In search of what we’re thinking when we’re driving
not necessarily for things
entirely new and/or unheard of, but rather the pleasure of experiencing in the
flesh, and with the eyes, things known previously by description and in the imagination. As already observed, such mental preparation may be seen as being against
the spirit of phenomenology which, in its earliest incarnations at least, insisted
upon an ‘unprejudiced’ intuition of that which presents itself to consciousness.15
For other philosophers such as Ernst Bloch, however, all anticipatory consciousness should be embraced for its utopian potential (both
Sustainability, subject and necessity in Yann Martel’s Life of
and the speculative real. I then turn to considering Life of Pi’s emphasis
on a human-centred stance, alongside its apparent recalibrating of the
subject horizon as a sustainable world is engendered.
Sustainability and the human project
A number of sustainability’s tensions and paradoxes and their nuances
have been teased out across the essays in this collection. This final essay
considers sustainability from the perspective of opacity itself. That is, it
addresses the issue that sustainability is premised upon projected notions
that are variously indistinct or
vehemently than Olson’s aversion to logic and classification – which
in ‘Human Universe’ the poet considered tools bequeathed by the
Greeks that, by the twentieth century, have become habits of thought
‘absolutely interfere[ing]’ with action – Curtius nonetheless criticizes the
discipline of literary history and the ‘catalogue-like knowledge of facts’
by which it proceeds (CPr, 156).9 Instead of mining the literary past for
facts and details, he proposes that literary scholars engage in a ‘phenomenology of literature’.10 By his account, the future of
the work might be staged. The theatre phenomenologist Stanton B. Garner provides an articulate defence for my position in Bodied Spaces: Phenomenology and Performance in Contemporary Drama :
Unlike a specific performance event (or its description), the dramatic text deals with the actual in its possible manifestations […] In this sense, the dramatic text effects a version of the epoche or ‘reduction’, whereby phenomenology suspends awareness of the object’s actual existence in one place and one time in order to disclose this actuality in its own parameters
at a distance’, p. 3.
30 When Wani’s companion, Martine, disparages the Merchant-Ivory adaptation
of A Room with a View, Nick replies that ‘everyone is in evening dress all the
time these days aren’t they’. Hollinghurst, Line of Beauty, p. 187.
31 Jasbir K. Puar, Terrorist Assemblages (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007),
32 Rebecca Walkowitz, Cosmopolitan Style (New York: Columbia University
Press, 2006), p. 13.
33 Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006),
34 I draw here on Walkowitz’s discussion of Kazuo
write about what makes us feel at ease may mean exploring psychic investments or
somatic modes of perception that seem highly individualised but that often carry
familiar patterns – as described over the years by various strands of psychoanalysis
and phenomenology. The question is how we can put into an academic language
some of the subtleties of how and why we might be drawn to some people and
places, and not others. And how might this shift around as a new sense of subjectivity emerges in relation to our location? What new languages of interiority
phenomenology of text’ against the circumspect didacticism
of carefully mechanised spacing and line breaks. Explaining the editorial methodology behind Volume Three, Butterick says ‘the important
thing was a manuscript had to be retrievable; it had to be legible’. If a
document considered for inclusion was handwritten, ‘it had to be able
to be transcribed with certainty, not only as far as individual words were
concerned, but also the poet’s intended order of lines and sections’.7 The
poem shortly under inspection defies this certainty.
Furthermore, the pedagogical aspect of
’s Being and Time, in the connection it posits between death and
Being, offers a striking parallel to the connection between meaning and
death made by critics of Heart of Darkness. Whilst Brooks, for example,
doesn’t mention Heidegger by name, his interest in ‘the problem of
temporality: man’s time-boundedness, his consciousness of existence
within the limits of mortality’ describes elements of Being and Time
closely.9 Heidegger’s phenomenology works through the implications of
man’s (or in his more speciﬁc term Dasein’s) consciousness of his own
existence, reﬁgured as a
: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 29.
Introduction: Marlow, realism, hermeneutics
53 Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil, p. 352.
54 Dermot Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology (London: Routledge, 2000)
55 Heidegger, On The Way to Language, p. 29.
56 Richard E. Palmer, ‘The Liminality of Hermes and the Meaning of Hermeneutics’, MacMurray College Homepage <http://www.mac.edu/faculty/
richardpalmer/liminality.html> (2001) [Accessed 23 April 2006]
57 Barthes, S/Z, p. 15.
from a language that he did not yet know
how to read.18 He overrode social, national, and cultural difference with
a claim of human presence: sheer Being authenticated his insight, fuelled
by ‘my abhorrence of modern academicism’.19 It was phenomenology
Olson’s desires to reject (or to transcend) both the academic and
the technocratic were intensified by this expedition. By disparaging
those experts whom he assumed lacked feeling for place or situation,
Olson resisted their expertise. By the primal authenticity of his antiacademicism, he sought a