Self-Analysis in Literary Study: Exploring Hidden Agendas 9780814769393

What makes one reader look for issues of social conformity in Kafka's Metamorphosis while another concentrates on t

184 83 90MB

English Pages [231] Year 2021

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Self-Analysis in Literary Study: Exploring Hidden Agendas
 9780814769393

Citation preview

Self-Analysis i n Literar y Stud y

Literature an d Psychoanalysi s General Editor : Jeffrey Berma n i. The Beginning of Terror: A Psychological Study of Rainer Maria Rilke's Life and Work by Davi d Kleinbar d 2. Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Women: Metaphors of Projection in the Works of Wyndham Lewis, Charles Williams, and Graham Greene by Andrea Freu d Loewenstei n 3. Literature and the Relational Self by Barbar a An n Schapir o 4. Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity by Marshal l W. Alcorn , Jr . 5. Reading Freud's Reading edited b y Sande r Gilman , Jutta Birmele , Jay Geller , an d Valerie D. Greenber g 6. Self-Analysis in Literary Study: Exploring Hidden Agendas edited b y Daniel Rancour-Laferrier e 7. The Transformation of Rage: Mourning and Creativity in George Eliot's Fiction by Pegg y Fitzhugh Johnston e

Self-Analysis i n Literary Stud y Exploring Hidde n Agenda s

Edited by Daniel Rancour-Laferriere

NEW YOR K UNIVERSIT Y PRES S New York and Londo n

NEW YOR K UNIVERSIT Y PRES S New Yor k an d Londo n © 199 4 Chapter 3 by Norma n N . Holland ; chapter s 1 , 2, 4-8 b y New Yor k Universit y All rights reserve d Library o f Congres s Cataloging-in-Publicatio n Dat a Self-analysis i n literar y stud y : exploring hidde n agenda s / edite d b y Daniel Rancour-Laferriere . p. cm.—(Literatur e an d psychoanalysis ; 6) Includes bibliographica l reference s an d index . Contents: Introductio n : self-analysis enhance s other-analysis / Daniel Rancour-Laferriere—"Th e grie f tha t doe s not speak " : suicide, mourning , an d psychoanalyti c teachin g /Jeffrey Berman — How I got m y languag e / Davi d Bleich— A cyberreade r defend s / Norman N . Holland—Pulkheri a Alexandrovn a an d Raskolnikov, m y mother an d m e / Bernar d J. Paris—Wh y Natash a bump s he r head : the value of self-analysi s i n th e application o f psychoanalysis t o literature / Danie l Rancou r Laferriere—Wim p o r faggot? : subjective consideration s i n understanding th e alienation o f Dostoevsky's Undergroun d Ma n / Steve n Rosen—Attunement an d interpretation : reading Virginia Woolf / Barbar a An n Schapiro — Unearthing burie d affect s an d association s i n reading : the case of the Justified sinne r / Michae l Steig . ISBN 0-8147-7439- 3 I. Psychoanalysi s an d literature . 2 . Critics—Psychology . 3. Self-analysi s (Psychoanalysis ) I . Rancour-Laferriere , Daniel . II. Series . PN56.P92S45 199 4 8 0 1 ' . 9 2 — d c 20 94-1974

6

CIP

New Yor k Universit y Pres s books ar e printed o n acid-fre e paper , an d their bindin g material s ar e chosen fo r strengt h an d durability . Manufactured i n th e United State s of Americ a 1

0

9

8

7

6

5

4

32

1

Contents

Foreword Jeffrey Berman vii Contributors xii i Introduction: Self-Analysi s Enhance s Other-Analysi s Daniel Rancour-Laferriere i i. "Th e Grie f Tha t Doe s No t Speak" : Suicide, Mourning , an d Psychoanalytic Teachin g Jeffrey Berman 3 5 2. Ho w I Got M y Language : Forms o f Self-Inclusio n David Bleich 5 5 3. A Cyberreade r Defend s Norman

N. Holland 8

4

4. Pulkheri a Alexandrovn a an d Raskolnikov , M y Mothe r and M e Bernard J. Paris 11 1 5. Wh y Natash a Bump s He r Head : The Value of Self-Analysi s in the Application o f Psychoanalysi s t o Literatur e Daniel Rancour-Laferriere 13 0 6. Wim p o r Faggot ? Subjectiv e Consideration s i n Understanding th e Alienation o f Dostoevsky' s Undergroun d Ma n Steven Rosen 14 5 7. Attunemen t an d Interpretation : Readin g Virginia Wool f Barbara Ann Schapiro 17 8 8. Unearthin g Burie d Affect s an d Associations i n Reading: The Cas e of the Justified Sinne r Michael Steig 19 0 Index 20

9

v

Foreword

As Ne w Yor k Universit y Pres s inaugurate s a ne w serie s o f book s o n literature an d psychoanalysis , i t seem s appropriat e t o paus e an d reflec t briefly upo n th e histor y o f psychoanalyti c literar y criticism . Fo r a cen tury no w i t has struggled t o defin e it s relationship t o it s two contentiou s progenitors an d com e o f age . Afte r glancin g a t its origins , w e ma y b e i n a better position t o speculat e on it s future . Psychoanalytic literar y criticis m wa s conceive d a t the precise momen t in whic h Freud , reflectin g upo n hi s self-analysis , mad e a connection t o two plays and thus gave us a radically new approach t o reading literature . Writing t o hi s frien d Wilhel m Flies s i n 1897 , Freu d breathlessl y ad vanced th e ide a tha t "lov e o f th e mothe r an d jealous y o f th e father " ar e universal phenomen a o f earl y childhoo d (Origins, zzyi^). H e referre d immediately t o th e grippin g powe r o f Oedipus Rex an d Hamlet fo r confirmation of , an d perhap s inspiratio n for , hi s compellin g perceptio n of famil y drama , namin g his theory th e "Oedipu s complex " afte r Sopho cles' legendary fictional hero . Freud acknowledge d repeatedl y hi s indebtednes s t o literature , my thology, an d philosophy . Ther e i s no doub t tha t h e was a great human ist, steepe d i n worl d literature , abl e t o rea d severa l language s an d rang e across disciplinar y boundaries . H e regarde d creativ e writer s a s allies , investigating the same psychic terrain an d intuiting similar human truths . "[PJsycho-analytic observatio n mus t conced e priorit y o f imaginativ e writers," h e declare d i n 190 1 i n The Psych opathology of Everyday Life (SE 6213) , a concessio n h e wa s generall y happ y t o make . Th e onl y exceptions wer e writer s lik e Schopenhauer , Nietzsche , an d Schnitzler , whom h e avoided readin g because of th e anxiety o f influence. H e quote d Vll

viii Forewor

d

effortlessly fro m Sophocles , Shakespeare , Goethe , an d Dostoevsky , an d was himsel f a maste r pros e stylist , th e recipien t o f th e covete d Goeth e Prize i n 1930 . Whe n h e wa s considere d fo r th e Nobe l Prize , i t wa s no t for medicin e bu t fo r literature . Upo n bein g greete d a s th e discovere r o f the unconscious, h e disclaimed th e title and instead paid generou s tribut e to th e poets an d philosophers wh o preceded him . And ye t Freud's foray s int o literary criticis m have not bee n welcome d uniformly b y creativ e writers, largel y becaus e o f hi s allegianc e to scienc e rather tha n art . Despit e hi s admiratio n fo r art , h e viewed th e artis t a s an introvert, no t fa r remove d fro m neurosis . Th e artist , h e wrote i n a wellknown passag e i n th e Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (1916 17), "i s oppresse d b y excessivel y powerfu l instinctua l needs . H e desire s to wi n honour , power , wealth , fam e an d th e lov e o f women ; bu t h e lacks th e mean s fo r achievin g thes e satisfactions " (SE 16376) . Conse quently, Freu d argued , artist s retrea t fro m realit y int o th e worl d o f fantasy, wher e the y attemp t t o mak e thei r dream s com e true . Whil e conceding tha t tru e artist s manag e t o shap e thei r daydream s i n suc h a way a s t o fin d a path bac k t o reality , thu s fulfillin g thei r wishes , Freu d nevertheless theorize d ar t a s a substitut e gratification . Littl e wonder , then, tha t fe w artist s have been pleased with Freud' s pronouncements . Nor hav e man y artist s bee n sympatheti c t o Freud' s preoccupatio n with sexualit y an d aggression ; hi s deterministi c visio n o f huma n life ; hi s combative, polemica l temperament ; hi s self-fulfillin g belie f tha t psycho analysis bring s ou t th e wors t i n people ; an d hi s imperialisti c clai m tha t psychoanalysis, whic h h e regarde d a s hi s persona l creation , woul d ex plore an d conque r vas t new territories . H e chos e as the epigrap h fo r The Interpretation of Dreams (1900 ) a quotation fro m The Aeneid "Flecter e si neque o superos , Acheront a movebo " ("I f I canno t ben d th e Highe r Powers, I wil l mov e th e Inferna l Regions") . Althoug h h e denie d tha t there wa s anythin g Promethea n abou t hi s work , h e regarde d himsel f a s one o f th e disturber s o f th e world' s sleep . Th e ma n wh o asserte d tha t "psycho-analysis i s i n a position t o spea k th e decisiv e wor d i n al l ques tions tha t touc h upo n th e imaginativ e lif e o f man " (SE 19208 ) coul d hardly expec t t o wi n man y convert s amon g creativ e writers , wh o wer e no les s familiar wit h th e imaginative life o f humankind an d who resente d his intrusion int o thei r domain . Freud viewe d psychoanalyst s a s scientists , committe d t o th e realit y principle an d t o heroi c self-renunciation . H e perceive d artists , b y con -

Foreword i

x

trast—and women—a s neuroti c an d highl y narcissistic , devote d t o th e pleasure principle , intuitin g mysteriou s truth s whic h the y coul d no t rationally understand . "Kindl y natur e ha s give n th e artis t th e abilit y t o express hi s mos t secre t menta l impulses , whic h ar e hidde n eve n fro m himself," he stated in Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood in 191 0 (SE 11107) . Th e artist , i n Freud' s judgment , create s beauty , bu t the psychoanalys t analyze s it s meanin g an d "penetrates " it , wit h al l th e phallic implication s thereof . A s muc h a s h e admire d artists , Freu d di d not wan t t o giv e the m credi t fo r knowin g wha t the y ar e doing . More over, althoug h h e alway s referre d t o artist s a s male, h e assume d tha t ar t itself wa s essentiall y female ; an d h e was draw n t o th e "seductive " natur e of ar t eve n a s he resisted it s embrace, les t he lose his masculine analytica l power. H e wante d t o b e called a scientist, no t a n artist . From th e beginning of his career, then , th e marriage Freud envisione d between th e artis t an d th e analys t was distinctly unequa l an d patriarchal . For their part, mos t creativ e writers have remained wary of psychoanaly sis. Fran z Kafka , Jame s Joyce, an d D . H . Lawrenc e wer e fascinate d b y psychoanalytic theor y an d appropriate d it , i n varyin g degrees , i n thei r stories, bu t the y al l remained skeptica l o f Freud' s therapeuti c claim s an d declined t o be analyzed . Most artist s d o no t wan t t o b e "cured, " fearin g tha t thei r creativit y will b e imperiled , an d the y certainl y d o no t wan t psychoanalyst s t o probe thei r work ; the y agre e wit h Wordswort h tha t t o dissec t i s t o murder. Vladimi r Nabokov' s sardoni c referenc e t o Freu d a s th e "Vien nese witc h doctor " an d hi s contemptuou s dismissa l o f psychoanalysi s as blac k magi c ar e extrem e example s o f creativ e writers ' mistrus t o f psychoanalytic interpretation s o f literature . "[A]l l m y book s shoul d b e stamped Freudian s Kee p Out, " Naboko v write s i n Bend Sinister (xii) . Humbert Humber t speak s fo r hi s creato r whe n h e observe s i n Lolita that th e differenc e betwee n th e rapis t an d therapis t i s bu t a matte r o f spacing (147). Freud neve r lost faith tha t psychoanalysis coul d cas t light upon a wide variety o f academi c subjects . I n th e shor t essa y "O n th e Teachin g o f Psycho-Analysis i n Universities " (1919) , h e maintaine d tha t hi s ne w science ha s a role no t onl y i n medica l school s bu t als o i n th e "solution s of problems " i n art , philosophy , religion , literature , mythology , an d history. "Th e fertilizin g effect s o f psycho-analyti c though t o n thes e other disciplines, " Freu d wrot e enthusiastically , "woul d certainl y con -

x Forewor

d

tribute greatl y toward s forgin g a closer link , i n th e sens e of a universitas literarum, betwee n medica l scienc e an d th e branche s o f learnin g whic h lie withi n th e spher e o f philosoph y an d th e arts " (SE 17173) . Regretta bly, h e di d no t envisio n i n th e sam e essay a cross-fertilization, a desire, that is , for othe r discipline s t o pollinate psychoanalysis . Elsewhere, though , Freu d was willing to acknowledge a more recipro cal relationshi p betwee n th e analys t an d th e creativ e writer . H e opene d his first publishe d essay o n literar y criticism , "Delusion s an d Dream s i n Jensen's Gradiva" (1907) , wit h th e egalitaria n statemen t tha t "creativ e writers ar e value d allie s an d thei r evidenc e i s t o b e highl y prized , fo r they ar e apt t o kno w a whole host o f thing s betwee n heave n an d eart h of which ou r philosoph y ha s no t ye t le t u s dream " (SE 98) , a n allusio n t o his beloved Hamlet' s affirmatio n o f th e mystery o f al l things. Concedin g that literar y artist s hav e been , fro m tim e immemorial , precursor s t o scientists, Freu d conclude d tha t th e "creativ e write r canno t evad e th e psychiatrist no r th e psychiatrist th e creativ e writer, an d th e poetic treat ment o f a psychiatri c them e ca n tur n ou t t o b e correc t withou t an y sacrifice o f it s beauty" (SE 944). It i s i n th e spiri t o f thi s equa l partnershi p betwee n literatur e an d psychoanalysis tha t Ne w Yor k Universit y Pres s launche s th e presen t series. W e inten d t o publis h book s tha t ar e genuinel y interdisciplinary , theoretically sophisticated , an d clinicall y informed . Th e literar y critic' s insights int o psychoanalysis ar e no less valuable than th e psychoanalyst' s insights int o literature . Gon e ar e th e day s whe n psychoanalyti c critic s assumed tha t Freu d ha d a master ke y t o unloc k th e secret s o f literature . Instead o f readin g literatur e t o confir m psychoanalyti c theory , man y critics ar e no w readin g Freu d t o discove r ho w hi s understandin g o f literature shape d th e evolutio n o f hi s theory . I n short , th e master-slav e relationship traditionall y implici t i n th e marriag e betwee n th e literar y critic an d th e psychoanalys t ha s give n wa y t o a healthie r dialogi c rela tionship, i n whic h eac h learn s fro m an d contribute s t o th e other' s disci pline. Indeed, th e prevailing ideas of the late twentieth centur y ar e strikingl y different fro m thos e o f th e lat e nineteent h century , whe n literatur e an d psychoanalysis wer e first allied . I n contras t t o Freud , wh o assume d he wa s discoverin g absolut e truth , w e no w believ e tha t knowledge , particularly i n th e humanitie s an d socia l sciences , i s relativ e an d depen dent upo n cultura l contexts . Freud' s classica l driv e theory , wit h it s

Foreword x

i

mechanistic implication s o f cathecti c energy , ha s give n wa y t o newe r relational model s suc h a s object relations , sel f psychology , an d interper sonal psychoanalysis , affirmin g th e importanc e o f huma n interaction . Many earl y psychoanalyti c ideas , suc h a s th e deat h instinc t an d th e phylogenetic transmissio n o f memories , hav e falle n b y th e wayside , and Freud' s theorizin g o n femal e psycholog y ha s bee n recognize d a s a reflection o f his cultural bias . Significant development s hav e also taken plac e in psychoanalytic liter ary theory . A n extraordinar y variet y an d synthesi s o f competin g ap proaches hav e emerged , includin g post-Freudian , Jungian , Lacanian , Horneyan, feminist , deconstructive , psycholinguistic , an d reade r re sponse. Interes t i n psychoanalytic literar y criticis m i s at an all-time high , not jus t i n th e handfu l o f journal s devote d t o psychologica l criticism , but i n dozen s o f mainstrea m journal s tha t hav e traditionall y avoide d psychological approache s t o literature . Scholar s ar e working o n identit y theory, narcissism , gende r theory , mournin g an d loss , an d creativity . Additionally, the y ar e investigating ne w areas , suc h a s composition the ory an d pedagogy , an d explorin g th e role s o f resistance , transference , and countertransferenc e i n the classroom . "In th e en d w e depen d / O n th e creature s w e made," Freu d observe d at the close of hi s life (Letters, 425) , quotin g fro m Goethe' s Faust; and i n the en d psychoanalyti c literar y criticis m depend s o n th e scholar s wh o continue t o shap e it . Al l seriou s scholarshi p i s a n ac t o f lov e an d devo tion, an d fo r man y o f th e author s i n thi s series , includin g myself , psy choanalytic literar y criticis m ha s becom e a consumin g passion , i n som e cases a lifelong one . Lik e othe r passions , ther e i s an elemen t o f idealiza tion here . Fo r despit e ou r criticism s o f Freud , w e stan d i n aw e o f hi s achievements; an d eve n a s w e recogniz e th e limitation s o f an y singl e approach t o literature , w e find tha t psychoanalysi s ha s profoundl y illu minated th e human conditio n an d inspired countles s artists . I n the word s of th e fictional "Freud " i n D . M . Thomas' s extraordinar y nove l The White Hotel (1981) , "Lon g ma y poetr y an d psychoanalysi s continu e t o highlight, fro m thei r differen t perspectives , th e huma n fac e i n al l it s nobility an d sorrow " (14 3 n.). JEFFREY BERMA N Professor of English State University of New York at Albany

Contributors

JEFFREY BERMA N i s Professo r o f Englis h a t th e Stat e Universit y o f New Yor k a t Albany . DAVID BLEIC H i s Professor o f English a t the University o f Rochester . NORMAN N . H O L L A N D i s Marston-Milbaue r Professo r o f Englis h at the University o f Florid a in Gainesville . BERNARD J . PARI S i s Professor o f Englis h a t th e Universit y o f Flor ida in Gainesville . DANIEL RANCOUR-LAFERRIER E i s Professo r o f Russia n a t th e University o f Californi a i n Davis. STEVEN ROSE N i s Professo r o f Englis h a t Sain t Peter' s Colleg e i n Jersey City , Ne w Jersey . BARBARA A N N SCHAPIR O i s Professor o f Englis h a t Rhod e Islan d College in Providence . MICHAEL STEI G i s Professor o f Englis h a t Simon Fraser University i n Burnaby, Britis h Columbia .

xiii

Self-Analysis i n Literar y Stud y

Introduction: Self-Analysi s Enhances Other-Analysi s Daniel Rancour-Laferriere

Self-Analysis Private and Public To practic e psychoanalysi s is , amon g othe r things , t o thin k abou t one self. I t i s nearl y impossibl e t o conduc t other-analysi s withou t als o con ducting self-analysis . A t th e sam e time , however , i t i s uncommon t o g o public wit h one' s self-analysis . On e ca n normall y ge t o n wit h th e wor k of treatin g patients , o r psychoanalyzin g cultura l object s an d practices , without havin g to sa y too much abou t onesel f i n the process. This volum e o f essays i s mean t t o b e a n exception . It s purpos e i s t o make publi c self-analyti c materia l i n orde r t o demonstrat e th e relevanc e of suc h material specificall y fo r literar y study . Much o f cours e ha s alread y bee n writte n abou t th e psycholog y o f reader respons e t o literatur e (e.g. , Hollan d 1968 ; Bleich ; Seilma n an d Larsen). Usually , however , th e reade r whos e response s ar e analyze d i s not th e schola r wh o i s doin g th e analysis , o r a t leas t i s no t admitte d t o be the scholar who is doing the analysis. O n occasio n th e question o f th e scholar's ow n transferenc e i s deal t wit h o n a theoretica l leve l (e.g. , Schwartz), bu t ver y rarel y wil l th e schola r actuall y describ e i n detai l hi s or he r ow n specifi c response s t o a give n literar y tex t (a s di d Hollan d 1975, f ° r example) . Publi c self-analysi s require s rar e exhibitionisti c drive, an d i t i s alway s limite d i n it s dept h an d detai l b y th e obviou s dangers t o onesel f an d t o loved ones . Another reaso n s o little public self-analysis occur s in literary interpre 1

2 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e tation i s that self-analysi s entail s a n admissio n tha t literar y scholarshi p i s derived, secondary , i s i n a sens e litterature manquee. I n othe r words , many literar y scholar s canno t handl e th e anxiet y o f belatedness , o r wha t Harold Bloo m woul d cal l th e anxiet y o f influence . Geoffre y Hartma n has writte n somethin g lik e a self-analysi s o n thi s them e ("Th e Inter preter: A Self-Analysis") . Outside o f th e literar y field per se ther e ha s bee n som e theoretica l treatment o f the role that the investigator's ow n psyche plays in scholarl y and scientifi c researc h (e.g. , Schepeler ; Devereu x 148-61 ; Lawto n 8 1 94; Rancour-Laferrier e 1988 , 28-35 ; Loewenber g 3-13 ; an d especiall y the variou s paper s gathere d i n Introspection in Biography edite d b y Baron an d Pletsch) . Ther e als o exist s a numbe r o f "confessions " b y scholars abou t th e persona l motive s behin d thei r wor k (e.g. , Tucker ; Edel). Finally , ther e i s a n extensiv e clinica l literatur e o n so-calle d coun tertransference, whic h I will discuss below . Most o f th e publication s o n self-analysi s ar e t o b e foun d i n th e psy choanalytic literatur e proper . Freu d starte d i t al l wit h th e fairl y larg e doses o f self-analysi s h e provide d i n hi s writing s fro m th e perio d 1895 1901, tha t is , whe n h e wa s i n th e proces s o f inventin g psychoanalysis . Indeed, i t i s doubtfu l whethe r Freu d woul d eve r hav e com e u p wit h such absolutely fundamenta l psychoanalyti c concept s as the dream work , family romance , fre e association , infantil e sexuality , Oedipu s complex , primal scene , regression , scree n memories , th e unconscious , wish-ful fillment, an d a numbe r o f others , outsid e o f th e contex t o f progres s i n his ow n self-analysi s (Anzieu) . Freud' s self-analysi s di d no t stop , more pver, onc e th e inventio n o f psychoanalysi s wa s complete . Rather , i t continued (althoug h usuall y no t i n publi c form ) fo r th e res t o f hi s life , because h e felt i t was a n ongoin g antidot e t o th e danger s o f misinterpre tation du e to his own transferences . Like psychoanalyti c therap y generally , self-analysi s i s neve r trul y complete (Freu d [hereafte r cite d a s SE] XXIII, 249 ; Anzieu 559 ; Fleming 21-50; Kramer ; Ticho ; Calder; Beiser ; Chessick) . Freu d terme d analysi s "interminable." I prefe r "asymptotic. " A t best , analysi s move s asymp totically towar d a poin t o f maximu m possibl e insight , give n th e situa tion, an d the n move s o n towar d othe r points , neve r t o actuall y touc h any on e of them . The asymptosi s ca n b e discouraging . Freu d onc e state d tha t "genuin e self-analysis i s impossible ; otherwis e ther e woul d b e n o [neurotic ] ill -

Introduction 3 ness" (SE XIV, 21) . I believe thi s ide a is wrong, however , fo r i t is based on th e questionable assertio n tha t analyti c insight necessarily cures . Self-analysis i s easie r tha n analysi s o f someon e els e i n th e sens e that , in self-analysis , on e ha s t o overcom e onl y on e se t o f defense s (one' s own), whil e i n other-analysi s on e ha s t o overcom e tw o set s o f defense s (one's own an d the other's). Also, on e should, i n principle, kno w onesel f better tha n anyon e els e does , fo r al l th e materia l t o b e know n i s con tained within oneself . On th e othe r hand , i n self-analysi s th e potentia l fo r distortio n o f reality is great. A s Devereux says , self-scrutin y "demand s tha t the ego— composed i n part of defenses against insight—apprais e its own reluctance to face reality " (149) . Freud asserte d tha t "i n self-analysi s th e dange r o f incompletenes s i s particularly great . On e i s to o soo n satisfie d wit h a par t explanation , behind whic h resistanc e ma y easil y b e keepin g bac k somethin g tha t i s more importan t perhaps " (SE XIV , 21) . A recen t pape r b y Henr y Mal lard illustrate s thi s incompletenes s al l to o clearly . Mallar d give s tw o examples o f self-analyse s (on e b y a patient , on e b y himself ) whic h subsequently prove d incomplet e whe n scrutinize d b y a n outside party . But th e results o f self-analysi s ar e not necessaril y false , eve n if they b e partial o r somewha t distorted . I f practiced , moreover , fo r a long perio d of time , self-analysi s ca n provid e ever-expandin g insigh t (Chessic k re ports carryin g o n a self-analysis fo r ove r 2 5 years afte r hi s initial trainin g analysis). Freu d himsel f neve r gav e u p o n hi s ow n self-analysis , an d h e advocated tha t therapist s analyz e themselve s o n a n ongoin g basis . Th e benefits, h e believed , outweighe d th e disadvantages . Mos t subsequen t clinical writer s o n th e subjec t hav e als o com e dow n i n favo r o f self analysis, eve n while recognizing it s many pitfalls (e.g. : Horney; Kramer ; Bollas; Ticho; Calder; Beiser ; Chessick) . The benefit s o f self-analysis , I believe, ar e particularly grea t when th e goal i s no t therapy , bu t intellectual discovery in the realm of applied psychoanalysis. No t muc h ha s been written abou t thi s topic because mos t psychoanalysts ar e preoccupied wit h therap y (indee d mos t of th e clinica l writers o n self-analysi s see m absolutel y obliviou s t o applie d psychoanal ysis). Bu t eve n the limited insight s o f self-analysi s ma y have considerabl e scientific consequences . Thes e insights , moreover , ca n b e achieve d b y scholars who, lik e Freud, hav e no formal trainin g analysi s behind them . Consider a n exampl e fro m th e histor y o f psychoanalysis . Freud , a s is

4 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e well known , sa w homosexua l wishe s lurkin g behin d Her r Schreber' s paranoid fantasies . Th e judge' s unjustifie d fears , paraphrase d b y Freu d as "H e persecute s me, " reall y signifie d " I lov e him " a t a deep , uncon scious leve l (SE XII , 63) . Thi s controversia l clai m wa s evidentl y true , for i t ha s largel y withstoo d th e falsifyin g onslaught s o f experimenta l psychology. Pau l Kline , i n his meticulous overvie w o f th e empirical test s of psychoanalyti c theories , say s tha t "th e Freudia n theor y o f paranoi d schizophrenia i s confirmed" (340) . I n on e study , fo r example , paranoid s recognized tachistoscopicall y presente d homosexua l word s ("fruit, " "fairy," "homos, " "queer, " etc. ) muc h mor e quickl y tha n di d non paranoids (Daston) . What wa s ther e abou t Freud' s self-analysi s tha t migh t hav e contrib uted t o hi s discover y o f th e homosexua l etiolog y o f paranoia ? I n a recent pape r Phylli s Grosskurt h ha s show n tha t Freu d ma y hav e bee n projecting somethin g o f his homosexual sel f int o Schreber . Indee d Freu d came t o recogniz e hi s ow n homosexua l preoccupation s precisel y durin g the cours e o f hi s stud y o f Schreber' s memoirs : "th e cas e seem s t o hav e provided Freu d wit h a n opportunity t o work ou t som e of his unresolve d difficulties abou t th e homosexual componen t o f his own intens e relation ship wit h Wilhel m Fliess , fro m who m h e ha d parte d bitterl y a decad e earlier" (38) . A s evidence , Grosskurt h quote s fro m a letter Freu d wrot e to Sando r Ferencz i i n Octobe r o f 1910 : "Sinc e Fliess' s case , wit h th e overcoming o f whic h yo u recentl y sa w m e occupied , tha t nee d ha s bee n extinguished. A par t o f homosexua l cathexi s ha s bee n withdraw n an d made us e o f t o enlarg e m y ow n ego . I hav e succeede d wher e th e para noiac fails." I n anothe r letter to Ferenczi Freud congratulate d himsel f fo r "having overcom e m y homosexuality. " I n Decembe r o f th e sam e year , he wrote t o Jung: " I a m all Schreber" (a s quoted b y Grosskurt h 38) . Clearly, th e homosexualit y Freu d sa w i n Schreber , wit h who m h e intensely identified , ha d somethin g t o d o wit h hi s ow n admitte d homo sexuality.1 Freu d fel t fre e t o admi t thi s i n letter s t o clos e colleagues, tha t is to say , i n a genre of writing which for hi m was self-analytic an d was in many respects the functional equivalen t of a diary. Bu t such an admissio n would hav e been ou t o f place in his published analysi s o f Schreber , fo r i t would hav e lessene d hi s credibility , especiall y i n th e prudis h cultura l context h e was workin g i n (compar e Calder , wh o fel t fre e t o discus s hi s own "negativ e oedipa l wishes") . I t i s no t a s i f Freu d deviousl y an d

Introduction 5 maliciously hi d his homosexuality fro m th e reader o f the Schreber paper . Rather, i t di d no t belon g there . Certainl y Freu d ha d th e righ t t o choose whether o r not t o discus s his own homosexualit y i n print . Freud, then , brough t hi s ow n proble m t o bea r o n Schreber' s prob lems. Bu t tha t doe s no t mea n tha t wha t Freu d sa w i n Schrebe r wa s only a n illusio n ( I hav e alread y mentione d th e experimenta l studie s o f paranoia). Freu d migh t no t eve n hav e take n a n interes t i n Schrebe r i f there ha d no t bee n som e objectiv e similarit y betwee n himsel f an d Schreber, and , mor e importantly , h e migh t no t hav e discovere d th e homosexual backgroun d o f paranoia generall y i f he had no t bee n dealin g with hi s own homosexualit y i n his self-analysis . To judg e fro m Freud' s handlin g o f th e Schrebe r case , self-analysi s i s related t o bot h th e analyst' s ow n menta l lif e an d t o th e intellectua l discoveries th e analys t make s whil e self-analysi s i s occurring . I n princi ple, i t seem s t o me , thi s doubl e relationshi p ough t t o hold , n o matte r what th e particula r objec t o f psychoanalysi s is . Fo r example , i t ough t t o hold i n th e psychoanalysi s o f literatur e (a s mos t o f th e essay s i n thi s volume wil l demonstrate) . Self-analysi s shoul d b e relevan t t o bot h th e literary schola r an d to whatever conceptual construct s the scholar formu lates when psychoanalyzing suc h literary entitie s as an author, a reader, a character, persona l relationship s betwee n characters , a trope, a narrative structure, an d s o forth .

The Diary One wa y t o facilitat e self-analysi s i s to write dow n wha t on e is thinking . Not everyon e wh o keep s a (regula r o r sporadic ) diar y i s necessaril y doing wha t psychoanalyst s mea n b y self-analysis . Thi s i s a s tru e o f th e famous literar y artist s wh o kep t diarie s (e.g. , Tolstoy , Gide ) a s of ordi nary diarists . Bu t a privat e diar y o r journa l ca n nevertheles s b e ver y congenial t o genuin e self-analyti c endeavor . Th e diar y offer s a concret e external spac e fo r interna l dialogu e withou t a t th e sam e tim e requirin g the presence o f a real second person . Some form s o f psychotherapy , suc h a s psychoanalysis, Jungia n ther apy, cognitive-behaviora l therapy , Gestal t therapy , Japanes e Morit a therapy, an d a few other s utiliz e th e diar y a s an ancillary technique . Th e so-called Intensiv e Journal metho d develope d b y Ir a Progof f goe s muc h

6 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e further. Eac h participan t i n a Journal Worksho p i s give n a blac k note book wit h blan k pages and twent y color-coded , printe d divider s o n suc h topics a s "Dail y Log, " "Dialogu e wit h Societ y (Grou p Experiences), " "Dialogue wit h th e Body, " "Drea m Log, " "Twiligh t Imager y Log, " an d "NOW: Th e Open Moment. " Th e journal work i s highly organized , bu t the approac h i s relaxed . Slowl y an d meditativel y th e page s ar e filled, inner connection s ar e made , a n overal l "Ta o o f growth " i s perceived b y the writer , a n ever-evolvin g "inne r wisdom " i s achieve d (Progof f 16 , 269-84). Ove r th e year s ther e i s supposedl y a cumulativ e therapeuti c effect. Some o f Progoff' s colleague s choos e t o kee p a journal b y prox y fo r a creative historical personage. On e o f these has been published. I t is titled A Life-Study of Franz Kafka, 1883-1924, b y Ronald Gestwicki . Mos t of the chapter s o f thi s curiou s boo k contai n a n imaginar y conversatio n between "Ron " an d "Kafka. " Th e resul t i s no t a t al l Kafkaesque . Th e chief valu e o f th e boo k resides , I think , i n it s therapeuti c functio n fo r Professor Gestwicki . Some o f th e diar y literatur e touche s o n self-psychoanalysis , bu t mos t does no t dea l wit h i t explicitl y o r extensively . Thi s i s quit e understand able. A diary i s a private recor d o f experience , bu t no t al l private matter s are psychoanalytic i n nature. Fo r example , th e written recor d o f a dream is no t a n analysi s o f a dream , althoug h i t migh t b e th e first ste p o f a n analysis. Progof f speak s o f "workin g wit h ou r dreams " (228-52) , no t psychoanalyzing them , no t eve n interpreting them . Tristine Rainer , i n he r ver y readabl e 197 8 boo k The New Diary, reaches psychoanalyti c explicitnes s i n th e advic e sh e offers . Ther e i s n o "right way " t o kee p a diary , sh e says . On e shoul d onl y b e concerne d with writin g spontaneously , honestly , deeply . Thought s shoul d b e al lowed t o flow freely . I t i s a mistake t o tr y t o correc t mistakes . "Wrong " opinions an d slip s of th e pen shoul d no t b e crossed out : Many diarist s hav e regretted crossin g ou t wha t the y hav e already written . I t is more valuabl e t o ad d ne w insight s t o a n entr y tha n t o eras e o r cros s ou t o r rewrite. Spur-of-the-momen t negativ e judgment s ma y actuall y b e resistance t o an insight that might later prove invaluable. It takes the perspective of time to know what has significance in a diary. Some misspellings or word accidents acquire meaning upon rereading. "Freudian slips" may giv e you a key t o subconsciou s attitude s o r feelings . An d som e ar e quit e entertaining. I onc e accidentall y wrot e "spychiatrist " fo r "psychiatrist/ ' I n an -

Introduction 7 other entr y I wrot e "Was " fo r "Wes, " th e nam e o f a ma n wit h who m I wa s about t o en d a relationship . Clearl y m y subconsciou s wa s ahea d o f m e i n considering i t alread y past. Th e hand tells th e truth, s o write fast and trust your body. (39 ) Freud o f cours e advocate d somethin g ver y simila r t o thi s wit h hi s so called "basi c rule " (Grundregel) tha t al l psychoanalyti c patient s mus t abide by , namely : "sa y whateve r goe s throug h you r mind " (SE XII , 135). Th e diarist , i n som e mood s a t least , proceed s b y thi s sam e metho d of "fre e association " whic h th e patien t follow s o n th e couch . A s Raine r points out , th e variou s term s whic h hav e grow n u p aroun d thi s proce dure—free association , activ e imagination , automati c writing , strea m o f consciousness, free-intuitiv e writing—al l refe r t o essentiall y th e sam e thing (62) . For som e i t i s difficul t t o rela x t o th e poin t o f free-associatin g o n paper. Bu t whe n on e does , th e result s ca n b e astonishin g t o ordinar y consciousness. Mario n Milne r describe s thi s experienc e i n he r fascinatin g 1934 book , A Life of One's Own. A diar y entr y abou t th e se a suddenl y flies of f t o thought s o f God : SEA . . . mother—perhap s derive d fro m 'mer'—feelin g ashame d whe n the y laughed a t Miss R.'s an d they sai d I'd painted th e sea blue—why di d I feel suc h accusations alway s unjust , a hot fightin g t o den y an d escape—t o bath e i n th e sea. Wha t doe s i t mean ? Dee p coo l gree n wate r t o div e into , bu t ofte n n o bathing-dress an d peopl e watchin g an d I neve r woul d bath e nake d an d dam n the people—?—?—God—i s thi s wha t th e se a means?—los e myself— . . . . (Milner, 61-62 ) These somewha t incoheren t thought s tak e th e diaris t aback : I was surprise d a t Go d comin g int o it . A t tha t tim e i f anyon e ha d aske d m e what I thought abou t God I would have probably give n a non-committal agnos tic opinion , takin g int o accoun t th e lates t fashio n i n science . I woul d hav e assumed tha t I ha d thu s satisfactoril y deal t wit h th e question , takin g i t fo r granted tha t emotional trouble s abou t i t were thing s o f th e past, n o doub t quit e suitable durin g adolescence , bu t n o concer n o f th e twentieth-centur y adult . Bu t since th e wor d ha d croppe d u p i n my fre e idea s abou t th e sea , i t now occurre d to m e tha t m y automati c sel f migh t no t hol d th e sam e view s a s m y deliberat e self. (62 ) Quite reasonabl y Milne r asks : "Migh t no t thes e apparen t belief s o f m y automatic self , althoug h I ha d n o notio n o f thei r existence , posses s th e power t o influenc e m y feeling s an d actions? " (65) .

8 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e With tim e Milner's "automati c self " did in fact play an ever larger rol e in her life, sometime s sendin g her into a panic, or provoking intense guil t feelings. Althoug h th e few sentiments expresse d abou t psychoanalysis in A Life of One's Own ar e somewhat ambivalent , th e ultimate destinatio n of th e book' s autho r seem s inevitable . Writin g mor e tha n fifty year s later, Milne r states : " I was so astonished a t what m y diary keepin g had shown abou t th e power o f th e unconscious aspect s o f one' s mind , bot h for goo d an d for ill, that I eventually becam e a psychoanalyst" (219) . Literary scholar s wh o wish t o engag e i n self-analysi s ca n profit fro m the literatur e o n diaries . Tristin e Raine r offer s som e valuabl e practica l advice, suc h a s her seven "specia l techniques" (72-114) : 1. Mak e numbere d list s o f thing s o n you r mind , i n an y order, suc h a s things t o do , thing s yo u ar e afrai d of , chronolog y o f th e te n mos t important event s in your life , etc. 2. Writ e a detailed, descriptiv e portrai t o f someone intriguing , an d consider to what exten t it might reall y be a self-portrait (projection) . 3. Doodl e freely , withou t worryin g abou t th e artistic qualit y o f the results. 4. D o "guide d imagery, " i.e. , whil e i n a meditativ e stat e conjur e u p carefully chose n self-nurturin g images , such as a pleasant landscape, a fantasy journe y assiste d b y anima l helpers , etc . Use thi s proces s t o change th e negativ e outcome s o f pas t event s suc h a s nightmare s t o positive outcomes. Recor d th e images in a diary. 5. Alte r th e point o f view of narrated events , e.g. , use the pronoun "he" or "she " instead o f "I, " change the tenses of verbs. 6. Writ e first draft s o f letters or unsent letter s in the diary. 7. Writ e dow n imaginar y dialogue s betwee n conflictin g part s o f the self, or betwee n onesel f an d another perso n o f emotional significance . The reade r wil l n o doub t recogniz e i n Rainer' s suggestion s som e o f the very technique s employe d b y poet s an d fiction writer s i n thei r craft . That suc h technique s shoul d als o b e usefu l fo r self-analysi s i s perhap s one reaso n wh y self-analysis ha s not been popula r amon g literar y schol ars—many o f who m regar d themselve s a s failed writers . I n an y case, i t is obviou s tha t Rainer' s chapte r o n overcomin g writin g block s (215-28 ) would b e as valuable to the literary schola r as to the creative writer .

Introduction 9

My Diary M y ow n earl y experienc e wit h self-writin g too k th e for m o f "fiel d notes " about plant s an d animals . I n adolescenc e I wa s a n avi d bird-watche r an d amateur botanist . Th e notebook s I hav e fro m tha t perio d contai n entrie s such a s th e followin g fo r Sunday , O c t o b e r 18 , 1959 : After Mas s thi s mornin g I wen t dow n t o th e Island , an d fro m th e Islan d I heard a flock o f thi s year' s firs t Pin e Siskins . Als o I sa w a group o f Merganser s and a lon e Gul l there . The n I wen t dow n t o th e Min k Swam p an d sa w th e following: grou p o f thre e Grea t Blu e Herons , Hoode d Merganser s (male s no w in winte r plumage) , Woo d Ducks , severa l smal l flock s o f America n Mergansers , several Herring Gulls . In tim e I bega n spoutin g th e Lati n name s o f th e flor a an d faun a o f m y native norther n Vermont , a s i n thi s excerp t unde r Friday , Septembe r 2, i960 : Having flushe d a few grous e i n th e woods , an d o n m y wa y hom e dow n ove r Harris II , I found Spiranthe s cernu a var. ochroleuc a [a n orchid] in a n old road . I took note s o n thi s on e plant, whic h I had neve r see n before . Occasionally thes e notebook s mak e reference s t o literature, a s o n Marc h 6, 1961 : 7:30 Mas s Read fro m Scientifi c America n a t lib. Work a s usual Studied Lati n Practiced Ech o [harmonica ] Religion clas s Read Dostoevskii . This phras e "Rea d Dostoevskii " i s repeate d agai n an d agai n ove r th e course o f a m o n t h , ye t I registere d n o opinio n whatsoeve r o f wha t I wa s reading. Th e plant s an d animal s I encountere d o n m y "fiel d trips, " o n the othe r hand , provoke d a real response : At th e ver y sam e spo t a s mentione d i n th e las t note s I sa w anothe r floc k (probably th e same ) o f Pin e Grosbeaks . Fro m th e to p o f a medium-sized Hem lock nearb y I too k note s o n thei r feedin g (A-2 ) [anothe r notebook] . Whe n the y left I noticed a n odd voic e remaining . It wa s muc h lik e a Black-Cappe d Chickadee , bu t mor e draw n ou t wit h a

io Danie

l Rancour-Laferrier e

drawl, an d les s lively . A s I approache d ver y closel y I foun d i t t o b e a Parus hudsonicus—Brown-Capped Chickadee . I t wa s definitel y o f a brownish hue , rather tha n th e slate-gra y o f atricapillus . Th e brown ca p and blac k bi b quickl y identified it . Twice also a Sitta canadensis [nuthatch] flew in very close as I took notes. These notes ma y see m dul l an d poorly written , bu t a s I read the m no w I can remembe r th e excitemen t o f climbin g tree s an d watchin g bird s u p close. I ha d definitel y decide d t o becom e a n ornithologist . Dostoevsk y was far fro m m y mind . Despite th e occasiona l pleasan t memories , lookin g ove r thes e earlies t of m y notebook s ha s bee n a sa d experience . I hadn' t lai d eye s o n th e notebooks fo r years . Afte r spendin g som e hour s wit h the m I bega n t o feel slightl y depressed . I realized I was a great nature-lover i n those day s in par t becaus e I wa s tryin g t o escap e fro m a ba d famil y situation , an d that ther e is now n o way t o chang e that situatio n i n retrospect . In thos e day s th e mor e hour s I could spen d i n th e woods (o r alon e i n the dar k cella r o f ou r hous e writin g i n th e notebooks) , th e les s tim e I had t o dea l wit h a to o large , to o noisy , an d muc h to o violen t family . Toward th e end , jus t befor e I escape d t o colleg e (wher e I majore d i n biology), ther e wa s a gran d tota l o f tw o fightin g parent s an d eleve n fighting children , al l living under on e roof . The relationshi p m y parent s ha d migh t b e terme d morall y sadomas ochistic. I a m no t goin g t o g o int o th e gruesom e details , bu t ther e i s a relevant theoretica l poin t t o b e made . I t seem s t o m e tha t m y fathe r idealized m y beautifu l mother , eve n a s h e abuse d her . Mos t o f th e abuse wa s psychological , indee d i t involve d a considerabl e amoun t o f psychological insigh t abou t m y mother . M y father' s attitud e seeme d to be : Here is a beautiful object . No w let's tear it apart. In retrospec t thi s seems rather simila r to what th e psychoanalytic schola r of literatur e typicall y doe s t o literature . Certainl y i t i s what this schola r does. I a m neve r incline d t o psychoanalyz e a tex t unles s first i t attract s me aesthetically. The n I tear it apart . By definitio n a successful literar y wor k i s supposed t o b e "beautiful. " A mother' s beaut y an d th e aestheti c beaut y o f literatur e ar e aki n t o on e another. I thin k I a m no t alon e i n thi s sentiment , althoug h perhap s no t all psychoanalyti c critic s identif y specificall y wit h a n offensiv e fathe r when approachin g a n aesthetic object .

Introduction 1

1

My father' s action , transforme d b y my identificatio n wit h hi m a s well as sublimation o f th e representations o f hi s grosser offenses , became : Here is a beautiful object . Now let's psycho-ana-lyze it. I hyphenat e th e ke y wor d t o emphasiz e it s violen t etymology : Gree k ana-luein mean s 't o brea k down, ' 't o dissolve. ' Th e destructiv e impuls e is unmistakable. M y mothe r wa s periodicall y 'breakin g down, ' 'dissolv ing' int o tear s a s a result o f m y father' s behavior . Tim e afte r tim e I hav e attempted t o dea l wit h thi s horro r i n m y late r diarie s (th e adolescen t diaries demonstrate blissfu l ignoranc e o f th e problem) . The psychoanalysi s o f literatur e o f cours e als o spring s fro m a n epis temophilic impulse, tha t is, an intense desir e to know an d t o understand . But thi s impuls e itself , i f th e Kleinian s ar e t o b e believed , i s originall y inseparable fro m sadisti c attitudes—no t th e father's , bu t th e child's — toward th e mother. Th e little child is curious (especially about sexuality) , but it s curiosit y i s typicall y frustrated , s o i t lashe s ou t i n fantas y a t th e most importan t perso n i n th e world . I n a n earl y wor k (1928 ) Melani e Klein states : The earl y connectio n betwee n th e epistemophili c impuls e an d sadis m i s ver y important for th e whole mental development. Thi s instinct, activate d by the rise of the Oedipus tendencies, at first mainly concerns itself with the mother's body, which is assumed to be the scene of all sexual processes and developments. (188) Even pre-Oedipally , accordin g t o Klein , "th e subject' s dominan t ai m i s to posses s himsel f o f th e content s o f th e mother' s bod y an d t o destro y her b y mean s o f ever y weapo n whic h sadis m ca n command " (219) . Apparently, then , one' s (e.g. , my ) psychoanalyti c sado-curiosit y ca n derive fro m somethin g eve n earlie r tha n identificatio n wit h a n abusiv e father. Althoug h n o diar y entrie s o r persona l association s com e t o min d in support o f thi s idea, I sense intuitively tha t Klei n is right . The elemen t o f aggressio n i n psychoanalysi s ma y als o b e directe d a t the addresse e o f th e analysis , no t onl y a t th e objec t bein g psychoana lyzed. Stron g psychoanalyti c wor k i s sai d t o b e "striking, " i t "hits " th e reader wit h it s insights . I t ca n als o function sadisticall y withi n a contex t of politica l confrontation . America n Slavis t Hug h McLea n describe s how, i n 1958 , he publicl y challenge d th e orthodo x Sovie t Marxis t inter pretation o f Gogol' s work s wit h a psychoanalytic interpretation : " I . . . took som e pleasure , not without an admixture of malice, i n writin g an d

12 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e delivering i n Mosco w a n aggressivel y Freudia n interpretatio n o f Gogol " (McLean 118 , italics added) . All o f thi s i s abov e an d beyon d whateve r inherent offensivenes s psy choanalysis possesses . A s Freu d realize d fro m th e start , psychoanalyti c truths o f al l kind s ca n b e narcissisticall y injurious . A particula r psycho analytic discovery , b y it s ver y nature , i s no t quit e th e sam e as , say , finding a new specie s o f beetl e i n th e Brazilia n rai n forest , o r unearthin g a new draf t o f The Queen of Spades in some musty archive . A psychoan alytic discover y i s mor e lik e finding a precancerou s conditio n i n a n unsuspecting patient . Th e ne w informatio n ha s th e potential t o provok e great anxiety . A possibilit y therefor e exist s tha t thi s informatio n migh t be used sadistically . In th e cas e o f self-analysis , o n th e othe r hand , ther e i s the possibilit y that th e informatio n migh t b e use d masochistically . Eve n i f th e anxiet y of learnin g somethin g abou t onesel f i s overcome , ther e i s stil l a dange r that someon e els e migh t us e th e informatio n agains t you . A s wit h sa dism, however , a n ulterior , theoretica l motiv e migh t mak e a potentiall y masochistic enterpris e worthwhile . Tha t is , indeed , th e premis e implici t in most o f th e essays collecte d i n this volume. Psychoanalytic critic s practic e applie d psychoanalysis . Clinica l psy choanalysis i s somewha t different . Th e analys t behin d th e couc h deal s with a dysfunctiona l huma n being , no t a tex t o r som e othe r cultura l object: Here is a sick object. No w let's fix it. This attitude , i f som e o f th e studie s o n countertransferenc e ar e t o b e believed (se e below, pag e 21) , really means : Here is a sick object. I t fulfills m y wish to see others suffer . Some fe w clinica l analyst s apparentl y d o abus e thei r patient s i n orde r t o keep th e menta l suffering going , althoug h mos t ar e governe d b y a healthy reactio n formatio n whic h drive s the m t o tr y t o cur e patient s instead (se e Brenner ; Sussma n 73-77) . I n addition , som e patient s ar e extremely fragile , psychically , an d fee l "mind-fucked " b y an y analys t who attempt s t o mak e eve n a sligh t interventio n (e.g. , Giovacchin i 3 3 37)Psychoanalysts o f literature deal with sadistic impulses by sublimatio n rather tha n reactio n formation . T o "tea r apart " th e text , offerin g "pene -

Introduction 1

3

trating" psychoanalyti c insight—i s t o sublimat e aggression . Psychoana lytic scholar s sublimat e thei r aggressio n a s the y striv e t o impar t under standing t o a n audienc e the y hav e n o particula r interes t i n "curing. " A text canno t b e abuse d i n th e sam e way a real human bein g ca n (althoug h the author o f a text , i f stil l alive, migh t tak e offense, o r certai n readers might take offense i f they ar e being subjected t o reader-response psycho analysis; even som e among the professional readership may b e put off) . It Takes One to Know One The psychoanalyti c schola r ca n dea l wit h sadisti c impulse s no t onl y b y directing the m agains t th e text , bu t als o b y findin g text s whic h them selves dea l with sadisti c matters . T o us e a n ol d Jakobsonian dichotomy , the schola r ca n establis h no t onl y a certain specia l contiguity t o th e text , but see k ou t similarit y i n a tex t a s well . On e ca n operat e a t th e meta phoric a s well as at the metonymic pol e o f psychoanalysis . For example , on e ca n stud y Dostoevsky . Hi s work s ar e riddle d wit h sadistic an d masochisti c fantas y material . Eve n th e conventional , non psychoanalytic Slavist s agree on this . I have been studyin g Dostoevsky fo r years . To som e extent I can even link thi s interes t t o m y earl y interes t i n birds . On e o f th e pleasure s o f bird-watching wa s actuall y sadistic . I especiall y like d bird s o f prey . During m y hig h schoo l year s I worke d i n a liv e museu m carin g fo r hawks an d owls . Accordin g t o th e notebooks, I onc e spen t a n afternoo n in th e fiel d intentl y watchin g a family o f sparrowhawk s haggl e ove r th e corpse o f a freshly kille d chipmunk . Nowaday s o f cours e I thin k mor e about Dostoevsky' s character s tha n abou t hawks . The genera l principl e her e migh t b e paraphrase d as : I t take s on e t o know one . Literar y scholar s do their bes t work o n writers an d character s they resemble . Th e sadisticall y incline d gravitat e towar d a Dostoevsky , or a Heine, o r a Capote. Of cours e ther e i s mor e tha n on e wa y fo r an y particula r schola r t o resemble a literar y person . Whe n I wa s writin g a psychoanalytic stud y of Nikola i Gogol' s famou s shor t stor y "Th e Overcoat " I wa s mor e concerned wit h analit y tha n wit h sadis m (th e subjec t o f m y 198 2 boo k Out from under Gogol's Overcoat i s a her o name d Akak y Akakievich , who I though t o f a s 'Akak y th e kaka') . On e o f th e reviewer s eve n sai d that "Gogo l ha s found a kindred spiri t i n Rancour-Laferriere " (Charne y

14 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e 664). O n th e othe r hand , whe n late r psychoanalyzin g Le v Tolstoy' s narcissistic Pierre Bezukhov (in Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov: A Psychoanalytic Study, 1993) , I becam e quit e preoccupie d wit h m y ow n narcissism , as i s clea r fro m th e diar y entrie s o f tha t period . I felt—an d I hop e readers will find—that Pierr e an d I are kindred soul s too . The identification I have experienced with the personae I have psychoanalyzed ha s alway s com e undone , eventually . A t th e beginnin g o f a project ther e i s usually a n intense, almos t blissfu l feelin g o f onenes s wit h my subject , almos t a Kohutia n merging . I thin k Kohut' s notio n o f "selfobject" woul d appl y here . I an d tha t beautifu l materna l person a ar e one—even whe n th e persona i n questio n i s male. Bu t th e delusiv e iden tity o f sel f an d objec t canno t last , canno t surviv e th e gatherin g o f objec tive facts , canno t withstan d th e passag e o f tim e whic h i s inherent i n an y serious scholarl y endeavor . I hac k awa y a t th e selfobject , graduall y separating sel f fro m object , isolatin g objec t i n a tex t tha t read s wit h neutral precision. I think thi s process must be a derivative of the epistem ophilic sadis m directe d agains t th e mothe r whic h Melani e Klei n de scribed. It i s possibl e fo r a health y psychoanalyti c scholar , a t th e character ological level , t o b e sadistic , anal , narcissistic , an d perhap s man y othe r things a s well. Wha t i s essential is to be what on e studies, a t least tempo rarily. Or, i t migh t suffic e t o be som e natura l complemen t o f wha t on e studies. Fo r example , i t take s a masochis t t o kno w a masochist , bu t a sadist might well do . I thin k thi s genera l notio n applie s i n othe r region s o f huma n knowl edge, not onl y psychoanalysis. I n biography, fo r example , i t is importan t that th e biographe r shar e cor e trait s wit h th e perso n whos e lif e i s bein g studied. Historians , journalists , an d politica l analyst s gravitat e fo r goo d reason towar d figures wh o ar e like themselves . Let's retur n t o sadomasochis m a s a n example . Jane t Malcolm , i n he r interesting recen t essay o n th e aftermat h o f poe t Sylvi a Plath' s suicide , argues tha t al l biography i s tendentious: "Th e writer , lik e th e murderer , needs a motive." Like the murderer? Thi s sound s sufficientl y sadistic . Fo r example , th e motive behin d Jacquelin e Rose' s 199 1 boo k The Haunting of Sylvia Plath i s characterized b y Malcol m a s follows: "Rose' s boo k i s fuelled b y a bracin g hostilit y towar d Te d an d Olwy n Hughes " (Te d Hughe s wa s

Introduction 1

5

being unfaithfu l t o hi s wif e Sylvi a Plat h a t th e tim e sh e committe d suicide, an d bot h h e an d hi s siste r Olwy n hav e bee n instrumenta l i n blocking publi c acces s t o som e o f Plath' s papers) . Ros e think s i t i s impossible t o tak e side s i n writin g abou t Plath . On e mus t b e even handed, afte r all , i n dealin g wit h a family tragedy . Malcol m think s oth erwise: [Rose's book] derives its verve and forward thrus t fro m th e cool certainty with which (in the name of "uncertainty" and "anxiety") she presents her case against the Hugheses. I n the "Archive " chapter, he r accusations agains t Hughes for his "editing, controlling, and censoring" reach an apogee of harshness. If it had truly been impossible for Rose to take a side, her book would not have been written; it woul d no t hav e bee n wort h takin g th e troubl e t o write . Writin g canno t b e done i n a stat e o f desirelessness . Th e pos e o f fair-mindedness , th e charad e of evenhandedness, th e strikin g o f a n attitud e o f detachmen t ca n neve r b e mor e than rhetorical ruses; if they were genuine, if the writer actually didn't care one way or the other how things came out, h e would not bestir himself t o represent them. (148) With expression s lik e "verve, " "bracin g hostility," an d "harshness " Malcolm i s clearly suggestin g tha t Ros e i s directing sadisti c impulse s towar d the Hugheses . O n th e othe r hand , sh e i s not implyin g ther e i s anythin g wrong abou t this . Ther e ha s t o b e a desire , eve n i f a sadisti c one , fo r good writing t o occur . Later i n he r essa y Malcolm introduce s imager y o f garbag e remova l t o characterize wha t th e biographer does : Each person wh o sit s down t o writ e face s no t a blank pag e but hi s own vastly overfilled mind . Th e problem i s to clea r ou t mos t o f wha t i s in it , t o fil l hug e plastic garbage bags with the confused jumbl e of things that have accreted there over the days, months, years of being alive and taking things in through the eyes and ears and heart. (158) Narrating biograph y i s thus a kind o f "housecleaning " in which a considerable amoun t o f garbag e mus t b e removed . T o exten d Malcolm' s meta phor, th e Ros e boo k o n Plat h stil l contain s som e bit s an d piece s o f garbage whic h betra y Rose' s hostil e attitud e towar d th e Hugheses . An d this i s good . On e mus t no t clea n to o thoroughly , fo r the n ther e i s th e danger o f "bein g left wit h to o bar e a house" (158). Janet Malcol m hersel f i s a psychoanalytically informe d write r wh o i s quite aware of the garbage in her own mind . Again , i t takes one to kno w one. I n psychoanalyti c terms , i t wa s eas y fo r he r t o spo t th e sadisti c

16 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e tendentiousness towar d th e Hughese s i n Rose' s book , i f onl y becaus e she ha s fel t th e sam e wa y abou t Sylvi a Plath . Plath' s depressiv e mora l masochism, culminatin g i n suicide , attract s sadisticall y incline d biogra phers quit e a s much a s it appeals to outrage d feminists . But again , thi s i s good , a t leas t fo r scholarl y purposes . Fo r ho w ca n we expose another's garbag e without knowin g ou r own? The psychoana lytic schola r canno t reall y mov e forwar d withou t a loa d o f interna l garbage, howeve r neatl y bagge d i n plastic . Other-analysi s alway s pre sumes self-analysis , howeve r covert , eve n unconscious . Anyone wh o i s willin g t o free-associat e fo r a fe w minute s (aloud , subvocally, i n a diary ) wil l quickl y b e convince d o f wha t a loa d o f garbage ther e i s i n th e huma n mind . I t i s th e tas k o f self-analysi s t o organize normall y unconsciou s menta l garbage , t o categoriz e i t b y it s smells. In this process it is important no t onl y t o throw ou t the irrelevan t garbage, bu t als o t o retai n th e relevan t garbage , tha t is , those unpleasan t details o f th e mind whic h permi t on e to be what on e studies . For example , whe n psychoanalyzin g Tolstoy' s Pierr e Bezukho v I ha d to discar d m y stron g feeling s abou t hea d injury , fo r the y ha d nothin g t o do wit h Pierr e eve n thoug h ther e wa s a brie f momen t i n th e narratio n when a sligh t hea d injur y occurre d (se e "Wh y Natash a Bump s He r Head," i n thi s volume) . A s i t turne d out , m y diar y wa s a convenien t receptacle fo r an y garbag e abou t thi s topic . O n th e othe r hand , m y narcissistic problems , als o abundantl y documente d i n th e diary , were relevant t o Pierre. I do not thin k tha t anyon e who doe s not carr y aroun d this particular loa d o f garbag e can really understand Pierre . Perhaps I hav e extende d Jane t Malcolm' s garbag e ba g metapho r fa r enough. I n an y case , I thin k tha t wha t Malcol m say s abou t a writer' s tendentiousness i s a s tru e o f literar y scholarshi p a s o f biograph y an d journalism. The literary scholar—including th e psychoanalytic scholar — always ha s a hidden persona l agenda . A littl e self-analysi s shoul d revea l just what tha t agend a is . When thi s is done, however , th e experience ca n be quit e surprising , perhap s unpleasant . Why a m I doin g a stud y o f father-imagery i n Kafka? Wha t a m / gettin g out o f an analysis of androg yny i n Virgini a Woolf ? Wha t i s ther e abou t studyin g Shakespeare' s breast-imagery tha t gratifie s me? The self-analys t askin g suc h question s i s momentaril y ver y self-cen tered, perhap s disgustingl y s o from th e viewpoint o f a n outside observer . But th e result s ca n be quite enlightenin g t o bot h sel f an d other .

Introduction 1

7

Normally thi s sor t o f thing i s just "no t done" i n a public forum . Th e present volum e o f essay s i s mean t t o b e a didacti c exception . Ever y author her e is admittedly bein g more exhibitionisti c tha n mos t autobiog raphers ordinaril y are . Yet the exhibitionism i s being pu t to uses whic h are o f genera l theoretica l interest . Suc h i s normally th e cas e whe n self analytic materia l i s presente d i n th e clinical psychoanalyti c studies . I t is hig h tim e self-analyti c exhibit s becam e mor e widesprea d i n applied psychoanalysis a s well. Self-Analysis in

Clinical Psychoanalysis

Some school s o f psychoanalysi s ar e mor e ope n t o self-analysi s tha n others, an d some psychoanalysts ar e more willing to reveal (exhibit) self analytic material s tha n others . Th e origina l Freudia n movement , fo r example, wa s ver y muc h self-analyti c i n orientation . Anyon e wh o has read The Interpretation of Dreams (1900 ) alread y know s som e o f th e dark corner s o f Freud' s sou l (e.g. , th e analysi s o f th e Irm a dream ; se e Gorkin 37-5 2 on the countertransferential aspect s of this famous dream) . As Christophe r Bolla s says , Freu d "dare d t o b e wher e w e mus t b e t o experience new s o f th e self , an d hi s writin g o f th e experienc e wa s an integral par t o f th e receptiv e capacit y h e facilitate d b y th e creatio n o f psychoanalysis" (238) . Jung, o n the other hand , wa s an intensely privat e person wh o did not care t o exhibi t th e inne r working s o f hi s psyche . Eve n i n th e late , autobiographical boo k Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961) , Jun g i s rather reticent, ofte n lapsin g into theoretical passages about the "personal myth" o f himsel f rathe r tha n simpl y tellin g th e reade r abou t himself . When h e doe s tel l u s abou t himsel f h e ca n b e quit e entertaining , bu t Jungian "self-knowledge " (330 ) i s no t reall y self-analysis , an d Jung' s insistent occultis m effectivel y block s self-analysis . Her e i s just on e example: I had another experience in the evolution of the soul after death when—about a year after m y wife's death— I suddenl y awoke one night and knew that I had been with her in the south of France, in Provence, an d had spent an entire day with her. She was engaged on studies of the Grail there. That seemed significan t to me, for she had died before completin g her work on this subject. Interpreta tion on the subjective level—that my anima had not yet finished with the work she had to do—yielded nothin g of interest; I know quite well that I am not yet

18 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e finished wit h that . Bu t th e thought tha t m y wife wa s continuing afte r deat h t o work o n her further spiritua l development—however tha t may be conceived— struck me as meaningful an d held a measure of reassurance for me. (309) Jung resist s interpretin g thi s drea m i n severa l ways . H e attribute s t o it s "subjective level " a n "anima " whic h seem s t o b e doin g th e dreamin g fo r him. The n h e admit s tha t h e himsel f ha s som e unfinishe d wor k t o d o i n connection wit h hi s wife' s death , bu t tha t thi s i s "nothin g o f interest. " Then h e state s th e dream' s obviou s wish—tha t hi s wif e continu e he r work eve n thoug h sh e i s dead—i n a for m tha t implie s hi s wif e i s not dead. I n othe r words , Jun g literall y believe s hi s dea d wif e i s stil l alive , and that he really did meet her in the south o f France. H e has succumbe d to th e dream' s underlyin g wis h rathe r tha n interpretin g it , tha t is , rathe r than doin g self-analysis . Al l thi s occurs , b y th e way , i n th e contex t o f a chapter (299-326) where Jung repeatedly assents to theories of reincarna tion an d life afte r death . To som e exten t Jung acknowledge s hi s refusa l t o d o self-analysis . I n the prologu e t o hi s autobiograph y h e admits : " I d o no t kno w wha t I really a m like " (4) . Perhap s thi s i s because, a s he says , " I canno t experi ence myself a s a scientific problem " (3) . Self-analysis i s a "scientific problem " i n the sense that one at least tries to vie w onesel f objectively , a s a n "other " who , momentaril y a t least , i s "out there. " When th e situatio n i s psychoanalyti c therapy , bot h th e analys t an d the analysan d ma y b e called upon t o do self-analysis . Ideally , th e analys t should b e primaril y engage d i n other-analysis , however , whil e i t i s th e patient wh o pursue s self-analysis . Th e analyst , afte r all , has already bee n through a personal trainin g analysis , an d shoul d theoreticall y b e capabl e of remainin g relativel y neutra l i n th e fac e o f an y emotiona l onslaught s from th e patient . Th e patient , o n th e othe r hand , i s th e on e i n nee d o f analysis. Also , th e patien t consciousl y o r unconsciousl y know s mor e about himsel f o r hersel f tha n doe s anyon e else , an d shoul d b e prodde d by th e analyst' s other-analysi s t o engag e in self-analysis . Reality doe s not matc h thi s idea l picture , however . Analysand s ca n be resistan t t o th e mos t tactfull y proffere d other-analysis , an d analyst s themselves ar e sometime s s o preoccupie d wit h thei r ow n agend a o r s o provoked b y thei r patient s tha t the y nee d t o analyz e thei r ow n feeling s in orde r t o get th e therap y moving . Whe n th e patient doe s perceive tha t the analys t i s doin g self-analysi s a s wel l a s other-analysis , thing s ma y

Introduction 1

9

indeed get moving , fo r th e patien t gains a stron g feelin g o f bein g sup ported i n a difficult struggl e (Bolla s 255). Technically speaking , analyst s hav e t o dea l wit h a specia l typ e o f transference, calle d countertransference. Transferenc e generall y i s a psy chical state i n which idea s an d feeling s abou t personall y archai c relation ships (e.g. , wit h parent s o r siblings ) ar e "transferred " int o th e presen t interaction. Fo r example , a patient ma y sincerel y believ e that th e analys t has a limp, eve n though suc h is not th e case, simply because the patient' s father ha d a limp. Transference , a s Freu d originall y observed , ca n con tribute powerfull y t o th e patient' s resistanc e t o treatmen t (SE XII , 9 9 108). As Ott o Feniche l put it , "th e patient misunderstand s th e present i n terms o f th e past" (29) . Over th e year s th e term s transferenc e an d countertransferenc e hav e been extende d considerably . Clinician s ar e not i n agreemen t abou t wha t gets "transferred, " whe n th e "transferred " material s aros e i n develop ment, an d wha t psychologica l mechanism s caus e th e "transfer " (Ehren reich). Som e clinicians, suc h a s Robert an d Simon e Marshall, believ e tha t the term s transferenc e an d countertransferenc e b y themselve s no w hav e "virtually n o meaning " (42) . I n an y case , th e tw o term s no w d o mea n much mor e tha n jus t a "misunderstanding " du e t o a n anachronism . Fo r the mos t par t the y no w refe r t o th e entir e arra y o f feelings—consciou s or unconscious , appropriat e o r inappropriate—experience d wit h respec t to th e othe r part y i n psychoanalyti c therapy . Gil l an d Hoffman , fo r example, equat e transferenc e wit h "th e patient' s experienc e o f th e rela tionship [wit h th e therapist] " (4) . A definitio n o f countertransferenc e offered b y Marod a run s a s follows : "th e consciou s an d unconsciou s responses o f th e therapist t o the patient" (66), A growin g interes t i n countertransferenc e i n particula r i s apparen t i n the recen t psychoanalyti c literatur e (see , fo r example : Feiner ; Gorkin ; Giovacchini; Sussman ; Bolla s 173-274 ; Marshal l an d Marshall ; Wal dron; Slakter ; Messne r e t al. ; Tanse y an d Burke ; Maroda ; Brandell ; Schwaber; se e Tanse y an d Burk e 9-3 7 an d Slakte r 7-3 9 fo r valuabl e historical overview s o f countertransference) . Analyst s no w recogniz e that seriou s problem s ma y aris e no t onl y fro m inadequat e awarenes s of countertransference , bu t als o fro m a failur e t o actuall y parla y th e countertransference int o th e healin g process . Sherwoo d Waldron , Jr. , finds, fo r example , tha t slip s o f th e tongu e mad e b y th e analyst , whe n properly attende d to , ca n mak e th e analysi s tak e of f i n a whol e new ,

20 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e productive directio n (Waldro n 575) . Christophe r Bolla s believe s that th e frustration an d ange r h e experience d i n bein g lie d t o b y a pathologica l liar helpe d hi m understan d th e frustratio n hi s patien t mus t hav e fel t i n relating t o a n unreliabl e mothe r i n earl y childhoo d (183) . Bolla s argue s for "expressiv e use s o f th e countertransference, " tha t is , "th e clinicia n should fin d a way t o mak e hi s subjectiv e state s o f min d availabl e t o th e patient an d t o himsel f a s object s o f th e analysi s eve n whe n h e doe s no t yet know what these states mean" (200-201). Kare n J. Marod a conclude s that "failur e t o activel y us e an d expres s th e countertransferenc e ca n lea d to negativ e outcome s suc h a s stalemates , prematur e o r force d termina tions, an d eve n sexual acting-out" (4) . Analysts shoul d dispens e wit h th e aloo f neutralit y an d silence the y have traditionally trie d t o maintain wit h respec t t o the patient, accordin g to mos t o f thes e analysts . Oftentime s th e neutrality i s false anyway , jus t a mask behin d whic h th e analys t hide s when th e patient i s being particu larly provocative. Ther e i s no suc h thin g a s a perfectly analyze d analyst . No amoun t o f trainin g analysi s ca n (no r shoul d it ) preclud e intens e emotional reactio n o n th e par t o f th e analys t i n certai n circumstances . Maroda believe s tha t sometime s th e patien t needs a responsive (no t jus t empathic) analyst , on e wh o i s willin g t o underg o "mutua l regression " with th e patient, on e who i s willing to be "healed" alon g with the patient (Bollas refer s t o a "goin g ma d together " wit h th e patient , followe d b y a "mutual curing") . I n on e cas e a depressive patien t improve d whe n Mar oda allowe d hersel f t o experienc e he r ow n feeling s o f despai r i n th e presence o f th e patien t (47) . I n anothe r cas e Marod a admitte d t o a chronically angr y patien t tha t sh e wa s feelin g defeate d b y him , an d thi s brought relie f t o bot h analys t an d patien t (55) . A severel y masochisti c borderline patient , afte r severa l year s o f treatmen t wit h n o apparen t improvement, mad e a complet e turnaroun d afte r Marod a threatene d t o terminate treatmen t ("refe r out" ) whil e at the sam e time admitting t o th e patient tha t sh e wa s feelin g extremel y frustrated , helpless , an d angr y (75-80). Analysts hav e t o recogniz e tha t the y hav e thei r ow n problems , an d that patient s ar e ofte n quit e capabl e o f discernin g them . Analyst s ma y feel sexuall y attracte d t o som e o f thei r patients , the y ma y hat e other s with grea t intensity . The y ma y fal l aslee p o n thei r patient s (a s Freu d sometimes did) . The y ar e no t necessaril y healthie r tha n thei r patients ,

Introduction 2

1

says Marod a (69) ; indeed ther e i s a massive bod y o f statistica l evidenc e that workers i n the various menta l healt h professions, includin g psycho analysis, "typicall y manifes t significan t psychopatholog y o f thei r own " (Sussman 34) . Psychoanalyst s ma y als o hav e a n interes t i n keepin g thei r patients sick . Fo r example , the y ma y b e therapist s ou t o f a wish t o se e others suffe r (Marod a 44 ; cf. Brenne r 4 6 ff. ; Sussma n 71-8 3 provide s a comprehensive surve y o f th e literatur e abou t aggressiv e striving s towar d the patient). Th e therapis t ma y als o envy th e recoverin g patient (Marod a 159). I woul d ad d tha t ther e i s ofte n a financial incentiv e t o kee p th e patient i n therapy fo r a s long as possible. In th e interest s o f therap y i t i s sometime s good , sometime s ba d fo r the therapis t t o openl y acknowledg e hi s o r he r emotions , t o expres s countertransference feelings . I t i s particularl y importan t t o kno w whe n not t o disclos e countertransferenc e feelings , an d t o b e abl e t o detec t when suc h disclosur e fails . Marod a provide s som e usefu l guideline s i n the area , fo r example , i t i s bes t no t t o disclos e earl y i n th e therapeuti c relationship, on e shoul d no t disclos e sexua l feeling s excep t i n ver y rar e cases, on e shoul d disclos e onl y whe n th e patien t explicitl y request s disclosure, an d s o forth . Analyst s ar e jus t a s oblige d t o develo p tac t in disclosin g countertransferenc e a s i n decidin g whe n t o ventur e a n interpretation o f som e segmen t o f th e patient' s transference . I n an y cas e it i s obviou s tha t ongoin g self-analysi s make s i t easie r t o dea l wit h th e countertransference feeling s whic h invariabl y aris e in treatment . The Literary Analyst's Transference How ca n th e psychoanalytic studie s o f transferenc e an d countertransfer ence i n th e clinica l situatio n illuminat e literature ? I n particular , wha t light can these studies shed o n th e psychoanalytic stud y o f literature? Th e literary work pe r s e is not ver y much lik e a patient in need o f a cure. Ye t the psychoanalyti c schola r resemble s a psychoanalyti c therapis t insofa r as bot h ar e i n a position t o interpre t utterances . I n th e cas e o f therap y the speake r i s presen t an d real , lyin g righ t ther e o n th e couch , free associating, actin g out , an d s o on . I n th e cas e o f (written ) literatur e th e speaker i s virtual , i s represented a s presen t i n th e for m o f a n author , narrator, fragment s o f a narrator , person a o f a lyri c poem , character s in a novel , an d s o forth. 2 I t i s clea r tha t th e psychoanalys t i n bot h

22 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e situations—clinical an d literary—i s capabl e o f havin g subjectiv e feel ings abou t th e objec t i n question . Ho w shoul d thes e feeling s b e han dled? D o th e clinica l studie s hav e anythin g t o teac h th e literar y psycho analyst? I believ e the y d o an d d o not . The y d o no t i n th e sens e tha t literar y personae (o r fragment s o f personae ) ar e incapabl e o f trul y interactin g with th e analys t i n th e wa y a patien t (o r fragment s o f th e patient ) interacts wit h th e analyst . Ther e i s n o two-wa y "transference-counter transference matrix, " a s th e clinician s say . Ther e i s onl y th e one-direc tional transferenc e o f th e analys t provoke d b y th e literar y material , an d there is no point in even calling this transference a "countertransference, " for i t "counters " nothing rea l (cf. Schepele r 11 4 who make s a n analogou s point regardin g psychoanalyti c biography) . Fo r example , Emm a Bovar y has n o discernibl e feeling s abou t m e personall y a s I rea d Flaubert' s novel. I would b e delude d (i n th e manne r o f som e deconstructionists ) i f I thought sh e did. Howeve r rea l literary personae may seem, the y do no t actually interac t wit h literar y analyst s (unles s the y happe n t o b e rea l authors wh o ar e stil l alive and provid e actua l feedbac k t o th e analyst— a rare situation fraugh t wit h al l kinds o f dangers , includin g legal). However, th e clinica l studie s o f transferenc e generall y (includin g cer tain aspect s o f countertransferenc e specifically ) d o hav e relevanc e t o the psychoanalyti c stud y o f literature . Indeed , the y mus t fo r purel y commonsensical reasons . Al l peopl e hav e "transferable " thought s an d feelings, no t jus t patient s an d therapists . Psychoanalysi s ha s undergon e such extensiv e medicalization—"pure " psychoanalysi s ha s becom e s o hypertrophied—that "applied " psychoanalysi s ha s bee n cas t int o shadow. Just a s one does not hav e to be a prostitute i n order to have sex, one doe s no t hav e t o b e a clinica l psychoanalys t t o d o psychoanalysis . Robert an d Simon e Marshall quote someone who dropped ou t of psychiatry an d becam e productiv e i n a relate d field a s saying : "Therapist s ar e emotional prostitute s an d I jus t can' t si t ther e an d liste n t o thes e need y people al l day long" (78). From th e viewpoin t o f transferentia l phenomen a generally , i t shoul d not matte r whethe r on e psychoanalyze s "needy " patients , literar y works, character s i n works, politica l figures, famou s historica l personali ties, whol e cultures , o r whatever . T o becom e seriousl y involve d wit h anyone o r anythin g i s t o introduc e th e possibilit y o f transference . Thi s

Introduction 2

3

includes th e applie d psychoanalyst' s involvemen t wit h an y objec t psy choanalyzed. In th e therapeuti c situatio n th e issue s fo r th e analys t are : (1 ) ho w t o be open t o one' s ow n (counter-)transferenc e feeling s an d ho w t o manip ulate the m internally , an d (2 ) whe n an d t o wha t exten t suc h feeling s should b e disclosed i n th e presence o f th e patient. I n literar y scholarshi p the secon d o f thes e issue s i s irrelevant , sinc e ther e i s n o on e bein g "cured," t o who m disclosur e migh t b e mad e therapeutically . However , there i s onesel f (o r one' s diary) , whic h i s t o sa y tha t th e firs t issu e is relevant. Ther e ar e als o friends , colleagues , a spouse , an d th e lik e wit h whom discussio n i s possibl e (mor e s o tha n i n clinica l analysis , wher e confidentiality o f th e patient' s revelation s ordinaril y mus t b e main tained). There is also the reader of literary scholarshi p itself, fo r example , the reade r o f thi s ver y volum e o f self-analyti c expose s (which , b y virtu e of thei r explicitness , ar e now automaticall y vulnerabl e to other-analysis) . There is actually quite a variety of objects t o which transferential materia l about literatur e migh t b e expressed . There ar e also various degree s of disclosur e o f th e transferential mate rial. These might b e classified a s follows : 1. No t consciousl y thinkin g abou t transference . 2. Consciousl y thinkin g abou t it . 3. Discussin g it wit h (a) someon e othe r tha n th e objec t o f th e transference , (b) wit h th e object o f th e transference . 4. Writin g it down (diary) . 5. Publishin g (som e or all ) of it . Traditional clinica l psychoanalysi s ha s alway s advocate d gettin g a t leas t as fa r a s ste p 2 . Th e mor e radica l clinica l analyst s toda y believ e th e therapist shoul d a t least sometimes arriv e at step 3b . Literary psychoana lysts, i n my opinion , ough t t o arriv e a t step 4—at leas t when a dead en d or blockag e o f som e kin d develop s i n th e analyti c work . Finally , thi s volume o f essays , lik e muc h o f th e recen t clinica l literatur e o n counter transference, i n man y instance s arrive s a t th e exhibitionisti c ultimate , step 5 .

