Moment to Monument: The Making and Unmaking of Cultural Significance [1. Aufl.] 9783839409626

Why do certain works of art make it into the canon while others just enjoy a brief moment of recognition, if at all? How

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Moment to Monument: The Making and Unmaking of Cultural Significance [1. Aufl.]

Table of contents :
Table of Contents
1 exegi monumentum
Texts, monuments and the desire for immortality
“Plunging into nothingness”: The politics of cultural memory
A monumental inscription: The transcultural heritage of Swift’s epitaph
Monuments and memorials: Byron and Wordsworth in post-Napoleonic Switzerland
2 questioning canon politics
“Monumental mockery”: Does a three-text edition of Hamlet threaten the play’s canonicity?
How the West was won: J.M. Coetzee and postcolonial canons
“We the people”: The U.S. Government’s recent recruitment of literature for nation building
3 negotiating the past – imagining the future
Under the blue bottle: Habsburg nostalgia in post-Soviet L’viv
Monumentalizing the Twin Towers: Memory and garbage in the global city
Hurricane Katrina and the arts of remembrance
Revisiting Martyrs’ Square … again: Absence and presence in cultural memory
4 reterritorialization
The burden of the moment: Photography’s inherent monumentalizing eff ect
Coyote in the land of culture industry: Robert Crumb and popular cultural memory
Canons, orthodoxies, ghosts and dead statues

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Ladina Bezzola Lambert, Andrea Ochsner (eds.) Moment to Monument


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for Balz

— thank you.

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Ladina Bezzola Lambert, Andrea Ochsner (eds.)

Moment to Monument The Making and Unmaking of Cultural Significance (in collaboration with Regula Hohl Trillini, Jennifer Jermann and Markus Marti)


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Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at

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Table of Contents Acknowledgements ...................................................................................... 7 Introduction ................................................................................................. 9

1 exegi monumentum Texts, monuments and the desire for immortality .................................. 19 Andrew Hui “Plunging into nothingness”: The politics of cultural memory ................................................................ 35 Aleida Assmann A monumental inscription: The transcultural heritage of Swift’s epitaph ........................................... 51 Péter Dávidházi Monuments and memorials: Byron and Wordsworth in post-Napoleonic Switzerland ......................... 71 Patrick Vincent

2 questioning canon politics “Monumental mockery”: Does a three-text edition of Hamlet threaten the play’s canonicity? ................................................................... 85 Ann Thompson How the West was won: J.M. Coetzee and postcolonial canons ..................................................... 99 Lily Saint

“We the people”: The U.S. Government’s recent recruitment of literature for nation building ..................................................................... 111 Lisbeth Fuisz

3 negotiating the past – imagining the future Under the blue bottle: Habsburg nostalgia in post-Soviet L’viv ................................................... 125 Ihor Junyk Monumentalizing the Twin Towers: Memory and garbage in the global city ................................................... 139 Christoph Lindner Hurricane Katrina and the arts of remembrance ................................... 155 Benjamin Morris Revisiting Martyrs’ Square … again: Absence and presence in cultural memory ............................................ 169 Nour Dados

4 reterritorialization The burden of the moment: Photography’s inherent monumentalizing effect ................................... 185 Peter Burleigh Coyote in the land of culture industry: Robert Crumb and popular cultural memory ....................................... 197 Nicola Glaubitz Canons, orthodoxies, ghosts and dead statues ..................................... 209 David Morley

Contributors .............................................................................................. 223


First and foremost, we would like to thank the contributors to this volume. Their essays, each unique in focus and scope, do more than justice to the fascinating phenomena we have subsumed under “Moment to Monument”, and it has been a great privilege to co-ordinate their work. We are greatly indebted to the series editors for their efficient support and to the Cooper Fonds at Basel University for the generous funding which made the publication possible. A very warm thank you goes to Ji Lee (New York) for the inspired cover design. Our greatest debt of gratitude is to Balz Engler for inspiring the project and for much else. This book is a tribute to a wonderful teacher and friend.


A simple question: What do a New Orleans jazz funeral, Mount Rushmore and Hamlet have in common? A simple answer: They are monuments. Mount Rushmore (like the Pyramids and the Twin Towers) was meant to be one from the beginning; Hamlet started as a script of a series of moments on a London stage but has turned into a global cultural monument, and jazz funerals may be momentary but, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, they have served as a more adequate response to a catastrophe of this scale than traditional memorials, which were felt to be too stale. This volume of essays is concerned with the not-so-simple question of how cultural monuments of various kinds come into being, whether they are intended as such by their creators (as are, for example, epitaphs, photographs and certain kinds of poems) or whether they have been turned into monuments by posterity (as for example novels on a school syllabus, a carefully edited and annotated play). What politics and processes are at work in the creation of cultural resonance? Why are certain literary texts canonized but not others? Why do certain paintings become so famous – and valuable, for that matter – that tourists have to queue for hours just to get a short glimpse of a small, intimate painting? There are different ways of approaching these issues. We can refer to mechanisms of selection: Simple coincidence can trigger the process of canonization of a book, a work of art, a building or a place while similar works do not attract any attention at all. Or we can lay bare the tactical moves employed to establish cultural credit or/and point to the interests tied up with them. A third possibility is to claim that certain works of art are unique and yield a privileged insight into the human condition which lends them both ontological and epistemological merit. This approach invariably poses the question: How do we decide what is unique?

10 | Introduction Representatives of traditional criticism might respond by referring to aesthetic concepts, claiming that certain works of art affect us emotionally. The consideration of aesthetic quality may have become anathema in modern criticism, but by banning aesthetic concepts too radically one fails to look into the mechanisms that produce emotional responses to cultural phenomena, be they works of ‘high art’ or of popular culture, and one disregards the fact that the veneration of works of high art has an interesting history, too. There is no need to take sides and to prolong an academic debate that has long become unfruitful, but it would be a serious shortcoming in introducing this book not to give credit to the prominent role the traditional definition of art has played in the popular imagination since the Romantics and to emphasize how – irrespective of whether or not we believe in its validity – it has very effectively been cultivated in fiction. William Wordsworth’s poem Tintern Abbey is a good example. In this poem, Wordsworth uses a tamed and classicized version of the Burkean sublime to establish the poem as monument. The poet relates the impact of the sublime to the human encounter with natural elements – both actual and remembered – and with the “gift” of experience (l. 86) that reveals the truth about the human condition. This encounter is transferred onto the poem as a work of naturally inspired art which allows the reader to share in the experience of the sublime. In the following verses, the poet captures the sudden release into complete understanding that is the effect of his exposure to nature and of its “beauteous forms” (l. 20) in the poet’s memory: … Nor less, I trust, To them I may have owed another gift, Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, In which the burthen of the mystery, In which the heavy and the weary weight Of all this unintelligible world, Is lightened – that serene and blessed mood, In which the affections gently lead us on – Until, the breath of this corporeal frame And even the motion of our human blood Almost suspended, we are laid asleep In body, and become a living soul; While with an eye made quiet by the power Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, We see into the life of things. (ll. 35-49)

The moments of “elevated thoughts” (l. 95) and the insight they produce

From moment to monument | 11 are not defined in substance, but are conveyed through the description of the poet’s momentary mood. The insight is classified as privileged, but repeated and confirmed in the experience of reading the poem, thus establishing it as a monumental work of art whose power cannot clearly be defined. The poem (like the poet’s memories) acquires a transcendental aura that offers nourishment for the here and now (“life and food for future years”, ll. 64-65) and does so always already in a position of authority. The reader joins in the experience of transcendence and thereby validates the claim of poetry’s sublimity. Related to the meaning “to warn” of the Latin monere, monuments can be signifiers of mortality, used to intimidate and to evoke a feeling of awe of a completely different nature from the one mentioned above. Monuments can refer to something other than themselves; they may be created to commemorate a person or an event, as is the case with war memorials or epitaphs. Since they replace a person or a thing that is no more, they radiate an air of solemnity. They contextualize the past and affect the present and the future. In that sense, they function as ideological signifiers; they judge and evaluate and thereby coerce viewers to adopt the normative belief systems they stand for. Monuments are rigid, both in their physiognomy and in terms of their limited capacity to represent change. Monuments have a social character, and societies change, as do the ways in which events are perceived. Because of their rigidity, monuments may after a while fail to represent the changing perception of the events they are supposed to commemorate and of the people responsible for such acts of commemoration. A monument or a monumental space strengthens the sense of communities by offering its members an image of their membership. Monuments create social spaces by evoking feelings of identity and belonging. City halls or cathedrals can be monuments which, apart from their aesthetic value, make the citizens feel ‘at home’. Culture, of course, does not only consist of works of art, i.e. books, paintings, buildings, music etc.; it also comprises everyday customs, rituals, ceremonies and other practices that are meaningful in a community. Just like tangible monuments, such communal practices help the members of a community to create a sense of identity because it is through these practices that people articulate their affi liation. Attending a national celebration or a local festival defines and confirms the social ties that connect people to a specific community. The monumental also erases traces of violence and death that are inherent to social practices; it often survives violence, natural or human, and therefore offers a space that radiates power and resistance. However, as 9/11 has reminded us, the hope of an eternal existence which monuments project is precarious. Events may alter our sense of

12 | Introduction security and well-being as well as our sense of space and time. In the media- and technology-saturated world we live in, a world which cultivates the illusion that we can participate in any event worldwide (provided we have internet access), and where media events may themselves acquire monumental status, this is an important dimension to consider. What are the dynamics caused by the transmission of events through the media? How can the brief and fleeting moment produce the monumental? Why do certain events have the power to change our perception of the world? These are the issues pursued in this collection of essays which seeks to define the processes by which monuments – in the widest sense of the word – are created, preserved, forgotten, destroyed and even reconstructed. Taking different scholarly approaches to a range of materials including literature from different periods and cultures, architecture, urban geography, photography, and popular culture, this multiperspectival and interdisciplinary collection explores the tension sketched by its title. In so doing, it reveals some of the possibilities and limits of trying to come to terms with a phenomenon we rarely try to explain because we take its manifestations for granted.

*** The first section of this collection, exegi monumentum, looks at examples of writers who, at different times and in different cultural contexts, have tried to claim cultural significance in their quest for transcendence, to initiate, as it were, a canonization process from the moment of writing. Andrew Hui begins by exploring the origins of the word ‘monument’, which refers to both a tomb and a text in classical Latin and Greek texts. This double meaning plays a central role in the traditional topos of the competition between literature and the visual arts by which poets establish the superiority of textual over material monuments in the battle against time. Hui’s review of different versions of this claim through classical literature of the East and West reveals the spectre of decay which paradoxically haunts so many declarations of textual imperishability and concomitant hope of personal fame. Aleida Assmann is concerned with much later texts (dating from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century), which were however strongly influenced by the Ovidian and Horatian concepts of textual immortality discussed by Hui. Her essay traces canonization processes from their creative beginnings to their establishment ranging from the theme of male ambition for literary fame in the writings of Milton and his contemporaries to twentieth-century attempts of female and black writers to disturb such exclusive monumentalizing rhetoric in order to

From moment to monument | 13 fight their own way into cultural memory. Péter Dávidházi’s discussion of Jonathan Swift’s self-composed epitaph again focuses on a text that exploits the double meaning of monumentum, tomb and text. By contextualizing the epitaph with classical and biblical traditions as well as with Swift’s own eighteenth-century English tradition, Dávidházi illustrates one man’s attempt to establish his relation to God and his role in history or, to speak in spatial terms, to reach beyond his grave in St Patrick’s Cathedral. In the last essay of this section, Patrick Vincent presents two very different Romantic responses to post-Napoleonic reality. In Childe Harold, Byron seeks to preserve history’s revolutionary force by reifying it into a self-contained “fearful monument” that will immortalize him as a Bonaparte-like poet. By way of contrast, Wordsworth’s Memorials offer a more critical reading of the Continent’s monuments, which is inflected by an acute awareness of historical loss and contingency. Wordsworth focuses on the “living moments” of the present, which he seeks to express in a communal rather than individual voice. Unlike the Latin authors discussed in the first essay, these two poets struggle with the material uncertainty of the sign in the face of the mutability of history. The second section, questioning canon politics, focuses on the reception politics of the present, with canonization processes firmly established. Ann Thompson’s contribution turns to the text T.S. Eliot has called the “Mona Lisa of English literature” to explain the rationale of the controversial new Arden Hamlet, which she co-edited with Neil Tailor in 2006. Rather than constructing an authorial master-text, it offers the three earliest extant versions of the play separately. Thompson discusses the critical and partly fierce reactions which this ‘act of heresy’ provoked among many Shakespeare scholars and reflects on the importance of stable texts for the literary canon despite the increasing focus on performance and its prominent role in the genesis of dramatic texts. Lily Saint looks at literary production and canon formation in a globalized market where geographical and cultural affi liations are subject to negotiations and market demands. She questions J.M. Coetzee’s endeavours to align his work with the mainstream literary establishment and become part of the Western canon. According to Saint, such endeavours offer a prime example of how allegiances with Western literary traditions underscore the ongoing centrality of global capital in postcolonial canonization processes: Successful postcolonial novels use depoliticized local flavours to stimulate the palate of Western consumers agreeably, without embroiling them in local conflicts. With Lizbeth Fuisz’s essay, the emphasis shifts to the reception of literary works. She analyzes an educational programme which the Bush Administration directed at schoolchildren from the age of 5 to 17 to the proclaimed end of combating a supposed lack of knowledge of U.S. history and culture. The programme

14 | Introduction offers lists of set books with interpretive keys, which construct a literary canon and domesticate it with the aim of forming model citizens endowed with American key virtues. In its aestheticized ethnic diversity, this canon offers a form of multiculturalism that avoids conflict while ostensibly celebrating American diversity. The essays in negotiating the past – imagining the future, focus on trauma and on the question how traumatic events can be overcome and remembered at the same time. Memorial practices play a vital part in the construction of national identity, and the contributions address relevant phenomena from the Ukraine to Beirut and to the United States of America. Ihor Junyk considers street signs and cafés as well as private interiors in post-Soviet L’viv (Western Ukraine), which show features that hark back to the Austro-Hungarian empire. He interprets this phenomenon as an instance of Habsburg Nostalgia with the function of negotiating trauma and constructing identity. Yet according to Junyk, the phenomenon calls for a more complex model of nostalgia than those readily at hand. Rather than reifying history by insisting on the continuity of past and present, this instance of nostalgia is fundamentally antimonumental and playful in its relationship with history. In the second essay, Christoph Lindner discusses the earthwork project planned to commemorate the Twin Towers and the victims of 9/11, which includes plans for a new public parkland emerging from the dead space of Fresh Kills landfi ll, the world’s largest domestic waste dump. By invoking a vision of the New York skyline as described by Michel de Certeau and Jean Baudrillard as well as many New York artists, writers and fi lmmakers, the project is devised simultaneously to conceal and to reveal the mutability of the urban landscape. With the construction of the earthwork monument, the Twin Towers will acquire an undead afterlife. Benjamin Morris focuses on another major traumatic site on the North American continent: He reviews the wide variety of memorial practices emerging in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ranging from official monuments through improvised memorials by returning residents to the transcendent, intangible memorials of jazz funeral performances, all these forms of memorializing share fundamental problems of semantic stability and clarity. Morris suggests that old ways of remembering and performing collective memories of trauma are no longer adequate, nor are they marketable across geographical and cultural boundaries as the memorial design corporations may claim. The last essay in this section turns to the Middle East: Nour Dados explores the processes involved in ascribing meaning to contested sites of cultural memory by examining textual and aesthetic practices that aim to represent Beirut’s “Martyrs’ Square.” More than fifteen years after the official cessation of hostilities marking the end of the civil war, the square (named for the

From moment to monument | 15 leaders of the independence movement executed there) continues to be a place with contested meanings in a continuous process of re-inscription. Dados locates and analyzes the processes through which this monument is inscribed with national significance in the movement between history and memory. The concluding section of our collection, reterritorialization, shifts the focus from serious and playful commemorations of traumatic events to delimitation and transgression of territories. Peter Burleigh’s contribution discusses photography, the technology that so essentially captures the transformation of moment into monument. He adopts Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “reterritorialization” to understand how photography rearticulates appropriated moments and spaces in a new type of territory: the flat image. This transformation is acted out in differing ways by different photographers, including Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment,” the uniformity of time in Bernd and Hilla Brecher’s work and the way in which Wolfgang Tillmans turns the everyday into a precious moment and thus makes the personal monumental. As discussed by Nicola Glaubitz, the work of the American underground comic artist Robert Crumb offers an interesting example of building cultural memory in the field of popular culture. Crumb’s concern with defining his artistic identity puts him in line with the more traditional aspirations to fame discussed earlier in this book. He is also eager to maintain his independence from the institutionalized world of art and its canonization processes. Glaubitz argues that the distinction between popular culture and established art market often proves quite rigid, with the latter insisting on privileged access. The essay which concludes this book widens the focus to include issues at stake in the entire collection. David Morley looks into transformation processes such as globalization and the rise of new technologies and considers the emerging forms of canonization within the academic disciplines which debate these issues. He explores the ways in which these transformations have been reflected in the consolidation processes (within both media and cultural studies) as a particular set of orthodoxies that have already come to define our understanding of these changes. Drawing on the concept of the ‘technological sublime’, Morley questions the notion of ‘newness’ with regard to the so-called new media theory and other areas of culture, and shows how such notions inscribe old inequalities in new guises.

1 exegi monumentum

Texts, monuments and the desire for immortality Andrew Hui

From its earliest usages, the word “monument” signified a human artifact created to last: either a tomb or a text (Oxford Latin Dictionary, s.v.), and from antiquity, poets have been claiming that their verbal monuments will outlast physical ones. Horace’s Ode 3.30 is perhaps the most celebrated instance: Exegi monumentum aere perennius, regalique situ pyramidum altius. I have built a monument more lasting than bronze and higher than the regal sites of the pyramids.

His claim presents a paragone, a competition of the arts to see which one is the nobler. What are the strategies and the philosophical presuppositions of this rivalry? Beyond a mere rhetorical boasting on the parts of poets in favor of their own trade, what does this conflict say about texts and objects as competing sites of memory? Using the word monumentum as a philological guide, this essay explores how, on the one hand, the poet’s ambition is to craft a literary monument that is insusceptible to physical decay, in the sense of a Homeric kleos aphthiton, ‘undying fame’ or such Horatian monumentum aere perennius; and on the other, how this same hope is undercut by the very fact that all material things are finite. In the following pages, I will trace how Greek and Latin authors presented their texts as superior to physical monuments because of their ability to transcend

20 | Andrew Hui their materiality, take leave of their origins, be imitated, appropriated, and adapted multiple times and in various historical situations; hence they have more avenues of dissemination and therefore alternative means of survival. The advent of print has, of course, increased the possibilities of textual survival; but before this technological revolution, the practices of imitation, translation, and literary appropriation were perceived as advantages that texts have over other monuments.1



One of the earliest definitions of monumentum comes from Varro: Meminisse a memoria, cum [in] id quod remansit in mente rursus mouetur; quae a manendo ut Manimoria potest esse dicta. Itaque Salii quod cantant: Mamuri Veturi, significant memoriam veterem. Ab eodem Monere, quod is qui monet, proinde sit ac memoria; sic Monimenta quae in sepulcris, et ideo secundum uiam, quo praetereuntis admoneant et se fuisse et illos esse mortalis. Ab eo cetera quae scripta ac facta memoriae causa Monimenta dicta. (De lingua latina 6.49)

Meminisse, “to remember,” comes from memoria, “memory,” since there is once again movement back to that which has stayed in the mind; this may have been derived from manere “to remain,” like manimoria. And thus the Salii when they sing “O Mamurius Veturius” signify a memoria, “memory.” From the same word comes monere, “remind,” because he who reminds is just like memory; so are derived monimenta, “memorials,” which are in burial places and for that reason are situated along the road, so that they can remind those who are passing by that they themselves existed and that the passersby are mortal. From this use other things that are written or produced for the sake of memory are called monimenta, “reminders.” Varro’s explication underscores the affinity between places and memory. In his example, the monument is true to its etymology, which goes back to Lat. monere, ‘to warn or admonish’, in that it combines the monument as a burial place with a memento mori to the living: it suspends the quotidian activity of walking, temporarily seizes the pedestrian’s imagination, and pitches his thoughts toward recognizing his own mortality. The road, punctuated by tombs, measures not only the distance traversed from one geographical point to another, but maps the larger itinerary of life, acting as a hinge in which the past is present in the hic et nunc. But in as much 1 | I would like to thank the editors for their invaluable help and suggestions for improving both the argument and the linguistic clarity of this essay.

Desire for immortality | 21 as the monument is a reminder of the past, it also projects a trajectory toward the future, in the sense that it is meant to endure and remind future generations of its legacy. Andrew Ford has noted that in Homer, “a marked grave with a tumulus and perhaps a stone stele above it is called a sema or sign of the place of burial. To call a tomb a sema is to bring the making of objects as a means of preserving the past very close to the function of epic poetry” (143). In the Iliad, Ford argues, tombs and other constructions correspond to the text itself, insofar as both are artifacts meant to preserve through time the memory of the action in Troy. Similarly, in Greek historiography, both Herodotus and Thucydides hoped to create a work that would endure for all generations (Immerwahr). The idea of history as aei – lasting for all time – continues in Roman historiography, where monumentum is used to denote the persistence and fi xity of the text. Mary Jaeger argues that while Livy does not explicitly call his own written history a monument, he calls all Roman history in inlustri posita monumento. There are also later references to written sources as monumenta (6.1.2) and others as monumenta litterarum (38.57.8); “Livy presents his monumenta as items that have, or at one time had, existence independent of his text; thus they offer material proof of the credibility of his narrative” (23). But Livy’s notion of texts as monuments underscores his belief that what is worth preserving and remembering about Rome and its deeds is most efficaciously accomplished through the writing of history, implicitly claiming that his work is a better container of memory than triumphal arches, temples or other forms of physical memorials. For Aristotle, the human desire to endure stems from an elemental, biological need. He sees the reproductive impulse as related to the desire for permanence and, by extension, immortality: For the most natural function of living things … is to produce another thing like itself … in order that they may partake of the eternal and the divine as far as they can; for all living things “desire” [the eternal and divine], and it is for the sake of this that those which act according to nature do so. (On the Soul 415b, my addition)

We, therefore, have an inward need to participate in the divine in order to resist the onslaught of time: We are wont to say that time crumbles things, and that everything grows old under the power of time and is forgotten through the lapse of time. But we do not say that we have learnt, or that anything is made new or beautiful, by the mere lapse of time; for we regard time in itself as destroying rather than producing. (Physics 221b1-3)

22 | Andrew Hui If time destroys, then it is man’s task to recreate, both biologically and poetically. The monument as tomb or text is supposed to be the physical artifact that survives living bodies. Its purpose is to replace a short temporality – man – with a longer one – by making children or carving stones. The poet’s response is that stones, too, will turn to dust but his words will outlast them. We now have a triple temporality: the life of monumental poetry lasts longer than the life of monumental stones, which in turn lasts longer than the life of man.



The hope that poetry would give life after death is a topos at least as old as archaic Greek lyric, and it is expressed in the idea that the poet’s words are immortal (Svenbro, 139-212). In his poem commemorating the dead at Thermopylae, Simonides sings: Theirs is a glorious fortune and a noble lot: For grave they have an altar, for mourning remembrance, For pity praise. Such a burial decay shall not darken, Nor time the all-conqueror. (531.1-4)

Simonides juxtaposes “grave/altar,” “mourning/remembrance,” “pity/ praise” to contrast the dead and the living. He implicitly suggests that while physical tombs only offer mourning and pity, his poetic tomb will offer an altar to commemorate and praise. Through his verse, the dead soldiers are recalled to life. And whereas Simonides contrasts the different use/ functions of grave and verse, Pindar focuses on the power of his logos to transcend the elements of time. His monument is A treasure-house [thesauros] of songs … Which neither the rain-storm from abroad, That relentless army of shrieking cloud, Nor the wind with its swirls of dust will strike And drive into the corners of the sea. (Pythian Odes 6.7-14)

In the literal sense, a thesauros is a treasure-house dedicated to an Olympian victor. Its construction signaled the immense wealth of its sponsor: usually only individuals like the Sikyonian tyrant Myron could afford the expense of such a lavish structure to commemorate a winner (Steiner, 169-170). The evocation of the physical monument signals Pindar’s awareness that his craft is competing with different forms of commemoration: statue, bronze

Desire for immortality | 23 inscriptions, garlands or other trophies. But in this ode he boasts that he will offer a poetic thesauros to surpass all others. His verses are dearer to the gods and more valuable to men because, whereas monuments in stone and bronze will fade, his immaterial works are designed to be sung and will therefore renew themselves together with their objects of praise every time they are performed. Both Simonides and Pindar suggest that they can guarantee undying fame for dead soldiers and athletes because of the performative aspect of their song, for it is in their repetitive utterances as hymns that they assume permanence. In Latin letters, the issue of immortality shifts from the person praised to the one praising. Ovid’s poetry displays an intense interest in its own self-preservation. His verses are replete with yearnings for authorial fame: Ergo etiam cum me supremus adederit ignis, Vivam, parsque mei multa superstes erit. (Amores 1.15.41-42, my emphasis) I, too, when the final fires have eaten up my frame, Shall still live on, and a great part of me survive my death.

Ovid here in one stroke fuses the fate of his work with the fate of his name, while at the same time claiming that his opus will transcend the destruction that is the ultimate end of all things, including his own body. “I” corresponds to the immaterial “great part of me” that survives the speaker’s body and refers to both the author and the speaking lines: poetry will be his means for survival. In his valedictory speech at the end of the Metamorphoses, the claim is repeated in even more extravagant terms: Iamque opus exegi, quod nec Iovis ira nec ignis nec poterit ferrum nec edax abolere vetustas. cum volet, illa dies, quae nil nisi corporis huius ius habet, incerti spatium mihi fi niat aevi: parte tamen meliore mei super alta perennis astra ferar, nomenque erit indelebile nostrum, quaque patet domitis Romana potentia terris, ore legar populi, perque omnia saecula fama, si quid habent veri vatum prefagia, vivam. (15.871-879, my emphasis) And now my work is done, which neither the wrath of Jove, nor fire, nor sword, nor the gnawing tooth of time shall ever be able to undo. When it will, let that day come which has no power save over this mortal frame, and end the span of my uncertain years. Still in my better part I shall be borne immortal far beyond the lofty stars and I shall have an undying name. Wherever Rome’s power extends over the conquered

24 | Andrew Hui

world, I shall have mention on men’s lips, and, if the prophecies of bards have any truth, through all the ages shall I live in fame.

Ovid here in one stroke fuses the fate of his work with the fate of his name, while at the same time claiming that his opus will transcend the destruction that is the ultimate end of all things. The way this is accomplished is through his theory of metamorphosis. In the prologue, Ovid announces that “the spirit drives me to speak of forms changed into new bodies” (In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas/corpora [1.1-2]). At the end of his work, he himself will change into a different corpus and assume textual form. Ovid thus undergoes a metamorphosis of his own: his “mortal frame” will perish, but his name will survive through his “indelible” poetry. The author and his work will finally be one (Hardie, 91-105; Segal, 63-99). His is a mutable monument: The experience of metamorphosis in Ovid’s poem seems antithetical to the fi xity of monuments, but it is precisely this sense of endless mutability and adaptability that ensures the survival of the characters undergoing metamorphoses within the poem and of the poem itself. Like the mutable bodies of gods and men, his stories are never stable, but always open to fluid transformation into and beyond other texts. In contrast to the open-ended flux of Ovid’s envoi, Horace’s own epilogue, Ode 3.30, is striking for its impression of solidity and finality. As the poem that closes his first three books, this ode corresponds to his poetic tombstone, and his epitaph is self-inscribed upon them. The poet believes that the enduring value of his work will ensure his own transcendence: Exegi monumentum aere perennius, regalique situ pyramidum altius, quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens possit diruere aut innumerabilis annorum series et fuga temporum. Non omnis moriar, multaque pars mei vitabit Libitinam. Usque ego postera crescam laude recens. Dum Capitolium scandet cum tacita virgine pontifex. dicar, qua violens obstrepit Aufidus et qua pauper aquae daunus agrestium regnavit populorum ex humili potens, princeps Aoelium carmen ad Italos deduxisse modos. Sume superbiam quaesitam meritis et mihi Delphica lauro cinge volens, Melpomene, comam.

Desire for immortality | 25 I have finished a monument more lasting than bronze, more lofty than the regal structure of the pyramids, one which neither corroding rain nor the ungovernable North Wind can ever destroy, nor the countless series of the years, nor the flight of time. I shall not wholly die, and a large part of me will elude the Goddess of Death. I shall continue to grow, fresh with the praise of posterity, as long as the priest climbs the Capitol with the silent virgin. I shall be spoken of where the violent Aufidus thunders and where Daunus, short of water, ruled over a country people, as one who, rising from a lowly state to a position of power, was the first to bring Aeolian verse to the tunes of Italy. Take pride, Melpomene that you have so well earned, and if you would be so kind, surround my hair with Delphic bay.

Horace first follows Simonides and Pindar in comparing his monument to bronze, the material Romans usually used for statues, tombs and to engrave important documents such as laws of res gestae. Second, he claims superiority to regali situ pyramidum, tombs of the Egyptian kings. As scholars have noted, the comparison of written verses to pyramids has no precedent in Latin literature (Nesbit/Rudd, 366). One reason why he refers to pyramids could be that ancient writers from Herodotus onwards have marveled at their enormous scale and that they were considered as some of the most wondrous constructions of man (ibid, 367).2 But what Horace is contrasting in the first lines is the ability of his poetic monument to withstand the ravages of time, whereas the pyramids as material artifices are exposed to them. One ambiguous word, situ, might help us to understand this paragone. The noun situs can either mean ‘site’ or ‘decay’. Horace might have meant situs as ‘site’ to evoke the common sepulchral inscriptions of hic situs est. Alternatively, he “could have been using the word in a proleptic sense, ‘higher than the pyramids which themselves must soon decay’” (Woodman, 118). I favor the second reading, which sets up a more nuanced contrast by juxtaposing his words, which are immaterial and cannot be touched by the elements, with stone, which the corroding rain and the ungovernable North Wind gradually wear away. As Michael Putnam writes, “[h]uman achievements to which poets give eternal fame are insita [enshrined], grafted on to the tree of flourishing tradition, not engraved upon or moulded from more perishing materials” (136). 2 | For the contemporary Roman reader, there might have been an additional valence for according to Michael Putnam, “Pyramids would mean Egypt and Egypt would serve as a reminder of queen Cleopatra” (138). Horace elsewhere describes the feminine seductress as powerful but impotens (Ode 1. 37. 10), the plotter of mad ruin for the Capitolium (dementis ruinas, 1. 37. 7), who finally ruins herself.

26 | Andrew Hui Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians themselves used to compare their texts to the pyramids. Jan Assmann observes that scribes frequently boasted that their texts were superior to the pyramids (15-31). The hieratic papyri in the British Museum contain perhaps the oldest surviving poem on the immortality of writers. It begins with the complaint of how “those writers known from the old days,/the time just after the gods” did not build pyramids in bronze or leave patrimony in children, but their progeny was “by means of writing” (Foster, 226). Like Aristotle, the anonymous writer bases his claim regarding the superiority of words over pyramids on the metaphor of biological reproduction: Texts outlast pyramids because they can be copied and reproduced. Indeed, the Egyptian poet constructs writing as an alternative to sexual reproduction, claiming that the scribes: did not build pyramids in bronze With gravestones of iron from heaven; They did not think to leave a patrimony made of children Who would give their names distinction. Rather, they formed a progeny by means of writings … books of wisdom were their pyramids, the reed-pen was their child, smoothed stone their spouse … and the writer was the father of them all … What they built of gates and chapels now are fallen, their soul-priests and their gardeners are gone, their headstones undiscovered in the dirt, their very graves forgotten. But their fame lives on in their papyrus rolls composed while they were still alive; And the memory of those who wrote such books shall last to the end of time and for eternity. (Pap. Chester Beatty IV = Pap. BM 10684)

Words may also be more valid as generators of transcendence than pyramids because the latter are the silent and mute marker of death, whereas for the Egyptians the word and the hieroglyph were the magic manifestations of the eternity of life. Tom Hare mentions that most Egyptian tombs were inscribed; the commodities included inside – various kinds of bread, beer, and oil – were recorded on the walls: From this economy of substitution, we have come to understand a certain Egyptian belief in the word, in its ability to replace reality, to substitute for the materiality of existence with language. It has often been remarked, indeed, that the Egyptians’ genius, and their credulity as well, resided in their faith in the word. (95)

Desire for immortality | 27 Words exist in order to be read, and every act of reading recalls not the dead, “but the line in between, the living body ‘behind’ the letter” (ibid.). Whereas the pyramid materially commemorates death and is a passage way to the afterlife, it is actually the power of words – whose ultimate meanings transcend its signifying signs – that prepares the soul for eternity.



In his ode, Horace, similar to the Egyptian poet, also claims the superiority of letters over stone, for his poetry, too, has metempsychotic power: “I shall not wholly die, and a large part of me will elude the Goddess of Death” (ll. 6-7). But he adds the extra dimension of how its survival into posterity depends on the survival of Latinity. The claims for literary continuity are predicated on the condition that some part of Roman culture survives. Horace’s construction holds only “as long as” (dum) the priest climbs the Capitol with the silent virgin. Ovid’s name will survive only “if” (si) the prophecies of the bards have truth. Similarly, on the deaths of Ninus and Euryalis, Virgil says that: si quid mea carmina possunt, nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevo, dum domus Aeneae Capitoli immobile saxum accolet imperiumque pater Romanus habebit. (Aen. 9.447-450, my emphasis) If my poetry has any power, no day shall ever blot you from the memory of time, so long as the house of Aeneas dwells on the Capitol’s unshaken rock, and the Father of Rome holds sovereign sway!

Here, too, Virgil uses the clause si/dum, “if” and “so long as.” Given that, at the time of writing, between 29 and 19 BCE, the horrors of the civil war were still fresh in the Roman collective memory, this passage seems to contain an element of wishful thinking: the perpetuity of Rome was not at all a certain thing, and Virgil himself was part of the Augustan program of cultural renewal entrusted with the task of adorning and creating a myth of the state. But the fact is that after two millennia, the house of Aeneas no longer stands on the top of the Capitol, Rome’s political power does not extend over the conquered world, and priests no longer climb the Capitol with silent virgins. Nevertheless, Augustan literature still forms an undeniable part of our canon. The Roman poets emphasize that the fate of their words is bound up with the fate of their language. At the same time, they implicitly suggest the possibility that their works might be

28 | Andrew Hui translated into other languages and transmitted to other cultures. This is particularly significant since, as his Satires attest, Horace was at the center of debates over Roman authors’ reappropriation of Greek letters in Latin. Moreover, earlier in this ode he claims that he was the first to bring Aeolian verse – the dialect of Sappho and Alcaeus in Lesbos – to the Italian shores (l. 11f.). Ovid and Virgil, too, based their writings on a Hellenistic model; it would, therefore, not be inconceivable for them to imagine that their works might be imitated in the future. Thus, one way in which works become immortalized is through their reception, adaptation, and reuse. The long international afterlife of Latin literature indicates that their success has far transcended their hope for future recognition: Horace was imitated by Ovid himself, Seneca, St. Jerome, Shakespeare, Ronsard, Pushkin and many others. Likewise, Ovid’s Metamorphoses underwent their own metamorphosis in Dante, Tasso, Spenser, Joseph Brodsky, to mention only a selected few. This point of survival beyond one’s native tongue is borne out in Shakespeare’s revision in Julius Caesar. After assassinating Caesar, Cassius says to his conspirators: How many ages hence Shall this our lofty scene be acted over In states unborn and accents yet unknown! (3.1.112-114).

In a moment of absolute dramatic tension, one of the chief actors draws attention to its theatrical mise-en-abyme: The historical event that happened in ancient Rome, the Shakespearean literary adaptation in late sixteenthcentury England in “a state unborn and accent yet unknown” to Cassius, and any subsequent staging of the play in languages and countries unknown to Shakespeare. The actor’s self-consciousness in theatrical re-enactment stretches the parameters of historical representation by self-proclaiming its own monumental significance. Cassius’ evocation underscores how the survival of memory is dependent on its reverberation through the diverse times and contexts that are even beyond the imagination of the original actors and writers. As such, the literary monument is unlike the unmovable tombs or situated buildings of, say, the Roman Forum or Trajan’s Column, whose architectural meaning cannot be separated from their immediate physical context. Rather, texts become monumentalized precisely due to their dislocation.

Desire for immortality | 29



It is the Ovidian sense of endless transformation, Horatian reappropriation, Virgilian commemoration and Shakespearean futurity that led poets to claim that their verses will outlast material monuments. However, they are crucially silent about the fact that the survival and transmission of their words depends on the very materiality of manuscripts and print. They seem to ignore that time has laid waste also to great stores of literary accomplishment, not only cities and buildings. Even though the works of Ovid, Horace and Virgil have survived, the poems of Ennius, Naevius or Pacuvius have not. It is during the Renaissance efflorescence of philology in recovering mutilated and fragmented manuscripts that the distance to antiquity became heartbreakingly apparent (Greene, 2-27). Yet Francis Bacon, writing at the threshold between the age of humanism and the age of early modern science in The Advancement of Learning, surprisingly claims that Homer’s epics have been preserved in their entirety: that whereonto Man’s nature doth most aspire, which is, immortality or continuance: for to this tendeth generation, and raising of houses and families; to this buildings, foundations, and monuments; to this tendeth the desire of memory, fame, and celebration, and in effect the strength of all other human desires. We see then how far the monuments of wit and learning are more durable than the monuments of power or of the hands. For have not the verses of Homer continued twenty-five hundred years, or more, without the loss of a syllable or letter; during which time, infinite palaces, temples, castles, cities, have been decayed and demolished? (52-53)

Taken at face value, the claim that no letter or syllable of Homer has been lost is, of course, patently false. But Bacon’s reformation of knowledge is fundamentally logocentric: texts as carriers of memory can tell us more about the past than buildings or other silent artifacts, just as letters – the writings of philosophers and poets – can teach us more wisdom than the acts of princes and generals. Bacon believes that immortality is not achieved through extravagant displays of political power – symbolized by “infinite palaces, temples, castles” – but through the progress of knowledge and science, here represented by Homer. This is analogous to the Egyptian scribes mentioned above, who considered themselves to be more powerful than the pharaoh himself, because even the Great King of Egypt depends on their craft for survival into the future. My essay has focused on the claim, repeated by ancient writers, that textual monuments are more durable than material, stony ones. For Greek poets such as Pindar and Simonides, the performance of their songs, compared to mute graves, constituted a continuous ritual to commemorate

30 | Andrew Hui their heroes in a more lasting way. Examples from Horace, Virgil, Ovid, and Shakespeare have shown how they saw the possibility that their texts might be adapted, reappropriated, and translated in different ages and varying contexts as an avenue to immortality. Their strategy for survival, then, does not presume stasis. Rather, their works were to stay alive by being continuously read, interpreted, and reworked generation after generation. Similarly, the Egyptians believed that, unlike the static Pyramids, poets could give birth to textual children that were life-renewing. Finally, Bacon’s view of letters as the better carriers of knowledge than buildings and stone monuments is precisely based on the idea that, unlike other monuments, texts are not static, but rather involved in a continuous project devoted to the accumulation of knowledge, which is why they do not corrode. Still, the desire for poetic immortality remains in many cases a wish-function. Like physical monuments, literary artifacts are subject to temporal forces and material contingencies despite the fact that they can be reproduced, translated and adapted. Obviously, whole bodies of poetry have been lost due to the ravages of history, and in many cultures architectural monuments have survived without their corresponding texts. To the eyes of posterity, the outcome of the competition between textual and material monuments as it is staged in ancient literature remains uncertain. Let me end my essay with a cross-cultural example from China in which the fates of both the stone monument and the text are intertwined and where the continued attempt to keep the spirit of the monument alive leads to its material erosion.



In China from the sixth century CE onwards, making rubbings of ancient inscriptions was one of the most important tasks of antiquarian studies, classical learning and historical research. Rubbings were made with great care and were eagerly collected, and many guides and treatises explicated their historical significance. The bei (䠹) stele, was a major means for the commemoration and standardization of the deeds of the emperors and the wisdom of the sages; the study of it was called jinshi xue (慹䞛 ⬠), a combination of epigraphy and paleography. When hundreds of ink rubbings were gathered in a single collection, the disparate localities of the vast empire could be brought together neatly inside the scholar’s study. In a highly interesting essay, “On Rubbings: Their Materiality and Historicity,” the art historian Wu Hung argues that “the analogical function of a rubbing is crucial to its use as a substitute for the ‘real’ – it freezes a moment of historical time in a still image. In contrast to a photograph, however, a

Desire for immortality | 31 rubbing minimizes the physical distance between an object and its image: it is akin to a manufactured skin peeled off the object” (30). While rubbings were used to preserve and perpetuate their existence through prints, the production of these prints ironically led to the decay and destruction of the stele. The repeated act of hitting the stele with soft hammers and saturating it with ink generation after generation slowly wears away the stone, gradually effacing the original. While each copy ensures the stele’s survival through reproduction, it simultaneously destroys a small part of the original. Moreover, both stone and paper negotiate two variable vulnerabilities: the stele is subject to destruction, effacement, iconoclasm, and theft; the rubbing is made on thin, fragile paper, easily destroyed – torn, scratched, mildewed, burned, or eaten by insects. Ye Changchi (叱㖴 䅦; 1849-1917), a classical scholar, puts it poignantly: At the beginning, only the edges of engraved characters become flat and blurred; the sharp edges of the original engravings are gone. When a stele is rubbed continuously day after day, it eventually becomes wordless, sometimes even losing its entire surface like a cicada shedding its skin. If one tries to read such a stele, even by shining a strong light on it, one finds nothing more than the stele’s posthumous soul. (in Hung, 43)

Since ancient steles contained inscriptions of text, it is both a textual document as well as a physical monument. Unlike the European examples, there is no ontological difference between the materiality of the stone and the immateriality of its writing. In the Chinese case, the fate of both the literary and the material are intertwined. What is then so haunting about the stele and its rubbings is that they offer both competing and complementing media of preservation: The very act of preserving the stele’s text through rubbings also destroys it. The Chinese case here brings into focus how texts ultimately depend on physical media. The only hope of its immortality is contingent upon the fragile, numerous rubbings, but then they are even more ephemeral and contingent than the stele. Written records have a better chance to endure than physical objects, not so much because of their ability to transcend materiality as due to the fact that their survival depends on their reproducibility and transmission. Of course, this is not to say that physical monuments cannot be reproduced. Indeed, there are copies and imitations of Egyptian pyramids in Europe and the Americas; but they remain exactly copies and imitations that are uprooted from their geographical context. By way of contrast, the poets can claim that the ultimate meaning of their poetry does not dwell on the material sites of production, the manuscript or the stele, but rather the hermeneutic activity of reading. True monuments are those that point beyond their material

32 | Andrew Hui signs. In every reading of the text, the cicada re-grows its skin and the “stele’s posthumous soul” finds another avenue to incarnate itself. This is the paradox of the monument as text and object: designed as a summation of memory, an omega-point in which is concentrated all the meaning that a culture wishes to preserve, the monument’s survival depends not so much on its singularity than its multiplicity.

R EFERENCES Aristotle. On the Soul. Trans. Hippocrates G. Apostle. Grinnell: Peripatetic Press, 1981. Aristotle. The Physics. Trans. Philip H. Wicksteed and Francis M. Cornford. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970. Assman, Jan. “Ancient Egypt and the Materiality of the Sign.” Materialities of Communication. Ed. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and Karl Ludwig Pfeiffer, trans. William Whobrey. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1994. 15-31. Bacon, Francis. The Advancement of Learning. Ed. Michael Kiernan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Daniell, David, ed. Julius Caesar. Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. Waltonon-Thames: Thomas Nelson, 1998. Ford, Andrew. Homer: Poetry of the Past. Ithaca: Princeton University Press, 1992. Foster, John Lawrence, trans. Ancient Egyptian Literature: An Anthology. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001. Greene, Thomas. Light in Troy: Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982. Hardie, Philip. Ovid’s Poetics of Illusions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Hare, Tom. ReMembering Osiris: Number, Gender, and the Word in Ancient Egyptian Representational Systems. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. Horace. Odes and Epodes. Trans. Niall Rudd. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. Immerwahr, Henry R. “Ergon: History as a Monument in Herodotus and Thucydides.” The American Journal of Philology 81.3 (1960): 261-290. Jaeger, Mary. Livy’s Written Rome. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997. Nesbitt, R. G. M. and Niall Rudd. A Commentary on Horace: Book III of Odes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Desire for immortality | 33 Ovid. Amores. Trans. Grant Showerman. Rev. G. P. Goold. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977. Ovid. Metamorphoses. Trans. Frank J. Miller. Rev. G. P. Goold. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977. Pindar. Olympian Odes. Trans. William Race. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. Putnam, Michael. “Horace C. 3:30: The Lyricist as Hero.” Essays on Latin Lyric, Elegy, and Epic. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982. 133151. Segal, Charles. “Intertextuality and Immortality: Ovid, Pythagoras, and Lucretius in Metamorphoses 15.” Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 46 (2001): 63-99. Simonides. Greek Lyric, III. Trans. David Campbell. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991. Steiner, Deborah. “Pindar’s Oggetti Parlanti.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 95 (1993): 159-180. Svenbro, Jesper. La parole et le marbre: aux origines de la poétique grecque Lund: [s. n.], 1976. Varro. De Lingua Latina. Trans. Roland Kent. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938. Virgil. Aeneid. Trans. H. Ruston Fairclough. Rev. G. P. Goold. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965. Woodman, Tony. “EXEGI MONVMENTVM: Horace, Odes 3.30.” Quality and Pleasure in Latin Poetry. Ed. Tony Woodman and David West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974. Wu, Hung. “On Rubbings: Their Materiality and Historicity.” Writing and Materiality in China. Ed. Judith T. Zeitlin and Lydia H. Liu. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003. 29-72.

“Plunging into nothingness”: The politics of cultural memory Aleida Assmann

We learn from neuro-scientists that there exists a part in the forebrain that is responsible for the transformation of short-term memories into long-term-memories. This part is called the hippocampus. To put it more technically: due to a new chemical synthesis in this region of the brain, temporary alterations in synaptic transmission are transformed into persistent modifications of synaptic architecture. This process of forming long-term memories in the brain is called ‘consolidation’. In this essay, I will ask questions such as these: what is the equivalent of the hippocampus on the level of culture? What are the mechanisms of selection and consolidation in cultural memory? It is safe to assume that on the societal level, these mechanisms are at least as complex as in the brain. They involve difficult decisions which are always controversial and which are backed up by power relations but are also, to a certain extent, unforeseeable and contingent. Who makes his or her way into, and who remains outside the cultural memory? What are the principles of inclusion and exclusion? These questions are necessarily related to questions of acquiring and maintaining power; which means that a change in power relations will also produce a change in the structure of cultural memory. Equally important agents of change, however, are the long-term changes of consciousness and values. In order to better understand the cultural politics of memory, I will look at this problem from various angles, revisiting important turning points in the history of literature. My point of departure will be the theme of male ambition, fame and immortality and its manifestations in the writings of John Milton in the seventeenth century. From there I will move

36 | Aleida Assmann to the shock of recognition among Romantic writers who discovered that the rural populations are categorically excluded from cultural memory, an insight that was repeated and politicized by women and black writers in the beginning and the middle of the twentieth century. I will end by describing their efforts to fight their way back from a state of exclusion and amnesia, from their “plunge into nothingness” back into cultural memory.



