A forest in the north of England. Enter two Keepers, with cross-bows in their hands. Under this thick-grown brake we 'll shroud ourselves; For through this laund anon the deer will come; And in this covert will we make our stand, Culling the principal of all the deer.
But, in itself the idea of the indebtedness of Shakespeare to the forms of popular festivity is by no means new. Bakhtin's contribution lies in the way in which the popular forms themselves are thought out in terms of a semiotic conflict between "monologism" and "dialogism," and this, in my view, forces us to attend to the unconscious aspect of ideological misrecognition which Louis Althusser has called "interpellation.
A helpful starting point for rethinking both history and the unconscious together is the definition of the sign given by Bakhtin's co-thinker, the Marxist Voloshinov: By and large it is thanks to this intersecting of accents that a sign maintains its vitality and dynamism and its capacity for further development.
Any current curse word can become a word of praise, any current truth must inevitably sound to many other people as the greatest lie. This inner dialectic quality of the sign comes out fully in the open only in times of crises or revolutionary changes.
The carnival practices, whose inversions of social, sexual, and religious proprieties had been noted earlier by many anthropologists, are important for Bakhtin because they can be seen as a form of discursive resistance to the dominant order.
Therefore, the carnival figures and signs are also, like the literary text, a scene of dialogical encounter. Bakhtin develops a link between his own historical poetics and the anthropological accounts of carnival, when he argues for its laughter as a collective resistance to both primal terrors the fear of death and supernatural forcesand the social agents of oppression together with their legitimizing ideologies.
So popular resistance which already presupposes a fairly differentiated societycreates a counterdiscourse, that of the "grotesque body," to oppose to the hegemonic discourse, with its hierarchical, sublimating, and "spiritual" values. The carnival celebration of the dispersed and collective body, in words, gestures, costume, and rituals, he argues, represents an ancient and enduring tradition.
This version of the production of popular laughter is already thoroughly "dialogic" in structure, because it is constituted out of a relationship of opposition to the hegemonic discourse.
Bakhtin himself does not call it "dialectical" unlike Voloshinov because in his view part of the negation of the hegemonic discourse turns upon an opposition to teleology, to linear history, and even to "use value," in the name of cyclically, consumption, and, above all, celebration of the visceral, excretive, and reproductive organs independently of all law.
What needs to be added for the main argument of this chapter is that the displacement of bodily appetites into the "scopic drive" is an agency of deferral and sublimation.
Therefore the tendency to the theatricalization of the carnival is the activity of a desire opposed to participation.
Furthermore, I will argue that the deferral of satisfaction in the viewing subject is closely involved with that subject's interpellation by a purposive national narrative.
The "grotesque body," whose celebration enables the people to negate the idealizing sublimations of the dominant order, is, of course, itself socially produced. Bakhtin writes of this body as a collective mobilization of signs.
As a recent commentator points out: A severing of meaning from the body or the separation of matter and semiotic value is [thus] not possible in Bakhtin's conception, and it is precisely this interplay of matter and sign, of soma and sema, the play of a somatic semiotic, that constitutes culture for Bakhtin.
Every coalition of matter and sign i. It is the description of their specific morphology that becomes the focus of Bakhtin's approach. One consequence of this operation across the line conventionally drawn between soma and sema i.
We regard instinct as being the concept on the frontier-line between the somatic and the mental, and see in it the psychical representative of organic forces.
In this reading, the drives are not fully explicable in terms of energy and flow but are always already inscribed in a semiotic, i. But Bakhtin himself eschewed the emergent discipline of psychoanalysis, largely on the grounds of the scientistic "monologism" which he and his fellow thinkers thought they found in it.
Bakhtin's historical narrative tells how the festive traditions are overwhelmed by the centralizing, rationalistic, and ultimately bourgeois hegemony in Europe, from the mid-seventeenth century onwards.
From that point, it is largely no longer a question of relativizing interplay, but of appropriation by the hegemonic order. Thus there is a second aspect to his Utopian materialism, a familiar historical narrative of the fall from a prior situation, in which the social signs of the carnival are said to have corresponded to a natural truth, which resisted social falsehood.
Within this narrative of a secular fall, the "grotesque body" is an original truth, present to the consciousness of the people, and resisting, as befits a vox populi, the sublimating and oppressive lies of the ruling order. The natural presence of this body to consciousness, as a truth by which all social lies were measured and resisted, is recognizable now as a myth of plenitude anterior to the present order where the monological is said to be dominant.
The historical fall in this narrative is not the supremely naive one of the fall from an actual paradise, but rather from a state of active and aware resistance to existing power in the name of a Paradise of alternative values. What Bakhtin celebrates is conscious resistance to power; what his historical narrative mourns is the loss of the possibilities of conscious resistance to the power of monologism.
It is not that Bakhtin was totally mistaken in his history of the triumph of monological discourses in the service of centralism. Although his estimation of the nature of repressed carnival laughter is almost certainly too Utopian, the real issue seems to me to be the need to theorize a textual unconscious, towards which his theory of the "inward dialogism" of the literary text, and of the carnival construction of the body as cultural text, makes a powerful thrust.
For if the epoch prior to the triumph of centralism is marked by dialogism precisely because the festive, dramatic, and literary practices are a medium for intense struggles, it follows that the triumph of the centralizing hegemonic discourse is either an absolute and impossible obliteration of all oppositional "voices," or else their displacement into silence and "inwardness.Caught in that sensual music all neglect Monuments of unageing intellect.
William Butler Yeats (–), "Sailing to Byzantium". Rome casts a long shadow. I am writing in the Latin alphabet.
I am using the Roman calendar, with its names of the months. Archives and past articles from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and iridis-photo-restoration.com Find your favorite PBS shows online! View a full list of past and current shows, including full episodes of Masterpiece, Frontline, NOVA, Antiques Roadshow and more.
William Shakespeare (–). The Oxford Shakespeare. The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth: after John of Gaunt, Henry the Fourth, Whose wisdom was a mirror to the wisest; And, after that wise prince, Henry the Fifth, or your denial, shall be mine: [To WARWICK.
Melodies from a Broken Organ, Cori Reese Educacion y Medernidad - Entre La Utopia y La Buro, Eduardo Terren Whales of the Arctic, Sara Swan Miller The Return of Santa Paws, Nicholas Edwards .
Still ride in triumph over all mischance. Be plain, Queen Margaret, and tell thy grief; And, after John of Gaunt, Henry the Fourth, Whose wisdom was a mirror to the wisest; And, after that wise prince, Henry the Fifth, William Shakespeare main William Shakespeare Rate this poem: Report SPAM.
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