Se me olvidó celebrar, si es que es de celebrar, que llevo ahora diez años—ya más de diez ahora—escribiendo este blog. Lo empecé en octubre de 2004, poco después de disponer de un espacio propio en la web de la Universidad de Zaragoza, y totalmente ignorante aún sobre las plataformas automatizadas de blogs. Luego lo pasé a Blogia, y seguidamente a Blogger, aunque también sigo haciendo el viejo blog "a pedales" en mi viejo sitio web, triplicando el esfuerzo inútilmente. Y luego han salido repositorios, facebooks, videoblogs y demás, multiplicándome las entidades de una manera que volvería loco a Occam.
En tiempos pensé que todo el mundo acabaría por abrirse un blog. Casi se realizó eso con el boom de facebook—pero son los menos los que escriben algo en su facebook, una vez inaugurado; y al final el whatsapp se presta más a mantener la red social auténtica de cada cual—de cada cual que la tenga. Y los blogs quedaron como una rareza para esperantistas, filatelistas, o radioaficionados—que parecen más chiflados a posteriori que a priori, antes de que se supiese en qué iba a parar la cosa.
No sé si por intuición profética me quedé con el nombre de Vanity Fea para mi blog (aunque sigo dándole otros nombres en otros sitios), un poco como reducción al absurdo de la idea de un diario en red personal y público. Al final se vuelve a reducirse a su motivación original, que era señalar novedades o actualizaciones en mi web. Claro que si mi web incluye mi blog allí se abre la posibilidad de un bucle vicioso, o virtuoso, reflexivo en todo caso—y muchas vueltas le he dado a ese bucle que es uno mismo, sin ir a parar a ningún sitio. Sigo posteando novedades sobre mí, eso sí, aunque poco haya de nuevo; más de diez años me ha costado colgar mis Obras Completas, procurando alcanzarme a mí mismo, à la Shandy, y algunas aún no han subido—las menos por no haberse escrito todavía. Claro que las subo por cuadruplicado a veces, a repositorios y demás, por miedo a que haya too little of a good thing. Y así es el cuento de nunca acabar, con mohosas novedades siempre desempolvadas.
Los primeros años incluso me dediqué a imprimir el blog, en pasta, y perdí la comba cuando ya llevaba un estante lleno de volúmenes, pesados como Biblias. Si no hubiese parado, ya tendría dos metros de blog. Porque esto ocupa espacio en los estantes, si se pone uno, y no sólo tiempo y bits. Pero perdí fuelle, y la buena impresión se quedó a mitad.
Del mismo modo he perdido fuelle a la hora de escribir cosas, en general. Primero se ha vuelto menos diarístico y menos opinativo, o menos opinionated quizá también, el blog y uno mismo. Antes divagaba impromptu mis opiniones, las noticias de a diario, ensayos tentativos, y despotriques varios, contra la profesión y la injusticia y el entorno y la naturaleza de la realidad. Pero de todo eso ya queda poco, y somos mera sombra de nuestras anteriores actividades. Antes no pasaba película que viese, o libro que leyese, sin escribir aquí sobre él. Luego perdí la fe, o el interés, o el impulso—y el interés se perdió conmigo.
Han desaparecido también de aquí los escasos comentadores que había los primeros años (muchos de ellos negativos). Desde luego, las remotas tentativas de "crear comunidad" o convertir esto en un foro de intercambio de opiniones han encontrado su refutación más contundente en el silencio y la indiferencia absoluta. Como analogía sólo se me ocurre el paralelo con mi Fotoblog, que contiene unas 30.000 fotos y apenas una decena de comentarios en total en estos diez años. Mira, en Facebook sí que me ponen algún me gusta a las fotos a veces, aunque ya se sabe que los me gusta de facebook son de buen quedar. Por el eco obtenido, desde luego, no lo haré, lo de seguir con el blog; podría aspirar en todo caso a un éxito de fracaso, pues ni siquiera Krapp fracasó mejor. Con lo cual va terminando todo esto, como empezó, como un diálogo a solas conmigo mismo. Pero dudo que ni yo mismo me escuche al final. Los mensajes secretos prefiero dirigírmelos en el blog interno del stream of consciousness, y no vale la pena dejar registro de ellos aquí.
Con lo cual el balance de estos diez años ha de ser de un éxito digamos modesto, sólo avalado por su continuidad inexplicable. Este éxito modesto es, dirían algunos, lo más cerca que he estado de la modestia.
Estaba por aquí oyendo a Edmundo Rivero, que por cierto se parece mucho al abuelo Penas. Y me he acordado también de aquel disco de Malevaje de hace treinta años. No hará falta que aclare que tampoco yo sé más quien soy.
The first edition of Purchas, his Pilgrimes; or, Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all Ages was published in 1613, and the work went through a convoluted series of reprints, continuations and additions. But you can have his second edition (enlarged of course) for free at the Internet Archive, or here. And the full title, which I love, for your benefit:
PVRCHAS his PILGRIMAGE. OR RELATIONS OF THE WORLD AND THE RELIGIONS OBSERVED IN ALL AGES AND Places discovered, from the CREATION unto this PRESENT.
IN FOVRE PARTS.
THIS FIRST CONTAINETH a THEOLOGICALL and Geographical Historie of ASIA, AFRICA, and AMERICA, with the Ilands adiacent.
Declaring the ancient religions before the FLOVD, the Heathnish, Jewish, and Saracenicall in all Ages since, in those parts professed, with their seuerall Opinions, Idols, Oracles, Temples, Priests, Fasts, Feasts, Sacrifices, and Rites Religious: Their beginnings, Proceedings, Alterations, Sects, Orders and Successions.
With briefe descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoveries; Priuate and Publike Customes, and the Remerkable Rarities of Nature, or humane Industrie in the Same.
The second Edition, much enlarged with Addition through the whole Worke;
by SAMVEL PVRCHAS, Minister at Eastwood in Essex.
Vnus Deuvs, vna Veritas. London: Printed by William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard at the Signe of the Rose.
A no confundir con otro Samuel Purchas, del siglo XVII, autor de A Theatre of Political Flying-Insects. Nuestro primer Purchas es todo un roll model, una de esas figuras casaubónicas que han querido (noble empeño) ofrecernos la clave de todas las mitologías, contener un mundo en un libro, o contarnos la historia de todas las cosas.
Introduction by inteviewer Marshall Poe: When I was an undergraduate, I fell in love with Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. In the book Montesquieu reduces a set of disparate, seemingly unconnected facts arrayed over centuries and continents into a single, coherent theory of remarkable explanatory power. Alas, grand theoretical books like Spirit of the Laws are out of fashion today, not only because the human sciences are gripped by particularism (“more and more about less and less"), but also because we don’t train students to think like Montesquieu any more. In his excellent The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011), Francis Fukuyama bucks the trend. Of course, he’s done it before with elegant and persuasive books about the fall of communism, state-building, trust, and biotechnology among other big topics. Here he takes on the emergence of modern political institutions, or rather three modern political institutions: the state, the rule of law, and accountable government. He begins with human nature, takes us through a massive comparison of the political trajectories of world-historical civilizations (Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, European), and, in so doing, tells us why the world political order looks the way it does today. His answers are surprising, and not directly in line with what might be called the “conventional thinking” about these things.
Fukuyama offers an evolutionary theory of political systems, attractive though somewhat biased in the direction of idealism, based not only on the development of political institutions and of the rule of law, but grounding them on the sociality of human nature, on the importance of symbolic thought, and of mutual recognition. Along the way, he offers suggestive insights on the role and significance of religions and of nations.Need I say this is a significant and fascinating contribution to a consilient theory of politics?
Dear all, There is a facebook group on EVOLUTIONARY NARRATOLOGY, and members are welcome. The site will be interesting for those with an interest in interdisciplinary narrative theory and narratology generally, for those interested in evoulutionary theory (both Big History and evolutionary sociobiology) and, well, for those with an interest on the interface between these fields, and in a consilient approach to the humanities. Please visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/115505095152536/
—while you have yourselves a merry little 2015.
This is the original description of the Facebook EVOLUTIONARY NARRATOLOGY Group:
This group is for people interested in narratology and evolutionary theory, who want to see the first theory firmly embedded within the second. This group is also for people who strongly disagree with such a view. This group is even for people who confess to be "agnostic" about the issue, but is interested anyhow. Discussions, rants and recommendations are hereby encouraged.
Narratology, largely structuralist/formalist or cognitive in orientation, might well profit from a deeper anthropological framework, a Darwinian framework. Evolutionary approaches like evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, behavioral ecology, etc., have developed into a rich smorgasbord of great potential for understanding and explaining narrative activity in and by human organisms. Evolutionary Narratology studies the narrative animal.
The 1990s saw the birth of the Darwinian paradigm within literary theory and criticism. Prominent among the founders of 'Literary Darwinism' are Joseph Carroll and Jonathan Gottschall. Regarding stories and art in general, major contributions come from Ellen Dissanayake, Brian Boyd, Dennis Dutton, and others. (See this page for further detail and historical context: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_Darwinism)
Also, in film studies, a handful of academics walking under the cognitivist umbrella, draw upon evolutionary ideas, e.g., Joseph Anderson and Dirk Eitzen. Lately, David Bordwell, the cognitivist film professor par excellence, is also starting to make forays into Darwinia. Yet, narratology is particular neither to film nor literature. Narratology is about stories, storytelling and -consumption, regardless of medium.
Stories are told by human organisms, to human organisms, about human organisms. Whether telling, being told to, or told about, evolutionary approaches should be able to cast light upon the human psychology and behaviour in question. Furthermore, stories have been told ever since humans evolved the required linguistic and mental capacities, which might be as far back as 250,000 years ago. The implication is that narrativity should be fundamentally approached as a biological and evolutionary phenomenon.
What's more, Evolutionary Narratology should start out with questions pertaining to the 'epic Ur-situation', the basic, natural and unrefined situation of face-to-face, human storytelling and -consumption, whether the historical context of this activity be paleolithic or post-postmodern. This would be seen as a much-needed corrective to structuralist narratology's skewed generalizations from the highly artificial, modernist narrative experiments of the 1900s
And don't let's forget a "sister page" in Spanish and English, one I opened before I got accepted as an administrator and member of the above group: Narratología evolucionista / Evolutionary narratology:
I'm so far the only active member of this page, and the most active one in both. Everything in Evolutionary Narratology gets posted in Narratología Evolucionista, but not vice versa, as the Spanglish page is more catholic in both language and subject matter. Not in religion though.
From George Sampson's Concise Cambridge History of English Literature (1970) :
(From Sampson— Some plays by major and minor 19th-c. poets and novelists:)
WORDSWORTH. (...) When the French Revolution passed into the Terror, Wordsworth lost his trust in immediate social reform. He turned to abstract meditation on man and society, and Godwin's Political Justice became a kind of Bible that comforted his distress. But the abstract anarchistic doctrine of Godwin was utterly useless to a creative poet; and the pessimism it produced bore fruit in his one dramatic work, The Borderers, written in 1795 though not published till 1842. The Borderers cannot claim intrinsic poetic or dramatic merit; but it enabled Wordsworth to write himself free from any perfectionist illusions.
COLERIDGE. (...). It was the hour of romance; and of pure, ethereal romance, the poetry of Coleridge is the supreme embodiment. He was indifferent to the medieval properties dear to Scott. It was in the subtler, more spiritual, regions of romance that Colerige found his home. Even the poetically moral conclusion of The Ancient Mariner is a sign of the spiritual presence which, in his faith, bound "man and bird and beast" in one mystical body and fellowhip. Oddly enough he showed some talent for the drama. Remorse (1813—an expansion of the earlier Osorio), in the style of Schiller's The Robbers, lacked the full courage of its theme and inclined to current stage sentiment, but it had a fair run. Zapoyla, "in humble imitation of The Winter's Tale", is less static, but less successful. More important are his translations (1799-1800) from Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy. The Fall of Robespierre by Coleridge and Southey can be dismissed as an efflorescence of revolutionary youth.
LAMB. (...). Lamb's first independent work in prose, A Tale of Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret, was published in the summer of 1798. Already he had had some share in James White's Original Letters, etc., of Sir John Falstaff in July 1796. Rosamund Gray is a sombre and tragic narrative; but it can hardly be said to survive, except for Lamb's sake. The same must be said of his tragedy, called at first Pride's Cure, but named in its revised form John Woodvil (1802). Although without original merit or dramatic interest, the play bears witness to Lamb's careful study of the sixteenth and seventeenth century dramatists. In these pursuits Lamb gradually shook off his melancholy, and his life with Mary at this time is tenderly recorded in Old China, one of his best essays. (...) In 1802 the Lambs visited Coleridge at Greta Hall, without losing any of their attachment to London. The Tales from Shakespeare were begun in 1806, Mary doing most, Charles himself contributing only four tragedies. As Shakespeare whole and unmitigated for the young was at that time never thought of, the volume really gave many youthful readers their first acquaintance with a great poet. Before this classic appeared in January 1807, Lamb's silly farce Mr H. was given at Drury Lane without success. His true service to the drama was to be of a better kind. (...) Lamb's next literary venture was the justly famous Specimens of English Dramatic Poets who lived About the Time of Shakespeare (1808). This work rediscovered for its age the Elizabethan dramatists. Many people cannot share Lamb's entusiasm for these authors; some, on the other hand, have declared that Lamb ruined his authors by presenting as poetry what should be presented as drama. The objection is unreal and quite suppositious, as a glance through the book will show. The radical point is that the old dramatists were not known, and that Lamb sought to make them known in extracts chosen with sure dramatic instinct and enriched with notes that are little masterpieces of just criticism and eloquent prose. Now that the dramatists are known and acessible we need not go on reading extracts; but we must not be asked to revile the man who made them known and so helped to make them accessible. (...) BYRON. To the years that succeeded his final departure from England belong his works in dramatic form. As in the poems, there is an alternation between the romantic and the classical modes. Manfred (1817), Cain (1821) and Heaven and Earth (1824) are romantic alike in spirit and structure; Marino Fallero (1820), The Two Foscari (1821) and Sardanapalus (1821) represent a deliberate attempt on the part of the author to break loose from the domination of the Elizabethan masters and to fashion tragedy on the neo-classic principles of Racine and Alfieri. This has nothing to do with date. When his theme is romantic Byron is romantic; when his theme is historical he is classical. In Manfred, as in the third canto of Childe Harold, we recognize the spell which the Alps exercised on Byron's genius. Some influence from Goethe's Faust appears in the opening soliloquy; but the characteristic Byronic manner appears in the main story depicting an outcast from society, stained with crime, and proudly solitary. The play is as much and as little autobiographical as the other works. In Cain we witness the final stage in the evolution of the Byronic hero. The note of rebellion against social order and against authority is stronger than ever; but the conflict is one of the intellect rather than of the passions. In its day Cain was considered gross blasphemy; readers of the present time are more likely to admire its idyllic passages. Heaven and Earth, written in fourteen days, was taken as an act of repentance for the impiety of Cain; but as it is fragmentary, incoherent, and even uninteresting, the supposed repentance seems incomplete. When we pass from Byron's romantic and supernatural dramas to his Venetian tragedies and Sardanapalus, we enter a very different world. Here, in the observation of the unities, the setting of the scenes and in all that goes to constitute the technique of drama, the principles of classicism are observed. Sardanapalus is, from every point of view, a greater success than either of the Venetian tragedies. In Werner and The Deformed Transformed there is a return to the romantic pattern, but neither carries conviction.
SHELLEY. Since his arrival in Italy he had brooded over the plan of a lyrical drama. Of many competing themes he chose Prometheus; but not the Aeschylean Prometheus with its impotent conclusion. The story had to be transformed to fit Shelley's Godwinian faith in the perfectibility of man. Pain, death and sin were transitory ills. Religion, too, man would necessarily outgrow, for the gods were phantoms devised by his brain. So the tyrant Jupiter is thrust down, and his fall is the signal for the regeneration of humanity; man's evil nature slips off like a slough; Prometheus is "unbound". But, in a sense, his tragedy has newly begun, for in a series of visions he is shown what evil man will do to man; yet still the hope of final regeneration remains. Under forms of thought derived from the atheist and materialist Godwin, Shelley has given, in Prometheus Unbound, magnificent expression to the faith of Plato and of Jesus. Unlike Byron, Shelley had no historic imagination and he felt little interest in the metropolis of the Papacy. The one figure of medieval Rome that attracted him was Beatrice Cenci, and he resolved to make her the central figure of a poetic drama. In writing it he had in mind the great tragic actress Eliza O'Neill, and he sent the play to Covent Garden for performance. Not unnaturally it was declined. The Cenci as a tragedy for the stage does not really succeed. Cenci himself is a monster; Beatrice cannot justify her parricide, simply because the dreadful incentive is incapable of dramatic representation. Only in her death does Beatrice become a moving figure. The Cenci is a play for the study, not for the theatre.