In spite of its long history, fame is a late addition to the arts of cultural memory. The secular notion of an afterlife based on individual deeds and achievements was known already in Ancient Egypt and developed in Ancient Greece and Rome. While the claim to personal fame had been a privilege of rulers and the ruling class in earlier civilizations, this privilege was extended in Greece and Rome to non-political domains such as science, the arts or sports. Whereas the commemoration of the dead, the obligation to remember one’s deceased family members, seems to be a universal cultural institution, the cult of fame, the desire of the individual to gain secular immortality on the basis of a continued estimation of his or her life-time achievements, is certainly not. The cult of fame, for instance, has no root in Christianity but entered Western culture only in the Renaissance with the influx of classical texts and traditions. The Christian notion of religious immortality was based on faith; it was long considered incompatible with the notion of a secular immortality based on fame. In the process of secularization, the vision of a religious afterlife of souls redeemed after the last judgment was increasingly replaced by the vision of a secular afterlife in the memory of future generations. Shakespeare was among those who eagerly absorbed the Renaissance “poetics of immortality” (Curtius, 471-472): He repeatedly defined his sonnet in the Horatian manner as a ‘monument’ in which the fleeting moment of the beauty of the beloved is safely enshrined: Your monument shall be my gentle verse, Which eyes not yet created shall o’er-read; And tongues-to-be your being shall rehearse, When all the breathers of this world are dead: You still shall live – such virtue hath my pen – Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men. (Sonnet 81.9-14)

As breath is the fuel of life, flatus vocis, speech, communication is the fuel of an afterlife. To live on in memory means, for Shakespeare, to continue to be

The politics of cultural memory | 37 talked about and recited. Immortality is thus the product of ‘communicative memory’. In the couplet of another sonnet, Shakespeare brilliantly parallels the two conflicting visions of Christian and Classical afterlife, of faith and fame: So, till the judgment that yourself arise, You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes. (Sonnet 55.13-14)

A generation after Shakespeare, Sir Thomas Browne, the famous physician and religious prose writer of the seventeenth century, thought little of a secular afterlife. He believed that the world was soon coming to an end and that human aspirations towards fame were manifestations of vanitas in the double sense of the term: a foolish pride and an empty hope. He summed up the conflict between Christian eternity and secular afterlife with concise precision: The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been, to be found in the Register of God, not in the record of man. (Browne, 282)



2.1 Nietzsche’s concept of monumental history

The term ‘monument’ usually refers to architecture, texts or works of art that have achieved an eminence that elevates them beyond their historical contexts. I want to take here a slightly different approach to the topic by following Nietzsche’s theory of ‘monumental history’. In his reflections on uses and abuses of the past, he presents three types of historiography that manage to set limits to the overpowering multiplicity of historical data by creating a meaningful narrative. One of these is what he calls ‘monumental history’. For Nietzsche, the term ‘monument’ is not confined to concrete objects such as buildings, statues, museums and memorials. He conceives of the ‘monumental’ in a much wider sense, taking it as a manner of framing, as a specific format that is retrospectively applied to works of art, ideas, human beings and events of the past. He looks at monuments less from the standpoint of production, asking who created them and with what intention, but rather from the perspective of reception, asking why they are selected, accepted and needed. His interest is in the construction of the

38 | Aleida Assmann monument, focusing not on those who left something behind but on those who pick it up. For Nietzsche, ‘monument’ is first and foremost a memory format that stands for techniques of elevating and enlarging objects, events and persons. He is clearly aware of the constructed character of the monument and investigates the strategies which are used to transform a transitory historical moment into a lasting monument. For Nietzsche, however, the analysis of the constructedness of this format does not automatically entail its ‘deconstruction’. Although he is himself a revolutionary thinker, subversion is not his one and only concern. He points to various operations that are involved in the process of transforming a moment into a monument. 2.1.1 Selection and extraction of the event from its context Selection is the first and foremost step, and it always implies a paradoxical act of forgetting: “Whole tracts of it are forgotten and despised; they flow away like a dark, unbroken river, with only a few gaily coloured islands of fact rising above it. There is something beyond nature in the rare figures that become visible; like the golden hips his disciples attributed to Pythagoras” (Nietzsche, 16). A monument, according to Nietzsche, is an event cut off from its cause; it is taken out of the “real historical nexus of cause and effect” by focusing on the event (or text) as an “effect in itself” (15). An acute perception of the differences in historical settings and consequences would necessarily weaken its normative impact. 2.1.2 Translation from a small scale to a large scale The monument, according to Nietzsche, is created not only by selecting an event of the past and disconnecting it from its context, but also by rendering it on a larger than life scale. ‘Greatness’ is the enduring quality of the monument which is achieved by altering an event and touching it up, thus taking away some of its factual authenticity and bringing it ‘nearer to fiction’. Events that are memorized in the format of a ‘monument’ are compared by Nietzsche to ‘myth’; both bring the past to life, both create meaning and exert a normative or motivational power on the present. 2.1.3 Translation from the particular to the general The ‘monument’ in monumental history is singled out from the uniform chains of events as an encouraging example, as an inspiring model to be imitated and emulated. To raise an event or deed of the past to the status of a lasting example, it must be generalized to become a compelling match for various upcoming occasions. In this process, “many differences must be neglected, the individuality of the past is forced into a general formula and

The politics of cultural memory | 39 all the sharp angles broken off for the sake of correspondence” (Nietzsche, 14). Only if a striking similarity can be detected between past event and present occasion, will it exert a motivating influence on the present. In this process, the past event (or text) is ‘assimilated’ (in the literal sense of the word) to the situation of the present. While the ‘moment’ is embedded in historical time, the ‘monument’ is embedded in the timeless zone of immortality, which is the product of the construction of fame. Nietzsche closely connects the construction of ‘the monument’ with the ‘construction of fama’. For him, the production and reception of greatness in cultural memory are intimately related because it is by “gazing on past greatness” that the gazer hopes to become great himself (13).1 Creative imitation is for Nietzsche the only viable strategy available to the artist to achieve fame. He who imitates greatness “has no hope of reward except fame, which means the expectation of a niche in the temple of history” (13). After having secured for himself a safe place in this temple, he will exert a similar influence on posterity, which will in turn hopefully imitate his example. The constructions of fame and immortality are backed up by his credo that monuments “form a chain, a highroad for humanity through the ages, and [that] the highest points of those vanished moments are yet great and living for men” (Nietzsche, 13). According to Nietzsche, this “highroad for humanity through the ages” is upheld and maintained by only a few great minds. One thing will live, the sign manual of their inmost being, the rare fl ash of light, the deed, the creation; because posterity cannot do without it. In this spiritualized form, fame is … the belief in the oneness and continuity of the great in every age, and a protest against the change and decay of generations. (14)

Nietzsche knew very well, however, that in spite of this oneness and continuity, immortality was not the product of cooperation but of competition. He emphasized that “the fiercest battle is fought round the demand for greatness to be eternal”. The battle is so fierce because the secular religion of fama is extremely exclusive. Nietzsche’s pantheon holds “No more than a hundred men” of an age and it requires no more to keep up the tradition (13). 1 | Harold Bloom has absorbed Nietzsche’s ideas in his concept of the Western Canon. He emphasized the principle of creative imitation and combined it with the an agonistic principle: the texts within a Canon are “struggling with one another for survival” because “in Western history the creative imagination has conceived of itself as the most competitive of modes, akin to the solitary runner, who races for his own glory” (34).

40 | Aleida Assmann

2.2 Milton’s will to fame

Let us look more closely at one of these “hundred men” who fought the fierce battle for fame and greatness. I will focus on Sir Thomas Browne’s contemporary, the poet John Milton, who became a supporter of Cromwell and the Puritan revolution at the time of the civil war. The poet grew up in a sheltered home, which provided him with a room of his own, with a great supply of books and ample time for reading. He profited from an excellent education including ancient languages, theology and history. As a staunch Puritan, Milton was clearly a Christian writer, but he was also a Renaissance humanist who could not suppress a strong yearning for greatness and secular fame. On the eve of his twenty-third birthday, he wrote a sonnet in which he expressed his anxiety about the tardiness of his expected career: My hasting days fly on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th. (29)

He described his yearning for great achievements and fame in more general terms as an inward prompting which now grew daily upon me, that by labour and intent study (which I take to be my portion in this life) joyn’d with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not willingly let die. These thoughts at once possesst me, and these other. That if I were certain to write as men buy Leases, for three lives and downward, there ought no regard be sooner had, than to God’s glory by the honour and instruction of my country. (236, my italics)

Both Browne and Milton were eminent Christian men of letters of the seventeenth century; the one, however, fashioned himself as a private, the other as a public man. Milton, the public man, aspired to a place in cultural memory and dedicated his whole life to that goal. His vocation was built on specific prerequisites (such as inclination and special talents) and required a specific sacrifice (“labour and intent study”). Milton hoped for something that until then had been possible only through legal contracts: to create a lasting impact for three or more generations after his death. He countered the hubris of intellectual pride (superbia), which lurks in the pagan project of self-immortalization by bowing to higher values and dedicating himself and his achievements to the service of God and country. But, as Browne soberly reminds us: very few people can strive for fame, and still fewer achieve it. There are always two sides to fame, the

The politics of cultural memory | 41 production side and the reception side, which can be compared to a message in a bottle. Something has to be sent off aiming at the future as ‘prospective remembrance’, and something has to be taken up in the future as ‘retrospective memory’, looking back into the past. The problem is: How can one exert an influence, let alone pressure on the generations to come? How can one make them accept the offer of one’s work and prevent them from willingly letting it die? Nietzsche was rather confident on this point; he was convinced that posterity would accept the gift because it “cannot do without it” (14). Virginia Woolf was much more skeptical and even diffident. What can you do, she asked, against “the world’s notorious indifference?” (60). By invoking the model of a legal contract, Milton connected the present and the future in a bond of mutual obligation. In doing so, he gave his written work the status of a testament. Amazingly enough, Milton’s ambitious hopes were not defeated, and the degree of his canonization is quite remarkable. He was himself a despised and discarded relic of the Puritan Revolution, suffering contempt, negligence and forgetting when he wrote his ambitious epic Paradise Lost at the time of the Restoration. Only one generation later, however, at the dawn of a new secular era of political and aesthetic emancipation from religious authority, was his ‘message in the bottle’ recovered and the manuscript translated into a new cultural context. His text, which had been designed as ‘monumental’ to begin with, was fashioned by later generations as a monument by lifting it from its context and transforming its message to make it resonate with new issues, values and discourses. Most of all, Milton’s text served enlightened and Romantic generations in formulating their own poetic agendas.2 In the course of the nineteenth century, Milton’s text was introduced into the channel of the English school system through which he reached a wide reading public. His poems and epics became canonical texts for social and moral education and a common point of reference (an important lieu de mémoire of Bildung) for English culture in the British Empire. A later stage of Milton’s fame is reflected in one of James Joyce’s short stories, written at the beginning of the twentieth century. Gabriel Conroy, the protagonist of the story “The Dead”, is a literary scholar who gives a dinner speech which forms the climax of a New Year’s party organized traditionally by his aunts in Dublin. In this speech, Gabriel quotes Milton’s words about fame and afterlife; in doing so, he presents himself as a rather introverted 2 | Milton’s canonical status lasted through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when he was also deployed not only in the homeland but also in the cultural politics of the British Empire, until T.S. Eliot dumped his shares at the literary stock market in the early twentieth century.

42 | Aleida Assmann and erudite man who airs his somewhat antiquated Bildung. This Bildung is just above the level of that of his audience, but, what is worse, Gabriel highlights an icon of English culture, thereby proving his estrangement from Irish cultural traditions. He does so in a rather melancholic way, however, aware that “the shadows lengthen in our evening land” and that this English tradition is already declining (Bloom, 16). It has lost its invigorating energy for the future and become a faint afterthought, a pure retrospection. Gabriel’s speech is steeped in nostalgia when he describes himself as the last adherent of a great but fading tradition. At a moment and in a place where the world is more than willing to let this tradition die, he is the last one to reaffirm it once more. Milton had once pondered the risks and possibilities of time-travel for his own writing, wondering who would receive his manuscript in the bottle; Gabriel Conroy speaks from the other end, 250 years later, as one who has received the message but notices that it is fading and vanishing. In Gabriel’s speech, the notion of fame and immortality is turning more and more into a retrospective memory of the dead. He looks back to days which might, without exaggeration, be called spacious days: and if they are gone beyond recall, let us hope, at least, that in gatherings such as this we shall still speak of them with pride and affection, still cherish in our hearts the memory of those dead and gone great ones whose fame the world will not willingly let die. (Joyce, 201)



3.1 “The short and simple annals of the poor”: Thomas Gray

By selecting and highlighting a particular work or event, the monument automatically creates a halo of forgetting. Nietzsche already emphasized this effect on our perception of history: “Whole tracts of it are forgotten and despised; they flow away like a dark, unbroken river” (15). I will shift my focus now from the monumental to the momentary and gaze for a while at the dark unbroken flow of the river Lethe. What about those who are not selected and forgotten? While Milton’s question: “How can I create for myself a lasting memory?” is a very old one, the complementary question: “Who can aspire to a place in cultural memory?” is a rather recent one. In an early version it was asked by the English poet Thomas Gray in the middle of the eighteenth century in his poem “An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” (1751). When the persona contemplates the inscriptions on the tombstones, he becomes conscious of the fact that none of those buried there could lay claim to an afterlife in the cultural memory of the living.

The politics of cultural memory | 43 Death is of course the great leveler, a common destiny for the rich and the poor, but some are more dead than others. Apart from their names and dates, nothing is known of these “unhonour’d dead:” Full many a gem of purest ray serene, The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear: Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air. (Gray, 61-66, ll. 49-53)

The dead of the churchyard must indeed – in Thomas Browne’s words – “be content to be as though they had not been, to be found in the Register of God, not in the record of man” (Hydrotaphia, ch. 5). The poet goes on to imagine the life stories of these peasants, which were narrowly constrained by their basic needs. He realizes that none of them had the privilege of an education, which might have developed their talents and given them a chance to launch a career in science, arts, or politics. Gray muses that “some mute inglorious Milton here may rest” (59). According to his Romantic view, the peasants of the village in their rustic simplicity belong to nature and not to history. Time in nature is circular; its rhythms are determined by the cycles of life and their eternal repetition. Nature leaves no traces and thus no evidence for story, history or memory. History, by contrast, is a form of memory that is based on traces and records. There are, of course, oral memories tied to the country churchyard, but these do not exceed the narrow circle of the community. In his “Essay upon Epitaphs,” the Romantic poet William Wordsworth wrote a generation later, a country churchyard “in the stillness of the country, is a visible center of a community of the living and the dead” (127). The living memory, which Wordsworth encountered in the graveyard, is based on ties of family piety within a neighborhood community. The dead of the village live on for a while in the memories of two or three generations, but these social bonds are narrowly circumscribed; they remain enclosed within the ‘communicative memory’ of the village and are not transferred into the public domain of cultural memory. Gray’s poem provides an acute critical reflection on the shadow-line that separates the “honoured dead” that achieve fame and become part of cultural memory from the “unhonoured dead” of the village community. Without great works or deeds there is no claim to honor and fame; both were, for Gray, still exclusively male privileges. While the simple rustics were cut off from these privileges, they were sanctified and compensated for this lack in the vision of the Romantic poet with the values of nature and innocence.

44 | Aleida Assmann

3.2 Female invisibility and anonymity: Virginia Woolf

It was not until the beginning twentieth century that Gray’s question was asked from a female point of view. Women became interested in the invisible boundary between the honoured and the unhonoured dead, which, for them, separates not only the elite from the lower classes, but also the men from the women. Similar to Gray’s vision of the ancestors of the village population, the lives of women had long been considered to be cyclical, ordinary, and close to nature, thus cutting them off from history. The feminist project was therefore to restore at least some of them to the canons of art and to re-inscribe them into the “records of man.”3 The invisibility of women is an immediate consequence of patrilinear genealogy. The privilege to be remembered is anchored in the family name, which is what a woman has to give up when getting married. Although biologically, there is no generating without women, their part in this process is systematically elided, as for instance in the long genealogical lists in the Hebrew Bible, where men regularly generate men. In a patriarchal culture, women are not entitled to retain and perpetuate their name across generations. By giving up their name, they abandon a significant part of their identity. We can refer to this unquestioned relinquishing of female identity as a process of structural forgetting. An English legal text from the first half of the seventeenth century gives a precise description of it, making use of an image: It is true that man and wife are one person, but understand in what manner. When a small brook or little river incorporateth with Rhodanus, Humber or Thames, the poor rivulet loseth her name: it is carried with the new associate; it beareth no sway … I may more truly, far away, say to a married woman, her new self is her superior, her companion, her master. (“The Lawe’s Resolution of Women’s Rights” [1632] in Rippl, 53)

Just as the trace of a small river is lost as soon as it flows into a larger one, so the name and identity of the spouse are lost in marital union. Her identity is ‘sublated’ (aufgehoben) in that of her husband very much in the Hegelian 3 | Where Virginia Woolf detected empty spaces in the libraries she consulted there are now whole libraries fi lled with historical research about women. A few random examples of publications of the year 2005 are: Bonnie Smith, ed., Women’s History in Global Perspective. 3 vols. (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2005); Tanya Evans, “Unfortunate Objects”: Lone Mothers in Eighteenth-Century London (London: Palgrave, 2005); Andrew Shail and Gillian Howie, eds., Menstruation: A Cultural History (London: Palgrave, 2005).

The politics of cultural memory | 45 sense: She can attain a higher level in the hierarchy, but only at the cost of surrendering her own identity to the name and status of her husband. This description of the seventeenth century still captures the situation of women in the nineteenth century. When we turn to the last pages of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, a writer who has preferred to use a male pseudonym for her writing, we can find an interesting variation of the topos of the river. Throughout the book, the reader has gotten to know the remarkable qualities of the heroine Dorothea and therefore knows that she has more potential in her than she is entitled to develop according to her limited gender role as a helpmate to her husband. To quote from the novel: “Many who knew her, thought it a pity that so substantive and rare a creature should have been absorbed into the life of another, and be only known in a certain circle as a wife and mother” (694). Dorothea fulfi lls her genealogical obligations by giving birth to a son. But this happy ending cannot cover up her lack of visibility, which is the theme of the famous last paragraph of the novel. Here, Eliot adapts the image of the river in an interesting way: Her finely-touched spirit had still its fi ne issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels, which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diff usive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and lie in unvisited tombs. (696)

Eliot’s mind was not rebellious. She acquiesced in her lot and refrained from aspirations to name and fame. She accepted Dorothea Brooke’s invisibility by turning the defect into a virtue. The invisible, she argues, are known not for themselves but for their diff use effects; the good that they do reaches many lives and destinations like a river that disperses into many streams. This argument allows her to end her novel on a consoling note. Virginia Woolf broke with this acquiescence. She was no longer ready to put up with the structural invisibility of women as prescribed by the laws of patriarchy. She embarked on a search – not for lost time, as Proust did, but for those lost in time. She documented her search for women in history in her seminal essay “A Room of One’s Own” (1928). In this search, she became acutely aware of women’s conspicuous absence from written records; their lives, deeds and works, she noticed, had indeed flown “away like a dark, unbroken river” (Nietzsche, 15). Woolf critically analyzed the ways in which the constructions of fame and cultural memory are determined by male authority within patriarchal, national, or imperial frameworks of power.

46 | Aleida Assmann Writing half a century after Nietzsche, Woolf could no longer accept the principle that it takes “no more than a hundred men” to maintain greatness and to fi ll up the temple of fame. Trying to imagine the life of an Elizabethan woman, Woolf was “held up by the scarcity of facts. One knows nothing detailed, nothing perfectly true and substantial about her. History scarcely mentions her” (53). 4 And she continues: “All these facts lie somewhere, presumably, in parish registers and account books; the life of the average Elizabethan woman must be scattered about somewhere.” As she detected thematic empty spaces in the bookshelves, Woolf considered the project of rewriting history or at least writing a supplement to history, which was connected with the profession of her father Leslie Steven and thus an exclusively male domain. Instead of calling it ‘history’ it had to be called “by some inconspicuous name so that women might figure there without impropriety” (52-53).5 For the exclusion of woman from the annals of history, Woolf did not only blame men but also the mechanisms of silent complicity. In Western culture, the urge to make a name for oneself is not explicitly forbidden for women but checked by a powerful social taboo, which is even more effective because it is deeply internalized. Woolf brilliantly analyzes this mechanism of female self-censorship by connecting the prolonged desire for anonymity with a deeper, hidden concern for chastity. “It was a relic of the sense of chastity that dictated anonymity to women even so late in the nineteenth century … Publicity in women is detestable. Anonymity runs in their blood. The desire to be veiled still possesses them” (58). 3.3 “Faceless faces, soundless voices”: Ralph Ellison

While Nietzsche gazed on the temple of fame and the few immortalized great ones enshrined in it, Virginia Woolf looked for the ones who were neglected and forgotten, gazing on the “dark, unbroken river” (Nietzsche, 4 | Woolf notices that she left no plays or poems, but probably had a number of children. She writes: “Nothing is known about women before the eighteenth century” (53).

5 | Ruth Klüger, when dealing with her dead family members who were murdered in the Holocaust, had to learn that women do not figure in Jewish religious rituals of memory. She also had to learn that women do not figure as interpreters of history either. In her autobiography she describes how difficult it was to participate in the discourse of male historians or to have her encounter with ‘history’ listened to at all. Her husband, a professional historian and American war veteran, would become “furious because I dished up memories that competed with his. That’s when I learned that wars belong to the men” (234; my re-translation from the German).

The politics of cultural memory | 47 15) of Lethe. Let us look at this river through the eyes of yet another writer who pondered over the abyss between moment and monument, trying to remember those that are forever lost and forgotten. In one chapter of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the protagonist tells the story of Tod Clifton, who for a short time had been a co-member in a Harlem group of communist activists called the “Brotherhood”. Like the protagonist, Tod Clifton is black, but unlike him, he drops out of the group after a short time. The narrator sees him again by chance in the streets of New York, where he sells paperpuppets at a corner. As Clifton is not equipped with a license to sell these toys, the police try to arrest him. There is a short physical attack in which Clifton tries to escape but is gunned down by another policeman. The narrator involuntarily becomes a witness to this scene, but is so numbed by the shock that at first he has only one impulse: to forget what he has seen: “walking away in the sun I tried to erase the scene from my mind” (353). He is tormented, however, by his thoughts, puzzled by the behavior of his friend: Why should he choose to disarm himself, give up his voice and leave the only organization offering him a chance to ‘define’ himself? … Why did he choose to plunge into nothingness, into the void of faceless faces, of soundless voices, lying outside history? (353)

What then follows in Ellison’s novel is a meditation of the protagonist on the construction of history and the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in cultural memory: All things, it is said, are duly recorded – all things of importance, that is. But not quite, for actually it is only the known, the seen, the heard and only those events that the recorder regards as important that are put down, those lies his keepers keep their power by. (353)

He then realizes that “the cop would be Clifton’s historian, his judge, his witness, and his executioner, and I was the only brother in the watching crowd” (353). It dawns on him that people “who write no novels, histories or other books” will forever remain outside history. Oral life is lost to literal culture and so is the group of three young African Americans who enter the subway. He stares at them in wonder with exactly the same thoughts on which Gray pondered on his round in the country churchyard. Ellison’s protagonist speaks of them as “men of transition”, of “men out of time who would soon be gone and forgotten … But who knew but that they were the saviors, the true leaders, the bearers of something precious?” Living outside the realm of history, “there was no one to applaud their value and

48 | Aleida Assmann they themselves failed to understand it” (355). The narrator condenses the epiphany of this moment, a revelation that will change his life, into the following insight: “They were outside the groove of history and it was my job to get them in, all of them” (357).

C ONCLUSION In my essay, I have looked at the ways in which cultural memories are produced and at some of the reasons why they are not produced. My aim was to look at cultural memory both from the inside and from the outside and to find literary texts that tell us something about the still rather occult mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. In the first part, I dealt with the secular immortality of fame. Following Nietzsche, I examined some of the operations by which a moment is transformed into a monument. Following Milton and his desire for immortality, I showed how literary fame is produced and received across time, undergoing historical changes. In the second part, I looked at the borderline of cultural memory from the outside, that is, from the point of view of those who are doomed to remain outside. Cultural, just as individual memory is an extremely narrow space regulated by rigid principles of selection and forgetting. Those who examined the borderline − Gray speaking for the poor peasants, Woolf speaking for women, Ellison speaking for African Americans − were for the first time calling attention to the structural mechanisms that exclude whole groups of the population from active participation in the cultural memory. They examined the deeply internalized and habitualized logic of cultural exclusion, focusing on anonymity and invisibility as an immediate effect of power structures. By critically examining patriarchal, sexist and racist strategies of remembering and forgetting, both Woolf and Ellison inaugurated important changes in our perception of social and cultural reality. While Gray and Eliot mused on questions of inequality still in a rather nostalgic and subdued way, Woolf’s and Ellison’s (and in their wake, many other writers’) anger opened our eyes and ushered in a new awareness and sensibility. By rendering visible the social and political economy of cultural remembering and forgetting, they were already engaged in the process of challenging, changing and renegotiating it. From them we have learned that if “no more than a hundred” are needed to fi ll up the temple of fame, they need not be either all men or all white.

The politics of cultural memory | 49

R EFERENCES Bloom, Harold. “An Elegy for the Canon.” The Western Canon: The Books and School for the Ages. San Diego and London: Hartcourt, Brace, 1994. Browne, Sir Thomas. “Hydriotaphia – Urne Buriall or, a Brief Discourse of the Sepulchrall Urnes Lately Found in Norfolk.” The Prose of Sir Thomas Browne: Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia, The Garden of Cyrus, A Letter to a Friend, Christian Morals, with selections from Psudodoxia Epidemica, Miscellany Tracts, and from ms notebooks and letters (1658). Ed. Norman Endicott. New York: New York University Press, 1968. Curtius, Ernst Robert. Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter. Bern: Francke, 1948. Eliot, George. Middlemarch. Ed. W. J. Harvey. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968. Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man (1952). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965. Gray, Thomas. “An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” (1751). The Complete English Poems of Thomas Gray. Ed. James Reeves. London: Heinemann, 1973. 61-66. Joyce, James. Dubliners (1914). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976. Klüger, Ruth. Weiter leben: Eine Jugend. Göttingen: Wallstein, 1992. Milton, John. “On Being Arrived at Twenty-three Years of Age.” The English Poems of John Milton. Ed. H. C. Beeching. London: Oxford University Press, 1968. Milton, John. “The Reason of Church-Government Urged against Prelating.” Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Milton. New York: Random House, 1950. 525-546. Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Use and Abuse of History. Trans. Adrian Collins. New York and London: Macmillan, 1957. Rippl, Gabriele, ed. Lebenstexte: Literarische Selbststilisierungen englischer Frauen in der frühen Neuzeit. München: Fink, 1998. Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own (1928). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2004. Wordsworth, William. “Essay Upon Epitaphs.” Literary Criticism. Wordsworth’s Literary Criticism. Ed. W. J. B. Owen. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974.

A monumental inscription: The transcultural heritage of Swift’s epitaph Péter Dávidházi

We can overcome the textualist limitations if we look at how communities use works of literature as elements in the symbolic processes that help to form them. Balz Engler

“Hic depositum est Corpus/IONATHAN SWIFT S. T. D./Hujus Ecclesiae Cathedralis/Decani,/Ubi saeva Indignatio/Ulterius/Cor lacerare nequit./Abi Viator/Et imitare, si poteris,/Strenuum pro virili/Libertatis Vindicatorem.” (Here is laid the body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Dean of this cathedral church, where savage indignation cannot lacerate the heart any more. Go, traveller, and imitate if you can the strenuous and dedicated vindicator of liberty.) Addressed and exhorted by these words, visitors today can test their understanding of Latin on Swift’s self-composed epitaph in Dublin’s St Patrick’s cathedral, reading its graven and gilded letters from the black marble of the grimly beautiful monument also designed by the author, and probably realizing that he had to leave blank some details of the last two lines, to be completed by others after his death: “Obiit 19 Die Mensis Octobris/A.D. 1745. Anno Ætatis 78.” Meanwhile present-day students of, say, eighteenth-century literature can read a version of the same epitaph reproduced in a book as one of the few Latin compositions of an author writing almost exclusively in English. Nowadays, of course, you can find many electronic versions of the text as well, to be read from the monitor of your computer, in widely different contexts. As context, whether textual, pictorial or social, shapes meaning, the text acquires different meanings when seen in St Patrick’s, where it is placed above the burial stone and where

52 | Péter Dávidházi you can also see Swift’s portrait, death-mask, writing table and chair, when studied as part of Swift’s Last Will and Testament, a legal document originally written on vellum, or when read in a collection of his literary works, in a modern yet fairly comprehensive sense of the term, including poems, essays, treatises, sermons, letters etc. In the context of Swift’s will the formula “Abi Viator/Et Imitare, si poteris, … Libertatis Vindicatorem” comes shortly after the piety of the usual declaration “Imprimis, I bequeath my soul to God, (in humble hopes of his mercy through Jesus Christ,) and my body to the earth” (Scott, vol. XI, 404) hence it sounds like a distant yet distinct echo of the imperative from the Imitatio Christi tradition, the main devotional tradition of Western Christianity since the late Middle Ages. Without this context, however, the same text is a variation on the ancient Roman theme of Abi, viator, fac simile, (Johnson, 823) proudly referring to the difficulty of living up to Swift’s example, a claim not exactly of Christlike meekness. Readings of the epitaph proliferate further according to whether it is read by a scholar trained in classical philology, English literature or ecclesiastical history, by somebody Irish, English, Continental or non-European, believer or nonbeliever. Whereas Thackeray, lecturing on the charity of English humorists, deplored it as impious, Yeats paid homage to it in a poetic paraphrase (Swift’s Epitaph), called it one of “the greatest works of modern Ireland,” and “the greatest epitaph in history” (Bridge, 141; Yeats, 45). The four different media, vellum, stone, paper and computer, tend to offer different textual variants, provide different modes of existence and represent different phases of the work’s history. Initially the epitaph was part of Swift’s autograph will, last revised on May 3, 1740, containing plans for his funeral. Swift died on October 19, 1745, the funeral was on the 22nd (at midnight), and a month later the entire will was published as a sixpenny pamphlet; at the end of the year, on December 31, the original of the will was proved in the Prerogative Court. It took years, however, for Swift’s vision to come true; at last on August 8, 1749, George Faulkner’s The Dublin Journal announced that “Last Week a Monument of black Marble was erected in the great Isle of St Patrick’s Cathedral, to the Memory of that Great and Eminent Patriot Doctor JONATHAN SWIFT, with the following Inscription in large Letters, deeply cut, and strongly gilded” (No. 2338 [5-8 August 1749]: 2, col. A); the last phrases were taken over verbatim from the will, followed by the text of the epitaph in capitals, the archaic type of ancient inscriptions, not like the letters on the monument but as intended by Swift himself. Meantime the will and the epitaph appeared in two editions of Swift’s works in 1746 and a third in 1755, all with divergent texts leading not only to further textual alterations but also to literary recontextualizations far beyond the funeral, or even the lifework, of its author. The published textual variants have been increasingly difficult to authenticate, especially once the original autograph

Swift’s epitaph | 53 of the will had perished in 1922 during the Civil War, and no contemporary copy survives. A certified manuscript copy, in Marsh’s Library, Dublin, is preserved on paper watermarked 1808, and the manuscript shows some evidence of careless copying (Swift, The Last Will). What we refer to as Swift’s epitaph haunts posterity in so many questionable shapes that we may ask whether it remained essentially unchanged, or whether it ever had that immutable essence which is suggested by the word’s etymology (from the Greek epitaphion, ‘on a tomb’) and had been taken for granted by many an early theorist of the genre. In his Ancient Funerall Monuments (1631), John Weever maintains that “An Epitaph is a superscription (either in verse or prose) or an astrict [i.e. concise] pithie Diagram, writ, carved, or engraven, upon the tomb, grave, or sepulchre of the defunct,” (8) yet Weever’s collection of epitaphs is devoid of any tomb, grave, or sepulchre. “To define an epitaph is useless;” Samuel Johnson declared when examining the ones written by Pope, “everyone knows that it is an inscription on a tomb” (Lives, vol. 2, 232). Much as Wordsworth criticized Johnson’s views on Pope’s epitaphs, he did not challenge the prevalent assumptions about the genre. “It need scarcely be said,” the opening sentence of his first Essay upon Epitaphs goes, “that an Epitaph presupposes a Monument, upon which it is to be engraven” (Owen, 121). Presupposes, in the logical sense of the word, yes, but not in its material and chronological sense: Swift composed his epitaph with the exact shape of a future monument in mind long before there was a marble tablet to engrave it on, and it was published as part of his will years before the monument was erected, so it had to exist on vellum and paper before it was cut in stone, and even after its engravement and ‘petrification’ it continued to exist independently of the monument in St Patrick’s, and would survive in our material and virtual world even if that unique piece of stone were to perish forever. The symbolic uses of this text, however, would not be the same, nor our access to the former symbolic uses of its genre by diverse communities throughout history (Engler, 72). Just as the English ‘monument’ derives from the Latin monere, ‘to remind’, the monument in St Patrick’s can remind us of all those cultural traditions, from antiquity to the eighteenth century, that constitute the heritage of Swift’s epitaph.



The last word of Swift’s exhortation deserves more attention than it usually receives because there have been two textual variants of it in print, vindicem (accusative of vindex, ‘protector’, ‘deliverer, liberator of somebody’) and

54 | Péter Dávidházi vindicatorem (accusative of vindicator, ‘defender, champion, avenger of somebody or something’), with widely different intertextual allusions and with more decisive consequences than the sheer difference in meaning would suggest. The most sustained study of the epitaph (Johnson) sheds light on many aspects of the subject but is symptomatically blurred by this blind spot: it analyses the text as it appears in Swift’s will of 1740, or rather in a printed version of that will published by Temple Scott more than a century and a half later, and while it observes that the letters S.T.P. “has been altered” to S.T.D. on the monument, it does not even mention the far more momentous change from vindicem, the last word of the epitaph in this version, to vindicatorem on the gravestone. As Swift referred to himself as “doctor of divinity” in the first sentence of his will, S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) instead of S.T.P. (Sacrae Theologiae Professor) seems perfectly justified, but we have no such clue in the will to explain either vindicem or vindicatorem. Scholars are divided: whereas those who published or quoted the epitaph as it had appeared in some printed versions of the 1740 will thought that vindicem was meant to be final, those who studied the text on the grave or in a corresponding printed version took it for granted that vindicatorem was meant to be the word all the way through. The editorial principle known as ultima manus also suggests that vindicatorem, the latest form, should supersede any possible earlier one and become the only authentic version. Vindicem thus seems merely erroneous, and all those scholars who ever quoted the epitaph with vindicem seem to “have not succeeded in reproducing it with complete fidelity” and to have displayed “such incompetence” by taking over the “gravest error” from Hawkesworth’s 1755 edition that only Swift’s pen could punish them as they deserve (Luce, 78). Yet in the context of the epitaph vindicem turns out to be far too meaningful to be a mere blunder, and while it may be possible to copy vindicem for vindicatorem, it is unlikely that an editor copying a short epitaph either in itself or at the beginning of a longer text would be that careless. Indeed, it is much more probable that “S. T. P.” originated simply as an erroneous reading of “S. T. D.”: a hand-written D may easily be taken for a P. The possibility that Swift himself wrote vindicem in some earlier version of the will and replaced it with vindicatorem in a subsequent version cannot be excluded and would allow us to track also the tradition of vindicem back to a hypothetical authorial manuscript. Whatever its origin, vindicem has become part and parcel of a stubborn alternative tradition that has exerted its influence, for better or worse, on many generations of readers, and cannot be ignored. To assume that any word of the text was to stand once and for all must have seemed perfectly safe when thinking about a genre cut in stone, especially as Swift himself lamented on the inexorable definitiveness of

Swift’s epitaph | 55 all epitaphs as early as 1731. “It is dangerous writing on marble, where one cannot make errata, or mend in a second Edition.” Yet that caveat is misleading, because it was penned exactly when Swift was compelled to make numerous changes in the epitaph he designed for Marshal Schomberg. In that delicate and controversial case (Swift was trying to secure posthumous recognition for the hero from reluctant descendants and a suspicious King) there were so diverse requirements from so many quarters that he decided to send three versions of the entire text to the Rev. Philip Chamberlain, a canon of St Patrick’s, explaining the alternatives one by one, answering all his objections, and entreating his “judg[e]m[en]t and correction” to avoid the embarrassment of “all the scandal upon any slip” (Williams, vol. 3, 468-469). Moreover, the epitaph for Schomberg, written only a few years earlier than the first draft of Swift’s will in 1735, is closely related to the sentiment and wording of his own epitaph in 1740. In an early version of the Schomberg epitaph Swift addressed the same viator, and attributed to him an emotion not far from the saeva indignatio of his future self-characterization: “saltem ut scias viator indignabundus, quali in cellula, quanti ductoris cineres deletiscunt” (at least for you to know, indignant traveller, in what kind of little cell the general’s ashes were hidden away). He softened the harsh wording to “saltem ut scias, hospes, Utinam terrarum Schombergensis cineres delitescunt” only because he was reminded by Dr Patrick Delany, the chancellor of St Patrick’s, that the ashes lay disgracefully forgotten but the cell was not unduly small. Another early version, printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1731, would have expressed Swift’s own indignatio more directly: “Decanus & Capitulum … hunc Lapidem, indignabundi, posuerunt”, which the assorted translation elaborated even further: “The Dean and Chapter of St Patrick’s …, griev’d fo[r] the indignity offer’d to the Memory of so great a Man, they fi x’d up this stone” (April 1731, 169). Swift’s letter to the Countess of Suffolk was to justify their indignation (“if ever a numerous venerable body of dignified Clergymen had reason to complain of the highest repeated indignity in return of the greatest honor offered by them … then my Chapter is not to be blamed, nor I who proposed the matter to them”), and revealed the process of decision making: “it was upon their [i.e. the Chapter’s] advice that I omitted the onely two passages which had much bitterness in them, and which a Bishop here … blamed me very much for leaving out” (Williams, vol. 3, 500). This was not the only epitaph Swift composed and modified in negotiation with others, and their advice, sometimes verging on censorship, exercised control over some of his most personal expressions. In 1722 he designed an English epitaph for Alexander McGee, his servant at the deanery, to end it with the sentence “His grateful Friend and Master caused this monument

56 | Péter Dávidházi to be erected in Memory of his Discretion, Fidelity and Diligence in that humble Station”, but then he was advised to drop the word ‘Friend’, so the sentence on the small tablet in St Patrick’s today begins with “His grateful Master” even though Swift confided to the Rev. Daniel Jackson some days after the burial that “in him I have lost one of the best Friends as well as the best Servant in the Kingdom” (Williams, vol. 2, 423). Whether he had to or chose to comply with the wish of others is not always clear, but sometimes it was his preference to make the process of deliberation collective, like in the case of ordering the monument and composing the epitaph for Schomberg, “which … I could have done by my own authority, but rather chose it should be the work of us all” (Williams, vol. 3, 500). Maybe even the design of his own epitaph was exposed to and influenced by objections or advice. In any case, Swift’s work on the epitaph may have been responsive to institutional concerns throughout, from its earliest version (perhaps coterminous with the first draft of the will finished after months of deliberation in July 1735) to its final wording on the gravestone. Prompted by his peers or by selfcensorship, the process of revision may well have been more complicated than the extant documents seem to suggest: in 1740 Swift must have had good reasons to declare that “I … do here make my last will and Testament, hereby revoking all my former wills” (Scott, vol. IX, 404), and the emphatic plural of all his wills, even if required by the usual formula of revocation, may have referred to several early or intermediary versions we cannot retrieve any longer. One of these is actually mentioned in Swift’s letters in April 1737, “I have finished my will for the last time” (Williams, vol. 5, 29); that will directed that his body should be transported to Holyhead and buried in the church there, the burial place was changed to St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1740. If the 1737 will included an epitaph, its text had to differ from the later one: in Holyhead it could have started with “Hic depositum est Corpus IONATHAN SWIFT S. T. D.” but would not have continued with “Hujus Ecclesiae Cathedralis Decani.” Soon after 1740 the will could not be modified any further because on August 17, 1742 Swift was officially declared mentally unsound, and his affairs were handed over to guardians who remained in charge for the rest of his life. To understand, if conjecturally, why Swift may have changed vindicem to vindicatorem is not more difficult than to understand why he chose vindicatorem at all. The last word of his epitaph must have been too crucial to have been chosen only for its recognizable similarity with the corresponding English phrase. Much as he enjoyed playing with the similarities between the sounding of certain English and Latin words, and writing a delightful parody of an etymological treatise about the English language as the ancestor of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, there was more to the Latin vindicator than its perfect formal identity with its English

Swift’s epitaph | 57 offspring. The choice is far from obvious: Unlike the several Roman and Juvenalian motives of this epitaph, vindicator is not used in classical Latin at all, and its meaning in later ecclesiastical Latin (‘avenger’) would have been misleading when applied to libertas in this context. Hence Swift must have had special reasons for using libertatis vindicatorem, risking to make it look like an impaired version of the classic libertatis vindicem, a compound phrase frequently used by Cicero, Livy, and other classical authors. Orrery in 1751 dismisses Swift’s Latin poems by saying that he “understood the Latin language perfectly well, and he read it constantly, but he was no Latin poet” and then pillorizes the language of his epitaph as very harsh and “scarce intelligible,” a further proof that “he was not an elegant writer of Latin” and could not “represent himself and his actions in a proper manner to posterity” (Boyle, 169, 270). Orrery’s comment refers to Swift’s epitaph as published by Faulkner in “the last volume of the Dean’s works” (Boyle, 270), that is to a text ending with vindicatorem. As was conjectured, his charge of uncouth or unclear Latin may have referred partly to the elliptical pro virili instead of pro virili parte, meaning ‘to the extent of his power’, partly to vindicatorem itself, and his strictures may be dismissed as too severe (Luce, 78-79). Yet if we assume that Swift himself possibly wrote vindicem first, or (as he certainly did) knew about it as a possibility, the intriguing question is why he discarded it in spite of its classic reminiscences, and why he chose vindicatorem in spite of its anachronistic ring. It has been observed that the English version of “strenuum … libertatis vindicatorem” was memorably used by Dryden in his study on satire to characterize Juvenal, “a zealous vindicator of Roman liberty,” the opposite of the “naturally servile” Horace (Dryden, 258). It is safe to assume that Dryden’s essay was familiar to Swift (Luce, 79) since Swift actually quotes the essay and criticizes one of its self-centred passages as early as in A Tale of a Tub, and he never ceased to be keenly interested in either satire or Juvenal. Moreover, his “saeva indignatio”, supposed to echo Juvenal’s “facit indignatio versum” in Satire I, 79, is strikingly similar to another phrase from the same passage which couples ‘indignation’ with an adjective almost synonymous with ‘savage’: “his [Juvenal’s] indignation against vice is more vehement” (Dryden, 258). It is a much less safe assumption, however, that Swift used vindicatorem because he simply wanted to Latinize Dryden’s entire phrase except the word ‘Roman’, and was deceived by the Latin vindicator (which “looks as if it ought to be a good Ciceronian word”) so much so that he failed to notice the semantic inappropriateness (‘avenger’) and sheer anachronism of the term (Luce, 80). Swift did not choose vindicator by mistake, and definitely did not take it to be a phrase of classical, let alone Ciceronian, Latin. Whether he first opted for the classical Latin vindex in “libertatis vindicem” or just knew about it as a possible

58 | Péter Dávidházi alternative, he was sufficiently aware of its venerable ancestry to make it the culmination of his epitaph, being an avid reader of Cicero whose works he often mentioned, quoted and occasionally even imitated. He knew that Cicero’s eloquence could function like a vindex refuting charges: In A Letter to a Young Clergyman (1719-1720) he says that the “constant Design” of the speeches of both Demosthenes and Cicero “was to drive some one Particular Point; either the Condemnation, or Acquittal of an accused Person” (Scott, vol. IX, 69). If he eventually replaced the Ciceronian phrase by libertatis vindicatorem, a phrase without classical patina, he must have had something very important in mind to make the change worth the sacrifice. After all, it was his Ciceronian yearning for future recognition, for being admired by “Prince Posterity”, that made him quote Cicero’s request “Orna me” to Alexander Pope or Ambrose Philips, asking them to mention him in their works (Williams, vol. 1, 154; vol. 4, 335, 382), and made him choose the last phrase of his future epitaph with utmost care.





For Swift, the connotations of ‘vindicator’, whether read in ecclesiastical Latin or in English, were redolent of the early modern genre called vindicatio in Latin and ‘vindication’ in English. The name of that genre was an obvious key-term in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, omnipresent in legal and religious debates from Swift’s youth to his old age. It denoted either a deliberative oration written to defend somebody against charges in court, or a theological treatise written for the purpose of theodicy, the justification of God or Providence. The latter meaning must have been dominant for the dean of St Patrick’s because the rebirth of the classical Latin word vindicatio in ecclesiastical Latin and the proliferation of the cognate ‘vindication’ in English left its imprint on the titles of many works from the late seventeenth century to his own day, like Peter du Moulin’s A Vindication of the Sincerity of the Protestant Religion (1664), Edward Young’s A Vindication of Providence (1727), or William Dudgeon’s The State of the Moral World Considered: Or, A Vindication of Providence in the Government of the Moral World (1732). In titles like these, the word ‘vindication’ has a clearly theological meaning; the objects of vindication are still God, providence, religion or a denominational creed. The mid-eighteenth century also witnessed a bifurcation of the objects of vindication, either continuing the theological tradition, that is, defending a transcendental object, or starting to defend (seriously or ironically) secular objects, but in Swift’s lifetime the hegemony of the theological meaning was still unchallenged. To him, vindicatio as well as ‘vindication’ were still inseparable from the ecclesiastical Latin and modern

Swift’s epitaph | 59 English ‘vindicator’, and fully compatible with other ecclesiastical concepts in the epitaph, words that were just as incompatible with classical Latin as vindicator, such as the theologia represented by the middle letter of “S. T. D.” and the phrase “Ecclesiae Cathedralis Decani”. With vindicatorem instead of vindicem, the epitaph is enabled to epitomize the life of an eighteenthcentury churchman who, in spite of all his affinities with the Juvenalian tradition, was a sacrae theologiae doctor with a different axe to grind. However, it is remarkable that Swift did not write any formal treatise on Christian doctrine except a sermon On the Trinity, and came nearest to accepting the public authorial role of a vindicator of Christianity in two of his sermons, On the Testimony of Conscience and Upon the Excellence of Christianity, in opposition to Heathen Philosophy. He could not accept that the publication of injurious theological views or atheist opinions should go unpunished, yet he abstained from theological debates probably because he firmly believed that the great tenets of Christianity ought to be accepted as infallible revelations, and he did not consider that articles of faith needed any rational underpinning. Unlike Locke, who wrote a treatise on The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures (1695), then A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity (1695), and finally A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity (1697), Swift did not accept the assumption that reasonableness was the issue. This may also account for the striking difference between their respective epitaphs: Locke starts with a similar formula (“Siste viator, Hic juxta situs est Joannes Locke”), but then speaks on behalf of a dead man who is content with having served truth by his learning, prefers that his writings rather than the suspected eulogies of any epitaph should characterize him, admits his own sinfulness and urges passers-by to seek a model of virtuous life not at his grave but in the Gospels, and to learn the lesson of mortality (Locke, vol. 1, xxxix). The implied self-appraisals are poles apart; whereas in Swift’s epitaph the interjection si poteris, ‘if you can’, makes it questionable whether any passerby could match his own accomplishment, in Locke’s modest refusal to recommend his virtues there is a contrary interjection, si quas habuit, ‘if he had any’. Yet Locke’s humble statement is much longer, more argumentative and explanatory, characteristic of a philosopher apprehensive of rhetoric and devoted to reasonableness, whilst Swift’s epitaph relies on sheer declaration, elliptical suggestiveness, and metaphorical power. All this may explain why Swift was so delighted to mock the reasoning techniques of vindication as a theological genre, and why he wrote such ironical pieces as An Argument To prove that the Abolishing of Christianity in England, may as things now stand, be attended with some Inconveniences, and perhaps not produce those many good Effects proposed thereby (1708) or Mr. Collins’s Discourse of FreeThinking, Put into plain English, by way of Abstract, for the Use of the Poor, a

60 | Péter Dávidházi seemingly supportive but devastatingly ironical paraphrase of the deist’s position (1713). He used the non-theological version of the genre in a satirical manner in A Vindication of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. (1709) and in A Vindication of Lord Carteret (1730). Indirectly even his piece on such a worldly subject as punning can be read as a mock-serious attempt to imitate the role of vindication in theological debates: A Modest Defence of Punning; or a compleat Answer to a scandalous and malicious Paper called God’s Revenge against Punning (1716). “His vein [was] ironically grave,” as characterized in the imagined post-mortem scene of his own Verses on the death of Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D., yet it is also emphasized here that he was prepared to do anything, even to die, for liberty. His talent may have been at odds with the task of writing an earnest vindication, yet he finally depicted himself as libertatis vindicator, a vindicator prepared to fight for liberty and urging others (“Abi … imitare”) to follow suit. Just as the last word of the epitaph is not his revolt against something, but an affirmative gesture both assenting and asserting, the satirist, so often thought to be an interlocutor, was a prolocutor as well. Often inspired by his saeva indignatio to vex the world in order to mend it (Cook, 287, 307), Swift found satire more convenient than any genre of direct reasoning.



