*the ‘frozen’,… —as opposition to the turbulence of movement. … —on the origins *(—the… precipitation) of the ‘mirror stage’. …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).)

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (ii).): Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (iii).): the Undivided Continuity of States. —‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (iv).): language, ‘intuition’ & flux in Nietzsche & Bergson, & the fiction of the ‘I’ in Lacan.

 

*the ‘frozen’,… —as opposition to the turbulence of movement.
(—on the origins *(—the… precipitation) of the ‘mirror stage’). …

[…] *freezes it and in a symmetry that reverses it, in opposition to the *|turbulent movements| with which the subject feels he *animates it.
*(Lacan, ‘The Mirror Stage’, 76).

 

The desire for identity, I have argued, is spurred by a more primary (so to) desire,… —a need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity *(—stasis). …

 

 

*—‘freezing’ turbulent’ movements (repress) beneath apparent… discretion of the form—the ‘contour’—of the ‘I’

 

*… —The mirror stage represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying flux of movements of and within the subject (—psychological and bodily), and in(-within) its environment (surrounds-environs).

 

 

*It’s possible, then, to read (—to give an account-a reading, here, of) the origins of the ‘mirror stage’.

 

 

—In laying out this reading-account of the origins, and of the structure of the mirror stage,… I want to draw, in particular, on a key idea from the work of the Modernist critic, poet, and aesthete T.E. Hulme,… —an idea which he himself adopts(-appropriates) from the work of Wilhelm Worringer: …

 

*… —I want to examine the origins of the ‘mirror stage’—in-as a response to, following Hulme and Worringer, I’ll characterise here as

 

*—‘space fear’.

 

 

*(—I’ll adapt-be adapting here, some material from my doctoral thesis, as well as some material which I wrote (from the point-of-view (so to) of my protagonist) for my first novel: Notes of a Vanishing Quantity *(—which I’m still trying, and failing, to publish, and which my thesis and its adaptation in this blog, are intended as a kind of a… companion piece), and which I earlier adapted for the blog of an ‘early C20th political writing’ reading group of which I was a part, under the title of: towards an Ethics of Friendship. …

 

*—The material from ‘Ethics’…  places my own spin on ‘space fear’,… reading it (implicitly-by implication) with, or in terms of Nietzsche, Bergson, and Hulme on language and flux, and Nietzsche’s later doctrine of the ‘will to power’ *(—for my reading of the ‘will to power’, see elsewhere on this blog).

 

 

 

on the ‘geometric’. …
*—agoraphobia. 
—at the root (—the necessity) of art in Hulme & Worringer. …

In his account of artistic inspiration in the later ‘Modern Art and Its Philosophy’ (—a lecture to the Quest Society, London, 22nd January 1914), Modernist poet and art critic T.E. Hulme appropriates Wilhelm Worringer’s concept of ‘space-shyness’… —

The fear I mean here is mental, however, not physical […] *a kind of space-shynessin the face of the varied confusion and arbitrariness of existence. In art this state of mind results in *a desire to create a certain *|abstract geometrical shape|, which, being durable and permanent shall be a refuge from the *flux and impermanence of *outside nature.

[…]

In the reproduction of natural objects there is an attempt to *purify them of their characteristically living qualities in order to make them necessary and immovable. *The changing is translated into something fixed and necessary.

*(—in T.E, Hulme, Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Herbert Read, with a Frontispiece and Foreword by Jacob Epstein (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.; 1924)86)

 

For Hulme, in contrast to ‘vital’ art, which is inspired by a ‘delight in the forms of nature’,… —artistic inspiration in ‘geometric’ art *(—functioning here as a kind of pseudonym, I’d argue, for Hulme’s own conception of ‘classical’ art, which I won’t go into here… ) stems from a state of fear of the confused and arbitrary—the inchoate—flux of the phenomena of ‘outside nature’. …

 

*—This… ‘space-fear’ gives birth to a desire to imbue the flux of external phenomena with a static form, or ‘shape’.

 

Just as ‘vital’ art, for Hulme, ‘geometric’ art still aims at the reproduction of natural objects. …

 

However,… *—in ‘geometric’ art this reproduction aims to ‘purify’ phenomena, sloughing off all that is contingent in them, and drawing out all that is ‘necessary’, imbuing them with permanence and redeeming experience from its contingency.

 

Hulme’s terms are a verbatim repetition of those of Worringer. …

*—In a passage which I love… —I think it’s stunningly astute, and uncannily accurate, on the psychology of the motivation to write—to attempt to create art… —Worringer identifies ‘an immense spiritual dread of space’ at *‘the root of artistic creation’ in what he calls ‘the urge to abstraction’.

*(—Wilhelm Worringer, Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style, trans. Michael Bullock [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1953],—15)… —

[It is] because he [the artist of ‘abstraction’/—the abstract artist… ] stands so lost and spiritually helpless *amidst |the things of the external world|, because he experiences only obscurity and caprice in the inter-connection and flux of the phenomena of the external world, that the *urge is strong in him to *divest the things of the external world of their caprice and obscurity in the world-picture and to *impart to them a value of necessity and value of regularity. *(—18)

Worringer distinguishes this ‘fear’ in the *‘urge to abstraction’ from the *‘urge to empathy’, which, he argues, represents— *‘a happy pantheistic relationship of confidence between man and the phenomena of the external world.’ (15)

 

(hmm). …

 

 

Hulme first refers to this ‘fear’ (—agoraphobic) in ‘A Lecture on Modern Poetry’ (—c.1908). …

 

In this earlier piece, however, he relegates it to the sole possession of the ‘ancients’ and distinguishes the relativity and rejection of ‘absolute truth’ characteristic of the ‘modern spirit’. (—see T.E. Hulme: Selected Writings, ed., Patrick McGuinness, (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1998), 59-67 [62-63])

 

—It’s not until the later piece that he fully incorporates Worringer’s conception of ‘space-fear’ into his own definition of the ‘classical’ and modern art.

*(—see Helen Carr ‘T.E. Hulme and the “Spiritual Dread of Space”’ in Edward P. Comentale and Andrzej Gasiorck, ed., T.E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism [—Aldershot, Burlington: Ashgate, 2006,—93-112 *[—esp. 103]). …

 

 

*… —to retrieve (redeem)—to save—experience, then,… —from the sense of its being inessential and lost.—without meaning or (necessary) consequence.

 

—without purpose or import.

 

—arbitrary, floating and haphazard.

 

*—infinitely replaceable.

(—nothing substantial, nothing essential, nothing that stands). …

 

—to redeem experience from the overwhelming mass—the flux—of forces (—events, possibilities, obligations-demands, desires, anxieties…), uncontrollable and vast.

(—a resentment of…).

 

—agoraphobia…

 

space-fear.

 

Hulme appropriates what he sees-defines as Worringer’s insight into what lies at the very *root of art. …

 

*—‘abstraction’.

 

—that, at ‘the root of artistic creation’, lies ‘an immense spiritual dread of space’.

(against, what Worringer calls, the ‘urge to empathy’: that ‘happy pantheistic relationship of confidence between man and the phenomena of the external world’.)

 

—gives rise (birth) to the (artistic) ‘urge to abstraction’:

Hulme-Worringer (CLUSTER)

 

—the fear of the (apparent) vastness of space (paradoxical as it might nonetheless seem) is in fact revealed as a fear-resentment of (life’s)smallness.

 

—to be overwhelmed in the face of the vastness—the vast expanse of forces (felt) in the external world, that run counter to the will—to the willed

(would will, if could.).

 

agoraphobic.

 

fear.—of an incapacity to control.—a resentment of the smallness of the lived.

(frustration the incapacity to exceed the limits of circumstance circumscribed, and realise the potential-desired, felt).

 

to be caught (inescapably) in-within the smallness of what must be lived (circumstance) at the cost of the all-else that could (—that ought?) to be lived.

 

—to fix the lived (—the impression) in a fixed form. in a form which makes (which renders) it necessary.

 

—to record the impression—atomically (—faithfully).find (to use) the precise—exact—words.

 

—qualification.

 

qualification of (the expression of) the impression.—precision-accuracy

(full—complete—honesty/accuracy.—as honest as can). …

 

—and slough off the inessential

 

to fix the core of the experience and render it sharp, hard and precise (‘geometric’).—to give it a shape.

 

make the lived necessary.—by virtue of its being a form

(existence—having existed-lived—become necessary to the creation of the form and become necessary through its own embodiment within—imbued with—the form).

 

 

to redeem (to show—to reveal—the already redemption of) the lived, in-by recognition.—of the work (—the image).—of the attempt to articulate the intuition.

 

recognition (approbation?).—to be recognised.

 

need.—to have the sense of an intuition recognised.

 

something worthy of being communicated (—set down).

 

recognition of the need (the compulsion) to set it down.

 

to create a solid, stable object that demonstrates the necessity of experience. makes experience-the lived necessary to itself,—to its own creation.

 

a yearning (—an ache) to realise and to communicate and to have that feeling-sense be recognised (and be shared-requited).

 

to be recognised as self in another-others and reflected.

 

to be known (and to be loved).

 

in-between space-fear, then, and the desire (the need) for recognition

 

—language.—flux.
—the fiction of the ‘thing’(—the ‘self’). …

an art of reading. …

 

—of the structure (—the shape) of the impression-impressions.

 

… —of the forces.—physical: movements, pressures.—of the senses: light, colour, touch, smell, sound… —of the emotional.—of connections in-of memorial-remembered (memories—conjured up, so to).

 

—of the competing impulses of which the impression is comprised-composed.—their arrangement, their relation to one another and their (relativeprominence.

 

in any given moment.

 

—all urges. drives. impulses.

 

and all compete (struggle) for balance, for clarity, for order,for dominance.

 

and the balance-order, at any one given moment, is what decides what am (to be).

 

—the ‘self’.

 

 

*—the ‘self’ (the… sense of ‘self’), then, as a fiction. …

 

—the result (the end) of a process of struggle (negotiation) of—between—drives and forces.

 

—the name (retrospective)-naming, thus, of the arrangement—the hierarchy—of forces.

 

in (within) an organism.

 

an imposition of language

 

imposed on flux

 

—a multiplicity of forces (of sub-wills).

 

projection.—a fiction of unity projected onto the flux of forces.

 

—language (linguistic).

 

—the origin and the history of a ‘thing’ (of any given thing): first, a projection—projecting back name—onto an arrangement-heirarchy of forces.

 

and second—a forgetting of (that act of) projection (that act of creation).

 

the name—the forged thing—taken to be (thereal.

(because—for Nietzsche, following Kant… —all that we can have access to and thus have knowledge of are the objects of everyday experience. because we cannot think outside the limits of our senses, we take those objects of experience to be real—in-themselves. … ).

 

any ‘thing’ in existence, then, has (must have)—come about

 

—as the result of a continuing process of naming (—names).

 

—a continual (continued,—continuing) process of being (having beeninterpreted.

 

—from the retrospective imposition of a unity (—of unities) upon the flux that flows always (anywaybeneath.

(—beneath the names).

 

upon the flux of forces.

 

—upon a (any given) quantum of reality

 

—always being appropriated and (re-)transformed…

 

—continually being undone and remade (—re-named).—re-forged

 

appropriated by (—linguistic) forces. overpowered.

 

—from without.

 

—the history, then, of any (given) ‘thing’, then, is a chain of signs (of names, of naming…).

 

always unfolding.

 

—a history, then, of *interpretations….

 

*—of adaptations. …

 

not (no, never) a progress-thus progressive.

(—no ‘goal’,—no ‘end’).

 

only ever a series (—a succession) of—mutually independent—processes.

 

—of appropriation.

 

of adaptation. …

 

exacted on the (given) quantum of reality.

(—of resistances, then, and of overpowerings).

 

 

*… —the form and the meaning of a ‘thing’ (—of any given thing), then, is fluid (always)

 

as in the process of the formation of language.

 

first: the stimulus of sense-sense-stimulus.

(a sight, a sound, a scent.—an impression)…

 

transposed-translated into a word (—sound).—from a need (felt) to discharge the (physical-physiological,—psychological) reaction to the stimulus.

(the word as a metaphor—as first metaphor—for the stimulus felt).

 

when many such similar impressions are yoked together (—grouped), under the aegis of a single word, that word becomes a concept.

 

—a name for a group—a cluster—of experiences (impressions), which serves to yoke them all together according to the similarities that they share.

(and must overlook—must elide—all the differences between them.

 

—crude (unsubtle)…).

 

the concept.—second metaphor.

(at two removes, then, from the sense-stimulus which gives birth-rise to it).

 

—the formation of the concept of the ‘leaf’…

 

—formed by discarding the differences between all (of those) individual leaves.

(—awakens the idea that, in addition to all those individual, incompatible, leaves, there exists—in nature (somehow, somewhere)—some ür,—some ideal ‘leaf’,—from which, in some way-fashion, all those other leaves,—descend

 

the (Platonic) Idea(-Form). …).

 

—‘analysis’ (—to borrow ol’ Bergson’s term). …

 

*—breaks down—fragments—its subject (—the flux) into parts-thus elements (—‘things’).—all made to participate with other fragmented elements in-under—pre-existing—concepts.

 

the break down (—breaking down) of-in-within ‘analysis’… *—art (after a fashion). …

 

 

—in the forgetting of that (act of) art (—creation)—the (mistaken) taking of the fragment-‘thing’ as-for a thing-in-itself (—as-for the real. ).

 

—the ‘self’, then.—a word. …

(—a name.—an ideal thus.—impossible to hold to,—impossible to attain identity with.—thrust upon on, thus,  from without,—in linguistic…).

 

fiction.

 

beneath the veneer, then, of (supposéd) ‘things’ (—of what we come to think of, then, as ‘experience’).—beneath the membrane (the skein) of artificial fragmented atoms—of ‘things’ in-of conceptual space, and of ‘moments’ in conceptual time—there subsists a foundation (—a substrate) of undifferentiated ‘states’.

 

—the flux of an undivided continuity of ‘states’.

 

—apparently mutually exclusive and autonomous, these ‘states’ thus nonetheless interpenetrate, enfolding (down, within themselves) all the states which led-up-to (preceded) their emergence, and, again, unfolding, ineluctably, into all those states which are to (must) follow (in the future yet). …

 

—forming, then, (justone reality, nonetheless, however paradoxical it may seem, comprised of this continual flux of successive ‘states’.

 

after a time, through habitual use (—familiarity)—convention—the concept (concepts) become empty—flat and stale—and elide (ignore) the details and the variations (—the engine of the difference) between things.

 

—no longer maintain any connection to the sense-stimulus from which they originally evolved-arose (no use value any more.—no connection to the quanta they were born to name—to which they, in effect, gave birth).

 

 

—clichés.

 

*on Lacan, then, & ‘space fear’ (—the ‘geometric’ … ). …

*Before the establishment of relations-relationships between the subject (—through the ego = “I”) and-to a world of discrete ‘things’… … *—the (‘Nietzschean’-‘Bergsonian’, so to) flux—of an undivided continuity of ‘states’. …

 

—In the face of which—in response to which—the subject feels (of necessity), then,—overwhelmed… —imperilled (threatened). …

 

—experiences *‘space fear’ (agoraphobic). …

[The abstract artist/artist of ‘abstraction’… ] experiences only obscurity and caprice in the inter-connection and flux of the phenomena of the external world, that the *urge is strong in him to *divest the things of the external world of their caprice and obscurity in the world-picture and to *impart to them a value of necessity and value of regularity. (Worringer, Abstraction and Empathy,—18)

 

—In response to ‘space fear’ (—agoraphobia)… *(… —no way to engage with-to relate to ‘outside nature’. … —no way to defend against-fend off the peril in-of chaotic flux), then,… —a necessity (felt)—an *urge—… to impart discretion upon the otherwise fearful, inchoate flux. …

 

*—the imposition of language. …

 

… —selection. … the selective culling of forces, impulses,… of—detail, from flux: highlighting—bounding round, with (an only ever apparent) contour, of some,… —the  elision or suppression of others. …

*—the creation of the fiction—the artistic projection—of ‘thinghood’ *(so to—in space, and in-of time),…

 

*—the creation of the fiction of the ‘I’. …

 

*—the divestiture of caprice, and the imparting of discretion (stasis). …

 

 

*Lacan,… and the ‘frozen’ (—‘freezes’) as opposition to ‘tubulent movements’ *(—the turbulent movements in-of the flux of the organism. … ).

 

 

—that which underpins (so to) and precipitates ‘the mirror stage’—

 

…—a… response

 

—an attempted ‘geometric’ (—the form-formal outline—contour—of the image of the body… —appropriated in-to (the artistic fictional projection of) the “I”) remedy for, the desire-need (felt) for fixity-stasis,…

 

*—the-a fear (—agoraphobic) of space, and of flux. …

 

 

*The ‘mirror stage’, then, as—the appropriation, or the… pulling, of the non-/pre-egoistic subject (so to—sic?) into extant (pre-existing) orders/structures (—the legislation, in early-Nietzschean terms) of language.

 

*as *(—the formation of)— *the I that says “I”. …

 

*—the ‘ideal I’.