LESSER POETS: Sir Henry Taylor (1800-86) led a long and honourable life which linked the French Revolution to the very eve of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. His main contributions to literature are the four tragedies, Isaac Comnenus (1827), Philip van Artevelde (1834), Edwin the Fair (1842) and St Clement's Eve (1862). Philip, his best play, was long high esteemed, and it gives us the familiar line "The world knows nothing of its greatest men"; but it is as finally dead as the other three. All contain numerous passages of something that looks like poetry, but does not keep on looking like it for long. One might call Taylor a belated Elizabethan who had wandered home through Germany. His Autobiography (1885) and his Correspondence (1888) are likely to outlast his poetry. George Darley (1795-1846) survives strangely as the author of a song not considered his. The compiler of The Golden Treasury found what seemed an anonymous song of the Caroline period, It is not beauty I demand, and included it among the seventeenth-century group of his book. The author, it is true, was not alive; but he might have been. Darley's pastoral drama Sylvia, or the May Queen (1827) was edited in 1892, and his poem Nephente (1836) in 1897. The dates are significant. There was a fashion in the Nineties for the curious clotted utterance of which Darley was a master. His stanzas beginning Listen to the Lyre seem to be the source of the exquisite rhythm of Meredith's Love in the Valley. Another favourite of the Nineties was Maria Edgeworth's nephew Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-49), whose chief work is a play entitled Death's Jest Book or The Fool's Revenge, ready for publication as early as 1829 but not published till 1850. Beddoes, too was a belated Elizabethan, yet he is also modern. He was a physician and a physiologist and might himself have been a character by Ibsen. The blank verse of the Jest Book is likely to be less attractive now than some of its songs. Another dramatist is Charles Jeremiah Wells (1800-79), whose Stories after Nature (1822) fell flat, as did his poetical drama Joseph and his Brethren (1824) until it was drastically re-written and issued in 1876 with an eulogy by Swinburne which few modern readers have found justified. Richard Henry Horne (1803-84), who turned the "Henry" into "Hengist", endeavoured to live up to the more tempestuous name by adventures in mnay lands, including naval service in Mexico and gold-digging in Australia. His New Spirit of the Age (1844) was written with the help of his friend Mrs. Browning (then Miss Barrett). His tragedies, from Cosmo de' Medici and The Death of Marlowe (both 1837) to Laura Dibalzo (1880), are inevitably, like those of Taylor, Wells, and Beddoes, pseudo-Elizabethan, literary rather than dramatic. His jest of publishing his one poem of merit, the quasi-epic Orion,at the price of one farthing, may have had publicity value, but invited equally cheap epigram. Orion faintly suggests Hyperion, and The Death of Marlowe has at least one Marlovian line in the passage that begins "Last night a squadron charged me in a dream". Charles Whitehead (1804-62) gave us The Solitary (1831) in respectable Spenserians, The Cavalier (1836), a play, and certain quasi-historical novels, together with some "crime" literature, including The Autobiography of Jack Ketch (1834). The last was so successful that he was invited to contribute prose sketches to humorous writings by Robert Seymour. Whitehead made the great refusal, and recommended Dickens, who began to write Pickwick Papers. Thus Whitehead is, in a sense, immortalized by the work he did not write. The achievements of Moore and Praed in light verse were anticipated by James and Horace Smith, whose Rejected Addresses (1812) were supposed to have been received by the managers of Drury Lane in a competition for the honour of recitation at the reopening of the burned-down theatre. It is a series of pieces in the manner of the best (and the worst) writers of the day; and as a complete book of parodies has hardly been surpassed.
(...) Readers, from Tennyson down, admired Philip Jameson Bailey (1816-1909) and his Festus—first published 1839 and like Tupper's work steadily enlarged till 1889—because he was ambitious and appeared to be profound. Festus is a long verse drama written in imitation of Goethe's Faust: the first scene is laid in Heaven, the first speaker is God. The poverty of its intellectual content is matched by the poverty of tis poetic expression. The passages once quoted with admiration are mostly "purple patches" in the strictest sense—very purple and very patchy.
(...) In a brief consideration of Disraeli's literary achievement we must at once dismiss The Revolutionary Epick (1834, reissued 1864) and Count Alarcos, a Tragedy (1839). The former (far from unreadable) shows that he admired the sentiments of Byron and the allegories of Shelley; the latter shows nothing but what may be called "common form" in literary tragedy—opera without music. But we should not forget, in estimating the prose compositions of Disraeli, that he wrote and published ambitious verse, and that both Shelley and Byron contributed to the formation of his mind.
(...) The life of Charles Kingsley (1819-75) was, in outward circumstances, as simple and modest as the career of Disraeli was world-embracing in its renown. Yet each dealt, after his own fashion, with the same social problems—the peasant, the operative, the landlord, the mill-owner, how they were to live in peace and grow towards a shared and beneficient prosperity. Kingsley was, in spirit as in fact, a country parson, an honest, limited, hasty impulsive man, without the least personal ambition. He drew his first social inspiration from Carlyle; but in 1844 he met Frederick Denison Maurice, who soon became "the Master" to him and a band of fellow enthusiasts. His actual first publication was a drama in prose and verse, The Saint's Tragedy, which appeared in the year of the Chartist fiasco. Kingsley, Maurice, and other devoted, chosen spirits took up the cause of the over-worked, under-nourished men, women and children, who in fetid homes and filthy factories wore away their short lives in the sacred cause of commercial prosperity. (...)
[Bulwer Lytton (1803-73)]: (...) Even in an age of voluminousness, Lytton was extraordinarily fertile. To his novels must be added a great mass of epic, satirical and translated verse, much essay-writing, pamphleteering and a number of successful plays, three of which are theatrical classics, Richelieu (1838), The Lady of Lyons (1838) and Money (1840). Had he concentrated his powers Lytton might have taken a more considerable place in the history of literature.
Charles Reade (1814-84), playwright and novelist, was at all points the opposite of Trollope. He was no improviser of pleasant stories. He was always a fighter. He took up causes. He attacked abuses. He made almost every novel a document, fortified by authorities. He turned novels into plays and plays into novels—usually performing the former course as he could then more easily pursue his imitators by legal process, for which he had a limitless appetite. His first novel Peg Woffington (1853) was made from his play Masks and Faces (1852). Christie Johnson (1853), his most idyllic story, delineates life in a Scottish fishing village, and appears to have no stage counterpart. Reade was deeply in sympathy with the impulse towards realism which was at work in fiction in the middle of the century, and in his methods anticipated Zola. His documentary novels are not all of one kind. There are, first, those in which he makes use of his knowledge, Defoe-like in its intimacy, of trades and occupations; such are The Autobiography of a Thief (1858), Jack of All Trades (1858) and A Hero and a Martyr (1874). Secondly, there are stories of philanthropic purpose; in these, Reade sweeps aside Godwin's theories and Lytton's sentiments, replacing them by fact irrefutably established and by fierce denunciation. The ghastly cranks and collars and jackets of It is never too late to mend (1856) were things he had seen in the gaols of Durham, Oxford, and Reading. He could cite precedent for every single horror of the asylum scenes in Hard Cash (1863); on all the other abuses which he attacked—"ship-knacking" in Foul Play (1869), "rattening" in Put Yourself In His Place (1870), insanitary village life in A Woman Hater (1877)—he wrote as an authority on scandals flagrant at the moment. Pitiless, insistent hammering at the social conscience is the method of these novels, which remind us at times of Victor Hugo, at times of Eugène Sue and at times of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Reade's habit of challenging attention by capitals, dashes, short emphatic paragraphs, and so forth, accentuates the general impression of urgency and anticipates the devices of modern journalism. But his novels, however documentary, are masterly as narratives, and contain scenes of "actuality"—fire, flood and shipwreck—that are as thrilling in print as they would be on the stage. The greatest triumph of his documentary method is the historical novel, The Cloister and the Hearth (1861), enlarged from the first version tamely entitled A Good Fight, which, as it does not contain Denys, omits one of his greatest creations. The remoteness of the scene helps to mitigate Reade's indignant crusading, but even here he is "out" against one abuse, the celibacy of the clergy, to which he recurred in Griffith Gaunt (1866).
TENNYSON. (...) Of Tennyson's dramas it may be said briefly that they are not dramatic. In Queen Mary no single character arrests and dominates our interest, and the hero of Harold, as of many later plays, resembles Hamlet without being Hamlet. The strongest in interest and the most impressive in performance is Becket. Tennyson's plays came upon the stage with every chance of success; but they are muffled in their own wordiness and have no quality of permanence.
SWINBURNE. Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) announced his allegiance to Rossetti in the dedication of his first book—The Queen Mother and Rosamond (1860), two poetical dramas written in elaborate blank verse. Swinburne, born in London of an old Northumbrian family, was, as befits the son of an admiral, a lover and singer of the sea. At Eton and Oxford he developed his love of poetry, and when he came into association with the Rossetti circle it was with a taste already formed for many kinds of verse. He was a good classic, and his poetical patriotism was bestowed equally upon ancient Greece and Elizabethan England. His sympathy with republican freedom was learned from Landor and Shelley and, last but not least, from Victor Hugo, who shared with Shakespeare the shrine of his lifelong idolatry. With all his metrical originality, Swinburne was in substance an "echo" poet; and there was no writer who so completely furnished him with inspiration as Victor Hugo. He began with youthfully daring atheism and youthfully spoken republicanism; and he never quite grew up. His convictions were always passionate and always literary. It is a curious fact that no influence coloured the language of the atheistic republican so richly as the sacred literature, biblical and liturgical, of the religion whose professors were the objects of his tireless invective. Atalanta in Calydon and Chastelard in 1865 and Poems and Ballads in 1866 won Swinburne both celebrity and notoriety. Chastelard, the first of his three plays upon the life of Mary Queen of Scots, is a romantic drama in the style of his two earlier works. Atalanta, classical in subject, is an attempt to reproduce the characteristic forms of Greek drama in English verse. The avowed atheism of Atalanta might pass unchallenged, as long as it was partly veiled in the decent obscurity of its antique setting; but Poems and Ballads shocked most readers by its open flouting of conventional reticence. Here indeed were fleurs du mal flagrantly planted on English soil! The apparition of Swinburne shamelessly chanting his songs of satiety gave respectable England the dreadful sensation of finding Tannhaüser hymning the joys of Venus in the glazed courts of the Great Exhibition. And the curious fact is, that as Rossetti's religious poems had everything except religious conviction, so Swinburne's sensual poems had everything except sensual conviction. But the new metres captured the young, who chanted the music of Dolores without quite knowing what it was all about. Sagacious friends tried to divert the poet's ecstasies to other channels. He was persuaded to be active in the cause of Italian fredom. All the elements needed to excite him were there—the Papacy, the Austrian Empire, and, above all, Napoleon the Little, dearest enemy of Victor Hugo. And so the ardent poes whose hymns of lust and satiety had dazzled the young turned suddenly and sang the praises of Mazzini and Garibaldi in A Song of Italy (1867). Songs Before Sunrise (1871) was a collection of poems written during the final struggle for Italian freedom. It includes much of Swinburne's best work, the majestic Hertha, the lament for captive Italy in Super Flumina Babylonis and the apostrophe to France in Quia Multum Amavit. Songs of Two Nations (1875) continued his fierce political strains. But there is no conviction in his ardours. A sudden jolt would have made him write as hotly on the other side. It would be difficult to maintain that his poems of liberty are better than his poems of lust. After the achievement of Italian hope in 1870 and the fall of Napoleon III, which he hailed with savage delight, Swinburne had leisure for other interests. In the length and rhetoric of Bothwell (1874), sequence to Chastelard, he followed the example of Hugo's Cromwell. As Bothwell followed Chastelard, so Erechtheus (1876) followed Atalanta with equal eloquence and with closer relation to the spirit of Greek tragic form. The lyric choruses of Erechtheus, less enchanting than those in Atalanta, have a more constant loftiness and majesty. A second series of Poems and Ballads (1878), as musical as the first, was more chastened in matter. Studies in Song and Songs of the Springtides, in 1880, were full of love of the sea, the prevailing passion of the poet's later verse. As if he had become aware of his own excess in utterance, he turned to parody, and in the anonymous Heptalogia: or The Seven Against Sense (1880) produced gravely elaborate burlesques of Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, Patmore and others, as well as himself. His touch was a little too heavy for perfect parody; and of his own Nephelidia it may be said that he was always capable of writing some of its lines in poems not intended to be amusing. Most admirers of Swinburne felt that the Tristram of Lyonesse volume, published in 1882, was the crown of his mature work. The title-piece is, like Morris's Jason, a long narrative in couplets; but with the kind of music that Morris could (and perhaps would) not have made. Tristram of Lyonesse is Wagnerian. It is a glorification of bodily passion. In form it is a marvellous study in the use of the couplet; in substance it is most permanently successful in its sea passages. That it is verbose, excessive, extenuated and monotonous can hardly be denied. The same volume also contained the series of sonnets on the Elizabethan dramatists, sometimes uncritical in enthusiasm but always memorable in expression. A Century of Roundels (1883) is remarkable as an exhibition of poetical dexterity which makes much of a slight metrical form. In 1881 Swinburne concluded with Mary Stuart the trilogy begun with Chastelard and continued with Bothwell. After A Midsummer Holiday (1884), he returned to drama in Marino Faliero (1885), a subject which he felt had been handled unworthily by Byron. Locrine (1887), his next drama, was an original experiment in which each scene was presented in rhymes of a recurring stanza form; it is more intricate than dramatic. Two years later came the third series of Poems and Ballads (1889). In its lighter pieces and especially in such ballads as The Jacobite's Lament there is much of the accustomed freshness of spirit; but there are signs of flagging energy; nor did the poet recapture his inspiration in the later volumes, Astrophel (1894), A Tale of Balen (1896), A Channel Passage (1904) and the plays, The Sisters (1892), Rosamund Queen of the Lombards (1899) and The Duke of Gandia (1908). A surprising development was the sudden flaming of "Imperialism", at the time of the South African War, in a poet hitherto dedicated to republicanism. In addition to his poetry, Swinburne published from 1868 onwards several volumes of literary criticism. His Essays and Studies and Miscellanies bear striking testimony to his knowledge and love of poetry and his scholarly insight. Of his numerous monographs and essays upon individual writers, A Study of Shakespeare takes the first place. His criticism, however, was too much charged with the white heat of enthusiasm to be always judicious. A specially notable volume is the study of Blake, first published as long ago as 1868, a warm and generous appreciation of a poet who is sometimes thought to be a modern discovery. Swinburne even wrote a novel which appeared serially and pseudonymously in a forgotten weekly during 1877 and was republished as Love's Cross Current: A Year's Letters (1905). It has a faint suggestion of Meredith and is quite readable. Swinburne was not a great critic, but his essays contain passages of great criticism. Swinburne was always true to himself as a poet. Receptive of manifold influences, classical, English, and foreign, he reproduced them in a style wholly individual. He was fearless in the poetic proclamation of his ideals of liberty and justice, and tireless in the metrical ingenuity with which he fashioned his astonishing fluency into poetic forms both musical and memorable.
ROBERT BRIDGES. (...) Bridges had the advantage over Hopkins of attaining publication in his lifetime, but for some years shared his friend's obscurity so far as the general reading public was concerned. His verse dramas on classical themes (1883-94) won him a reputation among scholars—Hopkins found his Return of Ulysses "a fine play", though (like other plays of the kind), unreal in character and too archaic in language—but it was not until the Shorter Poems of 1896 that he first began to be at all widely known beyond university circles. Even as late as 1913, when he succeded Tennyson's succesor Alfred Austin as Poet Laureate, the more popular newspapers complained that no one had ever heard of him—which was perhaps another way of saying that, compared with Kipling, "the Poet Laureate of the British Empire", Bridges (like Austin in 1896) was still known to very few readers. (....)
Of nineteenth-century drama it may be said that though it is important in the history of the theatre, it scarcely concerns the history of literature. Much of it belongs to the region of the penny novelette. If original, it manufactured an artificial world unvisited by any gleams of intelligence; if adapted from work originally intelligent, it removed or overlaid the intelligence as a hindrance to success. The larger figures in literature whose work includes acted plays are considered in their own place [SEE ABOVE]. We are concerned here with those whose theatrical compositions are their chief claim to notice.
The theatre of Congreve and Sheridan appealed to an educated public, but there was always an uneducated public that wanted amusement of the crudest kind; and that kind of public rapidly increased during the nineteenth century. As a public institution, the theatre was still under the control of the Court, and the only recognized establishments were the "patent" houses, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, and the theatre in the Haymarket. These were insufficient for the public. The patent houses, especially Drury Lane, were enlarged till any play not of the roaring kind was engulfed; and other theatres furtively struggled into existence by the simple expedient of pretending not to be theatres, but "places of entertainment." Not until 1843 did the Theatre Regulation Act legalize the position of "illegitimate" houses. An immovable obstacle to the development of later drama as a serious criticism of life was the power of the Lord Chamberlain, unchallengeable and irresponsible, to forbid the performance of any play on the grounds of alleged immorality, blasphemy or sedition. This power, conferred by the Licensing Act of 1737 as a political retort to Fielding (see p. 421), was capriciously used to suppress plays that were challengingly serious, when light entertainments reaching the extreme of lubricity were allowed. The plays of the nineteenth century are therefore, in general, unimportant either as literature or as drama. Tragedy lost its greatness and multiplied its excesses. Romance coarsened into elaborate make-believe. Comedy loosened into loud farce and boisterous horse-play. What was new was a homely, crude melodrama, very moral, very sententious, and entirely unreal. Nevertheless, tragedy was a favourite exercise with men of letters. Wordsworth had already tried his hand; Coleridge, Godwin, Lord Byron, Mary Russell Mitford, Disraeli and others, composed tragedies, some of which were produced upon the stage while others remained polite exercises in a literary form.
The three most famous writers of stage tragedy in the first part of the century were Richard Lalor Sheil (1791-1851), like Sheridan a politician; Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824), an Irish clergyman, and Henry Hart Milman (1791-1868), Dean of St. Paul's (1849). Sheil's chief plays are Adelaide (1814), The Apostate (1817) and Bellamira (1818), the last perhaps the best. One line from The Apostate,
This is too much for any mortal creature,
tells most of the truth about Sheil as a writer of plays. The influence of the German tragic romance of horror (typified by Schiller's The Robbers) went to the making of Maturin (see p. 507), whose three tragedies—Bertram; or, The Castle of St. Aldobrand, Manuel, and Fredolfo—were produced in London in the years 1816 and 1817. There was a strain of poetry in Maturin, but he has now only the interest of curiosity. Milman is of a higher order than either Sheil or Maturin. Fazio, acted in 1818, is good drama if not good tragedy, and had a long stage life. The Fall of Jerusalem (1820) and The Martyr of Antioch (1822) are both founded upon a legitimately conceived struggle between two passions or ideas. Belshazzar (1822) contains some good lyrics. James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862) takes an honourable place in the history of nineteenth-century drama as the author of sincere if rather ingenuous plays owing nothing to German extravagance or to feats of wild and whirling verbiage. His chief tragedies and comedies—Caius Gracchus (1815), Virginius (1820), William Tell (1825), The Hunchback (1832) and The Love Chase (1837)—had genuine success on the stage and are not intolerable to read. The tragedies of Richard "Hengist" Horne (see p. 534), Cosmo de' Medici (1837), Gregory VII (1840) and Judas Iscariot (1848) were literary rather than dramatic. His one genuine success was a short piece, The Death of Marlowe (1837). Once acted with some success were the now forgotten Ion (1835) and Glencoe (1840) of Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd, the biographer of Lamb.
