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Se muestran los artículos pertenecientes al tema Literatura y crítica.

William Cowper

William Cowper

From the Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble.

COWPER, William (1731-1800), elder son of the rector of Great Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, whose mother died when he was 6. He was educated at a private school (where he was bullied) and at Westminster, where he was a contemporary of Charles *Churchill and W. *Hastings. He was called to the bar in 1754. Sensitive and hypochondriac by nature as a child, he began to suffer from severe depression, and when called for examination for a disputed clerkship in the House of Lords he broke down completely and attempted suicide; his illness may have been aggravated by the failure of his hope of marrying his cousin Theodora Cowper. From this time he was subject to periods of acute melancholia which took a religious form; he felt himself cast out of God's mercy, and wrote later in his moving autobiographical Memoir (c. 1767, pub. 1816), 'conviction of sin and expectation of instant judgement never left me.' He spent some months in Dr Cotton's Collegium Insanorum at St Albans, and turned increasingly to evangelical Christianity for consolation. In 1765 he became a boarderr (in his own words, 'a sort of adopted son') in the home of the Revd Morley Unwin at Huntingdon, and on Morley's death moved with Mary, his widow, to Olney.

There he came under the influence of J. *Newton, the evangelical curate, with whom he wrote Olney Hymns (1669); his contributions include 'God moves in a mysterious way' and 'Oh, for a closer walk with God'. He became engaged to Mrs Unwin, but suffered another period of severe depression and made another suicide attempt; he spent a year with the Newtons before returning to Mrs Unwin's home. A calmer period followed, during which at her suggestion he wrote his satires ('Table Talk', 'The Progress of Error', 'Truth', 'Expostulation', 'Hope', 'Charity', 'Conversation', and 'Retirement') which were published in 1782 with several shorter poems 8including 'Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk; see SELKIRK); in the same year he wrote 'John Gilpin' and in 1783-4 his best-known long poem The Task (1785), both subject suggested by his new friend and neighbour Lady Austen. The volume in which these appeared also contained 'Tirocinium', a vigorous attack on public schools. In 1786 he moved with Mrs Unwin to Weston Underwood, where he wrote various poems published after his death, including the unfinished 'Yardley-Oak' (admired by *Wordsworth), the verses 'On the Loss of the Royal George' ('Toll for the brave . . . '), 'To Mary', and 'The Poplar-Field'. His translation of *Homer, published in 1791, was not successful. From 1791 Mrs Unwin suffered a series of paralytic strokes; she died in1796, leaving Cowper in severe depression from which he never fully recovered.

He wrote 'The Castaway' shortly before his death; like many of his poems it deals with man's isolation and helplessness. Storms and shipwrecks recur in his work as images of the mysterious ways of God, and Cowper's search for a retired and quiet life of simple domestic and rural pleasures gave him little sense of permanent security. Yet his poems and his much admired letters (published posthumously) have been highly valued for their intimate portrait of tranquillity and for their playful and delicate wit. His sympathetic feelings for nature (expressed in the lines from The Task admired by Jane *Austen's Fanny Price, 'Ye fallen avenues! Once more I mourn, / Your fate unmerited') presage *Romanticism, and his use of blank verse links that of James *Thomson with that of *Wordsworth. He was also, like his evangelical friends, a champion of the oppressed, and wrote verses on *Wilberforce and the slave trade. Whether religion was cause or cure of his depression has been much disputed; the sense of guilt and paranoia displayed in his Memoir has much in common with that of Bunyan's *Grace Aboundin. A life by his friend W. *Hayley was published 1803-4; see also The Stricken Deer (1929) by David *Cecil and a critical biography by M. Quinlan (1953). Cowper's *Letters and Prose Writings, ed. J. King and C. Ryskamp, appeared in 3 vols, 1979-82.

The Task, a poem in six books by Cowper, published 1785.

When Cowper's frien Lady Austen (whom he met in 1781) suggested to him the sofa in his room as the subject of a poem in blank verse, the poet set about 'the task'. Its six books are entitled 'The Sofa', 'The Time-Piece', 'The Garden', 'The Winter Evening', 'The Winter Morning Walk', and 'The Winter Walk at Noon'. Cowper opens with a mock-heroic account of the evolution of the sofa ('I sing the sofa') and thence digresses to description, reflection, and opinion. The poem stresses the delights of a retired life ('God made the country, and man made the town'), Bk I, 749); describes the poet's own search for peace ('I was a stricken deer, that left the herd', Bk III, 108), and evokes the pleasures of gardening, winter evenings by the fire, etc. The moral passages condemn blood sports, cards, and other diversions; the poet manifests tenderness not only for his pet harebut even for worms and snails.The poem was extremely popular: *Burns found it 'a glorious poem' that expressed 'the Religion of God and Nature', and it helped to create and supply the growing demand for natural description and tender emotion that found a fuller expression in Wordsworth's *Prelude, a poem which contains many echoes of Cowpar.

'The Castaway', a poem by Cowper, written 1799, published 1803. It is based on an incident from *Anson's Voyage Round the World. Cowper depicts with tragic power the suffering of a seaman swept overboard and awaiting death by drowning. Mr Ramsay in V. Woolf's *To the Lighthouse is given to declaiming its last lines: 'We perish'd, each alone: / But I beneath a rougher sea, / And whelm'd in deeper gulphs than he.'

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Miércoles, 18 de Enero de 2017 05:45. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

'Cecilia', de Fanny Burney: La nece(si)dad de guardar las apariencias

viernes, 15 de enero de 2016

’Cecilia’, de Fanny Burney: La nece(si)dad de guardar las apariencias

Se ha dicho que el tema central de la novela de sociedad inglesa es la tensión entre las exigencias asfixiantes de la clase social, imponiendo la conformidad, y el impulso individual hacia la autenticidad personal y hacia la libertad de acción, expresando en la vida y en los actos de los protagonistas una personalidad propia y una respuesta creativa a su entorno, en el marco de una escena social cuyas reglas trascienden al individuo. La interacción creativa con esas reglas del escenario es el auténtico drama de este género dramático que es la vida social, en especial para personajes jóvenes que están buscando su papel en la escena. De lleno en esta tradición podemos colocar a Cecilia y a su autora.

Leemos la novela de Frances (’Fanny’) Burney Cecilia (1782) como una obra sintomática de la sofocante sumisión de la autora a la ideología patriarcal burguesa, y al control de la identidad sexual y de clase efectuados por ella mediante los rituales de la cortesía social. La novela también es una negociación simbólica de las tensiones creadas por el conflicto entre la necesidad de una expresión auténtica y los protocolos sociales.

Jose Angel Garcia Landa

Universidad de Zaragoza

August 28, 2015

Ibercampus (August 28, 2015)

English abstract: 

Fanny Burney’s ’Cecilia’: The Foolish Compulsion to Keep Up Appearances

 Frances (’Fanny’) Burney’s novel Cecilia (1782) is read as a work symptomatic of the author’s suffocating submission to patriarchal bourgeois ideology and its control of sexual and class identities through the rituals of social politeness. The novel is also a symbolic coming to terms with the conflicting demands of authentic self-expression and social proprieties.


Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

_____. "Compradores de deuda." In García Landa, Vanity Fea 6 August 2012.*
_____. "Compradores de deuda." Ibercampus (Vanity Fea) 5 Sept. 2012.*
_____. "La nece(si)dad de guardar las apariencias." In García Landa, Vanity Fea 27 August 2015.*

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miércoles, 13 de enero de 2016


From the Oxford Companion to English Literature:

OSBORNE, John James (1929-94), playwright, born in Fulham, London, the son of a commercial artist who died in 1940; the first volume of his autobiography, A Better Class of Person (1981), describes his childhood in suburbia, his brief spell as a journalist, and his years as an actor in provincial repertory, during which he began to write plays, the first of which was performed in 1950. He made his name with Look Back in Anger (1956, pub. 1957), which was followed by Epitaph for George Dillon (1957, pub. 1958; written in the mid-1950s in collaboration with Anthony Creighton).; The Entertainer (1957, which starred Laurence Olivier as Archie Rice, a faded survivor of the great years of music hall), Luther (1961, based on the life of Martin *Luther, with much emphasis on his physical as well as his spiritual problems); Inadmissible Evidence (1965, the tragedy of a down-at-heel solicitor, Bill Maitland, plunging rhetorically towards self-destruction); and A Patriot for Me (1965, a highly theatrical piece set in Vienna, based on the rise and fall of Redl, a homosexual officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, ruined by blackmail). Iconoclastic, energetic, and impassioned, Osborne's works at their most positive praise the qualities of loyalty, tolerance, and friendship, but his later works (which include West of Suez, 1971; A Sense of Detachment, 1972; Watch It Come Down, 1976), became increasingly vituperative in tone, and the objects of his invective apparently more arbitrary. His outbursts of rage against contemporary society are frequently exhilarating, for the anger that made him known as an 'Angry Young Man' remained one of his strongest theatrical weapons, but he also expressed from time to time an ambivalent nostalgia for the past that his own work did so mucho to alter. His last play, Déjàvu (1991), is a sequel to Look Back in Anger, presenting the same characters in their regrouped, bad-tempered, but occasionally companionable middle age. Almost a Gentleman (1991) was a second volume of autobiography; Damn You, England (1994) a miscellany of reviews and letters to the press. (See also KITCHEN SINK DRAMA).

Look Back in Anger, a play by J. *Osborne, first produced by the *English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre on 8 May 1956, published 1957. It proved a landmark in the history of the theatre, a focus for reaction against a previous generation (see KITCHEN SINK DRAMA), and a decisive contributionto the corporate image of the *Angry Young Man.

The action takes place in a Midlands town, in the one-room flat of Jimmy and Alison Porter, and centres on their marital conflicts, which appear to arise largely from Jimmy's sense of their social incompatibility: he is a jazz-playing ex-student from a 'white tile' university, working in a market sweet satall, she is a colonel's daughter. He is by turns violent, sentimental, maudlin, self-pitying, and sadistic, and has a fine line in rhetoric. The first act opens as Alison stands ironing the clothes of Jimmy and thir lodger Cliff, as Jimmy reads the Sunday papers and abuses her and the 'Edwardian brigade' which her parents represent. In the sencond act the battle intensifies, as Alison's friend Helena attempts to rescue her from her disastrous marriage; Alison departs with her father, and Helena falls into Jimmy's arms. The third act opens with Helena at the ironing board; Alison returns, having lost the baby she was expecting, and she an Jimmy finda a manner of reconciliation through humiliation and games-playing fantasy. In its use of social milieu, its iconoclastic social attitudes, and its exploration of sadomasochistic relationships, the play was highly influential.

Angry Young Men, a journalistic catchphrase loosely applied to a number of British playwrights and novelists from the mid 1950s, including Kingsley *Amis, John *Osborne, *Sillitoe, and C. *Wilson, whose political views were radical or anarchic, and who described various forms of social alienation. It is sometimes said to derive from the title of a work by the Irish writer Leslie Paul, Angry Young Man (1951).

kitchen sink drama, a term applied in the late 1950s to the palys of writers such as *Wesker, S. *Delaney, and J. *Osborne, which portrayed working class or lower-middle class life, with an emphasis on domestic realism. These plays were written in part as a reaction against the drawing-room comedies and middle-class dramas of *Coward and *Rattigan, and also undermined the popularity of the verse drama of T. S. Eliot and C. *Fry. *Tynan was a principal advocate of this new group of writers.

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Motifs, Topics, Thematics

miércoles, 13 de enero de 2016

Motifs, Topics, Thematics

Motifs, Topics, Thematics (from A BIBLIOGRAPH OF LITERARY THEORY, CRITICISM AND PHILOLOGY) by JAGL . uploaded Turopicu

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Oliver Goldsmith (Oxford Companion)

Oliver Goldsmith (Oxford Companion)

From the Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:

GOLDSMITH, Oliver (?1730-74), the second son of an Anglo-Irish clergyman, born probably at Pallas, Co. Longford, or perhaps at Elphin, Roscommon. He spent much of his childhood at Lissoy, and is thought to have drawn on his memories of it when writing The Deserted Village. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated after some upheavals in 1750; he then presented himself for ordination, was rejected, and went to Edinburgh, where he studied medicine but took no degree. He studied in Leiden, and during 1755-6 wandered about France, Switzerland, and Italy, reaching London destitute in 1756, where he supported himself with difficulty as a physician in Southwark and as an usher in Peckham; he may at this period have received a medical degree from Trinity, though this remains unclear. He applied for a medical post in India, but failed to obtain it; meanwhile he had embarked on a literary career as reviewer and hack-writer for Griffith's Monthly Review, one of his early pieces being a favourable review of Burker's Philosophical Enquiry . . . into the *Sublime and Beautiful. *Burke was to become a close friend. In 1758 he published, under the pseudyonym 'James Willington', his translation of The Memoirs of a Protestant, Condemned to the Galleys in France Because of His Religion (by Jean Marteilhe of Bergerac, a victim of the Edict of Nantes), and in 1759 his frist substantial work, An Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe. It was at this period he met *Percy, later bishop of Dromore, who was to become a loyal friend and also his biographer. He was by now contributing to many periodicals (the Busy Body, the Monthly Review, the *Critical Review, the Ladies' Magazine, etc.), and during Oct. and Nov. 1759 published his own little periodical, the Bee, in which appeared his 'Elegy on Mrs Mary Blaize' (a pawn-broker) and 'A City Night-Piece'. He contributed to *Smollett's British Magazine, started in 1760, and was also employed by *Newbery, for whose new Public Ledger he wroter his 'Chinese Letters', subsequently republished as The Citizen of the World in 1762; he is also said to have written the nursery tale Goody Two-Shoes. In 1761 he met Dr. *Johnson, who admired his work; he became on of the original members of Johnson's *Club. Johnson remained his friend and champion, and in 1762 sold for him the (possibly unfinished) manuscript of The Vicar of Wakefield to Newbery, thereby saving him from arrest for debt. Goldsmith was still struggling as a writer, and making his living with a variety of hack-work in the form of biographies, compilations, translations, abridgements, etc: these include lives of *Voltaire (1761) and Beau *Nash (1762), an abrdigement of *Plutarch (1762), a History of England in a series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son (1764), a Roman History (1769), a Grecian History (1774), lives of T. *Parnell and *Bolingbroke (1770), etc.—in all more than 40 volumes. But he first achieved literary distinction with his poem The Traveller (1764), who introduced him to his only patron, Lord Clare; it was his first signed work, and was much admired by Johnson and *Fox among others. The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), who was to become one of the most popular works of fiction in the language, was slower to find its audience, possibly because it was, as the Monthly Review commented, 'difficult to characterise'.

Goldsmith's first comedy, The Good-Natur'd Man, was rejected by *Garrick but produced at Covent Garden in 1768 with moderate success; She Stoops to Conquer followed in 1773 with immense success. Goldsmith had criticized the vogue for *sentimental comedy and the prejudice against laughter (see CHESTERFIELD) in an essay in the Westminster Magazine entitled 'A Comparison between Laughing and Sentimental Comedy' (1773); his own play's lasting popularity justified his comments.

His best-known poem, The Deserted Village, was published in 1770; his lighter verses include Retaliation (1774) and the posthumously published The Haunch of Venison (1776), written to thank Lord Clare for a gift of game from his estate. His An History of the Earth and Animated Nature (1774), also published posthumously, in eight volumes adapted from *Buffon, *Linnaeus, *Ray, and others, inventively portrays 'tygers' in Canada, and squirrels migrating on bark boats in Lapland, fanning themselves along with their tails.

There are many anecdotes about Goldsmith in Boswell's Life of *Johnson which represent him as ridiculous, vain, extravagantly dressed, improvident, and naive, but also as tender-hearted, simple, and generous, with flashes of brilliance in conversation (despite Garrick's gibe that he 'wrote like an angel, but talked like poor Poll'). He was regarded with much affection; Johnson, in his Latin epitaph, stated that he adorned whatever he touched. He never married, and his relationship with Mary Horneck, his 'Jessamy bride', remains mysterious. He was introduced to the Horneck family by *Reynolds in 1766, when Mary was 14, and accompanied Mrs. Horneck, Mary, and her other daughter Catherine ('Little Comedy', who married H. W. *Bunbury) to Paris in 1770; in 1773 he attacked Thomas Evans for publishing in the London Packet a letter from 'Tom Tickler' mocking his feelings for 'the lovely H——k'. She long outlived him, and provided material for J. Prior's life (1837); another biographer, W. *Irving (1844), concluded that Goldsmith had suffered from unrequited love, but this has been much disputed.

The 1801 Miscellaneous Works contain Percy's memoir, and there are other lives by J. Forster (1848) and Ralph M Wardle (1957). The Collected Works (5 vols, 1966) were edited by A. Friedman, and the correspondence by K. C. Balderston (1928).

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JAMES, Henry, Jr.

JAMES, Henry, Jr.

From Hart and Leininger's Oxford Companion to American Literature, 6th ed.

JAMES, HENRY, JR. (1843-1916), son of Henry James, Sr., was born in New York City, and, with his brothers William, Garth (1845-83) and Robertson (1846-1910), received a remarkably cosmopolitan, eclectic education. The father, desiring his sons to be citizens of the world, believed that they should avoid forming definite habits of living or of intellect, until prepared to make wise choices of their own. Accordingly, Henry was privately educated by tutors until 1855, when the family went to Europe for a three-year stay. He also lived for a time in Newport (1858, 1860-62) before he entered Harvard Law School (1862). After 1866, although he lived mostly in Europe, his American home was at Cambridge. His conception of himself as a detached spectator of life was maturing, as was his idea that the American scene was hostile toward creative talent and offered no adequate subject matter.

For the time being, however, he divided his interest between European and American materials. During the late 1860s, encouraged by Howells, C. E. Norton, and others, he wrote critical articles and reviews, exhibiting admiration for the technique of George Eliot , and also produced short stories, frequently showing the influence of Hawthorne, one of his masters; a realistic novelette, "Watch and Ward" (Atlantic Monthly, 1871; in book form, 1878), concerned with a guardian who loves and marries his ward; and a farce, "Pyramus and Thisbe" (1869). His first important fiction was "A Passionate Pilgrim" (1871), in which he deals with the first of his great themes, the reactions of an eager American "pilgrim" when confronted with the fascinations of the complex European world of art and affairs.

The author himself during this period was often a pilgrim to the transatlantic world, which he came to regard as his spiritual fatherland, moving there permanently in 1875. During a year in Paris he associated with such masters of his art as Turgenev and Flaubert, but after 1876 he made his home mainly in London, with which much of his writing is concerned. His first novel, following A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales (1875) and Transatlantic Sketches (1875), mainly treating his views of England and Italy, was Roderick Hudson (1876), concerned with the failure of an American sculptor in Rome, resulting from a lack of inner discipline. Other novels and tales of this early London period, when James's course of life was still for him a matter of doubt and self-questioning, include The American (1877), contrasting French and American standards of conduct; The Europeans (1878), reversing the situation by bringing Europeans into a New England background; Daisy Miller (1879), whose wide popularity is probably owing to its portrayal of a charming, ingenuous American girl; An International Episode (1879), a novelette showing the reactions of Englishmen to the American scene and of an American heiress to aristocratic Britain; The Madonna of the Future and Other Tales (1879); and Confidence (1880), a romantic, melodramatic novelette about a group of expatriated Americans.

In Washington Square (1881), James again revealed American character, this time in its native environment, but after The Bostonians (1886), a satirical novel of New England reformers and philanthropists, he devoted himself to British and continental themes. The Portrait of a Lady (1881), the first of his mature masterpieces, is a triumph of his method of psychological realism, analyzing the relations of a young American woman with a group of European and expatriated Americans, who objectify her conscientious moral attitude, her sensitive appreciation, and her endurance under suffering. In nearly all of James's fiction, the environment is one of affluence and leisure, in which the preoccupations are with manners and the appreciation of character and the arts, including that of conversation. He treats this society with an infinite refinement of particulars, and in a prose style considered to be unapproached in English for subtlety of phrase and rhythm.

Following The Portrait of a Lady, James temporarily turned from the writing of novels. He collected his fiction (14 vols., 1883), and published several new works: a dramatization of Daisy Miller (1883); The Siege of London (1883), short stories, Portraits of Places (1883), a travel book; Tales of Three Cities (1884); A Little Tour in France (1885); and Stories Revived (3 vols., 1885), reprinting earlier tales.

He returned to the novel with The Princess Cassamassima  (1886), a melodramatic story of revolutionaries and lower-class life in London, told, as all of James's later fictions are, through the observations of one character, who usually remains outside the events. This was followed by The Reverberator (1888), a novelette concerned with American travelers on the Continent; The Aspern Papers  (1888), a novelette which tells of the attempt of a critic to gain a celebrated poet's letters; A London Life  (1889), short stories; The Tragic Muse (1880), a novel dealing with the lives of artists in English society; The Lesson of the Master (1892), short stories; The Real Thing and Other Tales  (1893); The Private Life (1893) and The Wheel of Time (1893), collections of tales. At this time he also wrote four comedies, collected in Theatricals (2 vols., 1894-95), but none of them was successful in the theater, owing perhaps to his essentially cerebral attide towards life, his extreme refinement of motive and situtation, and his unlifelike dialogue and inability to create dramatic simplifications.

His next series of fictional works includes Terminations (1895) and Embarrassments (1896), books of stories, the latter containing "The Figure in the Carpet"; The Other House (1896), an unsuccessful melodramatic novel; The Spoils of Poynton (1897), a tragic novel of mean passions magnified by the excellence of their object, a household of precious objects of art; What Maisie Knew  (1897), a novel told through the medium of a little girl's mind; In the Cage (1898), in which a telegraph clerk observes his aristocratic patrons ; The Two Magics (1898), containing the fine tale of the supernatural "The Turn of the Screw"; The Awkward Age (1899), portraying a British society girl between adolescence and marriage; The Soft Side (1900), a collection of tales; The Sacred Fount (1901), a novelette that seems to satirize the typical "detached observer" of James's novels; The Wings of the Dove (1902), another of his masterpieces in subtle character portrayal; The Better Sort (1903), short stories; The Ambassadors (1903), a novel that shows the author's genius for formal structure, as well as his discernment of the values of Old World culture; and The Golden Bowl (1904), his last completed novel, which also exhibits him at the height of his artistry.

With the addition of two volumes of stories, The Altar of the Dead (1909) and The Finer Grain (1910), and two unfinished novels, The Ivory Tower (1917) and The Sense of the Past  (1917), this completed his prolific output of fiction. He edited a second collection of his novels and tales (1907-9), which included the valuable critical prefaces, and other writings of the last decade include William Wetmore Story and His Friends (2 vols., 1903); English Hours (1905), essays; The Question of our Speech, and The Lesson of Balzac (1905), two lectures delivered in the U.S.; The American Scene (1907), a descriptive work written after a long journey through the U.S.; Views and Reviews (1908), essays, and the autobiographical books, A Small Boy and Others (1913), Notes of a Son and Brother (1914), and The Middle Years (1917). He also returned to playwriting, but of three plays only The High Bid was produced (1908).

These last years were troubled ones, saddened by deaths, including that of his brother William, and at the outbreak of World War I he was particularly agitated. To show allegiance to the Allied cause, he became a British subject in 1915. Always strongly conscious of the formal and thoretical phases of his work, he kept Notebooks (published 1948) and wrote criticism of his own practice and that of other masters of fiction. Even his Letters (3 vols, 1974, 1975, 1980), edited by Leon Edel, display his creative and critical turn of mind. His formal critical writings, sufficient in themselves to establish an author's reputation, were published in French Poets and Novelists (1878); Hawthorne (1879); Partial Portraits (1888), including the essay "The Art of Fiction"; Picture and Text (1893); Essays in London and Elsewhere (1893); Notes on Novelists (1914); Within the Rim and Other Essays (1918); and Notes and Reviews (1921). Thus he fulfilled his cosmopolitan destiny, detached even from the art that absorbed him, for his self-judgements are as subtle and well formed as is the substance of his fiction.

His artistry was conscious at every point, but his intellectual perceptivity in later life seemed to make him a rarefied observer, apparently largely out of touch with many of the more commonplace realities of his times. His eminence in the realm of his choice, however, is unquestioned, as is his influence in the history of the novel, in which he was a pioneer of psychological realism and formal architectonics, and the master of a rich, highly complex prose style and an extremely sensitive appreciation of values of character.

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La novela de Luz Gabás, y su película

La novela de Luz Gabás, y su película


Los actores Mario Casas, Berta Vázquez y Alain Hernández, el director de cine Fernando González Molina y la escritora aragonesa Luz Gabás, protagonizarán el viernes 15 de enero la sesión 147 de “La buena estrella”, el ciclo de coloquios organizado por el Vicerrectorado de Cultura y Política Social de la Universidad de Zaragoza.
El acceso a la sala se realizará mediante invitación. Estas invitaciones podrán recogerse el mismo día a partir de las 9 de la mañana en la conserjería del Paraninfo. Aforo limitado. 
“Palmeras en la nieve”, la película dirigida por González Molina basada en el best seller de Luz Gabás, y que se rodó parcialmente en Huesca, se estrenó en las salas españolas el 25 de diciembre y se ha convertido en uno de los grandes fenómenos del cine español de los últimos tiempos
El coloquio se celebrará a las ocho de la tarde en el Aula Magna del Paraninfo de la Universidad de Zaragoza (Plaza Basilio Paraíso, 4) y será presentado y moderado por el coordinador del ciclo, el escritor, periodista y profesor de la Universidad de Zaragoza Luis Alegre.
Hasta este miércoles 6 de enero, la película había sido vista por 1.300.000 espectadores, alcanzando el número uno de la taquilla española, por encima de películas como Star Wars, el despertar de la fuerza.

“Palmeras en la nieve” cuenta cómo el descubrimiento accidental de una carta olvidada durante años empuja a Clarence (Adriana Ugarte) a viajar desde las montañas de Huesca a Bioko para visitar la tierra en la que su padre Jacobo (Alain Hernández) y su tío Killian (Mario Casas) pasaron la mayor parte de su juventud, la isla de Fernando Poo. En las entrañas de un territorio tan exuberante y seductor como peligroso, Clarence (Adriana Ugarte) desentierra el secreto de una historia de amor prohibido enmascarado en turbulentas circunstancias históricas cuyas consecuencias alcanzarán el presente.

(Luz Gabás era compañera de nuestro departamento, y ex alumna mía. Le dirigí un trabajo de Tercer Ciclo, e incluso comenzó a hacer una tesis, sobre Brian Friel... pero me temo que la aparcó cuando dejó el departamento, para dedicarse a montañesa, madre, alcaldesa, novelista de éxito... ¡Con lo bien que estaría haciendo una tesis!)

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Miércoles, 11 de Enero de 2017 07:37. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Corrección del epitafio a Pablo Iglesias

miércoles, 6 de enero de 2016

Corrección del epitafio a Pablo Iglesias

José de Espronceda no escribió, al parecer, un epitafio a Pablo Iglesias, y sin embargo nos ha llegado una obra de él bajo ese título. (Aclaremos que se refiere al héroe liberal Pablo Iglesias González, ejecutado en 1825, y no a Pablo Iglesias "PSOE" Posse, que murió cien años después —ni tampoco por supuesto a Pablo Iglesias pose).

Esto es lo que nos ha llegado, según la edición de las Obras Poéticas de Espronceda por Leonardo Romero Tovar (1994; RBA, 1999, p. 333):


    Mártir sublime de la patria, un día
fue honor y gloria del hispano suelo;
y ora del libre, luminosa guía,
astro de libertad brilla en el cielo.2

    1. Texto publicado en El Español (28-VI-1836). Pablo Iglesias fue un héroe liberal ejecutado en 1825. El 25 de junio de 1836 se celebraron en Madrid solemnes funerales en su memoria; al acto fúnebre contribuyó Espronceda con estos cuatro versos.
    2. Este verso pasa a ser el primero del soneto A Guardia, con lo que un texto generado por un acto cívico de carácter político se convierte en la pauta inicial de otro texto que cumple las mismas funciones.

Se verá por qué digo que, aunque lo compuso, Espronceda no escribió este epitafio a Pablo Iglesias—y si en efecto lo escribió es más que probable que no entregase el texto para su publicación. Al parecer lo recitó durante el funeral, y el periodista de El Español debió tomar nota de lo que creyó entender. El tercer verso parece ser defectuoso, y el defecto va perpetuándose. Un texto parecido aparece en Poesía Castellana (Epitafio a Don Pablo Iglesias), con una ligera corrección, "luminoso guía." No conozco la autoridad de este texto, y (salvo corrección) daré por bueno el texto de Leonardo Romero, pues el editor especifica (LXXIX) que en el caso de otros poemas aparecidos en publicaciones periódicas se ha atenido a ese texto. Hay que decir que según el DRAE guía es nombre de género común, y por tanto (aunque quizá sea un uso extraño o atípico) bien podría llamarse a Pablo Iglesias "una luminosa guía". El uso común pide sin embargo el masculino, y eso han hecho en
Poesía Castellana, quizá siguiendo alguna edición anterior: luminoso guía.

Pero el verso tercero sigue siendo imperfecto.  Propongo la siguiente corrección:

Mártir sublime de la patria, un día
fue honor y gloria del hispano suelo;
Y ahora de él libre, luminoso guía,
astro de libertad brilla en el cielo.

El sentido es así claro y gramatical: Pablo Iglesias, en vida, fue honor y gloria del hispano suelo, pero ahora está libre de él (no creo que se refiera a que fue ahorcado, sino meramente a que "ya no está entre nosotros"), y al modo de los héroes clásicos, se ha convertido en una estrella o constelación, es un astro de libertad (por eso "guía" ha de ser masculino, no sólo para concordar con Pablo, sino para concordar con "astro"). Un astro de libertad, libre del hispano suelo, que ahora brilla en el cielo.

Observaré sólo que ora, si bien es una aféresis de ahora, según el DRAE aparece sólo como conjunción distributiva, ora en tierra, ora en el cielo, y no parece habitual ni gramatical usarlo como adverbio. Pero en fin, cada cual en realidad habla como quiere y continuamente damos giros extraños a términos habituales (por ejemplo, no sé si es altamente atípico o perfectamente normal orar en el cielo). Pace la RAE.

Lo que no tiene rescate posible, creo, es la expresión "del libre", cuánto menos "ora del libre". Sería ensanchar las tragaderas de la tolerancia. Con la misma razón podría haber transcrito el periodista que había llegado la hora del libre, en 1836. Para entonces, terminada en 1833 la década ominosa con la muerte del infame rey felón,  Espronceda ya había vuelto de su exilio londinense; no era ya un mozuelo, como lo era en 1825 cuando Pablo Iglesias fue ejecutado, y enterrado, me parece recordar, sin grandes funerales ni epitafios memorables. Vaya por ellos la corrección poética, y líbranos Señor de borbonerías, de tiranos, y de errores gramaticales en nuestos epitafios.


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Traducción - Interacción - Retroacción

lunes, 4 de enero de 2016

Traducción - Interacción - Retroacción

Exponemos en este trabajo las ideas teóricas sobre la traducción desarrolladas por Walter Benjamin en 'La tarea del traductor', un ensayo que articula no sólo una teoría de la traducción, sino también una filosofía del lenguaje y de la interpretación. Destacaremos los elementos relativos a la perspectiva historica sobre la tradición, y los efectos de la retrospección, a los cuales Benjamin era especialmente sensible, como puede verse en sus 'Tesis sobre la filosofía de la historia'. Criticaremos un cierto idealismo que aparece en su concepción, resultado de unas maneras de concebir el tiempo, la retrospección, de la intertextualidad y de la tradición que son insuficientemente interaccionales. Un análisis de la interpretación desconstructiva según la entienden diversos miembros de la escuela de Yale sacará a la luz idealismo comparable, y puntos ciegos similares, unidos a la perspicacia crítica de estas perspectivas.

Traducción – Interacción – Retroacción: 

Una relectura de Benjamin y de Man desde la teoría materialista del discurso




English abstract: 

 Translation – Interaction – Retroaction: A Rereading of Benjamin and de Man from a Materialist Theory of Discourse

This paper expounds the main conceptions of Walter Benjamin's theory of translation as they appear in 'The Task of the Translator', an essay which propounds not only a theory of traslation, but a philosophy of language and interpretation as well. Emphasis will fall on the historical perspective on tradition, and on the effects of retrospection and hindsight, to which Benjamin was particularly attuned (witness his 'Theses on the Philosophy of History'). This paper criticises some elements of idealism which surface in his conception, resulting from insufficiently interactional notions of time, retospection, intertextuality and tradition. An analysis of deconstructivist interpretation as understood by several members of the Yale school will reveal a comparable idealism, and similar blind spots, attending the critical insights of these approaches.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: Translation, Theory of translation, Interpretation, Hermeneutics, Deconstruction, Walter Benjamin, Critical theory, Idealism, Materialism, Dialogism, Discourse analysis, Interpretation

Reference Info: La traducción: Nuevos planteamientos teórico-metodológicos, ed. Azucena Penas Ibáñez (Madrid: Síntesis, 2015)

SSRN eJournal Classifications (Date posted: December 26, 2015

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Doin' Pragmatics

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Miércoles, 04 de Enero de 2017 10:37. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

The Structure of the Fabula (I): Aristotle's Poetics (Narrative Theory, 1)

domingo, 3 de enero de 2016

The Structure of the Fabula (I): Aristotle's Poetics (Narrative Theory, 1)


'Narrative Theory' is an online introduction to classical structuralist narratological analysis. The first section addresses the structure of the action or fabula, a mode of analysis that originates in Aristotle's 'Poetics', a seminal work in the theory of narrative. Aristotle's main concepts bearing on fabula structure are examined: his definition of plot and unity of action, his classification of kinds of plots, taking into account the characters' knowledge, and his conception of the sections of plots. This is followed by an account of his theory of characters.

  Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Poetics, Narratology, Action, Representation, Plot, Discourse structure, Literary theory,

The Structure of the Fabula (I):

Aristotle's Poetics (Narrative Theory, 1)


eJournal Classifications  
Date posted: November 19, 2015
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PYGMALION by George Bernard Shaw


Pygmalion. TV adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play. Dir. Cedric Messina. Script ed. Nicholas Lom. Cast: Lyn Redgrave, James Villiers, Ronald Fraser, Emrys James, Lally Bowers, Nicholas Jones, Angela Baddeley, John Westbrook, Joyce Grant, Joanna McCallum. Designer: Eileen Diss. Prod. Christopher Morahan. (BBC Play of the Month). UK: BBC, 1973. Online at YouTube 16 July 2014.*


Another TV adaptation of Bernard Shaw's play:

Pygmalion. Dir. John Glenister. Adaptation of Bernard Shaw's play by Pat Sandys. Cast: Twiggy, Robert Powell, Arthur English, Ronald Fraser, Mona Washbourne, Helen Shingler. Exec. prod. David Cunliffe. Yorkshire TV / ITV, 1981. Online at YouTube (Phil P) 3 March 2013.*


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TOM JONES (from a TV series on Fielding's novel)

lunes, 28 de diciembre de 2015

TOM JONES (from a TV series on Fielding's novel)

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Miércoles, 28 de Diciembre de 2016 01:12. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

The Novel & Morality: Samuel Johnson's 'Rasselas' - Professor Belinda Jack

Lunes, 28 de diciembre de 2015

The Novel & Morality: Samuel Johnson's 'Rasselas' - Professor Belinda Jack

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Miércoles, 28 de Diciembre de 2016 01:06. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Wilde y el enigma de la esfinge

sábado, 26 de diciembre de 2015

Wilde y el enigma de la esfinge

Mostramos cómo "El crítico como artista" de Oscar Wilde anticipa algunos conceptos clave de la hermenéutica postestructuralista—por ejemplo, la dialéctica necesaria entre ceguera y percepción crítica (Lacan, Paul de Man) o el efecto retroactivo que tiene la interpretación sobre la construcción de la obra. Más específicamente, la lectura del enigma de la Esfinge que propone Wilde en esta obra a la vez teoriza y dramatiza la relación paradójica que se da entre ceguera y percepción, al formular una profecía irónica que puede leerse como el anuncio por parte de Wilde de su propia caída trágica—en la que hay un elemento de actuación interpretativa de un guión previo, elemento que ha sido comentado previamente por diversos críticos. Es decir, la Esfinge de Wilde se usa como vehículo para un enigma sobre el propio Wilde, y es un emblema de la ambivalencia de su propia actitud ante la cuestión de la revelación pública de su homosexualidad.


Oscar Wilde's "The Critic as Artist" is shown to foreshadow some key concepts of poststructuralist interpretive theory - such as the necessary interplay of blindness and insight in criticism (Lacan, Paul de Man), or the retroactive effect of interpretation in the construction of the work. More specifically, Wilde's reading of the riddle of the Sphinx in a passage of this work both theorizes and dramatizes the paradoxical relationship between blindness and insight, in the shape of an ironic prophecy which can be read as Wilde's announcement of his own tragic downfall - in which there is an element of compulsive acting out that has been noted by a number of previous critics. That is, Wilde's Sphinx is used as the vehicle of a riddle about Wilde himself, and is an emblem of his own ambivalent attitude toward the public revelation of his homosexuality.



Links to the paper in the following websites, journals and repositories:

Wilde and the Riddle of the Sphinx

Date posted: January 14, 2008  


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_____. "Wilde y el enigma de la Esfinge." Online PDF at Zaguán 23 April 2009.*

_____. "Wilde y el enigma de la Esfinge." ResearchGate 15 April 2012.*
_____. "Wilde y el enigma de la Esfinge (Wilde and the Riddle of the Sphinx). PhilPapers 28 Jan.           2009.*
_____. "Wilde y el enigma de la Esfinge." Academia 26 Dec. 2015.*

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martes, 22 de diciembre de 2015

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature, by Hart and Leininger:

Herman Melville was born in New York City, a descendant of English and Dutch colonial families in whom he took great pride. His father, a cultivated gentleman, underwent financial reverses, entered bankruptcy and died when Herman was 12 years old. The boy's mother, left virtually destitute with seven other children, seems from the portrait of Mrs. Glendinning in Pierre to have been an imperious, unsympathetic woman. His schooling ended when he was 15, and, after clerking in a New York bank, working in his brother's fur and cap store, farming, and teaching, he shipped as a cabin boy to Liverpool (1839). This voyage, described in Redburn, was both romantic and harrowing, and ingrained in him a love for the sea. Upon his return, he again taught school in upstate New York, until he sailed on the whaler Acushnet for the South Seas (Jan. 1841). The 18-month voyage provided a factual basis for his later novel Moby-Dick. When he tired of whaling, he jumped ship at the Marquesas (July 1842) with a companion, Richard Tobias Greene, and lived for a month in the islands, as he later described in Typee and Mardi. He escaped from the savages who were holding him captive in the valley of Typee on an Australian trader, from which he deserted at Papeete (Sept. 1842). In Tahiti he worked for a time as a field laborer, studying the island life that he later depicted in Omoo. He left Tahiti on a whaler, and at Honolulu enlisted as an ordinary seaman on the frigate United States (Aug. 1843). His life aboard the man-of-war until his discharge at Boston (Oct. 1844) is the basis of White-Jacket. Having completed his education in what he later termed the only Harvard and Yale that were open to him, he returned home to begin fashioning novels from his experiences, and to enter literary society in New York and Boston.

His first five books, Typee (1846), Omoo (1847), Mardi (1849), Redburn (1849), and White-Jacket (1850), won him fame and a wide following. He became a member of the literary circle of the Duyckinck brothers, who opened a new world of literature to him through their great libraries. In 1849 he made a trip to England to arrange for foreign publication, and visited Paris. The following year, with his wife, whom he had married in 1847, he moved to the Massachusetts farm that was his home for the next 13 years. Here he formed a friendship with his neighbor Hawthorne, who became his confidant after he outgrew the Duyckinck set of New York literati. His greatest work, Moby-Dick (1851), was dedicated to Hawthorne, and it is worth noting that the tortured novel Pierre (1852) was published at the same time as Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, since both deal with idealists who are crushed in their attempts to pursue the ways of heaven upon earth.

Melville's popularity, which began to wane with the publication of Moby-Dick, was entirely lost through the confused metaphysics and iconoclasm of Pierre, for the public's preference was always for his early exotic romances. Opportunity for revaluation was lost when a fire at his publishers (1853) destroyed the plates of his books and most of the unsold copies. Hawthorne's removal to Concord deprived him of his last great stimulus, and from this time he drew farther within himself in his tireless search for a key to the universal mystery. Israel Potter (1855), the story of the Revolutionary soldier, was a weak historical romance, but it was followed by Melville's finest achievements in short fiction, The Piazza Tales (1856), which includes "Bartleby the Scrivener," "Benito Cereno," and "The Encantadas." After The Confidence Man (1857), an abortive satire on the commercialism and selfishness of the age, he wrote no further prose except the novelette Billy Budd, completed just before his death.

Clarel (1876), a long, involved poem concerned with his search for religious faith, grew out of a tour to the Holy Land (1857). His diary of the trip was published as Journal Up the Straits (1935). Melville's other verse includes Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866), John Marr and Other Sailors (1888), and Timoleon (1891), the last containing poems based on his travels in Greece and Italy. Clarel, John Marr, and Timoleon were privately financed and published in small editions. About 80 short uncollected poems were first printed in the collected edition of his works (1924).

Melville's great creative period having perished from public neglect and his own inanition, he attempted to eke out a living by lecturing. Failing to receive a desired consulship, after a trip to San Francisco (1860) on a clipper ship commanded by his brother, he moved to New York City (1863) and three years later received a mean appointment as an outdoor customs inspector, in which position he continued for 19 years. His last years were spent in complete obscurity, and his death passed virtually unnoticed. It was not until 1920 that he was rediscovered by literary scholars, and in subsequent years the previous neglect was atoned for by a general enthusiasm. An elaborate collected edition appeared (12 vols., 1922-23) including some work left in manuscript; individual works were frequently reprinted; and some magazine sketches were collected as The Apple-Tree Table (1922). Other books published for the first time included Journal of a Visit to London and the Continent (1948), Journal of a Visit to Europe and the Levant (1955) and Letters (1960), including all 217 then known.

A wealth of  scholarly research on his life and writings has been made, and recent students have revaluated his long-obscure literary reputation. Publication of a scholarly edition of his Writings was begun in 1968 by Newberry Library and Northwestern University Press, and by the 15th volume had reached the Journals (1989). He has come to be considered not only an outstanding writer of the sea and a great stylist who mastered both realistic narrative and a rich, rhythmical prose, but also a shrewd social critic and philosopher in his fiction.



Some works:

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale, novel by Melville, published in 1851. Within this realistic account of a whaling voyage is set a symbolic account of conflict between man and his fate. Captain Ahab declares, "All visible objects are but as pasteboard masks," and Melville, holding this thesis, strikes through the surface of his adventurous narrative to formulate concepts of good and evil imbedded as allegory in its events.

The outcast youth Ishmael, feeling "a damp, drizzly November" in his soul, goes to New Bedford, planning to ship on a whaler. There he draws as a roommate Queequeg, a Polynesian prince, and the two become comrades. After Ishmael hears a symbolic sermon by Father Mapple, he and Queequeg go to Nantucket and sign on the Pequod, which sails on Christmas Day. The captain, Ahab, is a monomaniac whose one purpose is to capture the fierce, cunning white whale, Moby-Dick, who had torn away his leg during their last encounter. He keeps below deck for some time, but finally declares his purpose and posts a doubloon on the mast as a reward for the man who first sights the white whale. The characters of the sailors are revealed by their reactions. The chief mate, Starbuck, earnest, prudent, and fretful, dislikes it. Stubb, the second mate, is happy-go-lucky and takes perils as they come. Flask, the third mate, is incapable of deep thought and for him killing whales is just an occupation. Others in the crew include Fedallah and his mysterious Asiatics; the American Indian harpooner, Tashtego, the African, Daggoo; and the black cabin boy, Pip. Through the plot of the voyage, which carries the Pequod nearly around the world, runs a comprehensive discussion of the nature of the whale, the history of science and art relating to the animal, and the facts of the whaling industry. Whales are captured during the pursuit, but circumstances seem to conspire against Ahab: storms, lightning, loss of the compass, the drowning of a man, and the insanity of Ahab's favorite, Pip. The white whale is finally sighted, and in the first day's chase he smashes a whaleboat. The second day, another boat is swamped, and the captain's ivory leg is snapped off. On the third day the whale is harpooned, but Ahab, fouled in the line, is pinioned to Moby-Dick, who bears down on the Pequod. The ship is sunk and, as the final spars settle in the water, one of the men nails to the mast a sky hawk that pecks at the flag he is placing as a signal. The ship, "like Satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven along with her, and helmeted herself with it." Ishmael, the only survivor, is rescued by another whaler, the Rachel.

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, novel by Melville, published in 1852. It is considered to be semi-autobiographical.

Pierre Glendinning, only son of an affluent and haughty widow, is engaged to Lucy Tartan, daughter of another prominent family in upstate New York. He accidentally meets Isabel, discovers that she is his illegitimate half-sister, and feels that it its his duty to protect her in opposition to his proud mother. To acknowledge Isabel as a sister would disgrace his father's memory, so Pierre pretends to marry her. They seek refuge in New York, and Pierre, poor and without friends, turns to writing a book that no publisher will issue. Lucy, still in love with Pierre, follows him to New York. Threatened by her brother and his own cousin, Pierre kills the latter. Both Lucy and Mrs. Glendinning die of grief, and Pierre and Isabel, now in love with each other, commit suicide in his prison cell. In grappling with the ambiguities of good and evil, Pierre has followed the "chronometrical" standards of ideal Christian conduct, instead of the "horological" standards of contemporary society. He is accordingly undone by his ideals, and becomes "the fool of Truth, the fool of Virtue, the fool of Fate."

Benito Cereno, story by Melville, published in The Piazza Tales (1856). Its source is a chapter in Amasa Delano's Voyages and Travels (1817). Robert Lowell adapted Melville's story in a one-act verse play of the same title in The Old Glory (1965).

In 1799 Captain Delano puts in for water at an uninhabited island off Chile, where he encounters a Spanish merchantsman in ruinous condition, commanded by Benito Cereno, a sensitive young Spaniard now gravely ill and enabled to pursue his duties only with the solicitous care of his black servant Babo. Cereno tells the American that he sailed from Buenos Aires for Lima, with a crew of 50 and a cargo including 300 Negroes owned by Alexandro Aranda. Off Cape Horn, he says, many of the crew were lost in a storm, and disease destroyed most of the other whites and blacks. Delano offers aid, but is uneasy at the insubordination of the slaves and the careless seamanship and seeming ingratitude of Cereno. He is about to return to his ship when Cereno jumps into his boat, precipitating an attack by the Negroes from which they barely escape. Cereno explains that the blacks had mutinied, led by Babo, and wanted to be carried to Africa. Delano seizes the slave ship, and takes it with his own to Lima, where Babo is executed. Cereno enters a monastery, but soon dies.

Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, symbolic tale by Melville published anonymously in Putnam's Magazine (1853) and reprinted in The Piazza Tales (1856). One view is that it reflects Melville's futility at the neglect of his novels ("Dead Letters") and his uncertainty about how to relate to society. 

A Wall Street lawyer hires Bartleby, a curious, wraith-like figure, as a copyist. Barleby refuses to mingle with the other employees, and, when asked to do anything besides copying documents, invariably says "I would prefer not to." Som inner dignity or pathos in him prevents his being discharged, even when he ceases to work and uses the office for living quarters. The lawyer moves to another building, and the new tenant has Bartleby arrested. Visited in prison by the lawyer, he is silent and refuses favors. Soon he dies, and the lawyer hears a rumor that Bartleby was formerly a clerk in the Dead Letter Office, whose strange atmosphere affected his attitude toward life to the end.

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade, unfinished satirical novel by Melville, published in 1857. This last novel printed during the author's life shows a pessimistic view best described by the title of a handbill that figures in the story: "Ode on the Intimations of Distrust in Man, Unwillingly Inferred from Repeated Repulses, in Disinterested Endeavors to Procure His Confidence."

A deaf-mute boards the Mississippi  steamboat Fidèle, bound from St. Louis to New Orleans, and displays to the passengers a slate on which he writes: "Charity thinketh no evil; suffereth long, and is kind; endureth all things; believeth all things; and never faileth." This is regarded as a proof of lunacy, although the passengers consider the barber's "No Trust" sign as wise and well expressed. Optimistic, faith-seeking mankind then appears in a variety of other disguises, as the "Masquerade" continues, and distrust replaces confidence in the course of each episode.

Billy Budd, a novelette by Melville, was written during the five years before his death and pubnlished in 1924. The much revised manuscript, left without definitive form, was reissued in a very careful edition in 1962. A dramatization was made by Louis O. Coxe and Robert H. Chapman as Uniform of Flesh (1949), revised as Billy Budd (1951). 

Billy Budd is the typical Handsome Sailor of 18th-century balladry, and because of his innocence and beauty is hated by Claggart, a dark, demon-haunted petty officer. In his simplicity, Billy cannot understand why Claggart hates him, why evil should desire to destroy good. Claggart concocts a fantastic story of mutiny, supposedly plotted by Billy, whom he accuses to the captain. Billy, unable to speak, in his only act of rebellion strikes Claggart a fatal blow. Captain Vere, who sympathizes with Billy and recognizes his essential innocence, is nevertheless forced to condemn him, and though Billy is hanged he lives on as a legend among sailors.

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Jueves, 22 de Diciembre de 2016 07:20. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Bibliografía sobre novela y narrativa de ficción inglesa

lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2015

Bibliografía sobre novela y narrativa de ficción inglesa

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Jueves, 22 de Diciembre de 2016 07:18. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death and Women 2010 (sub español)

lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2015

Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death and Women 2010 (sub español)

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Miércoles, 21 de Diciembre de 2016 06:04. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Martín Caparrós. Inauguración 5ª Jornadas de Periodismo.

martes, 15 de diciembre de 2015

Martín Caparrós. Inauguración 5ª Jornadas de Periodismo

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Jueves, 15 de Diciembre de 2016 06:26. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Charles Dickens (Victorian Values)

Charles Dickens (Victorian Values)


From The Short Penguin History of English Literature, by Stephen Coote ("Victorian Values", 3):

(...) Bulwer-Lytton also developed many other genres of fiction. Paul Clifford (1850), for example, is a 'novel with a purpose' in which the author campaigned against 'a vicious prison-discipline, and a sanguinary penal code'. His resurrection of the eighteenth-century 'Newgate novel' was to influence the Dickens of Oliver Twist (1838), while occult fantasies such as Zanoni (1842), ghost stories such as 'The Haunted and the Haunters' (1859) and works of science fiction furthered Bulwer-Lytton's popularity. So did The Caxtons (1849), a gentle saga of domestic family life, and one of a trilogy of pleasantly reassuring works which include My Novel (1853) and What Will He Do with It? (1858). Compromise and good humour are the essence of these works.

Two contemporary exponents of comic fiction were Charles Lever (1806-72) and R. S. Surtees (1805-64). Lever's works were principally concerned with Ireland and the Irish, and range from picaresque military adventure through to Lord Kilgobbin (1872), a more sombre reflection on the life of the Irish aristocracy. The picaresque was also to be favoured by Surtees in Jorrocks's Jaunts and Jollities (1838), his sporting sketches of a rumbustious 'Fox 'unting' grocer whose Sancho-Panza-like servant Pigg is introduced in Handley Cross (1843).

With such novels as these, the enormous range of Victorian prose fiction had begun to be explored. Social and political theory, protest, and historical and domestic works had all been essayed, but it is with the comic possibilities opened up by social reportage that we come to the early career of one of the supreme figures of nineteenth-century English literature: Charles Dickens (1812-70).


Dickens began his career as a freelance journalist, reporting legal and parliamentary affairs with an accuracy that was to win him a high reputation. An increasingly informed and passionate response to Victorian social conditions sustained the great achievements of his maturity, while the exuberance apparent in his early pieces led to the writing of anecdotal sketches, character studies and tales. Derived in part from the essays of Leigh Hunt and the young Dickens's extensive reading in the novels and journalism of the eighteenth century, these very successful essays were issued in volume form and under Dickens's pseudonym as Sketches by Boz (1836).

The publishers Chapman and hall were aware of this early work, and when the failing artist Robert Seymour approached them with some sporting illustrations of cockneys in the countryside, they asked the newly contracted Boz for linking passages of narrative prose. Confident now of his imaginative power, Dickens insisted that the illustrations serve the narrative rather than the other way around. The publishers agreed, and at the close of March 1836 they began the monthly serial publication of one of the great comic works in the language, Pickwick Papers. As the novel developed along its haphazard route and the plump and prosperous hero acquired his worldly wise servant Sam Weller—a figure who shows Dickens's remarkable powers of characterization through speech—so this genial comedy of middle-class life slowly became a publishing phenomenon. The eighteenth-century picaresque novel had been given fresh life, and the newly married author of twenty-four eventually found his work circulated in print runs of 40,000 a month.

