamiliar demands on the senses, one often involving, as Laura Frost (2013) has recently observed, a regime of discipline, difficulty or unpleasure. It also signals their preference for modes of constraint-based production that worked not with autonomous things in isolation but instead, importantly, with things perceived in what they referred to as ‘relationships’ or ‘environments’. And it anticipates their hostility to any model of agency predicated on total freedom, spontaneity or the will to original self-expression, which is also, of course, an ideology of happiness. The Eameses’ allergy to such expressive models of unfettered aesthetic production invites us to view their happy-making as a kind of making happy, where happiness requires calculation, a tooling of feeling that must be forged or otherwise designed. If the Eameses inherit such instrumentality from the utopian modernist tradition of the Bauhaus, they and other designers put it to work differently for the conditions of capitalist democracy in a postwar geopolitical order presided over by the United States and its techno-scientific hegemony. The logic of production informing the Eameses’ design practice requires a richer, more fine-grained account of the technological and

­206     Justus Nieland scientific environments of the postwar period that radically transformed what seemed given, taken for granted or ‘natural’ in the unfolding of the good life and in the status of its exemplary objects. As Douglas Mao (1998) has observed, a certain strain of interwar modernist aesthetic production aligned itself with ‘the predicament of the object’ because its thingly capacity for aesthetic particularity seemed newly besieged by modernity’s techno-scientific habits of generalisation and abstraction, and their violence to the singular and concrete, both in concept and in the evident devastation of the natural world wrought by human design. Seen from Mao’s Adornean vantage, modernism suffers not just from ideology fatigue but a more acute dissatisfaction with the conceptualising and rationalising work of human subjectivity itself. Modernism finds in the solid object – neither a Good nor a God – a kind of fragile happiness as respite from the violence of instrumental reason. But in the postwar terrain of production presided over by the new cultural prestige of designers like the Eameses, the mid-century object is thrown into further crisis: its solidity fissured, catastrophically, by atomic science; its materiality flattened in a postindustrial society driven by the circulation and consumption of images; its capacity to function as an autonomous fragment of non-self challenged by expanding informatic networks that force it into scenes of communicative transparency. There will be, in this horizon of production, no relief from ideology but rather an enthusiastic, even technophilic, functionalism, an insistence on usefulness, and a seriousness of purpose regarding the range of human problems that might be solved by good design, whose purview and scale expand vertiginously, and therefore threaten, for some, as instruments of a coercive, postwar technocracy. This chapter explores the happiness incarnated in good design by looking more closely at a particular arena of the Eameses’ work at midcentury involving the making of their short film A Communications Primer (1953). The terrain of production in which the film emerged brings their designed things – as objects – into explicitly communicative scenarios, and into a humanistic Cold War pedagogy of the designed image abetted by the couple’s burgeoning interest in filmmaking. The predicament of happy-making in which the Eameses found themselves pressed them to join their now-iconic furniture designs first to a lifelong commitment to image-making technologies and multimedia experimentation and, beyond that, towards the prestige and explanatory power of postwar communication theories, whose language of perceptual-­ affective discipline, organisation and communicative clarity they incorporated into their design practice. The Eameses’ work as modern designers is thus of particular interest for students of modernism more

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broadly since, as Mark Goble has reminded us, at mid-century, ‘the study of both modernism and communications emerged almost simultaneously as twentieth-century preoccupations and flourished as conglomerating triumphs of the postwar university in the United States’ (2010: 4). Enshrined by the New Critics and the New York Intellectuals, high modernism’s aesthetics of communicative ambivalence, difficulty and authenticity – its desire to ‘clear a space . . . for more authentic modes of communication’ – squares off against an expansive, technocratic postwar ‘control’ paradigm that desires communicative efficiency and transparency and understands human expression as integrated within communication networks that service and regulate organisms and information-processing machines alike (Wollaeger 2007: 30).3 In the process, human communication – as we see in and around A Communications Primer – is rethought within a new paradigm of organisation, what Reinhold Martin has described as a ‘networked, systems-based, feedback-driven’ organicism – the very life-style materialised in an Eames chair (2003: 8). At mid-century, we have been told, a formerly transgressive, ‘bad’ modernism becomes ‘good’, by which critics have generally meant a modernism de-fanged and banalised, brought into the disreputable domain of middlebrow taste like ‘good design’, and often conscripted in the ideological melodrama of the Cold War and its corporate imperatives.4 At the epicenter of such mid-century transformations of modernism, the Eameses’ design practice encourages us to think more carefully about the tangled aesthetic genealogies in which an emphasis on function, use and instrumentality at mid-century is legible not only as a repudiation or failure of modernism’s revolutionary energies but also as a refashioning of modernist designs on perception and affect for acts of Cold War world-making. These worlds demand the self’s sensual self-perception in expansive webs of relationships secured by the activity of communication itself – a kind of disciplinary solvent that brings the domains of language, industrial design and postindustrial image-making into new, experimental configurations epitomised, I will argue, by A Communications Primer and its curious medial lives. Before turning to these, recall how images of the couple link their evident happiness to the things of their exuberant, dedicated making and to their facility with novel postwar materials and technologies. Consider the delightful photograph of the husband-and-wife duo published on the cover of Architectural Design magazine (1966), their arms and legs spread wide in a nod to Vetruvian perfection, a humanist ideal here supplemented by the metal forms that pin the cheery, hand-holding couple to the ground (Fig. 11.1). These inhuman supports are the thin, bent-metal

­208     Justus Nieland

Figure 11.1  ‘Happy in Furniture’, Architectural Design cover shoot, ©2014 Eames Office LLC (

bases – revolutionary in their combination of lightness and strength – of the couple’s molded plywood chairs.5 The chairs and cabinets eventually licensed and sold by the Herman Miller furniture company were produced with a sophisticated plywood molding process requiring synthetic plastic resin that was first developed for military prosthetics (splints for the US navy) as well as trainer aircrafts and gliders.6 Here and elsewhere in the couple’s work, happy humanity is bound to thingly harbingers of the irrevocably changed substance of postwar matter that seem, in this image at least, not to bother the couple a bit. A similar joy in postwar materials and technologies exudes from another well-known image of the hand-holding pair, this time perched atop the skeletal iron beams of their now-famous home in the Pacific Palisades, then under construction as part of John Entenza’s Case Study House Program and soon to be fleshed out with the standardised, pre-fabricated building materials that instantiated new, postwar forms of modern living. Constructed in the traumatic shadow of World War II, the future occupants of the Case homes were imagined as reoriented by the war; it was assumed, in Beatriz Colomina’s words, ‘that the solider returning from war had become a “modern man,” a figure who would prefer to live in a modern environment utilizing the most advanced technology rather than return to live in the “old-fashioned houses with enclosed rooms”’ (1997: 134).