The tragedies we have mentioned were all attempts to write in the manner of past centuries. John Westland Marston (1819-90)—father of the blind lyric poet Philip Marston, friend of Swinburne and Thomson—was the first writer of his time to attempt a poetical tragedy of contemporary life, The Patrician's Daughter (1842). Marston was a mystic, a poet, and a scholar; and he showed courage in writing what was so near to a political play as The Patrician's Daughter, with its opposition between the haughty, heartless world of high society and the meritorious life of the poor. Marston's other tragedies in verse, Strathmore (1849) and Marie de Méranie (1850) were the last of their kind that deserve consideration.
The pressure of public demand for entertainment caused brisk dramatic activity duing much of the century. Comedy, farce, extravaganza, burlesque, opera and melodrama were vamped up from any handy materials by practised hands. Scott, Dumas and Dickens were eagerly drawn upon, for no copyright then protected the unhappy authors of novels from the depredations of theatre hacks. Plays were liberally interspersed with songs and dances, in order that they might call themselves "entertainments" and so evade both the Lord Chamberlain and the lessees of the patent theatres. The special dramatic form evolved to fit the mid-ninetheenth-century audience was melodrama, a term borrowed from the French. Whatever part music had played in melodrama soon vanished, and the name stood, and still stands, for plays of a peculiarly stagey kind. Melodrama divided human nature into the entirely good and the entirely bad. It was in its way a "criticism of life" as understood in the age of the French Revolution, Parliamentary Reform, Chartism, and the Corn Laws. It allied itself boldly with the democratic against the aristocratic. To be rich and well-born was, almost inevitably, to be wicked; to be poor and humble was a guarantee of virtue. To be a baronet was to be doomed to a life of crime. Hero, heroine and villain, comic and virtuous retainers, heavy father (with Scriptural curses), fading and ultimately dying mother, dishonest solicitor juggling with title-deeds and marriage-lines—these and similar figures were expected from any melodrama that desired success. The morals were unexceptionable. Virtue was sumptuously rewarded and vice punished with poverty or prison.
Isaac Pocock (1782-1835), the author of The Miller and his Men, took the subject of his innumerable melodramas from French or German drama and English novels. Edward Ball (1792-1873), afterwards Fitzball, was an equally prolific purveyor of borrowed plots. William Thomas Moncrieff (1794-1857) was for a time manager of Astley's Circus, to which he furnished one very successful equestrian drama, The Dandy Family, and won fame by supplying Drury Lane with a romantic melodrama called The Cataract of the Ganges; or, The Rajah's Daughter, in which real horses and a real waterfall appeared. With the dramas of Douglas William Jerrold (1803-57) we come to work not wholly unreadable. The most famous of his plays is Black-ey'd Susan; or, All in the Downs, which was founded upon the ballad by John Gay. The dramas of John Baldwin Buckstone (1802-79), most of them written for the Adelphi Theatre, are the origin of the familiar term, "Adelphi melodrama". They are extravagantly turgid and sentimental; but they are well constructed. Both The Green Bushes (1845) and The Flower of the Forest (1849) kept the stage till the end of the century.
The writer who gave melodrama the definite form that was to distinguish it completely from the drama of serious interest was Dionysius Lardner Bourcicault (1820-90) who shortened his name to Dion Boucicault. By all the rules he should have failed. Neither his plots nor his incidents are original. His characters are fixed theatrical types. But he had a sure instinct for what actors could deliver and audiences accept with conviction; moreover he could add to his fables what the unsophisticated took for romance. And so his three Irish dramas, The Colleen Bawn (which had a second life as Benedict's opera The Lily of Killarney), Arrah-na-Pogue and The Shaughraun, though belonging to the late Fifties and Sixties, lived on to the age of Shaw and Wilde. The Boucicault type of melodrama was carried on in the Adelphi plays of George R. Sims and Henry Pettitt and in the Drury Lane plays of the Augustus Harris regime, though these harked back to the "real horses" and "real water" of Moncrieff.
The next playwright to show distinctive merit was Tom Taylor (1817-80), who wrote melodrama suitable for polite society, as well as "costume" dramas. Very little of his work is original; but in Plot and Passion (1853), Still Waters Run Deep (1855) and The Ticket-of-Leave Men (1863), he proved himself a capable playwright. his one famous comedy is Our American Cousin (1858), with the popular character, Lord Dundreary—a comedy which once had a tragic ending, being the play at whose performance in Washington in 1865 John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Taylor's romantic "costume" plays, all founded upon other men's work, had great success. The best of them was Twixt Axe and Crown (1870). In the field of historical drama, his eminence was shared by William Gorman Wills (1828-91). For Wills, historical truth had no existence. His Oliver Cromwell in Charles I (1872) and his John Knox in Marie Stuart (1874) are almost farcical in the intensity of their villainy. Wills is further remembered for his adaptations Olivia and Faust—the last a mere pantomime caricature of Goethe—in which he owed his theatrical success to the genius of Irving, which sometimes shone brightest in the worst plays.
The comedy of the period, for the most part, is as unconvincing as the serious drama. Almost the only attempt to carry on the tradition of English high comedy was a feeble work of Boucicault's youth, London Assurance (1841). Sheridan Knowles, in The Hunchback (1832) and The Love Chase (1837), was more original than Boucicault, but his plots are as confusing as Congreve's. The nineteenth-century public liked to be thrilled by melodrama, but it also liked to be tickled by crude humour, and innumerable one-act farces were produced to be played, in the lavish fashion of the time, either as "curtain-raisers" or as "after-pieces". Adelphi "screamers" became, under J. B. Buckstone, as famous as Adelphi melodramas. One of the earliest and best of the farce-writers was John Poole (1786-1872), most famous as author of Paul Pry (1825), in which several actors (including J. L. Toole) found a suitable field for their comic talent. Indeed, without a natural comedian most of the farces are worthless and cannot be read with patience. The one outstanding exception is Box and Cox,adapted from the French by John Maddison Morton (1811-91), though it reads like an original work. Whether in Morton's farce Box and Cox, or in the Burnand-Sullivan opera Cox and Box, the pair of lodgers must be reckoned as part of the national mythology. James Robinson Planché (1796-1880), the historian of costume, is specially associated with the rise and development of burlesque and extravaganza. The gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome offered him many opportunities for spirited and topical fun.
Nicholas Nickleby gives us glimpses of the theatre in the early part of the century. The best short view of the English stage in the Sixties can be found in Pinero's comedy Trelawny of the Wells. Pinero, once a "utility" actor, had first-hand knowledge of what he sets forth. The sketches of the old-time "mummers" are perfect; but the main theme of the play is the coming of Thomas William Robertson (1829-71), called "Tom Wrench" in Trelawny. To the middle of the nineteenth century, the drama remained wholly stagey and spoke a language altogether its own. Robertson was really a "new" dramatist. Incurably old-fashioned as much of his work now seems, its naturalness of theme and simplicity of diction were revolutionary and were much resented by the orotund spouters of "platform" drama, who could find "nothing to get their teeth into". A new kind of actor had to be found for what was called the "cup and saucer" comedy of Robertson, and he was fortunate in being taken up by the Bancrofts, who produced Society in 1865, and brought the English stage into some relation with simple and normal life. The adventure prospered, and in quick succession came Ours (a play of the Crimean War) in 1866, Caste in 1867, School in 1869, and others of less interest. Caste, the best of the series, though it evades rather than solvers the problems of caste implicit in the story, has genuine dramatic interest and feeling, and introduces some excellent sketches of character. The influence of Robertson did not produce further Robertsons, but it prepared the public for better plays than his own. Both Henry James Byron (1834-84) and James Albery (1838-89), author of The Two Roses, in which Irving made his first great success, and adapter of The Pink Dominoes, in which Wyndham played with brilliance, followed Robertson. Albery had a natural gift for comedy which he failed to use fully: circumstances were too much for him. Byron was clever, but had not the genuine feeling of Robertson. His comedies, Our Boys (1875) and Uncle Dick's Darling (1869), were resoundingly popular and often revived. With the naturalistic plays came an attempt at naturalistic scenery instead of the cataclysmic scenes of melodrama.
The Bancrofts made comedy fashionable, and the Robertson period was followed by what may be called a French period, when the better-class themes based their productions on French plays, especially those of Sardou and Dumas fils. Sardou was an ingenious fabricator of "well-made" plays such as Diplomacy (1878); Dumas was more serious, and attempted some "criticism of life" of a narrowly limited kind. The fashionable comedies began to be increasingly artificial and concerned with the unimportant conventions and the sham emotions of "Society."
A unique place in the history of the English stage is held by William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911). His earlier pieces were burlesques of no importance. To his second period belong The Palace of Truth (1870), The Wicked World (1873), Pygmalion and Galatea (1871), and Broken Hearts (1875). These plays are all founded upon a single idea, that of unaware self-revelation by characters under the influence of some supernatural interference. The satire is shrewd, but not profound; the young author had not learned to make the best use of his curiously logical fancy. His prose plays, such as Sweethearts (1874), Dan'l Druce (1876), Engaged (1877) and Comedy and Tragedy (1884), are incurably old-fashioned and lead nowhere. No one could predict from them The Bab Ballads (1869), a collection in the right line of English humorous verse, still less the famous series of comic operas (nearly all of them set by Sir Arthur Sullivan) beginning with Trial by Jury in 1875 and ending with The Grand Duke in 1896. Gilbert was a metrical humorist of a very skilful order, and he raised the quality of burlesque or extravaganza to a height never reached before. In some respects he was "common": he has moments that can only be called vulgar. The peculiarity of Gilbert's humour is a logical and wholly unpoetical use of fantasy. He carries out absurd ideas, with exact logic, from premise to conclusion. To the mind of an old-fashioned high-school headmistress he joined the fantastic logic of a fairy world. That he has given us the self-explanatory epithet "Gilbertian" is a tribute to his originality.
The last two decades of the nineteenth century saw a gradual rise in the general level of acted plays. Robertson and adaptations of contemporary French drama had brougth "Society" back to the theatre; but the player rather than the play was sometimes the attraction. Irving, Wyndham and the Bancrofts were fashionable actors and drew audiences for pieces of almost any quality. Still, plays were written, and two new authors began to attract attention, Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929) and Arthur Wing Pinero (1859-1934). From the beginning there was evident in Jones a strain of the grandiose and the hortatory. His first London play, A Clerical Error, was acted in 1879; but his real success came with The Silver King (1882), which raised melodrama almost to the level of art. It remains his best play. Saints and Sinners (1884), The Middleman (1889), Judah (1890) and The Dancing Girl (1891) were all strong, heavy, and utterly stagey. Jones even attempted a blank-verse tragedy, The Tempter (1893), a most pretentious piece of fustian, and an equally pretentious religious play, Michael and his Lost Angel (1896). Pinero was more modest. He was an actor, and began with light comedies that could be easily performed. The Magistrate and Dandy Dick can still amuse. His first outstanding success was Sweet Lavender (1888), a lush sentimental comedy owing more than a little to the Temple scenes of Pendennis. In The Profligate (1889) he chose a more serious theme, but destroyed the whole efect of his story by surrendering to the popular demand for a happy ending. Indeed, the stage-work of Jones, Pinero and such less notable people as Sydney Grundy (1848-1914) had no artistic importance and made no contribution to the criticism of life. Their plays were theatrical inventions in which theatrically conceived figures behaved, at theatrical crises, in the expected theatrical manner. The literary counterpart of the popular play was not the novel, but the novelette. No contemporary English writer of the first rank paid any attention to the theatre. What shook the English stage into some recognition of its artistic ineptitude was the tremendous impact of Ibsen with his relentless, unsentimental criticism of life and his revealing exhibitions of the dramatic possibilities in the actual lives of commonplace people in commonplace circumstances. Several attempts had been made to introduce ibsen to the English public, but his plays did not become generally known till William Archer (with some assistance) translated the bulk of his work. In 1891 The Independent Theatre, founded by J. T. Grein, began its activity, and produced the work of Ibsen and other serious Continental dramatists on the English stage. It is difficult for a reader of today to understand the violence of execration with which Ibsen was greeted by the accredited critics of drama and the general playgoing public. "Muck-ferreting dog" was among the gentler terms applied to him. The prosecution of all concerned in the production of his plays was loudly demanded. But, detested as he was, Ibsen made it impossible for English playwrights to go on with their theatrical deceptions. Jones developed his unexploited vein of serious comedy and produced more reputable work in The Liars (1894) and The Case of Rebellious Susan (1897). Pinero made a bold attempt at stating social problems in The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1893), The Benefit of the Doubt (1895), Iris (1901), Letty (1903) and His House in Order (1906). But they appeared to express a conviction that the only problems for the theatre was that concerning women who had made, or were contemplating, breaches of the Seventh Commandment. Moreover, the plain fact is that, while Ibsen is a great writer, Jones and Pinero had no existence as men of letters. The one play of Pinero with genuine life is Trelawny of the Wells (1898), which, despite a muddled ending and some failure of character, is sincerely written and has actual relation to life. As we have already indicated, its theme is the passing of the old melodrama of the Sixties and the coming of a new dramatist, with the reactions of the change upon the lives of a group of players.
A brilliant interlude in the Jones-Pinero period was the sudden emergence as playwright of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), who, in Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893) and An Ideal Husband (1894) showed that he could write with insolent ease and polished utterance better bad plays than the regular purveyors of dramatic fare could produce with their most laboured efforts. They could still be revived as period pieces and they can still be read for their sallies of wit. Wilde reached the height of his achievement in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), the perfection of artificial comedy, produced in the year of his tragic downfall. It is one of the two best comedies written since the time of Sheridan. The other, Arms and the Man (1894) by Bernard Shaw, leads naturally to a consideration of that dramatist, whose main work, however, reaches forward to the next century and must be reserved for a later discussion.
Still another pleasing interlude was provided by the brief but definite success of Stephen Phillips (1808-1914) as a writer of poetical plays. Phillips had come into notice with his early publications Christ in Hades (1896) and Poems (1897). He seemed to be a new and original voice in the post-Tennysonian chorus, and some of his metrical irregularities aroused equal applause and reprobation. He was so far in the news as a poet that he was asked by George Alexander to write a play, and Paolo and Francesca (printed 1899, acted 1902) had great success. Herbert Beerbohm Tree then secured from him Herod (1901) and Ulysses (1902). But either the poet's inspiration failed or the actor's curious megalomania intervened unfavourably, for the two plays, successful dramatically, were less sincere as poems. They approached the region of grand opera and suggested Meyerbeer and Le Prophète.The Sin of David was poor,and Nero (1906), was almost pure Meyerbeer. Only the first three are important. Today they seem feeble and futile, but they cannot be entirely ignored. Phillips succeeded where Tennyson and Browning had failed—he put poetry of a kind on the stage and made it popular. Paolo and Francesca is the best of his plays. It is full of the lush diction which, at the end of the nineteenth century, seemed the proper idiom of poetic drama; but it could be spoken on the stage, and it could give an audience the sensation of hearing something that was beyond mere prose and brought an echo from the shores of old romance. Phillips provided an agreeable and successul interlude in the dead days of the drama.
The last decade of the century had better critics than writers of drama. William Archer (1856-1924) and Arthur Bingham Walkley (1855-1926), as well as Bernard Shaw, discussed plays in essays of the critical kind that later journalism had seldom a place for. Archer's work is preserved in The Theatrical World, 5 vols. (1894-8), and Shaw's in Dramatic Opinions and Essays, 1894-8, 2 vols. (1907). Both are readable for their own sake and invaluable as sources for the dramatic history of the decade. Walkley's Playhouse Impressions (1892) and Drama and Life (1937) are excellent.
Este artículo es una lectura estilística detallada de un fragmento del ensayo de Virginia Woolf Una habitación propia, examinando la manera en que la autora expresa su teoría de la mente andrógina por medio de los procesos espontáneos de pensamiento de un yo focalizador o "centro de consciencia" durante un momento de "epifanía" modernista.
A Moment in Virginia Woolf
Abstract: This article is a close reading of a passage in Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own, examining the way in which the author expresses her theory of the androgynous mind through the spontaneous thought processes of a moment of epiphany in a "center of consciousness" or focalizing self.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12 Keywords: English literature, Androgyny, Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Epiphany, Gender, Stream of consciousness, Modernism, Moments
A summary of Friedrich Schleiermacher's theory of hermeneutics as formulated in the manuscripts edited by Heinz Kimmerle (I. The Aphorisms of 1805 and 1809-10; II. The first draft of 1809-10; III. Hermeneutics - the compendium of 1819 and the marginal notes of 1828; IV. The separate exposition of part 2 on technical interpretation. V. The Academy addresses of 1829; VI. The marginal notes of 1832-33). Schleiermacher's insights are compared to some concepts introduced by later theorists of hermeneutics.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54 Keywords: Hermeneutics, Literary theory, Schleiermacher, Interpretation, Philology 1993.
Una nota sobre algunos aspectos de la teoría de la identidad personal en la construcción social de la realidad tal como la definen Berger y Luckmann, en lo referente a la conversión religiosa y a otras remodelaciones drásticas de la identidad personal. Examinamos algunas implicaciones cognitivas y narratológicas, con el fin de resaltar la cercanía entre la perspectiva de Berger y Luckmann y una teoría narrativa de la identidad, prestando mayor atención al papel hermenéutico de la retrospección y de la perspectiva dominante o 'topsight'.
