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Volume 2

contributors this issue Jason Cohen Faculty Director Featuring articles by Laura Strout • Rachael Isom • Mike Strumpf • Brittany Collins • Brent Rowley

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Troubled Eyes: Reading Madness in The Dutchess of Malfi Laura Strout


H.D.’s “Helen”: Contemplating the Classics and Confronting Poe Rachael Isom

9 - 12

How Quickly Nature Falls Into Revolt: On Revisiting Shakespeare’s Genres Mike Strumpf

13 - 18

The Universal Panopticon: Julius as Authority Figure in Charles Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman and Other Conjure Tales Brittany Collins

19 - 24

Simulated Histories: The Consequences of Reading Being and Time in Light of Origins of Totalitarianism Brent Rowley

25 - 29

Troubled Eyes Reading Madness in The Duchess of Malfi By Laura Strout


Madness has always fascinated audiences; this is one of the few facts about madness upon which literary critics agree. From the wild speeches of King Lear and the guilt-sickened cries of Lady MacBeth, to the hordes of Londoners who visited Bedlam each year to see its inhabitants, madness’s allure has been enduring. Even today, such as “A Beautiful Mind” use a romanticized combination of genius and insanity to draw crowds. However, while madness remains consistently intriguing throughout the centuries, the reason why it is fascinating changes, as do the ways in which it is perceived and understood. In his influential work, A History of Madness in Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, Michel Foucault describes the transition from an early modern perception of madness to a new understanding of madness emerging in the seventeenth-century with the Age of Reason. He argues that madness is a familiar figure on the early modern landscape; it is present on the stage and in the world. Madness was a voice through which early modern writers described imbalances of anger, ambition, jealousy, and lust, as well as the anxiety that such imbalances could arise in anyone. Madness is a part of everyone’s inner world in the early modern period. However, Foucault suggests that in the mid-seventeenth century there is a decisive transition in the conceptualization of madness: the mad figure is confined and distanced from the viewer, becoming a spectacle that is placed outside of the self.

and blankness, again through imagery of the eyes and of sight; this time, the eyes are either inoperative or utterly overwhelmed. The madman, a symbol of rampant subjectivity unguided by reason, must be placed outside the self. It cannot be understood or made useful in this social climate of rationality of the seventeenth-century and therefore becomes a meaningless chasm against which the sane self is defined.

In Foucault’s mind, the early modern period allowed madness to roam unconfined, visible to the social eye. This public’s openness to seeing and experiencing madness, whether it be a madman who lived in town or on the stage, was a result of a specific outlook on madness and the self. The prevailing medical thought of the day was that madness, or any pain, came from an imbalance of the four humors: blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm. Intimately connected with the humors were the passions, which “Arose from combinations of humoral substance and quality” (Paster 65). In Madness and Drama in the age of Shakespeare, Duncan Salkeld lists six passions: love, hatred, desire, aversion, joy, and sorrow, each of which is connected to certain functions and humors in the body. Madness was described as an excess of one of these passions or humors. Susan James writes that the passions, and by extension the humors, were “Forces that are at once extremely powerful and actually or potentially beyond our control” (Paster 11). This appreciation of madness as an imbalance in the body not fully under a At the very moment of this transition that Foucault suggests person’s command suggests that it could potentially happen enters The Duchess of Malfi, rife with images and language to anyone. Madness was, to some extent, already a part of of madness. This play by John Webster was penned in the the early modern person. Here Foucault details the transition year 1613, a late moment in the early modern period. It from a pervasive, omnipresent view of madness to an is therefore an important artifact in the transition between isolated, confined one: an early modern concept of madness and the way it was imagined in the Age of Reason. By examining two aspects In the Renaissance, madness was present of madness in The Duchess of Malfi, that of faulty sight and everywhere and mingled with every experience that of humoral imbalance, it becomes apparent that this by its images or its dangers. During the classical play is a collision of competing understandings of madness. period, madness was shown, but on the other Is madness something that reveals truth and dwells within, or side of bars; if present, it was at a distance, is it something that is the equivalent of unreason in the Age under the eyes of a reason that no longer felt of Reason-nothingness? Operating largely within an early any relation to it and that would not compromise modern mindset, madness (specifically as delusion and as itself by too close a resemblance. Madness had theater) repeatedly offers insight and even prophecy in this become a thing to look at: no longer a monster play. The volatile and erroneous subjectivity of the madman inside oneself. (70) is of value, containing truth and a form of knowledge for all people. Even as it is unreasonable, it creates a collective Social space and architecture become important in Foucault’s subjectivity amongst early modern individuals. Webster narrative of madness’s re-conceptualization in the social also presents the emerging image of madness as unreason eye. The madman as a character who speaks truth is pulled


down from the stage and set up in a mental institution with windows through which spectators can gawk. Foucault’s description of such hospitals, like Bethlehem in England, is a horrifying image of naked men and women chained to cold stone walls. The attitudes of the caretakers are monstrous in his account, as the explanation for such treatment was often that the state of madness was akin to bestiality: because the body was like that of an animal, it did not want the same warmth and comfort that a sane body would. In Distracted Subjects: Madness and Gender in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture, Carol Neely recoils from what she describes as an overly dismal image of confinement, arguing instead that the mad were treated far better than Foucault describes, except in a few specific instances. Wherever the truth lies in this battle of historical narratives, it is clear nonetheless that confinement of the insane became much more common as the seventeenth century progressed and contributed to the move from the madman’s visibility in one period to the expectation for confinement implicit in this quote from Jeremy Collier, a man of the late seventeenth century: “Such people [the mad] ought to be kept in dark rooms and without company. To shew them, or let them loose, is somewhat unreasonable” (Salkeld 11). In order to read the word madness in The Duchess of Malfi we must first come to terms with the dizzying variety of meanings that haunt the word “madness” in the early modern period. Duncan Salkeld points out that the words, “Folly,” “frenzy,” “fury,” “imagination,” “fancy,” “frantic,” and “fantasy” are all included under the overarching word “madness,” and each of these words has specific connotations that drive its meaning in a hundred different directions. It is possible, however, to trace the threads of specific aspects of madness throughout The Duchess of Malfi to see how they are operating in response to Foucault’s narrative of madness. One such strand is that of madness as delusion, as believing in and accepting what is false for what is true. This is one of the ways that Foucault describes madness: “Madness is the purest, most total form of quid pro quo; it takes the false for the true, death for life, man for woman” (33). This description of madness correlates to the Oxford English Dictionary’s first definition of the word: “Imprudence, delusion, or (wild) foolishness resembling insanity.” Delusion seems an apt descriptor of this sort of madness, where the madman believes with certainty the opposite or something other than what is actually the case. Webster works out this concept of madness as delusion

through the faulty mechanism of sight. The link between madness and sight is established early on in the play. After the Duchess offers Antonio, her steward and future husband, a ring to help his eyesight, he responds, “You have made me stark blind” (1.1.402). “Stark” blindness suggests that the couple is so consumed by their love that they cannot see the pain and the horror that will come as a result of their marriage. The pairing of words here is especially interesting as “stark” is more often associated with madness than blindness. The phrase “Stark mad” appears twice in the play. By linking it here with “blind” instead, Webster sets up a parallel between madness and blindness that permeates the entirety of this work. Writing of madness in the Age of Reason, Foucault asserts that blindness is “One of the words which comes closest to the essence of classical [seventeenth-century] madness” (105). Webster creates a distinction, however, between a blindness that is seeing incorrectly and apart from what is “true,” and a blindness that sees nothing at all. In this play we see that while delusion sees something, dazzlement sees nothing, and it is in this distinction that Webster explores the competing early modern and seventeenth-century models of madness. The eyes may be, as K. H. Ansari points out in his work, John Webster: Image Patterns and Canon, “A symbol of understanding and insight” (173) and “An index of the state of the heart,” (172) in the Duchess of Malfi, but in this case such metaphors are only set up in order to be undermined. Deception through sight is the Lord of Misrule in this play, where believing one’s eyes is madness. The Duchess, imprisoned by her brothers, is tricked into thinking that her family is dead by a dead hand and a false image. Bosola commands her, “Look you, here’s the piece from which ‘twas ta’en” and points to a tableau of figures constructed out of wax to look like Antonio and the children lying dead (4.1.55). In another instance of faulty sight, Bosola, thinking that Antonio is someone else, accidentally slays “The man I would have saved ‘bove mine own life” (5.4.53). Later, trying to explain this mistake, he says he was “In a mist: I know not how; / Such a mistake as I have often seen / In a play” (5.5.3-5). Yet another example of sight’s duplicity is Ferdinand’s exclamation at seeing the Duchess’s “dead” body: “Cover her face. Mine eyes dazzle. She died young” (4.2.254). These words fall like lead, so solemn and final a moment of narration that they ring off the page like a death knell. But, as Bosola finds out only lines later, the Duchess is


not quite dead yet. She awakens for a moment to ask about her husband and children before sinking permanently into death. Ferdinand is not present for this part, so he is never aware that when he thought she was dead she was actually alive. This deception may seem unimportant in the play as Ferdinand’s belief that she is dead eventually coincides with reality, and yet it is truly the difference between life and death. He believes the same thing whether she is alive or dead. Sight fails again and again. A mist deceives Bosola. The Duchess is tricked by her brothers through an image. It would be most accurate to say that Ferdinand is deceived by Webster himself in his construction of the Duchess’s death. Repeatedly Webster forces the audience to confront the inherently deceptive nature of theater and more generally, the problem with a posteriori knowledge itself-it is circumstantial and reliant upon faulty perception. This questioning of what a person can truly know through experience reveals the influence that Renaissance thinker Michel Eyquem de Montainge had on Webster’s work. Montaigne is associated with Pyrrhonism, a set of philosophical beliefs that denied that man could know “Absolute truths of the universe or his own existence, through the use of either his reason or his senses” (Whitman 173). It is obvious from the deception inherent In The Duchess of Malfi that Webster shared Montaigne’s suspicion that nothing learned through experience can be trusted to reveal truth.

character, even if they do not understand it as such at the time. This appreciation for madness as a vision of falsehood that becomes truth describes what Foucault categorizes as an early modern appreciation of madness. Madness has the power of revelation. At the same time, these reversals also point out the circumstantial nature of believing what is true; unnervingly, believing the truth has nothing to do with human perception, which consistently fails, and everything to do with coincidence and the author’s whim.

Madness as sight, as deception, and ultimately as truth is not the only form of madness as blindness that is present in the play. Cariola’s dialogue with the Duchess exposes another possible understanding of the blindness that is madness. She asks “What think you of, madam? The Duchess replies, “Of nothing: / When I muse thus, I sleep.” Cariola responds, “Like a madman, with your eyes open” (4.2.14-17)? Madmen, then, are people whose eyes are open, but who do not see. Again madness is a failure of sight, but this time rather than being simply deception where sight works against the spectator and suggests to them the wrong idea, sight is utterly inoperative. The eyes are open, things should be seen, and yet the open eyes belong to one who sleeps and therefore is incognizant of the incoming stimuli. The eyes are like the “Dead walls” that “yield no echo” Bosola describes at the end of the play (5.5.96, 97). We gain a specific understanding of how madness is perceived by It is important to notice, however, that a pattern develops Cariola in these words, as she suggests that the mad, while throughout this play in relation to madness and the awake and looking about, are actually still sleeping. With deception it works upon the viewer. In two of the moments their open eyes they are unable to see truth and reason as of deception already described, characters are deluded the sane do. To adopt the language of Foucault, this is the into thinking the opposite of what is true only for the play Age of Reason’s discourse about madness. to fulfill the falsehood later on, turning it into a truth. The Duchess sees the bodies of Antonio and her children that This incognizant gaze is similar to the Duke’s dazzlement at have been created to fool her, to lead her into a form of the sight of his “dead” sister (“Mine eyes dazzle”), as both madness where the opposite of what is perceived is true, are forms of un-sight rather than delusion. The Oxford English and she believes they are dead. At this moment she is mad. Dictionary defines the word “dazzle” as both “To overpower, She takes, to echo Foucault, death for life. And yet as the confuse, or dim (the vision), esp. with excess of brightness,” play progresses this madness becomes truth: Antonio and and, “To overpower or confound (the mental faculties).” Both her children are killed before the curtains fall. The same of these definitions were used during the period in which this thing happens in the case of Ferdinand’s mistaken belief play was penned, so in the word “dazzle” madness and that his sister is dead. Ferdinand is mad, believing what is blindness are again united. The Duke’s are eyes that are alive to be dead. The Duchess, after rallying our hopes that open, but, like the Duchess’s sleeping gaze, see nothing. she will live, does in fact die. This construction of deception In this case too much light effectually blinds them. This is followed by an undoing of that deception in terms of the different from the deception described previously. There plot makes madness akin to prophecy. Madness becomes the madman sees something, even if that something is not a glimpse of distant truth for the audience and for the what is correct. Here the madman opens his eyes and is

