Comentamos un pasaje de las Historias de Polibio (Libro V, 30.8-333) en el que se echa de ver la consciencia que este historiador griego tiene de la lógica de la narratividad, y de las implicaciones teóricas que tiene la dinámica de la retrospección para un proyecto como el suyo, la composición de una historia universal.
A commentary of a passage of Polybius' Histories (Book V, 30.8-33) which evinces this Greek historian's consciousness of the logic of narrativity, and of the theoretical implications of the dynamics of retrospection for his project of a universal history.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 3 Keywords: History, Historiography, Historians, Polybius, Greek literature, Greek historians, Retrospection, Narrativity, Narrative, Hindsight
Min. 51- on birds learning to sing, "They listen to themselves." Interestingly, this feedback process in birds singing was noted by George Herbert Mead, in his book "Mind, Self, and Society". Self-interaction is also a major concept in his theory of consciousness; it's good to see that genetic and neurological developments are confirming his insights.
Una búsqueda en concordancias de las obras de Shakespeare referida a terminología sobre fenómenos astronómicos excepcionales no proporciona pruebas concluyentes de que reaccionase de manera específica a las dos supernovas visibles durante su vida, aunque sí hay diversas alusiones a cometas y meteoritos, normalmente tomados como símbolos de la excepcionalidad en asuntos humanos. Al menos una de estas referencias puede tener un sentido autobiográfico, con Shakespeare presentándose como la 'estrella de los poetas' a la que aludiría Ben Jonson.
'Like a Comet I Was Wonder'd at': Shakespeare and Supernovas
A concordance search of Shakespeare's works for exceptional astronomical phenomena does not yield any evidence of his reacting specifically to the two supernovas visible during his lifetime, although there are a number of allusions to comets and meteors, usually taken as symbols of the exceptional in human affairs. At least one of these references may have an autobiographical import, with Shakespeare reflecting on himself as the 'star of poets' Ben Jonson would allude to.
From The Penguin Shakespeare Dictionary, ed. Sandra Clark.
Macbeth[Full title, The Tragedy of Macbeth]A tragedy by Shakespeare, probably written in 1605 or 1606. It was seen by Simon *Forman at the *Globe theatre on 20 April 1611, but is almost certain to have been first produced several years earlier. It was printed in the 1623 first folio, but there is some probability that cuts were made from the stage manuscript. The Hecate scenes, including the Witches' songs, are probably *Middleton's. In the Restoration period *Davenant made it into an opera. The play followed in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot, and there are various topical references especially in the Porter scene (II.iii). Shakespeare's main source was Holinshed's Chronicles, probably in the 1587 edition that he used elsewhere, although he may also have seen illustrations from the 1577 edition. He used Holinshed not only for the account of Macbeth's life but also for the story of the murder of King Duff by Donwald, and for the description of ancient Scottish life and customs. Shakespeare altered Holinshed's account of Macbeth's life in a number of ways; the involvement of Banquo, supposedly King James's ancestor, was omitted and Banquo's character generally whitewashed, while Macbeth was made more villainous. Holinshed's Duncan was a weak and unsatisfactory monarch whom Macbeth assassinated with the help of friends, and after the murder Macbeth ruled in a just and beneficient way for ten years before he was overcome by guilt and proceeded to further crimes. Holinshed's account of the murder of King Duff in fact bears more resemblance to the murder of Duncan in Shakespeare's play, although the subsequent career of Duff's murderer, Donwald, does not parallel Macbeth's. Holinshed describes Duff as a good king and Donwald as a kinsman whom he especially trusted; Donwald, urged on by his wife, secretly murdered Duff by cutting his throat while Duff was a guest in his home. After Duff's murder monstrous events took place in the kingdom. There were a number of other chronicles of Scottish history available to Shakespeare. He probably did not use William Stewart's The Buik of the Chronicles of Scotland which was available in manuscript in King James's private library, although this has been disputed, but he may well have seen the Rerum Scoticarum Historia (1582) by George Buchanan, which contains a Macbeth very similar in character to Shakespeare's and also describes the remorse felt by a royal murderer, King Kenneth, in much fuller terms than Holinshed. John Leslie's De Origine Scotorum (1578) supplied a Macbeth who killed Duncan without any assistance from Banquo, and Shakespeare may have seen this, although this, like Buchanan's work, was only available in Latin. James's interests were a significant consideration in the composition of Macbeth, and Shakespeare's may well have read some of James's own work for it, especially the Daemonologie (1597), which could have provided him for the treatment of the Witches. The chronicle sources for Macbeth provided Shakespeare with very little dialogue and few detailed encounters; htese he may have derived from some of *Seneca's tragedies. Medea or Agamemnon may have suggested ideas for the characterization of Lady Macbeth, and both of these had been traslated by John Studley. The atmosphere of concentrated evil is particularly Senecan and recalls Shakespeare's own earlier works, the poem The Rape of Lucrece, and Richard III. Finally, as might seem appropriate in a tragedy of damnation, Shakespeare draws heavily on the Bible.
Duncan, King of Scotland
Malcolm, son of Duncan
Donaldbain, son of Duncan
Macbeth, general of the army
Banquo, general of the army
Macduff, Scottish nobleman
Lennox, Scottish nobleman
Ross, Scottish nobleman
Menteith, Scottish nobleman
Angus, Scottish nobleman
Caithness, Scottish nobleman
Fleance, son of Banquo
Siward, Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces
Young Siward, his son
Seyton, officer to Macbeth
Boy, son to Macduff
An English Doctor
A Scottish Doctor
An Old Man
Gentlewoman to Lady Macbeth
Hecate, and Three Witches
Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murderers, Attendantes, and Messengers
The Ghost of Banquo, and other Apparitions
The Story. Macbeth and Banquo, Scottish generals, are returning from a victorious campaign when they meet upon the heath three Witches who hail them, prophesying that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor and King hereafter, and that Banquo will beget kings. Part of the prophecy is immediately fufilled when a messenger announces that Duncan, King of Scotland, has promoted Macbeth to Thane of Cawdor. Lady Macbeth, having learned of the Witches, plays upon her husband, already tempted by dreams of royal power, to kill the King, who falls into their hands when he arrives for a visit at the castle of Macbeth. But when the murder is done, Macbeth is completely unnerved. Lady Macbeth returns to Duncan's room with the daggers that Macbeth has neglected to leave behind. Into the scene of horror comes the sound of knocking at the gate. The murder is discovered, and Macbeth puts the grooms to death to conceal his action. Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donaldbain, flee from Scotland, and Macbeth is crowned. He then hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance, but the latter escapes. At a banquet given by Macbeth, the ghost of Banquo appears to him. Macbeth returns to consult with the Witches, who show him apparitions that tell him to beware Macduff, that "none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth," and that he shall be safe until "Birnam Wood to hight Dunsinane Hill / Shall come" (IVi). However, he is then also shown a procession of future kings, all descendants of Banquo. Macduff, meanwhile, has goen to England to raise an army with Malcolm to defeat Macbeth and there learns that his wife and children have been killed at the order of Macbeth. Macbeth, preparing to meet the invading army, learns of lady Macbeth's death. His response is that "She should have died hereafter" (V.v). The army advances, bearing branches cut from Birnam Wood for concealment, and Macduff who was "from his mother's womb / Untimely ripped (V.vii) kills Macbeth. malcolm is crowned King of Scotland.
Las teorías materialistas de la historia hace tiempo que han asociado las estructuras sociales y el Estado a una explotación organizada de los recursos humanos y a la coerción institucionalizada. Situamos en este contexto la teoría de J.M. Ciordia sobre el origen de las principales civilizaciones del Viejo Mundo en torno al control mafioso del comercio y de las comunicaciones navales. Una perspectiva evolucionista sobre el uso de los recursos concurre con esta aproximación, contemplando las estructuras sociales humanas como una combinación de cooperación y de explotación sistemática. El origen de esta perspectiva evolucionista sobre la socialidad humana y sobre las estructuras de "protección" institucionalizadas puede remontarse a la obra de Giambattista Vico.
Materialist theories of history have long associated social structures and the State to organized exploitation of human resources and to institutionalized coertion. J.M. Ciordia's theory regarding the origin of major Old World civilizations around the mafioso control of commerce and naval communications is set in this context. An evolutionary perspective on the use of resources concurs with this approach, viewing human social structures as a combination of cooperation and systematic exploitation. The origin of this evolutionary perspective on human sociality and institutionalized structures of "protection" can be traced back to the work of Giambattista Vico.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6 Keywords: State, Social evolution, Institutions, Institutionalization, Materialism, Sociality, Cooperation, Exploitation, Mafia, Civilization, Communications, Social class, History, Violence,
Seguimos la pista de un motivo recurrente, a saber, la existencia de un sistema combinatorio que genera las modalidades de experiencia y de subjetividad, y que subyace a ellas, en varias obras (de Stevenson, Browne, Wilde, Borges, Lem y otros). Extraemos algunas consecuencias teóricas, en particular en lo relativo al papel y definición de visión superior o perspectiva dominante, y también en lo relativo a las aportaciones que para al análisis de este motivo recurrente puedan resultar de la conjunción de los conceptos de evolución cósmica y de anclaje narrativo.
Topsight on the Combinatory System — And the Anxiety of Knowing Oneself to Be a Copy
The motif of a combinatory system generating subjectivity and individual experience and underlying them is traced in number of literary works (by Stevenson, Browne, Wilde, Borges, Lem, and others), and some theoretical consequences are drawn, especially regarding the role and definition of topsight or dominant perspective, and regarding the insights that the combined concepts of cosmic evolution and narrative anchoring may bring to the analysis of this recurrent motif.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22 Keywords: Big history, Cosmic evolution, Narratology, Narrative anchoring, Historicity, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Repeatability, Structure, Experience, Individuality, Ergodic systems
eJournal Classifications Date posted:November 24, 2015
Me citan en una entrevista a Larissa Muravieva, sobre el proyecto Open Narratology que está llevando adelante en Rusia con un grupo interdisciplinar: «Otkrytaya narratologiya»: kak i zachem izuchat' istorii, kotorymi my zhivem. (Narratología abierta: cómo y por qué estudiar las historias con las que vivimos). Aquí está la entrevista, en la web Culture in the City de Nizhny-Novgorod:
OPEN narratology: La narratología es la ciencia de las historias con las que vivimos. "Open Narratology" es un nuevo formato para la comunicación científica. Se trata de un proyecto interdisciplinar, en el que los especialistas en teoría narrativa pueden publicar sus ideas, proyectos y estudios.
El trabajo al que alude la entrevista, sobre los fotoblogs, apareció en el libro Semiosphere of Narratology, coeditado con Ludmila Tataru, también miembro destacado de este proyecto sobre "narratología abierta".
Me complace comunicarme que contra prónosticos pesimistas, he vuelto a ascender en mi posicionamiento en el SSRN, el mayor repositorio de ciencias sociales y humanidades del hemisferio norte, y del sur.
Las estadísticas se refieren a los 30.000 autores principales, por número de visitas, de los más de 250.000 autores del repositorio. Pero entre estos 30.000 no destaco por número de visitas, donde mis cifras son más modestas. Como suele ser el caso, entre los diversos parámetros destaco por número de contribuciones. Mi mejor posicionamiento es el number five.El número cinco mundial por número de artículos subidos durante el último año: estoy ahí desde hace unos cuantos meses.
En forma de gráfico del IBEX, aquí aparece mi trayectoria en lo que el SSRN llama "este torneo", this tournament:
Ya querrían tener un gráfico así en Abengoa, o en el grupo Prisa. Todo lo que sube baja, pero de momento ahí seguimos, en la cumbre de nuestra fortuna, antes de la rápida caída.
Este puesto tan bueno es en un índice que mide la actividad, como el de visitas recientes. Pero otros tienen más staying power, y de esos destaco también en el ránking general por número de artículos subidos desde la creación del repositorio. Allí estoy el número ocho:
Están por delante de mí Robert W. McGee, economista de la Universidad de Florida; Robert F. Bruner y James G. Clawson, decano y catedrático eméritos de la facultad de económicas de la Universidad de Virginia; Alain Verbeke, catedrático de derecho en Lovaina; Gérard-François Dumont, catedrático de Geografía de la Sorbona; Daron Acemoglu, economista del MIT; Gerald Lebovits, un juez de Nueva York profesor de Derecho en Columbia. Y he adelantado en este aspecto a Pablo Fernández, economista de la Universidad de Navarra, que es el mejor posicionado globalmente por número de visitas. En ese dato no lo adelantaré, claro.
Otro detalle. De las áreas de humanidades soy el primero de la lista.
Muy a propósito viene este drama con la crisis francesa tras el atentado islamista, con la subida del Frente Nacional, y sobre todo con la crisis de los refugiados que piden asilo en la Unión Europea. Quieren entrar en "La Isla"—en la fortaleza europea. "Le monde va changer, et va se mélanger —et nous te demandons ASILE! ASILE!".
En la resistencia estuvieron mi tío abuelo Víctor Carrera (que luego se pasaría a los maquis)—y también mi abuelo Severiano Landa, que antes había luchado en el frente de aragón con la "43". Ambos eran miembros del Partido Comunista francés, y sobrevivieron a la preguerra, a la guerra, a la guerra, y a la posguerra. Siempre me acuerdo de ellos al oír esta canción de la Ronda de Boltaña, "Bajo dos tricolores":
Y sobre mi otro abuelo, Ángel García Benedito, publica ahora Enrique Satué un artículo en Serrablo:
Satué Oliván, Enrique. "Don Ángel y el pueblo redimido (I)." Serrablo 173 (Nov. 2015): 14-17.
No habrá una sola cosa que no sea una nube. Lo son las catedrales de vasta piedra y bíblicos cristales que el tiempo allanará. Lo es la Odisea, que cambia como el mar. Algo hay distinto cada vez que la abrimos. El reflejo de tu cara ya es otro en el espejo y en el día es un dudoso laberinto. Somos los que se van. La numerosa nube que se deshace en el poniente es nuestra imagen. Incesantemente la rosa se convierte en otra rosa. Eres nube, eres mar, eres olvido. Eres también aquellos que has perdido.
William S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan. The Yeomen of the Guard: or, The Merryman and His Maid. Rec. 20 Oct. 2013. Cast: Mike Reynolds (Sir Richard Cholmondely); Tim Throck orton (Colonel Fairfax); Don Shirer (Sergeant Meryll); Hartley Horn (Leonard Meryl); Dave Henderson (Jack Point); Laurie Weissbrot (Wildred Shadbolt); John Freedman (First Yeoman); Bill Faye (Second Yeoman); Renée Haines (Elsie Maynard); Julie Rumbold (Phoebe Meryll); Denise Shultzman (Dame Carruthers); Kay Pere (Kate); Citizens; Yeomen; Jugglers, Tumblesr, Children; Tom Shultzman (Headsman); John Sloan (Monk); Ted Merwin (Priest); Sam Webster (First Citizen); Garry Jacobsen (Second Citizen). Teresa E. Kuzmenko, stage manager. Connecticut Gilbert & Sullivan Society / John Dreslin. YouTube (John Freeman) 26 Dec. 2013. https://youtu.be/GeXZWu7_65E 2015
Y en Alemania, si la red está en Alemania. O en Francia (?). Aquí sí me cita mucho, y muy a propósito, mi colega narratólogo John Pier, en un capítulo del Living Handbook of Narratology. Un sitio narratológico impresionante.