24 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e Autobiographical Criticism In th e las t decad e o r s o there has arise n a genre of criticis m ( I would no t call i t scholarship ) whic h mingle s critica l commentar y an d theor y wit h assorted persona l anecdotes . Writer s i n thi s mod e ten d t o b e feminists . Little o f thi s fascinatin g writin g coul d b e calle d properl y self-analytic , although muc h o f i t is psychoanalytically informed . Som e of i t is revealing a t th e leve l o f professiona l gossi p i n academe , an d al l of i t is person ally revealing . In he r Thinking Through the Body Jan e Gallop , fo r example , con fesses no t onl y tha t Rousseau' s Julie mad e he r cry , bu t tha t work s b y Sade move d he r t o masturbat e (18) . Ev e Kosofsk y Sedgwick , i n th e context o f a delightfull y detaile d commentar y o n he r ow n poetry , tell s us o f he r childhoo d associatio n o f poeti c rhyth m wit h th e experienc e o f being spanke d (" A Poe m I s Bein g Written, " 114) . Somewha t mor e re served i s th e "persona l criticism " proffere d b y Mar y An n Caw s i n he r Women of Bloomsbury, fo r i n this unconventional boo k th e sexual habits of th e author hersel f ar e not displayed . Most recentl y Duk e Universit y Pres s ha s brough t ou t a collection o f essays title d The Intimate Critique: Autobiographical Literary Criticism, edited b y Diane P. Freedman , Olivi a Frey, an d Frances Murphy Zauhar . This wor k wa s immediatel y lampoone d b y th e Times Literary Supplement (3 0 Apri l 1993) , an d i t doe s hav e t o b e admitte d tha t a few o f th e contributions ar e frame d i n th e mos t wretche d colleg e compositionese . But th e volum e als o contain s som e insightfu l an d movin g paper s o n th e role of th e self i n creative criticism . For example , Brend a Dal y demonstrate s tha t sh e wa s abl e t o gai n a deeper understandin g o f th e thematic s o f chil d abus e i n Joyc e Caro l Oates b y drawin g o n he r ow n experienc e o f livin g in a family wher e th e father wa s sexuall y abusin g som e o f th e daughter s a s th e mothe r stoo d by, denyin g what was happening ("M y Friend , Joyce Caro l Oates") . Also included i n the volume i s the now-classic feminist piec e "M e an d My Shadow, " originall y publishe d i n 1988 , b y Jan e Tompkins . Tomp kins say s sh e i s fe d u p wit h havin g t o avoi d persona l matter s i n he r professional discourse : " I thin k peopl e ar e scare d t o tal k abou t them selves, tha t the y haven' t go t th e gut s t o d o it " (25) . Tompkin s ha s th e guts, however . Fo r example , sh e feels fre e t o mentio n

Introduction 2

5

the bird s outsid e m y window , m y grie f ove r Janice [ a frien d wh o committe d suicide], just myself a s a person sittin g here in stockinged feet, a little bit chilly because the windows ar e open, an d thinking about goin g to the bathroom. Bu t not going yet. (28). This i s th e "other " voice , th e "personal " elemen t tha t Tompkin s wishe s could fin d it s way mor e ofte n int o he r professional utterances . I n partic ular sh e wishes sh e could expres s he r personal ange r at men: " I hat e me n for th e way they treat women, an d pretending tha t women aren' t ther e is one o f th e way s I hat e most " (37) . I n fac t sh e does express thi s ange r a t some lengt h i n th e essay , gratifyin g hersel f an d he r readers—no t onl y feminist readers , bu t an y reader s wit h sensitivit y t o th e importanc e o f psychological issues: "The disdain fo r popular psychology an d for word s like 'love 5 and 'giving ' is part of the police action that academic intellectu als wage ceaselessl y agains t feeling , agains t women , agains t wha t i s per sonal" (39). Another feminis t wh o doesn' t min d emergin g fro m th e straitjacke t o f formal academi c discours e i s Nanc y K . Miller . Sh e ha s publishe d a rambling collectio n title d Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts (1991) . Readin g thi s boo k w e learn, amon g other things , tha t Professo r Mille r i s the granddaughte r o f Jewish immi grants, tha t sh e make s mistake s i n he r spoke n French , tha t sh e di d no t get tenur e a t Columbia , tha t sh e use d t o sho p wit h he r mothe r a t Loehmann's i n th e Bronx , tha t sh e woul d drin k coffe e wit h he r mothe r at a Greek-owne d restauran t afte r shopping , an d s o on . I n a chapte r titled "M y Father' s Penis " (143-47 ) sh e reall y "get s personal, " describ ing, fo r example , ho w he r fathe r use d t o wal k aroun d th e hous e i n pajamas wit h a partially ope n fly : The pajamas, mad e of a thin cotto n fabric, usuall y a shade of washed-out blue, but sometimes also striped, were a droopy affair; the y tended to bag at the knees and shift positio n a t the waist with every movement. Th e string, mean t to hold the pajamas up, was also meant to keep the fly—just a slit opening in the front— closed. Bu t th e fly , w e might sa y modernly, resiste d closur e an d define d itsel f instead by the meaningful hin t of a gap. (143) The object , th e "it " i n th e ga p wa s a myster y t o th e child , an d wa s "somehow connecte d t o th e constan t tensio n i n ou r family , especiall y t o my mother' s ba d moods. " Wh y thi s shoul d hav e bee n s o i s neve r mad e clear. Bu t Mille r doe s tel l u s tha t sh e eventuall y go t t o see , eve n t o fee l

i6 Danie

l Rancour-Laferrier e

her father's peni s many years later, afte r h e was stricken with Parkinson' s disease an d develope d urinar y problems : " I fished hi s peni s ou t fro m behind th e fl y o f hi s short s an d stuc k i t i n th e urinal ; i t fel t sof t an d a little clammy" (144) . In a theoretical contex t o f Frenc h feminis m al l this leads, naturally, t o the Lacania n Phallus/Peni s dichotomy . Th e Father' s phallu s wa s consti tuted b y his authoritarianism , i n particular b y hi s acts of violence agains t the daughter : h e physically abuse d her , sh e reports, throwin g he r acros s a roo m o n on e occasion , knockin g he r dow n i n a n elevato r o n another . The penis , o n th e othe r hand , wa s merel y th e soft , clamm y organ . Rebelling agains t th e father mean t havin g a "chance a t the phallus," eve n if she could not hav e the literal penis (146). Yet, althoug h a theoretica l poin t ha s bee n illustrate d b y a persona l anecdote, on e sense s tha t th e anecdot e i s overl y bizarre , an d tha t to o much ha s bee n lef t unsaid . An d besides , th e theoretica l dichotom y o f Phallus/Penis i s no t al l tha t clea r t o Mille r (cf . Gallo p 131) , no r doe s i t seem t o interes t he r ver y much . Wha t Mille r reall y want s t o tel l us , i t seems, i s som e dar k secre t abou t hersel f (an d he r mother?) . Bu t sh e cannot brin g herself to , fo r suc h a self-analytic ac t would b e too painful , and the secret revealed would b e quite beside the theoretical point. Mille r seems to b e inviting some supplementar y other-analysi s fro m he r reader . I ventur e t o accep t th e invitation , bu t cautio n tha t wha t I a m goin g t o say is only a n interpretation . The cumulativ e effect o f th e essay i s t o belittl e th e father' s penis . Here, I think , lie s a part o f th e secret . Th e peni s i s sof t an d clammy , i t turns blue , it s uncontrolle d actio n raise s th e stin k o f urin e i n th e apart ment, an d s o on . On e i s tempte d t o laug h a t th e ol d man' s urinar y problems, an d it is obvious tha t Miller intends this . The phrase "sof t an d a littl e clammy " means : no t erect , small , cold—no t hot , th e wa y th e mother like s her coffee . But behin d th e castrator y wis h ther e appear s t o b e a n eve n darke r secret. Th e final word s o f th e chapter—an d th e book—ar e spoke n b y a physician i n a n intensive-care uni t wher e Miller' s fathe r i s being treated : " 'Wha t d o yo u wan t m e t o do, ' sh e hisse d a t m e acros s th e networ k o f tubes mappin g hi s body, 'kil l your father? ' " (147). The answe r ca n onl y be yes . Th e culminatio n o f th e essay appear s t o expres s a death-wis h against a manifestl y abusiv e father . Ha d thi s feelin g (alon g wit h th e castratory wish ) bee n (self- ) analyzed , th e essay woul d hav e bee n muc h

Introduction 2

7

different, th e trivia l Phallus/Peni s distinctio n woul d hav e evaporated , and probabl y th e tru e origin s o f Miller' s feminis m woul d hav e com e t o the surface . But still , eve n when sh e does not plung e t o th e psychoanalytic depth s Miller ca n b e interesting . B y revealin g oftentime s excruciatingl y painfu l details fro m he r persona l life , Mille r succeed s i n attractin g th e reader' s sympathy. Certainl y sh e attracte d this reader' s sympathy , an d no t onl y with regar d t o abusiv e fathers . Fo r example , Miller' s accoun t o f th e anxieties she experienced abou t her imperfect Frenc h reminde d m e of m y own anxietie s abou t m y imperfec t spoke n Russian : o n mor e tha n on e occasion I hav e fel t humiliate d b y makin g a grammatica l erro r i n th e presence o f America n fellow-Slavist s (especiall y i n fron t o f thos e lan guage robot s wh o mimi c Russia n s o well—and wh o usuall y tur n ou t t o be mediocre scholars) . Readin g Miller I also remembered ho w chauvinis tic th e Frenc h ca n b e abou t thei r language . I n Pari s I wa s scoffe d a t fo r my French , whil e i n Mosco w I hav e alway s foun d th e Russian s grateful for m y eve n attemptin g t o spea k Russian . Another associatio n tha t cam e t o min d whil e readin g Mille r wa s th e way Roma n Jakobson , m y teache r man y year s ago , use d t o spea k En glish, tha t is , with a thick Russian accent . I f he could ge t away with that , I use d t o think , the n i t was okay fo r me t o g o into Slavi c studies an d tr y to b e a s brilliant a scholar a s he was. Th e joke use d t o g o around amon g Slavists tha t Jakobso n coul d spea k "thirty-tw o language s fluently—al l of the m i n Russian. " I use d t o find thi s jok e irritating . No w I realiz e I was identifying wit h Jakobson mor e than I knew a t the time. But her e I find mysel f doin g wha t Mille r an d som e o f th e othe r autobiographical critic s do , runnin g o n an d o n wit h persona l observa tions an d reminiscences , withou t makin g an y relevan t scholarl y point . That is the potential problem with al l writing which—to quot e the jacket of Miller' s book—"interleave s th e personal an d the theoretical, anecdot e and text. " Posing Questions about Self-Analysis This boo k bega n a s a spin-off fro m th e manuscript o f a book o n Tolsto y which I ha d complete d i n 198 9 (se e m y Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov: A Psychoanalytic Study). Th e origina l spin-off , title d "Wh y Natash a Bumps He r Head " (no w include d amon g th e essay s i n thi s volume )

28 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e prompted Professo r Jeffrey Berma n of the State University o f New York at Alban y t o writ e m e in Septembe r o f 1991 , and to poin t ou t tha t n o book ha d eve r bee n publishe d o n th e topi c o f self-analysi s i n literar y study. Wasn' t i t abou t time , h e asked , tha t suc h a boo k b e brough t out? I agreed , an d proceede d t o invit e som e psychoanalyti c scholar s t o contribute to a volume on self-analysis i n the application of psychoanalysis t o literature. I n eac h lette r o f invitation I raise d a series o f question s which I hoped th e potential contributor s woul d address : What i s the role o f the critic's (counter-)transferenc e fantasie s i n literary criticism? Have literar y critic s wh o have bee n "self-analyzed " becom e bette r crit ics? Different critics ? Do they understand bette r the relationship betwee n their personal an d professional lives ? Would the y recommen d self-analy sis for other literar y critics ? Is self-analysi s a n ongoing process—analysi s terminabl e an d intermina ble?—or doe s its practical value end at a certain point ? Is self-analysi s equall y valuabl e fo r self-understandin g an d self-healing ? Have the literary critic s who have gone into self-analysis don e so primarily for intellectual or therapeutic reasons ? To wha t exten t ar e the critic's identification s an d counteridentification s with fictional character s base d o n personal experiences , values , upbring ing, an d so forth ? Can students practic e self-analysi s i n the context of a literature course ? Is th e trainin g tha t literar y scholar s typicall y receiv e conduciv e to/no t conducive to what psychoanalysts mea n by self-analysis ? What ar e the difficulties (resistances? ) inheren t i n admitting tha t on e has been "other-psychoanalyzed, " an d is it possible to overcome thes e diffi culties? What ar e the difficulties (resistances? ) inheren t i n admitting tha t on e has not bee n "other-psychoanalyzed? " What ar e the dangers o f self-analysis ? Ar e there context s i n which self analysis i s little mor e tha n a symptom o f narcissistic disturbance ? Migh t a scholar' s publi c self-analysi s eve r b e use d agains t th e scholar ? Ho w important ar e th e exhibitionisti c an d masochisti c component s o f self -

Introduction 2

9

analysis? Ho w ca n th e self-destructiv e aspect s o f self-analysi s b e miti gated? Can th e narcissistic , exhibitionistic , an d masochisti c function s o f self analysis b e isolate d i n suc h a way a s t o preven t interferenc e wit h objec tivity? Ca n the y b e co-opted i n such a way a s to facilitate empath y eithe r with literar y creativit y o r literary response ? These wer e merel y suggestion s o f course , an d n o on e schola r wa s ex pected t o addres s them al l in depth. Nevertheles s th e response to the idea of a n edite d volume wa s positive, and , a s a result, man y o f th e question s I raised i n the letter ar e now deal t with here . Not al l o f th e answer s ar e i n fo r thi s ne w interdisciplinar y researc h field, b y an y means . Hopefull y m y lis t o f question s (draw n u p wit h th e assistance o f Professor Berman ) will serve as a stimulus t o further study . If ther e is one conclusio n tha t ca n be drawn fro m al l the essays in thi s volume, i t is this: self-analysis ca n be a boon t o other-analysis , includin g psychoanalysis o f literature . Literar y analysi s informe d b y self-analysi s is in principle superio r t o literary analysi s not s o informed . Because o f he r self-analyti c activity , fo r example , Barbar a Schapir o i s better attune d t o issue s o f boundaries , narcissism , narcissisti c rage , an d related problem s i n th e work s o f Virgini a Woolf . Bernar d Pari s ha s a better gri p o n Raskolnikov' s inne r conflict s a s a result o f havin g brough t to consciousnes s hi s own highl y conflicte d relationshi p wit h hi s mother . Michael Steig' s self-analyti c wor k brough t a n understandin g o f wh y h e had repeatedl y rea d a nove l b y Jame s Hog g i n a certai n wa y (althoug h Steig question s th e possibilit y o f 'objective ' understandin g o f texts , i t i s obvious tha t he improved hi s grasp of th e psychology o f justified sinnin g depicted b y Hogg) . Upo n recallin g certai n detail s o f hi s persona l an d ethnic background , Davi d Bleic h discovere d tha t h e understood mor e o f Kafka tha n h e had previousl y realized . Jeffre y Berman , i n the aftermat h of a revere d literatur e teacher' s suicide , achieve d insight s int o literar y works dealin g wit h suicid e i n par t b y analyzin g hi s ow n respons e t o his teacher' s suicide . Norma n Holland' s thinl y disguise d self-characte r Norwood i s abl e t o dea l mor e productivel y wit h Paradise Lost afte r taking som e self-analyti c "shrin k time " t o overcom e hi s anxiet y abou t the castratory "Lacanians. " Self-analysis helpe d Steven Rosen ge t beyon d an interpretation o f certai n Dostoevskia n gesture s a s merely homoerotic , and t o achiev e insight int o thei r equall y importan t functio n a s enhancer s

30 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e of masculinit y an d facilitators o f male-mal e interactio n i n Dostoevsky' s work. An d o f course , m y ow n awarenes s o f a personal preoccupatio n with matter s o f th e "head " helpe d m e t o avoi d attachin g an y undu e significance t o the fact tha t Natash a accidentl y bumpe d he r head towar d the end of Tolstoy's War and Peace. Analyzing onesel f ha s a powerful narcissisti c appeal . Self-analysi s ma y indeed b e th e unacknowledge d mai n goa l i n lif e fo r man y psychoana lysts—clinical an d applied . Bu t s o narcissisti c a n enterpris e can , para doxically, enhanc e other-analysi s a s well. On e cannot observ e one' s sel f without someho w objectifyin g tha t self , "othering " it—bu t thi s i s already the structural equivalen t of other-analysis. Suc h "othering, " more over, ca n be provoked specificall y b y something whic h i s itself "other. " For example , i t can be provoked b y some objectively existin g elemen t of a literary work . Indeed , t o modify Aristotle , nothin g exist s in the "oth ering" min d withou t bein g perceive d i n the "other " first. I n the case of literature, i t is as if som e literar y persona—author , narrator , character , fragment o f a character, o r whatever—whisper s a bribe int o th e ear of the reader: "I f thou woulds t kno w thyself , know me." Marion Milne r quote s La o Tse: "I observ e mysel f an d so I com e t o know others " (122) . I thin k tha t eve n th e mos t narcissisti c o f self analysts com e t o kno w others , includin g literar y others—i n spit e o f themselves.3

Notes 1. Other s wh o have written o n Freud's homosexualit y (bu t not in connectio n with Schreber ) include : Jones, vol . I, 317 ; Anzieu 165 , 259, 292, 312, 393 , 543, 552. My colleague Alan Elms (letter of 7 February 1990 ) has pointed out to me that Freud also worked through some of his homosexual feelings while writing his book on Leonardo da Vinci in 1910. What Freud says of Schreber ("I am all Schreber") is very much like what he had said of Leonardo earlier that same year ("Otherwise I am all Leonardo"). 2. I t i s importan t t o recogniz e tha t literar y persona e are represented b y the writer an d perceived a s such by the reader. Thos e who neglect thi s form of personification—from th e Russian Formalist s dow n t o today' s Bakhtinian s and Deconstructionists—tend t o mistakenly personify th e text or the literary discourse itself (se e my study "Wh y the Russian Formalists Had No Theory of the Literary Person").

Introduction 3

1

3. I wis h t o than k Barbar a Milman , Jef f Berman , Ala n Elms , Bret t Cooke , an d Kathryn Jaeger fo r thei r constructiv e comments .

Works Cite d Anzieu, Didier . Freud's Self-Analysis. 1975 . Trans . P . Graham . London : Ho garth Press an d Institut e o f Psycho-Analysis , 1986 . Baron, Samue l H. , an d Carl Pletsch, eds . Introspection in Biography: The Biographer's Quest for Self-Awareness. Hillsdale , N.J. : Analyti c Press, 1985 . Beiser, Hele n R . "A n Exampl e o f Self-Analysis. " Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 32(1984) : 3-12 . Bleich, David . Subjective Criticism. Baltimore : Johns Hopkin s Universit y Press , 1978. Bollas, Christopher . The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known. Ne w York : Columbi a Universit y Press , 1987 . Brandell, Jerrol d R. , ed . Countertransference in Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents. Northvale , N.J. : Jason Aronson , 1992 . Brenner, Charles . "Countertransferenc e a s Compromis e Formation. " I n Countertransference. Ed . Edmun d Slakter . Northvale , N.J. : Jason Aronson , 1987 , 43-51Calder, Kennet h T . "A n Analyst' s Self-Analysis. "Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 2 8 (1980): 5-20 . Caws, Mar y Ann . Women of Bloomsbury: Virginia, Vanessa, and Carrington. New York : Routledge , 1990 . Charney, Maurice . Revie w o f Out from under Gogol's Overcoat, b y Danie l Rancour-Laferriere. Psychoanalytic Review 7 1 (1984): 663-64. Chessick, Richar d D . "Self-Analysis : A Foo l fo r a Patient? " Psychoanalytic Review yj (1990) : 311-40. Daly, Brenda . "M y Friend , Joyc e Caro l Oates. " I n The Intimate Critique: Autobiographical Literary Criticism. Ed . Dian e P . Freedman , Olivi a Frey , and France s Murph y Zauhar . Durham , N . C . : Duk e Universit y Press , 1993 , l6 3~73Daston, P . G . "Perceptio n o f Homosexua l Word s i n Paranoi d Schizophrenia. " Perceptual and Motor Skills 6 (1956): 45-55. Devereux, George . From Anxiety to Method in the Behavioral Sciences. The Hague: Mouton, 1967 . Edel, Leon . "Confession s o f a Biographer." I n Psychoanalytic Studies of Biography. Ed . G . Moraiti s an d G . Pollock . Madison , Conn. : Internationa l Univer sities Press, 1987 , 3-27 . Ehrenreich, Joh n H . "Transference : On e Concep t o r Many? " Psychoanalytic Review 7 6 (1989): 37-65. Feiner, Arthu r H . "Countertransferenc e an d Misreading : Th e Influenc e o f th e Anxiety o f Influence. " Contemporary Psychoanalysis 2 4 (1988): 612-49.

32 Danie

l Rancour-Laferrier e

Fenichel, Otto . The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis. Ne w York : W . W . Norton, 1945 . Fleming, Joan. The Teaching and Learning of Psychoanalysis: Selected Papers of Joan Fleming, M.D. Ed . S . Weiss. New York : Guilfor d Press , 1987 . Freud, Sigmund . The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed . J . Strachey . 2 4 vols . London : Th e Hogart h Press , 1953-65. Gallop, Jane . Thinking through the Body. Ne w York : Columbi a Universit y Press, 1988 . Gestwicki, Ronald . A Life-Study of Franz Kafka, 1883-1924, Using the Intensive Journal Method of Ira Progoff. Lewiston , N.Y. : Edwi n Melle n Press , 1992.

Gill, Merto n M. , an d Irwi n 2 . Hoffman . Analysis of Transference, vol . 2 . Ne w York: Internationa l Universitie s Press , 1982 . Giovacchini, Pete r L . Countertransference Triumphs and Catastrophes. North vale, N.J. : Jason Aronson , 1989 . Gorkin, Michael . The Uses of Countertransference. Northvale , N.J. : Jason Ar onson, 1987 . Grosskurth, Phyllis . "Freud' s Favorit e Paranoiac. " New York Review of Books 36 (1990): 36-38. Hartman, Geoffrey . "Th e Interpreter : A Self-Analysis/ ' New Literary History 4 (1973): 213-27 .

Holland, Norman . The Dynamics of Literary Response. Ne w York : Oxfor d University Press , 1968 . . "Hamlet —My Greates t Creation." Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis 3 (1975): 419-27. Horney, Karen . Self-Analysis. 1942 . New York : W. W . Norton , 1970 . Jones, Ernest . Sigmund Freud: Life and Work, 3 vols . London : Th e Hogart h Press, 1953-57 * Jung, C . G . Memories, Dreams, Reflections. 1961 . Ed . Aniel a Jaffe . Trans . Richard an d Clar a Winston . Ne w York : Vintage Books, 1989 . Klein, Melanie . Love, Guilt and Reparation and Other Works, 1921-194$. Ne w York: Delta, 1977 . Kline, Paul . Fact and Fantasy in Freudian Theory. London : Methuen, 1981 . Kohut, Heinz . The Analysis of the Self. New York : Internationa l Universitie s Press, 1971. Kramer, Mari a K . "O n th e Continuatio n o f th e Analyti c Proces s afte r Psycho Analysis ( a Self-Observation). " International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 4 0 (1959): 17-25 .

Lawton, Henry . The Psych^historian's Handbook. Ne w York : Psychohistor y Press, 1988 . Loewenberg, Peter . Decoding the Past: The Psychohistorical Approach. Berkeley : University o f Californi a Press , 1985 . Malcolm, Janet. "Th e Silen t Woman." New Yorker, 23 , 30 Aug. 1993 , 84-159.

Introduction 3

3

Mallard, Henr y C . "Ambiguitie s o f Self-Analysis. " Psychoanalytic Quarterly 5 6 (1987): 523-27 .

Maroda, Kare n J . The Power of Countertransference: Innovations in Analytic Technique. Ne w York : John Wiley , 1991 . Marshall, Rober t J., an d Simone V. Marshall. The Transference-Countertransference Matrix. Ne w York : Columbi a Universit y Press , 1988 . McLean, Hugh . "Gogol' s Retrea t fro m Love : Toward a n Interpretation o f Mirgorod.33 In Russian Literature and Psychoanalysis, ed . Danie l Rancour-Lafer riere. Amsterdam: John Benjamins , 1989 , 101-22 . Messner, Edward , James E. Groves , an d Jonathan H. Schwartz , eds . Autognosis: How Psychiatrists Analyze Themselves. Chicago : Year Book Medica l Publish ers, 1989 . Miller, Nancy K . Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts. Ne w York : Routledge , 1991 . Milner, Mario n (Joann a Field) . A Life of One's Own. 1934 . London : Virago , 1986. Progoff, Ira . At a Journal Workshop: The Basic Text and Guide for Using the Intensive Journal. Ne w York : Dialogue Hous e Library , 1975 . Rainer, Tristine . The New Diary: How to Use a Journal for Self-Guidance and Creativity. Lo s Angeles: Jeremy P . Tarcher, 1978 . Rancour-Laferriere, Daniel . Out from under Gogol's Overcoat: A Psychoanalytic Study. An n Arbor : Ardis , 1982 . . The Mind of Stalin: A Psychoanalytic Study. An n Arbor: Ardis, 1988 . . "Wh y th e Russia n Formalist s Ha d N o Theor y o f th e Literar y Person. " Wiener Slawistischer Almanach—Sonderband 3 1 (1992): 327-37. . Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov: A Psychoanalytic Study. London : Bristo l Classical Press, 1993 . Rose, Jacqueline . The Haunting of Sylvia Plath. 1991 . Cambridge : Harvar d University Press , 1993 . Schepeler, Eva . "Th e Biographer's Transference : A Chapte r i n Psychobiographi cal Epistemology." Biography 1 3 (1990): 111-29 . Schwaber, Evelyn e Albrecht . "Countertransference : Th e Analyst' s Retrea t fro m the Patient' s Vantag e Point. " International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 7 3 (1992): 349-61 Schwartz, Murra y M . "Th e Literar y Us e o f Transference. " Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought 5 (1982): 35-44. Sedgwick, Ev e Kosofsky. " A Poem I s Being Written." Representations 1 7 (1987): 110-43.

Seilman, Uffe , an d Stee n F . Larsen . "Persona l Resonanc e t o Literature : A Stud y of Remindings Whil e Reading." Poetics 1 8 (1989): 165-77 . Slakter, Edmund , ed . Countertransference. Northvale , N.J. : Jaso n Aronson , 1987.

Sussman, Michae l B . A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy. Northvale , N.J. : Jason Aronson , 1992 .

34 Danie

l Rancour-Laferrier e

Tansey, Michae l J. , an d Walte r F . Burke . Understanding Countertransference: From Projective Identification to Empathy. Hillsdale , N.J. : Analyti c Press , 1989-

Ticho, Gertrud e R. "O n Self- Analy sis. * International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 48 (1967) : 308-18 .

Tompkins, Jane . "M e an d M y Shadow. " I n The Intimate Critique: Autobiographical Literary Criticism, ed . Dian e P. Freedman, Olivi a Frey, an d France s Murphy Zauhar . Durham , N . C . : Duke Universit y Press , 1993 , 2 3~"4°Tucker, Rober t C . " A Stali n Biographer s Memoir. " I n Psychology and Historical Interpretation, ed . W . M . Runyan . Ne w York : Oxfor d Universit y Press , 1988, 63-81 . Waldron, Sherwood , Jr . "Slip s o f th e Analyst. " Psychoanalytic Quarterly 6 1 (1992): 564-80 .

O N E

"The Grie f Tha t Doe s No t Speak55: Suicide , Mourning , an d Psychoanalytic Teachin g Jeffrey Berman

In m y teachin g an d writin g I hav e spen t man y year s explorin g fictiona l characters' suicides , bu t I have never acknowledge d i n print th e persona l reason fo r thi s professiona l preoccupation : th e suicid e o f a n admire d college Englis h professor . Le n entere d m y lif e i n 1963 , whe n I wa s a freshman, an d soo n becam e m y mento r an d bes t friend . H e was , apar t from m y parents , th e mos t formativ e influenc e o n m y adulthood , awak ening m y lov e for literature , introducin g m e t o Freud' s writings , direct ing a n Honor' s thesi s o n psychoanalyti c criticism , an d encouragin g m e to becom e a teacher. A t a time when I felt lik e a n impersona l numbe r a t the larg e stat e universit y wher e I wa s studying , Le n showe d specia l interest i n m e an d enriche d m y lif e i n a multitud e o f ways . Hi s subse quent death , a year afte r m y graduation , lef t m e bewildere d an d devas tated, searchin g for a clue why someon e s o remarkably gifte d woul d tak e his life despit e having so much t o live for . Len approache d teachin g wit h unsurpasse d intensity , an d h e ha d a n uncanny abilit y t o mak e literatur e com e aliv e t o hi s students . Imbue d with th e activis t spiri t o f th e 1960s , h e believe d tha t literatur e coul d transform th e worl d an d chang e hi s students ' lives . Whe n aske d t o elaborate o n hi s approac h t o teaching , h e wrote th e followin g comment , which I subsequently frame d an d placed o n m y offic e bookcase : 35

}6 Jeffre y Berma n You hav e accuratel y discerne d tha t I a m no t intereste d i n th e usua l thing s English teachers are concerned about . . . . I want, i n short, t o change your life. But I don't feel this is at odds with the aims of literature. You see, it's my sincere belief that the function o f literature is to change lives—and to let people know a lot more about themselves and the world. I am not a religious missionary because I am not religious. But I will agree that I am a kind of missionary. Yes, I want to make th e worl d a nice place, bu t I a m also desperately i n lov e with literature . And I try t o combin e m y deepest care s by teachin g literature an d makin g sure that I indicat e ho w tha t literatur e speak s t o ever y perso n i n th e classroo m (including me). Literature, an d art in general, is nothing if it is not a criticism of life. Writer s ar e men, no t distan t "authors, " an d the y writ e abou t people , no t "characters." I f I didn' t car e abou t an d lov e m y student s I wouldn' t tak e th e trouble to get into painful self-searching . I had n o ide a how painfu l tha t self-searchin g woul d becom e i n time. I was eightee n whe n I first me t Len , twenty-thre e whe n h e died , an d though I have dwelled upo n hi s life an d deat h fo r a quarter o f a century, I stil l do no t kno w al l the reason s fo r hi s suicide . I a m no w twic e a s old as I wa s whe n h e die d an d realiz e tha t I kno w hi m hal f a s wel l a s I once thought .

"Tell Me Why I Shouldn't Kill Myself" An earl y an d outspoke n criti c of th e Vietnam War , Le n believe d tha t th e United State s wa s headin g towar d a n apocalypse . Tha t h e wa s headin g toward a personal apocalypse , I realized onl y slowly . Th e growing socia l and political turbulenc e filled hi m with a premonition o f doom . Depres sion darkene d hi s normally ebullien t spirit . Idealis m gav e way t o skepti cism, the n pessimism ; insid e th e classroom , h e remaine d livel y an d en gaging; outsid e th e classroom , h e seeme d deflate d an d apatheti c abou t his life . Hire d a s a lecturer, h e neve r finished hi s Ph.D . dissertatio n o n the America n criti c Edmun d Wilso n despit e completin g al l his research . When hi s contrac t wa s no t renewed , h e los t fait h i n himself, concludin g that hi s academi c caree r wa s over . H e wa s als o desponden t ove r hi s wife's failin g health, irrationall y blamin g himself fo r th e incurable degen erative diseas e from whic h sh e suffered. Ironically , th e deterioratio n an d eventual collaps e o f thei r marriag e aggravate d he r illness , deepenin g his guilt . I wa s a graduat e studen t a t Cornel l Universit y i n Ithaca , Ne w York , when Le n phone d m e fro m hi s parents ' apartmen t i n Brooklyn , a five

"The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 3

7

hour driv e away , o n Labo r Day , 1968 , t o tel l me , i n a voic e eeril y composed, tha t h e ha d jus t take n a n overdos e o f sleepin g pills . H e wa s not calling , h e stated , becaus e h e wante d m e t o tal k hi m ou t o f hi s decision; rather , h e aske d m e t o sa y goodby e t o hi s famil y an d friends . He wa s not angr y a t anyone, h e added, an d hope d tha t n o on e would b e angry a t him . H e fel t tha t suicid e wa s th e righ t decisio n an d tha t every one woul d b e relieve d b y hi s death . H e believe d tha t h e ha d accom plished nothin g i n hi s life , ha d disappointe d hi s famil y an d friends , ha d ceased t o be a good teacher , an d had made a mess of things . Panic seize d me , bu t I kne w I ha d t o remai n cal m an d procee d deliberately i f I wa s t o hel p him . H e refuse d t o disclos e wher e hi s parents' apartment wa s located o r when the y would b e home, no r woul d he revea l wher e hi s estrange d wif e wa s living . Whe n I aske d ho w man y pills he had swallowe d an d wha t kind , h e replied tha t h e had take n 4 0 or 50 chloral hydrates , mor e tha n enough , h e said , t o d o th e job. I di d no t doubt fo r a momen t th e seriousnes s o f hi s suicid e attempt , fo r i n th e preceding month s h e ha d ofte n phone d m e i n th e middl e o f th e night , awakening m e wit h th e star k question : "Tel l m e wh y I shouldn' t kil l myself?" Th e telephon e call s wer e alway s unnerving , eve n whe n I gre w to expec t them ; an d eac h tim e I urge d hi m t o spea k t o a therapist , h e refused, believin g that his problems wer e insoluble . In wha t turne d ou t t o b e a self-fulfillin g prophec y or , mor e accu rately, a n exampl e o f lif e commentin g upo n art , Le n ha d give n m e a copy o f Camus ' The Myth of Sisyphus, wit h it s bol d assertio n tha t "[tjhere i s bu t on e trul y seriou s philosophica l problem , an d tha t i s suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answer ing th e fundamenta l questio n o f philosophy " (Camu s 3) . I argue d tha t Camus' existentia l heroe s wer e o n th e sid e o f life , awar e o f th e fragil e nature o f existence , an d determine d t o liv e ever y momen t i n ful l con sciousness an d revolt . I quoted t o hi m Camus ' passionate words—"I t i s essential t o di e unreconcile d an d no t o f one' s ow n fre e will . Suicid e i s a repudiation" (41)—bu t Le n wa s no t convinced . T o him , Camus ' tragi c death i n i960 , whe n h e wa s kille d i n a car acciden t a t th e ag e o f forty six, onl y seeme d t o confirm th e absurdity o f existence . I coul d no t disguis e th e fea r i n m y voic e a s I implore d Le n t o cal l a n ambulance o r the police, a plea he adamantly refused . I found i t impossible to carr y o n a reasonable conversatio n wit h a person wh o ha d se t int o motion hi s own death . Th e longer I spoke, th e more I feared hi s life wa s

38 Jeffre y Berma n slipping away . I found mysel f choke d wit h emotion , unsur e wha t t o sa y or do . Afte r severa l minute s I tol d hi m tha t i f h e di d no t han g u p an d call for assistance , the n I would. Later , i n reflecting bac k upon th e event , I realize d tha t I shoul d hav e kept hi m o n th e phone whil e m y wife , wh o was wit h m e throughou t th e crisis , rushe d t o anothe r phon e t o cal l th e police. On e alway s see s clearly i n hindsight. Instead , I pleaded wit h hi m to g o for hel p and , whe n tha t failed , I hung up an d diale d th e operator . Just a s I succeede d i n gettin g throug h t o th e operator , Le n someho w got bac k o n th e lin e and , i n a controlle d voice , reprimande d m e fo r making—the word s ar e etche d indelibl y i n m y memory—th e "conven tional response. " Th e secon d cal l was a repetition o f th e first, an d whe n I exhorte d hi m onc e agai n t o summo n help , les t I would, h e responded : "Then I'l l g o somewher e els e t o die. " Grief-stricken , I hun g u p fo r th e second time , phone d th e operato r wh o connecte d m e t o th e police , an d breathlessly explaine d th e situation . A fe w hour s late r a polic e office r called wit h th e new s tha t the y ha d broke n dow n th e apartmen t doo r bu t found n o on e inside . Th e nex t da y Len' s bod y wa s spotte d i n hi s ol d Plymouth outsid e th e apartment, hi s wrists slashed . H e wa s thirty-one . The Aftermath of

Suicide

Suicide create s intense , long-lastin g guilt , grief , an d ange r amon g famil y and friends , an d Len' s deat h overwhelme d me . B y literall y hangin g u p on him , cuttin g hi m off , I felt lik e I had betraye d hi s friendship. H e ha d forced m e into a Catch-22 situation ; ha d I remained o n th e phone, a s he urged m e t o do , listenin g withou t intervening , I woul d hav e respecte d his wishes but fel t greate r disloyalty, blamin g myself fo r no t having don e everything i n m y powe r t o sav e his life. Year s later I discovered tha t m y situation wa s b y n o mean s unique : approximatel y on e i n fou r suicide s occurs i n th e presenc e o f anothe r perso n o r whil e th e suicid e victi m is speakin g ove r th e telephone— a phenomeno n tha t emphasize s th e interpersonal natur e o f suicid e an d th e crucia l importanc e o f th e rol e o f the other . Edwi n Shneidma n ha s remarke d tha t "th e concep t o f th e 'significant other ' ha s its sharpest operationa l meaning in a case of suicid e where anothe r perso n seem s t o b e bot h th e life-sustaine r an d th e las t straw, a t an y rate , th e focu s o f th e victim' s lif e an d th e precipitatin g reason fo r th e death" ("Overview " 7) .

The Grief Tha t Does Not Speak " 3

9

I a m convince d that , contrar y t o hi s state d wishes , Le n wante d t o b e talked ou t o f death . Surel y h e mus t hav e know n tha t I woul d no t only disagre e wit h hi s decisio n i n th e mos t emphati c term s bu t als o d o everything i n m y powe r t o com e t o hi s aid . Thi s wa s th e positio n I ha d maintained durin g al l ou r conversation s o n suicide , an d h e kne w ho w strongly I fel t abou t thi s subject . A basi c assumptio n i n suicid e preven tion i s tha t mos t peopl e wh o attemp t o r commi t suicid e unconsciousl y wish t o b e rescue d an d thu s leav e clue s t o thei r anticipate d deaths . Suicidal behavior i s highly ambivalent : on e wishes simultaneously t o liv e and die . I f Le n di d no t wan t m e t o intervene , h e coul d hav e simpl y written a letter explainin g his actions . Following th e death , Len' s famil y an d friend s mourne d th e tragi c waste o f hi s life , feelin g tha t par t o f thei r ow n live s ha d als o bee n destroyed. If , b y committin g suicide , Le n wa s offerin g a "gift " t o hi s loved ones , the y fel t les s relie f tha n horro r an d reacte d a s i f hi s deat h were a n ac t o f aggression—whic h suicid e ofte n is . As th e psychoanalys t Wilhelm Steke l note d a s earl y a s 1910 , "No one kills himself who has never wanted to kill another, or at least wished the death of another 3' (qtd. i n Friedma n 87 , emphasi s i n original) . Whil e ther e ar e othe r mo tives for suicide , includin g th e desir e to escap e from pain , th e wish t o b e reunited wit h a loved on e i n death , an d th e belie f tha t deat h wil l magi cally solv e one' s problems , suicida l individual s ten d t o b e profoundl y aggressive.1 Len' s wif e wen t int o shoc k upo n learnin g o f hi s deat h an d had t o b e hospitalize d immediately . Sh e die d on e mont h later , o n hi s birthday—a deat h tha t ma y hav e also been self-induced , a retaliation fo r his abandonment o f her. 2 Hi s friends an d student s were als o horrified b y his death , wonderin g ho w someon e wh o wa s onc e s o ful l o f life , s o determined t o transfor m an d humaniz e th e world , coul d peris h b y hi s own hand . Suicide Survivors In th e weeks followin g Len' s funeral , I remaine d emotionall y num b an d confused. Suicid e alway s come s a s a shock, eve n whe n i t i s no t entirel y unexpected, an d ther e i s probably n o for m o f deat h tha t i s more difficul t for survivor s t o mourn. Ther e were no self-hel p group s in those days fo r "suicide survivors, " a ter m tha t no w refer s t o relative s an d friend s o f

40 Jeffre y Berma n people wh o terminat e thei r ow n lives . Suicid e survivor s shar e man y characteristics: marked distortion s i n time , especiall y th e inabilit y t o remembe r th e dat e th e relative o r frien d died ; difficult y i n respondin g t o direc t question s abou t th e number o f peopl e i n one' s family ; emotiona l estrangement s fro m othe r famil y members; a sens e o f foreboding ; a pessimisti c outloo k o n life , includin g th e suggestion of an early death; overtly suicidal ideas and less overt self-destructiv e behaviors. (Dunne, Mcintosh, an d Dunne-Maxim xiii) Although I hav e neve r bee n suicidal , I hav e foun d mysel f i n th e situation o f othe r suicid e survivor s whos e live s hav e bee n change d irre vocably. Suicid e survivor s hav e fewer suppor t system s availabl e t o the m than survivor s o f othe r tragedie s becaus e o f th e stigm a o f suicid e and th e tangled emotion s arisin g fro m th e act . Perhap s th e mos t painfu l realiza tion i s tha t on e ofte n doe s fee l a degre e o f relie f ove r a love d one' s suicide, alon g with anguis h an d remorse . I n m y ow n case , Len' s nightl y telephone call s ha d becom e unbearable , an d whil e I neve r too k th e telephone of f th e hook , ther e wer e time s whe n I wa s tempte d t o d o so . Suicide survivor s ar e burdene d b y self-reproach , makin g recover y prob lematic. For months afterward s I could not talk to anyon e abou t Len' s suicide , not eve n t o m y wife , wh o wa s a s clos e t o hi m a s I wa s an d n o les s devastated. W e bot h fel t a gaping void i n ou r lives . I kep t askin g mysel f what Le n wa s thinkin g an d feelin g durin g th e fina l moment s o f hi s life ; each tim e I visualize d hi m alon e i n hi s car , I fel t heartsick . Unabl e t o find a n outle t fo r m y grief , I coul d not , t o cit e Malcolm' s line s t o Macduff i n Macbeth, "[g]iv e sorro w words . Th e grie f tha t doe s no t speak/Whispers th e o'er-fraught heart , an d bid s it break" (4.3.208-10) . I immersed mysel f i n my graduat e studies , hopin g t o avoi d broodin g ove r the past . Ye t eve n a s I trie d t o concentrat e o n life , I wa s preoccupie d with death . Serendipitously, I wa s a t thi s tim e takin g a graduat e semina r o n Joseph Conra d an d William Faulkner , taugh t b y Walter Slatoff . Earl y i n the semester Professo r Slatof f mentioned , almos t a s an aside , th e discov ery o f ne w biographica l evidenc e indicating that , i n a moment o f depres sion, Conra d a s a young ma n ha d sho t himsel f deliberatel y i n th e chest . He late r mythologize d th e woun d i n th e semi-autobiographica l nove l The Arrow of Gold. A telegram that Conra d wrot e to his uncle, elaborat ing o n th e detail s o f th e self-shooting , help s t o explai n th e hig h suicid e

"The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 4

1

rate amon g hi s fictional characters , includin g character s wit h who m h e strongly identified , suc h a s the eponymou s her o o f Lord Jim an d Marti n Decoud i n Nostromo. Obsessed wit h Len' s suicide , I found mysel f gravitatin g towar d Con rad's suicid e attempt , hopin g tha t a n understandin g o f th e latte r woul d shed ligh t o n th e former . On e o f th e characteristic s o f suicid e survivors , I later discovered , wit h a shock o f recognition , i s the constan t searc h fo r an explanation o f suicide . I began studyin g th e enormou s bod y o f litera ture o n self-destructio n an d plunge d int o psychoanalyti c theory , whic h made sense both theoreticall y an d experientially . Th e result was my 197 1 Ph.D dissertation , Joseph Conrad and the Self-Destructive Urge, whic h was published i n 1977 ras Joseph Conrad: Writing as Rescue. B y studyin g the psychodynamics o f suicide , I acknowledged t o myself th e paralyzin g emotions arisin g from Len' s death : the guilt , anger , an d anguis h tha t ar e the legacy—o r illegacy—o f suicide . I t wa s a relie f t o kno w tha t I wa s not alon e i n feelin g burdene d b y thes e emotions . I als o joine d a suicid e prevention organizatio n i n Ithaca , whic h train s volunteer s t o asses s th e suicidal risk of callers and then decide on a n appropriate cours e of action , ranging fro m counselin g t o emergenc y rescu e procedures . I n 1980 , afte r receiving tenur e a t the Stat e University o f Ne w Yor k a t Albany, I bega n three year s o f psychoanalyti c trainin g i n Ne w Yor k City , a n experienc e which has broadened m y understandin g o f menta l illness and health . "The Nightmare of

My Choice'

3

In retrospect , I ca n se e why , followin g Len' s death , I wa s s o draw n t o Conrad's stories , particularl y t o Heart of Darkness, a novell a tha t ha d curiously failed t o move me when I first read it in high school. I regarde d Len i n th e sam e wa y tha t Marlo w view s Kurt z a t th e beginnin g o f th e story—as a "ver y remarkabl e person " (19) , a n "emissar y o f pity , an d science [i n Len' s case , literature] , an d progress " (25) , a person wh o ha d "enlarged m y mind " (65) . Bot h Le n an d Kurt z ha d immens e plans , vas t energy, loft y humanitaria n aims , an d a n extraordinar y gif t fo r expres sion. Parallelin g Marlow' s relationshi p t o Kurtz , I idealize d Le n and , despite ou r closenes s i n age , transmute d hi m int o a n admire d fathe r figure whos e approva l mean t th e worl d t o me . Lik e Kurtz , Le n define d himself a s a missionary, an d his belief i n the humanizing an d transforma tive power o f literature elevate d hi m int o a heroic figure.

42 Jeffre y Berma n And yet something terrible had happened t o Len, som e deficiency ha d been revealed which rendere d him , lik e Kurtz, "hollo w a t the core" (59). I picture d Len' s dyin g word s a s "Th e horror ! Th e horror! " (71) . Mar low's observatio n abou t depression—"Eve n extrem e grie f ma y ulti mately ven t itsel f i n violence—bu t mor e generall y take s th e for m o f apathy" (44)—seeme d t o describ e Len' s las t months . Jus t a s Marlo w defends Kurt z an d i s prepared t o ris k hi s own lif e i f necessary t o protec t Kurtz fro m th e forces o f darkness, onl y to draw back at the last moment , unwilling t o plung e int o th e abys s wit h hi s dyin g friend , so , too , di d I retreat ou t o f self-preservation . Afte r hi s death , I coul d no t hel p bu t judge Le n i n th e sam e oxymoroni c wa y i n whic h Marlo w judge s Kurtz : as a ma n o f "exalte d an d incredibl e degradation " (67). An d Marlow' s dazed reactio n t o Kurtz' s deat h anticipate d m y ow n reactio n t o Len's : "It wa s not m y strengt h tha t wanted nursing , i t was my imaginatio n tha t needed soothing " (73) . This is , o f course , a literary construction , a n interpretatio n o f a rea l character a s see n throug h th e vei l o f a shadowy fictiona l one . I t ma y b e objected tha t I a m bein g overl y self-consciou s an d literary . T o regar d myself lik e the stalwart Marlow , capabl e of navigatin g the most treacher ous waters , mus t see m grandiose . I ca n hardl y rea d a road ma p withou t getting lost , muc h les s undertak e a heroi c an d perilou s voyag e int o the deepes t recesse s o f Africa . T o compar e m y "psychic " journe y wit h Marlow's i s lik e comparin g (t o paraphras e Mar k Twain ) a lightning bu g with lightning . Nevertheless , t o th e exten t tha t reader s identif y wit h fictional characters , I viewe d mysel f a s Conrad' s captain , permitte d t o retreat nervousl y fro m th e brin k o f deat h an d compelle d t o narrat e th e story o f a man wh o wil l foreve r remain , a s Marlow describe s Kurtz , th e "nightmare o f m y choice. " For suicid e survivors , lif e i s neve r th e same . I stil l fee l vagu e anxiet y when th e phon e ring s lat e a t nigh t o r whe n I hear a student casuall y sa y that h e i s goin g t o "kil l himself " ove r a grade . I t ha s take n m e a lon g time to recogniz e tha t I was not responsibl e fo r Len' s deat h an d tha t it is the victi m wh o mus t bea r majo r responsibility . I t i s easier t o realiz e thi s intellectually tha n emotionally ; eve n as I was writing earlie r drafts o f thi s chapter, I coul d se e that I was mor e self-blamin g tha n I was consciousl y aware of . Thi s i s the firs t tim e I hav e written abou t Len—an d th e mos t painful writin g I hav e undertaken . I don' t kno w whethe r I hav e pene trated man y o f th e veil s o f hi s lif e o r death ; a s Marlow observe s i n Lord

"The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 4

3

Jim, "i t is my belie f n o man eve r understands quit e his own artfu l dodge s to escap e from th e gri m shado w o f self-knowledge " (49) . Self-Analysis and

Psychoanalytic Theory

For me , th e gri m shado w o f self-knowledg e ha s bee n illuminate d i n part b y psychoanalyti c theory , particularl y th e repetition-compulsio n principle. I n Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920 ) Freu d postulate s th e existence o f a "compulsio n t o repeat " whic h contradict s th e pleasur e principle. Freud' s famou s exampl e o f th e compulsio n t o repea t i s th e "fort [gone]-d a [there] " ritual enacte d b y hi s eighteen-mont h ol d grand son i n respons e t o hi s mother' s temporar y disappearance . B y throwin g over hi s be d a woode n ree l wit h a piec e o f strin g roun d it , th e chil d symbolically make s hi s mothe r disappear ; b y pullin g th e ree l ont o hi s bed again , h e make s he r magicall y reappear . Th e gam e o f disappearanc e and retur n enable s th e chil d t o endur e hi s mother' s absence . Althoug h Freud interprete d th e repetition-compulsion principl e a s confirmation o f a "death instinct," contemporar y psychoanalyst s regar d it more plausibl y as a reflectio n o f th e nee d t o reliv e an d maste r traumati c experiences . Many of the shell-shock soldier s of World War I would no w be classifie d as suffering fro m post-traumati c stres s disorder . The repetition-compulsion principl e ha s been strikin g i n my ow n life . By convertin g a passiv e situatio n (standin g helplessl y b y a s a frien d committed suicide ) int o a n activ e on e (becomin g a psychoanalytic criti c and doin g researc h o n self-destructiv e writers) , I have gaine d a degree of control ove r a frightening situation . On e o f the driving forces behin d m y teaching an d scholarship , I no w see , i s a reparative fantas y i n which, b y attempting t o "rescue " fictiona l characters , I repla y m y discussion s wit h Len an d striv e fo r a mor e positiv e outcome . Althoug h I canno t brin g Len back to lif e nor journey int o the heart o f his darkness, I can play th e role o f significan t othe r t o m y students , especiall y t o thos e whos e live s have bee n touche d b y suicid e o r othe r trauma s an d wh o ar e stil l bur dened b y their ow n privat e albatross . Writing as Rescue The notio n o f "writin g a s rescue " whic h I explore d i n m y wor k o n Joseph Conra d applie s t o othe r writer s wh o writ e ou t o f th e nee d t o

44 Jeffre y Berma n exorcise th e specte r o f self-destruction . Althoug h writin g wa s a t time s unbearably painfu l fo r Conrad , th e onl y thin g wors e tha n writin g wa s not writing—th e fea r o f artisti c silence . On e o f hi s mos t strikin g pro nouncements abou t th e therapeuti c natur e o f writin g appear s i n hi s lat e novel Chance, i n which th e authoria l Marlo w observes : "to be busy wit h material affair s i s the bes t preservative agains t reflection, fears , doubts — all thes e thing s whic h stan d i n th e wa y o f achievement . I suppos e a fellow proposin g t o cu t his throat woul d experienc e a sort o f relie f whil e occupied i n stroppin g hi s razo r carefully " (340) . A s I wrot e i n Joseph Conrad: Writing as Rescue, Given the pervasiveness of the destructive element in his novels, Conrad's work involved a continual sharpenin g o f his razor—and th e use of tha t razor agains t his fictional characters. Bu t a s long as he was engaged i n the sharpening o f th e blade, and as long as his reading public could admire the deadly beautiful bit e of that blade, he gained enough relief—though a t times he surely nicked himself— to keep it away from his throat. (27) Creative writer s a s divers e a s D . H . Lawrence , Ernes t Hemingway , Sylvia Plath, an d Willia m Styro n hav e all remarked upo n th e mysteriou s healing powe r o f self-expression . Writin g canno t b e reduce d t o therap y but i t promote s bot h self-master y an d self-healing . "On e shed s one['s ] sicknesses i n books, " Lawrenc e wrot e i n a letter, "repeat s an d present s again one['] s emotions , t o b e maste r o f them " (2:90) . Hemingway' s Robert Jordan dwell s upon a similar thought i n For Whom the Bell Tolls: "my gues s i s tha t yo u wil l ge t ri d o f al l tha t b y writin g abou t it . . . . Once yo u writ e i t dow n i t i s al l gone " (165) . Sylvi a Plat h experience d psychological relie f throug h writin g poetry , reflectin g i n he r Journals that "Fur y jam s th e gulle t an d spread s poison , but , a s soon a s I star t t o write, dissipates , flows ou t int o th e figure o f th e letters : writin g a s therapy?" (256) . An d Willia m Styro n ha s commented i n Sophie's Choice on ho w hi s fiction ma y b e viewed, psychobiographically , a s an effor t t o work throug h persona l conflicts . " I realiz e no w . . . ho w m y writin g had kep t seriou s emotiona l distres s safel y a t bay , i n th e sens e tha t th e novel I was working o n serve d a s a cathartic instrument throug h whic h I was abl e t o discharg e o n pape r man y o f m y mor e vexin g tension s an d miseries" (438). There ar e man y reason s wh y writin g i s conduciv e t o psychologica l health. T o begi n with , writin g enable s artist s t o confron t an d master , i f only temporarily , potentiall y self-paralyzin g conflict s an d fears , purgin g

"The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 4 5 toxic emotions . Writin g allow s artist s t o descen d withi n themselve s an d impose orde r upo n chaos , definin g th e indefinable . Writin g encourage s exploration o f multipl e point s o f vie w an d promote s greate r self-detach ment. Writin g is an act of creation , a validation o f th e effort t o leave part of onesel f t o posterity . Writin g i s als o a wa y t o memorializ e los s an d achieve a victor y o f sort s ove r death , th e "lov e an d car e lavishe d upo n the wor k o f ar t serving, " a s Davi d Aberbac h remark s i n Surviving Trauma, "a s a permanent testimon y t o th e artist' s attachmen t t o th e los t person" (23) . Finally , writin g strengthen s th e artist' s connectio n t o th e community, thu s helpin g t o offse t th e solitud e an d struggl e associate d with th e creative process. Neither th e "talkin g cure " no r th e "writin g cure " i s a panace a fo r fictional o r rea l characters . Catharti c relief , i f an d whe n i t comes , ma y be short-lived . Despit e Lawrence' s belie f tha t som e writer s she d thei r illnesses in books, w e know tha t othe r writers may repea t an d re-presen t their conflict s withou t masterin g them . Man y o f th e stronges t testimo nies of the healing power o f writing have come, ironically, fro m novelist s and poet s wh o late r perishe d b y thei r ow n hand . Bot h Hemingwa y an d Plath committe d suicide , th e forme r i n large part becaus e of th e recogni tion that his creative powers had been exhausted, th e latter notwithstand ing th e extraordinar y burs t o f creativit y i n th e month s precedin g he r death. Nevertheless, fo r ever y artis t wh o ha s faile d t o b e sustaine d b y hi s o r her ow n art , ther e ar e numerou s other s wh o hav e affirme d tha t writin g has bee n crucia l fo r thei r psychologica l well-being . A s Fran z Kafk a observed, wit h characteristi c gallows humor, "Th e existence of the writer is truly dependen t upo n hi s desk and if he wants to keep madness a t bay, he must neve r g o far fro m hi s desk, h e must hol d o n t o it with his teeth " (Letters 335) . Classroom Diary Writing I have found tha t student s ca n als o experience th e therapeutic benefit s o f writing. I n my literature-and-psychoanalysis classe s I encourage student s to kee p a weekl y introspectiv e diar y i n whic h the y writ e abou t thei r personal experience s an d mak e whatever connection s the y wis h betwee n their ow n live s an d thos e o f th e fictiona l character s who m w e ar e study ing. B y writin g weekl y diarie s an d allowin g m e t o rea d a fe w o f thes e

46 Jeffre y Berma n entries anonymousl y t o th e class , student s explor e conflict s whic h the y rarely writ e abou t o r eve n disclos e t o relative s an d friends . I n man y cases, student s experienc e significan t persona l breakthrough s i n thei r lives and shar e these insights with classmates . In a recen t articl e publishe d i n th e Chronicle of Higher Education, Swartzlander, Pace , an d Stamle r hav e calle d int o questio n th e ethic s o f classroom diar y writing , bu t potentia l problem s ca n b e averte d b y ob serving the following precautions . First , student s nee d t o b e assured tha t their diarie s wil l remai n strictl y confidentia l (ther e i s only on e exceptio n to thi s promis e o f confidentiality , a s I shal l discus s shortly ) an d tha t n o one, apar t fro m th e teacher , wil l hav e acces s t o th e diaries . Second , i f a student allow s th e teache r t o rea d a diar y aloud , i t i s wit h th e under standing tha t ther e wil l b e n o clas s discussio n o f th e entry , sinc e a n unsympathetic commen t fro m a classmat e migh t prov e harmfu l t o th e diarist. Third , sinc e diarie s ar e obviousl y personal , the y shoul d no t b e graded. Fourth , student s wh o ar e reluctant t o engag e in self-analysis an d self-disclosure mus t no t b e pressure d int o doin g so . Finally , teacher s must no t psychoanalyz e thei r students ' writings ; interpretation s outsid e a clinical contex t would surel y b e experienced b y student s a s threatenin g and intrusive. Instead , teacher s should limit their responses to supportiv e statements—praising students ' honesty , suggestin g book s fo r the m t o read, an d raising additional questions fo r the m t o pursue if they wish . When I first starte d receivin g diarie s fro m m y student s i n 1976 , I wa s startled b y thei r power , candor , an d openness . Th e diarie s offere d a fascinating glimps e int o students ' lives , includin g thei r hope s an d expec tations, thei r fear s an d conflicts , thei r feeling s abou t themselve s an d others. Man y student s wrot e abou t subject s wit h whic h I ha d littl e personal experience : problem s o f bein g childre n o f divorce d parents , serious eatin g disorder s suc h a s anorexi a an d bulimia , dru g an d alcoho l addiction, an d sexua l abuse . Othe r students , however , wrot e abou t a subject wit h whic h I wa s familiar—suicide—an d ove r th e year s I hav e received diarie s fro m numerou s student s wh o writ e abou t bein g person ally affecte d b y th e self-inflicte d deat h o f a relativ e o r friend . I n th e remainder o f thi s essa y I woul d lik e t o focu s o n ho w psychoanalyti c literature course s ca n b e a n effectiv e settin g fo r suicid e educatio n an d prevention.

"The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 4

7

Coming Out of the Closet "The suicida l perso n leave s hi s psychologica l skeleto n i n th e survivor' s closet," Edwi n Shneidma n ha s observed (qtd . i n Zinner 67). The numbe r of thes e closet s i s startling . Th e America n Associatio n o f Suicidolog y estimates tha t ther e ar e a t leas t 30,00 0 self-inflicte d death s eac h yea r i n the Unite d States . Man y authoritie s believ e tha t th e tru e figure ma y b e closer t o 100,00 0 deaths . I t ha s bee n estimated , moreover , tha t eac h suicide directl y affect s a t leas t si x othe r people . Ther e ar e thu s million s of Americans who ar e suicide survivors, an d their numbers ar e increasing by a t least 180,00 0 per year . Not onl y i s suicide the secon d leadin g caus e of deat h i n young adults , next to accidents , bu t suicida l thinking an d suicide attempts have becom e a wa y o f lif e fo r a n astonishin g numbe r o f people . Accordin g t o th e national school-base d Yout h Ris k Behavio r Survey , sponsore d b y th e United State s Center s fo r Diseas e Control , 2 7 percent o f al l high schoo l students though t seriousl y abou t committin g suicid e i n 1990 ; 8 percen t of al l student s actuall y attempte d suicide ; an d 2 percent o f al l student s sustained injurie s seriou s enoug h t o warran t medica l attentio n ("At tempted Suicide " 633-34) . Th e study , whic h surveye d 11,63 1 hig h school student s fro m ever y stat e i n th e country , estimate d tha t ove r a quarter o f a millio n hig h schoo l student s mad e a t leas t on e suicid e attempt requirin g hospitalizatio n i n th e preceding 1 2 months. Th e CD C also note d tha t th e suicid e rate s fo r adolescent s 15-1 9 year s o f ag e hav e quadrupled i n th e last 40 years, fro m 2. 7 per 100,00 0 in 195 0 to 11. 3 per 100,000 i n 1988 . Th e CD C conclude d it s stud y b y recommendin g a variety o f strategie s t o reduc e th e suicid e rate , includin g educatin g youths abou t th e warnin g sign s o f suicid e an d th e availabilit y o f suicid e prevention services . Literature course s offe r a n excellen t foru m i n whic h t o tal k abou t suicide becaus e th e subjec t appear s i n th e earlies t classica l play s an d th e latest poem s an d novels . A . Alvare z an d other s hav e note d tha t twenti eth-century literatur e i s preoccupie d wit h suicide ; i t i s scarcel y possibl e to rea d a modern nove l without confrontin g a self-destructive character . To spea k abou t a fictional character' s suicid e i s t o inquir e int o th e motives and , hence , th e psychology o f suicide : thus th e value of psycho analytic theory . Ove r th e year s I hav e taugh t severa l literar y text s tha t

48 Jeffre y Berma n focus o n suicide : Hamlet, Ibsen' s Hedda Gabler, Dostoevsky' s The Brothers Karamazov, Kafka' s "Th e Judgment" an d The Metamorphosis, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, an d Nostromo, Woolf' s Mrs. Dalloway, Miller' s Death of a Salesman, Plath' s The Bell Jar, Ann e Sexton's poetry , Joann e Greenberg' s / Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Mishima' s "Patriotism, " an d Salinger' s The Catcher in the Rye. Many o f thes e texts I have discussed i n The Talking Cure an d Narcissism and the Novel. Suicida l literature is not necessarily depressin g or morbid ; the writer, lik e th e physician, i s interested i n illnes s in th e large r contex t of healin g an d health . Literatur e reflects , a s John Clayto n ha s recentl y expressed, "gestures of healing —reparative act s tha t permi t writer s t o feel whole an d to make some link, othe r tha n alienation , wit h th e world " (4). Eve n i f thes e gesture s o f healin g ar e temporar y o r incomplete , the y point th e way towar d healt h fo r writer s an d readers alike . Prevention and

Postvention

In m y classe s I usually spen d a few minute s talkin g abou t Len' s suicide . I emphasiz e th e warnin g sign s o f suicide , th e psychologica l dynamics , the common misconception s o f suicide , an d th e various treatment s avail able. I stres s ho w importan t i t i s fo r student s t o realiz e tha t hel p i s available. An d I tell my student s tha t althoug h i t is difficult t o talk abou t suicide, i t is more difficul t not t o talk abou t it . Diary writin g i s especially helpfu l fo r student s wh o ar e eithe r suicid e survivors o r i n a suicidal crisis . Fo r suicid e survivors , writin g promote s the bereavemen t process , first, b y allowin g the m t o accep t th e realit y o f their loss , an d second , b y enablin g the m t o confron t an d wor k throug h the chaoti c emotion s arisin g fro m a love d one' s suicide . Suicidologist s use th e ter m "postvention " t o describ e th e proces s o f helpin g th e be reaved com e t o term s wit h suicide . Fo r student s wh o ma y b e activel y suicidal, writin g create s a powerfu l bon d t o a supportiv e community . These student s fee l a sens e o f relie f whe n thei r diarie s ar e read—the y know the y ar e bein g heard . The y als o deriv e th e comfor t o f knowin g that other s hav e survive d suicida l crise s an d tha t hel p i s available . Fo r students wh o hav e no t bee n expose d t o suicide , learnin g abou t preven tion an d postvention become s a valuable part o f thei r education .

The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 4

9

Befriending Skills It i s particularl y importan t fo r teacher s wh o receiv e suicida l diarie s t o respond a s empathicall y an d nonjudgmentall y a s possible . The y mus t display wha t on e psychologis t ha s calle d befriendin g skills : bein g com passionate an d humble ; sharin g a person' s pain ; listenin g instea d o f offering advice ; an d providin g acceptance , empathy , an d carin g (Polan d 170). Teacher s mus t respec t a student' s nee d t o grieve , an d the y mus t remain cal m an d reassuring , allowin g student s t o writ e openl y abou t suicide an d expres s thei r feelings . Student s wh o writ e abou t suicid e require compassionat e an d understandin g readers ; a teacher' s empathi c failure obviousl y ha s seriou s consequences . Teacher s mus t guar d agains t counter-transference response s suc h a s projectin g thei r ow n guilt , fear , anger, o r disapprova l ont o students . Teachers , lik e therapists , mus t rec ognize thei r ow n limitation s whe n dealin g wit h a potentially life-threat ening crisis. A s psychoanalysts John Maltsberge r an d Da n Bui e observe , "The thre e mos t commo n narcissisti c snare s [fo r th e therapist ] ar e th e aspirations t o hea l all , kno w all , an d lov e all " (627) . Finally , teacher s must sugges t outsid e help when the y fee l i t is appropriate . Confidentiality Confidentiality i s essentia l fo r classroo m diar y writing , bu t i n certai n situations th e nee d fo r confidentialit y i s outweighe d b y moral , ethical , and lega l considerations. If , fo r example , a student write s a diary reveal ing the possibility o f a n impending suicid e attempt, i t is incumbent upo n a teacher t o notif y th e university' s counselin g service . I have neve r bee n in a situatio n wher e thi s ha s bee n necessary , bu t I ca n conceiv e o f th e possibility. Ther e ar e a t leas t tw o compellin g reason s t o see k outsid e help: first, a teacher, lik e a psychologist o r lawyer , ca n b e held liabl e fo r failure t o disclose information tha t a person ma y harm another or himsel f or herself; second, a student's disclosur e of an impending suicide attemp t is a cry fo r hel p that shoul d no t g o unheeded . Talking and Writing about Suicide There i s a common misconceptio n tha t talkin g o r writin g abou t suicid e heightens a person' s vulnerability . Th e opposit e i s almos t alway s true .