overwhelmed. He sees nothing. The image of madness as sightless eyes and nothingness points strongly toward the new perspective of madness emerging with the Age of Reason. Foucault, speaking of dazzlment as madness, writes, “Dazzled reason opens its eyes upon the sun and sees nothing, that is, does not see” (108). Where madness once had a million faces of falseness in deception, now, placed in a system dominated by reason, it cannot function or even exist in a way that is understandable. The Duchess says that she is thinking “Of nothing,” and nothing is one of the words that best describes the blank un-reason madness evolves into as the seventeenth century progresses. But is the Duchess really thinking/seeing nothing in this moment? The presence of tears in her eyes does not sit comfortably with the idea of total emptiness of mind. That the Duchess is seeing nothing is questioned by a decontextualized reading of Cariola’s line “Like a madman, with your eyes open?” This line is isolated on the page, suggesting coyly yet another reading of madness in this moment. Read in isolation, the line, “Like a madman, with your eyes open?” suggests that madness is the purest form of sight. To be a madman is to have one’s eyes open and to see truth more clearly than the sane. To return to the concept of dazzlement, the madman is flooded with otherworldly insight and revelation. Where the sane call madness a failure of sight (as I have described above) madness itself can be imagined here as the opening of ones eyes where the sane person has closed them. Theater itself has often been described as madness, a deception that ultimately reveals truth, and The Duchess of Malfi offers no shortage of moments that self-consciously reflect on the stage. One of the most profound moments in which Webster comments upon the purpose and role of theater is in the scene of the Duchess’s death. Ferdinand and Bosola are not the only ones fooled by the Duchess’s fake demise. The audience too has been lead into the madness of believing the reverse of the truth. We cannot trust our own eyes as we watch the play. The Duchess looks dead. She acts dead. Ferdinand pronounces her dead. And yet, after all of these confirmations from the play itself, she is really not dead. In watching the play, the audience succumbs to the same madness that afflicts the characters. The audience must admit the possibility of its own madness, which allows for a communal sense of selfhood. All audience members must share this collective experience of madness. In a beautiful


circle, theater suggests to the audience through delusion, or madness, that they could themselves be mad. In this way theater is shown as both a form of madness and a tool of self-revelation-in Foucault’s narrative of madness, this is definitively an early modern perspective. But this is not the only instance of madness and theater being understood through each other in this play. I now turn to the parliament of fools, the performance of madmen that is meant to drive the Duchess to madness herself, but that is also described as a cure. Ferdinand, plotting to torture his sister, intends to make her mad and miserable through the madmen he will send to her: “I am resolved / To remove forth the common hospital / All the mad-folk and place them near her lodging” (4.2.124). Here is the hospital, an image so important in Foucault’s history of madness as a space that separates the madman from the rest of the world. Ferdinand has the power to “remove” and “place” the madmen wherever and whenever he wishes, suggesting that they have very little agency to move themselves. Confinement is a word that could also describe the performance within a performance of the madmen’s skit. The structure of the madmen’s performance does not afford them an opportunity to interact with the principal characters the audience has been watching all along. They are literally confined to one short moment in the play. Madness is a spectacle, as the emphasis is repeatedly put on the madmen’s “Gambols to the full o’th’moon” (4.1.126), their singing and dancing, and their “Being full of change and sport” (4.2.41-42). Madmen are funny, entertaining, and not to be taken seriously. The Duchess is the spectator who watches but who does not interact in any way with the madmen. Her first reaction after their performance is to distinguish the sane from the mad, asking as Bosola enters, “Is he mad too?” and then proceeding to question him to find out (4.2.109). This placement of madness outside of and apart from the self and watching it as a spectator suggests madness has become psychologically “other,” an image against which the sane mind defines itself. This is distinctly the Age of Reason’s imagining of madness.

Webster presents what could be understood as the Age of Reason’s conception of madness to describe one reaction to theater. The viewer can disregard it as anything other than mindless entertainment. However, although the Duchess as audience does not seem to absorb any lesson from the madmen, we the actual audience do. A specific critique appears to arise from their comments, especially toward the end of their performance. Madman 4 says, “I have pared the devil’s nails forty times, roasted them in raven’s eggs, and cured agues with them” (4.2.103-104). Madman 3 follows him, saying, “Get me three hundred milch bats, to make possets to procure sleep” (4.2.105-106). Then Madman 4 says, “All the college may throw their caps at me, I have made a soap boiler costive. It was my masterpiece” (4.2.107108). Even as a form of madness, theater offers the viewer insight. Here, early modern medicine is critiqued as foolish. The emphasis is upon the disparity present between the cure and the problem. Milch bats, while perhaps convincing as a cure coming from the lips of a physician or an old healing woman, is a ridiculous cure for sleeplessness when presented by a madman. In this way madness functions, as Neely points out, as a satire, drawing attention to what is ridiculous in society and exaggerating it. As the spectator of the madmen’s play, the audience is clued in to a specific critique Webster is making about medicine. Reflecting selfconsciously on theater through the madmen’s performance, Webster suggests that theater is something to be learned from and appreciated beyond mere entertainment.

This discussion of cures for the body coming from madmen enters into a larger discourse in this text concerning the physical and the mental. Ferdinand says he has “Cruel sore eyes,” bemoaning once again the madness constructed through blindness that drove him to have his sister killed, and yet the ridiculous physician suggests “The white of a cocatrice’s egg is present remedy” (5.2.62,63). The audience knows what Ferdinand is really suffering from and no physical ointment can effectually deal with it. Ferdinand offers a telling line early on in the play when he says, “I have this night digged up a mandrake?And I am grown mad with’t” (2.5.1,3). The mandrake was a plant that was As Carol Neely points out the metatheatricality of such thought to drive people insane if they unearthed it. Here scenes of madmen performing within plays, it is important Ferdinand is obviously employing it as a metaphor for his to examine how these madmen are received in the play discovery of his sister’s marriage, but such a reference itself. Meant only for ghoulish terror or ridiculing laughter, creates a contrast between and a transition from physical the madmen are ultimately dismissed by their audience, the causation of madness to mental causation. In context a Duchess, without thought. As a reflection on theater itself, mandrake itself causing insanity is ludicrous, as we know

that it is the Duchess’s marriage that has actually upset Ferdinand. This play moves away from physical catalyst of madness and suggests a mental one. This is not a step outside of the humoral system, rather a sophistication of that system which puts the emphasis on emotional and psychological imbalance. Another such moment is when Bosola exclaims, “Still methinks the Duchess / Haunts me! There there, ‘tis nothing but my melancholy” (5.3.337-338). His dismissal of the possibility of a haunting by explaining it away as melancholy seems like self-delusion, as he is the one who strangled the Duchess, and it is very likely that she is haunting him. Saying “There there” and explaining it away as an excess of melancholy in his body points to the manipulation of the humors and the body to mask the more likely solution-a disease of the mind brought on by guilt. This marks a transition from understanding madness as a physical ailment, an imbalance that could arise in anyone, to a psychological one, an irrationality and imbalance of the mind immensely threatening in the Age of Reason. In a complicated conceit of faulty sight and the humors, Webster works out the meaning and face of madness. At various moments madness is dead eyes, deceived eyes, diseased eyes, open eyes, overwhelmed eyes, and eyes that watch the stage. It is impossible to place Webster’s play on one side or the other of Foucault’s great divide. Instead, The Duchess of Malfi is a freeze-frame in this significant transition in the collective psyche of society. It dissects madness in the year 1613 to reveal not one understanding of madness but many and suggests a movement from a collective sense of self and subjectivity found in the public mad figure, to a more individualistic and isolated sense of subjectivity emerging with the act of placing madness outside of one’s self as something utterly alien. Ultimately this play supports Foucault’s narrative of madness, revealing images that coincide with the two conceptions of madness he describes in his history of insanity. The Duchess of Malfi is literature that captures in one moment the complexity of thought about madness people in the late early modern period facedentrenched in earlier discourses but gesturing toward and questioning the future.


REFERENCES Ansari, K. H. John Webster: Image Patterns and Canon. Delhi, Sterling Publishers: Julaluddin Rumi Publications, 1969. Print. “Dazzle, v.” Def. 2, 3. The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Web. 7 Dec. 2010. Advanced=false#. Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: a History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. New York: Vintage, 1988. Print. “Madness, N.” Def. 1. The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Web. 7 Dec. 2010. ss#. Neely, Carol Thomas. Distracted Subjects: Madness and Gender in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2004. Print. Paster, Gail Kern. Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2004. Print. Salkeld, Duncan. Madness and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare. Manchester, UK: Manchester UP, 1993. Print. Webster, John (Schriftsteller), and Brian Gibbons. The Duchess of Malfi. London: Methuen Drama, 2007. Print. Whitman, Robert F. Beyond Melancholy. John Webster and the Tragedy of Darkness. Salzburg: Inst. F. Engl. Sprache U. Literatur, Univ. Salzburg, 1973. Print.

WORKS CONSULTED Burnett, Mark Thornton. Constructing ‘monsters’ in Shakespearean Drama and Early Modern Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. Print.

Somerville, H., and Wyndham Shakespearean Tragedy. London: Richards, 197-. Print.




H.D.’s “Helen” H.D.’s “Helen”: Contemplating the Classics and Confronting Poe By Rachael Isom


Hilda Doolittle, more commonly known by the initials H.D., merges classical mythology with personal perception in “Helen,” a poetic portrait of the infamous Helen of Troy. Just as she shortens her given name to a succinct identification of only two letters, H.D. presents a compact but complete image of Helen, compressing the tradition of myth and the innovation of modernism into a poem of three short stanzas. H.D. draws from her classical knowledge and familiarity with previous poetry to place “Helen” both in the context of Greek mythology and in conversation with Edgar Allan Poe’s “To Helen.” While H.D.’s “Helen” seems to relate the classic story of Helen and appears to mimic the form of Poe’s poem, her variations in tone, metrical structure, and imagery critique these precedents and contemplate the woman Helen rather than the men who have objectified her. By choosing the famous story of Helen as her subject and the three-stanza poetic form of Poe’s work as her structure, she begs comparison to the past in order to present a truly modernist poem that renders her own perspective on tradition and gender.

ing H.D. in the Norton Anthology of American Literature, the poet immersed herself in “her favorite Greek poets” and was heavily influenced by their “Mediterranean settings” (p. 1515). Her fascination with Greek mythology, and particularly her “attract[ion] to the image of Helen... as an image of herself,” provides the background knowledge to write poems such as “Helen” (Loeffelholz 2007, p. 1515). H.D. alludes to the story of Helen throughout her poem in order to establish the necessary relationship between her work and Homer’s. The title, “Helen,” is H.D.’s first indication of the subject matter of her work. She relies on the fame, or perhaps infamy, of Helen of Troy to create instant association with the story she wishes to revise. Her inclusion of “Greece” in each stanza confirms that the Helen of the title is indeed the kidnapped queen of Homer’s Iliad (H.D. 1924, lines 1, 6, 12). H.D.’s (1924) final identifying allusion appears in the second line of the final stanza, referring to Helen as “God’s daughter, born of love” (line 13). This epithet evokes Greek mythology and the legendary birth of Helen following the rape of the mortal woman Leda by the god Zeus. By including brief allusions to Homeric myth, H.D. places Before H.D. can present her take on the story of Helen of “Helen” in a classical context without allowing the poem Troy and its gender implications, she must hold her poem to be absorbed by it, building a springboard with which to up next to those views she wishes to confront and criticize. launch her own ideas about Helen’s story. T. S. Eliot, H.D.’s contemporary and fellow modernist poet, recognizes the importance and difficulty of this in his essay, H.D. is not the only poet who practices Eliot’s prescribed “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Eliot (1919) suggests attention to the classics. Even before Eliot establishes clasthat “no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning sical knowledge as a prerequisite for great poetry, Edgar alone,” and argues that such poet’s “significance, his appre- Allan Poe illustrates his knowledge of and participation in ciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets literary tradition. Poe includes multiple allusions to Homer in and artists” (p. 1582). According to Eliot (1919), no poem “To Helen” to align it with the myth of Helen in the Iliad. The can possess value if it stands apart from tradition entirely common Homeric allusions and mutual concentration on the because one must “set [its author], for contrast and compari- story of Helen of Troy automatically connect H.D.’s “Helen” son, among the dead” (p. 1582). This association is crucial and Poe’s “To Helen,” and place them in conversation with for the understanding and appreciation of H.D.’s “Helen.” If one another. However, H.D. strengthens her work’s connecshe is to satisfy Eliot’s demands of placing her poem within tion to the earlier poem of Poe through structural mimicry literature’s “idea of order” before garnering any true sig- and parallel imagery. The titles of the two poems provide the nificance for the work, H.D. must establish and explain its simplest association, making the common subject and clasthematic connections to Homer, as well as its structural and sical associations immediately apparent before they even topical ties to Poe (Eliot 1919, p. 1583). begin. Not only do the titles look alike, but the poems themselves appear similarly on the page. Obviously familiar with To place “Helen” within the appropriate literary context, Poe’s poem, H.D. shapes her poem into a form so similar H.D. must first establish a connection with the classical myth to his that it begs comparison. Both poems are composed of Helen of Troy, relying on her scholarship of the classics to of three stanzas of similar lengths, Poe’s at five lines each include enough allusions to be clear, but not so many that and H.D.’s varying from five to seven lines. However, the she drowns her interpretation in exposition. According to commonalities of these two poems do not end with structure. editor Mary Loeffelholz’s (2007) prefatory remarks regard- H.D. also borrows Poe’s statue imagery in her description of