Un comentario en el Facebook de José Luis Corral, que denuncia las incoherencias de los partidos. Por una vez no le voy a dar la razón y le añado mis respuestas a sus "contradicciones":
El PP quiere que gobierne la lista más votada, pero en Cataluña se opone a que vote Junts pel si, que es la lista más votada. PORQUE EL PROYECTO DE JUNTS PEL SI ES ANTICONSTITUCIONAL. SE ENTIENDE FACIL.
El PSOE reniega de Podemos, pero lo sostiene en Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Cádiz..., y gobierna Aragón y Valencia con los votos de Podemos. RENIEGA ANTES DE LAS ELECCIONES, PERO SE ENTIENDE DESPUES DE LAS ELECCIONES. TAMBIEN SE ENTIENDE.
Ciudadanos sostiene un gobierno del PP en Madrid y uno del PSOE en Andalucía. PORQUE ES LA LISTA MAS VOTADA EN UN SITIO, Y EN OTRO. COHERENCIA.
Chunta Aragonesista gobierna con el PSOE en Aragón, pero se presenta a las elecciones generales en coalición con Izquierda Unida.
Podemos e Izquierda Unida defienden lo mismo, pero van separados, restándose escaños. CADA CUAL ELIGE A SUS AMORES ANTES DE LAS ELECCIONES, Y SE CASA POR CONVENIENCIA DESPUES. NO SERÁ LO IDEAL, PERO SE ENTIENDE.
Los antinacionalistas españolistas son los españolistas más nacionalistas. UN NACIONALISMO DE OFICIO, Y CONSISTENTE EN DEFENDER LA CONSTITUCION Y LO QUE UNE, NO ES LO MISMO QUE UN SECESIONISMO QUE POTENCIA LO QUE SEPARA. FALSA SIMETRÍA.
Mariano Rajoy es el político peor valorado, pero, seguramente, será el más votado. PORQUE LA GENTE NO VOTA AL PRESIDENTE, VOTA A UN PARTIDO Y A TODOS SUS CANDIDATOS.
Semi-opera. Anonymous libretto, adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Premiere Queen's Theatre, Dorset Garden, London, 2 May 1692. (Thomas Betterton). Revived 1693. A South African production (2013):
Discussing this text by Chesterton in "Sacred Naturalism":
I believe that every object is divine in a very definite and thorough sense. I believe, that is to say, that there is a great pleasure of spiritual reality behind things as they seem, and of this it affords of countless human affairs. And I believe that the supreme instance and the supreme demonstration of it is this; that if a man, dismissing the Cosmos and all such trifles, looks steadily and with some special and passionate adoration at some one thing, that thing suddenly speaks to him. Divinity lurks not in the All but in everything; and that, if it be true, is the explanation of a load of human chronicles, of a cataract of human testimony of all the religions, and all the wild tales of the world.... Providence desires its gifts received intensely and with humility and it is possible to look at one of them steadily and confidently until, with a great cry, it gives up its god. (G K Chesterton)
—quite apart from the allusion to "Providence", etc.: —there is something like a contradiction in Chesterton's phrase: he seems to dismiss the Cosmos as a "trifle" in order to focus on individual things, and yet that sense of the sacredness of each individual thing seems to presuppose its relationship to the whole, because a thing is not just a thing, it is the result of a system of relations to other things, to the cosmos if you like. Even perceiving the individuality of something involves perceiving its place in the cosmos, because that place is the something that the thing in question is. This makes me think of Blake's lines "To see a world in a grain of sand / And heaven in a wild flower / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand / And eternity in an hour". Every moment and every thing have this cosmic dimension lurking inside them, even when they seem to be themselves at their most particular.
A less poetical perspective on the same issue is provided by semiotics, or more specifically by Saussurean structuralism: the system of things, the cosmos, is a structure of relationships, a system in which the identity of elements is constituted by their mutual differences. In spite of appearances, there is no substance in the individual node apart from its relative position in the system of differences.
Como no parece que vayamos a mejor, sino todo lo contrario, excepto en cuestiones de diseño, le escribo esto a la Dirección del departamento, por si tienen a bien aceptar sugerencias de una página menos "piramidal y vertical". Que no creo. Ahí va:
Con respecto a la página web, querría sugerir que se nos diese a los profesores la posibilidad (como ya se hizo en otra ocasión) de incluir información adicional o enlaces a esa información, de modo que se pueda acceder a través de la web de la universidad a la información que cada profesor considere relevante o procedente, más allá de los mínimos de oficio. Por ejemplo en mi página figura esto:
José Ángel García Landa Personal Docente e Investigador Departamento de Filologia Inglesa y Alemana Area de Filologia Inglesa Facultad de Filosofia y Letras Facultad de Filosofía y Letras Teléfono exterior: 976761530 Correo electrónico: email@example.com Docencia Asignaturas impartidas:
Introducción a la literatura inglesa (30432)
Géneros literarios en la literatura inglesa I (27843)
Literatura inglesa II (27820) Líneas de investigación:
HERMENÉUTICA Y ANTROPOLOGÍA FENOMENOLÓGICA (HERAF)
—Pues bien (aparte de que está repetido lo de "Facultad de Filosofía y Letras"— sería útil que la información a las asignaturas impartidas se enlazase a las guías docentes correspondientes. El grupo de Hermenéutica y Antropología Fenomenológia HERAF también tiene una web, https://herafunizar.wordpress.com/
—pero sería más completa la información si se pudiesen incluir enlaces a páginas personales por ejemplo como estos que puse en su momento en otra página anterior:
La información de la página se vuelve así mucho más rica, al menos en la medida en que quiera cada uno.
Por otra parte, veo que la sección de noticias tampoco va a ser muy interactiva ni va a haber lugar para que aparezca información allí, aparte de la que decida introducir la dirección. Sería deseable una página más dinámica, siendo que existen los medios para ello, o como poco la creación de un Facebook del departamento, igual que hay uno de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras donde todos los miembros de la comunidad pueden introducir información sobre actividades y noticias.
No creo que la parte de la interactividad se vaya a potenciar, visto que estas herramientas existen desde hace tiempo y se ha decidido no usarlas. Ahora bien, sería deseable que existiese como mínimo la posibilidad de que cada profesor pudiera decidir con cierto margen qué información debería aparecer en su sección, aun en el caso de que no vaya a haber mucha flexibilidad para modificar esa información por cuenta propia. Eso ya se hizo en tiempos, hace años, aunque luego no se haya desarrollado.
Por lo demás el diseño sí es bonito y parece que funciona todo bien. Un saludo, JAGL
An introduction, from The Norton Anthology of English Literature:
On both sides of his family William Congreve was descended from well-to-do and prominent county families. His father, a younger son, obtained a commission as lieutenant in the army and moved to Ireland in 1674. There the future playwright was educated at Kilkenny School and Trinity College, Dublin; at both places he was a younger contemporary of Swift. In 1691 he took rooms in the Middle Temple and began to study law, but soon found he preferred the wit of the coffeehouses and the theater. Within a year he had so distinguished himself at Will's Coffeehouse that he had become intimate with the great Dryden himself, and his brief career as a dramatist began shortly thereafter.
The success of The Old Bachelor (produced in 1693) immediately established him as the most promising young dramatist in London. It had the then phenomenally long run of fourteen days, and Dryden declared it the best first play he had ever read. The Double Dealer (produced in 1693) was a near failure, though it evoked one of Dryden's most graceful and gracious poems, in which he praised Congreve as the superior of Jonson and Fletcher and the equal of Shakespeare. Love for Love (produced in 1695) was an unqualified success and remains Congreve's most frequently revived play. In 1697 he brought out a tragedy, The Mourning Bride, which enjoyed great popular esteem. Congreve's most elegant comedy of manners, The Way of the World, received a brilliant production in 1700. But it did not succeed with audiences, and subsequently he gave up the stage. He held a minor government post, which, although a Whig, he was allowed to keep during the Tory ministry of Oxford and Bolingbroke; after the accession of George I he was given a more lucrative government sinecure. Despite the political animosities of the first two decades of the century, he managed to remain on friendly terms with Swift and Pope, and Pope dedicated to him his translation of the Iliad. His final years were perplexed by poor health, but were made bearable by the love of Henrietta, duchess of Marlborough, whose last child, a daughter, was in all probability the playwright's.
The Way of the World is one of the wittiest plays ever written, a play to read slowly and savor. Like an expert jeweler, Congreve polished the Restoration comedy of manners to its ultimate sparkle and gloss. The dialogue is epigrammatic and brilliant, the plot is an intricate puzzle, and the characters shine with surprisingly complex facets. Yet the play is not all dazzling surface; it also has depths. Most Restoration comedies begin with the struggle for power, sex, and money and end with a marraiage. In an age that viewed property, not romance, as the basis of marriage, the hero shows his prowess by catching an heiress. The Way of the World reflects that standard plot; it is a battle more over a legacy than over a woman, a battle in which sexual attraction is used as a weapon. Yet Congreve, writing late in the period, reveals the weakness of those who treat love as a war or a game: "each deceiver to his cost may find / That marriage frauds too oft are paid in kind." If "the way of the world" is cynical self-interest, it is also the worldly prudence that sees through the ruses of power and turns them to better ends. In this world generosity and affection win the day and true love conquers—with the help of some clever plotting.
At the center of the action are four fully realized characters—Mirabell and Millamant, the hero and heroine, and Fainall and Mrs Marwood, the two villains—whose stratagems and relations move the play. Around them are characters who serve in one way or another as foils. Witwoud, the would-be wit, with whom we contrast the true wit of Mirabell and Millamant. Petulant, a "humor" character, who affects bluff candor and cynical realism, but succeeds only in being offensive, and Sir Wilfull Witwoud, the booby squire from the country, who serves with Petulant to throw into relief the high good breeding and fineness of nature of the hero and heroine Finally there is one of Congreve's finest creations, Lady Wishfort ('wish for it'), who though aging and ugly still longs for love, gallantry, and courtship and who is led by her appetites into the trap that Mirabell lays for her.
Because of the complexity of the plot, a summary of the situation at the rise of the curtain may prove helpful. Mirabell (a reformed rake) is sincerely in love with and wishes to marry Millamant, who, though a coquette and a highly sophisticated wit, is a virtuous woman. Mirabell some time before has married off his former mistress, the daughter of Lady Wishfort, to his friend Fainall. Fainall has grown tired of his wife and has been squandering her money on his mistress, Mrs. Marwood. In order to gain access to Millamant, Mirabell has pretended to pary court to the elderly and amorous Lady Wishfort, who is the guardian of Millamant and as such controls half her fortune. But his game has been spoiled by Mrs. Marwood, who nourishes a secret love for Mirabell and, to separate him from Millamant, has made Lady Wishfort aware of Mirabell's duplicity. Lady Wishfort now loathes Mirabell for making a fool of her—an awkward situation, because if Millamant should marry without her guardian's consent she would lose half her fortune, and Mirabell cannot afford to marry any but a rich wife. It is at this point that the action begins. Mirabell perfects a plot to get such power over Lady Wishfort as to force her to agree to the marriage, while Millamant continues to doubt whether she wishes to marry at all.
Traduzco de la Teoría de los Sentimientos Morales:
El principio de la autoestima puede ser demasiado alto, y también puede ser demasiado bajo. Es tan agradable tener una elevada idea de nosotros mismos, y es tan desagradable tener una baja autoestima, que, para la persona en cuestión, no se puede dudar que cualquier grado de exceso en la autoestima habrá de ser mucho menos desagradable que cualquier grado de defecto. Pero para el espectador imparcial, quizá pueda pensarse que las cosas aparecerán de manera muy distinta, y que para él el defecto ha de ser siempre menos desagradable que el exceso. Y en nuestros compañeros, sin duda, nos quejamos mucho más de lo segundo que de lo primero. Cuando adoptan aires de superioridad, o se sitúan por encima de nosotros, su autoestima mortifica la nuestra. Nuestro propio orgullo y vanidad nos impelen a acusarles de orgullo y de vanidad, y dejamos de ser espectadores imparciales de su conducta. Cuando los mismos compañeros, sin embargo, toleran que algún otro hombre adopte frente a ellos un aire de superioridad que no le corresponde, no sólo los culpamos, sino que a menudo los despreciamos considerándolos apocados. Ciuando, por el contrario, entre otras personas, se empujan un poquito al frente, y se disputan por obtener una elevación desproporcionada (según nos parece) a sus méritos, aunque no podamos aprobar completamente su conducta, a menudo más bien nos divierte, y cuando no se mezcla la envidia en el caso, casi siempre nos disgustamos con ellos mucho menos de lo que lo habríamos hecho si se hubiesen dejado hundir por debajo del puesto que les corresponde.
Al hacer una estimación de nuestro propio mérito, al juzgar nuestro propio carácter y conducta, hay dos estándares diferentes con los que podemos compararlos de modo natural. Uno es la idea de la propiedad y perfección exactas, en la medida en que cada uno de nosotros seamos capaces de comprender esa idea. El otro es el grado de aproximación a esta idea que se suele alcanzar corrientemente en el mundo, y al que pueden haber llegado de hecho la mayoría de nuestros amigos y compañeros, y de nuestros rivales y competidores. Muy rara vez (casi diría que nunca) intentamos juzgarnos a nosotros mismos sin prestar mayor o menor atención tanto a uno como a otro de estos dos estándares diferentes. Pero la atención de hombres diferentes, e incluso del mismo hombre en momentos diferentes, se reparte de manera muy desigual entre ellos; y a veces se dirige de manera principal hacia uno, a veces hacia el otro.
En tanto en cuanto nuestra atención se dirige al primero de los estándares, el más sabio y el mejor de nosotros no puede ver en su propio carácter y conducta sino debilidades e imperfecciones; no puede hallar base alguna para la arrogancia y la presunción, pero mucha para la humildad y el arrepentimiento. En la medida en que dirigimos nuestra atención al segundo, podemos vernos afectados de una manera u otra, ya sea realmente por encima, o realmente por debajo, del estándar con el cual nos comparamos.