 

 

I want to move on now, then,—to examine the nature of that ‘ideal’ (there) in more detail, and the way in which (I think) it can provide a hook into thinking about the *‘real’… —ontology in Lacan *(—Lacan’s ‘ontology’ … ), and can serve to qualify some of the ideas I developed in my readings of Nietzsche and Bergson on language and the nature of flux. …

 

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*towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’: language, ‘intuition’ & flux in Nietzsche & Bergson, & the fiction of the ‘I’ in Lacan. …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).)

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (ii).): Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (iii).): the Undivided Continuity of States. —‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson.

 

language, ‘intuition’ & flux in Nietzsche & Bergson,
& the fiction of the ‘I’ in Lacan. …

 

So, …

 

For both Nietzsche and for Bergson, then…

 

… —things’… —fragments (fragmented) in (—within-of) space, and the moments-atoms in-of ‘clock-time’ are impositions of language. …

 

on-to a—pre-linguistic,—pre-egoistic, inchoate flux

 

*—(what I’ve dubbed here, for my own purposes) *—the flux of the undivided continuity of states.… —subsisting, then, beneath the individuated concepts of the intellect in Bergson’s conception of ‘duration’, and, I’d argue, in Nietzsche’s… analogous critique of the intellect and championing of ‘intuition’ in the early ‘On Truth’ essay.

 

… ‘Things’ and ‘moments’ (—‘clock-time’) forged, then, from flux. …

 

First as words (a word), an utterance in response to a sense-stimulus. …

 

—The word becomes a concept when it no longer refers exclusive-solely to the sense-stimulus which gave birth-rise to it, but is used to… yoke together disparate phenomena. … *—the (attempted) elision of the differences between diverse experiences (stimuli) and the attempt to equate unequal phenomena (under a single head, so to).

 

—In order to be able to establish a communal linguistic consensus (—the legislation of language). …

 

… —Words, then,… —only ever (in truth) provisional,—inadequate, translations of, and attempts to incorporate experience-sense-stimuli, become (via a process) reified *(—the abstract… —made more concrete,… —real),—taken as-for truth. …

 

—Taken as *corresponding,—absolutely and unproblematically, to things-as-they-are-in-themselves, and there vital, artistic origins (—origins in-as artistic projections) is forgotten-repressed. …

 

…—They become, in effect, stultified metaphysical prejudices——divorced… —alienated from experience.

 

… *—For Bergson, as for Nietzsche, the aim of what both dub ‘intuition’ is to overcome the institutionalised and complacent metaphysical prejudice of the concepts (—formed by the intellect/’analysis),… —a descent (back) into the pre-individuated, undifferentiated flux, and a return with new metaphors and previously ‘unheard-of combinations of concepts’.—To create new metaphors, in order then to capture the *‘vividly felt actual sensation’. …

 

*on flux, then, … & the imposition of the fiction of the ‘I’. …

 

*—It’s possible to read Lacan on the relationship between the subject & the image in-of ‘the mirror stage’, then, alongside, or perhaps rather in terms analogous (—a parallel to) Nietzsche and Bergson on language and flux. …

 

 

*For both Nietzcshe and Bergson… there’s a (however, perhaps, regrettable) necessity in-to the spatial-temporal fragmentation (—into atoms,… quanta) in, or rather through, the impositions of language.

 

*—There is a necessity in-to the formation of a discrete ‘I’. … —In order to overcome, and to repress, the chaotic flux in-of the organism,… *—organs-drives-forces. …

 

—The imposed fiction of the discretion of the ‘I’, and of ‘things’ in space and moments in-of time, are what renders communication and community (the social-political and legal) possible. …

 

*… —Require, then,—the imposition of a fiction. …

 

 

And this is what’s at stake *(I’d argue, at least) in Lacan’s account of the ‘mirror stage’: …

the *|total form| of his body, by which the subject anticipates the maturation of his power in a *|mirage|, is given to him only as a *gestalt, that is, in an *exteriority in which, to be sure, this form is more *constitutive than constituted, but in which, above all, it *|appears to| him as |the *contour of his stature| […] (76).

 

*—The ‘total form’ of the image of the body in the mirror is a fiction,… —necessarily ‘gestalt’ *(that is,—apparently-seeming more than the simple sum of its parts): … complete (whole),—unified (… —no gaps,… no disjuncture(-discord),… —no remainder)… *—bound within the clam, satisfying smoothness of a-the ‘contour’. …

 

It is constituted in the moment of the ‘mirror stage’, and has no existence, either prior to, or beyond it. …

 

—it is a mirage. … —an illusion (or,—a trick of the light (so to) ), the desire for identity with which is spurred (I’d argue) by a desire,… —a need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity *(—stasis). …

 

In order to overcome and—importantly—to repress,… the chaos in-of an underlying flux *(in-within the organism (organs-drives-forces…)… —of an undivided continuity of ‘states’… —?).

 

 

*—The ‘mirror stage’ then, represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying flux of movements: of and within the subject (—psychological and bodily), and in(-within) its environment (surrounds-environs).

 

*An important question I want to address in what follows: …

Is this flux pre-linguistic and (therefore) pre-egoistic for Lacan, as it is for Nietzsche and Bergson… —?

 

 

It’s the necessity-need for fixity (stasis), and the notion of a relationship between the ‘I’ and an underlying flux (whatever its particular nature or status might be), that opens up the possibility, I think, of interrogating-reading the origins of the ‘mirror stage’, and which represents a really interesting basis of comparison for reading Lacan on the ‘real’ (in ‘The Mirror Stage’ essay) in relation to Nietzsche on language and the ‘I’ ( = ego), and Bergson on ‘duration’ and ‘analysis’. …

 


*towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’: the Undivided Continuity of States. —‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson. …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).)

Mirror Stage II..—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (ii).): Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

 

*(—the following is taken from: ‘On the Undivided Continuity of States. … —on the “primal unity” &(/as)—“duration”.’ … ).

 

 

 

*the Undivided Continuity of States.
—‘analysis’, ‘duration’, & ‘intuition’ in Bergson. … 

*In An Introduction to Metaphysics (of 1903), Henri Bergson offers a clear, concise, and apt summary of the distinction between ‘analysis’ (—the conceptual) and ‘intuition’, which he had established in his earlier works (Time and Free Will,—Matter and Memory, (etc.)…)…—

By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible. Analysis, on the contrary, is the operation which reduces the object to elements already known, that is, to elements common both to it and other objects.

*(—Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. T.E. Hulme (Cambridge: Hackett, 1999),—23-24).

 

So,…

 

—‘analysis,’ Bergson argues, breaks its object down into parts (—‘elements’) corresponding to pre-existing concepts in which it participates (is made to participate) with other objects. …

 

*—it strikes me that these terms very closely echo—perhaps in a way not dwelt upon (certainly at any length in extant work on the similarities or parallels between Nietzsche and Bergson—Nietzsche’s critique of language, the intellect, and the conceptual in ‘On Truth’, and, in particular here, Nietzsche’s critique of the formation of the ‘Platonic’ concept of the ‘leaf’, which was formed, he argued, by discarding the differences between individual leaves: the awakening of the ‘idea’ that, ‘in addition to the leaves’, there exists in ‘nature’—‘the leaf’.’ (‘OTL’, 117.—see pervious. … ).

 

—(the process of) ‘analysis’, then, reduces the thing (—its object) to these constituent elements and to their conceptual correspondences.

 

 

—by contrast, Bergson wishes to promote the method of ‘intuition,’ which—*as it did for Nietzsche in ‘On Truth’—aims to shatter the reduction of its object to pre-existing conceptual prejudices, and to place the observer back into (in closer proximity to) an original state of disinterested, non-conceptual receptivity *(—‘intellectual sympathy’). …

 

… *—beneath the hardened veneer of the fragmented and atomised spatio-temporal realm of the concepts—the ‘crust solidified on the surface’ of experience (—cf. Bergson, IM, 25)—Bergson identifies ‘one reality […] which we all seize from within, by intuition and not simply by analysis. It is our own personality in its flowing through time—our self which endures.’ (24) …

 

*—Beneath the artificially differentiated, atomistic experience of things in conceptual space, and of moments in conceptual time, Bergson argues, subsists a foundation of undifferentiated states which he calls *‘duration’ (—durée)…

beneath these sharply cut crystals and this frozen surface, a continuous flux which is not comparable to any flux I have ever seen. There is a succession of states, each of which announces that which follows and contains that which precedes it. (25)

 

*—Duration, then, constitutes ‘one reality’,—seemingly paradoxically comprised of a continual flux of successive ‘states’.

 

 

*—We are originally made aware of this flux, according to Bergson, through our consciousness of our own personality (—internal intuition) and (then, subsequently) extend the principle to the outer phenomena of perception (—external intuition).

 

—apparently autonomous, these… states nonetheless interpenetrate, containing all those states which precede them and unfolding ineluctably into all those which are to follow.

 

The ‘states’ of duration constitute neither a simple multiplicity, nor a simple unity, but, ‘instead of being distinct, as they are in any other [comparable form of] multiplicity, encroach upon one another.’ (30)—They constitute ‘a continuity of elements which prolong themselves into one another’, a continuity which ‘participates in unity as much as in multiplicity; but this moving, changing, colored, living unity has hardly anything in common with the abstract, motionless, and empty unity which the concept of pure unity circumscribes.’(30-31.—Cf. Bergson, Creative Evolution, trans. Arthur Mitchell [New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1998],—1-7. … )

 

*—the flux of duration represents an undivided continuity of states’. …

 

 

*—It’s the undivided continuity of this flux which the concepts rend asunder through the what Bergson (again,—with echoes of Nietzsche) characterises as the *imposition of—artistically projected—individuated forms … —

Pure intuition, external or internal, is that of an undivided continuity. We break up this continuity in the one case to distinct words, in the other to independent objects. But, just because we have thus broken the unity of our original intuition, we feel ourselves obliged to establish between the served terms a bond which can only be external and superadded.

*(—Bergson, Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer [London: Swan Sonnenchein & Co., Ltd, 1911],—239)

 

—The concepts are generated through the formation and (importantly) the false hypostatisation of words *(… —an echo of Nietzsche’s account of the formation of language in ‘On Truth’), and of independent (that is —apparently discrete) objects. …

 

*—Once fragmented, for any form of discourse to be possible, it becomes necessary, Bergson argues, to artificially form bonds between these—severed entities. …

 

—and this, ultimately, is the role (—the purpose-goal) of ‘analysis’. … (—cf. CE, 4)

 

*(and, again,… —I think that this is significant for my current reading of Lacan’s ‘mirror stage’. …)

*—For Bergson, these bonds, whatever their use value (for language and for action), can in no way afford access to the underlying flux, but are, and must remain, external epiphenomena. …

*(and, again,… —this echoes Nietzsche’s critique of the conceptual quasi-Platonic prostheses to experience in-of the ‘On Truth’ essay. … ).

 

[…]

 

*(—for my attempt to elaborate my reading of Bergson on time & flux, through a reading of ‘The Slow Mo Guys’ slow motion videos, see the original blog post. … ).

 

*… —the shattering of these prejudices-conceptual (—of habit-inertia)… —is what, for Bergson, as it had been for Nietzsche, is at stake in ‘intuition’ (—vs. the concepts of the intellect)—as method. …

 

 

*on ‘intuition’, then,—as method. …

 

*Bertrand Russell very beautifully summarises what he (rightly.—why not?) calls Bergson’s ‘ingenious’ conception of the intellect and his conceptions of ‘matter’ and of ‘time’. …

Intelligence or intellect, “as it leaves the hands of nature, has for its chief object the inorganic solid”; it can only form a clear idea of the discontinuous and immobile; its concepts are outside each other like objects in space, and have the same stability. The intellect separates in space and fixes in time; it is not made to think evolution, but to represent becoming as a series of states [. …] Solid bodies, it would seem, are something which mind has created on purpose to apply the intellect to them.

[…]

The genesis of intellect and the genesis of material bodies, we are told, are correlative; both have been developed by reciprocal adaptation. “An identical process must have cut out matter and the intellect, at the same time, from a stuff that contained both.”

*(—Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy [London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1961],—758).

 

*—‘matter’, then (—so-called)—as a product-creation of the intellect—as that which falls away from duration—from-through its own inertia.

*(… —frozen-carved (away.—‘Solid bodies’) from duration, in order that the intellect—that the subject (as subject) be able to function at all…).

 

*(and this is the same for good ol’ Fritz, I think. …

 

*—‘matter’,—the subject (—the ‘I’-the ‘self’),—the body (as whole-discrete)… (again)—creations of the intellect—as all that which falls away (so to) from flux. …).

 

indeed.

 

 

*though, to my mind, he offers what is still by far one of the most sharp and clear readings of Bergson, Russell, I think, is mistaken in the charges of ‘irrationalism’ and the anti-intellectualism, which he lays against him. …

*(—see Russell, 756 and 762, respectively… ).

 

 

Russell is too dismissive and too reductive. …

 

—I think Russell’s charge of ‘irrationalism’ represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the terms of Bergson’s critique of the intellect, but in a way which is actually genuinely useful to me here and illuminating for my reading of Nietzsche…

 

 

*for Bergson, as for Nietzsche… —we are (all of us) trapped in language. …

 

—locked. in (within) the inadequacies—the limits—of language…

 

*—of the fragments (of things) in space,… —in the atoms (in-)of ‘time. …

 

—for both, there can be no —complacency in (with regard to) language. …

 

—there must, for both, by contrast, be always a (fundamental) wariness-mistrust

*(—of the ability-capacity to ever truly say (have said) anything).

 

 

—no,… sitting still in the arbitrary, illusory, inadequate and ineluctably failing quanta (in-) of language. …

 

language.—as something entered into,… —not (never) as something possessed. …

(—something (sic) thrust into (into which, then, we are thrust). unavoidably.—in-volun-tarily but—necessarily. …). …

 

‘analysis’ (—the intellect) rends asunder the flux of the continuity of ‘states’.

 

*—just as for Nietzsche, in his account of the origins of language in ‘On Truth’, for Bergson language emerges as a process of metaphorical transposition:

*—from the original (sense) stimulus, through the word (—the sound), in-to the abstract concept. …

 

 

*—Modernist poet and critic T.E. Hulme, in his essays-articles on Bergson’s philosophy, argues that these metaphors ‘soon run their course and die. But it is necessary to remember that when they were first used by the poets who created them they were used for the purpose of conveying over a vividly felt actual sensation.’

*(—T.E. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ in Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Herbert Read, with a Frontispiece and Foreword by Jacob Epstein [London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1924],—141-169 [151] ).

 

 

Just as for Nietzsche, for Hulme (—following Bergson… )—language originally emerges from a need to articulate a vividly felt sensible stimulus—an internal or external ‘intuition’.

 

 

*—When this initial stimulus and artistic projection have passed, the metaphor (the word) can then, itself pass into popular usage (—becomes, then, a concept). …

 

—It becomes hypostatised and its artistic origins are forgotten. …

 

—The metaphor reaches the end of its capacity to articulate the ‘vividly felt actual sensation’ and becomes a mere ‘counter’,—akin to the pieces in a game of chequers, to be manipulated (‘moved about’) according to the demands of practical utility.

*(—Cf. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ 151-152, 159-162, 165-166 and ‘The Philosophy of Intensive Manifolds,’ 176. … —The metaphor is also crucial to the notes gathered together under the title of ‘Cinders’,—215-245).

 

*For Bergson, the aim of intuition as method is to ‘recover [the] contact with the real,’ severed in the formation of concepts and of ‘analysis,’ and to ‘restore intuition to its original purity’.

*(—Matter and Memory, 241. Cf. Gille Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam [New York: Zone Books, 1988], 13-35 (—esp. 14), and Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson [Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006], 63-64:

‘This is what Bergson is trying to do: to bring to philosophical awareness what has been absolutely repressed by thought and is structurally inaccessible to it’. (—63) ).

 

 

*—Echoing Nietzsche’s claim for the necessity of the redemption of the intellect through ‘forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts’ in ‘On Truth,’… Bergson argues that intuition is ‘only truly itself when it goes beyond the concept, or at least when it frees itself from rigid and ready-made concepts in order to create a kind very different from those which we habitually use.’ (—Bergson, Introduction to Metaphysics,—30)

 

The aim of intuition, then, is, by an ‘effort,’ to break through the artificial surface of the conceptual and regain the undivided continuity of flux (—duration), and what Bergson dubs ‘the intention of life’: … —‘the simple movement that runs through the lines, that binds them together and gives them significance.’

*(— Creative Evolution,—176-177. Cf. Introduction to Metaphysics,—21-22 and Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’—144, where the passage is reproduced verbatim… ).