Conversion, Reinterpretation, Topsight and Retroaction
English abstract: A note on some aspects of the theory of self in Berger and Luckmann's social construction of reality, as regards religious conversion and other radical reworkings of personal identity. Some cognitive and narratological implications are examined, so as to bring our the kinship between Berger and Luckmann's account and a theory of narrative identity with an increased awareness of the hermeneutic role of retrospection and of topsight or dominant perspective.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9 Keywords: Berger and Luckmann, Social construction of reality, Self, Social theory, Sociology, Narratology, Narrative identity, Topsight, Cognitive narratology, Conversion, Religion, Retrospection, Hindsight
Although very long, the novel is highly organized, and was thought by *Coleridge to have one of the three great plots of all literature. The kindly, prosperous Mr Allworthy, a widower, lives in Somerset with his ill-humoured unmarried sister Bridget. Late one evening Allworthy finds a baby boy lying on his bed. He is charmed with the mysterious baby, names it Tom, and adopts it, adding the surname Jones on the assumption that the mother is Jenny Jones, a maidservant to the wife of the schoolmaster Partridge, who is eventually accused of being the father and dismissed his post. Both Jenny and Patridge vanish from the neighbourhood. Meanwhile Bridget marries the obnoxious Captain Blifil and they have a son, Master Blifil, who is brought up with Tom. They are taught by the brutish chaplain Thwackum, and the philosopher Square, and have as family neighbours the bluff fox-hunting Squire Western, his sister, and his daughter Sophia, as well as Allworthy's gamekeeper Black Geroge Seagrim and his wife and daughters.
The story moves on to the point when Tom is 19, and begins to find that his childhood affection for the beautiful and sweet-natured Sophia (whose portrait Fielding founded upon his own wife) has grown into adult love. However, Sophia is destined by her father for Master Blifil, and Tom allows himself to be distracted by the charms of Molly Seagrim. By clever misrepresentation the scheming young Blifil converts Allworthy's affection for Tom into anger, and with the help of Thwackum and Square he succeeds in having the harum-scarum Tom expelled from the house. Filled with despair that he has alienated his beloved foster father and is leaving all he loves, Tom sets off for Bristol, intending to go to sea. Meanwhile Sophia, disgusted by Blifil's courtship, runs away with her maid Honour, hoping to find her kinswoman lady Bellaston in London. Amid numerous adventures on the road, during which he falls in with redcoats and is deflected from his plan of going to sea, Tom encounters Partridge, once supposed to be his father, andwho is now travelling the country as a berber-surgeon. Unknown to Tom, he and Sophia both find themselves in an inn at Upton, but because of Partridge's malicious stupidity Sophia believes that Tom (now in bed with Mrs Waters, of whom we are to hear more) no longer loves her, and flees on towards London. Tom follows, and in London is ensnared by the rich and amorous Lady Bellaston. She and her friend Lord Fellamar, who is in pursuit of Sophia, contrive together to keep Tom away from his love, but the abrupt eruption of Squire Western saves Sophia from Fellamar's snare. Partridge now reveals that Mrs Waters is no other than Jenny Nones, supposed to be Tom's mother, and for a brief period Tom believes he has committed incest. But Jenny reveals that Tom's mother was really Bridget Allworthy (later Blifil) who has confessed all to her brother on her deathbed, and that his father was a young man long since dead. Lady Bellaston and Lord Fellamar attempt to have Tom press-ganged, but instead he is arrested and imprisoned after a fight in which he appears to have killed his assailant. Sophia cannot forgive his entanglement with Lady Bellaston and Tom's fortunes are at their lowest ebb. Blifil arranges that the gang shall give evidence against Tom, but, with the help of a long letter from Square to Allworthy, Blifil's envious machinations, dating from their earliest boyhood, are finally revealed, and Tom is reinstated in his repentant uncle's affection. He meets Sophia again at last, learns that she loves him, and receives the hearty blessing of her father. In the generosity of his heart, Tom forgives all who have wronged him, even including the destetable Blifil.
In chapter 1, 'Bill of Fare', Fielding informs the reader that 'The provision . . . have here made is no other than Human Nature' and in his Dedication to *Lyttelton declares, 'that to recommend goodness and innocence hath been my sincere endeavour in this history'. The book was enthusiastically received by the general public of the day, although Fielding's robust distinctions between right and wrong (which, for instance, permit his high-spirited hero various sexual escapades before his final blissful marriage) were a severe irritant to many, including Dr *Johnson. The book is generally regarded as Fielding's greatest, and as one of the first and most influential of English novels.
Sin salirme de mi especialidad, he logrado también colocar un paper en esta revista de genómica antropológica. Bueno, en realidad la sección de genómica antropológica es una sección de la revista electrónica de Antropología Biológica (SSRN)—en la que tengo también otro artículo reciente sobre Darwin.
Que conste que el mérito de combinar literatura norteamericana y antropología biológica es de Fenimore Cooper más que mío—no me digan que me adorno con plumas que no me corresponden.
Para ser martes y trece podría tener peores noticias. Tal y como está la cosa, sigo subiendo puestos en el ránking más competitivo en el que me encuentro—el mayor repositorio del mundo de ciencias sociales y humanidades, el Social Science Research Network. Compito con 270.000 autores (de varias decenas de disciplinas además de la mía) aunque los ránkings sólo tienen en cuenta los principales 30.000. Y, sin llegar a tocar bronce, ni pisar pódium, estoy así de bien posicionado.
En algunos aspectos al menos. En citas, no, ya lo anticipo. Y en número total de lecturas (o descargas) estoy sólo moderadamente bien posicionado, en el puesto dos mil y pico, entre los hoi polloi.
Pero pasemos a mi mejor posicionamiento. Por número de artículos recientes—estoy el número ONCE mundial según la cuenta más ventajosa.
Y aquí siguen los que están delante de mi—catorce según este otro ránking. Tampoco es de envidiar, la gente que escribe tanto. El quince es buen puesto:
Otra manera de verme en el puesto 15 de tantos:
Por número total de artículos subidos, también estoy en un puesto respetable, el 25 (respetable, digo para quienes están del 26 en adelante). Tengo 193, pronto 200. Pantallazo:
Lo que últimamente consideran aquí posicionamiento general global (o principal índice) es el número total de descargas durante el último año. Según ese índice estoy en el puesto 637—que cae en el uno por ciento superior. Y subiendo—hasta ahora.
May 26- May 28, 2015. Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia.
May 29-31, 2015. ACS 2015.
Narrative provides a framing structure for understanding, communicating, influencing, and organizing human experience. Systems for its analysis and production are increasingly found embedded in devices and processes, influencing decision-making in venues as diverse as politics, economics, intelligence, and cultural production. In order to appreciate this influence, it is becoming increasingly clear that research must address the technical implementation of narrative systems, the theoretical bases of these frameworks, and our general understanding of narrative at multiple levels: from the psychological and cognitive impact of narratives to our ability to model narrative responses computationally.
Special Focus: Cognitive Systems
This inter-disciplinary workshop will be an appropriate venue for papers addressing fundamental topics and questions regarding narrative. Papers should be relevant to issues fundamental to the computational modeling and scientific understanding of narrative. The workshop will have a special focus on the building cognitive systems that are distinguished by a focus on high-level cognition and decision making, reliance on rich, structured representations, a systems-level perspective, use of heuristics to handle complexity, and incorporation of insights about human thinking, meaning we especially welcome papers relevant to the cognitive aspects of narrative. Regardless of its topic, reported work should provide some sort of insight of use to computational modeling of narratives. Discussing technological applications or motivations is not prohibited, but is not required. We accept both finished research and more tentative exploratory work.
Janet H. Murray, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
--ILLUSTRATIVE TOPICS AND QUESTIONS--
- How is narrative knowledge captured and represented?
- How are narratives indexed and retrieved? Is there a universal scheme for encoding episodic information?
- How can we study narrative from a cognitive point of view?
- Can narrative be subsumed by current models of higher-level cognition, or does it require new approaches?
- How do narratives mediate our cognitive experiences, or affect our cognitive abilities?
- What comprises the set of possible narrative arcs? Is there such a set? How many possible story lines are there?
- Is narrative structure universal, or are there systematic differences in narratives from different cultures?
- What makes narrative different from a list of events or facts?
- How do conceptions and models of spatiality or temporality influence narrative and cognitive systems?
- What are the details of the relationship between narrative and common sense?
- What shared resources are required for the computational study of narrative? What should a “Story Bank” contain?
- What shared resources and tools are available, or how can already-extant resources be adapted to the study of narrative?
- What are appropriate formal or computational representations for narrative?
- How should we evaluate computational and formal models of narrative?
- How can narrative systems be applied to problem-solving?
- What aspects of cross-linguistic work has narrative research neglected?
--TYPES OF SUBMISSIONS--
- Long Papers (up to 16 pages, plus up to 2 pages of references)
- Short Papers (up to 8 pages, plus up to 2 pages of references)
- Position Papers (up to 4 pages, plus up to 1 page of references)
CMN 2015 papers may be submitted in either of two formats:
A la atención de la Comisión de Evaluación y Control de la docencia, y en respuesta al escrito de referencia, me cumple emitir el presente auto-informe de evaluación de la docencia del curso 2013-14 relativo a la asignatura "Literatura Inglesa II", cuyas encuestas han dado lugar al comunicado de la Comisión.
En primer lugar, me satisface informar de que la actividad docente y las actividades de aprendizaje del curso 2013-14 en dicha asignatura se dieron con toda normalidad, sin que haya que reseñar tasas anómalas de éxito o de fracaso, ni situaciones de conflicto o diferencias de ningún tipo. Ni los estudiantes ni la delegada me hicieron partícipe de que hubiera descontento con la impartición de la asignatura, como de hecho creo que no lo hubo. Sin embargo, tras consultar las encuestas realizadas, se comprueba que hay tres personas únicamente que han realizado la encuesta, y que esas tres personas han expresado su insatisfacción con algunos aspectos. Quizá no sea casual que sólo los tres descontentos hayan realizado la encuesta cuando los demás estudiantes, más de 30, no han hecho comentario alguno.
No considero procedente entrar a especular sobre qué inconvenientes (no especificados) puedan haber encontrado tres personas (anónimas) en apartados como "la información facilitada al comienzo del curso" (información que por otra parte consta en la guía docente y en la web de la asignatura, http://bit.ly/jaglit), o en "la relación con los estudiantes" o en "el desarrollo de la actividad docente". Son aspectos en los que no he detectado nada fuera de lo corriente en lo que se me alcanza, ni tampoco lo han manifestado así el resto del grupo, más del 90% de los estudiantes. Convengo con la propia normativa de evaluación, que indica que es una encuesta no representativa ni utilizable por su bajo índice de participación. E insisto en que la poca claridad del impreso de evaluación crea confusión.
Con respecto a las encuestas de evaluación, procedí a dejarlas abiertas y en libre acceso durante todo el período de evaluación, avisando a los alumnos de que estaba abierta la aplicación, y pidiéndoles que las cumplimentasen cuando más les conviniese, sin fijar yo un día determinado para realizarlas en clase. Avisé reiteradamente a los estudiantes de la conveniencia de hacerlas, tanto en clase como telemáticamente, pero al parecer sin éxito, pues en un grupo de 37 estudiantes sólo 3 estudiantes procedieron a realizarla, asignándome puntuaciones anómalamente bajas. La Comisión puede consultar mi historial de evaluaciones docentes, con constantes y repetidas evaluaciones positivas destacadas, también en la materia que aquí se trata. Que estas tres respuestas en la encuesta de referencia son anómalamente bajas se echa de ver también si se compara la media de esta encuesta no representativa (1.84) con la cifra de "media del profesor" (3.26) en la misma encuesta—cifra que resulta de mediar con otra encuesta mejor puntuada que sí respondieron más estudiantes, realizada ese mismo semestre en otras asignaturas.
A la vista de los datos, parece evidente que el conjunto de los estudiantes del grupo no tuvieron interés especial ni móvil particular para realizar estas encuestas. Exceptuando a tres de los treinta y siete, que al parecer quisieron hacer constar una valoración "1" (resultado negativo) cuando no es de descartar que interpretasen "1" como valoración positiva y "5" como negativa, en orden del 1 al 5. De los 37 (36 según las actas) fueron evaluados en la primera convocatoria 31 estudiantes, de los cuales aprobaron 25 y suspendieron 6. No se presentaron, 5. En septiembre se presentaron 6, de los cuales aprobaron 5. No se presentaron, 7. Se verá que son cifras enteramente habituales. A título indicativo, en la otra asignatura del mismo grado y semestre, "Géneros Literarios 1", optativa con 25 alumnos en lista, se presentaron en febrero 22 (con 3 NP); aprobaron 21; en septiembre se presentaron 2 de una lista de 5, con dos suspensos. La asistencia fue asimismo normal.
Por ello puedo decir que ha sido totalmente normal todo el desarrollo de la docencia y del aprendizaje de los alumnos. De ahí mi sorpresa ante los resultados de las encuestas, con una participación tan baja y sesgada que falsea el estado de cosas, dando un resultado que no informa verazmente y que permite la manipulación. Con el fin de evitar esta circunstancia pongo a la Comisión en antecedentes de los hechos. Será aconsejable por otra parte, y así lo tendré en cuenta, que en años siguientes, yo mismo me cuide de asegurar la mayor participación de los estudiantes en las encuestas, dedicando un día de clase a la realización de la encuesta, y asegurando así una opinión equilibrada. No lo hice así en este caso porque el nuevo sistema telemático de encuestas permite el acceso directo, y por no dedicar un tiempo necesario para la docencia a una tarea que los estudiantes podían realizar perfectamente en cualquier momento fuera de clase. Aun así, y dados estos hechos, y viendo que los protocolos de la administración lo aconsejan, así lo haré.
El último párrafo del escrito de la Comisión aclara que "no podrán considerarse los cuestionarios que no hayan sido cumplimentados por al menos un tercio de los alumnos asistentes habitualmente a las clases de la asignatura correspondiente." Permítaseme decir que con una tasa tan baja de participación, considero ocioso el tener que justificar los resultados de esa evaluación, o que pudieran ser tenidos en cuenta en modo alguno resultados tan poco indicativos, siendo que no hay tasas anómalas de éxito o de fracaso ni otros indicadores adicionales de que esas tres encuestas pudieran tener un punto de razón más allá de las inevitables diferencias de opinión que hay en todo grupo humano. El escrito de la Comisión aclara que en este caso el profesor "deberá aportar información constrastable sobre el número de asistentes." Considero redundante el tener que justificar que tres estudiantes sean menos de un tercio de la asistencia habitual en un grupo de casi cuarenta estudiantes, y por ello me remitiré a los datos de evaluación. Pero aparte de manifestar que la asistencia ha sido la habitual a lo largo de los años de impartición de la asignatura, me cumple aclarar lo siguiente:
- No llevo un registro diario de asistencias o inasistencias, y creo que no es un procedimiento habitual, ni lo ha sido en la historia reciente de esta Facultad, el pasar lista a diario ni pasar hojas de firmas que dejen constancia de la presencia de cada estudiante en cada clase. Este procedimiento, por lo inhabitual y por no venir explicitado ni requerido en la normativa del centro, no habrá de entenderse como única "información contrastable" sobre la asistencia de los estudiantes—por mucho que alguien pudiera entenderlo en ese sentido si no se atiende al contexto habitual de aplicación. Desde luego, en treinta años de docencia nunca se me ha sugerido que dedique un tiempo significativo de cada clase a pasar un listado de estudiantes, ni creo que haya profesores que lo hagan.
- Téngase en cuenta que la normativa habla de un mínimo de un tercio (33%) de respuestas a la encuesta para considerarla válida. Aquí estamos hablando de menos de un 10% de respuestas, con lo cual su valor indicativo es tanto más insignificante.
- Por tanto, es preciso que acuda a datos indirectos, como la ausencia de incidentes o ausencia de escritos relativos a una inasistencia excepcional de los estudiantes, ausencia de quejas al respecto al Coordinador del Grado, etc. Reitero que en este sentido el desarrollo y la impartición de la docencia en la asignatura han sido, como lo ha sido la asistencia, totalmente normales.
- Puede acudirse también, como índice contrastable para establecer una asistencia media, a las estadísticas de que disponga esta Comisión sobre asistencia media para el Centro, o para el Grado. Son estadísticas que yo desconozco, pero que en todo caso sin duda indicarán una asistencia media a las clases superior a un 30% del alumnado matriculado.
- Y por último, el dato más directo y contrastable, en la ausencia de listados diarios de asistencia, son los datos de éxito y fracaso de la asignatura, que, como ahora reitero, entran en parámetros de perfecta normalidad. Son normales los índices de estudiantes presentados a los exámenes, los de aprobados, y el número de trabajos (opcionales) entregados a lo largo del curso (56 trabajos, 2 por estudiante). Queda registro de estos trabajos en las fichas de los estudiantes, y puedo facilitarlas a la Comisión si se estima conveniente, aunque el carácter opcional de los trabajos no hace fácil valorarlos como índice de participación activa global.
A la vista de los datos, sugiero a la Comisíon que (ateniéndose a la normativa) considere inválidos "a efecto de una posible evaluación negativa", por su falta de representatividad, los resultados de esta encuesta. Por otra parte, hay que notar que mis datos globales en el conjunto de encuestas de esta convocatoria no se salen de los parámetros normales, y pueden servir como indicación indirecta adicional de la insignificancia del valor de esas tres encuestas.
Aprovecho para hacer notar a la Comisión la insuficiente claridad del formulario de las encuestas, pues algunos estudiantes pueden confundir las notas "1" con notas positivas y "5" con negativas, lo que contribuye a confundir los resultados. Este aspecto de las encuestas debe mejorarse urgentemente.
Quizá a la vista de este conjunto de datos la Comisión pueda replantear, también, el modo más seguro de obtener resultados fiables y porcentajes representativos en las encuestas de docencia. Quedo a su disposición para las sugerencias que estimen oportunas a tal efecto, y ante las presentes circunstancia ciertamente dedicaré una sesión presencial a la realización de encuestas por parte de los estudiantes en el futuro.
Me pregunta un Antonio de qué trata la narratología evolutiva, y respondo in a nutshell:
Buenas, Antonio—en sustancia, trata de la búsqueda de puntos comunes entre el pensamiento evolucionista y la narración. Los dos entendidos (para mí) en sentido amplio: es decir, narración incluyendo no sólo las narraciones orales o ficciones literarias, sino también las representaciones mentales de procesos, incluyendo los procesos de la evolución y de la historia. Y evolución referida no sólo a evolución biológica (Darwin, etc.) sino al conjunto de la evolución cósmica, y la creación de complejidad creciente desde el Big Bang a nuestros días... y más allá.