El hombre sabio y virtuoso dirige su atención principal al primer estándar; la idea de la propiedad exacta y de la perfección. Existe en la mente de cada hombre una idea de este tipo, formada gradualmente a partir de sus observaciones del carácter y de la conducta tanto propios como de otras personas. Es la obra lenta, gradual y progresiva del gran semidios que hay en nuestro pecho, el gran juez y árbitro de la conducta. Esta idea está dibujada con mayor o menor exactitud en cada hombre, su colorido es más o menos preciso, sus contornos están mejor o peor dibujados, según la delicadeza y agudeza de la sensibilidad con la que se hicieron estas observaciones, y según el cuidado y atención empleados al hacerlas. En el hombre sabio y virtuoso pueden haberse hecho con la sensibilidad más aguda y delicada, y pueden haberse empleado el cuidado y atención máximos al hacerlas. Cada día se mejora algún rasgo; cada día se corrige algún defecto. Ha estudiado esta idea más que las demás personas, la comprende de manera más distinta, se ha formado de ella una imagen mucho más correcta, y está mucho más profundamente enamorado de su belleza exquisita y divina. Procura lo mejor que puede asimilar su propio carácter a este arquetipo de perfección. Pero imita la obra de un artista divino, que nunca puede igualarse. Siente lo imperfecto del éxito de sus mejores intentos, y ve, dolorido y afligido, en cuántos rasgos diferentes la copia mortal se queda por detrás del original inmortal. Recuerda, con preocupación y con humillación, cuántas veces, por falta de atención, por falta de juicio, por falta de temperamenteo, ha violado, tanto con las palabras como con las acciones, tanto con su conducta como en la conversación, las reglas exactas de la propiedad perfecta; y se ha separado tanto del modelo según el cual quiere dar forma a su carácter y a su conducta. Cuando dirige su atención hacia el segundo estándar, de hecho, hacia el grado de excelencia que sus amigos y conocidos suelen haber llegado, puede ser consciente de su propia superioridad. Pero, como su atención principal siempre se dirige hacia el primer estándar, queda necesariamente mucho más humillado por la primera comparación, de lo que pueda jamás sentirse elevado por la segunda. Nunca está tan ensoberbecido como para despreciar de modo insolente ni siquiera a los que realmente se encuentran por debajo de él. Siente tanto su propia imperfección, conoce tan bien las dificultades con las que ha alcanzado su propia aproximación distante a la rectitud, que no puede mirar con desprecio la imperfección todavía mayor de otras personas. Lejos de tratar insultantemente la inferioridad de ellos, la contempla con la lástima más indulgente, y, con sus consejos así como con su ejemplo, está siempre listo a ayudarles a progresar. Si en alguna capacidad concreta resultan ser superiores a él (porque ¿quién es tan perfecto como para no tener superiores en muchas cualificaciones?), lejos de envidiar la superioridad de ellos, él, que sabe lo difícil que es destacar, estima y honra la excelencia de ellos, y nunca deja de concederle todo el aplauso que se merece. En suma, toda su mente está impresa, y todo su comportamiento y actitudes están claramente marcados con el carácter de la auténtica modestia; con el de una estimación muy moderada de sus propios méritos, y, a la vez, un sentido pleno de los méritos de otras personas.
En todas las artes liberales y del ingenio, en la pintura, en la poesía, en la música, en la elocuencia, en la filosofía, el gran artista siempre siente vivamente la imperfección real de sus obras, incluso de las mejores, y es más consciente que nadie de lo lejos que quedan de esa perfección ideal de la que se ha hecho una idea, que imita lo mejor que puede, pero que desespera de alcanzar jamás. Sólo el artista inferior está siempre perfectamente satisfecho con sus propios logros. Tiene poca idea de esta perfección ideal, a la que ha dedicado poco sus pensamientos, y es sobre todo con las obras de otros artistas, quizá con los de una categoría todavía inferior, con los que se digna comparar sus propias obras.
From The Short Penguin History of English Literature, by Stephen Coote ("Victorian Values", 3):
(...) Bulwer-Lytton also developed many other genres of fiction. Paul Clifford (1850), for example, is a 'novel with a purpose' in which the author campaigned against 'a vicious prison-discipline, and a sanguinary penal code'. His resurrection of the eighteenth-century 'Newgate novel' was to influence the Dickens of Oliver Twist (1838), while occult fantasies such as Zanoni (1842), ghost stories such as 'The Haunted and the Haunters' (1859) and works of science fiction furthered Bulwer-Lytton's popularity. So did The Caxtons (1849), a gentle saga of domestic family life, and one of a trilogy of pleasantly reassuring works which include My Novel (1853) and What Will He Do with It? (1858). Compromise and good humour are the essence of these works.
Two contemporary exponents of comic fiction were Charles Lever (1806-72) and R. S. Surtees (1805-64). Lever's works were principally concerned with Ireland and the Irish, and range from picaresque military adventure through to Lord Kilgobbin (1872), a more sombre reflection on the life of the Irish aristocracy. The picaresque was also to be favoured by Surtees in Jorrocks's Jaunts and Jollities (1838), his sporting sketches of a rumbustious 'Fox 'unting' grocer whose Sancho-Panza-like servant Pigg is introduced in Handley Cross (1843).
With such novels as these, the enormous range of Victorian prose fiction had begun to be explored. Social and political theory, protest, and historical and domestic works had all been essayed, but it is with the comic possibilities opened up by social reportage that we come to the early career of one of the supreme figures of nineteenth-century English literature: Charles Dickens (1812-70).
Dickens began his career as a freelance journalist, reporting legal and parliamentary affairs with an accuracy that was to win him a high reputation. An increasingly informed and passionate response to Victorian social conditions sustained the great achievements of his maturity, while the exuberance apparent in his early pieces led to the writing of anecdotal sketches, character studies and tales. Derived in part from the essays of Leigh Hunt and the young Dickens's extensive reading in the novels and journalism of the eighteenth century, these very successful essays were issued in volume form and under Dickens's pseudonym as Sketches by Boz (1836).
The publishers Chapman and hall were aware of this early work, and when the failing artist Robert Seymour approached them with some sporting illustrations of cockneys in the countryside, they asked the newly contracted Boz for linking passages of narrative prose. Confident now of his imaginative power, Dickens insisted that the illustrations serve the narrative rather than the other way around. The publishers agreed, and at the close of March 1836 they began the monthly serial publication of one of the great comic works in the language, Pickwick Papers. As the novel developed along its haphazard route and the plump and prosperous hero acquired his worldly wise servant Sam Weller—a figure who shows Dickens's remarkable powers of characterization through speech—so this genial comedy of middle-class life slowly became a publishing phenomenon. The eighteenth-century picaresque novel had been given fresh life, and the newly married author of twenty-four eventually found his work circulated in print runs of 40,000 a month.
The commercial success of this experiment in serial publication was to have an immense influence on subsequent Victorian fiction. Authors and publishers were now often to issue their works in parts before republication in a 'three-decker' or later as a single volume. The demands and conventions of issuing a novel in what was often as many as twenty monthly parts of three or four chapters, with a concluding double issue, challenged authors to organize their themes, plots and character developments within a regular framework of climaxes. In addition, writers learned how to bind their material together through parallelism and imagery. The enormous length of such publications encouraged the depiction of a comprehensive social range, while the relatively low cost of serial publication—a shilling an issue compared to the guinea and a half charged for a bound novel—greatly enlarged the market.
In Pickwick Papers itself, many of the technical possibilities offered by serial form are still unexplored. However, with Jingle as the none-too-serious villain of the work and the humorously contrived misunderstanding whereby the innocent Pickwick is mistakenly supposed to have offered marriage to his landlady Mrs Bardell, the work develops via such hilrious scenes as Bob Sawyer's bachelor party (later one of Dickens's favourite recital episodes) towards the high comedy of the trial of Bardell v. Pickwick. Pickwick's refusal to pay damages and his consequent stay in the debtors' prison gave Dickens the chance to confront boyish innocence and the charitable high spirits of Dingley Dell with a suggestion of the claustrophobic horror that characterizes the world of his maturity. Against this he then set the hero's magnanimity—the essential Pickwickian benevolence—by which Pickwick himself contrives to relieve the wretchedness of his fellow prisoners. The rich man who intervenes to alleviate suffering was to remain a standard figure in Dickens's fiction.
With Pickwick gaining ever-greater popularity, Dickens began a work whose characters were to obsess his imagination and whose incidents began to probe the painful worlds of abused childhood and official incompetence in a manner that reveals the great social critic. The sentiment and high melodrama of Oliver Twist (1838) derive from the popularity of the Newgate novel, while the somewhat clumsily handled conventions of the wronged woman, the dispossessed heir and the death-bed secret explore the social horrors of Victorian England with considerable power.
Oliver in the Malthusian hell of the workhouse is an image of eternal innocence caught in Victorian corruption, in particular the evils of the 1834 Poor Laws and the blighted imagination and sheer ineptitude of Bumble the beadle. The institutionalized physical hunger of the workhouse is at one with the emotional starvation, and both lead to legendary pathos: 'The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the tabl; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: "Please, Sir, I want some more."' Here is an emblem of a heartless, system-dominated world that tries to crush the individual and stands perpetually indicted for failing to protect the innocent and the weak. Dickens's loathing of the mechanical inhumanity of systems places him firmly in the line of the great Victorian sages.
Where supposedly respectable adults have abused their trust the Devil steps in, here as Fagin the red-bearded master of the underworld frying sausages with a toasting fork and ironically encouraging the cockney resilience of the Artful Dodger and his school of thieves in the Victorian values of hard work, family loyalty and useful education. If official charity is heartless, the criminal world at first appears warm. The irony is scathing, but it leads to the nightmare of the Devil trying to reclaim his own, of nancy mnenaced by Fagin and Sikes, and Dickens's portrayal of the wicked pusued by justice after the brutal murder of Nancy herself.
Perhaps no moment in Dickens more surely raises melodrama to high art than this last—the strands of Nancy's hair crackling in the fire as Sikes burns his murderous club echo forever in the mind—and it is the sheer imaginative force of Dickens's underworld that remains with the reader long after the machinery that leads to Oliver's security in the middle-class world of Mr Brownlow has been forgotten. A simplistic faith in acceptable Victorian values pales when confronted by the anarchic forces that underlay them and suggests that the artist and the moralist were not yet at one.
Such problems of focus are also evident in Nicholas Nickleby (1839) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), where they partly derive from both being novels of the road. However, where the first is comic and resilient, the second is often sentimental to a maudlin degree.
In his previous novels, Dickens's heroes had been a portly old gentleman and a child. In Nicholas Nickleby, he took what he described as 'a young man of impetuous temper and of little or no experience' and placed him in a plot that is too often dependent on eavesdropping and coincidence. It is also uncomfortably suspended between the stage villainy of Uncle Ralph and the sickly benevolence of the Cheeryble brothers. Such effects suggest the world of Victorian melodrama, and Dickens's love of the theatre is evident throughout. Popular culture, indeed, was one of the mainstays of his art.
If the stage villainy of Ralph, the pathos of the mentally defective Smike and the often rather priggish virtue of the hero strain credibility, what gives the novel its continuous fascination is Dickens's portrayal of a cast of grotesques acting out their roles with conscious hypocrisy like Ralph or the superabundant dottiness of Mrs Nickleby. The success and limitations of such a proceeding can be seen in the book's most famous character: Mr Squeers, the sadistic and rapacious principal of a nightmare school for the unwanted sons of the gentry. Evil is here tempered by broad comedy indignation Squeers certainly rouses but also laughter, and in the end it is sufficient that he is flogged by Nicholas who then absconds with his chief victim, Smike.
In contrast to Squeers are the Crummlees, that marvellous theatrical family who become ever more vivid as their plays become ever more absurd. Mr. Crummles's memory of falling in love with his consort as she stood 'on the butt-end of a spear surrounded with blazing fireworks' has a bizarre yet heart-warming innocence, a richly imaginative psychological verisimilitude. Such invention suggests that uniquely Dickensian gallery of snobs, fools and minor villains, obsessives who are often the life of his work. Among such figures here are Mrs Nickleby herself whose mental flutterings rise to the greatness of Mistress Quickly as she hears of the death of Smike:
'I am sure,' said Mrs Nickleby, wiping her eyes, and sobbing bitterly, 'I have lost the best, the most zealous, and most attentive creature that has ever been a companion to me in my life—putting you, my dear Nicholas, and Kate, and your poor papa, and that well-behaved nurse who ran away with the linen and the twelve small forks, out of the question of course.'
In The Old Curiosity Shop, a novel developed out of a story in Dickens's unsuccessful periodical Master Humphrey's Clock (1840), the death of Little Nell is a transfiguration of innocence in a corrupt world, the world of London and the industiral cities of the Midlands, of darkness, vain hope and the evil Quip.
In a world built on contrasts of light and dark, Quilp is the deformed embodiment of evil, the Rumpelstiltskin in the fiairy-tale elements of the plot. As a grotesque, he is a masterly creation. 'He ate hard eggs, shell and all, devoured gigantic prawns with the heads and tails on . . . and in short performed so many horrifying and uncommon feats that the women were nearly frightened out of their wits, and began to doubt if he were really a human creature.' And therein lies the problem. Compelling as he is and revolting as the sexual and financial plots he hatches are, Quilp is unable fully to embody Dickens's loathing for 'the mountain heap of misery' in the novel. He is a figure of fear rather than a means of analysis. He belongs to fairy-tale, and the lurid hellisness of his death is too obviously his creator's revenge on horrors not yet fully understood.
By contrast, the plangently sentimental death of Little Nell, exhausted after forced wanderings with her grandfather, is too obviously an attempt by Dickens to come to terms with his own very personal feelings about the deaths of girls whose lives were too good for the world. Nell and her grandfather's flight from the city to the supposed innocence of the countryside is essentially a pursuit of sentiment and a place 'where sin and sorrow never came . . . a tranquil place of rest, where nothing evil entered'. Only here, Dickens seems to suggest, silent under a moonlit tomb, can innocence finally be left in peace with God. Meanwhile, the world goes on in the life of the stalwart Kit (one of Dickens's most delightful heroes) while the dead and the houses in which they lived pass away 'like a tale that is told'.
One of the most alarming horrors faced by Little Nell was violent industrial unrest in the Midlands. With Barnaby Rudge (1841), Dickens's historical novel on the Gordon Riots of 1780, the mob surges to the centre of attention. While the Scott of The Heart of Midlothian was an important influence here, the range of Dickens's social analysis had now been deepened by his contact with Carlyle, and in Barnaby Rudge itself a number of important elements from Carlyle's thought are clearly present. In the opening chapter, for example, we are shown the sins of the fathers that are to be visited on the sons. Sir John Chester—'soft-spoken, delicately made, precise and elegant'—personifies Carlyle and Dickens's loathing of the eighteenth-century 'Dandiacal Body', of feckless patrician government and of the paternal irresponsibility by which Chester himself casts off his son Edward while also causing the bestial Hugh, his 'natural' or illegitimate child, to join in the destruction of the Maypole inn and the traditional values suggested by the nearby great house. Hugh is the personification of the corrupt old order, 'that black tree of which I am the ripened fruit'. In this, he forms the perfect complement to the simple-minded Barnaby Rudge, the 'natural' or idiot son of a murderous servant. Together, Hugh and Barnaby suggest the brutality and idiocy which will lead a rebellion in society against the values their parents have betrayed.
The forces of the Terror as presented by Carlyle made a deep impression on Dickens, and the wanton destructiveness of the mob roars throughout his novel with a power that is as ruthlessly conceived as his master's. The mob gives frightening expression to contemporary fears of a Chartist uprising, and its mindless fury is exactly caught when Dickens describes the sacking of Lord Mansfield's house. To ravage the work of the father of the common law is to bring about a society where all coherence has gone. In the end, the heroes of the novel—Varden, Joe, Edward Chester—are obliged to align themselves with the older forces whose weakness they all too painfully know. For Dickens, society must redeem itself through traditional resources, however corrupt these may have become.