Whether by “libertatis vindicem” printed (even if erroneously) as its final phrase, or by “libertatis vindicatorem” indirectly evoking “libertatis vindicem”, Swift’s epitaph refers not only to many a locus classicus of the very phrase in Roman literature, but also to a cluster of legal terms in Roman law. Vindex, vindicatio, vindicta, manumissio vindicta, vindictam imponere and vindicare in libertatem all belong to the vocabulary of the secular ritual of setting free a debtor or a slave. In the procedure called manus iniectio (the seizing of somebody by symbolically laying hand on him and uttering certain words, which turned him into something like a slave) the vindex was a person who intervened on behalf of the accused. According to the Oxford Latin Dictionary a vindex is “one who, upon a creditor seizing a debtor, procures the latter’s release by himself assuming liability for any claim.” Vindicta may derive from vim dictam, ‘ownership asserted’, as a back-formation; its legal meaning is related to the ceremonial act by the assertor (adsertor libertatis) in a causa liberalis in order to claim as free one who is contended to be wrongly held in slavery. It has been much debated whether the roles of adsertor libertatis and vindex were exactly the same, but for our purposes they are sufficiently close, and even though vindex

Swift’s epitaph | 61 libertatis as a compound phrase had not been a technical term (Watson, 127-128), its non-technical meaning as ‘defender’ or ‘protector’ of liberty could hardly be separated from the function of vindex in Roman law. The traditional procedure of asserting liberty is transparently preserved in the meaning of vindictam imponere, to claim the free status of one held as a slave by touching him with the stick of the praetor. It is from the term vindictam imponere that vindicta was inferred to mean the stick used in the procedure, though it could also mean retribution for an offence, or vengeance for some wrongdoing. The verbal assertion of liberty is not effective without the ritual and vice versa, in keeping with the performative act of vim dicere, the common etymological ancestor of vindex, vindicatio, and all the other members of this word family. Vim dicere, ‘to assert force’, is a phrase which preserves an archaic notion of wielding power by enunciating words of authority. Whereas the English ‘vindicate’ and ‘vindication’ can be traced back to this suggestive Latin phrase emphasizing the verbal aspect of the act, the synonymous ‘justify’ and ‘justification’ go back (via French) to the late Latin justificare, ‘making just’ or ‘doing justice to’, and thus emphasize the non-verbal aspect. Hence “libertatis vindicem,” possibly the former closing phrase of the epitaph or at least a stubborn variant in its printed transmission, alluded not only to texts by Cicero, Livy or Julius Caesar, but also to vindicare in libertatem and its implied ritual of reclaiming freedom for the enslaved. For Swift himself such an allusion would be important as he was one of the fiercest enemies of slavery in all its forms throughout his life. He must have hated it all the more because he was haunted by a sense of confinement not unlike being enslaved: “But I who … am every day perswading my self that a Dagger is at my Throat, a halter about my Neck, or Chains at my Feet, all prepared by those in Power,” he wrote to Pope in 1723, “can never arrive at the Security of Mind you possess” (Williams, vol. 2, 465). This intense personal suffering reverberates in the famous exclamation of his Drapier’s Letters published in the following year: “Am I a freeman in England, and do I become a slave in six hours by crossing the channel?” (Scott, vol. VI, 67). His Gulliver, a fettered prisoner in the capital of Lilliput, is not only doing his best to regain his own liberty, but refuses to curtail the freedom of others, declaring that he will never be an instrument of subjecting a free people to slavery. In the History of the Four Last Years of the Queen, written in 1712-1713, Swift deplores slavery as something unworthy of the British crown. His Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D., written in 1731, referred to the slave mentality of some Irish politicians as the most loathsome anomaly of all. It was in terms of slavery that he condemned the Declaratory or Dependency Act, which was meant to enable the British Parliament to make laws binding on Ireland and to deprive the Irish House of Lords of its

62 | Péter Dávidházi right of appellate jurisdiction. Swift’s pamphlet A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture, &c. revealed the corrupting psychological effects of subordination. “Slaves have a natural Disposition to be Tyrants; and … when my Betters give me a kick, I am apt to revenge it with six upon my Footman; although, perhaps, he may be an honest and diligent Fellow” (Swift, Irish Tracts 21). And it was in terms of liberty versus slavery that the Drapier’s fourth letter followed the argument of William Molineux’s book The Case of Ireland’s being bound by Acts of Parliament in England, Stated (1698), and spelled out Swift’s contemptuous judgement on those, whether English or Irish, who would accept the dependent status of Ireland as lawful. “For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.” And as if to anticipate and refute the argument of those (like Thackeray) who would deplore the voicing of indignation in Swift’s epitaph, the Drapier maintains that in spite of the efforts to silence any tortured individual or community, they have always had, or should have had, the right to give vent to their feelings. “For those who have used power to cramp liberty have gone so far as to resent even the liberty of complaining, although a man upon the rack was never known to be refused the liberty of roaring as loud as he thought fit.” (Ross/Woolley, 441-442). One could point to parallel ideas about government, liberty and slavery in other Drapier’s letters, and trace them back to Locke and other political philosophers, but the personal tone is unmistakable, and the voice is the same as that of the epitaph. Whether as historical fact, political concept, or poetic metaphor, slavery was so unacceptable to Swift that resistance to it often served as the basis of his self-definition. The image of the liberator surfaces in the indirect self-characterization at the end of the 1729 “Drapier’s Hill”, a poem celebrating his plan of building a house on his newly-bought land, and revealing why the new mansion should be called “Drapier’s Hill”: “That when a Nation long enslav’d,/Forgets by whom it once was sav’d; … This Hill may keep the Name of DRAPIER” (Swift, The Poems vol. 3, 875).



By the change of vindicem to vindicatorem, the last phrase of Swift’s exhortation considerably subdues (yet does not delete) the references to classical authors and Roman law, not only to establish contacts with various literary, philosophical and theological works of the seventeenth and eigtheenth centuries, but also to retrieve precious connections with another ancient legal tradition omnipresent in the Bible and especially foregrounded in The Book of Job. The role of vindicator participates in the system of legal

Swift’s epitaph | 63 functions in the conceptual and metaphorical framework of this book (next to go’el, or ‘next-of-kin’, who is to take over the responsibilities of the deceased person, mokhiah, or ‘mediator’ and ‘adjudicator’, who helps the arguing parties to reach a just solution, melic, or ‘spokesman’ and ‘representative’), and plays an important part in what was to become the ultimate model and subtext for all later theodicies or vindications of God. It is in The Book of Job that we find the most strenuous attempts to vindicate the respective ways of God and Man. Moreover, it is here that we find the archetypal use of ‘ways’ in the metaphorical sense of ‘actions’ or ‘behaviour’ together with a verb which is near to Milton’s ‘justify’ or Pope’s ‘vindicate’. Job in 13, 15 of the King James Bible says about God, “I will maintain mine own ways before him;” The New Oxford Annotated Bible (2001) renders it as “I will defend my ways to his face;” and Robert Gordis’s translation (1965) has a distinctly Miltonian ring: “I will justify my ways to His face!” (Whether meaning ‘to maintain’, ‘defend’, ‘justify’, or ‘vindicate’, the original Hebrew verb, okhiah, is an imperfect derived from the same root as the one which can be discerned in mokhiah, meaning ‘adjudicator’ or ‘mediator’, a participle functioning as a noun.) Although Jonathan Lamb’s standard monograph on the eighteenth-century readings of The Book of Job does not mention that Swift was in any way concerned with this book, several traces indicate that he was irresistibly attracted to it, read it on a regular basis and with great personal involvement, identifying his own innermost sentiments with those of its protagonist. The Job of the Dean of St Patrick’s was not the “patient Job” of Paradise Regained (III, 95). Characteristically, when Swift recommends riding to Vanessa in 1720, the sentence he quotes from memory gives voice to the rebellious side of a dialogue: “and if you lose any Skin, you know, Job says Skin for Skin will a Man give for his Life. It is either Job or Satan says so, for ought you know” (Williams, vol. 2, 360). Well, it is Satan: “And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for Skin, yes, all that a man hath will he give for his life” (Job 2, 4). Job’s patience lasts for two chapters, but Swift was devoted to the third chapter, the outburst of bitterness. In a letter to Mrs Whiteway he confides, on November 27th, 1738, that he is horrified by the thought of his upcoming birthday on the 30th: “I hope at least things will be better on Thursday, else I shall be full of the spleen, because it is a day you seem to regard, although I detest it, and I read the third chapter of Job that morning” (Williams, vol. 5, 128). Swift invariably read this chapter on his birthday, considering the most relevant part to be “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.” Choosing this curse (Job 3, 3) and the rest of the chapter for a birthday ritual indicates latent problems of belief, not unlike those surfacing in his dreams and unguarded statements (DePorte, 5-17). The

64 | Péter Dávidházi sentiments of this chapter are practically summarized in Swift’s epitaph: Job’s rebellious defiance, his disgust with life and his desire to be dead are all united in Swift’s implied claim that only death could save the heart of the deceased from his savage indignation. The motive of death as liberator is also there; in 3, 19, Job says that if only he could have died right after his birth, he would be now at a place where “the servant is free from his master.” The Vulgate ending of this verse – “et venit super me indignatio” – comes even nearer to Swift’s powerful image in 6, 4 where Job complains that indignation is drinking up his spirit: “indignatio ebibit spiritum meum.” Throughout most of the book, Job is tormented by his emotions exactly like the epitaph says: “saeva indignatio cor lacerare,” savage indignation tearing the heart. The infinitive lacerare (‘to tear to shreds or pieces’) can remind us of Job 19, 25-26 where Job envisages how his skin would be lacerated after his death. A similar image is used to characterize Job’s indignation when (in 18, 4) Bildad reproaches him: “He teareth himself in his anger,” as the King James Bible has it, or “O you who tear yourself to shreds in your anger,” as Robert Gordis’s translation renders it even more dramatically. The same image was used by Thackeray to depict the sentiments of Swift’s epitaph and his whole oeuvre. “The ‘saeva indignatio’ of which he spoke as lacerating his heart … breaks out from him in a thousand pages of his writing, and tears and rends him.” (Thackeray, 31). Thackeray uses another similar image here when he argues that Swift saw the entire world bloodshot because he must have committed something so awful that remorse was secretly “rankling at his heart.” This supposition of sinfulness is very near to the insinuating explanations offered by Job’s friends, yet Swift himself, like Job, acknowledged that the innocent may suffer. In his sermon On the Poor Man’s Contentment he referred to the Bible as “full of Expressions to set forth the miserable Condition of Man during the whole progress of his Life,” and confirmed “that sometimes honest, endeavouring Men are reduced to extreme Want, even to the Begging of Alms, by Losses, by Accidents, by Diseases, and old Age, without any Fault of their own” (Swift, Irish Tracts 190-191). This is no less than siding with Job against Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu. Like Job, Swift wanted a monument, longing for a graven stone to commemorate the message of his life for posterity. Even in a self-ironical mood tormented by a sense of declining mental abilities, he could not resist the playful yet characteristic idea that the celebratory verses written (in 1732) by Lord Orrery and the Rev. Patrick Delany should be chiselled on his tomb. “And let the friendly lines they writ/In praise of long departed Wit,/Be grav’d on either side in Columns,/More to my Praise than all my Volumes.” (Verses written by Dr. Swift.) At the most solemn moment of beginning to write his will, he painstakingly described the memorial tablet he envisaged,

Swift’s epitaph | 65 specifying physical details to ensure maximum protection against decay: “I desire … that a black marble of … feet square, and seven feet from the ground, fi xed to the wall, may be erected, with the following inscription in large letters, deeply cut, and strongly gilded” (Scott, vol. XI, 404-405). This plan of the envisaged monument, reported to be executed verbatim in 1749 (The Dublin Journal, No. 2338 (5-8 August 1749): 2, col. A), is essentially the same as Job’s, and apart from the gilded letters Job’s desired monument is described in strikingly similar terms: “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” (Job 19, 23-24). The King James Bible’s “printed in a book” is both anachronistic and inaccurate because the Hebrew verb veyuhaqu refers to inscribing or engraving; hence it is probable that in 19, 23 the noun sefer (usually ‘missive’, ‘writing’, ‘document’, ‘book’) also refers to something more solid, made of stone, neither a parchment nor the natural rock mentioned in 19, 24 but something appropriately translated as a stela, a stone tablet almost like Swift’s, with letters deeply cut by a hard metal instrument: “O that my words were written, Were engraved on a stela, With iron stylus and lead, Carved in rock forever.” (Marvin Pope). As has been pointed out, the Hebrew of ‘forever’, if vocalised differently, would refer to ‘witness’ (Ebach, 103; Assmann, 47); indeed, what Job, like Swift, is longing for is an indestructible witness to testify for his cause to posterity, and he is thinking of stone as the safest bulwark against the ash-like transitoriness of things remembered (13, 12) and the fleeting shadowiness of human life (14, 1-2). The very role of the vindicator, so central to Swift’s epitaph, is of crucial importance to the passage in Job that follows the wishful thinking about the graven monument (Job 19, 25-26), although the meaning of the original Hebrew term, go’el, has been fiercely debated. In a version that resembles Swift’s epitaph in several ways, the King James Bible translates it as ‘Redeemer’, and implies that it was meant to refer to the deity in a way prefiguring the Redeemer of the New Testament: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Marvin Pope’s translation in The Anchor Bible opts for ‘vindicator’ (“I know that my vindicator lives, A guarantor upon the dust will stand: Even after my skin is flayed, without my flesh I shall see God”), and Leong Seow in The New Oxford Annotated Bible (2001) considers both ‘Redeemer’ and ‘Vindicator’ acceptable, but these translators both argue that here the word refers not to God but to a man, to the next-of-kin surviving after Job’s death and taking on the traditional duties of the go’el, that is, taking revenge for the deceased, redeeming (purchasing) his land, marrying his widow and begetting a heir. Although the issue cannot be settled (the text could

66 | Péter Dávidházi equally refer to a next-of-kin as go’el or metaphorically to God as Israel’s or the people’s go’el) the phrase has in any case something in common with the meaning of vindicator in Swift’s epitaph. Just as the essential task of the go’el was defence (several French translations of Job 19, 25 render goali as “mon Défenseur”), a paraphrase of Swift’s “Strenuum … Vindicatorem” chose “strenuous defender” (Drake, vol. 3, 171). All in all, replacing libertatis vindicem by libertatis vindicatorem connected the epitaph to a biblical role uniting the tasks of ‘avenger’, ‘defender’, ‘redeemer’ and ‘vindicator’, tasks held together not only by the model action of vim dicere preserved in the Latin word’s etymology, but also by their common historical origin.



“Hic depositum est Corpus IONATHAN SWIFT S. T. D.,” the carved letters say, but in terms of cultural history there is also a different kind of corpus deposited in St Patrick’s, hence to interpret the epitaph is to unearth a corpus of writing and symbolism much older and wider than the collected works of its author. True to the derivation of ‘monument’ from monere, the epitaph on Swift’s memorial tablet reminds us not only of the late Dean of St Patrick’s but also of the inevitably transhistorical and transcultural nature of his heritage. The latent meanings which resurface when we follow the verbal references of this epitaph back to long-forgotten customs, legal acts, and religious ritual, cannot be confined to one particular context, and are so heterogeneous that they need constant reinterpretation to be reconciled with each other and with the expectations of the modern reader unaware of their technical details and overall significance. The address to the traveller Abi viator, the well-known formula of traditional Roman epitaphs, is a reminder of the times when it was customary to bury the dead by the roadside and travellers were likely to pass by the gravestone (Lattimore, 230-234), yet Swift’s gravestone is in a cathedral, hence its visitors, the modern tourists included, are no mere passers-by, they usually come here on purpose, and whether coming for a religious service or (as modern tourists) just to look around, their frame of mind is very different from that of the old viator. Present-day visitors try to decipher Swift’s epitaph without knowing the ancient ritual functions of either vindex or vindicator, hence cannot be reminded of them by a mere word in a Latin text. As regards the liberation ritual performed by the vindex most of us would need manuals on Roman law to tell us how the indebted person was arrested by the ceremonious manus iniectio, that is, laying hands on him and uttering the appropriate legal formula, how the vindex would intervene on his behalf to set him free, that is, to procure manumissio whereby the owner would

Swift’s epitaph | 67 release him from his hand (manu misit) and the praetor would declare him free. As regards vindicator, we need erudite commentaries on the Bible to remind us that ancient Jewish law abounded in symbolic acts performed by somebody in this role, or that the mokhiah (daysman or umpire) used to put his hand on both contending parties as a symbol of his power to adjudicate between them, and it is significant that it was the cognate verb okhiah which was to be translated as justify (the ways of man) in Job 13, 15. Since both vindex and vindicator derive from vim dicere, Swift’s epitaph reminds us of the archaic notion of wielding power by magic utterance. Moreover, recalling this age-old symbolic act in its still undivided unity of speech and deed, the text brings us back to the ultimate biblical speech acts that were meant to express and execute the will of authority with a performative or (as Austin would say) perlocutionary utterance, like the archetypal “let there be light,” the divine speech act that was able to create. Whether translated as ‘Vindicator’ or ‘Redeemer’ in Job 19, 25, to shift from Job’s go’el to English via Latin is to preserve some (however faded) traces of ancient Jewish family law; to replace libertatis vindicem by libertatis vindicatorem in Swift’s epitaph is to reveal these traces without obliterating the reminiscences of Roman law; and to epitomize an important theological tradition from The Book of Job to eighteenth-century theodicy. All this cultural heritage is condemned to oblivion when modern translators render libertatis vindicatorem as ‘champion of liberty’ rather than ‘vindicator of liberty’, a rendering that would preserve the allusive significance of a loan-word still in touch with its multifarious prehistory. Whether flesh-and-blood, dust and ashes or made of stone, the invisible speaker of this epitaph reminds us of the transcultural legacy of human life long after we have forgotten the code which used to make its meaning accessible.

R EFERENCES Anon. “The Book of Job.” The Anchor Bible. Introduction, translation, and notes by Marvin H. Pope. Garden City: Doubleday Company, 1965. Assmann, Aleida. “Vier Grundtypen von Zeugenschaft.” Zeugenschaft des Holocaust: Zwischen Trauma, Tradierung und Ermittlung. Eds. Michael Elm and Gottfried Kössler. Frankfurt a.M.: Fritz Bauer Institut, 2007. 33-51. Boyle, John, Fifth Earl of Cork and Orrery. Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift. Ed. João Fróes. Newark: University of Delaware Press, London: Associated University Presses, 2000. Bridge, Ursula, ed. W. B. Yeats, and T. Sturge Moore: Their Correspondence 1901-1937. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953.

68 | Péter Dávidházi Cook, Richard I. “The Uses of Saeva Indignatio: Swift’s Political Tracts (1710-1714) and His Sense of Audience.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 Vol. 2, No. 3 (1962): 287-307. DePorte, Michael. “The Road to St Patrick’s: Swift and the Problem of Belief.” Swift Studies 8 (1993): 5-17. Drake, Nathan. Essays, Biographical, Critical, and Historical, Illustrative of the Tatler, Spectator and Guardian. 3 vols. London: C. Wittingham for J. Sharpe, 1805. Dryden, John. Selected Criticism. Eds. James Kinslay and George Parfitt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970. Ebach, Jürgen. “Schrift und Gedächtnis.” Erlebnis – Gedächtnis – Sinn: Authentische und Konstruierte Erinnerung. Eds. Hanno Loewy and Bernhard Moltmann. Frankfurt a.M., New York: Campus Verlag, 1996. 101-121. Ehrenpreis, Irvin. Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age. 3 vols. London: Methuen, 1962-1983. Engler, Balz. Poetry and Community. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 1990. Gordis, Robert. The Book of God and Man: A Study of Job. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1965. Johnson, Maurice. “Swift and ‘The Greatest Epitaph in History’.” PMLA 68 (1953): 814-827. Johnson, Samuel. Lives of the English Poets. 2 vols. London: J. M. Dent & Sons, New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1925. Lamb, Jonathan. The Rhetoric of Suffering: Reading the Book of Job in the Eighteenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995. Lattimore, Richmond. Themes in Greek and Latin Epitaphs. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962. Locke, John. The Works of John Locke. 9 vols. London: T. Longman, B. Law and son, 1794. Luce, J. V. “A Note on the Composition of Swift’s Epitaph.” Hermathena CIV (1967): 78-81. Wordsworth, William. Wordsworth’s Literary Criticism. Ed. W. J. B. Owen. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974. Ross, Angus, and Woolley, David, eds. The Oxford Authors: Jonathan Swift. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. Swift, Jonathan. Irish Tracts 1720-1723. Ed. Herbert Davis, and Sermons. Ed. Louis Landa. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1963. Swift, Jonathan. The Poems of Jonathan Swift. 3 vols. Ed. Harold Williams. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966. Swift, Jonathan. The Last Will and Testament of the Revd Dr Jonathan Swift. Preface by Vincent Kinane. Dublin: The Ussher Press, 1984.

Swift’s epitaph | 69 Swift, Jonathan. The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift. 12 vols. Ed. Temple Scott. London: George Bell and Sons, 1897-1908. Thackeray, W. M. The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century: A Series of Lectures, Delivered in England, Scotland, and the United States of America. Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1853. Watson, Alan. “Vespasian: adsertor libertatis publicae.” The Classical Review, New Ser., 23:2 (Dec., 1973): 127-128. Weever, John. Ancient Funerall Monuments. London: Thomas Harper, 1631. Williams, Harold, ed. The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift. 5 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963-1965. Yeats, W. B. “The Words upon the Window-Pane.” Wheels and Butterflies. London: Macmillan Co, 1934. 5-64.

Monuments and memorials: Byron and Wordsworth in post-Napoleonic Switzerland Patrick Vincent

Romanticism is a period self-consciously, even obsessively concerned with the psychological and cultural mechanisms that transform moments into monuments and into monumental ruins. Its principal spokesperson and theorist in Britain, William Wordsworth, developed the concept of “spots of time,” memories of intense experience recollected in tranquility which he compares in the Penrith Beacon episode of The Prelude to a form of “monumental writing … engraven/In times long past” whose letters remain “to this hour … fresh and visible” (1805, XI, ll. 294-298) thanks to the superstitions of the neighborhood. Although we often associate these “spots of time” with the workings of the writer’s individual psyche, particularly in childhood when linked with an intense awareness of death, there is a key difference between the Wordsworthian mechanism of “monumental writing” and its modernist counterpart, the epiphany. As Gregory Dart has argued, Wordsworth’s “spots of time” draw their energy as much from an intersubjective or socio-historical feeling, in this case the revolutionary optimism of the early 1790s, as they do from the self, serving thus as both a form of private restoration and of public regeneration (201).1 The Revolutionary Terror, the Napoleonic wars which threatened Britain’s sovereignty and the Bourbon Restoration complicated this imaginative process by sapping Wordsworth’s faith in republican politics. 1 | I borrow the term “intersubjective” from David Simpson, who introduces it in his influential historicist reading of “Gypsies” in Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination.

72 | Patrick Vincent History could no longer be unambiguously interpreted as progressive, the way liberal-minded Whigs had done throughout the eighteenth century. Because the French Revolution marked a radical break with the past, Wordsworth and his fellow Romantics were forced to reassess and to reformulate their own relation to history. Those who came to Switzerland, in particular, had to negotiate the difference between the eighteenthcentury myth of the Swiss republics as a moralized landscape exemplifying natural liberty, and the post-Napoleonic reality of Switzerland, which was politically and symbolically diminished, tainted by the 1798 French invasion, and functioning as a source of conservative ideology. In Canto III of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, written in 1816, Byron nicely captures this sense of historical dislocation which he attributes to France’s Revolutionary leaders. Roused by Rousseau’s “Pythian” voice, They made themselves a fearful monument! The wreck of old opinions – things which grew, Breathed from the birth of Time; the veil they rent, And what behind it lay, all earth shall view … (82, ll. 770-774)

The Continent in the aftermath of Waterloo is a series of monumental ruins, a giant graveyard inviting interpretation. This graveyard is haunted above all by the spirit of Bonaparte, a product of the anti-historical French Revolution which, as Elliot Gilbert has pointed out, represents not a continuation and fulfi llment of history but a decisive break with it (256). Like archeologists or geologists, two fields developing in this period, Romantic travelers are forced to piece together and interpret what survives of the past while at the same time confronting Bonaparte’s specter. To do so, they develop a new, critical but also expressive hermeneutics since labeled historicism, which aims to restore the original context of the past’s relics and remains through what Michel Foucault calls a “lyrical halo” (381, trans. mine) and what Wordsworth describes in his Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820 as the past’s “true intents/Feelingly told by living monuments” (Poems 435, ll. 4-5). If empathy is necessary to divine history’s “true intent,” one may wonder as does Walter Benjamin in his Theses on the Philosophy of History “with whom does the historical writer of historicism actually empathize” (256). The seventh thesis famously claims that the historicist necessarily empathizes with the victor – Wordsworth’s “living monuments” would thus be the historical record of those in power. As I wish to argue in this essay, however, the spectral memory of Bonaparte, particularly present in Switzerland after 1815, complicates such a reading of the past’s monuments. Byron seeks to salvage the past’s revolutionary force in the third canto of

Byron and Wordsworth in Switzerland | 73 Childe Harold by lifting it from its historical context, reifying it into a selfcontained “fearful monument” that can survive the Bourbon Restoration, and casting it prophetically into the future when it will overthrow Europe’s reactionary monarchies: “But this will not endure, nor be endured!” (83, l. 779). His messianic interpretation of the past’s monuments, in which the commemoration of an event in the past is used to inspire a liberating history of the future, relies on the subversive appeal of Bonapartism, represented as a Napoleon-like savior “in his lair” waiting “until the hour/Which shall atone for years” (84, ll. 792-794). Imagination here not only seeks to give an authentic meaning to the past that is disturbingly blind to the violence caused by Bonaparte; it is also used, as in Horace’s “Exegi monumentum,” to immortalize its author as a revolutionary poet of Napoleonic worth. Wordsworth’s 1820 Memorials, on the other hand, offer a more critical reading of the Continent’s monuments, inflected by the poet’s acute awareness of historical loss and contingency as well as by his growing distrust of the imagination, “that licentious craving of mind/To act the God among external things” (437). Wordsworth and his fellow Romantics’ repeated association of the imagination with the French Revolution and with the genius of Bonaparte during the 1790s made it a deeply suspect category by the time of the Restoration. Hence, the Wordsworth party’s 1820 tour, which almost exactly retraces the poet’s 1790 walking tour with Robert Jones in reverse, may be understood as an attempt to recuperate some of the energies of the poet’s past self while trying to cleanse the Continent of Bonaparte’s traces, evident in particular in Byron’s Swiss poetry.2 Yet the tour poems, composed at Rydal Mount starting in November 1821, a full year after the actual trip and six months after Bonaparte’s death, revisit only one of imagination’s “sacred sights” (Jarvis, 323), the Simplon Pass, and the overall tone is extremely impersonal. This impersonality, so different from the mood in Childe Harold, reveals the difficulty Wordsworth has in isolating his youthful feelings, shaped by republicanism, from the memory of Bonaparte. Unable to conceive the past as a “self-contained moment,” as Peter Manning has also argued (288), Wordsworth is forced to revise his theory of imagination, writing memorial poems instead of monumental “spots-of time” and expressing what he imagines to be the collective voice of the community rather than a private lyric voice originating in his own private subjectivity. As such, the Memorials closely follow Wordsworth’s prescriptions for writing epitaphs: They are meant to unite past and present, the worlds of the living and of the dead, by giving voice to inanimate objects and by 2 | Peter Manning makes a similar argument concerning Rome, tainted by its revolutionary and Napoleonic history (286).

74 | Patrick Vincent generating a universal, collective language “hallowed by love,” in which the power of feeling depends on the principle of permanence (Selected Prose 322-335). Wordsworth generates this collective language by borrowing widely from a variety of sources. These include, but should by no means be limited to, the journals of his sister Dorothy and of his wife Mary; the recommendations of his friend and traveling companion Henry Crabb Robinson; travel guides; recollections of his own 1790 tour with Jones; and other poems on Switzerland, most obviously Byron’s incredibly popular Swiss stanzas in Childe Harold and Manfred. The poems in this collection are so heavily intertextual that it is often impossible to recognize in them any private, let alone spontaneous, overflow of feeling. Wordsworth lays bare his poetic strategy in “Echo, Upon the Gemmi”, in which a “solitary Wolf-dog” wakes a “wondrous chime/Of aëry voices locked in unison.” This is curiously compared to the action of “one guilty deed” from which “A thousand ghostly fears, and haunting thoughts, proceed!” (Poems 435, ll. 9-14). The Memorials echo a multiplicity of ghost-like cultural artifacts and texts, all responding in unison to Bonaparte’s wolf-like voice. One of those texts haunted by Bonaparte is of course Canto III of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Passing through the small Swiss town of Morat in search of republican artifacts, Byron brings away “the quarter of a hero,” or, to be more precise, several shin bones, a pelvis, a femur and an upper-arm, for “careful preservation” (Poetical Works 2, 307). In stanza sixty-three of the poem, we discover the “less sordid purpose” (Letters and Journals, vol. 5, 78) for which he keeps his bones: “Here Burgundy bequeath’d his tombless host,/A bony heap, through ages to remain,/Themselves their monument” (ll. 604-607). Morat was a highly charged symbol of liberty: Algernon Sidney cites “the vast heap of bones remaining to this day at Muret [sic!]” as the best example of the military valor of small republics (206-207). Although French troops in 1798 tried to obliterate the memory of the battle of Morat, this attempt only added “fresh notoriety to the event,” as travel writer Louis Simond notes (169). Bones thus function in this passage as a symbol of vanitas, a lesson on the impermanence of tyrants and empires, but also for a progressive theory of history. Linking Morat with Marathon as anti-types of Waterloo, and echoing the Swiss passages of James Thomson’s Liberty, the speaker states that these battles “were true Glory’s stainless victories,/Won by the unambitious heart and hand,/Of a proud, brotherly, and civic band” and opposes this to the corrupt power of the Bourbon Restoration’s princes and kings (64, ll. 610-612). Morat is incontrovertible proof of liberty’s progress despite the reactionary political context in which the poem is written. But the bones found within it also indirectly evoke the memory “Bony,” Bonaparte’s common nickname in period caricatures. Thus they suggest both his defeat or coming apart at Waterloo, and the

Byron and Wordsworth in Switzerland | 75 poet’s desire to recuperate the historical, progressive force of Bonapartism (180). Bonaparte also resurfaces as a ghostly trace in many of Wordsworth’s Memorials, but never as a symbol of liberty. His presence is often framed as a trial to test both the Swiss and the poet’s own moral fortitude: “Pain entered through a ghastly breach … But, for the bowers of Eden lost,/Mercy has placed within our reach/A portion of God’s peace” (Poems 417, ll. 7-12). At the center of the collection is a series of poems on the Forest Cantons, which Wordsworth idealizes as the bastion of Swiss republicanism and of the continuity of his political feeling. While Berne is Switzerland’s “head,” Wordsworth calls Schwytz, “lodged ‘mid mountainous entrenchments deep, Its Heart,” and then urges the Swiss to keep their name in “happy freedom” (421, ll. 12-14). The Forest Cantons are of course especially meaningful as the cradle of Swiss liberty and as the only region of Switzerland to have resisted the French. As Wordsworth writes in the head note to “Memorial near the Outlet of the Lake of Thun,” the Catholic cantons, led by Aloys Reding, “with a courage and perseverance worthy of the cause, opposed the flagitious and too successful attempt of Buonaparte to subjugate their country” (416). His formulation, while demonizing Napoleon and praising Swiss heroism, cannot dissimulate the fact that the 1798 subjugation of Switzerland, which Wordsworth identified as his own turning point away from Revolutionary politics, went almost unimpeded.3 A thorn in the side of Wordsworth’s ideal of mountain republicanism, Bonaparte also threatens the author’s sense of continuity between past and present self by recalling his enthusiastic endorsement of the French Revolution in the 1790s, thus challenging his belief in the principle of permanence. In order for Wordsworth to be able to memorialize Switzerland’s republican monuments, he must therefore present them, much like Byron, as preserved from history’s vicissitudes through a “lyrical halo” that often resembles the caricature of a Tell-Spiel, or theatrical reenactment of Switzerland’s mythic past. Unlike in Byron’s poetry, however, violence is always close at hand to disturb this heroic vision. There are numerous examples in the Memorials in which Switzerland’s authenticity is evidently staged, or “beautified” as Wordsworth writes in “Eff usion in Presence of the Painted Tower of Tell, at Altorf.” In this poem the poet celebrates Altdorf’s 3 | Wordsworth’s letter to James Losh of 4 December 1821 is often cited as a defense of the consistency of his political principles although it failed to convince Losh. It was motivated by a letter of 7 October in which Losh writes that he is “persuaded we shall neither of us change those great principles which ought to guide us in our conduct” (MY, I, 96, n.1). Written while he was composing the bulk of his Memorials, the letter is a useful paratext to understand the poems. See also Maxwell.

76 | Patrick Vincent “Thrice happy, burghers, peasants, warriors old” as patriotic heroes, when Crabb Robinson writes of the same scene that “the physiognomy of the people does not speak in favour of their ancestors” (356). In the third stanza, however, the 1798 invasion again resurfaces as a test of moral fortitude, strangely projected into the future tense as a performative utterance: “How blest the souls who when their trials come/Yield not to terror or despondency” (420, ll. 19-20). The real test of the poet’s fortitude in the face of historical and imaginative loss comes not in the Forest cantons but with the re-crossing of the Simplon Pass, where he must face the demons of his own private history. Wordsworth’s anxiety at revisiting the sight of his most powerful “spot of time” is palpable when, although urged on by Dorothy, he refuses to enter the Gondo Spittal. Dorothy writes in her journal: “I had a strong desire to see what was going on within doors for the sake of tales thirty years gone by: but could not persuade W. to accompany me …” (259). Since Alan Liu’s monumental study, Wordsworth: The Sense of History, the Simplon Pass passage in Book VI of the Prelude has become a set-piece for New Historicist critiques of Romantic ideology because of the way in which it dramatizes Wordsworth’s powerful dialectic between self and history. According to Liu, the imagination in this passage mirrors and displaces history in the form of Bonaparte in order to assert the poet’s own genius. Liu controversially bases his argument on the hypothesis that the Simplon was largely synonymous with Bonaparte in 1804, which enables him to claim that the poet conceals this correspondence by describing only nature and his subjective self (532-536). By the time the Wordsworth party revisited Switzerland in 1820, however, the parallel had become too commonplace to be masked by any veils. Travelers regularly described the Simplon as “a noble monument of Napoleon’s genius and enterprise” (Latrobe, 125). The most obvious manifestation of this “genius and enterprise” was Céard’s road, completed in 1805: In 1807, a celebratory coin was stamped showing Napoleon’s bust on one side and a “Giant of the Mountain” on the other. The road very quickly became a tourist attraction in its own right, the subject of three lavishly illustrated albums portraying it as the eighth wonder of the world. 4 For some, it even served as an underhand way to express Bonapartist feeling. Marianne Baillie, for example, crossing the pass in 1816, finds a piece of paper inserted into the wall written “Viva Napoleone!,” leading her to exclaim: “As long as the mountains themselves exist, so must the memory of Bonaparte.”5 Hence, if Wordsworth uses nature and the self in 4 | See Lory and Cockburn. William Brockedon’s 1836 book covers other passes as well. For another laudatory description of the road, see Frye, 117-120.

5 | See also Nathaniel Carter, Letters from Europe, 520. The Wordsworths’ im-

Byron and Wordsworth in Switzerland | 77 1804 to conceal history, history in 1820 appears to be so overwhelming that it threatens to conceal nature, and, most importantly, the self. Yet Napoleon’s road was no longer maintained in 1820 and thus was in the early stages of decay, adding a philosophical twist to Baillie’s comment and complicating Wordsworth’s relationship to the past. Not even the “Giant of the Mountain” is immortal: The decay of the road signifies both the waning of Bonaparte’s memory and the loss of Wordsworth’s “Napoleonic” powers of imagination, dialectically interdependent in one figure. Wordsworth’s sense of loss is even better understood through another passage in Childe Harold, in which Byron uses a pun to immortalize the senior poet. Comparing Wordsworth to the battle of Morat and to the Alps, Byron writes: The high, the mountain-majesty of Worth Should be – and shall, survivor of its woe, And from its immortality, look forth In the Sun’s face, like yonder Alpine snow, Imperishably pure beyond all things below (III, 67, ll. 639-643)

Like the Revolution’s “fearful monument” and Morat’s “bony heap,” the younger Wordsworth is raised here into a self-contained monument that resists the passage of time and political apostasy. Yet the older Wordsworth is much less confident than Byron that the past can be bracketed from change or that the “mountain-majesty of Worth” is in fact imperishable. His doubts are indirectly voiced in Martigny, where, as Crabb Robinson recalls in his journal, “Wordsworth remarked that there the Alps themselves were in a state of decay – crumbling to pieces. His is the line – ‘The human soul craves something that endures’” (362). Wordsworth wrote two poems commemorating his return to the Simplon, “The Column Intended by Buonaparte for a Triumphal Edifice in Milan, Now Lying by the Way-Side in the Simplon Pass” and “Stanzas Composed in the Simplon Pass”. The second serves as a limit to the tour by representing the Wordsworth party eagerly turning back to England, revising the sublimity of the Alps with a sentimental expression of domestic patriotism: “Oh joy when the girdle of England appears!/What moment in life is so conscious of love,/Of love in the heart made more happy by tears?” (Poems 434, ll. 30-32). What marks both the geographic and the symbolic limit of the tour is the abandoned column described in the long-winded mediate response to such pro-Napleonic feeling can be measured by their steps: walking rather than riding the diligence, they seek out the old mule track used in 1790, and whenever possible, follow it (Journal 255-259).

78 | Patrick Vincent title of the first poem. The image of the column is taken either from Mary’s or from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals of the tour: At a considerable height from the river’s bed an immense column of granite lies by the way side, as if its course had been stopped there by tidings of Napoleon’s overthrow. It was intended by him for his unfinished triumphal arch at Milan; and I wish it may remain prostrate on the mountain for ages to come. His bitterest foe could scarcely contrive a more impressive record of disappointed vanity and ambition. (Continental Journals 257)6

The sonnet seems to pick up where stanza 82 of Childe Harold III, cited above, leaves off, Byron’s speaker lamenting that the Bourbon Restoration brought back “dungeons and thrones” because “ambition was self-will’d” (82, ll. 777-778) but confidently asserting the return of a Bonaparte-like figure (84, ll. 792-793). Wordsworth answers that “Ambition …/Perchance, in future ages, here may stop … By admonition from this prostrate Stone!” (Poems 433, ll. 1-6). These last lines seem to confirm Walter Benjamin’s assertion that the historicist necessarily empathizes with the victor: “Whoever has emerged victorious participates to this day in the triumphal procession in which the rulers step over those who are lying prostrate” (256). As such, the Simplon column, like Byron’s Morat bones or Shelley’s Ozymandias, most obviously represents thwarted ambition, vanitas and the downfall of empires. Unlike the Morat bones, however, the column resists monumentalization through the tentativeness of its own rhetoric, especially obvious in the second half of the sonnet, where, instead of inscribing the column as a monument to Bonaparte, the speaker leaves the “prostrate stone” blank: Memento uninscribed of Pride o’erthrown; Vanity’s hieroglyphic; a choice trope In Fortune’s rhetoric. Daughter of the Rock, Rest where thy course was stayed by Power divine! (433)

6 | This is confirmed, among countless examples, by Henry Matthews, who locates the column near Crevola and calls it a “striking … monument of fallen greatness” (308), by Nathaniel Carter, who also also reads the monument as the “forcible emblem of the fallen fortunes of the imperial Exile” (522) and by Louis Simond, almost alone in not interpreting it as a symbol of Napoleon’s vanity: “Near a marble quarry, at the foot of the Simplon, lay by the roadside a very fine block. Thirty-two feet long, and four and a half thick – the rough shaft of a column” (362). Clearly the column was not inscribed.

Byron and Wordsworth in Switzerland | 79 Meaning is puzzlingly deferred here through what Alan Liu has called a “sheer artillery of tropes” (541), delaying any automatic association between the Simplon Pass and Bonaparte. This hesitation is nicely mirrored in MS A of Mary Wordsworth’s journal, in which “Buonaparte’s” is inserted retroactively above the passage beginning with “the fi ne column seen today,” as if its association with the Emperor came almost unwillingly as a second thought (DCMS 92).7 One may argue that Wordsworth delays associating the column with Bonaparte in order to mobilize his youthful imagination one last time, those last remaining “forms and powers” that he associates with his initial crossing of the Simplon in his 1820 letter on the Kendal and Windermere Railway: Thirty years ago I crossed the Alps by the same Pass: and what had become of the forms and powers to which I had been indebted for those emotions? Many of them remained of course undestroyed and indestructible. But, though the road and torrent continued to run parallel to each other, their fellowship was put an end to. The stream had dwindled into comparative insignificance, so much has Art interfered with and taken the lead of Nature; and although the utility of the new work, as facilitating the intercourse of great nations, was readily acquiesced in, and the workmanship, in some places, could not but excite admiration, it was impossible to suppress regret for what had vanished for ever. (Prose Works, vol. 3, 354)

Only the egotistical sublime is a divine enough power, like the above torrent, to stay the course of history. The poet thus delays identifying the Simplon with Bonaparte both to remain momentarily immune from the decay of temporality and to protect the memory of the tyrant-genius with which his own powers of the imagination are paradoxically intertwined. Echoing the Simplon passage in Book VI in several ways, including its self-conscious use of rhetoric, its break in the temporal flow and its allusion to Egypt, the sonnet therefore functions as a last imaginative surge, a diminished spotof-time that only “perchance” or almost unwillingly opposes itself to the return of a Napoleon-like genius.8 7 | Mary Wordsworth does not include the passage on the column, or any other passage concerning Bonaparte, in her notes jotted down during the tour, indicating that it was only after conversing with her husband or with Dorothy, or after reading Dorothy’s own journal, that she associated the tour with Bonaparte in her own journal faircopies. See DCMS 91, entry for Sept. 9th at Bavena.

8 | Theresa Kelley, in her excellent study on Wordsworth’s “revisionary aesthetics,” uses other poems in the 1820 Memorials, and mainly “Illustration: The Jungfrau and the Fall of the Rhine at Schaff hausen,” to make the parallel argument that by this time the poet had made peace with the topos of the revolutionary/Na-

80 | Patrick Vincent History, the narrative of victors, is restored in the last quatrain of the sonnet in the form of “crimes” provoked by the “great Avenger,” one of the popular sobriquets for Bonaparte: The Soul transported sees, from hint of thine, Crimes which the great Avenger’s hand provoke, Hears combats whistling o’er the ensanguined heath: What groans! What shrieks! What quietness in death! (Poems 433, ll. 11-14)

In the same way, the collection as a whole restores history in order to alert us to the dangers of ambition, characteristic of political figures like Bonaparte, but also of second-generation Romantic poets such as Byron and even of the younger Wordsworth’s radical, solipsistic self. As Liu writes, Wordsworth’s memorial poems are “the basic unimaginative form allowing the poet to see through the imagination and remember history” (540). We saw above, however, that imagination does rise one last time “from the mind’s abyss” (1850 Prelude VI, l. 594) on the Simplon Pass, a testament to Wordsworth’s past, republican self. The fact that its language comes across only as empty hieroglyphs, tropes and rhetoric rather than as the Prelude’s “types and symbols of eternity” suggests that these democratic energies cannot be recouped. Feeling does not come in the aid of feeling: The poet’s overly acute historical consciousness makes him lose faith in the principle of permanence, and hence also in the felt truth of language. The 1820 Memorials are an attempt to mediate and hopefully to heal the rift between Wordsworth’s past and present self, as well as between the Continent before and after Bonaparte. In order to do so, its epitaphic mode sacrifices the poet’s individualized voice in favor of the impersonal voice of the community. Most readers would agree that the experiment is a failure, and that despite Byron’s plea to the contrary, “the mountain-majesty of Worth” in these late poems does not survive its woe.9

poleonic sublime, the torrent révolutionnaire she traces through earlier poems as a threat to social order (183-185). Nevertheless, as I have hoped to show in the Simplon sonnet, the poet still hesitates to develop this topos because of its overly close association here with Bonaparte.

9 | Sales of the volume were a disaster, and earlier critics have tended to either ignore the poems, or like Mary Moorman, to write them off as “the least interesting series of poems that Wordsworth ever wrote” (402).

Byron and Wordsworth in Switzerland | 81

R EFERENCES Baillie, Marianne. First Impressions on a Tour upon the Continent. London: John Murray, 1819. Bainbridge, Simon. Napoleon and English Romanticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Benjamin, Walter. “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken Books, 1969. Brockedon, William. Illustrations of the Passes of the Alps. London, 1829. Byron, George Gordon. The Complete Poetical Works: Volume II. Ed. Jerome McGann. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980. Byron, George Gordon. Byron’s Letters and Journals: So Late Into the Night. Vol. 5. Ed. Leslie Marchand. London: John Murray, 1976. Byron, George Gordon. Byron’s Letters and Journals: Born for Opposition. Vol. 8. Ed. Leslie Marchand. London: John Murray, 1978. Carter, Nathaniel. Letters from Europe. New York: G. and C. Garland, 1827. Cheeke, Stephen. Byron and Place: History, Translation, Nostalgia. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2003. Cockburn, James Pattison. Views to Illustrate the Route of the Simplon. London: Rodwell and Martin, 1822. Coxe, William. Sketches of the Natural, Civil and Political State of Swisserland in a Series of Letters to William Melmoth. London: Dodsley, 1779. Dart, Gregory. Rousseau, Robespierre and English Romanticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Foucault, Michel. Les mots et les choses. Paris: Gallimard, 1966. Frye, Major W. E. After Waterloo: Reminiscences of European Travel 1815-1819. Ed. Salomon Reinach. London: William Heinemann, 1908. Gilbert, Elliot. “‘To Awake from History’: Carlyle, Thackeray, and A Tale of Two Cities.” Dickens Studies Annual. Eds. Michael Timko and Edward Guiliano. Vol. 12. New York: AMS Press, 1983. 247-265. Hayden, Donald. Wordsworth’s Travels in Europe I. Tulsa: University of Tulsa Press, 1988. Jarvis, Robin. “The Wages of Travel: Wordsworth and the Memorial Tour of 1820.” Studies in Romanticism, 40 (Fall 2001): 321-343. Kelley, Theresa. Wordsworth’s Revisionary Aesthetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Latrobe, Charles. The Alpenstock; or Sketches of Swiss Scenery and Manners. London: Seely and Burnside, 1829. Liu, Alan. “Wordsworth: The History in ‘Imagination’.” English Literary History (ELH) 51 (1984): 505-548. Lory, J. and F. Schoberl. A Picturesque Tour from Geneva to Milan, by way of the Simplon. London: Ackerman, 1820.

82 | Patrick Vincent Manning, Peter. “Cleansing the Images: Wordsworth, Rome and the Rise of Historicism.” Texas Studies in Language and Literature 33, 2 (1991): 271-315. Matthews, Henry. The Diary of an Invalid; being the journal of a tour in pursuit of health in Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and France in the years 1817, 1818 and 1819. London: John Murray, 1820. Maxwell, J. C. “Wordsworth and the Subjugation of Switzerland.” The Modern Language Review 65, 1 (Jan. 1970): 16-18. Moorman, Mary. William Wordsworth, A Biography: The Later Years 18031850. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965. Robinson, Henry Crabb. Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence of Henry Crabb Robinson. Ed. Thomas Sadler. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. London: Macmillan, 1872. Sidney, Algernon. Discourses Concerning Government. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1990. Simond, Louis. Switzerland; or, a Journal of a Tour and Residence in that Country in the Years 1817, 1818, and 1819. 2 Vols. Boston: Wells and Lilly, 1822. Simpson, David. Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination: The Poems of Displacement. New York: Methuen, 1987. Williams, Helen Maria. A Tour in Switzerland. London: C.G. and J. Robinson, 1798. Wordsworth, Dorothy. Continental Journals (1820). Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1995. Wordsworth, Dorothy and William. The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. Ed. Ernest de Selincourt. 2nd rev. ed. Ed. Chester Shaver. The Later Years. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1967. Wordsworth, William. The Poems. Vol. 2. Ed. John O. Hayden. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977. Wordsworth, William. The Prelude 1799, 1805, 1850. Eds. Jonathan Wordsworth, M.H. Abrams and Stephen Gill. New York: Norton, 1979. Wordsworth, William. Selected Prose. Ed. John O. Hayden. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1988. Wordsworth, William. The Prose Works of William Wordsworth. Eds. W. J. B. Owen and Jane Smyser. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. Wordsworth, Mary. Mary Wordsworth’s Notes on a Tour of the Continent, 1820. (DCMS 91). The Wordsworth Library, Grasmere. Wordsworth, Mary. Mary Wordsworth’s Journal of a Tour of the Continent. MS A. (DCMS 92). The Wordsworth Library, Grasmere. Wyatt, John. Wordsworth’s Poems of Travel, 1819-42: “Such Sweet Wayfaring.” Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999.