50 Jeffre y Berma n People ar e relieve d whe n the y hav e th e opportunit y t o expres s suicida l feelings, an d the y fee l les s lonely, stigmatized , an d withdrawn . Th e onl y time a classroo m discussio n migh t becom e dangerou s i s i f a studen t overidentifies wit h a n autho r wh o glorifie s suicide . Followin g th e publi cation o f th e confessiona l nove l The Sorrows of Young Werther i n 1774 , a rash o f suicide s occurred , al l apparently copyin g th e deat h o f Goethe' s youthful romanti c hero . (Writin g th e nove l prove d mor e catharti c t o Goethe, wh o identifie d strongl y wit h hi s self-torture d protagonist , tha n reading th e nove l di d fo r man y o f Goethe' s followers. ) I n 197 8 the film The Deer Hunter, whic h graphicall y depict s Russia n roulette , provoke d a spat e o f real-lif e suicides . B y refusin g t o romanticiz e eithe r rea l o r fictional suicides , literatur e teacher s ca n avoi d contributin g t o th e Werther effect . Suicide prevention an d self-hel p group s ar e effective precisel y becaus e they enabl e peopl e t o expres s themselves , t o ente r int o reciproca l rela tionships wit h other s wh o ma y hav e simila r problems , an d t o avai l themselves o f th e treatment s tha t hav e worke d fo r others . Fo r th e sam e reason, I hav e foun d tha t student s ar e relieve d when , i n a response t o a vague suicida l observatio n i n a diary , I as k the m i f the y ar e indee d suicidal. Th e questio n encourage s the m t o tal k abou t thei r feeling s an d find solution s t o their problems . Suicide Diaries Students wh o writ e suicid e diarie s generall y fal l int o on e o f tw o groups : those wh o writ e abou t a relative's o r friend' s suicid e o r suicid e attempt , and thos e wh o writ e abou t feelin g suicida l themselves . Student s i n th e first grou p generall y do not understand wh y a person would wis h to tak e his or her ow n life , whil e students i n the second grou p offe r explanation s for thei r action s an d describ e ho w the y fel t durin g a suicida l crisis . Students i n th e first grou p usuall y writ e onl y on e o r tw o diarie s pe r semester on suicide ; those in the second grou p often writ e several diaries. Predictably, student s i n th e secon d grou p experienc e muc h mor e resis tance i n writin g abou t suicid e tha n student s i n th e first group : thei r diaries ar e mor e intense , an d the y pos e greate r challeng e t o th e teacher , who mus t decid e when t o read—and no t read—their diarie s to the class. Almost without exception , student s who write about another person' s

"The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 5

1

suicide o r suicid e attemp t expres s shock , confusion , grief , guilt , an d anger—the sam e emotion s I experience d afte r Len' s death . Th e close r students ar e t o th e deceased , th e greate r thei r devastation . A relative' s suicide i s generally mor e traumati c tha n a friend's, unles s th e frien d wa s a former lover . Th e deat h o f a relative o r frien d produce s sorrow , bu t if the deat h i s a suicide , th e sorro w i s tinge d wit h ange r an d guilt . Th e tension betwee n sympath y an d judgmen t i s particularl y strikin g i n sui cide survivor diaries . Suicide ha s th e uncann y abilit y t o cas t a wide net , ensnarin g friends , family, an d eve n distan t acquaintances . Student s ar e unsur e no t onl y how the y actuall y fee l abou t a love d one' s suicid e bu t abou t wha t the y are suppose d t o feel . Undergraduate s wh o writ e abou t suicid e ar e stil l comparatively youn g an d hav e anothe r fort y o r fift y year s ahea d o f them, bu t the y believ e that th e even t has irrevocably altere d thei r lives , a conclusion supporte d b y researc h o n suicid e survivors . Suicid e calls int o question s o man y deepl y ingraine d assumption s abou t life , defie s s o many social and religious taboos, an d shatter s so many lives that virtuall y no on e ca n writ e abou t i t dispassionately . Man y suicid e survivor s hav e never spoke n abou t th e subjec t before , no t eve n wit h thos e peopl e wh o have bee n mos t directl y affecte d b y th e event . Consequently , th e diarie s reveal thei r first effor t t o writ e abou t thi s experienc e an d shar e i t wit h another person . Unlike death s fro m natura l cause s o r fro m illnesse s tha t canno t b e medically treated , many—probabl y most—suicide s ca n b e prevente d through interventio n o r counseling . Thi s i s especially tru e fo r teenagers , for who m suicid e i s usuall y a spontaneous , impulsiv e ac t rathe r tha n premeditated, a s with olde r ag e groups. Moreover , fo r th e vast majorit y of adolescents , suicida l crises are usually o f shor t duration . Onc e adoles cents successfull y cop e wit h a suicida l crisis , the y find i t easie r copin g with futur e crise s should the y arise . Mos t people who attemp t suicid e d o not attemp t i t again . Apart fro m enterin g therapy , I believ e tha t i t i s valuable fo r student s at ris k t o stud y th e live s o f author s wh o hav e written abou t overcomin g suicidal depression. Th e suicid e literature is extensive, bu t if I had t o cit e a singl e volume—an d a slender one , fo r tha t matter—i t woul d b e Wil liam Styron' s autobiographica l Darkness Visible, i n whic h h e describe s his descen t int o menta l illness , fro m th e developmen t o f hi s depressio n

52 Jeffre

y Berma n

in O c t o b e r 1985 , whe n h e turne d sixty , t o it s near-fata l conclusio n i n December, whe n h e rejecte d suicide , hospitalize d himself , an d initiate d the healin g process . N o t i n g tha t "[tjhroug h th e cours e o f literatur e an d art th e them e o f depressio n ha s ru n lik e a durabl e threa d o f w o e " (82) , Styron chronicle s th e lon g lis t o f twentieth-centur y artist s w h o hav e killed themselves . A n intensel y privat e man , Styro n acknowledge s tha t his fran k discussio n o f hi s o w n suicida l depressio n ha s cause d a n out pouring o f response s fro m reader s w h o expresse d gratitud e t o hi m fo r writing abou t a subject tha t stil l remain s tabo o fo r mos t people . Styron' s conclusion i n Darkness Visible i s tha t whil e depressio n remain s nearl y incomprehensible t o thos e w h o hav e no t experience d it , on e ca n surviv e its horror s an d liv e t o writ e abou t it , a s h e himsel f doe s eloquently : [I]f depressio n ha d n o termination , the n suicid e would , indeed , b e th e onl y remedy. Bu t on e need no t soun d th e false o r inspirational not e to stress the trut h that depressio n i s not th e soul' s annihilation ; me n an d wome n wh o hav e recov ered from th e disease—and the y ar e countless—bear witnes s to what is probably its only savin g grace: it is conquerable. (84 )

Notes 1. Althoug h Freu d neve r formulate d a comprehensiv e theor y o f suicide , hi s remarks in "Mournin g an d Melancholia " (1917 ) on clinical depression empha size th e lin k betwee n suicid e an d internalize d aggression : "n o neuroti c har bours thought s o f suicid e whic h h e ha s no t turne d bac k upo n himsel f fro m murderous impulse s agains t other s . . . " (225) . I n hi s classi c stud y Man Against Himself, Kar l Menninge r observe d tha t n o suicid e i s consummate d unless there is the wish to kill , th e wish to b e killed, an d th e wish t o di e (23). 2. I t i s not uncommo n fo r a person t o commi t suicid e on a loved one' s birthda y or deathday . Thi s "anniversar y reaction, " a s Kubie notes , i s even mor e com mon i f the loved on e has committed suicide .

Works Cite d Aberbach, David . Surviving Trauma. Ne w Haven : Yale University Press , 1989 . Alvarez, A . The Savage God. Ne w York : Bantam, 1973 . "Attempted Suicid e amon g Hig h Schoo l Students—Unite d States , 1990. " I n Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Center s fo r Diseas e Contro l 4 0 (2 0 September 1991) : 633-35.

"The Grie f Tha t Does Not Speak " 5

3

Berman, Jeffrey . Joseph Conrad: Writing as Rescue. Ne w York : Astr a Books , 1977-

. Narcissism and the Novel. Ne w York : Ne w Yor k Universit y Press ,

1990.

. The Talking Cure. Ne w York : New Yor k Universit y Press , 1985 . Camus, Albert . The Myth of Sisyphus. Trans . Justin O'Brien . Ne w York : Vin tage, 1955 . Clayton, Joh n J . Gestures of Healing. Amherst : Universit y o f Massachusett s Press, 1991 . Conrad, Joseph . Chance. London : Dent, 1913 . Rpt. 1969 . . Heart of Darkness. Ed . Rober t Kimbrough . Ne w York : Norton Critica l Edition, 1963 . . Lord Jim. Ed . Thoma s Moser . Ne w York : Norto n Critica l Edition , 1968. Dunne, Edwar d J. , Joh n L . Mcintosh , an d Kare n Dunne-Maxim , eds . Suicide and Its Aftermath. Ne w York : W. W . Norton , 1987 . Freud, Sigmund . Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol . 18 . Ed . an d trans . James Strachey . London : The Hogart h Press , 1955 . . "Mournin g an d Melancholia. " Standard Edition, vol . 14 . 239-58. Friedman, Paul , ed . On Suicide. Discussions of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society—1910. Ne w York : Internationa l Universitie s Press , 1967 . Hemingway, Ernest . For Whom the Bell Tolls. New York : Scribner's, 1940 . Kafka, Franz . Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors. Trans . Richar d an d Clara Winston. Ne w York : Schocke n Books , 1977 . Kubie, Lawrence . "Multipl e Determinants o f Suicide. " In Essays in Self-Destruction. Ed . Edwi n Shneidman . Ne w York : Scienc e House, 1967 , 455-62. Lawrence, D . H . The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, vol . 2 . Ed . Georg e J. Zytaru k and James T. Boulton . Cambridge : Cambridge Universit y Press , 1981. Maltsberger, John , an d Da n Buie . "Countertransferenc e Hat e i n th e Treatmen t of Suicida l Patients." Archives of General Psychiatry 3 0 (1974): 625-33. Menninger, Karl . Man Against Himself. Ne w York : Harcourt , Brac e & World , 1938.

Plath, Sylvia . The Journals of Sylvia Plath. Ed . France s McCullough. Ne w York : Dial Press, 1982 . Poland, Scott . Suicide Intervention in the Schools. Ne w York : Guilfor d Press , 1989.

Shakespeare, William . The Tragedy of Macbeth. Ed . Sylva n Barnet . Ne w York : Signet, 1963 . Shneidman, Edwin . "Overview : A Multidimensiona l Approac h t o Suicide. " I n Suicide: Understanding and Responding. Ed . Dougla s Jacob s an d Herber t Brown. Madison , Conn. : Internationa l Universitie s Press , 1989 , 1-30 . Styron, William . Darkness Visible. Ne w York : Rando m House , 1990 . . Sophie's Choice. Ne w York : Rando m House , 1979 . Swartzlander, Susan , Dian a Pace , an d Virgini a Le e Stamler . "Th e Ethic s o f

54 Jeffre

y Berma n

Requiring Students to Write about Their Personal Lives." Chronicle of Higher Education 2 4 (17 February 1993) : B1-B2. Zinner, Ellen . "Survivor s of Suicide : Understanding an d Copin g with th e Legac y of Self-inflicte d Death. " I n Youth Suicide. Eds . Pete r Cimboli c an d Davi d Jobes. Springfield , 111. : Charles C . Thomas , 1990 , 67-86 .

T W O

How I Go t M y Language : Form s of Self-Inclusio n David Bleich

In thi s chapter, I tell a story o f ho w I think "my " languag e made its wa y into m y life . M y discussio n o f Kafka , eve n i n it s scholarl y features , presupposes reading s o f hi s wor k I di d i n hig h schoo l a s wel l a s pres enting view s I jus t cam e to . Th e stor y i s partia l an d circuitous , bu t i t represents a simultaneous understandin g o f self, society , gender , culture , and language . Thi s understanding i s founded o n critica l and biographica l reflection a s wel l a s th e conversationa l reportin g o f event s an d circum stances in my life. I hope to contribute t o changing some of our academi c purposes throug h th e public use of self-understandin g an d self-inclusion . It goe s alon g with recen t effort s o f Dian e Freedma n an d Jane Tompkin s to function a s members o f the academy b y including self-reflection i n th e processes o f criticis m an d scholarship . M y point s o f greates t interes t have t o d o wit h languag e us e i n a n immediat e sense . M y English , i n it s struggle t o emerge , ha s m y parents ' Yiddis h i n it , i n it s struggl e t o survive. Readin g Kafk a an d the n thinkin g abou t hi s wor k fo r thi s occa sion helpe d t o teac h m e ne w way s i n whic h m y an d ou r language s enac t many o f ou r othe r memberships . Works b y Fran z Kafk a hav e alway s bee n amon g m y preferre d read ings. Thi s ha s bee n tru e sinc e hig h school , whe n I ha d n o patienc e fo r literature. Bu t no w tha t I d o hav e patience , hi s wor k stil l seem s t o hav e the "righ t word." Readin g him i n Germa n doesn' t fee l th e same: it is not my native language. I did pass an examination which said I knew Germa n 55

56 Davi d Bleic h well enoug h fo r i t t o coun t fo r m y doctora l requirements . Ofte n th e sound an d meanin g o f Kafk a i n Germa n emphasiz e it s rol e i n m y min d as a constant caricatur e o f it s cultur e an d subjec t matter . I thin k tha t i n German Kafka' s literatur e i s even more bitte r an d ironi c than i t seems in English. Bu t eve n i n English , th e literar y sarcas m an d linguisti c carica ture see m t o stretc h throug h th e substanc e o f th e storie s t o th e languag e itself. M y degre e is in English, an d I took m y comprehensiv e ora l exami nations i n both Englis h an d American moder n literature . Th e literature I studied in my dissertatio n wa s written i n English. M y "field " i s supposed to includ e onl y English-languag e literature , excep t fo r classica l literatur e or Dante . Howeve r disloya l towar d academi c orthodox y m y interes t i n Kafka ma y be , th e fac t o f m y experienc e i s tha t th e work s o f a write r read in translation spea k to me more tha n th e works o f an y other writer . My olde r brothe r wrot e hi s master' s thesi s i n philosoph y o n th e works o f Kafka . H e to o had rea d Kafk a sinc e he was young. Hi s "field " was philosophy , bu t Kafk a wa s stil l hi s subject ; Kafka' s literatur e len t itself t o philosophical reflection . H e an d I joked abou t Kafka , bu t I can' t say why h e liked Kafka ; I just kno w tha t Kafk a playe d th e sam e role i n my brother' s stud y o f philosophy tha t he played i n my stud y o f English language literature : a n apparentl y "outside " figure reall y occupyin g th e emotional cente r stage . I t coul d b e tha t ou r mothe r influence d u s both , since she reported tha t sh e was a friend, i n Poland i n her youth, o f Dor a Diamant, Kafka' s las t lover . M y mothe r wa s briefl y involve d i n th e Yiddish theate r a s a n actres s i n Ne w Yor k i n th e earl y 1920s . A s I wil l explore, ther e i s a circl e o f relatio n betwee n Kafka , th e Europea n Yid dish theater , an d m y parents ' Yiddis h i n America , an d I wa s substan tively touche d b y tha t circle . M y brothe r kne w spoke n Yiddis h quit e well, whil e I coul d onl y get alon g i n i t i f I ha d to . Bein g involve d i n Yiddish way s o f though t ha s somethin g t o d o wit h likin g Kafka , fo r both m y brothe r an d me . An d Yiddis h wa s definitel y no t on e o f ou r doctoral certification languages . Here, for me, knowledge and experienc e from outsid e th e academ y ar e actuall y th e base s fo r m y interest s i n teaching, i n literature, i n this essay , an d i n the academy . I tak e pleasur e i n repeatin g statement s like , " A fals e alar m answere d in the night will not eve r be made good, no t ever," or "T o write prescriptions i s easy but t o com e t o a n understanding i s hard." x Thi s immediate , literal, experientia l sens e o f Kafka' s wor k tha t I hav e hel d fro m m y youth le d m e t o tr y t o understan d an d conceptualiz e hi s lif e a s a Ger -

How I Got My Languag e 5

7

man-speaking Czec h Jew , mor e tha n a s a "significan t literar y artist, " even though i t seems clea r enoug h tha t thi s latter identit y wa s part o f hi s own self-understanding . Bu t i n graduat e school , fo r th e first-person narrative i n whic h th e foregoin g statement s appea r (" A Countr y Doc tor"), Professo r Leo n Edel , a ma n I respec t an d admir e no w a s then , asked u s a s a clas s assignmen t t o "deduce " th e narrator . I di d thi s wit h enthusiasm, riddlin g my analysi s with psychological speculation , writin g an essay twic e a s lon g a s wa s assigne d an d gettin g a n A — . Wha t I suppressed i n tha t essay , however , wa s somethin g tha t emerge d whe n I first rea d Kafk a i n public in 1991, 2 something I am considering here: the meanings o f th e ora l o r conversationa l fulfillmen t i t afford s t o merel y speak Kafka' s words . Something I hav e fel t fo r a lon g time , bu t neve r spoke n o r writte n about i n "criticism " o r eve n i n respons e essays , wa s tha t th e ac t o f "speaking" Kafka' s literature—a s oppose d t o reading it silently—make s me aware of m y ow n communit y memberships—a n America n Jew fro m New York—an d m y professiona l membership— a facult y membe r tha t society generall y view s a s "a n academic. " I n bot h role s I occup y a different spo t tha n doe s a Christia n fro m Iow a wh o no w teache s i n Texas. Par t o f thi s differenc e ma y b e explaine d b y th e "tw o language " principle. At a n early ag e I learned t o speak two language s a t once—not jus t m y parents' languag e Yiddis h an d m y community' s languag e English , bu t within m y Englis h I include d th e vocabular y o f th e Yiddish culture , th e East Europea n cultur e i n whic h bot h m y parent s an d Kafk a lived , th e culture whic h wa s alread y accustome d t o externa l hostility . M y parents ' culture ha d alread y begu n t o respon d t o th e population o f a host cultur e whose German-speakin g descendant s finally di d tr y t o d o u s al l in . T o read Kafk a no t onl y reestablishe s thes e histori c fear s an d danger s i n m y mind—the anticipatio n o f disaste r an d th e attemp t t o remai n cal m an d extremely ironic , a s a form o f readiness—bu t articulate s my/my parents ' culture's way s o f namin g an d dealin g wit h the m throug h a kin d o f intrapersonal wi t an d dramati c metaphorica l initiativ e that we Jews fro m New Yor k i n m y generatio n recogniz e a s "ou r language. " I a m no t implicated i n Kafka' s languag e jus t becaus e I lik e thi s author , bu t be cause I fee l hi s voices within m e represent a way o f speakin g an d know ing tha t play s a rol e now , i n thes e universities , i n thi s country , i n thi s mix of cultura l interests .

58 Davi

d Bleic h

Ernst PaweP s Nightmare of Reason (1984 ) develope d a point o f vie w about Kafk a tha t help s t o characteriz e m y respons e t o hi s work : Had Kafk a no t been born and raised a Jew, h e would no t have been Kafka, an y more tha n Joyce, reare d amon g Eskimos , coul d hav e writte n Ulysses. Thoug h the point seem s blatantl y obvious , it s significanc e ha s all too ofte n bee n missed , distorted, o r willfull y ignored . H e ha s bee n haile d a s a crypto-Christian , un veiled a s a pseudo-Marxist ; th e absenc e o f explicitl y Jewis h reference s i n th e surviving texts has made literary pedants feel justified i n dismissing his "religion" as an incidental biographica l detail . All thes e simpleminde d approaches , whateve r thei r motive s o r causes , suffe r from th e sam e basi c failur e o f th e imagination. T o gro w u p as a Jew i n Kafka' s Prague wa s a matte r no t o f choic e bu t o f destiny . Wha t Kafk a mad e o f tha t destiny a t different point s i n his life, th e manne r in which collective fat e shape d his individua l visio n an d conduct , i s par t o f th e large r story ; moreover , hi s attitude toward Judaism—and fa r more is involved her e than religion a s such— underwent significan t change s ove r the years. Ye t who h e was, an d what he did, cannot possibly be understood without a clear realization that his being Jewish— not faith , t o begi n with , no t observance , bu t th e mer e fac t o f bein g Jewish i n turn-of-the centur y Prague—wa s a t least as vital a component o f hi s identity a s his face or his voice. 3 Pawel emphasize s th e absence , i n critica l studies , o f Kafka' s cultura l Jewishness, a s compared, fo r example , t o th e presence o f Joyce's cultura l Irishness i n muc h o f th e criticis m o f Joyce. Pawel' s boo k abou t Kafk a i s different fro m mos t othe r wor k becaus e h e highlight s Kafka' s cultura l identity a s a Jew, an d the n derives , no t "readings " but perhaps a "readin g attitude" tha t i s mor e cognizan t o f thi s identit y tha n th e attitud e o f th e great majorit y o f academi c critic s o f Kafka . In Kafka' s Prague , Jewis h writer s flourishe d beyon d thei r populatio n numbers, Pawe l explains , becaus e o f th e failur e o f assimilation : What fueled thi s outburs t o f frenzie d self-expressio n wa s th e dilemm a whic h a t that juncture faced most Western Jews: the awareness, however dim, tha t assimilation was a failure. Th e fathers, smugl y content with having overcome piety and poverty, groome d thei r son s fo r role s the y coul d neve r hope t o play. Th e sons , however, foun d themselve s locke d ou t o f th e sho w altogether ; an d trappe d between promis e an d reality, the y drifte d int o literatur e a s a way ou t o f th e impasse. It was a return to tradition, i n its way. Bu t whereas, t o their ancestors, word s were the building blocks of faith , the y themselves use d words to demolish faith, to bewai l thei r loss o f it , an d ended up with literatur e takin g it s place. Go d wa s dead, bu t the running argument with his chosen people—who chos e whom, an d why?—continued unabated , an d with no loss of stridency. (98-99 )

How I Got M y Languag e 5

9

The internationa l critica l community , man y o f who m wer e Jew s inter ested in Kafka , coul d not , woul d not , an d did not thin k of Kafka' s wor k as th e expressio n o f on e wh o wa s poise d t o b e assimilate d int o th e majority societ y bu t was prevented a t every turn. Th e rationality tha t lay beneath th e metaphorical surrealis m o f Kafka' s wor k wa s not discernibl e if th e socia l psycholog y o f assimilatio n wa s no t take n int o account . Kafka's writing , fiction an d nonfiction , i s ofte n cite d fo r it s riddles , it s passion, it s frustration , an d o f course , it s paradox . I n vie w o f th e new critical literar y philosoph y tha t develope d i n th e postwar academy , Kaf ka's wor k wa s mad e t o orde r fo r critic s searchin g fo r somethin g t o solve, somethin g importan t t o documen t th e humanis t academi c nee d t o establish parado x a s a fundamental o f existence , a s Hein z Politze r trie d to do in his classic critical study o f Kafka . To revie w Pawel' s poin t abou t "pedants" : the logic of academi c wor k required th e suppressio n o f th e issu e o f assimilatio n an d th e lon g lis t o f uncomfortable topic s i t necessaril y entails . Amon g thes e topic s i s Jew hating and , I include , woman-hating . Fo r the m t o emerge , member s o f the majority cultur e woul d hav e to acknowledg e it s hegemony a s well as face it s own way s o f self-hatred . To th e exten t tha t w e ca n coun t ourselve s member s o f a majorit y culture we have no nee d t o think abou t assimilation . A s Pawel discusses , for mor e tha n a hundred year s befor e Kafk a wa s born , ther e wa s som e promise o r hop e fo r Jew s i n centra l Europ e t o get ou t o f th e ghett o an d become assimilate d t o th e majorit y society . Man y Jews, bu t particularl y those wh o spok e German , wer e extremel y eage r t o joi n th e society , jus t as man y Jew s today , includin g muc h o f th e Stat e o f Israel , striv e i n fundamental way s to "b e like everyone else. " On th e other hand, Easter n Jews wer e mor e conservative , mor e respectfu l o f th e meanin g an d valu e of thei r histori c orthodoxies , an d thus , mor e war y o f assimilatio n a s a social goal . Fo r Wester n Jews , assimilatio n mean t adoptin g th e philoso phy o f enlightenmen t (haskallah) : secularizin g thei r existence—expung ing th e vas t structur e o f ritual s an d superstition s fro m dail y lif e an d pursuing vocation s whic h entai l regular , consequentia l interactions , in cluding se x an d marriage , wit h th e member s an d law s o f th e majorit y culture. A s Pawe l describe s an d document s i n a variet y o f ways , th e Jews o f Prague , lik e the Jews o f Vienna an d Germany , presume d assimi lation, bu t i t wa s resiste d b y th e hos t culture . A t th e sam e time , th e many Jew s o f Pragu e fel t close r t o Easter n Jews , an d thu s als o fel t th e

6o Davi d Bleic h impossibility o f actuall y "becomin g lik e everyon e else. " Th e resul t wa s the rejectio n o f th e religiou s superstructur e amon g Jews an d th e reten tion o f thei r inne r identit y a s a people, a nation, a culture, a communit y with a coherent histor y an d style . Literar y activit y i n Pragu e was on e o f the scenes of thi s historic movement t o redefine Jewish identity . For Kafk a i n particular , writin g wa s a t onc e a wa y ou t o f th e con straints o f Jewis h separatism , a wa y t o wor k withi n th e custom s an d social structure s o f th e existin g society , a wa y t o adop t som e o f it s aesthetic style s an d interests , an d stil l a way t o us e the historic discours e of Jews , t o explor e th e feeling s Jew s hav e a s the y fac e a continuin g hostility fro m without , a way t o expres s th e pains an d problem s o f thei r own transitio n t o a secular , nonsuperstitiou s culture , an d a s a doubl e perspective tha t ca n communicate simultaneously wit h bot h Jew s an d non-Jews (th e two-languag e principle) . A s od d a s i t ma y see m t o de scribe Kafka' s wor k i n this way, i t actually seek s a common groun d wit h the hos t cultures , whil e nevertheles s advancin g it s ow n bitternes s an d frustration i n copin g wit h thi s cultur e a s well a s with th e strain s withi n the Jewish communit y cause d b y it s mov e towar d assimilation . Becaus e the tas k o f assimilatio n exist s fo r m e i n way s quit e simila r t o ho w i t related t o Kafka , I a m abl e t o "hear " Kafk a o n thi s frequency , s o t o speak, an d thu s no t respon d wit h perplexit y o r a sens e o f it s myster y that characterize s th e grea t majority o f Kafk a criticism . As Ralp h Cohe n ha s discussed, 4 generi c identificatio n work s les s a s an elemen t i n a n internall y consisten t abstrac t taxonom y tha n a s a product an d marke r o f histor y an d society . Th e "paradoxica l parable, " th e genre propose d b y Hein z Politze r fo r som e o f Kafka' s works , whil e offering a prima facie commonsens e identificatio n o f Kafka' s works , given thei r unusua l styl e an d power , i s almost a n iner t conclusio n t o th e intense exercis e o f intellectua l energ y give n b y Politze r t o merel y rea d the works, sentenc e b y sentence , paragrap h b y paragraph . I t seem s clea r that whe n s o muc h energ y i s spent , ther e ough t t o b e a n explanatio n o f why i t i s spent . I n Shakespeare' s case , peopl e sa y the y lov e hi s work . But thi s i s no t wha t critic s sa y abou t Kafka . Thei r passio n i s mainly t o solve the riddle, t o work th e paradox, t o produce answers . Academic criticism , a s I hav e becom e familia r wit h it , separate s itsel f from it s subject , literature , an d the n live s an d work s i n its own commu nity, s f w n language, rarel y examinin g its own usuall y clerica l role a s a socia l institution . Th e distanc e betwee n Politzer' s communit y

How I Got My Languag e 6

1

of work an d Kafka' s i s great, an d while one may lin k the two communi ties, ther e i s n o languag e fo r Politze r t o acknowledg e th e distanc e be tween the m an d t o includ e stud y o f i t i n th e critica l project . Ther e i s n o impetus fo r hi m t o reac h out , cultur e t o culture , s o to speak , t o Kafka' s own live d community , o r t o it s descendant s i n today' s livin g communi ties, an d t o begi n th e conversatio n wit h Kafka' s literatur e o n thi s mor e experientially authenti c ground . Northro p Frye' s formulatio n i n 195 7 was that criticism , no t literature , wa s th e subjec t w e learn i n school , jus t as w e don' t lear n "nature, " bu t physics , whic h studies nature . This , in retrospect , represent s a philosoph y o f intellectua l separation , stron g boundaries, territory , leadin g t o a n adversaria l styl e o f though t remove d from th e experienc e o f language. A more engage d critica l stance, whic h I will now describe, will include not onl y language and culture, bu t gende r as well, a factor generall y absen t from traditiona l style s of criticism . It is widely agree d tha t Kafk a achieve d hi s characteristic literar y voic e when h e wrote "Th e Judgment" i n 1912 . Although ther e ar e signs of hi s familiar iron y an d brevit y i n passage s o f hi s earlie r work , thei r effect s were muted b y his inability t o mov e out , metaphorically , fro m a kind o f "correspondence"—that is , quasi-naturalistic—theor y o f writing . "Th e Judgment" move s ordinar y discours e int o a n irrationa l context : fro m that point o n Kafka' s narrative s foun d way s to de-authorize , metaphori cally an d dramatically , th e apparen t rationalit y o f everyda y life . Th e irrational contex t i s presente d a s maliciou s throug h it s indifferenc e an d sometimes directl y maliciou s bu t fo r n o expectabl e reason . Th e missin g rationality i s th e basi s fo r th e critica l perceptio n o f th e Kafkaesqu e riddle tha t ha s occupie d critica l an d philosophica l attention . I n "Th e Judgment," th e suicid e o f th e hero , a s wel l a s th e interactio n wit h hi s father tha t precedes it, ar e two event s which cu t the tie to "realism. " Th e story steadil y move s awa y fro m th e expectabl e an d towar d it s violen t end, thu s implyin g tha t al l th e event s precedin g th e en d wer e teleologi cally organized towar d thi s end , an d thu s establishin g a literary voice fo r its author. Thi s was a "real" Kafka story . Given th e tormen t o f Kafka' s relationship s wit h women, 5 Politzer' s Felice Baue r readin g ha s som e appea l a t th e leve l o f individua l psychol ogy. However , i t i s no t compellin g a s a comprehensiv e explanatio n o f either th e literar y breakthroug h o r o f th e "Kafkaesque " voice . Rather , Kafka's developin g infatuation wit h Yiddish theater and its players bette r explains hi s literar y metamorphosis . Thi s vie w relieve s u s reader s an d

6i Davi

d Bleic h

critics o f th e nee d t o rel y o n eithe r neurosi s o r parado x a s critica l stopping points. The materia l presente d b y Evely n Torto n Bec k i n Kafka and the Yiddish Theater (Universit y o f Wisconsin Press , 1971 ) was quite surpris ing t o m e afte r havin g learne d abou t Kafk a fro m Leo n Edel . I t i s a bi t odd tha t i t too k s o lon g fo r someon e i n th e scholarl y communit y t o notice the intensity o f attentio n Kafk a gav e to his theater involvemen t i n his diarie s o f 191 1 an d 1912 . O n th e othe r hand , thi s tas k require d someone wh o kne w bot h Yiddis h an d Germa n well , an d someon e wh o already understoo d Kafk a mor e o r les s in th e term s presente d b y Pawe l in 1984 . I n he r remarkabl e book , Bec k trie d t o sho w tha t a multitude o f literary, dramatic , verbal , an d themati c move s i n Kafka' s fiction ha d sources i n th e man y Yiddis h play s tha t Kafk a saw , mor e tha n once , i n those tw o years . Sh e relate s th e substanc e o f th e Yiddis h play s t o th e substance o f Kafka' s writing . Pawe l als o notes tha t th e plays did provid e Kafka wit h plo t devices , bu t h e concentrate s o n th e huma n o r interper sonal effec t th e troup e o f eigh t Yiddis h actor s ha d o n Kafka , comin g mostly, accordin g t o Pawel , throug h Kafka' s friendshi p wit h Yitzcha k Levi (Lowy, i n th e diaries). In th e biograph y a s a whole , Pawe l portray s Kafk a a s someon e searching fo r a n appropriat e mod e o f bein g a Jew. H e document s Kaf ka's late r interest s i n Zionism , an d h e take s som e pain s t o sho w tha t Kafka's interes t i n bein g a Jew i s a t odd s wit h hi s father' s affirmativ e assimilationism. Yet , h e does not explor e Kafka's subjectiv e attractio n t o the emotional characte r o f bot h th e play s an d th e actors . A s Bec k de scribes, th e play s themselve s wer e a combinatio n o f s o man y dramati c forms, s o undisciplined, compare d t o German theater , s o indulgent emo tionally, s o expressiv e i n presentatio n an d s o exaggerate d i n thei r plo t materials, tha t the y represente d somethin g genuinel y ne w t o Kafka . However, becaus e thes e were strongl y Jewish play s with serious , unam biguously Jewis h themes , the y represente d th e combinatio n o f cultur e and feelin g tha t Kafk a woul d normall y expres s in his own art . Bu t whe n the troup e cam e t o Prague , Kafk a stil l ha d no t understoo d ho w hi s ar t would b e able to mak e th e combinatio n consisten t wit h hi s ow n person ality an d sens e of life . So i t i s tru e tha t h e wa s "affection-starved " (Pawel ) whe n th e troup e came int o tow n an d tha t friendshi p wit h thi s grou p wa s neede d fro m a personal standpoint . Bu t i t was needed a s much o r mor e fro m a commu-

How I Got M y Languag e 6

3

nal standpoint : cultura l self-expressio n fo r hi s fathe r wa s prohibite d i n the area of earning a living. Hermann Kafk a achieve d survival i n a hostile culture. But for th e well-educated, personall y responsive , expressiv e son , his father's principl e of surviva l was completely inadequate. Fran z Kafk a had t o com e t o term s wit h wha t hi s fathe r wa s satisfie d t o deny : hi s social surviva l require d a n awarenes s o f an d th e expressio n o f hi s Jewish identity. Wha t Kafk a learne d fro m th e Yiddis h theate r experience , both in personal and cultural terms, wa s tha t thi s identit y ca n admi t o f emo tional releas e an d sexua l feeling. 6 Bot h th e theme s o f th e play s an d th e personal presenc e o f th e actresse s exude d sexualit y an d explore d it s rol e in th e live s o f Jew s who , lik e Kafka , wer e frustrate d b y th e problem s of inhibite d assimilation . Ove r an d over , th e play s depicte d men , an d sometimes women , wh o wer e tempte d b y a purely secula r an d materia l life an d th e licens e fo r sexua l indulgence . Th e literar y an d dramati c materials tha t Kafk a too k fro m thes e play s cam e fro m tha t context . Kafka continued , mostly , t o omit direct sexual portrayals from hi s majo r literary works an d to omi t altogethe r explici t reference t o Jewish themes , but he nevertheless presented dramatic situations whose source was predicated on both sexual and Jewish issues. It i s a s if th e Yiddis h play s wer e presented "i n color, " an d Kafk a reworke d th e materia l s o tha t i t ap peared onl y i n blac k an d white , th e mediu m tha t di d finally correspon d to th e characte r o f hi s ow n existence . Kafk a place d dramatic , gestural , dialogic trope s int o th e narrative genre , an d stuc k t o portraying onl y th e persistence o f rationalit y i n th e fac e o f arbitrar y act s o f authorit y an d malice. Bu t i n th e plays , whos e secula r consciousnes s neve r entirel y rejected histori c Jewish religious , sexual , an d cultura l conflicts—tha t is , such conflict s wer e explici t i n th e plays—ther e wa s a directnes s o f emotional expressio n tha t is completely absen t from Kafka' s literature . Perhaps a goo d wa y t o represen t wha t wa s happenin g t o Kafk a i n 1911 an d 191 2 whe n h e foun d hi s literar y voic e migh t b e t o imagin e a n African America n person toda y in America growin g up in an assimilated , professional family , learnin g t o spea k "white " standar d Englis h fro m birth, attendin g "white " universities, bu t then discoverin g a black cultur e which functione d onl y wit h th e vernacula r "blac k English, " whic h self consciously pursue d "soul " cultur e includin g it s stron g emphasi s o n music, dance , dramati c an d interactiv e ora l performance s i n a variety o f serious an d entertainmen t contexts , an d which , becaus e o f thi s cultura l liberation wa s able to bette r fac e an d understand today' s stubbor n legac y

64 Davi d Bleic h of underlyin g whit e hostilit y t o Africa n American s a s a people . Th e cultural freedo m expresse d b y th e Yiddis h actin g troupe s allowe d the m to announc e wha t peopl e lik e Kafka , reare d i n a German-speaking , seemingly assimilate d community , coul d no t ver y wel l see , muc h les s think abou t o r write about : Jews di d not fee l free t o expres s their desire s to lov e an d celebrat e thei r ow n histor y an d culture ; the y wer e denie d even th e pat h t o thin k about , i n a collectiv e way , th e problem s o f whether an d how muc h t o join th e majority culture . The secular Yiddish community di d what the acting groups did: established a secon d perspectiv e fo r Kafk a an d peopl e lik e him . The y spok e an appropriate d for m o f Germa n tha t wa s riddle d wit h Polish , Russian , and Hebre w vocabular y an d othe r usages ; i t wa s considere d a "low " language, vulga r an d uneducated , jus t a s blac k Englis h i s s o considere d by th e man y users , eve n les s educate d users , o f standar d Englis h today . Yiddish wa s considere d a "ghetto " language , separatis t an d self-hating , by speaker s o f Germa n lik e Herman n Kafk a who , a s Pawe l describes , was a t pain s t o concea l hi s Jewishness. I t wa s wit h referenc e t o Kafka' s friend Lev i that Herman n Kafk a sai d to his son "H e who lie s down wit h dogs get s up with fleas " (Diaries 246, 11/2/11) . As I learne d fro m m y ow n parents , Yiddis h wa s als o a principa l vehicle fo r Jew s t o separat e themselve s fro m th e historic , arbitrar y irra tionalities o f Orthodo x Judaism , whos e passiv e qualitie s wer e rejecte d by Zionist s a s wel l a s b y Yiddishists . Jewis h enlightenmen t i n Europ e was parallel with other European rejection s o f superstition an d autocrati c authority. Kafka' s fathe r wa s already "enlightened " t o such a degree tha t "realpolitik" dictate d t o hi m t o pretend , practically , tha t h e wa s no t a Jew. Tha t is , sinc e religiou s pretext s fo r hatin g Jews wer e n o longe r th e main ones , other , nonreligiou s reason s wer e found , s o tha t t o counte r these reasons, som e Western, German-speakin g Jews imagined, on e onl y had t o adop t th e majorit y cultur e i n orde r t o neutraliz e th e Jew-hatin g that Jew s falsel y believe d wa s roote d i n religious , doctrina l teachings . The Yiddis h theate r experienc e taugh t Hermann' s so n jus t ho w unsuc cessful hi s father' s assimilationis t strateg y ha d been . O n th e affirmativ e side, i t provide d a vocabulary whic h taugh t jus t wha t i t wa s tha t Kafk a could become , a gestural and figurative vocabular y fo r speakin g the trut h in a hostil e culture , a schedul e o f value s tha t coul d b e announce d an d ones tha t coul d not , a calculus o f feeling s tha t corresponde d t o hi s ow n personal conditio n a s wel l a s thos e whic h di d not . Th e Yiddis h theate r

How I Got M y Languag e 6

5

helped Kafk a t o identif y o r situat e himsel f a s a social figure, a t least a s a writer, an d thi s learnin g emerge d i n hi s first "Ka f kaesque" story , "Th e Judgment," whos e meanin g an d style , Bec k suggests , ar e largel y roote d in Yako v Gordin' s importan t play , Gott, Mensch, und Teufel (God , Man, an d Devil , hereafte r GMD) . "Metamorphosis, " perhap s Kafka' s best know n an d mos t characteristi c work , writte n onl y thre e month s later, Bec k suggests , wa s roote d i n Gordin' s othe r play , Der Vilder Mensch (Th e Savage One, hereafte r TSO) . Like muc h o f Yiddis h literature , thes e tw o play s dea l wit h th e effec t of secularizatio n o n Jewish familie s an d communit y life . A s detaile d b y Beck, GM D portray s ho w Hershel e Dubrovner , a professiona l scrib e whose jo b ha d bee n t o creat e new copie s o f th e Torah, i s tempted b y th e devil's offe r o f wealt h an d freedo m t o chang e hi s life . Childless , h e divorces hi s wif e o f lon g standin g an d marrie s hi s niece , who m h e raised a s hi s ow n child . Afte r a life o f selfishnes s an d gree d resultin g i n considerable physica l har m t o innocen t people , includin g hi s fathe r an d his bes t friend , h e realize s hi s guil t an d hang s himself . Th e plo t i s much mor e complicate d tha n thi s suggests , an d th e pla y i s filled wit h melodramatic scenes , includin g th e conspicuou s us e o f a blood-soake d prayer-shawl. Th e radica l differenc e betwee n Kafka' s shor t stor y an d this long and comple x play may have been the cause of Pawel' s impatien t disbelief i n Beck' s seemingl y obscur e project . Nevertheless , Bec k pro vides enoug h materia l t o demonstrat e th e mean s an d term s o f Kafka' s adaptation o f som e o f th e materia l i n thi s play . Mor e importantl y per haps, th e radica l differenc e i n for m help s t o documen t th e dept h o f th e change i n Kafka' s wor k tha t hi s involvemen t i n th e Yiddis h theate r helped t o produce . In GM D ther e ar e tw o interestin g scene s involvin g Hershele' s ol d father, a "jester, " whic h see m t o b e source s fo r scene s i n "Th e Judg ment. " Early in the play, a s Hershele is about to give in to the temptatio n offered b y th e devil' s representative , bu t i s stil l hi s ol d self , hi s fathe r gets drun k an d start s singing . Hershele , i n orde r t o preven t hi s fathe r from embarrassin g himself , pick s hi m u p an d carrie s hi m t o bed . I n gestural terms, th e earnest still-devoted so n is carrying the old, less-than competent fathe r t o bed . Similarly , i n "Th e Judgment," th e beginning of the story' s brea k wit h naturalisti c realit y come s whe n ol d Bendeman n accuses hi s so n Geor g o f no t havin g a frien d i n Russia , wher e jus t previously, Georg' s writte n correspondenc e wit h th e frien d wa s seem -

66 Davi d Bleic h ingly take n fo r grante d b y bot h parties . Th e father' s peremptor y accusa tion seem s irrationa l an d prompt s Geor g t o pick hi m u p bodil y an d tak e him t o bed , whil e the father, lik e Hershele's father , shout s "No! No!" I n GMD, Hershel e i s stil l respectfu l o f hi s father , an d th e chang e i n Her shele ha s no t ye t take n place . I n "Th e Judgment, " a s ol d Bendeman n becomes mor e truculen t o n hi s wa y t o "sentencing " Geor g t o death , h e stands o n th e bed , wave s hi s arms , an d lift s hi s nightgown . Geor g call s him a "comedian." Similarly , a second inciden t in GM D finds Hershele' s father jumpin g o n a chai r an d takin g o n th e "traditiona l mock-seriou s tone of th e wedding jester. " It seem s a t first a s if, i n both th e play an d th e story, th e fathers ar e o n their wa y out . Bu t i n fac t Hershel e i s finally brough t unde r th e "old " orthodox ethi c represente d b y th e ouste d fathe r (h e wa s sen t ou t o f Hershele's house ) whil e Geor g actuall y di d carr y ou t th e sentenc e de claimed b y th e seemingl y demente d ol d Bendeman n an d drowne d him self a s Hershele hange d himself . Kafk a too k a n ironi c Jewish moti f o f a son's faile d gestur e towar d independenc e (takin g u p th e devil' s offer ) through th e pat h o f secularizatio n an d assimilatio n an d boile d i t dow n by omittin g mentio n o f cultur e an d religio n altogether , an d b y con signing th e sexua l dimensio n t o a n epistolar y presentatio n o f Georg' s engagement t o Frieda . On e migh t sa y that th e stor y i s a "reading" o f th e play, a response t o it , a conversion o f it s inne r stor y int o contemporar y terms an d genre s tha t hav e suppresse d an y local cultura l an d sexua l identities. Nevertheless , th e issue s an d theme s o f bot h th e play s an d th e stories matche d ver y well . Wher e th e ridiculousnes s o f th e posturin g o f fathers i s common t o th e plays an d t o Kafka' s stories , a s is the gatherin g self-doubt o f the sons, the Yiddish plays insisted o n a rational conclusio n to th e turmoil , thu s keepin g a sens e o f collectiv e rationalit y a s th e framework fo r th e personal travail . Kafka's breakthroug h wa s hi s acquisitio n o f the means to delete the rationality and identity of "traditional Jewish values" an d carr y throug h the arbitrar y logi c o f th e phenomenolog y o f dail y lif e t o th e conclusio n dictated—literally—by th e purel y verbal activit y o f th e dialogue . Bec k says, "Kafka' s narrativ e present s a self-enclose d worl d i n whic h th e characters ar e totall y absorbe d i n thei r roles , an d i n whic h ther e i s n o commonsense perspectiv e b y whic h w e ca n interpre t th e action " (78) . There is no actual devil associated with Geor g Bendemann; he is, merely,

How I Got M y Languag e 67 in th e eye s o f hi s rantin g father , onl y a "devilis h huma n being " (ein teuflischer Mensch). Notic e ho w "Gott" i s removed fro m th e transpose d title i n German , whil e th e father' s "sentence" 7 (th e "judgment " o f th e title) is taken literall y and , i n the story's climacti c gesture, carrie d ou t b y the "prisoner " himself . Th e dramatic , litera l presentatio n o f th e meta phorical o n a n extende d leve l is one o f th e principal element s o f Kafka' s "breakthrough." Ther e ca n b e littl e doub t tha t th e habitual , routine , ironic confoundin g o f th e litera l an d th e figurativ e wa s a principle o f th e Yiddish stag e an d a featur e o f th e Yiddis h language , i n bot h o f whic h contexts, th e result was, a s Georg Bendemann observes , comic . Kafka, however , ha d t o expres s an d impl y thi s comed y withi n a style that woul d functio n i n th e assimilate d secula r worl d i n whic h h e kne w he ha d t o function . Lev i coul d an d woul d remai n a self-consciou s Je w engaging wit h Jew s o n Jewis h topics ; bu t fo r Kafk a non e o f thi s coul d be tru e regardles s o f ho w muc h o f hi s "extracurricular " tim e woul d b e spent i n Yiddishis m an d Zionism . I n Kafka' s ow n Czech/Germa n con text, hostil e t o Jews , ther e i n fac t wa s n o "God"—certainl y n o Jewis h God, bu t n o expectabl e socia l rationalit y either . Thus , th e expressiv e license o f th e Yiddish theate r group , it s "folk " origin s an d socia l charac ter, coul d neve r becom e a n ope n elemen t i n Kafka' s alread y ongoin g involvement i n th e German-speakin g Pragu e literar y circles . Thi s neces sary censorshi p le d t o Kafka' s characteristi c deadpan , eve n solemn pose s in eac h an d ever y piec e o f literatur e tha t h e wrote . I n a piec e tha t i s almost obviousl y comic , th e "Repor t t o th e Academy, " ther e i s just n o indication tha t thi s is , i n som e way , a playfu l o r jokin g piece . Th e pattern o f anima l figure s i n Kafka , wher e narrator s an d protagonist s ar e themselves beast s o f som e sort , i s on e o f th e mor e decisiv e dramatiza tions o f verba l histrionics—yo u dog , yo u mouse , yo u ap e (i n English ; in Yiddish , on e doe s cal l anothe r perso n a Wanz [a n insect]—mor e on thi s shortly) . Ye t i t seem s clea r tha t thes e litera l "Verwandlungen" (transformations) o f metaphor s are , i n a n environmen t o f censorship , undoubtedly playfu l act s in bitter contexts, pieces of Yiddish-style verba l behavior commonl y foun d i n th e theate r experience s bu t no w sande d and polished s o that their true shapes and colors are no longer perceptibl e to a genera l publi c tha t woul d neve r countenanc e an y hones t Jewis h exploration o f it s culture an d socia l psychology . If m y mother' s figures—"cholera, " "dog-lik e beast, " "traitor " {me-

68 Davi d Bleic h shummed, i n Yiddish) , "g o get yoursel f killed " (ver geharget i n Yid dish)—were echoe d an d mor e seriousl y give n b y a hegemonic commu nity whic h als o though t o f m e i n thi s way , bu t literally , actually , yo u will get a sense o f wha t Kafk a ha d t o d o wit h thes e figure s t o cop e wit h the sens e o f dange r thei r us e mus t hav e allude d to . A s a writer, a n artis t trying t o mak e hi s wa y i n a mixed public , thi s i s what Kafk a ha d t o d o and di d d o wit h extraordinar y power , wit h hi s father' s contemptuou s dismissal o f Lev i an d th e Yiddis h troupe : "I f yo u g o t o be d wit h dogs , you wak e u p wit h bugs." 8 H e wrot e wha t i s no w perhap s hi s bes t known stor y whos e premise—lyin g i n bed with dogs—i s deleted , whil e the conclusio n i s slightl y changed—wakin g u p a s a n insec t instea d o f with one ! This ne w realit y supplant s th e father' s premis e wit h hi s ow n funnier, mor e dramati c one , a s the stor y i s then execute d o n th e basi s of the son's , th e artist's , premise . I n spit e o f th e angr y bu t relentles s mirt h of carryin g throug h a long, dark , passionat e stor y o n thi s basis , ther e i s no hin t i n th e narrativ e ton e o f jus t wha t sor t o f parod y i s taking place , and reader s o f al l stripes , bu t particularl y th e academi c critics , fee l n o choice bu t t o ponde r i n th e usua l solemn , conventionall y practice d modes o f proper philosophica l perplexit y th e meaning of thi s metaphori cal riddle. According t o Bec k thi s story , a s mentioned above , als o draws a great deal fro m a Gordi n play , The Savage One. I n thi s play , abou t th e Layblikh ( I a m usin g Beck' s transliteration s o f th e Yiddish ) family , th e "tragic" her o i s the "idiot " son , Lemekh . H e an d hi s sibling s ar e grow n and hi s fathe r marrie s a widow muc h younge r tha n himsel f wh o bleed s off th e father's money . A s the hero deteriorates towar d idiocy , hi s sexual feeling towar d hi s stepmothe r increases , an d h e i s confined t o hi s room . At th e play's climax , h e murders hi s stepmother. Bec k describes how th e situation i n this play parallels that in "Th e Metamorphosis. " Like Lemekh , Grego r i s barely tolerate d i n th e home , an d lik e him, i s looked upon with disgust (particularly by the father) a s an outcast whose very existence shames hi s family . I n differen t ways , Grego r an d Lemek h combin e th e sam e qualities o f "thing " an d "person. " Bot h ar e presente d a s essentiall y simple , meek, self-effacing person s who become animal-like creature because of a drastic transformation whic h culminate s i n Gregor' s deat h an d Lemekh' s murde r o f Zelde. Althoug h Gregor' s physica l transformatio n i s alread y complete d whe n "The Metamorphosis" opens , whil e th e chang e in Lemek h occur s more gradu ally, the process of progressive decay continues throughout both works. . . . Each o f th e fiv e character s i n Kafka' s stor y ha s a direc t counterpar t i n

How I Got M y Languag e 69 Gordin's play. Besides Gregor and Lemekh, the two defective sons, there are the two fathers, Sams a Senior and Shmul Layblikh, who are "resurrected" (Samsa by his son's decline, Layblikh by his marriage); the two mother-figures, Mrs . Samsa and Zelde, who protect their sons and are adored by them; the two sisters, Grete and Liza , half-develope d girl s wh o eventuall y abando n th e brother s t o who m they are so closely attached, and the two housekeepers, who show no fear of the peculiar son and take charge of him. (Beck 136-37 ) While "Th e Metamorphosis " boil s a long pla y dow n jus t a s "Th e Judg ment" did , th e materia l o f TS O wa s close r t o Kafka' s characteristi c theme: th e radica l generi c differenc e betwee n th e heroi c so n an d hi s family an d culture . Where , fo r Lemekh , th e unconsciousnes s o f hi s ow n position i s rationall y presente d a s a know n disease , th e characteristi c denial of "wha t ha s happened" fo r Grego r i s complete an d doe s not nee d explanation: th e chang e i n hi m i s s o fundamental , s o full y offere d a s a familiarity o f dail y life , tha t on e proceeds literaril y withou t an y nee d fo r exploring thi s premise . A s regard s relation s o f father s an d sons , Kafk a creates similarl y reduce d an d abstracte d "rereadings " i n bot h o f hi s stories for bot h o f his sources i n Yiddish plays . One reaso n fo r th e emergenc e o f "Th e Metamorphosis " fro m th e "pack" o f Kafka' s collectio n o f work s coul d b e it s more-than-usua l exploration o f sexua l feeling s i n th e family . I f on e look s ove r al l o f hi s writings, includin g th e letter s an d diaries , on e finds characteristi c way s in which th e topi c o f sexualit y emerges . TS O announce s thi s theme, an d Beck cites the key lines which sho w Lemek h enjoy s th e touch an d sexua l presence h e feel s i n hi s stepmother , wh o i s not , i n a n actua l sense , a forbidden figure, bu t instea d i s i n th e role o f a forbidden figure. Thus , the attractio n Lemek h ha s for Zeld e ca n present th e forbidden quality o f sexual attractio n fo r traditional , religiousl y observan t Jewis h me n with out actuall y portrayin g a n incestuous scene . Analogously , i n the climac tic scen e i n "Th e Metamorphosis, " som e o f th e incestuou s qualit y o f Gregor watchin g hi s mothe r losin g he r clothe s an d underclothe s a s sh e clings t o hi s fathe r i s reduce d b y th e fac t tha t Grego r i s onl y a n insec t confined t o the room: he is not eligibl e to be involved i n the love triangl e at home. It i s har d t o overloo k jus t ho w deepl y Grego r i s involve d i n longin g for th e lov e o f bot h hi s mothe r an d sister . Afte r thi s scene , a s Gregor' s deterioration hasten s and his sister begins to exercise leadership in gettin g rid o f Gregor , h e hears an d see s her playing the violin :

jo Davi

d Bleic h

Her fac e leane d sideways , intentl y an d sadl y he r eye s followe d th e note s o f music. Grego r crawle d a littl e farthe r forwar d an d lowere d hi s hea d t o th e ground s o that it might be possible for his eyes to meet hers. Was he an animal, that musi c ha d suc h a n effec t upo n him ? H e fel t a s i f th e wa y wer e openin g before hi m to the unknown nourishment he craved. He was determined to push forward til l he reached his sister to pull at her skirt and so let her know that she was t o com e int o hi s roo m wit h he r violin , fo r n o on e her e appreciate d he r playing a s he would appreciat e it . H e woul d neve r le t he r ou t o f hi s room , a t least not so long as he lived; his frightful appearanc e would become, for the first time, useful t o him; he would watch all the doors of his room at once and spit at intruders; but his sister shoul d nee d no constraint, sh e should sta y with him of her own free will. . . . After thi s confession [tha t he was planning to send her to the Conservatoriu m t o stud y music ] hi s siste r woul d b e s o touche d tha t sh e would burst into tears, and Gregor would then raise himself to her shoulder and kiss her on the neck, which, now that she went to business, she kept free of any ribbon or collar. (Complete Stories 121 ) While passionat e an d moving , thi s fantas y scen e i s no t perverse . I t portrays Gregor' s longin g fo r intimac y emergin g fro m hi s sens e o f hi s ineligibility o f achievin g it, a theme give n agai n an d agai n in his letters t o Felice Baue r an d othe r prospectiv e marriag e partners . Nevertheless , th e images fee l an d impl y muc h mor e beyon d thei r topica l familiarity : th e crawling u p t o he r an d pullin g a t he r skirt ; th e though t tha t sh e woul d stay with hi m alon e in his roo m whil e he would fen d of f al l "intruders" ; and finally hi s kissin g he r o n he r bar e neck , no w fre e fro m decoratio n owing t o he r goin g t o work . Al l th e whil e he r sensuou s playin g o f th e violin woul d remin d hi m o f hi s "animal " dimensions . Thi s scen e i s sensual; hi s observanc e o f hi s mother' s clothe s fallin g of f wa s onl y forbidden, an d i n an y case , h e wa s no t a participant . Now , afte r hi s "defeat" b y hi s fathe r an d th e res t o f th e family , Grego r experience s a new leve l o f eroti c feeling . Gregor' s conditio n an d th e resultin g fantas y enacts th e fat e o f permitte d sexualit y i n Kafka' s life : the close r h e come s to th e likelihood o f formin g a family th e more decisivel y suc h a possibility mus t b e avoided . Sexua l feelin g i s heightene d an d it s increas e i s directly proportional t o it s ineligibility o f "legalization. " This vie w o f th e paralysi s o f sociall y legitimat e sexua l passio n fo r Kafka i s supporte d b y th e histor y o f ho w th e Yiddis h theate r mad e it s way int o Kafka' s psychology . Ther e i s a pattern i n th e earlie r volume o f diaries tha t neithe r Bec k no r Pawe l discussed : Kafka' s participatio n i n public lif e i n orde r t o mee t an d com e int o contac t wit h "legitimate " women bu t wh o wer e no t necessaril y t o b e courted . A s i s wel l know n

How I Got M y Languag e 7

1

from Kafka' s diarie s as well as from othe r sources, the "double standard " was a common approac h take n b y youn g me n towar d women . Th e ma n found sexua l releas e an d learned , i n general , abou t sexua l behavio r fro m prostitutes, whil e h e an d hi s famil y o r bot h sough t th e prope r "match " and hope d an d expecte d t o "fal l i n love " wit h th e prope r woman . Women ha d n o option s t o educat e (o r indulge ) themselve s abou t sex , and s o th e entr y int o a marriag e ha d mostl y t o d o wit h guaranteein g their physica l surviva l an d well-being ; need s fo r physica l passio n an d bodily attachmen t ar e me t b y bearing , nursing , an d raisin g children . Kafka's continuin g reluctanc e to commi t himsel f t o the "proper " woma n was relate d t o hi s sens e tha t i n hi s ow n circl e o r community , gettin g married wa s a necessary, rathe r tha n onl y recommended , pat h o f living , especially i n view of hi s parents' pressure o n hi m i n that regard : [1 9 July 1910]: "Fo r withou t a center, withou t a profession, a love, a family, a n income; i.e., withou t holdin g one' s ow n . . . on e canno t protec t onesel f from th e losse s tha t momentaril y destro y one " (Diaries 24) . Provision ally, on e migh t rea d Kafka' s avoidanc e o f marriag e a s resistanc e t o th e double standar d an d a critiqu e o f wha t me n ar e expecte d t o do . Th e diary entrie s show both th e resistance an d his inability t o remove himsel f from thi s sociall y masculin e trope . Kafka' s first extende d entr y i n hi s diary i s som e tim e befor e Ma y 191 0 abou t th e dance r Eduardov a fro m the visitin g Russia n Ballet . H e first record s a dream abou t he r i n whic h she ask s hi m i f sh e i s a "wicke d woman. " The n ther e i s the entr y abou t her appearance : "Th e dance r Eduardov a i s no t a s pretty i n th e ope n ai r as o n th e stage " (Diaries 10) . Kafka' s discussio n o f th e Russia n dancer , first see n o n a stage a s a performer, bu t the n observe d i n th e "ope n air " (a phrase tha t Kafk a use s i n other , similar , contexts ) outline s th e moti f of almos t al l of hi s observation s o f women , fro m a distance, i n a variety of contexts , bu t mostl y o n stag e an d a s compared t o thei r appearanc e i n person. Hi s drea m o f he r emphasize s he r fac e an d th e glamou r o f th e attention pai d t o he r b y th e "prince s o f Europe. " Bu t the n h e describe s the loss o f he r stage-beauty , "he r fade d color, " "th e large nose . . . wit h which on e ca n tak e n o liberties, " a s wel l a s he r resemblanc e t o "a n elderly lady. " The recordin g o f th e drea m i n thi s earl y par t o f th e diary , whos e major rol e i n Kafka' s lif e wa s t o las t onl y abou t fou r years , betwee n 1910 an d 1914 , i s a sig n o f ho w th e apparitio n o f th e idealize d woma n on a stage enters hi s subjectivit y i n thi s decisiv e way. Subsequen t entrie s

72 Davi

d Bleic h

in th e diary , especiall y a s h e first start s t o atten d Yiddis h plays , continu e this theme , bu t n o w th e w o m e n ar e Jews , th e play s Jewish , th e othe r people Jewis h me n wit h w h o m h e ca n relate . Severa l diar y entrie s de scribe wha t h e sa w a s h e sa t i n cafe s o n severa l differen t occasions. 9 While ther e i s n ow a break o f abou t si x months i n th e us e o f th e diary , the en d o f summe r o f 191 1 an d al l o f th e fal l record , followin g th e pattern an d eve n sometime s th e vocabular y o f th e foregoin g entries , Kafka's fallin g int o th e combine d Jewish/eroti c atmospher e o f th e Yid dish fol k theater . 24 August 1911 : Sitting with acquaintance s a t a coffeehouse tabl e i n th e open ai r and lookin g a t th e woma n a t th e nex t tabl e wh o ha s jus t arrived , breathin g heavily beneat h he r heav y breasts , an d who , wit h a heated, brownish , shinin g face, sit s down . Sh e lean s back , a heav y dow n become s visible , sh e turn s he r eyes up, almos t in the way in which sh e perhaps sometimes looks at her husband , who i s no w readin g a n illustrate d pape r besid e her . I f on e coul d onl y persuad e her tha t on e ma y rea d a t mos t a newspape r bu t neve r a magazin e besid e one' s wife i n a coffeehouse . Afte r a moment sh e becom e awar e o f th e fullnes s o f he r body an d move s back fro m th e table a little. (62 ) 27 September 1911 : Yesterday o n th e Wenzelsplat z me t tw o girls , kep t m y ey e too lon g o n on e whil e i t wa s jus t th e other , a s i t prove d to o late , wh o wor e a plain, soft , brown , wrinkled , ampl e coat , ope n a littl e i n front , ha d a delicat e throat an d delicat e nose , he r hai r wa s beautifu l i n a way alread y forgotten . . . . The beautiful larg e button, beautifull y se t low o n th e sleeve of a girl's dress. Th e dress wor n beautifull y too , hoverin g ove r America n boots . . . . Th e powerfu l half-turn o f th e neck o f a strong girl . (68 ) 29 Septembe r 1911 : . . . Cabare t Lucerna . Luci e Koeni g showin g photograph s with ol d hair-styles . Threadbar e face . Sometimes , wit h he r turned-u p nose , wit h an ar m hel d alof t an d a tur n o f al l he r fingers, sh e succeed s i n something . A milksop face. . . . 30 Septembe r 1911 : The gir l i n th e adjoinin g roo m yesterday . I la y o n th e sof a and, o n th e poin t o f dozin g off , hear d he r voice . Sh e seemed t o m e i n m y min d to b e overdresse d no t onl y becaus e o f th e clothe s sh e wore , bu t als o becaus e o f the entire room ; onl y he r shapely , naked , round , strong , dar k shoulder s which I had see n i n th e bat h prevaile d agains t he r clothes . Fo r a moment sh e seeme d t o me t o b e steamin g an d t o b e filling th e whol e roo m wit h he r vapors . The n sh e stood u p i n he r ash-gra y colore d bodic e tha t stoo d of f fro m he r bod y s o fa r a t the bottom tha t on e could si t down o n i t and afte r a fashion rid e along .

How I Got M y Languag e 7

3

Kafka describe s th e next thre e o r fou r night s a s "sleepless, " and writes a long entr y i n th e diar y eac h da y reflectin g o n th e sleeplessnes s a s well a s on th e dar k roo m a t night . O n 4 Octobe r h e goe s t o th e Caf e Savoy , where he sees and records for th e first tim e the "Yiddis h troupe . Mrs . K , 'male impersonator. ' I n a caftan , shor t blac k trousers , whit e stockings , from th e blac k ves t a thi n whit e woole n shir t emerge s tha t i s hel d i n front a t th e throa t b y a kno t an d the n flare s int o a wide , loose , long , spreading collar"(79) . The troupe presente d Lateiner' s play , Der Meshumed (Th e Apostate). While Kafk a i s obviousl y disturbe d b y thi s irreveren t grou p an d thei r irreverent styl e of behavin g an d acting , h e nevertheless records bot h ho w the play "keep s it s meaning" in spit e of incompetenc e o n stage , an d ho w the melodie s ge t "one' s bod y t o confid e itsel f t o them " {Diaries 80) . I n particular, th e femal e singer s attrac t hi s attention : "th e melodie s ar e bes t expressed b y a swayin g o f th e hips , b y raisin g an d lowerin g extende d arms in a calm rhythm" (80) . Obviously attracte d b y the performances an d the energy of the actors, the evi l o f th e protagonist— a ma n wh o ha d murdere d hi s wif e t o hel p conceal his Jewish origi n afte r h e had becom e Christian—Kafk a devote s four day s o f entrie s i n hi s diar y t o describin g th e complex , violen t plo t and analyzin g th e distinctiv e feature s o f th e performance , suc h a s on e actor playin g al l three Christia n parts , an d th e femal e lead , th e protago nist's daughter , who , towar d th e climax , i s th e "mal e impersonator. " I t seems likely tha t thi s play, an d other s lik e it which feature d a prominent father indulgin g himself , "caugh t th e conscience " o f th e youn g write r seeking both cultura l an d sexual identity . In describin g th e players , Kafk a stay s wit h hi s habi t o f focusin g o n the character-identit y o f th e mal e parts , an d th e physical , personal , extra-theatrical identit y o f the female parts . I n considering his experienc e of thi s pla y afte r five days , h e elaborate s o n hi s first mentio n o f th e "male impersonator," th e very first impressio n h e recorded o f his experience with th e Yiddish theater : "Male impersonator" i s really a false title. By virtue of the fact tha t she is stuck into a caftan, he r body is entirely forgotten. Sh e only reminds one of her body by shrugging her shoulder and twisting her back as though she were being bitten by fleas . Th e sleeves , thoug h short , hav e to b e pulled u p a little every minute ; this the spectator enjoys an d even watches for it to happen, anticipating the great

74 Davi d Bleic h relief i t will b e for thi s woma n wh o ha s s o much t o sin g and t o explai n i n the talmudic manner. (Diaries 87) In revising his first impressio n o f both Mrs . K and her role, Kafk a bring s out th e femal e i n thi s figure , bot h i n he r characteristi c gestures , whic h attract hi s ("the spectator's" ) attentio n i n this play a s well as in almost al l the othe r play s h e write s about , an d i n he r singing , whic h als o ha s th e effect o f bringin g ou t hi s ow n "body, " s o t o speak . Havin g gon e ou t i n public and recorded hi s impressions o f the many women h e saw and self consciously observed , he , i n thi s sam e trop e o f hi s life , come s upo n th e Yiddish actin g troupe , wher e bot h it s prosecutio n o f a "pugnaciou s national literature " (87 ) an d it s releas e o f exhibitionistic , ye t legitimat e female sexualit y combin e t o for m a ver y appealin g plac e fo r th e ma n whose min d an d bod y hav e bee n strugglin g t o com e together . Th e fac t that i n thi s pla y th e femal e character s ar e no t onl y sex y bu t "good, " i n contrast t o th e evi l an d opportunisti c mal e figures , undoubtedl y mad e the cas e to Kafk a tha t h e was i n th e presence o f a cultural situatio n wit h which h e coul d conduc t th e kin d o f exchang e tha t hi s ow n sens e o f a creative life required . That thi s first experienc e of the Yiddish stag e reached him in a decisive way i s suggeste d o n 9 Octobe r whe n h e record s th e though t tha t "I f I reach m y fortiet h year , the n I'l l probabl y marr y a n ol d mai d wit h protruding uppe r teeth left a little exposed b y the upper lip" ; and he the n records having had a dream th e previous nigh t o f visiting a brothel: I occupied myself chiefl y wit h the whore whose head was hanging down, . . . I fingered he r legs and then for a long time pressed the upper parts of her thighs in regular rhythm. M y pleasure [Vergniigen] in thi s was so great tha t I wondered that fo r thi s entertainment , whic h wa s afte r al l reall y th e mos t beautifu l kind , one stil l ha d t o pa y nothing . I was convinced tha t I (and I alone) deceived th e world. The n th e whore, withou t movin g her legs , raised th e upper par t o f he r body an d turne d he r bac k t o me , whic h t o m y horro r wa s covere d wit h larg e sealing-wax-red circles with paling edges, and red splashes scattered among them. I no w notice d tha t he r whol e bod y wa s ful l o f them , tha t I wa s pressin g m y thumb to her thighs in just such spots and that there were the little red particles— as though from a crumbled seal—on my fingers too. (89-90) A consciou s thought abou t th e unlikelihood o f marrying on e with who m one wil l hav e sexua l satisfactio n lead s t o a n eroti c drea m abou t th e satisfaction (o r enjoyment : Vergniigen) wit h a whor e becoming , sud denly, sullied , taintin g himsel f a s well . Thes e troublin g an d conflict -

How I Got M y Languag e 7

5

laden thought s ar e embedde d i n th e intens e experience , cultura l an d sexual, o f th e Yiddish performanc e h e just sa w an d wrot e abou t a t som e length. Th e nex t day , 1 0 October , Kafk a describe s th e actor s greetin g the actresse s an d partin g compan y wit h the m an d wit h eac h other , con tinuing, But whil e thi s overtakin g an d greetin g ha d separate d th e gentlemen , th e ladies addressed, a s though le d b y th e on e neares t th e roadwa y wh o seem s to b e the weakest an d talles t bu t als o the youngest an d mos t beautiful, continu e o n their way quite undisturbed. . . . The whole thing seemed to me at the moment to be strong proof tha t theatrical affairs her e are orderly and well conducted. (90-91 ) Which i s a conclusion quit e th e revers e o f hi s first skeptica l response s t o the troupe, it s seeming vulgarity, an d it s apparent failure s o f competenc e (see diar y entrie s o f 2 9 an d 3 0 September , above) . Betwee n hi s first response o f five day s befor e an d now , a s th e potentia l o f th e troup e t o stimulate bot h cultura l an d sexua l arousa l becam e clear , theatrica l affair s suddenly see m "orderl y an d well-conducted" ! Similarly , i t coul d b e tha t Kafka's inne r psychology , constantl y dogge d b y thought s o f earl y deat h and suffering , has , unde r th e influenc e o f thi s involvement , als o becom e more orderl y an d well-conducted, owin g to the disclosure, i n the dream , of just ho w urgen t hi s passions were . Kafka carrie d throug h thi s ne w theatrica l initiativ e i n a serie s o f frequent, almos t dail y trip s t o th e cafe , wher e h e sa w man y plays , perhaps u p t o twenty , accordin g t o Beck . H e recorde d th e plot s an d other feature s o f abou t a dozen o f thes e plays , an d hi s diarie s provid e a preliminary guid e a s t o th e principa l Yiddis h playwrights : Gordin , La teiner, Feinmann , Goldfaden , Scharkansky . O f these , h e single d ou t a s the bes t Gordin , tw o o f whos e play s contribute d t o Kafka' s star t a s a distinguished writer . The eroti c accen t o f this development i s a necessary part o f it . Kafka' s mostly fantas y involvemen t wit h th e married Yiddis h actresse s cannot b e written off. 10 O n 2 2 Octobe r 1911 , Kafka allude s t o "m y lov e fo r Mrs . Ts." (107). n Hi s sexua l feelings an d response s t o Mrs . Tschissik ar e par t of hi s involvemen t i n th e tota l projec t o f th e actors . H e take s pain s t o cite thei r lo w pa y an d lac k o f publi c recognition , an d ho w hi s sympath y is draw n int o thei r situation . Kafka' s entrie s ar e simila r t o th e publi c mythologizing o f Marily n Monro e i n recen t times , i n tha t sh e is a figure virtually n o on e credit s wit h actin g ability , ye t wh o i s nevertheles s understood, no w a s whe n sh e wa s i n films, a s making a statement wit h

y6 Davi d Bleic h her "naked " personalit y an d he r body , he r inabilit y t o be , t o pla y th e role of , someon e else . Culturall y identifie d America n Jewish men , suc h as Arthu r Mille r an d Norma n Mailer , wer e a s take n wit h Monroe , an d in th e sam e seriou s way , a s Kafk a wa s wit h Mrs . Tschissik , imagining , rightly o r wrongl y (wh o ca n tell , anyway? ) tha t thi s femal e presenc e contributed t o th e production o f literature , t o th e promotion o f culture . For Mille r an d Mailer , a s fo r Kafka , thi s styl e o f involvemen t wa s undoubtedly a featur e o f th e pai n o f assimilatio n int o th e hegemoni c society a s well as a decisive sign of troubl e i n their masculin e identities . Two day s afte r thi s entr y abou t Mrs . Tschissik , ther e i s a long entr y about hi s mothe r whic h set s ou t i n convincin g fashion , th e relationshi p of masculin e disconten t with , i n particular , Jewis h identity . Afte r de scribing ho w h e enjoye d hi s mother' s lov e an d attentio n whil e h e wa s sick, h e begin s t o wonde r wh y h e di d no t fee l a s i f h e reciprocate d her love : Yesterday it occurred to me that I did not always love my mother as she deserved and a s I coul d onl y becaus e th e Germa n languag e prevente d it . Th e Jewis h mother i s n o "Mutter, " t o cal l he r "Mutter " make s he r a little comi c (no t t o herself, becaus e w e ar e i n Germany) , w e giv e a Jewish woma n th e nam e o f a German mother , bu t forge t th e contradictio n tha t sink s int o th e emotion s s o much th e more heavily , "Mutter " i s peculiarly Germa n fo r th e Jew, i t uncon sciously contains, togethe r with th e Christian splendo r Christia n coldnes s also, the Jewish women who is called "Mutter" therefore become s not only comic but strange. Mam a woul d b e a bette r nam e i f onl y on e didn' t imagin e "Mutter " behind it . I believe that it is only the memories of th e ghetto that stil l preserve the Jewis h family , fo r th e wor d "Vater " to o i s fa r fro m meanin g th e Jewis h father, ( i n ) The passag e bear s o n Kafka' s orientatio n t o wome n an d sexuality , to wit : ho w unfortunate—th e Germa n languag e prevente d hi m fro m reciprocating hi s mother' s love . Thi s explanatio n i s a pretext : he , lik e other men , doesn' t reciprocat e properl y becaus e h e expects thi s leve l o f maternal involvement i n us as a matter of course. Lik e other intellectuals , Kafka foun d intellectualizabl e reasons , o r better , cultura l rationaliza tions, fo r a n emotiona l failure , th e reaso n bein g i n thi s case , th e false , pompous attitud e towar d parent s fostere d b y Germa n more s tha t ar e marked b y th e language' s word s fo r th e parents. Th e passage , therefore , because of its likely high degree of unconscious disingenuousness , relate s to th e patter n o f masculin e longin g fo r wha t som e theater-wome n an d Eastern Jews see m t o b e bringin g t o Kafka—a n uninhibited , expressiv e

How I Got My Languag e JJ emotionality tha t include s sexua l feelin g an d engagemen t alongsid e th e sense of cultura l an d communa l belonging , a kind o f unit y o f experienc e that wa s missin g fro m Kafka' s life , a s wel l a s fro m th e live s o f mor e ordinary me n wh o becom e socialize d i n traditiona l way s o f caree r an d

family.