The commercial success of this experiment in serial publication was to have an immense influence on subsequent Victorian fiction. Authors and publishers were now often to issue their works in parts before republication in a 'three-decker' or later as a single volume. The demands and conventions of issuing a novel in what was often as many as twenty monthly parts of three or four chapters, with a concluding double issue, challenged authors to organize their themes, plots and character developments within a regular framework of climaxes. In addition, writers learned how to bind their material together through parallelism and imagery. The enormous length of such publications encouraged the depiction of a comprehensive social range, while the relatively low cost of serial publication—a shilling an issue compared to the guinea and a half charged for a bound novel—greatly enlarged the market.

In Pickwick Papers itself, many of the technical possibilities offered by serial form are still unexplored. However, with Jingle as the none-too-serious villain of the work and the humorously contrived misunderstanding whereby the innocent Pickwick is mistakenly supposed to have offered marriage to his landlady Mrs Bardell, the work develops via such hilrious scenes as Bob Sawyer's bachelor party (later one of Dickens's favourite recital episodes) towards the high comedy of the trial of Bardell v. Pickwick. Pickwick's refusal to pay damages and his consequent stay in the debtors' prison gave Dickens the chance to confront boyish innocence and the charitable high spirits of Dingley Dell with a suggestion of the claustrophobic horror that characterizes the world of his maturity. Against this he then set the hero's magnanimity—the essential Pickwickian benevolence—by which Pickwick himself contrives to relieve the wretchedness of his fellow prisoners. The rich man who intervenes to alleviate suffering was to remain a standard figure in Dickens's fiction.

With Pickwick gaining ever-greater popularity, Dickens began a work whose characters were to obsess his imagination and whose incidents began to probe the painful worlds of abused childhood and official incompetence in a manner that reveals the great social critic. The sentiment and high melodrama of Oliver Twist (1838) derive from the popularity of the Newgate novel, while the somewhat clumsily handled conventions of the wronged woman, the dispossessed heir and the death-bed secret explore the social horrors of Victorian England with considerable power.

Oliver in the Malthusian hell of the workhouse is an image of eternal innocence caught in Victorian corruption, in particular the evils of the 1834 Poor Laws and the blighted imagination and sheer ineptitude of Bumble the beadle. The institutionalized physical hunger of the workhouse is at one with the emotional starvation, and both lead to legendary pathos: 'The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the tabl; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: "Please, Sir, I want some more."' Here is an emblem of a heartless, system-dominated world that tries to crush the individual and stands perpetually indicted for failing to protect the innocent and the weak. Dickens's loathing of the mechanical inhumanity of systems places him firmly in the line of the great Victorian sages.

Where supposedly respectable adults have abused their trust the Devil steps in, here as Fagin the red-bearded master of the underworld frying sausages with a toasting fork and ironically encouraging the cockney resilience of the Artful Dodger and his school of thieves in the Victorian values of hard work, family loyalty and useful education. If official charity is heartless, the criminal world at first appears warm. The irony is scathing, but it leads to the nightmare of the Devil trying to reclaim his own, of nancy mnenaced by Fagin and Sikes, and Dickens's portrayal of the wicked pusued by justice after the brutal murder of Nancy herself.

Perhaps no moment in Dickens more surely raises melodrama to high art than this last—the strands of Nancy's hair crackling in the fire as Sikes burns his murderous club echo forever in the mind—and it is the sheer imaginative force of Dickens's underworld that remains with the reader long after the machinery that leads to Oliver's security in the middle-class world of Mr Brownlow has been forgotten. A simplistic faith in acceptable Victorian values pales when confronted by the anarchic forces that underlay them and suggests that the artist and the moralist were not yet at one.

Such problems of focus are also evident in Nicholas Nickleby (1839) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), where they partly derive from both being novels of the road. However, where the first is comic and resilient, the second is often sentimental to a maudlin degree.

In his previous novels, Dickens's heroes had been a portly old gentleman and a child. In Nicholas Nickleby, he took what he described as 'a young man of impetuous temper and of little or no experience' and placed him in a plot that is too often dependent on eavesdropping and coincidence. It is also uncomfortably suspended between the stage villainy of Uncle Ralph and the sickly benevolence of the Cheeryble brothers. Such effects suggest the world of Victorian melodrama, and Dickens's love of the theatre is evident throughout. Popular culture, indeed, was one of the mainstays of his art.

If the stage villainy of Ralph, the pathos of the mentally defective Smike and the often rather priggish virtue of the hero strain credibility, what gives the novel its continuous fascination is Dickens's portrayal of a cast of grotesques acting out their roles with conscious hypocrisy like Ralph or the superabundant dottiness of Mrs Nickleby. The success and limitations of such a proceeding can be seen in the book's most famous character: Mr Squeers, the sadistic and rapacious principal of a nightmare school for the unwanted sons of the gentry. Evil is here tempered by broad comedy indignation Squeers certainly rouses but also laughter, and in the end it is sufficient that he is flogged by Nicholas who then absconds with his chief victim, Smike.

In contrast to Squeers are the Crummlees, that marvellous theatrical family who become ever more vivid as their plays become ever more absurd. Mr. Crummles's memory of falling in love with his consort as she stood 'on the butt-end of a spear surrounded with blazing fireworks' has a bizarre yet heart-warming innocence, a richly imaginative psychological verisimilitude. Such invention suggests that uniquely Dickensian gallery of snobs, fools and minor villains, obsessives who are often the life of his work. Among such figures here are Mrs Nickleby herself whose mental flutterings rise to the greatness of Mistress Quickly as she hears of the death of Smike:

'I am sure,' said Mrs Nickleby, wiping her eyes, and sobbing bitterly, 'I have lost the best, the most zealous, and most attentive creature that has ever been a companion to me in my life—putting you, my dear Nicholas, and Kate, and your poor papa, and that well-behaved nurse who ran away with the linen and the twelve small forks, out of the question of course.'

In The Old Curiosity Shop, a novel developed out of a story in Dickens's unsuccessful periodical Master Humphrey's Clock (1840), the death of Little Nell is a transfiguration of innocence in a corrupt world, the world of London and the industiral cities of the Midlands, of darkness, vain hope and the evil Quip.

In a world built on contrasts of light and dark, Quilp is the deformed embodiment of evil, the Rumpelstiltskin in the fiairy-tale elements of the plot. As a grotesque, he is a masterly creation. 'He ate hard eggs, shell and all, devoured gigantic prawns with the heads and tails on . . . and in short performed so many horrifying and uncommon feats that the women were nearly frightened out of their wits, and began to doubt if he were really a human creature.' And therein lies the problem. Compelling as he is and revolting as the sexual and financial plots he hatches are, Quilp is unable fully to embody Dickens's loathing for 'the mountain heap of misery' in the novel. He is a figure of fear rather than a means of analysis. He belongs to fairy-tale, and the lurid hellisness of his death is too obviously his creator's revenge on horrors not yet fully understood.

By contrast, the plangently sentimental death of Little Nell, exhausted after forced wanderings with her grandfather, is too obviously an attempt by Dickens to come to terms with his own very personal feelings about the deaths of girls whose lives were too good for the world. Nell and her grandfather's flight from the city to the supposed innocence of the countryside is essentially a pursuit of sentiment and a place 'where sin and sorrow never came . . . a tranquil place of rest, where nothing evil entered'. Only here, Dickens seems to suggest, silent under a moonlit tomb, can innocence finally be left in peace with God. Meanwhile, the world goes on in the life of the stalwart Kit (one of Dickens's most delightful heroes) while the dead and the houses in which they lived pass away 'like a tale that is told'.

One of the most alarming horrors faced by Little Nell was violent industrial unrest in the Midlands. With Barnaby Rudge (1841), Dickens's historical novel on the Gordon Riots of 1780, the mob surges to the centre of attention. While the Scott of The Heart of Midlothian was an important influence here, the range of Dickens's social analysis had now been deepened by his contact with Carlyle, and in Barnaby Rudge itself a number of important elements from Carlyle's thought are clearly present. In the opening chapter, for example, we are shown the sins of the fathers that are to be visited on the sons. Sir John Chester—'soft-spoken, delicately made, precise and elegant'—personifies Carlyle and Dickens's loathing of the eighteenth-century 'Dandiacal Body', of feckless patrician government and of the paternal irresponsibility by which Chester himself casts off his son Edward while also causing the bestial Hugh, his 'natural' or illegitimate child, to join in the destruction of the Maypole inn and the traditional values suggested by the nearby great house. Hugh is the personification of the corrupt old order, 'that black tree of which I am the ripened fruit'. In this, he forms the perfect complement to the simple-minded Barnaby Rudge, the 'natural' or idiot son of a murderous servant. Together, Hugh and Barnaby suggest the brutality and idiocy which will lead a rebellion in society against the values their parents have betrayed.

The forces of the Terror as presented by Carlyle made a deep impression on Dickens, and the wanton destructiveness of the mob roars throughout his novel with a power that is as ruthlessly conceived as his master's. The mob gives frightening expression to contemporary fears of a Chartist uprising, and its mindless fury is exactly caught when Dickens describes the sacking of Lord Mansfield's house. To ravage the work of the father of the common law is to bring about a society where all coherence has gone. In the end, the heroes of the novel—Varden, Joe, Edward Chester—are obliged to align themselves with the older forces whose weakness they all too painfully know. For Dickens, society must redeem itself through traditional resources, however corrupt these may have become.

Between the completion of Barnaby Rudge and starting on Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), Dickens made the journey described in his American Notes (1842), much of which had in fact been toned down from the private letters on which his book was based. In Martin Chuzzlewit—and partly as a response to criticism levelled at American Notes—Dickens painted an even harsher picture of the United States. It becomes a morass where the 'cash nexus' had reached such appalling dimensions that 'men were weighed by their dollars, measures gauged by their dollars; life was auctioned, appraised, put up, and knocked down for its dollars'. Dickens's powerful symbol of this thin self-destructive greed is the putrid swamp which his hero is tricked into investing in and which goes by the name of Eden.

The American scenes in Martin Chuzzlewit, excellent though their satire is, are nonetheless too loosely connected to a novel which is itself messily constructed. Martin is sent to the States (partly, it has been suggested, to boost the book's poor sales) after falling in love with his grandfather's ward and becoming a victim of the machinations of that ogre of hypocrisy, Mr Pecksniff. And it is with figures like Pecksniff and Sarah Gamp that Dickens's genius for moral caricature is seen at its most developed. The energy with which these figures have been created takes over the book, while their actions and speech lead in the case of Pecksniff especially to a portrait of hypocritical duplicity and self-seeking that was without parallel in Dickens's work so far.

 Pecksniff is financially ruined by the trickster Montague Tigg, a character who again took Dickens's imagination into areas that had never been so powerfully explored, a world not just of financial chicanery, but of claustrophobic criminal psychology, nightmare and murder. The death of Tigg at the hands of Jonas Chuzzlewit points forward to Edwin Drood (1870) and the horrors of Doestoevesky's Crime and Punishment (1866). If the focus of Martin Chuzzlewit as a whole is rather too diffuse, it is nonetheless one of the most richly inventive of all Dickens's works and suggests powers that his mature genius was to harness to triumphant effect. 

Part of this discipline was provived by Dickens's deepening awareness of social problems, and throughout his career he was to turn to journalism as a means of publicizing abuses and venting his anger. For a brief period he was editor of the Daily News, but the most telling of his journalistic pieces from this period are the 'Letters on Social Questions' (1846-50), published in his friend and biographer John Forster's Examiner. In these articles (so superior in their passion to the contemporary Pictures from Italy (1846) and their labored travelogues) Dickens railed against capital punishment, ragged schools, 'Ignorance and Crime', the vile exploitation to be found on paupers' farms and the wretchedness of a legal system where 'A Truly British Judge' could linger over the possibilities of flogging, transporting or imprisoning a ten-year-old child who had stolen 5s 3d.

In A Christmas Carol (1843), the first and finest of the Christmas Books Dickens issued up to 1848, the heartless forces of Malthus, the Utilitarians and the market-place are presented by means of a fairy-tale that has become a permanent part of the mythology of modern man. Scrooge—'hard and sharp as a flint, from which no steel had ever struck out a generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster'—is the eternal type of the miser. His solipsistic existence is at once a psychological deformity and a satire on the hard-faced Victorian business man bound to his work, dutifully contributing a pittance to the workhouse, yet ultimately indifferent to the means that serve to 'decrease the surplus population'.

The ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the reverse of this state. The domestic virtues of Bob Cratchit his wretched clerk—values which, in The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), Dickens was to dwell on a maudlin degree—reveal a Christian benevolence that allows the Cratchits to toast Scrooge's health amid the poverty he has inflicted on them. When the ghost of Chistmas Future shows Scrooge the scenes after his own death, the miser is finally converted into that essential Dickensian figure, the wealthy but benevolent man who, far from seeing money as his chief business, can say with the ghost of Jacob Marley: 'Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.'

Dickens's next work again conveys the conversion of a hard and life-denying business man, but where A Christmas Carol is a moral fable, Dombey and Son (1848) is the first work of Dickens's maturity and a novel of exceptional range and subtle suggestiveness. In offering a panoramic view of a society in the throes of change, Dickens here emerges as one of the supreme figures of nineteenth-century fiction, the first great English novelist to describe the discontents of urban industrial life. His genius at last stands fully revealed.

So great an advance required a major extension of technique. What in Dickens's earlier works often appears improvided or even careless is here focused through telling juxtapositions of character and a play of imagery that at once probes the personal and social influences at work in the late 1840s and relates these to a view of the ultimately mysterious forces of life, a view that is truly poetic in its subtle comprehensiveness.

At the centre of the novel stands Dombey himself, the representative of the great business house of Dombey and Son. And it is the implications of a 'house' as both a commercial enterprise and a home for living souls that lie near the heart of the work. In a world of pride and money-consciousness however the first meaning brutally crushes the second:

The earth was made for Dombey and Son to trade in, and the sun and moon were made to give them light. Rivers and seas were formed to float their ships; rainbows gave them promise of fair weather; winds blew for or against their enterprise; stars and planets circled in their orbits, to preserve inviolate a system of which they were the centre.

Dombey is stiff and cold with commercial pride, a man whose blinkered, utilitarian vision reduces all around him to the chilling soullessness of the cash nexus, a brutal, masculine and ultimately self-defeating rigidity. The birth of his son, little Paul Dombey, is seen by him not as the coming into the world of a human being but as the arrival of a commodity that will extend the life-denying existence of the firm. Paul's coldly funereal christening at which Dombey's glance seems to freeze even the water at the font is a brilliantly ironic rendering of a heartlessness that turns all to ice.

But the boy's birth has been accompanied by his mother's death, and with this comes a source of imagery opposed to that associated with Dombey. We are shown the warm salt tears of his daughter Florence, the novel's heroine and the apparently redundant female embodiment of sentiment and love. And with Florence's tears are associated the great, ever-moving expanses of the sea. Throughout the novel, the ocean suggests death, eternity and the natural rhythms of life—mysterious, profound, but ultimately spiritual and free. It is to such forces as these that she dying Mrs Dombey surrenders when, with Florence in her tearful embrace, and 'clinging fast to that slight spar within her arms, the mother drifted out upon the dark and unknown sea that rolls round all the world'. The dying Paul is also identified with the waves. Later, the sea cruelly separates Florence from her father's clerk Walter Gay when Dombey and Son has become merely Dombey and Daughter. Nautical images also sustain the warm but threatened world of Captain Cuttle and his kin.

One threat posed to these old and often decaying forces of life is that of modern industrial progress, here symbolized by the railway. Dickens's handling of this theme shows the power of his imagination whereby social forces can be portrayed almost as characters. The railway invades lives, is praised or reacted against, but changes all about it irrecoverably. People like the inhabitants of Staggs Gardens see an old-fashioned life transformed into a new world of threat and promise. As the tracks are laid, so such characters are forced to recognize how 'the yet unfinished and unopened Railroad was in progress; and from the very core of all this dire disorder, trailed smoothly away, upon its mighty course of civilization and improvement'.

But if the railway is a power fro new life in the novel it is also a force for death. After he has been left a widower, Dombey marries into a hollow and heartless aristocracy (the ancient nobility and the nouveaux riches are lethally described) only to have his new wife deceive him with his villainous employee Carker. But Carker himself is eventually crushed beneath the iron forces of progress. In addition, Florence deserts her father and Dombey's business fails. His house is reduced to a hollow shell for thoughts of suicide and despair.

The ending of Dombey and Son is not pessimistic however. The man who frozed his daughter with a stare is humanized and redeemed. Florence returns amid rain and tears in a scene of the greatest Dickensian melodrama. Nor are Walter and Florence herself finally parted. The sea brings the boy home while turning to good his uncle's investments. Walter's path to success is now assured and is tempered by our knowledge of his humanity. Hearts do change. An improvement in the sometime leaders of society can be wrought. As the ageing Dombey sheds tears of love over his family, so a mechanistic world is redeemed by natural feeling.

David Copperfield (1850) was Dickens's own favorite among his novels and has remained so with generations of his readers. The reasons for such popularity are not far to seek. In this work, Dickens drew on the traumas of his own childhood and the unhappiness of his youth to create a fictional autobiography in which the psychological forces of personal experience are revealed through a series of the most vivid characters and incidents, thereby suggesting a richly human passage to maturity.

The hero's boyhood is deprived of strong parents (David's father is dead, his mother is flighty and empty-headed) and it is populated by good fairies and ogres: Peggotty, the loving, rough-handed opposite to David's mother, and the sadistic Murdstone and his repellent sister by whom David is humiliated on his return from his idyllic stay at Yarmouth. It is Murdstone who also sends the boy first to a cruel school and then to the horrors of the blacking factory. Here Dickens the novelist touches the anguished centre of Dickens the man. His own parents, confined to the debtors' prison, had obliged him to similar degradation, and it left a permanent scar on his emotions. As Dickens wrote to Forster:

The deep remembrance of the sense I had of being utterly neglected and hopeless; of the shame I felt in my position; of the misery it was to my young heart to believe that, day by day, what I had learned and delighted in, and raised my fancy and my emulation up by, was passing away from me, never to be brought back any more; cannot be written. My whole nature was so penetrated with the grief and humiliation of such considerations, that even now, famous and caressed and happy, I often forget in my dreams that I have a dear wife and children; even that I am a man; and wander desolately back to that time in my life. 

In the novel, only the Micawbers, feckless and irresponsible asthey are, can bring laughter into this hell. Mr Micawber—comically orotund, hopelessly optimistic that 'something will turn up'—is an image of Dickens's father and one of the most memorable of the author's inventions. That he is later used to work the downfall of Uriah Heep, whose hypocritical fawning makes him an equally effective character, suggests the novel's intricate patterning of good and evil, of thwarted childhood innocence and fallen idols, themes personified in the lubricious Steerforth and his seduction of Little Em'ly. Similarly, David's first wife Dora, a psychologically telling simulacrum of his mother, proves to be an illusory angel. It is only when David has married Agnes Wickfield, dispatched many of the figures of his childhood to Australia and then established himself as a successful novelist that this archetypal Victorian hero finally feels able to count his blessings.

During the composition of David Copperfield, Dickens launched his weekly periodical Household Words (1850-59). 'Conducted', as the rubric expressed it, by Dickens himself, this twopenny magazine was to reach a circulation of 40,000. Dickens's own contributions, some of which were later issued as Reprinted Pieces (1858), reveal the passionate social commentator. In 'A Nightly Scene in London' (January 1856), for example, we see him shaking a ragged bundle by the workhouse door. 'The rags began to be slowly stirred within, as little by little a head was unshrouded.' Asked if she has eaten, the woman twice denies it. But proof leads to helpless compassion. 'She bared her neck, and I covered it up again.'

Such was the Victorian England of Malthus and the disciples of laissez-faire, the butts of Dickens's profound moral indignation. 'I utterly renounce and abominate them in their insanity,' he wrote, 'and I address people with respect for the spirit of the New Testament, who do mind such things, and who think them infamous in our streets.' These streets were now those of the richest capital in the Western world, of an England mounting to the high plateau of mid-Victorian prosperity, and celebrating its confidence in the Great Exhibition of 1851. Against the vulgarity of the Crystal Palace however, Dickens now juxtaposed the nightmare of Bleak House (1853). The most famous novelist of Victorian England became one of its greatest critics. Dickens's engagement with his age was complete.

Bleak House is a labyrinthine indictment of contemporary conditions and a work in which Dickens's range of techniques was wrougth to its hightest pitch and then augmented with a new daring. Brooding over the whole is the court of Chancery and the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Dickens's fog-bound, life-denying symbol or what John Jarndyce himself calls 'trickery, evasion, procrastination, spoliation, botheration . . . false pretences of all sorts'. The Court of Chancery and the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce itself which eventually swallows the disputants' moneys are Dickens's images of an England debilitated by 'the system' and a hideously perverse society.

This last ranges from the magisterial pomposity of Sir [Leicester] Dedlock to little Jo the crossing-sweeper, ignorant, abused, neglected, yet central to the whole vast and hideous machinery of the Victorian England that crushes him. As in his life, so in his death from smallpox, Jo is a figure who links the highest to the lowest. He is the most pathetic of many victims of political mismanagement and complacency, of filth, the slums and the absurdity of philanthropists who ignore the wretched sitting on their own doorsteps. In Bleak House, these forces collide as Victorian society gropes its way through a fog of corruption, greed and terrible spiritual deadness.

Dickens's imagery of corruption is one of his supreme techniques for exposing the society about him while binding together a novel whose social range—the awareness of a whole society— is an imaginative achievement of the highest order. Yet within the complex entanglements of Bleak House, and worked out with an assured narrative mastery, are other devices which, for original readers of the monthly parts, provided a degree of suspense comparble to the detective fiction Dickens here helped to inaugurate. These techniques also offered a diversity of comment and a range of incidents that were without precedent. The interconnectedness of this huge work is phenomenal achievement, and repeated readings bear out Forster's claim that 'nothing is introduced at random, everything tends to the catastrophe, the various lines of the plot converge and fit to its centre'.

The narrative of Esther Summerson is one of these devices. Virginal, self-deprecating and sensitive, Esther is Dickens's largely passive voice of human decency and a figure who develops from a maudlin dependence on John Jarndyce, through a recognition of her love for the worthy Alan Woodcourt and the ravages of smallpox (no figure is immune to the contaminations of society), and on to the nightmare revelation that she is the illegitimate daughter of Lady Dedlock. Finally, she achieves happiness.

Esther observes nearly all the characters in the novel and provides a moral register against which to measure them. She is involved, for example, with many of the victims of Chancery: Ada Clare and the weak Richard Carstone, who inevitable deteriorates as he is drawn into its workings; Gridley, another figure destroyed by the system; and the marvellous figure of Miss Flite, half-crazed yet full of humanity and suggesting in her confused way that the day of judgment in Jardndyce and Jarndyce will be at one with the Day of Doom itself. Miss Flite's cracked mind prompts thoughts of the fall of the mighty and the coming of divine vengeance. We might laugh at her obsessions, but she also suggests that in this corrupt land the day of the Apocalypse may well be nigh.

Such an awareness of doom is also suggested through other grotesquer yet sinister figures in the subplot, above all 'Chancellor' Krook, the villainous rag-and-bone dealer with his 'liking for rust and must and cobwebs' and his sadistic sense of power and greed. The masterpiece of symbolic narrative that is Krook's death by 'Spontaneous Combustion' suggests the inevitable end of an entire way of life. 'Chancellor' Krook is incinerated by a force 'inborn, inbred, engendered in the corrupt humours of the vicious body itself'. An incident so amazing that only a novelist of genius could have risked it provides a grotesque summation of all the evils in Victorian society.

Dickens's comic genius flays the social parasites in the novel with merciless inventiveness, while Esther's appalled response deepens his criticism of such figures as Mr Skimpole, the irresponsible and mercenary aesthete, and Turveydrop, the dandy and exploiter of his wife. Other grotesques include Chadband, the nauseating voice of evangelical Anglicanism; Mrs Pardiggle, the High Church philantropist 'pouncing upon the poor, and applying benevolence to them like a strait-jacket'; and Mrs Jellyby, reducing her home to slovenly chaos and ignoring the likes of Jo as she pursues plans for 'cultivating coffee and educating the natives of Borrioboola-Gha on the left bank of the Niger'.

Yet the comic grotesque is only one aspect of the rottenness in Bleak House. Nearer Chancery and the rapacious centre of a corrupt society move figures of sinister and sterile energies. There are the Smallweeds, that 'horny-skinned, two-legged, monkey-getting species of spider'. There is 'Conversation' Kenge, who, as he praises the law, gently moves 'his right hand as if it were a silver trowel, with which to spread the cement of his words on the structure of the system and consolidate it for a thousand ages'. There is Vholes the solicitor glimpsed as he 'takes off his close black gloves as if he were skinning his hands', and, above all, there is Tulkinghorn. Lone, sadistic, secret, 'mechanically faithful without attachment', dead to all feelings save his own perverse relish of power, Tulkinghorn stals through Chancery, the slums and the houses of the great, closing in on Lady Dedlock in order to blackmail her over her long-dead affair with Jo's friend the drug-addict Nemo and his knowledge of Esther, the child of Lady Dedlock's liaison. Tulkinghorne's murder is one of the novel's greatest moments and ironically deprives the lawer of his victory over his prey.

In these terrible areas, the voice of the third-person narrator carries the weight of Dickens's indignation by the exhilarated variety of his language. This range is one of the supreme achievements of nineteenth-century fiction. Here is the voice that can create the image of a fog-bound Chancery and connect it to the inertness and horror of the Dedlocks' home at Chesney Wold. It is the voice of invocation and apostrophe that winds about Nemo in his pauper's grave, the voice that conjures up the slum of Tom-All-Alone's. The narrator's is a voice that explores every variety of hell and hypocrisy in Victorian England and, as a result, it is finally the voice of righteous indignation. Nowhere does Dickens more effectivelly combine pathos with prophetic denunciation than as Woodcourt watches over the dying Jo:

'Jo, can you say what I say?'
'I'll say anythink as you say, sir, fur I knows it's good.'
'Our Father!—yes that's weery good, sir.'
'Art in Heaven—is the ligth a-comin', sir?'
'It is close at hand.
'Hallowed be—thy—'
The light is come upon the dark benighted way. Dead! Dead, your majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, both with Heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.

As Dickens here speaks out in his own person and addresses the whole community of his readers, so, in a manner of the greatest importance to nineteenth-century fiction, we hear the novelist himself rousing what he can assume o be the best, fundamental and shared values of his audience. His art is an appeal to the experience of stable and universal moral truths. However bizarre his characters, however contrived his events and however far the wrold he criticizes has veered from these assumptions, Dickens believes he can share with his readers an essetially New Testament morality, a core of timeless values against which to denounce the aberrations of the present.

In Hard Times (1854), Dickens's voice of denunciation is levelled at the irresponsible excesses of industrial laissez-faire and the blighting force of utilitarianism. Coketown, Dickens's image of the industrial cities of the North, is an unnatural hell sweltering in machine oil, a place where nature has been ousted by insdustry and 'the whir of shafts and wheels'. Such an environment is the hideous outcome of a hideous philosophy, the utilitarianism caricatured (much to Mill's annoyance) in Dickens's portrayal of Gradgrind and his school:

Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.  You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle upon which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!

This is a philosophy tht brings its terrible revenges. The life of Gradgrind's daughter is blighted, while his son finds relief in compulsive gambling. When Tom Gradgrind is eventually tracked down by Bitzer, a product of Gradgrind's school, a callous system rebounds on its patron's head. Bitzer brings a villain to justice but also serves his own ends. He will be promoted to Tom's job. Gradgrind himself is horrified at this, but he is the victim of the very rules he has promulgated. '"I beg your pardon for interrupting, sir," returned Bitzer; "But I am sure you know that the whole social system is a question of self-interest."'

The paranoid logic of this belief is personified in Josiah Bounderby the self-made industrialist, a man wholly devoid of compassion and yet, by a telling paradox, driven partly by the forces of imagination he himself would deny. So obsessive is his ideal of the self-made man that he himself would deny. So obsessive is his ideal of the self-made man that he invents for himself a destitute childhood, an imaginary gutter from which he has risen by a triumph of commercial drive. In his delusion, Bounderby believes that he has genuinely brought about the greatest happiness of the greatest number. For him, the pollution and industry of Coketown are not a nightmare but a dream come true. Smoke becomes 'the healthiest thing in the world', while the grinding toil of the factory is 'the pleasantest of work there is, and it's the lightest work there is, and it's the best paid work there is'. with a bizarre flight of fantasy, Bounderby even claims that Turkey carpets on the factory floors might be a final refinement of felicity, but this is an expense he will not be put to. Inflated with self-satisfied delusion, Bounderby is Dicken's horrific image of the trumph of modern industrial man and laissez-faire gone mad.

Dickens's portrayal of his working-class characters is less successful, and points to the limits of his social criticism. Massively indignant though his response to contemporary suffering was, his anger was essentially what Walter Bagehot (1826-1877), the miscellaneous gentleman journalist and mildly progressive authority on The English Constitution (1867), was to call 'sentimental radicalism'.

The crushing effect of the mechanical and unimaginative is sharply delineated in Hard Times, yet in the character of Stephen Blackpool, Dickens fails to give a wholly adequate account of the industrial proletariat. Blackpool is too easily the martyr, a victim of the plot as much as of the system. His refusal to join a trade union leads to him being ostracized by his fellow workers and paradoxically to his being sacked. Dickens's portrayal of the union movement itself as a hectoring and aggressive centre of self-interest is crude and suggests the author's failure adequately to come to terms with the forces of the industrial world about him. In the end, what stands against heartless exploitation is not the genuine efforts of the workers and a real engagement with society but a retreat into the innocent glitter of the circus world of Mr Sleary and his kind. 'There was a remarkable gentleness and childishness about these people,' Dickens wrote, 'a special inaptitude for any kind of sharp practice and an untiring readiness to help and pity one another, deserving often of as much respect, and alwas of as much generous construction, as the everyday virtues of any class of people in the world.' But this is mere sentimentality, and its obverse was the profound pessimism embodied in Little Dorrit (1857).

Little Dorrit is an intricate maze of real and metaphorical prisons and of characters trapped in the worlds of self-seeking aristocratic patronage, bungling bureaucracy, criminal financial schemes, rigid class loyalties, wretched families and corrupting self-deceit. It is Dickens's darkest work. 'I have no present political faith or hope—not a grain,' Dickens had written to a friend in 1855. His disillusion with public life is conveyed in Little Dorrit through one of his most telling social symbols: the Circumlocution Office. Here, under the pompous sway of the Barnacle and Stilstalking families, nepotism and incompetence thrive, while the England that this corrupt civil service is supposed to administer is paralysed by institutional inertia and jobbery. 'The Circumlocution Office went on mechanically, every day, keeping this wonderful, all-sufficient wheel of statesmanship, How not to do it, in motion . . . The Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, with a minute, and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions, that extinguished him.'

Where the Circumlocution Office is an image of corruption in high and public places and of a system that emasculates those who come into contact with it, Bleeding Heart Yard is a prison for the unfortunate, a poverty trap of soul-destroying squalor. Here live families like the Plornishes whose father has eventually to be consigned to the workhouse. This prison of the spirit has its governor in Casby 'the Last of the Patriarchs', the useless and exploitative langlord who in his turn is the victim of his agent who eventually exposes him for the sham he is. It is part of Dickens's purpose in the novel to show that Casby is a bad father, a man who has played his part in separating the novel's middle-aged and depressive hero Arthur Clennam from his first love. Dickens's most telling image of parental irresponsibility and the effects of imprisonment however is William Dorrit, the 'Father of the Marshalsea'. Twenty-three years in the debtors' prison turn the feckless Dorrit into a foolish and often heartless victim of self-delusion. Just as society outside the prison is conceived as a series of gaols and cells, of lying and hypocritical characters trapped in the confinement of their fantasies, so the Marshalsea sets up its own absurd and debilitating illusions. As Mr Dorrit languishes his life away, 'a disposition began to be observed in him, to exaggerate the number of years he had been there; it was generally understood that you must deduct a few from his account; he was vain, the fleeting generation of debtors said'.

Among these drunken and shabby inmates, Dorrit himself acquires a spurious social status and with it an ever-deepening moral blindness. This is suggested when he suddenly inherits the money that frees him, throws a party for the prisoners and leaves the Marshalsea in a triumphal procession but without Little Dorrit herself who has fainted and been forgotten. Shades of the prison house never leave the family however. The proudly nouveaux riches Dorrits roam Europe, constantly meeting people whose empty lives 'greatly resembled a superior sort of Marshalsea'. Finally, in Dorrit's pathetic speech to his horrified dinner guests in Rome, the senile recidivist is transported back in his imagination to the gaol he has never really left.

The world of high society is likewise a gaol and place of corruption. Mrs Merdle the financier's wife believes society has 'made its mind up on the subject, and there is nothing more to be said'. Her caged parrot hideously mimics such attitudes, and together mistress and bird suggest a claustrophobic and foolish world that is a sham beneath. Mr Merdle the financier, as mysterious in his origins as in his activities, admired and courted by society, proves to be a villain whose suicide removes from the world 'the greatest Forger and the greatest Thief that ever cheated the gallows'. This was nonetheless the man whom bishops courted and politicians praised.

But just as society is seen in terms of fraud and the prisons in which it would place its erring members, so the dour religion of Mrs Clennam is a monstrous hypocrisy which masks criminal actions, emasculates the man she pretends is her son and reduces the woman herself to a neurotic cripple imprisoned in a crumbling house. The worst excesses of Victorian piety are here revealed as a festering gaol of the spirit. In such a world, heroes and heroines can be no glittering figures. Amy Dorrit, living by the New Testament, forgiving, meek and loving, and Arthur Clennam, blighted yet eventually finding love and a home, suggest by their marriage the only positives Dickens could now offer. After a ceremony solemnized in the shadow of the Marshalsea, they go down the church steps together and to 'a modest life of usefulness and happiness . . . and as they passed along in sunshine and in shade, the noisy and the eager, and the arrogant and the froward and the vain, fretted, and chafed, and made their usual uproar'. The couple find an autumnal happiness in a world of stifling corruption and psychological constraint. The romantic triumphalism that concludes David Copperfield is here chastened to a brave and modest ordinariness which marks the deepening of Dickens's mature thought.

The psychological effects of long imprisonment are one of the more telling areas in a novel that is otherwise a historical melodrama written to launch Dickens's magazine All the Year Round (1859-95). A Tale of Two Cities (1859) clearly shows the influence of Dickens's reading of The French Revolution and Carlyle's analysis of a decadent aristocracy. Dickens's use of the identical figures of Charles Darnay and Sidney Carton is deft rather than analytical however. Much of the tension and historical detail are well handled, while Carton's last speech is perhaps the best-known passage in all of Dickens's work—a highly professional tear-jerker. It is in the figure of Dr Manette however, imprisoned for nearly eighteen years and just holding on to his sanity through the exercise of his shoemaking craft, that the novel's most telling power resides.

Great Expectations (1861) is an altogether finer work. Here Dickens turned from corruption in society to the corruption of the individual. The novel is much concerned with the nature of true gentility and discusses this theme through the voiceof an autobiographical narrator. Pip's chastened reflections after the collapse of his hopes reveal his youthful aspirations to status to have been a hollow and heartless sham. Such a procedure allowed Dickens to ally shrewd and sensitive moral awareness to a plot in which mystery and suspense are expertly controlled. Great Expectations also reveals the mature dramatic mastery that allowed its author to create some of his greatest set-piece scenes.

None of these is more powerful than the boy Pip's first encounter with the convict Magwitch. The superbly sensationalistic effects are nonetheless subtly related to the book's main themes. The innocent and frightened charity that provides food and a file for the starving prisoner, for example, is finely contrasted to the disdain with which the adult Pip observes Magwitch's gross manners on his illicit return from transportation. We see not only how the child has matured to a snob, but how the snob is a product of his ignorance of his true nature and circumstances. Pip's growing charity and Christian forgiveness however show a reawakening of moral virtue. In addition, the  dawning realization that it is the criminal Magwitch who is both the true source of his wealth and the father of his beloved Estella unites the narrative to the theme of growing self-awareness.

Pip slowly realizes that his aspirations to gentility have been founded on money rather than goodness of heart. But that money itself proves illusory. As the worldly wealth of an illegally returned convict it is forfeit to the Crown. In the midst of growing self-awareness, Pip is suddenly left penniless. He has been trained for nothing useful and is also deeply in debt after a feckless life spent dancing attendance on Estella. The discovery that this superbly characterized embodiment of frigid sexual allure—the product of the jilted Miss Havisham's desire for revenge on men—is also Magwitch's childe reduces all Pip's expectations to dust.

At the nadir of his fortunes he is saved by the resources of true gentility. First, Herbert Pocket, the natural gentleman, offers his friend a job. Pip must now earn his keep. He must also recognize who his true benefactors are. The orphan boy, who, led into moral delusion by Magwitch's money, thought he was Miss Havisham's heir and wilfully adopted her values, finally discovers that his real mainstay is neither a criminal nor an old and embittered woman but Joe the blacksmith who first took him in as a child. Big-hearted, honestly simple, well adapted to his world and his work, it is Joe who nurses Pip in his sickness and Joe who wins Biddy, the country girl Pip in his pride had shunned.

Self-awareness and the knowledge that human goodness is true gentility are bought by Pip at the cost of painful isolation and suffering, a process that Dickens, swayed by his friend Bulwer-Lytton, brought to an end in the revised close to the novel by hinting that Pip would eventually marry Estella. many readers however may prefer his first thoughts and the original anticlimax of Pip's last meeting with the chasteneed woman who has wrecked his emotional life and who, in truth, he can never marry.

Dicken's concern with the moral damage inflicted by the obsessive pursuit of wealth and social position is again central to his last completed novel. In Our Mutual Friend (1865), the blighting effect of money on individuals and their society and environment is luridly symbolized by the mounds of 'dust'—the accumulated piles of human waste—that are at once the sources of wealth and of corruption in the work. At the centre of the immensely intricate plot, and suggesting the forces of death and power Dickens associated with money, are the will of old Harmon and the wealth he has built up from 'coal-dust, vegetable-dust, bone-dust, crockery-dust, rough dust and sifted dust—all manner of Dust'. In life a mise gaoling the spirits of those around him, in death Harmon still asserts his power. His servants the Boffins inherit his wealth, while his son, required by the terms of his father's will to marry Bella Wilfer, is obliged to watch the seeming corruption of both the Boffins and his future bride as they appear to sink into the depths of mercenary corruption.

Around the Boffins gather the forces of society in a world where money is all and the vulgarity of the nouveaux riches is triumphant. 'Have no antecedents, no established character, no cultivation, no ideas, no manner; have shares.' Such a society becomes a chorus of bigotry and banality. We are shown the Veneerings whose name aptly suggests the brittle and gaudy surface glued over the rotten wood beneath, and Podsnap that incarnation of the worst excesses of Victorian jingoism and prudery who waves aside any topic whose impropriety misght raise a blush on his repellent daugher's cheek. A bored, languid and trivial aristocracy swells these ranks. As Boffin's money buys him position, so we see 'all manner of crawling, creeping, fluttering and buzzing creatures, attracted by the gold dust of the Golden Dustman'. Dickens offers a compelling picture of the gaudy and complacent society of the new rich in alliance with an emasculated nobility. These voices are his most powerful satire of a money-obsessed world and of a Victorian England whose leaders are portrayed as gilded scavengers on a waste tip.

Around and beneath these stifling figures, choking in the shadows of the dust mounds or drawn to the polluted waters of the Thames, move other figures variously caught in speculation and fraud. The Lammels, victims of the mutual deceit by which each wrongly believed the other to be rich, batten on society to exploit it. Dickens's presentation of this couple, his mixing of narrative with symbol, reveals depths of psychological and technical resource which are again reflected in his presentation of extreme resource which are again reflected in his presentation of extreme states of violent and barely repressed emotion. Indeed, the most successul parts of the novel are much concerned with sterile lives and dark forces. The grotesquely gilded London of high society, of lowering dust heaps and emotional death, is also the London of the night river, murder and attempted murder.

Of the two rivals for Lizzie Hexam the boatman's child, Bradley Headstone is Dickens's portrait of emotional and social dislocation and of suppressed passion. Eugene Wrayburn, his victim, is initially presented as his perfect complement: blasé, privileged and spiteful. His love for a girl wholly outside his class and his symbolic rebirth after Headstone has nearly drowned him in the Thames suggest Dickens's concern with the regeneration of society through the education of the heart. Nonetheless, it is Headstone himself we most vividly recall as, in defeat, he sinks to the floor 'and grovelled there, with the palms of his hands tight-clasping his hot temples, in unutterable misery, and unrelieved by a single tear'. Such melodrama points forward to Dickens's last and uncompleted novel, Edwin Drood (1870) with its atmosphere of murder, drug addiction and confused identity.

Charles Dickens (Oxford Companion to English Literature)


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Miércoles, 14 de Diciembre de 2016 07:51. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

William Congreve, THE WAY OF THE WORLD

William Congreve, THE WAY OF THE WORLD

The Way of the World  (1700) a comedy by the Restoration dramatist William Congreve.

Complete text of THE WAY OF THE WORLD at the Internet Archive.


An introduction, from The Norton Anthology of English Literature:


On both sides of his family William Congreve was descended from well-to-do and prominent county families. His father, a younger son, obtained a commission as lieutenant in the army and moved to Ireland in 1674. There the future playwright was educated at Kilkenny School and Trinity College, Dublin; at both places he was a younger contemporary of Swift. In 1691 he took rooms in the Middle Temple and began to study law, but soon found he preferred the wit of the coffeehouses and the theater. Within a year he had so distinguished himself at Will's Coffeehouse that he had become intimate with the great Dryden himself, and his brief career as a dramatist began shortly thereafter.

The success of The Old Bachelor (produced in 1693) immediately established him as the most promising young dramatist in London. It had the then phenomenally long run of fourteen days, and Dryden declared it the best first play he had ever read. The Double Dealer (produced in 1693) was a near failure, though it evoked one of Dryden's most graceful and gracious poems, in which he praised Congreve as the superior of Jonson and Fletcher and the equal of Shakespeare. Love for Love (produced in 1695) was an unqualified success and remains Congreve's most frequently revived play. In 1697 he brought out a tragedy, The Mourning Bride, which enjoyed great popular esteem. Congreve's most elegant comedy of manners, The Way of the World, received a brilliant production in 1700. But it did not succeed with audiences, and subsequently he gave up the stage. He held a minor government post, which, although a Whig, he was allowed to keep during the Tory ministry of Oxford and Bolingbroke; after the accession of George I  he was given a more lucrative government sinecure. Despite the political animosities of the first two decades of the century, he managed to remain on friendly terms with Swift and Pope, and Pope dedicated to him his translation of the Iliad. His final years were perplexed by poor health, but were made bearable by the love of Henrietta, duchess of Marlborough, whose last child, a daughter, was in all probability the playwright's.

The Way of the World is one of the wittiest plays ever written, a play to read slowly and savor. Like an expert jeweler, Congreve polished the Restoration comedy of manners to its ultimate sparkle and gloss. The dialogue is epigrammatic and brilliant, the plot is an intricate puzzle, and the characters shine with surprisingly complex facets. Yet the play is not all dazzling surface; it also has depths. Most Restoration comedies begin with the struggle for power, sex, and money and end with a marraiage. In an age that viewed property, not romance, as the basis of marriage, the hero shows his prowess by catching an heiress. The Way of the World reflects that standard plot; it is a battle more over a legacy than over a woman, a battle in which sexual attraction is used as a weapon. Yet Congreve, writing late in the period, reveals the weakness of those who treat love as a war or a game: "each deceiver to his cost may find / That marriage frauds too oft are paid in kind." If "the way of the world" is cynical self-interest, it is also the worldly prudence that sees through the ruses of power and turns them to better ends. In this world generosity and affection win the day and true love conquers—with the help of some clever plotting.

At the center of the action are four fully realized characters—Mirabell and Millamant, the hero and heroine, and Fainall and Mrs Marwood, the two villains—whose stratagems and relations move the play. Around them are characters who serve in one way or another as foils. Witwoud, the would-be wit, with whom we contrast the true wit of Mirabell and Millamant. Petulant, a "humor" character, who affects bluff candor and cynical realism, but succeeds only in being offensive, and Sir Wilfull Witwoud, the booby squire from the country, who serves with Petulant to throw into relief the high good breeding and fineness of nature of the hero and heroine Finally there is one of Congreve's finest creations, Lady Wishfort ('wish for it'), who though aging and ugly still longs for love, gallantry, and courtship and who is led by her appetites into the trap that Mirabell lays for her.

Because of the complexity of the plot, a summary of the situation at the rise of the curtain may prove helpful. Mirabell (a reformed rake) is sincerely in love with and wishes to marry Millamant, who, though a coquette and a highly sophisticated wit, is a virtuous woman. Mirabell some time before has married off his former mistress, the daughter of Lady Wishfort, to his friend Fainall. Fainall has grown tired of his wife and has been squandering her money on his mistress, Mrs. Marwood. In order to gain access to Millamant, Mirabell has pretended to pary court to the elderly and amorous Lady Wishfort, who is the guardian of Millamant and as such controls half her fortune. But his game has been spoiled by Mrs. Marwood, who nourishes a secret love for Mirabell and, to separate him from Millamant, has made Lady Wishfort aware of Mirabell's duplicity. Lady Wishfort now loathes Mirabell for making a fool of her—an awkward situation, because if Millamant should marry without her guardian's consent she would lose half her fortune, and Mirabell cannot afford to marry any but a rich wife. It is at this point that the action begins. Mirabell perfects a plot to get such power over Lady Wishfort as to force her to agree to the marriage, while Millamant continues to doubt whether she wishes to marry at all.




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Domingo, 11 de Diciembre de 2016 08:38. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Interpretation: Related works

Interpretation: Related works

Una de las bibliografías de hermenéutica incluidas en mi Bibliografía de Teoría Literaria, Crítica y Filology, http://bit.ly/abiblio:

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Martes, 06 de Diciembre de 2016 08:24. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica



No habrá una sola cosa que no sea
una nube. Lo son las catedrales
de vasta piedra y bíblicos cristales
que el tiempo allanará. Lo es la Odisea,
que cambia como el mar. Algo hay distinto
cada vez que la abrimos. El reflejo
de tu cara ya es otro en el espejo
y en el día es un dudoso laberinto.
Somos los que se van. La numerosa
nube que se deshace en el poniente
es nuestra imagen. Incesantemente
la rosa se convierte en otra rosa.
Eres nube, eres mar, eres olvido.
Eres también aquellos que has perdido.
olga nube

(Jorge Luis Borges, "Nubes (I)")

The photographer: Olga Nicholls Santacoloma

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Martes, 06 de Diciembre de 2016 08:05. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

OpeNarratology —en Rusia

OpeNarratology —en Rusia

Me citan en una entrevista a Larissa Muravieva, sobre el proyecto Open Narratology que está llevando adelante en Rusia con un grupo interdisciplinar:
«Otkrytaya narratologiya»: kak i zachem izuchat' istorii, kotorymi my zhivem. (Narratología abierta: cómo y por qué estudiar las historias con las que vivimos). Aquí está la entrevista, en la web Culture in the City de Nizhny-Novgorod:


Y esta es la web de OpeNarratology: http://www.opennar.com/

OPEN narratology: La narratología es la ciencia de las historias con las que vivimos. "Open Narratology" es un nuevo formato para la comunicación científica. Se trata de un proyecto interdisciplinar, en el que los especialistas en teoría narrativa pueden publicar sus ideas, proyectos y estudios.

El trabajo al que alude la entrevista, sobre los fotoblogs, apareció en el libro Semiosphere of Narratology, coeditado con Ludmila Tataru, también miembro destacado de este proyecto sobre "narratología abierta".  


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Domingo, 04 de Diciembre de 2016 10:00. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica



From The Penguin Shakespeare Dictionary, ed. Sandra Clark.
Macbeth [Full title, The Tragedy of Macbeth]  A tragedy by Shakespeare, probably written in 1605 or 1606. It was seen by Simon *Forman at the *Globe theatre on 20 April 1611, but is almost certain to have been first produced several years earlier. It was printed in the 1623 first folio, but there is some probability that cuts were made from the stage manuscript. The Hecate scenes, including the Witches' songs, are probably *Middleton's. In the Restoration period *Davenant made it into an opera. The play followed in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot, and there are various topical references especially in the Porter scene (II.iii). Shakespeare's main source was Holinshed's Chronicles, probably in the 1587 edition that he used elsewhere, although he may also have seen illustrations from the 1577 edition. He used Holinshed not only for the account of Macbeth's life but also for the story of the murder of King Duff by Donwald, and for the description of ancient Scottish life and customs. Shakespeare altered Holinshed's account of Macbeth's life in a number of ways; the involvement of Banquo, supposedly King James's ancestor, was omitted and Banquo's character generally whitewashed, while Macbeth was made more villainous. Holinshed's Duncan was a weak and unsatisfactory monarch whom Macbeth assassinated with the help of friends, and after the murder Macbeth ruled in a just and beneficient way for ten years before he was overcome by guilt and proceeded to further crimes. Holinshed's account of the murder of King Duff in fact bears more resemblance to the murder of Duncan in Shakespeare's play, although the subsequent career of Duff's murderer, Donwald, does not parallel Macbeth's. Holinshed describes Duff as a good king and Donwald as a kinsman whom he especially trusted; Donwald, urged on by his wife, secretly murdered Duff by cutting his throat while Duff was a guest in his home. After Duff's murder monstrous events took place in the kingdom. There were a number of other chronicles of Scottish history available to Shakespeare. He probably did not use William Stewart's The Buik of the Chronicles of Scotland  which was available in manuscript in King James's private library, although this has been disputed, but he may well have seen the Rerum Scoticarum Historia (1582) by George Buchanan, which contains a Macbeth very similar in character to Shakespeare's and also describes the remorse felt by a royal murderer, King Kenneth, in much fuller terms than Holinshed. John Leslie's De Origine Scotorum (1578) supplied a Macbeth who killed Duncan without any assistance from Banquo, and Shakespeare may have seen this, although this, like Buchanan's work, was only available in Latin. James's interests were a significant consideration in the composition of Macbeth, and Shakespeare's may well have read some of James's own work for it, especially the Daemonologie (1597), which could have provided him for the treatment of the Witches. The chronicle sources for Macbeth provided Shakespeare with very little dialogue and few detailed encounters; htese he may have derived from some of *Seneca's tragedies. Medea or Agamemnon may have suggested ideas for the characterization of Lady Macbeth, and both of these had been traslated by John Studley. The atmosphere of concentrated evil is particularly Senecan and recalls Shakespeare's own earlier works, the poem The Rape of Lucrece, and Richard III. Finally, as might seem appropriate in a tragedy of damnation, Shakespeare draws heavily on the Bible.
Dramatis Personae
Duncan, King of Scotland
Malcolm, son of Duncan
Donaldbain, son of Duncan
Macbeth, general of the army
Banquo, general of the army
Macduff, Scottish nobleman
Lennox, Scottish nobleman
Ross, Scottish nobleman
Menteith, Scottish nobleman
Angus, Scottish nobleman
Caithness, Scottish nobleman
Fleance, son of Banquo
Siward, Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces
Young Siward, his son
Seyton, officer to Macbeth
Boy, son to Macduff
An English Doctor
A Scottish Doctor
A Sergeant
A Porter
An Old Man
Lady Macbeth
Lady Macduff
Gentlewoman to Lady Macbeth
Hecate, and Three Witches
Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murderers, Attendantes, and Messengers
The Ghost of Banquo, and other Apparitions

The Story. Macbeth and Banquo, Scottish generals, are returning from a victorious campaign when they meet upon the heath three Witches who hail them, prophesying that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor and King hereafter, and that Banquo will beget kings. Part of the prophecy is immediately fufilled when a messenger announces that Duncan, King of Scotland, has promoted Macbeth to Thane of Cawdor. Lady Macbeth, having learned of the Witches, plays upon her husband, already tempted by dreams of royal power, to kill the King, who falls into their hands when he arrives for a visit at the castle of Macbeth. But when the murder is done, Macbeth is completely unnerved. Lady Macbeth returns to Duncan's room with the daggers that Macbeth has neglected to leave behind. Into the scene of horror comes the sound of knocking at the gate. The murder is discovered, and Macbeth puts the grooms to death to conceal his action. Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donaldbain, flee from Scotland, and Macbeth is crowned. He then hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance, but the latter escapes. At a banquet given by Macbeth, the ghost of Banquo appears to him. Macbeth returns to consult with the Witches, who show him apparitions that tell him to beware Macduff, that "none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth," and that he shall be safe until "Birnam Wood to hight Dunsinane Hill / Shall come" (IVi). However, he is then also shown a procession of future kings, all descendants of Banquo. Macduff, meanwhile, has goen to England to raise an army with Malcolm to defeat Macbeth and there learns that his wife and children have been killed at the order of Macbeth. Macbeth, preparing to meet the invading army, learns of lady Macbeth's death. His response is that "She should have died hereafter" (V.v). The army advances, bearing branches cut from Birnam Wood for concealment, and Macduff who was "from his mother's womb / Untimely ripped (V.vii) kills Macbeth. malcolm is crowned King of Scotland.