Between the completion of Barnaby Rudge and starting on Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), Dickens made the journey described in his American Notes (1842), much of which had in fact been toned down from the private letters on which his book was based. In Martin Chuzzlewit—and partly as a response to criticism levelled at American Notes—Dickens painted an even harsher picture of the United States. It becomes a morass where the 'cash nexus' had reached such appalling dimensions that 'men were weighed by their dollars, measures gauged by their dollars; life was auctioned, appraised, put up, and knocked down for its dollars'. Dickens's powerful symbol of this thin self-destructive greed is the putrid swamp which his hero is tricked into investing in and which goes by the name of Eden.
The American scenes in Martin Chuzzlewit, excellent though their satire is, are nonetheless too loosely connected to a novel which is itself messily constructed. Martin is sent to the States (partly, it has been suggested, to boost the book's poor sales) after falling in love with his grandfather's ward and becoming a victim of the machinations of that ogre of hypocrisy, Mr Pecksniff. And it is with figures like Pecksniff and Sarah Gamp that Dickens's genius for moral caricature is seen at its most developed. The energy with which these figures have been created takes over the book, while their actions and speech lead in the case of Pecksniff especially to a portrait of hypocritical duplicity and self-seeking that was without parallel in Dickens's work so far.
Pecksniff is financially ruined by the trickster Montague Tigg, a character who again took Dickens's imagination into areas that had never been so powerfully explored, a world not just of financial chicanery, but of claustrophobic criminal psychology, nightmare and murder. The death of Tigg at the hands of Jonas Chuzzlewit points forward to Edwin Drood (1870) and the horrors of Doestoevesky's Crime and Punishment (1866). If the focus of Martin Chuzzlewit as a whole is rather too diffuse, it is nonetheless one of the most richly inventive of all Dickens's works and suggests powers that his mature genius was to harness to triumphant effect.
Part of this discipline was provived by Dickens's deepening awareness of social problems, and throughout his career he was to turn to journalism as a means of publicizing abuses and venting his anger. For a brief period he was editor of the Daily News, but the most telling of his journalistic pieces from this period are the 'Letters on Social Questions' (1846-50), published in his friend and biographer John Forster's Examiner. In these articles (so superior in their passion to the contemporary Pictures from Italy (1846) and their labored travelogues) Dickens railed against capital punishment, ragged schools, 'Ignorance and Crime', the vile exploitation to be found on paupers' farms and the wretchedness of a legal system where 'A Truly British Judge' could linger over the possibilities of flogging, transporting or imprisoning a ten-year-old child who had stolen 5s 3d.
In A Christmas Carol (1843), the first and finest of the Christmas Books Dickens issued up to 1848, the heartless forces of Malthus, the Utilitarians and the market-place are presented by means of a fairy-tale that has become a permanent part of the mythology of modern man. Scrooge—'hard and sharp as a flint, from which no steel had ever struck out a generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster'—is the eternal type of the miser. His solipsistic existence is at once a psychological deformity and a satire on the hard-faced Victorian business man bound to his work, dutifully contributing a pittance to the workhouse, yet ultimately indifferent to the means that serve to 'decrease the surplus population'. The ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the reverse of this state. The domestic virtues of Bob Cratchit his wretched clerk—values which, in The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), Dickens was to dwell on a maudlin degree—reveal a Christian benevolence that allows the Cratchits to toast Scrooge's health amid the poverty he has inflicted on them. When the ghost of Chistmas Future shows Scrooge the scenes after his own death, the miser is finally converted into that essential Dickensian figure, the wealthy but benevolent man who, far from seeing money as his chief business, can say with the ghost of Jacob Marley: 'Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.'
Dickens's next work again conveys the conversion of a hard and life-denying business man, but where A Christmas Carol is a moral fable, Dombey and Son (1848) is the first work of Dickens's maturity and a novel of exceptional range and subtle suggestiveness. In offering a panoramic view of a society in the throes of change, Dickens here emerges as one of the supreme figures of nineteenth-century fiction, the first great English novelist to describe the discontents of urban industrial life. His genius at last stands fully revealed.
So great an advance required a major extension of technique. What in Dickens's earlier works often appears improvided or even careless is here focused through telling juxtapositions of character and a play of imagery that at once probes the personal and social influences at work in the late 1840s and relates these to a view of the ultimately mysterious forces of life, a view that is truly poetic in its subtle comprehensiveness.
At the centre of the novel stands Dombey himself, the representative of the great business house of Dombey and Son. And it is the implications of a 'house' as both a commercial enterprise and a home for living souls that lie near the heart of the work. In a world of pride and money-consciousness however the first meaning brutally crushes the second:
The earth was made for Dombey and Son to trade in, and the sun and moon were made to give them light. Rivers and seas were formed to float their ships; rainbows gave them promise of fair weather; winds blew for or against their enterprise; stars and planets circled in their orbits, to preserve inviolate a system of which they were the centre.
Dombey is stiff and cold with commercial pride, a man whose blinkered, utilitarian vision reduces all around him to the chilling soullessness of the cash nexus, a brutal, masculine and ultimately self-defeating rigidity. The birth of his son, little Paul Dombey, is seen by him not as the coming into the world of a human being but as the arrival of a commodity that will extend the life-denying existence of the firm. Paul's coldly funereal christening at which Dombey's glance seems to freeze even the water at the font is a brilliantly ironic rendering of a heartlessness that turns all to ice.
But the boy's birth has been accompanied by his mother's death, and with this comes a source of imagery opposed to that associated with Dombey. We are shown the warm salt tears of his daughter Florence, the novel's heroine and the apparently redundant female embodiment of sentiment and love. And with Florence's tears are associated the great, ever-moving expanses of the sea. Throughout the novel, the ocean suggests death, eternity and the natural rhythms of life—mysterious, profound, but ultimately spiritual and free. It is to such forces as these that she dying Mrs Dombey surrenders when, with Florence in her tearful embrace, and 'clinging fast to that slight spar within her arms, the mother drifted out upon the dark and unknown sea that rolls round all the world'. The dying Paul is also identified with the waves. Later, the sea cruelly separates Florence from her father's clerk Walter Gay when Dombey and Son has become merely Dombey and Daughter. Nautical images also sustain the warm but threatened world of Captain Cuttle and his kin.
One threat posed to these old and often decaying forces of life is that of modern industrial progress, here symbolized by the railway. Dickens's handling of this theme shows the power of his imagination whereby social forces can be portrayed almost as characters. The railway invades lives, is praised or reacted against, but changes all about it irrecoverably. People like the inhabitants of Staggs Gardens see an old-fashioned life transformed into a new world of threat and promise. As the tracks are laid, so such characters are forced to recognize how 'the yet unfinished and unopened Railroad was in progress; and from the very core of all this dire disorder, trailed smoothly away, upon its mighty course of civilization and improvement'.
But if the railway is a power fro new life in the novel it is also a force for death. After he has been left a widower, Dombey marries into a hollow and heartless aristocracy (the ancient nobility and the nouveaux riches are lethally described) only to have his new wife deceive him with his villainous employee Carker. But Carker himself is eventually crushed beneath the iron forces of progress. In addition, Florence deserts her father and Dombey's business fails. His house is reduced to a hollow shell for thoughts of suicide and despair.
The ending of Dombey and Son is not pessimistic however. The man who frozed his daughter with a stare is humanized and redeemed. Florence returns amid rain and tears in a scene of the greatest Dickensian melodrama. Nor are Walter and Florence herself finally parted. The sea brings the boy home while turning to good his uncle's investments. Walter's path to success is now assured and is tempered by our knowledge of his humanity. Hearts do change. An improvement in the sometime leaders of society can be wrought. As the ageing Dombey sheds tears of love over his family, so a mechanistic world is redeemed by natural feeling.
David Copperfield (1850) was Dickens's own favorite among his novels and has remained so with generations of his readers. The reasons for such popularity are not far to seek. In this work, Dickens drew on the traumas of his own childhood and the unhappiness of his youth to create a fictional autobiography in which the psychological forces of personal experience are revealed through a series of the most vivid characters and incidents, thereby suggesting a richly human passage to maturity.
The hero's boyhood is deprived of strong parents (David's father is dead, his mother is flighty and empty-headed) and it is populated by good fairies and ogres: Peggotty, the loving, rough-handed opposite to David's mother, and the sadistic Murdstone and his repellent sister by whom David is humiliated on his return from his idyllic stay at Yarmouth. It is Murdstone who also sends the boy first to a cruel school and then to the horrors of the blacking factory. Here Dickens the novelist touches the anguished centre of Dickens the man. His own parents, confined to the debtors' prison, had obliged him to similar degradation, and it left a permanent scar on his emotions. As Dickens wrote to Forster:
The deep remembrance of the sense I had of being utterly neglected and hopeless; of the shame I felt in my position; of the misery it was to my young heart to believe that, day by day, what I had learned and delighted in, and raised my fancy and my emulation up by, was passing away from me, never to be brought back any more; cannot be written. My whole nature was so penetrated with the grief and humiliation of such considerations, that even now, famous and caressed and happy, I often forget in my dreams that I have a dear wife and children; even that I am a man; and wander desolately back to that time in my life.
In the novel, only the Micawbers, feckless and irresponsible asthey are, can bring laughter into this hell. Mr Micawber—comically orotund, hopelessly optimistic that 'something will turn up'—is an image of Dickens's father and one of the most memorable of the author's inventions. That he is later used to work the downfall of Uriah Heep, whose hypocritical fawning makes him an equally effective character, suggests the novel's intricate patterning of good and evil, of thwarted childhood innocence and fallen idols, themes personified in the lubricious Steerforth and his seduction of Little Em'ly. Similarly, David's first wife Dora, a psychologically telling simulacrum of his mother, proves to be an illusory angel. It is only when David has married Agnes Wickfield, dispatched many of the figures of his childhood to Australia and then established himself as a successful novelist that this archetypal Victorian hero finally feels able to count his blessings.
During the composition of David Copperfield, Dickens launched his weekly periodical Household Words (1850-59). 'Conducted', as the rubric expressed it, by Dickens himself, this twopenny magazine was to reach a circulation of 40,000. Dickens's own contributions, some of which were later issued as Reprinted Pieces (1858), reveal the passionate social commentator. In 'A Nightly Scene in London' (January 1856), for example, we see him shaking a ragged bundle by the workhouse door. 'The rags began to be slowly stirred within, as little by little a head was unshrouded.' Asked if she has eaten, the woman twice denies it. But proof leads to helpless compassion. 'She bared her neck, and I covered it up again.'
Such was the Victorian England of Malthus and the disciples of laissez-faire, the butts of Dickens's profound moral indignation. 'I utterly renounce and abominate them in their insanity,' he wrote, 'and I address people with respect for the spirit of the New Testament, who do mind such things, and who think them infamous in our streets.' These streets were now those of the richest capital in the Western world, of an England mounting to the high plateau of mid-Victorian prosperity, and celebrating its confidence in the Great Exhibition of 1851. Against the vulgarity of the Crystal Palace however, Dickens now juxtaposed the nightmare of Bleak House (1853). The most famous novelist of Victorian England became one of its greatest critics. Dickens's engagement with his age was complete.
Bleak House is a labyrinthine indictment of contemporary conditions and a work in which Dickens's range of techniques was wrougth to its hightest pitch and then augmented with a new daring. Brooding over the whole is the court of Chancery and the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Dickens's fog-bound, life-denying symbol or what John Jarndyce himself calls 'trickery, evasion, procrastination, spoliation, botheration . . . false pretences of all sorts'. The Court of Chancery and the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce itself which eventually swallows the disputants' moneys are Dickens's images of an England debilitated by 'the system' and a hideously perverse society.
This last ranges from the magisterial pomposity of Sir [Leicester] Dedlock to little Jo the crossing-sweeper, ignorant, abused, neglected, yet central to the whole vast and hideous machinery of the Victorian England that crushes him. As in his life, so in his death from smallpox, Jo is a figure who links the highest to the lowest. He is the most pathetic of many victims of political mismanagement and complacency, of filth, the slums and the absurdity of philanthropists who ignore the wretched sitting on their own doorsteps. In Bleak House, these forces collide as Victorian society gropes its way through a fog of corruption, greed and terrible spiritual deadness.
Dickens's imagery of corruption is one of his supreme techniques for exposing the society about him while binding together a novel whose social range—the awareness of a whole society— is an imaginative achievement of the highest order. Yet within the complex entanglements of Bleak House, and worked out with an assured narrative mastery, are other devices which, for original readers of the monthly parts, provided a degree of suspense comparble to the detective fiction Dickens here helped to inaugurate. These techniques also offered a diversity of comment and a range of incidents that were without precedent. The interconnectedness of this huge work is phenomenal achievement, and repeated readings bear out Forster's claim that 'nothing is introduced at random, everything tends to the catastrophe, the various lines of the plot converge and fit to its centre'.
The narrative of Esther Summerson is one of these devices. Virginal, self-deprecating and sensitive, Esther is Dickens's largely passive voice of human decency and a figure who develops from a maudlin dependence on John Jarndyce, through a recognition of her love for the worthy Alan Woodcourt and the ravages of smallpox (no figure is immune to the contaminations of society), and on to the nightmare revelation that she is the illegitimate daughter of Lady Dedlock. Finally, she achieves happiness.
Esther observes nearly all the characters in the novel and provides a moral register against which to measure them. She is involved, for example, with many of the victims of Chancery: Ada Clare and the weak Richard Carstone, who inevitable deteriorates as he is drawn into its workings; Gridley, another figure destroyed by the system; and the marvellous figure of Miss Flite, half-crazed yet full of humanity and suggesting in her confused way that the day of judgment in Jardndyce and Jarndyce will be at one with the Day of Doom itself. Miss Flite's cracked mind prompts thoughts of the fall of the mighty and the coming of divine vengeance. We might laugh at her obsessions, but she also suggests that in this corrupt land the day of the Apocalypse may well be nigh.
Such an awareness of doom is also suggested through other grotesquer yet sinister figures in the subplot, above all 'Chancellor' Krook, the villainous rag-and-bone dealer with his 'liking for rust and must and cobwebs' and his sadistic sense of power and greed. The masterpiece of symbolic narrative that is Krook's death by 'Spontaneous Combustion' suggests the inevitable end of an entire way of life. 'Chancellor' Krook is incinerated by a force 'inborn, inbred, engendered in the corrupt humours of the vicious body itself'. An incident so amazing that only a novelist of genius could have risked it provides a grotesque summation of all the evils in Victorian society.
Dickens's comic genius flays the social parasites in the novel with merciless inventiveness, while Esther's appalled response deepens his criticism of such figures as Mr Skimpole, the irresponsible and mercenary aesthete, and Turveydrop, the dandy and exploiter of his wife. Other grotesques include Chadband, the nauseating voice of evangelical Anglicanism; Mrs Pardiggle, the High Church philantropist 'pouncing upon the poor, and applying benevolence to them like a strait-jacket'; and Mrs Jellyby, reducing her home to slovenly chaos and ignoring the likes of Jo as she pursues plans for 'cultivating coffee and educating the natives of Borrioboola-Gha on the left bank of the Niger'.