Helen, although she does not name it as he does and presents it in a different fashion. This statue motif, along with the structure and title of “Helen,” places the poem in conversation with Poe’s “To Helen,” another rendition of a classical myth. H.D. revisits the story of Helen in order to reexamine the concept of gender in classical myth and reprove Poe’s notion of it in “To Helen.” Once H.D. places “Helen” within the context of works by Homer and Poe through topical and metrical associations, she draws attention to the important differences between her work and that of Poe. She uses the similarities in the two poems to draw out specific disparities that present her modernist viewpoint of the classical story of Helen. H.D. begins her project of contrast by comparison before penning a single line when she titles the poem “Helen.” While it only differs from Poe’s title by one small word, that deletion in H.D.’s title changes the tone of the entire poem and gives Helen more agency and power than in Poe’s “To Helen.” By including the word “to,” Poe makes the name “Helen” the object of a preposition, much like he objectifies the woman herself. Before he even begins the poem, Poe has already placed Helen in the traditional place of the female, as an object addressed by a man. While H.D. includes Helen’s name in her title to imply association with Poe?s poem, she removes “to” in order to make “Helen” the entirety of the title and critique Poe’s placement of Helen as object. H.D.’s Helen is not the auditor or the object, but the image. In this poem, the poet does not praise Helen’s beauty, but uses a more contemplative tone to consider her as more than an object, to comment on her being and her situation. H.D. uses a simple title both to provoke comparison with Poe and to reprove his objectification, but also to place her work in keeping with modernist poetry’s direct treatment of its subject matter. H.D.’s modernist tendencies also appear in the structure of “Helen.” While she mimics Poe’s stanzaic structure to promote comparison, she does not follow it exactly, deviating from tradition into modernism. In his article “The English Professor’s Dilemma,” Wallace C. Brown (1944) comments on the form of Poe’s poem, saying that “in structure the parts are tightly knit” (p. 383). Poe demonstrates his adherence to conventions of form through consistency of stanza length and meter. Each stanza includes exactly five lines, and most of the poem appears in regular iambic tetrameter. Though the rhyme scheme of each stanza differs slightly from the one before it, they follow similar patterns and rely only on

exact rhymes without the inclusion of sight rhymes or off rhymes. H.D. recognizes and rejects the tradition of Poe?s structure while maintaining enough semblance of it to inspire questions about the differences. H.D.’s “Helen” appears in three stanzas just as Poe’s “To Helen” does, but she does not confine herself to the rigid five-line structure of his stanzas. Her almost-mimicry continues in the rhyme scheme. The presence of a rhyme scheme at all is rare in modernist poetry, but H.D. includes an irregular one in this poem so as not to remove it completely from traditional works. Though she conforms slightly by including rhyme, she does not adhere to traditional meter. While Poe uses conventional iambic tetrameter, H.D. creates rhythm through meaning rather than relying upon a strict metrical pattern. Her modernist structure in “Helen” contrasts with Poe’s traditional form and prepares the way for her modern take on an ancient story. Numerous poets have participated in the conversation about Helen of Troy. According to James W. Gargano (1960) in “Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Poe “assume[s] the poet’s prerogative to reinterpret or recreate the Helen myth in terms of his own artistic disposition and needs” (p. 652). His interpretation relies on Helen as the “unifying symbol of the poem,” but it considers her in relationship to the poet (Gargano 1960, p. 652). The poet’s role in “To Helen” asserts itself in the first person pronouns of all three stanzas. In the first two lines, Poe qualifies the appraisal of Helen’s beauty by saying, “Helen, thy beauty is to me/ Like those Nicean barks of yore” (1835, lines 1-2, emphasis added). He describes the benefit of her beauty to him when he says, “Thy Naiad airs have brought me home” (Poe 1835, line 8, emphasis added). In his article “Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Warren S. Walker (1957) suggests that Poe considers Helen’s beauty on multiple levels and that “the contemplation of her beauty has brought the poet ‘home’ spiritually” (p. 491). However, while Walker (1957) recognizes the importance of Helen’s beauty, he argues that “the crux of the poem is the metaphoric function of the classical characters with whom the poet and his beloved are compared” (p. 491). Poe uses complex imagery and elaborate diction, veiling his meaning in metaphors that operate classical allusions. For Brown (1944), the “Psyche” allusion in the third stanza “illustrates Poe’s effective use of intentional ambiguity” by presenting a single word that simultaneously refers to myth, the mind, and the soul (p. 384). He also creates distance through use of


the simile when he says Helen is “[l]ike those Nicean barks the need for the inclusion of the word “statue” in the poem. of yore” and “statue-like” (Poe 1835, lines 2, 12). While H.D. (1924) describes the haunting image of these similes maintain Poe’s classical theme, Walker (1957) argues that they “do not bear a corresponding relationship the still eyes in the white face, to each other,” thus presenting a metaphor that ultimately the lustre as of olives complicates rather than condenses (p. 492). where she stands, and the white hands. (lines 2-5) While Poe’s barrage of metaphors complicates his poem to the point of ambiguity, his comparison of Helen to a statue provides a clear image that H.D. plucks from “To Helen” H.D. (1924) also uses the word “white” in the next two stanand uses in her imagist poem “Helen.” Rather than overpow- zas to describe Helen’s face and the “white ash amid funeering her poem with allusions and metaphors, H.D. presents real cypresses” (lines 9, 18). Copeland (1988) suggests that H.D. uses this “white motif” to indicate that “physical beauty a single, unified image throughout whose details paint a pichas burned out,” and that the only way Greece can stop ture of Helen as a statue and provoke contemplation of her hating Helen is if her beautiful form “is laid in death’s cold situation. In “Doolittle’s ‘Helen’,” Donna Copeland (1988) embrace” (p. 34). However, the repetition of “white” serves recognizes that “Helen’s own feelings and Greece’s reac- a greater purpose when viewed in the context of the statue tion to her are not part of the myth” that appears in classical motif rather than confining it to Copeland’s view. Greece literature (p. 34). She argues that “Hilda Doolittle has filled and male historians may hate Helen, but H.D. immortalizes that gap” between Homer’s narrative and the contemplation her both through her poem and through the conceit of the of the woman he describes and the country that comes to statue. hate her (Copeland 1988, p. 34). H.D. (1924) mentions the “past enchantments/ and past ills” always associated Not afraid to take on historians and other poets, H.D. preswith Helen, but she does so as she describes the effect their ents a new perspective on the myth of Helen. Unlike Poe, remembrance has upon Greece and Helen herself (lines 10- who describes Helen’s beauty and its ability to bring him 11). Not only does H.D. remove the focus from the events home, H.D. takes on the dominant patriarchal ideas about of the Iliad, but she even uses the famed beauty of Helen Helen. Her imagist rendering of Helen is a feminist challenge in a nontraditional way, presenting an image of staid emo- to the notions of Poe and others. While historians chronicle tion. The opening lines of the first two stanzas express the the exploits of the male heroes of the Trojan War, and poGreeks” extreme hatred of Helen, indicating that the entire ets objectify the beautiful woman Helen, H.D. identifies with group of people that is Greece “hates” and “reviles” her Helen and presents a poem centered on her experience. In face (H.D. 1924, lines 1, 6). The third stanza begins with her article “Making It Really New: Hilda Doolittle, Gwen“Greece sees unmoved/ God’s daughter,” suggesting that dolyn Brooks, and the Feminist Potential of Modern Poetry,” nothing, not even the beauty that Poe and others praise, can Gertrude Reif Hughes (1990) speaks of H.D.’s use of the persuade them to leave behind their hatred of her existence Helen myth for the purpose of commenting on patriarchy. She points out that many of H.D.’s poems “take place in styl(H.D. 1924, line 12). ized locales saturated with legends,” stories also saturated with dominant views (Hughes 1990, p. 378). According H.D. reinforces Greece’s feelings toward Helen and the pain to Hughes (1990), H.D. presents Helen as the protagonist of Helen’s situation with the word “wan” in both line seven of an “anti-heroism” that “can be used to challenge values and line nine, as well as the statue imagery she weaves that are too shared” (p. 384). H.D.’s nontraditional considthroughout the poem. According to Copeland (1988), the eration of Helen employs imagism to assert the poet’s modglory of Helen’s appearance does not appear in bold meta- ernist and feminist ideas. phors or grand allusions, but instead “her beauty creeps into a description that strives to be emotionless” (p. 34). The im- H.D. chooses to place “Helen” in the context of a classical agery of “Helen” plays on Poe’s (1835) description of Helen myth in which the woman is the storyline and a poem by Poe as “statue-like” (line 12), but uses such detail that it removes in which the woman is the object. She uses a well-known

story that has already been taken on by other poets, assimilating her style closely enough to that of Poe to confront and criticize traditional ideas about Helen. The similarities of title and tone, metrical structure, and statue imagery give H.D. a position in which to insert her work in the existing body of poetry, but her divergence from those conventions sets her apart and parallels the unconventional perspective she presents. In “Helen,” H.D. immortalizes a woman hated by history and objectified by men, contemplating Helen through the method of imagism and setting her free from the bonds of tradition through the radically objective lens of modernism. REFERENCES Brown, W. C. 1944, “The English Professor’s Dilemma,” College English, vol. 5, no. 7, pp. 379-385, [Online]. Copeland, D. 1988, “Doolittle’s ‘Helen’,” Explicator, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 33-35, [Online]. Eliot, T.S. 1919, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th edn, ed. Mary Loefelholz, Norton, New York, pp. 1581-84. Gargano, J. W. 1960, “Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Modern Language Notes, vol. 75, no. 8, pp. 652-653, [Online]. H.D. 1924, “Helen,” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th edn, ed. Mary Loefelholz, Norton, New York, pp. 1518-1519. Hughes, G. R. 1990, “Making It Really New: Hilda Doolittle, Gwendolyn Brooks, and the Feminist Potential of Modern Poetry,” American Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 375-401, [Online]. Loeffelholz, Mary 2007, “H.D. (Hilda Doolittle): 1886-1961,” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th edn, ed. Mary Loeffelholz, Norton, New York, pp. 1514-15. Poe, Edgar Allan 1831, “To Helen,” The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore [Online] Available at: htm. Walker, W. S. 1957, “Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Modern Language Notes, vol. 72, no. 7, pp. 491-492, [Online].


How Quickly Nature Falls Into Revolt On Revisiting Shakespeare’s Genres By Mike Stumpf


When the first folio edition of William Shakespeare’s works was published in 1623, “it was not clear whose idea the collected volume was or even what was the precise motivation for it” (Proudfoot, Thompson, & Kastan-1998, 8), but the inclusion of two actors that worked with Shakespeare in the publication process underscores the importance of accuracy of authorial intent in the volume. This is especially important since the actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, state that while Shakespeare’s input would have been preferred, “he by death departed from that right, [and that] we pray you do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and paine to haue collected & publifh’d them. . .as he conceiued them” (Moston-1998, 7). Because of the direct intentions of Heminges and Condell, as well as the publishers, to stay true to what Shakespeare intended, the textual superiority of the first folio should be taken as a standard to work with, even against subsequent folios in the period (Blayney-1991, 34). This said, the delineation of Shakespeare’s works into three distinct categories, Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, by the Folio is problematic because the “organization of the volume in three sections. . .betrays the plays, which are characterized by fluidity not consistency of genre, by a continual mixing of modes” (Wells & Taylor-1987, 38). The significance of this division was noted as early as the nineteenth century when Edward Dowden singled out certain plays, which he labeled “Late Plays”, as being distinct from the rest. Modern editions such as the Riverside, the Norton, and the Pelican Shakespeare have followed suit by classing Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, with the addition of Pericles, apart from the rest. This poses a quandary about the nature of authorial intent. In this paper I will examine if a “natural” grouping of genre exists in Shakespeare’s plays by discussing various theories of a reader’s response to a text and then introducing a method of computational analysis to Dowden’s arguments based on the genre categories of the First Folio (F1). The division into Comedy, Tragedy, and History was made with at least some intent since there were other genres present in early modern society. For example, around 1579 Sir Philip Sidney wrote both for and against the “mongrel tragic-comedy’ that mingled kings and clowns” in his A Defence of Poetry (Foster-2004, 16) and “John Fletcher, who, in his preface to The Faithful Shepherdess (1609), provided the first adequate English definitions of tragicomedy” (Foster-2004, 21). This shows that there was a precedent set both in the practice as well as publication of different


kinds of genres, such as tragicomedy. In addition, Polonius’s speech in the second Quarto (Q2) of Hamlet, printed in 1604, emphasizes the variety of dramatic modes available as he states the players at Elsinore as “the best actors in the world, [for] either for Tragedie, Comedy, Hiftory, Paftorall, Paftorall Comicall, [or] Hiftoricall Paftorall” (Hamlet-1985, II.ii.415-416). Thus, publications prior to F1 highlight the availability of other genres to the F1 publishers. However, even though F1 was “publifhed according the True Originall Copies” (Moston-1998, 5), “Shakespeare himself does not seem to have undertaken to oversee the printing of his plays, even during his lifetime” (Wells & Taylor-1987, 2) so thinking of Shakespeare as the designator of this genre classification is illogical. This is reflected by all the subsequent printed folios using the same genres and catalogue page despite adding new plays (Brewer). In fact “the Fourth Folio of 1685 was the last Folio to be simply reprinted from its predecessor (the Third, with the seven additional plays), and by the early 1700s the plays were coming to be seen as works that required editing” (Blayney-1991, 34). This transition from reproduction to reworking in editing marks the change from actors as editors to readers such as Dowden as editors. The significance of assigning Shakespeare’s works to genres remains but the reasoning behind it stems from two different sources, that of the actor and that of the reader.

the reader passes through the various perspectives offered by the text and relates the different views and patterns to one another he sets the work in motion, and so sets himself in motion too. (Iser1978, 21) Iser’s theory proposes a dualistic relationship between the text and the reader where each has influence on the other. However, this also subjects a work of literature to a certain set of interpretational guidelines where one endpoint is authorial intent and the other is any given reader’s perception of the text. In Iser’s model, reader and text interact in a way that allows for a varied yet concentrated commonality between readers, since one endpoint of a given text will always be the fixed locus that is the author’s actual writings. However this schema does not account for external influences, such as with what a reader has previously read, and this shortcoming arguably relegates Iser’s theory to a starting point for how to understand literary reception.