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What was ‘modern’ about the environment of the Case homes was not just their use of mass-produced materials but equally their enactment of a happy postwar lifestyle in which domesticity was at home in the spaces and times of modern image-making technologies like photography and newly mobile 16mm cameras. The July 1944 issue of Arts & Architecture, for example, featured a manifesto entitled ‘What is House?’ co-written by Entenza, Charles Eames, and photographer Herbert Matter. The essay announced the authors’ concern with ‘the house as a basic instrument for living within our own time’, and, in recasting the Le Corbusian formulation of the modern house as a ‘machine for living in’, set the conceptual terms for the Case Study House programme to begin the following year (Goldstein 1990: 34). The house, they insisted, is ‘the basis for the environment that conditions us; the envelope that encases the most important of our life’s functions’ (ibid.: 35). Those postwar lives and their vital capacities would, the authors insisted, only ‘break through into the future’ when their environment – the home – acknowledged its degree of technological saturation: ‘we now know that the miracle of industry in war can and must be a part of the peacetime world’; the machine has ‘become part of ourselves, and the MEANS by which we live with another’ (ibid.). One striking drawing by Eames (Fig. 11.2) positions these ways of assimilating machines in an array of ‘family functions’, including film-viewing, kite-flying, card-playing, listening to records, the shaking of cocktails, painting and, naturally, lounging on modern furniture (ibid.). Domestic filmmaking and film-viewing were cast within a broad vital continuum of postwar ‘lifestyle’ to be performed while enveloped in technology. The ‘good life’ pictured in these images entails not just the promise

Figure 11.2  ‘What is a House?’ Arts & Architecture, July 1944, ©2014 Eames Office LLC (

­210     Justus Nieland of bourgeois consumption that the Eameses would help to publicise and globally export but also a disarming sense of comfort in the power of technology itself, from mobile plywood to 16mm, an awareness of its forceful repatterning of everyday life in the postwar period, and an enthusiasm about its progressive capacity for human improvement, both domestically and abroad, as the couple would increasingly function as agents of some of the most powerful governmental and corporate institutions of the Cold War. In a landmark 1961 essay, for example, British design historian Reyner Banham took stock of a broad transformation of design values at mid-century brought about by the increasing mechanisation of Western households, new rates of obsolescence, product miniaturisation and the introduction of ‘a degree of mechanization into the creative work’ of painters, sculptors and designers alike. This shift, Banham argued, recast the purview of the modern architect. No longer the ‘absolute master of the visual environment’, since much of the work of crafting interiors had been taken over by the industrial designer (a profession with new prestige and cultural power at mid-century), the architect was now more assertively a taste-maker or selector, whose goal was to ‘exercise choice and background control over the choice of others’ (1981: 101). For Banham, no figure in the world of design ‘has made so great an impact on the world, both by his products and personality’, as Charles Eames, whose ‘whole output . . . can be related in one way or another to the mechanization of the designer’s workshop’ (ibid.: 103, 101). If Eames’s output epitomised ‘design by choice’, and the ‘problem of affluent democracy’ driving postwar technological change, part of what was so striking about Eamesian production for Banham and others was its sheer variety and its scalar movement between the domestic and the geopolitical: the way, as Banham put it, ‘toys, films, scientific researches [sic], lecture tours, special exhibits, three further generations of chairs, the celebrated Ahmedabad Report on design in development [sic] countries’ followed the landmark molded plywood chair so quickly, and ‘in bewildering succession’ (ibid.: 103). As a mode of modernist technophilia, the inviolable happiness and liberal optimism that saturates the democratic scenes of Eamesian design, from Cold War exhibitions to Nehruvian modernization schemes, appears confident and untroubled – a technocratic sangfroid. But it is everywhere shaped by the techno-scientific horizon of total war: its sublime new scales of destructiveness, which would be domesticated through the Eameses’ insistent appeals to design ‘on the human scale’; its feats of engineering in the military industry, which would, in war’s aftermath, need peacetime applications; and the new knowledge regimes abetting military research – specifically the wartime and early Cold-War

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prestige of information science and communication theory. At mid-century, the naturalising work of Eamesian happiness requires some heavy lifting indeed. In the catastrophic wake of atomic science and the heyday of new postwar thinking about the communicative and organisational processes linking human and nonhuman life, the category of ‘nature’, or the ‘natural’, had been thoroughly confounded. Cast in a period-specific idiom, we might consider Eamesian happiness as therapeutic, or better, biomorphic. It ministers to, and offers affective compensation for, the estrangement of organic nature from itself – the sense that what might be deemed natural in postwar ‘life’ is neither self-evident nor unequivocally good. This, the non-nature of postwar nature and how it might be naturalised is, in many ways the message of A Communications Primer, a strange object whose overlapping scenarios of production speak eloquently to what Banham described as the bewildering range of making gathered by the capacious rubric of Eamesian ‘design’. It became a 16mm film distributed in 1954 by the MoMA Film Library, and as such, was of interest to an astonishing range of viewers and institutions (Fig. 11.3), but it began as a node in a multimedia experiment in humanistic art education, and later it would be rethought in another, explicitly ­corporate

Figure 11.3  A Communications Primer, ©2014 Eames Office LLC (eamesoffice. com).

­212     Justus Nieland e­ nterprise as the precursor to Introduction to Feedback (1960), a ‘sequel’ commissioned by IBM, which would become an important client of the Eames Office. In A Communications Primer IBM saw a vision of technology’s future firmly in line with the reinvention of its own corporate image in the 1950s and 1960s presided over by the Eameses’ friend Eliot F. Noyes, the first curator of design at MoMA, whose first exhibition in 1941, Organic Design in Home Furnishings, had launched Charles Eames (and his collaborator Saarinen) into the national spotlight.7 Part of the curiosity of A Communications Primer, then, is its embeddedness in a heady postwar climate in which the boundaries between the objects of the Eameses’ curiosity and fascination – furniture design and corporate advertising, toys and image-making technologies, game-playing and pedagogical experiments – were fluid, or were made to dissolve in Charles’s mantra that ‘everything is architecture’. This audacious claim epitomises how design for the Eameses became what John Harwood has described as ‘a generalized problem-solving technique, a practice that could be itself re-designed – along with every other human endeavour – into a pure, formal logical system’ (2008: 193). This kind of indifference to medium-specificity or disciplinary propriety is evident in the draft of a curious poster for A Communications Primer in the Eames Collection at the Library of Congress that cross-promotes the film with the plywood furniture group: ‘Low cost chairs designed by Charles Eames will quickly turn your selling floor into a center for universal modern seating’. Presumably targeted to furniture dealers, the advertisement for A Communications Primer betrays the sense that stuff of modern furniture and au courant theories of information processing might share a similar logic, or partake in the same aspiration toward universality, even as it reminds us that, when the Eameses made the film, they were several years into their longstanding partnership with Herman Miller. From their office in Venice, California the Eameses worked for this and other professional clients, while simultaneously making, initially as hobbyists and amateurs, their first short films: Traveling Boy (1950), Blacktop (1952), Parade (1952), and two films – Bread (1953) and A Communications Primer – that grew out of a boundary-breaking pedagogical experiment in which Eames participated at the invitation of George Nelson. In the summer of 1952, Nelson was invited to Athens, Georgia by Lamar Dodd, head of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Georgia, to observe his faculty in the classroom and studio and to consult on the reform of the university’s art curriculum. With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Dodd imported Nelson – a disciplinary outsider with no expertise in fine arts pedagogy – to energise