Pensándolo bien, no sólo se trata de la búsqueda de puntos comunes, sino del estudio de la interfaz, y de la retroalimentación entre las dos disciplinas: cómo la narración conforma el universo y la evolución, y cómo la evolución y la historia universal dan forma a las narraciónes.
Se trata de un análisis conceptual de la tolerancia y de la intolerancia, del derecho a ofender y a recibir ofensas, en el seno de una sociedad abierta y multicultural, al hilo de un comentario de David Lane sobre el teatro controvertido y la corrección política en Contemporary British Drama (2010).
(The Right to Take and Give Offence)
English abstract: A conceptual analysis of toleration and intolerance, of the right to give and receive offence, within an open and multicultural society. This is done by way of a response to David Lane's comment on controversial drama and political correctness in Contemporary British Drama (2010).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4 Keywords: Offence, Toleration, Intolerance, Blasphemy, Multiculturalism, Open society, Freedom of speech, Democracy
From the Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:
COWARD, Noël. (1899-1973), actor, dramatist, and composer, born in Teddington, Middlesex, the son of a piano salesman and an ambitious mother who from an early age encouraged his theatrical aspirations. His first play was performed in 1917, but he achieved fame with The Vortex (1924), in which he himself appeared as Nicky Lancaster, a young drug addict tormented by his mother's adulteries. More characteristic of his talent were his comedies Fallen Angels (1925), Hay Fever (1925, about the the eccentric, theatrical, guest-confusing, self-regarding Bliss family), Private Lives (1933), about two disastrous interconnected second marriages), Design for Living (1933, about a successful ménage à trois), and Blithe Spirit (1941), which features the hearty medium, Madame Arcati, and Elvira, a predatory ghost. The smart sophistication, technical accomplishment, and convention-defying morality (or amorality) of these pieces captured the public of the day, but another and more sentimental side of Coward was revealed in his patriotic works (Cavalcade, 1931) and wartime screenplays such as Brief Encounter (1944) and This Happy Breed (1942). After the war Coward continued to write prolifically; his plays were less well received, to his own surprise, and he was outspoken about his contempt for the new, *kitchen sink school of realism and for the 'pretentious symbolism' of *Beckett. He had a new lease of life as cabaret entertainer at the Café de Pris, London, and in Las Vegas; then, in 1963, a revival of Private Lives at Hampstead Theatre Club precipitated a new wave of interest in Coward's work and many more revivals, including prestige productions at the *National Theatre. Coward was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica. He also published volumes of verse, short stories, a novel (Pomp and Circumstance, 1960), and two volumes of autobiography, The Noel Coward Diaries (1982, ed. G. Payn and Sheridan Morley), which cover his life from 1941 to 1969, are an entertaining fund of theatrical gossip, criticism of fellow playwrights, and admiring comments on the royal family.
From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:
COLLINS, William (1721-59), the son of a Chichester hatter. He was educated at Winchester (where he first met his friend Joseph *Warton) and Oxford, and published his Persian Eclogues (1742), while an undergraduate. He moved to London in the 1740s, where he met James *Thomson, *Armstrong, and Dr. *Johnson, and embarked on many abortive literary enterprises. His Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegoric Subjects (1746, dated 1747) made little impression at the time, but was to have considerable influence; the volume includes his well-known 'Ode to Evening' and 'How Sleep the Brave', and odes to Pity, Fear, Simplicity, and other abstractions (See ODE). The last work published in his lifetime was an ode on the death of Thomson (1749), and in 1750 he presented the unfinished draft of his Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands (pub. 1788) to John *Home. Thereafter he suffered increasingly from severe melancholia, and died in Chichester, where he had been living for some time. Johnson in his *Lives of the English Poets commented on his wildness and extravagance, which produced harshness and obscurity as well as 'sublimity and splendour', but later poets responded more eagerly to his lyrical intensity and to his conception of poetry as visionary and sacred (see SUBLIME); with *Gray he was one of the dominant influences of the later 18th century.
The first collected edition was by John *Langhorne (1765, with memoir): the standard modern edition is by R. Lonsdale (1977, with Gray and *Goldsmith), and a biography by P. L. Carver was published in 1967.
Leemos en este artículo, desde una perspectiva evolucionista/sociobiológica, el soneto de John Masefield "The Lemmings" como testimonio de la crisis de creencias en la modernidad, a resultas del darwinismo.
English Abstract: A reading of John Masefield's sonnet "The Lemmings" as a statement of the modern crisis of faith in the aftermath of Darwinism, from an evolutionary/sociobiological perspective.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4 Keywords: Darwinism, Crisis of faith, John Masefield, English poetry, Sociobiology, Religion, Belief Accepted Paper Series
Simon Trussler, on 'the man who was to bring English acting style into a more congruent relationship with the times: David Garrick ("Garrick at Goodman's Fields & The Acting Style of David Garrick" and "The Garrick Years." From The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre, by Simon Trussler).
GARRICK AT GOODMAN'S FIELDS
Portrait by Hogarth of Garrick as Richard III, on the restless night before the battle of Bosworth field. Painted in 1745, only a few years after Garrick's creation of the role at the Goodman's Fields theatre in 1741, the picture suggests the facial and gestic stress through which Garrick conveyed emotion for a pre-romantic theatre. However, the untheatrically sumptuous trappings also warn us against too literal a reading of such portraits, through which Garrick hoped to immortalize his genius: for the conventions are those of historical painting rather than of the theatre.
Garrick's first appearance on the London stage exploited a loophole in the Licensing Act, whose provisions actors and managers soon sought to evade. Thus, James Lacy, a stalwart of Fielding's company, had apparently mounted one-man shows in 1738, while Tony Aston twice advertised 'Serious and Comic Oratory' in tavern venues—and Charlotte Charke turned to her puppets. But it was Henry Giffard who first engaged a full company and mounted regular performances, at his old theatre in Goodman's fields, through the device of promising a concert of 'vocal and instrumental music'—between the two parts of which 'will be presented a comedy, gratis, by persons for their diversion'. This 'concert formula' must have enjoyed at least tacit government approval, since the plays were even submitted to the Lord Chamberlain, as his powers of censorship now required.
Garrrick, fresh to the town as a law student turned wine merchant, was evidently on good terms with Giffard, for whose benefit he had written an entertainment at Drury Lane in 1740: then, in October 1741, Garrick appeared anonymously in the title role of Richard III at Goodman's Fields. In the same year, a general election had returneed a majority favooring the vigorious pursuit of the war which—already in progress against Spain—was soon to involve all Europe. And in February 1742 Sir Robert Walpole resigned, giving way to a 'broad-bottomed' Whig ministry dedicated to imperialistic expansion. As it turned out, the art of the new actor was ideally suited to the temper of the new age.
David Garrick (1717-79), here portrayed in engravings from the 1770s as [above] King Lear and [below] the cross-dressed Sir John Brute in Vanbrugh's The Provoked Wife. These sketches, less posed than the formal paintings [further above and further below], better capture the fluent mobility and no less expressive tranquillity of Garrick's acting. A fellow professional, Arthur Murphy, remarked of Garrick that 'off the stage he was a mean sneaking little fellow. But on the stage . . . oh, my great God!' Egocentric, envious, and ever hungry for admiration, he was not only the greatest and widest-ranging actor of his generation, but a dramatist in his own right, and an effective if not a well-liked manager during his twenty-nine years at Drury Lane. Here he judiciously balanced popular demand against his perception of the dignity of the profession—and of himself.
THE ACTING STYLE OF DAVID GARRICK
That Garrick's acting style was famously 'natural' does not, of course, mean that it was 'naturalistic' according to our own expectations. His great strength was apparently in his 'turns', or transitions from one mood to another—an ability to modulate the emotions in a subtler manner than the formal style had ever permitted. In this continuity in the rendering of characters was harnessed a richer sense of their complexity, capable of breaking down old generic expectations to reveal the comic or grotesque in tragedy and the absurdity in high comedy—thus making his Abel Drugger in The Alchemist, or his Sir John Brute in The Provoked Wife, as renowned as his Lear, or his Hastings in Jane Shore. Despite—or perhaps because—of this scrupulous concern with emotional minutiae, Garrick was sparing of stage movement. As John Hill put it in The Actor, one of the earliest attempts at a technical analysis of the histrionic art, published in 1750:
He will stand in his place on the stage, with his arms genteelly disposed, and without once stirring hand or foot, go thro' a scene of the greatest variety. He will in this single posture express to his audience all the changes of passion that can affect a human heart; and he will express them strongly, so the tossing about of the arms and strutting from side to side of the stage, is not his business.
As a French critic also implied, in rebuking Garrick for eliciting laughs in comedy 'more by the grimaces of his face than the proper modulation of his voice', Garrick evidently recognized the power of the age-old art of mimicry. Indeed, Theophilus Cibber, critcizing him in 1756 for an 'over-fondness for extravagant attitudes . . . a set of mechanical motions in constant use', actually described this as a 'pantomimical manne of acting': and Cibber pointed out of Garrick's soliloquizing Gloucester, that holding such 'extravagant attitudes' not only served as a powerful clap-trap, but, worse, involved 'unnatural pauses in the middle of a sentence' and a 'wilful neglect of harmony'. Even a friendly writer remarked in an open letter to Garrick of 1772 that 'your perfection consists in the extreme; in exaggerated gesture, and sudden bursts of passion . . . . Where the extensive powers of voice are not required, you are inimitable.'
The anecdote concerning the deaf and dumb child who none the less claimed to understand every nuance of meaning in Garrick's performance is no less significante whether it be apocryphal or true—but it is doubtful whether such concern with conveying visualized meaning would be regarded as 'natural' in today's mainstream theatre, where verbal skills are routinely analyzed but movement is generally understated and often goes unremarked. The style would, however, have been well suited to an age when, although artistic fashion dictated a new openness to sensibility, Hogarth's urban art of morl caricature was probably better appreciated than were Gainsborough's attempts to transplant portraiture into a rustic landscape; and Hogarth's engravings, not unlike Garrick's acting for the deaf and dumb child, could sustain their 'narrative' without the use of words.
It is also instructive to remember that the contemporary encyclopedist and critic Denis Diderot called upon Garrick's art to illustrate his point that acting was not a matter of emotional identification but of artifice consciously applied. And Thomas Davies, recollecting Hannah Pritchard playing opposite Garrick's Macbeth, suggests that this artifice could to some extent be taught—his 'distraction of mind and agonizing horrors' being 'finely contrasted by her seeming apathy, tranquillity, and confidence. The beginning of the scene after the murder was conducted in terrifying whispers. Their looks and actions supplied th place of words.' Mary Ann Yates, too, was commended by Francis Gentleman for her skill in 'judicious transitions of voice, happy variations of countenance, and picturesque attitudes'.
THE GARRICK YEARS
'If this young fellow be right, I and the rest of the players have been all wrong.' The reputed verdict of a bemused James Quin on David Garrick's acting style might as aptly have been Walpole's on the political style of the elder Pitt. For the period which began with Garrick's first appearance at Goodman's Fields and ended with his departure after almost thirty years as actor-manager of Drury Lane also saw Walpole's cautious foreign policy overtaken by a drive for colonial expansion, in which Pitt's was the moving spirit. In consequence, this was an epoch when the nation was either at war or preparing for war—and although Pitt, 'the great commoner', only briefly became prime minister, his influence remained pervasive. European 'theatres' were found for the conflict, successively in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War, but its real battlegrounds were in the Indian sub-continent and in North America—and its ultimate aim was imperial supremacy over France. Appropriately, perhaps, American independence was proclaimed in 1776, the same year as Garrick's retirement: and within three more years the actor and the statesman, now Earl of Chatham, were both in their graves.
At home, Jacobitism finally flared out in the uprising of 1745—less a genuine threat this time than an opportunity seized to eliminate all Scottish resistance at Culloden. Henry V was duly brought on to stimulate patriotic fervour at the theatres, while in September 1745 the National Anthem for the first time accompanied the performance at Drury Lane—inaugurating a tradition which was to have audiences shuffling to their feet for well over two hundred years. And so, whereas the theatre of the 1730s had been, if not the hotbed of opposition sometimes alleged, at least a constant irritant to officialdom, during Garrick's long ascendancy it tended rather to reflect the prevailing chauvinistic mood.
Painting by Francis Hayman of David Garrick as Ranger in Benjamin Hoadly's intrigue comedy The Suspicious Husband (1747). Playing opposite him is Hananha Pritchard (1711-68), who had first appeared at Drury Lane in 1733, but moved to Covent Garden from 1743 to 1747 before joining Garrick for the remainder of her career. Extending her range beyond such light comic roles as Hoadly's Clorinda and Mrs Oakly in Colman's The Jealous Wife (1761), she played Lady Macbeth opposite Garrick and was also Gertrude to his Hamlet. She was favourably compared with Mrs Cibber both by Richard Cumberland, who claimed that she had 'more change of tone, and variety both of action and expression', and by Charles Dibdin, who declared: 'Mrs. Cibber's acting was delightful, Mrs. Pritchard's commanding. One insinuated herself into the heart, the other took possession of it. . . . It made acting like a picture, with grand breadths of light and shade.'
THE ECONOMICS OF RESPECTABILITY
Although there is no doubt at all that Garrick was a great actor, part of his strength lay in his capacity to create a theatrical complement to this mood and, something of a snob himself—with a great need for the respect and admiration of others—he not only achieved but enjoyed the power to impose the greater measure of respectability he felt requisite. This was made manifest not so much in flag-waving fervour as through his managerial drive towards a higher moral tone on stage and a compliant order in pit and gallery—ambitions which his audiences did not invariably share. Yet if respectability was a patriotic duty, even more surely was it an economic imperative—for the emergent novel was already offereing an alternative and securely domestic kind of entertainment. Thus in 1740 had appeared Samuel Richardson's pioneering and sensationally successful work in the genre, Pamela— a masterpiece of sentiment in which a serving girl defends her virginity and subdues her would-be seducer into marriage.
Revealingly, in the following year, while yet billed at Goodman's Fields as 'the young gentleman who played King richard', Garrick took the role of Jack Smatter in a stage adaptation of the novel—whose high moral tone, in Herny Fielding's view, ill-concealed its titillating sexuality. That the novel survived his satiric onslaughts in Shamela and Joseph Andrews was in no small part due to an increasing public squeamishness which by 1743 had rendered Fielding's own earlier comedy The Wedding Day unacceptable to the Lord Chamberlain, simply on the grounds that its heroine was a whore. Fielding duly subjected her to a retributory carting, whereupon the play was allowed its licence—but was none the less damned by its audiences for supposed immorality. By then, however, Fielding was beginning to build as a novelist the more responsive and tolerant audience which the combination of censorship and self-censorship denied him in the theatre.
Meanwhile, Garrick's popularity at Goodman's Fields had provoked Fleetwood and Rich to combine in securing the theatre's closure. By way of consolation, Fleetwood not only signed up Garrick for the following season as the then astonishing salary of 600 guineas, but took on the dispossessed Giffard and his wife as well. At the tail end of the 1742 season, therefore, Garrick tried out his three most successful roles at Drury Lane: and thus it was that in May he found himself playing Lear opposite the Cordelia of Peg Woffington—herself a newcomer at the playhouse, but already winning a reputation as the most exuberant actress since Nell Gwynn. It was with Peg Woffington that Garrick proceeded to spend the summer season in Dublin—and the next three years in shared lodgings. But the itch for respectability led him eventually into marriage with a lady of more reticent disposition—whicle the less vivacious and perhaps less threatening Susannah Cibber, now divorced from Theophilus, became his preferred partner on stage.
By May 1743 Fleetwood's patent at Drury Lane was, in effect, morgaged to his gambling debts, and, following visits to the theatre from the bailiffs, Garrick and Charles Macklin led a walkout of nine of the leading actors. Failing to secure the independent licence they sought from the Lord Chamberlain, they were forced into an accomodation with Fleetwood in September, whereby Garrick alone achieved an increase in salary, and some players were even forced to return on inferior terms—while Macklin was refused employment at any price, and, feeling himself betrayed, induced his sympathizers to disrupt performances. On this occasion Fleetwood got the better of 'the mob' by hiring prizefighters to eject them: but when he tried to ease his problems by raising prices in 1744 the resulting riots wre more successfully sustained, and he was forced to capitulate.
Fleetwood then decided to cut his losses by sellign out to his creditors, who offered James Lacy from Covent Garden a one-third share in the patent to manage the theatre for them—only to retreat into bankruptcy themselves as a result of the breakdown of banking confidence during the Jacobite uprsising of 1745. As the crisis mounted, Garrick, with characteristic caution, absented himself in Dublin, eventually returning to play the summer season of 1746 at Covent Garden under a profit-sharing agreement with John Rich—the mutual success of which tempted Garrick into remaining at Covent Garden, and the pragmatic Rich to subdue his pantomimic inclinations by launching a full season of straight plays.
A cartoon by Gillray of backstage hostilities between contending leading ladies. The incident is said to have arisen from the ill-concealed delight of Kitty Clive (right) at the indifferent reception given to Peg Woffington's Lady Percy in Henry IV. While Kitty Clive (1711-85) remained loyal to the Drury Lane company, she learned to distrust Garrick no less than Peg Woffington (c. 1714-60), whose equivocal position as his former mistress led to her intermittent withdrawal to Covent Garden—on whose stage she fought with Anne Bellamy during a performance of The Rival Queens.
THE LEADING ACTORS AND THEIR STYLES
The company assembled by Rich and Garrick included Mrs Cibber, Quin, Lacy Ryan, John Hippisley, Harry Woodward, and Hannah Pritchard, while Lacy, in opposition at Drury Lane, had induced Macklin to return, in company with Kitty Clive and Peg Woffington, Richard Yates, Henry Giffard, and the latest prodigy from Ireland, Spranger Barry. Garrick and Quin, as the leading exponents respectively of the formal and the 'natural' styles, now found themselves not only acting in the same plays but sometimes alternating in the same roles—to Garrick's clear advantage as Richard III and Lear. However, Quin apparently had the edge as Cato, and Garrick's Hotspur was quite outshone by the Falstaff of Quin when the two rivals acted together in Henry IV. But in Rowe's The Fair Penitent, as soon as Quin's laboured, mechanical Horation gave way to Garrick's Lothario, 'young and light and alive in every muscle . . . it seemed', or so Richard Cumberland remembered, 'as if a whole century had been stepped over in the transition of a single scene'.