 

*Bergson, and Hulme following him, dub this the *‘aesthetic intuition’, and both view art as the paragon of the attempt to lacerate the conceptual and to bring back new forms (new language, new metaphors, new images and new concepts) from the flux of duration—an (ironic) re-birth and appropriation of the intellect

 

*importantly, then… —rather than a form of straightforward ‘irrationalism’ or anti-intellectualism, as Russell’s reading would suggest—intuition, then, *(as method) represents an attempt (perhaps invariably ill-fated.—inevitably fails-failing), to appropriate the process of the formation of language and the concepts—the intellect (—‘analysis’).—from in-within. *—in the laceration and return. —and to revivify. …

*(—to revivify language—the concepts of the intellect—and to turn to account. …): …

 

*—‘This intention is just what the artist tries to regain in placing himself back within the object by a kind of sympathy and breaking down by an effort of intuition the barrier that space puts between him and his model.’

*(—Creative Evolution,—177.—Cf. Hulme, 144. Hulme goes on to refer to the artist’s shattering of the conceptual and experience of flux as the ‘essentially aesthetic emotion’ [145]. Cf. also 149-150 and 161-162).

 

 

*—towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’: Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).) …

 

*PART II. —on ‘space fear’ & the ‘ideal’. …
*—Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, & ‘intuition’. …

*(the following is taken from: … *I. – Intuition, Flux and Anti-metaphysics between ‘On Truth and Lies [in a Nonmoral Sense]’ and The Birth of Tragedy.—Nietzsche’s early Schopenhauerian—anti-Schopenhauerianism… ).

 

 *Nietzsche, ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’, trans. Daniel Breazeale, in The Blackwell’s Nietzsche Reader ed. Keith Ansell Pearson and Duncan Large (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2006),—114-123.

 

Blackwell Nietzsche Reader

 

[…]

 

*In ‘On Truth and Lies in Nonmoral Sense’, Nietzsche criticises what he sees as the arrogance of the human claim to knowledge, through the intellect, of the value of existence. …

 

*—He contests what he argues is the conceit of the intellect and the attempt to extend its remit beyond the… realm (so to) of human experience.

 

 

—For Nietzsche, the concepts of the intellect are anthropomorphisms.

 

—In an ironic inversion of perhaps the most obvious and straightforward valuation of the intellect—as some form of vehicle for ascertaining the truth or the value of existence—Nietzsche characterises it as the very paragon of ‘dissimulation’,—‘allotted to these most unfortunate, delicate, and ephemeral beings merely as a device for detaining them a minute within existence.’ (114-115)

 

The intellect lies as a sort of a veil over existence as a means for the creation and the preservation of the individual (—the subject).

 

—Without the intellect, Nietzsche argues, existence itself would be unbearable.

 

Whilst the intellect appears ostensibly as the means to knowledge and to truth, Nietzsche argues that its primary function is to conceal the plethora of phenomena which threaten to overwhelm the individual. …

 

—It’s not, that is, as it might appear, a means to self-knowledge but, instead, to self-deception

What does man actually know about himself? Is he, indeed, ever able to perceive himself completely, as if laid out in a lighted display case? Does nature not conceal most things from him – even concerning his own body – in order to confine and lock him within a proud, deceptive consciousness, aloof from the coils of the bowels, the rapid flow of the blood stream, and the intricate quivering of the fibers! (115)

 

For Nietzsche,… —natural existence constitutes a chaotic flux… —comprised of natural drives and processes *(—‘coils of the bowels’, ‘rapid flow of the blood stream’,… —‘the intricate quivering of the fibers!’ … ).

 

(and this, I think, is especially important in the context of the current discussion of the ‘image’ and the ‘I’ in Lacan. … )

*—The intellect, then, is an epiphenomenal, (a—prosthetic… —?) *artistic creation,… —appended to (sub-intellectual,… —sub-egoistic,… —sub-conscious) flux—in order to repress or to suppress it, and thus to render the individual subject (—subjectivity) possible, in order, in turn, to preserve the organism against the suffering that a conscious awareness of, and inability to escape from, the confusion and contradiction this flux would inevitably give rise to.

 

 

—By intimation, for Nietzsche, a thoroughgoing knowledge of the effect of physiological drives on consciousness, which the intellect is engendered precisely in order to prohibit, is necessary for any accurate self-perception and self-comprehension to be possible.

*(—‘n’ I think ol’ Fritz is essentially reiterating and expanding upon this point in the ‘Preface’ to On the Genealogy of Morality… —

We are unknown to ourselves, we knowers, we ourselves, to ourselves, and there is good reason for this […] like somebody divinely absent-minded and sunk in his own thoughts, who, the twelve strokes of midday having just boomed into his ears, wakes with a start and wonders ‘What hour struck?’, sometimes we too, afterwards rub our ears and ask, astonished, taken aback, ‘What did we actually experience then?’ or even, ‘Who are we, in fact?’ […] We remain strange to ourselves out of necessity, we do not understand ourselves, we must confusedly mistake who we are, the motto ‘everyone is furthest from himself’ applies to us forever,—we are not ‘knowers’ when it comes to ourselves…

*(On the Genealogy of Morality, trans. Carol Diethe, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003] ‘Preface,’ §I, 3-4: emphases Nietzsche’s own here. … )

Nietzsche argues that by virtue of the nature of our conception of ‘knowing’; that is, the nature of the intellect and its repression of the flux of natural drives, we must remain unknown to, and alienated from, ourselves.

In this passage Nietzsche implicitly reiterates the notion of the necessity of this alienation.

… —True self-knowledge and self-identity must remain impossible if the individual (the subject), and thus morality, are to be maintained.

It’s possible, at least to a certain degree, to read Nietzsche’s claim that no genealogist prior to himself has yet enquired as to the true origins and evolution of morality, as a claim that each has had an ineluctable stake in the maintenance of the illusion of subjectivity. … ).

 

*—in a note from one of his later notebooks (—of April – June, 1885), Nietzsche provides an apposite summary of his overarching critique of the concept of notion of the unified subject…

If I have anything of a unity within me, it certainly doesn’t lie in the conscious “I” and in feeling, willing, thinking, but somewhere else: in the sustaining, appropriating, expelling, watchful prudence of my whole organism, of which my conscious self is only a tool.

*(—Nietzsche, Writings  from the Late Notebooks, trans. Kate Sturge, ed. Rudiger Bittner [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 2003,—34[46], 2-3 [2].

… —on the ‘self’—*the ‘I’—as a fiction, especially in relation to Nietzsche’s doctrine of ‘the will to power’, see the following entries: 34[54]-34[55], 4; 34[131], 9-10; 35[35], 20-21; 37[4], 29-30; 38[8], 36-37; 40[42], 46; 1[58], 59-60; 1[87], 61; 2[91], 77; 2[152], 91; 2[158], 92; 2[193], 96-97; 5[3], 106; 7[1], 127-129; 7[63], 140; 9[91], 154-157; 10[19], 178-179; 11[73], 212-213; 11[113], 221-222; 11[120], 223-224; 14[79], 245-247. ).

 

*—the ‘I’ of the (conscious) ‘self’ here appears, then, as a ‘tool’ for the processes of the sustenance of the ‘organism’: … —of the incorporation of necessary experiences and energies and the purgation of superfluous experience and energies.

 

*(… —I want to come back to this notion—of the ‘I’ as (merely) a kind of epiphenomenal ‘tool’ for the manifold drives, forces, and processes in-of the organism… *—the ‘I’, then, as more or less useful-practical fiction. … —in my reading of Lacan. … ).

 

 

Nietzsche argues that language represents the means employed by the intellect toward this end.

 

*—His critique of the intellect represents a theory of the formation of language… —concerned with the origins and evolution of words and concepts.

 

 

*In The Beginnings of Nietzsche’s Theory of Language, Claudia Crawford argues that Nietzsche’s account of the formation of words and concepts represents their division into two separate languages. …

 

—The first constitutes an ‘unconscious formal language arising as the product of the instincts,’ whilst the latter constitutes ‘the translation of this unconscious language into the conscious language of fixity according to convention’.

*(see—Claudia Crawford, The Beginnings of Nietzsche’s Theory of Language [Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1988],—202).

 

*—The formation of this first, unconscious and instinctual language is a two-stage metaphorical process. First, ‘a nerve stimulus is transferred into an image [Bild].’—In an unconscious and instinctual reaction to a sensible stimulus the mind forms an image—a mental picture—of that stimulus. This is the ‘first metaphor’…

 

In the second, ‘the image, in turn, is imitated in a sound.’ (116)—The process evolves from the translation and transposition of a sensible stimulus into a mental image, to the further translation of this image (and not of the original stimulus itself) into a sound.

 

*—This is Nietzsche’s—naturalistic (so to speak)—account of the emergence of language.

 

 

—The word is formed as ‘a purely natural reaction to a stimulus, whether a cry, a scream, or any other sound, it is primarily an action which reduces the tension created by the perception of the stimulus.’ (Crawford, 203)—The formation of words is an attempt to articulate and discharge the natural reaction to a sensible stimulus.

 

For Nietzsche, a word becomes a concept at the point at which it transcends its function as referring solely to the unique, original experience ‘to which it owes its origin’:

‘a word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases,’—‘cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal.’—The word emerges as a response to a particular stimulus (as a vocalisation of the image). It becomes a concept at the point at which a vast field of such experiences are reduced to a small number of similarities and yoked under the aegis of a single word. (117)

 

For Nietzsche, the concept represents the elision of the differences between diverse experiences (stimuli) and the attempt to equate unequal phenomena. (ibid.

—Nietzsche gives the example of the concept of the ‘leaf’. …

In a parody, and a rejection, of the Platonic Idea, or Form, he argues that the concept of the leaf is formed by arbitrarily discarding—by forgetting—the differences between individual leaves:

This awakens the idea that, in addition to the leaves, there exists in nature the “leaf”: the original model according to which all the leaves were perhaps woven, sketched, measured, colored, curled, and painted – but by incompetent hands, so that no specimen has turned out to be a correct, trustworthy, and faithful likeness of the original model.

—For Nietzsche, the claim to know that such a self-identical Idea or ‘original model’ (the concept) inheres in things is a projection and false hypostatisation. … ).

 

 

—Utility gives birth to both the word and the concept in response to (—deeply felt) needs. …

 

—The individual word emerges from the need to discharge and articulate a particular sensible experience and stands at two removes from this original stimulus.

 

The concept emerges from a need for this original articulation to be transmitted to and to be understood by others, and thus stands at three removes from the original stimulus.

 

Nietzsche defines this process as *the invention of designation: the ‘legislation of language’.

 

It’s in this establishment of communal (linguistic) convention, Nietzsche argues, that ‘the contrast between truth and lies arises for the first time.’… —In other words, the concept arises from need to reduce the plurality of experience to a finite set of linguistic conventions in order to be able to establish a social-cultural-political consensus. (cf. 115)

 

 

Nietzsche argues that by virtue of their artificiality and elision of difference, all— ‘truths’, or concepts of the intellect, are, in reality, lies. …

 

—After the advent of the legislation of language, the concept of the ‘liar’ comes to designate the person who misuses the terms sanctioned by consensus for selfish or harmful ends by making ‘something which is unreal appear to be real’. What linguistically enabled human beings avoid, Nietzsche argues, is not deception itself—for this is of the quintessence of language—but being harmed by deception…

 

*—‘Truth,’ for Nietzsche, represents ‘the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors’. (117) …

 

*Importantly for this comparison with Lacan and my reading of ‘The Mirror Stage… For Nietzsche (in ‘On Truth’)—language is first engendered in order to suppress the chaotic flux and multiplicity of natural drives in order to render the individual possible as a *fictitious unity. …

 

—The intellect, its concepts, and the notions of truth and lies are engendered as a necessary consequence of this individuation, in order to render communal linguistic consensus and thus society itself, possible.

 

Like the individual, ‘truth,’ for Nietzsche, is an artifice.—‘Truth’ is *art (—an artwork)…

What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions; they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins. (117)

 

—For Nietzsche, ‘truth’ appears as a projection of epiphenomenal, and purely human, utilitarian physiological, psychological and social fabrications. What is crucial for Nietzsche is that this act of artistic projection, and the subsequent artificial legislation of language to which it gives rise, are not recognised by their human progenitors as the works of art which they in fact are.—The original linguistic act of creation is inevitably followed, then, by an act of forgetting: ‘Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions’. The forgetting of the artistic origin and nature of language allows for the hypostatisation (the poetic or rhetorical intensification) of concepts and the false belief that they correspond absolutely to things as they are in themselves.

 

—Through an ironic inversion, Nietzsche argues that truths are revealed as lies.

 

*a seeming paradox, then. … *—the condition of the possibility of ‘truth’, is seen to rest on a foundation of falsehood, upon which it is utterly dependent.

 

 

*[…]

 

*—Nietzsche opposes his thesis of the three stages of: …

(i)—the artistic projection,

(ii)—the repression of the memory of act of projection

and (iii)—the subsequent hypostatisation of the concepts of the intellect, …

to what he argues is the false consciousness that they correspond absolutely to a metaphysical reality:

Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions; they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins. (Nietzsche, ‘On Truth’, 117)

 

—Through the gradual process of their hypostatisation, the concepts of the intellect become stale and dead metaphors, which, Nietzsche argues, no longer retain any connection to, or use value for, experience.

 

—They’re no longer able to capture ‘vivid first impressions’. (118)

 

—They become little more than the mode of expression of a (Platonic) philosophical and of a moral prejudice.

 

 

*For Nietzsche, existing concepts, as ‘abstractions’ and petrified prejudices, serve to distort human life. …

 

*—In order to overcome the stultification of the exhausted metaphors of the concepts, and in order to revivify the fundamentally artistic drive of the intellect and grasp ‘vivid first impressions,’ Nietzsche opposes ‘intuition’ *(—Anschauung) to the conceptual:

[The intellect] will now be guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions: when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful and present intuition. (118)

 

For Nietzsche, the intensely undergone aesthetic experience—the ‘impression’—of the ‘powerful’ and ‘present’ ‘intuition’, lies outwith the field of possible experience outlined, sanctioned and policed by the concepts of extant linguistic convention.

 

The intellect, he argues, is driven by the need to articulate—to ‘correspond creatively’ to—this experience. In order for this to be possible, it is necessary to lacerate the petrified or stultified surface of the ‘ghostly’ Platonic abstractions of the concepts,—bereft of life, and lacking in both substance and any direct, visceral connection to the reality (so to) of lived experience.

 

 

*—… In the articulation of the intuition, the intellect becomes enmeshed in a process of the bathetic (—‘mocking’) reanimation of the concepts, smashing the ‘framework’ of the concepts ‘to pieces’, throwing it into a state of confusion, and ‘pairing the most alien things and separating the closest.’ (122)

 

In stark contrast to the ‘distortion’ of life, which he argues is implicitly at stake in the forgetting of the act of creation, and false—‘Platonic’—reification, of the concepts of conventional linguistic experience, ‘intuition’, as a projected philosophical method of the future, is defined, for Nietzsche, by its capacity for self-conscious ‘dissimulation’, enacted with a good (—a clear) conscience.

 

*—Intuition sets the intellect free, and the liberated intellect in turn ‘copies human life’ in its new bathetic, monstrous, hybridised metaphors. …

 

In contrast to the hardened veneer of the extant concepts, inaugurated and preserved as a crutch for the ‘needy man’ (—the ‘servant’, who requires the legislation of an uncritically accepted linguistic order in order to be able to function and to—persevere… )—‘the means by which weaker, less robust individuals preserve themselves’… —the intellect, freed through intuition, is enabled to become the ‘master’ of life and of ‘deception’. (122) Freed from its former ‘slavery’, the intellect ‘copies human life, but it considers this life to be something good’ and no longer needing to be redeemed or justified through falsely hypostatised, artistically projected (Platonic) concepts.

 

*—towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. …

 

*PART II. —on ‘space fear’ & the ‘ideal’. …

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: brief notes from a lecture on Lacan. …

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

*Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

*the ‘mirror stage’.
(—a brief summary of a reading so far, then). …

 

 

At a certain age, or stage of physical and psychological development (rather),… not yet having developed instrumental intelligence, or indeed physical independence,—the-an infant encounters a specular image of their own body in a mirror *(—mirrored surface. … thus—reflected.). …

 

… —the image presents the infant’s (—the subject’s) body to it in-through-as the form a total ‘outline’ (so to speak. … —a contour)… —it’s presented, then, as a gestalt: —a unity,… —more than the sum of its (manifold) parts (or—quanta). …

 

The infant becomes transfixed by-with the ‘total form’ in-of this specular image of the body, then, which mimics their own movements.

 

—The infant(/subject) recognises—(that is) validates and identifies itself with—the image.  

 

 

—It seeks to struggle free of the constraints presented by the adult (—the parent/guardian/carer), or its walker/carrier.

 

—to get closer to *(—to be alone with… —?) the image, and to try to *fix the ‘total form’ in-of image indelibly (—finally) in its mind. …

 

(That is,… )—The subject attempts to appropriate the image to itself (—to its physical and psychical life). …

 

 

*—The ‘total form’ of the image of the body in the mirror, however is a fiction.

