Literature and Theatre

Max Scheler's phenomenological tradition and Mikhail Bakhtin's development from 'Toward a philosophy of the act' to his study of Dostoevsky
Brian Poole

Rumour has it that Bakhtin scholars persist in adding water to the good wine. The author demonstrates the relevance of this material for Bakhtin's 'early works' and his study of Dostoevsky. In view of the (current) impossibility of dating Bakhtin's early works external with evidence, only an analysis of the sources Bakhtin collected in 1926-27 and corresponding internal textual evidence can clarify Bakhtin's assimilation and application of Scheler's thought and phenomenological tradition. The author returns to the issue of dating Bakhtin's texts on internal evidence towards the end of this chapter. The emphatic sense of 'dialogue' and linguistic terminology in general are largely absent in Bakhtin's 'Author and hero in aesthetic activity' and 'Toward a philosophy of the act'. The ideas developed in Bakhtin's early works and applied to Dostoevsky in 1929 inaugurate a truly innovative approach to narrative with anthropological and sociological implications still in need of development.

in Bakhtin and Cultural Theory
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Shakeshafte and the Jesuits
Richard Wilson

William Shakeshafte, a player kept by the Hoghtons, was expanded by Ernst Honigmann in his 1985 book Shakespeare: The 'Lost Years', and now appears substantiated. If William Shakespeare assumed the name of Shakeshafte, commentators infer, he was reverting to the style of his fathers, as this had been one variant used by his grandfather Richard. Shakespeare evidently read Popish Impostures because of its attacks on the memory of his own 'ghostly fathers', for if he was Shakeshafte, he had himself been one of those very 'children of pride' who acted a part for these Jesuits, who 'made them so giddy-headed with their holy charms and dreadful fumigations'. While every other dramatist gravitated towards the metropolitan centre, research suggests that Shakespeare made his isolated way through the Marches to the wildest corner of the Tudor kingdom.

in Secret Shakespeare
The legacy of the postmodern
Linda Hutcheon

Two opposing impulses clashed in the late twentieth century writing of the cultural history of the postmodern. On the one hand, as John Frow asked so presciently in 1990, "what was postmodernism?" Terry Eagleton and Christopher Norris were among the many who confirmed the pastness of the tense by declaring the postmodern not only over but also a failure. With the benefit of hindsight, we can certainly look back and watch the usage of the word "postmodern" spread across domains, from architecture to literature and philosophy, and from there to other art forms and "human sciences." As Seyla Benhabib put it, postmodernism "in its infinitely skeptical and subversive attitude toward normative claims, institutional justice and political struggles, is certainly refreshing. Ajay Heble took up this critique to argue that the value of postmodern theory's suspicion of truth-claims and its denaturalizing and demystifying impulses had been compromised by its very institutionalization.

in Postmodernism. What Moment?
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McKenzie Wark

The modem was the great temptation for artists and intellectuals. It creates a positive identity by purely negative force. The modernist is the one who determines what is not modem. Time and again, intellectuals will try to assign meaning to the modern and the postmodern. With the emergence of so-called intellectual property as a private property right, intellectuals of all kinds lose their liminal status and are incorporated into the central productive processes of the commodity economy. They are no longer the servants or self-appointed leaders of other classes, but a class in their own right - the hacker class. One attempt to provide modernity with a positive content was the ideology of the information society or the postindustrial society. These quintessentially modernizing discourses attempt to abolish antagonism from the social terrain by simply declaring it obsolete.

in Postmodernism. What Moment?
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Platonic paradigms and trial by genre
Emma L. E. Rees

This chapter is an examination of the generic play in which Cavendish engages in order to fashion this key, and focuses on what it unlocks. The focus here is on Cavendish's manipulation of generic expectations for political means, and her witty adaptation of Platonic conceptions of genre and the social utility of the literary, in the construction of the collection of ideal forms found in Heavens Library. The criteria for grouping and assessing the writers and their works are distinctly Platonic, with social influence and utility being at the top of the agenda, but co-existing with this Platonic paradigm are Cavendish's archetypal seventeenth-century literary opinions. Plato's nostalgic choice of time-frame for his Symposium allowed him tacitly to critique the Athenian regime under which the text was produced, and Cavendish too constructs a congenial assembly where, in terms of genre, the anticipated discourse is quite neutral.

