Containing some early prefatory poems to Shakespeare's works. The so-called First Folio (Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies), edited by John Heminges and Henry Condell in 1623, opens with a frontispice with the best-known portrait of Shakespeare, an engraving by Martin Droeshout:
—a portrait presented by "B. I." (Ben Jonson) in the following poem:
To the Reader. This Figure, that thou here seest put, It was for gentle Shakesepare cut ; Wherein the Grauer had a strife with Nature, to out-doo the life : O, could he but haue drawne his wit As well in brasse, as he hath hit His face ; the Print would then surpasse All, that was ever writ in brasse, But, since he cannot, Reader, looke Not on his Picture, but his booke.
There follows the editors' dedication to the Earls of Pembroke and of Montgomery, and the foreword they address "To the great Variety of Readers". Ben Jonson's poem prefixed to Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies (1623):
To the memory of my beloued, The AVTHOR MR. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE : And what he hath left vs.
To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name, Am I thus ample to thy Booke, and Fame: While I confesse thy writings to be such As neither Man, nor Muse, can praise too much: ‘Tis true, and all mens suffrage. But these wayes Were not the paths I meant vnto thy praise: For seeliest ignorance on these may light, Which, when it sounds at best, but eccho's right ; Or blinde Affection, which doth ne’er advance The truth, but gropes, and vrgeth all by chance ; 10 Or crafty Malice, might pretend this praise, And thinke to ruine where it seem'd to raise. These are, as some infamous Baud, or whore, Should praise a Matron: what could hurt her more ? But thou art proofe against them, and indeed Aboue th'ill fortune of them, or the need. I, therefore will begin. Soule of the Age ! The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our Stage ! My Shakespeare, rise ; I will not lodge thee by Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lye 20 A little further, to make thee a roome : Thou art a Moniment, without a tombe, And art aliue still, while thy Booke doth liue, And we have wits to read, and praise to giue. That I not mixe thee so, my braine excuses ; I meane with great, but disproportion'd Muses ; For if I thought my iudgement were of yeeres, I should commit thee surely with thy peeres: And tell, how far thou did'stst our Lily out-shine, Or sporting Kid, or Marlowes mighty line. 30 And though thou hadst small Latine, and less Greeke, From thence to honour thee I would not seeke For names, but call forth thundering AEschilus, Euripides, and Sophocles to vs, Pacuuius, Accius, him of Cordoua dead, To life againe, to heare thy Buskin tread, And shake a Stage; Or, when thy Sockes were on, Leaue thee alone, for the comparison Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughtie Rome sent forth, or since did from their ashes come. 40 Triumph, my Britaine, thou hast one to showe, To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe. He was not of an age, but for all time ! And all the Muses still were in their prime When like Apollo he came forth to warm Our eares, or like a Mercury to charme ! Nature her selfe was proud of his designes, And ioy'd to weare the dressing of his lines ! Which were so richly spun and wouen so fit As, since, she will vouchsafe no other Wit. 50 The merry Greeke, tart Aristophanes, Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please, But antiquated, and deserted lye As they were not of nature’s family. Yet must I not giue nature all: Thy Art, My gentle Shakespeare, must enioy a part. For though the Poets matter nature be, His art doth give the fashion. And, that he, Who casts to write a living line, must sweat (Such as thine are) and strike the second heat 60 Vpon the Muses anuile : turn the same, (And himselfe with it) that he thinkes to frame ; Or for the lavrell, he may gain a scorne, For a good Poet’s made, as well as borne; And such wert thou. Looke how the fathers face Liues in his issue, euen so, the race Of Shakespeares minde, and manners brightly shines In his well torned and true filed lines : In each of which, he seemes to shake a Lance, As brandish't at the eyes of Ignorance. 70 Sweet Swan of Auon! What a sight it were To see thee in our waters yet appeare, And make those flights vpon the bankes of Thames That so did take Eliza, and our Iames ! But stay, I see thee in the Hemisphere Advanc'd, and made a Constellation there ! Shine forth, thou Starre of Poets, and with rage Or influence, chide, or cheere the drooping Stage ; Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like night, And despaires day, but for thy Volumes light. 80
Jonson's poem alludes to a well-known elegy for Shakespeare, not included in the First Folio, by William Basse, which would appear in the 1633 edition of John Donne's poems and in Shakespeare's 1640 Poems:
On Mr. Wm. Shakespeare he dyed in Aprill 1616
Renowned Spencer, lye a thought more nye To learned Chaucer, and rare Beaumont lye A little neerer Spenser to make roome For Shakespeare in your threefold fowerfold Tombe. To lodge all fowre in one bed make a shift Untill Doomesdaye, for hardly will a fift Betwixt this day and that by Fate be slayne For whom your Curtaines may be drawn againe. If your precedency in death doth barre A fourth place in your sacred sepulcher, Under this carved marble of thine owne Sleep rare Tragoedian Shakespeare, sleep alone, Thy unmolested peace, unshared Cave, Possesse as Lord not Tenant of thy Grave That unto us and others it may be Honor hereafter to be layde by thee.
After Ben Jonson's poem, the First Folio includes another sonnet by Hugh Holland. Notice the continuous allusion to the notion of life as drama in this and the other memorial poems.
Vpon the Lines and Life of the Famous Scenicke Poet, Master WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
THose hands, which you so clapt, go now, and wring You Britaines brawe, for done are Shakespeares dayes : His dayes are done, that made the dainty Playes, Which made the Globe of heau'n and earth to ring. Dry'de is that veine, dry'd is the Thespian Spring, Turn'd all to teares, and Phoebus clouds his rayes : That corp's, that coffin now besticke those bayes, Which crown'd him Poet first, then Poets King. If Tragedies might any Prologue haue, All those he made, would scarse make one to this : Where Fame, now that he gone is to the graue (Deaths publique tyring-house) the Nuncius is. For though his line on life went soone about, The life yet of his lines shall neuer out.
The prefatory matter to the First Folio also includes a table of contents or "Catalogve" of the plays, and a variant of the title, The Workes of William Shakespeare, containing all his Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies: Truely set forth, according to their first Originall", which precedes the list of "The Names of the Principall Actors in all these Playes", a list headed by Shakespeare himself. There follows The Tempest, the first play in the book. But there are two additional memorial poems between the Catalogue and the list of actors. The first is by Leonard Digges, and the second by "I. M."(John Marston?).
TO THE MEMORIE of the deceased Authour Maister W. Shakespeare
SHake-speare, at length thy pious fellowes giue The world thy Workes : thy Workes, by which out-liue Thy Tombe, thy name must . when that stone is rent, And Time dissoluies thy Stratford Moniment, Here we aliue shall view thee still. This Booke, When Brasse and Marble fade, shall make thee looke Fresh to all Ages : when Posteritie Shall loath what's new, thinke all is prodegie That is not Shakes-speares; eu'ry Line, each Verse Here shall reuiue, redeeme thee from thy Herse. Nor fire, nor cankring Age, as Naso said, Of his, thy wit-fraught Booke shall once inuade. Nor shall I e're beleeue, or thinke thee dead (Though mist) vntill our bankrout Stage be sped (Impossible) with some new straine t'out-do Passions of Iuliet, and her Romeo : Or till I heare a Scene more nobly take, Then when thy half-sword parlying Romans spake. Till these, till any of thy Volumes rest Shall with more fire, more feeling be exprest, Be sure, our Shake-speare, thou canst neuer dye, But crown'd with Lawrell, liue eternally.
To the memorie of M. W. Shake-speare. VVEE wondred (Shake-speare) that thou went'st so soone From the Worlds-Stage, to the Graues-Tyring-roome. Wee thought thee dead, but this thy printed worth, Tels thy Spectators, that thou went'st but forth To enter with applause. An Actors Art, Can dye, and liue, to acte a second part. That's but an Exit of Mortalitie ; This, a Re-entrance to a Plaudite.
I. M. Digges, an Oxford scholar, would also write a longer poem, posthumousy published as a preface to the 1640 edition of Shakespeare's own Poems (which are not included in the First Folio).
Upon Master William Shakespeare, the Decesaed Authour, and his Poems
Poets are borne not made, when I would prove This truth, the glad rememberance I must love Of never dying Shakespeare, who alone Is argument enough to make that one. First, that he was a Poet none would doubt, That heared th'applause of what he sees set out Imprinted; where thou hast (I will not say Reader his Workes for to contrive a Play: To him twas none) the patterne of all wit, Art without Art unparaleld as yet. Next Nature onely helpt him, for looke thorow This whole Booke, thou shalt find he doth not borrow, One phrase from Greekes, nor Latines imitate, Not once from vulgar languages Translate, Nor Plagiari-like from others gleane, Nor begges he from from each witty friend a Scene To peece his Acts with, all that he doth writer, Is pure his owne, plot, language exquisite, But oh! what praise more powerfull can we give The dead, then that by him the Kings men live, All else expir'd within the short Termes date; How could the Globe have prospered, since through want Of change, the Plaies and Poems had growne Scant. but happy Verse thou shall be sung and heard, When hungry quills shall be such honour bard Then vanish upstart Writers to each Stage, You needy Poetasters of this Age, Where Shakespeare liv'd or spake, Vermine forbeare, Least with your froth you spot them, come not neere; But if you needs must write, if poverty So pinch, that otherwise you starve and die, On Gods name may the Bull or Cockpit have Your lame blancke Verse, to keepe you from the grave Or let new Fortunes younger brethren see, What they can picke from your leane industry. I doe not wonder when you offer at Blacke-Friers, that you suffer; tis the fate Of richer veines, primer judgements that have far'd The worse, with this deceased man compar'd. So have I seene, when Caesar would appeare, And on the Stage at halfe-sword parley were, Brutus and Cassius: oh how the Audience, Were ravish'd, with what wonder they went thence, When some new day they would not brooke a line, Of tedious (though well laboured) Catalines; Sejanus too was irkesome, they priz'de more Honest Iago, or the jealous Moore. And though the Fox and subtill alchimist, Long intermitted could not quite be mist, Though these have sham'd all the Ancients, and might raise, Thie Authours merit with a crown of Bayes, Yet these sometimes, even at a friends desire Acted, have scarce defrai'd the Seacole fire And doore-keepers: when let but Falstaffe come, Hall, Poines, the rest you scarce shall have a roome All is so pester'd: let but Beatrice And Benedicke be scene, loe in a trice The Cockpit Galleries, Boxes, all are full To heare Malvoglio that crosse garter'd Gull. Briefe, there is nothing in his wit fraught Booke, Whose sound we would not heare, on whose worth looke Like old coynd gold, whose lines, in every page, Shall passe true currant to succeeding age. But why do I dread Shakespeares praise recite, Some second Shakespeare must of Shakespeare write; For me tis needlesse, since an host of men, Will pay to clap his praise, to free my Pen.
And those 1640 Poems also include another famous tribute, a sonnet by John Milton which had already appeared in the Second Folio of Shakespeare's works, 1632; written in 1630:
An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare
What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones The labour of an age in pilèd stones, Or that his hallowed relics should be hid Under a star-ypointing pyramid? Dear son of memory, great heir of fame, What need’st thou such weak witness of thy name? Thou in our wonder and astonishment Hast built thyself a lifelong monument. For whilst to th’shame of slow-endeavoring art Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book Those Delphic lines with deep impression took, Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving, Dost make us marble with too much conceiving; And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie, That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
Marlowe, Christopher (1564-93), son of a Canterbury shoemaker, educated at the King’s School, Canterbury, and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He became a BA in 1584, and MA, after some difficulty in 1587. Though of excellent classical attainments, as his writings make clear, he seems to have been of a violent and at times criminal temperament. It is not clear whether visits he made to the Continent related to espionage. In 1589 he was involved in a street fight in which the poet T. Watson killed a man; an injunction was brought against him by the constable of Shoreditch three years later. Early in 1592 he was deported from the Netherlands fro attempting to issue forged gold coins. On 30 May 1593 he was killed by one Ingram Frizer (as Hotson discovered) in a Deptford tavern after a quarrell over the bill; Marlowe was at the time under warrant to appear before the Privy Council on unknown charges. Kyd and another friend, Richard Baines, testified after his death to his blasphemy and outrageous beliefs.
The Tragedie of Dido, Queen of Carthage, published in 1594, may have been written while Marlowe was still at Cambridge, and in collaboration with Nashe. Part I of Tamburlaine was written not later than 1587, and Part II in the following year; it was published in 1590. The next plays may have been The Jew of Malta, not published until 1633, and Edward II, published in 1594. The highly topical Massacre at Paris,which survives only in a fragmentary and undated text, and Dr Faustus, published 1604, may both belong to the last year of Marlowe’s life. At various times he translated Ovid’s Amores, published without date as All Ovids Elegies, together with some of Sir John Davies’s ’Epigrammes’; wrote two books of an erotic narrative poem Hero and Leander, wich was completed by G. Chapman and published in 1598; made a fine blank verse rendering of Lucans First Booke, Book 1 of Lucan’s Pharsalia; and wrote the song ’Come live with me and be my love’, published in The Passionate Pilgrim (1599) and England’s Helicon(1600), with a reply by Ralegh. In spite of his violent life Marlowe as an admired and highly influential figure: within weeks of his death Peele paid tribute to him as ’Marley, the Muses darling for thy verse’. Shakespeare’s early histories are strongly influenced by Marlowe, and he paid tribute to him in As You Like It as the ’dead shepherd’. Jonson referred to ’Marlowes mighty line’, and among others who praised him were Nashe, Chapman, G. Harvey, and Drayton. There are many modern editions of his plays and poems: the Revels Plays editions of the plays are to be recommended, and in the same series, Millar Maclure’s edition of the Poems (1968).
Marlowe added nothing to dramatic technique except that he determined the victory of blank verse. HIs merit is that in his short career he set the stage on fire with the flame of his passion. Less versatile than the other prominent playwrights of his day, less able than they to conceive of multitudinous feelings distinct from his own emotions, less quick than some to catch the scenic side of things, surpassed not only by the masters, but also by mediocre playwrights, as an architect of drama and constructor of supple and nimble dialogue, without any sense of the comic or sense of humour or aptitude to draw a woman, Marlowe yet possessed a supreme quality which enabled him at once to lift drama to the sphere of high literature. He was a great poet, a lyrical, personal, violently egoistical poet, who carried with him his own unique conception of man and life. In spite of his atheism, he foreshadowed Milton from afar; a little of him was in the Byron who wrote Cain, a little in Shelley. His exclusiveness produced intensity, and the English stage was in great need of intensity. Grace, wit, and fancy had been scattered on it, mingled indeed with faults of every kind, but never hitherto had it known this dash, this vehemence, animating a whole play, this rapid march, as to victory, by which drama inspires the conviction hat thus to move is to be alive.
It is, after all, a mistake to suppose that every work written for the stage must have specially dramatic qualities. To give an audience an impression of greatness, to cause them to tremble with enthusiasm and feel the rush towards an end—any end: this does as well. The fact is proved by Marlowe’s work as by part of Corneille’s. His immediate success and his powerful influence are unquestionable. Even when his plays had come to seem extravagant they remained popular. They first made the English public feel the pride of strength, and persuaded or deluded English drama into the belief that it equalled the sublimity of the ancients. As did the Cid, Marlowe’s plays, for all their lack of patriotism, made hearts swell with a new national pride. His characters, out of scale and unnatural as they are, can dispense with probability because they have the breath of life. Their passionate declaiming co-operated with the triumph over the Armada, one year after Marlowe’s first play, and the pride in distant conquests , to make English hearts drunk and giddy with triumphant strength. Together with the discoveries of the great seafarers, these figures on the stage enlarged, in men’s minds, the bounds of the possible. These plays were a paean to the infinity of military power, of knowledge and of wealth. The subjects Marlowe borrowed, the heroes he moulded, were no more than his mouthpieces, voicing his exorbitant dreams. Like him they sought the infinite and like him were never sated.
Dido Queene of Carthage, The Tragedie of, written by Marlowe and Nashe, possibly while they were at Cambridge together. It was performed at unknown dates by the Children of the Queen’s Chapel, and published in 1594. It is closely based on Virgil’s Aeneid (Bks 1, 2, and 4), depicting Dido’s failure to persuade Aeneas to stay with her in Carthage and her subsequent suicide.
Marlowe ... wrote a Dido, which was finished by Nashe and in which he dramatized the fourth book of the Aeneid. This play is less sombre in colour than his earlier work, but is marred in places by the worst lapses of taste.
Tamburlaine the Great, a drama in blank verse by Marlowe, written not later than 1587, published 1590. It showed an immense advance on the blank verse of Gorboduc and was received with much popular approval. The material for it was taken by the author from Pedro Mexia’s Spanish Life of Timur, of which an English translation had appeared in 1571.
Pt I of the drama deals with the first rise to power of the Scythian shepherd robber Tamburlaine; he allies himself with Cosroe in the latter’s rebellion against his brother, the king of Persia, and then challenges him for the crown and defeats him. Tamburlaine’s unbounded ambition and ruthless cruelty carry all before him. He conquers the Turkish emperor Bajazet and leads him about, a prisoner in a cage, goading him and his empress Zabina with cruel taunts till they dash out their brains against the bars of the cage. His ferocity is softened only by his love for his captive Zenocrate, the daughter of the soldan of Egypt whose life he speares in deference to the pleadings of Zenocrate when he captures Damascus.
Pt II deals with the continuation of his conquests, which extend to Babylon, whither he is drawn in a charion dragged by the kings of Trebizond and Soria, with the kings of Anatolia and Jerusalem as relay, ’pampered Jades of Asia’ (a phrase quoted by Pistol in Shakespeare, 2 Henry IV, II.iv); it ends with the death of Tamburlaine himself.
From Legouis and Cazamian’s History of English Literature:
Tamburlaine, in its two parts, of which the first appeared in 1587 and the second in 1588, astonished the public with quite other reasons than The Spanish Tragedie. Its author was Christopher Marlowe (1564-93), a young man of twenty-three, who had just left Cambridge. He was entirely without experience of the stage, but he compensated for this lack by the extraordinary spirit of defiance and revolt which animated his dramatic work. Novel though Arden of Feversham and The Spanish Tragedie were, they were plays which bore the imprint of the traditional morality. From beginning to end they denounced and condemned crime; their murders cried out for vengeance. But the new playwright dared to claim admiration for the most bloodthirsty of men, to make of him a sort of demigod.
Nothing is more characteristic of Marlowe than his choice of his first hero. He had read a translation of Tamerlane’s life by the Spaniard Pedro Mexia and another life of him by Perondinus of Florence. His imagination was inflamed by the story of the career of this unmatched adventurer who from a mere shepherd became the most powerful man in all the world. There was no need to invent: to follow hisory was enough. What were Alexander and Caesar beside this fourteenth-century Tartar, the conqueror of Persia and Muscovy who laid Hindustan and Syria waste, vanquished the Ottomans, and died at last as he was fllinging himself upon China at the head of two hundred thousand warriors? What cruelty did not seem mildness beside his, who strangled a hundred thousand captives before the walls of Delhi, and set up before Baghdad an obelisk built of ninety thousand severed heads? What symbol could strike more terror than the white tents and banners which stood, in sign of friendship, before a town on the first day of one of Tamerlane’s sieges, the red tents and the second flags which were there on the second day, in sign of pillage, and the banners and tents, all black, which beset it on the third dey, in sign of extermination?
All this was so grandiose that Marlowe was dazzled. The man capable of so prodigious a destiny, of such unbridgled contempt for human life, seemed to him a superior being, a superman to whom the petty rules of morality did not apply. His Tamburlaine massacres wholesale, women and children as well as men, laughs at the blood he sheds, imprisons the vanquished Emperor Bajazet in a cage, has his chariot drawn by kings whom he insults, burns a town in honor of the funeral of his wife, Zenocrate, and all the while remains entirely admirable, outside and above human judgment. He is the despiser of men and gods. Marlowe endows him with the boundless arrogance of an emancipated virtuoso and philosopher of the Renascence. Tamburlaine is the great victor, the conqueror of the world. Therefore he is in the right.
Marlowe transfigures him, not by omitting or weakening any of his atrocities, but by exalting them. He sees in him the triumph of the will to power and thinks that nothing could be finer. To glorify his Tamburlaine he goes to the romances of chivalry in search of heroes moved by an unbridled appetite for glory, and there finds the poetry a mere exterminator would lack. Like those extravagant knights, Tamburlaine is capable of extraordinary love. He lays the earth at the feet of his Zenocrate and when death takes her from him he threatens heaven with his rage. This play, which is simply Tamburlaine’s life divided into scenes, expresses the strange ardours of a young scholar who had cut himself irrevocably adrift from all restraint. A libertine in both senses of the word, Marlowe prided himself on his paganism, his rebellion, not against the dogma of the Trinity only, but against the very spirit of Christianity. His ideal was the man freed from all morality who seeks the maximum of strength and enjoyment by way of impiety, sensuality and crime. What he could not declare to the public directly, he makes his Tamburlaine proclaim upon the stage. It was to the quest of the impossible that he himself aspired, and Tamburlaine is vowed to it at his first meeting with Zenocrate. She has come to him, all dishevelled and disconsolate, to ask him to pardon her father, the Sultan of Egypt. At this moment the man who had, an instant before, slaughtered the suppliant virgins of Damascus and had their corpses hoisted on pikes, utters the most lyrical of all appeals to absolute beauty, a cry of grief because he knows and declares that what he calls upon is beyond his reach.
The like exaltation had already been felt by Tamburlaine at the thought of being king. on the precedent of Jupiter, who ousted his father Saturn from the throne in order to reign himself, Tamburlaine regards ambition as the spontaneous act of human nature:
Still climbing after knowledge infinite, And always moving as the restless spheres.
The same wild rapture is sustained through ten acts, for two dramas are consecrated to this one hero Tamburlaine, who is almost always on the stage and by himself is nearly the whole of either play. It is appalling to reflect on the task of Alleyn, the actor who created the part and ho had to utter all this character’s declamatory violence and repeated lyrical tirades. Nothing could be less dramatic or more monotonous: the same theme and same tone of passionate emphasis recur endlessly. It is true that, to captivate the sight, there are some scenes which haunted men’s memories: Bajazet dying of hunger in his cage while a banquet is served to Tamburlaine, who tenders him a mouthful or two on the pint of his swor; Bajazet, at the end of his endurance, braining himself against the iron bars which imprison him; his wife, Zabina, seized by madness when she sees him dead and taking her own life; above all that famous spectacle of Tamburlaine, whip in hand, drawn by two kings harnessed to his chariot to whom he cries:
Holla, ye pamper’d jades of Asia! What, can ye draw but twenty miles a day?
It was never necessary to parody Tamburlaine: to mention it was enough. On the whole, its spectacular extravagances are dispersed, but the declamation is continuous. That men listened to this play from end to end can be exclaimed only by suppposing that the fire in the heart of the young poet caught his audience. They too must have been in a state of half-delirious exalatation. The distraught rhetoric is sustained by verse of which the unfailing sonority was as new as the subject. Marlowe began his career with a superb contempt for the popular rhymesters. He makes blank verse, hitherto without brightness or ring, thunder and echo through his play like a drum that never ceases. Other heroes, from the Herod of the mysteries downwards, had already uttered fearful blasphemies and unending rodomontade, but they had had to express them in slight stanzas or frail couplets. The verse for which men had been waiting, completely formed verse, now sounded on the stage for the first time. It was a thing too enchanting to be withstood. The wits might mock at this ’spacious volubilitie of a drumming decasyllabon,’ at this ’bragging blank verse,’ but, whether they would or no, they had soon, in deference to the public, themselves to beat the drum as well as they could.
Jew of Malta, The, a drama in blank verse by Marlowe, performed about 1592, not published until 1633.
The grand seignior of Turkey having demanded the tribute of Malta, the governor of Malta decides that it shall be paid by the Jews of the island. Barabas, a rich Jew who resists the edict, has all his wealth impounded and his house turned into a nunnery. In revenge he indulges in an orgy of slaughter, procuring the death of his daughter Abigail’s lover among others, and poisoning Abigail herself. Malta being besieged by the Turks, he betrays the fortress to them, and, as a reward, is made its governor. He now plots the destruction of the Turkish commander and his force at a banquet by means of a collapsible floor; but is himself betrayed and hurled through this same floor into a cauldron, where he dies. The prologue to the play is spoken by ’Machevil’, and Barabas is one of the prototypes for unscrupulous Machiavellian villains in later Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. His praise of gold and precious stones as ’Infinite riches in a little roome’ is often quoted.
Marlowe never again found a plot which gave him so much scope [as Dr. Faustus], but even in The Jew of Malta (1589) he sometimes reveals his lyrical power. He was doubtless led to write this melodrama by the success of The Spanish Tragedie and other tragedies of atrocious vengeance. His Jew, Barabas, is unjustly deprived of his goods by Christians, and by an extraordinary series of crimes avenges himself on them, and also, becoming a monomaniac, on mankind in general. Obliged to use cunning to attain his object, he is Machiavellism incarnate. His crimes must have made the hair of audiences stand on end. They accumulate until, having first delivered Malta to the Turks and then the Turks to the Christians, he falls into a cauldron of boiling water into which he had schemed to throw his last enemies.
There is only one other character who counts in this play, and he is yet more terrible, the Moorish slave Ithamore who is Barabas’s tool and and incarantion of the lust of extreme cruelty.
This melodrama opens grandly, and before the Jew becomes a criminal maniac he has, like Tamburlaine, dignity and greatness. Enormously rich, we see him first in his counding-house, with heaps of gold before him, a poet intoxicated by the immensity of his own wealth and the immense power which is its consequence. As he enumerates the countries whence his treasures come, his exaltation has a mystical greatness. Something of this remains to him when he hears the governor’s order that half his estate and that of the other Jews shall be confiscated to pay the tribute to the Turks, and when only he of all his co-religionists keep his pride, remaining indignant and inflexible. It has often been said that Shakespeare dared to defy contemporary prejudice by attracting sympathy intermittently to Shylock. Yet Shakespeare’s Shylock is as avaricious as he is cruel, and ridiculous through his avarice. The only true rehabilitation of the Jew is that which Marlowe attempted in his first act, where the haughty, intrepid Barabas, facing the hypocritical governor, is really a splendid figure. That he subsequently appears as a frenzied wretch is of little consequence. For a time the poet identified himself with the Jew, who may even, by the very enormity of his later crimes, have retained the strange sympathy of his creator.
Edward II,a tragedy in blank verse by Marlowe probably first performed 1592, published 1594.
It deals with the recall by Edward II, on his accession, of his favourite, Piers Gaveston; the revolt of the barons and the capture and execution of Gaveston; the period during which Spenser (Hugh le Despenser) succeeded Gaveston as the king’s favorite; the estrangement of Queen Isabella from her husband; her rebellion, supported by her paramour Mortimer, against the king; the caputure of the latter, his abdication of the crown, and his murder in Berkeley Castle. The play was an important influence on Shakespeare’s Richard II.
Marlowe was also able, before he died at the age of twenty-nine, to write the best of the tragedies on national history which preceded Shakespeare, his Edward the Second, first acted in 1592.
Whether because Marlowe’s genius had developed, or because the exigencies of historical drama obliged him to self-effacement, this play has qualities which are properly dramatic and are found in none of its predecessors. The lyrical declamation is under a new restraint. The tirades are shorter and the dialogue is better distributed in speeches. The blank verse is less strained and more pliable, nearer to the tones of human voice. Progress in character-study is also evinced, over a numerous and diversified cast.
The subject is the veracious history of a king who is dominated by his favourites, first Gaveston and then young Mortimer. Mortimer reaches an understanding with Queen Isabella, who becomes his mistress. The betrayed king is cast into prison and put to death by the order of the two accomplices, who are in their turn executed by their victim’s son.
Edward II stands for sentimental weakness, the royal baseness which cowardice can make bloodthirsty. In Mortimer, with his unbridled ambition, Marlowe returned to one of his favourite types, and it is Mortimer who connects the play with its predecessors.
Except the death of Faustus, nothing in Marlowe’s plays is more poignantly pathetic than the scene of the murder of Edward II in Killingworth Castle by two ruffians. The end of the bad king is so miserable that he becomes an object of pity.
Edward the Second is better constructed than Marlowe’s other plays, free from his habitual extravagance, less inhuman and less removed from the normal drama of the time. But it shows the author’s dramatic weakness the more clearly because of its very merits. This tragedy has not the lucidity necessary to character-drawing, to the weaving of a plot, and to the distribution of sympathy. it also lacks variety and dramatic progression. Of the plays developed to natinal history, it was, until Shakespeare, the most artistic, but a long distance separates it fromm the least of Shakespeare’s historical dramas. The spirit of patriotism necessary to work of the kind does not breathe in it, possibly because Marlowe, a rebel against the religion and morality of his fellow-countrymen, did not share their political passions either. Again in this play, he shows himself in revolt against the common morality, when, with lyrical exaltation, he paints the unnatural love of Edward II for his favourite Piers Gaveston.
Massacre at Paris, The, a play by Marlowe written c. 1592. The undated first edition (c. 1593/4) describes it as having been acted by the Admiral’s Men. It is a short and poor text, probably representing a mangled version of what Marlowe wrote. A single leaf surviving in manuscript used to be thought to be a forgery by J. P. Collier, but is nowe considered to be a genuine contemporary copy of part of a scene.
The play deals with the massacre of Protestants in Paris on St. Bartholomew’s day, 24 Aug. 1572 (an event witnessed by P. Sidney, who was staying in Paris at the time). Its most memorable character is the Machiavellian Duke of Guise, whose high aspiring language seems to have influenced Shakespeare in his early history plays. The massacre is depicted in a series of short episodes, a notable one being that in which the rhetorician Ramus is killed after a verbal onslaught by the Guise on his emendations of Aristotle. The Guise himself is eventually murdered at the behest of Henry III, dying on the lines:
Vive la messe! Perish Hugenots! Thus Caesar did go forth, and thus he died.
whose relationship to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (II.ii. 10, 28, 48) has not been satisfactorily explained. Leaping over 17 years, the play concludes with the murder of Henry III and the succession of the (then) Protestant Henry of Navarre. It is difficult to tell whether the frequent comic effect of the play is authorially intended or is the result of the incompleteness of the text. Ed. H. J. Oliver (1968).
...an unfinished play, The Massacre at Paris, on the massacre of St. Bartholomew, a subject which gave Marlowe his fill of horrors and attracted him by the boundless ambition of the Duke of Guise whom he made his hero...
Dr Faustus,The Tragical History of, a drama in blank verse and prose by Marlowe, published 1604 and , in a radically different version known as the B-text’, 1616. The earliest known performance waas by the Lord Admiral’s Men in 1594. It is perhaps the first dramatization of the medieval legend of a man who sold his soul to the devil, and who became identified with a Dr. Faustus, a necromancer of the 16th cent. The legend appeared in the Faustbuch, first published at Frankfurt in 1587, and was translated into English as The Historie of the Damnable Life, and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus. Marlowe’s play follows this translation in the general outline of the story, though not in the conception of the principal character, who from a mere magician becomes, under the poet’s hand, a man athirst for infinite power, ambitions to be ’great Emperor of the world’.
Faustus, weary of the sciences, turns to magic and calls up Mephistopheles, with whom he makes a compact to surrender his soul to the devil in return for 24 years of life; during these Mephistopheles shall attend on him and give him whatsoever he demands. Then follow an number of scenes in which the compact is executed, notable among them the calling up of Helen of Troy, where Faustus addresses Helen in the well-known line: ’Was this the face that launched a thousand ships . . . ’ The anguish of mind of Faustus as the hour for the surrender of his soul draws near is poignantly depicted. Both in its end and in the general conception of the character of Faustus, the play thus differs greatly from the Faust of Goethe.
The madcap was in truth a great poet whose very extravagance was justified because it expressed his nature. He produced play after play, all continuations of his first. They were perhaps less purely the expression of his temperament, but they gained by his increasing knowledge of the stage, which did not prevent them from being stil mainly lyrical and oratorical. He was, however, leading a life of intense dissipation which hardly ever left him time to produce a complete work like Tamburlaine. He became the improviser who flings a couple of powerful scenes into a botched play.
Such was the composition of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1588), for which he drew on one of the most fruitful of legends, but merely built an admirable framework about scenes hardly written, and clowning which reads as though the actors had been invited to fill it in as they chose.
Once more faithful to the custom of his country’s stage, Marlowe divided the German legend of Faust, as he had read it, into scenes. His forceful egoism is projected into the character of the necromancer who vows himself to the devil in return for sovereign knowledge and sovereign power, and who is thus able for twenty-four years to satisfy his appetites. They are poor and coarse enough in the legend, leading him mainly to play practical jokes on the great ones of his day, the pope and the cardinals, and to make poor wretches the butt of his magic. Marlowe takes little interest in these distractions, which he barely outlines. But when Faustus evokes the spirits of the past and obtains a vision of the Greek Helen, the poet, imagining her supreme beauty, is rapt to incomparable lyricism.
Retribution follows: Faustus has to keep his bargain with Lucifer, and tremblingly awaits death and hell. Marlowe, the atheist, alone in a Christian world, must also, at times, have felt to the full the horror of his denials and his blasphemies. He was too near faith to be indifferent. The very vehemence of his professions of impiety was a sign that his emancipation was incomplete. He shook his fist at heaven and feared at the same moment that heaven might fall and crush him. The last scenes of Faustus are among the most pathetic and most grandiose in Renaissance drama. They stand by themselves, distinct from all the rest of the drama. They are insurpassable, even by Shakespeare. Marlowe, incapable of a complete masterpiece, yet had genius to reach, here and there, the sublime beauty which had no degrees. When Goethe took the same legend for the basis of one of the chief accomplishments of modern poetry, he could not eclipse the poignant greatness of his forerunner’s scenes. He, who deid not know how the impious tremble, could not recapture that anguish of horror.
Hero and Leander, the tragic history of Leander’s love for Hero, the priestess of Aphrodite: he is drowned while swimming to her at night across the Hellespont, and she then in despair throws herself into the sea. This story has been made the subject of poems by Marlowe and T. Hood, and of a burlesque by T. Nashe in his Lenten Stuffe.
Passionate Pilgrim,The,an unauthorized anthology of poems by various authors, published by Jaggard in 1599, and attributed on the title-page to Shakespeare, but containing only a few authentic poems by him.
England’s Helicon, a miscellany of Elizabethan verse, published in 1600, with additions in 1613, edited by H. E. Rollins (1935). It is the best collection of lyrical and pastoral poetry of the Elizabethan age, and includes pieces by Sidney, Spenser, Drayton, R. Greene, T. Lodge, Ralegh, Marlowe, and others.
EPSRC - RIDERS NETWORK - STORYTELLING WORKSHOP Queen Mary, University of London - School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science November 8th 2012 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ FREE ATTENDANCE, TRAVEL SUBSIDISED ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The 3rd RIDERS workshop will take place at Queen Mary, University of London on November 8th 2012.
RIDERS stands for Research in Interactive Drama Environments, Role-play and Storytelling - Towards a multi-disciplinary community of researchers with expertise in enhancing technological, social or entertaining aspects of Digital Storytelling research.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ERNEST ADAMS - Making MMOGs More Storylike ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Persistent worlds are great places to play but poor places to be a hero, because in most of them the player cannot permanently change the world. In this lecture I show how the design of current games harms the story-like feel of the experience, and what we can to do to allow all the players to play a more meaningful role in the plot. I also describe a high concept for one such game, The Blitz Online.
Ernest Adams is a freelance game designer, writer, and teacher. He has served in the game industry since 1989, and is the author of five books, including the university-level textbook "Fundamentals of Game Design, Second Edition." Ernest was most recently employed as a lead designer at Bullfrog Productions on the Dungeon Keeper series, and for several years before that was the audio/video producer on the Madden NFL Football line for Electronic Arts. Ernest is also the founder and first chairman of the International Game Developers' Association. His website isathttp://www.designersnotebook.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ SANDY LOUCHART- Distributing Drama Management via AI ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In this talk, we describe an implementation of Distributed Drama Management (DDM). DDM is a concept which involves synthetic actor agents in an Emergent Narrative scenario acting on both an in-character level, which reflects the concerns of the characters, and an out-of-character level, which reflects the concerns of a storyteller. By selecting the most “dramatically appropriate” action from a set of autonomously proposed actions, Distributed Drama Management aims to retain the benefits of Emergent Narrative such as believability and agility of response to user actions, but attempts to provide a structurally and emotionally consistent experience.
Sandy Louchart is a lecturer in Human Computer Interaction at the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. His research has investigated the domain of Interactive Storytelling (IS) via the development of the Emergent Narrative concept.http://www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~sandy/Home.html
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Zlatka Stankova - Emotion, the Writer's Perspective ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Zlatka Stankova is a Cinema and Theatre Director, a Script Writer, and a Lecturer in Drama Theory and Practice. She specialises in Media studies, Literary and Drama Theory and European Culture and Languages.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ GERAINT WIGGINS- Emotion and Computational creativity ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geraint Wiggins Geraint is Professor of Computational Creativity in the Department of Computing in Goldsmiths' College, University of London. He leads the Intelligent Sound and Music Systems (ISMS) group in the Department of Computing, which forms part of the Centre for Cognition, Computation and Culture, a new venture involving staff from several departments around the College.
No es el último libro de Brian Boyd, sino un vídeo de la serie EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY, muy recomendable. Mirad Stephen Hawking vs. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates, Hitler vs. Darth Vader, Abraham Lincoln vs. Chuck Norris, etc.:
Strife in Nature, and Strife in Man—from T. McAlindon, English Renaissance Tragedy:
In historically oriented studies of Renaissance drama, it has been customary to assume that the essential feature of pre-modern cosmology as understood by the Elizabethans was the principle of hierarchical correspondence (or analogy). Viewed in the light of this principle, however, the universe presents itself to the imagination as a straightforward model of order and stability, inducing a mood of philosophic confidence and optimism in any consideration of the human condition. There has, therefore, been a strong reaction against those critics who have assumed that the so-called 'Elizabethan world picture' exerted a substantial influence on the tragic dramatists' delineation of man, society, and universe; it is commonly held now that the tragedians' vision of a terrifyingly unstable world where good and evil and right and wrong are confusingly entwined could only have evolved in spite of or in reaction to the conditioning effects of traditional cosmology. I would suggest, however, that the full implications of pre-modern cosmology were never taken into account in the interpretation of Renaissance tragedy (and tragical history) in the first place. For in the 'theoria of the world'—to borrow Marlowe's phrase—which the Elizabethans inherited from the Middle Ages and the Greeks, polarity was a principle of at least equal importance with that of hierarchy (analogy, correspondence, degree). To put the matter in elemental terms, the disposition of earth, water, air, and fire in a stratified order throughout the universe does not alter the fact that they are opposites whose nature always inclines them to strife and mutual domination. Without the strife of the elements there would, in fact, be no accounting for change and death; moreover, given their instinct for strife, there can be no knowing which convulsions lie ahead in the order of nature. At the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, the pessimistically inclined, looking at the evidence of contemporary history (Christianity at war with itself) and of scientific discovery (changes in the changeless heavens of the 'fixed stars'), decided that man's moral character, human institutions, and external nature were all in a state of incipient disintegration, that the promised end was at hand. Automatically, they explained this cosmic disaster in terms of an uncontrolled acceleration in the strife of the contraries. The explanation suggests that, while their cosmology conditioned them to admire and cherish harmonious stability, it also conditioned them to dread and expect violeng change, 'Chaos come again'.
The effects which the cosmological principle of analogy and contrariety had on Renaissance drama are incalculable. Of the two, however, the principle of contrariety etched itself more deeply on the art of the tragedian, and for reasons which are not hard to perceive. The idea of the universe as a dynamic system of opposites speaks to the imagination not only of order but also of the fragile and impermanent nature of life's harmonious patterns. And, since subject and object are held to be duplex and always liable to change, it speaks too of a radical uncertainty in every attempt to interpret and evaluate man's nature and experience. Viewed in the light of this cosmic model, unity—and all that it entails in terms of order and intelligibility—may seem no more than the effect of a truce in a war that can have no end. It was perhaps inevitable, then, that Renaissance tragedians should exploit the contrarious model of man and universe. Beginning as they did with the medieval tragic idea of man as the victim of an inherently treacherous world (the world of Fortune), and adjusting it to their own conviction that he is betrayed also by the conditions of his nature, they crated a complex and comprehensive view of the tragic to which the notion of universal contrariety contributed both as stimulus and validation.
The blood turns in my veins; I stand on change, And shall dissolve in changing: 'tis so full Of pleasure not to be contain'd in flesh: To fear a violent good, abuseth goodness, 'Tis immortality to die aspiring, As if a man were taken quick to heaven; What will not hold perfection, let it burst; What force hath any cannon, not being charg'd, Or being discharg'd?
KYD, or Kid, Thomas (1558-94), dramatist, born in London. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, London, whose headmaster was Mulcaster; he may have worked for a time as a scrivener. He wrote (now lost) plays for the Queen's Men c. 1583-5, and was in the service of an unknown lord 1587-93. He seems to have been associated with Marlowe, with whom he shared lodgings in 1591, and whose 'atheistical' writings led to Kyd's suffering a period of torture and imprisonment in 1593. His Spanish Tragedy (c. 1587) was published anonymously in 1592. The play proved exceptionally popular on the Elizabethan stage and passed through eleven printed editions by 1633. The only work published under his name was a translation of Robert Garnier's neo-Senecan Cornelia (1594), re-issued in 1595 as Pompey the Great, his faire Corneliaes Tragedie. The First part of Jeronimo (printed 1605) is probably a burlesque adaptation of a fore-piece to The Spanish Tragedy [but probably not the work of Kyd]. Other works Kyd is likely to have written are a lost pre-Shakespearean play on the subject of Hamlet, The Householders Philosophie (a prose translation from Tasso) and The Tragedye of Solyman and Perseda (printed 1592).
Spanish Tragedy,The, a tragedy mostly in blank verse by Kyd, written c. 1587, printed 11 times between 1592 and 1633.
The political background of the play is loosely related to the victory of Spain over Portugal in 1580. Lorenzo and Bel-imperia are the children of don Cyprian, duke of Castile (brother of the king of Spain); Hieronimo is marshal of Spain and Horatio his son. Balthazar, son of the viceroy of Portugal, has been captured in the war. He courts Bel-imperia, and Lorenzo and the king of Spain favour his suit for political reasons. Lorenzo and Balthazar discover that Bel-imperia loves Horatio; they surprise the couple by night in Hieronimo's garden and hang Horatio on a tree. Hieronimo discovers his son's body and runs mad with grief. He discovers the identity of the murderers, and carries out revenge by means of a play, Solyman and Perseda, in which Lorenzo and Balthazar are killed, and Bel-imperia stabs herself. Hieronimo bites out his tongue before killing himself. The whole action is watched over by Revenge and the Ghost of Andrea who was previously killed in battle by Balthazar.
The play was the prototype of the English revenge tragedy genre. It returned to the stage of decades and was seen by Pepys as late as 1668.
Jonson is known to have been paid for additions to the play, but the additional passages in the 1602 edition are probably not his. The play was one of Shakespeare's sources for Hamlet and the alternative title given to it in 1615, Hieronimo is Mad Againe, provided T. S. Eliot with the penultimate line of The Waste Land.
From Émile Legouis, A History of English Literature (The Middle Ages and the Renascence, 650-1660):
The Elizabethan drama, generally romantic, could be unromantic also. There was a section of its public whose preference was for modern and topical subjects, and there were playwrights to satisfy these tastes.