It i s not , therefore , th e Germannes s o f th e parenta l role s tha t i s affecting Kafka : i t i s thei r definitio n b y androcentri c standards . Whil e German androcentris m ma y have its own repellent form o f authoritarian ism, i t i s no t tha t differen t fro m ho w mos t societie s se e th e ma n a s "head" o f th e family . Thi s rol e exaggerate s bot h th e right s an d th e responsibilities o f men, an d creates for the m a n almost impossibly distan t ideal. Fo r minorit y male s th e distanc e i s increased b y th e nee d t o retai n group dignit y relativ e t o th e majorit y whil e actuall y behavin g similarl y to th e source of dominatio n i n the majority . In th e West, som e Jewish me n ma y blam e Christianity , alon g with it s coercive rol e i n th e majorit y society , fo r thei r participatio n i n a way o f socialization tha t i s commo n t o al l societies . Ye t Kafk a obviousl y sa w both i n th e Yiddish play s an d i n hi s home tha t mos t Jewish me n di d no t blame Christianit y fo r thei r failure : the y sometime s blame d Orthodo x Judaism, an d usuall y foun d faul t wit h th e wome n i n thei r lives , whe n their ow n longin g fo r a life o f feelin g an d Vergniigen seeme d blocke d b y the deman d fo r famil y eve n whe n ther e wa s n o obviou s inhibitio n fro m the surroundin g culture . Protagonist s suc h a s Hershel e Dubrovne r an d Shmul Layblikh , a s well as Seidemann i n Der Meshumed, al l turn agains t their familie s i n majo r ways , whil e othe r part s o f thes e play s d o no t suggest tha t i t someho w wa s "really " Christia n hegemon y tha t wa s th e main problem . At thi s point , on e want s t o as k wh y "family " become s a problem , especially i f the man is the "head " o f it. A s I suggested above , the answe r that mos t convincingl y suggest s itsel f i s tha t th e hierarch y o f th e famil y is a profoundl y burdensom e condition , an d particularl y s o whe n th e women, participatin g i n th e genera l enlightenmen t o f culture—Seide mann's daughte r wh o insist s o n marryin g a Jewish man , fo r example — and exercisin g thei r independenc e fro m th e father , themselve s see m t o oppose th e traditional famil y authorit y structure . So we retur n t o Kafka' s ow n "neurotic " reluctanc e t o for m a family . The material s an d styl e o f th e Yiddis h theate r actuall y helpe d t o foste r this reluctance, with the intimations o f a freer sexualit y an d its depiction s

78 Davi d Bleic h of th e "hell " of famil y life , it s infestation b y th e "devilish " purposes o f a materially goo d lif e an d mor e tha n jus t th e tast e o f sexua l passion . I believe th e theate r helpe d t o teac h Kafk a th e trut h o f th e sexua l promis e of th e artistic , cultura l lif e a s well a s confirming hi s ow n perception s o f the repugnanc e o f traditional , hierarchica l famil y life . Thes e lesson s be came artisticall y enabling , havin g expressed , i n a context externa l t o hi s own famil y an d his own subjectivity , th e terms o f his own psychologica l struggle. Kafka's fina l lov e relationshi p wit h a sexua l partne r starte d twelv e years afte r hi s earl y involvemen t wit h th e Yiddis h theater . I t wa s wit h Dora Diaman t (on e o f m y ow n "way s in " t o Kafk a an d hi s work) an d i t is noteworthy because , hi s gallopin g illness notwithstanding , h e found a Jewish woma n wh o was , mor e o r less , i n hi s ow n class : on e who , exercising he r independenc e fro m a coerciv e Orthodo x Jewis h father , left hom e t o g o t o Berli n t o become , o f al l things, a n actress . Kafk a an d Diamant di d togethe r i n a rebelliou s an d (ironically ) "Bohemian " wa y what i s routinel y don e toda y b y me n an d wome n engage d i n departin g from th e traditiona l famil y imperatives : lived togethe r withou t marriage , without family , an d withou t famil y blessing s fro m eithe r side . Thi s relationship wa s no t marked , fo r Kafka , b y eithe r a torture d writte n correspondence o r a n "admiratio n fro m afar " for m o f involvemen t shown i n hi s diar y entrie s befor e an d durin g th e Yiddis h theate r period . Rather, Diaman t wa s alread y a speaker o f Yiddis h an d a living membe r of th e societ y represente d b y tha t grou p o f folk-artists . Biographer s report tha t Kafk a becam e uncharacteristicall y optimisti c i n tha t period , all the more surprisin g becaus e o f th e devastation wrough t o n him b y hi s illness. Suc h a developmen t migh t wel l b e understoo d a s a relie f o f masculine rathe r tha n filia l o r Jewis h disconten t alone , sinc e neithe r o f the latter tw o source s o f pain was any less at this time. My parents cam e to Americ a fro m Polan d i n 1921 , independently o f on e another, an d met in the Yiddish theater, wher e my father mad e his caree r and whic h m y mothe r lef t a t he r marriag e t o m y fathe r i n 1926 . I hav e photographs o f bot h m y parent s i n th e earl y twentie s i n actin g group s and i n costum e i n Ne w Yor k City . Althoug h m y mothe r first becam e a mother i n 1929 , whe n m y brothe r wa s born , sh e worke d al l he r lif e i n the garmen t industr y a s either a dressmaker o r a n "examiner " ( a job no w

How I Got M y Languag e 7

9

known a s a n inspecto r o r qualit y contro l person) . M y fathe r ende d th e main phase of hi s career in 1945 , when I was five. The Yiddish theate r as a goin g concer n ende d abou t then , a s it s mai n sourc e o f ne w material , the hug e Yiddish-speakin g communit y i n Europ e was , mostly , mur dered. M y father , i n additio n t o havin g t o struggl e durin g hi s mos t accomplished years , als o was the sole support o f hi s parents. M y mothe r cared fo r m y brothe r an d me , a s wel l a s fo r m y fathe r an d hi s always active ulcer , whil e workin g al l th e time . T o manag e th e hom e wa s he r duty, sh e thought, whil e her way o f noticing its unfairness wa s to infor m the thre e masculin e figures i n th e hom e tha t sh e wa s "no t a slave/ ' M y father ha d smoke d sinc e h e wa s twelv e an d die d a t ag e sixt y o f angina , an illnes s h e had , an d faile d t o announc e t o us , fo r sixtee n years . M y mother die d o f ol d age , I imagine , a t ninety-tw o afte r a lif e whos e principal featur e i n adulthoo d wa s loneliness. Yiddish wa s m y parents ' first language , thoug h the y kne w Hebrew , Polish, German , an d som e Russian . Unti l I wa s abou t three , I wa s bilingual; m y brothe r remaine d bilingua l throughou t hi s life . However , there was no doub t tha t th e Yiddish I knew was my mother's . M y fathe r did no t tak e libertie s wit h th e language , di d no t us e i t i n particularl y daring way s i n m y presence , thoug h h e ofte n rewrot e Yiddis h play s fo r performance. I t too k m e t o ge t throug h graduat e schoo l an d "learn " English "th e ol d fashione d way"—throug h th e literature , tha t is , t o understand th e tru e powe r o f m y mother' s Yiddish : i t wa s th e "stage " Yiddish tha t m y fathe r wa s alway s usin g "a t work " bu t whic h m y mother ha d t o brin g int o th e hom e t o enjoy , th e sam e stag e Yiddis h o f indigent, self-educated , culturall y conscious , secula r "folk " tha t Kafk a heard i n Pragu e in 191 1 and 1912 . My mothe r spok e the same Yiddish a s Mania Tschissik , Yitzcha k Levi , an d Dor a Diamant . He r desir e fo r a public lif e wa s unmistakable ; sh e cooke d an d sewe d a t a leve l whic h unfailingly wo n extraordinar y admiratio n fro m all , bu t sh e describe d these performance s i n theate r language : I s i t successful ? sh e woul d al ways ask . Wha t housewif e woul d worr y abou t th e "success " o f he r handiwork? An d i f I wer e lat e fo r dinner , whic h I no w se e wa s a meticulous performance , eve n a "publi c service, " i t wa s a rudeness tha t was not easil y forgivable . My mother' s languag e was a performance language , an d represente d a richer, mor e literar y Yiddish , tha n tha t use d b y mos t non-theate r

8o Davi d Bleic h types—the merchants , th e lawyers , th e doctors . Whil e sh e hersel f wa s always a "worker " i n th e garmen t industry , makin g "costumes " fo r everyday life, sh e was a "closet" artist, an d a real artist of all the domesti c arts. Bu t because she was female, sh e was treated a s a second-class citize n by u s thre e othe r occupant s o f ou r home . Fro m today' s perspectiv e i t seems certai n tha t th e live s o f u s thre e mal e figure s wer e seriousl y trou bled b y th e disconten t o f thi s origina l situation . A t th e sam e time, whil e my mothe r renounce d wha t les s perspicaciou s peopl e migh t no t hav e renounced—material well-being—sh e reserve d fo r hersel f a level of per sonal disciplin e an d prudenc e tha t create d a stabl e styl e o f self-regula tion, goo d health , an d th e shee r abilit y t o surviv e lonelines s an d adver sity int o a remarkabl e ol d age . W e men , o n th e othe r hand , wit h ou r activity, enthusiasm , an d all-too-certai n styl e of initiative, were regularl y battling wit h ourselve s i n exactl y th e wa y Kafk a critic s (an d Kafk a th e suitor) continuousl y wrun g thei r hands , mad e formulations , articulate d paradoxes, becam e transcendenta l an d philosophical . Whe n aske d abou t God, m y mothe r said : To o fa r fro m me . Whe n aske d abou t th e syna gogue: I have to mak e dinner . Whe n aske d abou t money : Always cause s trouble. W e men had fancie r answers , bu t sh e had th e right word . My mother's languag e did in our home what Kafka' s doe s in public— gave u s a goo d stic k o n a regula r basis . I n writin g thi s account , I a m understanding th e stic k o f he r sarcasm , he r burie d ange r an d frustratio n that sh e too k ou t o f he r literar y involvemen t i n th e Yiddis h theate r fo r her lifetim e an d brough t int o ou r home . Althoug h Kafk a remaine d "i n German," I can hear through my mother's ways of speaking and living— and enac t i n m y everyda y life—somethin g o f th e cultur e tha t wen t int o his ne w versio n o f German , hi s ne w version , perhap s hi s appropriatio n and recasting , o f th e majorit y languag e an d culture . Becaus e o f th e fee l of m y mother' s mor e tha n casua l needling , I ca n fee l he r languag e automatically articulatin g th e insect, th e vulture, th e mouse, th e dog, th e hunger artist , th e harro w i n th e pena l colony . Unlik e wha t mother s ar e supposed t o do , m y mothe r helpe d t o remin d u s me n tha t w e wer e no t content, tha t ou r suffering woul d las t a while and that her own standard s of conduc t i n thi s life, he r ow n language , he r ow n wit , he r ow n extraor dinary patienc e an d modest y did , finally, represen t a n alternativ e t o our discontent . My mother' s language , an d m y adaptatio n o f i t i n English , for m th e terms o f m y self-inclusio n i n th e academ y an d i n America n society . I

How I Got M y Languag e 8

1

identify mysel f a s a n "English " teacher , bu t th e foregoin g accoun t sug gests, rather , tha t I a m a "mother-tongue " teacher . Thi s languag e bot h includes me in and includes me out. Readin g Kafk a an d thinking throug h his language , th e "enemy " language , i n fact , lead s bac k t o th e mother tongue, an d represents , albei t i n a complicate d way , jus t ho w I remai n part of my community an d my society, an d how I am a part of a differen t culture, on e that , becaus e o f th e accident s o f history , continue s t o enjo y its difference, eve n when i t passes for th e majority . One o f th e deepes t scene s o f m y inclusio n i n m y parents ' culture , i n my native culture, an d in academic culture is to be described a s masculine discontent. Thi s disconten t link s Politzer' s academi c frustration i n reall y hearing Kafk a t o Kafka' s ow n frustratio n i n hi s domesti c an d cultura l lives, t o th e frustration s o f academic , cultural , an d domesti c characte r my father, brother , an d I have experienced. Th e relatedness o f the differ ent culture s an d societie s tha t I hav e discusse d i s clearest t o m e i n term s of masculin e participatio n i n th e historicall y mobilize d trope s o f th e styles an d ideologie s o f masculin e superiority . Freu d di d no t utte r suc h words; whil e h e ma y hav e "self-analyzed, " h e di d no t understan d hi s discontent a s we ma y no w rea d it . Rather , i t was "civilization " tha t ha d discontents. Perhaps . Bu t civilizatio n wa s then , an d stil l is, i n th e hand s of men .

Notes i. " A Country Doctor" (in Complete Stories). 2. Lectur e a t th e Universit y o f Wisconsin , Jun e 1991 , wher e I rea d "Th e Vulture" aloud. 3. Pawe l 54. 4. Ralp h Cohen, Patton lectures at Indiana University, November 1984. 5. Glatzer . 6. Somethin g als o learne d b y m y father . M y mothe r alread y understoo d thi s but coul d no t expres s i t becaus e of th e reduced "object " statu s o f women , which either prohibited a full career on stage or limited their emotional lives at home. 7. I wonde r i f "Th e Sentence " woul d no t b e a bette r titl e fo r th e Englis h version o f thi s stor y sinc e i t alludes , i n on e o f it s usua l meanings , t o th e verbal presentation of the father's judgment . 8. Th e German is: "Wer sich mit Hunden zu Bett legt, steht mit Wanzen auf. " (Tagebucher 139) . Whil e th e renditio n o f "Wanz " a s "flea " work s prett y

82 Davi

d Bleic h

well i n English , th e actua l Germa n fo r fle a i s "Floh. " Wanz i s mor e o f a generic ter m fo r bu g o r insec t and , obviously , i s closer t o Ungeziefer tha n a flea ma y be . On e meanin g of Ungeziefer doe s imply a parasitic insect, whic h a flea is. 9. 6 November 1910 : "Lecture b y a Madame Ch . o n Musset . Jewis h women' s habit o f lip-smacking . . . . " 1 2 Januar y 1911 : " A fe w day s ag o Leoni e Frippon, cabare t girl , Stad t Wien. Hai r dresse d i n a bound-up mas s of curls . Bad girdle , ver y old dress , bu t very pretty wit h tragi c gestures, fluttering s o f the eyelids , thrust s o f th e lon g legs , skillfu l stretchin g o f th e arm s alon g th e body, significanc e o f th e rigi d throa t durin g ambiguou s passages " (Diaries 41-42). 2 0 February 1911 : "Mella Mar s i n th e Cabare t Lucerna . . . . Whe n she make s he r appearanc e sh e ha s a tired, indee d eve n flat , empty , ol d face , which constitute s fo r al l famou s actor s a natura l beginning . . . Unusua l changeability o f he r nos e throug h th e shiftin g highlight s an d hollow s o f th e playing muscles aroun d it " (45-46) . 10. Pawe l 243 : "A n adde d elemen t wa s hi s infatuatio n wit h Mani a Tschissik , a fast-fading marrie d membe r o f th e troup e whos e onstag e se x appea l i n hi s eyes more tha n mad e u p for he r fatuous incompetenc e a s an actress. " 11. "Ms . Tschissi k ( I enjo y writin g th e nam e s o much ) like s t o bo w he r hea d a t the table even while eatin g roast goose , yo u believ e you ca n get in under he r eyelids wit h you r glanc e i f yo u firs t carefull y loo k alon g he r cheek s an d then, makin g yoursel f small , sli p in , i n doin g whic h yo u don' t eve n firs t have to rais e the lids, fo r the y ar e raised an d eve n le t a bluish glea m throug h which lure s yo u o n t o th e attempt . Ou t o f he r truthfu l actin g flourishe s o f her fis t no w an d the m emerge , turn s o f he r ar m tha t drap e invisibl e train s about he r body , sh e place s he r outsprea d finger s o n he r breas t becaus e th e artless shrie k doe s no t suffice . He r actin g i s no t varied : th e frightene d loo k at her antagonist , th e seekin g for a way ou t o n th e small stage, th e soft voic e that, withou t bein g raised , mount s heroicall y i n even , shor t ascent s aide d only b y a greate r inne r resonance , th e jo y tha t spread s throug h he r fac e across her hig h forehea d int o he r hair ; th e self-sufficienc y an d independenc e of al l othe r mean s whe n sh e sing s solos , th e holdin g hersel f erec t whe n sh e resists that compels the spectator to devote his attention to her whole body — but no t muc h more . Bu t ther e i s th e trut h o f th e whol e an d a s a result th e conviction tha t th e leas t o f he r effect s canno t b e take n fro m her , tha t sh e i s independent o f th e play an d of us " (Diaries 107-8) .

Works Cite d Beck, Evely n Torton. Kafka and the Yiddish Theater: Its Impact on His Work. Madison, Wise : Universit y o f Wisconsin Press , 1971 . Freedman, Dian e P . An Alchemy of Genres: Cross-Genre Writing by American Feminist Poet-Critics. Charlottesville : University Pres s of Virginia, 1992 .

H o w I G o t M y Languag e 8

3

Glatzer, Nahu m N . The Loves of Franz Kafka. Ne w York : Schocke n Books , 1986. Kafka, Franz . The Complete Stories. New York : Schocke n Books , 1971 . . The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1910-1913. Trans . Josep h Kresh . Ne w York: Schocke n Books , 1965 . . Tagebucher, 1910-1913. Ne w York : 1948 . In German . Pawel, Ernest . The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka. Ne w York : Vintage Books, 1984 . Politzer, Heinz . Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox. Ithaca : Cornel l Universit y Press, 1962 . Tompkins, Jane . "M e an d M y Shadow/ ' I n The Intimate Critique: Autobiographical Literary Criticism. Ed . Dian e P . Freedman , Olivi a Frey , an d Fran ces Murphy Zauhar . Durham , N . C : Duk e Universit y Press , 1993 , 23-40.

T H R E E

A Cyberreade r Defend s Norman N. Holland

"Darkened so , Yet shone above them al l [click] th'Archangel. " Norwood? Yes . "Par-Los, " I said , tryin g t o avoi d hi s eyes . I ha d se t my Cal v dow n an d leane d m y hea d wa y bac k t o loo k u p wher e th e Buckydome's polygon s arche d ove r it s tipplers . I foun d somethin g re laxing i n thei r logica l marc h throug h space . Th e moodligh t tha t shon e from th e ceilin g ont o m y tabl e wa s stil l showin g a brigh t blue-green , while al l the table s aroun d m e were soft , dee p sunse t blue s an d purples . The light s ha d sense d tha t m y fello w toper s ha d al l arrive d a t post workday tranquilit y excep t fo r a couple o f orange s talkin g politics a t th e bar. I still hadn't go t to blue or indigo when suddenl y his face swam int o my ken , s o to speak . Betwee n m e and that gentl y geometrica l ceilin g was Norwood. I didn't nee d Norwood . "Satan, " I said . "Right, littl e Norma, " h e replied . "Righ t o n th e button . An d isn' t i t lovely? It' s tha t momentar y paus e i n th e scansion—th e caesura—lik e a tiny click—tha t make s it such a fantastic line. " "Isn't i t a pair of half-lines? " "Spotting i t wa s enough , Norma . No w you'r e bein g pedantic . I t doesn't becom e a pretty youn g thin g like you. " "Pretty, maybe . Young , I guess so . Thing, no . An d wh y i s a grump y old geeze r like you hittin g o n me? " "Sorry, Norma , sorry . I forget . Pu t i t dow n t o m y wrecked-u p condition. Le t me sit, wil l you? I'v e ha d a formidable day. " I looked u p int o hi s bloodshot eyes , an d I had t o agree . Me—just th e opposite. A t th e U , I' d bee n abl e t o she d m y committee s an d student s 84

A Cyberreade r Defend s 8

5

and giv e myself a long and beautifu l afternoo n ou t i n the Zone doin g m y own research . I' d bee n trackin g animal s aroun d Bergma n Tria d 61-64 . You see , m y projec t fo r tenur e i s a study o f 1960 s and '70 s movies , an d you've go t t o includ e Bergman , gloom y an d obscur e thoug h h e ma y be . / lik e him, though . I was cybered int o a n old Projecto r 16 . It was prett y hit o r miss—hi t and miss , really . M y ow n projection s ha d bee n swif t and sweet , though , an d I' d ha d five happ y hour s o f wonderfu l cyber ing—full merge r almos t all the time and severa l ek-stases. The old black and-whites wer e runnin g throug h m y min d a s tha t strong , dar k gree n displayed b y th e moodligh t i n th e ceilin g a s i t sense d m y emotions . I wanted t o clea r m y head , slacke n m y lifeline , get dow n t o th e dee p purple. Wher e doe s on e d o tha t bu t th e Buckydome ? I' d bee n enjoyin g just sitting , hoistin g a few, an d watchin g m y tire d fingers nudg e a littl e Nintendo. I like Nintendo fo r easin g out o f fas t cybering . I didn' t nee d Norwood , that' s fo r dam n sure , o r on e o f hi s involved , oblique, allegorica l tales of woe. I' d ha d enough ponderously meaningfu l fictions ou t i n th e Bergma n Triad . Bu t wha t coul d I say ? "No , don' t si t down"? T o a three-ste p ful l wh o wa s likel y t o b e o n m y promotio n committee? S o much fo r m y quie t evening . Paradis e Los t indeed . Norwood wa s alway s losin g it , ou t i n th e Zone . H e wa s a thi n man, ascetic-looking , ver y tall but humpe d over , spider y hands, classica l features, shave d head , althoug h yo u coul d se e ther e hadn' t bee n muc h more tha n a fring e t o shave . H e woul d fol d himsel f int o a cockpi t an d stare int o a n Octav o wit h tota l concentration . You' d scarcel y kno w h e was in th e pilot's chair , unles s you ben t dow n an d sa w that shin y dome . Then behin d hi s round , thickis h glasses , you' d se e hi s fierce sparklin g brown eye s beamin g ou t a t th e screen . H e wa s a find-out kin d o f guy . At sixty-five , h e wa s a good si x step s ahea d o f me , m e stil l buckin g fo r tenure. I t wa s no ba d thin g that he liked t o tal k to me , bu t wrinklie s lik e Norwood sometime s ge t th e wron g idea , becaus e w e smoothie s a t th e U tal k prett y gamy . I coul d tel l h e wa s no t avers e t o a littl e flirtation , but I figured I coul d kee p i t withi n bounds . An d besides , I sometime s wondered wha t i t woul d b e lik e t o d o i t wit h a famou s ol d gu y lik e him. He'd bee n a n ac e in his prime, althoug h h e was a little past i t now fo r cybering. Eve n i n m y brie f tim e a t th e U I' d see n hi m fl y som e remark able antimetaboles . A rea l Ancien t Marine r wit h th e genuin e hunte d look. O r d o I mean haunted ? H e intrigue d me . I figured I coul d lear n a

86 Norma n N . Hollan d lot fro m him—i f I ha d th e patience . Wit h hi s damne d digressions , though, i t would tak e the rest o f th e night for hi m to tell me his woes. I nodded . H e sat . H e rolle d hi s billiar d bal l o f a hea d aroun d fo r a minute o r two , a s i f h e wer e tryin g t o wor k a stif f nec k out . Onc e h e settled hi s but t i n th e chai r opposit e me , hi s moodligh t ra n a quic k spectrum o n him , an d settle d o n chartreuse . H e was taut . An d silent . "Did yo u los e it again?" I finally aske d him . "It was almost cut. " "Cut! Who woul d d o a thing like that?" "I'd lik e t o order, " h e said , speakin g stiffl y int o th e spac e i n fron t o f him. Ove r hi s head , ther e wa s a whirring fro m th e networ k beneat h th e ceiling. "Yes , sir? " aske d th e Barthing , projectin g th e words , complet e with questio n mark , o n th e table in front o f him . "Pwi. Yi, " h e said , carefully , a s i f h e didn' t trus t th e machine . Th e Barthing extende d it s tube from th e ceiling down t o table level, formed a stemmed glas s at its end, an d flowe d som e white wine into it. I t moved a foot t o the right an d hovered fo r a minute. "Another? " glowe d invitingl y on th e table in front o f me . "Go ahead, " sai d Norwood. "What' s tha t you're drinking? " "Calv, bu t no t jus t yet," I said—to th e air. The ceiling whirred again , and th e tub e retracted . Alway s a littl e disconcerting , thos e Barthings , but a lo t bette r tha n th e old-fashione d human s wit h waitervision—a n eye you neve r coul d catch . "Who?" I said again . "Lacanians." "Lacanians! Why Lacanians ? I thought the y hadn't bee n around i n decades." "Some old-timers ar e still out there. They have the old neo-Saussurea n barre an d a real yen t o use it. " "What th e hell happened?" "Shall I start a t the beginning? " "Sure." Becaus e no w I reall y wa s curious . Yes , I ha d com e t o th e Buckydome fo r a littl e p an d q fro m th e rigor s o f critica l cybering . I wanted nothin g mor e complicate d tha n Gameboy . Bu t Norwoo d ha d suckered m e int o wantin g t o hea r hi s story , anothe r story , afte r a n afternoon cruisin g aroun d Bergman . Scor e one fo r Norwood . Scor e on e for stories . "I'd bee n surfin g th e bi g ones . 17-C . Lat e Willie . Jus t fo r fun , yo u

A Cyberreade r Defend s 8

7

understand, jus t seein g wha t I coul d see . A t m y stag e i n life , yo u d o i t for fun , no t lik e you , no t fo r tenure. " Tha t mad e m e mad . I wante d t o say I di d i t fo r fun , too , bu t h e migh t hav e gotte n th e wron g idea . "Finally I caugh t a semanti c wav e an d i t too k m e ou t int o th e Par-Lo s region. No t m y usua l country. " "What wer e you driving? " "An Octav o 12. " "One fo r eac h Bk?" "Right. Bu t al l twelve in one hyperfield. " "Fair enough . Thi s was all in the Gutenber g Zone , I take it?" "Where else ? Do w e ever leave the Zone? " "I do . I was out aroun d Bergma n 61-6 4 t m s afternoon. " He looke d faintl y disapproving . "Cinespace. " "Don't yo u eve r try othe r zones? " "Maybe I should . Sometime s I thin k I ge t a littl e monomaniacal , cybering myself int o Quartos, Octavos , Duodecimo s al l the time. Mayb e I need somethin g a little more 21-C . "I'd recommen d a Projector or , i f you like old machines, a Movieola." "I lik e movies , bu t I'v e neve r com e t o fee l they'r e academicall y re spectable." S o muc h fo r littl e Norma' s tenure . " I connecte d t o a n Ele phant once. " I remembere d th e term . "Foli o wasn' t bi g enoug h fo r you ? That' s what I mea n abou t you , Norwood . It' s a s thoug h n o matte r ho w muc h you tr y t o change , yo u neve r ge t out o f Gutenberg. " "Not thi s morning , that' s fo r sure . M y rout e int o textspac e wa s thinking ho w th e interplanetar y stuf f i n Par-Lo s i s lik e wha t w e cyber readers do. " "That sound s reasonabl e enough. " "Very quickly , I got into Bk5. Down thither prone in flight He speeds, and through the vast Ethereal Sky Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing Now on the polar winds, then with quick Fan Winnows the buxom Air . . . " " 'Buxom? ' " "Yielding, i n J-M' s day . Indo-Europea n bbeug- 3, t o swel l o r bend , bow, elbow , bight , an d s o on. "

88 Norma n N . Hollan d "You time-travele d it! " That' s wha t classica l trainin g coul d d o fo r you. Shoul d I g o bac k t o school ? I ofte n fee l I nee d t o kno w more . " I like the opening anastrophe. " "A nice glide that. I used it to sur f ove r to Bk*). thence full of anguish driven, The space of seven continued nights he rode With darkness; thrice the equinoctial line He circled; four times crossed the car of night From pole to pole . . . " "These vast spaces! " "I lov e cyberin g J-M' s immensities . You'v e gott a lik e this , too , Norma, eve n i f yo u ar e a film person . Eisenstei n sai d h e wa s th e mos t cinematic of poets. " "I d o like him, Norwood , I do. " "Here we're comin g to the back o f Bk2. Before their eyes in sudden view appear The secrets of the hoary deep—a dark Illimitable Ocean, without bound, Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height, And time, and place, are l o s t . . . " "That's a nic e schem e there , anastroph e again , an d lik e th e other , straightening ou t int o parallels. Tha t mus t hav e been fine coasting , Nor wood. Goo d ol d J-M. " "Yes, bu t wha t go t t o m e was—I' d neve r sense d i t before , bu t thes e descriptions are , just are> wha t it' s like when w e zoom textsectors. " " C A dar k illimitabl e ocean , withou t bound , withou t dimension? ' I suppose i t could be . I s textspace zero-dimensional? " "Or n-dimensional—ther e ar e differen t theories . Bu t i t isn' t dimen sion exactl y that we lose, ou t in textspace. It' s location. A s the man says, 'And time , an d place, ar e lost.' " "Location? Didn' t yo u jus t plac e us ? Yo u sai d yo u wer e cornerin g around th e bac k o f Bk 2 i n th e Par-Lo s Regio n o f th e Gutenber g Zone . Isn't tha t location? " "In textspace . I mea n locatio n i n 3-space . Where i s Princ e Hamlet ? Nowhere. O r anywhere . When i s he ? Never . O r no w o r anytime . Location i s th e grammatica l marke r tha t distinguishe s rea l peopl e fro m literary characters. "

A Cyberreade r Defend s 8

9

" 'Real? ' " I said. "Yo u don' t mea n real, d o you? " "You kno w wha t I mean . Hamle t ha s everythin g a rea l ma n woul d have excep t fo r locatio n i n spac e an d time . Sam e wit h events , places , settings. Lik e lif e bu t withou t location—excep t i n textspace . No t reall y real at all, but rea l another way. We make them real, intensely real , whe n we cyber ou t int o textspace—i f yo u ca n make reality a matter o f degree . And it' s hard work , a s you wel l know. " "But fun . Tremendou s fun. " "For yo u maybe . Fo r me , today , hardl y fun . No t whe n the y tr y t o cut the line." Norwood an d hi s digressions ! I' d gotte n s o los t i n textthink , I' d almost forgotte n tha t h e wa s goin g t o tel l m e abou t somebody' s cuttin g his lifeline. "Wha t happened? " "I wa s mindsurfin g jus t th e wa y we'v e bee n talking . I t wa s beautifu l today, jus t lik e skiin g moguls . Yo u woul d com e u p agains t somethin g that fel t hard , bu t ther e i s sno w betwee n yo u an d th e har d place , yield ing. Th e sno w lift s yo u up , an d th e nex t thin g yo u kno w you'r e ridin g on air , the n dow n again , d o i t again , dow n again . Th e ol d up-down , in out, in-out—fantastic ! I wa s travelin g a t ful l thoughtspeed , fla t out , letting my wing s tip thi s way an d that . Sometimes He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left; Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars Up to the fiery concave towering high." "Parallels again? " "I fel t lik e th e Silve r Surfer—o h man , I was tubing . An d half-drun k on th e genuin e J-M unforesee n tha t i s characteristi c i n it s ver y unfore seenness." "What?" "You know—Miltoni c discourse . Discuss . Discus . Yes , i t wa s lik e a discus, spinning , fla t out , I was headed fo r th e horizon. " "It was that way i n Bergman, too. " "With thes e majors—mayb e wit h everybody—n o matte r ho w dee p you prob e o r ho w hig h yo u get , configuration s repeat . Th e image s ar e different, bu t someho w als o th e same . Lik e a person's styl e o r characte r or identity . Ove r an d over . Repetition . Underlyin g order . Somethin g t o know. Yo u kno w wha t I mean?"

90 Norma n N . Hollan d I did . "Wh y d o yo u thin k I kee p o n cybering ? It' s tha t grea t feeling . For me , it' s lik e hurtlin g forwar d i n th e ol d 2007 . Yo u fee l thes e wild , wild images and yourself goin g forward, forward , forward , faster , faster , faster ove r th e psychedeli c image s beneath , above , aroun d you . Some times slower , slower , slower . The n faste r again . I love it! " "I stil l get ek-stasis —ecstasy t o you, " h e sai d fro m th e elevatio n o f a three-step full , "whe n I probe a long stretch o f text. Th e only thing I can compare i t t o i s fractals . Dee p i n o r fa r out—th e sam e configurations , but varying . Yo u g o deepe r an d deepe r int o curve s an d curlicue s an d cusps—no straigh t lines , bu t everythin g els e and , com e t o thin k o f it , maybe ther e ar e eve n straigh t line s whe n th e computation s hi t th e limit . But w e don' t get jus t pixels , w e ge t peopl e an d lov e an d ange r an d fighting an d fuckin g an d mone y an d foo d and— I don' t hav e t o tel l you, Norma . Bu t al l withou t location . I n null-dimensiona l space . O r n-space." "You sk i theory bette r tha n I do. " "You shoul d hav e don e mor e math . Anyway , I spotte d tha t ol d landmark: 'Nin e day s they fell. ' Nine days they fell: Confounded Chao s roared, And felt tenfold confusio n i n their fall Through his wild anarchy." "Lovely!" "Yes, bu t why lovely ? I say , becaus e i t describe s tha t feelin g yo u get when you'r e fallin g deepe r an d deepe r int o th e text. Som e texts anyway . J-M certainly . Confusion , wildness , roaring , an d then , Hell at last Yawning received them whole, and on them closed. It al l begins to cohere. " I objecte d t o that! "J-M' s Hel l i s coherence ? Com e on ! I f ther e wa s ever subversion, contestation— " "Hear m e out . 'Receive d the m whole. ' 'O n the m closed. ' A n enclo sure. Milto n neve r make s hi s Hel l ver y painful . It' s a reaction t o others ' pleasure. It' s enclosure , separatio n fro m bliss , a kind o f negativ e pain. " "You're confusin g me . Negativ e pain?" "Listen—

A Cyberreade r Defend s 9

1

The more I see Pleasures about me, so much more I feel Torment within me, as from th e hateful siege Of contraries: all good to me becomes Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state. Every pleasure Sata n sees, he feels mor e pain. " "You're reall y sayin g J-M's Hel l i s a mental space ? Lik e textspace? " "He lef t th e language there plain a s day to scan — The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. Bki. Then , later , I spotted 'Hi s ow n invente d torments, ' a s though Sata n is responsible fo r hi s ow n misery , which , o f course , fro m J-M' s poin t o f view, h e is . An d later , 'deat h invented'— I fle w ove r tha t on e aroun d Bk 9 ." "If deat h ca n be invented—. Okay , you'r e sayin g that Satan' s experi ence, bot h hi s real travels an d th e torments h e creates for himsel f ar e like our cyberin g ou t int o textspace . Ou r mind s mak e heaven , hell—what ever we want. " "Using th e images we see as we mindsurf. A s Satan does. " "But ther e ar e differences outsid e o f ou r perception s o f them . Ho w about th e Hell in Joycetext 09? " "Por-Art?" he asked. I nodded. "Ca n yo u sa y any of it?" I reache d int o m y backpack . "I'v e go t a dis k righ t here , lef t ove r from Tuesday' s class . Listen , Norwood . Cybe r u p now. " I remembere d "sting," fed i t into the texter, an d the passage I wanted jumped u p on th e screen. I read i t to him . Remember, i t is an eternity o f pain . Eve n though th e pains of hel l were not so terrible as they are yet they would become infinite as they are destined to last for ever. Bu t whil e the y ar e everlastin g the y ar e a t th e sam e time , a s you know , intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an insect for all eternit y woul d b e a dreadful torment . Wha t mus t i t be , then , t o bea r th e manifold torture s o f hel l for ever ? For ever ! For all eternity! Not fo r a year or for an age but for ever. "Ow! Goddard!" H e shoo k hi s head a s if to empt y hi s ears and mind . "I remembe r thi s region. It' s tha t damne d Jesuit sermon . I t alway s hurt s when I scan this particular secto r o f Por-Art . Ow ! that hurts! "

92 Norma n N . Hollan d "Norwood, you'r e losin g i t again. " H e seeme d dazed , an d I ha d t o shake him. "What happened? " "You wer e cyberin g th e sermon i n Por-Art. " "I hate that quadrant . Bu t thi s time it hurt wors e tha n usual. " "Why wa s it different thi s time?" "Maybe becaus e F d bee n i n Par-Los wher e it' s no t s o painful. Pai n a s the opposite o f bliss is nothing compare d t o the agonies that that damne d Father Arnal l i s preaching . Preaching . Feedin g th e kid s a line . Wors e than awful . Wait . Cal m down . Le t m e chec k th e lifeline . I wa s talkin g about Satan' s fall , an d the n yo u mentione d tha t goddardawfu l sermon . I started spirallin g aroun d hell an d line." "I noticed. " "Line. Th e Jesuit ha s a line." "Go fo r it , Norwood. " "Line. Lyin' . Lyin ' Lacanians . I wa s goin g t o tel l yo u abou t th e Lacanians—they're lik e Jesuits—trying t o cu t my lifeline . Line . Mascu line. They wer e trying t o cu t m y life/me , masculine. The y wer e trying t o demasculate, emasculate , me . They wer e trying to castrat e . . . ! " He wa s gettin g loude r an d louder , again , an d peopl e a t othe r table s were beginnin g t o tur n around . Hi s moodligh t wa s turnin g orange . "Norwood!" I raise d m y voice . "Norwood ! Com e back ! Com e bac k now! Now!! You'r e in J-M Par-Los , no t J-J Por-Art . Com e down , now . That's right . Back . Back . J-M' s Hell , no t J-J's . Remember , J-M' s pai n is just th e opposite o f bliss . Not lik e the physical horrors tha t Jesuit ask s you t o imagine. " "I sai d that , didn' t I ? Okay , okay. " H e lowere d hi s voice . "Whew ! That wa s a bitchin g ride! " H e wa s quie t fo r a moment , the n h e softly said, "Wh y thi s is hell, no r a m I out o f it. " "No, Norwood . No t J-M . C- M Doc-Fau . An d beside s thi s i s th e Buckydome, no t anybody' s hell , bu t a very pleasan t bar. " Th e Barthin g must hav e hear d "bar " an d though t I was callin g it, o r mayb e i t was th e yelling, becaus e it flashed o n th e table, "I s anythin g wrong here? " Norwood brok e int o nervou s laughte r tha t h e couldn' t stop . "Stupi d goddardamn machines ! Let' s get human s back ! Whateve r happene d t o the beautiful cocktai l waitress i n a leather mini an d net stockings? " "She went th e way o f 'm y gir l will call your girl. ' "

A Cyberreader Defend s 9

3

"Sorry abou t that . I tr y no t to , bu t I' m olde r tha n you . I ca n re member— " "The ba d ol d days ? Whe n ther e wa s sexis m buil t int o al l you r cy bering?" "Fair enough . But , yo u know— " "That's th e troubl e wit h you r stories , Norwood . Yo u kee p digressin g and i t take s to o lon g t o navigat e them. " I spok e outwar d fo r th e Bar thing's benefit . "Anothe r Cal v for me . Norwood? " "Okay," h e meekl y said , an d th e Barthin g fille d ou r glasses , firs t me , then him . H e sipped , an d resumed . "A t thi s point , I skie d bac k t o tha t old landmark , 'Nin e day s they fell. ' Nine . I came upon — Nine times the space that measures day and night To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew, Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf, Confounded, thoug h immortal." "Nice appositio n there, " I said, properl y pedantic . "I didn' t linger , though . I ha d followe d Sata n dow n t o Hell , wher e I was thinking 'enclosure. ' The Garde n Close . Hel l as J-M's parod y o f th e medieval Hortus conclusus. That mad e m e thin k o f Eden , an d 'nine ' wa s ringing in my ears , s o I decided t o go up t o Bk9 and tak e a look." "And?" "On th e way, I passed this — Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round Ninefold . . . And the n 'th e Muse s nine'—i t wa s a s though th e tex t were tryin g t o tel l me something abou t nine. " "But tha t can' t be, " I blurted . Tex t can' t d o anythin g o n it s own , I thought. That' s s o basic. "Finally I got it, Norma . Thus early, thus alone: her Heav'nly for m Angelick, but more soft, an d Feminine, Her graceful Innocenc e . . . " "FemimVze?" "Right!" "You home d i n on that?"

94 Norma n N . Hollan d "Cryptoparanomasia. An d th e rhym e wit h 'line ' i n mascu/me . Sure . And the n I swoope d pas t anothe r negativ e space , 'th e swee t reces s o f Eve.' " "Come on ! Do yo u reall y thin k tha t mean s what yo u evidentl y thin k it means?" "What kin d o f questio n i s that ? Who' s t o say ? Excep t me . Thin k shrinklichkeit. I overshot t o 'thi s fai r defec t o f nature. ' Anothe r negativ e space. Woman a s defect, lack. " "That's th e plac e wher e J- M want s th e worl d t o hav e nothin g bu t men?" "Adam does , anyway , afte r Ev e has eate n the appl e and gotte n hi m t o do th e same — O! why did God, Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven With Spirits masculine, create at last This novelty on earth, this fair defec t Of nature, and not fill the world at once With Men, as Angels, without feminine ; Or find some other way to generate Mankind? This mischief had not then befallen . . . "Weird i s our J-M. Sick . Really ! These dead white Europea n men! " "I won't argu e that wit h you . The n I backed u p to , 'I n he r look sum s all Delight.' An d I backed u p again , an d I saw her — VeiPd in a Cloud of Fragrance, where she stood, Half spi'd , so thick the Roses blushing round About her glow'd, oft stooping to support Each Flow'r of slender stalk, whose head though gay Carnation, Purple, Azure, or specked with Gold, Hung drooping unsustain'd; them she upstays Gently with Myrtle band, mindless the while Herself, though fairest unsupported Flow'r . . . " "J-M ma y b e crazy, bu t that' s reall y lovely, Norwood . I see why yo u like it. " "And ther e she was. Geen a Davis. " "Who?" "Geena Davis . Fro m th e old movies. She' s my Eve. " "Geena Davis? " "You remember . Th e ol d movi e star . Th e on e wh o di d fo r th e gri n

A Cyberreade r Defend s 9

5

what Marlen e Dietric h di d fo r legs . Geen a Davi s wit h banan a leave s a n artful screen. " "Banana leaves!" "That's th e way I imagin e her . Grinning . Sof t brow n hair—th e colo r of yours , b y th e way—dar k brow n eye s t o match , an d a face an d bod y big-boned an d cheek s dimple d t o mak e th e marvelou s grin . Resplenden t Eve. Mothe r o f u s all . Banan a leave s s o tha t no w yo u se e her, no w yo u don't. 'She e fair, divinel y fair , fi t Lov e for Gods, ' an d grinning. " "Not Bett e Davis?" "Geena Davis. " "She's not in my period, s o I can't picture her. I' d prefer Bett e Davis." "Chaqu'un. Anyway , I had se t the read control s o n the old Octav o t o Stationary. I wa s jus t hangin g there , of f a cusp o f Eden , aroun d Bk9 , 1435, jus t takin g i t on e lin e a t a time , watchin g he r ti e u p rose s an d bananas amon g the arboret s an d flower s an d pineapples, th e roses blush ing round abou t her . . . "Pineapples! There ar e no pineapples i n the Par-Los area . O r bananas , for tha t matter. " "There ar e now. Besides , you didn' t objec t t o banan a leaves." "They wer e leaves. There have to b e leaves in Eden. " "If banan a leaves , then bananas . Stand s t o reason. Anyway , I was just hanging ther e i n th e endotex t watchin g Geena , mindin g m y ow n busi ness, watchin g her , hovering , movin g u p an d dow n jus t a little , i n and out. " "In an d out? " "Not wha t yo u think . Int o Eden , bac k ou t t o m y Octavo . I' d b e aware o f Eve , an d the n I' d b e awar e o f th e cockpi t o f th e Octavo , bac k and fort h fro m Ev e t o Geena . Geena-Eve . Geneva . I t wa s lovely . An d that's whe n the y go t me. " "Who?" "The Lacanians. " "In textspace ? How? " "I'm a wrinkly . M y generatio n ca n stil l fee l guil t abou t sex . Mayb e that's how . Anyway , nex t thing I knew, I could fee l somethin g tryin g t o detach me—bot h o f me , th e Eve-m e an d th e Octavo-me—fro m m y lifeline. I t was a Lacanian barre" "What's a barre? And ho w ca n it cut your lifeline? " "The idea is that th e word— "

96 Norma n N . Hollan d " 'Word? ' Terminology, Norwood ! Don' t yo u mea n textspace? " "I mea n th e surface s i n textspace . Fo r Lacanians , al l ther e i s i n lan guage is s + ant s an d s + es . S + ant—that' s thei r wor d fo r a bounde d surface i n textspace . S + e—that' s th e insid e o f th e surface , meanings . The barre cut s of f s + ant s fro m s + es—thei r wor d fo r th e thing s w e draw u p th e lin e fro m ou r liferoots . S 4 - ants , the y claim , onl y connec t to othe r s + ants . Whe n th e barre i s in place , surface s i n textspac e onl y connect t o othe r surface s i n textspace . Non e o f the m ca n g o back dow n the chord t o liferoots. " "But, Norwood , ho w ca n the y d o that ? Languag e doesn' t wor k tha t way. Chomsk y proved , wa y bac k i n 1957 , tha t yo u hav e t o hav e dee p structures. S + ants an d s- f e s aren't enough. " "They don' t believ e in Chomsky . Just s + ant s and s + es , with the s + ant s cu t of f fro m th e s + es . S + ants—word-sounds , I guess — floating, no t anchore d t o anything. " "I feel queas y just hearing you tal k abou t it. " "That's no t th e worst . You're cu t i n two , too . Hea r tha t rhyme ? Lacanians d o tha t t o you . Puns . Rhymes . Anagrams . The y al l becom e more rea l than—well, tha n Satan' s Hell o r eve n Eve's Eden. " "Sick!" "Too dam n right . Yo u reall y begi n t o fee l seasick . You'r e ou t there , rocketing o r sailin g o r skiin g o r surfin g throug h textspace—you'r e jus t out there . Nothin g goin g back. N o chor d connectin g bac k t o roots . Th e barre cuts that , too . Tal k abou t motio n sickness! " He pause d an d too k a breath. "Yo u see , Norma , whe n you'r e cybering , it' s lik e surfing . Yo u and th e wav e ar e one . Cu t th e lifelin e an d yo u an d th e wav e ar e two . Two separated , autonomou s worlds. " "But doe s tha t mak e sense ? I s tha t cyberin g anymore ? Wha t happen s to sublimation? " "Not possible . I f yo u can' t connec t th e s + ant s t o th e s + es , if yo u can't lifelin e you r sel f hangin g ou t ther e i n spac e bac k t o you r liferoot s inside, yo u can' t sublimate , ca n you? " "I gues s not. Wouldn' t yo u starve , cu t off fro m liferoot s tha t way? " "Die o f thirs t first , I think . No , I don't think . I rhyme. The y d o tha t to you. " I've neve r like d theory . I wante d hi m t o g o bac k t o th e story . "S o what di d you do? " "I heade d fo r m y Merlin. "

A Cyberreade r Defend s 9

7

He wa s sixty-fiv e i f h e wa s a day , an d I gasped . "Yo u stil l us e a Merlin?" "And damne d gla d I do. Otherwis e I' d neve r have gotten ou t of this. " "Wait a minute. Wha t kin d o f Merlin? " "A regulation WOP. " I winced. "W e don't us e that word. " "Sorry. A WOM. A n ol d timer . 196 4 issue." "A WOM? " "Wise Ol d Man . Haven' t yo u learne d you r acronyms? " "It's bee n a long tim e sinc e I neede d a Merlin. Min e wa s a WOW. I terminated psychoanalysi s a good five years ago. " "Twenty year s ag o fo r me ! Bu t I sur e a s hel l neede d on e thi s after noon. I pushed th e Regressio n butto n o n tha t Octav o a s fast a s I could . Clickety-click-click-da-dit-da-dit-dadit. I played a bloody symphon y o n that button. I pulled back , back , back . An d I could fee l the deceleration . The min d grindin g t o a halt. Slow , slow , slow— I though t th e decelera tion would pul l the fillings out o f my teeth, bu t I slowed an d then, than k goddard, I wa s goin g backwards , bac k dow n th e lifeline . Lik e a hug e mental bunge e cord . Thung , thunng , thunnnng . Back , back , back . An d there he was." "Who?" "OldThreik." "Who?" "My Merlin , Threik. " "Really?" I sai d skeptically . "Wh o eve r hear d o f meetin g a n actua l person i n textspace?" "No, o f cours e not really , silly . Just a n introject. Bu t he saved me. " "How?" "Shrinkery. Ti e the no w t o th e the n wit h th e lifeline . Threi k too k m e all the way back. Brow n hair—the gir l who dumped m e all those decade s ago. Wh y th e gri n i s important . Brow n hair—mother . Paradis e lost . Mother o f u s all . Brow n hair—Joh n Milton , blin d fro m looking . Prima l scene. Barth' s 'Nigh t Journey.' " "Roland?" "No. Joh n Barth. " Th e Barthin g mus t hav e though t i t wa s bein g called, becaus e i t flashe d a "Yes? " o n th e tabl e i n fron t o f us . "No! " we choruse d an d th e ceilin g subsided . There' s suc h a thin g a s bein g too eager .

98 Norma n N . Hollan d "By thi s time, " sai d Norwood , " I ha d a lin e fro m Geena-Ev a t o ground zer o an d yea r dot , a goo d stron g lin e a t that . Th e Merli n ha d reestablished al l the sinews. Mothe r tongue . Mothe r land . Threik cas t of f and rockete d t o wherever he lives. I started t o cybe r bac k out. " "Weren't yo u afrai d they' d tr y again? " "As thing s turne d out , I shoul d hav e been . Bu t I fel t cock y afte r a little shrink time . I felt nothin g coul d hurt me . The Lacanians had gotte n at m e becaus e I wa s hovering . I f I kep t a t maximu m thoughtspee d . . . The lifelin e fel t stron g an d good , an d I cam e u p t o spee d s o fas t . . . I began to pick up distance and velocity, bu t I could sens e my being stron g and clea r an d continuou s alon g th e lin e . . . I fel t I coul d mogu l ou t a s far a s I wanted , faste r an d faster , deepe r an d deepe r int o textspac e bu t never lose myself." "You know, whe n you describe all this faster, deeper , stronge r stuff — that isn' t th e way I cyberread. " "Probably not . It' s no t a woman's way. " "I don' t imagin e Geen a Davis? " "Not jus t that . Th e Flynn-Schweickart effect . Wome n navigat e differ ently." "Is this more of your sexis t crap?" You could kid old Norwood along . "No, no t a t all, Norma. I wouldn't pul l that o n you. " "You coul d hav e fooled me , Norwood. " "All I mea n is , we'v e know n fo r decade s no w tha t me n an d wome n have differen t method s o f finding thei r way s aroun d th e world , t o sa y nothing o f th e Gutenber g Zone . Me n navigat e b y a kind o f dea d reckon ing, ho w lon g I'v e bee n goin g how fast . Wome n navigat e b y finding an d remembering details . That' s wh y I' m alway s tryin g fo r faster . Deepe r into th e fractal. " "Female relatedness ? Mal e thrust ? I suppos e so . A Chodoro w ma trix—I ca n buy that . Anyway , i t fits J-M." "What d o you mean? " I could se e I'd pique d hi s curiosity. "Well , if you just confine yoursel f to th e traditiona l thre e shrinktypes , oral , anal , phallic , h e i s surel y phallic." "Hey! I se e wha t yo u mean , Norma. " H e wa s quic k fo r a wrinkly . "Sure! Satan flyin g throug h space . Shar p male-femal e distinctions . Nee d to pu t dow n th e feminine . Woma n a s defec t o r lack . Centralit y o f

A Cyberreade r Defend s 9

9

the father-so n relationship . Peeping . Knowing . Etcetera , etcetera . Sure , that fits. " "Not s o fast . Ho w abou t th e passag e wher e h e say s spirit s hav e no sex?" "I think I passed tha t today — Spirits, when they please, Can either sex assume, or both; so soft And uncompounded is their essence pure, Not tried or manacled with joint or limb, Nor founded o n the brittle strength of bones, Like cumbrous flesh . 17C Puritan s though t that , tha t sexualit y wa s par t o f fles h wa s par t o f the lower part o f human beings , no t o f th e spirit. " "Damn J-M . He' s saying , i f yo u don' t hav e a bon e o r a joint , yo u don't hav e sex. Ho w chauvinis t ca n you get? " "You hav e to take J-M a s you find him. " "You say that because you're the same type, Norwood, foreve r cyber ing out int o textspace , faster , farther , deeper. " "But I always feel the lifeline sinewin g back. Flesh . Muscle . Tendon. " "A savin g grace . Otherwis e yo u coul d los e tha t phalli c sel f i n text space. " "But, a s things turned out , losin g myself wa s not th e problem. " "What was? " "Crashing." That sounde d a little craz y t o me . "Yo u can' t cras h i n tex t space, " I pointed out . "Oh no ? I didn' t g o bac k t o Geneva . I' d bee n prett y wel l shake n u p in he r quadrant . A t th e spee d I wa s traveling , I fel t fo r m y landmark . 'Nine day s the y fell. ' Hell . Havin g bee n throug h wha t I ha d bee n through, I wa s intereste d i n hell . Negativ e spac e wit h J-M . A t ful l mindspeed." "Oh?" Mor e phallicity . "How els e should w e travel, bu t with th e speed o f thought? " "This feminist wil l let that on e go . What happened? " "All o f a sudden, I bega n seein g littl e sign s al l ove r Eden . The y wer e like little rectangular FO R SAL E signs on front lawns , but these said GIVEN . You kno w what tha t means— "

ioo Norma

n N . Hollan d

"No." "Then I sa w piece s o f Par-Lo s broke n of f an d stickin g u p a t od d angles. Th e Octav o starte d t o warm up . The n I began t o ge t that electri cal smell of chip s an d plastic overheating. " "Friction?" "Right." "But there's n o friction i n textspace. Ho w di d you kno w it wasn't jus t your warmin g t o Geen a Davis? " "My rid e bega n t o get bumpy . I fel t a s thoug h I wa s tryin g t o slid e over a rubbery surface . Lot s o f friction . I was slowin g dow n an d warm ing up. I realized that , i f the surface go t really hard . . . " "My goddard , Norwood , a t the speed you wer e traveling . . . " "It woul d hav e been on e helluva crash. " "Full thoughtspeed! Whammo! " "You coul d g o barmy. " "But I don' t understand . Textspac e can' t get hard . Ho w wer e the y doing this? Who wa s doing this? Lacanian s again? " "Different bunc h thi s time . Firs t time , i t wa s Lacanian s barring th e lifeline. Thi s tim e i t wa s th e Biactiv e gang . The y wer e changin g th e model." "I've neve r heard o f them. " "Sure yo u have . Yo u know . Wiser . Th e littl e GIVE N signs—that' s how I knew Wise r wa s i n o n it . Th e od d piece s broke n of f an d stickin g up—that wa s Derry's work . Th e usual suspects. " "Deny Da h an d th e Deconstructors. U'Ech o wit h hi s semi. " "Yes, h e wa s there . Theere e th e bitch-goddes s wa s i n o n it , too . An d behind the m all , I suspected , o f course , mastermindin g it , a s i f he' d never retired , Newcrix . Unchanged . Sam e ol d curmudgeon . Yo u coul d like him, i f it weren't for — Well , tha t was part o f m y problem. " "I've never heard the m calle d Biactive. " "That's m y nam e for them . The y conced e that you an d I make part of the experienc e o f th e text—no , meaning , the y neve r tal k abou t experi ence, onl y meaning . An d w e d o onl y part . They' d insis t tha t th e tex t i s also active . I t doe s things . Make s meaning s o r define s experiences . Tw o things ar e active, no t just one. Cyberer s and texts . Bi-active. " More theory . "Well , w e kno w tha t isn' t true . Text s don' t d o stuff . They jus t si t ou t ther e i n textspac e waitin g fo r u s t o com e alon g an d mind them. "

A Cyberreade r Defend s i

oi

"The Biactiv e Gan g doesn' t believ e i n textspac e o r cybering . The y want t o tak e wha t w e kno w a s mindsurfin g o r readskiin g an d tur n i t into spelunking. " "I don' t get it. " "For them , readin g i s lik e explorin g a cave . The y don' t hav e a text space, lik e us. They hav e text walls and spac e inside the walls. When yo u read, yo u ar e dow n i n a cave , you r bod y turnin g thi s wa y an d tha t a s you tr y t o fit yoursel f t o th e surface s an d passage s aroun d you . Yo u don't soa r and skim and race as we do. You inch through th e space which is all under an d abov e an d behin d an d i n front o f you, surroundin g you , enclosing you. Nake d me , righ t ther e in my mind-bod y dichotomy. " "Philosophy now ? I' m a text person. You'r e confusin g me. " "I starte d t o believ e i n thei r picture . Th e probin g ca n b e very beauti ful, afte r all . A t you r fingertips, th e mic a an d quart z i n th e roc k glea m like jewel s an d of f there , twent y fee t ahea d o f you , beyon d th e ligh t from th e lamp , a darkness . Darknes s visible ? Treasures ? Dangers ? Ter rors? The walls ar e beautiful. O r s o they say. " "And wha t di d the y tr y t o d o to you? " "They trie d t o chang e th e mode l o n me . Fro m ou r mode l t o thei r model." "How o n eart h coul d the y d o that? " "Easy. Textspac e is n-dimensional o r o-dimensional—right? " "If yo u sa y so. " "They just get you, i n your mind , t o convert n - o r o-dimensions t o 3dimensions, whic h are , afte r all , easie r to understand. " "But tha t can' t be . Literar y thing s hav e locatio n onl y i n textspac e which i s n o locatio n a t all . Yo u jus t finished sayin g that . Remember ? Hamlet th e man without location? " "This is different. I f the y ca n ge t you t o believe tha t the text is a hard, constraining surfac e o r eve n a horizon, you'l l behav e a s if it were. You'l l drop bac k ou t o f n-dimensional spac e into ordinar y 3-space. " "And a t the speed you wer e traveling, tha t mean s you'll crash. " "Or split . Spli t into objectiv e an d subjective . Soli d an d nothing. " Oh boy . "Explain. " He sprea d hi s hand s t o sho w ho w patien t h e was being . "It' s lik e th e Lacanians. I f the y ca n get yo u t o believ e it , the n i t wil l happen . I f yo u think tha t th e barre cut s you r lifeline , the n i t i s cut . Yo u can' t connect . Same thing with th e Biactives. I f you believ e the text is hard, tha t it walls

102 Norma n N . Hollan d some thing s of f fro m you , the n i t will . Wall-nes s become s par t o f th e hypotheses yo u brin g t o bea r ou t i n textspace . Yo u loo k fo r walls , s o you find walls. " "Maybe. I' m no t sur e I believe that. " The Barthin g flashe d i n fron t o f us . "Another , ms.? " sai d th e Bar thing. "You , sir? " "A Cal v an d a Pwi Yi , Barthing, " sai d Norwood , an d th e lon g tub e from th e ceilin g complied . " I gues s it' s time d t o d o that. " H e mused . "Although somebod y tol d m e tha t i t remember s th e weight o f th e drin k you had , check s i t throug h a strai n gaug e i n th e table , an d come s bac k when you r glas s is empty. Tha t seem s unlikely. " "Norwood, you'r e digressin g again . Ho w ca n jus t thinkin g abou t i t turn a text into a wall?" "Sorry? Wa s I talkin g walls ? Yes . Tex t a s wall . It' s anothe r wa y o f cutting wha t shoul d b e fracta l an d cyberneti c an d continuous . I f the y were right , cyberreadin g woul d consis t o f tw o differen t parts , a n objec tive par t an d a subjective . Ther e woul d b e thes e text-walls , absolutel y solid, an d the n a wooshy, mush y subjectiv e foolin g aroun d withi n thos e

walls."

"But you an d I know i t isn't solid ou t there. Wh y d o they thin k it is?" "Because, the y say , ther e ar e som e thing s i n textspac e tha t everybody sees. Eden , say . S o the y mus t b e solidly , reall y there , lik e table s an d chairs." "But w e don' t al l se e th e sam e Eden . Yo u se e banan a leave s an d pineapples an d I don't. " "Yet. Bu t w e al l se e th e fac t o f Eden , althoug h w e ma y se e differen t Edens. That's why they sa y Eden—maybe I should sa y it with quotatio n marks aroun d it—J-M' s 'Eden ' i s a wal l tha t yo u can' t g o round . A given. A fact . Remembe r W'Iser' s signs ? Then mush y non-fac t inside . I have bananas an d pineapples. Yo u have—whatever . Anythin g goes. " "But suppos e I don' t kno w wha t th e wor d means ? Suppos e I onl y read kanji ? Suppos e I'v e ha d to o muc h Calv , o r I droppe d som e mes c before cyberin g out . The n ther e is no wall of 'Eden. ' " "Exactly righ t again . Yo u kno w mor e o f th e theor y o f cyberin g tha n you giv e yoursel f credi t for . Yo u se e what th e issu e is . I f yo u divid e i t into objectiv e an d subjective , i f you sa y the text is doing things her e an d I'm doin g thing s there , an d we're no t alway s doin g things together , the n you've cu t the feedback loop. "

A Cyberreade r Defend s 10

3

I thought I saw what h e was getting at . "Anothe r way . Differen t fro m the Lacanian attack. " "Same principle , though . You'v e go t t o kee p tha t lifelin e intact , n o matter how far or how fast you g o out into textspace. You may find you r way by remembering details , I may find m y way by dea d reckoning. Bu t whatever w e d o we'v e go t t o kee p tha t lifelin e reachin g bac k int o th e U-ness." Norwood's jargo n wa s gettin g strange r an d strange r wit h ever y Pwi Yi. "U-ness? " "U-ness. You-ness . Y-O-U-ness . Sam e thing. Uniqueness. " I trie d t o pu t i t together . "You'r e sayin g you hav e to connec t bot h t o your lifelin e an d th e textspace . Otherwis e yo u get flipped int o thes e other model s an d los e th e allnes s o f it . Th e lifelin e get s cu t o r yo u split th e cybering , s o tha t a t an y poin t yo u hav e eithe r har d tex t o r mushy self. " He glowe d wit h pedagogical satisfaction . "You'v e go t it. " "But wai t a minute, Norwood . Har d tex t woul d b e tex t independen t of huma n cybering . I f it' s independen t o f huma n cybering , w e can' t know it , ca n we?" "Right again . Bu t it's eas y to fool yourself . I f you believ e that th e tex t does things , eve n somethin g a s sof t a s 'invite ' yo u in , an d that' s a n easy thin g t o believe , al l to o easy , the n they'v e go t you . You'v e bee n bamboozled int o th e cave . You'v e starte d thinkin g you r perception s ar e a hard out-there , an d you've give n up your clai m to cybering. " "You're no t sayin g it's al l in the mind? " "No, o f cours e not, " h e snorted . "That' s imprecise . That' s wha t they'd say , tha t we think it's all 'subjective.' The fractals los e their shape , you ge t all mooshed u p i n them. Bu t that isn't what happens . Yo u kno w what it' s like, sailing . You don' t jus t slu e around i n wind an d wave. Yo u can't se e wind , yo u can' t defin e a wave, bu t yo u wor k wit h them , yo u shape directio n an d purpos e ou t o f shapelessness . Wher e yo u g o an d what yo u get depend s o n wha t yo u do . Yo u d o th e sam e thin g i n th e Gutenberg Zone. " "Yes, it feels more like sailing to me than your faster, farther , deeper. " But h e didn' t tak e m y feminis t hook . "Bot h i n realspac e an d text space, the answers you get depend o n th e questions you ask . And you'v e got t o kno w ho w t o ask , an d wha t t o ask . Bu t th e question s yo u choos e to as k will depend o n what' s a t the other en d o f tha t lifeline. "

104 Norma n N . Hollan d "The Merlin? " "No, no , Norma. " Oops , I' d goofed . "Th e U-ness o f you. " "Are we cybering aroun d i n circles?" "Perhaps. Al l I' m sayin g is , it' s no t 'al l i n th e mind. ' It' s al l i n th e mind's interactio n wit h th e spac e aroun d it , b e i t realspac e o r textspace . I'm jus t tellin g you basi c cybering. I can't believ e you neve r learned thi s in shore school, Norma. " "They didn' t encourag e women t o study theory. " "But yo u surel y kno w tha t w e kee p testin g hypothese s o n th e rea l o r verbal spac e w e inhabit . Jus t lik e th e Barthing . I t move s throug h space , testing hypotheses o n what th e people a t the tables say. " "You're no t goin g to compar e a Barthing to Par-Los! " "Certainly not . A Barthin g is more like us than lik e a book. " "What?" H e reall y had ha d to o muc h Pw i Yi. "Explain. " "The Barthin g i s programmed t o sca n what come s acros s its cognitiv e field. I t look s fo r voices , hig h femal e voices , lo w mal e voices , s o i t knows wh o t o cal l "sir " an d wh o t o cal l "ms. " It look s fo r words , bu t i t has a ver y limite d vocabulary . Remembe r whe n I sai d Joh n Barth , th e Barthing though t I wa s talkin g abou t it ? Probabl y i t can' t hypothesiz e much mor e tha n yes, no, another, Barthing an d th e name s o f hundred s of drinks . I f I sai d somethin g mor e complicate d t o it — I f I said , 'Di d you eve r se e a n ol d movi e calle d My Dinner with Andre?' I thin k i t would b e baffled. I t would loc k up. " "Try it. " H e keep s talkin g abou t movies , I thought . Amon g th e wrinklies, doe s thi s count a s coming on t o me ? "Are you serious? " I nodded, an d Norwood , wit h a smile, looke d u p toward th e ceilin g wher e a tele-microphon e ha d bee n pointin g toward s us. "See ? I t mus t hav e hear d u s sa y 'Barthing ' an d focuse d in . Okay. " He spok e t o th e spac e in fron t o f him . "Di d yo u eve r se e a movie fro m back in 198 1 called My Dinner with Andre?" There wa s a silenc e o f severa l seconds . Th e machin e wa s challenged , obviously. The n th e Barthin g flashe d o n th e tabl e i n fron t o f him , "Sorry, sir . Th e Buckydome doe s not serv e dinner. " Norwood scarcel y paused . H e wa s no t i n th e leas t embarrasse d he' d been wrong . "Okay . Th e machin e ha s mor e vocabular y tha n jus t th e names o f drinks . M y hypothesi s failed . Bu t that' s m y whol e point . That's cyberin g fo r you . No w I' d hav e t o com e u p wit h another , mor e complicated hypothesis . Wha t I sai d stil l goes , though . Th e Barthin g

A Cyberreade r Defend s 10

5

may no t b e muc h o f a conversationalist, bu t it' s mor e lik e u s tha n lik e a book. I t ha s a rudimentary min d o f it s own. I t keep s guessin g abou t us . A boo k doesn't. " "Even a book a s great a s Par-Los?" "Even a great book doesn' t do anything. I t just sits there. I f I sat ther e too an d waited fo r i t to act , I would wai t a damn sigh t longer tha n I wait for on e of thes e Barthings. " I sa w what h e was driving at . "Th e Barthing i s active. Par-Los isn't. " "You've go t it . Th e Barthin g trie s ou t hypothese s o n wha t yo u an d I say, unti l i t understand s u s o r think s i t does . A boo k doesn' t d o that , but a human bein g does. " "Not eve n Par-Los . Coul d a Barthing cybe r Par-Los? " Thi s i s calle d trying t o chang e th e subjec t o n a mal e wh o i s gettin g to o serious , bu t there was no stoppin g him now. Thi s was the Norwood I liked t o escap e from. And , o f course , th e Barthing had bee n hearing its name. "Another, ms.? " flashed th e Barthing. "You , sir? " "You're back too soon, " growle d Norwood. "G o away. " I t did. "Th e point is , / ac t o n th e text . I mov e i n an d aroun d it , workin g it , s o tha t what I get back is a mix. A mix of me and it , m e with m y lifeline an d th e out-there. Th e out-ther e i n textspac e can' t d o anythin g b y itself . I t onl y says somethin g t o m e whe n I tr y m y hypothese s o n it , an d eve n the n I have to interpret th e way m y hypotheses mi x into it. " "Geena Davi s an d bananas. " "Exactly." "So that J-M's phalli c character ma y b e just your phalli c character. " "Yes, I see him tha t way, bu t so , I have to point out , d o you. " "Does tha t sa y something abou t you an d me—or abou t J-M?" "Both. Yo u supplie d hypothese s abou t what phallic characters ar e like because yo u lik e t o find ou t shrink y thing s lik e tha t an d becaus e thos e issues matte r t o you . Men-women , movin g throug h space , th e size s o f things. Hi s spac e i n th e Zon e sai d ye s t o you r hypotheses . Bu t remem ber, th e tex t doesn' t caus e you t o rea d Milto n tha t way . Yo u brin g you r U-ness an d your hypothese s t o th e text. Th e text doesn't d o anythin g o n its own. " "But th e Barthing does. " "Yes, a s you an d I do. " "What abou t compunovels? " "They're lik e th e Barthing . The y change , dependin g o n wha t w e pu t

io6 Norma n N . Hollan d into them . A s the Barthing change s its answers accordin g to what we say to it. Gutenber g novel s don't d o that. " "They d o i n a way, don' t they ? You r Par-Lo s i s different fro m mine . You supplie d your s with banana s an d Geen a Davis. " "Yes, th e interaction changes , bu t th e spac e doesn't change . M y min d interacts wit h a rea l textspac e ou t there , bu t al l I ca n kno w i s tha t interaction. Th e cybering. " "The feedback fro m th e hypotheses yo u tr y ou t in realspace. " "Or textspace . Yo u see ? Yo u do know . Bu t th e Biactiv e Gan g den y that. An d i f the y ca n ge t yo u t o believ e tha t text s d o things , the n text s really begi n t o d o things. " "How ca n that be? " "They don' t really , o f course . Bu t yo u get th e illusion tha t text s d o things. Afte r all , that' s th e wa y textspac e feels , isn' t it ? Whe n I wa s peeping a t Geneva , i t fel t a s thoug h somethin g ha d reall y hidde n m e there amon g the banana leave s of Eden. " "Something had . Th e old Octav o you wer e surfin g with. " "But I was surfing it. " "Sure, bu t tha t was just you cybering. " "You kno w that , Norma , an d I kno w that , bu t th e Biactiv e Gan g deny it and, believ e it or not, the y can get a lot of people to believe them. "Profority." "That's part o f it. " "Shame! What thes e prof s cal l 'objective ' stuf f i n textspac e i s merel y what the y sa y it is." "Too right. " "It's a sham e t o us e you r authorit y t o wal l of f experience s lik e that . Who would swa p the swoo p an d soa r of cyberreadin g fo r a cave?" He shrugged . "Peopl e who'v e neve r know n wha t cyberreading' s like." "You mea n tha t th e Biactives' cave is Plato's cave? " "That's clever ! I gues s I d o mea n that , Norma . Onc e you'v e see n th e light, yo u don' t wan t t o live underground. " "Once you've bee n in soft textspace , the textwalls turn into shadows. " "A trop e nicel y turned , Norma . Yes , yo u ca n bea t the m i f yo u jus t trust yourself . I f yo u don' t believ e them , i f yo u hol d ont o you r lifeline , then th e psychoanalyti c mode l hold s an d ther e ar e n o walls . Yo u ca n navigate textspac e an y way you like , constructing a s you go. "

A Cyberreade r Defend s 10

7

"Bananas an d pineapples. " "Exactly! Wouldn't a paradise hav e bananas an d pineapples? " "If yo u sa y so." "Exact again ! I d o sa y so , an d i t does , an d you'r e fre e t o g o alon g with m e or follow you r ow n course. " "That's cybering . Ou t ther e thi s afternoon , yo u wer e abl e t o hol d onto it , an d tha t was enoug h t o ward of f th e Biactives?" "I trusted tha t old Octavo . I took hol d o f my lifeline al l the way back , and I se t m y mind . I believed , reall y believed , I coul d sk i i t anywher e I wanted t o go , an d I could, an d i t did. " "What happened? " "I jus t wen t cyberin g off . They — I gues s they'r e stil l dow n there . The last thing I heard fro m the m wa s a muttering fro m dow n below — The terms we sent were terms of weight, Of hard contents, and full of force urged home. I recognize d Bk6 , bu t b y thi s tim e I go t m y belief s i n place—defensiv e shields. Thei r term s didn't , o f course , hav e an y forc e o r weight—tha t was jus t metaphor—o r bluff—an d no w they'r e locke d i n thei r ow n cave." "That wa s it? Belief wa s enoug h t o fend the m off? " Old Norwoo d nodde d sagely . "Fait h i s enough . Yo u hav e t o hav e faith, a paradoxica l kin d o f fait h becaus e i t i s a fait h tha t ther e ar e n o 'givens,' n o har d rocks , n o fixed targets , an d n o prescribe d course s in textspace. " Okay, okay ! I ha d i t now . "Jus t cybering—a s w e kne w al l alon g because that' s wha t we'v e bee n doin g al l along . N o rocks , jus t words . My min d mine s them . M y querie s prob e them , lik e fingers, an d I hea r them repl y i n my ow n language , m y ow n being. " "Right, Norma . Jus t u s human s cybering . Ther e i s n o god' s ey e view." "Did I hea r yo u right , Norwood ? You'r e talkin g abou t God' s identity?" "You thin k I said , 'N o god s I view' ? You'v e mad e Putnam' s Axio m an agnosti c motto . O r atheist . I ca n g o eithe r way . That' s wh y cyberin g Par-Los i s suc h a n interestin g experienc e fo r me . I hav e t o g o int o al l kinds o f forgotte n place s i n m y brain , place s I haven' t bee n sinc e I was fifteen."

io8 Norma

n N . Hollan d

" 'Fifteen? ' " "That's whe n I became a n agnostic . A t leas t s o far a s the J-M deit y i s concerned . . . " "But you'r e no t doubtin g th e existenc e o f textspace , ar e you ? No t after surfin g i t all afternoon. " "I'm n o agnosti c there . I n textspace , it' s no t tha t I don' t know . It' s that I don' t hav e an y wa y o f knowin g what' s ou t ther e i n textspac e except b y som e huma n wa y o f knowing . There' s n o god' s ey e view , n o superhuman wa y o f establishin g what' s 'given ' o r 'what' s there ' i n som e absolute sense , a s th e Biactiv e Gan g thinks . An d indeed , the y hav e thought that , goin g al l th e wa y bac k t o th e day s whe n Newcri x wa s th e gang leader. " "I hear you, Norwood . I hear a n awful lo t o f you," I said, smiling . He wa s not abou t t o b e amused . " I gues s I d o rambl e on , bu t I thin k it's important . Ol d Newcri x an d th e Biactive s an d th e Lacanian s ar e trying t o forc e a quasi-religiou s certaint y o n us . Bu t there' s onl y th e human wa y wit h a lifeline an d liferoot s an d feedbac k an d hypotheses — all the imperfections tha t cyberin g implies an d th e limits. I have only m y particular styl e o f skiin g o r surfin g throug h textspac e an d m y particula r vision o f what I see. You th e same. " "But thi s i s old stuff , Norwood , eve n t o me . W e al l know that , eve n if I can't giv e you math-thin k fo r it. " "Yes, bu t I have to sa y it extr a har d an d believ e it extr a hard, becaus e I was a Newcrit fo r man y years. " "You!" "Yeah. Yo u forge t ho w ol d I am. " "You've bee n cybering as long as I've known you. " "It was a long time ago, but I think that' s how the Biactive Gang were able to ge t insid e m y head . I kee p hankerin g bac k t o tha t ol d belie f tha t there ar e certainties ou t there , tha t th e entities in textspace do things. " "There's a part o f you tha t longs for certainty ? That's a problem I just don't have. " "You're to o young t o know anythin g bu t cybering. " "Or mayb e it' s a gu y thing . Men—boys—nee d certainty . Bu t doe s that mean I' m safe ? That the y can' t chang e models o n me? " "You hav e t o kee p believing . Otherwis e it' s s o easy—fo r me , any way—to sli p bac k int o m y ancien t wa y o f thinking . Yo u hav e t o hav e faith i n that non-faith. The n you'r e o n course. "

A Cyberreade r Defend s 10

9

"Whatever 'o n course ' is." "I was speaking metaphorically. " "Did yo u eve r speak otherwise? " I was smiling, h e was so serious. "Can yo u eve r spea k otherwise ? I' m puttin g a Lakoff-Johnson algo rithm int o effect . Th e operativ e metapho r woul d b e MIN D I S A BOD Y MOVING I N SPACE. "

"Which i t is, isn't it ? Isn't tha t what we cyberreaders do? " "Sort of . Ol d J- M though t so , apparently . A t leas t hi s Sata n does . And I gues s that' s th e mora l o f m y narro w escap e thi s afternoon. " Possibly Norwoo d ha d ha d enoug h tal k an d Pwi-Y i t o settl e down . Hi s moodlight ha d lon g sinc e stoppe d bein g chartreus e an d wa s shiftin g toward dee p blue . Mine , however , wa s stil l green . Norwoo d kep t m e wary. "So what doe s al l this come to, littl e Norma? " What di d he mean? "Par-Los ? You r yarn ? Theory? " "All of it," h e said, hi s speech slurring . "I gues s w e kno w thing s w e wouldn' t otherwis e know . Hav e experi ences we wouldn't otherwis e have. " "Knowledge o f goo d an d evil , little Norma? " Where wa s thi s going ? "Sor t of, " I said . "Knowledg e o f th e kind s o f beings we are. " He smile d securely . "Knowledg e tha t wha t yo u believ e determine s what you see. " "Or cyber. " "Yes indeed . W e ar e al l alway s cyberreaders . 'Wh y thi s i s hell , no r am I out o f it.' " That was too gloom y fo r me . "No t hell—cyberreading. " "Oh? Sometime s I wonde r i f it' s wort h th e trouble . Al l thi s galli vanting aroun d th e Gutenber g Zone , I mean," h e said ruefully . That fel t al l wrong t o me . " I don' t kno w wha t I would d o i f I didn' t do this . Thi s i s wher e m y lifelin e take s me . I kno w ther e ar e othe r chords, science , business , makin g money, bu t they'r e no t mine. " "Nor min e either , I suppose . S o there' s nothin g els e t o d o bu t hol d on t o the lifeline," h e sighed . "That's al l I know." Bu t why wa s / tryin g t o giv e him advice ? Was he just amusin g himsel f wit h me ? The n I flashe d o n something . I realize d that Norwood' s stor y ha d ha d n o powe r ove r me , n o powe r a t all . Al l along, i t had bee n up t o me, no t th e story. I t was my ow n min d tha t ha d

n o Norma

n N . Hollan d

destroyed m y mind' s rest , w o u n d u p m y evenin g w i n d - d o w n , los t m y paradise, becaus e i t wa s I w h o wa s curious . That' s w h y I wa s stil l registering green , w h y I couldn' t ge t t o indig o o r violet . I wante d t o hea r h o w a lifelin e coul d ge t cut . Curiosit y kille d m y evening . H e hadn' t suckered m e — I ha d suckere d mysel f int o spendin g wha t coul d hav e been a pleasant w i n d d o w n offerin g hi m Pw i an d sympathy . " A n o t h e r ? " flashe d th e Barthing . "Sure," sai d N o r w o o d , easin g himsel f back , settlin g it s uncertainty . "And listen , littl e N o r m a . You'v e go t m y vote , an d a lo t o f othe r people's. Q u i t w o r r y i n g . " At last , indig o wit h a hint o f violet .

