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554 SHELDON P. ZITNER stabiliser l'objet ct'amour, maternel? 'M~lange d'hypnose et de passion utopique ... jalousie, haine cootenu, fascination, desir sexuel pour la rivale et pour son homme ... creatures lunatiques .. .' (260). Julia Kristeva fait, ici, non seulement profession de foi heh~rosexuelle, mais demontre son anti-ieminisme flagrant. II n'ya pas de redemption dans une quelconque communaute: La melancolie feminine serait-elle assouvie par les retrouvailJes avec I'autre femme, des que celle-ci peut-etre imaginee (amme Ja partenaire priviJegiee de J'homme? ... Entre femmes en tout cas s'epuise la haine captee, avalee au-dedans, 13 ou git emprisonnee la rivale archai'que. Lorsque la depression s'exprime, eIle s'erotise en destruction: violence d~chain~e avec la mere, d~molition gracieuse avec }'amie. (261) ... Pourtant, la societe des femmes n'est ni necessairement sauvage ni simplemlmt destructrice. De l'inconsistance ou de l'impossibiJiU des liens forcernent erotiques, elle constitue une aura imaginaire de complicite qui peut s'averer l~gerement douloureuse et necessairement endeuilUe d'abimer dans sa fluidite narcissique tout objet sexuel. tout ideal sublime. Les valeurs ne tiennent pas devant cette'ironie de fa communaute' - ainsi Hegel nommait-illesfemmes - dont la destructivitecependant n'est pas forcement drOle.' (263; nous soulignons) Et Ie front de citer Hegel Ie Misogyne pour se trouver un Pere archalque legitimant! Seul trou noir (il peut engouffrer tout Ie reste) du Solei! noir de 'I'indifference sexuelle' de Kristeva. Son sujet-artiste sublime et sublimantest homme (earil n'y a pas de catharsis chez Duras, dit-elle), ses patientes en analyse sont femmes: comment alors condure par cette eclipse qui denie un mouvement qui cherche justement les racines de ce mal avivre des femmes? Comment ne pas engager Ie sodal et l'historique dans ce devoilement de la souffrance feminine? Etre desabusee en fin d'un parcours si grave, s'etre desinvestie d'un mouvement (avaJe en France par l'apathie ambiante) pour continuer a perpetuer la 'neutralisation ' du sujet psychanalytique est une terrible responsabilite. Institution oblige. Un travail de de-lecture et de 'sublimation' est done afaire, tl partir de ce livre d'une grande tristesse et d'une non mains grande beaute. Professing Literature SHELDON P. ZITNER Gerald Graff. Professing Literature: An Institutional History. University of Chicago Press '987. 304. us $24-95 Professors of literature are retrospective by necessity, and most are introspective by temperament or scruple. Yet as a group they seem uninterested in the history of their profession. A graph showing the decline in the real value of academic salaries and a few anecdotes about dotty department heads will satisfy ordinary curiosity. The rest is as attractive as the minutes of yesterday's meeting, which in partit is. Compiling departmental orinstitutional histories is typically sniffed at as a sheltered workshop or a penance for deans. Why this should be so is a question with many small answers. There is caste-consciousness, the need to preserve the pecking order by avoiding the alleged drivel of the teachers' colleges. A conviction of professional autonomy and intellectual authenticity rests, for some academics, on the illusion that their encounters with texts and students are unmediated by external prescription. And if professors seek support in these encounters it is not from a professional tradition but from an ideological or generational cohort. Added to these are the synchronic tendencies of scholarship and poetics, and the long-standing practice of English departments. With few exceptions they give teaching assistants or beginning instructors a course description and a room number and in effect teU them 'Root, hog, or die.' Perhaps this is an optimistic belief that the shape of things as understood is the best shape of things to be taught. Yet viewed less charitably the unspoken message is 'Go thou and do likewise.' What happened in the professing of literature is that much of it kept on happening. In the classroom as in the family circle the words of the father and mother come unbidden to the lips - though the older generation is long buried in theory. The 'deconstructions' of the children are often the 'contradictions' of the parents. One merit of Gerald Graffs Professing Literature is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 554-560
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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