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Viernes, 02 de Diciembre de 2016 06:19. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

'Like a Comet I Was Wonder'd at': Shakespeare y las supernovas

'Like a Comet I Was Wonder'd at': Shakespeare y las supernovas

Una búsqueda en concordancias de las obras de Shakespeare referida a terminología sobre fenómenos astronómicos excepcionales no proporciona pruebas concluyentes de que reaccionase de manera específica a las dos supernovas visibles durante su vida, aunque sí hay diversas alusiones a cometas y meteoritos, normalmente tomados como símbolos de la excepcionalidad en asuntos humanos. Al menos una de estas referencias puede tener un sentido autobiográfico, con Shakespeare presentándose como la 'estrella de los poetas' a la que aludiría Ben Jonson.


 'Like a Comet I Was Wonder'd at': Shakespeare y las supernovas


'Like a Comet I Was Wonder'd at': Shakespeare and Supernovas

A concordance search of Shakespeare's works for exceptional astronomical phenomena does not yield any evidence of his reacting specifically to the two supernovas visible during his lifetime, although there are a number of allusions to comets and meteors, usually taken as symbols of the exceptional in human affairs. At least one of these references may have an autobiographical import, with Shakespeare reflecting on himself as the 'star of poets' Ben Jonson would allude to.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

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Viernes, 02 de Diciembre de 2016 06:07. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

La lógica de la narratividad según Polibio

La lógica de la narratividad según Polibio

Comentamos un pasaje de las Historias de Polibio (Libro V, 30.8-333) en el que se echa de ver la consciencia que este historiador griego tiene de la lógica de la narratividad, y de las implicaciones teóricas que tiene la dinámica de la retrospección para un proyecto como el suyo, la composición de una historia universal.

La lógica de la narratividad según Polibio


The Logic of Narrativity According to Polybius

 A commentary of a passage of Polybius' Histories (Book V, 30.8-33) which evinces this Greek historian's consciousness of the logic of narrativity, and of the theoretical implications of the dynamics of retrospection for his project of a universal history.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 3
Keywords: History, Historiography, Historians, Polybius, Greek literature, Greek historians, Retrospection, Narrativity, Narrative, Hindsight


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Jueves, 01 de Diciembre de 2016 08:55. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica


lunes, 30 de noviembre de 2015


From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:

WORDSWORTH, William (1770-1850), born at Cockermouth, Cumbria, the son of an attorney; he attended (with Mary Hutchinson, his future wife) the infants' school in Penrith and, from 1779 to 1787, Hawkshead Grammar School. His mother died in 1778, his father in 1783, losses recorded in *The Prelude, which describes the mixed joys and terrors of his country boyhood with a peculiar intensity. He attended St John's College, Cambridge, but disliked the academic course. In 1790 he went on a walking tour of France, the Alps, and Italy, and returned to France late in 1791, to spend a year there; during this period he was fired by a passionate belief in the French Revolution and republican ideals, and also fell in love with the daughter of a surgeon at Blois, Annette Vallon, who bore him a daughter (See E. Legouis, William Wordsworth and Annette Vallon, 1922). (This love affair is reflected in 'Vaudracour and Julia', composed ?1804, published 1820, and incorporated somewhat anomalously in Book IX of The Prelude.) After his return to England he published in 1793 two poems in heroic couplets, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches, both conventional attempts at the *picturesque and the *sublime, the latter describing the Alps. In this year he also wrote (but did not publish) a Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff (see WATSON, R.) in support of the French Republic. England's declaration of war against France shocked him deeply, but the institution of the Terror marked the beginning of his disillusion with the French Revolution, a period of depression reflected in his verse drama *The Borderers (composed 1796-7, pub. 1842) and in 'Guilt and Sorrow' (composed 1791-4, pub in part in 1798 as 'The Female Vagrant'). In 1795 he received a legacy of £900 from his friend Raisley Calvert, intended to enable him to pursue his vocation as a poet, which also allowed him to be reunited with his sisster Dorothy (above); they settled first at Racedown in Dorset, then at Alfoxden in Somerset, where they had charge of the son of their friend Basil *Montagu. The latter move (aided by T. *Poole) was influenced by a desire to be near *Coleridge, then living at Nether Stowey, whom Wordsworth had met in 1795. This was a period of intense creativity for both poets, which produced the *Lyrical Ballads (1798), a landmark in the history of English *Romanticism (See ANCIENT MARINER; IDIOT BOY, THE; TINTERN ABBEY.) The winter of 1798-9 was spent in Goslar in Germany, where Wordsworth wrote sections of what was to be The Prelude and the enigmatic *'Lucy' poems. In 1799 he and Dorothy settled in Dove Cottage, Grasmere; to the next year belong 'The Recluse', Book I (later *The Excursion), 'The Brothers', *'Michael', and many of the poems included in the 1800 edition of the Lyrical Ballads (which, with its provocative preface on *poetic diction, aroused much criticism). In 1802 Wordsworth and Dorothy visited Annette Vallon in France, and later that year William married Mary Hutchison, his financial position having been improved by the repayment of a debt on the death of Lord Lonsdale. In the same year he composed *'Resolution and Independence', and began his ode on *'Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood', both of which appeared in Poems in Two Volumes (1807), along with many of his most celebrated lyrics. To the same period belong the birth of five children (of whom the eldest, John, was born in 1803), travels with Dorothy and Coleridge, and new friendships, notably with Sir W. *Scott, Sir G. *Beaumont, and *De Quincey. Wordsworth's domestic happiness was overcast by the death of his sailor brother John in 1805 (which inspired several poems, including 'Elegiac Stanzas Suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle', 1807), the early deaths of two of his children (one of which inspired his sonnet 'Surprised by joy', 1815), and the physical deterioration of Coleridge, from whom he was for some time estranged, and with whom he was never entirely reconciled. But his productivity continued, and his popularity gradually increased. The Excursion was published in 1814, The White Doe of Rylstone and two volumes of Miscellaneous Poems in 1815, and *Peter Bell and *The Waggoner in 1819. In 1813 he had been appointed stamp distributor for Westmorland, a post which brought him some £400 a year, and in the same year moved from Allan Bank (where he had lived from 1808) to Rydal Mount, Ambleside, where he lived the rest of his life. The great work of his early and middle years was now over, and Wordsworth slowly settled into the role of patriotic, conservative public man, abandoning the radical politics and idealism of his youth. Much of the best of his later work was mildly topographical, inspired by his love of travel; it records journeys to Scotland, along the river Duddon, to the Continent, etc. He was left a legacy by Sir George Beaumont in 1827, and in 1842 received a Civil List pension of £300 a year; in 1843 he succeeded *Southey as *poet Laureate. He died at Rydal Mount, after the publication of a finally revised text of his works (6 vols, 1849-50), and The Prelude was published posthumously in 1850. His prose works include an essay, Concerning the Relations of Great Britain, Spain and Portugal . . . as Affected by the Convention of Cintra (1809), castigating the supine English policy, and A Description of the Scenery of the Lakes in the North of England, written in 1810 as an introduction to Wilkinson's Select Views of Cumberland.

De Quincey wrote of Wordsworth in 1835, 'Up to 1820 the name of Wordsworth was trampled underfoot; from 1820 to 1830 it was militant; from 1830 to 1835 it has been triumphant.' Early attacks in the *Edinburgh Review and by the anonymous author of a parody, The Simpliciad (1808), were followed by criticism and satire by the second generation of Romantics; *Byron and *Shelley mocked him as 'simple' and 'dull', *Keats distrusted what he called the *'egotistical sublime', and *Hazlitt, and later *Browning, deplored him as *'The Lost Leader', who had abandoned his early radical faith. But these doubts were counterbalanced by the enormous and lasting popularity of much of his work, which was regarded by writers such as M. *Arnold and J. S. *Mill with almost religious veneration, as an expression in an age of doubt of the transcendent in nature and the good in man. A great innovator, he permanently enlarged the range of English poetry, both in subject matter and in treatment (a distinction he would not himself have accepted).

Wordsworth's Poetical and Prose Works, together with Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals, ed. W. Knight, appeared in 1896, and his Poetical Works (ed. E. de Selincourt and H. Darbishire, 5 vols.) in 1930-9 and 1952-4. Letters of the Wordsworth Family 1787-1855 were edited by W. Knight in 1907, and Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth (ed. de Selincourt) appeared in 1935-9. His biography by M. Moorman was published in 1968 (2 vols), and a long-lost collection of letters between Mary and William appeared as The Love Letters of William and Mary Wordsworth, ed. B. Darlington (1982). See also Stephen Gill, William Wordsworth (1989).

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Miércoles, 30 de Noviembre de 2016 08:14. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

ESTUDIO 1 TVE-Las brujas de Salem-Arthur Miller

sábado, 28 de noviembre de 2015

Que es como llamaban aquí a The Crucible, de Arthur Miller. Esta versión de Estudio Uno quizá la vi en los años sesenta, y ahora reaparece por YouTube, y por mi blog de teatro.




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ESTUDIO 1-La tragedia de Macbeth (William Shakespeare)

viernes, 27 de noviembre de 2015

ESTUDIO 1-La tragedia de Macbeth (William Shakespeare

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Domingo, 27 de Noviembre de 2016 09:20. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica


miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2015



From the History Today Companion to British History:

 LOCKE, JOHN (1632-1704), philosopher. Son of an ATTORNEY who had fought on the PARLIAMENTARIAN SIDE in the CIVIL WARS, Locke both studied and taught at OXFORD UNIVERSITY. IN 1667, he became attached to the household of Anthony Ashley COOPER, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, henceforth his political patron. Holding minor office when Shaftesbury was in power, Locke went to France when the Earl was out of favour (1676-9), and to Holland when the exposure of the RYE HOUSE PLOT shattered his circle. The GLORIOUS REVOLUTION allowed him to come back to England in 1689, and from 1696 he once more played a part in public life, serving as one of the most active members of the newly founded BOARD OF TRADE.

His writings, published only after 1689 although much was written earlier, include three Letters advocating religious toleration (1689, 1690, 1692); Two Treatises of Government &1680), a classic exposition both of the right to resist misgovernment and limit its activities, and of the right to hold private property; and An Essay on Human Understanding (1690), a book which was to be hailed as seminal by thinkers of the ENLIGHTENMENT for its advocacy of the primacy of human experience in the perception of truth. Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693) and The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695) followed; the latter became a key text for LATITUDINARIANS and DEISTS (although Locke himself disapproved of the description 'Deist'). Like HOBBES, Locke began his analyisis with man in a state of nature; otherwise there is little resemblance in their political theory. For Hobbes, the state of nature is so terrifying that men willingly accept the arbitrary rule of an all-powerful sovereign; for Locke, the state of nature has sufficient inconveniences to persuade men to join together and to entrust limited powers (defined in terms of executive, federative, and legislative functions) to a government to act for the common good. What make Locke's Two Treatises appear subersive to his more conservative readers, then and later, was his justification of the subject's right to resisteance should the ruler (or governing authority) violate the trust invested in him. And Locke seems to have been well aware of the work's radical thrust; not only did he publish it anonymously, but he also consistently denied authorship, though frequently taxed with it, until his death. His political ideas were to have a considerable influence on the American colonists in their breach with Britain (see SIDNEY, ALGERNON).

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature,  ed. Margaret Drabble:

LOCKE, John (1632-1704), born at Wrington, Somerset, educated at Westminster and Christ Church. He held various academic posts at that university, and became physician to the household of the first earl of *Shaftesbury in 1667. He held official positions and subsequently lived at Oxford, then fled to Holland in 1683 as a consequence of Shaftesbury's plotting for Monmouth; how far he was himself involved is not certain. In 1687 he joined William of Orange at Rotterdam; on his return to England he became commissioner of appeals and member of the council of trade. His last years were spent in Essex in the home of Sir Francis and Lady Mashm, the latter being the daughter of Ralph Cudworth, one of the *Cambridge Platonists.

Locke's principal philosophical work is the *Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), a work which led J. S. *Mill to call him the 'unquestioned founder of the analytic philosophy of mind'. always critical of 'enthusiasm', he was originally opposed to freedom of religion, and never supported Catholic emancipation; but in his maturity he defended the rights of the Dissenters on both moral and economic grounds. He published three Letters on Toleration between 1689 and 1692; a fourth was left unfinished at his death. His defence of simple biblical religion in The Reasonableness of Christianity, without resort to creed or tradition, led to a charge of *Socinianism, which Locke replied to in two Vindications (1695, 1697). He was also involved in an extensive pamphlet war with Edward Stillingfleet (1696-8) over the alleged compatibility of his Essay with Socinianism and *Deism.

Locke published in 1690 two Treatises of Government designed to combat the theory of the divine right of kings. He finds the origin of the civil state in a contract. The 'legislative', or government, 'being only a fiduciary power to act for certain ends, there remains still in the people the supreme power to remove or alter the legislative when they find the legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them'. Throughout, Locke in his theory of the 'Original Contract' opposes absolutism; the first Treatise is specifically an attack on Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha. Although Locke in his early manuscripts was closer to *Hobbes's authoritarianism and continues to share with Hobbes the view that civil obligations are founded in contract, he strongly rejected Hobbes's view that the sovereign is above the law and no party to the contract. He published a volume on education in 1693, and on the rate of interest and the value of money in 1692 and 1695. The first edition of his collected works appeared in 1714. A full critical edition of his works, including eight volumes of correspondence, was launched in 1975.

Locke's writings had an immense influence on the literature of succeeding generations, and he was very widely read; his Thoughts Concerning Education, which are concerned with practical advice on the upbringing of 'sons of gentlemen', were given to *Richardson's Pamela by Mr. B—, and to his son by *Chesterfield, and their influence is seen in *Rousseau's *Émile; his view of the child's mind as a tabula rasa, and his distinctions between wit and judgement, were the subject of much discussion during the *Augustan age. The anit-philosophy jokes of the *Scriblerus Club demonstrate the currency of his ideas; *Addison was his champion in many essays. But perhaps his greatest impact was on *Sterne, who quotes him frequently in *Tristram Shandy, and who was deeply interested in his theories of the random association of ideas, of the measuring of time, of the nature of sensation, etc. On this subject, see Kenneth MacLean, John Locke and English Literature of the Eighteenth Century (1936).

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1975), ed. Peter H. Nidditch; A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul, ed. Arthur W. Wainwright (2 vols, 1987); The Correspondence of John Locke, ed. E. S. de Beer (8 vols, 1976-89). (See also RESTORATION).

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Viernes, 25 de Noviembre de 2016 06:55. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Borges, Cosmogonía

martes, 24 de noviembre de 2015



Ni tiniebla ni caos. La tiniebla
Requiere ojos que ven, como el sonido
Y el silencio requieren el oído,
Y el espejo, la forma que lo puebla.
Ni el espacio ni el tiempo. Ni siquiera
Una divinidad que premedita
El silencio anterior a la primera
Noche del tiempo, que será infinita.
El gran río de Heráclito el Oscuro
Su curso misterioso no ha emprendido,
Que del pasado fluye hacia el futuro,
Que del olvido fluye hacia el olvido.
Algo que ya padece. Algo que implora.
Después la historia universal. Ahora.

Jorge Luis Borges, La rosa profunda.

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Jueves, 24 de Noviembre de 2016 06:21. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

BLAKE, William

martes, 24 de noviembre de 2015

BLAKE, William

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:

BLAKE, William (1757-1827), the third son of a London hosier. He did not go to school but was apprenticed to James Basire, engraver to the Society of *Antiquaries, and then became a student at the *Royal Academy. From 1779 he was employed as an engraver by the bookseller J. *Johnson, and in 1780 met *Fuseli and *Flaxman, the latter a follower of *Swedenborg, whose mysticism deeply influenced Blake. In 1782 he married Catherine Boucher, the daughter of a market-gardener; their childless marriage was a lasting communion. Flaxman at this period introduced him to the progressive intellectual circle of the Revd A. S. Mathew and his wife (which included Mrs *Barbauld, H. *More, and Mrs. E. *Montagu), and Mathew and Flaxman financed the publication of Blake's first volume, Poetical Sketches (1783). In 1784, with help from Mrs Mathew, he set up a print shop at 27 Broad Street, and about the same period (although not for publication) wrote the satirical *An Island in the Moon. He engraved and published his *Songs of Innoncence in 1789, and also The Book of Thel, both works which manifest the early phases of his highly distinctive mystic vision, and in which he embarks on the evolution of his personal mythology; years later (in *Jerusalem) he was to state, through the character Los, 'I must create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's', words which have been taken by some to apply to his own need to escape from the feeters of 18th-cent. versification, as well as from the materialist philosophy (as he conceived it) of the *Enlightenment, and a Puritanical or repressive interpretation of Christianity. The Book of Thel presents the maiden Thel lamenting transience and mutability by the banks of the river of Adona; she is answered by the lily, the cloud, the worm, and the clod who assure her that 'He, who loves the lowly' cherishes even the meanest; but this relatively conventional wisdom is challenged by a final vision in which Thel visits the house of Clay, sees the couches of the dead, and hears 'a voice of sorrow' breathe a characteristically Blakean protest against hypocrisy and restraint—'Why a tender curb upon the youthful, burning boy? Why a tender little curtain of flesh upon the bed of our desire?'—a message which sends Thel back 'with a shriek' to the vales of Har. The ambiguity of this much-interpreted poem heralds the increasing complexity of his other works which include Tiriel (written 1789, pub. 1874), introducing the theme of the blind tyrannic father, 'the king of rotten wood, and of the bones of death', which reappears in different forms in many poems; *The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (engraved c. 1790-3), his principal prose work, a book of paradoxical aphorisms; and the revolutionary works The French Revolution (1791); America: A Prophecy (1793); and isions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), in which he develops his attitude of revolt against authority, combining political fervour (he had met *Paine at Johnson's) and visionary ecstasy; Urizen, the deviser of moral codes (described as 'the stony law' of the Decalogue) and *Orc, the Promethean arch-rebel, emerge as principal characters in a cosmology that some scholars have related to that of *Gnosticism. By this time Blake had already established his poetic range; the long, flowing lines and violent energy of the verse combine with phrases of terse and aphoristic clarity and moments of great lyric tenderness, and he was once more to demonstrate his command of the lyric in Songs of Experience (1794) which includes 'Tyger! Tyger! burning bright', 'O Rose thou art sick', and other of his more accessible pieces.

Meanwhile the Blakes had moved to Lambeth in 1790; there he continued to engrave his own works and to write, evolving his mythology further in The Book of *Urizen (1794); *Europe: A Prophecy (1794); The Song of *Los (1795); The Book of Ahania (1795); The Book of Los (1795); and The Four Zoas (originally entitled Vala, written and revised 1797-1804), and also working for the booksellers. In 1800 he moved to Felpham, Sussex, where he lived for three years, working for his friend and patron *Hayley, , and working on *Milton (1804-8); in 1803 he was charged at Chichester with high treason for having 'uttered seditious and treasonable expressions, such as "D—n the King, d—n all his subjects . . . "', but was acquitted. In the same year he returned to London, to work on Milton and Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion (written and etched, 1804-20). In 1805 he was commissioned by Cromek to produce a set of drawings for R. *Blair's poem The Grave, but Cromek defaulted on the contract, and Blake earned neither the money nor the public esteem he had hoped for, and found his designs engraved and weakened by another hand. This was symptomatic of the disappointment of his later years, when he appears to have relinquished expectations of being widely understood, and quarreled even with some of the circle of friends who supported him. Both his poetry and his art had failed to find a sympathetic audience, and a lifetime of hard work had not brought him riches or even much comfort. His last years were passed in obscurity, although he continued to attract the interest and admiration of younger artists, and a commission in 1821 from the painter John Linnell produced his well-known illustrations for the Book of Job, published in 1826. (It was Linnell who introduced Blake to Samuel *Palmer in 1824.) A later poem, 'The Everlasting Gospel', written about 1818, shows undiminished power and attack; it presents Blake's own version of Jesus, in a manner that recalls the paradoxes of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, attacking the conventional 'Creeping Jesus', gentle, humble, and chaste, and stressing his rebellious nature, his forgiveness of the woman taken in adultery, his reversing of the stony law of Moses, praising 'the Naked Human Form divine', and sexuality as the measn whereby 'the Soul Expands its wing', and elevating forgiveness above the 'Moral Virtues'.

At Blake's death, general opinion held that he had been, if gifted, insane. *Wordsworth's verdict, according to C. *Robinson, was that 'The was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott', a view in some measure echoed by *Ruskin, who found his manner 'diseased and wild' but his mind 'great and wise'. It was not until A. *Gilchrist's biography of 1863 (significantly describing Blake as 'Pictor Ignotus') that interest began to grow. This was followed by an appreciation by *Swinburne (1868) and by W. M. *Rossetti's edition of 1874, which added new poems to the canon and established his reputation, at least as a lyric poet; his rediscovered engravings considerably influenced the development of *art nouveau. In 1893 *Yeats, a devoted admirer, produced with E. J. Ellis a three-volume edition, with a memoir and an interpretation of the mythology, and the 20th cent. saw an enormous increase in interest. The bibliographical studies and editions of G. *Keynes, culminating in The Complete Writings of William Blake (1966, 2nd edn), have added gratly to knowledge both of the man and his works, revealing him not only as an apocalyptic visionary but also as a writer of ribald and witty epigrams, a critic of spirit and originality, and an independent thinker who found his own way of resisting the orthodoxies of his age, and whose hostile response to the narrow vision and the materialism (as he conceived it) of his bêtes noires Joshua *Reynolds, *Locke, and I. *Newton was far from demented, but in part a prophetic warning of the dangers of as world perceived as mechanism, with man as a  mere cog in an industrial revolution. There have been many interpretative studies, relating his work to traditional Christianity, to the *Neoplatonic and Swedenborgian traditions, to Jungian *archetypes and to *Freudian and *Marxist theory; the Prophetic Books, once dismissed as incoherent, are now claimed by many as works of integrity as well as profundity. Recently, Blake has had a particularly marked influence on the *Beat Generation and the English poets of the *underground movement, hailed by both as a liberator; *Auden earlier acclaimed him ('New Year Letter', 1941) as 'Self-educated Blake . . .' who 'Spoke to Isaiah in the Strand / And heard inside each mortal thing / Its holy emanation sing'.

See also the Blake Books (19777) by G. E. Bentley Jnr, including annotated catalogues of his writings and scholarly books about him; The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. D. V. Erdman (1965, 1988); Blake's Illuminated Books, 6 vols. (1991-5), gen. ed. D. Bindman; and J. Viscomi, Blake and the Idea of the Book (1993), an authoritative account of Blake's graphic process; The William Blake ARchive: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/blake (ed.M. Eaves, R. Essick, J. Viscomi). There is a life by P. *Ackroyd, (1995).

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Jueves, 24 de Noviembre de 2016 06:19. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Un MacGuffin a escala inmensa

lunes, 23 de noviembre de 2015

Un MacGuffin a escala inmensa

Analizamos la novela de William Gibson Zero History (2010) en relación a los conceptos de control de la información y de 'topsight' o perspectiva dominante en la era de Internet. Prestamos especial atención a la función reflexiva metafictional de la perspectiva dominante, y a su papel en la construcción estética de la novela en tanto que artefacto perspectivístico.

Un MacGuffin a escala inmensa: Zero History, de William Gibson



English Abstract:

A MacGuffin of Ultimate Scale: William Gibson's Zero History

An analysis of William Gibson's novel 'Zero History' (2010) with reference to the concepts of informational control and topsight in the age of the Internet. Special attention is paid to the metafictional reflexive function of topsight, and to its role in the aesthetic construction of the novel as a perspectival artifact. Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish. 

Number of Pages in PDF File: 4 

Keywords: Information, Internet, William Gibson, Literature, Novel, Data mining, Topsight, Metafiction, Aesthetic construction, Narratology


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Miércoles, 23 de Noviembre de 2016 06:45. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Drama, Dramatic

domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2015

Drama, Dramatic

Drama, Dramatic

From the Oxford English Dictionary: 

(drā·ma). Also 6 drame, 7 dramma. [a. late L. drāma drama, play (Ausonius), a. Gr. drama deed, action, play, esp. tragedy, n. of action from dran to do, act, perform. In earliest use in form drame as in Fr. (1707 in Hatz-Darm.).]
   1. A composition in prose or verse, adapted to be acted upon a stage, in which a story is related by means of dialogue and action, and is represented with accompanying gesture, costume, and scenery, as in real life; a play.

   1515 BARCLAY Eglogues iv. (1570) Cvj/I  Such rascolde drames promoted by Thais, Bacchus, Licoris, or yet by Thestalis. 1616 B. JONSON Epigr. cxii , I cannot for the stage a drama lay, Tragic or comic. 1636 HEYWOOD Loves Mistresse Ded., Neither are Dramma's of this nature so despicable. 1641 MILTON Ch. Govt. II. introd. The Scripture also affords us a divine pastoral drama in the song of Solomon. 1670 LASSELS Voy. Italy I (1698) 140 (Stanf.) The several Opera's or Musical Dramata are acted and sung. 1795 MASSON Ch. Mus. I. 24 Their Tragic Dramas . . . being usually accompanied by Instruments. 1852 HALLAM Lit. Ess. E. European Mus., i, 24 The Orfeo of Politian . . . the earliest represented drama, not of a religious nature, in a modern language.
   2. With the: The dramatic branch of literature; the dramatic art.
   1661 Middleton's Mayor of Queenborough  Pref. Wks. (Bullen) II. 3 His drollery yields to none the English drama did ever produce. 1711 ADDISON  Spect.  No. 13 ¶ 5 The received rules of the Drama. 1727  POPE, etc. Art of Sinking xvi. Wks. 1757 Vi. 219 (Stanf.) The Drama, which makes so great and so lucrative a part of Poetry. 1857 H. REED, Lect. Brit. Poets viii. 284  The true philosophy of the drama as an imaginative imitation of life. 1861 M. PATTISON Ess. I. 46 The lover of the Elizabethan drama.
   3. A series of actions or course of events having a unity like that of a drama, and leading to a final catastrophe or consummation.
   a 1714 J. SHARP  Serm. I. xiii. (R.), It helps to adorn the great drama and contrivances of God's providence. 1775 MASON Gray Gray's poems 2 That peculiar part which he acted in the varied Drama of Society. 1796 BURKE Regic. Peace i. Wks. VIII. 78 The awful drama of Providence now acting on the moral theatre of the world. 1876 E. MELLOR Priesth. ii, 58 That great drama which was to culminate in the death of Christ.

   Dramatic (drămæ·tik), a. (sb.) [ad. late L. drāmatic-us, a. Gr. dramatikós pertaining to drama, f. drama, drámat- DRAMA: (cf. F. dramatique).]
   1.  Of, pertaining to, or connected with the, or a, drama.; dealing with or employing the forms of the drama
   1589 PUTTENHAM, Eng. Poesie I. xv. (Arb) 49 Foure sundry fromes of Poesie Drammatick.. to wit, the Satyre, olde Comedie, new Comedie, and Tragedie.  c 1680 J. AUBREY in Shaks. C. Praise 383 He began early to make essayes at Dramatique Poetry. 1791 BURKE Corr. (1844) III. 196, I have never written any dramatic piece whatsoever. 1824 W. IRVING T. Trav. I. 280 The dramatic corps, 1885 MABEL COLLINS Prettiest Woman vviii, She played the part of the dramatic critic.
    2. Characteristic of, or appropriate to, the drama; often connoting animated action or striking presentation, as in a play; theatrical.
    1725  POPE Odyss. Postscr. The whole structure of that work (Iliad) is dramatick and full of action. 1778 FOOTE Trip Calais Wks. III 1799 II.378 There seems to be a kind of dramatic justice in the change of your two situations. 1855 BRIMLEY, Ess., Tennyson, 9 That dramatic unity demanded in works of art. 1878 LECKY, Eng. in 18th Cent. (1883) I. 176  The destruction of a great and ancient institution is an eminently dramatic thing.
      B. sb. 1. A dramatic poet; a dramatist. Obs.
   1646  G. DANIEL, Poems, Wks. 1878  I. 30 Hee was, of English Drammatickes, the Prince. a1680 BUTLER Rem. (1759) I. 164 No longer shall Dramatics be confin'd To draw true Images of all Mankind. a1741 GRAY Lett. Wks. 1884 II. 209 Put me the following lines into the tongue of our modern dramatics.
    2. pl. Dramatic compositions or representations; the drama.
    1684 W. WINSTANLEY Engl. Worthies. Shaks 345-7 In all his writings hath an unvulgar Style, as well in his... Poems, as in his Drammaaticks. 1711 SHAFETSB.   Charac. (1737) I. 265 We read epicks and dramaticks, as we do satirs and lampoons. 1880 C. KEENE Let. in G. S. Layard Life X. (1892) 308 The prevaliling mania for dramatics.

    Drama·tical, a (sb). [f. as prec. + -AL.] — DRAMATIC  a.  I. (Now rare.)
    1640  G. WATTS tr. Bacon's Adv. Learn. ii. (R). Dramaticall, or representative [poesy] is as it were, a visible history. a 1652 J SMITH Sel. Disc. , VI, iv (1821) 221 The whole dramatical series of things.  1711  ADDISON Spect. No. 101 §7 A Dramatical performance written in a language which they did not understand. 1854 Fraser's Mag. I 591 Fletcher was the dramatical parent of Congreve. 
B sb. pl. = DRAMATICS sb. Obs. rare
1826 MOIR in Wilson's Wks. (1855) I. 198 Then bid Bryan Procter beat To dramaticals retreat.

·tically, adv. [f. prec. + LY2.]
     a. In a dramatic manner; from a dramatic point of view.   b. With dramatic or theatrical effect.
     a. 1652 J. SMITH Sel. Disc. vi 192   The outward frame of things dramatically set forth. 1759 STERNE Tr. Shandy II. viii. 57 This plea, tho' it might save me dramatically, will damn me biographically. 1836 9 DICKENS Sk. Boz (C. D. ed) 200 He stalked dramatically to bed.

    Dramaticism (drămæ
·tisiz'm). [f. DRAMATIC a.  + -ISM] Dramatic character or quality.
      1878 T. SINCLAIR Mount 80 More than its dramaticism and epicism. 1890 Athenaeum 6 Dec. 775/2 The dramaticism frequet among Nineteenth-Century writers of blank verse.

     Dramaticle, -icule. Also erron. -ucle. [f. L. drāma,
drāmat- with dim. suffix.] A miniature or insignificant drama.
     [1792 T. TWINING Recreat. & Stud. (1882) 168 His two printed dialogues, or dramacles]  1813 Examiner 15 Mar. 171/1  This admired dramatucle (if we may be allowed such a diminutive). 1851 Beddoe's Poems Mem. 15 'Olympian Revels', and other dramaticles published published in the 'London Magazine' of 1823. 1865  CARLYLE Fredk. Gt. IV. 252 Court-shows, dramaticules, transparencies.

·matism.  [f. as DRAMATIST + -ISM] Dramatization, dramatized form.
     1884 Autobiog. Dissenting 122  could no longer amuse his flock with the dramatism of devotion.

|| Dramatis personae (dræmă
·tis prsōn·ni) Abbreviated dram. pers. [L.; —persons of a drama.] The characters of a drama or play; the actors in a drama. lit. or fig.
     1730 FIELDING Temple Beaut. I. vi. Wks. 1882 VIII. 177 There is (to give you a short Dramatis Personae) my worthy uncle [etc.]   1806 J. JAY Corr. & Pub. Papers (1893) IV. 308 Whether this distant nation is to appear among the dramatis personae cannot now be known. 1821 BYRON Diary 13 Jan., Sketched the outline and Dram. Pers. of a . . tragedy.  1895 Law Times XCIX. 547/I His dramatis personæ included a low attorney.

    Dramatist (dræ
·mătist). [f. Gr. drama, dramat-  DRAMA + -IST: cf. F. dramatiste (1787 in Hatz-.Darm.).] A writer or composer of dramas or dramatic poetry; a play-wright. (Also fig.)
    1678 CUDWORTH Intell. Syst. 879 They . . . impatiently cry out against the Dramatist, and presently condemn the Plot. 1748 YOUNG Nt. Th. IX. 348 To see the mighty Dramatist's last Act . .  in glory rising o'er the rest. a1862  BUCKLE Misc. Wks. (1872) I. 483 In every country the dramatists have preceded the metaphysicians.

Dramatization (dræ·mătizēi§n). [f. next + ATION.] The action of dramatizing; conversion into drama; a dramatized version.
   1796 W. TAYLOR in Monthly Rev. XIX. 482. The variegated list of his dramatizations. 1846 DICKENS Lett. (1880) I. 165. I really am bothered . . by this confounded dramatization of the Christmas book. 1875 MAINE Hist. Inst. ix. 253 A dramatisation of the origin of Justice.

Dramatize (dræ·mătiz), v. [f. as DRAMATIST + IZE]
    1. trans. To convert into a drama; to put into dramatic form, adapt for representation on the stage.
    1780-83 [See DRAMATIZED]. 1810 SCOTT Fam. Lett. 22 Dec., They are busy dramatizing The Lady of the Lake here and in Dublin. 1884  Law Times 27 Sept. 358/2 The play 'Called Back,' dramatized from the novel of that name.
    b. obsol. To write dramas.
    1814 Sortes Horatianae 125 Scrawl, dramatize . . do what ye will.
    2. To describe or represent dramatically.
    1823 ADOLPHUS
in Lockhart Scott Aug., To exert the talent of dramatizing and . .  representing in his own person the incidents he told of.  1894  HOWELLS in Harper's Mag. Feb. 383 The men continue to dramatize a struggle on the floor below.
3. intr. (for pass). To admit of dramatization.
1819 SCOTT Fam. Let. 15 June. The present set . . will not dramatize. 1836 New Monthly Mag. XLVII 235 The story would dramatize admirably.
4. trans. To influence by the drama, nonce-use.
1799 Morn. Chron. in Spirit Pub. Jrnls. (1800) III. 154 Some might take their station in the theatre, and dramatize the audience into loyalty.
Dra·matized ppl. a. Dra·matizing vbl. sb. and ppl. a.; also Dra·matizable a. (Webster, 1864); Dra·matizer, one who dramatizes.
      1780-83 W. TOOKE Russia (Webster 1828)  A dramatized extract from the history of the Old and New Testaments. 1833 Westm. Rev. XVIII, 226 The dramatist of Cooper's 'Pilot'. a1834 LAMB Char. Dram. Writers. Rowley Wks. 530 Our delicacy . . forbids the dramatizing of distress. 1862 MERIVALE Rom. Emp. (1865, V. xii. 99 The dramatized histories of the English bard. 1875 EMERSON Lett. & Soc. Aims  Wks. (Bohn) III. 221 A sort of dramatizing talent.

Dramaturge (dræ·măt:rdy) [a F. dramaturge (1787), ad Gr. dramatourgos composer of drama, f. drama, dramato- DRAMA + -ergein to work, -ergos working, worker]. —DRAMATURGIST
         [1859 Times 17 Nov. 8/2 Schiller was starving on a salary of 200 dollars per annum, which he received for his services as 'dramaturg' or literary manager.] 1870 Athenaeum 12 Mar. 366 M. Sardou . . that indefatigable dramaturge. 1882 SYMONDS Animi Figura 118 Fate is the dramaturge, necessity Allots the parts.

rgic, a. [f. Gr. dramatourg-os (see prec.) + -IC] Pertaining to dramaturgy; dramatic, histrionic, theatrical.
    [1831   BEDDOES Let. Jan. in Poems p. xcvi So much for my dramaturgic ideas on playbills.   1845 CARLYLE Cromwell 1871] I. 158 Some form [of worship] not grown dramaturgic to us, but still awfully symbolical for us. 1883 Mag. of Art June 315/1 That lack of dramaturgic science.
Dramatu·rgical a.

Dra·maturgist [f. as prec. + -IST] A composer of a drama; a play-wright.
CARLYLE Schiller II (1845) 63 Notwithstanding . . all the vaunting of dramaturgists. 1843 — Past & Pr. II, ii The World Dramaturgist has written, Exeunt.

Dra·maturgy [mod. ad Gr. dramatourgía composition of dramas : cf. F. dramaturgie (17th c.), Ger. dramaturgie.]
     1. Dramatic composition; the dramatic art.
      1801 W. TAYLOR in Monthly Mag. XII 224. Lessing's Dramaturgy. 1805 Ibid. XX. 41 Lessing .. published a weekly paper, entitled the Hamburg Dramaturgy. 1885  Sat. Rev. 28 Mar. 419/2 The immortal Mac-Flecknoe, in which the 'Nursery' and its dramaturgy are annotated.
2. Dramatic or theatrical acting.
      1837 CARLYLE Diam Neckl. Misc. Ess. 1888 V, 184 Let her .. give her past Dramaturgy the fit aspect to Monseigneur and others. 1858 Fredk. Gr. (1865) I. I. iii. 22 Sublime dramaturgy, which we call his Majesty's Government, costs so much.


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Miércoles, 23 de Noviembre de 2016 06:39. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica


domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2015


A comic opera by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.  First produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, 1885. (Libretto at Project Gutenberg).

BBC production (1973):

Act I:

Act II:

Other productions online:

Stratford Festival of Canada production

East Lyme Arts Council prod. (1991)

D'Oyly Carte production (Buxton Opera House, 1992)

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Miércoles, 23 de Noviembre de 2016 06:28. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Dos en el Top Ten de Literatura

viernes, 20 de noviembre de 2015

Dos en el Top Ten de Literatura

Me escribe esta carta el robot de la SSRN diciéndome que este servidor tiene un artículo en el Top Ten de literatura de este servidor.

Dear Jose Angel Garcia Landa:
Your paper, "SCIENCE AND LITERATURE: SOME CRITICAL PARAMETERS", was recently listed on SSRN’s Top Ten download list for: CSN: Literature (Sub-Topic).
As of 20 November 2015, your paper has been downloaded 164 times. You may view the abstract and download statistics at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1591114.
Top Ten Lists are updated on a daily basis. Click the following link(s) to view the Top Ten list for:
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Literature Top Ten

Como se aprecia por el pantallazo, de hecho tengo en ese Top Ten no un artículo, sino dos. Cierto es que también tiene dos Mark Turner, modelo a seguir, y cierto también que los tiene mejor ubicados que yo. Pero hey, de mi país o de mi continente, ahí estoy yo.

Y también es de celebrar que tengo otro pequeño Top Ten aquí, en "más de lo mío": en el servidor de Historia Literaria y Teoría Literaria de la SSRN:


Literary History & Literary Theory


Son esos pequeños logros que según algunos son la sal misma de la vida y mantienen la dopamina excitada. Para grandes logros, pregúntenle a Pablo Iglesias, the overreacher.


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Domingo, 20 de Noviembre de 2016 10:19. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

jueves, 19 de noviembre de 2015

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:

SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley (1751-1816), the son of Thomas Sheridan, an Irish actor-manager, and Mrs Frances *Sheridan. Richard learned early that as a livelihood the theatre was both precarious and ungentlemanly. He was sent to Harrow School, where he was unhappy and regarded as a dunce. in Bath, however, where he joined his family in 1770, he was at once at home. His skit, written for the local paper, on the opening of the New Assembly Rooms was considered good enough to be published as a separate pamphlet. He fell in love with Eliza Linley, a beautiful and accomplished young singer, with whom he eloped to France and entered into an invalid form of marriage contract, and on whose behalf he fought two farcical duels with her overbearing admirer Captain Matthews. Sheridan's angry father sent him to London to study law, but eventually the fathers withdrew their opposition and in 1773 he was lawfully married to Eliza. Very short of money, he decided to try his hand at a plyay, and in a very few weeks wrote *The Rivals, which was produced at Covent Garden in 1775. It was highly successful and established Sheridan in the fashionable society he sought. The Rivals was followed in a few months by the farce *St Patrick's Day, again a success; and in theautumn by *The Duenna, an operatic play which delighted its audiences. In 1776 Sheridan, with partners, bought *Garrick's half-share in the *Drury Lane Theatre and became its manager. Early in 1777 appeared *A Trip to Scarborough, loosely based on Vanbrugh's *The Relapse, and this again was a success. In March of that year Sheridan was elected a memeber of the *Club, on the proposal of Dr. *Johnson. Meanwhile he was working hard and long on *The School for Scandal, which was produced, with Garrick's help and with a brilliant cast, in May. The play was universally acclaimed, and all doors, from those of the duchess of Devonshire and lady Melbourne downwards, were open to the dramatist—whose personal expenses rose accordingly. Although The School for Scandal had 73 performances between 1777 and 1789 and made a profit of £15,000, Sheridan's financial anxieties, which were to dog him to the end of his life, became even more acute. In 1779 he became the sole proprietor of Drury Lane, and began to live far beyond his means. Although he seems to have been a sympathetic and creative producer, he found the business side of management increasingly irksome. In 1779 he produced his new play *The Critic, based on *The Rehearsal by Buckingham; once again he enjoyed a huge success, and the world regarded him as the true heir of Garrick. But it was not what he wanted. He had grown up with a positive dislike of the theatre, and he declared he never saw a play if he could help it. He wished to shine only in politics, but he had neither the correct family connections nor the financial stability. He became the friend and ally of *Fox and in 1780 won the seat at Stafford. After only two years as an MP he became the under-secretary for foreign affairs, but he neglected his office work, both as a politician and as the manager of Drury Lane. Fortunately his father had secured both Mrs *Siddons and J. P. *Kemble, who brought the required audiences to the theatre. In 1783 he became secretary to the treasury and established his reputation as a brilliant orator in the House of Comons. In 1787 *Burke persuaded him into supporting the impeachment of *Hastings, and his eloquent speeech of over five hours on the Begums of Oude ensured that he was made manager of the trial. He was by now confirmed an intimate friend of the prince regent and other royal figures. Eliza died in 1792, and in the same year the Drury Lane Theatre was declared unsafe and had to be demolished. Sheridan raised £150,000 for a new theatre with apparent ease, but he was plunging himself yet deepr into debt, and payments to his actors became more uncertain than ever. In 1795 he married Esther Ogle. All though these years he was speaking eloquently in the House and hoping for eventual political advancement. *Pizarro, adapted by Sheridan from *Kotzebue, was performed in 1799 and was sucessful enough to bring a brief reprieve, but in 1802 the theatre funds were impounded and the bankers put in charge. Enormous sums were owing to the landlord, the architect, the actors, and stage staff. Although he was still speaking daily at the Commons, Sheridan's friendship with Fox was fading, and when Grenville formed the 'ministry of all the talents' in 1806 Sheridan was offered only the treasureship to the navy, without cabinet rank. The money which came with his appointment to a post with the duchy of Cornwall was soon spent. In 1809 the new Drury Lane was destroyed by fire, the debts became crushing, and Sheridan was excluded from all aspects of management. In 1811 he lost his seat at Stafford, and in 1813 he was arrested for debt. Friends rallied, but he and his wife became ill. His house was discovered to be filthy and denuded of almost all furnishings. He died in July 1816 and was given a fine funeral, with four lords as pall-bearers. He wished to be remembered as a man of politics and to be buried net to Fox, but he was laid near Garrick instead. He is remembered chiefly as the author of two superb comedies, but his speeches and letters have also been published. The standard edition of the plays is The Plays and Poems of Sheridan, ed. R. C. Rhodes (3 vols., 1928): see also Harlequin Sheridan (1933), a life by R. C. Rhodes. The Letters were edited by C. Price (3 vols., 1966).

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Sábado, 19 de Noviembre de 2016 08:31. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Modern Genre Theory

martes, 17 de noviembre de 2015

Un libro donde se me cita: 

Modern Genre Theory

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Viernes, 18 de Noviembre de 2016 04:45. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Queen Anne Prose

lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2015

Queen Anne Prose

From George Saintsbury’s Short History of English Literature (1907):



Swift—His life—His verse—His prose—His quality and achievement—The Essayists—Steele—His plays—Addison’s life—His miscellaneous work—His and Steele’s Essays—Bentley—Middleton—Arbuthnot—Atterbury—Bolingbroke—Butler and other divines—Shaftesbury—Mandeville—Berkeley—Excellence of his style—Defoe.


 JOHN DUNTON, the eccentric bookseller mentioned at the close of the last chapter, refers to a certain "scoffing Tubman," with whose identity neither he, extensive and peculiar as was his knowledge of literary London, nor almost any one else, was then acquainted. The reference is, of course, to the Tale of a Tub, published anonymously in 1704—the first great book, either in prose or verse, of the eighteenth century, and in more ways than one the herald and champion of its special achievements in literature. Jonathan Swift,1 its author, one of the very greatest names in English literature, was, like his connections Dryden and Herrick, a plant of no very early development. He had been born as far back as 1667, and his earlier literary productions had been confined to wretched Pindaric odes, some of them contributed to Dunton’s own papers, and drawing down upon him that traditional and variously quoted sentence of his great relative, "Cousin Swift, you will never be a [Pindaric] poet," which is said to have occasioned certain ill-natured retorts on Dryden later. Swift’s origin, like his character and genius, was purely English, but an accident caused him to be born in Dublin, and other accidents brought about his education in Ireland. His father died before his birth, and his mother was very poor: but his paternal uncle paid for his education at Kilkenny Grammar School and Trinity College, Dublin. He entered Trinity very early, in 1682, and seems to have been neither happy nor successful there, though there may have been less disgrace than has sometimes been thought in his graduation speciali gratia, and not by the ordinary way of right, in 1686.

His life.

He was still under twenty, and for some years found no better connection than a secretaryship in the house of his distant connection, Sir William Temple. In 1694 he went to Ireland, was ordained, and received a small living, but in two years returned to Temple, in whose house he met "Stella," Esther Johnson, his lifelong friend and, as seems most probable, latterly his wife. Temple died in 1699, leaving Swift a small legacy and his literary executorship. He once more returned to Ireland, acted as secretary to Lord-Deputy Berkeley, received some more small preferments, though not such as he wanted, and spent the first decade of the century at Laracor, his chief benefice, and London, where he was a sort of agent for the Archbishop of Dublin. He had all this time been a kind of Whig in politics, but with a strong dislike to Whig anti-clericalism and some other differences; and about 1710 he joined the new Tory party under Harley and St. John, and carried on vigorous war against the Whigs in The Examiner, though he did not break personal friendship with Addison and others. His inestimable services during the four last years of Queen Anne were rewarded only with the Deanery of Dublin—it is said owing to the Queen’s pious horror of the Tale of a Tub. Swift lived chiefly in Dublin, but with occasional visits to his friends in England, for more than thirty years longer, and the events of his life, the contests of "Vanessa" and "Stella" for his hand, or at least his heart, his interference with Irish politics, his bodily sufferings, and the end which, after five terrible years of madness, painful or lethargic, came in October 1745, are always interesting and sometimes mysterious. But we cannot dwell on them here, though they have more to do with his actual literary characteristics than is often the case. His dependency in youth, his long sojourn in lettered leisure, though in bitterness of spirit, with a household the master of which was a dilettante but a distinctly remarkable man of letters, his suppressed but evidently ardent affections, his disappointment when at last he reached fame and the chance of power, and his long residence, with failing health, in a country which he hated—all these things must be taken into account, though cautiously, in considering his work.

Swift bustHis verse 

This [His work] is of very great bulk, and in parts of rather uncertain genuineness, for Swift was strangely carele
ss of literary reputation, published for the most part anonymously, and, intense as is his idiosyncrasy, contrived to impress it on one or two of his intimate friends, notably on Arbuthnot. It consists of both verse and prose, but the former is rarely poetry and is at its best in easy vers de société, such as Cadenus and Vanessa (the record of his passion or fancy for Esther Vanhomrigh), "Vanbrugh’s House," the pieces to Harley and others, and above all, the lines on his own death; or else in sheer burlesque or grotesque, where he has seldom been equalled, as in the famous "Mrs. Harris’s Petition," and a hundred trifles, long and short, of the same general kind. Poetry, in the strict and rare sense, Swift seldom or never touches; his chief example of it—an example not absolutely authenticated, seeing that we only possess it as quoted by Lord Chesterfield—is a magnificent fragment about the Last Judgment. Here, and perhaps only here in verse, his characteristic indignation rises to poetic heat. Elsewhere he is infinitely ingenious and humorous in fanciful whim, and, sometimes at least, infinitely happy in expression of it, the pains which, do doubt partly owing to Temple’s influence and example, he spent upon correct prose-writing being here extended and reflected in verse. For Swift, although not pedantically, or in the sense of manuals of composition, a correct writer, is so in the higher and better sense to a very unusual degree; and we know that he was better sense to a very unusual degree; and we know that he was so deliberately. Several passages, especially one in the Tatler,2 express his views on the point, and his dislike at once of the other luxuriance which it was impossible for a man of his time to relish, and of the inroad of slovenly colloquialism which we have noticed in the last chapter.

His prose

Yet if Swift had been, like his patron, and perhaps in some sort exemplar, Temple, nothing more, or little more, than a master of form in prose, his prosition in literature would be very different from that which he actually holds. His first published prose piece, the Dissenssions of Athens and Rome (an application, according to the way of the times, to contempoarary politics), contains, except in point of style, nothing very noticeable. But the anonymous volume of 1704 is compact of very different stuff. The Battle of the Books, a contribution to the "Ancient and Modern" debate on Temple’s side and in Temple’s honour, is not supreme, though very clever, admirably written and arranged, and such as no Englishman recently living, save Butler and Dryden, could have written, while Butler would have done it with more clumsiness of form, and Dryden with less lightness of fancy. The Tale of a Tub has supremacy. It may be peremptorily asserted that irreligion is neither intended nor involved in it. For nearly two centuries the ferocious controversies, first between Rome and Protestantism, then between different bodies of Protestants, had entirely blinded men to the extreme danger that the rough handling which they bestowed upon their enemies would recoil on the religion which underlay those enemies’ beliefs as well as their own. Adn this, as well as the other danger of the excessive condemnation of "enthusiasm," was not seen till long after Swift’s death. But the satire on Peter (Rome), Jack (Calvinism, or rather the extremer Protestant sects generally), and Martin (Lutheranism and Anglicanism) displays an all-pervading irony of thought, and a felicity of expressing that irony, which had never been seen in English prose before. The irony, it must be added, goes, as far as things human are concerned, very deep and very wide, and its zigzag glances at politics, philosophy, manners, the hopes and desires and pursuits and pleasures and pains of man, leave very little unscathed. There is a famous and not necessarily false story that Swift, in his sad latter days, once exclaimed, in reference to the Tale, "What a genius I had when I wrote that book!" The exclamation, if made, was amply justified. The Tale of a Tub is one of the very greatest books of the world, one of those in which a great drift of universal thought receives consummate literary form.

The decade of his Whiggery (or, as it has been more accurately described, of his neutral state with Whig leanings) saw no great bulk of work, but some exquisite examples of this same irony in a lighter kind. This was the time of the charming Argument against Abolishing Christianity (1708) and of Swift’s contributions to the Tatler, which periodical indeed owed him a great deal more than the mere borrowing of the nom de guerre—Isaac Bickerstaffe—which he had used in a seris of ingenious persecutions of the almanack-maker, Partridge. The shorter period of Tory domination was very much more prolific in bulk of work, but except in the wonderful Journal to Stella (1710-13), which was never intended for any eye but hers (and the faithful "Dingley’s"), the literary interest is a littel inferior. The Examiners are of extraordinary force and vigour; the Remarks on the Barrier Treaty (1712), the Public Spirit of the Whigs (1714), and above all the Conduct of the Allies (1711), which Johnson so strangely decried, are masterly specimens of the political pamphlet. The largest work of this time, the History of the Four Last Years of Queen Anne, is sometimes regarded as doubtfully genuine, though there is no conclusive reason for ruling it out.

His very greatest prose work, however, dates from the last thirty years of his life, and especially from the third, fourth and firth lustres of this time, for the last was darkened by his final agony, and in the first decade he was too marked a man to venture on writing what might have brought upon him the exile of Atterbury or the prison of Harley and Prior. He began at once, however, a curious kind of Irish patriotism, which was in fact nothing but an English Fronde. In 1724 some jobbery about a new copper coinage in Ireland gave him a subject, and he availed himself of this in the Drapier’s Letters with almost miraculous skill; while two years later came the greatest of all his books, greater for method, range, and quiet mastery than even the Tale, that is to say Gulliver’s Travels. The short but consummate Modest Proposal for eating Irish children, the pair to the Argument against Abolishing Christianity, as a short example of the Swiftian irony, came in 1729; and the chief of his important works later were the delightful Polite Conversation (1738), probably written or at least begun much earlier, in which the ways and speeches of ordinary good society are reproduced with infinite humour and spirit, and the Directions to Servants, almost as witty, but more marked with Swift’s ugliest fault, a coarseness of idea and language, which seems rather the result of positive and individual disease than the survival of Restoration license.