 

 

—It’s constituted in the moment of the ‘mirror stage’, and has no existence, either prior to, or beyond (without-outwith) it. …

 

—it is a *mirage. … —(thus) an illusion (or,… —a trick of the light (so to) ),—the desire for identity with which is spurred (I’d argue at least) by a desire,… —a *need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity *(—for stasis). …

 

*… —The mirror stage represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying (—pre-linguistic and (therefore) pre-egoistic—?) flux of movements: of and within the subject (—psychological and bodily), and in(-within) its environment (surrounds-environs).

 

 

*an—awkward gesture (perhaps). …

 

I want to move on, by way of a sort of an aside (I s’pose) here, to consider what is meant by, and what is at stake in (-within) Lacan’s referring to the ‘mirror stage’ as revealing (or,… —referring the ‘mirror stage’ to the revelation of) an *‘ontological structure’. …

 

*… —I want to look at, and to try to define, the nature of what initially at least, appears to be a pre-linguistic and pre-egoistic flux; the nature of, and relationship between the ‘illusion’-mirage and the ‘ideal’; and what, finally (if anything) might be said to precede the mirror stage and to prompt it.

 

 

… —Over on(-in) the main thread of this blog: *—The fold of the Artist, which I’m adapting from material from my doctoral thesis on artistic inspiration and the figure of the artist in the works of James Joyce and Friedrich Nietzsche *(—in an extremely pretentious and foolhardy attempt to develop my own theory of art), I’ve already posted some work-material looking at some of these questions.

 

 

*—I’ve done some (—preliminary, and really, honestly, quite crude, partial, and… dilettantish) work on subjectivity, the emergence of the ego (= “I”) from language and an underlying pre-linguistic flux, in relation to Nietzsche’s early writing, and especially The Birth of Tragedy and the ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ essay.

 

—I’ve compared Nietzsche’s treatment of these questions in particular to the philosophy of Henri Bergson: … Bergson’s conception of language and/as the fiction of fixity in space and in-of time, the flux of ‘duration’, and ‘intuition’ (as philosophical method).

 

 

*—As I mentioned back in the more general introductory post to this reading group,… —I’ve only taught on Lacan,… —I’ve never actually engaged, directly and in-depth, with his work in my own studies – thesis. …

 

Nevertheless,—… for a long time-while now, I’ve had a… sense (sic) that Lacan *(and, in this instance, his account of ‘the mirror stage’) actually frames the problems, philosophical questions, ideas and concepts I found myself drawn to, and working on, in Nietzsche and Bergson (—as a way of framing my reading of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction, and Modernist aesthetics and poetics more widely … ),—more clearly and in-with more depth. …

 

*… —the work I’ve already done, then, might help frame the way I want to read ‘The Mirror Stage’ (—the mirror stage) here, and, in a way,… —reading Lacan might help me (finally) to finish (or, at the very least, to address some of the issues and problems I had with) my doctoral thesis.

 

 

So,…

I want to crave you indulgence here, if you’ll allow me, fellow reading group readers, while I draw on some of the ideas I’ve already worked on (elsewhere) and some of the material I’ve already produced. …

 

 

*—in a series of shorter posts here, then,… I want to try to summarise, and to… fuse-bring together material from my doctoral thesis, and latterly the main thread (so to) on-of this blog—on Nietzsche and Bergson. …

 

*—Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’:

… —examining the intellect, language, ‘intuition’, and account of the fiction of the ‘I’ in (—from early to later) Nietzsche.

 

 

* the Undivided Continuity of States.—‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson:

… —examining ‘analysis’, language, ‘intuition’, and flux in Bergson’s philosophy.

 

 

What I’m interested in here are the… parallels (for want) in the accounts of language,… —thinghood (so to), and subjectivity (—the “I”. … ) as fictitious (—artistic, after a fashion) projections… —impositions of order on the underlying flux of an undivided continuity of ‘states’, between Nietzsche, Bergson, and Lacan.

 

 

*—More importantly (for the current reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’),…

 

—I’m interested in the question of what it is that *prompts these… impositions.

 

 

*… —I’ve been (ridiculously slowly and gingerly) working my way back through, amending and (hopefully) developing my work on and reading of Modernist poetics and aesthetics in my doctoral thesis, over on the main thread of this blog. …

 

—in what follows here,… I want to jump slightly ahead of myself (so to), and—in laying out my reading of the origins and the structure of the mirror stage (…)—to draw on a key idea from the work of the Modernist critic, poet, and aesthete T.E. Hulme,… —an idea which he himself adopts(-appropriates) from the work of Wilhelm Worringer: …

*(—and so,… —I’ll adapt-be adapting here, some material from my doctoral thesis, as well as some material which I wrote (from the point-of-view (so to) of my protagonist) for my first novel: Notes of a Vanishing Quantity *(—which I’m still trying, and failing, to publish, and which my thesis and its adaptation in this blog, are intended as a kind of a… companion piece), and which I earlier adapted for the blog for an ‘ early C20th political writing’ reading group of which I was a part under the title of: towards an Ethics of Friendship. … ).

 

*… —I want to examine the origins of the ‘mirror stage’—in-as a response to, following Hulme and Worringer, I’ll characterise here as

 

*—‘space fear’. …

 

 

—This, I hope, (in ways that I want to come back to and to clarify and develop later) will lay the groundwork for a reading of Lacan on ‘primary narcissism’ in (-of) ‘the mirror stage’.

 

*’image’. ‘complex’. ‘VORTEX’. —on Ezra Pound, Imagism, and the ‘image’… *part (i). ‘the exact word’. …

*(… —follows on from *‘the image.—vs. Platonic ressentiment’, *‘—toward a disruptive, anti-transcendental “classicism”’, and *‘—the “classical”.—vs. the “romantic” (in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme.)’ …).

 

*I’ve struggled (again) to write all this. …

 

I know that between the previous two posts here there had been a fairly substantial (and, frankly, unintended) hiatus of sorts. …

 

—I’ve struggled to (re-)write the material on the ‘classical’—working from notes, fresh readings-materials, and fragments—in a way that I hadn’t foreseen (after all,… the parallels between the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’ in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme are fairly obvious and straightforward, and I had the mass of the material ready prepared from the fragments of my doctoral thesis).

 

Particularly difficult was to re-jig (so to) the conclusion of my reading of The Birth of Tragedy in the light of Nietzsche on the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’. …

 

—This actually took place in the reverse order in my doctoral thesis, with the ‘classical’ material preceding my chapter on Birth, and the Birth chapter (perhaps more simply) speaking back to the ‘classical’. …

 

And perhaps this original structure does indeed actually work better. …

 

hmm.

 

More, though, I had wanted in the doctoral thesis to talk more about Pound, and about Imagism,—using them to qualify, clarify, and to use as examples of, the ‘classical’. …

 

—Without ever truly being (absolutely) sure why (or how). …

 

 

—It wasn’t until I went back over my thesis material, notes, and Pound’s and the Imagist texts here *(—in preparation for this), that I had what, at least at the time, felt like (a sort of) a revelation: …

 

* …—of the way in which Pound’s writing on the ‘image’ and the key terms of the Imagist’s ‘manifestoes’, when taken in the light of some of the Imagist poems,… —bring together the philosophical and artistic (aesthetic) ideas and concepts I’ve been concerned with (throughout the various posts-fragments-chapters of this ‘ere ol’ blog project), and how—in turn—these ideas and concepts can help, then, to contextualise and to elucidate the key terms of Pound’s writing on art and the ‘image’ and the Imagist’s key artistic claims. …

 

*—a sort of (quite sweeping, perhaps) assessment, I s’pose of the… (for want of a better term-turn-of-phrase) intellectual (artistic and philosophical) *tradition (—yes, yes,… —I know, I know…) formed between Nietzsche, Bergson, Hulme, Joyce, Pound, and the Imagists…

 

*—of (—toward) a disruptive, anti-transcendental neo-classicism. …

 

And that is what I hope to present here.

 

 

—I’ve struggled to do any real justice to the material, I think. …

(I’m still anxious that all of this is too… superficial. … —too precious and too loaded).

 

I’m aware that there is a fair amount of assumed knowledge—of Pound, Imagism, and the Imagists, without a great of background: historical, biographical (etc.)—in my reader (as there was in my argument on Nietzsche and Birth).

 

I’d refer the reader back to my incredibly cursory and ineffectual ‘brief history’ of Imagism in the context of Joyce’s writing, and I do do so,—at the outset of all this here. …

 

*—My focus here is theoretical: … *(that is,…) I’m interested in the detail of the artistic and philosophical claims (—about poetry, and about the nature, and (the treatment of) the proper subject matter of the poem…) in-of Pound, and of the Imagists. …

 

As such, I focus on a small number of (what seem to me to be) their key collective claims, eschewing wider discussion of the key figures involved in Imagism (and their wider literary output), and—to be honest—I do no real justice to ol’ Ezra (really), focussing on the key terms in the development of his writing on Imagism and the ‘image’, and not discussing his life or wider work.

 

 

*—I’m aware that a lot of the posts I’ve put up here are, really, far too long for the patience of most readers.

 

And so,…        (hell)

 

I’m going to present this as a series of shorter fragments, for the sake of much easier and more comfortable digestion. …

 

(hmm)

 

 

*…—It’s often the case *(a fairly common conception) that the Imagists receive a great deal of (let’s call it) critical – flak for (what even ‘Modernist’ Scholars with an interest in Imagism and its place and importance in Modernism, and Modern Art more broadly, have been known to characterise as) the poor quality (so to) of their poetical output,… —especially when measured against the innovation, (intellectual) integrity, and promise(-potential) of their artistic claims and manifestoes. …

 

 

*—I want here—by(-in) contrast (hmm)—to draw out the fundamental details of the aesthetic  claims promoted in the writings of Pound, and by the Imagists, and (and perhaps more importantly(—?)) to read a small selection of their poems in terms of, and as examples of the practical executions of, those claims. …

 

*In order, in the end,—to… —draw out (then), in effect, the deep-rooted connection between the ‘classical’ and the ‘image’.

 

 

*image. ‘complex’.—‘VORTEX’. …

 

So, …

(hmm).

 

*—The concept of the ‘image’ lies at the very heart (of the evolution-development) of Ezra Pound’s critical writing, as well as (—clearly) the (self-styled) Imagists shared project.

*(For a crude, brief, and largely incompetent history of ‘Imagism’, the reader is pointed toward the last portion of my ‘the “image”.—vs. Platonic ressentiment.

 

—For a more lucid, detailed, and developed history, the interested reader is recommended to consult Peter Jones’s excellent ‘Introduction’ to Imagist Poetry. …).

 

 

*—. I want to pause here (as a sort of an—aside, I s’pose) to dwell on the work of Pound and the Imagists.

 

In particular, I want to examine, and to draw out the stakes of, the close (nay—the intimate (let’s say it)) relationship between the concept of the ‘image’ and that of the ‘classical’. *(—what a ‘classical’ art-poetry might indeed look like. … ).

 

 

So then,…

 

—I’ll read from Pound’s critical writing and the Imagist’s manifestoes in order to draw out their key artistic claims (or demands), as well as the philosophical (so to) characteristics of the ‘image’, before moving on to read some examples of Imagist poetry, in order to analyse the artistic practise and poems (poetry) to which these claims and characteristics gave rise.

 

 

—The aim here, then, is to examine more closely the development of the ‘classical’ in(-within) self-styled neo-classical Modernism (more broadly understood):

*—the intimate connection between the ‘classical’ and (the concept of) the ‘image’, and the impact of this development on literary-poetical theory and practise.

 

*Whilst, as I said in my ‘brief history’(sic) of Imagism, it’s problematic at best to try to regard Joyce himself as, in any way, a practising ‘Imagist’,… examining the ‘image’ (or, rather: images) of Pound and of the Imagists, will help me to clarify what I believe is at stake in Dedalus’s theory of the ‘image’ in Portrait (and its development from the ‘epiphany’ of the Stephen Hero draft),—helping me to demonstrate its (intrinsic) alignment or parallel (for want) with the overall development of Nietzsche’s theory of, and writing on, art and the relevance of an understanding of Nietzsche, his theory of art, and relationship to Romanticism, to an understanding of the intellectual (—philosophical and artistic) underpinnings of (self-styled. ‘neo-classical’) Modernism.

 

 

In particular here, I want to focus, quite liberally and freely actually,  on Pound’s ‘A Retrospect’ (incorporating ‘A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste’, first printed in Poetry, March 1913, and reproduced in ‘A Retrospect’: Pound, Pavannes and Divisions, 93-111)) as well as the prefaces to the 1915 and 1916 ‘Imagist’ anthologies. *(—The two prefaces are reproduced in Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry, 134-140).

 

 

*the exact word. …

 

*—In Some Imagist Poets (1915), Lowell et al. lay out a set of principles for the movement which helpfully (at least for my own current purposes here) form an almost verbatim repetition of Ezra Pound and F.S. Flint’s earlier definition of ‘Imagisme’, and of the image, in ‘A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste’, presenting them in the form of a convenient and easily digestible list, and it’s worth, I think, reproducing it in full here… —

1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.

2. To create new rhythms—as the expression of new moods—and not to copy old rhythms, which merely echo old moods. We do not just insist upon “free-verse” as the only method of writing poetry. We fight for it as a principle of liberty. We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better expressed in free-verse than in conventional forms. In poetry, a new cadence means a new idea.

3. To allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject. It is not good art to write badly about aeroplanes and automobiles; nor is it necessarily bad art to write well about the past. We believe passionately in the artistic value of modern life, but we wish to point out that there is nothing so uninspiring nor so old-fashioned as an aeroplane of the year 1911.

4. To present an image (hence the name: “Imagist”). We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to shirk the real difficulties of his art.

5. To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.

6. Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.

(repr. in Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry, 135; & cf. Coffman, Jr., Imagism, 28-29. …

—See also, F.S. Flint’s ‘Imagisme’—which immediately preceded ‘A Few Don’ts’ in Poetry—in Pound, Early Writings

1. Direct treatment of the “thing,” whether subjective or objective.

2. To use absolutely no word that did not contribute to the presentation.

3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome. [—209-210]

).

 

*— …

 

‘to employ always *the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.’

 

*… —an absolute (in the sense of uncompromising), sharp, hard (that is,—ruthless) poetic-literary *economy (—‘concentration),—& (an equally absolute) fidelity to the (artist’s) model, & to the impression (so to.—the experience, I s’ppose, of artistic inspiration).

… —an aversion (then) to ‘decoration’: to sentiment, & to metaphor &/or simile. …

*—a commitment to concision: …

—to a fidelity to the model/experience, eschewing (so to) any attempt to add to, or to… inflate the model-experience, or to attach to it(/them) the prosthesis of a transcendental-metaphysical significance *(—a ‘Platonic Idea-Form’) that would surreptitiously serve to lift them out of the sphere of the everyday (in-onto the ‘otherworldly), and, thus, imbue the poet-artist (so to. again,—surreptitiously and ingenuously) with some form of special-elect prophetic-‘mystic’, ‘consciousness expanding’ insight (—as the one who has access to the otherworldly (Platonic), which is why, I’d argue, their terms echo (oh so very closely) those of Stephen’s rejection of ‘symbolism and idealism’ and aesthetical metaphysics *(—the ‘romantic’ …):

—‘To present an image’. … ‘—‘poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to shirk the real difficulties of his art.’

 

‘To create new rhythms—as the expression of new moods—and not to copy old rhythms, which merely echo old moods.’

 

… —

 

This echoes ol’ Fritz (in ‘On Truth’, and in Birth) and Henri Bergson on the laceration of the stultified… skin (—a membrane. so to) of linguistic convention (and prejudice),… —down (back)—into flux, through ‘intuition’,… and the need for new words-forms: ‘he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful and present intuition. (Nietzsche, ‘On Truth’, 118)… —‘new rhythms’,—to capture (—to incorporate) the new ‘moods’ (so to), which result. …

And this is what is meant, I’d argue (at least), by the Imagist’s appeal to: ‘a principle of liberty’: ‘a new cadence means a new idea’.

 

 

*—The ‘Direct treatment of the “thing”’. …

 

direct,… —a pragmatic, detailed, attention, with ‘thing’ notably placed in parenthetical quotation marks: *—the ‘Direct treatment’ and the ‘new mood’ bringing its very ‘thinghood’ (so to) into question. …

 

*…—attention. being brought into focus upon the ‘thing’ in question (—the ‘thing’ itself exciting-eliciting this attention, and thereby becoming the artist’s model … ), which serves to bring into question (to—undo?) the dismissive complacency (—of habit, apparent familiarity,—of (quotidian) prejudice) with which it would, otherwise, have been greeted.

*(—compare on this: ‘A Few Don’ts’… —on ‘sincerity’, and a ‘certain limpidity and precision’ as ‘the ultimate qualities of style’. … *[103: on ‘Technique’, and 132] … ).