Acknowledgments Writing thi s stor y woul d hav e bee n a lo t harde r withou t th e e-tex t o f Paradise Lost prepare d b y Josep h Rabe n o f CUNY , downloadabl e fro m Projec t Guten berg. Theodor e Rei k wa s th e non-M.D . analys t o n whos e behal f Freu d wrot e "The Questio n o f La y Analysis. " Reik' s The Search Within (1956 ) ha s man y wonderful serie s o f fre e association s (mindsurfing?) . On e ca n derive "th e Flynn Schweickart Effect " fro m Gender and Reading, edite d b y Elizabet h Flyn n an d Patrocinio Schweickart . The New York Times reporte d th e describe d difference s i n mal e an d femal e modes o f direction-findin g (Scienc e Section , 2 6 Ma y 1992) . Putnam' s Axio m appears in Reason, Truth, and History b y Hilar y Putnam . A "Lakoff-algorithm " may b e inferre d fro m Metaphors We Live By b y Georg e Lakof f an d Mar k Johnson. I a m gratefu l t o m y colleagues , Andre w Gordo n an d Cary l Flinn , fo r readin g and suggestin g and , a s always, t o Jane for th e same. If dedicatio n i s appropriat e t o suc h a n oddmen t a s this , I woul d lik e t o dedicate thi s stor y t o th e memor y o f th e ma n wh o first opene d th e glorie s o f Par-Los t o me , Dougla s Bus h or , a s the loca l wit s sometime s calle d him , "Bus h with frizzle d hai r implicit. "

F O U R

Pulkheria Alexandrovn a an d Raskolnikov, M y Mothe r an d M e Bernard J. Paris

Among th e reason s Raskolniko v give s Sony a fo r havin g murdere d th e old moneylende r wa s hi s desir e t o sav e his mothe r fro m povert y an d hi s sister fro m sacrificin g hersel f fo r hi s sake . Eve n i f h e coul d hav e com pleted hi s work a t th e university , "i t woul d onl y hav e mean t tha t i n te n years' time, o r twelve, I might (i f all went well) hope to become a teacher or a cler k wit h a salar y o f a thousan d roubles. " Meanwhil e hi s mothe r "would hav e withered awa y with car e and grief " an d "eve n worse thing s might hav e befallen " hi s sister . S o h e decide d t o ge t "hol d o f th e ol d woman's money , t o us e i t fo r m y first years , s o tha t I nee d no t worr y my mother , an d t o launc h mysel f afte r th e universit y . . . o n a larg e scale." 1 H e the n say s tha t h e ha s no t bee n tellin g th e trut h an d tha t h e murdered i n orde r t o find ou t i f h e wa s a ma n o r a louse , i f h e wa s capable o f violatin g th e traditiona l moralit y withou t conscientiou s scru ples lik e hi s hero , Napoleon . " I di d no t commi t murde r t o hel p m y mother—that's rubbish! " (V , iv , 398-99 , 401) . Later , however , afte r saying good-by e first t o hi s mothe r an d the n t o Dunya , h e exclaims , "Oh, i f only I were alon e and nobody love d me , an d i f I had neve r love d anyone! All this would never have happened!" (VI , vii, 500) . How muc h influence doe s hi s relationshi p wit h hi s famil y hav e o n hi s crimina l act ? Perhaps hi s nee d t o prov e tha t h e wa s a n extraordinar y ma n wa s mor e powerful tha n hi s nee d t o rescu e hi s mothe r an d sister , bu t wh y di d h e need t o be an extraordinary ma n i n the first place ? in

i i 2 Bernar

d J. Pari s

A grea t deal of attentio n ha s been given to Raskolnikov's relationship s with othe r character s i n th e novel , som e o f who m serv e a s foil s o r a s purer embodiments o f aspects of his own personality. Fro m a psychological poin t o f view , hi s mos t importan t relationshi p i s wit h hi s mother , but relativel y little has bee n sai d abou t it . I was alerte d t o it s significanc e by a fortuitous circumstance : I spen t tw o week s wit h m y mother , wh o was undergoing surgery , whil e I was working o n a n essay on Crime and Punishment i n November o f 1976. 2 Rereading the novel while being with my mothe r mad e m e awar e of man y parallel s betwee n he r an d Pulkheri a Alexandrovna an d betwee n he r effec t o n m e an d Pulkheria' s effec t o n Raskolnikov. Le t m e haste n t o ad d tha t ther e ar e man y difference s a s well, tha t m y mothe r ha d mor e positiv e qualitie s tha n Pulkheria , an d that I have not bee n drive n t o crime . For a s lon g a s I ca n remember , m y mothe r exhorte d m e t o mak e something of myself, t o be somebody, t o get to the top. I t did not matte r what I di d a s lon g a s I wa s a grea t success , thoug h sh e clearl y woul d have been happie r ha d I becom e a real doctor an d mad e a lot o f money . I pursue d a Ph.D . i n Englis h no t becaus e o f a lov e o f literature , bu t because I performe d wel l i n fron t o f literar y text s an d receive d prais e from m y teachers . I n graduat e schoo l a t Johns Hopkin s I fel t mysel f t o be amon g th e selec t fe w an d coul d no t imagin e ho w ordinar y peopl e could endur e thei r meaningles s lives . Th e fierc e competitivenes s o f th e program an d th e fact tha t mos t o f th e candidates faile d exactl y suite d m y neurosis, fo r i t mad e succes s al l the mor e glorious . Whe n I stumble d o n my doctora l ora l an d ha d t o retak e i t i n part , I wa s crushed . I ha d a n extremely difficul t tim e writing the dissertation tha t was to vindicate me . The dissertatio n wa s o n Georg e Eliot , an d durin g th e terribl e fou r year s I struggle d t o writ e it , I adopte d he r philosoph y o f livin g for other s an d despised th e arrogant , ambitiou s perso n I ha d bee n i n graduat e school . When I complete d th e dissertatio n an d wa s tol d tha t i t was publishable , I los t interes t i n Georg e Eliot' s philosophy , scorne d livin g fo r others , and resumed m y ambitiou s course . The succes s o f m y dissertatio n enable d m e t o get a bette r job , i n which I ha d t o publis h o r perish . M y anxiet y tha t m y writin g bloc k would retur n le d m e into psychotherapy. I soon found , o f course , tha t I had man y othe r problems . I ha d ha d a lonely childhoo d i n whic h I wa s alienated fro m m y peer s becaus e I wa s Jewis h an d smar t (m y parent s were grocer s wh o dislike d Jewish customer s an d alway s ha d thei r store s

Pulkheria Alexandrovna an d Raskolnikov 11

3

in gentil e neighborhoods ) an d fro m m y parent s becaus e o f m y antago nism towar d thei r business , i n which I hated t o work an d which wa s m y biggest riva l fo r thei r attention . M y parent s wer e prou d o f m y grades , however, an d I relie d o n academi c succes s t o wi n lov e an d esteem . Thi s did not work with my peers, o f course. I n my junior year of high school , I le t m y grade s go , joine d a Jewish fraternity , an d trie d t o b e on e o f th e boys. Love-starved , I me t m y futur e wif e a t th e ag e o f fifteen an d married a t seventee n (w e ar e stil l together) . Sh e meant everythin g t o m e during ou r courtship , bu t afte r marriag e I becam e obsesse d wit h m y academic ambition s an d ha d littl e attentio n fo r her . Ou r earl y year s were storm y a s a result , an d w e ha d marita l problem s whe n I entere d psychotherapy. One o f th e majo r issue s i n therapy , therefore , wa s wh y I wa s s o driven i n m y work . M y obsessio n wit h academi c success an d m y anxie ties abou t i t wer e disruptin g m y relationship s an d puttin g m e unde r s o much pressur e tha t writin g wa s a torment . I di d no t attribut e thes e difficulties entirel y t o m y mother , bu t sh e ha d playe d an d continue d t o play a major role , an d one of my objective s i n therapy was to free mysel f from he r influence . She wa s i n man y way s a stereotypica l Jewis h mother . A s he r onl y son, I wa s he r prid e an d joy , wh o wa s suppose d t o brin g he r nacbes (defined b y Le o Roste n a s "prou d pleasure , specia l joy—particularl y from th e achievement s o f a child," 257) . M y missio n i n lif e wa s t o fee d her pride , t o giv e he r somethin g t o bra g about . Durin g ou r Sunda y telephone conversations , sh e alway s aske d me , "What' s new? " I trans lated thi s as , "Wha t d o yo u hav e fo r m e t o tel l m y friend s abou t thi s week?" Sinc e th e lif e o f eve n a successfu l academi c doe s no t featur e weekly publications , promotions , jo b offers , grants , an d fellowships , I usually fel t tha t I wa s disappointin g her . Whe n m y book s wer e pub lished, sh e kept lookin g fo r m e on tal k shows , thoug h I had explaine d t o her agai n an d agai n tha t m y sor t o f boo k di d no t attrac t tha t kin d o f attention. Afte r I develope d hypertension , I tol d he r durin g a visit tha t she was putting m e under to o muc h pressure, tha t sh e seemed insatiable , that sh e wa s makin g m e ill . Sh e wa s concerne d an d apologeti c an d promised t o bac k off , bu t o n ou r wa y t o th e airpor t th e nex t afternoon , she asked , "Now , ho w man y book s hav e yo u published , Bernard ? I s i t six?" At tha t tim e it was three, an d sh e knew it . I worke d o n m y relationshi p wit h m y mothe r i n therapy , tryin g t o

i i 4 Bernar

d J. Pari s

find way s t o fen d he r of f and , abov e all , t o fre e mysel f o f th e inne r pressure I fel t t o tr y t o satisf y her . I t wa s no t simpl y a matte r o f satisfying her , however , sinc e I ha d incorporate d he r expectation s int o what Kare n Horne y call s a n "idealize d image " o f myself , wha t I "should" be , wha t I ha d t o b e i f I wa s no t goin g t o fee l lik e a failure. I tried t o moderat e m y nee d t o b e a grea t schola r doin g wor k o f world historical importance . I trie d t o relax , t o b e more conten t wit h th e goo d things i n lif e tha t wer e availabl e t o me , no t t o b e s o obsesse d wit h th e progress o f m y wor k an d it s reception. A s a result o f therapy , I was abl e to writ e wit h pleasure , an d I became , I think , a better husband , father , and friend . I was not freed , however , fro m th e influence o f m y mother . This becam e clea r durin g m y two-wee k visi t wit h he r i n 1976 , a decade afte r th e completio n o f m y mos t intensiv e wor k i n therapy . A s soon a s I entered he r hospita l room , sh e introduced m e to a nurse a s her son th e professor, an d th e nurse immediatel y reporte d tha t i n her famil y there were six generations o f Harvar d Medica l School graduates. This se t the ton e fo r m y entir e visit . M y mothe r showe d m e of f t o doctor s an d nurses, an d i n he r conversation s wit h friend s ther e wa s a constan t ex change o f boast s i n whic h I figured prominently . I realized mor e vividl y than eve r tha t sh e live d i n a worl d i n whic h sh e wa s bombarde d wit h stories abou t th e accomplishment s o f childre n an d relatives , an d tha t I was he r chie f sourc e o f ammunitio n wit h whic h t o reply . Sh e was fighting t o hol d he r ow n i n a very competitiv e environmen t an d t o scor e a n occasional triumph. Henc e her weekly question , "What' s new? " Outside o f th e hospital , thing s wer e muc h th e same . I wa s stayin g with m y wife' s brothe r an d hi s wife , wh o ha d a large family i n th e area . We wen t fo r Thanksgivin g dinne r t o th e hom e o f on e o f m y sister-in law's sister s whos e childre n wer e exceptionall y brigh t an d whos e tro phies were o n display . He r ow n children , m y nephews , wilte d visibl y i n the presenc e o f thei r cousins , whos e parent s delighte d i n tellin g storie s of thei r triumphs . M y nephew s wer e fairl y accomplishe d youn g men , but n o matc h fo r thei r higher achievin g cousins. I fel t durin g thi s perio d tha t I had steppe d int o m y unconscious , tha t it wa s al l aroun d me , objectifie d i n th e behavio r o f m y mother , o f he r friends, o f th e doctor s an d nurse s wh o ha d t o le t m e kno w ho w im portant they were , an d o f my brother - an d sister-in-law's family . Condi tioned a s I ha d been , ho w foolis h I wa s t o hav e though t tha t I coul d escape, tha t I di d no t have t o tr y t o d o grea t things . Thi s experienc e

Pulkheria Alexandrovna an d Raskolnikov 11

5

actually helpe d m e t o com e t o term s wit h som e o f m y compulsions , t o understand an d accep t them , t o forgiv e mysel f fo r havin g them . I coul d not hav e been otherwise . And al l the time I was carrying around Crime and Punishment, rereadin g and broodin g upo n it . I was struc k a s never befor e b y th e importanc e o f Pulkheria Alexandrovna , b y th e tremendou s pressur e sh e put s o n he r son, an d b y he r resemblance s t o m y ow n mother . Earl y i n th e novel , Raskolnikov receive s a long letter fro m hi s mother tha t torture s him . A s he finishes readin g it , hi s fac e i s "pal e an d convulsivel y distorte d an d a bitter angr y smil e playfs ] ove r hi s lips " (I , iii) . Befor e receivin g th e letter, h e ha d bee n i n terribl e conflic t abou t hi s pla n t o murde r Alyon a Ivanovna. H e ha d carrie d ou t th e rehearsa l bu t the n ha d fel t "infinit e loathing" towar d th e "vile , filthy, horrible " ac t he had bee n contemplat ing (I , i , 7) . Convince d tha t h e coul d neve r d o it , h e suddenl y ha d a social impuls e tha t too k hi m t o th e taver n wher e h e becam e involve d with Marmeladov . Raskolniko v vacillate s bot h befor e an d afte r receivin g his mother' s letter , bu t he r lette r pushe s hi m i n th e directio n o f carryin g out his plan, an d it is possible that without i t he would no t have commit ted th e murder . I foun d mysel f oppresse d b y thi s lette r an d mor e abl e than eve r before t o ente r into Raskolnikov' s stat e of mind. 3 In th e thir d sentenc e o f th e letter , Pulkheri a Alexandrovn a writes , "You kno w ho w muc h I lov e you ; yo u ar e al l w e have , Duny a an d I , you ar e everythin g t o us , ou r onl y hop e an d trust. " Sh e repeat s thes e sentiments nea r th e end , adding , "If onl y yo u ar e happy , w e shal l b e happy too " (I , iii , 28 , 37) . I s i t Raskolnikov' s happines s tha t hi s mothe r and siste r desire ? I thin k not , unles s i t take s th e for m o f becomin g a great man . Whe n hi s mothe r write s tha t h e i s their onl y hop e an d trust , she mean s that , a s th e mal e i n th e family , h e i s th e onl y on e wh o ca n achieve glory i n which sh e and Duny a ca n vicariously participate . Raskolnikov's caree r is so important t o his mother an d siste r that the y are read y t o sacrific e themselve s t o facilitat e it . Pulkheri a send s money , borrowed o n he r meage r pension , an d ruin s he r eye s wit h knittin g t o make a few extr a roubles . I n orde r t o hel p he r brother , Duny a take s he r salary i n advanc e fro m Svidrigaylov , forcin g he r t o remai n i n hi s house hold afte r h e begins t o haras s her . Th e self-sacrificia l dispositio n o f bot h women i s well known. Raskolnikov' s landlad y feel s tha t ther e i s hope of collecting th e mone y h e owe s "becaus e ther e i s a mama wh o wil l com e

n 6 Bernar

d J. Pari s

to Rodenka' s rescu e wit h he r pensio n o f a hundre d an d twenty-fiv e roubles, i f it means going without enoug h t o eat herself, an d a sister wh o would sel l hersel f int o slaver y fo r him " (II , iii , 118) . Duny a is , indeed , prepared t o sel l hersel f int o slaver y b y marryin g Luzhi n i n orde r t o advance he r brother' s career . Whe n Luzhi n complain s tha t sh e i s no t treating his interests a s more important tha n those of her brother, Duny a heatedly replies : " I pu t you r interest s alon g sid e o f everythin g tha t ha s until no w bee n preciou s i n m y life , tha t ha s until no w forme d th e whole of m y life , an d yo u ar e offende d becaus e I se t too little valu e o n you? " (IV, ii , 289) . Rody a ha s bee n everythin g precious , th e whole o f he r life . What a terrible burde n fo r him ! Raskolnikov i s suppose d t o fee l gratitud e fo r th e sacrifice s o f mothe r and siste r an d t o repa y the m b y makin g the m proud . I n he r letter , Pulkheria a t onc e assure s hi m tha t sh e an d Duny a ar e fine, tha t thei r sacrifices ar e nothing , an d let s hi m kno w ho w muc h sh e ha s suffered , how Duny a ha s bee n humiliate d a t th e Svidrigaylov's , an d ho w odiou s Luzhin is . H e shoul d lov e Duny a a s she love s him : "he r lov e fo r yo u i s boundless; sh e love s yo u mor e tha n herself . Sh e is a n angel " (I , iii , 36) . Raskolnikov feel s tha t th e onl y wa y h e can reciprocat e thei r "love " is b y having a gloriou s career . H e i s convince d tha t Duny a ha s agree d t o marry Luzhi n becaus e i n thi s wa y "hi s happines s ma y b e secured , h e may b e kep t a t th e University , mad e a partner i n th e office , hi s futur e provided for ; perhap s late r o n h e ma y b e rich , respected , honoured , h e may eve n die famous!" (I , iv, 41). There is a great deal of bitterness here . There i s ampl e evidenc e tha t Raskolniko v ha s understoo d hi s siste r correctly, tha t sh e was prepared t o mak e a n "infamous " marriag e for th e sake o f hi s futur e glory . Afte r Svidrigaylo v tell s her tha t he r brothe r i s a murderer an d explain s hi s theor y o f th e extraordinar y man , h e recog nizes tha t Dunya' s distres s i s no t entirel y o n mora l ground s an d says , "Calm yourself . H e ma y ye t b e a grea t man " (VI , iv , 473) . I n partin g from hi s sister , Raskolniko v als o trie s t o reassur e her : "Don' t cr y fo r me: I shal l tr y t o b e honourabl e an d manl y al l my life , althoug h I a m a murderer. Perhap s on e da y yo u wil l hea r m e spoke n of . I shal l no t disgrace you , yo u wil l see ; I ma y ye t prov e . . . " A "strang e expressio n comefs] int o Dunya' s eye s a t th e promis e o f hi s las t words " (VI , vii , 499). Pulkheria Alexandrovna i s even more obsessed tha n her daughter wit h visions o f Raskolnikov' s greatness . Thi s i s mos t eviden t nea r th e en d o f

Pulkheria Alexandrovn a an d Raskolnikov 11

7

the nove l i n a serie s o f stunnin g passage s t o whic h I ha d pai d littl e attention befor e rereadin g th e nove l durin g m y visi t wit h m y mother . Despite bein g distraugh t b y Raskolnikov' s stat e an d ful l o f forebodin g that "som e grea t misfortune " i s i n stor e fo r him , Pulkheri a i s tremen dously excite d b y his article and trie s to convince herself tha t he has been so distracte d an d neglectfu l becaus e h e ha s bee n bus y wit h ne w ideas . Although ther e i s a lo t tha t sh e doe s no t understand , sh e ha s rea d hi s article three time s an d tell s him that , "howeve r foolish " sh e may be , sh e "can tel l tha t i n a very shor t tim e yo u wil l b e on e o f th e first, i f no t th e very first, amon g ou r me n o f learning . An d peopl e dare d t o thin k yo u were mad ! Ha , ha , ha ! You don' t know , bu t the y reall y di d thin k that . Wretched crawlin g worms , ho w ca n the y understan d wha t tru e intellec t is?" Sh e ha d bee n grieve d abou t hi s livin g conditions , bu t sh e sees tha t she "wa s jus t bein g foolis h again , becaus e yo u coul d ge t anythin g yo u wanted tomorrow , wit h you r brain s an d talents " (VI, vii, 493). We ar e lookin g here , I think , int o Raskolnikov' s unconscious , int o the attitude s h e absorbe d fro m hi s mothe r i n childhood , tha t hav e gov erned hi m a s a n adult , an d tha t h e ha s elaboratel y rationalize d i n hi s theory o f th e extraordinar y man . H e wil l b e on e o f th e first, i f no t th e very first, amon g men , mos t o f who m ar e wretche d crawlin g worm s who ar e unable to appreciat e tru e intellect . Wit h hi s brains an d talent, h e should b e abl e t o get anythin g h e want s immediately . Thi s correspond s exactly t o Raskolnikov' s vie w o f himsel f a t th e beginnin g o f th e nove l and help s to explai n much o f his behavior . Although Pulkheri a understand s "tha t somethin g terribl e [is ] happen ing t o he r son, " sh e canno t relinquis h he r concer n abou t hi s career . Sh e asks if he is going far away : "A very long way." "What is there there? Some work, a career for you?" "What God sends . . . only pray for me . . . " Raskolnikov went to the door, but she caught at him and looked into his eyes with an expression of despair. Her face was disfigured with fear. "That's enough, mama," said Raskolnikov, bitterly regretting that he had ever thought of coming. (VI, vii, 496) Raskolnikov i s bitte r becaus e h e understand s tha t a t leas t par t o f hi s mother's despai r derive s from th e collaps e o f he r drea m o f glory . Unlik e Sonya and Dunya, sh e is not a source of spiritua l support . W e do not se e her praying for him .

n 8 Bernar

d J. Pari s

Pulkheria i s so excited abou t Raskolnikov' s articl e because it seems t o promise th e fulfillmen t o f he r dream . Sh e tell s hi m tha t hi s fathe r ha d "twice sen t somethin g t o a magazine—firs t a poe m ( I hav e th e manu script still , I wil l sho w i t t o yo u som e time) , an d the n a whole nove l ( I copied i t ou t fo r him , a t my ow n request) , an d ho w we both praye d tha t they woul d b e accepted—bu t the y weren't! " (VI , vii , 493) . Wit h he r husband's failur e t o redeem their impoverished existenc e through a glamorous achievement , Pulkheri a turne d t o he r son , investin g hi m wit h al l her hop e an d trust . No w he , too , ha s disappointe d her , an d sh e soo n becomes deranged . I a m no t suggestin g tha t he r derangemen t result s onl y fro m th e frus tration o f he r ambitio n o r tha t sh e has no othe r concer n fo r he r son , bu t she remain s obsesse d wit h hi s career . Afte r sh e fall s ill , Duny a an d Razumikhin "agree d o n th e answer s the y woul d giv e t o he r mother' s questions abou t he r brother , an d eve n worke d ou t togethe r a complet e story o f Raskolnikov' s havin g gon e awa y t o a distan t plac e o n th e Russian frontie r o n a private missio n whic h woul d brin g hi m i n th e en d both mone y an d fame. " The y kno w wha t sh e need s t o hear . Pulkheri a does no t as k questions , however , bu t produce s he r ow n accoun t o f Rodya's departur e (h e i s hidin g fro m powerfu l enemies ) an d assure s Razumikhin tha t he r so n wil l "i n tim e b e a great politica l figure, a s was proved b y hi s articl e an d hi s literar y brilliance " (Epilogue , i , 515) . Sh e reads hi s articl e incessantly , sometime s aloud , al l but sleep s wit h it , an d talks about it to strangers. My mother di d not read my articles, but whe n she becam e manage r o f a hosiery sho p i n a mal l afte r retirin g fro m th e grocery business , sh e kep t m y publication s a t hand an d showe d the m t o teachers fro m a nearby hig h schoo l when the y cam e into the store . Pulkheria fall s int o long spells "o f disma l brooding silence and speech less tears," from whic h sh e often rouse s herself "almos t hysterically" an d begins t o tal k "o f he r son , o f he r hopes , o f th e futur e . . . " Tryin g "t o give he r a momen t o f pleasure, " Razumikhi n tell s he r abou t a studen t and hi s infir m fathe r who m Rody a ha d helpe d whil e h e wa s a t th e university an d abou t ho w h e "ha d suffere d fro m burn s in saving the lives of tw o littl e childre n a year ago. " This bring s Pulkheri a Alexandrovna' s "already disordere d min d t o a pitc h o f feveris h exaltation, " an d "i n public vehicles o r i n shops , whereve r sh e could find a hearer, sh e led th e conversation roun d t o he r son , hi s article , hi s helping o f th e student , hi s being injure d i n a fire, an d s o on. " Finally , sh e fall s ill , become s deliri -

Pulkheria Alexandrovn a an d Raskolnikov 11

9

ous, develop s a burning fever , an d dies . I n he r deliriu m sh e reveals "tha t she suspected fa r mor e o f her son' s terribl e fat e than the y had supposed " (Epilogue, i , 517) . I t i s th e frustratio n o f he r hopes , I think , tha t kill s her, mor e tha n th e sufferin g o f he r son . Sh e cannot g o on livin g after he r dream o f glor y has died . When w e appreciat e th e all-consumin g characte r o f Pulkheria' s nee d fo r her so n t o becom e a grea t man , w e ca n begi n t o understan d he r effec t upon hi m an d th e source s o f hi s ambivalence . H e react s t o he r lette r a t the beginnin g o f th e nove l wit h " a bitte r angr y smile " becaus e i t put s him i n a n unbearabl e position . H e i s suppose d t o b e thei r sourc e o f protection an d glory , bu t instea d the y ar e makin g terribl e sacrifice s fo r him an d h e i s impotent . Thei r sacrifice s mak e hi m fee l lik e mor e o f a failure an d pu t hi m unde r eve n greate r pressur e t o fulfil l thei r loft y dreams. H e share s his mother's attitud e that he ought t o be able to fulfil l these dream s easil y b y virtu e o f hi s superiorit y t o th e crawlin g worm s around him . H e ha s droppe d ou t o f schoo l i n par t becaus e completin g his educatio n woul d onl y hav e le d t o a mediocre career , on e tha t woul d have enable d hi m neithe r t o protec t the m no r t o satisf y thei r cravin g fo r glory. Instea d h e ha s begu n t o broo d abou t committin g a crim e tha t would permi t hi m t o achiev e thes e objectives . Bu t h e ha s powerfu l taboos agains t committin g th e crime and hates himself fo r eve n consider ing it. Hi s mother' s lette r make s hi m fee l tha t h e must g o ahead , an d h e is ful l o f rag e wit h he r a s a consequence . Whe n h e remember s he r injunction t o lov e Dunya , wh o love s hi m mor e tha n herself , an d he r statement tha t he is their onl y hope, "resentmen t wellfs ] up in him, mor e and mor e bitter , an d i f h e ha d chance d t o mee t Mr . Luzhi n a t tha t moment, h e would hav e felt lik e murdering him " (I , iv). This i s clearly a displacement o f his rage toward hi s mother an d sister . There ar e many evidence s o f Raskolnikov' s rag e toward hi s family. I n order to insure that her precious son will "be rich, respected , honoured, " and "ma y eve n di e famous, " Pulkheri a Alexandrovn a i s read y t o carr y her "conscienc e . . . t o Rag Fair" an d sel l her daughte r int o prostitution . Raskolnikov feel s tha t "Sonechka' s fat e i s n o whi t worse " tha n Dunya' s would b e i f sh e marrie d Luzhin ; indeed , Dunya' s ma y b e "eve n worse , fouler, mor e despicable " becaus e wit h Son y a "i t i s a question simpl y o f dying o f hunger. " H e envision s hi s sister' s "laments, " "curses, " an d "tears" afte r suc h a marriag e an d hi s mother' s suffering "whe n every -

120 Bernar d J. Pari s thing i s clearl y revealed. " "An d wha t o f me? " h e asks , "Ho w indee d have the y bee n thinkin g o f me? " (I , iv , 41-42) . Unde r th e guis e o f unselfish love , the y subjec t hi m t o unbearabl e guil t b y proposin g t o destroy themselve s ostensibl y fo r hi s sake but reall y t o further thei r ow n ambitions. "Oh , ignobl e natures ! Their lov e i s lik e hate . O ho w I hat e them all! " (Ill, iii , 223). It i s quit e possibl e tha t h e displace s hi s rag e towar d hi s mothe r ont o Alyona, jus t a s he displace s i t ont o Luzhin . A s a loving son , h e usuall y represses hi s resentmen t towar d hi s mothe r an d i s mystifie d whe n i t erupts, bu t h e immediatel y feel s "a n irresistibl e dislike " o f th e money lender, wh o arouse s n o filial taboo s (I , vi , 60) . I n killin g her, h e may b e symbolically killin g Pulkheria . Durin g a spell o f near-deliriu m whe n h e is i n th e gri p o f despai r an d self-hate , h e exclaim s t o himself , "Oh , nothing, nothin g wil l mak e m e forgiv e tha t ol d witch! " H e is , i n effect , blaming th e murde r o n Alyona . Thi s i s followe d immediatel y b y thoughts o f hi s mothe r an d sister : "ho w I love d them ! Wha t make s m e hate the m now ? Yes , I hat e them , hat e the m physically ; I canno t bea r them nea r me. " Th e connection , I think , i s tha t h e blame s the m fo r hi s crime, jus t a s he blame s Alyona , who m h e hates s o much tha t h e think s he "shoul d kil l her agai n if sh e came back to life! " (Ill , vi , 265) . He late r tells Son y a, " I kille d myself , no t tha t ol d creature ! Ther e an d the n I murdered mysel f a t on e blow " (V , iv , 402) . H e hate s hi s mothe r an d Alyona becaus e both , i n somewha t differen t ways , hav e le d hi m t o murder himself . In murderin g Alyona , h e i s no t onl y symbolicall y killin g hi s mothe r but i s showin g he r wha t sh e ha s don e t o hi m an d punishin g he r fo r it . By murderin g Alyona , h e kill s himsel f (o r a t leas t hi s "future" ) an d thereby kill s Pulkheri a Alexandrovn a a s well. Thoug h onl y forty-three , she dies not lon g after . Raskolnikov' s crim e is an ac t tha t h e doe s for hi s mother, at hi s mother , an d to hi s mother . H e kne w i n advanc e tha t h e could no t carr y i t of f an d wha t th e consequence s woul d b e bot h fo r himself an d Pulkheria . H e ha d almos t kille d hi s mothe r onc e before , when h e becam e engage d t o hi s landlady' s plain , sickl y daughter . "Would yo u no t think, " Pulkheri a complain s t o Razumikhin , "tha t m y tears, m y entreaties , m y illness , m y possibl e death fro m grie f . . . woul d have stopped him ? No, h e would hav e trampled cooll y over every obsta cle. Bu t surely , surel y h e love s us? " (Ill , ii , 207-8) . H e doe s lov e her , but h e hate s he r a s wel l an d ha s a nee d t o tormen t her , a s thi s episod e

Pulkheria Alexandrovna an d Raskolnikov 12

1

shows. Sh e presents hersel f a s an easy victim, muc h a s Alyona ha d done , by he r readines s t o di e o f grief . I t i s difficul t t o sa y wha t migh t hav e happened i f hi s fiancee ha d no t passe d away . Pulkheri a Alexandrovn a would hav e been crushe d ha d he r so n made a marriage s o out o f keepin g with he r conceptio n o f his worth . Not onl y Raskolnikov' s murde r o f Alyon a bu t als o th e conflictin g side o f hi s personalit y i s influence d b y hi s relationshi p wit h hi s mothe r and the values and exampl e of his family. Pulkheria' s lette r reinforces hi s ambition b y remindin g hi m tha t h e i s thei r onl y hop e an d trust , bu t i t also urge s hi m t o pra y t o God , t o "believ e i n th e merc y o f ou r Creato r and Redeemer. " Afrai d tha t h e "ma y hav e bee n affecte d b y th e fashion able modern unbelief, " hi s mother remind s hi m o f hi s religious upbring ing: "Remember , m y dear , how , whe n yo u wer e a child an d your fathe r was stil l alive , yo u lispe d you r prayer s a t m y knee , an d remembe r ho w happy w e al l were then! " (I , iii , 37) . She wants he r son t o be a great ma n but als o a good Christian . Raskolnikov's childhoo d wa s steepe d i n religiou s feeling . Onc e o r twice a year his pious famil y visite d th e cemetery where his grandmothe r was buried, payin g for a requiem i n the old ston e church: "H e love d thi s church wit h it s ancien t icons , mos t o f the m withou t frames , an d th e ol d priest wit h hi s tremblin g head. " Th e cemeter y als o containe d th e grav e of a younge r brothe r wh o ha d die d i n infancy . Raskolniko v coul d no t remember hi s brother , bu t "ever y tim e the y visite d th e cemeter y h e devoutly an d reverently crosse d himself befor e th e little grave and bowe d down an d kisse d it " (I , v , 52) . H e wa s a sensitive bo y wh o dislike d th e village tavern, pressin g close r t o hi s father whe n the y passed it , an d wh o felt s o sorr y fo r horse s whe n h e sa w the m bein g beate n tha t hi s mothe r took hi m awa y from th e window . Raskolnikov gre w u p i n a n atmospher e i n whic h generosit y an d self sacrifice wer e glorified . Indeed , i n Duny a an d hi s mothe r h e ha s exam ples o f wome n wh o ar e heedless o f thei r ow n well-bein g an d see m onl y to liv e fo r othe r people . Duny a eve n trie s t o sav e Svidrigaylov , wh o astutely tell s Raskolniko v tha t "sh e i s th e kin d o f perso n wh o hunger s and thirst s t o b e torture d fo r somebody , an d i f sh e doe s no t achiev e he r martyrdom sh e i s quit e capabl e o f jumpin g ou t o f a window " (VI , iv , 456). Raskolniko v admire s Dunya , thoug h h e hate s bein g th e objec t o f her sacrifice , an d h e is drawn t o martyr s lik e Sonya, wh o tur n th e othe r cheek an d see m t o lov e other s mor e tha n themselves . H e i s a ver y

122 Bernar d J. Pari s compassionate perso n wh o i s compulsivel y generou s an d i s give n t o taking burdens o n himself. H e is attracted t o his fiancee no t only becaus e it torments hi s mother bu t als o because she is unattractive an d ill: "If sh e had bee n lam e a s well, o r hump-backed , I migh t ver y likel y hav e love d her eve n more . . . " (Ill , iii , 221). Like his mother an d sister , h e glorifie s sacrifice an d derive s a masochistic satisfactio n fro m suffering fo r others . Pulkheria i s extremel y prou d o f thi s sid e o f he r son , whic h sh e ha s done muc h t o cultivate . I n he r derange d state , sh e brag s no t onl y abou t his article , bu t als o abou t hi s havin g helpe d a fello w studen t an d hi s father whil e h e himsel f wa s i n povert y an d save d tw o childre n fro m a fire, burnin g hi s hand s i n th e process . Sh e wants hi m t o b e a great man , to b e sure , bu t als o t o b e a ver y goo d one . Whe n h e apologize s fo r having give n twenty-fiv e rouble s fo r Marmeladov' s funeral , sh e says , "Don't g o o n Rodya . I a m sur e tha t everythin g yo u d o i s right!" Whe n he say s tha t h e "ma y b e n o good " bu t tha t Duny a ough t no t t o marr y Luzhin, sh e becomes extremel y distressed : "An d wh y wil l you persis t i n saying yo u ar e n o good ? Tha t I canno t bear " (III , iii , 218 , 222) . An d when h e doe s no t com e t o se e her , sh e rationalize s hi s neglect : "Yo u may hav e Go d know s wha t plan s . . . i n your mind , o r al l sorts o f idea s may have sprung up in you; a m I to be always jogging your elbo w to as k you wha t yo u ar e thinking about? " (VI, vii, 492). This remind s m e o f m y mothe r who , a s she gre w ol d an d ill , tol d m e her trouble s ever y Sunday , bu t ofte n ende d b y saying , "Now , don' t worry abou t me , Bernard . Yo u nee d a clear hea d fo r you r writing. " Sh e wanted m e t o worr y abou t her , o f course , bu t als o t o ge t o n wit h m y work. Ther e i s a simila r conflic t i n Pulkheri a betwee n th e nee d fo r a loving, dutifu l so n and one with impressiv e achievements. Pulkheri a trie s to balanc e he r need s b y tellin g Raskolniko v tha t h e "mustn' t spoil " her , that she'l l kno w h e love s he r eve n i f h e can' t visit : " I shal l rea d you r writings, I shal l hea r abou t yo u fro m everybody , an d fro m tim e t o tim e you wil l com e t o se e me—wha t coul d b e better? " (VI , vii , 494) . Sh e then burst s into tears . Raskolnikov knows how important i t is for hi s mother tha t he be bot h great an d good , an d h e strives desperatel y t o reconcil e these imperatives , which h e ha s internalized . I t seem s tha t i f h e i s goo d h e canno t b e grea t and tha t i f h e i s t o b e grea t h e canno t b e good . N o cours e o f actio n i s satisfactory. I f h e follow s hi s mother' s injunctio n t o remembe r hi s reli gious upbringing , no t onl y wil l h e fai l t o achiev e greatness , bu t h e wil l

Pulkheria Alexandrovna an d Raskolnikov 12

3

be unabl e t o lif t himsel f ou t o f povert y i n tim e t o sav e her an d hi s siste r from sacrificin g themselves . H e feel s tha t h e mus t commi t th e crim e i n order t o d o hi s dut y towar d hi s mothe r an d preven t Dunya' s immora l marriage. I f h e commit s th e crime , however , h e wil l b e a sinne r i n th e eyes o f hi s famil y an d wil l b e separate d fro m the m b y guilt . Hi s mothe r would b e destroyed shoul d sh e learn o f wha t h e had done . H e woul d b e violating hi s ow n human e an d conscientiou s feelings , moreover , an d would loath e himsel f intensely . H e wil l b e damne d i f h e commit s th e murder an d damne d i f he does not . Pulkheria i s afrai d tha t he r so n ha s bee n corrupte d b y th e fashionabl e modern unbelief , an d Dostoevsk y want s u s t o se e that a s Raskolnikov' s problem. Porfir y diagnose s hi m a s a contemporar y intellectua l wit h a one sided-developmen t wh o ha s bee n le d astra y b y abstrac t reasoning . Believing tha t h e ca n gover n hi s lif e b y reaso n alone , h e justifie s hi s crime i n utilitaria n terms , a s a matte r o f simpl e arithmetic . Fro m a thematic poin t o f view , Raskolniko v illustrate s ho w moder n unbelie f leads t o crime . H e get s int o troubl e becaus e h e ha s lef t th e religiou s environment o f hi s nativ e villag e an d ha s com e t o St . Petersburg , a hotbed o f atheisti c humanism . But wh y i s Raskolniko v s o receptiv e t o moder n ideas , an d wh y d o they lea d t o suc h a n extrem e resul t i n him ? Dostoevsk y doe s no t rais e such questions , sinc e the y woul d no t serv e hi s ideologica l purpose , bu t as a great psychologica l novelis t h e provides s o much informatio n abou t Raskolnikov's character , motives , an d backgroun d tha t I canno t hel p asking them . Dostoevsky' s psychologica l realis m subvert s hi s themati c intentions, fo r whe n w e understan d Raskolniko v a s a n imagine d huma n being, h e escapes his illustrative role . Just afte r hi s pla n ha s begu n t o tak e for m i n hi s mind , Raskolniko v overhears a conversatio n i n a publi c hous e tha t ha s "a n extraordinar y influence o n th e subsequen t developmen t o f th e matter. " A studen t i s telling an officer tha t he "coul d kil l that damned ol d woman an d rob her , without a singl e twing e o f conscience. " H e the n present s a utilitaria n rationale for suc h a n action: "Kil l her, tak e her money, o n condition tha t you dedicat e yoursel f wit h it s hel p t o th e servic e o f humanit y an d th e common good . . . . What i s the life o f tha t stupid , spiteful , consumptiv e old woma n weighe d agains t th e commo n good ? N o mor e tha t th e life o f a lous e o r a cockroach—less , indeed , becaus e sh e i s activel y harmful .

124 Bernar d J. Pari s She batten s o n othe r people' s lives , sh e i s evil. " Th e office r agree s tha t "she doesn' t deserv e t o live, " "bu t ther e yo u are, " h e says , "that' s nature." "Bu t don't you see, " replies the student, "natur e must be guided and corrected , o r els e we should al l be swamped wit h prejudices. Other wise ther e coul d neve r b e on e grea t man " (I , vi , 62-63) . Th e conversa tion end s wit h th e studen t sayin g tha t "o f course " h e woul d no t kil l th e old woman himself . What mos t impresse s Raskolnikov , I think , i s the ide a tha t unles s w e get ri d o f ou r prejudice s ther e ca n "neve r b e on e grea t man. " Raskolni kov does not need to be a great man because he has fallen prey to moder n unbelief bu t i s attracte d t o th e ne w idea s i n par t becaus e the y serv e hi s psychological needs. Dostoevsky suggest s that these ideas are responsibl e for th e increas e i n crim e an d derangemen t i n contemporar y society , bu t in th e cas e o f hi s protagonis t h e show s the m leadin g t o crim e whe n combined wit h hi s individua l psychology . Atheisti c humanis m seem s t o provide Raskolniko v wit h a wa y ou t o f hi s psychologica l impasse , en abling hi m t o dismis s th e conscientiou s scruple s tha t bloc k hi s pat h t o greatness an d a t th e sam e tim e satisf y hi s mora l need s b y seein g himsel f as a benefactor o f mankind . Accordin g t o th e ethica l calculu s articulate d by th e student , h e will b e doin g fa r mor e goo d tha n har m b y killin g th e noxious ol d moneylender . The troubl e i s tha t murderin g th e ol d woma n stil l feels wrong . Raskolnikov trie s t o explai n thi s feelin g a s a residu e o f conventiona l prejudices, traditiona l idea s tha t a truly enlightene d ma n shoul d b e abl e to transcend . H e divide s th e worl d int o ordinar y peopl e wh o ar e gov erned b y suc h prejudice s an d extraordinar y one s who , realizin g tha t there i s n o God , becom e thei r ow n law-giver s an d ar e abl e t o ste p ove r the ol d arbitrar y barrier s withou t experiencin g guilt . Murderin g th e ol d woman wil l no t onl y giv e hi m th e mean s t o launc h hi s caree r bu t wil l signify tha t h e is a grea t man—i f h e ca n d o i t withou t conscientiou s qualms, withou t feelin g tha t i t i s a crime . I t become s th e mean s o f proving t o himsel f tha t h e is the superio r bein g he needs t o b e if h e is t o fulfill hi s mother' s expectations , t o actualiz e hi s idealize d imag e o f him self, an d t o escap e self-contempt . After th e murder, Raskolniko v finds himsel f behavin g in just the ways he ha d predicte d fo r th e ordinar y man . H e feel s guilty , goe s t o pieces , gives himself away , an d seek s punishment. H e hate s himsel f fo r wha t h e

Pulkheria Alexandrovn a an d Raskolnikov 12

5

has don e an d hate s himsel f fo r hatin g himself, sinc e that show s h e is no t the Napoleoni c figur e h e ha d aspire d t o be . H e oscillate s betwee n im pulses t o mak e peac e wit h hi s conscientiou s sid e b y confessin g an d efforts t o hol d ont o hi s claim s t o b e a n extraordinar y ma n b y denyin g that he has committed a crime. H e ha s committed a blunder, perhaps , o r a crimina l offense , bu t no t a violatio n o f mora l law , th e existenc e o f which h e mus t deny . Raskolniko v ca n giv e u p neithe r hi s nee d t o b e good no r hi s nee d t o b e great , an d sinc e ther e seem s t o b e n o wa y i n which h e can reconcile these needs, h e is driven t o the verge of madness . Raskolnikov's psychologica l conflict s continu e afte r h e goe s t o priso n and eventuall y mak e hi m physicall y ill . I n a drea m h e ha s durin g hi s illness h e find s a wa y ou t o f th e bin d int o whic h firs t hi s mother' s contradictory demand s an d the n hi s ow n inne r conflict s hav e pu t him . In hi s drea m th e whol e worl d i s condemne d t o fal l victi m t o th e pesti lence o f unbelief , a pestilence i n whic h peopl e regar d themselve s a s "th e sole repositor y o f truth " an d ar e unabl e t o agree o n "wha t wa s evi l an d what good. " The y g o mad , kil l "on e anothe r i n senseles s rage, " an d fal l into chao s an d cannibalism . Al l ar e "destine d t o perish , excep t a chose n few, a very few, " who , foundin g " a new race of me n an d a new life" will "renew an d cleans e th e earth. " Whe n Raskolniko v recovers , h e canno t shake of f "th e impression s o f hi s deliriou s dreaming " an d i s distresse d that "thi s ridiculou s fantasy " linger s i n hi s memory . Bu t h e soo n find s himself "seize d an d cast " a t Sonya's feet . "Restore d t o life," h e takes ou t the Ne w Testamen t fro m whic h Sony a ha d rea d t o hi m o f th e raisin g o f Lazarus, an d th e ide a flashe s throug h hi s min d tha t he r belief s ca n no w become his (Epilogue , ii , 523-24 , 526-27) . Raskolnikov's drea m show s hi m ho w t o reformulat e hi s searc h fo r glory i n suc h a way tha t h e ca n b e bot h grea t an d good . I n hi s article , ordinary me n wer e believer s whil e extraordinar y me n wer e thos e wh o saw that th e traditional moralit y ha d n o foundation an d tha t eac h perso n was a la w unt o himself . I n hi s drea m h e envision s th e consequence s o f the sprea d o f hi s atheisti c beliefs . Her e ordinar y me n ar e unbeliever s while th e "chose n handfu l o f th e pure " ar e presumabl y thos e wh o hav e preserved religiou s truth. Havin g worked ou t the solution to his problem unconsciously, h e find s himsel f embracin g Sony a an d he r beliefs , thu s becoming on e o f th e chose n few . H e n o longe r ha s t o violat e th e tradi -

126 Bernar d J. Pari s tional moralit y i n orde r t o b e great , sinc e h e ca n becom e grea t b y bein g one of th e handful wh o prepare th e way fo r th e renewal an d cleansin g of the eart h b y upholdin g th e teaching s o f Christianity . Ha d sh e lived lon g enough t o se e Raskolnikov' s visio n fo r himsel f fulfilled , hi s mothe r would hav e been proud . While m y understandin g o f m y relationshi p wit h m y mothe r sensi tized me to Raskolnikov's problems , i t was my analysi s of anothe r aspec t of m y experienc e tha t influence d m y interpretatio n o f hi s solution . A s I have alread y indicated , i n graduat e schoo l I wa s i n som e way s a mor e innocuous versio n o f Raskolnikov . Influence d b y m y mother , I ha d a dream o f bein g on e o f th e first , i f no t th e ver y first, amon g ou r me n o f learning. Lik e man y o f m y fello w students , I fel t tha t m y talent s shoul d exempt m e fro m th e expectation s governin g ordinar y mortals . Som e o f them stol e book s an d record s o n th e grounds tha t thes e thing s shoul d b e in th e hand s o f thos e wh o coul d properl y appreciat e them . I di d no t d o that, bu t I fel t tha t mos t othe r peopl e wer e considerabl y les s importan t than I was, an d I neglected o r exploite d the m accordingly . I n m y mind , I was doin g m y parent s an d m y wif e a favor b y allowin g them t o finance my education , sinc e that would giv e meaning to their lives. My drea m o f glory cam e crashin g when , fo r reason s I cam e t o understan d i n therapy , I went blan k durin g m y doctora l ora l an d ha d t o retak e tw o fields. Wha t happened afte r tha t ha s certai n parallel s wit h Raskolnikov' s "con version. " I fel t unde r enormou s pressur e t o writ e a magnificent dissertatio n i n order t o restor e m y prid e an d vindicat e myself . Thi s pressur e mad e th e dissertation almos t impossibl e t o write , an d I frequentl y despaire d o f completing it . Confronte d wit h th e prospec t o f a humiliatin g failure , I became a convert t o Georg e Eliot' s Religio n o f Humanity , i n whic h th e emphasis wa s o n givin g value to ou r live s by living for other s rathe r tha n for ou r ow n selfis h objectives . Lik e Dorothe a i n Middlemarch, I wa s looking for somethin g tha t "woul d reconcil e self-despair wit h the raptur ous consciousnes s o f lif e beyon d self " (Prelude , 3) . M y importanc e t o others, rathe r tha n ambitiou s triumph , becam e th e meaning o f life, an d I sought t o b e a good husband , father , an d friend . M y dissertatio n devel oped a proselytizin g tone , a s I preache d m y ne w gospel . Georg e Elio t had th e answe r t o th e valu e problem s o f moder n man , an d I wa s pro claiming he r trut h t o th e world . Eve n i f I di d no t complet e th e disserta tion, I woul d exemplif y he r teaching s b y m y life . I wa s stil l tryin g t o

Pulkheria Alexandrovn a an d Raskolnikov 12

7

work eight y hour s a week , I migh t note , an d wa s largel y deludin g

myself.

I someho w finishe d th e dissertation , whic h wa s ver y wel l received , and promptl y los t m y enthusias m fo r Georg e Eliot' s beliefs . Thi s puz zled m e greatl y unti l I rea d Kare n Horney' s Our Inner Conflicts. I n this book, Horne y describe s thre e defensive strategies—movin g toward , against, an d awa y from people—an d th e constellation o f characte r traits , behaviors, an d belief s tha t accompanie s eac h solution . Th e aggressiv e solution (movin g against ) describe s m e in graduat e schoo l an d Raskolni kov befor e hi s conversion . Th e complian t solutio n (movin g toward ) describes Raskolniko v an d m e afte r ou r conversions . Sony a exemplifie s an extrem e for m o f th e complian t solution , an d Georg e Elio t glorifie s compliant attitudes , values , an d characte r traits . Often , bot h th e aggres sive and complian t solution s co-exis t i n th e sam e person, wit h on e bein g predominant an d th e othe r subordinate . Sinc e the y ar e s o oppose d t o each other , th e individua l i s tor n b y inne r conflicts . Raskolnikov' s mother an d min e wante d contradictor y thing s o f us , fosterin g bot h set s of trends . If ou r predominan t strateg y fails , w e ma y embrac e ou r subordinat e solution. Thu s when I could not write my dissertation , I adopted Georg e Eliot's philosoph y o f livin g fo r others . Raskolniko v oscillate s betwee n the tw o solution s al l throug h th e novel , bu t afte r h e goe s t o priso n h e realizes a t som e leve l tha t hi s aggressiv e solutio n canno t work , h e ha s a dream tha t show s hi m anothe r pat h t o glory , an d h e embrace s th e compliant Sony a an d her beliefs. Th e enthusiastic receptio n of my disser tation mad e m e fee l tha t my aggressiv e solutio n could work , an d I resumed m y ambitiou s course . Henc e m y los s o f enthusias m fo r Eliot' s Religion o f Humanity . When I aske d earlie r wh y Raskolniko v wa s s o receptiv e t o moder n ideas, I sai d tha t althoug h Dostoevsk y doe s no t rais e thi s question , h e presents Raskolniko v i n suc h psychologica l detai l tha t I canno t hel p asking it . I woul d no t as k thi s questio n i n th e absenc e o f psychologica l detail, sinc e ther e woul d b e n o wa y o f answerin g it , bu t th e questio n really come s fro m m y understandin g o f m y ow n experience , whic h ha s predisposed m e to assum e a psychological basi s for beliefs . Self-analysis ca n b e a valuabl e critica l tool . I d o no t thin k tha t I coul d have com e t o m y understandin g o f Raskolnikov' s relationshi p wit h hi s

n 8 Bernar

d J. Pari s

mother, o f hi s conversio n a t th e end , an d o f th e connectio n betwee n hi s beliefs an d hi s psycholog y withou t havin g analyze d simila r phenomen a in myself. There ar e dangers , o f course , i n understandin g literatur e throug h ou r own experience , sinc e we migh t engag e in naiv e identification an d fai l t o discriminate betwee n th e character s an d ourselves . On e o f th e value s o f literature, afte r all , i s that i t give s us a sense of wha t i t i s like to b e othe r people confrontin g a different se t o f circumstance s an d livin g in a differ ent world. Ou r abilit y to engage with what is different, however , inevita bly depend s o n findin g som e poin t o f likeness . Th e mor e facet s o f ourselves w e ar e awar e of , th e mor e kind s o f othe r peopl e t o whic h we ca n respond . Th e knowledg e w e deriv e fro m self-analysi s shoul d discourage naiv e identification , sinc e it involve s distanc e fro m ra w expe rience an d a critica l perspective . W e nee d a poin t o f likenes s fo r entry , but th e greate r ou r self-awareness , th e more consciou s w e will als o be of difference. Ideally , w e wan t t o b e clos e enoug h t o th e character s t o b e able to ente r int o their experience an d to have enough psychic distance t o keep the m separat e fro m ourselves . Althoug h ther e ar e parallels betwee n Pulkheria an d Raskolnikov , m y mothe r an d me , ther e ar e many dissimi larities a s well , an d I hav e trie d no t t o conflat e th e tw o relationships . Using my understanding o f my relationshi p with my mother a s a starting point, I hav e trie d t o d o justic e t o th e specifi c way s i n whic h Pulkheri a Alexandrovna an d Raskolniko v driv e each other crazy .

Notes i. I am using the Jessie Coulso n translatio n o f Crime and Punishment as published in the first edition of the Norton Critica l Edition. To make it easier for readers to fin d th e quoted passage s in othe r translation s o r in other edition s of this translation, I shall include part and chapter as well as page numbers in the text. 2. Thi s essay , "Th e Tw o Selve s o f Rodio n Raskolnikov, " wa s publishe d i n Gradiva i (1978) : 316-28. There is a serious printing error, correcte d i n the following issue , that garbles several pages of the text. Drawing on this essay, I discussed Crime and Punishment again in "A Horneyan Approach to Literature," American Journal of Psychoanalysis 5 1 (1991) : 324-32 . Thes e tw o essays analyze Raskolnikov's characte r structur e an d inner conflicts i n terms of the psychoanalytic theories of Karen Horney and are complementary to the present discussion. The y make some of the same points about Raskolnikov' s

Pulkheria Alexandrovna and Raskolnikov 12 9 relationship wit h hi s mothe r tha t I shal l mak e here , bu t thi s chapte r i s i n many way s a fresh readin g of th e novel, sinc e I did no t gras p the dynamics o f the relationshi p i n detai l unti l I wa s invite d t o writ e o n th e topi c o f self analysis i n literary criticism . For othe r discussion s o f Raskolnikov' s relationshi p wit h hi s mother , se e Wasiolek 1974 , Kiremidjian 1975 , 1976 , and Breger 1989 . I arrived a t my vie w of th e relationshi p independently , bu t I fin d muc h t o agre e wit h i n Breger . 3. Ther e i s a goo d discussio n o f Pulkheria' s lette r i n R . D . Laing , Self and Others (Harmondsworth , England : Pengui n Books , [1961 ] 1971) , 165-73 . Laing reports tha t "whe n thi s letter was read t o a group of eigh t psychiatrists , all testifie d t o feeling s o f tensio n i n themselves " (166) . M y analysi s o f th e letter i s compatible wit h Laing's .

Works Cite d Breger, Louis . Dostoevsky: The Author as Psychoanalyst. Ne w York : New Yor k University Press , 1989 . Dostoevsky, Fyodor . Crime and Punishment. Trans . Jessi e Coulson . Norto n Critical Edition . Ed . Georg e Gibian . Ne w York : W. W . Norton , 1964 . Eliot, George . Middlemarch. Ed . Gordo n Haight . Boston : Houghto n Mifflin , 1956. Horney, Karen . Our Inner Conflicts. Ne w York : W. W . Norton , 1945 . Kiremidjian, David . "Dostoevsk y an d th e Proble m o f Matricide. " Journal of Orgonomy 9 (1975): 69-81 . . "Crime and Punishment: Matricid e an d th e Woma n Question. " American Imago 3 3 (1976): 403-33. Rosten, Leo . The Joys of Yiddish. Ne w York : McGraw-Hill , 1968 . Wasiolek, Edward . "Raskolnikov' s Motives : Lov e an d Murder. " American Imago 3 1 (1974): 252-69.

F I V E

Why Natash a Bump s He r Head : The Valu e o f Self-Analysi s i n th e Application o f Psychoanalysi s to Literatur e Daniel Rancour-Laferriere

On th e mornin g o f 8 January 1990 , I was sittin g an d peacefull y readin g an articl e i n a recent issu e of th e Psychoanalytic Review. Th e articl e deal t with Freud' s famou s 191 1 cas e histor y o f th e psychoti c Germa n judge , Paul Schrebe r (SE XII , 3-82) . I wa s enjoyin g th e articl e becaus e i t wa s very detaile d an d wa s tellin g m e thing s I ha d neve r hear d befor e abou t Herr Schreber . Suddenly I cam e upo n th e followin g word s abou t Schreber' s father : "Moritz Schreber' s successfu l year s ende d i n 185 1 . . . when a ladder fel l on hi s head . Som e month s thereafte r h e bega n t o suffe r fro m hea d symptoms whic h trouble d hi m fo r th e nex t te n year s unti l hi s death " (Lothane 210) . I had t o sto p reading . Ther e wa s a burst o f anxiety , followe d immedi ately b y guilt , agai n followe d immediatel y b y a n awful , familiarl y de pressive feeling . I trie d t o resum e reading , bu t t o n o avail . Onl y th e word s "intermit tent depression, " "blac k spots, " "shadow " floate d befor e m y eyes . Again I trie d t o pic k u p th e threa d o f th e article , bu t t o n o avail . Finally, I pu t th e journa l away , go t up , an d trie d t o thin k abou t othe r things. Of th e thre e feeling s I ha d experience d i n rapi d succession—anxiety , 130

Why Natash a Bump s Her Hea d 13

1

guilt, depression—th e secon d i s now th e easiest to remember an d under stand: I fel t a twing e o f guil t becaus e a t th e tim e I owe d a colleagu e a paper fo r a n upcomin g conference , an d th e pape r ha d no t ye t bee n written (th e paper—now thi s essay—was goin g to deal with m y feeling s about head injuries) . Much mor e difficult t o reconstruc t no w ar e th e anxiet y an d th e de pression o f thos e moments. Th e anxiet y was apparently provoked b y th e idea tha t Schreber' s fathe r wa s struck on the head. An d th e subsequen t surge o f depressio n evidentl y wen t bac k t o a primitiv e belie f I hav e always held: being struck o n th e head mean s that life is not worth living. These ar e obviousl y persona l matters . Wh y shoul d th e ide a o f a head injury provok e thi s depressiv e anxiety ? Othe r reader s o f th e passag e i n question ar e hardly likel y to have the kind o f reactio n tha t I did . And wha t ha s thi s whol e subjectiv e proces s o f min e go t t o d o wit h Natasha Rostova , a heroine o f Le v Tolstoy's grea t novel War and Peace? A coupl e o f month s befor e readin g abou t Schreber' s fathe r bein g hi t on th e head, I had complete d a psychoanalytic stud y o f Tolstoy' s novel . The stud y focuse d o n th e characte r Pierr e Bezukhov , wh o marrie s Na tasha a t the end o f th e novel . Natasha , a s we will see, bump s he r hea d i n the presence o f Bezukhov . Originally I ha d planne d t o includ e a chapter i n tha t boo k abou t th e role m y ow n fantasie s playe d i n th e deciphermen t o f Pierre' s numerou s fantasies. Thi s chapte r wa s no t written , however , o n th e advic e o f m y lawyer, wh o als o happens t o b e my wife , an d wh o i s always looking ou t for m y goo d interests . But soone r o r later, I felt, th e topic had t o b e dealt with. Th e upcom ing conference , whic h wa s entitle d "Th e Fantasti c Imaginatio n i n Ne w Critical Theories " (hel d a t Texa s A& M Universit y i n Marc h 1990 ) seemed t o offe r th e perfect opportunit y t o dea l with self-analysis . I t wa s a forum wher e one could openl y discus s the topic of the literary scholar' s own fantasie s arisin g i n respons e t o fantasie s proffere d b y th e autho r (narrator, hero , character , etc.) . S o I wrot e th e previousl y suppresse d chapter. The boo k itsel f ha s sinc e bee n publishe d unde r th e titl e Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov: A Psychoanalytic Study (1993) . However , whil e writ ing the book , tha t is , a t the tim e o f mos t o f th e event s to b e described i n this chapter , th e titl e wa s simpl y Pierre on the Couch. Th e origina l titl e will be retained her e for reason s whic h will become obvious .

132 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e The type d manuscrip t o f th e book run s t o 23 7 single-spaced pages . I n the tw o an d one-hal f year s I was writing Pierre on the Couch I was als o keeping a diary , muc h o f whic h wa s self-analyti c i n nature . Th e diar y adds up t o 18 9 handwritten leave s (most written o n both sides) . Many of the diar y entrie s dea l with Tolstoy , hi s novel, an d especiall y wit h Pierr e himself. I n additio n t o th e straightforwardl y self-analyti c prose , ther e are poems, dreams , daytim e fantasies , philosophica l musings , doodlings , blank spaces , memor y flashes , an d s o forth—which fo r m e are insepara ble fro m th e self-analyti c pros e passage s becaus e the y ofte n generate d them, o r were generate d b y them . All o f thes e materials I now conside r leftovers , tras h almost . Ye t the y were ver y usefu l a t th e tim e o f writin g th e boo k (no t t o mentio n thei r now helpin g me to write thi s essay) . The diaristi c leftover s d o no t includ e th e rough draft s o f Pierre on the Couch. Ther e wer e thos e too , o f course , bu t the y wer e cannibalize d on e after th e other b y m y compute r a s the book gre w in size. The diar y entries , b y contrast , wer e handwritten , an d wer e no t de stroyed. No r d o I pla n t o destro y them . Her e I diffe r fro m Freud , wh o destroyed hi s papers o n mor e tha n on e occasion . What I want t o argu e i s that a diary i s a very goo d devic e fo r makin g initial contac t wit h th e subjec t o f psychoanalyti c study , fo r generatin g crude, preliminar y hypotheses , fo r maintainin g an d deepenin g contac t with the subject throug h th e production o f useful fantasie s ove r extende d periods o f time , and , mos t importantly , fo r minimizin g transferentia l distortion an d partiality . A potentia l ancillar y benefi t i s th e continue d existence o f th e diaristi c materia l beyon d th e lifetim e o f th e analyst : should som e psychoanalyti c schola r retur n t o th e sam e subjec t i n som e future generation , furthe r transferentia l distortio n ca n b e removed , fur ther refinement s o f the analysi s can be made. I realiz e tha t no t al l scholar s ar e incline d t o kee p a diary , an d tha t those wh o d o s o gladly ar e probabl y usin g th e diar y i n som e neuroti c way tha t itsel f ha s nothin g t o d o wit h generatin g hypothese s o r clearin g the ai r o f potentiall y fals e interpretations . I n m y ow n case , fo r example , a diary seem s t o b e a substitute fo r certai n kind s o f conversation s I use d to hav e wit h m y mothe r durin g earl y childhood . I hav e th e impressio n that thes e conversation s wer e abou t m y father . Association s lea d fro m there to som e old narcissistic difficulties . Nevertheless, a diar y nee d no t b e only a scen e fo r neuroti c reen -

Why Natash a Bump s Her Hea d 13

3

actment—any mor e tha n i s a novel, o r a painting—or a creative psychoanalytic stud y fo r tha t matter . As i t turn s out , Pierr e Bezukho v spend s a good dea l o f hi s tim e lyin g on a couch , whic h i s wh y m y boo k wa s originall y title d Pierre on the Couch. Obviousl y thi s titl e refer s t o mor e tha n jus t Pierre' s horizonta l position. I n writin g th e boo k I though t o f mysel f a s a psychoanalys t listening t o a patient . O f cours e th e patien t di d no t kno w h e wa s a patient, an d coul d no t hav e know n tha t h e wa s bein g listene d t o i n a manner tha t ha d no t ye t bee n invente d a t th e tim e o f th e novel' s tim e frame, whic h wa s roughl y fro m 180 5 t o 1820 , o r th e tim e o f th e novel' s writing, 1863-6 9 (o n th e othe r hand , th e eart h wa s very likel y revolvin g around th e su n befor e Copernicu s sai d i t did , an d natura l selectio n wa s undoubtedly takin g place long before Darwi n wa s born) . Early o n i n m y researc h o n Pierr e I notice d a stron g tendenc y t o identify wit h m y subject . O n 1 9 Augus t 198 7 I wrote : "Ther e i s a n 'ierre' i n bot h 'Pierre ' an d 'Laferriere ' " (i n fac t thi s i s no t true , o r i s only phonologically true ; many diar y entrie s dea l with th e parallel of m y French nam e wit h Pierre' s Frenc h name) . O n 2 9 Octobe r th e diar y reads: "Tha t sill y smil e o n Pierr e Bezukhov' s face—it' s jus t th e sam e one I se e whe n I catc h myself , unawares , i n a mirror. " O n 1 0 Ma y 1988: " I kee p thinkin g Pierr e ha s a moustache . Bu t h e doesn't . / hav e the moustache. " The identificatio n wit h Pierre , a s ca n b e see n fro m thes e examples , had a certai n admixtur e o f projection . Fo r Pierr e t o hav e a moustache , for instance , i s a n objectivel y unwarrante d fantasy . Bu t I fel t fre e t o project i n th e diary , I enjoye d i t even . I t helpe d m e t o "loose n up, " t o "get int o th e swing " o f livin g with Pierre . Th e fantas y wa s no t shamefu l because i t wa s no t i n th e "objective " boo k I wa s simultaneousl y tryin g to writ e abou t Pierre , wher e o f cours e i t woul d hav e bee n ou t o f plac e and would hav e distorted Tolstoy's imag e of Pierre . Sometimes m y tendenc y t o projec t wa s manifeste d i n mor e subtl e ways, s o subtl e i n fac t tha t sometime s I barel y caugh t th e elemen t of projection : 23 [April 1988] Hunting aroun d fo r evidenc e o f a connection betwee n th e folklori c Petrushk a and Tolstoy' s Pierre , I cam e acros s thi s descriptio n o f Petrushk a i n th e Brok haus-Efron encyclopedia : "Petrushk a govori t khriply m i vizglivy m goloso m [Petrushka speaks in a hoarse and shrill voice] . . . " For a moment I thought that

134 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e this did indeed apply to Pierre at the moment he challenged Dolokhov to a duel. But then I checked, and Tolstoy only says "Ne smeite brat'!—kriknul o n [Don't you dar e tak e it ! he shouted"— SS V , 29] . Perhaps I confuse d "khriplyi " wit h "kriknut'," because of the sound similarity. But then I realized I was thinking of myself, o f ho w m y voice goes way u p an d squeak s sometimes , lik e a woman's voice. So I was looking for Pierre, but I found myself. It i s possibl e tha t thi s sor t o f thin g happene d o n othe r occasions , bu t without m y catchin g th e error . I hop e not . I wouldn' t hav e wante d t o give Pierr e a high, feminin e voic e i f h e didn' t "really " hav e one . O n th e other hand , Pierr e reall y does manifest feminin e characteristic s o n som e occasions (especiall y i n th e attachmen t t o th e Freemaso n Bazdeev) , an d it was thu s no t entirel y irrelevan t fo r idea s abou t m y ow n feminin e sid e to be coming into play . At time s I would be Pierre : 7 August [1987] A portion o f a dream: I enter an elevator somewhere in Cambridge [Massachu setts]. A s I ente r I a m Pierre Bezukhov , whe n I com e ou t o n th e othe r sid e I am Napoleon. In thi s fantas y th e transformatio n int o Napoleo n rathe r resemble s Pierre's ow n grandios e fantasie s abou t bein g th e biblica l "beast " num bered 666 who woul d overcom e Napoleon (WP, 756-39). If i n som e situations I had difficult y disentanglin g mysel f fro m Pierre , in other s I complaine d abou t bein g to o unlike Pierre . Usuall y thi s wa s not a seriou s problem , a s whe n on e da y (2 4 Septembe r 1988 ) I notice d what seeme d lik e something ne w abou t Pierre : "Ho w com e Pierre is no t a perfectionis t too , lik e me , lik e Princ e Andrei? " Ther e i s n o furthe r discussion o f thi s i n th e diary , an d I see m t o hav e accepte d Pierre' s lack o f ana l preoccupation s (whic h ar e wha t perfectionis m sublimates) . Besides, I ha d alread y writte n a book o n that subjec t ( I cal l it "th e kak a book," whic h i s abou t Nikola i Gogol' s highl y ana l characte r Akaki i Akakievich—see Rancour-Laferrier e 1982) . On othe r occasions , however , Pierre' s "objective " dissimilarit y t o m e was a real point o f conflict : [20 May 1988 ]

Sometimes I don't like Pierre Bezukhov. . . . He is such a rich bastard. Why do I need a rich man's problems? I am from th e proletariat. Pierr e never worked a day i n hi s life. Wha t doe s he know abou t diggin g ditches, hoein g potatoes, o r feeding swill to the pigs?

