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Reviews373 modernism is of interest as part of a general revision that is proceeding apace with the articulation of a dieory of postmodernism, and die recuperation of modernism wiuiin Marxism is of interest so far as it bespeaks a self-criticism wiuiin Marxist aesdietics. But die argument for the revision is curious because one has trouble distinguishing premises from conclusions; one has trouble, that is to say, in tracing the circulation of the coins after they leave die Marxist mint. The introduction ends by saying uiat "any work of art is revolutionary in tiiat it represents an indictment ofestablished reality and creates the 'appearance oftiie image of liberation'" (pp. 35-36) and diat Kierkegaard and Freud wUl be analyzed "in order to further elucidate the emancipatory consciousness inherent in die work of art" (p. 37). The analyses are made from a dialectical point of view: the existential and psychoanalytic accounts of die development of consciousness are read precisely as dialectical stages in an emancipation, i.e., in die terms they are supposed to elucidate, and we are told that Kierkegaard at least must be read this way lest the dynamic aspect of his diought be overlooked. Are we to think that we now see the works of diese thinkers as diey reaUy are, that seeing this we can turn to die seven novels and read them in terms of die dialectical progression from the aesdietic (unconscious freedom) or die demonic (conscious unfreedom) to die self-conscious stage of freedom in die ethical and religious stages (where the aestiietic is like the Freudian pregenital stage, the demonic like the pathological, and die educai like the postgenital), and, moreover, that in so reading diem we are surprising die "dialectic in Modernism , a dialectic which is often implied or concealed" (p. 7)? Again, only one already committed to the interpretation of modernism as "a product of a hermeneutical process whose aim it is to demystify reality ... in order to create new meaning" and to die views that die "creation of meaning and ... of fictitious form and content [are uiey supposed to be the same?] is a dialectical process" (p. 241) and diat there is a dialectical relationship between the past and die future wUl diink so. City Universityof New YorkMary Bittner Wiseman The Politics and Poetics of Transgression, by Peter StaUybrass and AUon White; iii & 228 pp. Ithaca: CorneU University Press, 1986, $12.95. ProtestingJimmy Carter's decision to plant Cruise missUes on European soU, a smaU band of English women established a makeshift settlement in the mud surrounding the American müitary instaUation at Newbury. Local youths, in- 374Philosophy and Literature flamed by a spectacle whose fragUity and disorder mocked the formidable compound , retaliated by smearing die offenders' polythene tents widi pig's blood and excrement. To make sense ofdiis action, which employed one kind oftransgression to censure another, Peter StaUybrass and AUon White offer a provocative analysis of "the variety and origins of bourgeois disgust" (p. ix). Drawing upon the conception of the carnivalesque developed by Bakhtin in his study of Rabelais, the audiors examine a variety of strategies devised by die English middle class during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to fashion its collective identity from the symbolic resources made avaUable by a nonbourgeois culture. Their work proves superior to that of Bakhtin, however, because uiey do not embrace his implicit presupposition that the character of such self-production issues from an unambiguous exclusion of that deemed repugnant or unworthy. Arguing uiat "die 'top' attempts to reject and eliminate the 'bottom' for reasons ofprestige and status, only to discover, not only diat it is in some way frequendy dependent upon uiat low-Odier (in die classic way diat Hegel describes in the master-slave section of die Phenomenobgy), but also that the top includes uiat low symbolicaUy, as a primary eroticized constituent of its own fantasy life" (p. 5), StaUybrass and White maintain that the autonomous and self-disciplined bourgeois individual is in fact "constituted dirough and through by die clamour of particular voices to which it tried to be universaUy superior" (p. 199). To sustain dieir contention diat the suppressed carnival is surreptitiously present witiiin the middle class psyche, die...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 373-375
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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