Yet the comic grotesque is only one aspect of the rottenness in Bleak House. Nearer Chancery and the rapacious centre of a corrupt society move figures of sinister and sterile energies. There are the Smallweeds, that 'horny-skinned, two-legged, monkey-getting species of spider'. There is 'Conversation' Kenge, who, as he praises the law, gently moves 'his right hand as if it were a silver trowel, with which to spread the cement of his words on the structure of the system and consolidate it for a thousand ages'. There is Vholes the solicitor glimpsed as he 'takes off his close black gloves as if he were skinning his hands', and, above all, there is Tulkinghorn. Lone, sadistic, secret, 'mechanically faithful without attachment', dead to all feelings save his own perverse relish of power, Tulkinghorn stals through Chancery, the slums and the houses of the great, closing in on Lady Dedlock in order to blackmail her over her long-dead affair with Jo's friend the drug-addict Nemo and his knowledge of Esther, the child of Lady Dedlock's liaison. Tulkinghorne's murder is one of the novel's greatest moments and ironically deprives the lawer of his victory over his prey.
In these terrible areas, the voice of the third-person narrator carries the weight of Dickens's indignation by the exhilarated variety of his language. This range is one of the supreme achievements of nineteenth-century fiction. Here is the voice that can create the image of a fog-bound Chancery and connect it to the inertness and horror of the Dedlocks' home at Chesney Wold. It is the voice of invocation and apostrophe that winds about Nemo in his pauper's grave, the voice that conjures up the slum of Tom-All-Alone's. The narrator's is a voice that explores every variety of hell and hypocrisy in Victorian England and, as a result, it is finally the voice of righteous indignation. Nowhere does Dickens more effectivelly combine pathos with prophetic denunciation than as Woodcourt watches over the dying Jo:
'Jo, can you say what I say?' 'I'll say anythink as you say, sir, fur I knows it's good.' 'OUR FATHER.' 'Our Father!—yes that's weery good, sir.' 'WHICH ART IN HEAVEN.' 'Art in Heaven—is the ligth a-comin', sir?' 'It is close at hand. 'HALLOWED BE THY NAME!' 'Hallowed be—thy—' The light is come upon the dark benighted way. Dead! Dead, your majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, both with Heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.
As Dickens here speaks out in his own person and addresses the whole community of his readers, so, in a manner of the greatest importance to nineteenth-century fiction, we hear the novelist himself rousing what he can assume o be the best, fundamental and shared values of his audience. His art is an appeal to the experience of stable and universal moral truths. However bizarre his characters, however contrived his events and however far the wrold he criticizes has veered from these assumptions, Dickens believes he can share with his readers an essetially New Testament morality, a core of timeless values against which to denounce the aberrations of the present.
In Hard Times (1854), Dickens's voice of denunciation is levelled at the irresponsible excesses of industrial laissez-faire and the blighting force of utilitarianism. Coketown, Dickens's image of the industrial cities of the North, is an unnatural hell sweltering in machine oil, a place where nature has been ousted by insdustry and 'the whir of shafts and wheels'. Such an environment is the hideous outcome of a hideous philosophy, the utilitarianism caricatured (much to Mill's annoyance) in Dickens's portrayal of Gradgrind and his school:
Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle upon which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!
This is a philosophy tht brings its terrible revenges. The life of Gradgrind's daughter is blighted, while his son finds relief in compulsive gambling. When Tom Gradgrind is eventually tracked down by Bitzer, a product of Gradgrind's school, a callous system rebounds on its patron's head. Bitzer brings a villain to justice but also serves his own ends. He will be promoted to Tom's job. Gradgrind himself is horrified at this, but he is the victim of the very rules he has promulgated. '"I beg your pardon for interrupting, sir," returned Bitzer; "But I am sure you know that the whole social system is a question of self-interest."'
The paranoid logic of this belief is personified in Josiah Bounderby the self-made industrialist, a man wholly devoid of compassion and yet, by a telling paradox, driven partly by the forces of imagination he himself would deny. So obsessive is his ideal of the self-made man that he himself would deny. So obsessive is his ideal of the self-made man that he invents for himself a destitute childhood, an imaginary gutter from which he has risen by a triumph of commercial drive. In his delusion, Bounderby believes that he has genuinely brought about the greatest happiness of the greatest number. For him, the pollution and industry of Coketown are not a nightmare but a dream come true. Smoke becomes 'the healthiest thing in the world', while the grinding toil of the factory is 'the pleasantest of work there is, and it's the lightest work there is, and it's the best paid work there is'. with a bizarre flight of fantasy, Bounderby even claims that Turkey carpets on the factory floors might be a final refinement of felicity, but this is an expense he will not be put to. Inflated with self-satisfied delusion, Bounderby is Dicken's horrific image of the trumph of modern industrial man and laissez-faire gone mad.
Dickens's portrayal of his working-class characters is less successful, and points to the limits of his social criticism. Massively indignant though his response to contemporary suffering was, his anger was essentially what Walter Bagehot (1826-1877), the miscellaneous gentleman journalist and mildly progressive authority on The English Constitution (1867), was to call 'sentimental radicalism'.
The crushing effect of the mechanical and unimaginative is sharply delineated in Hard Times, yet in the character of Stephen Blackpool, Dickens fails to give a wholly adequate account of the industrial proletariat. Blackpool is too easily the martyr, a victim of the plot as much as of the system. His refusal to join a trade union leads to him being ostracized by his fellow workers and paradoxically to his being sacked. Dickens's portrayal of the union movement itself as a hectoring and aggressive centre of self-interest is crude and suggests the author's failure adequately to come to terms with the forces of the industrial world about him. In the end, what stands against heartless exploitation is not the genuine efforts of the workers and a real engagement with society but a retreat into the innocent glitter of the circus world of Mr Sleary and his kind. 'There was a remarkable gentleness and childishness about these people,' Dickens wrote, 'a special inaptitude for any kind of sharp practice and an untiring readiness to help and pity one another, deserving often of as much respect, and alwas of as much generous construction, as the everyday virtues of any class of people in the world.' But this is mere sentimentality, and its obverse was the profound pessimism embodied in Little Dorrit (1857).
Little Dorrit is an intricate maze of real and metaphorical prisons and of characters trapped in the worlds of self-seeking aristocratic patronage, bungling bureaucracy, criminal financial schemes, rigid class loyalties, wretched families and corrupting self-deceit. It is Dickens's darkest work. 'I have no present political faith or hope—not a grain,' Dickens had written to a friend in 1855. His disillusion with public life is conveyed in Little Dorrit through one of his most telling social symbols: the Circumlocution Office. Here, under the pompous sway of the Barnacle and Stilstalking families, nepotism and incompetence thrive, while the England that this corrupt civil service is supposed to administer is paralysed by institutional inertia and jobbery. 'The Circumlocution Office went on mechanically, every day, keeping this wonderful, all-sufficient wheel of statesmanship, How not to do it, in motion . . . The Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, with a minute, and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions, that extinguished him.'
Where the Circumlocution Office is an image of corruption in high and public places and of a system that emasculates those who come into contact with it, Bleeding Heart Yard is a prison for the unfortunate, a poverty trap of soul-destroying squalor. Here live families like the Plornishes whose father has eventually to be consigned to the workhouse. This prison of the spirit has its governor in Casby 'the Last of the Patriarchs', the useless and exploitative langlord who in his turn is the victim of his agent who eventually exposes him for the sham he is. It is part of Dickens's purpose in the novel to show that Casby is a bad father, a man who has played his part in separating the novel's middle-aged and depressive hero Arthur Clennam from his first love. Dickens's most telling image of parental irresponsibility and the effects of imprisonment however is William Dorrit, the 'Father of the Marshalsea'. Twenty-three years in the debtors' prison turn the feckless Dorrit into a foolish and often heartless victim of self-delusion. Just as society outside the prison is conceived as a series of gaols and cells, of lying and hypocritical characters trapped in the confinement of their fantasies, so the Marshalsea sets up its own absurd and debilitating illusions. As Mr Dorrit languishes his life away, 'a disposition began to be observed in him, to exaggerate the number of years he had been there; it was generally understood that you must deduct a few from his account; he was vain, the fleeting generation of debtors said'.
Among these drunken and shabby inmates, Dorrit himself acquires a spurious social status and with it an ever-deepening moral blindness. This is suggested when he suddenly inherits the money that frees him, throws a party for the prisoners and leaves the Marshalsea in a triumphal procession but without Little Dorrit herself who has fainted and been forgotten. Shades of the prison house never leave the family however. The proudly nouveaux riches Dorrits roam Europe, constantly meeting people whose empty lives 'greatly resembled a superior sort of Marshalsea'. Finally, in Dorrit's pathetic speech to his horrified dinner guests in Rome, the senile recidivist is transported back in his imagination to the gaol he has never really left.
The world of high society is likewise a gaol and place of corruption. Mrs Merdle the financier's wife believes society has 'made its mind up on the subject, and there is nothing more to be said'. Her caged parrot hideously mimics such attitudes, and together mistress and bird suggest a claustrophobic and foolish world that is a sham beneath. Mr Merdle the financier, as mysterious in his origins as in his activities, admired and courted by society, proves to be a villain whose suicide removes from the world 'the greatest Forger and the greatest Thief that ever cheated the gallows'. This was nonetheless the man whom bishops courted and politicians praised.
But just as society is seen in terms of fraud and the prisons in which it would place its erring members, so the dour religion of Mrs Clennam is a monstrous hypocrisy which masks criminal actions, emasculates the man she pretends is her son and reduces the woman herself to a neurotic cripple imprisoned in a crumbling house. The worst excesses of Victorian piety are here revealed as a festering gaol of the spirit. In such a world, heroes and heroines can be no glittering figures. Amy Dorrit, living by the New Testament, forgiving, meek and loving, and Arthur Clennam, blighted yet eventually finding love and a home, suggest by their marriage the only positives Dickens could now offer. After a ceremony solemnized in the shadow of the Marshalsea, they go down the church steps together and to 'a modest life of usefulness and happiness . . . and as they passed along in sunshine and in shade, the noisy and the eager, and the arrogant and the froward and the vain, fretted, and chafed, and made their usual uproar'. The couple find an autumnal happiness in a world of stifling corruption and psychological constraint. The romantic triumphalism that concludes David Copperfield is here chastened to a brave and modest ordinariness which marks the deepening of Dickens's mature thought.
The psychological effects of long imprisonment are one of the more telling areas in a novel that is otherwise a historical melodrama written to launch Dickens's magazine All the Year Round (1859-95). A Tale of Two Cities (1859) clearly shows the influence of Dickens's reading of The French Revolution and Carlyle's analysis of a decadent aristocracy. Dickens's use of the identical figures of Charles Darnay and Sidney Carton is deft rather than analytical however. Much of the tension and historical detail are well handled, while Carton's last speech is perhaps the best-known passage in all of Dickens's work—a highly professional tear-jerker. It is in the figure of Dr Manette however, imprisoned for nearly eighteen years and just holding on to his sanity through the exercise of his shoemaking craft, that the novel's most telling power resides.
Great Expectations (1861) is an altogether finer work. Here Dickens turned from corruption in society to the corruption of the individual. The novel is much concerned with the nature of true gentility and discusses this theme through the voiceof an autobiographical narrator. Pip's chastened reflections after the collapse of his hopes reveal his youthful aspirations to status to have been a hollow and heartless sham. Such a procedure allowed Dickens to ally shrewd and sensitive moral awareness to a plot in which mystery and suspense are expertly controlled. Great Expectations also reveals the mature dramatic mastery that allowed its author to create some of his greatest set-piece scenes.
None of these is more powerful than the boy Pip's first encounter with the convict Magwitch. The superbly sensationalistic effects are nonetheless subtly related to the book's main themes. The innocent and frightened charity that provides food and a file for the starving prisoner, for example, is finely contrasted to the disdain with which the adult Pip observes Magwitch's gross manners on his illicit return from transportation. We see not only how the child has matured to a snob, but how the snob is a product of his ignorance of his true nature and circumstances. Pip's growing charity and Christian forgiveness however show a reawakening of moral virtue. In addition, the dawning realization that it is the criminal Magwitch who is both the true source of his wealth and the father of his beloved Estella unites the narrative to the theme of growing self-awareness.
Pip slowly realizes that his aspirations to gentility have been founded on money rather than goodness of heart. But that money itself proves illusory. As the worldly wealth of an illegally returned convict it is forfeit to the Crown. In the midst of growing self-awareness, Pip is suddenly left penniless. He has been trained for nothing useful and is also deeply in debt after a feckless life spent dancing attendance on Estella. The discovery that this superbly characterized embodiment of frigid sexual allure—the product of the jilted Miss Havisham's desire for revenge on men—is also Magwitch's childe reduces all Pip's expectations to dust.
At the nadir of his fortunes he is saved by the resources of true gentility. First, Herbert Pocket, the natural gentleman, offers his friend a job. Pip must now earn his keep. He must also recognize who his true benefactors are. The orphan boy, who, led into moral delusion by Magwitch's money, thought he was Miss Havisham's heir and wilfully adopted her values, finally discovers that his real mainstay is neither a criminal nor an old and embittered woman but Joe the blacksmith who first took him in as a child. Big-hearted, honestly simple, well adapted to his world and his work, it is Joe who nurses Pip in his sickness and Joe who wins Biddy, the country girl Pip in his pride had shunned.
Self-awareness and the knowledge that human goodness is true gentility are bought by Pip at the cost of painful isolation and suffering, a process that Dickens, swayed by his friend Bulwer-Lytton, brought to an end in the revised close to the novel by hinting that Pip would eventually marry Estella. many readers however may prefer his first thoughts and the original anticlimax of Pip's last meeting with the chasteneed woman who has wrecked his emotional life and who, in truth, he can never marry.
Dicken's concern with the moral damage inflicted by the obsessive pursuit of wealth and social position is again central to his last completed novel. In Our Mutual Friend (1865), the blighting effect of money on individuals and their society and environment is luridly symbolized by the mounds of 'dust'—the accumulated piles of human waste—that are at once the sources of wealth and of corruption in the work. At the centre of the immensely intricate plot, and suggesting the forces of death and power Dickens associated with money, are the will of old Harmon and the wealth he has built up from 'coal-dust, vegetable-dust, bone-dust, crockery-dust, rough dust and sifted dust—all manner of Dust'. In life a mise gaoling the spirits of those around him, in death Harmon still asserts his power. His servants the Boffins inherit his wealth, while his son, required by the terms of his father's will to marry Bella Wilfer, is obliged to watch the seeming corruption of both the Boffins and his future bride as they appear to sink into the depths of mercenary corruption.