2 questioning canon politics

“Monumental mockery”: Does a three-text edition of Hamlet threaten the play’s canonicity? Ann Thompson



This phrase comes not from Hamlet, of course, but from Troilus and Cressida where it occurs in Ulysses’ great and much-quoted speech to Achilles on the nature of time and fame: Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, Wherein he puts alms for oblivion, A great-sized monster of ingratitudes. Those scraps are good deeds past, which are Devoured as fast as they are made, forgot As soon as done. Perseverance, dear my lord, Keeps honour bright; to have done is to hang Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail In monumental mock’ry. (Troilus and Cressida, 3.3.146-154)

Achilles has just been complaining to Patroclus about how the Greek leaders have snubbed him, passing by with barely a word of acknowledgement. This is precisely in accordance with Ulysses’ plan, and he follows it up with the conversation in which he essentially threatens Achilles with oblivion if he does not return to the fighting: all his heroic deeds in the past will be forgotten if he fails to act in the present and in the future. Troilus and Cressida

86 | Ann Thompson is a play which is obsessed with both moments and monuments, with the need to grasp the significance of one’s actions in the present moment and with the need to ensure an appropriate memorial or monument to stave off oblivion in the future. These ideas come together again in the very strange speech of welcome Agamemnon makes to Hector when he arrives in the Greek camp to follow up on his challenge in 4.5. He begins “Worthy of arms! As welcome as to one/That would be rid of such an enemy –” but he complicates this (in the Folio text but not in the Quarto) by continuing But that’s no welcome. Understand more clear: What’s past and what’s to come is strewed with husks And formless ruin of oblivion; But in this extant moment, faith and troth, Strained purely from all hollow bias-drawing, Bids thee, with most divine integrity, From heart of very heart, great Hector, welcome. (Troilus and Cressida, 4.5.164-172)

Agamemnon wants to insist that Hector is welcome in the present moment despite whatever has happened and whatever may be about to happen. The “extant moment,” the here-and-now, is being contrasted with “what’s past and what’s to come,” seen as a kind of landscape strewn with ruins. What is strange here is that, while it is obvious enough that the past can be presented metaphorically as a landscape littered with ruins, it is harder to see how the future can already be similarly littered. This view of the future perhaps makes sense only from a later perspective, that of the play’s original audience in 1601, or indeed ours in 2008, a perspective from which the entire Trojan war, both the events that have already happened for Shakespeare’s characters and those that lie ahead of them, are all homogenously past, all laid out in the same landscape as the ruins of Troy itself. And from this perspective, it is strange that a character such as Achilles should be susceptible to Ulysses’ threat of oblivion: he remains one of the best-known examples of the martial hero, though perhaps his iconic status has suffered some damage at Shakespeare’s hands, along of course with the status of Chaucer’s tragic lovers: all of these characters might have chosen to be forgotten rather than to be remembered as Shakespeare presents them. Troilus and Cressida was probably written very soon after Hamlet, though it has not achieved the same degree of canonicity. The two plays are like each other (and unlike many other plays in the canon) in referring to something happening in Shakespeare’s own “extant moment,” namely the so-called ‘war of the theatres’, a set of apparently topical allusions which have become significant in attempts to date both plays. In Troilus the most obvious reference is in the Prologue (though it is a negative one: the

Monumental mockery | 87 performer denies that he is in armour due to “confidence/Of author’s pen or actor’s voice”), whereas in Hamlet it is in the discussion Hamlet has with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about the “little eyases” (2.2.328-360 in our Folio text), the child actors who are competing with the adult companies – a passage omitted in the Second Quarto text. But what is the “extant moment” of Shakespeare’s Hamlet? As editors, Neil Taylor and I had to address this issue in our recent Arden edition. Our predecessor, Harold Jenkins, editor of the 1982 Arden, had noted that “A conflict of evidence has made its precise date, like most other things about Hamlet, a problem” (Jenkins, 1). But what do we mean by the “precise date” anyway? There must surely be at least three separate significant dates for any Shakespearean play: the date of the completion of the manuscript, the date of the first performance and the date of the first printing. This was for us further complicated by our decision to edit all three early texts, so we immediately have three dates of printing: the First Quarto in 1603, the Second Quarto in 1604/5 and the First Folio in 1623. These three texts vary in length: the First Quarto is roughly half the length of the Second Quarto; the Folio is somewhat shorter than the Second Quarto, lacking some two hundred and thirty lines but including some eighty new lines. The language of the First Quarto is very different from that of the longer texts, but there are also hundreds of individual variants between the two longer texts. Neither are we necessarily dealing with a single first performance: the performance history of the First Quarto is surely different from that of the Second Quarto, and that of the Folio may be different again. And behind the texts there could be more than one ‘completed’ manuscript: Is one of them a ‘first draft’ of one of the others or is it a derivative, even plagiarised text? Is one of them an ‘authorial revision’ of one of the others? Is one of them a ‘theatrical version’ of the play and another of them a ‘literary version’? Scholars and editors have spent much time and ingenuity on these questions. Some of them have convinced themselves that they can extract a single entity called ‘Shakespeare’s Hamlet’, reconstructing a putative lost manuscript from the evidence left in the three early texts. We are not confident we can do that; hence our decision to edit all three texts. This was a controversial decision and was opposed by other scholars both before and after publication. Stanley Wells, for example, when interviewed by Ron Rosenbaum for his long essay, “Shakespeare in Rewrite” in The New Yorker in 2002, deplored what he had heard about our intentions on the grounds that a proliferation of Hamlets would be confusing to the general reader, despite his own advocacy of precisely such a proliferation of texts of King Lear in the 1986 Oxford Complete Works. Wells had even commented later that he regretted not having included more than one text of Hamlet in that volume:

88 | Ann Thompson

It now seems obvious [he wrote in 1990] that we should have included two versions of Hamlet, as we did of King Lear, a Folio-based version and one based on Q2 [but] … it was not yet at all clear that the rewriting of Hamlet was as important for anyone’s interpretation of the play as the rewriting of Lear … [and] Hamlet was one of the last plays we edited; we were tired. (Wells and Taylor, 16-17)

Is it in part because Hamlet has become such a monument of our culture (not just in England but in Europe and throughout much of the world) that a multiple-text edition meets such resistance? As Barbara Mowat has demonstrated, the history of a conflated Hamlet (that is a version that blends two or more texts, usually the Second Quarto and the First Folio) goes back to 1709 when Nicholas Rowe conflated the 1676 Quarto (derived from the Second Quarto) with the 1685 Folio (derived from the First Folio); he was unaware of the existence of the First Quarto which was only rediscovered in 1823. So it is the case that readers and performers for almost three hundred years have become accustomed to a single text containing everything of substance from both the Second Quarto and the First Folio. By the time of John Dover Wilson’s Cambridge edition of 1934, a consensus had emerged that described the textual situation more or less as follows: Shakespeare’s manuscript of Hamlet, or a copy of it made for the theatre, or a copy of that copy, found its way into the printing house in 1604 and got rather carelessly printed in the Second Quarto – and these printers were partly motivated by their wish to correct the bootleg text which had appeared a year earlier. And then, seven years after his death, Shakespeare’s friends had got together and attempted to improve on the 1604 text, correcting errors of grammar or omissions or misunderstanding of his intentions by reference to documents in their possession – perhaps the original manuscripts, or copies, or copies of copies – and printing this new version in the Folio. As for the First Quarto, it might have been printed first, but its text came into existence after, rather than before, the authorial text underlying the Second Quarto and the Folio.



In addition to meaning “an instant, a brief interval or point of time, the present time” (Agamemnon’s “extant moment”), the word ‘moment’ can for us, as for Shakespeare, mean ‘significant’ or ‘important’ – usually occurring, as the Oxford English Dictionary points out, in adjectival phrases such as “of great, little, any or no moment”. In the last twenty years, in what might be described as a momentous shift in thinking about these matters, scholars have begun to overthrow the traditional conflated Hamlet dating

Monumental mockery | 89 back to 1709 and to entertain the idea that Shakespeare’s plays may exist in more than one form: the suggestion that he may have revised his work has of course become popular and the so-called ‘bad’ quartos, including the First Quarto of Hamlet, are deemed to have some interest as contemporary adaptations of authentic texts. How far should this enterprise be pursued and how, specifically, might a three-text edition challenge the monumental canonical status of Hamlet? I want to explore here a few examples of how a proliferation of Hamlets can indeed result from an awareness of the existence of more than one text. Every time we see Hamlet in the theatre, we expect it will be different, but it is only recently that we find stage directors, in their programme notes and in press releases, attributing some of the differences to the textual choices they have made. In 2004, for example, the programme for Trevor Nunn’s production at the London Old Vic, starring Ben Whishaw, contained an essay significantly entitled “Director’s Cut,” an allusion of course to fi lm where, partly because of DVD technology, we have become used to additional scenes, alternative endings and so forth. This essay explains that Nunn has used the First Folio of 1623 as his main text, with occasional divergences. However, in the case of Hamlet’s famous lines to Horatio about there being “more things in heaven and earth” which goes on in the Folio “Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” he prefers another edition [in fact the Second Quarto] which uses instead “our philosophy”, because this tells us more about their relationship; they are two close friends and students studying the same subject. (unpaginated programme)

(Sam West has told me that Steven Pimlott made the same decision for the same reason when he directed Sam in the Royal Shakespeare Company production in 2001.) Many if not most members of the audience would not have been aware of this choice, but they may have noticed one of rather larger significance. The programme essay continues: [Nunn] is also very conscious of the fact that, in this production, he is contributing to the ongoing debate as to where the most famous speech in the English language should come in the play. Hamlet’s soliloquy, “To be or not to be”, traditionally appears in a place which is difficult to justify in terms of either the character or the narrative itself. … [It] comes only a few lines after the previous soliloquy, “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I”, at the end of which Hamlet has a positive plan of campaign: “the play’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King”. He is patently intent on action here. Then, only 50 lines later, he is discussing whether

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or not he should take his own life. This is an uncomfortable development … So Nunn has taken the controversial decision to move the soliloquy.

He in fact moved it to one scene (but about five hundred lines) earlier, which is precisely where it appears in the First Quarto. At Stratford in the same year, Michael Boyd, directing Toby Stephens for the Royal Shakespeare Company, made the same decision, a controversial one that has become almost conventional: British examples in the second half of the twentieth century include Michael Benthall directing John Neville at the Old Vic in 1957, Tony Richardson directing Nicol Williamson at the Roundhouse in 1969, Ron Daniels directing Mark Rylance for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1989 and Matthew Warchus directing Alex Jennings for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1997. What was more genuinely controversial about Michael Boyd’s 2004 production was that he included a version of the fi rst Quarto’s unique scene between the Queen and Horatio which comes after Hamlet has taken ship for England and immediately after Ophelia’s mad scene. In this scene of some thirty-five lines (scene 14 in our text), Horatio reports to the Queen that he has had a letter from Hamlet in which his friend tells him that he has returned safely to Denmark, his ship’s route having been diverted by contrary winds. He also relates his discovery of the “packet sent to the King of England” demanding that he be put to death. The Queen responds with an outright comment on the King’s treachery and expresses her intention to “soothe and please him for a time,” telling Horatio to “commend me a mother’s care to [Hamlet]” and warning him to be wary of her husband. She asks after Gilderstone and Rossencraft (the First Quarto’s names for these characters) and learns how Hamlet has substituted the demand for their deaths for that of his own. Some of this plot material is spread over three different scenes in the longer texts: Hamlet’s letter to Horatio in 4.6, which he reads in the presence of the messenger who brought it, his letter to the king in 4.7, read in the presence of Laertes, and his conversation with Horatio at the beginning of 5.2 in which he recounts the story of his voyage (in which the change of course results from pirates, not the weather). But neither of the longer texts has any scene in which Horatio and the Queen meet in private, or in which they discuss Hamlet’s letter, or in which it is made clear that the Queen has found out that her husband is plotting against her son. Above all, neither of the longer texts presents a Queen who is on Hamlet’s side and deliberately deceiving her husband. It is difficult to dismiss this scene as merely the result of incompetent ‘memorial reconstruction’: it represents a slightly different version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that was available to the book-buying public in 1603. We hope that the book-buying public in 2006 or 2007 might be slightly puzzled by our

Monumental mockery | 91 photograph of this scene from the 1999 Red Shift production of the First Quarto (in modern dress) which shows the Queen and Horatio conversing as if they are conspirators: She is wearing a headscarf and dark glasses and he is hiding behind a newspaper. This is not a scene from Hamlet as we know it. Another very substantial textual variation affecting the latter part of the play concerns what is traditionally thought of as Hamlet’s last soliloquy, the one beginning “How all occasions do inform against me/And spur my dull revenge.” This occurs, but only in the Second Quarto, after Hamlet’s encounter with the Norwegian Captain, as he is journeying to take ship for England, escorted by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In it, he berates himself for his lack of action, attributing it either to “bestial oblivion” or to “some craven scruple/Of thinking too precisely on the event.” He expresses his admiration for Fortinbras risking his own life and that of his men “even for an eggshell … when honour’s at the stake” and determines to follow his example. Even when directors claim to be using a text based solely on the First Folio, they rarely omit this speech, though Giles Block and Mark Rylance made that sacrifice at the reconstructed Globe theatre in London in 2000. Michael Pennington says in his account of his long experience of the play as an actor, Hamlet: A User’s Guide, that he finds it “amazing” that what he calls “perhaps the best of Hamlet’s monologues” should be cut (112); Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 fi lm turns it into a big melodramatic climax, “a huge scream of resolution” (122) as the camera draws back from the speaker revealing his isolation in an enormous frozen landscape. But editors, especially those who are convinced that the First Folio represents Shakespeare’s own revision of his play and hence that its ‘cuts’ are authorial ones, have found ways of arguing that the play is better without this speech. The novelist George MacDonald, who published a pioneering Folio-based edition of Hamlet in 1885, thought Shakespeare had decided to omit it on the grounds that he “exposes his hero to a more depreciatory judgement than any from which I would justify him, and [gives] a conception of his character entirely inconsistent with the rest of the play” (193-195). Philip Edwards and George Hibbard who edited Hamlet for Cambridge and Oxford respectively in the 1980s agree, though on slightly different grounds. Edwards prints the speech (as he prints all the Second Quarto-only passages) in square brackets and writes in his “Introduction”: Although entire theories of the prince have been built on this speech, it is not one of the great soliloquies; much less intricate, subtle, mobile and suggestive than the two great central soliloquies, “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I” and “To be or not to be”. But, more important, it is a speech which does not know all that has

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gone before it. Hamlet’s thoughts and emotions have become far too complicated and deep for this simple self-accusation to make any sense – “Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means/To do it” – No, it is insufficient and inappropriate for Act 4 of Hamlet … By the time we have reached the point at which it has been placed, Hamlet has become so immense in his mystery, so unfathomable, that the speech is scarcely adequate for the speaker. (17)

George Hibbard, who consigns the speech to an Appendix (as he does all the Second Quarto-only passages), remarks: The omission of this long passage from F and from the text that lies behind Q1, where there is no trace of it, cannot be accidental. The lines have been deliberately excised because, while they extend the speculative scope of the tragedy with their discussion of war and its causes, they do nothing to advance the action, nor do they reveal anything new about Hamlet and his state of mind. In spite of all that has happened since the end of 2.2, he is still very much where he was then. His soliloquy is a confession of failure, summarizing what we have seen; and his determination to do better inspires little confidence, since we have heard it before, and at a time when circumstances were far more in his favour than they are now. (362)

In Peter Brook’s production of the play starring Adrian Lester (at the Bouffes du Nord, Paris in 2000 and at the Young Vic in London in 2001), he omitted this speech but inserted “To be or not to be” in its place, on the grounds, according to an interview, that this moment is “Hamlet’s nadir” and therefore the most appropriate context for the speech in which he considers suicide. I have dwelt on this example because it is perhaps the most striking aspect of what happens when you take the texts as three separate entities rather than trying to run them together into a single version. Hamlet’s soliloquies have a centrality in our experience of the play which is usually regarded as one of its defining characteristics. But the most famous speeches of this most famous and canonical play turn out to be moveable or detachable. Actors, directors, editors and critics can and do argue about their positioning in the play and the significance of decisions to include them, exclude them or move them around. I have found that my students, far from finding this proliferation of Hamlets confusing, have in fact found it liberating: it opens up the rather daunting monolithic cultural monument for discussion: they can enter the debate as to where “To be or not to be” should be positioned and whether the play is improved by omitting Hamlet’s last soliloquy.

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In saying these words to Laertes over the grave of Ophelia (in or beside which Laertes and Hamlet have just attempted to fight each other), the King seems to mean that she will have some kind of enduring memorial, but it is not clear what that might be. Does he imply that one who is living (i.e. Hamlet) will die to provide a monument, a death that he and Laertes have already plotted? And will this revenge action compensate for the inadequate funeral and memorial rites accorded to Polonius as well as to Ophelia? He cannot have in mind a meaning that seems relevant to us – that Ophelia will indeed live on as an essential element in what we call the ‘afterlife’ of the cultural monument that is Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I want to turn now to how recapturing the ‘moment’ in which these words were first spoken remains one of the aims of all modern editors of Hamlet as they produce their own monumental editions, and I will focus on editorial treatment of (a) stage directions and (b) illustrations, especially photographs of stage productions. This particular moment is controversial. Do Hamlet and Laertes actually fight each other in Ophelia’s grave, that is, in the open trapdoor leading to the space under the stage? All three of the early texts have a stage direction for Laertes to leap into the grave after he has said “Hold off the earth awhile/Till I have caught her once more in mine arms” (5.1.238-9), but the First Quarto is alone in having the direction “Hamlet leapes in after Leartes” (Scene 16, 145 SD in our text). This piece of staging is supported by the anonymous Elegy on Burbage – “Oft have I seen him leap into the grave” – and the use of the trapdoor could provide a striking visual parallel with the entrances and exits of the Ghost in 1.1, 1.4 and 1.5, if the trapdoor was used then. But it has proved unpalatable to many editors who argue that Hamlet cannot be the aggressor here: Laertes must come out of the grave to attack him. This essentially character-based interpretation of a moment of staging is comparable to a similar situation in the opening scene of As You Like It where editors routinely add stage directions to make it clear that Oliver is the aggressor, not Orlando, although the dialogue might imply otherwise. Another consideration is visibility: When Giles Block directed Mark Rylance in Hamlet at the Globe in London in 2000, Rylance did leap into the ‘grave’ made by the trapdoor, but the subsequent fight was very cramped with three actors (including the ‘corpse’ of Ophelia) in the small space and it was not easily visible from the yard. Since we were editing all three texts, we could have it both ways and we were able to include a photograph of this scene in the Globe production as an illustration of a moment supposedly

94 | Ann Thompson unique to the First Quarto, although the Globe’s text was actually based on the Folio. Other editors have to make a choice here. The latest version of the Complete Works to compete for our attention and our money (the edition, as it were, of the moment, launched with considerable media publicity, at least in the U.K., in 2007) is advertised by its publishers (Random House in the U.S., Macmillan in the U.K.) as follows: “From the world famous Royal Shakespeare Company, the first authoritative, modernized and corrected edition of Shakespeare’s First Folio in three centuries.” This obviously draws on the canonical authority of the First Folio and on the somewhat more recent canonical authority of the Royal Shakespeare Company to sell us a copy of Shakespeare which lays claim to the original (and therefore definitive) text and to the endorsement of those living monuments, the actors. It is the Royal Shakespeare Company, rather than the publisher or the editors, which holds the copyright in this edition, though it makes no claim that the Company has ever performed the plays in the versions as printed here, or that they ever intend to do so. As one reviewer notes, if that had been the case, Ian McKellen, starring in the 2007/8 production of King Lear in Stratford-upon-Avon and London, would have performed the mock trial scene only as an encore, since it appears only in an appendix in the supposedly authoritative text (Dobson, 5-6). In dealing with the moment of the graveyard scene in Hamlet, the editors, Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, duly add a stage direction for Hamlet, “Leaps into the grave.” Their sensible decision to move editorial (as opposed to original) stage directions to the right margin, rather than following the usual convention of printing them in square brackets, makes it clear to the alert reader that this is in fact a choice, and they also make use of the interrogative stage direction (pioneered, I believe, by R. A. Foakes in his 1997 Arden edition of King Lear: see Foakes, 5.3.308 SD) by adding a further direction for Hamlet: “Removes cloak?” They do not include an illustration of this moment amongst their sixteen pages of photographs, all taken from Royal Shakespeare Company productions.





In my concluding section I want to consider the use of photographs of particular stage productions in current editions of Shakespeare and to ask in what sense a photograph is a monument in itself, or a testimony to the work’s own monumentality. Bate and Rasmussen choose to include two photographs of productions of Hamlet: one is an extreme close-up of a man with a skull and the other shows a man and a woman in intimate

Monumental mockery | 95 conversation; her hand is resting on his shoulder. The single caption for both pictures reads: There are a huge range of possible approaches to Hamlet: David Warner was a brilliant but disaffected student (directed by Peter Hall, 1965), while Mark Rylance, in his pajamas, took the character over the edge from “antic disposition” to apparent real madness (directed by Ron Daniels, 1989). (Unpaginated illustrations section, between lxiv and lxv)

David Warner is the man with the skull, perhaps photographed in the graveyard scene, but in reality this looks more like a carefully posed production still: no-one who was actually in the theatre audience would have had quite such a near view of the actor or the prop. The man with the skull is of course one of the most familiar images of Hamlet, along with the ghost on the battlements and the woman dead in the water. Hamlet usually appears alone with the skull, as he does in this photograph, although in performance he is not in fact alone at all at this moment but having a conversation with the Gravedigger and Horatio. In the very extensive history of illustrations of the play (preceding the invention of photography and including countless cartoons and caricatures), he is often holding a skull as he delivers “To be or not to be,” conflating two very different moments in the play. This combination of image and words is simply wrong: Wherever you place “To be or not to be,” it is not spoken in the graveyard scene, even in Peter Brook’s production. It is curious that this inaccurate piece of conflation gives us one of the play’s most ‘canonical’ or ‘iconic’ moments: No-one would need to read the caption to learn that the man with the skull is Hamlet. The other photograph is more unusual. You do need to read the caption in this case to discover that the purpose of the picture is to illustrate Hamlet’s “antic disposition.” The moment is apparently from Act 3, scene 2 of the play and Hamlet is probably saying “Get thee to a nunnery” to Ophelia. Both actors are clearly visible in profile; the performer of Hamlet is named in the caption but there is no specific mention of Ophelia or of the performer of her role. Here again, the picture can be associated with a long tradition of illustration in which Ophelia is anonymous. Paintings and photographs of Hamlet usually name a particular production and performer, but the vast majority of illustrations of Ophelia do not. Our most ‘iconic’ image of Ophelia is probably the 1851 painting by Millais (still one of the best-selling posters sold by Tate Britain). We happen to know that his model was Elizabeth Siddal, but the painting is not called “Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia.” A very few performers of Ophelia are identified in paintings (Harriet Smithson, for example, and Ellen Terry) but most are not. So

96 | Ann Thompson there seems to be a difference between Hamlet’s journey from moment to monument and Ophelia’s: he is located in real time and place as a named performer in a historically specific production; she is more likely to be an anonymous, quasi-imaginary figure – even if she appears in a photograph from as recently as 1989. Ophelia in the Daniels/Rylance production was in fact played by Rebecca Saire. Bate and Rasmussen do not include any photographs of productions of Troilus and Cressida, partly perhaps because there are no ‘canonical’ images available for this play. If I had been choosing one from the Royal Shakespeare Company archive of productions I have seen, I would have looked for a photograph of Alan Howard as Achilles with his Myrmidons surrounding Hector prior to murdering him in John Barton’s 1968 production – precisely, as it happens, a ‘moment’ that Achilles might not want to be canonised as it would be a very dark image of him behaving disgracefully according to the chivalrous conventions of warfare. David Bevington does not illustrate this moment in his edition of Troilus for the Arden series, though he has seven photographs of productions, six of which are from Royal Shakespeare Company productions. It is of course reasonable, indeed obligatory, that Bate and Rasmussen should take all their illustrations from the Royal Shakespeare Company archive, but why are editors of plays in series such as Arden, Oxford and Cambridge also limiting themselves in this way? Another recent volume in the Arden series, William C. Carroll’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (2004) has nine photographs of productions, all of them from the Royal Shakespeare Company whose productions often dominate books and essays on the performance history of the plays as well as editions. There are two obvious points to make here: firstly, the Royal Shakespeare Company has a remit to perform all of Shakespeare’s plays, so they are more likely to put on relatively ‘non-canonical’ works like Troilus and Cressida and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and secondly, their extensive archive, including promptbooks and reviews as well as photographs, is easily accessible in Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham. Productions by other acting companies have become ‘iconic’ in recent years – the all-male As You Like It directed by Declan Donnellan for Cheek by Jowl in 1991 and starring Adrian Lester might be a good example – but an editor or critic has to go to more trouble to access illustrations and other material. So the Royal Shakespeare Company edition is participating in and extending an already strong tradition of canonising the work of one particular company. But what function do these photographs really serve? We cannot actually tell from the photograph of David Warner without access to other material that he played Hamlet as “a brilliant but disaffected student,” and we can barely tell that Mark Rylance is in his pajamas: he could just be wearing

Monumental mockery | 97 striped trousers. Frequently, actual production photographs (as opposed to publicity stills) of plays, and especially of Hamlet, are marred, from the point of view of those who want to reproduce them, by moody, atmospheric lighting which makes them too dark to distinguish significant details. They can serve as reminders to people who have seen the productions but convey little, on their own, to those who have not. Even photographs of a more brightly lit production, such as Peter Brook’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1970, perhaps one of the most celebrated and iconic of all twentieth-century stagings of Shakespeare, do not, as we say, do justice to the performance: you had to have been there. However inadequately they may do it, these photographs monumentalise in that they cannot be denied as a physical record: they are evidence that these productions once existed. And they testify to the multiplicity of such moments: the more canonical a work (such as Hamlet), the more photographs of different stage productions will exist. Similarly, all editions of Hamlet are different from each other, despite oft-repeated claims to be ‘definitive’ or ‘authoritative’, but the Arden three-text edition explicitly admits that there is no such thing as a single definitive text. I doubt if the solidity of Hamlet as a cultural monument will be seriously threatened by this admission.

R EFERENCES Bate, Jonathan and Eric Rasmussen, eds. William Shakespeare: Complete Works. The RSC Shakespeare. New York: Random House and London: Macmillan, 2007. Bevington, David, ed. Troilus and Cressida. Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. Walton-on-Thames: Thomas Nelson, 1998. Branagh, Kenneth. Hamlet: Screenplay, Introduction and Film Diary. London: Chatto and Windus, 1996. Carroll, William C., ed. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Thomson Learning, 2004. Dobson, Michael. “For his Nose was as sharpe as a Pen, and a Table of greene fields.” Review of William Shakespeare, Complete Works: The RSC Shakespeare. London Review of Books (10 May 2007): 3-8. Edwards, Philip, ed. Hamlet. New Shakespeare Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Foakes, R. A., ed. King Lear. Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. Walton-onThames: Thomas Nelson, 1997. Hibbard, G.R., ed. Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

98 | Ann Thompson Jenkins, Harold, ed. Hamlet. Arden Shakespeare, Second Series. London: Methuen, 1982. MacDonald, George, ed. The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke: A Study with the Text of the Folio of 1623. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1885. Mowat, Barbara. “The Form of Hamlet’s Fortunes.” Renaissance Drama 19 (1988): 97-126. Pennington, Michael. “Hamlet”: A User’s Guide. London: Nick Hern Books, 1996. Rosenbaum, Ron. “Shakespeare in Rewrite.” The New Yorker (13 May 2002): 68-77. Thompson, Ann and Neil Taylor, eds. Hamlet. Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Thomson Learning, 2006. Thompson, Ann and Neil Taylor, eds. Hamlet: The Texts of 1603 and 1623. Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London: Thomson Learning, 2006. Wells, Stanley and Gary Taylor. “The Oxford Shakespeare re-viewed.” Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 4 (1990): 6-20.

How the West was won : J.M. Coetzee and postcolonial canons Lily Saint

It is difficult to be a so-called successful writer and to occupy a marginal position at the same time, even in our day and age. J. M. Coetzee

The canon debate has started to look a bit canonized itself. Traditionally, it pits knee-jerk multiculturalism against a philosophy of transcendent aesthetics – the former arguing for the inclusion of works by underrepresented groups, the latter arguing that only works transcending political, temporal and spatial specifics deserve canonization. Neither of these rigidified positions allows for a careful look at how the production and circulation of literary works also determines their inclusion in or exclusion from such canons. Fortunately, this oversight is being redressed by some recent work that seeks to detach the literary from its ethereal position, recasting it squarely in terms of down-to-earth modes of material production.1 Ian Baucom, building on Giovanni Arrighi’s work, goes the farthest, perhaps, when he suggests that contemporary global literary studies function on a centripetal model akin to that of the chartered companies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As the publishing industry broadens outwards from the capitals of London, Paris, and New York to include works from “the rest” of the globe, the wealth generated by these new and often “exoticized” works gets reincorporated in the central metropolises rather than shared

1 | See Guillory, Ali, Baucom, Damrosch and Casanova.

100 | Lily Saint with their places of origin. As Baucom neatly puts it: “expansion contracts” (160). This paper examines how the material production of literary canons contributes to the production of J.M. Coetzee as a canonical writer, investigating in parts I & II how Western academia and the publishing industry influence this success. Part III considers how some of Coetzee’s thematic and formal preoccupations provide clues to explaining how it is that a well-known author from the so-called postcolonial ‘margins’ has come to occupy such a central position. The ‘living monument’ of the canon, to which Coetzee’s works belong, cannot be understood outside of the historical, economic, aesthetic and ideological trends which produce it.2 Indeed, Coetzee’s success seems to depend, despite himself, on the articulation of a set of ideologies particularly resonant within the stillwhite, still-Western hegemony. Part of what is fascinating about Coetzee’s success viewed from this thematic perspective, is how the bricolage of ideas that he propounds, including both Enlightenment notions of selfhood and 20th-century aesthetics of postmodern instability, comes to be a kind of gauge for contemporary Western thought.

I Despite marked attempts within academia to disrupt and overturn the hegemony of the so-called Western tradition, academic institutions, events, publications and people also stand in complicit relation to the Western canon by upholding and replicating its rigid borders and the very idea of borders. Pascale Casanova points to the pivotal role “consecrating authorities” (academics and critics) and “foreign exchange brokers” (translators) play in canon formation. Conferences, peer-reviewed journals, and academic presses function to simultaneously consecrate a pre-established canon and to create new ones by establishing and maintaining theoretical, thematic, and authorial hierarchies, and even producing canons about canons. A conference or a book that focuses precisely on mechanisms of monumentalizing and canonization might well be expected to call into question its own contribution to the very subject under consideration. Processes of selection and rejection are just one way in which academic practices reproduce canons. Popular keynote speakers at conferences are 2 | The phrase “living monument” is used in multiple contexts – intending both William Godwin’s reference to books as “living monuments” (in Marshall, 178), and Mary Shelley’s description of Frankenstein’s monster as “the living monument of presumption and rash ignorance …” (64).

Postcolonial canons | 101 asked to contribute – to consecrate their authority on the larger proceedings – and considerations of audience must also be attended to. What topics, for instance, will draw a crowd? Whose name will help generate publicity? The complex responsibilities of the organizing committee for an academic conference or anthology force a confrontation with the strange conflation of celebrity and word. What fame is in a name? What about a South African name? How does the mark of linguistic belonging contribute to or belie the success of an author? How much cultural capital can a mere name carry? The ‘Coetzee’ of the title contains a weighty and steadily increasing amount of value –‘value’ in the Marxian sense, indicating the human labor that has gone and continues to go into the production of ‘Coetzee’ in the literary marketplace. How much does his value extend beyond his work, even conferring worth here? A digression into South African history exemplifies the particular problem of naming in the postcolony. In 1837, Dingane, half-brother of Shaka, the famous Zulu king, came to an agreement with the Boer leader, Piet Retief, exchanging large portions of Natal for a herd of stolen cattle. A few months later, abruptly changing tactics, the Zulus attacked and killed Retief and hundreds of other Voortrekkers. In return, on December 16, 1838, Andries Pretorius and his men killed approximately 3000 Zulus, and thenceforth Afrikaners commemorated this day as ‘Dingane’s Day’, the implication presumably being, that this was the day of Dingane’s defeat. The first government of the South African Union renamed ‘Dingane’s Day’ the ‘Day of the Vow’ in 1910, in reference to the religious pledge the Voortrekkers were meant to have made, promising to build a church, to keep the day as holy, in return for a triumph against Dingane. The National Party continued to link religion and nation with this day, renaming it the ‘Day of the Covenant’ in 1982. Some have questioned if the vow – usually accepted as a 1962 translation of a 1919 reconstruction of a never-recorded pledge – ever even occurred. But its symbolic power remains. Despite rebelliously using the date to launch the first attacks of the African National Congress’s military wing – Umkhonto we Sizwe – in 1961, the ANC renamed the holiday ‘Reconciliation Day’ in 1994 when it assumed power, as a symbolic gesture of cooperation with the recently defeated government. Bearing the mark of ideological and affi liative changes, this day exemplifies how South African names reveal sets of complicities – whether brutally enforced, willingly or begrudgingly accepted or adamantly denied. Coetzee’s own name, as he remarks in his autobiography Boyhood, constantly threatens, despite his most fervent desires, to locate his complicities

102 | Lily Saint within the camp of the Afrikaners.3 Perhaps the circumstantial accident that marked this author with the same last name as brutal and prominent defenders of apartheid is ignored in studies of Coetzee’s work because of the monopoly white South African academics have within studies of South African literature. 4 Do these critics fail to remark upon the mark of the name because they fear to speak what their own names reveal?

II One reason Coetzee presents an interesting case study for examining contemporary trends in canon formation is that his own novels frequently either directly invoke canonized works like Daniel Defoe’s popular canonical text Robinson Crusoe, or refer in their structure and subject material to clearly canonical authors such as Kafka and Dostoevsky. Evaluating Coetzee’s place in the canon, Rita Barnard claims that Coetzee’s works stage a “subversion of British canonical texts” (4), however, Derek Attridge is perhaps more accurate when he argues that Coetzee’s novels offer themselves not as challenges to the canon, but as canonic – as already canonized, one might say. They appear to locate themselves within an established literary culture, rather than presenting themselves as an assault on that culture. Moreover, that literary culture is predominantly European, and clearly ‘high’. (68)

Coetzee accomplishes this ‘always-already’ canonization of his novels, in part because his writing accords with certain ideological ideals driving European and North American markets. John Guillory in Cultural Capital stresses the importance of educational institutions in the formation of canons: “Literary works must be seen … as the vector of ideological notions which do not inhere in the works themselves but in their institutional presentation,” yet his dismissal of how the works’ 3 | “There are rumours that the Government is going to order all schoolchildren with Afrikaans surnames to be transferred to Afrikaans classes. His parents talk about it in low voices; they are clearly worried. As for him, he is filled with panic at the thought of having to move to an Afrikaans class. He tells his parents he will not obey.” (Boyhood 69)

4 | Two examples immediately come to mind: Dirk Coetzee, for instance, was the founder and commander of the infamous Vlakplaas torture and death unit; in Ian Gabriel’s fi lm Forgiveness (2004) the character Tertius Coetzee is an ex-member of the South African police, seeking forgiveness for the brutal murder of a ‘coloured’ man.

Postcolonial canons | 103 own ideological content functions to determine their place at the center (or the margins) of their institutional representations is questionable (ix). Casanova gives more credence to the importance of ideological content when she shows how the disparate thematic foci of works in the English-speaking ‘global south’ were grouped together under the homogenizing umbrella of ‘Commonwealth literature’ as “a curious yet clever way of incorporating as part of official British literary history works that to one degree or another were written against it” (121). Guillory thus mistakenly assumes that the thematic and ideological content of such works has nothing to do with the way they are incorporated and re-represented in institutions of canonical circulation. By combining these two theorists’ ideas of how educational practices wittingly or unwittingly collude with the self-promoting agendas of the Western publishing industry, we begin to understand how it is that many South African works which present greater challenges to Western aesthetic and thematic tyrannies often fail to see the light of day.

III One should neither underestimate the diligence and talent of creative writers nor the importance of quality in the production of a successful author. However, apart from problematizing the very notion of ‘quality’, one should also investigate how ideological allegiances are rewarded, and how this privileging can be recognized not only through the obvious effects of gender, race, class, and language, but also through the more subtle prisms of thematics and form. Derek Barker’s 2006 study uses statistical analysis to show how South African literary reviews play a vital role in the canonization process. By counting the number of occurrences of reviews focusing on a particular South African author in eleven major South African literary journals over the last four decades, Coetzee emerges as by far the most consistently discussed South African author, both during apartheid, and after its demise. Articles about Coetzee outnumber those on other authors at the startling rate of 2:1, meaning that there were always twice as many articles written about his work than about any other author in any decade under consideration (Appendix 76). What can be made of such clear evidence of Coetzee’s preeminence in the critical market? Is Coetzee twice as good a writer as all these others taken together, because the critical literature spends twice as much time discussing him? It can hardly be ethical to draw such a conclusion. Yet this trend is not limited to South African literary criticism. Though Barker only discusses literary journals in publication within South Africa, there is

104 | Lily Saint ample evidence to suggest the preoccupation with Coetzee is international. Indeed, the fact that academic presses outside of South Africa published three books in the last three years with a sole focus on Coetzee is worth noting if only because no other single-author studies have appeared on any other South African writer.5 Further evidence of Coetzee’s international popularity, in addition to the obvious prestige of his Nobel Prize, can be seen in the 2005 election of Disgrace as the best book written in English in the last 25 years in the British newspaper The Observer. Why does Coetzee receive all this attention? This discrepancy can be explained in ways that look beyond the un-nuanced argument that Coetzee’s work is simply of a higher aesthetic caliber; quantity and quality should obviously not be conflated. There is instead a complicated network of processes working to produce the successful South African author for the international arena, and Coetzee’s brilliant career is rather the result of all these global forces than of any eighteenth-century notion of creative ‘genius’. Coetzee has had obvious advantages helping him to enter the annals of world literary history, but neither these, nor his self-fashioning as a descendent of European thought are solely responsible for his unparalleled position in world letters.6 It is his thematics and the generic mutability of his works, that has resonated so successfully both with an international audience of readers, and with the “consecrating authorities” in the “world literary space” (Casanova). In what follows I argue that this approval further stems from his focus on 1) the individual, 2) the universal, 3) non-violence, and 4) the postmodernist aesthetic. In the introduction to a recent collection of essays about Coetzee’s work, Jane Poyner observes that most of his novels depict the “conscience-stricken white writer” (2). This emphasis on guilty white liberals who deftly articulate the anxieties and torments of their privileged position is understandably of great interest to many a well-read Western liberal, anxious on the one hand to locate a convincing idiom of ethical responsibility, and grateful too, to read about the crises of morality and self-hood many advantaged liberals are afraid to admit to. Self-hood, the great Enlightenment project of defining the individual, is a central concern of Coetzee’s fictional work; all his novels are dominated by a solitary and wounded character attempting to determine the truth 5 | See Poyner, Attridge and Wright. It is also interesting to note that Coetzee became an Australian citizen in 2006. Does this exclude him from being considered a South African writer?

6 | In an interview, Coetzee asserted “… my intellectual allegiances are clearly European not African” (in Attwell 1).

Postcolonial canons | 105 about him- or herself in relation to the world. From early novels such as In the Heart of the Country and Waiting for the Barbarians through his most recently published Slow Man and Diary of a Bad Year, Coetzee’s works evince a preoccupation with the alienated individual. Derek Attridge sees this focus on individuality as a hallmark of the Western canon itself: … consistent with the traditional humanist concern of the canon is [Coetzee’s] novels’ thematic focus: for instance, they return again and again to the solitary individual in a hostile human and physical environment to raise crucial questions about the foundations of civilization and humanity … (70).

If self-evaluation constitutes one of the Western canon’s thematic foci, then the mere existence of the apartheid system excluded many works from canonization, since only loci of material and physical privilege could permit extended exercises in existential self-absorption. Yet even if such self-directed critiques stem from a desire to redress injustices, as Njabulo Ndebele points out, moral discourses of individual action frequently become traps of the well-intentioned, paradoxically deflecting attention away from actual, material, group struggles, rather than supporting them. In addition to his persistent concern with the self, Coetzee’s work frequently gets embroiled in debates about universality. Peter D. McDonald brilliantly explores how apartheid censor reports responding to Coetzee’s novels ironically reveal that it was the seemingly “universal” quality of the narratives that won the tolerance of the censors, who recognized in the novels’ delocalized settings a “manifest canonicity” (51). McDonald writes, “[t]he dogma of universality – canonical literature is about everywhere and all times – was simply too entrenched in the censors’ thinking” to lead them to ban Coetzee’s seemingly ahistorical and alocal texts (51). Coetzee’s censors are not in any way his best critics, but the currency of their observations cannot be denied by his readers. Coetzee’s early works in particular, benefited at home and abroad because of the delocalized, ‘universally’-applicable ways the narratives could be read. The hermeneutical instability of his oeuvre is another reason for Coetzee’s popularity in Western academia. Interpretive aporias of his work are repeatedly championed, yet Coetzee’s “opacity of fiction” threatens to encourage a hermeneutical relativity veering on the apolitical (Poyner, 4). Lewis Nkosi remarks on the tyranny of the postmodern aesthetic in contemporary literature, suggesting, among other things, that the long lack of exposure to Western scholarship on the postmodern makes it virtually impossible for black South African writers nowadays to compete in a world in which the postmodern remains the popular mode. As Nkosi’s writing intimates, Harold Bloom is wrong to argue that “the undeniable economics

106 | Lily Saint of literature, from Pindar to the present, do not determine questions of aesthetic supremacy,” for it is precisely economics, in tandem with apartheid’s racist ideology, that prevented South African writers from being able to participate in that global dialogue of ‘agons’ refi guring the modern (Bloom, 23). While Coetzee’s works can carry the mark of Beckett, Defoe, Dostoevsky and others, what allowed him access to works by those writers were precisely mechanisms that denied them to the majority of his South African compatriots. Evidence of Coetzee’s postmodern tendency can be found most markedly in his works’ generic variety. In the Heart of the Country, for example, is written as a compilation of numbered sections void of overt chronological consistency; both Foe and Life & Times of Michael K switch back and forth between narrators; and Elizabeth Costello’s odd linking of lectures previously delivered by Coetzee further subvert generic expectations. Coetzee’s genrebending tales write themselves neatly into narratives of post-structuralist alterity and instability thereby appealing directly to contemporary academic trends. Critics argue over whether Coetzee is a modernist (Lazarus, 131155), postmodernist, or a late modernist (Attridge, 2), while simultaneously dismissing other South African writers’ over-reliance on realist modes of depiction.7 Coetzee further complicates – or adds value to – the matter by providing slippery and equivocal answers in interviews. As Nkosi puts it, “… although … postmodernism appears to have taken some hold in South African literature, it is a movement wholly occupied, managed, and dominated by white writers, with black writers seeming either to ignore it or not even to have heard of it” (77). Thus contemporary aesthetic and generic trends are rewarded through publication, further contributing to the exclusion of certain forms of literature from processes of canonization. Another popular ideological position welcomed by liberal Western readers of postcolonial literature is that of non-violence. Rob Nixon shows how South African cultural products championed by European and North American markets promote an over-optimistic liberalism, in tandem with a validation of non-violent resistance.8 Western audiences were reluctant to hear of actual violence in South Africa during apartheid, particularly of violence committed in the name of resistance. Though it is well known 7 | I am tempted to say that the scale of success (both popular and academic) of Coetzee’s most realist novel, Disgrace, suggests that academia’s recent interest in the postmodern novel is a sham functioning to maintain intellectual power for a field with rapidly dwindling social eminence.

8 | Nixon is most convincing in his discussion of how the films Cry Freedom, A World Apart and A Dry White Season revise South African history in order to cater to a Western audience.

Postcolonial canons | 107 throughout South Africa that both the ANC and the PAC had armed military wings, this aspect of the ‘story’ of South African resistance has largely been written out of Western narratives of the anti-apartheid struggle, replaced instead by idealistic ones that reductively represent resistance in terms of the religious extremes of good and evil. Not surprisingly, Coetzee defines his position along these lines, as nonviolent. In Doubling the Point he tells David Attwell that “[v]iolence, as soon as I sense its presence within me, becomes introverted as violence against myself: I cannot project it outward. I am unable to, or refuse to, conceive of a liberating violence” (337). The Crucifi xion he approvingly interprets as an indication of Christ’s “refusal and … introversion of retributive violence” (337); in other words, one should respond to violence both by turning the other cheek (the refusal), and allowing oneself to be sacrificed (the introversion). This thought shows up again in his new work Diary of a Bad Year in which the protagonist asserts: “I believe that the greatest of all contributions to political ethics was made by Jesus when he urged the injured and offended among us to turn the other cheek, thus breaking the cycle of revenge and reprisal” (Coetzee in Wood, 7). But what is missing in both these instances is how Coetzee’s own privileged situation allows him to assume such a position towards violence. In the security of his own positionality, Coetzee never needed (or needs) to resort to violence as the ANC, PAC and other groups did – violence of the sort that Frantz Fanon so famously argues for in The Wretched of the Earth. In another interview, Coetzee explains how during his years as an academic in the U.S. he felt pressure to become a teacher of African literature, to become what is referred to as an Africanist. Despite reading widely in both South African and other African literatures, he notes that “nothing truly gripped [him].” He particularly feared he would have to be “specialist in a peripheral and not very highly regarded body of literature,” an anxiety which reveals perhaps less about the actual works than about his own desire to belong to a central and ‘highly regarded’ canon (Doubling the Point 336, my emphasis). In his condescending condemnation of all African literature as “peripheral” and un-enthralling, Coetzee’s worldly ambition reveals itself. The success of this ambition is well known. Writers such as Coetzee come, despite their best intentions, to stand as representatives of South African letters, thereby obscuring international awareness of other writing. One such writer, virtually unknown outside of his South African national context, is Phaswane Mpe. His 2004 novel Welcome To Our Hillbrow, in its yoking together of writing and death, directly suggests that this publishing climate which rewards only certain moralities and affinities is not just

108 | Lily Saint the place for postmodern anxieties, but for some, a vital impediment to survival. The narrator addresses the protagonist in the second person: When in September of 1995, your short story was accepted for publication in a reputable literary magazine, you wondered whether it was not better to write more of the same, and perhaps later rework them into a novel, which you could then translate into Sepedi. You had thought about these things, child of Tiragalong and Hillbrow; but not with the same conviction that you had thought about suicide. (30)

R EFERENCES Ali, Tariq. “Literature and Market Realism.” New Left Review I/199 (1993): 140-145. Attridge, Derek. J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Attwell, David. “Coetzee’s Estrangement” [online]. African Novels and the Politics of Form: A Conference, University of Pittsburgh, Oct. 26-28, 2006. ( Barker, Derek. English Academic Literary Discourse in South Africa 1958-2004: A Review of 11 Academic Journals [online]. Trier: Online-PublikationsServer of the University of Trier (OPUS) [cited Nov. 4 2007]. (http://ubt. Baucom, Ian. “Globalit, Inc.; Or, the Cultural Logic of Global Literary Studies.” PMLA 116.1 (2001): 158-172. Barnard, Rita. Apartheid and Beyond: South African Writers and the Politics of Place. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Bloom, Harold. The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. New York: Riverhead, 1994. Casanova, Pascale. The World Republic of Letters. Trans. M.B. DeBevoise. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. Coetzee, J.M. Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life. New York: Viking, 1997. Coetzee, J.M. Diary of a Bad Year. London: Harvill Secker, 2007. Coetzee, J.M. Doubling the Point: Essays and Interviews. Ed. David Attwell. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992. Coetzee, J.M. Elizabeth Costello. London: Secker & Warburg, 2003. Coetzee, J.M. Foe. New York: Viking, 1986. Coetzee, J.M. Interview with Jane Poyner. J.M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006. 21-24. Coetzee, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. New York: Penguin, 1977. Coetzee, J.M. Life & Times of Michael K. New York: Penguin, 1983. Coetzee, J.M. Slow Man. London: Secker & Warburg, 2005.