 

 

*—This particular iteration of the Imagist ‘manifesto’ (so to) is also important or significant in-through the (self-styled) ‘Imagists’ location of their shared project-interests in relation to (broader) contemporary debates on art and aesthetics. …

 

 

*—. —The reference here to ‘free verse’ (vers libre.—a form of unrhymed verse divided into lines of no particular length and without a consistent metrical pattern, but still recognizable as poetry due to the complex patterns which it employs and that readers are able to perceive to be part of a coherent whole)—represents, at least in part, an allusion to the French Symbolist poets, who popularised the form. …

 

—In their adoption of free-verse, but rejection of it as the only possible method of writing poetry, the Imagists sought both to appropriate what they saw as valuable, and to reject what they saw as restrictive, within Symbolism: opening the potential ( and freedom) to appropriate form and formal experimentation, whilst remaining at liberty to fundamentally reject any metaphysical ambitions or aspirations (—prejudices?) underpinning Symbolist poetry. …

*(—For an extended discussion of the relationship of Imagism to Symbolism, see Wallace Martin, ‘The Sources of the Imagist Aesthetic’ PMLA, Vol. 85, No. 2, [March, 1970], 196-204. …

 

—Martin argues that though they are markedly different, neither Hulme nor Pound’s conception of ‘the image’ ‘is historically derived from or theoretically similar to the aesthetic of the Symbolists.’ [197-198])…

 

 

 

—The rejection of ‘aeroplanes and automobiles’ as (automatically-necessarily) fit subjects for art, and openness to the recuperation-or reclamation (so to) of the past as a fit subject for poetry, form pointed (—implicit, yet, in their specificity, actually fairly arch) allusions to ‘Futurism’,—founded by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909. …

 

*.—In his ‘Manifesto of Futurism’, Marinetti defined Futurism as the art of (violent) velocity… —

We say that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty; the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot—is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.

*(Filippo Tommaso Marinetti ‘Futurist Manifesto,’ La Gazzetta dell’Emilia, 5th February 1909 reproduced in Le Figaro, 20th February 1909. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, ‘The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,’ in Marinetti: Selected Writings, ed. R.W. Flint, trans. R.W. Flint, Arthur A. Coppotelli [London: Secker & Warburg, 1972], 39-44 [41])

 

—In obviously intentionally sexualised terms, Marinetti defines Futurism as a celebration of emergent technologies, particularly those of transport, and with(-in) a particularly fervent rejection of the (historical, technological, and artistic) past…

*—‘Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the Impossible? […] We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind’. (41-42)

 

 

*—In ‘Vorticism’, Pound dismissed Futurism as mere ‘accelerated impressionism,’ dubbing it ‘a spreading or surface art.’ (279.—See also, Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry, 21).

 

*—With what can be characterised as its combination of Impressionist (—particularly the plein air movement’s self-avowed goal of capturing the vitality and flux of the lived-experience *(—the artist’s subject-model) and Cubist (—Picasso’s form of psychological realism) influences, … —Futurism marks, or rather names, the artistic attempt to capture and to articulate the changes in the perception and velocity of daily life opened up with-in the advent of new technologies (—particularly of the aeroplane and automobile… ).

 

 

—The Imagists, then, sought (explicitly and conscientiously) to place their emphasis on (what here could be called) the *stasis, … *—the concision (—exactness), and clarity of images and, thus, the very concept of the ‘image’ (itself), in stark contrast-opposition to Futurism’s (Marinetti’s) emphasis upon technology, velocity, and also (by extension, I’d argue) its violent reactionary politics, which glorified militarism and nationalism, and offered a violent rejection of feminism: ‘We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman’ [ibid.]. …).

 

 

Imagism—that is the Imagists—then, are at some pains in their ‘manifesto’ to locate themselves beyond or (perhaps rather) outwith , both the ‘Platonism’ *(the—pseudo-transcendentalism, so to) of, I’d argue, an especially ‘Yeatsian’ brand/derivation of ‘Symbolism’ *( … —in his later essay, ‘Vorticism’, pausing to define ‘symbolism’, Pound again draws out and rejects this pseudo-transcendentalism: … —‘It is not necessarily a belief in a permanent world, but it is a belief in that direction.’ *[—281]), as well as the technologically focussed (and fuelled, so to) obsession with (sheer) *velocity (—of both technology, and (in-)of time) in-of Futurism. …

 

 

In the stead of the ‘Platonic’ otherworld of the ‘cosmic’ symbolist poet, and the brash high-velocity machismo of the Futurist artist, then,… —the Imagists lay an emphasis, echoing the terms of the ‘classical’, as I have laid these out, in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme, on an unflinching, anchored (pragmatic) concern with (fidelity to) lived-experience,… —what could be summarised here, for my current purposes as the experiential stoicism and philosophical scepticism of the ‘classical’,—as evinced by ol’ Jimmy J.., Fritz, and Hulme.

 

*from the epiphany to the ‘esthetic image’… *—the evolution of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction. …

*(follows on from *‘the fold in the self-creation of the artist’.).

 

*on ‘Art and Life’. …
*—the evolution of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s writing.

*(by way of introduction…)

 

In the first… chapter (?)—string-thread of fragments here,… I contextualised Nietzsche’s ironic ‘Schopenhauerian’–anti-Schopenhauerianism in The Birth of Tragedy through reference to the ‘On Truth’ essay which followed it and to the ‘On Schopenhauer’ fragment which preceded it. …

 

*—I argued that the text’s being book-ended by these two explicitcritiques of Schopenhauer, underpins the latent anti-metaphysics in-of the text. …

 

 

*—Through a comparison of the ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) of Birth with Bergson’s notion of *duration as the flux of the undivided continuity of (interpenetrating) states, I argued that the ‘primal unity’ far more closely approximates Nietzsche’s own later formulation of *‘the will to power’, understood here as the differential element (—‘sense’) defining the hierarchy of forces vying for dominance of a given quantum of reality (—the ‘essence’ of any one quantum naming the ‘sense’ with which it is most sympathetic) than it does the metaphysical unity of Schopenhauer’s ‘will’. …

*(—see esp. … on *‘Intution, Flux, and anti-metaphysics’., & *‘the will to power’. …).

 

 

*—In what follows here (now), then, —I want to examine what I’ll argue represents the analogous ironic appropriation of the terms of Aquinas’s philosophy of art and theory of ‘beauty’ in Stephen’s aesthetic theory between Joyce’s Stephen Hero *(ed. Theodore Spencer [London: Paladin, 1991,—SH) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (—[London: Penguin, 1992].—Portrait). …

 

 

—In this first part-fragment, I want to turn to the context of the early critical reception of the aesthetic theory of Stephen Hero and in particular of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and to revive the terms of the early debate around the concept. …

 

 

*—There are two antithetical positions at stake in this reception, which still bear a strong influence on contemporary critical treatment of the development of Stephen’s aesthetic and its relationship to Joyce’s larger corpus. …

 

—The first is that the concept of the ‘epiphany’ applies only to Joyce’s own early—fragmented—compositions and can’t (—ought not to) be applied beyond these, to name a literary technique at stake in Joyce’s mature writing. …

 

The second is that the ‘epiphany’ can be used to name all and any of the structures of revelation at play in Joyce’s writing.

 

 

*… And so. … —I’ll argue here for an alternative—third—critical position through a reassessment of Stephen’s ironic appropriation of Aquinas’s conception of ‘beauty’ in the exposition of his aesthetic theory between Stephen Hero and Portrait. …

 

 

*—I’ll argue that the concept of the ‘epiphany’ is, in fact, refined into that of the ‘esthetic image’ in-of Portrait, which retains-maintains and—draws out *(—clarifies)what is at stake within *(—the fundamental shape of) the ‘epiphany’,—shorn of the religious and metaphysical… baggage which still clung to the earlier term. …

 

*—an ironic appropriation, then, of Aquinas’s philosophy,—to an intrinsically anti-metaphysical theory of art. …

 

 

This will allow me, in the second section here, to go on to argue that the aesthetic theory as it appear in Portrait… incorporates both the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and also (and as importantly) the account of the opposition between the ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’ (presented elsewhere) in Stephen Hero (—and in Joyce’s own early critical writing). …

 

*—I’ll argue that this material is reconfigured in Portrait to form, in particular, an implicit rejection of what I’ll call late-Romantic Platonic metaphysics, and, more specifically, of W.B. Yeats’s definition-coinage-formulation of *transcendental Symbolism.

(and, I confess,… —I’ll be using Yeats, I suppose, as a kind of a straw man (sic) here. …)

 

 

*…—By highlighting the parallel between Stephen’s account of the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’, and privileging of the former, and those of Nietzsche and T.E. Hulme (—on artistic inspiration and creation, Modern art and Bergson’s philosophy), I’ll thus seek to link Stephen’s aesthetic theory to neo-classical Modernist aesthetics more broadly considered… *—and especially Ezra Pound’s work *(—on the ‘image’ and (on) the ‘vortex’), and Imagism. …

 

 

*… —I’ll read Stephen’s allusion to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s account of artistic inspiration in A Defence of Poetry as an ironic appropriation of the terms of Shelley’s Romanticism to an implicitly anti-Romantic, anti-metaphysical, ‘classical’ aesthetic. …

 

 

*—I’ll conclude my reading of Stephen Hero, Portrait and (in the light of)neo-classical Modernism by drawing a parallel between the anti-metaphysics in-of the ‘esthetic image’ and the terms of Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power, as I examined these in the first chapter-string-thread of fragments here *(and, again,—see *[links]).

 

 

*—I’ll then move on to read the ‘Shakespeare theory’ in-of the ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ episode of Joyce’s Ulysses. …

 

—I’ll argue that the both the (concept of the) image and the ‘classical’ in-of the aesthetic theory are refined again,—in(to) Stephen’s concept *—the image of the artist’.

 

*… —and this is where I want to draw what I feel is the most significant parallel between the evolution of the terms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Joyce’s fiction and those of Nietzsche’s account of artistic creation in The Birth of Tragedy, as I’ve attempted to close-read, interpret and lay these out in the previous string-thread. …

 

*—I’ll argue that Stephen’s account of the creation of the ‘image of the artist’ in Ulysses presents the process of an attempt to record and to articulate an intensely undergone experience in which the (assumed) empirical self of the artist is lacerated (so to), and a sort of bathetic revelation—ironic inversion—takes place, in which the artist’s ‘self’ is shown to be the opposite of what it had been taken to be. …

 

*This… process, then, I’ll argue, can be articulated through a comparison with the shape of ol’ Friz’s account of artistic creation in Birth, as(-through)…

*—the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist. …

 

 

*—‘applied Aquinas’. …
*—on the use & abuse of Thomism, & the *evolution of the ‘epiphany’ into the ‘image’ in the developing aesthetic theory between Joyce’s Stephen Hero & A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man…

*—the ‘Epiphany’ *(-the—epiphanic. …). …

 

*— In Stephen Hero, Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas’s conception of ‘beauty’ follows on directly from his definition of the ‘epiphany’… —

By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. (Joyce, SH, 216)

In this initial definition, then,—Stephen identifies an ‘epiphany’ as a ‘manifestation’. …

 

*(That is,…)—It is a revelation. …*—A sudden(-suddenly) becoming visible, or sensible,—of something which had existed prior to the experience of its revelation, and yet which had remained (somehow) insensible, and only latent.

 

 

*The (a-hem)—‘spiritual’ (—sic) quality of the ‘epiphany’ alludes here, I’d argue, to the relationship of consciousness to itself,—implicit in this notion of revelation. …

 

 

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, represents a bathetic structure of ironic inversion,—suddenly and spontaneously revealing previously repressed psychic (—psychological) content, and thus bringing about a fundamental change in consciousness. …

 

…—This is brought about either by the observer’s relationship to some vulgar detail of quotidian discourse (—‘speech or gesture’), or, by a revealing, detached psychological event (‘a memorable phase of the mind’). …

*(…

 —Oliver St. John Gogarty argues that it was ‘Probably Fr. Darlington had taught him, as an aside in his Latin class—for Joyce knew no Greek—that “Epiphany” meant a “showing forth”’. (—As I was Going down Sackville Street [New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1937],—293-295.—See also, Robert Scholes and Richard M. Kain, eds., The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Materials for Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, [Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965],—7-8)

—William T. Noon, meanwhile, puts forward the contention that in using the term ‘epiphany’ Joyce is ‘playing on the French ‘épiphénomène (that which at certain times attaches itself as if inevitably, though momentarily, to some other phenomenon)’. (Joyce and Aquinas [New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1957], 71)… (hmm. …)

*—Florence L. Walzl provides the best summation of the term epiphany itself,—building on Gogarty’s observation of Joyce’s having learnt the etymology and the meaning of the Greek term, and arguing that… —

What Joyce meant by the term epiphany may be deduced etymologically. The basic meaning in Greek of έπιφάυεια is appearance or manifestation, and the word is related to a verb meaning to display or show forth and in the passive and middle voice to shine forth. In the early Christian period epiphaneia developed a religious denotation as a “visible manifestation of hidden divinity either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known.” (‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’, PMLA, 80 [1965],—436-450 *[436])

*(—Walzl cites William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, 1957).

*—The key terms here, I would suggest, are ‘manifestation’ and to ‘show forth’. …

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, is the becoming visible or sensible (—a form of becoming aware…) of something which had previously remained (for whatever reason or sets of reasons)—‘hidden’ (—obscured). …)…).

 

The ‘epiphany’ can take one of two potential forms. …

 

*—These correspond to the forms of Joyce’s own ‘Epiphanies’: a selection of short prose fragments composed between 1901/2 and 1904.[1] …

 

—The first is that in which what is revealed is done so through a ‘vulgarity of speech or of gesture’: a quotidian turn of phrase or expression through body language that captures something essential in both the agent and the observer. This is the sense in which Joyce’s brother Stanislaus described the ‘“Epiphanies”—manifestations or revelations’:

Jim had always had a contempt for secrecy, and these notes were in the beginning ironical observations of slips, and little errors and gestures—mere straws in the wind—by which people betrayed the very things they were most careful to conceal. “Epiphanies” were always brief sketches, hardly ever more than some dozen lines in length, but always very accurately observed and noted, the matter being so slight. This collection served him as a sketchbook serves an artist.[2]

 

The first form of the ‘epiphany’, then, concerns small and, seemingly, unimportant errors, through which can be observed a *betrayal of something that the agent had been at pains to conceal. …

 

Stanislaus’ description lays an emphasis on the ironic disposition of the observer. … —The ‘epiphany’ is ‘ironical’ in terms of the cynical detachment and distance of the observer from the observed. …

 

 

*—In their commentary on the prose fragments, Litz and Whittier-Ferguson dub this form of ‘epiphany’ the—‘dramatic’. (Shorter Writings, 158.—See also Scholes and Kain, The Workshop of Daedalus,—3-6. …) …

 

*—The ‘dramatic’ epiphanies rely on the contexts of social relationships and situations and, in particular, on the failure of a social and-or emotional performance. …

 

 

—The repressed ‘essence’ (sic) thus revealed,… —the motivation for its repression,—the act of its repression, as well as the failure of this performance,… —allconspire, then, here to form an *ironic betrayal. …

*(—Gogarty: …—‘So he recorded under “Epiphany” any showing forth by which one gave oneself away’. *[293-295]…).

 

 

*By contrast to the ‘dramatic’,… —the second form of the ‘epiphany’ concerns what Stephen refers to as a ‘memorable phase of the mind itself’. …

 

—This form of ‘manifestation’, rather than concerning a revelation through the quotidian, involves an ironic betrayal of the… —inward state (so to) of the observer.

 

For this reason—the focus on the inner (inward) state of the artist-observer themselves—Litz and Whittier-Ferguson dub this form the ‘lyrical epiphany’. (Shorter Writings, 158)

 

The form of distance involved in the observation here lacks the cynicism of the ‘dramatic’ form. …

 

—It’s more vulnerable, and more affective, and, hence, more painful to the observer (however ironic it may nonetheless be). …

 

 

*—The ‘lyrical’ epiphanies take the form of ‘records’ of dreams or moments of solitude. …

 

—Stephen defines the ‘phase of the mind’ as ‘memorable’ because, through the disruptive nature of the revelation, it is lifted beyond (—outwith) the continuum of quotidian experience.

 

 

*—In effect, then,… —it’s a moment of involuntary self-intuition, resulting in a fundamental change in self-knowledge-perception, which serves to illuminate—to render – manifest—that which had been lost within the complacency of that continuum. …

 

 

*… —In a move that will prove useful to my own reading of the original debate in the critical reception of the ‘epiphany’, I’m going to go ahead and make the claim (and why not? … —treat y’self, it’s nearly Christmas, etc. …) that Litz and Whittier-Ferguson make what I believe to be a misguided and fundamental critical error in reducing the artistic and critical significance of the ‘Epiphanies’ to autobiographical context.