Around the Boffins gather the forces of society in a world where money is all and the vulgarity of the nouveaux riches is triumphant. 'Have no antecedents, no established character, no cultivation, no ideas, no manner; have shares.' Such a society becomes a chorus of bigotry and banality. We are shown the Veneerings whose name aptly suggests the brittle and gaudy surface glued over the rotten wood beneath, and Podsnap that incarnation of the worst excesses of Victorian jingoism and prudery who waves aside any topic whose impropriety misght raise a blush on his repellent daugher's cheek. A bored, languid and trivial aristocracy swells these ranks. As Boffin's money buys him position, so we see 'all manner of crawling, creeping, fluttering and buzzing creatures, attracted by the gold dust of the Golden Dustman'. Dickens offers a compelling picture of the gaudy and complacent society of the new rich in alliance with an emasculated nobility. These voices are his most powerful satire of a money-obsessed world and of a Victorian England whose leaders are portrayed as gilded scavengers on a waste tip.
Around and beneath these stifling figures, choking in the shadows of the dust mounds or drawn to the polluted waters of the Thames, move other figures variously caught in speculation and fraud. The Lammels, victims of the mutual deceit by which each wrongly believed the other to be rich, batten on society to exploit it. Dickens's presentation of this couple, his mixing of narrative with symbol, reveals depths of psychological and technical resource which are again reflected in his presentation of extreme resource which are again reflected in his presentation of extreme states of violent and barely repressed emotion. Indeed, the most successul parts of the novel are much concerned with sterile lives and dark forces. The grotesquely gilded London of high society, of lowering dust heaps and emotional death, is also the London of the night river, murder and attempted murder.
Of the two rivals for Lizzie Hexam the boatman's child, Bradley Headstone is Dickens's portrait of emotional and social dislocation and of suppressed passion. Eugene Wrayburn, his victim, is initially presented as his perfect complement: blasé, privileged and spiteful. His love for a girl wholly outside his class and his symbolic rebirth after Headstone has nearly drowned him in the Thames suggest Dickens's concern with the regeneration of society through the education of the heart. Nonetheless, it is Headstone himself we most vividly recall as, in defeat, he sinks to the floor 'and grovelled there, with the palms of his hands tight-clasping his hot temples, in unutterable misery, and unrelieved by a single tear'. Such melodrama points forward to Dickens's last and uncompleted novel, Edwin Drood (1870) with its atmosphere of murder, drug addiction and confused identity.
Aparte de ser muy leído en el sentido de tener muchas lecturas, soy un ser muy leído en el sentido de tener muchas lecturas. Según ResearchGate, esta semana soy el autor más leído en sus secciones de Literatura y de Estética (bueno, "Literature" y "Aesthetics", que allí el inglés es where the action is).
Sí, también por razones estéticas se me lee:
ResearchGate tiene por cierto ocho millones de académicos usuarios. No estamos hablando de que sea el más leído de mi departamento, aunque también pasa esto con cierta frecuencia:
Me dirán que es vanidad comentar estas cosas, pero oigan, más presumidos salen los autores superventas en televisión quitándole importancia a lo mucho que venden y a los premios que les dan, y como si no fuese la cosa con ellos. Y rara vez se les echa en cara prestar atención a la atención que les prestan. Me pregunto por qué será. En todo caso, con qué elegancia lo llevan los tíos, en plan como decía Dylan, "I can't help it if I'm lucky..."
Por otra parte, recomienda Adam Smith, en su Teoría de los sentimientos morales, pasarse un poco de autoestima. Mejor que quedarse corto. Dice, y cito, que "nadie ha sido jamás estimado en más de lo que se estima a sí mismo." Este consejo lo vengo siguiendo incluso antes de conocerlo siquiera, recuperando el tiempo perdido por si alguna vez pequé de molesta modestia. Y sigue Mr. Smith:
En casi todos los casos, es mejor mostrarse un poquito orgulloso de más, que demasiado humilde. Y, en el sentimiento de la autoestima, algo de exceso aparece, tanto a la persona misma, como al espectador imparcial, como algo menos desagradable que algo de defecto. (p. 308)
Es un defecto que procuro no tener, ya me dirán si lo consigo.
XII Congreso Internacional de Antropología Filosófica Zaragoza, 28-30 de septiembre de 2016 Call for papers Llamada a la participación
“Patologías de la existencia: enfoques antropológico-filosóficos”
El Grupo de Investigación Consolidado HERAF: Hermenéutica y Antropología Fenomenológica H69 de la Universidad de Zaragoza organiza la XII edición del Congreso Internacional de la Sociedad Hispánica de Antropología Filosófica (SHAF) en el que se abordarán diferentes secciones temáticas. El Congreso se celebrará los días 28, 29 y 30 de septiembre de 2016 en la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Zaragoza.
Tema: Con el título “Patologías de la existencia” invitamos a pensar en un tema que incluye, además de los conceptos de estar sano o sentirse enfermo, también los que se recogen desde antiguo en la expresión “pathos” y que alberga, en general, formas de existencia del ser humano, las disposiciones afectivas que son vividas y los sentimientos en que se manifiestan. Las pasiones humanas entendidas, en suma, como los diversos modos de encontrarse o de ser comprometidos en las diferentes formas de autocomprensión inherentes a la relación con los otros y el mundo. Al referirnos a la “existencia” queremos abrir la reflexión a los modelos que trascienden la descripción dualista cartesiana y que son característicos de las diversas corrientes de reflexión filosófico-antropológica de los últimos cien años, pero también a aquellos enfoques que se remontan a los orígenes de nuestra tradición, aunque sin excluir tampoco otros. Una invitación, en definitiva, a pensar lo humano desde un campo en el que, desde su inicio y especialmente en la actualidad, se da un fecundo diálogo con otras áreas de investigación afines a la antropología filosófica como son la fenomenología, la psico(pato)logía, la filosofía de la cultura, la hermenéutica, la antropología médica, la antropología cultural, por citar algunas de las más significativas.
Estructura del Congreso: 2 Ponencias plenarias 8 Secciones que estructurarán las contribuciones
Secciones y coordinación: 1. Historia de la antropología y Antropología filosófica: Jacinto Choza, Juanjo Padial y Elena Ronzón. 2. Antropología, Fenomenología, Psico(pato)logía, Hermenéutica: Javier San Martín y Luisa Paz Rodríguez. 3. Literatura, cine, arte: Joan B. Llinares, Nicolás Sánchez y Antonio Castilla. 4. Filosofía feminista: Gemma Vicente y Elvira Burgos. 5. Diálogo intercultural: Lazar Kropinarov y Daniel Cabrera. 6. Antropología médica y bioética: salud y enfermedad: Tomás Domingo y Enric Novella. 7. Grupos de investigación de temática afín. 8. Presentación de libros
Presentación de ponencias, grupos de investigación y libros: Quienes deseen participar pueden presentar sus propuestas antes del 1 de mayo de 2016, enviando un resumen de su ponencia a la secretaría técnica del congreso por correo electrónico a la dirección firstname.lastname@example.org e indicando en el asunto “propuesta de ponencia”. Su presentación deberá incluir: - Título de la ponencia, resumen entre 300 y 1000 palabras, 6 palabras clave, en formato doc o pdf (sin que aparezca el nombre del autor/a para su revisión ciega). - En el mismo formato doc o pdf, en hoja aparte, deberá indicarse con el título de la ponencia, el nombre del autor/a, la sección temática en que se inscribe, institución de procedencia y correo electrónico. Cada ponencia dispondrá de 20 minutos para la exposición oral y 10 minutos para su discusión. La sección dedicada a Grupos de investigación de temática afin quiere ser un foro de comunicación entre los diversos grupos de investigación nacionales e internacionales, cuya actividad tenga relación con alguna de las perspectivas de trabajo recogidas en el tema del congreso. La participación en esta sección se establecerá en los siguientes términos: - Nombre del grupo de investigación, resumen entre 800 y 1000 palabras, 6 palabras clave, que dé cuenta de su/s actividad/es principal/es y relación con el tema del congreso en formato doc o pdf. - Nombre del investigador/es principal/es o representante/s en su caso, institución de procedencia o tipo de vinculación institucional, tanto del grupo como de sus representantes, si procede, y correo electrónico. Cada presentación tendrá una duración máxima de 20 minutos, podrá ser realizada por un máximo de 2 participantes y contará con 10 minutos para el debate. Con la sección dedicada a la Presentación de libros queremos dar espacio a cuantas publicaciones hayan aparecido relacionadas con el tema del Congreso en sus diferentes vertientes. Pueden ser tanto obras fuente como estudios críticos, más o menos recientes sobre el tema y de carácter nacional o internacional. Se indicará para su valoración: la referencia completa de la obra, el nombre del autor/a de la propuesta y su correo electrónico. La recensión podrá ser realizada tanto por sus autores/as como por los lectores que la presenten. Para cada una se contará con 10 minutos como máximo. Al final de cada sesión se abrirá un turno de debate general de 30 minutos. Para participar en la sección también es preciso inscribirse en el Congreso en la modalidad de asistencia y ponencia. La aceptación de las propuestas –en cualquiera de las tres modalidades mencionadas– se comunicará al interesado/a, momento en el que deberá inscribirse en el Congreso en el
plazo máximo de una semana para que su ponencia, presentación o recensión en su caso, se considere definitivamente aceptada. Las ponencias y presentaciones, tanto de grupos como de libros, seleccionadas serán publicadas en las Actas del Congreso. Las ponencias y recensiones de libros han de ser inéditas. En el caso de las ponencias no podrán exceder las 8 páginas en formato Times New Roman 12, espaciado 1.5. Para las presentaciones de grupos y libros la extensión máxima será de 1 página. En todos los casos podrán formularse en cualquiera de las lenguas oficiales del Estado español, así como en inglés, francés, alemán, italiano o portugués. Tipo de participación y tasas de inscripción: Asistencia: - Miembro de la SHAF: 15 € - Profesional no miembro de la SHAF: 45 € - Estudiante o persona en situación de desempleo: 10 € Asistencia y ponencia: - Miembro de la SHAF: 25 € - Profesional no miembro de la SHAF: 55 € - Estudiante o persona en situación de desempleo 20 € Certificación: La inscripción en el Congreso da derecho a recibir el certificado de asistencia o asistencia y ponencia. Reconocimiento con créditos ECTS: en trámite. Consultas: Secretaría técnica del Congreso: email@example.com
Universidad de Zaragoza - HERAF - SHAF - Gobierno de Aragón - Fondo Social Europeo
F. C. Burnand and A. C. Sullivan, Cox & Box. Operetta (1875). Libretto by F. C. Burnand, based on the 1847 farce Box & Cox by John Maddison Morton.
Robert Little (Box), Graham Breeze (Cox), Richard Dean (Bouncer). Putteridge Bury Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin, April 2013. YouTube (Bob Little) 28 July 2013. https://youtu.be/vqzIZEG7j5c
Me refiero a mi existencia en la red, no a esta all too solid flesh tan persistente. Poco durarán nuestros esfuerzos digitales, pero menos aún algunos de los que aparecen en sitios rusos o de dudosas procedencias. Como esta colección de documentos, procedentes de mi web y bibliografía, que acabo de encontrar con un buscador igualmente de usar y tirar, llamado PlayFree.
De momento se pueden encontrar varios de esos documentos en uno de estos sitios cuya función y existencia no entiendo, Smartrab— y sólo mientras duren. Empezamos con un currículum mío en 300 y pico páginas, seguimos con una lista de mis publicaciones (casi lo mismo) y terminamos con lo demás:
_____. "Currículum Vitae de José Angel García Landa." from Net Sight de José Angel García Landa. 2014. Smartrab.org
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature, by Hart and Leininger:
Herman Melville was born in New York City, a descendant of English and Dutch colonial families in whom he took great pride. His father, a cultivated gentleman, underwent financial reverses, entered bankruptcy and died when Herman was 12 years old. The boy's mother, left virtually destitute with seven other children, seems from the portrait of Mrs. Glendinning in Pierre to have been an imperious, unsympathetic woman. His schooling ended when he was 15, and, after clerking in a New York bank, working in his brother's fur and cap store, farming, and teaching, he shipped as a cabin boy to Liverpool (1839). This voyage, described in Redburn, was both romantic and harrowing, and ingrained in him a love for the sea. Upon his return, he again taught school in upstate New York, until he sailed on the whaler Acushnet for the South Seas (Jan. 1841). The 18-month voyage provided a factual basis for his later novel Moby-Dick. When he tired of whaling, he jumped ship at the Marquesas (July 1842) with a companion, Richard Tobias Greene, and lived for a month in the islands, as he later described in Typee and Mardi. He escaped from the savages who were holding him captive in the valley of Typee on an Australian trader, from which he deserted at Papeete (Sept. 1842). In Tahiti he worked for a time as a field laborer, studying the island life that he later depicted in Omoo. He left Tahiti on a whaler, and at Honolulu enlisted as an ordinary seaman on the frigate United States (Aug. 1843). His life aboard the man-of-war until his discharge at Boston (Oct. 1844) is the basis of White-Jacket. Having completed his education in what he later termed the only Harvard and Yale that were open to him, he returned home to begin fashioning novels from his experiences, and to enter literary society in New York and Boston. His first five books, Typee (1846), Omoo (1847), Mardi (1849), Redburn (1849), and White-Jacket (1850), won him fame and a wide following. He became a member of the literary circle of the Duyckinck brothers, who opened a new world of literature to him through their great libraries. In 1849 he made a trip to England to arrange for foreign publication, and visited Paris. The following year, with his wife, whom he had married in 1847, he moved to the Massachusetts farm that was his home for the next 13 years. Here he formed a friendship with his neighbor Hawthorne, who became his confidant after he outgrew the Duyckinck set of New York literati. His greatest work, Moby-Dick (1851), was dedicated to Hawthorne, and it is worth noting that the tortured novel Pierre (1852) was published at the same time as Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, since both deal with idealists who are crushed in their attempts to pursue the ways of heaven upon earth.
Melville's popularity, which began to wane with the publication of Moby-Dick, was entirely lost through the confused metaphysics and iconoclasm of Pierre, for the public's preference was always for his early exotic romances. Opportunity for revaluation was lost when a fire at his publishers (1853) destroyed the plates of his books and most of the unsold copies. Hawthorne's removal to Concord deprived him of his last great stimulus, and from this time he drew farther within himself in his tireless search for a key to the universal mystery. Israel Potter (1855), the story of the Revolutionary soldier, was a weak historical romance, but it was followed by Melville's finest achievements in short fiction, The Piazza Tales (1856), which includes "Bartleby the Scrivener," "Benito Cereno," and "The Encantadas." After The Confidence Man (1857), an abortive satire on the commercialism and selfishness of the age, he wrote no further prose except the novelette Billy Budd, completed just before his death.
Clarel (1876), a long, involved poem concerned with his search for religious faith, grew out of a tour to the Holy Land (1857). His diary of the trip was published as Journal Up the Straits (1935). Melville's other verse includes Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866), John Marr and Other Sailors (1888), and Timoleon (1891), the last containing poems based on his travels in Greece and Italy. Clarel, John Marr, and Timoleon were privately financed and published in small editions. About 80 short uncollected poems were first printed in the collected edition of his works (1924).