Postcolonial canons | 109 Coetzee, J.M. Waiting for the Barbarians. New York: Penguin, 1982. Damrosch, David. What Is World Literature? Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. Guillory, John. Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1993. Lazarus, Neil. “Modernism and Modernity: T.W. Adorno and Contemporary White South African Literature.” Cultural Critique Winter (1986). 131155. Marshall, David. The Surprising Effects of Sympathy: Marivaux, Diderot, Rousseau, and Mary Shelley. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. McDonald, Peter D. “The Writer, the Critic, and the Censor: J.M. Coetzee and the Question of Literature.” Ed. Jane Poyner. J.M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006. 4262. Mpe, Phaswane. Welcome to Our Hillbrow. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 2001. Ndebele, Njabulo. South African Literature and Culture: Rediscovery of the Ordinary. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994. Nixon, Rob. Homelands, Harlem, Hollywood. New York: Routledge, 1994. Nkosi, Lewis. “Postmodernism and Black Writing in South Africa.” Writing South Africa: Literature, Apartheid, and Democracy, 1970-1995. Eds. Derek Attridge and Rosemary Jolly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 75-90. Poyner, Jane, ed. J.M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Bantam, 1991. Wood, Michael. “In a Cold Country.” Review of Diary of a Bad Year, by J.M. Coetzee. London Review of Books (4 Oct. 2007): 5-7. Wright, Laura. Writing “Out of All the Camps”: J.M. Coetzee’s Narratives of Displacement. London: Routledge, 2006.

“We the people”: The U.S. Government’s recent recruitment of literature for nation building Lisbeth Fuisz

In response to the perceived degeneration of American cultural memory, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a U.S. governmental agency that funds humanities education and research, inaugurated a new program in 2002, “We the People.” Taking its name from the opening line of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, this initiative aims to promote national unity through a program that relies on a canonically informed model of education. Such models endeavor to unify and homogenize education by imparting a common body of knowledge – a canon, precisely – in an attempt to create a patriotic citizenry. One component of the NEH program is the “‘We the People’ Bookshelf,” a yearly reading list for school children that focuses on American themes and characteristics. In the fi rst year of the reading program (2003-2004), the theme was “Courage;” in the second year, “Freedom;” in the third year, “Becoming American;” in the fourth year, “The Pursuit of Happiness;” and in 2007-2008, “Created Equal.” An examination of the rationale and organization of the “‘We the People’ Bookshelf,” with its designation of texts as culturally significant and educationally valuable, illuminates the connection between literary canonization and nation building. My understanding of canonically informed education and its conviction that literary study can produce a common identity and a shared history for U.S. school children derives from the work of Roderick A. Ferguson in Aberrations in Black: Towards a Queer of Color Critique (2004) and that of

112 | Lisbeth Fuisz Lisa Lowe in Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (1996). Both have theorized the function of canonical formations in various twentieth-century U.S. educational settings. Historically, governmentsponsored education in the United States has served to assimilate students into the norms and values of the dominant culture. It is an important means “through which the narratives of national group identity are established and reproduced” (Lowe, 56). Literary canons play a role in these educational processes by legitimating particular forms of knowledge and types of identity. Drawing on David Lloyd’s theories about the Anglo-European function of canonization to reconcile a stratified society by positing a unified culture, both Ferguson and Lowe demonstrate that canonical literature promotes a universalized form of subjectivity that naturalizes social norms as readers identify with it. Normative developmental trajectories for students are defined through chosen texts, with the aim to engender national identification through the construction of shared values, culture and history. During the twentieth century, canonically informed education has been positioned as a solution to various problems besetting the United States. In the late 1980s, the ‘culture wars’ broke out, in which many U.S. academics and politicians advocated for curricula based on the study of what Americans call the ‘great books’ – a canon of Ancient Greek and Roman works and European literature and philosophy. They perceived this form of education to be an antidote to demands by minorities for full representation in education, to the burgeoning of race, ethnic, gender and queer studies in colleges and universities and to the development of multicultural curricular initiatives at all levels of U.S. schooling. I argue that the NEH’s “We the People” endorses such a model of education by insisting on the efficacy of educational programming based on texts that model patriotic behavior and highlight nation-building activities. The program aims to correct what NEH Chairman Bruce Cole calls “American amnesia,” the country’s supposed lack of cultural memory, and to rally a divided populace in support of the U.S. government’s effort to spread democracy to the world after September 11. At the White House Rose Garden ceremony to announce the initiative, NEH Chairman Bruce Cole portrayed the citizens of the United States as dangerously ignorant of the nation’s history and culture. The lack of such knowledge, said Cole, jeopardizes the nation’s future: People increasingly are forgetting what shaped their past and led to a national identity. When a nation fails to know why it exists and what it stands for, it cannot be expected to long endure. (“President Bush”)

Nation building | 113 Cole positioned the humanities as the source of a national identity that would unify the inhabitants of the United States: “The humanities tell us who we are as a people and why our country is worth fi ghting for. They are integral for our homeland defense” (in “President Bush”). The reference to national security suggests how politics influenced the rationale for this new program, which Cole offered as part of the solution to the threat posed by terrorism: Last year’s September 11 terrorist attack was designed to destroy not only thousands of people but also the American way of life. In defending our homeland we must fight to protect the democratic ideals and principles on which our nation was founded. (“President Bush”)

The citation of “the American way of life” presupposes an accord amongst the residents of the United States about what constitutes the uniqueness of the United States and the American character. It neglects those voices who, in light of persistent problems like poverty, homophobia, and antiimmigrant sentiment, question the country’s ability to realize its founding principles outlined in documents like the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Cole also glossed over the anti-war responses that followed the U.S. government’s handling of the terrorist threat. In fact, he positioned the NEH program as a corrective to dissent in U.S. society. The “We the People” reading lists are intended to engender national identification by producing a sense of shared values, culture and history amongst students. Each list has a nationally inflected theme, contains predominately twentieth-century texts, and is divided into four sections: the readings recommended for grades K-3 (ages 5-8), 4-6 (ages 9-11), 7-8 (ages 12-13), and 9-12 (ages 14-17).1 Each list offers three or four texts per age grouping. Referred to as ‘classics’ by the NEH, many of these books enjoyed canonical status before being recruited for the program. What is new and unique about these lists is the overt purpose assigned to them by the themes under which they are organized. The recommended books are supposed to exemplify commonly held values such as ‘courage’ and ‘freedom’ (the themes for the first two years) that define what it means to be an ethical human being and an American citizen. These books are supposed to point out unique aspects of American culture and important moments and personages in American history, hence the choice of the three most recent themes: “Becoming American,” “The Pursuit of Happiness” and “Created Equal.” The first refers to the mythic notion that the United 1 | Information on the bookshelves comes from NEH web-based sources listed on the references page.

114 | Lisbeth Fuisz States is a nation of immigrants exclusively, while the second and third are phrases taken from the Declaration of Independence. These themes demonstrate how canons can be made to sanction specific knowledge and identities as a basis of nation building. Being placed on the Bookshelves endows a book with cultural and historical significance. Not surprisingly, many of the listed texts deal with nation-building activities such as war and territorial expansionism. Two wars have significant representation on the lists: the Revolutionary War, during which the American colonies gained their freedom from Great Britain, and the Civil War, which reunited the Northern and Southern States and ended slavery. For example, the “Created Equal” Bookshelf explores the Civil War while invoking the Revolutionary War. It contains four works on or by Abraham Lincoln, whose 1863 Gettysburg Address began by referring to the claim from the Declaration of Independence – that “all men are created equal.” The lists designate these two wars as central events in the making of the United States and in the formation of a national identity. Other wars not easily assimilable to a narrative of national consolidation are absent. A novel on the “Courage” list, Johnny Tremain (1943), may serve as an example of how canonical texts can be made to promote a normative developmental trajectory for students. The book won the prestigious Newberry Award for outstanding American Literature for children, which is a canon-building tool in itself. The novel is a coming-of-age story in which a boy achieves manhood through his involvement with two groups who oppose British rule: the Sons of Liberty and the Minute Men. A bildungsroman, the novel charts Johnny’s integration into the values of his society; in this case, Johnny becomes a fervent supporter of the newly emerging American nation, willing to take up arms in the attempt to gain autonomy from Britain. Surveying the effects of the recent Battle of Lexington between the British and American forces, Johnny acknowledges his national identification: “This was his land and these were his people” (267). Johnny symbolically affi rms his membership in the new nation and the masculinist logic of military self-sacrifice that undergirds it when he accepts the gift of a musket from a dying Minute Man. The novel endorses Johnny’s dutiful acquiescence to national needs, and placing the novel on the “Courage” list sets up this patriotism as a model for readers. The speeches announcing the “Courage” Bookshelf confirm that Johnny Tremain was chosen because it offers students a model for the development of a strong sense of civic duty. In her remarks, Mrs. Cheney, the wife of the Vice President and a former head of the NEH who was involved in promoting the new NEH program, asserted that courage is a fundamental aspect of American character:

Nation building | 115 Acts of courage have shaped our nation throughout its history. … By reading these books, young readers can gain a greater understanding of how people from all walks of life – facing challenges large and small – can find the strength to do what is right. (“NEH Launches … List on ‘Courage.’”)

NEH Chairman Bruce Cole concurred with Mrs. Cheney, stating that “Young readers will find inspiration in these stories about characters, real and fictional, who demonstrated personal courage when faced with difficult decisions in uncertain times” (“NEH Launches … List on ‘Courage’”). In these examples, Cole and Cheney argue that the books defined as ‘classics’ offer a model of ethical development to which students should conform in the interest of national unity. In addition to promoting specific patriotic values and defining key events in the making of the United States, the Bookshelves ascribe cultural importance to select minority groups by figuring their experiences prominently. There are numerous stories about African Americans, many of which address slavery. This focus on a form of racism that was overcome through the Civil War implicitly signals the end of racial inequality tout court and thus diverts attention from continuing injustices against African Americans. Asian-American texts also feature on the lists, although most of them are on the “Becoming American” Bookshelf, reinforcing the idea that assimilation is the primary rubric through which to understand Asian Americans’ place within a national narrative. Literature dealing exclusively with the experiences of Native Americans is limited to Paul Goble’s The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, a picture book based loosely on Plains Indian culture, and Nez Percé Chief Joseph’s That All People May Be One People, Send Rain to Wash the Face of the Earth. The lists endorse the narrative of the growth of the United States westward through the inclusion of many books on the pioneering experience and the erasure of indigenous peoples. A stronger presence of literature by Native Americans would disrupt the triumphal narrative of national consolidation which the NEH intends to construct through the Bookshelves. Again, an example from the “Courage” Bookshelf illustrates this observation. Walter D. Edmonds’ The Matchlock Gun (1941), another Newberry-Award winning children’s book, enacts the story of the erasure of indigenous peoples. The main character, a young white boy, successfully defends his fatherless family during the French and Indian Wars by shooting three Indians. Like Johnny Tremain, this story was selected because of its endorsement of a normative model of behavior, but its selection also demonstrates that the valorization of this narrative of bravery and national defense comes at the expense of alternative narratives and identities, of those who ceded to U.S. expansionism. The perceived cultural

116 | Lisbeth Fuisz and historical significance of minority groups, therefore, is signaled by their visibility on the lists, which in turn depends upon the degree to which minorities’ experiences can be seamlessly incorporated into the national meanings and identities that these lists enact. In fact, just as exclusion is discriminatory, inclusion in its turn poses a risk for minority groups: the stories about their struggles for justice may be co-opted and rewritten by the larger national narratives sanctioned by the Bookshelves. Although the reading lists are ‘multicultural’ and include authors who are not ‘American’, the themes articulate a consensus about what it means to be American that seeks to prevent the books from being read as critical of U.S. society. By placing the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave (1845) and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) on the “Courage” list, for example, the NEH frames these texts as stories about individual acts of courage that somehow define a transhistorical American character instead of representations of racial conflict at specific moments in U.S. history that challenge the universal applicability of American ideals like equality. Because of the Bookshelf’s overarching intention to represent a unified American culture and identity and to construct a history that focuses on the guiding principles articulated in the United States’ founding documents, the brand of multiculturalism which the Bookshelf promotes aestheticizes racial and ethnic differences. Lisa Lowe has described how this brand of multiculturalism attempts to elide the complicated history of immigrants and racialized minorities in the United States: If the nation proposes American culture as the key site for the resolution of inequalities and stratifications that cannot be resolved on the political terrain of representative democracy, then the culture performs that reconciliation by naturalizing a universality that exempts the “non-American” from its history of development or admits the “non-American” only through a “multiculturalism” that aestheticizes ethnic differences as if they could be separated from history. (9)

The Bookshelf enacts both these forms of reconciliation: for example, it “exempts the ‘non-American’ from its history of development” in its lack of substantive treatment of Native American cultures and histories; and it aestheticizes ethnic difference by placing texts by or about immigrants under the rubric of “Becoming American,” thereby incorporating immigrants into a unified vision of the American people. The very name of the program, “We the People,” proclaims its purpose: to valorize a homogenized national identity and a history that realizes the promise of the founding documents from which it takes it name and themes. It is a

Nation building | 117 call to unity in the face of the threat to American borders represented by the terrorists responsible for 9/11. The NEH’s nationally inflected themes influence teaching plans for the texts it selects. An instructive example of this are the three novels by Willa Cather, disruptively modernist fictions which become homogenized by inclusion on these lists. The NEH unit plan for My Ántonia, “Pioneer Values in Willa Cather’s My Ántonia,” includes the following objectives: “Name key pioneer values” in the novel and “Understand the relationship between the historical settling of the American Great Plains and the values of the settlers that enable them to succeed as settlers” (“Pioneer”). The lesson plans allow for some critique of the pioneer experience, like noting “the emotional price the pioneers sometimes paid for their modest successes” (“Pioneer”), but the unit as a whole does not disturb the larger narrative of pioneering as an essential element in the consolidation of the United States and the formation of a national identity. To the NEH, Cather’s My Ántonia is an “archetypal tale” (“Pioneer”), and once on the “Freedom” list, it becomes a celebration of the pioneering experience, of immigrants’ contributions to nation building. This nationally inflected reading ignores the more problematic aspects of the narrative such as women’s limited access to education, the poor treatment of certain immigrant groups, and the erasure of native peoples. To read Cather’s novel in terms of the NEH’s themes transforms it into a celebration of national (and imperial) history, which allows it in turn to be co-opted by the NEH as a nation-building text. The focus on transhistorical ‘American’ values and identity as a solution to problems besetting the U.S. reveals the neoconservative roots of the literary approach in “We the People.” As David Harvey has argued, neoconservatives champion traditional moral and cultural values “as the necessary social glue to keep the body politic secure in the face of external and internal dangers” (82). The NEH program focuses on the external threats to the nation posed by terrorism and on the internal threat which Americans pose to themselves in their supposed lack of knowledge of national history and culture. Interpreting these threats in moral terms becomes an important way to compel the population to consent to neoconservative values; neoconservatives seek “social control through construction of a climate of consent around a coherent set of moral values” (Harvey, 83-84). In appealing to morally charged national ideals like ‘freedom,’ the “We the People” initiative seeks a consensus about what it means to be American and obfuscates its own political purpose of using educational programs for social control. The NEH program seeks to diff use dissent by ‘manufacturing consent’ through an appeal to a commonly held set of values.

118 | Lisbeth Fuisz This recent manifestation of neoconservatism by the NEH is more authoritarian than that articulated during the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s when the NEH (lead by Mrs. Cheney) was at the center of a battle over what was considered legitimate U.S. history and culture. According to David Harvey, George W. Bush’s government has made neoconservatism’s attempt “to restore a sense of moral purpose, some higher-order values that will form the stable centre of the body politic” a central goal of the administration (83). Under Bush’s leadership, a morally righteous nationalism is one value used to ensure Americans’ consent to government policies. This sense of nationalism animates the “We the People” programming and it only thinly masks the authoritarian purposes to which education is being put. The “We the People” reading lists represent a larger movement to discipline the humanities and counteract the de-canonization of U.S. literary study under way since the 1980s. In recent years, neoconservative critics of U.S. higher education have called for a return to core humanities curricula that would emphasize the values of Western civilization as the cornerstone of U.S. culture. These critics believe that the rise of area studies programs means that students are not learning U.S. history and civics. Thus, the reading lists can be interpreted as signaling the failure of multiculturalism to radically transform education in the United States. The original intent of multiculturalism – to challenge established norms and canons and to create educational programming in the humanities that reflects the histories of a diverse nation – has been diluted. The sanitized brand of multiculturalism the lists embody suggests the limited impact that current humanities scholarship in higher education has on U. S. primary and secondary education. Despite its rhetoric of inclusiveness, the “‘We the People’ Bookshelf” demarcates normative boundaries for race, gender, sexuality, class and body, narrowly prescribing the parameters of citizenship. It discourages critical engagement with U.S. literature and history by creating a climate for reading in which questioning the received interpretations of national events is un-American. While championing what are considered to be uniquely American qualities, programs like the NEH’s are bound up in reimagining American identity in an increasingly global context. National needs have impacted and continue to impact educational developments in the United States. At the same time, in defining what is normative, programming of this kind produces the grounds for a sharp critique by those unable or unwilling to assimilate to its standards. In fact, the books on the lists themselves dialogize Chairman Cole’s and the NEH’s pronouncements of unity. They are full of anti-canonical moments. For example, some texts on the list work against a sanitized

Nation building | 119 version of the narrative of the United States as a country made strong by immigrants. Esperanza Rising (2000) by Pam Muñoz Ryan, on the “Pursuit of Happiness” Bookshelf, deals with hardships such as racism, forced repatriation, and the failed worker strikes endured by Mexicans who immigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century. Similarly, Dragonwings (1975) by Laurence Yep on the “Becoming American” Bookshelf opens with a brief account of what happened to the narrator’s grandfather when he emigrated to the United States in the nineteenth century: he was lynched by a mob of white people “almost the moment he had set foot on their shores” (1). The selected books offer multiple viewpoints on the United States, its history and inhabitants and thus potentially resist the pressures of canonization and the movement towards a single authoritative meaning. What actually happens when students read books that offer multiple meanings cannot be fully mandated by public policy. People do not always consume texts in dutiful ways, resisting the regulatory intent of canonically informed education. Monitoring the teaching and reading of these books thus becomes all the more important. The NEH and its non-governmental partner, the American Library Association, offer various suggestions for using the books to schools and libraries. These include the forming of discussion groups by grade level, having students write essays about the Bookshelf’s yearly guiding theme (‘courage’, ‘freedom’ etc.), or inviting community members to give presentations on the yearly theme or on the books themselves (‘Programming Ideas’). The range of suggestions, most of them based upon reader-response models of learning that allow for multiple interpretations, hints at the problem of maintaining a nationally inflected interpretive lens in the interaction with literary texts. Even books that ostensibly fit the Bookshelf themes can complicate and subvert the NEH’s unified vision of U.S. culture and history. To Kill A Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee is one such text. Included in school curricula since the mid-1960s, the best-selling novel is a logical choice for the “Courage” list. It tells the story of Atticus Finch, a white lawyer in the American South during the 1930s, who chooses to defend a black man unjustly accused of rape even though members of his community despise him for it. As the NEH lesson plan for the novel argues: “In short, To Kill A Mockingbird reveals the heroic nature of acting with moral courage when adhering to social mores would be far less dangerous” (“Profi les in Courage”). This interpretation of Atticus’ actions as honorable and beyond critique has gained canonical status and the novel is generally held to be an indictment of U.S. racism towards African Americans. A different interpretation that questions the notion of courage is equally plausible. As the moral center of the novel, Atticus is often shown

120 | Lisbeth Fuisz guiding his children’s conduct. In one scene, he reprimands his children for disrespecting Mrs. Dubose, an elderly neighbor who often shouted at them as they passed by her house that their father was a “nigger-lover” for defending a black man. After her death, Atticus insists that Mrs. Dubose was actually “a great lady” and that in her fight against a morphine addiction she displayed “real courage” (112). She is the only person whom Atticus praises for courage in the novel. Singling out his racist neighbor for such tribute suggests how affirming class loyalties take precedence over correcting racial injustices; Atticus and Mrs. Dubose share a high social standing in their fictive southern town. Using the same term to describe the actions of Atticus and Mrs. Dubose undermines the canonical interpretation that the novel illustrates how individual acts of courage can change a racist society. Courage as represented in the novel is more complicated than the canonical interpretation allows. For Tom Robinson, the man Atticus unsuccessfully defends, courage is actually ineffectual in combating racism. Tom is gunned down while trying to escape imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. In fact, since the 1980s, African American parents have challenged the inclusion of Lee’s novel in school curricula due to what they believe are racist representations. The possibility of two such diametrically opposed interpretations, the canonical one that views the text as hopeful about racial equality and the parental one that views the novel as supporting institutionalized racism, destabilizes the intent behind the reading lists to present shared values like courage. The rationale and organization of the “‘We the People’ Bookshelf” highlights the connection between literary canonization and nation building. The reading lists canonize a group of the texts which the NEH believes to form the basis of a civic education, teaching students American values and history in order to engender national identification. The program is a response to the perceived lack of cultural memory in U.S. students, designating specific values and historical events and personages as culturally significant, legitimating and naturalizing a normative understanding of national meanings and identities as the basis of a canonically informed education. The program envisions literary study as the means to a stronger nation, as a defense against both internal and external threats to national integrity. It is also a means to contain the critical multiculturalism that has driven the de-canonization of humanities education over the last few decades. Those who work in humanities in higher education need to be cognizant of the ways in which such programming attempts to limit the influence of their scholarship on primary and secondary school curricula. The books on the lists, however, can exceed the monological interpretations that the NEH assigns them through its organization and articulation of themes. The act of reading always has the potential to diff use the monumentalization of

Nation building | 121 literature that occurs through canonization, but in the post-September-11 era, it remains imperative to continue to examine and critique appeals to nationalism in education, including such seemingly innocuous but deeply politicized examples as the “‘We the People’ Bookshelf.”

R EFERENCES Cole, Bruce. “Our American Amnesia” [online]. Wall Street Journal (11 June 2002). Newsroom. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 15 October 2007]. ( wsjarticle.html) Edmonds, Walter D. The Matchlock Gun. New York: Penguin, 1941. Ferguson, Roderick A. Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. New York: Laurel-Leaf Books, 1943. Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. “Humanities Endowment Launches We the People Bookshelf on ‘Becoming American’” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities. 8 September 2005 [cited 13 January 2006]. ( news/archive/20050908.html) Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York: Warner, 1960. Lowe, Lisa. Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996. “NEH Launches We the People Bookshelf on ‘Freedom’” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities. 8 June 2004 [cited 13 January 2006]. ( “NEH Launches We the People Reading List on ‘Courage’” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities. 3 June 2003 [cited 13 January 2006]. ( “Pioneer Values in Willa Cather’s My Antonia” [online]. EDsitement, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 15 October 2007]. (http:// “President Bush Announces NEH American History Initiative” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities. 17 September 2002 [cited 13 January 2006]. ( html) “Profi les in Courage: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird” [online]. EDsitement, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 22 April 2008]. (

122 | Lisbeth Fuisz “Programming Ideas” [online]. We the People Bookshelf. American Library Association [cited 15 October 2007] ( bookshelf/programming/.html) Ryan, Pam Muñoz. Esperanza Rising. New York: Scholastic, 2000. “We the People Bookshelf: Bookshelf on ‘Becoming American’” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 13 January 2006]. ( “We the People Bookshelf: Bookshelf on ‘Courage’” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 13 January 2006]. (www. “We the People Bookshelf: Bookshelf on ‘Freedom’” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 13 January 2006]. (www. “We the People Bookshelf: ‘Created Equal’ Bookshelf” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 15 October 2006]. ( “We the People Bookshelf: The ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ Bookshelf” [online]. We the People, National Endowment for the Humanities [cited 15 May 2007]. ( Yep, Laurence. Dragonwings. New York: HarperCollins, 1975.

3 negotiating the past – imagining the future

Under the blue bottle: Habsburg nostalgia in post-Soviet L’viv Ihor Junyk

Figure 1: Kavarńa Sign with blue bottle The contemporary flâneur, strolling about downtown L’viv in western Ukraine, will inevitably come upon a mysterious sign hanging outside of a baroque building on Virmenska Str. In contrast to the neon or digital signs increasingly to be found outside of the fast food restaurants and athletic shoe stores making their mark on the urban topography of this post-Soviet city, the sign in question has a decidedly antiquated feel. It is nothing more than a wooden shingle that hangs in the arch of the doorway, on which has been painted a Renaissance-style cherub holding a banner proclaiming in Latin letters ‘Kavarńa’ (coffee shop or café), surmounted by a royal blue

126 | Ihor Junyk

Figure 2: Menu bottle (fig. 1). The kavarńa itself embodies the outmoded aesthetic promised by the sign. It is dimly illuminated by thick waxen tapers, and is decorated by relics of a bygone time: heraldic crests, antiquated maps, and paintings of noblemen in old-fashioned dress. The café menu is an elaborate, sumptuous document with images and text to help the disoriented flâneur find his bearings (fig. 2, 3). It identifies the kavarńa as the “Café Under the Blue Bottle,” and notes that this is a “place where time has stopped.” Paintings of Graf Franc Jurij Kulčycykyj and Kaiser Franz Josef I, and menu items organized under geographical headings such as ‘The Kingdom of Bohemia’, ‘The Kingdom of Dalmatia’ and ‘The Imperial City of Trieste’ indicate that time has stopped during the old Austrian Empire. The text of the menu gives further elaboration and clarification. It notes:

Habsburg nostalgia | 127

Figure 3: Menu detail The name of this café, is undoubtedly familiar to you. This was the name of the fi rst coffee shop, opened in Vienna by the Galician nobleman Franc Jurij Kulčycykyj. … Then, in the seventeenth century, during the defense of Vienna from the Turks, the peoples of Central Europe, among whom were the Galicians, developed sentiments towards Austria. From 1772-1918, when the Kingdom of Galicia formed a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, these feelings grew into a romance. From 1918, when Galicia ended up a part of Poland, this romance turned into nostalgia. In 1939, after the incorporation of Galicia into Soviet Ukraine, nostalgia became melancholy. Sorrow no longer, because in our café time has stopped in the former, romantic era.1 1 | Galicia is a territory that has two distinct, but connected meanings which the historian Paul Robert Magocsi refers to as its ‘historic’ and ‘modern’ iterations. Modern Galicia refers to “the imperial Austrian province – formally the Königreich Galizien und Lodomerien – according to its boundaries until the demise of the Habsburg Empire in 1918. This territory stretched from the source of the Vistula River in the far west to the Zbruch and Cheremosh rivers in the east and was bounded by the crests of the Carpathian Mountains in the south. Divided more or less in half by the San River, it had two major cities: Cracow in the west and L’viv in the east. The San River also roughly coincided with the ethnolinguistic boundary between Poles

128 | Ihor Junyk While at first glance this may seem like a cynical exercise in niche marketing targeting the nostalgic fantasies of returning émigré tourists, a closer look at the culture of the city reveals something completely different. For although it is the most self-conscious and theoretical in its historicism, the Blue Bottle is not the only café to embody a nostalgia for the Dual Monarchy. The Cupola, Tsukernja, Dzyga and the Vienna Café all make distinct allusions to the Austro-Hungarian past, including, in the case of the latter, a direct reference to the erstwhile capital of the Empire and a statue of the good soldier Svejk on its terrace. Further, it is not only the city’s kavarńi and knajpy that seem caught in this bizarre time warp. Ji magazine, a sophisticated literary and cultural studies journal, has also published issues featuring contributors whose portraits might well be displayed on the walls of the Blue Bottle. Issue 9, published in 1997, for example, featured among others: Stefan Zweig, Paul Celan, Robert Musil, Georg Trakl, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hans Georg Gadamer, Bruno Schulz and Otto von Habsburg. And, to give just one more example, on August 18, 2000, a seminar was held in L’viv featuring the “scholarly, political, intellectual and artistic elite of the city,” during which a petition was signed urging the state administration of the region, the city’s mayor and the city’s community “to support our initiative and to honor the Emperor in an adequate way,” – namely, by erecting a monument to Franz Joseph I (Vysokyj zamok). What had perhaps seemed initially like a marketing ploy now seems like a more general (and genuine) cultural phenomenon. But how can we explain this phenomenon? What are we to make of the fact that during an era when there is ever more awareness and criticism of the deforming influence of imperialism, the social and cultural elite of a newly-independent state would hearken back to a time when they were nothing but a remote outpost on the imperial periphery? In order to answer this question we need to look more carefully at nostalgia. More than just a vague longing, nostalgia needs to be seen as an emotional state with what philosophers would call and Ukrainians, so that it was not uncommon during the Habsburg period to refer to Polish-inhabited western Galicia and a Ruthenian (Ukrainian)-inhabited eastern Galicia.” This territory needs to be distinguished from historic Galicia. “Before 1772 when the Habsburgs annexed the territory, Galicia had existed for nearly seven centuries, first as a distinct principality and later as a palatinate … Historic Galicia during this long era coincided more or less with what later became the eastern ‘half’ of Habsburg Galicia. This same territory after World War II was incorporated into the Soviet Union; since 1991 it forms part of the sovereign state of Ukraine.” Paul Robert Magocsi, “Galicia: A European Land” in Galicia: A Multicultured Land. Ed. Christopher Hahn and Paul Robert Magocsi. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005, 3-4.

Habsburg nostalgia | 129 intentionality – that is, semantic content. Nostalgia means something; and even more than this it does something. More than just a reactionary yearning for the ‘good old days’, nostalgia, I will argue, is a key strategy for negotiating trauma and constructing identity. The word ‘nostalgia’ comes from two Greek roots: nostos, return home, and algia, longing. Interestingly, though, this is not an ancient Greek word. It was actually coined by the Swiss physician Johannes Hofer in his medical dissertation of 1688. Hofer was interested in the particular form of melancholy evinced by students from the Republic of Berne studying in Basel and Swiss soldiers fighting abroad. Although he considered the terms nosomania and philopatridomania, Hofer finally opted for ‘nostalgia’ because he felt it was possible “from the force of the sound Nostalgia to define the sad mood originating from the desire for return to one’s native land” (in Boym, 3). Therefore, despite the word’s antiquated sound, nostalgia is roughly coeval with modernity and emerged to describe the typically modern experience of displacement and the longing associated with it (a longing, I would argue, which also requires the emergent modern sense of national identity). However, it would be a mistake to see nostalgia as nothing but this vague feeling of longing. Nostalgia does a certain kind of work. According to early medical discourse, nostalgia produces “erroneous representations” that cause those affl icted with the disease to lose touch with the present. While this is often presented as a kind of confusion or disorientation, I would argue that it is in fact a strategic response to trauma. The modern word ‘trauma’ also comes from the ancient Greek – the word trauma, which literally means ‘wound’. While this is a reflection of the corporeal understanding of trauma in the nineteenth century – Victorian medicine believed that the strange behavior exhibited by survivors of train derailments and early industrial accidents was a function of tiny wounds, microscopic lesions on the spinal column – contemporary trauma theory has understood this in a different sense as well. Psychoanalytical accounts have seen trauma as a wound to what we might call the chronotopal structures of reality – a gash or rupture in the coherence and integrity of space/time itself, which manifests itself in the experiences of deferral, belatedness, and uncanny repetition.2 In order to demonstrate this notion of trauma as a disruption of space/ time and explain how the mobilization of nostalgia might function as a 2 | On the chronotope see Mikhail Bakhtin, “Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel: Notes toward a Historical Poetics.” The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson & Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981, 84-254.

130 | Ihor Junyk therapeutic response to this rupture, let me turn to a short story called “The Bust of the Emperor” by a modernist master of Galician nostalgia – Joseph Roth. The short story concerns one Count Franz Xaver Morstin, an old Austrian nobleman living in the small Galician village of Lopatyny. Not only does Morstin identify completely with the old Dual Monarchy, but the symbolic register of the Habsburg Empire serves as an anchor that gives his reality coherence and protects him from the centrifugal tendencies of the modern world: As he traveled around the center of his multitudinous fatherland, what he responded to most were certain specific and unmistakable manifestations that recurred, in their unvarying and still colorful fashion, on every railway station, every kiosk, every public building, every school and church in all the Crown Lands of the Empire. All over, the policemen wore the same feathered hats or ocher helmets with golden pompoms and glittering Habsburg double eagles; all over, the wooden doors of the K. and K. Trafi k stores were painted in black and yellow diagonals; … Like every Austrian of that time Morstin was in love with the constant in midst of change, the familiar in the variable, the dependable in the midst of the unaccustomed. (236237)

The First World War and the dissolution of the Empire result in the elimination of this symbolic register and leave Morstin traumatized. Interestingly, this trauma manifests itself in a profound spatio-temporal disorientation: So Count Franz Xaver Morstin had returned. But where had he returned to? … Seeing as this village, he thought, now belongs to Poland and not Austria: can it still be said to be my home? What is home anyway? Are not the particular uniforms of the customs men and the gendarmes that we were used to seeing in our childhood, are they not just as much home as the pines and firs, the swamp and the meadow, the cloud and the stream? If the excise men and police are different, and the pine and the fir and the stream and the swamp are the same: is that still home to me? Was I not – the Count proceeded to interrogate himself – so much at home in this place because it belonged to a master who owned just as many different places that I loved as well? No doubt about it! The unnatural excess of world history has also ruined my personal pleasure in what I called home. (243-244)

The First World War has introduced a profound rupture into the fabric of history. And standing on the far shore of that rupture, Morstin finds that everything has changed. The land that was once so homely (heimlich) has

Habsburg nostalgia | 131 become unfamiliar, strange, unheimlich.3 Morstin has become displaced; homeless. At first Morstin tries to accustom himself to the new spatio-temporal realities of the modern condition – symbolized by his attempt to pass an evening at an ‘American’ bar during a short period of exile in Zurich. But the Count finds these realities intolerable and quickly returns to Lopatyny where he gives himself over to an unrestrained nostalgia. He has a bust of the Emperor (commissioned on the occasion of Franz Josef’s visit to Lopatyny many years earlier) fetched up out of the cellar and set up at the entrance to his little castle, and he takes to walking around in the uniform of an Austrian captain of the Dragoons. But these gestures are not merely an eccentric abandonment to melancholy longing. They have a strategic and therapeutic effect on the Count’s traumatized state of mind: And from the next day forth – as though there had been no war – as though there were no new Polish Republic – as though the old Emperor had not long ago been laid to rest in the Kapuzinergruft – as though this village of Lopatyny were still part of the territory of the old Monarchy: every peasant who went that way, took off his hat to the sandstone bust of the old Emperor, and every Jew who passed it with his bundle on his back, murmured the prayer that believing Jews are supposed to say when they see the Emperor. … To Count Morstin, who never left the village any more, the monument was even more significant: when he left his house, it gave him the sense that nothing had changed… For hours on end he would persist in the delusion – even though he had personally taken part in the most bloody of all wars – that it had all been a terrible nightmare, and that the changes that had followed, were only more terrible nightmares. (252-253)

Nostalgia, then, is not merely blind affect, but a strategy for reconfiguring space and time. Writing on the spatio-temporal dimensions of nostalgia Shaden M. Tageldin has noted that it produces a chronotope of exchange – a substitution of one time and place for another (233). This, I would argue, is not quite precise enough. Nostalgia does not merely substitute one time for another, but effects a kind of spatio-temporal suturing. If trauma can 3 | The reference here is to Freud’s notion of the “uncanny.” This is the particular feeling of anxiety and weirdness caused by the return, in defamiliarized form, of what was once intimate and familiar. See Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny,” in The Pelican Freud Library v.14 – Art and Literature. Trans. James Strachey (Toronto: Penguin Books, 1987). For another perspective on the uncanny and its connection to memory and monumentality see Christoph Lindner, “Monumentalizing the Twin Towers: Memory and garbage in the global city” in this volume.

132 | Ihor Junyk be seen in part as a chronotopal rupture, nostalgia claims to close the wound by stitching the flesh of space-time back together, restoring the lost continuity, coherence, and fullness of temporality. This particular inflection of nostalgic longing is very similar to what Svetlana Boym has called restorative nostalgia. “Restorative nostalgia,” she writes, “puts emphasis on nostos [return home] and proposes to rebuild the lost home and patch up memory gaps” (41). Restorative nostalgics, who are often deeply involved in nationalist movements, do not think of themselves as nostalgic but believe that their project is about truth. It is significant that the bust of the Emperor would function as both the embodiment and instrument of Morstin’s longing, for according to Boym “restorative nostalgia manifests itself in total reconstructions of monuments of the past” (41). It is, what we might call, a monumentalizing sensibility. The search and desire for the monumental in modernity is always the search and desire for origins. This was particularly evident during the bourgeois nineteenth century. As the political, economic and industrial revolutions began to strip away the religious and metaphysical security of previous ages, the monument (often rendered in a neoclassical style) came to guarantee origin and stability as well as depth of time and space in a rapidly changing world that was experienced as transitory, uprooting, and unstable. 4 And while one can see how this would be a comforting and even therapeutic gesture, its problematical nature is also evident. For a fi xed (one might even say reified) notion of history and an insistence on the continuity of past and present can (and did) easily slide into hegemonic, exclusionary, and authoritarian conceptions of personal and national identity. Is this, then, what is currently happening in post-Soviet L’viv and Galicia? Is the upsurge of longing for the Dual Monarchy an example of restorative nostalgia, an attempt to heal the catastrophic traumas visited upon the region by the twentieth century (two world wars, Nazi occupation, genocide and ethnic conflict, Soviet occupation, mass death, isolation, economic and cultural stagnation) by reconnecting the present to an idealized and monumentalized conception of the Habsburg past? And further, should this operation concern us as a potentially repressive nationalist project in the mode of the French Action Française? The short answer is no, I don’t think so. While I believe that contemporary Habsburg nostalgia is an attempt to deal with issues of trauma and identity, it does so in ways quite different from the restorative model. It is important not to monumentalize concepts such as nostalgia or monumentality: to allow for heterogeneity, 4 | See Denis Hollier, Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1989) and Andreas Huyssen, “Monumental Seduction” in New German Critique 69 (1996): 181-200.

Habsburg nostalgia | 133 complexity, and difference. Svetlana Boym and Andreas Huyssen have given us some important conceptual tools for attempting to rethink these notions that are particularly useful in the case of the Galician longing for the Habsburg past. Boym argues that while we tend to think of restorative nostalgia as nostalgia tout court, another, radically different inflection of this emotion exists: what she calls reflective nostalgia. While restorative nostalgia is obsessed with nostos, reflective nostalgia “dwells in algia, in longing and loss, the imperfect process of remembering … [it] lingers on ruins, the patina of time and history, in the dreams of another place and another time” (41). But this need not be a melancholy operation. “Restorative nostalgia takes itself dead seriously,” writes Boym. “Reflective nostalgia, on the other hand, can be ironic and humorous” (49). And paradoxically, this perpetually unfulfi lled longing for the past has the potential to open up new paths towards the future. “The past,” writes Boym, “is not made in the image of the present or seen as foreboding of some present disaster; rather, the past opens up a multitude of potentialities, nonteleological possibilities of historical development” (50). The notion of a reflective nostalgia seems to resonate with Huyssen’s idea of an antimonumental monumentality: “a monumentality that can do without permanence and without destruction, that is fundamentally informed by the modernist spirit of a fleeting and transitory epiphany, but is no less memorable or monumental for that” (198). In place of a compulsive flight to a reified past, reflective nostalgia proposes a more playful relationship with history, a dialogical negotiation of past and present, presence and absence. It is highly significant, I take it, that the proposed monument to the Emperor in L’viv was never built. Instead of frozen monumental and architectural forms, Habsburg nostalgia manifests itself in more fluid and ephemeral spaces and events (fig. 4, 5). The celebration of the Emperor’s 170th birthday in the year 2000 was marked by a ludic, carnivalesque atmosphere characterized by self-irony, burlesque rituals (like searching for the ghost of the Emperor), and sacrilegious comparisons between the Emperor and the Messiah. And the key embodiment of this nostalgia is the city’s revived café culture. Far from a space of monumental fi xity, the kavarńa is a site of transitory, carnivalesque publicity, a place defined by dialogue, debate, celebration, and multiple perspectives.5 With its emphasis on artifice and play, this nostalgia might well be termed postmodern, and significantly it is the playful, postmodern writers of the region who have been the most sophisticated and penetrating analysts 5 | On café culture and democratic discourse see Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Trans. Thomas Burger. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1994, 31-42.

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Figures 4, 5 of this phenomenon. The most important figure in this respect is certainly Yuri Andrukhovych. Andrukhovych sees this nostalgia as an attempt to transcend the ruination of the twentieth century (and the Soviet period in particular), to detach Galicia from a stagnant and backward ‘Eastern Europe’ and to reattach it to a liberal, cultured, and progressive ‘Central Europe’ which was its rightful home during the Habsburg Empire. But while this summary sounds like the restorative quest for stability and origins, in Andrukhovych’s hands the operation is demonumentalized and carnivalized. “The attitude of Galician Ukrainians to the old Danubian

Habsburg nostalgia | 135 Monarchy,” he writes, “was neither hostile nor idealizing, but ironical” (Dezorijentatsija 7). As an illustration of this contention, Andrukhovych tells the story of a Galician recruit to the Austrian army. The induction of this strapping, village youth to the symbolic register of the Habsburg Empire began with the memorization of the names and titles of the higher command. The Corporal in charge of this lesson informed the recruits that the commander of their regiment was the Erzherzog Ritter von Toskana. When asked to repeat this string of titles the Galician youth replied, without batting an eye: “Ertz-Hertz-Pertz, ripa z motuzkamy” or roughly translated “Ertz-Hertz-Pertz [dada, nonsense words] a turnip with ropes” (9). For Andrukhovych this playful inversion (and subversion) of serious official forms is typical of the Ukrainian Galician attitude and provides a model for contemporary engagements with the Emperor, the Habsburgs, and Central Europe as well. Repeatedly throughout his work Andrukhovych erects idealized images of the Habsburg past, only to qualify, subvert, and undermine them with irony and parody. This complex rhythm of affirmation and negation recalls Derrida’s writing ‘under erasure’ or Linda Hutcheon’s notion of the ‘double vision’ of postmodern nostalgia. According to Hutcheon, postmodern writers may invoke the past, “but always with the kind of ironic double vision that acknowledges the final impossibility of indulging in nostalgia, even as it consciously evokes nostalgia’s affective power.” Destabilized and carnivalized, nostalgia is barred from becoming a restorative quest for origins even as it is exploited as a motor to power progressive or even utopic articulations of the future. This is evident in Andrukhovych’s characterization of Galicia itself. While in many ways the region and its history are idealized, this idealism is checked and undermined so that it does not go the way of reactionary myth. In contrast to the nationalist sensibility, which imagines the nation and its history as something pure, essential and monumental, Andrukhovych conceives it as hybrid, fluid and phantasmatic: There are real regions, integral even in their desolation and ugliness. Galicia, in its turn, is thoroughly artificial, obviously cobbled together with pseudo-historical fantasies and political intrigues. … Galicia is a non-Ukraine, some kind of geographical makeweight, Polish hallucination. Galicia is thoroughly dummy and doll-like, puffed up, in everything and everywhere trying to impose upon Ukraine its non-Ukrainian will, that has been infused in dark Zionist laboratories. Galicia is deprived of epic, this is the place where from time immemorial the anecdote reigns, and base ones at that. To be more precise, this is a rootless space, fit only for nomadic tribes – hence all those Armenians, Gypsies, Karaims and Hassids. Galicia is a Philistine motherland of Freemasonry and Marxism. Galicia is mischievous and

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false, it is a stinking menagerie overfi lled with serpents and chimeras, Galicia is good only for mutants like Bruno Schulz or all those petty Stanislaviv Kafkas. (122)

In the hands of postmodernists like Andrukhovych the Habsburg tradition is invoked to offer a way out of the authoritarian past and its legacy, but then that tradition is ironized and undermined so it does not become yet another authoritarian gesture. All of these strategies are spectacularly evident in the mad rock-opera Chrysler Imperial, written by Andrukhovych and his two collaborators in the Bu-Ba-Bu poetry movement, and staged during the Vyvykh-92 festival held in L’viv.6 Vyvykh is a complex word with no direct English equivalent. As Alexandra Hrycak notes: the noun vyvykh is a nominalization that refers to dislocation as either a physical or mental state or process. Used figuratively, it refers to strangeness in thinking or reasoning. Its verb form, vyvykhnuty refers to either spraining or dislocation of a joint, or figuratively, to mental abnormality. With a reflexive suffi x, vyvykhnutysia refers to circumvention or avoidance of duties or obligations through subterfuge. (86, n.12)

Hrycak has compellingly argued that the festival in general needs to be seen as something like a cultural vyvykh, an attempt to dislocate Ukrainian culture from the Soviet context, to subversively push it into another sphere altogether. It attempted to do this through a series of well-attended events that took over the city’s central square for four days: rock concerts, readings, contests and competitions, all of which rejected the staid and pedantic tone of Soviet celebrations that attempted to create a docile and obedient citizenry and until recently had occupied the same physical and symbolic spaces, drawing instead on the traditions of the Western avant-garde and youth culture. The “epicenter of the carnival” (to use the words of the organizers) was the “poeso-opera ‘Chrysler Imperial’” (in Hrycak, 83). It is impossible to summarize in a few words the convoluted, nonsensical, and carnivalesque content of this ‘opera’. Suffice it to say that the performance alternates between a ludicrous quest myth featuring a young poet who attempts to 6 | Bu-Ba-Bu was an avant-garde poetry group formed in L’viv in 1985. It consisted of Yuri Andrukhovych from Ivano-Frankivske, Viktor Neborak from L’viv and Oleksander Irvanets from Rivne. The name of the group stands for buffoonery (bufonada), farce (balahan), and burlesque (burlesk) and indicates the carnivalesque, parodic character of the group’s work; a strategy employed to counter both the prim and stultifying character of official Soviet culture and the sentimentality of the new nationalism.

Habsburg nostalgia | 137 rescue a beautiful princess (and meets in the process, among others, a flying head, a rabbit, an evil diaspora psychiatrist and the devil), and a nonsensical savior myth about the coming of ‘Chrysler’ presented primarily through rock performances. While commentators have rightly pointed to aspects of Soviet culture that the opera burlesques and attempts to displace, it is also crucial to consider the role of the Habsburg past in this effort. The very venue in which the performance was staged (the L’viv Opera House) has powerful nostalgic resonances. Built at the end of the nineteenth century in Viennese neo-Renaissance style, the building is a powerful signifier of the imperial past. The iconography of the Habsburg past surfaces during the opera as well. For example, the poet’s transformation into a ‘prince’ occurs in a nineteenth century drawing-room as a string quartet in court costume and powdered wigs plays Handel. The centerpiece of this nostalgia, however, is clearly the feverish wait for the messianic ‘Imperial’ figure that, the rabbit tells the audience, not only possesses wisdom and magnanimity, but will bring “American dollars, German marks, English pounds, and a car for each and every one of us” (in Hrycak, 75). This connects with the characterization of the Emperor as Messiah, and surely reflects the hope that a return to the traditions of the imperial past will lead to, not only enriching cultural renaissance, but lucrative reconciliation with the West as well. These idealizations, however, are profoundly qualified on the level of both form and content. The Messiah’s prophet is revealed to be, not a holy figure, but a Fascist, who gives the Nazi salute just before marching offstage. And when the Messiah finally does arrive, it is not Rex Imperial, but Chrysler Imperial, the bare shell of an American car that is rolled out onstage to the accompaniment of Led Zeppelin music. As Alexandra Hrycak notes “the Chrysler Imperial consists solely of two enormous headlights that partially blind the audience, but these blinding lights do not prevent viewers from seeing that this car, their savior, lacks substance” (76). While gesturing at a restorative return to transcendent wholeness, the opera instead stays resolutely in the realm of critical fragmentation and lack, and suggests that the fantasies of wholeness promised by restorative nostalgia are problematically implicated with both Fascism and contemporary globalized capitalism. This attack on wholeness is continued in the formal register of the work as well. While billed as an opera, a form that in the post-Wagnerian era has inescapable resonances as the monumental Gesamtkunstwerk, the complete and perfect integration of libretto, music and performance, Chrysler Imperial remains cavalierly and provocatively unintegrated, veering in the manner of dada collage between discontinuous bits of absurd narrative, fragments of dance, ‘high’ classical music and ‘low’ rock performances.

138 | Ihor Junyk Shaped by its brutal history, the Galician mentality has a profound anti-totalitarian streak. Galician culture is in some ways a permanent minoritarianism, and memory and nostalgia have an important role to play in this respect – nostalgia, not as a vain attempt to restore the phantasmatic wholeness of the past, but an ironic nostalgia that affirms the fragmentation and lack of the past even as it uses it to work towards more utopic visions of the future. “Fortunately,” writes Andrukhovych, “I live in the part of the world where the past is terribly important. Some call it rootedness and some obsession. I do not know what to call it: it is just that this part of the world has too many ruins, too many skeletons under one’s feet. Fortunately I cannot get rid of that. … I’m worth nothing without my memory” (“Tsentral’noskhidna revizija” 31).