Given Iser’s ideas, we are able to explain how a reader and a text may be related but still lack the specificity of what exactly a reader takes note of when reading. In comparison, Peter Brooks states that a “text is seen as a texture or weaving of codes (using the etymological sense of “text”) which the reader organizes and sorts” (Brooks-1992, In dealing with this two-sided situation, pursuing and 19). This description provides a framework to build upon understanding the thought-process of readers of Shakespeare since Brooks says that a text has certain patterns couched is the only option available to expound upon the idea of in it that are necessary for comprehension. Franco Moretti genre categorizations. This decision has less to do with expands on this as he declares that the study of literature is granting either priority, but is rather to avoid assumptions about “the very small and the very large; these are the forces and polemics compared to the more straightforward analysis that shape literary history. Devices and genres; not texts. of a reader’s response. To that end, Wolfang Iser’s theory Texts are certainly the real objects of literature... but they of reception explains a relationship between readers and a are not the right objects of knowledge for literary history.” text. (Moretti-2005, 76, emphasis in originalf). In other words, Moretti argues to move away from thinking about a text as The literary work has two poles, which we might a unit, instead focusing on smaller and larger systems, i.e. call the artistic and the aesthetic: the artistic the composition of a text and its genre. This ties the physical pole is the author’s text and the aesthetic is the typeset on the page into a codependent relationship with realization accomplished by the reader. In view its more nebulous aspects, like genre and theme, as the of this polarity, it is clear that the work itself true objects of literary goals. Brooks’s codes also, through cannot be identical with the text or with the Moretti’s lens, carry innate textual and thematic patterns tied concretization, but must be situated somewhere to a reader’s realization of literature. It is then clear that the between the two. It must inevitably be virtual in text itself needs to be investigated as the source of the larger character, as it cannot be reduced to the reality of nebulous units such as “[The Tempest’s] perfect expression the text or to the subjectivity of the reader, and it is to the spirit that breathes through these three [‘Late’] plays” from this virtuality that it derives its dynamism. As (Dowden-2003, 291). Unfortunately, closely examining the

text on the page is more difficult than it appears. The difficultly in appropriately and succinctly approaching Shakespeare’s works may be best introduced by Michael Witmore as he takes stock of Shakespeare’s use of words. Witmore notes that Shakespeare “used imagery” lots and lots of it “to suggest how an actor or audience member should feel about a particular moment in the story. The results of this technique are visually and aurally arresting, point us toward what literal sight cannot convey” (Purcell & Witmore-2010, 8-9). According to Witmore, Shakespeare’s lexical choices elicit a second, sensual element out of the original text. The intrinsic complexity of textual features as “literature” to be read in their own right is furthered by Anne Barton who writes that Shakespeare’s works “are filled with tallies, a sea of objects which continually threaten to engulf the characters” (Barton-1997, 253). Barton’s comment suggests that the textual object of a “character” can come into conflict with additional features, such as Witmore’s imagery, which ultimately renders the text inexorably tied together. Furthermore, with the words of the early modern era “almost any part of speech can be used as any other part of speech” (Abbott-1966, 5) which leaves a straightforward analysis of the text to be desired. To work against the convoluted nature of the text, I.A. Richards argues that “we come back to a master rule of method: It is the sense of a word in a particular use which we have to consider first, not the general meaning, the wide range of all its senses taken together, nor something we may suppose is common to them all” (Richards-1942, 111). Richards’s point is that the key to interpreting the meaning is the context in which a word appears. I would like to develop that one step farther by suggesting that context also be brought into consideration with the thematic and aesthetic pole of literature as well. In using context, approaching both individual texts and groups of texts is facilitated. The contextual approach to literature aids in understanding single and multiple texts but also accentuates the absence of a patterned context between a reader and the literature. John Sheriff’s analogy to this problem is that: it is as if the reader brings to the text a large stained glass window that has a pattern and many varicolored panes (representing the strategies, codes, and forms that make up his way of seeing). The text he wishes to read is another such window. He puts the windows face to face, holds them


up to the light of interpretation, and sees the pattern and colors formed by the combination of the two. How can he determine what the contribution of each is to the pattern and colors that emerge? (Sheriff-1989, 22) When Sheriff’s idea of a reader-specific filter is considered alongside Iser’s model, a framework for the understanding of genre emerges. In a sense, the aesthetic end Iser proposes can be viewed through this “window” but remains clustered within a limited deviation. Complementing this is the idea in which “text conventions are ‘constitutive’ rather than ‘regulative,’ i.e., they constitute rather than regulate a form or genre” (Beach-1993, 17). To rephrase, Beach combines the idea of a single text existing in parallel among others forming a group of literature. The group is then in turn regulated by the texts it encompasses because “whether an author adheres strictly to a genre or deviates from it, his intention is expressed to some degree in his basic choice of genre” (Mills-1976, 264). By thinking of a text as a constituent of a genre but only being able to read each one independently, a situation arises where “the reader is free to fill in the blanks but is at the same time constrained by the patterns supplied in the text; the text proposes, or instructs and the reader disposes or constructs” (Freund-1987, 142). Freund’s statement reinforces the idea of a pattern language in a text where a reader is able to actively engage with the text but is still affected by the author’s artistic end as proposed by Iser. This grants the greatest breadth of subjectivity between readers while also conforming to the predefined constraints of the author’s written patterns. Unfortunately this system is not able to answer Sheriff’s parting query: “how can [we] determine what the contribution of each is to the pattern?”

limited comparison between novels and between novelists; and ultimately on the very processes of reading itself. (Burrows-1987, 2) Burrows’s study reveals that statistically significant discrimination between characters, chapters, or even different books can be provided by the most frequent words in a text, such as we, us, of, and very. These findings link the importance of regular function words with “more visible and energetic bodies” of nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. and also provide a route into considering the pattern language of literature. What this means is that the level of address, be it words in a text or groups of texts, is dependent on both its context and the sum of its parts. In support of this, Morretti states that: quantitative research provides a type of data which is ideally independent of interpretations, as I said earlier, and that is of course also its limit: it provides data, not interpretation... Quantitative data can tell us when Britain produced one new novel per month, or week, or day, or hour for that matter, but where the significant turning points lie along the continuum - and why - is something that must be decided on a different basis. (Moretti-2005, 8)

Here Moretti is supplying the framework for which to investigate the small and large of literary knowledge. Focusing on quantitative means, while filling in the gaps with the qualitative approaches of existing literary theory, allows for a hybridization to occur where the number of certain words in a text can be viewed in correlation with J.F. Burrows expands upon this by mixing quantitative data groupings of genre. I aim to further the work linking the with qualitative assessments in his work on Jane Austen’s counting of specific words with the qualitative approaches novels. In his study Burrows states that some textual of literary theorists. evaluations: In order to move beyond the calculation of commonplace are united by the assumption, not always made words, I employed the text-tagging program Docuscope, so explicit, that, within the verbal universe of created at Carnegie Mellon University, which “now classes any novel, the very common words constitute a over 200 million strings of English (1 to 10 words in largely inert medium while all the real activity length) into over 100 distinct categories of use or function” emanates from more visible and energetic bodies (Witmore-2009, 1). Its main function is to tag elements . . . [but] the neglected third, two-fifths, or half found in a given text and output the quantitative data of of our material has light of its own to shed on what it finds but, in theory, Docuscope is working towards the meaning of one novel or another; on subtle decrypting the patterns of the aesthetic pole by imposing relationships between narrative and dialogue, a uniform, prosthetic reader upon a text. Docuscope is character and character; on less directed and less organized in a three tier system where every one of the

entries of Docuscope’s dictionaries is first assigned to a single Language Attribute Type, or LAT. There are one hundred and one LATs which represent the most elaborate distinctions and provide the finest grain of similarity in analyses. Each of the LATs is then placed into one of fifty-one groups called Dimensions. Each Dimension is subsequently sited within seventeen Clusters which represent the coarsest grain of similarity of the three tiers . In short, Docuscope is able to identify many English words, like a reader with a finite vocabulary, and consider each word with equal weight in relation to the others which allows for a uniform approach to any form of literature. It also expands to include strings of words in its counting, thereby more closely resembling an actual reader and providing information about words contextually in a work. Thus this lives up to the expectations of a theory of reception while providing a direct approach to studying both small and large elements. Docuscope’s own, built-in features of textual analysis offer a direct window for the user to view what it is “reading” out of a text, as seen below in the case of The Tempest:

But Docuscope itself lacks the tools to grapple with larger collections of works even though it provides the data for it so I also feed the data into a statistics software package called JMP. JMP allows for larger amounts of Docuscope’s data to be visualized and examined through the use of multivariate statistics. For example, the following diagram is a JMP generated Hierarchical Cluster map, using Frequency Counts at the Cluster level from Docuscope and a Ward?s test with best guess analysis. It also incorporates a distance scale ratio in the dendrogram which means that the lines of the dendrogram are proportional to the actual statistical distance. The dendrogram itself functions as a family tree sort of visualization which shows the statistically closest connections the farthest to the left on the horizontal axis. Essentially what this does is process the information provided by the seventeen Clusters and place the results onto a twodimensional plane. Below is Shakespeare’s First Folio, according to Docuscope and JMP.

sleep, drums, quite confines...we don’t think of history as the genre of objects and adjectives, but linguistically it is. Inclusive strings, in the olive colored green, are perhaps less surprising given our previous analyses. We expect kings to speak about “our council” and what “we have done.” But notice that such language is quite difficult to use in comedy: even in a passage of collusion, where we would expect Mistress Page and Mistress Ford to be using first person plural pronouns, the language tends to pivot off of first person singular perspectives. The language of “we” really isn’t a part of comedy. (Witmore-2010, 1) {The image Witmore references is below.}

In this picture, three genres have been color-coded for the ease of viewing: Histories in orange, Comedies in blue, and Tragedies in red. The solidity in each of the colors is striking. In addition, Witmore has expanded on the qualitative corollaries that these distinct groupings represent. For example, in Richard II: we see the formal settings of royal display, a herald offering Mowbray’s formal challenge - no surprise this exemplifies history, a genre in which the nation and its kings are front and center. Yet where the passage really begins to rack up points is in its use of descriptive words, which are underlined in yellow. Chairs, helmets, blood, earth, gentle


The fact that Docuscope’s results can be combined with contemporary literary scholarship is logical due to its modern creation, but the question of its suitability for older views like Dowden’s remains.

However, in trying to search for what Dowden has seen in the between these plays, I used Docuscope’s Single Text Viewer such as through the use of Elaboration, and he relates this text, it is likely that a user would impose specific judgments with the play The Tempest and the high scoring items selected to the Late Plays in general. This also chimes with Dowden’s that might not otherwise be prominent, thereby biasing the in color. rational for grouping them because the: results. To work against this I have chosen to continue using the Cluster level analysis, rather than Dimensions or LATs, characteristics of versification and style, and the since I feel that the largest degree of dissimilarity should enlarged place given to scenic spectacle, that be invested first, before movement into more restrictive these plays were produced much about the same spaces takes place. In addition, I would propose the least time. But the ties of deepest kinship between third party interference possible, the user being the third them are spiritual. There is a certain romantic party in this case, between the text and the results. To this element in each. They receive contributions from end, I only changed the colors of the previous F1 diagram every portion of Shakespeare’s genius, but all are to incorporate green for the Late Plays. In this we see that mellowed, refined, made exquisite; they avoid Cymbeline and Winter’s Tale cluster together closely but The the extremes of broad humour and of tragic Tempest is far apart, which is a false positive and prompts intensity; they were written with less of passionate an alternate route into discovering their commonalities. concentration than the plays which immediately precede them, but with more of a spirit of deep or exquisite recreation. (Dowden-2003, 309)

Although the Late Plays did not cluster together on the dendrogram, that does not mean that they do not share traits in common. In fact, I would argue that not sharing a single trait in common is fundamentally impossible based on Docuscope’s construction of a textual object. However this does mean that the majority of their traits are less similar to each other than they are to other plays. Using an Oneway ANOVA test, I worked around this to determine several common factors influencing the Late Plays. This particular statistical test compares the spread of variation for all of the plays on a single Cluster variable at a time which allows the viewer to pinpoint what exactly is being picked up by Docuscope and visualized in JMP. After this test, it is clear that all of the Late Plays score highly on the Clusters labeled Elaborations, Reporting, and Time Orientation but they score lower on Directing Readers, Emotion and Public Reference. To further extract what Docuscope reports as commonalities


In the picture Time Orientation is colored orange and is what Docuscope says represents the idea of time past or future (Docuscope). The blue elements are Elaborations which are described as “actions in the stream of discourse that serve the readers’ curiosity and information needs through the content they add. Texts with high proportions of elaborating feel content dense, brimming with information” (Docuscope). The most significant feature present was Reporting, colored in purple. By Reporting, a writer “is dispensing information to update a reader’s mental model of a world that is both steady and changing, fixed and dynamic, routine and subject to historical change... so that readers and other audiences of the reporting can keep pace and up-to-date” (Docuscope). Docuscope’s highlighting features allows for quantitative results to be mapped onto qualitative readings of a text with the added perk of the exact locality. By investigating in this way, partiality can be avoided in the findings while still preserving the original judgments.

One element that Dowden mentions consistently weaving through the Late Plays is the avoidance of extremely broad humor and tragic intensity. By noticing this, Dowden suggests a lack of Emotion, something which JMP showed the Late Plays having in common. In addition, the lack of Public Language, defined as the language of institutions and authority, is what Dowden says gives the plays a certain spirit of recreation. The harmony between Docuscope’s findings and Evans’s and Dowden’s rational for another genre classification answers the question of Docuscope’s compatibility with both contemporary and past literary scholars.