Why Natash a Bump s Her Hea d 13

5

Yes, indeed , wha t di d he know ? Nothing , o f course . H e wa s on e o f th e richest nobleme n i n earl y nineteenth-centur y Russia . I , o n th e othe r hand, wa s a workaholic academi c of ver y humbl e socia l origins (French Canadian workin g class) . This clas s differenc e betwee n mysel f an d Pierr e wa s ver y importan t for th e writing of the book. O n occasio n i t engendered grea t psychologi cal tension. Bu t I knew i t was a problem, an d I reveled i n the difference , enjoying a kin d o f revers e snobbery , o r wha t i n psychoanalyti c term s was a reactio n formation : I wa s Pierre' s socia l inferior , an d becaus e o f that I wa s superio r t o him . / kne w wha t hi s poor , exploite d serf s wer e going through , whil e he , th e dummy , coul d no t eve n manag e t o fre e them whe n i t was his intention t o fre e them . H e wa s just a bumbler. H e was outwitte d b y hi s steward , wh o embezzle d hi s mone y an d prevente d the serfs fro m bein g freed, an d s o on . These feeling s wer e useful . The y wer e base d o n m y persona l interna l conflict, bu t the y gav e m e a certain distanc e fro m m y subjec t a s well. I t was no t goo d t o b e always identifyin g wit h Pierre . O n th e othe r hand , those moment s o f overidentificatio n wit h hi m di d ten d t o provok e self analytic breakthrough s (cf . Tich o 314-15 , o n th e potential advantage s o f overidentification wit h literar y an d film characters) . Sometimes I woul d thin k I wa s no t identifyin g wit h Pierre , whe n i n fact I was . Here , fo r example , i s a pre-slee p fantas y wher e h e becam e my father : [12 June 1988] . . . fa t Pierr e wa s sittin g dow n t o ea t hi s dinne r i n som e restaurant . I wa s watching fro m th e othe r sid e o f th e room . Suddenl y h e go t u p an d starte d walking toward me. I was afraid . Associations: Dad eatin g ha m an d eggs , which w e children weren' t allowe d t o have. Envy. Longing to be fed. I remembe r tha t th e fea r o f m y fathe r i n thi s fantas y wa s considerable , and I knew i t had somethin g t o d o with death . Th e passage continues : But ham and eggs have high cholesterol . Da d shoul d be dead? Recently [I ] had my own cholesterol checked—it's too high. So, whe n Pierr e go t u p an d starte d walkin g towar d me , i t wa s no t onl y my father' s death , bu t m y ow n deat h approachin g a s well. Sometimes, havin g becom e ver y sic k o f Pierre , I ha d fantasie s o f psychoanalyzing somebod y else—anybod y else , i t di d no t matter . Bu t

i}6 Danie

l Rancour-Laferrier e

in fac t i t di d matter , fo r th e somebod y els e usuall y bor e som e systemati c relationship t o Pierr e i n m y mind . Fo r example , ther e wa s Phili p Care y from Somerse t Maugham' s Of Human Bondage ( I rea d th e nove l fo r th e first tim e i n th e summe r o f 1988) : [19 July 1988 ] Seriously. Ther e i s mor e fo r m e t o identif y wit h i n Phili p Care y tha n i n Pierr e Bezukhov. Phili p has known poverty , degradation , desperat e love. I have know n all these . Ha s Pierr e know n them ? Mayb e th e trial s o f hi s imprisonmen t mak e up fo r th e fact tha t he is basically a spoiled bastar d . . . I force d mysel f t o kee p writin g th e b o o k abou t thi s "spoile d bastard, " but th e disgus t wa s buildin g u p , an d i t ha d t o b e handle d somehow . The immediat e occasio n fo r a breakthroug h wa s Richar d Wollheim' s fascinating b o o k The Thread of Life. I happene d t o b e readin g i t ove r lunch i n a caf e o n 4 August . Lik e s o man y philosophica l treatise s o n th e mind, thi s on e struc k m e a s bein g a n incomplet e autoanalysis . I wa s particularly fascinate d b y a chapte r title d "Th e Examine d Life. " Thi s chapter go t m e t o thinkin g abou t th e wa y Pierr e constantl y examine s hi s o w n life , an d fro m there—surpris e ! — I starte d thinkin g abou t mysel f again. I t seem s tha t Pierre' s narcissis m wa s no t unrelate d t o m y nar cissism: It ha s bee n sai d tha t th e unexamine d lif e i s no t wort h livin g [Plato , Apology 38]. This i s true i n a more profound sens e than wa s perhaps intended . It means : i f I d o no t examin e m y lif e i t i s worthless , i t i s shameful , I a m worthless, I a m unloved, etc . It ha s finally dawne d o n m e tha t Pierre' s constan t self-examinatio n i s a symptom [amon g other s I ha d writte n abou t i n th e boo k an d i n th e diary ] of damage d narcissism . Hi s relentles s inwardnes s compensate s fo r insufficien t attention bein g paid t o him i n early life. H e i s always trying t o figure ou t what is right an d wha t i s wrong—bu t primaril y i n relationshi p t o himself. H e canno t make up hi s mind wha t t o d o with himself —and i n the process give s an extraor dinary amoun t o f attentio n t o himself , an d force s other s t o pa y attentio n t o hi m too (e.g. , hi s indecisio n abou t marryin g Helene , hi s conversation s wit h Bazdeev). At th e sam e tim e (o r perhap s tw o o r thre e hour s later ) i t dawne d o n m e wh y I a m s o intereste d i n psychoanalysis : i t give s m e a n excus e fo r thinkin g abou t myself. Auto-analysis especiall y (which this diary is full of ) i s a form o f narcissistic gratification . Tha t ough t t o hav e bee n obvious . Afte r all , Joe l [ a colleagu e who i s a professor o f philosophy ] ha d alread y som e month s ag o pointe d ou t t o me ho w "self-indulgent " m y planne d chapte r o n auto-analysi s woul d be . Bu t somehow i t didn' t hi t m e then . I wa s to o intereste d i n convincin g Joe l tha t

Why Natash a Bump s Her Hea d 13

7

autoanalysis is a useful methodologica l tool (which it is). But today it hit me as I was thinkin g abou t Pierr e thinkin g abou t himself , tha t I ver y ofte n d o wha t Pierre does.1 Perhaps I would not have understood what Pierre was up to if I had not been up to it myself. Or perhaps I would not have understood what I have been up to if I ha d no t ha d extensiv e contac t wit h thi s Pierr e fellow . I don' t understan d which direction the process works—it seems to be bi-directional. This sens e o f bi-directionalit y strike s me , i n retrospect , a s itself a symptom o f ho w deepl y entangle d I ha d gotte n wit h Pierre' s personality . There wa s mor e tha n jus t identificatio n an d th e attendan t danger s o f projection. I n Kohutia n terms , Pierr e wa s no t merel y a n object , h e wa s a self object (o n this not alway s clear distinction, se e Heinz Kohut' s boo k The Analysis of the Self). Bu t I think i t was eve n necessary fo r m e to b e involved wit h Pierr e a s a self object because , earl y in the novel at least, h e was himsel f treatin g other s a s selfobjects . H e ha d troubl e separatin g himself fro m Helene , fo r example . A t on e poin t h e perceived himsel f a s possessing her grea t beaut y (WP, 228) . Similarly , I woul d sometime s think I sa w him i n the mirror. Th e importan t thin g i s that, seein g him i n the mirro r helpe d m e t o understan d tha t he wa s treatin g Helen e a s a mirror . In th e boo k I argu e tha t Helen e i s on e o f th e substitut e mother s i n Pierre's life . Pierr e i s alway s searchin g fo r a substitut e mother , becaus e he lost hi s real mother earl y i n life (Tolstoy' s ow n mothe r die d when th e writer was a toddler). The topi c o f Pierre' s motherlessnes s fascinate d m e no end . Originall y I wa s goin g t o writ e a boo k abou t th e nationa l characte r o f "Mothe r Russia," an d Pierr e wa s merel y goin g t o b e on e o f he r foremos t "sons. " But the n I abandone d th e large r topi c an d zeroe d i n o n motherles s Pierre. Th e questio n o f wh o Pierre' s mothe r wa s neve r lef t m e durin g the tw o an d one-hal f year s o f writing . T o thi s da y th e questio n i s unanswered i n m y mind , an d I believ e Tolsto y unconsciousl y intende d that hi s nove l hav e thi s puzzling effec t o n th e reader . Pierre , throug h al l his transformation s durin g th e fifteen-year tim e fram e o f th e novel , remains a lost soul , a n orphane d child . A t on e poin t I ha d a fantasy o f Pierre goin g aroun d t o al l th e variou s olde r ladie s i n th e novel—Ann a Mikhailovna Scherer , Countes s Apraksine , Ann a Pavlovn a Drubetskaia , and s o forth—an d asking : "Excus e me , ar e yo u m y mother? " (2 8 Au gust 1989) .

138 Danie

l Rancour-Laferrier e

For a while I was tryin g t o feel wha t i t would b e lik e t o b e motherless . But sinc e I ha d no t los t m y mother , thi s presente d a difficulty . Th e solution I happene d upo n wa s t o fantasiz e somethin g jus t a little differ ent, bu t no t too differen t fro m losin g a mother. A t th e tim e I wa s i n th e throes o f paraphrasin g Tolstoy' s depiction s o f Helen e earl y i n th e novel : [26 January 1988 ] . . . I bega n considerin g th e fac t tha t Pierr e ha s n o mother , tha t h e mus t hav e lost her very early . I did not lose m y mother . Bu t I lost someone else . Kakri n [a sister who die d at the age of two when I was four] . Now i t hit s me . I ca n understan d th e wa y Pierr e deal s wit h Helen e i f I just think of Kakrin , no t Ma. Sister , no t mother. Or sister-icon . Man y o f th e wome n I hav e falle n i n lov e wit h hav e bee n sister-icons . . . There i s som e trut h t o thi s ( I hav e ha d intens e relationship s wit h sister icons), bu t i n retrospec t i t look s defensiv e i n context , to o intellectual . I am no t sur e tha t I wil l ever understan d wha t i t mean s t o los e a mother , unless m y mothe r die s befor e I do . Thi s belie f i s reinforce d b y th e experience o f a goo d frien d o f min e whos e mothe r die d recently . H e insists tha t I coul d no t possibl y kno w wha t i t feel s like , an d tha t h e ha d not th e slightes t ide a wha t a blow i t woul d b e unti l i t actuall y happene d to him . I accep t hi s judgment . Some o f m y thought s o f Pierr e see m t o hav e bee n merel y presse d int o the servic e o f psychologica l issue s havin g littl e t o d o wit h th e book . Fo r example, whe n I wa s visitin g m y larg e famil y i n rura l Vermon t fo r several day s durin g th e summe r o f 198 8 I wa s no t activel y workin g o n the book . Bu t event s durin g th e visi t reminde d m e o f event s i n War and Peace, an d i n particula r m y visit s wit h m y agin g fathe r reminde d m e o f Pierre's relationshi p wit h th e novel' s age d Freemason , Osi p Bazdeev . For example : [3 July 1988 ] The thing about dad is that he has gotten so old he almost looks dead — There i s tha t passag e wher e Pierr e look s a t Bazdeev— pochti mertvoe litso [almost dead face]. The entr y goe s o n t o dea l wit h th e intens e feeling s abou t m y fathe r which I wa s experiencin g durin g thos e visits . Th e focu s wa s o n thos e feelings—not o n Pierre . At som e leve l o f cours e th e entir e Pierr e boo k wa s a means o f dealin g with persona l issues . Al l book s ar e abou t thei r authors . Bu t whe n th e

Why Natash a Bump s Her Hea d 13

9

author i s awa y fro m hi s o r he r book-in-progres s an d i s dealin g wit h personal issue s i n a direct fashion , the n th e boo k become s rathe r irrele vant. Instea d o f pleasan t sublimatio n ther e i s ra w affect , whic h fo r m e can rang e fro m exhilaratio n t o depression . I n genera l I muc h prefe r t o write books tha n t o dea l with m y family . Sometimes, though , writin g come s ver y clos e t o direc t confrontatio n with th e family . O n a da y i n Augus t o f 198 9 I wa s hammerin g ou t a paraphrase o f Pierre' s first meetin g wit h Natash a afte r th e wa r wit h Napoleon wa s over . Th e par t whic h I hav e italicize d i s wha t caugh t my eye : "Well, that's all—everything/' sai d Natasha. She got up quickly just as Nicholas entered, almost ran to the door which was hidden b y curtains, struck her head against it, and tore out o f th e room with a moan either of pain or sorrow [stuknulas' golovoi o dver', prikrytuiu port'eroi, i s stonom ne to boli, ne to pechali vyrvalas' iz komnaty]. Pierre gaze d a t th e doo r throug h whic h sh e ha d disappeare d an d di d no t understand why he suddenly felt all alone in the world. (WP y 1238; SS y V, 248) This was puzzling. Wh y di d Natasha bum p he r head? Something seeme d not quit e righ t here . I fel t disturbed , alarme d even , a s i f heav y thunde r were rollin g i n th e distance . An d wh y di d Pierr e suddenl y fee l aban doned a t this moment ? The secon d questio n wa s perhap s answerable , becaus e Pierr e ha d jus t realized h e was in lov e with Natasha , s o perhaps h e was just missin g he r because sh e ha d temporaril y lef t th e room . Bu t th e wordin g seeme d inappropriately stron g ("o n vdru g odi n ostalsi a v o vsem mire") . H e ha d been i n an d ou t o f lov e wit h he r man y times , bu t ha d neve r fel t abandoned b y her. An d Natash a ha d don e many od d an d quirky thing s in th e novel, bu t t o m e banging her head just sounde d too odd . Here I remembere d tha t th e Russia n criti c Konstanti n Leontie v ha d once bee n similarl y disturbe d abou t th e passage : "thi s i s just an acciden t for accident' s sake , thi s is a straining o f realism " (93). The nex t though t tha t cam e t o m y min d a s I continue d t o ruminat e about thi s proble m was : Tolsto y himsel f mus t hav e fel t abandone d i n that sam e way whe n hi s mother died . Sinc e in Pierre on the Couch I ha d argued tha t Natash a wa s a mother-ico n fo r Pierre , an d sinc e Pierr e himself wa s s o ver y muc h lik e Tolstoy , i t wa s onl y natura l t o wonde r about Tolstoy's mothe r i n this context. Bu t my idea that Tolstoy ha d fel t abandoned b y hi s mothe r whe n sh e die d seeme d a bi t questionable ,

140 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e because Tolsto y wa s onl y slightl y les s tha n tw o year s ol d whe n tha t happened, an d h e always claime d tha t h e could no t eve n remember wha t she looked like . But th e ide a o f Tolstoy' s mothe r woul d stil l no t g o away , becaus e a t that poin t I remembere d readin g somethin g abou t a head injury tha t Tolstoy's mothe r suffere d shortl y befor e he r death , an d whic h ma y eve n have been th e cause of her death (se e Gusev 58) . But the n that memor y quickl y le d m e awa y fro m Tolsto y altogethe r and int o my ow n past : [15 Aug 1989 ]

Tolstoy's mothe r ha d die d [wor d crosse d out ] a s a resul t o f complication s following a head injury. Then I remembered m y own aversion t o bein g hit on the head. I remembered the time [D] hit [F] on the head with his crutch, causing blood t o flow. I remembere d [M ] beatin g [R ] s o har d tha t I coul d hea r hi s screams a quarter o f a mile away . An d the n ther e wa s th e tim e whe n I ha d a scene with [D] when I refused t o let him cut my hair (he used to enjoy our cries when the scissors would get tangled in our hair because they were too dull [word crossed out] for cutting). And I remembere d th e tim e when , a s I wa s puttin g dishe s awa y i n th e cupboard, on e o f th e cupboar d door s wa s ope n an d I hi t m y hea d agains t it . Such pain. I wanted to smash the cupboard door to pieces.

As I ente r thi s handwritte n documen t int o m y compute r I ca n fee l th e original affec t eb b away . Bu t I remembe r bein g i n a state o f excitemen t and anguis h whe n I wrot e th e passag e int o th e diary , an d I recal l th e even greate r excitemen t (an d dread ) I fel t whe n I originall y notice d tha t Natasha bumped her head. Th e oddnes s o f tha t detai l and m y persona l connection t o th e detai l seemed t o doubl e th e affect , t o mak e me feel th e excitement I always feel when I discover somethin g that is true about th e world and abou t myself . I a m sur e I woul d hav e notice d th e detai l o f Natash a bumpin g he r head i f i t ha d no t bee n directl y relevan t t o me . Bu t i t woul d no t hav e bothered m e much . I woul d mos t likel y hav e jus t gon e o n wit h th e writing an d no t attempte d t o explai n th e detai l {Pierre on the Couch y like mos t scholarl y books , leave s man y mor e detail s unmotivate d an d unexplained tha n i t attempt s t o explain) . Bu t becaus e th e detai l wa s i n fact tie d t o ver y stron g feeling s o f m y own , I was pushed t o accoun t fo r it, t o explai n it, t o intellectualize a s all intellectuals do . I thought , fo r example , abou t th e connectio n o f doors with death i n

Why Natash a Bump s Her Hea d 14

1

Tolstoy's work s (recal l the door Princ e Andrei dream s o f a s he is dying). I though t als o abou t ho w a seemingl y mino r blo w ca n lea d t o deat h i n Tolstoy's writing , a s i n The Death of Ivan Ilyich (thi s ide a wa s no t m y own, bu t was suggested t o me in conversation wit h Hein z Ins u Fenkl) . I though t als o abou t wha t m y hea d (m y literal , physica l head ) mean s to me: most of my eigh t brothers ar e strong, muscular , an d make a living by manua l labor , wherea s I a m no t muscular , bu t I hav e a larg e head which I use to mak e a living. Injur y t o m y head mean s death —I woul d not onl y b e unabl e t o mak e a living , bu t I woul d thin k o f mysel f a s worthless wit h a defective head an d woul d b e oblige d t o die. Thi s latte r idea i s a simple consequenc e o f th e perceptio n I had , i n childhood , o f a person I love d wh o use d t o strik e m e o n th e head: thi s perso n wante d me t o die. A s a n adul t I canno t shak e th e feeling : To be struck on the head means that life is not worth living. All o f thi s was , o f course , highl y transferentia l materia l an d ha d n o place i n m y boo k o n Pierre . I t wa s a good thin g I wa s gettin g i t of f m y chest i n th e diary , o r reservin g i t fo r wha t eventuall y becam e thi s essay , for otherwis e i t migh t hav e spoile d th e objectivit y o f certai n part s o f the book. 2 The transferentia l materia l wa s als o quit e apar t fro m th e fac t tha t Tolstoy himsel f ha d t o hav e ha d a reaso n fo r introducin g th e detai l of Natash a bumpin g he r head . I n m y self-analyti c scramblin g abou t I eventually di d com e u p wit h a theory, althoug h th e theor y wa s relevan t to Tolstoy , no t Pierre , s o i t i s no t include d i n th e book . I t goe s some thing lik e this : Tolstoy's belove d Natash a represent s hi s mother , Pierr e represents Tolsto y himself , an d th e sudde n an d intens e feelin g o f los s that Pierr e experience s righ t afte r Natash a bump s he r hea d i s a referenc e to th e stil l unextinguished grie f Tolsto y fel t ove r th e los s o f hi s mother , who ha d die d a s the result o f a blow t o the head. Thi s comple x hypothe sis would certainl y requir e detaile d stud y o f al l the relevan t biographica l source materials , suc h a s Tolstoy's ow n descriptio n o f th e crying spell s he had i n old ag e whenever h e tried t o think abou t hi s mother . As fo r motivatin g th e imag e o f Natash a bumpin g he r hea d within the narrative sequence of Tolstoy's novel, I am still at a loss, as was Leontiev . There i s no comparabl e hea d injur y suffere d b y an y o f th e othe r wome n in Pierre's life, fo r example , with which to compare this particular bump . In context , th e bum p i s trul y gratuitous , an d moder n reader s d o no t

142 Danie l Rancour-Laferrier e seem t o min d it s bein g so . A s Gar y Sau l Morso n say s o f th e incident : "we ar e no w use d t o acceptin g event s tha t revea l characte r withou t materially advancin g th e story" (79) . I coul d multipl y examples . Th e diar y materia l i s truly massive , an d eve n it i s ver y incomplete . I t show s ever y sig n o f bein g a n "interminable " self-analysis. Meantime, I think I have offered enoug h sample s t o sho w that , i n m y case a t least , persona l concern s hav e a lo t t o d o wit h th e scholarl y analysis o f literature . Hopefull y i t i s als o apparen t tha t persona l con cerns, whe n manage d b y means o f persistent self-analysis , ca n assist wit h intellectual creativity . The fantasie s I produce d an d wrot e dow n i n respons e t o Tolstoy' s fantasies brough t m e int o a close r contac t wit h Pierr e tha n I migh t otherwise hav e achieved . The y als o encourage d th e productio n o f hypotheses abou t Pierre . With continue d self-analysis , o n th e othe r hand , I wa s force d t o discard a t leas t som e o f th e hypotheses a s irrelevantly transferential , an d was encouraged t o produce alternatives . Given th e natura l limitation s o f self-analysis , i t ha s t o b e pursue d vigorously ove r a considerable perio d o f time . A littl e self-knowledg e i s a dangerou s thing . On e shoul d drin k deep , o r tast e no t th e self-analyti c spring. Ther e ha s t o b e a sense tha t th e analysi s i s "interminable " befor e it can be safely terminated . Self-analysis i s a useful too l fo r humanisti c scholarship . I t i s certainl y not th e onl y tool , no r i s it a n obligator y tool . I t i s also not a tool tha t i s suited t o ever y scholar' s temperamen t (eac h scholar' s neurosi s i s differ ent). Bu t whe n i t i s used—a s i t mus t b e i n mos t scholarshi p tha t i s specifically psychoanalyti c i n orientation—i t shoul d no t b e use d spar ingly. Otherwis e ther e i s a dange r o f bot h intellectua l shallownes s an d inappropriate actin g out i n the supposedly "objective " scholarl y text. 3

Notes 1. Compar e Jeffrey Berma n who , a t th e en d o f hi s excellen t boo k Narcissism and the Novel (245-56), openly discusses his own narcissism.

Why Natasha Bumps Her Head 14 3 2. Ther e are perhaps some further implications o f th e fantasy material that I was not aware of a t the time I was thinking about the significance o f head injuries. Two reader s o f th e first draf t o f thi s essay wrot e t o me an d argued (indepen dently of one another) that my concerns about head injury signified castratio n anxiety. Ala n Elm s ( 7 Februar y 1990 ) pointe d t o th e "lif e no t wort h living " passage, compare d i t with a remarkably simila r passage i n Freud's Psychopathology of Everyday Life (whic h I had read man y years ago) , an d noted tha t Freud ofte n sai d tha t fea r o f deat h disguise s fea r o f castration . Steve n Rose n (8 Augus t 1990 ) wrot e tha t th e physica l comparison s wit h m y "muscular " brothers indicated anxiet y about my masculinity, an d that the concerns abou t head injur y shoul d b e understood i n terms o f "th e familiar Freudia n associa tion (hea d = penis)." A s fo r th e painfu l haircutting , Rose n stated : "th e blun t shears bot h symboliz e hi s [D's ] phallu s an d threate n you r castratio n (whil e actually injuring the head)." I confes s tha t I ha d no t though t much abou t thi s sexua l aspec t o f th e problem befor e hearin g fro m Elm s an d Rosen. I was thinkin g i n a Kohutian rather tha n a Freudian mode . Bu t Elm s an d Rose n coul d wel l b e right , an d my self-analysi s ma y have been incomplete i n this area. I have myself writte n about th e death-castratio n an d head-peni s equatio n i n previou s book s (Ran cour-Laferriere 1985 , 315 ; 1982 , 154-65 ; there is also considerable discussio n in Pierre on the Couch of the castration imagery applied to Pierre by Tolstoy). In any case, th e self-analysi s seem s t o hav e been extensiv e enoug h t o preven t me fro m makin g unwarranted , projectiv e conclusion s abou t th e head-bump ing inciden t i n th e nove l (ver y littl e i s sai d abou t th e inciden t i n Pierre on the Couch). 3. I wis h t o than k Barbar a Milman , Ala n Elms , Steve n Rosen , Bret t Cooke , Joel Friedman , an d Hein z Ins u Fenk l fo r thei r constructiv e comment s o n this chapter.

Works Cite d Berman, Jeffrey . Narcissism and the Novel. Ne w York : Ne w Yor k Universit y Press, 1990 . Freud, Sigmund . Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Trans , unde r directio n o f J. Strachey . London : Hogarth Press , 1953-65, 2 4 vols, (abbreviate d as SE in the text). Gusev, N . Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoi: Materialy k hiografii c 1828 po 1855 god. Moscow: IzdatePstvo ANSSSR, 1954 . Kohut, Heinz . The Analysis of the Self. New York : Internationa l Universitie s Press, 1971 . Leontiev, K . Analiz, stiV i veianie: O romanakh Gr. L. N. Tolstogo. 1912 . Providence: Brown University Press , 1965 .

144 Danie

l Rancour-Laferrier e

Lothane, Zvi . "Schreber , Freud , Flechsig , an d Webe r Revisited : An Inquir y int o Methods o f Interpretation. " Psychoanalytic Review y6 (1989): 203-62. Morson, Gar y Saul . Hidden in Plain View: Narrative and Creative Potentials in "War and Peace". Stanford : Stanfor d Universit y Press , 1987 . Rancour-Laferriere, Daniel . Out from under Gogol's Overcoat: A Psychoanalytic Study. An n Arbor : Ardis , 1982 . . Signs of the Flesh: An Essay on the Evolution of Hominid Sexuality. Berlin: Mouton d e Gruyter, 1985 . . Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov: A Psychoanalytic Study. London : Bristo l Classical Press, 1993 . Ticho, Gertrud e R . "O n Self-Analysis. " International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 48 (1967): 308-18. Tolstoi, Lev . Sobranie sochinenii v dvadtsati tomakh. Moscow : Gosudarst vennoe izdatePstv o khudozhestvenno i literatury , 1960-65 , 2 0 vols, (abbrevi ated a s SS in text). . War and Peace. Ed. G . Gibian . 1869 . Ne w York : W . W . Norton , 196 6 (abbreviated a s WP in text).

S I X

Wimp o r Faggot ? Subjectiv e Considerations i n Understandin g the Alienatio n o f Dostoevsky' s Underground Ma n Steven Rosen

Serendipitous Introduction Many beggar s wor k m y Manhatta n neighborhood . I recentl y sa w tw o fighting ove r turf . On e challenge d th e other : "Swing , then , nigger . Come on , faggot , yo u jus t ful l o f ho t air! " Befor e m y eye s unfolde d a n actual versio n o f m y literar y study : th e multipl e meanings , som e spuri ous bu t stil l significant , tha t th e gesture s o f male s i n physical confronta tions generate . I f th e fello w fail s t o thro w a punch, h e no t onl y show s himself mee k (an d thereb y unmasculine) , bu t a "faggot"—thoug h w e really kno w nothin g abou t hi s sexua l orientation . Furthermore , h e i s called a "nigger, " b y anothe r Africa n American , befor e a gatherin g crowd o f whites . No t wishin g t o encourag e th e brawl , I move d on , noting tha t w e Jewish academic s ar e no t th e onl y one s concerne d abou t these issues. Walking on , I passe d a n elderl y beggar , on e I find to o aggressivel y charming, uncomfortabl y Uncl e Tomish, i n his ritual well-wishings t o all passersby. H e begged , an d I , preoccupied b y the previous confrontation , exercised th e sage' s prerogativ e t o obliviousness . Bu t a s I walked o n by , I heard hi m mutter , "Yo u jerk , yo u coul d a t least look a t a person i f yo u don't giv e the m anything. " I first thought , no , yo u hav e n o mor e righ t 145

146 Steve n Rose n to coerc e a kind loo k fro m m e than a quarter, no t i f you statio n yoursel f in m y pat h ever y day . Bu t the n I reflecte d tha t Dostoevsk y woul d hav e sided wit h th e beggar . H e to o pu t a need fo r public , physica l significa tions o f respec t an d affectio n ove r money . Then wh y wouldn' t I loo k a t a n ol d blac k beggar ? Becaus e I a m a n intellectual an d lik e to thin k withou t interruption ? Becaus e I a m a wimp and fea r t o acknowledg e m y refusa l o f money ? Becaus e I a m a Jew an d find i t excruciatin g t o loo k chea p befor e gentiles ? Becaus e I am—a s h e called me— a jerk ?

The Gist of the Essay Why doe s Dostoevsky' s Undergroun d Ma n spen d year s pursuin g a strapping office r wh o onc e unceremoniousl y move d hi m aside ? I n "Ho moerotic Bod y Languag e i n Dostoevsky " {Psychoanalytic Review, Fal l 1993), I hypothesize d tha t th e intellectua l anti-her o no t onl y feel s of fended whe n th e office r grip s hi s shoulders , bu t sexuall y aroused . I claimed tha t a hypersensitivity t o bod y language , whic h pervade s Dos toevsky's description s o f me n i n confrontations , frequentl y ha s a homoerotic motive . An d I argue d tha t Freud , i n hi s stil l controversia l stud y "Dostoevsky an d Parricide, " was righ t to explai n th e writer's ideologica l development (whic h h e deplored) o n thi s basis. I stil l think tha t interpretatio n plausible . Bu t th e psychoanalytic focu s of th e journa l whic h accepte d m y Dostoevsk y essa y oblige d m e t o sup press perspective s perhap s equall y importan t t o understandin g Dostoev sky's treatmen t o f bod y language . Eve n the n I fel t m y analysi s wa s uncomfortably partial , i n bot h senses o f th e word—incomplet e an d biased. First , i t reduce d t o a singl e meanin g passage s whos e fascinatio n lies i n th e multiplicit y o f interpretation s the y provoke . Second , i t dis credited Dostoevsky' s religiou s an d politica l idealization s b y stressin g their hypotheticall y homoeroti c motive . Lik e Freu d himself , I thereb y indulged a n ethni c animu s agains t Dostoevsky , whos e anti-Semiti c writ ings have been cite d i n defense o f pogroms an d ritual murder accusation s (Goldstein 131) . Lik e Freud , a s I wil l argue , m y treatmen t o f Dostoev sky was in part motivate d t o defend Jewish masculinity—thoug h recent , African America n (no t nineteenth-centur y Russian ) anti-Semitis m the n preoccupied me . M y journa l entrie s concernin g forme r an d curren t per sonal parallel s t o th e Undergroun d Man' s situatio n als o pointe d mor e

Wimp o r Faggot 14

7

clearly to our mutual anxietie s about masculinity tha n to any homosexua l motives. S o this subjectiv e essa y supplements , no t contradicts , m y prio r explanation o f Dostoevskia n bod y language . Her e I attribut e hi s hyper sensitivity t o th e posture s me n assum e i n confrontations , no t t o re pressed, conflicte d homosexuality , bu t t o ambivalenc e abou t mal e bond ing or masculinit y proving . An d her e I conside r th e forc e tha t factor s o f ethnicity an d class , famil y history , an d sexua l temperamen t hav e ha d upon m y ow n an d som e others' psychoanalytic interpretations .

The Homoerotic Hypothesis Before considerin g alternativ e approache s t o Dostoevsky , an d t o myself , it i s necessar y t o summariz e m y original , Freudia n interpretatio n mor e fully. Though th e Undergroun d Ma n doe s shoulde r int o th e office r t o pa y back a n earlie r physica l slight , h e als o fantasize s abou t th e friendl y embraces h e migh t enjo y wit h th e "dea r fellow " (Notes from Underground 68 , 72) . Likewise , thoug h h e claim s no t t o understan d th e basi s of hi s cohort' s attractio n t o Zverkov , a popular mediocrity , th e latter' s physical presenc e fascinate s fo r th e sam e reaso n tha t hi s libertinis m offends him . Th e bitterl y jealou s narrato r love s th e handsom e fo p bot h more intensel y an d physicall y tha n th e me n wh o frankl y admir e Zver kov's coolnes s an d shar e his shallow attitudes . Likewise, Trusotsky , th e cuckol d i n Dostoevsky' s The Eternal Husband, confront s hi s decease d wife' s lover , no t s o muc h t o aveng e hi s dignity, bu t to signal his own, unreciprocate d attractio n t o the handsom e roue. Homosexua l feelin g being unmentionable, h e is compelled t o signa l it silentl y throug h mysteriousl y outsize d posture s an d gestures . Thes e culminate i n violen t grappling s an d bizarr e nursing—fo r example , Tru sotsky pressin g ho t iron s agains t Velchaninov' s nake d flesh—which , I maintain, ar e barely symbolize d copulations . The violen t conspirator s i n The Possessed all ten d t o seduc e o r repe l one anothe r throug h provocativ e posture s an d gestures . Th e libertin e nihilist Stavrogin , perhap s himsel f seduce d i n childhoo d b y hi s libera l tutor Stepa n Verkhovensky , onc e preache d Slavophilis m t o a disciple , Shatov, wh o (lik e Trusotsky) len t Stavrogi n hi s wife. Late r Shato v figu ratively "dancefs ] naked " befor e Stavrogin , hopin g t o get th e latte r t o "raise th e banner " (o f Slavophilism) , an d confesse s a desir e t o kis s hi s

148 Steve n Rose n footprints (240) . Shatov's killer , Pete r Verkhovensky, praise s Stavrogin' s handsomeness, kisse s him impulsively , an d ca n hardly kee p his hands of f him. Verkhovensky , i n turn , manipulate s hi s murderou s stooge , Erkel , through th e latter' s haples s homoeroticism , typicall y signifie d throug h Erkel's hypersensitivit y t o th e gesture s o f salutation . Hi s chie f concer n after helpin g kil l Shato v wa s no t havin g committe d murder , o r endan gered himself , bu t hi s boss' s failur e t o "hav e presse d hi s han d a bi t harder" i n leavetaking (647). Likewise, i n The Brothers Karamazov, Smerdyako v kill s old Karama zov fo r lov e o f hi s half-brothe r Ivan . A cowardly , affecte d dand y wh o shows "muc h contemp t fo r th e femal e sex " (114) , Smerdyako v canno t speak directl y o f eithe r th e murde r o r hi s love , s o h e fills hi s conversa tions wit h smirk s an d gestures , torturin g Iva n wit h th e coyl y eroti c intimations o f his body languag e (248-49) . Recurrently, a Dostoevskia n characte r typ e emerges : th e touch y (Notes from Underground), confrontationa l (Eternal Husband), o r con spiratorial typ e (The Possessed, The Brothers Karamazov) whos e resent ment an d violenc e ste m fro m rejecte d homosexua l attraction . Further more, m y poin t wa s not tha t Dostoevsk y occasionall y portraye d a bitter recluse, a n ambivalen t cuckold , a politica l conspirator , a suggestibl e murderer, a paranoid hallucinato r {The Double's Golyadkin ) o r a sain t {The Idiot's Myshkin ) a s motivated b y a frustrated, represse d homosexu ality, bu t tha t suc h feelin g pervade d Dostoevsky' s ow n sensibility . For Dostoevsky' s letters , hi s priso n memoirs , an d hi s journalisti c writing d o indicat e som e unusuall y intense , apparentl y homoeroti c rela tionships. One , allude d t o in Notes from Underground, involve d a fellow schoolboy, Iva n Berezhetsky , a wealth y fop , wit h who m Dostoevsk y read Schille r an d protecte d younge r boy s fro m hazin g (Fran k 1976 , 80) . Dostoevsky wrot e t o hi s brother o f thi s "companio n a t my side , th e on e creature I love d i n tha t way " (Fran k 1976 , 80 ) an d tha t h e "desirefd ] t o keep silence abou t i t forever " {Letters 12) . Anothe r frien d an d fello w literary enthusiast , th e somewha t older , fathe r figure, Iva n Shidlovsky , was "tal l an d strikin g i n appearance " (Fran k 1976 , 94) ; Dostoevsk y wrote t o his brother Mikhai l about "th e moral beauty o f his face" (Fran k 1976, 97) . Homoeroti c attractio n an d resentmen t probabl y influence d Dostoevsky's long , difficul t relationshi p wit h Iva n Turgenev . Dostoev sky professed t o "loathe " the hypocritical kisse s of his handsome literar y rival, wh o ha d onc e seeme d "i n love " with hi m bu t wh o betraye d Dos -

Wimp or Faggot 14

9

toevsky b y mockin g hi s socia l ineptitud e {Letters 33 , 121) . Th e fatall y charismatic conspirato r Nikola i Speshne v (th e mode l fo r The Possessed's Stavrogin) wa s als o know n fo r hi s "masculin e goo d looks " (Fran k 1976 , 258). H e embroile d Dostoevsk y i n fa r mor e seditiou s activit y tha n thei r imprisoners eve r detected; "h e an d Speshne v had cooll y considere d mas s slaughter a s a possible outcom e o f th e peasant revol t the y wer e conspir ing t o effec t whe n Dostoevsk y wa s arrested " (Fran k 1986 , 148) . Whe n Dostoevsky, awaitin g mock-execution , expresse d th e hop e tha t the y would "b e wit h Christ " (an d thu s together ) afte r death , Speshne v an swered wit h a "twisted smile " (Frank 1982 , 58) . Note tha t thes e youthfu l romanti c friendship s wit h Westernizin g lib erals turne d sour ; i n Dostoevsky' s late r life , homoeroti c feeling s flowe d through Christian-nationa l contexts , whic h sanctione d them . I n hi s fictionalized priso n memoirs , The House of the Dead, homoeroti c at traction lead s th e narrato r t o teac h th e beautifu l youn g Musli m Ale y t o read the Bible. In his later years, Dostoevsky complimente d th e youthfu l beauty o f hi s friend , th e Christia n philosophe r Vladimi r Solovyov , whose hea d h e compare d t o Christ' s i n a favorit e painting . Indeed , homoerotic feelin g appear s t o hav e informe d Dostoevsky' s feelin g fo r Christ himself, sinc e he proclaimed ther e to be "nothing lovelier . . . and more manl y . . . tha n th e Savior, " who m h e professe d t o regar d wit h a "jealous love " whic h "ma y neve r b e touche d o n i n societ y an d . . . makes th e other s uncomfortable " {Letters 71) . Wha t signal s homoeroti c interest i n al l thes e figures i s th e potenc y ascribe d t o thei r physica l presences, especiall y t o suc h gesture s a s Christ' s kissin g th e Gran d In quisitor {Brothers Karamazov 243 ) o r th e Peasan t Marey' s puttin g hi s finger t o th e lip s o f littl e Dostoevsk y {Diary of a Writer 208) . Th e reason, then , tha t Dostoevsky' s ideologica l antagonists—Stavrogi n an d Shatov, Iva n an d Alyosha—remai n strangel y empatheti c t o on e anothe r is tha t thei r divergen t ideologica l commitment s originat e i n commonl y homoerotic feeling . My stud y conclude d b y defendin g Freud' s "Dostoevsk y an d Parri cide" agains t th e criticism s o f Dostoevsky' s biographe r Josep h Frank . Freud attribute d Dostoevsky' s intens e "mal e friendships," hi s "strangel y tender attitud e toward s rival s i n love, " an d hi s ideologica l developmen t from conspiratoria l rebe l t o tsaris t propagandis t t o th e writer' s "laten t homosexuality" (Rancour-Laferrier e 1989 , 47) . Grantin g tha t Fran k found factua l error s i n Freud' s accoun t o f Dostoevsky' s life , an d tha t

150 Steve n Rose n Freud ha d fel t a (fundamentall y ethnic ) animu s agains t Dostoevsky , I nonetheless agree d wit h Freu d abou t Dostoevsky' s "remarkabl e under standing o f situation s whic h ar e explicable onl y b y represse d homosexu ality, a s man y example s fro m hi s novel s show " (47) . Sinc e Freu d speci fied non e o f thos e novelisti c examples , I considere d many—al l marke d by a character' s o r narrator' s hypersensitivit y t o masculin e bod y lan guage, th e postures an d gesture s me n assum e in close confrontations . It i s surel y legitimat e t o constru e suc h interpretatio n a s Freudian . Though I di d no t kno w i t whe n I wrot e abou t Dostoevsky , Freud , i n "Certain Neuroti c Mechanism s i n Jealousy, Paranoia , an d Homosexual ity, " di d attribut e th e resentfu l over-interpretatio n o f bod y languag e (a s slights) t o homosexua l tendencies . On e migh t recal l th e Undergroun d Man whe n Freu d remark s tha t suc h touch y peopl e expect from ever y stranger something like love; these "others" show them nothing o f th e kind , however—the y laug h t o themselves , fiddle with thei r sticks , even spit on the ground a s they go by—and on e really does not do these things while anyone in whom one takes a friendly interes t is near. One does them only when on e i s quit e indifferen t t o th e passer-by , whe n on e ca n trea t hi m lik e air. (163) In th e sam e essay Freu d claim s tha t marita l jealous y (lik e that o f Eternal Husband's Trusotsky ) i s often "experience d bisexually " (160) . He cite s a pathologically jealou s husband' s "observatio n o f th e smalles t possibl e indications"—his preoccupatio n wit h th e wa y hi s wif e touched , turne d toward, an d smile d a t othe r men—a s motivate d b y hi s libido' s "homo sexual component " (163) . Likewise , Freu d authorize d m y attributio n o f Dostoevsky's passionat e politica l involvements , bot h th e earl y revolu tionary conspirac y an d th e lat e nationalisti c Christianity , t o homoeroti c affect. I n th e sam e essay , Freu d wrot e tha t "i n th e ligh t o f psychoanaly sis, w e ar e accustomed t o regar d socia l feeling a s a sublimation o f homo sexual attitude s toward s objects " (170) . Indeed , "Certai n Neuroti c Mechanisms" fits Dostoevsk y s o wel l tha t th e essa y seem s t o hav e bee n written (a s "Dostoevsk y an d Parricide " wa s explicitly ) t o analyz e an d refute th e (her e unnamed ) novelist . I t say s tha t me n wh o overl y resen t physical slights , wh o ar e inordinatel y jealou s (o r compliant ) husbands , and wh o hav e pronounced socia l concerns , ar e more o r les s self-delude d homosexuals. I t exasperate d Freu d tha t Dostoevsky seeme d bot h t o hav e preceded hi m i n this understanding, an d t o have retrogressed fro m it .

Wimp o r Faggot 15

1

Other Critics and Initial Reconsiderations I must acknowledg e th e influence o f severa l writers on my understandin g of Dostoevsky—thos e wh o helpe d o r provoke d m e t o develo p thi s psychoanalytic interpretatio n an d thos e wh o force d m e t o reconside r it , eventually i n a personal context . One wh o di d bot h i s Danie l Rancour-Laferriere . Hi s analyse s o f homosexual an d sado-masochisti c component s i n Gogol' s humo r an d Stalin's tyranny roughl y paralleled m y approac h t o Dostoevsky's presen tation o f bod y languag e an d hi s ideologica l development. 1 An d lik e myself, Rancour-Laferrier e ha d defended Freud' s analysi s of Dostoevsk y against Josep h Frank' s objections . I wrot e t o Rancour-Laferriere , wh o confirmed m y psychoanalyti c approac h t o Dostoevskia n bod y language , made supportin g scholarshi p available , encourage d m y willingnes s t o investigate personal parallels to Dostoevskian fictions and , subsequently , invited m e t o contribut e t o thi s volume . Nonetheless , a s ou r dialogu e developed, contentiou s a s I am , I foun d mysel f propoundin g alternativ e explanations o f Dostoevsky' s preoccupatio n wit h th e physical aspect s o f masculine salutations , an d eve n defending Freud' s detractors . One o f thos e is the aforementione d Josep h Frank . A s Rancour-Lafer riere observed , "Evidently , Fran k doe s no t lik e Freud' s theor y o f th e male psyche , an d give s th e impressio n tha t h e someho w ha s a bette r theory hidde n u p hi s sleeve " (9) . Frank' s theory—mor e narrowly , hi s sense o f wha t motivate s ideologica l novels—stresse s publi c rathe r tha n private considerations. 2 H e explain s Dostoevsky' s achievemen t b y hi s passionate an d reconciliator y immersio n i n the n curren t cultura l con flicts. Receptiv e t o Dostoevsky' s Christianity , Fran k stresse s hi s consis tent sympath y fo r th e downtrodde n an d hi s prescien t oppositio n t o totalitarian tendencie s i n Russian radicalism . Fran k endeavor s t o rehabil itate th e characte r o f a remarkabl y generous , brave , an d productiv e writer, easil y confuse d wit h hi s crazie r characters . An d Fran k ha s don e well t o correc t Dostoevsky' s image , "fo r a n averag e Western reade r . . . of a tormented geniu s existin g o n th e edg e o f madness " an d dra w atten tion t o hi s mora l an d intellectua l seriousnes s (1990 , 153) . Indeed , whil e some reader s d o prudishl y dismis s psychoanalyti c approache s t o Dos toevsky, others , onl y to o intereste d i n sexua l issues , remai n compla cently ignoran t o f Dostoevsky' s importan t journalisti c an d critica l writ ing, som e of which remain s untranslated .

152 Steve n Rose n It i s undoubtedl y bette r t o lear n fro m Dostoevsk y tha n t o snicke r at him , an d Frank' s pointedl y respectfu l treatment , i n it s cumulativ e massiveness, mad e m e worr y whethe r m y psychoanalyti c approac h un fairly degrade d Dostoevsky . However , Frank' s focu s o n Dostoevsky' s participation i n th e publi c literar y world , an d upo n hi s religious , aes thetic, an d politica l commitmen t doe s not accoun t fo r th e remarkabl e tensions o f tende r an d menacin g affec t i n Dostoevsky's mos t characteris tic writing. Fo r thi s reader , thes e tension s ar e most consistentl y concen trated i n th e frequentl y bizarre , sometime s dreadful , alway s microscopi cally meaningful , physica l an d largel y silen t confrontation s betwee n men, whic h saturat e Notes from Underground, The Eternal Husband, The House of the Dead, The Possessed, an d The Brothers Karamazov. Another write r wh o shoo k m y satisfactio n wit h m y Freudia n accoun t of Dostoevsky , bu t ultimatel y faile d t o replac e i t wit h hi s ow n focus , i s the psychoanalys t Loui s Breger . Breger , lik e Frank , want s t o defen d Dostoevsky's mora l authorit y agains t Freud' s animu s an d also , evi dently, t o counte r Freud' s emphasi s o n th e homosexua l tendencie s h e ascribed t o Dostoevsky . Wherea s Freu d stresse d Dostoevsky' s love , hate, an d guil t reaction s towar d fathe r figures, Brege r explain s bot h Dostoevsky's novelisti c developmen t an d hi s epileps y a s a patter n o f feelings—longing, rage , regret , an d reconciliation—directe d toward s mother figures. Though Breger' s Dostoevsk y ma y b e mor e i n lin e wit h curren t psy choanalytic thought , I thin k Freud' s focu s close r t o wha t mos t reader s (and certainl y I ) find compellin g in Dostoevsky . Which i s more interesting ? Stavrogin' s relation s with hi s male cohort s or wit h Liz a Tikhin ? Th e interaction s betwee n th e Karamazo v brother s or Dimitri' s wit h Gruschenka ? Neithe r th e attentio n tha t Dostoevsky' s female character s elici t fro m thei r lovers , no r thei r ow n behavior , i s s o charged wit h microscopic, ambiguous , an d volatile meaningfulness a s are Dostoevsky's closel y observed , ofte n largel y silen t physica l confronta tions betwee n men . Brege r rarel y discusse s thos e scenes ; when h e does , such a s "Myshkin['s] l[ying] so close that hi s tears run dow n Rogozhin' s cheeks" (250) , Breger never ascribe s homoerotic feelin g t o them . I foun d Breger' s virtua l refusa l t o conside r homoeroti c motiv e i n Dostoevsky rathe r outrageous . Ye t hi s stud y di d somewha t shak e m y confidence i n th e homoeroti c hypothesis . Mor e precisely , i t mad e m e wonder wh y I neve r wishe d t o discus s wome n i n Dostoevsky—thoug h

Wimp o r Faggot 15

3

I coul d wel l identif y wit h th e Undergroun d Man' s treatmen t o f th e prostitute. Indeed , a s I will discuss below , wha t tha t unproductive intel lectual di d once , I use d t o d o always : compulsivel y seduce , dismiss , re seduce, an d eventuall y abando n somewha t disadvantage d women . S o Breger's contrastin g treatmen t o f Dostoevsk y helpe d m e t o understan d how m y selectiv e focu s functione d a s a persona l statement—bot h through wha t i t said an d what i t avoided . There ar e many teachers . When I imagine meeting Breger, I feel tha t I should sho w hi m a more respectfu l attitud e tha n ou r differen t view s an d my resentmen t o f hi s authorit y ha d a t firs t le d m e to develop . Certainl y I woul d wan t hi s respec t an d b e gla d t o lear n fro m him . T o conside r intellectual conflict s i n term s o f actua l persona l dialogu e apparentl y ha s moderating, constructiv e effects . Thi s bring s m e t o anothe r vie w o f Dostoevsky I have taken t o heart—that o f Mikhai l Bakhtin . Like Fran k an d Breger , th e grea t literar y theoreticia n Bakhti n wishe d to stres s positiv e ethica l value s i n Dostoevsky' s literar y power . Accord ingly, Bakhti n understoo d scene s between Myshki n an d Rogozhin (242) , which a Freudia n woul d regar d a s homoeroticall y charged , a s open ended dialogue s expressin g "th e soul' s freedo m an d unfinalizability " through th e capacit y fo r empath y (61) . Similarly , Bakhti n treat s bod y language i n Dostoevsk y a s expressin g a comical , communall y realized , vital relativism . Hi s Dostoevsk y draw s upo n th e popular , uninhibited , familiar, an d abusiv e gesture s whic h Bakhti n call s "carnivalistic " (122) . Of cours e thi s doe s illuminat e Dostoevsky . However , Bakhti n tend s t o minimize th e cruelt y an d violenc e o f suc h gestures . An d h e neglect s to accoun t fo r th e intensel y mysterious , ofte n ambivalen t an d fearfu l fascination whic h other men's postures and gestures generate in Dostoev sky's touchy characters . I persis t i n thinkin g tha t thes e pervasive , hypersensitiv e confronta tions hav e t o b e deal t with , i f not , a s Freu d did , b y th e hypothesi s o f covert an d conflicte d homoeroticism , the n b y som e other concep t whic h takes accoun t o f thei r predominantl y masculine , silent , physical , an d ambivalent aspects . Wha t make s a n alternativ e desirabl e i s that a Freud ian approac h suc h a s min e doe s ten d t o degrad e Dostoevsky . No t be cause arguing for Dostoevsky' s "intuitiv e knowledge of homosexual feel ings" (Rancour-Laferrier e 1989 , 9-10) implicitl y disparage s Dostoevsky , but becaus e questionin g attraction s tha t th e writer an d hi s heroes voice d in fraternal o r religiou s term s endeavor s t o unmask Dostoevsky .

154 Steve n Rose n Often, Dostoevsky' s characteristicall y hypersensitiv e confrontation s can b e conceive d les s problematicall y an d mor e precisel y i n term s o f ambivalence abou t mal e bonding . I defin e male bonding a s an urge to signify masculinity, through proximate and parallel postures and gestures with men? Militar y drilling , religiou s (an d masonic ) ritual , hunting , sports, gambling , crimina l adventuring , drinking , an d dancin g hav e fur nished traditiona l vehicle s fo r thi s urge , whic h i s ofte n no t consciou s o f itself a s such . Lik e man y literar y intellectuals , bot h Dostoevsk y an d hi s Underground Ma n felt ambivalen t abou t mal e bonding—shrinking fro m confrontations wit h mor e impressiv e me n whic h disadvantage d the m o r from commo n practice s whic h the y morall y reproved , whil e longin g fo r respectful recognitio n fro m masculin e authority figures. Obviously , mal e bonding ma y coexis t an d b e complicate d b y homoeroti c tendencies , bu t its subjects generall y fee l i t to operate apar t from sexua l motives. Since I could hav e understood Dostoevskia n hypersensitivit y t o bod y language i n term s o f ambivalenc e abou t mal e bonding (whic h I defin e a s an urge n o les s fundamental tha n libidina l ones ) why di d I construe i t as homoerotic? I n defendin g Freud' s interpretatio n o f Dostoevsky , I sus pect I was motivated , a s I think Freu d wa s himself, t o repai r a wounded Jewish masculin e identity . T o explicat e thi s subjectiv e motiv e (and , hopefully, she d additiona l ligh t o n Dostoevsky) , I nee d t o conside r on e additional, mor e fundamental , an d provocativ e persona l influence , tha t of th e sociologis t J . M . Cuddihy . I t wa s i n reactio n t o hi s wor k tha t I first pu t Freu d an d Dostoevsk y together . Cuddihy and the Jewish Context of Dostoevsky and Ethnicity

Psychoanalysis:

Cuddihy argue s tha t Jewis h intellectual s hav e suffere d fro m inordinat e self-consciousness i n (mixed ) society , an d tha t ideologie s develope d mainly b y Jews , suc h a s psychoanalysis , hav e responde d t o tha t prob lem. Bu t Cuddihy' s analysi s ca n als o b e applie d t o Dostoevsky' s hyper sensitivity t o bod y languag e an d hi s Slavophilism . Accordingly , I migh t have applie d a Cuddihya n sociologica l perspectiv e t o Dostoevsky . In stead, I recapitulate d Freud' s origina l respons e t o Dostoevsky , becaus e locating homoeroti c motive s i n th e latte r bette r suite d ou r mutua l nee d to defen d Jewis h masculinit y agains t suc h anti-Semiti c denigration s a s Dostoevsky himsel f onc e produced .

Wimp o r Faggot 15

5

In m y doctora l dissertation , publishe d i n 197 6 as Samuel Beckett and the Pessimistic Tradition, I firs t dealt , briefly , wit h Dostoevsky , dis cussing the Underground Ma n o n th e futility o f hyperconsciousness, bu t not hi s hypersensitivit y t o bod y language . Afte r tha t protracte d labo r among abstractions , I cas t abou t fo r mor e sociall y an d physicall y grounded subject s an d soo n fel l unde r th e influenc e o f Cuddihy' s con troversial stud y o f Jewis h intellectuals , The Ordeal of Civility. Ac cording t o Cuddihy , ideologie s propounde d b y Jews , suc h a s psycho analysis, functione d a s "exercise s i n antidefamation " (4 ) b y universalizing o r valorizin g th e stigmatizin g trait s o f Jews , wh o wer e backward i n assimilatin g moder n behaviora l norms , an d consequentl y embarrassing t o thei r ow n intelligentsia . Citin g th e sociologist s Berge r and Luckmann' s dictu m tha t "th e mos t importan t experienc e o f other s takes plac e i n th e fac e t o fac e situation " (3) , Cuddih y treat s th e Jewis h experience o f moder n societ y a s a perpetua l ordea l becaus e o f thei r "failure o f ritua l competence " (3) , tha t is , ba d manners . Havin g culti vated a n aggressiv e intimac y amon g themselves , Easter n Europea n Jew s neither internalize d no r appreciate d th e forms an d attitudes which enabl e strangers t o relat e wit h effectiv e neutrality ; an d a s parvenu s the y wer e preoccupied wit h gaffe s (26) . Freud, a s Cuddih y understand s him , bor e a grudge agains t th e mod ern (gentile ) West fo r makin g Jews experienc e thi s ordea l (34) , a s well as for it s actua l anti-Semitism . Cuddih y relate s Freud' s formulatio n o f th e Oedipus comple x t o Freud' s memor y o f hi s fathe r tellin g hi m abou t a gentile onc e knockin g of f hi s ca p i n th e stree t becaus e h e di d no t promptly mov e asid e (48-53) . Cuddih y argue s tha t Oedipus ' murde r o f his fathe r closel y resemble s th e meetin g o f th e gentil e wit h Freud' s father—both originatin g i n a n incivilit y ove r righ t o f way . Naturally , Freud hate d bullyin g gentiles , bu t h e wa s mor e cruciall y ashame d o f his father' s cowardice , ye t fel t guilt y abou t tha t shame . Hence , Freu d universalized hi s fathe r hatred , wit h th e Oedipu s complex , thereb y falsely extrapolatin g fro m Eas t Europea n Jewis h intellectual s wh o com mitted a kin d o f "mora l parricide " (53 ) i n feelin g sham e ove r thei r timorous an d otherwis e sociall y embarrassin g parent s (102) . Further more, Cuddih y argues , i t wa s t o repa y th e lac k o f respec t h e an d othe r Jews ha d experience d tha t Freu d programmaticall y shocke d gentiles , unmasking thei r lov e an d courtshi p ritual s a s so muc h lus t (69-71) . Bu t in the undervaluation o f ritua l civility , Cuddih y thinks , Freu d erre d i n a

156 Steve n Rose n typically Jewish way , a s in th e Jewish tendenc y t o confus e privac y wit h secrecy (34). However maliciou s Cuddihy' s analysis , I foun d i t plausible . Bu t hi s typical, late-modernizin g Jewis h intellectual , Freud , sound s eve n mor e like the Russian intellectual, Dostoevsky . Th e covert cultural nationalis m Cuddihy tease s ou t o f Freu d wa s over t i n Dostoevsk y an d hi s circle . Cuddihy sai d that Jewish intellectual s theorize d t o valorize their cultura l backwardness; tha t is , psychoanalyti c tal k session s mak e a virtue ou t o f traditional Jewis h unrestraint , whic h moder n civilit y towar d stranger s precludes. Dostoevsk y mor e directl y transvalue d Russia n backwardnes s in hi s messiani c Slavophilism : th e Russians ' cultura l belatednes s ha d required thei r intellectual s (e.g. , Pushkin ) t o develo p a talent fo r univer sal empathy , whic h i n tur n qualifie d the m t o lea d humanit y (Diary of a Writer 785) . Dostoevsky' s discoverer , Belinski , famousl y deplore d th e humiliating backwardnes s o f Russia n violence—th e endemi c beating s o f serfs, convicts , wives , horses . Accordingly , Dostoevsky' s Undergroun d Man denie s tha t violenc e lessen s a s civilizatio n progresses . A s Cuddih y said o f psychoanalysis , thi s make s a covert ethni c apology . A s fo r Dos toevsky's father , h e wa s no t jus t unhatted , a s Freud' s fathe r was , bu t murdered b y hi s clas s enemies—serf s h e ha d scandalousl y oppressed — and Dostoevsky kep t thi s shameful famil y secret . Russia's positio n o f cultura l backwardnes s le d Dostoevsky , lik e Cud dihy's Jews , t o uneas e amon g Wester n Europeans—eve n t o absurdl y personalized confrontation s wit h monument s h e alternatel y fel t insulte d by an d wante d t o bo w dow n t o (Winter Notes 82-83) . H e complaine d of feelin g ignored , shunned , perhap s eve n loathe d amon g Europeans — not tha t th e Englishme n h e foun d burie d i n thei r newspaper s actuall y said so . (T o say , " I disregar d you " almos t constitute s a contradiction i n terms.) Rather , Dostoevsk y inferre d thi s neglec t an d hostilit y fro m th e body languag e o f Wester n Europeans , wh o gav e him n o friendl y looks . He foun d himsel f defendin g th e relativel y wholesom e beatin g an d kow towing o f Russia n landlord s an d peasants (55-65) . On e o f Dostoevsky' s Russian character s say s t o another , adrif t amon g Wester n Europeans , " I bow dow n humbl y lik e a true Russian " (Gambler 102) . Among his fellow Russians , however , a t school, a t literary salons, an d especially in prison, Dostoevsk y wa s noted fo r hi s reserve, unsociability , and awkwardness . A t schoo l h e wa s aloof ; t o hi s credit , h e refuse d t o participate i n "hazing " an d "mas s beatings " (Brege r 102) . As a n arrivist e

Wimp or Faggot 15

7

in literar y circles , h e wa s ridicule d fo r hi s od d blen d o f shynes s an d boastfulness. On e night , afte r som e ridicul e b y Turgene v amon g hi s cohort, Dostoevsk y suddenl y lef t thei r salon , never to return (Brege r 109-10). I n prison , h e shran k fro m bot h haught y Wester n (Polish ) an d brutal Russia n (serf ) convict s (Brege r 145) . Clearly, Cuddihy' s analysi s o f Jew s a s late-modernizin g intellectual s does appl y t o Dostoevsky , wh o i s more resentfu l o f th e moder n West , more anxiousl y uncomfortabl e durin g persona l encounters , mor e ashamed o f hi s disgraced father , tha n Cuddihy' s Jewish subjects . Hence , one migh t explai n th e uneas e whic h pervade s Dostoevsky' s presentatio n and experienc e o f face-to-fac e confrontation s b y th e ethnic , caste , an d similar socia l consideration s Cuddih y analyzes . Instead , I recapitulate d the Jewish reactio n Cuddih y analyze d i n Freud , b y reapplyin g Freu d t o Dostoevsky. Why ? Becaus e anti-Semiti c attitude s I discerne d i n Cud dihy an d discovere d i n Dostoevsk y stun g me. 4 And explainin g Dostoev sky o n th e hypothesi s o f hi s represse d homosexualit y bes t serve d m y purpose o f protecting, eve n championing a n insulted Jewish masculinity . Dostoevsky and

Freud on Jews and Masculinity

Let me explain th e specifically masculin e aspec t of the Jewish resentmen t at work i n my psychoanalytic interpretatio n o f Dostoevsky . No doubt , Jew s hav e mal e bonde d al l to o adequatel y amon g them selves, throug h th e proximat e an d paralle l posture s an d gesture s o f reli gious ritual , th e read y availabilit y o f biblica l patriarch s a s paradigms , their performanc e a s breadwinners, an d s o forth. However , i n Dostoev sky's Russia , i n Freud' s Austria , an d i n m y America , Jew s hav e ha d difficulty provin g themselve s manl y befor e gentiles . An d tha t ha s rankled. How di d Jewish me n loo k t o Dostoevsky ? Ho w di d h e describe thei r body language ? Th e mos t consisten t featur e o f hi s few Jewish character s is thei r violatio n o f male-bondin g etiquette . Th e incongruou s Jewis h fireman wh o vainl y attempt s t o dissuad e Svidrigailo v fro m suicid e i n Crime and Punishment display s a charmlessnes s whic h Dostoevsk y as cribed t o Jew s i n general : "Hi s fac e wor e th e loo k o f eternal , peevis h dolor tha t i s s o sourl y imprinte d o n al l th e face s o f th e Jewis h trib e without exception " (cite d in Goldstei n 51-52) . Dostoevsky's mos t develope d Jewish character , th e convict Isa i Fom -

158 Steve n Rose n ich Bumstein i n The House of the Dead, recite s his prayers i n a clownish and exhibitionisti c manner : in a singson g voice , wailing , sputtering , pirouetting , gesticulatin g wildl y an d absurdly. . . . wha t wa s absur d wa s th e wa y i n whic h Isa i Fomic h seeme d t o pose before us and make a display of his ritual. (Cited in Goldstein 19 , 25) Bumstein als o sobs , howls , an d laugh s whil e h e prays , suggesting , a s opposed t o hi s "posing, " a hysterical los s o f bodil y an d emotiona l con trol; in both respects , i f not feminized , h e is demasculinized . As David Goldstei n observes , the moneylender Lyamshin , a n ambiva lent conspirato r i n The Possessed, encapsulates th e stereotypica l trait s o f Jews i n nineteenth-centur y Russia n literature : "a n exaggerate d preoccu pation wit h hi s health , cowardice , skepticism , cunning , feigne d indi gence, subterfuge , sha m indignation , double-dealing " (80) . M y poin t i s that most , i f not all , o f thes e traits signify unmanliness. Hence , whe n th e conspirators murde r Shatov , Lyamshi n protests , no t morall y bu t ou t o f "intense fea r . . . wailing , withou t le t up , hi s eye s poppin g ou t o f hi s head, hi s mout h wid e open , hi s leg s tappin g th e groun d a s i f beatin g a drum" (cite d i n Goldstei n 82) . When h e promptly inform s t o th e police, he doe s so , agai n hysterically : "h e crawle d o n hi s knees, whimpere d an d wailed, kisse d th e floor," an d s o forth (cite d i n Goldstei n 84) . Now I do not sugges t that their imputed lac k of manliness constitute d Dostoevsky's chie f complain t agains t Jews. 5 Bu t th e fe w Jewish charac ters h e directl y describe d d o lac k masculinit y o r th e willingnes s t o mal e bond wit h gentiles—fo r example , i n graciousl y exchangin g salutations , or in praying an d eatin g together . As I a m not th e firs t t o suggest , Freud' s valu e syste m ca n b e seen a s a response t o simila r attitude s abou t Jewis h male s curren t i n hi s milie u and background . Sande r Gilma n ha s observe d tha t Jewis h me n wer e commonly regarde d a s eithe r womanl y o r hypomasculin e i n Freud' s Vienna. "Th e clitori s wa s know n i n Viennes e slan g o f th e fin de siecle simply a s the *J ew> " because it suggested "th e Jew wit h hi s circumcised , shortened organ " (168) . I t wa s commonl y assume d tha t Jew s o f bot h genders ha d "th e bod y typ e o f th e female " an d tha t Jewis h me n mor e often tha n gentile s had high-pitche d voice s (173). 6 Freud's contemporar y Ott o Weininger , th e notoriou s Jewis h anti feminist, kille d himsel f becaus e (t o oversimplify ) h e fel t personall y un able t o transcen d th e extrem e versio n o f thi s associatio n betwee n Jew s

Wimp or Faggot 15

9

and wome n h e ha d formulate d i n Sex and Character (Klei n 59-70) . Freud himself , a s Gilma n see s it , associate d Jew s wit h women , fo r example, i n "parallel " statement s o n thei r respectiv e "unknowability " (168). A s Cuddih y observes , Freu d though t Moses' s killin g o f a n Egyp tian oversee r th e ac t o f a n Egyptian , no t a Jew (55 ; cf Freud , Moses and Monotheism 37 , 47) . Suc h physica l combativenes s contraste d wit h th e "ignominious Diaspor a passivity " o f Freud' s fathe r (Cuddih y 55) . Freu d did attribute his own moral courage—"the readines s to accept a situation of solitar y opposition"—t o hi s Jewish origi n (Gilma n 66). An d I thin k Freud's abilit y t o "stan d bein g criticized, bein g isolated, workin g alone " may well , a s h e thought , hav e bee n facilitate d b y hi s "Jewis h back ground" (Freu d i n Gilma n 163) . However , standing alone i s no t th e same thin g a s physically signifying masculinity in concert or through combat with gentiles. Ther e Jew s wer e commonl y though t t o b e wanting. So Freud's fathe r ha d le t a gentile knoc k hi s ha t of f i n th e street , an d Freud wante d revenge . N o doub t tha t i s reductive , bu t I thin k i t doe s elucidate one recurren t motiv e i n Freud an d in other Jewish, psychoana lytically influence d thinkers : th e desir e t o defen d th e Jewish agains t th e Christian male , who had long been pushing him off th e streets of Easter n Europe (an d woul d continu e t o d o so) . Therefore , Freu d formulate d a Jewish masculin e protest , b y selectin g an d valorizin g attitude s relativel y prominent i n Jewis h culture , whethe r religiou s o r secular , whic h mad e Jewish me n loo k mor e manl y tha n thei r Christia n counterpart s an d which thereb y compensate d fo r th e fel t inferiorit y o f Jewis h men , re sulting fro m thei r actua l physical dominatio n b y Christians. 7 The cor e attitude s whic h Freu d urged , covertly , o n behal f o f de fending Jewish-secula r masculinity , include d science, as a kind o f toughminded willingness to confront unsettling realities, which i n tur n entaile d utterly direc t candor about sex an d sexual naturalism. Cuddih y ha s pointed ou t tha t "th e goyi m ha d a corner o n romance, " an d claime d tha t Freud resente d it , sinc e "courtship, " "sexua l foreplay, " an d "al l th e Christian deference s t o women " wer e undervalue d i n Jewis h cultur e (69-71). I sa y Freu d foun d a virtu e i n th e relativ e lac k o f woman flattering ritua l an d discours e i n Jewis h tradition : i t mad e Europea n Jewish me n loo k tougher , les s woman-dominate d tha n thei r Christia n counterparts. 8 In America , thei r toughness , thei r coolness , thei r master y o f mascu -

160 Steve n Rose n line style , hav e ofte n seeme d i n questio n fo r Jews. Suc h insecurit y nee d not deriv e fro m physica l oppression . Brawling , drilling , drinking , hunt ing, horse-riding, wood-working , coal-mining , fast-driving , an d the paraphernalia tha t accompan y thes e risk-taking , masculinity-provin g ritual s and occupation s hav e bee n relatively foreig n t o Jews . Suc h alienatio n helps explai n wh y th e Jewish criti c Lesli e Fiedler , i n hi s epocha l essay , "Come Bac k t o th e Raf t Again , Huc k Honey! " construe d mal e bondin g as homoerotic motif s i n Twain an d othe r classi c American writers . This , perhaps, i s wh y th e biographe r Alber t Goldma n (1981 ) hypothesize d about homoeroticis m i n th e gentil e mal e ico n Elvi s Presle y (bu t mini mized th e fa r mor e over t bisexualit y o f th e Jewis h cultur e her o Lenn y Bruce); an d wh y th e her o o f Roth' s novel , Portnoy's Complaint, wh o yearns fo r a sens e o f "manhood " (40 ) hi s anxiou s middle-clas s Jewis h background denie s him , describe s Jesu s Chris t i n a kitsch y portrai t a s "The Pansy o f Palestine" (189). These Jewish interpretations ma y well be correct, bu t the y als o ar e hostile. The y discer n unconsciou s homoeroti c motives i n gentil e cultur e heroe s o r thei r representation s t o compensat e for a n insecure or insulted Jewish masculinity. 9 My ow n interpretatio n o f homoeroti c hypersensitivit y t o bod y lan guage i n Dostoevsk y ca n certainl y b e understoo d a s suc h a cas e o f Jewish masculinit y proving . An d tha t realizatio n suggest s a n alternativ e understanding o f Dostoevskia n bod y language , on e close r t o th e surfac e meaning o f hi s writing : Dostoevsky' s character s ar e frustrate d an d am bivalent mal e bonders. The y year n t o exchang e physical signification s o f respectful, mutua l masculinity , bu t the y find themselve s shrinkin g fro m and disadvantage d i n suc h performances . A t time s thi s uneas e ca n b e explained b y factor s o f nationa l culture , a t times b y clas s considerations , at time s b y th e temperamenta l reserve , moodiness , an d vanit y commo n to literar y intellectuals . Althoug h I calle d th e Undergroun d Ma n a re pressed homosexua l t o indicat e tha t I wa s no t one , I di d identif y wit h him o n thi s othe r basis . Embarrassmen t abou t ou r insecur e masculin e styles drov e eac h o f u s "underground" ; additionally , i n a genericall y (though no t exclusively ) Jewis h reaction , i t le d m e t o formulat e a psy choanalytic interpretatio n o f Dostoevsky . I no w mov e t o conside r som e persona l experienc e whic h apparentl y paralleled th e Undergroun d Man' s o r conditione d m y understandin g o f Dostoevsky. Ironically , suc h analysi s show s tha t othe r approache s t o Dostoevsky whic h I criticized above—Breger' s focu s o n rage toward th e

Wimp o r Faggot 16

1

mother, Frank' s o n ideologica l engagements , Bakhtin' s o n carnivalisti c fraternity—do appl y t o m y ow n experience , conditionin g th e develop ment o f m y ow n preoccupations wit h masculinity . Me and the Underground Man While working o n m y analysi s o f Dostoevskia n hypersensitivit y t o bod y language I suffere d a fe w humiliation s a t a communit y cente r wher e I frequently pla y jaz z piano . Thos e curren t experience s reminde d m e o f another, adolescen t disgrace , culminating , thirt y year s before , i n m y lifetime withdrawa l fro m th e circl e o f m y forme r schoolmates . I n man y ways my teenage d fiasco resemble d th e Underground Man' s follie s a t the party fo r hi s classmat e Zverkov , wher e h e los t hi s sel f contro l i n a selfrighteous outburst , an d hi s fellow s wen t of f t o a brothe l withou t him . Both situation s involve d disrespectfu l miscommunicatio n abou t a socia l engagement; a failure t o shar e transportation ; rivalr y i n relationshi p t o a group o f desire d thoug h somewha t stigmatize d women ; ridicule before a group o f me n (playin g o n anxietie s abou t class , a s signifie d b y clothes) ; and a final revelatio n o f unacceptabl y lo w ran k o n a masculine peckin g order. Shy , awkwar d intellectuals , whateve r thei r vanity , expec t t o fee l alienated fro m an d rejecte d b y group s o f popular , "cool " people, who m they ma y thin k intellectuall y an d morall y inferio r bu t whos e acceptanc e they nonetheles s crave . Bu t th e sudden , public , an d unmistakabl e mani festation o f ou r lowl y statu s provoke d bot h m e an d th e Undergroun d Man t o los e contro l and , b y thos e failure s o f masculin e dignity , t o finalize ou r isolations . These parallel s clearl y pointe d t o th e wounded masculin e prid e a t th e bottom o f bot h ou r confrontation s wit h an d flights fro m ou r fellows, bu t not necessaril y t o th e unreciprocated homoeroticis m whic h I assigne d t o Dostoevsky's anti-hero . I argue d tha t th e latte r bitterl y withdre w fro m his cohor t becaus e th e handsom e Zverko v (lik e th e manly , anonymou s officer) hardl y notice d hi m an d thereb y faile d t o reciprocat e hi s homo erotic feeling—no t because , a s th e tex t mor e plainl y indicate s (an d lik e me i n divers e bu t recurren t situations ) h e refuse d t o accep t hi s lowe r place on th e male hierarchy . To explai n m y unusua l touchines s i n thi s regard , an d it s relevan t ethnic contexts , wil l requir e a brie f sketc h o f m y earl y childhood , re fracted, n o doubt, throug h th e lens of self-pity. Compare d t o the abusiv e