R EFERENCES “A tym chasom … Cherez rik u L’vovi vstanovljat’ pamjatnyk Frantsu Josyfu I. A na razi svjatkujut’ joho urodyny.” Vysokyj zamok (August 19, 2000). Andrukhovych, Juri. Dezorijentatsija na mistsevosti. Sproby. IvanoFrankivs’k: Lileia-NV, 2006. Andrukhovych, Juri. “Tsentral’no-skhidna reviziia.” Suchasnist’ 3 (2000): 5-32. Boym, Svetlana. The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books, 2001. Hrycak, Alexandra. “The Coming of ‘Chrysler Imperial’: Ukrainian Youth and Rituals of Resistance.” Harvard Ukrainian Studies XXI 1/2 (1997): 63-91. Hutcheon, Linda. “Irony, Nostalgia and the Postmodern” [online]. Toronto: University of Toronto English Library, 1998 [cited October 15, 2007]. ( Roth, Joseph. “The Bust of the Emperor.” Collected Shorter Fiction of Joseph Roth. Trans. Michael Hoffmann. London: Granta Books, 2001. Tageldin, Shaden M. “Reversing the Sentence of Impossible Nostalgia: The Poetics of Postcolonial Migration in Sakinna Boukhedenna and Agha Shahid Ali.” Comparative Literature Studies 40, 2 (2003): 232-264.

I LLUSTR ATIONS Figures 1-5: Photos by author.

Monumentalizing the Twin Towers: Memory and garbage in the global city Christoph Lindner

Although the two towers have disappeared, they have not been annihilated. Even in their pulverized state, they have left behind an intense awareness of their presence. No one who knew them can cease imagining them and the imprint they made on the skyline from all points of the city. Their end in material space has borne them off into a defi nitive imaginary space. Jean Baudrillard

C IT YSPACE This essay is about the mutability of urban landscape and the radical impermanence of the city. It is also about globalization, violence and cultural memory. Engaging with these issues as they relate to contemporary New York, my focus is an urban landscape architecture project called Lifescape. Under construction since 2008, Lifescape is an ambitious, long-term plan to transform the Fresh Kills Landfi ll on Staten Island (fig. 1) into a public park and recreation area. There are two reasons for my interest in this project to rehabilitate a garbage dump, and both are connected to a broader interest in the interplay between the material and imaginary spaces of the global city. First, Lifescape marks a significant effort to reclaim and re-imagine a derelict landscape that is connected in both material and symbolic ways to the lived space of the city. Second, following the events of 9/11, the wreckage from Ground Zero was transported to the Fresh Kills Landfi ll, which was

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Figure 1: Aerial view of Fresh Kills Landfill, 2001. (Courtesy of Field Operations) specially reopened to accommodate the 1.2 million tons of material. As one commentator has noted: Fresh Kills … is not just the place where, for more than 50 years, the rest of the city sent its potato peels, broken dishes and every kind of household trash. For several months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the sad bits of busted buildings and broken lives were sifted on mound 1/9 of Fresh Kills, piece by shattered piece. (DePalma, 1)

Crucially, the Lifescape project acknowledges the presence of these remains and envisions a commemoration of the Twin Towers and the recovery effort in the form of a giant earthwork monument. How this monument evokes the memory of the towers, as well as how it connects the park’s landscape back to New York’s cityscape, will be significant concerns for this essay. Through an analysis of Lifescape’s transformative vision and, in particular, its plans for a 9/11 earthwork monument, I want to consider the ways in which the Twin Towers continue to haunt the contemporary imagination, exerting an almost ghostly presence over the skyline of New York. My argument is that Lifescape works simultaneously to reveal and conceal the mutability of urban landscape, attesting not only to the extraordinary versatility of urban space but also to the imaginative ways in which – responding to an experience of collective trauma – such space can be recycled, renewed, and remade. The Fresh Kills Landfi ll relates in a number of interesting ways to New York as a global site. The most obvious connection is that, as the location of the World Trade Center Recovery Operation, Fresh Kills played a key

Monumentalizing the Twin Towers | 141 role in the federal investigation of 9/11 and its efforts to understand how and why New York’s symbolic center of transnational corporate capitalism succumbed to terrorist attack. In the process, Fresh Kills also bore witness in the most detailed and intimate way possible to the violence and horror involved in the destruction of the vertical architecture of globalization. Over a ten month period, during which the landfill was designated a federal crime scene, the debris from Ground Zero was meticulously sifted and sorted in search of human remains, personal effects and objects of everyday life. The resulting process of inspection and introspection – fueled in the national imagination by both the media and traveling exhibits such as the New York State Museum’s WTC Recovery Exhibition – contributed to wider public efforts to work through the trauma of 9/11. Fresh Kills is also tied into New York’s status as a global city in another way entirely. In its function as a dumping ground for New York’s household trash, Fresh Kills stood for over fifty years as “the largest symbol of American waste” (William Rathje in Hayden, 62). The overproduction of waste may not be one of the defining processes of globalization, but it is a direct consequence of the culture of runaway consumption that has increasingly come to dominate the contemporary scene in global (and globalizing) cities worldwide. Indeed, as Harold Crooks, Mike Davis and others have shown, the politics of waste – which have long gripped cities ranging from New York, London and Tokyo to Lagos, Jakarta and São Paulo – are now inextricably tied to the politics of globalization. Fresh Kills represents a poignant reminder of the material excesses of the global metropolitan condition. Perhaps the most significant connection between Fresh Kills and New York City as a global site, however, is to be found in the Lifescape project. The reason is that, in its radical plans to redefine the space and function of Fresh Kills, Lifescape is part of the “new spatial order” (3) that Peter Marcuse and Ronald van Kempen see as a definitive feature of globalizing cities since the 1970s. While this reordering typically manifests itself in the proliferation and accentuation of spatial divisions between the urban poor and an urban elite, it is also evident in the retreat of the middle classes from urban centers into peripheral clusters and secured enclaves. In such terms, and mainly because of its location on the suburban margins of the city, Lifescape could be seen as a project aimed at meeting the outdoor recreational needs of a spatially segregated exurban middle class, effectively reinforcing an established pattern of separation. At the same time, however, Lifescape could equally be seen in a more positive light as an intervention in the spatial reorganization of the global city that deliberately resists the divisive trend of contemporary urban development by reclaiming an inhospitable, toxic site for new, sustainable public use. In this respect, as

142 | Christoph Lindner I discuss later on, Lifescape poses a profound challenge to conventional thinking about what constitutes waste (and wasted space) in today’s postindustrial world cities. Fresh Kills is therefore a critical site within contemporary New York, and one that has been largely overlooked in existing analyses of the city’s development in the era of globalization. Yet, as a prominent symbol of consumer waste, a repository of late capitalism’s most notorious architectural ruins and an experiment in new spatial order, Fresh Kills is more than just a controversial garbage dump. Alongside other spaces of remembrance discussed in this book, including Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square, post-Katrina New Orleans and the nostalgic Blue Bottle café in downtown L’viv, Fresh Kills is a truly extraordinary site in which the tensions of cultural canonization and the possibilities of memorial art and architecture come together in unique and revealing ways. Before focusing my discussion on Fresh Kills and the Lifescape project, however, I want to comment further on the World Trade Center Towers and the skyline to which they belonged. This is partly because it is impossible to discuss contemporary reshapings of New York’s urban landscape without raising the specter of the Twin Towers and addressing at least in some small way the significance of 9/11. I am acutely aware, however, that there is very little left to say that is new or necessary about the Twin Towers. In fact, I would suggest that much of the crucial architectural, cultural, and historical analysis of the life and death of these iconic buildings has already been done by After the World Trade Center, an interdisciplinary collection of essays edited by Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin. Since I come from neither New York nor America, I am also acutely aware that any comments I make on the Twin Towers come from the perspective of a double outsider. But of course such outsiders, ranging from Charles Dickens and John Lennon to Le Corbusier and Jean-Paul Sartre, have always played a role in interpreting the inside of this uniquely cosmopolitan city. So with this paradox in mind, I want to draw on the philosophical musings of two other notable New York outsiders in order to contribute a deceptively straight-forward idea – namely, that the New York skyline is a site of instability and change distinguished in the contemporary urban imaginary by visions caught somewhere between the sublime and the uncanny. To develop this line of thought, I want to revisit Michel de Certeau’s aeriel view of Manhattan in The Practice of Everyday Life, before considering Jean Baudrillard’s strangely detached perspective on the vertical city in his “Requiem for the Twin Towers”. Far from extraneous to the subject of the Twin Towers’ memorialization, this détournement into the philosophy of highrise architecture lays important groundwork for the analysis of Lifescape that follows.

Monumentalizing the Twin Towers | 143

C IT YSC APE In The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau famously writes about the experience of visiting the observation deck of the World Trade Center in New York in the late 1970s. Looking out over Manhattan from the summit of the skyscraper, de Certeau finds himself “transfigured into a voyeur” (92). And in his voyeuristic gaze, the undulating mass of the city becomes immobilized into a whole, graspable image: Seeing Manhattan from the 110th floor of the World Trade Center. Beneath the haze stirred up by the winds, the urban island, a sea in the middle of the sea, lifts up the skyscrapers over Wall Street, sinks down at Greenwich, then rises again to the crests of Midtown, quietly passing over Central Park and fi nally undulates off into the distance of Harlem. A wave of verticals. Its agitation is momentarily arrested by vision. The gigantic mass is immobilized before the eyes … The spectator can read in it a universe that is constantly exploding … On this stage of concrete, steel and glass, … the tallest letters in the world compose a gigantic rhetoric of excess in both expenditure and production. (De Certeau, 91)

This frozen, long-distance image of New York is what de Certeau goes on to contrast against the chaos and confinement of the city street – the space and level of everyday life. For de Certeau, the pleasure of high-rise voyeurism lies precisely in the liberation it offers from the mess of the street, a liberation made possible by the distancing, estranging perspective of the high-rise view. It is questionable whether such an extreme spatial dichotomy between the vertical and horizontal axes of the city actually holds up under closer scrutiny. Setting aside this point of contention, however, I do want to draw on de Certeau’s broader idea that the high-rise view produces a depopulated and immobilizing image of the city, frozen in a state of suspended animation, caught somewhere between the living and the dead. Commenting on the destruction of the Twin Towers in his essay “Requiem for the Twin Towers”, Baudrillard touches on this subject. Interspersed between reckless remarks about how the collapse of the towers resembled a form of suicide and how their aesthetic of ‘twin-ness’ invited a violent return to ‘a-symmetry’ and ‘singularity’ (46-47), Baudrillard does offer some critical insight: All Manhattan’s tall buildings had been content to confront each other in a competitive verticality, and the product of this was an architectural panorama reflecting the capitalist system itself – a pyramidal jungle, whose famous image stretched out before you as you arrived from the sea. That image changed after 1973,

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with the building of the World Trade Center … Perfect parallelipeds, standing over 1'300 feet tall … The fact that there were two of them signifies the end of any original reference … Only the doubling of the sign truly puts an end to what it designates … However tall they may have been, the two towers signified, none the less, a halt to verticality. They culminated in the exact reflection of each other. (42-44)

Like de Certeau before him, Baudrillard sees New York’s modern architecture in terms of energy and chaos, also stressing the legibility of the city when seen from a distance. De Certeau’s “tallest letters in the world” (91) become Baudrillard’s doubled signs. What those signs designate, of course, is the present age of globalization, and Baudrillard concludes that this symbolism is the reason why the Twin Towers were destroyed: “the violence of globalization also involves architecture, and hence the violent protest against it also involves the destruction of that architecture” (45). In the case of the Twin Towers, however, the link between architecture, globalization, and violence is far more complicated than Baudrillard’s comments suggest. Given the global impact of 9/11, it is important to remember that the destruction of the Twin Towers was brought about by factors that included but also exceeded the symbolic dimensions of the Twin Towers. Together, the skyscraper musings of Baudrillard and de Certeau bring into focus one of New York’s most striking and enduring features. As their comments suggest, the city has one of the most visually compelling and symbolically charged skylines in the world today – so much so that it enables, as I want to discuss next, a kind of undead afterlife for the Twin Towers. Significant here is that, in their response to vertical New York, both philosophers see the skyline in broadly similar terms as a peculiar commingling of the sublime (in the Burkean sense of an aesthetic wonder that awes and overwhelms) and the uncanny (in the Freudian sense of the familiar made newly strange and alien). The reason I stress these points about Baudrillard and de Certeau is because their urban panoramas belong to a broader vision of the city that is shared not only by many contemporary New York artists, writers and fi lm-makers, but also by New York’s Department of City Planning and its ambitious efforts to revivify the dead space of the Fresh Kills Landfill. In other words, the idea of an urban landscape marked by a tension between the sublime and the uncanny also has a certain resonance for the City of New York’s vision of a new public parkland emerging from the site of what was both the world’s largest domestic garbage dump and the operational center of the World Trade Center recovery effort.

Monumentalizing the Twin Towers | 145

L IFESC APE “A green oasis for all New Yorkers” (2) is how Michael Bloomberg describes Lifescape in the preface to the project’s master plan. The New York City Mayor’s endorsement is followed by a series of equally bold and exuberant statements by various city officials. The Staten Island Borough President, for example, declares Lifescape to be a “simultaneous ending and beginning,” a “life within a landscape” (2). The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner in turn suggests that Lifescape is “reminiscent of the popular movements that gave rise to Central Park, Prospect Park and many of our other greatest parks”, and that the city’s newest green space will become “a tangible symbol of renewal” (3). Commenting on Lifescape’s cultural significance, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner anticipates that “the expansive parkland will serve as a cultural destination like no other, engaging New Yorkers and visitors in the city’s unique and vibrant creative community” (3). Quite apart from the positive spin, which is to be expected from politicians and city officials seeking support for a massive expenditure of public funds, this rhetoric of renewal highlights one of the most important features of the Fresh Kills parkland project. Lifescape is not so much about constructing a new space as it is about creatively reviving a dead space and making it, as stated in the master plan, “rejuvenating to the spirit and the environment” (60). Such a project is made all the more difficult yet significant by the presence of the World Trade Center wreckage within the site. As a way of coping with that presence, the 9/11 earthwork monument is a critical element of the park’s design, a symbolic centerpiece that will play a pivotal role in the project’s potential to rejuvenate the body and soul of a New York in the face of urban decay and post-disaster recovery. Before examining this symbolic centerpiece, however, I want to place the earthwork monument in the broader context of the park’s overall design. So first of all, some background and facts about the site and project. Fresh Kills Landfi ll on Staten Island has served as a dumping ground for New York City’s household garbage since 1948, and is the largest domestic waste landfi ll in the world. The site covers an area of 2'200 acres, which makes it approximately two and half times the size of central park. The landfi ll was closed in early 2001, but briefly reopened later that year to accommodate the 1.2 million tons of wreckage from Ground Zero. The decision to reclaim the land for new public use had already been reached at this point, but the selected design for the transformation of Fresh Kills was not confirmed by the Department of City Planning until later that year. Following a two-stage international design competition to develop a plan for the adaptive end use of the site, Lifescape was announced as the winning entry in December

146 | Christoph Lindner 2001. The first draft of the Lifescape master plan was completed in 2005, and construction on the project began in 2008, with the first major phase due to be completed within ten years. The full transformation of the site, including the environmental recovery, is expected to take thirty years (fig. 2).

Figure 2: Rendering of Lifescape from Southeast. (Courtesy of Field Operations) Lifescape’s multi-disciplinary design team is being led by James Corner and his landscape architecture practice, Field Operations. Interestingly, Field Operations is also working on another ongoing effort to reclaim a derelict space within New York City. This other project, called the High Line, involves redesigning a defunct elevated railway bed on Manhattan’s far West Side into a public walkway, garden and park (fig. 3, 4, 5). In the design statement, Corner’s team describes High Line’s goal as being “the retooling of an industrial conveyance into a post-industrial instrument of leisure, life, and growth.” The team also cites the importance of creating “an experience of slowness, otherworldliness, and distraction” (1). These comments may be directed at the High Line, but they could just as easily be applied to the park at Fresh Kills. This, however, is not entirely accidental. Both Lifescape and the High Line are not only being designed by the same practice but also belong to a larger trend in contemporary landscape architecture towards the reclaiming of once-vital pieces of urban infrastructure for new, imaginative, and sustainable forms of public use. This trend towards creative, sustainable renewal of infrastructural urban space most clearly registers in Lifescape’s vision of transforming a landfi ll not just into a landscape, but into an eco-friendly natural parkland

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Figure 3: The High Line, NYC: sectional view. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

Figure 4: Gansevoort Entry: Slow Stair and Vegetal Balcony. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

Figure 5: Lighting concept, High Line level. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

148 | Christoph Lindner complete with communal gathering spaces, playing fields, pedestrian and cycle paths, wetlands, grasslands, woodlands and even a wildlife preserve. Commenting in a recent journal article on the philosophy and values behind the design, James Corner explains that “Lifescape is both a place and a process:” Lifescape as a place is a diverse reserve for wildlife, cultural and social life, and active recreation. The aesthetic experience of the place will be vast in scale, spatially open and rugged in character, affording dramatic vistas, exposure to the elements, and huge open spaces unlike any other in the New York metropolitan region. Lifescape as a process is ecological in its deepest sense – a process of environmental reclamation and renewal on a vast scale, recovering not only the health and biodiversity of ecosystems across the site, but also the spirit and imagination of people who will use the new parkland. (15)

This double inflection of Lifescape as place and process – as both sanctuary space and sustainable space – is graphically articulated in the master plan renderings, many of which present idealized scenes of pastoral serenity and utopian moments of sociality and leisure, all enabled by the environmental reconditioning and spatial reorganization of the site (fig. 6, 7, 8). Given Lifescape’s emphasis on spatial and environmental transformation, one of the more interesting elements of the design is that it plans to retain most of the artificial topography created by the undulating mounds of garbage (fig. 6), some of which reach heights of over two hundred feet. These mounds will be sealed beneath a protective polymer lining and topped by a thick layer of soil, facilitating the environmental recovery of the site. On the surface, therefore, Lifescape will be a vibrant and varied natural landscape, an idea reinforced by the word ‘life’ in the project title. Underlying this natural landscape, however, will be the cumulated waste of one of the world’s most excessive cities. So while Lifescape will appear at first to be disconnected from the city – indeed, the parkland is mainly conceived to offer an escape from the conventional experience of urban space – the landscape will nonetheless remain intimately and inextricably connected to the city at a much more fundamental level. In a very real way, this rehabilitated natural landscape will be shaped and sustained by a hidden cityscape of urban waste. Included in that waste, of course, are the material remains of the Twin Towers, which will be commemorated by the earthwork monument (fig. 9). The monument itself will be formed by two inclining landforms that mirror the exact width and height of each tower laid on its side. And in a further commemorative gesture, the monument will be oriented on an axis with the skyline where the towers originally stood (fig. 10, 11). This will

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Figure 6: Rendering of park interior. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

Figure 7: Rendering of the creek landing esplanade with market roof. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

Figure 8: Rendering of floating gardens and old landfill machinery exhibit. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

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Figure 9: Rendering of 9/11 earthwork monument. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

Figure 10: Location and orientation of earthwork monument. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

Figure 11: Earthwork: 360 degree view of the region. (Courtesy of Field Operations)

Monumentalizing the Twin Towers | 151 allow for a panoramic view of Lower Manhattan in the far distance – a view that will eventually include the Freedom Tower rising from the redeveloped site of Ground Zero. Fittingly, the new tower will not only serve in its own right as a monument to urban renewal but, like the two mounds at Fresh Kills, will also evoke the incompleteness of New York. In this sense, the earthwork monument establishes a strong link back to the lived space of the city. The orientation of the landforms creates direct visual and symbolic connections with the New York skyline, encouraging visitors to gaze at the city from the vantage point of its recycled dumping ground. Meanwhile, the shape of the monument evokes the origins of the urban wreckage contained in the nearby ground. It transforms the landscape into a burial mound for the urban superstructures that once stood as the world’s most prominent icons of globalization. Putting these aspects of the monument together, it becomes clear that what the earthwork will do is frame an experience that ensures that visitors see much more than what is visibly present on the skyline of Manhattan. The monument will also ensure that visitors remember and re-imagine the violent urban reshapings that took place on September 11, 2001. Such a meditative experience of city-gazing, in which the estranging effects of the high-rise view described by de Certeau in The Practice of Everyday Life are effectively replicated from a horizontal rather than a vertical perspective, is exactly what James Corner has in mind when he imagines how visitors will respond to the monument: “the slow, simple durational experience of ascending the incline, open to the sky and vast prairie horizon, will allow people to reflect on the magnitude of loss” (20). In other words, the monument will ask visitors to experience an absence, to gaze voyeuristically upon an urban view that no longer exists. In this abstract sense the Twin Towers have not entirely disappeared from the New York skyline. Rather, at Fresh Kills, they will continue to engage and disturb the contemporary imagination, dominating both the park and the view of the city through their ghostly reincarnations. With the construction of the earthwork monument, the Twin Towers will thus acquire an undead afterlife. In their new horizontal form, they will once again become landmarks from which to observe the shifting verticals of New York’s architecture of globalization – a skyline now marked by a tension not just between absence and presence, but also between memory and loss, between motion and stasis, and between the spectral and the spectacular.

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L ANDSC APE In his essay “Scapeland,” Jean-François Lyotard suggests that landscape is an excess of presence that leads to an experience of estrangement – what he calls ‘dépaysement’ (39). While I disagree that estrangement is a precondition for landscape, I do think that Lyotard’s words perfectly capture the dynamic at work in Lifescape’s earthwork monument. It is an excess of presence carefully designed to create an experience of wonder and unease – a site of the urban uncanny aimed at the ultimate source of the urban sublime. Remembering the appearance of the Twin Towers in their original location in Lower Manhattan, the architectural historian Mark Wigley describes them as “a pure, uninhabited image floating above the city, an image forever above the horizon, in some kind of sublime excess, defying our capacity to understand it” (82). This image of the Towers as a hovering, otherworldly excess of presence that invites yet resists interpretation is precisely what the earthwork monument seeks to revive. From their new location on Staten Island, and in their new imaginary state, the undead towers will continue to function as New York’s most powerful and conflicted symbols of globalization.

R EFERENCES Baudrillard, Jean. “Requiem for the Twin Towers.” The Spirit of Terrorism. Trans. Chris Turner. London: Verso, 2002. Corner, James. “Lifescape – Fresh Kills Parkland.” Topos: The International Review of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design 51 (2005): 14-21. Crooks, Harold. Giants of Garbage: The Rise of the Global Waste Industry and the Politics of Pollution. Toronto: Lorimer, 1993. Davis, Mike. Planet of Slums. New York: Verso, 2006. De Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven Rendell. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. DePalma, Anthony. “Landfi ll, Park … Final Resting Place? Plans for Fresh Kills Trouble 9/11 Families Who Sense Loved Ones in the Dust.” The New York Times (14 June 2004): B1. “Fresh Kills Park: Draft Master Plan” [online]. New York City Department of City Planning [cited 6 April 2006]. ( fkl/fkl3a.shtml) Graham, Stephen. “Introduction: Cities, Warfare, and States of Emergency.” Cities, War, and Terrorism: Towards and Urban Geopolitics. Ed. Stephen Graham. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. 1-25.

Monumentalizing the Twin Towers | 153 Hamilton, William L. “A Fence With More Beauty, Fewer Barbs.” The New York Times (18 June 2006): D14. Hayden, Thomas. “Fields of Dreams: Turning ‘brownfields’ and dumps into prime real estate.” U.S. News & World Report 132, no. 2 (2002): 62. “High Line: Team Statement” [online] [cited 5 May 2006]. (www.thehighline. org/design/fieldop.html) Lyotard, Jean-François. “Scapeland.” Revue des Sciences Humaines 209 (1988): 39-48. Maffi, Mario. New York City: An Outsider’s Inside View. Trans. Derek Allen. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004. Marcuse, Peter and Ronald van Kempen. “Introduction.” Globalizing Cities: A New Spatial Order? Ed. Peter Marcuse and Ronald van Kempen. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. 1-21. Sorkin, Michael and Sharon Zukin, eds. After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City. New York: Routledge, 2002. Wigley, Mark. “Insecurity by Design.” After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City. Ed. Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin. New York: Routledge, 2002. 69-85.

Hurricane Katrina and the arts of remembrance Benjamin Morris

“Disasters,” writes Anthony Oliver-Smith, “take a people back to fundamentals. In their turmoil, disassembly, and reorganization, they expose essential rules of action, bare bones of behaviour, the roots of institutions, and the basic framework of organizations” (11). Regardless of the kind of disaster in question – whether armed conflict, environmental disaster, technological breakdown, or social or economic collapse – if what OliverSmith argues is true, then it would follow that the aftermath of a disaster, the recovery and reconstruction period, also becomes a complex system in its own right. For however long it is defined, the phase of transition out of the disaster often sees the paradigms of revelation, inversion and fragmentation prevalent during the original trauma arise yet again, bringing with them fresh challenges and consequences. But because the urgency of the original moment of trauma has passed, Oliver-Smith suggests that in these circumstances people search for meaning and explanation, bringing to the fore matters of religion and mortality. They launch observances and rituals. They devise ways to express grief and mourning. … People may become disrupted in time perception, habits, and patterns, which not only reveals what the contexts of their lives were once, but propels them to build their milieu anew. (7-8)

Though the mention of observances, rituals and expressions of ‘grief and mourning’ covers many activities found in the aftermath of a disaster, to Oliver-Smith’s list must be added the creation and synthesis of new memorial

156 | Benjamin Morris practices: for disasters, as heralds of loss, require witness. Disasters require interlocutors and advocates to speak for them and make sense out of them, the results of this need often taking material form borne out of an immaterial remembrance, as scholars such as Huyssen and Michalski have shown. But insofar as the cultural responses to traumas such as the above give rise to new, original memorial practices which must be explored and grappled with on their own terms, they also offer an opportunity to reflect on the use, and the adequacy, of the old ones. On such terms the construction of any monument becomes an implicit reflection on the nature and adequacy of its own constitutive practice, and therefore presents an ideal opportunity to enter into a process of societal self-critique. This article is a journey in that direction, beginning in New Orleans, Louisiana after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 – a storm and subsequent flood that for thousands of people still has not abated, just over two years post-Katrina as of this writing. Despite the continued adversity of so many, however, the process of memorial-making has already begun, gaining enough speed in the previous two years that the city could now be said to be equally flooded with monuments, memorials and commemorations. Destined as they are to create a new kind of cultural landscape in a city so fundamentally re-ordered by its disaster, these new monuments cannot be taken at face value, as isolated interventions in the city’s physical fabric. In what follows, I chart the several different sets or kinds of memorials that have emerged in the wake of the storm, crafting a provisional taxonomy that takes into account formality versus informality, sources of sponsorship and agency, and the varying kinds of material involved or invoked in their construction. In asking whether musical and performative commemorations (a mainstay in the New Orleans cultural landscape) can be taken as an antidote to the material kind, I hope to revisit the limits of memorialisation as a process. My underlying concern is: What are the conditions of adequacy and appropriateness in memorialising an event of great collective trauma, and what are the implications for the success or failure to satisfy those conditions? The formal monuments erected over the past two years, those authorised by the city or state government(s), range from a granite marker in a park near the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (fig. 1) to a memorial complex incorporating the sculpture of an empty house in the Lower Ninth Ward, to which I return at the end of this essay.1 In June 2006, then-Governor 1 | Surrounding parishes affected by Katrina such as St Bernard Parish have also produced physical monuments to mark the storm – some of which have, amusingly, mistaken living citizens for dead (Rioux, 2008) – but I am here interested in those found within the city of New Orleans.

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Figure 1: Granite Marker, Mississippi River Heritage Park Kathleen Blanco signed into law a unanimously approved bill creating a 16member “Hurricane Katrina Memorial Commission” whose work has not yet been made entirely public; until the results of their study are released New Orleans is faced with two major monuments (Louisiana State House Bill 1354). The first proposal is large, ambitious, expensive, and intangible: it currently consists of a $ 3.5 M. proposal in the Unified New Orleans Plan (the most comprehensive reconstruction plan on offer, and the basis for many of the policy decisions taken by the city Office of Recovery Management). As the UNOP describes it: The purpose of this project is to create a permanent memorial to the events surrounding the disaster of Katrina, including the deaths of over 1'000 New Orleanians, but more importantly, to the rebuilding of the City. The scale of the project is Homeric, on the order of the Arch of Triumph on the Champs Elysee in Paris. This project will transform a section of town into a new destination for tourists and locals alike. The location of the monument and the design should be open to international competition, should be funded mainly by the private sector, and should be completed for the City’s tri-centennial in 2018. … The objective of this project is to create a permanent monument to the spirit of a City that found the strength to rebuild after such a devastating disaster. The scale of the project will transform the selected section of the town and will reinforce the notion of New Orleans as the most European of American cities and as the leading city of the Caribbean. (279)

As if the intent of the memorial were not already clear, it is categorised

158 | Benjamin Morris in the UNOP under “Urban Design/Economic Development.”2 Few additional details, including any mention of a location, are available, though a backcurrent of resistance to the project emerged soon after it was made public: why put $ 3.5 M. toward a memorial, city residents ask, when the same funding could go toward improving any of the still-struggling areas of the public sector? Then-Chair of the City Council Oliver Thomas remarked that officials’ efforts would better honour the victims of the storm by concentrating on the city’s recovery: “better schools, better streets, safer streets, and lower utility bills,” he urged. “If we do that, it will be the greatest Katrina memorial we could have” (in Bohrer).

Figure 2: Proposed New Orleans Katrina Memorial, Charity Hospital Cemetery The second officially-sponsored memorial is a park and mausoleum planned by the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office, represented by the New Orleans Katrina Memorial Corporation, for the approximately 100 unidentified and unclaimed bodies left by the storm (fig. 2). At its groundbreaking at Charity Hospital Cemetery on the two-year anniversary of the storm, its planners suggested that “the memorial incorporates both the curves of the hurricane and the meditative quality of a labyrinth” (“New Orleans Katrina Memorial”). This controversial style will undoubtedly raise further questions upon its completion,3 but already it has ignited local cultural 2 | Ironically, after the original funding has been raised, the memorial is slated to cost a further $ 70'000/year in upkeep – but where this additional funding will come from the UNOP does not specify.

3 | The official groundbreaking took place on the 29th August 2007, the

The arts of remembrance | 159 politics. The coroner’s memorial received similar criticism to the UNOP memorial, one resident questioning why the money that had been raised “was not being spent on infrastructure, housing, fighting crime or anything else” and arguing that “a memorial might be appropriate on the 10-year anniversary of the storm, if everything else is done” (Cardwell). Another, considering the long-term trajectory of the city’s history, rejoined that “One of the reasons that the people of New Orleans are culturally wealthy is that we memorialize things. … Its cost may be $ 1 million, but the net worth [of this memorial] is priceless” (Beauchamp). Other proponents have claimed that its worth is further justified by its double function as a cemetery, providing the space for proper interment of bodies which had previously been stored improperly (Stewart, MacCash). The most pressing point in all this debate has been the physical shape of the monument, a re-manifestation of the hurricane, and the cultural baggage drawn along with it. The designer, a psychiatrist in the coroner’s office, remarked that in combining the labyrinth shape with the spiral bands of the storm “we can create a healing shape out of the form that brought us such pain” (MacCash). But neither the designer, nor the memorial corporation, nor any city officials have offered any evidence that this design will promote mental and emotional reconciliation with the destruction left by Katrina, rather than re-invoke a symbol that is now unmistakable and notorious. As troubling as this cavalier approach is (where was the public debate?), it hardly compares in recklessness to the finer details in the rest of the memorial’s execution: an engraved fleur-de-lis and trumpet on each headstone (fig. 3), and a sculpture of two entwined angels at the centre of the memorial clutching another fleur-de-lis. Not to mention that the sponsors of the memorial (public, private, and corporate alike) will be littered throughout the memorial landscape, so that visitors will not fail to be reminded who owns the dead. To ‘brand’ the bodies of the dead with symbols of the city is one thing, but to do so without any visible sign of restraint or consultation whatsoever is another entirely, and poisons the waters of what could otherwise have been a respectful intervention. Part of the reason these projects, well-intentioned as they may be, have failed (or in the case of the UNOP, will fail, if and when it is constructed) to meet hopes for a memorial is precisely because they have met the expectations for a memorial: they conform to stereotype both in the choice second anniversary of the storm, and the memorial had been slated for completion by December. As of January 2008, however, when the author last visited the site, it lay completely undisturbed. No reason has been made public for the delay; as a result, only the initial public reception to the proposal was available, leaving the response to the completed memorial for later analysis.

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Figure 3: Detail of Katrina Memorial headstone of their material and the execution of their ideology, offering few or no surprises to the visitor or commemorator. One might have thought that granite had by now outlived its usefulness or at least its originality as the customary material for creating monuments, but this does not seem to be the case. However, this particular vein of criticism only applies in the case of monuments sanctioned by official bodies: After Katrina an entirely different class of monuments emerged, monuments so unimposing and unambitious that they might as well be termed ‘minuments’. This class of informal or ‘local’ monuments take on a number of different forms, styles, and materials, many of them also manifesting as artworks. “The hurricane has inspired visual art everywhere,” wrote Longman not long after the storm. “By turns whimsical, angry, despairing and hopeful, the art explores such themes as loss, impermanence and rebirth as it seeks to sculpture a kind of coherence from emotional and physical wreckage.” Likewise, in her work on the post-Katrina tattoo industry, Marlene Otte has documented a dramatic increase in the number of hurricane-related tattoos, to the point where the amount of inscribing on the body corporeal suggests a correlative inscription on the body civil, the body politic. Such an inscription has also been identified in the trademark security X left by inspection teams searching for bodies (Rose), the waterline left by the receding floodwaters, which according to one commentator tells the story of the storm and its aftermath better than any narrative rendition could (Rayner), or even the thousands of rotting and putrid ‘Katrina Refrigerators’ left all over the city, which now have the dubious honour of their own Wikipedia page and the very real honour of having been made into a float in the 2006 Carnival season, the first Mardi Gras after the storm.

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Figure 4: Artwork of stuffed rabbit, Long Beach, Mississippi Complicating this account, and raising numerous provocative and unanswerable questions, are the untold number of small, humble artworks and sculptures found all over the Gulf South to commemorate the storm, which by their ambiguity present considerable interpretive challenges. These artefacts are much harder to define as monuments precisely because their intent is either ambiguous or nonexistent – yet paradoxically they survive as monuments despite these alleged authorial limitations. What is this stuffed rabbit, found at a destroyed fast-food restaurant seven months after the storm, trying to communicate (fig. 4)? Do the tatters of an American flag above his right shoulder point to a resurgent nationalism, what Rozario has identified as a particularly American narrative of resilience after disaster? Or does it even make sense to ask if one can divine anything about the intent of informal memorialists such as these? The nature of this monument and others like it – deeply personal yet often transient and completely anonymous – adds a unique dimension to memorial responses to the storm, a dimension lacking from the authorized, state-sanctioned memorials in which the ‘honouring’ of those who suffered and perished is accomplished by an inert lump of rock. The point is that the post-Katrina landscape is not just saturated with reminders of the storm; rather, the waters never drained to begin with. Consequently the kinds of physical memorials (whether formal or informal) emergent thus far have, in a way, hindered the recovery: rather than focalising, illuminating, and inspiring mental and spatial practice, they add more mass – more debris – to the amount already waiting to be processed and disposed of. Paraphrasing John Hollander, New Orleans is “full, so full,” of this storm (87): what it begs is less a process of further accumulation than that of erasure. This is why the third form of memorial practice currently in play seems

162 | Benjamin Morris more to hit the mark: by its transcendent, intangible nature, the public performance of music and in particular the jazz funeral adds reflection and illumination to the post-Katrina landscape but leaves little or nothing behind in its wake. 4 Scholars such as Regis and Roach have traced the origin of the jazz funeral back to its roots in pan-Atlantic and Caribbean processional rituals; I am less interested here in the history of the form than in its deployment and significance in the context of post-Katrina memorialisation. Without a doubt, musical performance has been a major publicity draw for many of the reconstruction efforts, and an anchor for those struggling to regain their livelihoods and identities in a broken, anxious city. “The music replenishes us,” said Wynton Marsalis, “It reminds us of the best of what we are” (in Lagasse). But the music does more than just that: it serves as an outlet for frustration and emotion, it offers a public expression of resistance to the storm and its mismanaged rebuilding process, it gives a cri de cœur against those who claim that culture cannot save a city, and in a dimension that is still not fully understood it seems to be the most widespread form of public healing currently on offer. New music in all styles and scales has been written in response to the storm,5 and old music has taken on new meanings – most poignantly the classic “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”, a song that the novelist Anne Rice re-titled “Do You Know What It Means To Lose New Orleans?” in an essay for the New York Times. Music as performed catharsis: a process made most clear by the deluge of concerts on the two anniversaries of Katrina. Though the jazz funeral and the second-line (in which a marching brass band leads a trail of mourners, celebrants, and revellers in a winding procession through city streets to its destination, whether a church or a cemetery) has been a feature of New Orleans’ culture for decades, these processions took on a radically new meaning in the post-Katrina landscape. In both the first and second anniversaries, nearly every bar, lounge or nightclub in the city that was open had special events, some termed ‘Katrina-versaries’ or ‘Anti-versaries’, planned for the date on which the city would commemorate, then cremate, the storm. In one of many such accounts, Antoinette K-Doe, widow of legendary musician and songwriter Ernie K-Doe and owner of the Motherin-Law Lounge, reopened the Lounge on the night of the first anniversary 4 | I acknowledge that they leave trash behind temporarily – elsewhere an integral aspect to the Carnival season, in which the success of a given year is measured anecdotally by how much debris is collected from the streets – but the contexts of performance differ enough that the point stands.

5 | Cf. post-Katrina compositions by Terence Blanchard, Dr John (Mac Rebennack) and Luna Pearl Woolf, among numerous others.

The arts of remembrance | 163 of the storm. “We’ll be burying Katrina and opening up the Mother-inLaw,” she said. “We’re going to have a fake funeral for her – second-line and all that good stuff ” (in Kraemer). A form of musical expression unique and endemic to New Orleans, a jazz funeral is a high honour typically reserved for humans, not hurricanes. But to see Katrina borne down Canal Street in one of many such authorised events suggested that this was how the city had chosen to ‘own’ her: publicly, joyfully, defiantly (fig. 5).

Figure 5: Musician Uncle Lionel Batiste preparing for Katrina’s jazz funeral But catharsis is not the only role these celebrations play in the post-Katrina cultural and memorial landscape. Public festivals and performances in the city (Mardi Gras and the Jazz and Heritage Festival, among numerous others) are and have always been an indispensable source of tourist revenue. Elsewhere Bereson has analysed the recent marriage of culture and economic activity in Louisiana in the context of post-storm recovery; suffice it to say here that the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism has repackaged culture and heritage as the economic saviour of Louisiana following the ravages of hurricanes Katrina and Rita (a largely forgotten Category 3 storm which struck the western half of the state three weeks after Katrina). Most of this recent policy, known as the Cultural Economy Initiative, consists of putting a high gloss on the traditions and products of cultural expression in the state to prepare them for the marketplace, but underlying this critique is the realisation that Katrina gave state lawmakers an unparalleled opportunity to mark one of the most significant events in

164 | Benjamin Morris state history – which they have chosen to do by attempting to convert the living traditions of their heritage, altered as they inevitably are by the storm, into living capital. In this context, remembrance as a paradigm is out of the question (unless it takes the form of a ‘disaster tour’ such as now are widespread in New Orleans): rather, the impetus is to look forward, not back, and contribute at all costs to ‘the recovery’. Considering these contradictory politics of memory brings us back to the memorial celebrations: assuming that they operate on the opening terms I set out – as markers of suffering, as tributes to loss – their success as such is necessarily mediated by the short- and long-term context of their reception. No one who lived through the storm needs to be reminded of it; insofar as these are memorials, then, for whom are they intended? What purpose(s) do they serve – now, or after Katrina has become (like Hurricane Betsy exactly forty years earlier) a distant memory? Following Edkins, we may ask: were they simply done too soon? These questions recall the memorial complex in the Lower Ninth Ward, which helps to put these considerations into a wider perspective through a close reading of its elements: a sculpture of a half-constructed house, a granite marker surrounded by two flagpoles, and nine gradated poles representing the nine feet of floodwater this neighbourhood suffered (fig. 6). Designed by an architectural firm in New York, it was unveiled two days before the one-year anniversary of the storm, and as such was one of the first hurricane-related memorials in the city (White). The marker and the poles (not pictured) require little analysis,6 but as it can be taken in a number of different ways, the house requires a closer look: it is either half-demolished, in the aftermath of the storm, or it is half-rebuilt, in the rebuilding phase. Its inhabitants have either fled from it, seeking a more secure shelter, or are returning to it, seeking it as their new one. The prominent front porch hearkens back to the celebrated stoop culture of historic New Orleans neighbourhoods, creating communities which give the neighbourhood its health, its life and its vitality. But it is unclear where the people who would be sitting in those empty chairs are implied to be – down the road at the house of a neighbour or down the highway in exile in a different part of the country? Suspended at this precise halfway point, the house is caught in representational purgatory: it can represent nothing conclusively, which is to say it conclusively represents nothing at all.

6 | The marker reads: “In grateful recognition to the legacy of courage and love, this monument is dedicated to the victims and survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.” The inscription is a substantial improvement on the marker across town at the Convention Center, quoted above.

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Figure 6: Ninth Ward Memorial, House Sculpture One could take the opposite position, however, and argue that there is not a lack but a surfeit of representation. Moving downward in scale, this half-finished or half-demolished house is at once a metaphor for the city of New Orleans (approximately halved in population, the other half still in diaspora), a paean to the lost neighbourhood caught in the bureaucratic limbo of the planning process, a representation of itself (a house, which Bachelard argued is never just a house), and an elegy for the individual lives once harboured inside it. But if this interpretation holds, then it has a lifespan attached to it: Once New Orleans is ‘rebuilt’, then this sculpture will no longer serve as an allegory for a half-empty city. Rather, it will serve the ‘proper’ function of a memorial, it will look backwards in time, potentially ignoring or disregarding its present context(s). To be clear, this interpretive ambivalence is not simply wordplay: On the contrary, it presents serious symbolic consequences for a broken city looking to find a way to repair its fragmented communities. In the tragedy of its failed allegory, the empty house in the Lower Ninth Ward ends up representing its own failure to represent anything at all. Either that, or it pits its layers of representation against one another – a house divided against itself. If a memorial such as this one, the most complex and ambitious of the formal sort found in the city thus far, is intended to serve as a conduit for the expression of loss, sorrow, and frustration, then its architects have hit their mark with startling accuracy. But in its current execution, unfortunately, the expression of hope, resilience and a promise of a renewed city gets lost along the way. As anyone who has visited the site will attest, it is difficult

166 | Benjamin Morris to look directly at the house: one is much more likely to look through it, and see the wasteland surrounding it on all sides. To conclude I want to emphasise that my criticism is not simply pessimistic. Rather, I argue that our old ways of remembering and performing collective memories of trauma are no longer adequate, nor are they marketable across geographies, societies, or cultures as memorial design corporations might have their audiences believe. Material, space, style and form are and must remain provisional elements in the mnemonic life of a city; likewise, to engineer or manipulate them with the aim of generating economic growth is not merely misguided but insulting to the memory of those they seek to commemorate. With memorials, as with texts, context is everything, and when they are successful they tend to respect the particularities of the trauma and the community to which it happened. Granted, the assumption that a society needs monuments at all is itself a product of their monumental role in the public imagination, a role which is not so much necessary as necessarily contingent – especially in a Western worldview, as Küchler has shown elsewhere. In the fi nal estimate, it may well be Randy Newman’s song “Louisiana 1927,” revised and rearranged within days of Katrina striking New Orleans, that becomes as important a memorial as anything set in granite, stone or wood, as ever since it has served as a kind of anthem: The river rose all day, The river rose all night. Some people got lost in the fl ood, Some people got away all right. The river has busted through clear down to Plaquemines, Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline. Louisiana, Louisiana They’re trying to wash us away They’re trying to wash us away…

R EFERENCES Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. Beauchamp, Michael B. “Memories give us strength.” Times-Picayune. Letter to the Editor (4 September 2007): B6. Bereson, Ruth. “Fats Domino is Missing: An Analysis of Arts and Cultural Policy Making in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina” [online]. Fourth

The arts of remembrance | 167 International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, Vienna, July 2006 [cited 29 May 2007]. ( wgcultural.htm) Bohrer, Becky. “New Orleans Recovery Plan Calls For a Katrina memorial on a ‘Homeric’ scale” [online]. USA TODAY. 25 May 2007 [cited 30 May 2007]. ( Cardwell, Norma. “Memorial is a waste.” Times-Picayune, Letter to the Editor (31 August 2007): B6. Edkins, Jenny. “The Rush to Memory and the Rhetoric of War.” Journal of Political and Military Sociology 31, no. 2 (Winter 2003): 231-250. Hoffman, Susanna M. and Anthony Oliver-Smith, eds. The Angry Earth: Disaster in Anthropological Perspective. New York: Routledge, 1999. Hollander, John. “Sun in an Empty Room.” Edward Hopper and the American Imagination. Ed. Deborah Lyons and Adam Weinberg. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art and W.W. Norton, 1995. 87-88. Andreas Huyssen. “Monumental Seduction.” Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present. Ed. Mieke Bal et al. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1999. 191-207. “Katrina Refrigerator” [online]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Article last updated 24 September 2007. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. [cited 29 May 2007]. ( refrigerator&oldid=160126425) Kraemer, Craig. Interview with Antoinette K-Doe [online]. Conducted 5 July 2006 [cited 30 May 2007]. ( Küchler, Susanne. “The Place of Memory.” The Art of Forgetting. Eds. Adrian Forty and Susanne Küchler. Oxford: Berg, 1999. 53-72. Lagasse, Emeril. “Bringing Back the Bayou.” Television documentary. The Food Network. Aired 26 August 2006. Longman, Jere. “Art Captures a City’s Tumult and Renewal” [online]. New York Times, 5 December 2005 [cited 30 May 2007]. (www.nytimes. com/2005/12/05/national/nationalspecial/05visual.html) Louisiana State House Bill 1354 (Act No. 740) [online]. Auth. Cheryl Gray. Proposed 18 April 2006, signed into law 29 June 2006. (www.legis.state. MacCash, Doug. “An Obviously Excellent Idea: Katrina Memorial Takes the Shape of a Storm.” Times-Picayune, 14 September 2007: “Lagniappe” 2. Michalski, Sergiusz. Public Monuments: Art in Political Bondage 1870-1997. London: Reaktion Books, 1998. “New Orleans Katrina Memorial” [online]. [Cited 5 September 2007]. (www.

168 | Benjamin Morris Otte, Marlene. “The Mourning After: Languages of Loss and Grief in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” The Journal of American History 94, no. 3 (December 2007): 828-836. Rayner, Mark. “P1010043.JPG” [online]. Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, Object 3474, August 24 2006 [cited 29 May 2007]. (www. Regis, Helen. “Second Lines, Minstrelsy, and the Contested Landscapes of New Orleans Afro-Creole Festivals.” Cultural Anthropology 14, no. 4 (1999): 472-504. Rice, Anne. “Do You Know What It Means To Lose New Orleans?” [online]. New York Times, 4 September 2005 [cited 30 May 2007]. (www.nytimes. com/2005/09/04/opinion/04rice.html) Rioux, Paul. “Parish Struggles to Honor its Dead” [online]. Times-Picayune, 16 March 2008 [cited 30 March 2008]. ( neworleans/index.ssf?/base/news-27/120564563928870.xml&coll=1) Roach, Joseph. Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. Rose, Chris. “Badges of Honor.” Times-Picayune. 24 July 2007: C1-C2. Rozario, Kevin. “Making Progress: Disaster Narratives and the Art of Optimism in Modern America.” The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster. Eds. Lawrence J. Vale & Thomas J. Campanella. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 27-54. Stewart, Frank B. “Memorial to hold unclaimed Katrina casualties.” TimesPicayune. Letter to the Editor (10 September 2007): B4. The Unified New Orleans Plan: Citywide Strategic Recovery and Rebuilding Plan [online]. Final version, April 2007. (http://unifiedneworleansplan. com/home3/) White, Jaquetta. “Place for the Pain” [online]. Times-Picayune. 27 August 2006 [cited 29 May 2007]. (

I LLUSTR ATIONS Figure 1: Photo by author. Figure 2: Proposed New Orleans Katrina Memorial: New Orleans Katrina Memorial Corporation; design: Matthews International Corporation, Pittsburgh. Used with permission. Figure 3: Detail of Katrina Memorial headstone: New Orleans Katrina Memorial Corporation; design: Matthews International Corporation, Pittsburgh. Used with permission. Figures 4-6: Photos by author.