Now the question which remains is whether we can truly consider the Late Plays to be a group separate from the rest. In support of a general distinction, Alfred Harbage states that “since Pericles was not printed in the first folio, the editors were spared the problem of classification” (Harbage-1969, 1257) and thus did not have to process the Late Plays as a different genre. Evans argues against this by claiming that the Late Plays cannot constitute a separate Interestingly, the initial results from Docuscope are often not genre because lexically “the language of these three plays original at all. For example Ifor Evans notes the high-scoring cannot be treated as one, they are all different, except for attributes of The Tempest as he said that Shakespeare the early scenes of The Winter’s Tale, from the tragedies that “creates the mood of the island and, at the same time, in precede them” (Evans-1952, 176). To quantitatively decide, a most concentrated manner, reveals Prospero’s previous I created a three-dimensional model with the same four color history... Seldom had there been so much said in the plays scheme for genre as before and used Principal Component in so few words since described his adventures with the Analysis to investigate. pirates” (Evans-1952, 184). Evans notices the packaging Click Here to View the Model of information into smaller and smaller units in The Tempest,

From the model’s contents, it appears that Evans and Docuscope agree that the idea of a linguistically distinct group of plays called the “Late Plays” is faulty. This is backed initially by the dendrograms, but also in a three-dimensional space with the separation of the green data points. However, I would also agree with Harbage’s rational that “Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest are separately grouped... because they share certain characteristics which the grouping helps to emphasize” (Harbage-1969, 1257). With this, the idea of a fundamentally distinct genre of Late Plays is null but grouping them because of their similar traits for emphasis is a valid choice. In using a quantitative approach and evaluating whether or not a truly separate genre of Late Plays exists according to Dowden, two answers seem to have arisen. If the smallest elements are emphasized, the conclusion would not support a separation of the Late Plays from the rest of F1, as Evans noted. But the presence of similarities in the elements, such as those which Docuscope and Harbage find, is what prompts the idea of a “palpable discrepancy between form (of the Folio) and content (of Shakespeare’s actual plays)” (Wells & Taylor 38). This creates a conundrum in which the individual must decide whether or not what these plays share is truly unique from the rest of the corpus. I think that while arguments can be made either way, ultimately “Shakespeare does not supply us with a doctrine, with an interpretation, with a revelation” (Dowden-2003, 329) and so we must take the original judgments of F1 as they stand. The division of genre by Heminges and Condell is bolstered by Docuscope’s findings while Dowden’s view is not. Even though the similarities between the Late Plays can be seen by both readers and Docuscope, the fact that their grouping is not as significant as the others means that the original judgment of Comedy, History, and Tragedy as genres in Shakespeare’s works is the most natural.

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Moretti, Franco. Graphs Maps Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History. USA: Verso, 2005.

Abbott, E. A. A Shakespearean Grammar: An Attempt to Illustrate Some of the Differences Between Elizabethan and Modern English. USA: Dover Publications, 1966.

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Barton, Anne. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Riverside Shakespeare: Second Edition: 251-255. Houghton Mifflin Company, USA: 1997. Beach, Richard. A Teacher’s Introduction to Reader-Response Theories. USA: National Council of Teachers of English, 1993.


Proudfoot, Richard, Ann Thompson, and David Scott Kastan. The Arden Shakespeare Complete Works. China: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, 1998. Purcell, Rosamond & Michael Witmore. Landscapes of the Passing Strange: Reflections from Shakespeare. USA: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010.

Richards, I. A. How to Read a Page: A Course in Efficient Reading with an Introduction to a Hundred Great Words. USA: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1942. Sheriff, John K. The Fate of Meaning: Charles Peirce, Structuralism, and Literature. USA: Princeton University Press, 1989. Wells, Stanley and Gary Taylor. William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1987. Witmore, Michael. “An Untimely Piece of Richard III.” Wine Dark Sea. 8 July 2009. 28 Oct. 2011. Witmore, Michael. “The Funniest Thing Shakespeare Wrote? 767 Pieces of the Plays.” Wine Dark Sea. 15 Jan. 2010. 28 Oct. 2011.

Universal Panopticon

Julius as Authority Figure in Charles Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman and Other Conjure Tales By Brittany Collins


Charles Chesnutt’s collection of stories entitled The Conjure Woman, which involve the telling of past plantation stories by an elderly former slave named Julius McAdoo to a curious white couple named John and Annie, were originally published in 1899. These stories were limited in number with only seven stories making the first edition. It was not until 1991 that American literary scholar Richard Brodhead stumbled upon a larger collection of Chesnutt’s short stories and published the second edition of Chesnutt’s work entitled The Conjure Woman and other Conjure Tales. These tales function under a system of two distinct narrative styles. The embedded narratives display physical and mental control of slaves by masters. Contrastingly, the external narratives demonstrate physical and mental control obtained by Julius through his method of educating his audience of the past. Julius must relive the horrors of slavery through his narration of tales in the embedded narratives. Through this telling of interior antebellum slavery, Chesnutt describes the South as a systematic structure of labor. Thus, Foucault’s theory of the Panopticon parallels Chesnutt’s portrayal of the antebellum South. Foucault’s panoptic theory of the mental gaze supports the idea of paralysis of the slave mentality when physical punishment is applied by masters and overseers. However, Chesnutt inverts this model of the South in his portrayal of the external postbellum narratives. In this essay, I will argue that this inversion of panoptic-like power places Julius in complete control of the narrative situations despite the ironic exertion of physical and mental control that appears to be emitted from the internal narratives’ slave owners and the main narrator John. Thus, Julius is the authority figure despite not being the narrator of these narratives through the use of specific storytelling techniques such as dialect and the trickster technique as well as irony and evoked emotion.

as a functioning Panopticon in the antebellum internal narratives and an inverted Panopticon in the postbellum external narratives. Michel Foucault’s metaphorical concept of the Panopticon plays a crucial role in the organization of Chesnutt’s antebellum plantation society within the embedded narratives. In this period, the plantation house itself serves as the center of activity for the society. However, in the postbellum society of Chesnutt’s tales, the center becomes focalized on the piazza section of the plantation home as a place for storytelling to occur. Foucault explains that a Panopticon is a 18th and 19th century architectural prison style created by English theorist Jeremy Bentham in which a tower is placed within a circular structure where cells or holding places for prisoners all face inward towards this tower (Foucault). In correlation to the physical structure itself, the antebellum plantation society is developed with a similar style. The metaphorical tower is within the fields and the overseer serves as the watchmen or eye within this structure. Surrounding this overseer are many African-American slaves who are expected to obey this single figure of power. If disobedience occurs, this overseer is given the ability to evoke pain and punishment on the slave or slaves.

Critic Jeannette S. White identifies that “Fayetteville, North Carolina” is the setting of these narratives in order to shred away the falseness of the typical presentation of the majestic South that consists of women and men leisurely drinking and relaxing all day every day (White 85). Additionally, Fayetteville is acknowledged by the narrator John in Chesnutt’s tale “The Goophered Grapevine” but is referred to as “Patesville” and is a center for commercial trade of goods in the geographic area. (Chesnutt 32). This demonstrates the structure of this city as an economically important trading center and important to Chesnutt because it is his place of The antebellum South and postbellum South function in dif- birth and origin. Thus, Chesnutt uses his place of birth as fering panoptic systems. The antebellum South represents the background for these narratives because he is able to the period of the South before the Civil War when control identify with the scenery on a personal level. is displayed extensively through plantation owners. In contrast, the postbellum South represents the period after the From a critical perspective, in the antebellum plantation soCivil War and during Reconstruction when former slaves are ciety, an overseer or master watches the actions of slaves able to control themselves both mentally and physically. Crit- on the fields and these figures are centered on the “pleaic Wesley Allen Riddle explains that as African Americans sure and power” of being in control according to Foucault were freed from slavery, they gained control over former scholar Suzanne Gearhart. (Gearhart 460).Similarly, Critic masters and other members of white society through share- Patricia E. Johnson suggests that “Foucault makes clear that cropping, which let white society know that intense regula- the gaze is connected to power and surveillance: The pertion and strictness “were no longer legitimate, nor were they son who gazes is empowered over the person who is the to be tolerated by freedmen or federal agents (Riddle 53). object of gaze” such as the master over his slaves (Johnson Therefore, former slaves gain control over their personal and 39). Thus, slaves are objects of close examination on the occupational lives for the first time; no longer where they go- fields by overseers or masters. In the master’s perspective, ing to be controlled by the wealthy white plantation owners the higher amount of slave ownership, the more power an and overseers nor be seen as weak, inferior individuals in individual has in their plantation home or society. This not the white-dominated society. Through these historical con- only enhances the amount of crops being extracted from the texts, Chesnutt develops his plantation and piazza societies plantation fields, but also places the plantation owner high


on the hierarchy of the plantation society. Early accounts of the master and slave binary occur in Frederick Douglass’s The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Mr. Covey, the slave owner who was quite poor himself, is referred to by Douglass as a serpent that is deceptive and sneaky to his slaves (Douglass). The powerful use of serpent imagery in this narrative correlates with the use of masters within Chesnutt’s narratives. This imagery establishes a metaphorical concept of the predator and prey, which mirrors the treatment of slave characters in Chesnutt’s narratives. One instance of the predator/prey concept appears in Chesnutt’s narrative entitled “The Goophered Grapevine.” The concept of predatorial action from a master is presented when Chesnutt writes, “So atter a w‟ile Mars Dugal” begin ter miss his scuppernon’s. Co’se he ‘cuse’ de niggers er it, but dey all ‘nied it ter de las’. Mars Dugal’ sot spring guns en steel traps, en he en de oberseah sot up nights once’t er twice’t...” (Chesnutt 36). By physically trapping slaves, the masters and overseers treat slaves inhumanely and thus, act as predators with goals of preying on slaves in order to catch them participating in forbidden behavior. This action suggests a possibility as well for biblical imagery. The masters and overseers represent the serpent that evokes temptation. Therefore, the power of masters and overseers parallels to the power of evil. Chesnutt further suggests the notion of masters and overseers as predatorial characters the narrative “Dave’s Neckliss.” Chesnutt uses trapping imagery to describe the character Wiley when he writes, “Wiley wuz one er dese yer shinyeyed, double-headed little niggers, sha’p ez a steel trap, en sly ez de fox w’at keep out’n it ( Chesnutt 127). The language used by Julius to describe Wiley demonstrates that Julius is very familiar with traps used for animals as these same types of traps are used to catch slaves who are feared to be running away to freedom. Therefore, Chesnutt uses familiar vocabulary through Julius to further display the punishment that slaves receive for not obeying their masters or overseers. Critic Gretchen Martin also acknowledges the power of the master when she suggests, “at the top of the social hierarchy was the most carefully crafted icon of the antebellum South, the planter aristocrat...” who is the all-knowing eye of the plantation system (Martin 65). However, this notion of control dies as does the notion of the Old South being a powerful white society when the Civil War ends. Therefore, a character like Julius is able to gain control of himself in the postbellum society as well as beginning of the new era of freedom for African-Americans, which allows him to more easily become a figure of authority. The center of the panoptic thus becomes refocused from the plantation home to the piazza section of the plantation home. Chesnutt displays the piazza within the narrative “The Conjurer’s Revenge” when

he writes: My wife and I were seated on the front piazza, she wearily but conscientiously ploughing through a missionary report, while I followed the impossible career of the blonde heroine of a rudimentary novel. I had thrown the book aside in disgust, when I saw Julius coming through the yard, under the spreading elms, which were already in full leaf (Chesnutt 70). While John is bored with the mundane reading of the present, he is intrigued to view a glimpse of past life walking down through his yard. The use of nature in correlation with Julius while he walks down to John and Annie’s piazza demonstrates freshness and breathe of new life coming forth into John and Annie‟s lives. Literary Critic William Gleason acknowledges the refocalised center of Chesnutt’s narratives as the piazza in his essay, “Chesnutt’s Piazza Tales: Architecture, Race, and Memory in the Conjure Stories.” Gleason suggests also that the piazza becomes the center of the narrative frames when he writes, “I have called these Chesnutt’s ‘piazza’ tales because it is the southern piazza that becomes the central imaginative location in the conjure stories” (Gleason 35). Therefore, Julius uses the piazza area of the home to create and master his stories of the past. Gleason further acknowledges the piazza in Julius’s storytelling when he suggests, “Eight of Julius’s own tales are told on that same porch; a ninth begins away from the house but concludes on its back piazza” (Gleason 36). By using numerous accounts of the piazza, Chesnutt is suggesting that the piazza is an essential portion of the new postbellum society, as it distracts attention away from the once powerful plantation home as a whole. Although the panoptic location has downsized, the same amount of power is still used to catch attention. However, instead of using punishment in correlation with power, Chesnutt uses education and entertainment to allow Julius to obtain power in the narratives. This lightens the tone of both narrative frames and creates positive energy from an otherwise dark and negative force that appears within the themes of the embedded narratives. One of the most important storytelling techniques that Chesnutt demonstrates from Julius is the use of dialect. Julius is able to capture the full attention of John and Annie extensively through his voice. Julius uses his dialectic voice to evoke emotion and reaction from both John and Annie as they are placed into the perspective of a slave in the antebellum plantation society. This strong technique is demonstrated in “The Conjurer’s Revenge” when Chesnutt writes, “Fac’ is, continued the old man, in a serious tone, I doan lack ter dribe a mule. I’s alluz afeared I mought be imposin’ on some human creetur; eve’y time I cuts a mule wid a hick’ry, ‘pears ter me


mos’ lackly I’s cuttin’ some er my own relations” (Chesnutt 71). This use of dialectic language helps Julius draw sympathy and allows John and Annie to identify with his perspective of being a former slave and receiving harsh treatment for disobedience to his master. This reflects back to Julius’s experiences of slavery during the antebellum period and grasps the attention of John and Annie by evoking curiosity and persuading them into wondering more about why Julius feels this way and tempting them into visiting more of the antebellum period through Julius’s perspective. Chesnutt continues to display strong dialect from Julius throughout each usage of his voice. Julius uses humor in his dialectic voice to educate John and Annie about the superstition of the rabbit‟s foot in “Sis Becky’s Pickanniny.” Julius explains that in order to get a lucky rabbit’s foot, “It has ter be de hin’-foot, suh, - de lef’ hin’-foot er a grabe-ya’d rabbit, killt by a cross-eyed nigger on a da’k night in de full er de moon” (Chesnutt 83). The extreme description lightens Julius’s tone and invites John and Annie to listen to his story by incorporating humor in an ironic way. This humor catches the interest of Julius’s audience by allowing him to covertly explain horrific stories of the past by creating lightheartedness and outrageously silly tones at the beginning of each story. Chesnutt continues to display humor in “A Deep Sleeper” when he writes, “Come on heah wid dat w’eelborrow, yer lazy, good-fer-nuthin’ rascal” (Chesnutt 145). By speaking to Tom in this manner, Julius demonstrates a whimsical side that likes to joke around with younger people. This allows Julius to be approachable to other characters and mask the identity of his trickster technique. The use of masking helps slaves to become trickster figures and escape the horrors of slavery into freedom.

justify with his master a method of reading the Bible. Dave outwits his master by educating himself and others to learn how to read. This gives slave characters the ability to read other objects as well such as signs, which could lead to their escape from the plantation society of the South into freedom in the North. However, Mars Dugal does not take this into consideration. Instead, he is tricked into allowing a slave to read the Bible only because it is sacred text. Thus, Julius gives freedom of education to this slave in a concealed manner in which the master is completely unaware of what he is allowing. This concealed behavior is known as masking because African-Americans display comfort in covertly educating during the postbellum South. Julius is unable to fully and overtly educate because he is scarred by the past and the experiences he witnesses. By masking his thoughts and his intellectual identity with dialect and other signs of slave authenticity, Julius is able to be a more convincing character that can change the views of white society with stories of the past. This makes Julius a covertly authoritative and more believable character than John or Annie.