Melville's great creative period having perished from public neglect and his own inanition, he attempted to eke out a living by lecturing. Failing to receive a desired consulship, after a trip to San Francisco (1860) on a clipper ship commanded by his brother, he moved to New York City (1863) and three years later received a mean appointment as an outdoor customs inspector, in which position he continued for 19 years. His last years were spent in complete obscurity, and his death passed virtually unnoticed. It was not until 1920 that he was rediscovered by literary scholars, and in subsequent years the previous neglect was atoned for by a general enthusiasm. An elaborate collected edition appeared (12 vols., 1922-23) including some work left in manuscript; individual works were frequently reprinted; and some magazine sketches were collected as The Apple-Tree Table (1922). Other books published for the first time included Journal of a Visit to London and the Continent (1948), Journal of a Visit to Europe and the Levant (1955) and Letters (1960), including all 217 then known.
A wealth of scholarly research on his life and writings has been made, and recent students have revaluated his long-obscure literary reputation. Publication of a scholarly edition of his Writings was begun in 1968 by Newberry Library and Northwestern University Press, and by the 15th volume had reached the Journals (1989). He has come to be considered not only an outstanding writer of the sea and a great stylist who mastered both realistic narrative and a rich, rhythmical prose, but also a shrewd social critic and philosopher in his fiction.
Moby-Dick, or, The Whale, novel by Melville, published in 1851. Within this realistic account of a whaling voyage is set a symbolic account of conflict between man and his fate. Captain Ahab declares, "All visible objects are but as pasteboard masks," and Melville, holding this thesis, strikes through the surface of his adventurous narrative to formulate concepts of good and evil imbedded as allegory in its events.
The outcast youth Ishmael, feeling "a damp, drizzly November" in his soul, goes to New Bedford, planning to ship on a whaler. There he draws as a roommate Queequeg, a Polynesian prince, and the two become comrades. After Ishmael hears a symbolic sermon by Father Mapple, he and Queequeg go to Nantucket and sign on the Pequod, which sails on Christmas Day. The captain, Ahab, is a monomaniac whose one purpose is to capture the fierce, cunning white whale, Moby-Dick, who had torn away his leg during their last encounter. He keeps below deck for some time, but finally declares his purpose and posts a doubloon on the mast as a reward for the man who first sights the white whale. The characters of the sailors are revealed by their reactions. The chief mate, Starbuck, earnest, prudent, and fretful, dislikes it. Stubb, the second mate, is happy-go-lucky and takes perils as they come. Flask, the third mate, is incapable of deep thought and for him killing whales is just an occupation. Others in the crew include Fedallah and his mysterious Asiatics; the American Indian harpooner, Tashtego, the African, Daggoo; and the black cabin boy, Pip. Through the plot of the voyage, which carries the Pequod nearly around the world, runs a comprehensive discussion of the nature of the whale, the history of science and art relating to the animal, and the facts of the whaling industry. Whales are captured during the pursuit, but circumstances seem to conspire against Ahab: storms, lightning, loss of the compass, the drowning of a man, and the insanity of Ahab's favorite, Pip. The white whale is finally sighted, and in the first day's chase he smashes a whaleboat. The second day, another boat is swamped, and the captain's ivory leg is snapped off. On the third day the whale is harpooned, but Ahab, fouled in the line, is pinioned to Moby-Dick, who bears down on the Pequod. The ship is sunk and, as the final spars settle in the water, one of the men nails to the mast a sky hawk that pecks at the flag he is placing as a signal. The ship, "like Satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven along with her, and helmeted herself with it." Ishmael, the only survivor, is rescued by another whaler, the Rachel.
Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, novel by Melville, published in 1852. It is considered to be semi-autobiographical.
Pierre Glendinning, only son of an affluent and haughty widow, is engaged to Lucy Tartan, daughter of another prominent family in upstate New York. He accidentally meets Isabel, discovers that she is his illegitimate half-sister, and feels that it its his duty to protect her in opposition to his proud mother. To acknowledge Isabel as a sister would disgrace his father's memory, so Pierre pretends to marry her. They seek refuge in New York, and Pierre, poor and without friends, turns to writing a book that no publisher will issue. Lucy, still in love with Pierre, follows him to New York. Threatened by her brother and his own cousin, Pierre kills the latter. Both Lucy and Mrs. Glendinning die of grief, and Pierre and Isabel, now in love with each other, commit suicide in his prison cell. In grappling with the ambiguities of good and evil, Pierre has followed the "chronometrical" standards of ideal Christian conduct, instead of the "horological" standards of contemporary society. He is accordingly undone by his ideals, and becomes "the fool of Truth, the fool of Virtue, the fool of Fate."
Benito Cereno,story by Melville, published in The Piazza Tales (1856). Its source is a chapter in Amasa Delano's Voyages and Travels (1817). Robert Lowell adapted Melville's story in a one-act verse play of the same title in The Old Glory (1965).
In 1799 Captain Delano puts in for water at an uninhabited island off Chile, where he encounters a Spanish merchantsman in ruinous condition, commanded by Benito Cereno, a sensitive young Spaniard now gravely ill and enabled to pursue his duties only with the solicitous care of his black servant Babo. Cereno tells the American that he sailed from Buenos Aires for Lima, with a crew of 50 and a cargo including 300 Negroes owned by Alexandro Aranda. Off Cape Horn, he says, many of the crew were lost in a storm, and disease destroyed most of the other whites and blacks. Delano offers aid, but is uneasy at the insubordination of the slaves and the careless seamanship and seeming ingratitude of Cereno. He is about to return to his ship when Cereno jumps into his boat, precipitating an attack by the Negroes from which they barely escape. Cereno explains that the blacks had mutinied, led by Babo, and wanted to be carried to Africa. Delano seizes the slave ship, and takes it with his own to Lima, where Babo is executed. Cereno enters a monastery, but soon dies.
Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, symbolic tale by Melville published anonymously in Putnam's Magazine (1853) and reprinted in The Piazza Tales (1856). One view is that it reflects Melville's futility at the neglect of his novels ("Dead Letters") and his uncertainty about how to relate to society.
A Wall Street lawyer hires Bartleby, a curious, wraith-like figure, as a copyist. Barleby refuses to mingle with the other employees, and, when asked to do anything besides copying documents, invariably says "I would prefer not to." Som inner dignity or pathos in him prevents his being discharged, even when he ceases to work and uses the office for living quarters. The lawyer moves to another building, and the new tenant has Bartleby arrested. Visited in prison by the lawyer, he is silent and refuses favors. Soon he dies, and the lawyer hears a rumor that Bartleby was formerly a clerk in the Dead Letter Office, whose strange atmosphere affected his attitude toward life to the end.
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade, unfinished satirical novel by Melville, published in 1857. This last novel printed during the author's life shows a pessimistic view best described by the title of a handbill that figures in the story: "Ode on the Intimations of Distrust in Man, Unwillingly Inferred from Repeated Repulses, in Disinterested Endeavors to Procure His Confidence."
A deaf-mute boards the Mississippi steamboat Fidèle, bound from St. Louis to New Orleans, and displays to the passengers a slate on which he writes: "Charity thinketh no evil; suffereth long, and is kind; endureth all things; believeth all things; and never faileth." This is regarded as a proof of lunacy, although the passengers consider the barber's "No Trust" sign as wise and well expressed. Optimistic, faith-seeking mankind then appears in a variety of other disguises, as the "Masquerade" continues, and distrust replaces confidence in the course of each episode.
Billy Budd,a novelette by Melville, was written during the five years before his death and pubnlished in 1924. The much revised manuscript, left without definitive form, was reissued in a very careful edition in 1962. A dramatization was made by Louis O. Coxe and Robert H. Chapman as Uniform of Flesh (1949), revised as Billy Budd (1951).
Billy Budd is the typical Handsome Sailor of 18th-century balladry, and because of his innocence and beauty is hated by Claggart, a dark, demon-haunted petty officer. In his simplicity, Billy cannot understand why Claggart hates him, why evil should desire to destroy good. Claggart concocts a fantastic story of mutiny, supposedly plotted by Billy, whom he accuses to the captain. Billy, unable to speak, in his only act of rebellion strikes Claggart a fatal blow. Captain Vere, who sympathizes with Billy and recognizes his essential innocence, is nevertheless forced to condemn him, and though Billy is hanged he lives on as a legend among sailors.
A cambio de la inminente demolición de nuestro edificio, nos comunican acceso a JSTOR:
Estimados colegas: Después de varios meses de negociaciones y trámites, me es muy grato informaros de que por fin están accesibles a texto completo en la web de la biblioteca las colecciones Arts and Sciences II y Language and Literature de JSTOR. Este correo, además de comuncar tan grata nueva, quiere sobre todo agradecer al personal de la Biblioteca María Moliner y de la Biblioteca Universitaria su esfuerzo en la gestión de la suscripción, y poner de relieve que este nuevo recurso académico está disponible gracias a las aportaciones económicas que generosamente han prestado los departamentos de Filología Francesa, Filología Inglesa y Alemana, Filologìa Española, Lingüística General e Hispánica y Ciencias de la Antigüedad, así como el proyecto de investigación IBERUS. Ha sido un esfuerzo colectivo que beneficiará sin duda tanto al profesorado como al alumnado en la docencia y en la investigación, y que demuestra nuestra capacidad de superar obstáculos cuando trabajamos todos juntos para mejorar nuestra Facultad. Con un cordial saludo, José Enrique Laplana Gil Vicedecano de Organización Académica e Infraestructuras
A commentary and development of some notions on interaction as reality-maintenance derived from Berger and Luckmann's treatise on The Social Construction of Reality.Berger and Luckmann's analysis is supplemented with some additional observations on the interactional definition of the self, on the role of expectations and retrospection in reality-confirmation (so that reality could be defined as a process of self-fulfilling shared expectations), and on the function of ideologies, institutions, communications and mass media in the structuring and management of the multiple overlapping realities which make up the social world.
Ibercampus (July 29, 2014) Date posted: 24 Dec. 2015 Number of Pages in PDF File: 7 Keywords: Reality, Expectations, Communication, Interaction, Symbolic interactionism, Constructivism, Social theory, Institutions, Ideology
_____. "Interaction as Reality-Maintenance." In García Landa, Vanity Fea 28 July 2014.*
Semiosphere of Narratology is an anthology of articles by Russian and Western scholars bearing on a variety of subjects ranging from theories and methods in postclassical narratology to the play and semiotic aspects of literary narratives, the narrativity of mass media and photoblogs to the use of narratives in the social sphere and in pedagogy.
The volume was edited by Ludmila Tataru, Professor at the Balashov Institute of Saratov State University (Balashov, Russia), and José Ángel García Landa, Senior lecturer in the Department of English and German Philology at the University of Zaragoza (Spain).
As a theoretical basis for conceptualizing narrative, the editors proposed the concept of semiosphere, a concept brilliantly formulated by Yuri M. Lotman. Viewing semiosphere in analogy to V. I. Vernadsky’s biosphere, Lotman represented it as a heterogeneous, asymmetrical environment, crucial for the existence, interaction and rejuvenation of languages and cultures, a particular scientific and cultural space within which there exist, interact and collide “old,” “new” and “yet-to-be-born” ideas, languages, systems and subsystems.
On this basis, the aims of the volume were set as follows:
1) to select contributions reflecting on Lotman’s ideas in their relation to the latest tendencie s in the theory of narrative; and
2) to structure a “polylogue of voices” focusing on the same concept – narrative – from the positions of various disciplines. The book also represents a dialogue between two languages, Russian and English, in which the articles were submitted.
The first thematic section, “Semiosphere of Narratology: In Search of a Method,” includes five articles.
Greger Andersson (Professor of Comparative Literature at Örebro University, Sweden): “ Postclassical Narratology vs. Poetics: David Herman’s ‘Hypothetical Focalization’ as a Test Case”
The article discusses David Herman’s thesis of “hypothetical focalization” in relation to different theories about reader interpretation of narrative fiction. The author singles out two theoretical approaches to the problem. The first is based on the assumption that fictional narrative is a secondary variant of factual narrative with the simple modifier “as if” and a fictional narrator informing a narratee about events using linguistic means that work according to common grammatical rules. The alternative approach, advocated by theoreticians such as Käte Hamburger, Lars-Åke Skalin and Richard Walsh, is qualified as “separatist,” presenting fiction as a form of “language game” wherein an author stipulates motifs that will have an aesthetic impact on readers. According to Andersson, the first of the two approaches will generate “disquieting” interpretations that run against readers’ intuitions.
Boris Fyodorovich Yegorov (Leading researcher at St. Petersburg Institute of History, Russian Academy of Sciences): “The Play Aspects of Culture: The Conceptions of Yuri M. Lotman and V. S. Vakhrushev”
The author analyses the approaches to the cultural - philosophical category of play advocated by the two Russian scholars: Vladimir Vakhrushev and Yuri Lotman. Yegorov, who had incredible fortune to be a colleague and friend of both Vakhrushev and Lotman, presents their conceptions as a dialogue of distant voices, or, to be more exact, as Vakhrushev’s discourse on Lotman’s conceptualization of “play” paralleled by Vakhrushev’s own understanding of this category as it was presented in his book Image. Text. Play (2002) and in his articles on culture, philosophy, literary theory and history, etc. as well as in a number of his unpublished essays. Yegorov’s own mediating voice is clearly heard through references to Lotman’s life, theoretical heritage and personal correspondence. As Yegorov shows, the concept of play, fundamental for Lotman’s cultural-semiotic theory, gains greater scope and precision when seen from the perspective of Vakhrushev’s treatment of the same category.
Ludmila Tataru (Balashov Institute of Saratov State University, Russia): “Rhythm as a Category of Lotman’s Text Theory and as a Principle of Narrative Discourse”
Tataru suggests a theoretical model based largely on Lotman’s structural-semiotic theory, but updated in response to the contemporary trend of focusing on cognitive processes in narrative structures. She singles out for discussion Lotman’s interpretation of rhythm as presented in his earlier literary theory and in his later theory of cultural semiotics. The fact that rhythm has fallen out of the narratological debate is seen as unfortunate, for rhythm might be helpful in confronting the methodological challenge of heteroglossia in the narratological semiosphere. The cognitive-communicative functions of rhythm are illustrated in the analysis of a few stories from Joyce’s Dubliners. Tataru further argues that her method can also be effective for the study of non-fictional stories. Closer attention to narrative rhythm, she claims, might help to coordinate a number of meta-languages of narratological research that are often deaf to one another’s messages.
Valery Igorevitch Tyupa (Head of Theoretical and Historical Poetics, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow): “The Category of Narrative Strategies”
This article provides insight into the category of narrative strategies, defined as particular kinds of communicative strategies of culture. Tyupa suggests that positioning the narrator as a witness and judge of the eventfulness of existence is determined by the author’s modality of discursive behavior. He singles out four basic types of narrative modality: a) the modality of neutral knowledge, b) that of authoritative persuasion, c) that of an unre liable narrator’s subjective opinion (in Booth’s sense of the term) and d) the modality of understanding, which is neither subjective nor absolutely objective. Further on, Tyupa argues that the given types of modality are determined by three fundamental ba selines: a) the rhetorical modality of narration, b) world view and c) plot. He characterizes each of these baselines for the strategic choice to assert that a narrative strategy stipulates a text’s communicative unity, since the three baselines are mutually exclusive. That a strategic unity pertains even in complex narratives is demonstrated by an analysis of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita. Another important idea put forward in the article is that of a specifically “historical narratology” as a promising sphere of humanist knowledge.