 

 

—They argue that the ‘Epiphanies’ have no real artistic value beyond their later incorporation into broader dramatic contexts in Joyce’s longer fiction *(—and this is a point I’ll return to later…), and that, as such, their value lies solely in what they can tell us about Joyce’s (—the historical figure-personality) early life *(—as a form of historical record, if you will…). …

 

… —and this in fact renders them guilty of the intentional fallacy… *—the (mistaken) belief that it is (ever) possible to read back from an artwork simply-straightforwardly (in)to the life, mind, or intentions of the artist-author…

 

 

*By contrast,—I want to argue that the ‘Epiphanies’ represent complete,—self-contained dramatic-artistic units… *—fragments that, through precisely the kind of devices, techniques, and stratagems that Litz and Whittier-Ferguson otherwise so clearly define—‘place indications’ and ‘stage directions’, subtly, and negativelyevoke (—indicate) the contexts, absent in substance, into which they themselves form a dramatic insight, and to which, *Joyce: the historical figure’s life and *Joyce: the artist’s intentions are wholly irrelevant. …

 

*So,…

 

—I’m want to furnish (and to read)one example from the ‘Epiphanies’ here (appropriately enough)—epiphany #1. … …

 

—This is ‘dramatic’ epiphany (under Litz and Whittier-Ferguson’s useful rubric), but it’ll serve, I believe, to demonstrate my point *(but it’s also an example of some beautiful typographical experimentation, as Litz and Whittier-Ferguson present it, and I’ll attempt to recreate that presentation here…). …

pull out his eyes

 

*—Despite acknowledging its ‘arresting’ quality,… Litz and Whittier Ferguson seek to deny any real artistic value to this fragment-epiphany, outside of its later incorporation into the first chapter of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,—arguing that it couldn’t be ‘radiant’ (—? hmm) outside of this larger textual-dramatic context, except to Joyce himself. (—158-159.—See P., 4.) …

 

 

*… —There’s a mocking-patronising tone in Mr Vance’s performance of admonishment *(—and there’s a quality of a certain—forced—condescending theatricality…). …

 

—What is an ostensible, formal, address to the mother here (—Mrs Joyce), is nonetheless, obviously intended as a direct address-admonishment to ‘Joyce’, reduced here to the status of the third person, framed indirectly through the mother. …

 

—Framed as an indirect address (admonishment.—the detail of the stick…), appealing to the mother, so that Mr Vance can administer discipline-punishment without violating the—unwritten-unspoken—social code, prohibiting disciplining someone else’s child (and thereby adopting the parental role and relegating the parent to the status of a by-stander. … *—an assumption of knowing better how to discipline another’s child… and it’s important, in this regard, that the fragment is framed at the outset in-through the domestic, social context of the parlour of the house…),—the mother thus made complicit in an open secret.

 

 

*—What may seem a fairly obvious *(—innocuous? … —forgettable-inconsequential,… —trivial) moment-exchange, then, in-point-of-fact, reveals the nature, and the inner-workings (sic) of what is actually a quite complexly coded, socially fraught performance… *—the awkward and perpetual negotiation—of social roles *(—for complicity… —for validation and compliance in-of ‘authority’)—rendering all the actors here complicit in an unspoken yet (painfully) present open secret. …

 

*The striking element is the child’s burgeoning awareness-consciousness (—the revelation-manifestation)of the nature and stakes of this performance here… —Mr Vance’s appeal to, and reliance upon, the open secret, as well as the mother’s (necessary) voluntary complicity, in establishing (—performing)the authority to admonish and threaten retribution-punishment… *(—coupled to the child’s intimidation, resentment, and yet powerlessness in the face of the admonishment (—that is,—his inability to step outside the bounds of social and filial propriety implied by the performance, whilst painfully aware of the tenuousness and provisionality of its legitimacy)… *—‘under the table’. …).

 

 

*—… —‘Joyce’s’ attempt to appropriate of the language of (performed) authority,—in-through the accidental-incidental rhyme, and through repetition, in the composition of the short poem, forms an attempt—reveals a cpacity—to challenge-confront (irresistible) authority, and to control *(to—master) experience (—‘to himself’. …)  *—through the artwork. …

(and hence the dramatic use to which the fragment could then be put in Portrait, where, in fact, I’d argue (at least), very little is actually added (or—needs to be added) by way of exposition to expand the context, and where (in fact) it could be argued that the fragment is reduced, almost, to the status of a thematic precursor… (—?)).

 

 

*… —The ‘epiphany’, then, is a highly complex, self-contained fragment,—(negatively) pointing out to (—outward toward.—evoking) a larger social-political-linguistic context that informs its structure and the nature of the revelation it represents…

 

…—There need be no more exposition than a few, choice, place indications and ‘stage directions’ *(—the fragment plays out as a ‘scene’ … *—the record of an impression. …).—The effectiveness of the ‘epiphany’ (—as fragment), indeed, relies upon the sparseness, brevity, and cleanliness (—clarity) of this—strict—artistic economy…

 

 

*—What Stephen describes as the delicacy and the—evanescence of the epiphanies—both ‘dramatic’ and ‘lyrical’—which otherwise appear as sharp, clean, and violentin their sarcasm *(—both toward the inanity of social performance and to any prior sense of self-certainty or self-identity in the observer), derives from the difficulties associated with the attempt to accurately record them. …

 

 

(hmm).

 

 

*… —In committing them to paper, the artist risks omission or distortion of the many (crucial) details and nuances of which the ‘epiphany’ is comprised. …

 

—Through such omission or distortion, the artist would potentially compromise the significance which marks these moments out precisely as epiphanies…

 

*For this reason, particularly in regard to the dramatic ‘Epiphanies’, Joyce himself takes (took) ‘extreme care’ when appending what Litz and Whittier-Ferguson describe as ‘place indications and stage directions’… (that is,)*—important signs or pieces of information and context (—often records of significant tone or gesture) of which both the writer and the reader must be conscious in order for the effect of the ‘epiphany’ to be achieved. (—See Joyce, SW,—158)

 

*The ‘Epiphanies’, then, are divided between the two forms of ‘dramatic scenes’ and ‘rhythmical prose-poems’. …

*(and Litz and Whittier-Ferguson rightly (in my opinion) argue that Joyce’s later prose (fiction) writing attains its ‘moments of highest achievement’ when these two forms are conjoined and made to comment upon and to ‘reinforce’ one another (each the other)… *[—158].).

 

(hmm)

 

So. …

 

*—. By way of contextualising my own comparative reading of the presentations of Stephen’s aesthetic theory and interpretation of Aquinas in Stephen Hero and Portrait, I want to briefly revisit the terms of the debate waged over the use of the term ‘epiphany’ between Florence L. Walzl and Robert Scholes in the late nineteen sixties.

 

—Walzl and Scholes represent two polar-antithetical possibilities for assessing the legacy of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ in Joyce’s larger corpus…

 

On the one hand, Walzl argues that the ‘epiphany’ should be used as a critical tool in analysing Joyce’s works. She argues that the Dubliners stories represent ‘epiphanies’ and allusions to the liturgy of the Epiphany season, ironically inverting the nine manifestations of the Epiphany cycle.

*(…—‘Jesus is revered as a babe by the Magi, marvelled at as a boy by the doctors on the Temple, blessed as a youth by the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and confirmed in the eyes of his disciples at Cana’.—Walzl, ‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’, 450.—See also ‘Symbolism in Joyce’s “Two Gallants”’, James Joyce Quarterly, 2 [1965],—73-81… ).

 

In response to Walzl (and on the other hand), Scholes, by contrast, argues that the term ‘Epiphany’ should be used only as Joyce himself had used it—to name the prose fragments of 1901/2-1904. …

 

—Scholes argues that the term ‘Epiphany’ specifically designates, then, what he dubs a—*‘prose genre’ in which Joyce worked,… —comparable to, and yet distinct from, the novel genre of Portrait of the Artist, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake, and the short story genre at stake within Dubliners.[3]

 

—For Scholes, the arrangement of the fragments themselves is ‘fixed,’ and although he is not explicit on this point, his argument suggests that this order is strictly chronological. *(—Scholes, Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce’, 152…

—‘From 1901 to 1904 […] beginning with the famous “Pull out his eyes” Epiphany which appears early in Portrait.’…)

 

He does allow for Joyce’s having structured the narrative of Stephen Hero using the ‘Epiphany’ fragments, and also for their later inclusion throughout Portrait and Ulysses. …

 

—His objection focuses on the use of the term ‘Epiphany’ outside of this narrowed context:

*—‘Joyce never used the word Epiphany in connection with Dubliners, or as a term for a structural device in longer fiction.’ (Ibid.)

 

 

*—The ‘Epiphanies’, then, Scholes argues, constitute a complete and a separate work in-of Joyce’s early career, as well as a specific prose genre, and should not be understood critically either as an abstract concept or as a literary structural technique with wider application to Joyce’s works. …

 

*He argues that those critics who adopt the ‘Epiphany’ as an interpretive tool and as an abstract concept do an injustice to the specificities of the texts themselves and spuriously elevate much incidental material *(—‘many a tenuous aperçu’…) to the level of a false significance, to which they could lay no claim without the term. …

 

 

*—Walzl and Scholes’s positions, I’d argue, continue to represent the two possible polar extremes for the relationship of criticism to the ‘epiphany’ concept. …

 

*… —Either the critic, following Walzl’s example, accepts *all instances of revelation or of… reversal in Joyce’s works as ‘epiphanies’, or, following Scholes, abandons the concept altogether. …

 

However,… —both Walzl and Scholes elide the relationship of Stephen Hero to Portrait and the development of the aesthetic theory,… —in particular (I’d argue) the interpretation of Aquinas. …

 

 

*—In opposition to both Walzl’s argument for the simple, straightforward adoption of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and to Scholes argument for its outright critical abandonment,… —through a comparative close reading of the presentation of the aesthetic theory in both  Stephen Hero and Portrait, I’ll argue here that the relationship between the two texts, and the growing sophistication and qualification of the interpretation of Aquinas, constitutes the evolution of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ into that of the ‘esthetic image’. …

 

 

*the qualities of ‘beauty’ / —the phases of ‘artistic apprehension’. …
*—the shape of the ‘esthetic image’. …

 

*As far as I’m aware (that is,—as far as I’ve been able to discover…),… —no extant criticism of Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas’s theory of beauty in Stephen Hero and Portrait has yet presented the pertinent sections of these texts side-by-side

*(… — In The Classical Temper, S.L. Goldberg presents both the Stephen Hero and Portrait ‘versions’ of Stephen’s definition of the Thomist consonantia together, but argues that the latter merely restates the central argument of the former, without providing a detailed comparison of the terms of both extracts. (—The Classical Temper: a study of James Joyce’s Ulysses [London: Chatto & Windus, 1961], 53)

 Irene Hendry briefly discusses all three stages but offers no sustained analysis or comparison of the two texts, other than to suggest that the passage on the Scholastic quidditias in Stephen Hero is ‘more revealing’ than its later counterpart in Portrait (—?). (—‘Joyce’s Epiphanies’ The Sewanee Review [New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1965], 449-467 [449-450])

 —In ‘Artistic Theory in James Joyce’ (in Thomas E. Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait: Critiques and Criticisms [London: Peter Owen, 1964], 221-230), Geddes MacGregor refers to all three stages but with reference only to Stephen Hero. (—See Life and Letters, 65 [1947], 18-27)

 *—See also Herbert M. McLuhan, ‘Joyce, Aquinas, and the Poetic Process’, Renascence: A Critical Journal of Letters, 4 (1951), 3-11 (repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait, 249-265),—esp. 249-250, 253; Thomas E. Connolly, ‘Joyce’s Aesthetic Theory’, University of Kansas City Review, 23 (1956), 47-50 (repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait, 266-271.—esp. 269-270…); Richard Ellmann, James Joyce : New and Revised Edition (New York/Oxford/Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1982 [1959]), 83-84; Walzl, ‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’,—442, and (finally) Umberto Eco, The Middle Ages of Joyce: The Aesthetics of Chaosmos, trans. Ellen Esrock (London: Hutchinson Radius, 1989),—22-23. … ).

 

*(…) —To do so, however, can, I believe, far better illuminate the parallels and contrasts between the two passages and the evolution of the former into the latter… —

SH - P

 

*—In both texts, Stephen’s ostensible purpose is to interpret Aquinas’s definition of the conditions which it is necessary for a phenomenon to fulfil in order for it to be considered beautiful.

 

There are, however (—nonetheless), significant differences between them. … —

 

 

*—The Stephen Hero extract comprises a simple paraphrasing of Aquinas’s definition…

 

—The first quality requisite for beauty is vaguely defined here as ‘integrity’,—suggestive of the persisting self-identity of the phenomenon.

 

Stephen also defines it as ‘wholeness’ which suggests that the object does not lack any essential elements, that it is complete.

*(—See Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, trans. Hugh Bredin (London: Hutchinson Radius, 1988),—64, and Kevin O’Reilly, Aesthetic Perception: A Thomist Perspective (Dublin: Four Courts Press Ltd., 2007), *—esp. 18, 22. … ).

 

 

—In Stephen’s phrasing, integrity precedes wholeness in the definition of the first quality and this lends his definition an indistinctness, as it remains unclear if he means by that that the phenomenon must posses a wholeness, a completeness which persists—which is integralthrough time. …

 

 

*—The second quality, Stephen defines as ‘symmetry’. …

 

—That is, in order to be considered beautiful the object must be symmetrical. …

(and this is relatively straightforward…).

 

 

*The final quality Stephen defines as ‘radiance’. …

 

*… —The object must be radiant—must be *illuminating—in order to be considered beautiful,… though at this stage Stephen offers no definition of this ‘radiance’ or how it is achieved. …

 

 

In Stephen Hero Stephen provides no specific context for his definition of beauty.

 

—He refers to no specific type of experience, but to all sensible experience.

 

 

*In (the far more substantial) Portrait extract,—by contrast, Stephen’s later textual incarnation seeks to define ‘beauty’, not simply as an experience of general quotidian consciousness, but, instead, as it realised through the *‘phases’—of ‘artistic apprehension’…

 

 

(That is,…)—Portrait develops and refines the definition of ‘beauty’ offered in the earlier Stephen Hero

 

 

—It qualifies the earlier general definition of beauty by making it conditional upon a knowledge of how an object of quotidian experience is (essentially) transformed by-through a specific type of experience—into the subject matter of-for (—into) *art.

 

 

—The ultimate aims, then, in Portrait,are to define both the ‘beautiful’, and the nature of the experience which forms the condition necessary for the creation of the work of art.

*(…

— In his discussion of the Thomism/non-Thomism of Stephen’s definition of ‘beauty’ in both texts, Noon argues against what he defines as A.D. Hope’s ‘attempts to save the Thomism of Stephen’s discussion’, but actually misquotes Hope’s article… —‘Joyce here is speaking of the “esthetic image,” that is to say, not the butcher’s boy’s basket at which he and Lynch are looking *[—See Portrait, 230], but the artist’s image of it which, when reproduced in the medium of words or paint, will be the work of art’. (—Joyce and Aquinas,—45)

—Noon overlooks the distinction, which Hope is actually careful to draw, between Joyce and Stephen: ‘Joyce’s hero is speaking of the “esthetic image”’. … *(—See Hope, ‘The Esthetic Theory of James Joyce’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 21 [1943], 93-114 [—108.—Emphasis added here]. … )

 

 

—Noon argues that Stephen’s focus is the actual and ‘very particular basket’ and not the image of it, and that only at the end of his discussion of the three ‘phases of artistic apprehension’ does he—obliquely—cite Shelley by way of extending his argument to poetry. …

 

Noon maintains that Stephen is not applying his discussion/theory in this way, and that even if he were he would be in contravention of a strictly Thomistic reading of Aquinas. (Ibid.—See Hope,—108-109…)

 

In his attempt to assess Stephen’s ‘Thomism’, Noon overlooks the shift in emphasis from general quotidian experience in Stephen Hero to ‘artistic apprehension’ in Portrait, as well as Hope’s own careful distinction between the ‘esthetic image’ and the ‘actual basket’. (109)

 

—Stephen’s focus is the transformation of the apprehension of the basket into ‘artistic apprehension’. However, in arguing that Stephen’s argument isThomist, Hope refers, not to the passage on ‘beauty’ (—as an attribute of a member of the Holy Trinity), but to Aquinas’s ‘theory of “imagination”’ *(—108-109), although Noon doesn’t seem to take this into account. [—Cf. 45]… )

 

*The development in Portrait of the earlier definition of ‘beauty’ takes the form not only of the qualification of the definition by that of ‘artistic apprehension’ but by a refinement in the translation of Aquinas. …

 

—In Stephen Hero, Stephen is content to provide only an allusive paraphrase of Aquinas *(‘—You know what Aquinas says’…). …

 

*In Portrait, by contrast,he provides Lynch with a bastardised translation of the specific passage from the Summa Theologica:

*—‘Aquinas says: ad pulcritudinem tria requiruntur, integritas, consonantia, claritas. I translate it so: Three things are needed for beauty, wholeness, harmony and radiance.’ *(—229) …

 

 

*Maurice Beebe argues that Stephen simplifies and misquotes the original Latin, providing a full citation… —

*—‘Actually, Aquinas wrote: “Nam ad pulchritudinem tria requiruntur: primo quidem integritas sive perfectio; quae enim diminuta sunt, turpia sunt; et debita proportio sive consonantia; et iterum claritas, unde, quae habent colorem nitidum, pulchra esse dicunter.”’

*(—‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics,’ Philological Quarterly, XXXVI, Jan., 1957, —repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait,—272-289.