His quality and achievement

There is no doubt that on the whole Swift’s peculiar powers, temper, and style are shown in his one generally known book as well as anywhere else. The absence of the fresher, more whimsical, and perhaps even deeper, irony and pessimism of the Tale of a Tub, and the loss of self-control indicated in the savage misanthropy of the Hoyhnhnms finale, are compensated by a more methodical and intelligible scheme, by the charm of narrative, by range and variety of subject, and by the abundance of little lively touches which that narrative suggests and facilitates. The mere question of the originality of the scheme is, as usual, one of the very slightest importance. Swift had predecessors, if he had not patterns, in Lucian and in scores of other writers down to and beyond Cyrano de Bergerac. The idea, indeed, of combining the interest and novelty of foreign travel with an obvious satire on "travellers’ tales," and a somewhat less obvious one on the follies, vices, and contrasted foibles of mankind, is not beyond tthe range of an extremely moderate intellect, and could never be regarded as the property or copyright even of the greatest. It is the astonishing vigour and variety of Swift’s dealing with this public stuff that craves notice: and twenty times the space here available would be too little to do justice to that. The versatility with which the picture—it can hardly even at its worst be called the caricature—of mankind is adjusted to the different meridians of the little people the giants, the pedants, the unhappy inmortals, and the horses—the dexterous relief of the satirists’ lash with the mere tickling of the humourist—the wonderful prodigality of power and the more wonderful economy of words and mere decorations—all these things deserve the most careful study, and the most careful study will not in the least intefere with, but will only enhance, the perpetual enjoyment of them.

It only remains to point out very briefly the suitableness of the style to the work. Swift’s style is extremely unadorned, though the unfailing spirit of irony prevents it from being, exept to the most poor and unhappy tastes, in the very least degree flat. Though not free from grammatical licenses, it is on the whole corret enough, and is perfectly straightforward and clear. There may be a very different meaning lurking by way of innuendo behind Swift’s literal and grammatical sense, but that sense itself can never be mistaken. Further, he has—unless he deliberately assumes them as the costumes of a part he is playing—absolutely no distinguishing tricks or manners, no catchwords, and in especial no unusual phrases or vocables either imitated or invented. In objecting to neologisms, as he did very strongly, he was perhaps critically in the wrong; for a language which ceases to grow dies. But, like some, though by no means all, similar objectors, he has justified his theory by his practice. In fact, if intellectual genius and literary art be taken together, no prose-writer, who is a prose-writer mainly, is Swift’s superior, and a man might be hard put to it to say who among such writers in the plainer English can be pronounced his equal.

The Essayists

It has been sid that it is hard to settle the credit of the invention of the Queen Anne Essay, in which the characteristic of the later Augustan period was chiefly shown. For years before it appeared, the essay-writers, from Bacon to Temple on the one hand, and the journalists, of whom the most remarkable were mentioned at the close of the last chapter, on the other, had been bearing down nearr and nearer to this particular point. The actual starting is usually assigned to the Review of a greater than any of these journalists, Daniel Defoe, who will, however, find a more suitable place later in this chapter. And it is noteworthy that Swift, whose fertility in ideas was no less remarkable than the nonchalance with which he abandoned them or sugggested them to his friends, was most intimate with Steele and Addison just at the time of the appearance of the Tatler, lent it a nom de guerre, wrote for it, and may in different metaphors be said to have given it inspiration, atmosphere, motive power, launch. But it was undoubtedly set agoing under the management of another person, Steele, and he need not be deprived of the honour.

Richard Steele was born in Dublin in March 1672, but he had little to do with Ireland afterwards. His school was the Charterhouse, and from it he went to Merton College at Oxford, where he was postmaster. But though he made some stay at the University he took no degree, and left it for the army, beginning as a cadet or gentlemen volunteer in the second Life Guards, whence he passed as an ensign to the Coldstreams and as a captain to Lucas’s foot. He became Gazetteer in 1707, and a little later engaged, with more zeal than discretion, in Whig politics, being expelled from the House of Commons in the turbulent last years of Anne. The success of the Hanoverians restored him to fortune, or the chance of it, and he was knighted and made patentee of Drury Lane. But he was always a spendthrift and a speculator, and in his later years he had to retire to an estate which his second wife (an heiress in Wales as the first had been in the West Indies) had brougth him near Caermarthen. He died there in 1729. His letters and even his regular works tell us a great deal about his personality, which, especially as contrasted with that of Addison, has occasioned much writing.

Steele’s desertion of the University for the army might not seem to argue a devotion to the Muses. But he began3 while still a soldier by a book of devotion, The Christian Hero (1701), and it was not in him, whatever it might have been in another, at all inconsistent to turn to play-writing, in which occupation he observed, though not excessively, the warnings of Jeremy Collier. The Tatler (1709) opened his true vein, and in it, in the Spectator, in the Guardian, in the Englishman, Lover, and other periodicals, he displayed a faculty for miscellany more engaging, though much less accomplished, than Addison’s own. In the political articles of this series, and still more in his political pamphlets, he is at his worst, for he had no argumentative faculty, and was utterly at the mercy of such an opponent as Swift. The Conscious Lovers, his most famous play, was late (1722) and is distinguished, amid the poor plays between Farquhar and Sheriden, for its mixture of briskness and amiability. There was a third ingredient, sentimentality, which is indeed sufficiently prominent in Steele’s earlier comedies, The Funeral (1701), The Lying Lover (1703), and The Tender Husband (1705), and by no means absent from his essays. But, with a little allowance, it adds to these latter a charm which, though it may be less perceptible to later generations than it was to those who had sickened at the ineffable brutality of the time immediately preceding, can still be felt.

His plays

Of the plays, though all endeavor to carry out Collier’s principles, The Conscious Lovers is the only one which deserves Fielding’s raillery, through Parson Adams, as to its being "as good as a sermon," which Hazlitt has rather unfairly extended to all. Even The Conscious Lovers contains, in the scenes between Tom and Phyllis, pictures of flirtation belowstaires shich, with all Steele’s tenderness and good feeling, have nearly as much vivacity as any between the most brazen varlets and baggages of the Restoration dramatists. The Lying Lover, an adaptation of Le Menteur, is of no great merit, perhaps because it also has a slight tendency to sermonising. But The Funeral, though very unnatural in plot and decidedly unequal in character, contains a famous passage of farcical comedy between an undertaker and his mates, and a good though rascally lawyer. The most uniformly amusing of the four is The Tender Husband, though the appropriateness of the title is open to question. The pair of innocents, the romantic heiress Biddy Tipkin and the clumsy heir Humphry Gubbin, are really diverting, and in the first case to no small extent original; while they have furnished hints to no less successors than Fielding, Goldsmith, Sheridan, and Miss Austen. The lawyer and the gallant are also distinctly good, and the aunt has again furnished hints for Mrs. Malaprop, as Biddy has for Lydia. Steele, who always confessed, and probably as a rule exaggerated, his debts to Addison, acknowledges them here; and there is a certain Addisonian tone about some of the humours, though Steele was quite able to have supplied them. Fond as he was of the theatre, however, and familiar with it, he had little notion of constructing a play, and his morals constantly tripped up his art. The essay, not the drama, was his real field.

The almost inextricable entanglement of the work of Steele with Addison’s, and the close connection of the two in life, have always occasioned a set of comparison, not to the advantage of one, now to that of the other, in literary history; and there is probably more loss than gain in the endeavour to separate them sternly. We may therefore best give Addison’s life, and such short sketch of his books as is possible now, and then consider together the work, still in parts not very clearly attributable to one more than to the other, which gives them, and must always give them, an exalted place in English literature.

Addison’s life

Joseph Addison4 was born, like Steele, in 1672, but in May instead of March. His father, Lancelot Addison, was a divine of parts and position, who became Dean of Lichfield. His mother’s name was Jane Gulston. After experience of some country schools, at one of which he is said to have shared in a "barring-out," he, like Steele, went to the Charterhouse and then to Oxford, where he was first at Queen’s then at Magdalen, holding a demyship, taking his Master’s degree in 1693, and being elected to a Fellowship in 1697, at the latter college, where "Addison’s Walk" preserves his name. He made early acquaintance with Dryden, but adopted Whig politics; and, by the influence of Montague, obtained in 1699 a travelling pension of £300 a year. He discharged the obligation loyally, remaining four years abroad, visiting most parts of the Continent, and preparing, if not finishing, his only prose works of bulk, the Remarks on Italy (1704) and the Dialogues on Medals, not published till later. But when he came back in 1703, Halifax was out of favour, his pension was stopped, and, having broken off his University career by his failure to take orders, he was for some time in doubtful prospects. But his poem of The Campaign, in which he celebrated Blenheim (1704), with one fine passage and a good deal of platitude, gained high reputation in the dearth of poetical accomplishment, and the short summer of favour for men of letters, which followed Dryden’s death; and he was made a Commissioner of Excise.

This was the first of a long series of appointments, official and diplomatic, which was not, thanks to Swift, entirely interrupted even during the Tory triumph, and which enabled Addison, who had been in 1703 nearly penniless, to lay out, in 1711,
£10,000 on an estate in Warwickshire. It culminated in 1717, after the Hanoverian triumph, by his being appointed Secretary of State, which office he held but a short time, resigning it for a large pension. He had a year before married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, and he died of dropsy at Holland House in 1719, aged only forty-seven. His character has been discussed, not with acrimony, for no one can dislike Addison, but with some heat. He had none of the numerous foibles of which Steele was guilty, except a rather too great devotion to wine. But the famous and magnificent "Character of Atticus," by Pope, is generally supposed by all but partisans to be at best a poisoned dart, which hit true. His correct morality —the Bohemian philosopher Mandeville called him "a parson in a tie-wig"—has been set down to cold-bloodedness, and there has even been noticeable dissension about the relative amount of literary genius in him and in Steele.

His miscellaneous work

As noticed already, Addison’s literary work outside periodicals is by no means small. His early Latin poems are very clever, and very happy in their artificial way. Of his English verse nothing has survived, except his really beautiful hymns, where the combination of sincere religious feelings (of the sincerity of Addison’s religion there is absolutely no doubt, though it was of a kind now out of fashion) and of critical restraint produced things of real, though modest and quiet, excellence. "The Lord my pasture shall prepare," "The spacious firmament on high," and "How are thy servants blest! O Lord," may lack the mystical inspiration of the greatest hymns, but their cheerful piety, their graceful use of images, which, though common, are never mean, their finish and even, for the time, their fervour make them singularly pleasant. The man who wrote them may have had foibles and shortcomings, but he can have had no very grave faults, as the authors of more hysterical and glowing compositions easily might.

The two principal prose works are little read now, but they are worth reading. They show respectable learning (with limitations admitted by such a well-qualified and well-affected critic as Macaulay), they are excellent examples (though not so excellent as the Essays) of Addison’s justly famous prose, and they exhibit, in the opening of the Medals and in all the descriptive passages of the Italy, the curious insensibility of the time to natural beauty, or else its almost more curious inability to express what it felt, save in the merest generalities and commonplaces.

The three plays at least indicate Addison’s possession, though in a much less degree, of his master Dryden’s general faculty of literary craftsmanship. The opera of Rosamond is, indeed, clearly modelled on Dryden in its serious parts, but is no great success there. The lighter and more whimsical quality of Addison’s humour enabled him to do better in the farcical passages, which, especially in the speeches of Sir Trusty, sometimes have a singularly modern and almost Gilbertian quality to them. The comedy of The Drummer, where a Wiltshire tradition is used to make a play on a theme not entirely different from Steele’s Funeral (in each a husband is thought to be dead when he is not), contains, like Steele’s own pieces, some smart "words," but no very good dramatic situation or handling. It is, also like Steele’s, an attempt to write Restoration drama in the fear of Jeremy Collier. Cato, the most famous, is at this time of day by far the least interesting. Its universally known stock-pieces give almost all that it has of merit in versification and style; as a drama it has an uninteresting plot, wooden characters, and a great absence of life and idiosyncrasy.

His and Steele’s Essays

It is very different when we turn to the Essays. The so-called Essay which Steele launched in the Tatler, which was taken up and perfected in the Spectator, which had numerous immediate followers, and a succession of the greatest importance at intervals throughout the century, and which at once expressed and influenced the tone and thought of that century after a fashion rarely paralleled, was not originally started in quite the form which it soon assumed, and never, for the greater part of a hundred years, wholly lost. Naturally enough, Steele at first endeavoured to make it a newspaper, as well as a miscellany and review. But by degrees, and before very long, news was dropped, and comment, in the form of special essays, of "letters to the editor," sometimes real, oftener manufactured, of tales and articles of all the various kinds which have subsisted with no such great change till the present day, reigned alone. As Addison’s hand prevailed—though literature, religion, and even politics now and then, the theatre very often, and other things were not neglected—the main feature of the two papers, and especially of the Spectator, became a kind of light but distinctlyfirm censorship of manners, especially the part of them nearest to morals, and of morals, especially the part of them nearest to manners. Steele, always zealous and always generous, but a little wanting in criticism, not infrequently diverged into sentimentality. Addison’s
tendency, though he, too, was unflinchingly on virtue’s side, was rather towards a very mellow and not unindulgent but still quite distinctly cynical cynicism—a smile too demure ever to be a grin, but sometimes, except on religious subjects, faintly and distantly approaching a sneer. This appears even in the most elaborate and kindly of the imaginative creations of the double series, Sir Roger de Coverley, whom Steele indeed seems to have invented, but whom Addison adopted, perfected, and (some, perhaps without reason, say) even killed out of kindness, lest a less delicate touch should take the bloom out of him. This great creation, which comes nearer than anything out of prose fiction or drama to the masterpieces of the novelists and dramatists, is accompanied by others hardly less masterly; while Addison is constantly, and Steele not seldom, has sketches or touches as perfect in their way, though less elaborate. It is scarcely too much to say that these papers, and especially the Spectator, taught the eighteenth century ho it should, and especially how it should not, behave in public places, from churches to theatres; what books it should like, and how it should like them; how it should treat its lovers, mistresses, husbands, wives, parents, and friends; that it might politely sneer at operas, and must not take any art except literature too seriously; that a moderate and refined devotion to the Protestant religion and the Hanoverian succession was the duty, though not the whole duty, of a gentleman.It is still a little astonishing to find with what docility the century obeyed and learnt its lesson. Addison died a little before, Steele not much after, its first quarter closed; et in the lighter work of sixty or seventy years later we shall find, with the slightest differences of external fashion, the laws of the Spectator held still by "the town" with hardly a murmur, by the country without the slightest hesitation. In particular, those papers taught the century how to write; and the lesson was accepted on this point with almost more unhesitating obedience than on any other. The magnificent eulogy of Johnson, who had himself deviated not a little, though perhaps unconsciously, from Addisonian practice, would have been disputed by hardly any one who reached manhood in England between the Peace of Utrecht and the French Revolution; and, abating its exclusiveness a little, it remains true still.

Steele, though he has some rarer flights than his friend, is much less correct, and much less polished; while, though he had started with equal chances, his rambling life had stored him with far less learning than Addison possessed. The latter, while he never reached the massive strength and fiery force of Swift, did even more than Swift himself to lift English prose out of the rut, or rather quagmire, of colloquialism and slovenliness in which, as we have seen, it was sinking. He could even though he rarely did, rise to a certain solemnity—caught, it may be, from Temple, who must have had much influence on him. But, like Temple’s, though with a more modern, as well as a more varied and completely polished, touch, his style was chiefly devoted to the "middle" subjects and manners. He very rarely attempts sheer whimsical fooling. But he can treat all the subjects that come within the purview and interests of a well-bred man of this world, who by no means forgets the next, in a style quite inimitable in its golden mediocrity—well-informed, without being in the least pedantic; moral, without direct preaching (unless he gives forewarning); slightly superior, but with no provoking condescensioin in it; polite, without being frivolous or finicking; neat, but not overdressed; easy, but, as Johnson justly states, never familiar in any offensive degree. It is easier to feel enthusiasm about Steele, who had so much, than about Addison, who at any rate shows so little; and on the character, the genius, the originality, of the two there may always be room for dispute. But it seems incredible that any one should deny to Addison the credit of being by far the greater artist, and of having brought his own rather special, rather limited, but peculiar and admirable division of art to a perfection seldom elsewhere attained in letters. These three greatest writers were surrounded by others hardly less than great. Arbuthnot, Atterbury, Bentley, Bolingbroke, Mandeville, the younger Shaftesbury, Berkeley, Butler, Middleton, were all either actual contributors to the great periodical series, or intimately connected with those who wrote these, or (which is of equal importance to us) at any rate exponents of the extremely plain prose style, which required the exquisite concinnity of Addison, the volcanic and Titanic force and fire of Swift, or the more than Attic stateliness and grace of Berkeley, to sabe it from being too plain. The order in which they are to be mentioned is unimportant, and few can have more than very brief space, but none must pass unnoticed.


Richard Bentley, a very great classical scholar, and no mean writer of English, was a Yorkshire man, born in 1662, and educated at Wakefield. He went early to St. John’s College, Cambridge, was taken as a private tutor into the household of Stillingfleet, took orders not very early, was made King’s Librarian in 1694, engaged, and was completely victorious, in the Ancient and Modern Controversy, especially in reference to the Epistles of Phalaris; was made Master of Trinity in 1699, and passed nearly the whole of his more than forty years of mastership, till his death in 1742, in a desperate struggle with his college, wherein, if his adversaries were unscrupulous, he was no less so, while the right was on the whole rather against him, though his bull-dog tenacity has won most commentators on the matter to his side. There is at any rate no doubt of his learning, his logical power, and his very real, though gruff and horseplayful, humour. To merely English literature he stands6 in two very different relations. His almost incredibly absurd emendations on Milton would, if the thing were not totally alien from the spirit of the man, seem like a designed parody on classical scholarship itself. But his writing, especially in the famous Phalaris dissertation, and in the remarks of the Deist Collins, is extraordinarily vigorous and vivid. His birth-date, probably even more than a design to avoid the reproach of pedantry, made him colloquial, homely, and familiar down to the very level from which Swift and Addison tried to lift, and to a great extent succeeded in lifting prose; but his native force and his wide learning save him, though sometimes with difficulty, from the merely vulgar.


Conyers Middleton, Bentley’s most deadly enemy, was, like Bentley, a Yorkshireman, but was much younger, having been born at Richmond in 1683. He went to Trinity young, and was not only a Fellow thereof, but connected throughout his life with Cambridge, by his tenure of the offices of University Librarian from 1722 onwards, and Woodwardian Professor of Geology for a time. He was a man of property, was thrice married, and held several livings till his death in 1750, though his orthodoxy was, in his own times and afterwards, seriously impugned.

This does not concern us here, though it may be observed that Middleton may be cleared from anything but a rather advanced stage of the latitudinarianism and dislike of "enthusiasm" which was generally felt by the men of his time, and which invited—indeed necessitated—the Evangelical and Methodist revolt. So, too, we need not busy ourselves much with the question whether he directly plagiarised, or only rather breely borrowed from the Scotch Latinist, Bellenden, in his longest and most famous prose work, the Life of Cicero (1741). Besides this, he wrote two controversial works of length—ostensibly directed against Popery, certainly against extreme supernaturalism, and, as his enemies will have it, covertly against Christianity—entitled A Letter from Rome, showing an exact Conformity between Popery and Paganism (1729), and A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers which are supposed to have existed in the Christian Church (1748); with a large number of small pamphlets on a variety of subjects, in treating which he showed wide culture and intelligence. His place here, however, is that of the most distinguished representative of the absolutely plain style—not colloquial and vernacular like Bentley’s, but on the other hand attempting none of the graces which Addison and Berkeley in their different ways achieved—a style more like the plainer Latin or French styles than like anything else in English.


John Arbuthnot,8 the "moon" of Swift, born 1667, came of the noble family of that name in Kincardineshire, but went to Oxford, and spent all the latter part of his life in London, where he was physician to Queen Anne, a strong Tory, and an intimate friend of Swift and Pope. He died in 1735, much respected and beloved. Arbuthnot’s literary fate, or rather the position which he deliberately chose, was peculiar. It is very difficult to identify much of his work, and what seems certainly his (especially the famous History of John Bull and The Memoirs of Scriblerus) is exceedingly like Swift, and was pretty certainly produced in concert with that strange genius, who, unlike some animals, never took colour from his surroundings, but always gave them his own. It is, however, high enough praise that Arbuthnot, at the best of his variable work, is not inferior to anything but the very best of Swift. There is the same fertility and the same unerringness of irony; and, if we can distinguish, it is only that a half or wholly good-natured amusement takes the place of Swift’s indignation.


Francis Atterbury,9 born in Buckinghamshire in 1672, a distinguished Christ Church man, who, after being head of his house, obtained the bishopric of Rochester and the Deanery of Westminster in succession to Sprat, was the divine and scholar of the extreme Tory party, as Arbuthnot was their man of science. He has been accused not merely of conspiring after the Hanoverian succession, but of denying it, and sailing too near perjury in this denial. Of this there is no sufficient proof, and we must remember that the political ethics of the age were extremely accomodating. He was at any rate attained, and banished (in 1723) to France, where he died nine years later. A brilliant and popular preacher, a pleasant letter-writer, a most dangerous controversialist and debater, and a good critic (though he made the usual mistakes of his age about poetry before Waller), Atterbury wrote in a style not very unlike Addison’s, though inferior to it.


The huge contemporary fame of Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke,10 and its rapid and lasting decline after his death, are among the commonplaces of literary history. He was born in 1678, passed through Eton and Christ Church, entered Parliament very early, was Secretary for War at six-and-twenty, climbed with Harley to power, and contrived to edge his companion "out," but remained "in" himself only a few days, fled to the Continent, returned to England and recovered his estates, but not his seat in Parliament, in 1723, organised and carried out the English Fronde  against Walpole, and died in 1751. His career—for he was as famous for "wildness" as for success—was one of those which specially appeal to the vulgar, and are not uninteresting even to unvulgar tastes. He was beyond question one of the greatest orators of his day, and he was extravagantly praised by his friends, who happened to include the chief poet and the greatest prose writer of the time. Yet hardly any one who for generations has opened the not few volumes of his works has closed them without more or less than profound disappointment. Bolinbroke, more than any other English writer, is a rhetorician pure and simple; and it was his misfortune, first, that the subjects of his rhetoric were not the great and perennial subjects, but puny ephemeral forms of them—the partisan and personal politics of his day, the singularly shallow form of infidelity called Deism, and the like—and, secondly, that his time deprived him of many, if not most, of the rhetorician’s most telling weapons. The Letter to Windham (1716), a sort of apologia, and the Ideal of a Patriot King (1749) exhibit him at his best.

Butler and Other Divines

Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761), a pluralist courtier, and more than doubtfully orthodox divine on the Whig side, held four sees in succession, in one at least of which he was the cause of much literature, or at least many books, by provoking the famous "Bangorian" controversy. He himself wroter clearly and well. Nor can the same praise be denied to Samuel Clarke (1675-1729) philosopher, physicist, and divine. There is more diversity of opinion about the purely literary merites, as distinguished from the unquestioned claims in religious philosophy, of Bishop Joseph Butler, who was born at Wantage in 1692, left Nonconformity for the Church, went to Oriel, became preacher at the Rolls Chapel, Rector of Stanhope, Bishop of Bristol, Dean of St. Paul’s, and, lastly, Bishop of Durham, owing these appointments to no cringing or intrigue, but to his own great learning, piety, wisdom, and churchmanship, fortunately backed by Queen Caroline’s fancy for philosophy. Butler’s Sermons, published in 1726, and his Analogy of Natural and Revealed Religion ten years later, occasionally contain aphorisms of beauty equal to their depth; but it is too much to claim "crispness and clearness" for his general style,11 which is, on the contrary, too often obscure and tough.


Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, the third of his names and title, the grandson of "Achitophel," and the son of the "shapeless lump" (a phrase for which he never forgave Dryden), was born in 1671. His mother was Lady Dorothy Manners. He was brought up partly by a learned lady, and partly by Locke. He was for three years at Winchester, went to no University , and travelled a good deal abroad. He sat for a short time in the House of Commons, but made no figure there or in the House of Lords, where, during nearly the whole time of his tenure of the earldom (1699-1713), politics, whether Whig or Tory, were of too rough a cast for his dilettantism. He died, after more foreign travel, in 1713. His writings, scattered and not extensive, had been collected two years before as Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times.12 Shaftesbury was an original and almost powerful thinker and writer, spoilt by an irregular education, a sort of morbid aversion from English thought generally, an early attack of Deism, and a strong touch of affectation. Much harm has been done to him by Lamb’s description of his style as "genteel," a word in Lamb’s time and later not connoting the snobbishness which has for half a century been associated with it. "Superfine," the usual epithet, is truer; though Dr. George Cambpell, an excellent critic, was somewhat too severe13 on Shaftesbury’s Gallicisms, and his imprudent and rather amateurish engagement in the Deist controversy of the time caused him to be broken a little too ruthlessly on the wheel, adamantine in polish as in strength, of Berkeley in Alciphron. His central doctrine, that ridicule is the test of truth, as well as his style, are in reality caricatures of Addison, though the dates preclude any notion of plagiarism. He is full of suggestion, and might have been a great thinker and writer.


Shaftesbury’s superfineness and his optimism seem to have had at least a considerable share in provoking the cynical pessimism of another remarkable thinker of this time, Bernard Mandeville, or de Mandeville,14 a Dutchman, born at Dordrecht about 1670, who came early to London, attained a singular mastery in English, practised physic, and died in 1733. There is some mystery, and probably some mystification, about the origin of The Grumbling Hive, better known by its later title of The Fable of the Bees. No edition earlier than 1705 is known, but Mandeville claimed a much earlier date for it. About nine years later a reprint, in 1714, drew attention, and after yet another nine years another was "presented" by the Grand Jury of Middlesex, and fiercely denounced by men of such importance as law and Berkeley. The book, which was constantly enlarged, is in its final form a cluster of prose tractates, with a verse nucleus (the original piece) showing how vice made some bees happy, and virtue made them miserable. A good deal of other work, some certainly and some probably spurious, is attributed to Mandeville, who is the Diogenes of English philosophy. An exceedingly charitable judgment may impute to deliberate paradox, and to irritation at Shaftesbury’s airy gentility, his doctrine that private vices are public benefits; but the gusto with which he caricatures and debases everything pure and noble and of good report is, unluckily, too genuine. He thought, however, with great force and acuteness, despite his moral twist; he had a strong, fertile, and whimsical humour; and his style, plebeian as it is, may challenge comparison with the most famous literary vernaculars in English for racy individuality.


If, however, Shaftesbury has rather too much of the peacock, and Mandeville a great deal too much of the polecat, about him, no depreciatory animal comparison need be sought or feared for George Berkeley, the best-praised man of his time, and among the most deserving of praise. He was born in 1685 near Kilkenny, and was educated first, like swift and Congreve earlier, at its famous grammar school, and then at Trinity College, Dublin, where he made a long residence, and wrote his chief purely philosophical works. In 1713 he went to London , and was introduced to the wits by Swift, after which he travelled on the Continent for several years. He was made Dean of Derry in 1724, went with missionary schemes, which were defeated, to North America, but returned, in 1731, and published the admirable dialogues of Alciphron. He was made Bishop of Cloyne in 1714, and for eighteen years resided in his diocese. A few months before his death, in 1753, he had gone, in bad health, to Oxford, and he died there.

Berkeley’s principal works,15 or groups of works, are first—The Theory of Vision (1709), The Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), and the Dialogues of Hylas [Materialist] and Philonous [partisan of mind], in which, continuing the Lockian process of argument against innate ideas, he practically re-established them by a further process of destruction, and brought down on himself a great deal of very ignorant attack or banter for his supposed denial of matter. The above-mentioned Alciphron; or, the Minute Philosopher, is a series of dialogues, in which the popular infidelity of the day, whether optimist like Shaftesbury’s, pessimistical like Mandeville’s, or one-sidedly critical like that of the Deists  proper, is attacked in a fashion which those who sympathise with the victims accuse of occasional unfairness, but which has extraordinay cogency as polemic, and extraordinary brilliance as literature. His last important work was Siris, and odd miscellany, advocating tar-water for the body, and administering much excellent mysticism to the soul; but he wrote some minor things, and a good many letters, diaries, etc., which were not fully published till the later years of the present century [19th].

Excellence of his style

Unusually good as a man, and unusually great as a philosopher, Berkeley would have stood in the first rank as a mere writer had his character been bad or unknown, and the matter of his writings unimportant. The charm of his style is at once so subtle and so pervading that it is extremely difficult to separate and define it. He has no mannerisms; although he is a most accomplished ironist, he does not depend upon irony for the seasoning of his style, as, in different ways, do Addison and Swift; he can give the plainest and most unadorned exposition of an abstruse, philosophical doctrine with perfect literary grace. And (as, for instance, in Lysicles’ version of Mandeville’s vices-and-benefits argument) he can saturate a long passage with satiric innuendo, never once breaking out into direct tirade or direct burlesque. He can illustrate admirably, but he is never the dupe of his illustrations. He is clearer even than Hobbes and infinitely more elegant, while his dialect and arrangement, though originally arrived at for argumentative purposes, or at least in argumentative works, are equally suited for narrative, for dialogue, for description, for almost every literary end. Were it not for the intangibleness, and therefore the inimitableness, of his style, he would be an even better general model than Addison; and, as it is, he is unquestionably the best model in English, if not in any language, for philsoophical,  and indeed for argumentative, writing generally.


Daniel Defoe,16 the link between the great essayists of the earlier and the great novelists of the middle years of the eighteenth century—one of the most voluminous and problematical of English writers, as well as one of all but the greatest—a man, too, of very questionable life and character—could not be fully discussed in any compendious history of English literature. But luckily it is by no means necessary that he should be so discussed, the strictly literary lines of his work being broad and clear, and the problems both of it and of his life being such as may, without any loss, be left to the specialist. He was born, it would seem, in 1659 (not , as used to be though, 1661) in the heart of London, St. Giles’s, Cripplegate, where his father (whose name was certainly Foe) was a butcher. It is not known for what reason or cause Daniel, when more than fifty, assumed the "de," sometimes as separate particle, sometimes in composition. He was well educated, but instead of becoming a Nonconformist minister, took to trade, which at intervals and in various forms (stocking-selling, tile-making, etc.) he pursued with no great luck. He seems to have been a partaker in Monmouth’s rebellion, and was certainly a good deal abroad in the later years of the seventeenth century, but he early took to the vocation of pamphleteering, which, with journalism and novel-writing, gave his three great literary courses. The chief among the many results of this was the famous Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702), a statement of the views of the extreme "Highflying" or High Church party, in which some have seen irony, but which really is the exact analogue in argument of his future fictions, that is to say, an imitation of what he wanted to represent so close that it looks exactly like fact. He was prosecuted, fined, pilloried, and imprisoned, but in the growing Whig temper of the nation, the piece was undoubtedly very effective.

For the greater part of the reign of Queen Anne, and at first in prison, Defoe carried on, from 1704 to 1713, his famous Review, the prototype to some extent of the great later periodicals, but written entirely by himself. Before he had been long in prison he was liberated by Harley, of whose statesmanship, shifting in method, and strangely compounded of Toryism and Whiggery in principle, Defoe became a zealous secret agent. He had a great deal to do with negotiating the Union with Scotland. Nor did Harley’s fall put an end to his engagement in subterranean branches of the public service; for it has long been known that under the House of Hanover he discharged the delicate, or indelicate, part ofa Tory journalist, secretly paid by the Whig Government to tone down and take the sting out of Mist’s Journal and other opposition papers. He lived for a good many years longer, and did his best literary work in his latest period; but at the last he experienced some unexplained revolution of fortune, and died at Moorfields, in concealment and distress, in 1731.

Of Defoe’s, in the strictest sense, innumerable works the following catalogue of the most importan may serve:  —
Essay on Projects (1698), an instance of the restless tendency of the time towards commercial and social improvements, and of Defoe’s own fertility; The True-Born Englishman (1701), an argument in vigorous though most unpoetical verse to clear William from the disability of his foreign origin; the Hymn to the Pillory (1703), composed on the occasion of his exhibition in that implement, still more vigorous and a little less unpoetical; the curious political satire of the Consolidator (1705); the masterly Relation of Mrs. Veal, the first instance of his wonderful "lies like truth"; Jure Divino (1706), worse verse and also worse sense than The True-Born Englishman. But the best of these is poor compared with the great group of fiction of his later years — Robinson Crusoe (1719), Duncan Campbell, Memoirs of a Cavalier, and Captain Singleton (all produced in 1720), Moll Flanders, the History of the Plague, and Colonel Jack (all in 1722), Roxana (1724), and A New Voyage Round the World (1725). Besides these, he published in his later years, as he had in his earlier, a crowd of works, small and great, political, topographical, historical, moral, and miscellaneous.

It is not of much use to discuss Defoe’s moral character, and it is sincerely to be hoped that no more revelations concerning it will turn up, inasmuch as each is more damaging than the last, except to those, who have succeeded in taking his true measure once for all. It is that of a man who, with no high, fine, or poetical sentiment to save him, shared to the full the partisan enthusiasm of his time, and its belief that all was fair in politics. His literary idiosyncrasy is more comfortable to handle. He was a man of extraordinary industry and versatility, who took an interest, subject to the limitations of his temperament, in almost everything, whose brain was wonderfully fertile, and who had a style, if not of the finest or most exquisite, singularly well suited to the multifarious duties to which he put it. Also, he could give, as hardly even Bunyan had given before him, and as nobody has since, absolute verisimilitude to fictitious presentations. He seems to have done this mainly by a certain chameleon-like faculty of assuming the atmosphere and colour of his subject, and by a cunning profusion of exactly suited and selected detail. It is enough that in Robinson Crusoe he has produced, by help of this gift, a book which is, throughout its first two parts, one of the great books of the world in its particular kind; and that parts of Moll Flanders, Captain Singleton, and Colonel Jack, at least, are not inferior. Further, the "lift" which Defoe gave to the novel was enormous. He was still dependent on adventure; he did not advance mucho, if at all, beyond the more prosaic romantic scheme. But the extraordinary verisimilitude of his action could not but show the way to the last step that remained to be taken, the final projection of character.


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Miércoles, 16 de Noviembre de 2016 09:57. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Historicidad (Historicity)

Historicidad (Historicity)

La polémica e innovadora concepción de la historicidad presentada por Alain Touraine (en Un nuevo paradigma), así como las nociones de historicidad más tradicionales en tanto que comprensión de la situacionalidad histórica, analizadas por Ferrater Mora y otros autores, las comparamos y relacionamos con los conceptos de cartografía narrativa y de anclaje narrativo que hemos desarrollado en diversas publicaciones sobre narratología evolucionista. La definición de estos conceptos se refina mediante el examen de sus interfaces y delimitaciones, y más en concreto por referencia a la oposición entre modos de conocimiento nomotéticos e idiográficos, así como a la oposición entre clases de acontecimientos y acontecimientos individuales.



English Abstract:  


Alain Touraine's innovative and polemical concept of historicity (in A New Paradigm), as well as the more traditional notions of historicity as the understanding of historical situatedness analyzed by Ferrater Mora and other authors, are compared and related to the notions of narrative mapping and narrative anchoring I have developed in a number of papers in evolutionary narrative. The definition of these concepts is further refined as their interface and borders are examined, in particular with reference to the opposition between nomothetic and idiographic modes of knowledge, and to the opposition between classes of events and individual events.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 3
Keywords: Events, Eventfulness, Evolution, Narrative mapping, Narrative anchoring, Conceptual mapping, Historicity, Narrative theory

eJournal Classifications ( Date posted: November 08, 2015)
Cognitive Science Network Subject Matter eJournals
Philosophy Research Network Subject Matter eJournals
Philosphy Research Network Subject Matter eJournals


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Martes, 15 de Noviembre de 2016 06:37. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

John Bunyan

John Bunyan

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble.

BUNYAN, John (1628-1688), born at Elstow, near Bedford, the son of a brazier. He learned to read and write at the village school and was early set to his father's trade. He was drafted into the parliamentary army and was stationed at Newport Pagnell, 1644-6, an experience perhaps reflected in The Holy War. In 1659 he married his first wife, who introduced him to two religious works, Dent's Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven and Bayly's Practice of Piety; these, the Bible, the Prayer Book, and Foxe's *Actes and Monuments were his principal reading matter. In 1653 he joined a Non-conformist church in Bedford, preached there, and came into conflict with the Quakers (see under FRIENDS, SOCIETY OF), against whom he published his first writings, Some Gospel Truths Opened (1656) and A Vindication (1657). He married his second wife Elizabeth c. 1659, his first having died c. 1656 leaving four children. As an itinerant tinker who presented his Puritan mission as apostolic and placed the poor and simple above the mighty and learned, Bunyan was viewed by the Restoration authorities as a militant subversive. Arrested in Nov. 1660 for preaching without a licence, he was derided at his trial as 'a pestilent fellow', to which his wife riposted, 'Beacause he is a tinker, and a poor man, therefore he is despised and cannot have justice.' Bunyan spent most of the next 12 years in Bedford Jail. During the first half of this period he wrote nine books, including his spiritual autobiography, *Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666). In 1665 appeared The Holy City, or The New Jerusalem, inspired by a passage in the Book of Revelation. In 1672 he published  A Confession of my Faith, and a Reason of My Practice. After his release in 1672 he was appointed pastor at the same church, but was imprisoned again for a short period in 1677 during which he probably finished the first part of *The Pilgrim's Progress, which had been written during the latter years of the first imprisonment. The first part was published in 1678, and the second, together with the whole work, in 1684. His other principal works are The Life and Death of Mr *Badman (1680) and The Holy War (1682). Bunyan preached in many parts, his down-to-earth, humorous, and impassioned style drawing crowds of hundreds, but was not further molested. Theree are recent editions of his more important works by R. Sharrock, who also wrote a biography. See also A Turbulent, Seditious and Factious People: John Bunyan and His Church by C. *Hill (1988).

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, or The Brief Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ to his Poor Servant John Bunyan (1666), a Puritan conversion narrative by *Bunyan, testifying to the focal events in his journey to assurance of salvation. Its pastoral purpose was to comfort his flock at Bedford during his imprisonment. The author bound himself to the Puritan 'plain style', for 'God did not play in convincing of me . . . I may not play in relating'. The document chronicles anguished oscillation between spiritual despair and contrite reassurance and bears witness to the inner struggle of moods ('up and down twenty times in an hour') which typified Puritan experience. External events (military service in the Civil War, marriage, etc.) are subordinate to inner and spiritual events, as Bunyan struggles against the lure of church bells, the doctrines of the *Ranters, Sabbath recreations, dancing, swearing and blaspheming—even against envy of toads and dogs as being exempt from God's wrath. It details his joining of the Bedford church, call to the ministry, and trials.

The Pilgrim's Progress, from This World to That Which Is to Come, a prose allegory by *Bunyan. Part I published 1678 (a second edition with additions appeared in the same year, and a third in 1679), Part II 1684.
    The allegory takes the form of a dream by the author. In this he sees *Christian, with a burden on his back and reading in a book, from which he learns that the city in which he and his family dwell will be burned with fire. On the advice of Evangelist, Christian flees from the *City of Destruction, having failed to persuade his wife and children to accompany him. Pt I describes his pilgrimage through the *Slough of Despond, the Interpreter's House, the House Beautiful, the *Valley of Humiliation, the *Valley of the Shadow of Death, *Vanity Fair, *Doubting Casxtle, the *Delectable Mountains, the Country of *Beulah, to the *Celestial City. On the way he encounters various allegorical personages, among them Mr *Worldly Wiseman, *Faithful (who accompanies Christian on his way but is put to death in Vanity Fair), Hopeful (who next joins Christian), Giant *Despair, the foul fiend *Apollyon, and many others.
    Pt II relates how Christian's wife Christiana, moved by a vision, sets out with her children on the same pilgrimage, accompanied by her neighbour Mercy, despite the objections of Mrs Timorous and others. They are escorted by *Great-heart, who overcomes Giant Despair and other monsters and brings them to their destination. The work is a development of the Puritan conversion narrative (see GRACE ABOUNDING), drawing on popular literature such as *emblem books and *chapbooks, as well as *Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the Bible. It is remarkable for the beauty and simplicity of its language (Bunyan was permeated with the English of the Bible, though he was also a master of the colloquial English of his own time), the vividness and reality of the characterization, and the author's sense of humour and feeling for the world of nature. It circulated at first mainly in uneducated circles, and its wide appeal is shown by the fact that it has been translated into well over 100 languages. It became a children's classic, regarded by generations of parents as a manual of moral instruction and an aid to literacy, as well as a delightful tale. It was a seminal text in the development of the realistic novel, and Bunyan's humorously caustic development of the tradition of name symbolism influenced *Dickens, *Trollope, and *Thackeray.

The Life and Death of Mr Badman, an allegory by *Bunyan, published 1680.
    The allegory takes the form of a dialogue, in which Mr Wiseman relates the life of Mr Badman, recently deceased, and Mr. Attentive comments on it. The youthful Badman shows early signs of his vicious disposition. He beguiles a rich damsel into marriage and ruins her; sets up in trade and swindles his creditors by fraudulent bankruptcies and his customers by false weights; breaks his leg when coming home drunk; and displays a short-lived sickbed repentance. His wife dies of despair and Badman marries again, but his second wife is as wicked as he is and they part 'as poor as Howlets'. Finally Badman dies of a complication of diseases. The story is entertaining as well as edifying and has a place in the evolution of the English novel.


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Sábado, 12 de Noviembre de 2016 11:40. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Die Dreigroschenoper

martes, 10 de noviembre de 2015

Die Dreigroschenoper

Un musical de Bertolt Brecht y Kurt Weil, inspirado en The Beggar's Opera  de John Gay. Aquí con los arreglos de la producción de 2004 dirigida por Ulrich Waller:


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Sábado, 12 de Noviembre de 2016 11:09. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

The Rehearsal


From The Oxford Companion to English Literature,  ed. Margaret Drabble.

The Reharsal, a farcical comedy attributed to George Villiers, second duke of *Buckingham, but probably written by him in collaboration with others, among whom are mentioned Samuel *Butler and Martin Clifford, master of the Charterhouse; printed 1672.

The play satirizes the heroic tragedies of the day, and consists of a series of parodies of passages from these, strung together in an absurd heroic plot. The author of the mock play is evidently a laureate (hence his name 'Bayes'), and *D'Avenant was probably intended; but there are also hits at *Dryden (particularly his Conquest of Granada) and his brothers-in-law, Edward and Robert Howard. Bayes takes two friends, Smith and Johnson, to see the rehearsal of his play, and the absurdity of this work (which includes the two kings of Brentford, entering hand in hand), coupled with the comments of Bayes, his instructions to the actors, and the remarks of Smith and Johnson, remains highly entertaining. Prince Pretty-man, Prince Volscius, and *Drawcansir are among the characters. It was one of the earliest of English dramatic *burlesques, and was much performed during the 18th cent., during which period the genre developed to one of its highest points in Sheridan's *The Critic. The work helped to inspire *Marvell's The Rehearsal Transpros'd (1672; Pt II, 1673).

Drawcansir, a character in Buckingham's *The Rehearsal, parodying Almanzor in *Dryden's The Conquest of Granada; he appears briefly in the last act in a mock-heroic stage battle, and according to the stage directions, 'kills 'em all on both sides'. *Carlyle, in his history of *Frederick the Great, refers to the 'terrific Drawcansir figures' of the French revolution, 'of enormous whiskerage, unlimited command of gunpowder . . . and even a certain heroism, stage-heroism'.

burlesque, from the Italian burla, ridicule, mockery, a literary composition or dramatic representation which aims at exciting laughter by the comical treatment of a serious subject or the caricature of the spirit of a serious work. Notable examples of burlesque in English literature are Butler's *Hudibras and Buckingham's *The Rehearsal.

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Martes, 08 de Noviembre de 2016 14:54. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) - King Arthur

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) - King Arthur

Henry Purcell, King Arthur or The British Worthy. (With Dryden's libretto).

KING ARTHUR or the British Worthy /
LE ROI ARTHUR or le valeureux Breton /
KING ARTHUR oder Britanniens Würde

"A dramatick opera"

Livret/ Libretto : John DRYDEN (1631-1700)


Veronique GENS, soprano/Sopran

Claron McFADDEN, soprano/Sopran

Sandrine PIAU, soprano/Sopran

Susannah WATERS, soprano/Sopran
Mark PADMORE, ténor/Tenor
Iain PATON, ténor/Tenor

Jonathan BEST, basse/bass/Baß

Petteri SALOMAA, basse/bass/Baß

François BAZOLA, basse/bass/Baß


Direction/Conductor/Dirigent : WILLIAM CHRISTIE




Bölkow, Anne Cambier, Mhairi Lawson, Violaine Lucas, Anne Mopin,
Brigitte Pelote, Valérie Picard, Anne Pichard, Sylviane Pitour, Carys
Lloyd Roberts, Sheena Wolstencroft, sopranos/Sopran

Jean-Xavier Combarieu, Richard Duguay, Jean-Yves Ravoux, Didier Rebuffet, Bruno Renhold, ténors I/Tenor I

Bruno-Karl Boës, François Piolino, Jean-Marie Puissant, Deryck Huw Webb, ténors II/Tenor II

François Bazola, Laurent Collobert, Jean-François Gay, David Le Monnier, Jean-Marc Mory, Christophe Olive, basses/Baß

Spirits of Grimbald
Lawson, Sheena Wolstencroft, Didier Rebuffet, Bruno Renhold, François
Piolino, Deryck Huw Webb, Laurent Collobert, David Le Monnier

Spirits of Philidel
Lucas, Carys Lloyd Roberts, Richard Duguay, Jean-Yves Ravoux,
Bruno-Karl Boës, Jean-Marie Puissant, François Bazzola, Jean-François

Assistant musical charge du choeur/
musical assistant and chorus master/
Musikalischer Assistant und Choreinstudierung
François Bazola



Kurosaki, Roberto Crisafulli. Simon Heyerick, Michèle Sauvé, Isabelle
Serrano, Peter Van Boxelaere, violons/violins/Violine I

Catherine Girard, Sophie Gevers-Demoures, Guya Martinini, Martha Moore, Ruth Weber, George Willms, violons/violins/Violine II

Galina Zinchenko, Nadine Davin, Marcial Moreiras, Anne Weber, altos/Violas/Viole

Emmanuel Balssa, Elena Andreyev, Paul carlioz, Alix Verzier, violoncelles/Cello

Jonathan Cable, contrebasse/double basse/Kontrabass

Sébastien Marq, flûte à bec/recorder/Querflöte

Christian Moreaux, Geoffrey Burgess, hatbois/Oboe

Hugo Reyne, taille de hautbois et flûte à bec/recorder/Querflöte

Paolo Tognon, Simon Rickard, bassons/bassoons/Fagott

Per Olov Lindeke, Gilles Rapin, trompettes/trumpets/Trompete

Marie-Ange Petit, Françoise Rivalland, percussions/percussion/Schlagzeug

Jonathan Rubin, Elisabeth Kenny, théorbe/Théorbo
David Simpson. violoncelle/Cello
Anne-Marie Lasla, viole de gambe/viola da Gamba
Cummings, clavecin et assistant à la direction musicale/harpsichord and
assistant director/ Cembalo und Assistent der musikalischen Leitung
(Harpsichord Rückers, D. Jacques Way et Marc Ducornet, Paris)


Semi opera in five acts

John Dryden

May or June 1691, London (Dorset Garden Theatre)

PHILADEL (Soprano)
GRIMBALD (Bass / Baritone)
CUPID (Soprano)
AEOLUS (Bass / Baritone)
VENUS (Soprano)

sheperds and shepherdesses, soldiers, spirits, satyrs etc.


Middle Ages

King Arthur has secured all of his kingdom except Kent in the course of
the battles with the Saxons; they are led by Oswald, who has set out to
win not only his throne but his love, the blind Emmeline, daughter of
Conon, Duke of Cornwall. Arthur takes leave of her for the final,
decisive battle against the heathen invader.

A place of heathen worship; the three saxon gods, Woden, Thor and Freya
placed on pedestals; an altar. Oswald, his magician Osmond and the
earthly evil spirit Grimbald have brought victims for a sacrifice, to
ensure victory in battle, and are preparing for the rites.  Grimbald
goes to the door, and re-enters with six Saxons in white, with swords in
their hands. They range, themselves three and three in opposition to
each other. The rest of the stage is filled with priests and singers.

Woden, first to thee
A milk-white steed, in battle won,
We have sacrific'd.

We have sacrific'd.

Let our next oblation be
To Thor, thy thund'ring son,
Of such another.

We have sacrific'd.

A third (of Friesland breed was he)
To Woden's wife, and to Thor's mother;
And now we have aton'd all three.

We have sacrific'd.

The white horse neigh'd aloud.
To Woden thanks we render,
To Woden we have vow'd,
To Woden, our defender.

To Woden thanks we render,
To Woden we have vow'd,
To Woden, our defender.

The lot is cast, and Tanfan pleas'd;
Of mortal cares you shall be eas'd.

Brave souls, to be renown'd in story.
Honour prizing,
Death despising,
Fame acquiring
By expiring,
Die and reap the fruit of glory.

I call you all
To Woden's Hall,
Your temples round
With ivy bound
In goblets crown'd,
And plenteous bowls of burnish'd gold,
Where ye shall laugh
And dance and quaff
The juice that makes the Britons bold.

To Woden's Hall all,
Where in plenteous bowls of burnish'd gold,
We shall laugh
And dance and quaff
The juice that makes the Britons bold.

The six Saxons are led off by the priests, in order to be sacrificed.
Exeunt omnes. A battle supposed to be given behind the scenes, with
drums, trumpets, and military shouts and excursions, after which the
Britons, expressing their joy for the victory, sing this song of

"Come if you dare," our trumpets sound.
"Come if you dare," the foes rebound.
We come, we come, we come, we come,"
Says the double, double, double beat of
the thund'ring drum.

"Come if you dare," our trumpets sound, etc.

Now they charge on amain.
Now they rally again.
The Gods from above the mad labour behold,
And pity mankind that will perish for gold.

Now they charge on amain, etc.

The fainting Saxons quit their ground,
Their trumpets languish in their sound,
They fly, they fly, they fly, they fly,
"Victoria, Victoria," the bold Britons cry.

The fainting Saxons quit their ground, etc.

Now the victory's won,
To the plunder we run,
We return to our lasses like fortunate traders,
Triumphant with spoils of the vanquish'd invaders.

Now the victory's won, etc.


Philidel, a repentant airy spirit, reports to Merlin that Grimbald is
approaching and will attempt to mislead the conquering Britons to
cliffs, where they will fall to their deaths, by telling them that they
are pursuing the retreating Saxons. Merlin commands Philidel, assisted
by his band of spirits, to protect the Britons and counter. Grimbald's
forces. Exit Merlin in this chariot. Merlin's spirits stay with
Philidel. Enter Grimbald in the habit of a shepherd, followed by King
Arthur, Conon, Aurelius, Albanact and soldiers, who wander at a distance
in the scenes.

Hither, this way, this way bend,
Trust not the malicious fiend.
Those are false deluding lights
Wafted far and near by sprites.
Trust 'em not, for they'll deceive ye,
And in bogs and marshes leave ye.

Hither, this way, this way bend.

This way, hither, this way bend.

If you step no longer thinking,
Down you fall, a furlong sinking.
'Tis a fiend who has annoy'd ye:
Name but Heav'n, and he'll avoid ye.
Hither, this way.

Hither, this way, this way bend.

This way, hither, this way bend.

Trust not the malicious fiend.
Hither, this way, etc.

Conon and Albanact are persuaded not to follow Grimbald any further, but
Grimbald produces fresh footprints as proof that they are following the

Let not a moon-born elf mislead ye
From your prey and from your glory;
To fear, alas, he has betray'd ye;
Follow the flames that wave before ye,
Sometimes sev'n, and sometimes one.
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry on.


See, see the footsteps plain appearing.
That way Oswald chose for flying.
Firm is the turf and fit for bearing,
Where yonder pearly dews are lying.
Far he cannot hence be gone.
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry on.

All are going to follow Grimbald.


Hither, this way, this way bend.

Hither, this way, this way bend.

Trust not that malicious fiend.
Hither, this way, etc.

They all incline to Philidel. Grimbald curses Philidel and sinks with a
flash. Arthur gives thanks that the fiend has vanished.

Come, follow me.

Come, follow me,
And me, and me, and me, and me.

Come, follow me.

And green-sward all your way shall be.

Come, follow me.

No goblin or elf shall dare to offend ye.

No goblin or elf shall dare to offend ye.


We brethren of air
You heroes will bear
To the kind and the fair that attend ye.

We brethren of air, etc.

Philidel and the spirits go off singing, with King Arthur and the rest
in the middle of them. Enter Emmeline led by Matilda. Pavilion Scene.
Emmeline and Matilda discuss King Arthur. Matilda entreats Emmeline to
forget her cares and let a group of Kentish lads and lasses entertain
her while she awaits Arthur's return. Enter shepherds and shepherdesses.

How blest are shepherds, how happy their lasses,
While drums and trumpets are sounding alarms.
Over our lowly sheds all the storm passes
And when we die, 'tis in each other's arms
All the day on our herds and flocks employing,
All the night on our flutes and in enjoying.

How blest are shepherds, how happy their lasses, etc.

Bright nymphs of Britain with graces attended,
Let not your days without pleasure expire.
Honour's but empty, and when youth is ended,
All men will praise you but none will desire.
Let not youth fly away without contenting;
Age will come time enough for your repenting.

Bright nymphs of Britain with graces attended, etc.

Here the men offer their flutes to the women, which they refuse.


Shepherd, shepherd, leave decoying:
Pipes are sweet on summer's day,
But a little after toying,
Women have the shot to pay.
Here are marriage-vows for signing:
Set their marks that cannot write.
After that, without repining,
Play, and welcome, day and night.

Here the women give the men contracts, which they accept.

Come, shepherds, lead up a lively measure
The cares of wedlock are cares of pleasure:
But whether marriage bring joy or sorrow.
Make sure of this day and hang tomorrow


The dance after the song, and exeunt shepherds and shepherdesses.

Second Act Tune: Air

Emmeline and Matilda are captured by Oswald, who has refused to release
them during a parley with Arthur. The Britons prepare to rescue Emmeline
from the Saxon fortress.


The Britons are panicked by the magic horrors that have been put around
the Saxon fortress to protect it and want to retreat. Arthur, however,
is prepared to attempt to penetrate them alone. Merlin advises him to
wait until after the spells have been broken, but does promise to spirit
him off to the captive Emmeline, and to restore her sight.

A Deep Wood

Philidel is captured by Grimbald while trying to find Emmeline, but he
escapes and casts a strong spell over the evil spirit. Merlin and Arthur
enter; Merlin gives Philidel a vial containing the drops that will
restore Emmeline's sight and leaves to attempt to dispel the

dire enchantments in the wood. Emmeline and Matilda enter from the far
end of the wood. Arthur withdraws as Philidel approaches Emmeline,
sprinkling some of the water out of the vial over her eyes. Emmeline
sees Arthur for the first time, and tells him that not only Oswald, but
also Osmond desires her love. Airy spirits appear to congratulate her on
the recovery of her sight, but then vanish when Philidel announces the
approach of their foes. Emmeline and Matilda are left alone. Osmond,
whom Emmeline now sees for the first time, ardently woos her and boasts
how he has thrown Oswald into prison. Emmeline, frozen with terror,
refuses his advances, but Osmond assures her that Love will thaw her,
and demonstrates by using his magic wand to change Britain's mild clime
to Iceland and farthest Thule's frost.



Osmond strikes the ground with his wand, the scene changes to a prospect
of winter in frozen countries.

Cupid descends.

What ho! thou genius of this isle, what ho!
Liest thou asleep beneath those hills of snow?
Stretch out thy lazy limbs. Awake, awake!
And winter from thy furry mantle shake.


Genius arises.

What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow?
See'st thou not how stiff and wondrous old,
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I can scarcely move or draw my breath?
Let me, let me freeze again to death.

Thou doting fool forbear, forbear!
What dost thou mean by freezing here?
At Love's appearing, All the sky clearing,
The stormy winds their fury spare.
Winter subduing,
And Spring renewing,
My beams create a more glorious year.
Thou doting fool, forbear, forbear!
What dost thou mean by freezing here?

Great Love, I know thee now:
Eldest of the gods art thou.
Heav'n and earth by thee were made.
Human nature is thy creature,
Ev'rywhere thou art obey'd.

No part of my dominion shall he waste:
To spread my sway and sing my praise
E'en here I will a people raise
Of kind embracing lovers, and embrac'd.

Cupid waves his wand, upon which the scene opens, discovers a prospect
of ice and snow. Singers and dancers, men and women, appear.


See, see, we assemble
Thy revels to hold:
Tho' quiv'ring with cold
We chatter and tremble.


'Tis I, 'tis I, 'tis I that have warm'd ye.
In spite of cold weather
I've brought ye together.
'Tis I, 'tis I, 'tis I that have warm'd ye,


'Tis Love, 'tis Love, 'tis Love
that has warm'd us.
In spite of the weather
He brought us together.
'Tis Love, 'tis Love, 'tis Love
that has warm'd us.

Sound a parley, ye fair, and surrender,
Set yourselves and your lovers at ease.
He's a grateful offender
Who pleasure dare seize:
But the whining pretender
Is sure to displease.
Sound a parley, ye fair, and surrender.
Since the fruit of desire is possessing,
'Tis unmanly to sigh and complain.
When we kneel for redressing,
We move your disdain.
Love was made for a blessing
And not for a pain.


'Tis Love, 'tis Love, 'tis Love
that has warm'd us, etc.

Third Act Tune: Hornpipe

A dance; after which the singers and dancers depart. Emmeline is saved
from Osmond's lustful advances when the ensnared Grimbald cries out,
compelling the magician to go to the rescue of his evil spirit.


Osmond learns that Merlin has broken his spells but plans to cast new
spells and seduce Arthur with visions of beauty.

The Wood

Arthur, having first been warned by Merlin that everything he sees is
illusion, is left alone in the wood under the watchful eye of Philidel,
who can reveal any evil spirits with a wave of Merlin's wand. Arthur is
amazed that instead of the horrors and dangers he had expected, he hears
soft music and sees a golden bridge spanning a silver stream. Though
suspecting a trap, he approaches the bridge. Two sirens naked to the
waist, emerge, begging him to lay aside his sword and join them.

Two daughters of this aged stream are we,
And both our sea-green locks have comb'd for ye.
Come bathe with us an hour or two;
Come naked in, for we are so.
What danger from a naked foe?
Come bathe with us, come bathe, and share
What pleasures in the floods appear.
We'll beat the waters till they bound
And circle round, and circle round.

Though sorely tempted, Arthur resists and presses on.As he is going
forward, nymphs and sylvans come out from behind the trees. Dance with
song, all with branches in their bands.


How happy the lover,
How easy his chain!
How sweet to discover
He sighs not in vain.

How happy the lover, etc.


For love ev'ry creature
Is form'd by his nature.
No joys are above
The pleasures of love.

No joys are above.
The pleasures of love.

In vain are our graces,
In vain are your eyes.
In vain are our graces
If love you despise.
When age furrows faces,
'Tis too late to be wise.

Then use the sweet blessing
While now in possessing.
No joys are above
The pleasures of love.

No joys are above
The pleasures of love.

No joys are above
The pleasures of love.

Fourth Act Tune: Air

Arthur commands the sylvans, nymphs and sirens begone and they vanish.
In an attempt to break the spells, he draws his sword and strikes a blow
at the finest tree in the wood. A vision of Emmeline appears from its
trunk, her arm wounded by the blow; it persuades him to lay down his
sword and take her hand. Philidel rushes in, and with a touch of the
wand reveals the vision to be Grimbald in disguise, Arthur then fells
the tree, breaking the spells and opening a safe passage for the Britons
to the Saxon fortress. Grimbald is bound up by Philidel and led out
into daylight.


Osmond's spells have been broken and his spirit Grimbald captured. He
decides to release Oswald from the prison in the hope that together they
may at last defeat Arthur.

The Britons march on the Saxon fortress, and are met by Oswald, who
proposes the war be decided in single combat with Arthur. After a very
close fight, in which the two magicians are also pitted against each
other, Arthur finally succeeds in disarming Oswald, but grants him his

Trumpet Tune

A consort of trumpets within, proclaiming Arthur's victory. While they
sound, Arthur and Oswald seem to confer. Arthur commands Oswald to
return to Saxony with his men. Emmeline is restored to Arthur. Merlin
imprisons Osmond and proclaims the triumph of British sovereignty, faith
and love. Merlin waves his wand; the scene changes, and discovers the
British Ocean in a storm. Aeolus in a cloud above: Four Winds hanging,

Ye blust'ring brethren of the skies,
Whose breath has ruffled all the wat'ry plain,
Retire, and let Britannia rise
In triumph o'er the main.
Serene and calm, and void of fear,
The Queen of Islands must appear.

Aeolus ascends, and the Four Winds fly off. The scene opens, and
discovers a calm sea, to the end of the house. An island arises, to a
soft tune; Britannia seated in the island, with fishermen at her feet,
etc. The tune changes; the fisher men come ashore, and dance a while;
after which, Pan and a Nereid come on the stage, and sing.


Round thy coast, fair nymph of Britain,
For thy guard our waters flow:
Proteus all his herd admitting
On thy green to graze below:
Foreign lands thy fish are tasting;
Learn from thee luxurious fasting.

Round thy coast, fair nymph of Britain, etc.

For folded flocks, and fruitful plains,
The shepherd's and the farmer's gains,
Fair Britain all the world outvies;
And Pan, as in Arcadia, reigns
Where pleasure mix'd with profit lies.
Tho' Jason's fleece was fam'd of old,
The British wool is growing gold;
No mines can more of wealth supply:
It keeps the peasants from the cold,
And takes for kings the Tyrian dye.

Enter Comus with peasants.

Your hay, it is mow'd and your corn is reap'd,
Your barns will be full and your hovels heap'd.
Come, boys, come,
Come, boys, come,
And merrily roar out our harvest home.

Harvest home,
Harvest home,
And merrily roar out our harvest home.

We've cheated the parson, we'll cheat him again,
For why shou'd a blockhead have one in ten?
One in ten, one in ten,
For why shou'd a blockhead have one in ten?

One in ten, one in ten,
For why shou'd a blockhead have one in ten?

For prating so long, like a book-learn'd sot,
Till pudding and dumpling are burnt to the pot:
Burnt to pot, burnt to pot,
Till pudding and dumpling are burnt to pot.

Burnt to pot, burnt to pot,
Till pudding and dumpling are burnt to the pot.

We'll toss off our ale till we cannot stand;
And heigh for the honour of old England;
Old England, Old England,
And heigh for the honour of old England.

Old England, Old England,
And heigh for the honour of old England.


The dance varied into a round country-dance.

Enter Venus.

Fairest isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasure and of love;
Venus here will choose her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian grove.
Cupid from his fav'rite nation,
Care and envy will remove;
Jealousy that poisons passion,
And despair that dies for love.
Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining,
Sighs that blow the fire of love;
Soft repulses, Kind disdaining,
Shall be all the pains you prove.
Ev'ry swain shall pay his duty,
Grateful ev'ry nymph shall prove;
And as these excel in beauty,
Those shall be renown'd for love.

You say, 'tis Love creates the pain,
Of which so sadly you complain,
And yet would fain engage my heart
In that uneasy cruel part;
But how, alas! think you that
I Can bear the wounds of which you die?

'Tis not my passion makes my care,
But your indiff'rence gives despair:
The lusty sun begets no spring
Till gentle show'rs assistance bring;
So Love, that scorches and destroys,
Till kindness aids, can cause no joys.

Love has a thousand ways to please,
But more to rob us of our ease;
For waking nights and careful days,
Some hours of pleasure he repays;
But absence soon, or jealous fears,
O'erflows the joy with floods of tears.

But one soft moment makes amends
For all the torment that attends.

Let us love, let us love and to happiness haste.
Age and wisdom come too fast.
Youth for loving was design'd.

I'll be constant, you be kind.

You be constant, I'll be kind.

Heav'n can give no greater blessing
Than faithful love and kind possessing.

Trumpet Tune (Warlike Consort)

The scene opens above, and discovers the Order of the Garter. Enter
Honour, attended by heroes.

Saint George, the patron of our Isle,
A soldier and a saint,
On this auspicious order smile,
Which love and arms will plant.

Our natives not alone appear
To court the martial prize;
But foreign kings adopted here
Their crowns at home despise.
Our Sov'reign high, 'in awful state,
His honours shall bestow;
and see his sceptred subjects wait
On his commands below.

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Martes, 08 de Noviembre de 2016 14:12. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Notas sobre 'El Ordenador Renacentista'

jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2015

Notas sobre ’El Ordenador Renacentista’

Notas sobre The Renaissance Computer: Knowledge Technology in the First Age of Print, libro editado por Neil Rhodes y Jonathan Sawday (Routledge, 2000). El volumen trata sobre el desarrollo de la tecnología de la imprenta como medio estético y cognitivo en los siglos XVI y XVII, y sobre el impacto de este nuevo medio en la organización y el uso social del conocimiento, estableciendo frecuentes analogías con el desarrollo de la escritura electrónica al final del siglo XX.



English Abstract: 

Notes on ’The Renaissance Computer

Notes on The Renaissance Computer: Knowledge Technology in the First Age of Print, ed. Neil Rhodes and Jonathan Sawday (Routledge, 2000). The volume addresses the development of printing technology as an aesthetic and cognitive medium in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the impact of this new medium on the organization and social use of knowledge, finding frequent analogies in the development of electronic writing at the turn of the century.


Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 88

calculus ratiocinator

Aparece en las siguientes revistas electrónicas y repositorios:

CSN Subject Matter eJournals (Date posted: October 27, 2015)
ISN Subject Matter eJournals
LIT Subject Matter eJournals
LIT Subject Matter eJournals

_____. "Notas sobre El Ordenador Renacentista." Net Sight de José Angel García Landa 24 Oct. 2015.*

_____. "Notas sobre El Ordenador Renacentista." Academia 10 Jan. 2016.* (On Rhodes and Sawday, The Renaissance Computer).
_____. "Notas sobre El Ordenador Renacentista." ResearchGate 5 Feb. 2016.*


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Sábado, 05 de Noviembre de 2016 11:22. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Samson Agonistes

Samson Agonistes

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble.

Samson Agonistes, a tragedy by *Milton, published 1671, in the same volume as *Paradise Regained. Its composition was traditionally assigned to 1666-70, but W. R. Parker in his biography (1968) argues that it was written much earlier, possibly as early as 1647. A closet drama never intended for the stage, it is modelled on Greek tragedy, and has been frequently compared to Prometheus Bound by *Aeschylus or Oedipus at Colonus by *Sophocles: other critics have claimed that its spirit is more Hebraic (or indeed Christian) than Hellenic. Predominantly in blank verse, it also contains passages of great metrical freedom and originality, and some rhyme. Samson Agonistes (i.e. Samson the Wrestler, or Champion) deals with the last phase of the life of Samson of the Book of Judges when he is a prisoner of the Philistines and blind, a phase which many have compared to the assumed circumstance of the blind poet himself, after the collapse of the Commonwealth and his political hopes.

Samson, in prison at Gaza, is visited by friends of his tribe (the chorus) who comfort him; then by his old father Manoa, who holds out hopes of securing his release; then by his wife *Dalila, who seeks pardon and reconciliation, but being repudiated shows herself ’a manifest Serpent’; then by Harapha, a strong man of Gath, who taunts Samson. He is finally summoned to provide amusement by feats of strenght for the philistines, who are celebrating a feast to *Dagon. He goes, and presently a messenger brings news of his final feat of strength in which he pulled down the pillars of the place where the assembly was gathered, destroying himself as well as the entire throng. The tragedy, which has many passages questioning divine providence (’Just or unjust, alike seem miserable’), ends with the chorus’s conclusion that despite human doubts, all is for the best in the ’unsearchable dispose / of highest wisdom’: its last words, ’calm of mind all passion spent’, strike a note of Aristotelian *catharsis, and the whole piece conforms to the *neo-classical doctrine of unities.


Stanley Fish on Samson Agonistes:

Heads of an answer to Fish:

- The notion of unconscious meanings, tensions in the writer’s project, unresolved conflicting intentions.... etc. have vanished from this clear-cut distinction between meaning and significance (which, incidentally, reminds me of E. D. Hirsch rather than Fish—whither Deconstruction?). But a theorization of such tensions seem to be a prime critical tool in dealing with Milton, witness e.g. the issue of Satanic parallelisms with the Parliamentarians, and the Absolutist trappings of his God in ’Paradise Lost’.

- ’9/11 terrorist bombings are out of Milton’s context, and are therefore a matter of significance, not meaning’. OK (but let me point out that discussion of significance is well within the province of the literary critic’s activity, contrary to what Fish’s closing words would seem to imply. A discussion of Milton is also a discussion of the Milton semantic complex which includes his interpretations). OK ... BUT:

- The unresolved issue of the legitimacy or legitimation of political violence, is, indeed, part of Milton’s contemporary context, as is the issue of terrorist bombings of political and ideological landmarks causing indiscriminate death. It is indeed a prominent element in the aforementioned tensions. And if 9/11 as a massacre is outside his ken, Milton was well aware of another (intended) massacre, the Fifth of September, which has some uncanny parallels to the Samson suicide bombing of the Temple of Dagon. Not as far as the suicide is concerned, perhaps, but insofar as it should have been a spectacular and symbolic massacre of infidels en masse, together with their leaders, inspired and justified by a religious rationale. Milton had written while at Cambridge a Latin exercise on the Gunpowder Plot, "In quintum Novembris, Anno aetatis 17", with appropriate Protestant glee at the discomfiture of the plotters. Now, in old age, he seems to be writing a palinode, and a justification of the political and religious violence of "thralled discontent", on second thoughts. Of course, this time God was on ’his’ side, at least on the side of that part of his brain he was aware of.

- Fish’s distinction between meaning, significance, and appropriation are therefore too neat. They are illustrative as pointers, but reality’s much more of a mess and a mesh; and intention is also a much more complex affair than he allows it to be here. Actually, the tensions and the intentions in Milton and in his poems cannot be cut off from the tensions and intentions circulating in his own context, which is not (but also is, to a certain extent) our own.

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Viernes, 04 de Noviembre de 2016 09:10. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

John Dryden

John Dryden


From the Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:

DRYDEN, John (1631-1700), educated at Westminster School under *Busby and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He inherited a small estate, but supported himself mainly by his writing. His first major poem was the Heroique Stanza's (1658) on the death of Cromwell: he later celebrated the King's return with Astraea Redux and To His Sacred Majesty. Other poems were addressed to Sir Robert Howard, whose sister Lady Elizabeth Dryden married in 1663; the earl of *Clarendon, *Charleton, and Lady Castlemaine. He also published a long poem in quatrains, *Annus Mirabilis (1667), but most os his early writing was for the theatre and included several rhymed heroic plays, The Indian Queen (1664, in collaboration with Sir Robert Howard), The Indian Emperour (1665, which has the Mexican ruler Montezuma as subject), *Tyrannick Love (1669), and The Conquest of Granada in two parts (1670). He also wrote comedies, The Wild Gallant (1663), The Rival Ladies (1664), Sir Martin Mar-all (1667, in collaboration with the Duke of *Newcastle), *An Evening's Love (1668), and a radical adaptation of *The Tempest (1667, with *D'Avenant). He was most original, however, with his tragi-comedies, Secret Love (1667), *Marriage-à-la-mode (1672), The Assignation (1672), and a second Shakespeare adaptation, *Troilus and Cressida (1679). All these plays, together with the operatic adaptation of *Paradise Lost, under the title The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man (unperformed, pub 1667) and the immensely successful Oedipus (1678, with N. *Lee), reveal Dryden's considerable interest in philsoophical and political questions. He became *poet laureate in 1668, and historiographer royal in 1670.

Dryden constantly defended his own literarypractice. His first major critical work was *Of Dramatick Poesie (1668). Subsequent essays include A Defence of an Essay (1668)(, preface to An Evening's Love (1671), Of Heroick Plays (1672), Heads of an Answer (to *Rymer, c. 1677, pub. 1711), and The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, prefixed to preface to Troilus and Cressida (1679). *Aureng-Zebe was his bes rhymed heoric play. The prologue, however, denounces rhyme in serious drama, and his next tragedy, *All for Love (1678), was in blank verse. Much of Dryden's criticism was devoted to the assessment of his Elizabethan predecessors, Shakespeare, *Jonson, and *Fletcher. Despite his genuine respect for their achievement, Dryden was unsparing in his enumeration of what he perceived as their 'faults', although he frequently modified his critical views and his artistic practice. This flexibility as critic and dramatist left him vulnerable to attack. He was represented as Bayes in *The Rehearsal (1671) by *Buckingham, and physically assaulted in 1679, possibly at the instigation of *Rochester. His principal opponent was *Shadwell, whom Dryden ridiculed in *Mac Flecknoe (c. 1676, pub. 1682). Other poems in which he develops his critical principles include many witty and imaginative prologues and epilogues, and poems about, or addressed to, fellow writers and artists, notably Lee, *Roscommon, *Oldham, *Congreve, and *Kneller.

The constitutional crisis of the late 1670 and early 1680s saw Dryden's emergence as a formidable Tory polemicist. His contribution to the political debate included plays, especially *The Spanish Fryar (1680), The Duke of Guise (1682, written with Lee), and the operatic Albion and Albanius (1685); his celebrated satires *Absalom and Achitophel (1681), *The Medall (1682), and a number of lines for N. *Tate's The Second Part of Absalom and Achitophel (1682), as well as a host of partisan prologues and epilogues. His interest in religion was also heightened at this time. In *Religio Laici (1682) he offers a defence of the Anglican via media. However, following the accession of James II Dryden became a Catholic and wrote *The Hind and the Panther (1687) in suport of his new co-religionists. At the death of Charles II he attempted a Pindaric *ode, Threnodia Augustalis (1685), the first of several poems in this form, notably To the Pious Memory . . . of Mrs Anne Killigrew (1686), A Song for Saint Cecilia's Day (1687), 'An Ode, on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell' (1696), and Alexander's Feast (1697), which was later incorporated into *Fables Ancient and Modern (1700). Dryden also wroter numerous witty elegant songs for his many plays.

In 1689 he lost both his court offices and returned to the theatre. Two of his late plays, *Don Sebastian (1689) and *Amphitryon (1690), are excellent; Cleomenes (1692) is intellectually impressive; and only Love Triumphant (1694) is a failure; but Dryden was tired of the theatre and turned to the politically less compromising work of translating. His immense and splendid achievements in this field include translations of small pieces from *Theocritus and *Horace, and more substantial passages from *Homer, *Lucretius, *Persius, *Juvenal, *Ovid, *Boccaccio, and *Chaucer, as well as the whole of *Virgil. His version of the Georgics is especially magnificent. In all these translations he made frequent but subtle allusions to his Jacobite principles. He also returned to criticism, notably in preface to the Sylvae (1685), *A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire (1693), Dedication to Examen Poeticum (1693), and Dedication of the Aeneis (1697). His culminating and most impressive achivement both as critic and translator was Fables Ancient and Modern, which should be read as a whole, and to which 'The Secular Masque' (1700) is a wise and noble coda. He was buried in Westminster Abbey (see also RESTORATION).

Other works by Dryden include:

Plays: Amboyna (1673, a tragedy), *Mr Limberham (1679, a sexually explicit comedy), and a dramatic opera, King Arthur (1691). Poems: 'Upon the Death of Lord Hastings' (1649), Britannia Rediviva (1688), Eleonora (1696). Prose works: His Majesty's Declaration Defended (1681), Life of Plutarch (1683), Vindication of the Duke of Guise (1683), Character of St Evrémond (1692), Character of Polybius (1693), Life of Lucian (1711), translations of Maimbourg's The History of the League (1684), Bouhours' Life of St Francis Xavier (1686), Du Fresnoy's De Arte Graphica (1695).

The standard complete edition is The Works of John Dryden, ed. E. N. Hooker et al. (1956- ), 20 vols pub. as of 1997. Other editions include Sir W. *Scott's (18 vols, 1808, with life as vol. i, rev. edn. by *Saintsbury, 18 vols, 1882-93); Dramatic Works, ed. M. Summers (6 vols, 1931-2); Poems, ed. J. Kinsley (4 vols, 1948); The Poems of John Dryden,  ed. P. Hammond (4 vols , 1995- ); Of Dramatic Poesy, and Other Critical Essays, ed. G. Watson (2 vols, 1962); Letters, ed. C. E. Ward (1942). See also J. A. Winn, John Dryden and His World (1987); J. and K. Kinsley (eds.), Dryden: The Critical Heritage (1971); P. Harth, Contexts of Dryden's Thought (1968) and Pen for a Party (1993).


Notes on some works by Dryden (from the Oxford Companion):

Annus Mirabilis, a poem in quatrains by *Dryden, published 1667. 
    Its subjects are the Dutch War (1665-6) and the Fire of London. Prefaced by 'Verses to her Highness and Dutchess' [of York], it indicates that even in the 1660s Dryden's optimism about the monarchy, mercantilism, and the *Royal Society (of which he was a fellow) did not preclude the expression of an ironic vision of history. Queen Elizabeth II, to the bewilderment of some journalists, drew on Dryden's poem in a speech (24 Nov. 1992) referring to the fire of Windsor in that year, using the words 'Annus Horribilis'.

Tyrannick Love, or The Royal Martyr, a heroic play by *Dryden, produced and published 1669.
     Based on the legend of the martyrdom of St Catherine by the Roman emperor Maximin, it contains some of Dryden's most extravagant heroic verse. Possibly deliberately comic at times, it is also seriously concerned with contrasting Lucretian and Christian conceptions of God. It was ridiculed in *The Rehearsal, and by *Shadwell. Dryden himself satirizes its excesses in *Mac Flecknoe.

An Evening's Love, or The Mock Astrologer, a comedy by Dryden, produced 1668, published 1671.  Combining elements of Spanish intrigue comedy and fast-moving farce with sexually explicit language, it proved a commercial though not an artistic success. The plog, borrowed from M. de *Scudéry, *Corneille, Quinault, *Molière, and others, shows the exploits of two English cavaliers, Wildblood and Bellamy, in Madrid at carnival time. In the course of the play Bellamy acts the part of the eponymous astrologer, and bothe men gain Spanish wives while also helping their host Don Lopez to one. Most memorable are the scenes featuring Wildblood's spirited mistress Jacinta testing her lover in the guise first of a Moor and then of a Mulatta. Despite Wildblood's spectacular failure to remain faithful to her on both occasions, Jacinta forgives him and agrees to marry him. The preface to this play is among the most stimulating of Dryden's critical essays. He defends drama as entertainment, and replies to charges of plagiarism, offering his most explicit statement on literary appropriation to this date. The preface represents his views when he was least sympathetic to *Jonson and is therefore of importance in the dispute with Jonson's champion *Shadwell which culminated in *Mac Flecknoe.


Marriage-à-la-Mode, a tragi-comedy by *Dryden produced 1672, published 1623.
    The main plot concerns a usurper's discovery that his daughter and his (lawful) predecerssor's son have been secretly reared together in rural seclusion and have fallen idealistically in love. The comic plot is a double intrigue involving two friends and their pursuit respectively of the wife of the one and the betrothed of the other. The counterpointing of these contrasting plots is particularly striking, especially as each ends anticlimactically, the lawful heir being restored to his throne in an overtly stagy manner, and the adulterous lovers failing to consummate their affairs. The play contains some of Dryden's finest songs, and embodies the principles of comic writing outlined in his preface to *An Evening's Love.


Of Dramatick Poesy: An Essay by *Dryden, published 1668.
    The essay is in the form of a dialogue between Eugenius (C. *Sackville), Crites (Sir Robert Howard), Lisideius (*Sedley), and Neander (Dryden himself), who take a boat on the Thames on the day of the battle between the English and Dutch navies in June 1665, and subsequently discuss the comparative merits of English and French drama, and of the old and new in English drama. The essay is largely concerned with justifying Dryden's current practice as a playwright. It also contains admirable appreciations of Shakespeare, J. *Fletcher, and *Jonson.


Aureng-Zebe, a tragedy by *Dryden, produced 1675, published 1676.
    The plot is remotely based on the contemporary events by which the Mogul Aureng-Zebe wrested the empire of India from his father and his brothers. The hero is a figure of exemplary rationality, virtue, and patience, whose stepmother lusts after him and whose father pursues the woman with whom Aureng-Zebe is himself in love. Apparently highly schematic in its organization, this last of Dryden's rhymed heroic plays evinces a deeply disturbing awareness of the anarchy and impotence which threaten every aspect of human life, emotional, moral, and political.


All for Love, or The World Well Lost, a tragedy by *Dryden produced and published 1678.
    Written in blank verse in acknowledged imitation of Shaespeare's *Antony and Cleopatra, it is Dryden's most performed and his best-known play. It concentrates on the last hours in the lives of its hero and heroine. In contrast to Shakespeare's play, it is an exemplary neo-classical tragedy, notable for its elaborately formal presentation of character, action, and theme. (See NEO-CLASSICISM.)


Mac Flecknoe (c. 1676), or A Satyr upon the True-Blew-Protestant Poet, T. S., a *mock-epic poem by *Dryden published 1682, and in a definitive edition, 1684.
    The outcome of a series of disagreements, personal, professional, and critical, between Dryden and *Shadwell, the poem represents the latter as heir to the kingdom of poetic dullness, currently governed by the minor writer *Flecknoe. It brilliantly exploits the crudity of Shadwell's farces (notably The Virtuoso) and critical writings; while the range of its allusions to 17th-cent. theatre demonstrates the complexity of Dryden's critical thought and, since he satirized his own work (notably *Tyrannick Love) as well as Shadwell's, his humility towards the tradition in which he was working. Mac Flecknoe was a vital inspiration for Pope's Dunciad.


The Spanish Fryar, a tragi-comedy by *Dryden, produced and published 1681.
    The serious plot is characteristically about a usurpation. Torrismond, though he does not know it, is lawful heir to the throne, and secretly marries the reigning but unlawful queen, who has allowed Torrismond's father, the true king, to be murdered in prison. The sub-plot is dominated by Father dominic, a monstrous corrupt friar, who uses the cant terms of Dissenters and who pimps for the libertine and whiggish Lorenzo. The latter is a highly dubious character, yet ironically it is through his agency that the lawful Torrismond is rescued. The woman Lorenzo is pursuing, however, turns out to be his sister. The play is like *Mr Limberham in breaching comic as well as tragic decorum and in its deeply sceptical treatemnt of religious and political orthodoxies.


Absalom and Achitophel, an allegorical poem by *Dryden, published 1681.
    A *mock-biblical satire based on 2 Sam. 13-19, it deals with certain aspects of the Exclusion crissi, notably the intrigues of the earl of Shafesbury and the ambition of the duke of Monmouth to replace James duke of York as Charles II's heir. Various public figures are represented under biblical names, notably Monmouth (Absalom), *Shaftesbury (Achitophel), the duke of *Buckingham (Zimri), Charles II (David), *Oates (Corah), and Slingsby Bethel, sheriff of London (Shimei). The poem concludes with a long speech by David vigorously but paradoxically affirming Royalist principles, and asserting his determination to govern ruthlessly if he cannot do so mercifully.
    In 1682 a second part appeared, mainly written  by N. *Tate. However, it contains 200 lines by Dryden, in which he attacks two literary and political enemies, *Shadwell as Og an *Settle as Doeg.


The Medall,  a poem by *Dryden, published 1682.
    The earl of *Shaftesbury, who is represented in *Absalom and Achitophel and possibly in *Mr Limberham, was acquitted of charges of high treason in 1681, and a medal was struck to commemorate the event. Dryden's response includes savage attacks on Shaftesbury himself, the City, and the Commons. It predicts with some accuracy the constituted instability which was to beset the country in the ensuing 30 years. *Shadwell and Samuel Pordage (1633-?91) both wrote replies.


Religio Laici, a poem by *Dryden, published 1682.
    Written in defence of Anglicanism against Deist, Catholic, and Dissenting arguments, Religio Laici combines an exalted recognition of religious sublimity with a defence of a 'layman's' reasonable and straightforward religious attitudes. The poem's operning lines, beginning 'Dim as the borrow'd Beams of Moon and Stars', are among the finest Dryden wrote.


The Hind and the Panther, a poem by *Dryden, published 1687.
    Dryden became a Catholic in 1685, and the poem represents an attempt to reconcile Anglican and Catholic political interests, while at the same time defending Catholic doctrine. The first part describes various religious sects under the guise of different beasts, and in particular the Catholic Church and the Church of England as the Hind and the Panther respectively. The second part is occupied with arguments about church authority and transubstantiation, issues full of political as well as ecclesiological implications. This leads into the third part, which constitutes half the poem, and is designed to recommend  a political alliance between both Churches and the Crown against Whigs and Dissenters. It contains two celebrated fables, that of the swallows and that of the doves. However the balance of the latter, and so of the whole poem, may have been upset by James II's Second Declaration of Indulgence, which appealed to dissenting protestant sects over the heads of the Anglican establishment.


Fables, Ancient and Modern, by *Dryden, published 1700.
    Verse paraphrases of tales by *Ovid, *Boccaccio, and *Chaucer are interspersed with poems of Dryden's own, and together with the preface, in itself one of the most important examples of Dryden's criticism, they compose themselves into an Ovidian and Catholic meditation on the place of nature, sex, and violence in the flux of history.


Don Sebastian, a tragi-comedy by *Dryden, produced 1689, published 1691.
    The play is based on the legend that King Sebastian of Portugal survived the battle of Alcazar. He and the princess Almeyda, with whom he is in love, are captured by Muley Moloch, who spares their lives until he discovers that they have secretly married. In love with Almeyda himself, he orders Dorax, a renegade Portuguese nobleman, to execute Sebastian, but Dorax, once Sebastian's favourite, refuses to do so. Muley Moloch is killed in a revolt, but Sebastian and Almeyda then discover that their marriage is incestuous, and they renounce each other and their thrones. However, they do not renounce the memory of their love, which is subsumed in ecstatic and total submission to the decrees of an inscrutable Providence. Counterpointing this main plot is a notably erotic and earthy sub-plot. The play is Dryden' most complex dramatic treatment of a number of important political, sexual, and religious themes.


Amphytrion, a comedy by *Dryden, produced and published 1690.
    Adapted from the comedies of *Plautus and *Molière on the same subject, it represents the story of Jupiter's seduction of Alcmena in the guise of her husband Amphytrion. In this he is aided by Mercury, who is disguised as Amphytrion's slave Sosia. The cruel abuse of mortal love by the gods is in striking contrast to the play's uninhibited eroticism. The same story was adapted by *Giraudoux in his Amphytrion 38 (1929).


A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire, by *Dryden.
    The Discourse was published with The Satires (1693) of *Juvenal and *Persius, translated by various hands, among them Dryden's. Less impressive for its scholarship (which is not, however, negligible) than for its broad sense of the principles underlying literary and social history, it distinguishes between 'Varronian', 'Horatian', and 'Juvenalian' satire in a way that has considerably influenced criticism of Dryden's own satirical works and that of his Augustan successors.


Mr Limberham, or The Kind Keeper, a comedy by *Dryden, produced 1679, published 1680.
    The play was banned by royal decree after three performances and has been execrated since, but Dryden nonetheless thought highly of it. The title role is possibly based on *Shaftesbury. Limberham is an impotent masochist, who is cuckolded by the oversexed hero Woodall, to whom every woman in the play succumbs. In this Woodall (who has been brought up abroad and is under an assumed name) is enthusiastically abetted by his unknowing father, Aldo. By implication the play attacks the patriarchism of a sexually corrupt court, the blind hedonism of the nobility, and the hypocrisy of Dissenters.



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Jueves, 03 de Noviembre de 2016 09:26. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

San Isidoro sobre el teatro

San Isidoro sobre el teatro

Del libro XVIII.42-51 de las Etimologías de San Isidoro de Sevilla, hacia el año 600.  El estado del teatro a principios del siglo VII—observemos que se habla en pasado, mayormente; era cosa de antes y de paganos. La exposición sigue a Tertuliano, que escribió De spectaculis hacia el año 200.  El tratado de San Isidoro sitúa a los espectáculos teatrales después de las competiciones deportivas y antes de las peleas de gladiadores en el anfiteatro.

42. Sobre el teatro

1. Teatro es el lugar en que se encuentra un escenario; tiene forma de semicírculo y en él todos los presentes observan. Su forma fue inicialmente circular, como el anfiteatro; después, de medio anfiteatro se hizo un teatro. El nombre de theatrum le viene del espectáculo mismo, derivado de theoria, porque en él el pueblo, colocado en los lugares elevados y asistiendo como espectadores, contemplaba los juegos. 2. Al teatro se le denomina también "prostíbulo", porque, terminado el espectáculo, allí se prostituían (prostrare) las rameras. Se llama también lupanar por esas mismas meretrices que, a causa de la frivolidad de su prostituido cuerpo, reciben el nombre de lupae (lobas), pues "lobas" son llamadas las prostitutas por su rapacidad, ya que atraen hacia ellas a los desdichados y los atrapan. Pues los paganos establecieron lupanares para que allí se expusiera al público el pudor de las infelices mujeres y sufrieran deshonra tanto los que allí acudían como quienes en aquel lugar se prostituían.

43. La escena

La escena era el lugar situado en la parte inferior del teatro; tenía la apariencia de una casa dotada de una tribuna, tribuna que se denominaba orchestra y en la que cantaban los actores cómicos o trágicos, y donde bailaban los histriones y los mimos. El nombre de escena es de origen griego: se denomina así porque presentaba el aspecto de una casa. Por idéntico motivo, entre los hebreos, la dedicación de los tabernáculos se llamaba skenopégia, por la semejanza que éstos tenían con una casa.

44. La orchestra
La orchestra era la tribuna de la escena; en ella podía actuar el bailarín o representar dos personas en una disputa. A ella subían los poetas cómicos o trágicos a rivalizar en los certámenes. Y mientrs unos cantaban, otros hacían pasos de danza. Los que se dedicaban al arte escénico eran los tragediógrafos, comediógrafos, músicos, histriones, mimos y danzarines.

45. Sobre los tragediógrafos 
Los tragediógrafos son los que, con verso triste y ante el público espectador, contaban las antiguas hazañas y delitos de reyes criminales.

46. Sobre los comediógrafos

Los comediógrafos son los que, con sus palabras y sus gestos, cantaban hechos de personas particulares y representaban en sus comedias los estupros de las doncellas y los amores de las prostitutas.

47. Sobre los músicos

Thymelici eran los músicos de la escena, que iniciaban el canto con sus instrumentos musicales, de ordinario liras o cítaras. Se les denominaba thymelici porque antiguamente cantaban subidos en la orchestra, en lo alto de la tribuna, que era llamada thymele.
 48. Sobre los histriones

Los histriones son los que, vestidos con ropas femeninas, imitaban los gestos de las mujeres impúdicas. Asimismo, con sus danzas representaban historias y hechos ocurridos. Se les llama histriones porque este tipo de actores fue traído de Histria; o porque representaban comedias urdidas con diferentes historias, como si se les dijera historiones.

49. Sobre los mimos

A los mimos se les denomina así, con un término griego, porque son imitadores de las cosas humanas. Tenían su propio guionista; éste, antes de que se representase la acción mímica, narraba el argumento. Y es que los poetas componían las comedias de tal modo que pudieran adaptarse perfectamente al movimiento del cuerpo.

50. Sobre los danzarines

Varrón afirma que los danzarines recibieron el nombre de saltatores derivándolo del árcade Salio, a quien Eneas llevó consigo a Italia, y que fue el primero que enseñó a danzar a los jóvenes nobles romanos.

51. Qué se representa y bajo qué patronato

Es de todo punto evidente el patrocinio de Líber y de Venus en las artes escénicas y en todo lo propio y privativo de la escena, como son los gestos y flexiones del cuerpo. En efecto, ofrendaban a Líber y a Venus la sensualidad, unos por el sexo, y otros, disolutos, por el fasto. Por su parte, todo cuanto se desarrolló mediante la palabra y el canto, los instrumentos de viento y las liras, tiene como patronos a los Apolos, las Musas, las Minervas y los mercurios. Tú, cristiano, debes aborrecer este espectáculo del mismo modo que aborreciste a sus patronos.


Nota de los editores José Oroz y Manuel A. Marcos: "Todo este capítulo, con muy ligeras variantes, está tomado literalmente de Tertuliano (De Spectaculis 10.8-9). La edición de E. Castorina, en este pasaje de Tertuliano, recoge flexu; aunque—indica en la nota—"se podría aceptar también fluxu". Y continúa, en la nota, la exposición de las razones por las que prefiere flexu frente a fluxu, pese a que en los mejores códices de Isidoro se encuentra fluxu, y sólo en los deteriores encontremos flexu. Aduce la autoridad de Quintiliano (2,13,9) y Fírmico (Math. 6,30,9). En favor de fluxu señala Séneca (De tranq. animi 17,4), Apuleyo (Met. 11,,8) y Arnobio (6,12). Pese a todo, se incluna por flexu. Frente a litteris, de Tertuliano, encontramos lyris en Isidoro, número 2." San Isidoro de Sevilla, Etimologías.  2 vols. Ed. José Oroz Reta and Manuel-A. Marcos Casquero. Introd. Manuel C. Díaz y Díaz. 2nd ed. Madrid: BAC, 1993.


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Jueves, 03 de Noviembre de 2016 09:04. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Vagabundos de las estrellas

domingo, 1 de noviembre de 2015

Vagabundos de las estrellas

Una nota sobre algunos aspectos de la narrativa de Jack London, en especial El vagabundo de las estrellas, desde la perspectiva de la narratología evolucionista y cognitiva. La consciencia del sentido de la evolución por parte de London tiene varias consecuencias para la teoría y práctica del anclaje narrativo en sus ficciones, en particular en el establecimiento de conexiones explícitas entre la Gran Historia y la praxis narrativa del autor.


Vagabundos de las estrellas

silver surfer stars

English Abstract: 

Star Rovers

A note on some aspects of Jack London’s fiction, particularly The Star Rover, from the standpoint of evolutionary and cognitive narratology. London’s awareness of the significance of evolution has a number of consequences for the theory and practice of narrative anchoring in his fictions, particularly in the building of explicit connections between Big History and the writer’s narrative praxis.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: Jack London, Big History, American fiction, Historicity,

The paper appears in the following SSRN eJournals and repositories:

eJournal Classifications (Date posted: October 22, 2015)
AARN Subject Matter eJournals
AARN Subject Matter eJournals
CSN Subject Matter eJournals

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Martes, 01 de Noviembre de 2016 14:35. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

John Webster - The Duchess of Malfi [BBC, 1972]

Jueves, 29 de octubre de 2015

John Webster - The Duchess of Malfi [BBC, 1972]


The Duchess of Malfi. Dir. James MacTaggart. Based on John Webster's play.  Cast: Eileen Atkins - The Duchess; Michael Bryant - Daniel de Bosola; Charles Kay - Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria; T.P. McKenna - The Cardinal; Gary Bond - Antonio Bologna; Jean Gilpin - Julia; Jerome Willis - Delio; Sheila Ballantine - Cariola; Tim Curry - a madman. BBC TV, 10 Oct. 1972. Online at YouTube (Lothriel) 15 May 2010.*





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MACBETH 1978 | Ian McKellen | Judi Dench

jueves, 29 de octubre de 2015

MACBETH 1978 | Ian McKellen | Judi Dench

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Style and Patterns of Blending

miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2015

Style and Patterns of Blending

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The Earl of Rochester

martes, 27 de octubre de 2015

The Earl of Rochester

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble:

Rochester, John Wilmot, second earl of (1647-80), lyric poet, satirist, and a leading member of the group of 'court wits' surrounding Charles II. He was born at Ditchley in Oxfordshire, his father was a Cavalier hero and his mother a deeply religious woman related to many prominent Puritans. In his early teens he was sent to Wadham College, Oxford, the home of the *Royal Society, and then went on a European tour, returning to the court late in 1664. At the age of 18 he romantically abducted the sought-after heiress Elizabeth Malet in a coach-and-six. Despite the resistance of her family, and after a delay of 18 months (during which Rochester fought with conspicuous gallantry in the war against the Dutch), she married him. Subsequently his time was divided between periods of domesticity with Elizabeth at his mother's home in the country (the couple had four children), and fashionable life in London with, among several mistresses, the brilliant actress Elizabeth *Barry, and his riotous male friends, who included the earl of Dorset (C. *Sackville) and the duke of *Buckingham. Wherever he was staying he tried to keep up the other side of his life through letters, many of which survive.rochester

Although Dr. *Johnson dismissed Rochester's lyrics, their wit and emotional complexity give him some claim to be considered one of the last important *Metaphysical poets of the 17th cent., and he was one of the first of the *Augustans, with his social and literary verse satires. He wrote scurrilous lampoons—some of them impromptu—dramatic prologues and epilogues, 'imitations' and translations of classical authors, and several other brilliant poems which are hard to categorize, such as his tough self-dramatization 'The Maimed Debauchee' and the grimly funny 'Upon Nothing'. He wrote more frankly about sex than anyone in English before the 20th cent., and is one of the most witty poets in the language. Although his output was small (he died young), it was very varied. *Marvell admired him, *Dryden, *Swift, and *Pope were all influenced by him (he was Dryden's patron for a time), and he has made an impression on many subsequent poets—*Goethe and *Tennyson, for example, and in modern Britain, *Empson and P. *Porter.

Rochester is famous for having, in Johnson's words, 'blazed out his youth and health in lavish voluptuousness'. He became very ill in his early thirties and engaged in discussions and correspondence with a number of theologians, particularly the deist Charles Blount and the rising Anglican churchman G. *Burnet, an outspoken royal chaplain who superintended and subsequently wrote up the poet's deathbed conversion. It was the final contradiction in a personality whose many oppositions—often elegantly or comically half-concealed—produced and important body of poems. See Complete Poems, ed. D. M. Vieth (1968); Poems, ed. K. Walker (1984); Letters, ed. J. Treglown (1980). There is a life by V. de Sola Pinto (1953, 2nd ed. 1964); see also Lord Rochester's Monkey (1974) by G. *Greene.


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En tiempos de los cíclopes - In the Times of the Cyclopes

martes, 27 de octubre de 2015

En tiempos de los cíclopes - In the Times of the Cyclopes

Comentamos en este artículo la figura de los cíclopes en Homero y en Vico, leyéndola como un arquetipo cultural y psicológico de la sociedad protohumana. Los dos aspectos complementarios del mito (como tradición cultural que se remonta a la prehistoria, y como estructura psicológica, referida a la socialización y al desarrollo psicológico individual) convergen en un origen ontofilogenético común; se refuerzan mutuamente, y proporcionan una consciencia cultural intuitiva de la realidad de la evolución mental y cultural, y de los lazos existentes entre el mundo humano y el animal.

Jose Angel Garcia Landa

Universidad de Zaragoza

July 15, 2011



English Abstract:

In the Times of the Cyclopes

This paper comments on the figure of the cyclopes in Homer and in Vico, read as a cultural and psychological archeype of protohuman society. The two complementary aspects of the myth (as a cultural tradition harking back to prehistory and as a psychological structure, referring to socialization and individual psychological development) point out to a common ontophylogenetic origin; they reinforce each other, and provide an intuitive cultural awareness of the reality of the evolution of mind and culture, and of the link between the human and the animal world.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: Myth, Cyclops, Vico, Homer, Evolution, Neanderthals, Human origins, Prehistory,


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Time & Memory: Mark Turner

lunes, 26 de octubre de 2015

Time & Memory: Mark Turner

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La Teoría de la Mente y el Receptor Implícito

lunes, 26 de octubre de 2015

La Teoría de la Mente y el Receptor Implícito

Proponemos en este artículo reinterpretar algunos conceptos relativos a la intersubjetividad presentes en la filosofía de la comunicación y teoría crítica (el interlocutor ideal de Adam Smith, el lector implícito de Booth, el dialogismo de Bajtín, etc.) en términos de los actuales enfoques de la psicología cognitiva englobados bajo el término de "Teoría de la Mente".

La Teoría de la Mente y el receptor implícito 

English Abstract:

Theory of Mind and the Implied Receiver

This paper puts forward a proposal to reread some concepts related to intersubjectivity used in the philosophy of communication and critical theory (Adam Smith's ideal interlocutor, Booth's implied reader, Bakhtin's dialogism, etc.) in terms of the contemporary approaches in cognitive pscychology known as "Theory of Mind".

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 4
Keywords: Theory of Mind, Psychology, Intersubjectivity, Discourse analysis, Receivers, Implied reader, Goffman, Adam Smith, Kenneth Burke

Date posted: October 17, 2015  


eJournal Classifications
CSN Subject Matter eJournals
RCRN Subject Matter eJournals
RCRN Subject Matter eJournals


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Miércoles, 26 de Octubre de 2016 08:23. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Notas sobre El Ordenador Renacentista

sábado, 24 de octubre de 2015

Notas sobre El Ordenador Renacentista

Notas sobre 'The Renaissance Computer: Knowledge Technology in the First Age of Print', libro editado por Neil Rhodes y Jonathan Sawday (Routledge, 2000).

Notas sobre El Ordenador Renacentista -  en html  y en PDF.

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Marlowe - EDUARDO II

miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2015

Marlowe - EDUARDO II

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Hurting Enough and Losing Touch

domingo, 18 de octubre de 2015

Hurting Enough and Losing Touch

From Vikram Seth's An Equal Music (I.11):

When I was being considered for the Maggiore Quartet, Helen asked me how Julia was. They knew each other because our trio and their quartet—both recently formed—had met at the summer programmes in Banff in the Canadian Rockies.
    I said that we'd lost touch.
    "Oh, what a pity," said Helen, "And how's Maria? Marvellous cellist! I thought the three of you played awfully well together. You belonged together."
    "Maria's fine, I think. She's still in Vienna."
    "I do feel it's a pity when one loses touch with friends," babbled Helen sympathetically. "I had a school-friend once. He was in the class above me. I adored him. He wanted to be, of all things, a dentist. . .  Oh, it's not a sensitive subject, is it?"
    "No, not at all. But perhaps we should get on with the rehearsal. I've got to be somewhere at five-thirty."
    "Of course. You told me that you were in a hurry, and here I am, nattering on. Silly me."
    To lose touch — an hearing and smell and taste and sight. Not a week passes when I don't think of her. This after ten years, too persistent a trace in the memory.

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En el Rhetorical Theory eJournal

domingo, 18 de octubre de 2015

En el Rhetorical Theory eJournal

En el Rhetorical Theory eJournal

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John Cleveland

John Cleveland

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble.

CLEVELAND, John (1613-58). *Cavalier poet, born in Loughborough, the son of a clergyman, and educated at Cambridge. He joined the king's camp in Oxford during the Civil War as an active Royalist; he wrote there one of his best known satires, 'The Rebel Scot', which contains the couplet commended by Dr. *Johnson, 'Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom / Not forced him wander, but confined him home.' Although criticized during his life as an academic and coterie poet, his works were highly popular, and 25 editions (none, apparently, with his supervision) appeared between 1647 and 1700. *Dryden's opinion of him as one 'who gives us common thoughts in abstruse words' eventually prevailed, but the 20th cent. revival of interest in the *metaphysicals and in political satire has led to more serious consideration. An edition by B. Morris and E. Withington appeared in 1967.

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'MEDEA' de Eurípides

domingo, 11 de octubre de 2015

'MEDEA' de Eurípides


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Rhetorical Identity and Identification

Rhetorical Identity and Identification

10 Oct. 2015

Dear Jose Angel Garcia Landa:

Your paper, "ACCIÓN, RELATO, DISCURSO: ESTRUCTURA DE LA FICCIÓN NARRATIVA (ACTION, STORY, DISCOURSE: THE STRUCTURE OF NARRATIVE FICTION)", was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for: RCRN: Rhetorical Identity & Identification (Topic).

As of 10 October 2015, your paper has been downloaded 91 times. You may view the abstract and download statistics at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2480262.

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(Actually, this paper doesn't show up as there's another one with the same number of downloads in no. 10. But I've got another one in the top ten:)

Rhetorical Identity and Identification

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Sophocles Oedipus Rex 1957

miércoles, 7 de octubre de 2015

Sophocles Oedipus Rex 1957

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Calderón de la Barca: El gran teatro del mundo

Calderón de la Barca: El gran teatro del mundo

Introducción a 'El Gran Teatro del Mundo', auto sacramental de Pedro Calderón de la Barca, con imágenes de la producción de TVE (1968).

Y una representación completa (Perú, 1997):

Calderón, como Shakespeare, sabía que "es representación la humana vida"—y exprime aquí la teatralidad de la vida real duplicando el drama dentro del drama. Estos dramaturgos, avisados por su experiencia del teatro, usan a éste no como una imagen gratuita, sino extrayendo de la auténtica teatralidad de la vida la potencia de su estética. En su comprensión de que la vida es realmente (y por tanto también figuradamente) dramática, en su saber que no estaban sólo jugando con las palabras, o no más de lo que jugamos en cada escena del drama de la vida real, se anticipan a la sociología dramatística de Erving Goffman y otros, que en nuestros días siguen manteniendo la literalidad de esta proposición, que en la misma medida en que el teatro es vida real, la vida real es teatro.

A estas cuestiones de vida, dramaturgia, y metadrama, siempre dialécticamente implicadas entre sí, dedico mi página titulada EL GRAN TEATRO DEL MUNDO.

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Atentos al Top Ten

Atentos al Top Ten

Dear Jose Angel Garcia Landa:


As of 05 October 2015, your paper has been downloaded 22 times. You may view the abstract and download statistics at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2180235.