Revisiting Martyrs’ Square … again : Absence and presence in cultural memory Nour Dados

During the Lebanese civil war,1 the area known as Martyrs’ Square (Sahat al-Shuhadah) was transformed into a line of demarcation between Beirut’s so-called “Eastern” and “Western” sectors. The Square, previously a thriving cultural hub, had been a long-standing emblem of Beirut’s cosmopolitanism, its literary license and its political freedom. In the years 1915 and 1916, this same square had witnessed the hangings of Beirut’s original martyrs under the Ottomans, the martyrs whose later commemoration gave the square its name. Since the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafi k Hariri in 2005 and his burial in the nearby area, there have been several attempts to reclaim some of the numerous associations of the past: the square as a symbol of revolution, the square as the centre of the city, the square as a cosmopolitan sphere, the square as a symbol of national unity, the square as memorial for Lebanon’s martyrs. However, narratives of the square as a line of demarcation, as a place of fear and terror, as a site of death, are notably absent. These narratives of division that defined the site between 1975 and 1990 do not constitute the Square’s past today but are relegated to the past of memory, a memory that is interspersed with 1 | The Lebanese civil war, often referred to in the plural as ‘wars’, is generally regarded as a series of interrelated confl icts between 1975-1990 initiated by various parties and factions. Perhaps as a consequence of the dispersed nature of these events, the expression ‘civil war’ is usually not capitalized by commentators on the conflict. This paper will adhere to standard usage by leaving ‘civil war’ uncapitalized throughout.

170 | Nour Dados amnesia. In revisiting Martyrs’ Square, I have sought out these narratives in the hope of straying from the path of the monumentalized moment, or moments, that the Square has been made to represent, and moving towards the memory of the civil war that it continues to forget. In doing so, I want to reflect upon how these silences, gaps and absences continue to demonumentalize the monumentality of a place built for remembering by alluding to multiple events and narratives that are remembered elsewhere.




In 2003, when I made my second return visit to Beirut after leaving the city with my family in the early 1980s, I picked up a copy of Ayman Trawi’s then recently published Beirut’s Memory and found myself captivated by the book’s holographic cover and its glossy images of Beirut before and after its most recent reconstruction. My captivation was partly owing to the misplaced belief that somehow I was holding Beirut in its entirety between my hands. I was disappointed when I searched the book’s immaculate pages for images of Martyrs’ Square, a square that has been immortalized in the memory of Beirut’s émigrés. Martyrs’ Square, as it stands in these memories, is not a place that I have ever known as a physical reality, but a memory that I have inherited from my parents and grandparents since it had practically ceased to exist as a public space shortly after my birth in 1975. The only photographs of Martyrs’ Square in Trawi’s book were twin-shots taken just before and just after the rehabilitation of the area. To my inexperienced eye, the two images were not all that different. If one excluded the reconstruction of the surrounding buildings and the clearing of the central area, the rehabilitated square was still an empty space with only the new Virgin Megastore that had taken the place of the old Opera Cinema closing its axis with the sea. The statue of the Martyrs, which had become almost synonymous with the square, had been removed. The two images, thoroughly stripped of any resonance, seemed to suggest that if this was Beirut’s memory, then Beirut’s memory had been erased. It is not coincidental that Hashim Sarkis identifies a creative amnesia here, writing that, “absorbing speculation about urban development, while resisting being taken over by any one idea, has been one of the most vital, albeit unrecognised, functions of this public space” (“A Vital Void” 22). Sarkis reads the square at the intersection of Beirut’s political life and its development culture as being a point of constant change rather than continuity, a physical void that continues to reflect the absence of structural organisation in the city’s constitution (“A Vital Void” 23). No doubt this physical void is also the result of a psychological amnesia brought about by

Revisiting Martyrs’ Square | 171 the trauma associated with war. Sarkis draws on Svetlana Boym’s distinction between restorative and refl ective nostalgia to suggest that the suspension of history in post-war Beirut has favoured the refl ective form, the same form of nostalgia identified by Ihor Junyk in his essay on the memorialization of the Habsburg past in post-Soviet L’viv. In part, it would appear that a form of amnesia that culminates in a “vital void” at the centre of the city is also a product of a reflective nostalgia resulting in the creation of “multiple, competing histories” that bypass a central authority on memory (Sarkis, “A Vital Void” 22). Reading Martyrs’ Square through this creative amnesia is useful for two reasons; firstly, because it enters into a productive dialogue with the monumentalization of the square still generated by its pre-war past, and secondly, because it suggests that the memory of the ‘square’ is to be found outside the historicity of The Square. Seen in this light, the images in Beirut’s Memory, by not assigning this emotionally fraught space a definitive form, perhaps unintentionally continue to reproduce a space with deferred meanings, a space that is constructed by projection rather than photography. In trying to reconstruct the cultural memory of this most remembered of spaces in Beirut from Sydney, I have been struck by the sanitization of the civil war past from the square’s memory. Yet the notion of a creative amnesia would suggest that this absence is not a deliberate forgetting, but an absent presence, a presence that operates somewhat unnoticed in other places that continue to haunt whatever form the square takes today or will take tomorrow. In revisiting Martyrs’ Square, I want to begin with those narratives that always escape official documentation because they engage with place in its personal, rather than public, dimension. My grandfather’s narrative about the early days of the Lebanese civil war is particularly quirky. He remembers, from first-hand experience, the outbreak of violence at Martyrs’ Square in 1975. His story, in which he is both witness and survivor, starts on a Saturday afternoon without an exact date. He is on his way down to a coffeehouse in the area. He stops to get his shoes shined. At that moment, he hears gunshots from multiple directions. What had been a bustling Saturday crowd is instantaneously transformed into screaming, terrified individuals scrambling to safety or falling to the ground as victims. In the chaos, my grandfather runs off with one shoe. In his narrative, the shoe as a personal object replaces the monument as a public object and the shape of the place as a space of memorialization is consequently altered. In reinstating the private in the space of the public, a trajectory through which lives were lost or changed in the movement across this place becomes visible. Others that crossed this path on that fateful day or at other times in the war years were not as lucky as my grandfather. Their movements,

172 | Nour Dados invisible in the processes of monumentalization, are particularly pervasive in the square’s emptiness, an emptiness that is haunted by narratives that lie elsewhere. By working my grandfather’s narrative into the cultural memory of the square, I do not want to add another level of meaning, recall a forgotten past, or present a corrective for official history. Rather, I want to evoke the process of forgetting and the absences of place, since as Derrida tells us, “nothing, neither among the elements nor within the system is anywhere ever simply absent and present. There are only, everywhere, differences and traces of traces” (24). Aspects of the cultural memory of the square are permanently dislocated, erased and irretrievable, and the final narrative is always inevitably incomplete. Perhaps it is the function of memory narratives to allude to this incompleteness without ever completing it. The presence of these narratives or the allusion to their absence, in writing the cultural memory of the square, makes it possible to arrive at a text that avoids closure. The absence of memory narratives in the processes of memorialization, their inevitable absence, reminds us that moments of memory are almost always deferred by being located outside the moment of the monument.



The area known today as Martyrs’ Square makes its first appearance in the late seventeenth century as a maidan, a loosely defined open space outside the gates of the old city of Beirut (Sarkis, “A Vital Void” 18). Under Ottoman rule, it was transformed into a major public garden with monetary contributions for its development collected from the city’s governor and its notables (Hanssen, 256). In the later Ottoman era, it witnessed a number of name changes, although the most popular local name for the square remained al-Burj (the Tower).2 It was not until the last years of Ottoman rule, when members of clandestine independence movements were executed there, that the connection between the square and martyrdom first appeared. The individuals executed in the square between 1915 and 1916 were by no means representative of a single independence movement. Many were journalists who used the press as a vehicle for advancing 2 | Al-Burj was a reference to an Ottoman tower in the vicinity. From 1876, it was known as Hamidiyyah Square (Sahat al-Hamidiyyah) in honour of the new sultan, Abed Al-Hamid Pasha. Following the Young Turk revolt in Istanbul in 1908, it was briefly renamed Freedom Square (Sahat al-Huriyyah) and then Sahat al-Itihad (Union Square) in 1909.

Revisiting Martyrs’ Square | 173 their particular political ideas which spanned everything from Lebanese revivalism to Arab nationalism. What they shared was a desire to bring about an end to Ottoman rule in the region, and in many cases, a willingness to use their respective newspapers to criticize the governors of the city. While accounts of journalists being routinely arrested and imprisoned and publishing houses being summarily closed down exist prior to 1915, the political changes brought about by the First World War and the changes in the governance of the Ottoman provincial capital of Beirut resulted in an environment far less tolerant of dissent. The documentation of the hangings at Martyrs’ Square in 1915 and 1916 survives mainly through second-hand journalistic rewritings of eyewitness accounts because the executions were carried out between midnight and dawn and public attendance was strictly forbidden. The largest group of men often remembered as the “caravan of national martyrs” (al-Hakim, 238), included some of Beirut’s most prominent public figures and journalists. They were executed on 6 May 1916. The pictorial rendition of this episode on the cover of the Arabic-language journal Al-Arab Al-’Uthama (‘The Great Arabs’) along with segments from an article published in the newspaper Al-Baraq in February 1919, and illustrated portraits of some of the martyrs reprinted in Ghassan Tueni’s El-Bourj, represent certain elements of the memorialization of these events in popular cultural memory (25-31). These memorials are reconstituted from eyewitness accounts but nonetheless form part of a discourse of memorialization associated with the Independence Martyrs and lines of poetry, defiant exultations, as well as displays of fraternity are attributed to the group in these accounts. Omar Hamad, for example, is quoted as proclaiming as he stood on the platform of death, “I am not afraid of death if it is a sacrifice for the Arab nation. Down with the treacherous Turks. Long live the Arabs!” (Zakkour, 28), at which point the executioner pulled the chair out from under him so that he was killed. Said Aqel is reported to have asked forgiveness for his killers, and then turning to the doctor beside him, requested that the rope be pulled tightly around his neck because otherwise his slight body would not allow him a quick death (Zakkour, 28). The memorialization of these events in the national imaginary and their association with the square led to a nearby side street being named Martyrs’ Street (Shari’ al-Shuhadah) at the end of Ottoman rule in Beirut in 1918 (Tueni, 24). It was not until 6 May 1937, twenty-one years after the largest group hanging under the Ottomans, that the area was officially renamed Martyrs’ Square (Khalaf, Heart of Beirut 190). The remembrance of the Independence heroes at this temporal juncture was no doubt also motivated by a desire to counter the larger political questions that divided

174 | Nour Dados the country with symbolic gestures of unity, particularly following the signing of the Franco-Lebanese treaty at the end of 1936. The first statue commissioned for the memorial at the square was made by Yussif al-Hawyik in 1930 and depicted two women, a Muslim and a Christian weeping over the grave of a martyr. While journals of the day like al-Ma’arad excitedly claimed that the statue would be entirely Lebanese in material, labour and concept (Tueni, 24), it was not long before the longawaited memorial was deeply detested for its “avowed sectarian motif” (Khalaf, Heart of Beirut 191). Objections to the statue were greeted with an announcement, in 1952, of a competition for a new memorial (Khalaf, Heart of Beirut 191). The statue of the Martyrs that stands at the centre of the square today dates back to 6 May 1960 and was inaugurated forty-four years after the hangings of 1916. The black metal construction of the statue was designed by the Italian sculptor Marino Mazzacurati to depict the struggle for freedom. A woman holding a torch with her right arm embraces a young man with her left arm. Two martyrs lay at the base of the statue beneath them. During the Lebanese civil war, the bullet-riddled monument looked on in silence across the ‘green line’. Eventually it was removed and taken away for repairs, but then returned with its war-damage still visible, one of the martyrs having lost part of his arm in the conflict. The centrality of the square as a place of national significance was augmented by its economic, social and cultural functions. Until the outbreak of war the area was served by a large number of hotels, coffeehouses and cinemas and accommodated several bus and car terminals and transport agencies (Khalaf, Heart of Beirut 171-177). Since the Ottoman days, public demonstrations had been common at the square and both Khalaf and Hanssen recount details of protests in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in support of the government, and, in protest at particular government actions (Khalaf, Heart of Beirut 189; Hanssen, 258). By the 1940s, the square was the ultimate destination of all public demonstrations and by 1975 it was a thriving cultural hub with cinemas, theatres and nightclubs (Khalaf, Heart of Beirut 171). The early rounds of fighting in 1975 brought the cultural life of the space to an abrupt halt and within a short time it no longer functioned as the centre of the city, but the centre of what was called the ‘green line’, a line of demarcation that remained in place throughout the war years. In the words of Maya Yahya, the green line that ran through Martyrs’ Square was a “stoneless ‘Berlin Wall’” inhabited by death and snipers on both sides (132).

Revisiting Martyrs’ Square | 175



The statue that stands at the centre of Martyrs’ Square today, with its twice martyred martyrs, constitutes part of the imaginary of this place related to its cultural life in the 1960s. The presence of the Martyrs statue today seems less indicative of an active memorial of the Independence martyrs of 1915 and 1916 than a reference to the square itself as a martyr of the civil war. This association is partly a result of the circulation of images, particularly postcard images, of the square from the 1960s both during and after the civil war. These images are still some of the best known and most widely circulated images of Beirut today. Postcards of the undamaged statue that had been taken prior to the war have inadvertently become monuments to the past of the square that is now irretrievably lost (fig. 1). Postcards of the place as it looked in the 1960s are even more poignant, representing a Martyrs’ Square of the imagination that continues to haunt Beirut’s mental landscape (fig. 2). The ability of the postcard image from the 1960s to displace the reality of the square following the civil war was captured by a powerful photograph taken in 1992 by George Azar. Azar’s image, which showed a young boy selling old photographs of the square from the 1960s in the foreground and a group of men sitting on plastic chairs playing backgammon amid the destruction behind him, encapsulates the irony of a place built to commemorate a moment in history having subsequently become a moment in history itself. The place of the square in this photograph, with its warravaged martyrs surrounded by the shells of gutted buildings, is no longer a site of memory. Rather, the site of memory is transferred to the postcard image of the square being sold by the young boy. This circulation of the postcard image in the popular imagination was not unusual and continued well after the end of the civil war. On free tourist maps of Beirut widely available in 2005, the main map of the city was surrounded by thumbnail images of the city’s attractions, among them the familiar and now iconic image of Old Martyrs’ Square, pointing to what was still (despite the return of the statue) an empty field. Yet, the interjection of the Old Martyrs’ Square into the present, like Azar’s photograph thirteen years earlier, seemed to belie a desire to return to this past by making it appear both real and attainable with a reference on a current map of the city. Part of the disappointment with the images of Martyrs’ Square published in Trawi’s Beirut’s Memory, is no doubt the product of this cultural particularity that continues to project the square of the 1960s into the empty field left by the civil war. The notion of the postcard as a monument has received critical attention from artist-filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige in their

176 | Nour Dados

Figure 1: Postcard of the Martyrs Statue Reproduced with the permission of Telko Sport, Beirut.

Figure 2: Postcard of Martyrs’ Square Reproduced with the permission of Telko Sport, Beirut. Wonder Beirut project and the related essay “Tayyib Rah Farjik Shigli (Okay I’ll Show You My Work).” As part of this project, Hadjithomas and Joreige published what they called “eighteen postcards of war” which included images of the Martyrs statue (fig. 3) and the square (Hadjithomas/Joreige, “Wonder Beirut” 77). These postcard images of Beirut, they write, were burnt as part of a process begun by the photographer Abdallah Farah, a fictitious figure, in 1968 (Hadjithomas/Joreige, “Wonder Beirut” 77). At the beginning of autumn 1975, they explain, Farah began damaging the negatives of his photos by burning them slowly, as though to make them

Revisiting Martyrs’ Square | 177 correspond to the situation at the time (Hadjithomas/Joreige, “Wonder Beirut” 77). “He imitated the destruction of the buildings he saw gradually disappearing because of bombings and street battles” (Hadjithomas/Joreige, “Wonder Beirut” 77). The active destruction of the transferable and tangible nostalgic pre-war images belies an insistence on the undeniable event of the war, an event that the unaltered circulation of pre-war postcards seems to deny, inadvertently. In publishing these burnt and scarred vestiges of the past as postcards of the city, and in staging their critical essay in the form of an interview with another fictitious character, Borges’ Pierre Menard,3 Hadjithomas and Joreige resist the re-inscription of the unaltered postcards, partly because that would continue to reproduce the postcard as a monument at a time when the city of the postcard has been erased by twenty-nine years of “exceedingly complex events” (“Tayyib Rah Farjik Shigli” 90).

Figure 3: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige Postcards of War. Reproduced with the permission of the artists.



The monumentalization of the postcard image of Martyrs’ Square suggests that the events of 1975 resulted in a rupture which split the symbolic resonance of Martyrs’ Square as a site of national significance. The 3 | In Jorge Louis Borges’ short story “Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote”, Menard is supposed to be the author of the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of the first part of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote and a fragment of chapter twenty-two. The two texts, Menard’s and Cervantes’ are identical, except for the coincidence by which Menard produces his text as a contemporary writer in the twentieth century.

178 | Nour Dados subsequent inability of the square to act as a memorial site for the martyrs of 1916 after the civil war did not alter the culture of martyrdom that the square referenced but rather dislocated it and relocated it to other places outside the centre of the city, creating a parallel culture of martyrdom. Between 1975 and 1990, the martyrs of the civil war, even those who died in the square, were always remembered outside the centre of the city. This process was in part a reflection of the fragmentation that Lebanese society underwent during the civil war to the extent that a national site of memory was neither conceivable nor possible. This parallel culture of martyrdom proliferated in multiple factional and sectarian narratives that nonetheless referenced their martyrs as ‘national’ heroes. Specific forms of paraphernalia were created for commemoration, with the most visible being the posters of martyrs plastered on the walls of the areas that fell under the control of each of the respective factions. 4 The culture of martyrdom and its poster art makes a poignant appearance in Mahmoud Darwish’s 1984 suite of prose poems titled “Eat from my Bread, Drink from my Wine, and Don’t Leave Me Alone …” (Darwish, Hisar li Mada’ih al-Bahr 141ff.). In particular, the evocative “Ode to a Homeland”, later commemorated by the Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife in song, alludes to a cityscape where posters of martyrs leave no room for the clotheslines. When the martyrs go to sleep, I wake and guard them from petty eulogists I say to them: You will rise in a homeland of trees and clouds, of water and mirage. I congratulate them for their safety even from an impossible accident and from the farcical altar. I steal time so that, from it, they may steal me. Are we all martyrs? Yet, I whisper: my friends, at least for the clothesline, leave me a wall. Leave me one night for song. Wherever you wish, I’ll post your names, if you’d only sleep a little. (Darwish, “Ode to a Homeland”, trans. Khalife)

Khalife’s musical rendition, appearing as it did in 1990 at the end of the civil war, makes the identity of the poem’s martyrs less explicit than the poem itself. The consequent invisibility of the spaces of the song, and its general popularity as well as Khalife’s popularity among many diverse factions of Lebanese society, function in some way like the general amnesty at the end of the civil war that granted all those who died during the war, regardless 4 | Archival documentation of these posters is held by the American University of Beirut.

Revisiting Martyrs’ Square | 179 of circumstances, the status of martyr. The homeland of the song, perhaps more so than that of the poem, is invisible and its features are as fluid as its water. The image of the wall covered in commemorative posters, by operating as a mental image where the faces and names on the posters cannot be seen, allows the shadow of an imaginary homeland to appear and the figure of the martyr as a national hero to make a reappearance, although an ephemeral one. Indeed, it was not until February 2005, following the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri that the figure of the national martyr could be said to have made a real return to the public imagination. Martyrs’ Square became once more a site of activity, although this time for pilgrimage and protest as anger over the assassination drew massive crowds to the site (fig. 4). The location of Hariri’s grave in the grounds of the mosque opposite the square played a large role in drawing people to the area. Samir Khalaf notes that had Hariri’s family “opted to bury him in Saida rather than in the Bourj … it is doubtful whether his stirring martyrdom would have generated such dramatic consequences” (Khalaf, Heart of Beirut 194). Hariri’s burial in the area, and the transformation of his grave into a memorial, led to a re-inscription of the site with its former connotations of martyrdom. Rather than drawing a defi nitive link with the past and the martyrs of 1916 however, the events that have unfolded in Lebanon since Hariri’s assassination in 2005, could also be seen as having intensified the rupture that Lebanese society underwent as a result of the civil war. This is particularly as Martyrs’ Square today is not the ultimate destination of public demonstrations that it was in the 1960s, but one square in a discursive landscape where places of protest are determined according to political affi liation.

Figure 4: Martyrs’ Square 18 February 2005

180 | Nour Dados If Martyrs’ Square today can be seen as forming a “vital void,” it is partly because its spatial, temporal and social characteristics remain malleable. In its countless projections, it continues to encourage a proliferation of memory narratives that resist ownership by a single group. Detached from its past, yet attached to memories of the past, it remains caught in a process of selective remembering and forgetting that is always at the mercy of unfolding events. Its fluidity is both creative and problematic since it contains the potential for an affective site of memory, while never quite being one.

R EFERENCES Cotter, Suzanne, ed. Out of Beirut. Oxford: Modern Art Oxford, 2006. Darwish, Mahmoud. Hisar li Mada’ih al-Bahr. Beirut: Dar al-‘Awda, 1984. Debbas, Fouad. Des Photographes à Beyrouth: 1840-1918. Paris: Marval, 2001. Debbas, Fouad. Beirut: Our Memory. Paris: Naufal Group, 1986. Derrida, Jacques. Positions. Trans. Alan Bass. London: Continuum, 2002. Fieldhouse, D.K. Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Hadjithomas, Joana and Khalil Joreige. “Wonder Beirut.” Out of Beirut. Ed. Suzanne Cotter. Oxford: Modern Art Oxford, 2006. Hadjithomas, Joana and Khalil Joreige. “Tayyib Rah Farjik Shigli (OK, I’ll show you my work).” Trans. Jalal Toufic. Discourse 24.1 (2002): 85-98. Halaq, Hasan. Bayrut al-Mahrusa fi al-’Ahd al-’Uthmani. Beirut: Dar alJam’iyah, 1985. al-Hakim, Yussif. Bayrut wa Lubnan fi ’Ahd al-’Uthman. Beirut: Dar alNahar, 1964. Hanssen, Jens. Fin de Siècle Beirut: The Making of an Ottoman Provincial Capital. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Hartman, Michelle and Alessandro Olsaretti. “‘The First Boat and the First Oar’: Inventions of Lebanon in the Writings of Michel Chiha.” Radical History Review 86 (2003): 37-65. Khalaf, Samir. Heart of Beirut: Reclaiming the Bourj. London: Saqi, 2006. Khalaf, Samir. Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization of Communal Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. Khalife, Marcel. Tasbihuna ’ala Watan/Ode to a Homeland. Audio CD. Athens: Nagam Records, 1990. Salibi, Kamal. A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered. London and New York: IB Tauris, 2002.

Revisiting Martyrs’ Square | 181 Sarkis, Hashim. “A Vital Void: Reconstructions of Downtown Beirut.” Two Squares: Martyrs’ Square, Beirut, and Sirkeci Square, Istanbul. Eds. Hashim Sarkis, Mark Dwyer, Pars Kibarer. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006. Sarkis, Hashim and Peter Rowe, eds. Projecting Beirut: Episodes in the Construction and Reconstruction of a Modern City. Munich: PrestelVerlag, 1998. Tauber, Eliezer. “The Press and the Journalist as Vehicle in Spreading National Ideas in Syria in the Late Ottoman Period.” Die Welt des Islams 1.4 (1990): 163-177. Trawi, Ayman. Beirut’s Memory/Dhakirat Bayrut/La Mémoire de Beyrouth. Beirut: Anis Commerical Printing Press, 2003. Tueni, Ghassan and Faris Sassine, eds. El-Bourj: Place de la Liberté et Porte du Levant/Al-Burj: Sahat al-Huriyah wa Bawabat al-Mashriq. Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 2000. al-Wali, Taha. Bayrut fi al-Tarikh wa al-Hadara wa al-’Umran. Beirut: Dar al-’Ilm lil Malayin, 1993. Yahya, Maha. “Reconstituting Space: The Aberration of the Urban in Beirut.” Recovering Beirut: Urban Design and Post-War Reconstruction. Eds. Samir Khalaf and Philip S. Khoury. Leiden: EJ Brill, 1993. Zakkour, Michel. “Shuhada’ al-Sahah.” Al-Baraq, February 1919. Republished in El-Bourj: Place de la Libertè et Porte du Levant/Al-Burj: Sahat al-Huriyah wa Bawabat al-Mashriq. Eds. Ghassan Tueni and Faris Sassine. Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 2000.

I LLUSTR ATIONS Figure 1: Postcard of the Martyrs’ Statue. Reproduced with the permission of Telko Sport, Beirut. Figure 2: Postcard of Martyrs’ Square. Reproduced with the permission of Telko Sport, Beirut. Figure 3: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. Postcards of War. Reproduced with the permission of the artists. Figure 4: Martyrs’ Square 18 February 2005. Photo by author.

4 reterritorialization

The burden of the moment : Photography’s inherent monumentalizing effect Peter Burleigh

When we look at photographs, we unfailingly feel the inescapable lure of time past. This impression is dependent on the mimetic indexicality central to the medium. Mimetic, since a photograph appears in almost all cases to resemble that which it represents; indexical, since to a great extent the relation between the photograph’s light-sensitive material and the object it pictures is a natural one. Thus a photograph appears to faithfully and non-arbitrarily record its subject, and, furthermore, to reiterate the very moment of its making – a moment we reaffi rm even when we do as little as glimpse an image. The experience, however, is not solely ocular, and a respectable body of criticism has explored the relationship between the visual and the material, yet always reflecting on the role time plays in the photographic. In his later writing Barthes invokes the “that-has-been,” and embarks on a discourse of envisioned memory (77), while Benjamin emphasizes the “tiny spark of contingency,” (243) exploring the coincidental yet historical situating of whatever a photograph pictures. Even from the beginning of the writings on photography, notions of time have been coupled to this practice. The words of Henry Fox Talbot in 1839 suggest how from photography’s inception its interplay with time has been crucial to an understanding of the medium: “[T]he most transitory of things, a shadow, proverbial the emblem of all that is fleeting and momentary, may be fettered by the spells of our natural magic, and may be fi xed forever in the position which it

186 | Peter Burleigh seemed only destined for a single instant to occupy” (41). While recognizing Talbot’s fancy as a point of departure and giving due respect to Barthes and Benjamin, I contend that whether the past is prosthetically re-enacted as a memory, as a coincidence, as the ephemeral, photography can be seen as a form of desire to ‘reterritorialize’ its subject. Reterritorialization is a concept developed by Deleuze and Guattari to understand the way in which appropriated spaces are rearticulated or readopted by populations through lived experience or the reshaping of artefacts. Transferring this notion from social action to representation is legitimate since Deleuze and Guattari claim “anything can ‘stand for’ the lost territory; one can reterritorialize on a being, an object, an apparatus, a system” (Buchanan, 30). Key to reterritorialization is that a new type of territory is produced. In these terms then, the photograph does not return to an earlier space or time through a representation of there and then, but introduces a new token that can be a ‘meaningful’ territory itself. Thus, the making of the photograph folds lived experience onto and out into a flat smooth space, a new space, the monument that is significantly different from the volume it figures and is a transformation of the moment it represents. Photography rearticulates that which is continuously seized from us: time; turning it into a tangible, haptic form of memorial. Nonetheless, the turning of moment into a monument is acted out in differing ways and with considerably different effects by different practitioners. To review the notion of reterritorialization in photography, I want to look at three very different practices, and examine how they each deal with the transfiguration of a moment into a spatial arrangement. The surrealist imagery of Cartier-Bresson’s work stands at odds with the “straight” discipline in which he claims photography has a role to enact “a simple factual testimony,” the picturing of the “one moment at which the elements in motion are in balance” (n. pag.). His photographs – whether each seen individually, or as a total assemblage – monumentalize the human world in an encyclopaedic sum of particular, unique moments. With the typological work of Bernd and Hilla Becher, we see a unification of practice, form and content in the apparent denial of the contingency of the photographer’s presence in space and time. Quite in opposition to the photographs captured in Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment,” their images initially strike one as seeming to be made entirely independently of a momentary instant, appearing to be always already the same and reiterable. The Bechers’ motivation is one of the preservation and conservation of that which is disappearing, rather than the capturing of the moment in which a scene is compositionally and symbolically in balance. In a sense, their work is the attempt to sum many individual moments into a mass of history. Finally, in the collections and installations of Wolfgang Tillmans, the photographer

Photography | 187 appears to turn everyday, insignificant instantaneity into a found, precious moment. Not the avid voyeur of Cartier-Bresson, nor the historian of the Bechers, Tillmans represents contemporary everyday absurdities almost as ‘case studies’ where the personal becomes monumental, where images in patterns, constellations and sheer number stretch out the personal lived moment into a concertina of equivalents. The feeling in Tillmans’ work is that a narrative is about to unfold from, around and between the images. Rather than reflecting on the moment that has disappeared, or the passing of time, Tillmans focuses on the nowness of moments, and is intent on making an image that is consistent both reflexively and extensively with other images rather than simply with what it pictures. In his work, then, any particular moment becomes a necessary yet trivial feature of the photographic image. In Images à la Sauvette, translated into English as The Decisive Moment, Cartier-Bresson argues for a photography that addresses “Things-As-TheyAre,” prefacing his essay on the modus operandi of the photographer with the now infamous quote of Cardinal de Retz, “there is nothing in the world that does not have a decisive moment” (n. pag.). In Cartier-Bresson’s notion of his practice, the straight, exposed-with-available-light, uncropped image is an unadulterated view of the material world out there. As Jerry N. Uelsmann states: “The ‘straight tradition’ implies that the image is basically fully conceived at the camera” (444). In Cartier-Bresson’s case, this conception occurs in the split moment before the scene perfectly unfolds in compositional form, tension, movement, light and texture. In photography, Uelsmann continues, “there is a decisive selecting of a fragment of life in flux, [a] way in which the camera can preserve that moment and allow us to study it in ways which we could not do otherwise” (443). In this formulation, the image is understood as inseparable from its moment of making, is an empirical mirroring of a “world out there,” as Cartier-Bresson states, “simply register(ing) upon film the decision made with the eye” (n. pag.). Andalusia (1933) is one of Cartier-Bresson’s earliest images and typifies much of his work (fig. 1). We see a layered zigzag of walls, the corners of alleyways, and high-noon shadows creating a busy geometric backdrop to an enclosed space for the scene unfolding in the foreground. Shadows and highlights are carefully balanced so that the powderiness of the decaying walls, the lines of stonework running along the alleyways, even the slats of the window shutter are distinguishable, lending the image texture and geometry at a micro level. Foregrounded in the shadow to the right, with a splash of sunlight catching his cropped hair and running down his right upper torso, stands a young boy, motionless; his gaze is down- and rightwards leading us in the direction of the second figure, a much younger and smaller boy,

188 | Peter Burleigh

Figure 1: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andalusia (1933). © Magnum. caught moving in the bottom left of the image. Between the two figures lie the grey-tone outline of a drain cover and a deep black shadow. The two circular forms, one a line, the other a block of colour resonate harmonically with the round heads of the two boys, reflecting and amplifying, on the one hand, stasis – the boy in shadow and the fi xed outline – and, on the other, movement – the boy in motion and the momentarily fi xed, sluggish shadow, lent velocity by the younger boy’s dynamic form. A moment is captured at many different levels: specifically at midday; precisely as one figure is stationary and the other moving; at a biographical phase in the young boy’s life, perhaps at the cusp of puberty. This moment may even be construed as a juncture when the everyday stands metaphorically for the celestial. Such a tableau, consciously constructed, abstracted from the lived moment, invites a symbolic reading. Thus what really turns this moment into a decisive one is the perfect arrangement of geometrical shapes that furnishes the photograph with the potential for a meta-reading: here, I suggest, the circular geometry as a metaphor for planetary rotation. Only in that fractional slice of time did a moving arbitrary scene turn into a composed tableau in Cartier-Bresson’s visual inventory. In the Bechers’ work, dating from the early 1960s, the intention to present and bring forth a pre-visualized concept is explicitly expressed and marks a point of departure at odds with Cartier-Bresson’s ‘moment’. Patricia C. Phillips states: “The drama of these photographs does not come from the play of light and shadow but from the suspension of movement. It is the grand stillness of these industrial beasts that captivates and confuses” (114). For here the tension that inheres in their images is one between the seeming arbitrariness of the object pictured, and the photographers’ deliberate choice of the artefacts of an industrial culture now redundant,

Photography | 189 derelict and under the threat of erasure, documented with an exactitude such that the whole set of images is, as Susan Lange puts it, “a means of visually comprehending an industrial site as a whole” (n. pag.). We find neither the accidental happy moment, nor the deliberately snared scene of Cartier-Bresson. Instead, the Bechers’ photography both extends the presence of a particular moment in the process of making, while eradicating the particularity of moment in the finished product, a replica of that which is monumental.1

Figure 2: Bernd and Hilla Becher, Zeche Hannibal (1971). © Bernd and Hilla Becher Schirmer/Mosel Verlag. Photographs of the Zeche Hannibal (1971) are typical (fig. 2): The light of overcast, dull days which allows grey tones to appear in their full range, with the architectural outline of structures sharply defined against a flat grey backcloth entail that contingency is not simply reduced to a minimum but virtually disappears: the pictorial values in their images all appear to be similar, and the circumstances at the moments of taking were also 1 | I am indebted to Sophie Jung for the original notion expressed here.

190 | Peter Burleigh similar; the precise moment of photographing, however, was or is unique on two counts. Firstly, the technology of photography necessarily imposes constraints on the making of the image, and the requisite long exposure times mean the Bechers made their images counting out the exposure times over seconds. So each photographing is a unique and knowable experience for them, and what is more, gives back authentic time to its object, turning monument into moment. Secondly, the photographs reference the unrepeatability of moments, drawing our attention to the passing of time, and the attendant processes of decay and disappearance. As Birnbaum reports them as saying, “since these structures were disappearing more and more, we could imagine that conserving them photographically would some day be of general interest” (Birnbaum, 204). Their photographs both mark and resist disintegration by articulating structure and organisation, and visualizing the condensation of labour into specific historical material forms identified by place and date – showing us what had been done, and what can be documented and remembered against the progression of time: each object pictured has social and economic history – is typical yet unique. Displaying their photographs in series, as, for example, in Fördertürme (1973) (fig. 3), the Bechers focus on both similarity and difference, on the uniqueness of the individual ‘thing’ pictured, and on its conformity to type. Because their visual apparatus seems to become transparent through repeatedly using the same compositional criteria, the Bechers’ camera claims a trans-historical objectivity. Every detail is reproduced with perfect clarity and could be made again and again, liberated of a specific “Cartier-Bresson” moment. It is not then singular moments which are reterritorialized – transformed into visual, spatial arrangements. Rather just as the images are presented as series of summed unique forms which together in their overlapping qualities identify either a type, or thoroughly describe a token of a type, so are moments summed together as time in general, or as a distillation of history. The Bechers’ work thus focuses on a representation of the thing itself in Place and Time. In Cartier-Bresson’s uniquely captured moment, the focus is on the rarity of the instant in which “the photographer must make sure, while he is still in the presence of the unfolding scene […] that he has really given expression to the meaning of the scene in its entirety, for afterwards it is too late” (n. pag.). While the Bechers also photograph scenes before it is too late, their period is of a longer duration and documents that which is already monumental. From the 1990s on, Wolfgang Tillmans has produced a variety of photographic work: portraits, still lifes, abstract images, all of which, arranged in book editions or room installations, are his “way of making the camera do what I want it to do” (Tillmans, “What they are” 67). This is

Photography | 191

Figure 3: Bernd and Hilla Becher, Fördertürme (1973). © Bernd and Hilla Becher Schirmer/Mosel Verlag. his recognition of the process and outcome of reterritorializing moments into images, when “a very of-the-moment, in-the-moment readiness of the camera is the only way for the camera to be” (65-67). For Tillmans the event structure itself and its resultant image is key. In direct contrast to Cartier-Bresson’s view that “of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fi xes forever the precise and transitory instant” (n. pag.), Tillmans states: “That it does happen now, here, this second doesn’t make it any better or more authentic” (67). This then means that he can use interchangeable moments or equivalents to compose one longer moment that becomes conceptually monumental. He understands his photography as being “almost on the border between something and nothing; [asking] when does ‘something’ become ‘something … else’?” (63). The liminal performance of something appearing is the transition from moment to monument. And if the repeatable, exchangeable moments are in Tillman’s words “all real because they all happened in front of the camera. But then at the same time they are all constructions, they are not real, they

192 | Peter Burleigh are photographs” (67), then it is the observer who must make sense of the images by reconstructing them into an inter-relationship in the now. The observer’s necessary involvement is clear, for example, in friends (WMF), 2000 (2005), which makes sense only when seen in relation to friends (smoke), 2004 (2005) and other images in the book Truth Study Center. Here we see a moment which cannot be described as extraordinary; flash lighting flattens textures and heightens contrasts, a short lens stretches out the foregrounding, bringing the Beck’s beer bottle, table and soles of the trainers much nearer to us, while pushing the plane of the fi gures of subjects further away (fig. 4). Compositionally, in this plane, there is a cascade of form from left to right; the knot of three figures unwraps across the image into one then another individual. The intimate contact between the woman with her back to us, her upper thigh caressing the black-jeaned knee of a man, her buttocks on the lap of a second, gives way to two men who confront the viewer. The comfort of the individuals, their togetherness, and equivalence is brought out when that photograph is compared with the consecutive image. For in friends (smoke), we see four men in close contact, two figures hugging one another, no eye contact is made with the observer. Faces are turned away, partially or totally obscured; gazes are within the image. Cigarettes and the hands holding them appear equivalent, which belongs to whom is not immediately clear; army-fatigue style jeans and cropped hair repeat the equivalence trope (fig. 5). Now the relationships pictured here also make sense when we look at Strümpfe, 2002 (2005) placed further on in the book, but taken chronologically between the other two images (fig. 6).

Figure 4: Wolfgang Tillmans, friends (WMF), 2000, 2005. Courtesy of the artist.

Photography | 193

Figure 5: Wolfgang Tillmans, friends (smoke), 2004, 2005. Courtesy of the artist.

Figure 6: Wolfgang Tillmans, Strümpfe, 2002, 2005. Courtesy of the artist. Here, an assemblage of moments is overwritten with metaphors of belonging and togetherness: the socks are paired; none of them is lonely. They belong together in a community in conversation with each other. A small group to the left are arranged differently in relation to one another: more distant than in the main bundle, but they still belong to the whole community. On the right, a single pair lies separate and quite distinct from the main group. Looking again at friends (WMF) and friends (smoke), we see equivalences assemble a group, which nonetheless unfolds into individuals. And this is key to Tillman’s photography, since he argues “I am not gathering memories. The point is not to possess or experience something by seizing it with the camera” (Tillmans, Truth Study Center n. pag). Rather, Tillmans returns

194 | Peter Burleigh us to my opening proposition that photography is a reterritorialization. In his work the moment is circular, enclosed, endocentric. He claims that his practice is to “transform something simple, or even something complicated, into something else” (Tillmans, “What they are” 64), and with these words he mirrors the notion of reterritorialization. Where the Bechers turn a moment into a replica, where Cartier-Bresson turns a moment into a constructed tableau, Tillmans stretches moments into one open-ended metaphor. The breadth of photographic practice does not allow for a monolithic understanding of this transfiguration, and perhaps the notion of creative purpose needs to be more clearly identified. Even three, albeit key, figures in photography demonstrate differing sensibilities toward time and its transformation into space. With Cartier-Bresson, photography captures a moment; with the Bechers photography addresses the summation of time as history; in Tillmans, photography becomes a practice of equivalence. Each reclaiming, reforming and folding out of time into space in photography gives expression to different kinds of monumentalizing.

R EFERENCES Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. Trans. Richard Howard. London: Fontana, 1984. Batchen, Geoffrey. Burning With Desire: The Conception of Photography. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1997. Becher, Bernd and Hilla Becher. Typologien. München: Schirmer/Mosel, 1999. Becher, Bernd and Hilla Becher. Zeche Hannibal. München: Schirmer/ Mosel, 2000. Benjamin, Walter. “A Small History of Photography.” Trans. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter. One-Way Street. London: Verso, 1997. 240-257. Birnbaum, Daniel. “Bernd and Hilla Becher.” Review of Typologies, an exhibition of typological photographs of industrial architecture (Düsseldorf, K21-Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 2004). By Bernd and Hilla Becher. Artforum (May 2004): 202-204. Buchanan, Ian and Greg Lambert, eds. Deleuze and Space. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005. Cartier-Bresson, Henri. “Introduction.” The Decisive Moment. By Henri Cartier-Bresson. Trans. Margot Shore. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952.

Photography | 195 Goldberg, Vicki, ed. Photography in Print. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981. Lange, Susan & Els Barents. Trans. Gabriele Westphal. Introduction. Zeche Hannibal. By Bernd and Hilla Becher. München: Schirmer/Mosel, 2001. Phillips, Patricia C. Review of New York openings. Artforum (March 1986): 114. Shimizu, Minoru. “The Art of Equivalence.” Afterword. Truth Study Center. By Wolfgang Tillmans. Köln: Taschen, 2005. Talbot, William Henry Fox. “Some Account of the Art of Photogenic Drawing.” London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science (March 1839): 14. Reproduced in Photography in Print. Ed. Vicki Goldberg. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981. 36-48. Tillmans, Wolfgang. Interview with Mary Horlock. Wolfgang Tillmans. If one thing matters, everything matters. Ostfi ldern: Hatje Cantz, 2003. Tillmans, Wolfgang. Interview with Nathan Kernan. “What they are: a conversation with Wolfgang.” Art On Paper (May-June 2001): 60-67. Tillmans, Wolfgang. Truth Study Center. Köln: Taschen, 2005. Uelsmann, Jerry. “Some Humanistic Considerations of Photography.” The Royal Society, London. 1971. Photography in Print. Ed. Vicki Goldberg. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981. 442-451.

I LLUSTR ATIONS Becher, Bernd and Hilla Becher. Fördertürme. 1973. Typologien. By Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher. München: Schirmer/Mosel, 1999. Becher, Bernd and Hilla Becher. Zeche Hannibal. 1971. Zeche Hannibal. By Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher. München: Schirmer/Mosel, 2000. Cartier-Bresson, Henri. Andalusia. 1933. The Decisive Moment. By Henri Cartier-Bresson. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952. Tillmans, Wolfgang. friends (WMF), 2000. 2005. Truth Study Center. By Wolfgang Tillmans. Köln: Taschen, 2005. Tillmans, Wolfgang. friends (smoke), 2004. 2005. Truth Study Center. By Wolfgang Tillmans. Köln: Taschen, 2005. Tillmans, Wolfgang. Strümpfe, 2002. 2005. Truth Study Center. By Wolfgang Tillmans. Köln: Taschen, 2005.

Coyote in the land of culture industry: Robert Crumb and popular cultural memory Nicola Glaubitz

“I believe that for a society to be healthy, most people should be living in rural communities and working on farms and making their own music and other entertainment.” This is Robert Crumb, born in 1943, American comic artist and icon of the 1960s counterculture, in 1976 (Crumb/Fischer, 177). This rural, small-town America at the beginning of the 20th century is lovingly portrayed in his cartoon A Short History of America (1979), giving twelve views of the same spot of land. An untouched landscape is transsected by a railway line; slowly houses appear and power lines crisscross the sky, until advertisement boards and ugly new buildings clutter the scene (Crumb/Poplaski, 14-17, fi g. 1). These precise, immediately recognizable and utterly bleak renderings of urban and suburban wastelands, with their chain-link fences, vacant lots, derelict filling stations and cheap, ugly architecture recur as backgrounds in Crumb’s comics. A territory vibrant with communal memories, the images argue, is stripped clean of any traces of the past. ‘Nostalgia’ – literally, longing for home – is a significant element in Crumb’s work (see Ihor Junyk’s essay for a more detailed discussion of nostalgia). But his self-characterization “as an archaeologist, rooting around these obscure corners of our culture, looking for our past, for our heritage” (Crumb/Fischer, 177) is only partly true. Crumb was an active force in the alternative comics scene in the 1960s, inspiring other artists with characters like Mr. Natural or Fritz the Cat (Rosenkranz, 65). Later, his comics compelled the interest of galleries, art collectors, critics and renowned museums. But Crumb resisted the temptation to have his work

198 | Nicola Glaubitz

Figure 1 musealized by the 1960s counterculture or by the art world which greeted him as a major graphic artist in the tradition of Brueghel, Goya or Grosz (Buruma, 3; Hughes in Crumb/Poplaski, 295). Refusing to conform to any one notion of ‘the artist’, he defended a fragile but viable position at the intersection of entertainment, subculture, and high art. What is more, Crumb documented (or ‘mockumented’) his own sustained efforts to negotiate his aspirations to fame, financial interests, and the preservation of personal and artistic integrity in comic strips, anecdotal cartoons and sketchbooks. A recently published handbook contains his own reminiscences – complicating rather than clarifying the complex relationship of a 20thcentury popular artist to history, memory and tradition. This essay offers theoretical perspectives on the fragile status of cultural memory in the context of mass culture. Robert Crumb’s experimentation with different self-stylizations as an artist will then be discussed as symptoms of and reflections on this situation. There is an ongoing debate about whether cultural memory can survive in the context of 20th-century popular culture, which is often identified with mass culture. Critical theory in the wake of Horkheimer and Adorno, for example, had – and still has – misgivings about the structural possibility of popular cultural memory. Popular culture in the sense of a pre-industrial folk culture has been absorbed, since 1900, by a growing entertainment industry and turned into standardized mass culture (Herlinghaus, 834, 840f.). Fredric Jameson has repeatedly drawn attention to the commodity structure of mass culture: As a reflection of its production process, it produces a ceaseless flow of momentary attractions, instantly consumed and replaced by the next novelty. The translation of individual experiences into collective symbols and their stabilization as a shared stock of cultural memory is blocked. Correspondingly, the individual’s faculty of remembering is no longer needed in the process of reception, first and foremost in television to which Jameson attests a “structural exclusion of memory” (Jameson, 71). For Jameson, mass culture

Crumb and popular cultural memory | 199 replaces a sense of collective history, the site of struggles over definitions of the present, with “regressive nostalgia” (Jameson, 174, 296). Even high art and art criticism are not completely exempt from commodification and commercialization, as Benjamin Buchloh observes. Only if art resists the dictate of spectacularization, can it serve as a sanctuary for collective memory (Buchloh, xxv). Representatives of Cultural Studies like John Fiske, Stuart Hall and Henry Jenkins, on the other hand, have argued that mass-produced entertainment can be reappropriated by individuals and groups in order to define identities. George Lipsitz emphasizes the crucial role of memory in such processes of identity construction and observes that even if massproduced sounds, images or texts “generally reflect the dominant ideology of any given period, no cultural moment exists within a hermetically sealed cultural present; all cultural expressions speak to both residual memories of the past and emergent hopes for the future” (Lipsitz, 13). All cultural expressions, he concludes, are potential candidates for constructions of collective memory, and popular culture can thus function as a starting point of subversive counter-memories. While the overwhelming predominance ascribed to the economic structures of mass society in critical theory produced a skewed image of popular culture, its disregard in Lipsitz’ conception is equally problematic. Collective memory is a process dependent on shared symbols (language, images, monuments) and on structures, i.e. institutions like archives conserving these symbols. Apart from that, it is a process, as Aleida Assmann’s distinction between functional cultural memory and memory as storage illustrates: Memory as storage refers to processes of archiving, conserving, and ordering images, words, and knowhow (55-58). But in order to become functional for culture at large, memory elements need to be actively debated, selected, rejected, transmitted and appropriated (Assmann, Mediengeschichte 48). Moreover, cultural memory has to be (re-)experienced emotionally. In another context Assmann draws attention to the role of affect in individual memory-building, and argues that somatic and preverbal memories are the ‘kernels’ offering themselves to symbolic encoding (Assmann, Stabilizers 16-19, 29). A dialectics of moment and monument, one can conclude, is constitutive of individual and collective memory: neither the succession of discrete, individual, meaningless moments nor the petrification of lived experience in enduring but dead monuments makes up memory. If mass culture, especially in the later half of the 20th century, does not exclude per se reterritorializations of individual experiences in popular, even commercialized symbols, it is still open to debate to what extent it includes them. The possibility of a collective popular cultural memory is limited, as Jim Collins argues, by the fragmentation of the public sphere in present-

200 | Nicola Glaubitz day societies (7, 78, 112). Within this scenario, smaller, self-contained and competing subcultures exist alongside mainstream culture and cultivate their respective versions of group memory. While individuals and collectives are permitted to articulate and continue their identity-shaping acts of remembrance, their impact on society at large may remain limited. The situation Robert Crumb faced when he became a star of the amateur comics scene in the 1960s was a struggle over ways of life and definitions of self and society – the Civil Rights movement, the women’s liberation movement and other groups were rebelling against white middle-class dominance of what counted as American. This involved a rebellion against standardized culture. Crumb recalls his and his brother’s growing frustration with Disney cartoons when they were boys; they were “becoming too cloyingly cute, conservative and corporate” (Crumb/ Poplaski, 86). Generalizing this experience much later, he echoes critical theory: “Industrial civilization figured out how to manufacture popular culture and sell it back to the people … The problem is that the longer this buying and selling goes on, the more hollow and bankrupt the culture becomes” (Crumb/Poplaski, 180). The comics of Crumb’s youth were produced by large publishing houses in standardized formats and genres, and the process involved a division of labour between story writing, sketching, inking, lettering and colouring. Crumb set out to revitalize the worn-out forms, taking the ‘funny animal’ cartoons of Carl Barks (famous for his realization of Donald Duck), Al Capp and Walt Kelly as models and adding a heavy dose of explicit sexuality. His repertoire of characters was completed by big-bosomed, thick-legged animal-women usually paired with ridiculously small, scruff y males. Pornographic parodies of well-known newspaper cartoons or comic book heroes had already been popular in the 1920s, when so-called ‘eight-pagers’ were distributed illegally (Pekar, 679). And since 1952 Harvey Kurtzman’s magazine Mad has offered more widely acceptable lampoons of movies, television and comic series. It inspired Crumb’s self-edited magazine Zap Comix (1968), which became popular “when the convergence of political repression, the protest movement, psychedelic drugs, and innovations in printing technology created the right mix for an impromptu and improvised art movement” (Rosenkranz, 4). Crumb and artists like Rick Griffin, Gilbert Shelton, Spain Rodriguez and Kim Deitch went further than parody and sexual titillation when they adapted the childish and escapist genres of funnies and superhero comics to the concerns of young adults. Their comics reworked a cultural heritage that was still discredited but nevertheless made up their readers’ childhood and teenage memories. While Crumb clearly drew his inspiration from promises of spiritual, sexual and political liberation, and from experiments with drugs and new

Crumb and popular cultural memory | 201 lifestyles (Rosenkranz, 55), he never lost his critical distance and “ironic attitude towards popular cultural heritage” (Hatfield, 16, 20). Crumb’s character Fritz the Cat, for example, was strongly reminiscent of other cartoon tomcats (Herriman’s Krazy Kat, or the feline partner in Tom and Jerry). Fritz entered the stage as a caricature of the typical beatnik in 1964: the incestuous lover of his sister went on strategically exploiting the programme of sexual liberation as an excuse for unrestrained promiscuity (Rosenkranz, 15). Mr. Natural, the lewd con man sporting a white beard and long gown, is Crumb’s version of an emblematic figure of 1960s hippie culture, the spiritual, non-materialistic guru teaching the wisdom of Eastern religions.