162 Steve n Rose n and impoverishe d childhood s o f s o many , I reall y ha d nothin g t o com plain o f m y gentl e an d responsibl e parents . Nonetheless , I wa s a n un happy youngster , basically , becaus e bot h m y mothe r an d th e boy s around m e apparently though t m e unmanly . I wa s a would-be momma' s boy ; sh e di d no t reciprocat e m y feeling . Though I loved m y kindly , manl y fathe r almos t unambivalently, I rarel y thought abou t him . I coul d no t imagin e attainin g hi s relaxed , assure d masculinity, hi s eas e i n hi s huge , hair y body . I identifie d wit h he r completely—a nervous , unhapp y talker . A t school , I woul d preten d that sh e wa s wit h me , conductin g imaginar y conversation s wit h her . A t home, I talke d t o he r constantly . Thi s invariabl y irke d her , s o I woul d resolve b y eac h nigh t no t t o spea k t o he r th e nex t day , the n brea k m y vow th e followin g morning , an d thu s begi n ane w th e cycl e o f resented , unreciprocated lov e and self-loathing . It seemed tha t my incompetence i n (and indifference to ) proper physi cal presentation s wa s wha t mos t provoke d her . M y tendencie s t o los e gloves, leav e m y shoe s untied , wea r m y underwea r backward s dre w forth daily , heartfel t derogations . I fel t tha t m y mother , who m I canno t recall embracing me , rejecte d m e physically; I was not manl y enoug h fo r her. Likewise , m y poo r younge r siste r wa s no t womanl y enough . I t stung me to hear som e relatives once say that she , who was outgoing an d rambunctious, shoul d hav e been th e boy, an d I . . . I kne w tha t m y mothe r sa w m e a s a siss y becaus e sh e wa s angril y unsympathetic whe n I cam e home cryin g from neighborhoo d tussles . I n retrospect, I understan d he r concer n abou t m y alienatio n fro m th e loca l male-bonding culture . I lived unti l te n i n a gentile, working-clas s neigh borhood. Th e othe r boy s aspire d t o b e tough , an d I di d not . Hence , they scorne d m e whe n the y di d no t abus e me . I no w believ e tha t thei r bullying onl y rarel y too k a n explicitl y anti-Semiti c turn , bu t the n I cultivated a myt h o f m y ethni c persecution . M y propensit y t o verbal , rather tha n physical , expressio n an d genera l lac k o f manlines s seeme d connected t o m y Jewishness. And , gallingly , I fel t tha t m y ow n Jewis h mother preferre d m y antagonists—th e taut-bodied , tousle-headed , rela tively fearles s gentil e boy s o n ou r block . Sh e almost sai d a s much—tha t I ough t t o b e like them . Indeed, a s icon s o f masculinity , I preferre d the m myself . I use d t o spend weekend s beneat h th e windo w o f on e relativel y kindly , toug h Irish kid , yellin g "Mike " fo r hour s unti l hi s mothe r woul d tel l me t o g o

Wimp or Faggot 16

3

away. I liked to play ball as well as anyone, an d I had no girlish interests . But I wa s talkativ e an d timorous , the y laconi c an d daring . I feare d t o swim, t o dive ; I remembe r a n intens e humiliatio n befor e th e loca l grou p when I could no t star t a bicycle without help , fo r fea r o f falling, an d los t a race for m y rela y team . I was ofte n i n a n impotent rage . Bullie s woul d settle disputes , fo r example , mak e athleti c calls , b y shee r intimidation — and everyon e els e would admir e them. Th e others' seeming lack of ethic s and respect for fact s perpetuall y appalle d me . I spent my earl y childhoo d feeling lik e a modern-minded, middle-class , miserabl y lonel y littl e adult , exiled among bold , male-bondin g barbarians . I suppos e I wa s a n od d youn g boy . I ha d a n earl y viscera l horro r o f the military—th e lac k o f privacy , th e regimentation , th e silen t standin g at attention , th e haircutting , th e repressio n o f individua l expression . (Fortunately, studen t deferment s late r kept m e out o f th e Vietnam War. ) I ha d a great fea r o f bein g see n nake d b y women . Once , whe n m y siste r entered a room whil e I , age d aroun d seven , wa s dressing , I freake d ou t in a hysterica l rage , an d fel l upo n her , pummelin g an d shrieking . M y father, undoubtedl y embarrassed , gentl y pulled m e off her . He tol d m e that h e had n o fea r o f bein g seen naked. An d occasionall y he woul d articulat e wis e an d wonderfu l word s abou t respectin g les s fortunate people . Nonetheless , w e move d uptow n becaus e Negroes , i n the terminolog y o f th e times , wer e expecte d t o settl e i n ou r neighbor hood. I wa s incline d t o lik e them , sigh t unseen , sinc e m y antagonists , the gentil e boys, voiced fea r an d hatred o f them . In an y case , th e Jewis h neighborhoo d t o whic h w e moved , whe n I was ten , prove d wonderfull y congenial . A t once , th e pressur e t o b e tough wa s off ; fight s wer e few . I got along . Suc h conflict s a s I had wer e with m y mother , bu t I generall y obeye d her . A s m y friend s entere d adolescence, gamblin g becam e th e rage . Sh e forbad e it , s o I spitefull y stayed awa y from m y friend s altogethe r fo r a few weeks, amaze d a t thei r apparent indifferenc e t o m y absence . Afte r m y fathe r died , whe n I wa s fifteen, I ha d on e protracte d conflic t wit h m y mothe r abou t takin g a gentile girl , who m I hardl y kne w bu t wh o looke d appropriate , t o th e prom. I rathe r like d bein g a marty r t o m y mother' s bigotry , bu t sh e relented. Sh e clearly despaired, however , o f my eve r becoming a mensch. The worl d a t large, o n th e othe r hand , prove d unexpectedl y welcom ing. M y hig h school , wit h a well-deserve d reputatio n fo r anti-Semiti c thuggery, ha d bee n suddenl y "integrated " b y a mass of us Jews fro m ou r

164 Steve n Rose n newly built-up , near-suburba n neighborhood . Bu t we were almost neve r hassled b y gentil e students. We wound u p dominating , no t onl y academ ics, bu t th e studen t club s an d government , an d eve n had goo d represen tation o n th e sport s teams . Then , a s graduation approache d an d passed , a serie s o f drunke n partie s mad e clea r t o m e an d m y friend s tha t th e Christian girls , fa r fro m finding u s unmanl y o r unattractive , couldn' t wait t o get thei r hand s o n us . (Phili p Roth , Josep h Heller , an d othe r Jewish novelist s o f thei r generatio n hav e describe d tha t amazin g discov ery, a jo y tha t onl y thos e wh o hav e dreade d a pariah' s sexua l statu s can appreciate. ) I mysel f ha d a ver y fortunat e hig h schoo l experience . I wo n man y school-wide elections , an d go t a n anti-Semiti c teache r disciplined . I starred i n a musical I wrote fo r ou r Jewish socia l clu b t o perfor m a t th e high school . I di d no t pla y o n an y teams , disdainin g har d trainin g fo r probable bench-warming . An d I was socially immature : By graduatio n I had no t ye t gotte n laid . An d I ha d faile d m y driver' s licens e tes t severa l times. Whe n I wa s finally abl e t o drive , m y mothe r refuse d t o co-sig n for m y insurance . Carless , I depende d o n th e goo d wil l o f richer , mor e independent friend s wit h wheels to get to those incredibly sweet , Diony sian parties th e summer afte r graduation . And here I clashed with a nemesis, a young man named Michael Field . Field wa s no t i n th e honor s classes . H e wa s no t a tea m athlete . H e was neithe r handsome , no r (t o judg e fro m hi s parent' s apartment ) rich . However, h e dresse d well , ha d a perfect haircut , an d was one of th e first people I kne w t o assimilat e th e prepp y look . H e ha d a n implausibl y wonderful girlfriend , wh o studie d balle t an d performe d wit h grace , th e elegant daughte r o f a wealthy loca l bandleader. An d throug h a ready wi t that coul d tur n cruel , h e ingratiate d himsel f wit h th e "coolest " guy s i n our circle—generall y thos e wit h money , henc e car s an d gol f clubs , wh o had establishe d a sufficiently secur e styl e o f masculinity . Once , earl y i n our hig h schoo l days , Fiel d ha d successfull y twitte d an d nettle d me , a s I carried m y lunc h tra y i n happ y oblivio n dow n a n aisl e o f th e schoo l cafeteria, abou t th e unfashionabl e cu t o f m y pant s bottoms . I remem bered that . H e seeme d dispose d t o scapegoa t me—t o insur e hi s ow n solidarity wit h th e dominant cliqu e at my expense . At least , h e disliked m e enough t o tell me the truth. H e wa s on t o m y ridiculous vanity . A s graduatio n neared , an d clas s elections approached , I dreade d t o b e automaticall y designate d "Mos t Likel y t o Succeed, " th e

Wimp or Faggot 16

5

title alway s accorde d t o th e gli b Jewish ner d lik e m e wh o ha d preside d over th e studen t council . O f course , n o on e campaigne d fo r suc h honor ary designations , but , hopin g t o avoi d th e go-gettin g label , I bega n telling peopl e I deserve d t o b e selecte d "Mos t Versatile " (th e trai t Dos toevsky propose d t o distinguis h hi s Russians) . Tha t ha d a n agreeabl e openness. Actually , I wanted t o b e electe d "Mos t Handsome, " an d i n a foolish moment , propose d tha t outcom e t o Michae l Field . Fiel d tol d m e in a tone o f flattene d scorn , "Rosen , you'r e no t th e mos t handsome. " I t rankled m e that I had mad e my vanity s o vulnerable t o him . One earl y evening , shortl y afte r graduation , twent y o r s o o f ou r Jewish cohor t wer e t o gathe r a t Field' s house , ge t int o a fe w car s an d drive of f t o a party o f drunke n shiksa s amazingl y dispose d t o ador e us . But I would nee d t o b e picked u p separately , o r a t least kno w whe n th e cars from Field' s ha d lef t withou t me , s o a s to pla n m y ow n rout e t o th e party. I called Field, an d he started joking around wit h me on the phone, contradicting himself , evadin g m y questions , and , I bega n t o suspect , making fu n o f m e fo r th e benefi t o f a small crow d standin g aroun d him . I hun g u p i n a n uncharacteristi c rage . Unexpectedly , a friend wit h a car then di d sho w up, an d we drove to Field's. I bounded u p th e steps to hi s apartment thre e a t a time, an d a s h e opene d th e doo r wit h a shit-eatin g grin, smashe d m y fis t int o hi s face , the n fel l upo n him , pummelin g wildly an d screamin g (i n a none-too-masculin e voca l register) . I ha d simply freake d out—freake d an d shrieked . I couldn' t stan d th e though t of hi m ridiculin g m e t o a group , behin d m y back . Tw o o r thre e bi g athletes gentl y lifte d m e of f Field , shakin g thei r head s i n sham e a t m y craziness. I left , an d I neve r sa w an y o f thos e people—tha t is , m y hig h school crowd—agai n i n my life . A coupl e o f month s later , on e o f thos e wh o pulle d m e of f Fiel d happened t o se e m y mothe r o n th e street . Herbi e Cohen , a big , tall , already prematurel y baldin g athlete , wa s a nice , utterl y unpretentiou s guy wit h a workin g clas s fathe r ( a hous e painter) . I t wa s him , o n th e strength o f hi s basebal l an d basketbal l talents , tha t m y clas s ha d (ab surdly) electe d "Mos t Versatile. " Cohe n wa s als o know n fo r regularl y having se x wit h hi s family' s blac k cleanin g woman , whic h h e describe d not boastfull y bu t gratefully . I remember hi s astonishment a t the variou s postures the y coul d employ . This Cohe n tol d m y mothe r tha t "Wha t [I ] di d wa s wrong. " H e di d not elaborat e hi s remar k an d I di d no t contemplat e i t unti l recently . O f

166 Steve n Rose n course, h e wa s right , an d I was wrong : (i ) Probabl y wron g t o suppose , paranoically, tha t I wa s th e but t o f th e whol e group' s amusement ; (2 ) certainly wron g t o sucker-punc h Field , confirmin g m y lack of masculin e style whil e defendin g m y masculin e ego ; (3 ) wron g t o tak e prid e (a s I have) i n tha t shamefu l los s o f self-control , (thinkin g tha t th e violent an d unrepentant outburst , lik e those of The Eternal Husband's Trusotsky , a t least asserte d m y unpredictability) ; an d (4 ) mos t consequentiall y wron g to b e to o prou d t o apologiz e t o Fiel d an d th e group , t o acknowledg e that I had gon e haywire an d acte d badly . (Now , whe n busines s takes m e in middle ag e to m y ol d hometown , I have no ol d friend s t o visit. ) It recentl y occurre d t o m e tha t Herbi e Cohe n functione d a s a fathe r figure i n thi s actua l bu t als o mythica l occurrence . H e wa s big , hairy , physically competent , sexuall y active , unpretentious , gentle , wise , remote. And tha t implie s tha t Michae l Field , despit e hi s gender , functione d like m y mother . Wha t Michae l Fiel d an d m y mothe r ha d i n commo n was a tendency t o denigrat e m y (1 ) obliviousness an d (2 ) unmanliness, a s signified i n things like driving an d clothes ; they bot h blocke d m y path t o shiksas. A s Cohe n pulle d m e of f Field , m y fathe r gentl y pulle d m e of f my symbolica l mother , a s h e onc e pulle d m e of f m y actua l sister , bot h of who m I wanted t o ven t a raging fury upon , i n defens e o f m y insulte d masculinity. Field's representin g m y mothe r migh t hel p explai n wha t seem s mos t odd abou t m y behavior—no t attackin g m y tormentor , bu t feelin g s o ashamed o f m y outburs t tha t I avoide d al l witnesse s fo r th e res t o f my life . Attackin g th e mothe r i s th e ultimat e taboo . Tha t i s abou t a s psychoanalytic a s I ca n get here . I canno t affirm , a s a Freudia n might , that attackin g Fiel d wa s lik e sexuall y mountin g m y mother , o r invitin g the sexua l punishment o f m y father . I t doe s not fee l tha t Freudian. 10 But it sure was Dostoevskian . Like th e Undergroun d Man , I foun d mysel f unwante d an d ridicule d among forme r classmates . On e unaccountabl y popular , thoug h fashion able mediocrity , pron e t o moc k m y unclass y clothe s an d derid e m y vanity, kep t m e uninforme d abou t a party's arrangements . Offended , I lost self-contro l i n a self-righteou s outburst . I actuall y force d th e scan dalous an d clownis h braw l which th e Underground Ma n planned t o hav e with Zverko v an d hi s retinu e (96-97) . Ou r friend s wen t of f t o se e women withou t us , an d we both wen t underground .

Wimp or Faggot 16

7

When th e Undergroun d Ma n run s afte r hi s friend s t o fight the m a t a whorehouse an d finds the m gone , h e take s u p instea d wit h a wretche d prostitute (Liza) . Wit h her , h e finds himsel f caugh t i n a n oscillatin g pattern, compelle d t o seduc e an d dismis s an d reseduc e an d b e fre e o f her. I n m y "Homoeroti c Bod y Language " paper , excep t t o remar k tha t the anti-hero' s failur e t o sustai n thi s relationshi p migh t als o betra y hi s homosexual orientation , I scante d thi s heterosexua l narrativ e develop ment. Her e too , though , I had muc h t o identify with . Once again , I found colleg e a t th e Universit y o f Chicag o ver y conge nial. Amon g a collectio n o f nerd y maladjusts , unconcerne d t o flaun t their masculinity , fo r onc e I cut a sufficiently confiden t figure. Bu t sinc e I stil l ha d troubl e approachin g women , I foun d mysel f becomin g sexu ally involve d wit h a fe w aggressiv e an d flatterin g blac k wome n i n th e neighborhood. Thes e relation s le d t o som e gratifyin g brawl s wit h whit e racists. And , becomin g a habitue o f blue s clubs , I braved th e danger s o f the ghetto . I proclaimed mysel f a Negrophile. I n m y twenties , I had se x with black women exclusively ; in my thirties, predominantly. I suppose d that th e danger associate d wit h suc h relationships , perhap s eve n a certain masculinization i n thes e tougher , bolde r blac k women , enhance d m y masculine identity . Meanwhile , i t enable d m e t o kee p fro m competin g for wome n wit h th e Jewish, middle-clas s me n o f m y native cohort . I ha d som e lon g romanti c relationships , bu t lik e th e Undergroun d Man, usuall y foun d mysel f wishin g t o b e fre e o f wome n onc e I ha d secured thei r affections , then , whe n free , needin g once again to persuad e them o f m y lov e an d virtue . Th e patter n wa s compulsive , bu t i t wa s also exploitative . It als o kept m y scandalize d mothe r a t bay. Sh e would no t mee t an y of my blac k girlfriends , an d I too readil y acquiesce d i n her racism because I did no t wan t he r t o mee t them . I wante d t o protec t mysel f fro m he r denigration i n fron t o f them . I wante d t o enjo y a grandios e sens e o f myself I coul d onl y hav e i n m y mother' s absence . T o brin g m y mothe r and girlfriend s togethe r wa s a horror t o contemplate . I n " A Specia l Typ e of Objec t Choic e Mad e b y Men, " Freu d opine d tha t thos e whos e eroti c attractions ar e limite d (tha t is , t o "whores, " whic h m y girlfriend s wer e not, bu t the y wer e o f a stigmatized group ) suffe r fro m protracted , rela tively unresolve d Oedipa l attraction s t o thei r mothers , wit h who m the y paradoxically associat e thei r "degraded " objec t choices . Tha t sound s right enoug h t o me .

168 Steve n Rose n The exclusivenes s o f m y attractio n t o blac k wome n becam e increas ingly inconvenien t a s middl e ag e approached . Th e racia l climat e ha d changed. Interracia l sexua l relationships , whic h looke d bol d an d idealis tic i n th e sixties , bega n t o loo k predator y an d patheti c i n th e eighties . I was never misuse d b y blac k women o r embarrasse d b y m y involvement s with them . Bu t I n o longe r fel t m y masculinit y enhance d aroun d th e flamboyant, assertiv e blac k wome n I kep t windin g u p with . Shiftin g political context s an d persona l agin g lef t m e feelin g liabl e t o restricte d opportunity, categorica l rejection , humiliation , an d guil t i f I remaine d a Negrophile. What had begun as a sexually enabling liberation (the y mad e a ma n o f me ) an d a badg e (a s I thought ) o f hipnes s becam e a n increas ingly disenablin g addiction . Additionally, ove r th e years , I go t robbe d a couple o f time s b y blac k men an d los t m y sens e o f invulnerabilit y aroun d them . An d eventually , I coul d n o longe r den y tha t anti-Semitis m wa s rampan t amon g blac k intellectuals. Al l thi s motivate d m e t o pas s ou t o f Negrophili a a s I entered m y forties—a n ordea l perhap s comparabl e t o a forme r genera tion o f Jews leavin g the Communis t Party , i n that m y public and privat e identity wa s so bound u p in my connection s wit h blacks. 11 Meanwhile, I ha d learne d t o pla y jaz z piano . An d fo r th e las t twent y years, i n a n od d recreatio n o f Jewish mal e bonding , I'v e rituall y playe d once a week a t jaz z ja m session s ru n a t Africa n America n Communit y Centers, firs t i n Lo s Angele s an d the n i n Ne w York . A t ja m sessions , which ar e ope n t o al l players , amateur s lik e mysel f ofte n get t o pla y alongside distinguishe d professionals . Ther e i s sometime s a competitiv e element an d consequentl y opportunitie s fo r humiliation . Bu t ja m ses sions are male-bonding rituals , par excellence : They facilitat e th e makin g of proximat e an d paralle l posture s an d gestures , whil e brandishin g mas culinity confirmin g paraphernali a (musica l instruments) . Som e peopl e come t o th e session s jus t t o carr y thei r hor n case s i n public . Ther e i s a lot o f ritua l handshaking an d othe r exchange s o f civilities . There ar e also episodes, a s Bakhtin woul d pu t it , o f carnivalesqu e uncrownings . An intellectua l i n thes e circle s ca n fee l lik e Dostoevsky' s narrato r i n his priso n memoirs , The House of the Dead —both shrinkin g fro m but highl y sensitiv e t o th e nuance s o f physica l salutations . Despit e m y tendency t o si t apar t gradin g studen t paper s whe n no t playing , an d despite m y refrainin g fro m mal e bondin g b y helpin g t o se t u p an d pu t

Wimp or Faggot 16

9

away hous e instruments , an d despit e m y considerabl e musica l limita tions, th e blac k musicians an d coordinator s o f thes e sessions have gener ally made me feel quit e welcome there . However, a t the time I was writing m y Dostoevsk y piece , I suffered a few week s o f scor n a t th e ja m sessio n I normall y attend , particularl y from on e hypermasculine blac k saxophonist, wh o plays with tremendou s rhythmic forc e an d authority . Thoug h a fairl y well-know n recordin g artist, fo r year s h e playe d o n th e streets . Bitterl y independent , an d angry, h e is understandably pron e to put dow n lesser players, who lowe r the leve l o f th e music , regardles s o f personal , racial , o r othe r non musical factors . I greatl y admire d an d rathe r dreade d him . Sur e enough , one night h e mocked m e when I responded t o his question b y callin g ou t too man y chor d changes . (To o muc h talkin g spoil s mal e bonding ; i t seems white, middle-class , an d intellectual.) The following week , h e tol d me loudl y an d repeatedl y befor e fift y othe r peopl e no t t o accompan y him, the n no t t o accompan y others . H e insiste d tha t I solo , le d th e crowd i n applaudin g me , bu t h e forbad e m e t o mal e bond—tha t is , t o play i n uniso n wit h others . Alas , m y loud , thick , overemphati c playing , in it s misconstrue d hypermasculinity , ca n ofte n b e insensitive , an d I di d not have the heart t o defen d it . I jus t storme d out , bot h indignan t an d humiliated , the n walke d around an d decide d t o g o back t o th e session , feelin g tha t I shouldn' t le t him ru n m e ou t o f there . Bu t onc e I starte d t o wal k u p th e stair s I reconsidered tha t my Dostoevsky articl e was coming due and went hom e to work o n it . I hi t th e compute r an d foun d mysel f writin g abou t m y ow n humilia tion. Ho w dar e he insult m e s o publicly? Di d the y al l think m e a wimp? In the street sense, a faggot? Ho w awful . I might b e a wimp, bu t I wasn't a faggot. I thought ho w swee t i t would b e never t o g o bac k ther e again , to sho w a kin d o f spitefu l power , t o avoi d th e whol e crowd , th e wit nesses o f m y disgrace . I' d rathe r b e alon e tha n b e th e lo w ma n o n th e totem pole . M y adolescen t debacl e with m y Jewish cohor t wa s recurrin g among black s in this mini-mid-life crisis . Fortunately, b y middle age, I had acquire d a little more sense. Humil ity? Masculinity? Sociability ? I went bac k th e following wee k an d foun d the fellow unaccountabl y friendly . (Bette r yet, h e left tow n th e followin g day.) I reimmersed mysel f i n the jam sessio n scene . I need it .

170 Steve n Rose n I mus t admit , however , tha t I wrot e m y piec e o n homoeroti c bod y language in Dostoevsky whe n thes e subjective resentment s were strongl y influencing me . I was endeavoring to repair a wounded Jewish masculin ity. I ha d hardl y bee n wounde d b y th e anti-Semitis m o f dea d whit e men—Dostoevsky an d hi s fello w Russian s (wh o happene d t o b e th e sometime ethni c antagonists , amon g othe r Easter n Slavs , o f m y ances tors)—but rathe r b y Africa n Americans . An d there , th e injurie s wer e rarely personal , bu t cam e fro m th e pronouncement s o f publi c figures I did not know . An d I had struggle d t o free mysel f fro m a n inconvenientl y exclusive attractio n t o blac k women , dreadin g eventua l rejection s a s a dirty ol d Negrophile , bu t no t becaus e blac k wome n ha d mistreate d me . On th e contrary . I was liabl e t o criticis m a s a jazz musician , bu t kne w I had received , especiall y fro m blacks , reall y mor e encouragemen t tha n my playing deserved . I wa s mainl y ma d a t black s fo r th e kin d o f politica l an d ideologica l reasons which , accordin g t o Josep h Frank , bes t explai n th e endurin g interest i n Dostoevsky . Anti-Semiti c discourse , fro m som e o f m y favor ite blac k writers , a s well a s fanatics, ha d increasingl y characterize d Afri can America n publi c rhetoric. 12 (I t worrie d me , jus t a s irreligiou s Rus sian radicalis m worrie d Dostoevsky. ) I t rendere d increasingl y untenabl e the meanin g o f m y life , th e definin g projec t o f m y adulthood . I ha d bonded wit h black s i n compensatio n fo r a n insecur e Jewis h masculin ity—insulted first b y m y mother' s irritabl e sens e o f m y deficiencies , later i n childhoo d b y tougher , gentil e white boys , an d i n adolescenc e b y my Jewish circle , wh o kne w m y ridiculou s vanit y al l too wel l an d wer e getting snott y abou t car s an d othe r sign s o f clas s distinction . Addition ally, I ha d recentl y bee n stun g b y som e persona l dissin g amon g blac k musicians. These ethni c an d male-rol e concerns , whic h ha d covertl y motivate d my piec e o n Dostoevsky , wer e directl y addresse d i n m y subsequen t study, "African-America n Anti-Semitis m i n Himes ' Lonely Crusade." There I argue d tha t th e Africa n America n (an d ver y Dostoevskian ) nov elist Cheste r Himes , a personal favorite , ha d prefigure d th e mood o f th e next generation' s blac k writers b y constructin g (i n the forties) a n Africa n American anti-Semitis m i n specifi c respons e t o (supposed ) insult s whic h Jewish businessmen , leftists , an d entertainer s ha d offere d t o blac k masculinity. An d her e too (a s in attributing homosexual motive s t o Dostoev -

Wimp o r Faggot 17

1

sky) I found i t convenient t o cit e Himes' littl e know n homosexua l expe riences. In thi s chapter , I hav e bee n explainin g suc h interpretation s a s th e products o f touch y Jewish mal e intellectuals—e.g. , Freu d himself , Les lie Fiedler , Alber t Goldman , an d Phili p Roth—who , whethe r i n re sponse t o actua l anti-Semitis m o r resentfu l o f masculinis t code s whic h disadvantage Jewis h men , degrad e gentil e male-bondin g activit y b y in terpreting i t as covertly homoerotic . One inferenc e fro m suc h a perspectiv e i s tha t thes e interpretation s may b e mistaken: tha t male-bondin g activit y ma y b e misconstrued a s homoerotic. Sinc e I conceiv e mal e bondin g a s mutual physical demonstration of masculinity, chiefl y throug h postur e an d gesture , I migh t well hav e interprete d Dostoevsky' s hypersensitivit y t o masculin e bod y language in such terms . Wimp or Faggot? Dostoevskian Figures Male Bonders

as Ambivalent

The Undergroun d Ma n frequentl y cite s his feeling s o f masculin e insuffi ciency an d unimpressivenes s t o explai n hi s usua l avoidanc e pattern s an d occasional ridiculou s blusterin g aroun d othe r men . Hi s conflict s com e with hypermascuHn e figures: on e office r wh o clank s hi s swor d (Notes from Underground 26-28) , th e othe r wh o move s him asid e in th e taver n and befor e who m h e "bea t a respectful retreat " (66), an d Zverkov , wh o "swaggers" (yj). H e compare s himself, alternatively , t o a "hunchback o r dwarf" (30 ) o r "fly " (68) . H e denigrate s "me n o f action " (32) , wit h capacity to take revenge, a s "stupid"; the n suggest s that, sinc e those wh o charge forwar d agains t opponent s lik e "bulls " d o retrea t befor e "ston e walls" (34) , the y ar e reall y les s heroi c tha n torture d intellectuals , wh o remain preoccupied wit h unalterable humiliations. Hi s problems with his schoolmates deriv e from hi s inability to assimilate masculine etiquette: he both take s an d give s too much offens e (86) . His vanity an d intellectualit y call for individua l attentio n wher e camaraderi e i s wanted. Therefore , hi s former schoolfellow s tak e t o "cuttin g hi m i n th e street " (78) , see m t o b e "warding of f something " (86 ) whe n compelle d t o shak e hi s hand , "tur n carelessly fro m him " (87) , an d laug h of f hi s challenge s t o due l (92) . These failure s t o mal e bond—t o affir m commo n masculinit y throug h

172 Steve n Rose n proximate an d paralle l posture s an d gestures—provok e hi s desperat e fantasies o f clownis h brawlin g (96-97), sinc e exchangin g blow s wil l affirm hi s masculinity howeve r muc h the y hurt . The narrato r o f The House of the Dead finds himsel f shunne d b y tough convict s in work parties, an d like the Underground Man , regularl y avoids confrontations . Nonetheless , a s mentione d above , h e accord s great significanc e t o whethe r hi s fello w prisoner s eithe r shak e o r shrin k from hi s han d i n departure . I t woul d b e far-fetche d t o appl y a homo erotic motiv e t o thos e handshakes , whic h powerfully signify shared masculinity since they cross class (and ethnic) lines. Similarly, th e conspiratoria l crimina l violenc e i n Dostoevsky' s majo r novels, which I analyzed a s motivated b y homoerotic lov e (e.g., i n Erke l and Smerdyakov ) mor e o r les s consciousl y manipulate d b y others , ca n also b e see n a s a passionat e masculinit y proving— a motiv e whic h suf fices t o explai n mos t o f humanity' s destructiv e behavior : war , hooli ganism, fas t driving , drinking , drug-taking , sexua l harassment. Dostoev sky's ow n revolutionar y activit y (wit h th e iconi c mal e adventurer , Speshnev) might wel l have been similarl y motivated. 13 Altogether, crucial , recurren t aspect s i n th e Dostoevskia n characte r type—hypersensitivity t o masculin e bod y language , self-consciousnes s of masculin e weaknes s o r unimpressiveness , an d violen t outburst s o f masculinity-proving crimina l adventurism—ar e readil y explaine d i n terms o f a n intellectual' s intens e ambivalenc e abou t mal e bonding . An d such a n approac h migh t suffic e t o explai n a good dea l o f materia l whic h I, lik e Freud , attribute d t o Dostoevsky' s homoeroticism . Why ? A s a timorous Jewish intellectua l who fel t charmles s i n his own mother' s eye s and ha d problem s relatin g t o mal e groups , I ha d temporaril y solve d m y masculinity problem s b y bondin g wit h blacks . Bu t agin g and th e chang ing politica l climat e mad e tha t les s tenable . Focusin g o n Dostoevsky' s hypothetical homosexuality , wher e I ^identifie d wit h him , enable d m e to engag e i n som e compensator y swaggering— a functio n which , I be lieve, ofte n motivate s suc h interpretations . Nonetheless, whe n w e Jewis h an d othe r intellectuals , i n resentmen t of bein g regarde d a s wimps , explai n male-bondin g behavio r a s homo erotic, w e choos e plausibl e case s t o d o so . Dostoevsk y i s on e o f them . He attracte d Freud' s an d Freudians ' attention s becaus e hi s ambivalenc e about mal e bondin g wa s complicate d b y homosexua l attractions . I n Dostoevsky, hypersensitivit y t o masculin e posture s an d gesture s wa s

Wimp or Faggot 17

3

overdetermined b y variou s factors , includin g homoeroticism . Se e m y article on th e subject .

Some Values of Subjective Criticism Considering persona l parallels to my critica l subjec t ha s helped m e to see just ho w subjectiv e m y criticis m ha s been . Naturally , m y defens e i s t o generalize: On e tend s t o selec t text s an d develo p interpretation s whic h work ou t persona l conflicts , usuall y b y flatterin g o r a t leas t defendin g one's typ e an d group—doe s on e not ? Accordingly , on e ough t t o ques tion thos e interpretations . Paradoxically , self-analysis—tha t is , mor e probing an d carefu l consideration s o f limite d parallel s betwee n onesel f and literar y characters—ca n provid e a n opportunit y t o restor e a plurality of meaning s t o texts which persona l agenda s have kept on e from con sidering. Perhaps, a s i n th e trainin g analyse s o f psychoanalysis , professiona l interpreters o f literatur e ough t t o b e encourage d (i f no t required ) t o perform som e suc h criticism . On e effec t o f tha t trainin g migh t b e mor e responsible effort s t o broade n one' s sympathies . (I f i t wer e no t fo r feminist pressures , I migh t stil l b e teachin g m y persona l cano n o f pessi mistic/libertine literatur e exclusively. ) Anothe r effec t migh t b e to recrui t more expressiv e (i f narcissistic ) type s t o ou r profession . Obviously , subjective criticis m afford s gratifyin g opportunitie s fo r self-knowledg e and for mor e direct expression of one's personal and political concerns — though als o fo r exhibitionism , fo r masochism , an d fo r th e ventin g o f absurdly pett y persona l resentments . Give n readers ' limite d interes t i n critics, a s oppose d t o thei r subjects , subjectiv e criticis m risk s seemin g impertinently egocentric . Nonetheless , I lik e t o thin k tha t self-analysi s has helped me , ultimately , t o dea l more thoroughl y an d justly with Dos toevsky. Notes I dedicate this chapter to my wife, Victoria Sullivan. 1. Cf . Rancour-Laferriere' s The Mind of Stalin and Out from under Gogol's Overcoat. 2. Fran k wrote, in Through the Russian Prism: "I f Dostoevsky's books are the greatest dramatizations in modern literature of the clash of competing moralsocial ideologies, it was not because he brooded ove r his Oedipus complex.

174 Steve

n Rose n

. . . I t was because he was passionately plunged int o the merciless ideologica l warfare o f Russi a i n th e 1860 s an d 1870s , an d wa s abl e t o projec t it s issue s both i n term s o f hi s ow n inne r conflict s an d wit h a brillian t gras p o f thei r larger significance " (95) . 3. Unlik e it s best-know n theoreticians , Lione l Tige r an d Rober t Bly , wh o conceive mal e bondin g a s woman excluding , m y conceptio n allow s wome n to mal e bond , i.e . throug h proximat e an d paralle l postures , gestures , an d brandishings—e.g., raisin g beer mug s alongsid e men a t sports bars , toastin g touchdowns. 4. Whe n I interviewe d Cuddih y a t hi s hom e i n 198 0 h e ver y civill y denie d feeling an y anti-Semiti c animus . 5. Th e charg e o f ritua l murde r ventilate d i n The Brothers Karamazov suggest s a pola r resentmen t o f Jewis h patriarch y (i.e. , o f Jew s a s castratin g fathe r figures). Th e prio r clai m o f Jew s t o b e a "God-bearing " peopl e conflicte d with Dostoevsky' s Messiani c Russia n nationalism . I n hi s journalis m (nota bly, "Th e Jewis h Question " i n Diary of a Writer, 637-53 ) Dostoevsk y complained (sometime s eloquently , sometime s crazily ) abou t Jewis h ex ploitiveness an d ethnocentricity . I t shoul d b e note d tha t h e wa s eve n mor e intensely anti-Catholic . 6. "Accordin g t o a contemporar y guidebook, " Gilma n observes , "i n Vienn a the first questio n on e ask s about an y on e see n on th e stree t i s 'Is he a Jew'?" (175). Gilman' s observation s impl y tha t me n wer e sometime s suspecte d o f being Jews becaus e of thei r hypo-masculine o r androgynou s traits . 7. Fo r instance , a s a secular Jew, Freu d regarde d al l religio n a s a n "anodyne " (Moses and Monotheism 6y), whos e eschewa l accordingl y signifie d hi s toughness. However , h e als o though t Judais m manlie r tha n Christianity . The late r religio n "di d no t kee p t o th e loft y height s o f spiritualit y t o whic h the Jewish religio n ha d soared, " since , amon g othe r lapse s fro m patriarcha l monotheism, i t "re-establishe d th e grea t mothe r goddess " i n Mar y (Moses and Monotheism 112) . 8. I t wa s als o a s par t o f Freud' s (unstated ) projec t t o stres s th e relativ e mas culinity o f Jewis h me n tha t h e analyze d anti-Semitis m a s a consequenc e of represse d homosexuality . Accordin g t o Gilman , "Freud' s late r wor k o n the psycholog y o f mas s movements"—whic h explai n crow d psycholog y in term s o f libidina l attractio n t o fathe r figures—"are hi s unstate d anal yses o f anti-Semitism " (156) . Mor e specifically , i n Moses and Monotheism, Freud "venture[d ] t o asser t tha t th e jealous y whic h th e Jew s evoke d i n others people s b y maintainin g tha t the y wer e th e first born , favourit e chil d of Go d th e Fathe r ha s no t ye t bee n overcom e b y thos e others " (116) . Similarly, Freud' s imputatio n o f homoeroti c motive s t o Dostoevsk y serve d to denigrat e th e masculinit y o f a Christia n sage , wh o wa s incidentall y anti Semitic. 9. Similarly , i t may be true that hypermasculine thug s an d fascists resis t uncon scious feminin e identifications , an d tha t Theodo r Adorn o rightl y discerne d

Wimp o r Faggot 17

5

"pseudo-masculinity" i n "authoritaria n men " (cite d i n Plec k 32) . Bu t i t seems eve n mor e likel y tha t suc h interpretation s defen d th e masculin e ego s of their makers. 10. I realiz e tha t th e interna l logi c o f Freud' s system , politica l correctness , common sense , an d fai r pla y requir e m e t o conside r m y ow n behavio r i n light of a homoerotic hypothesis ; nonetheless, I have not felt i t as such. S o I am no t incline d t o regar d th e Michae l Fiel d inciden t a s I di d th e Under ground Man's ; that is , I don' t regar d th e sourc e o f m y bizarr e behavio r a s wounded homoeroticism . Unlik e th e Undergroun d Man , I neve r followe d strapping men around or invited myself t o their parties. 11. Incredibly , I coordinate d th e Afro-America n Studie s Departmen t o f m y college for two years—a happy experience among others, including reconciliation wit h m y mothe r an d marriage i n m y forties , whic h ar e omitted fro m this paper , sinc e i t focuse s o n persona l humiliation s parallelin g th e Under ground Man's. 12. Se e m y Hime s article , cite d above , fo r derogator y reference s t o Jew s b y Chester Himes, Ishmae l Reed, James Baldwin, Jesse Jackson, an d Spike Lee, among othe r highl y reputabl e Africa n Americans . Whethe r suc h criticism s constitute "anti-Semitism " (a s I thin k som e have ) i s debatable . Sinc e thi s chapter criticizes a tendency i n Jewish intellectuals , I can hardly den y othe r people the right to do so. 13. Som e o f Dostoevsky' s persona l traits , previousl y psychoanalyticall y inter preted, ca n also be understood in terms of male-bonding ambivalence. Freu d explained Dostoevsky' s compulsiv e gamblin g (i n referenc e t o a stor y b y another writer ) a s masturbatory b y it s gestures , henc e a kind o f circl e jerk . Compulsive gamblin g i s mor e obviousl y motivate d b y masculinit y proving, through publicly takin g risks. Th e gamble r also demonstrates sophisticatio n in th e (masculinist ) languag e an d ritua l gesture s o f gambling . A s Fran k points out, Dostoevsk y though t he could become a successful gamble r if "he could impos e a n iro n self-contro l o n hi s feelings " (1986 , 262) ; Fran k doe s not see, however, tha t this "iron self-control" implie s a public demonstration of masculinity. Even Dostoevsky' s religiou s sentiment , wit h it s insistenc e upo n th e "manly" quality o f Christ , ca n b e see n i n term s o f masculinis t (rathe r tha n homoerotic) preoccupations . (H e naturall y needed to assert the manliness of someone known for turning the other cheek. )

Works Cite d Bakhtin, Mikhail . Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Ed. an d trans. C . Emerson . Minneapolis: University o f Minnesota Press, 1984 . Bly, Robert . Iron John: A Book about Men. Ne w York : Vintage, 1992 .

iy6 Steve

n Rose n

Breger, Louis . Dostoevsky: The Author as Psychoanalyst. New York : New Yor k University Press , 1989 . Cuddihy, Joh n Murray . The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss, and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity. Ne w York : Basic Books, 1974 . Dostoevsky, Fyodor . The Brothers Karamazov. Trans . C . Garnett . Rev . an d ed . R. E . Matlaw . Ne w York : W. W . Norton , 1976 . . The Diary of a Writer. Ne w York : Braziller, 1954 . . The Eternal Husband: Three Short Novels by Dostoevsky. Ne w York : Doubleday, i960 . . The Gambler/Bobok/A Nasty Story. Ne w York : Penguin, 1966 . . The House of the Dead. Ne w York : Dell, 1959 . . Letters of Fyodor Michailovich Dostoevsky to His Family and Friends. New York : Horizon , 1961 . . Notes from Underground/Poor People/The Friend of the Family. Ne w York: Dell, i960 . . The Possessed. Trans . Andre w Ma c Andrew. Ne w York : New America n Library, 1962 . . Winter Notes on Summer Impressions. New York : McGraw-Hill, 1965 . Fiedler, Leslie . "Com e Bac k t o th e Raf t Again , Huc k Honey! " I n A Fiedler Reader. Ne w York : Stein and Day, 1977 . Frank, Joseph . Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849. Princeton : Princeton Universit y Press , 1976 . . Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal, 1850-59. Princeton : Princeto n Uni versity Press, 1982 . . Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, i860-1865. Princeton : Princeto n University Press , 1986 . . Through the Russian Prism: Essays on Literature and Culture. Princeton : Princeton Universit y Press , 1990 . Freud, Sigmund . "Certai n Neuroti c Mechanism s i n Jealousy , Paranoia , an d Homosexuality." I n Sexuality and the Psychology of Love. Ne w York : Col lier, 1963 . . "Dostoevsk y an d Parricide. " I n Russian Literature and Psychoanalysis, ed. D . Rancour-Laferriere . Amsterda m an d Philadelphia: Benjamins, 1989 . . Moses and Monotheism. Trans . Katherin e Jones . Ne w York : Vintage , 1955. " A Specia l Type o f Objec t Choic e Mad e b y Men. " I n Sexuality and the Psychology of Love. Ne w York : Collier , 1963 . Gilman, Sande r L . "Freud , Race , an d Gender. " American Imago 49 , no . 2(1992): 155-83. Goldman, Albert . Ladies and Gentlemen —Lenny Bruce. Ne w York : Penguin , 1964. . Elvis. Ne w York : McGraw-Hill, 1981 . Goldstein, Davi d I . Dostoyevsky and the Jews. Austin : Universit y o f Texa s Press, 1981 .

W i m p o r Faggo t 1

77

Klein, Viola . The Feminine Character: History of an Ideology. Secon d ed . Ur bana: University o f Illinoi s Press, 1971 . Pleck, Joseph H . "Th e Theory o f Mal e Sex-Role Identity: Its Rise and Fall, 193 6 to the Present." In The Making of Masculinities: The New Men's Studies. Ed. Harry Brod . Ne w York : Routledge, 1992 . Rancour-Laferriere, Daniel . Out from under GogoVs Overcoat: A Psychoanalytic Study. An n Arbor : Ardis, 1982 . . The Mind of Stalin: A Psychoanalytic Study. An n Arbor: Ardis, 1988 . , ed . Russian Literature and Psychoanalysis. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins, 1989 . Rosen, Steve n J. Samuel Beckett and the Pessimistic Tradition. Ne w Brunswick : Rutgers Universit y Press , 1976 . . "Homoeroti c Bod y Languag e i n Dostoevsky. " Psychoanalytic Review (Fall 1993) : 405-32. "African-America n Anti-Semitis m i n Cheste r Himes ' Lonely Crusade." Melus (Summe r 1994) . Roth, Philip . Portnoy's Complaint. Ne w York : Bantam, 1969 . Tiger, Lionel . Men in Groups. Ne w York : Moyars, 1984 .

S E V E N

Attunement an d Interpretation : Reading Virgini a Wool f Barbara Ann Schapiro

During the fall of our senior year in the University o f Michigan's Honor s English Program , m y girlfrien d Debora h an d I amuse d ourselve s b y trying t o gues s whic h author s ou r variou s classmate s woul d choos e t o write o n fo r thei r senio r theses . W e ha d bee n wit h th e sam e grou p fo r two years so we had a fair sens e of individual personalities. Maris a woul d go fo r Jan e Austen , w e bet , an d Fre d woul d undoubtedl y pic k a poet, a Romantic, probabl y Coleridge . Althoug h w e guesse d correctl y i n onl y a few cases , whe n w e hear d th e actua l selection s o f th e others , ou r feelin g invariably was, "Bu t o f course ! We should have known! " We fel t similarl y abou t ou r professor s an d thei r fields . Alexande r Allison, wit h hi s strin g ti e an d bitin g quips , mutterin g ove r hi s ubiqui tous coffe e cup , seeme d th e perfec t guid e throug h th e eighteent h cen tury. The n ther e wa s Herber t Barrows , wh o woul d rea d a Keat s od e i n his quiet , pensive , almos t whisperin g voic e an d mak e u s understand i t as we neve r ha d before . Ha d w e aske d them , ou r classmate s o r professor s might hav e explaine d thei r literar y choice s o n th e basi s o f a n author' s complex ideas , forma l elegance , o r intriguin g us e o f language . Wha t w e were respondin g to , however , wa s les s a n intellectua l tha n a n emotiona l alliance—a resonanc e roote d i n feeling. "Literary criticis m ca n b e n o mor e tha n a reasone d accoun t o f th e feeling produce d upo n th e criti c b y th e boo k h e i s criticizing, " wrot e D. H . Lawrence , remarkabl y anticipatin g reader-respons e criticism . 178

Attunement an d Interpretation 17

9

"The touchston e i s emotion , no t reason. " Consequently , h e argues , th e good criti c mus t b e "o f goo d faith . H e mus t hav e th e courag e t o admi t what h e feels, a s well a s the flexibilit y t o know wha t h e feels" (539) . Th e statement i s a cogen t declaratio n o f th e importanc e o f self-analysi s t o literary study . Thoug h I would no t g o so far a s Lawrence to proclaim al l critical writin g abou t styl e an d for m a s mere "twiddle-twaddle, " I shar e his conviction abou t th e emotional foundatio n o f literar y response . Wit h psychoanalytic criticism , whic h deal s explicitly with the unconscious an d affective dimension s o f a text , th e courag e t o admi t an d th e flexibility to kno w one' s ow n feeling s ar e perhap s mor e crucia l tha n wit h othe r critical approaches . If the emotional resonanc e betwee n a critic and the literary tex t is real, then th e reasone d accoun t o f th e critic' s feeling s ca n tel l u s muc h abou t the work—it s affectiv e pattern s o r feelin g structures—a s well . Thank s to current psychoanalytic theory , affec t n o longer belong s to some fuzz y realm outsid e o f critica l discourse . Affec t i s indee d no w understoo d a s one of th e most profoun d structurin g force s o f th e psyche. Debora h an d I were responding t o an intuited comple x of emotion s we associated wit h both ou r classmate s an d thei r chose n writers , a complex relate d t o gen eral sensibility o r personal style . Norman Hollan d migh t argu e that Deborah an d I had a murky aware ness o f "identit y themes " whic h w e wer e tryin g t o match . I wouldn' t disagree, althoug h I prefe r Christophe r Bollas' s ter m "persona l idiom " because i t implie s structur e an d styl e a s wel l a s themati c content . Ac cording t o Bollas , "eac h o f u s a t birt h i s equippe d wit h a unique idio m of psychi c organizatio n tha t constitute s th e cor e o f ou r self , an d the n i n the subsequen t first year s o f ou r lif e w e becom e ou r parents ' child , instructed b y th e implicat e logi c o f thei r unconsciou s relationa l intelli gence i n th e family' s wa y o f being " {Being a Character 51) . Ou r idiom , in othe r words , i s a personal "aestheti c o f being " tha t i s to som e degre e both inherite d an d acquired . W e see k ou t objects , Bolla s says , tha t "stimulate ou r idiom, " tha t enhanc e it s articulatio n an d "releas e i t int o lived expression " (53) . Fro m Bollas' s perspective , th e literar y critic' s preferred text s woul d b e thos e tha t mos t articulat e an d releas e th e critic's idiom . Jonathan Culle r ha s argue d tha t th e dialecti c o f reade r an d tex t i n reader-response theor y inevitabl y break s dow n int o eithe r on e pol e o r the othe r dominatin g interpretation : eithe r th e reade r structure s th e tex t

180 Barbar a An n Schapir o or th e text provokes certai n response s an d control s th e reader (70) . If w e can incorporate th e idea of resonance or attunement int o our understand ing o f literar y response , however , the n th e dialecti c ca n remai n intact . At leas t in regar d t o one' s favorit e works , th e reader i s not s o much "re creating" th e tex t i n term s o f hi s or he r ow n identit y themes , a s Hollan d has argued , a s "re-cognizing " a n idio m tha t resonate s wit h th e reader' s own an d trigger s its expression . Affective attunemen t i s a focal concep t o f psychoanalyti c intersubjec tive theory , an d i t ca n offe r a useful len s throug h whic h t o vie w literar y and aestheti c response . Th e wor k o f Danie l Stern , base d o n laborator y studies o f infan t behavior , suggest s tha t "infant s a t abou t nin e month s notice th e congruenc e betwee n thei r ow n affectiv e stat e an d th e affec t expression see n on someone's face, " and "tha t the infant someho w make s a match betwee n th e feelin g stat e a s experience d withi n an d a s seen 'on ' or 'in ' another , a matc h tha t w e ca n cal l interaffectivity" (132) . Suc h interaffectivity, Ster n claims, "ma y be the first, mos t pervasive, an d mos t immediately importan t for m o f sharin g subjective experiences " (132). Interaffectivity expand s int o a category o f behavio r Ster n call s "affec t attunement." Attunemen t behavio r i s no t simpl y imitation ; i t expresse s "the qualit y o f feelin g o f a shared affec t stat e without imitatin g th e exac t behavioral expression " (142) . Attunemen t i s a matte r o f transposin g o r recasting feelin g states , an d th e process i s crucial to th e formatio n o f th e sense o f a subjectiv e self . Accordin g t o Stern , attunemen t i s als o a precursor t o languag e an d symbo l us e and t o th e experience o f art . Bollas talk s abou t aestheti c experienc e i n term s simila r t o attunemen t when h e stresse s th e "fit " an d "uncann y rapport " tha t w e experienc e with a work o f art : "A s th e aestheti c momen t constitute s a deep rappor t between subjec t an d object , i t provide s th e perso n wit h a generativ e illusion o f fitting wit h a n object " (Shadow of the Object 32) . Feminis t psychoanalyst Jessic a Benjami n als o emphasize s th e concep t o f at tunement i n he r theorizing , thoug h sh e include s i n i t th e dimensio n o f "mutual recognition. " Fo r th e infant , emotiona l attunemen t i s a deepl y pleasurable, reciproca l stat e tha t involve s recognitio n o f a n othe r alon g with th e experienc e o f bein g recognize d b y a n other . Benjami n see s intersubjective developmen t a s a spectru m i n whic h recognitio n o f th e other a s bot h lik e an d differen t become s increasingl y conscious . A s ful l intersubjectivity emerges , th e awarenes s o f a separat e othe r onl y en -

Attunement an d Interpretation 18

1

hances th e feelin g o f connection : "thi s other min d ca n shar e my feeling " (30).

These psychoanalyti c concept s o f attunemen t an d intersubjectivit y can b e applie d t o th e experienc e o f readin g literature . Th e pleasur e w e feel whil e involve d i n a text ma y b e mirrorin g ou r earliest , mos t intens e mode o f bein g an d relating , i n whic h w e fee l deepl y attune d t o anothe r subjectivity. I n ou r favorit e texts , w e recogniz e an d fee l recognize d b y an other . Ou r critica l interpretation s ar e perhap s elaboration s o f tha t sense o f intersubjectiv e recognition . Whe n I write critically , I feel a s if I am seein g o r recognizin g somethin g i n th e tex t tha t I want other s t o se e or recogniz e too . Self-analysi s ca n hel p u s t o articulat e thi s recognitio n process mor e full y an d consciously . Th e mor e cognizan t I a m o f m y own subjectiv e pattern s o r idiom , th e mor e abl e I a m t o re-cogniz e patterns i n text s t o whic h I a m emotionall y attune d an d i n unconscious , as well as conscious, rapport . Recently a fe w literar y critic s hav e bee n stressin g simila r notion s o f attunement o r rapport . Michae l Stei g explain s th e premise o f hi s reader response study , Stories of Reading, a s follows : "Becaus e o f personalit y and experience , som e reader s ar e capabl e o f mor e origina l an d deepe r understanding o f emotionall y puzzlin g aspect s o f particula r literar y works tha n others ; an d suc h understandin g ca n b e conceptualize d b y such a reade r throug h a reflectio n upo n th e emotion s experience d an d upon persona l association s wit h thos e emotions " (xiv) . I n a similar vein , John Clayton , i n a critical study o f the modern novel , explicitl y connect s a particula r emotiona l constellatio n i n hi s ow n famil y wit h tha t o f th e families o f th e novelist s he' s analyzing . A s a result, h e says , h e i s espe cially sensitiv e an d "attuned " t o thes e writer s an d th e typ e o f anxiet y their novel s present . H e admits , however , tha t hi s attunemen t i s no t total; it is limited "onl y to particular aspects of thei r work" (17) . If m y classmate s a t Michiga n ha d bee n playin g m y sam e game , I wonder i f the y woul d hav e guesse d tha t I woul d choos e Virgini a Wool f as the subjec t o f m y thesis . Lookin g back , i t seem s obviou s t o m e now . My undergraduat e year s were a n emotionall y intens e period fo r me , an d intensity apparentl y wa s on e o f m y hallmarks . I recal l a male classmat e confessing t o m e ove r coffe e on e afternoo n tha t h e an d severa l othe r guys i n th e clas s ha d al l agree d tha t the y wouldn' t wan t t o dat e m e because I was "to o intense." Another signa l I seemed t o have been givin g

182 Barbar a An n Schapir o off a t th e tim e wa s sadness , thoug h i t wa s a sadnes s wit h whic h I wa s curiously ou t o f touch . Repeatedl y durin g thos e years, a s I walked dow n the stree t o r throug h th e corridor s o f Angel l Hall , a stranger passin g m e by woul d chirp , "Chee r up! " o r "Don' t loo k s o sad! " I wa s alway s startled; I ha d n o consciousnes s o f feelin g sa d a t all . Still , I remembe r a dream fro m tha t period . I wa s sittin g i n a circle o f peopl e an d a photograph wa s bein g passe d aroun d whic h everyon e wa s murmurin g over . When i t got to me I was shocked: it was me—a close-u p o f my face wit h the mos t sorrowfu l expressio n P d eve r see n i n m y life . " I loo k s o sad ! I look s o sad!" I exclaimed, an d woke up . The emotiona l issue s wit h whic h I wa s strugglin g a t th e time—th e depression, th e anxiet y tha t fuele d m y intensity , problem s wit h bound aries an d identity—foun d expressio n i n an d a n affinit y wit h th e fiction of Virginia Woolf. I studie d he r wor k wit h th e intensity fo r whic h I was known, readin g everythin g sh e eve r wrote . I thin k I wa s unconsciousl y reenacting th e them e o f mergin g an d unio n tha t run s throughou t he r work i n m y ver y ac t o f readin g an d studyin g her , i n m y extrem e identi fication wit h an d absorptio n i n he r writing . Suc h identification , i n fact , got m e int o troubl e stylisticall y i n th e writin g o f m y thesis . I incorpo rated (agai n unconsciously ) th e extraordinar y fluidit y o f he r style, 1 bu t while sh e coul d ge t awa y wit h endlessl y subordinate d sentences , I couldn't. "Mis s Schapiro, " on e reade r scrawle d a t th e bac k o f m y essay , "You ar e absolutely diabolica l with th e semi-colon! " The titl e o f m y thesi s wa s " 'Th e Perfec t Dwelling-Place' : Ar t a s Lif e Principle i n th e Fictio n o f Virgini a Woolf. " Th e phras e "th e perfec t dwelling-place" wa s draw n fro m Rhoda' s meditatio n o n musi c i n The Waves: There i s a square; there i s an oblong . Th e players tak e th e squar e an d plac e it upon th e oblong . The y plac e it ver y accurately ; the y mak e a perfect dwelling place. Very little is left outside . The structure is now visible; what is inchoate is here stated; we are not so various or so mean; we have made oblongs and stood them upon squares. This is our triumph; this is our consolation. (139) Art a s a metaphor fo r th e battl e agains t formlessnes s an d disintegratio n in general was the ruling argument o f my essay . Mrs. Dalloway an d Mrs. Ramsay wer e artists , workin g no t wit h paint s o r words , bu t wit h th e domestic mediu m o f huma n relationships . Al l o f th e character s i n The Waves, I maintained , wer e als o metaphorica l artists , eac h attemptin g t o construct a perfect dwelling-plac e i n a different mod e o r medium . I tie d

Attunement and Interpretation 18

3

this them e t o som e formal , stylisti c analyse s an d brough t i n a little lat e nineteenth-century aestheticis m a s well . The essa y wasn' t ba d fo r a n undergraduate effort ; I stil l conside r som e o f th e specifi c insight s valu able today . Wha t interest s m e mos t i n retrospect , however , i s ho w closely m y analysi s reflecte d m y particula r emotiona l stat e an d psycho logical struggles of the time. I wrot e tha t thesi s a t a moment whe n m y ow n psychi c stabilit y fel t exceedingly fragile . Th e figh t agains t disintegration , th e focu s o f m y argument, wa s a battle I was wagin g myself , thoug h I was not awar e o f it in those term s a t the time. Lyrica l lines fro m The Waves —"The doo r opens; th e tige r leaps, " o r "Deat h i s wove n i n wit h th e violets . Deat h and agai n death"—reverberate d wit h m y dreams . The longin g fo r th e perfect dwelling-place , th e perfec t protectiv e environmen t i n whic h ev erything coheres and "very little is left outside," springs from the experience o f a dangerousl y disconnected , unreliabl e environmen t i n whic h nothing seem s to hold. I n one o f m y recurrin g dreams from tha t period, I woul d b e lookin g a t th e moo n an d i t woul d suddenl y dro p ou t o f the sky. I wa s routinel y writin g dow n m y dream s i n thos e years , mainl y because the y wer e s o vivi d an d disturbing , bu t I did no t trul y begi n t o self-analyze unti l graduate school and my introduction to psychoanalyti c theory. I d o no t understan d critic s lik e Jan e Tompkin s who , whil e arguing vigorously fo r th e importance o f recognizin g persona l feelin g i n literary criticism , ca n the n see m s o mistrustfu l o f psychoanalysis . Be cause i t "systemizes " emotions , Tompkin s believes , psychoanalysi s ha s often bee n use d defensivel y b y reader-respons e critics ; they tak e refug e in the system rather than dealing with their own emotions . Certainly psychoanalysi s ca n b e use d defensively , a s an y theoretica l framework can , bu t i t ca n als o serv e a s th e ver y pat h t o th e consciou s acknowledgment o f emotio n b y providin g a vocabulary , b y namin g and mappin g tha t nebulou s real m o f huma n feeling . Tompkin s hersel f eloquently state s that readers need to acknowledge thei r feelings becaus e "feeling, th e mos t powerfu l determine r o f huma n action , i s itsel f deter mined; an d it s ancestr y i n th e sel f ca n never b e traced , it s cause s i n th e text never adequately explored , unti l th e feeling ha s a name" (178). Thi s is precisel y wha t psychoanalysi s mad e possibl e fo r me : i t allowe d m e first to name and then to trace the ancestry of my own feelings . One o f thos e feelings , oddly , wa s non-feeling . Anothe r lin e fro m

184 Barbar a Ann Schapir o Woolf tha t ha d a peculiar resonanc e fo r m e was Mrs. Dalloway' s "Ther e was a n emptines s abou t th e hear t o f life ; a n atti c room. " A n LS D tri p years ag o dumpe d m e smac k i n th e middl e o f tha t room . Beside s a n intensity o f sensation—everythin g looke d magnified , wit h a n electri c edge—I experience d wha t I ca n onl y describ e a s a complete drainin g o f affect, a n emptines s o r nothingness , a stat e o f utte r despair . Althoug h the ma n wh o wa s t o becom e m y husban d helpe d m e ou t o f tha t state , I didn' t reall y begi n t o understan d i t unti l I starte d readin g certai n psychoanalytic theorists : Hein z Kohut , Harr y Guntrip , an d Donal d Winnicott. The y helpe d m e t o nam e an d ma p tha t emptiness , t o trac e i t back t o earl y empathi c disturbances . I n addition , th e mor e I followe d back th e intricat e route s o f m y ow n feelings , th e mor e avenue s opene d up i n the literature I was analyzing . As a n undergraduate , I ha d take n Woolf' s vision , becaus e i t con firmed m y own , a s a n objective , universal , o r existentia l given . A s I began t o understan d th e specifi c relationa l contex t o f m y ow n feelings , however, I was able to se e the specific persona l an d historical context fo r Woolf's visio n a s well . Thi s i n n o wa y diminishe d m y appreciatio n o f her work . O n th e contrary , th e mor e I sa w th e limit s an d specificit y o f her vision, th e richer an d more nuanced he r work becam e for me . In m y senio r thesis , fo r instance , I ha d completel y idealize d he r maternal characters . M y idealizatio n wa s i n par t a reflectio n o f th e idealizing aspect s o f th e characterization s themselves . Mrs . Dallowa y and Mrs . Ramsa y ar e powerful , magica l figures. Thei r mer e presence , stated i n th e barest declarativ e terms—"Fo r ther e sh e was," the line tha t concludes Mrs. Dalloway, o r "Ther e sh e sat, " referrin g t o Mrs . Ram say—holds th e ke y t o al l meaning , depth , an d coherenc e i n lif e fo r th e other characters . "An d directl y sh e wen t a sort o f disintegratio n se t in " (168), Lil y observe s abou t Mrs . Ramsay . Ye t thi s i s only on e dimensio n of the characterizations: Mrs. Dallowa y an d Mrs. Ramsay ar e themselve s supremely fragile , an d while the y ma y b e defending other s agains t chao s and emptiness , the y ar e equall y defendin g themselve s agains t a n empti ness within. 2 Pete r Wals h refer s t o Clarissa' s "coldness , thi s wood enness, somethin g ver y profoun d i n he r . . . a n impenetrability " (91) . For Lily , Mrs . Ramsa y i s "sealed " an d achingl y inaccessible ; Mr . Ram say think s he r "heartless, " thoug h "I t wa s onl y becaus e sh e neve r coul d say what sh e felt" (185) , Mrs. Ramsa y believes . Awareness o f th e ful l ambivalenc e an d emotiona l complexit y o f

Attunement an d Interpretatio n 18

5

Woolf's materna l character s was not availabl e to me until I became awar e of th e ambivalenc e an d complexit y o f m y ow n emotiona l life . Twent y years ago it was too threatening for m e to see these characters as anything other tha n stron g an d heroic . Ne w dimension s opene d u p afte r I wa s able to analyze my narcissistic anxieties and to understand an d empathiz e with m y ow n mother' s fragility . Whe n I cam e t o writ e o n Wool f agai n in a recen t study , I actuall y incorporate d m y origina l undergraduat e thesis. I embedde d it , however , withi n a ver y specifi c psychologica l context: Woolf's characters , I wrote, "ceaselessl y striv e to make connec tions, t o assemble , t o unify , an d t o creat e a sens e o f orde r an d perma nence. I n a sense , the y approac h thei r live s a s work s o f art , an d thu s their fragile selve s are bolstered throug h th e creation o f a cohesive artisti c whole" (Schapir o 82-83) . The psychological contex t mad e m y argumen t a t once more particula r and mor e encompassing . Thoug h th e battl e agains t chao s no w becam e representative o f a specific psychologica l conditio n a s opposed t o a universal, existentia l condition , th e psychologica l conditio n itsel f i s contex tual an d open s u p no t onl y t o th e familial , bu t als o t o th e socia l an d cultural dynamic s o f Woolf' s tim e a s well . Th e anxiety , fragmentation , and sens e o f hoUownes s an d futilit y expresse d i n s o muc h modernis t literature an d ar t reflect , a s Kohut , Guntrip , an d other s hav e suggested , a cultural pathology distinctiv e o f th e age. The particula r psychologica l contex t als o allowe d m e t o encompas s more textua l element s i n m y critica l analysis . Th e nee d t o impos e or der—the struggl e agains t disintegration—coul d b e tie d t o th e ambiva lent maternal characterization s an d als o to th e underlying them e of emp tiness o r nothingness . I n rereadin g Bernard' s experienc e o f th e worl d without a sel f a t th e en d o f The Waves, I recognize d tha t plac e I ha d tripped t o o n a tab of windowpane : I waited . I listened . Nothin g came . I crie d the n wit h a sudden convictio n o f complete desertion . No w ther e i s nothing. . . . No ech o come s when I speak, no varie d words . Thi s i s more trul y deat h tha n th e deat h o f friends , tha n th e death o f youth . . . . A ma n withou t a self , I said . . . . A dea d man . Wit h dispassionate despair , wit h entir e disillusionment , I surveye d th e dus t dance . (284-5) I n o longe r conside r Bernard' s visio n a s reflecting a n existentia l trut h underlying th e fals e identitie s o f ou r everyda y lives , a s I ha d originall y thought. M y self-analysi s an d readin g i n psychoanalyti c theor y allowe d

186 Barbar a An n Schapir o for a more singular , focuse d perspective . I no w se e his worl d withou t a self a s informed b y a specific relationa l dynami c tha t th e languag e o f th e above passag e enforces.Th e lac k o f "echo, " o f an y answerin g response , suggests, I more recentl y wrote , a "lack o f recognitio n a t the heart o f th e self's relationa l experience , a lack o r los s tha t Virgini a Woolf' s ar t itsel f persistently seek s to repair" (82) . I hav e alway s fel t attune d t o Woolf' s writing , an d a s I becam e mor e conscious o f m y ow n affectiv e pattern s an d development , th e bette r I was abl e t o recogniz e th e specifi c component s o f tha t attunemen t an d t o articulate it s structure. Lik e Clayton , however , I would neve r clai m tha t attunement t o b e total o r all-encompassing . Attunement , furthermore , i s not th e equivalen t o f samenes s o r identica l oneness. A s Benjamin repeat edly stresses , intersubjectiv e attunemen t involve s a dynamic tensio n be tween samenes s and difference. I n analyzing a text we discover ourselves , but w e als o discove r th e text . I n full y attune d interpretations , likenes s and otherness co-exist . Attunement i s als o relate d t o empathy . Accordin g t o Stern , empath y begins wit h emotiona l resonanc e bu t als o "involve s th e mediatio n o f cognitive processes " a s we abstrac t an d integrat e knowledg e gaine d fro m that resonance , leadin g t o a transient for m o f identificatio n (145) . Read ing is thus empathi c a s it includes emotiona l resonanc e an d th e accompa nying cognitiv e processes. 3 Paradoxically , a strong empathi c connectio n with a tex t sharpen s ou r awarenes s o f distinctions , o f th e text' s uniqu e and separat e contours . "Th e parado x o f empathy, " a s Judit h Jorda n explains, i s tha t "i n th e joinin g proces s on e develop s a more articulate d and differentiate d imag e o f th e othe r an d henc e respond s i n a mor e accurate an d specifi c way " (73) . Self-analysis ca n enhanc e empathi c readin g becaus e it , firs t o f all , encourages empath y wit h oneself . T o a significan t degree , self-analysi s involves th e abilit y t o tolerat e one' s ow n negativ e an d painfu l affects , t o own an d acknowledg e frightenin g an d shamefu l feelings . Th e mor e w e are ope n t o an d abl e t o identif y wit h ou r ow n feelings , th e mor e ope n we will be to the range of feeling s give n expressio n i n a literary text . Ou r resonance wit h a tex t wil l inevitabl y involv e no t onl y certai n feelings , but als o certai n defense s agains t feeling , a s my idealizin g interpretation s of Woolf' s character s matche d idealizin g strain s i n he r novels . I f ou r psychoanalytic interpretation s aim , amon g othe r things , t o analyz e a text's defensive strategies , the n som e awareness o f ou r ow n characteristi c

Attunement an d Interpretatio n 18

7

defensive pattern s i s critical . Abov e all , self-analysi s promotes , t o us e Lawrence's term , flexibility—flexibilit y i n bot h feelin g an d conscious ness—and thu s i t makes us more empathi c readers . One's self-analysis , however , i s never complete , no r i s one's empath y with a tex t eve r perfect . Ou r interpretation s ar e alway s subjectivel y limited, bu t tha t make s the m n o les s capabl e o f genuin e insight . Pete r Gay ha s discusse d th e subjectiv e limitation s o f historica l analysis , ho w a historian's styl e "i s a repository o f biases " and hi s perceptions inevitabl y compromised. Still , Ga y maintains , "styl e ca n als o b e a privileged pas sage t o historica l knowledg e an d . . . th e historian' s particula r visio n o f what mad e th e pas t worl d move , howeve r distorte d tha t visio n ma y b e by hi s neuroses , professiona l deformations , o r clas s prejudices, ma y ye t assist hi m i n securin g insight s int o hi s materia l tha t h e coul d no t hav e gained withou t them " (viii-ix) . Relatin g Gay' s vie w abov e t o clinica l psychoanalytic interpretation , Ja y Greenber g remarks , "Th e narro w in strument i s also sharp; it penetrates beneat h th e surface" (128) . The sam e holds tru e fo r literar y interpretation . We are all drawn t o som e texts over others, an d in that very attractio n lies much o f ou r potentia l strengt h a s critics. Ou r particula r subjectivit y resonates wit h certai n other s an d ca n provide a n edg e in the analysi s an d understanding o f thos e other subjectiv e worlds . Obviousl y a literary tex t can never be wholly o r objectively known , jus t a s I can never truly kno w the psychic reality o f anothe r huma n being . I can, however , approximat e the text's psychic domai n fro m th e particular vantag e o f m y ow n subjec tive position , an d sometime s tha t positio n afford s a n especiall y goo d view. I've alway s bee n unusuall y draw n t o Romanti c an d modern literature . These works , I no w see , displa y a predominanc e o f th e kind s o f emo tional an d psychologica l issue s I'v e com e t o recogniz e i n myself: narcissistic los s an d rage , issue s regardin g boundaries , merging , an d separate ness. Thes e matter s ar e equall y prominen t i n th e specifi c psychoanalyti c theories wit h whic h I'v e chose n t o work : relationa l theorie s tha t stres s pre-oedipal dynamics . We can't escap e our ow n subjectivity . Nevertheless , w e can, I believe, make genuine contact with othe r subjectivitie s an d engag e in intersubjec tive play . Thi s i s possibl e particularl y i n ou r intimat e relation s wit h others an d i n ou r aestheti c relationships , i n whic h w e interac t wit h the vivi d representation s o f subjectiv e experienc e tha t ar t an d literatur e

188 Barbar

a A n n Schapir o

provide. A ke y tas k i n literar y interpretation , i t seem s t o me , i s t o maintain th e sor t o f tensio n Benjami n describes—t o hol d a n awarenes s of simultaneou s commonalit y an d difference . A n d i t i s th e differences , finally, ever y bi t a s muc h a s th e commonalities , tha t assur e u s tha t w e are no t alone , tha t th e worl d w e inhabi t i s no t al l sel f bu t is , thankfully , a worl d o f bot h sel f and other .

Notes i. Car y Nelso n ha s writte n abou t th e genera l phenomeno n o f literar y critic s imitating stylisti c pattern s o f th e text s the y ar e analyzing , notin g ho w a critic "incorporates th e vocabular y an d styl e o f hi s text s int o hi s ow n writing " (809). 2. Jeffre y Berman , J . Brook s Bouson , an d Ernes t an d In a Wol f al l discus s the extrem e narcissisti c vulnerabilit y an d correspondin g defense s o f Woolf' s central female characters . 3. Se e Bouso n fo r a discussio n o f empathi c readin g fro m a strictl y Kohutia n point o f view .

Works Cite d Benjamin, Jessica . The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination. Ne w York : Pantheon, 1988 . Berman, Jeffrey . Narcissism and the Novel. Ne w York : Ne w Yor k Universit y Press, 1990 . Bollas, Christopher . Being a Character: Psychoanalysis and Self Experience. New York: Hil l & Wang, 1992 . . The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known. New York : Columbi a Universit y Press , 1987 . Bouson, J. Brooks . The Empathic Reader: A Study of the Narcissistic Character and the Drama of the Self. Amherst : University o f Massachusetts Press , 1989 . Clayton, John J. Gestures of Healing: Anxiety and the Modern Novel. Amherst : University o f Massachusett s Press , 1991 . Culler, Jonathan . On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. Ithaca: Cornell Universit y Press , 1982 . Gay, Peter . Freud for Historians. Ne w York : Oxford Universit y Press , 1985 . Greenberg, Jay . Oedipus and Beyond: A Clinical Theory. Cambridge : Harvar d University Press , 1991 . Gun trip, Harry. Schizoid Phenomena, Object Relations, and the Self. Ne w York : International Universitie s Press , 1969 .