Chesnutt portrays Dave as a trickster figure who is willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of others educations although Julius identifies him as going crazy with the ham on his neck. Chesnutt demonstrates the sacrificial behavior of Dave as a trickster figure when he writes, “he got ter gwine roun’ talkin’ ter hisse’f, en singin’ corn-shuckin’ songs, en laffin’ fit ter kill ‘bout nuffin” (Chesnutt 131). Dave sacrificed his personal sanity and life in order for the other slaves because he taught several fellow slaves how to read. Therefore, the personal responsibility of stealing ham although he did not actually steal the ham himself, weighs down on Dave’s psyche. By using this technique, Chesnutt creates Julius as a master- Therefore, the notion of being a trickster causes Dave to mind of storytelling who can grasp attention easily. Chesnutt take responsibility for the act of stealing a ham although he also uses dialect to demonstrate the wittiness of Julius in “The does not steal it. Rather than suggesting negativity though, Conjurer’s Revenge” when he writes, “You en Mis’ Annie Chesnutt portrays Dave’s suicide as a concealed sacrifice wouldn’ wanter ‘lieve me, ef I wuz ter ‘low dat dat man was for fellow slaves because he is willing to die for the educaoncet a mule” (Chesnutt 72). The ridiculous notion of a hu- tion and sake of other slaves. man turning into a mule is automatically assumed as a false by John and Annie. However, as the story progresses and In his article “Negotiating Belief and Voicing Difference,” Julius tells his story, Annie is able to be influenced by Julius Charles Duncan identifies Julius a character of “superficial to influence John to buy a horse rather than a mule. This use resemblance to a host of late-nineteenth century black charof nonsensical humor and dialect allows Julius to take con- acters” who also appears as a “risk” to the African-Amertrol of the situation and educate John and Annie about the ican society (Duncan 98). While Julius does have similar treatment of mules. traits to Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus, Chesnutt’s use of the trickster technique casts away stereotypes because Julius also explains specific details through his use of story- firstly, unlike Uncle Remus, Julius does not have a traditional telling that involves the trickster technique in the antebellum African-American title unless used by someone such as Anembedded narratives. In “Dave’s Neckliss,” Mars Dugal al- nie. However, the notion of stereotypes is disagreeable belows Dave to read the Bible when Chesnutt writes, “Doan cause Uncle Remus and Julius both serve as primary trickster ‘pear ter me lack readin’ de Bible done yer much harm, figures in each of their respective narratives. Both Chandler Dave” (Chesnutt 126). This demonstrates the usage of the Harris and Chesnutt use the trickster technique to demontrickster technique as Julius explains that Dave was able to strate the ways of the Old South and give African-Americans

a reliable voice to tell the stories of slavery. This notion gives ef she had a min’ter” (Chesnutt 171). Viney’s ability to talk African-Americans authenticity and power in an otherwise when rewarded suggests that she obtained more control overtly powerless society. over herself than literally suggested within the text. Through this behavior of obtaining money from men, Viney is able Chesnutt continues to utilize the trickster technique through to empower herself personally by using her voice only when the narrative “Mars Jeems’s Nightmare,” which involves she wants to be paid. This technique of the female trickster the tricking of a master names Jeems Mclean by a conjure is clever and innovated for the postbellum South as Chesnutt woman named Aun’ Peggy. She turns him into a slave and gives a self-controlled voice to woman who is looked down makes him suffer the same as those who he applies suffering upon by society for being a former slave and remaining to. Similarly, the character Skundus from “A Deep Sleeper” submissive to her master after the end of slavery. is a trickster by telling his master that he had fallen asleep in the barn rather than ran away. This Rip Van Winkle-esque Julius also presents ironic control due to his past as a fornarrative serves as a strong example of outwitting in order mer slave. Critic Catherine Clinton, author of The Plantato keep oneself from punishment. Critic Dean McWilliams tion Mistress, expresses irony through Foucault’s method in implies that Julius’s trickster notion is to grasp the attention her chapter entitled “Foucault Meets Mandingo” when she of his white audience (McWilliams 81). By utilizing this writes, “Foucault reminds us that we cannot merely read technique, Julius is able to covertly educate his audience on what is said, but must consider the context and tone of the the past occurrences of the antebellum plantation society in discourse, often rich in irony (Clinton 224). Chesnutt adapts the fictional town named Patesville, North Carolina, which this technique of irony through Julius’s portrayal of many Chesnutt describes as a strongly-functioning white plantation characters like Dave from “Dave’s Neckliss” and Henry from community. Likewise, Critic Daniel Worden also identifies “The Goophered Grapevine.” Dave represents the idea of Julius the primary trickster figure within the stories (Worden irony by tricking his master into allowing him to learn how 4). Julius must serve as a trickster figure in order to capture to read and educating others on how to read Christian text the full attention of his audience. Through his trickster tech- although slaves are forbidden to be educated. Henry is preniques, Julius is able to influence change within both John sented with irony due to his ability of becoming affected by and Annie. the changing of grapevines, which have been “goophered” by a conjure woman to prevent slaves from eating grapes Subsequently, Critic Claudine Raynaud explains that the while picking them for their master. This strongly represents story “A Deep Sleeper” is primarily based on the notion the belief of spiritual and superstitious occurrences that were of the trickster; as it is one of the last stories within the col- carried throughout the 19th century African-American cullection and a last chance for Julius to utilize this technique ture. (Raynaud 696). Although the correct ordering of each story is unknown because Chesnutt did not have a written order Through the portrayal of strong African-American central for each story to go in before publishing, the position that characters of these narratives, Chesnutt implies that it is time Brodhead places these stories in has a powerful effect on the to bring change into the postbellum era. Thus, Chesnutt demtrickster technique. “A Deep Sleeper” is a strong demonstra- onstrates change by showing a sense of cooperation from tion of the trickster technique because the main character, John and Annie to Julius as he tells his stories. John displays Skundus, is able to convince his master that he had fallen interest in Julius’s tales in “The Gray Wolf’s Ha’nt” when asleep for several days in a barn underneath hay. Also, Tom Chesnutt writes, “of tales of the old slavery days he seemed was supposedly asleep like Julius told John and Annie he to possess an exhaustless store” (Chesnutt 96). John and was, but had tricked everyone and was actually consuming Annie are willing to listen to his stories because they are the biggest watermelon within the watermelon patch. Ches- being educated about the past. Critic Heather Tirado Gilnutt demonstrates the trickster notion of Tom through Julius’s ligan refutes the idea of John as cooperative with Julius’s perspective when he writes, “I b’lieve somebody didn’ wake narrative when she suggests, “Ultimately, in the character of ‘im up he’d sleep till jedgmen’ day” (Chesnutt 144). Rather Annie, Chesnutt advocates to magazine readers a new form than stating that Tom had not actually been asleep, Julius of sentimentalism, a way to read racial difference that is at goes along with the trickster idea. Therefore, Julius is the once thoughtful...” (Gilligan 203). Though Chesnutt directly ultimate trickster figure within each of these stories. warns the readers of the horrors of the past in his use of Julius as the narrator, he does not present a sentimental atThe use of a female trickster character continues to strength- titude. Instead, Chesnutt uses each of his stories to create a en Chesnutt’s use of women in powerful roles within the post- proactive voice for the future of African-American literature. bellum period of the South. Viney’s subtle trickster abilities gives power to even the weakest women in comparison to Julius does serve as a reminder of the past, but takes control those who work in the fields with men like Becky. Chesnutt of the narrative progression within the stories in Chesnutt’s displays Viney’s trickster abilities when he writes, “She;d inversion of the Southern paradigm. This allows Julius to nebber lost it, suh. Ole Viney could ‘a’ talked all de time, gain strong sympathy and evoke emotion from his audience


as he retells the cruelties of the past. Critic Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan identifies Julius as an absolute necessity of power in the postbellum South because Julius “is the central figure and most often the chief spokesman in post-Civil War portrayals of the antebellum Arcadia” (MacKethan 11). Through his sympathetic message, Julius is able to capture the full attention of Annie particularly by educating and entertaining her with his stories of the past. Although this exercise of education is limited towards the beginning of the narratives, Chesnutt certainly finds ways towards each ending to demonstrate how Annie has been affected by the telling of the past. Chesnutt demonstrates Annie’s sympathetic influence from Julius in “Sis Becky’s Pickanniny” when he writes, “My wife’s condition a turn for the better from this very day, and she was soon on the way to ultimate recovery” (Chesnutt 92). This wellness has a major impact on both John and Annie as Annie was very ill at the beginning of the narrative. Chesnutt demonstrates Annie’s illness at the beginning of “Sis Becky’s Pickanniny” when he writes, “My wife was apparently without energy enough to speak for herself” (Chesnutt 83). However, Annie mood and wellness changes after listening to the story. When Julius finishes the storytelling of the embedded narrative, Annie feels much better than before. Thus, by listening to these entertaining and enlightening stories, Annie is able to become focused on simple aspects of life that make her physically feel better. Annie is able to sympathize with the tales because she is ill and is viewed as weak in health. Thus, she can relate to others in each narrative that have attained weakness and despair. Chesnutt continues to display Annie’s emotions in “Dave’s Neckliss” when he writes, “’The fact is,’ she said, pensively, ‘I couldn’t have eaten any more of that ham, and so I gave it to Julius’” (Chesnutt 135). The story of Dave’s torture with ham has such a strong effect on Annie that she is unable to finish her meal. Therefore, Julius has evoked such strong emotion from her that she has become physically unable to deny it having an effect on her. Chesnutt continues to demonstrate Annie’s attention to Julius’s storytelling in “Po Sandy” when he writes, “Uncle Julius says that ghosts never disturb religious worship, but that if Sandy’s spirit should happen to stray into meeting by mistake, no doubt the preaching would do it good” (Chesnutt 54). Annie is interested in Julius’s stories of slavery times to the extent of referencing these stories when speaking to John. Julius is able to convince Annie to understand and believe his stories because his techniques of dialect and emotion draw in her attention. Critic Paul R. Petrie argues that Annie is able to identify more extensively with the conditions of slavery, although Petrie never clearly suggests how this occurs (Petrie 183). This argument suggests that Annie is also a weak figure and makes her more identifiable with those directly overtaken

and controlled by slavery. In “Sis Becky’s Pickanniny,” Annie obtains a rabbit’s foot from Julius. This allows her to have a connection to the weak characters who receive animalistic treatment within this tale because Becky is traded for a horse and must leave her child Mose behind on her former master’s plantation. Julius states that if Becky had obtained a rabbit’s foot, she would not have had such bad luck with her life. Annie takes this story seriously and follows the idea that Julius conveys to her through this story. Also, this story gains Annie’s attention because it appears to bring life into her due to her illness making her weak. She is able to listen fully to this story and feel a connection with Becky. Although Chesnutt never clearly states any acknowledgement of children in Annie’s immediate family, the notion of losing a child may be the reason why Annie is able to identify so extensively with Becky and this story. Chesnutt is masterful with his use of covert behavior. Thus, the notion of losing a child can be clearly viewed as a possibility for Annie’s attachment to this story. By telling this story, Julius may be giving a feeling of peace to Annie for any loses she has had in her life.