7. Thomas Kyd.—The majority, however, expected and desired romantic melodrama, and the first writer who supplied this demand was Thomas Kyd (1558-94) with his Spanish Tragedie. Nothing is known of Kyd save that he was the son of a London scrivener and studied law, and that Seneca's tragedies were his habitual reading. He bled Seneca white, and he translated Garnier's Cornélie wheich was modelled on Seneca.
So much can, at least, be deduced from a diatribe of Nashe's written in 1589. Seneca's influence on Kyd cannot be questioned, yet it did not cause his masterpiece to confine to the rules, as Thomas Hughes's Misfortunes of Arthur which was played at Gray's Inn at the same time, did conform, a play as tragic and grave as could be desired and full of sententious dialogue. What Kyd learnt from Seneca was how to produce terror—by the ghost of his prologue who relates past events, by atrocious circumstance, and by speeches heightened with striking lyrical expressions. He makes no attempt to simplify the construction of the popular drama, and he cares nothing for the unities. He takes from the Latin poet only what he thinks an English audience will assimilate, and leaves the loose, facile construction of the national drama intact. He owes to Seneca's Thyestes his theme of vengeance, one capable of producing the most pathetic and most fearful effects. He learns from him to envelop his whole work with an atmosphere of gloom, and adds the use of the most powerful stage expedients known to his own experience.
Young Horatio, son of the marshal Hieronimo and valiant as the Cid, is trecherously slain by Prince Balthazar and the perfidious Lorenzo at the very moment of exchanging love-vows with Bel-Imperia, daughter of the Duke of Castile. Bel-Imperia and Hieronimo swear to discover the murderers and avenge the deed. When the old father, who feigns madness in order to reach his ends and is indeed half-mad with grief, feels certain that he knows the murderers, he conceives the idea of having a play acted at the wedding of Bel-Imperia, who is obliged to marry her lover's murderer. This tragedy becomes a real one: every one at the wedding kills himself or is killed.
Another story of revenge is a frame for this one. Before the action of the play begins, Don Andrea, Bel-Imperia's first lover, has been treacherously slain in the war with Portugal. His ghost opens the play, calling for vengeance on Prince Balthazar, who has put him to death.
A synopsis can give, however, only a poor idea of the horrors of this melodrama and of the skill which made it triumph. The fearfulness of crime is intorduced into ardent, passionate scenes, making a contrast as violent as that between light and darkness. Horatio and Bel-Imperia are suddenly struck by love as he, the young warrior, is about to tell her of the death of Don Andrea, her betrothed. At once she gives him her heart. The lovers make a nocturnal assignation in the gardens of old Hieronimo, and there is a scene passionate as that between Hernani and Dona Sol, which is interrupted by the arrival of masked assassins who stab Horatio and hang his body in an arbour.
The sequel is even more horrible. Old Hieronimo, who has been awakened by Bel-Imperia's cries, comes through the shadows clad only in his shirt. He gropes his way, strumbles upon the corpse, and at this moment is joined by his wife, old Isabella. They mingle their tears and their vows for revenge. Hieronimo's final oath is in thirteen Latin hexameters and it must have sounded like and incantation and have been as terrifying as it was incomprehensible.
Old Hieronimo's madness, whether true or feigned, overtakes him in strange accesses. He goes to demand justice of the king, and before all the court plunges his poniard in the ground. Since he is a judge, citizens petition him for justice, among them an old man who desires that his son's murder may be avenged. The judge is thereupon beside himself, draws from his breast a napkin stained with Horatio's blood, tears the plaintiff's petitions to pieces, and finally rushes from the room, crying 'Run after, catch me, if you can'. Almost at once he returns and mistakes the old father for his Horatio. Persuaded from this error, he believes the old man is a Fury exciting him to avenge, then recognizes the old father's true identity and goes out with him, arm in arm. Certainly no one could be madder.
In the last scene, in which every one is killed, Hieronimo confesses to the king what he has done. When the king threatens him with extreme torture, he bites out his tongue in order not to speak again. Then he beckons for a knife with which to mend his pen, and therewith adds to the bloodshed by stabbing the father of one of his son's murderers and killing himself. Don Andrea's ghost, which appears several times over to demand revenge, may well declare itself well satisfied.
It was difficult to go much farther in melodrama. This one was so good that, in spite of all ironies and parodies, there was still a demand for it fifteen years after its first performance. Ben Jonson, the classicist, made additions to it, possibly those which have come down to us and which are certainly remarkable. They consist of new touches added to Hieronimo's madness and give the play the benefit of the improvement in dramatic psychology that had been made in the interval.
The play in its original form is emphatic, declamatory, and often ridiculous, yet such as to grip a simple public. The motives for action are not made clear; the characters are alive yet hardly have character. It is the element of the pathetic which veils all defects. Of all the parts in Renascence drama, that of Hieronimo was the most grateful to actors and the most popular with the public. Morover, the play supplies the poetry of place and scenery. It respects neither the unity of place nor that of time, yet preserves, on the whole, unity of action, and it also has unity of motive, for it all centres round revenge.
This excellent and most popular motive recurs in several of the great plays. The Spanish Tragedie foreshadows Hamlet. If the principal object of literary history were to determine starting-points, more space would be given to Kyd's play than to any of the great Shakespearian tragedies. Critics admit to-day that Kyd, whose other works is less interesting and is not certainly his, may have written an early and lost version of Hamlet. Such a play unquestionably existed in 1589, and it is likely that its author was the creator of old Hieronimo.
From McAlindon, English Renaissance Tragedy:
"When Kyd tied love and justice, marriage and law, into a firm thematic knot, and linked them to the universal principle of harmonious contariety, he showed his contemporaries and successors how to combine in a richly significant pattern the elements of romance and intrigue attractive to a popular audience with those matters of state traditionally thought proper to tragedy. As a result of his design, the interaction of socio-political and sexual disorder is a constant feature of Renaissance tragedy" (39).
In Kyd's play we have the original and archetypal model for an important episode in many Renaissance tragedies, the Treacherous Entertainment, the most characteristic scene of renaissance tragedy: "This scene may coincide with the major point of change near the centre of the action, but as a rule it forms the catastrophe. It may consist simply of a banquet or a game; more often it is a play or masque performed in conjunction with a marriage. But, whatever its position or form, it is always a ritual affirmation of love and union which turns out to be a monstrous negation of everything it affirms" (41). Confusion of opposites is its guiding principle. Set in contrast or analogy to other ritual scenes, "a basic constructional formula on which the dramatists are heavily dependent" (41): "rite gone wrong" pun is ubiquitious. Rite posited as as stable image of society, vs. play as the new and disturbing notion of the nature of life.
"VII. The Spanish Tragedy then, as Shakespeare perceived, is all of a piece, but complex and richly suggestive. In construction, characterisation, symbolism and style, it figures what happens to a peninsula (a binary geopolitical unit), to a nation, and to a noble individual when the untrustworthy 'second self' breaks free from the bond that controls 'difference'. One kind of difference (conflict) multiplies and prevails, the other (distinction, identity) is obliterated. A society publicly committed to love, peace, and celebration is secretly at war with itself, racked with private griefs and hatreds. Civility and cruelty, justice and barbarism, patience and revenge, reason and madness, ripeness and sterility, play and deadly earnest all become undistinguishable. Orphic man inflames the Furies and demons, domesticates Babel and finally destroys language altogether. The dramatic poet who is the tragic hero's alter ego recognised that a play which adequately presents this process must risk being 'hardly understood' by some and deemed 'a mere confusion' by others. Audaciously, he took the risk, leaving it to the judicious to ask, like Theseus confronted with the artisans' comical tragedy, and no doubt like the first courtly audience of A Midsummer Night's Dream, 'How shall we find the concord of this discord?' Neither in prologue nor in epilogue, however, does he help us to find what we are looking for; all his clues—'Ariadne's twines'—are in the artifact itself." (McAlindon80-81).
From McAlindon's English Renaissance Tragedy (38-39):
In Doctor Faustus, Marlowe shows all the sensitivity to the theological and symbolic implications of this legend that one would expect from a former student of divinity. Having denied God's love and grace, Faustus becomes enchanted with stellar gods and mythological fables and commits himself to a demon whose name, Lucifer, is that of a Babylonian tyrant in 'Jerome's Bible' (Isa.14:12; Doctor Faustus, I.i.38); he is easily persuaded that 'Marriage is but a ceremonial toy' (II.i.147), and finally seals his damnation by embracing the succubine Helen. But Marlowe's great achievement was to have seized on the legend's core of universal truth and tragic irony. What his play communicates with terrible force is that there can be no such thing as autonomy of action in the real world: every act either confirms an existing bond or creates a new one; it has binding consequences and is a deed in two senses of the world. Thus the tragic design of Doctor Faustus turns on the appalling peripeteia whereby the rejection of a bond whose grant of limited freedom (the freedom of the sons of God) has begun to seem intolerably constricting and servile leeds not to liberty and power but to a condition of claustrophobic and degrading servitude: the hero becomes the deed's creature, a prisoner of what he himself has willed.
This tragic law is operative in plays as diverse as Macbeth, Othello, The White Devil, and The Changeling, its presence signalled by the symbolism of the demonic pact or marriage, or by the Marlovian pun on 'deed' and 'will'. Even in the pagan context of King Lear its presence is keenly felt at the outset. The 'hideous rashness' (I.i.150) which thrusts Lear into 'the tyrannous night' (III.iv.147) involves a ritual abjuring of love, grace, and benison (I.i.265), a brutal attempt to prevent a marriage of true minds, and an act of fatal submission to the will of two women who seem to fetch their nature from 'the mysteries of Hecat and the night' (l. 109).
Nevertheless the paradigm of ordered and disordered relationships that deeply affects Renaissance tragedy as a whole is the cosmological and not the theological one. The bonds undone in Lear are not—or not primarily—those between men and gods. As in The Spanish Tragedy, they are familial, matrimonial, and national bonds, as well as the bonds of service and hospitality; and, as in Kyd's play, their universal model is the union of contrary elements in a just and fruitful relationship where individuality and mutuality are simultaneously acknowledged. here the sign of catastrophe is the sudden eruption of a fiery, primordial hatred which would consume its opposite or consign it to the void: 'No contraries hold more antipathy / Than I and such a knave'; 'as a stranger to my heart and me / Hold thee from this for ever' (II.ii.82-3; I.i.114-15). Here too the experience of Hell is the discovery that a human bond of incomparable value has been violently and irrevocably broken: 'Thou'lt come no more, / Never, never, never, never, never' (V.iii.306-7).
Hegel brooding on the edge of the abyss. En la penúltima sección de la Fenomenología del Espíritu, antes de su conclusión sobre el Saber Absoluto, Hegel efectúa una interesantísma desconstrucción de la teología cristiana. Podríamos decir que es una asimilación de la misma a su sistema idealista—si se quiere, una "idealización" de la misma, una manera de preservar el dogma, aufgehoben, a la vez que pasamos a más altos pensamientos. Una cosa de nadar y guardar la ropa, vamos, y de asentar las creencias tradicionales en cimientos filosóficos más sólidos, si el idealismo es sólido—justificándolas con una artillería conceptual que deja chiquita a la escolástica.
Pero a la vez es una desconstrucción—o, como dirían Bultmann y Ebeling 150 años después, una desmitologización. Me quedo con el lado crítico del análisis de Hegel—según el cual todo lo que el cristianismo sostiene como dogmas es una especie de fábula mitológica que viene a alegorizar la fenomenología del espíritu. Alegorizar, entiéndase bien, no en el sentido de dar una representación plástica o figurativa de algo que se conoce de modo conceptual; aquí la alegoría no es transparente a sí misma, y (tristemente quizá) se queda en una interpretación literal y simplista de lo que para Hegel es una compleja relación entre fases del espíritu puramente ideales, en ningún caso trasladables a episodios de la historia humana. Aquí hay un problema: si algún sentido tienen las fases de la fenomenología del espíritu, es interpretándolas como desarrollos históricos de una espiritualidad en complejidad creciente, y abundantes elementos de la Fenomenología señalan en esta dirección, y la convierten en una obra sobre la emergencia gradual de la complejidad. A su manera. El problema es que Hegel no va a admitir que las fases espirituales del cristianismo puedan proyectarse sobre la historia humana como un desarrollo histórico centrado en la venida de Cristo; sería desautorizar la complejidad de su análisis precedente y convertirlo en un absurdo. Por tanto tiene que declarar que toda la narración cristiana es una especie de fábula inconsciente, una expresión espontánea del espíritu que todavía no es totalmente transparente a sí mismo ni al significado de su autoconocimiento. Esto, claro, desautoriza totalmente la interpretación cristiana del cristianismo, para la cual sus verdades han de ser literales, no una bella narración alegórica. Aunque habría mucho que decir sobre esta cuestión, y cada cual interpreta el cristianismo a su manera, o las palabras literales del Papa, incluyendo seguramente al Papa. El cristianismo es una ficción colosal en más de un sentido, incluyendo sus versiones supuestamente más literales como es el catolicismo entre otras.
La crítica de Hegel es, por tanto, una desconstrucción, no al modo de Derrida o de los pensadores materialistas, sino por supuesto desde sus presupuestos idealistas—pero una desconstrucción en toda regla, en la que la literalidad del pensamiento religioso dogmático e ingenuo es sometida a una crítica intelectualmente devastadora. Tras semejante desmitologización, no es preciso otra más que sea menos radical, dentro de este paradigma idealista. No se puede a la vez tener honestidad intelectual, comprender la crítica de Hegel, y seguir sosteniendo que se es cristiano, lo que se venía entendiendo por ser cristiano. Aunque quizá Hegel fuese aquí el primer pecador, no sé.
Transcribo un pasaje sobre "La Religión Revelada" en su traducción inglesa, y el comentario de J. N. Findlay; la verdad es que quien lea la traducción española que tengo yo se va a enterar de muy poco. En este pasaje Hegel interpreta en clave fenomenológica la divinidad como espíritu o pensamiento puro, el Hijo como logos o encarnación, y el Espíritu Santo como comunidad o comunicación (algo que tiene una herencia teológica larga)—comunicación que es en primer lugar, para Hegel, autoconciencia. Ya el propio pensamiento puro no puede captarse más que como externalización de sí o metapensamiento. Es especialmente brillante la manera en que Hegel describe la alteridad en el seno mismo del pensamiento puro, si lo hemos de captar como una abstracción. La Trinidad queda así subsumida, por así decirlo, a su tríada de tesis, antítesis y síntesis. Y sigue adelante Hegel para explicar la Creación, el demonio, el mal, los ángeles, etc., como fases del pensamiento puro enfrentado a sí mismo, explicando cómo su traducción a mitos o lo que aquí llama "picture-thought" es una versión ingenua de su auténtico sentido espiritual. El español emplea el término "representación", que no acaba de quedar claro. Para Hegel, la historia del Hijo es un mito, una excursión del pensamiento a la alteridad del mundo, y la conciencia debe seguir su camino hacia el autoanálisis reflexivo, o el espíritu absolutamente transparente a sí mismo en su autoanálisis, llámesele espíritu santo o filosofía. Quedarse con la historia del Padre, el Hijo, y el Espíritu Santo en su sentido literal sería confundir la representación con el espíritu puro.... en suma, una forma de idolatría. Una posible lección a extraer, pues, del análisis de Hegel: Que toda religión es idolatría en cuanto se apega al sentido literal de sus representaciones.
Pongo en rojo, primero, mi traducción del comentario de Findlay, y a continuación en verde la traducción de Hegel que uso:
767. El espíritu es esencialmente un proceso que comienza con el pensamiento puro (lógica), pasa a la alteridad y a la representación figurativa (la Naturaleza) y vuelve de la Naturaleza para completar la autoconsciencia (el Espíritu propiamente dicho). Es también esencialmente la conexión sintética de estas tres fases. 767. Spirit is the content of its consciousness at first in the form of pure substance, or is the content of its pure consciousness. This element of Thought is the movement of descending into existence or into individuality. The middle term between these two is their synthetic connection, the consciousness of passing into otherness, or picture-thinking as such. The third movement is the return from picture-thinking and otherness, or the element of self-consciousness itself. These three moments constitute Spirit; its dissociation in picture-thinking consists in its existing in a specific or determinate mode; but this determinateness is nothing else than one of its moments. Its complete movement is therefore this, to diffuse its nature throughout each of its moments as in its native element; since each of these spheres completes itself within itself, this reflection of one sphere into itself is at the same time the transition into another. Picture-thinking consitutes the middle term between pure thought and self-consciousness as such, and is only one of the specific or determinate forms; at the same time, however, as we have seen, its character–that of being a synthetic connection—is diffused throughout all these elements and is their common determinateness.
768. En la conciencia desdichada y en la creyente, había una autonconciencia parcial del Espíritu. El Espíritu, sin embargo, se refería a sí mismo a una esfera más allá del sujeto consciente.
768. The content itself which we have to consider has partly been met with already as the idea of the 'unhappy' and the 'believing' consciousness; but in the former, it has the character of a content produced from consciousness for which Spirit yearns, and in which Spirit cannot be satiated or find rest, because it is not yet in itself its own content, or is not the Substance of it. In the 'believing' consciousness, on the other hand, the content was regarded as the self-less Being of the world, or as essentially an objective content of picture-thinking, of a picture-thinking that simply flees from reality and consequently is without the certainty of self-consciousness, which is separated from it partly by the conceit of knowing and partly by pure insight. The consciousness of the community, on the other hand, possesses the content for its substance, just as the content is the certainty of the community's own Spirit.
769. El Espíritu concebido en el elemento del pensamiento puro carece de sentido a menos que se haga además manifiesto en algo diferente que su puro ser, y vuelva a sí mismo a partir de dicha alteridad.
769. When Spirit is at first conceived of as substance in the element of pure thought, it is immediately simple and self-identical, eternal essence, which does not, however, have this abstract meaning of essence, but the meaning of absolute Spirit. Only Spirit is not a 'meaning', it is not what is inner, but what is actual. Therefore simple, eternal essence would be Spirit only as a form of empty words, if it went no further than the idea expressed in the phrase 'simple, eternal essence'. But simple essence, because it is an abstraction, is, in fact, the negative in its own self and, moreover, the negativity of thought, or negativity as it is in itself in essence: i.e. simple essence is absolute difference from itself, or its pure othering of itself. As essence it is only in itself or for us; but since this purity is just abstraction or negativity, it is for itself, or is the Self, the Notion. It is thus objective; and since picture-thinking interprets and expresses as a happening what has just been expressed as the necessity of the Notion, it is said that the eternal Being begets for itself and 'other'. But in this otherness it has at the same time immediately returned into itself; for the difference is the difference in itself, i.e. it is immediately distinguished only from itself and is thus the unity that has returned into itself.
770. Dios se manifiesta allí primero como la Esencia (el Padre), en segundo lugar como el Ser-para-sí para quien la esencia es (el Logos o Verbo que hizo el ámbito de la naturaleza), y en tercer lugar como el Ser-para-sí que se conoce a sí mismo en el otro (el Espíritu o principio de autoconsciencia).
770. There are thus three distinct moments: essence, being-for-self which is the otherness of essence and for which essence is, and being-for-self, or the knowledge of itself in the 'other'. Essence beholds only its own self in its being-for-self; in this externalization of itself it stays only with itself: the being-for-self that shuts itself out from essence is essence's knowledge of its own self. It is the word which, when uttered, leaves behind, externalized and emptied, him who uttered it, but which is as immediately heard, and only this hearing of its own self is the existence of the Word. Thus the distinctions made are immediately resolved as soon as they are made and are made as soon as they are resolved, and what is true and actual is precisely this immanent circular movement.
771. La religión figurativa convierte las relaciones necesarias entre momentos esenciales en el seno del absoluto, en relaciones externas generativas de paternidad y filiación.
771. This immanent movement proclaims the absolute Being as Spirit. Absolute Being that is not grasped as Spirit is merely the abstract void, just as Spirit that is not grasped as this movement is only an empty word. When its moments are grasped in their purity, they are the restless Notions which only are, in being themselves their own opposite, and in finding their rest in the whole. But the picture-thinking of the religious community is not this speculative thinking; it has the content, but without its necessity, and instead of the form of the Notion it brings into the realm of pure consciousness the natural relationships of father and son. Since this consciousness, even in its thinking, remains at the level of picture-thinking, absolute Being is indeed revealed to it, but the moments of this Being, on account of this [empirically] synthetic presentation, partly themselves fall asunder so that they are not related to one another through their own Notion, and partly this consciousness retreats from this its pure object, relating itself to it only in an external manner. The object is revealed to it only in an external manner. The object is revealied to it by something alien, and it does not recognize itself in this thought of Spirit, does not recognize the nature of pure self-consciousness. In so far as the form of picture-thinking and of those relationships derived from Nature must be transcended, and especially also the standpoint which takes the moments of the movement which Spirit is, as isolated immovable Substances or Subjects, instead of transient moments—the transcending of this standpoint is to be regarded as a compulsion on the part of the Notion, as we pointed out earlier in connection with another aspect. But since this compulstion is instinctive, self-consciousness misunderstands its own nature, rejects the content as well as the form and, what amounts to the same thing, degrades the content into a historical pictorial idea and to a heirloom handed down by tradition. In this way, it is only the purely external element in belief that is retained and as something therefore that is dead and cannot be known; but the inner element in faith has vanished, because this would be the Notion that knows itself as a Notion.
772. La relación de los momentos del Absoluto en el puro pensamiento de lo Absolugo es una relación de puro amor en el cual los lados que distinguimos no están realmente diferenciados. Pero es propio de la esencia del espíritu no ser una mera cosa del espíritu, sino ser concreto y en acto.
772. Absolute Spirit as pictured in pure essence is not indeed abstract pure essence; for abstract essence has sunk to the level of being merely an element, just because it is only a moment in [the life of] Spirit. But the representation of Spirit in this element is charged with the same defect of form which essence as such has. Essence is an abstraction and is therefore the negation of its simple, unitary nature, is an 'other'; similarly, Spirit in the element of essence is the form of simple oneness, which therefore is essentially an othering of itself. O, what is the same thing, the relation of the eternal Being to its being-for-self is the immediately simple one of pure thought. In this simple beholding of itself in the 'other', the otherness is therefore not posited as such; it is the difference which, in pure thought, is immediately no difference ; a loving recognition in which the two sides, as regards their essence, do not stand in an antithetical relation to each other. Spirit that is expresssed in the element of pure thought is itself esentially this, to be not merely in this element, but to be actual Spirit, for in its Notion lies otherness itself, i.e. the suppression of the pure Notion that is only thought.
773. Puesto que el elemento de pensamiento puro es abstracto, necesariamente ha de pasar al ámbito del pensamiento figurativo intuitivo, es decir, al ámbito de la Naturaleza. Allí se halla una pluralidad de cosas sustanciales y una pluralidad de sujetos pensantes.
773. The element of pure thought, because it is an abstract element, is itself rather the 'other' of its simple, unitary nature, and therefore passes over into the element proper to picture-thinking—the element in which the moments of the pure Notion obtain a substantial existence relatively to one another, and also are Subjects which do not possess for a third the indifference towards each other of [mere] being but, being reflected into themselves, spontaneously part asunder and also place themselves over against each other.
774. Este pasar al mundo del pensamiento figurativo intuitivo es lo que figurativamente se denomina "creación". La universalidad absoluta requiere volverse efectiva para ser lo que es, y este requisito lógico es lo que se representa engañosamente como una necesidad temporal.
774. Thus the merely eternal or abstract Spirit becomes an 'other' to itself, or enters into existence, and directly into immediate existence. Accordingly, it creates a world. This 'creating' is picture-thinking's word for the Notion itself in its absolute movement; or to express the fact that the simple which has been asserted as absolute, or pure thought, just because it is abstract, is rather the negative, and hence the self-opposed or 'other' of itself: or because, to put the same thing into another form, that which is posited as essence is simple immediacy or being, but qua immediacy or being lacks Self, and, therefore, lacking inwardness is passive, or a being-for-another. This being-for-another is at the same time a world; Spirit, in the determination of being-for-another, is the inert subsistence of the moments formerly enclosed within pure thought, is therefore the dissolution of these simple universality and the parting asunder of them into their own particularity.
775. El Espíritu no sólo se hace efectivo en los objetos sino también en los sujetos. Al principio éstos n oson conscientes de sí mismos como espirituales, y por tanto son inocentes más bien que buenos. Su primera autoconsciencia es capaz tanto del mal como del bien. Esta autoconsciencia inicial se representa figurativamente como una "Caída" histórica.
775. But the world is not merely this Spirit cast out and dispersed into the fulness [of natural existence] and its external ordering; for since Spirit is essentially the simple Self, the Self is equally present in the world: it is the existent Spirit, which is the individual Self which has consciousness and distinguishes itself as an 'other', or as world, from itself. (Obsérvese la audacia intelectual de esta noción de Hegel que roza el solipsismo—el mundo como parte de la actividad espiritual, sujeto proyectado fuera de sí para diferenciarlo de un yo que es también una construcción por tanto). This individual Self as at first thus immediately posited, is not yet Spirit for itself: it does not exist as Spirit; it can be called 'innocent' but hardly 'good'. (Esta es la fase edénica del Espíritu, o adánica). Before it can in fact be Self and Spirit it must first become an 'other' to its own self, just as the eternal Being exhibits itself as the movement of being self-identical in its otherness. Since this Spirit is determined as at first an immediate existence, or as dispersed into the multifariousness of its consciousness, its othering of itself is the withdrawal into itself, or self-centredness, of knowing as such. Immediate existence suddenly turns into thought, or mere sense-consciousness into consciousness of thought; and, moreover, because the thought stems from immediacy or is conditioned thought, it is not pure knowledge, but thought that is charged with otherness and is, therefore, the self-opposed thought of Good and Evil.(El Pecado Original, o el origen del mal en la rebelión de Satán, mitos creados para simbolizar esta negatividad contenida en el propio pensamiento). Man is pictorially though of in this way: that it once happened, withoug any necessity, that he lost the form of being at one with himself thoufh plucking the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, and was expelled from the state of innocence, from Nature which yielded its fruits without toil, and from Paradise, from the garden with its creatures.
776. El mal es la primera expresión efectiva de la autoconsciencia escindida, pero es la que la autoconsciencia, al hacerse más profunda, ha de repudiar cada vez más. Figurativamente, por tanto, se remite a una fecha infinitamente remota, a la caída del cielo de Lucifer, hijo de la mañana. Las huestes celestiales entran en la escena como una pluralización valiosa del ser-para-sí del Verbo. Si las añadimos a la Trinidad, tenemos una cuaterna, y si añadimos los ángeles caídos tenemos un quinteto. El contar en teología es, no obstante, una mala práctica. (Obsérvese que Hegel incorpora el Mal a lo Absoluto).
776. Since this withdrawal into itself or self-centredness of the existent consciousness immediately makes it self-discordant, Evil appears as the primary existence of the inwardly-turned consciousness; and because the thoughts of Good and Evil are utterly opposed and this antithesis is not yet resolved, this consciousness is essentially only evil. But at the same time, on account of just this antithesis, there is also present the good consciousness opposing it, and their relation to each other. In ofar as immediate existence suddenly changes into Thought, and the being-within-self is on the one hand itself a thinking, while on the other hand the moment of the othering of essence is more precisely determined by it—[because of this double aspect] the becoming of Evil can be shifted further back out of the existent world even into the primary realm of Thought. It can therefore be said that it is the very first-born Son of Light [Lucifer] himself who fell because he withdrew into himself or became self-centred, but that in his place another one was at once created. Such a form of expression as 'fallen' which, like the expression 'Son', belongs, moreover to picture-thinking and not to the Notion, degrades the moments of the Notion to the level of picture-thinking or carries picture-thinking over into the realm of thought. Likewise it makes no difference if we co-ordinate a multiplicity of other shapes with the simple thought of otherness in the eternal Being and transfer the self-centredness into them. In fact, this co-ordination must be approved, since by means of it this moment of otherness also expresses diversity, as it should, and, moreover, not as plurality in general, but also as a specific diversity, so that one part, the Son, is that which is simple and knows itself to be essential Being, while the other part is the alienation, the externalization of being-for-self which lives only to praise that Being; to this part, then, can be assigned the taking back again of the externalized being-for-self and the withdrawal into self of the evil principle. In so far as the otherness falls into two parts, Spirit might, as regards its moments—if these are to be counted—be more exactly expressed as a quaternity in unity or, because the quantity itself again falls into two parts, viz. one part which has remained good and the other which has become evil, might even be expressed as a five-in-one. But to count the moments can be reckoned as altogether useless, since in the first place what is differentiated is itself just as much only one thing—viz. the thought of the difference which is only one thought—as it [the differentiated] is this differentiated element, the second relatively to the first. And, secondly, it is useless to count because the thought which grasps the Many in a One must be dissolved out of its universality and differentiated into more than three or four distinct components; and this universality appears, in contrast to the absolute determinateness of the abstract unit, the principle of number, as indeterminateness with respect to number as such, so that we could speak only of numbers in general, i.e. not of a specific number of differences. Here, therefore, it is quite superfluous to think of numbers and counting at all, just as in other respects the mere difference of quantity and amount has no notional significance and makes no difference.
777-778. El pensamiento religioso figurativo tiende a eliminar el mal de Dios excepto en la medida en que, con gran dificultad, atribuye a Dios un lado iracundo. La actividad de Dios no puede ser otra cosa que el acto de unir el mundo escindido con su esencia simple, al ser cada uno de estos aspectos unilateral sin el otro.
777. Good and Evil were the specific differnces yielded by the thought of Spirit as immediately existent. Since their antithesis has not yet been resolved and they are conceived of as the essence of thought, each of them having an independent existence of its own, man is a self lacking any essential being and is the synthetic ground of their existence and their conflict. But these universal powers just as much belong to the self, or the self is their actuality. In accordance with this moment, it therefore comes to pass that, just as Evil is nothing other than the self-centredness of the natural existence of Spirit, so, conversely, Good enters into actuality and appears as an existent self-consciousness. That which in the pure thought of Spirit is in general merely hinted at as the othering of the divine Being, here comes nearer to tis realization for picture-thinking: this realization consists for picture-thinking in the self-abasement of the divine Being who renounces his abstract and non-actual nature. (La Encarnación, Jesucristo, entre el Verbo neoplatónico y el mito evangélico).Picture-thinking takes the other aspect, evil, to be a happening alien to the divine Being; to grasp it in the divine Being itself as the wrath of God, this demands from picture-thinking, struggling against its limitations, its supreme and most strenuous effort, an effort which, since it lacks the notion, remains fruitless (—Y de ahí el confuso pensamiento de las diversas teodiceas).
778. The alienation of the divine Being is thus made explicit in its twofold form: the Self of Spirit and its simple thought are the two moments whose absolute unity is Spirit itself. Its alientation consists in the moments going apart from one another and in one of them having an unequal value compared with the other. This disparity is therefore twofold, and two relationships arise whose common moments are those just given. In one of them, the divine Being counts as essence, while natural existence and the Self count as the unessential aspect which is superseded. In the other, on the contrary, being-for-self counts as the essential and the simple, divine Being as unessential. Their still empty middle term is existence in general, the bare community of their two moments.
Inventory of Properties Belonging to the Admiral's Company
(From Henslowe's papers. I have added the line division to turn the catalogue into a postmodernist poem, on the tiring-house of history and the props of human experience long after the audience has left).
One rock, one cage, one tomb, one Hell mouth. One tomb of Guido, one tomb of Dido, one bedstead. Eight lances, one pair of stairs for Phaeton. Two steeples, and one chime of bells, and one beacon. One heifer for the play of Phaeton, the limbs dead. One globe, and one golden sceptre; three clubs. Two marzipans, and the City of Rome. One golden fleece, two rackets, one bay tree. One wooden hatchet, one leather hatchet. One wooden canopy; old Mahomet’s head. One lion skin; one bear’s skin, and Phaeton’s Limbs and Phaeton’s chariot; and Argus’ head. Neptune’s fork and garland. One ‘croser’s’ staff; Kent’s wooden leg. Iris head, and rainbow; one little altar. Eight vizards; Tamberlain’s bridle; one wooden mattock. Cupid’s bow, and quiver; the cloth of the Sun and Moon. One boar’s head and Cerberus’ three heads. One Caduceus; two moss banks, And one snake. Two fans of feather; Bellendon stable; One tree of golden apples; Tantalus’ tree, nine iron targets. One copper target, and seventeen foils. Four wooden targets; one greeve armour. One sign for Mother Redcap; one buckler. Mercury’s wings; Tasso’s picture; one helmet With a dragon, one shield, with three lions, One elm bow. One chain of dragons; one gilt spear. Two coffins; one bull’s head; and one vulture. Three timbrels; one dragon in Faustus. One lion; two lion’s heads; One great horse with his legs; One sackbut. One wheel and frame In the Siege of London. One pair of wrought gloves. One Pope’s mitre. Three imperial crowns; one plain crown. One ghost’s crown; one crown with a sun. One frame for the beheading in Black Joan.
Say, tyrant Custom, why must we obey The impositions of thy haughty sway? From the first dawn of life unto the grave, Poor womankind's in every state a slave, The nurse, the mistress, parent and the swain, For love she must, there's none escape that pain. Then comes the last, the fatal slavery: The husband with insulting tyranny Can have ill manners justified by law, For men all join to keep the wife in awe. Moses, who first our freedom did rebuke, Was married when he writ the Pentateuch. They're wise to keep us slaves, for well they know, If we were loose, we should soon make them so. We yield like vanquished kings whom fetters bind, When chance of war is to usurpers kind; Submit in form; but they'd our thoughts control, And lay restraints on the impassive soul. They fear we should excel their sluggish parts, Should we attempt the sciences and arts; Pretend they were designed for them alone, So keep us fools to raise their own renown. Thus priests of old, their grandeur to maintain, Cried vulgar eyes would sacred laws profane; So kept the mysteries behind a screen: Their homage and the name were lost had they been seen. But in this blessèd age such freedom's given, That every man explains the will of heaven; And shall we women now sit tamely by, Make no excursions in philosophy, Or grace our thoughts in tuneful poetry? We will our rights in learning's world maintain; Wit's empire now shall know a female reign. Come, all ye fair, the great attempt improve, Divinely imitate the realms above: There's ten celestial females govern wit, And but two gods that dare pretend to it. And shall these finite males reverse their rules? No, we'll be wits, and then men must be fools.
Traduzco a continuación el poema de Sarah Egerton "The Emulation". Creo que se refiere a emular a Eva mordiendo el fruto del árbol de la ciencia, idea expresada un tanto indirectamente por sus connotaciones satánicas. Consuela pensar que en 1703 hubiese al menos una persona capaz de escribir estas cosas sobre la opresión de las mujeres, aunque tenga un bajo concepto de los hombres (seguro que era por algo...). Siguen algunos datos sobre la autora, procedentes de Eighteenth-Century Women Poets (ed. Roger Lonsdale, Oxford, 1989).
Dime, Hábito tirano, ¿por qué hemos de obedecer tu gobierno altanero y todas tus imposiciones? Desde el alba de la vida hasta la tumba, es siempre una esclava la pobre mujer: de la niñera, de la institutriz, de los padres y del galán, --pues se ha de enamorar, de ese mal ni una se libra. Y luego viene la esclavitud última, la fatal: el marido, con su insultante tiranía, puede usar de malos modos, apoyado por la ley, pues los hombres se conjuran para intimidar a las esposas. Moisés, el primero en reprender nuestra libertad, casado estaba cuando escribió el Pentateuco. Prudentemente nos tienen de esclavas, sabiendo que si nos soltásemos haríamos lo propio con ellos. Nos rendimos como los reyes vencidos, presos, cuando el azar de la guerra sonríe al usurpador --de palabra únicamente; sin embargo en su ambición querrían ellos controlar incluso los pensamientos, y ponerle restricciones a un alma ya anestesiada. Temen que sobrepasemos a sus torpes dotaciones, si osásemos dedicarnos a las ciencias y a las artes; arguyendo que se hicieron éstas sólo para ellos, nos mantienen así necias para su enaltecimiento. También antaño los sacerdotes clamaban, por mantener privilegios, que ojos vulgares profanarían la ley divina, y guardaban los misterios ocultos tras la cortina. Pues misterios y respeto se habrían perdido, de verse. Pero en esta era bendita tanta libertad tenemos que no hay hombre que no explique lo que es la voluntad del cielo. ¿Y habremos de quedarnos las mujeres ahí sentadas mansamente, sin hacer incursiones en la filosofía, ni adornado veremos nuestro pensamiento con musical poesía? Afirmaremos nuestros derechos en el mundo del saber; ha de ver el país de la invención un reinado femenino. emulando el gran asalto, vamos, hermosas, ahora hemos de superarlo; imitad divinamente al reino de las alturas: hay diez musas celestiales que gobiernan la invención, y sólo dos dioses hombres que se atreven a intentarlo, ¿Y les pondrán reglas a ellas aquí estos machos finitos? No; a nosotras el ingenio, y que sean los tontos ellos. _____
Sarah Egerton (née Fyge, later Field) (1670-1723)
Born in London, she was one of the six daughters of Thomas Fyge (d. 1706), a physician descended from a land-owning family at Winslow, Buckinghamshire, and his wife Mary Beacham (d. 1704). In 1686 she published The Female Advocate (revised edition, 1687), a reply to Robert Gould's Love Given O're: Or, A Satyr Against the Pride, Lust and Inconstancy, &c. of Woman (1682). For this teenage indiscretion her father forced her to leave London and live with relatives in the country, as she complains in some of her early autobiographical poems. She eventually married an attorney, Edward Field, who had died before 1700. She may have known John Dryden, on whose death in 1700 she published an ode in Luctus Britannici and, as 'Mrs. S.F.', contributed to The Nine Muses (1700), a collection of verse by women on the late poet, edited by Mrs. Manley. By 1703, the dedication to the Earl of Halifax of her Poems on Several Occasions. Together with a Pastoral was signed 'S.F.E.' indicating that she had remarried (The book was reissued as A Collection of Poems on Several Occasions ... by Mrs. Sarah Fyge Egerton (1706), The Female Advocate being reprinted in the same year, but with the date 1707.)
Her second husband was the Revd Thomas Egerton, a second cousin, who had been Rector of Adstock, Buckinghamshire, since 1671. A wealthy widower with adult children, he was some twenty years older than she. Before and after this marriage she was apparently in love with Henry Pierce, an attorney's clerk and a friend of her first husband ('Alexis' in her poems). Evidence has recently come to light that as early as 1703 the Egertons were involved in an acrimonious divorce suit, she accusing him of cruelty, he accusing her of desertion, but the divorce seems not to have been granted. She had been friendly, but later quarrelled, with Delariviere Manley, who gave a remarkable and no doubt heightened account of the Egerton marriage in her Secret Memoirs ... from the New Atlantis (1709). Manley's limited sympathy is reserved for her husband, 'an old thin raw-bon'd Priest', who is persecuted by his hysterical and violent wife ('a She-Devil incarnate'). Such is his punishment for marrying a younger wife, 'when I had Children grown up to keep my House, and administer comfortably to my Necessities'. With a good estate and income, he could keep a coach and four servants for her, but her violence had driven away his children, and 'Then she's in love with all the handsome Fellows she sees; but her Face, I believe, protects her Chastity ... [it] is made in part like a Black-a-more, flat-nos'd, blubber-lipp'd, there is no sign of life in her Complexion, it savours all of Mortality; she looks as if she had been buried a Twelve-month'. As for her incomprehensible verse, 'Deliver me from a poetical wife.... She rumbles in Verses of Atomes, Artic and Antartic, of Gods, and of strange things, foreign to all fashionable Understanding'. In her Memoirs of Europe (1710), the relentless Manley referred to her again as the 'shockingly ugly' woman who had presented the literary patron Julius Sergius (the Earl of Halifax) with 'the Labours of her Brain'. The unhappy marriage was evidently notorious: it was ridiculed again, together with her poetic ambitions, in The Butter'd Apple-Pye (1711), a broadsheet verse satire.
She had no children and died in February 1723 (her husband having died in 1720). She left £1 a year to the poor of Winslow, which failed to reach them because of the 'abuse' of her executor, a local mercer. In the course of some correspondence about her identity in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1780-1, one 'M.J.' claimed to own some 120 of her letters, but these have not come to light.
Algunos artículos míos de los publicados en el SSRN se quedan en mi sección, pero otros son seleccionados antes o después para aparecer en alguna de las secciones temáticas o revistas electrónicas especializadas publicadas por el repositorio.
Por ejemplo acaba de aparecer mi artículo sobre "La Filología y la Lingüística Inglesas en el marco de los estudios universitarios en Zaragoza" en el SSRN Philosophy of Language eJournal:
Y otro artículo mío reciente, self-published hasta ahora, acaba de aparecer en otra revista temática, en dos incluso, una sobre lingüística cognitiva y otra sobre filosofía de la mente. Y va de teatro, de teatro mental:
"Somos teatreros: El sujeto, la interacción dialéctica y la estrategia de la representación según Goffman (We Playact: The Subject, Dialectic Interaction and the Strategy of Representation according to Goffman).
("The Theatre from 1520 to 1578", from Legouis and Cazamian's History of English Literature, 1926-1937)
I. Humanism in the theatre.
English dramatic writing produced no masterpiece in this period, yet felt its way along the most various paths, and acquired an experience without which the Elizabethan drama would have been impossible. It partook both of the past which had survived, and of the future for which it was preparing. The miracle plays were performed almost till the end, although, since the Protestants looked askance at them, they gradually lost ground, and the cycles of the different towns disappeared, one after another, as the Reformation advanced. In any case, these plays did no more than prolong their existence. They no longer changed: they merely persisted in the form which they had assumed in the fifteenth century. The interesting point is that they still had a large public, and that dramatic innovations did not supplant them, but were introduced side by side with them. Moralities, on the other hand, did not only continue to be much appreciated, but were also modified and renewed in accordance with circumstances. Those produced until about 1520 were Christian and no more. They may be said to have had neither place nor date. But the moralities came to be impregnated with the spirit of the Renascence or the Reformation. Two distinct groups of them appeared, which voiced respectively humanist and Protestant tendencies.
Tedious though was the morality Magnificence, written by John Skelton about 1516, it yet showed a new standpoint. It did not merely, like its predecessors, represent the struggle between Heaven and Hell. Skelton, who seems to have aimed at warning Henry VIII against mad extravagance, does not deal wih the great problem of Christianity, but enforces a particular moral lesson. His hero, Magnificence, is brought to ruin by a succession of bad counsellors, and would kill himself were he not saved by the intervention of Good Hope, Circumspection, Perseverance, and others. This is the first specimen of a laicized morality.
In its two successors the spirit of the Renascence is much more clearly marked. They are inspired neither by the usual moral lesson nor by religious faith, but by the love of knowledge. Manifestly they were born in academic circles in which knowledge is the ideal goal and in which the devil is named Ignorance.
The morality of The Four Elements, which was printed in 1519, and of which fragments are extant, is very curious. It is contemporary with More's Utopia. Like More, the author is under the influence of the tales of Amerigo Vespucci. He teaches geography, cosmography, almost all the sciences known to his time. The Messenger, who speaks the prologue, discourses gravely on science and deplores the lack of learned books in England and English. Only frivolous books, he says, are written in English, and only the rich man is esteeemed wise in England. Yet true wisdom is in knowledge, in knowledge of God who can be known only by His works, and therefore in the study of nature. The play leaves theology on one side. The subject is the instruction of the child Humanity, son of 'Natura Naturata'. He is entrusted to Studious Desire, but his progress is interrupted by the temptations of Sensual Appetite, who takes him to the tavern. The child has interpreted ill the works of Nature, who bade him use his senses. Only at the end of the play does he again show a taste for knowledge.
Sensual Appetite here plays the part of clown, as does his friend Ignorance, who detests philosophers and astronomers and boasts of his own power, saying that he is mightier than the king of England or France, that he is the greatest lord alive, and has more than five hundred thousand servants in England. He addresses the audience directly:
For all that they be now in this hall, They be the most part my servants all, And love principally Disports, as dancing, singing, Toys, trifling, laughing, jesting; For cunning they set not by.
A geography lesson produces a burst of patriotism. Studious Desire instructs Humanity that the earth is round; Experience diplays a globe, enumerates the countries she has visited, dwelling on America, and deplores that Spaniards, Portuguese, and Frenchmen have gone farther than Englishmen:
O, what a thing had be then, If that they that be Englishmen Might have been the first of all That there should have taken possession.
She would have wished all these countries to have been civilized and converted to religion by the English.
A like ardour to instruct fills John Redford's pedagogic morality, The Play of Wyt and Science, which dates from the end of the reign of Henry VIII. Reason, after the manner of a highborn father, wishes to marry his daughter Science to Human Wit, the son of Nature. It matters not that Wit is neither well born nor rich:
Wherefore, syns they both be so meet matches To love each other, strawe for the patches Of worldly mucke! syence hath inowghe For them both to lyve.
But Wit for long lacks wisdom. In his youthful eagerness to know he imprudently attacks Tediousness and is saved only just in time by Honest Recreation. She, unfortunately, does not satisfy him and he leaves her and falls asleep in the lap of Idleness. Without knowing it he has become a fiool, when, at last, he reaches the presence of Science, who repels him for an ignorant suitor. But in a mirror he sees himself as he is and is disgusted. After a term of chastisement and hard labour, he again attacks Tediousness, this time with a good sword, and slays him. Science, who has witnessed the encounter from the summit of Mount Parnassus, now accepts her destined spouse, first warning him:
But if ye use me not well, then dowt me, For, sure, ye were better then wythout me!
This is an ingenious and well-arranged morality, which is pervaded by strong rationalist conviction. It resumes the spirit of the Renascence well, and bears witness to the appetite for knowledge which caused schools and colleges to be born in the land. The comic element is supplied by an episode in which Ignorance is heard blundering thorugh a lesson in the alphabet given him by his mother, Idleness The mistress, who represents the old somnolent methods of teaching, is no less ridiculous than her idiot pupil.
2. The Reformation on the Stage. Lyndsay. John Bale.
Very early, the Reformation attempted to take possession of the morality and use it for its own ends. Passion, inevitably unjust and sometimes brutal, gave life to more than one Protestant morality play. They appeared in the north and in the south. The first in date was written by the Scot Sir David Lyndsay, whose reforming zeal we have already seen.
His Satire of the Thrie Estaitis was played in 1540 at Linlithgow before the King of Scotland, the bishops, and the people. It is as political as it is religious. The three estates are the nobles, the clergy, and the merchants, and all three are pilloried together, censured for giving too much ear to Sensuality, Wantonness, and Deceit. The grieevances which John the Common Weal, the man of the people, has against them are just enough, and it is pleasant to see him obtain the needed reforms with the help of Good Counsel and Correction.
Lyndsay's special attack is against the Church. Dame Veritie, who desires access to the king, finds her way barred by the lords spiritual, scared at her advent. An abbot wishes to cast her into prison, and a parson recommends that she be put to death, under cover of the king's momentary subjection to Dame Sensuality. The same priest summons Veritie to declare by what right she is addicted to preaching. He threatens her with the stake, and when she refuses to retract, Flattery, a monk, exclaims:
Quat buik is that, harlot, into thy hand? Out, walloway! This is the New Test'ment, In Englisch toung and printit in England: herisie, herisie! fire, fire! incontinent.
In a comic interlude the social satire is dominant. Pauper recounts his misadventures. He used to keep his old father and mother by his labour and owned a mare and three cows. When his partents died the landlord took the mare as a heriot; the vicar seized the best cow at his father's, and the second best at his mother's, death. The third cow went the same way when his wife died of grief, when also the vicar's clerk bore off the uppermost clothes of the family. There is nothing left for Pauper to do but to beg. The parish priest has refused him Easter communion because he no longer pays tithes. He has only one farthing in his pocket with which to plead for justice. A Pardoner arrives, boasting of his relics and insulting the New Testament, which sells to the injury of his trade. With his last farthing Pauper buys a thousand years' indulgence, but when he asks to see his purchase a fight ensues and the relics fall into the gutter.
These passages give an idea of the violence of the attack and of the life it imparted to the morality.
The Protestants of England were no less ferocious. Their most famous dramatic champion was Bishop John Bale (1495-1563), who even attempted to turn the fixed and traditional miracle plays to Protestant uses. Under the name of tragedies, comedies, and interludes, he wrote scenes in harmony with the reformed faith, taking them from sacred history and principally from the life of Christ. But he gave the chief of his efforts to morality plays, combined with history which was sometimes contermporary, as in his Proditiones Papistarum and Super utroque Regis Coniugio. The most interesting of his dramatic essays is, however, his allegory King Johan, in which he recasts history to his liking. He makes of the deplorable John a great king, hated and calumniated by the clergy. For John had been bold enough to rebel against Rome, and all his faults, crimes, and cowardice are therefore wiped out. He is represented as a man misunderstood, a noble victim, the first Protestant. This play merits a particular place in the history of the theatre. It is the half-open chrysalis, the morality play whence the historical drama is about to emerge. Real and allegorical characters are mingled in it. John is betrayed by Dissimulation and threatened by Sedition. Moreover, abstractions are changed in the course of the play into living beings. Sedition, for instance, becomes Cardinal Stephen Langton, Usurped Power the Pope. This is a travesty of history and yet history, and, through the medium of another and Elizabethan work on the same reign, it was to leave its mark on Shakespeare's King John.
3. Heywood's Interludes. 'Calisto and Meliboea'
John Heywood's (1497?-1580) interludes or farces, written under Henry VIII, cannot be called Catholic answers to Protestant attacks since they preceded the offensive of the Reformers. Two of them were printed as early as 1533. Heywood, a good Catholic and the friend of Thomas More, wrote in the medieval tradition, in the spirit of the fabliaux which certainly did not spare churchmen. He was original in avoiding morality plays and in having no purpose but to amuse. he has no notion of ecclesiastical or theological controversy. His interludes are mere comic dialogues, scenes from fabliaux sometimes modelled on the French. But he is of his own nation almost the only representative of this school of dramatic writing. The four interludes which he certainly wroter are controversies in burlesque. In Witty and Witless, James and John discuss whether it is better to be a fool or a wise man; they are echoing the Dyalogue du fol et du sage performed at the court of Louis XII. In Love, an unloved lover and his unloving mistress seek, each of them, to prove himself the more miserable, while another couple, a lover beloved and a man who is neither loved nor a lover, dispute the right to be called the happier. In The Play of the Weather, ten characters demand of Jupiter that he sends them weather suited to their needs or desires, and the god finally decides that each of them shall be satisfied in turn. In The Four P's, four characters, a Palmer, a Pardoner, a Potycary, and a Pedlar, discuss which of them shall tell the biggest lie. The pilgrim declares that in all his travels he has never seen a woman lose patience, and the others themselves allow that he has won the prize.
These plays are, it is seen, without plot, but Heywood puts life into his characters and expresses himself with a drollery which recalls Chaucer. There is a grotesque description of hell equal to the Sompnour's in the prologue to his Tale. Good humour reigns everywhere. Yet these writings are hardly dramas. If, as is probable, Heywood also wrote The Pardoner and the Friar and Johan Johan, the story of a husband deceived by his wife, Tyb, and Sir Johan, the parish priest, he came much nearer to farce in them. Their characters and incidents conform excellently to the old comic tradition, and their dramatization could not be more vigorous. In these two pieces Heywood was inspired by French originals, Farce nouvelle d'un pardonneur, d'un triacleur et d'une tavernière and Farce de Pernet qui va au vin. Although he wrote under Henry VIII he never even suggests the Renascence.
Not, that is, unless the comic monologue Thersites, played about 1537, may be ascribed to him on the evidence of style. Its subject and its allusions are loaded with classical reminiscences. The play is a free adaptation from the Latin of Ravisius Textor, or Jean Tixier de Ravisé, professor of rhetoric in Navarre College in Paris. Antiquity supplied the material for this farce, which had many analogies with the Franc Archer de Bagnolet, and which brougth the braggart on to the English stage for the first time.
Another novelty isolated in the reign of Henry VIII was the adaptation of the famous Spanish play Celestina which was printed in 1530 as Calisto and Meliboea. The English playwright has kept only the first four of the sixteen acts of his original. He has changed the long crowded drama with its tragic conclusion to a romantic comedy having a moral and cheerful ending. The character of the procuress Celestina, the descendant of Dame Siriz and the prototype of Macette, is indeed the same in the English as in the original version, but before she throws Meliboea into the arms of Calisto, the girl's father intervenes to save her on the brink of the abyss. Thus the didactic instinct cuts short a romantic drama.
4. Progress of the theatre after 1550.
There was no further change in the first half of the century, but from 1550 onwards innovations came thick and fast.
It is about the middle of the century that the formation of troops of professional players, in addition to the amateurs who performed in the miracle plays, can be clearly traced. In more than one school and more than one college of the universities there were performances especially of classical pieces, but usually they were written by the masters and acted by the pupils. But the people of the provinces as well as those of the capital wished to be amused, and they were no longer satisfied with the miracle plays and moralities. Interludes, otherwise farces, were in great demand and were provided by professional actors. These were at first poor wretches, always under suspicion, who were harried by the authorities as rogues and vagabonds. Before they could be left in piece they had to obtain the patronage of a magnate, a baron at the least. There was no lack of such willing protectors who appreciated their services. The first company to obtain letters patent was Leicester's, in 1574, but it was not the first to stroll about the country. In London the players were at the mercy of the civic authorities, who made thir life hard, less perhaps from Puritan prejudice, than because the highly popular darmatic performances constantly gave occasion for disorder, and by attracting a great concourse of spectators might spread the plague, during these years in which it was endemic.
Against the persecuting lord mayor the actors invoked the help of the queen and the magnates. Their chief plea was that they contributed to the queen's pleasure and had need of practice in order to be worthy to play before her. The Privy Council supported them against the City. They first played in London in the courtyards of certain inns. Then, to escape constant annoyance and prohibitions, some of them built, in 1576, their first theatre, outside the city but on its confines, on waste land in Shoreditch.
London meanwhile enjoyed more select peformances. The Inns of Court were a home for the drama of classical tendencies, and a connecting link between the stage of the uniersities and that of the popular theatres.
That the queen might be ensured a supply of worthy actors, the choristers or children of the Chapel Royal were trained to perform plays, both those specially written for them by the master of the Chapel Royal, and others. These bos, both singers and actors, performed for the public as well as for the court, and were for some fifty years the dreaded competitors of adult and professional actors. Their example was followed by other London schools—St. Paul's, Westminster, and Merchant Taylors'—where the most gifted pupils were trained to act and were proud to contribute to the royal diversions. Nothing, nor Puritan disapproval nor civic alarms, could stem the growing passion for the theatre which was felt by the whole nation—nobles, burghers, and people.
(a) THE CLASSICAL INFLUENCE. COMEDY. — The first English comedy of the classical school was Ralph Roister Doister, written about 1533 by Nicholas Udall (1506-56), head master successively of Eton and Westminster. Instead of making the Westminster boys act Plautus, Udall wrote for them, according to the laws of the classical drama, a comedy in five acts, inspired by Latin comic plays. He borrowed some characters from the ancients, but took others straight from English life. The hero Ralph recalls the Pyrgopolinices and Therapontigone of Plautus, is swaggering, stupid, and fatuous as they. Since the play is intended for schoolboys, Udall does not make him a libertine as in the Latin original, but a man really in love, even sentimentally and tearfully amorous. As he endows him also with avarice, so that the keeps an eye on his lady's dowry, the character is confused and lacks versimilitude. Side by side with Ralph appears Merrygreek, a parasite from ancient comedy, but one who plays his part for fun rather than self-interest. It is the parasite about to be changed into Mascarille or Scapin.
Besides these imitated characters, ther is the heroine, Dame Constance, who is courted by Ralph, a worthy and chaste matron annoyed by an impudent fool. When she knows that she has been slandered to the merchant Goodrich, whom she loves honourably, she sends up to heaven a fine prayer for protection. About her are her maids, one young and the other old, real English servans painted with merry realism. In fact, Udall acccpts aid from Plautus, but has no superstitious veneration for him. His aim, like that of his contemporary Rabelais, is to ause, 'for mirth,' he says, 'prolongeth life and causes health'. The principal scenes are that in which Merrygreek reads to Constance a love-letter from Ralph and makes it insulting by revising the punctuation, and that in which the roisterer besieges his mistress's house and, in spite of a warlike disguise—Merrygreek has put a hencoop of his head for a helmet—is routed by the dame and his maids.
Udall may have had a moral purpose—he may have desired to satirize vainglory—but his chief aim was to cause innocent laughter. He has not only produced a frace on the classical model, but has also constructed a plot without expelling gaiety. His verse is stiff and stilted, but his language has savour.
There is even more go in a farce performed about the same time in Christ's College, Cambridge. This takes nothing from antiquity except its distribution in acts and its regular consturction. Subject and characters are completely English and completely rustic. Gammer Gurton's Needle, which was printed in 1575, was written by a Master of Arts of the University, reputedly by a certain William Stevenson. Gammer Gurton loses the needle with which she sews breeches for her servant Hodge. The good-for-nothing Diccon persuades her that it has been stolen by her neighbour, Mother Chatte, and quarrels and recriminations follow. The whole village is turned upside down. The parson intervenes, and Diccon takes advantage of the confusion to steal a ham. Finally Hodge utters a scream and the needl is found sticking in his breeches, and all is thereupon discovered. This story is not refined, but the dialogue has go; the rhymed verse, nimbler than Udall's, lends itself to comic effects; the realism is not adulterated by borrowings from antiquity, and there is an unsurpassable drinking-song, 'Back and side go bare.'
(b) THE CLASSICAL INFLUENCE. TRAGEDY.— But farces, even when they were divided into acts in the ancient manner, could not lead to dramatic progress. They had had a place in the miracle plays. The novelty was all in the isolation of the comic element. It was in tragedy that the national theatre and the theatre of angiquity came together most significantly.
Like the Italians and the French, the English were far more inspired by Seneca than by the Greek theatre. He was a somewhat dangerous model, for his were oratorical tragedies, and it is a moot poin whether they were written to be staged or to be declaimed. He used again the mythological themes of the Greeks, but used them, like a romantic, neither for their national sentiment nor because he believed in their legends, but for their brilliancy. He knew nothing of dramatic movement, and there is no action in his tragedies. His characters rarely voice real sentiments: their speeches abound with maxims; thir language is emphatic and lyrical, full of choice metaphors which show great force of oratory and real subtlety in analysis. Long monologues alternate with passages made up of short question and answers, each crowded into a single line. Seneca's political allusions are frequent and he often attacks tyrants. Most of these characteristics recur in the work of his imitators, but what they have taken from him by preference is certain of his expedients, sometimes his choruses and more often his phantom who has the duty of explanation. Above all, they have been impressed by the atrocity of his subjects, and have learnt from him to associate the idea of tragedy with that of crime, nearly always monstrous crime. Agamemnnon and the horrors of the Atrides, Oedipus, Medea, Phaedra, and, above all, Thyestes and the horrible banquet of Atreus, led to tragedies of atrocious vengeance like Titus Andronicus and The Duchess of Malfi.
Five of Seneca's plays were separately translated and perhaps performed between 1559 and 1566, before the translation, published in 1581, of his Ten Tragedies. As early as 1562 Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton produced the tragedy of Gorboduc, or Ferrex and Porrex, which was imitated from him although it had an independence. Sackville was the author of the Induction to the Mirror for Magistrates and the best poet of his day, and both playwrights were lawyers and politicians. Their tragedy was given in one of the Inns of Court.
Seneca's influence is apparent in the uninterrupted seriousness of the play; in the sustained nobility of the style; in the almost abstract character of the scenes, where all the action falls to messengers and to confidants, male and female; in the abundant speechifying, and also in the sanguinary plot. King Gorboduc abdicates in favour of his two sons, Ferrex and Porrex, who, like another Eteocles and Polynices, at once take up arms against each other. Ferrex is slain, and their mother, whose favourite son he is, kills her other son, Porrex, the slayer. The people are angered, rise in rebellion, and put father and mother to death. Anarchy, usurpation, and the death of the usurper ensue.
In spite of these piled-up crimes, the play is cold and lacks movement and drama. Its authors were better fitted to express ideas than to put life in characters. They had a didactic aim, for they wished to depict the misfortunes of a kingdom to which the succession is uncertain—a constant preoccupation of Elizabethan politicians—and the horrors which accompany civil war and result from anarchy. Their tragedy would assuredly have interested Corneille had he known it. It is Seneca after the style of lawyers and members of Parliament. The authors have a certain originality because of the didactic sense which, in spite of everything, connects Gorboduc with the moralities, and because of the patriotic feeling which made these young humanists choose thir subject from the annals of Great Britain, as the subject of King Lear, with which it has analogies, was thence taken. They stand less apart from the national tradition than at first appears from their superficial resemblance to Seneca, that is, from their use of choruses, and their cult of gloomy effects combined with their rejection of the spectacular. But the symmetrical plan of their scenes—Ferrex and Porrex consulting thir good and their bad adviser in turn, advisers who are almost as much abstractions as vice and virtue—betrays an artless simplification inspired by morality plays rather than Seneca.
That the moral of the play may be the more distinct, and perhaps also that spectators unused to such heights of seriousness may be diverted, each act opens with a pantomime in which the lesson it conveys is illustrated.
This is therefore no mere academic tragedy. It is a work which stands first in a line of succession, the first unrelieved English tragedy and therefore the play which led to Kyd's Spanish Tragedie. It brought the idea of fatality on to the English stage. In spite of its great defects it established a high artistic level. Finally, it was the first play in which the blank verse formed under the influence of antiquity was used. The metre which Surrey had invented for his translation of Virgil served Sackville and Norton when they emulated Seneca. They handled it forcibly and with dignity, but were incapable of giving it the ductility necessary for the stage. Twenty-five years were to pass before their inititative was followed triumphantly. Their merit is that, though they did not reach success, they made the attempt.
(c) VARIOUS INFLUENCES.— Gorboduc was insignificant, but appeared in isolation. Round this play there were many tentative efforts and importations from abroad, all of them pointing English drama along different paths. It has been possible to group several plays under the title 'Prodigal Son Series'. This time the prototype was a work by a Neo-Latinist, the Dutchman Gnaphaeus whose Acolastus had been translated by John Palsgrave in 1540. He was imitated with great talent and with original additions in Misogonus, performed about 1560. The author, uncertainly identified as Thomas Richardes, wrote a strongly constructed and well-arranged play, enlivened by frankly comic scenes. The morality Nice Wanton, which appearedabout 1560, connects with the same series and is a commentary on the adage 'Spare the rod and spoil the child'. In 1575 George Gascoigne produced his Glass of Government, imitated both from Acolastus and from the Rebels of Macropedius.
Geroge Gascoigne, ever in quest of novelty, is the best witness to the diversity of the influences operative at this time and of the sources whence plays derived. Besides The Glass of Government he wrote The Supposes, a prose translation of a comedy by Ariosto, and Jocasta, a tragedy which purports to be a translation from the Phoenissae of Euripides, but is in truth a rearrangement of the Greek tragedy by the Italian Lodovico Dolce.
Italian influence is yet more apparent in a free adaptation by an unknown author of the Florentine Grazzini's La Spiritata, under the title The Bugbears (1561), in which a son obtains three thousand crowns from a misely father by frightening him at night with noises attributed to ghosts, and is thus enabled to marry his mistress. Other plays inspired by Italian comedies also appeared, but only their names have been preserved.
(d) FORMATION OF THE NATIONAL DRAMA.— Each of these classical, neo-classical, and Italian influences had its part in blazing the track to the English national drama, which absorbed the most diverse elements. But there is a group of plays then acted which were not adaptations but truly English, and although they have weaknesses and an element of the ridiculous, they reveal the national drama as already almost a reality. They conform to that broad type which was finally adopted for drama and was followed by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
Dramas of this type still partook of the morality plays, at least in right of certain characters, but they tended more and more to stage the scenes of an episode of history or a romance, and they were wont to relieve tragedy or romance by scenes of broad comedy, more or less skilfully related to the principal plot, thus observing the great tradition of the miracle plays.
The most striking of these plays are Appius and Virginia (1551?), Damon and Pytias (1564), Horestes (1567), Gismond of Salerno (1567), Cambyses (1569), and Promos and Cassandra (1578).
Three are obviously connected with the moralities. Like Bale's King John, they mingle abstractions and real characters. Horestes is entitled 'A Newe Enterlude of Vice Conteyninge the Historye of Horestes' (Orestes). Appius and Virginia, of which the ridiculously emphatic language remained dear to Shakespeare's Pistol—'The furies fell of Limbo lake'—dramatizes the well-known story of Virginius, who slew his daughter to save her from the wicked judge Appius. Appius is impelled by the vice called Haphazard, and Conscience and Justice appear to him. Homely and comic scenes alternate with tragedy. There is a curious mingling of all the earlier dramatic elements with a classic theme.
Preston's method is that of the authors of the miracle plays. He cuts up the story from Herodotus into scenes as they did the Scriptures. Not the whole fo the story is in his play, but nearly all of it. He makes no attempt to weave a plot or by simplification to give unity to characters. Cambyses is represented in all the diversity and chronological incoherence of his actions. He begins well by ordering the execution of a prevaricating delegate, then, impulsive undr the influence of wine, commits a series of atrocious crimes, almost all of them instantanously, and passes immediatly from the exaltation of love at first sight to passionate and murderous fury against his new-made bride. The playwritht, by refusing to make any selection among the deeds of his hero, has rendered him lifelike and complex enough, has shown his double physical and moral nature and given him a temperament. There is here a character which ought already to be called Shakespearian.
Cambyses is not always on the stage, but gives place to buffoons. We can discern, in the raw, the expedients of a playwright who, chiefly by varying his scenes, appeals to a heterogenous public, caters for coarse as for other tastes in order to reach all his audience.
Allegorical mingle with historical characters, the better to bring out the moral, the most important abstraction being the vice called Ambidexter, whose part it is both to impel to evil and to ensure the punishment of the guilty. Ambidexter is a cynic who takes pleasure in discovering and encouraging human perversity, and revels in the sight of foolishness. In his chuckle we seem already to hear Iago, even more Gloucester (Richard III) winning Queen Anne's heart by false protestations of love. This is the sardonic, diabolical, and sharp-sighted sinner, bad all through, without a trace of conscience, snapping his fingers at prejudices, his philosophy a fundamental atheism.
The connection of the buffoonery with the tragedy is weak, yet exists and is already a little Shakespearean. Thus, Cambyses has just decided to make war on Egypt when three soldiers enter, rejoicing in the prospective expedition, counting on slaughter and plunder. The truth, as undoubted in the days of Cambyses as in the sixteenth century, is illustrated that war is not the exclusive concern of princes and generals, but is as much the common soldier's business as the king's. Similarly Shakespeare, when he deals with Falstaff's enrolments, shows the seamy side of the glorious profession of arms, adopting the point of view he keeps in all his popular scenes, whether English or Roman. It is the tradition of the miracle plays combined with that of the morality plays.
In Cambyses all the education of the plot is spectacular. The murders are not recounted, as in Gorboduc, but the playwright carefully stages them in full. He reproduces the execution of Sisamnes, who is beheaded and scalped—the artless stage directions stipulate for a false skin—his scalp being afterwards pulled down over his ears. On the stage, Cambyses, to prove that he is not drunk, pierces the son of Praxaspe full in the heart with an arrow.
At the same time, this author carries pathos to the highest point. He puts into the mouth of the dying child of Praxaspe touching complaints which bring tears perforce. The scene recalls little Isaac ready to go to the stake in the mystery of Abraham, and anticipates the child Arthur in Shakespeare's King John seeking to move Hubert who has been ordered to burn out his eyes. But Preston reaches a yet higher degree of pathos. He sends a mother to mourn over the body of her son, and causes Cambyses to have the child's heart cut out that the father may know it was wounded in the very centre. After this, how could an audience be satisfied with only hearsay of butchery, messengers' tales?
To compensate for these episodes, Preston gives his public an open-air scene, a garden in which a fair lady and a lord stroll along the paths while the lord supplies the absence of scenery by describing the landscape and the flowers. Thus a breath of fresh air blows through the horrors of the melodrama.
This play reveals on examination all the characteristics of English drama of the great period. It lacks only two things, genius and style, or rather, perhaps, only one, genius made manifest in style.
The awkwardness of Preston's writing as so complete and his bombast so ridiculous that his play, after a long term of popularity, became the laughing-stock of succeeding dramatists. Shakespeare amused himself by parodying it in Falstaff, who says, when he wishes to use fine language, 'I will do it in King Cambyses' vein.' Preston's rhetoric is in the highest degree both frantic and artless. Some of his metaphorical epithets have the most ludicrous effet, as when a character speaks of her 'christall eyes', or the mother of little Prexaspe of her 'velvet paps.' Moreover, the playwright is so little at his ease with the fourteen-syllabled rhymed lines which he uses for tragic passages, that he mutlates grammar by the suppression of articles or by most astonishing inversions in the very places in which he aims at simple statements of fact.
Undoubtedly the great lack was of a metre fitted to drama, a ductile line which would leave freedom of movement to the playwright. Failing this, verse might have been relinquished for prose. in verse, the attempt made in Gorboduc had not yet been pursued, and prose had been tried only by Gascoigne in his Supposes. English drama made decided progress when a flexible metre had been adopted, more or less generally, and when prose was used with increasing frequency. As for the remaining and too prominent traces of the morality play, it was not difficult to get rid of them. Even in Cambyses they appeared only in the name of characters. To eliminate them from that play it would have been necessary only to rebaptize a few supernumeraries including Ambidexer, who were still called after abstractions. Richard Edwards, the author of Damon and Pythias, a far better if possibly less significant play than Cambyses, contrived to do without abstractions altogether. He produced a tragi-comedy which, save for its versification, would not have seemed out of place had it appeared among a number of others of the great period. The same praise could be given to Whetstone, who in 1578 wrote Promos and Cassandra, from which Shakespeare derived Measure for Measure, that gloomy comedy. Hitherto all had been experiment, but the advent of the undeniably great works was very near.
Exegesis, the academic e-journal of the English Department at Royal Holloway, University of London (www.exegesisjournal.org ), is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2013 edition on 'Testimonies and Confessions'. In this issue we seek to generate discussion about the forms that testimonies and confessions have taken historically, theologically, and literarily from an interdisciplinary, cross-period perspective. Authors may choose to investigate this topic literally, metaphorically, or theoretically, and in terms of specific texts, authors, times, or places. Articles and creative pieces might address, but are not limited to, any of the following subjects:
*Confessional/Testimonial literature as autobiographical, fictional, or sensationalized for humour
*First person narratives, such as diaries or letters
*Monologues (in Shakespeare, for example)
*Literary and theological confessions (e.g. Confessions of St. Augustine, Rousseau's Confessions)
*In a court of law, admitting guilt of a crime, or testifying as witness
*Testifying on war, violence, social oppression, etc.
*The meaning of 'truth', how we find it, and what can be considered 'proof'
*The role of confession to religion (sinning, absolution)
*Confession as an interpretation of identity
*Philosophical testimony (Kant, Hume, Ricoeur, and others)
Submission deadline is 10th January 2013. Please submit via the following email addresses: to submit a critical work, email@example.com, to submit a creative work, firstname.lastname@example.org, to submit a book review email@example.com. After peer review, refereed submissions will be selected and published in our April 2013 issue. Please take note of the Guidelines on our website.
All submissions will be considered for the [Exegesis Writing Awards] of £100 for one critical article and £100 for one creative piece, which will be granted on the basis of writing excellence.
Webster was much possessed by death And saw the skull beneath the skin (...) T. S. Eliot
(From "Shakespeare’s contemporaries", in Legouis and Cazamian’s History of English Literature, 1926-1937):
John Webster (1575?-1624?).— Of all the Elizabethans, it is John Webster who, after long oblivion, was most belauded by the Romantics. About the man it has been possible to discover hardly anything. He was born between 1570 and 1580 and disappeared in 1624. He wrote for the stage from 1602 onwards, serving for vive years as a sort of apprenticeship as collaborator with Heywood, Middleton, Marston, and, especially, Dekker, but his part, doubtless a subordinate one, in the works to which he contributed cannot be distinguished. His two masterpieces were produced between 1611 and 1614. He relapsed after them to mediocrity, and of his later work only his Roman play, Appius and Virginia, which dates from about 1620, has some merit. His authorship of it is to-day disputed, certain critics assigning it to Heywood. He survives as the author of The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, played about 1611, and The Duchess of Malfi, about 1614. These tragedies are enough to prove his talent.
The first is one of a series of studies of courtesans which appeared one after another within a few years. It seems to have been Marston who broke the ice with his Dutch Courtesan, which the feeling Dekker answered by appealing for pity for his Bellafront. Shakespeare’s Cleopatra was an entirely original variation on the same theme. But Evadne, in The Maid’s Tragedy by Beaumont and Fletcher, Bianca, in Middleton’s Women Beware Women, and Webster’s Vittoria are closely analogous and all appeared about 1611. Webster’s and Middleton’s plays are pendants to each other with their atrocities, their Italian atmosphere, and the equally brilliant and criminal careers of the historic courtesans they portray, Bianca Cappello and Vittoria Accorombona.
From the beginning, the English dramatic muse was apt to sojourn in Italy. Shakespeare early transferred himself thither in imagination in The Two Gentlement of Verona, The Merchant of Venice,and Romeo and Juliet. But not until the seventeenth century did Italy become the conventional site of stage representations of unbridled passion and gloomy atrocity. The novel, led by Nashe, was in this ahead of the stage. Marston with Antonio and Mellida, The Malcontent, and The Fawn, Shakespeare with Othello, Jonson with Volpone, and Tourneur with The Revenger’s Tragedy, accustomed their public to see Italy as the natural home of voluptuous pleasure, bloodshed, and death. None, however, Italianized their scenes more exclusively and intensively than Webster. He specialized in Italy at a time when Fletcher and his collaborators were beginning to turn their attention to Spanish heroism.
Webster’s genius is seen in The White Devil, especially in his portrait of Vittoria, the courtesan, whose licence scandalized Rome at the end of the sixteenth century. It is she who is the white devil. he makes her guilt clear, but at the same time conveys an impression of her fascination, which he seems himself to feel. He is all admiration for this woman’s beauty, the energy of her ambition, and the presence of mind with which she faces desperate situations. As the wife of a poor gentleman, she is courted by Brachiano, Duke of Padua, and she convinces him that he must marry her, first ridding her her of her husband and himself of his virtuous wife. The double murder is accomplished, but suspicion rests on those who profit by it. Vittoria is summoned before an imposing court, over which the Duke of Florence and his brother, Cardinal Monticelso, afterwards Sixtus V, preside. Accusations, precise and overwhelming, are heaped upon her, but she meets her judges superbly, and with head held high turns their attack against them, reducing their proofs to nothingness and causing more than one of those present to waver. This scene on a large scale is admirable. Vittoria is none the less condemned to seclusion in a house of convertites, but escapes from it with her lover’s help. They are pursued by the vengeance of the Duke of Florence and killed one after the other, Vittoria holding out until she has exhausted every resource of invention, cunning, and courage. Even in her last hour she defends herself haughtily and, counting on the effect of her beauty, bares her bosom and walks to meet her assassins. She dies at last, confronting Fate with her last words:
My soul, like to a ship in a black storm, Is driven, I know not whither.
Beside her is her brother Flamineo, her tool, who has debauched her to advance her fortunes and whom she uses in her love-affairs. It is he who causes her unwanted husband to disappear. He is vice incarnate, and his moments of real valour make him, abject as he is, not altogether mean.
These characters are placed among many others and meet with singularly atrocious adventures. The melodramatic expedients, increasingly employed in every succeeding scene, are endless: Brachiano’s wife dies because her husband’s portrait, which she has the habit of kissing every evening, is poisoned: a magician causes Brachiano to witness the execution of the double crime he has ordered; the sister who has been slain appears unmistakably to the brother who mourns her and will avenge her; Brachiano’s murder is accomplished by pouring poison into a helmet afterwards riveted on to his head by an armourer, and he dies in atrocious pain while his enemies, disguised as Capuchins, reveal themselves to him in his last moments, telling the tale of his crimes and promising him damnation. The play is, moreover, spectacularly gorgeous: while the conclave is in session, servants are shown passing backwards and forwards, carrying dishes for the imprisoned cardinals; afterwards the election takes place, and the new pope appears in great ceremony, uttering a Latin formula. never has there been a more perfect fusion of pure drama, which is an effect of representing character and passions, and melodrama, which is based on the horror of physical impressions and on spectacular strangeness.
The Duchess of Malfi, a more closely knit play, makes the same appeal. The theme is persecuted virtue, a variant on the so popular one of revenge. There is again a question of vengeance, accomplished, as in The Spanish Tragedie, by strange means. The avengers are, however, moved by blind, unreasoning considerations, as, for instance, fury at misalliance, or they have low motives, like the desire to get possession of their victim’s fortune. The victim, the Duchess of Malfi (or Amalfi), is all goodness and innocence, and is driven to madness and death by her brothers because she has secretly married her steward, the virtuous Antonio.
The tragedy is full of Shakespearean reminiscences: the duchess recalls Desdemona, and Cariola, her woman, Emilia in Othello. Bosola, the monster, the tool of the two brothers, is modelled on Iago. The anger of Ferdinand, the criminal brother, against Bosola, after the murder he himself has ordered, is like that of King John against Hubert when he believes him to have put Arthur do death. The remorse of the other brother, the cardinal who can no longer pray, is a parallel to that of Claudius in Hamlet. Every such comparison would merely show up Webster’s extreme inferiority, were it not that the substitutes for the psychology, at which Shakespeare principally aims, a search for the pathos inherent in situations and even in material effects. It is this search which is proper to melodrama. Webster has a strange power of evoking shudders. His means are sometimes the more effective for their simplicity. The duchess, compelled by fear of her brothers to keep her marriage secret, is iscovered in her chamber conversing with her husband, Antonio, her heart filled with joy and love. Antonio leaves her without her knowledge; she continues to speak, thinking he hears her, but her listener is now one of the brothers she fears, to whom she thus betrays herself. Whoever watches the play feels a catch at his heart, as he perceives her error while she is still unaware of it. The impulse is to cry out to her to beware. Some of Webster’s devices are, howver, much less innocent than this one. The avenging brothers revel in macabre inventions to torture their poor victim: one of them, feigning to give her his hand, leaves a severed hand in her grasp; she is shown wax figures which represent the murder of her husband and children; the inmates of a madhouse are let loose in her palace.
These inferior artistic expedients are, however, relieved by the poetry of melancholy and death which dominates the whole tragedy. Webster is a true poet, the author of some of the most beautiful songs of the Renascence, and throughout, in the very web of his style, are images, funereal in mood, which have the breath of graveyards upon them, yet strike and stir the heart. More than this, the play contains the character of the duchess. At first, although her love endears her, she is not original, but she is transfigured by persecution and becomes in her despair a lofty and solemn figure. Throughout her cruel trials she never fails to ennoble the tragedy by the somber poetry of her speech. Her reason is proof against all the assaults upon her. Cariola, her woman, struggles and cries out when she is faced with death, but death cannot make the duchess tremble. So beautiful and so noble does she remain in death that her brother, who has ordered her murder, cannot bear to see her face:
Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle; she died young.
Not until Edgar Poe was there another genius as completely morbid as Webster. His highly special and restricted talent was active only in one genre and accomplished only two memorable plays. He was an artist, but an a painful and laborious one. The effort to which productions compelled him recalls Ben Jonson. His preface to The White Devil shows that, like Jonson, he knew the limae labor et mora, that, like him, he despised popular improvisations and the judgments of the public. A contemporary satirist made fun of the trouble writing was to him:
How he scrubs: wrings his wrists: scratches his pate!
But Webster gloried in his own painstaking. He would have attempted the most difficult form of art, for it was his desire to compose in despite of the prevailing taste, a regular sententious tragedy, respectful of the unities, lofty in style, having its chorus and messenger. The aspiration was curious in one who stands for the triumph of melodrama raised to the level of true poetry.
From the Treacherous Entertainment to the Noble Death. Further reflections on the "World as a Stage" theme, or the self-conscious depiction of the theatricality of self and social life in Renaissance drama:
From McAlindon, English Renaissance Tragedy (I.IV: "The Treacherous Entertainment: The Symbolism of Rite and Play"):
Any account of the core elements of Renaissance tragedy must necessarily inquire into the function and significance of its most characteristic and conventionalised scene, the Treacherous Entertainment (as I have called it). This scene may coincide with the major point of change near the centre of the action, but as a rule it forms the catastrophe. It may consist simply of a banquet or a game; more often it is a play or masque performed in conjunction with a marriage. But, whatever its position or form, it is always a ritual affirmation of love and union which turns out to be a monstrous negation of everything it affirms.
Fashioned by Thomas Kyd with great originality out of elements drawn from Seneca's Thyestes and Medea,the Treacherous Entertainment is a dramatic device whose popularity must be ascribed to its symbolic function as well as to its great theatrical potential. Every dramatist who uses it seeks to give it some original twist, but all follow Kyd in shaping it as an elaborate model of the play-world to which it belongs. Thus, however much it may differ in detail from play to play, its guiding principle is always a lightning confusion of opposites which summarises the essential nature of life in its tragic perspective. Hospitality and violence, love and hatred, marriage and mourning, play and earnest, and comedy and tragedy are all likely to be involved here in a sudden and 'huge eclipse'.
Although by far the most important, the Treacherous Entertainment is seldom if ever the only action of its kind in a tragedy. Usually there are two to three well-distributed ritual scenes, standing out clearly from the rest of the action and related to each other by analogy and contrast and sometimes cause and effect; indeed, it is difficult not to see in this pattern a basic constructional formula on which the dramatists are heavily dependent. Some ritual scenes exhibit an achieved order, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and even they are darkened by external threats or flawed by some subtle internal discord. The general impression given by ritual scenes, an impression which transfers to the tragedies built round them, is an impression of rite gone wrong: the pun, facilitated by interchangeable spelling in the seventeenth century, is ubiquitous.
it has been argued with great persuasiveness that the symbolic strategies of Renaissance drama, ritual and pageant serve to express two quite different conceptions of life. Whereas rite, cremony, and pageant, it is said, stand for the traditional view of the world as a stable and immutable order, play signifies the new and disturbing notion of life—embraced in their different ways by Promethean heroes and Machiavellian politicians—as a historical process in which nothing is stable and the individual is free to assume ever new identities.(97) I would suggest, however, that the operative distinction is not between rite and play (drama) but between the proper and the improper use of each. The Treacherous Entertainment in its most typical form exemplifies this point. Ritual and play are both presented in it as accepted signs and instruments of harmonious order, and both are either violently truncated or wilfully perverted for destructive ends. As in Renaissance tragedy generally, they function in this scene as symbolic partners.
The radical discrepancy between self and role (or style) which the villain cheerfully ignores becomes a source of painful self-consciousness, of division within and alientation without, in characters of tragic stature; and we may include in this category introspective 'tool villains' such as Webster's Bosola, specifically described as 'a good actor . . . playing a villain's part'.(115) Such characters come to adopt roles at variance with their true or better selves not knowingly and eagerly, like the villain, but blindly and in response to powerful compulsions. These compulsions may be objectifies in the figure of the tyrant or usurper, who characteristically redistributes roles at will, or the Machiavellian tempter, who would make a change of role seem no change at all.
Because conceptions of the self and its relation to society have changed enormously since the seventeenth century, and are much more variable today they were then, the significance of role as a metaphor in the characterisation of the Renaissance tragic hero and heroine seems bound to give rise to doubtful interpretations and critical dispute. I would draw attention here to two critical tendencies which, although obviously distinguishable, share the common assumption that the hero is presented as unable in the nature of things to find his personal identity in any one socially defined role. One of these approaches stems from romantic and existentialist positions suggesting that the individual life in in a developed community is necessarily inauthentic, and that social alienation is prerequisite for self-realisation: it encourages us to see the hero of Renaissance tragedy advencing towards self-discovery as a result of his refusal to play out a given role. The other approach stems from socioanthropological perceptions concerning the plasticity of human nature; it suggests that the hero discovers or uncovers the truth about his self—that it is multiple rather than single, artificial rather than innate—in the very process of acting out many roles. (116)
There is much in the texts to justify these critical perspectives. Moreover, they have the great virtue of highlighting the dramatists' often profound sense of the elusive complexity of the human personality, as well as their recognition of the multiple forces which continually threaten the integrity of the individual. But it may be that they help to conceal at least as much as they reveal. In the first place, it is surely incorrect to speak of the protagonist as moving out of role into character (or vice versa), since the dramatists and their contemporaries took it as axiomatic that charafter without role, like thought without language, is in practical terms non-existent. It is true that role-playing usually begins to catch attention when it is clear that the hero and his world are out of joint. But that is not because playing a part is in itself considered to be unnatural; it is because a part well played is felt to be a harmony of nature and art and so does not call attention to itself. We begin to reflect on the problems of 'acting' when characters have disqualified themselves from playing the part which is properly theirs (Richard II arbitrating in a dispute where he himself is the chief culprit, Beatrice-Joanna rebuking the insolence of a servant whom she has hired to commit murder); or when they assume an alien role in order to reassert themselves (Lear kneeling in mock petition to Goneril, the usurped Duke Altofronto disguised as a railing malcontent), or when their self-regard is ominously tainted with self-ignorance or pride (Othello affirming that Cupid's toys will not interfere with his martial duties, Bussy D'Ambois indulging in 'bravery'); or when self-will and desperation have compelled them along the path of deceit (Juliet playing the obedient daughter to Capulet, the Duchess of Malfi going through the charade of dismissing Antonio as a dishonest servant). Thus, instead of moving from role to character (or character to role), the tragic protagonist is more likely to be seen as exchanging of having to exchange a role which harmonises with the conditions of his nature for another or others which do not: so that in losing his original role he loses himself.
Moreover, rather than uncovering a suppressed identity, or creating a new one, the tragic character more probably acquires a new understanding of his lost self and of those elements in his own and other men's nature which separated him from it. This understanding is often embodied in what is arguably the only pefect piece of theatre and ritual in the Renaissance tragic world—the Noble Death, in which the protagonist is sublimely constant and true to himself. Despite the splendour of this final 'act', the new understanding which gives it moral substance embraces a recognition that the individual is bound and limited, not only self-made but shaped and help in being by a context of relationships—interpersonal, social, and cosmic. Thus the famous words uttered by Webster's heroine at death, 'I am Duchess of Malfi still', are not simply the triumphant assertion of an indestructible personal identity. They are also a reminder from the dramatist that, despite her marriage to her steward, this great lady will always find her identity in the name and duchy of her dead husband. And they are but a prelude to the complete revelation, which comes when the Duchess accepts—on bended knee— Bosola's suggestion that aristocratic pride debars her from self-knowledge and lasting glory. She dies 'like' the Duchess of Malfi indeed, but in a manner which shows what that means in terms of nobilty, frailty, and dependence.
One cannot, however, ascribe to the dramatists of this period any firm belief that the individual will be true to himself, or maintain a sense of his own identity, for very long. Because the self is an unstable synthesis of opposites, 'None can be always one' (117). The psychic life seems here to be a kind of continuing Fall: a banishment from the person one would and should be, and in some sense was; a restless search for self-realisation in roles which too often have the effect of making one feel 'cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in / To saucy doubts and fears' (Macbeth, iii.iv.24-5). But however subtle and unremitting their sense of the strange mutations in man's character the tragedians stop short of abandoning the notion of psychic continuity and making metamorphosis a positive. Like Montaigne, who explores with such acuteness the mercuriality of the self, they 'Esteeme it a great matter, to play but one man'(118). In the closely related spheres of psychology and ethics, constancy —which presupposes unity and harmony—remains their primary value. (119)
(97) Alvin Kernan, "The Henriad: Shakespeare's Major History Plays", YR LIX (1969-70): 3-32, and in The Revels History of the Drama in English, Vol. III: 1576-1613, ed. J. Leeds Barroll, Alexander Leggatt, Richard Hosley and Alvin Kernan (London: Methuen, 1975) pp. 241ff. As Kernan notes, he is developing ideas suggested by C. L. Barber, Shakespeare's Festive Comedy
(115) The Duchess of Malfi, IV.ii.289-90. Cf. V.v.85-6., where the dying Bosola refers to himself as 'an actor in the main of all / Much 'gainst mine own good nature'. The Duchess, too, sees herself as an unwilling performer: 'I do account this world a tedious theatre, / For I do play a part in't 'gainst my will' (VI.i.84-5). (116) See, for instance, Kernan, in YR, LIX 3-32, and The Revels History of the Drama in English, IIII 241ff.; John Holloway, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1959) pp. 193-5.The Story of the Night: Studies in Shakespeare's Major Tragedies (London: Routledge, 1961) pp. 26-87, 35-6, 57; Hugh P. Richmond, "Personal Identity and Literary Personae: A Study in Historical Psychology", PMLA, LXXXX (1975): 209-21. Disagreement with Kernan's interpretation of the role metaphor in Shakespeare has been expressed by Philip Edwards in 'Person and Office in Shakespeare's Plays', PBA LVI (1970) 93-109; he does not find in Shakespeare a 'necessary disjunction between the inner self and the public self'. (117) Bussy D'Ambois, IV.i.25. (118) Montaigne, Essays, trs. Florio, II 15 (II.i) (Author's emphasis.) (119) In Role Playing in Shakespeare (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978), p. 180, Thomas Van Laan notes that in Shakespeare's tragedies, by contrast with the comedies, 'losing oneself' is not a necessary and ultimately beneficial stage in the progress towards final happiness. It is to lose all, to be torn loose and cast adrift in a void without dimensions . . . an experience that no one can survive.'
La manifestación de ayer de Barcelona fue el punto de inflexión en el que se vio que no se va a detener a los independentistas. Aquí los comentarios de Santiago Abascal, y de Salvador Sostres. Yo auguré que sería un fracaso, y se veía venir: por cada manifestante a favor de España, salen cuarenta a favor de la independencia. Una prueba de músculo que falla es la prueba y demostración palmaria de lo contrario de lo que se pretendía demostrar. El gobierno, el PP, el PSOE, los llamados "partidos nacionales", no estaban por supuesto en la manifestación de ayer. Ni estaban, ni se les esperaba, tras treinta años de incomparecencia. ¿He dicho alguna vez que no hay que votar al PP, ni al PSOE, ni a las IUs, ni a quien apoye o tolere a los secesionistas?El gobierno español seguirá jugando a que no pasa nada, metiendo la cabeza en la arena, y confiando en que la independencia es una imposibilidad legal, que lo es. Lo que parece que nadie les ha dicho es que las declaraciones de independencia se han hecho normalmente, siempre y de toda la vida, vulnerando la legalidad, no ateniéndose a ella. Cataluña se irá de España dejándonos la deuda puesta—que será de España, no de la flamante Cataluña—y, si nos descuidamos, se irá con una subvención suplementaria o diezmo anual que le pagarán nuestros gobernantes—esos necios abismales, memos sin remedio, y traidores a su país. Y agárrense, que aún estamos a tiempo de que esta historia acabe mucho peor de lo que espera todo el mundo, que precedentes y avisos y analogías no faltan.
El repositorio digital de la Universidad de Zaragoza, alias Zaguán, no es muy usado todavía: contiene varias colecciones por área de conocimiento: Petrología y Geoquímica (con 32 publicaciones); Filosofía del derecho (80), Lenguajes y sistemas informáticos (14), Arquitectura y tecn. Computadoras (6). La colección más numerosa es la colección de Filología inglesa, con 83 trabajos. La práctica totalidad son míos. Aún subiría más, pero me dijeron que no enviase más, que está la cosa en replanteamiento o moratoria. Quizá la gente prefiera subir sus publicaciones a otros sitios como ResearchGate (que no está organizado por universidades, sin embargo), o Academia, donde sí pueden verse las publicaciones y miembros de la Universidad de Zaragoza. Allí también abunda especialmente la participación del área de Filología Inglesa, y también allí soy yo el más abundante de mi departamento y universidad.
Call for papers from the European Narratology Network's conference March 29 and 30th 2013 in Paris. The deadline for submissions has been extended until November 6th. Please contact John Pier directly for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lo paso a la lista de distribución de AEDEAN, y lo coloco en un par de redes sociales temáticas. Se me menciona, por cierto, en el Call for Papers, como uno de los conferenciantes invitados, con la conferencia que se titulará "The Story behind any Story: Evolution, Historicity, and Narrative Mapping"
Acordándome de que existe Google Scholar, y tanto que existe, me asomo a mi página de allí y veo que tengo a fecha de hoy 554 documentos indexados por Google Scholar, entre artículos, capítulos, ensayos misceláneos y (sobre todo) bibliografías.
For future reference, me apunto estos datos de índices de citas—aunque como se verá no destaco en citas precisamente.
El h-index es el número h de publicaciones es el mayor de los números tales que h publicaciones tienen h citas. (O sea que tengo al menos 5 publicaciones con 5 citas). Y el i10 es el número de publicaciones que pasan de 10 citas: en mi caso los libros Narratology y Acción, relato, discurso. Si es que al final pasaré a la posteridad como el que escribía o editaba estas cosas.
Así comparando con el vecindario no localizo a casi nadie más que aparezca en la sección de autores de Google Scholar, es curioso. Pero veo que Susana Onega aparece también, que tiene un número de citas de 347, un h-index de 8 y un i-10 index de 8 también. Eso con sólo 29 documentos indexados—pero mejor aprovechados, no cabe duda.
Estos días mientras me pintan el piso y me charangan la calle, me he subido a Biescas, y lo que no había visto es este minipuente o pasarela de piedras que han hecho para cruzar el Gállego por el sur, que buena falta hacía. Lo veo en un blog de Biescas también nuevo paramí, El Pecezarrio de Angelpito, que lo lleva Angel Molano. Bueno, pues en esta entrada salen as pasaderas, y también mi primo el alcalde, y Arturo que iba conmigo a la escuela y que al parecer no se llama Arturo. Y luego Maxi con sus telares tejiendo, que para eso había pelaires en Biescas y alguno queda. Bueno, pues a mi colección de blogs, que va, sección blogs de Biescas.
Every Man in His Humour / Every Man out of His Humour
On two comedies by Ben Jonson(from The Oxford Companion to English Literature:)
Every Man in His Humour, a comedy by Jonson performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men 1598, with Shakespeare in the cast, printed 1601. In his folio of 1616 Jonson published an extensively revised version., with the setting changed from Florence to London and the characters given English names.
In the latter version Kitely, a merchant, is the husband of a young wife, and his 'humour' is irrational jealousy. His house is resorted to by his brother in law Wellbred with a crowd of riotous but harmless gallants, and these he suspects of designs both on his wife and on his sister Bridget. One of these young men is Edward Knowell, whose father's 'humour' is excessive concern for his son's morals. Bobadill, one of Jonson's greatest creations, a 'Paul's man', is a boastful cowardly soldier who associates with the young men and is admired by Matthew, a 'town gull' and poetaster, and Edward's cousin Stephen, a 'country gull'. Out of these elements, by the aid of the devices and disguises of the mischievous Brainworm, Knowell's servant, an imbroglio is produced in which Kitely and his wife are brought face to face at the house of a water bearer to which each thinks the other has gone for an amorous assignation; Bobadill is exposed and beaten; Edward Knowell is married to Bridget, and Matthew and Stephen are held up to ridicule. The misunderstandings are cleared up by the shrewd and kindly Justice Clement.
Every Man out of His Humour,a comedy by Jonson, acted by the Lord Chamberlain's Men at the newly built Globe theatre 1599, printed 1600.
The play parades a variety of characters dominated by particular 'humours', or obsessive quirks of disposition: Macilente, a venomous malcontent; Carlo Buffone, a cynical jester; the uxorious Deliro and his domineering wife Fallace; Fastidious Brisk, an affected courtier devoted to fashion; Sordido, a miserly farmer, and his son Fungoso, who longs to be a courtier; Sogliardo, 'an essential clown, enamoured of the name of a gentleman'; and Puntarvolo, a fantastic, vainglorious knight, who wagers that he, his dog, and his cat can travel to Constantinople and back. By means of various episodes, such as Macilente's poisoning of Puntarvolo's dog and Brisk's imprisonment for debt, each character is eventually driven 'out of his humour'. Two judicious onlookers, Mitis and Cordatus, oversee the action throughout, and provide a moral commentary. Their opening debate with their friend Asper, who represents Jonson, contains an exposition of Jonson's theory of humours.
ASP. I will not stir your patience, pardon me, I urged it for some reasons, and the rather To give these ignorant well-spoken days Some taste of their abuse of this word humour.
COR. O, do not let your purpose fall, good Asper; It cannot but arrive most acceptable, Chiefly to such as have the happiness Daily to see how the poor innocent word Is rack'd and tortured.
MIT. Ay, I pray you proceed.
ASP. Ha, what? what is't?
COR. For the abuse of humour.
ASP. O, I crave pardon, I had lost my thoughts. Why humour, as 'tis 'ens', we thus define it, To be a quality of air, or water, And in itself holds these two properties, Moisture and fluxure: as, for demonstration, Pour water on this floor, 'twill wet and run: Likewise the air, forced through a horn or trumpet, Flows instantly away, and leaves behind A kind of dew; and hence we do conclude, That whatsoe'er hath fluxure and humidity, As wanting power to contain itself, Is humour. So in every human body, The choler, melancholy, phlegm, and blood, By reason that they flow continually In some one part, and are not continent, Receive the name of humours. Now thus far It may, by metaphor, apply itself Unto the general disposition: As when some one peculiar quality Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw All his affects, his spirits, and his powers, In their confluctions, all to run one way, This may be truly said to be a humour But that a rook, by wearing a pyed feather, The cable hat-band, or the three-piled ruff, A yard of shoe-tye, or the Switzer's knot On his French garters, should affect a humour! O, it is more than most ridiculous.
COR. He speaks pure truth; now if an idiot Have but an apish or fantastic strain, It is his humour.
ASP. Well, I will scourge those apes, And to these courteous eyes oppose a mirror, As large as is the stage whereon we act; Where they shall see the time's deformity Anatomised in every nerve, and sinew, With constant courage, and contempt of fear.
El Tribunal Constitucional deroga, con muchos años de retraso, la normativa que obligaba a los comercios catalanes a usar el catalán para rotular sus productos. También podrán hacerlo en español, como venían haciendo cuatro arriesgados que recurrieron la norma. Se vuelve a certificar que, como sucede en el caso de la educación, con la inmersión lingüística obligatoria en catalán, la política de lenguas de Cataluña es ilegal, abusiva y anticonstitucional. Claro que el gobierno español y los tribunales normalmente no les paran los pies, o lo hacen con la boquita tan pequeña... Y de todos modos da igual, porque como si les cantan misa, cambian la norma por otra que dice lo mismo pero no está recurrida, y a tirar palante. O, llegado el caso, ignoran olímpicamente las sentencias de los tribunales "espanyoles". Y a nadie se inhabilita, ni a nadie se multa por estár torciendo la ley y abusando de su posición en las instituciones para mangonear y prevaricar. Ahora que, prueben ustedes a no pagarle diez euros a Hacienda. Allí van como flechas. Si es que cuando hay mucho abuso institucional, y mucho delincuente, es porque se les deja hacer. Pero aún hay un elemento más pasmoso que la dejadez de los políticos españoles en este tema: el borreguismo atroz y seguidismo de la práctica totalidad de los catalanes, que ven hacer, y callan, o ya puestos sacan la banderita y la agitan. ¿Que ahora es con estrella la banderita? ¿Aunque llevábamos treinta años agitando la otra tan contentos de tan catalanes que éramos? Pues nada, con estrella ahora, allá vamos a donde nos lleven, a estrellarse. Qué penica de país.
The greatest literary activity during the Restoration is to be found in the sphere of the theatre, and the authors of comedy form, perhaps, the most brilliant group of writers in their epoch, and one which best illustrates its moral features. On the other hand, they outshine their immediate successors. Therefore histories of literature usually take the Restoration dramatists as a centre for the study of the English theatre at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century, the classical age being, so to speak, in this domain, a weaker continuation of that which precedes it.
If one looks at the subject from the point of view of the evolution of kinds, there may be some advantage in not separating the successive phases of a movement which extends over some fifty years, and which, taken altogether, forms a natural whole. Comedy in particular—that of Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar—would appear to represent an unbroken series of connected works. But if the history of literature is brought into close contact with that of thought, and looked upon as an aspect of the total development of a society, this linked succession must be broken up, leaving room for a division that is more logical, and historically better founded. In reality a generation separates Wycherley from Congreve.
The break, in the interval, is marked by the Revolution of 1688, with the moral changes which accompany it. In every respect English literature between 1688 and 1702 forms a period of transition; both in inspiration and in style, it then bears the stamp of a special character; and each literary kind reveals the influence of a spirit akin, no doubt, to that of the Restoration itself, but still different from it. In order to understand this period, it will be useful to view it as a whole.
The dates 1660 and 1688 therefore, for the time being, limit the field of this survey. No doubt the dramatic career of Dryden is not wholly contained within those years, but the five plays with which his career ends, between 1690 and 1694, may be connected quite naturally with the twenty-three which have preceded them. The works of Dryden, Etherege, Wycherley, Lee, Otway, together with those of their immediate contemporaries, constitute properly speaking the theatre of the Restoration.
2. The Beginnings: D'Avenant. Foreign Influences and National Tradition The Puritan Revolution had closed the playhouses in 1642; for fourteen years, no regular performance was given, save in private, or under the menace of the law. In fact, the life of the theatre was suspended. The silence of the stage most certainly was impatiently borne by many; but the supporters of an austere code of morals had thus satisfied an ancient grudge, and the severity they displayed in their control of manners made any protest futile in advance. In 1656, the secret lassitude of all wills was groing patent enough, or the rule—however glorious—of the Protectorate was tending plainly enough to a political and social relaxation, for a skilful man to turn the obstacle which no one dared attack openly, Sir William D'Avenant, the author of plays staged before the Civil War, Poet Laurate under Charles I, closely associated with the royal cause, obtained permission to open to the public an 'allegorical entertainment by declamation and music, after the manner of the ancients' (The First Day's Entertainment at Rutland House). This first and discreet attempt—rather hazardous, however, if one stops to ponder over certain remarks of Aristophanes, the advocate of theatrical art—was followed the same year by a more ambitious show, The Siege of Rhodes.
One of the main influences that are preparing a new phase in dramatic art is here clarly apparent. D'Avenant had resided in France; he had come into contact there with an artistic and literary atmosphere rich in suggestions: that of the confused but fertile period when classicism was flowering into full bloom. To England he brought back many confused ideas and preferences, the product of which is a hybrid work, of still uncertain character. In The Siege of Rhodes are to be found suggestions furnished by Corneille, with his conception of love and of noble sentiments; next, the rather similar inspiration of the romances of Gomberville, La Calprenède, and the Scudérys, which were already popular in England; lastly, a taste for the opera, which was being implanted in France with the Italian performances under Mazarin, and with the Andromède of Corneille (1650). And mingling with these elements, we find memories of the national theatre, under the form in which it was being kept alive, about 1640, by the degenerate disciples of Fletcher. The first part of The Siege of Rhodes is divided into 'entries,' like the ballets of Benserade, which were the rate at the court of the young Louis XIV. It is written in rhymed verse, in a very free and variable measure, adapted, as the author tells us, to the demands of the recitative, then a novelty in England. As for the subject, it is 'heroic, and destined to recommend virtue 'under the forms of valour and conjugal love.' A naïve sincere ardour, in which one feels a youthfulness of spirit, despirte its self-consciousness, animates this romantic work, clumsy in places, but at times raised by the lyricism of honour and passion. It can be regarded as the germ both of English opera and of heroic tragedy. While the scenic displays, the wealth of accessories, the striving after great picturesque effects, the 'machines' on a narrow stage the town of Rhodes, the port, the fleet and the camp of the Turks had to be presented either together or successively) were not unknown in English dramatic art before 1656, it is none the less true that through its material figuration also the play caused a sensation, and marks a date. Lastly, if it is not a fact that an actress, appeared in it for the first time in England, it is certain that an English actress played one of the leading parts, and that this daring and almost unprecedented step became a common feature of the Restoration theatre.
Before 1660, D'Avenant wrote two other plays of the same kind, and tried, by selecting national themes, to prevent the possible revival of Puritan susceptibility. When the king's return brought with it the liberty of the theatre, he with Thomas Killigrew was given charge of one of the two troupes of actors, and one of the two playhouses, which were authorised by letters patent.
In order to understand the development of dramatic art under the Restoration, one must imagine these two companies, that of the king and that of his brother the Duke of York, gathering together talented actors, such as Betterton, and actresses, such as Nell Gwynn, whose charm as much as their stage gifts make them the idols of the public. Greedily attracted to long-forbidden pleasures, elegant society crowded to the plays, which very often were honoured by the favour and the presence of the king; the theatre now became, for the young noblemen, both a fashionable amusement and a daily occasion for meetings and intrigues. The brilliant house, frequented also by the wealthy and cultured part of the middle class, and where Pepys, a citizen of London, liked to rub shoulders with the upper world and to catch a glimpse of the king's favourites, is one of the main social centres of this age, just as it is morally its most complete symbol. The passion for an art, rendered the more pleasing because it has in it the value of a protest, expresses a political preference, triumphs over despised enemies, and gains its freedom at the expense of a conquered austerity; the attraction of unbridled modes of living which actors and spectators encouraged one another to exemplify and to applaud; the atmosphere of gallantry which reigns in the theatre—all these influences explain the cynicism, and the success, of a literature that is singularly free, crude in its boldness, insolent in its self-assertion, and seeming always to pursue, over and above the direct expression of itself, the confusion of an abolished régime of ideas and sentiments that had long been tyrannical.
By this moral reaction, this psychological release, the Restoration theatre is an outcome of the movement itself of national life; it is an aspect of the new age. But in the dramatic form whith which it invests the common spirit of the time, it shows itself wholly impregnated with foreign influences. No other literary kind reveals to the same degree the range and the variety of the suggestions which, coming from the Continent, are spreading at this moment over intellectual England.
It is with France that these contacts are most numerous and easily established. Exiles like D'Avenant, Waller, and Denham bring back with them a taste which has been made more precise and strengthened along its own spontaneous lines; in addition, models, images, and rhythms. The king and the court have a more superficial but just as decided instinct for the same refined, noble, correct art, for the same elegant and luxurious existence; an all-powerful and universal magnetism makes the Paris and the Versailles of Louis XIV the centre whence politeness and culture radiate, and towards which the desire for a more perfect civilization converges from every side. Classical tragedy in France shines with a bright effulgence; translations have already revealed Corneille to English readers, and soon the tragi-comedies of Thomas Corneille, the heroic tragedies of Scudéry or Quinault, the comedies of Molière, and even, though later and with less keenness, the purely French art of Racine, are all eagerly welcomed and imitated. Their presgtige is strengthened by that of kindred or similar forms, such as the romance, the opera, and the ballet. If the influence of France on the dramatic literature of the Restoration has been exaggerated, or expressed in too simple terms, it is because other influences, and notably that of national tradition, have been sometimes neglected, or examined too cursorily. But the precise examples, the definite traces of imitations and borrowings, are so numerous; so strong is the general sense of a diffused suggestion, of an analogy of atmosphere, which the relative parallelism of the contemporary developments of the two peoples do not sufficiently account for, that one cannot hesitate in locating at this point one of the most certain international transfers of influence in European literature. With D'Avenant and The Siege of Rhodes, there opens a phase in the history of English drama characterized by the ascendancy of the French model; and this phase, despite some interruptions, was to last for a whole century. In borrowing from Corneille something of his romantic pride, and of his rhetoric of feeling—while not the serious, Cartesian doctrine underlying all his drama, his theory of will, his notion of love founded on esteem and reason—it is a little of the spirit of Spain that D'Avenant found in the French writer; and Spanish influence whether direct, or derived through the literature and genius of France, is an element of the original character of the Restoration theatre. This influence, like a recognizable viein, had run through the English drama since the time of the Renascence; but it remained superficial, and generally speaking, influenced scarcely anything save the plot or the exterior delineation of the characters, not the deeper substance of the works. After 1660, the tastes of the court and of the king tend to favour plays which are full of movement, in the manner of those shows where the 'comedia de capa y espada' had triumphed in Spain; and a definite Spanish origin can be assigned to plays such as Sir Samuel Tuke's Adventures of Five Hours, or George Digby's Elvira. Elsewhere, the derivation is only partial, and limited to some episodes, as in Wycherley's Gentleman Dancing-Master; but it is most often indirect, and still points to the popularity of the French model.
Leaving out France, it is to national tradition that one must look for the true sources of the new English theatre, and indeed for the main sources. Restoration drama and comedy are the outcome of a state of manners and of a state of mind; and these manners just as this mind, however strong may be the stamp of foreign influence, are the issue of an inner original rhythm of the English genius. It seems prefereable to say only that this rhythm calls for and permits, after 1660, a widespread and sometimes profound action of the literary or social impulses that come from France: and therefore, that the affinities which are thus revealed ought to enter into the very definition of this phase, and be reckoned among its characteristics.
For the theatre in particular, it is possible to retrace the stages of the development which leads from the last years of the Renascence to the Restoration. Before the banning of plays, the life of Drama, weakened by an inward exhaustion, had already sought refuge in the complication of the incidents of the plot itself. The outcome of Beaumont and Fletcher's art was tragi-comedy. At the same time, a kind of romantic infection, a fashion of adventure, of high-sounding and complacent heroism, had spread all over Western Europe. The spirit animating the French Fronde, the romances of chivalry, the epic poems, the plays of Hardy, Rotrou, and the young Corneille, is like a sort of second youth, proud and somewhat quarrelsome, on the eve of classical maturity and balance. Already the signs of this spirit had appeared before 1640 at the court of Charles I: it comes with the exiled Cavaliers to the Continent, in as large a measure as they receive it there; even those who remain in England feel it rise from the irresistible suggestions of their age, despite the austere sobriety of the Puritan régime. King Charles II, on his accession to the throne, installs it in favour; among the courtiers, the court ladies, the men of fashion, the poets and authors, a chivalrous gallantry, the love of great exploits, a language strewn with hyperboles, a lofty tone, and a rather hollow pretension to heroism as to tender love, in their contrast to the deep cynicism of this age form an organic group of moral traits, and an essential part of the phyiognomy of the time. The reason is that England, like France, then lives through a period of disturbed intellectual exuberance, when the Romanticism of intellect, of style and imagination replaces that of feelings, which is becoming exhausted, and that of will, which is condemned by the century in its progress towards reason and order. During this transition which goes from Fletcher to Dryden, the daring refinements of the metaphysical poets, and the lyricism of the Cavalier poets, well show in what direction the inner trend of contemporary thought is setting.
Thus, heroic tragedy itself is not exclusively the result, in England, of French examples; it has its true roots in the evolution of the national mind. D'Avenant, before the triumph of the Puritan Parliament, and before his stay in France, had written masques for Charles I, and the English masque may be regarded as one of the origins of the opera. He had written dramas in which the exalted inspiration of honour and love made itself felt (Love and Honour, 1642, etc.); he puts them on the stage again after the Restoration, and their tone chimes with that of the new theatre. The first plays of Killigrew (The Prisoners, The Princess, etc.) performed before the ban upon the theatre, appear as stages in the same transition.
The courtiers of Charles II, besides, do not only look with favour upon the plays written to flatter their preferences, but extend a welcome to the repertory of the English Renascence. No doubt, it is partly through necessity that, from 1660 onwards, Fletcher and his predecessors are again taken up: was not theirs a fund which could be drawn upon, while waiting for the poets to bestir themselves? On the other hand, it is only too certain that the taste of the epoch judges and classifies the masterpieces of the great dramatists from a strange angle of vision. Beaumont and Fletcher are favourites with the public: Ben Jonson, the particular idol of scholars, and praised on every occasion by the critics, follows them very closely. Shakespeare, whose greatness is only felt by a few, pleases the crowd by the secondary aspects of his genius; he is disconcerting to an average though educated mind, such as that of Pepys, more often than he is a delight (1). The limits of incomprehension seem to be reached when theatrical managers and authors rival one another in adorning Macbeth with ballets, or transforming The Tempest into an opera. Dryden himself calmly shared in these profanations. The successes won by the Elizabethan drama under the Restoration seem due, very often, to the superficial resemblance of its Romanticism with the cheaper fanciful instincts of the time; to the appetite of a public eager for sensations, rather than to a sincere understanding of its inherent qualities. But when all is said, this drama was there, revived again and again, recalling itself to the eye and ear alike; the soundest sensibilities were able to feel its incomparable radiance; and the continuity of a national art forced itself upon all as a living tradition. By the very fact of its assertion, it became, in large measure, a reality.
3. Heroic Tragedy: Dryden, etc.—
The main substance of heroic tragedy is contained in the work of Dryden. If he is not the creator of it, he raises it higher than anyone else, and leaves it at the moment when, after a very brilliant vogue, it has ceased to please.
It is difficult exactly to determine the origin of this dramatic kind; many threads go to compose its texture, and many hands have woven it. In one sense, it represents the completion of a long development, and unites the most diverse influences—those that have just been enumerated. On the other hand, the writer who best knew how to manage this form—Dryden—attributes its most direct parentage to Sir William D'Avenant, in The Siege of Rhodes (2). But D'Avenant, he says, has not had the ability or the courage as yet to pursue his effort to its end; he has not given his play all the wealth of incidents, the boldness of plot, the variety of characters, which an heroic poem permits and demands; now, heroic tragedy is nothing else than a poem which has been made manifest to the eye. Love and valour will therefore be its mainsprings, just as with Ariosto; the sentiments, and the style, will freely attain to a grandeur quite beyond the actual mediocrity of human life. And the measure of the play will be the rhymed couplet, which has won a place for itself on the stage, and will henceforth rule over tragedy. It has been said that rhyme is unnatural, and distant from actual conversation: it is therefore all the more fitting, in order to raise actions and images alike above the banality of everyday existence. No doubt it has its difficulties, but no one is forced to express himself in rhyme; and such as have been refused this gift will be wise if they abstain from attempting its beauties or incurring its risks.
The Siege of Rhodes, revisted, increased by a second part, and staged magnificently in 1662, better merits in its more developed form the historic honour which Dryden assigns to it. But other authors can advance their claims; for example, Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery, whose Henry V, Mustapha, and Black Prince, written in rhymed couplets, were played at uncertain dates between 1662 and 1667; and Sir Robert Howard, Dryden's own brother-in-law, with whom he collaborated in 1664 in a play which some regard as the first really complete heroic drama (The Indian Queen). Already in 1664 Dryden himself had produced an example, though not of the same kind, yet of the most closely related, tragi-comedy, in The Rival Ladies. He was to come back to this on several occasions in the course of his career, and even down to his last years (The Maiden Queen, 1667; The Spanish Friar, 1681; Love Triumphant, 1694); but for a time, it is upon heroic tragedy, properly so called, that his effort is almost exclusively concentrated; and in this we find his most brilliant work: The Indian Empres, 1667: Almanzor and Almahide, or The Conquest of Granada, in two parts 1669 and 1670; Aureng-Zebe, 1675.
It is easy enough to judge these dramas, provided one examines them in themselves, and avoids comparing them with the very different ideal of French classical tragedy. They are, first and foremost, Romantic; in this sense, they would approximate to the English theatre of the Renascence; but their Romanticism is impoverished by the exclusive preoccupation of producing a single kind of effect, just as it does not escape being shackled, for all that, by a the new attention to rules (3). If one had to look for analogies in Elizabeth's time, they would be found in the Tamburlaine of Marlowe, rather than anywhere else. The aim of these plays is to give to sensibility, imagination, and the senses strong impressions of a surprising and superhuman grandeur. In France, Corneille also, it is true, had based tragedy upon admiration; but he had put all the intellectual quality of his Cartesianism into the emotion of a soul overwhelmed by the beauty of noble sacrifices; esteem, with him, was the fruit of a reason sublimated into moral passion, and in this way it bound up the desires of the heart with the decisions of conscience. And if the hero merited our entire sympathy, it was because his nobleness was a conquest, the reward of a cruel struggle against himself. All this subtlety and, it must be said, this idealism, are absent from Dryden's notion of heroism; this, no doubt, does not resolve itself completely into mere physical courage and great strokes of the sword; but its spiritual value seems to depend chiefly upon the lack of any struggle, and upon a victory immediately won over nature and the flesh.
Such a shifting of the centre of gravity gives back predominance to imagination and sensibility; and even with an Aureng-Zebe, the most inward of Dryden's heroes, the one in whom virtue is endued with the most distinctly psychological quality, one can say that generosity is the inborn and purely impulsive gift of temperament. It is not certain but that this view may be after all the truet and the deepest: but here it has scarcely any philosophic value, as it is not the outcome of any deliberate choice; and above all, it has hardly any dramatic worth; its repeated affirmation, at moments of supreme crisis, rouses our adimiring wonder, rather than it touches us with a heartfelt admiration.
Other consequences are of a still more serious nature. If heroism has its way without a struggle, it is always equal to itself, with the result that there is a fatal resemblance between the heroes. This dramatic kind was so soon exhausted, because it is afflicted with an unconquerable monotony. Excluded from the core of the work, as from the characters, the element of variety seeks refuge in the incidents; the plot, and the material devices—exoticism, staging, machines, etc.—assume the importance which the superficial forms of Romantic drama have always given them. Finally, the style has to suffice for effects of intensity, which the purely moral force of conflicting sentiments cannot any longer supply; so that nobleness tends towards bombast, and vigour towards frenzy. This inner degeneration of false grandeur, on the stage, is so constant, and such a commonplace, that it is unnecessary to dwell upon it. Nothing is easier than to underline the defects of Dryden's heroic tragedies. Let it suffice to say that they are great, and such as one would expect.
But their outer and, as it were, surface Romanticism has the qualities of its defects. A certain imaginativa infection emanates from these dramas; they transport the mind into a domain of superiority that is somewhat unreal, but where it is not unpleasant to let one self be persuaded that one actually penetrates; life there has splendour and beauty; the suggestion of generosity which radiates from it may very well be hollow: in its intention it is true, and while it is felt to be illusory, one yields to it in a certain measure. A sincere Romanticism is never entirely a question of words; the reader of these plays finds himself moved at times, and moved in a manner that is inspiring. Lastly, the diction is almost always sonorous, often firm and nervous, with a dense, concentrated power which is evocative, just as much as it is expressive; it has even at times those sudden flashes of poetry which, lighting up the drama, reveal vast glimpses at one stroke. This style is by no means pure; it still drags along many a trace of bad taste—conceits, affected tricks of all kinds. But it is the style of a great writer, who, if he has not yet mastered his best form, is already himself.
The brilliant success of these dramatic ventures, in which he had no rival, despite the account to whicvh his competitors turned some ephemeral stage triumphs, seems to have inspired Dryden with a feeling of confidence in his own powers, which at times got the better of the sureness of his critical judgment. The dedication of The Rival Ladies to Lord Orrery (1664) not only justified the use of rhyme in tragedy, but even went to the length of recognizing in it a useful and necessary check on the exuberance of the poet's imagination.
No doubt, the celebrated Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668), in dialogue form, of never-flagging interest, brings to the discussion of the problems of drama the breadth of view which Corneille had exemplified in his Examens and Discours. Here Dryden shows the most original and permanent groundwork of his thought; that realistic understanding of the special qualities and claims of the English national art, in which his incertitudes were finally to find rest. He explains here very skilfully the diverse aspects of the truth; the advantages of the ancients, and those of the moderns; the foundation of the unities and of the rules in nature, and the eminent virtues of the French theatre. While he borrows something from all those theses, including the last, he pays a warm tribute to Shakespeare, Fletcher, and Jonson, and praises them, not only for their substantial accord with the rules, but also for the free genius which has permitted them to find these in themselves. Nor is his justification of rhyme in any way dogmatic; it was not necessary, he says, to our fathers, if we prefer it to-day; and its relative constraint answers to the self-ruling emotion of a more conscious art; the rhythmic scheme, besides, must be free, varied by enjambments and half-lines.
But the epilogue to the second part of The Conquest of Granada flatters the public at the expense of the just claims of the past: a more polished age knows merits which were unknown to a rude epoch, and to a yet unrefined language; a Dryden is a better poet than a Jonson, since his audience demands more from him. . . . These remarks having called forth some epigrams, Dryden repeated his argument in the Essay on the Dramatic Poets of the Last Age (1672), in which the superior merits of the present are established by means of a too facile enumeration of the faults which spoil, for example, the 'vulgar' diction of Measure for Measure or The Winter's Tale. . . . Thus, at the summit of his dramatic career, and championing a form of art which, he affirms, is 'the most pleasing that the ancients or the Moderns have known,' Dryden does not rise above the common thought of his time.
Such a success, however, had in it something artificial. The taste for the 'heroic' is still very strong at the beginning of the Restoration; but it is contradicted by the cynicism and the critical spirit of a rational age; while the first tendency, here rather superficial, is a survival of the past, the second is in deep harmony with political and moral realities, and has the future on its side. Great sentiments and paraded virtues form a strange accompaniment to the mockery of Hudibras. The frivolous, skeptical public which relished Butler, without always understanding him, and which applauded the light comedy of the Restoration, could not raise itself for long, even were it through a complacent imagination, to the sublimity of Almanzor (Conquest of Granada). Early enough, the dry irony of the period revolted against a dramatic kind, which, stiffened in an attitude of affected pretentiousness, offered itself as a broad and defenseless target for ridicule. Soon after 1660 George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (4), formed the project of writing a satirical play in which the bragging note of the new drama would be scoffed at; he had collaborators, among whom, it is said without any solid proof, was Butler himself. D'Avenant or Sir Robert Howard was, at first, to be parodied, but the repeated triumphs of Dryden pointed him out as a fitter object for attack, and it is he especially, under the name of Baye (5), whom The Rehearsal (1671) assails.
The hero, Drawcansir, is a replica of Almanzor: very obvious allusions are aimed at the personages, situations, and themes of Dryden's theatre, or of other writers. A work of rather mediocre fancy, devoid of any moral bearing or deep artistic motives, the play is often witty and amusing; some hints have the direct accuracy which results from a sharp perception of exaggerations or incongruities; and the harmony of the thesis with a certain average good sense lends it a force that it does not owe fully to its merit. Hatefuld and ridiculous, the portrait of Bayes is too scathing to harm Dryden, who was wise enough not to see himself in it. But despite its scurrility, the comic vein in The Rehearsal sprang from the very nature of things, and served its purpose.
It did not kill heroic drama. For ten years, said Buckingham, we have listened to rhyme, and not to reason: 'Pray let this prove a year of prose and sense.' The wish was perhaps granted; but after an interval in which he had taken up in prose the defence of his Almanzor, Dryden wrote Aureng-Zebe. This play, it is true, already marks a transition towards another ideal. In it the tragic element is purer, and one has been able to discover in it a distant influence of the sober art of Racine. Despite its numerous shortcomings, the style has often a classical restraint; the versification shows more freedom, and blank verse even reappears in places. The character of Aureng-Zebe, with its nobleness and gentleness of a knight without reproach, is almost a fine thing. On the other hand, the comic elements are developing, less, it seems, in the direction of tragi-comedy, than towards the unconsciously imitated model of Shakespearian drama; the happy ending decidedly takes us away from heroic tragedy. Finally, in the prologue, Dryden says that he is tired of rhyme, confesses that he is full of shame 'at Shakesepare's sacred name,' and marks his own place between two periods of poetry, 'the first of this, and hindmost of the last.' The return for the deeper inspirations of national temperament could not be more clearly indicated.
The decisive proof was not long in coming (All for Love, 1678). But in a dramatic species akin to that which he abandoned from now onwards, Dryden was still going to produce an interesting work. His career, moreover, folows a sinuous line, full of such turns. The Spanish Friar (1681) has all the characteristics of tragi-comedy; two plots are combined in it, one principal and tragic, the other comic and secondary (this latter, in fact, being here the better part of the play, as it is the more developed); and Dryden justifies this mixture in principle (Dedication of the work) by arguments in which is expressed the innate preference of English genius for the mixed forms of dramatic art. Besides, he upbraids the turgidness of a style that is falsely heroic, and makes no exception in the case of his own Conquest of Granada. Lastly, the piece is written in blank verse and in prose. Thus the evolution of his taste is leading him to greater sobriety, as to a deliberate independence of 'rules.' In spite of the momentary variations of his thought, chiefly in the expression which he gives it, he has henceforth found a fixed centre to revolve upon.
Heroic tragedy, meanwhile, was reaching the final stage of decay, dying from an inner exhaustion which Buckingham's satire does not seem to have much hastened. The Empress of Morocco by Settle (1673) had been very successful; The Destruction of Jerusalem by Crowne (1677) did not reawaken the languishing interest of the public. While the influence of the heroic kind is still to be felt in Otway and in Lee, it is with them permeated by a very different spirit, which leads us back towards older and deeper elements of English dramatic tradition.
4. Comedy: Etherege, Wycherley, Shadwell, etc.—
Restoration comedy came into being just as early as heroic tragedy. It was no less a natural issue of the general influences of the time, and it was still better able to satisfy contemporary tastes. The spirit of comedy is essentially a social thing; it develops through the reciprocal observation of characters, the refining of the critical sense, the fixing of conventional values. A court, a society that prided themselves upon their intellectual elegance, would make mockery fashionable: does it not call forth all the vivacity of with, the gift of joking, the art of neat speech? All the circumstances which favoured satire, also favoured the satirical notation of manners; and the stage offered the easiest as well as the most pleasing field for the collective exercise of ridicule. So that from 1660 onwards there is a revival of Ben Jonson's 'humours,' as much as of Fletcher's dramas. After several tentative efforts, Etherege and Wycherley create, in different but analogous moulds, the new type of comedy.
Before them, some attempts had been made, where most often is still felt the paramount influence of Ben Jonson, but where other traits are discernible, called into being by the new circumstances.
During the first years which followed the Restoration, one satirical theme dominates all others: the raillery aimed at the fallen Puritan régime. Such was the trend of the deep reaction of the national spirit; and the playwrigths, who had been silenced by their adversaries, were even less incluned than others to pardon them. Therefore, a whole group of plays, with or without the accompaniment of orthodox Royalist sentiments, give vent to a sconrful condemnation of religious and moral hypocrisy (6). Among them is to be noted the work which reveals the vigorous talent of John Wilson (The Cheats, 1662). Here is a full-flavoured, realistic commentary on the great Puritanic fraud, which makes one think of Butler. As in Hudibras, the pious pretence of the preacher, Scruple, is bound up with other vices or other lies which group themselves naturally round it: the usury and sneaking corruption of Alderman Whitebroth, the charlatanry of the astrologer doctor Mopus; and the casuistry, implicit or open, which had been the outcome of the great effort of the 'saints' to build up life on the repression of instinct, is denounced by the very arguments of Pascal (7).
Dryden, meanwhile, turns first of all his versatile talent to comedy (The Wild Gallant, 1663); the play is mediocre, and this first dramatic attempt does not even hold much promise for the future. This was not the field in which he was to win his triumphs; but one must not take him at his word when, in his critical treatises, he declares that he is incapable of achieving any success in it (A Defence of an Essay of Dramatic Poesy, 1668); the comic scenes of The Spanish Friar show that he knew how to impue such work with racy verve and a quality of genuine invention (8). However the case may be, in the intervals of drama-writing, Dryden managed to pen several comedies. Here he displays an even more marked freedom of tone than in his tragedies; the more noticeable, as he claims not to use the gross methods of farce; and as his diealogue sometimes, for instance in Marriage-à-la-Mode, has brilliance and drollery.
Immediately after Dryden's earliest attempts, the first play of Sir George Etherege (9) was staged; and a truly new note was struck this time. Restoration society, with its cynical, frivolous elegance, bore in itself the suggestion and at least the confused ideal of a light and witty art, where comedy, freed from all moralizing realism as from all doctrinal intention, was no longer anything else than the mocking image of a carefree life. To catch these manners in their actual colouring, to attribute to them only the character that is essentially theirs, and to diversify their immorality with the lively variations of fancy, was at the same time to give a picture of them, to extract their philosophy, and to satirize them in the only way that was fit. In order to have the intuitive sense of this attitude, and of the resources it offered to art, a poet must possess a personal experience and the love of fashionable life, the keen perception of finer shades, the gift of expression. Etherege has all the sprightly ease, and intimate knowledge of the elegant world, called for in this type of the comedy of manners. A born writer, he sojourns in France, where he steadies and still further sharpens his faculty for irony and epigram.
Is it possible that he there became acquainted with the work of Molière, and owed something to his influence? This has not been proved. But in the vivacity of turn, the easy dialogue, a certain sober precision, his work bears the very evident mark of french influence. The originality of Etherege comes, above all, from his temperament; still, his temperament could but be encouraged, developed in a literary atmosphere with which it offered such complete affinities.
The perfection of this type, however, is not reached at one stroke. The Comical Revenge is an unequal play, still encumbered by an admixture of tragi-comedy; the parts written in rhymed verse are feeble, but the prose moves with a very pretty deftness. The work is already quite artificial, without substance, but animated by a felicitous touch of gay cynicism and lightheartedness; while the character of Sir Frederick Frollick is the first sketch of the impertinent young fop who is destined to be the favourite hero of Restoration comedy. She Would if She Could marks a decisive progress; the writer has found himself, and is conscious of what he wants and of what he can do. It is entirely and unreservedly the piquant mockery of fashionable vices, the occasion for a satire that is evidently working hand in hand with what it pretends to be engaged in condemning. The tone is still more cynical, the liberty of language more light and witty. Although the dissimulated coarseness only breaks out in sudden and brutal sallies, the abdication of all moral exigencies will never be more complete. The Man of Mode is the example of an art that has reached the perfection of its form, and in which the poverty of the matter, of observation, is revealed in a somewhat dry precision of outline. In contrast with Sir Fopling, the exquisite infatuated with French fashions, Dorimant represents a more subdued and more national replica of the same type; for already the reaction of patriotic instincts against the excess of foreign influence is here perceptible, as in the theatre of Wycherley also. But the coxcomb is buoyed up by a disdainful gaiety of ridiculous spirit, and impudent liveliness, which blunt the edge of comedy; and the satire is lost in the entertainment of a fastidious irony.
The resemblance to the brilliant, fine art of Congreve is striking; and one would be tempted to over-emphasize the fact, if one did not notice in Etherege a more forward note of disrespect, a more pronounced debauchery in thought, something younger, and also a less sustained brilliance. There is also a suggestion, in certain words, of a secret sense of the validity of cynicism, and, as it were, of an ill-satified longing of the heart. But this is only in a kind of farther background, and scarcely perceptible.
Congreve was to take up the comedy of Etherege, and enrich it, raising it still higher. The inspiration which animates the robust and biting plays of Wycherley (10) is quite different. With him, satire remains just as far from an austere ideal, and and lets itself be carried away by the enthusiasm of a gay immorality; but the game is no longer self-satisfying. The elements of an inner protestation show themselves: the revolt of a strong personality, with an inner bent to bitterness, against the madness which is sweeping it along, and which it judges while giving itself up to it. In the realism of Wycherley there is a violence in which can be seen, not an exasperated cynicism, but the impetuosity of a scorn, all the more frank in that it has no apperances to save, and does not except itself from what it condemns. It is the elementary moral reaction of a nature that is not wholly bereft of all sense of a moral life. To venture farther would be hazardous; nothing in Wycherley reveals a romantic sensibility; and his gaiety is not the ironical mask that would serve to conceal a secret melancholy. But one has too often erred in the opposite direction: one has only searched in his workd for a baseness of soul and the cold desire of scandal. The coarseness of his plays is at once due to the observation of manners, to the desire to please public taste, and to the insulting mockery of that taste as of those manners. And if finally, a play, the intention of which is not by any means dishonourable, happens to be far from edifying, it is because the author, like the society to whom he addresses himself, has lost the very sense of delicacy and shame.
In this lies first the interest of Wycherley's work. He fulfilled all the necessary conditions to give a true picture of a social reality that was limited, particular, but intensely characteristic: he was a man of the world, part and parcel of its life; and, on the other hand, his temperament had sufficient solidity to ensure him his independence, a personal angle of vision, distinct from that of the rake, similar enought to that of the average man. Less indolent and less of a dilettante than Etherege, he paints in stronger colours, and lends a greater relief to everything; and what his art emphasizes is just the original traits of his epoch, drawn with a touch both frank and insolent.
His comedy thus shows us a state of manners, the field of which, narrow in itself, requires defining—the court, the fashionable circles of the capital—but the example of which radiates even to the farthermost parts of the provinces, and there creates, as it were, superficial contagions; attracts to it, on the other hand, moral elements of the same nature; and so plays well the part of that typical form of civilization in which an age can most often be summed up. Young noblemen, dressed in the French style, beribonned and bewigged, straining after wit and very susceptible about their honour; ladies for whom face patches and rouge have no longer any secret, and provocative beneath the enigma of their masks; burgesses, as greedy as they are crafty, anxious, and not without reason, about the chastity of their wives; plays, pleasure haunts, fashionable groves and gardens; suggestive conversations, intrigues, billets-doux, and appointments—it is like a fairly brilliant copy, but overcharged and carried to a brutal licentiousness of gallant life such as the personal tastes of Louis XIV encouraged. Wycherley has described all this in a lively, animated, coloured picture, no doubt intensified by the optics of the stage, but in no way exaggerated. There is skill and talent in the portrait, despite the fact that it is simple and even rough in its manner; and the painter has known how to bring in individual traits to set off general effects; how to catch, as for example in The Gentleman Dancing-master, the craze for foreign customs, French or Spanish; or, as in The Plain Dealer, the features of lawyers and of their victims.
The art of Wycherley, robust as it is, is often rudimentary. His plays have conspicuous faults. From the first to the last, no doubt, there is evidence of a marked progress towards the emancipation and purification of the form. The plot in Love in a Wood is of a quite superficial complexity, from which the succeeding comedies tend to free themselves. But the action is still moved by rather conventional springs, and develops according to rhythms that are expected and monotonous; the tricks of construction are crude. There is no very fine psychology in the delineation of character, and it is rarely that the personges cannot be summed up in one single trait. The best known, such as Widow Blackacre (Plain Dealer), are the puppets of too obvious automatisms. Finally, the author's numerous borrowings, chiefly those he has taken from Molière, enable us to make comparisons which are not usually to his advantage. Whatever may be thought of The Plain Dealer, it seems difficult to see in it, as certain critics have seen, an improved replica of the Misanthrope.
But on the other hand, Wycherley has solid merits. The surest is the truth, the life of the dialogue, its self-impelling force which, as with Molière, makes one retort produce another, the verve of which infuses an irresistible movement into many scenes, and draws new effects from banal situations. The dryness of the moral atmosphere is at times mitigated by a breath of freshness, all too fugitive, and at certain moments, around the figure of Hippolita (The Gentleman Dancing-master). And the pleasant, gay play of wit, in some episodes where the pleasure-seekers vie with each other in conversation, comes upon us as a kind of release, which somewhat softens the crudity of the rest. But the most original quality in Wycherley, and the surest sign of the secret idealism of his thought, is the philosophy which instils an after-taste of healthy bitterness into the cynicism, and makes the character of the Plain Dealer, despite everything, a strong and personal creation; the symbol of a furious, incoherent, powerless anger of the traditional English temperament against the treachery of a refined corruption which captures it through the senses, dominates the intellect, and leaves nothing free save the fituful straining of its will. Popular instinct has not erred in the matter, much more than the rather subdued character of Freeman, the Philinte of Wycherley, it is Manly, a brutal and ferocious Alceste, who represents the confused, violent depth of his experience of life.
Restoration comedy is a fruitful kind of literature. Society furnished for the amusement of an idle public certain general oppositions, such as that of the fashionable circles, to which the greater part of the spectators belonged, and of the town middle class, which remained in the majority faithful to the spirit of Puritanism, and which the theatre shows us in the most palicious light. From those antitheses, and from the situations they naturally lead to; from the spectacle of elegant debauchery in its struggle with vulgar hypocrisy; from the theme of conjugal misfortune, above all, treated endlessly under all its aspects, are born the ordinary types of plot, to which the imitation of the foreign theatre brings the chance of renewal, and elements of particularity. Few of those plays are really of no value to the historian, so naïvely faithful is the testimony they bring concerning the manners or spirit of the epoch. A study of less limited proportions than the present would distinguish in them, besides the comedy of manners—the most interesting—that of 'humours' derived from Jonson; that of plot for its own sake, imitated from Spain; that in which farce is the dominant element; lastly, that in which we have a foretaste of sentimental seriousness.
Several works, however, cannot be passed over in this rapid survey: The Mulberry Garden (1668) of the poet Charles Sedley (11), which, with its amusing figures of young coxcombs, its witty repartees, continues the first efforts of Etherege, and seems to mark the transition between them and the earlier works of Wycherley; Epsom Wells (1672), The Squire of Alsatia (1688), and Bury Fair (1689), of Shadwell (12), plays heavily written, clumsily constructed, but curious on account of the picture they give of realistic scenes—watering-places, the lower life of London, popular festivals; The Rover, or the Banished Cavaliers, a play in two parts (1677-80) by Mrs. Behn (13), who with her varied production, her coloured descriptions, her lively dialogue, her adumbration of feminism, her relative decency of bearing, is an original figure in the literature of the time; and The Country Wit (1676), Sir Courtly Nice (1685), of John Crowne (14), where the invention is rather droll, and the tone still very far from delicate, but where the political themes, the moralizing intentions, reveal in a way the secret working of minds.
Very diverse elements, for the most part borrowed, and associated indifferently in a loose action; feebly conceived characters, who almost always can be reduced to types so often repeated as to become conventionsl; verve, movement, sometimes wit, a comic power, exterior but undeniable; realism, scurrility, licentiousness; all of it significant, artistically poor, but rich in documentary value; such is, generally speaking, the comedy of the Restoration, as soon as the two or three main personalities are left out of account.
5. The National Reaction in Drama: Dryden, Lee, and Otway.—
Between 1675 and 1680 a marked renascence of the national spirit reveals itself in English literature. The inevitable reaction of the deeper instincts against the excess of worldly corruption, and the very first signs of a moral awakening; the political opposition to the government of Charles II, the Protestant unrest, the agitation which precedes and accompanies the Popish Plot; the shame of the subjection, suspected, if not fully known, of the English monarchy to France, and the fear inspired by the ambition of Louis XIV; lastly, the fatigue which was at length provoked by the dominating influence of French art and fashions; all contribute to this secret movement towards the re-possession and re-assertion of the national self, which will not henceforth be checked, and of which the Revolution of 1688 will be the decisive success. This reaction is clearly visible in the drama, and more especially can be seen in the work of Dryden.
Some signs, at an early date, had pointed to it. Side by side with heroic tragedy, so steeped in a foreign spirit, could be found the survival of the Elizabethan tradition, very ill understood it is true; an new authors had tried to revive it. Here again we come upon the name of John Wilson. His Andronicus Comnenius (1664) is a forcible drama, of a concentrated intensity, of a firm style, which by striking analogies recalled Shakespeare's Richard III, and through its merits bears such a comparison without dishonour; in order to be classed as worthy of Shakespearian lineage, it lacks only the highest poetic imagination. Save for a very short passage, it is written in blank verse, of fine quality.
The return to blank verse is the sign of the decisive evolution in the dramatic career of Dryden. Scarcely three years after Aureng-Zebe, he is treating a subject upon which Shakespeare has placed his mark; and without plagiarizing, through the very force of his personality, he extracts from it a tragedy, the merit of which may have been exaggerated, but which wins our keen approval, if not our admiration (All for Love). 'In my style, I have professed to imitate the divine Shakespeare; which that I might perform more freely, I have disencumbered myself from rhyme' (Preface). The verse, indeed, if it has not yet all the desirable ease, gains from this liberation a suppleness of movement, in which English criticism seems rightly to see a necessary condition of tragic style.
At the same time, Dryden's critical essays reveal the change that has taken place in his thought. The preface he wrote for his adaptation of Troilus and Cressida (The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, 1679), shows throughout a just, strong, and yet qualified appreciation of all the greatness of Shakespeare. Between the classical doctrine, derived from Aristotle, explained by Le Bossu and Rapin in France, and by Rymer in England, to which Dryden wishes to remain faithful, and, on the other hand, the technique of the Elizabethan Romanticists, he here establishes a deliberate reconciliation. The irregularities of Shakespeare are admitted, accounted for from the point of view of his time; and the superiority of his genius is established in relation whether to the moderns or to his contemporaries Fletcher and Jonson, or even to the ancients. And in the eyes of Dryden, it is Shakespeare, no doubt, who is thus reunited with the true classicism, of which he appears as the supreme representative; but, in fact, classicism thus broadened is no longer the ideal which English tragedy during the last twenty years had seemed to follow; for Dryden places the deeper vitality of the Shakespearian plays in the creation of characters, and this creation is the work of intuition, not of analysis. Such an inner difference betrays the essential divergence of the two arts, and is reflected in other planes—that of action as that of form. To exalt Shakespeare to the highest degree of dramatic genius, is to propose a model other than that of the unities as understood in France; and of these unities, Dryden now admits but a broad and free application. He claims that the mind of the English requires the mixture of comedy and tragedy (Preface to Don Seebastian).
Even to the close of his life his critical doctrine was subject to fluctuation; and his practice was to be in no wise different. The last twenty years of his career are very mixed: already Troilus and Cressida remodelled Shakespeare rather irreverently; an opera, Albion and Albanius (1685), and a dramatic opera, King Arthur (1691), appear to be little less than sacrifices to contemporary taste. A drama, Cleomenes (1692) is conceived and written, with a certain nobility and purity of line, in close imitation of French tragedy. But these various forms are animated by a new spirit of freedom and artistic virility, to which the use of blank verse, henceforward strictly adhered to (save in opera), only gives a tangible expression. This spirit is to be found concentrated in the tragic parts of The Spanish Friar; and, above all, in a fine drama, Don Sebastian (1690), where the action undoubtedly still recalls tragi-comedy, but where serious scenes, of a sober pathos, alternate without clashing with episodes of frank and crude gaiety. This play is, perhaps, the model of what the dramatic art of Dryden could produce; it is a Romantic work, but of a high Romanticism, and in it are to be felt broad horizons of thought as of heart.
Other writers obey the same influences at the same time. Between 1675 and 1685 we witness a momentary revival of the English drama of the national type, or rather, of a mixed type, in which the national element becomes again more consciously essential. The tragedies of Crowne (Thyestes, 1681, etc.) are hardly to be connected with the Elizabethan tradition, save in the rather clumsy search for effects of imaginative horror. With Lee and Otway, the connection is more brilliantly patent.
Nathaniel Lee (15) is a singular and pitiable figure. The stamp of an unbalanced nature is upon his talent and his work. His short existence was darkened by mental troubles, his end hastened by excesses. He seems to have led, like Wycherley in his youth, a life of feverish excitement and pleasure; and like him, to have reaped from it a sense of bitter disgust (Dedication to The Rival Queens). But this duality of soul is here much more pronounced, and Lee is properly speaking a Romanticist.
He is, above all, a belated Elizabethan. In him reawakens the temperament of some among the decadent dramatists of the Renascence, with their tendency to frenzy and morbidity. This revival is natural; but one also feels it to be, in some measure, artificial or at least voluntary, stimulated by a fashion of the day, by the success of heroic tragedy. This is the kind in which Lee makes his first attempts; then, at the same time as Dryden, he modifies his manner, and adopts blank verse. We really have here the rejection of a discipline, and the return to more instinctive habits. The Rival Queens, Mithridates, Lucius Junius Brutus may have found their subjects in ancient history (or in the contemporary French novel), and make a naïve display of erudition: one cannot conceive of plays less classical. The construction is weak, the psychology almost always rudimentary; and the style, setting aside the work of twenty years, is full of a bombast, a euphuism, a bad taste, whicvh take us back to the eve of the Restoration.
This impulsive liberty spends itself in fiery flights of imagination. The images of Lee are of an extravagant audacity, and animated by an extraordinary sensual ardour. At intervals this frenzy becomes more sober, or better inspired, and then we are surprised by effects of energy, of suggestive power, of poetry, which recall the Elizabethans in a striking way. Or at times the East is evoked with warmth and a grace that are young and full of fancy, recalling the touch of Marlowe. But these flashes of intuitive, spontaneous art are rare; the texture of the plays is of an almost purely verbal intensity, the exaggeration and monotony of which are extremely fatiguing. And in spite of all, the literary consciousness of an already critical age, the atmosphere of reason in which these furies resound, communicate to them something indefinably paradoxical. It seems safe to suppose that Lee's sickly, nervous exaltation is the genuine tone of his sensibility; but he lets himself go without the least control and loses all idea of measure or decency. The way in which he has transposed the Princesse de Clèves is a scandal in art. His work remains interesting as a psychological problem; aided by the playing of great actors, his violence found favour on the stage; but if the renascence of national tradition had not had any other expression, it is not certain that it would have been fruitful. . . .
The still somewhat feverish, but more balanced talent of Otway (16) has better justified this rebirth, and given it its masterpiece in drama. His career, parallel with that of Lee, traverses fairly analogous phases; if he adopts blank verse at a slightly later date, it is as the result of a ripe decision, and in full possession of himself. Among his heroic tragedies, Don Carlos has some merit; but his other attempts are negligible, and everything is eclipsed by the two dramas, The Orphan and Venice Preserved, the brilliant and the durable success of which still assures their author a living fame. It is even permissible to think that the first of these plays is, really, not on a par with the second. Venice Preserved is a unique achievement, and must be looked upon as such; a solitary work, unequalled in the half-century which preceded it, or the century which came after. Its importance in literature is none the less for this; because it remains exceptional by its quality, it is not so by the inspiration that animates it. The tragic temperament of Otway is a last emergence of the Elizabethan vein, on which the various influences of the time have strongly left their mark. It is not of a different nature from that of Lee; it unites scattered tendencies; one might say that it eminently represents the short and late reawakening of the dramatic genius of the Renascence. It is significant that the Restoration, in its troubled and still ill-assured rationalism, should have experienced such a survival of the Romantic past.
The most curious feature of the work is the intimate and coherent fusion of this Romanticism with something at least of the classical spirit. Despite the frenzied outbursts of Venice Preserved, there is evidence of a certain disciplining of the intellect. The intense pathos of the drama is carried on, managed, according to a clever progression, though at times it goes beyond the limits of moral sensibility, and has recourse to wholly physical means. Otway's rhetoric is able to adapt itself to the jerks, the sudden breaks of a passionate, breathless dialogue. His verse, more unequal and rough than that of Lee, has solid merits. There is a sequence, as there is a depth, in the characters. The play is really built upon a psychological base: it is the tragedy of friendship, stronger and higher than love. The action, rapid and concentrated, leads on to an inevitable catastrophe; a bitter, sad emotion radiates from each stage in the unfolding of the fate at work, even if the painting of tenderness and of its sorrows appeals less to the heart than to the nerves.
Despite weak points, lengthy passages, some rant, the play as a whole preserves a fine artistic bearing. The violent, cruel realism of the comic parts, where, under the name of Antonio, the Earl of Shaftesbury is put on the stage, does not destroy the somber atmosphere of the drama; and the effect of harmony through contrast is faithful to the very essence of Shakespearian aesthetics. The most penetrating note of the work is a kind of bitter pessimism, whose personal, tormented accent is explained by the life of Otway, by his unfortunate passion for Mrs. Barry, and his approaching death.
VII. The Transition
1. Limits and Features of the Period.—
The reign of William III (1688-1702) forms a transition in literature. The characteristics of the preceding period continue to be dominant, but in part tend to weaken. Along with these, some new traits appear. One feels that influences are at work, preparing deep changes. They but slightly modify the moral physiognomy of the Restoration, to begin with; they further the definitive advent of classicism, in its completed form. But beyond this immediate action, one already perceives the silent inner working of a force which will progressively overthrow the order of literary values.
The closing years of the Restoration were restless with a feeling of political instability. A hidden or open struggle was being waged between the principle of absolute authority in State and Church, and the idea of tolerance and constitutional liberty. The Revolution of 1688 puts an end to to this crisis. It decrees that henceforth there shall be substituted for the will of one man that of the ruling classes, as incarnated in Parliament, and that the privilege of the Anglican worship shall not extend to the legal interdiction of other cults. Behind this decree, which shapes the course of English history for two centuries, there is to be seen a shifting of the centre of social gravity. The upper middle class of business men and financiers forces its alliance upon the hereditary nobility; it obtains the division of power, and, as a new-comer, immediately makes its own preferences felt. Society after 1688 remains aristocratic; but the spirit of the middle classes begins to impregnate its tone and its manners.
This moral contagion does not spread in a day; it is opposed by the persistence of the former tone, which it limits or destroys. The fashionable and cultured world, from which the literary public is recruited, remains longer than the mass, from which the literary public is recruited, remains longer than the mass of the nation under the sway of the cynical habits of the preceding age. Artistic traditions will survive for some time the needs which called them into being. Hence the hesitant character of the 'transition' that is now defining itself; as yet it is only a Restoration toned down, relaxed, in which one perceives the germs of a a more complete transformation.
In the psychological order of thins, which is probably the most profound and explicative, the tendencies of a rational phase are not abolished ; but in certain directions intellectualism is being sobered, if in others it remains the same; and in aprt of its domain, modes of thought and feeling directly opposed to directly opposed to it are revealing themselves. The empiricism of Locke replaces the fearless logic of Hobbes; Congreve's comedies succeed those of Wycherley; mediocre but worthy poets begin to pen edifying lines. The moralizing taste of the middle class is there, growing conscious of itself, not as yet daring, but preparing and waiting for its hour. The first appearance of the sentimental play dates from these very years, before the turn of the century; the attack of Collier on the immorality of the stage coincides with it. In vain does Vanbrugh try to revive the insolent laughter of a disrespectful generation, and Toland foreshadow the offensive of deism against orthodoxy. A certain free, bold air, brilliant and at the same time coarse, now vanished from literature as from life; the careless, disreputable revel of the Restoration has come to an end.
2. Locke and Philosophical Empiricism.—
In 1688, Locke (17) is fifty-six years old; but as yet he has scarcely published anything. The Revolution realizes his hopes, and enables him to give full expression to his ideas. From every point of view, he must be looked upon as the representative of the age when constitutional liberty and tolerance take definite shape.
The system of Hobbes is an extreme, almost exceptional form of English thought; that of Locke is an average form of it, broadly founded upon the instincts and desires of practical men who are prepared to find complexities in truth, and anxious to adapt themselves flexibly to what exists. It is a preliminary motive of prudence and wisdom that is at the source of his Essay on the Human Understanding; before dogmatically solving thorny problems, and pitting doctrine against doctrine, we must assure ourselves as to what man is able to know; the critical attitude of mind here springs from an experimental good sense. It is a genuinely English tendency, also, which shows itself in the negation of any innate idea, if not of any innate activity of consciousness. The world is built up of the work of reflection upon the simple data of perception; and all the adventurous and often verbal wranglings of a scholastic philosophy vanish before the cold, clear light of a notion of mental life which modern psychology has singularly outdistanced, but the realism of which at that epoch was fruitful. General concepts originate in the operation of thought on the particular; and essential certitudes are founded; our 'ego,' by a direct intuitional feeling; the existence of God, by a rational demonstration; that of nature, by the repeated perception of its sensible characteristics.
In this, no doubt, we have only a relativist theory of knowledge; if geometry, that ideal science, which is a product of the mind itself, retains all its solidity, the science of nature is no longer anything else than a probable linking-up of empirical observations. Such a conclusion was a discomfort to traditional philosophy, and almost an avowal of impotence. But Locke is not in the least perturbed by it. The probability of natural sequences is sufficient for our intellectual desires, since it suffices for our needs; the normal use of our faculties is to employ them for the preservation and conduct of our lives. If knowledge is necessary, it is with a view to action.
The rest of Locke's doctrines is a series of practical applications of empiricism. His political theory, like that of Hobbes, admits a primitive state of nature and a social contract; but instead of simplifying these notions and developing their logical consequences to the farthest possible limit, Locke turns to the observation of facts—contemporary facts—and here he discovers another 'nature.' Individuals are born free; they are subject to one law, that of moral behaviour. As this law is not always respected, citizens of the same state delegate the judicial powers to certain representatives; this delegation, limited and revocable, implies reciprocal obligation; and government is but a public service. Ths spirit of the English constitution could not be more accurately defined. As for property, it is fournded, at least originally, upon labour. The economic theory of Locke is liberal, and sees the sources of English prosperity in commerce.
In theology, there is the same tranquil respect shown to facts—to these facts, the Scriptures and the moral needs of conscience. Questioned by a reasoning mind, which wants to find rules and motives of action, the Bible teaches a quite reasonable Christianity. In this atmosphere of lucid, calm belief, how could tolerance not be born? Experience shows us the varied nature of sects; religion is a purely personal matter; a church is a free grouping of believers; let all the churches therefore be given their liberty, with one reserve, the security of the State. The law will only intervene to ensure the observation of the social pact. The Roman Catholic and the atheist, according to Locke, thus find themselves, throught their own fault, debarred from tolerance. . . . Finally his pedagogy emphasized the practical virtues of education, as a formative agent of character; prefers the tuition of life to that of the universities; protests against the traditional exercised of the schools; and finds the best instrument of culture in the child's maternal language.
We have here no longer the intoxication of reason, the biting criticism of a Butler, or the ardent logic of a Hobbes; but a rationalism incorporated with the temperament itself, sobered, and interwoven with the exigencies of life. It is the properly English form of rationalism; and one feels that, by virtue of its calm, easy adaptability, it has no longer any of that fixity of principle, of that impassioned single-mindedness in the search for a systematic theory of the world, without both of which, in fact, there can be no pure rationalism. What Locke establishes is the original tradition of English philosophical empiricism; much more plainly than Bacon, he expresses the intellectual requirements of a people for whom the success of knowledge is the proof and substance itself of truth. It is not only among the utilitarians but among the pragmatists of to-day that one must look for the direct posterity of Locke.
A thinker of this temperament does not bring any art into the expression of his thought. The Essay on the Human Understanding is of a somewhat monotonous simplicity; in other parts of his work, the style does not lack animation nor even vigour; ut on the whole, Locke is not a writer. However, he has definitely brought within the reach of the educated public problems which had till then been inaccessible. As others with morality, he has popularized psychology, and some aspects, at least, of metaphysics.
3. Halifax and Opportunism.—
The same wisdom, practical, concrete, and so remarkably modern, constitutes the originality of Halifax (18) among the moralists and political writers.
An aristocrat, statesman, and man of the world, he possesses a wide and penetrating experience of life; he interprets it in a style of compact brevity, rich in implicit meaning, which recalls La Rochefoucauld and La Bruyère. But instead of a strained, brilliant style, whose aim is effect, we find in his work more simplicity, a veiled irony, a calmer and franker acceptance of the hundred and one petty human mediocrities. His moral pessimism, as cruel at bottom as that of Swift, is restrained and mitigated by the tolerance of resignation. His attitude is that of a man who wants to live and let live, without illusions, but without bitterness; and who instinctively seeks all that protects, sweetens, and safeguards the frail life of the individual or of the State—tranquil affections, reciprocal indulgence, a wise mean in everything, the respect of order. This philosophy is not the most noble, nor is it the most fruitful; but it is indeed the most natural to the social genius of the English people; and Halifax is a writer of a high representative value. His thought is too fine, his language too reserved, to permit of his being really popular: but his Advice to a Daughter was read throughout the eighteenth century; his Character of a Trimmer defined for the general public the doctrine of compromise upon which the Revolution of 1688 was about to take its stand. Reasonable, but not dry, bold without cynicism, he judges the problems of religion, like those of private conduct or of government, in a spirit of supple realism which is decidedly the special character of the closing years of the century.
4. Comedy: Congreve, Vanbrugh, Farquhar; Collier's Criticism.— This character Restoration comedy could easily make its own; had it not established itself deliberately in the plane of realism? But the atmosphere has changed; and the brilliant talents which reveal themselves in the theatre after 1688 no longer ring with quite the same note as those of Wycherley and Shadwell.
The difference is at times slight; it is not, either, equally perceptible everywhere. Generally speaking, the plays of Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar show the persistence of a literary tone, by the force alone of an acquired habit, while the social realities that justified it have begun to change. These plays none the less, and in the strictest sense, belong to their time. Each author expresses in his own way the spirit of the transitional period.
In the case of Congreve (19), the connection to be established is rather subtle. His refined fancy starts with realism, outgrows it, and gives itself full scope in a domain of pure intellectual imagination. Irony, wit, an insolent verve, are all elements with which the Restoration had been familiar. But here they are combined, harmonized, through the virtue of a superior temperament of a writer and artist; the product of their fusion has a purity of matter, a delicacy of form, unknown to the Restoration. One feels that elegant raillery has now been bred in; that a new generation has risen which has this inborn gift, and carries it to perfection by means of conscious culture. One also feels that certain themes are worn out, and that comedy, from the pure and simple satire of manners, can now rise to their satirical idealization.
However interesting the first plays of Congreve may be, they form, each with its special traits, an artistic progression, leading up to one, the failure of which abruptly checked the career of a fastidious writer, but which is the masterpiece of his style, and of modern English comedy: The Way of the World. Here one must look, in a brief study such as this, for the features of an original art, of which only Etherege had given a sketch worthy to be compared with it. A plot carefully contrived, but not too obviously artificial; contrasted effects, a repressed vigour which bursts out in certain realistic traits; moments of comic liveliness, and farcical scenes: such are the elements of variety which save the play from too constant a distinction, from too dry a preciosity. In this solid framework, which ofers nothing exceptional, psychological raillery and dialogue are displayed with incomparable brilliance. Congreve's heroes are animated by a greatness which is above circumstance, which seems to be its own end, to raise life higher than itself, and to carry the painting of character on to the plane of a poetic and charming creation. There is here, with a personal touch, with an accent of cynical impertinence in which one catches the ring of the epoch, a rapture of imagination recalling the early comedies of Shakespeare; at the same time idealized and strikingly true to life, Millamant and Mirabell are the decisive types of a passion which, welling up from the heart, intoxicates the brain with its light vapours, and excites the intellect without depriving it of its self-command. The exact and restrained skill of a master tones down the radiance of these figures, who come very near to the realm of romantic fancy, without actually entering it. At times the sparkle of the dialogue reminds one not only of Shakespeare, but of Marivaux, when in its finesse it sets about analysing sentiment; still, it is of a less highly quintessential turn than that of the French writer, and less uniformly busied with shades of meaning; it revels rather in impertinent sallies and witty diversions, aided by a wonderful gift for repartee and neat phrasing.
However intellectual, in fact, it may be at tis source, the art of Congreve would not show its full power, were it not for the exceptional felicity of a language in which, to tell the truth, nothing is left to chance. Behind that elegant exactness, that perfect propriety, that easy tone, that balanced and firm rhythm, very scrupulous care is bestowed upon details. No English writer has better possessed the natural art of making witty people speak, of lending to the most idle of their remrks the piquant touch of the unexpected; but here nature is enhanced by the most artistic desire to give each word its proper value, by the sense of its connection with its fellows, and of the general harmony in which it plays its part. Congreve's prose is the finest and the most brilliant of the age of classicism.
Capable of imbuing characters with life, a master of dialogue of style, has Congreve added to our knowledge of man? In this perhaps lies the weak point of an author who by virtue of several merits is equal to the greatest. But if the nonchalance of his temperament, and the lightness of his art, do not allow his comedy to penetrate veery deeply into the study of the human heart, it probes well below the surface. Without having the value of revelations, the analyses he gives us of the feminine soul, and of a certain conscious and seductive coquetry, are of a very precious quality. And from all his art there emanates, like a discreet suggestion, a softened and almost indulgent pessimism. With much less brutality, Congreve is more of the true cynic than Wycherley; in his more sober tints is depicted a deeper vice, which sinks to the very conscience, and snaps the spring of moral indignation. The only virtue which is held up to us—and it is perhaps in itself a sufficient antidote—is sincerity.
Shocked by this indifference to orthodox rules, the taste of posterity has been somewhat severe on Congreve; and Lamb, in order to save him from the common jurisdiction, has had to plead that his fancy is innocuous, because it creates in the realm of unreality.
The contemporaries of Congreve had not the intuition of this paradox, which conceals a truth. In his last play, he had to struggle against a revolt of the demands of morality—a reaction which in their entire careers Vanbrugh and Farquhar had to reckon with.
Ten years after the Revolution, a cleric, Jeremy Collier (20), published an indictment against the 'profaneness and immorality of the English stage.' Already the uneasiness of middle-class feeling at the cynicism in literature had allowed itself to be felt in various ways. But here the attack was direct, full, and authorized; the Church was rising in arms against the theatre, to defend not only morality, but further, and especially, religion and the clergy, which comedy had often placed in a compromising light. The work of Collier has nothing of the nature of a popular argument, simple and naïve; it is a regular denunciation, scholarly and pedantic, and based—only Aristophanes being excepted—on the example of the ancients, as on that of the French. Shakespeare, Dryden, Wycherley, D'Urfey, and most often Congreve and Vanbrugh, are taken to task. The sermon has weight, and Collier knows how to marshal his arguments; the intentional vehemence of his language avoids, generally speaking, the faults with which he reproaches his adversaries; but it is a sermon, and reveals a singular aesthetic incomprehension. The fundamental identity of art and morality is affirmed with a dogmatism that suppresses all problems, by forcing upon art very explicit moral ends. The reasons for the favour with which the painting of vice had been received among a large part of the public are not sought out. The hidden link which connects this diatribe, justified in many respects, but superficial and summary, with the feeling which the middle classes had of their growing influence, is seen in the satirical remarks which Collier passes upon the 'fine gentlemen'; in his defence of the 'rich citizens' against the gibes of the writers of comedy. . . .
The lists were now open. The authors involved did not refuse the challenge. They defended themselves by direct replies, and allusions in their prologues, epilogues, and prefaces; Dryden alone, confessed his faults, without, however, renouncing his principles. The history of this controversy cannot be summed up here. Its immediate influence has been, upon the whole, exaggerated. The tone of the English theatre shows no very appreciable change after the pamphlet of Collier; it will alter by degrees, and not by a unanimous movement, but along several lines; and the liberty of the stage will reassert itself more than once. But apart from the immediate object in view, and when studied in the light of the evolution of manners, these pages assume an historical value. They encouraged the rallying of ordinary opinion to the necessity of a reform; they were the centre of a veritable crusade against licentiousness both in literature and in life, which did not produce very deep effects, but reassured alarmed consciences, repressed some outstanding excesses, and created the atmosphere of moral order and balance indispensable to the advent of classicism. The transition here studied owes to it one of its characteristics.
The first play of Vanbrugh (21) had done much to call forth the ire of Collier. With The Relapse, in fact, freedom of verve and boldness of situation reach their limit. Here realism is again given full play, with a somewhat heavy touch, that tempts one to liken it to the brushwork of the Flemish masters; and one might also say that, setting aside the example of Congreve, it is to Wycherley that comedy returns if the tone of the play were not so different from that of The Plain Dealer. In place of a harsh, bitter vigour, we have here a force of invention and a Rabelaisian humour which spreads itself out, lively, huge, rollicking, sweeping off all the reserves of the spectator in an irresistible mirth. At bottom, there is behind this verve a pessimism of intelligence, a moral sincerity, a sanity of taste; and the work would not be properly understood, if one did not see in it at once a satire upon the new ideal of sentimentalism, already outlined by Cibber (22), and the trace of the hold that this ideal was exercising even then over rebellious temperaments, for some touches are intorduced in The Relapse with a view to sentimental effect. This, however, is only a secondary aspect; Vanbrugh, above all, reveals his wit, his humour, his joy of a builder who constructs his play of solid workmanship, and who in it—one hardly knows how—joins two plots in one. This vigour, which tends to mere brutality, develops frankly into such in The Provoked Wife, and singularly contradicts the edifying intentions which the author proclaims at times—perhaps under the influence of Collier, with whom he was even then bandying argument.
Viewed as a whole, Vanbrugh's comedies are above all valuable as studies in manners; not that they do not magnify reality, according to a system of deliberate exaggeration; but because they give us the deformation of the truth which the public accepted, and thus enlighten us as to the tastes and special bents of that public; while permitting us, when they are reviewed with other works, to form a probable opinion as to what the truth really was. A Sir Tunbely Clumsey, a Sir John Brute, a Miss Hoyden, are caricatures as much as types; but their interest is not less in one capacity than in the other.
It is permissible to find in Farquhar (23), despite his merits, a somewhat tame copy of the fine audacity of his predecessors. He also was born with the temperament of a writer of comedy, gifted with facility and talent; but he came under the full influence of the wave of sentimentalism, which seems to have shaken the inner conviction of his art. His first plays are very licentious; and to the end, they show a natural indelicacy, in keeping with the tone of the age. But although he thinks himself obliged, from time to time, to show fight against the attacks of Collier, one feels that at bottom he approves of the enemy's cause, and often he himself takes no trouble to disguise the fact. His Irish nature led him to mingle laughter and tears; but it would appear that the desire, perhaps unconscious, to flatter the tastes of the middle-class public, who were more and more asserting their own preferences, explains the deviation of his art towards sentimentality.
In order to do justice to Farquhar, one must not judge him from the same angle of vision as Congreve or Vanbrugh. The interest of his work lies in the expression of an attractive and sincere personality, despite the sacrifices which he chose to make to the fashion of the day; and it is also to be found in the varied nature of his inspiration, which has widened the field of the manners studied, bringing into it new aspects of society and life: the army, the highways and inns, the serious problems of the family, divorce, etc. A taste for nature and truth reveals itself there. He has, on the other hand, verve and wit, knows how to sketch a character, and build up a plot; but none of these qualities is outstanding. A likable man and writer, he lacks vigour, and his best moments do not attain to decisive originality.
Tragedy, however, did not show a vitality equal to that of comedy. By the side of Dryden in his old age, the period 1688 to 1702 saw no new talent arise, except the mediocre one of Southerne (24). The late revival of drama with Rowe is posterior by several years; and the middle-class spirit has not as yet followed up its invasion of cmedy by reaching the field of tragic art.
5. Poetry: Walsh, Garth, Blackmore, etc.—
The spirit of the transition is also represented in poetry, by a group of writers who share in certain common tendencies. None of them rises above an ordinary level of honourable talent; their merit lies more in their conscientiousness than in their inspiration; and this very mediocrity is a sign of the times.
Lustre is shed on the last years of the seventeenth century by one eminent poet, Dryden; but he no longer belongs, properly speaking, to this age. With Walsh, Pomfret, Garth, and Blackmore (25), something exterior to poetry itself comes into the foreground. One must not try to disvover too precise reasons in order to explain this interval between the generation of Dryden and that of Pope; chance, which did not bring Pope into the world some years earlier, is above all responsible. But in some measure, it can be explained by the atmosphere itself of a moment when the progress of technique and form on the one hand, and the moralizing preocuppations of the middle class, on the other, threaten to weigh down wnd damp the flight of poetic imagination.
So that there scarcely remains anything worthy of praise in these writers, save their intentions; the correct and polished regularity of the verse of Walsh; the soberness, the amiable good sense of Pomfret; the laboured imitation of the Lutrin, not without wit and skill, which Garth effected in his poem; and with Blackmore, a certain noble ambition, which is too frequently given over to edifying nonsense, and loses itself in arid deserts, but which shows itself capable upon occasion of vigour, of subtle and compact argumentation, of enthusiasm even, and eloquence. Neither the beauties of single passages, nor the occasional gleams of poetry, can redeem—despite the interest of these secondary figures, who show so well the passage from one epoch to antother, and who recompense an attentive study—the essential mediocrity of authors who just apply methods and formulae, or seek in the moral conscience alone the reasons for writing in verse.
(IV) Restoration theatre [to 1680s]. To be consulted: Beljame, Public et hommes de lettres en Angleterre, etc., 1897; Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. viii, chaps. V, VII; Canfield, Corneille and Racine in England, 1904; Charlanne, Influence française en Angleterre au XVIIesiècle, 1906; L. N. Chase, The English Heroic Play, 1903; Courthope, History of English Poetry, vol. iv, 1903; B. Dobrée, Restoration Comedy, 1660-1720, 1924; idem, Restoration Tragedy, 1929; Eccles, Racine in England, 1922; Fitzmaurice-Kelly, Relations between Spanish and English Literature, 1910; Genest, Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration . . . to 1830, 10 vols., 1832; Hazlitt, Lecturs on the English Comic Writers, 1819; Harvey-Jellie, Les Sources du théâtre anglais de la Restauration, 1906; K. M. Lynch, The Social Mode of Restoration Comedy,1926; Macaulay, 'Essay on Leigh Hunt' (The Dramatic Works of Wycherley, etc.), 1841; Miles, The Influence of Molière on Restoration Comedy, 1910; Nettleton, English Drama of the Restoration, etc.,1914; A. Nicoll, History of Restoration Drama, 1660-1700, 1923; Palmer, The Comedy of Manners, 1913; Pendlebury, Dryden's Heroic Plays, 1923; H. T. E. Perry, The Comic Spirit in Restoration Drama, 1925; Restoration Plays,etc., introduced by Gosse (Everyman's Library), 1912; H. E. Rollins, 'A Contribution to the History of English Commonwealth Drama' (Studies in Philology, July 1921); Schelling, English Drama, 1914; A. H. Thorndyke, Tragedy, 1928; Ward, History of English Dramatic Literature, 1899. (VII). The Transition. To be consulted: Ballein, Jeremy Collier's Angriff auf die englische Bühne, 1910; Beljame, Public et Hommes de Lettres, etc. 1897; Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. viii, Chaps. VI, XIV, XVI; vol. ix, Chaps. VI and VII; Charlanne, Influence française, etc. 1906; Gosse, From Shakespeare to Pope, 1885; W. Graham, The Beginnings of English Literary Periodicals, 1665-1715, 1926; J. W. Krutch, Comedy and Conscience after the Restoration, 1924; Meredith, An Essay on Comedy, etc., 1897; A. Nicoll, History of Restoration Drama, 1660-1700, 1923.
(1). A Midsummer Night's Dream is 'the most insipid, ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life' (29th Sept., 1662). Othello was only 'a mean thing' after The Adventures of Five Hours, by Tuke (20th Aug. 1666).–For Pepys and his diary, see below, Chap. V.
(2). An Essay of Heroic Plays, prefixed to The Conquest of Granada, 1672.
(3). In the preface to his Maiden Queen, Dryden presents the play as regular according to the strictest laws of drama.
(5). i.e. 'laurels'; Dryden was poet laureate from 1670.
(6). For example: The Rump, or The Mirror of the Late Times, by John Tatham, 1660; The Committee, by Sir Robert Howard, 1665, etc.
(7). The Provincials had been translated into English as early as 1657 and 1658. From the same John Wilson, in 1665, we have a comedy, The Projectors, which is strangely analogous to the Avare of Molière (1668), a coincidence that cannot be explained by the common imitation of Plautus. The problem requires investigation.
(8). Sir Martin Mar-all, adapted from the Étourdi of Molière; The Assignation, 1672, Marriage-à-la-Mode, 1672; Limberham, 1678, Amphytrion, imitated from Plautus and Molière, 1690.
(9). Born about 1634, he resided for a considerable time in France; wrote three comedies: The Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub, 1664; She Would if She Could, 1668; The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter, 1676, and some light verse; sent as a diplomatic agent to Ratisbon, he exchanged with his friends, among them Dryden, an amusing correspondence, and died in Paris, it is believed, in 1690. Works, ed. by Verity, 1888; Dramatic Works, ed. by Brett-Smith, 1927; see B. Dobrée, Essays in Biography, 1670-1726, 1925.
(10). Born in 1640, in Shropshire, came of an old family, sojourned as a young man in France and frequented the salon of the Duchess de Montausier, where he found an atmosphere impregnated by the spirit of the Hôtel de Rambouillet. Returning to England at the Restoration, he entered upon a life of pleasure in London. The success of his first play, Love in a Wood, staged in 1671, brought him into touch with the court. The Gentleman Dancing-master (1671 or 1672), The Country Wife (1673), The Plain Dealer (1674), followed in quick succession. Then Wycherley retired from the stage, contracted a rich marriage, which proved disappointing, passed through a period of financial embarrassment, and lived until 1715, enjoying the pleasures of his literary friendships. In his last years he was connected with Pope, to whom he submitted his poems for correction. Plays, ed. by W. C. Ward (Mermaid Series), 1888; Complete Works, ed. by M. Summers, 1924. See Chas. Perromat, Wycherley, Paris, 1921; G. B. Churchill, 'The Originality of William Wycherley' (Schelling Anniv. Papers), 1923.
(11). See above, Chap. II, sect. 6.
(12). Thomas Shadwell, 1642-92. Select Plays, ed. by Saintsbury, Mermaid Series, 1903; Complete Works, ed. by M. Summers, 1927. It seems difficult to find in him a writer of the first order, or to pronounce him, despite certain analogies, a predecessor of Congreve. (For the opposite argument see A. Nicoll, Restoration Drama, 1923.)—See A. S. Borgman, Thomas Shadwell, 1929.
(13). 1640-89. See Chap. II, sect 6. Works, ed. by Summers, 6 vols.; study by V. Sackville-West, 1927.
(14). 1640-1712. Dramatic Works, ed. by Maidment and Logan, 1873-7. See A. H. White, Joh Crowne, his Life and Dramatic Works, 1922.
(15). Born about 1653, a graduate of Cambridge, he essayed acting as a profession but without success; his first play was Nero (1675); he then wrote heroic tragedies (Sophonisba, Gloriana, 1676); next came dramas in blank verse: The Rival Queens (1677); Mithridates (1678); Theodosius (1680); Caesar Borgia (1680); Lucius Junius Brutus (1681); The Princess of Cleve (1681); Constantine the Great (1682). He was confined in a madhouse in 1684, was liberated in 1689, and died as a result of his drinking excesses in 1692. Works, 2 vols., 1713; 3 vols., 1734-6. See the study by Auer. Berlin, 1904; R. G. Ham, Otway and Lee, etc., 1930.
(16). Thomas Otway, born in 1652, took to acting like Lee; despite several brilliant successes, his life was one of struggle, and he died in poverty in 1685. His career opened with heroic tragedies in rhymed verse: Alcibiades, 1675; Don Carlos, 1676; he translated the Bérénice of Racine and the Scapin of Molière; worter mediocre comedies (The Soldier's Fortune, 1681, etc.); and two tragedies in blank verse: The Orphan, 1680; Venice Preserved, 1682. Select Plays, ed. by Roden Noel (Mermaid Series), 1891; Complete Works, ed. by M. Summers, 1926. See the studies by de Grisy, Paris, 1868; Luick, Vienna, 1902.
(17). John Locke, born in 1623, in Somersetshire, studied at Oxford, and was attached to Christ Church 1659; he interested himself in science (elected a member of the Royal Society in 1668), and in medicine, which he practised occasionally. Political agent, medical adviser, and confidential counsellor to Shaftesbury, he took part in public affairs from 1660 to 1675. Then he travelled in France, sojourned at Montpellier. On his return to England he was compromised in the disgrace of Shaftesbury and followed his master's example by seeking refuge in Holland, where he waited for the Revolution. William III made him a commissioner of trade and plantations. From 1691 until his death in 1704, he resided with Sir Francis Masham, whose wife was the daughter of Cudworth, the philosopher. The three Letters on Toleration appeared, the first in Latin, the others in English, from 1689 to 1692. He published in succession: Two Treatises of Government, 1690; An Essay concerning Human Understanding, 1690; Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, 1691; Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1693; The Reasonableness of Christianity, 1695; he left several posthumous works, among them an examination of the theory of Malebranche on vision in God, and The Conduct of the Understanding. His writings on moral and religious philosophy provoked lively attacks, to which he replied (controversy with Stillingfleet, 1696-9, etc.). Philosophical Works, ed. by St. John, 1854; Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. by Fraser, 1894; Thoughts Concerning Education, ed. by Quick, 1880. See T. Fowler, Locke (English Men of Letters), 1907; studies by Fraser, 1890; Alexander, 1906; Hefelbower (Relation of John Locke to English Deism), 1919; S. T. Lamprecht (Moral and Political Philosophy of John Locke), 1921.
(18) George Savile, born in 1633, in Yorkshire, entered Parliament on the Restoration, served the Royal cause against Shaftesbury, and was created Viscount Halifax; he afforded the example and outlined the theory of political opportunism during the crises which succeeded one another from 1680 to 1688. He took part in the first ministry of William III, and died in retirement in 1695. An orator of great talent, he left behind several short pamphlets, full of substance (Character of a Trimmer, 1685, circulated in manuscript, and published in 1688; A Letter to a Dissenter, 1687; Advice to a Daughter, 1688; Character of King Charles the Second, etc.), published either without the author's name or posthumously. These were collected in a volume of Miscellanies; ed. by Walter Raleigh, Oxford, 1912. See the study by Foxcroft, 1898, and by Gooch, Political Thought in England from Bacon to Halifax, 1914.
(19) William Congreve, born in 1670, near Leeds, came of an old-established family; prided himself on being at all times a man of the world and not a writer by profession; passed a part of his youth in Ireland, studied law in London, and at the age of twenty-three obtained a very great success with his first comedy, The Old Bachelor (1693). The plays which followed (The Double Dealer, 1693; Love for Love, 1695) added to his reputation; a tragedy (The Mourning Bride, 1697) did not lessen his fame. In 1700 his comedy The Way of the World was received coldly, and Congreve, at thirty, abandoned the theatre. Henceforth, he only indulged his talent in verse, and until his death in 1729, led a full and happy life, surrounded by his friends and enjoying a Government pension. Dramatic Works, ed. by A. C. Ewald (Mermaid Series); ed. by G. Street (Henley's English Classics), 1895; Complete Works, 4 vols., ed. by M. Summers, 1923; Comedies, ed. by B. Dobrée, 1925. Incognita, a short novel written in the youth of Congreve, was republished by Breet-Smith, 1923. See E. Gosse, William Congreve, 1888, new edition, 1924; G. Meredith, An Essay on Comedy, etc., 1897; study by D. Protopopesco (Un Classique moderne, William Congreve), 1924; B. Dobrée, Restoration Comedy, 1924; D. Crane Taylor, William Congreve, 1931.
(20) 1650-1726. A Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage, 1698. See study by Ballein, 1910.
(21). Sir John Vanbrugh, born in 1664, came of a Flemish family, established for two generations in England. Very little is known of his youth save that he was imprisoned in the Bastille in 1691. His plays, The Relapse, or Virtue in Danger (end of 1696), and The Provoked Wife (1697), were performed with great success. With the exception of a posthumous fragment (A Journey to London), the rest of his work is composed of imitations or translations (Boursault, Le Sage, Molière: Squire Trelooby, 1704; Dancourt: The Confederacy, 1705, etc.). His tasts, however, were in the province of architecture; he built several country seats and important buildings, among which were the Haymarket Theatre and Blenheim, the sumptuous mansion presented to Marlborough. He died in 1726. Dramatic Works, ed. by A. E. H. Swain (Mermaid Series), 1896; Complete Works, ed by Dobrée and Webb, 1929. See the sstudy by Lovegrove (Life, Work and Influence of Sir John Vanbrugh), 1902; B. Dobrée, Essays in Biography, 1925.
(22). See below, Book II, Chap. V.
(23) George Farquhar, born in Ireland (1677), studied in Dublin, tried the profession of actor and had his first comedy, Love and a Bottle (1698), successfully performed in London. Then followed The Constant Couple, 1699; Sir Harry Wildair, 170; The Twin Rivals, 1703; The Recruiting Officer, 1706; The Beaux' Stratagem, 1707. His life had all the uncertainty and adventure attending a careless character; he died in poverty in 1707. Dramatic Works, ed. by W. Archer (Mermaid Series), 1908; Complete Works, ed. by Stonehill, 1930. See study by Schmid, 1904.
(24). Thomas Southerne, 1660-1746, already known by his comedies, enjoyed two great successes with his dramas, The Fatal Marriage, 1694, and Oroonoko, 1696, the latter a strange play, inspired by Mrs. Behn, not without a certain brilliance, and at times revealing a little of the fire of Lee.
(25). William Walsh, 1663-1708, the friend of Dryden and Pope, is in certain respects and intermediary between the two poets; his best-known poems are Jealousy and The Despairing Lover. Poems, in Chalmers and Johnson, English Poets, vol. viii. John Pomfret, 1667-1702, published in 1700 The Choice, which won a great and lasting success. Poems, ibid., vol. viii. Sir Samuel Garth, 1661-1719, is remembered for his poem The Dispensary, 1699. Poems, ibid., vol. ix. Sir Richard Blackmore (1650?-1729), a medical practitioner, wrote an epic poem (Prince Arthur, 1695), a philosophical poem (Creation, 1712), a Satire on Wit (1700), and heroic poem, Eliza ( 1705), etc.; essays in prose, a translation of the Psalms, etc.; was praised by Addison, ranked highly in middle-class opinion, but later fell into discredit. Poems, ibid., vol. x.
—según la lectura que hace J. N. Findlay de la Fenomenología del Espíritu de Hegel. Según Hegel, el primer paso más allá de la ética racionalista hacia una ética espiritual se discierne en la tragedia griega. Su análisis es de interés no sólo para una teoría del espíritu o del conocimiento (en la que se inserta) sino de modo más local en tanto que es un análisis profundo de la estructura ideológica del drama— sus esquemas organizativos, o su estructura profunda, si así queremos decirlo. Es por tanto una interpretación del drama basada en una teoría cultural de la sociedad, y también una teoría narratológica. Anticipa también de modo notable la oposición nietzscheana entre el lado apolíneo y dionisíaco de la tragedia. También es toda una teoría del género, y resulta ser así una narratología cultural de la diferencia genérica. En fin, que es una perspectiva sobre la tragedia griega enormemente sugerente. Así la sintetiza Findlay en su prólogo a la Fenomenología del Espíritu:
Hegel finds the exemplary material for this first, rudimentary form of spirituality in the ethical world of Greek tragedy, with which he had come into vivid contact in his Gymnasium studies at Stuttgart. Rudimentary spiritual life is not the life of an undivided community with which the individual subject identifies himself whole-heartedly: it is essentially bifocal, and centres as much in the family, with its unwritten prescriptions dimly backed by dead ancestors, as in the overt power of the State, with its openly proclaimed, 'daylight' laws. The law of the family is a divine law, a law stemming from the underworld of the unconscious, and interpreted by the intuitive females of the family: the state law is on the contrary human, and is proclaimed and enforced by mature males. Hegel makes plain that these laws must at times clash—the theme of the Antigone and other tragedies: in the case of such clashes, the individual incurs guilt whatever he may do. Obviously Hegel has here seized on a very profound source of disunity in ethical spiritual life: the clash between a self-transcendence which is deep, but also tinged with contingent immediacy, and a self-transcencence which can be extended indefinitely, but in that very extensibility necessarily lacks depth. The truly moral life to which we must advance will be as deep in its care for individual problems and circumstances as it is wide in its concern for anyone and everyone. For the time being, however, the rent life of the primitive ethical community must yield place to a spiritual life where all intimacy is dissolved. (Findlay xxi).
—que será ejemplificada por Hegel, en las fases fenomenológicas atravesadas por el espíritu, por el mundo del imperio romano.
Los apartados en que trata Hegel la cuestión de las dos leyes y de los conflictos éticos, con el ejemplo de Antígona, están en la scción VI, "Spirit", de la Fenomenología del Espíritu, especialmente §438-476. Reproduciré aquí no el texto de Hegel, sino su síntesis en el comentario o explicación de Findlay sobre las secciones más relevantes para el drama.
Primero, establece Hegel cómo la vida espiritual de una comunidad se divide en dos ámbitos regidos por dos leyes: el ámbito humano del Estado, la ley y la vida "diurna" de la comunidad, y el ámbito familiar, ámbito divino y más unido a la intuición y a la tradición. El primero es masculino y el segundo femenino, y el primero descansa en última instancia sobre el segundo.
§439. The essence of Spirit has already been recognized as the ethical substance, the customs and laws of a society. Spirit, however, is the ethical actuality which, when it confronts itself in objective social form, has lost all sense of strangeness in what it has before it. The ethical substance of custom and law is the foundation and source of everyone's action and the aim towards which it tends: it is the common work which men's co-operative efforts seek to bring about. The etical substance is as it were the infinite self-dispending benevolence on which every individual draws. It is of the essence of this substance to come to life in distinct individuals and to act through and in them.
§440. Spirit is the absolutely real being of which all previous forms of consciousness have represented falsely isolated abstractions, which the diealectic development has shown them to be. In the previous stage of observational and active Reason, Sirit has rather had Reason than been Reason: it has imposed itself as a category on material not intrinsically categorized. When Spirit sees itself and its world as being Reason it becomes ethical substance actualized.
§441. Spirit in its immediacy is the ethical life of a people, of individuality at once with a social world. But it must advance to the full consciousness of what it immediately is through many complex stages, stages realized in a total social world and not merely in a separate individual consciousness.
§442-3. The living ethical world of spirit is its truth, its abstract self-knowledge being the formal generality of law. But it dirempts itself on the one hand into the hard reality of a world of culture, and on the other hand into the inner reality of a world of faith and insight. The conflict between these two modes of experience is resolved in Spirit-sure-of-itself, i.e. in morality. Out of all these attitudes the actual self-consciousness of absolute Spirit will make its appearance.
THE TRUE SPIRIT. THE ETHICAL ORDER.
§444. Spirit is a consciousness which intrinsically separates its moments, whether in its substance or in its consciousness. In its consciousness the individual moral act and the accomplished work are separated from the general moral substance or essence: the term which serves as middle term between them is the individual conscious agent.
§445. The ethical substance, i.e. the system of laws and customs, itself reflects the distinction between the individual action or agent, on the one hand, and the moral substance or essence, on the other. It splits up into a human and a divine law. The individual harried by these contradictory laws both knows and does not know the wrongness of his acts, and is tragically destroyed in the conflict. Through such tragic instances, individuals learn to advance beyond blind obedience to law and custom. They achieve the ability to make conscious decisions to obey or disobey.
THE ETHICAL WORLD
§446. Spirit is essentially self-diremptive. But just as bare being dirempts itself into the Thing with its many properties, so the ethical life dirempts itself into a web of ethical relations. Adn just as the many properties of the Thing concentrate themselves into the contrast between individuality and universality, so too do ethical laws resolve themselves into individual and universal laws.
§447. The ethical substance, as individual reality, is the commonality which realizes itself in a plurality of existent consciousnesses in all of which it is consciously reflected, but which also underlies them as substance and contains them in itself. As actual substance it is a people, as actual consciousness the citizens of that people. Such a people is not anything unreal: it exists and prevails.
§448. This Spirit can be called the human law since it is a completely self-conscious actuality. It is present as the known law and the prevailing custom. It shows itself in the assurance of individuals generally, and of the government in particular. It has a daylight sway, and lets individuals go freely about their business.
§449. The ethical substance reveals itself, however, in another law, the Divine Law, which springs from the immediate, simple essence of the ethical, and is opposed to the fully conscious dimension of action, and extends down to the inner essence of individuals.
§450. The Divine Law has its own self-consciousness, the immediate consciousness of self-in-other, in a natural ethical community, the Family. The Family is that elementary, unconscious ethical being which is opposed to, and yet is also presupposed by, the conscious ethical being of the people and their devotion to common ends.
§451. In the Family natural relations carry universal ethical meaning. The individual in the Family is primarily related to the Family as a whole, and not by ties of love and sentiment to its particular members. The Family, further, is not concerned to promote the well-being of its particular members, nor to offer them protection. It is concerned with individuality raised out of the unrest and change of life into the universality of death, i.e. the Family exists to promote the cult of the dead.
§452. The individuality by dying achieves peace and universality through a merely natural process. As regards its timing it is only accidentally connected with the services he performs to the community, even though dying is in a sense the supreme service to the community that a man can perform, in furnishing the Family with its ancestral pantheon, its household Lares. In order, however, that the individual's taking up into universality may be effective, it must be helped out by a conscious act on the part of the Family members. This act may indifferently be regarded as the saving of the deceased individual from destruction, or as the conscious effecting of that destruction, so that the individual becomes a thing of the past, a universal meaning. The Family resists the corruption of worms and of chemical agencies by substituting their own conscious work in its place, by consigning the dead individual solemnly to the imperishable elementary individual, the earth. It thereby also makes the dead person an imperishable presiding part of the Family.
§454. There are in both laws differences and gradations. In discussing these we shall see them in active operation, enjoying their own self-consciousness and also interacting with one another.
§455. The human law has its living seat in the government in which it also assumes individual form. The government is the actual Spirit which reflects on itself, and is the self of the whole ethical substance. It may accord a limited independence to the families under its sway, but is always ready to subordinate them to the whole It may likewise accord a limited independence to individuals promoting their own gain and enjoyment, but it has to prevent such individual concerns from becoming overriding. From tim to time it must foster wars to prevent individual life from becoming a mere case of natural being, and ceasing to serve the freedom and power of the social whole. The daylight, human law, however, always bases its authority on the deeper authority of the subterranean Divine Law.
§456. The Divine Law governs three different family-relationships, that of husband to wife, of parents to children, and of siblings to one another. The husband-wife relation is a case of immediate self-recognition in another consciousness which has also a mainly natural character: its reality lies outside of itself, in the children, in which it passes away.
§457. A relationship unmiexed with transience or inequality of status is that of brother and sister. In them identity of blood has come to tranquillity and equilibrium. As sister, a woman has the highest intimations of ethical essence, not yet brought out into actuality or full consciousness: she manifests internal feeling and the divinity that is raised above the actual. As daughter, a woman must see her parents pass away with resigned tenderness, as mother and wife there is something natural and replaceable about her, and her unequal relation to her husband, in which she has dueties where he mainly has pleasures, means that she cannot be fully aware of herself in another. In brother and sister there are none of the inequalities due to desire nor any possibility of replacement: the loss of a brother is irreparable to a sister, and her duty to him is the highest.
§458. The brother represents the family-spirit at its most individual and therefore turned outwards towards a wider universality. The brother leaves the immediate, elemental, negative ethical life of the family to achieve a self-conscious, actual ethical life.
§459. The brother passes from the suzerainty of the divine to that of the human law: the sister or wife remains the guardian of the Divine Law. They have each a different natural vocation, a sequel of the vocation considered above in the 'task itself', a vocation which has its outer expression in the distinction of sex.
§460. The human and ethical orders require one another. The human law has its roots in the divine order, whereas the Divine law is only actual in the daylight realm of existence and activity.
§461. The ethical system in its two branches fulfils all the perfect categories that have led up to it. It is rational in that it unites self-consciousness and objectivity. It observes itself in the customs which surround it. It has pleasure in the family life and necessity in the wider social order. It has the law of the heart at its root which is also the law of all hearts. It exhibits virtue and the devotion to the 'task itself'. It provides the criterion by which all detailed projects and acts are tested.
§462. The ethical whole is a tranquil equilibrium of parts in which each finds its stisfaction in this equilibrium with the whole. Justice is the agency which restores this equilibrium whenever it is disturbed by individuals or classes. The communal spirit avenges itself on wrongs done to its members, wrongs which have the mechanical character of the merely natural, by equally natural expedients of revenge.
§463. Universal self-conscious Spirit is chiefly manifest in the man, unconscious individualized Spirit in the woman: both serve as middle terms in what amounts to the same syllogism uniting the divine with the human law.
A continuación ejemplifica Hegel, aludiendo al ejemplo de Antígona, el surgimiento del acto moral (y trágico) como consecuencia del conflicto entre las dos leyes, entre el ámbito del Estado y el ámbito de la familia. Es un conflicto surgido de la acción individual:
§464. In the opposition of the two laws we have not yet considered the role of the individual and his deed. It is the individual's deed which brings the two laws into conflict. A dreadful fate (Schicksal) here enters the scene and makes action come out on one side or the other.
§465. The individual's self-alignment with one law does not, however, involve internal debate and arbitrary choice, only immediate, unhesitant, dutiful self-commitment. There is no quarrel of duty with duty. It is one's sex, Hegel suggests, which decides which law one will obey.
§466. In self-consciousness the two laws are explicit, not merely implicit as in ordinary ethical life. The individual's character commits him to one law. The other seems to him only an unrighteous actuality (será el punto de vista de Antígona sobre la orden de Creonte) or a case of human obstinacy or perversity (es así como ve Creonte la obstinación de Antígona).
§467. The ethical consciousness cannot (like the consciousness that preceded it) draw any distinction between an objective order and its own subjective order: it cannot doubt that the law it obeys has absolute authority. Nor is there any taint of individuality left over that can deflect it from the path of duty. (Así pues, la acción de Antígona no se debe a un impulso individualista o de aserción de su propio yo). It cannot conceive that the duty could be other than what it knows it to be.
§468. None the less the ethical consciousness cannot divert itself of allegiance to both laws, and so cannot escape guilt when it opts for the one as opposed for the other. Only an inert, unconscious stone can avoid incurring guilt. The guilt is, however, not individual, but collective. It is the guilt of a whole class or sex.
§469. The law violated by an individual's act necessarily demands vindication, even though its voice was not at the time heard by the violator. Action brings the unconscious into the daylight, and forces consciousness to bow to its offended majesty.
§470. The ethical consciousness is most truly guilty when it wittingly rejects the behests of one law and holds them to be violent and wrong. Its action denies the demand for real fulfilment which is part of the law, and so involves real guilt.
§471. The individual cannot survive the tragic conflict in him of the two laws, neither of which he can repudiate. He cannot merely have a sentiment (Gesinnung) for the one. His whole being is consumed in pathos, which is part of his character as an ethical being.
§472. In the fateful conflict of two laws in different individuals both individuals undergo destruction. Each is guilty in the face of the law he has violated. It is in the ethical subordination of both sides that absolute right is first carried out.
§473. A young man leaves the unconscious natural medium of ethical life to become ruler of the community and administer the human law. But the natural character of his origins may show itself in a duplicity of existence, e.g. Eteocles and Polynices. The community is bound to honour the one who actually possesses power, and to dishonour the mere claimant to state power who takes up arms against the community. This dishonour involves deprivation of burial rights. (Es la forma que toma el conflicto en la Antígona de Sófocles).
§474. The family-spirit, backed by the Divine Law, and with its roots in the underworld waters of forgetfulness, is affronted by these human arrangements. The dead man finds instruments of vengeance by which the representatives of the human law are in their turn destroyed.
§475. The battle of laws, with its inherent pathos, is carried on by human agents, which gives it an air of contingency. The atomistic family has to be liquidated in the continity of communal life, but the latter continues to have its roots in the former. Womankind, that eternal source of irony, reduces to ridicule the grave deliberations of the state elders, and asserts the claims of youth. The communal spirit then takes its revenge of feminine anarchy by impressing youth into war. In war the ethical substance asserts its negativity, its freedom from all existing arrangements. But since victory depends on fortune and strength, this sort of ethical community breaks down, and is superseded by a soulless, universal ethical community, based on limitless individualism.
§476. The destruction of the ethical world of custom lies in its mere naturalness, its immediacy. This immediacy breaks down because it tries to combine the unconscious peace of nature with the self-conscious, unresting peace of Spirit. An ethical system of this natural sort is inevitably restricted, and gets superseded by another similar system. Spiritual communal life necessarily detaches itself from such tribalism, and erects itself into a formally universal 'open society' (term not used by Hegel) dispersed among a vast horde of separate individuals.
Sobre la lectura hegeliana de Antígona, puede verse también la interpretación de Slavoj Zizek, que enfatiza la dimensión retroactiva de las acciones morales de Antígona.
Hay varias ideas claves o centrales en la Fenomenología del Espíritu de Hegel—muchas, muchísimas—pero a ver si las enfocamos lo más posible para centrarlas en una sola: la reflexividad del conocimiento y la manera en que trasciende a su objeto una vez lo ha expresado en una representación determinada. La relación del conocimiento con el objeto que ha constituido mediante su acción se convierte en un nuevo objeto de conocimiento, y el proceso prosigue a modo de espiral dialéctica o hermenéutica. Sobre este tipo de espirales o círculos hermenéuticos retroalimentativos puede verse mi artículo "La espiral hermenéutica".
En el prólogo a la Fenomenología del Espíritu, escrito tras la obra misma, Hegel introduce no tanto la obra sino todo su sistema. Aparte del prólogo, está la Introducción a esta obra. Según su comentador J. N. Findlay, "el objetivo de la introducción es proporcionar una noción preliminar, justificada sólo cuando se completase la obra, sobre cómo un estudio de las formas de la mente que nos conducen desde la experiencia inmediata hasta lo que se proclama como conocimiento científico, podría disipar dudas sobre la posibilidad real de todo el proyecto" (xiii, traduzco). Es decir, Hegel es consciente de un problema de reflexividad o de regressus in infinitum planteado por la idea misma de un análisis del conocimiento, o por una fenomenología del espíritu.
"Might not the finally corrected shape which emerged from such a process be as remote from things 'as they in themselves are' as the first, uncorrected, immediate shape? And how could the projected work abolish Kant's view that an examination of human knowledge only shows, not that such knowledge can really reach some standpoint where 'the Absolute' or 'the Thing in Itself' will be accessible to it, but that this is for ever and in itself impossible, that there are and must be aspects of things that we can indeed conceive negatively, or perhaps have beliefs about, but of which we can neve have knowledge?" (xiv)
La solución ofrecida por Hegel me parece propiamente fenomenológica en el sentido husserliano—una reducción fenomenológica del problema del conocimiento y de sus objetos. Los supuestos objetos trascendentales son, también, un producto y objeto del conocimiento:
"Hegel's criticism of this critical view of knowledge is simply that it is self-refuting, that it pronounces, even if negatively, on the relation of conscious appearances to absolute reality, while claiming that the latter must for ever transcend knowledge. To this self-refuting view Hegel opposes the view that the distinction between what things in themselves are, and what things only are for consciousness or knowledge, must itself be a distinction drawn within consciousness, that the former can be only the corrected view of an object, while the latter is merely a view formerly entertained but now abandoned as incorrect. The progress of knowledge will then consist in the constant demotion of what appeared to be the absolute truth about the object to what now appears to be the only way that the object appeared to consciousness, a new appearance of absolute truth taking the former's place. (xiv).
—así Hegel, a modo de un T. S. Kuhn del siglo XIX, relativiza el conocimiento y sus absolutos, y los muestra como etapas de un autoconocimiento, una vez se comprenden como tales, claro está, y así el espíritu va continuamente sufriendo revoluciones epistemológicas, superándose a sí mismo y dejando atrás sus antiguas representaciones y certidumbres, que quedan reinterpretadas, reenmarcadas y concebidas ahora como fases de un proceso que lleva hasta el Saber Absoluto—obtenido cuando abandonamos la concepción dogmática o ingenua del conocimiento, para pasar a una concepción dialéctica y reflexiva del mismo.
En la Introducción encontramos esta reflexión hegeliana sobre la reflexión, o sobre la reflexividad, y sobre la manera en que el conocimiento lleva a su propia autosuperación sin límite ni final posible, a no ser esta comprensión reflexiva de lo que significa conocer y lo que significan los avances en la comprensión:
§78. (...) The series of configurations which consciousness goes through along this road is, in reality, the detailed history of the education of consciousness itself to the standpoint of Science. (...)
§80. But the goal is as necessarily fixed for knowledge as the serial progression; it is the point where knowledge no longer needs to go beyond itself, where knowledge finds itself, where Notion corresponds to object and object to Notion. Hence the progress towards this goal is also unhalting, and short of it no satisfaction is to be found at any of the stations on the way. Whatever is confined within the limits of a natural life cannot by its own efforts go beyond its immediate existence; but it is driven beyond it by something else, and this uprooting entails its death. Consciousness, however, is explicitly the Notion of itself. Hence it is something that goes beyond limits, and since these limits are its own, it is something that goes beyond itself. With the positing of a single particular the beyond is also established for consciousness, even if it is onlyalongside the limited object as in the case of spatial intuition. Thus consciousness suffers this violence at its own hands: it spoils its own limited satisfaction. When consciousness feels this violence, its anxiety may well make it retreat from the truth, and strive to hold on to what it is in danger of losing. But it can find no peace. If it wishes to remain in a state of unthinking inertia, then thought troubles its thoughtlessness, and its own unrest disturbs its inertia. Or, if it entrenches itself into sentimentality, which assures us that it finds everything to be good in its kind, then the assurance likewise suffers violence at the hands of Reason, for precisely in so far as something is merely a kind, Reason finds it not to be good. Or, again, its fear of the truth may lead consciousness to hide, from itself and from others, behind the pretension that its burning zeal for truth makes it difficult or even impossible to find any other truth but the unique truth of vanity—that of being at any rate cleverer than any thoughts that one gets by oneself or from others. This conceit which understands how to belittle every truth, in order to turn back on itself and gloat over its own understanding, which knows how to dissolve every thought and always find the same barren Ego instead of any content—this is a satisfaction which we must leave to itself, for it flees from the universal, and seeks only to be for itself.
Se hace extraña la formulación de Hegel a veces por la manera en que presenta esta aventura del espíritu como la de una consciencia que se va superando y conociendo a sí misma—cuando (en nuestra concepción más usual hoy) es la confrontación entre distintas consciencias, el encuentro con la alteridad no en uno mismo sino en las concepciones de otros, lo que lleva a superar las concepciones concretas. Pero es otra manera de ponerlo, quizá: después de todo, la conciencia que se vive como alteridad ha de ser representada como una fase de la conciencia crítica que la supera. Y esta reconceptualización o esta nueva experiencia del objeto ya es, bien observa Hegel, la experiencia de otro objeto, de un objeto transformado por la nueva manera en que se lo conoce, el nuevo punto de vista desde el cual se ve:
§85. (...) in fact, in the alteration of the knowledge, the object itself alters for it too, for the knowledge that was present was essentially a knowledge of the object : as the knowledge changes, so does the object, for it essentially belonged to this knowledge. Hence it comes to pass for consciousness that what it previously took to be the in-itself is not an in-itself, or that it was only an in-itself for consciousness. Since consciousness thus finds that its knowledge does not correspond to its object, the object itself does not stand the test; in other words, the criterion for testing is altered when that for which it was to have been the criterion fails to pass the test, and the testing is not only a testing of what we know, but also a testing of the criterion of what knowing is.
§86. Inasmuch as the new true object issued from it, this dialectical movement wheich consciousness exercises on itself and which affects both its knowledge and its object, is precisely what is called experience [Erfahrung]. (...)
El conocimiento viene a ser una transición sucesiva de puntos de vista, o un juego de marcos, de frames como diría Goffman, reenmarcando la experiencia anteriormente asimilada en una nueva relacion al sujeto, a su mundo y a su nueva comprensión. Aquí es interesante la teoría de Hegel como fundamento filosófico de la noción de topsight o perspectiva dominante, entendida aquí como aplicable a la comprensión de la realidad última de las cosas o de formulación de la verdad de una situación. No es sorprendente que esta posición de topsight la identifique Hegel con su propia concepción reflexiva y dialéctica de la experiencia y del conocimiento de la misma, de la fenomenología del espíritu por decirlo con los términos que dan título a la obra:
§87. (...) From the present viewpoint, however, the new object shows itself to have come about through a reversal of consciousness itself [y no de un encuentro con la alteridad sin más.] This way of looking at the matter is something contributed by us, by means of which the succession of experiences through which consciousness passes is raised into a scientific progression—but it is not known to the consciousness that we are observing.
Es en cierto modo lo que Paul de Man formulará en términos de blindness and insight—sólo que Hegel deja claro que el insight pertenece a la conciencia observadora de la primera conciencia superada, en la percepción de la blindness podríamos decir. La anulación o superación de una fase de la consciencia supone también la pervivencia de lo que había de cierto en esa modalidad del conocimiento, aunque se manifieste en forma diferente.
(sigue §87) It shows up here like this: since what first appeared as the object sinks for consciousness to the level of its way of knowing it, and since the in-itself becomes a being-for-consciousness of the in-itself,, the latter is now the new object. Herewith a new pattern of consciousness comes on the scene as well, for which the essence is something different from what it was at the preceding stage. It is this fact that guides the entire series of the patterns of consciousness in their necessary sequence. But it is just this necessity itself, or the origination of the new object, that presents itself to consciousenss without its understanding how this happens, which proceeds for us, as it were, behind the back of consciousness. Thus in the movement of consciousness there occurs a moment of being-in-itself or being-for-us which is not present to the consciousness comprehended in the experience itself. The content, however, of what presents itself to us does exist for it; we comprehend only the formal aspect of that content, or its pure origination. For it, what has thus arisen exists only as an object; for us, it appears at the same time as movement and a process of becoming.
(—o sea, la fenomenología del espíritu propiamente dicha). Este es el razonamiento que aplica Hegel, por ejemplo, para la desconstrucción de las creencias religiosas, pero también a todas las demás fases del espíritu. Constituye con ello una filosofía esencialmente narrativa, de una narratividad guiada por la reflexividad y la ironía romántica, en la que el juego de sucesivos puntos de vista y el rechazo de las formas de experiencia y representación que se han vuelto inauténticas es la dinámica misma y sustancia del progreso del conocimiento, y el ser mismo del espíritu en tanto que espíritu activo y pensante.
Así comenta Findlay la manera en que Hegel incorpora la reflexividad a su sistema para a la vez darle un cierre conceptual a su concepción, sin por ello pasar a concebir el conocimiento como algo que pueda cesar en su movimiento de autosuperación:
"Hegel, however, assumes that this progress must have a final term, a state where knowledge need no longer transcend or correct itself, where it will discover itself in its object and its object in itself, where concept will correspond to objet and object to consciousness (see §80 (p. 69)). Such a conception might seem to go too far, for surely an endless inadequacy of knowledge to its object would not destroy all meaning and validity in such knowledge, nor would this vanish were there to be aspects of things of which, as Kant held, we could only frame negative, regulative conceptions but of which we could never have definite knowledge? Hegel will, however, marvellously include in his final notion of the final state of knowledge the notion of an endless progress that can have no final term. For he conceives that, precisely in seeing the objet as an endless problem, we fortwith see it as not being a problem at all. For what the object in itself is, is simple to be the other, the stimulant of knowledge and practice, which in being for ever capable of being remoulded and reinterpereted, is also everlastingly pinned down and found out being just what it is." (xiv).
O, dicho con las palabras de Hegel que cierran la Introducción (y en cierto modo abren y cierran la Fenomenología),
§89. The experience of itself which consciousness goes through can, in accordance with its Notion, comprehend nothing less than the entire system of consciousness, or the entire realm of the truth of the Spirit. For this reason, the moments of this truth are exhibited in their own proper determinateness, viz. as being not abstract moments, but as they are for consciousness, or as consciousness itself stands forth in its relation to them. Thus the moments of the whole are patterns of consciousness. In pressing forward to its true existence, consciousness will arrive at a point at which it gets rid of its semblance of being burdened with something alien, with what is only for it, and some sort of 'other', at a point where appearance becomes identical with essence, so that its exposition will coincide at just this point with the authentic Science of Spirit. And finally, when consciousness itself grasps this its own essence, it will signify the nature of absolute knowledge itself.
Se me ocurre que esta formulación hegeliana de la relación entre la mente y el objeto la podemos leer como una teoría hermenéutica sobre el significado de los textos también—son objetos al fin y al cabo, en sentido amplio—y por tanto, más en concreto, como una caracterización de nuestra propia respuesta a la Fenomenología del Espíritu. En tanto que teoría hermenéutica, está en la dialéctica hegeliana la base del interaccionismo simbólico como teoría del significado de los objetos: significado no objetivo (no residente en el objeto) ni subjetivo (no asignado por la mente del intérprete sin más) sino precisamente dialéctico y dialógico, una respuesta a un proceso de interacción entre el intérprete y otros intérpretes—en el caso estudiado por Hegel, las interpretaciones recibidas que hacen que el objeto sea para nosotros lo que es, antes de ser transformado por nuestro reposicionamiento y nuestra reconceptualización del mismo.
Tiene la empresa de Hegel un fuerte componente retrospectivizante, o retroactivizante, como todo proceso basado en la dialéctica reinterpretativa, o en la circulación hermenéutica. Distingue constantemente la mente observadora del fenomenólogo analista (el autor Hegel, o el "narrador" de la obra si se quiere) de las aventuras del héroe, el Espíritu sólo parcialmente consciente de sí, encarnándose en un avatar tras otro: "It is important to realize that the sensing, perceiving, understanding and self-conscious mind does not perceive the logical connections which lead from each of these stages to the next. It is we, the phenomenologists, who perceive them. (....) It is the watching phenomenologist who discerns all these transitions, and who above all performs the difficult, non-formal transition from 'Things are interacting in a manner X' to 'We all are understanding things as interacting in a mannerX" (xvi). Como en otras narraciones, es el discurso el que guía nuestra atención aquí y nos lleva de la mano por una colección de experiencias que no podríamos tener si no por el hilo conductor que nos proporciona, su control del tiempo, de los personajes, del punto de vista, y del comentario evaluador.
Llama la atención Findlay sobre la crítica de Hegel al reduccionismo—algo dijimos ya sobre esto a cuenta de Raymond Tallis y la nueva refutación de la frenología. Hoy en día el reduccionismo aparece en forma de la neurociencia cognitiva, las resonancias neuronales, etc., a las que en última instancia podemos aplicar el mismo razonamiento hegeliano que Findlay propone aplicar prospectivamente a los behavioristas, Watson y Tolman y Skinner, a saber, que "The manoeuvres of reductionism are accordingly vain: if mind can be modelled by matter, matter must be possessed of every intricate modality of mind. Nothing has been achieved by the 'reduction', and, since the phenomena of self-consciousness are richer and more intrinsically intelligible than the limited repertoire that we ordinarily ascribe to matter, it is matter rather than mind that is thereby reduced" (xix).
Pero puedo dispersarme. Para dirigir la atención al centro mismo de la cuestión, transcribo aquí dos secciones relacionadas: al ya citado final de la Introducción de Hegel a la Fenomenología, §80-88, compararemos y superpondremos el final de la sección sobre el Conocimiento Absoluto, §§ 800-808, bonita simetría o correspondencia. Con estos párrafos termina la Fenomenología del Espíritu:
§800. But as regards the existence of this Notion, Science does not appear in Time and in the actual world before Spirit has attained to this consciousness about itself. As Spirit that knows what it is, it does not exist before, and nowhere at all, till after the completion of its work of compelling its imperfect 'shape' to procure for its consciousness the 'shape' of its essence, and in this way to equate its self-consciousness with its own consciousness. Spirit that is in and for itself and differentiated into its moments is a knowing that is for itself, a comprehension in general that, as such, substance has not yet reached, i.e. substance is not in its own self an absolute knowing.
§801. Now, in actuality, the substance that knows exists earlier than its form or its Notion-determined 'shape'. For substance is the as yet undeveloped in-itself, or the Ground and Notion in its still unmoved simplicity, and therefore the inwardness of the Self of the Spirit that does not yet exist. What is there, exists as the still undeveloped simple and immediate, or as the object of the picture-thinking consciousness in general. Cognition, because it is the spiritual consciousness for which what is in itself only is, in so far as it is a being for the Self and a being of the Self or Notion, has for this reason at first only a meagre object, in contrast with which substance and the consciousness of this substance are richer. The disclosure or revelation which substance has in this consciousness is in fact concealment, for substance is still for self-less being and what is disclosed to it is only the certainty of itself. At first, therefore, only the abstract moments of susbstance belong to self- consciousness; but since these, as pure movements, spontaneously impel themselves onward, self-consciousness enriches itself till it has wrested from consciousness the entire substance and has absorbed into itself the entire structure of the essentialities of substance. And, since this negative attitude to objectivity is just as much positive, it is a positing, it has produced them out of itself, and in so doing has at the same time restored them for consciousness. In the Notion that knows itself as Notion, the moments thus appear earlier than the filled [or fulfilled] whole whose coming-to-be is the movement of those moments. In consciousness, on the other hand, the whole, though uncomprehended, is prior to the moments. Time is the Notion itself that is there and which presents itself to consciousness as an empty intuition; for this reason, Spirit necessarily appears in Time, and it appears in Time just so long as it has not grasped its pure Notion, i.e. has not annulled Time. It is the outer, intuited pure Self which is not grasped by the Self, the merely intuited Notion; when this latter grasps itself it sets aside its Time-form, comprehends this intuiting, and is a comprehended and comprehending intuiting. Time, therefore, appears as the destiny and necessity of Spirit that is not yet complete within itself, the necessity to enrich the share which self-consciousness has in consciousness, to set in motion the immediacy of the in-itself, which is the form in which substance is present to consciousness; or conversely, to realize and reveal what is at first only inward (the in-itself being taken as what is inward), i.e. to vindicate it for Spirit's certainty of itself.
§802. For this reason it must be said that nothing is known that is not in experience, or, as it is also expressed, that is not felt to be true, not given as an inwardly revealed eternal verity, as something sacred that is believed, or whatever other expressions have been used. For experience is just this, the content—which is Spirit—is in itself substance, and therefore an object of consciousness. But this substance which is Spirit in the process in which Spirit becomes what it is in itself ; and it is only as this process of reflecting itself into itself that it is in itself truly Spirit. It is in itself the movement which is cognition—the transformation of the in-itself into that which is for itself, of Substance into Subject, of the object ofconsciousness into an object of self-consciousness, i.e. into an object that is just as much superseded, or into the Notion. [Compárese este aserto con el proceso resultante del psicoanálisis según Freud: "donde estaba el ello, allí estará el yo"]. The movement is the circle that returns into itself, the circle that presupposes its beginning and reaches it only at the end. [De ahí el dicho de Hegel de que la lechuza de Atenea emprende el vuelo sólo al llegar la noche.] Hence, so far as Spirit is necessarily this immanent differentiation, its intuited whole appears over against its simple self-consciousness, and since, then, the former is what is differentiated, it is differentiated into its intuited pure Notion, into Time and into the content or into the in-itself. Substance is charged, as Subject, with the at first only inward necessity of setting forth within itself what is in itself, of exhibiting itself as Spirit. Only when the objective presentation is complete it is at the same time the reflection of substance or the process in which substance becomes Self. Consequently, until Spirit has completed itself in itself, until it has completed itself as world-Spirit, it cannot reach its consummation as self-conscious Spirit. Therefore, the content of religion proclaims earlier in time than does Science, what Spirit is, but only Science is its true knowledge of itself.
§803. The movement of carrying forward the form of its self-knowledge is the labour which it accomplishes as actual History. The religious community, so far as it is at first the substance of absolute Spirit, is the uncultivated consciousness whose existence is all the harsher and more barbarous the deeper its inner Spirit is, and the deeper its Spirit is, the harder the task that its torpid Self has within its essence, with the alien content of its consciousness. Not until consciousness has given us hope of overcoming that alienation in an external, i.e. alien, manner does it turn to itself, because the overcoming of that alienation is the return into self-consciousness; not until then does it turn to its own present world and discover it as its property, thus taking the first step towards coming down out of the intellectual world, or rather towards quickening the abstract element of that world with the actual Self. Through Observation it finds, on the one hand, existence in the shape of Thought and comprehends it, and, conversely, in its thinking it comprehends existence. When, to begin with, it has thus expressed the immediate unity of Thought and Being,the unity of abstract essence and the Self, abstractly; and when it has expressed the primal Light in a purer form, viz. as unity of extension and being—for extension is the simple unity which more nearly resembles pure thought than light does—and in so doing has revived in thought theSubstance of the Orient, Spirit at once recoils in horror from the abstract unity, from this self-less substantiality, and against it affirms individuality. But only after it has externalized this individuality in the sphere of culture, thereby giving it an existence, and establishing it throughout the whole of existence—only after Spirit has arrived at the thought of utility, and in its absolute freedom has grasped existence as its will, only then does it turn the thought of its inmost depth outwards and enunciate essence as 'I'='I'. But this 'I'='I' is the movement which reflects itself into itself; for since this identity, being absolute negativity, is absolute difference, the self-identity of the 'I' stands over against this pure difference which, as pure and at the same time objetive to the self-knowing Self, has to be expressed as Time. So that, just as previously essence was declared to be the unity of Thought and Extension, it would now have to be grasped as the unity of Thought and Extension, it would now have to be grasped as the unity of Thought and Time. But the difference left to itself, unresting and unhalting Time, collapses rather within itself; it is the objective repose of extension, while extension is pure identity with itself, the 'I'. In other words, the 'I' is not merely the Self, but theidentity of the Self with itself; but this identity is complete and immediate oneness with Self, or this Subject is just as much Substance. Substance, just by itself, would be intuition devoid of content, or the intuition of a content which, as determinate, would be only accidental and would lack necessity. Substance would pass for the Absolute only in so far as it was thought or intuited as absolute unity; and all content would, as regards its diversity, have to fall outside of it into Reflection; and Reflection does not pertain to Substance, because Substance would not be Subject, would not be grasped as reflecting on itself and reflecting itself into itself, would not ne grasped as Spirit. If a content were to be spoken of anyway, it would, on the one hand, only be spoken of in order to cast it into the empty abyss of the Absolute, and on the other, it would be a content picked up in external fashion from sense-perception. Knowledge would seem to have come by things, by what is different from itself, and by the difference of a variety of things, without comprehending how and whence they came.
§804. Spirit, however, has shown itself to us to be neither merely the withdrawal of self-consciousness into its pure inwardness, nor the mere submergence of self-consciousness into substance, and the non-being of its [moment of] difference; but Spirit is this movement of the Self which empties itself of itself and sinks itself into its substance, and also, as Subject, has gone out of that substance into itself, making the substance into an object and a content at the same time as it cancels tis difference between objectivity and content. That first reflection out of immediacy is the Subject's differentiation of itself from its substance, or the Notion's separation of itself from itself, the withdrawal into itself and the becoming of the pure 'I'. Since this difference is the pure act of 'I'='I', the Notion is the necessity and the uprising of existence which has substance for its essence and subsists on its own account. But this subsistence of existence on its own account is the Notion posited in determinateness and is thus also its immanent movement, that of going down into the simple substance, which is Subject only as this negativity and movement. The 'I' has neither to cling to itself in the form of self-consciousness as against the form of substantiality and objectivity, as if it were afraid of the externalization of itself: the power of Spirit lies rather in remaining the selfsame Spirit in its externalization and, as that which is both in itself andfor itself, in making its being-for-self no less merely a moment than its in-itself; nor is Spirit a tertium quid that casts the differences back into the abyss of the Absolute and declares that therein they are all the same; on the contrary, knowing is this seeming inactivity which merely contemplates how what is differentiated spontaneously moves into its own self and returns into its unity.
§805. In this knowing, then, Spirit has concluded the movement in which it has shaped itself, in so far as this shaping was burdened with the difference of consciousness [i.e. of the latter from its object], a difference now overcome. Spirit has won the pure element of its existence, the Notion. The content, in accordance with the freedom of its being, is the self-alienating Self, or the immediate unity of self-knowledge. The pure movement of this alienation, considered in connection with the content, constitutes the necessity of the content. The distinct content, asdeterminate, is in relation, is not 'in itself'; it is its own restless process of superseding itself, or negativity ; therefore, negativity or diversity, like free being, is also the Self; and in this self-like form in which existence is immediately thought, the content is the Notion. Spirit, therefore, having won the Notion, displays its existence and movement in this ether of its life and is Science. In this, the moments of its movement no longer exhibit themselves as specific shapes of consciousness, but—since consciousness's difference has returned into the Self—as specific Notions and as their organic self-grounded movement. Whereas in the phenomenology of Spirit each moment is the difference of knowledge and Truth, and is the movement in which that difference is cancelled, Science on the other hand does not contain this difference and the cancelling of it. On the contrary, since the moment has the form of the Notion, it unites the objective form of Truth and of the knowing Self in an immediate unity. The moment does not appear as this movement of passing back and forth, from consciousness or picture-thinking into self-consciousness, and conversely: on the contrary, its pure shape, freed from its appearance in consciousness, the pure Notion and its onward movement, depends solely on its pure determinateness. Conversely, to each abstract moment of Science corresponds a shape of manifest Spirit as such. Just as Spirit in its existence is not richer than Science, so too it is not poorer either in content. To know the pure Notions of Science in this form of shapes of consciousness constitutes this side of their reality, in accordance with which their essence, the Notion, which is posited in them in its simplemediation as thinking, breaks asunder the moments of this mediation and exhibits itself in accordance with the inner antithesis.
§806. Science contains within itself this necessity of externalizing the form of the Notion, and it contains the passage of the Notion intoconsciousness. For the self-knowing Spirit, just because it grasps its Notion, is the immediate identity with itself which, in its difference, is thecertainty of immediacy, or sense-consciousness—the beginning from which we started. This release of itself from the form of its Self is the supreme freedom and assurance of its self-knowledge.
§807. Yet this externalization is still incomplete; it expresses the connection of its self-certainty with the object which, just because it is thus connected, has not yet won its complete freedom. The self-knowing Spirit knows not only itself but also the negative of itself, or its limit: to know one's limit is to know how to sacrifice oneself. This sacrifice is the externalization in which Spirit displays the process of its becoming Spirit in the form of free contingent happening, intuiting its pure Self as Time outside of it, and equally its Being as Space. This last becoming of Spirit,Nature, is its living immediate Becoming; Nature, the externalized Spirit, is in its existence nothing but this eternal externalization of its continuing existence and the movement which reinstates the Subject.
§808. But the othe side of its Becoming, History, is a consicous, self-mediating process—Spirit emptied out into Time; but this externalization, this kenosis, is equally an externalization of itself; the negative is the negative of itself. This Becoming presents a slow-moving succession of Spirits, a gallery of images, each of which, endowed with all the riches of Spirit, moves thus slowly just because the Self has to penetrate and digest this entire wealth of its substance. As its fulfilment consists in perfectly knowing what it is, in knowing its substance, this knowing is itswithdrawal into itself in which it abandons its outer existence and gives its existential shape over to recollection. Thus absorbed in itself, it is sunk in the night of its self-consciousness; but in that night its vanished outer existence is preserved, and this transformed existence—the former one, but now reborn of the Spirit's knowledge—is the new existence, a new world and a new shape of Spirit. In the immediacy of this new existnece the Spirit has to start afresh to bring itself to maturity as if, for it, all that preceded were lost and it had learned nothing from the experience of the earlier Spirits. But recollection, the inwardizing, of that experience, has preserved it and is the inner being, and in fact the higher form of the substance. So although this Spirit starts afresh and apparently from its own resources to bring itself to maturity, it is nonetheless on a higher level that it starts [—a hombros de gigantes, por así decirlo. Se observa en esta especie de "nuevo cielo y nueva tierra" de Hegel, este mundo nuevo en el que el Espíritu recomienza su aventura, una versión del mito cristiano del Más Allá; el mundo físico y su transcurrir ha quedado superado y transfigurado en una nueva dimension espiritual, en la que todo queda salvado y alcanza su auténtico ser, viendo la realidad de las cosas cara a cara, inmediatamente, y no a través del cristal oscuro de la consciencia imperfecta. De ahí que algunos ven en Hegel a un filósofo "cristiano". Yo diría más bien que parte de la tradición cristiana, y la supera al modo que él describe. La imagen del cáliz y de la divinidad que cierra el libro deja clara la inspiración cristiana de Hegel, y su voluntad de atenerse a un simbolismo cristiano usado deliberadamente (poéticamente) como uno de los lenguajes del Espíritu; al igual que hoy podemos utilizar el lenguaje de Hegel para este propósito. Pero el cristianismo como tal queda muy atrás como una fase concreta de esta fenomenología del Espíritu, aunque pueda ser habitado por el filósofo en el Más Allá de la reflexión, y comprendido como nunca lo comprendieron ni Cristo ni Santo Tomás]. The realm of Spirits which is formed in this way in the outer world constitutes a succession in Time in which one Spirit relieved another of its charge and each took over the empire of the world from its predecessor. Their goal is the revelation of the depth of Spirit, and this is the absolute Notion. This revelation is, therefore, the raising-up of its depth, or its extension, the negativity of this withdrawn 'I', a negativity which is its externalization or its substance, and this revelation is also the Notion's Time, in that this externalization is in its own self externalized, and just as it is in its extension, so it is equally in its depth, in the Self. Thegoal, Absolute Knowing, or spirit that knows itself as Spirit, has for its path the recollection of the Spirits as they are in themselves and as they accomplish the organization of their realm. Their preservation, regarded from the side of their free existence appearing in the form of contingency, is History; but regarded from the side of their [philosophically] comprehended organization, it is the Science of Knowing in the sphere of appearance (1): the two together, comprehended History, form alike the inwardizing and the Calvary of absolute Spirit, the actuality, truth, and certainty of his throne, without which he would be lifeless and alone. Only
from the chalice of this realm of spirits foams forth for Him his own infinitude. (2)
(1). Phenomenology (2). Adaptation of Schiller's Die Freundschaft, ad fin.
[—Obsérvese cómo la imaginería cristiana de este finale casi sinfónico efectúa una síntesis conceptual entre dos Innombrables en interacción dialéctica consigo mismos—el Dios del Génesis que crea el cosmos para estar menos solo en el vacío de la eternidad, y el propio sujeto pensante, el filósofo pensando a ese dios y pensándose a sí mismo en la última atalaya del pensamiento.]
Si hay una idea central en la Fenomenología del Espíritu, está en estas secciones autoexplicativas, el mapa conceptual de la obra visto desde su propiatopsight, en donde se explica cómo el conocimiento se vuelve reflexivamente sobre sí; cómo consiste en comprender y superar sus fases previas y superadas; cómo la vía a la comprensión de la realidad es el estudio de cómo la realidad se ha comprendido—cómo la humanidad lleva dentro de sí la historia de la humanidad, y cómo la filosofía no puede separarse de la historia de la filosofía.
Termino con una pequeña colección de comentarios que he ido haciendo al hilo de algunos episodios de la Fenomenología del Espíritu, releídos desde mi propia perspectiva, es decir, tirando un poco hacia la narratología, la semiótica y la teoría literaria.
Cet article examine la représentation des personnages dans deux chansons de geste médiévales françaises, "Le Couronnement de Louis" et "Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne". On prête une attention spéciale aux conventions de ce genre épique en concret, et à l'idéologie implicite dans ses valeurs positives aussi bien que négatives, comme par exemple la représentation ahistorique des Sarrasins.
Este artículo examina la representación de los personajes en dos poemas épicos medievales franceses, "Le Couronnement de Louis" y "Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne", con atención especial a las convenciones de este género épico específico, y a la ideología implícita en sus valores tanto positivos como negativos, como por ejemplo en la representación ahistórica de los sarracenos.
This paper examines the representation of characters in two medieval French epic poems, "Le Couronnement de Louis" and "Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne", with special attention to the conventions of this particular epic genre, and the ideology implicit in their positive as well as in their negative values, such as the ahistorical representation of the Moors.
El artículo lo escribí en 1990 cuando estudiaba literatura francesa medieval y leía estos cantares de gesta ambientados en Tierra Santa o en Barbastro. Lo colgué en mi web al inaugurarla hace ocho años y ahora lo mando a los repositorios. En SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2165406
(From The Oxford Companion to English Literature:)
Changeling, The,a tragedy by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, printed 1653, but acted as early as 1622.
Beatrice Joanna, daughter of the governor of Alicant, is ordered by her father to marry Alonzo de Piracquo. She falls in love with Alsemero and in order to avoid the marriage employs the ill-favoured villain De Flores, whom she detests but who cherishes a passion for her, to murder Alonzo. To the horror of Beatrice, De Flores exacts the reward he had lusted for. Beatrice is now to marry Alsemero. To escape detection she arranges that her maid Diaphanta shall take her place on the wedding night; and to remove a dangerous witness, De Flores then kills the maid. The guilt of Beatrice and De Flores is revealed to Alemero, and they are both brought before the governor, whereupon they take their own lives. The title of the play is taken from the sub-plot, in which Antonio disguises himself as a crazy changeling in order to get access to Isabella, wife of the keeper of a madhouse. The main plot is taken from John Reynolds's God's Revenge against Murther (1621).
—pasada a Scribd por alguien, ahora comes home again, on better judgmement making. No había probado esto del autoembedding, pero también puede consultarse aquí en el original, o en el original del original, aquí http://bit.ly/abiblio/
Debo estar un poco esquizofrénico. En el mismo día me he comprado un Kindle Fire para electrocutar libros y que no me ocupen espacio en el estante, y, contradictoriamente, un facsímil de la primera edición de la Encyclopaedia Britannica (Edinburgo, 1778-1771).... para celebrar quizá que han anunciado este año que ya no volverán a editarla en papel, quedándose como última edición impresa la de 2010. El facsímil lo sacaron en los años 70, para celebrar el 200 aniversario; supongo que también irá al rincón de las curiosidades. Igual le ha pasado a otro clásico, el Oxford English Dictionary– que también lo tenemos completo, debe pesar más que mi bibliografía.
Me ha llegado este correo por la web, dando algunos consejos y opiniones sobre cómo reaccionar contra el separatismo catalán: con un boicot que haga reaccionar a los propios catalanes contra los secesionistas por quienes se dejan guiar mansamente. Sintomático de la situación sí que es, sí. El separatismo catalán, y el gobierno catalán en pleno y quienes le han votado, dan tal vergüenza ajena, que no queda más remedio que mostrarles la patita con su propia medicina. Yo pienso mirar el origen de los productos antes de comprar; el cava catalán ya hace años que no lo compro, y eso que es bueno y barato.
> A continuación presentamos una lista de productos que sólo representa una muestra de la infinidad de productos existentes en el mercado, con el objetivo de facilitar la identificación rápida de algunos productos fabricados en Cataluña. ....
sI LOGRAMOS PASAR ESTOS TRES MENSAJES, CADA UNO DE NOSOTROS, A 8 PERSONAS, DARÁ LA VUELTA A ESPAÑA EN MENOS DE 8 DÍAS Y EL FAMOSO "ESTATUT"… VAMOS A VER LO QUE HACEN CON EL. ¡PÁSALO!
1º. Mensaje: Informativo
NOSOTROS: nos portamos como hermanos:
1. LES FINANCIAMOS LOS JJ.OO DEL 92. 2. LES FINANCIAMOS LAS INFRAESTRUCTURAS PARA LOS JUEGOS. 3. LES TRASPASAMOS TODAS LAS COMPETENCIAS QUE HAN PEDIDO. 4. LES COFINANCIAMOS EL FORUM BARCELONA 2004. 5. LES ESTAMOS FINANCIANDO EL AVE (les han quitado la "E" de España) ZARAGOZA-LÉRIDA-BARCELONA-FRANCIA. 6. 7. 8. 9. ..................... Y MÁS Y MÁS..
ELLOS: ( los nacionalistas) maltratan al resto de España
1. HAN INTENTADO QUITAR A VALENCIA LA COPA AMÉRICA 2007. 2. ACONSEJAN A SUS CIUDADANOS NO CONSUMIR VINO DE LA RIOJA. 3. ACONSEJAN QUE SUS DEPORTISTAS NO COMPITAN CON LA SELECCIÓN NACIONAL. 4. DESMEMBRARON EL ARCHIVO DE SALAMANCA. 5. NO QUERÍAN QUE SE CELEBRASEN LOS JJ.OO EN MADRID. 6. SON IMPERIALISTAS QUERIENDO ANEXIONARSE A LA COMUNIDAD VALENCIANA, BALEARES Y MURCIA. ¡SÍ! COMO LO OYES. ELLOS LOS DENOMINAN: LOS PAÍSES CATALANES... 7. Y LO MÁS IMPORTANTE: ESTAN TOMANDO EL CONTROL DE LAS MEJORES EMPRESAS DEL PAÍS ¿CÓMO ?.... POR MEDIO DEL DINERO QUE LOS ESPAÑOLES TIENEN DEPOSITADO EN "LA CAIXA" (DAROS DE BAJA COMO CLIENTES COÑO!), DEL QUE SE SIRVEN PARA COMPRAR Y TOMAR EL CONTROL DE LAS MAYORES EMPRESAS DEL PAÍS:
- TELEFÓNICA (1ª EMPRESA DE TELECOMUNICACIONES DE ESPAÑA): 5,03 % - REPSOL YPF ("PETROLERA"): 15 % - ENDESA ("ELÉCTRICA"): 5 % - GAS NATURAL("DE GAS"): 34,5 % - ABESTIS ("DE AUTOPISTAS"): 24 % - AGBAR ("DE AGUAS"): 23,1% Y.....OTRO GRAN NÚMERO DE EMPRESAS DE ESPAÑA ESTÁN CONTROLADAS POR: LA CAIXA: - BANCO SABADELL (EN ASTURIAS = A BANCO HERRERO) - INMOBILIARIA COLONIAL. - CAPRABO - PANRICO, BOLLICAO Y DONUTS. - HOTELES OCCIDENTAL - PORT AVENTURA. QUE LA BOLSA DE "LA CAIXA" NO SONE. ______
2º Mensaje: Explicativo
EL 70 % DEL EXCEDENTE DE PRODUCCIÓN CATALANA SE VENDE EN EL RESTO DE ESPAÑA. EL DESCENSO EN SUS VENTAS DE SÓLO UN 10%, ENTERRARÍA EL ESTATUT PARA SIEMPRE. CAMPAÑA NACIONAL: 1 MES SIN PRODUCTOS CATALANES. INICIO DE LA CAMPAÑA?: ¡SIEMPRE! ENTRE TODOS, PODEMOS ACABAR CON ESTA LOCURA.
3º Mensaje: Consecuencia y plan de actuación “en verso”
NADA CATALÁN COMPRARÁS, NI EN CAPRABO TE AVITUALLARÁS, NI CON CAVA BRINDARÁS, NI CASA TARRADELLAS PROBARÁS, DEL FUET TE OLVIDARÁS, NI TU DINERO EN LA CAIXA GUARDARÁS. ASÍ, BUEN ESPAÑOL SERÁS Y A LOS NACIONALISTAS CATALANES JODERÁS, PORQUE POR DONDE MÁS LES DUELE... LES DARÁS. (Los productos catalanes van a empezar a llevar código de barras nº 15, recuerda...compra solo 84 = ESPAÑA)
Pasadlo: HACEDLO ahora mismo, por favor ¡YA!: España… se la juega. ¡Ánimo!. Empecemos por hundir a los separatistas !!!!.....Qué se vayan a la mierda ya!!!...la culpa la tenemos también los demás por hacerles la cama!!
Pues ya saben. Un rollo, pero hay que hacerlo. Hay que hacerlo no por España, excluida Cataluña, sino por España incluida Cataluña. Y para que no pasen cosas más gordas de las que están pasando ya mismo.
Puritan rule under Oliver Cromwell during the 1650s. Lord Protector. Protestant politics.
Restoration of Charles II, 1660. Act of Oblivion. Charles and Catherine of Braganza will have no children, but Charles will have many children by his mistresses. His brother, the Duke of York, will be the inheritor (problem: he was a Catholic).
1665-6 – Great Plague and Great Fire of London
1666, 1670. Dutch wars. Secret treaty of Charles with the French against the Dutch.
1672. Declaration of Indulgence towards Catholics and Nonconformists —but 1673 Test Act excludes Catholics from public office.
1677 William of Orange marries Mary, daughter of James, Duke of York.
1678 Popish plot scandal fostered by anti-Catholics (Titus Oates).
1680 Exclusion Crisis. The growth of party politics (Whigs / Tories).
Caroline / Carolean. Religious policy at home. Foreign alliances. Dutch wars. Secret alliance with the French. The Exclusion Crisis.
1683 Rye House Plot fails to assassinate Charles and James.
1684 Charles' son Monmouth implicated in plot.
1685. Death of Charles, accesion of James II. Louis XIV allows persecution of French protestants.
1687. James's Declaration of Indulgence. The Monmouth rebellion.
1688. The Glorious Revolution. James escapes to France but lands with an army in Ireland. Defeated at the Battle of the Boyne (1690) and Aughrim (1691). William and Mary rule, and the Augustan Age.
1689. Bill of Rights. Toleration of Nonconformists.
1693-94: National Debt and Bank of England established.
1702. William dies. Anne, daughter of James II, reigns to 1714. The House of Hanover. The Four Georges. The growth of commerce. The Royal Society. The American colonies.
1704-6. Victories of Marlborough.
1707: Union of Parliaments (Scottish and English Parliament): United Kingdom constituted
1710: Fall of the Whigs. Act of Copyright.
1714-1727: Reign of George I, grandson of James I. George II, 1727-1760. George III to
1715: Fall of the Tories. Jacobite rising defeated. (Again in 1745, last Jacobite rising coming from Scotland – Waverley).
Paco Umbral ya tiene sucesor por mérito propio. Le dan el Premio Nacional de Narrativa a Javier Marías y éste lo rechaza, con un argumentario de rebelde inconformista y antinacionalista. Que él no acepta nada que venga del Estado, que no está por premios institucionales, etc. Desde luego premios no le faltan, pero oyéndole más bien se diría que considera que éste lo debería haber ganado hace tiempo. Lo del rechazo al Estado Español y demás, me parece una incoherencia viniendo de un Académico. ¿No sería más coherente dejar su sillón de la Real Academia Española, si le han cambiado los criterios con respecto a las instituciones nacionales, desde que aceptó entrar? Vamos, que es una incoherencia que me suena a pataleta de enfant terrible cabreado con el mundo. Porque puede y porque le sobran los premios, eh... que si no a la fuerza ahorcan. Pero como oportuno y como elegante, poco oportuno y poco elegante ha quedado Marías, supongo que él pensará lo contrario. Quizá se suponga Marías que las otras instituciones que le dan premios no son instituciones. O igual es que se ha pasado al desprecio a España, que ahora se lleva tanto. O a mirar a todos los Estados y todo lo que hacen au-dessus de la mêlée. Qué penica. Me gustan las novelas de Marías, pero esta historia prepotente que se ha montado me parece una página penosa. Igual es porque gano pocos premios.
En fin, que me parece un gesto de una prepotencia y de una incoherencia notables. "Una cosa así un poco tontarrona", sentencia la Dra. Penas, otra fan de Marías. Aquí más detalladamente las declaraciones y explicaciones del a-premiado. Viene a ser como curarse en salud, preventivamente, de que no le vayan a dar el Cervantes, en plan profecía autocumplida. Ahora que, vayan a saber, ahora que el PP le da la medalla de oro de la guardia civil a la Virgen del Pilar, igual también le dan el Cervantes a Marías, por ahorrarse unas pelas—y todos contentos.
Entre secesionistas-revolucionarios e "internacionalistas" anda el juego, y siempre con el derecho a la autodeterminación de los pueblos por delante. Partidarios abiertos de España, no parece que los haya, o si acaso los hay, son vergonzantes. Gusta más el respeto a la autodeterminación de Cataluña, o un internacionalismo bonito y vaporoso. "No se puede someter a Cataluña, aunque no digo que Cataluña esté sometida," "Mejor darles más participación en el gobierno a los nacionalistas e independentistas", etc. La voz estudiantil, a favor del "anticapitalizmo" y de la "opción rupturista". No digo que no sean representativos de lo que hay, nuestros pensadores. Y así avanza el Proceso.
Maquiavelismo religioso en Polibio. Y el triunfo de la demagogia
En el libro VI de sus Historias comenta Polibio la superioridad de la constitución romana, que con la fortaleza que da a la nación romana ha hecho posible el desarrollo de su imperio universal. Y vean lo que opina este pragmático, y maquiavélico griego sobre el papel político de la religión; escéptico es Polibio, pero no en el sentido actual (o dieciochesco) de querer desacreditar la influencia social de la religión argumentando racionalmente contra ella. Es su texto un locus classicus de la religión entendida al modo elitista como control de las masas ignorantes y de las mentes simples mediante historias insensatas y absurdas—pero convenientes para el orden social. Y ya de paso lean sus juicios sobre la corrupción política y la decadencia de una nación, parece escrito para hoy:
§56. También entre los romanos los usos y costumbres referidos al dinero son superiores a los de los cartagineses. Entre éstos nada hay vergonzoso si produce un lucro; entre aquéllos nada hay más afrentoso que la venalidad o el hacerse con ganancias ilícitas. Los romanos alaban tanto la riqueza adquirida honradamente como desprecian el provecho extraído por medios inconfesables. Prueba de esto es el hecho de que entre los cartagineses se llevan las magistraturas los que distribuyen sobornos sin disimulos; esto, entre los romanos está castigado con pena de muerte. De donde resulta que, si en los dos pueblos se proponen premios opuestos para la virtud, han de ser desiguales los medios de llegar a ella. Pero la diferencia positiva mayor que tiene la constitución romana es, a mi juicio, la de las convicciones religiosas. Y me parece también que ha sostenido a Roma una cosa que entre los demás pueblos ha sido objeto de mofa: me refiero a la religión. Entre los romanos este elemento está presente hasta tal punto y con tanto dramatismo, en la vida privada y en los asuntos públicos de la ciudad, que es ya imposible ir más allá. Esto extrañará a muchos, pero yo creo que lo han hecho pensando en las masas. Si fuera posible constituir una ciudad habitada sólo por personas inteligentes, ello no sería necesario. Pero la masa es versátil y llena de pasiones injustas, de rabia irracional y de coraje violento; la única solución posible es contenerla con el miedo de cosas desconocidas y con ficciones de este tipo. Por eso, creo yo, los antiguos no inculcaron a las masas por casualidad o por azar las imaginaciones de dioses y las narraciones de las cosas del Hades; los de ahora cometen una temeridad irracional cuando pretenden suprimir estos elementos. Para no explicar otras cosas: entre los grigos, a los que tienen la administración, si reciben un talento en depósito, en presencia de diez escribanos, sellado con diez sellos y delante de veinte testigos, a pesar de todo, no se les pueden exigir garantías; en Roma, por el contrario, estos mismos depositarios pueden entregar una suma mucho más fuerte de dinero a los magistrados o a unos legados y, por la sola fuerza del correspondiente juramento, el depósito se conserva intacto. Entre los demás pueblos es difícil encontrar un hombre político que se haya mantenido alejado del dinero público y esté limpio de delitos de este tipo, pero entre los romanos es difícil hallar un político que no haya observado una conducta así.
§57. No precisa insistir en la demostración del hecho de que todas las cosas sufren cambios y llegan a decaer; la misma naturaleza, en efecto, nos impone esta convicción. Ahora bien, las constituciones perecen, alternativamente por dos procesos, uno inherente y otro ajeno a ellas. Este último es difícilmente determinable, pero el inherente es un proceso regular. El primer tipo de constitución que se origina, el segundo y el paso de uno a otroya los hemos expuesto, de manera que los que sean capaces de conectar el principio y el final de la exposición podrán indicar también el futuro; de esto no cabe la menor duda. Siempre que una constitución ha superado muchos y grandes peligros y alcanza una supremacía y una pujanza incontestadas, es claro que se produce una gran prosperidad que convierte a los ciudadanos en enamorados del lujo y en pendencieros fuera de lo común, por su afán de desempeñar cargos y de otras ventajas. Estos defectos irán en auge y empezará la involución hacia un estado inferior, por la apetencia de magistraturas, por la vergüenza de no ser famoso y, además, por la soberbia y el despilfarro. Sin embargo, el que hará culminar la evolución será el pueblo, cuando opine que hay quien gana injustamente yle hiche la adulación de otros que aspiran a obtener sinecuras. Enfurecido, entonces, y en su rabia codicioso de todo, el pueblo creerá que los gobernantes no están a su altura, se negará a obedecer, se tendrá a sí mismo por el todo, dueño del poder soberano. El estadio siguiente recibirá el nombre más bello de todos, libertad y democracia, pero la denominación de la realidad será lo peor, la demagogia.
Director: Ben Affleck Interpretes: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Ben Affleck ha pasado de ser tan solo un inexpresivo pedazo de carne delante de la cámara a confirmarse como gran talento del cine americano detrás de ella. Su tercera película como director, Argo, recrea un extraño episodio en la historia del espionaje norteamericano. El 4 de noviembre de 1979, con la revolución islámica en su punto de ebullición, un grupo de iranís irrumpieron en la embajada estadounidense en Teherán y tomaron 52 rehenes. Seis americanos lograron escapar y refugiarse en la residencia del embajador canadiense. La CIA recurrió entonces a su especialista Tony Mendez (Affleck), para llevarlos de regreso a casa. ¿El plan de Mendez? Ni más ni menos, utilizar como coartada el rodaje de una película de ciencia ficción cutre llamada Argo para viajar a Irán en la piel de un productor en busca de localizaciones y luego volver con los seis americanos disfrazados de equipo cinematográfico canadiense. Tan improbable peripecia demuestra hasta qué punto el mundo de los servicios de inteligencia se parece al del cine, en tanto que ambos se basan en la creación de ficciones y mentiras suficientemente plausibles. Pulsa aquí para leer la crítica de Argo Pulsa aquí para ver el trailer Url: http://www.warnerbros.es
Y sigo comentando. La película es histórica, con convenientes aderezos de suspense y huídas en el último minuto. La primera secuencia del asalto a la embajada americana es extraordinariamente efectiva y angustiosa, y hay otras muchas buenas escenas por toda la película. El montaje de los espías deja bien a la CIA, de modestos y todo, pues el mérito de toda la operación secreta se lo lleva el gobierno canadiense, para evitarles acusaciones de espionaje. Con lo cual la película deja en buen lugar a la CIA, a pesar de su incompetencia cuando no detectaron la proximidad de una revolución en Irán; al final son menos intrigantes y poderosos de lo que parecían, y bastante eficaces e imaginativos a la hora de burlar el enemigo. Así que supongo que la CIA la habrá financiado en parte o autorizado, es desde luego de la hornada patriótica. Ahora que estamos a un tris de si se declara o no se declara la guerra a Iran—en realidad ya parece cosa decidida según a quién escuches— es una película que de por sí forma parte del arsenal propagandístico norteamericano. No digo que sea ciencia ficción cutre, pero sí busca dar una idea lamentable del régimen iraní, cosa bastante fácil, no hay que irse a las estrellas a buscar inspiración. La población iraní aparece mayormente fanática y enloquecida de rabia, y aunque se nos dejan oír sus argumentos no se nos da una idea favorable de la revolución de los chiítas, es lo menos que se puede decir. Alguna pincelada nos deja ver también a la gente de a pie que sufre el régimen, con las ejecuciones sumarias, la brutalidad ambiental, la atmósfera opresiva... así, la criada de la embajada canadiense de la que desconfiaban los embajadores y rehenes, no se fuese a chivar, en realidad arriesga su propia seguridad por mantener el secreto, y elige el exilio antes que traicionar su confianza (su confianza no dada, vamos). Más visibles son, desde luego, las ratas de cloaca que salen en toda revolución a subirse a lomos del sistema y organizar purgas y chekas. Mala idea sería, de todos modos, que todo este mal de hace treinta años o de hoy les sirviese a los americanos para montar una guerra nuclear. Sobre todo porque hay un episodio histórico que la película omite mencionar, el fiasco del intento de rescate de los demás rehenes, con marines y helicópteros, ordenado por Jimmy Carter. La operación Eagle Claw se llamó, y fracasó por fallos de maquinaria, organización y ejecución, con accidentes y militares americanos muertos en Irán. La operación se suspendió; supongo que no la han mencionado por no mentar la bicha y dejar todo en un tono de victoria sobre los barbudos. Pero ojo, que la historia tiene sus ironías. Por cierto, Ben Affleck también sale con barba.
A rambling lecture on Hegel and historicity (& Marxism & Malebranche & Masturbation, etc.), with an emphasis on the retroactive dimension of the historical process, which is what I'm interested in:
"You can only discover a necessity retroactively"."Necessities only take place retroactively". "Once things happen, then they become necessary" (3rd video).
Something unique happened in Hegel: post-Hegelian philosophy is an attempt to obliterate what Hegel did, in part by constructing a ridiculous image of Hegel—a kind of screen memory which conceals a (Lacanian) traumatic excess.
The beginnings of the anti-Idealist critique of Hegel in Schelling: the Idea is a secondary process, the natural process including the unconscious & the world's body so to speak is the primary process. (Of course one can argue that Hegel's perspectival focus on the idea is an axiomatic perspectival choice, a focus of attention).
Kant: "Man is an animal who needs a master" to tame a certain excess of non-natural instinct (what Freud calls the "death drive" or immortality, something that insists beyond life and death). It's not that culture breaks with nature, there is in between these instincts which are no longer purely animal, the death drive, the sex drive...
We humans do many things which do not have a utilitarian value (Zizek is looking for the word exaptation, spandrels, etc.—mixing it up a bit with the concept of sexual selection). Pinker and the "chocolate fudge" idea of the mind, exaptation gone wild. Our mind did not emerge to understand itself, Pinker says, but to deal with practical purposes. But we do bother about impossible tasks from the very beginning, metaphysics, philosophy. All great inventions emerge from an unusual logic of discoverty: you invent something out of metaphysical speculation, and later practical uses appear. It doesn't work the Marxist way.
(And I suppose that's the beginning of a return to Hegel). Humans internalize desire in an irrational way—not like the apes' rational choice or partners— humans stick it out to the end, in an irrational way. The other world, immortality, the Undead... Freud's problem was to deal with that, that excess of desire. What Zizek tries to do is to combine German idealism and Freudianism—not in order to demean German idealism, but to raise Freud to the category of a philosophical thinker.
For Hegel, Kant's recognition of an excess of negativity is not just a starting point which then leads to perfect reconciliation. NO. Hegel does not believe in the possibility of perfect reconciliation. Radical negativity, excess, is everywhere, it explodes again and again. It is neither nature nor culture— but it is the engine of the Hegelian progress. Once you are in culture, you retroactively de-naturalize nature. Culture becomes a suicidal, repetitive drive, which needs to be reacted against. E.g. in sexuality—derived into foreplay, denaturalization, masturbation, etc.; what is peripheral tends to become central.
The example of Leader's psychoanalytical patient's slip of the tongue, taking a woman to dinner, said to the waiter "bed for two"—Leader's interpretation is that the slip of tongue is due to a defense against enjoying too much the foreplay, a protest against the logic of the deviation of desire so to speak. Hegel's critique of concrete universality: he believes that the concrete content of the world derives from the universal notion. (I.e. his idealism). Zizek explains this via Deleuze's anti-Hegelian concept of repetition. Deleuze claims that the new emerges out of absolute repetition. (The example of a new melody arising virtually out of the pure repetition of a melody by a virtuoso pianist playing Augenmusik). What changes is what you don't hear, what is written only for the eyes. This is what Deleuze means by virtuality. In the same way, the ideological revolution consists in changing the implicit rules, the background, even if we say the same thing the virtual resonance is a different one.
I suppose this radical change can be linked to what he says before about historicity—not possible to think again the same after Hegel (or composing the same way after Schoenberg, as Adorno said).
Another example of Deleuze's virtuality: a bad book by Doctorow adapted by a bad film nonetheless gives rise to a virtual effect: through the (bad) film we (retroactively) intuit the good book which should have existed but didn't, except now, in a virtual state. (One might add here Benjamin's notion of the original modified by the translation, or the deconstructive meanings identified by De Man I comment upon here). (Later Zizek brings up another example of virtuality from Benjamin: the meanings of works of art which can arise only with historical distance, as they are snapshots for which de developing technique has not been yet invented).
Yet another example: Bergson's fascination with the fact that a war (1st WW) could actually emerge, from a collective idea, only an idea, to an actual reality—reality as a shock in its actual efficiency. What was thought but seemed impossible, suddenly becomes possible and necessary, in a retroactive way. (Like Zizek's military service: actually being there and its naturalization). Bergson's beautiful formula: not a standard linear logic of a possibility among many becoming actualized, but rather...
... something that we considered (symbolically) impossible actually happens, (—pongamos la independencia de Cataluña, por imaginar—) and then, when it happens, it becomes possible.
This is the best definition of what Lacan calls an act: something which seems impossible when it happens, but retroactively creates its own conditions of possibility.E.g. Nixon's visit to China.
Bergson's formulation: a reality inserts itself into the past as a possibility, farther and farther, it inserts itself as having been possible all the time, but only when it emerges it begins to "always already have been" (Two Sources of Morality and Religion). The example of being in love: your previous life is structured as if waiting for this moment. Jean-Pierre Dupuy's notion on the theory of confronting catastrophes: one must accept them as inevitable and change the very past, working retroactively. (Muy en línea con mi propia teoría de las catástrofes). Hegel too: in development a thing becomes what it already was. (Well, that's a way of reading him—perhaps he's actually failing to articulate the retroactive argument, but he says it NOW, in a way, you know, retroactively...).
(And now Zizek goes on to quote T. S. Eliot, and borges, etc.—pity David Lodge didn't get credit for that! or myself, since we're at it, Borges & Kafka & the rest. Really we're treading the same ground, only I "been there, done that" in the 1990s...)
"Tradition and the Individutal Talent" as read by Zizek: radical change restructures not just the present but the past as well. Any radical event radically recreates its own possibility. Hegel's historical idealism means not only that you are influenced by the past: you change the past, not the real past, but the past as it exists now.
The properly Hegelian interpretation of the relationship between necessity and contingency. Not "reality is necessary but it realizes itself in contingent ways" i.e. "a necessity of contingency"—this is a vulgar Marxist interpretation, e.g. Napoleon as a contingent historical figure which embodies a historical necessity. Instead, the deeper Hegelian insight is the contingency of necessity. Things become necessary in a way which is ultimately contingent. The necessity emerges retroactively.
"Judith Butler's" question: Is Zizek retroactively creating the Hegel he needs? (Listen to the solution, between the lines:)
If you come too close to things, reality blurs. Both in video games and in reality. Some aspects of reality have been left "unprogrammed". The best argument against reductionism, is that you cannot reduce indefinitely, things get blurry. If there's a lesson in Heisenberg etc. it's the incompleteness of reality itself. And this is the basic recognition of Hegel's, his basic operation: our epistemological limitation; we solve the problem not by solving it, but by showing how the problem itself is its own solution.
Let's leave it there. Slowly petering out...:
Adorno claims that you cannot find a global unifying theory which takes either global mechanisms or actual phenomena as the ultimate reality—neither Hegel nor the phenomenologists so to speak, taking the other way round, going from phenomena and authentic experience to its sedimentation. (From a Lacanian point of view there is not basic authentic experience). Adorno's solution: it's wrong to try to develop a global theory, because what we misperceive as a lack in our understanding of reality is the itself the actual experience of reality.
Zizek's critique of "alternate modernity" and alternative capitalisms: they want capitalism without paying the price. There was already an experiment in that line: Fascism. The Hegelian interpretation of the relationship between universal and particular here is close to Deleuze: the universal is a question, and the particulars are the answers. This is the way Marxists should assess capitalism: not responding to capitalism in general, but to specific modes of capitalism. The struggle is not between the particulars, the struggle is between the particulars and the universal, the particulars are possible answers to the deadlock caused by the general. This is what Hegel means by concrete universality—a struggle between universality and its particular content.
Consciousness as simplification, of decision, of making the world manageable. (See my theory on Attention). And then, the mystery of our awareness of this process, the reflexivity of the whole. With Zizek:
"The subordinate mediator becomes the subject". That seems to be a quite general law governing human action and attention, or, to be more precise, what becomes the subject (and the object of attention) is a successful subordinate mediator. In this respect, we might consider Malabou’s reading of Hegel’s linguistic anthropology: "Chapter 3 [of The Future of Hegel] then raises the question: if humans are not the only animals that develop habits, what is it that gives us a capacity for self-determination that other animals lack? Chapter 4 responds that the use of language differentiates human beings from other animals and makes our habitual behavior unique: "Man is exemplary because the human formative power can translate the logical process into a sensuous form" (74). This, Malabou concludes, makes each of us capable of plastic individuality, of transforming our own singular essence in unforeseeable ways by incorporating what was formerly accidental."
Note btw that Malabou’s reading is consistent with my own view of Hegel as a demythologizer in religion, and as a philosopher who acknowledges the productive dimension of reflexivity.
Zizek: "History means there is no metalanguage" —you cannot stand on your own shoulders, cognitively speaking, and any panorama of philosophy, any reading of another philosophy, is done from a situated philosophical standpoint. For Hegel, the meaning of an act arises through the act itself; meaning is not pre-existing: it is created retroactively. History is one big process of exaptation.
Primero un trailer, y luego un par de reseñas preliminares de la película Stage Beauty (Belleza prohibida) escritas por los usuarios de IMDb, antes de comentar la escena que me interesa:
'Without beauty, there's nothing. Who could love that?' (Ned Kynaston, Stage Beauty)
Don't expect an elegant historical romp from Stage Beauty; it's much more than that. Director Richard Eyre (Iris) and screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher have loosely interpreted true events to deliver a passionate, romantic journey of gender-bending self-realisation set in the bawdy world of the British Restoration, circa 1660.
In a time when women are banned from acting on stage, King Charles II is on the throne, accompanied everywhere by his vulgar but merry mistress, Nell Gwnn. Meanwhile Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup) is the most celebrated leading lady of his time. He is adored…by his audiences, by his lover and patron the Duke of Buckingham, and secretly loved by his dresser Maria (Claire Danes). But when aspiring actress Maria's illegal performance as Desdemona in Othello triggers royal permission for women to act on stage, Kynaston's fall from grace is swift.
This is an actors' film, where the talents of Danes and in particular, Crudup, shine. (Their remarkable relationship triggered an off-screen romance.) Crudup is taut as the bisexual Kynaston, trained to be a calamity and actress since early adolescence, and emotes powerfully as he struggles with his sexuality and identity in an unfriendly new political landscape. He is alternately a catty drag queen, angry young man and committed thespian, without ever straying beyond credibility. In contrast, Danes is luminous but unsure as Maria. A talented supporting cast includes Rupert Everett, providing comic relief as the languid King, while Ben Chaplin is sensual as the self-serving Duke.
Stage Beauty has been compared to Shakespeare in Love, but although it's less successful, it's far less contrived. Although Stage Beauty is a love story, you don't know how things will resolve. The pace is less brisk than in a more manufactured film, but it's also more realistic, enhanced by production design and costuming which depicts both the grit and the sumptuousness of the time.
While at first the on stage acting grates, it is deliberate. As Stage Beauty progresses, the acting technique evolves to resemble 19th Century Naturalism – not true to life, but faithful to the emotional journey of the characters. It's a special film that will take you on an emotional journey too.
(Reseña de Collette Corr)
"All the world's a stage," wrote the Bard, "and all the men and women merely players that strut and fret their hour upon the stage."
"Stage Beauty" is set in the world of seventeenth-century Restoration theatre, but the stage serves as a microcosm for life itself, and the roles played by the actors before the public mirror the roles they play in their private lives. The question is, do they create their roles, or do their roles create them?
Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup) is an actor who takes on women's roles, since real women are not permitted to do so. He has been thoroughly trained and schooled in the then highly stylized technique of portraying women -- to such an extent that any trace of masculinity seems to have been drummed out of him. His dresser Maria (Clare Danes) yearns to be an actress herself, but is prevented from doing so by the narrow conventions of Puritan England -- until Charles II is restored to the throne and decrees that, henceforth, real women shall play women's roles on the stage. A whole new world opens up for Maria, but it looks like curtains for Ned.
What happens next is pure anachronism: Ned and Maria are able to rise above the limitations and constraints of their era. Not only do they transcend their gender or sex roles, but they overcome their classical training and, in effect, engage in Method acting, a technique still three hundred years away in the far-distant future. When he teaches Maria how to break the mold and play Othello's Desdemona in a whole new, natural way, Ned becomes a seventeenth-century Stanislavsky.
But, by George, it works. Their performance of the celebrated death scene from "Othello" sends shock waves through an audience accustomed to pantomime and exaggerated gestures -- and it electrifies us as well.
Not since Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare in Love" have an actor and actress so shimmered and shone simultaneously on stage and screen. One hopes that Billy Crudup and Clare Danes will be remembered for their luminous performances at the 2005 Academy Awards.
La película es excelente para ilustrar los primeros momentos de Shakespeare como clásico, en el siglo XVII, y sirve para hacerse una ligera idea del ambiente teatral de la Restauración, aunque si nos atenemos a ella no se representaba otra cosa que Shakespeare, idea que sería altamente inexacta, es pena que no haya alguna pequeña escena alusiva a la comedia de la Restauración, aunque por ser justos está ambientada, supuestamente, en una fase muy temprana en la que el teatro está básicamente reviviendo los éxitos anteriores tras la prohibición puritana. Esto no deja de introducir una contradicción de base en la película—pues a la vez nos muestra un mundo teatral experimentado y establecido, mientras que se nos habla de los dieciocho años en que los espectáculos han estado prohibidos… El interregno republicano 1642-60 supuso una interrupción de la profesión teatral mucho mayor de la que nos permite suponer esta película. Y la carrera de Edward Kynaston, con la edad con la que aparece en la película, es una imposibilidad en la Inglaterra de los años 1650. En fin, quédese esto a título de "tiempo teatral" indeterminado y de ficción poética.