With the exception of an Othello from Spranger Barry which acted Garrick out of a part to which he never returned, Drury Lane had come off worse from the unwonted competition, and Lacy was anxious to secure Garrick's return. The Lord Chamberlain having promised him a renewal of the patent, he therefore bought out his backers and on 9 April 1747 entered into a partnership with Garrick which, in the event, was to last until his death in 1774, just two years before Garrick himself retired. Despite a few altercations, the division of labours they agreed seems to have worked well—Lacy controlling finances and attending to the war4drobe, Garrick dealing with authors, actors, and all the other pracalities of production.
After some mutual suspicions were allayed. Garrick hired both Mrs Cibber and Hannah Pritchard to play opposite him in tragedy, with Spranger Barry to share the leading roles. For the broad comic leads there were Neil Shuter and Dick Yates—while Macklin had a famously protean range. Dennis Delane, William Havard, and Isaac Sparks lent stalwart support, and within a year or two Henry Woodward—soon in contention with his mentor Rich as Harlequin—together with the young Tom King, later to become Garrick's assistant, had further strengthened the company. Among other actresses, the fast-living George Anne Bellamy came to rival Mrs Cibber in tragedy, while in comedy the 'nimble pertness' of the eternally coquettish Kitty Clive contrasted with the more conventionally honed beauty and poise of Peg Woffington, whose strength lay not only in her well-loved 'breeches parts' but in such genteel leads as Millamant and Lady Townly. Later, Frances Abington, though a lesser personality offstage, was perhaps the truer professional, with the full comic spectrum at her command from ingenue to hoyden, and from young lady to frustrated old maid.
While Garrick's reputation, discussed and illustrated from the views of his contemporaries on pages 176-7, casts a long shadow over other actors of his generation, Spranger Barry could reputedly outshine him as Mark Anthony as well as Othello, and was evidently a sexier if not a more soulful Romeo. Thomas Sheridan gave Garrick great unease in King John,and some preferred him as Hamlet—while the veteran Quin retained the advantage in the more sonorous ranges of the repertoire, until a retirement in 1751 from which he hoped but failed to be tempted back by Rich. Significantly, Garrick was less open to competition in comic roles—even Woodward failing to prosper in his own right when he went to Dublin with Barry in 1758. But the Abel Drugger of Thomas Weston revealed him capable of providing more than his accustomed low comic support, while Ned Shuter excelled in the heavier eccentric roles—not least those created for him just a few years before his death by Goldsmith and Sheridan.
FOOTE AT THE LITTLE, COLMAN AT COVENT GARDEN
Samuel Foote (1721-77), with his leading comedian Thomas Weston (left) in The Devil upon Two Sticks (1768). In this play the actor, manager, and dramatist satirized his own loss of a leg following a horse-riding accident—as well as the attemptsof the medical profession to treat him. Foote's career in some ways paralleled that of Henry Fielding—for not only die he also find the Little theatre a convenient base, but became, within the new constraints of the censorship, the most experimental comic dramatist of his day. His revue-like dramatic satires varied from The Diversions of the Morning (1747) to the less successful but aptly titled Taste (1752).
Macklin, who long outlived Garrick and was still acting in 1789, his ninetieth year, complemented his successes in 'psychological' realism as Shylock and Iago—the latter, calculatedly, to Barry's Othello—with comic roles written by and for himself. A friend and disciple of Macklin's, and a no less individual actor-playwright, was Samuel Foote, who came closest to sustaining the satiric tradition created by Henry Fielding—also following in his footsteps to the Little theatre, where he played intermittently after 1747, finally obtaining a patent for summer seasons in 1766. These he gave with his own company until a year before his death, in 1777.
Like Fielding, too, Foote experimented with comic miscellanies which anticipated revue—but it was with his full-length satirical piefces that he enjoyed his greatest success. Among many and various targets, he attacked artistic pretensions in Taste (1752), lampooned Methodism (and provided no fewer than three parts for himself) in The Minor (1760), and mocked the medical profession—and the loss of his own leg, which had led him to suffer its ministrations—in The Devil upon Two Sticks (1768). Foote's contemporaries regarded him as 'the English Aristophanes', but his reputation has suffered alike from Garrick's professional jealousy and from the restrictions of the Licensing Act—which never much obstructed Garrick's altogether blander and safer managerial style.
Nevertheless, as dramatists as well as manager Foote found himself in competition with the ubiquitous Garrick, whose playwriting was prolific, highly professional—sometimes even mildly experimental. The satirical Lilliput (1756), thus capped its Swiftian credentials by being cast with children, while The Male Coquette (1757) boasted a transvestite heroine as well as a homosexual gallant, and A Peep behind the Curtain (1767) charmingly fulfilled its promise in the form of a rehearsal play. However, Garrick's most successful pieces were those which made least demands on his audience's sensibilities—the early but perennial Miss in Her Teens of 1747, for example, or The Guardian of 1759, both adapted from the French.
Garrick's most enduring success came with The Clandestine Marriage of 1766, written in collaboration with George Colman. The play, a pleasant and never ill-tempered satire upon bourgeois values, is a seamless piece of craftsmanship, in which each writer corrected the other's faults while displaying his own virtues to advantage. Unhappily, the friendship between the two men was soured by disputes over their respective shares in the writing—and was soon to be put to the further test of professional rivalry. After John Rich's death in 1761, Covent Garden had briefly flirted with opera: however, in 1767 Colman began his stormy but fruitful managerial partnership at the playhouse with Thomas Harris, restoring regular drama to its stage, and in the following decade, as we shall see in the next chapter, introducing the work of both Goldsmith and Sheridan.
It had been in a prologue written for the first night of Garrick's management at Drury Lane that Samuel Johnson famously coined the dictum: 'The drama's laws the drama's patrons give. / For we that live to please, must please to live.' Ironically, Johnson's own single dramatic effort, the tragedy Irene (1749), was very clearly the work of a man of letters: but Garrick, Foote, and Colman, all actor-managers as well as playwrights, fulfilled the dictum to the letter, and wrote largely and undemandingly to please. Colman's greatest solo success, The Jealous Wife of 1761, is thus filled with long-familiar character types—their sexuality muted, as contemporary morality required.
THE SHAKESPEARE INDUSTRY GATHERS PACE While always ensuring that his own character was displayed to best advantage, Garrick salvaged some of the plays of Shakespeare from their Restoration 'improvements': but he cheerfully gutted others, to create a sort of refined version of the old drolls, transforming The Taming of the Shrew into the tamer Catherine and Petruchio and filtering out The Fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Meanwhile, Shakespeare's editors continued to justify their more or less scholarly endeavours by vilifying their predecessors—the 'refinements' of Warburton's edition of 1747 being worthier of vilification than most.
That his eight volumes were soon being sold at a discount was due less to the undoubted deficiencies of the texts than to the perspicacity of Sir Thomas Hanmer in decorating his own otherwise unremarkable edition with illustrations by Francis Hayman. In describing his edition of 1744 as 'another small monument . . . to Shakespeare's honour', Hanmer was giving due precedence to the memorial statue which had been erected in Westminster Abbey four years earlier—and by the end of the decade the dramatist's effigy in his Stratford birthplace had also been carefully restored. Garrick, as ever in tune with his times, duly acquired a taste for such bits of Shakespearean statuary, and commissioned Louis François Roubillac to sculpt one for his home near Hampton Court. This he installed in a domestic temple dedicated to the poet, alongside a chair carved from the mulberry tree supposedly planted by Shakespeare in Stratford, but since heretically lopped. A protestant nation had, it seemed, found a secular saint whose relics might be consecrated, and whose graven image might be acceptably worshipped.
In 1768 Garrick acquired another hunk of sacred mulberry, this time in the form of a chest presented to him by the Corporation of Stratford along with the freedom of the Borough. Flattered according to plan, Garrick agreed to mount a belated jubilee celebration for the town in the following summer. A memorial theatre to Shakespeare was duly constructed on the banks of the Avon—a wooden octogonal playhouse which yet constituted, according to Garrick, a 'sacred . . . shrine' to a playwright translated into a 'demi-God'.
The memorial amphitheatre constructed for the Stratford jubilee of 1769:
Garrick emerged none too happily from the ensuing rain-sodden affair, which, as observers from Samuel Foote to James Boswell well recognized, harnessed his own social advancement to the semi-divine status of 'immortal bard'—an epithet which Garrick was among the first to employ. The jubilee ended without a single scene from a play being performed, since pageantry and portraiture were much preferred (indeed, it is to Garrick's faith in the immortalizing powers of canvas that we owe all the portraits which capture him in Shakespearean roles). However, Garrick eventually managed to capitalize on the Stratford celebrations by recreating The Jubilee as a dramatic spectacle for Drury Lane. With it lavishly costumed procession protected from the elements, and an 'outer play' devised gently to mock both the bemused natives of Stratford and their visitors, this 'devilishly lucky hit' (as Lacy called it, with grudging admiration for his partner) ran for ninety-two performances. Thus did the consummate showman in Garrick recoup both the money and the dignity he had laid out by converting a pretentious pageant for the provincial few into a lavish entertainment for the metropolitan many.
Above: The procession of Shakespearean characters, as planned for the jubilee (and illustrated prematurely in contemporary prints), but in the event washed out by rain. It was later profitably reassembled by Garrick for The Jubilee at Drury Lane.
'Comedy in the Country,' and 'Tragedy in London'. This cartoon by Thomas Rowlandson, though not published until 1807, pictorializes a long-standing urban presumption—that audiences in the country are unsophisticated both in manners and in their response to a play. It is instructive therefore to contrast the view of the experienced Tate Wilkinson, in his Memoirs of 1790: 'A farce, if it possesses true humour, in London will be greatly relished and applauded. In the country, very possibly the same . . . shall be termed vile, low, vulgar, and indelicate.' And mannered comedies which 'are in London attended to as plays of wit and merit' in the country are 'not permitted, or if permitted to appear, not upon any account fashionable, which is just as bad'
COMEDY, TRAGEDY—AND SENTIMENTALITY
Benjamin Hoadly was one of the few dramatists who, although forgotten today, achieved success in comedy from outside the enclosed theatrical world. His The Suspicious Husband, staged at Covent Garden in 1747 during Garrick's brief engagement there, was even described by the later dramatist Arthur Murphy as 'the first good comedy from the time of The Provoked Husband in 1727'—'a long and drary interval', in Murphy's debatable judgment. Significantly, the play's good-natured rake is drawn along the lines of Fielding's hero in his Tom Jones, published two years later—both embodying a 'benevolist' alternative to the scrupulous sentimental hero, their fallible natures prey to weakness but, come to crunch, replete with hearty warmth.
The stock situations and characters of melodrama are not very far away—and another of its easy assumptions, that love conquers all, had already become the premise behind many of Isaac Bickerstaffe's popular musical afterpieces. Thus, his Thomas and Sally (1760), set to music by Thomas Arne, was an early variation on what was to become the familiar theme of the simple country girl resisting the evil squire until her sailor lover's return; and he followed up the success of his pioneering comic opera Love in a Village (1762) with The Maid of the Mill, a reconstruction of Samuel Richardson's Pamela demonstrating the democratizing effects of love—a motif which recurred in his long-successful Lionel and Clarissa (1768).
The philosophical origins of this theatrical benevolism are less interesting from our point of view than the consequences of setting its character typology against that predicated upon sentimentality. Two plays of 1768 exemplify the polarity of possibilities—in False Delicacy Hugh Kelly more or less abandoning comedy to the endless moral scruples of sensibility, while in The Good-Natured Man Oliver Goldsmith took them to hilarious excess, rewarding virtue in hard cash (as, without tongue in cheek, did Richard Cumberland in his The West Indian of 1771).
In an essay published in 1763, Goldsmith claimed that sentimental comedy was in truth 'a species of bastard tragedy': certainly, the original of that species was apparently in terminal decline—most works of interest which laid claim to the genre proving in retrospect to anticipate the imminent split between the more realistic and the more melodramatic tendencies of the form. Edward Moore's The Gamester (1753), for example, was written in prose, had a contemporary setting, and some psychological insight into its protagonist's obsessive and fatal vice—while his destruction is presented as self-driven rather than a requirement of poetic justice. In contrast, and despite the greater outward regularity, John Home's Douglas (1756) conjures the foreboding atmospherics and the fraught, darkly elliptic emotions of what was to become the gothic style of melodrama—even then taking shape in the fertile, febrile imagination of Robert Walpole's fourth son Horace, ensconced close by Kitty Clive in his own 'little gothic castle' at Strawberry Hill.
If sentimentality was nothing like as pervasive in the theatre as is sometimes claimed, this is because literary historians not only tend to ignore new writing of a less 'regular' kind, but also to forget that the theatrical repertoire was heavily weighted with revival made of sterner stuff—especially at Drury Lane, where Lacy, if not Garrick, tended to view the mouting of any new work as an unnecessary financial risk. But the effects of sentimentality were none the less flet in the way that those revivals were tempered to the changing times—not only in the neutering of Restoration ribaldry, as typified in Garrick's toning down of Wycherley's The Country Wife into his own innocuous The Country Girl, but in the regularizing of Shakespeare himself, who during these years was elevated by Garrick into a figure of patriotic as well as dramatic dignity.
DE LOUTHERBOURG AND THE NEW SCENOGRAPHY
In 1761, Garrick had discommoded his audience when, mounting a theatrical celebration for the coronation of George III, he had flung wide the back doors of Drury Lane, so that the stage procession might merge with the real-life revelling beyond—only to let in the suffocating smoke from the bonfires in the street. But both this and The Jubilee [described above] suggest well enought the new appetite for stage spectacle which was now enhancing the importance of the scenography within the production process.
Thus, whereas opera had from the first been decked out with settings and costumes as lavish as financial and technological resources allowed, in the regular drama only limited changes had generally been rung upon the same old sets of wings and shutters. Once a novelty, the stylized perspective these simulated had come to be regarded with affectionate scorn—not least since actors, now increasingly required to play within the scene, appeared to grow larger the further they moved upstage, and to shrink as they strode back down.
For most purposes a dozen or so sets of stock scenery had sufficed. These might represent, in the inventory of one contemporary writer, temples, tombs, city walls and gates, the outside and inside of palaces, streets, chambers, prisons, and gardens, together with prospects of groves, forests, and deserts. While regularly revived plays might enjoy dedicated sets, and scenic 'pieces' and properties would also lend an appearance of variety, most new work from the mid-century appears to have required only a couple of settings, typically an interior and an exterior. No doubt their authors were disinclined to make technical demands which might deter a frugal and conservative management from mounting their work.
None the less, foreign visitors seem to have been impressed by the sheer rapidity of scene changes in the London theatres—especially admiring the nifty trickwork involving traps and transformations that was the special preserve of pantomime. Though ostensibly despising 'the pomp of show', Garrick mounted a moderately successful challenge to Rich's primacy in this form, with Henry Woodward as his Harlequin following the immense and oft-repeated success of Queen Mab in 1750 (the cartoon below celebrates Garrick's triumph). But it was another Drury Lane actor, Tom King, who startled the town by first giving this conventionally mute character a tongue, in the equally successful Harlequin's Invasion of 1756.
'The Theatrical Steel-Yard of 1750', a print depicting the rivalry between Garrick at Drury Lane and the outfaced Rich at Covent Garden. Garrick, brandishing his helmet from the right-hand end of the steel-yard, does not need the added weight of his own Harlequin, Woodward, who stands ready to place Queen Mab (subject of the successful Drury Lane pantomime) on the scales. On the left, Rich, an overcoat half-concealing his Harlequin costume, is distraught that the combined weight of Peg Woffington, Spranger Barry, James Quin (as Falstaff) and Mrs Cibber cannot outweigh Garrick solus.
By the later 176y0s 'new scenes' were increasingly being advertised as an attraction at both patent houses, and some exciting drop-scenes were evidently being painted. But it was during the ten years spent at Drury Lane from 1771 by the Alsatian scenic artist and technician Philip James de Loutherbourg that scenographic techniques underwent there a startling reformation. A Christmas Tale of 1774 thus not only displayed a succession of extravagant prospects, transformations, and illusions, but employed licopodium to give the illusion of a palace in flames, while the leaves of a forest were made to turn seasonally from green to a bloody red.
De Loutherbourg did not abolish the old wings and grooves, but used ground-rows to fill the often-yawning space between: thus, in Omai, a lavish production prepared by John O'Keeffe for Covent Gardin in 1585, one observer counted no less than 42 separate pieces, intended cumulatively to create an illusion of frozen seas. And during the 1770s Drudy Lane had begun to carpenter practicable doors and stairways into its interiors, even topping them out with roofs or ceilings—an early intimation of the 'fourth wall' convention which was to culminate in the box set of the following century.
Model of a prison scene by Philip James de Loutherbourg (1740-1812), the innovative scene painter at Drury Lane for a decade from 1771. Garrick himself may be said to have begun the revolution in stage ligthing when, in 1765, he replaced the huge chandeliers over the stage with smaller sets of candles or oil lamps in the wings, equipped with reflectors to vary the intensity of the light. But De Loutherbourg was the first scenic artist to make fully creative use of illumination, achieving subtly realistic effects by employing coloured silks as filters, and thus perfecting (though not, as John O'Keeffe claimed in 1826, inventing) 'transparent scenery—moonshine, sunshine, fire, volcanoes, etc.' De Loutherbourg also, in effect, theatricalized the art of landscape painting, bringing to life the beauties of nature through creative lighting in such spectacles as The Wonders of Derbyshire (1779).
Such representational trimmings may, according to one's taste, be viewed as a necessary nudge towards naturalism or mere decorative pedantry. Equally, De Loutherbourg himself may be considered a first mover in establishing the creative integrity of scenic design—or as a craftsman properly and professionally most concerned with accommodating rather than creating artistic fashions. Certainly, these were about to undergo a radical change, in favour of that individualizing of experience and heightening of its most mundane manifestations which in poetry found sublime expression in the work of the great romantics. In the theatre, the new taste was to be made more humbly manifest—inthe necessary but sometimes trite emotional shorthand of melodrama, whose early audiences tended to relish precisely the elaborate, atmospheric, and often exoting settings which De Loutherbourg's technical innovations made possible.