in Margaret Cavendish
Anthony Mellors

For the modernists, poetry is linked with occult religion, disclosed only to those initiated into its formal rules and arcane associations. In the New Age parlance of the summer school, poetry is a mystical offering revealed to all comers. Emerson College bases its programmes on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, a key figure in the Spiritualist movement whose theories of personal growth combine occult speculation with Christianity and Green agriculture. His work was also a major influence on the pioneer of early twentieth-century Italian hermetic poetry, Arturo Onofri (1885-1928). Late modernism, then, identifies a specific, belated appropriation of high modernist culture which distinguishes it from neo avant-garde tendencies and postmodernism. As with high modernism, its aesthetic ideology is its equation of culture with nature. Late Modernism is belated because it maintains this ideology while dissociating it from Anglo-American modernism's complicity with authoritarian regimes.

in Late modernist poetics
Ernesto Laclau

When the theme of post-modernity emerged a few decades ago within our political and philosophical horizon, it was associated with a variety of dimensions. In that sense, it was more the reflection of an epochal new perceptual field than a precise theoretical stand. Theoretical attempts at capturing its meaning did not, however, take long to come forth. The perspective concerning heterogeneity has important consequences for the way we approach the question of the discursive apprehension of collective identities. The simplification of social structure under capitalism would eliminate all heterogeneity, and the final act of history would be a simple showdown between the capitalist class and the proletariat. Privileging the constitutive nature of heterogeneity and presenting homogenizing logics as always operating within that primary heterogeneous terrain has led us to invert the traditional relations of priority between concept and name.

in Postmodernism. What Moment?
Dermot Killingley

This chapter looks at the impact of evolutionary theory in late nineteenth-century India. To put the matter in its Indian context will involve looking at the institutionalisation of British cultural and educational policy towards India. The chapter argues that as Western evolutionary thought was encountered by late-nineteenth-century Hindu thinkers, whose Hinduism was inflected by emergent Indian nationalistic aspirations, the result was far more complex. Nevertheless, in the last three decades of the nineteenth century the name of Darwin, together with the key word 'evolution', became a familiar part of Indian discourse in English. The chapter explores the speculative assimilation of evolutionary theory, both pre-Darwinian and post-Darwinian, in nineteenth-century Hindu culture. Vivekananda also exploited the difficulties which Christian thinkers had with Darwinism. If, however, as seems evident, the name of Darwin came to dominate Indian evolutionary discourse, the explanation may lie in the need for a source of revelation.

in Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species
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Feminism, modernity and myth
Conor Carville

The work of Julia Kristeva has played a central role in recent Irish criticism, particularly amongst feminist critics. As with Benjamin, and Gibbons and Lloyd in his wake, psychic time is counterpointed with 'the time of history', and the former privileged over the latter. This chapter considers in more detail the fortunes of the notion of myth in recent Irish cultural criticism and in particular the way it functioned as a lightning-rod for debates around feminism, modernism and political violence in the mid-1980. It shows the way in which the discussion of myth centered on an important distinction between the universal and the particular the consequences of which are still being played out. Making a useful comparison between Kristeva's 'hollow universalism' and the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Cecilia Sjöholm provides a cognate example of the way in which Kristeva's work might be seen to deploy the universal.

in The ends of Ireland
Trevor Pateman

As a narrative, what the analysand says can be studied with the apparatus of narrative theory, the theory which is interested in things like point of view, and beginnings, middles and ends. Dreams are things to wish with, says Freud, but the wishes expressed are ones which we are not readily able to acknowledge. One important claim of Freud's is that things to dream with - the dramatis personae and props of the manifest dream - are largely taken from the residues of very recent, every-day experiences. Any scientifically interesting theory of dream-narratives must say comparably non-obvious, non-tautological things. One unresolved question is why waking free association is not blocked by anxiety. The job of the analyst is to weave together idea and feeling, thought and affect, which repression has put asunder.

in Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams