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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.

Conversión, Reinterpretación, Topsight y Retroacción

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