Whether the accompanying changes in acting style were couse or effect of the imminent increases in playhouse capacities will be a concern for our next chapter. Meanwhile, it is sufficient to note that Garrick's success was in no small part due to the socially stable composition of his relatively small audiences, whose roots, like his own, were in the affluent but still aspirant middle classes. Thus, although Garrick made 'improvements' to Drury Lane on no less than nine occassions, gradually increasing the capacity of the house from perhaps 1,400 to 1,800, the only significant effect of these changes was the final elimination of spectators from the stage, achieved by an enlargement of the pit in 1762. At Covent Garden the audience probably lingered on the stage for another twenty years, especially at benefits—while minor alterations here, as at the two theatres in the Haymarket, were largely cosmetic.
Not only were no new permanent playhouses built in London during the period, but an act of 1752 which required the licensing of all sorts of entertainments struck a mortal blow to the fairground theatres of the metropolis. And although concert rooms, pleasure gardens, and other leisure resorts flourished, the competition they offered to the regular playhouses was not in kind—except, perhaps at Marylebone Gardens, where numerous operettas were performed on an apparently large and well-equipped stage. However, that ordinary people were becoming accustomed to paying for an informal musical entertainment cannot but have helped to prepare the ground for the free-and-easies and saloons, the ancestors of the music halls of the following century.
THEATRE IN THE PROVINCES
Performances outside London had, of course, already been prohibited by the Licensing Act of 1737, and that they continued to occur was at first a matter of tolerance rather than regulation—a concert often providing cover for the enjoyment of a play 'rehearsed' gratis. Players on the northern and eastern provincial circuits were forced to lead a constantly itinerant exitence, but the southern seaports seem to have offered more regular employment, and fashionable resorts were singlesd out in season. While the focus of a 'season' might be a race meeting or court of assize, for the fashionable it increasingly involved the taking of medicinal waters, and the pre-eminance of Bath among the spa resorts led, in 1750, to the building of a permanent theatre in Orchard Street, which after a lengthy campaign secured a royal patent in 1768.
A precedent thus created, further patents were granted to playhouses in Norwich later in 1768, and to York in the following year—these three cities being accounted the most important provincial centres, whence players often graduated to the London stage. Thatres in Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, and Newcastle were all granted patents over the next two decades, while Brighton, Windsor, and Richmond, as royal residences, held licences from the Lord Chamberlain. A boom in building smaller theatres for the touring circuits followed an act of 1788 which empowered local magistrates to grant their own licences for seasons not exceeding sixty days.
The Theatre Royal, Bristol, as viewed from the stage. This was built in 1766 on the model of Drury Lane, with a capacity of around 1,600. This house and the Georgian at Richmond [below] are the two oldest working theatres in Britain. They are nicely contrasting examples of different provincial styles.
The Georgian theatre at Richmond in Yorkshire, built in 1788, abandoned for almost a century from 1848, and fully restored and reopened in 1963. This has a humbler capacity—an intimate 250—than the Theatre Royal Bristol, which is pictured [above]
The regulation by licensing of provincial theatres has been interpreted as part of the process which, by 1843, had led to the success of the so-called 'struggle for a free stage' in London. However, it may also be understood as one of the ways in which the state was extending its power over the lives of the people, threby not only dispossessing Londoners of the booth theatres of the fairs, but also increasingly eroding the old pattern of holidays, feasts, and other popular celebrations in the countryside. Pre-industrial society, of which this period is usually seen as marking the final phase, was no carefree idyll for those who suffered its prviations, but it did permit the pursuit of individual pleasures and pastimes in ways that the drift to the towns of the industrial revolution was soon so brutally to extinguish.
The steady movement of the population into urban areas was, of course, to grow from a trickle to a flood in the following half-century—though in the case of London the population of the 'square mile' actually declined, and it was the slums of Westminster and the jerry-built parishes 'outside the bills' that almost burst their bounds. Theatrically, the need thus began to emerge for amusements which were not only more locally based but also more responsive to the needs and experiences of the poor than the old, bourgeois repertoire of the West End houses—where, perpetuating the traditional typology, the working classes were still largely presented as either pert but subservient or lazy and parasitic.
The heads of the Jacobites executed after the rebellion of 1745 still hung from Temple Bar some thirty years later—a gruesome reminder of the cheapness of life and the proliferation of capital crimes in an age when proprety and patriotism were sacrosanct. Yet steadily, with the demand for more broadly-based political power rooted in the grim realities of economic deprivation, the voice of 'the mob' grew ever louder on the streets—sometimes venting an easy chauvinism, as in the early popular support for Pitt or in the anti-Catholicism of the Gordon Riots, but also capable of expressing a new and proto-democratic radicalism.
As we have noted earlier, a surge of feeling in support of the American revolution coincided with the year of Garrick's retirement, 1776; and this was closely contemporary with the emergence for the first time of a political 'party' which favoured reform—around a dozen of whose supporters actually won seats in the election of 1774, despite widespread corruption and a severely limited franchise. The relationship between the theatre and the burgeoning movement for reform is a tenuous one, but it must command our attention—not least because the period covered by this chapter is the last in which any discussion can be mainly confined within the geographical or social boundaries of the West End, or dominated by a single personality such as Garrick, able to read and so to shape its concerns. For the next century, the theatre was arguably to become the first medium of mass communication.
Quizá haya habido demasiado "buenismo" en antropología, tras las viejas teorías del Cavernícola Violento que se desacreditaron junto con el fascismo y el imperialismo decimonónico en cuyo seno se habían gestado. Pero era cerrar los ojos a una realidad bastante evidente de la especie humana, evidente en ese mismo fascismo e imperialismo. Que el ser humano no sólo se ha hecho a sí mismo sobre la base de la explotación de los recursos naturales, sino también, y de modo muy característico y definitorio, sobre la base de la explotación de los seres humanos. También lo decía Marx, en cierto modo, ¿no? Que el hombre ha vivido de explotar al hombre. Y a la mujer no digamos. Somos una especie extremadamente depredadora sobre sí misma, y es bueno todo lo que nos haga darnos cuenta de ello, porque darse cuenta de ello es el paso primero para tomar una actitud frente a eso. Desdichadamente, una de las lecciones centrales (acertada y desagradable) del darwinismo es que sin la lucha por la vida, y todos sus horrores, no surgen las formas complejas de la vida. Ni de la sociedad—pues los grupos más organizados, más informados y numerosos, han dominado, explotado y exterminado a los más indefensos y dispersos. Es la historia de la humanidad, desde la sabana hasta aquí mismo. Pero está feo hasta recordarlo.
No conviene, claro, dejar de lado la importancia de las virtudes cooperativas y sociales, y de la creatividad social. Pero al igual que la creatividad tecnológica se ha usado de modo prominente en el ámbito bélico, también la diplomacia y la socialidad, y la cooperación, se han usado para la explotación y la guerra. Porque pocas cosas hay más características de la humanidad, de su política y de su diplomacia, que la búsqueda de aliados y la cooperación organizada con otros grupos... para contener o para atacar y saquear a un tercero. Es lo que se llama inteligencia social en estado puro. Es una perspectiva que ya presentó Hobbes en cierto modo: frente al ´hombre natural´, hombre primitivo producto de la naturaleza, está el hombre hecho a sí mismo, el hombre artificial, politizado y socializado. Ese hombre es producto del hombre. Y del temor a los hombres, esos lobos. El hombre es una manada de lobos para el hombre.
Invitation to Academia.edu's Beta Feedback Feature
Me escribe Richard Price—el de Academia, no el de las Observations on Civil Liberty—y me invita a probar una nueva función de Academia—
Dear José Angel,
I'm the founder of Academia.edu. I wanted to invite you to beta test our new feedback feature: "Sessions".
When you upload a paper, you'll have the option to create a private Session around your paper. People whom you follow, and who follow you back (mutual followers) will be able to provide feedback on your paper. The Session lasts 20 days. Here's an example Session: https://www.academia.edu/s/b2e796fba7e2dd5e44751e9cabbf772c
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Esto viene a ser ni más ni menos que los clásicos comentarios de los blogs, o se que nos hemos partido los cascos para inventar la rueda....
... con la differentia specifica, supuesta ventaja por la vía del inconveniente—que son comentarios con fecha de caducidad y que no puedes controlar tú esa fecha, al menos en la versión Beta actual. Otra diferencia es que los comentarios son invisibles para otros visitantes que no estén participando en la Sesión. Quizá eso haga que alguno se anime, hay gente extremadamente reacia a opinar y que quede ahí su opinión. En fin, que lo de las Sesiones es en principio una herramienta de comentarios, algo coja, y punto.
Pero lo probaremos, thanks. Empezando con este artículo sobre Hegel que subo,
Abstract: Una nota sobre algunas inconsistencias lógicas o paradojas conceptuales resultantes de las definiciones de selección natural y de selección sexual en El origen del hombre y la selección en relación al sexo de Darwin. Sostenemos que el principio de selección sexual supone uno de los mayores acercamientos de Darwin a la cuestión de una evolución resultante en parte de un diseño intencional, y al problema de la consciencia en tanto que parámetro que viene a complicar la definición de selección natural por medio de sus aspectos emergentes.
Darwin, Natural Selection, and Sexual Selection: A Golden Braid, or Two
A note on some logical inconsistencies or conceptual paradoxes resulting from Darwin's definitions of natural selection and sexual selection in The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. The principle of sexual selection is argued to be one of Darwin's closest approaches to the question of evolution resulting partly from intentional design, and of consciousness as a parameter which further complicates the definition of natural selection through its emergent aspects.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4 Keywords: Evolution, Evolutionism, Darwin, Sexual selection, Natural selection, Consciousness
Ere Time and Place were, Time and Place were not, When primitive Nothing Something straight begot.
Krauss has an amusing comment (or insight) on hindsight bias in science: "You don’t have to know what you’re doing, to win the Nobel Prize. You just have to do it." These guys thought they were up to nothing, and they won the Nobel Prize. There’s a lesson there on the future value of present nothingness, and on its true substance.
"Nothing will come of nothing", said Lear, and it seems that either he or Shakespeare were wrong, even if this story of the universe has no choice but be just another just-so story: the anthropic principle is another instance of hindsight bias. A nothingness out of which something may come is something more than nothing.
Creation ex nihilo brings to mind not just Genesis (although there’s a god behind nothing there, too) but the anti-Genesis contained in the Earl of Rocheter’s libertine satire "Upon Nothing"—addressed to Nothingness itself:
Something, the general attribute of all, Severed from thee, its sole original, Into thy boundless self must undistinguished fall; Yet Something did thy mighty power command, And from fruitful Emptiness’s hand Snatched men, beasts, birds, fire, air, and land. Matter the wicked’st offspring of thy race, By Form assisted, flew from thy embrace, And rebel Light obscured thy reverend dusky face. With Form and Matter, Time and Place did join; Body, thy foe, with these did leagues combine To spoil thy peaceful realm, and ruin all thy line; But turncoat Time assists the foe in vain, And bribed by thee, destroys their short-lived reign, And to thy hungry womb drives back thy slaves again.
Samuel Johnson comments that Rochester "is not the first who has chosen this barren topic for the boast of his fertility", and refers us to Jean Passerat—whose poem upon nothingness can be found at The Latin Library, under the title De nihilo. Porrigitur magni NIHIL extra moenia mundi, indeed. John Barthelme’s "Nothing: A Preliminary Account" is also worth perusing.
Dicho en Facebook: Saber qué decir, y hasta dónde, en cada momento, es todo un arte (que no digo que tenga yo). A mí me gusta imaginarme que con las palabras adecuadas (las palabras mágicas, digamos) podrías conseguir cualquier cosa: que te revelasen secretos, seducir a la persona en cuestión, librarte de la pena de muerte o conmover a quien te escucha. Que te perdonen. Esas palabras deben existir, al menos en teoría, pero ¿cuáles son? Misterio.
From A Critical History of Literature, vol. 2, by David Daiches ("Prose: Newman to Morris").
Arnold's attempt to rescue Christianity from commitment to biblical fundamentalism—an attempt carried on in a a variety of ways by many liberal theologians of the period—was made necessary by the impact on religious orthodoxy of German biblical criticism and of developments in geology and biology. "There is not a creed which is not shaken, not an accredited dogma which is not shown to be questionable, not a received tradition which does not threaten to dissolve," wrote Arnold in "The Study of Poetry." Protestantism, whivh based itself on the Bible, was more vulnerable to the new biblical scholarship than Catholicism, and the application of textual and historical criticism to the books of the bible caused panic among many Protestant theologians, most of whom responded by insisting ever more shrilly on the divine inspiration and literal historical accuracy of the biblical text. Charls Hennell's Inquiry Concerning the Origin of Christianity (1838) was one of the first attempts in England to apply the results of new biblical scholarship to the study of Christian origins; its tremendous effect on young Marian Evans (George Eliot) is well known. Much more significant for the whole history of European religious thought was D. F. Strauss's Life of Jesus (1835) which Geroge Eliot translated (1844-46); this was a far more detailed and comprehensive study than Hennell's, and in its combination of anti-miraculism, sympathetic psychological interpretation of the growth of religious ideas and attitudes, and belief in the profound truth of the symbolic core of Christianity while denying the literal truth of biblical story, it laid the foundations of a "modernist" Christianity of the kind Matthew Arnold, from hi won special point of view, endeavored to construct. Meanwhile, Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology(1830-33), Elements of Geology (1838), and Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man (1863) were having an even more disturbing effect, first in demonstrating the continuity of natural processes as demonstrated by the study of geology, secondly by adducing the compelling geological evidence for the earth's being much older and much more gradual in development than was compatible with a literal belief in the book of Genesis, and thirdly by showing that man must have lived on earth for a much longer period than biblical chronology would allow. Finally, the publication of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1859, putting forward with a mass of evidence his theory of natural selection and so relating man through evolutionary descent to the nonhuman animal world, and his Descent of Man (1871), dealing more particularly with the evolution of man and with sexual selection, outraged the orthodox and precipitated a debate that raged violently for many years. It is against this background that we must look at Arnold's attempts to save Christianity from fundamentalist and scientist alike by concentrating on its poetic significance, its meaning for spiritual experience, and leaving us, at the most, optional, literal belief in Old Testament chronology and New Testament miracles.
Darwin was not himself a skilled propagandist, though he could write with the charm that arises from absorbed interest in one's subject, as his early work, The Voyage of the Beagle (1839), an account of a voyage in southern latitudes to collect various specimens of plant and animal life, so clearly shows. He records in his informed autobiography the decay in middle life of his early taste for poetry, painting, and music. ("But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music.") He was, in his own phrase, a "philosophical naturalist," and spent the large part of his life quietly and methodically collecting and interpreting data. He left controversy for others. Fortunately he found a champion who was a brilliant controversialist as well as a man who combined scientific knowledge and enthusiasm with broad humanistic interests. This was Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95), one of the great figures of Victorian controversy.
Huxley was not only a distinguished biologist and a great popularizer of science; he was also an essayist and man of letters, master of a prose style both cogent and elegant. He was no militant atheist, condemning all religion as superstition, nor was he the kind of narrow scientist who dismisses with contempt the claims of imagination and the arts. Like John Stuart Mill, he was influenced (though at an early stage in his life) by Carlyle; he was well-read in English and European literature and was a good linguist. He called himself an agnostic, because he recognized the limits beyond which the human mind could not go in explaining the ultimate mysteries of the universe. He stood for what might be called the new enlightenment, as distinguished from the eighteenth-century variety—an enlightenment based on the claims of "natural knowledge" and an understanding of what such knowledge can do for man, a hatred of obscurantism of all kinds, a belief in man's ability to control his own destiny provided that education and government do their business properly. In his championing of the Darwinian theory of evolution, he engaged for a large part of his life in continuous battle with ignorance and prejudice and with all those who believed that Darwin's theory, by breaking down the absolute barrier between man and the rest of the animal world, was inherently wicked and blasphemous. In the course of his battle he had to meet every kind of scorn, hatred, and misrepresentation. In published essays and in public debates with the most formidable antagonists of his time he demonstrated his confidence, his good humour, his mastery of all relevant facts, his power of marshaling argument, his compelling lucidity. In education, he pleaded for the sciencs and opposed Arnold's insistence on the classics on the ground that even if taught as they should be taught the classics could not consittue a properly comprehensive study of man and the world, and that in any case most pupils never mastered the mechanics of classical knowledge sufficiently as to be able to enjoy the literature properly. The ordinary schoolboy "finds Parnassus uncomonly steep, and there is no chance of his having time or inclination to look about him till he gets to the top. And nine times out of ten he does not get to the top." Education he defined as "the instruction of the intellect in the laws of Nature, under which name I include not merely things and their forces, but men and their ways, and the fashioning of the affections and of the will into an earnest and loving desire to move in harmony with those laws." Huxley's views on liberal education and the place of science in it is expressed forcibly in an address he gave to the South London Workingmen's College in 1868 and published in the same year in Macmillan's Magazine,and also in the title essay of Science and Culture and Other Essays (1881); these essays, together with Arnold's reply, first given as the Rede Lectures at Cambridge in 1880 and published in theNineteenth Century in 1882 (he also delivered this lecture in America and included it in his American Discourses, 1885), constitute an interesting and instructive clash of opinion between two great Victorians, each passionately interested in reforming English education. Mill's was the Victorian secular mind operating on philosophy and political theory; Huxley's, the Victorian secular mind working through a basic interest in the natural sciences; Arnold, the Victorian apostle of culture seeking for new techniques for bringing the religious and literary heritage of the past into the modern world. All three were very much aware of the modernity of the modern world. Mill and Huxley looked forward with hope, while Arnold, though he sometimes appeared to do so, possessed a sensibility which, in spite of himself, remained rooted in nostalgia. In their differences as well as in their similarities (which are greater than might appear at first sight) they help to illuminate some of the finer reaches of the Victorian mind.