rather than suppressing them. Although he is using Annie’s weakness to identify with the horrors of slave life, Chesnutt is bringing awareness rather than ridiculing female characters because he displays these actions of struggle in both male and female slave characters within the embedded narratives. Chesnutt’s usage of animal imagery within his tales demonstrates the suppression in which these slaves had to endure during the antebellum period. Chesnutt displays the struggle of male characters in “The Goophered Grapevine” when he writes, “Mars Dugal’ sot spring guns en steel traps, en he en de oberseah sot up night once’t er twice’t...” (Chesnutt 36). By setting traps, the masters and overseers treat slaves in an inhumane way. All of the slaves working in these fields in “The Goophered Grapevine” are male characters. Therefore, both genders receive similar treatment. However, by displaying Becky as a slave working in the fields and various conjure women such as Aun’ Peggy and Aun’ Nancy, Chesnutt is empowering female slave characters. They receive equal treatment by allowing them to perform tasks that are generally male-oriented. Although there is also a male conjurer within the story, Chesnutt does not display any greater These words are strongly influential to Annie. While both treatment between the two genders. Each conjure figure is John and Annie listen to Julius’s story intently, only Annie is treated with the same power and mystery as the other. influenced by Julius’s words because she can identify with the weakness placed on Becky in the story. Chesnutt exhibits By using Julius as a self-controlling voice, Chesnutt is able Annie’s influence from hearing the story about Becky when to move away from minstrel traditions of male stereotypes he writes, “When I pulled the handkerchief out of her pock- of 19th century African-American characters that are everet, something else came with it and fell on the floor. I picked present within the South. Critic William L. Andrews implies up the object and looked at it. It was Julius’s rabbit’s foot” that Julius is humanized through the stories by expressing (Chesnutt 93). Julius is able to convince Annie that a rabbit’s sympathy, whimsy, and reliability as a narrator (Andrews foot can give good luck to those how carry one of these 377). He is able to persuade John particularly through his objects. use of storytelling in the tale “The Conjuror’s Revenge.” Julius is able to persuade John into getting a horse instead of Chesnutt displays a strong and disagreeing attitude from a mule, although the plan backfires due to the physical disJohn towards the notion of the rabbit’s foot as a good luck abilities of the horse. Chesnutt demonstrates the persistence charm when he suggest, “Julius, I observed, half to him and of Julius towards influencing John to by a horse rather than a half to my wife, “your people will never rise in the world mule when he writes, “Ef you makes up yo’ min’ not ter buy until they throw off these childish superstitions” (Chesnutt dat mule, suh,” he added, as he rose to go, “I knows a man 83). While Chesnutt quickly demonstrates that John does w’at’s got a good hoss he wants ter sell” (Chesnutt 80). The not believe in the notion of luck through objects, he does action in which Julius stands up demonstrates taking control not suggest the same kind of behavior through Annie’s per- of the situation. Therefore, not only is Julius being influential spective. John tends to view Julius’s superstitious beliefs as and controlling with his voice, but also with his physical nonsensical because he is unable to understand the cultural movements. This action represents covert control because beliefs of African-Americans. Julius is set in these beliefs be- the description of movement is very subtle within the text. By cause he is raised by African-American women and men allowing Julius to tell the story of why he should not buy a who carry these traditions with them from ancestors. John mule, John is allowing Julius to take control of the narrative was not exposed to this in the manner that Julius was, so as a whole. Thus, Julius becomes the authority of persuasion John cannot understand the importance of superstitious be- and information to John as well as Annie, who has a strong liefs to African-Americans and the antebellum slave culture. amount of influence of her husband John due to her illness. Thus, John automatically detests anyone who beliefs in these ideas as a weak person and makes the idea of John believ- Chesnutt further displays John’s acknowledgement of Julius’s ing that Annie is a weak person appear. persuasive techniques in “Dave’s Neckliss.” John speaks of his view of Julius’s storytelling when Chesnutt writes: While the possibility of Chesnutt portraying Annie in a misogynistic view is likely, Chesnutt stays clear from this type While he mentioned with a warm appreciation of portrayal because he is humanizing female individuals the acts of kindness which those in authority had


shown to him and his people, he would speak of a cruel deed, not with the indignation of one accustomed to quick feeling and spontaneous expression, but with a furtive disapproval which suggested to us a doubt in his own mind as to whether he had a right to think or to feel, and presented to us the curious psychological spectacle of a mind enslaved long after the shackles had been struck off the limbs of its possessor (Chesnutt 124). The identification of Julius as a true reminder of the past through John’s perspective demonstrates that Chesnutt suggests that John understands the struggles that Julius faces every day by reliving the trauma of slavery. By using these words, John is able to fully acknowledge the struggle that Julius must endure. Therefore, John demonstrates sympathetic behavior in a covert manner. This instance of sympathy is very empowering for Julius because John often ridicules and ignores the methods of storytelling that Julius exhibits. However, rather than being influenced to present different behavior like his wife Annie, John subtly mentions within the text that Julius has influenced him to look at slavery differently than before. As a native to the North, John is traditionally unable to understand slavery because he has never experienced the conditions until he and Annie move to North Carolina. Through Julius’s perspective as a former slave, John is able to experience the past fully and understand the traumatic experiences that former slaves had to endure. Also, Julius places John in perspective of aspects of slave culture that were not traditionally exposed to the public because of their controversy. For example, Julius openly admits that Mars Dugal was his owner in “The Goophered Grapevine.” However, John notices that Julius has a peculiar complexion. Chesnutt displays John’s recognition of Julius’s peculiar complexion when he writes, “I had observed that he was a tall man, and, though slightly bowed by the weight of years, apparently quite vigorous. He was not entirely black, and this fact, together with the quality of his hair, which was about six inches long and very bushy, except on top of his head, where he was quite bald, suggested a slight strain of other than negro blood” (Chesnutt 34). This notion of uncertain racial identity is observed quite specifically by John because he acts as though he has never encountered someone of mixed racial identity. Therefore, John takes particularly close interest in examining Julius upon his first encounter with him in order to better understand what the true meaning of race actually is. Therefore, he is compelled to observe more intensely as Chesnutt continues to suggest, “There was a shrewdness in his eyes, too, which was not altogether African, and which, as we afterwards learned from experience, was indicative of a corresponding shrewdness in his character” (Chesnutt 34). Although the typical definition of shrewdness may bring

a negative meaning, as though someone knows too much for their own sake, the meaning of shrewdness that Chesnutt presents demonstrates that John is fully aware that Julius is a very intelligent man through his covert behavior. However, John does appear to represent a racist tone when he suggests that Julius’s intellect was not completely of African descent.

In conclusion, Julius is the authority figure despite not being narrator of these tales. Chesnutt uses Julius as the authority to display the need for African-American authority figures in literature to create a voice for the voiceless past. This idea of Chesnutt’s covert portrayal of an African-American authority figure marks the beginning of the African-American literary movement for acceptance and support in a white-dominated society that often ridicules and negates the African-AmerChesnutt uses John in this way to demonstrate the skepticism ican self. Foucault’s theory of Panopticism maintains this of white society in the postbellum South towards African- notion of organized power by giving Julius covert authorAmericans. John’s skeptical behavior is presented in “Sis ity through Chesnutt’s use of storytelling, irony, and strong Becky’s Pickanniny” when Chesnutt writes, “How absurd emotion evoked by multiple characters. Julius is able to gain to imagine that the fore-foot of a poor dead rabbit...can sympathy, educate his audience, and inform a new era of promote happiness or success, or ward off failure or mis- the need for full equality in the changing society of the late fortune” (Chesnutt 83). Although John is not a native south- 19th and early 20th centuries. erner, he still represents the skeptical behavior presented by the entirety of the United States after the end of the Civil REFERENCES War. This behavior displayed by John is best identified as skepticism rather than racism because John does not appear Andrews, William L. “The Significance of Charles W. Chesnutt’s “Conaggressive and rude towards Julius like many white men in jure Stories.” The Southern Literary Journal (1974). Print. the South would behave out of fear in the postbellum South. Additionally, Julius inspires John to tell stories himself, particularly through the tale “The Dumb Witness.” John uses observation to dig deeper into the tale of an old former plantation master named Malcolm Murchison and a racially mixed woman named Viney, who is treated like a slave although the time period is in the postebellum era of the South. However, John does not display the same skepticism towards racial identity that he possesses with Julius. By listening to the stories of Julius’s past, John begins to be more observant of the people within the community. Chesnutt demonstrates John’s storytelling when he writes, “The air was cool, the sky was clear, the stars shone with a brightness unknown in higher latitudes” (Chesnutt 162). This description of scenery sets the tone of John’s story, which is overshadowed with confusion and irony due to Viney’s submissiveness to Malcolm Murchison. Therefore, John has been greatly influenced by Julius’s storytelling abilities and captures the sadness and despair of Viney’s life as a controlled individual and the wit that she obtains to trick Malcolm Murchison. John continues his storytelling technique by establishing a definite beginning to the story that is easy to follow when Chesnutt writes, “The Murchison family had occupied their ancestral seat on the sandhills for a hundred years or more” (Chesnutt 162). By starting the narrative telling with historical information, John is using a technique displayed by Julius to begin his story. He gives details about the Murchison family in order for a clear understanding of their lives to be suggested. This allows for an establishment of understanding the Murchison family and how Viney’s life becomes mysterious and intriguing. By telling this narrative, John demonstrates how Julius’s storytelling techniques have influenced his own voice.


Chesnutt, Charles W., and Richard H. Brodhead. Conjure Woman and Other Conjure Tales. Duke U. P., 1994. Print.

Clinton, Catherine. “Foucault Meets Mandingo” from The Plantation Mistress. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982. 222-24. Print. Douglass, Frederick. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2005. Print. Duncan, Charles. “Negotiating Belief and Voicing Difference.” The Absent Man: The Narrative Craft of Charles W. Chesnutt. Athens: Ohio UP, 1998. 77-106. Print. Foucault, Michel. “Panopticism” from Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.” Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Perspective 2 (2008).1-12. Print. Gleason, William. “Chesnutt’s Piazza Tales: Architecture, Race, and Memory in the Conjure Stories.” American Quarterly. 51.1 (1999) 3377. Print. Gearhart, Suzanne. “The Taming of Michel Foucault: New Historicism, Psychoanalysis, and the Subversion of Power.” New Literary History. 28.3 (1997). 457-480. Print. Gilligan, Heather Tirado. “Reading, Race, and Charles Chesnutt’s “Uncle Julius” Tales.” ELH 74.1 (2007): 195-215. Print. Johnson, Patricia E. “The Gendered Politics of the Gaze: Henry James and George Eliot.” Mosaic (Winnipeg) 30.1 (1997): 39. Print. MacKethan, Lucinda Hardwick. The Dream of Arcady: Place and Time in Southern Literature. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1980. Print. Martin, Gretchen. “Overfamiliarization as Subversive Plantation Critique in Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman & other Conjure

Tales.” South Atlantic Review. 74.1. (2009): 65-86. Print. Matheson, Neill. “History and Survival: Charles Chesnutt and the Time of Conjure.” American Literary Realism. 43.1. (2010): 1-22. Print. McWilliams, Dean.”The Julius and John Stories” Charles W. Chesnutt and the Fictions of Race. Athens: Georgia UP, 2002. Print. Petrie, Paul R. “Charles W. Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman, and the Racial Limits of Literary Mediation.” Studies in American Fiction 27.2 (1999): 183. Print. Raynaud, Claudine. “Mask to Mask. The ‘Real’ Joke: Surfiction/ Autofiction, or the Tale of the Purloined Watermelon.” Callaloo 22.3 (1999). 695-712. Print. Riddle, Wesley A. “The Origins of Black Sharecropping.” The Mississippi Quarterly 49.1 (1995): 53. Print. White, Jeannette S. “Baring slavery’s darkest secrets: Charles Chesnut’s Conjure Tales as masks of truth.” The Southern Literary Journal. 27.1 (1994). 85. Print. Worden, Daniel. “Birth in the Briar Patch: Charles W. Chesnutt and the Problem of Racial Identity.” The Southern Literary Journal 41 (2009). 1-20. Print.

Simulated Histories The Consequences of Reading Being and Time in Light of Origins of Totalitarianism Histories By Brent Rowley


Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism can be productively read as an historically concrete examination of and response to Heidegger’s thought in Being and Time. However, while Arendt’s description of totalitarianism functions within the overall scope of Heidegger’s philosophy, certain aspects of her account threaten to push his notions of history and truth towards unforeseen and ultimately undesirable consequences. Being and Time formulates the concepts of history and truth in such a way that simulated histories can proliferate without any way to verify their correspondence to an absolute reality. Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism demonstrates this problem in a real world situation, wherein the propaganda machines of totalitarian governments create a world where historical facts and reality no longer coincide. Although Arendt’s historical account of totalitarianism exposes serious problems for Heidegger’s philosophy, she offers no explicit answer to this dilemma. Nevertheless, Arendt insists that individuals’ ability to start anew guarantees that totalitarianism will never permanently dominate a society. In what follows, I will present Heidegger’s concepts of historicity, historiography, and truth in order to examine how these elements manifest themselves in the totalitarian society described by Arendt. While Arendt does not directly confront the problems of Heidegger’s philosophy, she does appear to accept the problematic nature of postmodern thought in a way that is heedful of the threats posed by totalitarian governments. I. Heidegger’s Concept of Historicity and Historiography Before we get to history, let me define its basis because, without human existence, history and historiography would be irrelevant. For this reason, Dasein is the central term of Being and Time, and it translates literally as “Being here” [Da-sein]. Da Sein (un-hyphenated) would mean “the to be,” because Sein is the infinitive of the verb “to be.” Heidegger’s project in Being and Time is to interrogate the meaning of being. This is done by uncovering the fundamental structures of the being for whom being is a question. Heidegger terms the being for whom being is a question “Dasein.” Heidegger claims, “This being which we ourselves in each case are and which includes inquiry among the possibilities of its being we formulate terminologically as Dasein” (BT 6). To put it simply, all human beings have the quality of Dasein, “being here,” and Dasein can come into presence when humans ask about their own existence. Any inquiry into human exis-