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Miércoles, 05 de Octubre de 2016 08:12. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

This Is My Play's Last Scene

This Is My Play's Last Scene

Un poema de los Holy Sonnets de John Donne, "This Is My Play's Last Scene", que me llama la atención en primer lugar por la metáfora de la vida como teatro, aunque es sólo la primera imagen de muchas que da para el telón final:

This is my play's last scene; here heavens appoint
My pilgrimage's last mile; and my race,
Idly, yet quickly run, hath this last pace,
My span's last inch, my minute's latest point;
And gluttonous death will instantly unjoint
My body and my soul, and I shall sleep a space;
But my'ever-waking part shall see that face
Whose fear already shakes my every joint.
Then, as my soul to heaven, her first seat, takes flight,
And earth-born body in the earth shall dwell,
So fall my sins, that all may have their right,
To where they'are bred, and would press me, to hell.
Impute me righteous, thus purg'd of evil,
For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devil. 

 Traducido así a la ligera:
Esta es la última escena de mi drama, aquí el cielo señala
la última milla de mi peregrinar, y mi carrera,
que he corrido ocioso pero rápido, tiene este último paso,
la última pulgada de mi palmo, el último punto de mi minuto;
y la muerte glotona al punto desmembrará
mi cuerpo y mi alma, y dormiré un rato;
pero mi parte insomne verá ese rostro
que de miedo me hace temblar ya todo el cuerpo.
Entonces, mientras mi alma al cielo, su primer asiento, emprende el vuelo,
y el cuerpo nacido terrenal morará en la tierra,
que del mismo modo caigan mis pecados, y cada cual tenga lo suyo,
a donde se criaron, y a donde querrían llevarme a la fuerza, al infierno.
Consideradme recto, purgado así de mal,
Puesto que así dejo el mundo, la carne y el demonio.
Quizá lo más llamativo, aparte del temor reverencial a Dios que aparece en otros sonetos —Dios es para Donne una especie de terrorífico rey absolutista en su corte majestuosa— es la curiosa manera en que formula su esperanza de resurrección y trascendencia. 
Hay quien dice que las sucesivas reformas y conversiones doctrinales forzosas dejaron a los ingleses sin fe—sólo con una creencia formulaica, y con una religión política. A Donne sí lo dejaron más dispuesto a jugar con las ideas doctrinales que a tomárselas muy en serio. En cuestiones de religión, quizá su expresión más directa y sincera sea esa Elegía en la que dice que la auténtica verdad está en la búsqueda incesante de la verdad, y no en creerse que se ha hallado en una doctrina que prometa certidumbre y detenga esa búsqueda.
Así pues, la teología de este poema, si nos lo tomamos como teología y no como juego de ideas, es totalmente poco ortodoxa... y sin embargo muy cristiana a su manera.
Ante la duda de si él, como pecador, irá al cielo o al infierno, Donne prefiere tomar todas las alternativas. Irá al cielo, irá al infierno, y también se quedará en la tierra.  Es decir, su alma inmortal irá al cielo, que es de donde viene, su cuerpo se quedará evidentemente en la tierra (aunque esto contradice otros sonetos divinos, y la resurrección de los cuerpos) y sus pecados caerán al infierno, que es su lugar más propio. La cosa ciertamente tiene su lógica propia, y reduce a un ejercicio de ingenio metafísico las dudas y angustias sobre el más allá. Quizá sea el mejor uso que pueda dárseles, a esas angustias trascendentales.

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Relatos y Textos para nada

miércoles, 30 de septiembre de 2015

Relatos y Textos para nada



Samuel Beckett
Traducción e introducción de José Francisco Fernández
Cuando en 1955 la editorial Minuit publicó los Relatos y Textos para nada, en su versión original en francés, Samuel Beckett ya había sorprendido al mundo con la originalidad y el ingenio de Esperando a Godot (estrenada en 1953). La producción de nuevas obras de teatro, todas ellas de gran calado existencial, haría que en las siguientes décadas el autor irlandés se convirtiera en el dramaturgo más influyente del siglo XX. Sin embargo, su obra narrativa no es en absoluto desdeñable y, en la opinión de muchos críticos, la profundidad alcanzada en sus novelas y relatos es muy superior a lo conseguido en teatro. Los Relatos de Samuel Beckett, por ejemplo, muestran a un Beckett en plena madurez creativa, presentando con toda crudeza a un tipo de personaje característico de su universo literario: un ser desamparado que deambula por escenarios inhóspitos y cuyas peripecias reflejan, parcialmente, las penalidades sufridas por el autor durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Los Textos para nada, por su parte, constan de 13 fragmentos en los que Beckett despoja a la literatura de todo artificio y se aproxima, en una búsqueda obsesiva, como ningún escritor había hecho antes, a lo que yace detrás de las palabras, ya sea la verdad o el vacío. Fue el propio Beckett el que tradujo al inglés todas las secciones que conforman el libro hasta que se publicó en esta lengua en 1967.
Sobre el autor:
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) ha sido uno de los representantes más importantes del experimentalismo literario del siglo XX. Figura clave del Teatro del absurdo, ha sido uno de los escritores más influyentes del siglo pasado. La obra de Beckett, escrita en inglés y francés, es sombría, tendente al minimalismo y profundamente pesimista sobre la condición humana. Sin embargo, este pesimismo se ve atemperado por un particular sentido del humor, negro y sórdido.
Sobre el traductor:
José Francisco Fernández es profesor titular en la Universidad de Almería, donde imparte clases de literatura inglesa. Sus investigaciones se centran en el estudio y la traducción de la obra de Samuel Beckett. Ha publicado artículos sobre el Premio Nobel irlandés en revistas como Journal of the Short Story in English, AUMLA, Estudios irlandeses y Journal of Beckett Studies, entre otras. Es autor de la traducción al castellano de dos novelas de Samuel Beckett: Sueño con mujeres que ni fu ni fa, junto con Miguel Martínez-Lage (Tusquets, 2011), y Mercier y Camier, (Confluencias, 2013), así como del relato «Asunción» (Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2015).
JPM Ediciones



Sobre estos relatos y textos para nada iba mi primera publicación, también para nada, allá a mediados de los 80: La subjetividad como máscara en los relatos de Beckett.


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Viernes, 30 de Septiembre de 2016 05:37. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2015

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a greatly admired alliterative poem from the North-West Midlands, dating from the second half of the 14th cent. (some authorities date it around 1375), the only manuscript of which is the famous Cotton Nero A. X which is also the sole manuscript of *Pearl, *Patience, and *Cleanness. The poem is in 2,530 lines in long-lined alliterative stanzas of varying length, each ending with a *'bob and wheel'. Most modern critics regard the four poems in the manuscript as the work of a single poet; but as far as the interpretation of this poem is concerned, the question of single authorship is largely irrelevant, so different is its subject from the three doctrinal pieces.

The story of the poem is as follows (under the headings of its four 'fitts', narrative divisions).  

Fitt 1: Arthur and his court are seated at a New Year's feast in Camelot waiting for a marvel when a huge green man enters, bearing an axe and a holly bough. He challenges a knight to cut his head off on condition that the knight agrees to have his head cut off a year hence. Gawain accepts the challenge and cuts the green knight's head off; the knight picks it up and rides away.

Fitt 2: A year later Gawain sets off to keep his side of the bargain. After riding through grim landscapes in wintry weather, on Christmas Eve Gawain comes upon a beautiful castle where he is graciously received. The lord of the castle makes an agreement with Gawain that each day he himself will hunt in the fields and Gawain in the castle; at the end of the day they will exchange spoils.  

Fitt 3: For three consecutive days, the lord hunts and Gawain, famous for his sill and prowess in love, is amorously approached by the beautiful lady of the castle, who gives him one kiss the first day, two on the second, and on the third day three kisses, and a girdle which has magic properties that will save his life. Each evening Gawain exchanges the kisses with his host for the animals slain in the hunt; but in the third evening he keeps the girdle (thus breaking his bargain), to protect him in the imminent meeting with the green knight. 

Fitt 4: Gawain is directed to the green knight's chapel where he kneels to receive his blow. Twice the knight feints at him, and the third time he makes a slight cut in Gawain's neck. Then he explains that he is the knight of the castle in a different form, and that the cut in the neck was sustained because of Gawain's infidelity in keeping the girdle. Gawain bitterly curses his failing and the snares of women; but hte green knight applauds him and, on Gawain's return to Arthur's court, they declare that they will all wear a green girdle in honour of his achievement.

The poem may be connected with the founding of the Order of the Garter. The elegance of the construction of the narrative, as well as the vivid language of the poem, are universally admired, and this is agreed to be one of the greatest poems in Middle English. Interpretation of its somewhat enigmatic raison d'être has been more varying; Speirs stressed its connection with some unexpressed archetypal story of seasons and vegetation; John Burrow concentrates on the moral seriousness underlying its colourful romantic exterior; modern critics, such as E. Wilson, see it in relation to the other Christian poems in the manuscript.

Ed. J. R. R. *Tolkien, E. V. Gordon, and N. Davis (2nd edn, 1967); J. A. Burrow, A Reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1965); J. Speirs, Medieval English Poetry (1957): 215-51; A. C. Spearing, The Gawain Poet (1970), ch. 5; E. Wilson, The Gawain-Poet (1976); W. R. J. Barron, Trawthe and Treason (1980); D. R. Howard and C. K. Zacher, eds. Critical Studies of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1968).

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Jueves, 29 de Septiembre de 2016 07:49. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Fit the First

lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2015

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Fit the First

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Jueves, 29 de Septiembre de 2016 07:39. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Bibliografía sobre Diarios y Dietarios

domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2015

Bibliografía sobre Diarios y Dietarios

Diaries —de mi Bibliografía de Teoría Literaria, Crítica, y Filología, subido a Scribd por Arnaldo Donoso

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Jueves, 29 de Septiembre de 2016 07:37. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Introduction to Theatre and Drama Arts: Lecture 9 - The Play

domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2015

Introduction to Theatre and Drama Arts: Lecture 9 - The Play


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Martes, 27 de Septiembre de 2016 06:48. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Orientations: Beowulf

martes, 22 de septiembre de 2015

Orientations: Beowulf

From Michael Alexander’s 
History of English Literature 
(2nd ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)


Like Greek literature, English literature begins with an epic, a poem of historic scope telling of heroes and of the world, human and non-human. Compared with the epics of Homer, Beowulf is short, with 3182 verses, yet it is the longest as well as the richest of Old English poems. Like other epics, it has a style made for oral composition, rich in formulas. The poem is found in a manuscript of the early eleventh century, but was composed perhaps two centuries earlier still, on the coasts of the Baltic. This was the northwest Germanic world from which the English had come to Britain. The coming of the Saxons is recalled in a poem in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 937.

... from the east came
Angles and Saxons up to these shores,
Seeking Britain across the broad seas,
Smart for glory, those smiths of war
That overcame the Welsh, and won a homeland

The first great work of English literature is not set in Britain. Beowulf opens with the mysterious figure of Scyld, founder of the Scylding dynasty of Denmark, who would have lived c. 400, before England existed. A Hengest mentioned in a sub-story of the poem may be the Hengest invited into Kent in 449 (see page 12). The Offa who is mentioned may be an ancestor of Offa, King of Mercia in the 8th century.

Beowulf showed the English the world of their ancestors, the heoric world of the north, a world both glorious and heathen. Dynasties take their identity from their ancestors, and the rulers of the English kingdoms ruled by right of ancestral conquest. The date and provenance of Beowulf are uncertain, and its authorship unknown, but the poem would have had ancestral interest to such a ruler.

West-Saxon genealogies go back to Noah via Woden; they include three names mentioned in Beowulf—Scyld, Scef and Beow. When in the 7th century the English became Christian they sent missionaries to their Germanic cousins. The audience for poetry was the lord of the hall and the men of his retinue. Such an audience was proud of its ancestors—even if, as the poem says of the Danes, ’they did not know God’.

The text of Beowulf is found in a manuscript in the West-Saxon dialect of Wessex which had become the literary standard. All the texts in the manuscript are about monsters, but the prime concern of Beowulf is not with monsters or even heroes but with human wisdom and destiny. It recounts the doings over two or three generations about the year 500 of the rulers of the Danes and the Swedes, and of a people who lived between them in southern Sweden, the Geats. The name Beowulf is not recorded in history, but the political and dynastic events of the poem are consistent with history. Beowulf is the nephew of Hygelac, King of the Geats, who died in a raid on the northern fringe of the Frankish empire. This key event of the poem is recorded in two Latin histories as having happened in about 521.

Hygelac fell in a raid in search of booty. In attacking the Frisians on the Frankish border, Beowulf’s uncle was asking for trouble, says the poem. The Franks took from Hygelac’s body a necklace of precious stones, a treasure previously bestowed on Beowulf by the Queen of the Danes as a reward for having killed the monster, Grendel (see below). On his return from Denmark, Beowulf had presented this prize to his lord, Hygelac, but the necklace was lost in this needless attack. Beowulf stopped the enemy champion, Dayraven, from taking Hygelac’s armour by crushing him to death with his bare hands. Beowulf returned with the armour of thirty soldiers, and declined the throne, preferring to serve Hygelac’s young son. But when this son is killed for harbouring an exiled Swedish prince, Beowulf became king and ruled the Geats for ’fifty years’.

The poem has a mysterious overture in the arrival of Scyld as a foundling child, sent by God to protect the lordless Danes, his victorious life and his burial in a ship. His great-grandson Hrothgar inherits the Danish empire and builds the great hall of Heorot, where he rewards his followers with gifts. At a banquet, Hrothgar’s poet sings the story of the creation of the world. The sound of music, laughter and feasting is resented by the monster Grendel, who comes from the fens to attack Heorot when the men are asleep. He devours thirty of Hrothgar’s thanes. Beowulf hears of the persecution of the Danes and comes to kill Grendel, in a tremendous fight at night in the hall. The next night, Grendel’s mother comes to the hall and takes her revenge. Beowulf follows her to her lair in an underwater cave, where with God’s help he kills her. Finally, in old age, he has to fight a dragon, who has attacked the Geats in revenge for the taking of a cup from his treasure-hoard. Beowulf faces the dragon alone, but can kill it only with the help of a young supporter; he dies of his wounds. The poem ends with a prophecy of the subjection of the Geats by the Franks or the Swedes. The Geats build a funeral pyre for their leader.

Then the warriors rode about the barrow
Twelve of them in all, athelings’ sons.
They recited a dirge to declare their grief,
Spoke of the man, mourned their King.
They praised his manhood, and the prowess of his hands,
They raised his name; it is right a man
Should be lavish in honouring his lord and friend,
Should love him in his heart when the leading-forth
From the house of flesh befalls him at last.

This was the manner of the mourning of the men of the Geats,
Sharers in the frest, at the fall of their lord:
They said that he was of all  the world’s kings
The gentlest of men, and the most gracious,
The kindest to his people, the keenest for fame.

The foundation of Germanic heroic society is the bond between a lord and his people, especially his retinue of warriors. Each will die for the other. Beowulf’s epitaph suggests an ethical recipe for heroism: three parts responsibility to one part honour. The origin of Beowulf’s life-story in the folk-tale of the Bear’s son and his marvellous feats, is transformed by the poem into a distinctly social ideal of the good young hero and the wise old king.

The heroic world is violent, but neither Beowulf nor Beowulf is bloodthirsty. The poem shows not just the glory but also the human cost of a code built upon family honour and the duty of vengeance. This cost is borne by men, and differently, by women. In this aristocratic world, women have honoured roles: peacemaker in marriage-alliances between dynasties, bride, consort, hostess, counsellor, mother, and widow. In Beowulf the cost of martial honour is signified in the figure of the mourning woman. Her is the Danish princess Hildeburh at the funeral pyre of her brother Hnaef, treacherously killed by her husband Finn, and her son, also killed in the attack on Hnaef. Shortly after this, Finn is killed by Hengest.

Hildeburh then ordered her own son
To be given to the funeral fire of Hnaef
For the burning of his bones; bede him be laid
At his uncle’s side. She sang the dirges,
Bewailed her grief. The warrior went up;
The greatest of corpse-fires coiled to the sky, 
Roared before the mounds. There were melting heads
And bursting wounds, as the blood sprang out
From weapon-bitten bodies. Blazing fire,
Most insatiable of spirits, swallowed the remains
of the victims of both nations. Their valour was no more.

The heroic way of life—magnificent, hospitable and courageous—depends upon military success. It can descend into the world of the feud, violent and merciless. The heroic code involves obligations to lord, to family and to guest, and heroic literature brings these obligations into tension, with tragic potential.

A comparison can be made between Beowulf and the Achilles of the Iliad. When Achilles’ pride is piqued, he will not fight, rejoining the Greeks only after his friend and substitute is killed. Achilles takes out his anger on the Trojan Hector, killing him, dishonoring his corpse and refusing to yield it for burial, until at last Hector’s father humiliates himself before Achilles to beg his son’s body. Achilles is reminded that even he must die. Homer’s characterization is more dramatic, brilliant and detailed; the characters of Beowulf are types rather than individuals. The ethos is also different. Beowulf devotedly serves his lord Hygelac, and his people the Geats. His youthful exploits in Denmark repay a debt of honour he owes to Hrothgar, who had saved Beowulf’s father Edgetheow, paying compensation for the life of a man Edgetheow had killed. Like Achilles, Beowulf is eloquent, courageous, quick to act, unusually strong. But Beowulf is considerate, magnanimous and responsible. As Hrothgar points out, he has an old head on young shoulders; he makes a good king. Yet as the poem makes clear in a series of stories marginal to Beowulf’s own life, most warriors from ruling families fall far short of Beowulf’s responsibility and judgement. Beowulf is both a celebration of an an elegy for heroism. The ideal example set by Beowulf himself implies a Christian critique of an ethic in which honour can be satisfied by ’the world’s remedy’, vengeance.

Gendel envies the harmony of the feast in Heorot and destroys it. He is a fiend: feond means both enemy and malign spirit. He is also in man’s shape, though of monstrous size. He is identified as a descendant of Cain, the first murderer, who in Genesis is marked and driven out by God from human society. Fratricide was an occupational hazard in ruling Germanic families, since succession was not by primogeniture but by choice of the fittest. In the heroic age of the north, sons were often fostered out, partly to reduce conflict and risk, but fraternal rivalry remained endemic. In Beowulf the greatest crimes are treachery to a lord and murder of kindred. The folklore figure of Grendel embodies the savage spirit of fratricidal envy. The dragon is a brute without Grendel’s human and demonic aspects. He destroys Beowulf’s hall by fire in revenge for the theft of a golden cup from his treasure. The dragon jealously guards his hoard underground, whereas the king shares out rings in the hall.

Beowulf commands respect by the depth and maturity of its understanding. Although its archaic world of warriors and rulers is simple, the poem is often moving in its sober concern with wisdom and right action, the destiny of dynasties, the limits of human understanding and power, and with the creative and the destructive in human life. Its style has reserve and authority.


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Jueves, 22 de Septiembre de 2016 07:13. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Bibliografía sobre drama y teatro

domingo, 20 de septiembre de 2015

Bibliografía sobre drama y teatro

Art García republica mi bibliografía sobre drama y teatro. Sólo la panorámica general, claro. Hay más bibliografías específicas sobre teatro, por géneros, áreas, etc., en http://bit.ly/abiblio

1.General.drama by JAGL - uploaded by Art García

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Martes, 20 de Septiembre de 2016 11:26. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

How to Comment a Literary Text

sábado, 19 de septiembre de 2015

How to Comment a Literary Text

This is concise practical guide on how to comment a literary text, aimed at undergraduate students of literature. It addresses a number of different aspects in the text and the student’s interaction with it: reading, authorship, theme, rhetoric and style, enunciation and address, genre and intertextuality, matters of history and ideology, gender and representation, evaluation, writing style and documentation.

Keywords: Literature, Commentary, Writing guides, Criticism



How to Comment a Literary Text


J.A. García Landa



Commenting a text involves reading it in an interesting and creative way, and being able to communicate that reading. This requires intuition, as well as experience and knowledge. The intuition we all possess to a greater or lesser degree can also be developed through practice, learning how to use it. Practice consists in: a) Reading literary texts attentively; b) Reading literary criticism so as to learn from other commentaries; c) Writing textual commentaries regularly. There is no one key or formula enabling us to write a good commentary. Only time, constant work, and familiarity with the texts will teach us how to write interesting commentaries, distinguishing what is repetitive or obvious (or purely subjective, or merely wrong) from what is worth seeing in a text and saying about it, to other people, in a number of situations and critical contexts. Here we are dealing with an academic context, which has its own traditions and conventions. In order to get familiar with them it is helpful to read at least one book on how to write a critical paper.



These guidelines may provide a starting point. They are not exhaustive, and besides one need not deal with each and every of these points in a commentary. We should determine in each case which of the following aspects, or which other aspects, would be worth developing in our commentary. But one must also try not to focus only on a single aspect of a text.



Reading. Begin with a careful reading of the text, using any information sources required to solve problems of understanding (dictionaries, encyclopedias, online search, etc.). Be attentive to the specific meaning acquired by words in this specific text, as any dictionary or encyclopedia will only give you the general meaning of the term, not its contextualized meaning. Note those aspects of the text’s grammar, vocabulary or usage which may help you to locate it within a given historical period, and show in your commentary this awareness of the historical aspects of language.



Author and identification. If you are given a text with the author’s name, use your knowledge of the author’s work as background information for the commentary. But be careful: do not set aside the text you are supposed to comment in order to write an essay on the author in question. Any additional information you can use about the author, the historical period of the text or its intellectual context, will be  much more more valuable if you can relate that knowledge to specific aspects of the text you are commenting—matters of language, meaning, subject matter or presuppositions. You should point out in which way these aspects of the text reflect the general thematic, ideological or stylistic characteristics of the author’s work.



 If you are not given the name of the author, use your knowledge about literary periods, genres and fashions, and about the characteristics of the authors you are familiar with, in order to associate them to the text in question. Follow specific clues as well (characters’ names, setting, etc.).


But if you are not sure about the author, do not try to give the impression that you do know. The text might be an anonymous one, or it might come from a second-rank work you are not expected to identify. Therefore, restrict yourself to giving an account of what you see in the text: show that you recognize aspects of such or such school, movement, or style, that there are "elements in common" with the style of so-and-so… but without affirming it as a fact, unless you are quite certain about it. Even if you cannot identify the author with precision, the authors you are familiar with may serve you as a guide for the commentary, if you find characteristics in common.



Theme. Point out the main subject of the work or passage you are commenting—and how it is introduced and dealt with throughout the text. What kind of subject matter is presented? How does it relate to human experience (is it highly specific to a specific culture or class, or does it have a more universal appeal?). What does the subject matter reveal about the author’s intent in writing, and his outlook on the human world? Does the text present a detached perspective on the subject matter, or an involved one? Which interests, ideology, etc., is it promoting through this choice of subject? What kind of community is the text invoking, as regards its use of theme? Does it establish different perspectives on the theme, and if so, does it take sides with any of them, or argue against received ideas on this subject (etc)? We’ll come back later to issues of content and ideology.



Genre, Rhetoric, Style. What kind of text is it? Is it a narrative? Or perhaps not "a narrative" although it has narrative elements (which ones?). Is it descriptive? Expositional? Dramatic? Lyrical? If the text is a poem, describe its metrical characteristics, the verses and stanzas used, etc., but do not stop formal analysis at that point. Examine the rhetorical structure of the text, the persuasive or expressive resources employed; identify and describe the use of figures of speech and figures of thought, tropes, imagery, and the way they are used in order to shape the subject matter. Describe the main structural elements which, to your mind, shape and organize the text. What does this structure tell us about the style of the author, his ideas or his intention? In which ways are the genres or forms used in the work given a personal approach? (—that is, how do they become style?). Try to refer to specific aspects of the text: medium, orality, vocabulary, syntax, use of language, etc.—which make it characteristic. In analyzing a work, it is important to find those elements which unify it, which make it into a whole which fits together and has a coherent shape or makes a coherent statement. Which formal resources are used to create coherence and to impose a given perspective in the text? How is the subject matter of the text represented, through the use of images, metaphors, connotation, wordplay… in order to give it a definite shape? (An also, are there any elements which disrupt this coherence or put it under question?). That is, how does the text acquire a form of its own, a unique structure of meanings, in order to express and represent its subject?


Enunciation and Address: Part of the study of a text is the study of its author and its addressee (either actual or implied authors and readers). How are they represented in the text? Can one discern elements of self-representation, literal or fictionalised author-figures, fictional narrators? Are we being addressed by the author himself (—in which capacity?) or does he assume a fictionalised identity, or a conventional attitude towards the reader? Can we find irony, ambiguity, etc., in the author’s voice? This would amount to a doubling of the author’s voice, a kind of double-voicing. If we do find a play of different voices, how are these voices related to one another? (—for instance, an overtly ironical narrative and the real or ’serious’ attitude under it). The same thing may be asked on the reader’s side: Which image of the addressee, or of the audience, of the reading public, etc., is constructed? Does the addressee appear in an explicit way? Is it an individual character —real? —fictional? —the general reading public? Which attitude is expected by the author from this implied receiver—solidarity or confrontation? Which is the attitude taken towards the characters by the author, narrator, receiver… if any is discernible? Which is the perspective or point of view from which the action is presented? Does it coincide with that of any of the characters? If there are several points of view, how are they combined, or how are they subordinated to one another? Who enjoys the best information or topsight?



Intertextuality: Through a text we may be able to perceive other texts, the work of other authors. This may happen either explicitly or implicitly. Are there in the text any specific allusions to other works or literary genres? Can we find any implicit relationships between this text and other texts? This happens, for instances, in texts which are imitations, variations, or parodies of other works, or of kinds of works, as Don Quixote is a parody of chivalric romances. Try to bring out these implicit aspects of the dialogue established between the text and the literary tradition, especially the work’s sources, and its descendants too.



History: These formal issues soon derive into questions of an historical and ideological nature; point out how this is so. Try to establish, referring to specific aspects of the text, which is its significance, or the significance of the author’s writing, in the development of English literature. What is new, and what is traditional, in the kind of writing exemplified by this text? Can you relate it to any literary movement, current, fashion or circle, allowing you to situate it as a historical phenomenon? Which aspects of this text’s writing style (or subject) were not possible or likely to be found in another period or historical moment? Why? (Having some notions of history will help at this point).



Ideology: A text is the product of a society, an epoch, a mentality or ideology. Point out which aspects of the text to be commented can be related with these wider aspects of its historical background. For instance, how are differences in social hierarchy or class represented in the text? How are social relationships portrayed? Does the text presuppose or represent an aristocratic and feudal society? Does it promote patriotic or monarchic views? Is it liberal, democratic in ideology? How is it to be situated with respect to the development of a modern society (—an urban, lay, pluralistic society?) Can you trace in it the discourse of nationalism? colonialism? racism? Does it express revolutionary, progressive or reactionary ideas? Is it conservative? Which social identities are expressed or promoted? Which stylistic resources are used to express or reinforce the implied political message of the text?


    Can you find any evidence of mythical discourses or pre-scientific beliefs, typical of any given period or culture? Belonging to any specific belief system, religion or philosophy? Explain them and briefly situate them in the context of the history of ideas. Is the text written with a view to supporting these ideas, or does it just presuppose them as part of its world view? Does it argue against any system of ideas or beliefs, in an explicit or implicity way?


    A very interesting aspect to be discussed is the representation of gender and sexuality. How are men and women characterized in the text? Which are the gender and the sexual ideology of the author (of the narrator, of the characters…?). How does the rhetoric of narrative—and the verbal images, metaphors, etc.— contribute to articulate and convey a sexual ideology? Does the ideology promoted by the text have any sense today? Which other aspects relative to the ideologies of the self, the individual subject, and of social identities appear in the work? Examine the specific ways in which they are expressed.



Evaluation. Which aspect of the text is most striking or interesting, and which is the reason? Is it central to the author’s intention, or accidental, peripheral, but significant to you? Try to evaluate the text with a degree of historical distance or perspective. Conclude the commentary with an evaluation of the most important subject of the text you want to bring out in your commentary, as it is seen from your perspective.



Writing and documentation. Write coherently, structuring the paper into paragraphs which constitute units of meaning; do not begin or end with isolated matters of detail, but with an organised perspective on the text. Do not write a collection of isolated sentences! If possible, organise the commentary around a central interpretation of the aspect of the text you find most interesting or important, which makes it characteristic or significant now, or then. Emphasize the most important elements, and do not waste time on irrelevant or isolated details. Revise the spelling, grammar and use of English before handing it in. 


     As to the use of critical bibliography, in papers written as homework: its role should be to document or support your own reading, and not to replace it or obscure it. Learn about the author and the text, but try to show your own reading understanding of the text, not somebody else’s. You can also argue with another reading, contradict it, or use it in your own argument. Background information need not be specifically quoted. But in specific critical readings it is essential to separate in a clear way what is your own text, and what is it you take from another source. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE, and above all do not cut and paste from the web… or from books. Use your own words (and ideas whenever possible) and use inverted commas and proper citations if you quote someone. Try to use a style which is personal and correct—and readable.

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Lunes, 19 de Septiembre de 2016 05:58. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Why We Read Fiction

martes, 8 de septiembre de 2015

Why We Read Fiction


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Jueves, 08 de Septiembre de 2016 14:49. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Más publicaciones mías

lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2015

Más publicaciones mías

Aquí aparece otra página que extrae documentos de mi bibliografía. Entre ellos, una lista abreviada de mis publicaciones, en 340 páginas web, que podríamos titular "JOSE ANGEL GARCÍA LANDA, por José Angel García Landa".

Aparte de esa lista hay allí otras parecidas más incompletas, con mis escritos, y una mucho más breve sobre publicaciones de William Empson.

Y también:

Un capítulo de 2003 sobre "Filología, Lingüística, y Teoría Literaria: sobre 'subáreas' e interfaces en Filología Inglesa."

Una bibliografía sobre Crimen y criminales.

Otra sobre el punto de vista narrativo, la focalización y la perspectiva narrativa.

Aquí aparece otra página que extrae documentos de mi bibliografía. Entre ellos, una lista abreviada de mis publicaciones, en 340 páginas web, que podríamos titular "JOSE ANGEL GARCÍA LANDA, por José Angel García Landa".

Aparte de esa lista hay allí otras parecidas más incompletas, con mis escritos, y una mucho más breve sobre publicaciones de William Empson.

Y también:

Un capítulo de 2003 sobre "Filología, Lingüística, y Teoría Literaria: sobre 'subáreas' e interfaces en Filología Inglesa."

Una bibliografía sobre Crimen y criminales.

Otra sobre el punto de vista narrativo, la focalización y la perspectiva narrativa.
Otra sobre el origen del lenguaje.

Otra sobre las obras de Francis Bacon.

Sobre Faulkner.

Sobre Nabokov: sus obras y crítica sobre él.

Crítica historicista del siglo XIX...

Y otras. Of writing many book titles there is no end.


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Miércoles, 07 de Septiembre de 2016 09:35. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Samuel Beckett y la Narración Reflexiva

domingo, 30 de agosto de 2015

Samuel Beckett y la Narración Reflexiva

Argumento de Samuel Beckett y la Narración Reflexiva

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Edwin Muir - The Structure of the Novel

viernes, 28 de agosto de 2015

Edwin Muir - The Structure of the Novel


Notes from Edwin Muir's The Structure of the Novel, 1928 (London: Chatto and Windus, 1979).

1. Novels of Action and Character

8- Lubbock (The Craft of Fiction) lacks a general concept of structure beyond point of view; a narrow approach. Forster (Aspects of the Novel) is unanalytical.

9- Carruthers's organicism (John Carruthers, Scheherezade; or The Future of the English Novel) sees in the novel only the pattern of life. Forster and Carruthers forget what is specific in the novel.

11- "It is axiomatic that the pattern of no novel, however formless, can ever be so formless as life as we see it; for even Ulysses is less confusing than Dublin."

12- The laws of the novel art beyond the control of the novelist. Jamesian novel as a narrowing and minor offshoot;

13- Muir vs. deliberate form; these novels will be absorbed by the mainstream.

14- Muir vs. Lubbock's one-sided valuation; "all the main forms of the novel are good".

15.  Muir opposes limited terms such as 'pattern', 'rhythm', 'surface', 'point of view': "Applied to works of the first rank, that vocabulary is ridiculously inadequate"; it derives from James.

16- 'Plot' is outside this danger; "It is a definite term, it is a literary term, and it is universally applicable. It can be used in the widest popular sense. It designates for everyone, not merely for the critic, the chain of events in a story and the principle which knits it together." They are differentiated by the order or events.

17- Here Muir will provide mainly "a survey of some of the main plots, each with its interior principle, which the novel has used." His approach is descriptive, not prescriptive. "The most simple form of prose fiction is the story, which records a succession of events, generally marvellous." It appeals "to our irresponsible curiosity."

18- In the story there is an absence of plot, an arbitrary freedom.

Romance also draws on curiosity, but substitutes a sequence for a string of happenings, a single complicated action for a series of actions. There is also anticipation, fear, etc. The happy end is a necessary consequence.

"Irresponsible delight in vigorous events, then, is what charms us in the novel of action." Weaving and unraveling the plot; characterization is rough, incidental to plot.

21- Large audience for a work of fiction goes along with little merit. "All these stories imply by their nature a deviation from normal civilized life".

22- They provide a temporary escape from life, they are unreflective.

23- Their plot is in accordance with our wishes, not our knowledge, "a fantasy of desire rather than a picture of life". In the novel of character, "the action is subservient to them" (to characters).

24- The novel of character focuses on a typical situation, with specific consequences (e.g. Vanity Fair, vs. Treasure Island). Characters are complete from the beginning. Flat? Muir advocates flatness; they are a necessay vehicle for these novelists' vision of life.

26- The novelist must simply make the characters move and interact (with a satirical or humorous or critical delineation).

27- Both types of novel may be mixed.

31- "The plot of Tom Jones is an adroitly constructed framework for a picture of life, rather than an unfolding action."

32- The novel of character as a picture of society.

35- Scott is best as a novelist of character, and his characters are "wooden and unreal" (!!). Action vs. character in him,

36- both are good but they form an uneasy combination.

37- Dickens's plots "had no literary function at all" (!!!).

38- Thackeray drops the convention of the ambulating hero and portrays characters in different places at his will, making them meet.

40- From Vanity Fair on,  "the plot should not appear to be a plot".

2. The Dramatic Novel [organic form]

41- "the hiatus between the character and the plot disappears." Integration and mutual determination between them. Changing characters; similar to a poetic tragedy (the novel of character is similar to a  comedy).

42- Jane Austen as the model (but she is incapable of the tragic note). Intensification achieved by confinement to one circle of life; Pride and Prejudice, et.

45- "strict interior causation" in Austen; no hiatus between chararacters and action in the dramatic novel, as there is one in the novel of characters and in the novel of action. The novel of character underlines the contrast between appearances and reality; while "The dramatic novel shows that both appearance and reality are the same, and that character is action, and action character." The dramatic nature of plot [characterized by Muir as an organic integration, in the style of the New Critics, although he does not use the term] ensures a logical and spontaneous development.

48- The dramatic novel shows both necessity and freedom [cf. the opposition novel of character / novel of action].

50- Dangers of overstressing either necessity or freedom (cf. Jude the Obscure vs. Jane Eyre); scenes of dramatic plot are not self-sufficient,

57- nor dramatic characters. "In the very conception of them there is the problem of time."

58- The ending is the end of both plot and characterisation (unlike the other kinds of novel). The dramatic novel moves towards equilibrium or death (from a static initial situation).

59- A narrow circle, shut off from the arbitrary interference of the external world; its logic is given necessity through limits. "The plot of the character novel is expansive, the plot of the dramatic novel intensive."

60- It is an image of a mode of experience, while the character novel is an image of a mode of existence.

61- The strength of each type comes from its limitations; the importance of reasonable limitations.

3. Time and Space

62-63- "the imaginative world of the dramatic novel is in Time, the imaginative world of the character novel in Space." Individual vs. social values (dramatic novel / character novel); "they are . . . two distinct modes of seeing life: in Time, personally, and in Space, socially."

64- "Spatial" plots vs. developmental dramatic plots. "In the one we shall find a loosely woven pattern, in the other the logic of causality."

65- A more visually intense realization of the scene in the dramatic novel. The dramatic novel is more universalised and abstract.

68- Time seems to linger in the character novel, and to fly in the dramatic novel.

69- [Moby Dick as dramatic novel!];
—a "prescience of something definite to come" in the dramatic novel.

74- This is partly caused by the author's foreknowledge,

75- —or by the expectations of the characters.

81- "The great character creations  . . . are beyond time and change." Characters from a character novel caught in a dramatic plot:

84- "Dickens's mistake harms Micawber, as Shakespeare's, marvellous as it is, harms Falstaff." [Now the novel of character has a universal significance for Muir]

85- Character in the novel as a movement in a symphony; the character novel is equivalent to a picture; we get an intensity of spatial reality. Character as single figures vs. the crowd as character.

But "Why should not the action develop with equal freedom in Time and in Space?  (next chapter).

4. The Chronicle

88- "The dramatic novel is limited in Space and free in Time, the character novel limited in Time and free in Space" (concentration gives intensity; typicality is made possible by unchangeability).

89- Universality and particularity in art: annihilation of time or space produces universalization (cf. the sculptor or the musicians). [Similar to the Romantic theory of the symbol: the universal is suggested through the particular - JAGL].

93- They also correspond to our experience of life and time: seeing our own typicality; life seen in perspective by means of aesthetic vision.

War and Peace is a "chronicle", as a view of society in time. "Life" as the sole point of reference. A strict framework (1), with an arbitrary and careless progression (2); (1 makes for universality, 2 for particularity). The speed of time is not determined by the intensity of the action:

98- it has on the contrary a cold and deadly regularity which is external to the characters and unaffected by them.

99- Time appears as an inhuman necessity,

100- Life as both confusion and meaning.

101- Destiny measures time in the dramatic novel; in the chronicle it is not measured by human happenings.

103-4- Time is internal in the dramatic novel, external in the chronicle.

105- Muir notes "the unavoidable relativity of action in the chronicle".

None of the divisions of the novel is objectively more valid than this one.

104-8- In the chronicle, the action and destinies of the characters seem accidental because they are set in a wider frame.

109- Action should be accidental, it disposes arbitrarily of human life.

111- Fate, visible in the dramatic novel, remains a mystery in the chronicle. It is often animated by a religious conception.

112- Human accident is opposed here to transcendental law, not guided by cause and effect.

113- The limitations of the novel form come from the limitations of our vision of the world, in terms of time, space and causality. (This is salient, not only form).

114- Muir emphasizes the creative act of limitation.

5. The Period Novel and Later Developments

115- "The chronicle is the ruling convention of the novel at present: the most consistently practised, the most highly thought of." "All the same, the most striking achievements of the contemporary novel lie outside the chronicle."

116- Also the period novel, now in decline (e.g. The Forsyte Saga): it shows a section of society in transition. It is not universalizing like the chronicle; it is linked to a particular society and time (a lower achievement).

118- "The bondage of the novel to period has degraded it."

(Cf. Ramon Fernandez's concept of 'recital'). This novel is determined (pre-determined) by an idea. Society appears as an abstract concept, not an imaginative reality; the writer illustrates his ideas about society.

125- Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu is similar to the dramatic novel but the end is not in external action, but in the author's mind. The author did not suceed in separating his novel from himself, "but by a happy stroke of genius he managed to trun this misfortune into an advantage." He gives us both the results and the processes of his imagination, and the effect on himself, and his reflections on effect.

Ulysses as moving in space-time, catching the flux instead of the pattern?

126-7- "Ulysses is a work of extraordinary literary virtuosity, and some of its technical innovations are striking; but in structure it is not revolutionary. Its faults are obvious: its design is arbitrary; its development feeble, its unity questionable." The parts have the same kind of unity as the whole; "Ulysses proceeds by agglomeration, not development." The significance of its symbolism is insufficient—and the symbolism is itself a confession that the work is formless in itself. It is similar to a loose and impressive novel of character.

129- The ideas of flux and time are not suggested by the device of thoughts. Ulysses is better on cliché than on developing character.

131- "The book is a panoramic picture of Dublin, not an impression of the passing of a day." It is better than the old novels of character, but this is unintended.

133- Woolf and Joyce: through their reaction to the period novel, they unconsciously return to the aesthetic tradition and earlier forms.

6. Conclusion

135- The flat character as the product of the 18th-c. changing social order. It is a social image of man, not complete, but true (here Muir argues convincingly against Forster's critique of flat characters in Aspects of the Novel). Flat characters are necessary and can be great creations, but they don't develop (as opposed to the dramatic character).

142- The flat character as the incarnation of habit (it is incapable of surprising us). The dramatic figure is the permanent exception. The dramatic character speaks from his real, not his habitual, self.

144- Forster sees flat characters as a trap for the reader, but Muir insists that we are shown the habitual side of character, but we see through it, and we guess the real self. The dramatic novel as a revelation; the character novel as suggestio facti.

145- Against Dickens's unmasking of flat characters: they are already unmasked.

146- The character novel, the dramatic novel, and the chronicle. This opposition is applicable to othe genres such as drama. There are affinities between Wuthering Heights and a tragedy, Pride and Prejudice as a comedy. (See Northrop Frye's theory of myths for an elaboration on this—JAGL).

148- The character novel is useless onstage, or it is faulty. The novel is born of mixed origins, and has a wide scope.

149- The plot of the novel is necessarily poetic, as that of any other imaginative creation. A positive image of life, or an imaginative judgment of life.

151- It is the function of criticism to underline these durable conventions.


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La Profecía

martes, 25 de agosto de 2015

La Profecía

Trabajando con manuscritos amarilleados presento en primicia este fragmento (es lo único que tengo) de un texto vagamente relacionado con viejas leyendas germánicas como "Beowulf" o la saga de los Nibelungos. Es lástima que se vaya a quedar así la cosa, porque de confirmarse esta lectura alternativa plantearía problemas comparativos interesantes, cotejándolo con las versiones transmitidas por otras fuentes. El pesimismo que parece traslucirse aquí, desde luego, estaría más a tono con poemas anglosajones como "The Wanderer", "The Seafarer" o "The Ruin", to name but a few. En fin, ahí queda, para ejercicio de mentes curiosas y amantes de tales sagas y tall tales.



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Writing for free

domingo, 23 de agosto de 2015

Writing for free

A comment on  The Joys of Teaching Literatureon Ruiz Garzon quitting cultural reviewing because he won't get more than 100 euros for a review.

I see your point, as well as Ruiz Garzón's. Note, however, that reviewing will still go on, if only because, apart from people writing in big media, some people (apparently not including Ruiz Garzón) feel an urge to criticize and review and speak out their mind on books, in well-written or badly-written reviews (that's immaterial to my point now) whether they get paid or not. As you well know, academics are rarely if ever paid for their books or articles, not to mention reviews; if anything, they will themselves pay in order to get published. And in the case of reviews, you don't even get the credit of adding them to your CV, which you may well do if you feel like it, but they're small fry and positively ignored by research quality assessments. Well, you may get paid in the form of other reviews by friendly or back-scratching colleagues, there's a lively market there! Anyway, I wish I had been given 100 euros for every review I've written and posted for free on my blog. There's an indignity and perhaps unfair compeition, if you write for free.

Escritura compulsiva

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La huella de lo que se borra

domingo, 23 de agosto de 2015

La huella de lo que se borra

La novela de Evelyn Waugh Oficiales y Caballeros tiene una traducción española de Carlos Villar Flor acompañada de una excelente introducción crítica y notas. Me llama especialmente la atención la relación tan cercana que observa Villar Flor entre los diarios de Waugh, con sus experiencias en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y la versión literaria de esas experiencias transmutada en la trilogía que incluye a Oficiales y Caballeros (trilogía toda editada por Villar Flor en Cátedra). Y un tema metaficcional que se apunta, relativo a la supresión de testimonios de actos vergonzosos. La novela, mayormente satírica y desmitificadora, en la línea de Waugh, viene a narrarnos la progresiva desilusión del protagonista Guy Crouchback con respecto a la dinámica y motivaciones de la guerra, y con respecto a su implicación personal en ella. Una crónica de desilusión y deshonor (narra una derrota) que a la vez señala a más desilusión y deshonor de los que muestra directamente. Esa es la relación entre los diarios y la novela, o lo que podríamos llamar también la huella que deja en la novela lo que se borra, y no se cuenta ni en ella ni en los diarios. Es una dimensión metaficcioinal de la novela, pues señala a la convencionalidad de la ficción que se nos presenta, y a su ambivalente relación con lo testimonial y con las maniobras de autojustificación y de evasión y disimulo del autor. Para entenderlas, convendrá tener en mente una cuestión poco resaltada en el comentario: el esnobismo terminal de Waugh, su conciencia de clase y de la primacía de la solidaridad entre los Old Boys por encima de cualquier consideración práctica o idealista. Podríamos decir que es casi un identity-theme, de donde extrae Waugh la energía vital que anima su persona y su sátira. Esta participa del clasismo de los personajes a la vez que los satiriza (es decir, lo satiriza desde dentro)—como puede verse de modo ejemplar en la actitud de frivolidad dandy de los personajes del capítulo primero, poco impresionados por los bombardeos alemanes del Blitz, que al decir de Waugh mismo eran, "como todo lo alemán, exagerados".

Así comenta Villar Flor el tema crucial de la indignidad y la desilusión en la ideología de la novela:

Si el anterior enfoque temático se concretaba en la indignidad de oficiales concretos, al extrapolar tal inadecuación a todo el bloque aliado podemos vislumbrar la lectura política que Waugh propone con esta novela. Ya en la introducción a HA [Hombres en Armas] se reflexiona sobre esta materia (véase págs. 81-84). A pesar de obvias diferencias de matiz, se puede considerar que Guy actúa a lo largo de la trilogía como portavoz de las ideas de su autor; y para Waugh la honorabilidad de la contienda sufrió un revés irreparable con la alianza entre la URSS y Gran Bretaña. A partir de ese momento entra en crisis el concepto de guerra justa, que para Guy/Waugh era el motivo que legitimaba el esfuerzo bélico de su país. En HA Buy se plantea la pregunta de "para qué estamos luchando" a partir del cuestionario del MIM, número 31 (véase págs. 313-319). Su respuesta entonces es optimista, acaso ingenua: los aliados ganarán la guerra porque la suya es una causa justa. Al final de OC, sin embargo, su espejismo idealista se ha disuelto:

    Fue también un día mediterráneo soleado y oreado dos años atrás cuando leyó acerca de la alianza ruso-germana, cuando parecía que una década vergonzosa finalizaba en luz y razón, cuando el enemigo se presentaba claramente a la vista, enorme y odioso, despojado de todo disfraz; la era moderna en armas.
    Ahora esa alucinación se había disuelto (...) y había regresado, tras una peregrinación de dos escasos años en una ilusoria Tierra Santa, al viejo mundo ambiguo, donde los sacerdotes eran espías y los gallardos amigos [Ivor Claire, por ejemplo, huyendo de Creta sin sus tropas] resultaban traidores, y su país se conducía dando tumbos hacia el deshonor (pág. 415).

Como hemos señalado, Guy se endurece aún más en su aislamiento cuando comprueba que las personas de su entorno celebran con satisfacción la nueva alianza con Rusia. Y poco después realiza un acto simbólico destruir en el incinerador la libreta donde apuntó los detalles de la batalla de Creta. No tiene ya sentido comprometer el futuro de un antiguo amigo y compañero cuando la indignidad se extiende a los dirigentes del país. (71-72)

Así narra Waugh este episodio en la novela, una vez Guy se ha recuperado en un hospital tras huir de Creta en un bote hacinado, y sufrir penalidades y visiones en la travesía hasta Alejandría:

    El equipo de Guy le había seguido —si bien mermado por el pillaje— del campamento al hospital. También estaba el fardo que contenía los harapos, lavados y planchados, que había llevado en Creta, y un ordenado envoltorio de las posesiones sacadas de sus bolsillos y su mochila; junto al disco rojo de identidad estaba su manumisión por parte de Chatty Corner y la libreta en la que había tomado las notas para el diario de guerra. No estaba la goma elástica. Las tapas tenían jirones, se habían reblandecido, arrugado y estropeado, algunas páginas se habían pegado. Guy las separó cuidadosamente con una navaja. Todo estaba allí. Sobre el papel cuadriculado separado de manchas podía seguir, en el deterioro de su escritura, las sucesivas fases de agotamiento. A medida que se debilitaba había escrito con letra más grande y pesada. La última entrada era un profundo garabato que ocupaba una hoja en el que registraba la aparición de un aeroplano sobre el bote. Ésta era su contribución a la Historia; ésta, quizá la evidencia en un notorio juicio.
    Guy se tumbó en la cama, demasiado conmocionado por los acontecimientos físicos del día para concentrarse en las cuestiones morales. Para Julia Stitch no había dilema. Un viejo amigo estaba en apuros. Todos debemos cooperar. Tommy tenía su constante guía en el precepto "nunca hay que causar problemas excepto cuando supongan una predominante ventaja positiva." En el frente, si Ivor o cualquier otro hubiera puesto en peligro una posición, Tommy no habría tenido escrúpulos en fusilarle sin más. Pero ésta era otra cuestón. Nadie estaba en peligro salvo la reputación de un solo hombre. Ivor se había comportado abominablemente, pero no había herido a nadie salvo a sí mismo. Ahora estaba quitado de en medio. Tommy se encargaría de que nunca volviera a estar en situación de comportarse como en Creta. También su tropa estaba quitada de enmedio hasta el fin de la guerra. No importaba mucho, en lo que respectaba a ganar la guerra, lo que se comentara en un campo de prisioneros. Quizá al cabo de los años, cuando Tommy se encontrara con Ivor en el Bellamy's, sería una pizca menos cordial que antaño. Pero instigar un consejo de guerra por un delito capital era inconcebible; en sentido estricto causaría interminables molestias y retrasos profesionales; en conjunto, beneficiaría al enemigo.
    Guy carecía de estas sencillas normas de conducta. Ya no conservaba su antiguo afecto hacia Ivor, ni siquiera aprecio, pues el hombre que había sido su amigo resultó ser una ilusión. También tenía conciencia de que toda guerra consistía en crear problemas sin apenas esperanza de sacar nada en limpio. ¿Por qué estaba él en el sótano de la señora Stitch, por qué estaban Eddie y Bertie en prisión, por qué el joven soldado yacía aún insepulto en el pueblo abandonado de Creta, si no era por la Justicia?
    Así, permaneció acostado meditando hasta que la señora Stitch le convocó al aperitivo. (413)

La última frase resume la resolución ética que adopta Guy (y Waugh): aparcar las meditaciones, adoptar "estas sencillas normas de conducta" que engrasan la vida social y sus tomas y dacas, aceptar la propia implicación en la corrupción del sistema, y hacer lo más conveniente desde un punto de vista oportunista, no lo legal ni lo éticamente correcto. Podemos decir que a estas alturas el meditabundo Guy es aún inocente, pero accede al punto de vista cínico de su autor cuando decide callar y quemar las pruebas de sus anotaciones. Tras el párrafo citado por Villar Flor, "Ahora esa alucinación se había disuelto (...) hacia el deshonor", sigue así:

Esa tarde llevó su libreta al incinerador del patio exterior y la arrojó dentro. Fue un acto simbólico; como el del soldado de Skafia que desmembrara su ametralladora y arrojara las partes una a una por el puerto, chapoteo tras chapoteo, entre los residuos. (415)

Los dos son actos simbólicos a un nivel, pero reales a otro. Y el simbolismo que los identifica es engañoso, cosa que ni Guy el focalizador ni el narrador comentan, pues ambos son ahora solidarios en su visión cínica de los actos de Guy (for good reason). Lo que hay que matizar es lo siguiente: el ver a un soldado destrozar su ametralladora y dispersar las piezas es sólo aparentemente un acto de indignidad. En un heroísmo de tebeo, el soldado (abandonado en la playa de Creta por su plana mayor en retirada, no lo olvidemos) hubiera esperado a los alemanes y hubiera muerto ametrallándolos, llevándose unos cuandos por delante. Pero no eran esas sus órdenes, sino las más realistas de rendirse a los alemanes. Y el soldado destroza su arma no como acto simbólico que exprese su cobardía y oportunismo, sino como una contribución real al esfuerzo de guerra: impedir que los alemanes se hagan con armamento que podrían reutilizar. En cambio, la "ametralladora" de Guy, las notas comprometedoras que destroza, caerían en manos no precisamente de los alemanes, sino de alguien ajeno al círculo de amistades y contactos de la clase alta, alguien que no tendría reparos en llevar a Ivor a un consejo de guerra, porque sería lo legal. Guy elige pasarse al enemigo, en cierto, modo, pero el enemigo es a la vez su propio bando, al que pertenece o intenta pertenecer, la "casta" superior que usa la maquinaria de guerra, y de hecho todas las instituciones públicas, en beneficio propio. Así, Guy a la vez admite y reconoce su propia corrupción, su propia implicación en el sistema, y profundiza en ella con este acto cuyos efectos reales son tan notables como los simbólicos.