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his department and establish an advisory committee on educational reform. Nelson, then Director of Design at Herman Miller, rounded out the committee with other members of the company’s already famous design triumvirate, Charles Eames, whom Nelson had hired in 1946, and architect and designer Alexander Girard. After visiting classes in Athens in the fall of 1952, and after more conversations with Dodd and his faculty, Nelson and Eames eventually decided not to focus on adding additional courses or requirements to the fine arts curriculum, as they had initially discussed, but rather to concentrate their energies on pedagogic method and process. What Eames and Nelson observed in the classrooms was, first, a distressing disciplinary segmentation – ­education, as Nelson put it, was ‘like the thinking of the man in the street, sealed off into too many compartments’ – and second, a disturbing wasting of time in the faculty’s communication of concepts (1957: 16). As a counter-pedagogy hatched to combat inefficiency and the atomisation of knowledge regimes, the designers offered a high-speed language of vision that would train students in what Nelson called ‘an awareness of relationships . . . The idea was to develop high-speed techniques for exposing relationships between seemingly unrelated phenomena. This meant films, slides, sounds, music, narration – the familiar world of audio-visual aids’ (ibid.). Indeed, Nelson’s essays on design explicitly theorise film as a medium tailor-made made for what Nelson called ‘the development of the individual’s capacity to establish connections between isolated phenomena’ because, as he put it, ‘film is a relationship – the picture strips of which it is composed have no meaning by themselves’ (ibid.: 81). And this emphasis on seeing relationships in vast fields of information, for Nelson and Eames, was all the more pressing for a programme like Georgia’s, whose graduates rarely pursued careers as professional artists and so would be better served with training that fostered understanding and creative capacity. This kind of flexible, humanistic training, as Nelson put it, ‘could be employed in any situation’ and trained by impersonal, indeed, explicitly mass-produced methods – what he called ‘canned education’ or ‘the teacher-on-film’ (ibid.). As Nelson put it, if a girl wanted to know something about decorating her future home and what she got was a class in painting, this might make perfectly good sense, but perhaps it was up to the school to build a bridge between the two so that she might see how they were related. Whether this was accomplished by personal or impersonal methods seemed of little consequence. (1957: 16)

In Art-X, then, the designers rejected arid proscription or mere telling, opting for something considerably showier and, in a peculiar way,

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Figure 11.4  ‘Art-X: Designer Pedagogy’, ©2014 Eames Office LLC (eamesoffice. com).

impersonal – specifically, a multimedia, multi-sensory performance of technique in the form of one-hour sample lesson for an imaginary art course to come. The course was presented six times in Athens in January of 1953, before travelling to UCLA for three more performances the following May (Fig. 11.4). In Athens Dodd prepared the university community for this event of radical pedagogy by presenting a display of the three designers’ furniture and products, no doubt prompting faculty and students alike to wonder what in the good design of lovely postwar consumables like molded plywood chairs and bubble lamps would qualify their makers as art educators. ‘Art-X’, Nelson’s preferred name for the exemplary experiment, gestures nicely towards the designers’ insistent formalism, their seeming indifference to content. Eventually though, Nelson and Eames did decide on a subject for the lesson, settling on ‘Communication’. In the context of Art-X, the role of film as film is minimised to emphasise the experiential and affective dimensions of a multimedial pedagogy of the senses, an early form of what would later be dubbed ‘expanded cinema’. The smart cover of the brochures for the ‘Sample Lesson’ for its run in UCLA brings camera lens, designer lamp and globe into graphic likeness (Fig. 11.5). Opened, the brochure entices with the promise of novelty and the frisson of disciplinary transgression: ‘something new is happening . . . a normal progression perhaps, toward breaking down the barriers between fields of learning . . . toward making people a little more intuitive . . . toward increasing communication between people

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Figure 11.5  ‘Art-X / Sample Lesson brochure’ ©2014 Eames Office LLC (

and things’. Reading further, the brochure stumps for an indefinable something that was ‘more of an experience than a tangible solid’. And because, the breathless language continues, the lesson ‘is more of an emotion than an action . . . it is difficult to explain . . . a sample lesson must be seen and heard and felt and smelled’. This novel experience in intuition and sensation will take shape as a lesson about art – but from men who ‘know that art is not paint and a frame, or stone and a base . . . art is a building, a house, a machine, art is a chair, a test tube, a loaf of bread’. As a performance, this expansive aesthetic vision and a vanguard pedagogy was conceived as modular in structure, as a sequence of what Eames and Nelson alternatively referred to in their correspondence in the planning of ‘Art-X’ as ‘packages’ or ‘capsules’, each prepared individually by the designers. The modularity was, in a sense, pragmatic, allowing the designers, located separately in New York, Venice and Michigan, to work independently on their capsules. But it was also a formal and ideological principle. The packages themselves were composed of short films, shown with a single 16mm projector, and thematically arranged slide shows, which displayed images across three screens in varying patterns. The visual content was accompanied by tape-recorded soundtracks and narrations and, in some cases, by smells in the form of synthetic bottled odors that Girard pumped through the auditorium’s air ducts during the performance. (A color-coded schema in the Charles and Ray Eames papers at the Library of Congress gives some indication of the complexity and logistical co-ordination required for this experiment.) Some of the films – a documentary film about Egypt; La Lettre, a French film about the emergence of writing and

­216     Justus Nieland the i­nvention of printing; excerpts from a UPA cartoon entitled The Animated Calligraphy of Sound – were selected by Charles Eames through consultation with his contacts on the UCLA film faculty. But others, like Nelson’s opening film, ‘Art-X’, and two films made by the Eameses that would be combined and refined, later that year, into A Communications Primer, were original works made specifically for the Georgia events. The ‘Art-X’ lesson at Athens concluded with Eames’s slide show, Bread, complete with Girard’s simulated aroma of baking bread, as the teaser for the hypothetical next day’s equally hypothetical next lesson, which would take up the multiplicity of bread’s functioning, both in nutrition and art, politics and symbolism, and which would later be shown as a film when Art-X went to UCLA. Of Art-X’s organising topic, communication, Nelson later remarked, if you asked me how we picked so impossibly difficult a theme I can only answer that at the time we did everything the hard way. As we went from one possible subject to another, what we were most interested in finding was something which would permit the exploration of relationships, and if it offered nothing else, ‘Communication’ certainly did that. (Abercrombie 2000: 144)