*See Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province, revised by Daniel J. Sullivan,—II vols [Chicago,: William Benton, 1952], vol. I, I, 39, 8c.—See also, Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas,—65. …)

 

…—Beebe follows the Dominican Fathers’ translation of Aquinas:

*—‘For Beauty includes three conditions, integrity or perfection, for those things which are impaired are by the very fact ugly; and then due proportion or harmony is required; and lastly, brightness or clarity, whence things are called beautiful which have a bright colour.’ (—Beebe, 283-284)

 

Integritas indicates the completeness of the object. *(See—O’Reilly, Aesthetic Perception, 22-24)

 

—Consonantia is defined as the ‘due proportion’ both of the object itself and of its parts and thus the relationship of these parts to one another: their ‘harmony’.

 

 

*In both texts,—Stephen’s translation and interpretation of claritas as ‘radiance’ omits the qualification given in the full extract from Aquinas, translated by the Dominican fathers, as ‘brightness or clarity, whence things are called beautiful which have a bright colour’. …

 

—Here, claritas means that for an object to be considered beautiful its colour and lustre must be bright, sharp and clean.

 

Stephen’s translation of claritas as ‘radiance’, however, elides all reference to the brightness or colour of the object. …

 

—For him, then, ‘radiance’ is to have a more abstract meaning…

 

 

Although Beebe is right to assert that the ‘translation’ Stephen offers is a simplified version of Aquinas’s original Latin, and that it omits the qualifying comments of the original text, he overlooks the dramatic context in which Stephen cites the text.

 

—Stephen is, in effect, reducing the textual citation to its key elements in order to put forward his own interpretation. …

 

This reading itself takes place in the dramatic context of the conversation with Lynch and represents a gloss of what is presented as Stephen’s own much more expansive theorising on art. *(—221-235) …

 

*—That Joyce chose to offer this theorising in such a distilled form is for the benefit of the reader as much as it is for the benefit of Stephen in articulating his thoughts, and the benefit of Lynch as reluctant listener within the dramatic context of the exposition.

 

 

Beebe argues that Stephen’s translation of integritas in Portrait as ‘wholeness’ ‘is probably even closer to the Latin text’ than that provided by the Dominican fathers. (Beebe, 284)

 

—It resolves the confusion of the suggestion in Stephen Hero that ‘integrity’ and ‘a wholeness’ are one (and the same) quality. …

 

*… —It also serves to divest integritas of the notion of persisting self-identity suggested by ‘integrity’,… emphasising, by contrast, the notion of the object as whole and independent (—without (inadvertently) suggesting its persistence—in-through time, and-or its resistance to dissolution. …). …

 

*In Portrait,Stephen dubs the second phase ‘harmony,’ arguing that each individual part must be necessary to the object, and have a necessary place within it, corresponding to that of all other parts. …

 

—This accords with the Dominican fathers’ translation of Aquinas’s emphasis upon the necessity of the ‘due proportion’ of the object and of its parts. …

 

—The enigmatic ‘radiance’ (and concurrent elision of all reference to the brightness or colour of the object) of Stephen Hero is retained…

 

 

*… —Having identified, in outline, the qualities of beauty/‘phases of artistic apprehension’, in both texts Stephen then moves on to define the first quality or ‘phase’… —

SH - P first quality

 

—The terms of the Stephen Hero extract are deceptive…

 

*—To suggest that the ‘synthesis’ of or within the ‘faculty which apprehends’ (which he will go on in his incarnation in Portrait to qualify as the faculties of the ‘audible’ and ‘visible’…) is in any way ‘simple’, overlooks the complexity of the extract’s own central claim that the object is only apprehended when it is extracted from the sensuous continuum in which it is otherwise lost…

*—‘you must lift it away from everything else’. …

 

*—This… —sensory extraction is accomplished—spontaneously. …

 

—It is involuntary.

 

… —It constitutes, then, a chance coincidence in apprehension,… *—a sudden, unexpected alteration in the relationship of the subject and-to the object… *—an alteration that precipitates the division of the ‘entire [apprehended] universe’ into, on the one hand,—‘the object,’ and, on the other,—‘the void’ of all else that is ‘not the object’. …

 

(hmm).

 

 

*—A chance relation—a coincidence—brings the object into stark relief with its surroundings-environs,—foregrounding it and allowing the observer—for the first time—to become (in effect) *—defamiliarised with the object, and to (truly) see the object—as object.

(and not, then, as merely another, undifferentiated, piece of the complacency inducing tableau that is the world of quotidian consciousness. …). …

 

 

*—The ‘first quality of beauty’ constitutes, then,—the revelation of the object… *—its extraction from the invisibility that it was subject to in the complacency of quotidian apprehension.

 

 

*—In Portrait, Stephen goes on to elucidate this… moment (and, again,… —the terms are essentially a more refined articulation of the same idea here… —) as the drawing of a ‘boundary line’ in consciousness around the object. …

 

*—a ‘boundary line’.
(—around the object. …).

 

 

*… —This serves to emphasise the nature of separation and foregrounding in the first ‘phase of artistic apprehension’, and the differentiation of the object being apprehended from ‘everything else’… *(that is,)—‘the immeasurable background of space or time which it is not’. …

 

The first phase—in both texts, then—defines the object *—negatively. …

 

 

*—This reveals the object, bringing it into a stark relief, and serves to push-to propel all else in perception into an indistinguishable—and ‘immeasurable’—… —background. …

 

It’s this which accounts for what, in both his textual incarnations, Stephen is at pains to stress is the illuminating or luminousquality of this first moment, and, further (and why not?) accounts for the appearance of the object’s ‘wholeness’ (of ‘integritas’). …

 

*—The object is no longer subsumed under or within the—conventional complacency in-of quotidian consciousness, but is isolated and illuminated as object. …

 

 

Noon argues that this translation of integritas is inaccurate, and that it ‘has for Aquinas a perfectly definite and different meaning which Stephen appears not to have noticed in his breezy citation’. (—?) *(—Joyce and Aquinas, *47…) …

 

 

—Comparing the Thomist meaning of integritas to Aristotle’s statement in the Poetics that a drama, in order to be considered a drama, must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, Noon argues that ‘[Aquinas] has in mind the completeness or perfection which a being possesses when it is all that it ought to be.’ … (Ibid.—See Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas,—*64…)

 

This accords with the translation furnished by the Dominican fathers of integritas as ‘integrity or perfection’. …

 

However, Noon is wrong, I’d argue, in accusing Stephen of having not noticed this meaning. …

 

Instead,… —Stephen’s definition of integritas as the extraction of the object from the oblivion in-of the quotidian, and its (concurrent) illumination, is precisely what shows the object as it ‘ought to be’ (sic): … *—as a discrete object, rather than as an inconsequential and fleeting detail in-of the consciousness-quotidian…

 

*—Stephen’s, then, is an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Thomist notion of ‘perfection’. …

 

 

*—Otherwise rendered insensible or invisible within quotidian consciousness, the object is extracted and seen—for the first time—as a discrete, solid, and self-identical object, and it’s this which justifies Stephen’s appropriation of the orthodox Thomistic definition of the ‘completeness or perfection’ of the object. …

*(—Cf. Eco, 99n. *(—248-249). … —Citing Noon’s argument, Eco argues that Joyce strips integritas of its ‘ontological character’ (—concerning the truth of the object, broadly and crudely stated), and renders it epistemological—concerned with how the object comes to be known. …)

 

 

*… —Having defined ‘integritas’,Stephen now (—then) moves on, in both texts, to define the second ‘quality of beauty’ or ‘phase’ of ‘artistic apprehension,’ which results from the revelation of this ‘integrity’ or ‘wholeness’ in-of the object… —

consonantia

 

In both texts, Stephen dubs this phase of consonantia ‘Analysis’—the ‘analysis of apprehension’.

*(—it’s only at this point—in his definition of the second phase of ‘artistic apprehension’ in Portrait—that he refers to the first phase as the ‘synthesis’ defined earlier in Stephen Hero…).

 

 

*—The revelation of the object (as object), and its differentiation from everything else in the continuum of sensory perception in its ‘synthesis’, allows its, previously unheeded, structure to be examined for the first time… *—both the object as a whole, and its manifold parts… —passing from ‘point to point’—with a care and attention never possible prior to this revelation—as object. …

 

*—The second stage of revelation, proceeding from the negative differentiation of the object from its surroundings, to an identification and analysis of the positive content or qualities of the object as ‘a thing,’ creates (perhaps unsurprisingly) an ‘impression’ on the apprehending subject. …

 

*—The subject now becomes aware of the object’s complexity and its internal harmony. …

 

 

*—The, frankly awkward, ‘symmetry’ of Stephen Hero becomes the more accurate ‘harmony’ of Portrait, and yet, in both texts,—the first and second ‘qualities of beauty’ or ‘phases’ of ‘artistic apprehension’ constitute ‘synthesis’ and ‘analysis,’ respectively…

 

 

… —Noon and Beebe are in (broad) agreement that Stephen’s interpretation of consonantia accords with that of strict Thomism… *—‘Stephen’s interpretation of consonantia accords generally with that “due proportion” Aquinas noted as characteristic of beauty’. (—Beebe, 284)

 

Noon agrees that Stephen’s ‘description’ of consonantia is—*‘Thomistically accurate’, … but argues that he ‘speaks for himself and not for Aquinas’ when he defines consonantia as a ‘phase’ of ‘artistic apprehension’ rather than as a quality which inheres in the object. *(—Joyce and Aquinas,—48.—And, again,—note the marked differentiation between the ontological and epistemological here. …)

 

 

Noon’s qualification highlights what might be (usefully) termed here the—psychological bias of Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas in Portrait. …

 

*(That is,)—His definition of the Thomist terms emphasises the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ as one taking place solely within-and for the apprehending subject *(—the artist). …

 

 

Noon goes on to relate Stephen’s definition of consonantia to that of integritas:

—‘Having first felt that it is one thing you now feel it is a thing.’(Ibid.) …

 

*—This definition, it seems to me (at least), fits with the reading I’ve offered of both extracts,… and yet Noon then proceeds to argue that, in fact, according to Stephen’s interpretation, the terms ought to be reversed… *—that first the object is seen as a thing (integritas) and then as one thing (consonantia). …

 

—Whilst this reversal may indeed be more ‘Thomistically accurate’ (—according to Noon’s own definition (—?)), it doesn’t accord with Stephen’s definition of the process of artistic apprehension.

 

 

*—According to Stephen’s interpretation, the object is first extracted from quotidian experience and is revealed for the first time to be one thing.

 

—The object’s having been revealed as onething, distinct against the background or ‘void’ of all else in quotidian consciousness, allows, secondly, for the revelation of its properties and of their relationship to each other.

 

For the first time the object is experienced as a thing,—a complex, organised and harmonious whole, comprised of its parts.

 

 

*—Though this may very well be—‘Thomistically inaccurate’ (—in strictly Thomist terms) as Noon seeks to claim,… I’d maintain that Stephen is right (—is correct) according to his own terms, in defining the progression from integritas to consonantia. …

 

*—In its ‘synthesis’,—the object is distinguished negatively(—from-against all that which it is not…). …

 

—This differentiation allows the observer to analyse the object for the first time as ‘a thing’,—extracted from quotidian experience. …

 

 

*Having thus been revealed in isolation and (then, subsequently) examined,… —the object must now fulfil the criterion of the ‘third quality’ of beauty, or, in the terms of Portrait, both the object and the artist are enabled to pass into the third phase of ‘artistic apprehension,’ which Stephen, in both texts, following Aquinas’s terminology identifies as ‘claritas’…

claritas

 

In Stephen Hero,—Stephen argues that, following the stages of ‘synthesis’ and ‘analysis’, the apprehending subject now proceeds to make ‘the only logically possible synthesis’…

 

 

*—Having revealed the object as one thing, and subsequently as a complex whole comprised of various qualities and parts in a harmonious relation, ‘the mind’ of the apprehending subject now takes the, for Stephen, necessary step of ‘synthesising’ these two stages. …

 

 

*—This occurs when the ‘parts’ of the object ‘are adjusted to the special point’ which he dubs *—‘exquisite’. …

 

 

—Combining the consciousness of the object as one thing and as (a) complex, Stephen argues,… —allows the apprehending subject for the first time to ‘recognise’ the object. …

 

 

*—In the synthesis of these two stages the parts of the object are adjusted in-within consciousness to reveal an uncommon completeness and high degree of perfection, previously repressed or overlooked in-within quotidian experience.

 

 

*… —By interpreting Aquinas’s claritas as ‘radiance,’ and omitting the qualification in the Summa Theologica of the application of this term to the object’s brightness or colour, Stephen aims to express, I would argue, the concept of the object’s becoming a lens—a medium (of sorts)… —through which its ‘essence’, then, (sic)—*shines forth. …

 

 

*—The interpretation of claritas as ‘radiance’ only goes so far as to identify the fact of the shining forth, however, and can’t name, or describe, what is shown forth within (or, rather—through) this—‘radiance’. …

 

 

*—Stephen solves this problem by identifying claritas with quidditas

*—‘we recognise that it is that thing which it is. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance’.

 

 

*—In claritas, the… —‘whatness’ (the—quidditas-quiddity) of the object is revealed.[4]

 

 

*—For Stephen, quidditas is the content of claritas and claritas, in turn, is the means by which the quidditas of the object is revealed. …

 

*—This is the moment that Stephen, in Stephen Hero, names-dubs—‘epiphany’. …

 

 

*… —The object is extracted from quotidian consciousness and its previously repressed or overlooked quiddity—‘that thing which it is’—‘leaps’ from the ‘vestment’ of this (former) appearance, in which it had been shrouded, and the object ‘achieves’ its epiphany. …

 

 

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, constitutes the revelation of the quiddity of the object, precipitated by a chance coincidence of a change or exquisite arrangement in the disposition of the object with a concomitant change in the disposition of the observer. That is—it is an objective as well as a psychological event. …

 

And this same process, I’d argue, is at stake within Portrait. … —

 

 

*—Furnishing Lynch with the example of the butcher’s boy’s basket, Stephen summarises the first two phases of ‘artistic apprehension’:

*—‘When you have apprehended the basket as one thing and have then analysed it according to its form and apprehended it as a thing you make the only synthesis which logically and esthetically permissible.’ (231)

 

 

First, the object is extracted from quotidian experience and apprehended as ‘one thing’ (integritas).

 

Just as in Stephen’s interpretation in Stephen Hero,this revelation of the object as one thing allows the subject to apprehend the object as ‘a thing’—‘complex, multiple, divisible, separable’. …

 

*Stephen dubs this the ‘analysis’ of the object,… *—‘according to its form’. …

 

 

*—The object is now seen to be the result of the harmonious relationship of its parts (consonantia).

 

 

—Just as in Stephen Hero, in Portrait, Stephen argues that the apprehending subject completes the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ by synthesising the ‘phases’ of integritas and consonantia. …

 

*—The revelation of the object as one thing through the drawing of a boundary line extracting it from quotidian consciousness is now synthesised with the revelation of the object as a thing constituted by the harmonious proportion and relationship of its parts to which, for Stephen, this first revelation inevitably gave rise.

 

*—The synthesis of these two ‘phases’ precipitates the revelation of the quiddity of the object:

*—‘You see that it is that thing which it is and no other thing’. *(—Cf. SH [—218]… *—‘it is that thing which it is’. …).

 

 

Again, for Stephen, the meaning of Aquinas’s claritas is quidditas… *—‘The radiance of which he speaks is the scholastic quidditas, the whatness of a thing’. …

 

*—The ‘radiance’ of the object is the *becoming visible of the quiddity of the object. …

 

*(and, as a side note and an interesting foil, I’d argue here that the *recognition of the object in Stephen’s aesthetic theory, stands in stark contrast to other accounts of defamiliarisation to which it might, otherwise, be (simply-straightforwardly) compared. …

 

*An example. … —

 

—At least according to Benjamin Sher’s recent translation, Viktor Shklovsky’s account of art’s purpose to ‘estrange’ the reader/observer from objects (—to defamiliarise objects,—the better to see them, as if for the first time) *(—Shklovsky’s Formalism exerted a significant influence on Brecht and his concept of ‘alienation’…), distinguishes *(at least, seems to distinguish) between this new (form of) seeing and the (mere) ‘recognition’ of the object *(—its having been lost in-to the complacency—the familiarity—of quotidian consciousness, according to the terms of Stephen’s account, which I’ve attempted to outline here…). …

*(—See Viktor Shklovsky,—‘Art as Device’, in Theory of Prose, trans. Sher, [—Introduction Gerald L. Bruns] [Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 1991], 1-14 *[—esp. 10]. …)

 

*By contrast, I’d argue that, in Stephen’s account, the… new seeing *(—new, epistemological, act-form) represents, precisely, the recognition of the object.—(as if) for the first time…

 

 

—the object’s having been lost constitutes, not a simple-straightforward ‘recognition’ (as Sher’s translation of Shklovsky explicitly states), but, in fact, the revelation of a previous *inattention to the object… —an assumed recognition of the object (if you will) as simply (—a having taken for)another, easily dismissed fragment of the furniture in-of the quotidian. …

 

*—recognition of the object (—as object), pulls-tears it from the oblivion of this complacency-assumed recognition. … *—defamiliarises (—in Shklovsky’s terms—‘estranges’) the object (—the observer from the object), and inaugurates a new seeing (—epistemology)… ).