Attunement an d Interpretatio n 18

9

Holland, Norman . The I. Ne w Haven : Yale University Press , 1985 . Jordan, Judit h V . "Empath y an d Sel f Boundaries. " I n Women's Growth in Connection: Writings from the Stone Center. Ed . Judith V. Jordan, Alexandr a G. Kaplan , Jea n Bake r Miller , Iren e P . Stiver , an d Jane t L . Surrey . Ne w York: Guilford , 1991 . 67-80. Lawrence, D . H . "Joh n Galsworthy. " I n Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence (1936). Ed . Edwar d McDonald . Ne w York : Viking , 1972 . 539-5°Nelson, Cary . "Readin g Criticism. " PMLA 9 1 (1976): 801-15. Schapiro, Barbar a A . Literature and the Relational Self. New York : Ne w Yor k University Press , 1994 . Steig, Michael . Stories of Reading: Subjectivity and Literary Understanding. Baltimore: Johns Hopkin s Universit y Press , 1989 . Stern, Daniel. The Interpersonal World of the Infant. Ne w York : Basic, 1985 . Tompkins, Jane. "Criticis m an d Feeling. " College English 3 9 (1977): 169-78 . Wolf, Ernest , an d In a Wolf . " 'W e Perished , Eac h Alone' : A Psychoanalyti c Commentary o n Virgini a Woolf's To the Lighthouse." I n Narcissism and the Text: Studies in Literature and the Psychology of the Self. Ed . Lynn e Layto n and Barbara Schapiro . New York: New York University Press, 1986 . 255-72. Woolf, Virginia . Mrs. D alloway (1925) . Ne w York : Harcourt , Brac e & World , 1953. To the Lighthouse (1927) . New York : Harcour t Brac e & World, 1955 . . The Waves (1931) . New York : Harcourt , Brac e & World, 1959 .

E I G H T

Unearthing Burie d Affect s an d Associations i n Reading : Th e Case o f th e Justified Sinne r Michael Steig

I hav e fo r th e pas t sixtee n year s use d m y ow n versio n o f associativ e reader-response i n teachin g literature classe s and i n writing literar y criti cism. I n teachin g I requir e al l student s t o writ e response-paper s an d distribute copie s t o th e entir e class , an d I participat e i n al l assignments . Personal association s an d self-analysi s ar e encouraged , an d I hav e fre quently use d students ' papers , a s wel l a s m y own , a s th e basi s fo r m y published criticism . Becaus e thi s approac h ha s bee n rewardin g fo r bot h myself an d my students, I am willing to risk being called an exhibitionist , narcissist, o r solipsist—o r a n amateu r therapist , fo r tha t matter . An d during tha t decad e an d a half I have, throug h th e self-analytical aspec t of this approach , begu n t o understan d wh o I a m an d wha t factor s hav e helped t o make me that person . Interested i n myself ? Yes—wh o i s not? 1 Bu t I a m als o intereste d i n other people , an d hav e learne d a great dea l whic h otherwis e migh t hav e been close d t o me , i n readin g an d discussin g students ' respons e paper s and havin g the m rea d an d commen t o n mine : first o f all, abou t th e wid e range o f way s o f readin g literar y works , bu t als o abou t families , abou t the experience s o f women , an d abou t samenes s an d differenc e acros s genders, ethni c groups , nationalities , an d socia l classes . T o me , teachin g through th e analysi s o f one' s ow n readin g an d it s persona l bases , espe cially i n a proces s o f interactio n wit h others , i s bot h a fruitfu l an d a 190

Unearthing Burie d Affect s an d Associations 19

1

never-ending process . An d I have found tha t student s ca n d o self-analy sis i f give n th e opportunit y (thoug h the y canno t b e required t o d o so) , and i t i s sometimes a very importan t even t i n thei r lives . On e advantag e of literary works a s a basis for self-analysi s i s that though the y are verbal, they ca n giv e a virtually physica l solidit y t o feeling s an d memorie s tha t have bee n eithe r intellectualize d o r repressed . On e middle-age d woman , in reading o f Maggie' s an d Tom's deat h i n The Mill on the Floss, recalled the famil y stor y o f th e drownin g o f he r brothe r befor e sh e wa s born , and subsequentl y Eliot' s accoun t o f Maggi e Tulliver' s famil y brough t back represse d memorie s o f th e bleaknes s an d unhappines s o f thi s stu dent's childhoo d home . (He r daughter , wh o ha d als o bee n a student o f mine, tol d m e tha t he r mothe r sai d tha t takin g m y cours e ha d change d her life. ) Th e concretizatio n o f intellectualize d o r represse d memorie s can, however , b e risky, a s with th e studen t wh o spok e o f bein g sexuall y and physically abuse d in childhood an d adolescence , an d who considere d committing suicid e afte r readin g Virgini a Woolf' s The Waves. Sh e ha d been s o struc k b y Woolf' s vivi d representation s o f childhoo d unhappi ness a s wel l a s continue d adul t suffering , especiall y i n th e cas e o f th e character o f Rhoda—bot h th e perso n "wit h n o face " an d th e suicide — that readin g th e nove l gav e ne w fles h t o pas t experience s whic h ha d become rather abstrac t memories t o this student. Ye t she was grateful fo r the course , i n whic h th e leve l o f participatio n an d self-analysi s wa s remarkable. I should say , a s well, tha t eve n had I not aske d fo r respons e papers an d writte n m y own , tha t particula r studen t woul d almos t cer tainly hav e had th e sam e reactio n t o The Waves —though sh e might no t have told m e about it. 2 The presen t essay , althoug h i t wa s mad e possibl e b y m y teaching , centers on my own self-analysis . I t is in part a demonstration o f just ho w incomplete suc h analysi s ca n b e a t an y on e stage , an d ho w difficul t fo r the reade r t o progres s fro m on e stag e t o another . I n thi s particula r instance, th e ongoin g proces s o f self-analysi s ha s le d m e t o a bette r understanding o f ho w I ten d t o rea d an d wh y I hav e rea d a particula r novel a s I di d fo r year s (an d t o som e exten t stil l do) . I shal l no t clai m that i t throw s an y ligh t o n th e objectiv e meaning s o f th e text ; an y sens e that on e understand s meaning s bette r woul d depen d o n th e exten t t o which anothe r reade r share s som e part o f one' s response . I have doubts , in othe r words , tha t on e can , ultimately , get beyon d reader s i n talk ing abou t meanings. 3 Thi s essa y i s base d o n on e o f th e fe w article s I

192 Michae l Stei g have faile d t o get published ; an d whateve r thos e evaluatin g th e origina l paper foun d lacking , I no w kno w tha t wha t was lackin g wa s sufficien t self-analysis, a lac k tha t derive d fro m a n inabilit y t o fac e th e actua l factors tha t hav e kep t m e fascinate d wit h Jame s Hogg' s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) . Tha t articl e wa s rejected b y five o r si x journals , an d a s I se e thing s no w justifiabl y so , because I have become awar e o f repression s an d evasion s o f whic h I ha d no ide a a t th e tim e I wrot e wha t I believe d t o b e m y complet e respons e to Hogg' s novel . I t becam e eviden t tha t I ha d no t mad e a n adequatel y convincing cas e fo r m y centra l point : tha t thi s nove l i s a specia l in stance i n whic h th e autho r throug h hi s narrativ e styl e intentionall y con fuses th e reader . M y argumen t wa s tha t thi s confusio n prevent s th e reader fro m comin g t o wha t Wolfgan g Ise r call s a "configurativ e mean ing" {Implied Reader 287) , thu s makin g i t imperativ e t o conceptualiz e the author . Bu t i n th e contex t o f m y lon g searc h fo r th e overal l tenden cies o f m y ow n readin g an d interpretation , I ha d no t reall y convince d even myself tha t this was the sole or centra l reason for tha t novel's powe r over me . When I submitte d a version o f tha t articl e a s the origina l chapte r 7 of Stories of Reading, th e publisher's reade r remarke d tha t i t seeme d a s if i t belonged i n a different book . I understoo d thi s t o mea n tha t i t rea d lik e a piece o f th e kin d o f objectiv e an d distance d literar y criticis m t o whic h I wa s i n th e res t o f th e boo k offerin g a s a n alternativ e m y ow n for m o f subjective an d intersubjectiv e criticism . Fo r i n tha t chapte r I abandone d my insistenc e o n persona l respons e an d associatio n an d mad e us e o f theories o f Wolfgan g Iser' s whic h I ha d elsewher e rejected , specificall y the principl e tha t "th e reader " ( a ter m I otherwis e avoided ) i s manipu lated b y a novel' s "place s o f indeterminacy " t o construc t th e author' s intended meanings . I believe d tha t ther e wer e n o persona l association s in m y respons e t o Hogg' s novel , an d tha t m y fascinatio n wa s wholl y determined b y th e author' s cleve r handling o f narrator s i n suc h a way a s to mak e th e reade r (me ) repeatedly attempt , an d fail , t o construc t mean ings in the interstices an d gaps in the story . Just ho w muc h I was in the dark abou t mysel f an d my ow n attractio n to th e nove l onl y becam e eviden t when , man y year s afte r first teachin g Hogg's nove l an d five year s afte r writin g m y pape r o n it , I taugh t th e book agai n i n a n undergraduat e course , intendin g i t a s a sort o f prelud e

Unearthing Buried Affects an d Associations 19

3

to Wuthering Heights, wit h whic h i t has a number o f thing s in common . (Emily Bronte' s biographe r see s it as a probable influence : fo r on e thing , it i s a "cuckoo' s tale, " a s Nell y Dea n tell s Lockwoo d whe n sh e begin s Heathcliff's story ; fo r a s Heathclif f pushe s Hindle y ou t o f th e nes t a s heir to Wuthering Heights , s o the presumed bastar d Robert , th e justifie d sinner, replace s George , th e tru e hei r t o th e Dalcastl e propertie s [Geri n 217]). I als o wante d t o se e wha t kind s o f reactio n Hogg' s nove l woul d draw in a class in which I used m y "storie s o f reading " approach ; for m y first experienc e o f teachin g A Justified Sinner, whe n I ha d no t ye t full y defined tha t approach , wa s no t a rewardin g one , a s th e onl y thin g resembling a respons e I go t wa s fro m a youn g ma n wh o coul d d o n o more tha n asser t an d reasser t tha t h e ha d fel t "mind-fucked " i n readin g Hogg's novel . Som e year s late r I learne d tha t h e ha d subsequentl y bee n hospitalized fo r schizophrenia , which , althoug h i t ma y o r ma y no t hav e been a correc t diagnosis , seeme d appropriate ; bu t give n som e o f th e things I a m goin g to sa y below abou t m y ow n represse d feeling s towar d the author , I shoul d no t b e to o haught y abou t thi s student' s seemingl y paranoid sens e o f bein g dominate d o r invade d b y th e nove l o r novelist . In th e mor e recen t course , th e requiremen t tha t I distribut e a respons e paper o f m y ow n force d m e t o reconside r jus t wh y I was s o attracte d t o this mysteriou s an d frustratin g novel—an d s o I wa s finally pushe d b y my ow n pedagog y int o examinin g what , beside s th e ambiguitie s create d by Hogg' s narrativ e complexities , appeale d t o me , althoug h onl y i n th e present essay hav e I com e t o explor e th e basi s o f m y response s wit h anything approachin g fullness . It seem s appropriat e t o inser t a t thi s poin t th e pape r I wrot e a s my contributio n t o th e clas s discussio n o f The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. I title d i t "Anothe r Crac k a t Re sponding t o A Justified Sinner," an d wha t shoul d becom e eviden t i s tha t there ar e tw o aspect s o f m y respons e tha t I ha d originall y faile d t o dea l with adequately : m y attitud e t o th e autho r an d narrator(s) , an d th e attraction I felt t o the antinomia n concep t o f th e "justifie d sinner. " 1. Thi s has not bee n an easy paper to write, an d it is even less easy to think of allowing an entire group of students to read it; so please bear with me. I have tried now for four or fiveyears to get a paper on James Hogg's novel published— first in scholarly journals, then as a chapter in my book, then again in journals— with no success. Obviously there was something unconvincing about the angle I

194 Michae

l Stei g

took, an d t o tel l th e truth , ther e is something bot h labore d an d bloodles s abou t that essay . A coupl e o f paragraphs fro m th e paper shoul d giv e some sens e of m y approach, an d why I call it bloodless : "There i s a t leas t on e nineteenth-centur y Britis h nove l i n whic h th e autho r seems deliberatel y t o elud e bein g conceptualized , t o b e continuall y i n hidin g behind th e multipl e narrator s wh o b y thei r ow n uncertaintie s mak e th e satisfac tory delineatio n o f a consistent viewpoint, o f meaning itself, difficul t o r impossi ble. Suc h characteristic s mak e James Hogg' s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824 ) fo r m e th e mos t frustratin g bu t als o on e o f th e most fascinatin g amon g pre-moder n novel s i n English . Thi s wor k ha s specia l relevance fo r th e questio n o f th e relation s amon g author , narrator , text , an d reader becaus e o f th e wa y i t seem s t o conve y a n author' s consciou s intentio n t o elude th e reader' s attempt s t o understan d hi s meanings , o r t o kno w wha t h e knows. Unlik e Emil y Bronte , Hog g seem s deliberatel y t o b e hiding meanings . Robert Kiel y suggest s tha t unlik e Bronte , Hog g ha d a n 'abstract ' fascinatio n with 'narrativ e techniques ' (236) , an d I woul d ad d tha t whil e i n Wuthering Heights Bront e als o ma y see m t o hid e behin d he r multipl e narrator s i n a wa y that deflect s an y eas y construin g o f meaning , non e o f he r narrator s ar e a s drastically unreliabl e a s Hogg's. The narrative' s ambiguitie s hav e motivate d i n m e repeate d effort s t o discove r which part s o f [th e story ] are supposed t o b e 'real,' effort s tha t repeatedl y en d i n a frustration whic h lead s t o a disturbing se t o f doubt s abou t bot h th e reliabilit y and the referentiality o f texts . The obvious parallel in modern literatur e is Kafka , many o f whos e work s ar e s o uncertai n i n meaning , an d indee d eve n i n action , that the y becko n th e reade r (o r me, a t least) to attemp t ove r an d ove r to stabiliz e both fictional 'facts ' an d thei r meaning . Bu t ther e i s th e differenc e tha t I ge t n o sense o f Kafka' s playin g games wit h o r intentionall y mystifyin g th e reader : h e and hi s protagonist s see m a s mystifie d a s i s th e reader . Becaus e o f Hogg' s breaking o f eighteenth - an d nineteenth-centur y narrativ e expectations , The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner may by som e standard s eve n be considere d a dishonest boo k writte n b y a willfully elusiv e author , an d som e readers ma y b e impelle d t o rejec t th e nove l o n tha t ground ; bu t i t als o ca n b e seen a s a notable exampl e o f ho w a reader ma y b e forced b y a text t o attemp t t o conceptualize it s author . I n m y experienc e o f readin g an d reflectin g o n it , I find Hogg's nove l a stunnin g instanc e o f th e potentia l powe r o f a determinatel y indeterminate narrative to hold one's attention an d to motivate repeated readings , however frustratin g the y ma y be . Thi s powe r woul d see m t o b e a t leas t on e explanation o f th e amoun t o f critica l attentio n tha t ha s bee n pai d t o i t i n recen t years." 2. Th e first o f thes e paragraph s i s fro m th e introductio n t o m y paper , whil e the secon d i s its conclusion ; an d m y proble m wit h th e whole pape r i s that a s a n example o f a reader's respons e i t i s almos t totall y literary , takin g n o accoun t o f the stron g emotion s expresse d throughou t th e nove l an d ho w the y affec t thi s particular reader . Undoubtedly , on e thing that se t me off o n my attempt t o writ e about A Justified Sinner wa s a student' s pointin g ou t t o me , year s ago , tha t th e

Unearthing Burie d Affect s an d Association s 19

5

passage o n pag e 18 , " A brothe r h e certainl y was , i n th e ey e o f th e law , an d i t i s more tha n probabl e tha t h e wa s hi s brothe r i n reality . Bu t th e lair d though t otherwise," ha s a n implici t doubl e meanin g (o f whic h th e narrator , a s distinc t from th e author , i s unlikel y t o b e aware) : Firs t o f al l th e obvious , tha t i t i s uncertain tha t Robert is the illegitimate so n of Pastor Wringhim; but second , tha t if w e accep t wha t seem s t o b e mad e manifes t throughou t th e novel , tha t Rober t is indee d Wringhim' s son , the n bein g George' s "brothe r i n reality " woul d hav e to mea n tha t th e parson i s the father o f both. 3. A s n o criti c seeme d t o hav e picked u p o n this , I felt I had attaine d specia l knowledge o f a hidden meaning , an d i n m y pape r attempte d t o presen t reason s why i t might b e thematically appropriate . Bu t i n doing s o I go t completel y awa y from th e matter o f ho w I respond, affectivel y an d o n th e basis of associations , t o what i s actuall y goin g o n i n th e novel , apar t fro m wha t I sa w a s th e author' s tricks o n me . An d I tried ver y har d t o demonstrat e tha t th e identification o f Gil Martin wit h Sata n i s uncertain, especiall y becaus e h e is also repeatedly describe d as a double o f Robert's , an d also , strangel y enough , a s frequently takin g o n th e appearance o f hi s brother , George , who m Gil-Marti n ha s le d hi m t o murder . Yet th e hint s tha t Gil-Marti n is Satan—whethe r hi s actua l embodimen t o r a projection o f th e evil within Robert , o r someho w both—ar e to o numerous t o b e ignored.4 I suspec t tha t I wante d t o rea d Hogg' s nove l a s a psychologicall y realistic one , rathe r tha n a s on e i n whic h th e tenet s o f eithe r Judaism o r Chris tianity—the existenc e o f Go d an d Satan—hav e t o be taken a s true. 4. Reflectin g upo n m y mos t recen t readin g (thi s week) , I fin d tha t althoug h Hogg's us e o f wha t Wolfgan g Ise r call s "indeterminacy " stil l fascinate s me , i t i s likely tha t I have ignored m y feeling s abou t th e novel's content : most specificall y about th e ide a o f th e "justifie d sinner, " a part o f th e antinomia n offshoo t o f th e Calvinist belie f i n predestination an d th e uselessnes s o f goo d work s t o guarante e that on e i s save d fro m damnation . Th e ac t o f denia l tha t I hav e an y emotiona l response t o thi s seem s t o hav e stemme d fro m th e dange r o f acknowledgin g th e nature o f tha t response . 5. Wha t I a m gettin g a t i s tha t ther e i s a tremendou s attraction—eve n o r perhaps especiall y fo r a non-believe r suc h a s I—i n th e ide a tha t on e nee d no t worry, nee d no t fee l guilt , abou t an y o f one' s acts o r thoughts , tha t someho w one i s fre e o f th e mora l stricture s tha t ar e par t o f th e conscienc e o f mos t othe r human beings . An d i t i s a damne d difficul t thin g fo r m e t o admit , a s I hav e always considere d mysel f t o b e sensitiv e t o an d considerat e o f th e need s o f others, unselfish , generous , an d a truly mora l person ; an d som e people, a t least , actually se e m e tha t way . Mayb e tha t is m y basi c nature , bu t havin g t o thin k again abou t Hogg' s nove l ha s le d m e t o realiz e tha t m y characte r ha s other , les s pleasant, elements . 6. Th e reaso n I a m no w abl e t o acknowledg e th e terribl e fac t tha t I a m attracted t o th e ide a o f bein g fre e o f guil t n o matte r wha t I do , i s tha t thi s yea r [1990] I hav e becom e awar e o f numerou s way s i n whic h m y action s towar d others hav e produced heav y but largel y repressed feeling s o f guil t in me. I canno t reveal the m al l i n thi s paper ; i t wil l hav e t o suffic e fo r m e t o sa y tha t thi s ha s

196 Michae

l Stei g

been a year o f catastrophe s an d crise s i n m y lif e whic h hav e mad e m e awar e o f long-standing inadequacie s a s so n an d husband , an d the n giv e jus t a few exam ples. M y mother' s multipl e tin y stroke s hav e mad e he r muc h mor e helples s (a t 86) tha n sh e ha s been , an d I a m al l o f a sudde n vividl y awar e o f ho w ou r relationship ha s deteriorate d sinc e m y father' s deat h seventee n year s ago , an d just how muc h tha t deterioratio n ha s resulted fro m m y continuin g ove r the years to disput e th e man y dubiou s thing s tha t sh e ha s com e mor e an d mor e t o say ; t o resent he r nee d t o b e th e cente r o f attentio n a t al l times—and sho w tha t resent ment—and altogethe r t o expec t to o muc h fro m her , a s i f sh e wer e stil l youn g and I a child . I ca n sa y tha t I understan d ho w Rober t migh t b e motivate d t o murder hi s ow n mother ! I als o deal t badl y bot h wit h m y mother-in-law' s pres ence i n ou r hom e fo r thre e year s an d he r subsequen t si x year s i n a retiremen t home, durin g whic h sh e require d a grea t dea l o f attention , whic h sh e receive d almost entirel y fro m m y wife ; I simpl y di d no t giv e enoug h support , bu t rathe r selfishly withdrew , an d upo n m y mother-in-law' s deat h I wa s no t supportiv e enough t o m y wife i n her grieving . 7. An d I hav e becom e awar e o f othe r way s i n which , durin g th e pas t decad e and earlier , I hav e no t bee n th e supportiv e partne r t o m y wif e tha t I coul d hav e been. Give n th e magnitude o f guil t feelings tha t have arisen in my consciousness , it i s no w understandabl e wh y I hav e ha d a kin d o f siniste r attractio n t o th e egocentric doctrine s o f antinomianism , whic h psychologicall y resembl e th e "I' m all right" tenet s o f yuppie pseudo-psychology. An d m y failur e fo r man y years t o acknowledge tha t burde n o f guil t feeling s explain s wh y I coul d no t dea l with , nor eve n acknowledge , a substantial par t o f wha t attracte d m e t o Hogg' s novel . But o f cours e I coul d no t consciousl y admi t th e degre e o f affinit y I felt wit h th e odious characte r o f Rober t Wringhi m Colwan , coul d no t se e him a s having an y similarity t o me ; an d hence , I think , m y attemp t t o writ e a publishabl e pape r based wholl y o n m y fascinatio n wit h Hogg' s evasiv e an d confusin g narrativ e techniques. Th e latte r attractio n I stil l d o feel , bu t i t no w seem s t o m e ver y secondary, excep t t o th e exten t tha t I ma y hav e bee n bot h identifyin g wit h an d fearing th e author' s powe r an d duplicity . 8. I know tha t i t i s not healthful , an d ma y b e a form o f egocentricit y (eve n a kind o f boasting) , t o wallo w i n one' s feeling s o f guilt . Bu t I coul d neve r hav e written a genuin e respons e pape r o n Hogg' s nove l fo r thi s cours e withou t acknowledging th e repressed , an d possibl y th e strongest , par t o f m y actua l involvement wit h an d attractio n t o tha t text. 5 What I calle d bloodlessnes s i n thi s classroo m pape r migh t als o b e described a s dee p affec t hidin g behin d a mas k o f purel y intellectua l enthusiasm. M y fascinatio n wit h Hogg' s nove l wa s genuine , bu t I simpl y did no t explain , no r eve n searc h for , it s deepe r emotiona l sources . D e spite m y disclaimers , however , I stil l thin k ther e ar e man y way s i n whic h H o g g doe s see m t o b e attemptin g t o confus e hi s readers . A m o n g othe r things, h e make s th e first par t o f th e novel , "Th e Editor' s Narrative, "

Unearthing Burie d Affects an d Associations 19

7

something base d o n tradition , rathe r tha n know n history , an d give s hi s Editor an y numbe r o f qualifyin g adjective s an d phrase s wit h whic h t o throw doub t o n th e reliabilit y o f hi s story . H e eve n goe s s o fa r a s t o imply th e unreliability o f one James Hogg, wh o i n the narrative attempt s to mislea d th e Edito r a s to th e location o f the buria l place of th e justifie d sinner, Rober t Wringhi m Colwan—i n whos e grav e the Editor, purport edly th e autho r o f th e first par t o f th e book—foun d th e manuscrip t o f the Memoir s an d Confession s an d publishe d i t a s hi s secon d part . I n 1823, Hog g actuall y published i n Blackwood's Magazine a letter describ ing the opening of a suicide's grave , and , a s happens i n the novel, finding the corps e remarkabl y preserved ; i t i s no t clea r whethe r thi s i s fac t o r fiction, bu t i t was first publishe d a s if it were fact. Par t o f thi s letter the n makes it s wa y int o th e novel , a s a detai l t o len d a sens e o f authenticit y when th e Editor's Narrativ e resumes after th e Memoirs an d Confessions , and we discove r tha t th e corpse is that o f th e justified sinner . One ma y doubt tha t a n author ca n really want th e reader to believ e he is a liar, bu t a question o f th e Editor' s lead s t o a reply whic h make s thi s matter a t least ambiguous. Whe n h e first decide s t o look fo r th e suicide' s grave, th e Edito r ask s a friend , "Mr . L 1 " (presumabl y J . G . Lockhart, edito r o f Blackwood's), whethe r h e thinks Hogg' s lette r t o th e magazine i s true . Th e reporte d repl y is , " ' I suppos e so . Fo r m y par t I never doubte d th e thing , havin g bee n tol d tha t ther e ha s bee n a deal o f talking abou t i t u p i n th e Fores t fo r som e tim e past . But , Go d knows ! Hogg ha s impose d a s ingeniou s lie s o n th e publi c er e now ' " (246) . Whatever Hogg' s consciou s reaso n fo r thu s upsettin g expectation s o f hi s own reliabilit y nea r th e novel' s conclusion , i t ha s alread y becom e clea r on th e first pag e tha t w e will remain uncertai n a s to what i s really mean t to have happened i n the novel's action , a s we not onl y get different view s of som e o f th e sam e events , bu t ar e addresse d b y tw o narrator s wh o ar e themselves uncertain abou t th e facts . I originall y wen t o n t o develo p th e ide a tha t th e phras e "mor e tha n likely hi s brothe r i n reality " i s a t leas t ambiguous , an d possibl y mean s that neither brothe r i s actuall y th e so n o f th e laird , thoug h th e lair d certainly believe s th e elde r son , George , i s his, whil e hi s wife's younge r son wa s begotte n b y he r spiritua l adviser , Rober t Wringhim . An d I stil l think ther e ma y b e something i n thi s which ha s a significance fo r certai n aspects o f th e novel' s meaning : tha t i f bot h son s ar e Wringhim's , then , according t o nineteenth-centur y practice s o f writin g (an d reading ) simi -

198 Michae l Stei g larities int o childre n o f th e sam e parents , high-livin g Georg e an d ster n Robert, thoug h the y see m t o b e polarize d i n th e text , ar e i n fac t mor e similar t o on e anothe r tha n eithe r believes . But wh y shoul d I have grasped a t this questionabl e point , whe n ther e are other ways to explain the Editor's language—perhap s a s just careless, or, a s on e criti c ha s suggested , tha t th e Editor' s ide a tha t Rober t wa s George's brothe r "i n reality, " i s "n o mor e tha n a pious hope " (Oaklea f 60)? Her e i s wher e self-analysi s provide s m e wit h a n understandin g o f the emphasi s o f m y interpretation . Althoug h I cannot sa y whether I ha d doubts i n childhood , no w repressed , a s t o whethe r m y father , Henr y Steig, wa s m y "real " one , I remembe r entertainin g th e fantasy—a s de scribed b y Freu d i n "Famil y Romances"—tha t both parent s wer e no t mine; an d I ca n sa y tha t I have i n m y writing s mad e frequen t clai m tha t it i s importan t fo r m e t o believ e tha t I hav e uncovere d "hidde n mean ings." On e possibl e explanatio n fo r thi s wis h i s that whe n I first learne d (perhaps a t th e ag e o f thre e o r four ) abou t mother s carryin g babie s i n their wombs , I was give n no sens e of ho w the y go t there , an d i t was no t until I wa s nearl y seve n tha t I finally aske d m y father , wh o di d giv e m e most o f th e facts , bu t wa s clearl y embarrassed , a s h e bega n hi s lesso n with, "Lov e i s a wonderful thing " ("Wha t doe s that hav e to d o with it? " I thought!) . An d I remembe r m y mother' s explainin g th e word "virgin " to me evasively a s "a woman wh o i s not married. " My parent s wer e b y th e standard s o f thei r generatio n anythin g bu t puritanical—indeed, I met children o f my own ag e when I was about te n who stil l though t babie s cam e ou t o f thei r mothers ' anuse s o r stomach s (through th e navel) ; and I doub t the y ha d muc h ide a o f ho w th e fetuses got into thos e awkwar d places . Ye t havin g a correc t verbal , o r eve n diagrammatic, knowledg e o f ho w reproductio n take s plac e throug h sex ual lov e betwee n me n an d wome n i s not th e sam e thin g a s really know ing, throug h experience , wha t se x is. If ther e was any understanding tha t remained incomplet e fo r m e an d provoke d considerabl e curiosit y i t wa s that one . S o I a m suggestin g tha t m y bein g draw n t o th e suppose d mysteries o f Hogg' s nove l (an d no t onl y tha t o f parentage ) ha s bee n i n part a n unconsciou s reenactmen t o f th e wis h fo r an d fantasie s abou t sexual knowledge i n my childhoo d an d earl y adolescence , an d perhaps as well o f m y rathe r compulsiv e pursui t o f sexua l experienc e (wit h ver y intermittent success ) between fifteen an d twenty . But ther e i s another , relate d aspec t t o m y fascinatio n wit h wha t I

Unearthing Burie d Affect s an d Associations 19

9

consider Hogg' s duplicities . I f m y fathe r an d "author " i s th e on e wh o ultimately hel d th e knowledg e fo r whic h I , a s son , wished , thi s knowl edge wa s no t jus t sexual . M y fathe r ha d man y abilities , an d ha s bee n described b y a famil y frien d a s a "renaissanc e man. " H e wa s a profes sional musicia n i n lat e adolescenc e an d earl y manhood , a first-rate easel painter, photographer , woodcarver , an d carpenter , an d a professiona l cartoonist, writer , an d machinist . Ultimatel y h e wa s a successfu l self employed artis t i n metal : fo r i n hi s las t twenty-thre e year s h e designe d and mad e hand-wrough t jewelr y (h e die d i n 1973) . Excep t fo r th e musi cianship, i n whic h h e an d I wer e bot h abou t equall y proficien t an d equally second-rate , I d o no t hav e an y o f thes e abilities , no r hav e I trie d to develo p them , an d th e fact o f havin g a famous artis t (Willia m Steig ) as an uncl e unquestionabl y adde d t o m y feeling s o f inadequacy—a s i t added t o m y sens e o f specialnes s a s a Stei g (se e below) . Rather , a s a literary criti c dealin g with bot h fiction an d it s illustration, an d occasion ally wit h caricatur e o r comic-grotesqu e ar t no t attache d t o a verbal text , I have imitated tw o o f m y father' s talent s (an d on e o f m y uncle's ) a t on e remove. Thi s lifelon g awarenes s o f m y inabilit y t o equa l m y father' s accomplishments endow s m y reactio n t o th e autho r o f The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner wit h Oedipa l implications , for a child's vie w o f th e father' s possessin g power , knowledg e an d abili ties whic h th e chil d doe s no t an d canno t hav e i s a n aspec t of , o r analo gous to , Oedipa l jealousy. 6 I commen t i n th e conclusio n t o Stories of Reading tha t perhap s m y "identit y theme " i s proven b y tha t boo k t o b e "I can do it too." That this involves the sexual as well as the professional , and therefor e a jealousy o f m y mother' s lov e fo r m y father , no w seem s evident, a meanin g o f whic h I wa s no t consciou s whe n I wrot e tha t passage. Ye t m y fathe r wa s rarel y a ma n towar d who m I coul d fee l rebellious contempt , an d th e fe w rea l argument s w e had , muc h late r i n life, ha d mostl y t o d o with trivia l factual o r linguistic matters, i n which I was almos t alway s righ t an d h e wrong . I n suc h smal l victories I found a certain amoun t o f satisfaction : I knew somethin g m y fathe r di d not , an d this whol e aspec t o f ou r relationship , I no w think , t o a degree account s in par t no t onl y fo r m y reactio n t o Hogg , th e elusiv e novelist , bu t fo r my genera l tendenc y t o trea t th e autho r a s th e foca l poin t o f m y criti cism, an d o f strivin g t o acquir e knowledg e o f a n author' s meaning s tha t he o r sh e eithe r doe s no t hav e o r i s hiding. 7 Wha t happene d a s I rea d Hogg wa s tha t I fel t hi m bestin g m e b y cleverl y concealin g wha t wa s

200 Michae l Stei g "real" an d wha t false , an d m y onl y way s o f dealin g wit h this , emotion ally, wer e t o clai m tha t I ha d foun d hi m out , an d tha t hi s duplicit y wa s what I fel t mos t attractiv e i n hi s novel—whic h i s rather lik e findin g th e enemy ou t an d goin g over t o him simultaneously ! Part o f th e stron g emotiona l connectio n betwee n m y sens e o f m y father a s author-of-myself an d m y reactio n t o actua l author s stem s fro m the fact tha t m y fathe r was , fro m abou t 193 5 to x 945> a successfu l write r of fictio n an d nonfiction , publishin g a nove l a s wel l a s score s o f shor t stories an d article s i n periodicals . I t ma y occu r t o m y reade r tha t I hav e set u p a metaphor implyin g tha t / a m i n som e sens e a "fiction, " tha t is , not reall y th e so n o f m y father . I think , however , tha t th e phras e "author-of-myself" ha s a s muc h t o d o wit h m y fathe r a s th e mai n authority i n m y earl y life , an d m y tendenc y t o cas t writers i n th e rol e of authorities, whic h develope d i n th e fac e o f th e ne w critica l (an d subse quent poststructuralist ) dismissa l o f th e author . Stories of Reading bega n as a stud y o f authoria l intention , graduall y evolvin g int o a stud y o f response in which I insist that what we know o r imagine about a n autho r affects ho w we respond t o an d interpre t hi s or her writing . Although muc h i n one's adul t personality ma y ste m fro m th e Oedipa l phase, m y attitud e t o m y parent s wa s als o colore d b y thing s tha t hap pened a t later times . Perhap s m y mos t distinctl y Oedipa l memor y i s th e one I hav e alread y detaile d i n chapte r 5 of Stories of Reading ( a chapte r which I titled—significantly fo r th e present essay—"Respons e an d Eva sion i n Readin g The Wind in the Willows"): i n th e winte r o f 1939-40 , when I woul d hav e bee n fou r o r nearl y so , bein g picke d u p a t nurser y school b y m y fathe r instea d o f m y mothe r becaus e of snow y conditions , and the n no t bein g listene d t o b y m y fathe r whe n I sa w m y mothe r waving a t u s acros s Centra l Par k Wes t an d sai d I wante d t o g o t o her . Initially in relating this memory I denied having been angry a t my father , and require d t o hav e th e inevitabilit y o f suc h feeling s pointe d ou t t o m e by th e lat e Branwen Pratt , a friend an d a psychoanalytic critic . Thi s wa s an actual incident (occasionall y mentione d subsequentl y b y my parents) , but, give n ho w I narrat e it , th e even t probabl y also stands i n fo r earlie r and mor e directl y Oedipa l jealousy—th e feelin g tha t m y desir e fo r m y mother wa s being blocked b y m y father. 8 When I wrot e i n th e classroo m respons e pape r quote d abov e tha t I understood ho w a ma n migh t b e motivate d t o kil l hi s mother , I wa s thinking bot h o f th e fac t tha t Rober t Wringhi m Colwa n eventuall y kill s

Unearthing Burie d Affects an d Associations 20

1

his mothe r becaus e sh e interfere s to o muc h i n hi s life , an d o f th e diffi culties i n m y the n curren t relationshi p t o m y mother . A substantia l par t of th e problem s derive d fro m th e fac t tha t m y mothe r idealize d m y father, an d no t lon g afte r hi s deat h seeme d t o wish tha t I would tak e hi s place—specifically i n th e sens e o f neve r disagreein g wit h anythin g sh e said (thoug h I doub t tha t m y father , who m I muc h resembl e i n a ten dency t o impatience , wa s nearl y a s perfect i n thi s respec t a s my mothe r believed afte r hi s death) . M y attachmen t a s lat e a s seve n o r eigh t year s old t o a flannel uppe r sheet , whic h I needed a t my mout h i n orde r t o g o to sleep—a n obviou s substitut e fo r nursin g o r thumbsucking—suggest s some much earlie r difficulties i n my relationshi p t o my mother ; an d onl y after havin g virtuall y describe d mysel f a s having matricida l impulse s di d I recall what I considered t o have been my mother' s betraya l of me whe n I wa s perhap s seven , i n he r revealin g t o friend s o f her s tha t I stil l "kittied" m y blanket—a n ac t whic h mad e m e furiou s a t her . A mino r matter fro m a n outsider' s perspective , bu t somethin g tha t I ha d consid ered a shameful secre t that would b e guarded b y my parents. I t occur s t o me, too , tha t m y mothe r wa s actuall y i n a veile d an d perhap s uncon scious wa y expressin g he r ow n anxiet y abou t thi s habit , thoug h sh e never a t an y tim e conveye d he r concer n directly . Wer e ther e earlie r difficulties i n our relationship ? I' m no t certain , bu t th e fact o f her havin g gone bac k t o wor k an d sen t m e t o nurser y schoo l whe n I wa s les s tha n three ma y hav e had a negative effec t o n m y relationshi p t o her. 9 Just a s significan t fo r m y respons e t o wha t I considere d th e secre tiveness o f th e novelis t i n A Justified Sinner i s a n episod e fro m adoles cence. When I was about sixtee n my father bega n frequently no t t o com e home fo r dinner . Whe n I finally asked , "I s i t somethin g serious? " h e replied, "No , I' m jus t seein g som e ne w friends. " I t wa s obviou s t o m e that he was having a n affair, bu t onl y m y mother' s tellin g me, agains t hi s wishes, tha t h e wante d a separation, an d askin g whic h o f the m I woul d choose t o liv e wit h ( I sai d I woul d liv e wit h her ) comprise d a definit e revelation o f th e truth . Tha t thi s ble w ove r an d m y parents ' marriag e became stronge r di d no t lesse n m y feelin g tha t m y fathe r coul d hav e been mor e straigh t wit h me , an d no t lef t i t fo r m y mothe r t o dro p a strong hint , no r tha t m y mothe r ha d use d he r ow n unhappines s t o manipulate m e into sayin g I would liv e with her, whe n I had had no tim e to thin k abou t i t an d wa s not a t al l sure i t was th e righ t choice . I shoul d here stres s tha t m y childhoo d wa s basicall y a happ y one , especiall y i n

202 Michae l Stei g contrast t o thing s I hea r fro m m y students . M y parent s wer e basicall y loving, kind , an d fair ; an d perhap s i t was th e very contras t o f thos e act s of betrayal , secretiveness , an d manipulatio n t o wha t I considere d m y normal relationshi p t o the m tha t cause s th e act s t o stan d ou t mor e prominently i n m y memor y tha n the y woul d i f I ha d experience d m y nuclear famil y a s a consistent we b o f secrecy , deceptio n an d betrayal . I t is a s i f I ha d wishe d m y parents , nearl y perfec t a s I sa w them , t o b e totally perfect . Thes e incident s mus t stan d i n a s symboli c o f a greate r and mor e comple x se t o f difficultie s betwee n m y parent s an d m e i n m y childhood an d adolescence , fo r the y (includin g th e snow y da y episodes ) are the onl y one s I ca n recal l a t present. A s a father o f tw o adul t sons , I have lon g sinc e realize d jus t ho w impossibl e parenta l perfectio n is , bu t that doe s no t stil l th e anguis h I continu e t o fee l whe n I thin k abou t those episodes . The connectio n her e wit h m y readin g o f Hogg' s nove l i s tha t m y reaction t o th e author' s us e o f narrator s was , emotionally , on e o f a betrayed, uninformed , o r manipulate d chil d t o th e paren t wh o commit s such a n act , an d thi s observatio n lead s me to thin k tha t i n m y readin g i n general I ten d t o plac e narrator s and/o r author s i n th e positio n o f m y parents. I f this is the case, then th e term "conceptualizing, " whic h I have used t o refe r t o how we (I) think abou t th e author when w e read, shoul d perhaps b e "fantasizing. " A s thi s self-analysi s too k plac e durin g a yea r when I wa s o n sabbatica l leave , I hav e no t ye t ha d th e opportunit y t o apply thes e ne w insight s i n m y teaching ; bu t I shoul d thin k tha t th e awareness tha t one' s earlies t experience s ca n affec t th e way on e react s t o a narrator o r t o sexuall y trouble d o r ambiguou s incident s i n fiction wil l be usefu l t o th e understandin g o f ho w w e d o respond , an d wh y ther e i s such a wide rang e o f responses . I t ma y als o assis t ou r understandin g o f how author s plac e themselve s a s character s o r narrators—whethe r a s children, a s i n Sons and Lovers an d th e first-person narrativ e o f Bleak House, o r a s wise parents, a s in the omniscient narrativ e o f Bleak House, and tha t i n Meredith's The Egoist. I ha d also , unti l recen t years , suppresse d th e memor y tha t twic e within twelv e month s (whe n I wa s ninetee n an d twenty ) I ha d briefl y been "th e othe r man " i n tw o establishe d relationships . I mentio n thes e affairs a t thi s point becaus e I want t o retur n t o th e questio n o f guil t an d the avoidanc e o f guil t feeling s b y stylin g onesel f a "justifie d sinner " o r by otherwis e considerin g onesel f someho w fre e o f th e norma l stricture s

Unearthing Burie d Affect s an d Associations 20

3

of honesty an d sensitivit y t o others' feelings—for I had felt n o consciou s guilt towar d eithe r o f th e me n I ha d cuckolded , eve n th e on e wh o wa s something o f a friend.10 Whe n I first wrote o n Hogg' s novel , I quoted i n some detai l a n earl y dialogu e betwee n th e laird' s wif e an d Mr . Wringhim, whos e theologica l conversation s ar e describe d i n suc h a wa y as to sugges t sexual passion. 11 Th e Lady Rabina claims to be "scandalise d at suc h intimacies " a s tha t o f he r husban d an d hi s mistres s "goin g o n under m y nose . Th e sufferanc e o f i t i s a grea t an d cryin g evil " (Hog g 12), t o which Wringhi m replies : "Evil, madam, ma y be either operative, o r passive. To them it is an evil, but to us none. . . . T o the wicked, al l things are wicked; but to the just, al l things are just and right." "Ah, tha t is a sweet and comfortable saying , Mr. Wringhim! How delightfu l to thin k tha t a justifie d perso n ca n d o n o wrong ! Wh o woul d no t env y th e liberty wherewith we are made free?" (12-13) This i s th e cree d unde r whic h th e Lady' s younge r so n wil l live , havin g been told, first b y Wringhim, hi s adoptive father (or , a s I and most othe r critics think , hi s biologica l one) , tha t h e i s o f th e elec t an d ca n d o n o wrong, an d late r b y th e ambiguou s Satan-lik e figure, Gil-Martin , wh o actually encourage s hi m t o commi t wha t woul d b e sin s fo r thos e o f th e non-elect, thu s actuall y sealin g his damnation . In m y origina l pape r I expresse d littl e attractio n t o th e ide a o f th e justified sinner , bu t rathe r a degre e o f contempt , an d tha t almos t a s a n afterthought t o m y conclusio n tha t th e nove l appeale d t o m e primaril y because of it s author's stylisti c ingenuity, hi s ability t o keep "th e reader " (me) bot h enthralle d an d confused . Sinc e that time , I have had t o recog nize that a t times i n my lif e I have lived accordin g t o a secular version o f the sam e creed. Certainl y I had don e s o durin g tha t yea r when I was th e other ma n i n tw o differen t relationships ; an d a t th e tim e I wrot e th e paper o n Hog g fo r clas s discussio n I ha d recentl y broke n of f a clos e friendship wit h a woman , a friendshi p whic h repeatedl y presente d th e danger o f turnin g int o somethin g more , an d wa s causin g m e grea t inter nal conflict an d m y wif e considerabl e pain . Durin g th e course in which I taught Hogg' s novel , perhap s thre e o f m y fou r distribute d paper s bor e some mark s o f m y struggl e wit h tha t situation , bu t alway s disguised — although one , a respons e t o Georg e Osborne' s planne d adulter y wit h Becky i n Vanity Fair, tol d muc h o f th e actua l story , attributin g i t t o a n anonymous friend . An d on e o f th e peculiaritie s o f m y feeling s was , tha t

204 Michae l Stei g with al l th e conflic t withi n me , th e regre t a t m y necessar y loss , an d m y empathy fo r m y wife , I ha d bee n fo r a time unabl e t o fee l guil t towar d either woman , thoug h I pai d fo r thi s subsequentl y wit h a n acces s o f strong guil t feeling s towar d both , a chang e tha t cam e abou t throug h a regained closenes s t o m y wife , an d th e abilit y t o tak e a mor e objectiv e view o f ho w I ha d treate d (an d stil l was , t o a n extent , treating ) m y former woma n friend . Wha t i s important fo r understandin g m y respons e to Hogg' s nove l i s tha t I ha d fo r a while behaved , an d mor e important , felt, lik e th e sublim e egocentri c I ha d alway s believe d I wa s not . Wh y I have had period s lik e this throughout m y lif e i s likely t o hav e somethin g to d o wit h bein g a n onl y chil d an d th e firs t mal e on e o f m y generatio n among a numbe r o f cousins , strongl y praised—sometime s excessivel y so—by m y parents an d other adults , givin g me the feeling that someho w I wa s governe d b y differen t rule s fro m others . Th e fac t tha t m y fathe r had a degree of public recognition, firs t a s a cartoonist (unde r th e pseud onym o f "Henr y Anton" ) an d the n a s a writer, an d m y uncle , Willia m Steig, a goo d dea l more , undoubtedl y contribute d t o thi s sense , a s di d the tendency o f thos e relative s t o whom I was closest t o talk an d ac t as if "we," th e Steigs, were alway s right. 12 Students i n m y "storie s o f reading " clas s responded a good dea l mor e strongly tha n thos e t o who m I ha d previousl y taugh t Hogg' s novel , including thre e wh o reacte d passionatel y t o Gil-Marti n a s a vivid repre sentation o f Satan . Th e mos t intelligen t o f thes e thre e was , thoug h a devout Christian , th e leas t trappe d b y religiou s dogma , an d define d Satan a s th e forc e o f absolut e evi l i n th e world . A s thi s youn g woma n subsequently i n anothe r cours e expresse d dislik e fo r Alice's Adventures in Wonderland becaus e i t was too real, too muc h lik e her own childhoo d in th e irrationalit y an d oppressivenes s o f it s "adults, " i t seem s probabl e that i t was not onl y he r Christia n belief s whic h operate d i n her respons e to Gil-Martin , bu t als o memorie s o f he r childhoo d an d adolescence . Only on e studen t reporte d a respons e anythin g lik e m y own , i n th e matter o f wishin g t o b e fre e o f guilt : a woman i n th e proces s o f leavin g her husband o f twenty years . Although he r reasons for leavin g him mad e sense t o me , sh e wa s drenche d i n guil t a t wha t sh e wa s doing . S o th e possibility o f bein g fre e o f guil t feeling s wa s attractiv e t o her , an d I believe I wa s als o o f som e hel p b y lettin g he r kno w o f m y ow n near transgression an d my suffering a s a result o f it .

Unearthing Burie d Affects an d Associations 20

5

Does doin g self-analysi s mak e on e a bette r critic ? Tha t depend s o n what i s mean t b y "better. " Sinc e I se e th e individual' s backgroun d an d personality a s inseparabl e fro m hi s o r he r readin g an d critica l work , when self-analysi s bring s ou t aspect s o f readin g tha t hav e previousl y remained repressed , i t definitel y mean s t o m e tha t one' s criticis m ha s improved. Amon g othe r thing s I hav e learne d i n goin g throug h th e process o f reassessin g my response s t o Hogg's The Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner i s tha t m y earlie r insistenc e (i n Stories of Reading an d elsewhere ) tha t man y reader s "naturally " conceptualiz e th e author ma y hav e been self-serving , fo r m y ow n conceptualizing , o r wha t I no w thin k migh t b e calle d fantasizing , authors , i s ver y muc h tie d t o my lifelon g proble m o f worryin g abou t whethe r I ca n liv e u p t o th e example o f m y "renaissanc e man " father , an d m y resentmen t a t havin g to tr y t o do so . I n a novel such a s Hogg's, wher e I perceive the author as tricky, deceptive , eve n dishonest , bu t awfull y clever , a substantia l por tion o f m y respons e seem s t o hav e had it s root s i n th e failur e o f m y tw o "authors" (parents ) alway s t o liv e u p t o m y hig h expectation s o f them . And I now kno w mor e abou t th e complexities an d difficultie s o f readin g and attemptin g t o describ e one' s responses : that on e ma y resis t unpleas ant o r personall y threatenin g response s an d association s fo r man y year s before makin g a breakthrough. Th e self-understandin g I a t time s obtai n during thi s process , an d tha t achieve d b y som e students , I have com e t o accept as not merel y a n incidental bu t a fundamental result , perhap s eve n a goal, o f readin g seriously, personally , an d incrementally. 13

Notes 1. Willia m Steig' s Strutters and Fretters: or, The Inescapable Self (1992), in cludes a relevan t drawin g captioned , "Th e Sel f I s One' s Chie f Interest, " showing a man on a pedestal, wound u p like a ball, his arms embracing his own head. 2. Th e cours e i s described , i n part , i n m y 199 1 article , "Storie s o f Readin g Pedagogy: Problems and Possibilities." 3. Davi d Bleich first made it clear to me that interaction with the responses and associations o f other s t o literatur e i s more valuable in pedagogy tha n mer e self-analysis. Se e his Subjective Criticism (1978 ) and The Double Perspective (1988). I n m y ow n work , a t leas t throug h Stories of Reading, I hav e been more concerned with the contribution o f mutually analyzed affect an d asso-

2o6 Michae

l Stei g

ciation t o textual understanding , bu t I have come in recent year s t o conside r self-understanding—Bleich's centra l concern—t o b e no t jus t a by-produc t of th e analysi s o f response , bu t on e o f it s primar y aims , an d th e possibilit y of ne w objectiv e understandin g o f a tex t base d o n one' s ow n o r others ' responses t o b e a t leas t doubtful . I n discussin g m y unearthin g o f represse d response I a m no t abl e her e t o presen t a full discussio n o f th e value s o f th e mutual self-analysi s whic h a t time s occur s i n m y teaching , an d i s describe d in some of m y othe r writing . 4. L . L . Le e ha s argue d fo r th e intentiona l ambiguit y o f Gil-Martin , a s both a double o r "exteriorization " o f impulse s i n Robert, a s well as Satan himself . 5. Thi s wa s written i n th e autum n o f 1990 . My mothe r die d i n a nursing hom e early in 1992 . 6. Willia m Steig' s drawin g "Fathe r an d Son, " i n Strutters and Fretters, humor ously portrays thi s archetypal situation : while the father an d son have identical noses , th e fathe r i s tal l an d decke d ou t i n th e attir e o f a king, whil e th e son, muc h shorter , wear s the costume o f a jester o r fool . 7. M y on e accomplishmen t i n thi s latte r are a ha s bee n t o hav e confirme d b y Maurice Sendak that I was correct about a major sourc e for hi s book Outside Over There, a source whic h h e ha d totall y blocke d ou t whe n h e wrot e an d illustrated tha t book . Se e Stories of Reading, 209 , wher e I quot e Sendak' s letter on th e matter . 8. A s fo r an y doub t tha t I ca n remembe r incident s fro m ag e four o r earlier , al l I ca n sa y i s tha t ther e ar e wid e variation s i n ho w fa r bac k individuals ' memories go . I actuall y remembe r a few incident s fro m m y first half-yea r o f nursery school , whe n I ha d jus t turne d three : I hav e a very vivi d imag e o f the "Grou p 1 " classroo m an d th e outdoo r pla y are a o n th e roo f o f Walde n School, an d o f a few o f th e other children . 9. I wan t t o stres s "may, " a s I canno t remembe r an y resentmen t o f thi s situa tion. However , i n a conferenc e pape r o n Mauric e Sendak' s Dear Mili, I did remar k tha t I associate d on e o f Sendak' s illustration s wit h m y earlies t memory—of bein g lost i n th e woods wit h m y mothe r i n the late summer o f 1939—and speculate d tha t I had subsequently fel t "lost " o r abandoned whe n sent t o nursery schoo l fo r ful l day s tha t September . 10. I hav e neve r befor e though t o f thos e me n a s "cuckolded " b y me , perhap s because th e treacher y wa s i n bot h case s s o brief . I hav e als o generall y thought o f mysel f a s sexually quit e "pure, " quantitativel y a t least, compare d to som e me n an d wome n o f m y generation , havin g bee n faithfull y marrie d since 1956 . 11. Davi d Eggenschwile r treat s th e questio n o f Robert' s parentag e wit h a witticism: "He r disputation s wit h th e Rev . Mr . Wringhim , wit h thei r 'fier y burning zeal, ' ar e parodies o f sexua l infidelity, especiall y sinc e they generat e a symbolic , i f no t literal , bastar d i n Lad y Dalcastle' s secon d son " (27) . Fe w other critic s have any doubt s tha t the second Rober t i s a "literal" bastard . 12. A quotatio n fro m People magazine o n th e dustjacke t o f m y uncle' s Strutters and Fretters cause d m e a doubletake : " A Stei g i s a Stei g an d no t t o b e

Unearthing Burie d Affect s an d Association s 20

7

mistaken fo r an y othe r artist. " Whe n I first rea d thi s I misse d th e wor d "artist," s o muc h di d th e precedin g word s soun d lik e th e accustome d affir mation b y th e Steigs I knew o f thei r specialness . 13. Mor e tha n on e critic has, I think, faile d reall y to write self-analytically whil e claiming that he or she is taking a radically personal stance. A recent exampl e is Mary An n Caws ' Women of Bloomsbury, which , thoug h it s autho r claim s to b e writing personally, an d does express feelings abou t the lives of Virgini a Woolf, Vaness a Bell , an d Dor a Carrington , convey s n o sens e of th e basi s of those feelings , an d th e autho r a s an individua l remain s a s opaque—to m e a t least—as an y objectiv e an d "impersonal " critic , an d perhap s give s les s ground fo r acceptin g her opinion s tha n mor e traditiona l critic s do . Another example—an d I d o greatl y enjo y he r books—i s Jan e Gallop' s Thinking through the Body, which , thoug h it s cove r show s th e birt h o f he r child (i n close-u p detail , bu t wit h n o indicatio n o f wh o th e mothe r is) , an d the tex t mention s numerou s affair s i n graduat e schoo l bot h wit h fellow students an d faculty , provide s ver y littl e self-analysis , an d actuall y seem s rather impersona l t o me . Thi s i s a pity , becaus e ther e ar e response s men tioned, suc h a s weeping an d als o becoming sexuall y excite d when readin g d e Sade; bu t n o analysi s o f thes e response s i s given . (Mar y An n Caw s i s quoted o n th e back cove r a s saying that Gallop' s book i s "[ajutobiographica l criticism a t its most recen t best." )

Works Cite d Bleich, David. The Double Perspective: Language, Literacy, and Social Relations. New York : Oxfor d Universit y Press , 1988 . . Subjective Criticism. Baltimore : Johns Hopkin s Universit y Press , 1978 . Caws, Mar y Ann . Women of Bloomsbury: Virginia, Vanessa, and Carrington. New York : Routledge , 1990 . Eggenschwiler, David . "Jame s Hogg' s Confessions an d th e Fal l Int o Division. " Studies in Scottish Literature 9 (1971): 26-39. Freud, Sigmund . "Famil y Romances " (1909) . Trans . James Strachey . The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 9 . Gen. ed . James Strachey . London : Hogarth , 1959 . 137-41 . Gallop, Jane . Thinking Through the Body. Ne w York : Columbi a Universit y Press, 1988 . Gerin, Winifred . Emily Bronte: A Biography. Oxford : Clarendon , 1971 . Hogg, James . The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. 1824 . Ed. John Carey . London : Oxfor d Universit y Press , 1969 . Iser, Wolfgang . The Implied Reader. Baltimore : John s Hopkin s Universit y Press, 1974 . Kiely, Robert . The Romantic Novel in England. Cambridge : Harvard Universit y Press, 1972 .

2o8 Michae

l Stei g

Lee, L . L . "Th e Devil' s Figure : Jame s Hogg' s Justifie d Sinner. " Studies in Scottish Literature 3 (1966): 230-39. Oakleaf, David . " 'No t th e Truth' : Th e Doublenes s o f Hogg' s Confessions an d the Eighteenth-centur y Tradition. " Studies in Scottish Literature 1 8 (1983) : 59-74Sendak, Maurice , illustrator . Dear Mili. B y William Grimm . Trans . Ralp h Man heim. Ne w York : Farrar , Strau s & Giroux , 1988 . , autho r an d illustrator . Outside Over There. Ne w York : Harpe r an d Row, 1981 .

Steig, Michael . "Storie s o f Readin g Pedagogy : Problem s an d Possibilities. " Reader 16 (Fall 1991) : 27-37. . Stories of Reading: Subjectivity and Literary Understanding. Baltimore : Johns Hopkin s Universit y Press , 1989 . Steig, Michael , an d An n Campbell . "Sendak' s Dear Mili: Intention , Cultura l Rewriting, an d Storie s o f Reading. " Conferenc e presentation . Congres s o f the International Researc h Societ y for Children' s Literature . Paris , Septembe r 16, 1991 .

Steig, William . Strutters and Fretters: or, The Inescapable Self. Ne w York : Harper Collins , 1992 .

Index

Aberbach, D. , 45 , 52 Adorno, T. , 17 4 aggression, viii , 11-16 , 21 , 119-2 5 Alighieri, D. , 5 6 Allison, A. , 17 8 Alvarez, A. , 47 , 52 ambivalence, 119-20 , 147 , 148 , 154 , 162 , 171-73, 175 , 184-8 5 anality, 13 , 134 anniversary reaction, 5 2 anti-Semitism, 146 , 155 , 168 , 170 , 174 , 17 5 anxiety o f influence, 2 Anzieu, D. , 2 , 30 , 31 applied psychoanalysis, 3 , 12 , 17 , 21-23 , 27-30 Aristotle, 3 0 attunement, 178-8 8 Austen, J., 17 8 autobiography, 17 , 24-27, 20 7 automatic writing, 7- 8 Bakhtin, M. , 153 , 161, 168, 17 5 Baldwin, J., 17 5 Barnet, S. , 5 3 Baron, S. , 2 , 3 1 Barrows, H. , 17 8 Bauer, F. , 6 1 Beck, E. , 62 , 65, 66, 68 , 82 Beckett, S. , 155 , 17 7 befriending skills , 4 9 Beiser, H. , 2 , 3 , 31 Belinski, V. , 15 6 Bell, V., 20 7 Benjamin, J. , 180 , 18 8 Berezhetsky, I. , 14 8

Berman, J., xiii , 28, 29, 31, 53, 142 , 143, 188 biography, 14-16 , 22 , 24-2 7 Bleich, D. , xiii , 1 , 29, 31, 205, 206, 20 7 Bloom, H. , 2 Bly, R. , 174 , 17 5 body language, 146 , 151 , 153, 161 , 171-72, 174 Bollas, C , 3 , 17 , 19 , 20, 31, 179, 180 , 18 8 Bonaparte, N . , 13 4 Boulton, J., 5 3 Bouson, J., 18 8 Brandell,J., 19,3 1 Breger, L. , 129 , 152 , 153 , 156 , 157 , 160 , 176 Brenner, C , 12 , 21, 31 Brod, H. , 17 7 Bronte, E. , 193 , 194 Brown, H. , 5 3 Bruce, L. , 17 6 Buie, D. , 49 , 53 Burke, W. , 19 , 33 Bush, D. , 11 0 Calder, K. , 2 , 3 , 4, 3 1 Camus, A. , 37 , 53 Capote, T. , 1 3 Carey, J., 20 7 Carrington, D. , 20 7 castration, 92 , 14 3 Caws, M. , 24 , 31, 207 Charney, M. , 13-14 , 3 1 Chessick, R. , 2 , 3 , 31 Christ, J., 149 , 160 , 17 5 Cimbolic, P. , 5 4 209

2io Inde

x

Clayton, J. , 48 , 53 , 181 , 186 , 18 8 clinical psychoanalysis, 3 , 5 , 12 , 17-21 , 30 , 112-13 Cohen, H. , 165 , 16 6 Cohen, R. , 60 , 8 1 Coleridge, S. , 17 8 confidentiality o f diaries , 46 , 4 9 Conrad, J. , 40-42 , 43-44 , 48 , 5 3 Cooke, B. , 31 , 14 3 Copernicus, N. , 13 3 Coulson,J., 128 , 12 9 countertransference. See transference Crime and Punishment, 111-2 9 Cuddihy, J., 154 , 155 , 156 , 157 , 159 , 174 , 176 Culler, J., 179 , 18 8 cybering, 84-11 0 Daly, B. , 24 , 31 Darwin, C , 13 3 Daston, P. , 4 , 3 1 da Vinci, L. , ix , 3 0 daydreams, vii i death instinct, xi, 4 3 deconstruction, 22 , 10 0 depression, 16 , 36 , 42 , 51-52 , 130-3 1 Devereux, G. , 2 , 3 , 31 Diamant, D. , 56 , 78 , 7 9 diaries, 5-13 , 16 , 23, 45-46 , 48 , 50-52 , 71-76, 132-4 2 Dostoevsky, F. , viii , 9 , 13 , 30, 48 , 123 , 124, 127 , 129 , 145-7 5 Dostoevsky, M. , 14 8 dreams, viii , x , 2 , 6 , 17 , 18 , 71 , 74 Dubrovner, H. , 7 7 Dunne, E. , 40 , 5 3 Dunne-Maxim, K. , 40 , 5 3 Edel, L. , 2 , 31 , 57, 6 2 Eggenschwiler, D. , 206 , 20 7 Ehrenreich, B. , 19 , 31 Eliot, G. , 112 , 126 , 127 , 129 , 19 1 Elms, A. , 30 , 31 , 14 3 Emerson, C , 17 5 empathy, 186-8 7 envy, 21 epistemophilia, 11-12 , 1 4

ethnic identity, 29 , 57-82 , 150 , 154-73 , 190 exhibitionism, 1 , 17 , 23, 28-29, 158 , 19 0 Feiner, A. , 19 , 31 feminism, 16 , 24-27, 17 3 Fenichel, O. , 19 , 3 2 Fenkl, H. , 141 , 14 3 Ferenczi, S. , 4 Fiedler, L. , 160 , 171 , 17 6 Field, J., 3 3 Field, M. , 164 , 165 , 166 , 17 5 Flechsig, E. , 14 4 Fleming, J., 2 , 3 2 Fliess, W. , vii , 4 Flinn, C , 11 0 Flynn, E. , 11 0 Flynn-Schweickart effect, 98 , 11 0 Frank, J., 148 , 149 , 151 , 152 , 153 , 161 , 173, 175 , 17 6 free association, 7-8 , 16 , 21, 19 5 Freedman, D. , 24 , 31 , 34, 55 , 82 , 8 3 Freud, S. , vii-xi , 2-5 , 7 , 12 , 17 , 19 , 20, 30 , 32, 35 , 43 , 52 , 53 , 81 , 110 , 132 , 143 , 144, 146 , 149 , 150 , 151 , 152 , 154-59 , 167, 171 , 172 , 174 , 175 , 176 , 188 , 20 7 Frey, O. , 24 , 31 , 34, 8 3 Friedman, J., 14 3 Friedman, P. , 39 , 5 3 Frippon, L. , 8 2 Frye, N. , 6 1 Gallop, J., 24 , 26 , 32 , 20 7 Garnett, C , 17 6 Gay, P. , 187 , 18 8 Gerin, W. , 193 , 20 7 Gestwicki, R. , 6 , 3 2 Gibian, G. , 129 , 14 4 Gide, A. , 5 Gill, M. , 3 2 Gilman, S. , 158 , 159 , 174 , 17 6 Giovacchini, P. , 12 , 32 Glatzer, N. , 81 , 83 Goethe, J. , viii , xi , 5 0 Gogol, N. , 11-12 , 13 , 33, 151 , 173 , 17 7 Goldman, A. , 160 , 171 , 17 6 Goldstein, D. , 146 , 157 , 158 , 17 6 Gordin, Y. , 65 , 68 , 69 , 7 5

I n d e x 21 Gordon, A. , 11 0 Gorkin, M. , 17 , 19 , 3 2 Greenberg,J.,48, 187 , 18 8 Grimm, W. , 20 8 Grosskurth, P. , 4 , 3 2 Groves, J., 3 3 Grundregel, 7 guided imagery, 8 guilt, 41 , 131 , 195 , 202- 4 Guntrip, H. , 184 , 185 , 18 8 Gusev, N. , 140 , 14 3 Haight, G. , 12 9 Hartman, G. , 2 , 3 2 Heine, H. , 1 3 Heller, J., 16 4 Hemingway, E. , 44 , 45, 5 3 Himes, C , 170 , 171 , 175 , 17 7 Hoffman, I. , 19 , 32 Hogg, J. , 29 , 192-20 7 Holland, N. , xiii , 1 , 29, 32 , 179 , 180 , 18 9 homosexuality, 4-5 , 29 , 30 , 146-54 , 170 73 Horney, K. , xi , 3 , 32, 127 , 128 , 12 9 Hughes, O. , 14-1 5 Hughes, T. , 14-1 5 Ibsen, H. , 4 8 idealization, xi , 11 4 identification, 13-17 , 28 , 128 , 133-3 6 identity themes, 179-8 0 interaffectivity, 18 0 Iser, W. , 192 , 20 7 Jackson, J. , 17 5 Jacobs, D. , 5 3 Jaeger, K. , 3 1 Jakobson, R. , 2 7 Jensen, J., x Jewish identity, 57-82 , 113 , 146 , 154-7 5 Jobes, D. , 5 4 Johnson, M. , 11 0 Jones, E. , 30 , 3 2 Jones, K. , 17 6 Jordan, J., 18 9 Joyce, J., ix , 5 8 Jung, C. , xi , 5 , 17-18 , 3 2

1

Kafka, F. , ix , 6 , 16 , 29, 32 , 45 , 48 , 53 , 55 83, 19 4 Kafka, H. , 63 , 6 4 Kaplan, G. , 18 9 Keats, J., 17 8 Kiely, R. , 194 , 20 7 Kiremidjian, D. , 12 9 Klein, M. , 11 , 14 , 3 2 Klein, V. , 159 , 17 7 Kline, P. , 4 , 3 2 Kohut, H. , 14 , 32, 137 , 143 , 184 , 18 5 Kramer, M., 2 , 3 , 3 2 Kresh,J., 8 3 Kubie, L. , 52 , 5 3 Lacan, J., x i Lacanian analysis, 26 , 29 , 86 , 92 , 95-98 , 100 Laing, R . D. , 12 9 Lakoff, G. , 11 0 Larsen, S. , 1 , 33 Lateiner, D. , 73 , 75 Lawrence, D. , ix , 44 , 45 , 53 , 178 , 179 , 187, 18 9 Lawton, H. , 2 , 3 2 Layblikh, S. , 77 Lay ton, L. , 18 9 Lee, L. , 206 , 20 8 Lee, S. , 17 5 Leontiev, K. , 139 , 14 3 Levi, Y. , 62 , 64, 67 , 7 9 Levi-Strauss, C. , 17 6 Lockhart,J., 19 7 Lothane, Z. , 130 , 14 4 Lowenberg, P. , 2 , 3 2 MacAndrew, A. , 17 6 Mailer, N. , 7 6 Malcolm, J. , 14 , 15 , 16,3 2 male-bonding, 147 , 154 , 157 , 160 , 168 , 171-74 Mallard, H. , 3 , 3 3 Maltsberger, J.,49, 5 3 Manheim, R. , 20 8 Maroda, K. , 19 , 20, 21 , 33 Mars, M. , 8 2 Marshall, R. , 19 , 22, 3 3 Marshall, S. , 19 , 22, 3 3

212 I n d e

x

Marx, K. , 17 6 masculinity, 157-7 5 masochism, 12 , 16 , 28-29, 122 , 17 3 maternal imagery, 10-11 , 111-29 , 137-38 , 140-41, 162 , 184-85 , 198-20 1 Matlaw, R. , 17 6 Maugham, S. , 13 6 McDonald, E. , 18 9 Mcintosh, J., 40 , 5 3 McLean, H. , 11-12,3 3 Menninger, K. , 52 , 5 3 Meredith, G. , 20 2 Messner, E. , 19 , 33 Miller, A. , 7 6 Miller, J., 18 9 Miller, N . , 25-27 , 33 , 48 Milman, B. , 31 , 143 Milner, M. , 7-8 , 30 , 3 3 Milton, J., 84-11 0 mindsurfing, 84-11 0 Mishima, Y. , 4 8 Monroe, M. , 75 , 76 Moraitis, G. , 3 1 Morson, G. , 142 , 14 4 Moser, T. , 5 3 Moses, 159 , 174 , 17 6 Nabokov, V. , i x narcissism, ix , 12 , 14 , 16 , 28-30, 49 , 132 , 136-37, 142 , 185 , 188 , 19 0 Nelson, C. , 188 , 18 9 neurosis, viii , 77, 132 , 142 , 15 0 Nietzsche, F. , vi i Oakleaf, D. , 198 , 208 Oates, J., 2 4 object relations , x , 1 4 O'Brien, J., 5 3 Oedipus complex, vii , 2, 155 , 167 , 173, 199-200 other-analysis (vs . self-analysis), 1-3 1 Pace, D. , 46 , 53 Paradise Lost, 84-11 0 paranoia, 4 , 148 , 15 0 Paris, B. , xiii, 29 Par-Los, 84-11 0 Pawel, E. , 58 , 59, 62, 64, 65, 81, 82, 83 personification, 3 0

phallic imagery, ix , 25-27, 92 , 99, 10 5 Plath, S. , 14-15 , 16 , 33, 44, 45, 48, 53 Plato, 13 6 Pleck,J., 175,17 7 Pletsch, C. , 2 , 3 1 Poland, S. , 49 , 53 Politzer, H. , 59 , 60, 61, 83 Pollock, G. , 3 1 Pratt, B. , 200 pre-Oedipal period, 1 1 Presley, E. , 160 , 17 6 Progoff, L , 5-6 , 32 , 33 Pushkin, A. , 15 6 Putnam, H. , 107 , 11 0 Raben, J., 11 0 Rainer, T., 6 , 7 , 8 , 3 3 Rancour-Laferriere, D. , xiii , 2 , 31 , 33, 134, 143 , 144 , 149 , 151 , 153, 173 , 176, 177 reaction formation , 12 , 13 5 reader-response criticism, 1 , 178 , 181 , 190, 192 Reed, L , 17 5 Reik, T. , 11 0 repetition-compulsion, 4 3 resistance, 3 , 18 , 19 , 28, 50 Rose, J., 14-16 , 3 3 Rosen, S. , xiii , 29, 143 , 177 Rosten, L. , 12 9 Roth, P. , 164 , 171 , 177 Rousseau, J., 2 4 Runyan, W. , 3 4 Sade, M., 2 4 sadomasochism, 10-16 , 15 1 Salinger, J. D. , 4 8 Schapiro, B. , xiii, 29 , 185 , 18 9 Schepeler, E. , 2 , 22, 3 3 Schiller, F. , 14 8 schizophrenia, 4 Schopenhauer, A. , vi i Schreber, M. , 130 , 13 1 Schreber, P. , 4-5 , 30 , 130 , 14 4 Schwaber, E. , 19 , 33 Schwartz, J., 3 3 Schwartz, M. , 1 , 33 Schweickart, P. , 11 0 Sedgwick, E. , 24 , 3 3

I n d e x 21 Seidemann, M. , 77 Seilman, U. , 1 , 33 self object, 14 , 13 7 self psychology, x Sendak, M. , 206 , 20 8 sexism, 59 , 81 , 84, 92-93, 98-9 9 Sexton, A. , 4 8 sexuality, viii , 2 , 11 , 20, 46, 63 , 69-78, 92, 98-99, 159 , 16 7 Shakespeare, W. , viii , 16 , 53, 60 Shidlovsky, I. , 14 8 Shneidman, E. , 38 , 47, 5 3 Slakter, E. , 19 , 31, 33 Slatoff, W. , 4 0 Solovyov, V. , 14 9 Sophocles, vii-vii i Speshnev, N . , 149 , 17 2 Stalin, J., 151 , 173, 177 Stamler, V. , 46 , 5 3 Steig, M. , xiii , 29, 181 , 189, 208 Steig, W., 199 , 204, 205, 206, 207, 20 8 Stekel, W. , 3 9 Stern, D. , 180 , 186 , 18 9 Stiver, I. , 18 9 Strachey,J.,32, 53 , 143,20 7 Styron, W. , 44 , 51-52 , 5 3 sublimation, 12-13 , 96 , 13 9 suicide, 15 , 16 , 29, 35-52 , 61 , 191, 197 Surrey, J., 18 9 Sussman, M. , 12 , 19 , 21, 33 Swartzlander, S. , 46 , 5 3

Yiddish language , 57 , 64, 67-8 1 Yiddish theater , 56 , 62, 67-8 1

Tansey, M. , 19 , 34 Tarcher, J., 3 3 teaching, ix , 28, 35-37, 43-52 , 190-96 , 202

Zauhar, F. , 24 , 31, 34, 8 3 Zinner, E. , 47 , 54 Zytaruk, G. , 5 3

3

Thomas, D . M. , x i Ticho, G. , 2 , 3 , 34, 135 , 144 Tiger, L. , 174 , 17 7 Tolstoy, L. , 5 , 14 , 16 , 27, 30 , 131-4 3 Tomkins, J., 24-25 , 34 , 55 , 83, 183 , 189 transference, xi , 12 , 17 , 19-23 , 28 , 49, 132 , 141-42 Tschissik, M. , 75 , 76, 82 Tse, L. , 3 0 Tucker, R. , 2 , 3 4 Turgenev, I. , 148 , 15 7 Twain, M. , 4 2 Waldron, S. , 19 , 20, 34 Walsh, P. , 18 4 Wasiolek, E. , 12 9 Weininger, O. , 15 8 Wilson, E. , 3 6 Winnicott, D. , 18 4 Winston, C , 5 3 Winston, R. , 5 3 Wolf, E. , 188 , 18 9 Wolf, I. , 188 , 18 9 Wollheim, R. , 13 6 Woolf, V. , 16 , 29, 48, 178-88 , 191 , 207 Wordsworth, W. , i x writing a s rescue, 43-4 5