But there are, of course, other, more historically urgent reasons why communication became the impossibly vast content fleshing out Art-X’s experiment in a transdisciplinary poetics. A crucial shibboleth of the Cold War period, ‘communication’ united a range of competing meanings, technocratic dreams and fantasies about the therapeutic overcoming of national, geopolitical and disciplinary divides, and it enjoyed a privileged status within the putatively ‘universal’ discipline of cybernetics, whose prestige had been ratified by the first Macy Conferences in New York, which would have its tenth meeting in 1953, the year of Art-X and A Communications Primer.8 Indebted to cybernetics’ own claims to disciplinary universalism, A Communications Primer’s capacious thinking, which, as its promotional materials stated, ‘discourages thinking of communication in a limited way’ and ‘aspired to the breaking down of barriers between areas of learning’, was also touted as the yield of Art-X’s pedagogical experiment. The Eameses and Nelson were well aware of first-order cybernetics’ theories of communication and control, as well as its analogies between the informatic and communicative work of humans, animals and machines. Indeed, they were actively seeking to popularise cybernetic concepts, swayed by their application as models for comprehending the complexity of modern society and as tools of a properly democratic social order. Such models, of course, were first developed during the new wartime collaborations between

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the military-industrial complex and academic institutions, and they were exemplified in mathematical research such as Norbert Weiner’s study of anti-aircraft weaponry (Galison 1994). Weiner’s work, which applied statistical modeling to track and predict an aircraft’s future course to better destroy it, depended on imagining enemy soldiers and anti-­aircraft as similar devices working in a ‘servomechanical’ feedback system. Human and machinic behaviour, thought of as analogous processors of information within self-correcting, self-organising systems, could, Weiner suggested, be subjected to probabilistic analysis, prediction and control. As many historians of science and Cold War cultural historians have argued, what made these cybernetic models striking was their universalising vision of communication and the rapidity with which they were assembled as an apparatus, both an ‘instrument’ and a ‘strategic convention of heterogeneous actors’ (Geoghegan 2011: 98).9 Cybernetics’ vision of the systemic self-organisation of organisms and machines alike, and its investment in message circulation as a form of governance, guidance and control, were extrapolated willy-nilly across the disciplinary boundaries of biology, physics, mathematics, sociology, anthropology and linguistics, and toward a global vision of analogous, self-regulating systems (biological, mechanical, informational). The cybernetic world was organised into systems comprised of signals and messages requiring recognition and interpretation. Because cybernetics thought of information as pattern within noise, and therefore ‘a model of material and social order’, it saw feedback as order-maintaining and information systems as moral goods, potentially happy-making (Turner 2006: 23–4). But this is a peculiar kind of happiness, as Weiner’s own work acknowledges. When he invokes the word ‘happiness’, or brings it into alignment with ‘things’ and ‘goods’, as in the ‘Progress and Entropy’ chapter of The Human Use of Human Beings, a work the Eameses and Nelson knew well, it is severely qualified and modulated by tragedy. Because the ‘arch enemy’ of the scientist seeking ‘the order and organization of the universe’ is entropic ‘disorganization’, what draws Weiner to the likeness between machines and living organisms in the first place is the way their feedback-driven, self-organising decisions ‘seem to resist the general tendency for the increase of entropy’ (1967: 50, 49). And so, even though ‘in a very real sense we are shipwrecked passengers on a doomed planet’, the theory of entropy need not plunge us into despair or invalidate moral purpose provided we refuse what Weiner indicted as an American fallacy of progress (ibid.: 58). This, ‘the unlimited and quasispontaneous process of change as a Good Thing’, flies in the face of the citizenry’s own religious traditions, for none of which is ‘the world a

­218     Justus Nieland good place in which an enduring happiness is to be expected’ (ibid.: 59, 60). Instead, Weiner opts for what he dubs a ‘reduced’ notion of progress. One hopes, at best, for the ‘relatively happy outcome’ that might come from ‘the irreversible movement into a contingent future which is the true condition of human life’, or perhaps that ‘this limited vision of progress in the face of overwhelming necessity may have the purging terror of Greek tragedy’ (ibid.: 71, 58). In his contemporaneous essay, ‘Design as Communication’, Nelson expressed a similar aversion to those associating the ‘accelerating trend towards super-comfort’ in the United States with happiness and progress, and he challenged the commonplace notion that a designer’s ‘social contribution’ lay in the mere production of ‘increased creature comforts’ (1957: 4). Instead, he redefined the designer as an artist who uses form to communicate the ‘essence of something’, who is a ‘purveyor, not of comforts . . . but of truths’ (ibid.: 6). But this aesthetic truth, and the designer-artist’s responsibility, lay in a specific kind of global communication: the expression of a particularly ‘total awareness of the modern world’ that integrates the ‘outlook of the scientist, the mathematician’, first to ‘comprehend’ and then, if possible, to ‘control’ a ‘strange and explosive world where accelerating change seems to be the only remaining constant, where intangible relationships are more concrete than tangible things and where cooperation has replaced competition as the only possible technique for survival’ (ibid.: 7). As Nelson’s idiom of survival implies, this total awareness – a mode of enlarged vision and control – is predicated on knowledge of the strangeness and explosiveness of the Bomb above all other modern technologies, and of a new sense of ‘intellectual mastery over the physical world that is making us so acutely and unhappily aware of a world over which we seemingly have no mastery at all’ (ibid.: 63). A Communications Primer is also an early Eamesian articulation of this sort of cybernetic happiness, anxious about human production in the unhappy shadow of catastrophe and war, hatched with an acute sense of the contingency of progress. Like the theories of communications underlying Art-X more broadly, the film sought to train students in this worldly, cybernetic perception – vision based on a kind of patternseeing, discernment of the self in thickening networks of communicative ‘relationships’. The Eameses called this ineluctable web of relationality the work of ‘connections’, and like Nelson, they installed it at the conceptual center of their design practice at the same time that a similar fidelity to internally differential systems energised the postwar convergence of cybernetic communications theory, anti-Soviet political agendas and ‘second-wave’ structural linguistics in the work of Roman Jakobson

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and Claude Lévi-Strauss.10 Parts of A Communications Primer’s dialogue are based on Warren Weaver’s introduction to Shannon’s The Mathematical Theory of Communication (1949), and the film’s credits acknowledge not just Shannon and Weaver but also other cybernetic luminaries like Weiner himself, as well as Oscar Morgenstern and John von Neumann, with whom the Eameses consulted on several other later projects. Charles’s voiceover for the film begins by hazarding a characterisation of the present era as ‘the age of communications’ and reproduces Shannon’s diagrammatic approach to communication before defining its constituent elements and terminology – information source, transmitter, message, signal, receiver, destination, noise, redundancy – through a series of far-flung examples illustrated by what could become the couple’s typical combination of live-action footage and animation, and with periodic returns to Shannon’s schema. As promotional material for the film has it, formally A Communications Primer works to present ‘the basic steps of communications theory’ in ‘the warm terms of everyday experience’. It is a domesticating operation typical of the Eameses’ films, which often work via charming analogies between abstract mathematical or scientific principles and the near sphere of quotidian experience (Eames and Eames 1953–6, 1967). Beginning with the familiar communicative scenario of ‘reading’ (a book as read by a train-bound passenger and words read from a typewriter), the film quickly moves to telegraphy (through the stockbroker’s binary message ‘buy’ or ‘sell’); human speech (the human brain is the ‘information source’, the message is the thought ‘I love you’, and the transmitter is the voice); and then to painting (Fig. 11.6). Here, as elsewhere, the ideal is communicative transparency, the goal a smooth passage from the ‘mind and experience’ of painter as information source to the ‘concept’ of painting as message to the artist’s ‘technique and