Figure 2 Crumb kept an eye on what other artists and the entertainment business were doing. He was not happy when his one-page cartoon Keep on Truckin’, from Zap’s first issue, was adopted as an emblem of the counterculture. Keep on truckin’ was inspired by blues song lyrics (Rosenkranz, 71). Its five panels present literally down-to-earth human figures with oversized feet who march, happily swaying and ‘grooving’, through city streets and the countryside. Like other, similar sequences (fig. 2), the cartoon translates music into expressive body movements which give it a sense of groove and rhythm. Crumb resented the “populist” identification of his cartoon with the hippie’s “collective optimism” (Crumb/Poplaski, 164). In this respect, he resembles Bob Dylan who, after Woodstock, was increasingly sceptical about being hailed and merchandized as a spokesman of his generation. The

202 | Nicola Glaubitz entertainment industry was, at that time, discovering ‘countercultural’ music and fashion. Crumb recalls being overwhelmed by offers from filmmakers and manufacturers of T-shirts, coffee mugs, buttons and memorabilia. The more successful his comics became, the more compromises with respect to content were demanded (Rosenkranz, 72). Crumb had to come to terms with conflicting demands: personal aspirations to fame and fear of sell-out, the financial needs of his family and artistic integrity, his wish to take a critical position towards the increasingly conservative social and political developments of the Nixon era, and his longing for solitude (Crumb/Fischer, 24). He managed to negotiate these demands by turning himself into the (perhaps) “greatest, and by now best known, cartoon character in Crumb’s rich oeuvre” (Buruma, 1). Crumb turned comics into a vehicle for autobiographical anecdotes and his observations on the world at large. He teased his readers with promises of confession and risqué images of sexual obsessions. Yet, the persona he created for himself – an unsympathetic, misanthropic, aging, ugly, seedy egotist in tweed jacket and glasses, constantly leering at girls and penetrating them in the most complicated positions imaginable – combined extreme frankness with grotesque exaggeration. Crumb always leaves a shadow of a doubt if his self-portraits are to be taken seriously – or if they can easily be dismissed as jokes, for that matter. Crumb’s self-stylizations as an artist are particularly revealing here because they structure and reflect not only the relation of public and private self but also of aesthetic tradition and the present. A highly personal element had already been present in his early comics from the 1960s, reflecting the situation of a decade when popular culture had become acceptable as a constitutive part of personal memory but was yet to be admitted as such into officially sanctioned institutions and symbol systems. Crumb’s contribution to this process of recognition unwittingly followed the footsteps of American writers of the immediate post-Second World War period. Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer and the Beat Generation writers asserted radically subjective positions against the superficially happy but conformist consumerism of the 1950s and the political paralysis of the public sphere during the first years of the cold war. Individual experience, including that of sexuality, madness, and social marginalization, became a sanctuary of authenticity, and bohemian artists, tramps, madmen and broken personalities could once again figure as authentic cultural heroes (Schaub, 35). Crumb remembers the thrill and the sense of liberation he and his brother felt when they first read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: “The Kerouac dream was romantic and seductive, and after reading him both Charles and I talked about going ‘on the road’” (Crumb/Poplaski, 127). But the Crumb brothers quickly parted company with their admired cultural hero – as Rob-

Crumb and popular cultural memory | 203 ert recollects in his typical mixture of unembarrassed frankness, self-deprecation and wry humour: “[W]e couldn’t figure out a way to actually pull it off. First, neither of us could drive. Second, we were afraid of the world” (Crumb/Poplaski, 127). As much as Crumb realized that there were no alternatives to the idea of the bohemian artist-hero in post-war, highly individualized American society, he sensed that this artist-image could not stand up against the everyday banality of both himself and his culture. This insight recurs, if only symptomatically, in later Crumb self-portraits. Here, he tries to reduce the complexities of artistic individualism to the role of the simple, sincere craftsman who inscribes himself into an anti-modern tradition. Crumb’s contacts with the sphere of high art provided occasions for this form of self-stylization. He casts himself as a provincial, dim-witted, naive dolt when confronted with the representatives, institutions and discourses of high art and their idiosyncrasies. His numerous commentaries – verbal as well as visual – waver between a kind of self-righteous pride in finally having earned the long overdue respect of the art world, and a sense of its absurdity. As early as 1969, his comics had been included in a show on the grotesque in American art at Whitney Museum, New York, and academic interest has never flagged since then (Crumb/Fischer, 253-268). Crumb freely admits that the quality standards that put him on a par with, for example, Cy Twombly, remain mysterious to him (Crumb/Poplaski, 297f.). Another case in point is a small coloured drawing from his 1975 sketchbook. Even before the art critic Robert Hughes had praised him, in Terry Zwigoff ’s documentary film Crumb (1994), as the “the Brueghel of the last half of the 20th century” (Crumb/Poplaski, 294), Crumb had obviously heard this epithet and reacted to it. He portrays himself in prototypical artist’s garb (beret, white blouse), looking resigned, bowed-down and oafish with buck teeth and thick glasses. The speech bubble informs us in bad grammar and worse spelling that “Broigul I ain’t, let’s face it!” The bohemian artist looks completely out of place against the backdrop of a modern, darkly menacing cityscape, and a small caption labels him as a “machine-age artist … no good” (Crumb/Poplaski, 295). The depersonalized ‘machine-age artist’, mechanically executing a standardized task, is the opposite of the artistas-hero. Crumb looked for a compromise and a role model in blues and jazz musicians of the 1920s and 30s, and in the decorative artists of this period. What attracted him was the high level of an entertainment culture which had not not yet been distorted by the demands of commercialization and mass media, which was faithful to authorless forms handed down through the ages, and where individuality could be expressed in excellent skills of execution (Crumb/Fischer, 177). Crumb wants his fame to rest on quality – not artistic originality but “genuinely high-quality entertainment” (Crumb/Poplaski, 364, 394).

204 | Nicola Glaubitz On the other hand, Crumb has firmly positioned himself in popular culture from the early age of mechanical reproduction. Faithful to the origin of comics in rotation-printed newspapers, he seems to consider printing technology an asset rather than a liability. The original drawings on show at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, in 2004, were heavily reworked with generous amounts of white-over, apparently to optimize the look of the later printed version at the expense of the original. (Other comic artists who sell original drawings refrain from such corrections, [see Crumb/Fischer, 29]). Crumb takes pride in being a diligent, skilful and modest craftsman, and a telling but unconfirmed rumour says that he still fi xes the prices of his drawings on the base of an hourly wage (Crumb/Fischer, 29). Even if this is correct, it is an empty gesture: in 2007, prices for original Crumb drawings, retailed by his galleries, ranged between US$2.500 and 80.000 (The Master 2005, La BD 2007). The official Crumb Family’s internet homepage ( is a thinly disguised online shop, and its fan mail page exclusively features enthusiastic reports on Crumb merchandise products. The self-image of the artist as a traditional craftsman is encroached upon by the lures (or necessities) of economic considerations and by Jameson’s ‘regressive nostalgia’, as Crumb’s idealized images of an old, rural America show. A more playful investment of a ‘self’, of individual experience, into visual forms borrowed from a wide range of sources, however, offered Crumb an escape route from self-imposed or publicly constructed roles. Authenticity may be affirmed with reference to personal integrity or to tradition – but it can also be an effect of intensified clichés. There are numerous cartoons (between one and three pages long) showing Crumb in the process of ‘trying on’ several personae. In The many faces of R. Crumb (1972, fig. 3), he poses as “the long-suffering patient artistsaint” (worrying over a drawing), “businessman cartoonist” (legs propped up on desk), “misanthropic, reclusive crank” (peering out of a wooden hut), “media superstar” (suit and sunglasses), “free spirit” (a Chaplinesque tramp walking into the sunset), “sex-crazed fiend and pervert” offering ice cream to a little girl (Crumb/Poplaski, 186f.) and in several other roles. Here, Crumb takes his readers through a buoyant series of extremes – idealized, demonized, pathologized, canonized Crumb images. The frank and self-critical acceptance of negative ascriptions suggests there is a grain of truth in these images; their humorous exaggeration raises doubts as to their reliability. In R. Crumb presents R. Crumb (1973) or on the title page of The Adventures of R. Crumb Himself (1975), on the other hand, the absence of such lurid clichés is revealed to be a cliché itself. Repeated images of Crumb shaking his head, making strange noises and picking his teeth in order to fi ll panel after panel present the artist as the exact opposite of the social satirist and provocative womanizer he was known as. The artist sitting

Crumb and popular cultural memory | 205

Figure 3 snugly in an old-fashioned armchair inside a stuff y living room in the 1975 picture is another emblem of conservative, middle class respectability. Charles Hatfield sees self-caricature as an artistic strategy making skilful use of comics’ media qualities: cartoonists, he observes, work “from outside in” when they represent personal matter. They have to adopt a pretended point of view of objectivity while drawing themselves and have to offer such a viewpoint to their readers. Literary autobiography, Hatfield argues, can pretend more convincingly to project their thoughts “from inside out” inviting their readers to identify with the first-person narrator: “Whereas first-person prose invites complicity, cartooning invites scrutiny” (Hatfield, 117). Because autobiographical comics assert the presence of drawings in the first place, they sharpen the reader/viewers’ awareness of their artificiality – and the same holds for what is depicted (Hatfield, 120). Crumb seconds this argument when he observes that “comics have always lent themselves to the lurid and sensational” and that there is “something

206 | Nicola Glaubitz rough and working-class about them. If you get too far away from that, well, it can turn silly on you” (Crumb/Fischer, 39). Crumb skilfully handles the dangers inherent in clichés and in the introduction of autobiographical elements into cartooning. He does not attempt to avoid clichés, quite on the contrary: He speculates on their impact as “strong images” (Crumb, in Crumb/Fischer, 39) and intensifies them until they reveal their stereotypical, ridiculously simplifying character. The autobiographical elements are usually taken to “make comic books safe for auteur theory” (Hatfield, 16). But literary autobiography is not simply transferred to comics, as Buruma suggests (5); it is also transformed by the graphic medium. Its promises of authenticity are tapped and then channelled into graphic effects dissociating themselves from individuality. The artist figure that emerges from this process is a trickster figure: The Native American trickster Coyote, like Crumb, is notoriously the butt of his own jokes, gets trapped in his own snares and risks absurdity pursuing his excessive sexual desires – and yet, Coyote always laughs last (Radin, The Trickster). Crumb’s twin fascination with bodies and music might be read as another instance of tricksterhood or “ironic authentification”, as Hatfield has it (125). Bodies are gross, voluminous, heavy, hairy, wrinkled, pimply, sweating, copulating, bleeding or rhythmically grooving. Crumb’s love of blues and jazz music has spilled over into record cover designs and portraits of musicians (whose stiff formality and meticulous execution on the basis of photographs are, however, often sterile). The elusiveness of musical qualities is captured in his famous Keep on Truckin’ or in the rhythmically moving bodies in I’m A Ding Dong Daddy and It’s a Hup Ho World. These drawings appeal to bodily feelings of rhythm and therefore suggest rather than articulate experiences; they produce symbolic excess and emotional spill-over. Thus they leave part of the work of assembling them into shared popular cultural memories to his readers and render this work an open-ended project. In this, they both participate in and reflect on the pitfalls inherent in cultural memory as a process moving between momentary experiences and their more or less monumental material and symbolic sounding boards.

R EFERENCES Anon. “La BD au prix de l’art? Réponse le 22 Mai.” Beaux-Arts 275 (2007): 130-132. Anon. “Market focus: Robert Crumb. The Master of the Underground Comic” The Art Newspaper 158 (2005): 56.

Crumb and popular cultural memory | 207 Assmann, Aleida. “Three Stabilizers of Memory: Affect – Symbol – Trauma.” Sites of Memory in American Literatures and Cultures. Ed. Udo J. Hebel. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 2003. 15-30. Assmann, Aleida. “Zur Mediengeschichte des kulturellen Gedächtnisses.” Medien des kollektiven Gedächtnisses. Konstruktivität – Historizität – Kulturspezifität. Eds. Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nünning. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004. 45-60. Buruma, Ian. “Mr. Natural” [online]. Review, The New York Review of Books 6 (2006): 7 p. [cited 3 April 2007] (www.nybooks.ocm/articles/18834) Collins, Jim. Uncommon Cultures: Popular Culture and Post-Modernism. New York, London: Routledge, 1989. Crumb, Robert and Alfred Fischer, eds. Yeah, but is it Art? R. Crumb. Drawings and Comics. Catalogue, Museum Ludwig. Köln: König, 2004. Crumb, Robert and Peter Poplaski. The Robert Crumb Handbook. London: MQ Publications, 2005. Hatfield, Charles. Alternative Comics. An Emerging Literature. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2005. Herlinghaus, Hermann. “Populär/volkstümlich/Populärkultur.” Ästhetische Grundbegriffe. Ed. Karlheinz Barck. Stuttgart, Weimar: J.B. Metzler, 2002. Vol. 4, 832-884. Jameson, Fredric: Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press, 1991. Lipsitz, George. Time Passages. Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990. Pekar, Harvey. “Rapping about Cartoonists, particularly Robert Crumb.” Journal of Popular Culture 3 (1970): 677-688. Radin, Paul. The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1956. Rosenkranz, Patrick: Rebel Visions. The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2002. Schaub, Thomas Hill: American Fiction in the Cold War. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.

I LLUSTR ATIONS Figure 1: Panel 11 from A Short History of America, Coevolution Quarterly No. 23, 1979. Copyright by Robert Crumb. Used with permission. Figure 2: I’m a Ding Dong Daddy, Zap No. 1, 1968. Copyright by Robert Crumb. Used with permission. Figure 3: Page 2 from The Many Faces of R. Crumb, XYZ Comics, 1972. Copyright by Robert Crumb. Used with permission.

Canons, orthodoxies, ghosts and dead statues David Morley

In this essay, I shall address the question of monumentalisation in relation to a variety of related processes – those of canonisation, institutionalisation, reification, naturalisation, and the formation of a variety of taken-for-granted wisdoms and common senses. I will do this across several different contexts. First, I will focus on the institutionalisation of academic disciplines with a particular emphasis on Cultural Studies. Secondly, I will concentrate on how we come to understand contemporary processes such as globalisation. The third problem concerns the question of the concept of newness itself, especially with regard to the so-called new media and the transformations that the computer-driven media of the digital age have brought about. Fourth, I will discuss how the idea of the home as a fi xed place has been replaced by the idea of the home as a mobile vehicle. In relation to the technologisation of the domestic, I will conclude by illustrating how the principles of scientific management have now been installed within the design of the smart home and prioritise notions of productivity, efficiency and control as central to the idea of how the Good Life should be lived.



Let me begin with the question of canonisation in general and in my own field of cultural studies in particular. To pose this question, in one sense already seems anomalous – because in its origins, cultural studies

210 | David Morley was defined as an anti-discipline, committed precisely to breaking down established disciplinary boundaries, hierarchies and canons. This was most evident in cultural studies’ critique of the classical aesthetic approach to culture, derived from literary studies, which defined only High Culture as worthy of study, and its replacement, by an anthropological defi nition of culture as ‘ordinary’ – which thus validated the study of popular culture. These days, it is easy to forget just how radical that move was and in any case, as we know, cultural studies has been a major success story, growing from a place on the margins of UK academic culture (as the bastard offspring of English and Sociology) to become an internationally recognised discipline in its own right – a global brand which now has its own canon of Great Works and Great Thinkers, enshrined by the publishing industry in a seemingly endless supply of textbooks. These textbooks constantly re-cycle and re-work the canon of cultural studies in ever new permutations, for presentation to audiences of undergraduate students all over the world, now that it has made its own successful Long March through the institutions of the academic world. There are, of course, both gains and losses here. It is certainly true that, in practical terms, cultural studies’ institutionalisation was vital to its survival. At the same time, that process has had a high price in intellectual terms, as the critical, interdisciplinary thrust of the enterprise, which was always committed to provisional forms of intellectual exploration, originally among postgraduates who had already mastered one of the conventional disciplines, has been blunted by the necessities of teaching it to undergraduates as a fi xed body of new wisdoms. And “therein lies the rub” – in this process of institutionalisation, what had been always provisional has increasingly become fi xed; a canon has had to be formed; judgments made about which pieces of work remain worthy of re-reading, long after their original publication; which authors are to be seen as foundational to the cultural studies approach – and crucially, which books, by which writers, the big classes of First Year undergraduates are to be told they absolutely must read. These days, when I do the first session with our new PhD students at Goldsmiths, I devote myself to deconstructing what they think they know – crucially to deconstructing what I have called elsewhere the “theoretical orthodoxies” which have come to dominate and defi ne the field of cultural studies as it is currently constituted. Of course, the field of cultural studies is no more immune to the vagaries of intellectual fashion than any other discipline and the contents of these dominant orthodoxies changes over time. At present, the particular orthodoxies of which our own students need to be disabused include the fi xation on ethnography as the only ‘respectable’ method of enquiry and the corresponding neglect of all other methodological approaches (especially quantitative ones); the

Canons and orthodoxies | 211 presumption that poststructuralist critiques of essentialism have now enabled the transcendence of all the problems addressed by classical sociology; and the presumption that Foucault’s deconstruction of the imbrications of knowledge and power now renders all forms of realist epistemology redundant. However, in a sense, it hardly matters which particular orthodoxies I nominate among this list – my main ambition is simply to get my students to recognise that all intellectual positions are, by definition, provisional and arguable – and to get them to move away from any assumption that it is in the nature of intellectual work that what came later is always better than that which came earlier, as if we were all involved in some steady and irreversible march towards a revealed ultimate truth. Of course, some of my students then complain that they are confused by my dislodging their certainties – but I reply, quoting a comment relayed to me by Herman Bausinger about his own pedagogic methods, that while, at the end of the course they may still be confused, hopefully they will, by then, be “confused at a higher level.” Naturally, I am not against the formation of canons per se – I think that, as long as they remain open to review, they are both inevitable and necessary. Critically evaluative, comparative judgements of the relative worth of different perspectives and analysis is a vital part of intellectual work. To pre-empt a part of my later argument about the new media of our day, one of the greatest difficulties they seem to me to offer is that of information overload – an endless plethora of alternative views and opinions, presented to us in unmediated form, without the intervention of any process of selection or quality control. To be sure, the democracy of access enabled by the web, which allows anyone to publish their views on any subject at all is, in itself, admirable. However, there is a profound downside to this proliferation of an endless array of not necessarily well-informed comment, which could, if perhaps a little unkindly, be understood to amount to a form of digital narcissism among those who simply take pleasure in announcing their views to the world. In this context, it seems to me that the process of evaluative judgement by properly qualified peer audiences, which underlies the process of canonisation, still has an important role to play. To take an example from my own field of audience research, I think that Stuart Hall’s paper on “Encoding/Decoding TV Discourse” well deserves the canonical status it has now achieved in the field. At its simplest, it has proved itself seminal, by continuing to provide a theoretical starting point and framework from which subsequent generations of audience researchers have been able to the develop their own approaches. In this context, Michael Gurevitch and Paddy Scannell have rightly argued that the value of Hall’s model is principally to be judged with reference to the subsequent body of work which it has spawned and enabled,

212 | David Morley as a seminal text. Here, in effect, their argument echoes the terms of Harold Bloom’s approach to the great texts of the literary tradition, which he argues, are to be judged in terms of what he calls the “anxiety of influence.” If Bloom seems an odd figure to whom to turn in this context, given his visceral dislike of cultural studies, I would argue that his own declared political prejudices should not debar us from recognising the acuity of his analysis of how intellectual influence works, not only in literature, but also in other fields. For Bloom, a great writer is not necessarily one who creates ex nihilo but rather, one who acutely judges which past work continues to be of value – crucially what cannot be cast aside – and thus returns to the key questions and issues set by that previous tradition, to rework them into something which is still new for their own times. In doing so, they also help set the agenda for future work, through their “powers of contamination” on later writers – which, for him is the “pragmatic test for canon formation.” Much as the particular content and political trajectory of Hall’s work would appal Bloom the Encoding/Decoding model clearly passes that test.



Let me now turn to the question of globalisation and the canonical forms of theoretical orthodoxy through which it has now largely come to be understood. Currently, our understanding of the process of globalisation is powerfully informed by a series of linked tropes and metaphors, focussing primarily on the (supposed) instability of our situation. The central concerns of this problematic tend to be Mobility, Fluidity, Flux, Flow, etc – and the principal analytic focus tends to be on processes of Destabilisation, De-territorialisation and De-materialisation. Such analyses tend to produce an abstract ‘Nomadology’ of the Postmodern, or of the ‘Liquid Society’ which presumes that, in contrast to our place-based predecessors, we [whoever that is] are nowadays somehow all equally mobile nomadic subjects of the techno-terrain of an undifferentiated global hyperspace in which we have, among other things, transcended geography. By way of rationale for the need to develop a new perspective on the situation in which we live, we are often told that we live in an age of unprecedented and revolutionary change. My intention is not to deny that an important set of changes are occurring around us, but simply to query some of the unargued assumptions which undergird this increasingly fashionable, and often taken for granted perspective. In the first place, we must note that the emerging orthodoxy of both of globalisation and new media studies is characterised by a dangerously a-historical perspective. Here we might usefully bear in mind the American

Canons and orthodoxies | 213 media scholar, Lynn Spigel’s injunction that the more we speak of the future, the more vital it is that we place the present itself in proper historical perspective, if we are not to replicate the conventional process through which all societies, in all ages, have tended to think of their own times as the genuine “New Days” which mark the Millenial Break with the Old World of the past … or even the “End of History” (Welcome to the Dreamhouse). To establish this, we need look no further than the work of scholars such as Stephen Kern and Wolfgang Schivelbusch – which readily demonstrates that the mid and late nineteenth century represented, in comparative terms, a much more rapid period of technological transformation of everyday experience and indeed, comparatively higher rates of change in the speed and extent of patterns of mobility and migration than does the present day. Secondly, we need to differentiate the argument about how these changes are experienced by people in different sectors of particular societies in distinct geographical locations. That is simply to say that both the “we” and the “nowadays” of the argument about postmodern globalised nomadology need to be rather more carefully specified, if it is to be possible to actually get a grip on what is happening around us, rather than falling into an abstract, a-historical mythology of the techno-global. To put it simply, it is clearly true that contemporary transformations in the speed and reach of both communications and transport technologies do entail significant social and cultural changes. In the classic analysis of postmodernity (as advanced by Frederic Jameson or David Harvey) this was precisely the explanation of the “time-space compression” which they argue to be central to the postmodern experience. The problem is that we do not all experience these transformations in anything like the same way. It is often assumed that such inequalities are simply local or temporary hitches, which will steadily be ameliorated over time, by improving access to communication (in both its physical and virtual senses) so as to make it more equally distributed both within and between nations. However, there is plenty of evidence that new technologies are re-inscribing old forms of inequality in new guises. In this connection Manuel Castells speaks of the emergence of a ‘4th World’ of information poverty and of new forms of ‘2-tier’ citizenship largely defined by differential access to communications. Arjun Appadurai rightly insists that ours is now a world where “moving images meet de-territorialised viewers [in a] mutual contextualising of motion and mediation” and that the conjunction of mass-mediated events and migratory audiences produces “a new order of instability in the production of modern subjectivities” in a situation where “migrant workers in Germany watch Turkish films in their German flats and

214 | David Morley Pakistani cabdrivers in Chicago listen to cassettes of sermons recorded in the mosques of Iran” (Appadurai, 4). In important respects, Appadurai is right about this – but, while migrancy is an important dimension of the contemporary world, not everyone is a migrant, by any means, and most people in most places still live very local lives. To take the case of the UK as one example, most adults still live within 5 miles of where they were born – and the majority of the world’s population still has a very narrow and localised sense of the horizons of action within which they can exert any control on the world around them. Moreover, we must distinguish, within ranks of those who are mobile, between the voluntary and involuntary cosmopolitans – i.e. those who exercise control over their mobility and those who have it forced upon them by external circumstances – and thus between the tourists of the globalised world (whose Visa card ratings make them welcome almost anywhere) and the vagabonds whose lack of visas of any sort often makes their various journeys rather more arduous.



In the following I venture to address the question whether there are periods in history which stimulate or facilitate monumentalisation. I want to develop one or two of my earlier passing comments about the nature of the so-called new media of our day – and about their theorisation in the field of New Media Studies or, as some enthusiasts have named it “Media Studies 2.0.” On the face of it, one might suppose that, given the emphasis on the newness, flexibility and speed of these new media, the period which they are held to constitute, according to some analyses – would be one which was particularly resistant to monumentalisation. Certainly new media theory is marked by a very strong form of iconoclasm – in so far as we are told by its advocates that, given the radical nature of the transformations affected by the computer-driven media of the digital age, all the insights of conventional media studies are now entirely passé, and we must begin again from the theoretical equivalent of Year 0. From this perspective it seems that the best we can do with the key figures of conventional media studies is to knock them down and move them out of town, to the theoretical equivalent of the Parks of the Dead Statues of the deposed heroes of the Soviet era which one can now visit on the outskirts of places like Budapest. The problem here is that the simple removal, or erasure of such monuments is no way to deal with the past – which, unless dealt with more thoughtfully, will always return, as Derrida so aptly put it, to haunt us, in a variety of ghostly ways. Ironically, the iconoclasm of today’s new media theory is accompanied

Canons and orthodoxies | 215 by a burgeoning process of new monumentalisations, in which a new orthodoxy is rapidly being constructed and some surprising figures from the past – such as the long discredited Marshall McLuhan, are now re-sanctified as the true prophets of the digital age, whose insights, we are told, were so far ahead of their time that only now can their true significance be appreciated. Simultaneously, a new pantheon of media theorists (Lev Manovich, Friedrich Kittler, W. J. Mitchell) is now canonised as representing the best insights into the digital world, with the theoretical foundations of their work guaranteed by the philosophical insights of Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, whose work, even if largely conducted 30 years ago, is somehow seen to have an intrinsic fit with the fluid and nonlinear dynamics of today’s digital technologies. However, in this context, it is worth recalling not only James Carey’s claim that the digital age is perhaps best understood as beginning with the invention of the Telegraph in the 1840s, but also that the “rhetorics of the technological sublime” that now surround the new computerised media, similarly accompanied the invention of the “Victorian Internet,” as Tom Standage has described the international telegraph system. The further problem is that so much of the binary division, on which this contrast of old and new media rests, is badly overdrawn. There is, as yet, little sign of the media convergence (in either the realms of production or consumption) which has been so widely trumpeted. The division between analogue and digital media remains rather blurred – and the great expectations of consumer demand for enhanced interactive media services remain, in many places, as yet largely unfulfilled. Moreover, even the newest technologies can be recruited to the most traditional of purposes. There are websites for the conduct of arranged marriages, mobile phone systems designed to ring the faithful to let them know when it is time for prayer – and the most popular website in the UK is one called “Friends Reunited,” offering the thoroughly nostalgic and oldfashioned pleasures of putting old school friends back in touch with each other. The current claims for the specificity of the realm of the interactive media can thus be seen to be woefully exaggerated. Not long ago, I was talking to a young interactive media professional, who referred, in passing, to the contrast between her world and that of the old ‘slouchback’ media. That very phrase clearly connotes a thoroughly negative image of the passive, morally bankrupt, corrupted audiences of ‘couch potatoes’ who are then presumed to have characterised that era – an assumption that we know to be false, from many years of audience research. The ‘netizens’ of the world of the new media then automatically accrue a positive value, by contrast – as they are all presumed to be sitting forward (or, at least, upright) interacting significantly with the new media of their choice. Apart from anything else,

216 | David Morley the problem here is that, as we know, a lot of their activity is of a relatively trivial nature. But there is also a further irony here: Notwithstanding all the hype about the interactive dimensions of these new media, at a conceptual level, most new media theory also returns us, ironically enough, to a place we started out from, long ago – to a technologically determinist version of hypodermic media effects. In this vision, these technologies are seen as inevitably transforming both the world around us and our very subjectivities. It is as if the technologies themselves had the magical capacity to make us all active – or in some visions, even to make us all democratic – a strange form of media effects indeed. Unfortunately, it does seem that the successful installation of the canon of new media theory requires the construction of this false binary between the worlds of the old and the new media, which, among other things, blinds us to their many forms of symbiosis. However, not only is it easy to see that ‘newness’ is by definition, always a historically relative term, as Carolyn Marvin has noted, but the new heroic figures of the internet age – such as the independent-minded hacker or fi le-sharer – turn out, on closer examination, to have close historical precedents, such as the experimental ‘radio hams’ of the early days of that previous technology – and those precedents are, all too often, ignored. Further, in this Manichean conceptual universe, a more fundamental opposition is implicitly constructed between the fast-changing, rational world of modernity itself and the static, irrational world of traditional society. The problem is that, clearly, much of the speed of the contemporary world is counter-productive – and it is, manifestly, itself a world riddled with irrationalities. Not only is “folk culture alive and well inside the world of technology” as Bausinger has argued, but our own attitude towards most of the technologies we use is not easily distinguished from attitudes to magic in so-called primitive societies. Conversely, traditional societies themselves were never static – as any tradition that fails to adapt itself to changing circumstances will rapidly die out. Furthermore, not only do many of the beliefs of traditional societies turn out, on closer examination, to have a profoundly rational basis (as in the case of primitive gift economies), but our own worlds are often equally involved in ritual behaviours, even if they involve new and shinier fetish objects, such as the mobile phone (which might perhaps be best described as the St Christopher’s medallion of our day). To this extent, I would suggest that overcoming this kind of false binarisation/polarisation is the key to developing an analytical model which is adequate to the complexities of our contemporary world, even if this means that we must be a little more careful about the rate at which we pull down the old statues in order to make room for new ones.

Canons and orthodoxies | 217



In this concluding section, I want to address the contemporary transformation of the canonical idea of what a home is. The penetration of a whole raft of media technologies into the home has turned it into what Zygmunt Bauman has called a “phantasmagoric space”, In the mediated home, the realm of the far (conventionally, the source of the strange and the potentially troubling) has now invaded the realm of the near (the traditional site of privacy and of ontological security). In this process, in which home life is now saturated with media representations of elsewhere, the private sphere is socialised and, at the same time, the public sphere is domesticated, so that the domestic space in which they now mingle is neither public nor private in the conventional sense. Thus, if conventionally, ‘home’ has been a fi xed, private place of dwelling and retreat, it has gradually been transformed, by the gradual domestication within its walls, of a wide range of broadcasting and communications technologies, which have literally re-invented it as a space for both work and leisure. Naturally, given the profound sensitivities and anxieties associated with the transformation of such a sacred space, this process has had to proceed by stealth, with new technologies often being introduced into the home in the camouflaged form of traditional designs – thus the latest digital TV may well be accommodated in a Shaker-style wooden cabinet, the better to tame such disruptions as it might entail to the sanctity of the domestic world. Even Bill Gates’ latest version of the fully wired home is shown in his publicity as enshrined in the most conventional of suburban architectures: a bungalow surrounded by carefully tended lawns. However, these days, the wiring which connects the private space of the home to the public sphere outside its walls is no longer an optional extra which might or might not be added to the basic fabric of the house, but is increasingly understood as a necessary and constitutive part of what a home is. Indeed, in the era of the digitalised smart home, where virtual access to a wide range of elsewheres is wired into the infrastructure of the building, the home itself can perhaps now best be understood, in Paul Virilio’s terms, as the “Last Vehicle”, which enables a whole new form of what Raymond Williams in relation to television had originally envisaged as a lifestyle of mobile privatisation. Moreover, the conveniences commonly associated with being at home are no longer necessarily confined to one fi xed geographical site. The advent of the mobile phone, which ensures continuing virtual contact with ones familiars wherever one happens to be geographically, provides for its users a flexible, protective cocoon, which functions as the psychic equivalent of a mobile home or gated community.

218 | David Morley Which brings me, finally to the question of architecture and the current transformation of its canons – because the arguments I have been tracing have by no means been lost on architects. Conventionally, architecture has been about building fi xed physical structures, or monuments – hence its appellation (in metaphoric form) as a frozen music – which transform temporal patterns into spatialised structures. However, recent years have witnessed significant challenges to prevailing notions of architectural durability and monumentality – evidenced by the growth of what has been described as a dematerialised form of architecture. In this process, it is sometimes now said “bits have replaced bricks”, as architects have expanded the range of their building materials to incorporate networked telecommunications, sampled images, auditory environments and cinematic imagery in a new architectural poetics that embraces notions of fluidity, indeterminacy and flux. To this extent, architecture ceases to be monumental, because it is designed in time as much as in space, and changes interactively as a function of its duration. This has given rise to ideas that architecture should now be concerned with the construction of liquid and transmissible forms of electrotecture or datatecture, as living systems, rather than the creation of durable, static buildings and permanent monuments. This is the basis for the recent trend towards smart or intelligent buildings, whose materials are designed as responsive systems that afford greater convenience to their inhabitants or users. At the same time, in the field of design studies, a number of people have begun to investigate the ways in which the conventional solutions – of both building and product design – themselves always create problems. In this connection Kenji Kawakami has explored the realm of what he calls the “unuseless”: The objects he designs (which include a portable pedestrian crossing, a fresh air mask and a pair of lawn-mowing sandals) are intended to defamiliarise the taken-for-granted presumptions and unquestioned premises which are literally built into established forms of design, architecture and urban planning, and thus make us think laterally, so as to consider other, previously unthinkable scenarios. In a similar spirit, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio (and others) have explored the construction of deliberately inefficient technologies (such as a domestic light which only stays on if the people in the room keep talking). Their interventions are designed to encourage a heightened sense of the everyday conventions which we take for granted – problematising the normative rhetoric of the design solutions of how to live which are literally built into in architectural spaces (Betsky). Rather than follow Reyner Banham’s classic injunction that the architect should always seek to create a well-tempered environment, in their Blur Building (constructed on Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland in 2002) they deliberately created an ill-tempered one. Visitors

Canons and orthodoxies | 219 to the building were constantly addressed by recorded voices, which spoke an unintelligible language; the building itself was all but invisible, because it was deliberately shrouded in water vapour – which also meant that visitors had to wear raincoats and hoods, even on sunny days. This work may seem merely playful, but the project has very serious intent: By using technology against itself they aim to encourage the development of a public inventory of critical suspicion of the predominant logics of technical innovation which surround us. These issues can usefully be set in the broader context of concerns with the various ways in which the whole of social life, including now the domestic sphere, is increasingly subordinated to Taylorist principles of scientific management concerned with maximising productivity, efficiency and control. The irony of all this becomes most apparent when we consider the effect of these principles on the latest designs for the smart home (Spigel, “Media Homes”). The latest of these fully interactive homes are constructed so as to encourage us to be continually active – and indeed productive – 24 hours a day. In these homes, lest you should waste time while ambling along the corridor from one room to another, a remote sensor will activate the display screens in the walls, to update you with relevant information of the types which you will have programmed into the home’s central computer. It seems that the logic of this newly canonised set of scientific design principles, far from producing a well-tempered domestic environment for a restful home life, will mean that in the not too distant future, your fridge may reprimand you (at a gradually increasing volume, until you respond) if you leave its door open. Clearly, leaving the door of a fridge open is a wasteful and inefficient thing to do, but we have to ask whether the solution – being bossed around by your own domestic appliances – might perhaps, over time, create more serious problems than it solves.

C ONCLUSION I leave the reader with that slightly troubling image of the bossy fridge as a way of placing the problem of canonisation, and of the institutionalisation and transformation of convention in its most quotidian setting – the domestic kitchen. If a house is, as someone once said, a machine for living, then, as a technology, its architectural design will (literally) have built into it a particular set of taken-for-granted assumptions – and implicit prescriptions – as to what constitutes the Good Life and how we should live it. Hence, it is also here, among the everyday routines of domestic life, just as much as in the higher realms of Theory, that processes of canon-

220 | David Morley formation (and transformation) are in play, which demand our close critical attention.

R EFERENCES Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Bausinger, Hermann. Folk Culture in a World of Technology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990. Bauman, Zygmunt. Globalisation. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998. Betsky, Aaron, K. Michael Hays and Laurie Anderson, eds. The Aberrant Architectures of Diller and Scofidio. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2003. Bloom, Harold. The Western Canon. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994. Carey, James. Communication as Culture. London: Unwin Hyman, 1989. Castells, Manuel. The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1996. Gurevitch, Michael and Paddy Scannell. “Canonisation Achieved? Stuart Hall’s Encoding/Decoding.” Canonic Texts in Media Research. Eds. Elihu Katz et al., Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003. Hall, Stuart. “Encoding/Decoding TV Discourse.” Culture, Media, Language. Ed. Stuart Hall. London: Hutchinson, 1981. Originally published as “Encoding and Decoding in Television Discourse.” CCCS Stencilled Paper 7, University of Birmingham (1973). Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989. Jameson, Fredric. “Postmodernism and Consumer Society.” Postmodern Culture. Ed. Hal Foster. London: Pluto Press, 1985. Kawakami, Kenji. 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions. London: Harper Collins, 1995. Kern, Stephen. The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003. Marvin, Carolyn. When Old Technologies Were New. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Morley, David. “Theoretical Orthodoxies in Cultural Studies.” Cultural Studies in Question. Eds. Marjorie Ferguson and Peter Golding. London: Sage, 1997. Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. The Railway Journey. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. Spigel, Lynn. Welcome to The Dreamhouse. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.

Canons and orthodoxies | 221 Spigel, Lynn. “Media Homes: Then and Now”. International Journal of Cultural Studies 4.4 (2001): 385-411. Standage, Tom. The Victorian Internet. London: Wiedenfield and Nicholson, 1998. Virilio, Paul. Lost Dimension. New York: Semiotext(e), 1991. Williams, Raymond. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. Glasgow: Collins, 1974.


Aleida Assmann is Professor at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Constance. As a visiting professor, she has also taught at Rice University, Princeton University, Yale University, and at the University of Vienna. She has published widely on the history of reading and the concept of cultural memory. Her monographs include: Der lange Schatten der Vergangenheit: Erinnerungskultur und Geschichtspolitik (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2006), Das kulturelle Gedächtnis an der Millenniumsschwelle: Krise und Zukunft der Bildung (Constance: UVK, 2004), Erinnerungsräume: Formen und Wandlungen des kulturellen Gedächtnisses (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1999 [3rd ed. 2006]), Zeit und Tradition: Kulturelle Strategien der Dauer (Cologne: Böhlau, 1999). Together with Jan Assman, she is the editor of the series Archäologie der literarischen Kommunikation (Munich). Peter Burleigh teaches English Language and Cultural Studies courses at the University of Basel. He holds a Masters degree in Linguistics from Oxford University and a Diploma in Communications from Goldsmiths College, London. He is working on a PhD project in the field of history of photography with particular reference to early nineteenth-century British photographers. Nour Dados is completing a doctoral thesis at the University of Technology Sydney, where she teaches Cultural Studies and Social Inquiry. Her research is in place, memory and the politics of translation. Research papers related to her PhD entitled Lost and Found in Beirut: Memory and Place in Narratives of the City have been published in refereed journals and presented at conferences in Australia and internationally. Nour Dados

224 | Contributors is also an accredited translator with published translations in English of contemporary Lebanese non-fiction writing. Péter Dávidházi is Professor of English Literature at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and Head of the Department of 19th-century Literature at the Institute for Literary Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. As a visiting professor, he has also taught at the University of California, Irvine. His publications in English include The Romantic Cult of Shakespeare: Literary Reception in Anthropological Perspective (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998), Shakespeare and Hungary (co-edited with Holger Klein; Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1996) as well as essays in Shakespeare Survey and the Shakespeare Jahrbuch. In 2006, he was awarded the Széchenyi Prize (the highest Hungarian prize for scholars and scientists). Lisbeth Fuisz completed her PhD in 2006 with a thesis on the representation of education in twentieth-century U.S. culture at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. She has published three articles on the fiction of Willa Cather. Nicola Glaubitz holds a PhD in English Literature at the University of Siegen. She worked as a research assistant at the DFG-sponsored Research Centre “Medienumbrüche/Media Upheavals,” Siegen, and is now the centre’s research coordinator. She has published on literature and philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, on 20th-century literature and its relation to audiovisual media, and on animated fi lm. She is currently working on a book about Patricia Highsmith. Andrew Hui is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. His research interests include the European Renaissance, the afterlife of antiquity, the history of the epic and lyric, and the intersection between philology, hermeneutics and philosophy. He is currently completing his dissertation entitled The Poetics of Ruins: Vestigia, Monuments, and Writing Rome in Renaissance Poetry. Ihor Junyk is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada. Since 2005, he has also been a Visiting Professor at the MA Center for Cultural Studies and Sociology at Ivan Franko National University in L’viv, Ukraine. He has published several essays in the field of Cultural Studies and recently completed a book project with the title Foreign Modernism: Cosmopolitanism, Identity, and Style in Paris, 1895-1937. His research interests include trauma, memory and history.

From moment to monument | 225 Christoph Lindner is Associate Professor of Film and Literature at Northern Illinois University and a Research Affi liate at the University of London Institute in Paris. His main scholarly interests are in the interdisciplinary study of urban space and cultural production (including architecture, fi lm, literature and photography). Recent and forthcoming books include Globalization, Violence, and the Visual Culture of Cities (London: Routledge, 2009); Urban Space and Cityscapes (London: Routledge, 2006); Fictions of Commodity Culture (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003); and The James Bond Phenomenon (Manchester UP, 2003). He is currently completing an interdisciplinary study of urban modernity entitled Imagining New York City. David Morley is Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is the author of The Nationwide Audience (BFI, 1980) and of Television, Audiences and Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 1992). His more recent publications include Home Territories Media, Mobility and Identity (London: Routledge, 2000), British Cultural Studies (Oxford UP, 2001, co-edited with Kevin Robins), Media and Cultural Theory (London: Routledge, 2004, co-edited with James Curran), and, most recently, Media, Modernity and Technology: The Geography of the New (London: Routledge, 2006). Benjamin Morris is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. A native of Mississippi, his academic work examines the relationship between culture, cultural heritage, and the environment, focusing specifically on the rebuilding process in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Previously educated at Duke University and the University of Edinburgh, he has held a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship at Cambridge, where he is also co-convenor of “The Cultures of Climate Change” interdisciplinary research group at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). His creative work (poetry and prose) has been published widely and won recognition in both the US and the UK. Lily Saint is a PhD candidate in English at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her dissertation Sympathy with the Devil: Intersubjectivity in Black and “Coloured” South African Writing looks at the relationship between imaginative production and sympathy both during and after apartheid. Research interests include postcolonial fiction and theory, translation studies, and race and gender studies. She teaches at Baruch College, CUNY.

226 | Contributors Ann Thompson is Professor of English Language and Literature at King’s College, London. She has also taught at the University of Liverpool, Roehampton University, London, and, as a visiting professor, at the Universities of Cincinnati and Hawaii. She is a General Editor of the Arden Shakespeare and she has edited The Taming of the Shrew for Cambridge (1984, updated 2003) and all three texts of Hamlet for Arden (co-edited with Neil Taylor, 2006). Other publications include Shakespeare’s Chaucer (Liverpool UP, 1978), Shakespeare, Meaning and Metaphor (co-authored with John O. Thompson; Harvester: University Press Iowa, 1987) and Women Reading Shakespeare 1660-1900 (co-edited with Sasha Roberts; Manchester UP, 1997). Patrick Vincent is Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He is the author of The Romantic Poetess: European Culture, Politics and Gender, 1820-1840. (Durham: University of New Hampshire Press, 2004) and of many essays in the field of Romanticism, and has co-edited American Poetry: Whitman to the Present (Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 2006).

E DITOR S Main editors

Ladina Bezzola Lambert has taught English literature at the Universities of Basel, Zurich and Constance. She is the author of Imagining the Unimaginable: The Poetics of Early Modern Astronomy (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002) as well as several essays in the field of 16th- and 17th-century literature. Together with Balz Engler, she co-edited Shifting the Scene: Shakespeare in European Culture (Delaware UP, 2004). Her current book project is concerned with friendship and the definition of identity in early modern England. Andrea Ochsner is a PhD candidate at the English Department of the University of Basel, where she also teaches English Literature and Cultural Studies courses. Her research interests include critical and cultural theory, masculinities, and the sociology of culture, and her current research examines the notion of masculinity in British male-authored fiction of the 1990s. She has also taught media and cultural studies courses at the University of Berne.

From moment to monument | 227 Assistant editors

Regula Hohl Trillini teaches English literature at the University of Basel, where she is also co-ordinating the development of the HyperHamlet database ( in a trans-disciplinary collaboration between linguists and literary scholars. Her research interests include Shakespeare reception history, intertextuality and Word-and-Music Studies. She is the author of The Gaze of the Listener: English Representations of Domestic MusicMaking (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008). Jennifer Jermann has taught English language courses at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland). She has translated and edited Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 1 for the bilingual Englisch-Deutsche Studienausgabe der Dramen Shakespeares (Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2003) and is currently working on Henry VI, Part 2 for the same edition. Markus Marti teaches literature and cultural studies at the Department of English of the University of Basel. He has translated and edited Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens (Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 1995) and Titus Andronicus (Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2008) for the bilingual EnglischDeutsche Studienausgabe der Dramen Shakespeares for which he won the Helene-Richter prize in 2008, and is currently working on Macbeth for the same edition.