Villar Flor observa la manera en que en el paso de los diarios de guerra de Waugh a la trilogía novelesca, y en particular a Oficiales y Caballeros, la ficcionalización modera o desvía las indignidades y vergüencillas de la guerra, y desvía la responsabilidad de las personas concretas con quienes trató Waugh. Ahora bien, vemos aquí a Guy destruyendo unas notas previas a su diario de guerra, con lo cual se nos anuncia un nivel más de atemperación o autocensura: aun si toda la realidad observada, con sus miserias, pasó a las notas del natural tomadas por estos testigos, esos datos pasan al olvido, o quedan para la discreción de la memoria personal. El diario que producirá Guy en el mundo ficticio, y Waugh en el real, es ya una producción "ficticia", conscientemente amañada, de hecho, para encubrir la verdad y ocultarla bajo una apariencia de documento. Una ficción que a su vez se reelaborará en el caso de Waugh en otra ficción, esta vez explícita, la de la trilogía Men at Arms que incluye como pieza central a Oficiales y Caballeros. Allí Guy sale relativamente indemne en su honorabilidad (aunque una frase críptica y contradictoria, repetidamente sopesada por Villar Flor, sugiere que en el día de la desbandada en Creta, Guy "perdió buena parte de su hombría"). Es Ivor, el admirado 'buddy' símbolo de la elegancia y rectitud inglesa para Guy, quien resulta tener pies de barro. La ficción señala, sin embargo, a una supresión presente tanto en los diarios como en ella misma, de modo paradójico, como un tachón sobre un borrón.

Una doble envoltura de distorsión o de ficcionalización. Y sin embargo es a través de esta ficción, por vía interpuesta de su ficcionalizado representante Guy, como Waugh deja entrever que hay cosas que es mejor no contar, que no pasen a los diarios –posiblemente cosas a las que sólo se puede señalar como algo que se ha borrado. La intensidad de la desilusión de Guy, así como su elección final de la vida social y los contactos por encima de la honorabilidad, me hacen pensar que no es sólo en la traición de otros, o la de su país, en la que está pensando Waugh, sino en su propia traición a los ideales, y su desilusión consigo mismo, mostrada aquí por vía interpuesta. Es más fácil justificarse a sí mismo si es todo el país el que se envilece, y si hay quien lo ha hecho más visiblemente. Pero hay también una honestidad en el hecho de dejar visible el borrón, debajo del tachón, o en incluir estos hilos conductores y alusiones por las cuales quien lo desee puede, si no extraer el ovillo de lo que en realidad se ventila en la novela, sí intuir que hay un ovillo, o que lo hubo antes de que se escamotease y dejase esta especie de huellas en el texto. Que deviene en cierto modo, en lo que se refiere a su relación con la realidad de la experiencia del autor, un self-consuming artifact, que a la vez expresa y ocultan la desilusión del autor con sus propios ideales y consigo mismo, la desilusión vivida desde dentro.



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Narración, identidad, interacción—relectura

Narración, identidad, interacción—relectura

Narración, Identidad, Interacción_relectura by José Angel García Landa (subido a Scribd por Juan Sanchez)

Este artículo ahora scribdizado también aparece en los siguientes sitios:

_____. "Narración, Identidad, Interacción—Relectura". Online edition. 2006.
_____. "Narración, Identidad, Interacción: Relectura." In Paradojas de la interculturalidad: Filosofía, lenguaje y discurso. Ed. Mª Carmen López Sáenz and Beatriz Penas Ibáñez. (Razón y sociedad). Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2008. 183-202.*
_____. "Narración, Identidad, Interacción: Relectura." iPaper at Academia.edu 17 July 2010.*
_____. "Narración, Identidad, Interacción: Relectura." Online PDF at Zaguán 24 June 2011.*
_____. "Narrative, Identity, Interaction: Rereading / Narración, Identidad, Interacción: Relectura." Online PDF at Social Science Research Network 17 July 2010.*
         Cognition & the Arts eJournal 17 July 2010.*
         Cognition & Culture (…) eJournal 17 July 2010.*
         Aesthetics & Philosophy of Art eJournal 17 July 2010.*
         Continental Philosophy eJournal 17 July 2010.*
         Philosophy of Language eJournal 17 July 2010.*
_____. "Narración, Identidad, Interacción—Relectura." ResearchGate 31 July 2014.*


_____. "Narración, identidad, interacción—relectura." Online at Scribd (Juan Sanchez) 13 Aug. 2015.*
_____. "Narración, identidad, interacción—relectura." Online at Scribd (Gloria Farias) 21 Oct. 2015.*

Y en inglés:

_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." Paper read at the conference on "Identity and Diversity: Philosophical/Philological Reflections." Madrid: UNED, Oct. 9-10, 2003.*
_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." In Interculturalism: Between Identity and Diversity. Ed. Beatriz Penas Ibáñez and Mª Carmen López Sáenz. Bern: Peter Lang, 2006. 207-26.*
_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." Online edition. 2006.
_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." Online at Net Sight de José Angel García Landa (2006):
_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." iPaper at Academia.edu 9 July 2010.*
_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." Online PDF at Social Science Research Network 10 July 2010.*
         Cognition & Culture: Culture, Communication, Design, Ethics Morality, Religion, Rhetoric & Semiotics eJournal 10 July 2010.*
         Cognitive Linguistics eJournal 10 July 2010.*
         Literary Theory and Criticism eJournal 10 July 2010.*
         Aesthetics & Philosophy of Art eJournal 10 July 2010.*
         Continental Philosophy eJournal 10 July 2010.*
         Philosophy of Language eJournal 10 July 2010.*
_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." Online PDF at Zaguán 18 June 2011.*
_____. "Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction." ResearchGate 27 Oct. 2012.*


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Los estudios de letras según Houellebecq

Los estudios de letras según Houellebecq

En su última novela, Sumisión (2015): 

Como es sabido, los estudios universitarios de letras no ofrecen casi ninguna salida, salvo a los estudiantes más capacitados para hacer carrera en la enseñanza universitaria en el campo de las letras: se trata en resumidas cuentas de una situación bastante chusca en la que el único objetivo del sistema es su propia reproducción y que genera una tasa de desechos superior al 95%. Esos estudios, sin embargo, no son nocivos e incluso pueden tener una utilidad marginal. Una chica que aspire a un trabjo de dependienta en Céline o Hermès deberá, ante todo, cuidar su presencia; pero una licenciatura o un máster de letras modernas pueden constituir una baza accesoria que, a falta de competencias prácticas, garantice al empleador cierta agilidad intelectual que permita augurar la posibilidad de una evolución en la carrera: la literatura, además, siempre ha tenido una connotación positiva dentro de la industria del lujo.

Por mi parte, era consciente de formar parte de la reducida franja de los "estudiantes más capacitados." Había escrito una buena tesis, lo sabía, y esperaba una mención honorífica: quedé gratamente sorprendido por la 
felicitación unánime del tribunal y, sobre todo, cuando descubrí mi informe de tesis, que era excelente, cais ditirámbico: con ello tenía muchas posibilidades, si lo deseaba, de conseguir una plaza de profesor. En resumidas cuentas, mi vida, por su previsible uniformidad y banalidad, seguía pareciéndose a la de Huysmans un siglo y medio atrás. Había pasado los primeros años de mi vida en una universidad; probablemente allí pasaría también los últimos, y quizá en la misma (no fue exactamente así: obtuve mi titulación en la Universidad de París IV-Sorbona y fui nombrado profesor en la de París III, un poco menos prestigiosa, pero igualmente situada en el distrito V, a unos cientos de metros de distancia.

Nunca tuve la menor vocación docente y, quince años más tarde, mi carrera no había hecho más que confirmar esa falta de vocación inicial. Las pocas clases particulares que di con la esperanza de mejorar mi nivel de vida me convencieron enseguida de que en la mayoría de las ocasiones la transmisión del saber es imposible, la diversidad de las inteligencias es extrema y que nada puede suprimir ni siquiera atenuar esa desigualdad fundamental. Más grave aún: no me gustaban los jóvenes, y nunca me habían gustado, ni siquiera en los tiempos en que se me podía considerar un miembro de sus filas. A mi entender, la idea de juventud implicaba cierto entusiasmo respecto a la vida, o tal vez cierta rebelión, todo ello acompañado de una vaga sensación de superioridad respecto a la generaión a la que tendríamos que reemplazar; nunca sentí, dentro de mí, algo semejante.

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Miércoles, 03 de Agosto de 2016 12:55. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Mi bibliografía sobre Sir Walter Scott

lunes, 27 de julio de 2015

Mi bibliografía sobre Walter Scott

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The Reader's Construction of Narrative

lunes, 27 de julio de 2015

The Reader's Construction of Narrative

Notes taken c. 1985 from Horst Ruthrof's book The Reader's Construction of Narrative (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).


Phenomenology and structuralism converge in the study of "the activity of reading", with some exceptions.
viii- "... narrative surface texts are sets of signs coding at the same time two ontologically different sets of signifieds: presentational process and presented world"; "... unlike pragmatic discourse where modality is either available as a set of non-linguistic signs or is defined as stable by a pragmatic horizon of expectations (as in the case of technical instructions, sceintific reports, legal documents, etc.) fictive narrative modality is a set of signifieds which must be constructed by the reader through, prior to, or apart from the presented world. As a complex semantic unit it interacts dynamically with the presented world in the reading consciousness at each point of the forward reading process. This semantic interaction replaces both the relation between propositional content and illocutionary force (Austin, Searle) and the conception of style and tone as an adjunct to action sequence" (i.e. Todorov).
xi- Style vs. tone: "Tone (...) must be constructed by the reader (a) as a speaker's attitude pertaining to presentational speech acts and (be) as attitudes pertaining to presented speech acts" (It is not a surface structure);  "... the only kind of identification possible between actual reader and work is his construction of the implied reader, adequate and inadequate, and not between reader and fictive personae."

Chapter 1: What happens when we read a narrative text?

Texts are ontologically non-homogeneous—they exist at the same time at different levels of ideality. The interpretation of the world through stock-of-knowledge-at-hand is duplicated when we read a text.
4- "This means that we must be able to grasp the aspects of space, time, acts, personae, etc., and the ideological position of both the presented items and the presentational speech act." The typological approach is insufficient. There is not always a clear "point of view" (space and time). (A table comparing features of time, space, personae, acts, events, tonal aspects, atmosphereic aspects, ideological patterns, applied to both presentational process (+ reader) and presented world).
presentational process: "author's arrangements beyond the narrator's control"
presnted world: "non-human events"
Ideological patterns: only those of narrator, not of author.
Double vision in narrative:
6- "On the one hand, the vision of what could be seen, heard, imagined, or, in terms of the filmic medium, what could be projected and enacted on the screen; and, on the other, that vision which allows the former to come into existence, the quasi-reality of the presentational process." In poetry they are often mixed.
6- "Narrative, no matter which side is emphasized, lives from the distinction and interplay between presentational process and presented world." The stream of consciousness of the characters is not a presentational process, but presented world.
Four types of narrative statements:
"a) Process statements with reference to presented world
b) 'World' statements with reference to process
c) Process statements without reference to presented world (pure process markers)
d) 'World' statements without specific reference to process but always allowing its construction." (Note the difference between c & d - JAGL)
Verbal narrative constructs images just as non-verbal (iconcic) narrative constructs a text.
The right division is transmission & world, not teller & tale. (A partial coincidence).
 Against van Dijk: narrative is not always linked (cf. Beckett - JAGL).
11- "Fowler's scheme

surface structure

should be replaced by the following arrangement (...)

Text (as physical phenomenon)

Text (as linguistic code)

Transformation I

Deep structure 1
Presentational process (discourse)
Presented world (content)

Transformation II

Deep structure 2
Ideology of process
Ideology of world

Transformation III

Deep structure 3
Overall aesthetic-ideological meaning"

'Content' is an ambiguous term: it may refer to the presented world, or to an ideological abstraction. It is best dropped.  
Two kinds of transformation (when reading):
- Propositional meaning (reductive transformation)
- Concretizing (expansive transformation) interpretation in terms of social codes. (No speech act theory in Ruthrof- JAGL). 
Genesis and The Magic Poker: Examples of construction through reading of presentational process and presented world. Jakobson's metaphoric and metonymic poles of language:
21- "When we introduce the disctinction to the discussion of narrative structure, we not that both presentative process and presented world can be treated in a predominantly metonymic or predominantly metaphoric manner."
20- In Coover's metafiction, a "polyphonic treatment of presentational process and presented world." In metafiction both are metaphoric at the expense of their metonymic potential. On the other pole we find texts which foreground the presented world (metonymical texts).

2. Presentational Process and 'Narrative Transgression'

Is the novel dead? No: Simply the causal plot is dead. Formalists and Aristotle: the plot is not causality, but artistic arrangement. Barthes: notion of narrative vs. narrative transgression. But NO: The presence of the communicative act is essential, and so are its interactions with the message.

Van Dijk: "Artificial narrative dose not respect the pragmatic conditions of natural narrative" ("Action, Action Description, and Narrative" New Literary History 6 (1975): 291); "One of the charcacteristic pragmatic (or perhaps pragmatic-semantic) properties of artificial narration is that the narrator is not obliged to tell the truth" ("Philosophy of Action and Theory of Narratives", Poetics 5 (1976): 323 ff.).

This is fruitful for linguisics, but trivial for poetics. In literary narrative, the apparatus of telling becomes aesthetically relevant and interactive:
24- "Pragmatic constraints are largely replaced by aesthetic-artistic ones."

Discourse is not analogous to a sentence (vs. Barthes). The "teller" and the "tale" of Scholes and Kellogg refer to a vague level: author? narrator? Ruthrof's theory of phenomenological levels in literary narrative (similar to Ingarden):

1. Print / Sound
2. Linguistic formation.
3.1. Presented world
3.2. Presentational process        (3.1 and 3.2 are separate ontological realms)
3.3. Implied reader
3. Work ideology

26- "Each realm (or system) displays the general aspects of space, time, personae, acts, events, tonal & atmospheric qualities, and ideology, in a distinct manner" (shown in a table. There follow examples of foregrounding of one or the other level).

Erich Kahler's "inward turn of narrative", from cosmogony, to action, to psychology. The evolution of the ontological realm could also be traced.

3. Narrative language

The Concrete Datum

Narrative (as form) vs. narrative mode (the professional mode of presentation in narratives). We can speak of a mode in narrative "if the processes of telling and that which is told are predominant interacting features." "In this sense the 'novel merely heightens, isolates, and analyses the narrative motions of human consciousness'" (B. Hardy). But so do also all other narrative forms.
Relationship linguists / literary scholars: largely fruitless. But linguistics is necessary.

A useful distinction in Jakobson between the sender's and the receiver's construction of meaning (they follow inverted, opposed ways). Separate stages can be studied: creative process (a psychological study), text, and imagined world, "a synthesis of the schematically signified world and the reader's creative contribution" (37).  Linguistics, we understand, is dealing with the string of words as an "exchange of utterances", while literary studies are concerned mainly with language as it gives rise to the reader's construction of imaginary worlds and their moral-philosophical stance. Psychology also studies the reader's response. In criticism "it is not the schematically signified but the concretized worlds which are in conflict" (38), in Ingarden's terms. Poetics is not a part of linguistics: "works of literature reveal themselves to be stratified constructs with language as their indispensable skeleton" (39). Concretization, Ruthrof argues, ought to be banned from literary studies. [In arguing that works are not linear, Ruthrof seems to be implying that texts are linear]. Poetics and linguistics are overlapping but exclusive areas. Lodge's contention that "the fictional world of a novel is a verbal world" is mistaken, it "rests on the assumption that consciousness is essentially conceptual, i.e. verbal", but it isn't; our consciousness of everything in the novel is verbal, but its nature is not verbal." [I disagree here- language and consciousness are more closely involved—JAGL] And although we may verbalize our findings we are rarely able to discover specific concrete evidence in the text for such large-scale inferences" Lodge disregards reading. Textural (surface structure) vs. structural approach (which includes surface and deep structure, narrator, time structure, etc.). Narrative language is not distinctive from everyday language in a novel.

Narrative language as a structure of signs
42- "Being dynamic, the process of reading cannot really be represented as the object of an investigation." The reader uses all his total stock of knowledge in reading.
43- "It is this synthesis which places narrative in a metaphoric relationship with everyday life." Studying language as a structure of signs, we neglect unconscious response; the cumulative process in which signs are modified by the text previously read and by attitudes. An example with four levels: surface text, presentational process ("presentational process as suggestive of concretized process"), presented world ("presented world as suggestive of concretized world"), and inferences (high level inferences: interepretative abstractions and work ideology—(separation between both is not too clear, JAGL).

47- "When we are talking about stated ideas, we are dealing with the one area of a literary work in which the text functions as a verbal construct in its own right. By stated ideas I mean directly presented statements (made by the narrator or presented as a persona's mental or speech act) apparently serving as interpretive guides." Interpretative abstractions are provided by the reader; ideology is not wholly objective and not wholly subjective.

4. Narrative stratification and the dialectic of reading

Cf. Roman Ingarden's The Literary Work of Art. His stratification of the narrative work (sounds, linguistic meaning, schematic aspects through which the objects appear, objects). The last two must be modified: differentiation of traits between presentational process and presented world, with a foregrounding of either.

52- "In other words, the narrative text determines the sequence of concretization; the reader cannot concretize process and world simultaneously." A further stratum, philosophical-ideological, must be stipulated—not only abstracted, transformed by summary, but also directly provided by the surface text.

The text is perceived in a reading process, but is experienced retrospectively as a whole at the end.

53- According to Ingarden, "the statements in literary works are quasi-propositions". The pragmatic response to artistic objects is undermined by the integration of presentational process and presented world in narrative texts, in a polyphony. The work is not to be confused with its concretizations (Ingarden)—this is acceptable if concretization is understood as a transformation of the surface text. There are lacunae of indeterminacy in the work, as opposed to concretization. Concretizations may, then, differ.

57- "As we read the text, the schematic guiding system comes into existence, allowing and urging our concretizations to take shape." "According to Husserl such codified schemata permit the reconstruction of meaning intention "but only approximately in literature", actually "not unlike the social interaction." Examples, etc.

58- "One aspect, vital to our grasp of the kind of presentational process employed, concerns the speaker's very activity of speaking: whether he is mainly discussing, debating, confessing, adoring, imploring, praying, attacking or narrating. Any of these activities may of course be modified by any one or more of the others; which of these is predominant and structure-carrying, though, can be secured only in retrospect, i.e., with the whole text at our disposal" [Cf. van Dijk's 'macro-speech acts' - JAGL].

Two manners of reading are required for the presentational process and for the presented world—sometimes in a single word. There are two fundamentally different modalities, that of the presentational process and that of the author as sender of the total message. The latter is inferred from the interaction of presentational process and presented world. Sometimes either presentational process or presented world seem to be absent, for instance in the figural narrative situation, or in dialogue. (The speech act is then perceived as part of the presented world). Narrative elements are howerver framing these fragments, and guide the reader. Also in first person narrative, when the narrating and experiencing selves coalesce:

63- "In such coalescence, first-person narration approaches lyrical modes of presentation: we are dealing with a fusion of presented world and presentational process" (nevertheless, there is a general narrative sense). If the presented world is suppressed (e.g. in advice to the reader), there is a linear connection between narrator and reader.

- Interior monologue: 2 cases. It can be embedded in other narrative situations or structures, or it may be a structure-carrying feature (Bloom's vs. Molly's monologues). The latter gives a strong sense of the character as a narrator.

- In narrative, two strata, each of which demands priority alternatively while reading.

65- "The essence of the lyrical mode could be defined analogously by the flowing into one stratum of the presentational process and the presented world, while in the language of the stage drama the stratum of presentational process is altogether buried."

Strata: sounds (print) — surface linguistic text; presentational process and presented world (normally in this order); interpretive abstractions.

The schematic givenness of the text and its concretization are two different strata in each, both presentational process and in presented world.

7 levels, then, as against Ingarden's four levels.

A dynamic aspect of concretization, of activation of buried acts (in the signs of the text ) of telling and point of view.

Bierwisch: microstructure of short-term memory vs. "macrostructure" of total effect. Cf. temporal vs. "spatial" form.  The latter is constructed through the former.

Iser: the process of reading as an oscillation between the alien and the familiar in the text. Primary vs. secondary concretizations. The first is more essential.

The text is confronted with typified knowledge: inter-textuality, etc., different with each text and reader.

Husserl: "Noetic" (referring to the act of experiencing) vs. "Noematic" (referring to that which has been experienced). Notions such as "the erotics of the text", etc., refer to noesis, whereas structuralists focus on the "noema" (only a partial and unstable noema is constructed). Ruthrof describes the phases of the process: interaction of reading with the partial noema, the effect on the reader...

5. Ladders of Fictionality

The author projects. The text presents. The reader concretizes. Narrative is "a literary form in which a narrative attitude is structure-carrying, the other two major attitudes being an existential attitude, or the expression of our immediate state of being, and a gestural attitude, which constitutes itself by staged or stageable language" [i.e. lyric and drama] (78). In the lyric presentational process and presented world are mixed, and cannot be separated. In drama the presentational process is lacking. "Fiction" means a particular kind of projection of the author's world into his work: we also call "fiction" the "given" language and the "reconstructed" world of the reader. There are ladders relating the world-out-there to author, text, and reader—phases of interpretation. "Authorial reduction" vs. "aesthetic reconstruction."

81- "Only in non-fictional projection (...) does the author attend consistently to individual objects in the word-out-there", or, from the reader's point of view, "can each spatial and temporal detail, or aspects of events and human acts be argued to have a traceable source in the actual world"—etc. Ontologically, it would not be a verbal reflection, only an encoding of apperceived and apprehended fact, at least ideally. In practice, resources are borrowed from fiction. A mode of projection is to be adequately responded to by the reader with a reciprocal mode of appresentation.

As reconstruction:

Realism & detail do not equal specific, while allegory does not equal general. Cf. Husserl's distinction between formalization and generalization. 83- "Applied to reading this means that deformalization refers to acts which give mental-material content to linguistic formulae or to moving from the status of linguistic meaning units to that of the schematic world, appresentation to the filling of the undetermined areas within this skeletal construct" (cf. Husserl's 'pairing').

Possibility of inappropriate readings: even if we are free to make them disregarding textual evidence. E.g. In Cold Blood discourages private appresentation.

Other modes: "realistic"(fiction) vs. "mythical"—the pith is the discovery of a pattern of meaning beyond verisimilitude. The mythic is largely present in the realistic novel. E.g. in Nostromo: a spatial centre as thematic centre: moral attitudes, etc.

As documentary reading, allegory curtails appresentation: Abstraction but with rigid rules (vs. the mythic). Reading Kafka, "we respond to a forceful impulse to search for an ideational superstructure comparable to those metaphysical schemata which we continuously superimpose on our apperception of the world-out-there" (91).

As reduction:

Creation of a horizon which defines the world created. (Again, in Nostromo). Fantasy narrative is striking in that it hedges a world of its own.

The presentational process has a bearing on the fictional world: it is visible when a narrator hands over the narrative to another one; the reader then enters a different sphere. Sometimes the presentational process devours the presented world. E.g. in As I Lay Dying. It is only to the reflection of the different consciousnesses that we can attach any meaning, and not to the "objective" world.

According to Auerbach, narration inside fiction achieves an objective description of the speaker through a subjective procedure (the creation of an even more fictive world).

95- "Strictly speaking we step inside such narrower horizons whenever a persona other than the primary narrator speaks or thinks, in direct speech, in letters (...) in free indirect speech, (...) in interior monologue (...) or in diary entries" [Cf. Mieke Bal's conception of narrative levels- JAGL].

96- To summarize, "there are not simply literary objects identifiable as documentary, realistic, mythic, allegorical, and fantasy stories, but rather attitudes of consciousness on the part of the authors which have entered, more or less successfully, the stories' material foundations, their texts, and corresponding attitudes of consciousness on the part of the reader if adequate reading is to be accomplished."

Criteria for modes of narrative between fiction and non-fiction, etc. (related to horizon, apperception, the real world, etc.).

6. Bracketed World and Reader Construction in the Modern Short Story

Centrifugal [linguistic] macrostructural concerns contrast with the centripetal structures which the reader must activate in short fiction". Both are describable.

Centripetal semantic structures do not imply compression of signified world or linguistic structures.

Several explanations have been given of brevity: "modern haste", "minor form" or "static structure" (long fiction would be "dynamic").

From the study of popular short fiction to the evolution of the acts of writing and reading. Chekhov, Poe, James, emphasize the way the reader "fills up" short fiction, or the importance of uninterrupted reading performance.

Many nouvelles at this moment focus on a character's discovering in a flash meaningful vs. meaningless existence. Both amplification and brevity are used—a double movement in the process of reading: (102) "subordinated accumulated information and foregrounded reduced world are thus constructed and abstracted to shape a complex aesthetic-ideological experience". Cf. the existential boundary-situations (103) "in which we wrest from life an authentic existence or stare absurdity in the face"; boundary-situation story is a story of the bracketed world. Spatial and temporal reduction; the presentational process is reduced: scene in authorial narrative, and narrator with limited understanding in first-person narrative. Identification with the implied reader demands an adjustment on the part of the reader. The boundary situation may be at the end after exposition; exposition is included in the present as remembrance; or the story may be limited to the boundary situation. A tight structure guides the reader. Now this type of short story is exhausted: replaced by metafiction, more ludic and less ideological. (Rupture).

7. Narrative Strands: Presented and Presentational

110- "an important part of inter-textuality is the reader's expectation of noetic as noematic strands"; (111) "in both presented and presentational strands it is above all structural leaps as to personae and spatial aspects which indicate a change from one strand to the other, while the temporal aspects may or may not differ from those of other strands." There are large-scale patterns of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships:

Syntagmatic coding in presented world: contiguity of personae, spatial and temporal aspects, ideology...

Syntagmatic coding in presentational process: continnum of narrating voice (identity of the narrator)

112- "By contrast, multi-strand arrangement in both process and world may be understood as macrostructural paradigmatic structures" (alternation of narrated worlds or narrators).

1. Multi-strand or heterogeneous process

• Presentational strands and homogeneous world: Rashomon, As I Lay Dying (In these the core does not exist; the object is in the subject)
• Presentational strands and heterogenous worlds: Wuthering Heights, Lord Jim.
• Heterogeneous process and world, changing to homogeneous process and world: The Sound and the Fury.

2. Single-strand or homogeneous processes

• Single-strand process and homogeneous world: First peson, The Catcher in the Rye.
• Single-strand process and heterogeneous world: The Magic Poker.
• Single-strand process and heterogeneous world becoming homogeneous world.

118- "We experience strands as interlinked because the link means something. Or, in Saussure's terminology, any structural relationship is itself a sign."
Splicing and synthetising matrices of higher order (presentational and presented strands) gives rise to a potential polyphony of narrative art.

8. Acts of Narrating: Transforming of Presentational Control

122- "Narrative structure has room for a large variety of acts of narrating apart from reporting, describing or rememberting. We find acts of teaching, reprimanding, exhorting, ridiculing, explaining, projecting, comparing, prophesying or abstracting." Intertextuality is present in narrator, reader & implied reader; it is crucial to interpretation. Studies on point-of-view only have sense when joined to the question of signification.

Relationship between presentational process - presented world - implied reader:

124-    Triangle with three vertices: narrator - world - reader.  Narrative is a structure in Piaget's sense.

Defined by narrator, defining reader
Defining narrator, judged by reader

129- "In the actual reading experience of omniscient novels this sense of dependence is usually concealed. Instead, we are led to develop a sense more of being the narrator's partner, if not his chum."
(Application to a wide variety of genres, etc.).

In objective narration, (129) "the very restriction of the implied reader to a mere witness of schematically sketched physical details tends to grant the actual reader a new freedom" (...); (130) "his stock of inter-textual and everyday typifications will grant his a more complex vision than is coded in the text."

In satire (analogous to jokes, etc.): "the actual reader is again given the chance of identifying with the implied reader and becoming a co-satirist; or he may fail to bisociate and so declare himself part of the ridiculed world."

136- "Through the realization of the implied reader and its functions vis-à-vis presented world and presentational process, work ideology reveals itself in its quasi-personal aspects: as implied authorial stance."

9. Parodic narrative

For the Russian Formalists, all literature is parodic in the broadest sense of that term. Parody is a general attribute of consciousness. Parody is part of ideological mutation. The opposition "Parody of form vs. Parody of content" is grounded on a binary conception of the work, not a polyphonic one.

142- "all literary parody points to the literariness, the interpretative rather than the representational quallities of works of literature" (they are often mixed, though). Parody is a tertiary construct (literature in general is secondary; documentation, e.g. In Cold Blood, is primary). Parody may be aimed at any of the strata of print or sound, linguistic formations, presentational process or presented world, or interpretative abstractions. (Examples).

Parody modifies the source object but it always potentially transcends it. It may create its own patterns, etc. We concretize the presentational process and the presented world of both the parody and the parodied structure.

10. Narrative and the form-content metaphor

The reader's imaginative construction of modality in literature. Definition of literature as messages oriented upon themselves? It is not self-sufficient in nay case; the reader draws on intertextuality, external ideology, reality...

The reader helps to construct form. Form is not merely a matter of the printed text. We impose structures on whatever we confront. The form-content trope causes misconceptions when it is given ontological validity. Ruthrof follows the pair form/content through history and shows its polysemy, mainly with three meanings: 1) As separable components; 2) As fused into one inseparable unity; 3) As elements in a dialectic relationship.  The first conception is found in Plotinus, Flaubert, the Marxists, the New Critics. The second, in Schlegel, Coleridge, Hegel, Flaubert, Pater, Croce, the Russian Formalists. The third is found in the Marxists: Social evolution in dialectical relationship with the history of forms.  For Ruthrof, these terms are best rejected.

11. Translating narrative

Theories of translation often have inadequate linguistic and semiologic bases (old triadic theories, etc.). Jakobson's triad is more useful (intralingual, interlingual ("common") or intersemiotic translation). But: in reading, we do not use language in a purely analytic way; we activate our experiential knowledge (with paradigmatic associations, etc.).  Concretization is based on a word's denotation and connotation. The translator must recreate the basic structure, in all levels.

At the linguistic level, both texts must have the same deep structure and the same lacunae of indeterminacy. At least, surface syntax is ultimately dependable. The presentational process and the presented world must be similar.

Translation of the work's ideology: Notes are indispensable, or introductions.

192- "Translations play a vital role in the cultural life of any nation; they are a measure of how far it is in touch with the rest of the world, how far it dares or seeks to encourage foreign codes and visions to modify its own. In this sense translations are an instance of 'parole', placed in a dialectical relationship with langue. Sometimes a translation becomes fully integrated, so that it is understood as a part of langue.

12. Fictional Modality: A Challenge to Linguistics

Modality in fiction involves more than narrational speech acts: the presentational process is subsumed under the reader's construction;

194- "a novel is a statement made in a certain manner".

Language (even artistic language) is a structure for persuasion, not only for referential orientation.

194- "literary art can be seen as the discourse which, certainly potentially, is more fully determined by modal operations than other forms of utterance." But there is a vast gap between the demands of literature and the tools of modal logic and linguistics. (Modal analysis may be both accurate and trivial for literature). Russell, Quine, vs. modal logic.

Linguistics provides a restricted treatment of modality: of modal auxiliaries, etc. Covert modality is ignored.

Halliday's approach is better: the interpersonal function is realized through modality.

196- Eco: "The aesthetic text becomes a multiple source of unpredictable 'speech acts' whose real author remains undetermined, sometimes being the sender of the message, at others the addressee who collaborates in its development".

A tripartite hierarchy of speech acts:
- Presented discourse
- Presentational discourse
- Authorial stance

197- "The construction of narrative meaning relies on a vast matrix of possible modal transformations" with "a relatively high degree of modal instability" (there is the possibility of ironic reversal).

Literary theory has disregarded modal phenomena (unlike specific critical readings). Modality is all-pervading; in Halliday, it is the speaker's "assessment of the validity of what he is saying".

199- "The total sphere of unformulated text alternatives (...) functions as a potential set of modal qualifiers of a text." How much of it is activated depends on the reader's competence, ideological position, etc.

The reading of explicit authorial textual alternatives, as well as that of the repressed ones uncovered by psychonalysis, is legitimate.


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Relying on the Unreliable

martes, 21 de julio de 2015

Relying on the Unreliable

Me citan en este trabajo de fin de grado sobre Agatha Christie:

Ramírez Ortega, Andrea. Relying on the Unreliable. Narrative Strategies in Crime Literature. Agatha Christie's THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD. Trabajo Fin de Grado, U de La Rioja, 2015.

El director es Carlos Villar Flor—precisamente me estoy leyendo ahora su edición de Oficiales y Caballeros de Evelyn Waugh, en Cátedra.


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Bibliografía 11ª ed.

martes, 21 de julio de 2015

Retropost #80: 4 de enero de 2005

4 de enero

Hoy actualizo la bibliografía en el servidor de la Universidad, con la edición definitiva de 2005. Es la décima edición en red (voy a una por año) aunque la bibliografía la empecé a hacer en 1989, y ya partiendo de materiales recopilados antes para mis tesis y cosas. Voy a enviar un mensaje por la lista de distribución de AEDEAN para dar noticia de la nueva URLbicación. Y acto seguido, inauguro simbólicamente la decimoprimera, undécima u onceava edición para 2006, poniendo a todos los documentos a partir de hoy este nuevo encabezamiento:

by José Ángel GARCÍA LANDA (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
This file is an excerpt from the 11th online edition (2006)

También voy a dar una caja más ancha al texto, porque la tenía así de estrechita para poderla encuadernar bien, todo con vistas a la proyectada impresión en cuarenta volúmenes para la oposición. Por fin imprimí sólo poco más de la mitad, 26 volúmenes, y casi mejor que no seguí, visto que a la presidenta del tribunal le pareció un trabajo "ridículo" (probablemente tenga mejor criterio que yo en estas cosas, quién sabe, una visión más globalizada). En fin, como desde luego no pienso imprimir la bibliografía otra vez, pues vuelta al formato para lectura en red. También tendré que cambiar todas las comillas en la nueva edición, visto que Google, el lector más usado, no entiende las comillas que utilizo y las cambia por cuadrados negros. Claro que a saber lo que pasará con estas cosas de formatos dentro de un año, a la velocidad que cambian estas cosas. Lo que no cambio de momento, mientras sea posible, es el formato de texto en que hago la bibliografía. De hecho ya Google da opción de leer todas estas páginas como documentos html, con lo cual me ha ahorrado mucho trabajo. Sigo opinando que en estos temas no hay que matar las moscas a cañonazos, sobre todo si acaban cayendo solas, con el tiempo. Y no me disgusta del todo esto de ser un dinosaurio de la red, o quizá una mezcla de dinosaurios.

Plan para esta tarde: nos vamos con Bea a ver El puente de San Luis Rey. ¿Alguien se apunta?
(pasan unas horas)
Bueno, pues que nadie vaya a verla; una película desorganizada, mal contada, confusa en su intención y su filosofía... se lució la directora / guionista. Quedan buenos actores y buena fotografía, sin embargo; seguro que no iban avisados.


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Soul of the Age

viernes, 17 de julio de 2015

Soul of the Age


Soul of the Age: James Shapiro on Bloom's 'Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human': https://www.nytimes.com/books/98/11/01/reviews/981101.01shapirt.html
Posted by El Gran Teatro del Mundo - Le Grand Théâtre du Monde - This Huge Stage on Viernes, 17 de julio de 2015

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Retropost #69: 24 de diciembre de 2004

jueves, 16 de julio de 2015

Retropost #69: 24 de diciembre de 2004


24 de diciembre
Log del Blogtrotter: comentario al Habitat del Unicornio sobre la interacción del hardware y el software mental. Claro que el hardware mental de cada cual también es un tema a tener en cuenta...
He visionado El Fantasma de la Ópera, película sobre el musical de Andrew Lloyd Webber, bien doblado al español aunque con los defectos inevitables de sincronización. Los cantantes españoles, bien, mejor de lo esperable para un doblaje, aunque las canciones se resienten algo en la traducción. Es más recomendable ver la versión inglesa pues la falta de sincronización detrae mucho más de lo que pudiera pensarse. La música es la misma que en el musical original, sin arreglos worth mentioning. Sí, se dice que ALW escribió unos minutos más de música para una escena, y también hay una canción nueva en los créditos. Pero las demás no están "versioneadas". En cuanto a la película, ofrece todos los placeres que puede ofrecer el mejor kitsch, que no son de despreciar (especialmente en cuanto a ambientación y decorados); menos de los que puede ofrecer el mejor cine, pero ¿quién irá a buscar eso en El Fantasma de la Ópera? Por cierto, la historia del Fantasma se parece mucho a la de Notre-Dame de Paris de Victor Hugo (eso sí, con final más feliz), sólo que combinando en el Fantasma los personajes de Frodo el siniestro sacerdote y de Quasimodo el deforme enamorado. Y por supuesto el galán queda mejor y menos kitsch cuando está tan pagado de sí como Phoebus en Notre-Dame, un galán tan galán como el de esta película no es aceptable hoy en día, con los tiempos que corren. Un antepasado más lejano para el tema de la bella y la bestia es claro Shakespeare, con su Próspero controlador, su inocente Miranda y su Caliban esclavizado, aunque los papeles se vuelven a redistribuir. Y más atrás está otro favorito operístico, la historia de Polifemo enamorado de Galatea. Lo más característico del tratamiento que se le da en la comedia musical parece ser el tema de la fascinación semiinconsciente que ejerce el fantasma, que así pasa a ser una especie de personificación de oscuras tendencias de Christine (a la manera por otra parte muy victoriana de un Mr Hyde, o de retrato de Dorian Gray). Total, dejando estos sótanos del pensamiento y volviendo a la ópera: recomendable, por supuesto, pero mucho más recomendable ver el musical de Plamondon y Cocciante Notre-Dame de Paris si no lo has visto aún, lo primero es lo primero.
Hale, venga, aquí va un crismas judeocristiano, y no cenéis demasiado, que de últimas cenas están las sepulturas llenas.

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Miércoles, 27 de Julio de 2016 12:39. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Retropost #67: 22 de diciembre de 2004

miércoles, 15 de julio de 2015

Retropost #67: 22 de diciembre de 2004


22 de diciembre
Hoy ha sido el entierro del Dr. Tomás Buesa, de Jaca, que fue catedrático de la Universidad de Zaragoza y Decano de nuestra facultad, y bajo cuya dirección se formaron los departamentos de filología francesa e inglesa. D. E. P.
Empieza a hacerse visible la nueva página web del Departamento de Filología Inglesa y Alemana de Zaragoza, incluida también en mi página de enlaces. Le deseo más suerte que a la antigua, que hice yo en tiempos y que nunca llegó a interesar a nadie, y menos a la dirección. Pero el personal en general va al ralentí en estos temas buebísticos, como se puede ver en un examen rápido del conjunto. Inauguramos la página web de Beatriz con una foto; pronto más. Por cierto, hemos inaugurado también el invierno, y los alumnos van desapareciendo como aves migratorias.
Me llega la nueva biografía de Shakespeare por Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. Viene muy recomendada: finalista del National Book Award. Pues ya hay más lectura para navidades, "when icicles hang by the wall". Vaya, esto que me pasa por la cabeza me lleva veinte años atrás, cuando leíamos este poema de Shakespeare, de Love's Labour's Lost:
    When icicles hang by the wall, And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, And Tom bears logs into the hall, And milk comes frozen home in pail, When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul, Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit; Tu-who, a merry note, While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.   When all aloud the wind doth blow, And coughing drowns the parson's saw, And birds sit brooding in the snow, And Marian's rose looks red and raw, When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit; Tu-who, a merry note, While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 
To the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of time past. We have heard the chimes at midnight, that we have! A merry note.

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Retropost #57: 12 de diciembre de 2004

Retropost #57: 12 de diciembre de 2004

12 de diciembre  

Una blank entry es necesaria en los diarios ficticios según H. Porter Abbott. E inevitable en los reales. Pero no ha de ser hoy: cada minuto pasan cosas (y cada segundo por la cabeza). Y las que pasan a través de nosotros y a nuestro lado sin que nos demos cuenta (por ejemplo, mueve la mano delante de tí, en el aire, y seguro que hay un programa de Timón y Pumba, o un documental sobre tatuajes, o lo que sea, ahí-- sólo que careces del decodificador adecuado. También carecemos del decodificador adecuado para saber lo que están pensando de nosotros quienes piensan en nosotros).

Acabo de leerme Neuromancer de William Gibson, el clásico del ciberespacio, la matriz donde se gestó la matrix, y todo lo demás; excelente si te interesa el tema del robotic takeover del que hablaba en Hay Robot. Neuromante, nigromante, nuevo romántico, debería volver a ponerse de moda ahora que se llevan los libros de conspiraciones y ciencias oscuras. Aunque es un poco demasiado durillo de leer para la mollera media... Pero los amantes de P.K. Dick deberían amarlo, traduttora. Yo lo leo con veinte años de retraso, pero tantas cosas suceden con veinte años de retraso.


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Notas sobre Literatura y Cibercultura

Notas sobre Literatura y Cibercultura

Examinamos en estas notas una variedad de temas relacionados con las consecuencias de las tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación sobre la práctica y la crítica de la literatura, reseñando y comentando el volumen Literatura y Cibercultura editado por Domingo Sánchez Mesa (2004). Entre las cuestiones tratadas se enuentran el advenimiento de las humanidades digitales; el impacto de la realidad virtual sobre la creación de ficciones; la dialéctica del ciberespacio y el espacio literario; el hipertexto y la literatura ergódica; los ordenadores y los estudios literarios; la ciberdemocracia y la transformación de la esfera pública; el impacto de las TICs sobre las identidades y relaciones sociales; el cyberpunk y los nuevos desarrollos en la ciencia-ficción; la poesía y el drama digitales de vanguardia; y las implicaciones pedadógicas de las TICs por ejemplo en el aprendizaje a distancia.

English abstract: 

Notes on Literature and Cyberculture

An examination of a number of issues related to the implications of ICT technology on the practice and criticism of literature, by way of a review and commentary of Domingo Sánchez Mesa's collection Literature and Cyberculture (2004). Some of the issues addressed are the advent of digital humanities; the impact of virtual reality on fiction-making; the dialectics of the literary space and cyberspace; hypertext and ergodic literature; computers and literary studies; cyberdemocracy and the transformation of the public sphere; the impact of ICT on social identities and relationships; cyberpunk and new developments in science fiction; avant-garde digital poetry and drama; and the pedagogical implications of ICT such as e-learning.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

eJournal Classifications (Date posted: June 21, 2015)
AARN Subject Matter eJournals
AARN Subject Matter eJournals
CSN Subject Matter eJournals
ISN Subject Matter eJournals
LIT Subject Matter eJournals


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Towards the end of Stephen Crites' article "Storytime", on the narrative psychology of the self—a nightmare vision on the fixed selves we acquire, the artificial living dead we may become through a surfeit of coherence:

New variations on the same basic types of unhappiness arise when I wittingly or unwittingly confuse the recollective story with the projective scenario. On the one hand, treating my own past as if it were as indeterminate as the future, my story will be so loose and fragmentary that I cannot recollect myself out of it. I make a fairy tale of my past, and become at best an enigma to myself and others, a creature of uncommitted fantasy.

The reverse of this loss of identity is the loss of possibility entailed in the imposition of the tighter-woven recollective story on my future. Attempting to maintain my self unchanged, I impose the "will" of this self on the future. The unhappiness of that is not that I may fail, but that I may actually succeed. For then I will have locked myself into what is after all a construct recollected from the past. The self becomes its own Frankenstein, a monster of its own making, which exercises its control not only over whatever falls within its orbit as it stalks the earth, but also over its very self. I cannot free myself from the self-image I have created, which becomes more confining the more it suceeds in imposing itself.

("Storytime", 172)


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Retropost #46: 1 de diciembre de 2004

Retropost #46: 1 de diciembre de 2004


1 de diciembre
Ya se puede ver la página de la revista BELL: Belgian English Language and Literature que contiene mi artículo sobre "La espiral hermenéutica", está en http://www.ulb.ac.be/philo/baahe/BELL2004.html
Inaugurada la futura página web de Beatriz (de momento un espacio en blanco) en esta dirección: http://www.unizar.es/departamentos/filologia_inglesa/bpenas
Acabo de enterarme, por cierto, de que mi website bibliográfico (no el biográfico ni el blográfico, de momento), está entre el Top 1000 universitario del contador Nedstat Basic, de hecho entre el top 250 (va y viene). Tengo más visitas, por ejemplo, que la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Barcelona, y menos que el ICE de la Universidad de Zaragoza. En cabeza está la Universidad de Granada. Misterios.


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Miércoles, 20 de Julio de 2016 13:15. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Para cine también valgo

Para cine también valgo

Me citan (Acción, Relato, Discurso) en esta tesis doctoral sobre análisis cinematográfico:

García Gómez, Francisco J. Metodología crítica de análisis textual en la realización fílmica. Ph.D. diss. U Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias de la Información, 2015. Online at ePrints:


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Story Matter for their Lives

martes, 30 de junio de 2015

Story matter for their lives

"Common games of sport and gambling are but stripped down, stylized and abbreviated dramas, inviting the direct or vicarious participation of masses of people seeking for some adventure, no matter how minuscule, to provide story matter for their lives" (Karl E. Scheibe, "Self-Narratives and Adventure" 134).

"The value of vertigo is revealed thorugh an examination of the nature of the thrill: that which James said we live for even as we live by habit" (136).

"No strictly rational argument exists for maintaining a cold war, striving in an arms race, or attaining nuclear superiority. The game is not what it seems. These adventures are required not logically but dramatically—the requirement that some sort of reasonably coherent and compelling political story line be sustained" (142).

Kurt Vonnegut on life and self stories:

"If a person survives and ordinary span of sixty years or more, there is every chance that his or her life as a shapely story has ended and all that remains to be experienced is epilogue. Life is not over, but the story is" (Deadeye Dick, 1982, qutd. in Scheibe 143)

"Adventure creates story and contributes to the realization of completed identities. Seriousness is at risk in every venturing forth. But without the venturing forth there is no seriousness. Without the possibility of adventure, domesticity becomes a ludicrous reduction of life, and cannot be serious". (149)

From Karl E. Scheibe's "Self-Narratives and Adventure," in Narrative Psychology, ed. T. R. Sarbin.

A photo on Flickr

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Retropost #35: 19 de noviembre de 2004

lunes, 29 de junio de 2015

Retropost #35: 19 de noviembre de 2004

19 de noviembre

Hoy he recibido las separatas del artículo sobre Nabokov, "The Poetics of Subliminal Awareness" que me ha publicado el European Journal of English Studies, mi mayor pica en Flandes hasta la fecha (si bien el publisher ya no es Swets&Zeitlinger sino Routledge). ¿Alguien me da la enhorabuena? "Tant d'heures enfuies / au mirage des mots" que decía la Gréco. Y los destellos de luz en un ojo, casi imperceptibles en medio de tanto papel. No me resisto a recomendar este fragmento de Shakespeare como comentario adicional:


    Why! all delights are vain, but that most vain, Which with pain purchas'd doth inherit pain: As, painfully to pore upon a book To seek the light of truth; while truth the while Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look: Light seeking light doth light of light beguile: So, ere you find where light in darkness lies, Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes. Study me how to please the eye indeed, By fixing it upon a fairer eye, Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed, And give him light that it was blinded by. Study is like the heaven's glorious sun, That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks; Small have continual plodders ever won, Save base authority from others' books. These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights, That give a name to every fixed star, Have no more profit of their shining nights Than those that walk and wot not what they are. Too much to know is to know nought but fame; And every godfather can give a name.

En un rato de aburrimiento en un examen, termino de leer el libro sobre el estilo de Middleton Murry, me dedico a hacer dibujos y compongo (o ensamblo non ex nihilo) este poema, al que nombro, como su godfather,


Keats's Living Hand   "This living hand, now warm and capable Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold And in the icy silence of the tomb, So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood So in my veins red life might stream again--" --No, better say you've wished your own heart dry of blood, So in her veins red life might stream for you, And you be conscience-calm'd--Impatient (like the wind) You turn to share the wish, with whom but her, But in those eyes unmovéd, cold like holograms, You see no warmth--you grasp the wind, the story's known, It's often been rehearsed, unhappy shadow; Follow still your fair sun, till both at once do fade, The sun unmovéd, cold, the shadow (now a shade) Forever telling what is told, still grasping out, But who will shake hands with the dead. --And yet that hand, this living hand --see here it is-- I hold it towards you.


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Manual de análisis narrativo

omingo, 28 de junio de 2015

Manual de análisis narrativo

Me citan en este Handbook of Narrative Analysis:

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Las Saturnales

sábado, 27 de junio de 2015

Las Saturnales

Como muchos autores, que siguen publicando si no escribiendo después de muertos, Pío Baroja continúa sacando obras, casi sesenta años después de su muerte. Se completa ahora la trilogía de Baroja "Las Saturnales", not too soon:
Winston Manrique Sabogal. "Hallado un libro inédito de Pío Baroja sobre la guerra civil." El País 26 June 2015.*
Allí habla José-Carlos Mainer sobre el nuevo hallazgo, el típico manuscrito olvidado en un archivo. A El cantor vagabundo y Miserias de la Guerra se suma ahora Los caprichos de la suerte; Mainer la editará con una presentación en noviembre, en Espasa.
Sobre la novela central de la trilogía, que apareció en 2006, escribí yo este comentario en "Miserias de la guerra." Apareció en Conflict Studies y otros archivos poco explorados:

Miserias de la guerra de Pío Baroja: Una desilusión con el mundo y con España

Se pueden entretener con eso, y con las saturnales de Barcelona, entretanto salga la última de Baroja.


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Resurrección simbólica de Hamlet Shakespeare

viernes, 26 de junio de 2015

Resurrección simbólica de Hamlet Shakespeare

Comentario sobre algunos elementos imaginativos de la obra de Shakespeare, en especial de 'Noche de Reyes', que pueden considerarse como un luto desplazado por su hijo muerto Hamnet, e incluso como una resurrección simbólica del mismo.

English abstract: 

Symbolic Resurrection of Hamlet Shakespeare

A commentary on some imaginative elements in Shakespeare's work, especially in 'Twelfth Night', which may be taken as a displaced mourning, and even a symbolic resurrection, of his dead son Hamnet.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
Keywords: Shakespeare, Mourning, Symbolism, Twelfth Night

eJournal Classification (Date posted: June 24, 2015 ) 
LIT Subject Matter eJournals

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Miércoles, 13 de Julio de 2016 12:22. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Constructivism vs. Observation in ecocriticism

viernes, 26 de junio de 2015

Constructivism vs. Observation in ecocriticism

From Susan Jeffers's Arda Inhabited: Environmental Relationships in 'The Lord of the Rings'  (Kent State UP, 2014):

In spite of the connection between previous postmodern theories and the development of ecocriticism, it is not uncommon for environmental critics to seek to distance the two. One critic claims that "the great blind spot of postmodernism is its dismissal of nature, and especially human nature" (28). [Glen] Love finds postmodern theory inescapably arrogant in its insistence on what he feels is an inappropriate focus. While postmodernism is "blind" to human nature, it still spends too much energy discussing an exclusively human world. He explains that: "This [postmodern theory] is a world of human solipsism, denied by the common sense that we live out in our everyday actions and observations. It is denied as well by a widely accepted scientific understanding of our human evolution and of the history of the cosmos and the earth, the real world, which existed long before the presence of humans, and which goes on and will continue to go on, trees continuing to crash to the forest floor even if no human auditors are left on the scene" (29). Unfortunately, Love ignores the inherently constructed nature of "scientific understanding" and "our everyday observations". He does gesture toward acknowledging that people do shape their environments, but he does not allow this acknowledgement to distract him from his main point: lived experience is enough of a guarantor to support one's conclusions based on observation. (30)

Other critics highlight the tension between construction and observation as well. Garrard considers that while a constructivist approach is "a powerful tool for cultural analysis," this tool suggests that '"nature" is only ever a cover for the interests of some social group" (31). He admits the tension and explains that "the challenge for ecocritics is to keep one eye on the ways in which 'nature' is always in some ways culturally constructed and the other on the fact that nature really exists, both the object and, albeit distantly, the origin of our discourse" (32). As with other critical approaches, the most productive ecocriticism favors a both/and approach to the tension between constructivism and observation.

Even when critics allow themselves to work within the space created by these tensions, some feel that postmodernism and ecocriticism just vary fundamentally in their aims. Sueellen Campbell points to the fact that postmodernism and ecocriticism undermine traditional hierarchies or displace the position of the human being. However, their aims in doing so are quite different. She claims that "While both theory and ecology reject the traditional humanist view of our importance in the scheme of things, though, what they focus on as a replacement is quite different. Theory sees everything as textuality, as network of signifying systems of all kinds. Foucault sees an idea like madness as a text; Lacan sees a human being as a text; Derrida argues that everything is text in the sense that everything signifies something else. But ecology insists that we pay attention not to the way things have meaning for us, but to the way the rest of the world—the nonhuman part—exists apart from us and our languages" (33). That our understanding of the world is tied closely to our ability to express that understanding through language does not preclude our ability to recognize that not everything can be encapsulated in a linguistic sign. There are some things that humans exist apart from. Ecocriticism, then, though implicit in the use of language, and acknowledging that it is being practiced by human beings, attempts to consider something entirely Other. It looks not so much at what something means, but more at how, in what manner, something exists.