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The abstract was first released for public viewing on 04/25/2008. It is Classified in the following SSRN abstracting journals: - Cognition & the Arts eJournal - Epistemology eJournal - Literary Theory & Criticism eJournal - PRN: A Priori Knowledge (Topic) - PRN: Action Theory (Topic) - PRN: Consciousness (Topic) - PRN: Content, Intentionality, & Representation (Topic) - PRN: Philosophy of Psychology & Cognitive Science (Topic) - Philosophy of Action eJournal - Philosophy of Mind eJournal - RCRN: Other Rhetorical Theory (Topic) - RCRN: Textual Analysis (Topic) - Rhetorical Analysis eJournal - Rhetorical Theory eJournal
Aunque sea por orden alfabético ("A B...") llevo ya muchos años siendo el primero de la lista bibliográfica de la LINGUIST LIST. Más de diez llevo ahí seguro, y quizá sean quince. Ya me perdonarán si no llevo una cuenta más exacta de estas cosas:
En exámenes, a ratos perdidos, voy leyendo el Arte de Ingenio: Tratado de la Agudeza de Baltasar Gracián, digo la edición de Madrid de 1642, firmada con el nombre de su hermano Lorenzo; me compré los facsímiles de esta y de la Agudeza y Arte de Ingenio (Huesca, 1646), editados y prologados ambos por Aurora Egido.
El conceptismo de Gracián, con su énfasis en el juego de ideas, y el análisis retórico que hace de los conceptos, se prestan a relacionarlo con la poética cognitiva de hoy. A mí me llama la atención la manera (un tanto escueta y enigmática ciertamente) en que percibe y saca a la luz la cuestión de los marcos de representación, y de las perspectivas cognitivas. Un suceso o situación se puede concebir de dos o más maneras alternativas, y en el juego de esas representaciones, los marcos que les subyacen, y la transformación o paso de una a otra, está muchas veces la agudeza. Agudeza que tiene el agudo citado por Gracián, agudeza que tiene el que capta la agudeza y la hace memorable (contagiado por el ingenio de la percepción) y agudeza la de Gracián que analiza en qué reside exactamente la agudeza, y a qué modalidad en concreto pertenece. No digo que sus clasificaciones sean coherentes o estancas; son más bien una perspectiva útil sobre una modalidad compleja de juego de ideas, y su descripción en cada apartado está solapada o es solapable con otras perspectivas que analizarían otros aspectos de la modalidad de agudeza estudiada. En cierto sentido el libro es también un florilegio de ideas exquisitas y una colección de chistes y anécdotas, además de un tratado de retórica cognitiva.
Veamos a título de ejemplo uno de sus capítulos o "discursos", el XXI, sobre las críticas que son a la vez ingeniosas (claro) y juiciosas. Corrijo a mi ayre algunas erratas, aunque conservo la ortografía original, dentro de un orden.
De las Crysis Iuziosas.
PArticipan igualmentede la sutileza, y prudencia las juiziosas calificaciones, consiste su artificio en vn juizio, en vna censura sutil de algun yerro, o acierto recondito, y nada vulgar. Desta suerte dixo vn soldado de Anibal, quando la vitoria de Canas: que el General sabia vencer, pero no vsar de la vitoria. Quando el comun pondera vna conocida infelicidad, vn mal, o bien manifiesto, obseruar otro mas recondito, arguye gran viueza en el juizio. Assi el Duque de Alba, no ponderaua en Pompeyo el auer sido vencido de los contrarios, sino de los suyos en dar la batalla contra su parecer. Conocer las eminencias, y calificarlas, es principal empleo desta sutileza. Desta suerte Augusto depreco a Cayo al embiarle a Armenia; la benueolencia de Pompeyo, la audacia de Alejandro, y su fortuna propia. Tambien se califica, graduando las excelencias de los sujetos, y de las Prouincias, tal fue aquella de las Prouincias de España. Boetica mittit equos, tauros Xarama feroces, Insignes Cstella Duces, Aragonia Reges. Censurase con una improporcion ingeniosamente. De Mario dixo Paterculo; murio aquel varon grandemente dañoso en la guerra para los enemigos, en la paz para los Ciudadanos: Morbo opressus decessit Marius vir in bello hostibus, in otio ciuibus infestissimus. Con vna critica antitesi, dixo de Tiberio, disimulado vn atento cortesano, al reusar el Imperio. Los demas cumplen tarde, lo que prometen de presto, tu lo que temprano haces, tarde lo prometes. Caeteri quod pollicentur tardè praestant; tu quod praestas tardè polliceris. Las dubitaciones son artificiosa forma del censurar. Del heroico Anibal, ponderò Valerio Maximo, dexandose lleuar del vulgar sentir de los estrangeros, que dexò en duda, si auia de ser tenido por maximo, o po pessimo. Insignem nominis sui memoriam relicturus, in dubio maior ne, an peior haberi deberet, poneret. Ay vnas verdades plausibles y gustosas, que participan igualmente de la Agudeza, y de la prudencia; como aquella de Marcial a Emiliano, quando le dize: Si eres pobre, siempre seràs pobre, porque las dadiuas no se hazen sino a los ricos. Semper eris pauper.si pauper es Ameilianei Dantur opes nulli nunc nisi diuitibus. Tienen algo de satiricas, y juntamente son sentenciosas. Dixo el mismo Marcial a vno que pleiteaua vna deuda: Tu has de presentar al juez, has de pagar al Abogado &c. Pareceme que es mejor pagar al acreedor, que es vno solo. Et iudex petit, petit Patronus Soluas censeo Sexte creditori. El principal assunto deste modo de Agudeza, es vna censura extraordinaria, nacida de vna gran capacidad que alcança mucho. Tal fue el consejo que dio el Rey don Henrique de Castilla a su hijo, y el aprecio que hizo, y diuision de sus vassallos, en los que auian seguido sus partes las del Rey don Pedro de hermano, y los neutrales. Estremada fue la de Augusto, quando refiriendole que Alexandro a los treinta y dos años de su edad, auiendo conquistado el mundo, dixo: En que passaremos lo que nos queda de vida, se admirò de que no entendiesse Alexandro, que era mayor obra gouernar bien vn Imperio, que conquistarlo. Viendo Iulio Cesar vnos Estrangeros cargados de perrillos, estimandolos mucho, preguntò si en aquella tierra parian las mugeres hombres. Gran dicho fue el de Felipo a su hijo Alexandro: murmuraua de que su padre tenia muchas mugeres, y lleuaba mal tener tantos hermanos. Dixole Felipo, aumentandole el miedo, y estimulandole a la virtud: Procura o Alexandro, pues has de tener tantos competidores del Reyno, ser tal en la virtud, y en el valor, que merezcas ser antepuesto a todos. Dixo Pompeyo de si mismo, que todas las dignidades las auia conseguido antes de esperarlas, y las auia dexado antes que otros las esperassen.
Aunque se aprecia un tanto oscuramente en este capítulo, vemos contrapuestas la perspectiva cognitiva quienes participan de una concepción vulgar de la situación, y la perspectiva del agudo, el que no sólo ve esa perspectiva, sino también otra contrapuesta o superior. Así, por ejemplo:
- el Duque de Alba ve que Pompeyo había perdido la batalla aun antes de emprenderla, pues perdió la batalla contra su propio juicio, y contra sus subordinados a los que debería haber impuesto su voluntad. (Bueno, aquí como en otros casos, la percepción del agudo deriva de la superioridad cognitiva de la retrospección, the insight of hindsight).
- La dubitación de Valerio Máximo sobre Aníbal se refiere, también en parte, a los juicios todavía no definitivos de la Historia. Aníbal fue grande, sin duda, pero ¿en excelencia o en iniquidad? También se aprecia ahí la relatividad de las perspectivas: grande para los cartagineses quizá, un azote para los romanos. El agudo es también a veces un relativista capaz de ver el mismo objeto con dos perspectivas, o como jugando en dos campos distintos, relativo a dos marcos de referencia.
- el pleiteador de Marcial sólo ve que no quiere pagar a su acreedor. Pero no ha hecho la suma de los costes judiciales, todo lo más quizá haya tenido en cuenta la minuta del abogado. El escéptico Marcial le dice que habrá de sobornar al juez además, y que ya no le sale a cuenta el pleito; mejor arreglar cuentas directamente y pagar al acreedor, que si no tendrá más acreedores. Se intuye en la perspectiva irónica de Marcial una proliferación de las deudas o multiplicación geométrica de los acreedores, y por tanto su perspectiva humorística es también (o se presenta como) la más razonable.
- Augusto, que viene tras Alejandro, no sólo conoce su caso, sino que lo domina cognitivamente, y políticamente. Es conquistador, y además gobernador. Y pone el gobierno por encima de la conquista, como los sabios ponen la paz sobre la guerra, y como se pone él mismo ética y cognitivamente por encima de Alejandro.
- A Julio César los perrillos le parecen indignos de la atención que reciben—las prioridades de esas mujeres extranjeras están obviamente mal puestas, y está claro que no tienen hijos sino perrillos; su pregunta tiene algo de retórica además de sarcástica.
En fin, que Gracián aprecia el juicio ponderado que arroja sobre una situación una perspectiva menos superficial, más juiciosa o menos evidente. Y la agudeza es una invitación por parte del agudo a que nos sumemos con él a esa perspectiva cognitiva superior, distribuyendo el mundo entre quienes entienden y quienes no entienden y son objeto de ironía por no conocerse ni a sí mismos, ni a los motivos reales de los hombres, o en qué pararon sus afanes, una vez se contemplaron con distancia crítica.
A fecha de hoy estoy (más o menos) el número 144 entre los académicos de mi ciudad, según Google Scholar. Esto va por número de citas. Creía que estaba el 80.... pero es que unos ponen "University of Zaragoza" y otros "Universidad de Zaragoza", y Google sólo los unifica con "Zaragoza." En fin, seguiremos escalando. Para arriba, o para abajo.
Esperen, que mirando por macroáreas, resulta que de humanidades creo que estoy el sexto. Eso ya está mejor : )
Then let not Winter's ragged hand deface In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill'd: Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place With beauty's treasure, ere it be self-kill'd. That use is not forbidden usury, Which happies those that pay the willing loan; That's for thyself to breed another thee, Or ten times happier, be it ten for one; Ten times thyself were happier than thou art, If ten of thine ten times refigur'd thee: Then what could Death do, if thou shouldst depart, Leaving thee living in posterity? Be not self-will'd, for thou art much too fair, To be Death's conquest and make worms thine heir.
Analizamos la estructura narrativa del drama de J. B. Priestley Time and the Conways (1937) examinando su uso de las anacronías objetivas en relación a la estructura hermenéutica retrospectiva inherente a toda representación narrativa, que da lugar a una disjunción temporal que denominamos la "falacia narrativa".
(Time and the Conways (and the Narrative Fallacy))
English Abstract: An analysis of the narrative structure of J. B. Priesley's drama Time and the Conways (1937). The paper analyzes its use of objective anachronies in relation to the retrospective hermeneutic structure inherent in any narrative representation, which gives rise to a temporal disjunction we dub the "narrative fallacy".
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9 Keywords: Narrative, Narrative structure, Hindsight, Hermeneutics, Narratology, J.B. Priestley, Drama, English literature, Time, Temporal structure
Nos llega por el correo un anuncio de una nueva revista académica del grupo Macmillan:
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Vamos que si lo entiendo bien, quien quiera hacerse con un currículum aceptable en esta revista, le sale a mil euros el artículo publicado. (En otros repositorios con menos prestigio, el SSRN por ejemplo, no te cobran nada). Claro que ya pueden vender el prestigio caro, mientras dure la mercancía, y se la compren. De momento no va mal la cosa: lejos de pagar a los autores, las editoriales académicas proponen ahora COBRARLES— por darles atención y difusión, que eso vale más que la ciencia. Y ojo que esto no pasa sólo en las humanidades: varias revistas DE PRESTIGIO en las ciencias vienen haciendo esto ya desde hace años. Con lo cual el open access y la facilidad de publicación y la abundancia de repositorios, lejos de acabar con el monopolio intelectual de los editores, van a reforzarlo: entre la abundancia hay que elegir, y quien dé argumentos para prestigiarse será el favorecido, y el destacado en el mercado de la atención. De los libros para qué decirles, ya es historia vieja que quien quiera un libro de una editorial académica tendrá que pagarle a la editorial— y allí van los fondos públicos de muchos proyectos de investigación que luego ni se molestan en colgar en la web en libre acceso los resultados de sus investigaciones, no sea que se vayan a desprestigiar con el tufo de la multitud. Por supuesto que es río revuelto y en transformación, todo esto de la publicación y la difusión, pero algunos se ve que se las ingenian para navegarlo con éxito, y vender humo perfumado en bote.
Esta nota recapitula el argumento central de los 'Primeros Principios' de Herbert Spencer, situándolo como una contribución crucial a la 'Gran Historia', un magistral razonamiento que unifica todos los fenómenos cósmicos bajo una explicación común, y por este medio conceptualiza todos los acontecimientos como capítulos de un proceso universal, una narración unificada que comprende la generación de la complejidad y su disolución futura.
First Principles, Summary and Conclusion
This paper recapitulates the central argument of Herbert Spencer's 'First Principles' and situates it as a major contribution to Big History, a feat of reasoning which unifies all cosmic phenomena under a single explanation, and thereby conceptualizes all events as chapters of a single story, a universal process involving the generation of complexity and the process of its future dissolution.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 3
Keywords: Big History, Complexity, Herbert Spencer, Evolution, Cosmos, Explanation, Consilience
Partimos del análisis de los relatos de autoafirmación frente a un tercero que presenta Neal Norrick en Conversational Narrative. Desde una perspectiva narratológica e interaccionista, examinamos estas narraciones de experiencias personales en tanto que ritos de autoafirmación, de reparación del rostro social, y de solidaridad de grupo.
Abstract - Telling Put-Down Stories: Narrative Rituals of Self-Affirmation and Group Solidarity:
A follow-up of Neal Norrick’s analysis of ’put-down stories’ in his book Conversational Narrative. These conversational stories of personal experience are examined from an interactional and narratological perspective as rituals of self-affirmation, face-grooming, and group solidarity.
El patrón que siguen estas historias, basado en el establecimiento de aliados frente a un tercero abyecto y excluido, se basa en realidad en un principio básico de la sociabilidad humana. Pues si hay algo que define al ser humano, es el establecimiento de alianzas sociales defensivas frente a terceros, a nivel de grupo. Este comportamiento reproduce la misma dinámica a nivel individual, creando enfrentamientos virtuales en los que se ensayan las maniobras de alianza y se reafirman los valores que han de sostenerla—valores éticos de los que carece la persona castigada con el cotilleo. El ritual consiste en el reforzamiento de la alianza estratégica, normalmente mediante la invocación de los valores de equidad y respeto mutuo que han de sostener toda alianza humana frente a los abusos de los parásitos sociales o free riders, que pretenden apropiarse de los bienes comunales o explotar la benevolencia mutua de los sujetos sociales.
—artículo que subo a la SSRN, como continuación de mi artículo anterior sobre la novela de Cormac McCarthy,"Hemingway meets Beckett".
Aquí comentamos la película de John Hillcoat 'The Road', basada en la novela homónima de Cormac McCarthy. La narración post-apocalíptica de la película, y respuestas representativas a la misma, se sitúan en el contexto de la norteamérica posterior al 11-S, y en el contexto de la crisis ecológica de la civilización industrial, y se evaluá desde un punto de vista ideológico y estético la película en tanto que adaptación de la novela. English Abstract: A commentary of John Hillcoat's film 'The Road', based on Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same title. The post-apocalyptic narrative of the film, and representative responses to it, are set in the context of post-9/11 America and the ecological crisis of industrial civilization, and the film is evaluated as an adaptation of the novel from an ideological and aesthetic viewpoint.
—I'm being asked about the new beta Sessions tool in the website. I received an invitation to try these and I've just got one session going on—this paper on Hegel —with more comments than all my other publications lumped together (comments in my blog I mean).... Still, people might get fed up with receiving kind robotic invitations to discuss one's contributions; so success is not guaranteed once the novelty fades.
Anyway here's my opinion:
Regarding the beta format of the Sessions. It's a welcome addition, and one which enhances Academia's role as an academic social network. I suppose perhaps Academia does not want to become a mega-blog and that's why the Sessions are limited in time and visibility. So if you keep it this way the species will be an ecologically distinct species in the online forest, if that's a priority. This may either catch on or remain a marginal tool, that's unforeseeable and that's that. That said, as a tool it is much too rigid from the user's standpoint. I would like a more flexible approach—to be able to control the opening and closing down of the sessions at any date, or period of time, and for all papers. Not a great idea perhaps, I know I just said that you might call that blog commentaries.... but hey, flexibility's one of the beauties of blogs. People may find it irritating or just plain absurd to interrupt a conversation or argument in case it's going on fine, and Sessions for different disciplines or subjects or communities may require different rhythms. So, flexibility please! But it's fine too if you choose to keep it this way, after all I can't complain about the price tag! So thanks to you all for a great (an immense) website.
Presentamos una introducción al paradigma evolucionista en física y cosmología propuesto por Lee Smolin en Time Reborn ("El renacer del tiempo") (2013). La concepción de Smolin se coloca en el contexto del desarrollo del pensamiento evolucionista en otras ciencias, y se relaciona con el precedente que suponen la cosmología de Herbert Spencer y su Sistema de Filosofía Sintética.
English abstract: The Evolutionary Paradigm in Physics and in Cosmology
This paper outlines the evolutionary paradigm in physics and cosmology put forward by Lee Smolin in Time Reborn (2013). Smolin's conception is contextualized within the development of evolutionary thought in other sciences, and is related with the precedent established by Herbert Spencer's cosmology and his System of Synthetic Philosophy.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4 Keywords: Physics, Cosmology, Science, Philosophy of Science, Evolution, Evolutionism, Paradigms, Time, Lee Smolin
Este artículo ha sido aceptado por dos redes académicas diferentes de la SSRN: la red de Ciencia Cognitiva, y la de Filosofía (en Humanidades) This paper has been accepted by two different academic networks at the SSRN: the Cognitive Science Network, and the Philosophy Network.
eJournal Classifications (see date: Jan. 16, 2015):
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)