Figure 11.6  ‘Message Received: I Love You’, A Communications Primer, ©2014 Eames Office LLC (

­220     Justus Nieland talent’ as transmitter to the ‘eyes of all those who see the painting as receiver’ to its destination: the minds and various experiences of the painting’s beholder. Noise is, of course, as undesirable as it is omnipresent, and it can come ‘in many forms’, from the flickering exterior light that breaks the reading of the train’s passenger to the diminished quality of type in reduplicated carbon copies to the less mechanical noisiness of cultural or linguistic difference itself. Charles notes, in his painting example, that the background and experiences of a receiver may so differ as to make the message impossible to decode, and he then summons the familiar modernist example of Chinese script as the very limit of communicative transparency. Thankfully, this geopolitically telling example of the difficulty in decoding across difference is mitigated by other nonverbal codes – and here we cut to the smiling face of a Chinese girl – that are presumably universal symbols, like fire or colored flags, capable of transcending ‘the barriers of language and custom’. Summoning these examples, the Eameses insist on communication as the stuff of social organisation, of happy integration that joins human society and non-human processes across the evolutionary scales of deep time, as symbols change and evolve, pass into obscurity and ‘become readable only by the anthropologist’. One long shot observes a flock of birds, wheeling in constantly re-aggregating patterns in the sky, as the voiceover asks, ‘What holds such birds together in their flight?’ and answers, ‘Communication is that which links any organism together. It is what keeps society together’. We cut to a busy city sidewalk, our view just above street-level, where a mass of strollers stream in opposing directions, silently navigating their urban habitus enmeshed in a kinetic flow of social communication that allows them to go about their business if not with avian grace then at least without collisions. As the film builds to its conclusion, it begins to link more tightly the flows of communication to questions of agency, choice and responsibility through the informatic work of specifically binary decisions, from the dot/dash of the telegraph, or the stop-and-go firing of neural activity, to the dots of half-tone image reproduction and – perhaps most significantly for the Eameses’ later work – the cards ‘punched or not punched’ by the electronic calculator. As in the Eameses’ many later films and exhibitions about computers for IBM, their rhetorical goal here is twofold: to assert an analogy between the ‘prodigious’, and potentially threatening, number of decisions, calculations and information-storage capacities of electronic machines and the familiar scale of human life and human cognition; and to subject the machine, as ‘one great tool’, to the control, and ultimate responsibility, of its human user. In A Communications Primer, Charles pauses his narration for several

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seconds to listen in fascination to the strange ‘sounds that are the functioning of an actual calculator’, its ‘pulse’, before insisting on the far greater, indeed ‘innumerable’, stop-and-go decisions required in even the smallest human movements, whose quotidian flow, for the Eameses, conceals a version of the neuro-mathematical sublime. Sometimes, the Eameses conclude, human decisions seem vague, but even those ‘things we accept as undecided vagaries would be, if we could bring our focus in sharp, decisive individual units’. This scalar oscillation between micro and macro, individual unit and organised whole, has been the visual strategy of much of the film, moving, in one recurring example, from tight, close-ups of half-tone dots as geometric abstractions out to the total figure of a young girl that the dots constitute, building a pattern through abiding, singular decisions. The film’s concluding emphasis on the inescapability of individual decisions returns to this pattern in its editing, which links images of a mosaic (first close-ups of loose tiles, then the completed pattern) and Seurat’s pointillist technique in A Sunday on La Grande Jatte to the organised communication between an airplane during landing, a control tower and its instrument panel. ‘It is’, Charles concludes, ‘the responsibility of selecting and relating parts which makes possible a whole which itself has unity . . . The communication of the total message contains the responsibility of innumerable decisions made again and again, always checking through a constant feedback system . . . Communication means responsibility of decision, all the way down the line’. In these ways, the Eameses’ first filmic experiment in voiceover joins human cognition, aesthetic making and modern technological feedback systems in a vision of systemic self-organisation secured by liberal choice-making and responsibility. Synopses of the film written later by the Eames Office for distribution purposes describe it thus: Our first organized picture at [sic] which we attempted to put together all of our ideas on communication theory and present them to the world of architecture. Architects turned a deaf ear, but many agencies in our government, and in England gave it a lot of attention. (Eames and Eames 1953–6, 1967)

With A Communications Primer, and in its original context of pedagogical experimentation, the Eameses began to rethink design as a specific kind of postindustrial knowledge work in which happy-making and making happy are embedded in the communicative self-­organisation of a postwar information society. But they were also rethinking modernism itself, remaking its revolutionary sensory utopianism – its familiar promise of a compensatory perceptual totality – in the service of a kind of Cold War discipline. This discipline was predicated on processes of abstraction – not what free people like Pollock do with paint,

­222     Justus Nieland and to ­figuration, but rather as what information-processors do with superabundant data, to perceive and comprehend, in the case of Art-X’s viewers, the complexity of modern relationships by finding patterns, participating in a ‘filtering-out’ process (Nelson 1957: 46). The work of the Eames office, Charles would later explain, would be ‘more and more concerned with the way information is handled’, a fact evident in the couple’s more overt exercises in global communication – their Glimpses of the USA multi-screen exhibition at the Russian National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959, site of the infamous Nixon–Kruschev ‘kitchen debates’; or their multi-screen presentation ‘Think’ at the New York World’s Fair of 1964–5, held in the center of a giant egg designed by Saarinen. Like Art-X, these were experiments in quantity – in the changed sizes and speeds of images, and in ways of testing the perceptual-affective capacities of audiences to handle data in large quantities and to distill, or abstract, its essence. But, as A Communications Primer’s language of decision, choice and responsibility suggests, at stake in such sensory experiments was also a way of understanding the qualities of human agency and its postwar limits, a mode of testing human freedom as suited for, and, trained within, the new and seemingly inhuman technological environments of the postwar period. The Eameses top the scales of happiness as gauged by Saarinen, then, not for any accuracy on his part about the couple’s emotional life but for his fidelity to their abiding faith in quantitative method and technique, in their hope for the management of contingency – the ‘hap’ at the etymological core of ‘happiness’ – in better, more accurate forms of mathematical modeling and prediction. Describing A Communications Primer in a letter to Ian McCallum of the Architectural Review in 1953, Charles celebrated communications and game theory as tools for calculating and predicting the ‘impossible number of factors’ involved in the art of architecture, while also acknowledging how difficult it seemed to discuss mathematically ‘the emotional or psychological dimension’ of human actions and needs (Eames and Eames 1953–6, 1967). Difficult, Charles notes, but not unreasonable. For it was precisely because of the uncertain sizes, scales and boundaries of human productive agency at the dawn of the posthuman – bombed out of recognition, stretched and shrunk in a postwar space of information – that the question of human happiness became so pressing to designers like the Eameses in the first place. As Charles’s letter has it, it is only ‘when numbers and complications seem to obliterate the human scale’ – that communication theory, as a tool, becomes ‘so handy’, since it would ‘actually use large numbers and unlimited relationships to return to the human scale . . . in the terms of our times’ (ibid.).