 

 

*In both texts, the definition of the third ‘quality’ of beauty or ‘phase of artistic apprehension’, then, revolves, for Stephen, around the problem of interpreting Aquinas’s ‘figurative’ and, according to Stephen, ‘inexact’ term, claritas. …

 

 

*—Noon argues that ‘Stephen is correct in describing it as a synthesis of integritas and consonantia.’ (Noon, Joyce and Aquinas, 51)

 

He does, however, offer a qualification of his confirmation of Stephen’s conformity to orthodox Thomist interpretation:

With the usual reminder that Aquinas presents this third quality of the beautiful as an existential property in the object rather than as a “stage” or “phase” of the mind’s own act of knowing, most Thomists would probably agree that in the main Stephen gives at this point the most satisfactory interpretation of Aquinas’ thought. (49)

 

Noon is wrong, I think, to reduce—to limit—Stephen’s interpretation of claritas to a ‘“phase” of the mind’s own act of knowing’. …

 

*—In line with my own reading of the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero,… —whilst the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ outlined in Portrait doesn’t incur any change in (—within) the object itself,… it still relies, nevertheless, upon an initial and fundamental change in the disposition of the object, coinciding with a change in the disposition of the apprehending subject. …

 

—Just as was the case with the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero, ‘artistic apprehension,’ constitutes botha psychological andan ‘objective’ process. …

*(—a coincidence which initiates a new epistemological act… (—?). …).

 

 

Nevertheless, it’s important to take Noon’s claim that Stephen’s interpretation of claritas as the synthesis of integritas and consonantia conforms to orthodox Thomism into account in assessing the relationship of the aesthetic theory to Thomism. …

 

—In contrast to Noon, Beebe argues that, in both texts (—with an especial focus on the latter), Stephen’s interpretation ‘sharply diverges from the orthodox interpretations’ of claritas. (—Beebe, ‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics’, 284)

 

He cites the neo-Thomist ‘attitude’ of Herbert Ellsworth Cory…

—‘Just what claritas meant to St. Thomas we may gather from his account of what the glorified human body will be after its resurrection. The glory of the soul, already in heaven, will glow through its restored body and make it splendid.’

*(—Herbert Ellsworth Cory, The Significance of Beauty in Nature and Art [Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co, 1948], 227. Beebe, 285-286.

*—See Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, 104, where he refers claritas to Christ’s transfigured body, and to—‘objects when they are renewed at the end of time.’ (Emph added.—Cf. 117…).) …

 

*—For Beebe, following Cory, the meaning of claritas can be ascertained by reference to Aquinas’s account of how the glory of the redeemed human soul will radiate from its resurrected body at the end of history.

 

Beebe joins Cory in rejecting what Cory argues is Joyce’s reduction of claritas ‘to a sort of metaphorical materialistic sentimentality’, in its application to objects of quotidian experience. (Cf. Cory, 227)

 

 

*In fact, I want to argue, this supposed ‘reduction’, constitutes Joyce’s *ironic appropriation of the orthodox meaning of claritas as the radiance of the resurrected body. …

 

 

*—The coincidence which wrenches the object from being (its having been) lost in-to the complacency of quotidian consciousness, and which reveals its previously repressed quiddity, constitutes its ‘glorification’ after its… —‘resurrection’ in-for consciousness: *—the object’s… glowing (‘radiance’) through its ‘restored body’. … *(… —Cf. Portrait,—whereStephen describes the role of the artist as that of ‘a priest of the eternal imagination, transmuting the daily bread of life into the radiant body of everliving life.’ *[—240]…)

 

—This is ironic and not ‘metaphorical’. …

 

Still less is it—‘sentimental’. …

 

… —It’s ‘objective’, insofar as it concerns an event within quotidian consciousness, but is in no sense—‘materialistic’

*(—no ontological priority is granted to matter here, it seems to me…). …

 

 

*—Though the apparently simple terms of this radiant clarity thus, in line with Noon’s assertion, can be seen correspond to an ‘orthodox Thomism’,… —the irony with which Stephen appropriates claritas, I’d argue,precludes any attempt at an orthodox redemption of his interpretation. …

(hmm).

 

 

—Crucial to an understanding of this ironic appropriation of claritas is Stephen’s equation of it with quidditas.[5]

 

Whilst Beebe is right, I think, to argue that through this equation Joyce sought to ‘avoid the spiritual connotation’ of claritas,… *—the invocation of quidditas doesn’t form, as Beebe claims, a substitution for claritas but, rather,—a qualification. (Beebe, ‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics,’ 285) …

 

Beebe, I’d argue, fails to register the implicit irony of Stephen’s appropriation of Aquinas, and this failure serves to undermine his subsequent claim that Joyce ‘confuses’ quidditas (—‘which in scholastic philosophy means specific essence’) with the scholastic ‘haecœitas, individual thisness’. …

 

*This represents, not the ‘confusion’ of quidditas with haecœitas, but a deliberate conflation on the part of Stephen of his conception of radiance as revelation with the ‘scholastic haecœitas’… —‘individual thisness’. …

 

 

Noon also argues that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas, would have been better rendered as ‘haecceitas’ referring specifically to the philosophy of Duns Scotus. (—Cf. Joyce and Aquinas, 51, 72)

 

Both Beebe’s and Noon’s respective criticisms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory, however, assess only the—orthodoxy of the Thomism of Stephen’s interpretation. …

 

*Neither essentially assesses it according to its own criteria. …

 

—To do so reveals the ironic, subversive relationship of the aesthetic theory of Stephen Hero and Portrait to their (mutual) Thomist source.

 

 

*—For Noon,… —the use of quidditas in Portrait is tied to the development therein of a realist aesthetic, concerned specifically with the nature of the poem and of the poetic, developed in relation to (and, he argues, as a stark rejection of) Romantic and Symbolist poetry. …

 

Noon argues that Aquinas employed the concepts of integritas, consonantia, and claritas to refer to existential qualities of the object rather than to moments or ‘phases’ of the (poet’s) psychological experience of the object.

 

—As a direct result of this qualification he proceeds to argue that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas is ‘questionable’. …

 

 

*From the perspective of orthodox Thomist interpretation, quidditas, Noon argues, is dependent upon a ‘“real” (or actual)’ distinctionbetween the existence of the object itself and that of its essence, rather than, as Noon argues is the case for Stephen, a purely ‘“rational” (or notional)’ distinction. (49) …

 

*The difference between an object and its essence, for orthodox Thomists, then (from a… Noonian point of view) is a real, existential difference. …

 

—For Stephen, on the contrary, according to Noon, the difference is merely a psychological one concerning the experience of the object. …

 

 

—If his objection to Stephen’s interpretation of quidditas is understood to rest on the conclusion that the interpretation of quidditas is purely psychological and precludes its application to the qualities of the object, then Noon can be shown to be mistaken.

 

He himself argues that Stephen ‘places his emphasis on the quiddity or essence as actuated, as “existential”’. (Ibid.)

 

Although he may indeed be right that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas deviates from orthodox Thomism, in Stephen’s exposition of the ‘phases of artistic apprehension,’ just as in the earlier definition of the qualities of beauty and the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero,—the process of the revelation of the quiddity of the object requires not only a notional or psychological change in the observer, but also a corresponding change in the disposition of the object. …

 

In Portrait the ‘“real” (or actual)’ and the ‘“rational (or notional)’ are fundamentally intertwined. ‘Artistic apprehension’ is an objective as well as a psychological process. *(—Stephen Hero… *—‘the object achieves its epiphany’. … —‘achieves its epiphany’… ).

 

*Stephen’s proposed syntheses of claritas and quidditas in the revelation of the quiddity of the object in both Stephen Hero and Portrait are identical.

 

 

*—In Stephen Hero, Stephen’s statement of his equation of claritas and quidditas is made in a short, sharp exclamatory ejaculation and then, apparently (—to all intents and purposes),—dropped

 

*Or, rather, the equation of claritas and quidditas is subsumed by-into the definition of the ‘epiphany’. …

 

*… —In that Stephen’s definition of the qualities – of – beauty follows directly on from his first reference to the epiphany as a… *‘spiritual manifestation’ (—sic), it’s clear that his interpretation of Aquinas paves the way for the definition of ‘epiphany’. (216-219) …

 

Indeed, I’d say that the definition of the ‘epiphany’ remains vague until Stephen provides his exegesis of Aquinas. …

 

… —This follows so hard upon the first reference to epiphany that in the space of a paragraph Stephen is transported suddenly through space and time south through the city from Eccles Street to the Ballast Office in order to expound his theory to Cranly.

*(SH, 216.—On this, see Ian Crump,—‘Refining Himself out of Existence: The Evolution of Joyce’s Eesthetic Theory and the Drafts of Portrait’, in Cheng and Martin, eds., Joyce in Context [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992], 223-240 *[—233]… ).

 

 

The most significant difference between the two texts is that in Portrait the ‘synthesis’ is not solely that which is ‘logically possible,’ as it was in Stephen Hero,but becomes ‘the only synthesis which is logically and esthetically permissible’. …

 

*—The synthesis of claritas and quidditas in Portrait concerns *the process of the creation of a work of art

quidditas

 

*—The ‘exquisite’ relation of the parts of the object is replaced by the artist’s—‘feeling’. …

 

The ‘recognition’ of the apprehending subject (… —the (awkward) ‘we’ of Stephen Hero…), is supplanted by the experience of inspiration of (or for) the artist. …

 

*That is,… —The… —*intuition (to… borrow the term in its Nietzschean-Bergsonian sense) of the quiddity of the object and the ‘supreme quality’ of beauty becomes the inspiration for the creation of art. …

 

*—The ‘leap’ of the essence of the object (—in-of Stephen Hero)becomes (—is incorporated into)the formation of the (—‘esthetic’) image in the artist’s imagination in Portrait. …

 

 

*The ‘esthetic image’, then, represents the refining of the earlier ‘epiphany’, from a concept applied to general experience and still explicitly loaded with religious (and metaphysical) —baggage,… to one concerned specifically with artistic inspiration and creation *(—with art). …

 

*—This in stark contrast to Sam Slote’s argument in ‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’ (—in his review of the Joyce manuscripts acquired by the National Library of Ireland in 2002)—that, in Portrait,…

*—‘Stephen’s argument elides the key-word “epiphany” and, instead replaces it with the more redoubtably Thomistic term claritas.’ (—hmm…)

(—Sam Slote, ‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’, Genetic Joyce Studies, 5 [2005], *[—accessed 10th March, 2014]… ).

 

*Claritas is already obviously a crucial (and unavoidable) element of Stephen’s ironic appropriation of Aquinas in Stephen Hero, and I’d argue that it’s the case that it’s the (‘esthetic’) image that takes the place of the ‘epiphany’. …

 

 

*Portrait is not, then, as Hugh Kenner argues, simply ‘drastically pruned’ of ‘key doctrines’ (—sic), such as the ‘epiphany’.

(—‘The Portrait in Perspective’, in Seon Givens, ed., James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism [New York: Vanguard, 1948], 132-174 *[—154].—See Noon, 65) …

 

Neither is it ‘curious,’ as Noon argues, that the term disappears in the later text, when he misreads the ‘esthetic image’ as being solely bound to integritas. (—Noon, 65, 44.)

 

 

*—The (‘esthetic’) image, then, retains the structure—the *shape—of the ‘epiphany’,… —developing from a foundation in an ironic appropriation of Aquinas’s concept of beauty. …

 

*… —The coincidence *(—co-incidence) of a change in the disposition of the observer—the artist—with a (concomitant) change in the disposition of the object-thing *(become, here, *—model), in which what-the-object-had-been-taken-to-be (that is,… —the apparent object-complacent), is undone… and the artist’s consciousness-perception of the object, as well as their own ‘self’-perception *(—the ‘self’ as-had-taken-it-to-be) undergo an ironic inversion (—bathetic.—bathos),—suddenly, spontaneously, and involuntarily revealing a, previously repressed (/latent), psychic (—psychological) content, and thus bringing about a fundamental change in consciousness. …

 

*—the quiddity (quidditas) of the object (—for the artist) is illuminated-revealed (—claritas. …

 

*—the shape of the (‘esthetic’) image. …

 

 

*—In Portrait, the experience of ‘beauty’ in general consciousness of Stephen Hero is refined, and focussed into an analysis of the conditions of ‘artistic apprehension’, *—artistic inspiration and the creation of the artwork. …

 

 

—Building on my argument for an appreciation (sic) of the Romantic–anti-Romanticism in-of Nietzsche’s Birth,—I want to move on, in the second part of this (particular) string-thread of fragments here, to argue that, in its final stage in Portrait,Stephen’s analysis constitutes an ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration,—specifically that of Percy Bysshe Shelley in A Defence of Poetry

 

—I’ll argue that this final stage represents the incorporation and refinement of the earlier opposition between the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’, and privileging of the ‘classical’ in the ‘Art and Life’ paper in Stephen Hero.

(—For the paper, see SH, 44 and 81-85 *(—for Stephen’s comments on the ‘artistic process’,… —see 175-176). …)

 

The (‘esthetic’) ‘image’ here, then, represents an attempt to forge a new trajectory for the legacy of Romanticism through a rejection of the aesthetics and metaphysics of late-Romanticism, in particular that of W.B. Yeats.

 

*—I’ll argue that Stephen’s ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic aesthetics and metaphysics lies at the heart of an attempt to forge an anti-Romantic ‘classical’ aesthetic.

 

 

[1] Of the original seventy fragments that Joyce recorded during this period, forty survive. …

—Twenty-two are housed in a collection at the Lockwood Memorial Library at the University of Buffalo. —These were published by O. A. Silverman in 1956, in a limited run of five hundred and fifty, of which five hundred were sold. *—James Joyce, Epiphanies, Introduction and Notes O. A. Silverman (New York: University of Buffalo, 1956). …

—A further eighteen are held in the Cornell University Joyce Collection (—see Robert Scholes, Florence L. Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce,’ 152).

 

 

—In 1965 Robert Scholes and Richard M. Kain reproduced all forty extant epiphanies, along with notes in Robert Scholes, Richard M. Kain, ed., The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Materials for Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, (Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965), 11-51, and again with an introduction by A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson in James Joyce, Poems and Shorter Writings, ed. Richard Ellmann, A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson, (London: Faber and Faber, 1991), 155-200. *(hereafter: Shorter WritingsSW).

[2] Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother’s Keeper, ed. Richard Ellmann, ‘Preface’ by T.S. Eliot (London: Faber and Faber, 1982), 134-135 (see also, 144-145, 226-227, 231, 247, 251).—See also Scholes and Kain, The Workshop of Daedalus, 8-9.

[3] Robert Scholes and Florence L. Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce’, PMLA, 82 (1967), 152-154 (152). See also, Scholes, Scholes, Robert, ‘Joyce and the Epiphany: The Key to the Labyrinth?’, Sewanee Review, 72 (1964), 65-77. repr. in Philip Brady and James F. Carens, eds., Critical Essays on James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. (London: Prentice Hall International, 1998) 27-35.

[4] On quidditas as ‘whatness’, see Eleonore Stump, Aquinas (London: Routledge, 2003), 261.

 

—Stump argues that, for Aquinas, quiddity is linked to sense and the intellect.

 

The proper objects of sense—‘proper sensibles’—are ‘non-propositional objects apprehended by one or another sense faculty.’ Insofar as sense is related to its proper objects it is not deceived. (232-233)

 

In the same way the quiddity of the material thing forms the proper object of the intellect: ‘The proper object of the intellect is the quiddity of a thing. And so as regards the quiddity of a thing, considered just as such, the intellect is not mistaken.’ (Aquinas, ST Ia.85.6. Stump, 233)

 

Stump argues that the intellect arrives at knowledge of the quiddity of the material thing through a process of abstraction from phantasms: ‘The process of abstraction is a matter of removing or ignoring the many material accidents of a thing as preserved in the phantasm and focussing instead just on the thing’s quiddity.’ (264)

 

For Aquinas, according to Stump, quiddity means ‘that form of a thing that put it into one rather than another species or genus, its nature or essence.’ (Ibid.) Natures ‘do not exist in the world on their own; in the world they exist only as incorporated into the things that have natures’. (Ibid.) See also, 270-271.

[5] Eco quotes the passage from Portrait and argues that Stephen’s identification of claritas and quidditas is ‘felicitous’ (?) in its paying credence both to the interpretation of claritas as ‘the appearance of universal value embodied in the individual’ (—‘an organism signifies the universal which gives it life’), to the organism’s (the individual’s) signifying ‘itself, in its combination of universality with contingency, in the reality of its concrete form’, and to Eco’s own definition of quidditas as ‘substance’, to which I wish to return at the close of the current chapter-thread. … *—Cf. The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, 120n (252-253).