Dmitry Urusikov (independent scholar, Yeletz, Russia): “The Cognitive Turn in Narratology: In Search of a Method”
This highly theoretical article presents a critical analysis of the state of the art in contemporary Western narratology and the unlikelihood that it will take root in Russian scientific soil. Making a critical appraisal of David Herman’s opposition between classical and postclassical narratologies, which emphasizes cognitive narratology’s interest in mental structures, and going on to disclaim the poststructuralist status of postclassical narratology, Urusikov qualifies this development as a heterogeneous proliferation of narrative disciplines. He suggests an alternative map of that includes descriptive, generative and cognitive narratologies. The first considers classifications of narratives; the second, a new variant of structuralism, concentrates on narrative models; the reader reception and mental processes. The author doubts whether cognitive and postclassical narratologies can easily be naturalized in Russia for two reasons: 1) the dearth of Russian translations of the principal works on narrative theory and 2) a general trend within the philological community to stick to the traditional, hermeneutic methods of analysis.
The second part of the volume, “Narrative as a Meta-genre of Modern Culture,” features the following five articles.
Saule Altybayeva (Associate Professor and Chair of Philological Specialties at the Kazakh National Pedagogical University named after Abai; Almaty, Kazakhstan): “Documentary and Quasi - documentary Narratives in Modern Kazakh Prose”
This paper discusses documentary and quasi-documentary narratives in modern Kazakh historical prose and characterizes them in terms of their typical content and functions. The author suggests working definitions of the narrative types in question and points out that they do not supplant fictionality but only assume new functions and enrich literary narratives with new meanings. Documentary narratives, which narrate real historical events, directly or indirectly confirmed by facts, are capable of forming eventuality within a wider existential range. Events are rearranged (e.g., dates and times of battles) as if overlapping one another. Altybayeva claims that quasi-documentary narrative is compatible with the fictional content of the novel, although its “molecules” – quasi-documents – are fictional and often fantastic.
Svetlana Bozrikova (Senior Lecturer in Foreign Languages, Balashov Institute of the Saratov State University):
“Criminal Story in Journalism: The Typical Traits of Narrative Temporality” The author looks at the crime story as a genre in terms of its tempor ality. One of its specific traits, she suggests, consists in correlations between temporal perspectives which perform particular cognitive functions while presenting the events at varying speed and frequency and in a particular sequence. The reader is immersed into the storyworld thanks to the literary technique employed by journalists to narrate events via scenes and slow - downs, retrospections and foreshadowings, breaking up the story sequence and regular repetitions of the crucial points of the chronotope viewed from different temporal perspectives, thus giving narration a rhythm Bozrikova illustrates her theoretical model with a detailed analysis of Eli Sanders’ essay “The Bravest Woman in Seattle” (published in The Stranger, 2011).
José Ángel García Landa (University of Zaragoza, Spain): “Narrativity of the Photoblog”
This paper examines the storytelling dimension of personal photoblogs from the point of view of narrative semiotics as a shifting multiplicity of interconnected semiotic sub - systems and communicative practices. García Landa takes into account both deliberate and spontaneous narrativity and the narrative sequences constructed by the medium as well as those constructed by the viewers. The aim is to gain further insight into the nature of the photoblog as an emerging genre of narrative, thus opening up a promising perspective for narratologically-minded cybertheory. García Landa keeps a Flickr photoblog himself, and the cover of the volume Semiosphere of Narratology is decorated with his two photos of dead leaves, suggestive of “the narrativity of experience” – the temporal cycles or, symbolically, the narrativity of life. He concludes that the photographs in photoblogs are intermedial, intertextual and hypertextual genres, thus exerting an indirect influence on photographic practices and on the way photographs and ideas about them are viewed, read and circulated.
Maria Roginska (Institute of Sociology and Philosophy, Krakow Pedagogical University, Poland): “The Crisis Chronotope of the Transformation Period: The Orthodox Liminal Narrative”
This contribution emphasizes the socially dependent significance of non - literary narratives as accounts of past experiences. It focuses on liminal narratives considered as both stories about crisis and stories that are generated by the transitional critical context. Roginska attempts to reconstruct liminal narratives of Russian orthodox believers dating back to the transformation after the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991–2003). She shows the significance of the crisis chronotope as a universal interpretive scheme by which orthodox narrators conceptualize spatial and temporal changes, national history and the “miraculous” private experience of the transformation period.
Ondřej Sládek ( Institute of Czech Literature, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague): “The Use of Narrative in Education" The author praises “the magic power of stories” in education. Applying the classic model of literary communication to the triad “the educator – t he curriculum – the student,” he discusses, respectively, “the use of narratives by the educator,” “the use of narratives by students” and “the use of narratives in presenting the curriculum.” Sládek specifies the six modeling functions of narrative in sci ence and education: illustrative, historical, popularizing, didactic, legitimizing and narrative. He insists that narratives should be used in varying degrees and in different ways depending on the disciplines taught, and he recommends that educators look for a balance between the macro-story (presenting the wide context of the problem) and micro-stories (minor stories within the big story), as is the practice with documentary films. The article concludes with idea that the loss of storyness would mean the loss of the order of one’s own life, the loss of the ability to perceive things in context and the loss of awareness of sequence in everyday situations.
The third section, “Philosophical and Semiotic Dimensions of the 20th - and 21st - Century Literary Nar ratives,” features the following five articles:
Svetlana Bessmertnova (Ph.D. student in literature, teacher of Russian and literature at the Alexander Nevsky Gymnasium, Saint Petersburg): “Semiotic Aspects of Bertold Brecht’s Drama”
The author examines Berthold Brecht’s method of estrangement ( Verfremdung ), the key principle of Brecht’s epic theater. She proceeds from the affinity of the pragmatics of existential philosophy and the pragmatics of Brecht’s dramaturgy, viewing this affinity in the more gene ral context of the triad “the signified – the signifier – the perceiving consciousness.” She believes that the situation of existential nothingness, understood as an acquisition of clarity of mind at the expense of the loss of illusion, is to be found in the basic mechanisms of estrangement which are made manifest, in the first place, in the narrative structure of Brecht’s plays. Narrative tools serve to “expose” the conventional semiotic codes and, by means of the latter, to expose fatalism, demonstrating at the same time the possibility and the necessity of making a choice and responsibility for one’s choice, the latter being a consequence of nothingness.
Irina Galutzkikh (Associate Professor of English, Zaporizhzhya National University; Zaporizhzh ya, Ukraine): “Processes of Semiotization of Corporeality in the Postmodern Period and their Reflection in the Imaginative Space of the Literary Text (a conceptual analysis)”
This essay specifies the semiotic and discursive nature of the conceptual framework of the human body within the context of English postmodernist literary prose. It focuses on the mode of imagery conceptualization activating the conceptual metaphor the “human body as a sign.” The author analyses the “bodily” preoccupation of postmodern philosophy, touching upon the phenomenological, social and textual interpretations of the body in Merleau-Ponty’s, Deleuze and Guattari’s and Barthes’ works, basing her own argument mainly on the latter. Applying the semantic-cognitive method of linguistic analysis to Jeanette Winterson’s “Written on the Body” and Peter Ackroyd’s “The Process of Elizabeth Cree,” Galutzkikh makes clear that the body functions in postmodernism as a semiotic code to accentuate the eroticized and sensual aspects of human life as well as one’s individual existential experience.
Sergey Orobiy (Associate Professor at the Blagoveschensk State Pedagogical University; Blagoveschensk, Russia): “‘Anything but the Novel’: Joyce, Jobs and Poetics of Flood”
Written in “the cyber-culture vein,” this article correlates with García Landa’s interest in the way the Internet affects narrativity. Orobiy, a blogger like his Spanish ”companion-in-arms,” analyses the paradoxical nature of the term “poetics of flood,” combining associations wit h the Aristotelian roots of literary theory and idle talk in the Internet over the end of “real literature.” The author finds parallels between the new “low genres” found in Live Journals, blogs, lifelogging, Narrato Journal and other apps and “the small genres” of earlier literary periods, e.g., the epistolary genre in Pushkin’s time and “the literature of fact” praised by the formalists. The new formats of storytelling are qualified as proto-narrative techniques of registering eventfulness non-stop. Orobiy analyses four books recently published in Russia illustrative of the new textuality and comes to the conclusion that today literary narrative has been transformed into a fluid proto-novel, “a new Ulysses ” written daily by millions of authors creating a huge semantic space organized in the form of a matrix.
Beatriz Penas-Ibáñez ( Senior Lecturer in English, University of Zaragoza, Spain): “Semiotic Roles of Narrative Standardness : Securing Cultural Change and Integration. Haiku-Aesthetics and the Anglo-American Literary Semiosphere”
This paper focuses on the socio-pragmatic functions of standardness, considering standard vs. non-standard narrativity , namely, the facilitating of cultural transfer between different literary semiospheres. Culture-specific types of text are seen as translatable through processes of cultural contact, change, assimilation and transfer. Among other things, Penas-Ibáñez theorizes hybridity as a semiotic artifact and the cultural transfer between eastern and western literary practices at the beginning of the 20th century. She characterizes the mutual influence and revulsion of the Sino-Japanese and the western avant-garde genres which had interwoven the two literary semiospheres and led to displacement of the standard poetic and narrative forms dominant in the West during the 19th century by non-standard narrativities like Pound’s and Hemingway’s haiku-like ones.
Svetlana Shiena (Professor at Balashov Institute of Saratov State University) and O. V. Zatonskaya ( Ph.D. student in Literature, Balashov Institute of Saratov State University):
“Poetic Philosophy of S. Beckett and F. Nietzsche” Sheina and Zatonskaya examine the langu age philosophy of Nietzsche and Beckett. They find similarities between the German philosopher’s and the Irish dramatist’s conceptions of poetic language in their respective ways of searching for a language capable of expressing ideas. Both were to give preference to metaphors and aphorisms. The editors of Semiosphere of Narratology believe that such a collective a look at the heteroglossia of contemporary narratology’s Babylon Tower from the perspective of Lotman’s semiotic theory, based on various mechanisms of the mutual attraction/repulsion of cultures and discourses, has been illustrative, if not explanatory, of some of its patterns. The general picture is paradoxical: diverse intellectual spheres have created a productive dialogue of scientific cultures, but at the same time have built impermeable membranes between discursive formations within the global semiosphere of narratology.
Mostramos cómo "El crítico como artista" de Oscar Wilde anticipa algunos conceptos clave de la hermenéutica postestructuralista—por ejemplo, la dialéctica necesaria entre ceguera y percepción crítica (Lacan, Paul de Man) o el efecto retroactivo que tiene la interpretación sobre la construcción de la obra. Más específicamente, la lectura del enigma de la Esfinge que propone Wilde en esta obra a la vez teoriza y dramatiza la relación paradójica que se da entre ceguera y percepción, al formular una profecía irónica que puede leerse como el anuncio por parte de Wilde de su propia caída trágica—en la que hay un elemento de actuación interpretativa de un guión previo, elemento que ha sido comentado previamente por diversos críticos. Es decir, la Esfinge de Wilde se usa como vehículo para un enigma sobre el propio Wilde, y es un emblema de la ambivalencia de su propia actitud ante la cuestión de la revelación pública de su homosexualidad.
Oscar Wilde's "The Critic as Artist" is shown to foreshadow some key concepts of poststructuralist interpretive theory - such as the necessary interplay of blindness and insight in criticism (Lacan, Paul de Man), or the retroactive effect of interpretation in the construction of the work. More specifically, Wilde's reading of the riddle of the Sphinx in a passage of this work both theorizes and dramatizes the paradoxical relationship between blindness and insight, in the shape of an ironic prophecy which can be read as Wilde's announcement of his own tragic downfall - in which there is an element of compulsive acting out that has been noted by a number of previous critics. That is, Wilde's Sphinx is used as the vehicle of a riddle about Wilde himself, and is an emblem of his own ambivalent attitude toward the public revelation of his homosexuality.
Links to the paper in the following websites, journals and repositories:
Aparecen últimamente en Academia dos nuevos parámetros de ránking y valoración: el Author Rank y el Paper Rank. Empiezo modestamente con un Author Rank de 1.0:
Ahora que estaba tan contento yo de pasar todo el año 2015 en el 0,1 % superior de los autores, ha tenido que salir un nuevo ránking para bajarme los humos, y el nivel. Aquí explican lo que son estos índices, y cómo se obtienen. Resultan de la recomendación mutua, y en ese sentido son altamente académicos—a veces olvidamos que la academia no es sino un sistema organizado de reconocimiento y aprecio mutuo. Si tus amigos tienen alto ránking y son muy recomendados, tanto más valen sus recomendaciones. Veo que la mayoría de los perfiles de Academia no tienen Author Rank. Algunos, como el Richard Price del ejemplo, con cuatro publicaciones tienen un ránking más alto que el mío—seguramente por sus contactos de Oxford.
Esto potencia los círculos de apoyo mutuo, no sé si me gusta mucho, más bien no. Aunque es más complejo de lo que he dicho: a través de su Author Rank, los autores recomiendan tus artículos, y son estas recomendaciones a tus artículos (el Paper Rank de tus artículos) las que generan tu propio Author Rank
Seguiré quizá con cifras bajas, suponiendo que el uno sea una cifra baja, y lo debe ser (aunque sea mucho más alta que la ausencia de), visto que la cifra superior a obtener no tiene límite. Está, por una parte, bien pensado, para medir los aprecios mutuos de la gente.
En cuanto al PaperRank, es algo parecido pero para los artículos individuales. Aún no he visto ninguno mío así recomendado.
Aparte, le he añadido a Academia más enlaces, con Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and what not. Otro día le subo un CV. Pero para qué, si lo que va a contar va a ser el Author Rank. De momento tomo nota, y lo apuntaré en el CV junto con otros índices que colecciono: los de Google Scholar, los de ResearchGate, de la SSRN (donde estoy el 5º mundial en el parámetro mejor valorado que tengo) —y en Academia, donde diga lo que diga el Author Index, estoy aún en el uno por mil. Puedes no estar y tener un altísimo índice de autor, o estar así de bien situado con un índice modestito o nonexistent. Todo es indicativo, pero a saber de qué....
Hoy celebramos en Biescas el 80 cumpleaños de mamá. Aquí una foto suya con mis hermanas, y que estén todas así de guapas a los ochenta, dentro de mucho tiempo. Más fotos de hijos, nietos, primos, pinchando allí.
Revisando los numerosos enlaces a mi bibliografía, de universidades y sociedades y demás. Muchos están rotos. Todo fluye, panta reï. Trabajo de chinos seguirle la pista a lo que fluye. Pero por el camino encuentro algún enlace nuevo, como este a WorldCat.
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)