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Thanks to Scott Michaelsen, Pat O’Donnell, Sarah Wohlford and Josh Yumibe for their thoughtful comments on this chapter.  1. On the contemporary science of happiness, and its modes of measuring happiness through ‘hedonimeters’ and ‘happiness indicators’, see Ahmed 2007/2008 and Nettle 2006.   2. For more on the ‘Good Design’ shows, see Staniszewski 1998: 141–206.   3. On high modernism’s desire for communicative authenticity within a media ecology shaped by propaganda and the pseudo-fact, see Wollaeger 2007. On the relationship between postwar communications technologies and Cold War control systems, see Edwards 1996.   4. See Mao and Walkowitz 2006; Fredric Jameson’s 2001 discussion of late modernism; and Guilbault 1983. For more recent work on the way modernism in the Cold War ‘became propaganda for a “Free World” defined by democratic institutions, free-market capitalism, and bourgeois individualism’, see Barnhisel 2007: 731.   5. By 1967, the ‘realm of Good Design’ became a broad term of opprobrium for a critic like Clement Greenberg, allowing him to group together ‘Pop, Op, Assemblage, and the rest of Novelty Art’ as related ‘infiltration[s] into . . . what purports to be advanced and highbrow art’ (2007: 26, 28).  6. On the broader relationship between wartime and domestic applications for novel postwar materials, and the specific influence of atomic science on mid-century design, see Colomina 2007; Rapaport and Stayton 2001; Crowley and Pavitt 2008; Hine 1986; Meickle 1997; Ndaiye 2007.   7. For a superb account of this corporate design programme, see Harwood 2011.   8. On the emerging discipline of communication studies in the late 1930s as an outgrowth of concerns about wartime propaganda, and on the role of the Rockefeller Foundation in assembling the so-called Communications Group to study the effects of mass media in the service of more ‘democratic’ propaganda, see Gary 1999.   9. On cybernetics as a Foucaldian dispositif (apparatus) allying ‘researchers and institutions across disciplinary, political, and national borders’, see Geoghegan 2011: 98. On cybernetic’s transdisciplinary aspirations, see Bowker 1993. 10. For a careful elaboration of structural linguistics’ reckoning with cybernetics, see Geoghegan 2011.

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­224     Justus Nieland Banham, Reyner (1981), ‘Design by choice’, in Penny Sparke (ed.), Design by Choice: Ideas in Architecture, New York: Rizzoli. Barnhisel, Greg (2007), ‘Perspectives USA and the cultural cold war: modernism in service of the state’, Modernism/modernity 14: 7 (November): 729–54. Bowker, Geof (1993), ‘How to be universal: some cybernetic strategies: 1943– 70’, Social Studies of Science 23 (Feb.): 107–27. Castillo, Greg (2010), Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Colomina, Beatriz (1997), ‘Reflections on the Eames house’, in Donald Albrecht et al. (eds), The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention, New York: Harry Abrams, 126–49. — (2007), Domesticity at War, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Crowley, David and Jane Pavitt (eds) (2008), Cold-War Modern: Design 1945– 1970, New York: Harry Abrams. Eames, Charles and Ray Eames (1953–6, 1967), A Communications Primer, Correspondence, Part 2: Box 114, Charles and Ray Eames Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. — (n.d.), ‘Brochure and printed announcement’, Part 2, Box 189, Charles and Ray Eames Papers, Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Edwards, Paul N. (1996), The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Frost, Laura (2013), The Problem with Pleasure: Modernism and its Discontents, New York: Columbia University Press. Galison, Peter (1994), ‘Ontology of the enemy: Norbert Weiner and the cybernetic vision’, Critical Inquiry 21.1: 228–66. Gary, Brett (1999), The Nervous Liberals: Propaganda Anxieties from World War I to the Cold War, New York: Columbia University Press. Geoghegan, Bernard Dionysius (2011), “From information theory to French theory: Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss, and the cybernetic apparatus,” Critical Inquiry 38.1 (Autumn): 96–126. Goble, Mark (2010), Beautiful Circuits: Modernism and the Mediated Life, New York: Columbia University Press. Goldstein, Barbara (ed.) (1990), Arts & Architecture: The Entenza Years, London: MIT Press. Greenberg, Clement [1967] (2007), ‘The presentness of sculpture’, reprinted in Alex Coles (ed.), Design and Art, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Guilbault, Serge (1983), How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom, and the Cold War, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Harwood, John (2008), ‘Imagining the computer: Eliot Noyes, the Eames, and the IBM pavillion’, in David Crowley and Jane Pavitt (eds), Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970, London: Victoria and Albert Publishing, pp. 192–7. — (2011), The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945–1976, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Hine, Thomas (1986), Populuxe, Woodstock: The Overlook Press. Jameson, Fredric (2001), A Singular Modernity: An Essay on the Ontology of the Present, London: Verso.

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Abraham, George, 80 Adam, Peter, 122–3 Adams, Douglas, 198 The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, 198 Adorno, Theodor W., 2–3, 15, 157, 185–8, 191–3, 198, 200n Adorno, Theodor W. and Max Horkheimer, 185–8, 191–3, 198 affect and artistic production, 14, 111–28, 168–9, 205–6, 221 circulation of, 31, 135–8 classification of, 10 and contagion, 59, 135–6 and corporeality, 7, 94–6 depersonalised, 4–5, 96, 99, 104 and drives, 9 vis à vis emotion, 3–9, 13, 94, 96–7, 99, 100, 135, 165n and ethical valuation, 57–8, 69 as intensity, 8–9, 94, 100, 178 and intentionality, 132, 137, 139–40 and language, 9, 14–15, 150–1, 160–2, 167–8, 170–1, 174–82 as mind-body interrelation, 12–13, 23–6, 30–1, 75, 89, 94–6, 111, 115, 170 and phenomenology, 66 and political discourse, 149–51, 157–8 and psychoanalysis, 12, 39–41, 112 public, 5, 14, 148–52, 154–7, 159, 161–4 and race, 131–46 temporality of, 107 terminology, 6–7

unqualified nature of, 8–9, 57, 59, 103–4 see also emotion affective turn (in theory), 6–7, 40–1, 94–5, 99, 111, 150, 167–70, 179–81 and post-structuralism, 6–7, 14–15, 150, 167–8, 170, 179–82 Ahmed, Sara, 8, 16n, 136, 145, 204–5 Altieri, Charles, 5 Anderson, Sherwood, 133–4 Dark Laughter, 133–4 animals, 191–5, 197–9 and humans, 192–5, 197–9 see also nature ‘animatedness’, 14, 132, 135–45 Anthropomorphism, 158–9 Aristotle, 191 Arnheim, Rudolph, 99, 105 atmosphere, 136 Auden, W. H., 87 Bain, Alexander, 26 Ballets Russes, 94, 100–1, 104 Banham, Reyner, 210 Barnes, Djuna, 16n Barthes, Roland, 14–15, 167, 170–1, 173, 175, 181, 183 Baudelaire, Charles, 148–9, 151–8, 161 and anti-democratic politics, 148–9, 151 Les Fleurs du mal, 148, 152–8 The Painter of Modern Life, 149 Bauhaus, 205 Beckett, Samuel, 46 Benjamin, Walter, 1, 14, 155–6, 159–62, 164, 195–6, 200n Benstock, Shari, 112–13