Gerard Manley Hopkins's idea of "inscape" nicely expresses the focus of ecocritical study. The "inscape" of something is the "essence or identity embodied in the thing itself and dealt out by it for others to witness and thereby apprehend God in it" (34). A thing's instress is the inscape observed—that is, it is the defining characteristic of that thing which others can see or understand or experience. Ecocriticism considers what these defining characteristics are. It looks at the "treeness" of trees, or how a tree "trees" in a particular text.

Such attempts to distance ecocriticism from other theories run the risk of appearing petulant in their insistence and, more importantly, of denying the real connections between different schools of thought. However, such positioning can be better understood if one considers that one goal of ecocriticism is to move an audience to act on behalf of the natural world. This action ultimately works toward "the remediation of humankind's alienation from the natural world" (35). Such an aim might then encourage critics to "decide on principle to resist the abstractifications of theoretical analysis, indeed to resist standard modes of formal argument, altogether in favor of a discourse where critical reflection is embedded within narratives of encounter with nature" (36). Buell, like other ecocritics, wants to look at an encounter, at a thing that happened, rather than engage in an exercise that might appear to be merely cerebral.

There is a sense of urgency in the criticism, a sense of seizing kairos, indeed, an anxiety that such an opportune moment for essential discussion will be lost and the world with it. Glen Love expresses the need for dialogue that he feels as a scholar: "As the circumstances of the natural world intrude ever more pressingly into our teaching and writing, the need to consider the interconnections, the implicit dialogue between the text and the environmental surroundings, becomes more and more insistent. Ecocriticism is developing as an explicit critical response to this unheard dialogue, an attempt to raise it to a higher level of human consciousness" (37). Ecocriticism has developed in response to a particular need felt by scholars that is not being addressed adequately already.

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Miércoles, 13 de Julio de 2016 12:17. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Doin' Anthropology of Education

jueves, 25 de junio de 2015

Doin' Anthropology of Education

Doin' Anthropology of Education

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Miércoles, 13 de Julio de 2016 11:56. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Novelista espiándose

jueves, 25 de junio de 2015

Novelista espiándose

Analizamos en este artículo, desde el punto de vista de la teoría de los marcos, las dimensiones metaficcionales y reflexivas de la novela de Ian McEwan Operación Dulce (Sweet Tooth, 2012), novela "con novelista" y ficción autogenerativa con una estructura narrativa paradójica y sorpresiva. Además de presentar una perspectiva original sobre la política de la literatura en la época de la Guerra Fría, Operación Dulce tematiza de una manera interesante y estéticamente creativa algunas cuestiones problemáticas relativas a la imaginación novelesca y la escritura de ficción, en particular la proyección imaginativa del novelista en la creación de sus personajes.

English abstract: 

Novelist Spying on Himself

This paper is a frame-theory analysis of the metafictional and reflexive dimensions of Ian McEwan's novel Sweet Tooth (2012), a 'novel-with-a-novelist' and a self-begetting fiction with a paradoxical and surprising narrrative structure. Besides its original perspective on the politics of literature in the Cold War era, Sweet Tooth thematizes in an intriguing and aesthetically creative way some of the imaginative issues involved in fiction-writing, notably the novelist's imaginary projection into his characters.




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Narratology: An Introduction

miércoles, 24 de junio de 2015

Narratology: An Introduction

Hay en Google Books (y ahora aquí) una vista previa de la nueva edición de Narratology publicada por Routledge (Abingdon & New York, 2014), en realidad el mismo texto de la edición de Addison Wesley Longman de 1996, pero aparecido ahora en una nueva editorial como resultado de las distintas opas y fusiones del mundo de la edición. Sea como sea, me felicito de que mantengan o reediten en Routledge la serie completa original de Longman (Longman Critical Readers), y en concreto este volumen que me toca de más cerca.



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Retropost #26: 7 de noviembre de 2004

7 de noviembre

Visto que la revista de nuestro departamento, la Miscelánea (que yo editaba en tiempos, y pasé a la red) no funciona desde hace tiempo en su edición electrónica, he pedido permiso para reproducir aquí mis artículos publicados en ella. Empiezo con uno de 1991, "Authorial Intention in Literary Hermeneutics..." A veces lleva su tiempo adaptarlos al formato hipertexto, con lo cual el trasvase irá despacio, y las primeras versiones serán provisionales. Pienso, además, publicar directamente en la red lo que me parezca oportuno, pasando de revistas, etc. a menos que encuentre una buena razón para no hacerlo.

A photo on Flickr

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Retropost #25: 6 de noviembre de 2004

miércoles, 24 de junio de 2015

Retropost #25: 6 de noviembre de 2004

6 de noviembre

Hoy he colgado de la página, por batir mi récord de antigüedad, un trabajo que debe ser el más viejo que conservo, de alrededor de 1983-84 (durante la carrera me temo que tenía la costumbre de tirarlos o de no quedarme copia: de eso que nos libramos). Es uno sobre la novela La Dentellière, de Pascal Lainé, novela que por cierto recomiendo todavía. El trabajo lo empecé como una exposición cuando estudiaba francés en la escuela de idiomas; la profesora, Ana se llamaba, creo, nos había puesto de lectura la novela y yo preparé una exposición para clase; luego lo desarrollé en un trabajo para la carrera, ya con más equipamiento narratológico (por entonces empezaba a leer a Genette, Bal y demás); fue trabajando con esta novela realmente con lo que me aficioné a la narratología. Por cierto, la historia la conocía ya por haber visto la película en el cineclub, aunque si mal no recuerdo la película desperdicia totalmente el tema metaficcional de la novela, supongo que por no considerarlo cinematográfico —hoy en día se podría rehacer en la línea de Adaptation, de Charlie Kaufman.

Buena versión de Vanity Fair la que han estrenado: con una Becky Sharp más adaptada al gusto del siglo XX, claro, y menos Amelia de por medio. Sobra la dedicatoria a Said, que no veo qué pinta (orientalismo sí que hay a tope) y sobran unas fiestas campestres, muy de época, pero no de esa. Falta el narrador-- o sea, bastante. La caracterización, la luz y la ambientación, genial por lo demás. Muy logrado Sir Pitt Crawley, y la banda sonora.

He estado viendo con JMC unos blogs muy elaborados (pueden hacerse a través de www.blogger.com); para bloggers a tiempo completo. De momento un bajo porcentaje de conocidos se dedican a nada parecido a esto, pero quizá se haga algo más general con el tiempo, al menos lo de tener la propia página web. Yo me imaginé que iría el tema más deprisa al ver la de Landow en Brown University, pero si la tecnología se mueve rápido los hábitos son lentos.


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Reseña de Con/Texts of Persuasion

lunes, 22 de junio de 2015

Reseña de Con/Texts of Persuasion


Me nombra Liu Ying (de la Univ. JiaoTong, Pekín) en una reseña de Con/Texts of Persuasion, volumen colectivo editado por  Beatriz Penas Ibáñez, Micaela Muñoz y Marta Conejero (Kassel: Reichenberger, 2011), aparecida en Linred 13 (18/19 Junio 2015). En Con/Texts of Persuasion tengo un capítulo sobre "Acritical Criticism, Critical Criticism".
Vol. 13 de Linred: Lingüística en la Red (Universidad de Alcalá de Henares): http://www.linred.es/numero13.html
La reseña:

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Topsight and Textual Strategy

domingo, 21 de junio de 2015

Topsight and Textual Strategy

A passage from Stephen Bygrave's Kenneth Burke: Rhetoric and Ideology (Routledge, 1993) in which he discusses Burke's translation of the term 'strategy' from a military to a rhetorical context. We are more comfortable, Bygrave argues, with the notion of texts having an 'ideology' than with the notion that they employ 'strategies'. Bygrave seems to take for granted that the 'strategies' referred to are not under the author's deliberate or planning control, any more than the ideology—but of course it is not a matter of all-or-nothing, as there may be congruent transitions from conscious design to unconscious 'strategy' just as there may be incongruent tensions between intent and results (of the kind often analyzed by deconstructors). Any such strategies, if they are an identifiable object, must be recognized by a reader, but they should be ascribed to the reader's perceptive (or critical) insights on the text; they cannot be ascribed wholesale to the reader's agency or ingenuity, as that would result in "hopeless relativism since we could no longer appeal to the text to validate the claims we made about it" (108).

But just now I want to draw attention to the relationship between perspectival dominion or topsight (dominant insight, if you will) and strategy, as against tactics, as discussed by Bygrave.

The martial associations of the term 'strategy' are to do with directing a campaign rather than a battle. A field commander in the presence of the enemy employs tactics. A strategy is rather the set of such operations, the logic they follow. It is evident that this may be a logic that can only be discerned retrospectively, and that strategies may need to be modified in the light of the contingent and the unexpected. A strategy has both a spatial aspect—the deployment of available resources—and a temporal or narrative aspect—those resources are deployed in sequence. The presence of an opponent anticipating your strategies and initiating their own, together with variables such as the weather, means that a strictly causal logic is likely only to be apparent when the sequence is complete. (108-109)

There is an ongoing narrative aspect (involving anticipated retropection, thence the narrative dimension) in the strategic confrontation, and each of the opponents may construct their partial and ongoing narratives. But these are contingent narratives which are subordinated to the major narratives depicting or interpreting the strategy, and these are possible only ex post facto, once the confrontation has been settled and a result has been achieved. Of course the agonists may still hold to different narrative interpretations of the confrontation, but many hypothetical elements in the agon have been resolved or determined by the end; secret plans have been unfolded and come to the light, and narrative topsight is largely shared by both parties in the confrontation, i.e. they share a knowledge of the main strategic dimensions of the conflict and a narrative interpretation of the agon which is largely common to both.

The link between topsight and retrospection is one I have underlined in a number of papers. As applied to textual structure, part of the implication has to do with the act of reading, an agon between text and reader which  reaches a partial endpoint with closure (and its concomitant retrospective dimensions). As applied to criticism, the agon is one a contest of insights, or of the perception of relevance, between different readers of a text (readers interacting or leaving a critical interpretation). Here we encounter the dynamics of blindness and insight described by Paul de Man, or the sequence of deconstructions surrounding Poe's allegory of interpretation in "The Purloined Letter" (see my papers "Acritical Criticism, Critical Criticism", and "Benefit of Hindsight"). This contest can have no definite closure.

For an early approach to tactics and topsight, see my paper on Sun Tzu's The Art of War. A comprehensive theory of strategy is developed by Erving Goffman and applied to multiple interactional contexts in Strategic Interaction.


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Jameson on the Dialectics of the Subtext

domingo, 21 de junio de 2015

Jameson on the Dialectics of the Subtext

Fredric Jameson's observation on the retroactive dimension of a symbolic act, seen here as an intervention or an act of attention which reworks its own context, and redefines the sense of the subtext it refers to, by virtue of its very existence. This is to be associated to the narrative fallacy, by virtue of which a narrative reorganizes events with a view to the end from which the narrative is told.


"The symbolic act .  .  . begins by producing its own context in the same moment of emergence in which it steps back over against it, measuring it with an eye to its own active project. The whole paradox of what we are calling the subtext can be measured by this, that the literary work or cultural object itself, as though for the first time, brings into being that situation to which it is also at one and the same time a reaction."

(1988: 141)

From an essay in Jameson's Situations of Theory, vol. 1 of The Ideologies of Theory: Essays 1971-1986, 2 vols. London: Routledge, 1988.

This might be related to G. H. Mead's ecological perspective on action: an organism defines its environment and actively constructs it by choosing some aspects of it among the diverse stimuli coming from the environment and responding to them.

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Retropost #18: 29 de octubre de 2004

sábado, 20 de junio de 2015

Retropost #18: 29 de octubre de 2004

29 de octubre

Hoy me he enterado de la curiosísima historia del descubrimiento del hombre de Flores o hobbit; el siglo xxi nos va a hacer perder toda convicción con el tiempo. Predigo una futura moda de películas sobre estos temas, a la manera de En busca del Fuego, que se adelantó veinte años o más. Por cierto, trato de incluir en la bibliografía enlaces sobre estas cosas que me llaman la atención, pero a veces con días, meses o años de desfase; Roma no se hizo en un día (aunque Hiroshima sí se deshizo en un segundo).

He incluido en la sección de ilustraciones algunos dibujos de los que hacía yo hace veinte o treinta años. Ahora que cualquier día vuelvo al ataque, a ver qué emitía el inconsciente hoy en día.

También he empezado a preparar la edición electrónica de mi tesina sobre Dickens, pongamos que para conmemorar los veinte años de ese primer trabajo "serio" de mi carrera académica. Claro que tardará tiempo en aparecer aquí.

Hoy se ha firmado la Constitución europea. Un día histórico, pero pequeño detalle: habrá que reformar la Constitución española, porque es anticonstitucional ceder soberanía, y para eso hay que disolver el parlamento, nuevas elecciones... casi nada.


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Bibliografía sobre Samuel Beckett

sábado, 20 de junio de 2015

Bibliografía sobre Samuel Beckett

On.beckett.S by myself- uploaded by dpcarvalho25

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Intersubjetividad corporeizada (Embodied Intersubjectivity)

miércoles, 17 de junio de 2015

Intersubjetividad corporeizada (Embodied Intersubjectivity)

 A photo on Flickr 



Comentamos algunas consecuencias del descubrimiento del sistema de las las neuronas espejo (siguiendo a Vittorio Gallese) para una teoría de la intersubjetividad en la experiencia estética y en la literatura. Enfatizamos los paralelismos fenomenológicos del concepto, así como sus conexiones con la tradición estética de la empatía, y más en concreto con la psicología materialista de I. A. Richards en sus Principios de Crítica Literaria, en especial en lo refereido al concepto de ’actitudes’ o experiencias coporales incipientes subyacentes a la interacción semiótica.
English abstract: 

Embodied Intersubjectivity

A commentary on some consequences of the discovery of the mirror neuron system (after Vittorio Gallese) for the theory of intersubjectivity in aesthetics and literary experience. The phenomenological parallels of the concept are emphasized, as well as the connections to the aesthetic tradition of empathy and especially to the materialist psychology of I. A. Richards in his Principles of Literary Criticism, especially as regards the notion of ’attitudes’ or incipient bodily experiences underlying semiotic interaction.



Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: Intersubjectivity, Mirror neurons, Empathy, Literary experience, Phenomenology, Neurology, Aesthetics, I.A. Richards, Psychology

eJournal Classifications:
Date posted: June 07, 2015
AARN Subject Matter eJournals
Added to eLibrary 
AARN Subject Matter eJournals
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CSN Subject Matter eJournals
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LIT Subject Matter eJournals
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Miércoles, 06 de Julio de 2016 19:06. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

Negra espalda del tiempo: Sobre la dificultad de contar

lunes, 15 de junio de 2015

Negra espalda del tiempo: Sobre la dificultad de contar



Comentamos la poética narrativa del novelista español Javier Marías, tal como queda expuesta en su discurso de ingreso en la Real Academia Española (2008). Las observaciones de Marías sobre el arte del relato y sobre la ficcionalidad se sitúan en el contexto de una teoría narratológica de la retrospección y de la distorsión retroactiva. El artículo también comenta la crítica de la ficcionalidad efectuada por el periodista Arcadi Espada en su respuesta a Marías.




Dark Back of Time: On the Difficulty of Storytelling

This is a commentary on the narrative poetics of the Spanish novelist Javier Marías, as set forth in his inaugural speech at the Royal Spanish Academy (2008). Marias's observations on storytelling and fictionality are set in the context of the narratological theory of retrospection and hindsight bias. The paper also deals with journalist Arcadi Espada's critique of fictional storytelling in his response to Marías.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9


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Retropost #8: 15 de octubre de 2004

lunes, 15 de junio de 2015

Retropost #8: 15 de octubre de 2004

15 de octubre

Una circular de AEDEAN pide una reseña de un libro sobre blogs, The Mirror and the Veil ; he pedido que me lo envíen a ver si me inspira. La Facultad, un desierto, pero por Internet he estado ayudando a buscar gente para una tesis sobre Beckett.



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Bibliografía sobre estructura narrativa

domingo, 14 de junio de 2015

Bibliografía sobre estructura narrativa

1.Story,Structure by Shivani Shingari Budhiraja

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Múltiples lectores implícitos

domingo, 14 de junio de 2015

Múltiples lectores implícitos

_____. "Multiple implied readers / Múltiples lectores implícitos." Online PDF at Social Science Research Network 4 June 2009.*
         Literary Theory and Criticism eJournal 4 June 2009.*
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." Zaguán 4 June 2009.
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." Cuadernos de Investigación Filológica 35-36 (2009-2010): 63-75.*
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." Online at Dialnet (2009-10).*
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." Online at Academia.edu 4 June 2009.*
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." ResearchGate 28 June 2012.*
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." Scribd (simon_villalobos4555) 14 June 2015.*
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." In García Landa, Vanity Fea 14 June 2015.*
_____. "Múltiples lectores implícitos." Academia (Luz Gabriela Puerta)

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Evolutionary Narratology Google Search

sábado, 13 de junio de 2015

Evolutionary Narratology Google search

Evolutionary Narratology Google Search

Igual soy uno de esos que decía Foucault—el autor ya no de un escrito sino de una disciplina.

Evolutionary Narratology at Academia

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Narrative and Lies

sábado, 13 de junio de 2015

Narrative and Lies

Diegesis: Narrative and Lies: https://www.diegesis.uni-wuppertal.de/index.php/diegesis

Posted by Narratología evolucionista - Evolutionary Narratology on Viernes, 12 de junio de 2015

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Theory of Reflexive Fiction in Philweb

jueves, 11 de junio de 2015

Theory of Reflexive Fiction in Philweb

"Theory of Reflexive Fiction" - Cited in "Theories of Prose Narrative." Philweb Bibliographical Archive. 2013.


Posted by Narratología evolucionista - Evolutionary Narratology on Jueves, 11 de junio de 2015


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Macbeth (2015)

Macbeth (2015)

Macbeth (2015) trailer: https://youtu.be/RgH_OnrYlCk

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Notes from Robert Alter's 'Partial Magic'

Notes from Robert Alter's 'Partial Magic'

2 de junio de 2015

Notes from Robert Alter's book Partial Magic: The Novel as a Self-Conscious Genre (Berkeley: U of California P, 1975).  Notes taken c. 1990.

Levin: All novels are self-conscious.


ix. There is an expectation that fiction be serious and realistic, dealing with "moral situations in their social contexts"; "and, with few exceptions, there has been a lamentable lack of critical appreciation for the kind of novel that expresses its seriousness through playfulness, that is acutely aware of itself as a mere structure of words even as it tries to discover ways of going beyond words to the experiences words seek to indicate." Leavis dismisses Fielding, Sterne and Joyce.

x. In the Marxist view, the novel is an epic of bourgeois life. Realism is considered as the dominant aesthetic. Realism is OK, but "in many important novelists from Renaissance Spain to contemporary France and America the realistic enterprise has been enormously complicated and qualified by the writer's awareness that fictions are never real things, that literary realism is a tantalizing contradiction in terms." Ontological exploration in fiction takes place through the manipulation of form, not through exposition—though the novel drawing attention to its construction, vs. transparency. "A self-conscious novel, briefly, is a novel that systematically flaunts its own condition of artifice and by so doing probes into the problematic relationship between real-seeming artifice and reality."

xi. Fits of self-consciousness vs. fully self-conscious novels, informed by a consistent effort. Many cases of self-consciousness in literature. Cf. the mirroring in the Odyssey, and in Euripides' parody of tragic conventions. In Renaissance drama: the introduction to the Taming of the Shrew and Bartholomew Fair. Diderot's drama. Reflexive poetry: Mallarmé, Valérty, Wallace Stevens, Mandelstam.  But the novel is uniquely congenial to self-consciousness.

xii. Peculiar forms are determined by genre, a distinctive trend. In the novel, the main concern with consecutive individual character and particular experience.

xiii. The self-conscious novel is no the teame as the elaborately artful novel (conrad, ford). Their elaboration is a technique of verisimilitude. Self-consciousness may be a mannerism or "be integrated into a large critical vision of the dialectic interplay between fiction and reality"—then it becomes illuminating.

xiv. "The four major self-conscious novelists of the first great age of the novel . . . are Cervantes, Fielding, Sterne and Diderot.

xv. "novels have been doing rather more than prevalent critical assumptions would allow for."

1. The Mirror of Knighthood and the World of Mirrors

1- Vs. massively produced trash in modern culture. The novel model is caught in this story.

2- It is tied up with printing. Social and economic upheavals have determined its nature.

3-  "The novel begins out of our erosion of belief in the authority of the written word and it begins with Cervantes"—seeing in the fictionality of fictions the key to a culture and using this awareness centrally in creating new fictions. This is a lesser but brilliant tradition (the realist tradition dominates). Cervantes initiates both traditions:

3-4- "his juxtaposition of high-flown literary fantasies with grubby actuality pointing the way to the realists, his zestfully ostentatious manipulation of the artifice he constructs setting a precedent for all the self-conscious novelists to come."

5- The hero of a library shows a fictional language, vs. the oral culture of Sancho, "a world of role-playing, where the dividing lines between role and identity are often blurred". Literature gives roles to that chaos in Don Quixote— the printing press is a precondition.

6-7- Self-conscious scenes in Cervantes, etc.

8- E.g. the scene of the found manuscript with illustrations, a mirror. Don Quixote equates being real and being recorded in literature and wants to become a book,

9- but when he attains his ambition he mistrusts the author; he only attains a fabric of contradictions; his raises doubts on the status of his story, and reveals the work as a trompe-l'œil. It is a real-seeming but avowedly arbitrary novelistic reality; this double nature is communicated (e.g. through names).

10- An ontological doubleness of language. "For Cervantes, the word simultaneously resonates with its old magical quality, and turns back on itself, exposing its own emptiness as an arbitrary or conventional construct."

11- A new narrative structure: "the fictional world is repeatedly conveyed into multiple regress of imitations that call attention in various ways to their own status as imitations."

12- Literary criticism keeps on calling attention to fictions: "literary criticism . . . is intrinsic to the fictional world of the Quixote and of all the self-conscious novels that follow it".

13- Literary criticism as an essential moment in the self-conscious novel.

14- Don Quixote shows extremely opposed attitudes to fiction in the Maeste Pedro episode. Don Quixote can be seen an acting out of this tension of attitudes.

15- A new sense of the autonomy of the artist is affirmed:

16- Cervantes enters his own story in the Captive's tale. Alter vs. Ortega's hermetical reading of the world of the novel—although Ortega himself elsewhere recognizes the duality of the genre.

17- The author confirms his absolute proprietorship over the fictional world: there is no compulsion to be true (or fictional): a teasing relationship of the writer to the reader.

18- "The intuition of life that, beginning with Cervantes, crystallized in the novel is profoundly paradoxical: the novelist lucidly recognizes the ways man may be painfully frustrated and victimized in a world with no fixed values or ideals, without even a secure sense of what is real and what is not, yet through the exercise of an autonomous art the writer boldly asserts the freedom of consciousness itself. The imagination, then, is alternately, or even simultaneously, the supreme insturment of human realization and the eternal source of delusion of a creature doomed to futility."

19- Games with the truthfulness or not of Cide Hamete: he 'makes believe' swearing as a Christian. Confusion fiction/fact at macroscopic and microscopic (metaphorical) levels. ¿An unreliable narrator, or is unreliability inevitable in language? we are made to wonder.

20- Transition between planes of reality [what Genette calls 'metalepsis']: Cide Hamete as a way of establishing distance between the author and the work, and also as a parody of the author's relationship to the work.

21- Attention is drawn away from the characters into the writing. Don Quixote is another surrogate for the author. Doubles are frequent in self-conscious novels: cf. the deceptiveness of similitudes.

22- The novel as a set of unstable dialectic oppositions: no sythesis is possible and each antithesis produces further antiheroes. In the Nouveau Roman, all is unstable, all is a hypothesis.

23- Pairings of characters as antitheses: the double is also a parody, a parody of reality , a critique of fiction, an experiment in imitation. Don Quixote's parodic descent to the underworld is in turn parodied by Sancho's 'flight'—

24- and by his fall; Altisidora episode is also parodic,

25- Parody as a literary mode which fuses creation and critique.

26- Dulcinea as an explicit fiction made of literary clichés.

28- Cf. Milton's use of tradition, which indicates faith in language and revelation. Cervantes in contrast is a fundamentally secular skeptic, and Don Quixote a profoundly modern novel.

2. Sterne and the Nostalgia for Reality

30- "One of the characteristic reflexes of the self-conscious novel is to flaunt 'naive' narrative devices, rescuing their usability by exploring their contrivance, working them into a highly patterned narration which reminds us that all representations of reality are, necessarily, stylizations" –e.g., the "ostentatious narrator."

31- Sterne is a great explorer of telling stories within stories, the most extreme of all; the very notion  of interpolation breaks down. Zigzag narrative as the rendering of the mind's resistence to pattern.

33- Reductionist parodies: Sterne as literary critic— "a central insight of his novel is that any literary convention means a schematization—and thus a misrepresentation—of reality."

34- Toying with conventions is not new: cf. the manuscripts in medieval romances, the plays within plays... al literature in the West, according to Barthes, gives the sign an ambiguous relationship with the real.

36- Tristram Shandy seen as most typical in this sense. A constant tension between the mental and the material spheres.

37- Cf. Descartes, etc.: Locke is treated by Sterne as a teacher to be taunted because of his undervaluing of the imagination.  He draws an opposition between the external man of mechanical causation and the internal man of feeling (Martin Price). Tristram Shandy is the first novel about the crisis of the novel,

40- TS discusses the innovativeness of his work even as he uses it. All times dissolve into the present of writing: the capture of experience becomes the plot. The fusion with critique makes Tristram poignantly alive as well. A slippery play with wit—sex appears as the Sancho Panza inside each character.

41 - A radical transformation of the self-conscious narrator he picked from Fielding. An original use of death, usually a narrative convenience: in Sterne it is associated to the opaqueness of language:

42-  (the black page is at once a joke and a way of taking us beyond language); mortality drives Tristram/Sterne in his wild scramble to write more.

43- Picaresque characters are seen in Smollett from the point of view of a normal observer; in Sterne there is no 'normality', all are eccentrics.

44- Does Sterne's sentimentality come from Richardson? OK, but "what arrested his imagination more in Richardson was the attempt at an exhaustive presentation of reality with the concomitant slowing down of narrative tempo." The blowing-up of scenes into a fantastic expansion results in an "alienating realism";

45- —these distortions produce a fantastic realism of the everyday. E.g. Trim's tale, showing the problem of narrative communication: the audience interpose their preconceptions.

46- Treatment of sex: bringing back etherealizing fancy and abstractracting reason down to their origin in the physical realm.

47- There is in Sterne a conscious awareness of repression and of its implications; double entendre involves both characters and readers.

48- An eloquent use of typographical silences in this respect.  Sterne approaches subtle moments of consciousness in the characters.

49- A paradoxical self-making realism: in parodying representation, Sterne's parodies become representative of new areas.

50- All are signs in Sterne: a nostalgia for reality (Mayoux); following intuition is best for that.

51- Intuition is proposed as an approach to reality, but we also find in Sterne an awareness of the dynamic of the mind with itself, crippling itself with stereotypes. Fantasy is coaxed into consciousness in Tristram Shandy; an invitation to unexpected moves of the mind.

52- Sterne vs. the Fieldingesque 'rational' disquisitions—disquisitions in Sterne are driven by desire and imagination.

54- "One of the general aims of Sterne's method, I would suggest, is to make us repeatedly aware of the infinite horizon of the imagination"; infinity needs the disruption and the interruption of narrative form.

55- "this elaborately rendered world of trivialities and frustrations nevertheless imparts to the reader a sense of comic liberation". Sterne takes us far from novelistic narration without ever really abandoning the enterprise of the novelist. Mimesis appears as a Sysiphean task. Sterne plays games, but he makes us aware of some of the vital processes by which we must live in reality;

56- "literary self-consciousness paradoxically proves to be a technique of realism as well."

3. Diderot's Jacques: This Is and Is Not a Story

57- Diderot: telling stories as a way of seeing life; "the story of life comes to an end unnoticed". Play with plagiarism: turning Sternee's materials to other ends.

63- Sterne mimicks the flow of consciousness, but Diderot concentrates on narration as something objective—always a lucid orderer of the materials.  

64- The acceleration of narrative (from Candide) as an emphatic structuration of evens through viewpoint.  "The informing insight of Jacques the Fatalist, I would contend, is that language can never give us experience itself but must always transmute experience into récit, that is, narration, or, if you will, fiction."

65- Narrative as the main way of making experience, or of making nonverbal experiences, distinctly human. Diderot followed Richardson early, but he came out of him on the other side of Sterne; he abandoned detailed realism,

66- and draws attention to symmetries and conventions. The time of the story fades before the time of narration in his novels. Diderot is mimetic in his aesthetic writings, traditional;

67- but he is much more skeptical in Jacques, emphasizing the relativity of truth and reacting against novel-writing and its contrivances.

68- Jacques appears as the narrator's surrogate and his master as the reader (similar to Sancho); "the journey is only an occasion for telling stories along the way." The novel is for Diderot a quest for understanding, not for authenticity like Cervantes. The adventures are adventures in storytelling, conventions to eschew, which is the end to reach.

69- Diderot lays bare the devices at the beginning (like Beckett). The flaunting of the author's power

70- does not detract from fidelity to reality in the protagonists. Against teleological narrative: reality is random. There is a randomness of reality;

71- the multiple outcomes of the plot are called attention to. Also the unpredictable nature of communication—all this results in digression and in multiple tales.

72- 'Spoken' tales in Jacques, vs. written Tristram Shandy; no typographical games... Sterne's narrative of isolation and memory is more modern than Diderot's 'oral' communication, where community is affirmed. In Sterne, eroticism is used to explore the gap imagination / reality;

73- in Diderot it is a way to allure the reader to read on and a way of analysing behavior (not experiential reality). Tristram Shandy leads to Ulysses, and Jacques le Fataliste to Proust; experiments in moral behavior.

74- The theme of appearance and deception, etc.

76- The paradox that art is a mode of deception which helps us reach the truth behind appearances.

77- Reality as flux for Diderot (versus fatalism); it is an artful decision to impose order.

78- The novel as an experiment in provisional freedom;

79- "his novel is formally an interplay between randomness and controlled pattern."

80- A control of human foibles and limitation by choosing what to tell, etc.;

81- "in the self-conscious novel, the act of fiction always implies an act of literary criticism, but, broadly speaking, it may move [outwards or inwards]." Jacques le Fataliste moves outwards, Tristram Shandy inwards. Cf. the greater isolationism and provincialism of English literature.

82- Paradoxically, Jacques le Fataliste was left posthumous, while Tristram Shandy was acclaimed and its author was lionized. Apart from some scattered romantics, Jacques le Fataliste was only appreciated in the 20th century. The 19th century was out of phase with Diderot.

4. The Self-Conscious Novel in Eclipse

85- 1. Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century.

Political materials must be accomodated to the structure of a self-conscious novel, become aesthetically relevant.

86- The novel of the nineteenth century is rooted in social and historical reality; it has a will to depict society. Realism?

87- "What changed, I would suggest, was not the degree of realism but its characteristic objects", now overriding the novelistic plot; "the disparity between the structures of the imagination and things as they are , novelistic plot plot consisting in the multifarious effects of that disparity on the protagonist and the personages involved with him or (often) her." In the 19th c., the center shifted from imagination on literary materials, to social reality.

88- History is missing as a dynamic determinant in the 18th c., even in works of detail. A desire to register social change driveves novelists away from the exploration of fiction as artifice.

89- "The imaginative involvement with history, in any case, is the main cause for an almost complete eclipse of the self-conscious novel during the nineteenth century." The novel vanguard shifts to France after 1830. (Alter vs. a strict connection between the novel and a "bourgeois era").

90- Radical social change as a motor for the novel.

91- Paris as the center of social theory and of revolution.

92- The novelists' concerns are similar to those of Michelet: organic pattern and vivid detail.

93- The novel as a vigorous competitor to reality, and a way of containing chaos. It is thus driven away from self-questioning and from its own problematics.

95- The urban hell as a central theme, beyond "documentary" description, beyond mimesis:

96- it is an occasion for the writer's virtuosity and his manipulative power; a celebration of imagination.

97- 19th-c. novelists are disinclined to explore fictiveness, "not only because they are realists but equally because they are such intent imaginists." A love of artifice, yes, but not questioning its premises as it is employed. We find no continuous ontological scrutiny of fiction.

98- "The self-conscious novelists are always simultaneously aware of the supreme power of the literary imagination within its own sphere of creation and its painful or tragicomic powerlessness ouside that sphere. The great nineteenth-century imaginists, on the other hand, are impelled by a deeper inner need to explore the two realms." Novelists begin to talk about a hallucinated sense of the reality of characters.

99- Balzac's use of returning characters not so much as a formal need of the novel, but as a psychological need of the novelist. Domination through imagination: then novelistic figure of Napoleon haunts the 19th-c. novel.

101- This suggests that hstorical change can come about though will. The novelist of the 19th century confuses mimesis and poiesis, imagination and making.

102- "For the nineteenth-century novelists, fictional invention often seems actually a mode of action and as such cannot afford the luxury of self-criticism."

103- Fielding discovers convention and artifice in the urban scene, with no spatial expansion of the plot.

104- Only vestiges of self-consciousness remain the the nineteenth-century passion for mimesis. Let's see 3 of these 'vestiges'.

2. LOST ILLUSIONS and the Assumption of Realism. 

105- Balzac's novel Lost Illusions is concerned with writers and discussions of literature, but it is not self-conscious.

106- The narrative is only "information": the medium is supposed to be transparent. The solidity of the realistic world is not questioned. Therefore he can aspire to a comprehensive portrayal of society.

110- No dialectical tension is felt by Balzac between himself and his creation. There are author-surrogates in the characters, but they are not set in couples, not a dialectical relationship. They are only herarchized.

111- At the top we find Vautrin, approaching authorial omniscience.

112- He is a Napoleonic man, instrumentalizing people and economizing them; a manipulatory character, like the author, who uses them as surrogates.

113- Tristram Shandy works with impotence, Balzac with omnipotence [Cf. Beckett vs. Joyce—JAGL]. In the Balzacian novel, surrogates are indulged or punished, instead of entering into a dialectical self-confrontation. Balzac "reconstitutes society in his fiction in order to act out his real hostility towards it, his fantasies of dominating it."

114- —Balzac is animated by ressentiment and self-gratification. The loss of illusions in Illusions perdues is a continuation of Don Quixote, but here the fiction becomes real, as against Don Quixote.

3. Wavering perspectives in Vanity Fair:

Thackeray writes in the Fielding tradition of displaying his manipulation, with commentary on the characters, the reader, and the plot construction.

116- But no impression of self-conscious novel is produced; the effects are intermittent and taken in by a very different conception of fictional events and of the narrator's relation to them.

117- E.g. the double perspective on Amelia: is she a cliché, an insipid woman, or is she tender and desirable?

117-18- "The inconsistencies in this Victorian adaptation of self-conscious devices are clearest in Thackeray's treatment of his narrating persona." The metaphor of the puppet-show is not sustained; he becomes a chronicler, a "true historian" without ironic duplicity. That side of him does not interact with the puppet-master.

119- In the last analysis, the puppet-show is a moral metaphor suggested by Thackeray's sense of life unmediated in his book. —an excessive insistence on "the truth".

120-  The narrator crosses th border between fiction and reality inadvertently; there is a much greater ironic distance in Fielding, through his construction of a coherent persona and his use of the literary tradition for parodic purposes. Thackeray is more hemmed in by his moral assumptions, and by his purposes in novel-writing. Cf. his persecution of Becky, which reveals a secret identification with her;

123- "what is especially curious about the handling of Becky is that she is not just a fantasy projection of some secret self in the author but his unrecognized surrogate in regard to her mode of operation in the novel." Becky as a puppeteer! Manipulating people; she writes satire too, and impersonates others. It is remarkable that nothing is made of this: Beecky is too real for Thackeray exploring the artifice.

124- "Thackeray's self-consciousness is finally not as a novelist but as a moralist"—he gestures towards allegory. Thackeray and Balzac nevertheless share "the delusion of grandeur characteristic of the nineteeenth-century novelist: to ignore wilfully the limits of fiction, to play the role of omniscient knower, absolute judge, omnipotent arbiter of taste and morality, for a world supposedly shared by the novelist and his readers."

126- The irony is always aimed at the character, not at the fictional process.

127- The showman metaphor reveals some diffidence on the part of the writer towards his role as entertainer, but the title from Bunyan ("Vanity Fair") shows self-confidence: he tries to write a summa of his age.

4. Fictional Confidence and 'The Confidence Man'

Melville anticipates the écriture blanche, or literature of silence, in the age of realism. He moves towards the abandoning of fiction.

128- The Confidence Man as a relative failure: realism + Fieldinguesque digressions on fiction. "Melville does not have an adequate fictional technique for continuously integrating the imaginary personages and actions with the reflections on the nature of fiction." He is closest to the self-conscious novel, more than any other works of its age.

129- A mobile world of false appearances and pretense is elevated here into the essence of the human condition: there is a deep sense of the paradoxical relationship between fiction and reality; the confidence man creates fictions on himslef.

130- A paradox tha the reader should escape from reality in order to be presented a sharper reality (Melville says).

131- The novelist as confidence man: he leaves us with airy spectres.

132- Bizarre similes are the way to flaunt artifice and convey the object at once.

133- Images of fleeting images are used to describe his fiction—but this is not sustained throughout the novel, which is more conventionally realistic elsewhere:

134- "It would seem that Melville was too involved in the characteristic practices of the novel in his won age to break with them as decisively as his theoretical chapters implicitly require." He is too generalizing: Society, Mankind, etc.—there is no concern for individual psychology, no sustained plot, and character is too distant for the reader. The novel as a New Scripture.

137- We discern a sense of the possibilities of the novel in dealing with vexations of the spirit: Kafka, Conrad, and Beckett will follow. The crisis of confidence in fiction we see in Melville will become more general in the 20th century.

5. The Modernist Revival of Self-Conscious Fiction

Gide conceives of the novel as a work of art, not a mirror. Mann, pro parody and intellectual distance.

1. New Novels for New Men and Women. 

Woolf's change of nature:

139- "One of several underlying patterns in this new constellation of creative forces is an artistically manifested self-consciousness about the processes of fiction-making the like of which had not been seen in the novel since the end of the eighteenth century."

140- Though not due to a repression, fiction was often deeply concerned with a historical moment or with the future of Western civilization.

141- In modernist fiction space is represented otherwise. Instead of filling in a spatial mold, it breaks, and the consciousness of the protagonist jumps to other times and places. Now in Joyce et al. it is different from Sterne: an "ultimate sense of being as a precarious structure erected on a ground of nothingness"—reality threatens to crumble, and "the play of consciousness becomes a sustained act of desperate courage—a 'violin in the void', in Nabokov's memorable phrase—creating form and substance where perhaps there would be nothing."

143- Entropy and decay as a central concept. Broch: the unity of events and the integrity of the world is sustained by symbols. [Cf. Shelley's notions in "The Defence of Poetry"—JAGL]. Artifice has a central role.

144- There is a paradoxical tension between mimeticism and artifice in Joyce: stream of consciousness, plus parody and formalization: "he has a modern recognition not only that reality is always mediated by consciousness but that consciousness itself is an artificer in constantly making something of the formless flux of experience, inventing images and chains of connection to give it shape and substance." There is an excessive elaboration of artifice in Joyce, which is significant: it is the only reality.

145- A tension between ordered structures and the flow of experience. [Cf. the situation in games, in law...] 

147- The threat of the void in Joyce and in Biely. The relationship to history changes:

148-  the self-conscious novel is related to a feeling of apocalypse. The imagination of history, progressively unfolding in society can no longer hold. Writers of Revelation: although it is not a general equation, but only a tendency.

149- Self-consciousness as a way of affirming the integrity of the work, against a background of chaos. A sense of mortality and fading permeates scenic description in Virginia Woolf, through her protagonists' consciousness.

151- But consciousness is artifice for Joyce, and art for Woolf: there is no attempt to render its texture more poetic; it is formalized, and calls attention to its states as poetry.

153- Virginia Woolf as a transitional figure, balancing the claims of history and self-consciousness, drawing attention to her own art as self-justified, and to reality.

154- Cervantes, Sterne or Diderot are more aware that fictions are the only reality. Unamuno's Niebla is less impressive as fiction, but the ontological paradox (a character facing his author) is interesting. It is strictly self-conscious, not a mixed mode like Joyce's or Woolf's works. A paradoxical ambivalence between the reality / fictionality / autonomy of the character.

155- Life appears here as a dream: the author is also under the illusion of autonomous existence.

156- The world as chaos or order: only man puts logic in it. "Unamuno suggests here that what art must do is embody randomness as an essential principle in its own operations."

157- A relation in the 20th c. novel (Ford, Durrell) to alternative endings. Naboko, Fowler: randomness is introduced into the plot, which was the traditional area of necessity.

158- In Mist, again,  reflections on fiction are an essential moment, and the creation of paradoxes is pushed to the limit. All verbalization is (for Unamuno) falsification: parody is the only solution.

2. Gide and the Confidence Game of Fiction.

160- Gide's The Caves of the Vatican is more original than The Counterfeiters, which is "a not altogether happy mingling of narrative modes or aesthetic premises. It is self-defeating: Édouard's Journal is conventional [¿¿¿¿!!! —but its placing in the novel is not—JAGL.]. There is no split of self into the dialectic of literary creation; there is "too much direct playing out of fantasy versions of the self." Self-gratifying homosexual fantasies are not subjected to the rigours of artistic criticism.

161- the problem of the autonomy of the character is not solved. The Counterfeiters is interesting but flawwed; character's don't go anywhere. Caves of the Vatican includes successful composite parodies; a genine doubling of characters, with antithetical pairs acting dialectically.

162- The subject is the difference between the real world and our representations (a subject announced but not realized in The Counterfeiters). Julien vs. Lafcadio, a conventional novelist vs. quirky anti-literature. But Lafcadio finds himself trapped in conventional novelistic behaviour, in a crime novel.

163- Cervantesque doublings, change of roles, etc.

165- An inversion of the Quixotic model: Lafcadio tries to impose a self-validating code above models and conventions—but conforms unwittingly to them.

166- Game is a key concept here. Lafcadio is a gamer, but is caught in the novelist's game of coincidences in the plot. The playful attitude of Gide's sotie favours aesthetic success.

168- Characters are made come to life through distance and ironic obliquity. Distance is taken from confessional literature.

169- Games with characters' names evince them as verbal constructs.

170- A vertigo of masks; reality appears as dubious. There is in Les Caves du Vatican a modern sense of the instability of character and reality. Fictional conventional devices are tried on, adopted at last, as no less true than Lafcadio's dream of absolute freedom.

175- A problematic relationship between cliché and reality.

177- Iconoclasm of Modernism: e.g. the use of parody not only as reaction but also as a form of enlivening high art with the emotional power of popular fiction. The novel is a continuous tradition of parody. A daring probing of the resources of imagination is also necessary in the self-conscious novel. Gide is too parodic, does not show enough commitment. Nabokov offers a more coherent program for the self-consciousn novel, and shows the way for the novel the second half of the 20th century.

6. Nabokov's Game of Worlds

180- "Nabokov is the preeminent practitioner of partial magic in the novel, from Cervantes' days down to our own"—though not the greatest, he is the most self-conscious about self-consciousness.

181- He shows a whole spectrum of self-consciousness and also some inherent limitations of this mode of fiction.

182- Characters in Nabokov are often flattened by the design. Best works: The Gift, Invitation to a Beheading, Lolita and Pale Fire. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, like Unamuno's Mist, is more intersting for its theory than for its realized fiction.

"If the self-conscious novel tends on one side to excessive cerebrality, to an ascetic avoidance of the pungent juices of ordinary fictional life, it tends on the other side to an unchecked playfulness that may become self-indulgent". There is a tendency in Nabokov to play games with himself.

184- Where best, his self-consciousness and games collaborate with the living personality of characters.

186- The sin of Nabokov criticism: to assume that intricacy of pattern is enough of a sign of a masterful imaginative achievement. Pale Fire is an experiment into magical and probing functions of language.

187- Due to their awareness of themselves, self-conscious novels tend to reproduce themselves en abyme, "illuminating their devious narrative ways with small replicas of the innovative structure of the whole." There are ubiquitous reflections in Nabokov's novels (emblems, infinite regressions, etc. referring to the novel) —all tightly tied up with the inner life of the protagonists.

192- "The pale fire of art, in the usual view, reflects the sum of reality, but we also see it here become its own sun."

194- Ambiguous status of the difference between truth and fiction; we do not know what is supposed to be true within the framework of the novel—Alter warns that we should be careful when doing such divisions; vs. simplistic conclusions.

195- Alphabetically determined patterns—which here make thematic sense.

202- An antithesis between the two kinds of poets  in Pale Fire (Popean / Shakespearean); references, etc.

209 - The authorial consciousness never falters (unlike Durrell's Alexandria Quartet) , etc.;

214- it is used to show "how a fiction based on the dynamic of fiction-making can address itself not merely to the paradoxes of the writer's craft but to the ambiguities of the human condition."

215- Kimbote's and his own creation became real, more than puppets: the fictional world of Pale Fire is not discarded the way it was in Invitation.

217- "We do not surrender the imagination, but on our way to this ultimate point [the end of Pale Fire] we have come to see the drastic costs and limits of living by it alone."

7. The Inexhaustible Genre

218- The baring of the artifice has become more common over the past two decades [1955-75] —it is not a school, however. (Alter gives some authors' names).

219- There is self-conscious cinema, too: Fellini, Antonioni, Resnais, Godard.

220- Our culture is turned upon itself, examining its own roots and patterns, "a kind of Faust at the mirror of Narcissus". Self-awareness, which is growing, is both a paralyzing and a liberating force. It lends itself to analytical criticism;

221- and it has a deceptive appearance in making novels sound more profound and significant.

222- Some of them lack in sense of human experience (e.g. Queneau's Exercises de Style) —criticism need not make excessive claims for playful writing. It is a temptation for the self-conscious novelist to content himself with textual experiment (Robbe-Grillet, Coover...)—virtuous and arid. A complementary fault: "to give free rein to every impulse of invention or fictional contrivance without distinguishing what may serve some artistic function in the novel and what is merely silly or self-indulgent" (e.g. in Flann O'Brien).

223- According to O'Brien's the self-conscious novel is, according to himself, "a self-evident sham to wheich the reader can regulate at will the degree of his credulity"—too simple a theory.

224- The self-conscious novel is not a sham, but an artifice which is not self-evident, but cunningly and ambiguously revealed.The reader does not regulate it, the writer tries to regulate the reader's credulity, challenging him to participation, forcing re-examination.  O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds is tedious, there is no tension in the fiction. 

225- Alter defends attention to reality, vs. voguish self-consciousness, vs. arid exercises and indiscriminate invention. But the flaunting of the artifice is a valued and powerful device in many novels: Alter values Nabokov and Beckett, Barth and Coover.  

226- This helps focus the issue of the 'death of the novel'. Alter rejects Barth's  notion of a  'literature of exhaustion'  extracting new energy from its own exhaustion; this is an elitist and minimalist conception.

227- Borges is not a novelist, but a fabulist. The novel requires lived experience.

228-  But Alter favours his theory of meaning and reading: books are a mode of interaction and relationship; books grow in meaning with tradition. (See e.g. in Borges "Kafka y sus precursores").

229- Artistic possibilities are inexhaustible; each work grows up more. 

230- Vs. Coover on the contemporary exhaustion of reality, and on novelists turning into fabulists; on the the end of the humanistic world view, etc...  No, Alter says. Beckett and Nabokov are comic rather than cosmic writers; both are novelists rather than fabulists.

231- There is no move away from history now, as claimed by Coover, "unless the novel is really dead, the one thing it ultimately cannot dispense with is history".

232- "Perhpas the most reliable index to whether a piece of self-conscious fiction is closed off from life is whether it tends to diminish the actuality of personal and historical time" (as happens with Robbe-Grillet, Queneau...)

233-  Although Jealousy  is OK because it is psychologically motivated.

[!!!! —Alter's theory of self-conscious writing is far behind that of his French contemporaries, e.g. Ricardou.]

234- Queneau's Le Chiendent is also OK—a  [self-begetting fiction is the term Alter needs], a meditation on the paradoxes of being and nonbeing in life and in fiction.  Language is the art medium most steeped in memory, both public and private.

235- "Language through its layeer upon layer of associations opens up complex vistas of time, and these tend to reveal—ultimately for cultures, imminently for individuals—loss, decline, and extinction. The continuous acrobatic display of artifice in a self-conscious novel is an enlivening demonstration of human order against a background of chaos and darkness, and it is the tension between artifice and that which annihilates artifice that gives the finest self-conscious novels their urgency in the midst of play." Death impelling writers into the supreme affirmation of art. 

236- Art vs. the void: Sartre's Nausea is programmatic, but even works free from existentialism use this tension (e.g. Fielding); or the desire for the suppression of war: wishful thinking of imagination into history?

237- "The age-old impulse of the storyteller bespeaks a basic human need to imagine out of history a fictional order of fulfillment, but when the narrative is a novel and not a fairy tale, one is also made aware of the terrible persistence of history as a murderous realm of chaos constantly challenging or violating the wholeness that art can imagine." Vs. the notion of "exhaustion"; there is often a continuity with the past masters of self-conscious fiction; it is not more difficult now to write a great novel than at other moments.

238- The self-consciousness of our culture is more pronounced—self-consciousness of craft and of the relationship fiction/life.

239- Mauriac's La Marquise: a "sense of the writer's predicament as a perennial, not peculiarly modern, difficulty"—facing fiction, always an invented world; "alittérature" as an intrinsic problematic for Mauriac (the coiner of the term).

240- Literature as a constant drive to escape being "just" literature. Good self-conscious fiction does not merely shrug away its fiction, but affirms artifice too as a means, perhaps the only way to get at a whole range of real human experience. 

241- The baring of the artifice in La Marquise: a play with artifice but with a consciousness "two concentric abysses beneath the artifice of the novel"; 

242- —a consciousness of language as soaked with time, and and of the brevity of human life, etc.

243- Words as the only permanence, a dubious one; the self-conscious novel is paradoxically concerned with a long meditation on death, a subject sidestepped by myth, folk tale, fable and romance. The realist novel also sidesteps death insofar as it is a dream of omnipotence. The novel is born when literature begins to mediate on death. [??]

244-  "I suspect death in the novel might be a more serious focus for serious discussion of the genre than the death of the novel." 

245- The self-conscious novel as a "mirror held to the mirror of art held to nature"; a necessary operation for a skeptical culture nevertheless addicted to fabulation. The novel is not exhausted as novelistic self-consciosness develops: "On the contrary, in the hands of gifted writers it comes to seem precisely our most precisely fashioned instrument for joining imagined acts and figures with real things."




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Miércoles, 22 de Junio de 2016 00:11. José Ángel García Landa Enlace permanente. Literatura y crítica

La guerra civil como moda literaria. 1ª parte

sábado, 30 de mayo de 2015

La guerra civil como moda literaria. 1ª parte

David Becerra, de la Fundación de Estudios Marxistas (y no digo más) habla sobre la República en la literatura, y especialmente en La noche de los tiempos de Muñoz Molina. Le pongo esta apostilla:

Dice David Becerra que no había ninguna situación prerrevolucionaria en la República. Se "olvida" de que aunque el PCE era pequeño, Largo Caballero y Prieto eran revolucionarios admiradores de la Unión Soviética (el Lenin español, se llamaba a sí mismo Largo Caballero). Que el PSOE ayudó a montar y luego se desentendió de la Revolución de Asturias, contra la República. Que el Frente Popular se presentó como abiertamente revolucionario. Etc. Son cosas sabidas. Pero quien está decidido a no enterarse, nunca se enterará. ¡Y aún tiene el cuajo de hablar de historia "revisionista"!

Por supuesto la novela de Muñoz Molina tiene una altura y calidad muy por encima de la idea que aquí se da de ella, y una visión mucho más desencantada y realista de la República y del frente popular. No se la pierdan.

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Stevenson y Olalla

viernes, 29 de mayo de 2015

Stevenson y Olalla (Stevenson and Olalla)

Una nota sobre el relato de Robert Louis Stevendon ’Olalla’, en el que algunos de los elementos de la trama se interpretan desde un punto de vista psicoanalítico en tanto que proyecciones y transformaciones de las angustias personales del autor relativas al matrimonio, la progenie, la enfermedad y la mortalidad.

Stevenson y Olalla
olalla picture