tence is, for Heidegger, an inquiry into what makes Dasein ing degrees of nearness.” This means that while recording appear here and now, in the world. possibilities that have-been is an authentic activity, most historians do not perform this activity in a way that remains Heidegger uses the term “historicity” to designate an ex- faithful to the ontological structures of Dasein. Heidegger istential structure of Dasein. Historicity, as defined by Hei- goes so far as to say that “historiography strives to alienate degger, “means the constitution of being of the ‘occurrence’ Dasein from its authentic historicity” (BT 361), meaning that of Dasein as such” (BT 17). Historicity involves looking back the general tendency of historiographical research is inauinto the past at the possibilities that other moments and oc- thentic. Dasein is always already historical without having currences of Dasein have chosen to take up and take pos- complex historiographies and it seems as if authentic histosession of. Dasein is constituted by its historicity because riography is unnecessary for authentically existing Dasein. Dasein is temporal in the very ground of its being: “whether explicitly or not, it is its past” (BT 17). According to Hei- Nevertheless, Heidegger draws on Nietzsche to explain degger, Dasein never exists simply in a moment, but rather how authentic historiography can be accomplished. Authenstretches itself along by projecting possibilities into the future tic historiography arises from the unity of the monumental, that it has drawn from its past. Historicity is the space in the antiquarian, and the critical. Monumentality involves the which “...we must ask whence in general can the possibili- initial retrieve of possibilities, antiquarian historiography is ties be drawn upon which Dasein factically projects itself?” required for “reverently preserving the existence that has(BT 350). Historicity is always existentially prior to history been-there” (BT 362), and critical historiography is when because historicity is the condition that allows for anything the present is evaluated on the basis of the other two forms like a historical event to occur. of historiography. Critical historiography “suffers itself to become detached from the entangled publicness of the today” Authentic historicity involves looking at the possibilities of (ibid.), meaning that authentic historiography is always in a existence that have-been in order to project our own being struggle with both the past and the present. It chooses certowards death, resulting in an authentic retrieve of the past. tain possibilities from the past to record, and then criticizes However, “since factical Dasein is absorbed and entangled popular interpretations of phenomena based on these posin what it takes care of, it initially understands its history sibilities. According to Heidegger, this is not a ‘subjective’ as world history” (BT 356). This means that Dasein initially process because it is based in the disclosure of beings, but constructs its history from how it takes care of the world that it is not strictly ‘objective’ either because historiography can it finds itself in. Historiography is thus done for the most part only arise out of the historicity of individual Dasein. in an inauthentic way; historians do not focus on existential structures, but rather upon the beings that Dasein takes Heidegger is attacking the view that history is a vast interplay care of. Historians thus become bogged down in events and of forces that man has only a small part in. For Heidegger, facts, forgetting that the most important aspect of their re- history is not a deterministic and impersonal force that uses search lies in presenting possibilities for existing Dasein to humans as pawns in its greater schemes. Heidegger is writproject into the future. Most historical accounts cover over ing against versions of historicism which were popular at the the question of being and make it so that Dasein’s existence time that saw man as essentially determined by the forces is not involved in a resolute constancy towards death. Nev- of history. One example of this type of historicism is seen in ertheless, this does not mean that authentic historiography Leo Lowenthal’s account: “the stronger will of history is inis impossible. different to the innermost will of individuals, often involving persons and powers despite themselves, in her murderous Authentic historiography is a seemingly very difficult activity game” (Wren 112). Such a view of history would require for Dasein to engage in, but it is a process that is rooted in something like a god’s eye view for it to be realized. InauDasein being essentially historical in the ground of its being. thentic historiographies attempt to view history as an object The initial compulsion to perform historiography is always in the world, or perhaps, as the manifestation of the world authentic: “...the central theme of historiography is always itself. the possibility of an existence that has-been-there,” but historiographical research keeps “to its authentic theme in vary- In contrast, Heidegger argues that, “The question of whether

historiography only has as its object a series of unique, ‘individual’ events, or whether it also has ‘laws,’ is radically mistaken” (BT 360). Heidegger’s conception of authentic historiography is unable to be either ‘relativistic’ or ‘objective’ because it is only concerned with critically examining the possibilities of existence that Dasein in the past have disclosed. However, even inauthentic historical accounts cannot live up to claims of universality because they too arise from the historicity of individual Dasein. For Heidegger, historiography always arises from the existential structures of Dasein, meaning that history can never take on an existence independent from the existences of individual Dasein. It is only through Dasein that history can have any significance. Therefore, any historical account that treats history as a separate entity that oversees or controls human existences should be dismissed as inauthentic. However, these historical accounts are often accepted as fact and used to bolster certain ideologies, which can result in alienation from Dasein’s own existence. II. Inauthentic Historiography in Hannah Arendt’s Conception of Totalitarianism Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism explores the manifestations of inauthentic historiographies in a society. Totalitarian governments terrorize their citizens with versions of history that are the very image of the inauthentic versions of history that Heidegger attacks: People are threatened by Communist propaganda with missing the train of history, with remaining hopelessly behind their time, with spending their lives uselessly, just as they were threatened by the Nazis with living against the eternal laws of nature and life, with an irreparable and mysterious deterioration of their blood. (OT 345) The mass man, as Arendt defines him, views history as something that lies objectively beyond his reach, but that he could take part in if he joins the movements of totalitarianism. The individual is completely effaced by these magnificent movements of history, and the ruling parties use an overwhelming logic to impress these views: “If you don’t confess, you cease to help History through the Party, and have become a real enemy” (OT 473). An individual’s specific birth, life, and death were insignificant facts in the greater workings of


historical processes. As a result, historical documents were only seen as justifications for larger ideologies; the origin of the document was inconsequential.

which) failures need not be recorded, admitted, and remembered. Factuality itself depends for its continued existence upon the existence of the nontotalitarian world” (OT 388).

According to Heidegger’s philosophy, the threats of totalitarian historiography are completely groundless. History cannot pass Dasein by because history itself is not something objective. One is not a part of history; rather, one is history, in that historicity grounds one’s very being. There are no objective laws that govern the movements of history, but instead there are only possibilities that have-been which Dasein either denies or chooses to take up. Therefore, totalitarian historiographers can be answered by Heidegger in this regard. Their versions of history are inauthentic historical accounts that individual Dasein can reject by taking up their own existence in an authentic way. The nature of totalitarian historiography does not in itself pose any problems for Heidegger’s philosophy; it is the extent to which totalitarian governments are able to construct an entirely new world that begins to show cracks in Heidegger’s philosophy.

The grand fictions of totalitarianism would have been cast out in normal society, but in a society where fact and fiction are indistinguishable these inventions become new possibilities to be projected into the future. One example of this can be found in the fictitious Protocols, which Hitler had supposedly learned by heart, that told of a farcical worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Arendt argues that, “The delusion of an already existing Jewish world domination formed the basis for the illusion of future German domination” (OT 360). The future becomes fantastically idealistic in such a situation where, in Heideggerian terms, Dasein retrieves possibilities from a fictional past and projects them into the future.

This would not be problematic for Heidegger’s philosophy if Dasein had an effective method to verify the factuality of a given history, but Heidegger’s theory of truth offers no absolute way to verify fact with reality. Truth [aletheia], for III. Totalitarian Simulated Histories; Problems Pre- Heidegger, arises out of Dasein’s being. Truth does not simsented for Heidegger’s Philosophy ply arise from a correspondence between an object and the mind?s perception of the object: “To say that a stateArendt exposes how totalitarian governments use history to ment is true means that it discovers beings in themselves” (BT reinforce the ideology that supports them, but it does not 201). At the same time that Dasein is in the truth, it is also matter if these histories are based on objective fact or if they in untruth, meaning that as Dasein discloses beings it must were invented by the government: also necessarily cover over them. In Heidegger’s words, “Because it essentially falls prey to the world, Dasein is in They were not particularly outraged at the mon“untruth” in accordance with its constitution of being” (BT strous forgeries in historiography of which all to203, original emphasis). Thus, the truth of a certain version talitarian regimes are guilty and which announce of history is not necessarily dependent on how faithfully it themselves clearly enough in totalitarian propaadheres to the way events actually occurred. A historical acganda. They had convinced themselves that tradicount is an object that is present-at-hand and the only way tional historiography was a forgery in any case, to verify whether the account actually occurred would be to since it had excluded the underprivileged and opcompare it to other objects present-at-hand: pressed from the memory of mankind. (OT 332333) When the statement has been expressed, the discoveredness [truth; aletheia] of beings moves into Traditional histories are seen as just as fraudulent as any oththe kind of being of innerworldly things at hand. er invention and this opens the door for a wave of lies and But to the extent that in this discoveredness, as fabrications that the populace had no problem stomaching. a discoveredness of?, a relation to things objecAccording to Arendt, totalitarian reality became defined not tively present persists, discoveredness [truth; aleas a world of lies as opposed to a world of truth, but instead theia] in its turn becomes an objectively present as a world in which truth and falsity are categories that no relation between objectively present things (intellonger exist; everything is a lie (OT 474). Arendt describes lectus et res). (BT 206) life under totalitarianism as “a totally fictitious world, (in

Thus, the only answer Heidegger can give to the totalitarian threat of simulated histories would be to compare these histories to other accounts of history or to objects left in the world from that period of time. For Heidegger there can never be an objectively correct version of history, and this means that invented histories have the possibility of becoming a serious problem for Heidegger’s philosophy. Heidegger’s main concern is not whether a historical account adheres to reality, but rather whether history discloses the existences of Dasein that have-been in a manner that allows us authentically to retrieve these possibilities towards our individualized deaths. Simulated histories have the possibility to contain just as much “truth” for Heidegger as histories based on actual events because both have equal power to disclose beings in their mode of being. Even so, Heidegger does not completely throw all forms of verification out the window. The traditions that are handed down should still be compared with other historical accounts and objects in the world in order to discover if the accounts were, in fact, invented. However, there is no absolute way to determine if a specific history was simulated, and this concern is always secondary to the question of the meaning of being that the tradition discloses. Dasein’s position as the locus of truth allows for simulated histories to function in practically the same way as histories drawn from real events. It is important to note that most of Heidegger’s “historical” work draws on philosophers and poets, people whom one can study with little regard to the factuality of their existence. Whether or not Socrates actually existed is a question of little importance to Heidegger. What matters are the questions concerning being that his life discloses and the fateful retrieve of these questions that we must take up as our own. Arendt’s account of totalitarianism displays a disintegration of truth and falsehood in an historical situation. Truth becomes an external process under totalitarianism: “When the Nazis talked about the law of nature or when the Bolsheviks talk about the law of history, neither nature nor history is any longer the stabilizing source of authority for the actions of mortal men; they are movements in themselves” (OT 463). Arendt claims that the loneliness and isolation of the mass man caused him to feel that his own life is meaningless, giving force to the arguments of ideologies that preach the power of an overarching Nature or History. Such an overarching logic overwhelms the loneliness of mass man with the undeniable pressure of its greater significance. If truth


exists at all in the mind of the mass man, it lies in the movements of ideologies that are over and above individual human beings. Truth in a totalitarian state moves according to the will of these forces, but since the nature of these ideologies is movement itself, nothing can ever be pinned down as true or false. Totalitarian governments did not place the locus of truth within individual Dasein, but instead placed truth as far removed from Dasein as possible; they placed truth in the eventual realization of an overarching ideology. In contrast to the totalitarian position, Heidegger claims Dasein is in truth in the ground of its being, making truth realizable in some sense for individual human beings. However, this places Heidegger’s philosophy in a difficult position. Since Dasein is constituted by historicity in the ground of its being, it is necessary that Dasein be able to retrieve possibilities from its past to project into its future. Fabricated historical accounts have the possibility of revealing “truth” in the Heideggarian sense of aletheia: they can still disclose the existential structures of Dasein in an authentic way. This means that Heidegger’s work contains no solution to the problem of simulated histories that is posed by totalitarianism; however, the question remains whether or not a final solution to the problem of simulated histories is even possible. IV. Arendt’s Final Stance on Truth and Totalitarianism: Parallels to Heidegger At the end of Origins of Totalitarianism Arendt offers a tentative solution to totalitarianism, and to do this she must claim that truth resides in finite human existences, not overarching ideological explanations. Arendt recognizes that the overall goals of totalitarianism are ultimately unrealizable because with each birth there exists a new beginning that undermines the logic of totalitarian ideologies: “the suprahuman force of Nature or History has its own beginning and its own end, so that it can be hindered only by the new beginning and the individual end which the life of each man actually is” (OT 465). The truth of totalitarian ideologies will always be undermined by the fact that humans are born and then die. There is a new beginning and a new end with each life and this leads to a certain amount of freedom for each individual. Arendt argues that it is still possible that totalitarian organizations may re-emerge, but humans will always have the power to overcome this threat:

There remains the fact that the crisis of our time and its central experience have brought forth an entirely new form of government which as a potentiality and an ever-present danger is only too likely to stay with us from now on...But there remains also the truth that every end in history necessarily contains a new beginning...this beginning is guaranteed by each new birth; it is indeed every man. (OT 479) This means that human finitude always has the possibility of saving human beings from the recurring threat of totalitarianism. Arendt claims that truth is only realizable in the individual human being, a view that is practically identical to Heidegger’s own philosophical position. Essentially, it is due to the finitude of Dasein and its place as the locus of truth that totalitarianism will never completely dominate a society. Thus, the problems of totalitarianism that are unanswerable by Heidegger are similarly unanswerable by Arendt herself. This is perhaps why she claims that the threat of totalitarianism is still with us. If the truth of a certain history comes from individual human beings, then there will never be a completely objective method to determine if a history is fabricated. Therefore, the threat of simulated histories will always exist, and, consequently, the threat of totalitarianism will always exist. While Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism does expose several dangers in Heidegger’s philosophy, she does not directly refute any aspect of Being and Time. Arendt calls for a retrieve of the fundamental task of Being and Time by reevaluating the problems involved with authentically taking up one’s own existence as a finite being that already exists in a world with a given history. Arendt’s work warns that Heidegger’s thought is ultimately ineffectual at preventing the proliferation of simulated historical accounts, and also shows the risk that these simulated histories pose. While this is a problem for Heidegger’s philosophy, it is a problem without an identifiable solution. Arendt concedes to the fact that totalitarianism will always be with us, so the threat of simulated histories will also continue to remain. Reading Being and Time in the light of Origins of Totalitarianism reveals the potential perils that Heidegger’s position allows, warning us that terrible political situations are always possible. Arendt’s work ultimately illustrates that simulated histories

pose a danger for any society, but that this danger can always be combated by the resoluteness of individual human beings. Goethe once said, “But where danger is, grows the saving power also.” It is significant that this was also a favorite quote of Heidegger’s. References Aho, Kevin. “Why Heidegger is not an Existentialist: Interpreting Authenticity and Historicity in Being and Time.” Florida Philosophical Review 3.2 (2003): 5-21. Allen, Wayne. “Hannah Arendt and the Ideological Structure of Totalitarianism.” Man and World 26 (1993): 115-129. Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. Orlando: Harcourt, 1976. Fynsk, Christopher. Heidegger: Thought and Historicity. Ithaca: Cornell University, 1986. Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. Joan Stambaugh. Albany: State University of New York, 1996. Polk, Richard. Heidegger: an Introduction. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999. Wren, T.E. “Heidegger’s Philosophy of History.” Journal of the Society for Phenomenology 9 (1978): 126-130.



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