Index     227 Bergson, Henri, 69–70 Berlant, Lauren, 16n Bersani, Leo, 33–4 Binding, Rudolph, 61 Blackman, Lisa, 89 bliss see jouissance Bloom, Harold, 186 Bowie, Andrew, 200n Breuer, Marcel, 123 Brooks, Peter, 21 Brown, Bill, 143 Butler, Judith, 159

Derrida, Jacques, 41, 44–5, 86, 178–9, 180–1 Descartes, Réne, 23–4 Diaghilev, Sergei see Ballets Russes Dodd, Lamar, 212–14 Du Bois, W. E. B., 195 Duffy, Enda, 11 Dunard, Jacques, 124 Duncan, Isadora, 98

Cameron, Sharon, 21 Case Study House Program, 208–9 Caygill, Howard, 194 Chandler, Daniel, 87–8 Chen, Mel Y., 142–3 city, the modern, 155 Clark, Suzanne, 2–3 Cocteau, Jean, 104, 106 Cohen, Marshall, 102 Cold War, 203–4, 206–7, 210, 216–18, 221, 223n Colomina, Beatriz, 208 Comentale, Edward, 57 communication, 206–7, 214–16, 218–20, 222, 223n and modernism, 207 postwar theories of, 206–7, 211, 216–19, 222, 223n; see also cybernetics and technology, 207, 216, 220–2 contact relics, 76–7 Crangle, Sara, 10 Cubism, 104–6 Cuda, Anthony, 4 Culler, Jonathan, 165n Cunningham, Merce, 98 Cvetkovich, Ann, 10 cybernetics, 9, 216–19, 223n; see also communication: postwar theories of

Eames, Charles and Ray, 15, 203–22 A Communications Primer, 206–7, 211, 216, 218, 219–21 furniture, 208, 212 Pacific Palisades home, 208 Eliot, T. S., 3–5, 60, 71n, 87, 111 ‘Hamlet and His Problems’, 4 ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, 87 ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’, 4, 111 embarrassment, 12, 23, 25–9, 31–6; see also shame emotion vis à vis affect, 3–9, 13, 94, 96–7, 99, 100 and expressivity, 94–5, 97, 99, 108, 132, 136, 205 vis à vis feeling, 5 as mental or physiological phenomenon, 7, 23–7 and nineteenth-century mental science, 23–7, 36 philosophy of, 7 and reason, 7 see also affect Enlightenment, 185–9, 192–4, 199 Entenza, John, 208–9 epistolary practice, 75–80, 81, 84–90 affects of, 75–9, 80, 86, 87, 89–90 and handwriting, 86–8, 91n and mountaineering, 80–1, 84–9 as prosthesis, 76–9

Darwin, Charles, 25 Das, Santanu, 58 Day Lewis, Cecil, 88 de Man, Paul, 14, 149–52, 154, 156–60, 162–3 death drive see Freud, Sigmund Deleuze, Gilles, 12, 48 Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari, 40–1, 49, 193–4, 197 the molecular, 47–8, 50–3

Fabre, Geneviève, 142 Farebrother, Rachel, 135 fear, 14, 59, 148–51, 155–7, 159–65 Flatley, Jonathan, 1, 11, 145n Flaubert, Gustave, 2 Fisher, Philip, 10 Ford, Karen Jackson, 140 Ford, Madox Ford, 23 Foster, Roger, 187, 200n

­228     Index Frank, Waldo, 131, 133–4, 136 Holiday, 134, 136 Franko, Mark, 98–9 Freud, Sigmund, 12, 21–7, 30–53, 162, 186, 188, 190–1 on affect, 39–40, 41 death drive, 12, 41, 44–53, 186, 188: and writing, 45–6, 51–3 the oceanic, 39 Frost, Laura, 11, 205 Fussell, Paul, 60 Futurism, 105 Gibbs, Anna, 16n Gluck (Hannah Gluckstein), 119–22 Medallion, 119, 121 Goble, Mark, 207 Goffman, Erving, 35 ‘good life’, 203–5, 209–10, 218 Graham, Martha, 98–9 Gray, Eileen, 122–8 Le Destin, 125, 127 Monte Carlo screen, 125–7 Grossberg, Lawrence, 167–8 Grosz, Elizabeth, 124 happiness, 15–16, 185–91, 195, 200, 203–11, 217–18, 220–2 and artist production, 205–6, 221 and expressivity, 205 and modernism, 205 and normativity, 204–5 and objects, 204–6, 208 and technology, 209–10, 217–18, 221–2 Hardt, Michael, 111, 115 Hardy, Thomas, 1 Harlem Renaissance, 131, 133, 146n Harwood, John, 211 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 185, 190–1 Heidegger, Martin, 191 Holmes, Eleanor Marjorie, 76–80 Honeyman, Susan, 20–1 Horst, Louis, 102 Hulme, T. E., 2, 12–13, 56–65, 68–71, 71n and classicism, 56 emotional writing style, 57 and ethics, 64–5, 70–1 ‘A Notebook’, 64–5, 70 support for war, 56–7, 63–5 ‘Trenches: St. Eloi’, 60–2, 70 war-writing, 58–65, 69–71

Husserl, Edmund, 65 Huyssen, Andreas, 2 identification, 187, 190, 193, 197; see also mimesis intimacy, 75, 77–80, 86–9, 103, 112, 128 Irvine, Sandy, 81 Isherwood, Christopher, 87 James, Henry, 12, 20–3, 25–36 The Awkward Age, 12, 21–3, 26–36 and consciousness, 20–2, 30–1 ‘depsychologising’ of experience, 22–3, 30–6 and embarrassment, 23, 27–9, 31–6 and interiority, 20–2 and nineteenth-century mental science, 30–1, 36 proto-modernism of, 20 and psychological novel, 20, 22 theatricality, 21–2 and Victorian morality, 29–30 What Maisie Knew, 30 James, William, 7, 24–5, 95 James-Lange theory, 7, 24 Joffrey, Robert, 105 Johnson, Barbara, 150, 158–9 Johnson, James Weldon, 133 Jones, David, 61 jouissance, 14–15, 171, 173, 175–8, 182 Joyce, James, 14–15, 169, 171–8, 182–3 Ulysses, 14–15, 169, 171–8, 182–3 Jung, Carl, 121 Kafka, Franz, 15, 186, 192–200 ‘A Report to an Academy’, 15, 192–200 Keats, John, 35 kitsch, 2–3 Krook, Dorothea, 20 Kurnick, David, 21–2 Laban, Rudolf, 106–7 Lacan, Jacques, 50, 54n Langer, Susan, 95–7, 103 Laplanche, Jean, 54n Lawrence, D. H., 79–80, 90n, 91n Women in Love, 79–80 Le Corbusier, 123, 209 Lee, Lisa Yun, 186

Index     229 Lee, Spike, 143 Bamboozled, 143 Leed, Eric, 61 lesbianism, 111–28 Leys, Ruth, 165n Liu, Alan, 87 Lodge, David, 20 Love, Heather, 1 Lubbock, Percy, 20 Lyotard, Jean-François, 99–100 lyric poetry, 149–50, 153–4, 157–8 Mallory, George, 13, 75–81, 87, 90n as letter-writer, 76–9, 80 Mann, Thomas, 2 Mao, Douglas, 206 Marcuse, Herbert, 190, 192 Marx, Karl, 54n Massine, Léonide, 94, 104–6, 108 Parade, 94, 104–6, 108 Massumi, Brian, 6–10, 96–7, 104, 169–70, 178–9, 180–2 Matler, Herbert, 209 melancholia, 1–2, 11 Mendelson, Edward, 87 mental science and emotions, 23–7, 36 nineteenth-century, 12, 21–7, 30–1, 36 Milner, Marion, 112, 115–18, 128–9n mimesis, 187, 194–200 mimicry see mimesis Mitchell, W. J. T., 144–5 modern dance, 94, 96–108 and abstraction, 94, 99–102, 108 and affect, 94, 96–108 vis à vis classical ballet, 97, 102, 108 and costume, 105–6 and the visual arts, 103–5 modernism and the aesthetic object, 206 anti-emotional, 2–4, 71, 111 and domesticity, 203–4 and the Harlem Renaissance, 131, 133, 146n and humanism, 175, 183 and impersonality, 4–5, 71, 71n, 72n and kitsch, 2–3 lesbian, 111–28 and mass culture, 2–3 and melancholia, 1–2, 11 mid-century, 15, 204, 206–7, 221, 223n and psychological novel, 20

and realism, 174, 183 and sentimentalism, 2–3, 71 MoMA, 203–4, 212 Good Design programme, 203–4 Moore, G. E., 65 Morgan, Alistair, 189, 200n mountaineering, 75–89 belay see mountaineering: ropework and epistolary practice, 80–1, 84–9 and gender, 85 and intimacy, 80–1, 86, 89 ropework, 75, 81–2 Muñoz, José Esteban, 16n nature, 189–93, 197, 199, 211 and reason, 192, 199 after WWII, 211 see also animals ‘Negrotarian’ novel, 133, 135 Nelson, George, 212–16, 218 New Criticism, 3 New Negro, 133 Ngai, Sianne, 8, 10, 132, 137–40, 144, 165n Nieland, Justus, 5 Nijinsky, Vaslav, 94, 100–3 L’après-midi d’un faune, 94, 101–3, 105, 108 Le Sacre du printemps, 101–2, 104 Noyes, Eliot F., 212 Odell, Noel, 81 Odysseus, 185–6, 188–9, 194 Osborne, Peter, 189 otherness, 187, 190, 193 Paget, Right Reverend Henry Luke, 82 pedagogy, 211–16, 218, 221 personhood, 151, 153, 155, 157–9, 163–4 phenomenology, 12–13, 58, 65–70 and affect, 66 and ethics, 66–8, 70 Picasso, Pablo, 104–5 pleasure, 11, 15, 43, 47, 171–5, 183, 205 and aesthetic form, 43 and modernism, 11, 205 see also jouissance Poe, Edgar Allan, 148, 161–4 ‘The Man of the Crowd’, 161–4 Pope, Alexander, 91n post-structuralism, 6–7, 14–15, 150, 167–8, 170, 179–82

­230     Index Pound, Ezra, 2, 60, 70–1, 71n primitivism, 131, 133–5 Proust, Marcel, 12, 46–53, 54n, 191 À la recherche du temps perdu, 12, 46–53 psychology, nineteenth-century see mental science racism, 131–45 Rayon, John Paul, 125 ressentiment, 68 Ribot, Théodule, 24–5 Ricks, Christopher, 35 Rives, Rochelle, 4 Rivière, Jacques, 102 Rolland, Romain, 39 Rothfels, Nigel, 193 Ruskin, John, 84 Russell, Bertrand, 57, 63–5 Ryan, Alan, 64 Ryan, Vanessa, 21–2 Ryle, Gilbert, 30 Saarinen, Eero, 203 sado-masochism, 46–7 Scheler, Max, 12–13, 58, 65–70, 72n Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky and Adam Frank, 6–8, 10 Seigworth, Gregory and Melissa Gregg, 6, 8, 59, 75, 167, 170, 181 sentimentalism, 2–3 and gender, 2–3 sexual dissidence, 111–28 shame, 11; see also embarrassment Shannon, Claude, 219 Shelley, Percy, 83, 90n ‘Mont Blanc’, 83 Shildrick, Margrit, 80 shock, 148, 155–6, 161 Sobchack, Vivian, 86 Sokel, Walter, 192, 194 South, the (US), 134–5, 137, 140–2, 144 Spinoza, Baruch, 8 Stimpson, Catharine, 90n

Stonebridge, Lyndsey, 117 Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 132, 144 Taussig, Michael, 187, 194–5 Taylor, Julie, 16n technology, 205–7, 209–11, 216–18, 220–2 and artistic production, 205–6, 210 and communication, 207, 216, 220–2 and domesticity, 209–10 and happiness, 209–10 Teitelbaum, Mo, 124 Terada, Rei, 7, 149 Tomkins, Silvan S., 8–10, 16n, 136 Toomer, Jean, 14, 131–45, 145n Cane, 14, 131–45 and racial identity, 133, 145n touch, 76–80, 86–7, 124–5 trauma, 39–40, 44–9, 51–3, 144 Van Vetchen, Carl, 133 Walpole, Horace, 79 Weiner, Norbert, 217–18 Whalen, Mark, 142 Wigman, Mary, 98 Williams, Jennifer D., 144 Williams, Raymond, 9, 167–9, 175, 180 Wils, Jan, 122 Wimsatt, W. K. and Monroe Beardsley, 3–4 Winnicott, D. W., 112, 118, 128, 129n Woolf, Virginia, 10, 13, 75, 78–9, 81–90, 90n, 91n, 113–17 The Cinema, 82 and epistolary practice, 78–9, 84–90 The Symbol, 83–9, 91n To The Lighthouse, 113–17 The Years, 82–3 World War I, 56, 58–65, 69–71, 88–9 and pacifism, 62–4 World War II, 208 Zaslove, Jerry, 195 Žižek, Slavoj, 54n