Para lo que sí sirve la película modélicamente es como reflexión sobre la teatralidad del sujeto y de los roles de género, para mostrar el continuo teatro/vida que se da en los papeles que asumimos en la comedia de las relaciones entre los sexos. Y también para mostrar cómo el efecto de realidad está interpenetrado por el juego de representaciones semióticas, de ilusiones dramáticas, y de esquemas y de marcos ficcionales.
La escena que me interesaba comentar es la representación final de Otelo, en la que la nueva actriz Maria Hughes representa el papel de Desdémona, en el que antes había triunfado Kynaston, mientras que Kynaston hace de Otelo. A lo largo de la obra se nos ha preparado para esta escena, con Maria primero como la discreta ayudante de cámara de Kynaston, a la vez enamorada de él y de la posibilidad de ser actriz un día. Su frustración al descubrir la homosexualidad (o bisexualidad) de Kynaston. Luego, el triunfo de Maria como actriz, el favor real, y el resentimiento de Kynaston, maltratado por el rey y apaleado por los aristócratas. En un episodio se dedica al strip-tease de barrio bajo, y lo rescata de allí Maria, que también hace lo posible por reconvertirlo a la heterosexualidad, sacándole las posibilidades teatrales a los roles eróticos ("hacer de hombre" o "hacer de mujer" en la cama). Por allí parece que se le puede atacar a Kynaston, que en una interesante conversación con Pepys explica que la masculinidad se experimenta por contraste con la feminidad—no ya en el comportamiento social, sino en la experiencia interna, y que en su caso incluso cuando se comporta como un "hombre" está actuando, representando un papel deliberado (algo familiar a la experiencia de muchos gays en la teatralidad de la vida cotidiana):
Samuel Pepys: You know, Mr. Kynaston, the performance of yours I always liked best? As much as I adored your Desdemona and your Juliet, I've always loved best your 'britches' parts. Rosalind, for instance. And not just because of the woman stuff but also because of the man sections. Your performance of the man stuff seemed so right, so true. I suppose I felt it was the most real in the play. Ned Kynaston: You know why the man stuff seemed so real? Because I'm pretending. You see a man through the mirror of a woman through the mirror of a man. You take one of those reflecting glasses away, it doesn't work. The man only works because you see him in contrast to the woman he is. If you saw him without the her he lives inside, he wouldn't seem a man at all. [pause] Samuel Pepys: Yes. You've obviously thought longer on this question than I.
La tensión entre Kynaston y Maria Hugues es un modelo de comedia rómántica "guerrera"; el erotismo es ambivalente e incierto, dada la bisexualidad de Kynaston, y la rivalidad profesional adquiere a veces tinte de pelea entre verduleras. Así pues hay una incertidumbre ambiental sobre el final de la obra, que si bien parece comedia muy bien pudiera derivar en tragedia como sucede en Otelo. Y aquí es donde la obra usa inteligentemente una vuelta de tuerca sobre una vieja convención dramática—el drama que se vuelve real. Un ejemplo clásico de este recurso se ve en La tragedia española de Kyd, donde los asesinatos supuestamente fingidos sobre la escena resultan ser reales. La escena final del duelo-espectáculo de Hamlet también tiene algo de esto. Esta escena de Repo! The Genetic Opera recurre a un episodio análogo, y el público representado en la obra queda desconcertado. Y una variante más inquietante, donde la ficción teatral se rompe de verdad y la muerte en escena desconcierta no sólo al público ficticio sino al real, la comento en esta nota sobre Edipo de Dryden, otra obra que un día tuvo un final inesperado. El asesinato del presidente Lincoln en un teatro también parece tener algo de teatral, por ponerlo suavemente, y de irreal. Sale en Intolerancia, de Griffith.
La escena dramática que resulta volverse real es un recurso intensamente teatral, es algo que parece pedir la propia idea del drama: el teatro es el sitio donde pasa lo imprevisto, donde la presencia física incontestable de los actores en un espacio que a la vez es el mismo que el del público, y otro, permite esa tensión de incertidumbre donde el guión podría escapar de control en cualquier momento. Fernando Savater lo dice muy bien en esta conferencia sobre La utopía teatral.
Una solución utópica a esa imposible decadencia del teatro hoy en día es intermedializarlo y aportarle la energía de otros medios—por ejemplo del cine. El cine es ya teatro intermedializado, pero este cine sobre temas teatrales permite extraer ciertas posibilidades al teatro como tal teatro, no como teatro evolucionado en cine. Es lo que pasa en Stage Beauty con la representación del asesinato de Desdémona, que funciona de manera mucho más efectiva como teatro filmado que como teatro en carne y hueso. En un teatro el público no creerá nunca que el asesinato de la la actriz que interpreta Desdémona ha sido real, por mucho que se esfuerce el director: la única manera en que podría creerlo es si tal cosa se produjese realmente, y el efecto estético no quedaría precisamente intensificado, sino destruido a la vez que la representación de la obra. En la misma escena filmada en una película, en cambio, el resultado es incierto para el público cinematográfico. Esperamos una buena actuación, y experimentamos la incertidumbre sobre si Kynaston va a bordar su papel hasta el punto de matar a su rival con la escena del cojín. (Sobre todo vistas las analogías que se han establecido a lo largo de la película entre el cojín de Kynaston y el pañuelo de Desdémona). A ello se suma la experimentación con estilos teatrales más realistas, que también introduce la película. Kynaston es aquí como el Conde de Rochester en El Libertino, enseñando a actuar a Elizabeth Barry de modo realista. El realismo impacta al público teatral de la película, aunque (para mayor efectividad) no les hace creer en ningún momento que se haya producido un asesinato en la escena realmente. Sólo están impresionados por una actuación inesperadamente intensa. En cambio, el público de la película, más al tanto de la trastienda y de las pasiones descontroladas entre bambalinas, no sabe realmente si la película va a recurrir al truco de la muerte en escena (ver un ejemplo representativo de la incertidumbre lograda, en el foro de IMDb). Por eso la actuación de Otelo y Desdémona es inesperadamente intensa para ambos públicos, el del teatro en 1660 y el de la película en el siglo XXI, si bien por razones diferentes. Y de la experiencia sale un Otelo (y una Desdémona, claro) inesperadamente resucitados, remediados o remediated como dicen en inglés, por el efecto de la superposición de representaciones, el teatro pasado por el cine con un resultado inesperadamente teatral, y cinematográfico a la vez.
Por eso el estilo de actuación que trasciende a la pantomima gestual del principio no es realmente ni el realismo decimonónico ni el method acting de Stanislavsky (como decían las reseñas iniciales) aunque debe algo a los dos—es una actuación filtrada a través de las convenciones del medio teatral y del cinematográfico, y que se basa esencialmente en la ambivalencia compleja entre realidad y representación que permite el juego dialéctico de los dos medios artísticos.
Se aplica aquí a la estética teatral, y a la cinematográfica, la misma lógica que Kynaston aplicaba a las relaciones entre los sexos: vemos el teatro a través del espejo del cine visto a través del espejo del teatro. Si eliminas uno de esos espejos reflectantes no funciona— y por eso no acabo de entender que esta película se base en una obra teatral; lo que está claro es que ese drama pedía ser una película para añadir más tensión genérica a la relación. Al final, como Ned Kynaston en su juego de papeles, ya no sabemos si lo que estamos viendo es teatro, cine, o un juego complejo entre ambos que sería imposible sin su tensión, pero que a la vez los lleva a una complejidad superior que de por sí no alcanzarían.
Stage Beauty. Dir. Richard Eyre. Written by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on his play Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Cast: Billy Crudup (Ned Kynaston), Claire Danes (Maria Hughes), Rupert Everett (King Charles II), Hugh Bonneville (Samuel Pepys), Richard Griffiths (Sir Charles Sedley), Edward Fox (Sir Edward Hyde), Tom Hollander (Sir Peter Lely), Zoë Tapper (Nell Gwynn). Music by George Fenton. Cinematography by Andrew Dunn. Ed. Tariq Anwar. Prod. Des. Jim Clay. Art dir. Keith Slote, Jan Spoczynski. Set Decoration by Caroline Smith. Costume design by Tim Hatley. Exec. Prod. Rachel Cohen, Richard Eyre, Michael Kuhn, Amir Malin, James D. Stern. Coprod. Michael Dreyer. Prod. Robert de Niro, Hardy Justice, Jane Rosenthal. Lions Gate Films / Qwerty Films, Tribeca Productions / N1 European Film Produktions / BBC Films, 2004.* (Spanish title: Belleza prohibida).
Educación de príncipes al modo renacentista, muy a cuento ahora que a uno se le ha subido el poder a la cabeza. Una escena de Sir Thomas More(c. 1601), de Shakespeare et al. Entra en escena Mas:
A table being covered with a green carpet, a state cushion on it, and the Purse and Mace lying thereon, enter More:
MORE. It is in heaven that I am thus and thus; And that which we profanely term our fortunes Is the provision of the power above, Fitted and shaped just to that strength of nature Which we are borne withal. Good god, good God, That I from such an humble bench of birth Should step as twere up to my country's head, Ad give the law out there! I, in my father's life, To take prerogative and tithe of knees From elder kinsmen, and him bind by my place To give the smooth and dexter way to me That owe it him by nature! Sure, these things, Not physicked by respect, might turn our blood To much corruption: but, More, the more thou hast, Either of honor, office, wealth, and calling, Which might excite thee to embrace and hub them, The more doe thou in serpents' natures think them; Fear their gay skins with thought of their sharp state; And let this be thy maxim, to be great Is when the thread of hayday is once 'spon, A bottom great would up great undone.— Come on, sir: are you ready?
Language most shows a man: speak, that I may see thee. It springs out of the most retired and inmost parts of us, and is the image of the parent of it, the mind. No glass renders a man’s form or likeness so true as his speech.
Incluido el lenguaje del psicoanalista o del analista del discurso.
Hoy ha muerto Agustín García Calvo, que entre otras cosas es el mejor traductor de los Sonetos de Shakespeare y el autor de una cosa rara, un himno nacional (o autonómico) con letra irónica e inteligente. Le pagó por él una peseta Joaquín Leguina.
Himno de la Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid
—por Agustín García Calvo
Yo estaba en el medio: Giraban las otras en corro, Y yo era el centro. Ya el corro se rompe, Ya se hacen Estado los pueblos, Y aquí de vacío girando Sola me quedo. Cada cual quiere ser cada una: No voy a ser menos: ¡Madrid, uno, libre, redondo, Autónomo, entero! Mire el sujeto Las vueltas que da el mundo Para estarse quieto.
Yo tengo mi cuerpo: Un triángulo roto en el mapa Por ley o decreto Entre Ávila y Guadalajara, Segovia y Toledo: Provincia de toda provincia, Flor del desierto. Somosierra me guarda del Norte y Guadarrama con Gredos; Jarama y Henares al Tajo Se llevan el resto. Y a costa de esto, Yo soy el Ente Autónomo último, El puro y sincero. Viva mi dueño, Que, sólo por ser algo, Soy madrileño!
Y en medio del medio, Capital de la esencia y potencia, Garajes, museos, Estadios, semáforos, bancos, Y vivan los muertos: ¡Madrid, Metrópoli, ideal Del Dios del Progreso! Lo que pasa por ahí, todo pasa En mí, y por eso Funcionarios en mí y proletarios Y números, almas y masas Caen por su peso; Y yo soy todos y nadie, Político ensueño. Y ése es mi anhelo, Que por algo se dice: De Madrid, al cielo.
En el césped del campus de la Universidad de Zaragoza lo oímos disertar a García Calvo, un día de 1980 o de 1981 sería, sobre el Ser y el No-Ser. Efectos del lenguaje, decía que eran, y del verbo "ser". Ahora está más en el no-ser, pero en cincuenta años, todos García Calvos.
E. R. Wood's introduction to J. B. Priestley's play Time and the Conways (London: Heinemann, 1964).
John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford in 1894, the son of a schoolmaster. On leaving school he went to work in the local wool trade, and at the age of sixteen he was already writing pieces for Bradford newspapers. He served in the army throughout the war of 1914-1918, and on demobilization in 1919 he was awarded a government grant which enabled him to go to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. At the university he supplemented his grant by writing, and after taking his degree he settled in London to make literature his profession.
He achieved a series of reputations in different spheres. At first he was a literary critic and essayist; among his early books were The English Comic Characters, The English Novel, and scholarly biographies of Peacock and Meredith. Next he began to write novels, and in 1929 everybody was reading and praising The Good Companions, which made him famous all over the world. Over the next thirty years this was followed by a score of successful novels. Then in 1932 he began a new career—as a dramatist. Dangerous Corner was the first of some twenty-five plays covering a wide range, from popular comedy such as When We Are Married to ambitiously experimental dramas like Johnson Over Jordan and Music at Night. In the 'thirties J. B. Priestley was deeply involved at the very heart of the theatre world; he became a theatre director, closely associated with the most prominent actors and directors; he even took over once, at twenty-four hours' notice, the leading part in When We Are Married. At this time he was determined to give the public something more than the conventional 'West End success'; to make them feel or think more deeply and more originally; and at the same time to hold his own financially in the theatre industry. He had some disappointments, but on the whole his plays were very popular.
During the last war he established a new reputation, this time as a broadcaster; by his Postscripts to the Sunday night news bulletins he did much to sustain the people's spirit with his forthright common sense and humanity, and the BBC's Overseas service made his personality well-known over the world. After the war he was chosen as a delegate to U.N.E.S.C.O.
He has written film scripts and television plays, books about his travels and books about peple, as well as many articles on public affairs. He is well-known in America. Among his most recent works are The Art of the Dramatist and Literature and Western Man, which recall the academic bent of his early years.
He is married to Jacquetta Hawkes, the archaeologist and writer, with whom he has written Dragon's Mouth and Journey Down a Rainbow. They live near Stratford on Avon. J. B. Priestley's political sympathies have always been towards the Left, but his mind is too independent for party ties. He was one of the people who initiated the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, but he has not been so actively engaged in the movement as has Jacquetta Hawkes.
His powerful personality adds vigour to everything he writers; he is never dull. In the preface to Delight, a collection of short essays on the things in life he enjoys, he says that he is often considered to be 'too blunt, brusque and downright difficult', but he protests, 'Actually I am amiable and rather shy.' His essays and more personal writings give the impression of a zest for life as it is, combined with a reformer's idea of what it might be and a philosopher's awareness of its mystery. All these qualities can be seen in Time and the Conways.
Time and Mr Priestley
J. B. Priestley has long been fascinated by the riddle of Time, and he has been much influenced by the theories of J. W. Dunne and others. As long ago as 1927 Dunne published a book called An Experiment with Time, which was followed by The Serial Universe. People have always told stories of seeing into the future in dreams or trances: Dunne systematically recorded dreams immediately on waking, and after studying his records he came to the conclusion that in dreaming we foretell future events about as often as we recall the past. There are obvious reasons why we are not all aware of this. First, the events of the past, present and future are so disguised and distorted in dreams as to be often difficult to recognize. Second, most of our dreams are immediately frogotten. According to Dunne, the uncanny sensation, familiar to many people, that something is happening or about to happen that has already happened once is due to dimly recalling a forgotten dream of the future at the moment when it comes true. Thus you may dream of a place that you have never seen, and when at some later date you visit that place for the first time in your waking life, you may say with certainty, but in bewilderment, 'I have been here before.' An Experiment with Time begins with a large accumulation of evidence of apparent awareness of the future in dreams or peculiar waking states, and goes on to an enquiry into the Time factor in existence and a presentation of the theory of the Universe which Dunne calls Serialism. This part of the book is abstruse and not easy reading; for the appreciation of Time and the Conways it is unnecessary to understand the theory in detail. Here is a brief summary of it, written by J. B. Priestley, showing its appreciation to Time and the Conways:
On this theory of Time we are each of us a series of observers in a corresponding series of Times, and it is only as Observer One in Time One that we can be said to die, the subsequent observers being immortal. Mr Dunne had been led to work out this theory by his discovery, which I for one believe to be valid, that frequently in dreams the future is revealed to us. His explanation is that in dreams, when we are no longer functioning as Observer One, it is our Observer Two who catches a glimpse of events that await our Observer One in Time One. Thus in a dream, Observer Two often focuses together events that belong both to the past and to the future of Oberver One; and as this Observer Two has a four-dimensional outlook, quite different from that of Observer One, our dream experiences are startingly different from our waking life. And now for Time and the Conways. Some simple souls have declared that this play is a lot of fuss about nothing and merely has the third act played where the second act ought to be and then the real second act put last. This is of course a ridiculous criticism. It should be noticed that Kay Conway is never off the stage throughout Act II, although she is frequently absent in Acts I and III. The reason is of course that Act II is really Kay's glimpse of the future, or, to put it in terms of Serialism, it is Kay's Observer Two who sees what will happen, years ahead, to her Observer One. Alone, quiet after much excitement, the girl has a vision of a scene in the future, and Act II is that vision. Then Act III takes up the story of the young Kay from Act I, but Kay herself, with her Observer Two still awake and half remembering, is now different from what she was in Act I; hence her appeal to Alan at the end of the play. (Preface to Three Time Plays).
Time and the Conways
Even if Dunne's theory of Time is rejected, Time and the Conways remains an imaginative and moving play, which gains much by having 'the third act played where the second ought to be'. The events of Act III are full of poignant dramatic irony when we already know from Act II what is to happen to all the eagerness and gay promise of the Conway family. It appears here that Time is the great enemy that destroys the hope of the young. In Act I we are shown how exciting and inspiring a big family can be, so that Kay can say, 'I think life's wonderful.' Twenty years later Mrs Conway says:
I used to see myself at the age I am now, surrounded by you and your own children, so proud of you, so happy with you all, this house happier and gayer even than it was in the best of the old days. And now my life's gone by, and what's happened? You're a resentful, soured schoolmistress, middle-aged before your time. Hazel—the loveliest child there ever was—married to a vulgar little bully, and terrified of him. Kay here—gone away to lead her own life, and very bitter and secretive about it, as if she'd failed. Carol—the happiest and kindest of you all—dead before she's twenty. Robin—I know, y dear, I'm not blaming you know, but I must speak the truth for once—with a wife he can't love and no sort of position or comfort or anything. And Alan—the eldest, the boy his father adored, that he thought might do anything—what's he now? A miserable clerk with no prospects, no ambitions, no self-respect, a shabby little man that nobody would look at twice.
Of course, Mrs Conway is a bad judge of character, who ignores her own responsibility for much of what has happened, but this is a rough summing-up of what Time has brought to the family. Kay says to Alan:
Remember what we once were and what we thought we'd be. And now this. And it's all we have, Alan, it's us. Every step we've taken—every tick of the clock—making everything worse. If this is all life is, what's the use? Better to die, like Carol, before you find it out, before Time gets to work on you. I've felt it before, Alan, but never as I've done tonight. There's a great devil in the universe, and we call it Time.
It is a gloomy picture, but the play contains a message of comfort. According to Dunne's theory, the later, darker stages in the life of the Conway family do not cancel out or supersede the earlier, happier days; both times are different aspects of the essential Conway existence which was, is, and will be. Alan attempts to expound the view of Time which he has read in 'a book'—no doubt An Experiment with Time. He says that Time does not destroy; it 'merely moves on—in this life—from one peephole to the next'. For the benefit of those who do not accept or cannot follow this reassurance, the author also provides, through Alan, the message of Blake:
Man was made for joy and woe; And when this we rightly know, Safely through the world we go...
In Blake's lines this thought seems to acquire a serene wisdom that sets life's disappointments and Time's blows in a scheme of things that we can face with grave resignation. Dunne's theory can then be thought of as no more than an imaginative stimulus and an effective theatrical framework.
The rearrangement of the time-sequence reinforces our appreciation of the play on another plane—that of the development of character. The troubles that come upon the Conways are not all the product of Time and changing fortune: fate is also moulded by character. In most plays we are accustomed to the last act presenting the final stages of a character's development and to looking bac to recall earlier indications of what is to be. In Time and the Conways we form impressions of the characters in the pleasant atmosphere of Act I; then we suffer a harsh shock when in Act II we see them nearly twenty years later; finally we are able to see in Act III the seeds of future unhappiness being sown by people whom we had judged too superficially in the first act. In the light of what we know they will become, we now see their weaknesses. There is bitter irony in such ambitions as Hazel's: 'I shall marry a tall, a rather good-looking man . .. and he'll have plenty of money and be very fond of travel, and we'll go all over the world together but have a house in London . . . I couldn't possibly spend the rest of my life here. I'd die.' Similarly Robin's aspirations are the more revealing when we know what is to become of him: 'I'm going to do something. And none of this starting-at-the-bottom-of-the-ladder, pushing-a-pen-in-the-corner business either. This is a time when young men get a chance, and I'm going to take it.' The person who most obviously brings on herself in Act III the unhappiness of Act II is Mrs Conway. She makes an enemy of Ernest Beevers and ruthlessly shatters Madge's relationship with Gerald. For all her charm, her behaviour is unforgivable, and it is not forgiven.
J. B. Priestley succeeds in making us care what happens to the Conway family, whom we come to know and understand, with a mixture of liking and sympathy and disapproval. But the interest of the play extends beyond a particular family: what happens in the play to the Conways actually happened to a whole generation in the twenty years between the wars. The slump that followed the post-war boom hit some classes harder than others; but the collapse of material prosperity suffered by Mrs Conway was a fate common to many property-owners. After the optimism of 1919, disillusionment was universal. The spirit of 1919, with its promise of 'a free, prosperous, happy people, all enjoying equal opportunities, living at peace with the whole world', sounds like grim mockery after the years of slump and unemployment, with Hitler and Mussolini successfully defying the League of Nations, and the prospect of a new World War in everyone's mind. Of the Conways, only Alan, who never hoped for much, suggests a way to take the rough with the smooth.
Un solo blog es muchos blogs, gracias a las etiquetas. No quiero decir que tenga un solo blog, pero en el caso de Vanity Fea, en Blogger, esta es la actual distribución de temas principales que trato, según las principales etiquetas— lo cual viene a ser una colección de blogs temáticos sobre las siguientes cuestiones:
Es curioso: no me veía yo tan dedicado a la fotografía o la música, más bien a los rollos filosófico-filológicos—pero ya ven, las cifras cantan.
Algunas entradas se repiten, claro, en estos blogs temáticos—pero a partir de esta etiqueta el índice de repetición es mucho mayor. También habrá alguna entrada que no entre en ninguna de estas etiquetas principales.
Para qué abrir un blog temático, si en un blog misceláneo cabe el blog temático, y más cosas. Por separar, claro: pero es que la gracia de un blog está en revolver y en conectar.
Esta página recoge referencias bibliográficas de materiales disponibles en los fondos de las Bibliotecas que participan en Dialnet. En ningún caso se trata de una página que recoja toda la producción bibliográfica de un autor de manera exhaustiva. Nos gustaría que los datos aparecieran de la manera más correcta posible, de manera que si detecta algún error en la información que facilitamos, puede hacernos llegar su Sugerencia/Errata.
Cita mi bibliografía Robert D. Denham en el artículo "Pity the Northrop Frye Scholar? Frye's Anatomy of Criticism Fifty Years Later." (RILCE 25 (2009): 8-28)—aunque no me incluye en la bibliografía suya. Un libro admirable por cierto, el de Frye, que supongo que pocos estudiantes leen hoy en día. Hace no cincuenta, sino treinta años, era el más citado en el ámbito de la Filología Inglesa, so it goes.
Por increíble que suene, creo que no tengo ninguna nota dedicada a recopilar las veces que me citan en sitios académicos. En el siguiente post lo subsano.
Por un oversight inexplicable, no había hecho hasta ahora ningún recopilatorio de las publicaciones académicas que me citan. Este post lo actualizaré en Blogger. Incluye algunas reseñas sobre mis publicaciones, e iré añadiendo al pie las citas ocasionales que encuentre. No incluyo las autocitas, que son el 90% del total:
ABES: Annotated Bibliography for English Studies. Gen. ed. Robert Clark. Online edition URL: http://www.swets.nl/abes/htm DISCONTINUED, moved to Routledge. (Annotations of Reading the Monster, "Samuel Johnson's Rasselas," "'The Enthusiastick Fit'," Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva, "Speech Act Theory and the Concept of Intention in Literary Criticism," "'It's Stories Still'," "Deconstructive Intentions," "Enunciación, ficción y niveles semióticos en el texto narrativo," The Intertextual Dimension of Discourse, "Sobre la competencia del narrador en la ficción," Narratology).
Albrecht, Thomas and Céline Surprenant. "5. Narrative." In The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, Advance Access online, April 25, 2007. (Rev. of The Dynamics of Narrative Form, ed. John Pier). http://ywcct.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/citation/mbm005v1 2007
Alonso, Milagros. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Anuario de Lingüística Hispánica 26 (2010).
Alvarez Amorós, José Antonio. Rev. of Theorizing Narrativity. Ed. John Pier and José Angel García Landa. Estudios Ingleses de la Universidad Complutense 17 (2009): 137-40.* http://revistas.ucm.es/portal/abrir.php?url=http://revistas.ucm.es/fll/11330392/articulos/EIUC0909110129A.PDF 2010
Álvarez Falcón, Luis. "Las modulaciones de lo idéntico. Acerca de Paradojas de la interculturalidad. Filosofía, lenguaje y discurso." Endoxa 25 (2010). https://serviweb.uned.es/publicaciones/mostrar.asp?codigo=0170070RE21A15 2011 _____. Rev. of Paradojas de la Interculturalidad. Ed. Mª Carmen López Sáenz and Beatriz Penas Ibáñez. Investigaciones Fenomenológicas 8 (2011): 259-264.*
Baena, Enrique. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Rilce 27.2 (2011).
Bhattacharyya, Debjani. Review of Memory, Imagination, and Desire in Contemporary Anglo-American Literature and Film. Ed. Constanza del Río and Luis Miguel García Mainar. Giessener Graduiertenzentrum Kulturwissenschaften (n.d.). http://www.uni-giessen.de/graduiertenzentrum/magazin/rezension-2121.php 2006-12-14
Brufau Alvira, Nuria "Translating and (Re)creating (Cultural) Identities. A Review Article of New Work by López Sáenz and Penas Ibáñez, and Vidal Claramonte." CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture (Purdue University) http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol10/iss3/ 2008
Calvo, Clara. Rev. of Books in Motion: Adaptation, Intertextuality, Authorship. Ed. Mireia Aragay. Atlantis 29.2 (Dec. 2007): 101-106.*
Calvo Pascual, Mónica. Reseña de New Exoticisms. Ed. Isabel Santaolalla. Miscelánea 24 (2001- issued 2003): 175-78.* http://www.miscelaneajournal.net/images/stories/articulos/vol24/Santaolalla24.pdf 2009
Coste, Didier. "Le récit comme forme-mouvement." Rev. of The Dynamics of Narrative Form. Ed. John Pier. Fabula 7.5 (24 Oct. 2006). http://www.fabula.org/revue/document1641.php 2006-10-30
Crews, Brian. Rev. of Beyond Borders: Re-Defining Generic and Ontological Boundaries. Ed. Ramón Plo-Alastrué and María Jesús Martínez-Alfaro. Atlantis 25.1 (June 2003): 133-39.*
Dahlgren, Marta. Rev. of Theorizing Narrativity. Ed. John Pier and José Ángel García Landa. Atlantis 31.2 (Dec. 2009): 169-75.* http://www.atlantisjournal.org/ARCHIVE/31.2/2009Dahlgren.pdf 2009
Díaz Bild, Aída. Review of Narratology: An Introduction. Ed. Susana Onega and José Angel García Landa. Atlantis 19.2 (December 1997, pub. December 1998): 283-84.* http://www.atlantisjournal.org/Papers/v19%20n2/v19%20n2-27.pdf 2011
Dittmar, Linda. Review of Gender, I-deology: Essays on Theory, Fiction and Film. Ed. Chantal Cornut-Gentille D'Arcy and José Angel García Landa. Miscelánea 18 (1997): 362-66.* http://www.miscelaneajournal.net/images/stories/articulos/vol18/Reviews18.pdf 2009
"Efímero." (Lucas Díaz López). "Libro (html): J. A. García Landa, Acción, relato, discurso. Estructura de la ficción narrativa." Efímero 15 Feb. 2011.* http://efimeroescombrera.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/libro-html-j-a-garcia-landa-accion-relato-discurso-estructura-de-la-ficcion-narrativa/ 2011
Fernández, Rafael. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Crítica Bibliográphica. Electronic journal. Academia Editorial del Hispanismo (Dec. 2010). http://www.academiaeditorial.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/CB-Penas-Fernandez.pdf
Galván, Fernando. Review of Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva. By José Angel García Landa. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 27-27 (April-Nov. 1993 [issued 1996]): 239-40.* _____. "Respuesta a José Ángel García Landa." Aedean mailing list (Feb. 2006). https://listas.uvigo.es/pipermail/aedean/2006-February/001309.html 2008
"García Landa, José Ángel." In Who's Who in the World 2005. 22nd ed. New Providence (NJ): Marquis Who'sWho, 2005.*
Gavins, Joanna. "The Year's Work in Stylistics 2004: Old Dogs, New Tricks." Language and Literature 14.4 (Nov. 2005): 397-408.* (J. Pier, ed. The Dynamics of Form: Studies in Anglo-American Narratology).
Gómez Acosta, Marta, and Juan Ignacio Oliva. Rev. of Beyond Borders: Re-defining Generic and Ontological Boundaries. Ed. Ramón Plo-Alastrué and María Jesús Martínez-Alfaro. Revista de Filología de la Universidad de La Laguna 22 (2004): 342-44.*
González, Carmen. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. LinRed 7 (2010). http://www.linred.es/resenas_pdf/LR_resena38_29012010.pdf 2011
González, Paloma. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Anuario de Estudios Filológicos 33 (2010): 401-27.*
Guy-Bray, Stephen. "The Differences of Things." Rev. of "New" Exoticisms, ed. Isabel Santaolalla, and Men in Wonderland, by Catherine Robson. Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review 174 (Autumn 2002): 177-79.* http://www.canlit.ca/reviews/174/5624_GuyBray.html 2006-12-15
Hoenselaars, Ton, and Paul Franssen. "Update on the Shakespeare Industry." Staple of News 11 (July 2006). http://shakespeare.let.uu.nl/staple11.htm 2006-09-06
Kuzmanovich, Zoran. "'Reading with the Spine' or Reading Nabokov with Huck Finn." Cycnos Volume 24 n°1- Vladimir Nabokov, Annotating vs Interpreting Nabokov Actes du colloque , Nice 21-22-23 juin 2006 http://revel.unice.fr/cycnos/document.html?id=1071 2008
Lenz, Friedrich. Rev. of The Intertextual Dimension of Discourse. Ed. Beatriz Penas Ibáñez. Anglistik 9.2 (1998): 179-81.*
"Libro (html): J. A. García Landa, 'Acción, relato, discurso: Estructura de la ficción narrativa'. Efímero: Escombrera filosófica 15 Feb. 2011.* http://efimeroescombrera.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/libro-html-j-a-garcia-landa-accion-relato-discurso-estructura-de-la-ficcion-narrativa/ 2011
Llorente, Mª del Rosario. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Analecta Malacitana 33.1 (2010).
Martín, Sara. Rev. of Beyond Borders: Re-defining Generic and Ontological Boundaries. Ed. Ramón Plo-Alastrué and María Jesús Martínez-Alfaro. Anglistik 15.1 ( March 2004): 184-187.*
Martínez Alfaro, María Jesús. Reseña de Narratology. Ed. Susana Onega y José Angel García Landa. Miscelánea 17 (1996): 241-44. http://www.miscelaneajournal.net/images/stories/articulos/vol17/review17.pdf 2009
Martínez de Carnero Calzada, Fernando. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Artifara 9 (2009).
Martínez Falquina, Silvia. Rev. of Memory, Imagination and Desire in Contemporary Anglo-American Literature and Film. Ed. Constanza del Río-Álvaro and Luis Miguel García-Mainar. Miscelánea 32 (2005, issued 2006): 135-41.*
Medina, Francisca. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Oralia 14 (2011).
Muñoz Terrón, José María. Rev. of Paradojas de la interculturalidad: Filosofía, lenguaje y discurso. Ed. Mª Carmen López Sáenz and Beatriz Penas Ibáñez. Daímon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 46 (2009): 222-24*
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Rodríguez, María. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Cauce 32 (2009).
Ruiz Gago, Carmen. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Lenguaje y Textos 33 (2011).
Segal, Eyal. Rev. of The Dynamics of Narrative Form: Studies in Anglo-American Narratology. Ed. John Pier. Poetics Today 27.4 (Winter 2006): 726-730. http://poeticstoday.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/27/4/730.pdf 2007
Silió, Teresa. Rev. of Estudios sobre el texto: Nuevos enfoques y propuestas. Ed. Mª Azucena Penas Ibáñez and Rosario González. Mi+d (un lugar para la ciencia y la tecnología) Portal científico de la web. 2010.
Spang, Kurt. Review of Acción, Relato, Discurso: Estructura de la ficción narrativa. By José Angel García Landa. Notas 6.3 (1999): 30-31.*
Williams, Melanie. Review of Gender, I-deology: Essays on Theory, Fiction and Film. Ed. Chantal Cornut-Gentille d'Arcy and José Angel García Landa. Journal of Gender Studies 7.2 (1998): 237-38.* (Carfax Publishing Co.). Electronic ed. in E-Library: http://ask.elibrary.com/
Otras citas encontradas:
Ballota, David. "Los libros se sienten y se ven en la blogosfera." ("Cosas de blogueros"). Heraldo de Aragón-HeraldoDomingo 5 Aug. 2007: 9.*
Denham, Robert D. "Pity the Northrop Frye Scholar? Frye's Anatomy of Criticism Fifty Years Later." RILCE 25.1 (2009): 8-28.* Milenkova-Kyheng, Rossitza. "Remarks on the Terms Narrative, Narratology and Narrative Semiotics." Bulgarian language and literature 1 (2001).
Plaza, Eduardo F. "La 'Différance' et l'intertextualité dans le troisième mouvement de la Sinfonia de Luciano Berio."
Charla sobre eso, y también os partidos y los nacionalistas y la Constitución y Tribunal Constitucional. Y, en realidad, sobre la carencia de sustancia intelectual, y el "pensamiento Alicia", en el que se basa el discurso político. Una conferencia de Gustavo Bueno en la fundación DENAES, en julio de 2012.
Director: Woody Allen Interpretes: Ellen Page, Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Judy Davis, Penélope Cruz
Resumen según RedAragón:
Después de tres películas rodadas en Inglaterra (Match point, Scoop y El sueño de Cassandra) y su aventura barcelonesa (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), todo parecía indicar que Woody Allen daba por terminado su periplo europeo y volvía a su querida geografía neoyorquina (Si la cosa funciona y Conocerás al hombre de tus sueños). Pero nada más lejos de la realidad. Después de evocar distintas épocas del París más bohemio y artístico en la fantasía Midnight in Paris, el director norteamericano acude a la llamada de la ciudad eterna para rodar en sus plazas, calles y callejuelas A Roma con amor, otra mezcla de comedia típicamente alleniana y fantasía construida a partir de cuatro historias independientes que acontecen en la misma ciudad, al mismo tiempo. De nuevo un reparto poderoso, variado, cosmopolita, en el que no falta el propio Allen (en el papel de un cazatalentos musical que tiene que lidiar con un magnífico pero tímido tenor que solo sabe cantar bien en la ducha, lo que da pie a uno de los gags más surrealistas de toda su filmografía), y al que le siguen Alec Baldwin como una especie de oráculo, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Judy Davis, Roberto Benigni y Penélope Cruz en su segundo trabajo con el director. Si Penélope es una prostituta romana, talentosa en el contacto físico y disparatada en el chascarrillo antiburgués, Benigni encarna a uno de los más extraños personajes de toda la obra de Allen. Se trata de un oficinista de clase media, anónimo y poco atractivo, que sin razón alguna se convierte en personaje mediático, asediado por prensa y público. Allen ya trató el tema de la fama en Celebrity, su película en blanco y negro de 1998, pero aquí lo convierte en desconcertante espectáculo libre de todo prejuicio narrativo.
Crítica de Nando Salvá (El Periódico):
La última parada en el tour turístico de Woody Allen por algunas de las ciudades más fotogénicas de Europa tiene un aspecto herméticamente bonito –sus escenas están llenas de sol, de encantadoras piazzas y cafeterías, de calles de piedra abrazadas por la brisa–, una banda sonora llena de machacones clásicos del pop italiano y una colección de diálogos que nos aseguran de forma repetida y redundante que Roma es "hermosa".
Asimismo, las cuatro inconexas historias que componen la película parecen por momentos rendir tributo a clásicos del cine italiano como De Sica y Fellini, pero de una forma que se percibe anémica y subdesarrollada. Algunas de ellas simplemente no tienen espacio para crecer, y las otras son meros chistes no especialmente inspirados y estirados a base de verborrea suministrada por personajes unidimensionales que afrontan situaciones pobremente diseñadas.
Contemplando A Roma con amor, uno está tentado de suponer que Allen la concibió después de hacer limpieza en el cajón de las ideas: escogió un puñado de ellas que no le parecían del todo mal y, incapaz de decidirse por una, resolvió usarlas juntas. O que, simplemente, la escribió en la parte trasera de un mantel de papel en una pizzería del Trastevere, justo antes de un helado y una siesta. Y es difícil evitar la sensación de que la insistencia de Allen por producir una película al año conlleva cierto desprecio por el cine. No todos los directores tienen por qué tratar de emular el perfeccionismo de Kubrick pero, ¿es que no hay un término medio? Y aquí la de Luis Martínez en El Mundo. ________
Hay que decir que si no es ninguna obra maestra la película, como homenaje desenfadado a Roma sí funciona bastante bien. Es entretenida de sonrisa, sin llegar a divertir realmente, en parte debido a la deslavazada estructura narrativa de historias alternadas pero inconexas. Se refuerzan mínimamente en lo temático: en cada una la situación incial, estable, se ve comprometida por la tentación del exceso o el desenfrento—el joven arquitecto que se enamora de Monica, la amiga que viene a visitar a su mujer ("hasta su nombre es sexy"), el empresario de pompas fúnebres que canta Pagliacci en la ducha, y triunfa brevemente en escena con ducha y todo—lo mejor es el momento de los asesinatos desde la ducha—; la pareja de provincias que se desorienta en Roma y cometen adulterio con prostituta y criminal; y el oficinista que se vuelve famoso por unos días, una fama gratuita que lo abandona tan pronto como le llegó. Los personajes están a merced del deseo o de la suerte que los saque de su rutina—pero luego el empresario vuelve a sus pompas fúnebres, Woody Allen fracasa como montador de óperas vanguardistas, a Monica le dan un papel en Japón o en Hawaii y no se lo piensa dos veces en dejar a su amante recién encontrado, sin darle tiempo siquiera a romper su pareja... (Es patético ver a estos personajes desde fuera dejándose llevar por el deseo o el impulso a la infidelidad, revelando una sustancia moral de lo más endeble.... pero así somos, al parecer, vistos desde Woody). Por cierto, en el personaje de Monica, una pulla malintencionada a Mia Farrow: actriz desequilibrada, falsa intelectual, dramatizándose a sí misma, haciendo al mundo girar en torno a sus emociones... "si vives un año con ella acabarás adoptando huérfanos vietnamitas". El affair éste del arquitecto está contemplado por otro arquitecto norteamericano, sesentón, que ya vivió todo esto hace tiempo, y hace apariciones narratoriales o fantasmales, un tanto desconcertantes narrativamente, al lado de su joven colega al que aconseja: "¡Peligro! ¡Peligro a la vista!"—sin que los consejos sirvan de nada. Es como Woody aconsejándose a sí mismo, joven o viejo, tanto da, no maduramos. En cuanto a la fama, es aquí más absurda que nunca por su gratuidad absoluta, sólo el ojo de los medios y la nube de paparazzi corriendo de un lado a otro y magnificando las naderías que encuentran; el personaje de Begnini se queda entre aliviado de volver a su rutina y desconsolado por no ser ya nadie, y no tener las mujeres que tenía... El lado repugnante de los famosos aparece más bien en el actorzucho con el que se ilusiona la pueblerina que se ha perdido por Roma, y que ya perdida se deja seducir por quien pase, primero por este patético personaje que para más inri se me parece bastante, y luego por un apuesto criminalillo que los atraca a los dos en su hotel. En fin, una serie de sketches dignos de la comedia de la Restauración, y que no dicen mucho de la coherencia moral de la humanidad—que al parecer depende más de la rutina que de la auténtica fuerza del convencimiento de los afectos y de las relaciones personales. Roma es amor al revés, por eso funciona bien el título en español; ahora que vete a saber qué quiere decir el juego de palabras—echa un aroma sospechoso de autoironía y de frustración, más que de sentimentalismo.
The Arbor,película dirigida por Clio Barnard, es na mezcla de documental y drama sobre la escritora barriobajera Andrea Dunbar, de Bradford, muerta a los 29 tras una vida desestructurada—y las secuelas en su familia 20 años después de su breve éxito. Tiene excelentes críticas pero el conjunto es más bien deprimente de ver, y vidas tan desorganizadas, planas, desestructuradas y prosaicas no dan ni siquiera para un drama soportable. Ni siquiera entra mucho la película en la vaciedad del mundillo literario que hizo un éxito de las tranches de vie de Andrea Dunbar. Estos ambientes mejor no verlos ni en teatro ni en pelícuula. En The Village Voice la ponen mejor:
An exemplar of fact-fiction hybrid filmmaking, Clio Barnard's debut feature traces the life of British playwright Andrea Dunbar (1961–1990), whose work chronicled her grim existence in the West Yorkshire housing project where she grew up, and the fallout of her notoriety, horrible choices in men, and alcoholism for her family, particularly her oldest daughter, Lorraine. Barnard seamlessly blends archival material and a live staging of Dunbar's play of the title on the writer's home turf. But her boldest intervention in the bio-doc is having actors lip-synch the words of the actual interviewees—a deliberate distancing device that nonetheless draws viewers in closer.
Muy saltable, la llamo yo, mejor que a must-see. Los acentos de Bradford, lo mejor, pero ojo que es Inglaterra profunda, deepest heart of greyness.
Después de 20 años de comprar uno o dos libros al mes, me doy de baja en el Círculo de Lectores. Por una parte, porque ya no me caben más libros en casa, y me faltan muchos por leer. Y por otra, lamentándolo—porque voy a hacer un estricto boicot a los productos catalanes. Incluidos los libros made in Barcelona. No porque el Círculo tenga nada que ver en esto, para nada. Pero el boicot a los productos catalanes es a estas alturas del delirio secesionista una necesidad. A Cataluña la llevan por muy mal camino dos tipos de personas: los que la llevan efectivamente, con la religión oficial del nacionalismo, y los que se dejan llevar y callan prudentemente, o votan a los primeros—el 90% de los demás, qué digo el 90, el 99 por cien.
Hoy declara Mas que no le van a parar a Cataluña ni a él ni tribunales ni constituciones en su proceso secesionista.
Así que hasta que no empiece a notar una reacción significativa contra el nacionalismo en la propia Cataluña, o mientras tengan a este fantoche de presidente.... adiós muy buenas: yo con la economía y la política de ustedes y sus proyectos tampoco tengo nada que ver, y desde luego no los voy a subvencionar.
Blog de notas de José Ángel García Landa (Biescas y Zaragoza) :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: "Algo hay en el formato mismo de los blogs que estimula un desarrollo casi canceroso de nuestro ego" (John Hiler)